Saturday, June 30, 2012


We found Thursday mid morning that we filed for Embassy!  We are cautiously excited.  We have no idea when we will get to bring Chernet home.  Some people say by the end of July, yet others have waited 6-8 weeks (or more) to be cleared by the US Embassy.  If I have learned anything through our adoptions, it is this: timing is not mine to figure out...only God knows when Chernet will come home. And despite my work schedule or life or plans, if we are truly waiting on him, He shows up just in time....

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Consider HIV adoption?

When we chose to adopt a child with HIV, it was like a "burning bush" moment for us. However, for many families it is not like this. It is a long, contemplative process with hours of research devoted to the decision. For us, it came down to this: Who are we to wait 10-12 months to be matched with a "healthy" child when the reason we are adopting is to give a home to a child who needs it? God did not wait for us to be the most perfect, healthy versions of ourselves when He welcomed us to His family....who are we to do the opposite.
I was sitting in my annual doctor's appointment this year and my doctor told me how noble it was to adopt a child with a terminal illness. I was dumbfounded. She was a medical doctor and still felt HIV to be an early death sentence. I explained to her that it is not.....that new research is coming out about HIV+ men and women living into their 60s. As you can see, the knowledge of HIV, its transmission, treatment and living with it, has changed very little since the late 80s if even a medical doctor has the wrong perception of the disease. HIV can not be transmitted through playing with each other, sharing straws, kissing, hugging, birthday parties.... a case has never been reported of transmission through casual household contact. You contract HIV through sexual contact, sharing needles, and maternal-fetal transmission (though uncommon in America with medication advances). That's it. That simple.
Managing a child with HIV usually consist of medication twice daily, followup with infectious disease doctors every three months and being a voice for the child when others dare to persecute him or her. Discussing sexuality and reproduction is something that will be addressed earlier than you would like. More than anything, guess what these kids need? Yep, a family who will love them despite the disease hiding within their little bodies. That family could indeed be you!
I would like, however, to say WHY NOT to adopt an HIV+ child? Please do not choose HIV+ adoption because you will wait less time on a child. While HIV is definitely a manageable disease, it is something both you and your child will deal with for a lifetime. So when you start contemplating this, remember do not do this for speed of the process, but for a genuine calling to these children.
So when thinking about adoption, think about these children, the ones stigmatized by a disease given to them not by their doings but by the sins, mistakes and choices of adults. The children who may age out of the orphanage, have limited medication access, continue to reproduce with possibly positive children of their own, and thus perpetuate the cycle. It will not be an easy journey but if an easy journey is what you are seeking, you may want to reconsider adoption. Adoption is a beautifully blessed but difficult journey and more so on both accounts when dealing with HIV.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Update.... of sorts.

We found out yesterday that our paperwork is ready to be filed for embassy...Great news! Our agency files their cases each Wednesday.... we missed the filing yesterday.  People who even traveled after us were filed.  However, the fact that Chernet is HIV+ makes him have a much more detailed medical clearance than a "healthy" kid... thus the hold up.  So now, we wait for that.  We pray that his stuff is ready next Wednesday... once he is submitted it could take 1-2 weeks to be cleared or up to 12+ weeks......

What does that mean?  We need his medical clearance to happen ASAP so he can be filed for embassy....and then come home.  And also....I need it to not be a further imposition for HIV+ to get home... Let's be honest....they need to get home just as soon as the "healthy" kids. 

So think about our little boy today.... cause we sure want him here

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Last year on Father's Day I wrote about the many, many dads that are not there every day...DNA donors rather.  You can read it Here.  I also talked about the four men in my life, four fathers, who really made a difference.  This year I am so thankful for these men.... for my father and step father for making me a better person.... my father-in-law for making JT who he is.... and JT for, first, being the best friend I could have....a loving father and devoted husband.  Also, though, I am thankful for Chinesho, Tedi's birth father, whom neither Tedi nor us ever met.  I hope to honor him the raising of his child by birth. 

What I have learned this year, even more than in years past, is truly being thankful for the dads in my life.  Two of my closest friends have lost their father prematurely.  Each day is more difficult for them....especially today when we all honor and celebrate our fathers, that absence of theirs is more palpable. Because of their loss, I have a greater appreciation for my dad and moments with him.  The same goes for my step father....  It goes without saying that I appreciate JT but I also want to show Tedi, and soon Chernet, to really appreciate their daddy and every moment they get with him here on earth.  To teach them what a blessing it is to have such a dedicated daddy in their lives.

Thank you guys... and Happy Father's Day

Tedi and my dad

Tedi and Bob, my step-dad

JT and Tedi

Tedi and Pop, JT's dad

Chinesho, Tedi's birthfater

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I have had a rough few days.  It was a stretch of time when I thought I could do everything for everyone and not get tired and have everyone like me the whole time and save children through medicine, through advocating for them and through adopting.  In Ethiopia, I fell in love with the children.  I would find them all homes or at least provide resources for them to stay in Ethiopia and thrive....if I could in a perfect world.  When we returned home, I ached for the older children, specifically the HIV+ ones older than five.   I learned of this girl who was almost seven.  We even prayed about adding her to our family.  It was not the time for us.  That is a hard decision to reach.  Over the weekend, I felt re-convicted about her...her sweet face and her absence of family, because of age....because of the HIV...  I brought it up to JT.  He reminded me that while it is unfortunate, we live in a fallen world with many orphans and that I alone can not be a mommy to all them despite my heart's deepest desire to do so. 

I prayed that God would take away the constant nagging in my heart for her.  I knew this wouldn't happen.  How could I ever advocate for her and others if that nagging was not there?  So I simply asked for a peace.

It is interesting though how He gives peace.  There is never a big burning bush on 5th Street in Louisville.  There is never a glowing person descending into my living room  (though someday I think He actually will go there to squash my incessant sarcasm).... Just before I showered after my 28 hour shift, I called my mom...just to chat.  She had no idea what I was conflicted about.  She began telling of her dentist who is adopting and how he is struggling with trying to "save everyone"....  she said "I tried to tell him only God can save" .... there was the match to light my burning bush....

I then scrolled through my Facebook feed (as we all do) to see that is back up and running with great stories, information and such.  I was reading one family's story and read embedded comments are bolded and italicized:

I love many of Mother Teresa’s quotes (UM, me too). One that stands out to me, and I think about almost daily is “There are no great acts, only small acts done with great love.” I love this, because I feel like it empowers us to do something. We aren’t going to solve the world’s orphan crisis, until we solve global poverty…and even then, there would still be orphans (Please stop writing this to me). The problem is huge. It is estimated that there are more than 143 million orphans world wide. That can be paralyzing. So… What can we really do about it?


We all can do something. That will look different for different people. For us, it meant adopting 2 kids that happened to have HIV. For others, it will mean adopting one child, or for some, 10 kids or more! For some people it will mean giving sacrificially so that others can adopt (they can give directly to someones adoption agency, or have a fund-raising event to help bring a child home) It could mean that you decide to bring a foster child into your home, or that you provide respite care for an adoptive or foster parent. You could pray for and encourage your local foster care workers (never though of this). Go to their office and ask them what their greatest needs are. You could sponsor an orphan overseas…pray for them…visit them. You could gather a small group of friends and sponsor an entire orphanage. It doesn’t end there, there is so much you could do… A friend of mine is in process of converting her basement into a rent free apartment for a homeless teenage mom and her child. Is she serving orphans? I think she is. She is reaching out to someone who is without a family… and becoming a family to them. My challenge would be that you would pray and ask God where He wants you to move. And how. And then, do it. Do whatever small act He calls you to. I’m confident, that He will have something to say to you, if you ask.  (Yep, I get it...)

These words were the spark to join the match....I wish I could take credit for these words...even to paraphrase felt inadequate. Check out the whole story HERE.  These words are right... I can do something.  Everyday I can do SOMETHING and it does not have to mean being a literal mommy to all the children orphaned around the world.  I can swallow my ugly pride and love my patients' families even when they are needy and demanding and unloving to me.  I can advocate for children, regardless of health.  I can educate families on the medicine of adoption, the good and the bad sides.... I can be a good mom, or at least try, to the little blessing I have in my home.  So I can do a lot... a lot of little things can make a BIG difference despite the deceit that can try to convince otherwise. 

Then something came in the mail today which was the fire...the final "okay, I get it.  I see it. Leave me alone now God." A few weeks ago a friend posted that Funky Fish Designs was selling one of their pendants BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE.... I mean, duh, I had to look.  They were copper and silver pendants with a hummingbird on them, as well as a plus sign, to support HIV+ adoption.  The designer at Funky Fish designed these to raise support for Project Hopeful.  When Project Hopeful started, the mom's that started it called themselves "The Hummingbird task force." .... Hence the hummingbird.  I liked the pendants for what they meant.  I purchased and forgot.  They got lost in the mail and then after a resend (great customer support), they arrived last night while I was on call.

I arrived home today and ripped open the envelope.  I loved it even more in person.  I flipped open the website to re-read their story so that when I gave the second one as a gift today I could explain it better to my friend.  On the website, I found a more detailed story about the hummingbird.

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging
wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and
powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought
there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked
up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the
stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals
watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother,
it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you
can't put out this fire."

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a
mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or
losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."

I, we, can only do what we can, but as the family story from above discussed, we all MUST do something.  So, now, at least for today, I get it.  I can only do what I can do.  As much as my heart would like to single handed-ly solve the orphan crisis and then move on to sex trafficking and then and then and then.... but you see, there is always an "and then" 

What do I about that girl?  I pray that there is a family for her.  I advocate for her and the next child just like her.  I pray for my boy that will be coming home soon.  I fight for the children who are in my care at work and what is best for them.  And then, I repeat tomorrow.  That is what I do for now.  What will you be "doing"?  What is your "something"?


So we are trying to sell the remaining few shirts.  They are on sale for $10 (plus $2 for shipping).  We love the material and design but need them out of our closet! 

What's Left:

Blue XL: 8
Gray, Blue, White 2XL: 1 of each color
Gray Small: 1

If interested, please email me at

Sunday, June 10, 2012


.....yep...Chernet is growing like a weed.  Thanks to another adoptive family who visited last week, I got these cute pictures.... I mean, he is so mischievous... we are going to have our hands full, no doubt.....the crazy thing, I would take more in a minute!  Now we just pray for a date to bring this little snot home to our crazy family.  (look at those great curls)

Really? Seriously? Nuva Rings?

I read an article last week written by a prominent Christian figure that condemned the use of birth control by Christian woman.  There is so much I could say to the article, as a woman, a doctor, and a wife... Initially, I walked away from the article feeling angry....and the more I sat on it, the more I realized that I, like the author and all of the supporters, were really missing the point. (and turning away any non-Christian who ventured to read it)

I was really punched in the gut about it... I mean, come on, is that what we are concerned about? I am not here to argue the points, merits, or issues in this article... Not the purpose of my blog.  I am here to say DOES IT REALLY MATTER? 

Seriously.  We are called to Love Jesus. Serve People like Jesus did.  Love People like Jesus did.  Yep.  That is it.  I get that there is more theology contained in the Bible than that.  Nevertheless, if we boil it all down and all lived like Jesus (or at least tried to), we would spend so much time loving others that we would not have time to worry about such topics. 

As I write this, I am heavy hearted thinking of several orphans I met in almost seven year old and 11 year old girls who are HIV+..... who I am sure sit each day wondering when will their "today" be the day that they get moved to the transition house because they have family.  Yet so many Christians are worlds away arguing minuscule details of theological (like if my Nuva ring is an abortifactant) while these girls would like merely for someone to consider them....

Just so you know.... I say all of this knowing my personal imperfections, hang ups, screw ups, and realize that by even writing this I am myself passing a certain degree of judgement.  I totally get the hypocrisy. Don't think that I don't.  I was just wholly convicted by own anger and dwelling over the article and the time it took away from me advocating for orphans and families.....

So when you get hung up arguing theology, think about the faces of children wanting love and realize life really is about something more....

Friday, June 8, 2012

On waiting....

Waiting..... I have done this before. I would say last time may have been tougher in that we did not have a little one filling the days with noise. So while the empty spaces now are filled with chatter and laughter and activities and kisses, there are moments when looking at a picture of your child is not quite enough. I think back to our time with Chernet in Ethiopia. I imagine his schedule and find comfort in knowing what he may doing.

I am not complaining about the process. I personally believe the new process is better for the integrity of Ethiopian adoptions having been through this both ways. So while waits are longer, I feel the process is more ethical. Thus, I am not complaining. Just missing that huge smile. Just wanting another boy on the other side of seesaw.

For all of you at varying stages in the process. Take heart. It will be over soon enough but remember why you are in this.....not to wait for years for the Perfect age, perfect gender, perfect health....but rsther to make a difference in the life of a child. Reevaluate and consider this. Orphans can't help being orphans, being a boy and not a girl, being healthy or not, being 4 or 6 or 8 and not 12 months or younger. So while you wait, think. We sure did. And when we did everything changed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Mommy Book

When Tedi first came home, my sister bought him a book called The Daddy Book.  He wanted to dress like his daddy and do everything that his daddy did... I assumed there was a similar version for mommy's.  However, I never went looking for it. 

Today I was browsing Garden Ridge in effort to stay awake after a 26 hour shift.  As I was heading out, the book below was laying on the clearance table.  I bought it without reading it...just because there needed to be a mommy book to go with the daddy book.... RIGHT? 

As we have been preparing Tedi for Kindergarten for next year, he continually tells us "well, you are going to have pick up my brother and come to my school to pick him.  Like everyone else does with the little brothers and sisters."  At his pre-K, he saw this often with many of classmates so he assumed that is how it is supposed to be.  I have explained to him that every mommy AND daddy have different lives and different jobs and that we can not always pick him up from up school.  We also have been trying to explain that his brother may very well be at his school.  These concepts are not easy to explain, especially to an adamant almost 6 year old...The book did a great job of saying things that I relate to such as:

"Some mommies work at home. 
Some mommies work in big buildings.Some mommies like to cook. 
Some mommies like to order pizza. 
Some mommies go fishing. 
Some mommies go shopping. 
ALL mommies like to kiss and hug you."

Thus, I was glad I got it...  I found in this simple child's book so much truth for us as adults.  There are so many blogs, articles, facebook posts, commenting on others' thoughts while hiding behind social media, Yahoo groups .... you name it.... that criticize others' decision.  I mean really, people, we all do it differently but we all love our kids.  Some people in this world have bad intentions but  before we begin tossing words like stones, remember, we are all doing the best we can most days. 

It is a cute book and though a bit young for our son, it made the point I wanted to!  Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ethiopia Day 2

Again, this is directly from my journal...

Day 2: May 4, 2012

I am sitting on the airplance and we are about 2.5 hours from landing in Addis!  Thankfully we had the seat open between us.  We were quite confused when they gave us tickets that said 26H and 26D....What happened to E and G?  They must not exist on Ethiopian Airlines.

I have watches two movies, The Descendants and Seven Days in Utopia.  I would recommend both.  As I right, I am starting to watch Joyful Noise....with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.  Let's see how this goes... JT is watching The Godfather... yes, we have different movie styles.

Sleep has not come easily....even the Tylenol PM did not help all that much.  I am sure it is a combination of nerves, excitement, and overall discomfort from sitting upright for 14 hours.  The crew on Ethiopian Airlines has been great....complete with hot towels, hot tea and coffee, and they are beautiful. 

There is a large group of college kids (about 60-70 of them) traveling with us.  They are headed to Uganda for medical missions.  The group is a combo of EMT students, physician assistants, nurses, doctors and such.  Actually, one guy, Chris who was sitting next to me.... his high school teacher is the husband of the couple who started Project 61 in Korah, the dump in Ethiopia.

Our trip has been smooth.  I am a bit nervous about trip to Tedi's birth mom.  They emailed us just before we left to board our flight.  They said it was going to require an overnight stay near the village.  We are going to try to figure it all out when we get there.
We are now about an hour and twenty minutes outside of Addis or at least that far away from landing.  That means if we are an hour and twenty minutes from landing...we are about 2 hours or so from meeting Chernet!  I cam not wait to kiss his cheeks.  So excited!