On Saturday evening we had the pleasure of attending the Mary Magdalene Dreamweaver silent auction fundraiser. The evening began with a train ride from Irvine to Los Angeles' Union Station. The train ride was fantastic. Rick and Pam met up with us at Irvine's train station and we all hopped aboard the train for the ride up to Los Angeles and an evening of adventure. While on the train my brother caught the attention of a fellow passenger since Zak was dressed in his dress blues. The gentleman treated Zak to a beer and brought "nibblies" to us all to enjoy. He found out that Joe was also in the military and then began talking with him as well.
Upon our arrival to Union Station, our party of seven made it through the train station and made our grand entrance to the event. In my most humble opinion, we all looked fabulous! Joe and I were able to meet some great people through my uncle Marty. He is the Executive Director of the Mary Magdalene Project and has accomplished amazing things during his time working there. In my opinion (though it may be a bit biased), he is a large part of what makes the event so successful. Joe and I placed bids on a variety of items, then made our way to our table to enjoy a fantastic dinner. After dinner is when the real amazement began. The LIVE auction! At the live auction a variety of "big ticket" items are sold. Last year Joe and I narrowly missed winning the auction on a safari in South Africa. Again this year the same safari trip was offered and we anxiously awaited the bidding for that particular item. However, we were rather disappointed when the bidding rather quickly went over our spending limit. Bummer... not in the cards again this year. But wait, now that we're not bidding, Uncle Rick was!!! We were both elated at the idea of them getting to enjoy a fabulous safari. Now Joe and I sat with fingers crossed, hoping that they would win and be able to travel to such an amazing country. Well, what do you know...??? They won the auction! We were extremely excited for them, and then COMPLETELY shocked when they gave the trip to us! After many tears from both Joe and I, we did our best to thank them for such an extraordinary and amazing gift. Can you believe it?! Apparently they weren't the only ones conspiring to get us the trip, as my parents were laughing later about how my dad was just about to start bidding when Rick's hand went up in the air. So now we have both my parents and Rick & Pam to thank! They all wanted it to be the first concrete trip to Africa during our adoption process. Since the dates on the trip are open-ended, we aren't completely sure yet if we'll try to coordinate the trip to our Ethiopia adoption dates, or take it sooner as a "vacation" in the midst of the adoption process... we're just not sure. I think it probably makes more sense to make them two separate trips so we can just focus on the adoption when we go over for that and not be trying to pack and plan for both trips at once! Besides, we're worried it wouldn't be a good idea for us to be so hard to reach the week before we pick up our baby!
So, at this point, Joe and I are high as kites and dreaming about our trip to South Africa when we learn there's another surprise! My parents won an amazing painting in the silent auction for the baby room. It is painting that was a photo of a zebra that was taken by the man that won the safari at the auction last year. He had an artist blow up the photo and turn it into this fabulous painting. It's so neat! I can see already that our little one is going to be so loved and quite spoiled! Uncle Marty has also already got our little one their first outfit! It's an adorable little brown, soft, furry bear sleeper. The feet on it look like little bear paws and on the hoodie there are bear ears!
We still can't believe the amazing kindness and generosity! We've been overwhelmed by the love and support of everyone so far since we announced our adoption journey. For all of that love and support, we thank you all. There are no words to express our appreciation and our excitement as we continue moving farther and farther in this journey.
As far as process with the adoption goes, we've narrowed down the list of agencies we're considering working with. We've heard some great things from families that have worked with each of the agencies we're considering, and now we figure we'll have to sit back and wait to make our decision until we're closer to starting the actual paperwork process. Things change regularly as far as the fees, timelines, and requirements with each of the agencies and we know things with each of them may have changed when we're ready to start in April. Ahhhhh... April. Only 6 months to go. In the mean time, I'm starting to work my way through a list of recommended books on Africa, Ethiopia, Adoption, and Transracial Adoptions. I'm starting with a book titled "There's No Me Without You" by Melissa Faye Green. Other books in the "must read" list are:
- I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla -Marguerite White
- My Father's Daughter -Hannah Pool
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria -Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Black Baby, White Hands -Jaiya John
- The Language of Blood -Jane Jeong Trenka
- Outsiders Within -Jane Jeong Trenka
- Beyond Good Intentions: A Mother Reflects on Raising Internationally Adopted Children -Cheri Register
- Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption -Barbara Katz Rothman
- Love in the Driest Season - Neely Tucker
If there are any other that any of you know of, please let me know! Joe is busy with classes, but I have lots of time to read and continue preparing for the trials of adoption and having a transracial family.
I'd better get back to visiting with mom, dad, and Zak now since they fly out first thing in the morning. It always seems like time flies when we have loved ones visiting. Hopefully mom and dad will get to move soon so we won't have so many of these whirlwind, activity packed weekends so often!!!