Dollar Tree Treasures

So last week a teacher friend bought these cool window clings for her classroom from the Dollar Tree, where everything, you guessed it, is only one dollar!
I headed to the store to get some for our house as our children might be old enough to play with them when they arrive. There were lots more clings to choose from!

And then I found these audio Bible stories/devotionals.

7/29/09 - 2 Months!!

Two months have flown by! We are loving praying for and thinking about our children. This month found us asking God what He desired of us in the waiting months. We were led to really dive into adoption books and reading about attachment and bonding issues, hence many trips to the library and reading of blogs of Yahoo Group friends who are home with their children. Hopefully the next few months will bring a new job for Mike (he is done today with the last class he needed for his graphic design degree!!) which, when updating our home study, will allow us to increase our age range for 0-3 years old to 0-5 years old!

NEXT STEPS: In addition to more reading, we are working to finish a wonderful online class we started about a year ago. It is called Eyes Wide Open and contains 20 or so chapters all centered around international adoption. It has been wonderful so far!!

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise God for calling us on this amazing journey and supplying everything we need in His own way and in His time frame!! Pray for our children in Ethiopia, that they are healthy and safe and loved. Pray for their family too - their sorrow will lead to our joy. Please also pray that God would bless us with the job He has prepared for Mike.

7/17-7/19/09 - Family Camp Out

Our 5th Annual Family Camp Out!!

Mom and Dad and brother Donny getting the campsite set up.

Mike writing in the log, a tradition he brought into the marriage. It sure is fun to be able to look back at what we've done on camping trips and vacations. How amazing will our Ethiopia log be!!!

Cooking the big Saturday breakfast.

Amy being crazy with her two 'Baby Girls,' nieces Samantha and Maddy!

Saturday dinner: pizza sandwiches and hot dogs.

What a cute couple!

It was a bit cool on Sunday (don't think much above 75 degrees) but we still braved the pool!

We lay in the tent Sunday morning enjoying being able to wake up slowly and just lay there. We talked about how we would fit another air mattress (or pack and play, depending on the age of our children) in the tent and wondered if maybe next year there would be two little people crawling on us and asking when it would be time to get up. We're gladly ready to take the second scenario over the first!!!

July - Adoption Reading List

So I (Amy) have spent July perusing our local library for adoption books and stories about Ethiopia.

I had heard the story There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene mentioned several times on my Yahoo Group (we are all from the same international adoption agency, America World, and are all adopting from Ethiopia). To say the book was amazing is an understatement. It is the beautiful and heartbreaking story of an Ethiopia woman, Haregewoin Teferra, living in the capital city of Addis Ababa, who after losing both her husband and one grown daughter, is asked to take in a teenage girl and then a teenage boy and then two young girls. She then feels her life has purpose again. Her home eventually becomes an orphanage to over sixty children before she discovers foreign adoption agencies with families interested in adopting the children and since then more than 400 children have been through her home. In between Haregewoin's story there is Ethiopian history - every time something was said, I thought, wait, let me hear that again! There was also the history and impact of AIDS on the continent of Africa and in Ethiopia. Also included were histories of some of the children in the orphanage as well as some information on their lives after they are adopted. One of the many, many thoughts I had while reading this book is I don't know if it would be better for our children to remember their birth parents of not. I highly recommend this book - it is a must read. To learn more visit:

Another book I just finished is called Becoming a Family: Promoting Healthy Attachments with Your Adopted Child by Lark Eshleman. It obviously talked about attachment, how a child attaches to their parents, how attachment can be disrupted, and strategies to deal with attachment issues. While the book talked mostly about baby adoptions, there are still many things we'll be able to use with older children. And I did get the great idea of purchasing gifts in Ethiopia to give our children over the years! (We knew we'd buy clothes and decorative items for the house, but I'd never thought about ongoing gifts - awesome!). And there was a beautiful adoption story written by a father for his adopted daughter starting from the time her "China Mom and Dad" knew they wouldn't be able to take care of a baby and after watching the sun set, placed her in a spot where she would be found, taken to an orphange, and eventually adopted. The story ends with the Forever Mom and Dad holding the "Beautiful Baby Girl" and watching the sunset. Precious, and I can't wait to write our own and have Mike illustrate it!!

I have just begun another book called Dim Sum, Bagels, and Grits: a Sourcebook for Multicultural Families by Myra Alperson, a single woman who adopted a daughter from China. The book is organized into four parts: We Are Family, Moving Forward, Meeting Challenges, and Resources. I am enjoying it so far and will share what I learn.

07/02/09 - Animal Gardens

Animal Gardens is a gem my younger sister discovered four summers ago. It is in Delevan, Wisconsin, costs a bit to get it (thanks, Mom!), but it totally and completely worth every penny!!!

As I drove with my nieces, Samantha and Maddy, in the back seat of my car, I remarked how next year, the new cousins might be coming with us. Samantha's first thought was to say she would "help them and tell them what each animal is, except the zebra since they'd already have seen one."

First stop was the Bird Show. Macaws and cockatoos do clever tricks and we learn about birds in the process. This is a picture of Greg on roller skates!

Next stop was the baby animal barn. There were two huge, sleeping pot bellied pigs, a hedge hog (we got to pet him), rabbits, a Guinea pig, ferrets, donkeys (yes we said the waffles line from Skrek!), baby goats, a baby kangaroo, a monkey, calves, and kittens.

Samantha petting the rabbit - it was so soft!

Samantha and Maddy at their favorite part - holding kittens!

I got to feed a baby calf a bottle. We also feed the baby goats bottles! The volunteers there are so nice and tell us loads of information about each of the animals.
Then it was on to the horse show. Thirteen choreographed acts - a variety of showmanship and beauty. This is truly AMAZING! Here are some pictures.

Sami and Maddy's eyes are glued the whole time. Afterwards you are able to met the riders and pet the horses.

On to pony rides. Samantha remembered their names from last year: Marshmallow and Tootsie Roll.

We went on a hay ride around the farm to see the sheep, llamas, and camels and includes going through a hand made Native American village. The middle section of the area includes wandering goats and llamas you can feed and a swing set to play on. There is a zebra, too. There is also a whole wildlife area with turkeys, foxes, and deer you can feed that we didn't visit that day.
It is a fantastic time and great memory making day. Can't wait to make memories with our two kids there!! Can't you just picture them in the photo below!?

07/01/09 - A Special Gift

This present was waiting for me at work last week from my dear friend
Tracy! They of course will go in the children's room and we can't wait until they hold our children's referral pictures!!

Books to Celebrate Certification

Because the paper chase was such a challenge for us, we decided to celebrate each little successful step. As part of our celebration for successfully getting the two papers we needed certified before FedExing them all to our agency, we decided to purchase some books for our children! Here are the two that have arrived in the mail so far.

Growing up, Amy loved the Richard Scarry books, all the labeled pictures and busyness on each page! This is a book she had when she was younger and it includes lots of pictures and words describing every day life. It will be coming to Ethiopia with us!

This is a beautiful book we found at the library when initially beginning to research adoption books and African American characters books to add to our wish list. It tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

Mike's Dad served in World War II so he has always been interested and was excited to get this book. It's on the shelf in the playroom!