Friday, September 4, 2009

Since July

Every time I get on here, I tell myself that I really should update this thing more often. Right now there isn't much to talk about, as far as the adoption goes. My paperwork is ready to send to Ethiopia, as soon as the money comes in. From where, you might ask. Well, the answer is, I have no idea! But I know it will come in God's time, so I am not worried about it. Trust me, I have panic days, but most of the time, I am calm and collected. ha!

Since July, I have moved to a 4th grade class at school, after 6 years of 5th and 6th grade. And I was comfortable. Well, I cannot use that adjective anymore! I would say frustrated or frazzled would be better words for this year. I have a great group of children, and then a few that I wish would move. Every teacher has "those" children. And I was blessed with 5 or 6 of them. And when I move back up to 5th and 6th, I get these angels for 2 more years. I'm not sure what I did wrong as a child to deserve this punishment, but I know that everything happens for a reason, and they are in my room for some purpose that I clearly do not understand.

A week ago, my childhood home caught on fire in the middle of the night. To receive a 2 am phone call is not a good sign. The firemen did a great job of containing the fire-but it was in the upstairs. The upstairs filled with my childhood. Literally. Everything I had ever received as a child or teenager is still in that bedroom. Throughout the week, I have had to deal with this loss. While I did not live there any longer, I could always drive by and recall a random story from my youth. And now when I go by, I feel empty. I know those memories are not gone, and I know that it is not practical to think that memories would be made there again, but I had always hoped that this house would remain in our family. I don't know how that would have happened with my parents not married anymore, and me being on a teacher's salary, but I still had that dream. And I guess it was that dream that even allowed me to drive past the house. Now as I walk in and the roof is in my bedroom floor, and my sister's room has a complete view of the sky, that dream is gone.

I will forever treasure the Christmases with the living room full of presents from Santa. And countless hours doing homework at the breakfast room table. Or swimming and then jumping on the trampoline, in between Dirty Dancing or Clueless marathons. Or spending hours pretending not to look out the windows at the Martin boys. Or the many parties after football games, proms, or any other excuse to get together and crowd as many people as possible around Grandma's giant table.

If you are looking for my childhood, I know where it is. But it is much harder to recall when the house is half as tall.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

International Justice Day

Today is International Justice Day, a day for us to look at the world around us and figure out what we can do to help others. It may be providing wells for clean water in Africa or protection for children who may be sold into prostitution. I am attaching a link to a video made by Mocha Club-the group that I traveled to Ethiopia with last year! Mocha Club started in Nashville by 2 of my favorite artists, Matt Wertz and Dave Barnes. The other founder is not a musician (that I know of), but an awesome guy-Barrett Ward. Barrett and his wife Rachel lived in Addis when I was there last summer and are adopting 2 girls from Ethiopia. Okay, I'm rambling. A friend said earlier that International Justice Day should be everyday! And he is right! Everyday should be Thanksgiving as well. Take a moment today to be thankful for your home, your safety, and clean water that flows from a tap, not from a stream 6 miles away. Enough from me. I will let the video do the rest. Here's the link:

Family Update

I wish I could say things are better, but I can't. I stayed the night last night with Mom and it was the most time I have spent with her in over 2 years. And that is really hard to say. We did not argue like I thought we would, but it wasn't very peaceful either. I started a book last night when I got there and I finished it right after I left, so that tells you how much reading I did last night instead of talking. Talking to her is like talking to a wall. So I decided not to waste my breath. My grandparents are back up here tonight, so I get to stay at home! I may start on another book instead of sleeping, simply because I am so happy to be in my drama-free house. ha!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stephanie's Update

Steph and the team are having a great you can tell from her email!

Hey!We have had a lot more internet access this time around than I thought we would so I am going to take advantage of it! Sorry in advance - I typed this email on Tuesday night but wasn't able to send it until today. We actually have had internet at the house in Addis and here at the hotel in Nazareth. The only problem is there are 16 of us that have to share two computers here and only one at the house - and the service is SLOW - plus you have to pay for it by the minute. It isn’t very expensive but it is frustrating. I guess I should just be glad that we have access to it at all!Anyways - today we went to the Women at Risk center again. They have a bible study every morning so we went for that. I forgot how much I love to hear these people sing in Amharic! It is really pretty and they are very passionate while they are singing. Two of the women there shared their testimonies - well, I should say one of them shared. The other lady tried to share but she got extremely upset when she started talking about the time period when she lived on the streets since she had an infant daughter with her. I would love to know the rest of her story but maybe she will be able to share it some other morning. Two of our girls shared and I appreciate so much that they did. It is very hard to try and tell about our lives when you have just heard the horrendous things these women have been through. Our lives all just sound so wonderful and perfect - and for the most part they are - especially in comparison to what these women have dealt with. After the devotion time some of the team washed the women's’ feet and painted their nails while the rest of us colored with their little ones. We left for lunch and went to the market to get ingredients to make pizza with the women. Of course, we had to forget cheese while we were shopping - haha. We made homemade dough and sauce for the pizza while Dana attempted to find cheese for us at the other stores in town. She didn’t have any luck - I guess they don’t use cheese for much around here. That is so strange to me - but oh well. We improvised and make a kind of breadstick with the sauce spread on it and then rolled up. We just called them pizza rolls. I am not sure that the women liked them but they enjoyed making them and learning how to make the dough and sauce at least. I know pizza is an American thing and to them is very strange. They have tons of pizza places around Addis but the Ethiopians don’t eat there - only the tourists. So, that is what our day consisted of. It was a lot of fun and pretty exhausting! We will be going back there in the morning for their bible study and to spend some time with them before lunch. After lunch we have the afternoon off!!! I have no idea what that will consist of but we will see. I’m sure it will at least involve me e-mailing again. We are still trying to convince Dana, our leader, to let us go see Harry Potter since it comes out tomorrow. I think she will but it will probably be this weekend when we are back in Addis - I don’t know that they even have a theater here in Nazareth. Talk to you tomorrow probably!Love y’all-Steph

I was going to wait to see Harry Potter until Steph got home, but if they get to go in Addis, then I will not wait on her!! I am pretty proud of myself for offering to wait anyway ;)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


With Stephanie being gone, I am having to pick up the family slack for both of us. Usually this is pretty easy. But not right now. Our mom was diagnosed with depression in '99 after I was diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. For a while, the medicine worked as it should. Then, things took a wrong turn. After my parents divorced a few years ago, Mom became another person. Stephanie and I had little contact with her. It wasn't because I didn't want to be a part of her life, but I could not understand the things she was doing. So I chose to stay out of daily routine. Recently, things spiraled out of control. After much research, I feel that my mom was wrongly diagnosed. I am not sure what her official diagnosis should be, but if she were simply depressed, then her situation would not be what it is today. Lots of changes are occurring in our family-even as I write this. Please pray for healing for my mother, strength for my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and peace for all of us. I am not usually one who pours out these matters in a blog, but I just want you to know that I will need your unconditional love and support for a while. Don't get me wrong. I have always needed my friends! But right now, I need you more than ever. The only explanation I have for everything that is happening is that my mom is sick. She has been sick for a long time, and has not received the proper treatment. I can compare this to my illness. If I had not gone to the doctor and remained in the hospital for a few months, I can honestly say I would not be alive right now. And mental illness can be as deadly as a physical illness that goes untreated. I went through 2 years of chemotherapy and still visit the doctor once a year. And I know that it will take Mom years to overcome this as well. Thanks, in advance, for your prayers!


Stephanie and the group have traveled out of Addis, the capital city, and into Nazareth. Apparently, it is a much warmer climate with camels wandering around, rather than just cows. I know how the livestock just roam in Addis, but I am accustomed to cows. Not so much to camels! But I cannot wait to see the pictures! Here is her latest update. Please pray for healing for the sick people of the group. The elevation and climate are so different from ours that water is truly a vital part of everyday life there. Here is her letter:

Hey again!We are in Nazareth which is about 2 hours southeast of Addis (I think). It is a lot warmer here! Today we haven’t accomplished much. We are dropping like flies around here. We had a couple of people get really sick to their stomachs yesterday afternoon. So we all just fixed sandwiches and soup at the house. I had a grilled peanut butter sandwich ;-). It was fantastic, of course! This morning a couple of the girls got sick and one of them passed out in the hallway. She is a little better but now one of the other girls is sick. I am not sick and hope it stays that way!!! But anyways. We left the house this morning and went and ran some errands in Addis and then headed out here. I was dreading the ride because of how horrible the ride to Ambo was last summer, but I was pleasantly surprised! They have greatly improved the roads so it was paved the whole way. We were in quite a bit of traffic for the majority of the time and if you knew our bus driver you would understand that I was afraid for my life! We made it safely - even though Sammy refuses to ride behind ANYONE. After we checked into our hotel we went to the Women at Risk center. They offer a program for women that are prostitutes to help them with skills so they no longer will have to work on the streets. It seems like a great program and we are excited to get to learn about all they do and get to know them this week. Tomorrow we are all going to make pizza with the women and hopefully do some kind of arts and crafts with their children! There are four little ones that are there all day while their mothers are working and then there are 11 older children that are school age but they are coming to the center tomorrow since we will be there. The center has 11 women right now and that is the maximum they had hold due to resources. They offer them counseling and a salary for the work they do at the center while learning skills that will help them get a job after their 9 month time period is over. The first set of women that finished the program opened a cafe in town so we went there this afternoon to meet them also! The have a pet cat - everyone was petting it and it decided to attempt to climb my leg so I of course picked it up and held it. Most of the pets and animals around here are not very friendly - I don’t think they are used to being shown any attention - but this particular cat was very sweet. But anyways! Oh, they have camels here!!! We are so used to seeing donkeys and goats everywhere in Addis and Ambo but with the warmer weather here they have camels! Yay! Now we are going to attempt to find a pizza recipe and go to the store and buy the stuff to make it with the women tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t a disaster! Haha!I’ll e-mail again soon.Love y’all-Steph

The bus driver, Sammy, would be labeled with "Road Rage" here in the States, but there, it is totally normal. I felt at home with his driving when I was there! But I was a bit scared a few times. Luckily, we never hit any goats or people, but we had a few close calls ;)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Update from Stephanie

Reading her letters makes me feel as if I am there. And then I have tons of questions to ask her when I reply! I have decided to just include her letter, rather than telling you what it says. Some of her sentences don't make sense, but she said they are super tired! And I know that plane ride to Addis is not one that you can relax and sleep. But I am glad they made it safely and are having a great time! Here is her letter:

Hi everyone!!!

We made it! We are here in Addis. Just wanted to let y’all know that we made it fine - the plane ride from Dubai to Addis was pretty bumpy but it was ok. We have a TON of stuff as far as donations - you would not believe the amount of craft supplies we have - I have a feeling we won’t even use half of it. But oh well - they can find a use for it after we are gone. Yesterday we went to Hannah’s - which is an orphanage - and visited with them for a while. It rained the whole time so we piled into their big tv room and watch Chasing Liberty - it was in english with english subtitles - so one of the boys used the microphone and translated from the subtitles for the kids that can’t read english! It was a little strange but very funny!!! We had pizza for lunch - yay! And we had it again today - yay! Today's was awesome - even better than ours at home! We went to an Ethiopian Cultural restaurant last night for dinner. We eat their traditional food while they sang and danced. It was fun but we are all so exhausted and still had to come home and finish organizing all the donations. We finally went to sleep around midnight for our first normal night of sleep! Today we went to Kids Care where all the little babies are for a little while. After lunch we went to St. George’s Cathedral here in Addis and had a tour of the church. It was really pretty and something we didn’t get a chance to do last year - so that was nice! We back to the guest house we are staying to no electricity. Apparently on Saturdays they don’t have electricity here. The guest house we stayed at last year had a generator so we never went without electricity or hot water - not this year. But oh well! So we all took a nap - which was wonderful!!! Tomorrow we are going to church with our translator and to lunch somewhere and then hopefully to the market. We might get the chance to go to the internet cafe too. We have internet at the guest house - but without power it doesn’t do much good - haha! Oh, we have the same translator (plus two new ones) and the same bus driver as last year - so that is neat to get to spend time with them again! Monday we are heading out to Nazareth to a women’s center to spend some time with them! We are planning on doing crafts and maybe baking with them so that should be fun. One of the girls is going to teach all of us to crochet - I am excited about that!

I hope everything at home is going ok! Everyone here is really nice and no one is sick yet so lets just hope it stays that way!!! I am probably about to go back to bed - haha! We have all been so exhausted just from traveling and not getting to sleep like we should. So I will gladly go to bed early even after taking a nap! But anyways - I will e-mail again when I can!

Love y’all-


P.S. We have had pizza for the past three days - haha!

So you can see that they are loving the food! The Italians tried to take over Ethiopia during WWII, so that is why there is an abundance of pizza restaurants. I ate spaghetti at every nice restaurant we went to last year. It was the safe option for me. I was not brave in trying their foods. But, I will admit, the night I did try injera, it wasn't too bad. They make the food really spicy, so it hides any bad tastes! 

The Women's Center in Nazareth is a project that Mocha Club started a while back to help rehabilitate women who have been in prostitution. This center helps break the cycle and give these women job skills to better their lives. Many of these women are second and third generation prostitutes, so the center is helping show them another way of life so that they can change this pattern in their own daughters. And I think that it's really cool that the women are teaching them something in exchange. Last year we visited many places, but we never got to really exchange talents, so I am excited for Steph to come home and teach me to crochet! 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ethiopia Trip Update

I just got my first (of hopefully many) updates from Stephanie. They were waiting for their plane in the Dubai airport and had wireless internet to use, so they all took advantage of it. I can just picture them all surrounding computers trying to write to everyone at home! Steph said that Dubai was simply amazing. She said she felt like she was in an adult Disney World. They got to see the world's tallest building, a 7-star hotel, and they had Coldstone Creamery at midnight! She said nothing ever closes, and they were glad, because they planned on doing a tour of the area when they got there-which was late! So instead of sleeping, they toured Dubai. Way to use all of your available time! They got to sleep some on the plane, so she feels rested. I'm sure that will change! Ethiopia has a way of wearing you out-but in a good way. I slept good every night I was there because I was simply exhausted. When you pour out your heart, spirit, and energy day after day, it can be a little tiring. But I know they are going to have a blast. I cannot wait to hear about the adorable little ones at Kid's Care. Maybe my little one is there. But for his or her sake, I hope not! I will keep you updated on Steph, as well as my emotional roller coaster, as she updates me.

I did really well today. I worked outside for most of the day, so I kept my mind busy. My yard looks like a professional was here. And I am not a professional! But I had neglected it for a while, and my focus had not been on the weeds, so I took care of those today! Tomorrow I am planning on laying out and reading a book. I'm sure that will keep my mind busy too!

Broadway update

After talking with Sandy, I think we are going to do a Broadway review type show. She is going to round up some of the old theatre people, her dancers, and our new theatre people and come up with a great show. I am super excited!

Broadway is coming to Pulaski...again

When I was growing up, Pulaski had a theatre. Not a movie theatre. A theatre that had performances such as The Wizard of Oz, Steel Magnolias, Fiddler on the Roof, Music Man, and my theatre debut...Carousel. I loved being a part of that performance. After watching So You Think You Can Dance last night, I posted something on my Facebook page about missing dance class. Today I got an email from my dance instructor-I took from age 2 until my sophomore year of high school. Sandy was my teacher at age 2. She was in high school and had classes in her parents' garage. What a start, right?!?!? So she emailed me today and said that she would love to help with the adoption by organizing a fundraiser. I was thinking her dance students could sell t-shirts or raffle tickets for a prize or something. And then she says that she was thinking about doing a Broadway show. Now I know this can be done because Pulaski used to have people every weekend throughout the year come to see the shows at the Giles Heritage Theatre.

I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am about this! What an awesome fundraiser! Sandy even mentioned Julianna doing costume design. So you know I have already called her for that! And, she has accepted the challenge. I know she has a lot on her plate with her own fashion career, but who could pass up the opportunity to design the wardrobe for Pulaski's first Broadway show in 10 years?!?!?

So now Sandy is going to start rounding up set designers, sound and lighting people, and we are getting this show on the road! Well, maybe not literally. But, who knows...We might be that good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Thanks to Amy for helping me figure out this thing I call a blog. Now that it is much cuter, I am hoping to attract more followers!


Today Dana and I took Steph, Derrek, and Amanda to the airport. I don't get up before 5 AM for many people, so they should feel special. We took them to the airport for them to head to Ethiopia. To say that my heart is broken wouldn't really do this feeling justice. I am so excited that Stephanie gets to experience the people of Ethiopia for a month this summer, but I am also sad that I am here in the comforts of my home rather than at the airport meeting strangers who will become life-long friends. I know they will all have a blast and come home with more memories than they could ever share, and I can't wait to hear as many stories as they can remember! Last year as we returned home, we knew that we could tell the stories of the beautiful people and landscape of Ethiopia, but unless our family and friends were there to witness it with their own eyes, they could not truly understand where we were coming from. And I think I am the saddest about that. I will not be there to see these things so that I can fully support Stephanie as she comes home to share. It was such a peaceful feeling to know that I had her to back me up on the details of playing in a field full of cows and children. Or of the faces of the children at the various orphanages. I pray that she has a wonderful, life-changing experience. I am already anxious to hear about it and she isn't even there yet!

But, as Julianna and Catherine pointed out today, this is a part of my process of changing to become a parent. I am going to have to miss out on month long mission trips, but I think this would be easier to deal with if my child was here. I would have a constant distraction from crying. So, since my little one isn't here yet, I guess I am going to have to clean house, mow the yard, and read lots of books to keep myself occupied. I know this month will fly by! I just pray that it seems like a lifetime for my friends in Ethiopia. I pray that God uses them each day to touch the people of that beautiful nation.

Last Week

I didn't update last week because I was with Catherine and her adorable children in Memphis. We stayed with her in-laws, and they have dial-up, so that meant I was not using the Internet. Guess I am spoiled by my high speed! Reese had zoo camp at the Memphis Zoo every day, so I just went to hang out with Catherine and play with the kids. To listen to Reese tell stories every afternoon of the stuff she did at zoo camp was worth being away from home for 5 nights! She got to play with a baby penguin one day! I was so incredibly jealous! We spent 2 days at the zoo while she was in camp to enjoy the animals and the beautiful weather. This week filled with kids and fun events made me wish that mine was here now! We went to the sprinkler park and played, had popsicles, played on the swing set, and jammed to Michael Jackson. It took us a while, but Reese finally warmed up to his music. Now she wants to learn the dances! Some people say that your life stops when you have children, but after last week I have learned that life doesn't stop, it just gets more exciting!

Monday, June 22, 2009


During our Father's Day gathering, my Papa took us on a trip down Memory Lane. He was telling stories about the trouble that he and his brothers would get into in their small town. And then he told a story that had us all in tears-Papa included. He said that he often forgot his lunch money or that his family didn't have the quarter that he needed for his lunch. A certain lunch lady, Polly, would always make sure that Papa and his brothers had a lunch.

On one certain day in Papa's Senior year of high school, my great-grandfather, Charlie, left early in the morning to haul a load of lumber for the lumber yard. He would go out into the woods and cut trees, load the wood onto his truck, and take the load and sell it to the lumber yard. Papa remembers sitting outside during their morning break and hearing a loud truck rumbling up the road. At first he did not recognize this truck as Charlie's. As Charlie got out of the truck, Papa became embarrassed of the noise and his appearance. What Papa didn't realize at the time was that Charlie was bringing his quarter for lunch. Charlie had gotten up early that morning to take the load of wood so that Papa would have money for lunch.

Now, as Papa reflects on this day, he regrets the embarrassment that he felt. He knew his father was making a sacrifice to be sure that his son had money and could eat lunch that day. This story of sacrifice only strengthens my pride in my family. I am in tears now as I type this. I know that my family has been through hardships and those hardships only bring us closer. As this adoption continues, I am proud to introduce my new child to such a caring, loving family. A family that sacrifices for one another.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spiders, and Dirt, and Crickets, Oh My!

As I was cleaning out the basement today, I found lots of things that will go great in a yard sale. I even found a few things that I wanted to keep. Sadly, some of my long lost treasures were ruined. I have looked for my Senior yearbook for years. Found it today! But it was ruined. So it can now be found in the trash can. I did find some really fun sorority stuff that made me smile and miss those girls! Those were fun times!

The bugs I found were not so fun! I had to call in reinforcement at one point. I opened a box and discovered what could have been a baby mouse or the biggest spider I have ever seen. Once my dad got here to help with this situation, he discovered it was just a cricket. So, naturally, I felt really dumb! But the way it died made it look huge and its legs were all weird. Just thinking about it gives me the creeps!

On a happy note, I found some cute wrapping paper that will be great for Christmas gifts and some cute picture frames! And you know I will need those! Some even came from Disney World, so you know where we will have to go to get pictures to put in those! I already have the trip planned out in my head! I will just have to be sure that Aunt Stephanie and Aunt Catherine are prepared for this journey! Reese is ready right now!

I got a lot accomplished today, and as soon as the trash runs, I can finish cleaning out the rest of the basement. And then it's on to the attic! Hopefully there won't be any crickets disguised as spiders up there!


As I continue to prepare for my little one, I have decided that I will need every available inch of space in my house for toys, clothes, books, whatever. So I am headed to the basement to clean down there. I realize that this post may be a way to procrastinate, but it is also keeping to my promise to update more. So I don't feel bad about it. There are lots of little things that need to be done around here, so I figure that a yard sale will help fund those projects, which is one motivation for cleaning out the basement. I think I have 3 vacuum cleaners down there. Don't ask me why I have 3! I have never used any of them, so I am not sure how they ended up there. I do vacuum. But not with any of the ones in the basement! After I finish there, I am going to the attic-that will hopefully, one day, possibly, maybe, become my master bedroom/bath. So for that to happen in 10 years or so, I need to get rid of lots of stuff from up there too! So if you need a vacuum or some Halloween decorations, come on by!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kids Care

I have searched various blogs for the past few hours and discovered that Kids Care (the orphanage where my child lives) has a website. Pretty cool, considering they only have power a few days a week. So, anyway, check it out!

Busy Preparing

I realize that I have not updated this in a while. I have my reasons for that. And here they are:
1. I have painted/cleaned/organized the soon-to-be nursery.

2. I have finished my dossier paperwork and have it ready to take to Nashville in a few days!

3. I sent out fundraiser letters to help gain more support from family and friends.

4. I have cleaned out most of the house, so that I will have room for this precious child. Yard sales are not fun, but they are necessary at this point.

5. I have finished another great school year-and I can say that these kids were my favorites! I was so sad to see them go! But I know I will have another great bunch in the fall.

6. I did some traveling in March as a way to reconnect with old friends.

7. My grandfather was in a life-threatening car accident on March 6th, and spent 2 months in ICU. My days were filled with school, taking care of Granddaddy, and a little sleep every now and then. He is now in a nursing home in Pulaski, so it is much easier to help him since he is five minutes away, rather than an hour away in Huntsville.

8. Stephanie built and moved into her new home. I didn't realize she had that much stuff!

9. I have completed a grant application and hope to hear from them soon. This grant will help complete this adoption process, I hope!

10. I have caught up on my scrapbooking, so now I am ready to start a Lifebook for the child. I have been playing around with ideas for a children's book to help him/her adjust to life in a new family.

11. Speaking of Lifebooks, I signed up for a class on how to create a Lifebook and the difference between a Lifebook and a scrapbook. A Lifebook begins when the family begins the adoption. I have written journal entries to the child about my excitement and joy of having him/her join my family.

12. On Saturday, I participated in an adoption class with Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to learn ways to help the child bond and attach with me and the rest of my family. I also discovered some great toys to build fine motor skills. This class was really an awesome time to ask questions of doctors and psychologists who are in contact with adoptive families every day.

13. During this entire process, I have been collecting books and toys for the baby. I went to Build-a-Bear and built the baby a zebra named Addis (the city where he/she will come from). I even included a heartbeat to help soothe the child during naps and at bedtime.

14. I have found bedding for a boy and a girl. Each pattern is so perfect! Blue/green turtles for a boy, and pink/brown snails for a girl. I painted the walls a light tan color so that either pattern will work. I will just add a few things once I know the child I am receiving.

15. Steph and I went to Atlanta a while back, and I found the perfect furniture. And it matches the rocking chair!

Many of you have wanted updates, so here ya go. I promise that I will do a better job keeping you posted. I am anxiously waiting to hear from the grant. I really wish that I could travel with Steph in a few weeks back to Ethiopia, but I know that I must stay here and prepare for my future child. But I am so ready to fly those 16 hours to meet my little one!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I said I was going to do better about posting pictures, so here are a few from this crazy ride!

Jessica, Cacey, Catherine, and Dee at the Chili Supper that Cacey organized. It raised over $1500!!!

Julie & Bobby Hargrove organized a Turkey Shoot near Christmas.

Jodie Kimbrough had her gymnastic girls decorate pumpkins at Halloween to sell to their families, so here is a pumpkin from that fundraiser. I thought this was a really cute idea!

Dave Barnes

We went to see Dave Barnes on Friday night at the Exit/In and it was an amazing show-as usual. But when he talked about the Mocha Club, this was an emotional time. He talked about when he, Barrett, Rachel, and Annie (his wife) went to the Sudan to talk with the people about their needs. Their main concern is the water. There are 15,000 refugees that have fled Darfur and other regions and set up a town. For those 15,000 there is no clean water. No clean water! I cannot even imagine. But they know that they had to flee their homes for any chance of surviving. As he described this scene, I was in tears. As was most of the crowd, and Dave. He said that as they were leaving and getting back into the van, a member of the council stopped him and thanked him for all that Mocha Club has done so far. And I was just broken. There are so many things that these people need, yet they are still thankful for what we have done,and thankful for what they do have, which is their life. It really brought me back to the point in my life after my trip to Ethiopia. These people are so thankful and so kind and so loving, yet they have "nothing" that we would consider of worth. If you have not joined Mocha Club, I beg you to do so. It's a network similar to Facebook or Myspace. You can invite people you know to join your team. The $7 a month that you give goes to build wells for these people of Sudan. So far, the Mocha Club has plans for 4 wells for these people. These 4 wells will serve a few hundred people each. But there are 15,000 there! The site is and you would like to be on my team, just let me know and I will send you the information. Thanks in advance!


My wonderful little sister has organized a benefit concert in Nashville this weekend. I am so excited about the guest list-no so much the musicians, but the people who are coming from all over the US to be a part of this- from as far away as California! I am so humbled to have these people that care about me spend their time and money to be a part of this event. I cannot wait to spend the weekend with them! I am also excited to show them the fun side of Nashville. I have line dancing planned on Friday night and Stephanie has organized a tour of Nashville on Saturday. Then the big show Saturday night! I am a little nervous about the actual show. I just want it to go perfectly! And I am sure it will. I need to raise LOTS of money, so keep your fingers crossed! Catherine & Cacey are going to take tickets and sell shirts. Someone is going to sell raffle tickets, and then Catherine and Lesli are going to talk about the reason behind the show.

We have had tons of great things donated for the show-from gift certificates to purses to a banjo! Yeah, a banjo! I am excited about it! I would like to have it, but I have NO idea how to play! So keep your fingers crossed that people want to win this stuff!


I realize that after I started this blog, I did not keep up with writing on a daily basis. I was afraid that this would happen, and I was really trying to NOT have it happen, but oh well. Here's a little update on what is going on now.

I'm still waiting on my home study to be completed (even though it should have been done by now), and so I have to wait until I can send all of my paperwork to Ethiopia. But....I don't have the $6,000 that goes with it, so I guess it's okay that it is not finished. The only reason I would like for it to be complete (aside from the obvious) is that I can apply for grants and send out more fundraising letters once it is complete. So that is a major reason as to why I want it finished.

It just seems like this is taking a lot longer than I was told, or a lot longer than I expected. Some things at the beginning went really quickly, but now it is seeming to drag on forever!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Lots of people are shocked at the cost of adoption. I know I was when I started this process. You may be curious as to what I have to pay and when, so I thought I would break it down for you (I just said that in my best rapper voice).

Ethiopia Cost
Application Fee
1st Installment of Program Fee
Home Study
$1,200 - $2,800
Additional Home Study Documentation Prep. Fee
$0 - $150
Home Study Visit Travel Fees(could include mileage, hotel, and food costs)
$0 - $500
Adoptive Parent Training (2 adults)
Documents/Background Checks/Passports
$100 - $500
USCIS Fee & Update Fee + Fingerprinting
Notarization, Certification & Authentication
Courier Service
2nd Installment of Program Fee
Post-Adoption Report Deposit(fully refundable if all post-adoption reports are returned on time)
Dossier Service & Translation
International Specialist Consultation
$100 - $400
3rd Installment of Program Fee
International Program Fee (1 child) ••
Airfare (2 adults) •••
$2,400 - $4,000
Airfare (1 child) •••
$250 - $1,000
Visas (2 adults)
Visa/Embassy Fee (1 child)
In-Country Travel Package (2 adults) ••••
$2,800 - $3,200
Post-Adoption Administrative Fee
Post-Adoption Visits•••••
$300 - $1,500
Post-Adoption Visit Travel Fees
$0 - $1,050
$300 - $1,000
Post-Adoption Report Refund(refunded in installments as, and only if, each report is returned on time)
Other Costs(include doctor visit and related co-pays, social security card, passport cost, postage, long distance phone calls)
$100 - $1,000
$23,460 - $33,010

That seems like a lot, and it is, but they break down each part so that it doesn't seem so overwhelming, although it still is at times!

I am currently in the stage that is in red. And I have been at this stage for quite some time, and I may be at this stage for a while longer. If you would like to help out by donating, I have included a link to my PayPal page. It is safe and reliable.

Thanks for reading all of this! It feels really cool/weird to have people "follow" what I'm doing. I feel honored-serioulsy!

More Ideas

Once I posted the first few blogs, a few ideas were missing-Thanks to my Aunt Carol for pointing them out ;)

When I returned from Ethiopia, many people asked me why I was adopting from there. I could only answer that I fell in love with the people. I truly feel that a piece of my heart is still there. And when I return with my little one, my heart will be whole again. Wow! That was really profound. But I truly feel that.

I have been reading/studying/learning about children, especially adopted children and the extra needs they have. Some of the things I read are a little scary, but I know that with any child, there can be problems or complications. So I am just trusting in the Lord that He will provide the child I am supposed to have!

I become anxious about money quite often, but a dear friend text me one night and reminded me that everything will work in God's time and that if I don't have the money for the paperwork to be sent to Ethiopia yet, then the child I am destined to have isn't ready. She said it much more eloquently than that, but you get the idea. And I know that she is right, but in our day and age of "I want it right now," a part of that rubs off onto me too! I guess I am human after all!

I'm going to include more pictures of Ethiopia, its people, and our group. Hope you enjoy!

This little one stole my heart from the first second I saw her! She tried her best to play it cool, but I won...eventually!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


You know the quote, "Necessity is the mother of invention" or something like that. Well, I guess that is how this blog was started. I was asked to write a story about my adoption for a radio spot to promote the concert, and it turned into a blog! I still don't know if I have an actual radio spot written, but I do have quite a few blog entries.

While looking for grants and such online, I have found that many organizations are opposed to giving money to single women. They feel that the best way to raise an adopted child, or any child for that matter, is with a husband and wife. Well, duh! But at this point, I don't have a husband, and I don't feel that I should wait for said husband before I adopt. My child will have the best Mommy I know how to be, and one day he or she will have an awesome father. And I feel that a life with me would be better than a life in an orphanage. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand their viewpoint. But it still ticks me off a little.


One thing I learned about adoption is that it is not cheap. While I know that every penny is worth it, there are some days when I stress a little too much about the money. I have had wonderful friends and family help with fundraisers. We started out with t-shirts and a chili supper. Then Catherine, Jessica, and I worked day and night on a Christmas fundraiser. Stephanie started working on a concert fundraiser in October, and the details are finally complete. Well, almost! We are hoping by Monday to be finished! She has signed Andy Davis and Erin McCarley to play the show. And not only that, but our entire Ethiopia team will be back together again (minus 2 members). So I thought I would include a photo of our team.

If you are interested in helping with fundraisers, you can buy a t-shirt or bracelet at

For concert tickets, visit after Monday.

The beginning

After doing some research about adoption agencies, I decided to go with America World Adoption Agency. They have been so supportive through this entire process. While we were in Ethiopia, we worked with the America World orphanages and I will admit this did help my decision. As a mother, I knew that I would have greater peace of mind knowing that my child was being cared for until I could bring him or her home.

I have applied for a child from six months to three and a half years of age. I could not choose between a boy or a girl, so I'm letting the agency make that decision. There are positives (and negatives) to both, and I really don't care. I just want a child to love. And it's weird because I already do love this child that I have not even seen yet. I can totally understand pregnant women and their love for their child. While this child is not growing inside me, I know that I will love him or her just as much.

Here We Go

Well, after much turmoil about actually committing to a blog, here I am! I caved in! But, I know that essentially this is important to keep people informed about the adoption. But first, maybe I should give some background info.

I traveled to Ethiopia this summer through Mocha Club, a charity organization that raises money for different causes in Africa. You can check out their site to learn more I traveled with an awesome group of people from around the country. We worked for 2 weeks in orphanages in Addis Ababa and Ambo, Ethiopia. To say that this experience was life-changing would be an understatement. The people of Ethiopia are so caring and nurturing. Their joy and happiness shines from their eyes. While they may live in a hut with a dirt floor, or not have a home at all, they are genuinely happy! This was a convicting thought for me while I was there and I have not stopped thinking about it since. We need the latest gadget or car, or the biggest house to truly think we are happy. I say "think" because even those things don't really make us happy. We just long for more. Or I do anyway. Okay, back to the story. I'm finished with the soap box for now ;)

Once we returned home from Ethiopia, I could not get the images of the children at the orphanages out of my head. I would sit up and cry at night as I went through the pictures. They are beautiful children who deserve so much more from life. After a little research and a lot of prayer, I decided to start the adoption process and give a child a better life. I wish I could take them all!



About Me

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I am single, 30 year old teacher in Tennessee. I am anxiously awaiting a child from Ethiopia. I cannot wait to add this adventure to my life!