Thursday, July 31, 2008

BU Jealappy-ness

Oh, all you BUers! I am so Jealappy!

Can't think about it too much, because I know I will be missing out on some great times! But I am quite satisfied to hang out with my mom, have a yard sale, do some schoolwork, and dry-run my packing for the Big Trip. Well, mostly satisfied:)

Please post lots of pictures and stories and think of all of us who can't be there! And be sure to set the date/local for BU '09 so that Sparrow, Abigail and I can plan on being there!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reason #18- Sisters, Revisited

Abigail has two identical pink poodle Webkinz. Except one had the seam on it's belly split open. So we asked Doctor John's mom, Elaine, if she could transform into a stuffed animal veterinarian and perform some surgery on the poor puppy, which she agreed to do.

Abigail: When my pink poodle gets fixed, I will have two pink poodles!

Me: Or, one for you and one for your sister!

Abigail: (pause) Um, well she can have that broken one.

All of the adults in the room broke into hysterical giggles. Oh, how true it is! Older sisters always have it figured out, and always know how to work it to their advantage (this coming from the younger sister.)

But there is just something so special about having a sister. Something that can't be put into words, but is known, is felt, is celebrated by everyone who has had a sister.

And what a gift for Abigail.

Sisters: Grace and Faith, 2006

(How do you like my sunburn?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Older Baby/Toddler Adoption

I just read a really good post over at Our Journey Together about older baby/toddler adoption. This is full of good, practical, been-there-done-that advice- just what I need!

If you will be adopting an older baby or toddler, be sure to go check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dream-Related Freak Out

I had this dream that my court date was this Tuesday, not next Tuesday. I was kind of freaked out but strangely calm at the same time.

This definitely reinforced my decision to commit to doing "things" but not working on anything of importance on August 5. I am off work, and I hope to be far enough ahead in my school work to be able to take the whole day off from that as well.

Good tasks for the court date include:
~ folding socks
~ cleaning the litter box
~ dropping off items at Goodwill
~ walking Abigail to and from summer camp
~ vacuuming out the inside and washing the outside of my car

Why these tasks? Mainly, they are time consuming but don't have to be done perfectly. They are things that will occupy my hands without necessarily occupying my mind.

Any other ideas for court-date activities?

(And for the curious, like my sister, I like to schedule my posts to publish at the same time each day, unless it is an urgent/publish immediately thing. It is presently 12:32am on Monday morning and I am supposed to be finishing a paper on Emotional Intelligence, but I am blogging instead. Rather than having people know the insane frequency with which I blog when I should be working/sleeping/doing schoolwork, I just set them all to publish at 5am.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

His Eye is on the Sparrow

And I know Natalie's watching me:) Well, that makes it sound kind of creepy. She's not "watching" me so much as thinking of me. And sending me the perfect shirt to wear on August 5!

Thank you so much Natalie!

It's funny- I can't think of Sparrow without thinking of Natalie. She has been an inspiration and wonderful example in patience. And now her little babes are sleeping next to Sparrow each night... Our kids are playing together! (And I have the pictures to prove it!)

I hope that we can travel together as we already know that Sparrow and little B. Joshua and Y. Ruth are BFFs and I have a sinking suspicion that her Caleb and Hannah would quickly become BFFs with Abigail:) Caleb knows all about losing teeth (a present fascination of Abigail's) and Hannah is a dancer ('nuff said on that topic:)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Box for Sparrow

Emily was so kind as to send this special box for Sparrow along with my mom:) I think Gabri and Addy did a great job helping mommy decorate this special package that was full of clothes, shoes, sippy cups, and all other sorts of goodies! Let me tell ya, Sparrow is gonna be one well-dressed little girl because Gabri and Addy are always looking cute:)

Thanks Emily! What a blessing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

14 Days

It is a mere 14 days until my court date!

I am trying to remain calm and not get my hopes up- I know that there is a possibility I won't pass court on the first try. But I am just so thrilled to even have a court date, that I can't help but be excited!

My mom is flying in tomorrow to spend 2 weeks with us, so she will be here for my court date. Yea! I get the feeling that her trip here will involve lots of shopping, packing, and planning... and hopefully some good eats!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Making Progress: Travel Tips Spreadsheet

So, here is my new Travel Tips spreadsheet. (Not sure what this is? Read about my plan here.)

Please remember that it is a work in progress! I will add more info when school calms (hopefully this weekend). Until then, please keep leaving all those great links! I'd love to hear any other suggestions you may have, as well!

Again, if you do have some good tips/advice, feel free to email me or leave a comment. I have set up a new blog (Been There, Done That) so that those little bits of advice you have that haven't made it onto a blog, can indeed make it onto a blog, and into the Travel Tips spreadsheet!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Help Wanted: Travel Tips

My sister had a good suggestion, and I am going to try to do my best to design the thing that she suggested... Stick with me!

Many of you have traveled... to Ethiopia, to pick up a child, or to a undeveloped nation. You all know more about these subjects than I do... more than most adoptive parents do. I will tell you that honestly, I have never traveled outside the US and Canada, and I have never been anywhere like Ethiopia in my travels.

But you have! You also have had the experience of meeting and beginning the bonding process in a foreign country. You've traveled with children of all ages, in extended family groups, and by yourself. You've stayed at fancy hotels and small inns far off the beaten path.

You know things.... you know things that I want to know. You know things that lots of adoptive parents want to know, to help them prepare for traveling to Ethiopia. Many of you have posted about them on your own blogs. This information, tricks, and tips is invaluable... but only if the adoptive parent can locate it!

I would like to create some kind of central registry for travel hints and tips. I imagine it will be something like the other list I made, except specific to travel. I am thinking it would include pages like "Airlines, Airfare, and Travel Agencies," "Where to Stay," "Where to Eat," "What to Do," "Avoiding Illness and other Health Concerns" (travel shots/meds included here), "Hints, Tips, and Tricks," "Packing List" and maybe some other categories. On each of these pages, I would link to posts that you have written about that category (if you wrote about meds and your guest house in the same post, it could be linked under both categories) and maybe include a column for "key words" so that a brief glance could tell the viewer what to expect in the post. Even if you aren't with Gladney, you probably have a lot of good advice about many of these categories, and I would love to hear it!

What do you think? Can you help me out? I would go and do the "legwork" for this myself, except that I am a tad bit busy right now trying to finish school before my court date (as I am fairly certian my brain will instantly turn to mush once I have to plan my travel:) So, please leave a comment linking to some of your favorite posts (from your own blog or a favorite blogger's blog) that can help us out!

If you would rather email me, feel free (address in sidebar on right) or just leave a comment with the link. I will put something together soon, and see if we can't make a great resource for those who are yet to travel (yes, like ME!)

Friday, July 18, 2008


I wanted to thank everyone for the congratulations and well-wishes. What an eventful week this has been- from waiting for a referral to having a court date!

Now, more than ever before, my heart aches for the people of Ethiopia. There are many who are forced to relinquish their child because they have no way of providing them with food. I could never imagine that situation happening in America, and yet, it's common in Ethiopia.

I would still like to reach my goal of $300 for food aid in Ethiopia. If you have not yet, could you consider donating? Every dollar helps meet that goal! Feel free to leave more comments on that post, too:)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Court Date!

Look up into the right corner of my right sidebar.

See that new ticker? Yes, that would be counting down the days until...

my court date!

Praising God!

Belly Button

Grace: John, she is just so tiny! Like, tiny! I just can't even remember Abigail being that little!

John: You know, I think Sparrow is really going to become very familiar with Abigail's... belly button.

And probably with my knee, from my best calculations:)

Abigail's big-girl sitter has a little boy who is just a little younger than Sparrow. He is about 20 pounds and 30" tall, making him a bit bigger than my girl. I held him the other day, and was amazed at how small he felt in my arms (but then, anything feels small in my arms compared to Abigail!) I am thankful to his mommy who is telling me all of his clothing, diaper, and shoe sizes to help me prepare!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Too Much Happiness!

I am just so filled with happiness that I could burst!

First, both Jennifer and Jody and Meredith and Ryan got their referrals on the same day as me last week.

Then a bunch of families (10!) passed court yesterday.

Now, my dear friend Jessica has passed court and will be traveling soon! YEA!


Q: So now what?

A: Now we wait.

Q: Wait? Didn't we just wait almost 6 months?

A: Yes, but now we are waiting for a court date.

Q: What do you mean?

A: Well, now that I have offically accepted Sparrow's referral, my dossier and her paperwork will be submitted to the Ethiopian court. They will notify my agency of the date that they will review my case. In the mean time, the court will request that the Ministry of Women's Affairs review my documents and Sparrows documents and they will issue an opinion about the adoption (or request more information.) At the court date, the judge will review my documents, Sparrow's documents, and MOWA's opinion. Sparrow's birth mom will also be able to legally relinquish on that day.

If everything comes together, the adoption can be granted on that day. However, as you can see, there are a lot of people involved. There can be delays in this process due to missing paperwork, papers that are filled out wrong, individuals being unavailable or any other number of reasons. The judge or MOWA may also request more information to provide clarity about a part of the case or paperwork. But, once everything is all put together, the judge can grant the adoption.

Once the judge grant the adoption, I will be notified by my agency that I "passed court." Then, in about 2-3 weeks, I will be traveling to Ethiopia to meet Sparrow, collect her visa and passport, and bring her home!

Q: Well, that doesn't sound too bad. How long will it take?

A: That's hard to say. The courts in Ethiopia close for the rainy season from August 8- September 29. They cannot process court cases during that time. If my case is processed before courts close, then I may be traveling in August or September. Otherwise, I will have to wait for a court date when courts re-open. Then, once I pass court, I would travel- perhaps in October or November. Of course, there could be delays in the court process, so there is no way of knowing for sure what will happen.

Q: So how are you hanging in there with more waiting and such uncertainty of when you will get your girl?

A: Having just started the wait over, my patience has been refreshed. I hope and pray for good news. I know that updates from Gladney and pictures from traveling families will make this part of the wait both easier and more difficult. But for now, I'm doing well, and resting in the arms of my Father.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Congrats to the families who have passed court! 10 families in one day- YOWSA!

I'm hoping that some of these families will be able hug and love on my little Sparrow!

A trip to the store.

I went to W*lmart on Saturday night.

Holy cow, I didn't realize how unprepared I am for a toddler! I need a booster seat for the kitchen table, bottles and sippy cups, a bed rail. Diapers, wipes, lotions and potions. Toys and books meant for a toddler, not a 5 year old. Headbands and hair clips and hats. Maybe even tights and real clothes.

And shoes! A girl needs shoes! Abigail and I both love to have a wide selection of shoes! But how do I know what size shoes she wears?

She seems so tiny, so baby-like in her photos, that it is difficult to know how to prepare for my Sparrow. I think instillation of the gate at the top of the stairs, outlet covers, and a few latches on cabinets is a good place to start. Much past that... well, it will come:)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Abigail's Big Surprise!

Telling Abigail about her new sister on Friday night...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"The Call"

I guess I always thought I would be surprised by "The Call." I expected that it would come out of nowhere, out of the blue, like the first buds of spring. That's not at all what happened.

I was traveling off my unit to take my patient for some tests. I needed to stay with her because there was a fairly good potential for her to go down the tubes ("crumping" if they do it slow, "crashing" if they do it fast.) It had been a horrible, rushed day so far, and when I left my unit at 1pm to take her to tests, I still had not eaten or gone to the bathroom after 6 hours at work (with 6 and a half to go.)

The tests took forever and a day, or at least they felt like it. I had my cell phone with me, as I always do at work, and I could see that I had missed a call from "No Name" but I assumed it was the car donation service I had contacted about my donating my old car.

When I took my patient to her next test, she stopped puking and fell asleep. I was hanging out (I never know what to do in those situations... me, my patient, and a technician in a dark room together...) when the tech mentioned that I was free to use the computer. I logged on and accessed my patients charts, did some of my charting, checked my new physician orders, and whatnot. Since I had nothing else work-related to do, I hopped into my Yahoo account.

Immediately I saw that I had received tons of emails from the gladney_africa yahoo group, all of them expressing excitement. I quickly ascertained that the excitement was over the contents of a Gladney email, and I scrolled down to read said email. I was thrilled to hear the good news that progress was made with the court delays, and Gladney would resume issuing referrals starting today (Friday).

That's when I put 2 and 2 together. My missed call from "No Name." Yep, I was betting that was Jessica!

My hands started trembling and my stomach was in my mouth. I was internally freaking out... "they are trying to call me to give me my referral, and I am stuck in the pit of doom with my crazy lady and the never-ending tests!" Outwardly, I casually asked the tech how the test was going, and if there was anything I could to to help. That's called "Playing it cool."

I shot of some emails, posted to my blog, and hit "refresh" on every email and blog subscription I have. Finally, the tech was done and indicated that she would ask the patient transporters to come and take me and my patient back to my unit. Okay, fine. It was still only 1:30 in Texas... plenty of time, right? Just play it cool.

15 minutes later I tried maneuvering the honking-big bed that contained my vomiting patient out of the tiny exam room and into the hall. Transport was not there, she had puked and pooped everywhere, and I had a referral to get! Thankfully, my charge nurse came and helped me get my patient back to the unit. On the walk back, I informed my charge nurse of the likelihood of getting my referral, and she indicated that she would do everything she could to help me get that call as soon as possible. Talk about a lady who played it cool!

Unfortunately, when I got back to the unit, it was time to discharge one of my other patients to another facility. I had been gone for almost 2 hours, and nothing was ready. I had to clean her up (she had wet herself), get her paperwork ready, and call report to the other facility. Of course, I was running around like an idiot, unable to concentrate on anything!

During that time, I checked my voicemail, and it was indeed Jessica that had called me. I shot her an email letting her know I was at work and tied up with a patient situation, but that I would love to talk to her... (hint, hint.)

Once I discharged my patient, it was time to do another round of assessments on my 2 remaining patients (I work in a ICU step-down/step-up unit, so my patients are not on ventilators, but they are the people who are crumping or just came off a ventilator...) I hadn't checked on one of my patients in 3 hours because I was traveling with the other, so I had to see him first. He was... needy. But when I told him why I was grinning from ear to ear, he told me to get out of his room and take my call:) He's officially my favorite patient ever!

In the mean time, the test lady had pooped again (I am totally prepared for giardia, by the way.) So I had to clean her up. Whilst doing that, I was paged for a call. Internal or external call, I asked. Oh, internal, they said. I rushed to the phone, hoping it would be the doc I had paged, and hoping he would give me an order for meds to make my lady stop puking.

It was Jessica.

"Hi Grace, I have some really good news for you!" she said in her sweet voice.

"Um, and I would really love to hear that good news, but I am kind of tied up at the moment" I replied in my warbling voice.

We made arrangements so that I could call her back... but right before we hung up, she dropped the bomb that she did have to leave a little bit early today. WHAT??? How long did I have to get back to her? Jessica assured me that if she did not hear from me, she would call before she left.

Time seemed to change, and suddenly, tasks that should only take a moment seemed to be taking hours. I went back to clean up my pooper, and managed to get my assessments and vitals done and my medications passed. I was sure hours had gone by. I was sure Jessica would be gone for the weekend by the time I got to a phone. I felt sick to my stomach.

I grabbed my charts and headed to the front desk. That was the only place I knew of that had a long-distance phone and a computer with Internet, so I was about to meet my Sparrow with the whole world (or what felt like it) looking over my shoulder. At that point, any way of meeting her sounded perfect.

I dialed Jessica's number and logged into the computer while it rang. Before I even finished logging in, Jessica picked up.

"Grace, it is so good to finally give you this referral! You have no idea how happy I am to do this!"

"It must be like when I tell my patients that their test results came back normal and they don't have cancer or something!"

Okay, maybe that was a bad analogy.

Multiple interruptions later (seriously, doctors and nurses are nosey!) I had gone over everything with Jessica. In the mean time, John had run across the hospital to be with me, and was busy quickly plotting out growth charts and whatnot, (not to mention paging the pediatrician to get to my unit STAT!)

The memory is both vivid and faint, and I remember telling Jessica "This is not at all what I expected- this isn't how I expected to feel, or what I expected this process to be like." Really, I think that is true about parenting, and life in general. It never is what we expect. More often than not, God blows our expectations right out of the water. I can't imagine a more perfect way to meet my Sparrow.

Of course, I totally forgot to hand out the "It's A Girl!" gum cigars my mom had sent me:)

Saturday, July 12, 2008


"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. "
Luke 12:6-7

I am so thrilled to meet my Sparrow today!
She is 15 months old and has 6 teeth, but she is a tiny thing! Very petite!

Psalm 84:3
"Even the sparrow has found a home..."

Friday, July 11, 2008


R is for Referral!Details to come!


Keep your pants on! I did not get a referral:)
But we did see some movement with the present delays... so a referral could be coming soon!
Praise and thanks be to God!
Psalm 136
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever...

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I don't know much.... (*Edited for Content*)

but I know I'm happy! And hopeful! Keep those prayers coming!

(That may be all I need to know!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Week 25

Motivated not so much by prepping for Sparrow but more by good deals and an upcoming visit from Moriah and her girls, I have made some strides in adoption preping.
First, I got a carseat. One of those that is supposed to go from 0-8 years. Rear facing, forward facing, booster.... I will probably change her car seat to an actual booster when the time comes, but for now I think Sparrow will have a safe way to travel, whether she is rear facing or forward facing (so hard to buy when you just don't know!)

Next, I got a gate. I have a one set of stairs in my apartment, but they are at such a horrible location. I have known that I need to install a gate, and I was holding off since the stairwell is wide and gates that expand past a standard doorway size are so expensive! Unless you buy them new off craigslist for just a fraction of the price! So, now it's just a matter of installing it before Charis gets here!

Finally.... I bought a car! Easily fits 2 (and maybe even 3:) car seats!

In an email last afternoon, Gladney relayed some new info about the present delays. Things are looking brighter, and hopefully those glimmers of hope will turn into a sparkling sky full of hopes fulfilled!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I had 2 big adventures in the past few days. Check them out here and here (I have pictures!).

Thanks to all who have commented and donated. Please keep it up!

Prayer Time!

Today is group prayer day; we will pray today as we have each Tuesday since the delays began. Please join us!

When: Today, July 8, 7:30-8:00 pm EST

Where: A quiet place, in your home, with friends, alone, anywhere!

How: Please pray as you are lead.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Matthew 6:9-13

Monday, July 7, 2008


It's NOT...

The Chrysler 300.

It's NOT...

The movie 300.

It IS...

Post number 300!

That's right, folks! This is my 300th post on this blog! Can you believe it? Neither can I:) I always knew I liked to talk a lot- I didn't know I liked to talk this much!

In honor of my 300th post, I would like to do 2 special things.

First, I would like to get 100 comments. Seem impossible? It's not. (You are allowed multiple comments:) Talk about your adoption journey. Tell me something really great that has happened to you today. De-lurk and just introduce yourself with a little howdy! I read every comment, and there is nothing I like more than knowing I made someone think, encouraged them a bit, or just made them smile. (And come on, ladies, which of you didn't smile when you saw the abs in that 300 picture up there? Nice:)

Second, I would like to do something about the present crisis in Ethiopia. People are starving. Children are starving. Babies, too feble to cry, are lying listlessly in their mother's laps, unable to find the energy to even open their eyes.

I feel horrible about this, but so often, I feel like there is nothing I can do. My budget is tight right now, saving for the adoption, and what could my few dollars do?

I think a lot of us feel that way. Maybe you can only give a dollar or two. So you just don't give. But I think that if we pooled all of our dollars together, we could easily gather $300 to donate to humanitarian relief. That is my goal: $300 dollars to feed the children of Ethiopia, raised out of the kindness of my readers' hearts. Will you help me?

The money raised from donations will be sent to WorldVision. I chose World Vision because they are the World Food Program's largest distributor and have the infrastructure already in place to provide food to the hungry as quickly as possible. They have agreed to InterAction's standards, and 86% of our contribution will go directly to food aid. They are also a Christian organization that shares my values. They also offer child sponsorship, and in addition to emergency food aid, they are working in Ethiopia to promote a better future for children and their families.

Readers, you are the best, and you are a huge part of what drives me to continue blogging. I know that together we can do something to help these starving children. Please celebrate this blog, this 300th post, by donating.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Something Big!

Something big coming on Monday!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mustard Seed Faith

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." Luke 17:6

Valarie left me a comment reminding me that "God does not respond to our needs and our wants. He responds to our faith." How true. In all of these delays, I have often commented that I am "keeping faith" but I have never really stopped to think about what that means. Have you?

It means that if I pray that no evil force will prevent me from being united with my daughter, and I truly believe in God's ability to thwart any evil plans, then it has been accomplished. It means that if I pray that Sparrow be protected and cradled in the hands of the Almighty and I truly believe that God is her loving Father, then I can know she is resting in his arms. It means that if I pray that that God's perfect timing is the timeline guiding this adoption, and I truly believe that He created time and hold my future, and Sparrow's future, in his hands, then I can stop looking at every clock and every calender, and start looking at the heavenly timeline.

So, maybe this isn't a matter of me praying more, so much as it is a matter of having more faith. I don't want mustard-seed faith, I don't want apple-seed faith, I want mango-seed faith!

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Like sparklers on the 4th of July, I am seeing glimmers of hope.
Please pray that this seed of hope grows and blooms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Week 24

Sometime, this wait can be quite weighty. It can weigh on me, and pull me down.
In those times, I am so privileged to have this community, who is fulfilling the Paul's instructions to "carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pray Today!

Yesterday marked one month of delays. I believe that rather than resignation, we need to press harder in our prayer time!

When: Today, July 1, 7:30-8:00 pm EST

Where: A quiet place, in your home, with friends, alone, anywhere!

How: Please pray for all the families and children involved, from those waiting on a successful court date to those who are still paper-chasing. It's hard. Please also pray for the money and resources that traveling families normally bring into the Ethiopian economy to be supernaturally replaced so that the native Ethiopians who depend on this income do not suffer due to these delays.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Our Baby

Abigail: Momma, is Lily our baby?

Me: Yes, I guess she is.

Abigail: Then what is my sister?

Me: Well, she is my baby.

Abigail: Then what am I?

Me: You are my big helper reading girl.

Abigail. Oh, I am very important then.

Me: Absolutely.