Saturday, July 16, 2011

When all else fails -- comfort food

The words 'comfort food' may be an understatement.

I had hoped to fill the last few blog posts of glorious details of milk chocolate pudgy fingers, dark brown eyes, and little ringlets....

but instead - you get pasta. Cause that's all I got folks. One baby boy referral in past weeks has led to.... zip. zero. zilch. Floodgates opening turned into, well, not.

And, this week we received an email stating that wait times from DTE to referral had been extended for infant girls to 11-18 months. (we will be 11 months July 27th). When we signed on, the wait times for infant girls was 7-10 months with many receiving their referrals in 5-6 months. Which is why we banked on February 2011 as seeing her face. Then, conservatively, early summer. Now.... who knows! We knew it was coming as things were moving too slowly, just kinda hoped that we would be 'luckier' - but we've been told to go ahead and broader our expectations for longer.

So anyway, since Tony is home now, my desire to cook my heart out (literally) can be appeased without knowing that it would be me eating leftovers for 5 days straight after a real meal. Real as in = not from a can.

So my comfort food of choice is spinach. Some it's mac & cheese; me, I go for the super food. I give you one of my favorites........... eat your broken heart out:

Spinach Manicotti

You'll need:

  • 1 pkg manicotti or jumbo shells (I think shells are easier to fill) - cook as directed
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta (small container)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (OR I add any fresh herbs I may have - basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 1 (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze water out
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 jar favorite pasta sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and boil pasta
2) Combine spices, eggs, cheeses, and spinach
3) Run pasta under cold water to stop cooking and then fill with cheese/spinach mixture.
4) If not using baking clay (which I do, surprised??) -- spray 9X13 with cooking spray.
5) Pour sauce over filled shells and bake for 20 minutes.

**there really is no way to mess this up and it is simple and oh, oh so good. Eat your heart out adoption process..... I'll just use spinach to bulk up my strength again if I have to.

**And yes - those are toasted hot dog garlic breadsticks. Cause we is just so-fist-if-i-cated like that. Keepin it real folks, keepin it real!!

**And P.S. - even if you aren't a spinach eater - you will love this. I MADE my 17 year old babysitter try it and she is now begging me for the recipe. My boys have also come over to the Popeye side of life and love spinach pastas and pizza. Green stuff that's good for you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The day the excitement died

So you know what?? We are still waiting on our referral! Shocking, I know.

BUT, as of last Monday, we were officially

10 Months DTE

Or dossier to Ethiopia. Or ten months from when we celebrated as we dropped that huge package that contained our entire life story, and then some, into that glorious FedEx box.

Ten months ago. Gee. And the official time from DTE to referral for a baby girl is/was 7-11 months.

Instead of being a little late, I'm, oh, 8 days late in this post as it took almost that long for my kids to finally color their monthly numbers for the photo. They were thrilled.... or not. I think they are a little over our monthly pics. As you can tell. And no - I didn't pose them this time... and the handmade hearts were also completely their idea.

And as you can see from the close-up --- I'm thinking that it is starting to sink in that this is taking longer than we had hoped. Across the bottom "We haven't changed in like 6 months"

Also indicative of their waning patience would be their total rejection of my ice cream of the month! Gasp!!

They wanted no part of it. Didn't even ask the flavor. Just went for the popsicles instead. A true tragedy.

Just in case you are again waiting on baited breath, the flavor of the month was :

Late Night Snack
Vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chip clusters. hmmm. Can you tell we were running low on the pickins after 10 months of variety???

Let's just say that
1) I am very surprised that potato chips CAN stay crunchy in the middle of ice cream and
2) My usual pattern of buying 2 pints for the family has indeed backfired as with the rest of the family on an ice cream hiatus --- I will from hence forth be lugging around Ben & Jerry on my thighs. And I didn't even like them this month that much anyway...


All joking aside - I know there HAS to be a reason. A reason why our expected February referral still hasn't materialized. A reason why our homestudy is expiring. A reason why we are now caught in court closures. I know God HAS a plan. And it is better than mine. But I also know that no matter how much I try to explain to my kids delays, or waiting times, or closures - they still don't get it. They just want their sister home. And month by month, I've watched their excitement about her turn to frustration. And their hope in God's miracles in bringing her home diminish, bit by bit. And I don't get that. I guess we aren't doing a very good job of 'pumping them up' or being good role models of patience. But it's hard folks. Truly. The miracles may come, and I know we will look back with complete peace about the wisdom of our wait - but it's just hard to see that now. Through the eyes of children or an adult.

I've heard countless, well-meaning friends say: "Well, you know God's timing is perfect.."

And I know that. And agree that His way is perfect, and is best. Even if I don't like it.

But again, even IF we get our referral now, we ARE officially stuck in closures so we wont be able to go to court, at the earliest, until mid/late October.

So you tell me ANY mother, who would be o.k. with loving a child she hasn't seen for 9 (or 10 months) giving birth to her baby, seeing her beautiful face and then when the hospital staff says "o.k., now we are going to keep her with us, take good care of her, and send you monthly pictures for the next 4-6 months". No mother would be able to say - "Great!!! Cause God's plan is perfect!! Sign me up for THAT!" It may the best thing in both their interests for right then - but it is not something that her, or me, would be able to smile about and say they are excited about.