Saturday, December 22, 2007

merry christmas and we're off!

in just a few short hours we'll be getting on the plane for Ethiopia!!! i truly cannot believe this day is actually here. and that we're actually packed! all we have to do today is give the dog a bath and clean the ceiling fans. and find ben some socks. considering yesterday ben had to tell amanda we hadn't even started packing i feel pretty good about the state of things. hound is a mess. he's curled up on the bed right now and actually whimpering - he knows the jig is up and is coping by following us from room to room.
so we're having our friend Bob pick us up from the airport and i need to take the car seats over to him today. last night as i put the bundle-me's into the seats (thanks aunt kristie!) it hit me that we're going to have little babies in them so soon. ( i guess the two cribs and everything weren't enough...) it's so amazing. i know it hasn't actually been that long but i feel like we've been waiting an eternity to be parents, that we've endured hours of advice, and as of Christmas morning when we meet our daughters for the first time it will all be up to us and I am so looking forward to it.
i want to extend many many thanks to those of you who have supported and loved us through this - we truly could not have done this without you. our mothers, sisters, and mary alice especially, for being constant sources of encouragement. when i was home for the benefit show john and isaac made me give a speech. and of course i cried like a baby because so many people showed up to support us and looking around the room i realized how many people love our daughters without having met them.
we won't be posting from ethiopia so you'll all have to wait until we get home to hear about how we fared in africa and on the plane ride home. of course if they scream for 20 hours straight i'll have clawed my eyes out so it probably would have looked like this anyway hgjdjghjdfshguewihfv huhfuhgbvl fhsalhvjl.

i hope everyone has a blessed and exciting 2008!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

thanksgiving in catawaba

benjr. and bensr. at mill mountain coffee in the early morning

meme ( the real saint frances - ben's grandma), aiden, and gaga on thanksgiving -

this is my first of two plates at meme's lunch. that's right, lunch. i was hungry.

this is the hill where everyone wants to build their house - we're going to draw straws. (we'll win)

catawba - this will be the view from our front porch. when things get to be too much in the city, ben and i daydream about life here, at the foot of mcafee's knob where he spent so much time as a kid. (it's half country life and half being so close to meme's kitchen).

favorite pics from thanksgiving

we kicked a$%&# at taboo

Mama Deb

like father, like daughter

lily and aiden

and by the end we had all gone a little crazy

can't imagine what it's going to be like next year with even more kids in the mix!

Friday, December 14, 2007

trip to the nooga part deux

i also got to see isaac play

got to serve wine at the benefit show john and isaac put together for the pancakes

i got to hang out with my broskeezy sam and paul david
border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5143976053565748866" />

and got to remember the plagues of starlings that make sunsets my favorite time of day when i'm home.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

trip to the nooga

a few weeks ago i went home for an entire week! it's the most time i've spent there in a few years and it was very very fun and busy and just so amazing. i still don't feel like i got to really catch up with everyone but there were tears and lots of jokes and a few beers too.
i got to see mary (and baby) and henry

and went with friends to some old haunts which are now haunted by very young people who crush beer cans on their heads.

laughed while asher had his first bath

they threw us a babies shower at kiko and vincent's

i got to drive up lookout mountain for church at rock creek

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

saida esme

hilina frances

we're parents! we got through court today and are officially mom and dad to saida and hilina. wooo-hoooo! looks like we'll leave new york on christmas eve and travel home on the 8th of january! so excited i could just die! man. did i mention i'm excited???!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

happy thanksgiving and yay!

we got more pictures of the girls and they are even more beautiful than last month. i have so much to say but am about to get in the car for the long drive back to new york from the mountains of virginia. it's been a whirlwind of a few weeks and will have pictures and so much to share come the next few days. court on tuesday - pray that everything goes well please, God.
just so you know, the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me happened last friday when i got to be with my super duper friends as they welcomed their third child into the world. here we are just an hour after Asher was born. welcome to the world, buddy, and thanks for waiting for me to get there, grace...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

saturday nap (while we still can)

they're both actually asleep in this picture. what you can't see is that the hound is actually laying on my legs. he's really going to take it hard when we get back from Ethiopia, poor guy -- he's so spoiled.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sad News

it looks like we've had our first stroke of bad luck. Our court date was wrong. Our court date is actually the 27th. It's not that big of a deal except that this pushes our travel back potentially into the first week in January. There are many families trying to get travel dates in the last week in December - to be there for Christmas which would be just amazing. i had so wanted a Christmas with our girls. New York is simply the best place to be at Christmas, and I was just positively giddy with the day-dreaming. but- bad luck is relative since nothing has happened to our daughters and everyone is healthy. That's assuming the Embassy holds to their word of only closing on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If we don't get there before the second week in January, then we run into Epiphany (12th Night) which means that everything will close for another few weeks. That means we wouldn't get to travel until the end of January.

i mean it's just reality that there are no guarantees in adoption. i let myself get lulled into thinking we were almost there. and now, another few months.

keep praying that we somehow get to travel before the end of the year.

off to eat chocolate and cry.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Good News!!!!

So we got some good news today, we have a court date! We are scheduled to go through court on November 19!!! What does this mean you ask? Well, if you had scrolled down to stage VII you would realize we're on step D. :) Our documents (the ones we gathered for a year, and the information we have on the girls), have been submitted to the courts who have then assigned us a court date. We have an Ethiopian lawyer who represents us at this time so that we don't have to travel twice. After a favorable ruling in court, our daughters will officially, legally, be ours. That is, they will be Thomasesesseses. (Not to be confused with the Kirbies or the Ferriseseseses.) Also at court, we will get assigned an Embassy date. This is what we base our travel around. We have to go to the Embassy for Visas and interviews, and things like that. Dove has a set Embassy date on Thursdays. So we know that we will be there on a Thursday in December. Man, another step. As Sam Cooke says wonderfully and perfectly, 'It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will."

Friends are on their way in for a few days. It seems like everytime we have travelers, we have good news.

Friday, October 26, 2007

in honor of halloween.

(as if it needed an explanation, i am a piece of asparagus, and ben is a chicken who has been slaughtered because of the avian flu.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

one very crowded nursery

still need to get the changing pad, but there's the table/dresser. three cheers for craig's list!

that's our bedroom in the back. you can see the stainglass window on the left.

the two cribs.

it's crowded, but not as crowded as it seems in the pictures. there is room on the floor to crawl around. it's crazy to see it mostly set up - it's even crazier to open the closet door to see all the stuff crammed in, i don't recommend it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

so a guy walks into work

I should tell you here that ben works with a lot of mathematicians and physicists. okay, stage set. so yesterday ben was at work and it happened to be two people's birthday. his boss says,

d: wow! it's so funny! i mean what is the probability that 2 people out of 14 would have the same birthday?!?!? hahaha
the entire office: 22%!

the funny thing is they didn't even realize how hilarious it was. they were just answering a probability. i've always secretly scoffed at the women who wear those 'i heart nerds' t-shirts, but now i kinda want one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

favorite beach photos

i never posted my favorite pictures from the beach this year...
this was not re-touched

neither was this

this was the most fun day ever. we just got destroyed by the waves over and over

typical day

pop pop and gaga

matt and ivy

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

pancakes are delicious...

hello, hello everyone! it's been an amazing few days since we got the best phone call of our lives. after an amazing camping trip in the catskills (our last vacation sans kids...) we woke up monday morning glad of having slept in a bed and through the roof because our agency called with more information about our daughters.

Hilina is from Gondar. Gondar is 50 kilometres north of Lake Tana, 500 kilometres north of Addis Ababa and nestled in the foothills of the Simien mountains at 2,200 metres above sea level. Gondor was the capital of Ethiopia from the rise of Fasilades to the fall of Tewodros (1855-68) which is reflected in the many castles and palaces in the city. It is sometimes called the Camelot of Ethiopia because of all the many castles. This is Gondar, Ethiopia.
Hilina, whose name means consciousness was found on the steps of the Lideta Church around 6pm on July 1. Across the world Ben and I were on the Q train with John Simpson, coming back from Coney Island. She is healthy and beautiful and looks very graceful and I cannot wait to hold her.

Toke (pronounced Toe-Key) is from Arba Minch. Arba Minch received its name for the abundant local springs which produce a groundwater forest (minch is Amharic for 'spring'). Located at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, Arba Minch consists of the uptown administrative centre of Shecha and 4 km away the downtown commercial and residential areas of Sikela, which are connected by a paved road. On the eastern side of Sikela is the gate to Nechisar National Park, which covers the isthimus between Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. The area is also known for wildlife, including crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Arba Minch is known for fruit, including mango, banana, orange, apple, guava and pineapple. This area was devastated by the horrific floods which occured in Ethiopia last year that you all heard us refer to.
This is the town of Arba Minch, the main mosque is on the right.

Here is a crocodile farm:
Tokey is hilarious - you can tell from her picture that she is going to be a pistol. She has TONS of hair, and long long fingers, I just want to eat her up! There are some discrepancies in her story (her birthday, etc) so I will wait to tell you until I know the truth or our best guess at the truth. But rest assured she is happy and healthy and was probably born on the 23 of July. She and Hilina were admitted to the orphanage in Addis within 6 days of each other.

So that's our news for now. I am sorry I can't post their pictures yet, but I just want to get through court and they are officially ours before we put them up. It looks like we'll have a better idea of our court date in the next few weeks, we'll be sure to keep you all posted (pun intended) if you keep praying that we get through this quickly. I've heard other mothers talk about how difficult it is once you have pictures/names to be away from them. I keep checking the world clock in Addis trying to guess what they might be doing... I truly did not know it was possible to fall in love with photographs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

life changes fast. life changes in an instant.

well, i must say that we are the parents of two little pancakes! all we know right now is that we have two little girls. our oldest was born on June 3o, 2007. her name is Hilina - as far as I can tell it is a derrivative of Helen, and means light. she will be 14 weeks on Saturday. our youngest was born on July 23, 2007. her name is Toke Salato - not sure on this meaning yet, might mean two weeks, she will be 11 weeks on monday. they are about 3.5 weeks apart.

how it happened:

we had just finished dinner, tortellini with tomato basil. were having a nice conversation with our friend mike about places we've been and liked. i was reserving a car for our camping trip and ben's phone rings...
we have some friends in town from oregon (which is also where our adoption agency is located) and so when he looked at his phone and said where is 503?, mike said oregon, and we assumed it was one of the guys calling to meet up. when he said, 'yes this is ben...' and walked into the bedroom i knew it was Dove. i looked at mike, i looked at ben's face. i started screaming and ran into the bedroom and ripped the phone out of ben's hand. i must have sounded like a crazy person because i kept screaming are you kidding me? are you kidding me? oh my gosh, this isn't happening, really, tami? really? i guess because she had said to ben and not me that she knew who our daughters were it wasn't registering. once i finally calmed down and took a few deep breaths, she told me their names and birthdays.
this is how ben said his initial few seconds before i stole the phone went: she said "hi ben, sorry to call you so late. how are you? (i was like shut your mouth, what? what?). i said i was fine. well, i'm just calling to let you know that you should be getting your referral within the week. i wanted to give you a heads up. then this crazy woman hit me over the head and grabbed the phone from my ear as if her life depended on it. (thanks, ben)
so basically what this means is that we have been matched with two real girls and that in the next week or so we'll get our official referral from MOWA with more information - like where they were born, how much they weigh, where they are now, medical information, family information, etc. until then we can just relax and know that the waiting is (almost) over.

other things of consequence I will want to remember:

we recieved our referral on Oct. 3, 2007. Ben and I met on Oct. 3, 2003 at Grace and Jackson's rehersal dinner. We had met a few times before but this is when we had our first conversation and ben told me he 'thought about me all the time even though he didn't know me.." p.s. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GRACE AND JACK!!!

we waited a few days shy of 6 months for our referral. given that we started this in april of 2006 - it took 18 months from start to referral which is the same length of 2 gestational periods. HAHAHA.

on tuesday night ben and i met at St Patrick's cathedral on 50th. we went in and sat down and prayed for the girls. and for their mothers. and all of their health. and for patience. and that we would get our referral soon. and then after being there long enough for our knees to start hurting, we got up and each lit a candle.

ok. i am sure i will have much more to write later but i just wanted to get this all up there and to say thanks for all the people who have been praying for us, and waiting with us. thank you thank you thank you all. life is better than good.

As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.
Proverbs 26:25

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How to Adopt in 9 "Easy-Peasy" Stages

Many people ask us what the adoption process is like. It's a pain. I thought rather than try and explain to everyone what it all entails (my mouth was getting dry...) I would write it all out for everyone to see. It could be useful if you were planning on adopting to print it out as a checklist? Anywhoodle. Many refferals are coming in these last few weeks, hopefully we will be soon. Only a few people can still be ahead of us I imagine. Once we get our referral you can scroll down to stage VI to see what happens next because I'll be too busy doing the stuff I should have been doing all summer... Keep your fingers crossed and your hair braided, too.

** Status as of 04/09/07: Stages I - V complete!! **

Stage I: Sign Up with Adoption Agency and Home Study Agency

A. Research the 7 U.S. adoption agencies authorized by Ethiopian gov’t
B. Select Dove Adoptions International, based in Oregon
C. Apply to Dove, pay application fee
D. Received acceptance package and contract from Dove, submit contract and first installment of adoption fee
E. Research licensed adoption agencies to do Home Study (must be a licensed agency in our home state - NY)
F. Select Children’s Hope Int’l (NY)
G. Submit application to Children’s Hope Int’l, pay application and initial Home Study fees
H. Ask four friends to write letters of recommendation (thanks guys!)

Stage II: Home Study
A. Receive intro package and instructions from CHI
B. Get assigned to licensed Social Worker who will write the Home Study; call Social Worker to introduce myself. (YAY Sara, she was GREAT!)
C. Make appointment to get fingerprinted for NY Department of Justice clearance
D. Make appointment with doctor for medical
E. Get full medical exam, TB test, get doctor’s signature notarized on four copies of health letter (for Ethiopian gov’t – to be part of my Dossier) and four copies of medical form (required for Home Study)
F. First meeting and interview with Social Worker at our home
G. Gather and submit to CHI (home study agency) the following documentation:
Application Form for International Adoption Home Study
Personal History Form
Fee Agreement International Adoption Home Study
Recent photos of house, us, etc.
Release of Information forms (notarized)
Criminal Record Clearance statement from City of New York, NY (notarized)
Agreement for Int'l Home Study Services
Certification of Pre-Adoption Preparation
Employment Verification (letter from employers) (notarized)
Medical Report (on form provided by Dove Adopt Int’l) (notarized)
TB Test results
Copy of 2006 and 2005 tax returns
Copy of recent bank statements
Other financial documentation (net worth statement)
Copy of Birth certificates (state seal, etc)
Copy of Marriage License (state seal, etc)
H. Have fingerprints taken for DOJ clearance.
I. Confirm with CHI that DOJ clearance was received.
J. Complete the following courses for fulfill Adoption Education requirement:
Adoptive Parent Prep Seminar
“Let's Talk About Adoption"
“With Eyes Wide Open" (focus on int’l adoptions)
“Conspicuous Families" (focus on transracial adoptions)
K. Second and third meetings and interviews with Social Worker (at our home).
L. Review draft Home Study provided by Social Worker, make comments/corrections, send back to Social Worker.
M. Social worker finalizes Home Study, sends to CHI.
N. CHI informs us that Home study is officially complete!!
O. Get five copies of Home Study (one for USCIS, four for dossier)
P. Pay remainder of fees to CHI, including post-placement fees

Stage III: Get Permission from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) to Adopt a Foreign Orphan
A. Fill out USCIS Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition)
B. Submit the following to USCIS in New York:
Completed I-600A
Completed Form DOJ-361 (Certification of Identity) (notarized)
Check for I-600A Application fee
Check for “Bioustric fee” (for fingerprints)
Copy of my passport (for proof of Citizenship)
Health insurance verification (proving that the children will be covered by my health insurance as soon as they get here)
Completed Home Study
C. Receive letter from USCIS with appointment to have our fingerprints taken.
D. Have fingerprints taken for FBI for clearance.
E. Receive form I-171H from USCIS (Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Petition of Orphan Petition) - this means we’re approved to adopt!

Stage IV: Dossier Preparation
A. Prepare our Dossier. The dossier must include three copies of each of the following, with the appropriate authentication. Also, in some cases Ben and I had to have separate letters (ex: medical clearance, criminal clearance. And each document had to be notarized (THANKS VICTOR!)
1. Letter to Ethiopian Government (introducing myself, explaining why we want to adopt from Ethiopia, and committing to providing my child with awareness or his/her cultural heritage) (notarized)
2. Letter to the Board of Directors of Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa
3. Family Registration Form (notarized)
4. Financial Information (net worth statement) (notarized)
6. Criminal Clearance Letter from City of New York (notarized)
7. Three Letters of Reference (different from the forms submitted for my Home Study) (notarized)
8. Employer Letters (notarized)
9. Medical Letter (with TB test results) (notarized)
10. Birth Certificate (state-certified)
11. Completed Home Study (notarized)
12. Copy of CHI Agency License (with "true copy" statement) (notarized)
13. “Obligation of Home Study Agency” form signed by CHI (notarized)
14. Copy of our lease (with "true copy" statement) (notarized)
15. Power of Attorney – for attorney to represent us in court in Addis Ababa (notarized and apostilled by the State of New York.)
16. Form I-171-H (this form is sent to us from the USCIS) (with "true copy" statement, notarized and apostilled by the State of New York.)
17. Passport Photos
18. Family Pictures
B. Submit our Dossier, along with Dossier fee, to Dove Adoption. It ended up the day we were supposed to send everything in Ben flew out to Argentina and we had a blizzard (IN MARCH). I was walking around with a horrible cold trying to get the last documents certified and apostilled, and off to Kinkos/FedEX in the sleet/snow… (thanks for celebrating with me, Isaac!)

Stage V: Dossier Processing and Submission
A. Dove sends Dossier to Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC to be authenticated and translated into Amharic (a few weeks)
B. Ethiopian embassy sends Dossier back to Dove
C. Dove sends Dossier to Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA)
D. MOWA approves Dossier
E. Dossier submitted to the Board of Directors of Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa

Stage VI: Children Are "Referred" To Us {Total wait between Stage V and Stage VI: APPROX. 4 - 6 MONTHS,}
A. The board of the Toukoul Orphanage meets (behind closed doors) to identify children for us, based on the information in our dossier
B. Children’s “Referral” papers (including photos and medical information) are sent to Dove
C. Dove contacts us with referral information (Yay!!)
D. Consult with Pediatrician experienced in international illnesses who might be more familiar than just your average ped.
E. Officially accept the referral (or reject, if there is some good reason, and wait for another referral – this is extraordinarily rare)
F. Get vaccinations incl.: Typhoid, Hep A and B inoculations

Stage VII: Adoption Is Formalized In Ethiopia (I’d like to point out here that we adopt our children before we ever meet them…) {Total duration of Stage VII - approx. 4 - 6 weeks}
A. Attorney in Addis Ababa prepares documents for court on our behalf
B. Paperwork filed in court
C. Court date assigned
D. Court date (Attorney in Addis Ababa appears on our behalf.)
E. Court issues adoption decree – (adoption is now final under Ethiopian law)
F. MOWA issues permission for us to travel to Ethiopia
G. Embassy appointment date is set (Once I know this date, I can plan our travel to Ethiopia!)
H. Adoption decree translated into English
I. New birth certificate is issued for pancakes (with the Ethiopian first name retained, Ben’s first name as his/her middle name, and our last name as their last name – this is standard practice and will change their name from Benjamin Thomas )

Stage VIII: I Go To Ethiopia To Get My Child!! {Total duration of Stage VIII - approx. 2 weeks}
A. Fly to Addis Ababa
B. Stay in guesthouse at Toukoul in Addis
C. Get children!
D. Apply for Ethiopian passport for children
E. Get medical and 2nd HIV test (required by US)
F. Go to US Embassy; apply for Visas for children
G. Fly home! (ACK, 23 hours, and then collapse)

Stage IX: Home Sweet Home
A. At airport – provide children's passport, Visa, and sealed documentation (given to us by U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa) to USCIS agent
B. Get child’s passport stamped – they are now legal residents!!
C. File for re-adoption in New York so they can become U.S. citizens
D. Apply for SSN for children
E. Engage CHI to create “post-placement” reports
F. File post-placement reports with Ethiopian government – four (4) total

Thursday, September 13, 2007

hiatus (thanks jack!)

after going to see a taping of the jon stewart show yesterday, we were walking to the train and wound up here:

for those of you who live out of town, times square is a panic attack waiting to happen. so we are doing what any other sane people would do in this instance - fleeing for the beach!
in just a few short hours, we'll be here:

cherry grove, south carolina. otherwise known as PERFECTION.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

3 years ago today...

ben was still making pasta to feed our wedding guests and i was getting my hair did by an 8 month pregnant chain smoking lady down in roanoke. she did a good job though...

this picture was taken right after someone told us we were broke...

not really, but i think it's great because we're both so annoyed and that's what marriage is all about - always being on the same team. (aren't my flowers pretty?)

here we are taking communion.

and here we are escaping for a few minutes on top of a hill...

and here we are 3 years later on a rowboat in Central Park ready and waiting for our pancakes.

happy days...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

mini west indies day parade

we woke up kind of late this morning, and this is what was outside our front door.

this stilt walker is from haiti, they were amazing, my favorites - i can't believe how well they can actually DANCE on these things.

this little girl, representing Trinidad, was feeling so pretty, you can just tell...

the west indies day parade is the largest parade in the world, and is actually on monday. these shots are from the children's parade today which ran down our street for the first time in about 10 years. it was a happy (and extremely loud) surprise this morning. the weather was absolutely perfect...

the adult parade is too much, so many people you can't even enjoy the beautiful costumes. we're off to a bbq across the street. one of the downfalls of the parade is that the whole neighborhood gets kinda shut down in terms of subway and bus access. fortunately for us, we have great neighbors and plenty of bbqs to get us through to Tuesday (our anniversary)!

Friday, August 17, 2007

New York Magazine Article

There's a great article on transracial adoption in New York magazine that you can check out here:

And here is what I sent to their comments section.

While I appreciate the positive article on blended families in New York, I would have liked the author to address the more serious concerns of transracial adoption, especially acknowledging that the stereotypical family played up by the media as "the couple gone to Africa to pick up a new accessory" doesn't actually exist. There are many lower-middle class families who save for years in order to give a child a chance of a better life. And perhaps more importantly, I would have liked for there to have been a correlation drawn between this article and the article on the longevity of New Yorkers. It is not a coincidence that the number of deaths by AIDS in 2005 dropped 80% from 1994, the same year, in fact, which the atrocious patent laws on life saving antiretroviral drugs expired. The UN estimates that, currently, there are 14 million AIDS orphans and that by 2010 there will be 25 million. The point is, if these patent laws had not been enacted, perhaps there would never have been a need for a decrease in the New York statistic, much less in the rest of the world who are still trying to find ways to afford them.


Anna and Benjamin Thomas
Brooklyn, NY

Friday, August 10, 2007

transracial adoption

we recently picked up a copy of the book "outsiders within" which is a collection of essays written by transracial adoptees and from the introduction are very angry that they were adopted by white families. it came very highly recommended by readers on amazon, etc. and the reviews on the back cover as well by 'adoption experts' ( i use the quotes because i don't know what this means anymore) - but there is a lot of inflamatory language they use. for instance they talk about americans as 'consumers' of children as if kids are toasters or something. Here is the first paragraph of the introduction:

"For the Chinese girls we see with their "forever families" on urban sidewalks; for the Korean kids growing up on farms in rural america; for the African American kids single handedly integrating small town schools in British Columbia; for the children who have been bought with the bribes of American dollars; for our sister's who have been kidnapped and sold; for the children who are deemed "unadoptable" - we must witness."

Their whole thesis seems to be that american white people can't afford to adopt american white babies and that it takes too long, and so that's why people adopt internationally. and that we have no business doing so. and also that the america hasn't really changed in 30 years.

we got the book because we want to know as much as we can about transracial adoption and who better to learn from than people who have experienced it. but they seem to be setting out from the very beginning to demonize everyone who wants to adopt or has adopted. this makes me just as uncomfortable as people who want to deify the parents of adopted children (ie: those kids are just so lucky to have you - yuck!).

people who annoy me are:
1) those who refer to international adoption as "forced migration"
2) those who refer to international adoption as "the new globalization"

in reality, international adoption by westerners started with picking up the atrocious slack of an unjust war in vietnam. certain americans felt compelled to adopt children whose parents the american government had killed so that they wouldn't grow up alone. in my opinion, people in the west who are willing to raise children, (in a globally responsible way), who have been abandoned by their own countries and forced to orphanhood by parents who were shunned by that same force or by the force of poverty or disease, not only have the right to do so but somehow find within themselves an utterly compassionate and real desire to allow these children to fulfill the right they were born with - which is life.

i agree with their whole point that colorblind love doesn't exist or work. we personally believe that differences should be a source of pride and celebrated. i just wanted the authors to acknowledge that there are many families out there who are aware of the difficulties of transracial adoption, and are prepared to take them on if they arise, who acknowledge and fight racism every chance they get, and who truly and genuinely want to have a family.

i haven't finished the book so hopefuly it will get better - more balanced perhaps? i do also agree with their ideas of global poverty being the real problem - however i am still waiting to hear a viable option for the children who are in orphanages
currently. i will be sure to let you know if my thoughts change or if i do end up garnering insight as to the problems/tribuations they experienced and how we might combat them.

Monday, August 6, 2007

the waiting game

in 2 hours and 13 minutes we'll have been waiting exactly 4 months for our referral - waiting sucks. the courts closed today- i've heard that they'll re-open on Oct. 8 but I don't know if this is a real date or if there even is such a thing in Ethiopia where frequent power outages and even the rainy season can throw things off -- we'll see. did i mention i'm tired of waiting? i feel like i've been 6 months pregnant for 6 months except instead of everyone touching my belly everyone just asks, any news??!?!?! i can't wait to have a new answer!

Friday, March 23, 2007

open letter to our orphanage

oh my. first post.

I think I will post our letter to the Board of Toukoul. Toukoul is the orphanage we are adopting from. We had to write them a letter explaining why and who we wanted to adopt. It seems like a good place to start telling the story of our family.

14 March 2007

Dear Board of Toukoul:

It is with great joy and humbleness that I begin this letter, for how often do you find yourself writing perfect strangers who will change your life forever? Though it is not part of our official dossier, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you formally, and perhaps more importantly, to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to raise and love children who have been in your care. I believe that God has given you an awesome gift and power, because you create families. And by creating families, you create laughter, bedtime stories, family meals, and memories – all of which are surely pleasing to God.

It is hard for me to pinpoint exactly how we came to the decision to adopt from Ethiopia. I believe that seeds have been planted in each of us long before and after we met. Our bookshelves, for instance, are lined with works about Africa, from the Great Lakes, to South Africa, to Malawi, Cameroon, Morocco, and of course Ethiopia, our interest in learning about the many cultures, tribulations, and great warmth of its people has been a long time interest for both of us and one which we will attempt to instill in our daughters. However, our motivation to adopt came almost a year ago to the day and is hardly explainable. I was on the train on my way to work when I just knew with absolute certainty that I wanted to adopt from Ethiopia. You can imagine my surprise and happiness that when I got off the train, there was a message from Ben saying he wanted to adopt from Ethiopia. This was not something we had talked about more than in passing, and took this revelation we both had, collectively and individually, as an absolute affirmation of our future and began researching it and taking the necessary steps almost immediately. I have only felt that sense of resolution and certainty on one other occasion – the day Ben and I met and knew we would spend the rest of our lives together... “If ever two were one, then surely we...”

First and foremost, we want to adopt because we want to have a family – a family that laughs, cries, prays, and plays together. Ben’s mother has in the last few years adopted two little girls and this has influenced us greatly. So when it came time for us to think about having a family, I believe it was our witnessing the transformation of our new sisters and Ben’s parents which led us to the same moment on the train. And through this, we decided to try and give children who need a family everything we possibly can.

We want to adopt two girls – related or unrelated, under the age of 9 months, but as young as possible. This was a difficult decision for us to make as we know there are so many waiting children, but as first time parents, we want to be able to go through as many stages of their development as possible, and feel we are better equipped to bring home two infants.

Again, we want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to you and for taking the time to read this. We are anxiously awaiting the time when we will meet in person, when you place our daughters in our outstretched arms.

Most Respectfully,

Anna and Benjamin Thomas