Merry Christmas! Mark and I just unbundled the kids from their snowsuits and gloves, brushing the snow out of their hair from making snow angels. We had a rousing evening of snowball fights, followed by some door-to-door caroling in our neighborhood. We are now huddled by the fire, and India is singing excerpts from Handel’s Messiah as Jafta accompanies her on the guitar.
It’s been a good but trying year. In our Fabulous Fabulous Lives© 2005, we announced the judge had ordered Jafta was legally free for adoption. Well, funny story. At the beginning of this year, we received the news that the decision was overturned due to some mistakes made by LA County DCFS, and we were told we could have a “Losing Isaiah” situation. Naturally, we had complete faith in the system and tried our best to keep our cool as we walked through the court process again. So, two years later, I am happy to announce that as of November, Jafta is AGAIN legally free for adoption!
Jafta spent the past year in the terrible two’s – and we found that it wasn’t all that terrible! He’s quite the chatterbox and likes to ask lots of questions that are easy and fun to answer He enjoys watching independent films, reading contemporary fiction, and eating vegetables. He will be starting preschool in January, and after much research we feel we have found the best possible environment to prepare him for academic success in college. Jafta is growing up so fast and it’s been fun to see him hit so many big-boy milestones.
India has morphed from a baby to an independent, playful toddler. She is walking, climbing, and shrieking her way through the whole house. She wants nothing to do with age-appropriate toys and spends her days emptying cupboards, drawers, purses and wallets. She is the smiliest baby ever, and can be seen waving at anyone who crosses her path. She is a master at baby signs, and she enjoys music classes, playgroup, and story time at our local bookstore. 
Mark continues to specialize in addiction, running the recovery ministry at Rock Harbor and doing counseling at a local rehab. He has also started a private counseling practice and has finally completed the hours needed to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy licensing exam.
I have been enjoying the day-to-day activities of motherhood. I have been trying to embrace the concept of simplicity and find time for myself in each day. I continue to work part-time, seeing clients at Journeys Counseling and teaching in the grad psych department at Vanguard University. In my spare time I send text messages to friends and try to read books that don’t have pictures.
Mark and I were able to travel to Haiti twice this year, and spent some time at an orphanage. I would be lying if I said we didn’t have some ulterior motives in that visit, and we are hoping and praying it will be possible for us to adopt a child from that orphanage. It will be a long process, but we are no strangers to waiting for God to build our family!
This year, we took a mission trip to Mexico, and braved Orlando over Thanksgiving. We do our best to introduce the kids to culture. We’ve taken them to an art gallery, dined in a five-star restaurant, and traveled by plane with both kids. It’s such a relief to know that we are still able to enjoy the finer things in life, even as a family.
That’s all for now. I need to get busy if I want these kids to have Luke 2 memorized by Monday. Hope you all have a Merry, Merry Christmas!
Mark, Kristen, Jafta, and India
 Okay, none of that is true. But there was a toy fight – and Jafta is trying to play drums on India’s head.
 The writer’s strike has really cut into our enjoyment of The Office.
 Funny if you thought the California wildfires were hilarious
 Department of Complete Freakin’ Stupidity.
 Yes, a social worker actually referenced a 1995 Hallie Berry movie to deliver this news to us
 Hired an attorney and threatened to sue
 And if by our Christmas Letter 2010 his adoption is not finalized, I may be writing this from a padded cell
 We found terrible to be a mild, inadequate description of the pure and total insanity of raising a two-year-old boy.
 Like, “Why can’t I fly, mommy?”and “What is echo in Spanish?” and “What are the Beatles singing about?”
 Alright, he likes watching Backyardigans, reading Dr. Seuss, and eating McDonalds. We’ve totally sold out.
 Oh, please. This is preschool. Criteria: who will entertain my kid for the longest chunk of time for the least money?
 Potty training: check. Small foreign object placed in nose: check. Clogging toilet by flushing large toy: check
 Somehow I have the feeling she will be emptying our wallets for many, many years to come
 Usually choosing to flirt with the homeless guy at Starbucks or the scary gangster at the gas station.
Let’s hope her tastes improve by her teenage years.
 Yes, her social life is blossoming while mine is slowly, sadly fading.
 Starbucks addiction, golf addiction, talking about real estate addiction
 And with role models like Britney and Lindsay, business is booming. Thanks, girls!
 Who doesn’t love doing laundry, changing diapers, wiping noses, and cleaning food off the floor?
 I actually got to use the restroom in privacy two times last week. It’s all about self-care.
 Because who has time for an actual conversation?
 Hello? Duty-free Kahlua!!!!
 Because, sadly, we believe that adopting from Haiti, the poorest and most volatile country in the
Western Hemisphere, will be less risky than adopting from the US fostercare system again.
 Where both our kids simultaneously puked all over the floor
 Where India had a diaper blowout and left the restaurant wearing only a 300-thread-count cloth napkin
 Where the folks in the row ahead of us sampled Jafta’s drumming skills on the back of their chairs
 Life Lesson from 2007: you can ALWAYS find room in the budget for babysitting