Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ethiopia to Shut Down Unethical Adoption Agencies

Here is a great article on the dangers of unethical adoption that are present in international adoption.  It is unfortunate that drastic measures must be taken to stop the few "bad guys" & that it slows down the adoption process for those who are truly interested in finding homes for orphaned children.  But it is encouraging that things are being done and awareness is being raised about unethical agencies.  Just another reminder to encourage prospective adoptive parents to do their homework about an agency before choosing one!  And a little plug for Adoption Advocates International: it is widely respected in the adoption community for its ethical practices :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adoption Update

Unfortunately, the update is not very exciting but it is something, at least.  I talked to AAI the other day & was told the document that has been holding us up should be in Ethiopia by this weekend.  If things go well, it will be in the judge's hands next week & we will officially pass court, making us N's legal parents (finally!).  We are hoping & praying for a Jan. 12 or Jan. 26 embassy date, which means Billy will pick N up from the orphanage and bring him home at that time.  Jan. 12 or 26 because each adoption agency is allowed embassy dates every 2 weeks & those are our agency's January dates. 

Emotionally, we are still doing well.  There have been moments of frustration over the missing document that has held up.  But, we know this whole things is in God's hands and that, in the grand scheme of life, it won't matter whether N came home in December or February.  Still, we are beyond ready to get him home.  We received a photo update of him yesterday and he looks so much older than the little baby we first saw in his July pictures. 

Thank you for all  your thoughts and prayers through this emotional process!  Please pray for N to come home in January and for him to be happy & healthy as he waits in the orphanage.

P.S. His new first name is Willliam :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mall Walking

Every Friday morning, we meet up with Honey (my Mom) to powerwalk - usually at the Greenway but, during the Winter, at the mall.  Shep loves our little routine because he is so excited to see Honey each week.  And I love it when we move indoors because the mall is all decorated for Christmas & sometimes we'll treat ourselves to Starbucks or Auntie Annie's - yum!   But the best part is having my Mom's undivided attention.  Thanks for this special time each week, Mom!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tot School

I am still on the fence about whether or not to homeschool our kids but, since Shep is not in preschool yet, we are doing "tot school" (home preschool) at home.  Tot school for us looks like crafts, coloring, painting, reading books, and getting on the floor to play one-on-one with him at least once a day.  I also take advantage of teachable moments throughout the day to name things, explain how they work, count them, etc.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

His Welcome Bag

We were allowed to send N a "Welcome Bag" to welcome him to our family.  There are strict guidelines about what is (and isn't ) allowed to go in the bag, as well as the stipulations that it must fit into a gallon size freezer bag and can't weigh more than 3 lbs.  So here are the contents of N's Welcome Bag, which is now in Ethiopia.  I spent a lot of time & anguish on it only to discover once we were there that he probably never sees any of it.  I was told the photo albums are saved for the child to look at while there & hopefully take home when they go, but the rest of the items become "community" property.  Oh well, it was nice to have something to funnel my nesting instincts into!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Calling All Orphanage Supplies!

When Billy travels to pick up William in (hopefully) January, he will have a lot of room in his bags for orphanage donations.  If you have any of this stuff on hand or would like to pick some up to send with us, just let me know.  We took a lot of donations on our first trip and the orphanage staff were so very grateful (as were the kids, I'm sure!).  Current needs are:
  • any and all arts and crafts (stickers, elmers glue, glue sticks, and pre-made craft kits specifically)
  • 7 and 8 year old sized pants for boys and girls
  • Shoes (children's size 12 - women's 7/men's 9)
  • KG clothing (pants especially)
  • construction paper
  • pens
  • toothpaste
  • nail clippers
  • disposable diapers
  • headbands
  • hair ties
  • fly tape
  • sanitary pads
Used clothes & shoes are fine as long as they are in decent shape...
Thanks for your help!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shep's First Gingerbread House

A new Clark family tradition...
He came downstairs the next morning & insisted on re-building it...
Which did not work out very well considering the fact that the icing had already dried.  Needless to say, it is not the most beautiful gingerbread house you have ever seen, but Shep loves it dearly & points it out everyday as it sits on the counter (out of his reach).  Quite possibly the best $10 I ever spent.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting the Christmas Tree

Every year we drive to the mountains the Saturday after Thanksgiving to choose & cut our Christmas tree with my Mom & Dad (otherwise known as Honey & Pop).  Shep had a lot of fun this year!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dynamic Marriage

We recently finished an 8-week marriage enrichment course at church called Dynamic Marriage.  It was really good.  We definitely recommend it.  It helped us re-focus on the things that really matter in our marriage and brought us closer together.  There was so much packed into the 8 weeks that we have decided to go back & focus on each week again over a longer period of time so we can really get the most out of the course.  If your marriage could use a little kickstart, go to the Dynamic Marriage website & find the next course nearest you!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Victoria's Secret

I had finally come to terms with the fact that it has been 2 years & my body has not returned to its pre-pregnancy state. So Shep & I went shopping. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Terrible Twos

I read this on recently:
"Two-year-olds give the biggest hugs, flash the biggest smiles, and yes, throw the loudest, most spectacular tantrums. Because they live in the moment, their feelings are especially transparent. It's tempting to want to keep things happy for your child at all times. But it's also important for her to experience emotions like sadness, frustration, and anger without always being "rescued" by Mom or Dad, so she can learn to cope better with small setbacks." 

I am really having to work hard at discerning when to "rescue" and when to let Shep experience hard things and figure out how to soothe himself or find a solution to the problem.  It is never easy to watch your baby suffer and he will always feel like my baby.  Yet, I continue to work this out because I know these are skills he needs for life.  I also want him to learn to depend on God, not just on me and this is the time to lay that foundation.  Every human in his life will fail him at some point (even me), but God never will.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Proposal

Four years ago November 1 (yes, I was so caught up in the adoption hoopla, I forgot to post then), Billy proposed to me.  It really blows my mind that it has been that long - it feels like yesterday!  We had been dating for 3 months (but had known each other about a year).
I was walking out of seminary on a Wednesday night, minding my own business when I saw this guy riding a horse on the school lawn, wearing what looked to be HAZMAT gear.  He called out my name & I kept walking, sure I had heard wrong.  But when he called out again & began walking the horse toward me, I realized this guy was wearing a knight costume!  I don't remember the speech he gave as he proposed on one knee, but I do remember that I said yes and that friends & family then came out from their hiding places in the parking lot for a little impromptu celebration!  Baby, you will always be my knight in shining armor.  I will love you forever...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Perfect Party!

We had a fun morning celebrating Shep's birthday.  Just family, a little breakfast, presents, cupcakes, & lots of love.  When planning Shep's party, we had considered Chuck E Cheese, Monkey Joe's, My Gym, etc.  But we believe less is more sometimes, especially when it comes to children's birthday parties, which are wild and crazy no matter where they are or how many people attend (not to say we won't go all out every now & then with our parties!).  This little party was just perfect for us this year...