Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Today is my last day of summer. It makes me so sad! I do like my job, and I do want to work, just not full time. It is such a drag not to have time for anything or anyone but my job. It has been a very full summer. Marina went to Barcelona and attended Art camp. Celeste and I ran a pop-up at home. Fernando worked the first half of the summer. We went to LACMA, and the Norton and not to mention The Huntington Library. We all headed up to SLO and to Monterey; where we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Marina got to scuba dive! We had picnics in the park and metfriends for lunch. We went to bed late and woke up early. Marina read 10 books and did loads of math. It has been quite a fun and loaded summer. And now, it is over for me. The girls still have some time, which only brings me child care stress, but alas; my time is up. No more basking in the sun, no more coffee at 10am, no more reading magazines on a blanket at the park, no more lazy days, no more endless posibilities. Only structure, and hurried driving, and deadlines, and being pulled in different directions, and putting fires out, and difficult meetings and sad stories and discontent among parties, and weekly menus, and quick conversations, and "gotta go.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Today is San Esteban

Today is San Esteban! In Barcelona they celebrate this day almost as elaborately as Christmas. So as we were gathered around the table (not in Barcelona), and Fernando said to Celeste: " This is your first San Esteban with us." This very simple phrase, made me so sentimental that Marina and I began to look back at this little blog. I know I am not very consistent in updating this little online journal, and I make no excuse about it. It just seems that I am not good at managing my time. I am at work 45 hours a week and then I rush to begin my true daily life (when you read the following, think of Cinderella's step mother when the old hag is giving her the list of things she must do around the house): taking Marina to swim practice-daily! Cello lessons at home-once a week. Waldorf sewing circle-weekly, Making dinner-nightly. Writing reports at home-nightly. Baths, stories, diapers and more-every night. This all does not include the amount of mediating I do and all the hugs and kisses and cuddles that rejuvenate me in order to keep going. By the time I find a little time to write this I am in bed trying to read something that will keep me in the literary loop, or fast asleep.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making dolls

I made this doll last year (along with a whole bunch of other dolls). I love these dolls so much, and they do fetch a pretty penny (this one went for $150) for Marina's school. What I don't like is "doll season." Not because I don't enjoy the process, but because I don't enjoy the rush. The fair is scheduled for the Saturday before Thanks Giving, and the doll frenzy has begun. I hold doll workshops at my home on Tuesday nights, and although I am so tired once I finally get to go to bed, there is something to be said about spending 2 hours with bright, funny, creative women that choose to do something amazing for the sake of their children's school and community.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This was taken in NY this summer. We had such a good time! But not so much this day because it was so terribly hot. We did have fun on the way home because we got lost and went around and around in an air conditioned comfortable car.

On a different note, I would like to ask everyone out there to send their positive thoughts to my friend Sarah. She underwent a double mastectomy yesterday and will begin chemotherapy soon. She has a very supportive husband and a lovely 16 month old baby girl. Shara is scared, but is dealing with all of this so incredibly well. I have knows Sarah since we moved in together our freshmen year at Pitzer College in Claremont, and although I can't say that we have remained close, I can say that I love her and that every time we talk or see each other its as if we had gone back in time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sick but somehow rejuvinated

I don't know, It must have been seeing my lovely girls up on the blog or something, but I think I'm back. Most of you out there are not reading about us anymore, and you probably don't even care about our silly goings on, but I'm going to give it a good effort, if only for our family history's sake. I'm going to blow my nose, I have a combination of illness and allergies, whatever it is is kicking me right on my behind.
Just as a catch up sort of a post. Since we returned Marina finished 1st grade. We had a good summer at home (we usually take off for Barcelona to Fernando's family). We are slowly finding our rhythm. Celeste began walking and is now unstoppable. Marina is in 2nd grade. Fernando got a book published. I am frantically making dolls for the Elves' Fair (Pasadena Waldorf School's largest event), and planning my mother's 60th birthday bash. Oh! and I forgot, working full time as a school psychologist.
I have been such a bad blogger that the cycle of non blogging just kept getting more and more dysfunctional. the more time passed the guiltier I felt, and the guiltier I felt, the less I wanted to show my face in blog world, but now that Monica has opened the flood gates, let the blogging begin.
These are the latest Celeste words: Agua? mmmmm, abre? ten, mama, papa, papi, mami, yaya, yayo, hola? tita, and in English: ball. Funny thing that occurred today: Marina's friend came over and was upset and crying with her mother when they had to go. Celeste went over to her and patted and petted her on the head. She looked worried.
Marina is a fantastic big sister. She includes Celeste in every game and makes sure that the other kids are letting her participate. Marina is also on the brink to jump into the swim team, so she is working very hard in the pool. At school, she was in the Michaelmas play. She played the part of fire with three other girls and they rocked it!
Overall we are doing very well, and hoping that we get to see the blog unioners again soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

May 7th??

(Monica here... rogue blogger)
I am not sure if anyone out there in blogland checks dear Samantha's blog anymore. She is a bad blogger (I have told her so) I read adoption blogs as she started blogging. My favorite time to read is the travel.. and return home. My darling friend dropped off just when I would have been the most interested. Fortunate for me, I talk to her often and see her, Fernando, and her kiddos ... so I knew/know what was going on. For the rest of you.. who may only know her only in Blogland... here is a little glimpse into the goings on with Samantha, Fernando, Marina, and Celeste... They are a beautiful and happy little family. Enjoy!

a glorious day at the beach... for little Zoe's birthday


a summer Monday in the village. Coffee and water play. perfection

blog union. oh yes, they were there. (and me too)

i love this picture!

Our lovely Fair tradition (the kids were less than pleased with the petting zoo. Marina looks forward to this. She talked about it constantly, but she did not love the goats. neither did Celeste. sisters)

Hope if there is anyone out there... this made you smile.
;) Monica

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A good night's rest

Hi there, I finally opened my lap top today!
Here is a quick run down of our trip and home coming.
-Saturday at 11:50 pm I left CA on JetBlue and arrived at JFK at 8:00am Sun.
-Sunday at 11:30 pm my brother and I took off for Dubai on Emirates Air, and arrived at 8:30 pm Monday. We had a chance to look around the old part of the city and have a great dinner. We spent the night in the Meridian Hotel.
-Tuesday at 8:00am, we left Dubai and landed in Addis Ababa at 11:30 am.
After we arrived we had a quick bite to eat and went to meet Celeste and took her back to the hotel (Hilton).
-Wednesday we had our embassy appointment at 3:00pm, but we were not seen until 5:00 pm
-Thursday we went to the coffee ceremony at the babie's home.
-Friday we went on a tour of beautiful lakes and were able to leave the city and enjoy the countryside. In the evening we received Celeste's visa and other paperwork.
-Saturday we went shopping in the morning and at 7:00 pm we took off on Emirates Air for Dubai.
-Sunday morning 12:45am we arrived in Dubai and took our next flight at 2:00am to JFK.
-Sunday morning at 8:00am we arrived in NYC and went to my brother's home.
-Sunday at 8:00pm Celeste and I boarded a JetBlue flight to CA.
-Sunday at 11:45pm arrived in LA

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

travel news...

Samantha and Celeste met on Tuesday... they have since had their embassy appointment and all is well. They are falling in love more and more every moment. (hope Samantha is OK with my semantics)
short and sweet...
and I know (as a blog reader) that all posts are better with a picture. So, since I do not have any pics from Samantha in Ethiopia, I will give you one taken last September. Samantha, Marina, and I on our annual trip to the LA county fair. We always have sooo much fun. We go into the petting zoo and have lovely adventures. Celeste will surely be in this year's picture.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On her way...

Greetings. I am Monica... one of Samantha's friends. I will be your blog operator until Samantha gets back from Ethiopia. Last night Fernando and Marina dropped her off at the airport for a red eye flight to New York (to meet with her brother). They'll leave tonight for Dubai, and then Ethiopia!! She is uber excited, as am I. I will post something as soon as I hear from her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Here is the first or our bags

Pay not attention to the mess in our garage. It is an ongoing project that never ends. Any way, a dear colleague of mine donated 7 boxes of kids clothes, so this is where all those clothes are now. I guess I'll put the rest of the humanitarian aide elsewhere. This weekend I need to start taking the malaria medication. I am still debating weather or not this is truly necessary, but my brother keeps insisting that we should.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Something in Common

We finally received the report on Fenit’s biological family. I am happy to report that our little “beauty queen” (soon to be re-labeled “smart, talented imaginative, creative youngest princess”) has two mothers that like to play in the kitchen. That makes me very happy.
On another front, I’ve been packing up a storm. We purchased an army duffel bag at our local Army Navy store. The bag was only about $25 and is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. I know I’ll not be able to lift it, but who needs to lift when you can drag. I take a picture of it once it is all filled up.
I will be meeting my brother in NY and we will travel together to Ethiopia. For all of those soon to be parents out there, please know that I will be happy to take pictures or any little keepsake you want to send to your little loves, just e-mail me and we will make arrangements.
The work of art posted is one of Marina’s homage to her fish, Chiquitina. She was a female Beta that who died while Marina was in Barcelona with her father. Here she is waiting for Marina to feed her. The other picture is the real place where Chiquitina used to reside.
Oh! I almost forgot, we had been told that Fenit’s birthday was the 4th of July, 2007. It turns out that it is actually the 31st of May 2007. Regardless of her birthday, she will not begin school until she has turned 6 years old so that means she will be more developmentally ready for the rigors of social and academic life.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I figured it out! ...sort of

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us through this, very difficult, journey; and to invite those of you who are still waiting, to email us with your babe's information if you would like for us to take pictures or send them a little something on your behalf. Fernando and I sent mem cards to other traveling parents while we waited, and it seems that those precious images helped us get through the rough spots.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We are complete

Here she is... our little love. If you have been in this adoption rollercoaster, you know how we feel. We are so elated. At 6:30 am we received a call from Jessica B at Gladney telling us the good news. It is nice to know that Gladney will let you know as soon as they know. It made the news so much better because it was what woke me. We've booked our flights and our hotel. It seems that it is all going according to plan. I hope I'm not jinxing myself. I will post more pictures later, when I figure out how to do a slide show. In the mean time; enjoy this one. We are bursting at the seams. I was just telling one of our friends how this whole experience makes you feel so bipolar; with its high peaks and its low valleys. Well, boy are we on a tall peak today!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Well, unbelievably the judge said that our file was incomplete. Have you ever seen a great white shark while it bites into its pray? Have you noticed how their eyes roll back with their fury? Just think of me like the shark. I am beside myself. This had happened before and when Gladney went to MOWA it seemed that it all was straightened out. Well, it was not, and part of me just wants to go there myself and check that our file is perfect. Any way, we are rescheduled for April 10th.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I'm about to breech a topic that I have been avoiding for quite some time now. I don't know how people are going to take this, but I need to, once and for all, get this off my chest. Over the past year I have read my fair share of blog entries, and I must say that I find the phrase "love on..." extremely jarring. I am open to every one's beliefs, reasoning for adoption, plans a, b, c, political views and so on, but I cannot understand the need to use the phrase "love on..." What is so difficult about saying something to the effect of "please give my babe all the love I send to them," or "I cant wait to cuddle with our baby," why "love on...?" I did not learn formal English until my family moved to Southern California, so it could just be me, and I thought that for some time now, but I have a few friends whom I've sucked into this blog reading business, and they find it just as awkward. Obviously there aren't very many of you out there that agree with me, because otherwise, you would not be perpetuating this semantic oddity.
PS You must know how much refrain I have shown!
PPS When you've been postponed for as long as we have and for the inane reasons we have experienced you too will focus on the silliest things.

Tune in tomorrow.

Well, the judge decided to take the day off today. The cases scheduled to be heard today will be heard tomorrow. We're sad..

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thank you all!

Almost very year Fernando, Marina and I, have the opportunity to stroll up and down this beautiful avenue in Barcelona. It is called Paseo de Gracia. The trees are still there, and although, sadly, the fashion has changed there are still tons of people that walk up and down along with us. The architecture is amazing and the conversations you overhear are in every language imaginable. I didn't intend to write about this as you can tell by the title of this post, but as I was searching for a photo to post on this entry, I started making connections with the words thank you, gracias, gracia, etc.
Any way, I just want to thank every one who is sending us all of your wonderful thoughts and positive vibes. We really do appreciate it. We are on pins and needles, and can't wait to stroll up and down el Paseo de Gracia with our two beautiful babe, Celeste Fenit.
This wait is just so difficult!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's been a long time

So I received a call from Mary T. today. As I understand it, MOWA is supposed to send an opinion to the courts before cases are heard by the judges. MOWA's opinion was that our file was "incomplete." After much work by our Gladney in-country staff it seems that there was some sort of misfiling of records and so once that was cleared a new court date was petitioned for the next couple of days. The courts declined the petition to expedite our case, so our new court date is set for the 26th of this month. On another and more positive note, our little one's mother was able to relinquish our babe today. The courts accepted her decision, which means that things should go smoother for her case to be accepted and approved.
I am very frustrated, but I feel very confident that we have the most competent people working and doing everything in their power to bring our girl home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Court Date

Our new court date is set for March 19th, 2008. If it all goes well, we could be traveling by April 5th, 2008. Interestingly enough (and I hope I'm not jinxing myself) that is the week of my spring break! If the stars align properly I will not be using any of my sick leave during travel, which will leave me with more than enough days with Fenit to finish the school year and get me through until summer. Please keep us in mind and send us your good thoughts on March 19th.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gladney is amazing!

I have never said anything about Fenit's life or how she came to live in the Gladney home because this is a deeply personal story, but after Mary's call today, Fenit's story has changed. Originally the authorities did not know how to locate her mother. This week, Gladney found her! I am truly happy and thankful for this. If Fenit's mother will agree to meet with us I only want to ask one thing: "what would you like me to tell Fenit about you, your life and her?" Mary said that she will call us again on Tuesday to let us know for when our next court date is scheduled. So again; we wait.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


At 9:15 this morning I received a call from "unknown" aka Mary T. She was very kind to call me early and not let me suffer all day. She basically said that the court heard our case, but they needed more information about the whereabouts of our babe's mother. So Gladney hit the pavement and is doing everything in their power to supply the information necessary to get things moving again. Mary said that she will be calling us again on Friday, February 22 to let us know if and for when our next court date is scheduled. For now, we continue to wait.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tagged again!

So, I'm one of those people who typically rebels against anything chain; as in chain letters, chain e-mails, chain forwards or anything that requires more energy in the little spare time that I have. However, it seems that Carey is hell-bent on having me share a little more about myself.

So here are my lists for the crazy 8's:

8 things I’m passionate about:
1. family
2. Google
3. environment
4. traveling
5. cooking
6. laughing
7. education
8. reading

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. bring Celeste Fenit home
2. enjoy exercising
3. win a spelling bee (ha, ha, ha)
4. retire in the coast of Spain
5. change legislation (any legislation)
6. get rid of our television
7. become a voice over artist
8. have my parents move in with us

8 songs I never tire of listening to
1. I will survive (Gloria Gaynor)
2. Hey Jude (The Beatles)
3. Amante Bandido (Miguel Bosé)
4. Limón y Sal (Julieta Venegas)
5. Manu Chao
6. Antonio Flores
7. My father signing flamenco
8. Edith Piaf

8 things that attract me to my friends
1. Good looks (hee, hee, hee)
2. Intelligence
3. Honesty
4. Funny
5. Willing to be total dorks
6. Obsessive Compulsive (about anything)
7. Self awareness
8. Independent

8 things I learned in 2007:
1. Patience, patience, patience
2. The world will may not come to a screeching halt – and I may not I lose friends – if my house is messy, but although all who see our mess will say its ok, they will talk about it among themselves.
3. "it's only one disposable diaper." is the biggest lie. The first disposable diaper is still in existence today.
4. Adoption is an environmentally friendlier option of increasing family.
5. It isn't what happens to you, it is how you choose to react to those challenges.
6. While traveling on leisure, leave electronic devices behind.
7. Work can and will go on without you; really, it can and will!
8. The truth cannot be held against you

8 things I say often:
1. You know, in California, kindergarten is not a required grade
2. Ugly words I cannot write here
3. Dorkasaurious rex
4. te adoro
5. fantastic
7. que?
8. when do you want to schedule that?

8 TV shows I recently watched:
1. Boston Legal
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. Mystery Diagnosis
4. New Adventures of Old Christine
5. Late show with David Letterman
6. Anything animal planet
7. Anything Discovery
8. Anything documentary
And for an added bonus round…
8 new parenting tips I’ve discovered for myself
1. water evaporates, so don't get upset if it spills
2. our children are the MOST important thing
3. our only job as parents is to keep our children safe (this applies to anything)
4. 2 choices are more than enough
5. our children don't get a choice about EVERYTHING
6. bring our children to sleep with us, because when they get older they won't want to
7. get caught boasting about them
8. tell them you may not like their actions but you love them no mater what

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Court date; Check!

A pot-luck was scheduled today in my office. I remembered to bring my enchiladas, tablecloth, sponge to wash the dishes and a serving spoon. I forgot my laptop and I almost forgot my mobile phone. As I went back to get my cell phone I thought to my self; "really it doesn't matter if I forget the phone because no one will call me today." I stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it. While I was in my office using the "common" computer, little celestial chimes sounded off in my red coat pocket. I pulled out the phone without much thought, opened it and saw the code word "unknown" on the minuscule screen. I thought "we're one step closer." Then I answered "this is Samantha" just in case it was work related...and it wasn't. Instead I heard Mary T's lovely voice. She said our court date has been set for February 19th. I wanted to get excited but then I came down to earth thinking about the possible delays and what-nots. This process is so high-and-low, up-and-down. I am so happy that we are so close to becoming parents again, frustrated it's not happening sooner, afraid the court session will go awry, and fliustered about getting all our preparations done.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

400+ e-mails

A while back I joined two Yahoo groups about Ethiopian adoptions. Well, since then I forgot all about them and basically got my fill of information through the blog community. After reading Jocelyn's blog about the use of pictures on our blogs I got a little paranoid (if you know me, please don't laugh; I know the use of "little" is quite the understatement since I am already paranoid to begin with). So I decided to check my yahoo groups. Wouldn't you know it I had about 400+ e-mails about all sorts of adoptions things dating back to early summer 2007. I cannot just delete e-mail without at least taking a quick look at the content. I'm finally done, and after all that reading I've decided that we cannot take a chance with posting pictures of our babes before they are actually legally ours. It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that you will have to wait until after we have a successful court date before we show you our little Ethiopian beauty. In the mean time I will be posting pictures of our beautiful little girl who is home with us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We're missing the milestones!

We received an update from Mary T.; "Fenit – Beautiful! Calm and comfortable with so much beauty is powerful. There is so Much of Fenit to appreciate, and apparently muscle lies beneath the plush exterior! From her stomach, Fenit can easily do as many “baby push-ups” as she wants. She rocks back on her knees frequently. She is quite active! In her picture she is saying – “Hi, Mom and Dad. " Current Weight – 18.52 pounds"
I am so grateful for these updates; and yet so mournful that we are missing all the fun little milestones, like almost crawling. We can't wait to have her home!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lovely souls that come through just in time.

Thank you to the Runnions for sending us pictures of our babe. One can never have enough of these!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Waiting again.

I get quite discouraged and unmotivated to write when all there is to say is that we are still waiting. We have been waiting for a court date for 3 weeks now, and it doesn't seem like it is going to happen any time soon. I hope Mary calls me right after I post this; to prove me wrong.
Any way, on Wednesday, Marina had tryouts at 3:30 P.M. for the swim pre-team and ...SHE MADE IT! She was very good in the tryouts, and Fernando said that the coach seemed pleased. So starting in February, she will be training with the team.
That same day I had my appointment to get all my shots. I was inoculated twice in each arm. Wow, my arms were a little sore for a couple of days. My brother, in NY, received his shots the week before and apparently he didn't feel very well afterwords.
Now all we are doing is waiting. I feel sort of lonely just waiting. We don't have a court date and we haven't received new pictures of our babe.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The festive season

Jamie sent me this beautiful picture of our Celeste Fenit. I need her home so badly. I know that this process has it's reasons, but when you are waiting to hold your little love, it is very difficult to have patience. I friend of mine sent me this article to help me put waiting into perspective.
Our family from NY came to visit this Christmas. Marina had so much fun with her cousins that when they left she was devastated. That night, in bed, she buried her face in her pillow and said "I'm in the depths of despair." Can you tell we've been reading the Anne of Green Gables series? It's funny, because sometimes I feel like she's not listening while I'm reading and then she comes out with something totally appropriate, from the books, to state her feelings.
It occurred to me that I have not posted any details about Celeste. Here are a few facts that might be interesting to my one reader: Celeste's birthday was stated as July 4th, 2007 (she'll get fireworks every year on her birthday). She weighs almost 18lb.! She is 25" long. And she has a big sister that can't wait to get cozy lozy with her.
Lastly, my congratulations to all those families out there that are getting their children, got a court date and/or had a successful day at court. We hope to be within your ranks soon!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Taken the same day

This is one of the pictures that Mary sent me the day she called me about our little babe. This is the first time we have posted it. Now if you have already received The Call you know how confusing it all gets and how frantic the following days become. Any way, we have not scrutinized all the pictures, so we are still becoming familiar with our babe and her surroundings. The next day, after we posted her picture, Carey said that Marina's comment about Celeste's eyebrows caught her attention. So she looked through her thousands of Ethiopia pictures and found the following 2 pictures:

Can you believe it? When Carey sent me the pictures, she wrote "is this her?" I merely responded that I thought so, and that if she thought so too then it must be Celeste. Well, today I was arranging the pictures in my computer and lo and behold I discovered that Carey's pictures were taken the same day, and probably at the same time, than the picture we received from Mary. That means it definitely IS Celeste and that Carey can tell me a little about what the woman in the picture is like.

I keep trying to send Celeste Fenit the telepathic message "don't worry, Love, we're on our way."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I don't comprehend anything you're saying

I figured some of you might be interested on "the call." I will work up to the moment I received The Call from Mary T. For about 2 weeks; every time I went into a meeting I would announce: "I'm sorry, but if my mobile phone rings I'm going to have to step out to get the call." I was so certain that The Call would happen right in the middle of a meeting...silly me. Any way, all day yesterday, whenever the phone would ring I would yell in my office "this could be The Call." And it wasn't, it was any number of people that I usually like talking to, but yesterday I was only disappointed when I would see their name pop-up in the minuscule screen. Then, while I was quite immersed in writing the phone rang again and I said in a very mocking voice: "this could be it..." and IT WAS! the screen said UNKNOWN (that's code for Gladney). I fumbled with the buttons which, suddenly were much smaller than ever and answered "this is Samantha" (just in case it wasn't Mary). An Mary said: "hi Samantha, this is Mary." Then, there was some odd silent awkwardness and I said "Mary, is this The Call?" And she said "yes, and she's beautiful..wah, wah, wah, wah, wah." In the mean time, my colleague (Karen B) got a phone call at the same time, so she was loosing her mind trying to get off the phone so she could come see the pictures. And then her OTHER line starts ringing. So, I have Mary on the phone, my baby's pictures on my screen, friends behind me looking at the pictures and commenting to each other, dear Karen trying to get off the phone and her other line blurping every 2-3 seconds. Time slowed down, every other sound, except Mary's voice was very clear, and Mary just sounded like an adult in the Peanut's Gallery. I had to tell her I wasn't understanding anything she was saying. Lovely as she is, Mary was patient and repeated herself several times without loosing her sweet and excited demeanor. Then I called Fernando and told him all about it. He waited until I arrived home so we could share it with Marina (whom, by the way, said she loved Celeste's eyebrows).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My water broke!!!

...after 16 weeks and 6 days, here is Celeste Fenit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I can only hope

Remember the feeling you got when Samantha finally got her wish, and celebrated her 16th birthday with dreamy Jake. Well, I want to be able to celebrate the 16 week anniversary of our wait! I am crawling out of my skin. I am usually so in control. And really, that IS the problem. I feel like my life is on hold. Completely at the mercy of others whom are sooooo far away. I'm not saying that they do not care, because indeed they do care and quite deeply, in fact. It is just that I want to move on, I want to go forward, I want to proceed, I need to know and feel that things are happening. The thing is that while you are preparing your paperwork, somehow it seems that you have control over the situation. I am aware that "things" are happening, but what those things are, I have not clue. I am desperate, and nothing I do keeps my mind off of Celeste. I need to, at the very least, see her little face. I need to know she is out there, because right now she doesn't seem quite real. For those of you that have a biological child, this feels, kind of like when you are first pregnant but, have not heard the heart beat, or seen an ultrasound, or felt a flutter, or see your belly get larger, or your breasts nothing is different!
I also feel quite pathetic. I actually called Mary T. today to tell her I needed reassurance and some sort of information. I dropped the charade of calling her with any lame excuse, I cannot pretend anymore. I have lost all patience and need to be brought back to center!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another question for Mary

So as you can see I've taken to update you all once a week. I do this on Wednesdays because we began waiting on a Wednesday, and it just seems appropriate to write on the weekly anniversary of our wait.
Lately, I've been trying very hard not to read blogs that pertain to Ethiopian adoptions because it only makes the wait more difficult for me. So I don't really know what's going on our there with the rest of the waiting community. I figure they are having as much difficulty as I am. Are you guys finding any excuse to call Mary? Or, are you all so patient that you don't even bother? Do you go into work meetings and forewarn everyone that, if your mobile phone should ring to please excuse you in advance because, you're going to HAVE to take the call? Do people ask you if you have heard anything every time they see you?
Anyway, today I called Mary to ask her what Celeste's immigration status would be. At one point I had asked her if her paperwork could be worked out from the very beginning to say her full name as we have chosen it. She asked the appropriate people in Ethiopia and, no. Her passport will say the first name we have chosen and Fernando's first and last names. We can change it later when we re-adopt. So my question stemmed from the confusion of the passport. I wasn't sure if she was getting a United States passport right off the bat. Well, it turn out she will have an Ethiopian passport and will come in with a green card. When we readopt, she will then have a California birth certificate and a Unites States passport. All that just to find out there's no other news she could give me!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I have completely lost touch with child care. Since Marina was about 2 years old, she has attended "school." Obviously it was preschool first, and now first grade, but really there was no issues with child care, because any educational establishment that wishes to remain competitive will offer very reasonable hours that blend well with a working family. I also think that we are much more demanding now. These days I'm griping about maternity leave (or lack there of), cost of nannies, not having room for an au pair, etc. I'm very stressed! I make a weekly call to our local community college (I'm now enrolled in a gym class) that boasts of a terrific child care center-students get priority of enrollment. Every Wednesday, when I call, the same woman answers. She has a beautiful accent; I think she might be from Lebanon. Anyway, she know my voice as much as I know hers and she tries so diligently to be patient with me, but I can tell it is quite a strain for her. She says: "I know, you're calling to check on the status of your application. As I told you before, only two or three babies get in per term, it is very difficult to get in. Wait for our call, we should be calling in about 2 weeks." It is worth noting that it is always in 2 weeks. I keep calling, I can't wait for their call. I'm waiting on a much more important call to bother with not calling them.
Fernando and I have been watching the video training sessions offered through Gladney. Some are good, others not so much. I finally got to see what Mary T. looks like (she's on the first Ethiopia session). She is not what I a good way!
So I took the opportunity to call Mary about a few little questions and I'm sure she knows it was also a "hey, we're still here, remember us, the ones who have been waiting for 14 weeks as of today." She is so wonderfully patient. I know she gets these calls so often, we must be quite the topics of conversation in her home: "sweetie, guess who called again today? That's right Samantha, you know the one married to Fernando, the ones who already have a little girl. Her excuse to call me was so pathetic this time. Poor them, but they'll get their baby soon. They don't know it yet, but the little girl that they are matched up with is a real little gem." At any rate, she was great. She answered all my questions. I never understood why people had to wait so long from the time they had a favorable court date to the time they traveled. Mary said that it takes time to process the baby's passport and immigration paperwork. One can travel before, but then you would be in-country for about a month!
Well, I'm off to finish some work , life goes on, even in these desperate times. I almost forgot, we've been taking out Marina's baby clothes and can't wait to see Celeste wearing them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What have we been up to since September

Marina began first grade. She attends a Waldorf School in Southern California. This particular school has a required parent involvement of at least 50 hours a year. Needless to say, the hours that each parent ends up putting is much greater than that. The school year begins with setting up the classroom to help the new teacher. The first big event is the Hoe Down. I know, I know, it sounds so dreadfully hokey, but it relay is fun. It helps build community with new parents and and find your way to old friends. There is a cake walk and a good old fashion dance. I like making cakes, but not getting them. The first grade along with another grade are in charge of the September "look-in." This is when parents of 4 year-olds come to observe and decide if they like what they see before thy commit to completing an application for entrance. (I make about 50 sambosas in honor of Celeste.) Then we have back to school night. Every grade has a class meeting and the curriculum is discussed (along with a myriad of mind numbing minutia that makes me want to pull the skin right off of my bones).

October seemed like it had promise of being an easy month of rest when suddenly BAM! Marina and I drove to Tucson to my cousin's wedding (Marina was one of three flower girls). I got 2 tickets on my way home; one for speeding-totally legitimate, and the other because Marina turn around to look at a police car and he said she was not properly strapped into her booster...she weighs more than some current media icons at her healthy 50lb! The seat belt just slipped off her shoulder when she turned!!! hasn't that happened to us all? don't some of us put the shoulder strap under our arm because it cuts into our neck?!?! Anyway, that is also the day I was supposed to go to Carrie's baby shower...I missed the festivities. The following weekend I had to go to Utah for work. I was in a town with a population of 178, alone and very far from cell phone reception. Then we had Halloween and all its magic and mystery (which takes a lot of grown up preparation and work.)

Now we are in November. Let's see, this month I have worked on making dolls and their clothes. Lots and lots of dolls! The Elve's Fair (the biggest fund raiser for Marina's school was on the 17th. I also made little trinkets, items for a special children's shopping room and baked a cake for the Fair's bake sale. I helped set up and clean up. After all that work and all that stress I came down ill on the 18th. I am sounding sicker today, but I am feeling better. Thankfully we don't work tomorrow and I can make the stuffing for Thursday. We're going to my mother's house for Thanksgiving.

As far as Celeste is concerned, all I can tell you is that we have been waiting. I spoke with Mary T. and she gave me the impression that we will not be traveling to get our babe until the new year. So we have to put in the extra training ours required by the Hague. We just went ahead and ordered all the on demand streaming, and started our training last night. We hope to have it all completed by the end of this weekend. That way, the only thing left to do will be to buy our tickets and fly to Addis Ababa.

One last note; I work for a public school district. Needless to say that the majority of people employed by this industry are women. According to our HR department I have no right to get maternity leave...NONE! I have to take my sick days which I have been accruing since I started working there. I will only be able to have those sick days to be with Celeste before I have to rejoin the work force. As it was explained to me (in so many words); maternity leave is driven by the health of the mother and her need to recuperate from child birth, not the need for the baby to bond.

On that note I leave you to be with Marina who has been waiting patiently to hear me read Anne of Avonlea before bed time.

Long absence

For those who check in here and have been frustrated with my absence, I will say this: there's nothing to report except still waiting. Waiting is hard, and I figured that if I was going to wait so was everyone else. This evening however, I will be posting all of the things that have occupied my time since last I posted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting closer

Just like the rest of the of the adoption blogging reading/writing population, I spend my share of time looking for clues that give away the approximate date on which we will receive our referral. My motives fluctuate from practical, to irrational, to obsessive control freak, but what remains the same is the incisive need to know. When I was pregnant with Marina I was told that the due date was merely a guesstimate, and that she should be born earlier or later, and that it was more likely going to be later. It was 7 days later, but I didn't mind so much because for one, I knew that she was safe inside my womb, and secondly, I wasn't quite ready to give up my sleep, freedom, and lack of responsibility yet. In fact, a couple of days after my due date, I was in a very small fender-bender and the doctor on duty asked me if it was "okay to just induce labor since you are overdue anyway." I just about had a panic attack and told her I wasn't anywhere ready to have a baby. Five days later I was ready and she was born.

Today I am ready, and I don't really think you give up anything but juvenile selfishness when you have a baby. I know Celeste will present new challenging opportunities for our family, but I also know those go hand in hand with the many more joyful and fantastic journeys. What I don't know is when those adventures will begin. I am filled with anticipation, and hence I do all in my power to figure out when Celeste will be home.

According to my calculations, it is taking about 12-13 weeks to receive an infant girl referral. Now, I've asked Mary and she stated that all awaiting families are put in order of when their paperwork was completed. However that doesn't really mean that families receive their referrals in the same order. Oftentimes, children will be assigned to a family but all the medical assessments and eligibility has to be checked before that family receives word. Sometimes a family will receive a referral before another that was before them, because their baby's paperwork comes through quicker, not because they were paired up sooner. 140 Gladney families are currently in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. That doesn't mean that they are all in the waiting stage, only that they are somewhere in the process.

Some time ago when the Bottomlys received their referral, I said that I felt like they were leaving the gym and we were barely getting to it. Well, we are finally in the showers about to leave our emotional gym and join the Bottomlys and all the others in the everyday life with new family members.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


All we do is wait, and it seems that everyone else is also waiting. This entire process is about waiting. There are so many moments of just waiting. Fernando and I have been lucky, I guess, because we didn't have to wait to have children. Marina came into our lives just as we planned, so our wait is very different. But now Marina has been waiting to be a big sister for quite some time. In adoption, from the very beginning one has to wait to get the applications, then for the paperwork to arrive from everywhere. Then we wait to notarize it. We wait for appointments and finally there is THE WAIT! It is all consuming , I didn't think I was going to be quite so absorbed by it, but it seems that I spend every minute of down time thinking about Celeste. Hence I busy myself with myriad of other projects. At work, I am more consumed than ever to get things done quickly, partially because I can't stand the down time and partially because I feel responsible for getting all my reports done before I take time off with Celeste. When I think of her, I imagine us waking up early and walking Marina to school. Coming home and playing and cuddling and having a good-0ld-time. I don't imagine us waiting for absolutely anything. And eventually I'll get around to teach her to "wait her turn..." but that's still a long wait away.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Keeping all the balls or axes in the air

Just when I think I am going to be good and keep everything I have committed to up to date and running, I realize that I've dropped the ball again. In this case it is this lovely little vehicle for expression and communication.
On Saturday I went to 2 adoption classes offered by Heartsent. Fernando couldn't make it because he is teaching a class 70 miles away from home. So off I went on my own. Heartsent does not have an Ethiopia program, but since they did our home study, they also provide the 10 hours of classes required before we can go get Celeste.
Oh! I forgot to mention that we have settled on naming our baby Celeste. I came up with so very many different names and Fernando would only say "if that's what you like." I almost gave up! But then I said "what about Celeste" and he lit up, so there was no more discussions about it. Marina was set on Lola, but I think she's come around now. Plus I think it makes a good pair with Marina; one is from the sea and the other from the heavens. (I don't think Karen reads this, but if you are reading, I'm sorry for the long tangent!)
Back to the classes; in the first class we discussed the topic of bringing a sibling home. Although I thought that the class was good overall, I am often surprised that the human race has overcome so much, and that people of older generations are so well adjusted. To hear what worries people, and how we are encouraged to over analyze every move we make that might have the slightest impact on our kids, it's a wonder that more children don't grow up to be traumatized for life because they have siblings. The way people talk, you would think that only children who didn't have siblings were well adjusted. When I was growing up I wasn't asked my opinion on matters that were of consequence to the entire family. My parents decided everything; what we wore, what we ate, where we went, where we lived , EVERYTHING. I, by no means suggest that I am the most well balanced person, but I am certainly well adjusted and I am quite adept at handling change. Children are resilient and the fact that we decide to have more than one child should be considered more of a gift than something to ask forgiveness over. My siblings and I were not the best of friends growing up; my sister needed me to stay as far away from her and her friends as possible, and my brother and I fought like cats and dogs. Today, I don't know what I would do without them. They are a part of me; their triumphs and defeats affect me deeply. I have been shaped by them. I have learned patience, sharing, kindness, tenderness, love, forgiveness and endurance through my relationship with my siblings. We have been each other's bitter rivals and most vocal supporters. I thank my parents every day for the wonderful gift of siblings.
Wow, that was a mouth full, more on the second class tomorrow. I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Getting Personal

So some of my friends have categorized me as a blogging bore. They say that my paranoid obsession with not revealing anything about my self is freakish. Although they like the pictures I post, they want more personal pictures, so here it is; my first attempt at personal blogging.

While Marina and I were in Barcelona and Fernando was teaching, my father continued the paper odyssey. He nearly finished it and when we arrived, all I had to do was send the rest of our dossier to Gladney.

The following are some of our Barcelona adventures.

This was our first official meal, and it was absolutely amazing. Luli prepared it, and every one enjoyed it. I know what you are going to say, these are not personal pictures, but they are. And plus I don't know if the people in my pictures want themselves in the pictures.

Here is a picture of the products in La Boqueria in Barcelona. Just look at those mushrooms; a gnome could live in each one!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's been a long time

Well, it has taken me a long time, but I think we are almost back in the swing of things.
We were in Barcelona for about 5 weeks; enjoying the Mediterranean Sea, the food, family and friends, and our time of idle nothingness.
Upon our return, we finished the last bit of our dossier and sent it to Mary. She has since received it and sent it on to get the last stage of authentication. We are officially a waiting family!!! I am going to try not to think about this, because otherwise I will go crazy. I will say that I will be using my time wisely in the following to do list:
1)rearrange the garage
2)rearrange the kid's room
3)clean out Marina's closet and look through her baby clothes
4)look for a stroller
I'm sure I will be adding to this list, but for now I will concentrate on these 4 items.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We're back!

After a long month and a half, we're back home. As always, Barcelona was wonderful. Marina had a great time with her yayos (grandparents) and her aunt and uncle. We swam in the Mediterranean and strolled the little streets full of shoppes. We were able to go to Colliure in France and to other beautiful little places. We had a great time. While we were out of town, my father continued the adoption marathon. It is with great delight that I let everyone know that our last bit of paperwork will be going out this week. All I have left to do is scan and fed ex them to Mary. We will finally become a "waiting family." Oh! We decided on a name.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Out of town

Marina and I are taking some well deserved vacation time. I am sorry if we don´t update the blog, but really, there is not much to say except that my fabulous father is taking care of some authentication issues for us and, if the paperwork returns soon, he´ll forward it all to Mary. Other than that, we are just waiting, and waiting and waiting some more. We miss Fernando, and that consumes us more than the waiting. By the way, the computer I am using for these updates does not cooperate with me in the least!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


We were excited to see that our FedEx from the NY Secretary of State. When it arrived we were quite sad to see that we had done the authenticating wrong. We should have send our letter of recommendation to King´s County Cleark´s office and have them forward it to the Secretary of State office in NY. So now we are left with having to re-do the NY paperwork. Any way, no harm done, one learns something new everyday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Drum roll please! Yes, we are done with the paper chase. I talked to Heartsent last week because I was getting nervous about our CIS letter, so they gave me a number to call to check on our letter. The CIS lady called me back yesterday and let me know I could go pick our letter up today.
Well, today I went to CIS (in downtown L.A.), picked up our approval letter, then met Fernando and Marina at the AAA office , then Fernando and Marina went to the book store while I went to Norwalk (L.A. county clerk's office; which inexplicably is not located in downtown L.A.) to authenticate, then back to downtown to the Secretary of State's office to further authenticate, and then finally home. I am so tired, but so extremely relieved! Now we just have to wait for our documents; which we sent out to get authenticated in NY and in Sacramento, so that we can FedEx them to Gladney. They will then add their portion to the pile and send the entire dossier on to DC for final authentication, and that is when we are finally considered a "waiting family."

Friday, July 6, 2007

Every little grain of sand gets us closer to Ethiopia

At 10am today there was a loud knock at our door. It was the FedEx man. He handed me a large thin envelope and had me sign. I quickly ripped it open and looked inside...can you guess what it was? Is the anticipation killing you yet? MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE ARRIVED safe and sound; all thanks to my wonderful cousin Pedri.
Well, I lost no time and marched myself straight to the notary and then to FedEx to send it along with other documents to be authenticated. On my way home I received a call from Maggie at Heartsent letting me know that she spoke with the CIS office and our letter should be arriving by early next week! That letter is the last of our documents that make up our dossier.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


We accomplished quite some today. All three of us went to AAA and, because we have been there so much, and we go to the same lovely person so much, he now knows us very well, and gets us in and out of there is a jiff. We notarized Fernando's passport copy, our financial statement, our limited power of attorney, and Fernando's birth certificate. We also FedExed one of our letters of recommendation to get authenticated in NY. Things are getting finalized quite quickly now!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Just got back!

Well, Marina and I just returned from our tour of the bureaucratic offices of the Los Angeles area. We first went to the Norwalk County Clerk's office. They authenticated 14 papers, charged us a pretty penny, and gave us directions to the down town Los Angeles office of the Secretary of State. We parked (for 16 dollars) in front of 300 N Spring instead of in front of 300 S Spring so we had to walk a long way. Marina was amazing with the walking! When we got there and told them we had 15 documents to authenticate, they were about to turn me away. I must have looked like a lunatic because they immediately said "well OK, but next time, if you bring so much, come earlier." What a relief, I thought I was going to lose it. Well they charged me a prettier penny than the County Clerk's office, but at least a great portion of the documents are basically ready to be sent to the Federal Authentication process...where they will charge us the prettiest penny ever!

Days off

Today is my first official day of vacation. At the end of last week I spoke with a woman in the civil registry in Mexico City and she said that she would take care of my birth certificate issue. She suggested I ask one of my cousins to pick up the documents so they can overnight them to me. So I called Pedri and he agreed to the task. Hurray for Pedri! On another note we have yet to receive our 1-171H from CIS. Although we do not have all our documents ready I will be going to the county clerk's office today to get the first step of authentication done. If I have time I'll also go to the Secretary of State's office.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Yesterday I spent a very long time scanning about 40 dossier documents. It took so long, and the scanner was so slow. Now I only have a few left to scan, and I will do that as they come in. My summer break begins on Monday, so I will be able to dedicate much more time to the paper gathering. I will call Mexico to see if my birth certificate has been processed...we can only hope, and get the bulk of our documents to the county clerk's office and to the secretary of state. We also have to figure out the NY and TX authentication process. I have come to terms with the fact that our dossier will not make it to Ethiopia before July first, now I'm only hoping that I can send it off to Mary before we leave on vacation. (by the way, I just spelled checked and was surprised to find that "no misspellings found.")

Monday, June 25, 2007


I've been meaning to write, but it seems we are at a bit of a stand still. We are waiting for things to come to us, and we can't move forward until they arrive. The only thing we can continue to do is notarize documents that are already in our possession and scan them as we move along. It is excruciating. Because of this slow down, it seems that every time I see someone I haven't seen in some time, and they ask me about how it's coming along...I wish they would say "I see you've come along way, your blog is keeping us up to speed." It is so taxing to wait, and we're not even in the official waiting stage; questions make it more difficult. The whole point of our blog is to keep everyone abreast of the process, believe me, if there was more to tell I'd tell it. On another note, this past Saturday I met two wonderful women who are also adopting little girls from Ethiopia. I don't know if they would want me to share their names, so I won't. Marina and I headed to Fassica in Culver City. This place is fantastic. Anyway, just as we were getting to know each other, we heard a terrible car crash right outside of the restaurant. My two new mothers-to-be friends ran out and the owner of the restaurant followed right behind them. Marina and I stayed in the restaurant (no need for Marina to be exposed to gore). Soon after one of the moms-to-be ran back asking for a soda, and informed me that one of the people involved was the husband of the owner of Fassica! A little later everyone came back to the restaurant and the owner asked us to PLEASE stay. She would call her niece to care for us, and she would meet her husband (who is diabetic and was taken to the hospital in the ambulance) at the hospital. It took some convincing us, but we stayed. It took time, but we settled and continued to bond over our adoptions. We talked a great deal about all the blogs and laughed about some of what we all share over the internet with perfect strangers. In the end I left feeling like I had just met two beautiful women who I hope will be a part of our lives for years to come. I am also grateful for this crazy mode of communication. This online journaling has opened great doors to new and meaningful individuals whom I would have never known had I'd been using a paper and pencil...thank you to all of you whom have reached out...and to those of you whom read silently.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

...or like her

I took the day off from work today so that I could do some important running around. After I picked up the final draft of our home study I went home to make some lunch for Marina and me. In the mail box I found an envelope from CIS...I got excited, but managed to make lunch before opening it. I was quite disappointed to discover that it was only a letter stating that they needed another proof of my citizenship because my passport (of which they had a copy) expired while they were processing our petition. I now have a new passport, so I'm sending them a new copy via overnight FedEx, because I think that is the last thing they are waiting for before we get approved. There is very little more for us to get done, so we hope we can actually send our dossier off to Mary before our self imposed July 1st deadline. Now I'm off to make copies and look into scanning paperwork.

Friday, June 15, 2007

She could look like her

So much has happened, but I haven't written in because it's going fast. Our FBI paperwork came back yesterday. We had enclosed a return FedEx envelope and tracked it while it returned back to our home. As soon as I got home I asked Fernando if he got the FedEx. He handed me the envelope and I ripped it open quickly. And there they were 2 sealed envelopes. I wanted to open them so badly, but Fernando ...voice of reason... said I should ask Gladney before I did anything "just in case." Also yesterday I talked to Kerry at Heartsent and she said I could pick up our home study whenever we wanted. So today I went to pick it up. They have already sent one to CIS and another to Gladney. When I got home, I read it through and through. there was one minor mistake, but as I have said before, Maggie is fantastic.
We are getting so close I can't believe that we may be in the official waiting stage soon.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fairy gift

After a few e-mails to and from Carey (she's also adopting from Ethiopia) I decided to call Heartsent to ask if, when the home study write up was done, I could walk it into the CIS office. Kerry called me back immediately (as usual) and said that they had already sent it off to CIS and that it had also been e-mailed to Gladney for approval. Wow! that was so unexpected gift. Now, if Tonia approves the home study, we'll get the rest of the Heartsent paperwork for the dossier done. I hope that the rest of the agencies we are dealing with hurry up so that we can get all our paperwork authenticated. Two of our letters of recommendation have been notarized outside our county (one in NY and the other in SF), so we will FedEx them tomorrow to the county clerk and then to the secretary of state in NY and CA. I keep looking at our to-do-list and just trying to cross items, that are in our control, off. 19 days to go before my self imposed deadline.