Friday, June 27, 2008

Fav Photo Friday

This is my all time favorite photo. Some people might think it weird to post a picture of the little girl, who I thought was mine for 5 incredible weeks, butI can't help it. It's my favorite photo. Aliyah Ann (Ali-Ann) is still a huge part of who I am and it's because of those 5 weeks with her that I'm so passionate about being a mother again. Yes, my heart breaks everytime I see this picture and I think of all the hugs and cuddles we are missing together, but my heart also smiles and melts when I remember those 5 amazing weeks.

I miss her terribly, but I look forward to bringing Sprout home and being the best mother I can be to her. I know Ali is ok. She is with her birth mother, and that really is the blessing of the story. I recently was able to see some pictures of her. Bittersweet to see how much she's grown in the last year, but not to have witnessed it. Bittersweet to see her beautiful face, but not to be able to kiss it. Bittersweet to see how long her hair is now, but not to be able to brush it.

She's a lucky little girl because she has two mommies who love her. One she just doesn't know about (and I hope she never does).

A Special Comment

A very special person, left me this comment after one of my posts. I decided to give it it's own post because it touched my heart so much. He (yes, that's right HE....a MALE wrote this beautiful letter from Sprout) knows the struggles I've had with trying to conceive when I was married, then the failed adoption with Aliyah, and then trying to conceive on my own after the divorce and not succeeding. He knows the tears that I have shed and he knows what the sound of a heart breaking sounds like. He'll probably be embarrassed for me posting this and for naming him, but "HE" is my brother-in-law Ron. Thank you Ron. Sprout will be very lucky to have an Uncle like you.

A letter from Sprout
Dear Mommy,
While I lay here in the vessel of my carrier, growing impatient to be delivered to the hands of the one who prayed for my being , I decided to write you a simple note.I just had a baby talk with God- He told me how much I will be loved and cared for. He said, I am the product of the tears you'd shed- He even said, you could have flooded a room in Heaven if He didn't give in to your prayers! He told me a lot of things about you-He said if He had made the world a square, you would already have fallen off the edge in your search for me! Your Love and prayers gave a reason for my existence, I am truly blessed!I'm already having dreams about you and I'm not even born yet! I already miss your touch before I could even see your hands. I lay in the cradle of your thoughts, your heart is the womb that I sleep in! I am growing inside a garden fenced with love, under the care of the one who truly wished for me.I am so grateful mommy! My true birth will be the day they put me in your arms!( I just hope I don't get gas that day, it will surely ruin the moment , don't you think?!) I just can't wait to be home!You are my mommy, not by chance, not by luck or not by any technicality, but simply because God chose you to be mine...and I guess, He did pretty well! Hugs, love and butt kisses, Sprout

( By the way, the above words were actually translated by God...all I really said was googoogaga...and lots of it!)

So incredibly sweet (except the gas part.....but you'd have to know Ron).

Fingerprinting is done

Well, I built up my fingerprinting appointment in my mind to be this wonderfully fabulous and exciting experience, but it turned out to be pretty anticlimactic. Here's the rundown:

5:00am - wake up thinking "YES, I get to fingerprint today"
7:00am - tell boss "I have a very important appointment at 10:00 for fingerprinting"
8:00am - can't really focus on work....excited to get to the appointment. Must watch clock so that I'm not late
9:00am - one more hour. Still must watch clock. Argue with myself about what time I should leave. USCIS is only 7 minutes away (according to google), so I should leave at 9:30. No that's too early. But I don't want to be late. OK, let's compromise (YES, I compromise with myself), I'll leave at 9:35 (ok, not a FAIR compromiser, but at least I budged a little). OK, 9:35 it is
9:35am - YES, I'm outta here. Bye bye boss. Be back soon.
9:42am - Yep, google was right. Wow, now I'm TOO early. Wait, where is the office. I don't see anything here but a little hole in the wall. Oh, THAT's the USCIS office? Hmmm, woulda thunk for my $80 per print they could have a nicer pad. Oh well.
9:55am - OK, I'll go in.
9:56am - Guard greeted me, handed me a paper to fill out, pointed me to waiting area
9:57am - Filled out form, gave back to guard
9:58am-Guard looks it over and tells me to go to desk around the corner
9:59am- Hand my paperwork to "receptionist" He gives me my number (31) amd tells me to have a seat.
10:00am - I sit for literally 1 second and I hear "number 31"
10:00am - sit at desk with person doing fingerprinting. He types info into the screen
10:03am - He finishes with computer and has me stand next to him and takes my prints. All five digets of the left hand together then all five digets of the right hand together. Then he continues to take each digit seperately of the right hand. Was doing fine with the first four (got the green ok light), but when he did the pinky I got the red warning light. So, he takes it again. Same red light. So, he takes it again. Same red light. So he moves on to the next hand???? Huh, what about the warning???? Left hand...all digits get the green light except the index. Same procedure as above....same outcome....Hmmmm, I hope I pass.
10:08am - Done with prints. He gives me my paperwork back and a yellow comment card and says to me to go fill it out, put it in the box and I am done
10:09am - fill out card, put in box, leave.
See, very anticlimactic. But at least it's done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Burqitu Restaurant

If you want to have some great Ethiopian food, check out Burqitu East African Restaurant. It’s a cute little restaurant recently purchased by Kamso and Zubeda (it used to be The Horn of Africa).
Now, before I tried Burqitu, I had never tried Ethiopian food. And since I’m kind of a picky eater, and I HATE spicy food, I was a bit hesitant to try it out. OK, I was A LOT hesitant. But, I figured I’d better try it here in the States before traveling to Ethiopia so I know what I’ll be in for. Well, I can tell you that not only was I pleasantly surprised, but my mom and my sister were as well. In fact, we were more than pleasantly surprised….we were amazed at how much we liked the food.
I’m so happy I have found this restaurant. My Mom came to Portland on Mother’s day since my sister was in town visiting from Houston, and we decided to finally try some Ethio food. We had no idea which restaurant to go to, but I literally have 6 to choose from in a two-mile radius from my house (apparently I live in the heart of the Ethiopian community…..I didn’t plan it that way, but what a blessing that will be for me and for Sprout). So anyway, we just drove down the road till we found one that was open. The only one we found open was Burqitu, and I’m sooooooooooooo glad we did. Kamso has served us (and cooked for us) each time I’ve been there (4 times now since mother’s day) and she is so friendly. She makes me not want to try the other restaurants and keeps me coming back to hers. I always order my food VERY mild, and she has always tried to talk me into spicing it up “just a little bit”, but I’d always said no. That was until last night. We finally told her to go ahead and spice it up a bit, but to not go crazy. It was so so so so good, and not too spicy. She said “see, I told you you would like it”. She was right. THANKS Kamso.
So, for all you Portlanders out there, please go and try Burqitu. They are at 3939 NE MLK (503-288-3366). And if you aren’t in Portland, I encourage to find an Ethiopian restaurant near you and give it a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised too!

The picture turned out a bit blurry, but here is a sample of their delicious food.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Woo Hoo.....LOVE the mailman today

I got home this afternoon, and not really having any expectations of anything in the mailbox, I was pleasantly surpised (OK ECSTATIC) to find the following:

This is my OFFICIAL "INVITATION" from Homeland Security to get my biometrics recorded. Simply put....I get to go have my fingerprints taken. I'm sooooooooooo excited to get this. Once they have my fingerprints, it should be just a few more weeks before I get the "golden ticket". The appointment is at the end of next week......I wish it were sooner!

But wait, that's not all.....I also received a package containing these:

Aren't they adorable? Some very special people sent them to me and I LOVE them (the wall plaques AND the people who sent them to me). :) Thank you so much.

What more could I ask for....ok, the golden ticket would be nice....but all in due time. All in due time.

Fave Photo Friday

OK, so a lot of blogs that I've seen have what they call "Favorite Photo Friday", and since I can't come up with my own unique posts, I guess I will have to copy them and start my own Fave Photo Friday posts (hey, at least you will all know that there will be at least one post a week). :)

I'm at work, so I don't have that many photos saved to my computer, so this is one of my favorites from the limited selection I have here:

This is a picture of Eli trying to play the piano, and Ethan being a typical little brother and bothering him (and as you can see he's also a HUGE ham).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Waiting Waiting Waiting

It's been a while since I've posted anything, but that's because there is no new news. The mailman is once again my worst enemy. I sent in my homestudy to USCIS last week (overnight, so I know they got it last Monday), so now I'm waiting for INS to "invite" me down to their building for a round of fingerprinting. Every step is important, yet you have to wait for each step to start the next gets frustrating. I'm a multi-tasker......I want to work on ALL steps at the same time and get it all done at one. But, it just doesn't work that way with adoption. Each step, in it's own time, and in it's own order. That's just the way it is, and I'm just going to have to learn to deal with it.

So, in the meantime, since I have nothing too interesting to blog about, I thought I would introduce you to Sprout's brother............

This is Tanner.....he's, oh, about 9 now (yes, I'm a terrible cat mommy....I don't really know how old he is even though I got him when he could fit in the palm of my hand). He's a great cat, but he suffers from bi-polar disorder. I self diagnosed him, but I'm pretty sure it's an accurate diagnosis. Because if it's not, then I have to admit to myself that I raised a nasty mean cat (at times) and I just can't accept that harsh reality.

Seriously though, he's a great cat. He just is stubborn and knows what he wants when he wants it. He could be laying beside me (he is NOT a cuddler and will NOT sit on my lap) and I could be happily petting him, and he would SEEM to be enjoying it (you know, he's got the purring thing goin on, and the drooling thing (he drools when he is content)), and then all of a sudden he will apparently be done, because he will reach out and swat at me and hiss at me. The little shit! Luckily it's not enough of an issue to seek therapy for him and put him on medication, but he better watch it, or I just might.

He is such a pretty cat though and has the most beautiful blue eyes (yes, I'm biased, but just take a look....he's gorgeous, no?). And YES, I do realize that his BMI is probably in the morbidly obese catagory, but most of that is his fluffy hair. No, really, it is! OK, maybe I'm in denial about his "fur weight", but I'm not good at diets, I don't know how I would expect him to be.

He's my baby, and I love him. He is NOT going to be happy about the arrival of his baby sister though, I can tell you that much. He already has decided the crib is his, and I have to keep the door shut to the baby's room, otherwise I will undoubtably find him snoozin and snugglin in there with the blankies.

Cutest Message Ever

I got the cutest e-mail message from my 5 year old nephew today. This is what it said (his mom apparently typed what he wanted to say):

Hi Auntie, so what are you doing? I miss you and I can't wait for you to come to oryando. I can't wait to see my new cousin Sprout-I don't know what you're gonna name her, except for Sprout. OK, I should get going. So you can go back to work so good by. That's all I got to say mom.


Oh my gosh, it just totally made my evening. He is so excited for me to bring Sprout home. At first, he didn't really want me to have any children because, as he told me, "I already have enough cousins Auntie". But the more I talk about it and the more my sister talks to him about,
the more excited he gets.
Oh, he's also excited about his trip to Orlando (oryando) in November and is hoping I will be able to join them.

Thanks for the message made your Auntie laugh.

This picture of Eli makes me laugh too! He had fallen asleep on the couch and his dad put black tape on him. When he woke up, he couldn't figure out why we were all laughing at him. Oh my gosh, it was soooooo funny.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


This is my sister. That's me on the right and her on the left. As I type that I am reminded of a funny story. WheneverI would see a picture of the two of us together and I couldn't tell who was who, I would ask my mom "mom, which one is me". She would take the picture, look at it and immediately hand it back saying "that's you on the right". Every time, I was on the right. Amazing....each time we posed, Tina would be on the left and I would be on the right. As the years went on, I realized that she would barely glance at the picture, but say right away "that's you on the right". That's right folks, even mom couldn't always tell us apart, but instead of hurting our feelings and saying "I'm not sure", she just always said I was on the right. She knew that if we were asking her who was who, then we certainly wouldn't know if she was right or not. I chuckle about that a lot.....especially when I'm on the right.

Anyway, back to the point of my post.....

For those that don't know me, yes, I am a twin. An identical twin. We are incredibly close, but for all those who are, we don't feel each other's pain. No, I don't know when she is sick. No, I can't read her mind. No, we never switched boyfriends. No, we never switched classes in school. Yep, we're boring that way.

My sister recently moved to Houston, and though it's been a year since she left, we are both still struggling with being apart from each other. Yes, we talk on the phone....A LOT. And yes, we visit each other (in fact, in the one year she has been gone, we've seen each other 6 times....not bad for being 2000 miles away). But it isn't the same. I can't just get in the car and drive to her house so that I can do nothing there instead of nothing here. I can't call her at the last minute and ask her to go to a movie with me. It definitely has been a growing experience for both of us.

Tina is married to Ron and they have two wonderful little boys. Eli is five, and will be starting kindergarten this year, and Ethan is two. My sister has always shared her family with me, and that is a gift that is so precious. It's harder now that she is in Texas, but when they lived in Portland, I would always be included in their family outings.....and if I wasn't I would just invite myself. :) I can't wait for my daughter to come home so that I can finally share my family with her.

This is us this last Christmas in Houston

Sprout's Room

I thought I would post a couple of pictures of Sprout's room. I had most of the furniture due to the heartbreaking failed adoption of my first daughter Aliyah, so when I moved into this two bedroom I decided that instead of storing the furniture I would go ahead and set up the nursery. It's been fun to get things all together. Sprout's furniture is in cherrywood, so I've kept myself busy refinishing a toy box and a night stand to match (well, they kind of match). Her bedding is yellow bumblebees and is just so darn cute. My mom came up from Eugene and helped me sew the window seat cushion in bumblebee fabric....ok, ok, she didn't help, she did it all....thanks mom. But I made the lampshade with the leftover fabric.....I do have some talents (just don't look too closely at it.....unless you WANT a good laugh). Anyway, here they are....

This is her crib (ignore the mess under the bed....they are books, but I don't have a bookshelf yet). That box to the left is the toybox I refinished. The blankets are on there because Sprout's real name is on the box and I don't want anyone to see it. That lamp on the right is my handywork, as is the nightstand it's sitting on.

Here's a better view of my talents..... :)

Above Sprout's crib

Sprout's window mom made the cushion and that green pillow. The two pillows on each side of the green one are yellow, and that one on the right is just a hunk of foam. She left that one for me to do to match the green can see how far along I've gotten with it.

And finally, a look at the other side of the room. This is the changing table/dresser. And YES, those drawers are PACKED with clothes already. What's worse is that the side cabinet there is FILLED with shoes. Oh, and that's not all......her closet is full of clothes too. This little girl will certainly not have to worry about what to wear.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Mailman

For those of us in the adoption process, we learn real quick that the mailman is either your best friend or your worst enemy. He/she is your new best friend every time you go to your mailbox and there is something there that you had been waiting for. On the other hand, he/she is your most torturous enemy every time you look and what you're expecting is STILL not there.

Today, my mailman was my best friend, for when I opened the mailbox, this is what I found.....

What are those, you ask? Well, they are three original, signed, notorized, homestudy documents. I had my homestudy a few weeks ago, and today I received the final documents. I'm so excited. The first copy will go immediately to USCIS (immigration) so that my I-600A application can be processed. Once they receive this, I will go have my fingerprints done, and then wait for the pesky mailman to deliver my "golden ticket". Finishing the homestudy and getting the final copies is a HUGE step in this process and I'm glad I have it completed and marked off my list.

The second copy will be included in my Dossier that will head to Ethiopia once the golden ticket is in hand.

The third one I believe is my copy as my adoption agency and homestudy agency are one in the same, so they (I assume) have a copy.

I'm one HUGE step closer to becoming a mommy.

Why Ethiopia?

I get this question A LOT. Now, most of the time, this question is asked with sincere curiosity. People aren’t being judgmental, they are just truly interested. But every now and then, this question is asked in an accusing tone. As if it were the most ridiculous place on earth to adopt from. To these people, my answer is short and sweet. I simply reply “because that is where my daughter is”.

But for those who are genuinely interested, I share a lot more. I start off with the fact that because I am single, my options are amazingly limited. Each country has their own guidelines and restrictions regarding adoptive parent/s. China, for example, use to be open to singles. However, they recently tightened up their requirements, and now singles can not adopt. Some of their other restrictions include: must have assets over $80,000, must not be obese, and can not have been prescribed anti-depressant OR anti-anxiety medication in the last two years. Ethiopia on the other had is open to singles, they don’t have a weight requirement (thank goodness), and you don’t need $80,000 in assets. These are not the sole reasons I chose Ethiopia, as many other countries have similar requirements, but requirements like these are what led me to mark OTHER countries off my list.

Once I had a list of countries that I COULD adopt from, I started looking at other factors. The process… long does it take, what kind of paperwork is needed, can I request boy or girl, do I have to (get to) travel to pick up, how long is the in-country stay, how many trips do I have to make. All these factors played a part in my decision. Ethiopia, along with other countries, had a fairly short process. The paperwork (Dossier) is relatively easy (compared to other countries), they do allow you to choose the gender and age, they encourage you to travel to pick up your child. They only require one trip and that trip is about 1 week.

After narrowing down the countries with flexible requirements, cost was the next factor. I mean, let’s be real here…..I’m not rich, and I had to fund this adoption with what I had and with what I reasonably thought I could raise in the timeframe I wanted. So, if the choice is between Guatemala which costs up to $40,000 to adopt (with all other requirements being equal), and Ethiopia, which costs up to $20,000, then I choose Ethiopia.

As was stated in a previous post, I don’t care what “flavor” my child comes in. So, the race of the child does not matter to me. That doesn’t mean I’m going into a transracial adoption blindly. I know that being a white mother to a black child will have its challenges and issues. I’m aware of that. I hope I am preparing myself sufficiently to handle these challenges and issues.

As I learn more and more about Ethiopia, and I start to have some interaction in the Ethiopian community, I am 100% confident with my decision. And I know, that I’m choosing Ethiopia because “that is where my daughter is”.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Out with the Old in with the New

Well, it finally happened.........the gas prices drove me to downsize my old clunker SUV and get a more affordable and economical car. As some of you know, I've been wanting to get rid of that SUV since, well, since the day I got it. I just don't have much use for an SUV and the four whole times in the last5 years that I actually had it in 4-wheel drive was on the beach and had nothing to do with "inclement weather". So, when the gas prices started to steadily rise, and the cost of filling the tank was suddenly going over $40, then $50, then $55, and finally last Thursday $63.51, I knew I had to do something.

So, on Saturday, I went into Beaverton Hyundai with one crappy, worn out, needs a break job, "check engine" light on, gas guzzling SUV, and came out with this......
a brand new, non brake squeaking, well running, good stearing, Hyundai Elantra in the fabulous color of Purple Rain. That's right folks, Purple Rain!!!!! The finance guy started singing me the Prince song right there in the dealership.....with air guitar actions and everything.

It's so nice to have a vehicle that I KNOW will start in the morning and that doesn't have the brakes squeaking and squealing (yes neighbors, that was me at 6:40 in the morning making all that ruckess.....but no more). And of course I'm extra happy that I will be saving a TON of money on gas.

Oh, and one more thing I walked out of the dealership with.......a date from the Purple Rain Singing Finance Guy. But that's another post altogether.

P.S......No adoption funds were used in aquiring this new vehicle. :)

Yes, she WILL be black

A recent exchange between me and someone who shall remain nameless.....

Her: "Tania?" (yelled from another office)
Me: "Yes?"
Her: "your baby, the one from Ethiopia?"
Me: "Yes?"
Her: "Will she be black?"
Me: mouth dropped to floor, then chuckling "uh, yeah"
Her:Surprised that I'm laughing "oh, well I didn't know.......those people come in all colors over there"
Me: __________________________ long pause. "uhhhhh, nope, she'll be black"
Her: "ohhhhhhh"

So, if anyone else was wondering......Yes, she WILL be black!

As a very good friend of mine said once "you don't care what flavor your child comes in, do you Tania"?

Not one little bit.