Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Pie in the Oven

As you may know, I bake pies. And from time to time I take on a pie frenzy for a purpose. I've baked pies to raise money for orphans in M-y-a-n-m-a*r. And I've baked pies to help us have enough money to pay fees related to an adoption of a domestic infant.

Since we're gearing up to move forward with that whole process, and given that it's holiday season, I figured it was time to put the shout out to see if anyone was interested in donating to the Kline Kid Cause in exchange for a pie.

I just took the first pie out of the oven. And I have orders for nine more. When some people are expecting they say they have "a bun in the oven." As for us, when we're expecting, you'll find pies in our ovens!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adoption #3

We've done an adoption through foster care. We've done an adoption through the state. My sister has covered the international adoption market. So we figure we'd try a domestic infant adoption (private). We're in the very beginning phases of signing up with an agency who will help get our situation out there for birthparents. We're working on re-starting the home study process. And we'll go from there. This is a completely new experience for us, though many of the steps are the same. And the outcome, if all goes as planned - will be a completely new experience for us.

So I guess I'll rev up this website for this one last journey. Thanks for following along on this craziness and for supporting our family through it all!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


A year ago, I submitted an interest form on adoptuskids.org on a little boy who needed a family. Today we officially added him to ours. I'm not sure where our adoption journey will go from here. I'm not sure if this is the end of our adoption journey or if there might be a longer road ahead. For today, we are celebrating this leg of the journey.

Today, I decorated the dining room for cake. I had Kani stay upstairs while I did it. When I finally let him come down, he said, "Wow Mom, you're pretty impressed about this." I love that he used the word "impressed." I love that he told me that I was impressed!

This day was different than Cameron's adoption. We actually were in the courtroom. Judge Lunsford let Kani sit in his chair while he took our testimony down at the tables. Cameron sat in the jury booth. Here are some snippets from our day:

Saturday, August 15, 2009


It has been an exhausting week. And I don't mean just tiring. I mean "I'm at the end of my rope and don't think I can do this anymore" type of exhaustion.

It should have been a good week. I had good things planned. And we did those good things. We went to the library when it got really hot. We went out to Rita's with Daddy that same afternoon (Monday). The kitten came Tuesday, and all plans went in the crapper. We went to the last freebie movie of the summer with Arianna and Nicole on Wednesday. Our baseball game was rained out Wednesday night (thank God). We went to Lakemont Park on Thursday.

I think things started to break down Monday night. I don't remember how we got there, but once again Kani screamed and screamed at bedtime. We ended up moving Cameron to the big-boy bed in the nursery. But I have little tolerance for Kani's extreme reactions to his fears of being alone. So that wasn't pretty.

Tuesday was understandably chaotic. But Cameron really loves the kitten, and has calmed down considerably in her midst.

The week just got increasingly stressful and it came to a head at the park. Kani did not follow the rules in the water park area, and he had to have a time-out. Once he finally calmed down, we went back into the water - where he almost immediately broke the rules again (which were set up so that he'd stay close enough to me that I wouldn't be terrified of him getting water in his stoma - hole if he fell into the 1' water). So I told him he was done in the water. Just too much stress. He pitched a fit on the pool chair. Then again on the cement when I took him off the chair. Then again on the grass later. And I lost it.

Yesterday I was in a better place and Kani and I worked on some of his troublesome behaviors throughout the morning while Cameron was at Stepping Stones (social skills group for kids on the autism spectrum). And Kani continued to test and test. We went to the grocery store, and I ended up having to hold Kani's hand through the store. Of course, this just caused him to meltdown - he tried to hit me, kick me, bite me, etc. I was exhausted. And I lost it.

This morning, I found Cameron downstairs in the living room with a popcorn bag (from my snack last night). He decided to "feed" some to the kitten. And then he licked the bag. And I lost it.

Do we see a pattern?

So - I'm home now. Blissfully alone. Eric took the boys to Hanover to visit his family and celebrate his Mom's birthday. I'm sad I'm not there, but glad I'll see them on Thursday at the adoption. And I know that the boys and I need a break from one another.

I'm so thankful for my friend - who has parented a child who is not hers biologically - for affirming that the things I deal with on a day in and day out basis are not "normal kid things." They are intensified by the "ish" that my kids have brought with them from their families of origin. I do not have memories of their infantile innocence to fall back upon. I always have to "be on" with them. It's intense. Every minute I'm with them. I love them dearly. But it's not always fun to be their Mommy.

Kani's biggest thing right now is not knowing what to do with himself. He doesn't play with toys appropriately and is destructive. He took crayon to his (white) carpet this week. He took scissors to a shoe box which ended up in a gazillion pieces in the den. He tried to break two chairs. But not everyone gets to see this side of him. So I end up being the stressed out Mommy who "can't handle it."

Cameron is - just Cameron. He pees himself. He is unaware of his surroundings. He's in his own little world. He's dear. But he's disconnected. So I don't know him very well. And then when he does his things, it makes it that much more difficult to extend grace.

So, I'm looking forward to this weekend. Today is the Bellefonte Arts and Crafts Fair. My friend Cady and her Rob are coming over for a movie this afternoon. I may get some work done around the house. Or I may not. Tomorrow I have another call back for our church's Christmas musical and then there's a picnic. I may get work done for school. I may not. But I am definitely going to relish this weekend and the gift of it! Eric has given me permission to "get away" (with prior notice). He realizes the rejuvenating power of me getting a Motel 6 for a night and just being alone. I crave solitude. Sometimes my family has seen this as me 'running away' from problems. In reality, it's the space I need to process things. It's cathartic. I am so fortunate to have a husband who recognizes the importance of this and makes allowances for it without taking it personally. He said the other day that he can't parent these boys without me. But I could NOT do this without him.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Adoption Date

If you haven't already heard, Kani's adoption is set for Thursday, August 20th at 2:00 p.m. Cameron's was in the morning, so we went to the Waffle Shop and then to the local indoor play area. For Kani, we promised Chuck E. Cheese - which is about an hour away.

Looks like at the very least Kani's Philadelphia caseworker, Eric's parents, Eric's grandmother, and our family will be there. Should be a fun time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day about our plans to domestically adopt an African American infant. Our choice to do this involves many issues, one of which is the greater need for families to adopt these babies. Another is to racially balance our family a little. Another is due to the network of friends (and now family) that we have who have adopted transracially. However, during our conversation, we were discussing the adoptions of children from foreign countries - specifically African countries. My sister is currently adopting a little baby boy (less than one year old) from Africa. One of the lures of this particular country is the relative cost and speed of the adoption, and the age of available children, relative to other international adoptions. And this friend made a comment that really made me think. She asked if I thought that there were more people willing to adopt from Africa than there were willing to adopt African American children. And I think there are. Then I got to thinking about why that might be. It's all very interesting to me. I commented to my cousin just today about this. I know people will think I'm making a judgment call on those who choose to adopt internationally (specifically from Africa) rather than domestsically. That's not the case. I just think it's INTERESTING.

Everyone has different reasons to adopt. Usually the reasons we have going into adoption are partially altruistic, and partially selfish. We want to do something "nice" and "good." But we also want to get something out of it, too.

For my sister and her family, they feel that it is God's calling on their life to adopt a child from Africa. They met their son for the first time yesterday, and will be bringing him home to the US on Father's Day. They have three biological children of her own. It has been interesting to share in her adoption journey. It is not the same as mine. But then again, each adoption is unique.

As for me and my husband, we cannot have biological children. We were foster parents for 8 years. We had ten foster children - some part-time, some long term. We adopted our first son through foster care. Then we left foster care and are in the process of adopting our second son (age 6) from the statewide adoption network. Currently, our hope is for our next child to be a domestic infant adoption of an African American child. We have never had an infant. We'd like very much to have the opportunity to experience that stage of life and all the "not so grand" things that go with it (sleepless nights, bottles, diapers, etc.) We have lost our innocence about parenting along the way, I think. We know that babies don't last forever and all too soon you have the very real task of discipline and later hormones (this last point is one of the reasons why my vote is currently for another boy - not to mention the fact that we're much more "set up" with boy stuff). The thought of getting a child from the hospital - or shortly thereafter - excites us. We couldn't do this internationally. But we can do this locally.

So we're no "better" for deciding to form our family locally. We're no worse, either. It's just our choice that has worked for our family at the particular moment in time when each child came into our lives. There have been times when we have considered international adoption. Indeed, we were approved for a country on the same day we got the call that we were being considered for Kani. And we had to make a very real decision about the trade-offs of adopting in this manner. Ultimately, we took the risk of another rejection to go for the child who we had chosen - from a picture and from a short biography - that made us believe he was a child who was meant to be a part of our family.

I tease my husband and say that maybe we'll just do one of each: adoption through foster care, adoption from the statewide adoption network, domestic infant adoption, and international adoption. Really, I don't know what's going to happen. But I do know this. There are a lot of children in our WORLD - towns, states, country, AND in our world - that need a home. They don't need perfect families. They're not perfect children. But they do need someone to love them, to accept them, and to be willing to let them into their homes and their lives as a member of their family.

So, I guess the real question is, what are YOU willing to do for the children who need a home?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dress Up

Even boys like to play dress-up. I crack up when I see these pictures, and applaud myself for picking up the day-after Halloween costumes solely for this purpose. What's particularly funny is how COOL they think they are when they're dressed up like this!!