Friday, March 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Etienne: "Mommy, thanks for letting me have a Dude's Party."


Etienne had three of his good guy buddies over for a day filled with superheroes, snacking and swashbuckling... Translation a "Dude's Party"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tax Credit Blessing

Recently posted...

Adoption Tax Credit Update

Here is an update from one of the adoption websites:

"It appears that the tax credit has been extended for one more year (through the end of 2011), raised to $13,170, and made refundable. That last bit means people will no longer have to spread it across multiple years, they will be able to take it all at once, no matter what they’ve paid in.

If you want to look up the exact wording, view the new Health Care Reform bill text listed and go to section 10909. EXPANSION OF ADOPTION CREDIT AND ADOPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Faces

With just under 2 months until we've officially been home one year from Ethiopia with Charlotte, I have realized just how many photos we have and how it would be an injustice to not share them. Therefore, I will be composing a random series of photographs from our travels to showcase the beauty of Ethiopia. All pictures were taken by our dear friend, Tony Skarlatos, who ventured with us on our journey.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family

When we first came home with Charlotte, I noticed the glances. We are a family of five and one of us looks different than the rest of us; we don't fit the traditionally defined image of a family, yet we personify the modern picture of a trans-racial family. I've read numerous articles on the topic of interracial families and many point out our differences, but rarely note the similarities we all share.  I understand we are each individual in our own respect, but at the same time can it not be said that in our uniqueness we are all still human beings sharing the same basic needs and desires. Maybe I could be called naive in my outlook, but I can't help but feel that to separate ourselves by focusing on that which is different leads to an unspoken division.

If people are staring, I no longer notice, not because I try to avert my attention but because I don't realize it. I am Mom to three children that I love equally. I am challenged in raising my babies not due to their skin color or cultural background, but because of the responsibility I have to them in providing on all levels within my capacity. With that said, I do acknowledge that each of my kids are individual and require respective consideration. I am aware that unlike Sophia and Etienne, Charlotte's life did not begin with AJ and me. She will have moments of reflection either realized or subconscious and although we weren't with her in these moments, we will have to help her comprehend these thoughts and feelings. As a family, we are dedicated to each other, loving, supportive, and above all brought together under the grace of God to showcase His limitless kingdom. We may appear different on the outside but on the inside we are one.

Am I wishful in assuming that love transcends color? I don't look at my daughter and see that she is black and that I am white, I see her. I am her mommy regardless of my complexion. Do I hope to greatly to believe that God had her life begin in Ethiopia without me to prepare for His ultimate plan in her? I have become an optimist over the years and as my faith has grown so has my belief that everything serves a divine purpose. AJ and I have experienced a lot of life (enough to script ten plus years on any give soap opera) and in these life episodes we became who we needed to be. Adjustment and acceptance is the course of life no matter who you are and where you come from. As a facet of this life, parenting is a challenge with new experiences daily. AJ and I are raising Sophia, Etienne and Charlotte to be proud of the person that they are and to be thankful for the family that God has created for them.

Bottom line, I don't see a difference, trans-racial or traditional... We're just a family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Changes in Ethiopia

We recently received notice from our adoption agency stating that Ethiopia now requires prospective adoptive parents to travel to Ethiopia twice. Once for their scheduled court date and then again for the Embassy visa appointment and to bring children home to the United States. This means additional costs to adoptive families and time away, but it also means that we get to see our children earlier.

When AJ and I first heard the news, our initial reaction was one of excitement and happiness. Thinking back to the the duration between receiving our referral for Charlotte and our court date, we recall how extremely difficult that time was for us. Our faith carried us through but our impatience and concern for our daughter, half a world away, almost paralyzed me. I felt that if I could have only held her and been able to know that she was okay it may have been more tolerable. The thought of being able to go earlier, attend our court date and meet our son brings me a sense of peace. I will be able to hold him, to see where he sleeps, feed him, sing to him and let him know that we are his Mommy and Daddy. I anticipate that it will be nearly impossible to leave him after this time, having to wait approximately three to six weeks to return. However, I also want to believe that I will leave with a sense of comfort in knowing where he is and who is caring for him. I feel like this change in procedure is a blessing in disguise.

One Month Waiting

We have officially been waiting one month for the referral for our little guy. This means so much, yet so little. The first step and most extensive step considering the paperwork involved is complete and for the past month I have done little in terms of adoption related tasks. On the other hand, with one month down, we still have approximately seven to eight months to go. Having been through the process once before I know that it seems like a long time to wait, but the reality is that he will be here before we know it. In the mean time, my short-term goal is to fully potty train our puppy and Miss Charlotte. This challenge, in and of itself, will be quite the distraction...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First Tooth

Our nights consist of various interruptions... from the warning sound of the potty alarm to the whine of our 8 week old puppy, AJ and I have become used to sleeplessness. At 4:15 AM Sophia's alarm began beeping, we rushed her to the restroom, tucked her back into bed and began to settle back into bed ourselves when I was shocked back to unrest. Sophia stood next to our bed proudly announcing that her tooth had fallen out! Her smile was beyond words and her excitement jolted us out of our exhaustion. Our sweet Sophia had lost her first tooth; the tooth that took shape when she was an infant and now leads way to an adult replacement. She is growing up so fast and I am struggling to keep pace, yet inspired by her walk. I am the proud mama of my little girl who is no longer so little, but who will always be my baby.

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