To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, and my heart and mind have really been touched this year.  I'm sure it's mostly because Mr. C and I were recently tested for HIV for the adoption, but it's something that's been weighing on me for several years now.

When I was 24, in 2005, I was raped.  In the weeks and months that followed, I was terrified that the rapist had given me an STI/STD.  I had been checked over by a nurse not long after the rape, but I lived in fear and shame for months before I finally went to a clinic to be tested for more than just the outward physical scars.

Even though there were many STI's that I could have contracted during the rape, all I could think of was, "What if he gave me HIV?  What if I'M HIV-positive?"  Possibly being HIV-positive seemed like a nail in the coffin to me.  I literally thought my world was ending.  I was over-wrought with sadness and fear, totally lost in what I perceived to be life-ending possibilities.  I can honestly say that if I had been positive, at that very unstable time in my life I may have considered ending it all.  That's how misinformed and frightened I was of living a life with HIV and having my family reject me (which I was just sure would be the case).

I was NOT positive, and soon after, I began Christian counseling, which lasted almost a year.  Through my counseling, I came to terms with my life and circumstances; and I am so much stronger and wiser for it!  I wish everyone struggling with wondering if they have HIV and those who are living with the virus already could get the same love and support that I received.  NOBODY deserves to go through that alone!

To top it all off, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia - a country that has a rampant HIV problem, as (unfortunately) many African nations have.  This is due to lack of information and education.  You can't fight an enemy you know nothing about.  This year, I pledged on the World AIDS Day website to talk about our adoption, my rape story and testing, and the outcome of it all.  So, I am here, spreading the word.  I hope it helps someone - anyone - even if only one person.

The main thing I hope for the future is that there is more honesty and truth spread about this virus.  You CAN prevent HIV.  You CAN live with HIV.  You CAN make a difference.  We CAN end prejudice.  We CAN help those in need who are struggling with HIV all over the world - in Africa, South America, Europe, the US, your next door neighbor, your own body!  You are NOT alone; people love and care about you more than you know!  Please do not think that your life is over...there is SO MUCH HOPE!

Here is a link to the official World AIDS Day site's Facts and Stats Section.  They are dedicated to renouncing myths and spreading the truth about HIV and AIDS and those living with these diseases.  Very cool site!

Here's a video that I found on Youtube with some good information:

This one is a link to a place called Project Hopeful and their "Truth Pandemic".  They give support and information to families who are adopting HIV positive children from the US and around the world:  Project Hopeful.

If you see this, please spread information, love, and hope instead of spreading hate, ignorance, and fear.

Love, Love, and more LOVE,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Time is Here (Well, Almost!)

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  Since being married in 2008, I've really tried to get my Christmas tree out and decorated so we can enjoy it for as long as possible. 

With the move this year, I just didn't know if I'd feel like putting up Christmas decorations when we still have boxes of shoes and home office stuff to unpack and organize.  BUT, it turns out I had the energy and gumption to do it last night!

The mood was right...I turned on one of my sister Whitney's Christmas mixes on the iPod (she's notorious for loving Christmas music and always has a new Christmas music mix she makes each year), I turned the living room lights down low, and I got to decorating!

I only got the tree up and decorated, but I'm hoping to make some snowflakes with my sister, Michaela's Cricut Expression Personal Electronic Cutter 290300 to hang from our 20-foot ceiling!  I hope it turns out cool, those Cricuts are sooooo awesome!  My mom and sister both have them, and they've come in so handy for scrapbooking and decorating all year round.

Here's some pix of our tree this year:

Christmas tree up in the living room!  We really need to get a star or something for the top this year!  Any suggestions?
I had to have Mr. C help hang ornaments on the higher up branches.
Eagan was there to help.  Such a nice dog!
I just keep thinking that by next Christmas, it's very likely that Baby C will be here!  Wow!  I seriously cannot wait!  Every day we get closer.

Speaking of Baby C, here's a little update on the process:  We have one (yep, only ONE) of the three doctor's notes needed.  I'm assuming it's because we asked for the letters in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving; so, they were busy and traveling.  However, I'm hoping that now that Thanksgiving is over, they'll get the letters to us!  *fingers crossed*  As soon as we get those letters, we have only two more things to do before we are essentially done with everything but the home study and our finger printing/FBI clearances.  Woo hoo!

More to come...

Decorating the New House: Kitchen Art!

So, as many of you already know, Mr. C and I have moved into a new condo across town.  It's a super cool, modern, minimalistic place with exposed duct work and radiantly heated concrete floors - totally our cup of tea!

We left most of the walls white, because we have tons of artwork to put up.  Well, after being "moved in" a month (I say "moved in", because we still have lots of boxes to unpack!) we still hadn't put up anything on the walls in the kitchen.  It was looking pretty bare in there...a little depressing too.

So, I finally finished up a little art project I had set aside for myself that would help move things along.  I got this great calendar a few years ago that had vintage advertisements in it.  They were so cool that I couldn't bear to throw it away when December came and went; so, I decided to cut out the pictures and use them for artwork in our kitchen.  They turned out pretty cool (if I do say so myself!).  Here's how I did it:

First, I cut out each design from the calendar.

Next, I used a simple glue stick to attach the cut out calendar picture to an 11x14 piece of plain, white cardstock (pre-cut! how easy is that?!).  You can even see the items I wrote in on the calendar - ha!

When glued on, they look like this.

Then, I put them all in black frames.

Then, Mr. C hung them on the wall with some of our other vintage advertisements!

Here's another view looking down the hallway.
And that was it!  Easy, right?  I thought so, and I have to say that I think it turned out pretty amazing for how little effort we put into it! Woo hoo!  Now, on to...more decorating!  I'd love to have the whole house done by New Year's; hopefully it's more than just wishful thinking!

Hope you're having a great day,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Babies R Us 4-Day Cyber Sale

I never thought I'd be so excited over something like this, but I AM!  We just bought our first "bigger" item for Baby C - a stroller!  Yay!

To top it all off, we got it at Babies R Us online; and boy did we get a DEAL!  Right now, they have a limited (but nice) selection of strollers (including duos and jogging) marked down 70% WITH free shipping!  That's just awesome!  I looked at their promo at the top of the page, and it said it was a four-day sale; so, I'm assuming if you're still interested, it will be going on until tomorrow online.  So, go get yourself (or, really, your wee one) some goodies!

Here's a pic of the stroller we got.  It's by Maxi Cosi (a brand we loved), and is exactly what we wanted - comfortable and with a few nice touches (a place for my bag, nice security straps, reversible seat, etc.) but without being overly bulky and clunky (as sooooo many baby strollers are!).  Plus, it's black (well, technically "onyx"); which is great since we won't know Baby C's gender for quite some time yet.  I love it!

I can't wait for it to arrive.  Not that I'll have anything to put it in (yet), but just buying items like this makes it much more "real" for me.  I'm just so excited!

I've been feeling more and more as though Baby C is going to be a boy.  I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's God. ???  It's strange, though, because I always thought I wanted a daughter.  Mr. C and I were so close to marking "girl" on the gender preference section of our application, but decided that we should instead leave it to God, especially since this is our first child.  Either way, I'm in constant anticipation...I know I need to stay calm and prepare for the long wait ahead, but I just can't!  I'm way too full of joy!

Well, I'm off to beddy bye!  I hope some of you will be able to get something good out of the Babies R Us sale like we did!

Nighty Nite,

Shameless Self Promotion

Okay, so I know this blog is about the adoption; but I have nothing really new to write except that one of the three doctor's letters we needed came in yesterday in the, yeah, that's not much of an update, is it?

So, why not shamelessly self-promote my band?!  We've been getting a lot of radio and online air time these past few months; which we're super excited about.

Tomorrow, we will be featured on Will Black's free "Rockstar Radio" podcast tomorrow at 8 p.m. EST!  Here's his promo banner:

We are The Beautifully Broken (in case you didn't know), and you can check out even more info on our official website; which has links to our Twitter and Myspace pages.  Our Myspace has all of recorded songs to date available to stream for free as well.

So, if you've got a free moment, tune into "Rockstar Radio" to hear us and a bunch of other rockin' bands!


Friday, November 26, 2010

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So, my goal this November was to write a quick "what I'm thankful for" post every day of the month highlighting one or more things that I'm thankful for...of course, as you already know, that didn't happen.  :-(

It's not the same, but I thought I'd go ahead and write up a list of people and things I'm grateful for all year round but am especially reminded of this time of year:


Painting by Driscoll.
This is really too broad of a subject to be mushed into one category, but I could write for ages on this, I thought it best for the sake of this blog to save some time and space and put them all together.

I have personally seen God move in my life and the lives of those around me.  What always humbles me is that God is good to forgive and bless even when I know I don't really deserve it.  That's the wondrous thing about mercy and compassion; if we are truly penitent, then we are wiped clean and can move forward in his infinite grace and love!

In the midst of great personal tragedy and fears, I have always found myself enveloped by God's loving embrace.  I have lots and lots of "intellectual" friends whom I love very much, but who will never understand how I can be "duped" into believing in "god" at all.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to convince them of anything...all I can go by is what I have personally experienced; and what I have experienced is amazing!

God has lead me through some sticky situations that I put myself in to a better outcome, he has blessed me when I didn't deserve it, he has saved me from death (literally) many times, he has healed my sick body, he has lead me to true love, he has shown me the meaning of true forgiveness and mercy, he has given me peace (perhaps the greatest gift of all), he is leading me toward a different version of motherhood that is daily filling my heart with happiness.

God is good, and for that I am eternally thankful.


That's Mr. C and I during our engagement photoshoot - isn't he cute?!
I have the best husband in the world!  I know, I know...everyone thinks their hubby's the greatest; but honestly, this man is pretty darn perfect (for me)!

God has blessed me with a kind, selfless, hard-working, funny, intelligent, gentleman.  (Did I mention that he's super handsome too?)  Yeah, I'm the lucky one. :-)


My fam, minus Mr. C: (front, L-R) Whitney, mom (Kerry), dad (Mark); (back, L-R) me, bro-in-law (Carson), Michaela.
I have an amazing family.  We're all strong-willed, sassy, intelligent, independent people; but we all also really love to share one another's company.  We are always dreaming up new plans and ideas together.  I've had some of my greatest adventures with these people.  God knows what he's doing when he creates families; he definitely did right by us.


My sisters (and band-mates) and I on the cover of our first, self-titled album.
I know, this probably was technically covered in #3; BUT I think my sisters deserve their own shout out since they serve triple-duty as sisters, business partners (band-mates), and best friends. 

We've been through SO MUCH together, and I can say from experience there's nobody else I'd rather go into business with, go through scary health issues with, get into (and out of) a massive pickle with, have fun with, share dreams with, etc. than these two brilliant, talented, beautiful women!  I am amazed and blessed to have watched them grow up and be a part of their daily lives. 

I can't tell the future, but I KNOW we've got many more years of adventures coming our way!

5. PETS!:

Okay, for some reason my computer isn't letting me upload any more photos!  :-(  Waaaaa!  Sooo, the rest of this post is going to be a little bare - sorry!

BUT, suffice it to say, our pets are super duper cute!  We recently lost our beloved pet rat, Roxie.  She was so cute and smart and social; I miss her daily! 

We are blessed to have a precious and precocious Scottie dog, Eagan in our well as a flame-point Siamese name Seamus and white, short hair kitty girl name Moira - all rescues.  We both love animals and couldn't imagine life without them.

Well, honestly, in the light of there being no more pictures being uploaded tonight, I kinda feel like this post is going to be missing lots.  Ugh!  So, I guess I'll wrap it all up by saying this:

I am grateful for so many things that I'll never be able to say "thank you" or mention them all enough!  I am grateful for good health, for happiness and love, for fabulous friends (you know who you are!!!!), good food and safe drinking water, a roof over my head, music, movies, dancing, a body that can move and works properly... 

I'm grateful for adoption; without which I may never have the opportunity to be a mother.  I'm grateful to the country and government of Ethiopia for allowing Americans like Mr. C and I to adopt and love their children.  I'm grateful to Baby C's birth mommy and daddy who are going to allow us to love him/her and call him/her our own.  Gosh, I could go on and on forever about sunny days and freshly cut green grass and snowballs and warm sweaters - everything that I love...but I guess in reality, number 1 sums everything up; because "all good things come from God above".  So, really, I'm just grateful for this world God created for me to live in and create in and run around exploring in!

I hope you all have a safe and fabulous Thanksgiving this year!  Maybe next year I'll be celebrating and thanking God for having Baby C HOME!  Wooo!

Love and Love and Love,