Sunday, January 31, 2010


Seven years ago today our first son Jack was stillborn when I was 39 weeks pregnant. Around Jack's anniversary every year we not only remember him, being pregnant and the life we imagined having with him, we also remember the love and support we received in the days, months and even years since. We had a horrible thing happen but the wonderful care we received from our doctor and the hospital, the compassion and support from our families and friends and the gifts of rememberance that we received were truly amazing. We received so many cards, some from people we hadn't even met, friends of friends and family who heard about us and wanted to offer their condolenses. Some of the gifts of rememberance that we have around our home and still cherish today include a fountain in our yard from our family, wind chimes on our porch from our friend Kristen, a mothers ring with Jack's birthstone from my sister as well as countless dinners, many of them from my step-dad John. One amazing gift is our magnolia tree from our friends the Loebs and the Uriartes. You see the amazing thing about this magnolia tree is that it blooms only once a year right around Jack's anniversary. If we ever move then I think I will have to dig it out and take it with us. So to everyone who offered us love and support at our worst hour, thank you.

1/31 - I wrote this last week and used a photo that I took of our tree a few years ago because our tree has been slow to bloom this year. This morning we looked out and saw the very first bloom.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ethiopian Cooking Class

This last Sunday I had the opportunity to learn how to cook some delicious Ethiopian dishes. The cooking class was organized by the Bay Area Ethiopian Adoption group that we are members of and hosted by a wonderful woman from Eritrea named Ruth at her beautiful home in El Cerrito. Eritrea shares a border with Ethiopia and the foods are very similar. We made a delicious lamb stew and red lentils and it was served on injera which is a pancake like bread.

Not only was this a great introduction to Ethiopian cooking but I also got to meet several other Ethiopian adoptive parents. It's mostly an online group but they have infrequent get togethers such as this. Some of the families were home with their children and others are still waiting for their referral like us.

I'm not sure how successful I will be at recreating the dishes but I am going to try once I find some red lentils and buy some berbere which is an Ethiopian spice blend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big Cups and Little Cups

Life with Noah is always interesting. Last night after I picked him up from preschool we were driving home listening to the radio. Usually we talk about his day on the way home but I have a sore throat and my voice is almost gone so I was pretty quiet. Then Noah says to me "Momma! Talk to me!" So I asked him what he wanted me to talk about and his response was "big cups and little cups." Um, ok... sure?

The funny thing is that when I asked him who the little cup is for he said for his baby sister. We talk a lot about the adoption with Nick but I didn't know that Noah was paying attention. I just wonder what else he has been picking up from what we talk about...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Right around the time this picture was taken was when we made the decision to pursue adoption. However the original discussion of adoption happened many years before this. In fact both Pete and I talked about our desire to adopt "someday" after we had only been dating for a few months. Two years ago in February 2008 we officially made the decision to pursue adoption. By April we had decided on an agency and we started working on the process to adopt from Vietnam. We were only a few weeks into the process when we were notified by our agency that the Vietnam program may cease their adoptions to the U.S. By September it was confirmed that Vietnam was no longer an option and after considering many other options including U.S. adoption, foster/adopt, and several other countries we decided on Ethiopia.

I won't bore anyone with the paperwork list but let's just say there was a lot! It took us two sets of fingerprints, six referral letters and numerous documents (all of which had to be notarized AND approved by the Secretary of State) to prepare our dossier. We submitter our dossier on April 3, 2009 and were officially put on the waiting list as number 108.

We are currently around number 32 on the list. We don't know when we will receive our referral but we are hoping maybe sometime around April? Receiving our referral means that we are matched with a specific child from an orphanage that our agency works with in Ethiopia that meets the criteria in our homestudy, specifically a baby girl 0-12 months old. Even after we accept the referral we do not travel for several months while the paperwork is finalized. Finally, if all goes well, we will travel to pick up our daughter. Ideally that would be about three months after the referral but we've seen some families have delays of six months and longer.

So, that's it in a nutshell. For now we are just waiting... sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Welcome to the Houston family blog! Nobody is probably more surprised that me to see a Houston family blog given the number of times I have started a journal only to find it years later with three entries in it before it was forgotten. However I want to give blogging a try for a very specific purpose which is to chronicle our adoption journey. I hope that this will help us to connect with other adoptive families and also at some point to create a type of journal for our daughter to see the journey we took to bring her into our family. Plus the beginning of 2010 seems like a good time to start a blog as we are hopeful that this is the year that we will receive our referral and travel to Ethiopia to pick up our daughter.