Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009, Carmens 1st Christmas Home

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Party Time

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas
You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.

It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso.

The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

The other symbols mean the following:

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Day I became an American

Welcome to the newest Americian Citizen!

It feels like a dream, everything happened so fast...sign this paper and your daughter is an American, check to make sure her name is correct. Everything was in order no issues, the judge was friendly the attorney was wonderful. We truly had no worries. Carmen should be getting her SS# in the next few days. The court gave us back all the orginals so we went right over to the SS office and got things rolling.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dec 2nd Finalize the Adoption in USA court!

I have our special outfits all laid out. Kids have been showered. Kids are all in bed, all is quiet. Just think our court case was entered into the log in Ethiopia 12/24/08. We started this journey to our daughter Sep 2008. I love to take photos, however that means I am not in many of them. SO...the owner of the local newspaper assigned our story to one of her writers. He will photo-journal Carmens special day. I am truly thankful for this kind act. If time permits and we have all the documents back from our attorney I hope to shoot over to Social Security and get that number ordered. wish us luck!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Time

Don't screw up the bird.

You should bake it 15 minutes for each pound at 325° AND you want to cook a turkey as fast as you can to minimize juice loss so you should NOT stuff the bird...this slows the cooking time. Your turkey's done when an instant-read thermometer (not a pop-up) inserted near the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

So a 13lbs Turkey will take 3-3.25 hrs, let it rest for 20min before serving. I enjoy using a roasting bag with marinade poured in the bag, I normally use teriki flavor and stuff an onion, carrot, celery and apple into the bird, makes the gravy tasty. When making the gravy get a tall glass of hot water and mix 2-3 tbs of flour (so it looks like milk) to the juice's on the stove, keep stirring, when almost done add some leftover morning coffee to the gravy for flavor and rich color.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Durning your adoption wait.....

We Can Make Our Plans,
But The Lord Determines Our Steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mile Stones

Re-adoption court date 12/2! Will be there with camera in hand.
Potty Training (basically #2 only) but thats a great start.
Ears Pierced..ouch, but I look so pretty.
Michael Graduates his 3yr speach therapy! Way to GO!
Pinewood derby cars ready to RACE.....

Sunday, November 15, 2009


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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good News

A letter from the County arrived today. "The investigation report for the adoption of your child has been completed and submitted to Surrogate's Court. Please contact your attorney for the date of finalization. !!!!!!!! Hopefully Carmen will be a US citizen before the end of the year. What a great way to end 2009. I will keep you posted.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fairy Tale Ball

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time for some style!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Monster Mash....

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Birthdays are the best!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In general I do not care for school photos. My kids do not react well to a stranger saying smile and all the fussing involved. I think they are very expensive and not very good quality. I did a photo soot for the kids "official" yearly photo today, M turned 7 yesterday and it was a very colorful day outside. Under certain photos are letters or numbers, if you wish to vote on your favorite that would help alot. I can not order every single print. I would like one nice one of each child for the grandparents and a few wallets for the uncles. help me out. take care Kim

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wedding Bells

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sweedish Apple Pie

We taught Aunt Mo how to make a new pie recipe today. Our only BIG issue, the pies were about 80% done cooking and the juices started making so much smoke in the house that we had to open up all the windows and doors and finish baking the pies at my neighbors. So basically her house now smells all appley and nice, while our home stinks of smoke and burnt butter! Regardless the end results were delicious.

1. Fill pie tin with apple slices, sprinkle 1.5 TBS cinnamon, 1TBS of sugar, 1TBS Lemon juice,1/2 teas nutmeg

2. In a large bowl combine (*NOT BEAT) 3/4 cup melted Butter, 1 Cup sugar, 1 Cup Flour, 1 LG egg, 1/4 teas salt then pour the mixture over the cut up apples and bake for 350 degrees for about 45 min, the top must look Golden Brown not like raw batter. Let it stand for 10 min and then serve. YUM YUM with out the mess of rolling out the dough!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trick or Treat

Monday, October 5, 2009

Harvest Time

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ethiopia Gears up For Malaria Outbreak

Ethiopia is stockpiling medicine to counter an expected surge in malaria cases due to hotter weather.(AFP/Getty … Sat Oct 3, 8:00 am ET
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Ethiopia is stockpiling medicine to counter an expected surge in malaria cases due to hotter weather, its health ministry said on Saturday.

In a statement, Kesetebirhan Admasu, head of the disease prevention directorate, said the El Nino effect would raise temperatures, reduce rain and generally aggravate conditions for the spread of malaria.

In response to the threat, he said, "there is sufficient medicine in store that could treat 12 million people," for which 12.6 million birr (685,000 euros, one million dollars) has been spent.

The government has already purchased malaria diagnosis kits and medicines, insecticides and spraying equipment, and plans to distribute 13 million mosquito nets, he added.

Good Hair

Thursday, October 1, 2009

4.4 million-year-old hominid skeleton 'Ardi' discovered in Ethiopia

The fossil, known as 'Ardi', is the oldest specimen on the hominid branch that led to modern humans yet unearthed
Hannah Devlin 5 Comments
Recommend? (5) The discovery of a 4.4 million-year-old skeleton in Ethiopia has allowed scientists to retrace the first evolutionary steps of our ancestors after they split away from those of modern chimpanzees.

The fossil reveals our earliest predecessor to have been a stocky, stooping creature, covered in hair, with a protruding face, long arms and a grasping big toe.

The fossil, known as “Ardi”, is the oldest specimen on the “hominid” branch that led to modern humans yet unearthed. It is more than 1 million years older than the famous “Lucy” skeleton.

Quoting Charles Darwin, Dr Tim White, the paleoanthropologist who led the original “Lucy” investigation, said: “The only way we’re really going to know what this last common ancestor looked like is to go and find it.”

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At 4.4 million years old, the Ardi fossil is the closest specimen yet to that common ancestor. It possesses a strange mosaic of human and chimpanzee traits, combined in ways that scientists say they would never have been able to guess by simply triangulating between the modern versions of the two species.

Ardi has a relatively small skull, suggesting a comparable level of intellect to modern chimps. The angle of her head relative to her spine shows that she would have been able to walk upright in a stooped posture. However, she retains the “grasping” big toe of our more primitive ancestors, as well as long arms and big hands, which point to her being an able climber. Unlike chimpanzees and orangutans, though, she would not have been able to swing through the trees.

The almost complete skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus was scattered in hundreds of pieces in volcanic ash in Afar, which lies in the Great Rift Valley in northeastern Ethiopia.

The skeleton was excavated bone by bone by Ethiopian and American scientists between 1994 and 1996.

It has taken almost 15 years for scientists to piece together and analyse the specimen. In 11 separate articles published tomorrow in the journal Science, a team of 47 scientists describe and interpret in exquisite detail the skeleton and its implications for our understanding of where we come from.

The fossil has prompted scientists to recast their thinking on the evolution of chimpanzees. The assumption of many had been that chimpanzees had undergone much less evolution than the human line. “A lot of people predicted that when you found something at 4.4 million years ago, it would look like a chimp,” said Dr White.

However, “Ardi” suggests that our last common ancestor was as remote from chimpanzees as it was from humans.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lesson Learned....

I will tell you from experience, if you are suffering with depression, anxiety or just not "feeling it" DO NOT let your primary care Dr, or OBGYN try to treat you. This is NOT their speciality. For the last 2 months I allowed Primary, OBGYN, Emergency room to help relieve my suffering. They messed me up more than necessary. They just threw pills at me so they could get onto the next patient. On top of this they double dosed me under different name drugs, under dosed me while dealing with crisis conditions. Just "say NO", find your self a recommended Psychiatrist you feel safe and comfortable with, I would not go to a county run center, no offense, but you need to be treated like a person and not a number. Needless to say I am seeing the light of day and feeling somewhat better. The average time is normally 4-6 weeks,to get full relief but at least this is a positive vs what I have been wading thur.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Its not all good.

I have been debating for a few days on to post this or not, I feel the post will benefit many, specially new families so they know they are not alone. I am doing better, We meet with a counciler one time a week, (not sure on my take on her yet), but at least we are taking the efforts. While this is our 3rd adoption, I have never sunk so low, emotionally, physically,medically ect, I am on an upswing so please no worries. I have three doctors now, hopefully a mothers helper a few days a week until I can get back to my old self! When I did mention PAD (post adoption depression) the one Dr. said "well you did not give brith" so you can see where I am going with this. He clearly did not know our 3 yr history with this last adoption. Anyway, here is the article.

Post Adoption Depression - The Unacknowledged Hazard
By: Harriet White McCarthy Date posted:

Post Delivery Depression, long recognized as an expected part of normal pregnancy and delivery is an issue that is openly discussed and well understood by the medical community and the public. Estimates vary, but between fifty to eighty percent of mothers who have given birth will experience the mildest form of PDD called "The Baby Blues" according to Depression After Delivery, Inc. Of those, approximately ten percent will suffer a more serious form of Postpartum Depression which is of longer duration and has more symptoms. The cause of both these manifestations is attributed to hormone changes and imbalances. Families, physicians, and caretakers are alert for symptoms and offer unconditional support to new mothers during this usually brief crisis.

The public and medical attitudes toward PDD are a far cry from the silence and secrecy that surround a much more pervasive problem - Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) which is a term coined by June Bond in her Spring 1995 article for Roots and Wings Magazine. For those of us who are part of the International Adoption Community, in particular parents of orphanage children, we have the added complication of adopting children who are almost always older than newborns and have been in an institutional setting. In many cases, our new children are toddlers to school-aged, and their histories and language issues add an extra dimension to the possibility of their new adoptive mothers developing PADS.

Over the past seven years, I have been intimately connected to the international adoption community as adoptive mother to three older Russian boys, as a member of the Eastern European Adoption Coalition (EEAC), as Co-Owner and moderator for the Parent Education and Preparedness List at, and as founder and Co-Chair of Piedmont Families Through International Adoption. Post Adoption Depression has been a recurrent and persistent issue in all my support experience. In the Fall of 1999, with the help of the EEAC which made our questionnaire available on-line, I launched a survey to see just how prevalent an issue PADS really is. The results were troubling. Our survey was accessible by members of the AParentRuss-List and the PEP-List whose combined membership now tops 3,100. Non-sufferers of Post Adoption Depression were especially encouraged to answer the survey. Of the 145 parents who responded, over 65% said they experienced Post Adoption Depression, yet only 8 people reported they had been advised by their social workers or agencies that this syndrome even existed. Preparation by those agencies would have been helpful, according to 61% of all respondents, sufferers and non-sufferers.

Why does PADS exist among the adoption community in such high numbers? There are a host of very concrete and understandable reasons. Most newly adoptive parents have spent literally years struggling to get to the point of having a child to parent. Their protracted and unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and longing may cause unrealistic expectations about exactly what it will be like to be a parent, and they are unprepared for the grief they feel when reality confronts the child of their imaginations. New parents may feel guilty about their feelings of ambivalence, resentment, or anger toward their new child. The belief in instant bonding or "love at first sight" is often an unrealistic one. Falling in love with a child is much like falling in love with a future mate -initial infatuation and euphoria give way to the lengthy and often difficult process of adjusting to the day to day presence of another human being. It often takes from two to six months for a real sense of attachment to blossom according to many of the posts of families who belong to EEAC. Being unprepared and unsupported, new adoptive mothers who become depressed often try to "tough it out" without asking for any help whatsoever. Many mothers worry that if they advise their agency or social worker (the ones they have spent months or years convincing of their superior parenting skills) that they are experiencing difficulty, those same agencies and social workers will think of them as unfit parents and, in the worst case scenario, remove the new child from their care. Consequently, a bad situation becomes worse because of lack of understanding and support. First line extended family support available to new birth mothers (and fathers) is often totally missing for adoptive parents. In many cases, after enduring years of disappointment with infertility, family members don't understand why the new mother isn't completely happy and content now that she finally has what she's wanted for so long. Rather than disappoint and confound her family, many new adoptive moms simply suffer in silence, filled with shame and guilt, feeling themselves imperfect or selfish.

Our survey didn't ask for gender specifics from our respondents, but we assume that most of the questionnaires were from women. An unknown but very important issue is Post Adoptive Depression in new fathers. Stress plays a major role in what we suppose to be an equally prevalent issue. New adoptive fathers are usually the ones to return to work sooner, and they have the added issue of juggling job and new fatherhood simultaneously.

While all of the above issues pertain to all adoptive parenting, our international community has additional components which load the deck. In almost no case are we adopting newborns. Among other things, we deal with grief over the loss of unknown histories and missed bonding opportunities. We see our children for a very brief time before the adoption is finalized and we often "discover" disturbing surprises about our children's backgrounds after the fact. Our older children come equipped with distinct personalities, some of which meld smoothly into our families, others of which are a jarring and daily reminder of our differences. We adopt children who have experienced an almost unimaginable amount of loss. We adopt children who have suffered the effects of institutionalism, hospitalism, and global neglect. We often adopt children with hidden academic, emotional, neurological and medical needs. Frequently, newly adopted children attach themselves to only one of the two parents, leaving the other parent saddened and disappointed. Add to all that the stress of out-of-country travel, jet lag, communication difficulties with our older kids and foreign country hosts, sleep depravation, and cultural shock. Our decks come loaded with the potential for frustration, powerlessness, and worry - a perfect prescription for the onset of depression.

When I reviewed the data concerning the length of time adoptive parents suffered from PAD, a very disturbing picture emerged. While most post delivery "Baby Blues" are of very short duration (less than two weeks), 77% of survey participants with PAD reported that they suffered their symptoms from two months to over one year with 45% suffering for six months or more. 85% of sufferers reported that their depression affected their health in some way (serious weight gain/loss was followed by sleep disturbances and headaches), 70% felt that PADS had interfered with smooth transitions and bonding with their new children. Clearly, Post Adoption Depression is a significant, multi-faceted issue that needs to be acknowledged, better understood, and unconditionally counseled and supported by the entire adoption community!

How To Weather The Storm
Knowing that the probability of having PADS is significant will give you a chance to prepare in the event that you are among the majority who suffer with this syndrome. Preparation might include discussing the possibility with your primary care provider as well as your child's future pediatrician. Make sure your agency is aware of the PADS and that they understand the dynamics and prevalence of this issue. They should be prepared to support your need to locate help and/or services should you need them. If you have previously suffered from depression in your life, you are at greater risk. Make sure your mental health care provider is standing by in the event that you need support with medication and counseling. Alert and educate your family and spouse. Explain that you may all need extra emotional support the same way new birth families do.

Dr. Bill and Martha Sears, The Baby Book lists several excellent suggestions for the Postpartum family which are equally relevant to Postadoptive families. When you finally arrive home from your international trip with your new child(ren), make sure that you have sufficient "nesting" time. Without guilt, hold visitors at bay for a few weeks. The exception to this rule would be the one designated family member or close friend who can provide domestic help and support in order to give time for the new nuclear family to learn about each other and start the bonding process. Before you travel, investigate your company's adoption benefits and maternity leave policy. Take the maximum allowable time before trying to go back to work. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Fresh air and a brisk walk do wonders to mitigate mild depression. Taking a child for a walk is one of life's greatest inexpensive pleasures - fun for you, fun for your child, good for bonding. If you are single or if your spouse is unavailable to provide child care while you rest, arrange for a sitter who can come in while you nap, run errands, or simply take care of personal grooming.

New competence as a parent often means a deterioration of competence in other areas of your life. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about less than perfect housework or a reluctance to cook your usual gourmet fare. Plan to put most of your life "on hold" while you settle in those first several weeks. If you know letting things go might drive you mad with anxiety, have alternate plans in place for others to take over for you with housework or chores. Have a store of good frozen foods on hand to help with meal preparation.

If you are married, one of the most profound changes that comes with parenting is the change in your relationship with your spouse. Prepare for that change and mitigate the negative impact by setting aside some special times for the two of you to be together without the new child. This is a vital part of successful parenting - important to both of you, but also important in the message it sends to your child. Your strong, dependable relationship with one another is one of the greatest gifts you provide to your new child. If you are fortunate enough to have a secure and happy marriage prior to adoption, spend the effort it takes to nurture and sustain it.

Preparation for PADS is the key to surviving it and shortening its duration. Accept the fact that adoption carries some risk. Expect surprises, frustrations, and setbacks with your new child as part of international adoption. Celebrate if there are none! Before your child comes home, take as many parenting classes as you can. Expect to be a therapeutic parent. Bonding and attachment are slow processes. Learn to be patient and give yourself and your child the one-on-one time required for attachment and bonding to grow. Your adoption journey doesn't stop the day you bring your child home. That day is really only a beginning. Plan for the continuation of your pre-adoption emotional roller coaster ride for at least the first year. If you have adopted a severely challenged child, plan on riding for two years! Reach out for help. Be honest with your social worker and agency. If you are having difficulties, tell them! You might be pleasantly surprised at how helpful they can be, but they can't help you if they don't know you're suffering. Join a support group such as those available at HTTP://EEADOPT.ORG, or locally. There are literally thousands of people ready to help and lend support. Provide private time for yourself, your spouse, and your other children. Keep stimulation, social, and work pressures to a minimum for as long as you can. Ask your extended family and friends for understanding and support. Accept your limitations and don't be afraid to fail. We learn by making mistakes. If your adoption situation proves particular difficult, remember to tell yourself everyday that tomorrow will be better, because it probably will be.

Most of all, know that what you are feeling is a normal response to stress, that you are not alone, and that there is help for this difficult phase of your adoption experience.

Symptoms of Depression
Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-IV

Five or more symptoms in a two week period:

Depressed mood most of the day, everyday (feeling sad, empty, or tearful) or feeling exceptionally irritable.
Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities.
Significant weight loss or weight gain, increase or decrease in appetite.
Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
Psycho motor agitation or retardation nearly every day observable by others restlessness or being slowed down).
Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness nearly every day.
Suicidal thoughts or ideation.

Article Source: International Adoption Articles Directory

Post Adoption Depression, The Unacknowledged Hazard by Harriet White McCarthy
Copyright ©2005 Post Adoption Information. All Rights Reserved.
Post Adoption Information Resource:

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Give this a thought...

US foster care – 150,000 children in foster care 400,000+ religious organizations in the US. If just ½ of these organizations encouraged and supported one of their members to be a foster family every child in the US would be in a home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enjoying summer...many 1st's

Adopting a child is like watching a flower bloom, every layer more beauty opens up to you. Our little girl is truly enjoying life, and has changed so much. I still remember holding her in Ethiopia, trying so hard to have her enjoy a ride on the swing. She would have nothing to do with it, just cried until she was back in my arms. NOW, however she yells if I remove her too soon from the swing. She wants to go higher and higher, not happy until her little feet hit above my head!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life Changing Event

How could I forget? When ever you have a life-changing event you should update your wills. I think adopiton would be one of those times. Well we are about 75% done with our re-adoption, I think I will request that our current attorney review and update our wills as needed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Mommy I did it all by myself"

Well I gave the tooth a good yank, heard the root rip and left her alone in the room. I went to do laundry. She kept wanting to wiggle it, play with it, and try to loop a string around it. No sooner I started tossing dirty cloths in the washer then the cat jumped up on the window ledge, she saw something fly by the outside light. It was very small and caught my eye as pretty. As soon as it few by, my daughter yelled. "Mommy I did it all by myself!" I knew exactly what she did, and I truly think the "tooth fairy" was outside the window watching and waiting to gather a beautiful white tooth!