Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've been battling a horrible head-cold for over a week. It has been affecting my ability to sleep, which in turn has been affecting my ability to parent (and Clark might say have a little something to say about the kind of spouse I've been lately!). Three days ago I lost my voice, those listed above might have done a little behind-my-back celebrating... Two days ago I became extremely emotional (I had myself a little cry at Thanksgiving dinner while everyone was sharing what they are thankful for). Yesterday I broke down and went to the doctor, as I was afraid to board an airplane with my new emotional, voiceless, uber-cranky personality. Diagnosis: double ear infection, strep throat, sinus infection. Yuck! I am now armed with HUMONGOUS antibiotics and, 24-hours later, a little bit better attitude. :)
I took the kids in to be swabbed and Simon has strep as well. I am so relieved that we both are back on the road to "better".

Clark, by the way, has been popping Vitamin C like a junkie. I hope he stays healthy for our trip.

Here is another favorite picture of S.A.; look at those eyelashes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Last night my co-workers threw a celebration for our successful court date and our travels to Sylvie-Agnoti. It was such a nice evening. I am fortunate to work with wonderful people. Little S.A. has no idea how many are waiting to hug on her!

11 Days

In just eleven days we will be holding Sylvie-Agnoti in our arms. It seems surreal. Today we put the finishing touches on our paperwork. We will have our taxes and wills notarized this afternoon.

We leave Missoula on December 6th and arrive in Addis Ababa on December 7th. We will meet our girl on the 8th (Monday) and take her back to our guesthouse with us. Wednesday is our embassy appointment to apply for a Visa and have her medical exam. Friday we pick up S.A.'s Visa. Saturday evening we leave Addis, home at nearly midnight on Sunday.

My parents will bring the boys to the airport to meet their sister. They are so excited! I imagine that first meeting and it is wonderful.

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures... They were taken by our friend's sister-in-law. S.A. was teething and we have a series of chewing-on-tongue snaps. I love them!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shopping, Organizing, Packing

What a weekend! We have been shopping for all of our medicinals and other goodies we need with us in Ethiopia. It is hard to believe that we will be in-country this time two weeks from now! We have organized all of our bathroom stuff, the toys we will bring for S.-A. to play with, passports and other important paperwork... And, we packed little-girl clothes tonight. Ahhhhh, I've never packed for a girl before.

It is so exciting to think how close we are getting!

Here is another picture that we love.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A detour from the posting pattern I've established, but it must be done:

Tonight Simon had basketball practice at the school where I teach Gifted Ed. on Fridays. I had a previous engagement [a radio broadcast about homelessness that I'll write about sometime, when things are slow :) ] and drove to the school before going home. Jake called, asking if he could walk up and meet us, then the three of us could ride home together. My first thought, "No, I know you haven't finished your homework." My second thought, "No, it's so dark tonight; I don't want you walking the winding street up to the school." My third thought, "No, you were a HUGE stinker earlier tonight."

So, I said, "Yes."

Why, when something was telling me to say "no"???

On with the story... Nearing the end of practice Jake sits on a desk near the exit that is cleverly positioned under the fire alarm. He propels himself off of the desk, managing to hit his shoulder on the plastic casing. In trying to fit the lid back on tightly, he sets the alarm off and as people turn to look, there he is with his hand up in the alarm looking like he is intentionally screwing with it. Then the alarm completely comes apart and begins shrieking at a faster and faster pace.

No, that's not quite right. ...begins SHRIEKING faster and faster like an ANXIETY ATTACK...

Much better.

Keep in mind that we are in a gymnasium that is huge and echo-y. All eyes on us, parents quickly start scrambling to retrieve their children. This part seems slow motion... are screaming and dropping to their knees (dramatic, but they ARE third graders), parents are trying to grab their belongings while covering their ears and motioning at their writhing children with their elbows, all are running out of the gym shooting looks like, "Why would those people pull the alarm? What's wrong with them?" The last guy out yells at us to call 911 and let them know it is not an emergency so that we will be in LESS trouble when security and the firetrucks show up.

Is this really happening? Why didn't I listen to the "no"!!!!!

I call 911. 911 calls the district's head of security. The security guy rolls in about ten minutes later. Fire crew shows up. We all trudge to the scene, wincing at the rapid-fire screams emitted from the gymnasium. The fire crew shuts down the sound system and within minutes we are told that we can go home.

On the way to the car Jake says, "Wow. Sorry about the whole alarm thing Mom. Hey, maybe I'd want to be a fire man. Their job seems cool."

Really? Really???

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Picture number P7040762. Our first offical meeting. It was in this picture I realized the little girl with the big hair-do was our daughter. I whooped and hollared like crazy. Then I sent the following email to our co-director...

"I FOUND HER (Agnoti)!!!!!!!!!!! SHE IS THE KIDDO THAT I HAVE HAD MY EYE ON TOO!!!!!! I am pretty sure she is the little girl in the last batch of pictures (Hope Kids 2008) in the yellow shirt with the big hair. The first time I saw her my stomach had butterflies (this was before our referral!!!). THANK YOU!!! Crystal and Clark"

Isn't she wonderful?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This is the email I sent our co-director the morning after missing her phone call... "I am hoping I did not imagine your phone call last night. I do not have a message on my machine this morning, which either means I deleted it, or that I was dreaming! If my memory serves correctly you said you had a question for us. Does it sound like, 'Would you like to adopt this wonderful little girl?' Lol!"

She wrote back... "We have a year old little girl. She is beautiful! Weak and a little malnourished. She had a beautiful head of hair but they had to shave it this week. She is weak, like I said but is healthy and will be just fine. She is beautiful--we all wanted to steal her!!! If you let me know today I will have them file tomorrow!"

Those were the most magical words we had ever heard. Of course we said yes, yes, yes, yes!!!


Near the end of June our co-director traveled to Ethiopia. She asked if anyone would consider a referral for a healthy child without seeing pictures or paperwork. It took Clark and I less than two minutes to decide that we would receive the child meant for us regardless of information. We likened it to a biological child that you do not get pictures or paperwork on--you get the child that is perfect for you.

We were so hopeful for the referral of our daughter.

On June 29th we missed a middle-of-the-night phone call from Ethiopia. We felt we might have missed our referral call. It was agony waiting for another contact...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Take Our Breath Away

The first time we saw Agnoti was before her referral to our family. On June 29th I spied a picture of her that another adoptive parent had taken when they traveled to their child. The moment I saw her I had a physiological reaction--my hands were sweaty, I felt tingly, my heartbeat sped up. I yelled for Clark to come quickly. He looked at her and said, "Are you crazy? We ARE NOT falling in love with a picture of someone else's baby." I promptly ignored his gentle warning, proceeding to email our adoption group with the following... "I was wondering about the sweetie-pie with the "wild do" in 712 & 713!"

Here is the first picture we ever saw of Agnoti.

Agnoti, you take our breath away....

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Day

Yesterday was an emotional, happy, relief and joy-filled whirlwind of a day! So many calls, emails, tears, and hugs. We are very thankful for our supportive family, friends and co-workers.

Clark bought cigars and handed them out to anyone that so much as looked sideways at him all day. He had perma-grin and kept telling others, "I am a daddy to the most wonderful little girl." I brought bagles, orange juice, and Ethiopian coffee to my staff. Our secretary posted Sylvie-Agnoti's pictures on her computer for passerby to see and hung posters announcing our good news. What a crazy day at work!

When we got home family and friends started showing up. We decided it was a party and called more friends. We were up late and it was a wonderful, festive evening.

Our hearts are soaring and so full of joy and possibility. Our first official day as Sylvie's parents was amazing!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Sylvie-Agnoti Teresa Tower!
What a beautiful day for our family...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Day is Done...

It is bedtime in Montana. The kids are hugged, kissed and tucked in.

In Addis the sun is rising. It is a new day. Agnoti's case is heard before the Ethiopian judges today, Thursday the 13th of November, 2008.

Is this our day? Will we hear those magical words, "You have a daughter. She is ready to come home."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This one looks easier...


2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 quarts milk, scaldedwhipped cream

In a saucepan over medium heat add all ingredients except for the milk. Beat thoroughly. Pour in milk slowly, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to thicken.
Pour into an ovenproof casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar if desired.

Recipe found on (submitted by CM)

National Indian Pudding Day

November 13th, Sylvie-Agnoti's court date, is also know as National Indian Pudding Day. I found a recipe for Indian Pudding that looks delicious...

Make it! We are going to.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Specs

Liam is sporting new glasses. Isn't he beautiful!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thich Nhat Hahn

Last June I posted about my calendar quotes from Thich Nhat Hahn. He often seems to speak to our adoption. This month's quote states, "Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind."

For the last few weeks Clark and I have made a pointed effort to smile when things are difficult. When something really trying happens we give each other a huge, goofy grin. It helps.
Right now, living in peace and joy is a priority.

This morning we received an email from our agency's director who is in Ethiopia right now. He says the judges have requested Agnoti's letter of approval from the Minestry of Women's Affairs by Thursday. He believes our adoption will be approved.

Six more days. Deep breath, muster up the patience and faith to continue waiting, smile, peace and joy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The Ministry of Women's Affairs still has not recommended Agnoti for adoption. The Ethiopian courts have given MOWA one week to hand in the paperwork or the judges will approve our adoption without their letter. Fantastic!!!

We are probably traveling the second week of December. We will most-likely have a court date of December 10th.

And more... Our co-director visited the orphanage yesterday. She said Agnoti is pulling herself up on things but not walking yet. She said Agnoti laughs and laughs and laughs. Our girl is happy.

What wonderful news to wake up to!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Our country experienced a beautiful thing tonight.

Welcome, Barack Obama. Hope abounds!

Geuna no

(not yet) It is possibile that the estimation of our court date was incorrect. The cases that went to court today did not include ours. Of the cases that did go to court, three passed which is so encouraging. One did not pass, due to paperwork issues. We really feel for this family.

So, we don't know. Hopefully we will have more to say soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Ethiopia is 6:00 a.m. Our court date could take place within a few hours. We are feeling very peaceful about tomorrow's phone call.

Clark and I have planned a lunch date for tomorrow. We will either be celebrating or coming up with a new set of plans for travel.

Please, wish us luck.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Before eating,

the children in S-A's orphanage say the following:

Thank you God for this day.
We love you.
We need you.
Be with us.
Protect us.
Bless our food.
Bless our thoughts.
And guide us in your way.
In Jesus' name we pray.

We have been practicing this together at home so it is familiar for S-A when she is home with us. When she is home with us...