Thursday, April 26, 2007

The African Children's Choir

I just have to post this. If you didn't see American Idol "Gives Back" on Wednesday night, you have to at least watch this part! I have to give them props. The show was amazing. It really gave their 30 million audience a small glimpse into what's really happening on the other side of the world. Several things stood out to me: One, Ryan said that it cost $2 US for a pack of malaria pills that would heal 5 children! That is unbelievable. Also a small amount, $30 I believe, would pay for a HIV+ child's ART drugs.

I just sat and watched this video and sobbed. Josh Groban's voice is pretty ridiculous enough, but watching those little toothy grinned kids just yanked at my heart strings. You'll see.

I am totally buying their CDs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bye-bye* UPDATED

It's time for a less serious, more random post.

Reading about my friend Jesse's phone returning made me want to relay this story.

MY magenta Razr died a slow, sad death on Monday morning around 11 am. She (the phone) was in the pocket of my tan pants (which happen to have really small pockets). I went to the restroom before our staff meeting and while using my foot to flush the toilet, which I often do, my Razr slipped out of my pocket and bounced right into the swirling rapids. With my razor sharp skills, I grabbed the phone before it was taken to the sewers, took it over to the sink, took it apart and began to dry it off. At first the screen was still on, but then it went off. About five minutes later it started making fizzing noises along with a slight burning smell. At this point, I realized that my beautiful Razr days were over. All because I don't use my hand to flush the toilet in public restrooms.

What new phone will I be getting? The closest thing to free. We'll see tomorrow when I investigate my options.

UPDATED: I can't believe I'm writing this. I went to T-Mobile today, and they weren't open yet. So I sat in my car, got the envelope with all my phone parts in it, and thought I'd mess with it myself. When I put it back together, it worked!!!! Completely. So, I drove away. Weird!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"My child is an honor student"

Yes, my title for this post is a joke, I am not going that far to brag about my child just yet. Not planning to ever have one of those actually. :)
Today I received an update on Sophie's development. It was just an email with a list that had been checked off, what tasks she can do and not do. I was surprised to get this, and when I read it, I was overwhelmed with pride.
I am not kidding. Pride. Ridiculous, huh? But I felt like I had just received her first report card! It was so exciting to think of her doing each thing that they had checked. I asked Buster, my coworker, if he felt like this when his kid made a basket or ran a touchdown. He said, yes, this was normal. That's good.
Sophie is doing really well. It is well known that children who have been institutionalized can have delays, and she may have those, we know that. But it was neat to see all the things she is doing. I can't wait to see her do them in person!
I feel so good about our agency and the care our baby is receiving. I have been recommending CHSFS to people a lot lately. The further we get in the process, the more I feel like they are great! If you are a prospective adoptee, I'd love to tell you about it! Just leave a comment and I'll email you.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Today I mailed a small package to Sophie. We actually send it to our agency and they get it there through people who are travelling to Ethiopia. It included an 8 by 10 picture of Josh and me laminated, a "Who Loves Baby" book filled with pictures of us and our families, and a small purple polka dotted blanket with "Sophia Yenenesh" embroidered on it in yellow. (Thanks Amy!) It strikes me every time I see her name written or hear it said aloud - this sounds obvious, I know - she is a real person! It is so strange. I have a picture of her. Two of them actually. She has two hands and two feet, she weighs 10.5 lbs (as of referral), she has big brown eyes. We see that she is real!

But there is so much we don't know about her. Just like all expectant parents I assume, I often wonder what she'll be like. Tall or short. Athletic or artsy. Shy or outgoing. We just don't know. It's just so amazing to know that she was created and that much about her has already been determined... in that thing we call DNA. They say that the nurture vs. nature argument will never be solidly won, but I think there is no question that there will be things about Sophie that are purely and completely from her birth parents. Maybe they'll be obvious from the beginning. Maybe they'll show up over time as she grows and learns and matures. And she'll probably wonder herself if her mom looked like her, if she had any mannerisms like her dad.

And as I continue to ponder her as a "real" person, I hurt for her that she doesn't have the opportunity to live with the people whose DNA she carries. Don't get me wrong, I am so thrilled and thankful that we are going to have the opportunity to raise her and love her and embrace her as if "born" into our family. How unfortunate, though, that children are even in situations in this world where they need to be adopted in the first place. I didn't realize how heavy this would weigh on my heart... once I knew our baby. I grieve for her that she cannot have the opportunity to grow up with her birth parents, even though I know we will love her just like she was born to us. I can only hope that this will help me to empathize with her when we begin the bonding process in just a few short weeks, and that I will be able to give her the time she needs to accept us as her mom and dad.
Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Baby Boot Camp

This weekend, our friends are at a retreat and we're keeping their one year old son Ryan. They really had to twist our arms to do this. (ha) Actually, it was more me keeping him because Josh had his Navy Reserve weekend. (He was home in the evening, and was very helpful during that time. ) Anyway, I have made a few observations in the last day or so that I think may prove useful to me in my forthcoming mommyhood.

  1. PRAISE BABY videos. Those things are pretty cute. Similar to Baby Einstein but the music is worship music. It is soothing to listen to, and let me tell you, Ryan loves it.

  2. PAPER TOWELS. I have used many, many, many paper towels in the past 24 hours. Just to clean up after each meal, to wipe his nose and face and hands, to dry out his bottle. I need to invest in more cloths before I kill all the trees everywhere.

  3. BABY SPITUP. The smell of spitup, particularly the kind that comes from real vitamin D milk, really lingers. Laundry immediately was necessary, so I invested in some "Dreft" (is that the name?).

  4. ACCESSORIES. Babies have a lot of accessories. For this day and half, we have a stroller, car seat, pack and play, jumper thingee, and booster seat. Oh, and a couple of other bags of stuff. I have always thought, I don't need all that stuff. Um, well, we've used ALL of it in the last 24 hours except the stroller because it was pouring down rain the whole time.

  5. NAPS. I have not babysat for any length of time in a long while. I had forgotten how cute it is when a baby wakes up from a nap. I love that sleepy eyed, disheveled look. Especially this kid... he is extreme cuteness all the time, not just post-nap.

I loved hanging out with Ryan this weekend! Thanks for the on the job training, little guy.

P.S. Is this book good? It just came up when I was looking for an appropriate pic for this post. But this actually looks like a book I should read!

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Stork visits on Easter

We have a baby girl!!!

We got the call from Lindsey at CHSFS on Thursday morning. Actually I should say, I got the call at my office sitting at my desk. Lindsey told me she had a referral for me and Joshua. I started bawling. Buster and Donnie came into my office because they thought a tragedy had happened. I gave them a thumbs-up and they got the hint... She began to tell me about the basics and then said she was sending me and Josh a simultaneous email. Then I got off the phone and had to tell Josh! I called him on his cell. No answer. Again. No answer. Work phone. They said he had left for several appointments and didn't have his phone with him....

So I am thinking, I am going to flip out if I don't tell him soon!!! And I don't want to tell anyone else OR open my email with our new daughter's picture in it until we can look at it together!!! FINALLY, after three+ agonizing hours, he called me back. We opened the email together and cried and cried, both in our separate offices. We were so overwhelmed when we saw her!

First of all, we were expecting a boy. We told our agency that we would take a girl or a boy. But statistically, most people who adopt ask for a girl, so that meant that if you don't request a gender you have more chance for a boy. Plus, several girls had been referred to families in recent weeks so we thought, for sure, we'll get a boy. After we got over the shock that she was a SHE, we were amazed to find out how young she is. She is 3 1/2 months old and is beautiful! We only have two pictures of her. They are very similar. She looks completely shocked and surprised by the camera. Perhaps this was her first experience with a flash? At least it looks that way! We cannot show you her full picture yet, due to legal reasons, but we will post it as soon as we can! I can tell you that she has big beautiful brown eyes and beautiful smooth cocoa skin. I love it!

Her name will be Sophia Yenenesh Ray and we're going to call her Sophie.

Sophia is the name we chose for her first name. It means "wisdom". And, yes, Yenenesh is part of our Ethiopian name. It means "you are mine". We wanted to honor her birth family by using this special part of her name. Kinda reminds you of Isaiah 43:1: (NASB)

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

I hope I can always remember that Sophie, first of all, belongs to God.

Thanks for all your encouragement as we're waited! Now we need your prayers for her health while we wait to go get her, and for our case to go through the Ethiopian courts smoothly and quickly!

And, of course, I have to get busy getting ready! I already hit a consignment sale this weekend! (Here's the evidence!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Summertime, please hurry

Summer is trying to arrive in Memphis. Yesterday I found myself driving down the 240 overpass with the sunroof open, sunglasses on, and singing my heart out to "Unwritten" and "Irreplacable". WOW. I am such a warm weather person. It just brings out my happy side!

Of course today... its suppposed to FREEZE tonight. I am not kidding. Memphis has the weirdest weather ever.

Anyone else just dying for summer?