Category Archives: adoption

because you gotta have friends.

In 2010, I only followed three blogs* that were dedicated to project 365.  My real life friends at The Journey of A Thousand MilesThe Journey to Caleigh, and another adoption mama that I someday hope to meet at Love is Spoken Here.

I’m not sure if they are going to repeat the process again in 2011, but they better not stop posting all together!

Despite my epic FAIL last year I plan to give it a go, and I am thrilled to know that I’m not alone. In the spirit of accountability I am going to post a little list of the crazy folks below. Feel free to add yourself in the comments if you aren’t in my list. Once I know who is with me I’ll add a tab to the homepage.

Julie at And B Makes Three, who has a dude from VN and makes me want to plan a Disney trip

Diana at Mama in Pajamas, who owes me both a visit to AR and a margarita. Just sayin’.

Leigh at Leigh’s 365, who skated in under the wire with five minutes to spare on day one.

Kim at Life as a Family of Three, who has been on the adoption roller coaster too long and deserves a vacation

And You, at Your Blog. Right? Right? De-lurk people. Mama needs a list of reading material.

*I think I may have stepped on some toes. Ya’ll I’m a blog addict. My feed reader has 157 active feeds, and that is after I edited out over 100 that haven’t posted in over a year. I read WAY more than 3 blogs last year. I was just stating that only 3 were actively doing a daily post. Rest assured, if you are on the blogroll I still follow your rants. If you aren’t, by all means drop me a comment and I’ll make sure you are on the radar.



Filed under a word from jess, adoption, nablopomo, project 365, vietnam adoption

because you have a brain.

You have a brain, and your brain works!!

It is with that mantra that class begins each morning in Beckett’s room. He, along with 12 or so peers, start their day with an amazing affirmation of their abilities and potential. Imagine a dozen 4-5 year olds enthusiastically calling that out at the top of their lungs and you start to get the idea. Now imagine that the majority of these kiddos are facing significant physical, verbal, and developmental challenges and you will understand why such a phrase is so powerful.

If your brain tells you to do something crazy, what are you gonna do?

Stop. Think. Make good choices.

Why? Because YOU have a brain, and YOUR BRAIN WORKS!

Bex isn’t much of a talker, but he can remind me to “make good choices” and sometimes tells me that I should “Stop. Think. You have brain”… proof that he has taken the daily mantra to heart.

After just six months at The Allen School, Bex gained about 90% use of an arm/hand that his neurologist said would never work. Never.

After just weeks of intensive speech therapies tailored to his specific needs, he started to use intelligible words. After about 6 months he started to use full sentences. Though the speech disorder is still very much an issue, the progress he has made is staggering.

Needless to say, I love The Allen School.  The therapies they provide are great, but the environment in which they are provided is even better. As a result of the work that they do, my child is going to move forward in the world without thinking that wheel chairs are bad. He won’t think twice if a friend doesn’t talk, or if they have leg braces, or if they have a limb that just won’t cooperate. He is learning that everybody has challenges. Everbody. Best of all, he is able to achieve things in spite of what the rest of the world sees as his disabilities.

Because he has a brain, and his brain works.

Please, help me help The Allen School by making a donation of any amount on the FirstGiving site. It is safe, secure, & should be tax deductible.

Every dollar makes a difference.

Thank you!

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Filed under a word from jess, adoption, giving, special needs, The Allen School

and then we were three.

Referral Day! December 2006.

12ish December 2007.

11ish December 2008.

11ish December 2009.

11ish December 2010.

Happy referral-versary Beckett Long!

It was four years ago today that we first heard his name. The next day we would see a picture of his face.  Six and a half months later we would actually meet.  If you want to take a nostalgia trip, click on the past year pics above, or the links below.

The referral. In Vietnam. Meeting the man. Homecoming. Referralversaries.

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Filed under a word from jess, adoption, parenting, vietnam adoption

one, two, three, four…who knew we could love him more?

Four years ago today, our dear friends Rob & Tricia were in Vinh Long, VN meeting their oldest son. Wanting to get a pic of the woman who ran the place, T snapped these pics.  At the time, she didn’t know who the little dude was. She was in Vinh Long around 12/8/06, and we received our referral on 12/11. Crazy, right? She and I would discover him in her photos months later and realize exactly who was perched on that lap. Though they weren’t the first photos I saw, they have a special place in my heart because they were taken by someone I know. Somehow knowing that a real person had stood in the same room with him, shared the air, heard him coo, and then took a photo, well, that made him seem real too.

On 12/11/06 we received our referral info. The next morning we saw our son’s face for the first time.

We were lucky to receive a number of photos as we waited, including this one, taken a month to the day from when we would receive our travel clearance. Bex is posing with another Dillon Mom, to whom I will always be grateful for loving on my babe and taking the time to capture it on film.

The same family took two of our other favorite photos:

Oh… that pic still slays me. B and his main Nanny. Love. LOVE.  I so wish I knew her name. He loved his nannies, and her in particular. As we arrived to take the kiddos to the giving & receiving ceremony, she pulled me aside for  a chat.  She gave me a hug, pinched the back of my arm and said, ” VERY fat. Good life.  Baby same”. It will likely be the only time of my life that someone will say such a thing and not mean it in a disparaging manner. When we left for the G&R she waited until she thought I couldn’t see her and then collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor. Just thinking about it still makes me cry. I am so thankful for the people that cared for my son while he was with them. I know it is a hard job, but I hope they know that their charges have found forever families in  no small part because of the care that they gave.

As fresh as all of those emotions can be, sometimes it is hard to imagine that it has been almost four years since we first heard his name and saw a picture of his face.






Filed under a word from jess, adoption, firsts, parenting, referralversaries, vietnam adoption


Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

One in eight.

A friend has decided to do something about this. In honor of her Ethiopian born daughter, she is collecting donations to drill a well in her daughter’s birth country. A well that will provide 250+ people with clear, drinkable water.

A well that will keep these people from drinking this water.

A well that can make a HUGE impact.

250 people.

250 of our fellow men.

To build that well, she still needs to collect $1900. She has 30 days to accomplish the goal.

That’s where you come in.

Share this post on twitter or facebook via the buttons beneath the post. Get the word out. Shout it out LOUD.

And, if you are so inclined, donate. A little or a lot, every dollar=clean water. Every. Single. Dollar.

Though we take it for granted, easy access to a pure water source is a privilege, but it should be a right.

All donations are tax deductible and will go directly towards funding this well.

And then click here. Become a “Friend of Fanose”.

On the off chance that the well is not fully funded, all donations will go into the general construction fund and will still be used to drill a well, it just might not be in the exact location that my friend had hoped. Want to know more reasons that we should all give money for water? Click here.

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Filed under a word from jess, adoption, ethiopia well, giving, parenting

south korea. there, i said it.

First, HUGE congratulations to our friends on the unexpected soon to be addition to their family. I can’t even imagine how that phone call must have gone! Talk about a surprise!

Next up:

Kiddo 2.0 will be from South Korea. Woo! Now if only we could figure out the rest of the plan. We’d like to go with Dillon, the agency we used for our VN process, but we, ok I, have been a bit drawn to a waiting kiddo that is being placed by another agency. Said agency does things a little differently than the one we are familiar with and if we wanted to move forward with the waiting kiddo we’d have to pay all of the agency fees & in country fees at once, up front. Now THAT is a bit daunting. Sure, basically the same fees would be due with Dillon, but in that case they would be spread out into much more manageable chunks. Ugh.

So, if anybody wants to send a bucket of money I’ll happily post my address. : )

I kid.

Sort of.


I saved that draft last week. In the days since we have decided that though we are open to a great many health issues, the challenges faced by the child in question were outside of our comfort zone. So, after much consideration we have decided to  stick with what we know and begin the adoption process with Dillon. Start to finish will be somewhere between 12-36 months. Naturally I am hoping for the shorter of the time frame possibilities.

South Korea, here we come!

Hold on to your hats people. This may be a bumpy ride.


Filed under a word from jess, adoption

on nepal. a warning.

Last week the US Department of Satate issed a legnthy warning regarding adoptions from Nepal. The opening phrases alone are enough to pretty much put an end to that path for us.

Caution About Pursuing Adoption in Nepal

April 9, 2010

The U.S. Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing adoption in Nepal because of  grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and the accuracy of the information in children’s official files.  The Department also strongly discourages adoption service providers from accepting new applications for adoption from Nepal until reforms are made, and to be vigilant about operating in an ethical manner under the current adoption system.

And there is this:

Although the U.S. Embassy in Nepal has only seen a handful of adoption cases since the new Terms and Conditions went into effect, we share many of the concerns outlined in the Hague report.  As a case in point, in one of the first cases processed by the Government of Nepal after the revision of the Terms and Conditions, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu found that the adopted child was not a true orphan and that the birth parents were actively searching for the child.

And this, which they made a point of putting in bold text:

We encourage parents who have filed an application with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) in Nepal, but have not yet been matched with a child or received an Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, to consider a change of countries.

You can read the entire statement here.

So, about Nepal…

Though we are currently taking a wait and see approach, and have already moved ourselves back a year to the 2011 paperwork submission list, I no longer have warm fuzzies over adoption from this country. Our agency sent some key people to Nepal over the last few weeks and I look forward to hearing their perspective, though, honestly, I doubt it will change my current point of view.


Filed under a word from jess, adoption, parenting