Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dear Agnoti,

Do you know your daddy keeps your picture on his desk at work?

Do you know your brother Simon lays on your bedroom floor and reads your books?

Do you know your brother Jake measures time by when you will be with our family?

Do you know your mommy sits in your rocking chair looking at the mountains outside your bedroom window?

Do you know your brother Liam says he'll paint your fingernails?

Do you know how much we love you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to school and such

As of tomorrow we will have a high-school student, a middle-school student, and an elementary-school student. We almost have a day-care aged child as well! Wow!

No news on Agnoti. We did get new pictures. She is STUNNING... She also looks a bit impish, which we are soooo excited about. We have experience parenting that kind of kid! :)

The picture above is Agnoti holding the bear we sent her. I guess she giggled when she received it. Can't wait to hear that giggle firsthand!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ethiopia Right Now

1. (Aug 2008) The draught Ethiopia (and other African countries) is experiencing...
2. (not current) This is the village we think Agnoti is from, Awasa...
3. (March 2008) One way for Ethiopian girls to succeed...
4. (Feb 2007) This article claims child mortality is declining in Ethiopia...
5. (Aug 2008) Rosemary Righter discusses population explosion and land policy as instrumental in famine...
6. (Aug 2008) A Chicago man offers education in Ethiopia...,CST-EDT-BetterDayFour20.article
7. (not current) Adopting alleviates the orphan crisis...

Agnoti's Birth-Father

I think about him every day. He lost his wife and then his child.

I am so thankful to him for allowing our family to raise his daughter. I am so sad for the circumstances that keep him from parenting Agnoti himself.

I wish we could hold this man's hands and convey the love we will shower on Agnoti, the promise to meet all of her needs forever, our intent to raise her knowing his love and his loss, our respect for his difficult choices, our commitment to embrace the traditions, the history and the beauty of Ethiopia.

I wish we could let him know that we feel his daughter in our hearts; that we fall asleep at night thinking of her and praying for her, and wake up doing the same.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Romans

Today is my nephew, Ethan's, 9th birthday. He and Simon are only two weeks apart in age. The boys call themselves cousin-brothers. So cute. Ethan and Simon scored play time alone while the older kids went to Grandma's this afternoon. The boys decided to take a look through some of Clark's mother's jewelery (set aside for Agnoti to enjoy). I tossed them some play clothes, which kept them occupied for almost two hours. Ahhhh... They emerged looking pretty fancy and declared that they were The Romans.
Hmmm... were the Romans cross-dressers? Lol! I love summer vacation...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Attachment, literally

Here is a picture of our new baby carrier. Clark purchased it (on E-bay) while I was hosting bookclub. Though, we bookclubbers watched the minute-by-minute countdown as he battled it out for our carrier.We bought this carrier with adoption attachment in mind. Our plan is to carry Agnoti as much as possible (or as much as she wants) to facilitate bonding. With a child raised from infancy parents have held, carried, cuddled, coddled and assisted with every basic need. When adopting an older child, much of that bonding time has passed. Early attachment is a very important piece of development. An infant must have their needs met consistently, lovingly and immediately. One theory in adoption attachment is that you can take a step back in time by devoting much time and attention to fulfilling those infant needs no matter how old the child.
Enter, Beco baby carrier! Agnoti, our little kangaroo, will hopefully feel more connected to Clark and I through the physical closeness provided by her carrier, as well as our efforts to meet her needs. We are learning more about attachment parenting and adopting an older child, which I'm sure I'll post about...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Puke and Poop

Sometimes puke and poop happens where it shouldn't at our house. As a bargaining tool before getting our dog, Margaux, I promised Clark to be the future cleaner of all household messes. Well, tonight, our beautiful red-head lost it on the carpet in the hallway (apparently she has been into something other than dog food!). Good to my word, I was the cleaner. It got me thinking...
This seemed a very safe bet when we had three boys old enough to make it to the toilet for years. Things are about to drastically change with a one-year-old! I no longer like my role as master of puke and poop. Clark says he has a role equivilant--taking the garbage to the street on Friday morning. Hmmmm... I don't know about that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Boys in Bands

Agnoti's headbands came today from Tracy's Botique. They are fabulous!!! I can't wait to have a little girl to put them on, as the boys just don't do them justice. However, they get HUGE points for sportsmanship!


Linsy (superhuman) has been continuing to update us about Agnoti. This is an amazing feat, as her little-one has been in and out of the hospital the whole time she's been in Ethiopia. She and Rick (her husband) also have a 2.5-year-old at the orphanage, so when she visits Daniel, she spends time with our girl too. Thankfully, Linsey gets to scoot home a couple of weeks early with Abdisa on a Medical Visa to get him the care he needs in the US. He'll be ok, he's fighting some bugs, malnutrition, etc. Abdisa only weighs around 4 lbs. at 4 months!

Posting the last few emails from Linsey:

Email #1: We will give her her bear next time.... Too crazy the first time. I did give her a sticker though and she ate it... I had to fish it out of her mouth in pieces. Oops.

Email #2: I hate to tell you this but I don't think they are giving Agnoti the formula. I saw them deliver a bunch of cups on a tray and randomly passed them out for the toddlers to drink. The nurse was very friendly to me and I will talk to her about giving Agnoti special formula... I will let you know how it goes. She was very bright eyed and playful so I think whatever she is getting is good.

Email #3: We saw Agnoti today. She is potty trained, can walk holding on to your fingers, and loved her bear! She laughs and smiles & looks really good. I can't chat much but I will talk to you when I get back. Try to come over on the am of the 20th before I go to Billings and you can see her video. She is strong and doing great... Don't worry at all, she will be a great addition to the boys. Linsey

My reflections... She is strong and doing great, thank God!!! She has a penchant for stickers. :) Darn it about the formula. Our agency director is going to ET on Monday and will look into the formula situation. Bright-eyed, playful, walks while holding on and potty trained. POTTY TRAINED!!!! What the heck, she's a one-year-old!!! I guess we better get a potty. :) And she loved the bear we sent, awwww.... These bits of information are invaluable. We really look forward to Linsey and Absida's safe return.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Info about Agnoti

Our friend Linsey just arrived in Ethiopia and today she sent the following:

Just wanted to let you know we saw your baby girl today. She is very beautiful. We got lots of photos of her drinking milk from a cup, smiling & climbing on a car seat. She babbled a little. While she was playing a couple boys cornered her & she got scared and started to cry. I went and rescued her & she stopped crying until I had to put her down. I am pretty sure she is going to be a cuddle bug and never want to be set down again. The nurse told me while I was holding her that she was 'weak', I asked if she was getting better and she said 'oh, yes'. I pray you made it through court...
She is ready to come home and I envision her taking hold of your family really fast. She did not ask to be held when I put my arms out to her but she definately didn't complain either. I will do measurements next time we go back.
I did not see her crawl or stand.... Not sure she even puts weight on her legs much; however, she did stand up in a car seat that she was playing on. If I had to guess I would say she weighs about 10lbs max. She was very light and her bottom-half felt very small to me compared to her upper body.
Email me and let me know what else you want me to tell you about her. Crystal she is very beautiful and has a gorgeous smile... I wish I could send you photos right now. Hang in there and keep me posted on your status. Love Linsey

This new information on Agnoti is priceless. We we can not express how thankful we are to get Linsey's first-hand account of how she is doing. It is really hard to hear that she seems to have lost weight. We are worried about her. News of our court appeal can not come fast enough.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy and Sad

Yesterday we got the news that Agnoti has a living birth-father. We did not pass Monday's court because we need a letter from him stating his approval of our family adopting Agnoti. Our agency's lawyers were in a scramble to try find him before court closed. All day yesterday was spent imagining the difficulties of finding this man in such a short time-frame in a country of almost 100-million people. Then we had worries of him changing his mind or finding something he did not like about our family... Ugh!!!

Well, they managed to find Agnoti's birth-father We got a phone call at 5 am today. He wrote the letter approving our family for adoption. The letter went to the Minestry of Women's Affairs where they recommended our adoption to the courts. Our lawyer took all of the paperwork to the court and COURT WAS CLOSED FOR THE RAINY SEASON!!?#!!@>??!

Are you riding this roller coaster with us? Next, our agency director said that our lawyer had spoken with a judge who encouraged her to appeal the court. It turns out, even though court is closed they will allow some cases, under special circumstances, to be heard.

So, the plan is to appeal. We do not know how long this takes. The director of our agency is headed to Ethiopia (Praise God!!!) and while he is there, hopefully some action will occur. That man seems to be able to move mountains!

Today has been spent canceling our flights and guest-house reservations--very frusterating, very expensive. Our hearts are heavy. Though, we are hopeful we can still arrange a court date.

We are grateful beyond words to Agnoti's father for entrusting her to us. We are appreciative of the support we have received from family and friends. We are thankful for our fellow agency parents, who have been encouraging and sympathetic. All of which helps. And, we have a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Her name is Agnoti.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Inspiring Film @ Orphans in S. Africa

Phone lines are down.

Did we pass?
Do we wait for an October court date?
We do not know because the phone lines are not working today in Ethiopia. Our daughter's paperwork went to court Monday afternoon (ET time) and we are not sure of the results. Waiting, waiting for that golden phone call...

Friday, August 1, 2008


We got the dreaded email this morning. Agnoti did not pass court. The silver lining in this cloud is perhaps the letter from MOWA did not make it to court. If the letter is the problem, we can go to court again with the letter when it is available. We should have more information later today.
We are panicking (I am) a bit (a lot), as we purchased airline tickets yesterday and reserved our guest house. Also, I want to get that little girl home!!!