More Pictures

Why this picture? Because it shows Zinabu is capable of independent and creative play. One of my (small) fears was that Zinabu wouldn't know how to play on his own or play creatively. He squashed that fear with his cute little foot right away! He's my kind of kid: plays with sand, digs in rocks, collects sticks, draws with chalk, and on and on. We had a blast watching him put sticks in the sand in his truck.

Bubbles were a big hit today. Of course he insisted on holding the bubble container so it was completely dumped out on his shoes in less than 2 minutes. He loves our backyard and the freedom to play and run and just be a kid. Life at the care center was very structured and there was not much room (or grass) to run around. Zinabu's muscles are actually a little soft from lack of exercise. We'll get him all buff in a couple of months.

A picture of a VERY happy boy eating shiro and injera. Shiro is ground chickpeas, and you add spices and cook it up. I put some chicken in it too, since the word on the street is that Zinabu loves meat (sigh--another meat eater!). When I pulled out the injera for him, he did a happy dance and shouted for joy. I was so glad I could provide a familiar meal for him, given that his entire life has been turned upside down. He has a hearty appetite. You can see him eating as a traditional Ethiopian with his hands. He's very adept at folding his injera up and scooping the shiro up. He can use a fork at mealtimes, but we don't care right now. Eating with his fingers feels "right" so we are happy to let him go at it. What's funny is that I should have taken a picture of Carver and Lily with their jaws touching the floor! They could not believe what Zinabu was eating.

As for me, I am tired but content. Today was a turning point for me, and I was surprised to have it come so quickly. I look at Zinabu and I can tell you that I love him fiercely. I grieve a little bit that Lily and Carver have to share me (sounds weird but it's how it feels)...that going from 2 to 3 kids spreads me thin. Still, I know this is right. He is ours.
It's All About Yellow

Yellow is it! Zinabu loves yellow. Our first full day together was a blast, and today will be another fun one. It's 80 degrees, so I had to convince Zinabu that the yellow sweatshirt was not going to work today. I talked him into a t-shirt with a yellow skateboard on it. I'm going to need to make run to Target at some point for more yellow t-shirts.

Zinabu is doing incredible! He worships Daddy and Carver, although he will make time for Lily and me. He's happy, excited, energetic, and playful. The only "issue" so far is typical orphanage behavior of grabbing toys and not wanting to share. He's almost on Colorado time. He woke up at 3 am again, but he stayed in bed. I snuggled with him, but he stayed quiet and eventually went back to sleep. He's a pretty good eater. He's used to eating everything with his hands, so we're working on using a fork. Funny, though, how he spears huge portions of food and shoves it in his mouth.

I have very few pictures. Zinabu will not hold still...and if I get a photo of him he's usually reaching for the camera and his face looks out of proportion. Also, he's still fighting a runny nose and I don't want to post pictures of his snot. Call me vain, but I'm being firm on this. I will try to get more pictures today and post again tonight.

Playing with chalk...


He's Here!

A quick post to let you know that Zinabu is in Colorado and doing a great job at destroying our house. Typical 3-year-old behavior, so we believe he's developmentally on target! All of David and Zinabu's flights (though long) went well, but Zinabu was so sleep deprived and messed up from the time change, he was too tired to give me anything other than a polite smile when we met. He fell asleep in the car halfway home, and never woke up! We think by tomorrow he'll be on US time. He awoke at 3am this morning and enjoyed a long bath. We played with the bath toys and blew bubbles at each other. I liked that he had some alone time with me.

Zinabu is a very happy child and will play and chat with anyone. The benefit of that is he's joyful and easy going. The downside is I think it will take a few weeks before he grasps that we are his family and not just another care center. All in due time. It also will take me awhile to "feel" like his mom and not just a caregiver. Again, all in due time.

I will TRY to post some pictures tonight. He's a darling, but he has a nasty cold and an unattractive slimy nose. Right now he's not looking his best. Have a wonderful day! We sure will.


How surreal to see the countdown clock on my blog with just hours left. I am surprisingly calm (for me, people, this is a big deal) and I am getting ready to put the kids to bed. The house is clean. The pantry is stocked. The laundry is done. We're ready.

Right now David and Diana and Zinabu are (hopefully) sleeping and are about to land in Rome to refuel. They don't get off the plane--they just keep flying to Washington, D.C. When I wake up in the morning, I'll do a few last minute things--like make dinner so that when we return from Denver all tired and hungry, it will be ready. I plan to leave our house around noon so we can stop at an Ethiopian food market and pick up some fresh injera and some cooking spices. Then we'll zig zag on over to the airport and TRY to stay calm while we wait for this BOY to join our family. When I was at the grocery store today I wanted to tell each and every person in the aisles, "Guess what? My son is coming home tomorrow!!!" I restrained myself, but it was hard.

I thought of something this week that is interesting. As of tomorrow, I will be a minority in my family. There will be three children with brown skin, and two adults with white skin. I don't think I can express how humbled I am by the privilege of raising my children. This family we've created through adoption has blessed me beyond all my wildest dreams. I no longer say, "We're done adopting" because I said that before and look what's happening tomorrow. I don't know if we'll adopt more children. Maybe yes, maybe no. But as our family grows and settles even deeper into the "trans racial" category, I feel that we represent so much hope, so much love, and so much delight.

I will TRY to post some pictures of Zinabu tomorrow night, but no guarantees. Even when he falls asleep, I doubt I will be able to leave his side even for a second. I'll post again when I can. Thanks for all your support.


A Bit Of A Blow (And A Blow-Out!)

I let David know this morning that the school district had called and wanted to get in touch with him. He called the woman who had interviewed him, only to find out he did not get the position. (Gee--do you think having to interview on a pay phone in Rome might have affected it?) We are both a little shocked and David is very discouraged. To make a long story short, he had been planning and working toward this new job for the last 2 years. We firmly believe God must have something else in store for him, we just don't know what. I can tell you he's not going to stay in his current job much longer. Too stressful. He's ready to move on. So we'll see where this goes.

David gave a great update on our little guy. Zinabu is nearly impossible to settle down at night and at nap time, but once he finally lies still, he is asleep in about 20 seconds. He slept through the night and was happy to be with his Dad. Most children in Ethiopia are sharing their intestines with active parasites. I'll spare you the details, but David informed me that Zinabu is definitely fighting some poop bugs. I've already made a doctor's appointment for Zinabu for next Wednesday, and I expect our doctor will prescribe parasite meds right away.

Tomorrow will be the house cleaning festival of the century. I knew I would need something to keep me busy all day Friday, so I've purposely let the house get messy. All will be put back in order by Friday night. I can go to sleep (yeah, right...) and wake up Saturday ready to meet my son at the airport. I can not believe the day is almost here.


We Have A Winner!

For no other reason except that it made me laugh out loud... this week's Cathy Award goes to this photo. Enjoy.

A Voice!

I am one of those freaks that is somewhat anti-cell phone and doesn't feel the need to have one. But I tell you, today I am singing the praises of technology because I just spoke with Zinabu on the phone. David called me (on our $4.99 a minute) international phone, and Zinabu is with him now at the guest house. David has full custody and the boys are together in the room. All through our brief conversation, I could hear Zinabu in the background babbling like a normal 3 year old boy. In fact, he was talking so fast, so loud, and so excitedly David and I were laughing till tears were running down our faces. Such joy! David put the phone up to Zinabu's ear and I said, "Selam, Zinabu! Mommy!" I heard him scream, "MOMMY."

Okay, I am ready for them to come home now.


Signed, Sealed, Delivered--He's Ours!

Yesterday was Embassy Day in Addis. I said in an earlier post I wouldn't sleep well until David made it through the Embassy with our paperwork and we got the stamp of approval. For all my stress and paper-pushing, David said it took 2 minutes for the Embassy employee to look everything over and say these wonderful words...

"Congratulations. He's yours."


Another Update

The following is from an email from David:

"I spent the morning in school with Zinabu. He is such a happy, healthy boy. Diana and I walked to the school where he spends each morning. We found him in a small room, sitting on cushions with 25 other three-year-olds. They were listening and repeating in Amharic. They were going to release him to me, but I asked if I could watch. So Diana and I spent the next hour watching the lesson. They sang three songs that I recognized:

My God Is So Big
God Is So Good
This Is The Day

He knows all the words! He is a quiet talker, unless he is talking to or at one of his friends. We will sing these songs often to him for familiarity. I held him any time he wasn’t in a formal lesson. This was his choice, not mine. He is very possessive of me which I encourage. When I set him down to go to his assigned seat I make sure that I never hold any other kid; even though many are clamoring. I want him to know that I am only here for him. He has told many of his classmates: Ababa! Ababa! (prounounced: Ah buh buh, which means "Dad").

The morning session was all in Amharic, except for the songs listed above. After a snack and recess---I held him the entire time---he had English instruction. He can recognize the entire alphabet with an assigned picture. I know this because he was called to the front of the class to use the big stick to point to each and call it out while the class echoed him. This was repeated many times. The class then colored an O and an orange on a sheet of paper. Our boy was the first to complete the assignment! He colors in the lines and uses his right hand.

He can count to ten and knows many parts of the body. Oh yeah, his ears are ticklish!"


I just got off the phone with David and I hardly know what to write. We had a rushed conversation because it was so expensive for him to call, but he was able to tell me a lot. David and Diana flew in safely, but they were completely unprepared for the overwhelming poverty everywhere. It was a very, very hard ride from the airport to the guest house. As soon as they arrived, they were thrust into meetings. Granted, David and Diana arrived a day late but there was no time for them to catch their breath. Because the day was so busy, David only had about 15 minutes with Zenabu. But I can tell you it was glorious! David arrived at the care center and was taken to the "3 year old" room (that's how he described it). All the children began chanting "Zinabu, Zinabu, Zinabu..." Zinabu was shy for 1.5 seconds, then ran into David's arms, where the boys wrestled and rolled around like puppies for a while. David said he is beyond cute. Just adorable. Thank you, Lord, that this day has finally come!

Oh--did you notice the spelling in Zinabu's name now? We received his birth certificate, and it's officially Zinabu.


A New Feature!

Zenabu's arrival is fast approaching, and in a few weeks all this "As the World Turns" drama will come to a close. I thought it would be fun to start giving the "Cathy Award" to certain people/places/products that make me happy or somehow make my life easier. And when something makes me fume, it/they will receive the "What Were They Thinking?" award. So why not start right now?

This week's "Cathy Award" goes to (drum roll):

Flat Earth chips. We eat the cheddar flavored crisps and I love them. Best of all, my kids love them. These chips actually give you a half serving of fruits or vegetables for every 12 chips. Someone was thinking when they came up with these beauties. Probably a cool parent that was looking for a way to get more veggies into their kids' bloodstream.

Unfortunately, the "What Were They Thinking" Award has to go to one of my fave mags:

This month's edition has an article about infertility and how different families handled it. A few of the families chose to adopt, but imagine my horror when the writer used such medieval terms like, "they knew they couldn't have children of their own" and "she might be their only natural child." Are you kidding me? Of course, it took me 2 seconds to send a letter to the editor to complain. When will we move past these dumb terms? Shame on you, Real Simple.

In other news, I continue to cook as little as possible (how many grilled cheese sandwiches do you think we can eat?) and just enjoy Carver and Lily. I may not post again until I hear from David on Saturday--after he's met Zenabu. Stay tuned.

David called from Rome today. They've been doing as much as they can on foot, and are blown away by the beauty and history of one of the greatest cities in the world. I'm so happy David and his sister are having this experience. Unfortunately, it's going to be interrupted by another job interview. Before David left, the Assoc. Superintendent of our school district assured him they would not do the second round of job interviews until after he got back. David was smart and gave them all his info. anyway, but again and again he was told, "We'll talk to you when you get back." So you can understand my anger when the school district called yesterday morning to tell me to tell David they would complete the second interview on Friday at 3pm Rome time. After getting all the information, I said (insert snide, dripping-with-sarcasm voice) "I'll do my best to get in touch with him." So poor David, who will already be checked out of his hotel and not yet at the airport, will have his HUGE job interview at a payphone somewhere in Rome. I hope this makes for a funny story someday, but right now I'm too bent out of shape.

On another note, I am daring to believe warm weather is really right around the corner and I've changed my blog color to be a little more "spring-y." Colorado still gets snow well into May, but we can also have 90 degree days in May. But I'd like to hope flip-flop/shorts/no-more-coat weather is on its way.


What Happens When?

I thought I'd let you know what David's week is going to look like. I realized I haven't yet posted any kind of timeline/calendar of events for David's time in Ethiopia. Here we go...
Friday the 20th, David and Diana leave Rome very late at night and arrive in Addis on Saturday morning.
Saturday the 21st, David and Diana get settled into our agency's guest house and have a de-briefing with agency staff about Zenabu. This is when they will receive a packet of information all about Zenabu--current medicals, temperment, personality, likes and dislikes, and photos. It helps prepare David. The rest of Saturday, David will be able to be with Zenabu at the care center. I can't WAIT.
Sunday the 22nd. David and Diana are taking a round-trip drive to the area Zenabu lived before he was relinquished. They will have the opportunity to get out of Addis, see the landscape where Zenabu lived, and possibly meet any living birth relatives (should they choose to show up).
Monday the 23rd. Play with Zenabu, shopping, whatever.
Tuesday the 24th. Embassy day. You go to the embassy and submit your paperwork for a visa for your child to enter the US. (I don't think I'll sleep very well until I know this is over and done with and the paperwork is all good). It doesn't take very long, so David and Zenabu and Diana will still have lots of time to do other things.
Wednesday the 25th. This is the day David will probably take full custody of Zenabu, and Zenabu can stay with David at the guest house.
Thursday and Friday, the 26th and 27th. More shopping, sightseeing, playing, napping, a farewell ceremony for Zenabu.
Friday the 27th, they leave Addis VERY LATE at night and fly straight through to Washington D.C. They transfer to Denver, where I will be standing in a puddle of tears, waiting for my son to join our family.
Hope this helps...


Up, Up, and Away...

And they're off! I just got back from the round trip drive to Denver International Airport. Getting up at 4 am just isn't my cup of tea anymore. It's downright frightening. It's raining today, but I think flights are flying in and out all right. It was hard saying good-bye to David. 12 days is a long time to be apart from him--especially during such an important time in our lives. We stayed up talking last night, just marveling at the crossroads we are at as a family. Miraculous!

Packing turned out to be a lot harder than anyone could imagine. You have to pack what you need, pack what you want, and then pack in case all of what you need and want gets lost somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. We also tried to cram last minute toys and donations for the kids at the care center in Addis. If we exceeded the weight limit on our luggage, I guess that's David's problem now.

As I write this, David should be just finishing up the job interview the school district so stupidly scheduled for today. I know he just wanted to get it over and done with so he could look forward to his trip. I'm praying it went well for him, but mostly praying for safe travel and fun in Rome with his sister. Pray for me too! I now enter the realm of "single mom" until David returns. I have such a respect for the women in the world that raise their children on their own. They have the toughest jobs, hands down. At least I know my single status is temporary. Another temporary situation is a mom to 2. In 12 days, I'm a mom to 3--one of which will not speak a lick of English.

Life is amazing.


The Severity of the Situation

This is the man who is getting on a plane in about 14 hours to fly across the world and pick up our son. He is taking our digital camera (with good reason) but I realized I won't have any current photos to post for a while. As I was scrolling through our picture archives, I found this gem. It's from our trip to Disneyland last summer. NOTE: He is not riding with a child. I believe he went "one more time" to try to top his high score. A toast...to fun husbands!


Happy (early) Birthday, Lily

Lily's birthday is May 1. But that's 3 days after David returns home with Zenabu. We didn't want the "big 6" to get lost in the shuffle, so we had a surprise party for the little princess today. Just family, and it was extra special because Aunt Diana flew in last night. I can't believe Lily is almost 6. How did that happen? Here's a picture of her at about 9 months old.

What a sweetie.

We continue to press on here at Adoption Command Central. The paperwork has reached critical mass (as in...there's no more putting it off. I have to get it done). It's not that there's soooo much of it (there's just a lot) but it's that it has to be done exactly right. I feel that given my inability to make good pizza dough from scratch, remember to apply sunscreen all the time, and return my library books before getting fined---the odds are not in my favor that I'll finish this paperwork error free. Prayers, please.


Crunch Time!

Do you remember this scene from Star Wars? They're in the big trash compactor and the walls are closing in on them. Hmmm. I can relate. The walls are definitely closing in on this family. Just 3 days until David leaves, and we've been thrown for a few loops. There is a job that David has been waiting a couple of years for, and the woman currently in the position is retiring. Back in February, the school district posted the job--meaning you could send in an application. So David did. The school district has had 15 weeks to get their act together and start the interviews, but they kept putting it off. Wouldn't you know, David gets a call on Thursday telling him they'll be starting the first round of interviews on Tuesday. As in Tuesday, the day he leaves!

Can he do it? Yes, with a lot of juggling. The interview is scheduled for 8:30 am, so he will have to rent a conference room at Denver Int'l. Airport and do it over the phone. We will probably have to leave our house at 4:00 am on Tuesday to drive the hour+ to the airport, make sure he gets through int'l. security, and he can get to this conference room to use a phone. He doesn't want to use a cell phone for fear of getting cut off or a bad connection. Oh, and it gets better. If he makes it through the first round of interviews (which he will), the next round will be on Friday--when David is already checked out of his hotel in Rome and sitting at the Rome airport. We're trying to figure out the time difference and getting through security in Rome so he can do the interview, but the phone is a kicker. Our international cell phone charges $4.99 a minute, and this second interview will probably be a good 45 minutes. We're looking into phone cards, anything.

So our weekend has been stolen from us. Our last few days together as a family of 4 were pulled out from under us, so to speak. David is a ball of stress, and I am trying to just stay out of his way. This job situation steals the attention we had wanted to give to the trip and to the adoption. The timing could not be worse. David has a lot to prepare for with this interview. And it's not like anyone in HR for the school district cares that he's leaving the country. It doesn't matter if you're having your leg amputated, they schedule the interview, you figure out how to get there.

We are watching the weather closely, too. Another big storm is scheduled for Monday/into Tuesday. I think we have to be completely ready to leave this house--packed and paperwork ready--by Monday morning in case I need to drive David and Diana up to Denver a day early. Big storms here mean they close the highway.

I'll keep you posted.



That's what it is right now. Just plain busy. I hate busy. I really dislike having a to-do list that's a mile long. It freaks me out. David's long-time best buddy happens to be in town this week. We're scheduled for a blizzard on Friday. Diana comes Saturday. We are celebrating Lily's birthday on Sunday (since her birthday is May 1--four days after Zenabu arrives). Packing. Paperwork. Notarizing documents.

Gotta run...I can feel the tremors coming on.


What Is In Your Pantry?

I was talking with my sister-in-law tonight about how the price of groceries seems to keep going up and up. Whether it's the cost of gasoline or just basic inflation--I don't know--but I sure felt like it was a real problem.

And yet...

And yet tonight in Ethiopia a mother has no food in her pantry to feed her children. I know the world still has the images of famine-starved African children in their minds when they think of a country like Ethiopia. Yes, there was a famine. But it's so much more than that, too. Every day mothers and fathers die to preventable diseases like typhoid and malaria, or they succumb to AIDS. When a parent dies, the other parent is left carrying the load of work and childcare and basic survival, and the downward spiral begins. There just isn't enough money to buy enough food or medicine or clean water to allow young children to live. There just isn't. The vicious cycle of extreme poverty sucks the life out of the next generation.

I don't think the solution is for the world to adopt all the orphans in Africa. I believe a better solution is to end extreme poverty and help rebuild the amazing countries in Africa to be self-sufficient and family strong. Adoption makes a difference in the life of one child, but it will not stop the hemorrhaging that is happening in places like Ethiopia. 6,500 Africans die EVERY day to PREVENTABLE, TREATABLE diseases. I remember when the tsunami hit and Americans were awestruck at the sheer number of reported deaths. And that happens every week in Africa.

Please, if nothing else, please go to your pantry right now and give thanks for the food you have. Give thanks that you will not be faced with the dilemma of watching your children starve.

Hurry home, Zenabu.



1. Finished taxes
2. Purchased airline tickets to Ethiopia
3. Finished editing job
4. Started paperwork for Zenabu's visa for the U.S.A.
5. Actually finished a movie with David (we are slowly working our way through Academy Award winners...but we're still back in 2005)

I could have posted a list of everything that didn't get done, but there's not enough room. We're inching our way forward, though, to the big trip. Some details just can't be worked on until a day or two before David leaves. This week should be crazy--but good crazy. Each day gets us closer to Zenabu. In fact, 21 days from today I will be holding him in my arms. Amazing.

Happy Easter. He is Risen!


What Is Brave?

Is it Lily leaving the house dressed like this? Is it me letting Lily leave the house like this? I would like to invent a universal sign that mothers can use to communicate to one another that our child dressed themself that morning. Why would I pick striped tights, a black leotard, and pink crocs for Lily when she has so many other outfits? But still...what a combination!


I confess I am surprised that the number one question I get asked is "Will you keep his name?" The number one question for a while had been "Will he come with a name?" which I highly resented because it made it sound like our son was a product. I will never forget the first time I heard Zenabu's name. Lindsay had called me with our referral and she said, "His name is Zenabu and he's 3 years old." It took me about 24 hours to get used to this unusual but beautiful name (which means rain) and since then I've been smitten. There was much discussion in our house about whether or not to keep his Ethiopian name or change it or shorten it. David's middle name is Jon, so we settled on Jon Zenabu. It flows well and would be easy to transition into. But there's one problem...

I can't do it. I cannot call our son anything other than Zenabu. So who knows what we'll do. Maybe everyone else will call our son Jon, but I will be the holdout for Zenabu. Maybe we'll call him J.Z. Maybe Zenabu will not allow anyone to call him Jon and he will decide for us. After all, it's his name. I guess we will wait and see.



God has an unbelieveable sense of humor. Earlier last week I was praying for lots of distractions. So I took on some freelance projects, volunteered for some things at my kids' school, and let the house go to pot. Then out of the blue we get the call that we can travel, so suddenly I am in warp speed trying to do a million things at once. I have way too much on my plate right now. My editing job is due on Wednesday, and let's just sayI'll probably be sacrificing a lot of sleep to get it done. Not to mention packing, paperwork, last minute everything, and just general upkeep with an already disheveled house. Mama mia!