Adoption, AJ, Ally, Out of Africa 2010

I Blinked.

I blinked and, suddenly, it has been four years since I brought Giggles and ShyGuy home from what was an adoption trip that changed me heart and soul.  I learned a ton about ethical adoptions.  Their journey to our family was like a guide on how NOT to adopt.  It turned out great, with an ongoing relationship with a birth mother we now consider part of our extended family, but it could have been SO bad.  I could have ended up taking a child from a mother who didn’t really understand what she was giving up.  I could have unknowingly pulled apart a family.

Adoption is tough.  The ethics, motivations and money that come behind it are even tougher.  There are so many shades of grey in the adoption world, that it is a minefield to navigate.  I’m so proud of where Giggles and ShyGuy came from, but at the same time, that place scarred me.

Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart.

Coming to America




Coming to America-3


Adoption is beautiful, but it’s broken.  I didn’t realize that until I was in the middle of the adoption of these two.  People lied to us, hearts were broken.  There was a chance, a good chance, for many weeks, that we were never going to get to call them ours.  I had to rely on complete strangers to help us.  The world, at that moment, seemed completely out of control.  It was like living a nightmare.

Then, all of the sudden, that out of control world came alive to help us.

Getting these two here was an honest to goodness miracle.  We were granted such a gift.

I came home bruised, battered, really pissed off, but so, so grateful.  There is another family, on the other side of the world, living a similar nightmare right now.  While they have great on the ground support in their child’s homeland, their U.S. adoption agency has closed its doors in the middle of their adoption.  They’re left with no stateside help to finish their adoption.  Instead of leaving, they’ve chosen to stay and fight.

In honor of Giggles and ShyGuy and the miracle we were granted four years ago today, I’m asking you to help this family with their miracle.  Here is a link to their fundraising page.  I don’t know them personally.  I just know their story, just like so many people knew ours.  Let’s come alive and help them get their son home.

–FullPlateMom, who once said seven children was enough.  She was a liar.


Dessert, Out of Africa 2010

Colorado 2010 (aka Out of Africa 2010 Reunion)–Pike’s Peak Marathon

FPD ran the marathon on the day that happened to be my birthday.  None of the kids remembered.  They behaved like rotten little eggs.  It was bad.  Seven kids in a hotel room, on my birthday, with rotten egg behavior.  It wasn’t pretty.  But, FPD climbed the mountain and we finally went out for a little fun time.  We visited Garden of the Gods Park with the family of Giggles’ BFF.  The emotion of it all absolutely got to Giggles.  Between being reunited with her BFF and now having to leave again and forgetting her mom’s birthday (which she is old enough to feel really bad about), this is what we got.

Grieving went on a lot during this vacation.  Giggles beats herself up when she hurts anyone’s feelings.  I told her that I was sad that people forgot to even say happy birthday to me.  I asked all the kids how they would feel if that happened to them.  Giggles told me that it happened to her in Ghana, and that it felt awful, that coming here was the first time she was going to have a special birthday.  I told her that it would make her feel bad if I forgot.  Did she think that meant I was going to forget?  Was she thinking about Ghana?  Did she just feel bad that I felt bad?  Either way, she was sad.  ShyGuy was sad a lot too.  He is always sad when we have tons of fun.  He was able to tell me this time that he felt sad inside because little brother wasn’t with us to enjoy all the fun.  He felt that way on his birthday, he feels that way on vacation.  I was honest with him that little brother will never be with us.  His mother wants him to live with her.  It hurts my heart.  Life is hard.  Grief is hard.
Bubbly was her usual self.  Trying to cram herself into tiny little spaces between the rocks and climb the cliffs to her doom.  We have to watch her every single second.  
She survived the hike and we all went out to enjoy some ice cream.  After running for 6.75 hours, FPD had burned more calories then he could ever possibly eat in one day.  So, he enjoyed a waffle cone as big as his head.  
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  And, I am officially old.  

who is now 32.

Dessert, Out of Africa 2010

Colorado 2010 (aka Out of Africa 2010 Reunion)–Breckenridge with the BFF.

Finally!  Our friends have arrived.  Our kids couldn’t focus on movie night and the giggling was so loud that I thought we were going to get complaints by the neighbors for sure.  But, the kids managed to get some sleep that night so that FPD could make pancakes in the morning.

Pancake Breakfast.

Then it was on to the morning’s activities.  We rode the (free) gondola up to the top of Peak 8. 
GigantoBaby loves his Kara.

We stopped at the Fun Park at the top, but the cheapest woman alive (me) wouldn’t let the kids do the bounce house at $8/person for 5 minutes or climb the rock wall and $10/person.  Ouch.  So, we set out for more free fun.  At the bottom, a helpful man told us that “Tons of Trucks” was going on that weekend.  So, we set out to see some huge trucks.
Responsiboy showing you just how big the tire is.

After we were done there was a picnic lunch and on to the neighboring town’s free kid’s fun fest where the kids got to jump in the bounce house and climb the rock wall, you guessed it, for free.  
ResponsiBoy conquers the wall.

We even got in some face painting and bungey trampoline time.  The kids thought flipping in that harness was the coolest part of vacation.  
Bubbly with her face bling.

Flying high.

Giggles got some major air.

Climbing the rock wall got the kids a $5 coupon to Taco Bell.  So, after this it was free tacos for all.  Kara and I calculated and we spent $0.33 for the day.  Not too shabby.  We laughed about our other issues, the ones with Ghana, the ones with our kids, etc. and then laughed because at least we had free tacos.  You’re thankful for your blessings where you’ve got them.  And, who would have thought that just six months after our horrific ordeal in Ghana that our girls would be together looking like this?
Giggles and her Ghanaian BFF.

who will take her $0.33 tacos and praise God for the blessings He pours out, even when they involve cheap Mexican food.  I am one lucky mama.  
Dessert, Out of Africa 2010

Colorado 2010 (aka Out of Africa 2010 Reunion)–Breckenridge Day 2.

Hope, Giggles’ Ghanaian BFF, is coming today!  That’s all I heard all day.  Hope was in school, and her mom now has a teaching job (way to go Sister Kara!), so they were going to meet up with us at the end of the day.  That didn’t stop the Duo from asking about it nearly hourly all day.  We tried to tire all the kids out with a hike up a mountain.  1.8 miles up and 1.8 miles down.  They did great!  We got stopped many times on the mountain to ask about our crew.  It was getting a little ridiculous, in a funny way.

At the “top” having a snack.

We hiked back to the cabin and had lunch.  Then we decided to take a drive to see all the big ski resorts. We drove to the scenic overlook and all just stood there in awe for probably 20 minutes.  What a view!  
Isn’t my daughter gorgeous?  I am so proud of her! She’s gorgeous inside as well.  

Beautiful Breckenridge.

Again, another wonderful family friendly and totally free day.  I love it!
who wants to re-iterate that she is officially the cheapest woman alive.  
Dessert, Out of Africa 2010

Colorado 2010 (aka Out of Africa 2010 Reunion)–Breckenridge.

Sorry, I was at therapy with Bubbly and then at work for the rest of the day.  I’m exhausted.  But, I had to post some more pics.  

After a great day in Colorado Springs, we headed for Breckenridge for some real mountain scenery.  It was “a little cold” according to Giggles (it wasn’t at all, the girl is cold in 68 degree weather).  We had a lovely picnic in a local park and then headed out to tour the downtown.  Since I am widely known as the cheapest woman alive, we kept up the tradition of sticking with free activities.  We toured the former home of an escaped slave who became a prominent businessman in Breckenridge.  Awesome lesson in history.

Yes.  My children toured a museum.  They didn’t touch a thing.  I’m quite proud.  After the museum we played at the playground near the Visitors Center.  The kids were quite happy as we chose our next destination.
We decided to head to the Fire Station next.  We thought we would be touring the Fire Truck Museum.  We got to tour the actual Fire Station.  Firefighter Jeff was awesome with the kids.  The Diva and FPD went to play while the rest of us were very excited to get backstage access to “fiderfighters” (as GigantoBaby would say).

Firefighter Jeff even showed us his awesome equipment.  Bubbly was a little nervous until she realized how cool Firefighter Jeff really is.

When it was all done they got to pose with their new hero, on the front of the fire truck.  Then they got a firefighter hat of their own.
All in all, one awesome day.  And, for the cheapest woman alive, even more exciting that I didn’t have to spend a dime to get all those smiles.  
who has been hearing a lot of talk of a “fire on Main Street” lately, better grab your hats, coats and boots!