"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."
-Anonymous

Monday, March 29, 2010

REFERRAL CALL!!!!!

OK...This post is LONG overdue! We are so excited to announce that we have received our referral call, and... it's a girl! She is three years old and is absolutely precious. We would love to post a picture and tell you her name, but we are not allowed to do so until after we "pass court" in Ethiopia.

Getting our referral call was similar to my labor and delivery experiences in the sense that it was not like I imagined. I had always assumed that I would be home alone (all the kids at school, hubby at work) and I would get a call from our agency director. I imagined driving to my husband's office and anxiously talking on the phone to the director of our agency as we opened up an email with our little one's picture...We would both look fabulous and someone would take a picture of us during the "big reveal." Well, our director did call me, but everyone was home! School was starting late that day so all three kids were home. My husband even had the day off from work! My heart jumped when the phone rang and I saw that the area code was from our agency in KY. I talked to our director, gathered a little info from her and WAITED until the kids went to school so that my husband and I could have our "moment." We sat down and opened an email from our director. In front of us was a giant picture of the cutest little girl! She is just so sweet! She has beautiful eyes and the cutest little lips on the planet. We both smiled and looked at each other like...ok...this is it...wow...I think it is safe to say that we are overjoyed with our referral and we can't wait to see more pictures of her and get some updates from our agency.

SO...one day we get a referral, and the next day we learn that the rules have changed a bit with Ethiopian adoptions. We were told that we might be needing to travel to Ethiopia twice to complete the adoption. As huge as this news was, we were pretty darn calm. It was such a blessing that we received our referral before we got the news of the changes. After looking at her sweet little face, we would travel ten times to bring her home! Since learning about the changes in the process, we also learned that we may be able to travel one time since our case will be filed before April 9th... The adoption process will still take a few months to complete. Now the really hard waiting begins!

So, for those of you that have adopted, isn't it crazy how you can literally fall in love with a person through a photo? It is amazing to just sit and look at her in the pictures we have....crazy to think that, as we go about our days, she is half way around the world going about her day. Every time I look at the "current time in Ethiopia" clock on my blog, I imagine what she is doing. Is she sleeping now? Has she been playing with the other little ones? Did she nap today? Is she feeling alright and getting enough hugs? It is crazy!!!

We want to thank everyone who has stepped up to help make this adoption journey a reality. Thank you so much to the wonderful friends of ours who have been listening to us talk about adoption for years. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to help us with our fundraising efforts...the kindness and support that you have shown has been incredible. Thanks to those of you who have ordered t-shirts, bought necklaces, come to my gold party, made a donation to us or who have been praying for us. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives. When we are done raising funds for our adoption, we look forward to "paying it forward" and doing the same thing for others that are adopting. We continue to be amazed at the generosity of those around us. Just the other night, we were out for dinner with a friend. He was so kind and told us that he thought what we are doing is "noble." We want to emphasize that WE are going to be blessed as much as our little girl, but we thanked him for his kindness...THEN, he offered us a his airline miles for a round-trip plane ticket to Ethiopia! AMAZING! We continue to be amazed at the wonderful ways adoption has touched our lives - and our little girl isn't even home yet! Thank you so much Mr. Z... we appreciate your kindness so very much!

You may have noticed that I changed our blog music to celebrate our referral (even though I know many of you are like me and you mute the sound :)). I love the song by Michael Buble' - "I Just Haven't Met You Yet." The words are so sweet and fitting for us right now..."just haven't met you yet...it'll all turn out...might have to wait, I'll never give up...wherever you are, whenever it's right..." and my favorite, "your love is gonna change me..."

Thanks for checking in on us. I promise to have tons more to write about now that we are ON OUR WAY TO ETHIOPIA!!!!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Africa Cookie Cutter



I have so much that I could write about today...namely, all of the changes going on with the travel requirements involved with Ethiopian adoption. But, I don't feel like getting into it right now. I have a wonderful sense of calm about the changes. I am hopeful that it will be a blessing in the long run...so, instead of writing about that, I thought I would write about something that I just love! Cookies!


I thought it would be fun to have a cookie cutter shaped like Africa. I wanted to use it to make cookies for my gold party and, just for fun, while we wait for our little one to come home. I also thought we might want to make cookies every year to celebrate "gotcha day!"

I ended up finding a copper cookie cutter online at Coppergifts.com - you can find it here.



My awesome friend Julie helped me make a ton of Africa cookies for my gold party fundraiser!



They turned out so cute! I thought is would be fun to wrap some up for my friends to take home to their kids. Of course, I put a heart on the cookies to represent where Ethiopia is. What a fun (and delicious) social studies lesson for the kiddos!


Yesterday we had something wonderful to celebrate, so I decided to use the cookie cutter to embellish our "celebration cake." I just used mini chocolate chips to decorate the top of the cake.




Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Have A Winner!!!


Today was a beautiful day!!! It was actually warm outside. We spent the day skiing in Michigan. Today was also the last day of our "big iPod giveaway." We came home and picked one lucky winner from all of the entries. Thanks so much to all of you who helped out by buying tickets!
And the lucky winner is... LEAH E.! Yeah!!! I'll call you tomorrow to find out exactly where to send your prize. Thanks again for participating!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Paypal Police

OK...The Paypal police have decided that we can not use them to collect "donations" for iPod "entries" any more... It was just a matter of time. Kari told me that it would happen... :)

Since we are almost done with our raffle time frame, we are going to have our drawing on Sunday, March 7th. The big winner will be notified by Monday the 8th. Good luck to all of you who have entries! If you desperately want to get your name in the drawing before Sunday, you can email me for more information! Thanks!

Gold Party!


Looking for a great fundraiser and great time all in one? Host a Gold Party! I was lucky enough to celebrate our upcoming adoption with tons of family and friends last night. It was an amazing gathering of wonderful friends and super supportive people who are also a ton of fun to be around! I am pretty sure that a good time was had by all. Notice our cute t-shirts??? It was so much fun to wear them!

I found the jewelers online at Aqua Owl Gold. They were wonderful. They set up shop in our dining room, brought plenty of cash, and paid my guests cash on the spot for their old, unwanted gold. My friends brought in all types of old gold -many items came from old boyfriends - even dental gold was sold!!! The jeweler made a donation to our adoption fund as well.



The big "winner" of the night is my friend who told me that she would come to the party, but she "didn't have any gold to sell..." Well, look at what she got??? Yes...that is a lot of cash...over $500 for an old, unwanted bracelet!



These two cuties are former students of mine! Keep in mind I worked with older students (middle school)...don't do the math...anyway, it was so nice to see them again. They are all grown up and able to have a cocktail - notice the gold rimmed martinis?...so fun. These are two of the kindest women on the planet!




And here is one of the cutest adoption inspirations around. This little sweetie is celebrating her three year "gotcha day" anniversary this week. She is absolutely precious and was a huge hit at the party. How about the cute Africa cookies we had? Aren't they great???





These are three of the nicest middle school girls around. They are sporting some super cool adoption t-shirts as well...you can get them here.



Here are more sweet ladies who came to the party to support our adoption and get a little cash for gold...It was so fun to watch people turn in their gold and get more money than they expected!



Grandmas were here as well. They were very helpful and looked great in their new Suubi necklaces...



More beautiful guests wearing their new Suubi necklaces. It was so fun to meet a few new people at the party!



I love it when I get a chance to introduce two people who I know need to meet! I have been telling these two about each other for so long! These two ladies have a heart for adoption and had plenty to chat about :)


I am so incredibly lucky to be blessed with such an amazing group of friends and family members. Thanks to you all for coming out and supporting our adoption! The party was exactly what I hoped it would be - tons of fun, good food and fellowship and a little $$$ along the way to help us with our travel costs. By the way, the party raised enough money for at least one plane ticket to Africa!!! Woo Hooo!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Ethiopian Sprite



This weekend we visited an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time. We were in Madison, WI for a dance competition and were excited to learn that there are TWO Ethiopian restaurants there... Since the dance competition was held on State Street (a very fun place to visit), we decided to try the Buraka restaurant which is also located on State Street. The restaurant lies underneath the street. The entrance is only a door at the top of a staircase which descends into the restaurant...when you are inside the restaurant, you would never believe that there is a busy walkway above you.

OK...Let me start by saying that the girls DO NOT usually look so trampy, but we were in the middle of a dance competition, so they are sporting a ton of make up and false eyelashes...try to overlook that please :) They were NOT very daring when it came to eating Ethiopian food, but thought it was fun to try some type of interesting soda that had grapefruit juice in it.

The food was great (to those of us who actually tried it). We had dorowot, a great chicken peanut stew (unique to this restaurant, I think) and a couple of appetizers. The fried plantains were good and came with a really spicy sauce. The dorowot was really good...not too spicy at all.

The restaurant also had a nice variety of Ethiopian beer, coffee, and tea. We decided to sample the beer... The injera (a flat, round piece of spongy sourdough bread)...well, it must be an acquired taste...We haven't quite acquired it yet. We all tried it though and it was fun to bring some home for the grandparents to try...

All in all, our first visit to an Ethiopian restaurant was a lot of fun. We enjoyed sampling a few things and visiting Buraka. Oh, I forgot to mention...our youngest said he really "likes Ethiopian Sprite."

And after we left our Ethiopian dinner...this is what my husband decided to do for the kids - get them a slice of New York style pizza!