Friday, December 12, 2008

For all the waiting parents out there -

I heard this song today, and it struck me. This is just how I feel. I bet it's how a lot of you feel, too.

All you really want is to have your baby home. Safe, warm, loved.

I pray this for every child that doesn't get to be with their forever family this year.

Lord, even in our absence, let them be safe. Warm. Loved. 
But Godspeed them home so that we can have the honor of providing them with all the above. Thank you.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to H.M the King of Thailand!

Today is the 81st birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the beloved King of Thailand. His annual birthday speech was canceled due to illness. Please pray for a quick recovery and a blessed year ahead for this King and the nation he serves.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

keep it coming

The Thai Prime Minister has stepped down, cargo flights have begun to leave and remaining flights should be departing by Friday, in time for the king's birthday. Though this may all be great news, there is still a good change of a political backlash. Please pray for a continuing peace in Thailand.

to read more, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

peace, please

There is lots of political unrest right now in Thailand with a large anti-war protest at the airport (the worlds 18th largest airport). Over 4,000 travelers have been stranded and it has caused a major blow to the nations tourism-heavy economy. The PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy) is demanding that the prime Minister step down and refuses to negotiate until that has happened. Military involvement looks to be the next step. You can read more here.

Since you have read this far, would you stop right now and take a minute to pray for peace in Thailand?


Monday, November 17, 2008

can I get a witness?

The top page of our dossier {you know the one with all the official seals, Condoleezza's "signature" and that fancy ribbon laced through it} says this front & center: "To all whom these presents shall come, Greetings." I love that. And what a present it is.

Our Dossier has made it's way to Holt In Eugene, Oregon. We are officially "in line". We are number 25. Now the true waiting begins. But man am I happy to finally get to be waiting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

have you voted yet?

...time is running out! don't forget to pick up FREE Starbuck's & Ben & Jerry's on the way home - the official fair and balanced meal of election day.

Friday, October 17, 2008


So, we hit a small bump in the road at the Texas Secretary of State's office. I haven't want to write about it so I've been putting off blogging. Hopefully it won't be a big delay.

Sean was out of town last week and will be traveling again this next week so we are taking off to my in-laws ranch for some much needed family time and then the kids & I will stay up there while Sean is gone. I am really excited to get away for a little bit. (read: I am ready to be wearing sweaters.)

Perhaps by the time we get back, things between Texas and I will be back on good terms, and our documents will be making their happy way to DC.

Monday, October 13, 2008

poetic rebuke

{this quote has been kicking my butt the past few days.}

"If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it;

blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches;

for the Creator, there is no poverty."

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 10, 2008

another list

Sean 's plane lands in two hours and forty nine minutes. Not that I'm counting or anything. There's nothing like being home alone with a couple of sick kids to make you really miss your man.

Here are today's top three things that I love about my husband:

1. He wants to talk it through. He wants to communicate so that our marriage can change and grow.

2. He is my partner. He is my helper. He has changed as many dirty diapers as I have.

3. He has excellent taste. And lots of opinions. It would drive me crazy to be with a man that didn't have a strong opinion. I would prefer for him to hate my dress or haircut or whatever, then not notice. I love my opinionated husband.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Jen of Jen & Jeff's Baby Blog tagged me. I don't typically do these things but who could say no to Jen!

So here goes... some interesting or unusual facts about me:

1. I spent a summer caring for a hawk named Skye. Poor Skye, I was REALLY underqualified for that job.

2. I am a homebody that loves to travel.

3. I have a deep love/hate relationship with personality tests as I love to understand myself and others better but am always bitter that I get scored as an extrovert when I am quite confident of that fact that I am an introvert.

4. There is something very appealing to me to living 'off the grid'. At the very least I would like to grow most of our food. I know - I have this inner hippie in there just trying to get out.

5. I am Irish, English, Dutch, Hungarian, German, and Jewish. I have also been a part of Catholic, Baptist, & Christian churches. Our second child was born in a Muslim nation and our third will be born in a Buddhist nation. I kind of wish I was a Quaker.

6. I long to live in North Carolina though I have never visited there before.

7. I think being a mom is the best job in the world. And again, a job I feel very unqualified for.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

champagne dreams

I just received this from my friend (and economic & political advisor), Scott. I thought that it was really helpful in understanding the current financial crisis. This is for anyone out there who like me has a little trouble grasping all this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

nationwide tour

Today, our dossier should be arriving in the fantastic city of Austin, Texas. (it was there we became the Paben 2)

Upon arriving at the Secretary of State's office it will be signed and given the official State of Texas seal.

From there it is to make it's way back into our loving arms where we will make haste and have it on it's way once again. This time, destination Washington D.C. It feels risky sending important documents such as these to D.C. so close to the election. I try not to imagine any postal trucks being held hostage until one of the presidential candidates can prove how he is able to meet all of the desires of all the people.

Should said hostage situation not occur, our dossier will be delivered to a courier who will quickly walk (not run, trip or fall) until he has made his way to both the U.S. and Thai consulates. At each destination he will obtain both sign and seal. He will then walk carefully to the nearest FedEx office and send our dossier to it's final US stopover - the Holt International offices in Eugene, Oregon. Once Holt receives our fully signed & sealed dossier (and a large check from us) they ship it off to Thailand.

Then we are added to the waiting list.

Man-o-man does 9 months of pregnancy seem really short right now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

baby haze

This morning has felt a little surreal. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as adoption hormones, but if there are - mine have hit without abandon.

First, in the car on the way to drop Eva off at school we did our daily ritual of songs & prayers. Today we prayed for two of my friends that are trying to get pregnant through different fertility methods. I suddenly got all weepy and awed by the fact that God invites us to share in bringing forth life with Him. The emotions that swept over me felt reminiscent of the ones that arrived just after my babies were born. Beause God lets us share in all this, is why I was crying.

After leaving the school we went by Sean's work to pick up the last notarized document that we needed to send our dossier off on it's nationwide tour.


As I was driving to Mailboxes, Etc. to send it on it's way, I kept hitting red lights. Each time that I would come screeching to a halt, my arm would inadvertently cross over to the passenger side to cover the envelope holding all of our precious documents. I'm sure that my intention was to keep the papers from spilling out on the floor of the car, but I couldn't help but smile each time anyway. For the first time it felt as if there was something there of my coming child. Something that I could touch, protect from harm. In essence, something that I could mother.

I know that probably sounds strange, but that was why I couldn't stop smiling.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

taking a break...

be back soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

one day down

Today was sweet Eva-bear's first day of school. She was pretty sad when it was time for Sean, Oliver & I to say good-bye. She was mostly just deeply offended that she had been seated between two boys. Come pick-up time she was smiling and laughing. All in all, she took it like a champ. I, on the other hand, did not. My heart feels smooshed and crushed and bashed and bruised and pummeled and purpled and utterly ruined. I understand at a cognitive level that parenting is all about letting go, from the moment they leave the womb, we begin that forever journey of letting go. And yet, in just one day in the midst of a million days of letting go, this day feels particularly harsh.

Can you tell that she's my oldest?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm not sure what you all have been up to but we have been pretty excited about the Olympics over in our household. Even our 2 and 3 years old keep insisting each evening that they get to watch a little off the "0-wimp-picks" before bedtime. I haven't seen many Thai athletes competing and wondered who I may have missed. This morning when I scanned the medal earners I came across Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand. She has one the sole gold medal for Thailand at The Beijing games. Prapawadee won the weightlifting gold medal in the women's 53 kilogram category, setting an Olympic record.

Jaroenrattanatarakoon lifted a total of 221 kilograms in Sunday's competition. She pulled off 95 kgs in the snatch and an Olympic high score of 126 kgs in the clean and jerk.

Her total was 8 kgs better than Yoon and Novikava who won the silver & bronze.

An interesting side note: She changed her name in 2007 on the advice of a fortune teller who said it would improve her chances of winning the Olympics.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thai fact

"In order to maintain some semblance of social cohesion the Thais try to keep their cool and avoid arguments. One should endeavor to live harmoniously with one's neighbors and follow the Buddhist middle path that urges followers to avoid extremes. Getting angry or telling people off is unlikely to solve anything - in Thailand anyway. Anger is disruptive and they regard people who go around making a fuss and picking quarrels as hotheaded - or, to translate literally from Thai, "hothearted" (jai ron). The best advice is "keep your cool" and smile benignly, however frustrated or annoyed you feel."

Monday, August 18, 2008

as good as it gets

Wow- we had a really fantastic weekend.
Thirty-one isn't so bad after all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

gettin' out of Dodge

My Love and I are heading out of town to celebrate my 31 years of life and our six years of marriage. We are super excited for our long-overdue-kid-less-weekend-away! Hope your weekend is filled with lots of hugs & kisses.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thai fact

"Thais like to have fun; they like parties, gossip, going to the movies, taking trips, and eating out together. Wherever you go in Thailand you will hear the word sanuk being used - the Thai word for fun. Is Bangkok sanuk? Was a certain film sanuk? Was a party you attended sanuk? Even occasions like funerals, which Westerners regard as serious affairs, ought to be fun in Thai eyes. And the same with work. The Thais do not draw a sharp distinction between work and pleasure in the same way as Westerners do.

The Thais are an exceptionally gregarious race when it comes to fun. They like to have a good time together and cannot envisage enjoying life in any solitary way. Their idea of fun tends to be unsophisticated and playful - usually with noisy music and bustling crowds.

Forget about the Protestant work ethic. Most Thais are easy-going people who refuse to work themselves to a standstill. Work is a means to earning a living, not the be-all and end-all of life. Indeed the Thai word ngan, which means "work", also means "party." "

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I missed Mother's Day!

I just found out (thanks Kate!) that yesterday was Mother's Day in Thailand. I guess it's apt that I missed it as I am not actually a mother to a Thai child yet but at least I now know the date for next year. (or in two years, more likely!)

The Thai people celebrate Mother's Day on August 12th because it is Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's birthday (or วันเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าฯ พระบรมราชินีนาถ as written in the Thai language) and she is considered the mother to all the Thai people. You can read more about how the Thais celebrate this holiday here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

free music - cool!

Ever since college I have been a big fan of Derek Webb's music. I consider him a modern day prophet, spouting out the things that nobody wants to hear but lots of people need to hear. Much like Keith Green he is a pioneer in a lot of ways. One of the things that he does (again like Keith) is that he makes his music available for free or whatever people want to pay. He has helped start up a site with some other musicians that are getting behind this same idea. The site is called noisetrade. You can choose to email three friends about the album or pay whatever you want and in exchange you are able to download the album...for free. Isn't that cool?

Monday, August 11, 2008

a greater gift

My Dad sent me the sweetest early birthday present this past week. It's from a site that I hadn't heard of called A Greater Gift. He found it as he was searching the web for a fair trade item from Thailand that he though I might like. And he was right, I do! Not only is this bag really beautiful, but the fact that it is helping someone in Thailand earn a good and fair wage makes the gift even sweeter. Eva thinks so too. She has barely let the bag leave her shoulder since its arrival.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thai fact

"Thai self-confidence is reflected in their smart appearance. Cleanliness is important, and Thais think nothing of having several showers a day. They make a point of being well-dressed, with clothes that are always spotless and neatly pressed. The Thai word for dirty, sokaprok, expressed disgust.

Urban women, in particular,take pride in their appearance, wearing stylish clothes and making extensive use of cosmetics. They also smile a lot - simply because a smile always looks more attractive then a frown."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

red letters campaign

I've recently joined up with the Red Letters campaign. It is a group focused on both awareness and action. Some of the primary focuses are orphan care, poverty, HIV and adoption. I am now an 'adoption journalist' for this project. That sounds pretty fancy but all it really means is that my blog is posted on their page of adoption journals, listed under Thailand {their 1st! - come on Thailand peeps!} and I post their blog badge at the end of my posts. For anyone that is interested in these issues or wants to help bring awareness about these things or even just wants to find more adoptions journeys to follow, this is a great site to check out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Most of you have probably heard about the death of Steven Curtis Champan's youngest daughter, Maria. The Chapman family has adopted three little girls from China in addition to the three biological children that they have. They are huge adoption advocates and an inspiration to many. This morning was their first interview since Maria's death. If you missed it you can watch it on Steven's website. They will also be on Larry King Live for the full hour tomorrow night, August 7th 9pm ET/ 6pm PT on CNN. They are such a beautiful family and a great picture of faith when it counts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

song for Lucy

One of the adoption blogs that I follow is called Taiwan Lucy. Lucy's Dad has written a really beautiful song while he waits for his little girl to come to home. Lucy's song is available as a free download on their site. I feel like it so embodies the hearts of all of the adoptive parents out there, waiting, wondering when their little one will be home at last. In my eyes, by far the hardest part of adoption is the knowledge that your child is out there not knowing the love of a family. Godspeed all of our babies home.

Monday, August 4, 2008


So, I am officially crazy.

Some friends of ours kept offering us some free bunnies. They have horses/chickens/turkeys/bunnies/dogs/etc. at their place. They kept saying that the kids could come over and pick out some baby bunnies. We kept putting it off. Then randomly some other friends were moving and offered us their bunny cages, even though we have no bunnies. We started thinking maybe God was speaking. Granted, we have misheard Him before, this wouldn't be the first time. Suffice to say, we now are 'trying out' life with two bunnies. They or I may not make it the week and they or I may soon be living on the nice ranch property with said horses, chickens, etc. Feel free to offer any name suggestion as right now I keep going back to the names of Franciscan monks - not sure why.

I'll keep you posted on how this current saga plays out.

Friday, August 1, 2008

play smart

I added a new banner to my sidebar: Free Rice. It's a pretty unique concept. Each time you visit their site you can play a game testing your vocabulary skills. For each word that you get correct, 20 grains of rice are donated through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger.

67,949,960 grains of rice were donated yesterday, just by people playing this game.

Over 40 billion grains have been donated to date.

Hey! Each time you check out 'the Paben 5' you could click on the banner and play.

A game that helps strengthen your brain and fights world hunger? How can you lose?

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am trying to get all of our forms filled out and documents assembled so that when we get a copy of our final home study -
our dossier is ready to go!

And don't you know that I look just like this doing it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eva's adventure

I bought this book (the First Adventures of Incredible You) for my daughter, Eva, sometime last year and I was really excited about how it turned out. When ordering the book you answer all sorts of questions about where you live, different family members or friends, etc... (for example one questions asks for your, or your child's, favorite sports team...) Then when you receive the book, all these little details are woven into the story. Eva loves it!

I just received an email stating that this book is on sale through August 31st for $26.36. I did notice an online retailer is now selling this same book for $49, so this is a pretty good deal in comparison. This makes a great gift and I think an especially cool adoption item.

You need to enter the code: adventures20 at checkout.

As always, I have no affiliation with any of these products.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thai fact

"Because Thailand has never been under foreign rule, the Thais hold their heads high and regard people from other nations as their equals. They come across as self-confident, and proud of their country, but never arrogant. They learn from an early age that Thailand is 'Buddha's own country.' They have savored independence for centuries and are very thankful for this."

Monday, July 28, 2008

tip toe

The social worker just left.
Our second home study visit is over.
The kids are both napping at the same time.
The house is clean.

And it's a Monday.

It's as if I am living in some surreal alternate reality.

Perhaps if I tread lightly, this moment in time will last a bit longer...

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have heard some good things about this film and have been wanting to see it. I know that the girl has an unexpected pregnancy and that adoption is a theme in the film. Have any of you seen it - what were your thoughts on it?


We watched this Friday night and I really, really liked it. I hate to recommend a film because each time I do, my mother watches it and then threatens to disown me but...what can I do? I liked it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

just as they promised.

Our first home study is officially complete. I just spoke with our second home study social worker and she asked if she could fly out this monday - I am so grateful that things are finally moving along!

This is Sitha Heng...

"...Sitha is 50 years old and lives in a small village on Cambodia's Mekong River about 15 miles north of the capital city of Phnom Penh. A widow, Sitha has four daughters, three of whom are married and one who lives with her at home.
For the past 34 years, Sitha has supported her family by weaving silk into cloth, a skill she learned from her mother. She sells her finished produts to a middle man in her village, who then resells it in Phnom Penh's markets. In addition to weaving, hard-working Sitha also grows rice to sell. To grow her businesses, Sitha is requesting a loan of $1,200 U.S. dollars to purchase more silk and rice."

This morning I went to Kiva' site and made a loan towards Sitha's goal. She still needs $425 to meet that goal. If you would like to get involved in helping Sitha's business prosper you can find her here.

Such a small contribution on our part can literally change the course of a person's life. Why wait?

**update** Sitha's goal has been met a mere 6 hours from when I posted this. Perhaps some of my generous readers made it happen! There's still plenty of others to partner with though...!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I stole this picture from my friend Mindy's brand spankin' new blog, Eikyo. Man, that is just how I feel. Our (first) home study social worker said that our (first) home study should be done in a week, two weeks tops. Well, it will be two weeks tomorrow. We can't schedule our (second) home study until our (second) home study social worker has our (first) home study in hand. Confused yet?

So I'm just waitin'. Something tells me this will be the first in a long series of waits. I better learn to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thai fact

"The Thais are respectful people. Children are brought up to respect their elders and to defer to authority. If a person has a higher rank then you in society, he or she is worthy of respect, and a good employee acknowledges the superiority of his boss and does not contradict him. Students respect their teachers and would not dare to argue with them or even ask them questions. One of the ways the Thais demonstrate respect is to press their palms gracefully together, fingers pointing upwards if in prayer, and incline their the head forward in salutation. This is known as the wai. It is normal for people to wai when they see a superior, and the recipient of the wai will wai back. The greater the difference in in rank, the lower the head is inclined and the higher the wai should be. The inferior should always initiate the wai."

Monday, July 21, 2008

i really love getting mail...

I have been trying to work out the kinks - and I think I finally have this subscription thing figured out. If you had previously subscribed to the Paben 5, you may want to do it again now. I'm not sure if any old subscriptions will still be working as I have switched to a different service.

If you haven't subscribed before and you enjoy reading the Paben 5 then you can either enter your email in the box in the top right hand corner of this blog and you will then receive an email each time there's a new post.

Or if you prefer reading blogs in a web reader then just subscribe at the bottom of any post and it will let you choose a reader or the email notification option.

Thanks for visiting...and I always love hearing your thoughts...feel free to comment!

love, Em

two thumbs up

A few weeks back as I was headed out for a vacation with my family (ugh, was that only a few weeks ago? Why does it so feel like I still so need a vacation?...but I digress...) I was sorting through my list of "to read" adoption books. None of them appeared even the least bit vacation/pool side friendly. While I feel it is very important to go through this process eyes wide open to all the potential difficulties and issues that may arise - sometimes you need a little break from all the horror stories. There was one book I had been hoping to read, an adoption novel/memoir that looked very unlike the others on my list: The English American by Alison Larkin. It was perfect. Funny, poignant, and filled with rays of adoption insight. If you are feeling a little tired from all the tough reads and need one that feels a bit more like summer vacation, this may be just the book for you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feist on Sesame Street!

I really like listening to Feist and this song translates so well for Sesame Street - my kids love it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knight's prayer

I want to do more then merely exist, walk through the motions, let each day arrive and depart at it's own leisure. I want to act. I want to be intentional. I want to help alter my little corner of this earth. I want to learn to love. And you know what? I REALLY suck at loving. I am far too selfish and too tired and too easily annoyed to love well. I am scared, along with perhaps, most of the rest of the world, and not very brave at all. And I can easily look at myself and feel discouraged or some days, disgusted. But today I just feel encouraged. I did in fact love a little bit better this week than last. I did care about someone else more then myself. I even felt a little bit brave.

This week was rare.

Today it seems as though so little is asked or even expected of us. We can live our own little life never giving much thought to anything other than: "what should I eat for lunch? what do i want to do tonight? what do I want to spend my paycheck on?" And that can be it for all the days of our lives.

I want so much more than that for my life.

I came across this Knight's prayer and I have to say, I really love it. It seems so archaic. I wanna bring it back. Oh, for this to be a normal mindset in our time.

My Lord-
I am ready on the threshold of this new day to go forth armed with Thy power, seeking adventures on the high road: To right wrong, to overcome evil, to suffer wounds and endure pain if need be, but in all things to serve Thee bravely, faithfully, joyfully - that at the end of the days labor, kneeling for Thy blessing, Thou mayst find no blot upon my shield.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a shoe for a shoe

If you can't tell by now, I really love to get behind projects that help to change the world. Particularly the world of kids that don't have the basic things that kids should have.'s another company I love to love.

"The idea of TOMS Shoes came about in 2006 when founder, Blake Mycoskie befriended the children of an Argentine village and found that they had no shoes to protect their feet. Seeing their cuts and sores and wanting to help them, he imagined a company that would match every pair of shoes sold with a pair given to a child in need.

Upon his return, he launched TOMS Shoes: Shoes for Tomorrow.

Within a year, he went back to that same village in Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes to match purchases from caring TOMS customers. Since then, TOMS has hand-delivered an additional 50,000 pairs of shoes to children in South Africa.

For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need."

Love it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thai fact

"Metropolitan Bangkok is an enormous sprawling city of approximately 10 million people that has expanded rapidly over the past forty years. All other Thai cities are minnows in comparison. It accounts for more than half of the national total of telephones and cars - and this is why the city's traffic jams are so notorious.

Bangkok is the original name for the area, and means 'The Village of Wild Plums.' When it became the capital it was given a new name, Krung Thep. This is a shortened version of the official title for the city which is:

The City Of Celestial Beings, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha, the Impregnable City of Indra, The Grand Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious Gems, the Happy City Abounding in Enormous Royal Palaces that Resemble the Heavenly Abode where the Reincarnated Gods Reside, a City Given by Indra and Built by Vishnukarm."