To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eagles Are Mommies Too!

I am a HUGE fan of raptors and owls!  I even have one tattooed on my neck!  I really love them! :-)  So, needless to say, I think this live video of a mother eagle on her nest in Decorah, Iowa (my home state!) is pretty darn amazing!

Apparently, the eggs are getting really close to hatching; so, now's a good time to start watching!  Live streamed all day, every day - so cool!


Live Videos by Ustream

Twins...Would be Nice

The twin boys in this video are so adorable!  I never thought I'd say this, but with everything we've been through to get pregnant (and no, I'm not saying I'm pregnant now, because to my knowledge we're not...YET!), I would love to find out we're having multiples.  I know, I know..."it's so much harder!"  "it's so expensive!"  "you'll go crazy!"  Yes, I've heard it all; but I think if you've struggled with IF you've probably thought the same thing once or twice.  It would be nice to be "done" with this whole, stressful process...for good!

Mr. C and I decided that we would have no more than two children biologically; the rest will be adopted.  Yes, adoption, thus far, has been a rough road for us; but we know it can work, we just haven't gone down the right path yet.  So, it would be amazing to have both bio children at once.  *le sigh* Pretty wishful thinking; but hey, I can dream! :-)

In the meantime, I'll just watch other people's twins play and be cute!  I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pregnant Women Are Smug

This video definitely made me laugh out loud!  If you're going through IF, I hope this lightens your heart a bit - enjoy!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Script Frenzy!

Starting this Friday, April 1st, I will be joining in "the frenzy" - the Script Frenzy, that is!  Script Frenzy and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) encourage writers to create under time constraints (30 days in April and November respectively for each project).  The idea behind this push?  Just push the writer to "just finish" their project already!  Boy, have I been there! :-)

The cool thing about Script Frenzy is that it's open for those writing plays, TV shows, movie scripts, documentaries, comic books, and graphic novels!  So, I'm using this time to flesh out a graphic novel series that I've been working on for two years now (that's right, TWO years).  I'm really excited to finally begin the "real" writing process in a few days. 

If you're interested in joining me on my quest, please look up the website here.  It's FREE to join up, and at the end of the 30 days you'll have at least a rough draft of your script (or graphic novel or play or TV show) done and in your hands!  I'll keep you all update on my journey; I'm seriously stoked to jump into this!

Up, up, and away!

2 Follies Are Better Than None

Follicle study today (CD 12), and we found two good-sized follies on the right ovary...only one quasi-good sized follie on the left (which usually never makes ANY follies); but hey, I'll take it! Seems that the Bravelle injections really helped the Clomid out! But, as Mr. C said to me today, two good follies are better than one; and one good follie is better than none. :-)

My lining is still a little crappy - 6.5 (it would be better at around 8 or so), but I'll be on estrogen support until next Monday to try to help boost it before implantation. So, tonight I'll trigger with the Ovidrel shot; and then on to the bd'ing! Haha!

Dr. S said that if this cycle isn't "the one"; then we're definitely moving on to something other than Clomid. He thinks our only issue has been my lining while on meds - he can see no other reason why it wouldn't work. So, we're just hoping that this is it! You can't imagine how hard we're praying, seemingly constantly, that this will work - that this is it!

Everyone always says "just relax"; well, honestly, how relaxed would YOU be after two years of trying and three med cycles?! Not very! We're both trying to remain calm, but it's been more than a little difficult lately. I need peace, God, please give it to me!

Above all, I know God has a plan for us. There's no reason why we can't conceive at some point on meds. I know we can. I am just putting this all in God's hands entirely; we've done all we can do, now it's up to him.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Happy with Joy!

I felt exactly like this joyous little girl today at my HSG with Dr. S. It was a stressful morning...starting at 5 a.m., full of anticipation ("is everything going to be okay?"); but Mr. C and I were over-whelmed with happiness to learn the good news.

The "good news" being that my tubes were free and clear of any blockages, and that my uterus had no fibroids or polyps - WOOOOO HOOOO!!!! Dr. S was so great - with his usual good mood and big smile. He had turned the monitor so I could see as he pushed the contrast dye through my uterus and tubes; and as it spilled out the ends of the tubes he nearly shouted, "Look Mandie! Spillage! And quick too - everything's definitely all clear!" We were all smiling and praising God (it's soooo cool to have a Christian doctor that really "gets it")!

I'm so grateful that the test was quick and relatively painless. After the initial insertion of the catheter, I was perfectly fine. Those first few seconds were a bit dodgey, but even when the dye was pushed through I felt NOTHING! SO GRATEFUL!

I'm sure I've shared the above video before, but it's worth sharing again! I hope you all are having as good a day as I am!

Love and More Love,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where Children Sleep

I have been so moved and heart-broken by this very touching photo book by James Mollison called James Mollison: Where Children Sleep.  You'll be hard-pressed to find something more intimate than these telling pictures of the sometimes adequate, sometimes opulent, and the all too often squalid spaces children all across the globe lay there heads at night.

If you'd like to take a look before you buy (which you WILL want to buy after previewing this book, I guarantee you!), please go here.  You can view the entire book, page-by-page and even click on the images to make it easier to read the stories that go along with each child.

Every child featured has a head shot and short story about their life that accompanies the picture of their "bedroom" (in some cases, nothing more than a pile of old tires or an abandoned couch on a street corner).  This is all in stark contrast to the children who live in 5th Avenue, New York apartments where no expense is spared.

Here are a few images from this amazing book:

Please visit James Mollison: Where Children Sleep to purchase this book; it will NOT disappoint.

Sweet Dreams,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Med Cycle #3 - The Plan, Stan!

Talked with J, Dr. S's nurse (she's soooo nice) today; and we got some things on the books for this cycle.

I didn't take the time to update you guys, but I got my six-month pap and colposcopy results back last week (following up after my LEEP back in September); and the results showed more abnormal cells on my cervix.  *le sigh*  The good news is that they're NOT pre-cancer this time, just abnormal.  So, thank you GOD for that!  Because my regular OB is partners with our fertility doc, he said just to leave it till September when (if I'm not pg) we will probably have to stop TTC to do either another LEEP or freeze my cervix.  My sister, W, had this done (the freezing of the cervix); and it sucked majorly!!!!  Plus, it would mean we'd have to stop TTC for a while.  NOT wanting that to happen!  SOOOO, we're pushing to make this work NOW.

On Monday, I will go in for my baseline ultrasound and to go over the med plan for this cycle.  I'm concerned about a few things, though:

1. Estradiol makes me super twitchy; which makes me nervous; which just in general freaks me out. 

2. When I trigger, my progesterone levels are kinda crappy.  I want to know why this is.  "They" say that to support pregnancy, you need a progesterone level of at least 15 or above, but mine have both been just 14.  Ideally, for pregnancy, you'd like it in the 30's to into the 80's.  I want, no NEED, to get mine there!  Also, the first time my levels were 14, I was put on progesterone support (Prometrium), this time I wasn't...why???

3. I was super, SUPER jittery and twitchy and spazzy this time when my period started.  Why?  I got so light-headed on at least 3 occasions that I had to literally lie on the ground right where I was.  It freaked me out.  When you have a catamenial epileptic for a sister and you start sharing her symptoms, trust me, you FREAK out!

4. How would IUI benefit us when we have no male factor IF?  I've heard it can still help get the "boys" past the cervix, and that it can especially help if the woman's CF doesn't exactly "love" the man's sperm (we have not done a "post-coital" to find out if this applies to us or not).  So, we've got a big decision to make here.  Jump right into IUI, or wait one more cycle?

On Thursday morning, bright and early at 7 a.m., I'm having an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to see if my tubes are open or if there is a possibility of blockage.  My doc says that this procedure cannot actually diagnose endometriosis, but it can certainly tell if there is the possibility of it (the tubes will either be clear or obstructed by "something").

An HSG uses a special dye which floods the uterus and goes through the tubes.  If the tubes are clear, then the dye flows easily into the fallopian tubes and spills out the ends.  If the tubes are not clear, then the dye will not flow into the tubes and spill out the other side.  I'm seriously hoping that there's nothing wrong with my tubes, but I also know that if there is a blockage we have no chance of getting pregnant without it being removed. 

Here is a picture and a diagram of the HSG procedure:

The "picture" (actually a type of x-ray) on the left, shows the dye spilling out of the ends of a "clear" set of fallopian tubes.  The picture on the right shows how one of the tubes (on the right) is blocked (no spillage of dye out of the end of the tube).

This is the exact diagram my doctor gave me to explain how the HSG works.

I can use all of the prayers and hopes and good thoughts I can get!  I am hoping hoping hoping for this cycle to be "the one" - Mr. C and I both are.  If my tubes are open, it would be great news; not just because they're open, but because an HSG is proven to increase chances of fertility slightly for the next 3 months.  Woo!  I'll take what I can get!

I've been very open on this journey, and I thank all of you who have commented or contacted me and wished me well.  I really appreciate it all!  And, I appreciate the fact that you are all letting me vent these rough emotions that naturally come with IF (infertility).  I know it's my blog, and I can write what I want; but it's also nice to know that even when I write honestly, I'm in no danger of being torn down or chastised by readers.  So, thanks to you all for being so supportive; I truly appreciate it!

Onward we go!


Today is a much better day.  Last night was so mild that we left nearly all of the 6 windows in our master bedroom open a bit.  I awoke to crisp, morning air billowing out the curtains; streaks of sunshine; and bird songs.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Yesterday, I saw a BFN.  Today, I saw this:

My favorite coffee cup/saucer combo, no less (it makes the coffee taste better - I swear!).  Last night, Mr. C brought home a card with a super SWEET note about our future together.  He always knows just what to say; I'm a lucky girl. :-)

To top it all off, I get my hair cut today; and mom, dad, and W are coming for a visit for M's birthday on Monday - fun times!

I hope you're enjoying good weather and good health wherever you are in the world!

Be well, be love,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's!

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Negative Pregnancy Test #Bagillion = On to Med Cycle #3

This is what I saw this morning...14 DPO...the last vestige of hope:

(Note: this is not MY test/picture, but one I found on the Internet...but you get the point.)
It's what I see every month.  What I've been seeing every month since I stopped taking BCP's in July 2009.  I wish I could say that it gets easier, that somehow you become numb and don't feel it anymore; but it's just not true.  I feel it like a stab in the gut every.single.time.

To top it all off, I was so shocked, I totally snubbed Mr. C this morning, making him think I was angry at him, which is always a GREAT way to start out your morning at 7:20 a.m.  Fabulous.

So, we're on to med cycle #3. 

Things we're going to do different this time:

1. I'm going to get an HSG.  I honestly don't have the energy or mental fortitude to explain what an HSG is; but if you'd like to read more, just go here.  Essentially, it's a test to see if my fallopian tubes are open.  If they're not, Mr. C and I agreed that it's pretty pointless to go any further.

2. I might demand progesterone support; or a test to see why the Clomid works to stimulate follicles, but when I trigger my ovulation is crappy (as in, not good enough to support a pregnancy).

3. We might (and I mean "might") do IUI (intra-uteran insemination).  We've been told that since Mr. C doesn't have any real issues of his own that this might all be total bunk, but we're both running out of emotional energy and mental patience.  Our hearts can't take it anymore.  So, either it works soon; or we're calling it quits - for good.

Other than that, I have no clue what else could be done differently; but I think we both feel it's time to figure something out before we just keep going down a path that isn't really accomplishing anything.

So, that's the story, morning glory.  I'm off, but since I've been so open about our cycles, I thought I'd update this blog on how this cycle ended.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scriptures for Healing!

I had a conversation with my dad last night over the phone about the TTC journey Mr. C and I have been on.  He knows it's been rough, but he also pointed out to me that as a Christian it's up to ME to be proactive in my faith.  God wants to heal us.  He desperately does; but we can "bind his hands" with disbelief, incorrect thinking (ie: "God is punishing me" or "God is trying to teach me something"), and confessing more pain and suffering over ourselves with our mouths.

He (my dad) had a good point.  He said that the Bible is over-flowing with promises that God made to mankind.  It's up to us to find them and repeat them in faith, reminding God that he has promised to give us "the desires of our hearts".

So, I dug around in my Bible, and found these amazing scriptures about God's desire and ability to heal us.  I hope they uplift you as much as they did me!  Enjoy!

***all scriptures are quoted from the Living Bible version***

"Yet is was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down.  And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins!  But he was wounded and bruised for our sins.  He was chastised that we might have peace; he was lashed - and WE were HEALED." -Isaiah 53:4-5

"That evening several demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus; and when he spoke a single word, all the demons fled; and all the sick were healed.  This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, 'He took our sicknesses and bore our diseases'." -Matthew 8:16-17

"He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross, so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on.  For his wounds have healed ours!" -1 Peter 2:24

"But Christ has bought us out from under the doom of that impossible system by taking the curse for our wrong-doing upon himself.  For it is written in the scripture, 'Anyone who is hanged on a tree is cursed'." -Galations 3:13

"If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and obey it, and do what is right, then I will not make you suffer the diseases I send on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you." -Exodus 15:26

"You shall the serve the Lord your God only; then I will bless you with food and water, and I will take away sickness from among you.  There will be NO MISCARRIAGES nor BARRENNESS throughout your land, and you will live out the full quota of the days of your life." -Exodus 23:25-26

"For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.  What a fool you have been!  From now on, you shall have wars." -2 Chronicles 16:9

"How then can evil overtake me or any plague come near?" -Psalm 91:10

"I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation." -Psalm 91:16

"Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me.  He forgives all my sins.  He heals me." -Psalm 103:2-3

"He spoke, and they were healed - snatched from the door of death." -Psalm 107:20

"So also is my Word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It shall accomplish all I want it to, and prosper everywhere I send it." -Isaiah 55:11

"But whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the creator of all light, and he shines forever without change or shadow." -James 1:17

"Look!  A leper is approaching.  He kneels before him, worshiping.  'Sir,' the leper pleads, 'if you want to, you can heal me.'  Jesus touches the man.  'I want to,' he says.  'Be healed.'  And instantly the leprosy disappears." -Matthew 8:2-3

"And you no doubt know that Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were possessed by demons, for God was with him." -Acts10:38

"The thief's purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.  My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." -John 10:10

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." -Hebrews 13:8

"In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father." -John 14:12

"Is anyone sick?  He should call for the elders of the church and they should pray over him and pour a little oil upon him, calling on the Lord to heal him.  And their prayer, if offered in faith, will heal him, for the Lord will make him well; and if his sickness was caused by some sin, the Lord will forgive him." -James 5:14-15

"Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is." -3 John 2

"Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ, because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world." -1 John 4:4

"This is the absolute truth - you can say to this Mount of Olives, 'Rise up and fall into the Mediterranean,' and your command will be obeyed.  All that's required is that you really believe and have no doubt!  Listen to me!  You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it is yours!"  -Mark11:23-24

Aren't those GREAT promises?!  I am so over-whelmed today.  I have been allowing past failures to cloud my knowledge of God and his promises.  I'm going to try so hard to stand on these words in faith from here on out!

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

Mucho Besos,

Monday, March 14, 2011

What NOT to Say to Your Infertile Friend(s)

I recently joined an online support group for women with PCOS called Soul Cysters.  It's incredible!  Not only is it full of fabulous information on everything from maintaining good insulin levels (something many PCOS'ers have issues with) to good diet and exercise routines (losing weight can be incredibly difficult for women with PCOS); but it also has a chat forum where you can discuss everything that PCOS has touched in your life.

I've been on the "TTC and Infertility" board a lot these past few weeks.  Wow, what  difference from other online TTC forums like The Bump!  Don't get me wrong, if you have no issues The Bump is fine and dandy; but it's hard to find women that understand what you've been going through there if you're struggling with IF.  At least, it was for me.

So, anyway, I've been on the Soul Cysters site; and I'm loving it!  Such a big, wide, loving, supportive community!  Today, a fellow "cyster" posted this article on things that people shouldn't say to their infertile friends.  It made me cry.  I've been told all of these things from everyone from good friends to family members to complete strangers.  I think the worst is, "Just relax.  You're stressing out about it too much."  Are you KIDDING ME?!  If that were the case, we would have gotten pregnant back in July of 2009 when we first went off of BCP's and had no clue about life with IF - just a naive, married couple starting to "try" for the first time.

If you're struggling with IF, you may get a good laugh or cry out of this list.  OR, you may want to forward it on to friends and/or family members or just post it on your Facebook!  Heck, anything to stop the insanity, right?!

The article is from Wellsphere:

What not to say to your infertile friend

Posted Feb 13 2006 12:00am

One of the things that has truly been on my heart during our journey through infertility is educating people about infertility.

Many of you have asked me my opinion on what you should or shouldn't say to someone struggling with this. I am speaking more to women. While this is a couple's issue, this is something that usually affects women much more than men.

So here is my short and sweet guide. If you follow these rules, you won't go wrong!


A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways
  • #1 They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • #2 They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • #3 They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
It is important that you understand that each of these three "routes" offers excitement, pain, and heartbreak in their own way. I have friends who have chosen or been forced down each of these different paths. It is important that you don't press them down any of these roads. #1 is racked with worry and fears after the amount of time and money invested. #2 and #3 are very difficult choices and usually not the first option.
Here are some things you should NOT say to them while you are struggling. Now if you have said any of these to someone, don't feel bad. One of my dear friends was struggling with infertility before I was diagnosed. Looking back, I said every one of these things to her. I have apologized, but she understands that I meant well. I understand that people mean well. However, the more educated you are, the better.

  • Don't tell them to relax. This is called the "R" word in infertile circles. This is very rarely the problem for infertile people. While stress can be a problem, it is often not the issue for people who publicize their infertility journey. Stress is usually an issue that is quickly rectified.
  • Don't minimize the problem or say there are worse things that can happen. Don't say this really isn't a big deal or shouldn't bother them that much. Of course there are worse things that can happen. Any life-changing event could be worse, but it doesn't change how much it hurts.
  • Don't say they aren't meant to be parents. Well meaning Christians often say this trying to imply God's will is sovereign. Faith and God's presence is a huge issue for infertile women -- let them deal with this on their own or with a Christian counselor.
  • Don't ask why they aren't trying IVF. IVF is very expensive with a lot of ethical considerations. It isn't an "easy" decision.
  • Don't play doctor. Don't give medical advice unless you really know what you are talking about.
  • Don't be crude. This should be obvious. Making jokes about "Do you need a lesson?" is just mean.
  • Be tender when making a pregnancy announcement. The general rule here is to not make your announcement in a public place with your infertile friend in attendance. Instead send them a card or an email and allow them to digest it privately first. Or sometimes you can tell the husband and ask them to let the wife know. Remember that they are happy for you but they are jealous for their own frustrations.
  • Don't complain about your pregnancy or your children. Obviously there are things to complain about but it is a wise move to find someone else to confide in with these problems.
  • Don't push adoption (yet). The general rule is to not bring this up unless they bring it up first. This is a very wonderful and tender topic and when they are ready, they will share. Why do most people not adopt and have genetic children? Because biological children is the primary choice for most people. Your friend is no different in this desire.
  • Don't start any story with ... "I know someone..." or "I had a friend who..." These stories often feature the exception, not the rule. The biggest culprits: "I know who a friend who went on a vacation and then had a baby", and "I know who friend who got pregnant right after they adopted." These cause chills down an infertile women's spine.
  • Let them know that you care. Cards or caring acts are appreciated.
  • Remember them on Mother's Day. Church is very painful on Mother's Day when you are infertile. John and I don't go. We plan a fun day away from all the mother's with flowers. You can simply send a nice card that you are remembering them on that day like you would the anniversary of a loss. My friend Deanna had her kids (my godkids) send special "God-Mom" cards on Mother's Day one year. This was a wonderful thought.
  • Don't tell them that if they adopt, they will probably become pregnant. The fact is that less than 1% of couples conceive after adoption.
  • Support their decision to stop treatments. Again, a personal decision. Encourage them in whatever direction they choose. If they want advice, they'll ask.
  • Don't say "I hope this works for you because being a parent is the best thing ever." I have heard this on more than one occasion -- shocking? Yes. Painful? Yes. I know they meant well but it is hard to hear.
If your friend (or an acquaintance) brings up their infertility to you, they are wanting to talk to to you about it. From that point on, the conversation is probably welcome. Start off by saying, "If you don't want to talk about it, it's okay, but how is everything going?" Most of the time, once a couple decides to share, a woman wants to talk about it.

Okay, so that's a lot of things NOT to do. But what should you do

  • Pray for them.
  • Remember their "calendar" and send an email or card on a big day.
  • Put them in touch with other women "in their situation". (Ask them if they want to be contacted or do the contacting.)
  • Attend Support Group meetings with them.
  • Invite them to all events but give them the option to "opt" out of events that might be painful (baby showers, baptisms, etc.)
  • Invite them to special child-free events whenever possible.
  • Give them poems or even books that you think might be helpful -- try to have another infertile friend give a "stamp" of approval on the book. (I have a great list!)
  • Offer to go to appointments with them if their husband is unavailable. (Thanks Lesley!)
  • Recognize that not being able to have a child is the loss of a dream. It is the same as a single person who wants to get married not finding "the one" or an athlete having a career-ending injury. It's a loss of sorts. They will move through stages of grief including a time when they question their faith. However, they will cycle through this with love and prayer.
  • Read books that will help you understand the infertile woman's heart. I strongly recommend Water from the Rock to understand the grief process infertile women go through. 

I hope that touched someone out there today, and I hope you are blessed and well wherever you are in the world!

 Big Love,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baby Goodies Wish List (from Bella Baby, Springfield, MO)

I'm 10 DPO in medicated cycle #2; and I'm not gonna lie, I'm not feeling super optimistic about it.  I wish I could muster the emotional strength to say that I'm super stoked and even though I've had three negative HPT's in a row thus far that I realize that it's still really early and I'm therefore still harboring lots of hope. 

I'm not.

I bought some FRER today, and took one later in the afternoon - BFN.  Again.  As usual.  People keep trying to tell me to just keep going.  Don't give up.  Look, it worked for me.  For her.  For them.  Well, I'm not you or her or them.  And right now, I'm hurting and feeling like a failure and utterly hopeless.  On top of everything, I pretty much feel I have no one to talk to about any of this.  None of my friends have had TTTC ("trouble trying to conceive").  They're all the lucky bitches who get KU'd seemingly instantly, whenever they wish.  No, really, I'm not bitter.  But, I'm becoming bitter.

To try to make myself "feel better" Mr. C and I visited a store in Springfield, MO that moved into a new location on Battlefield Rd. (not too far from our fertility clinic) called Bella Baby.  Because they had moved, they were having a grand opening; so, we thought we'd go in and check it out.

I have to say, it was pretty cool.  They had everything from unique nursery furniture to luxurious bedding to amazing, modern diaper bags, and so much more.  I was loving it.  We walked around for a good 1/2 an hour talking about how cool this or that would be in the nursery.  How we would love to have that baby bath and that high chair and these blankets and those onesies.  It was great...mostly.  Sad too, because we knew we did not have any reason to buy them.

Even so, I was impressed enough to come home, look up their website and assemble a list.  A baby goods wish list, if you will.  Things I'd love to day.  (But yes, on days like today, I can't help but think "maybe never".)

So, here's my "Baby Wish List" (minus the baby); I hope you guys enjoy.  Maybe some of you will be able to put this list to work even if I can't.

The nursing covers from Bebe Au Lait are so beautiful and come in so many lovely prints and fabrics.  I loved the "black eyelet" pattern!
The baby carriers from Baby K'Tan were exactly what I've been looking for.  I have a good friend who described to me how a baby should fit in a good carrier, and these seem right on target; plus, they look easy to use and easy to wash - bonus!
Baby Jane diaper bag from the brilliant people at Timi & Leslie!
Rachel bag by Timi & Leslie.
Charlie bag by Timi & Leslie.
Marie Antoinette bag by Timi & Leslie.

A snug, sleep blanket in "giraffe" print by Miracle Blanket.  Go to their website to watch a cool vid of how it works!
The "Taylor" 4-piece bedding set from Banana Fish would look GREAT in our black, white, and yellow nursery.
I LOVE these ultra-versatile Prince Lionheart baby boosters.  Perfect for when baby's learning to sit up on their own or when you need a quick-fix high chair.
I had seen this "wash pod" also by Prince Lionheart before, but after seeing it again this time I'm convinced that I'll HAVE to have one someday!
I couldn't resist showing you all this absolutely adorable Prince Lionheart "Chop Balance Bike" as well.  How cute is that?!
The Baby Briefcase allows you to safely organize all of your infants medical records and important documents in one, easy to locate and store place.  How handy!  When we were adopting, I found something like this to put the massive amounts of info in - very helpful!
This car seat cover from The Peanut Shell is just too cute AND super functional! This pattern is called "Tea Time".
I couldn't share the cart seat cover without also sharing the uber-cool high chair and shopping cart cover that matches (also in "Tea Time").
I think the "Skully" Bink Link would come in super handy!  Also, I love skulls on baby things - I think it's the rocker girl in me! ;-)
I like that this o.r.e recycled melamine tray set reminds me of school lunches. So neat!
This amazing yet simple toy/chair/stool/etc. by Bilibo just rocks my socks right now!  Leave it up to the Swiss to create something so quietly brilliant.
Two more views of kids putting the amazing Bilibo to use!
Amazing stuff, right?  There was so much more I could share with all of you, but this blog is long enough as it is.  I hope you were as inspired and blown away as I was by all of the cool stuff I found for my "baby wish list".  Let's hope that sometime in the near future I actually get to put them to use!

Be well,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ethiopia Cutting Adoptions by 90%

 *Many of you know that Mr. C and I were pretty far along in the adoption process from Ethiopia when our finances caused us to not be able to continue down that path.  I think God was protecting us from the storm that was about to unfurl.  Effective March 10th, Ethiopia will be cutting back it's inter-country adoptions by 90% in an effort to contain the corruption the system has been encountering for so long now.  

I wrote this blog a while back about how this might happen; how we had learned that there were far more people in line to receive a healthy infant from Ethiopia than there were healthy infants actually being "given up" for adoption.  I hope this will help spread the word on this program.  Ethiopia needs to focus on getting it's system righted and becoming Hague accredited before it opens its doors any further to inter-country adoptions. The following is from Voice of America (VOA) News.

I hope the situation in Ethiopia becomes clearer after you read this:

Aaron Lieberman holds his son Theodore, 2, adopted from Ethiopia, as he shows his citizenship certificate, during U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Day ceremony in New York, 18 Nov 2010
 Ethiopia is cutting back by as much as 90 percent the number of inter-country adoptions it will allow, as part of an effort to clean up a system rife with fraud and corruption. Adoption agencies and children’s advocates are concerned the cutbacks will leave many Ethiopian orphans without the last-resort option of an adoptive home abroad.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has issued a directive saying it will process a maximum of five inter-country adoptions a day, effective March 10. Currently, the ministry is processing up to 50 cases a day, about half of them to the United States.

A copy of the directive provided to VOA says the reduction of up to 90 percent in cases will allow closer scrutiny of documents used to verify a child’s orphan status.

Ministry spokesman Abiy Ephrem says the action was taken in response to indications of widespread fraud in the adoption process.

"What we have seen so far has been some illegal practices. There is an abuse. There are some cases that are illegal. So these directives will pave the way to come up with [safeguards]," said Abiy Ephrem.

Investigations have turned up evidence of unscrupulous operators in some cases tricking Ethiopian parents to give up their children, then falsifying documents in order claim a part of the large fees involved in inter country adoptions.

American couples often pay more than $20,000 to adopt an Ethiopian child. Such amounts are an enormous temptation in a country where the average family earns a few hundred dollars a month.

U.S. State Department statistics show more than 2,500 Ethiopian orphans went to the United States last year. That is more than a ten fold increase over the past few years, making Ethiopia the second most popular destination for Americans seeking to adopt overseas, after China.

Child protection professionals generally welcomed efforts to clean up the system.

Some, however, questioned the motive behind the cutback. One adoption agency representative who asked not to be identified called the policy "ridiculous", and said it appears to be in retaliation for recent criticism of the government’s lax oversight of the process.

Abigail Rupp, head of the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa says the cutback is likely to result in a drop in adoptions to the United States from last year’s 2,500 to fewer than 500. She says the biggest concern is for the estimated 1,000 children currently in the adoptions pipeline, who may be forced to wait more than a year for their cases to be considered.

"We share the government’s concerns about the vulnerabilities in the process. But certainly we have concerns about children who would be waiting longer for their adoptions to be final. That would mean they would be in an orphanage or transition home for a longer period of time," she said.

Rupp said adoption agencies in Ethiopia should take the directive as a cue to be accountable for each case they bring forward, including knowing exactly how children in orphanages came to be there. She said government officials have indicated they may close as many as 45 orphanages as part of the effort to clean up what critics have labeled a “baby business”.

Ted Chaiban, head of the Addis Ababa office of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, called the new rules “an important step” in rooting out irregularities in the system and finding family-based local solutions for what the government estimates are 5 million Ethiopian orphans.

"What is important is that any child deemed to require care be looked at in terms of a range of options starting from family reunification all the way through inter country adoption. In that respect the work being done by the ministry needs to be strengthened and supported," he said.

U.S. Embassy officials late Friday indicated they are posting an adoption alert on the State Department’s website addressing the concerns of Americans who will be affected by the Ethiopian government directive. The alert can be seen at