Happy Birthday!


So it isn't your birthday, but your Mom's birthday. That's right, your Mom turned 31 today. I don't have all of my childhood pictures, but I wanted to share a couple of them with you I like from early on.
I have an earlier picture, but this is me when I was about 13 months. I know this because your Uncle Spence is opening presents, so I am assuming it is his birthday. (His birthday is at the end of October.) I am a little concerned about Grammie still having me in white shoes. (It was so after Labor Day. I am also assuming there weren't a lot of choices for little shoes back in 1981.)
This is my second birthday and I already love cake. (This picture was taken at my Nana and Papa's house.) See how happy I look sticking my finger in the cake. If you look closely, you can see frosting around my mouth as well. Don't worry, I got cake today. A Janet cake. (2 layer, chocolate and vanilla with mousse and the almond buttercream icing) You know I LOVE Janet cakes.

You can't see them, but I am wearing my Strawberry Shortcake tennis shoes. They were like the best shoes ever, for a two year old. Someday I will share with you how I ruined them.
So I have no idea when this picture was taken, I can just tell you it was taken in the living room of the house I grew up in. However I have it on here as a promise. I promise I will let you pick out your own clothing, it is important to be an individual and have your own since of style. (I think I have awesome style here. Wait till you see the red dress with the white sail boats all over it I wore almost every day one summer. It was an awesome dress.) Granted, I will probably say you can't wear a belt around your neck, but wear what you want. (I will also now put the disclaimer in here, it has to be appropriate and when you go to school it better meet the dress code. I really don't want calls from teachers/school saying you were wearing "X" to school.) However, your Dad would love it if you only wanted to wear your hockey sweater every day. Just saying.



a little irony


The paperwork process is upon us. Your Dad and I were just fingerprinted, again, for USCIS. This means we are also about to redo our homestudy, which will expire in March. Although we would like to think you will be home by then, we have to begin the process, just in case. YEAH paperwork!

The good news is after having our fingerprints scanned, we got to have lunch with your Aunt Jennie and A. This also allowed us to stop at my favorite book store. While there we were able to add a couple of titles our book wishlist for you. We also picked up a new book for you. (Too bad we don't live closer, because in October, Taye Diggs will be there signing.) I read it while in the store, I really like it.

Finally, your Dad and I were supposed to go to a picnic this afternoon with other families adopting from Ethiopia. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go, but I had already made what we were going to take. 
{source: me}
That's right, Rocky Road Cake Pops. I was going through a new cake pop "recipe" book and your Dad saw the one for the Rocky Road Cake Pops and thought they sounded great. So I made them. While crumbling the cake I thought about the irony of taking something called "Rocky Road" to an adoption picnic. A little symbolism, maybe? 


our prayers


Since your Dad and I began this process, we have prayed for many different things. We pray for you and your birth family. We pray for K and his health, safety, and situation. We pray for the other families adopting from AGCI and the different places they are in their adoption journey. Currently at the forefront of our prayers are the children and families being impacted in the Southern parts of Ethiopia. We pray for guidance of the officials making the decisions that matter, those caring for these children, and so many other things.


For those of you reading, who would like to know more about what is happening in Southern Ethiopia, please read this post from one of the families affected by this.


Call me Betty Crocker


For I suppose I should start out by saying, we are once again waiting for you.

Over Labor Day weekend we said good-bye to a friend of almost 8 years. Although we have only known it for just short of 8 years, he has been in the neighborhood for about 60 years. That's right, we got rid of the oven.
The 1951 Hotpoint Oven was original to the house. It was a good oven, but it was becoming more challenging to bake in it. (The temperature didn't stay consistent and took a super long time to even boil water.) It was retired by having triple chip cookies baked in it. It was replaced with this. . .

A Whirpool, Imperial Series Oven. It is digital, a huge step up, and shiny. Your Dad got to break it in by cooking Taco Bake in it, but the Lou's pizza we cooked in it was awesome (best frozen one yet). More importantly, it bakes awesomely. With the new oven, I was able to bake your cousin L's Elmo birthday cake.
It was a huge success. I am thinking your cousin really liked it. It could also just be that every time she sees me, she says, "Aunt Kara, cake?" It isn't like I encourage this by making sure there is cake, cake pops, or cookies available for her every time I see her. (I didn't give her cake until she turned 1. That's a whole year of not giving her cake when she saw me.)

So Lando, I leave you with a picture of what our friends Matt, Tory, and A sent us to make us laugh. Racing Grannies. It worked. We laughed and raced them.  Your Dad won.


What do you say?


I have been thinking what I would say for a couple of days now. When I first tried writing, it was a matter of what could I say, I couldn't say anything without crying. I have cried a lot in the past 7 days and I know there will be tears in the future as well. I know this is our story and it is the only story we can tell, even if we wish we could tell it differently. 

So K, this is what I know. I know on Monday, August 22 we received a phone call from B telling us about a 4 month old boy with the biggest and brightest brown eyes. I know we called family and friends rejoicing in our referral. We prayed and gave thanks for finally having a face to put with our wait. We fell in love. 

I know on Tuesday, September 6 we received a phone call from B telling us we had lost your referral. 

I know the three of us have been prayed for by many people. I know there are family, friends, and strangers still praying for us and the peace one finds within Him. Even though I know this, it doesn’t mean it is easier. I know I will always pray for your safety and well being as you grow. I know you will always be a part of this family.

Although you may never know we were part of your story, you are a large part of our journey. I know I will not get to hold you in my arms and parent you as you grow, but I know we will consider you our son.  

I know your brown eyes will not be the ones reading my letters to you during the wait. I know this is part of His plan, even if I do not understand it.  

Mom and Dad


12 days

To my son

It has been 12 days since we have seen your face and it has been busy. I wanted to share with you some of the great things that have happened since you have come into our lives, without even being here.

I don't know if I put this in the post where we announced we had your referral, but I am putting it here anyway. As the phone was ringing, with B on the other side, your Dad said, "I can't take this anymore today." So glad we answered the phone instead of letting the machine pick up. Here Joey is seeing your picture for the first time. He sat with us throughout our call with B. I think he knew something important was happening. 

Once we got off the phone with B we started contacting our family. We first tried Grammie and Papa, they didn't answer their home phone or cells. Crazy. So we called Grandma Kathy, we got her at home and invited her over to see your picture. After getting off the phone with Grandma, we tried Grammie and Papa again. This time we got them on Grammie's cell phone. They were on the bridge coming back from Iowa. They were having a hard time hearing us, due to being in the mustang with the top down, so we waited until they got off the bridge to tell them the awesome news. From there I called your Aunt Meg and Uncle Spence, while your Dad texted his Dadd and siblings. I continued to call, while your Dad replied to texts, Marcia (who invited herself over) and Courtney (who I asked if she wanted to come over to see a picture of my son).

Your first "visitors" were Courtney, Marcia, and Grandma Kathy, in that order. 

On Tuesday your Aunt Kristi and P came over to help us celebrate. They brought with them P's Pack N Play and highchair for you to use. P instantly claimed one of your pictures as her's and wanted to "hold the baby." P is very excited to meet you and is looking forward to holding you, hugging you, kissing you, and sharing her nightgowns. Sorry about the nightgowns, but it is what P wants. :) You should also know, if you ask P, you live in Antarctica. In addition to Aunt Kristi and P, your Aunt Meg, Uncle Alex (not to be confused with Uncle Al), and L came to see your pics. L also claimed a picture of you right away, unfortunately she likes to carry your picture under her arm. L and P were here for a bit and had a bit of an argument that sounded like "My cousin, K." "No, my cousin, K." (Neither can say your K name, but their versions are cute.) L also brought you a gift. She made it for you in April of 2010 because she knew you would be watching hockey with your Dad. (I was with L and your Aunt Meg when they got this for you. L was only 7 months, but we kinda got her to kiss the heart placed inside of your hockey playing monkey.)

You should also know, L carries your picture around A LOT. She hugs it and kisses it and says your are "Uncle Wuc's baby." When I ask if you are my baby, I am told no. I am thinking L is scare she is getting replaced. Uncle Spence has already told L, "you're old news," when he first saw your picture.

Also on Tuesday, we got a package from Jennie and Craig. (They sent it before A was born.) Your Aunt Jennie thought they would be great to wear when we got "the call." She was right. They would have been great to wear, but they will have to be worn for other things besides "the call." Your Dad and I also completed your transition plan on Tuesday. (When I told my department mates about it on Wednesday, they found it funny I was writing a transition plan for you, when I do the same for students at school. My director of special education laughed when I told her about it.) Another great package arrived the following day, all of your placement paperwork. When I got home from school I saw it wasn't here yet, so I grabbed the camera to sit on the steps going into the sunroom, since that is where the UPS man usually leaves packages. I was talking on the phone and looked up to see the UPS man driving away from the house. He had come to the front door. Luckily he stopped right away on the next block so I could chase him down to take his picture. I had to promise the picture wouldn't go in your blog, but it can go into your Lifebook.

Your Dad and I both didn't go to work on Tuesday. Part of my day was already planned for this, but we knew we would have a lot to do and we needed to talk with your international pediatrician. When your Dad went back to work on Wednesday, his co-workers had a cake for him. It said, "Welcome Lando!" and was decorated in Ohio State colors. 

On Friday, you got your first piece of mail with your name on it. It contained. . .

Within the box, there was. . .
Grammie and Papa sent you clothes! (Be prepared for socks in your Christmas stocking) You have in your closet a Columbia fleece with a hood, an outfit that says "Daddy's Hero," and one that says "Mommy is my greatest fan." I think you are going to look super cute in them.

On Saturday we finished notarizing the paperwork and sent it all off to AGCI. On Monday, B called to say we forgot to initial a page within all of the pages we initialed and signed. So your Dad and I went back to the bank this Tuesday to re-notarize "Exhibit A" and sent it to AGCI. B called us on Wednesday to say she had it and on Thursday we spoke to her about our "Next Steps." We know we can be waiting 4 to 7 months before we have you home. We know it is going to be a long wait. We so pray we are closer to the 4 month end of the wait.

So while we wait, we continue to prepare for you. This weekend we plan on registering at Target for a bunch of cool stuff for you. In addition, I have purchased your first pair of shoes. The "Count" I found while shopping for your shoes. He is going to be joining his friends that are already home waiting for you.

{jqueenan from Etsy}

So, I have to share with you what I have loved the best since seeing your picture. When showing your picture getting to say, "This is my son." How can I not LOVE telling people I have a son. As I have been told multiple times, I do this with a HUGE smile on my face. I can't wait to actually introduce you this way in person. Another great thing I have been able to do is switch out my necklaces. I have been wearing one since I got it in February that says "Ethiopia" in Amharic. Now I am wearing this one that says "Mom" in Amharic. My plan is to save the "Ethiopia" one to give to your wife someday far, far, far in the future. My prayer for her is to help you continue all of the dreams we have for you and your future, together while wearing it as a remind of all our prays, hopes, and dreams for you while we wait to bring you home.


*I have failed to mention, your Uncle Alex won the cake pops for guessing your referral date. He guessed August 23, so he was the closest to August 22. He has 40 cake pops awaiting him.*