Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The first time we met her, and other thoughts~

One year ago!

One year ago today we got the call that changed the course of my life and the life of my family. I will NEVER be the same, THANK GOD! And here are the first pictures we saw of our girl.

We woke up and got ready for the day. It was Nick's first day at sports camp (right down the road for three hours a day) and I happily dropped him off at 8:45!

I came home to do kitchen work and didn't have a whole lot on my plate that day. I felt anxious but that's not a new feeling. I was jumping at every phone call and was let down each time except when my sister Kiki (Michelle) called. She's been home for a few days as she had a minor medical procedure done and had some time off from work. We chatted for a few minutes and I told her that Nick was at camp and that I was getting a little bored and wanted to go visit the last half hour to watch him and the gang wrap up. She decided to join me and we made plans to grab a quick bite out (a cheat - again) afterwards with Nicholas at a nearby Pizza joint.

While I was waiting for her to call me back to say that she was leaving her house, I stood at the screen door to the deck and looked up at the birds and said, "come on Roy, it's time, call ME"!Nope! Grrr.

Michelle and I met at the school/camp and watched Nick pay zero attention to his coaches while the rest of the "team" listened and played the game eagerly... that's my guy! :) He finished up and we made a quick stop back at my house to grab something before heading off to lunch.

A few minutes after being seated and ordering (I got a glass of wine - at 1:00) our food and I pulled out the envelope of our new foster child Tsige in Ethiopia. I talked a ton about the sponsorship program to Michelle and she listened and asked many questions... Then the question, "why is it taking so long if the problem is sooo huge"? I'm sure you've all heard this several times and I tried to explain things... I ended by saying, "it's going to be really soon. We're at the top again and there haven't been any referrals in a little bit". So our food came and I (as usual) couldn't focus on much except for the f.fries and pizza while we tried to entertain Nicholas with his activity book and get him out of his cranky mood (he was tired)!!

Da, da, duh.... drum roll..... my cell phone rang. I didn't hear it but Kiki did and said something. I fumbled my blackberry out and noticed it was MP's work number. As I went to press the ignore button (I'm not a jerk, but I figured I'd just call him back when I got in the car, we were finishing up with lunch) but decided to answer.

ME; hello

MP; hey

Me; hey

MP; where are you

ME; I'm at Fremont house of Pizza with Michelle and Nick, why

MP; take the phone and go outside.
Me; WHY.
MP; trust me, there's someone on the phone that wants to speak with you, just go outside now

Me; OMG, are you serious, is this it

MP; YES, go outside
Me; ok, I'm outside now, what's going on

MP; hang on hun, I'm going to patch someone in

MP; ok, we're both here
Roy; hi lori

Me; sobbing uncontrollably, yessss (hesitant)
Roy; congratulations

Me; omg, omg, omg are you serious

Roy; you have a daughter and I'm going to give you the details, we need to meet later today

The rest is a sniveling, slobbering, mess of a conversation that I'll spare you of because it contains a lot of "huhs, uh-huh's, and freaky crying.

He kept pausing for response and never got any really because I was frozen and a hysterical mess.. I didn't even remember her name after I hung up! I went in and the waitress was starring at me (Kiki said something) and gave Kiki a thumbs up! She saw my face all curdled and wet and was relieved with the thumbs up because I think she thought something was wrong... Poor Nick just kept saying, "Mommy, your tears are coming out"! Precious! We kept telling him why but he just doesn't get it. He keeps thinking she's on her way - literally!

The ride home was crazy, I was trying to call people and just got machines and it was a blurr.

We met with Roy at 5:00 last night and learned about our girl - there's been a ton of different emotions but I think that's on par with adoption. I'll be sending or hand delivering our acceptance tomorrow to our agencies headquarters to try to expedite things... time is so of the essence right now. I don't want to think of not passing court in time, but it's a reality. It won't kill my emotions or high right now and I can post about that stuff in due time! Right now is referral time!

Sadly MP is away all week, so I'll be sleepless on my own!

This is the story of the day! She is tremendous and full of beauty and grace, even in her sorrowful pictures....

I can't wait to hold her and see her smile...

ps... I never expected MP to get the call, I had it all planned out in my head, see what happens when you plan! God has a sense of humor indeed!
Back to now, video I haven't shared until today.
This was the first time we ever saw her little face and body in person... at the care center, of course.

Moments later when I first held her (it was 5:00 am and we had only ten minutes w/her before our 9 hour journey to meet her family at her home).

Other random ramblings...

I have something on my mind. It's been growing, growing, and growing bigger by the day. Every day that goes by with this angel in our home. This weight is like a cancer and today I'm going to spill the beans about something that may be hard for some people to read.

Why don't more people adopt older children? I think the answer is that they're scared to death. Why are they so scared. Because of all the books out there that scare the crap out of people. They scare you in every single solitary way about adoption in general and it kinda pisses me off. They make adoption out to be this big black unknown hole. And we were scared to death as a result. We bought tons of books, did all kinds of research online, heard SO many horror stories.
I've since realized that adoption is like watching the local or national news. Only the bad is blown up for everyone to see. You very rarely read about the thousands and thousands of wonderful adoption stories. Orphans are often portrayed as: evil, disgusting inside and out, mean and tough. We see it in the movies all the time.

Yes, every situation is different, every kid is different. But don't we ALL have baggage and issues from our lives adopted or not?

I'm ashamed (now) when I think back about my fear, and our original age range for our request which was 9-24 months. I'm ashamed that I was so naive to think a three year old would somehow be a "used" child with baggage, unmanageable by two adults! That a three year old would be forever be tarnished and hateful and unhappy. What could I have been thinking? And now, she's four.

Since her birthday I cannot get all of those "older" kids out of my mind that we met. All the four, five, and six year olds that nobody wants, the seven, eight and nine year olds that are all but ignored and not given a second look - out of fear. What is the common denominator with these kids? They all want homes and families. They all want someone to love them and read to them, and teach them and listen to them. They want a chance. And why, why don't they get it. FEAR. It was not a choice they made to be orphaned. It wasn't bad behavior that got them into care centers/orphanages. It was a dire situation that landed them there.

The way these older/waiting children are shown to prospective parents is also something that bothers me. They should show videos of the kids. I can't tell you how many times I've seen waiting children pictures that do make them look scary and are unflattering. I was shocked to see the faces in real life that I'd seen on the waiting child list for months and months when we traveled to Addis. The difference was night and day.

What's my point. Here is my point. And it's solely directed to anyone in the early stage of adoption. PLEASE consider an "older" child. Don't get me started on that term. It should be more like PLEASE consider a toddler or little boy or girl other than an infant.

Infants are not in dire need of homes. It's very clear based on the wait times right now.

I cannot judge. I have had the blessing of carrying a child in my womb and experiencing an infant. I understand the want and need for many couples to have that experience. But I am talking to those who have had that. If you have had that, or not. If you are adopting, please be educated, but don't let FEAR make your decision about age. Let go and let God. We did and I pinch myself everyday.
Dear Lord, I pray that these children of YOURS have families soon!


  1. Aaccckkk, you got me crying. I have a blog post talking about that FEAR. I think I even capitalized it like that. I don't know if I ever sent you an invite to my blog. If I didn't (and you want one) let me know. JuliaTN at gmail dot com

    Just found out an hour ago that I'm leaving in a couple of weeks to get my 7 yr old. You know, the one that struck terror in my heart.

  2. I love you Lori! Thank you for sharing those moments with us. Beautiful family.
    Thank you for your thoughts. I agree.

  3. this is an AWESOME post.
    we adopted our son as a little wee one b/c that's who we were matched with as a family. BUT I have two sisters adopted from orphanages- one when she was 3.5, one when she was about 4. We have some life stuff to get through over the next few years, and then we FULLY DESIRE TO SPIT IN THE FACE OF FEAR and adopt (and very clearly specify that) an older child. I'm soooo excited about this plan and so incredibly grateful for my experience with my sisters. Thanks for encouraging so many others to follow this path!!!!
    (oh, and it's just not as bad as the "books and experts" say... it's hard work, for sure, but my sweet sisters were WELL worth it as you know from you experience!!!!!)

  4. I love this post. I can not wait to bring our almost 3 year old home. Scared, yep. But excited, none the less. Crazy that she is actually considered older.

  5. I remember that day so well. I cried then and I cried now watching these "never before seen" videos. Where have they been? So amazing.

    Love your stance on older kiddos- you are amazing, you know that right??? :)


  6. Thanks for this post. We are preparing to begin adoption #2 and are hoping to adopt two siblings.

    Beautiful, powerful post. Congrats on 1 year of forever, too!


  7. Thank you Lori for being a voice against fear.

    Happy 1st Referralversary!!

  8. Very powerful post Lori, and I agree with you but I also think that infant adoptions fit some families. Our bio daughter just turned 3 and we want to keep in birth order right now. We have specifically asked our agency for a toddler, but were told that most children either come to this orphanage as infants OR older OR siblings. So we are clumped into that infant/toddler category, and mostly likely will get an infant referral. So many questions need to be considered for families...many of them floating around...Why not a teenager? Why a girl and not a boy? Why not a sibling set to keep the children together? Why not a special needs child? Why not a child with AIDS? They all need families. They all deserve families. Why don't more families consider adoption? I do not have all the answers but my heart aches with you because the reality is that so many children will not find their forever families and it's heart-wrenching.

  9. Great post Lori. I recently found out that the wait for toddlers up to 4 and 5 year olds is just as long as the wait for infants with our agency. This is good because it means that people are adopting and waiting for that age. I'm still subtly trying to talk Kevin into a third child- an older child- once our kids grow up a bit. So far, he's resistant, but only because he just wants two kids. We'll see what our future holds...

  10. I loved hearing about your day meeting your sweet girl. She is precious and it got me all teary.

    I totally agree that people adopting should look into all ages and then prayerfully consider which age God has for them. But the same goes with gender, disabilities, and HIV status. I know for our family we chose the age and specific health status that we did after months of prayer and based on what we felt led to choose.

    Also, I have never ever been scared of adopting an older child and I've never ever looked at an older child's photo and thought they looked evil or disgusting!! I wonder who thinks these things!

    I think it's good to be a voice for the older kids. Instead of inducing guilt for those who truly desire an infant, I hope your post gets some people thinking about how they came to choose the age they chose and maybe they will reconsider.

  11. Lori,
    Thanks for posting this. When we first went through the adoption process we wanted to experience an infant and then when we started the process again we decided to consider a child up to age 3. We got so many people providing their opinions. It's had turned out so well for us and we are truly fortunate to have received a referral for a 3 year old girl. Bianca www.transcontinentalfamily.com

  12. Yay Lori! You rock.
    Those videos are incredible too. Thank you for posting them.

  13. Beautiful Post! People thought we were CRAY for adopting a 3 year old. She is wonderful and a perfect fit for our family.