Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Progressive Hippie Chick


Yes, I realize that the title of this post is an oxymoron.  However, I believe that there are people out there, like me, who have elements of a hippie personality but no desire to live out of a 1960's VW bus.  I have owned Birkenstocks, tried for months at a time to not wear deodorant, love eating fresh, organic food, buy into some of the conspiracy theories, will let a week or so slide without shaving and enjoy going to the grocery store without wearing make-up.  I am, after all, a child of the 70's.  On the flip side, I don't compost, I barely recycle, I let my car warm up for at least 15 minutes in the winter (I HATE to be cold!), I partake in an occasional Starbucks instead of funding my local coffee shop, and if I ever run into David Beckham, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Cornell, Terrell Owens, or Rafael Marquez, I want full on make-up and my hair did.  I'm vain.  There, I said it.

In an effort to combine the hippie chick lifestyle with my vanity, I've spent the last several months researching topics that might seem too granola for some:  Cloth diapers, adoptive breastfeeding and homemade baby food.  My findings have been quite enlightening and have led me to want to try all 3.

First up, Cloth Diapers.  These are NOT what I used wear!  They've come a long way and they are amazing!  Below are two that I have already purchased for Baby Joaquin.  I wanted to get a feel for what they are like, how easy it is to stuff them, take off, etc.  They are so soft and if I were a baby, I would want something like this next to my butt!  I scoured the internet and finally decided on purchasing them from Just Simply Baby.  Some advantages to look forward to: 1)  Basically ZERO diaper rash  2) overall savings of about $2000  3) studies show cloth diapered babies potty train on average a year before disposable diapered kiddos  4) I can still make a fashion statement! (my vanity still intact!)
kick it up!
Black Bessy Minky
Next on the flower chain, Adoptive Breastfeeding.  I was breast fed so the idea of breastfeeding has always seemed natural to me.  When I found out that as an adoptive mom it is possible to breastfeed, I was excited!  Especially since studies show that in addition to the nutritional and immunity benefits, breastfeeding has a critical significant role in attachment, early brain development and healthy child development overall.  Recently, the role of breast feeding has been cited as a protective factor against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  I know it might seem weird to some, but I am committed to give my babies the best I can give and I believe I have two of the best to give!  I won't flash you my nipples though because, remember, I am vain:)

Last stop, homemade baby food.  I am stoked to do this!  Processed food grosses me out.  For years, I have been on a quest to eat healthy.  I've run the gamut in trying different diets- the Kind Diet, the McDougall plan, The Raw Diet, Vegan, juicing, fasting, cleanses....  I've settled on a vegetarian diet that is high in whole grains, fruits and veggies.  About 6 months ago, I made a commitment to myself to try and cook 90% of what I eat.  I figured that if I got into the habit before the babies get here, it will be a smoother transition to making their food.  I've been getting practice with my dogs.  I stopped feeding them manufactured dog food 2 months ago and started making theirs from scratch.  The health changes I've seen in them are incredible and they are just dogs!  So my DREAM item is featured below, the Beaba Babycook:
I am so hoping that I get this at a baby shower!  Well, that pretty much sums up the last couple months of my internet surfing:)

Nepal

There are 13 pipeline families left waiting to receive visas.  13.  I will confess that I have not allowed myself to even begin to think about how and when I will be able to get Baby Sofía.  I pray for her everyday and also that the government will lift the suspension.  In all of the double investigations (first the governments and then the adoptive parents) there have been no findings of fraud.  I view this as a huge positive.  Please pray that the suspension would be lifted!


The Congo

I am waiting to get my medical report and police state clearance form back.  My dog, Lola, decided on her own that I didn't have enough going on with working two jobs, tracking down crazy paperwork and fundraising.  She took it upon herself to go into my office, pull the ONE thing that I need out of the basket that is right next to my computer, and use it as a chew toy.  A very, expensive chew toy.  She managed to locate my passport and eat half of it.  Just so happens that I needed 2 copies of my passport to send in with my Congo dossier.  I guess she figured I needed to spend $225 on a new chew toy passport.  I'm hoping that the expedited passport will arrive right around the time I get my medical and police reports.  Then, I get to send everything to the CONGO!!  Woo hoo!!!

Don't let her smile fool you, she is one smart cookie!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ordinary Hero

**CAUTION:  This post contains sensitive and graphic information

My new Ordinary Hero t-shirt!
Speak Up.  This command has come to mean many things to me over the last year or so.  For whom do I speak up?  For what do I speak up?  Do I choose to remain silent when speaking up could be uncomfortable?  Do I choose to do nothing because doing something would be hard?  Or worse, choose to say or do nothing because of my pride? *ouch*  Well, God has been gently guiding me along this adoption  journey and I can say that I've finally arrived at a place where saving a baby's life is more important than my pride, ego, or whatever else you want to call it.  I have arrived at a place where I am asking you to please join me in fundraising to help pay for Baby Joaquin's country fee.  Please don't stop reading at this point because I mentioned money!  I know, asking for money and being asked for money and asking how much money you make and asking how much money you spent on something and asking ANYTHING about money is just awkward.  Money is such a taboo subject when it comes to personals.  I get it.  I've experienced all those things as well and sometimes, I find myself judging the ones who are asking-especially if I think their situation is one I would have handled better.  But, I've also learned that God uses money to humble people and even though it's uncomfortable, I've found that being in a place of humbleness = peace.  Because again, I realize that this whole journey is not about me.  It's about God and how God can move mountains to bring an abandoned baby to a place where he can be in a family surrounded by peace, safety, health, opportunity and love.  Where he can grow up in a family without the daily reality of:

30% survival rate until the age of 6
53% chance of being kidnapped by guerilla soldiers and enslaved by armed groups
46% chance of watching his mother/sisters/aunts/female cousins being raped
23% chance of being forced to rape a female family member
1 in 3 chance of being tortured and/or disfigured
80% chance of being displaced at least 3 times in a 15 year time period
75% chance of having his family's source of income (cattle) stolen
66% chance of witnessing the violent death of a family member
60% chance of having one or more of his family members disappear

It's easy to read past these numbers but I encourage you to try and put faces on these numbers.  For every 10 of your friends who have just had babies, 7 of those sweet lives would not survive their 6th birthday.  For every 3 of your friends, one of them has been tortured, hand cut off, burned, if female, experienced tramatic fistula.  In the Congo, rape is used as a tool for war.  Can you imagine living in a world where for every 10 of your friends, 6 of them have witnessed the violent death of a family member? Or 6 of them have a family member that has simply disappeared?  There are no Amber Alerts in the Congo.  No milk cartons with missing children's faces on them. This is their reality.

So, I've partnered with Ordinary Hero to help defray the cost of adoption.  You can see their button at the top right of my blog.  This organization is awesome!  Please take the time to check them out.  The great part is that whatever you buy from the store, 40% of the sales goes directly to my adoption agency and is allocated towards the legal fees of Baby Joaquin's adoption.  His country fee is $8500.  I'm hoping that this fundraising venture will cover half of that amount.  Ordinary Hero makes it very simple, they have great products, and the shipping is fast!  After you select your item and you reach the checkout page, there will be an "Affiliate" pull down menu.  My name, Kristen Williams, is at the bottom of the list.  Please click on my name.  If you don't click on my name, I don't receive credit for the sale.  The t-shirt I'm wearing in the picture above is a unisex size small.  I wore it the other day and it was quite interesting to see people's reaction.  I had 2 great conversations with strangers just because of the shirt!  If you aren't into t-shirts and want to just donate something to help out the children in Africa, there is a Product Donations For Children In Africa category where you can donate aqua shoes for kids, fleece blankets, raincoats or a combo pack.  I will receive credit for these donations as well as long as you click on my name during the check out.

For some background information so you know I'm not a slacker, I've been saving every penny I've earned from my second job waiting tables in combination with a portion of my teacher paycheck (which, contrary to popular political belief, is not very much!), I just recently picked up another shift, so I will be working 7 days a week from beginning of April until the end of the school year.  I'm willing to make that sacrifice because I know that every extra shift I work is one less day he has to be in an orphanage.  When school lets out, I will be picking up as many extra shifts as possible.  So far, everything has been paid for.  I tried to refinance my house but due to our thriving economy, it was not possible.  But I know God allowed that for a reason and I truly believe it was to get me to this point- where I can ask you to be a part of the bigger story.  Will you be a part of his story?  Would you buy me a round of beers?  Would you pick up my tab if we went out to dinner?  If I were getting married, would you buy me a wedding gift? At this point, if I ever do get married I will E-L-O-P-E so you are off the hook for that one! Is $40 worth saving a innocent and helpless baby's life?  Will you Speak Up?

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves... For the rights of the poor and needy" - Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The BMV got nothin' on me!

I stood in line for an hour and 15 minutes waiting to renew my tags.  Why didn't I just renew them through the mail?  Why?  Because apparently I subconsciously try to find ways to test my new found patience from all. this. waiting.  Well, it has paid off because I passed the wait-in-line at the BMV and didn't get hostile test.  Yeah for me!  Other things I've occupied myself with while waiting:

1) Bought funky, cool diaper bag
I searched high and low for this!

2) add super hip baby carrier
I'm gonna be a baby-wearing mama and I'm so excited!



3)  I've been working on some other artistic endeavors but those will be debuted later:)

Here are the updates:

NEPAL

The visa rain dance is still working!!  I think it's been on average 4 visas issued each week.  I'm thrilled for these babies to finally be united with their families!  KEEP THEM COMING!!!

The Congo

That's me super excited to send the first of 3 payments along with some major documents needed for my dossier.  So now I'm you guessed it waiting to get the list of the final documents needed to complete my dossier.  Once that's all done, it will be shipped to the Congo and - wait for it- MORE WAITING!!!!!