Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Tree...Last Year

So this holiday season is a bust for me. I tried to put up a tree but I didn't, I thought who was going to enjoy it besides me so I decided to look at my pictures from last year instead (never mind it is sideways, obviously I don't have the right software on my computer to turn my tree right side up so just turn your head...I'll work on that for next time). If you can't tell I call this tree my nature tree. It has feathers, birds, cones and butterflys on it. I'm not a conventional type of a person, I bet you didn't know that about me...heehee. I plan on having two trees when Baby I comes home, one for big people (Mommy) and one for little people (Baby I). She can decorate it in whatever theme she wants each year...I want her to be creative and think out of the box.
Also, my stove has died (Merry Christmas to me), so I'm spending the day looking at Best Buy picking out a new stove and watching Christmas movies cooking in my crockpot. Can 2008 hurry up and get here already! At least I'll have a fabulous new stove. YIKES You know I'll want the other appliances to match considering the others are on their last legs, old and won't match!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fingerprints and Adoption Update

I finally got my fingerprints back from the FBI and guess what? I'm not a criminal! But I am confused. I didn't have to go in for any sort of meeting or anything like other people did. Maybe it's because I live in DC. So now what? I guess I'll just send this on to my social worker and maybe I can finally get my home study completed! LOL

Although I still haven't finished all of my online adoption training. I completed 30 hours of training through DC Children and Family Services last year, isn't that good for something? I'm trying to figure that out. Can't I even get 2 credits? Every little penny counts over here. I guess I could take my Ethiopia courses though. I'll do that over Christmas since I'm bahhumbug. My goal is to get my home study finally completed, written up and in my hands by the end of January! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When Adoption Goes Wrong

I don't know about you, but I am so incredibly tired of some "friend" who just was "thinking about me when they read an article and thought they would share it with me. They of course had only my best interest in mind when they sent the article. They want me of course to keep an open mind when thinking about adoption and ESPECIALLY about international adoption! I mean no telling what these "kids" could have been put through. I wouldn't want to bring the trash into my home now would I. I could adopt a child that ends up with a heart problem on the easy side or say ends up beating up the neighbors kids for the fun of it, or gives the teachers problems on a daily basis (I'm pretty sure all of those descriptions sounds like me when I was a kid) or the child could end up with something a little more serious but the point is you never know. Adoption or birth it's all a crap shoot so I'm so tired of my "well-meaning friends" sending me freaking emails about adoptions gone bad! WTF!? WTF!? And one more time for good measure...WTF!??????

Here is the latest email and my response (btw, he hasn't responded in a day, maybe he could tell I was a tad pissed off and decided to leave it alone). I'm not even going to comment on the article in Newsweek because I'm over the poor adoptive families also could be my bahhumbug mood but whatever...I'm tired of people looking at us like poor us for having to adopt!

The Conversation:

Tami: I'm sure you'll have a different experience as your child will be an infant.But I thought of you when I saw this article.

P: Happy Holidays to you also. You always share such lovely and inspiring insights with me, I appreciate the support. How about this title: When Childbirth Goes Wrong. Most Americans who have children find joy. But others aren’t prepared for the risks – and may find themselves overwhelmed… Not much difference is it?

When Adoption Goes Wrong
Most Americans who adopt children from other countries find joy. But others aren't prepared for the risks—and may find themselves overwhelmed.
By Pat Wingert
Updated: 3:16 PM ET Dec 8, 2007
Peggy Hilt wanted to be a good mother. But day after day, she got out of bed feeling like a failure. No matter what she tried, she couldn't connect with Nina, the 2-year old girl she'd adopted from Russia as an infant. The preschooler pulled away whenever Hilt tried to hug or kiss her. Nina was physically aggressive with her 4-year-old sister, who had been adopted from Ukraine, and had violent tantrums. Whenever Hilt wasn't watching, she destroyed the family's furniture and possessions. "Every day with Nina had become a struggle," she recalls now.
As the girl grew older, things got worse. Hilt fell into a deep depression. She started drinking heavily, something she'd never done before. Ashamed, she hid her problem from everyone, including her husband.
On the morning of July 1, 2005, Hilt was packing for a family vacation, all the while downing one beer after another and growing increasingly aggravated and impatient with Nina's antics. "Everything she did just got to me," Hilt said. When Hilt caught her reaching into her diaper and smearing feces on the walls and furniture, "a year and a half of frustration came to a head," Hilt says. "I snapped. I felt this uncontrollable rage."
Then Hilt did something unthinkable. She grabbed Nina around the neck, shook her and then dropped her to the floor, where she kicked her repeatedly before dragging her up to her room, punching her as they went. "I had never hit a child before," she says. "I felt horrible and promised myself that this would never happen again." But it was too late for that. Nina woke up with a fever, and then started vomiting. The next day she stopped breathing. By the time the ambulance got the child to the hospital, she was dead.
Hilt is now serving a 19-year sentence for second-degree murder in a Virginia maximum-security prison. She and her husband divorced, and he is raising their other daughter. She realizes the horror of her crime and says she isn't looking for sympathy. "There is no punishment severe enough for what I did," she told NEWSWEEK in an interview at the prison.
Hilt's story is awful—and rare—but sadly it is not unique. Adopting a child from another country is usually a positive, enriching experience for both the child and the parent. Over the last 20 years, foreign adoption has become more popular, and Americans now adopt about 20,000 children from Guatemala, China, Russia and other nations each year. (In the last few years, as restrictions and red tape have increased in some countries, the number of overseas adoptions has begun to drop.) Longitudinal studies show that most of these kids do quite well, but in a small but significant number of cases, things go very badly. Since the early 1990s, the deaths of 14 Russian children killed by their adoptive parents have been documented. (That disclosure was partly responsible for Russia's decision in 2006 to suspend its intercountry adoption program while it underwent review.)
Cases like those are extreme, but clinicians who specialize in treating foreign orphans say they are seeing more parents who are overwhelmed by their adopted children's unexpected emotional and behavioral problems. And though reputable agencies try to warn parents of the risks, not all succeed. "In the past, agencies were a bit naive," says Chuck Johnson of the National Council For Adoption, which is responding to the problem with a massive education initiative. "Now we're urging them to give parents a more realistic message." Some parents struggle to find effective treatment for their kids. Others seek to give them up. Reports that a growing number of foreign adoptees were being turned over to the U.S. foster-care system recently prompted the Department of Health and Human Services to order its first national count: 81 children adopted overseas were relinquished to officials in 14 states in 2006.
Why do some adoptions go so wrong? Clearly, it's not the kids' fault. Their behavior is usually the result of trauma, mistreatment, malnutrition or institutionalization in their home countries—problems more common in places like Eastern Europe. But "the country of origin doesn't matter so much as the child's experience," says Dr. Dana Johnson, director of the University of Minnesota's International Adoption Clinic. Some are found to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, mental illness or reactive attachment disorder, an inability to bond with a parent. Prospective families undergo an arduous screening process, including home visits, and specify how much disability they can handle. But even families who specifically request a "healthy" child sometimes go home with a troubled one. In some cases, the mismatch is inadvertent. But in others, orphanages or adoption agencies overseas—eager to find homes for difficult children in their care—mislead prospective parents or fail to disclose the full extent of a child's problems or personal history.
Emotional and even physical problems can be difficult to detect at the time of adoption, especially in infants, and often aren't diagnosed until months or years later. Hilt says that's what happened to her. She and her husband decided to adopt after being told she'd probably never conceive. After passing their agency's screening, they brought home their first daughter from Ukraine in 2001, and that went so well they decided to adopt two Russian sisters. But when they flew to Siberia to meet them in May 2003, they were told the sisters were no longer available. Instead, they were told, they could adopt Tatiana, a lively 18-month-old, and Nina, a quiet, withdrawn 9-month-old. They visited Tatiana every day for a week, but officials never let them see Nina again. "They said she had a bad cold," Hilt said. Nonetheless, they signed adoption papers for both girls. But when they returned to finalize the adoption in January 2004, they were told that only Nina was still available. The Hilts hesitated. They suspected a bait-and-switch, especially when officials insisted they sign papers testifying they'd spent many more hours with the baby than they had. "The whole process didn't feel right," Hilt said. "But we figured we could love any child. You convince yourself that everything will turn out OK."
But from the start, Nina "literally pushed me away," Hilt said. Over time, Hilt found herself resenting the little girl. "We'd been such a happy family, and then Nina came and everything changed," Hilt says. "I began to realize that we had made such a big mistake." (Tatyana Kharchendo, the doctor in charge of the Little Sun Child Home #1 in Irkutsk, where the Hilts adopted Nina, did not directly answer Hilt's charges, but insisted the child "was absolutely healthy and beautiful.")
No one is exonerating Hilt or others like her. But Joyce Sterkel, who runs the Ranch for Kids, a Montana boarding school for disturbed international adoptees, says she's come to see the parents as well as the kids as victims in these tragic cases. "It's a horrible thing, but I understand how some people end up killing these kids," she says. "They have no empathy, no affection, no love. My heart goes out to these parents because they don't know what to do."
When Sterkel, a nurse, first started working with international adoptees in the early '90s, she didn't see many deeply troubled children. But 10 years ago she adopted two Russian boys whose American parents had given up on them. One of them, a 14-year-old boy, had just been released from a juvenile-detention center after trying to poison his mother. Over time, Sterkel was approached so often about adopting other children that she decided to open her camp. Today it houses 25 to 30 kids from all over the country, and has a waiting list. The overwhelming majority are from Russia, Romania and Bulgaria, but she also has had children from South Korea and Colombia. Some were bullied or raped while institutionalized or were the children of prostitutes, drug addicts or alcoholics. "I have gotten calls from parents who say the child they adopted has killed the family dog, threatened to kill them, and no one will help them," she says.
Emotional, behavioral and physical problems are not unique to adopted children. Biological children can have the same range of issues. But adoptive parents often assume they know what they're getting into because they get the chance to meet their child in advance. That was the case when Kimble and Shellie Elmore of Los Angeles met a 10-year-old Russian child named Tania in 2005. The director of the orphanage proudly described her as an "angel."
But as soon as they took custody of their new daughter, her behavior changed dramatically. "She was completely out of control," Kimble says. Tania would scream for hours at a time, then fall into deep sullen silence. After signing Tania over to the Elmores, the Russian court handed them her file. They were stunned to find that she had a history of violence and had been transferred from one orphanage to another. They called their adoption agency back home, but were mistakenly told that there was nothing that could be done, that Tania was now their legal daughter. (The American Embassy could have helped, if they'd known.) Seeing no alternative, they boarded a plane and brought Tania back to California. By the end of the first week, she was admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit. She came home a few days later, but things grew worse. She tried to stab her father with a spike and attacked a police officer who came to the house in response to a 911 call.
Doctors diagnosed Tania with bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and attachment disorder, and suggested she be sent to Sterkel's camp. In the past year the Elmores have exhausted their savings and retirement funds trying to pay for private residential treatment. "We know she's just a child and we want what's best for her," says Kimble. "But we don't know how to help her. Adoption is supposed to be a touchy-feely thing surrounded with the glow of new parenthood. But no one says, 'What if the worst happens?' "
Psychologist Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University, who has done extensive research on troubled adopted children, says many of these kids simply don't respond to stern lectures and timeouts. Lab workups of her patients often reveal extremely high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. "The children, for the most part, were in safe homes living with safe people," Purvis says, "but those cortisol levels told us that their children did not feel safe with them, even if they'd been living safely with them for years." Children like them are almost constantly in a hypervigilant state, she says. They don't let their guard down long enough to forge affectionate relationships.
Over the past several years Purvis has developed new methods to restore a sense of security and trust to traumatized kids. If a child becomes violent, for instance, Purvis often responds with a "basket hold." She cradles the kids firmly but gently in her lap, facing outward, with their arms crossed in front of their chests. She rocks and quietly soothes until they calm down, then asks them to look her in the eye and tell her what they want. Purvis's assistants have taken to calling her the "Child Whisperer."
Sometimes techniques like these result in dramatic turnarounds. The family of a 5-year-old adopted from Russia thought they had no choice but to seek psychiatric hospitalization after she threw her baby sister down the stairs. But after the parents adopted Purvis's methods, the little girl finally started talking about the serious abuse she'd experienced. The child's behavior changed markedly. But her mother "changed even more," Purvis says, "because now she has hope."
Purvis is quick to say that her techniques don't work with every child, and older kids can take much longer than younger ones. "They have to unlearn what they've learned," she said. The next step, she says, is for prospective adoptive parents to get more training before and after they adopt. "Very few agencies are training parents to deal with brain damage, sensory deprivation, aggression," Purvis says. "A lot of these parents are smitten with the hope that they'll make a difference in a child's life, but they need very practical tools. I consider myself very pro-adoption. But I'm also very pro informed adoption. "
Peggy Hilt wishes she'd heard this message years ago. "If I knew then what I know now," she says, "I would have gotten help for Nina and for me." The best she can hope for now, she says, is that her story will prompt others to seek that help before it's too late.
Warning Signs for Adoptive ParentsAdopted children often go through a period of transition and adjustment once arriving in the United States from another country, but sometimes problems persist, behavior worsens, or new problems arise with time. Acting out and defiance may be protective measures children take because of a history of abuse, neglect or maltreatment. Karyn Purvis, director of Texas Christian University's Institute of Child Development and an expert in the treatment of troubled adoptees, says parents may need to seek the counsel of a clinician who specializes in international adoption cases if their child consistently exhibits any of these behaviors:
Sexual acting out, like masturbating or inappropriate touching of others
Aggressive, bullying, violent behavior
Night terrors or sleep problems caused by fear
Behavioral melt-downs when parents are trying to get the child to do homework, or when there is lots of noise or activity
Resistance to any expression of affection, like kisses and hugs from family members, but approaches strangers indiscriminately
Explosive anger when confronted with relatively minor disappointments or delays
Insists on being in control at all times
Terrified of being alone, or the other extreme, insists on being left alone
Hoarding or stealing food

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Is This The Future?

My mother sent me this video saying she thought of Baby I when she viewed it. I laughed and thought that I would share it with you all. This is what my mother expects her first grandchild's dance/gymnastics recital to be, it is too cute. I can see myself in the audience now...go I...go I...go. We would have been practicing those moves together at home...(most of them that are on the ground that is!)...thanks to my yoga and Pilates classes (thank you very much!).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Perfect Holiday

Even in my bahhumbug mood I went to an early premiere of the movie The Perfect Holiday. It was wonderful! For that one evening even I had the Holiday Spirit. And ladies Morris Chestnut looks as good as ever! It is such a feel good movie. You will get some good laughs and your entire family will definitely enjoy it. These are definitely the types of family movies I was raised on and intend to take Baby I to (Sidebar- I love Christmas movies and my TIVO is full of them. My weekend will be spent watching as many of them as I can.) If you need a break this weekend while shopping check it out.

Synopsis (from Vidly...meaning, I didn't write this part): Nancy is a divorced mother of three who is so busy raising her children that she's forgotten to take care of herself as well. With Christmas fast approaching, she decides to take her kids to the mall to meet Santa Claus, not knowing that her youngest daughter Emily has sensed her mother's sadness and is determined to use her time with Santa to make her mom happy again. Just a few days prior, Emily heard her mom say that all she wanted for Christmas was a compliment from a man, so that's exactly what she tells Santa. Ironically, Santa, as it turns out, is an office supply salesman and struggling songwriter Benjamin, who ends up giving Nancy just what she wants for Christmas, and much, much more

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

That's Good Journalism For Ya!

Once again, don't believe everything you read or...SEE. In 2004, the BBC network ran the AIDS documentary Guinea Pig Kids, which is about the treatment of a group of HIV-positive foster children in Harlem during which time they showed the picture to the left. The only problem was the picture was taken in Addis Ababa not in Harlem! GREAAATTTTT! Now, I’m not a journalist and I clearly use pictures that I don't take to convey my particular message but give me a break! Why do I do this? Well...I want my two readers to understand my point of view. I don’t want you two to get bored or to leave me, and then I would just be writing for myself. But guess what? I’m not a professional! Heck, if I got paid to do this shouldn’t I make sure that at least my pictures represented what I was talking about? For instance: If I was writing about HIV infants in Harlem shouldn’t they be babies in the US that were multi racial (Harlem= Black and Latino)? Ummmm…just a thought.
Now, I’m going out on a limb on this one, not that far though, but the man that wrote this thought: Harlem…Africa…no one will know the difference. Silly him! We are pretty quick over in these parts. We use istockphoto also! Well, I don’t have time to really dissect the article; I’ll let someone else do that if you so choose. Check out Slate Magazine for the scoop.

Monday, December 10, 2007

You Need A What?

Since I have been a lot obsessed with Baby I, it has been all about baby products over here. And I have come across some of the funniest and craziest products I have ever seen! Okay, too me at least. I know that as mothers and many new mothers (obsessed) by our precious children we "must have" all of the new gadgets but, some of the stuff that is out there just makes no sense at all. With that said, I thought it would be fun to share some of the silly things that we have come across in our baby/kid product hunting experience.

So, if Baby I has Monsters under her bed I can buy her a can of Monster Spray for $14.95 plus shipping and handling (of course). Whatever! I think I'll stick a label over my Mrs. Meyers Lavender scent cleaning spray which will have the same effect and is about $10 less expensive and I can clean my entire house!
What products have you come across that really don't make any sense? Tasha, you have a list full, give us one that you haven't listed already...if possible or you can give us your favorite.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Long Live McDonald's and Free Speech!

The beauty of living in the USA is free speech. If you don’t like what you hear, turn it off. If you don’t like what you see turn your head. If you don’t like what you read, close the book. Although, this is not always easy and even more difficult if you are married to that book. Unfortunately, in the USA we seem to have way too much time on our hands and pick way too many battles (I know I’ll get lots of comments about this one. Can’t wait!) and the latest one is against McDonald's again! Poor Mickey D’s…Chuckle, chuckle!

Now, I don’t eat the stuff because it makes my stomach hurt (unless it’s a salad or the occasional fries and I suffer through the stomachache) but, I know kids love it, as did I when I was a kid. So, Mickey D’s did a smart marketing move. Yes, they say they have a long-standing and rich heritage of supporting education and academic excellence… blah, blah, blah…it was marketing pure and simple. I’m a business woman and I’m not mad at them. The bottom-line is dollars and cents. All companies have community based programs and McDonald's is no different. Sure, they may care about the community but the bottom-line is they care also about shareholder value. To that end, they created a campaign with the Florida County School District where students received envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald and received coupons for a free happy meal if they got good grades or attendance. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is demanding that McDonald's immediately stop the program! They said it’s advertising to the children and "This promotion takes in-school marketing to a new low," said Susan Linn, director of CCFC. "It bypasses parents and targets children directly with the message that doing well in school should be rewarded by a Happy Meal."

I mean come on people, who is the CCFC trying to fool…they know they take their kids to McDonald’s! It’s only a free Happy Meal. I personally try to stay away from the stuff but, when I have my niece or nephew screaming bloody murder in the back seat of my car and the only thing that will shut them up are those golden yellow arches…excuse me, a free happy meal coupon would come in handy! Maybe they are a little upset because their children don’t qualify for the good grades? I don’t get it…it’s a choice. You see McDonald’s on TV everyday, so it’s not like the kids don’t already know what McDonald’s is. It’s not like parents don’t frequent McDonald’s. If you don’t want to take them there then don’t. I think it’s a great incentive for kids to do good in school…it’s the little stuff, especially in a time when kids don’t get many incentives anymore. Maybe they haven’t seen how much of the budgets are cut or maybe they don’t even care or maybe that’s not the point, I’m pretty sure that’s not the point for them but for me I still don’t get it. I remember the incentives we used to get, paddles on the behind and hand if we didn’t shut up, corporal punishment was still in at my elementary school when I was a kid! Not joking, I’m from Cleveland! The occasional pizza parties, trips, ice cream and so on. Heck, I’m jealous they get McDonald's Happy Meals! I would support Baby I getting a Mickey D coupon although her Happy Meal would probably include a fruit salad or veggie burger or some healthier choice but hey she needs to dream of something why take her hopes away?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Buried in Work

I know that I haven't posted in a week but I've been buried in work (I hate it when that happens)! I have one more day of this craziness then I'll be back to my old self again. Not posting every day self but posting again! See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I SURVIVED NaBloPoMo 2007!

Thanks everyone for reading my rants and raves for the last month. I am full of hope that I didn't piss too many people off, although it has been big fun. Who knew I had so much to say?! I still plan on posting much more frequently just not everyday. Feel free to continue to send me questions or topics that you think I would be interested in reading and commenting on. I will continue to try to keep my postings as interesting as possible and you know I will continue to speak my mind.

I'm going to take a few days off from posting and get this, posting everyday has even inspired me to start a blog for my company (I'm a gluten for punishment) on living the ultimate life. I'll let you know when I start that blog in case you can't get enough of me! LOL

One last thing. Somebody better send me a prize, a candy bar or something for posting everyday (smile)! Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Family Rocking Chair: Priceless

I probably have one of the best gifts ever to share with Baby I that no one else in my family has used since my grandmother. I have my great-great grandmother's rocking chair from Jamaica! How cool is that? This rocking chair is at least 125 years old. My great-great grandmother used it to rock my great grandmother who used it to rock my grandmother who didn't use it to rock any of her kids because her mother had it. Neither did my mother or my two Aunt's. So, I will be the first to rock their children with this rocking chair since my great-grandmother rocked my grandmother.
BTW...the reason the chair looks so close to the ground is because it is. My great grandmother was only 4'10", I can only imagine how tall her mother was. My knees will be up in my chest when I'm rocking Baby I but, the love I will feel when I rock her: priceless.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cooking a Staple?

For Dominicans the base of any meal made is plantano (plantain). Most people think its rice and beans for all Latinos but, for Dominicans (rice and beans is a very close second though) plantains is the main food source (if you will). We can cook it at any stage it comes and any color-- green, yellow, speckled will have a meal on your plate in a jiffy. I love plantains!

I just figured out the reason why I don't enjoy cooking is because I don't really care that much about food... However, in my house there were very few times we fought over food but, one of those times was when my mother was making plantano maduro (sweet/ripe plantains). This was a treat because I was raised in Cleveland and it was difficult (and expensive) to get plantains and when she did, they went just as fast! Now, I live in DC and the culture is so diverse, I can get plantain anywhere, I think I've even seen it at 7-11 next to the Big Gulps.

I don't fight my little brother for my plantano maduro anymore but I still love them. Does this mean I cook them? Of course not, silly...well, not too often that is. LOL So, the staple of the Dominican culture is plantain and the staple of the Ethiopian culture is injera. Uh, OH, although I love (and always have loved) Ethiopian food you know I can’t make it and I’m a little concerned about trying to make injera because it has a taste that you don't want to mess up. But, I want to make sure that I can make it before Baby I comes home. I keep looking in the Safeway aisles for it and they don't have it. Something tells me they won't be getting injera anytime soon. Hey, maybe I should ask them next time I go. What do you think they will say? That would probably be funny. I’ll keep you posted on this one. LOL Maybe this weekend, in my free time (yeah right) I’ll have my first try at making injera and a little snack to go along with it. What do you think about this recipe that someone sent me? I'll let you know how it turned out. Wish me luck.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp baking powder
salt to taste
2 Tbsp canola oil

1. add the yeast to the flour and slowly add the water and stir it well to form a thin batter; cover and let it sit in a warm place for 3 days; stir the batter once a day
2. when ready to make the injera, add the baking powder and salt to taste, stir well
3. heat a large non-stick pan/griddle, brush it with some canola oil, set heat at medium-high
4. take about 1/2 cup of batter and pour it on the pan and swoosh it around to spread the batter into a thin layer on the pan (sort of like making crepe)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Really Hate Cooking

I am actually a pretty good cook, although I don't do it often. However I get inspired when I see all of these cooking shows (operative word here is inspired). But, I guess not inspired enough because I still don't cook. But I do call as many of my friends as I can to see who I can bum a meal from. Luckily they love me and feed me. I don't eat much I'm entertaining so it's ok. Sighhh, I guess that will have to change when Baby I comes home next year. As such, I've tried to get back in the habit of cooking again. It isn't easy because I honestly don't like it! It's so easy to go to Whole Foods and buy sushi, nuke a sweet potato, prepare a salad, eat cereal (my personal favorite) or go on a date just for the free food! Yes, people I am not above going on a date with a man I have absolutely no interest in for the food. It's easy! I act very hungry, order extra and then I have meals for a few saves me on my grocery bills! Don't hate, didn't you hear I'm saving money for my adoption! LOL

Oh yea, getting back to cooking. So, tonight I had to eat and was determined not to eat out. I cooked catfish with fresh string beans. Don't be impressed...the seasoning was out of the box and the string beans were, well, string beans. The meal was tasty but any idiot could have made that meal and tonight the idiot was me. Poor Baby I. Mommy is going to do better, she really is. She is going to remember those lasagnas, homemade macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings, sancocho (a Dominican stew) and other yummy dishes she used to make before you come home, she really is. If not she knows where the local My Girlfriends Kitchen is located!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't Give Up

"If you run into a brick wall, dig under it, go above it, or go around it--but don't give up. Either you have to find a way or make one!"-- Payal Tak

Yup...that's pretty much how I am feeling about a month long of posting! I now have to look for inspirational quotes to keep this up in the midst of migraines, meetings, work and more work...I'm tired. Maybe I'll have more to write on Tuesday. Oh, I have a lot to say I just don't have the energy to write it! I wish I could just speak my thoughts into my computer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Traditions

I was sent this question weeks ago and haven't answered it yet because I was hoping to come up with something very enlightening but instead you get this.

Q: Tami, I'm wondering as an AA woman about to adopt a baby, what kinds of traditions do you envision? I'm asking being a white woman with very little vision about a multicultural holiday, but ready to learn.

A: I'm sorry to disappoint you but, although I've said in many posts, in different ways, I am multicultural, I have no special "multicultural" way of celebrating the holidays. The way my mother raised me was to just celebrate the holidays without thought of any specific culture or race. I suppose we always knew who we were so around the holiday it was just a time to be with the ones we love, be thankful and to celebrate what the season was for. Yes, different parts of my cultural has specific traditions but, because my family was so diverse and maybe because we were in America, we never focused on those things. Around the holiday we just enjoyed each other.
Baby I will be my first child so, as most of you have done, the traditions I will share with her will be those passed on from my family, those I research and that I think I would like to incorporate into our lives. I don't want to start anything too stressful though because life is stressful enough. I'm going to keep it pretty basic to begin with and not focus so much on the "traditions" but more on the experiences, exposure and education. The people I have her around, the places I take her to and the time I spend with her. I don't want to get so caught up and overly obsessed year 1 with every single tradition. Kind of like the hair thing... you know just let the baby's hair just....oh, excuse me I'm getting ready to digress...LOL
I love the holidays so I think it's important to be around those that you love both friends and family. I want my children to appreciate what they have and not look down on others for what they don't have. As such, last year I started working with the homeless or sick and shut in, this will also be a part of our life. I try to attend service on Christmas morning. As far as celebrating the Ethiopian Christmas holidays specifically, I plan to start learning as soon as I can to share with her as well as our friends and family.

Finally, there are many people that read this blog (go figure) that have their children home or are Ethiopian and can share traditions that we can incorporate into our lives not only around the holiday but all year. If you don't mind, please share some of those traditions with us. Selam.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Billboard

I took a picture of this billboard when I was in New York this past summer. I thought a little funny would be a good way to end your Thanksgiving Holiday. Plus, I have absolutely nothing to write about today. Only six more days of writing and you better believe I'm taking a well deserved time off for good behavior!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday or Leftovers?

Today is the infamous Black Friday and I'm a little sad. I'm sad because I have absolutely no money to go join all of the crazy people shopping today! (I know I heard you boo-hoo for me. lol ) Some of the sales today are good and some not so much but never-the-less the day after Thanksgiving Day shopping is/was a ritual for me. I would get up early and hit the stores at 6 am or earlier. For what? I have no idea. I just liked the idea of saying I beat the crowds. I liked watching the mothers fight over the latest toy and men rush to the electronics like little boys that have never grown up. I really got a kick out of this. I rarely bought gifts for anyone else but myself! LOL I'm a bargain shopper or just say shopper period. I buy gifts all year long, when I see the best price or best gift so I'm not stressed out on Birthdays or Christmas...the day after turkey is reserved for me.
But alas, I am sitting in Myrtle Beach not enjoying shopping. Why? Baby I or better yet, reality. The reality that I'm (as I said the other day) a tad low on extra money. I don't really need anything. There are many things I want, but nothing more than having my baby home. To that end, I'm missing 2007 Black Friday. In lieu of shopping (kind of sounds like a death doesn't it?) I think I'll help carve the meat off of the turkey and find some new recipes for leftovers. Don't be jealous about my exciting day, I'm including a recipe for you. But you have to tell me, did you find anything good while shopping today or this weekend?

Black Friday Turkey and Poached Eggs (serves two)

Ingredients: 2 tbsp. white vinegar 6 oz. of stuffing or dressing 5 tbsp. butter 4 oz. turkey 1 lb. spinach 2 large eggs salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Bring pot of water to a simmer and add white vinegar.
3. Shape the stuffing into two patties and saute with 2 tablespoons of butter.
4. Put turkey on top of patties and place in oven (so they stay hot).
5. Saute spinach with remaining butter.
6. Poach eggs for three minutes.
7. To assemble, put stuffing/turkey on plate; top with spinach and eggs; season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 4:00 am and I'm running out the door to drive to Myrtle Beach to visit my mother for Thanksgiving. I wanted to tell everyone to have a blessed day with their friends and families. Who knew I would have become addicted to waking up and even sometimes going to sleep checking on everyone's progress on their journey to family (the highs and even the lows). I have found a new family on the net in many of you, even though we have not met. So, today in addition to all of the other things that I am thankful for I wanted you all to know, I am thankful for you all! Thank you for supporting me these past months during my ups and downs on my journey to Baby I. Virtual Kisses and Hugs! Selam

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Help World Hunger Today

Remember those emails you occasionally received from that annoying friend about going to a particular website to save the world? Well, the email is now a blog posting and the annoying friend is now me (hee hee)!!!! Check out Free Rice where by simply playing a vocabulary game, ten grains of rice are donated for each right answer selected to the United Nations World Food Program. The World Food Program is working with more than 1,000 organizations in more than 75 countries.

Since more than 25,000 people die annually from hunger I think I can be your annoying friend today and I give you permission to goof off at work and play this game. Hey, you are goofing off anyway and reading blogs so go ahead and play, it's okay! Oh, and you will have a much better vocabulary to wow your supervisor with. Maybe I should play, then I'll stop using urban language like WTF (I was just told this is important nomenclature), holla and whateve. Even more importantly maybe I can beat my mother at Scrabble. Yea...WHATEVER!!! Is that better? LOL

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Reasons to Believe What You Read?

Today the UN released the 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update Reports on the latest developments in the global AIDS epidemic. The 2007 edition provides the most recent estimates of the AIDS epidemic and explores new findings and trends in the epidemic’s evolution BUT GET THIS, the top UN AIDS scientists were only pulling our leg about the enormity of the epidemic. That's right folks! The scientists "said" they were overestimating both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to the U.N (Washington Post article).

One AIDS expert, James Chin (author of "The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology With Political Correctness") even had the audacity to say, "the numbers are more at 25 million not 33 million ... (the epidemic) It's a little high, but it's not outrageous anymore." Yup...I bet those 33, 25, 15 million or xxx million people feel LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kiddie Domain Names

I just heard that parents are buying up Website names for their newborns or preborns (Does that even make sense? I just came up with that.) So that name you are thinking of, you better reserve it now so they can have a facebook page of their own. You don't want them to feel left out do you. Sighhh...what happened to the good ole' days of teasing and taunting with the simple things like ice cream or stealing (oops I mean borrowing) each others doll babies? Now we have to worry about buying domain names even before the little brats (oops again! I mean luv bugs...hee hee...just jokes) get here. Now they walk around saying I have my own domain name what do you have? Or just contact me @ http://www.missygirlwhatev/. See my face page, self page, space or WHATEV!

Geez... well Moms get your credit cards out and start thinking about those names because little Pacey, Madison, Parker, Gabi, Arriele will hate you forever if you don't have a domain name for her. I mean Mom what were you thinking?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Cure for Telemarketers

I don't answer my phone when the caller id. shows unlisted or unavailable. It could be someone I don't want to talk to like: an ex boyfriend, one of my colleges asking for money, a bill collector (of course I pay my bills, but it could happen right?...LOL), my aunt (I see her name, I just don't pick up the phone because she talks entirely too much), one of my credit card/mortgage companies with a great offer or the dreaded telemarketer (I put my name on that opt-out list but somehow I keep getting calls!). For the past few days my phone has continued to ring and the caller id. kept showing unavailable. This morning I decided to answer the phone to see what was so important. The conversation went something like this:

" Hello"

"Good Morning, I'm Tim calling from Eastern Marketing Company, yesterday you started a survey with us. Would you like to continue today?"

"Good Morning. What perfect timing because I'm conducting a survey also. I'm adopting a baby from Ethiopia as a single parent. I'm having a few issues trying to figure out how to raise money to finish paying for the adoption. Also what color do you think I should paint the baby's room? At what age do you think I should put her into daycare? Do you think I should work full or part-time? But I really need to work full-time...Oh I forgot to tell you about my business. Hello.... Hello... Tim? Are you still there?"

I laughed hysterically. I don't think Eastern Marketing Company will call me back again. The point is, start asking them a lot of questions and see how they like it!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fittin' In With The Adoption Trend

I interviewed someone the other and at the conclusion of the interview we were just chatting. She started talking about her kids, I mentioned my adoption (there is no surprise there). She said "oh, how nice, it's so trendy these days, that's the in thing." I was floored. I said "well, no, it's not an in thing to do. People adopt because they love children." Everything else is a blur. But, I still like her, and she understands that adoption is not "trendy" and is very embarrassed by her comment. I guess I will contract her.

Adoption trendy? Very funny, I'll be sure to remember that as I am saving, scrimping and trying to figure out how to pay for my adoption. Trying to be the best single mom I can. I have to fit in with the Jones ya' know!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ethiopian Jungle Crud

What is "Ethiopian Jungle Crud?" Beats me but on an adoption board this phrase got thrown out and I was sent an email about it from another PAP. It looks like I have become the Diaspora Adoption Diversifier (for a lack of a better term). This particular family was pretty annoyed about this email that was going back and forth from this family that just picked up their daughter from Ethiopia. Apparently the husband got sick and the family said he got the "Ethiopian Jungle Crud." Well, the PAP that emailed me said Addis is not in the jungle...true...and was concerned about what they would teach their child about Ethiopia--truth or fiction?

I was curious so I went to board and read the email. I felt bad that the man got sick but I was disturbed by what he called his sickness and really wondered why he would call it the Jungle Crud? Ummm...anyway, you know I sent the board an email and did I get backlash. Probably, many are reading this blog this morning...oh excuse my impoliteness...GOOD MORNING! :-)

So, this is what I said:
What is this Ethiopian Crud? Is this what the doctor called it (because I looked it up online and couldn’t find any medical definition for it) or is this what you and your husband have decided to call it? I can tell you it does not sound very nice to me and I am offended by it. Addis is not in the Jungle so to me this has a very negative connotation of what you believe Ethiopia to be and your understanding of Ethiopia. Furthermore, when I saw the word "crud" and I saw “hassle”… like see what I had to go through to pickup this little baby. Traveling anywhere and simply getting on a plane can be a hassle. When I travel across country I get sick so again, this just didn't sit well with me (you can say it is just me but this was brought to my attention by someone else on the board.). I have said this on other boards, I say this on my blog, and I will say it on this are now stepping into a new world where you are not only adopting an Ethiopian child but you are adopting a Diaspora. You now must think about the subtleties of the words in which you speak and write. Those things which may not seem like such a big deal to you are very offensive to others. Selam

Guess what happened then? Someone threatened to call my adoption agency on me! They said I was ridiculous! It was just a few words and yes maybe they were not the right words but this was simply ridiculous. Who is this Tami person...I sent them to my blog. This was my response:

My name is Tami. The purpose of my email was to let you know exactly what I said, how words come across to people and how they can come across as racist. This is a forum for learning and trust me you better learn some of these lessons now, while your babies are young. Race is a very touchy issue and people don't like to hear it or discuss it, I force people to see it and talk about it...many people don't like me because of it...sorry. I live it daily. I am actually pretty friendly, I talk about this, I can laugh about it...many others won't. If any of you feel the need to call Gladney about me please do but I think you are over reacting. Trust that they read my blog just like everyone else. Selam.

Just another day in Happy Blog Land for Me! Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blogging While Brown

I think I'm in trouble. I may need to commit myself. I need some serious drugs: Twizzlers, M&Ms, Ding-Dongs, Kit-Kats, Reece's Pieces...oh, these aren't drugs? Well, I just need them anyway because I really like them and they make me happy when I eat them...but I digress. I found out about another blogging event, the International Conference for Bloggers of Color. I think I may attend, it's in Atlanta and an opportunity to see my friends and do some business. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do there and what purpose my blog will serve but I may be there. Possibly by then I will have a new blog name and more purpose. I think the blog purpose is becoming clearer though...I annoy as many people as I make happy! LOL

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ebony or Michael?

This months Ebony is filled with great information about Africa you should pick up a copy however, that is not what I really want to talk about (of course not). When you pick it up look at the cover, it's Michael J.! Dang, whatever happened to Michael? I still feel bad for him (did you see the movie?). He was such a cute kid and even a decent looking man then he became...well, very interesting...okay, I'm not quite sure what he looks like now but I still love his old music. Back to my original point: Ebony has a pretty good magazine out this month about Africa you should go pick up a copy! LOL

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

African American Support for Your Adoption

Believe it or not, I did receive a few questions in my I Help Where I Can post. I have just been trying to come up with a witty response so here is my first response. We still have 16 days so I'm accepting questions! LOL

Question: Your perspective on how white adoptive parents can work at gaining support from the AA community in adoption (in terms of trust). I find that many of my AA friends/ acquaintances aren’t to keen about my adoption. I want to work at finding that support in my local AA community. I want to meet folks where they are I’m not expecting them to come to me.

Answer: Well, this is quite a dilemma you have here. Don't feel bad because you are not alone. I'll let you in on a little secret, a lot of African Americans aren't too keen on us (other AA) adopting African, Haitian or any baby of color that is not "African American." I get criticized regularly for my Ethiopian adoption so, my first point is: you will not be accepted by all African Americans simply because you are adopting a little brown baby. Now, once your little bundle of joy is here he/she will clearly be American and be considered African American through most eyes. So, how do you get the adults to understand you want to meet them where they are and you don't expect them to meet you where you are? Simply put, lots of hard work and effort.

Don't use where you live, your family, friends, work, community or any of that as an excuse. What I mean by all of that is, it takes a concerted effort. Let me give you an example. In Cleveland my Aunt has a friend who is white who adopted a black daughter. They live in an all white community yet weekly she drives 35 + miles (one way) to make sure her daughter can play and socialize with another black child and family. The mother has made friends with my Aunt who, in turn, has introduced her to other families. Her child may live and go to school in an all white community during the week but, on the weekend she is part of an African American community and activities (The irony of this is my Aunt lives in a white community also but hers has a few more Blacks). The mother joined a black mother's group and no they were not too keen on her joining at first. She said she joined for her child and kept coming back, they eventually got over it (she had a lot of "balls" and my Aunt had to fight for her). Ultimately, you simply need to have very, very, very thick skin and keep the course. Eventually, the community and your acquaintances will come around. And then the honest truth is some of them never will. I have lost some friends on my journey to adopt my child(ren) and you know what? That is fine by me! If they can't accept this new part of my life and that God has called for me to be a mother to 1 or 2 children from Ethiopia then they are not meant to be in my circle.
So, you have to continue to expose your child and make sure it is all about your child. Be clear, what they are saying under their breath is "uh hu" sure...we'll see...but is that really any different from what I would get if I decided I loved hockey and am now a huge fan. I want to know everything about it and go to all the games and become part of the community. I want to be accepted and I want everyone to love me. Nope! Probably not. Hockey is a predominately white sport. Are there any blacks that play? I'm sure there are at least 1 or 2 we are everywhere (heehee) but you get my point! Eventually, the people at the hockey ring would see I really am serious about hockey because I keep coming back every week...then I can speak the language, I know the people and I'm comfortable in the arena, nothing is made up.
Becoming part of the African American community will be the same for you. However, whatever you do please, please, I beg you as you try to meet AA where they are do not speak Ebonics or say one of my best friends is black, neither are cool at all! LOL

Monday, November 12, 2007

Worth More Dead

Ford Magazine just came out with their Top-Earning Dead Celebrities List. The 13 legends grossed a combined $232 million in the past 12 months, can you believe that? You know the King Elvis was on the list, along with Dr. Seuss, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Einstein and my boy Tupac but I swear I saw him last week!

This list actually made me think and realize (I don't know about you) but I REALLY am worth more dead than alive (scary but true...sorry Mommy)....let's see:

-there's the house (I live in DC you look at real estate here!)

- two life insurance polices (I won't tell you how much they are worth but Baby I will be chillin' on the French Riviera when I'm 6ft under)

- the business (it will be worth financial planner says it is worth $xxxK if I sold it today...any takers? LOL)

- the car (it's a depreciating asset but an asset none the less...LOL)

- jewelry, artwork, furniture and other stuff (you can still make money at yard sales you know!)

Oh well, since I'm still alive and happy I should continue to work on trying to make it on the Gladney's Mommy list first...I'll be happy with that!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nothing to Say!

After 10 days of posting I am having a very difficult time of finding something to say! But guess what? Many people are also. I went to chou-chou, Jaime, and Katy's blogs and they are all saying the same thing, this posting everyday is hard! Now, mind you, we are all women that ALWAYS have something to say, yet we are at a loss for words. I guess it happens to the best of us. I'll do better tomorrow, I promise!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Spring Trophy!

Everyone loves the Spring because it signifies the start of something new, something fresh. spring flowers, spring cleaning, spring freshness, spring air, spring clothes and a spring foot ball league! We'll bring home the trophy in the Spring!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Things Mothers Do

I forgot to mention my flag football team made it to the playoffs! That's right Jocelyn, I'm a football star --I may need a manager after all! My family is still a little perplexed as to how I am on a winning football team, I told them I'm a good luck charm. HEEHEE. Yes, I actually play (offense and defense).

Our playoff game(s) is/are this Saturday, 9am. My mother is so proud, so much so she has driven 7 hours from Myrtle Beach, SC to DC to see me play football. Now, that is supporting her baby girl! LOL I suppose these are the crazy things mothers do for their children. I know I would do the same for Baby I...okay, I lie. I would get on a plane, not drive, but I would go see her in the playoffs even if she were a grown 'ole woman!

Keep your fingers (and toes crossed) and wish my team (Wolfpack) winnings for Saturday...we want to come home with the trophy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A New Appreciation For Food Today

I don't know about you but, I can get caught up and forget how blessed I am. However, I am trying to be more present in my life and to my blessings. To that end, I was on someone elses blog (sorry I can't remember which blog, I was jumping) the other day when I came across a wonderful reminder of one my blessings that I knew I had to share. Time Magazine put together a photo essay on what the world eats and it really made me stop and think about how blessed I am and blessed to simply be able to have food (okay to have the ability to purchase it because my refrigerator is normally empty...I'm still single after all!). And to not pay the prices in Europe...YIKES!

As I am typing this I am also thinking about how little my daughter's family probably has to eat right now. I wonder what my daughter's mother and father are doing right now. How they are feeling. Since my daughter is not yet born (I'm moving at a snails pace) it makes me a little sad to think they may be hungry and possibly sick. Maybe my daughter has other siblings that are crying right now because they are, this is a humbling thought while I am sitting here at my laptop drinking a soy latte and getting ready to go to the gym for yoga. After you look at these photos I'm sure that you'll have a different appreciation for the food you eat today also. Selam.

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favorite foods: fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blog Name Change

I have posted over 90 rants and raves. Who knew I had so much to say? Well, my mother and many of my teachers I'm sure would say "we did." Now, it is time for you all to know the truth about me...I tend to have a short attention span. I need to have frequent change (that is the Gemini in me or the Attention Deficit Disorder...heehee). So, now I'm bored! Not bored with posting, but bored with my blog name. What made me think I could pick one blog color and remain happy for a year or more? What was I thinking? I'm sure it was the excitement of the moment! Well, I need to change something about the blog and the most obvious is the name, it just doesn't reflect my current state. My adoption is and will forever be a blessing however, it is more than that. I am more than that. I want the name to be reflective of me, my life and our (me and Baby I) life. I've seen some really cool blog names out there, please help me find a new blog name.

WARNING...this is something like picking a baby won't be easy! LOL OKAY...I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What is he thinking?

I called one of my neighbors yesterday and he was spending the day with his daughter. Ordinarily I would have said great but, I said "isn't it Monday and shouldn't she be at school?" He said "yes, it is but, it is her birthday, she is turning 10." "Oh, okay I get it, it's a holiday." "Exactly" he said. "Okay, I'll talk to you later." I said

Okay, are you ready for my comment to this conversation? WHAT THE F#$@? Since when is it okay for a parent to take their child out of school to celebrate their birthday at Chuckie Cheese? Yes, yes I know a parent can do what he/she wants to do with their child but, what values are we instilling in our children when we show them that we can take them out of school at the drop of a hat to celebrate what most people celebrate on the weekends. Let's be serious, it's not a religious holiday, Christmas or even President's's a 10 year old's birthday for goodness sakes. I wanted to tell my neighbor to get a grip, go buy some cupcakes, goody bags and drop his kid off at school but then I remembered a few things.

First, I heard my mother saying "Tami mind your business." So, I didn't say a word instead I'm complaining to the blogosphere. Next, I remembered this is the same person that gets his kid a personal shopper at Nordstroms. Yes, a personal shopper! The first time I heard this I said to him "Excuse me? Haven't you ever heard of TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack or Potomac Mills (the outlet mall)." He said "Oh no, I've never taken my daughter to one of those stores." I laughed and said, "hmm...silly you. My kid will love them, be happy and very cute. What she will never see is a personal shopper from Nordstroms unless it is her own money!"

SIGHHHH...what is he thinking or maybe it's just me. Maybe Baby I will be deprived because my mother had this theory unless I was dying...I was going to school every single day!!!!!!!! She did allow me to miss senior cut day though. I didn't want to cut so I told her it was senior cut day and she let me stay home. That was nice. Oh, and it was the time when I wore a mini skirt to school (when they were not allowed...yes, I'm dating myself here) and they sent me home to change but my mother was mad because she said it wasn't too short and let me stay home all day...that was it! I missed two days from school (let's not talk about the days I was suspended that is another post LOL)...the other days I missed I was dying! Lesson for Baby I: it's school or you better be dying.

Are you Ethiopian?

This past weekend I went to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant (Addis Ababa) in downtown Silver Spring. Every time I go I get asked "are you Ethiopian?" This is how the scene usually goes (and how it went on Saturday night). We entered a crowed restaurant, the hostess comes to me and says something in Amharic. I smile and say hello. She still doesn't get it, then says something else in Amharic pointing to two different tables. I choose one table, my friend says no choosing the other, we sit down. The waitress comes back smiling at me and saying hello to him politely. She gives us menus, I proceed to explain to him the food selection and he just says for me to order whatever is good. The waitress is standing behind him while he says all of this. I place the order, she smiles as I order him an Ethiopian Beer and myself Ethiopian Honey Wine. I think the waitress finally started to pick up on the fact that I was not responding to anyone in Amharic...hmmm.

My friend said the hostess and the other waitresses were taking bets on if I was Ethiopian or not. I said I know, it happens all of the time. It never fails, in DC it is pretty much assumed I am Ethiopian only ocassionally do I get Dominican (I'm not offended, it's kinda cool). Finally, my waitress comes and asks me "are you Ethiopian?" I say no. She looked a little shocked and disappointed. She walked away quickly and that was that. I didn't get anymore big smiles from her all night. sighhhhhhhh I didn't even have a chance to say my proud statement..."I'm in the process of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia!" I love saying that!

My friend had a huge laugh, made lots of jokes, and said I better learn Amharic fast before I'm accused of not being proud of my heritage. I guess I better find an Amharic class in 2008!

*Sidebar: In my heritage research I found out that DNA from the Fulani tribe shares some of the same DNA from that of Ethiopians some more some less. Maybe when my daughter comes I'll get tested more to find out if we share similar DNAs.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Holiday Time Again?

This year is going so fast. I can't believe I am seeing commercials for Christmas already! Every year I say I am not going to be Ebeneezer Scrooge but I'm not going to lie, I feel myself starting to get in a blah mood already. I remember how much I loved Christmas as a kid growing up, it was awesome! We always had a big tree, lots of food, family and of course I had lots of toys/gifts! I'm so tired of it just being me on Christmas!!!!! I want to play Santa Claus, fix big dinners and create my own family traditions.

My best friend invited me to LA to spend Christmas with her and her family (btw she had her baby last Tuesday, they named him Christian). I may or may not go, I haven't decided yet. However, I do know one thing, this is my last year of having a solo Tami Christmas. Next year will be my first year of a Mommy and Baby I Christmas. It will be the beginning of my family traditions.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Help Where I Can

I thought I would try something new. I've received several emails (some nice and some not so nice) from current mothers and other PAPs saying they appreciate my straightforward comments, I provide them a view they need for raising a child from the Diaspora. Okay, I said that, they said Ethiopian, black or African American child. LOL Anyway, I thought this would be a good month to open up my blog to questions. The kinds of questions you were afraid to ask someone else, didn't have anyone else to ask or simply wanted another opinion.

When you send me questions they don't post automatically (I have to approve them first) so you can either send them to me anonymously or you can include your name. I will not post your questions in the comments section if you ask me not to. I'm not trying to "out" anyone for their questions. I'm actually looking to be helpful and simply looking for something to write about for these 30 days! LOL If I don't get any questions...I'll make something up!!!!! Just kidding. I'll think of something witty to write about (as usual).

So, what questions do you have??? I'm sure there is something that you have been dying to ask but you didn't have anyone to ask, here is your opportunity!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Education is Key

A few weeks back on the adoption boards a conversation took place where a mother was having a difficult time making a decision as to whether she should place her Ethiopian child in a public charter or traditional public school. Neither school was ranked extremely high academically but the charter school was located closer to her job, primarily black and had a slight gang/violence problem. The traditional public school was located closer to her home but was almost all white. She was torn. She felt she had an opportunity to provide her child(ren) with a black experience and wanted to do so since neither school seemed to be any better but she was concerned about the violence...AND RIGHTLY SO.

My friends and I have spent time debating where the best place to send our children to school is. I live in DC and we definitely have a number of educational challenges, as well as choices: charter, public and private schools. But you better believe I want nothing to do with anything that is segregated. As much as I love who I am, I know who I am (and I will make sure that so does Baby I) so I don't need an all Black grade school for my child to know that. I want my child to know and appreciate the entire world of diversity - other cultures, foods and languages - it is who she is, who I am and who my friends are. However, I understand this is an issue for some families.

We are in a time of crisis in public education but, there are great things going on in every city and don't let anyone tell you there is not. Also, don't let anyone tell you bad things about good options such as charter schools. Charter schools are good options for our children but not every charter school works but guess what? Neither do all public schools and many haven't worked for say 50 years now. At least if a charter school is not performing they shut it down, I can't say that for traditional public schools.

Don't let the race card stand in the way of your child's education. Fight for what you believe your child deserves. This is your child's future. Don't just put your black child around some black kids during the day because you feel guilty for being white or living in an all white community if the school you are going to send your child to is substandard and the environment is not safe--you will be doing your child a disservice (and I know you don't want to do that). No one can learn in an unsafe environment. It's sad to say but, it is very difficult to get gang activity and violence out of schools and to get high quality teachers that will tolerate unsafe environments. So, just remember when thinking about where to send your child to school, the best education isn't just about academics but, it also includes factors like violence and ethnic composition of a school (scary we have to think about these things isn't it, but we do). Yes, so much to think about.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Duped by National Adoption Month

Yes, today is the first day of National Blog Posting Month and also the first day of National Adoption Month or is that National Adoption Awareness Month. I know what the first one means (I have to write everyday for 30 days) but I don’t really know what the second one is so I did a little research. I found out there is a National Adoption Day, National Adoption Week, and get this I thought National Adoption Month was to bring awareness to the issue of adoption in general but silly me “while all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.” Oh, I’m sorry then shouldn’t we have a National Foster Care Month? What’s that? May is National Foster Care Month.

Okay, before everyone sends me hate mail I tried to understand the difference of National Adoption Awareness Month. I wanted to see if someone unofficially did this to include all areas of adoption not just foster care. As you may or may not know National Adoption Month is actually recognized by the President. I want to believe that someone was thoughtful enough to realize that National Adoption Month was simply divisive to the adoption community and did not include international adoption or even those that never went through the foster care system. However, I kept finding the same definition even for National Adoption Awareness Month so I can't help but feel a little duped by the title National Adoption Month. This month really isn't about me/us...the focus is about adopting out of foster care and oh yea... we know you are adopting also but...whatever! I'm sorry, I just don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from the definition of National Adoption Month.

When I talk about adoption, I speak about it for all children domestically and internationally, my choice just happened to be internationally because it worked better for me. I guess I thought this is what National Adoption Month or National Adoption Awareness Month would be...something inclusive of all facets of adoption.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Me= Sucker?

Visit NaBloPoMo

There's a sucker born every minute and I guess my time has come. I was foolish enough to visit chou-chou and she posed a challenge for November and I foolishly accepted (love ya chou-chou) yes, even after thinking about it.

If you didn't know it, you do now, November is National Blog Posting Month (you may need that answer for a Jeopardy question). What will Americans think of next? We are always making stuff up and the saddest or best part (half-empty/half-full) is there is ALWAYS someone there that will buy into it. So, being that I am a blog stalker (I've finally admitted it, I even stalk my own blog to see who has left me comments), I have decided to write something every single day for the month of November! If you too would like to join in with my misery...oh I'm sorry, I mean fun really I do (smile) go to NaBloPoMo and sign up...misery loves company.

Finally, to the folks who really like my blog, you are in for a treat because I am actually going to be forced to step it up a notch. And for those people that don't like me...Why are you still reading my blog??????? GOTCHA

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Mother's Child

My friend Chenita, Me and My Mommy

I remember saying I would never be like my mother but now I find myself doing/saying the same things that my mother does. I am my mother’s child! For example, I swore I would never….

  • Go to bed early... I fall asleep in front of the TV around 9 pm or earlier if nothing is keeping my attention.

  • Say "This Too Shall Pass" or "You'll Get Over It" or "You Know You Can Have Anything You Want"....I say them all!

  • Get tired of hanging out on weekends with my friends... My couch is oh so comfortable; my friends say I'm the worse to try to get out of the house!
What are those things you swore you would never do that your mother did and now you find that you have become your mother (or a better version ;-) )?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bermuda Part #1

I finally managed to download my pictures from Bermuda. This is only Part 1, stay tuned for more from this fun filled, FREE cruise. Yes, I must rub it in.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Bermuda Triangle????
Hamilton, Bermuda
Bermuda Shorts
Me! Say Cheese!!!!!!!!
Brian Culberton sponsored a ping pong tournament. There he is playing. One of the great things about the cruise was that the artists were just hanging out. Brian also has soooo much energy when he plays...he is an awesome musician, worth the buy!
A lunch time jazz session.
Me and Lalah Hathaway (Donnie Hathaway's daughter). She is a real sweetheart. She has one of the smoothest voices out...what a songstress! If you remember what good music used to sound like pick up her CD!
Ledisi performing. If you haven't heard of her or had the pleasure of hearing her music then I would run not walk to the store to purchase the CD!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Either Love Me or Leave Me

…And you're still reading my blog because???? If you haven’t figured it out yet I’m pretty sarcastic but –here we go again- racist I’m not. I know some people won’t address these things, they just say it will pass but not me…no way, I think it’s great to discuss and it will make a great conversation piece for my daughter’s life book so thanks for the memories! Plus it gives me something to blog about. It also adds to my point that race is ALWAYS an issue and probably ALWAYS will be so even more so the reason why I have my blog and am addressing the topics I am. Again, it isn’t going away. I live this stuff everyday! Sorry, if I offend but I get offended quite often because of my race…Hey, you get sick of me talking about it but guess what there are whole organizations/companies devoted to this exact topic…I just talk about it on occasion.

To the two anonymous messages that I received thanks, I’m glad I stirred up emotion in you. I think it’s pretty cool that I have that power, now if I can only do good with this power! J (You are probably not laughing right now but I am!) FYI, the positive comments received on my site are from other white bloggers so obviously I’m not so racist. If you take the time to go through my site you would see I have never posted anything negative about my posts to be clear on my views before you attack me. Now as far as the last post I said that the woman should use less expensive products and I asked the question…Whatever happened to Vaseline? Hey lady…it was a question!!!!!!!!! Jeez…I laughed when I wrote that! You should have also! Maybe you need an extracurricular activity or something! Hey Tasha or Chou Chou can you suggest one for her? Maybe she should read Michael Moore’s books or watch his movies (love him or leave him)…I love him!

The point is…one person is never going to see the same thing another person sees. Secondly, different races tend to see things differently because we have different experiences. This blog is merely a blog from my perspective…you can either take it or leave it but as I heard a pastor say: stop coming if you don’t like my sermon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Big Haircare Dilemma

Well I'm off cruising in the morning and I can't stand to leave without a post. Have a good week and enjoy my latest rants.

Every time I see a post on the adoption board about haircare I immediately cringe. I know that it is going to be something, for the lack of a better word, "interesting." I mean just because you are adopting a black child does not mean the haircare product you purchase must have the name Africa in it, be purchased in the motherland, or say specifically for black hair. (FYI...Most of my friends use products like Sebastian, Enjoy, KMS, etc on their hair). Your kids are just kids. They don't need a whole lot of stuff in their hair anyway...the more you put in their hair the more dependent you are making it on the products and they are way to young for that. As one of my friends says, just let their hair do what it is going to do. No matter how much stuff you put their hair is never going to be straight so get over it. The names of some of these products: WTF... Africa Hair, Mizura, Loc Butter? I don't even put that stuff in my head. People don't believe the hype! I also read that someone was so upset about Carol's Daughter products because they liked using them on their daughter but they were so expensive. I'm not going to knock another sister's products, they are good but yes they are expensive, there are other products on the market...USE THEM!

Side bar...this same woman said she only bathed her kid once a week because she thought her daughter's skin got too dry (she moisturized twice a week only)because the products were too expensive. Lady use another less expensive product, give your kid a bath and moisturize her daily are you kidding me? Whatever happened to good 'ole Vaseline? Johnson & Johnson makes some great products. I still use some of their products on my skin and I'm as soft as a baby's ...well you know. Sighhh

Growing up my mother used Johnson & Johnson No More Tangles on my hair and it worked just fine (and I could sit on my hair). I know that dealing with ethnic hair is a challenge for some of you. I see the fear in your faces when you talk about hair care and I see the end result on your child's head. We don't want them to look crazy but please don't go to the extreme. Don't put multiple products on their hair. They don't need gels, freeze and shine, moouse, cremes and all of that stuff. It doesn't have to be some imported product from Africa (or so it says). Different kids need different things.

Finally, while I respect the views many of the adoptive mothers have provided on the big hair care dilemma I would advise if you are just very stumped find a good black hair salon to get the 411, if you don't have a good girlfriend to tell you the truth about which products to use or not to use. Oh and one more thing...let the baby's hair grow! I know she looks cute to you with short hair but in our community we have a love affair with hair (at least while they are kids) so let it grow, let it grow.

Following is a poem that I found about nappy hair. I love my nappy hair and I'm proud! :-)

Nappy-Headed by Latasha Williams

I came to this world with nappy hair
And when I was too young to really care
I loved to twirl each curl in my hand
And appreciate the texture of every strand.
But when I got older I was told
That the straightest hair was just like gold.
My hair got ironed with a metal comb
And the smell of burning grease made me moan.
I got a relaxer to run from the smoke,
But the pain of my overcooked scalp was no joke.
I even tried a Jheri curl to give myself a break
But being a target of jokes made my heart ache.
Oh, the day I turned my back on chemicals and heat,
I felt so free - oh, what a treat!
I trimmed off what was left of the damaged mess
And saw in the mirror what I thought was success.
But society said I had lost my mind
And that I would run back to tradition in time.
I got the strangest looks everywhere
And even loved ones frowned at my nappy hair.
I can't get a black brother to take me out for a meal
Since my hair lacks European appeal.
But when I look at my origin,
The continent of Africa, where my ancestors had been
And the beauty of the people who live there,
I saw nothing wrong with my nappy hair.
God gave me this hair
So I should not be ashamed
It is part of who I am
Ain't nothin' wrong with it, I exclaimed.
So I will wear my Afro, my twists and my coils!
I will not allow my confidence to be soiled.
Even if my hair is locked and dreaded,
I am proud of being nappy-headed.