Friday, January 26, 2007

Day After, Month After...Whatever!!!

I am WAY BEHIND on a lot of things after the Holiday chaos. We took a lot of pictures, visited a lot of family, gave and received a lot of gifts, and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, that didn't leave a lot of time for blogging. So, since this is my blog, I am posting my Christmas photos a month after the Holiday instead of the day after. Wanna make something of it?! 8^) For documentation purposes, if nothing else, enjoy the photos of our Christmas morning.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

All the Links in the Chain

If you have adopted from Ethiopia, or are in the process, there is a blog you NEED to visit! It is the Ethiopia Adoption Blog on It is written by Mary, of Owlhaven fame, who also happens to be the adoptive Mom to 2 beautiful little girls from Ethiopia. The information and insight she has to share is quite helpful! She is currently putting together a list of links to blogs written by families involved with Ethiopian adoption. So, if you you haven't already done so, and you have a blog that qualifies, be sure to stop by this post so she can add you to the list.

** A quick note about have forums for most things adoption related. There are blogs for specific countries, domestic, foster, specific faiths, infertility, parenting, adoptee, birth parents, etc. It's a great source of information and connection to other people involved in the adoption process.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A (Not So) Quick Reply!

Since I haven't been able to respond to comments lately, I'll do my best to cover everything in this post. If you have left a comment here recently, scroll down through the following list and you will probably find my reply. If not, please come back and comment again soon. I promise I'm not usually quite so rude. 8^)

  • Erin O' - As always, thanks for the great information. Even other commenters were impressed with your "surfing" skills! I will definitely be checking out the sites you mentioned, and I look forward to reading about your progress on the road to Ethiopia.
  • Mary - Thanks for stopping by. You and your girls have been an inspiration. They're gorgeous!
  • Darci - Grace is growing amazingly fast! Of course, before you know it, you'll have pics of another fast growing little one to put on your blog. Yippee!!
  • Sarah - I'm glad I found help too. Now I just have to get the guts up to call her. I guess I used up my confidence on the 1st phone call and my "Response" post this week. 8^) You are right on about speaking before we think sometimes. My Dad used to tell me I had "no tact" when I was a teenager. Hopefully, I've improved dramatically since then.
  • Amanda - It's good to know someone notices when I disappear from the blog-o-sphere from time to time. 8^) Thanks for the compliments on Grace's hair. Your dedication to hair issues with your boys has been an inspiration to me. Thanks.
  • Renee - You are SOOO sweet!! I actually do have a lotion that I LOVE!!! It keeps Grace moisturized, and the best part, it works for my WHOLE family. Long before Grace ever came home, we had some major dry, sensitive, eczema, rash prone, etc., skin issues at our house. We can not have any scents or dyes in anything that gets applied directly to the skin, or most things that even come in contact. Even when those things are eliminated, many products still cause a reaction. There is ONE that all of us can use. That is Aveeno, Active Naturals, Daily Moisturizing Lotion. We've used it head to toe on Grace since she got home, and she is always soft and smooth.
  • Taundra - I can hardly believe the time has already come to get your girls!! I am so excited to see your family come together just the way God intended. Have a safe trip, and make sure to take advantage of some of the hair expertise that's so readily available (and inexpensive) while you're in Addis. I love you guys!!!
  • Chou-Chou - I am LOVING the Yahoo skin/hair care group! Good for you for getting a head start on these issues. I wish I would have thought of that. 8^)
  • Sue - I really do think Grace likes it when she has her hair done. Of course, it may be that she just likes all the extra attention she gets when she looks "extra" pretty. What self respecting female would turn that down?!
  • Jeanne & Ann - Obviously said by the Moms of wiggly little girls. ;^) Grace actually flops to the floor and tries to rub her head on the carpet while I am combing her hair out. When do you think she will realize that makes the process take longer?
  • Anne - We can work on overcoming our hair "phobias" together. We just need to be sure to mention the "treasures" we find along the way, and post warnings about the rest, so everyone can skip a few mistakes. The way I see it, our kids, our pocketbooks and other adoptive parents will benefit in the long run.
  • Brian - I am totally impressed by your hair skills! Not only do you admit that you do hair (many Dads probably wouldn't), but you do it well, and know the terminology. I still want a tour of your "secret hair stash" when we make it down your way someday.
  • Suzy Q - Considering the dedication you've shown to blogging while you've been waiting for your new sibling, I have no doubt that you will do a fine job of learning what you need to know about haircare as well. When the time comes, I will be happy to share anything I have figured out.
  • Perri - As usual, your comments made me smile. 8^) You check on me when I don't post for a while. You remember things like Grace not having any teeth yet. You are a great "blog" friend, that I would surely enjoy hanging out with "in real life" too. By the way, I know who Andi is. I don't think anyone could read your blog for very long without figuring that out. Plus, I've been reading her blog for a while too.
  • Jane - "Remember, the Internet does a great deal well, but it does have its shortcomings"...What a brilliant statement! As for the rest of what you said; I am TOTALLY flattered!
  • MP2 - My sweet friend to the North! I don't think I've ever told you this, but since I do the blogging at our house, my husband has a far less intimate knowledge of our online acquaintances. Whenever I want to tell him about something you said, I always refer to "the person that sent me the virtual bouquet". It has been so fun (ok, really hard sometimes too) to travel on this adoption path alongside your family. Thanks for all your support.
  • DeAnna - I do believe you have two of the cutest little girls on the planet!! Thank you for your straight talking, God-fearing, humble ways. It is always a pleasure to read your posts and comments. 8^)
  • Andi - Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself, although I never could have mistaken you for a lurker. After reading your Mom's blog for the last several months, I almost feel like we've met. I've also been reading your blog since you had Sophie. I have commented a couple times, but if anyone was lurking it was probably me on quite a few posts. Thanks for the condolences on the Charger loss. I'll wish you good luck as your team moves forward, but I think I better refrain from going so far as saying "Go Co#*s!" I don't want to give my poor, grieving husband a coronary. 8^(
  • Brianna - I know you said you feel huge, but I just have to tell you that you are probably one of the cutest pregnant women I have ever seen!! I am totally impressed with your beautiful family. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, and pointing out other perspectives when we see things differently. I appreciate your honesty too.
  • Shelly - "I am an AA female or if I get technical I am an African American, with a little Native american and a little European American tossed in ..but who cares about all of that..." This is the wisest thing I've heard in a VERY long time!! When we all quit worrying so much about giving ourselves, and others, titles, maybe we'll figure out how to live in peace and harmony. I'm not talking about Utopia here, just a place where our skin color, hair texture, religion, income, etc., aren't more important than our personality, integrity and character. OK, so I probably am talking about Utopia, but it sure would be nice!
  • 5KidDad (aka Will) - As always, I love you Sweetheart! Thanks for watching my back, and I'm sorry about your Chargers. Go Padres!!!
  • Dawn, Kelsey Christine, Angie & Sue - You are all so kind! I think Grace is pretty darn cute too. Of course, I might be a little biased. 8^)

  • My VERY NICE husband has been holding down the fort while I took care of the comment backlog. Now I'm off to take my turn so he can go play in a softball game. Yes, they play year round here in sunny Southern California. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, it is supposed to be 28 degrees tonight, with light and variable winds. BRRRRRR!!!! I will be happy to stay home with the kids!

    Important Reminder

    Today, as Justin (4 yrs old) was carrying his lunch to the table, I reminded him to,

    "Use both hands."

    To which he replied,

    "Don't forget my opposable thumbs, Mom!"

    Thanks Everyone!!

    First of all, I just have to say.....I have the BEST readers ever!!! You all are so full of encouragement, compliments, helpful websites, comiseration, affirmations and a little righteous ire when it looks like my back needs watching. Thanks to all of you! How could I not have a smile on my face after that?! 8^)

    Now, on to other blogging business. Ever since I changed over to Blogger Beta (or New Blogger, as it likes to call itself), all my comments come to me with no way to answer by email unless I have an email address from a previous exchange. In all honesty, I was spoiled by my previous ability to just hit "reply" to zip off a response to a comment, so I didn't save the addresses. Oops. Some people that leave comments here have a blog, and some do not. Some of the people that have a blog, do not have the "email me" function enabled in their profile. That means, other than leaving a comment on one of their posts (very likely a post completely unrelated to what they commented about on my blog), the only way for me to respond to comments is here on my own blog. That's OK most of the time, but if any of you are like me, you might not make it back to recheck the comments on a post you have already read. For those without a blog, I am not a mind reader, and refuse to employ detective services to reply to a simple comment. So, that was a really long way of saying you should either include your email address with each of your comments, or drop me an email with your name and email address once, so I can save it and be a polite blogger (most of the time anyway). OK?


    Hair/Skin Care Group

    For anyone that might need assistance, inspiration, a shoulder to cry on (j/k) as they navigate these new and different hair/skin trials, I am including the contact information to subscribe to the Yahoo group I mentioned in this post. You just click on the link below, and send a blank email. The group moderator will contact you to let you know how to proceed from there.

    Click Here to Subscribe

    I do want to point out a couple things before you rush right over to subscribe though. This is a VERY active group. On average, I probably get at least 50 emails from this forum EVERYDAY. If that seems overwhelming, but you would still like the opportunity to participate, you do have the option to receive the messages in "digest" form, or to read them solely on the group site. There is Christian content from time to time, although I have yet to see anyone offended by its' inclusion or exclusion in the posts. The group is open to ALL trans racial adoptive parents. That includes International, Domestic, Foster/Adopt, Married, Single, Gay/Lesbian, etc. In my short tenure, the families in this group have been very welcoming and supportive of all members, regardless of similarities or differences. Overall, most people tend to maintain a light, humorous tone, which makes for a generally pleasant experience.

    Sunday, January 14, 2007


    I got a comment in response to this post. I appreciated some of it, but some of it just plain ticked me off. I thought for a good long while, and decided I needed to respond. Unfortunately, there was not an email address or blog to answer back to, so I decided to do it here. As my husband pointed out, it's my blog, and that's my right. So here it goes:

    Dear Sheryl,

    I'm pleased to hear you've been reading my blog. I originally started this endeavor to keep family and friends up to date on our exciting journey, but it has turned into so much more. I don't know if you have your own blog, but I hope you have thought about the "big picture" when making posts and/or comments. It is impossible to please everyone. In fact, it's really hard to know what to blog about, and what to keep personal. It's especially tough to guess how family, friends, and even complete strangers, will react to any particular post. I do my best, but on occasion, I miss the mark for someone.

    I have determined that I have a good sized audience from the adoption community. Mostly, that includes white parents adopting black children. Unlike some people, my family and I never felt a moment's hesitation when God called us to adopt from Africa. The original country (Lesotho) did not have international adoption laws, so we immediately investigated ALL African countries that did. Ethiopia was a perfect fit for us. Many might have looked elsewhere because of racism, ignorance, skin color or fear of something as simple as hair care. We did not! Our daughter Grace is a source of great joy, and a ray of light in our home everyday. No one else would do!!

    I would be lying to say that the hair care issues of a black child were not a "challenge" for me. I have very fine hair, with almost no body. I have spent my entire life trying to get it to do something, ANYTHING!! I am allergic to almost all lotions. Off the top of my head, I can think of two that don't cause me a severe allergic reaction. I have eczema, "combination" and sensitive skin, severely oily at the scalp and dry at the ends hair, etc. Many of my biological children share some or all of these issues. My Ethiopian daughter has her own set of issues. They just don't happen to fit into the already complicated repertoire of the rest of our family. However, I think I have made it abundantly clear that I am willing and anxious to learn.

    For the record, I did not ever use the word "tame". Although, considering the way hair often looks when kids (both white and black) wake up from their naps, it probably would have fit. The word "challenge" is simply the truth. I have SOOOO much to learn. I REALLY don't know what I'm doing. I am the "clueless white Mom". None of this says anything about my daughter. I understand what you're saying about the messages black children receive from the general public, but would it be better for my daughter to receive less than honest statements at home? If anything, I was rather self deprecating in the post you responded to. We tell Grace constantly how pretty she is. My husband's favorite pet name for her is "Beautiful". Her sister and brothers applaud when she finishes getting ready for the day and looks "So Pretty!". The fact that I have a lot to learn, and am struggling, hardly reflects on her.

    When I write a blog post, I am aiming for my particular audience. I am VERY careful about statements or stories that might be uncomfortable to my children or husband. Believe it or not, I actually pray about each and every post. I DO NOT want to cause pain, confusion, hurt, etc., to anyone; especially those I love the most. Can you recall any posts about my sons' ADHD, OCD, RAD, depression, etc.? How many of my blog posts come to mind when you think of pre-teen angst and hormonal outbursts? How about 4 year old willfulness and disrespect? Finally, I feel pretty safe in saying you will never read anything negative about my husband here. He is my life partner, best friend and a most wonderful father to all of our children; in spite of his human-ness. Let's not even get started on my depression and anxiety disorders. Some topics are just plain off limits.

    I'm sorry if my post offended you in some way. That was never my intent. You stated that you did not intend to offend either, and I will take your word for that. I am a kind, compassionate person with positive motives. I'm not perfect, but I strive to do my best every single day. I wish my intentions could always be understood, but regardless, my mission in writing this blog will remain constant. I wish to keep our family and friends up to date, while educating them and others that stop by from time to time. Please feel free to keep reading, but understand that my honesty is going to continue.


    Playoffs (w/ Update)

    Since our great date two weeks ago, the excitement has REALLY been building at our house. We have spent a fair amount of time acquiring the proper game watching wardrobe.

    Will has given me daily updates on the discussions (more like debates/trash talk)on the sports talk radio shows. I have learned more about individual player and team statistics than I thought I would ever know. My kids have even come home from school sharing stories of friends and faculty at school getting prepared for the big game.

    This is not usually my particular personal obsession, but with my entire family getting caught up in the excitement, it's tough to keep from joining in. So here we sit, watching the Chargers play the Patriots in the biggest game the Chargers have participated in since 1998.

    Update: Bummer!!!!!!!!!!!

    Saturday, January 13, 2007


    Happy Birthday Tyler!!!

    We Love You!!!!

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Another Do

    This hair stuff is no joke!! There is a Yahoo group for trans racial adoptive parents that is totally dedicated to skin and hair care. I think that begins to illustrate the size of the challenge. I am trying to learn about which products work best and which products to avoid; what to do to help Grace's hair and skin, and what not to do because it will damage them. Yes, I did say DAMAGE! In the past week, I have read about hair breaking off, falling out, even ceasing to grow. I have read about bumps, rashes and scales on scalps, elbows, faces, etc. I used to think my sensitive skin and fine textured hair were a pain to deal with. It turns out, I had it pretty darn easy compared to this. I am willing to learn, but am clueless and confused when I stand in the middle of the hair product aisle at the store. So, I've decided it's time to enlist the help of the professionals. I called a local salon that specializes in "black" hair yesterday. I felt kind of silly trying to explain my situation (you know, the clueless white Mom with a sweet little brown baby that is developing a serious case of uncontrollable hair), but after a little chuckle, the man gave me the personal cell phone number of their stylist, Shamika. He assured me that she would be more than happy to answer all my questions, meet with me to teach me about products and styling techniques, and of course, provide "beauty" services as needed. If ever there was an answer to prayer, this was it!!

    What? Where??

    This is my Dad's house, car, yard, etc., this morning. He lives just an hour north of us; still very much in Southern California. I lived in this exact house, and in my own house just a couple miles up the road, for a combined total of almost 15 years. In all those years, a few snowflakes drifted down from the sky on only one occasion. They definitely did NOT stick to the ground or accumulate.

    There is a rumor (can you call messages from the National Weather Service anything else?) going around, that the snow level here in So Cal will be dipping down to 900 ft above sea level tonight. Considering our expected overnight low of 26 degrees, and the predicted scattered showers, it might actually happen. My kids are hoping, praying, begging and pleading with God, Mother Nature, and any other higher power they can think of, for snow to fall on OUR house. They may even set up a watch schedule during the night, with strict instructions for the scheduled sentry to sound the alarm if any flakes are detected.