Monday, December 28, 2009

Irrational Fears

So I think my stress is starting to show in some interesting ways. Instead of worrying about what I'm going to do if Ari has a hard time adjusting and won't sleep for a week straight or if he has explosive diarrhea on the plane for 15 hours, I'm now more concerned about our house being robbed while we're gone. Seriously, that was the conversation Roger and I had last night laying in the dark, listening to every creak and squeak, totally freaking ourselves out. We made ourselves feel better by scheduling ADT to come later this week and reactivate our home security system. Good grief, as if we've never gone on vacation before. And now, thanks to the most recent terrorist stunt that the media WILL NOT quit talking about, I'm picturing our plane going down in flames on the way home into D.C. Damn you, terrorists. Not to mention the fact that Ethiopia is geographically located smack dab in the middle of two supposed terrorist "hot spots" -- Yemen and Somalia. I know, I know -- I'm sooooo worst case scenario and dramatic. Like I said, it's the stress. My mom asked me the other day if I was starting to get nervous about being in Ethiopia, and I can honestly say no, I'm not. I'm actually really excited and looking forward to it. My only concern in that regard was eating something bad and getting sick and not being able to take care of Ari like we want and need to. But with our trusty Cipro at our side, I'm feeling much better about that. And now my freezer is bursting with baby food and Roger and Abby food, so I can no longer do that to occupy myself. I think my best bet is to just quit watching the news. Reruns of Will & Grace and Frasier at bedtime it is.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well, Roger and I continue to be the rockstars that we are in preparing to travel...and now also for our first couple weeks home as new parents. Or at least we've hopefully made our lives a little easier in the meal preparation department. Today we spent part of our afternoon cooking meals that are now in the freezer waiting to be eaten at a later time....just in case Ari turns our world so upside down we don't have time to cook. With both of us cooking today it took no time at all and we were wondering why we don't plan meals ahead like this more often.
A batch of Roger's chicken enchiladas
(Btw, food is really hard to photograph without making it look strange and a little unappetizing.)

A new recipe from my brother --white bean chicken chili

....and regular chili

And just because I can't seem to get myself out of the kitchen these days, some time spent organizing my Tupperware cabinet. Roger reminded me it will just get destroyed multiple times once Ari gets here, but at least it looks pretty (and takes less than 10 minutes to find a container and matching lid) for now.

And tomorrow's project -- butternut and acorn squash baby food. And lasagna to be made and frozen for another day.
A few other accomplishments this weekend:
* Two car seats installed by Roger
* Baby monitor installed
* Jumperoo assembled
*A trip to Walgreens to purchase our "traveling medicine cabinet" (including a precautionary prescription of Cipro)
* an hour at the gym!!! (This may or may not be the first time I've been to the gym in a few...maybe more.....months)
* Wonderful time spent with friends and family
* A successful phone call to Ethiopia to arrange our driver for us while in-country
* A date night tonight to see Up in the Air and a drive through McDonald's at 8:30. How healthy of us. And ironic after we spent an entire day in the kitchen.

I foresee lots of laundry, packing, and housecleaning next weekend. This week I have decided to take a couple more depos. It helps the week fly by and, as much as I'm surprised to admit this, I already miss work. I've continued to work through December but have cut back drastically, and it has made me appreciate my work so much. I've always enjoyed my job and felt blessed by it, but I thought I'd be more than happy to say good-bye to it for a while once I became a mom. I think I'm going to continue to work on a limited basis when it's convenient for mine and Roger's schedule. Lucky for me I have the option to choose when I want to work, and I think we will be taking full advantage of that for a few months.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Car Seat. Check.

The past couple of days have been great. Amazing Christmas Eve at Abby's parents. Christmas day with my family. Christmas evening with Zoe and her parents. Lots of good food and fun. Ari was the big winner at Christmas this year: Cowboy boots, cowboy shirt, cowboy-footie-pj's, car seat, jumperoo, Disney clothes, Disney characters, Disney plate and cup.....and the most original comes from our two nephews, Ty (9) and Cody (6). When asked what they wanted to get for Ari for Christmas they replied: Ferraris for Ari. So Ari's matchbox collection has already started, with two Ferraris. Super cool. Thanks, guys!

Today was spent making more baby food, putting together some of Ari's gifts and trying to figure out how to install a car seat. For some reason Abby left the car seat project to me. I spent about 1.5 hours working on it and finally got it figured out. Then realized it was crooked. So Abby came out and helped me and I think we got it secure. It's still funny that we will be in Ethiopia for 9+ days with him, driving all over the place with him in our lap. Then we will land in Springfield and within an hour we will be confining him to a car seat for the first time in his life. I'm hoping they have one of those car seat checks in the next couple of weeks so we can double-check and make sure he's locked and loaded.

The countdown clicker is under 2 weeks....11 days until we leave, 13 until we meet. I sure hope he likes cowboy boots, sports gear, and Ferraris!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

365 days ago

Our dossier arrived in Addis Ababa 365 days ago (December 23, 2008) -That's 365 days ago, right? It's been one heck of a year. While we weren't able to get Ari home for Christmas 2009, we are 2 weeks and 1 day away from leaving to go get him. Which means there are a lot more of these faces around our house:
(Taken at the airport the day Zoe came home)
It's so great to see Abby this happy and joyful. It's been quite a journey but we know everything is going to be worth it when we see his chubby little cheeks in person. Thanks to everyone for all your support and prayers. We couldn't have made it without all of you.
BTW: Abby continues to amaze me. In the time it has taken me to do this post she has made another batch of baby food. Blueberries this time. They would probably be really good on Andy's Custard. Mmmmmmm, Andy's!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Homemade Baby Food

So this is something I've found to do to bide the time while we wait to travel. I was inspired by my fellow adoptive friend Meredith to make homemade baby food (if you've seen the before and after pictures of Zoe, you'll see it works!), and I am having so much fun! For all of you experienced mothers out there who think this is absolutely unnecessary and will prove to be an inconvenience later on down the road, I would ask that you refrain from pissing in my cheerios and keep your comments to yourself. As an adoptive mom who has missed out on the first six months of my son's life and everything that goes along with those first six months, I find this to be a therapeutic way of dealing with that, a way to provide Ari with something that comes from me and from my hands and effort, not from a jar off a shelf. From all of the pictures we've received of Ari so far, it appears he is receiving good nutrition, but an orphanage is an orphanage and I think he deserves any extra nutritional boost we can give him once he gets home. Plus, baby food is really easy to make (I wish all cooking was this simple), cheaper than jarred baby food, contains no preservatives or additives, is organic if you so choose to buy organic ingredients, and I've heard it's easier to transition babies to table food without creating a picky eater because they're used to the bold flavors already rather than the bland, overprocessed food that has a shelf life of two years. Now, whether that is true or not about the picky eater aspect of it, I don't know, but I've decided it's worth a try. So far I've made carrots and sweet potatoes. I think we'll do mangoes next. I've been making big batches and freezing them (you can freeze homemade baby food for up to eight weeks), so I think Ari will have plenty to eat for the first few weeks he's home before I need to make more!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Friday!

The sweet little girl in green is Ben and Kate's daughter Lyra and she is a few months older than Ari. Did we mention how much we loooooove Ben and Kate for taking all these great pictures a couple weeks ago?! Priceless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


blogging each day seems like such a great idea. until it's 10:55pm and you haven't written anything for the day. then you start to scramble and see what you can come up with in the last 65 minutes of the day that will make for an interesting post. so tonight is "update" night.
  • i got my passport back. in six days. it's amazing what can happen if you are willing to pay a little extra. everyone keeps asking me if i got my passport. it was such a huge deal at the time, but then it came in the mail 6 working days after i mailed the request in, and then it's not such a big ordeal. i had forgotten that i had blogged about it and there are actually people out there that read this (and care) what we are writing. so yes, i got my new passport, along with my old one back. we should be good to go.
  • after 2 weeks and "interviews" with 3 different pediatricians, i think we have finally decided on ari's doctor. it's really weird to talk to doctors and see if they are qualified to take care of your child....a child you've never seen or touched. but i think we've made a a great decision. we just hope ari feels the same way after his first week home (and all the shots, tests, etc. that he is going to go through.....poor buddy)
  • the nursery and supplies are slowly coming together. there are still a couple of things we haven't decided on. (monitors, etc) but the list of unknowns is getting smaller each and every day.
  • we have a car seat. but we haven't opened the box yet. no reason. just haven't taken the time to read the directions and realize how complicated this install is going to be. hopefully i can get abby to video my first attempt at putting the car seat in.

one last random: happy birthday to "uncle matt". not officially an uncle, but a great friend that ari will always know as "uncle matt".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We started packing

With three weeks to go until we leave, we decided we would start packing up some stuff just to be sure we had enough room for all the donations, all of Ari's stuff, and what little we can pack for ourselves in the space that will be left. We started with the two donation suitcases. Thanks to my sister Tammy (I think she started a blog at one time but never published it so I can't send you a link), we got to experiment with some fun new toys -- the extra heavy duty vacuum sealer. Amazing. And so much fun. At one time we couldn't close either suitcase. Now it all fits, with room to spare.
The empty bag, on the table, with all the clothes...
All of the baby house clothes in the bag....

All of the clothes in the same bag, with zero air. Amazing.

Now we have room for extra stuff......we just have to monitor the 50 pound limit. It's hard to believe that three weeks from now we will be in the air on our way to Ethiopia. One more day down.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stealing ideas

This post-every-day-mission is much harder than expected. Especially when nothing happens in relation to getting Ari home. So, I'm stealing a post from Zoe's mom. And after going to Walmart (where did the dash go between Wal and Mart?) and the mall I believe this clip even more.

Better stories tomorrow...

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Call to Ethiopia....

This morning I called a hotel in Ethiopia to book a (backup) reservation. I'll explain that one later. That will probably deserve its own post once we get back from Ethiopia. But the phone call was awesome -- and difficult!! I was so ecstatic when someone answered the phone. Even though they answered in Amharic and I had no idea what they were saying at first, I was just so thrilled to be talking to someone who is literally a few miles from our baby. It brought a huge smile to my face to hear their lovely accent. It really doesn't take much these days to get me excited, I know. So I just started talking (in English, of course) and they switched languages and accommodated my requests as well as they could. The person who originally answered the phone did have to hand off to someone else when I started asking too many questions and then I was talking to a woman I could barely hear. There was a lot of pregnant pauses and then "Hello?" Hello?" But we managed and (I think) we have a reservation. So awesome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Successful Sunday

Church. Check.
Lunch with friends. Check.
Making copies for travel documents. Check.
2.5 hour nap. Check.
Dinner at home. Check.
Lots of Tivo. Check.
Ice cream for entire family.....


Saturday, December 12, 2009

He's getting SO big...

Awhile ago Abby found a great deal on a pack-and-play. We opened it up and couldn't find any directions so we did our best to put it together. I swear, I thought I broke it at least three times. There are two parts to the pack-and-play: the full unit that can be used for older/heavier kids and then there is a zip-in part they call the bassinet. On the bottom of the bassinet is a mechanism that allows the whole pack-and-play to vibrate for the child. We finally decided to get the battery for the vibration kit (a size "D" battery -- didn't know they still made those!) and see how it worked. As we were looking at the "mattress" we found the instruction manual and finally learned all the ins and outs of the pack-and-play.

After we got the battery in and all the pieces put back together, we thought we would see how it worked. And surprise, surprise, it worked like a champ. Then Abby started reading the instruction manual. Come to find out the weight limit for the bassinet (with "D" size vibration unit) is 15 pounds. 15 pounds? 15 pounds! That's all good and well, except we were told last week that Ari is already close to 18-20 pounds. Awesome. So all the work to get the vibration kit working were in vain. We read more in the instruction manual and learned how to take the bassinet out. Below is the pack-and-play as it sits in our bedroom. Everyone keeps telling us we won't believe how fast he will grow up. We had no idea he would already outgrow his first bed...before he got home. C'mon January!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

T Minus 26 Days!!

We are leaving three days earlier!! Wednesday, January 6th! There was an availability on an earlier flight and we jumped on it, of course. That means we will meet Ari Friday, January 8th rather than Monday the 11th and we'll have a full week together before we board a plane to fly 8,000 miles and 20 hours home. This anticipation is like nothing I've experienced before. And, because I'm so dang happy, I thought I'd share another new picture of our sweet boy today and every Friday until we travel. Just a little something to look forward to until the real fun begins. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

43 minutes

I'm really trying to make a post every day until we leave. Luckily I still have 43 minutes left today to make my post. 43 minutes means that it's 11:17pm which means we're still up. We are still up because we are trying to fit as much as possible into the time we have left before we become a family of three.

Tonight we went to a small gathering after work, went to see The Blind Side (amazing), and then had a small dinner at 10:00. Made it home just in time to see the opening credits of Frasier so we could guess what the opening credits would be. (In case you didn't know, the opening of Frasier is alway different -- a light will blink, it will rain, there will be a train, some lights will go on in the building.) Yes, this has become one of the highlights of our day. One of the reasons this is a highlight is because we know another day has come and gone and we are another day closer to Mr. Ari.

We have become "those people". Those people being the ones that whip out photos of their children -- even when people don't ask. But we feel like we can since it's so different than most people. And 99% of the time people actually seem interested to see the pics and hear our story. Or at least it seems that way.

Another day down, another day closer. Hope you like the new ticker.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

5 + 1

Today Ari turns 5 months old

One month from today we will be on an airplane to go get him.

Since we only have one more month until he's home I am really going to try hard to blog (or ask Abby to blog) something daily. Just so we can remember all the stuff we did getting ready for him to come come. And all the stuff we did to distract ourselves from the fact that we have a month until we go get him. I'm also hoping to post more pictures of me and Abby during this last month so someday we can look back at how young we looked before Ari came into our lives. We cannot wait for the day we get to see him... "ARI DAY"
We got some great/amazing/beautiful shots of Ari from Lyra's parents. Thanks to Ben, Kate and Lyra for the pictures. We are being a little selfish and holding them close for now but we will post some of them soon. He's a big boy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Embassy Appointment!!!

We received confirmation today that we are scheduled for embassy January 14! Yay!!!!!!! This means we will leave a week before that -- in about a month. One more month. We can do this. We will be arriving back in Springfield Saturday evening, January 16. And, no, it still doesn't feel quite real yet. I'm wondering when that will happen. When we pack our suitcases? When we get on a plane? When we hold him in our arms for the first time? Right now I just feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have made it this far. Thank you, God.

And the newest picture of our little man which was taken last Monday, November 30. Cute, cute, cute!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


This past Saturday Roger and I were showered with our friends' and families' love, both for us and already little Ari. Thank you to all who attended. There were quite a few of you we haven't seen in a while, and just your presence on our special day meant so much to us. We appreciate all of the wonderful gifts and orphanage donations we received -- thank you for your generosity! Thank you also to Jeff and Becky Kelley and Brian and Tammy Wilmsmeyer for hosting such a beautiful shower. You made it very memorable for us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The End is in Sight??

Have I mentioned the waiting doesn't get any easier even when you're close to the end? (sigh.) December can't go by fast enough.

Oh, yeah, we got a new picture of Ari two days ago. His hair is long! And adorable. We will be taking Curly Q's Milkshake to Ethiopia. And he's still chubbalicious. And we got a report from some friends he's happy and healthy. It really doesn't get any better than that. Unless our agency calls us tomorrow and tells us we have a confirmed embassy appointment. That would be better.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Unfamiliar Feeling

So, this is a strange new feeling. We are SO THRILLED to being so close to the day we meet Ari, yet it's very surreal. Like it's hard to believe it's really happening. I made a registry, for crying out loud. There was a time I never thought I'd get a chance to do that!! We lived with NOTHING happening for so long, it's hard to wrap our brains around all of this reality. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it's not going to happen or there's been a mistake or there's a new huge delay (that's really depressing, isn't it?). In the meantime I am super-busy with work, preparing to take an extended time off to be at home with Ari (SO EXCITED!). When I'm not at my computer or at a deposition I spend a lot of time silent, deep in thought, not able to turn off all the checklists I'm making in my head. Roger also is a little more pensive and quiet these days. Luckily we started preparing for a baby a year ago, so we do definitely have a jump on things!

We are still waiting to hear of our embassy appointment. We're being told it will likely be the first or second week in January. Hopefully we will have confirmation soon. I'm sad he won't be home for Christmas, but it is still just around the corner and we are not complaining one bit! I am planning to be completely done with work by the end of next week and then it is full steam ahead with travel and more baby preparations!! We can't wait!!!


With all the great news of passing court comes a whole new set of issues to think/talk/worry about. Abby and I made it through the first week with a few hurdles but we were able to keep a good attitude and make it to the weekend. That's when Abby got a set of "travel documents" to look through and we decided to start checking out some travel agencies. This is the scene Friday night as I'm almost asleep...

Abby: When does your passport expire?
Me: June, 2010.....WHY?
Abby: Just reading and in different publications it says your passport cannot expire within 6-months of travel. In order to get a VISA in to Ethiopia your passport has to be good for at least 6-months after you arrive.
Me: And....
Abby: Looks like you are going to have to get your passport renewed.

So this morning I did one of the most nerve-racking things I've done in a long time. I mailed off my current passport, along with a check, two photos and application to the passport office in Philadelphia. It's nerve-racking because right now I have NO WAY of leaving the country. We aren't expecting to travel until the first of the year, but now the race is on to see who can get their paperwork ready first: Me or Ari. At least there aren't any Holidays this time of year for the Passport office to take off. Oh wait.......

Just another fun step in International Adoption. Lesson learned.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No News news.

I've talked to our agency a couple of times and they have received no word from Ethiopia today. Our agency did double-check this morning and was able to confirm for me that our case was indeed scheduled to be heard on the 12th, that it wasn't rescheduled without us knowing about it, but no one has gotten word as far as the outcome or if it was for sure heard. Sorry to be so anti-climactic, but I know there are many who are awaiting any news at all from us.

I did read a great post today on another blog that describes our current situation exactly, written by Alisa, an adoptive mother who has been through it and now has her son home. So hopefully it will give you a better perspective that this is the nature of the Ethiopian courts, it's not just me and Roger who get to experience all these wonderful delays. If you make it through court on your first try, consider yourself lucky!

And to put it all in perspective, I thought I'd include this forward that I received a while back and still think about often because I think it speaks a lot of truth. And because I'm getting tired of writing about our adoption.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God.. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?"
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38.. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace Under Pressure

After my post from yesterday, I thought I should maybe try this again. You'll have to forgive me -- I am a work in process, still learning how to handle and manage all of my "adoption" emotions. As they say, patience is a virtue.

I am not mad at our agency, per se. I know they are doing the very best they can with the resources they have. But, due to my control freak nature and desire to know all there is to know (yes, I have always been this way), it is difficult to endure this process with no real explanation. BUT, I have finally come to the conclusion I don't need an explanation. Because even if we had an explanation, it wouldn't change anything that's currently happening with our case in Ethiopia. So for now I am working on letting go. Learning how to live gracefully under pressure. The highs in the adoption process are so very high and the lows so incredibly low. I think there is a learning curve to managing it all, realizing that you will experience both ends of the spectrum before the day arrives when you meet your child. We do believe Ari will eventually come home, but we are working on letting go of our expectations. They do us no good. When it is meant to happen it will happen. Maybe that's Thursday. Maybe that's in six months. Maybe that's in two years. Until then we are doing the best we can to reflect international adoption in a good light, to enjoy today and not yearn for tomorrow. So I apologize when the difficult aspect of this adoption comes through my words. It just means we are experiencing some lows.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 56:9-11

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Insanity Continues

Our case was not heard today. Now we're being told it's been rescheduled for Thursday, the 12th. In three days. But no one can/will tell us why. Are you surprised? Because I am not. I will be surprised, though, if this adoption even ever happens. I am thisclose to losing all faith in our adoption agency. International adoption is very complicated. I GET THAT!!! With that being said, it is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to choose an agency who knows what they're doing. We are learning that lesson the hard way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

College Week

This past Monday Roger and I traveled up to Fulton, Missouri (Westminster College), to speak to a freshman seminar class about our adoption. Well, okay, Roger was speaking -- I was sitting to the side listening to him speak and helping out with details or dates he may have forgotten. As we all know, I am no public speaker. Definitely #1 on my list of least favorite things to do. I did, however, maybe kind of take over the question-and-answer session afterwards, so in the end it was a team effort. And let me tell you, what a great experience it was for us. We are definitely used to talking about our adoption with other adoptive families, close friends and family, but this was by far a new forum for us in which we were able to talk about our passion. With friends and family it is easy to be uncensored when we talk about the adoption process -- to speak of our frustrations, selfish wants and opinions, our impatience and worst fears. But when speaking in an educational setting to people who don't know us, don't know much about international adoption, well, it changes the way in how you word things. You for sure want them to know how it's not easy, how it's emotionally challenging, but yet you also want them to see the big picture of international adoption and how great it really is. The students had lots of insightful questions for us and for the most part seemed truly intrigued and interested to hear what we had to say. At the beginning of the class Roger did a recap for them of our infertility journey, all the testing and procedures we had done leading up to our decision to adopt, and, boy, I'm not sure they were expecting to hear such intimate details about us. About 30 seconds into the presentation when Roger said "So in April '06 Abby went off birth control," you could hear people shifting in chairs and clearing their throats. Too funny. At least Roger knows how to get their attention! But, as I said, it was an awesome experience for us and almost therapeutic in a way. We are at a "high stress point" in our adoption process right now, and for us to be able to share our international adoption experience to a room full of young, open minds was really so refreshing and good for us. We are excited to get the feedback from the class next week!

And then to end "College Week" I am heading up to Des Moines this weekend to see my cousin Megan who is following in my footsteps and attending AIB College of Business. I'm looking forward to being in the old dorm building again, reminiscing, probably driving Megan crazy with all my "I remember when" stories. I CANNOT even believe it's already been 10 years since I started college. Wow. So, yeah, it will be good to be out of town this weekend and have a distraction for two days before our next court date on Monday. We are, so, so, so hoping things go well on Monday. There are five or six other families with our agency who also have court the same day, so I'm hoping that works in our favor. Does that make sense? Probably not. At this point any logical reasoning we used to have has gone out the window. We have become really good at speculating about all sorts of circumstances that could, would, should work in our favor. Anything to get us through the day at this point.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Court - Round 2

We were notified yesterday morning we have a new court date. November 9th.

A little recap, shall we? We learned Tuesday, October 27th, we did not pass our first court date due to lack of paperwork and that our case would not be rescheduled but instead would be heard ASAP once the paperwork problem was fixed. Now we're being told our court date has been rescheduled for November 9th, along with a few other (4 or 5) families with our agency who were given this date a couple weeks ago as their first court date. So it appears they are, after all, fitting us in. This is good news and we are happy, although maybe a little guarded. Okay, I'll speak for myself. I am a lot guarded. I feel we may be getting "best case scenario" information instead of reality. The bottom line is this: Ethiopia is 8,000 miles away. They are oftentimes lucky to have electricity for 24 straight hours let alone a decent Internet connection. The communication sucks. It's like that game, Telephone, where you start with a message with Person No. 1 and by the time it gets to Person No. 5, it is no longer the same message and you're not sure what is accurate and what is not. Hopefully we will be on the receiving end of a good, accurate message next Monday! Until then I will continue to feel like laughing, screaming, and crying all at the same time. That's totally normal; right?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No-Go on Court = More Waiting

Well, we did not pass court. And we also just learned today that our case was actually heard on Monday, the 26th, and not Tuesday, the 27th. Minor, immaterial detail, but still thought I'd mention it anyway. There was another case that was heard with ours yesterday that also did not pass for the same reason. At this point we are being told "additional documentation is needed." This means more documentation is required to be produced by the orphanage/agency in Ethiopia, not on our part. Unfortunately, there is nothing Roger nor I can do at this point to help get our case through court. It is out of our hands. We are, of course, saddened by this news, but at the same time it's things like this we've become pretty accustomed to. Nothing is a guarantee in this process. There is no guaranteed time frame. We are hoping it is something very minor that can be fixed or added to to make the paperwork complete. We have been told by our agency that once the issue is taken care of, our case can be reheard ASAP, meaning we don't have to wait to be reassigned a new court date. So for now we will sit tight and wait. Imagine that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What we are looking for next Tuesday

People keep asking more and more questions about the next step: Court. While I could go on and on trying to explain it (and I'm not even sure I know) I figured I would just give you a couple of images to pray for/visualize. Any of the following stamped on our paperwork next Tuesday would be perfectly wonderful. Hope this helps.

Friday, October 16, 2009


We received word this afternoon that we have a court date -- OCTOBER 27th!! It is less than two weeks away! This is very surprising -- AND WONDERFUL -- news!! We were expecting to wait much longer before we were assigned a court date. While this is a huge milestone in our adoption process, it is also a HUGE HURDLE that has yet to be accomplished. There is by no means a guarantee that we will pass court on our first try. Many, many things have to come together just perfectly for us to pass that day, and the only way that will happen is by the grace of God. Please continue to keep us and Ari in your prayers. We are still hoping to have this little boy home for Christmas!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Court Update

I just thought I'd let everyone know that the Ethiopian courts reopened this past Monday, October 12th. We have not heard any news specific to us yet, but we are very, very, very happy to know that the court doors are indeed open and cases are being heard, paperwork filed, etc. I read an Internet rumor that the courts delayed opening by a week for training because -- here's the interesting/maybe rumor part -- all of the judges from before court closure resigned. Seriously, what does that mean? I'm trying not to let it bother me, but wow, that's disturbing. The good news is court has been reopen for three days now and I've read/heard about multiple cases passing already and a whole lot of cases being filed. This is good news, for sure, so maybe we needed some new judges? If there's anyone out there who has some concrete information on this, I'd love to hear it.

We also received two new pictures of Ari yesterday. Roger and I are still priding ourselves on the fact that we were able to recognize him from approximately 30 pictures of, well, 30 other babies. He. is. gorgeous. And his hair has grown a lot in the last month! And we were lucky enough to get a picture of him awake and holy cow his eyes are amazing. And he has chubby little fat rolls on his legs. Oh, he just melts me. Please pray for Ari's continued health/well-being and for us to receive a quick court date. I know there's so many of our friends and family out there thinking of us, wishing there was something that could be done that would make this process move faster, and if we could all just direct our thoughts and wishes into prayer, I think it would be so powerful. Thank you again to all of you for your continued support.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I have a strange feeling that IF Mr. Ari was home right now he would be with Abby and one (or both) Grandma's. Headed to JCPenney for a 3-month-old, $4.99, portrait setting. Today marks the 3-month anniversary of the day he was born. We are still patiently waiting for any news about court. Until then we just keep looking at pictures we have and praying for his health and comfort. Hopefully we will get lots of news in the coming weeks. Courts are "scheduled" to open next week and we are expecting more pictures from a traveling family. This is exactly what we signed up for, but still hard life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting....for ARI

Yes, we finally told the grandparents and family our little guy's name! We got sick of waiting. Imagine that! Us, sick of waiting! In case you've never heard it, it's pronounced like this -- "R.E." Not like Ariel on the Little Mermaid. Roger suggested the name Ari many, many moons ago, before we even decided to adopt, and it's always stuck with us. We love it. And we think he looks like an Ari. So there you have it! Now if I could just post his face with his name!

On a crappy note, we found out yesterday that the Ethiopian courts have delayed their re-opening. All summer we were told courts would be reopening on October 5th. Now there is talk they won't open until October 12th due to training. Or maybe even later depending on where you get your information. It really sucks. We are trying to remain optimistic. And patient. Really trying. We are sooooo over waiting. We have been waiting for so long, I can't remember what it feels like to not be waiting. You'd think we would have made Waiting our friend by now since he's been a part of our lives for so long. But, no. We despise him. We are ready for the next phase of our life to begin, thank you very much.

To be clear, we are not expecting to be assigned a court date the minute court opens because, seriously, that is just completely unrealistic. We were just hoping to hear sometime in October that we have been assigned a court date and then to actually go to court and pass by the end of the year. That's not too much to ask for; right? And that could technically still happen, but with all the unexpected, never-ending delays, I think the chances of that coming to fruition are getting slimmer and slimmer. Maybe he'll be home by Valentine's Day. I should probably set my sights on that now instead of Christmas.

To all of you Ethiopian adoptive families out there (or anyone else who just wants to stay in the know), I've found a blog that has proven to be a great resource for getting reliable Ethiopian adoption-related information. It was started this past spring during the abandonment issues, but it has continued on it because it is such a great resource. It is Basically it works like this: Adoptive (waiting) families can email what their agency has told them about court, embassy, MOWA, change in procedures, wait times, etc., and then the blog administrator posts anonymously all the different emails she's received. The source of the information is not revealed (i.e., what specific agency is saying what), but you basically get to look at the whole picture and get an overall sense of what multiple agencies are telling their families and then decide for yourself what is most likely to be true depending on how many agencies are saying the same thing. To rely on one agency (even your own!) for timely updates and info we've come to learn is pretty ineffective and scarce.

So there's our update. I apologize for the lack of blogging. It's mostly because we haven't had anything exciting to talk about . We're just anxiously awaiting court to re-open and to get assigned a court date. Mostly we're just trying to not get sucked into the suckiness of this waiting, and that sometimes includes taking a break from the blog. We have done so well since receiving his referral; we're just trying to stay distracted and busy so we don't go back to the not-so-great emotional place we were about two months ago. We have received some beautiful pictures of Ari, though, and for that we are so grateful. He is a beautiful baby, and I'm not just saying that. And he looks really healthy and peaceful. He's sleeping in all but three pictures we've received so far. Hopefully that habit will continue on when he gets home?!? In some ways his pictures make the waiting easier and in some ways it makes it harder. I look at his pictures and just want to reach my hands into the photograph and pick him up. I have a conversation with myself on a daily basis how it would be totally reasonable and financially feasible for me to fly to Ethiopia and visit him, meet him, love on him, let him know that he has two parents who are just beside themselves with anticipation to love him and make him the center of their world. And then that thought process leads to how it would be more than fine if I just stayed over there and visited him every day at the orphanage until we pass court.....and then Roger gets there ....and we go to our embassy appointment...and get on an airplane and fly home. Someday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One liners

It's been a while since either of us posted. Here's a quick rundown of what's been going on:
  • Thanks to Amanda for the new blog look. We needed a change and she totally hooked us up. On a related note, thanks to Courtney for the referral of Amanda.
  • Thanks for NY Kate and IA Kelly for coming in this past weekend. I'm pretty sure all had a great time.
  • Thanks for Neighbor Jeremy for the PBR hook-up this weekend. Who knew that Bull Riding was so amazing. And who knew that my wife would rather watch bull riding than the Emmys.
  • My dog Jill started her own Twitter Account
  • USC Football lost. Figures.
  • Mom and Pop Wasson are both sick, so we haven't been able to announce Baby Wasson's name to them...or the world. (Maybe that will help them get better.....faster)
  • Abby and I are trying to plan an Ethiopian Adoption Gathering for early October
  • Abby and I are trying to plan a Vegas trip for this fall...anyone want to go?

Other than that, life as usual around the Wasson Household. We are still waiting for courts to open in Ethiopia (rumor date of October 6th) -- We probably won't know anything more about the next step until October 6th --- but it will probably be a while longer before we hear anything. Until then we are just happy that families traveling to Ethiopia have been able to take pictures for us. He looks great. Can't wait to introduce you to him.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An introduction

Ever since my junior year in college, I have spent my Monday nights in Rogersville, MO, watching WWE (wrastlin') with my Gramps. It started out as a way for me to spend some time with him and get to watch WWE. Well, 14 years later I am still spending my Monday nights with Gramps. He makes me microwave popcorn and hands me a can of Diet Pepsi. Same thing for 14+ years. And, honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.

With all of our IVF and other science fiction, I never shared any of our trials and tribulations with Gramps. For goodness sakes, he's 92 years old and listens to the TV at volume level 51. It takes a lot to carry on a long conversation. This week was my first week to see Gramps since we had our referral and I had pictures to show him. I did as best as I could to try and explain everything to him, and I think he got it. He just kept saying how great it was and how excited he was for me and Abby. For once I was thinking and got out my iPhone to take a picture.

Below is Gramps getting a glimpse of his 13th (I think) great-grandchild for the first time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Package to Ethiopia

Below is the care package Roger and I sent to Ethiopia, via the good hands of a family with our agency traveling to bring their baby boy home this week. We also sent some formula. It doesn't seem like much, but it's our first "connection" to the little guy. We have been very, very lucky and have already received four more pictures of him via other traveling families since receiving his referral. He continues to look healthy and growing -- as much as we can tell from a picture, anyway!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We conquered Quandary

We arrived in Breckenridge on Sunday around 5:00. I had altitude sickness around 4:59. We had a fun night with Watson and Chris & Fara -- then went to bed early. And it was a good thing. Yesterday Abby and I went on our first "Colorado Hike." Thanks to the Fadlers and Watson, we were able to conquer Quandary.....a 14,265 ft peak just outside of Breckenridge. I've always wanted to have one of those pictures of me overlooking a huge mountain-scape. Thanks to Watson andFadler we survived and made it to the summit. We traveled approximately 3100 ft up -- somewhere around a 3 mile hike. It took us about 3.5 hours to get to the top, we took some pictures and tried to catch our breath, then headed back down. It still took 2 hours to get to the bottom. It was truly amazing and challenging and beautiful and the reason my legs are burning today.

Abby at the top of Quandary -- sign says 14,265 ft
The photo I've always wanted

The crew at the top of the Summit

Freezing at 14,265

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Referral Day Video

Finally -- I know! It took us a little while to figure out how to upload our video. Apparently high def makes it a little more complicated. Sorry! We're rookies. I have a feeling we'll be video uploader experts within the next year once we have more material to play with!

Okay, I feel the need to give a little introduction to our video. First of all, sorry for all the gum smacking on my part. I HOPE I don't normally chew gum like this. I'm blaming it on the nerves.

Second of all, our first reaction at seeing our baby's picture was shock at how big and healthy he looks! We had mentally prepared ourselves to see a tiny, little malnourished baby since that is oftentimes the case of young infant referrals. That was not the case at all and while we are so, so thankful for that, it took us a little by surprise!

And the second round of excitement towards the end of the video is us discovering (after we scrolled further down in the email) that we had not one referral picture, but two! Another wonderful surprise! And he had a completely different expression on his face in the second photo -- hence our confusion. It was an amazing, surreal, crazy moment. As you will see, even as we were gazing at his pictures, we still couldn't really believe it was happening.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby Love

I just had to post a few photos of some gifts Baby Wasson has already received. Our baby is so blessed (and spoiled!) already by our wonderful friends. We do appreciate and understand your excitement, though. The last picture is an example of what eight months of retail therapy looks like. As you might guess, we are thankful it's a boy!!!

160 diapers -- that should get us through 'til potty training; right?
We can't wait to see some cute little baby feet in these!

Thanks, Matt & Meredith, for helping to keep our little man stylin'!

Yeah, I had a few rough days. Nothing a little shopping couldn't make better.

Friday, August 21, 2009

IT'S A BOY!!!!

Yes, that's right.....we have a referral for a baby boy! Roger and I got the call yesterday, August 20th, at 5:08 p.m. We were not expecting it, to say the least, even though we were right at 8 months of waiting and we were told to expect 6 to 9 months. But isn't that the way it always goes? Just when you least expect it. Although I did have a dream last Thursday night that our caseworker called my cell phone and said, "Hi, Abby, this is Crystal. I'm just calling to let you know that I'm going to have some good news for you very soon, so be sure to answer your phone." Amazing. Needless to say, we are over the moon, beyond excited, and still processing our new reality. Thank you to all of our wonderful friends and family who have prayed for us, cried with us, shook their fists in the air with us, kept the faith for us, reassured us, and encouraged us. Roger and I have had so much fun sharing this amazing news with everyone over the past 24 hours. Your reactions and excitement is absolutely priceless. Last night was pure shock and now today I think it's starting to finally sink in. I know this because the minute I have time alone to really think about this sweet baby and what this all means, I cry just at the thought of him. This is just such an awesome place to be. Please continue to keep our sweet little boy in your thoughts and prayers, that he will stay healthy and happy and thriving and that we will hopefully pass court on the first try so we can bring him home ASAP!

A little info on our little man:
  • He is approximately 2 months old -- date of birth listed on his paperwork says 7-9-09
  • He looks amazingly healthy! He weighed approximately 9 pounds on 7-24-09 -- chubby for an Ethiopian baby!
  • He has an Ethiopian name that we will use as his middle name and a first name Roger and I have picked out for him that we will share with everyone after we pass court (Sorry, Grandmas!)
  • He has big, sweet cheeks and gorgeous brown eyes
  • We are falling madly in love with him.

We would love nothing more than to share his beautiful face with everyone, but that will have to wait until we pass court. As for how things will progress from here on out, there is still a process. We are now waiting to learn of our court date. Ethiopian courts will be closing within the next week or so and will reopen the beginning of October. We will probably not learn when our court date is until AT LEAST October. Hopefully we will GET a court date before the end of the year and hopefully we will travel to bring him home in January or February. These are all estimates and that's all the information we have. We, of course, will post any new updates as we get them.

In case you were wondering who won the "guess our referral date" game, it was my mom who got it right on the nose -- August 20th!

I believe Roger will be posting our video of us seeing our baby's picture for the first time in the next day or so, so check back soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today Abby and I are taking a "much needed" daycation to the beautiful city of Tulsa, OK. I'm not really sure this classifies as "much needed" but it sure feels like we could use 24-hours away. So we figured we would pack up and head to Tulsa. Why? Great question. Turns out Paul McCartney is doing a concert there tonight and we just happen to have tickets.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Friday Gathering

Basically all you really want to see on a blog is a bunch of cute photos. Here are a few from the past Springfield Ethiopian Gathering in downtown Springfield.

Zoe in her pink sunglasses. She always has these on. And keeps them on.

Cruz and Caden modeling the "7990" shirts.

Cruz offering to share his pizza.

Cruz in Roger's hat

*Editor's note. There were many more kids at the gathering, but they were mostly playing in the fountains. And each time I went to take a picture Mr. Cruz wanted to see what was going on.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Golden Birthday

Today is Abby's "Golden" Birthday. 29 on the 29th. I'm so lucky to call her my wife and best friend. Happy Birthday, Boo! Hopefully your birthday wish, and all your other wishes, will come true very soon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No one told me

I had no idea you were allowed to do this for your wedding. Looking like Abby and I will have to renew our vows.....