Monday, June 30, 2008


Jacob and I just returned from a weekend in Minneapolis. We attended the annual Ethiopian Kids Community picnic. Hundreds of people attended the event that included Ethiopian games, bouncers, Ethiopian food, vendors related to Ethiopia and adoption and other fun activities. We were also able to see the social worker who helped Jacob and I find each other and the orphanage director who watched over Jacob while he waited for me.

Jacob loved the bouncers. He spent well over an hour jumping with only a couple of short breaks to give other children a chance. They had three bouncers that they designated for certain ages groups. Jacob used the one for children under three years old. It was fun to watch him be one of the big kids.

Jacob also helped set up the flags that were part of the soccer game. The had fallen over while the children were playing. There was also a bean bag toss and freeze dancing.

On Sunday we went to the Mall of America. Our teenage friends, B and J, were with us. They went shopping and Jacob and I checked out the rest of the mall. We went to Underwater Adventures for about an hour. This was the last year that Jacob will be able to go for free. Jacob enjoyed all of the fish especially the saw fish, sting rays and sharks. He wouldn't pet the shark at the end but I did. It was very interesting.

Jacob did enjoy climbing on the fishing boat and looking out through the net at the end.

After Underwater Adventures, we decided to cut through the amusement park on our way to Lego land. Jacob saw his good friends Dora and Diego and just had to say hi. Unfortunately, Diego and Dora needed to go inside for a nap when we arrived. Their assistant stated they would be back in 30 minutes.

I was able to convince Jacob to go to Legoland for about 5 minutes but his heart was back with Diego and Dora. He led me back to the bench near where they would be returning. He refused to leave the bench for over 20 minutes and just kept saying, "Dora waking up soon!"

Jacob's paitence was rewarded. He was able to meet Dora and Diego. The smile on his face said it all! He continued to smile for about 5 minutes after we left and is still carrying around a picture of him with Dora and Diego.

I loved the diversity and friendliness of most of the people we met. I would love to find a job in Minneapolis or the surrounding areas. I don't know if it will ever happen but it would be nice. If anyone has any leads on a job with a decent salary that I can get with a Criminal Justice degree (but not a police officer) let me know.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

General Anesthesia

Jacob went under general anesthesia for the first time today. We have been having laser treatments done on the port wine stain on his face for just over a year now. The stain is a type of birth mark on his face. It is caused by an overabundance of blood capillaries directly under his skin. The laser works by breaking the capillaries and when they grow back they are smaller. So far it seems to be working. His stain is getting lighter every treatment. We have had about 8 treatments and are about half way done.

In the past, the nurses and I have held Jacob down while the doctor performs the treatments. Jacob is just becoming too big and strong to continue to just hold him down. He hates the treatments and struggles and cries through them. The doctor thought that uses anesthesia would be better. She thought he would be less traumatized by the treatments and it would be easier to do the treatments.

We arrived at the surgery center at 9:30 this morning. We spent about half an hour waiting for the nurses. Shortly after 10 they took Jacob back for his treatment. I wanted to cry. It was so hard to watch as he bravely walked away. He was nervous and stated that he wanted me to come with him but did not cry as he was led away.

I went downstairs and had a soda. About 20 minutes later, I was paged that they were finished with the procedure. I met with the doctor briefly who stated everything was fine. About 10 minutes later, I was led down the hallway to where Jacob was waiting. I could hear him screaming before I was even close to the room.

I held Jacob for about 15 minutes as he continued to wake up from the anesthesia. He was not very happy and told me he was sad. I took him home and let him take a nap. About an hour later, he woke up and was happy again. He was doing so well that we spent the rest of the afternoon at the zoo and then bought a new swimming pool for the yard.

He was only upset for about an hour longer than without anesthesia. The treatment definitely seemed to go better with better coverage and less stress on everyone. I think we will definitely do the next treatment the same way. Hopefully, Jacob won't need too many more treatments. As long as the treatments are working, we will continue to go.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I found out yesterday that they found a relative for A. I asked if that meant that they would open my home back up to another placement. The answer I received was that they don't know yet. I guess the dilemma is that there is still a very small chance that the judge could order A into foster care despite this relative coming forward.

It is very frustrating being told for the past 6 weeks that I need to just wait and see for a child who may or may not be coming. I really do trust that the social workers are doing what they think is best. I just wish that there were more concrete answers. Welcome to foster care and to a certain extent the roller coaster of adoption.

Since A is probably not coming next week, we are going to Minnesota. We are going to a very large picnic for families affected by Ethiopian adoption. They expect to have over 1000 people attend. I made reservations for a foster child as well as the teenagers I mentor, Jacob and me. It will be nice to have just the teens, Jacob and me. It will be a little more relaxed than having a new young toddler with us. I would still prefer to have a foster child but that does appear to be out of my hands at the moment.

I have been spending some time this week working on getting water out of my basement. Like most other people in the area, I did get a small amount of flooding. It could have been much worse. Some people are looking at thousands of dollars and I am only looking at a few hundred at the most. I know that all of us that still have homes we can live in are very lucky. It is only a few miles from here that many people have lost their homes, businesses and at least temporarily their entire town. I spoke to a friend last night who stated the water level on the lakes is beginning to go down. We still don't need any more rain but at least things are improving. I am very grateful for that and that the flooding damage wasn't any worse.

Jacob has been bitten three times in 2 weeks at school. The first one was completely unprovoked. He was laying in a chair when the little boy came over and just bit him without warning. Later that day, Jacob tried to take a toy from the boy who then bit his finger. Two days ago, the little boy was being mean and not playing nicely. He came over to Jacob. Jacob told him he didn't want to play and to leave. The little boy refused. They argued and Jacob was bitten on the arm. Now I realize that the little boy is not quite 3 years old (he turns 3 in about 2 weeks) but enough is enough! I am not sure what to do as a parent. I don't want Jacob to be bullied by this little boy and I do want him to use his words and stand up for himself (like he did last week) but I also don't want him being bitten all the time. The bites are hard enough to break skin and leave very large bruises that last for well over a week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Home and Family Needed

I wish I had the resources and time to help this young lady. I know that she will make an excellent addition to the right family. If you are interested in adopting an older child, she may be the child for you. Here is a link to her information.

For everyone who is not in a position to consider adopting this young girl, please pray for her. It must be very scary to be in a country with a culture so different than Ethiopia's and know that you will be going to another family.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Jacob and I had a very nice Father's Day. I believe Jacob was the only child at his father's day party that did not have a dad there. It didn't seem to phase him though. He had a blast singing with his friends, eating ice cream and playing games. I know of several other single mothers in his school but none of them came to the party. I understand that it does feel ackward to be a mother there alone but it is a feeling I need to deal with myself. Jacob wants to be part of the fun and doesn't want to miss the party. I don't want him to miss the party so I decided to attend and just enjoy the time with him.

Jacob's grandma and papi were able to attend the show. The originally did not believe they would be able to make it but were able to adjust their plans to attend. Jacob had made two special projects. One said "Daddy's stuff" and the other said "Papi's stuff." Jacob's teacher warned me ahead of time that Jacob had made the daddy one before she realized he had the wrong project. She asked if I still wanted it. Jacob had very excitedly told me he had made me a special project so I knew what his intent had been when he grabbed it. I told him and his teacher that I would be very happy to have the daddy project.

At the party Jacob gave Papi his present. Papi unwrapped it and Jacob immediately became upset. He stated that the present in it (the one reading "Papi's stuff") was for Mommy and that the one I had ("Daddy's stuff") was for Papi. The painting and artwork on the two projects were very different and both done with care. Papi and I agreed to switch projects. I am now proudly displaying my "Papi's stuff" basket and Papi is proud of his "Daddy's stuff" project. Maybe next year I will ask Jacob's teacher if he can choose to make two projects so that he can give one to me and one to Papi.

Today we celebrated Father's Day by giving Papi a new phone for his kitchen. His old phone broke last week so I quietly told my mom to make sure they did not buy a new one before today. We also had dinner together and then played at Papi's house. It was a nice evening where we got to enjoy each other. Time together is the best gift we have and something we never seem to get enough of.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No More Rain Please!!!

Enough rain! Jacob and I are joining millions of other people praying for an end to the rains. Our community hasn't been hit as hard as some of the others. Thankfully, there have only been a few homes evacuated and most of those people are back home now. There is some concern though as the area lakes are continuing to rise.

Jacob and I answered the call to help with sandbags tonight. We have some friends who own a home on a lake. I remember the floods of 1993 and agree that the water does appear to be higher this time. It is causing some people to be nervous as well as communities to help each other out. There are fears that a nearby dam will break and no one can even imagine the damage and destruction that will occur then.

Jacob was a good helper tonight. He held bags while the adults put shovels of sand in them. He also helped shovel some of the sand into the bags. While his shovel loads were considerably smaller than the adults, they did help. He also brought smiles to people's faces which at this point is probably just as valuable as the help he gave them.

We finished the evening off with some roasted marshmallows around a fire pit just off the shore of the swollen lake. Jacob is now sound asleep in his bed. He is getting some much needed and deserved sleep.

Please pray for no more rain and that the waters are able to reside soon. Pray for all of those people who have lost their homes and businesses, for those who can't get to work due to closed roads and for all of those people concerned that the water will continue to rise and force them from their homes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Everything On Hold

Our family life is somewhat on hold at the moment. Human Services has been talking about placing a 1 year old boy, A, with me. A had a placement hearing earlier this month. The social worker expected him to be placed into foster care but he wasn't. The judge postponed his hearing until the end of the month for a variety of reasons. The social worker still believes he may enter foster care then. If that is the way A's case is decided, he will be placed in my home at that time. Until his court date, I will only be considered for a placement if there are no other families able to take a child. So I am on hold as far as a new foster child is concerned.
My hopes and plans for a second adoption have also been delayed. I came across several unexpected expenses over the past month. My pipe broke in the basement and the dog had a sore on her leg become infected. I also learned that Jacob's daycare has an additional activity fee for the Summer that I was not expecting. Those expenses along with several weeks with no overtime have left my finances feeling a little drained. I still hope to begin the process soon but it will most likely not be until next Winter at the earliest. The very latest will be February, 2010 but I really don't anticipate it will take that long.
There are a couple of other possible scenarios and opportunities that may affect my adoption plans but most likely they won't come through. For now, I anticipate adopting another child from Ethiopia in 2010 or 2011. It really isn't as long as it seems like.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Handling Father's Day

Every holiday has it's challenges. Some holidays require trying to think of the perfect gift for people who really don't need much. Others require large meals that require planning and grocery shops. They often involve travelling, camping and trying to gather friends and family. They also can be fun. Father's Day is no different.

Father's Day has unique challenges in single mom households. They are many of the same challenges tht Mother's Day has for households headed by only fathers or by grandparents. If I had my way, Americans would celebrate one special day entitled "loved one's day" where the people who care for us or have cared for us would be honored. That is not the way that our culture chooses to celebrate so I am left to try to be creative in the way I handle Father's Day.

Jacob is lucky to have many special men in his life. The biggest male role model is definitelly Papi (Grandpa) but he also has other male friends and family members who love him. I had already decided that Jacob would make a Father's Day gift for a special man in his life and this year Papi is an easy choice. It is not the only challenge that we are facing though.

Jacob has been preparing for a Father's Day celebration at his school. The children will sing songs for the special men in their lives and they have been talking about fathers. Jacob knows that he will be a "daddy" someday and that only girls can be a "mommy." He also knows that families are all different and have different people in them. Our family has a Mommy, Jacob, Uncle Chuck, Grandma and Papi.

Today Jacob and I were playing with his legos. We were playing with an adult cheetah and it's two cubs. I commented to Jacob that the mommy was looking for it's babies. He stated, "No. It's a daddy. There isn't a mommy." I asked if he meant that he was the daddy and that the jaguar family didn't have a mommy. He stated yes and the daddy jaguar then took the cubs for a ride in a car.

Next week Jacob is having a school performance to celebrate Father's Day. I invited his grandfather but he is busy and unable to attend. Originally, I thought I would just keep Jacob home from school that day. I changed my mind after watching him practice his songs and the fun he had at the Mother's Day party. I will go and support him. I know that I am not the only single mom in his school and hope I won't be the only single mom at the program. If I am, that is fine. It is more important that Jacob be allowed to participate if he wants to than my discomfort at going alone. I try to be supportive of everything he does and do not want him to be left out of parties and performances just because our family does not have a dad.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A New America

Today marks a very important day in American history. It amazes me and humbles me to think about where this country has come in the past 50 years. 50 years ago many people had difficulty accepting civil rights for African Americans. African Americans dreamed of being allowed to work in the same jobs, go to the same schools and eat in the same resteraunts as their white neighbors. People could not imagine the day when African Americans and White Americans would have the same opportunities.
Today we are closer to that day than ever before. Yes, I know that racism exists and that we have work to do. I also know that racism is not as prevalent as it once was. Today the American public nominated an African American man for president of the United States of America. Whether or not you are a supporter of Sen. Obama or of the Democratic party, this event is monumental.
It brings tears to my eyes to know that my son is able to see a real life example of equality and dreams coming true. To know that the color of his skin will not determine his future or how far he can go. We may have work to do to end racism in America, but we have come a very long way.
Senator Clinton opened up a new door for women and Senator Obama a new door for minorities. I thank them both for their bravery and their courage. They are trully American heroes who have done great things for the future of this country and the future of our children.