Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a date...


Jake says, "That's my lucky number!"

Simon says, "That is the day of the presidential election."

Liam says, "That night I have a band concert."

These statements so reflect our boy's personalities. We feel good about this date. This is the one!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Words from Lily

We received this email from another Hope Adoption mom, whose daughter knows Sylvie-Agnoti from the orphanage:

Hi. Our new daughter, Lily (Yaebsira) was looking at some of the kids pictures from Hope and said, "Ooh, I like her." and pointed to Agnoti. She called her Agnot but said,"Sometimes we called her Agnoti too." We looked up your e-mail address and thought we'd send you a note about your sweetie. Lily said that Agnoti is so nice and quiet and doesn't "disturb" like some of the others. Lily is almost 12, so she does indeed enjoy her quiet time. Lily said, "I love the way she eats her food--she's so cute!" I always loved any updates on Lily, so I hope you don't mind me sharing. God Bless your evening, Cathy Mikus

Thank you Lily for your sweet words. And thank you Cathy, your email brightened our day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And here's #7

So it turns out (thanks Rebecca Smith!) when you are tagged you share 7 random facts and tag 7 other people. If you do the math on yesterday's post I am at 6 and 6. So....

Seven: I am really bad at Math. Ha! I really am. For example... The time I was in charge of getting my sister and I, and five kids, to Todd Utz' wedding. We showed up a day early. We also went to the wrong city. Bad Math. Then there was the time my sister and I, and five kids, went to Minnesota. I rented a vehicle for us with two fewer seats than we needed. Bad Math. Then there was the time I arranged flights and a rental car for a trip to Washington for my sister and I, and six kids. Never mind, you get the point... Bad Math.

Yes, my sister still speaks to me. No, we don't really take many trips together anymore. :) Xoxo, I love you Annie-bananie!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm "IT"

I was tagged. Thanks Gina Ellerbee, I'd flown under the radar until now. :)

Are you sure you really want to know 6 random things about me?!?

One: Clark proposed to me in French. I do not speak French but Clark dabbles in it and I think it is a beautiful language. Ahhhhh, when he speaks French I get the warm-fuzzies. Though, in retrospect, I might have said yes to just about anything. Some examples: Will you stay on your side of the bed, or at least the in the middle? Can you please, please stop running late? Do you promise to be the one who scrubs the bathroom toilet? Will you vote Republican? The answers to all of these questions are "No, no, no and more no!"

Two: I draw goofy pictures on the the kids' lunch bags. Ok, I draw them on Clark's as well. Fine, mine too...

Three: We had a shrunken-head in our basement while growing up. True. Gross. But true. My great-grandfather was a U.S. Ambassador in Mexico and was gifted the head on a trip to Brazil. Can you imagine giving someone the gift of another's head? As kids, it seemed normal. We called him Horace. Some of our friends refused to sleep over if we were sleeping in the basement(Alyssa!). I now know that it is not normal to have a shrunken-head...

Four: A heart-shaped rock is the perfect gift for me. I collect them. I love them. They fit into a hand just right. Sometimes on a really, really bad day I've been know to slip one in my pocket and carry it with me. It helps. From the time my kids were little, they've looked for heart-shaped rocks for me. When we moved, I dug several up from my garden to move with us.

Five: I write children's books, but am too afraid to look into having them published. When I write a book I wake up with the idea and have to go write it at that very moment. It's happened at all times of the night. I know that's weird. I have written several. Two are really good. I get scared, like icy-water moving over my body, when I think about doing something with them. I need a nudge. Clark said if I found a way to make one-million dollars we could adopt again. Maybe that is my nudge...

Six: I usually only really, earnestly pray when I want something. I am exploring that. I read a book not long ago addressing prayer. It suggests that anytime you engage in a truly honest conversation with another prayer is happening. Prayer does not have to be a formal event, on your knees, to God. Prayer is about living compassionately, unselfishly and carefully. Prayer is about truth as a way of being. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around in my head and heart about my own spirituality right now. I usually do not share my ideas and questions out of not wanting to offend or not wanting to seem silly and lost. Sometimes risking offense and feeling silly or lost can be very productive.

So that's it. Something romantic, something goofy, something creepy, something sappy, something scary, and something searching. Thanks Gina, that felt good!
The next contestants on You Have Been Tagged are..........
Michelle & Casey McDowell (yes, both of you!!!)
Linsey Wisemann

Monday, October 20, 2008

Watch this clip!

This video clip is from the area in Ethiopia that Agnoti is from (Awasa). Awasa is south of Addis Ababa, the capital. I am really taken by the kids and how much a couple of them look like Agnoti.

I have such regard for those out there working toward wellness on a global scope. Doesn't this clip make you want to reach out and do something?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In the name of bread!

I have difficulty remembering to put gas in the car. Fortunately, our car has a neon warning that counts the miles down to empty. Unfortunately, I forget to look at it on a regular basis.
Friday afternoon the boys and I head to Great Harvest Bakery. The BEST bread! We treat ourselves to a loaf of cinnamon-swirl every once in a while. This particular day we go to the bread store, have a hot slice and a small carton of milk each. I pay for our goodies plus a loaf of cinnamon-swirl and we leave. While starting the car I notice my friend, the neon reminder, giving me that special sign. I think to myself, "We'll get to that the next time we go somewhere."
Friday night Jake, Liam and I run to get a movie for a cuddle-up, eat buttery, salty popcorn with chocolate M&M's kind of night. As we pulled out of the driveway I see "17 miles to empty!" displayed on the dashboard. "No problem, we'll get gas after we pick out our movie," I think to myself. We pick out the movie, we pick out the treats. We drive home. Right past the gas station. Without filling up.
Saturday morning we wake up, looking forward to cups of tea and cinnamon-swirl toast. The conversation sounds like this. Me, "Boys, have you already been into the bread? I can't find it." (Hmmm...) Boys, "Nope." Me, "Will someone go out to the car and see if we forgot it?" Silence. Me, "Hey, someone run out to the car and look for the bread." Silence. Me, extremely irritated, "I know you hear me. Go find that bread!" A couple of minutes later Simon emerges from outside. No bread. Me, "Who carried the bread out of the store?" Boys, "You did." Me, "No, one of you did." Silence. Silence.
Saturday mid-morning I call the bread store. No, they do not remember me buying and leaving my bread. (Clark reminds me later that night of the hundreds of customers they serve daily...) Yes, they will set a loaf aside.
Saturday afternoon we head to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation lands to walk Margaux. First, we drive up the hill to pick Liam's friend, Ryan up. At Ryan's, Liam disappears into the house, car running, I watch the minutes tick by. This is a habit of Liam's that is sooooo irritating. As I am beginning to fantasize about busting in and hauling Liam out by the back of his shirt, the boys emerge. We drive back down the hill to the DNRC and have a GREAT walk. After walking, I remember my ink cartridges should be ready at the ink-refiller store.
We swing by the ink-refiller store and I leave the car running as I step in "real quick". (Let me say the car has four boys and a dog in it. And they lock the door.) Ink-guy confesses that our cartridges are not-quite ready. He does his thing. I wait. The car runs.
After hopping back in the car I remember our loaf of cinnamon-swirl. We drive across town to Great Harvest. I pop into the store, again, car running. (Kids inside with the doors locked!) The person I spoke with on the phone did not relay the message to the girls manning the cash registers. They confess guiltily that they just sold our bread. Aarggg! (And, Clark, they do remember me. I do not know if that's good?!) They write an I-owe-you slip and tell me to come back tomorrow at noon.
I climb back into the car and spy my friend shrieking; we now have "4 miles to empty"! I tell the kids what a close call we are having and notice Liam's friend, Ryan, looks a bit sketched-out. I do not think things like this happen at his house. Wow, I feel like a loser as I thank my lucky stars that we did not run out of gas in Great Harvest's parking lot.
I stop at the closest gas station, Gary's. I've never been here before. As I turn the engine off, I notice their gas is much higher than I would expect. Hmmm. I look to my right and see a guy with a Gary's shirt on testing my fellow-customer's tires and looking under her hood. What? I look back at the Gary's sign to see "Full-Service Station" printed at the bottom. This is not typical for Montana. In Montana we do it ourselves. I am not sure what to do. Do I tip? Am I supposed to have cash? Crap, I only have my debit card. I don't even have a couple of dollars to tip if I do use my debit card. I see movement to the right. Another guy with a Gary's shirt is advancing on our car. I panic. Reflexively, my foot hits the pedal. I don't quite peel out. I don't quite pull away at an extremely fast speed. Somewhere in the middle. Not appropriate.
I look in the rear-view mirror, Ryan's eyes are like saucers. This definitely does not happen at Ryan's house.
Back on the road. My friend now says "3 miles to empty". The do-it-yourself gas station is just about that far away. Ryan-be-damned, I tell the kids to cross their fingers that we make it three more miles. After sitting through our second stop-light Ryan looks like he might jump out the window. I sympathize; I feel a little like jumping out the window too.
We pull in, "0 miles to empty", thank you very much. Relief does not explain the feelings I have filling my car up. Elated we made it. Scared about our close call. Giddy from adrenaline. Wanting to dance and shout for the joys of a no-service station.
We take Ryan home. Awkward goodbye.
Saturday night, enjoying dinner with friends, Kevin and Angela. I share this ridiculous story. I tell Clark we have to go back to the bread store at noon on Sunday. Third day in a row for one loaf of cinnamon-swirl. Everyone is laughing. Though, Clark might look a bit concerned about my mental state. He and Ryan have something in common.
Then it dawns on me, I left the I-owe-you slip on the counter at the bread store. Clark is sure they will remember me...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thank you Disney

Disney has just advertised their first black princess movie. Take a look at......

How exciting!


We had Chinese with friends, Glen and Tara, a few days ago. My cookie read: You will soon gain something you have always desired.

I hope that fortune is talking about Sylvie-Agnoti.

I am really, really trying to be optimistic. Our adoption will work out. Our little girl will come home.

On Tuesday after getting the dissapointing news about not passing court, Clark said, "If I have to, I will wait the rest of my life for this to happen. She is my daughter."

I echo that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Strike 3, 4, 5

We've lost count.

Our adoption did not pass through court today. There does not seem to be a sensical reason for it. A letter was sent saying no that overrode our letter saying yes that overrode our letter saying no that overrode a favorable recommendation. What the heck!!!

We are angry, frustrated, and so, so sad. Our daughter is growing up in an orphanage and we are missing it. So many of our friends have kids her age. We watch in their kids what our daughter is doing; we hear their milestones and can not participate in Agnoti's. We feel so powerless and hopeless.

I sat in on two job interviews today for maternity leave that we thought was beginning in a few weeks. It was going to happen this time. I sit in on another interview tomorrow. My employer is losing patience with this unpredictability.

I want to scream and cry and throw things.

I want to go to Ethiopia and hug our girl.

I want to know her beyond pictures.

I want to stop feeling so damn lonely for someone I've not even met.

New court date: about three weeks from today, based on the Ethiopian calendar. We do not know when that will be.

Friends like this...

...don't come along very often.

It turns out Linsey's birthday is today. She offered her midnight birthday wish to Agnoti. What can be better than a birthday wish?

Perhaps a bald head? Check out Casey and Michelle's blogsite.....

Top that with the dozens of well-wishes and emails and we feel the support like arms wrapped snug around us.

Thank you...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tossing and turning... what we will do tonight. We find out within 24-hours if our little beauty is truly ours.

Sit tight sweet Agnoti, we are coming for you...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just say NO

We had to say NO to Jake's birthday request. :(

He turns 15 in two days and what he wanted for his birthday was a toga party. There is something about dozens of 15-year-olds in nothing but sheets that makes us squirm.

Jake said, "Maybe next year for my Sweet-Sixteen."


Monday, October 6, 2008

Bald and Free Day

So if you read my last post, you might know where I am going with this...

October 14th, quest for an auspicious event.

Can you believe it?!?

Head check!

Our newest court date is October 14th, just a few days away. I have been searching for an auspicious event telling us this date is THE ONE. Until today, the most auspicious event I could muster was that a woman that I do not know has a sister with (she thinks) a birthdate of the 14th. That's not cutting it.

As many of you know, I work in an extremely low-income school. Around 80% of our kiddos qualify for Free-and-Reduced Meals. We have the highest transitory population in Missoula, as well as the highest rate of families experiencing homelessness. With that said, we also have an outstandingly high rate of head lice. Yep, head lice.

Back to our daughter...

When our beautiful girl, Sylvie-Agnoti, was brought to the orphanage she had a HUGE head of hair. It probably stood off her head 4-5 inches. It was thick, it was curly, and it stood straight up like Don King's. I loved it. Well, her hair-do was short-lived because it was crawling with critters. Her head was shaved bald, oh-so-bald, like Don Rickles. A couple of days later her playmates were bald. A few days after that some of the older kids were bald as well. Pretty soon, bald kids left and right. Clark and I have joked about our girl infecting the masses.


An official email from Missoula County Public Schools Health Nurse arrived in my Inbox today. October 14th all children in our school are to be checked for lice. OUR DAUGHTER'S COURT DATE IS ON HEAD CHECK DAY!!!!

Is that auspicious or what? Ok, I'll keep searching. In the meantime, a few photos below...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sweet Samuel

This family from our agency just brought their two little boys home from Ethiopia 5 weeks ago. Samuel, their 3-year-old, was terribly injured yesterday. Please send them your good thoughts and prayers. The following is from their website:

Samuel was injured today in an accident involving the tractor. He was airlifted from the park behind our house to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. We need prayers.
Currently he is still in surgery and will need many, many more. He has lost one leg below-the-knee and the other they are trying to save to the ankle. One arm is broken near the shoulder but the elbow is more critical - open fractures with tissue damage/missing.
His pelvis is also fractured on one side. His buttocks and back are injured and he needs a colostomy. If he continues to do well in surgery tonight that will be performed now.
His vitals are good. He was awake up until surgery where we were able to kiss him.

They have set up a Caring Bridge web site to keep people updated on the progress.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sleepy Saturday

I have the house to myself this morning. I slept in. I caught up on emails and the blog-sites I love reading.

Clark is golfing.

Liam and Simon are at football with Aaron.

Jake is on a fishing trip with his friend Bryce. Check out the fishing duds!

I might just crawl back into bed with a book. I love a sleepy Saturday...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Family meeting

We've been struggling with how much to tell the boys about our wait that is stretching on and on. From the beginning they've wanted to know each part of the process. They've been so involved. However, over the last four months, it's been really hard on them each time we have a setback. Two days ago, when we found our date had been pushed to the 14th of October, we had a family meeting to find out what the kids want as far as information. The collecitve opinion was they want to know all of the information, even the frustrating things, as they feel if they don't know what is going on, they will worry more than they do with the disappointments.

Jake said, "I don't care what happens or how it happens as long as I get my sister by Christmas."

I think that is a first on this family's Christmas list.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Woof, woof...

This morning Clark, Simon, the dog and I were in the kitchen with the usual coffee, oatmeal, dog treats & toast. Clark looked at me and said, "You are the most beautiful girl." So nice. My tummy felt flip-floppy.

And then, Simon countered, as he looked at the dog lovingly, "Actually mom, you are the second-most beautiful girl in this room."

You've got to be kidding me!

Woof, woof...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Scenario Two:

The world is a place where things move slowly and we have to wait for a new court date for our paperwork to be reviewed again.

October 14th is the new day to look forward to. All cases were shot down today in court and most were reassigned in November. So, though it is frustrating, we are so, so glad to only be looking at two weeks.

A word about my co-workers: wonderful. This week, a surprise chocolate on my desk, emails and questions about our hopes for today, a very sweet and encouraging letter, amazing support. I am lucky to work where I do, surrounded by really great people.

xoxo, C.