6 years of Lexi

January 31st, 2012

Lexi turned 6 today.

(funny side note – it’s freakishly warm this January and when we left the hospital with Lexi 6 years ago, we were wearing sweatshirts it was so warm.)

January 31, 2006 – Madeleine Alexis Hendricks showed up at 11:57 am
Jan 31

Year 1 – Barely mobile – but very proud she had just moved from the coffee table to the chair and back.

Year 2 – She wanted her hair long. All of it. And ponytail holders and barrettes never stayed in place.

Year 3 – She let us cut her hair.

Year 4 – Yep, she really is that cute.

Year 5 – Her wild side – bounce house mania.

Year 6 – School. Reading. Officially a big kid.

She’ll always be my daughter.

May 12th, 2011

I have three children.
Two live in my house.
One no longer does.
She came into my life last June and lived here until March.
Sometime around the holidays we began to notice a change. Not bad things, just changes.
Changes that showed us some parts of her past that were a surprise to everyone.
And changes that showed us she was not were she was supposed to be.
In April we made the decision to allow her to move to a new home, another family.
A place that, we hope, can provide what she needs and can devote all of their time and energy into helping her heal.
I wanted so badly to be that person. To be the one to help her heal.
But it was clear that living here was not what she needed from us right now.
What she needed from us was a chance to move on.

She doesn’t live with us anymore.
We’re legally not her parents.
But she will always be my daughter.

Our Newest Addition: It’s a Girl!

June 15th, 2010

We haven’t talked about it much but we started down the paper trail of adoption this spring.

We figured we’d be bringing home our kid(s) next summer.

Plans changed. A lot. And it’s really exciting.

She’s an 11-year-old girl going into 6th grade and she’ll be joining our family this summer.

Due to the sensitive nature of this whole process, we won’t be sharing a lot of details.

But we can tell you that she’s almost as tall as me, her smile is amazing, she likes to ice skate and color.

It’s been a crazy week of checking paperwork, making “to do” lists and getting things ready.

And yes, it’s slowly sinking in that I am now the mom of a pre-teen. A middle-schooler.

This is going to be an adventure.

Summer Plans

June 13th, 2010

This summer I’m determined to get out of the house 4 out of 5 days a week with the kids.
We are going to be busy.
None of this “I’m bored” stuff.
Some things will be consistent: On Tuesdays we’ll go to the library. Not sure if we’ll always go to the same library or if we’ll terrorize other libraries but on Tuesday we’ll be at a library.
We’ll do play dates once or twice a week (anybody want to come and play?)
We’ll go places – Como Zoo, MN Zoo, Children’s Museum, Wild Rumpus Book Store, Hyland Park Reserve, the beach, the park, Splash Pads
We’ve got scheduled activities – Swim Lessons, Great Adventure Club
We’ll also run errands.
Any other suggestions?

Oh, and the day I don’t take the kids out of the house? That’s my day off. I’m running away.

Adoption Updates

May 4th, 2010

We’re moving ahead with adoption #2.

It’s exciting and a much different process then Milo’s adoption.
Milo’s adoption went like this:

  1. Attend informational meeting
  2. Fill out application
  3. Fill out longer application
  4. Attend Pre-Adoption (PAC) classes
  5. Fill out homestudy homework
  6. Meet with Social Worker
  7. Meet with Social Worker (round #2)
  8. Get Home Study Written and Approved
  9. Collect paper work (birth & marriage certificates, fingerprints, letters from bank/police department, etc, etc, etc)
  10. Complete dossier
  11. Get on the waiting list
  12. Get fingerprinted for homeland security
  13. Wait.
  14. Get a referral
  15. Get a court date
  16. Get birth certificate
  17. Get a travel date
  18. Travel to Ethiopia
  19. Come home and fill out more paperwork
  20. Finalize Milo’s adoption

Yeah. That’s a lot of steps.

This time around we are going through the Minnesota Waiting Child Program. Most of the children are at least 6 years old and many of them are a part of a sibling group so it’s very likely we will be adopting an older child (probably over 8 ) and it’s also likely that child will have an older sibling. The process is a little simpler.

  1. Attend informational meeting
  2. Attend foster to adopt training
  3. Fill out application
  4. Fill out long application
  5. Meet with social worker (I know there are several meeting but I’m not sure how many)
  6. Wait for a match
  7. Review child’s paperwork
  8. Meet with people close to the child (teachers, pastor, coaches, therapists, etc)
  9. Start visits with the child
  10. Set a date for the child(ren) to move in
  11. Finalize the adoption

We’ve finished up the classes, we’re waiting for the big packet to arrive in the mail. Sorry, this post is just the facts. I’m still processing all the information we learned this past weekend and trying to decide how much should be public knowledge. Don’t worry. I’ll keep you updated. I know you’re on pins and needles.

A quick adoption update

April 5th, 2010

I think we are now at Step 4? of the adoption process. I talked about Step 1 & 2 here.

Step 3 happened on Thursday. We attended an informational meeting regarding the Minnesota Waiting Child Program. After the meeting we felt like it was a good fit for our family. We’re still deciding but we’ve moved on to Step 4, which is signing up and attending the foster parent training at the end of April. Once we’re done with the training we’ll hopefully be more firm in our decision.

For those that are unfamiliar, the MN Waiting Child Program is children who are waiting to be adopted. Usually a sibling group or older (about 8 and up). The process is typically a faster one than international adoption. We were told a “quick” adoption from start to finish is about a year. That’s from the point we sign on until the adoption is finalized. In contrast our adoption with Milo took 26 months from the time we signed on until the adoption was finalized.

After the training, I’ll be able to give you more thrilling details of this whole process.

Meeting Milo – Day 6

March 23rd, 2010

Monday, March 23

After Sunday’s emotionally exhausting trip, Monday was a calmer day. After breakfast we went to the Care Center and got to bring the kids back to the guest house with us. It was nice to have him “home” and to take pictures. And yeah, we took a couple hundred that day.

Riding back on the bus.
Monday 1

Hangin’ with Dad. (yeah, he was wearing size 18 months shorts. Right now, he wears size 18 month pants.)
Monday 2

First family picture
Monday 3

Hangin’ with Mom (we changed his clothes…he’s now wearing size newborn)
Monday 4

True to form – he’s asleep.
Monday 5

After lunch we had to bring the kids back to the Care Center. This was probably the hardest drop off. It was one thing to play with him in the living room of the care center and then walk him back upstairs but to take him out and back “home” and then have to bring him back….that was hard.

Later that day we visited a few different places. We went to the National Museum. It was interesting but as one mom said while we were there, “this stuff is nice to look at but really, I just want my baby.” Yeah. Me too.

We visited a hospital. It’s actually the hospital that takes care of any of the sick children from the Care Center.

We visited a school. That part of the day I enjoyed. We got the general tour. The arena. The court yard. The classrooms. And then I started talking to the finance director and he was showing me their storage room, asking me about curriculum, telling me about class sizes…it was a very interesting conversation. Remember how I talked about wanting to teach for a year in Ethiopia.

This is where I picture myself working – Children’s Home Academy
school 1

The arena.
school 2

The court yard surrounded by classrooms.
school 3

A kindergarten classroom. (It’s about a 1/3 of the size of my current classroom but has about 25 kids.)
school 4

Going to check out the supply room.
school 5

The supply room. This was the supply room for the entire school.
school 6

After that we headed home for dinner and to relax.

I Don’t Want My Kids to Be Happy

March 13th, 2010

I fell into a rabbit hole in blogland this morning and ended up here. More specifically, I ended up here, reading a post by a mom who doesn’t want her kids to be happy. And realizing how strongly I agree with her.

Need to Kick-Start the blogging again.

March 7th, 2010

I was on a role for a while. Not quite sure what happened. Well, I do know what happened. I’ve been trying to spend less time on the computer. And that’s been a good thing.

Random things I’ve been up to….

….Milo learned to walk. He went from tottering between furniture to chasing Lexi and the dogs around the house in about 5 days. We now have a human tornado living in our house. He also likes to spin himself in circles until he’s too dizzy to stand.

….I got called for Jury Duty. It’s not a bad deal. I call in at night and they tell me if I need to show up or call in. I’ve lucked out and have only had to call in at nine and/or noon the next day, only to be told I’m not needed and to call in again tomorrow. Only downside is the two weeks worth of lesson plans I’ve had to write. But, really, not complaining about it. It’s been fun to do stuff like take the kids to the zoo.

….went to the Minnesota Zoo with Lexi and Milo. Milo learned a new phrase “See it!” or “See it?” depending on whether or not he spotted the animals. Both kids love the dolphins. We watched a short training session and then spent another 20 minutes just sitting in the bleachers watching the dolphins swim and splash around. Incidentally, the MN Zoo is a great winter activity. Discovery Bay, the Tropics Trail and the Minnesota Trail are all connected and it takes about 30 minutes to get through each one. And you never have to go outside.

….I taught myself how to crochet over Christmas break. And I really like it. It’s super fast and looks really cute when finished. So far I’ve made about 6 hats, a sweater, a blanket, a poncho, and about 30 headbands.. Only downside is it takes much more yarn than knitting so depending on the project, it can be a little pricey. I’ll try and get a few pictures up in the next couple days.

….I’ve made a few sales from my etsy shop. Oh, and I started making jewelry as well. I needed a lanyard for work and decided to make one and I had left over supplies so I made a few other things. Then when I raided all my craft stuff I realized I had a pretty big pile of beads and other jewelry making supplies so I gave it a shot. It’s not my favorite thing to do but it’s different than sewing or knitting or crochet, so I like it. Oh, and my etsy shop is also supporting charity:water.

NaBloPoMo Post #12: A lot to think about

November 11th, 2009

Today we found out that our adoption agency is temporarily closing to people who are requesting a child 0-24 months from Ethiopia. Currently there are over 400 people waiting for a baby which is pushing wait times out to at least 24 months. (Our estimated wait time in Dec 2007 was 6-9 months and extended to 12 months in October of 2008. We waited 11 months and 11 days for our referral.)

They are closing the program simply because there is not a need for parents in this age range. Once upon a time when the Ethiopia program was new (about 5 years ago) it was considered a long wait if you waited a week. Most people heard back within a day or two after submitting their dossier. But the program took off. It got big very, very fast and homes were quickly found for infants and toddlers.

There are people who will say that the program is closing because the “demand” can’t be met. And there are accusations about unethical practices happening. Personally, I don’t beleive that is what is happening with our agency. Has it happened elsewhere? Yes. It’s a tragic side to both international and domestic adoption that corruption and “blackmarket” practices exist. Do your research when looking for an agency. Be careful and cautious. At the same time know that there are plenty of agencies who are working to provide homes for children who need them. But the “whys” are not what this post is about.

This is about what we now need to think about. We really liked our agency. We had a good experience with them. We know that while Milo was in their care they truly loved him and took excellent care of him. The information we have about his background is priceless and the opprotunity to meet people who were a part of his life before us was amazing. And, all of that we have on DVD for him to watch when he is ready. We don’t want to switch agencies because we don’t want our next child to not have the same amount of information. I would have a hard time explaining to a child that Milo has a lifebook with pictures of his village in Ethiopia but he or she doesn’t because we switched agencies because we wanted a baby.

So that leaves us with some decisions to make.

Do we switch agencies? I doubt it.

Do we wait and see if the infant program opens back up? Well, that would put a lot of years between Milo and the next child.

Do we adopt an older child or sibbling group? I’d like to. I’d love to actually. But Milo is only one. We want the next child to be younger than him. So that would mean waiting until Milo was 3 or 4 before starting the process again.

Do we adopt a child from the Waiting Child List? That’s a possibility.

Lots of things to think about. But, one thing is for sure, it makes me grateful that we to the leap and applied to adopt when we did. I can’t really imagine our family without Milo.