Monday, May 30, 2011

They're on Their Way

We dropped the Peep Eye Family (and their TEN suitcases) off at the airport today. They're on their way to Ethiopia to meet the newest family members. Hooray! We will miss them terribly this summer but we can't wait to meet Baby A and Baby T. Good luck Peep Eyes!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Letters to a Diety

Writing a letter to the unknown entity who's in charge of matching you with a child or children to adopt is one of the more nerve-wracking ways that a couple can spend an evening or two. The adoption journey isn't getting any shorter or gaining any clarity, so Paul and I recently decided that we needed to revise our letter to the board in charge of matching families.

The board of the organization that runs the orphanages that our child(ren) will be placed from is a completely mysterious body. Nobody on the U.S. side knows who sits on the board or how they make decisions about matches. It's known that they don't necessarily match families in the order that paperwork is received, but instead use some sort of magic juju to determine where children will be best served. I'm not even sure if the board members see a couple's full dossier of paperwork - I think that most of the time they just have the cover letters that potential parents have written and family photographs on the table in front of them. Not that I feel pressured to write a good letter or anything.

The 1-2 page business letter also has to include details about the ages of children you're interested in adopting and health conditions you're willing to consider. There's a lot of information that has to be crammed in, but there's so much that just doesn't fit. We can promise in the letter to provide our future child(ren) with love and excellent educational opportunities, but there doesn't seem to be space to say that we're the type of parents who will let the kids experiment with digging holes and filling them with water for hours until their little bodies are fully caked in dirt, but that we often avoid playing with puzzles or other toys with too many small pieces that end up under foot. You can count on us to gently answer a half hour of our child's questions about whether there are smoke alarms in Ethiopia, where are they, how do the fire engines get to Ethiopia and what color are the engines; just don't rely on either one of us to have a reserve of patience once the lights have been turned out and the kids are supposed to be in bed. The little details seem like the ones that differentiate us from all the other potential parents, but I've never heard of anyone including them in their letter to the board.

Likewise, we have to wonder if The Powers That Be are reading in between the lines. Our paragraph about Atticus and Norah says that they're both very enthusiastic about having a baby or two join our family. Can the board members connect the dots between "energetic", "sociable", "creative", "enthusiastic" and "loves holding babies" to get the idea that it might be best if they match us with a new child who seems particularly hardy and unflappable and appears to enjoy being around loud noises and sudden movements?

All of this leaves us feeling as though we're writing to the man behind the curtain. Who are we trying to please? Do they understand what we're trying to communicate? If so, could they please fill us in because sometimes we don't even know? Added to this is the extra layer of knowledge that we have as parents who have already adopted and seen the transformation in personality that can take place once a child feels healthy and secure. Norah in particular has very little resemblance to the silent and unassuming little bundle that we brought home from Ethiopia. Paul and I don't even believe that you can make a "perfect" match but instead feel confident that we're hardwired to love whichever children we're given to love and protect.

And so...the new letter is floating out there in cyberspace. We've opened ourselves up to some new ideas including the possibility adopting one child right now and waiting a year or two before pursuing the idea of adopting a fourth child. We have no idea what our path will be from here, but the letter has been sent out like a prayer into the ether.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Home Gym










Lately Atticus and Norah have been delighting in creating their own forts, leap pads, slides, and gymnastics mats using our couch cushions.

Construction Zone













The kids were in seventh heaven assisting Paul yesterday as he worked to attach a door and windows to their playhouse. It may have taken him an extra hour or two to complete the project with all that help, but it's evident that memories were made that they'll be talking about for a much longer time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recently...

Our important parenting skill of delivering a Very Serious, Stern, and Important Lecture while keeping a straight face was tested when Atticus decided to make dessert. Ingredients: frozen broccoli, frozen blueberries, and chocolate, vanilla and pistachio pudding mix (dry). I swear he was only unsupervised for as long as it took for us to change our clothes to go out to dinner.







Paul's brother and sister-in-law hosted us for a Mother's Day barbecue and Atticus and Norah were inspired by their cousins' tree climbing skills.








Today was freezing cold and gray so we spent much of the day inside trying to amuse ourselves. Consequently, we had a birthday party for our dog Stella who turns six years old at some point this month. It turns out there are tons of doggie cake recipes online. We chose one that had carrots and then we frosted it with pureed cottage cheese that was dyed pink. The whole thing wasn't really my cup of tea, but Stella seemed satisfied.





Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quality Time


Taking the city bus as a very special treat sure makes me feel like a yuppie. Atticus, however, was thrilled with the outing. Norah was spending the morning going out to breakfast with Nommie and Grandpa Terry, which made his solo adventure even more memorable.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm Not the Only One Who's Impatient

We have rarely initiated conversations with Atticus and Norah about potentially adding new siblings to their family. Given that fives minutes still seems like an eternity to them, we haven't really thought it a good idea to talk a lot about new siblings that we hope will arrive at some point in the distant future. Atticus, however, has latched onto the idea and brings it up almost every day.

"Mama, I think when we get the new babies, if there's a thunderstorm you shouldn't leave them outside in the backyard at night because they might get cold and scared. We should bring them inside and let them sleep in Atticus's bed."

"Mama, let's bring our new babies to Camp this summer because they will really like it and I'll hold their hands if they're scared when they jump in the water."
[Upon being told that the new babies won't be home in time to go to Camp this summer] "Do you think we could make a sticker chart and I could earn our new babies? Because I don't want them to be in Eth'opia. I want them at our house."

Out of the mouths of babes.