The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We've Moved

In case you missed it...we've moved.

We now share HERE.

And we'd love it if you'd visit. And follow. And talk back.

See you over HERE.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Makeda's newest trick, or accomplishment, or whatever you'd like to term it is to stand alone and emanate - share - the most incredible of facial expressions. (She has become quite expressive, you know. I predict some serious, yet irresistible attitude come...oh, perhaps around her second birthday and likely lasting until what, her sixteenth?) Her expression, it's a cross between absolute shock and awe, pride and genuine joy. And, it's the most incredible thing to witness.

And it is completely put on. She has us eating out of her sweet, dark, perfectly chubby little hands. Our little drama queen in the making.

Two days ago she could hold her "free stand" stance for a second or two. Yesterday, it was more like three or four seconds. This afternoon she was standing for likely near to ten seconds. She's making remarkable progress...leaps and bounds. She gets attention each time she attempts her new milestone...and she knows it. She is a very bright little girl. I think of and give thanks for her birth mother every time I look at her and more so every time she hits a new (tangible or not) milestone...and they are frequent in occurrence. I think of her birth mother often. And it's all I can do not to hop on a plane to Harar, seek her, and share in the marvels of her daughter's accomplishment(s).

Her facial expression never changes, once she climaxes to her standing, very poised biped position.

And I can't help but wonder, what if.

What if we'd thrown in the towel nearly three years ago.

What if before that, we had never tried.

What if we were too calloused to allow the burden of the orphan to ache our hearts.

What if we had turned the other way and ignored or overlooked that inkling, the nudge, the whisper, to chose this very winding path.

I read articles such as the one just released and I recall with chills how we first felt when that horrific nightmare-of-an-email entered my inbox. I reflect upon play dates, conversations, friendships I would consider one-of-a-kind, all formed and taking place in their entirety due to this path and the way it wove into the most horrific then joyful experience we could have (never ever) fathomed. The connection we feel to a country about which we would have only read, had we not pursued the tap on our heart muscles. The ache, the relentless twinge inside, felt each and every single time a friend goes to meet or bring home her child. (I still scheme ways to fit inside a suitcase undetected by an airport scanner.) The passion planted inside, which took years to grow, and which catalyzed a move to a new province, a new home. These are all results, side effects, gifts, rewards.

They are unique.

This is rare.

We are living a privilege.

And I can't help but rejoice in Our Now. And in the strength, the raw and pure ache observed and fought and carried on the shoulders of those families today in the thick of our life a mere two and a half years ago - the determination you don't know exists. A(nother) agency will now survive because families have and continue to rise up and fight for the faces they have yet to know. I believe the instinct to fight for our children (the ones we know and equally the ones we do not) is intrinsic. There is no other explanation.

This place has been a joy. It has been a therapy. It has been a place of refuge and a place of witness and a place of elation and a place of pure despair. It has been a space in which we, as a family and I as a Mama and one very flawed human have shared and shed light into moments of our little life and our journey. Here, I have met friends. Here, we have been blessed and graced by the most incredible, faithful, strong, real people.

As the saying(s) go(es): There is strength in numbers and There is safety in numbers.


Here we have found both. You have graced us with this.

But this part of our journey is over.

Truthfully, our family is here due mainly (largely?!) because those whispers turn taps turn nudges turn scratches on our hearts experienced - rejoiced in - fruition.

And she is home.

Makeda is home.

Our family - our five - is complete. We are whole. Our house is a home and the walls shriek joy-filled screams (well, most of the time...). And so this space, this blessed space is also. It is complete and it is done.

As we grow, we do so in all parts of our life. We avoid stagnation when desiring such a path as this. And I chose growth. And change. Our five is the new norm and so while there will always be moments to share, this chapter of our lives must close and complete the book to be placed on the shelf. It just feels time. It feels right.

Truthfully, I started this place with the intention (among many) to one day print and bind it and place it on the shelf for our daughter to keep. A Life Book of sorts. The time is here. She can look back and see how we longed for our call, our first meeting, our life with her. And she will never doubt - through your comments and the monologue here, filling the space on the screen and soon to be pages in the book - how much she has always been wanted, needed, sought, intended for this family.

Never, will she doubt.

The saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" I believe it. More though, I believe that it takes a village to wait on a child. I believe it takes a village to remain the course, to stay focused, to risk what some days feels like every shred of emotion...It takes a village to wait on a child.

And our village has never let us down. And she is home.

So thank you.

For sharing in our life over nearly four years - less only a month - thank you.

Our story is not done. Our life will continually evolve. Our life together - adoption will always be an integral part. The journey continues. We will change. (And, we will embrace it.) We are wanting to be healthier and better and live longer and share more and grow. We want to grow. And so I am now sharing here...please come follow. I would be honoured. Truly.

While this new space won't be solely adoption focused, it will be family focused, growth focused, health, and food, and budget focused. Learning how to live better with less has always been a passion and so we will share some insight over here. And yes, photos of the wee one(s) will always prevail! Stories of our growing children, of adoption, of this multi-racial family...they will interweave with other stories, glimpses, tidbits I pick up and wish to share. Truly, this is just the beginning...we are merely at the starting line of Five. (I sometimes share here, specifically on adoption.)

Please join me...join us...share your thoughts and we can grow there.

Closing this book it's harder than I anticipated. But it's time.

New adventures await...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alive And...Well...Well

We are in fact alive and well.

This time last week, not so much.

Two at the Dr, one feeling like she fell out of the stupid tree, hitting most branches on the way down, after said visit. Perhaps she drew the short straw. Regardless, going to proved an exercise both in a sense of futility but fortunately also as an exercise in prescription reception. (On the To Do List: find a new GP. The sweet, wonderful, ever kind children we all seek our best to raise do, from time to time offer enough free advise and reminder of "Mama you just don't know" that an added dose simply is not necessary from the Doc. Especially when said Mama was in fact correct and trained professional, well, not so much.)

We now feel better.

{monkeying around...}

For now, a few photos are all we've got. As we head into our week of Winter Break and Family Day (yay Alberta!), there will be more. For now, just some colour seizing a few of our moments over the past week.

{someone turned 5.
hard to believe he was a month younger than makeda is now, when we started our adoption journey.
very hard to believe.
and best not to ponder for too long.
instead, we continue to be thankful and rejoice.}

{we had the best Harari playdate last week. warmed my heart
...pure ethiopian joy in the form of much giggling, running around, and joyful playing!}

That project mentioned a few posts back is still in the works...nearly ready to share. Just needs a few tweaks and a bit more TLC. Last week the latter was given all to the babe. And the Mama.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Pair And A Sweater

Long before she came home...likely, (certainly?!) before our referral, I made a sweater and leg warmer set for Ms Makeda. And while it's still quite roomy, after looking at the dusting of snow which fell last night and the colour of her onesie which would match the vest perfectly, I thought: "why not?!". She look(s) so cozy in it and it makes this sick Mama feel maybe just a wee bit warm and fuzzy inside. It's soft and makes me want to grab (another) cup of tea and cozy on up.

And, after taking a few glam shots I looked at this one and thought "oh my, whose child is this?!". What kind of unkempt hair has come upon her?! In all my woe-is-me-I-feel-like-I-am-swallowing-nails moments this morning I obviously didn't realize it (the african baby hair) was as bad as it truly

So, we cuddled on the couch and as she rested her head on my chest I fiddled my fingers around a created another single non-row corn row.

Oh...yeah...and Curious George was on. Just for her. Specifically for that purpose - the one of getting her to sit still.


I have become that mother.

The one who bribes her child with television.

Well...she is the third. No two ways about it.

And I'm definitely ill. I have the Dr's appointment to prove it. (If you know me well, you'll know this definitely does prove it.) And the babe's sick too. And she's got an appointment to prove it too. Boo hoo.

I digress. Yes, I am the horrible mother of a 14 month old who turned on the TV simply to be able to non-row corn row her daughter's hair.

But then I looked at it and the single row thing just wasn't doing it for me. So, I doubled it. A pair. Two are better than one.

And it's sweet, no?!

And so that I could get a half decent shot, this time I bribed her with my cell.

Like I said, apparently I am that mother.

I've accepted it. Let's all move on.

Friday, February 3, 2012

For The Box

I was stumped the other night.

My intention for sushi (which transpired the following night) wasn't in the plans. Why? Oh, I didn't check first to see if I had sushi (or any other) vinegar. But, the pre-cooked wild salmon was out of the freezer and wanting to be used so I tried to get all creative and such. I'm on the hunt for new, easy, really healthy, cheap (of course) meals. And I hit the jackpot. This one's for the recipe box I'm sure of it. It got rave reviews by four out of five and I'd say in the world of feeding families with wee ones, those are darn good stats. Don't you agree?

This one was for homemade salmon burgers. I believe the recipe calls from fish from a can but as I mentioned, we had a bunch (!) leftover that had previously been frozen so I used it and oh, the flavour!

The recipe originates here.

My recipe was something like...two large handfuls of salmon (previously cooked), 1 egg, 1 slice of bread (you could easily use spelt/rice/etc bread), salt and pepper, dried oregano, fresh lemon (this added awesome kick and I didn't have any bottle lemon juice...), olive oil (2 tsp).

Soak bread in egg or make bread crumbs and soak them. Ensure the bread completely absorbs all liquid and mash it until smooth. Add salmon, about 3 tsp of salt and 2 tsp pepper, a small handful of oregano ( can't really overdo dried spices unless...well, you really overdo them...just don't dump the jar and you'll be fine), juice from 1 lemon or about 1 - 2 tbsp. Stir and mix with a fork. Form into patties. We have an old school tupperware burger/pattie maker and it was awesome. They looked, like, professional and stuff. Oh - I saw some mustard powder in the pantry and threw in a couple tsp of that...I just felt it would give the burgers some extra love. But, I can see dill being a fantastic addition!

Throw patties onto a medium heat pre-heated pre-oiled pan. Cook four minutes and flip. Cook another four minutes. There's no real concern with undercooking as the only thing you need to ensure isn't raw is the egg and it'll cook quickly.

I topped our burgers with some leftover french onion chip dip (from our New Years...yes, we really break out around here!), some mustard, feta, and fresh spinach. Yum.

On the note of inexpensive, healthy, creative, homemade meals and lifestyle...well, I'm working on something. It's taking a bit of time and some patience. Major patience. However, seeing as our adoption journey is over...well, the nauseating roller coaster thrill part of it, the season is changing and our focus needs to shift a little. So, give me time and please, a little patience. I'll continue in this space as I love it...for now. As with all things though, if we're not growing we become stagnant and bad things happen to things that are stagnant. And, I chose growth. I will continue to chronicle bits and pieces of our wee crazy life in beautiful, sunny, Alberta with two fantastic growing boys and one beautiful Ethiopian born baby girl...but the focus will shift.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We Are.

Makeda's been sucking her thumb as per usual. Most days I don't mind. I know it's something she'll likely continue to do for some time and it's the one of the few things she brings with her from Ethiopia. It's part of what has made her, her. The necessity to self-sooth was developed, I suspect, very early on. And, while I sometimes glance over and think how sad it is that she still does this, I also know it's partially habit. Oh yeah, and she's a's what a lot of them do.

But today it just got on my nerves. There was a lot of spit and drooling (perhaps another tooth? it has been a couple days since the sixth cut through) and the noises were gross. And I was a bit short tempered. Tired. And a couple times I pulled it out, as I just couldn't handle the noise.

I digress.

This will be redundant for some...perhaps many.

A couple weeks ago when I traveled to the Island we made a quick detour on the way to our final destination. We stopped in at Choices so the incredible women who supported us throughout our journey could meet the little girl they helped bring home. It was a 'can't miss' situation.

While there, we talked briefly about the Hope non-bankruptcy, bankruptcy. A local BC agency closing it's doors after 25 years and having to close their doors on 180 families. Gut-wrenching. Perhaps, the silver lining (if there is any and if we can in fact give it that kind of status) is that this agency wasn't one who dealt with too many international countries. They weren't a facilitator of sorts, such as Imagine was or CAFAC. Doesn't make it any better. Tragically, some families using the services of Hope have already seen and had to live through the nightmare of the Imagine bankruptcy.

The only other agency in Canada who facilitates adoptions through well as many other countries.

CAFAC. Who has been known as a reputable agency for the last 17 years and who has helped create over 700 families, and who is currently working with such a sheer volume of families in all stages of the process that the thought of closing it's doors in two days sickens me. CAFAC...struck by the slowed pace of international adoptions and the financial implications thereof.

This is a tragedy of which nothing compares. And as thousands did on our behalf, it is now our turn to return what may seem like a measly favour but is, in reality huge.*

The Unknown: we've lived it.

Yet, the difference is this agency was, is, and continues to do all it can to keep itself afloat. Monies are all still in trust (novel huh?!). Staff were sadly, though pro-actively let go. Families received communication of problems.

I sent an email to a some family members and close friends tonight, sharing some of the details. It didn't cut too deep until I gave it some real thought. And, until I received an email reminding me of how blessed and lucky Makeda is.

But that's the thing.

It's us.

We are the ones who are blessed, changed, better, our family is complete because of her.

And I can't imagine not having her. I can't imagine being so close yet losing her. I can't imagine our family without her.

I can't imagine.

My heart breaks for those families who's futures are uncertain. Those families who tonight must live the horrific roller coaster on the cusp of the end. Those families who wonder, after waiting for three or more years if their family will ever be created or completed. Those families who just don't know.

International adoption. It's always been said that it's not for the faint of heart. But this is unjust. And in this situation it's at the fault of no one. Systems slowed and more paperwork required (I think of Ethiopia specifically) to protect the innocence of children. Bar none, this is at the crux of it all. The safety, well-being, health, care, protection (!) of orphans. And yet, because of this we now see Ethiopian adoptions taking 5-7 years...thousands of (more) dollars...and it still isn't enough for agencies to remain viable.

And, while families are left in the lurch and suffer emotionally, (financially), immensely, it's not the families who suffer ultimately is it.

It's the orphan. Each. Innocent. Child.

Tonight, as Makeda sucked her thumb through the teething slobber that was her mouth, I could do nothing but pick her up and hold her tight.

We are so very blessed. I won't ever take it...take her...for granted.


*PLEASE, do at least one of these things tomorrow.

#1 Call a reporter in Manitoba and tell them why it's a tragedy if CAFAC goes
under/ceases operations.

#2 Call Minister Jennifer Howard's offices 204-945-4173 (ministry) 204-946-0272
(constituency) to voice your support for CAFAC and to encourage the ministry to
allow for interim funidng and fee increases.

#3 if you can't call, email your concerns to the minister:

Mini Hair

A braid.

A single cornrow-like braid. Except you can't call it a cornrow when there's nothing on either side, right? I still think it's sweet. I've always loved french braiding and while I realize the upcoming years will present many dozens of opportunities for the learning curve to take a significant swoop upward, this was a good place to start. It also negates the occasional "clip war" as I so kindly phrase the battle between Mama and babe, at the end of a long day when all she (the babe that is) wants to rip out her clip.

The true triumph in this little hair style is the fact that she sat still long enough for my fingers to work through.

A little bonus to boot? It's been in for 48 hours (two naps and two log nights' sleeps) and is still holding strong.

It's a start.