So my nephew turned 6 today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love my nephews. Love, love them. They were born and sealed the deal that I could love little kids that were not born of my womb. I share no genetic similarities with them and yet, I would step in front of a bus for them any day. They are just two of the most precious people in the whole world.

So of course I loved celebrating his birth today.

During “Happy Birthday”…love the look on his face.

My other nephew, Eli.

And then some of the other people I love, you might recognize them.

My sister-in-law, Kait brought a pinata (Tariku kept calling it a siesta, so at least he was close). It was a REALLY fun time.

Afterward it made a great hat for Trysten and my father-in-law, Frank!

Love you, Oli!!!!!

The Weekend

I’m on a roll with blogs, let’s just keep lettin’ it rain, right?

Family camp at camp this weekend. Lots of fun, lots of swimming it was a fantastic time.

Trysten passed the swim test (swim 25 yards without stopping) for the first time so he got some QT in the deep end.

Tariku chose instead to quit LITERALLY half a hand away from the edge, totally psyched himself out (which is not at all frustrating for his mom, ahem).

Dailah spent a lot of time on her float circle too and enjoyed her special treat of the straight up sugar they call “Fun Dip”.

Oh, and Tariku showed us a new talent he picked up. He can suck his nostrils in for a really long time. Try it, it’s nearly impossible.

Chain Gang

Remember how I shared about Tariku’s triggers? I’m trying to figure out how to best prepare him (and the other 2) for what’s coming in 3 1/2 weeks. So Saturday I decided to make some paper chains so Tariku could have a visual on just how much longer he has to wait until we leave and just how long we’re going to be gone. So we made 2 chains.

One for the amount of days he has to wait until we leave.

And one for the amount of time we’re actually gone.

It’s been great watching the kids get excited about taking a chain off in the mornings. Selfishly, it’s been great watching the chain get ever so shorter in my eyes as well! Something like 24 days…Woot!


Some of my girlfriends and I went to Sex in the City 2 on Friday, opening night. Here’s the thing, the movie was fun. Of course there were some eye rolling parts, of course it didn’t live up to the TV show or the first movie, of course, of course. BUT, the people I was with, the atmosphere of the room was just fun. So it’s hard to separate the two.

Zach has asked me before how a cinema major (that’s me, did you know I majored in cinema?) can enjoy the kinds of movies I do. It’s pretty simple, I just need an escape. I don’t want to think, I don’t want to analyze the camera angles and what would’ve worked better. I don’t want to think about how the cinematography worked with the sounds of the film. In fact, I don’t want to call them “films” anymore, I just like “movies”. And there’s a difference.

Sex in the City 2, that’s a movie. Which is what this mama of (almost) 5 needs at this time in my life.

But these ladies, these are my other peeps. They’re the peeps that are on the ground, in the trenches of the hotflawedmama madness. They’ve seen it all with me and they continue to dive into the ups and downs of being my friend. They are some of the people that make this life of mine blessed beyond measure. You have no idea what you’re missing if these people aren’t in your life.

But I get them in mine, and I am so very happy about that.

And come on, could they be any sexier? I even got Janet (second from left) to throw off her Crocs for the night and put on a decent pair of shoes. 😉

On "My Peeps"-One in Particular

Rebekah received her referral last week. Rebekah is one of my people (though probably there are a lot of people who can make that same claim) and I can say that because I traveled with her when we picked up Tariku and she picked up Matthew Zerihun.

So when she told me she was ready for a champagne toast (code in the adoption world for “I got a referral, come drink yourself silly with me!”) I was downright depressed that I lived 3 hours from her and couldn’t do so in person.

But…she’s a genius. She asked people who were too far away to send in their virtual toast.


*Quick note, I chose beer instead of champagne because when we were in Ethiopia we had a few beers together. Zach went with someone to pick up some beer from a local shop. We didn’t really realize that it wouldn’t be refrigerated but of course it wasn’t. So we all drank our warm beer and (kind of) enjoyed it.

Here’s the thing about the adoption world, specifically the adoption world in this technological age. We all (seem) to know each other. We are interwebbed through the interwebs. It’s a pretty remarkable thing.

When Zach and I started out on this adoption some of the first people I told (even before some family and most friends) were my adoption “soul sisters”. The people who I knew would be able to give me support and encouragement as well as a healthy dose of reality “It’s not that big of a freakin deal, Tesi, suck it up.” They are good like that.

Rebekah, she’s one of them. After we got our travel email I tried calling my family, no one was answering! So I emailed Rebekah because I needed someone to celebrate with. Celebrate we did.

After that, I had to text Amanda and Tiffany (also fellow travelers of first adoption and good friends) because I wanted to share joy.

Then I had a good chat with Chandra because she’s hilarious and loves chocolate and I knew she would be excited for us.

So people make fun of me (cough, Zach, cough) because I’m always “on the blogs”. But there’s kind of this thing we do for each other. We laugh, cry and toast together. Most of “my peeps” I’ve never even met but often I feel like I could go to Cathy‘s house and debate over a cup of coffee about which always-talking Ethiopian boy actually talks more.

But this world is sometimes the only place I feel sane and sometimes even the only place where “crazy” is the norm, and for that I am eternally grateful.

So this toast goes out to Rebekah, and Patrick. To my buddy Quinn and of course sweet MZ. But most especially to the most precious Dagmawit. Of course that beautiful little girl doesn’t know what just happened to her. Her world was turned upside down and inside out but I have no doubts in just a few short months it will be (somewhat) righted again because she’s landed in the most remarkable family. Raise your glass (or just head over to Rebekah’s blog) and toast the new addition!

It’s Really Happening

I’m not sure if you knew that or not but Zach and I certainly had our doubts. We had our doubts that we would bring home the boys for another few months.

But today we found out otherwise. We will indeed be traveling to pick them up. When?

June 23rd!!!!!!!!! Less than a month!

When I called to tell Zach that we got our travel date we both thought the same thing, “Really?” With Tariku we ran into so many hurdles, everything that could go wrong or slow, did. But this time it’s as if we’re hitting all the green lights, very crazy.

Which is what these boys deserve. They deserve green lights to a family. They deserve no more hurdles to finding love in our arms.

And yet…

Their parents are a bit in shock.

We actually get a whole month (almost) to plan, which is pretty amazing in international adoption. Last time we got just over 2 weeks’ notice.

So it’s happening and we’re beside ourselves. When I got the email I was busy feeding the kids (our CSA delivered fresh strawberries, lettuce and radish last night so we were dining on that, the perfect thing for this excitable belly). Tariku fell to the floor, started kicking the air and yelling, “Mommy and daddy are going to get our brothers! They’ll be home soon!”

And that’s when I cried.

Because I realized bringing them home means so much more than just bringing on babies to love for us. It means Tariku gets siblings who look like him, siblings who have the same terrific and horrifying memories. Brothers who may not be biological but who are certainly similar in histories. I am so excited for him, for us.

I can tell you their names, I was told.

Tomas and Binyam.

Still no pictures until June 22nd. I’m already creating a slideshow for you. 🙂

But we booked our tickets. Flying NW/KLM June 23rd and coming back July 2nd. My nephew is due July 2nd so my sister-in-law has to either deliver early or keep him cozy for awhile.

As for us, we’re pinching ourselves and giving praises to the Author of this story. We are praising God for these blessings, these terrific blessings. We are in awe of His grace and humbled by His mercy.

We hope the boys wake up this morning with a feeling they can’t shake, a feeling that they are loved most intensely by a family half a world away.

This family, my family, who will be complete in less than a month.

3 habeshas and 4 mostly-germans, sounds like the strangest, most amazing pairing I’ve ever heard of!

Thanks for letting me share, thanks for being “my people”. Watch for my next post about “people”.

Tomas and Binyam, we’re coming!!!!!!

In the Meantime

My brother got married, I’m waiting for pictures.

We got an update on the boys, I’m waiting for energy.

For now, you get a commencement speech by Bono because it re-inspired me today and made me realize my desire for laziness today can’t extend the rest of my life. Breath of fresh air in a stagnant heart this morning.

This is a tasty morsel, if you want the whole dish, go here.

An amazing event happened here in Philadelphia in 1985–Live Aid–that whole We Are The World phenomenon the concert that happened here. Well after that concert I went to Ethiopia with my wife, Ali. We were there for a month and an extraordinary thing happened to me. We used to wake up in the morning and the mist would be lifting we’d see thousands and thousands of people who’d been walking all night to our food station were we were working. One man–I was standing outside talking to the translator–had this beautiful boy and he was saying to me in Amharic, I think it was, I said I can’t understand what he’s saying, and this nurse who spoke English and Amharic said to me, he’s saying will you take his son. He’s saying please take his son, he would be a great son for you. I was looking puzzled and he said, “You must take my son because if you don’t take my son, my son will surely die. If you take him he will go back to Ireland and get an education.” Probably like the ones we’re talking about today. I had to say no, that was the rules there and I walked away from that man, I’ve never really walked away from it. But I think about that boy and that man and that’s when I started this journey that’s brought me here into this stadium.

Because at that moment I became the worst scourge on God’s green earth, a rock star with a cause. Christ! Except it isn’t the cause. Seven thousand Africans dying every day of preventable, treatable disease like AIDS? That’s not a cause, that’s an emergency. And when the disease gets out of control because most of the population live on less than one dollar a day? That’s not a cause, that’s an emergency. And when resentment builds because of unfair trade rules and the burden of unfair debt, that are debts by the way that keep Africans poor? That’s not a cause, that’s an emergency. So–We Are The World, Live Aid, start me off it was an extraordinary thing and really that event was about charity. But 20 years on I’m not that interested in charity. I’m interested in justice. There’s a difference. Africa needs justice as much as it needs charity.

Equality for Africa is a big idea. It’s a big expensive idea. I see the Wharton graduates now getting out the math on the back of their programs, numbers are intimidating aren’t they, but not to you! But the scale of the suffering and the scope of the commitment they often numb us into a kind of indifference. Wishing for the end to AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa is like wishing that gravity didn’t make things so damn heavy. We can wish it, but what the hell can we do about it?

Well, more than we think. We can’t fix every problem–corruption, natural calamities are part of the picture here–but the ones we can we must. The debt burden, as I say, unfair trade, as I say, sharing our knowledge, the intellectual copyright for lifesaving drugs in a crisis, we can do that. And because we can, we must. Because we can, we must. Amen.

This is the straight truth, the righteous truth. It’s not a theory, it’s a fact. The fact is that this generation–yours, my generation–that can look at the poverty, we’re the first generation that can look at poverty and disease, look across the ocean to Africa and say with a straight face, we can be the first to end this sort of stupid extreme poverty, where in the world of plenty, a child can die for lack of food in it’s belly. We can be the first generation. It might take a while, but we can be that generation that says no to stupid poverty. It’s a fact, the economists confirm it. It’s an expensive fact but, cheaper than say the Marshall Plan that saved Europe from communism and fascism. And cheaper I would argue than fighting wave after wave of terrorism’s new recruits. That’s the economics department over there, very good.

It’s a fact. So why aren’t we pumping our fists in the air and cheering about it? Well probably because when we admit we can do something about it, we’ve got to do something about it. For the first time in history we have the know how, we have the cash, we have the lifesaving drugs, but do we have the will?

Not Wordless Wednesday

So I had asked Zach to get the group of guys who works at camp to bring old railroad ties down to our house to start our garden.

Today I got an email from Zach that said, “I would send you a picture of my cleavage but I thought this would turn you on more.”

He’s got such sweet pillow talk.

Oh, and nope, not able to post pictures of our boys. Guess you’ll have to wait another month. 😦

And Then There Were 7

Amazingly, miraculously, terrifically…we passed!

We passed court today. The boys are ours!

Tonight in Ethiopia, paperwork will be gathered and glanced and soon enough we’ll get a birth certificate for the boys. And their last name, will now be Klipsch.


I really had planned on not knowing until the end of the week, but then at about noon people starting saying they heard they passed. So I started to get anxious.

And feel like I was going to throw up.

And not be able to eat.

And biting my nails to the quick.

And, in short, becoming adoption Tesi.

Then at 3:37 we got an email notifying us of our “Court approval”. Those are some pretty fantastic words.

Oddly enough, last night I was trying to go to sleep but kept finding myself dreaming about all the things that needed to happen to pass court. Who needed to be there and what that meant for that person. Couldn’t sleep.

Then I just felt God saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I got this.”

And I knew He did. So I turned over and fell asleep.

I woke up with that calm sense of peace. I thought probably it was God saying, “Not today, but another day. They’ll be yours when you are ready and they are ready.”

But now I realize it was probably more like, “It’s going to be fine, you’ll be a family of 7 today, for the rest of your lives.”

I’m kind of lovin’ that feeling.

SO…our agency says that we are not allowed to post photos until we travel. I still have not figured out the reason for this as every other agency I know working in Ethiopia allows you to post pictures once you pass court. So I’ll find out tomorrow, and if they let me, you’ll see those faces I’ve been staring at for 5 months!

So hang on, just a few more hours (hopefully)!