Dad's first post

    Well, I saw your face for the first time last night and I couldn’t believe I was finally looking at my son.  We had waited so long for the “call” but when I looked at your tiny hands and your giant eyes I knew it was worth the wait.  I maybe got two hours of sleep last night because of the excitement I was feeling.  I kept thinking of all of the things I wanted to teach you and all of the things I wanted to tell you about myself.  I also spent half the night trying to recreate the telling of “the shot” (Kane’s game winning shot to win the Stanley Cup) so I can see your eyes light up with the same excitement I felt.  Luckily I have the game on Blu Ray so we can watch it over and over.
    When we first got on the wait list last year I started saving things (sorry K, mostly sports related) and putting them in a box so one day I could sit down with you and describe all of the thoughts and feelings I had while waiting for you.    It’s been such an emotional roller coaster but again after I saw your face I know it has been one of the best things I have ever had to wait for.  I can’t wait until we get the news that we get to bring you home. 
We love you so much,

the BEST day ever, so far. . .

Our dearest K,

K, for those who follow, they might already know what is up. They might have noticed your letter isn’t addressed to Lando, our working name for you. K, we have seen your face and have fallen in love. 

It has been about 24 hours since we received the phone call which changed our lives. On Monday, August 22 at about 7 pm (central time) our case manager, B, called to say she wanted to discuss a child with us. K, you are approximately 4 months old and the most beautiful boy we have seen!

So why haven’t I posted about this amazing event in our lives? Simple, we have been doing paperwork, telling our family and family, and just staring at your pictures.

So K, you probably want to know how this happened. Well. . . Your Dad was watching something on TV and I was posting on your blog about how I am was no longer allowed to call your Dad at work until we got THE CALL. (I should also tell you, it was the end of the day. We were both in our “comfy” clothes and relaxing.) At a little after 7 pm the phone rang, I remember calculating the time in Portland going it is too late to hear from B and your Dad said, “I can’t take this anymore.” I got up to answer and I heard B say, “Is this Kara?”

Me: Yes

B: It’s B from All God’s Children, do you have a moment?

Me: B is this THE CALL? Cause if it is, we have all the time in the world for you!

B responded something along the lines that it was and I said I was going to put her on speaker phone. Then she told us about you. (K can I just say it was kinda painful to go through all this information about you and not see your face?) Throughout the information your Dad and I sat in the hallway with Joey holding hands and crying looking at the computer while we talked to B. Why the hallway? It’s where the phone base is located and we couldn’t process moving elsewhere. (Yep, best news/phone call ever in my life and I was sitting on the floor. So not how I had THE CALL happening in my head when I thought about it.)  

When we got off the phone with B, we moved to the sofa, with the computer so we could see your picture to call your Grandmas and others. K you have a lot of people excited!  Your Grandma Kathy and Aunts Marcia and Courtney came over to see your picture last night. Your Dad talked with your Aunt Kristi and I talked with your Aunt Jennie. I can’t tell you how much we loved saying to them, “We have a son.” 

K, your phone call came on a great day! Over the weekend, while talking with your Aunt Jennie, we talked about how awesome it would for her daughter to be born on the same day as THE CALL. K, it happened. I found out about A’s birth at 4:05 pm and we got our call about 3 hours later. (Yes, I am sorry I didn’t note the exact time we got the call. It is one of the many things I wasn’t processing last night.) Your Aunt Jennie and I have talked multiple times since your call and we feel this means you and A are so going to be BFFs. (You have 3 more BFFs living a block away and 2 across town by the way.)

K, we have seen your face. It is amazing! From some of your pictures we can tell you have a bit of an attitude, which will be perfect in our family. We can’t wait to actually meet you. We know it will be at least November before we do, but you are so worth it.  

Mom and Dad
(Yes, I really loved typing that.)

As we rejoice over becoming a family of three, we pray and give thanks for:

  • Our K at Hannah’s Hope in Addis Ababa. Pray K stays healthy, attaches to his care givers at Hannah’s Hope, and can come home with us as quickly as the system allows.
  • The biological family of our child. I cannot image what they have gone through in the process of making their decision.
  • The children who are still waiting to be matched with their families and those who are waiting for those matches. It is a hard wait.
  • Almaz and her staff at Hannah’s Hope. They will be the ones caring and loving our K until he can be here with us.
  • Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA), the government agency, in Ethiopia processing our paperwork.
  • A quick court date, as well as passing it, the first time. 
  • Our agency, AGCI, and its workers as they do their part in bringing our family together.
  • Our case manager, B, for the wonderful news she was able to share with us and for dealing with us until we can bring K home.
  • Our amazing home study agency, The Baby Fold, and our worker, L, for their part in this journey.   
  • Luc and myself as we wait knowing our child is around 7,500 miles and an ocean away, as we finish our preparations for bringing our child home, for safe travel, and once K is home.
Thank you so much for being on this journey with us, no matter how directly or indirectly. 


I'm not allowed. . .


It doesn't happen often, but today it has happened. Your Dad has said I am not allowed to. . .
call him at work. Yep. I can't call your Dad to work, until we get "THE CALL." I won't make that "mistake" again. Okay, I tried calling him today, knowing he might think something different, but I was calling for a good reason. So here's what happened. . .

{source: me}
As you know, your Dad LOVES hockey. Last season we went to a Rockford AHL game in Peoria (so Chicago's AHL team vs St. Louis' AHL team) with Craig and Jennie. We thought this year all four (or more) of us would go to see the Blackhawks play the Blues in St. Louis this season. (Tickets are cheaper and easier to get.) Well, we don't know when we will be traveling to get you and today Jennie gave birth to the beautiful Avalon Grace, so this plan is on hold. Happy Birthday Ava!!!! Lando, Han Solo has arrived.

So over the summer your Dad said he would be okay not seeing a Blackhawk game live. (I knew it hurt him to say that.) So I thought, why not look at tickets for a Saturday game, just to see. When I went to the site, I saw THE game that would be the one to go to, if we went. Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 pm. Blackhawks vs Bruins. I told myself, if you can't get tickets for this game, it isn't meant to happen. I clicked on the second cheapest tickets, "no exact matches found." So I went all out, silently yelling at myself, and clicked "best available." Score. Standing room only tickets. Standing room only tickets? Can I stand for three 20 minute periods plus the intermissions? Yes, I can and I will do it eating ice cream. (Lando, your Mom has a love of ice cream. Your Dad thinks I am crazy, but I see nothing wrong eating ice cream when there is snow on the ground.)

So Lando, this is where your Dad's statement of not being able to call him at work comes into play. I wanted to let him know how awesome of a wife I was. I knew I could text him, but I wanted to hear the joy in his voice to hear we had Blackhawk vs. Bruins tickets. So I called his cell phone. Voicemail. So I called his direct line, I got Moses. 

I asked him if your Dad was available, he wasn't. So I asked Moses if he could like your Dad know how great his wife was, to feel free to make him think it was "THE CALL," and then tell him about the hockey tickets. So Moses emailed your Dad telling him, "Your wife is phenomenal." When your Dad got off the phone he went to talk to Moses and see what the call was about. Moses didn't play with your Dad, he just told him. (Your Dad thinks Moses could see the "excitement" in his face, but your Dad's teammates enjoyed the game.) Your Dad immediately texted "not funny to call" and "awesome" to me. I think he is happy about getting the tickets. So where will we be on October 15th?
Watching. . .




My dear, you have A LOT of people excited. I just wanted to tell you that. Both your Dad and I had many people at work talking to us about our new numbers. It was a main topic in both my department office as well as the lunch table. You should have heard my director of special education when she stopped  by and learned our numbers. I am thinking you have a large fan club with many waiting to see your picture for the first time as well as in person. Lando, you are loved. 

BTW- The WHOLE special ed department is hoping to answer my phone, if I am teaching, to answer B's call. I think they all want to be the one to come pull me from class to say we got THE CALL. (Your Aunt Marcia is hoping she can get some information from B as well.) Your Dad's "pod mates" sounded pretty excited as well from what he was telling me. Lando, you are cherished.

Your Dad and I went out to dinner tonight to celebrate what we consider to be AWESOME new numbers and our wait for you. Lando, you are our wish which we know will soon come true.

We love you!!!

So you know Lando, you still have some people who guessed this far out in your "guess the referral" contest. Two of them are a 4 and an almost 6 year old girls who can't wait to play with you.


happy belated bday Grandma Shirley


{GG Shirley playing with your Dad}
Yesterday was your Great-Grandma Shirley's birthday. Your GG makes awesome chicken and noodles, which is my favorite dish she makes. She is an amazing person and can't wait to meet you. Happy belated birthday Grandma!!!!

In other news, Lando, I have gone back to school! The students first day was Tuesday and your Mom has realized she isn't in "teaching shape." After sixth hour, I looked at my co-taught K and we both said we were exhausted. Lucky for her, she was done teaching for the day, but I still had one more class period. Don't worry, I made it through the school day. Even better, I was able to get a lot of paperwork done once students left for the day.

In addition to paperwork at school, Lando, I have also begun the paperwork to redo our fingerprints from USCIS. They are only good for 15 months, which means ours will expire in November. So, more paper was done and is ready to be sent out with tomorrow's mail.

{source: GG on Mother's Day 2011}

Today our case worker from AGCI called  with our phone update from July and our August numbers. It was nice to talk with B and catch her up on what has been happening. She went over what happens when we get "THE CALL." Lando, I am praying this happens soon.

Lando, you are probably wanting to know where we are on our wait to see you. So, I will tell you.

For a girl, we are now officially #11. For a boy, we are officially #3 and for siblings we are #6. Even more exciting, when it comes to the boy list, we are actually #1 for a referral of a boy 0-12 months. (After 12 months, up to 24 months, we are #3.) What does this mean? On the girl list, there are 10 families in front of us. A lot of these families are also open to a girl from 0-24 months, but some of the families have made changes to their parameters. On the sibling list, there are 5 families in front of us. Lando, I never thought we would hear of a #1 with our name. It is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

We love you Lando!!!


from Joey

Lando- Joey really liked that he made your blog last week with his new haircut. He said he wanted to write you a letter, so here it is. . .

{This is me in my younger days.}
Hey Lando!!! I’m your BFF, you just haven’t met me yet. I’m Joey Ramone and I am Mom and Dad’s cock-a-poo. The vet always says I am the biggest cock-a-poo he has ever seen, but Mom just says I am 45 pounds of love.  

So you know Mom and Dad have been preparing me a long time for you to come home. They introduced me to crying, I did fine. I tried to help L calm down, but she didn’t want my help. That’s okay. Mom has also tried to put me in new situations. They don’t always go well. I don’t do well with things that are in the wrong place. Mom says I have OCD. Mom’s right, I am an Old Cute Dog. I don’t always like it when people walk by the house. They don’t belong.

I have also been keeping my your room safe. I like lying down in your room. It has a good register for air conditioning, especially with the wood floor.  It feels nice. It’s where I go to tell Mom the air needs to come on. But, until you get here, know that your room is in good paws.

I told you I like to help. Mom really likes help in the kitchen. She enjoys it when I sit right behind where she is cooking or baking. I tell her I am trying to help. She says I am hoping she drops something. What she drops is good, so I think you are going to like the food around here. Mom makes me an awesome baked potato or rice as part of my dinner every day. I bet you’ll get better stuff. But that’s okay, I am sure you will share with me.

{I helped babysit the biology class turtle one school break. I shared my carrots with Nacho.}
I will share my cookies with you. I really like cookies. Not just any cookie, animal crackers. They are good stuff. I have a whole jar of them on the counter. They are right above my food. You will need to learn to get me us cookies. It can be torture to see the jar and know I have cookies, but not able to eat them.  Please help me Lando. I want cookies.

I want to share toys with you. You’ll probably get a lot of soft toys. Mom and Dad won’t like it, but if you get any soft toys you don’t want, I’ll take them. I really like stuffed animals. They are so soft and fluffy. I don’t always get along with soft toys. The stuffing tends to come out for some reason. Mom and Dad don’t give me soft toys. Please share. (Be careful Lando. Mom and Dad took away my biggest and best soft toy when I was a puppy. The brown sofa. They weren’t happy when they came home to find me sleeping in stuffing on the floor. Be careful with your soft toys.) 

{This is my favorite toy.}

I have good toys to share. One of my favs is my kong. Mom and Dad stuff it with peanut butter and call it my pacifier. It is good stuff. Please don’t be allergic to peanut butter. It makes me happy. My all time favorite is THE GREEN BALL. I will try to share it with you. I don’t do well sharing it with kids though. Everyone knows it is my fav, but when the shorties come over, they try to throw it for me. It doesn’t always work. I get excited. Gotta throw fast. I need my GREEN BALL. Maybe I won’t share my GREEN BALL with you. All my other toys, I will share.

Mom and Dad tell me you might be scared of me at first. I hope not. I want to cuddle with you. I love to cuddle. I also like to nuzzle, especially with hair. OH! I also want to go on walks with you. I like walks.

Lando, I can’t wait for you to come home. I have a lot of cool things to teach you. I want to show you my good hiding spots. We will have fun under the tables. Mom and Dad won’t find us there. Plus, we gotta watch sports together. I like watching sports with Dad. 

{Me last week. I look good at 7. Be ready, Mom likes taking pictures.}


because E asked


Your Mom is getting ready to go back to school. Today I spent time with Marcia, and her girls E and A, unpacking the new special education office. We made a lot of progress!

E and I talked about how Joey was getting a haircut today. She wanted to see a picture of Joey with his new haircut and so I thought I would share it with you as well.

Joey smiling for the camera.

I think he thought he was posing for GQ here. . .


she liked it, she really liked it!


I know, two letters within two days, crazy! I just wanted to let you know your Grandma Kathy tried Ethiopian tonight. She said she liked it. (I will admit I have had better.) We made her sambussa (of course), a mild beef dish, and we made lentils for the first time. For the lentils, we used a canned sauce we got at the Ethiopian market over the weekend. It was good.

Lando, today is also a very important day. It is your Aunt Kristi's birthday! Happy Birthday Aunt Kristi!!!

Now for the pictures of what the food looked like we made for Grandma Kathy. . .

{source: me. The sauce we used for the lentils.}

{source: me. The sambussa}

{source: me. The beef and lentils}


1 year plus 8 days


{Source: me. Bon Jovi at Soldier Field.}
So your Dad and I had mentioned we planned on eating at an Ethiopian restaurant up in Chicago on the anniversary of being on the wait list for a year. Unfortunately, life happened and the trip didn't. So yesterday we made the trip north to eat at Ethiopian Diamond. During the drive, it can get a bit boring, we talked about how this same weekend last year we were in Chi-Town, to see Bon Jovi (your Mom loves Bon Jovi) and eat again at Demera. How did we realize this you ask? Your Dad is crazy was texting your Uncle Justin about baseball trade rumors, and remembered watching the "trade deadline stuff" at Bubba Gump's. So I guess being in Chicago the last weekend of July is going to have to be a tradition.

{Source: me. Our first time eating Ethiopian food}
So in a year, we have seen a lot of movement on our wait list numbers, but we have also eaten at four different Ethiopian Restaurants in three different states. I would say Ethiopian Diamond is our favorite one in Illinois, but Ethiopian Village has the best sambussa. We really like sambussa Lando! We have since learned we become full quickly and have learned to order less food than what is pictured on the left. Although we always order sambussa, we try to order something different each time we have Ethiopian food. For some reason, the first time we tried the food, we both ordered the lunch portion which came with two vegetable and meat dishes each. It was a crazy amount of food. FYI- Your Grandma Kathy is trying Ethiopian for the first time tomorrow and your Mom is going to try cooking a lentil dish.

So I wanted to share with you what our trip looked like and prepare you for the boring car trip. . .

{source: me}
 Your Mom began the day with taking Joey Ramone out and watering the flowers. (Can I just say I am impressed that the flowers are still alive. I so don't have a green thumb.)

The Drive. . .
{source: me}
Lando, be prepared to see a lot of corn or soybeans when you travel with us. This year most of the farmers along the way seemed to have planted corn. There are a couple of wind farms, but a lot more corn. Depending upon the interstate and the direction we go, you will also get to see pumpkins. 
{source: me}
Lando, more corn and you see the need for your Mom to get her car washed. There were a lot of bugs on this road trip. 

Downers Grove
{source: me}
The parking garage. Your Dad and I tend to take the Metra line a lot to Chicago, more specifically the BNSF line. Why? We don't have to deal with traffic and generally it is cheaper than parking in downtown. Plus you get to ride a train. Lando, you are going to have to enjoy trains. I do promise not to take you to a train museum every family vacation though, unless Grandpa is with us. . .
{source: me}

So this theater is right next to the Metra stop in Downers Grove. There is a Tivoli bowling alley attached as well. Your Dad thinks it would be fun to work as the film strip operator in this theater, but just this theater. 
{source: me}
Shortly after taking this picture we were asked by a lady what time the train came. It turns out she and her family came from Iowa to take the Metra into Chicago. We were surprised to learn that all they knew was that Downers Grove had a Metra stop, but had no idea what time the train came, that the train did go to Union Station, or what times the train left Chicago to come back to Downers Grove. The Girl Scout in me was shocked, your Dad was also shocked. We also though a "riot" was going to break out when it was announced that the train would be stopping at platform 1 instead of platform 2 for the trip to Chicago.  
{source: me}

{source: me}
Our train coming down the tracks and stopping at the station. 

{source: me}
 The view of Adams Street when coming out of Union Station.
{source: me}
 Willis Tower (Sear's Tower) from Adams and Wacker. From Union, your Dad and I walked along Adams Street to State Street (what a great street). It will become a very familiar path. Sometimes we mix it up and instead of taking Adams, we take Jackson to State. (Crazy, I know.) If we really want to go wild, we will walk along Wacker and the canal to Michigan Avenue.
{source; me}
 This is one of my favorite buildings along the walk. I love the stone work on this building. (I think it is the Rookery Building.) Lando, so you know, I love architecture. Old buildings are so awesome, especially when they have buttresses. Be prepared for tours of awesomely old buildings.
{source: me}
 The Chicago Board of Trade
{source: me}
 This statue is outside of the Bloomberg Federal Courthouse and the Post Office (there is an IRS building in there too). I have no idea what it is called, but it is from one of your Dad's favorite movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. During our junior year at ISU, we had our own Ferris Bueller day with Matt L. Be sure to ask your Dad about our time at the Art Institute and what happens when your Mom points at things (without touching) and alarms go off. . . He really enjoys that story.
{source: me}
One of the few times I have seen a Garrett Popcorn without a line. Your Grammie loves Garrett's and has been known to stand in line for it. Your Dad can't understand why people stand in line for hours for it. Yes, I wrote hours. 
{source: me}
The State and Jackson Red Line entrance. (Your Dad loves the Red Line because it will take him to 35th Street, on the Southside, to U.S. Cellular Field.) We took the Red Line, north, to the stop below. 
{source: me}
From this stop, we took the stairs down, turned left, walked to Broadway, turned left again, until we got to. . .
{source: me}
Again, it is our favorite Illinois Ethiopian Restaurant. So good. 
{source: me}
Our awesome beef sambussa!!!
{source: me}
 It doesn't look like a lot of food, but after also eating sambussa, we couldn't finish it all. Plus, we also had to save room for later. . .
{source: me}
I am so excited about this Ethiopian market across the street from the restaurant!!!! The owner does small group lessons for making injera.

Beginning the trip back. . .
{source: me}
 After lunch your Dad and I stopped at one of his favorite stores, FansEdge. He loves it because you can get Bears, Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks gear all in one place. (You can also get another team's stuff there too. . .) Although he loves the Blackhawks store too. . .
{source: me}
 Another favorite building, Tribune Tower. This neo-Gothic building has buttresses at the top, but also stones from around the world. Every state has at least one bit of "history" here and there are stones from the Great Wall of China, Parthenon, Berlin Wall, Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, the moon, and the pyramids as well. I so enjoy this building. 
{source: me}
 The House of Blues. We have seen many concerts here.
{source: me}
The entrance we use into Union Station. From here, it was a return trip home with one more stop after getting back to the car in Downers Grove. 

Then we went to. . .

  That's right. We went to Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in Naperville!!!!! The best pizza ever!
 (Lando, can you tell we love this pizza?) There we enjoyed the buttercrust pepperoni and sausage pizza with three-cheese bread. In addition to our left overs, we got two frozen pizzas to enjoy at home. Before being introduced to Lou's, your Dad was not a fan of Chicago-style pizza. I am so glad he came around. (Lando, you will also need to learn that when we go to Lou's, we text your Aunt Meg and tell her where we are. It makes her happy to know you are enjoying the buttercrust.)
So Lando, this was at least our second year in a row being in Chicago at the end of July. Next year, you should be with us to enjoy this  adventure.