Monday, November 23, 2009

Developmental Checklist: Success!!!

Last week I was reading a list of developmental milestones for three year olds. One of the milestones says that at three years of age you should be able to slide down the slide by yourself. Check! Yitayal has been ruling the playground far longer than that! One of my first memories of her was seeing her on top of the slide (all alone) screaming and waving at a friend. Um, she wasn't even two then. Nice.

We leave to pick up the fearless one on the 6th of December. It is totally surreal!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The sweetest day; we passed court!!!!

With great joy Nathan and I are so happy to introduce you to our precious little girl!

Yitayal Sofia Haines
Born August 3rd 2006
Officially in our family November 18th 2009
We will travel to pick her up on December 5th!

Her name:

Yitayal: meaning "the one who is seen." Given to her by her birth mother
Sofia: meaning "God sees" (in Amharic) and "wisdom" in English. Given to her by us!

With deepest joy,
Richelle and Nathan

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The day before the most important day

Today is (see above title).
We are almost near to what N and I feel to be the most important day of our married life. Y might officially join our family tomorrow. She has been in our hearts and minds for so long now.

I was thinking yesterday about a trip to California that N and I took in January. We had been contacted by Gladney earlier that month. Gladney said that they didn't think that she had the necessary documents for adoption. They would contact us shortly. I was in a lovely hotel enjoying the lovely weather, when the unlovely news arrived. Our caseworker called to say that after evaluating the "case" of Y, it did not seem that we could adopt her. We were shocked (because she had no known family and had lived in an orphanage her whole life), saddened and also pretty darn determined to figure out what else could be done.

That same day we received a set of four photos of her. Our first in six months.

Joy, elation, heartache, paperwork, investigation, trips to Addis, crying, more heartache and now tomorrow.

Sweet tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weekend Update: House guests, cupcakes and THE wedding!

Seriously the best house guest ever! Chantal's family in from France!
Here they are! The best couple ever! (Feel free to use this caption for the photo below!)

the is one flavor!

PS: Can anyone tell that I don't know how to put captions under photos?

Monday, November 9, 2009

21 LBS

That's the weight of our 39 month old child. Wow. I had never thought of her as being tiny until I actually saw that written down. I compared that weight to the 3T clothing that I had bought for her thinking "3 years equals 3T, no?"

She is about 10lbs too small for those clothes.

My experience with her is that she is not a particularly good eater. Thankfully, she will be in a house with people who LOVE food and will ensure that she is full AND healthy.

And....9 days until you-know-what.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Wake up (check)
Drink coffee (check)
Buy American donuts for French house guests to try (check)
Shop for cupcake ingredients (check)
Pick up wedding guests from airport (oops--no time, they better meet me at the train)
Mani/Pedi (check)
CUPCAKES (checking, and will continue to check after the rehearsal dinner)

Present state: Scarf in my hair (B-you know the one/style! :), TONS of chocolate on my dingy sweater, whitening strips on my teeth. I am so hot! Must shower and prepare for rehearsal dinner!

Peace out! (And 12 days until court!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Full House

and not the cheesy family show that I did in fact watch religiously in the '90s!

Our great friend Chantal is getting married to our great friend Jermaine this weekend! Don't you just love it when you are totally and fully excited for something wonderful to happen in the lives of people you love?

Our house is command central and full of life and madness! Chantal's family is in from France and I am loving seeing Chicago through the eyes of French teenagers! It certainly brings out the beauty in the mundane---today they were in love with the street squirrels and the apartment buildings; both things I certainly take for granted! They have been pleasantly surprised at how "not everyone is fat" and that the food is actually better than they thought. They did mention that the shoes in our stores are about a year behind Paris fashion. Sigh. What do you expect from the Midwest, kids?

Tomorrow is the day before the wedding. Not Friday. But the day before THE event. Manicures, rehearsals, lunches and dinners are in order. Oh, did I mention that my friend Ace and I are making ALL of the wedding cupcakes? Yup! 350 of them! Don't ask me about my professional baking skills, because they do not actually exist! Cross your fingers that success will be ours!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I remember waking up really early. Something that I usually hate to do.
I remember that I had a really hard time focusing at work.
I remember that it was the most invested I had ever been in the political process.
I remember taking a packed out Red line train downtown.
I remember that it felt like a holiday.
I remember November 4th 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Half a world away

I never moved as a child, but because I grew up in a "military town" people were always coming in and out. I remember attending many farewell parties and pot-lucks for families in our church who were reassigned to new places. Towards the end of the gatherings, the family would join together and share about the new place that they were headed. Tears would be shed, but I don't ever remember seeing terror in the eyes of the children. Sadness? Of course, but not really confusion. Why? I'm assuming that the parents prepared them. "Your school will look similar to the one you attend now" and "Our new house has three bedrooms instead of two and you can bring your favorite toys."

This does relate to Y, I promise.

After she changed orphanages in August, we started to get a bit sad wondering about how she is doing in her new place and how she is handling the loss of the only family that she has ever known (with plenty of "good-enough" mothers to love and care for her).

Our referral photo was oh-so-sad.

Our update photo yesterday was cute in it's own way, but the message was sad. She plays mostly alone. She is quiet (please refer to older posts to know that this is NOT the Y we know!) and kinda withdrawn.

I'm wondering a lot about her next move. Here. To Chicago. How's that gonna be? I'm so excited with a healthy dose of scared shitless thrown in for good measure. Wondering what Y knows, comprehends and is thinking.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And this is my present dream

To pass court on the 18th (duh).
AND Travel to Addis before the 2nd week of December.
I said it was a dream, ok?
Anyone want to dream with me?

(Then N gets to spend more time with us b/c he will already be off for the holidays!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Court date countdown (18 days)

I could play it chill and pretend that I am hopeful but not holding my breath for passing court on the 18th, but that would be a BIG.FAT.LIE. This is for sure the hardest wait that we have felt in this process. We have had some other very hard times, but this wait actually has a timeline. And for better or worse I am planning our life of togetherness which I hope will "officially" begin on the 18th. You can play witness to the next 18 days of our life! :)

Today's fun highlights included a nice long run, the successful feeling of completing a cleaning project and thoughts of some wine this evening.

To balance the fun highlights, I should mention that my true feelings right now are that of total stress and "how in the world can I get everything done" which relates only casually to Y and more to work and other commitments.

Peace out! See you tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that until we reach the 18th!