Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I promise the kids are excited... I just think they weren't too excited about having to sit next to my "2" on the driveway! :)

We've hit two months on the wait list. The second month did not go by as fast as the first, but it's still going by fairly quickly. But in the past month, the kids & I traveled to MD & PA to visit friends, then the whole family traveled to Charleston, SC. We've logged quite a few miles in the minivan!

I've been stalking the Gladney FBI and realized just last night that, although we are about #29 on the list, we are #6 for a boy! YIKES! That makes me excited and scared all at once. We really need to get going on our fundraising. I think our original plan was to make it through our Heart for Africa trip in July and focus on fundraising when we got back. But now I'm a little worried that we'll be pushing it a little.

As always, we're praying so much and so hard about this adoption and right now we're praying about being more open to a child with medical issues. We've always said we were open to correctable medical problems but we're looking into the possibility of adopting a child who might have some more special needs. Please pray with us about that!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dangerous thoughts...

I've been trying (well okay, not trying hard but trying) not to make any predictions for how I think the whole adoption process will go down.  But I've been largely unsuccessful because at the moment my heart has nothing else to do in this waiting game but think about WHEN I will get to hold that child of mine on the other side of the world!

And I've been paying close attention to the blogs of other Gladney families who are further along in the process. The first groups of families who will travel twice to Ethiopia are getting ready for that first trip and "timelines" are starting to take form about how long everything will take.

So here is my very scientific (ha ha) prediction on when I think the earliest we could bring Cassell baby #3 home: March 2011. I think that is the earliest I can hope for. And that means the chances of that happening are VERY slim!

Really, I just want him here before June 2011. A close friend of ours is getting married & Rob is doing that wedding and I would LOVE to be able to bring the whole family to Texas for that wedding (although the up side of not having him home would be that I'd get to pay more attention to the wedding). And one of our  youth from Texas has started taking some incredible photographs of families and I would SO SO SO love to have her take some family pics for us. 

So here's the lowdown on my dream version of our process:
October is the earliest I could hope to get a referral. We'll hit the 5 month wait mark on Sept 30th.
It takes 1-2 months to be assigned a court date and then that date is about a month out. So if I'm told about a court date in early December, the court date would be in January sometime. We'd go to court in Ethiopia in January and then IF we passed court the first time we'd travel back 3-6 weeks later to bring him home. That puts us March-ish.

And these are dangerous thoughts for me to have... because we could also still be on the waiting list in January hitting the 9 month mark of waiting (which wouldn't be abnormal at all).

Wouldn't it be funny if pregnancy were this way? "Well, I might have the baby in March but, you know, maybe I'd go into labor in July..." ha ha!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Everything I've wanted to say

I don't know how to answer the question "Why are you adopting?" Which is funny, since we've had to send an official statement about it to our adoption agency, the grant we've applied for, and to the Ethiopian government. I guess I should say that I don't know how to answer it in less than 45 minutes. There are so MANY things I want to say about adoption.

But guess what? Someone ELSE blogged about it and I absolutely love what she had to say! Please go check her blog post out. It will give you some insight into my heart:

As passionate as I am about adoption, I'm just as passionate about the work Heart for Africa is doing in Swaziland. You cannot adopt Swazi children. Orphans are being raised and educated in the children's homes because they are the future of their country and our prayer is that they will help change the trajectory of Swaziland one day.  Adoption is NOT the cure-all for our problems here in the US or worldwide. It helps alleviate a bit of the symptoms sometimes.

Anyway, stop reading my blog & go read that other one. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010


This is laughable, but I'm thinking a lot about our plans for when we travel to Ethiopia. There is absolutely no need for me to be thinking about this but I guess this is what one does when you're not pregnant but are waiting for a baby!

Most of this is driven by the fact that I am leaving for Swaziland, Africa in about 40 days. The most I've left my daughter is one night when she was across town about a month ago. And I've left my son for 2 nights to go to Asheville - 3 hours away. Needless to say leaving them to go halfway across the world makes me a little stressed out. Thinking about leaving them THREE times to go halfway across the world makes me start to panic.

I've been playing out different scenarios in my head about how it will work with us being away from them so much. And right now, the only version I am comfortable with includes us bringing Riley with us on the first trip.  So if you were to ask me today, Riley is coming with us on that first trip. Ask me again in 8 months :)

I'm still stalking our unofficial wait list a lot. It's kind of like baseball - there are lots of ways to analyze and manipulate the data to try to figure out what's going to happen next season! :)  I count how many people above us are asking for girls ('cause I can weed them right out) and then check on how long the 0-18 monthers waited from wait list date to referral date (as if that isn't info my agency gives me every month anyway). Most recently, I've been scrolling the screen down so that the family on top is at the very top of the screen... and I was delighted to discover that we are both on the same page now when I do that!! ha ha!

Since I don't have my monthly checkups with a midwife, this is all I have. And as silly as it is, it all makes me feel closer to that baby of mine so far away from me.  I'm connecting my feelings a lot with how I felt when I was pregnant. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes not.  Not everyone acts as if I am pregnant (probably because I'm not and because adopting isn't overly well-understood outside of the adoption community).  It is so hard to explain and I need to toughen up a little in this area and give grace to those around me.  I've had my feelings hurt quite a bit in this whole adoption process by others acting as if there isn't really a child out there who counts. As if he doesn't count until he's home here with us.

But he does count. To me and Rob and the kids. And most importantly, to God.
And that's really all that matters.

Monday, June 7, 2010

House: 7, Us: 0

Just in case you weren't counting the number of things in our house that have broken since we started the adoption process, I thought I'd update everyone on the latest statistics: 7 things. Yes, seven major appliances/parts of the house have broken since we committed to adopting. Here they are:

1. Dishwasher
2. Kitchen cabinets/floor/sink, etc (as a result of broken dishwasher)
3. Dryer
4. Shower
5. Computer
6. Lawnmower (I told y'all it caught on fire, right?)

7. AC - yes that's right, our entire AC unit blew out and needs to be completely replaced. The repair guy told me that he has never seen a capacitor blown out like that EVER in the 17 years he's been working. His tone made me think maybe I should be proud! :)

Every time God presents me with some kind of challenging thing to do I know that I'll learn something in the process. When we started the adoption process, I figured I'd learn some (much needed) patience. And I knew I'd need to learn to ask for help since I knew we'd be doing some fundraising.

But you know what? Pride is also something I struggle with. I love my life (most of the time) and I'd love to take the credit for it too. But the truth is, I have and am nothing without Jesus.  He is the reason for the joy I have over this great life.  Maybe all this house stuff is happening to truly remind me that this child is not mine. He belongs to God and He is going to provide the means for us to bring that baby home... not by my merit or by any of my hard work. At the end of this process I will not be able to look back on it and say "WE brought this baby home".  Instead, I will only be able to praise God for making it happen.

I am, however, wondering if I should make a list of my favorite appliances & start praying for them! ha ha ... just kidding. Well, maybe not about the coffee maker! :)