Friday, May 29, 2009

When we visited Ethiopia to get our children we stopped by an orphanage for HIV+ kids called AHOPE. The children were beautiful and all in desperate need of families. The children can live a long productive life in America with the right medicines etc. In Ethiopia they will most likely live a short life. When the children are adopted they often can get sicker during the process while waiting for a waiver for adoption and travel to the states. My friend Carolyn has started an organization called PROJECT HOPEFUL which educates and equips potential adoptive parents to take care of HIV+ kids...I just wanted to invite all of you to see what Carolyn is doing....feel free to visit her site by clicking on the badge in the right column of my blog or at the link on the name. But there are children all over the world in need of families including the UKRAINE, CHINA, GHANA as well as Ethiopia. We had chosen to adopt healthy kids because we really weren't well informed. For a minute our doctors in the states had thought our kids had Hep B because the Dr's weren't experienced with reading the markers (the kids are fine). But through the waiting period to find out if they were infected with Hep B I did some research. I discovered that in many ways the maintenance for HEP B would have been more difficult than if the kids had HIV. Just wanted to ask that you all read up on it a little as HIV doesn't carry the same tragic future as it once had and isn't as easily transmitted as some of the other infectious diseases out there. Children are very sad as they wait knowing that many don't want them. You should go to Carolyn's site and click on the link of the TV interview to see her beautiful daugher Selah.

Oh and because I know we have many readers from Illinois...Project Hopeful is based in Northern Illinois.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Andrew has been advocating for the kids to get a dog, here is his latest e-mail to me: (note*jacobsen's are a family of 9 kids)

"One of my friends', brother is 6. That little kid has his OWN dog that he feeds, he walks, and he takes care of. Thats one single kid who can take care of a dog by himself. Sometimes dad says, "Well, we have alot of kids, we dont need a dog". One word, Jacobsen's. They even had the same house model and what, 3 more kids than us and they STILL have a full grown golden retriever, and cats. And no, they arent crazy. A dog isnt as "hard" as you really think... Grandma has one! Together, us 6 kids and no, not just grace will pick up the poop. I will gladly do some of the work. A dog yes, is a big responsibility, but I think our family is ready for it. We have 6 kids that have worked for a long time and 3 of them ran a farm! Thats 2 dogs, goats, donkeys, cows, pigs, GIRAFFES! We are ready, its something that will make this house happy and fun. It shouuldn't just be the poop thing, or the pee thing. It is a joy to have a dog... and I guarantee you, that we can do it. Its not like we clean up 7 spills a day already right? We can do this, if one single kid can. And a 11 person family can, even with 9 kids, we can. I KNOW we can... and we are ready for a dog. It doesnt matter about the disgusting stuff (that barely happens and only lasts a minute) but it also matters about the fun we have with a dog. The laughs, the smiles, the excitement. Studies even show that a dog increases the average humans life or 3 years... that by itself is worth it. A dog is a profit, not a loss. A dog isn't a beast, its something that God designed and created in his own eyes. He created it for us, it says in Genesis that he created the animals of the earth for two reasons, to give food and to give enjoyment. I dont think our family is using animals for enjoyment, something that God made all animals for, a dog is something our family is ready for, im 100% positive. Now I bet your thinking, "Wont Jared be scared?" Mom already knows he wont. When Donna was 6 and they went to get their first dog, she was scared. Then once they got in the pet shop, and met they're new dog. She wasn't scared of dogs anymore. Our family is ready for a dog. I know we are."

So, should we get a dog? Give us your opinion, with this poll.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Out of the Mouth of Babes !!! Again!

My daughter's friend OYNIGLOLA is from Nigeria via London and then NJ. She is very cute and very Americanized. So she has known us for several months and spent a lot of time at our house. We were having a snack and she says "Hey did you adopt Ella?" I said "Yes..." And she says "I really never knew she was adopted"...This has happened before with kids and I love it.They just don't have the same eyes as grown ups..Very cute!!!!


Going to Africa is quite an education. You realize the nuances between the countries. Of course this could be said about South America too. When we were there the Ethiopian friends we had met were serious about identifying themselves as Ethiopian. They even pointed out some Somali's or Ugandans when we were there and called them such. One of the requirements in adopting from any country is to promise to encourage a cultural identity. My Guatemalan daughter is not Mexican but like Mexicans is Hispanic. My Ethiopian Children are not Somalian but they are both African. Still, if you talk to someone who recently became a citizen here they will tell you specifically "I am Dominican", "I am Ugandan"...My children's language is not the same as the people of Nigeria, their food is different, the dress is different...the same is true with the Guatemalan people verses the people of Peru. So, my Ethiopian friends here in America made it a point to encourage me to help my kids to not lose touch of their foundation (Ethiopian, Guatemalan and even Jewish, Irish, and German). Recently, a critic of interracial families came across my blog and had a problem with my kids being called Ethiopian. She said they are African American period. They are African American TRUE!!! But they are also blessed with a recent and vivid memory of where they come from . They can help to teach all of us Americans about a culture that is rich, beautiful and ancient. My children are African American now and I am proud of that. BUT they will always be Ethiopian first and there is a sense of confidence in them when they say it. Even when I hear my 4 year old Guatemalan daughter speak about Guatemala she is proud although she has lived her since she was 8 months old. Throughout the past few years my family has been embraced and educated regarding the entire Ethiopian culture. We are so proud to have been adopted by so many from that country. I just want to share with everyone that my children are fortunate in having an even more specific identity than African American. I look at the faces now of African Americans now knowing the simple visual differences from the various African countries and can almost identify the part of Africa their ancestors must have been from. It is sad to think of what had been stripped of them via slave trade etc. But I really really do not want to do the same to my children. I would like to encourage all of us to look at recent African immigrants as being able to bring back something that was totally lost through that awful business of human trafficking and through my children and others be reminded and educated in knowing how different each specific part of Africa is and how rich of a country it is...and could be if we all simply could see the intricate specific beauty each part of it adds to the big colorful quilt that it is...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mom Jeans for Muffin Tops!!!

I wanna take a poll! Please comment by letting me know your serious opinion of MOM JEANS! These are the blue jeans that actually go over and up to your waist!!! I had to take the plunge (and I really need to go on a diet). Although most of my size 8's still fit me I decided to buy a size 10. I have gained about 20lbs since moving down south in 2002 and probably most of that is in the last 4 years. Anyhow, I actually look slimmer in my size 10's because I am no longer in denial...All of these photos are stock photos so please don't be confused that these are photos of my own muffin top but(t)....I had noticed that I have a muffin top or belly (and I would love to believe in tummy tucks but with 6 kids have decided no elective surgery)...and since most of the jeans these days are low low rise,,,i think the jean companies are totally against women who have had children...and if that isn't true they absolutely are out to get women in their late 30's and 40's and up who are storing their fat (ALL OF A SUDDEN) in their midsection....SO, the lowrise don't work and are everywhere..I go into the mall "Excuse me do you have any pants that go up higher" they look at me with a weird look and then when I am in the dressing room wrestle with the jeans that have about 3 inches of length in the crotch before the button....Disappointed I head home and find an old pair of GLORIA VANDERBILT jeans that I got from BJ's for 11.99 with a stretch that comes all the way over my belly and I love them (and low and behold still make me a comfortable 8).....>Now I won't go so far as to wear a tucked in shirt with them. I am convinced that if I wear a tunic these jeans can double as spanks(girdle) and jeans...then I tell myself that I would love a pair of maternity jeans even though I am not and probably will never be pregnant again...I also believe that most of us would fit into a size smaller if the jeans were simple not low rise...think of it scientifically....the jeans would pull over the belly and the buckle or snap would bypass the fat part making its way up to the skinny section above the fatty snap or button at the torse would make the so called --waist a few inches smaller...(my jean theory)... So what is so wrong with MOM JEANS? They feel better....and if we wear the kind with pleats they actually somehow minimize the fatty flab part....LOL!

Now there is also a pic of Cindy McCain who looks FABU in MOm Jeans...I think when we embrace the changes in our lives (get new jeans in the proper size)...rather than remaining in denial (shoving your stuff inside jeans that are too small thereby creating a similar effect to pushing the toothpaste from the bottom up)...we actually will feel and look better. WHAT IS IN A NUMBER ANYHOW...if there were japanese jeans I would be like a size 20....So..does anyone have any jean alternatives or favorite jeans...AND what is your opinion of MOM JEANS...SHOULD WE START A MOVEMENT TO REVIVE THEM...or maybe all of you think they are super ugly!! THey sort of are funny but OH SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE and my priorities like my body fat is shifting to prefer the comfortable over the stylish....

Into the Unknown!!!

The girls remind me of that movie MEN IN BLACK in this picture. It was taken when we were in St. Petes in March.  Got the glasses at the dollar store there and they were thrilled. They acted as if they just received designer glasses. I am in awe at how easy these kids have adjusted. I have learned so much from them.  We tend to take things for granted here in USA. They have had to live with a level of faith that is indescribable. We tend to make plans--life goals etc. For them it after their parents died it was a matter of simply believing they would find a family and that their future was in the hands of God....incredible...     These days we are having to follow their example. Our business is very slow and we are just relying on God.  My book is coming out in July or August and I will be embarking on some speaking engagements. A whole new adventure where I can tell the story of a woman who always dreamed about being a mother but doubted she would be after making a life altering choice.....IN the meantime, my own mother sets the standard at being able to thrive and survive through adversity with the best attitude this side of heaven and a feminine strength that can be un noticed because it is so beautiful subtle and not in your face...Life is good, the unknown is scary but I have been in the position before where I have had to hang onto the hem of the Lord's robe for dear life. That is where we are and surrounded by sweetness and adventure all mixed into the future that remains to be seen..pray for our family while in transition...but we are keeping perspective aware of the blessings all around us with good health, good transition and love in our family....Praise to God for the goodness that we have in Him!!!   

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It has taken FOREVER to get our final paper work for the finalization of the readoption of our kids but the Department of Social Services called today and the kids are finally OFFICIALLY ours. We now will probably get passports and new certificates of citizenship but YAYYYY!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Stories! Contest for free EBOOK!

Queen for a Day with Manure in her Shoes! (Cross Post...)

So, if you are like me you have high expectations for Mother's Day! It is the equivalent to going to your favorite theme park with many children in the heat. In theory, a great day is in store Maybe you will get a bubble bath! Maybe a massage or a nap! Maybe everyone will be well behaved, not spill, not fight and only be aware that they want to please you at every second of the day and night. And then life gets in the way. The kids scream, it is hot, you fight with your husband and you are cranky because things didn't go as PLANNED (and as women we hate when things don't go as planned-even though they never do). It all started when I woke up with my eyes GLUED together from the pollen. I looked like I had been crying all day after going head to head in a boxing match with Muhammed Ali. I get up (take Zyrtec) and have a brilliant idea. I will make chocolate pancakes for the kids for breakfast --- Mark is at church with the band. I eat a pancake. Go upstairs to get then reminded AFTER eating the pancake that I have gained 10 pounds (NOTHING IN MY CLOSET FITS ME)....It is Mother's Day and I have NOTHING to wear. I have to look nice (isn't it expected on Mother's Day...not a jeans to church type day). I tell myself that after church I am putting everyting in a box labeled 'things I am too fat to wear' . It takes me an hour to pick something out. I was not happy...We get to church. All is great. We go for Pizza afterwards (I have a salad). We are there ordering. The waiter says "Hey aren't you guys so and so" I say "Yeah"...he says "I'm Jason! You know Gretchen's Jason!" I then realized my waiter is the boyfriend of my friend who is divorcing my other extremely good friend for no reason (the reason is serving me pizza). He walks away. Mark and I say "i didn't know Gretchen had a Jason did you?" I said "NO!" Shmoopy says "I knew ..don't you ever read facebook?" So I come home...I am handed beautiful Mother's Day cards...all very sweet. Girls and I then leave to pick up flowers. As I was leaving I say to the guys and Shmoop..."all I want for Mother's Day is for you guys to clean up the kitchen (pancake pans and melted chocolate on the tablecloth)...can you make it nice for when I get back?" They say "Sure"....We go get flowers and place 2 50lb bags of top soil OR BLACK KOW cow manure in the back of the van...We realize we have only one little hand shovel so go shopping at the dollar store for others and get beach shovels because they don't have any real ones(the brightly colored plastic flimsy ones meant for sand ...not NC clay). After 2 hours, I come home...whistling like Snow White...I come into the kitchen and turn into Cruella Daville when I see that the kitchen is still a PIG STYE and the familial remainders at home are happily hanging out on my day NOT cleaning the kitchen,.I yell"HEY! Someone come down here and clean!" My hubby gets bent out of shape because I am yelling....he says "I told Shmoop to do it! lighten up"...she starts screaming because she is trying to nap in the basement...Hubby says to me "You come in here like some DIVA or something"...Okay..Ladies ...are you feeling it with me yet (IT'S MOTHER"S DAY!!!! ARGH)..I had planned on asking him to carry the 100lbs of MANURE out of my trunk...I said "can you just do one thing for me?" He is fuming...and then I say (like CRUELLA DAVILLE) >.."Nevermind I will carry the Cow Manure on Mother's Day by myself!" ...So I do....We go out to plant the flowers....My teenager who had been forced to wake up at 2:30 pm to clean the kitchen screams out the door ..."If I clean this I am not touching anything for two weeks." I get mad and insist she gives me her cell phone...we argue back and forth outside by the idyllic memorial flowers soon to be the neighbors are greeting their guests who are dressed in Ralph Lauren polo dresses carrying a dish to pass into the neighbors house. I chase Shmoop downstairs and get the cell phone while she angrily cleans up the kitchen....Meanwhile the kids outside are miserable with their plastic beach shovels complaining that their red wagon is covered in BLACK KOW manure....Bella Boo who grew up in Ethiopia watches her sister Gratootie work like a trooper as she says it is too hot and she is afraid of bugs (she lived in the country in Ethiopia where they sometimes would see lions in trees and giraffes would eat the cow's food and she would sleep in the hay sometimes...and it would get really hot). Princessa throws a fit because she wanted to be the one with the purple bucket....SCREAMING and sprawled out having a latina fit ... as another perfectly happy well dressed guest heads into the neighbor's house...with a southern pound cake. The kids only survive 3 flower plantings leaving me to DIG out 20 more holes and fill with manure and pinestraw for the next two hours....eventually I give Shmoop her cell phone back and head up stairs...Mark has cleaned the entire upstairs and placed a new white table cloth on the table....I look down at my feet and find an earth worm on top of my shoe mixed with BLACK KOW....Then it was time for dinner....Andrew made me a salad after playing catch outside against the wall for an hour (doubt he washed his hands)..the salad was a strawberry, apple, orange, carrot and cinnamon salad...low in calorie...perfect for my new diet.I never got around to putting my clothes in the boxes and was tempted to eat an entire pound cake myself after the craziness but held my own..Mother's never really get a day they? Please share with me if you have a similar funny and not so perfect Mother's Day.. please share (video or written)....fill out the Mr. Linky at MOTHERHOOD IN REAL TIME. Be sure to hit the follow button on the side. And somehow add my link at your website to join...funniest story gets an ebook of TO BE A MOTHER (my soon to be released book/which is a pro life memoir)..

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Mothers in our Lives!

Shmoopy asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day. I told her I would get back to her because I honestly didn't have anything in mind.  It got me thinking though. Then I decided that I really wanted to spend the day honoring the mothers in our lives who couldn't be with us.  It dawned on me that Princessa and my ethiopian children should remember their birth mothers as well. So, I am thinking of getting flowers to plant in our garden on sunday in honor of them.
Alma-was 14 when she became pregnant with Princessa. She would be about 19 now. Her birthday is in May around this time. I speak with our baby often about her. She lives somewhere in Peten and we have no idea if she has any more children now.   We have one picture of her that shows her profile. Beautiful long straight brown hair and a sweet face.
Elena- Princessa's foster mom who took care of her for 8months and still receives pics from us.  A year ago I asked Princessa how she learned how to pray so well and she told me that it was from Elena.
Bayoush-the mother of our 3 ethiopian children who is in Heaven now.  We have no picture of her but we know she was beautiful and the mother of two additional boys in Ethiopa ages 16 and 14.  We know she sang and liked to cook. She also had beautiful long hair.
Grandma Atalay in Ethiopia-Bayoush's mom and the grandmother that took care of the kids after their mother died. She tried to take care of them forever but eventually had to give them to the orphanage.  For our two youngest Ethiopian children she is the one they mostly remember as their mom.
And of course we will remember Grandma Shirley in Illinois, Grandma Gale in Florida and their mothers.
It may be a bittersweet day for our kids. But i would like them to have a sense of pride and knowing that they have always been loved and never rejected. This is a way for them to show love and respect for the women in their lives they may never see again...I hope one day we get to meet Alma and see Elena again. I hope we also get to see Grandma Atalay. Only time will tell. In the meantime, we will have flowers.  Our children love flowers and they will always be a reminder to them of the women that will always love them dearly....

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm THe Mom!

Very funny Video! I put it on Motherhood in Real Time too but love this woman. She should really get a standing ovation!!!!