Mama (Anne) & Reese

Daddy (Mike) & Lilly


This book is a MUST read for all interested in Ethiopian adoption.

Melissa Fay Greene

Here's a great video summary of the book by MF Greene and here is the full length version

Monday, June 2, 2008


Okay, so when I do or say something that isn't the brightest thing in the world; I claim that I am having a "blonde moment."

I honestly don't think that I am a typically a ditsy blonde (though you may want to confirm that claim with my hubby).

I mean, I have a variety of characteristics that are not your typical ditsy blonde things: like I am an engineer and I pride myself in my sense of direction when driving, etc...

But, now and again I suffer from the condition that afflicts many of us who subject ourselves to expensive highlights in a desperate attempt to return our hair color to the way it looked when we were young and people called us "tow heads." :)

Well, I had a MAJOR blonde moment last Tuesday night and it relates to our adoption:

My husband and I were invited to a 'Gladney Reception' in our area. After speaking with one of the organizers of the event, we decided to attend and were very excited. We were told that it was going to be a somewhat small group (about 60 couples or less; people who are very involved with Gladney & the Gladney Fund, etc...) gathering for cocktails and to meet the incoming and outgoing CEOs for Gladney and many members of the Gladney Board of Directors. That sounded great! This is small because there are A LOT of Gladney families in the area that have adopted over the past decades. We haven't previously attended any local Gladney events, because any free time that we have we try to attend activities with our Ethiopian adoption group, and most of the families there have used other adoption agencies. (Though this is rapidly changing and many families here are having their Ethiopian adoptions facilitated by Gladney also! YEAH!!) The local Gladney events to date have been huge and primarily attended by those who have used Gladney for domestic adoption or international adoption from countries other than Ethiopia. So, because time is precious we thought that the previous ones may not have been as beneficial to our needs for relationships with other Ethiopia/African adoption families. This was our first non-Ethio Gladney only event and we were very excited to learn more about Gladney as a whole!

The event was held at a beautiful house in a wonderful old neighborhood in Virginia (which there are MANY beautiful old neighborhoods out here, one of the reasons that we love the East Coast!). The outgoing CEO (Mike McMahon) and the incoming CEO (Frank Garrot) of Gladney were there and gave us a little talk on the vision for Gladney and future plans. Several of us asked questions, gave comments, etc... All in all it was a very nice evening, and people shared stories and pictures of their kids. Many of the families there had Gladney kids whom they adopted 10, 20, or more years ago and are still actively involved with the Agency! That was very encouraging. The night made me even more proud of Gladney as we were able to expand our horizons beyond just their Ethiopia program and learn about all of the amazing things that they are doing in the US and around the world!

Okay, here comes the blonde moment....

Before we left, we wanted to thank the owners of the home; the hosts. The husband had spoken a little bit during the "Presentation" and the CEO referred to him and his wife and all of the wonderful things they do for Gladney, huge annual golf tournament they organize, etc... I assumed that they were people of importance by these comments, their amazing house, and their obvious connections that allowed them to organize this annual golf tournament at a prestigious country club in the area. But, in DC a lot of people are very well connected and since I do not work in politics, I often don't know who a lot of important political people are in the area.

So, we introduced ourselves to the husband/host of the event, thanked him for hosting, commented on his wonderful house, and showed him pictures of our little girls. The husband was as nice as could be and walked us around to look at pictures of his kids; a daughter now 22 and a son now 17. They are from Texas and adopted them through Gladney at birth.

As we are looking at all of these pictures on bookshelves, etc.. I notice a framed picture of George Bush, Sr and was curious if he worked for the Bush family, or had just met him one time and took that picture. Typically, if people have pictures up of politicians, it is them and the political figure; an autographed picture...something along those lines. This one seemed different and more personal.

The details start to get blurry from here, but the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Did you take this picture one time when you met him? "

Host: Blank stare response. "Umm, no I did not take that picture."

Me: "Are you in politics or just big supporters of the Bush family...?"

Host: Blank stare again. Long uncomfortable silence.

Me: "Do you know George Bush Senior?"



Host: "Yes, he's my dad."

Me: (acting a lot like Elaine from Seinfeld at this point, I believe that I may have said "get out!" ). I am certain that I said, "You're joking, right?" At this point, I think that the room began to spin and my eyes finally settled in on his name tag: Marvin Bush. And, I remembered just having met his 17 year old son, Walker Bush. Hmmmmm... this is all suddenly coming together.

Room spins...and I am certain that I turned bright red at this point.

Me: "Oh WOW, You're not joking, you're the President's brother, aren't you?"

Host: "Yes." (Big laugh....)

Me: red face, sweating, feeling dumb as ever.

I HAD NO IDEA! Maybe it would have really benefited me to be more Gladney-savy. Or, maybe it should have occured to me when he told me his son's name. Walker Bush!!!! That should have been kind of obvious, huh? Honestly, I actually DID know that there were several Bush brothers and one sister, but I had no idea the youngest's name was Marvin and that he and his wife had adopted 2 children through Gladney and that they live in the area. WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH ME!?!?!? He then told me that actually George W. and Laura Bush had begun the adoption process with Gladney. But, they then got pregnant with the twins. Many of you Gladney families may already know this factoid, though. (BTW-I confirmed this all on Wikipedia. Source of only 100% true information; right?!?!?!?!)

Mr. Bush was unbelievably gracious and proceeded to show us more pics of his kids. A very proud dad. I kept saying, "I am SO sorry, I cannot believe that I didn't know. We are probably the only people here who don't know who you are, aren't we?" He graciously concurred and said that it was actually "refreshing" to not be known and told me to stop saying that I was sorry. That was probably his way of avoiding saying something very condescending. YIKES.

So there it is. My blonde moment of the year! So embarrassing. Let's hope that there aren't many more moments of that magnitude! :)

On a happier note: I am REALLY impressed by Gladney (AGAIN) and proud to be involved with them. It encouraged us to see all of these very supportive families and see what a great Agency and organization it really is; even beyond the Ethiopia program which we already knew was amazing.

Hopefully they will invite us to such events again sometime! :)