Friday, December 19, 2008

The Windowsill

Artwork copyright (c) by Marcia Falk

So today marks our 16th week on the Wait List... if you count by weeks this means we are at the 4 month mark of waiting for The Call... that means we have entered the mythical Window!

For my 2 non-adopting readers let me explain: "The Window" refers to the time between... Right now, our agency is saying the average wait for a referral is 4-6 months. Of course we know how averages work... some people wait less than 4 months, some people wait longer than 6 months...but lately, most people have gotten The Call somewhere in The Window: between the 4th and 6th month.

Now, I should be totally honest, our agency doesn't actually count by weeks, they count by calendar months. That means we aren't really starting our 4th month until Dec I guess technically we are on The Windowsill as opposed to being IN The Window... but that's ok, it's thrilling to be this close! (and besides...we'll be out of town on the 29th so I figured I'd better write about this event now!)

These past 4 months have FLOWN by... I'm afraid that time will move much more slowly now that we are actively thinking about The Call. Up until now we have been pretty Zen and passive about it all. In fact we were so secure in the knowledge that we still had months to wait before receiving The Call that I often left the house without my phone. I have been so 'ok' with waiting that when someone called me the other day and said, "I heard about your referral!" it never crossed my mind that they knew something I didn't know, I just automatically assumed they had called the wrong person. We have spent the last 4 months thinking, "Nothing will happen until after the holidays." But now the holidays are here...we are on The Windowsill... there is now a legitimate chance we could get The Call at any moment. We still don't think it will come for some time, but it COULD. And knowledge of that slim chance is, I'm afraid, what will slow time down to the speed of a DMV line.

My blogger friend (Bloend? Frogger Blogend?) Julie and her husband could get The Call AT ANY MOMENT...they could get the call before I finish typing this sentence. Sends shivers up your spine doesn't it? They are thisclosecouldbeanysecondnow to getting a referral. On her blog this week she confesses to having the following ailments:
(fyi: she uses the word proposal instead of referral...thinks it sounds nicer)

1.Pre-Proposal Paralysis. Symptoms include; not leaving the house, an inability to accomplish tasks, an inability to wear proper clothing, an aversion to hair dryers, make-up, bras, the gym, and toothpaste, an affinity for all things carbohydrate. May include mass consumption of chocolate and pop-tarts.

2.Adoption induced Agoraphobia.
Symptoms include; not leaving the house, and an irrational fear of stepping outside to retrieve the newspaper. Benefits may include a substantial savings on gasoline expenditures.

So based on her experience and knowledge of being thisclosecouldbeanysecondnow to The's what worries me a little (and if he read my blog, would worry The Esquire a LOT) -- it is well known-and my friends will agree with this- that I already have an aversion to hairdryers, make-up, bras and the gym. (Though I do generally like toothpaste.) I have never really possessed the ability to wear proper clothing and if I'm not traveling, then I prefer my own home to almost any place else, especially if there is a 90210 marathon on (old school version).

Do you see the problem here? Where do you go if you are already down? Our agency suggests we spend this time "scrap booking." Yes. Well. Might as well suggest I learn to cook.
Artwork copyright (c) by Marcia Falk

Sigh. But I guess there is really nothing that can be done. The window is the window. Time will move as fast or slow, as it wants to. All we can do is wait. And occasionally bathe. And keep our fingers crossed that Julie gets her proposal soon so I can think about someone else for a change. (Isn't it interesting how at the same time you can be the most fascinating and boring person you know?)

I hope everyone has merry, merry holidays. If you are traveling...go safely. Tune in next year when the countdown...and manic behavior and more boring blogs on waiting... start for real!


ps... As listed above, the artwork shown is by my dear friend Marcia Falk....check her out at And yes, I suppose technically to fit my blog's theme I should have posted pictures looking IN a window and not out of one. But I just love her window drawings so much I cheated. It's my blog, I can do that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

9 out of 10

According to my unscientific research it looks like there were 10 families represented by Gladney (our adoption agency) in an Ethiopian court today. That means 10 families couldn't sleep last night and then sat by their phones all day waiting to hear if the Ethiopian court approved their adoptions.

Drum roll please.... 9 of them passed! There are NINE new families today! 9 out of 10. That is amazing. I am over the moon by this news.

No, I don't know any of these 10 families... I've just been following their adoption stories. Keeping my fingers crossed for them.

No, this doesn't really affect us directly... we still have many more months to wait until we get a referral and then even longer till it's our time in court. But the fact that families are continually passing court is a great and hopeful sign for those of us coming next.

And as for the one family that did not pass today (paperwork issues)...Our fingers will stay crossed and our thoughts and prayers aimed towards you until it's your day. Keep the faith.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


Lots and lots of court dates happening this's hoping you each find barakah when/where you need it most.

PS: according to Wikipedia, the Christian version of barakah is divine grace...AND it's also the Swahili origin of president-elect Barack Obama's first name...

anyone else have goose bumps just reading that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Half-way there???

Today marks our 14th week on the wait list. That's 3.5 months or 98 days but really, who's counting?

Monday, December 1, 2008


Exactly 2 years ago this month the Esquire and I huddled together in a tent in the middle of the Thar desert in Rajasthan, making whispered plans about our future family and plotting the day we would come back to India with our children. We had spent the previous few months wandering around northern India and even though we were initially, completely overwhelmed by India's....well... India-NESS, we had slowly fallen in love with the country.

Everything you have heard about India is true. It is dirty, joyful, poor, religious, ambitious, devout, crowded, constantly moving and changing, full of history, colorful, exotic, and undeniably beautiful. But to truly see what India is like, you have to take those words and magnify them by 1000 and even then India will still be more than you can imagine. Like it's cuisine, India itself is complex and layered, traditional and changes with every bite.

To say it plainly: I love India. I love India and I can't wait to see its wonders through our children's eyes. I love India and I am utterly heartbroken by last weeks events in Mumbai.

Heartbroken. Heartsick.

As I read about the attacks, my heart simultaneously races and freezes up. It is similar to how I felt watching the Twin Towers fall on television. Dismay. Disbelief. Distress. Watching so many people -a whole country- hurt by just a few people trying to force their beliefs on the world. How does this happen? Why does it keep happening?

I am not naive. I know India isn't all twinkly bracelets and yoga retreats. I know it's long history, much of which has been violent, both to outsiders and to their own. But no country deserves this.

I'm rambling. Sorry. I just don't know what else to do with this sadness. And I suppose this is the purpose of a blog ... an outlet for rambles.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A different joy.

A few Sundays ago our friends S & J sent us a quick email at 8pm. They were spontaneously blowing off work the next day and wanted us to meet them at Post Ranch Inn for lunch.

Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is one of my all time favorite places on earth. I've never actually stayed there overnight but once upon a time I had an amazing meal there; so memorable in every respect that it put PRI on my favorite list forever. Imagine watching the moon disappear with a whisper into the Pacific Ocean right as someone offers you a champagne truffle... you get the picture.

For various reasons we couldn't join them (Reason #1: Big Sur is a 6 hour drive from LA...we would have to leave for lunch before eating breakfast) but I will never forget their rationale on why we should join them...

Want to join us? It'll take an act of crazy to drive up the coast. But do it. How many times can you do this before a different joy arrives...

A different joy. AKA: baby/ies from Ethiopia. A different joy. I just love that...

Happy Thanksgiving... xoxo-Kat

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Books! Libraries! Ethiopia! All good things... so VOTE for Yohannes! Polls close tomorrow so vote now!

For more information on this amazing man read this article.


Monday, November 17, 2008

We interrupt this adoption for The Esquire's Birthday.

When it comes to birthdays in our family, I am a very lucky woman: The Esquire LOVES to plan big, extravagant road trips for my birthday. But here's the lucky part...he also loves to plan big, extravagant road trips for his own birthday. Basically, when it comes to birthday celebrations all I ever have to do is pack.

This year, for his birthday, the Esquire planned a long, overdue road trip to Yosemite. Neither of us had ever been to Yosemite...which is a crime considering 1) we've both lived in California over 10 years and 2) we have a connection there--one of our favorite 4 year olds, Super Max, has family that live and work in the Yosemite Valley.

I could write for months and post all 842 photos that we took this weekend and yet it would never accurately describe how much fun we had or how incredibly gorgeous it is there. In a nutshell: Yosemite National Park is amazing. There is a reason why 4 million people go there each year. Below is my pathetic attempt to share the wonders of our weekend (please note that I really did try to be brief...I didn't include pictures of the bears we saw, the amazing Ahwanhee dining room, the other hikes we took, or the rest of the 714 photos I took from our balcony):

When planning a road trip, we like to consult to help point us towards fun, local places to stop. This time we ended up at the Chicken Pie Shop in Fresno (note the chicken holding a pot pie? on the sign).

Whenever we set out on a road trip we always take along Colin, our little lead tour guide. We got him a the Toy Soldier Museum in Ireland. He helps out by pointing the way when the GPS fails us.

The minute you enter Yosemite National Park you are surrounded by unbelievable beauty. While the park is over 1,200 square miles most people only visit the valley floor which is just 7 sq miles. On the way to our hotel, which was on the far end of the valley, we got to drive past all the famous sites. Here, from our car window, is Bridalveil Falls.

We stayed at the LOVELY Ahwahnee Lodge. Built in 1927 to help encourage visitors to Yosemite, it is an amazing stone lodge full of Native American artifacts and Art Deco touches. It sits right at the end of the valley under Yosemite Falls.

Our friend Super Max's Aunt J works at the Ahawhnee so we received the royal treatment all weekend. The first sign we were Special Guests: A birthday rubber ducky waiting for The Esquire in the bathroom.

In addition to the festive duck there was a Happy Birthday note from the concierge and a lovely fruit and cheese plate which we took on our big hike so we could have a fancy picnic at the top of Vernal Falls.

Fruit and rubber ducks are nice but did I mention the view from our room???? Super Max's Aunt J is now officially SUPER Aunt J!

We shared this balcony with the bridal suite. Needless to say they were busy getting married so we had it to ourselves the whole weekend!

...which was good because I was out there all hours of the day and night. I took this picture at midnight. Now I do not know anything about photography. I am just someone who believes if you take 842 photos odds are you will end up with 3 or 4 really great ones. This is the view from our room, at midnight, without a flash...just using our little 5 inch tall tripod and the light of the moon. Can you even believe the stars? Go ahead, click on the photo so you can see the stars up close. Seriously, it's amazing if I do say so myself.

Here I am (self-portrait style) with one of Yosemite's most famous sites: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft from the valley floor and is impressive from every angle. But am I the only one who sees George Washington's profile in the middle of the dome? Or perhaps it's the Quaker Oats man...

For our big hike we took Super Aunt J's advice and went up to the top of Vernal Falls. It's only about 3 miles to the top but the last bit is really wet and slippery from the waterfall's mist and goes straight up. This is the view from the top (that's the edge of the waterfall in the bottom right corner). The start of the hike is in that sunny part where the trees meet the other side of the valley.

The thing the Esquire was most looking forward to was visiting Mariposa Grove so he could see the Giant Sequoias for the first time. But here he is, ignoring the redwood behind him so he can take a picture of the bear proof trash can. Bears are a problem in Yosemite...we were repeatedly warned not to leave any food, water bottles, lotions, coolers--even empty ones, in our car because bears recognize them and will rip your car door off to get to them.

Even the pine trees are bigger in Yosemite. This is a standard pine cone... with the Esquire's foot for scale of course.

I have no idea who these people are but I love that they lined their whole family around the base of this redwood to show how big it is. I really hope this is their Christmas card. I hope they send me one...

Ahhhhh... after a long day of hiking we sat on our (semi) private balcony, rested our calves and watched the sun set while drinking a lovely wine from our Ahwahnee mugs.

Sigh... it was a good weekend. Happy, happy birthday Esquire. xoxo-Kat

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(almost) Wordless (almost) Wednesday

Correct me if I'm wrong...but I can't help but think the Drive-Thru Flu Shot is a very LA kinda thing.

Yup...that's me below in the Mazda. Earlier today I just pulled up, filled out a form, and a nurse gave me my flu shot.

Not only did I never get out of my car but I never even turned the car off! AND I got this snazzy sticker!

So tell me... is the Drive-Thru Flu Shot a LA creation or is it actually common place to get your immunizations this way? They also had Drive-Thru voting this past week in Orange County, but the OC is just kinda crazy that way.

For the record, we love anything Drive Thru. Our absolute favorite Drive Thru experience--The Drive Thru Espresso Shack!-- isn't in LA's in Rapid City, South Dakota. They have these Coffee Shacks all over the north west but we don't have any here in LA. I suppose if we did it would put all the valet guys out of business...

How cute is that... The Esquire ordering our lattes from a lady in a log cabin!

And now I think I have to go lie down... I'm feeling a bit flu-ish suddenly...


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The numbers.

Quick! ...before the pundits start hitting us over the head with the numbers for this election, let me tell you about MY numbers....

1 hr 45 mins - length of time I waited in line to vote

5 mins - length of time it took me to fill out ballot (I get nervous and always triple check my ballots!)

1 - complaint heard about long lines (and to be fair she was just complaining that she hadn't brought something to read to help pass the time)

12 - number of propositions on California ballot

3 - number of measures on LA County ballot

21 - number of measures on San Francisco ballot (doesn't really have anything to do w/ me now but I still love the voting process in SF!)

67 - approx. number of calls The Esquire took on his volunteer shift for Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition that provides legal guidance and information to help ensure all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.

6 - number of friends I saw also waiting to vote

4 - number of new friends I made while waiting to vote (3 of which live on my block!)

.39 miles or 4 blocks - distance from my house to polling place (I love walking to vote...feels so American!)

6 - number of languages spoken at polling place (English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog/Filipino and Vietnamese)

4 and 8 - propositions I voted wholeheartedly NO on because I don't think anyone -especially the government- has the right to tell me what to do with my body or who I can or can not marry.

No matter where you stand on the issues, you can't deny this has been the most exciting, energizing, election in years. Yes, I have HUGE HOPES for what the outcome will be but no matter what happens, I am just so thankful we have the right to make all these choices and am so excited that so many people are using that right. The polls had been open for one hour in California and already the voter turnout was 4 points higher than the last Presidential election.

"A sense of history" is what the LA Times is calling the atmosphere today. I like that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The next two days are going to be HUGE. Bigger Than Big. Lives are going to be changed, history is going to be made, futures are going to be set on distinct paths. And I'm not talking about the election on Tuesday...I'll get to that in a moment. What I'm talking about now are all the court dates happening in Addis Abba, Ethiopia tomorrow, Monday Nov 3rd. I know of four families, but there are probably more, who are right now most likely rocking in a corner somewhere in fear/hope/anticipation/numbness/excitement of what tomorrow will bring for them and their children. Tomorrow these families will have their cases reviewed by the courts of Ethiopia. Hopefully, the courts will feel comfortable and sure that these are good matches and that these children belong with these families. If, for whatever reason, the court does not feel certain, then they will postpone judgment. Which means these families will have to wait another month or two for another court date. More waiting.

Most of these families have been waiting since the summer for their court date. They have been counting down the days for someone they will never meet to decide when and if they can legally claim these children (the key word here is legally...because they claimed these children in their hearts months ago). When you are pregnant you have a pretty good idea give or take a few weeks when you will hold your child. When you are adopting that finish line is very fluid and you can hope that it will happen on a certain date give or take a few weeks but there is no certainty until you have passed court. So these families are waiting, waiting, waiting for a finish line that may come tomorrow...or may be pushed 3 miles further back.

I am not normally a patient person; I like things done now. Apparently, this has to do with being a Taurus but I'm not exactly sure what that means. But even though I'm not patient on a daily basis, I do love anticipation. I love looking forward and counting down to things: Christmas, our wedding, trips, god-children's births... I love the mandatory waiting period because once the thing will have lost Waiting forever. Once he's your husband, he can't be your fiance. Once you visit a new country you can't go back to being clueless about it.

Even now, in the adoption process, I am enjoying the waiting. These past 9 weeks have sort of been fun for us. But here's the thing: we don't have a referral yet. We don't have a picture or the name of a child waiting for us across the world. I think once you have that... once you know your child's name and their story, then all bets are off. THEN I think the waiting must be agonizing and not so much fun anymore.

As a bystander I am on pins and needles for these families with court dates tomorrow so how can they--the actual ones involved--handle it? Have they been able to fall asleep these last few nights? Have they totally lost their appetites because they are so full of What's Coming? Do they find themselves wandering from room to room without a reason? Why doesn't the anticipation just drive them crazy? I think it's the Hope that is keeping them sane. The Hope that everything is going to workout the way it should.

I have been thinking the same things about the election on Tuesday. (I promised the Esquire that I wouldn't make this blog political. Not because we have any problems letting the world know that we think Obama is the greatest thing going, but mainly because this blog is about adoption and we are trying to keep it single focused. But hopefully I can talk about the Election in general and not piss off too many people.) I, personally, am SO EXCITED about Election Day that I can barely stand it. Talk about Anticipation and Hope! How on earth are the Obamas and the McCains dealing with the wait? Have they slept at all in the past month? Are their fingernails bitten down to the quick? How can they even STAND the anticipation of what Tuesday holds. Talk about a life changing day for them, for their families and really, not to be dramatic here, but for the world! Again, I think it comes down to the Hope they must have. That it's all going to work out the way it should. (and that we won't relive the agonizing vote count of 2000!)

The definitions for anticipate and hope (according to Merriam-Webster online) are:

|anˈtisəˌpāt| verb
1 regard as probable; expect or predict
• guess or be aware of (what will happen) and take action in order to be prepared :
• look forward to

hope |hōp| noun
1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen
• a person or thing that may help or save someone
• grounds for believing that something good may happen

Please indulge me for a moment as I channel my inner, very amateur William Safire ... to anticipate is not just to look forward to but it also means to regard as probable. And hope is not just to expect and desire a certain thing to happen but also having grounds for believing. So to anticipate you have to regard it as probable and to hope you have to believe. Believe it will be probable. They seem to go hand in hand. I find that kinda cool.

I have so much anticipation and hope for all that could happen in the next two days I could implode. Or dance. Or sing. Maybe even skip a little. And while I'm singing and dancing and almost imploding while skipping around... I will have my fingers and toes crossed for those of you with court dates tomorrow.

As for the Election... I do have the audacity of hope and I can not wait to see what Wednesday brings!

See you at the polls! xoxo-Kat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why blog.

I wasn't going to start a blog. Mainly because I didn't think anyone would care about all the details of our adoption process. But as time passed, and the more adoption blogs I read, the more I began to feel like I was taking but not giving. I was reading and absorbing all the info and experiences shared by other adopting families but I wasn't sharing ours. I know all of these blogger's stories--I rejoiced in their successes, worried about their children, grieved for their setbacks, spoke to The Esquire about them by name... but since I never left comments on their blogs, they had no idea I was even there. I was a lurker and that made me feel kinda bad. But just when I would get up the nerve to start my own blog, I would read someone else's blog. And they would somehow manage to say the very things I feel in such an clear and articulate manner that I would think, why should I bother with a blog when someone else can say it so much better than I ever could.

But, as you can see, I did give in to blog pressure. (blossure?) And here is why:

1-part of my blog fear was the fact that technically billions of people could read it. Have you ever tried to write something with the thought that BILLIONS of people might read it? Obama's speechwriter and the hosts for the Oscars... they understand my fear. But then I realized that while technically billions COULD read it, realistically only about 20 people probably will. The pressure to write for 20 people...not so bad.

2-My new friend Julie, a way cool blogger by the way, explained in slow, easy-to-understand sentences that the best way to become a part of the ABC (Adoption Blogger Community) is to HAVE A BLOG. I had been reading these blogs for months and saw all the friendships the bloggers have with each other and wanted oh, so badly to be their friend too but didn't know how. I felt like the little sister peering down through the stair railing watching the big kids party... I knew all their details but I was still 'anonymous' to them. So this blog is my calling card... Actually, I guess Julie was my calling card when she asked all her blogger pals to also be my blogger pals. (I loved all your comments b/t/ did The Esq but he won't admit it. Thank you for the warm welcome...and the furniture tips!)

3-and finally the most important reason of all: our child/ren. This blog is a way for us to remember the path that leads us to our family. We've been in the adoption process for 4 months now and already we are completely changed by it. The people we've met, the new thoughts we are having, the reactions we are getting, the way we are starting to see the world... it's really amazing how much has changed and we don't even have a referral yet! So this blog is ultimately for the kid(s)... so one day they can look back and see that we wanted them so much we were willing to share it with billions of people.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Beginning

Family! Friends! (Strangers?) You found us. Cool huh? This is it….where I’ll record our Adoption Journey. For those of you just joining us, let’s start at the beginning…

My husband (who from now on will simply be referred to as The Esquire ... very mysterious don't you think?) and I have always wanted to start our family through international adoption. We began researching agencies, countries, etc. in September 2007. It's a pretty big decision to make with lots of pros and cons in every direction so we purposefully put the whole thing on the back burner for 6 months. Like most things left to slowly simmer, by the time the 6 months were up, all of our decisions seemed clear and easy to make. For various reasons we have chosen to adopt from Ethiopia. (I'm trying really hard to keep to the Cliff’s Notes model here but will gladly expand on the reasons that led us to Ethiopia at any time if you are curious.) After 4 months of A LOT of paperwork (all of which had to be filled out, signed, triplicated, notarized, authenticated, apostilled, spit upon, and held up under a full moon), a lot of fingerprinting sessions, many letters of reference, many meetings w/ a social worker, many many hours of adoption/parenting classes, and thousands of visits to our local Notary, we are now officially approved by the State of California and U.S. Immigration/Homeland Security to bring home from Ethiopia up to two children -either gender- under the age of two.

Yes. We know. Asking for two children under the age of two. It's craziness. Every friend, relative, stranger, and grocery clerk has told us how crazy we are. But we really, really like the thought of siblings (twins or older/younger). We like the thought of them having each other; of everyone in our family being able to look around the table and see something who looks like them. Now, just because we asked for two doesn't necessarily mean we'll get two. Our agency will work with their in-country reps to place us with the best possible match... could be a 3 month old girl, or 9 month old twins or a 2 year old boy and his 6 month old sister... we have no idea. We'll just have to wait and see. Which is exciting and yet a bit of a pain when it comes to planning a nursery.

So here's what happens next: we wait. We wait for The Call that says our agency has a referral for us (‘referral’ means we’ve been matched with a child). We have been on the Wait List since Aug 29th...two months down, probably 4 more to go. The average time on the wait list for our agency is 4-6 months. I have fantasies of receiving our referral call on Jan 20th, when Barack Obama is sworn in as our next President! How cool and symbolic would that be!

Once we have accepted the referral, the next step is to pass court. "Passing court" means the Ethiopian government has declared the child to be an orphan and found us to be fit parents and therefore relinquishes the child into our care. This part of the process usually takes 2-3 months. Once we've passed court we can travel to Ethiopia to pick up our child/ren! We stay in Ethiopia for about 10 days--we'll get to visit the orphanage and the foster care centers, meet the care givers who have been taking care of our child/ren and in some cases, meet the family of the child...can you imagine???

And then we come home. With our Kid(s)!!! Now, don’t forget that we're talking about international adoption and that the process and wait times are constantly changing, BUT... if everything proceeds according to textbook, we should be home with our kid(s) around May 2009. Talk about craziness!

So that's our story. I know this 'waiting' thing will get boring and possibly frustrating but for's just about the most exciting thing we've ever done! These first two months have flown by!

The purpose of this blog is to share this process with our family and friends. But it’s also so other people out there… families just starting to think about adoption… can see what it’s like. For months now I have been obsessed with Adoption Blogs. Now it’s time for us to share our story. Also, we want a record of this time… this time of hopeful waiting….the time before we completed our family.

Plus, in 13 years when our child is angry that we won't let her date/drive/leave the house/talk to boys and is screaming "I wish you weren't my parents!" we will be able to whip out this blog and say, "Tough! Cause we REALLY wanted to be your parents and here's proof!" See what a good mom I'll be? I'm already planning ahead on how to stick it to my kid! :-)

So please bookmark us and check back often. And feel free to leave comments… after all, you are part of this process.

Love, love, love to you all…xoxo-K