To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Name Game: Part One

I've titled this with "part one" after it, because I know as the adoption process continues and the closer we get to our referral (and even after the referral) that we will be going back and forth when it comes to names.  This is simultaneously one of the most alluring and most exhausting parts of the process for me.

As an author, I am obsessed with names.  Literally.  I have books upon books upon books with names, meanings, and origins inside.  Old names, new names, mythological names, Biblical names, Hindi/Hebrew/African/French - blahblahblah - you think of it, I've got a name book specializing in it!  I've named tons of characters and lots of pets, but this is of utmost importance!  This is my child.

Mr. C and I have already decided that we're going to give a first name that we love with the middle name (hopefully) being one that Baby C's biological mom or dad gave him/her (this would be very special to us and hopefully to Baby C one day as well); however, if the Ethiopian name is one that was merely given by a caretaker (and don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to down-play the importance of the caretakers in my future child's life by any means!) in the orphanage, then we will give two middle names - one that we like that goes with the first name we chose and the second being the name or nickname Baby C was called while in foster care/orphanage.

Most of the names we like are Irish, because both of our families are Irish.  My mom's biological mom (yes, my mom was adopted) was Irish.  She never became an American citizen.  I find this fascinating!  Mr. C and I have a very Irish last name; so, conveniently, most Irish names sound pretty kick-arse when paired with it.  I'm also pretty excited to show Baby C through naming that s/he is truly a part of OUR family.  By giving an Irish name (or any name that we simply love) instead of just focusing on giving Baby C an "African" name, we are showing that we are not putting him/her in a box (as in "you are the child adopted from Africa; therefore, you had to have an 'African' name").  Instead, we are removing him/her from the "them" category and placing him/her in the "us" category.  At least, that's what we're hoping for!  :-)

That being said, we've run into a few snags.  Not all of the names we love are Irish, and a few have pretty unfortunate meanings.  So, what to do?  Would you name your child something that you loved, even if it didn't have the best meaning out there?  Take Mary, for example.  We actually really like this name - a lot.  But, it means "sea of bitterness".  Ugh!  Terrible!  On the other hand, Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ (which is kind of a big deal! ha!).  Also, Mary and Miriam are very popular in Ethiopia (all Christianity related names are); so, using a name like Mary would be very mindful of Baby C's roots while still using a name we love.  *le sigh* Decisions, decisions!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few of the names we have come up with for boys and girls.  Our longer list that we made about a year ago has been refined and shortened considerably.  Let me know what you think!


Desmond ("man from Munster" the province in Ireland where my mom's bio family and Mr. C's family are both from)

Colm ("God's dove" - such a pretty meaning, but would people think I named him "Calm"?)

Finnegan ("bright, fair" - this almost seems like an oxymoron for the very basic and real fact that Baby C will not be "fair" but brown-skinned - is it pushing it? or can you dig it?)

Jude ("from Judea" - nice and obvious, right?! :)

Carlisle ("city of Lugovalos" in Scotland, this will be used as a middle name with nearly any of the above if the Ethiopian name did NOT come from a birth parent)


Maeve ("intoxicating" - Mr. C and I both LOVE this name! it's pronounced May-vuh)
Mary: ("sea of bitterness" - really iffy on this one since the meaning is just NOT good!)

Tallulah ("leaping water" - this is the meaning in a Native American tongue, but it is also a Welsh name, but I can't remember the meaning in that language, either way, I love it and the nicknames "Lulu" and "Lullah")
Layla ("night/black" - obviously this comes from one of my favorite songs of all time, Eric Clapton's version of "Layla")

Bridget ("exalted and lofty" - honestly, I don't think Mr. C likes this one very much - boo!)

So, those are the main options right now...what to do, what to do?  We've got TONS of time to think about it.  Plus, Mr. C is convinced that it doesn't matter what we pick out now, when we get the referral and look at Baby C's face, we'll know whether s/he is supposed to be a "this" or a "that".  He's probably right, but that's not going to stop me from contemplating names - I love it too much!  I guess also the naming process makes it all that much more "real" to me.

What do you all think?  Do you have a favorite name you'd like to suggest to us?  What do you think of the names we've chosen so far?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Love and Blessings

Fun for Fall: Kid's Sweaters at Target

Okay, okay, so I know that we're nowhere near getting Baby C!  Annnnnd, I know that even when s/he does arrive s/he'll still be really wee; therefore, I know that I shouldn't have even been looking in the toddler's section when I was running errands at Target yesterday, buuuuut, I couldn't help myself!

But truly, it's not my fault!  Anyone who knows me and Mr. C, knows that we have a soft spot for Scottie dogs (well, any dogs, but Scotties in particular) because we have a cute little Wheaten Scottie named Eagan.  So, what am I supposed to do when I look over at the girls section and see this:

YEAH, exactly!  Too cute, right?  So, then, I obviously had to make a detour through the whole section - ha!  These are the rest of the goodies I found:

I LOVE the bright colors!

This cardigan is so cute, I would seriously wear one (if it came in larger than toddler sizes - haha!)!

Classic boys sweaters.  I especially love the cable one on the right!
This was my favorite boys sweater - I love grey!
 Well, I'm sure you agree, these sweaters are pretty darn cute!  Now if only the weather here in good 'ole Missouri would cooperate so the kiddos could wear them - it was in the 80's today!!!!!  It's OCTOBER!  Ah well, it'll get cold and then I'll want it to be warm again.  *le sigh*

Have a lovely day; and if you have a wee one, go to Target and get one of these adorable sweaters!

Love and Blessings,

PS: I thought you all might enjoy seeing a picture of Eagan since I mentioned him above.  He's pretty precious, if I do say so myself!  ;-)

Eagan with a "doggie cone" at Andy's Custard.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top 100 Baby Purees!

Okay, so I have a quick minute; and I really wanted to blog about this awesome book I bought recently.  It's called Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby by Annabel Karmel, and it's pretty much amazing!

We have no real way of knowing how old Baby C will be when s/he comes home.  When we get our referral, s/he could be anywhere from 3 months to a nearly a year - that could be the difference between breast (if I'm lucky enough to be one of the very few adoptive mothers who are physically able to breastfeed their adopted child) and/or formula and the beginning of "real food", as my own mother says.  So, we're preparing for both possibilities.

I have to admit, I was a little freaked out by having to figure out what to feed a near-toddler in regards to more solid foods; but Annabel  leads you through not only tasty meals that most babies love, but also foods that are high in all sorts of minerals, vitamins, and good fats and proteins to help baby's body and brain grow to their healthiest potential - hooray!  It took a load off of my mind for sure!  Heck, some of her ideas looked so yummy, I was tempted to whisk some up for Mr. C and I!  "Salmon Surprise"?  Uhh, YES please!

The most important thing Mr. C and I have talked about is that we are expecting to expect nothing on this journey; which I think is a really good outlook for prospective parents to have when adopting internationally.  So, even when it comes to food, we are just going to go step-by-step and day-by-day knowing that things can always change or not work out.

I'm actually really looking forward to making Baby C homemade baby food, though!  My mom was a warrior woman - she stayed at home with three little girls, planted a garden every year, canned veggies and fruit and meats from our own organic farm, and still had time to create art and craft projects, have a perfectly decorated home, and get us to our private school and all extra-curricular activities we were involved in as well!  I hope I will be even half as amazing as she was and still is!

Well, I need to get off of here!  It's so easy to get caught up in "baby talk" these days!  I hope you're experiencing a lovely day wherever you are in the's a bit dreary here today, I must confess.  Let's hope for sunshine and blue skies for tomorrow, yes?

Go forth and be love,

PS:  Here's a link to Amazon where you can buy Annabel's book(s) and even download them to your Kindle - yay!


Cute Kid's Clolthes: Recent Online Finds

Just for fun!  Here are some cute clothing items I found recently while searching around online for both boys and girls.  It's so fun to think about dressing up Baby C in all sorts of precious, little if only we knew what gender the wee one was going to be!  Ah the shopper's agony of having to wait!  Haha!

Checked "Bonnie Jean" dress from Sophia Style.

Adorable sweater dress from Australian online kid's boutique, Little Wardrobe.
I love this little coat from Etsy seller Mani Mina.

Knucklehead's "Malcom" cardigan at Little Dudes Only.
Knucklehead's "Elmer" shirt at Little Dudes Only.  I LOVE the shoulder patches!
Striped "sailor shorts" from Etsy seller zacobekids.
Do you have some favorite online kid's clothing shops?  Feel free to suggest them to me here!  I'm so eager to being shopping for Baby C, but until we get our referral, I'm going to try really hard not to buy anything gender specific - I wonder if I'll make it!  Haha!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What I'm Reading...

I love to read; which is great, because with international adoption comes a LOT of necessary (and a lot of suggested) reading!  I've read so many books already, but these past two have been especially useful to Mr. C and myself.

The first is The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Child by Dawn Davenport, a mother 4-times over by both birth and adoption from China.  She has some very astute and personal observations about international adoption as well as a comprehensive, walk-through guide to some of the very things Mr. C and I have been both looking forward to and dreading about our future adoption - reviewing the medical reports and transitioning the adopted child to a new country, language, and lifestyle.  She has also included a very useful chapter on affording adoption with the help of loans, grants, and fund-raising - super helpful!  If you're interested in international adoption at all, I suggest reading Ms. Davenport's book (Amazon link below).

The second one is called Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents by Deborah D. Gray.  Attachment issues and bonding are one of the scariest issues for adoptive parents.  I'm finding more and more that we all worry - worry that we won't bond to the child, the child won't bond to us, that we won't be able to help our beloved children form the kinds of attachments that will define their ability to form lasting and healthy relationships for the rest of their can be quite daunting!

Ms. Gray gives lots of insight (clinical, observational, and anecdotal) about differing levels of attachment issues (both bad and good) with lots of suggestions and active options for guiding healthy bonding.  Both adoption professionals and those touched by adoption themselves (parents, siblings, and adoptees) are quotes in the pages of this book.  I'm not completely done, and I've already gleaned so much from what Ms. Gray has to share.  If you are touched by adoption in any way, I encourage you to read this book.  I think you will find it insightful and helpful.  As the child of an adopted mother and soon-to-be adoptive mother myself, I know I did!

After reading so many books on adoption, I'm thinking of breaking it all up with something fun!  What do you suggest?  Not long ago, I finished reading the last of what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to offer in the way of Sherlock Holmes novels; which was a bit sad.  I really enjoyed those!  I also recently re-read Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time!  I never get tired of Jane Austen's works; it's the romantic in me!

I look forward to any and all reading suggestions; my Kindle is ready to be filled with more goodies!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home Study Agency: Check!

Well, that's one giant check off of my list today!  After fretting about what home study agency we were going to sign on with, it all went rather smoothly - hooray!

We decided to go with Lutheran Family & Children's Services of Missouri out of Springfield.  They're close, friendly, right on target price-wise; plus, Gladney already has a long-standing relationship with working with their agencies nation-wide.  What a relief!  I had been dreading the seemingly endless list of social work and adoption agencies that provide home studies, but God truly lead my head and heart yesterday and today!  I am grateful!

Another plus, was that after digging around the house a bit, we realized that we have nearly all of the documentation needed for the I-600A form (the form that is cleared by the US government that will allow our child to come back into the US with us after s/he is adopted) - woo hoo!  The home study will be the last piece of the puzzle for that document; so, the faster things go with Lutheran Family Services, the faster things will go with USCIS and Gladney!

I feel as though God has truly had an active part in this process so far, even being in these very early stages.  Everything has gone smoothly (something we were/are not expecting) and everyone (thus far) has been beyond kind, compassionate, and helpful.  We are being blessed left and right!  God is so good!

Hope you're having a wonderful day in your part of the world!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TomKat Studio Free Downloads for "Operation Shower"

Operation Shower is an organization that throws baby showers for mamas-to-be in the military or with spouses serving abroad.  In honor of this upcoming season of giving thanks and this fabulous organization, one of my favorite bloggers, TomKat Studio, is offering up her super sweet "Give Thanks" downloadable party  good designs for FREE to those who make a donation to this worthy cause or host a shower for a deserving lady themselves!

Some of the super cute party items included in the FREE download from the brilliant TomKat Studios!

What a great deal, and a win-win situation too!  Click HERE to download the party goods and find out how to make a donation or throw a shower!

Happy Fall!

First Phone Calls AND "I Love My Hair"!

Exciting day!  Yesterday marked Mr. C and my 2nd anniversary!  Wooo!  Time flies when you're in love! ;-)

Then, this morning, bright and early after a loooooooong and tiring 8-day journey to Iowa and back, we had our orientation meeting with Gladney staffer Judy H.  She was so helpful and full of good information and suggestions.  While the amount of paperwork needed to fulfill our dossier (the massive bundle of private and public information about Mr. C and myself that will accompany our request to adopt form to Ethiopia) is daunting and even a little frightening; we know it will all be worth  it when we're holding our precious new baby in our arms.  "Keep your eyes on the prize", so to speak!

We've got lots to do: getting our home study in order, filling out final adoption requests with Gladney, finding friends and co-workers who are willing to fill out background information questionnaires on Mr. C and myself, deciding on god-parents, etc.  So, I'm going to get to work; BUT, I heard about this super cute new Sesame Street Muppet that sings a song to all the little brown girls and boys out there who are having issues with not loving their hair so much.

Mr. C and I have been doing TONS of research on African hair and skincare routines; and we have decided, quite ardently, that we absolutely do NOT feel comfortable pouring harmful chemicals on our child's hair to make it supposedly "more manageable" for ourselves.  However, we know that we are living in America where (especially for girls) the standards of beauty are often severe and unattainable (ie: Barbie).  So, when I heard this song preaching the glories of natural African hair, I was almost giddy!  Apparently, the head writer at Sesame Street has an adopted daughter from Ethiopia as well - small world, eh?!

You'll have to check it out yourself; but watch out, I swear, it'll get stuck in your head!  Enjoy!

Hope you're having a great day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grateful Thinking

Since we got the phone call from the adoption agency, I've been thinking a lot about our future child's birth mother.  For certain she will become pregnant within the next few months.  I wonder about her situation, her circumstances.  Is she okay?  Is she in a bad situation?  Who is the father-to-be of her child, our child?  Is she young?  Is she extremely poor?  Does she have a job?  An education?  So many questions.  Many that may not ever be answered...

I have started praying for her daily.  No matter how painful this experience has the potential to be on either side, I will never forget how grateful I am to this brave woman in Ethiopia who is going to provide an adoption plan for her child that he/she may become a part of my forever family.  I have been feeling SO grateful these past few days thinking of this woman, the birth father, the birth family, and Ethiopia as a country and it's willingness to allow foreigners like myself to adopt and love their children.

So, today, I am thinking only grateful thoughts.  I am amazed that from one family's potential sorrow and pain, another family is made whole and happy.  I hope and pray for the best possible situation for our relationship with this brave woman and her family.  I hope I get to meet her.  I hope that I get to tell her how grateful I am.  I want to hug her and promise to her that I will forever love and cherish our child.

God works in miraculous ways, and I feel as though I am about to take part in a miracle!  What a gracious, compassionate, fantastic God we have! 

Love and More Love,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Starting!

We got a phone call today - not "THE" phone call; no, it's much to early for that!  But, an exciting phone call nonetheless.  Our first phone meeting with Gladney got scheduled today for this Tuesday.  Crazy!

I find it amazing that in one moment, you're just a couple; and in the next, you're on your way to being parents - for real!  It's not just something you've been hoping for and dreaming of and talking about - it's GOING to happen!

My emotions are all over right happy and yet nervous (read post below); but it's all good things.  I feel so much peace about this process.  Before, I was feeling so low and almost depressed about our situation.  Now, I feel so much joy.  I cannot describe it perfectly enough now, I hope to be able to in time.

I will try to write an update after our meeting on Tuesday.  We've been in Iowa vising my parents and helping with the family business.  So, it's going to be wild coming back and jumping right into a meeting.  I'm so excited, though, I just don't care!  Eeeeee! :-)

To Be Continued..........


Friday, October 8, 2010


Isn't it so strange how you can want something so badly?  Like you ache in your heart for it?  And then, this happens to me nearly 100% of the time, as soon as I get close to what I've been wanting - BAM!  I get a sudden rush of nerves and anxiety!

I'm feeling that way today.  We sent in our information to Gladney Center for Adoption out of Texas (they have an office near us that is in Oklahoma City) - it's "official" that we're "officially on the road to adoption".  Wow.  As soon as I clicked "send" I turned to Mr. C and said, "What have I done?!  I'm not qualified to be a mother!"  He just laughed a bit and said, "Really?  I don't feel nervous at all."  That is why God brought this man to me - we are opposites, and we each needed the tempering force of balance that comes with our relationship.  (Opposites do attract!)

 So why Gladney after thinking we were going to go with another agency last year?  Well, we wanted an agency that was a little closer to home (Missouri); and we have had the pleasure of hearing some first-hand accounts of families that have been brought together via Gladney's efforts.  It means a lot to hear these success stories when you're not only adopting, but are going to be first-time parents (which can be terrifying and exciting all at once).  These generous families who were willing to share their adoption stories made it very clear to us that Gladney was the way to go.

But now we have to be accepted by them!  What if they don't like us?  What if they think we're incompetent?  What if they sniff right through our strong facades and see how truly frightened we are of screwing everything up in the parenthood department?  Will this deter them from allowing us to have a child?  Will our dreams of parenthood be thwarted once again?

I know these are irrational fears, but I am scared of the thought of being possibly turned away.  I suppose I feel this way mostly because I feel as though I specifically have been "turned away" in a sense when it comes to motherhood in general.  I mean, for whatever reason, I am not able to conceive a child biologically; so, what if that was God's way of saying I'm not "good enough" to be a mother in general - not to a biological OR adopted child?  The idea of this brings me to tears.  On one hand, I realize how ludicrous this probably is.  On the other hand, I let my insecurities on this matter flow freely. 

I have wondered why I feel so insecure about this issue and not many others in life.  I'm a musician - trying to "make it" in arguably one of the world's most difficult professions has never daunted me.  I have always known that God gave me a gift, and that I was going to get to use matter how long I had to struggle to "get where I wanted to go".  I have acted in tons of regional theater productions since the age of 11 - never a bit of nerves, always knew I'd be fine - I'd be great!  I'm currently writing my first comic book series, and I have hope daily that it will go far.  But I go to become a mother and suddenly I'm a different person.  Where did all of that confidence and faith in God go?  I'm more than a little ashamed of my reaction.  :-(

Mr. C says that this is not the time to be nervous.  This is the time to be excited.  The time to be nervous is when they place a crying infant in your arms, and you are officially a parent - ha! He's so much more laid back than me in nearly all life matters.  I often wish I could be more like him in that respect.

I suppose I just needed to get this off of my chest.  I'm nervous.  I am.  I'm scared of rejection.  I'm frightened I won't be a good enough mother, and I desperately want to be a good mom!  I'm nervous about what people will say when they see me holding my adopted child.  I haven't fully thought through what I'm going to say or how I'll explain things, etc.  How do I tell my parents that they'll be grandparents; but not to a green-eyed, red head that looks like me, but rather a brown-skinned, curly-headed angel that I hope they can love as much as I already do?!  It's all so much right now.  I feel a little over-whelmed, but I wouldn't change anything for the world!  I can't wait to embark on this journey toward parenthood; I'm truthfully very excited under all of these nerves!

Anyone who's adopted before or become a parent for the first time recently, how did you deal with the nerves?  Or were you "anxiety free"?  Haha!  Wish that was me!

Blessings and Much Love,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buy Cute Baby/Kids Clothes - Support Ethiopian Adoption!

There's always a price to pay - for everything.  Whether in physics, commerce, alchemy, or adoption, there is always a price to pay for what you desire.

Mr. C and I desire a family.  It's been hard for us to conceive biologically; so, we're going back to our Plan A (yes, adoption was our original Plan A, people!).  And you know what?  We're really excited!

Something we're not excited about?  Cost.  Now, as I said above, we're perfectly aware that there needs to be (and should be) a price to pay for any and every thing that is truly worth being had (I also want to point out that a child will be paid for physically, emotionally, and financially whether being birthed or adopted).  So, we do not find this process outrageous; but we have to admit, we're feeling the strain already.

We know it will be okay in the end - God does not place desires in your heart that are beyond your means (in any way) unless he already has a plan for providing those means to get you to those desires.  So, we know deep in our hearts that God will find a way for us to afford this.

Already, we have put our heads together to think of ways we can make this payment or buy those tickets, etc.  One way to supplement our adoption fund is through art.  We both love art and graphic design; so, we put our minds together to create a line of t-shirts to sell at

Some of the shirts are for adults, most are for babies and kids.  There are extras like dog t-shirts and household items like aprons, clocks, journals, etc. available as well.  Most of the shirts have to do with adoption and specifically Ethiopian adoption; but there are many items available that would be precious on any child.

We do want to stress that we have NO CONTROL over the pricing.  We have decided to let do the market pricing for us while we merely take a percentage; so, if you feel that the pricing is too high, please let me know on this blog, and we will see about going a different direction as this is just a trial for us right now anyway.

Okay, I'm sure you're wanting to get a sneak peak of some of the designs we have online right now; but I want to quickly point you to our site!  Just click this link to get to our store (My Pink Robot).  Now...on to the cute kids shirts!  Weeeeee!

"Meant to Bee" comes as shown above or as black ink on all white items.  Several items are available - go check them out!

"Trophy Child" comes in purple or bright red.  Several items available.

"Bee Love (ed)" comes as black ink on white items and white ink on black items.

"Chosen"/Africa - comes in blue "Africa" items for boys and bright, baby pink "Africa" items for girls.

"Fille" (French for "girl") showcases an adorable, pink, vintage teacup design on all products.

"Garcon" (French for "boy") showcases a dapper, gentlemanly mustache design on all products.

"I Left My Heart in Africa" - our "flagship" design.  This is available on men's, women's, children's, and household items in black ink on light products and white ink on darker ones.

"Little Monster" Halloween design comes on everything from baby onesies to doggie t-shirts!  Super fun for the month of October!

That's about it for many more ideas are on their way; so, keep checking out My Pink Robot for more adorable kid's clothes!

In my next post, I'm going to update you all on the super cute vintage finds store I've opened on Etsy under the same name as our store (My Pink Robot).  I'm going to sell vintage baby and kids' clothes and toys, as well as wall art, and hand-embroidered wall-hangings for baby and kids' rooms made by ME!  I promise they'll be super cute and worth your while to at least browse through!

May you all be as happy as I am right now!  God bless you!