Friday, September 23, 2011

So I'm a loser, so what??

Wow.  June 16th was my last post, and as the title of this one suggests, I feel like a loser.  I swore I wouldn't be one of those people who started a blog then forgot about it (not that I have anything against them, obviously. I could be their QUEEN!), but I am, and I did.  Well, not forget, but got really, really busy.  Summer will do that.  The problem with summer, other than the hundred degree weather, is that we have this idealistic, albeit false, picture in our minds that we get to spend it lounging in the pool sipping lemonade.  There is so much wrong with this notion in my house. First of all, we don't have a pool.  Secondly, lemonade has way too many calories.  I'm a Diet Pepsi girl. 
So I'm sure you've had enough of my justifying my absence, so here's what's going on in our adoption:
Two words...YARD SALE.  Oh yes.  My nemesis if ever I had one.  Let me give you some background.  It all started a few summers ago, when I innocently thought to myself, "I should have a yard sale." I stayed up until 2 in the morning making signs, put an ad in the paper, priced my junk, and waited.  And waited.  And made around a hundred bucks at best.  You see, despite all the effort I put in, I still have the attention span of a three year old on caffeine.  So I got bored around 11 that moring and packed it in, swearing to myself that I would never again subject myself to that kind of boredom.  Plus, I HATE bargaining. Dude, they are $80 jeans. No I will NOT take 50 cents for them.  No offense to those who love the hunt, it's just not my thing.  I would get robbed blind in a country that practices bartaring on a regular basis, because I would just pay how ever much the merchant requested.  What does this have to do with the adoption? Three words...FUNDRAISER YARD SALE.  One ridiculously hot weekend in July, me, mine and Jeremy's family, and several of my friends and high school students tackled the mountains of donated clothes, appliances, baby gear, videos, and odds and ends that had been generously provided to us for our sale.  I spent the night before baking for the bake sale Madelyn thought up (more on that later), and of course, making signs that were so beautiful, they could've been framed.  Not bragging, just showing you how poor my time management is.  Something very unexpected happened amidst the chaos of old shoes and purses, however. God provided us with 1200 dollars for the adoption fund.  We made 1200 hundred dollars in two days selling donations from our family and friends! Who makes that kind of cash on a yard sale??  My best friend's parents live across the state, and when she came to visit, brought a truck full of stuff they added to the cause. My mom and Jeremy's mom went through their houses, and Jeremy's mom donated so much baby gear and clothes it made my head spin.  My sisters put stuff in, along with friends and church family.  It never ceases to amaze me the outpouring of love and service that people show when we need them.  What a strong and tangible reminder of the sort of love Jesus showed to those around him.  The blind man in John chapter 9 needed an outpouring of sight.  The bent woman in Luke chapter 13 needed an outpouring of  healing and acceptance.  On the cross, Jesus poured out his blood in front of the Father so that we may receive forgiveness, the greatest act of service in the history of all the world.  Where can you pour out love, support, or service?  God has graciously allowed me to be the beneficiary of the kind of love that is so great, it is almost embarrassing, and as such, I am telling you there are people who need it!  Where is God asking you to pour out yourself today?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Home Visit Duuuun Da Da Duuuuuunnnnn (<-----creepy music, btw)

Today was our much anticipated home visit with our social worker.  As put by a friend of ours who is adopting, having a social worker come and inspect your house is a great reason to CLEAN.  And clean we did.  Within reason, of course (please see prior post!).  Let me tell you, 11:30-5 was some of the most fun I've had during this process.  Our social worker, Denise, is AH-MAAAZING!!  She walked in, my kids loved her, and I noticed she had a tote bag with her that had "Walk in Faith" written on it.  Are you KIDDING me with that awesomeness?!  When we mailed our application we prayed that God would direct it to the right person at WACAP, and that our social worker would be hand-selected by Him as well.  When a Christian social worker knocked on my door, I sent up a quick "Thank you Lord!" and showed her in.  Denise came in and told us that the home visit could easily take 8 hours, but let's shoot for four.  Suuuper optimistic when my eldest is running loose in our home.  Madelyn was so cute, though.  She raised her hand when she had information to share, and politely waited for her turn to be asked questions.  She did offer Denise a tour of her room a good five times, but eventually got to show her on the walk-through of our home.  We had an amazing lunch of margherita pizza on homemade crust (, followed by an even more amazing dessert of apple pie pizza, which is my own little creation.  Appley orangey goodness topped with a drizzle of powdered sugar orange juice icing.  Just sayin'.                                                           Sorry, I started talking about food and my mind got stuck there.  Anywho, after we discussed the following: Interpersonal relationships, character strengths/weakness, parenting experience and style, early childhood education training, hobbies, safety, and a myriad of other topics, we moved on to the tour of the home.  Remember last time I said I wasn't fit to pass a home visit? Turns out, I was a little right.  Why? Because we are not in possession of....brace for it....a fire extinguisher.  I am SO ASHAMED!! What kind of responsible adult, especially one who's second biggest fear is burning to death in a fiery furnace, does not own a fire extinguisher. Humiliating. Especially after I had bragged about being "an adult" because I have a land line.  Totally humbled by a red tube of foam.  Or rather, totally humbled by the LACK of aforementioned red tube.  Other than that, the visit was really great.  I feel so encouraged to be working with Denise.  I know that she'll be totally forthcoming with all info she has, and I am blessed and grateful once more by the might provision of Sovereign God.  Awhile ago, I was crying to the Lord (and not in the Biblical and/or "churchy" way, I was literally CRYING my eyes out) begging God for confirmation of His Will for us to adopt.  Today I felt Him whisper to me, "Here you go, Precious. Here's some more confirmation for you, oh you of little faith."  I have realized recently that phrase carries so much tenderness when God speaks it to my heart.  You of little faith, though you've asked for an increase of faith, you are tiny and precious in your efforts.  Just because I love you, I'm going to bless you, and because of who I AM, I am going to be faithful to you and your prayers.  You of little faith, rest in my provision.  And tonight, as my heart and my mind strive to function within the limitations of my post-visit exhaustion, I will rest in HIS provision.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

WACAP Weekend!

It's official! With the submission of our homestudy paperwork and attendance of WACAP Weekend, we are in our homestudy! What does that mean? Thank you so much for asking! It means that a very lovely lady by the name of Denise is going to come hang out with us this Thursday and determine whether our home is suited for children. HAHAHA Of course it isn't!! We have children here, thus by logical reasoning, it is absolutely not suited for them.  Why? Because it is messy, a big thank you to Madelyn in particular.  Things get broken...Hazel, that one's for you.  And, I'm not smart enough to use one of the toilet lid locks (Gotta admit, all me).  But if "suited" means full of love, acceptance, and JESUS, then I guess we would probably make the cut.  I was a lot more nervous about our home visit prior to WACAP Weekend.  We met with a social worker named Karen, who very graciously put all of our minds at ease.  The home visit is not a white glove test.  It is a safety test.  For example: Do you have a gaping hole in your second story flooring that you, as an intelligent adult, avoid stepping through, and by extension, avoid a painful and untimely death? If so, let's slap some Pergo on it before baby comes home, m'kay?  We actually received a lot of fabulous information at WACAP Weekend.  I should back up, though.  You are probably wondering what this mysterious WACAP Weekend is.  Once again, thanks for asking. You're a great active listener, which is awesome, because I'm an active talker!!  WACAP Weekend is the orientation to adoption training that our adoption agency, World Association for Children And Parents (WACAP by any other name, doth it smell as sweet?) provides.  Which I love.  For a few reasons.  Numero uno, I am an idiot.  Unprepared, untrained, uninformed.  Sure I've spent HOURS researching every facet of adoption.  Mainly what can go wrong, but that's another post.  The point is, investigating the adoption process is like learning how to drive.  You can read the little manual all you want, but until someone sticks you behind a wheel, you really have no idea what the frick n' frack you're doing.  We had classes on attachment, ways to facilitate said attachment, and how to recognize the warning signs if little baby doesn't seem to be adjusting well.  (Or is doing too well, actually, that is a warning sign!) Also, and my crazy brain had already processed this, we learned how, essentially, we are kidnapping these kiddos as far as they are concerned.  Just follow me on this.  We are a nice little white couple from WA.  We travel umpteen hours to Africa and say, "Dear baby, come with us! We are your new mommy and daddy."  Baby says: "I'm gonna pass, you need a TAN.  I don't recognize you, where is my mommy/caregiver/etc.? And P.S. Why does your hair look like straw?? I'm scared, you're scary, and I sure would appreciate it if you would get back on that very large bird and go away forever."  While I've already ran this scenario in my aforementioned crazy brain, it really hit me when I was told this by someone who has been placing children in homes for 22+ years. What else did I learn? Hmmm...I learned that we are the fourth best situation for this little baby girl we are bringing into our home.  Number one best: Stay with momma.  Number two best: Stay with family in country.  Number three best: Adopted by family in country.  Number four best (A.K.A. The worst): Adopted by family out of country.  Which makes sense to me.  I am gonna lay it out there: I am not black.  Nor am I African American.  Nor am I Ethiopian.  I know very little about the culture in comparison to someone who lives there, and what I do know, I've learned online.  SUPER lame.  But, what is not lame is the fact that GOD ALMIGHTY doesn't care that I am white.  And Norwegian (Although, I'm only Norwegian by marriage!). And the God of the Universe has asked me to parent not only my two beautiful white half-Norwegian baby girls, but also this beautiful black Ethiopian African American baby girl.  And what He asks of us, He prepares us for.  And may He be praised for that, and so much more!!  After that, though, Mary Ann, the vice president of social work, looked at as all with an expression that only an adoptive parent could have and said, "Honestly, though, when you hold that child in your arms, your heart will tell you that you are the best situation for her.  And you'll be right."  Ahhh.  I love me a happy ending!!  And I can't wait to be able to have that expression on my face, too.  On a different note, something else amazing came of WACAP Weekend that I never thought would happen there: Jeremy became more aware of how he parents our girls right now! Which is sheer and utter insanity to me, because my hubby is an incredible, conscientious father as it is.  He is, as he will tell you in a heartbeat, very relaxed, however.  So he has committed to make a more concerted effort to make memories and traditions for our girls in the here and now.  I'm excited to see what he comes up with, and frankly, a little scared.  I'm an adventure girl, but my idea of adventure and his are sometimes miles apart.  I'll go with it, though ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fundraising SUCCESS!!

Here's a little update to our fundraising efforts :) And by little, I mean AMAZING!!  I have been planning an Ethiopian Dinner Fundraiser at our church for a few months, and two weeks ago, it culminated in one of the greatest outpouring of love on my family I've ever experienced.  My mom and dad, along with our home group host, acted as cooks for the evening .  I was super nervous and frantically flitted around the kitchen.  All of a sudden, I was seven years old again, asking my mommy if she thought it would be okay if I ran to the bathroom to pee. But if I peed, I'd have to wash my hands, and what if I cross-contaminated the faucet? I could wash in the bathroom, of course, but what if I touched the door by accident and the last person who touched it hadn't washed? Oh yeah, I went there.  To summarize, I was a wreck.  But, my sous chefs worked it out.  The call came in from one of my precious high schoolers for coffee, to which I responded, "Venti Iced Half-Vanilla Non-Fat Latte.  Oh, and don't you DARE bring me decaf!!" My home group host, Brett, looked at me, and very lovingly suggested that the best thing I could do was have his daughter bring me decaf.  I ignored him.  20 minutes later, not only am I nervously pacing the kitchen, tasting the same dish eight hundred times, I'm now all jacked up on Mountain Dew. Okay, latte, but there isn't any cool movie quote about lattes, with the exception of "Java, java, java" from George of the Jungle.  Then my girls showed up, escorted by my amazing little sister, who babysat for us and brought the girls, clean, dressed, and brushed to the dinner at the appropriate time.  That being, of course, five minutes before I burst into tears because I was so ridiculously stressed, and missed my babies on top of it. Long story short, (yeah, right!) the food was awesome, and we were expecting around 60 people.  After we seated, wait for it, over ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE, Jeremy, Madelyn, Hazel, and I went in front of our supporters and very humbly thanked them for coming.  More importantly, we thanked God for providing the idea, the help, and the resources for this to even be possible. Then there was the dessert auction.  A fabulous little idea provided by a friend of ours, Bre, and bait for those who were scared to death of Ethiopian food.  I didn't tell you? My mistake.  We served (mostly) authentic Ethiopian food at the fundraiser. Basically awesome. We had four Ethiopians in our midst for the dinner, and the comments were very positive!  One said the Doro Wat, or chicken stew, needed more onions, which I knew, but I just couldn't do that to our American palates. Another commented that nothing was spicy enough. Again, very aware, but I couldn't do this to children's palates.   Anyway, the idea of the dessert auction was that tables pooled their resources and bought dessert for their whole table. Translation: No dessert was provided, and if you wanted it, you had to anty up. We had so many desserts donated, and I had the pleasure of making three on my own.  Both of my sisters made cupcakes, which my parents bought, and two out of three desserts I made were purchased by Jeremy's family (thanks, guys!).  The third went to, you guessed it, my parents.  That's how our families roll.  And our friends! Holy cow! Some of the desserts were being bid on like they were Monets!  After the dinner was over, I noticed my amazing home group and family descend on the kitchen, and basically I turned around, and everything was clean.  I cannot believe how much help and financial support was poured out on us by the Body of Christ.  And for those who aren't yet full-fledged members, my prayer is that God will honor their support of His Will by making himself known to them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ethiopia Dramatically Reduces Adoptions

It's taken me awhile to wrap my mind around sitting down and writing this post.  I decided when I started this blog that it would be a cathartic escape for the crazy that lives in my head, and thus, totally and utterly open and honest.  If you haven't seen my begging for prayers plastered all over my Facebook page, I'll fill you in.  Ethiopia has reduced the amount of international adoptions from 32-50 down to 5 processed per day.  In the whole country.  Five adoptions.  Five kiddos who will receive a new home.  Five families who will receive a new child.  Five.  That number never held special meaning to me before.  Two is Jeremy's favorite number; three is mine.  Seven is the number that rings throughout the Bible, and how many points are on the stars in my tattoo.  11:11...make a wish.  But five was never given a second thought.  Now, I hear five and shiver.  Here is the reality of the situation (please bear in mind I am NOT an expert in international politics, but feel qualified to take an educated guess!): If five adoptions are processed per day, between 27 and 45 adoptions are NOT.  That means that between 27 and 45 spaces per day are not opening up in orphanages, and 27 to 45 children are not given a home who desperately need one.  To me, and I'm sure all of you, that is devastating.  Ethiopia is a country who loves her children. My intention is not to criticize, in fact, it was the unethical adoption practices of an American agency that was the proverbial cog in the adoption gears. But this can't be the best solution, so I'm praying that it is simply a band aid, keeping the system from hemorrhaging until surgery can be performed.  Pardon all the medical references, I spent the day with my sister-in-law, who is a nursing student.  On a totally selfish note, I can't help wondering if my dream of bringing home our baby girl is now morphing into a dream of bringing home our toddler girl.  I just don't know for sure.  However, here is what I do know: GOD IS SOVEREIGN.  What does that mean? It means He knew this situation would develop in Ethiopia before Ethiopia existed.  He knew before the creation of the Earth that this would become a reality.  He also knows the solution.  And He will work it out for the good of His followers, and for His Glory!!   I am trusting God to bring home those precious children to the families He knows will love them, and am urging Him to remedy this situation quickly and how he sees fit.  Please join me in praying for a healing of the Ethiopian adoption system.  God is the only one who can fix it, and I know that's just what He'll do.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today's Big News

Today was a big day in the life of a Pellicer.  We sent in our application to WACAP, the adoption agency we are choosing to use.  We put our hands on our application and prayed that God would be open doors where they needed open, and shut them in our faces where they need closed. I tried really hard to pay attention to my hubby when he was praying, but I felt so giddy with excitement it was all I could do to keep my molecules from seperating!  We walked to the mailbox and dropped in the app.  Ahhhh...there goes the first of many hundreds of dollars :) Even bigger than that, Jeremy and I sat down with Madelyn and told her about her future baby sister.  We are going to begin our home study shortly (the process by which a social worker determines if we are able to provide a home for the age/gender of the child we have applied for), and we wanted her to understand what it meant to adopt. I turned the reigns over to my hubby, who did great, minus teaching Madelyn the word "black" in reference to skin color, and not explaining what adoption actually is.  Not bad for a first time convo, though! Her immediate response was elation, and then she made note of the fact that she would be able to teach Hazel how to be a big sis.  Of course her first thought would be about someone else.  I remember when Hazel was about six months old, Madelyn informed me she was ready to have two baby sisters.  When I told her that was soooo not happening, her response was, "What about Hazel? Won't she get to be a big sister?"  My FAVORITE thing about my eldest daughter is her soft heart for others.  God really went out of His way to give me a daughter who would illuminate how I should be in my heart for those He's graciously placed in my life. We then explained to her that we would be waiting even longer than when I was pregnant with Hazel, and though she seemed to understand, we know that she has little comprehension of time. 
In other news, we got rid of our Dish.  Insert sad  I am, excuse me, was a TV junkie, and though I've been working on it, I still sadly chose to sit my boot on the couch, rather than go play in my daughter's room (But seriously, who wouldn't rather watch the Food Network than get bossed around by a four year old playing teacher?!).  Translation: 55 dollars more a month can go to fund our precious foreign investment, and I am going to be a better mom.  Win-win? I'd say so.  And all of this to the GLORY of the Holy Spirit, who very plainly told me to go cancel my TV, like, now.  If the Lord is going to give me 30 grand towards our goal (which I KNOW He can do!), I figure the least we can do is chip in 55 bucks a month.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I have a couple of questions that I was hoping other moms could help me with.  First off, why doesn't it bother me more when I get peed on?  As someone who DID NOT do bodily functions in my former life without kids, I am almost disappointed in myself that I allow small children to pee on me.  Which leads me to my next question: What do I do about the crocodile death roll? If you don't know what I'm referring to, let me be a little less vague.  "Death roll" is a term my older sister coined to describe what a one year old does when getting her diaper changed.  My precious Hazel uses the leverage from me lifting her legs, arches her back further than should be humanly possible, and spins on her head like a bad nineties break dancer.  But why stop there? She cries like I'm abusing her, tries to hit me, and of course, pees.  Now I don't mind all of this, but it does bring me to my final question: Do you have to be patient to be a good parent?  After spending all day chasing babies down hallways, defusing four year old drama, and simultaneously wearing my maid, cook, and concierge hats, I feel like I'm entitled to a meltdown of my own.  In reality, this is where God in his sovereignty shows himself to me in such a powerful and convicting way.  I can almost hear Him speak to me, "Andrea, just think how patient I've had to be with you."  I love that in God we have the perfect parent modeled for us.  Now I just have to make it a daily, scratch that, moment by moment priority to lay my imperfections at His holy and capable feet, and thank Him in advance that He has the power to change me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Application Letter

For those of you who would like to keep up with what's going on in the adoption process, here's the letter we'll be enclosing to our agency.  It outlines why we are choosing the country of origin, sex, and age of the child we are looking for.  The application asked for two paragraphs; that was a challenge! I have this strange desire for them to like me!  I thought if they could see my heart for what we're doing and understand where we're coming from, they wouldn't think poorly of me for wanting the single most desired child in the adoption pool: a young baby girl.  It was very hard to check the "female" box, and to say we want a baby between 4-8 months.  It made me feel like I'm a heartless child hater. Every presentation I've ever watched on adoption stresses the need for older children, special needs children, and even boys to be adopted.  I haven't met any of those criteria.  Thankfully, I had a very wise woman tell me, "If you say yes to something you don't feel called to, you are stealing the blessing away from someone who does feel called to it."  That philosophy has worked well in the past, but am I just trying to justify away my guilt for not having the fortitude to bring in a child that might be harder to raise? I hope not.  What matters most is what God thinks of me, and I hope he's proud of us for saying yes to His call on our lives to adopt.
Anyway, here's the letter:
For all who are interested in following our adoption progress, here is a brief essay written to the adoption agency outlining why we are interested in the country or origin, age, and gender of child that we are choosing:
We feel very led to Ethiopia for several reasons.  We are drawn to how family-orientated the culture is, and are excited about the possibility of meeting our future child’s birth family.  We want her family to know that she will be given a loving home, and hope to have the opportunity to keep in touch with them as she grows.  We can only guess at how important it will be for our adopted daughter to have a chance to connect with her roots. We feel very privileged to bring home a child into our family who is of a different race.  The lessons we would be teaching all of our children about accepting people for who they are, not what they look like, are absolutely priceless.
 We have two beautiful daughters, and would like a third because we both adore being “girl” parents.  Bringing a child into our home who is a different ethnicity will present unique circumstances as it is, and we feel better equipped to raise a girl, because we have experience with them already.  As far as the age, we would like to maintain birth order in our family.  We would prefer a baby as young as possible, because our youngest daughter, Hazel, is just over one, and we want similar spacing to our biological daughters, which is around three years. We also believe it would be a much easier transition for both the baby and our family.  We want our youngest daughter to be given the same chance to “care” for a baby sister that her big sister, Madelyn received. Additionally, we want to give our child as much opportunity to overcome the malnutrition that is so prevalent in Ethiopia.

Welcome to Princesses and Ponytails

Welcome to Princesses and Ponytails! I was encouraged by a few of my friends to start a blog, mainly because I have the most hillarious kids on the planet. Well, that's my opinion, I'm sure after you hear what comes out of their mouths, you'll probably call it something other than "hillarious." LOL I never gave into the temption of blogging, because I thought it would make me egocentric somehow.  Maybe it's because I'm totally digging the idea of having a captive audience, even if it's only in my mind. See, right now, I'm picturing 20,000 followers salivating at the idea of reading my next post.  Again, only in my mind. My name is Andrea, and I am 27. My amazing husband is Jeremy, and he's 27, too. We have two daughters, Madelyn, who is 4, and Hazel, who is 1. As you can imagine, I am awash in a sea of pink, and wouldn't have it any other way.  My eldest fully subscribes to the title princess, and baby sis is making her royal demands more and more these days. I'm a stay at home mama, who loves her kids, her husband, and most of all, JESUS!! I'm a little...ahem...boisterous, so I apologize ahead of time if you are totally offended by anything I write. We are in the process of saving/applying for an international adoption, so I thought a blog would be a great outlet for my excitement, and for people who are interested to stay up-to-date.