Friday, April 27, 2007

Who would wear that?!



Was anyone lucky enough to catch this edgy tee shirt for sale at Urban Outfitters? At $24 its a steal! Who's bright idea was this slogan? Its no wonder that it was pulled from their website within 24 hours.

~Markus~

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

First Homestudy Interview

So yesterday things really got rolling! Our social worker came to our house for our first homestudy interview. We need to have three total. She said that if we get our paperwork together quickly and can squeeze our meetings in then she'll be done in about a month - yeah!

The meeting was fairly general. She asked us some questions, but not too much in depth just yet. We talked about adoption in the community as well as the Ethiopian presence in the area (apparently there is one - we just have to find it!).

She also told us a little bit about a few other adoption programs and mentioned that to adopt a baby from Russia it can cost $60,000 and require 3 trips! Isn't that crazy?!? Apparently white babies are in high demand - some agencies are worried more about profit than these poor children.

Below I'm going to put in a video I found on someone else's blog about Ethiopian orphans. If you have read the book "There is No Me Without You" by Melissa Fay Green (which is just GREAT by the way) you will recognize Haregewoin (she is a woman who started taking in AIDS orphans and is the subject of that book). It is 20 min long, but if you have a chance to watch it, it really is very informative and inspirational.

We will keep you posted as things progress! Thanks so much to those of you who are writing reference letters for us. It means so much to have you all be a part of this process.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Little Sunshine...

Well, after a post-Easter snowfall Grace was happy to finally be able to go outside and plant her sunflower seeds. Check out the video!



~Markus~

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why Ethiopia?



There seem to be 2 big questions we are asked:

1) Why adoption?
2) Why Ethiopia?

First of all, we actually don't get the first question all that much. Quite a few people have told us that they are not surprised we wanted to adopt. And, we have been talking about it, at least on some level, for a long time. We have always wanted to adopt and it was always a matter of when, not if.

The more common question seems to be how we chose our country. Sometimes I think the country chose us.

When we first started considering our options, we first looked domestically. But we discovered that (1) it is difficult to adopt toddlers (usually just babies and children over 7) and (2) we were not the best candidates for a domestic infant since we have no infertility problems (obviously...) and already have 2 children. So the first agency we spoke with pointed us in the direction of international adoption.

Then our discussions were put on hold for awhile. Once we picked the topic back up, we started looking into different programs. Because I am bilingual in Spanish, we were leaning toward a Latin American country.

We quickly realized many programs were not options, either because we did not meet the country requirements (not old enough) or because the in-country stay requirements were very prohibative

Now all this probably sounds like Ethiopia was a last resort doesn't it? Well, the truth is we had not committed to adopting yet - still investigating, trying to determine what would work for us. We honestly can't remember exactly how we began discussing Ethiopian programs. What we do remember is that once we did ... it was all over.

There are many people and groups against international adoption. And it is true - international adoptin is NOT the answer for these countries long-term. It is a last resort. But right now - today - in Ethiopia and other African nations, there are millions of orphans at their last resort.

We've read that the money a family spends on an adoption would be better spent on a donation to in-country programs to support orphans. There is a place for such financial support. Ideally, Ethiopia would be a country that could heal itself and absorb its orphaned children within its own boundaries, without international adoption. But that is not a reality right now. In a country that has been terrorized by the AIDS pandemic, millions dead because life saving drugs are too expensive, there are many children without parents, aunts, uncles OR grandparents to take them in. For those that still have extended family members, those families are often financially stretched simply caring for their own families or other orphaned nieces and nephews. We hope that international adoption is not necessary for long. But right now, there are 4-6 million children in Ethiopia without one or both parents. More than anywhere else in the world.



Personally, we give the Ethiopian government a lot of credit - for a country that places an extremely high value on its children, it must have been a difficult decision to allow foriegners to take those children abroad. But the government recognized that its own resources were stretched and rather than allow these children to live on the streets or over burden already taxed orphanages, it has allowed international adoption. It takes a great deal of humility for the government to admit that the best hope for its orphans may not lie from within.

We feel that there really is no greater gift you can give someone that the gift of love, but not just that, the gift of love that a parent and child share. To think that you can offer that to a child without a family at all, really, to a child to whom you have no obligation to, is the greatest gift we can imagine.

~Cat and Markus~

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We're Pregnant!



Okay, so we are NOT actually pregnant... but beginning the adoption process feels very similar in many ways (fortunately, WITHOUT the horrible morning sickness and weight gain).

We've just started telling people and it is really fun to have some share in our excitment! Others seem to be happy for us, but not at the same level. I think maybe it is a big idea to wrap your head around and we are just hoping that everyone's excitment will grow once we are further along in the process and especially once we have our referral and know who our son is going to be.

I'm really glad that Grace continues to be excited. Today she told me, "you know mom, we need to get him some toys." Since this was out of the blue while I was getting ready for work, she caught me off guard. "Who honey?" Then she roller her eyes (yes, she is only 5) and said, "My brother. We only have girl toys. I think we should get him a big truck." It was so cute!



It is great to have support as we start this process. Originally we planned to keep it quiet for much longer. But that was problematic for several reasons. However, now that it is out (at least to some degree) it makes me excited all over again. The positive vibes are giving me that extra push toward the moutain of paperwork and hoops to jump through that await us!

~cat~

Monday, April 2, 2007

Waiting...

It is clear already - even so early on - that this will be a process of WAITING. Already, we are waiting for our application to be accepted, waiting to apply to our homestudy agency, waiting to really 'begin' the process.

In the mean time, enjoy a video that Mark made - (you may need to pause it to let it load)



All we can really do now is try and gather documents and be ready whenever everyone else is. This lack of control may drive me crazy.

It's going to be a long year!

~Cat~