March 2011

Sorry in advance if this post is lame and ungrammatical. I’m sick *sad face* – some kind of stomach virus. I had some soup earlier and managed to keep it down, so that’s something to celebrate. Yay.

I really hope that there are some court dates announced soon. With the rumors floating around that MOWA is working to clear the backlog of cases as quickly as possible, one would expect to see at least one travel group being announced this week. I almost don’t even care if I’m included in the group; as long as there’s some movement, I’ll be thrilled. Has anybody heard anything?


Now, for the topic of the day…relocation. I live in a rural, lily white state that has been overtaken by Free Staters, Tea Partiers, and the John Birch Society. I realize that this is kind of a national political movement that isn’t confined to my state, but I can’t bring up my daughter in this environment. It’s definitely time for us to move to a blue state.

To be honest, I don’t even like it here. I never meant to settle down here, it just happened. Aside from the political landscape, it snows too much, there’s no public transportation and there are no Ethiopian restaurants. Plus, there’s nothing to do, you have to drive well over 90 minutes to find any civilization…and I don’t like to drive, so that’s a problem for me.


I like my job, but there are lots of jobs out there. My family’s nearby, but that’s what frequent flyer miles are for. It’s not like my family and I are terribly close anyway, for reasons not worth going into here. Unfortunately, I’m underwater on my mortgage, so T and I will have to stick it out for at least a couple of years until the housing market bounces back. But by the time she’s ready for school, I think we’ll be relocating to another part of the country.


Here are my criteria:


  • Urban/dense suburban
  • Public transportation/commuter rail
  • Diverse population
  • An Ethiopian community (and Ethiopian adoption community) would be a major plus
  • Good school system
  • Cultural and other activities, lots of stuff for kids to do
  • Not in the Bible belt – not trying to offend anyone, I just can’t
  • Snowy winters are acceptable, as long as there’s public transportation/commuter rail (see above)
  • Cost of living – for example, NY and San Francisco are way out of my range
  • Decent job market – I’m a product manager in a technology field, but it’s not like I’m tied to that industry



So far my list includes: Chicago, Portland (OR), Minneapolis/St. Paul, and that’s it. Any suggestions for other places that might fit the bill? Is there anything else I should be considering?


Also, is it completely irresponsible of me to start over in a new place as an almost 40 year old single mom who has – with the exception of a couple of memorable years abroad – always lived in the same general area? Is it going to harm my child if I deprive her of her grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins?





Okay so have you all seen the latest on the changes? This is good news, right?


“We have heard from our staff in Ethiopia this morning, and we understand that MoWA has agreed to process 20 cases a day rather than the 5 cases we had heard recently.

Please know that we are still waiting for the official MoWA announcement on this to confirm it 100%.  There are still many question unanswered and we are watching and waiting to see what develops.  We will keep you posted!!”




This is from another agency’s blog, but I hope that my agency confirms the news soon. It’s still a reduction in the number of cases – about half of the previous volume – but far less drastic than the 5 cases/day figure that was originally reported. On the State Department conference call last week, their best guess was that – at 5 cases/day – it would take about a year to clear the current backlog. So at 20 cases/day, that would be, what, 4 months? I can’t do math in my head, so just go with it.


20 seems like a reasonable number, doesn’t it? Enough of a reduction so that MOWA can investigate cases thoroughly, but not so drastic that everything grinds to a halt. Honestly, if MOWA wants to slow its roll, I’m all for it. I’ve been saying for a while that the program’s too big, that’s it’s grown too fast, that there are too many agencies and too many red flags. If this leads to a more ethical program that serves children who genuinely needs homes, I applaud MOWA for taking this step.


But as far as my personal situation goes, this is devastating. I’m kind of a mess right now, you guys. My daughter’s sitting in an orphanage and I just want to go get her. Right. Now. Sure, it’s a nice orphanage – the agency-run transition home – and she’s being well cared for. But it’s still an orphanage.


Prior to the changes being announced, I was anxious to travel…but also excited. Now I’m just anxious. Even if MOWA agrees to 20 cases/day, even if my agency is able to move families through quickly, I am always going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop until I have T home with me. Some other process change, another slow down, yet another ridiculous Friday afternoon email that shatters my world.


I think I’ll feel a little better once I have a new time frame to latch onto. The uncertainty (up to a year? really?) is really getting to me. And I know I’m not alone. Whether you’re waiting for referral, waiting for court, or waiting for embassy – we’re all anxious and worried right now. Hugs to everybody. I’m thinking of you.

I wrote this before the recent troubles, and decided to hold off on posting for a few days. I’m posting it now, but it’s not very indicative of my current state of mind. I’ll blog about my thoughts on the potential changes sometime this weekend.



I’ve written about names before, about my internal struggle whether to keep my future child’s name or to change it. Now that my child is no longer a future child but an actual child, with a real name and a history of her own, it was time to make a decision. I can’t reveal her name on the blog just yet, but I have mentioned her name on the WH yahoo group and if I know you IRL, then I’m sure you’ve heard it. It’s a pretty common Ethiopian name, starts with the letter T, and it means “she is blessed.” If you were so inclined, you could find it out.

So yeah, I’m keeping it. Honestly, it wasn’t even much of a struggle. I’m not gonna lie, the first time I heard I was all, “hmm, I don’t think I like that name very much.” My friends’ and family’s initial reactions weren’t exactly promising, along the lines of, “you are going to change her name, right?” So I was conflicted for about a day, maybe 2 days. When I found myself defending her name, “well, I know it’s different, but it has such a nice meaning, plus it’s her name, I can’t just…” that’s when I knew that I couldn’t change it, no way.

I’ve quickly come to love her name. I think it’s beautiful, I love the meaning, and it suits her, based on what little I can discern of her personality from photographs. I did come up with a cute little nickname that a) satisfies my urge to put my own stamp on her name, and b) is American-sounding and easy to pronounce. That works for me, I’m happy with that compromise.

As for the rest, I’m going to keep her last name as her middle – which is, of course, her father’s name. I’m also considering adding her mother’s name as a second middle name – it’s quite pretty and I think it would be lovely to honor her in that way.

Do you have Adele’s new album? You need to get it, I mean it, right now. Holy moly this record is amazing, every single track is a winner.