Sunday, December 6, 2009

Legact of an Adopted Child

Legacy of An Adopted Child

Author Unknown

Once there were two women,

Who barely knew each other.

One is in your heart forever,

The other you’ll call mother.

Two different lives,

Shaped to make yours one.

One became your guiding star,

The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,

And the second taught you how to live it.

The first gave you a need for love,

And the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality,

The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,

The other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions,

The other calmed your fears.

One saw your first sweet smile,

The other dried your tears.

One gave you a family,

It was what God intended for her to do.

The other prayed for a child,

And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me

Through your tears,

The age old question through the years.

Heredity or environment…

Which are you a product of?

Neither, my darling… neither,

Just two different kinds of love.

Friday, November 13, 2009

6 months ago..

Tsegaye and Almaz put this beautiful, amazing baby girl into my arms for the first time. I will never, ever forget that moment....what it was like to finally hold my daughter.

Abeni Joy - Mama and Daddy are over the moon to have you finally home with us. We have relished every moment.

We love you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Update

Oh, where does the time go?

I cannot believe I have not blogged since July. Crazy. So, rather than bore you as I know we all have many, many blogs to read these days, here is a brief update.

Started Kindergarten this year! This is a huge milestone for us as, when she was born, we were told "she would be lucky to live 'til Kindergarten". So, as expected, it was a very emotional time for me, especially. We were fortunate enough to find a school with a smaller class-size and a great teacher who has loved Bella and encouraged her in who God created her to be.

We did, however, find ourselves in quarantine for three weeks this Fall due to the H1N1 virus. I am not going to get into all of the controversy about the vaccine, but I will say, that when the Infectious Disease doctors from Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford (in the top five Children's hospitals in the world, #1 in pediatric transplant) send us a letter explaining the risk involved in H1N1 vs. a seasonal flu, and how, for kiddos like Bella, it is life-threatening. So, we pulled Bella out of school when H1N1 hit, and she remained quarantined for three weeks until we could get the injectable vaccination, at which time we did not have tuna for two weeks to offset the mercury! ;)

She is now just about 10 months old. She has four teeth. She is standing on her own, crawling all over the house, getting into everything, picking up and eating pieces of food on her own, and babbling like crazy.

The crazy thing is that I find myself calling my sister all the time, completely blown away by my baby's brilliance and premature milestones, only to find that she is hitting every benchmark right on time. ;) For us, it is a bit of a conundrum as we have never had a healthy baby before.

So, this is our little family in a nutshell. I will write more later, but for now, here are some pictures of our girls.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Okay...this is it for real

So, we have packed up the car and we are ready to roll tomorrow at 5am. This is IT! And I must say, I am really excited. I finally feel like I can emotionally enter into this. Martin is feeling the same.

We did find out some horrible news today from our agency. In Ethiopia, some children were brought before the court as "abandoned" children to be released for international adoption. The judge was a bit suspicious, and it turns out he was right. These children were in fact NOT orphans afterall. The Ethiopian Court has now suspended all court dates for International adoptions OF CHILDREN ORPHANED IN ADDIS ONLY indefinitely. This means families who have received their referrals for their son or daughter have no idea when that child will be released to them if their child was orphaned in Addis itself...this is not relevant to orphans outside of Addis as far as I have heard. Usually, from referral to court date, it tales about 4-6 weeks. Horrible.

This is EXACTLY why Madonna's potential Malawian adoption made many of us worried. She tried to skip the entire court process and lawyer her way into an adoption. No wonder these judges are wary.

Please keep all these families, the judges as they seek to be wise about their country's children, and especially the children on your prayers.

We do not know if we will have internet access while we are gone, but hope to try an update a couple of times....keep checking back!

Blessings on your own journeys - wherever they may take you.

-the Kubas

Freedom of Speech

I left a yahoo group today that was tied with our adoption agency. It was sad for me. There are a few wonderful people there. But it was an integrity thing for me. I do not believe in this whole concept that exists that it is okay to attack people all in the name of "venting". I do not believe that it is okay to use a site to attack the very agency that is helping you grow your family - that you CHOSE from a myriad of options. Of course no agency, no person is perfect - and we all are prone to making mistakes. It just seems to me there are better venues for this - personal blogspots for one! :)

One person commented that all commentary is allowed under our right of Freedom of Speech. I have to say I really hate this reasoning - in pretty much any instance - not just this one. It seems like we are so ingrained in our "freedoms" that we have totally set aside our responsibility to be ethical and show integrity in how we interact with others. Is it really becoming that counter-intuitive to consider others before typing/speaking? And how is it that we were being told we are allowed to "vent" under our freedom of speech but need to be wary of talking or referring to our faith too much in our comments as it could be offensive to those who may not believe the same things? How does one wrap his/her brain around that dichotomy??!! And our adoptive agency is blatantly Christian?!?! :)

I know this is something I am really working on - I get pretty tied up in it on this dang computer and maybe that is why I needed to leave the group. It was just too toxic for me and the person I am trying to become and WHOM I am trying to become more like.

I was excited to get on this site and share our joy of getting to go and pick up Abeni. For the past year, I have been on that site and genuinely been SO excited for every family as they got a referral, passed court, got their Embassy date.

And if a place is needed to vent, so be it. I am choosing to vent with my husband and close friends...not a public adoptive site. No thank you - freedom of speech or not.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It is time.

We are wrapping things up here - signing our will, last minute errands, phone calls, etc.

Martin and I both vascillate between sheer terror and sheer joy. We have no idea how to be parents of two. Martin is sure feeling the reality of being WAY outnumbered by females in this household, and I can't say that I blame him! Reminding him that the dog is indeed male does not seem to bring any consolation.

I, for one, am terrified about leaving Bella. I know this is normal, but I think it is also tied to her sickness. I remember so clearly those days when I had to leave her hospital bed - if even for an hour. I remember the terror I felt when I found myslef in the E.R. at Stanford (and subsequently admitted) with a blood clot while my baby girl was just a couple floors and hallways away.

Luckily, my mind does not stay there. Luckily, I have seen things that could only be defined as miraculous. I also know that the fear I have experienced in the past five years is palpable, real, should be not be taken lightly. But in the end, I am not a slave to fear. I am free.

So, as I train my thoughts heavenward and as I instead choose to enter into the joy and celebration of this time, my heart is full.

Martin and I have this sense that our lives are changing, transforming, growing, and deepening. And right in the center of all of that - in the arms of Jesus -is Abeni.

Can't WAIT to meet her. Can"t wait for all of you to meet her as well.

Please keep us in your prayers - prayers for peace, safety, smooth travel and transitions, and joy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ethiopia, Here We Come

I have certainly been remiss on this journal.

Well, we are so excited to announce wepassed court on April 16th, and did indeed make the appointment list for May 14th. Basically, this appointment is at the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There, we arrive with Abeni and she is issued a visa to return to the U.S. as our daughter.

So, we are leaving this Saturday, the 9th, for the Bay Area. We will fly out of San Francisco International on Sunday - returning on May 19th. Upon our arrival, we will be driven to a guest house especially for adoptive families. Our little room will even contain a crib and has a playroom and garden. And then - the Ethiopian director of our adoption agency will bring Abeni to us. Can you imagine? I cannot.

I am just a mess of emotions. I am thrilled to finally meet my daughter and for Martin and I to have some uninterrupted time with her. I cannot WAIT to be in ethiopia as I have wanted to see and soak in Africa for more years than I can count. I am absolutely grief-stricken to be away from my Bella for a week and already can barely even say that without breaking down. I went to Target today to get Bella a couple "surprises" to open while we are gone and I was just crying the entire time! Man.

But mostly, I am just so grateful. I am so grateful to God for allowing us this precious gift. I am so grateful that althought this road to growing our family has taken nine years and although we have suffered great, tangible loss twice along the way, we would NOT change the outcome for one millisecond.

Our family is a little piece of heaven on earth. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


We received amazing news last week.

Sharon emailed to tell us that an Ethiopian through our agency had gone to the court in Addis and advocated on our behalf. Basically, this angel appeared before a judge, explained about the passing of Tigist, and all that our family has endured. And miraculously - the judge listened and his/her heart was softened. As far as CHI knows, this has never happened before.

We have a court date for April 16th. Once Abeni passes court, she officially becomes Abeni Joy Kuba. She is OURS!!!!

At that point, most likely our visa approval date will be May 14th. This is the date that we appear in court in Addis with Abeni.

Our plan is to leave on May 10th - Mother's Day.

We will be in Ethiopia for the week, returning on May 18th.

Bella will be staying with my parents in the Bay Area - so all of our local "family" there, this is where that whole "it takes a village" thing might kick in! :) My mom might need some help!!!

Of course, as with everything in International Adoption, things can change.

But for once - I have total peace. I am content. I am riding a wave of joy.

I believe Abeni will pass court on the 16th of April. I believe we will receive visa approval on the 14th of May. I believe that in about 6 weeks, my family will be together and complete.

I am looking ahead with my eyes open wide, my arms outstretched, and my hair blowing in a soft, beautiful breeze.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good News, Again

We heard from Sharon this morning.

We received a referral for a beautiful six week old baby girl. The name she was given is "Yordanes" which means "Jordan River".

She, too, was abandoned to the same orphanage as Tigist. The GREAT NEWS is that she is already at the Transition House run by our orphanage. Yeah!

So, we are reservedly excited.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Overwhelming Grief

On Tuesday, February 16th, Sharon at CHI called to give us the horrific news.

Our baby girl had passed away on Valentine's Day from sepsis. There was nothing they could do. This is the first time this has happened to CHI's Ethiopia team.

I have to say I have not felt such deep, soul-wrenching grief since Bella was diagnosed at one week old with her Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome.

Even as I write this, almost a week later, I cannot stop the tears from flowing. It is hard to describe, but from the moment I saw Tigist's photo, I was her Mama.

As simple and profound as that.

But grief is not all I have felt, I have also felt quite angry. When we signed a contract with CHI, we were told we did not have to redo our dossier or home study, and yet, that was exactly what we had to do which set us back four more months. We were referred the wrong baby at Christmas time. And now this. I am fully aware that these setbacks were not intentional in any way, but I do wish that CHI would just take some responsibility for their part in it all.

As a result of Tigist's death, we also lost our court date. We will receive another referral in the next week or two, but then again, will have to wait yet another month for a court date.

Very discouraging, to say the least.

So what does one do with despair? Well, you lean into it when needed, and lean out of it with a lot of willpower. I spend a lot of time talking to God, screaming, wailing, all of it. Martin and I are spending a lot of time hugging each other, hugging our daughter, sharing this journey together.

This week at our home group we are going to have a little memorial service for Tigist. We are creating a little memory box for her which will include her death certificate and the address where she is buried. We hope to visit it when we are in Ethiopia this spring. I also continue to pray for her biological mom who abandoned her as I cannot imagine that would be easy for ANY mom to do.

As you may have noticed, we are referring to our baby girl in heaven as Tigist. That was her legal name. Had we appeared before the court, her name would have been changed to Abeni. We are reserving the right to give the daughter we actually do bring home this name and want to honor Tigist for who she is, where she lived and died.

And now we pray for strength. Strength to mourn and somehow, by God's grace, still be able to celebrate that new referral when it arrive. To somehow, by God's grace, be able to embrace this new baby girl as our daughter. That is just something that is supernatural.

As simple and profound as that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh Happy DAY!


It is absolutely surreal that I am writing this.

This morning, we got the call..."Are you guys sitting down?"

And then it happened.

We are now the proud parents of a 3-week-old baby girl. I am not allowed to give too many details, but I think she is absolutely beautiful. Her name is
Abeni Joy Kuba. Abeni is an African name which means "prayed for and received". Perfect, huh? :)

It looks like we will go to Ethiopia sometime in May.

What more can I say?

Thank you, Jesus!

It finally happened.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Will There Ever be Good News?

Yesterday we received MORE bad news on the adoption. A few months ago, the wait time between receiving one's referral (getting the call that you have been matched with a child) and traveling to Ethiopia to be there for your court date was about 5 to 6 weeks. We were told yesterday that the wait time between referral and court date has jumped to 4 to 5 MONTHS! Are you kidding me!?!?!?

Honestly, I cannot help but feel bitter right now. I understand that there is nothing our agency can do...there are only two judges within Ethiopia that deal with International adoptions, and the number of parents applying has tripled. However, if we had not run into the rotten luck of two separate bad agency workers, we would have our daughter by now.

And yes, still NO referral. We got a call over the holidays, but
it was a referral for the wrong child. They had not read nor updated our file.

Yes, I am well aware of God's perfect timing. I have personally experienced it through a miscarriage, a very sick daughter, infertility, a near death experience myself, you name it. But I firmly believe that I can be fed up, sick and tired of waiting, angry, disappointed, discouraged, sad, grieving, and still know the power of my God and the Hope I have in Him.

The God I know is like a prism. He is not one dimensional. When I look to Him, what I see - what He reveals to me - will look very different than the next person. That is not because He is ever-changing, it is because I am. So, amidst all these emotions and amidst this rocky, bumpy trail of life I experience, I will bring all I am, all I am feeling, to Him and dump it. :) And then let Him do His transformational thing in me.

Lately, it seems Christians are being attacked for being cold-hearted, close-minded, out of touch with reality, judgmental. I invite these very critics to come over and stay at MY home for a week and meet the amazing people in MY life. They just might be surprised.