What international adoption has meant for our family of three

My husband and I are nearing the end of a four-year-long adoption process. I met my daughter while volunteering in a children's home in the summer of 2009, and we have been working through the red tape to get her here with us ever since. International adoption has its own unique joys and challenges. For my family, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Single parenthood by choice: I adopted a child after ending my 15-year marriage

Most days as I push our stroller up a hill loaded with my son and a week's supply of groceries and feel the muscles in my arms and legs working, I am reminded of the total body workouts I used to enjoy at my local gym. Not that long ago I lived a very different life — one that included a husband, a charming little house that we owned on a tree-lined street, a fulfilling full time job, a fun fashion part time job, volunteer work as a board of director for two companies, four weekly gym workouts and a circle of friends for dinner parties or BBQs and occasional travel.

Our friends are adopting internationally — what can we do to welcome their child?

A couple I know are currently in Ethiopia picking up their son — a beautiful four-year-old they are adopting. I have been seeing photos of him and hearing of his arrival for months and am quite excited for them! We all live in a small, rural town, so I'm sure I'll be seeing them frequently. Are there any suggestions from parents of adopted children, particularly those who have adopted children from other countries, for what would and wouldn't be helpful to the family?