Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Chat with Pat (sort of)

Recently, I had a cool opportunity to chat with a representative from our U.S. Congressman’s office. A couple of times over the past months we have contacted Representative Pat Tiberi’s office to ask for his support of adoption related issues. The first time was to ask him to sign the Dear Colleague letter that was drafted and sponsored by a Congresswoman from Washington, Cathy McMorris Rodgers urging the Haitian Government to pass new adoption laws and grant Presidential Dispensations in the interim.

When a representative from Congressman Tiberi’s office called me back, he and I had a chance to talk about the letter, the fact that he is a big supporter of adoption - he actually co-sponsored the resolution to recognize November as National Adoption Month - and a little about the continuation of the federal adoption tax credit, which I of course encouraged him to support. Unfortunately, we didn’t get word to our congressman until it was too late to add his name to the Dear Colleague letter.

It was a great - albeit - short conversation with my new friend Andy Hardy (the rep. I spoke with). During our talk, he encouraged me to contact the Congressman’s office about anything we wanted him to know about. Again, it’s encouraging to know that some of our elected officials are listening! We’ll just need to be a little faster on getting word to them in the future!

Adam (Guest Blogger)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving ! Hope everyone is getting ready to celebrate the holiday with friends, family & lots of good food . It has been awesome to see how God has grown our circle of friends & family this year. I'm very excited to see what is in store for next year & hoping we will be blessed with many more friends & family around our dinner tables next November :)

I am especially thankful for my sister Tiffany who had the patience to take some family pictures of us at a local park. THANK YOU TIFF ! You are a big blessing to our family:)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Scarlet & Gray

OSU Marching Band 2009 St. John's Arena
"The Best Damn Band In The Land "

Ohio State heads up north tomorrow to play their big rivalry Michigan for the 106th time.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Response from Senator Sherrod Brown

I always appreciate getting some kind of response when we contact OUR government with issues that are important to us. Senator Sherrod Brown has sent us a response ( not just the automated "we got your e-mail/call" ) every time we have contacted his office, adoption related & sometimes not. Not all of our reps have done that , so I greatly appreciate the ones who do ! Here's his response from contacting his office about the Adoption Tax credit expiring in 2010.

Dear Mrs. Estep:

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts about laws and policies to encourage adoption. I appreciate your compassionate advocacy on this important issue.

Unfortunately, the costs of adoption in this country can be daunting. Additionally, adoption laws in the United States can often times be difficult to navigate.

It is important to note that family law, including laws dealing with adoption, is usually handled at the state level. You may wish to contact your state representative and state senator, as well as the Governor, to share your thoughts with them and inquire about legislation to help adoptive families.

However, there is some federal legislation that is aimed at helping families who adopt. The adoption tax credit allows individuals to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child, including a child with special needs. The qualifying expenses include necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home), and other expenses directly related the adoption.

In the past, I have cosponsored the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act. This legislation would prevent the adoption tax credit from expiring in 2010. I support this legislation and will work to ensure that it serves the best interest of children and hard-working parents.

Additionally, I am a strong supporter of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which includes provisions for adoptive parents. FMLA allows eligible employees to take off up to 12 work weeks in any 12 month period for the adoption of a child.

Any legislation that sensibly encourages trustworthy parents to adopt children deserves thoughtful deliberation. Adoption can have an amazing impact on a child’s life and we must responsibly expand its role in our society.

Thank you once again for your thoughtful letter.


Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smells Like Roses

It was another BEAUTIFUL weekend here in the Buckeye State. And our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes are going to the Rose Bowl :) We took the kids down to the OSU campus Saturday to enjoy a Buckeye tradition. Before each home game the OSU Marching Band has a "Skull Session " held at St. John's Arena next to the stadium, which is basically a pep-rally to warm up before the game. It was really fun, loud & crazy ! Jim Tressel made a quick appearance with the OSU Seniors as well as the President of the Tournament of Roses. It's great to be a Buckeye !

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Apple Butter Festival

Last weekend we took the kids to the Apple Butter Festival at Camp Falling Rock . Adam & laugh at the name because it really had little to do with Apple Butter. It would be better named Pioneer Days or something to that effect. Carson joined the cub scouts this year & this was one of their events.

I have to say besides speculation as to what might be at an apple butter festival, it turned out to be a lot of fun & a beautiful fall day to enjoy. The kids did rope making, branding, helped make apple cider, shot bb guns & bows & arrows and walked a rope bridge, to name a few favorites. Every station was run by older scouts( with adult supervision of course).

On the other hand mom & dad were lured into trying mystery meat at the cooking station only to find out AFTER we finished eating ( which was a requirement ) that it was ground hog. YUCK ! It did taste a lot like chicken but much more wild & greasy. It was a good thing they didn't tell us before hand. I don't think they'd get many willing participants. I cannot see ground hog advertised as "The Other White Meat " anytime soon !

Here are some pics of the festivities :)
Rope Bridge

Making Cider

Mystery Meat

Rope Making


Bows & Arrows
BB Guns

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vania Updates

Just wanted to update everyone on Vania's latest stats. According to her updated wt. & Ht. in October Vania has gained 1lb. & grown 2 in. since June. I knew she had at least grown a tad bit because her toes were at the end of her size 5 shoes from the June trip & her 12mo-18mo outfits were getting short & snug around the middle.

These are pics Chareyl took while Vania made her chase her all over the cabana laughing :) Vania has already caught on to the whole picture taking thing making it sometimes difficult to get a picture. The best way ( as it is with probably most children ) is to just take pictures as she plays or a sneak attack.

Our file status hasn't changed. We are still in IBESR which is no suprise since I think we entered sometime in August. Interestingly though we are looking into her birth date. The birth date they have is 6/06. Which would make her almost 3.5 years old. The one we were given for the I600 appt was 7/07 making her 2.5 which is way more realistic. We'll let you know if we find out anything.

And last but not least I keep forgetting to mention that my sister is recovered & doing awesome:) Haiti has deeply touched her heart . Tiffany & her husband Tony are looking into sponsoring some children to go to school through Haitian Roots I am very excited for them !

Bye for now,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Adoption Action Alert

November is national adoption month & this is a great way you can support adoptions. I was forwarded this e-mail from a friend in our adoptive mom's support group. The following e-mail originated from Rainbow Kids .com/ Martha Osborne

The federal adoption tax credit has helped thousands of families say "Yes!" to adopting a child. It's vital that this financial support stay in place to help families offset the costs and fees associated with adopting a child. Unfortunately, the tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it. It's time to take action!

Please take a few minutes to read the article in it's entirety by clicking on the link below to Rainbow . Whether you have adopted already , are in the adoption process or know someone who is adopting you can e-mail your state representatives for their support quickly & easily through the links at the bottom of the Martha's article. I did & it took me only about 10 minutes ( really good for me :)
The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213

Friday, November 6, 2009

Video of parent trips

I am so excited! My oldest son Zane is turning into quite the computer whiz & stayed up until 11:00pm last night putting this video together for me :) This is a video of our first 2 parent trips to Haiti. The song is "The Loveless " by Better Than Ezra, one of Adam & I's favorite Bands. Adam shared this song with me on our first trip as we were flying into Haiti & I haven't been able to get it out of my head since ! Thank you Zane, you make your mama proud!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kisses From An Angel

I love it when my kids give me an unexpected kiss on the cheek or big hug ! Nothing beats the unconditional love between a parent & child. There's an extra specialness when it comes from Vania. I know that Zane, Zoe & Carson know I'm their mom ( some days whether they like it or not :) and I'm here to stay. As we grow closer & bond each trip I hope that Vania will feel & know that in her heart as well !
I read this post & laughed needing to share this extra story of Vania playing mother hen herself. Vania would have Tiff & I lay on the hotel bed & cover us up with blankets. Then she would lean over & very assertively with finger pointed at us say" ti, be' be' "( you are the baby ) "mi, Mama "( I am the mama ). & trust me you did WHATEVER mama said to do :) It was a riot , LOL