Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Riddles, Revelations, and Referrals!

If you remember I started the countdown 12 weeks ago with a riddle. Here is a bit more of the story. Unraveling the riddle goes something like this.

In August when I wrote the rhyme I already had the referrals for my children, a son 4 and a daughter 6. I was matched with my children on June 4 when I switched agencies. I sent in my revised dossier and it was received in Ethiopia on or about July 10. There were some paperwork issues that needed to be handled and they could not be resolved prior to the court closing. On August 6, I received all the profile and medical work for my son but not my daughter.

I knew that the referral for my daughter was a little tenuous as her papers were impacted by changing requirements on the Ethiopian end. Still, I decided to wait and exhaust every possibility to get the issues resolved by the times the courts opened the first week of October. When were not able to do that I had to make a very tough decision and that is primarily why I've remained quiet about what has been going on. Through the weeks of waiting and uncertainty my agency was in constant communication with updates and eventually I had to make one final decision.

I decided to let go of my baby girl and was referred a new four-year old girl (I think she is six) one week ago Friday. No decision was going to be an easy one and while I don't think that children are interchangeable, I do believe that somehow we are led to the children meant for us. So with that I am thrilled about both of my babies and I'm ready for them to come home.

In August the best hope was that we would file for a court date as soon as the courts opened and that my date would be this week #12 or the first week of November. Well, I do have a COURT DATE! That is the big news.

The case was filed in court last Monday, October 20. and the adoptions will be final on December 8, 2008. I had hoped that they would be home by then but at least I can see the end. Let's have an all blog cheer for the court date! The best hope is that their visas and passports are ready on December 18, 2008 -- that would be the soonest they would come home. That is what I am working towards.

But of course that can't possibly be the end of the story.

As is the world of international adoption there are a few more rings of fire to jump through. My homestudy expires on December 7 or November 27 depending on how you read it, so now I have the added pleasure of getting all of my documents updated, getting fingerprints, letters, medical clearances, and having another homestudy visit on Saturday. Isn't that exciting? In Illinois all homestudies must then go to a central office in Springfield, Illinois for review and approval. Mmmmm....I do have an October 8 court date let's not forget.

Let's all join in a blog exclamation of, "Are you serious?" Yes. I'm afraid I am. Oh and there is one more thing for giggles. On October 15 it seems that Illinois changed some law or process requiring my placement agency to complete some type of registration to place children in Illinois. So, my agency is now having to complete that process as well and be approved before the court date.. You've gotta love it!

In the interim, my father and I are planning to travel and see the kids the last week of November. I have to meet my IR-3 visa requirement of seeing them first.

Well, that's the news and not yet the end of the story. Hope you all have a good day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Important News on the Horizon

I have changed the look of the blog to correspond to changes that are going on with the adoption. More news this week! Check in Wednesday for the full update.

Week #12

See Weeks 1-11

Alright my good people. It is week number #12 and there is much to tell. Of course none of you are interested in hearing adoption news updates so here are the 12-week pictures. Look them over more news is on the way. I promise it is well worth the wait.

What is there really to say about these? I was twelve and not all that happy about it. I wish I had a good explanation but I think a lot of the change in my expression has to do with the fact that I got braces that really pushed my lips out and I spent those two-years in a considerable amount of pain.

Robbin I can hear you laughing and it is alright. I can take it.

I am pretty sure this is the day I graduated from sixth grade and so I might be 13 on this one. What you can't see is the corked wedge heals that I know I'm wearing. That front-door thing is funny and tragic. We actually did move freely throughout our home and spent most of our time outside.

Prayers for a Family

I am so saddened to hear about the tragedy that has affected the family of Jennifer Hudson. The thought of losing three generations of a family in one horrible incident is overwhelming. To take the life of an innocent seven-year old child makes no sense.

In my post last week I mentioned working with children in Chicago who saw violence as a common occurrence, the children lived in this very same neighborhood. Working with the children just a five blocks from the murders, it was difficult and sad to look into the eyes of children who worried if they would ever live to see adulthood.

No child should have to wake up in the morning and wonder whether or not the will live until the end of the day. It is too much. We look to Ethiopia with compassion and understanding and too often look at communities like Englewood with suspicion and contempt. Children are children no matter where they are, no matter who their parents are, and no matter their socio-economic circumstances.

Please pray for this family.

Their story is a reminder of how life can change in an instant. Make the most of every moment and hug your children a little bit tighter. Tell someone you are sorry and make sure to tell those important to you just how much you love them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Have Been Shamed

You have shamed me, talked about me, and attacked me for failing the most sacred duty of all mothers -- taking pictures. So, after I lifted my head I decided to STAGE a little photo session and pulled a few things out.

What you won't see is the lovely colorful care packages that guest took when they left, you won't see the grand Queen Ann cake that was filled with cream, strawberries, and bananas, you won't see the lovely table settings, the food, the menu or the invitations. Here is what I have. I hope it is enough to redeem me.

I start with a picture of my daddy standing in my kitchen partially blocking my famous apple treat dessert. The kids also got some books, gift certificates, undies, t-shirts, and cute, cute pajamas.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sorry No Pictures

In all the excitement at the shower or the excitement of being with friends, many people had cameras but no one took pictures. I put the kids gifts away before even thinking about taking pictures.

Sorry. I promise to do better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Children in My Life

I am not a first time parent. I am the Old Lady in the shoe and this is a path that I've been on for a long time with many children. It is through them that I've learned a great deal, become patient and recognized how important my role is in their development and more importantly how they have shaped me.

In my letters of recommendation there were two comments from different people that touched me.

One friend wrote : Valarie is like the pied piper for children, she is naturally at ease with them and they know it. Children are inexperienced about the world but they have an innate sense for identifying sincere adults that show them genuine love and concern. Even the most bashful or the toughest, misbehaving kids are like putty in her hands.

Another friend wrote: Some people have children and become mothers, Valarie was born a mother.

At my shower were two of my babies now 34 and 26. Children (uhmm...grownups) that entered my life almost 18 years ago.
  • From 14-15 I worked as a hospital volunteer on the pediatric wing of a hospital.
  • At 16 I was part of a special program that taught basic skills to fourth, fifth and sixth graders in economically disadvantaged schools.
  • From 19-21 while a college student I mentored a 9 year old girl through Big Brothers / Big Sisters
  • At 24 when I moved to Chicago I was a Junior Achievement adviser working with children who lived in between two rival gang territories and several of our students were known gang members. We spent very little time on JA projects. We spent much more time on life management, resolving conflicts, self-esteem, and growing up without parents. The facility had armed guards that sat at the ends of the hallways, there was a manned tower on the parking lot and I was escorted to my car each night. That is where I met a young 16 year old named Michael who shook me to the core when I asked him what he intended to do with his life. He told me that he would probably never live to be 18 but if he did he promised me that he would make something of his life. From that moment I learned that the outer shell was only that and inside was always a young child looking for unconditional love and acceptance.
  • At 25 because of the many youth programs that I was involved in I was asked to work with a large inner city church to help them develop a youth education program. I lead a group of 40 adults over a five-month period to create Project Hope. It was a holistic plan for meeting children where they are and leading them to where they need to be. Parts of it are still used some 15 years later and led by one of my grown up kids.
  • I stayed on at the church for several years serving as the Leader of Christian Youth education and spent most of my time teaching teen bible study and children's Sunday school. I counldn't teach it without living it and developed a system where we used the children's daily issues to lead the classes.
  • It was the first time (far from the last) that I was asked and paid as a keynote speaker for Youth Education. That led me to graduate school where I further developed the HOPE principles and youth education programs that I began teaching to groups of adults who work with children.
  • A two-year old family member in a pretty tough spot ended up coming to Illinois to stay with me over a period of time. She is definitely the child that changed my life and how I see children. She did not want to return to her home and letting her go was pretty tough on me too. Because of the circumstances she came back at age 4 and again at age 8 before becoming a ward of the court that would not allow me to adopt her from another state. She taught me that children are what we write on them and that they watch how we live more than they listen to what we say. I have strongly advocated for children every since.
  • I worked in a program for teen girls and become the surrogate mom to a 16-year old for the next two years that had an absentee mother that would frequently take 1-3 week long trips out of town leaving the girl home alone.
  • I met a 13 year old girl who told me that her goal in life was to DIE! Recognizing some struggles of other young girls like her, I created a program called Eyes Like Mine which was a 9-month mentoring program for girls 8-14. The girls spent one weekend a month in my home where we had structured events from Friday to Sunday. Many of the girls had never been to restaurants, or office buildings but we did it all and traveled to college campuses in other states. The girls came to know me as a strong advocate and a tough disciplinarian. I have a box of projects they completed, letters they wrote, and promises that I had asked them to keep. Several of their numbers are still in my phone and I am still "mom" to some of them.
  • One of these children eventually came into my home on an emergency temporary order of the court. I am still mom to her and she will fight you (if I'd let her) if you say otherwise.
  • One of the older girls, too old for the program but without a mother was brought to me with a desire to go to college, we scrambled and got her into a school in Florida and I had to work with the administration to manage a lot of situations that a parent would on her behalf.
  • Another family member began spending summers with me at age 5 and eventually lived with me for part of second grade at age 7. Even after he did not live here, he and his brother was here each day after school. I had also been the babysitter of their mother when she was a child many years before. These babies of mine are now 12, 16 and 32 and my relationship with them is still that of a parental figure. My boys refer to me as their aunt but I do feel like grandma.
  • Last year I completed a program with the Chicago Public schools teaching life, leadership, and conflict resolution skills to 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students with some pretty complicated backgrounds. Helping children set life goals when they can't see beyond next week can be heartbreaking.
I don't really remember the time before children were a significant part of my life. Even though my own child died at birth I am "mommy" to many, some who never actual had mothers of their own. In my mommy role, I've had to sit in court as an advocate, attended counseling with my kids, dealt with substance issues, issues of abuse and all things in between. Without giving birth I've been to parent/teacher conferences, stayed up late at night doing homework, made costumes and cupcakes for the school events, and attended the plays and concerts. I've been called from my job for the sick kid and the misbehaving kid. I've interrogated boyfriends, set and had to enforce rules and curfews. I've heard the "I hate you's" the "I'm glad you're not my real mothers" and the "You can't make me's". I've hung in there long enough to here the, "How did you put up with me?" "I love YOU!"

I definitely don't know it all but I've seen a lot from the terrible 2s to the hot 22s. Without these experiences I would never I've jumped into the deep end of the adoption ocean. Parenting is a tough job but there is nothing more rewarding. I am so grateful to all of my grown up and almost grown up kids that allowed me to practice on them over the years and have encouraged me every step along the way towards adoption.

I love each of you babies so much!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shower Me With Your Love

I did have a (kid) shower on October 18 thrown by my good friend Cheryl. She demanded that I sit down and not do anything because she says that I do too much all the time for everyone. She wanted an opportunity to do something for me and she did a great job. I was so happy to see people that I forgot to take pictures. Trust me everything was set up beautifully and I received some great practical gifts from my wish list. Now, their closets are not bare.


I don't do the girly shower thing so there were men and women and children. Some of my favorite little ones were here along with my grown up kids and my dad came up from Indianapolis. We really didn't play games but here is one that I thought was fun.

Play now and let me know your score.

Week #11

Another week has passed and a busy week it has been. I actually had a house full of guest yesterday for my kid shower or baby shower if you prefer. It was a fun time and now I have to find a place for the nice things I received for the kids.

There was one final decision that I had to make about the kids and now that that has been done all systems are a go. I hate to sound cryptic but give me one more week and I'll be ready to give the details. It's been a long road and it looks like my 12-week prediction may be right on target.

In the spirit of waiting and counting here I am at 11. Well, in the first picture I might be 10 but I've posted it anyway just because of the sad puppy dog expression. Robbin you can say what you want to about these pictures but I do have cute legs...still!

The Children Know

I wasn't trying to start some big controversy with my "Parenting on Aisle 3" post. I actually thought that it was a funny story about how children learn to effectively manipulate their parents. The child in question was NOT in distress, he was NOT crying, he was NOT in pain. He was simply being demanding and he knew that if he were loud enough and persistent enough that he would get his way.

I watched the mother, she was NOT frazzled, she was NOT embarrassed, she didn't even seem to be aware that she was in a public place making a scene. It was a like a game they were playing and he was winning. Not one time did she say, "stop screaming." I watched her negotiating with him, attempting to bribe him, and then acting as though she might leave him.

I hear all of the, "you don't know until you have kids so you can't judge." Well, I talked with another adoptive mom last night who like me has worked managing children in programs since we ourselves were teenagers. We talked about how in that role where you have 10 children dropped off to you who will be in your care for a short period of time that you become very adapt at finding strategies that get the type of behavior that you need from the children. The other thing that we talked about is that we have had children in our care who are absolute terrors to their parents, neighbors, and friends but they become gentle and meek with us. I don't know if we have a special kid gene that drew us to work with children or if the work with children helped us develop ways of getting through to them. But, we both said that it starts with setting basic rules and requiring that they respect us as the authority in the room and demand that they respect the other children as well.

Children KNOW who they can push and who they can't. I think that it is Dr. Phil that says we teach people (children) how to treat us.

Children want boundaries and actually respond very well to them -- enter the Super Nanny. I have CHOSEN to work with some of the most challenging children from disadvantaged backgrounds, children with emotional disorders, children with violent histories and yes they can be very strong willed and yes they will try to push your buttons. As the adult I have two jobs, one is to understand where they are coming from and two it is to help them move towards more desirable behavior. Like I said in the original piece I had to leave that section of the store because I was two seconds from intervening. Like Bennett wrote in her response I have often approached a screaming child in a store and gotten a different result. My first approach is usually with humor, "You are far to handsome too..." You usually get a shocked look from the kid, like is somebody really standing up to me? Hey, this chick has my number and she means business. Then comes a thank you from the parent at their wits end.

I don't want to offend any of my six faithful readers but there are some things that I am certain of: my children will not eat M&Ms as breakfast cereal and they will not scream at me as though I work for them. We teach children to look both ways before they cross the street and they can also be taught not to yell at mommy. I expect to be have challenges when my children arrive home and I expect it to take sometime for us to get into a rhythm and develop an understanding, but until my little ones have learned that I mean what I say and that I will not negotiate, our outings will be limited.

To have my Amharic speaking children out when they do not know to listen for the sound of my voice or respond to the look on my face puts them and others at risk. I love them too much for that!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Parenting on Aisle #3

I was in my neighborhood United Nations Wal-mart a couple of weeks ago. I was quietly stalking a family that I identified as Ethiopian. I'm sure that they were and more than that I am almost certain they were from Tigray. They were speaking in their language that did not sound like Amharic but I waited for just one word that I could recognize so that I could start a conversation with them.

And then it happened...

I heard a scream like a child was being killed a few aisle's over. It broke my concentration and I lost sight of the family. I continued to walk the scream got louder until I could finally hear a child saying, "But, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy can't I have a toy noooooooow?"

People were fleeing the aisles and looking back like the sky was falling. He was still screaming. "I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant it! I meeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan it! You are being meaaaaaaaaaaan to me!"
I turned the corner to hear a mother saying, "Don't act that way. If you do I'm not going to listen. You can yell by yourself." And then she does the duck around the other aisle and leaves this 4 or 5 year old sitting in the cart straining over the bar.

What.........? You are kidding right. I hung around because I just had to see this nonsense. This little tactic did not work and he only screamed louder. She comes back to the cart and calmly explains why they can't get a toy. She tells him that she is disappointed in his behavior.

He screams, "I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant you to get me a toy now!" She calmly says, "no, we're not getting any toys." He says, "Well, I want you to know that it's not going to make me very happy." I laughed out loud, that was priceless and instantly brought to mind my mother's one liner that included the words scratch and glad in the same sentence. This mother says, "Well, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings."

Okay, I was about two seconds from minding somebody else's business so I quickly moved to a different area of the store where I witnessed something else. There was a little Latin girl at the end of the aisle trying to point at something, eager to get her mothers attention. The mother said something firmly and sternly in Spanish and did the single finger point to the ground -- the universal "right here, right now" finger point that mother's do.

The little girl stopped mid-sentence and walked quickly to her mother's side. After she did what her mother instructed, the mother grabbed her by the hand and walked over to where the girl had been standing and then in Spanish said what I know had to be, "Now (that you did what I told you to do), show me..." I could still hear the other little boy screaming.

I won't tell you that my child will never scream in a store but I can absolutely guarantee you that it won't go down like it did in Aisle #3.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ok...Is It Just Me?

Conversation with an adoption law practice. (I'm really just trying to compare prices at this point).

Me: Hi, do you handle international re-adoptions?

Her: I'm sorry but we don't provide legal advice over the phone. Would you like to make an appointment?

Me: Well, first I'd like to know if your office handles this area of law.

Her: Please hold...........Okay, I talked to the attorney and he said that you should set an appointment and that we he can look it over for you?

Me: What is it that he will be looking over?

Her: He is going to review your case?

Me: So, does he handle international re-adoptions?

Her: Here is the number for the attorney just call and ask him.

Me: Hello. Do you handle international re-adoptions?

Him: A readoption like someone was adopted already from somewhere else? I'm not familiar with that but I can look it over and tell you if I can help you?

Me: Oh. It's such a common process that if you haven't heard of it then I have to imagine that you don't handle readoptions?

Him: You mean like you have a 600 form that you need me to help you with?

Me: No. Really it's okay.

Him: You need to get a 600 or 601 form first so that you can adopt. Did you have problems with that?

Me: No. No, problem I already have the I-171.

Him: But now you need the 600 form.

Me: Well, the I-600 is the application. Mine has been approved and I have an I-171.

Him: I'm not really familiar with these terms you are using.

Me: It's okay sorry to have bothered you. I thought it was a very common process.

Him: I don't think so at least I've never heard of it. I can help you if the child is having immigration issues. Is that the problem? The best thing is to let me look it over.

Me: Thanks so much for your time, sorry to have bothered you.

Him: Do you want the number to the bar association?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week #10

Where does the time go? It is week #10 and there is news coming soon!

But for today all I have is one sad little picture that marks a turning point. I stopped smiling around 10 and didn't smile again I don't think until about age 16.

1976 was not a good year. The year before my parents divorced after 20 years of marriage, my oldest brother best friend left home to go to the military, and my mother had finally had enough of my school and removed me in the middle in the year. Later that year my oldest brother was also severely injured in a car accident. He broke his neck and was hospitalized and in traction for nine months. He spent the next year in a back brace. There was so much going on that I guess it explains why there are so few pictures.

Before you all start sending condolences we are all okay. It was a very long time ago I just want you to know why I look so pitiful in the pictures. Fast forward 32 years and I'd put on that same sad expression if I thought it would make things move faster.

Pitiful...Pitiful. I call this picture Little Girl Blue.

Note: Thank you Robbin for starting this exercise. It is definitely a fun way to pass the time and it has also caused me to take a look back that I don't think I've ever really done. Looking through pictures and trying to figure out why they stopped or when I lost that happy innocence. This has really been a pretty powerful exercise and reminds me that my children will also be looking at back at some point trying to put the pictures together. Wow...more than I would have thought this would be.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayer for the Pillipson's

Samuel is a 3 year old little boy boy adopted from Ethiopia about six weeks ago. Last week he was injured in a tragic accident and has suffered major injuries. He suffered a broken arm, severe pelvic injuries and will have to have partial amputation of his legs.

As you read their story it is important that we all lift this family up in prayer.

For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord. - Jeremiah 30:17
You can also follow his progress and make donations through Caring Bridge.

Thy light shall break forth as the morning, and thy health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee: the glory of the Lord shall be thy rear guard. - Isaiah 58: 8

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Schools that Sing

As the days get closer and I've looked at many schools, I wanted to share one that I found not far from the house. I don't want to give you any big set-up, just take a look at the curriculum and tell me your thoughts.

1st Grade Curriculum
4th Grade Curriculum

I'm not sending my children here so feel free to express your thoughts.

Tag You're It!

I have been tagged by Robbin to tell six random things about myself check them out. Now it is time for me to pass on the favor.

Tag You Are It!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm Not a Conditional Praiser

Marvin Sapp: You can't wait until after the situation is over to bless the name of the Lord. Those type of praisers are conditional praisers. Those who have crazy faith know that even looking at the obstacle in front of them they won't allow what they see to hinder what they believe."

So much had happened in my life before I started the adoption. Like many of you there are circumstances and situations that shook us at the core and many of those things are what drew us to adoption in the first place.

About the time that I started the adoption I bought the Marvin Sapp CD like everyone else looking for the song, "Never Would Have Made It." That's such an amazing and powerful song that I found to be true of every song on the CD. But, the song that felt so personal, the song that touched and changed me instantly was "Praise Him in Advance."

I've had my share of ups and downs. Times when there was no one around. God came and spoke these words to me, "Praise will confuse the enemy." So I started singing, I started clapping, I started dancing, people were laughing they knew my problems and they knew my pain but I knew God would take them away.

That's why I praise him with my hands. That's why I praise him in a dance. He's given me a second chance. Come on and praise him in advance.
That's why I praise him in a song, when things are right or when they go wrong. He's given me a second chance. Come on and praise him in advance.

Praise him, come on in here, open your mouth and bless the Lord. Praise him, come on praise him, open your mouth give him glory tell your story, bless his name. Praise him in advance.

Praise him in the good times, praise him when things are going wrong. Praise him in advance.
Praise him. Bless the Lord, He is worthy. And for my... life I will praise him, praise him in advance. Praise him when things are good times, praise him trouble on every side. When I'm broke I will praise him in advance.

So I want everyone of you to know that today I praise him advance for the last barrier removed, the complete court filing, the finalization of the adoptions, and my children's safe journey home. I hope someone else can be blessed by it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Week #9

So, it's week #9. Really it is week #1 since the courts just opened last Thursday and all I need is a court date. Come on court date! I am projecting, visioning, and hoping for a court date that is on or before November 15. I really wouldn't mind if any of you would say a prayer.

In the true tradition of the weekly reveal, here I am at age 9. This was my favorite little blue jumper but one day I reached for that can of grease at the back of the stove and the grease went down the front. Ruined!

Roller sets under the dryer for 3.5 -4 hours were common but my hair NEVER dried. The result is frizz.

I added a weekly countdown so that I could look at the pictures in order.

Six Random Things

I was tagged by Robbin. So here are six random things about me. In the great spirit of tagging check the list below you might find your name there.

  1. I have small feet. I wore a size 5.5 from the time that I was 12 until about four years ago when my feet expanded to maybe a 6.5

  2. I love to cook and I'm pretty good at it. Others laugh at the way my best friend and I exchange recipes, she is also a very good cook it's like we talk some strange super-cook shorthand.

  3. I have some strange ability to remember names of people. For example Monday I went into a new client worksite and met about 30 people in two meetings. For the rest of the day a person was showing me around and I would speak to a person passing in the hall by name. The person with me was surprised. Since I often teach to large groups of people, they always ask how I'm able to memorize 30-40 names within the first hour or so of a class. I haven't the vaguest idea.

  4. I have barely any body hair. TMI I know, but it's random and just came to me. I have hardly any top eyelashes, no bottom eyelashes, and almost non-existent eyebrows -- they are not arched. I just looked and I may have some hair on my arms but if I do it is extremely fine and not really visible to the naked eye.

  5. I had driver's license from three states in less than one year when I moved from Michigan to Indiana, and then to Illinois. That was in 1988 so I'm sure it's not that interesting.

  6. There are five strange coincidences of my birth. One of those is that I was the only girl with two brothers, born to my mother who had two brothers and my father who also had two older brothers like his mother that had two brothers.

Tag You Are It!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This is the Pyramid Line All Grown Up

I took a big break this weekend and returned to Michigan State University for homecoming. I graduated from college in 1989 and not been back since 1995. My trip was made extra special because it was also the celebration of my 20th year in Delta Sigma Theta.

"This is the pyramid line. You know we're looking so fine. If you wanna know which way to go, which way to go. The way is not AKA, they think they're fine, so fine but check this line it's DST."

I pledged DST in 1988 with seventeen other women and we became known as E.L.I.T.E. 18. Eighteen Ladies Inclined To Excel today are wifes, mothers, doctors, teachers, principals, business owners, ministers, and accountants. Fourteen of the eighteen were there and it was a great time trying to remember all the songs we used to sing. Some even had the courage to step -- uh not me.

Everybody looks great and we took a 20-year anniversary picture to go next to our pledge picture from '88. I have to say that I am proud of their accomplishments but more proud of the women that we have become. Happy Anniversary to my E.L.I.T.E. Sands! Ooh-Oop!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hello Dolly - Buy African American Dolls

Over the weekend I walked into a store not far from my house and was surprised at what I found in the toy department. There was one complete aisle of black dolls, three shelves high of different dolls. There were all types of dolls and I've never seen that many options in one place.

My friend suggested that I purchase as many of them as I could and make them available to other mom's who are having a hard time finding black dolls, so here they are. I've set them up so that you can purchase them through PayPal. They are priced at $18, $22, $25 including shipping.

If you are interested in purchasing more dolls let me know.

Dolls $22 includes shipping

Bonnie Lou Doll in Green (2)

Patti Jo Doll in Red (2)

Cuddle Baby Doll (2)

Talking Dolls $25 includes shipping

Cheerleader Doll (2)
She says a cute little cheer.

Little Miss Muffett (1)
She sings the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme.

Dolls $18 includes shipping

Baby Pony Doll (1)

Little Girl Pony Tails (2)

Baby Bath Doll (1)

Baby Swimmer Doll (3)

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]