Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Last Friday we had such a great time taking Caedmon to a local pumpkin patch with the Santos family. The highlight of the day for Caedmon was getting to ride a pony. He LOVES riding ponies and no longer wants me to stand beside him. Even on the carousel he didn't want me near him. He is growing up!!

Who's doing all the work here?

A very intense young man.

Cailyn rode with me while Filipe tried to calm hysterical Lily.
Once Lily calmed down she actually had a great time!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Home Study is Underway

Last night when we got home from our small group, our "Home Study" packet (for the adoption) had arrived. I was amazed by the size of it! I flipped through it briefly, but decided I should head to bed before my head started spinning.

Today I completed the (8-page) application to be mailed in tomorrow with the application fee of $250. I also scheduled a physical for Andy & myself, made an appointment to get our fingerprinting done, and mailed in a form to Caedmon's pediatrician for her to fill out.

Caedmon and I dropped off a packet of documents for AWAA at the post office today. I believe I may get to know the postal workers very well over the next 6 months as I will have made 3 trips there just this week!After the post office, we headed to the park to play for an hour in our beautiful California weather.

Tonight Andy and I have a BIG date and I am VERY excited. For my birthday, Andy gave me tickets to the Broadway show "South Pacific" showing here in San Francisco. So we are getting dressed up and heading out for a night on the town in just a couple hours! I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Got "The Call"

Yesterday we received our phone call from America World saying that we are officially accepted into the Ethiopia Adoption Program! So exciting. Now the work begins...

Our representative emailed me several forms that I needed to print, read over, sign, and mail back. This was just initial paperwork before we start the "real" paperwork. The documents we completed yesterday include:
  • AWAA Agreement (outlined program fees/financial obligation)
  • Ethiopia Disclaimer (if Ethiopia decides not to give us a child, we won't sue AWAA)
  • Client Grievance Procedure (what to do if we get really mad at AWAA)
  • Client's Rights and Responsibilities (they'll do their part; we have to do ours)
Our AWAA rep also gave us names of several agencies that do home studies. So I researched 3 of them and we decided on one. That agency is mailing us an application packet. The home study is a very large component of the application process and takes about 2-3 months to complete.

In addition to this, I registered Andy & myself for a required online training course. That cost $175. I also wrote a check for our first installment of our program fee to AWAA, which was $1,350.

Andy had a slight panic attack last night as we looked over the financial obligation. We both knew ahead of time approximately how much an international adoption costs. ($21K-$32K) It just became very real last night as we started writing checks! After spending some time working on our finances, he felt much better about our plan to fund this venture. I will keep a running tally of all of our expenses on the side bar so that you can see what the money is going towards. I want to do this to help anyone who is considering adoption understand the process more thoroughly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adoption Update

We mailed in our adoption application on Monday, October 5th and it should have arrived on Wednesday, October 7th. I know that they (American World Adoption) have received it because our check has cleared, but I've not yet heard from them to know where they are in the application process. I'm hoping to hear something either today or tomorrow because they said we should hear from them within 10 working days. I'll keep you posted.

I've been thinking about and praying for our child every day. My dad has affectionately nicknamed him "Flash" (because so many of the world record runners come from Ethiopia). So, until we decide on a name for him, I guess we'll call him Flash! The age range we requested was birth-2.5 years. There's really no way to know how old he'll be until we get the referral, but my guess is that he'll be on the older end of that spectrum just because so many people request 12 months or younger. If we do end up getting a 2.5 year old, that means that he is likely about 1 year old right now. The thought of that blows my mind. I have a son somewhere on the other side of the world that I have never seen. Someone else is helping him take his first steps and teaching him to eat solid foods. It really makes my thoughts run wild.

I wonder what kind of living conditions he's in and who's taking care of him. I wonder if he's sick or healthy. I wonder if he will be abandoned due to poverty/inability to provide care, or if his parents will die. I wonder if he will be an orphan his whole life or not until he's a little older. I wonder if the people caring for him are nurturing and loving. Do they hold him often and kiss him and put their faces next to his little face? How often is he being told "I love you?" Is he getting enough to eat? Is he scared or hungry or cold? Is he lonely? Will he be scared of me and Andy when we bring him home? Will he ever attach to me with the same depth that Caedmon has attached to me?

It is the strangest feeling to love someone so deeply who you've never met. To think of my own child being hungry or without clothing or affection makes my heart ache. Every night as Andy and I go to sleep, we pray for him reminding ourselves that God is the Father to the fatherless and He will care for our son.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Start 'em Young!

In efforts to encourage good health in our child, we have required him to wake up with us each morning at 5:30 AM to do our P90X workouts. If he has bad form or tries to take too many breaks, we yell at him ruthlessly like an army drill sergeant. I was able to capture a bit of this on camera. Andy and Caedmon are doing "Nose Diver Push Ups".

Untitled from Stacie Wood on Vimeo.

The funniest part is that Caedmon insists on putting his sippy cup and a hand towel beside his "yoga mat" (another towel). He is mimicing the people on the video with their water bottles and sweat towels. We are on Day 87 of the 90 day adventure and, I have to admit, I am happy it's almost over!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


On Friday Andy, Caedmon, and I were enjoying a lunch at Red Robin when Andy said to me, "Do you want to know what your birthday present is?" I thought he was just teasing me, but then he said, "Look up." I looked up and there stood my sister who I had not seen in over a year! They caught my response on video:

Happy Birthday to Me! from Stacie Wood on Vimeo.

We had such a great weekend together showing her around where we live and enjoying an awesome Sunday at South Bay Church. It was a huge effort for her to get here, but it meant the world to me that she came. I love you, Stephanie!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zoo Day & One Tired Kid

A few weeks back, Caedmon and I enjoyed a day at the zoo with our new friends, Christy and Abby. The weather was absolutely perfect, the kids got along great, and Christy and I actually got to enjoy some meaningful conversation (a rare treat for young moms)!

I thought for sure the kids would fall asleep in the car on the way home, but of course neither of them did. I wasn't even going to attempt naptime when we got home because it was after 3:00 and I didn't want it to affect Caedmon's night time sleep. I told Caedmon that I wanted him to have some "room time" which he readily agreed to. I noticed, however, that he was being rather quiet back there. When I went back to check on him this is what I found:

That kid was passed out on top of his train set with his duckie rain boots on! He has never fallen asleep like this! And normally, whenever I walk in the room he immediately wakes up. Well, I tried to wake him up because it was 5:00. I could tell he was still sleepy, so I just carried him to the living room to let him wake up slowly on the couch. This is what happened:

He just kept right on sleeping! With me moving around and talking and typing all around him. I could not believe how exhausted he was. Finally, at 6:00 I decided he HAD to wake up so I put his shoes on him and we left the house. That finally did the trick!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Set Apart" Does Not Mean "Weird"

In the Bible Christians are commanded to be 'holy', which actually means 'set apart'. Sometimes, in attempts to be 'set apart' from the world in which we live, we end up just being weird. Trying to convince people who aren't Christians to join us in our weirdness is a difficult task.

The early church had the same problem. This morning I was reading in Acts chapter 15 where a group of followers of Christ were trying to convince people that you had to be circumcised in order to be saved. Talk about a tough sell! After the church leaders met to discuss the matter, James (Jesus' little brother) came forward and said, "We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."

It's so easy to unintentionally put additional qualifications on salvation. We know in our heads that salvation is by grace through faith. But we create "boundary markers" in order to distinguish whose in and whose out. It's not hard for me to recognize unnecessary boundary markers in other Christian circles...I just think, "What is it about those people that seems so weird?" Why do you all dress that way, or use strange words, or listen to music that hasn't been cool for a very long time? But it's difficult, nearly impossible, to see the unwritten boundary markers that I've invented. They make sense to me and are easily justifiable in my head. But regardless of how I feel about these pet preferences, the truth is they "make it difficult for [people] who are turning to God."

I don't want anything in my life to hinder someone from turning the God. I want my life to be a road block on the road the hell, forcing people to turn aside. In the words of Mark Driscoll, "Jesus plus anything ruins everything." We need to hold up Jesus, not cling to our preferences. I want to be set apart, not weird!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Andy & I have decided to begin the adoption process! We are THRILLED! This decision has been a long time in the making...over 6 years actually.
The summer after we got married we led a mission trip to Thailand where we worked with an orphanage. We absolutely fell in love with the children there and new from that moment on that one day we would adopt, we just didn't know when. We always assumed we would have a couple of our own and then adopt a couple.

When we realized that getting pregnant the second time round was going to be a lot more difficult than we expected, we started seriously praying about adoption. We knew we wanted to, we just wanted to make sure it was God's timing. I ordered info packets from several different adoption agencies and began to do a little research.

This past Saturday we attended a seminar hosted by America World Adoption. While I was pretty familiar with most of the info that they shared, that was the first time Andy had heard the process start to finish. He was able to get answers to a lot of his questions. On the way home I asked him what he thought and, much to my surprise, he said, "I think we should go ahead and get started on the application!"

Little did he know, I had already filled out the 8 page application months ago and just stuck it back on our bookshelf until Andy felt like it was the right timing. So today, Caedmon and I took it to the post office. I think Caedmon is slightly confused. And adoption is rather difficult to explain to a 3 year old. Here are some of the things he's said to me:
  • "Mommy, is there a baby growing in your tummy?"
  • "We're getting our baby from Seepy-opia. (Ethiopia)"
  • "When we go to the post office are they going to give us our baby?"
Andy asked Caedmon what we should name the baby. Andy said, "Do you think we should name him Caedmon?" Caedmon laughed and said, "No, Daddy. There's only one Caedmon!"  And we all know that's true!

SO, here's the short version of the details. We are adopting a little boy from Ethiopia age two and a half or younger. The process will likely take around a year and a half. I'm planning on keeping this blog updated on our progress, so if you are considering adoption or know someone who is, hopefully my notes/thoughts will be helpful to you. We should hear back from AWAA within about 10 days and then we will get a mound of paperwork to do. I hear that if you focus on it really diligently, it takes about 6 months to complete and ends up being at least an inch thick! Yikes. Paperwork pregnancy, here I come!!!