Friday, December 31, 2010

Promises for a new year (with Larkin)

Promises for our first full year together

I promise to let you wear your sunglasses inside, in the car, at night, in the bathtub, and anywhere else that you think is necessary

I promise to let you choose to wear the black shoes, even if you have on brown pants

I promise to let you dump your toy baskets and walk away and not yell about it

I promise to go outside and blow bubbles, even when it is WAY too cold to be outside

I promise to find hair products that will allow me to comb your hair with no screaming involved

I promise to let you explore and play and figure out what you love the best

I promise (to try) to teach you to value your possessions

I promise to teach you respect for others, their opinions, and their beliefs

I promise to teach you to love SEC football and especially the Crimson Tide

But, I promise to allow you to go to school somewhere else if the scholarship is better (totally kidding on this one) (not really)

I promise to allow you to spend days in your pajamas

I promise to not always make you finish your vegetables

I promise to teach you other ways to dance than just with one arm

I promise to not freak out if you don’t have a nap or want to stay up an hour later

I promise to work on my sound effects for when you push boxes around like they are cars

I promise to try to not embarrass you in front of your friends (I said try)

I promise to take you on trips to the beach, the mountains, and the lake

I promise to share my love and fear for roller coasters

I promise to let you play an instrument and not complain when the sound makes my ears bleed

I promise to never abandon you and to love you unconditionally

I promise to make this the best year of your life (so far)

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I had so many things that I wanted to accomplish during my month at home. I wanted to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom, organize the attic, and clean out the cabinets in the laundry room. Instead, I built a tower with blocks, learned to change my voice for different characters in a story, and semi-mastered a bedtime routine.

And I feel like I accomplished a lot. Giles County’s newest citizen has learned to find the toy department at Wal-Mart, appreciates the 5 cent coke at Reeves, and knows most of his great-grandfather’s friends at NHC on a first name basis. So while my bedroom may look the same, nothing else about my life remains unchanged.

Someone asked me earlier tonight if my life was completely different now. And without hesitation, I said yes. But it is the best kind of different I could have ever dreamed of. There are nights when Larkin refuses to sleep and wants to be rocked for 20 extra minutes and I have to remind myself that I chose this journey, and that 20 more minutes don’t compare to the two long years it took for him to arrive!

I don’t think I realized that something was missing from my life until he arrived. And I guess the saying is true that you don’t miss what you don’t have. Now, I could not imagine my life without him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

As I was organizing picture folders on my computer, I found one titled, “Baby Z.” We have come a long way! What started out as a two year compilation of boys and girls names was cut in half the day I got pictures and information about Baby Z. Baby Z then became a reality. I began to go through my list and pick out names that I could imagine myself saying for the next 70 years, and screaming across the house for the next 16 ;) I even screamed a few to see how it sounded.

I finally settled on Larkin thanks to my friend Erin’s book collection. She let me borrow a few books to read in July, and two of the books had someone named Larkin in them. The author of one book was Alli Larkin, and the other had an introduction written by David Larkin. I realize that Larkin was their last name, but I took it as a sign.

So Larkin was set! And the even harder part began! I had to come up with a way to turn Baby Z’s Ethiopian name, Zelalem, into a more American version. Thankfully, a wise woman helped out! My favorite granny from Collierville came up with Elam as a way to shorten Zelalem. I liked it, and put it on my list of names to consider.

One day while I was searching for meanings of names, I just put in Elam to see what the computer could tell me. In Amharic, Ethiopia’s language, Zelalem means forever. And I loved the idea of that. Adoption puts a child with a forever family, so I wanted to find some way to keep that meaning! So I was overjoyed when Elam came up as the Hebrew word for forever. I was over the moon with excitement! And that sealed it!

Larkin Elam Sanderson.

Monday, September 20, 2010


My plan is to update the blog with thoughts from the first trip to court and then post some thoughts as a full-time mom from the second trip. This first post is something I wrote on the plane ride back to Im going to start at the end and work my way back. Sorry for the confusion! But I really wanted to share this first.

As I rode in the van for the last time in Addis, I looked at the children we passed on the street. Would Larkin be a student on the way to school or a beggar selling gum to a van full of tourists. Would he be a child at the church praying for healing or moving donkeys through traffic on the street?

He will be none of these things because he is my child. He will not walk the streets of Addis in search of food each day. As his mother, all his needs will be provided. I cry tears of joy at the fact that I dont have to worry if he was fed or if he has clean clothes. From this day forward, I can witness this for myself.

Gone are the days of putting myself first. Gone are the times where I can just throw a bag in the car and stay gone for a week. But I am not sad that these days are over. I am overjoyed that I have someone else to provide for. I am thrilled that I can share my family, friends, and life with my child. I am elated that Larkin has become a part of an amazing group that I call my family, even if we dont all have the same parents.

From this day forward, I am no longer just Shay Sanderson. I am Larkin's mom, and hopefully his hero!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Three Pounds

When I sent my paperwork to America World, the contents of the box weighed three pounds. Once I knew it was delivered safely, I think twenty pounds were lifted off my shoulders. Now that I have passed everything that the US requires, it is now time to hope and pray that Ethiopia is satisfied with it too! Then maybe another twenty pounds will be lifted!

I have a Fed Ex tracking number to obsess over for the next few weeks. The email I received today explained that it could take a while for it to arrive, and not to freak out if it stays in one place for a while. Yeah, right. Okay, I won't freak out! ha!

I just started a new adoption book the other night and I haven't gotten very far. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has adopted or is thinking of adopting. It is about creating the child's lifebook. A lifebook is different from a scrapbook or a typical baby book in that I wasn't there on the night he/she was born. I didn't give the first bath or bottle. So the lifebook focuses more on the child's country and its customs and traditions.

It also focuses on the child's birth family and the people at the orphanage. I know this will be a challenge to complete. I have already cried a few times, and I'm only on page 7! While reading the introduction, my excitement for this entire grueling process was renewed!

The book explains that children have a hard time understanding the concept of birth and adopted children have a hard time understanding that their lives are not a mistake. Knowing who our parents are is the physical part of birth, but knowing that we were born in the very heart of God is the spiritual part. Isn't that exciting!

Even though my child will not know his/her parents, I have a responsibility to tell my child the truth-good and bad. Secrets may make things easier in the beginning, but I do not want to start my forever family based on not telling the truth.

The book also explains that even though adoption is tough for the birthmother and the child, God uses it for the good of everyone. I was floored by that statement. I often sit and cry thinking of the pain and suffering my child's birthmother has or will suffer. I could not imagine giving away my child....MY child! But thankfully, she has made this tough decision so that I can have this child as a part of my family.

I feel relief when I think of the wonderful people that I met in Ethiopia. The same people I met two summers ago will be caring for my child until I am there to bring him/her home. This has given me peace of mind beyond belief. Yes, some other adoption agencies were cheaper and the wait not as long, but seeing the place that my child calls home and meeting the women who care for him/her is far more important than a little bit of money.

Thankfully, we had some great photographers on our trip. I am excited to use their creativity and talent to make my child's lifebook something that we will always treasure.

I bought "Where the Wild Things Are" tonight. I am leaning towards this as a nursery theme if I get a boy. I have ideas stirring in my head at night and I have to wake up to put them onto paper so that they are not lost between dreams and alarm clocks. There are many people who have used this book as a theme and their nurseries are very inspirational. I want the room to be something that can grow as the child grows. I do not want it to seem baby-ish and then have to change it again in a year. Although I may change it anyway ;)

And if it is a girl, I am totally screwed! How will I ever choose just one cute pink theme!?!?! I can always rely on my pink and green turtles! Lord knows I have enough of that stuff, thanks to college!

So I guess I wait and see. And while I wait, I am going to continue cleaning out closets and cabinets to make room for another person in this house! Let the wild rumpus begin!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

This time next year I will officially be celebrating Mother's Day! But for now, I am just waiting on that to happen. Lots has happened since my last post. I don't know why I don't get on here more often. I am not going to wait until 2011 to make a resolution...I am doing it now! So here's to more posts from me!

I sent my dossier (three pounds of paper) to the adoption agency on Friday, April 9th and officially joined the waiting list for a child on April 30th! I have been stalking the AWAA blog to see how fast others are being matched with their children. The fastest match was for a family that joined the waiting list on Feb. 5th and were matched on April 29th. Pretty fast! That encouraged me to get going on my house organizing and decorating!!

Since I did not choose a boy or a girl, I feel like I should get matched pretty quickly. So Operation Get This House In Order has officially begun!

I have a few nursery ideas floating around in my head, so I will post pictures of my ideas soon.



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!