Friday, August 30, 2013

We're Going to Try This ONE More Time

Thank you to everyone who has supported us through all the adoption highs and lows these last few years. Thank you to those who have followed my silly little blog and have reached out and connected with me on this journey.

It's been a tough road having to fight so hard to start a family. But all the friends we've made, the support system that has swarmed around us to lift us up, and our precious son has all been worth it. I don't know where we'd be without Kal's birth mom and all the amazing people we've met along this journey.

We want to adopt once more... and we've agreed that after one more adoption attempt, our emotional energy will be spent and we will be DONE. But we can't imagine Kal not having a sibling, so it's worth it to try one more time. Even though the last time was heartbreaking and disappointing. :(

The rest of 2013 will be spent in fundraising for the next adoption. We lost money we didn't really have to lose when we paid lawyer fees and took off work and drove across the country in July.

It was still worth it. We loved that baby and wanted so badly to meet him and hold him and call him by the name we chose for him. We wanted so badly to meet his birth mother and get to know her in person. She made it seem like she made a connection with us and that she wanted us to be the parents of her new little guy and remove him from the drama that surrounded him - drama he didn't ask to be born into. We were so, so honored that we were going to get to be the ones who were there for her when she needed someone on her side... when she needed someone there for her son.

For whatever reason, that didn't happen... I don't think we'll ever know how that story ended. And unfortunately, the money was already spent. If we want to adopt again, we have to save for it again.

I wish it wasn't about money. I wish lawyers didn't charge an arm and a leg to fill out some paperwork. It's dumb. All I really care about is that there is an almost 2-month-old baby that we'll never get to know, who we imagined a future for. And that we're left here still struggling to add to our family, but on top of that we're distrustful and scared to do this again.

But then again... I do remember how happy we were when we got to take care of Kal in the hospital right after he was born. How lucky he is to have Zay as a father. How much his birth mom means to all of us. How we got to witness the power of a woman's choice... the choice of life and the choice of adoption. No one could make those decisions but her - no one could decide what was right but her, but when she did... she stuck with it... and knew what she wanted for him and for her and for us.

That was such a beautiful time. Adoption means so much to us. But it is SO dang hard.

Sooooo, just one more time. We're going to try this one more time...

On a completely different note, we went to a birthday party recently. Here's some pics from that. :)

Zay teaching Kal proper football-throwing form.

Can't really catch yet, haha.

Noticing me with the camera, thinking he has to pose. :)

We ate a LOT right before throwing the football. Hence the pot belly.

When he misses, he says "oh no!" and falls on the ground... this is his about-to-fall face.

Awesome form. But saggy britches. Soaking wet from the water slide they had set up.

Maybe I shouldn't put this on the blog! But I was talking and I looked over to see that his shorts had fallen down around his ankles and he was waving streamers up and down and giggling uncontrollably. I had to get a pic. Ha ha ha ha.

He gets crazy around his friends.

Laughing/screaming. Ha ha ha!

Zay can't make a straight face. Lol.

Cereal Days

Sometimes... cookie crisp is as healthy as we're going to get that day...

I'm doing much better with cooking. I've been impressed with my kitchen skills lately (meaning, I haven't burnt much... and I've actually been putting dinner on the table most days of the week).

But every once in awhile, there are cereal days. It happens. Lol.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When My Boy is Sick

Nothing gets done. Nothing but snuggling and marathons of Kal's fave shows. It's not too bad. But he misses his friends when he has to miss playdates and birthday parties. :(

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rainy Days

I love the rain. I miss it. Utah doesn't give me enough of it. But when it does rain, I can just sit outside and stare at it for the longest time. Kal's my little rainy day buddy, of course. He's my everything/everyday buddy.

He's very, very cautious about touching water that's falling from the sky. Ha ha.

He likes to tell me about things the second after they happen. Like, "I just touched the rain! And it was wet! And it got all over my hands!" (in his baby/toddler language) Ha ha. Yep, buddy. I saw that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Transracial Adoption: Taking Care of My Son's Hair

Hair is really important to us, so I may go all over the place with this! But I wanted to talk about how we take care of Kal's hair and how other parents of African American children could do the same. This isn't just for adoptive parents, although I know that encompasses a lot of my readers. My biological children would look very much like Kal anyway, so hair care would've been a big part of my life either way. :)

Every child's hair is slightly different in its hair needs (and the weather can affect how much moisturizing it needs), but this is from my experience working with ethnic hair on a regular basis and with my son's hair. Here are some of my thoughts:

* Wash hair only to remove build-up or dirt, really. Maybe 1-2 times a week at most. And most of those washes (3 out of 4 times) you only really need to use a good conditioner (which has enough hair detergent to cleanse the hair without needing shampoo) rather than washing with shampoo and following it up with a conditioner. Shampoo can strip hair of its own natural oils (that keep it healthy and moisturized) if overused.

* Use sulfate-free shampoo when you do shampoo, because sulfates can strip the hair of natural oils. I suggest skipping buying shampoo altogether and use Apple Cider Vinegar as a more natural approach to cleansing hair.

* Use a light conditioner that is free of silicone-based products (there are tons of choices, but we use Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition).

* Moisturize as needed (dry weather - moisturize more often, every day or every other day) directly on the scalp (part the hair every inch or so with a rat-tail comb and run the product very lightly along the part line with your fingers, massaging it into the scalp).

* You need two things to "moisturize" the hair: the actual moisturizer (like a leave-in conditioner or detangler like Kinky-Curly Knot Today or As I Am) and then an oil to seal the moisture in (like Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil ). You can easily put way too much oil in their hair. Don't go crazy with it. It's just a light moisturizing.

* Kal's hair is really short right now, but when we grow it out we have to detangle! If we didn't, his hair would lock into natural forming dreads and there will be a build-up of hair that needs to be shed but can't because it's stuck. Only detangle when hair is wet (in the bath) or if you run leave-in conditioner throughout the hair (when you're moisturizing it and massaging leave-in conditioner into the scalp anyway). Never detangle dry hair because that causes breakage. Start at the ends and work your way all the way to the scalp. You should be able to run a metal pick all the way through his hair with no problem when you're done. Moms: don't get too attached to the "curls" to the point where you don't want to detangle. You can style it so that it's still curly. But regular detangling is necessary if the hair is worn freely and not braided/twisted. Also: don't let your child's sensitive scalp keep you from ever styling it. They'll get used to it.

* For moms of boys: Don't get too attached to his "soft" baby hair, because the texture will change as he gets older. Just roll with it! Don't get upset about having his first haircut. It's necessary. A part of growing up.

* When you do get his hair cut, take him to a black barber (or learn from a black barber) who knows how to do a lineup (cut and shape the hair up around his edges). If you have a decent black community where you are (population-wise), you should be able to find a barber that comes recommended by other black people. The barbershop experience is good for a little boy. :)

* If you get his (or her) hair braided, all you have to do is address any moisturizing needs along the parts for as long as he has the braids in (about 2 weeks). No washing or anything else necessary - in fact, you shouldn't get it wet or it'll frizz. That's why braided hair is so common in the black community, because it eliminates the need for detangling for awhile and protects the ends from damage. He should wear a do-rag or at least a stocking cap to bed to keep the braids from frizzing prematurely; use a satin wrap for girls (or have her sleep on satin pillowcases). If you find a good braider, your child only needs about 1 inch of hair to be able to braid it and it will help keep the hair protected and moisturized, therefore helping it to grow longer and healthier. Warning: your child may have a sensitive scalp and it may be painful the first few braiding sessions, but there are stylists who work with children often and know how to be gentle while still doing the braids tight. Most children will get used to the pulling feeling eventually. Another warning: a bad braider will pull too tight around the edges and cause breakage. Or won't have patience with your child (I've seen stylists whack children's hands with their comb if the child reaches up in pain... ugh).

* If your child goes swimming in chlorinated water, get him a swim cap. Chlorine is terrible on hair.

* Avoid chemicals to straighten the hair. Mostly this pertains to girls. In my opinion, it can cause damage to both the hair and her self-esteem. She should be able to love her hair the way it grows naturally rather than thinking she HAS to straighten her hair to fit in. What's amazing about black hair is that it can be worn in so many different styles and there are so many choices. But many black girls have settled on permanently chemically straightening their hair to look more like their white friends or their mom's hair (in a lot of transracial adoption situations). To me, that's worrisome. I love, love, love the blog Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care when it comes to encouraging young black girls to embrace their hair and all the fun styles they can do with it without straightening it. AND it goes into depth about healthy hair and how to maintain it on a regular basis. Amazing resource.

* Kal's hair is short at the moment because we're going for a look called "waves." On top of moisturizing we use a wave-enforcing product that we brush into his hair with a good Boar Bristle Wave Brush. We're big advocates of haircuts around here, because we think it helps to get them used to haircuts early on so that it's not a huge ordeal when they're older. We started cutting Kal's hair at 5 months and we re-cut it every 1-2 weeks. That's only because Zay's a barber, though! I'd say when they're really young, every 3 weeks it's time for a hair cut (if you're keeping their hair short) or at least a lineup (which they should get even if they're growing their hair out). For girls, or for boys who are trying to grow their hair out: it's time for a trim about every 6 months, or more often if there's damage to the ends, or if parts of the hair are growing much faster than others and you want to even it out.

I think those are all my thoughts on hair at the moment! I'm glad someone emailed me and asked me about hair care, because that's what got me started on this post. Remember, this is all from my own experience and my own opinion. If anyone has any comments/questions, feel free to contact me.

Here are some pics from a recent haircut!

Pay no attention to how soaking wet his shirt is, ha ha. He dumped milk on himself.

I told him to count to 10 over and over. This is is "counting" expression.

We've tried lots of different haircuts on Kal. But his current cut is a "dark caesar with a temp fade."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

So Bizarre

After our failed adoption and then reading about another one that happened at the same time as ours (to a couple whose blog I follow), I'm just baffled. Confused. I was talking to a friend and I told her about what happened to this other couple - the birth mom chose them to be the parents 5 months before she was to have the baby, she was certain about her plan, she wanted them at doctor's appointments with her, the adoptive mother started inducing lactation so that she could breastfeed the baby, and then ... they received an email on Father's Day (3 weeks before the baby was due, I think) that she had changed her mind... not just changed her mind, but decided to place with another family. Whaaaaaaat? My friend said, "People do that?" Lol. Yeeeeah. I guess so. *CONFUSED* So bizarre.

That has to be absolutely crushing news to hear. And then the adoptive mom had to let her milk dry up. Again, can I say - whaaaaaat? This happens??

It's not that people can't change their minds. Something could drastically change that could make someone think differently than they did before... and that's understandable, although difficult. With open communication and honesty it wouldn't hurt as much. But how can anyone be SO CERTAIN about something so important? Absolutely positive about something that would affect their child's life forever? And then be absolutely certain about a completely different path only a few months later? And not be honest about hesitations along the way?

Ugh. I don't get it.

This may seem really judgmental. But I'm honestly just trying to figure out life and how I interact with other people... and it doesn't all have to do with adoption.....

I have a lot of faith in people in general. When I meet someone, I automatically give them every benefit of the doubt and expect that they'll be goodhearted and honest. That when they say something, they mean it. That they wouldn't intentionally hurt me or anyone else. That if they profess a certain belief that they hold to it. That they're going to be polite. When someone says they're my friend, I believe them.

I don't know what makes me give people so much credit. Because I've learned that people can be downright selfish, dishonest, and only out to serve themselves no matter who they hurt in the process. Some people I've met have turned out to be cowards who lie to people to save face. Some people fake being spiritual just for appearances or to keep from being judged by others when really they don't stick to any set of guiding principles in their lives, just whatever benefits them at the time. People lie even more after they're caught in a lie. People don't do what they say they're going to do. People don't show up. People are lazy. People make up excuses just because they don't want to put in the effort to do whatever would've been the right thing to do. People are arrogant and prideful. People don't care about other people unless they're going to get something out of it. People aren't dependable or trustworthy. People are deceitful and full of themselves and embarrassed of the truth and of God and of what's right. People like to pick fights and cause harm to other people. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I'm feeling kind of jaded right now. How do you trust people? How do you protect yourself from getting used or disregarded or hurt? At what point do you back away from someone if they aren't a terribly nice, trustworthy, dependable person? How would you even know?

Anyway, back to adoption: I got a comment on my post "Some Days I'm Not Okay" that really touched me and I thought I'd re-post it here:

"I don't even know you but my heart is breaking for you. I recently came across your blog and your opinion and understanding touched me. I am a birth mother to 2 boys I have a very open relationship with them and since I placed them I have been involved in countless outreach programs and panels trying to teach girls that adoption is an option and how to teach adoptive couples not to be scared about open adoption. I have run into many adoptive moms that think highly of birth mothers but none that honestly try to look at their point of view like you do. You honestly are a champion for birth mothers. That being said I don't think you will always have to hold back your excitement with every birth mother sometimes it's nice to see someone excited about your baby for once. I don't honestly think you did anything wrong or anything that changed the outcome of your last situation I think that birth mother probably didn't have enough preparation for how it actually feels to give your heart to someone else. Nothing can prepare you for how you will feel once you give birth I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was doing the right thing and have not regretted it for a day and I still wished I had died the day I left the hospital without my baby I gave my heart away but it was because I loved my sons so much. I do think there are some out there who maybe are pressured into considering adoption that maybe need time to change their mind but I think the vast majority just are ill prepared for the way they will feel once that baby is placed in their arms that doesn't mean anything has changed about their situation or about what the right path is just means their emotions take over and all if the sudden they can't deal with the pain regardless of what is best. I'm sorry for your loss because that's what it is and it's just as real as if you had a miscarriage. I wish I could say this kind of thing never happens but most birth mothers are not know for always making smart choices (myself included) that's usually how we end up pregnant in the first place:) but don't be afraid to love whatever baby comes you way next I chose my couple at 25 weeks and never looked back and they are some of my best friends. Anyways sorry long comment to say cry and grieve but don't give up. The perfect birth mom will find you someday and that baby will be the one meant to be yours forever!"
I so needed to hear that perspective. In my jaded state, I told myself I WOULD NOT get excited if another adoption situation presented itself. I even made guidelines saying how we would do things differently next time. But I don't want to be that kind of person. I've never been that kind of person. Can I go back to being giddy and happy and excited about life? Can I go back to being optimistic and thinking people are basically good and honest? Can I let my heart get involved again? Would you?

Friday, August 23, 2013


I'm super clumsy.

And sometimes I have a lapse in judgement right before doing something kinda dumb.

Like, running and jumping on top of this plastic step stool to dunk a basketball on Kal's hoop. I totally fell on the ground and just laid there for awhile... Kal got down on his hands and knees and looked me in the face like, "What was that all about?" mixed with a little, "Are you ok?" I just laughed and told him to give me a second.

I'm fine now. But as I'm writing this, Kal came up to the computer and pointed to the picture of my leg and asked me, "Ouch?" Ha ha ha ha ha.


I had some lovely 'S' shaped cuts all around the bottom of my leg and all over my ankle. It looked much worse the next day. Ha ha.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Kal had his first rave! Ha ha.

Just glowsticks in his room with the lights off. But still a lot of fun. :)

Kal and I have a very.... goofy relationship. I'm just a silly, giddy person normally. I want to jump up and dance, race through the house, pillow fight, etc. Stay-at-home motherhood is kind of the best job ever when I think about how much I get to just be goofy. Of course Kal loves it. He's not as laid back as he once was... he is in full-on bouncing-off-the-walls toddler mode. He's always yelling, "C'mon!" when he wants me to come do something fun (which is every 2 seconds).

I spy a little Kal face. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Vegetable Garden

This summer, I have attempted to grow a garden for the first time in my adult life. All by myself. A teeny tiny garden with only one type of vegetable. Tee hee!

This may seem like nothing to some of my farmer friends... or my super self-reliant friends who eat fresh veggies out of their garden every single day, even in the dead of winter (lol). But I am VERY proud of myself.

When I was a kid, my dad would have a huge garden every year and would give me and my little brother a plot to grow whatever we wanted. I'd always grow watermelons. I remember coyotes getting into them a lot and never getting to harvest much. But the actual gardening with my dad was so fun and has stuck with me forever. It taught me to enjoy working and love being outside, playing in the dirt. It was okay if I didn't have a lot of toys, because playing outside was free. :)

I want to teach Kal some basic gardening... but to do that, I need to learn myself. This is the first year we've had a yard to do something in. Too much apartment-living.

I puttered around this yard, without a clue. I dug up a patch of dirt (without a shovel or tiller or anything that would've actually been useful... I had a weird rake thing...). I kept thinking the dirt didn't feel very healthy. Kind of clay-like. I dug up two cinder blocks (who buries cinder blocks??). Kal helped with his toy shovel and a metal spoon.

I tried to follow the directions on the back of the seed packet. I watered it when I remembered (now Kal and I go out and check it almost everyday because he reminds me - he likes to hold the water hose). I never paid attention to how much I was watering it or anything. I started dumping my compost a few feet away, thinking that would give it some nourishment.

Something's happening!!!

Yay for Mother Nature knowing how to get things done even when I'm a terrible gardener! I'm very proud to see something GROWING!! I planted about 20 summer squash seeds in a big huge circle, thinking maybe 3 would pop up kind of spread out from each other. But 5 popped up, all in one little spot. Ha ha. So, we'll see if they fight each other for space.

This is from a couple weeks ago. I've actually got some squash growing now!

I actually had to look up how to cook squash. Lol. I'm pitiful.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Owl Birthday Cake

I don't know why I've gravitated towards making fun themed cakes for parties and birthdays and such, but I LOVE IT. It's so fun to be creative like that. I'm no expert... I still spill and burn all kinds of things at the bottom of my oven and I'm pretty sure I do everything the hard way. But, who cares? I just like making cute food! :)

This is only like the 5th cake I've ever made in my life. But I like doing it so much that I might just have to find more excuses to make cake. And learn some new tips and tricks.

I debated in my head if I wanted to make a squid-shaped cake, a turtle, or an owl (all animals that reminded me of the birthday girl).... owl seemed the easiest at the time. It's my friend (and business partner) Kayla's birthday and she requested Better Than Sex cake. I used this recipe (minus the cool whip) and this owl cake inspiration and went shopping for ingredients.

Some of the ingredients. Totally used a Bugle for the nose because I thought to myself "What's a sugar cone?"... ha ha ha. I figured it out later.

Doing things the hard way.

I made a few adjustments (made it lie flat, didn't shave the chocolate "feathers" on the sides, rice cakes instead of dried pineapple slices, etc.) to make it a little more simple and to incorporate what I had. It was super fun to experiment. :)

I think it turned out pretty cute!! Way better than some of the "rejects" on that same website (like this one or this one) So, I was proud of myself.

I brought it to Kayla... and sang obnoxiously to her. I started writing a birthday song to the tune of "Baby, One More Time"... but I couldn't get through it. I was laughing too hard.

"Oh, Kayla Kayla
How was I supposed to know?
That it was yo' bir-irth-day?

Oh, Kayla Kayla
I'm making this up as I go
Now it's on my cal-en-dar!"

Wait, that didn't rhyme. LOL.

She didn't want to mess up the cake at first, so we put candles in a piece of bread... and almost caught the table on fire. Ha ha ha.

Happy Birthday, Kayla! I'm glad you were born!

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