Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It is time to say goodbye to the blog, not that I am so regular(no poop jokes, please). I have never been a journaler(is that a word?). It is hard for me right now, anyways. These kiddos are wiping me out. It seems that 3 is our final number. I never say never, but I give it a firm "probably not"! Ok, I will probably come to post every month or two, because I can't completely let this go and I definitely will keep reading everyone elses! I had to add these last 2 sentences after writing this thing b/c I can't do it!

This has been such a fantastic journey. God never lets me down. Every time He says to do something, and I actually listen, I have the time of my life! Mission trips, children's ministries, working at the pregnancy help center, adoption. Every adventure turned out more rewarding than the next and I can't imagine what the next one is. I am always attempting to help someone else out or do what I think I should be doing, and it seems that I am the one who most benefits. Is it possible to want to help others unselfishly knowing full well that YOU are the one who scores?! Am I selfishly unselfish or the other way around? I seem to have over thought this...what a conundrum.

In true Elliott fashion, our camera broke a couple of weeks before Christmas, so everything is on video, but no pictures. We hoped it was a battery issue, but no such luck.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Piper thought opening presents was a blast and I think next year, she will truly "get" it all. The boys "got" it this year and are finally coming down off their Christmas high.

The other day we saw a panhandler on the side of the road with several funny signs he was trying. He had a full beard and long hair, and Brodan said, "Look Mom, it's Jesus" By the time I got a dollar together, he had passed us and the light changed. Now my kids think Mom didn't give Jesus any money. Not only that, but I didn't recognize him, and they did. Food for thought.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Funny email


1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7 Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile.
: )

12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Deep thoughts, by Rachel Elliott

I have been thinking a lot about Bushe, Piper's very young mother. I have read with envy several birthmother meetings where the families have felt a connection with the birthmom. Or even had meaningful conversations. Ours was very quiet, with only a couple of questions answered. Maybe it is because of her young age, or what I am sure is a lack of self esteem or even the fact that she may have never been allowed to form her own opinion that she was unable to answer some questions. Questions like her dreams for the future, if she could choose it. Or the question about what she would like Piper to know about her. Communication was rough, to say the least, since we had to translate what I said to Amharic, and then that had to be translated into Oromo. I guess the possibility of the meaning of what was said could be really lost that way. I am just sad for Piper because I know that she will have many questions some day. Of course, we hope to travel back and visit when she older, maybe 10 or so, and see her mom again, if we can still find her.

Just thinking about it all, and this is just one of those things. I should be grateful that we were able to meet her at all. Piper has pictures and the video so that is good.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I have decided to write today a little bit of the challenges of adopting a toddler. It is hard to plop someone down in your house, personality formed and intact and just gel. Especially when it is a personality that you haven't had before. The dynamics really change and everyone needs to adjust. That is pretty hard to do.

When you are being screamed at with the word "no" about 5000 times a day with a hateful look in the eye and a swatting arm, or a one shoulder shrug that seems to tell me to go you-know-where, it is hard not to take it personally. It took a good 3 months for me not to take it personally and to realize that maybe it is just something part cultural(the look and shrug), but mostly just the only way she knows how to communicate. She still does it, but at least catches herself and corrects herself when she yells "NO!" at me, so I guess that is a good sign. A lot of it is her frustration at me not knowing what she wants. Another good bit is the fact that she doesn't understand the "why" of the word "No" to her. She goes off in a tizzy when she is told no. She absolutely thinks that everything that everyone else has, she should have. And not in your typical 2-year-old-doesn't-know-how-to-share kind of way, either. If one of the boys wants to sit in a chair, then she sits in a chair. Food, toys, and even a shower are sources of this issue. It's wild. And she ain't silent about it. Can anyone with boys and girls tell me that little girl voices are way more shrill?? Jeez. Now, I say all of this running the risk that someone will slam me and say the whole "How dare you", bit, but it is the reality of adopting an older child. I didn't really consider her an older child, but I do now. I read the books, but until you're in it, you can't quite grasp the scope of it all.

I still have MANY times where I get angry about her "attitude", but it's so hard to tell what is "attitude" and what is normal girl drama. I imagine that if I had had a daughter already or no boys yet, nothing to compare her behavior to, this would be less of a struggle. The fact that I do have something to compare her to, which is a natural thing to do when you have other kids, probably makes it more difficult, because it is hard not to do so. She is all drama, man. I am not used to that. Boys are really just go-go-go, get hurt, tears, go-go-go-go, and repeat. It's funny, because people who have their daughters first, and then a boy, talk about how their boys are their tough ones. Maybe it just depends on what your experience is. Maybe it is just Mars versus Venus.

Anyway, it would be crummy of me to post about challenges without posting about the beauty of Peeps. She is sooooo content to love and be held and sit in your lap(unless the boys have something she wants, of course). And, man, is that girl smart. She is talking up a storm and is quick to figure things out. She is obedient when corrected (except for her initial responses with the no and swatting thing). And she's getting more and more independent every day. She wants to walk like her big brothers in stores and do whatever big kid thing they do. And do I need to say that the girl is adorable?

I am kind of bummed that there really are no more babies in the house. But not too bummed. I need a break. They are 4, 3, and 2 and wearing me out. Cam will go to kindergarten next year, which he will love. That will give the younger ones some more one on one, which I look forward to. They both have early September birthdays, so Bro will still be home for another 3 years and Piper another 4. Both will turn 6 the first and second week of Kinder. That seems like a long time away.

This whole journey has been fantastic, difficult, easy, quick, long, and every other set of opposites you can think of. I'd do it all over again and again and again.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

If you wanted to remind yourself of why you should be thankful, visit the blog No, I'm Not a Nurse regularly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Here are a couple of our court date pictures.
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Everybody Rise!


Piper Chaltu Elliott is officially Piper Chaltu Elliott! What a breeze the court date was. We had all of us there and my mom, too and it went really well. We were in and out within an hour. Only about 15-20 minutes were in actual court. We got some pictures with the judge and even more fun was getting to meet big boy Deacon Faulkner, who can now be found at the Faulkner's new blog. He was good lookin' boy. Poor Piper, he(at 13mos) may have even been taller than she (at 2) was. It was great to meet him and his family.

I just printed out this entire blog. It was 70 pages long without pictures. Unfortunately, if you copy and paste each month, the dates go backwards, most recent first, like on the blog. And there are no page numbers, so we don't want to drop the stack and play 70 Page Pick Up! It is not a pretty scrapbooky-stampy thing, but the sentiment is there in black and white.

Our camera is no good, so I have to wait for my mom's pictures to post them of our court date.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Court date-in the U.S.

Our court date to make things "official" again is this coming Thursday, November 15th. We will go up to Ft.Worth on Wednesday night and we are to be there at 7:45, the next morning. Apparently it is an open docket and that way we can get in and out(in as much as you can, I imagine). My understanding is that this is where Piper's name change and citizenship will become official and she can get her social security card, American passport(she has an Ethiopian one), and an American birth cert(we have the Ethiopian one), afterwards, as well.

It really seems that this is never ending when you are ready to just to "be"! But we are coming into the light at the end of the tunnel, so it's all good.

We are starting to think about the adoption credit. Is it really just a full blown credit? Like, you may owe $3000, but with the $10000 credit you get $7000 back? Surely this is too good to be true. Can anyone shed any light on this for us? That is a huge credit and sounds great, but are we understanding this right?

Our camera fried, so I will put some other pictures from our recent trip to Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls. Granny Elliott went with us.

Friday, November 2, 2007

What a treat!

I was so excited this year because it was going to be our real "first" Halloween with trick or treating and the works. Cam used to be terrified of Halloween. And by terrified, I mean, refusing to get out of the car, wear a costume or anything like that. He was a wreck at his Parent's Day Out last year for the whole week with the decorating of pumpkins and scarecrows and stuff. But for some reason this year, he was stoked. And we all went. It was really so much fun. Of course, we should have brought the stroller for Piper, who is starting to weigh a lot. She was so funny. She would get all bent out of shape whenever we would skip a house. It didn't take her long at all to figure out what was going on. It was weird watching our little boys walk up by themselves and do it all without needing us. They are growing up!


Friday, October 26, 2007

Whoever smelled it, dealt it!

For cryin' out loud. We were hit by lightning almost 3 weeks ago and yesterday was the first time I had my internet back. DO YOU KNOW HOW HORRIBLE IT WAS????? One morning I sat down and it was like someone shot a gun in my ear. BOOM! No internet, no phone, no cable, and unknowingly until this past weekend, no septic system. Replaced the phone 3 days later. Check. Ordered new receiver for cable (it was just out in our room and that really wasn't too bad) and had that within a week. But no internet? Stinko-madinko. Verizon decided they wanted to argue whether or not it was a computer, DSL-people kind of problem or a phone problem. No one wanted to come out. And then when they finally did, and it was decided that we had to replace the stupid modem(which we could have done weeks ago), they didn't order it like they said they would. After much turmoil I have my internet...yay! Now, the septic system? Our catch phrase is "The smell is the only way to tell!" Thankfully, our neighbors aren't right next to us, because we smell like we just poop in the yard with the dogs. The guy told me yesterday that the smell will go away in a few days. Fantastic (read with sarcasm).

On the Piper end of things, she is doing great. Words are finally starting to be used on her own and that is good. She can even say "I love you" and it is so cute! Her feet have grown about 2 sizes and I hope that that means she will have a growth spurt soon, even if it isn't much. She eats like a horse and even her veggies.

On a discouraging front, Camden said something horrible the other day. He said that he was ready to take Sissy back to Ethiopia because he was done with her. It broke my heart. I don't really think that he meant it or even understood what he was saying, but it told me that he was discouraged with her. She is very close to Bro and seems to be taken with him, but swats Cam away a lot. He is like a little parent, correcting her and directing her, but not unkindly, so that may be part of the problem. The boy is a stickler for rules, that is just how he is wired. I wondered if he noticed how she pushes him away a lot, and I am guessing he did, now. Other than that comment, things are the same. He still says he loves her out of the blue and tries to kiss her and love on her (even though she pushes him away). I have tried to involve him when she and I are hugging and stuff and she seems to be more open to him then. It's one of those hurdles and things to watch. Anyone else have this stuff?

Some great news, we are working on the readoption and should find out this next week about our court date to make this thing "official"! How many times has this whole adoption thing been "official"? But it will REALLY be official then.

I am going put in some pictures and then catch up on everyone, now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Guatemala children and families in crisis

This was sent to me in an email from Gladney. I'd be lying if I didn't have a "whew" in the back of my head. What a tragedy for these children and their families. I can't imagine the heartbreak. Whether or not we adopted or are doing so and irregardless of the country, we can all make a difference. Please read and act....October 9th,10th and 11th...let's make it busy days:

If your e-mail program can't display this e-newsletter, view it online at:
Gladney Center for Adoption

Gladney Center for Adoption
Call to Action
Guatemala 5000
A Service of Gladney Center for Adoption

Dear Dennis and Rachel, the Gladney Center for Adoption is writing in support of an initiative led by the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS), an umbrella organization of leading international adoption agencies. The request that follows comes from JCICS. We hope the Gladney community can lend their support.


Guatemalan President Oscar Berger has announced plans to suspend all intercountry adoption with American families on January 1 2008. The Joint Council on International Children's Services strongly opposes such a suspension and asks for your support in their efforts to ensure that all children retain the right to permanency through Intercountry Adoption.

President Berger's plans also call for the suspension of adoptions currently in-process. Such a suspension would be extremely detrimental to the children referred to adoptive parents. If President Berger's plan is actually implemented, up to 5,000 will unnecessarily remain in foster care or orphanages indefinitely.

This situation represents a pending crisis for the adoptive families who have lovingly chosen to provide permanency, safety and love to a child in need and most importantly a crisis for 5,000 children of Guatemala.

What can you do? Make five simple phone calls and send one email.

1. Call your U.S. Senator
>>You can find your Senators' phone numbers at
>>Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

2. Call your second U.S. Senator

3. Call your representative to the U.S. House of Representative
>>You can find your representative at
>> Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

4. Call or fax UNICEF Headquarters
>>Ask to speak with Ann Veneman, Executive Director
>>Telephone: 212-326-7000
>>Fax: 212-326-7758

5. Call or fax UNICEF Guatemala
>>Ask to speak with Manuel Manrique
>>Telephone: 011-502-2327-6373
>>Fax: 011-502-2327.6366
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls.

6. Send an email supporting Intercountry Adoption to
>>Write briefly or at length
>>Joint Council will use the cumulative email petition in our advocacy for Intercountry Adoption

When should you call? Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (October 9th, 10th 11th). For maximum effect, we are asking you to make these calls within a 72-hour window!

What should you say or write to member of the U.S. Congress? Speak from your heart and give them the following information.
>>Inform them that you are calling regarding Guatemala 5000
>>Ask them to sign the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) sponsored letter to President Oscar Berger
>> Ask them to sign the Joint Council on International Children's Services sponsored letter to UNICEF
>>Inform them that the Guatemalan government has announced that all intercountry adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1 2008.
>>Inform them that President Berger's announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process.
> >Inform them that if children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.
>>Ask that their office get involved and sign the sponsored letters to the President of Guatemala and UNICEF. These letters ask that all adoptions in-process as of January 1 2008 be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.



We are calling/writing on behalf of the Guatemala 5000 Initiative. We, as your constituents, are asking that the Senator/Congressperson add their signature to two letters. First, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute sponsored letter to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger. Second, the Joint Council on International Children's Services sponsored letter to UNICEF.

As you may be aware, the Guatemalan government has announced that all intercountry adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1 2008. Their announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process. If children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care. Your office must get involved and sign the sponsored letters to the President of Guatemala and UNICEF. These letters ask that all adoptions in-process as of January 1 2008 be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.


[your name and contact information]

What should you say or write to UNICEF? Speak from your heart and give them the following information.
>>Inform them that you are calling regarding the Guatemala 5000
>>Ask them to support the right's of children and lend their considerable influence to ensuring that intercountry adoptions currently in-process be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.
>>Inform them that the Guatemalan government has announced that all adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1 2008.
>>Inform them that President Berger's announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process.
>> Inform them that if children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.
>>Ask them again for their support of the Guatemala 5000 Initiative.



We are calling/writing on behalf of the Guatemala 5000 Initiative. As financial supporters of UNICEF (through our tax dollars), we are asking that UNICEF lends its support and considerable influence to the Guatemala 5000 initiative.

As you may be know, the Guatemalan government has announced that all intercountry adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1 2008. Their announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process. If children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care. UNICEF must get involved and help ensure that all intercountry adoptions in-process as of January 1 2008 be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.


[your name and contact information]

Can you explain the problem behind the pending crisis? Here is some additional information…
>>Guatemalan President Oscar Berger has announced plans to effectively stop all adoptions into the United States including those children who have already been referred to adoptive parents
>>Over 5,000 children have been referred
> >The birthparents for these children have already relinquished their parental rights. As a result, they currently have no family and the Berger suspension will result in these children having no prospect for a permanent, safe and loving family
>>The government of Guatemala currently does not have the finances or facilities to even provide housing for these 5,000 children
>> The Berger plan is a crisis waiting to happen

What else can you do? In addition to your primary calls to U.S. Congress and UNICEF, you can call the following.

SOSEP (Guatemala)
>>Director Teresa Echeverría de Bastarrechea
Office Phone- 011-502-2383-8400
>>Assistant Director- Edin Palma- Same office phone
Office Phone- 011-502-2383-8400
>>Jaime Tecu
Office Phone - 011-502-2239-0000 ext 2766
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls

Guatemala Ministry of Foreign Affairs
>>Minister Gerth Rosenthal
Office Phone 011-502-2410-0000, 2410-0010
>>Vice Minister- Marta Altoaguirre
Office Phone 011-502-2410-0020
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls

PGN (Guatemala)
>>Carlos Victor Hugo Barrios Barahona
Office Phone 011-502-2248-3200 Ext. 207/208
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls

Procuraduria of Human Rights
>>Dr. Sergio Morales
Office Phone 011-502-2424-1717
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls

Embassy of Guatemala in the U.S.
2220 R Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Office Phone 1-202-745-4952
Office Fax 1-202-745-1908

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This is a load alright....

I am sorry, but 2X concentrated detergent is rocking my world. Yes, there are much larger problems(anyone seen my rear?), but now I have to keep up with the times and learn how to use this new measurement, which only comes in level 1 and 2 now, rather than 3. Which one is for a small load? The one? What about medium? Two? What about Large Load (keep in mind my pants are in there)? Now what do I do? Who on earth invented concentrated detergent???? Probably the same person who invented the Swiffer. You know, because now I have to sweep, swiffer, and THEN mop. I didn't ask for the extra step! Yeah, those Swiffer people. Now I also have to Swiffer my walls with their "wand", too. BEFORE, I didn't have to do anything to my walls because there was nothing out there that told me I needed to. It's all part of the conspiracy. Which one I don't know, but it is.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yesterday we had our 1st post placement visit with Connie from Texas Adoption Homestudies. She is so cool. She is now working with Gladney, so if anyone ever wants a very nice social worker that you can be at ease with, I strongly endorse Connie. We talked about how the family was adjusting and how Piper was doing. She really is doing well, now. She is getting along at school and church so well. Everyone talks about how easy she is and really she is. There is a little fight still in her, but that's ok...I want my girl to have that! She still has a small vocabulary that she regularly uses, but she will repeat anything you say easily. I imagine after your third language by the age of 2, you'd be able to say anything, but still not sure which is the right word for something. Now if we could just lose "caca".....

I have started to somewhat potty train. I have learned by the 3rd kid, that this does not happen overnight or a 2-3 day period. I should also say that I am not hardcore on it either. When they are 3 I start sweating it more. Cam did it right when he turned 3 and Brodan about 2 months before 3. And neither of them are perfect at it still...night time eludes us, but we have GoodNites for that. We are using the potty for #2 and I am getting better at reading the signals. She will tug and say that pretty word most of the time, so we are getting better at that. I wouldn't have started already except that she seems ready to begin. It's funny...the boys at this age, it would have been laughable to even think of it. Girls are so smart. Mine especially :)

Here are some recent pictures:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

And what was your name, again?

It is definitely getting harder to post. The ages 2,3, and 4 are tough, man. I have been working on getting a schedule set, since we are finally starting to gel a little better. The dynamic has changed some, but we are really starting to feel "real" and more natural. Looking back, I would wake up in the morning and think about this new child from Ethiopia that was going to wake up soon, and how that would change our day. What would we do, or learn, or what were we going to be up against, that day. Now, I wake up and think, do I have time to get in the shower before someone else wakes up or what can I get done real quick, or who has to bring the snack to school today? You know, "normal" day to day thoughts. I think of my kids collectively, not the boys and my new daughter. Now it's, "the kids". I absolutely love it.

But it does take it's toll. I think my husband and I need a date night soon. Because we have really just been roommates for the past 2 months and that does not a happy marriage make! The good thing is, we are both completely aware of that, and knew going into it, that there would be some times like that. We talked the other day about how we are going into that area of marriage where a lot fall apart, or grow away from each other, and how aware of that we need to be. We have to tell the kids that Mom and Dad are talking and need to be left alone for a bit, or we have to go out without them(on those rare occasions). How else can we teach the kids what marriage should be like?

How do you families out there with several kids do it? And still maintain contact with your spouse even when you really just want to sleep or sit in the bathroom with the door locked for 15 minutes?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Striking new blog

I found a new blog. It is Haiti-related, not Ethiopia-related. Or maybe I should just say it is human-related. This is another this-could-be-anywhere post. This family works for Real Hope for Haiti, from what I understand. On this blog from one of the family members, you see cute old men, surgeries that take place, life and the deaths. In memoriam, she does post pictures of the children who die. It is the hardest thing to do, going to her blog every day, but I have to. I know what I might see, but I feel like that child deserves the tears and for someone to feel the loss of their life. I am sure that I am not the only one, as I know that Licia, the not-a-nurse, nurse, does feel the impact. And the others who read her blog. This blog has the sad reality. Please see the blog No, I'm Not a Nurse. But be prepared to cry. You may not want to do it at work or in front of anyone.

People like Licia and her family give hope.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Still asking for their family

Remember the 3 siblings that I mentioned from Bright Futures Camp awhile back? They still don't have a family, yet. This is what Becky has as an update:

Remember them? Oh how I wish I had good news to report. Sadly, our joy in having Kali as part of our lives is often overshadowed by the heartbreak that these children still do not have a forever family. We received letters today from Genet and Yesalemush. This is the second set of letters that we have received from them since their return to Ethiopia in mid July. These new letters are even more heartwrenching than the first set. The girls are so sweet and mention everyone by name, even remembering that Kali was going to have a birthday and wishing her a Happy Birthday. But their sadness at not having a family is so painful to read. Yesalemush writes, "Please try and be fast the paper and try to be fast to pick me out from Ethiopia to USA."

We thought the children knew that we were not adopting them, that we were truly just a host family for them for their stay here in Texas. But then, at the end of their time here, we found out that ALL the children were told that their "families" were only host families, even those whose families were already committed to adopting them. And then they also saw that most of the kids from last year's camp were indeed adopted. So what are they supposed to think? Of course they think that we are adopting them! How are we now supposed to tell them that we are not in a position to adopt them?

Even if there is a family out there who is meant to have these children, we know that the process takes time. But we can't help but feel that we've done nothing but give them false hope by bringing them here in the first place.

The oldest boy, Aschalo, bought a chemistry book when he was here for fun! He was gracious and studious, and did well with the kids. He will age out, I believe this next year. Genet is shy and studios and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. And Yesalemush is the artist and all girly girl. These are just unjust short bios. These precious kids need a family.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sara Groves,

This is in Rwanda. It could have been in Haiti or Ethiopia. Sadly, it could be way too many places.


Last Sunday we had the fine and fun pleasure of meeting the Page family in town at our local Mickey D's whose stinkin' playground was closed!! We had lots of loud fun anyway! Kali was a sweet and very smart little girl who seems to have really grown since the last time I saw her at the Ethiopian soccer tournament in Garland back in July. You wouldn't know that she didn't speak English only a few months ago! While they didn't seem to really recognize each other, they did check each other out :)

And decided that they were OK :)

Looks like the boys thought each other were pretty ok, too

Since Piper and Kali were in the same orphanage, Becky and I (and the Dads) think it is important that we maintain contact. We are close and they are almost a year apart exactly, so we think it would be great for them to know each other and have one another to talk to during those years when they need someone who truly understands what they are dealing with. While we can offer comfort, empathy, advice, and backup, we can not truly understand what they will go through as adopted African Americans in a white family. So this is one way we can maintain a connection with Ethiopia, and foster a relationship that they can identify with. It was great to see you guys, Page family!!

Well, Dennis has been out of town since Saturday. I have decided some things. Namely, I would make a crummy single parent of 3. Maybe if they were older, I had a maid, and a yard guy, then it wouldn't be so bad;) But that was hard! You spend all your time trying to maintain the status quo with cleaning and normal responsibilities and things you are responsible for outside of home, that it leaves you tired, cranky, snappish, and "too busy" to enjoy and just "be" with your kids. I am sure some people are better equipped to handle it or maybe there is a learning curve just like anything else, you get a system or schedule, but it scared me. And left me frazzled. I am sure their ages, 4,3,and 2, are largely a part of this. And when it is kids, kids, kids, from 6:30am to 8:30pm all day every day with absolutely no reprieve, that is tough, too. It is a complete privilege to be able to do this, but is it in my children's best interest when I feel that way? Is it in their best interest to take them to day care and I go to work? What we have now works wonderfully. I work at their Parent's Day Out on Mondays and Wednesdays. While I am with kids there, they aren't mine, and we get a little away time from each other. But I still consider myself a stay at home mom. I prefer it, but I don't at all think that that is always best for everyone. Some have no choice. Some people aren't wired to stay home. I get that completely. Now this is all just "what if" thinking anyway. What if something happened to Dennis. What if something happened to me? But I guess that is our responsibility as parents. We have to think "what if" and cover our bases. Anyways, it left me a lot of thinking to do, once I get time to think!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Piper!!

Today my little girl is 2! While we reserve this day as a day of rememberance of the tragedy that is 9/11, the Ethiopians are celebrating their millenium this year. It is the year 2000 there, now, and it is also Peep's birthday.

Piper is growing leaps and bounds physically, socially, and mentally. She made it on the growth chart today at 3% in weight...yay! I hesitate for her gain more though or her little Budda belly is going to pop! Now if we can get vertical to grow with horizontal, we'd be set! Unfortunately, I have the same problem :(

Piper is repeating everything, so speech is no problem. She probably has about 10 english words that she uses on her own without prompting. She can feed herself better than her now 3 year old brother, put on her own socks, and diaper. My plan is to begin the potty training next month, now that we are settled and have more of a schedule, since she was semi-trained before (although in all honesty, she only peed once or twice a day then, she was so dehydrated). She goes to Parent's Day Out and is doing great there. Everywhere we go, people just have to smile at her and a lot just touch her. That part is funny to me. It is awesome having a daughter that can hold her own with her brothers, too. Those boys(including Dad) are the biggest suckers. And so they should be.

Happy birthday, big little girl!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Birthday, Brodan!!

Happy Birthday to my little big boy. I thought he was little and my baby until I brought little Piper home and saw that my baby was really a big boy! Brodan is the most loveable boy. He is laid back, affectionate, and ALL boy. He could lay and dig in the dirt forever. He could lay on the floor and push a car back and forth while singing to himself forever, too. Brodan is also starting to talk a lot more and use phrases like, "I can believe it" or "I don't think so", which are so cute with his little lisp. He has really surprised me with his sister and is willing to share toys and food with her with no problem, mostly of his own volition!

Happy birthday, Brodan. And just like your Great-Granddaddy always said to me, you will always be my baby.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gray areas of life

Brodan told me that I have white hair. I said no I don't. He said, "Yes you do and!", pointing at my head all serious. Thank God we weren't in public.

Time to get my roots done.
Strike a pose, there's nothin' to it...

Good news to report!

We are parasite free! Cross one off the list! Yee-double-haw!

We had a little scare earlier this week. When Piper's blood was retested, her levels were almost normal. However, she tested positive for Hep C. They checked her again for Hep C in a different way than she had been tested before. You can, though, have a false negative AND positive. Since they had enough blood, they tested it again and it came back negative! So 2 out of 3 of these special tests are negative. And all her regular Hep tests were negative. That is very reassuring and they will test again in the next couple of months or so. We still go to the GI doctor later this month and will know more then.

Piper had her first day of "school" yesterday. It is at the Parent's Day Out I work at. She is such a champ. She cried for about 30 seconds when I dropped her off and that was it. I peered in at her all day and she was laughing and playing. I think it was like being at the orphanage for her...kind of her comfort zone, you know? She is used to lots of kids and that was probably more like home for her than anything else so far! It made me very happy, but I am sure Monday will be the real test, now that she knows what to expect. We'll see!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day

Did you know that Piper's official name is Chaltu Dennis Elliott? Poor thing. They gave her her Dad's name as her middle name. He doesn't like the name for himself, much less his daughter. I am going to call the lawyer this week to get that readoption ball rolling. Anyone know a ballpark figure on that? I'm skeered!

This weekend we went to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in San Antonio (or at least outside of S.A.). It was really neat. The kids loved seeing the animals up close and got to feed them. The ostriches were a scary bunch and pushy, too, so we had to roll up the window quick on them.

This past month has been such a whirlwind. Piper has done amazingly well and it's getting better every day. She has learned some limits and responds well to time out. The swatting is getting less and less and now when she does it, she catches herself and sometimes, just sometimes, will stop herself. I consider that a success! We have been one sick family the entire month. Just this morning I woke up with double pink eye. Thankfully it is just me. I will wash my hands and not smear eye gunk on anyone. Please, please, please, don't let anyone else get it...I HATE pink eye. It is so hard to deal with at their young, gross-touch-and-share-everything ages. Brodan had the puke and poop twice, Cam had it once. Piper with her parasites and fungus. Busy busy busy...

I saw on Tami's blog the other day the question on how I will incorporate Piper's heritage as an Ethiopian and her future self as an African American into her life. How will I teach her or learn with her about the cultures she represents. That is a lot to chew on and there are so many answers that I don't have time to write them all down. I have many in mind, but I am sure there will be more ways than I can think of now, as she grows and I learn. When I read the book "In their own voices", I learned one thing. It is that it is vital that I extend us into the African American community so that she has a sense of belonging no matter where she is, but especially amongst other African Americans. No parent wants their child to be looking from the outside,in. Hopefully, we can do our part to instill in her the confidence she needs to participate whenever, wherever, and with whomever.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Piper's been up-sizing, again

Piper, this is not that kind of a picture...

Peeps has a fatty liver. Now, I know for a fact that she didn't eat at Burger Queen in Ethiopia and ordered all of her lattes nonfat at Kaldi's. Apparently, a fatty liver can develop in malnourished children, even though the body should distribute the fat elsewhere. I am not sure what this means, yet. Online, I read that a good diet could reverse this, so let's hope so. We are supposed to get a blood draw today(to check her levels and check another way for Hep((she's been clear 3 times, now)), but Brodan is sick, so we may have to do it tomorrow. I also get to do another "fun pack" on Piper's stools to make sure we have rid ourselves of the evil. TMI, but it smells gone, thank you very much! I really hope everything comes back ok with her blood, because she really needs the oral fungal stuff. I can keep it at bay, but it sure is a boil on my butt.


Monday, August 27, 2007

We are still waiting on the ultrasound results...I have no idea when we get those back. She has her GI doctor's appt. on the 17th...I hope we get them before that! She is on meds for the parasites. Things are changing for the better on poop duty, so I think it might be working, thank goodness. We go on Thursday for a new blood draw. I reeeally hope that everything will be back to normal. We'll see.

Sorry if the first picture really scared you senseless. Thanks to Junie B. Jones for her fantastic idea on how to deal with monsters at night. We were listening to the kids' audio book in the car and she used her horrible school pictures to scare away monsters under her bed. We borrowed this idea and made our own pictures which are taped throughout the boys' room and inside the closet. Are we scary or what?!


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Piper's got a great big brother!

Riding the "horse"....Go Bro! Go Peeps!

Goofy girl...thanks big brothers for teaching her things...

Sweet face...