May 31, 2007

"The Wait" has begun

I should warn any of you waiting for adoption news that you may just want to tuck this blog address away for about 6 months then come back and check on us. As expected, I'm going a little stir crazy. My mother has passed along a genetic anomaly that requires the carrier to be active at all times. She plan activites during activities. This is an outrageous benefit for those times are paperchasing for an adoption, homeschooling, and living life in general. Right now I feel like I can't sit still, due to the racing around I've done for the past few months. I'm whizzing through school with my kids--homeschool on uppers. We are covering centuries of history in a matter of minutes. Then we get to our stopping point for the day. I pace around the backyard watching my kids and feeling frustrated for my two kids half a world away. Right now I'm inept. I can't actively pursue them and it's making me crazy.

I know--I was ecstatic to be done with paperwork and be able to relax, but a few weeks has been enough to recover. My obsession with multi-tasking has pushed me into fundraising mode. Though I hate to call it that, I don't plan on doing any "fundraising" this go around. I'm researching adoption grants, planning a garage sale, and trying to spend less. That should keep my idle fingers busy for a little while.

I'm also living vicariously through the families who are ahead of us right now. This family is in Ethiopia right now. And our friends just had court yesterday (Congratulations guys!) go and check out their gorgeous little girls.

May 22, 2007

It has arrived!

I'm goofball, but I called FedEx last night because I was getting worried (Seth was too, I'm not the only paranoid one around here). Our dossier hadn't moved since Friday and I was afraid that it was lost. So I called and found out that FedEx doesn't fly directly into Ethiopia, so they put our paperwork on a commercial flight, which doesn't have tracking. They told me it should be there today, and it is! I don't really know what happens now--translation then submitting it. I don't know how long translation should take, but I'm not going to "officially" start counting the days to referral until it's translated and in the right hands. The next thing that should happen is getting the referral (expecting months and months for this though).

May 20, 2007

Passing the time

Most of you probably remember the ads during the 80s of the egg being fried in a pan warning that "This is your brain on drugs." Several times I've done something and thought, "This is my family on an adoption budget." Last week my kids and I took part in several silly activities. As I took a picture of one such event these words went through my mind. What would incite such a thing? An afternoon free, a hole in the pool, and three very hot kids.

So.... Here are my children (with my mom last year).

And here are my children on a budget.

The story behind these photos goes like this...

It was Ella's last day of school and it was HOT. Hot is highly unusual here lately and I'm saddened by this, nonetheless, this was a day of joyful high temps. On the way home from picking Ella up, Everett mentioned playing in our pool. I warned him that it may not be in swimmable condition, but that I'd check into it. All the while I was hoping I could round up a sprinkler if the pool was out of commission. Upon pulling the pool out of the recesses of the shed (never a good place for anything to be), Everett and I examined it and found a few tears in the cheapo plastic sides. Sooo, I started looking for a sprinker. The shed houses animals who have wandered in to die and garden tools--I try only to reach my arm in to grab a trowel and never actually GO inside. Motherly love kicked in and I crept back into the shed to find TWO sprinklers. Neither of those would attach to the hose. Fearing defeat, I thought I'd just spray the kids with the hose. Then thought we could run out and buy a new pool or sprinklers. Saving money crept back into my mind and so did a glorious idea. Presto-our own home waterpark, at a 100% lower price. I put the hose on a slow drip, and the kids had a blast.

I'm glad I don't travel by FedEx

Our paperwork has been sitting in Delaware since Friday. It's taken an interesting route this far-Virginia to Memphis to Delaware. Perhaps tomorrow it will leave Delaware and travel to Ethiopia via...Chile? Trying to be positive--I'm happy that I know where my dossier is right now. I'm frustrated with how long this is taking, but I'm not freaking out. Me freaking out is not good; me frustrated is managable.

May 18, 2007


My first experience with Build-A-Bear was this year. I've heard about it for years, but fear kept me away! All I could see were big price tags for stuffed animals that would gather dust. My mom gave my kids giftcards for Christmas this year. In an attempt to curb the costs, we set up some limits before we got to the store. It turned out to be a fun afternoon with the family, all the cousins saved their giftcards and we built bears together. I think the best part was building the animals--so we are going to be making a visit to the mall tomorrow to build bears for waiting kids. We get to build a bear and they will be donated to children waiting for their forever family. Check out the Build-A-Bear site for details.

Drumroll please...

Our dossier has left DC! It's currently in the care of FedEx in Memphis (now the second time it's been visiting Memphis since last week).

Wednesday FedEx redeemed itself (sort of). The FedEx truck pulled up to my house and delivered a document from Virginia. I was pretty confused (seems to be a theme recently) and opened it to find the missing agency recommendation and the authentication from the Secretary of State. So the once lost document has been found, then shipped, then my check cashed, and the pre-paid airbill used. Ick, this visit from FedEx just cost me $30-40 (the vote is still out on that one).

And I didn't even need this anymore--see my previous posting on the "day of chaos" to understand. So I've called FedEx and asked to be reimbursed for the costs of shipping this "lost" package. While I had them on the phone I asked to be reimbursed for the cost of overnighting the replacement documents last week (since I really shouldn't have had to do that), and while I was at it, I wanted them to reimburse my check to the Secretary of State too! Hey, worth a try! Overall, in order to get that document to DC on time I think I spent $70. Ouch--for one piece of paper!

Meanwhile, our months of hard work are carefully packaged up and hopefully flying over the Atlantic Ocean on their way to Addis Ababa.

May 14, 2007

Haaaappy Mother's Day!

This is what I was greeted with on Mother's Day.

Seth ordered this coffee for me after I had seen Black Gold, the documentary on Ethiopian fair trade coffee. When he has the time, he is so thoughtful! The company he ordered it from had to special order it from another company. The coffee took so long to arrive (weeks and weeks) that he decided to give it to me for mother's day (somehow this doesn't seem fair). After all his excitement and hard work finding this online, we found out last night that we can buy it locally at a coffee shop.

As clear as mud

I think lately I have been a little...distracted? I've updated this blog amidst chaos and it has been evident in my postings. So I'm hoping to clear some things up today!

Our dossier is currently in DC waiting to visit the embassy, afterwards it will board a plane for Ethiopia. Once there, it will be translated then submitted to the governing body and we will wait. We will possibly wait until winter, or maybe until the end of the summer, we don't know (see this post for more on timelines). One day the agency will call us and tell us they have found children for us, then we will wait a while longer and then go and get our children. We have no idea on the timing for this, but I do know that it's going to be a while before we go anywhere and I will hopefully post with clarity from now until then!

I'm hoping to hear news that our dossier is on its way to Ethiopia in the next week. For now I'm going to rest in the knowledge that it's all out of my control now and enjoy the last few weeks of school with my kids. Yes, we have WEEKS left so if you have any interaction with my children--mums the word on school break starting at the end of May.

May 11, 2007

Our dossier made it!

I breathed a sigh of relief this afternoon. Our agency emailed and let us know that the recommendation (of former glory) from the VA sec of state arrived safely yesterday. Shortly after getting that great news, our big dossier package arrived at the agency. Phew, I was pretty nervous. I am not sure how long it will be before our dossier is sent on to Ethiopia, I'll be a bundle of nerves then. It doesn't seem like we could pssibly be done with paperwork already! Not to say that it didn't seem like we worked on it forever, but gee, what will I do now?

May 10, 2007

Tracking my dossier

I mailed our dossier on Tuesday to our agency in Virginia. I've been tracking it for three days and it's only made it to Memphis. I think that since I paid for three day service they are going to make it take three days. I did have to have a long conversation with the guy at the office about insurance, and what happens if they lose my dossier. I made a few threatening remarks (I hadn't fully recovered from spending Monday in the car) and several dramatic statements. Which was all lost on him since he won't be dealing with my package once it leaves his office.

My agency sent a new recommendation and it should have arrived at the Secretary of Commonwealth yesterday. I hope that it gets there, gets done, and gets mailed this week, but that may be wishful thinking.

May 7, 2007


Eleven hours after pulling out of the driveway, my children and I returned home. Tucked safely into my "adoption" file was our *nearly* completed dossier! We are still going to have to wait on the document from Virginia, but I will have that sent directly to the agency to avoid extra delays. Tomorrow the entire thing goes off to DC, and after FedEx's recent *incident*, I'm a little nervous!

Our day was frantic, this morning we visited a friend who lives just across the county line. She's a notary, she notarized several documents, then we realized she lives JUST ACROSS THE COUNTY LINE. After our visit with her, we drove to the county seat, in her county-about 45 minutes from our county seat. And though it's in the middle of nowhere-there was a taco bell in the town so we were well fueled for the afternoon. By the time we made it to our local courthouse it was 1, and after taking an impromtu and ill-timed tour of the county courthouse we left with certified documents in hand. I realized then that the capital was 2.5 hours away, and it was nearing 2 o'clock. Throwing caution to the wind I gunned the minivan down the highway hoping to make it to the Secretary of State's office by 4:30.

By then I was running only on Mountain Dew, wondering how much of the kid's brains are being fried by watching perhaps three four FIVE movies in a row. I realized that Eli was beyond repair when he started playing "Superman vs. Invisible Guy" with his fists. The clock was ticking though, so I pressed on and determined to worry about the children later. We arrived downtown at 4:10, but spent ten minutes trying to find a parking space. I parked illegally (sort of) and we raced inside. Amidst whining from all: Everett has never had to pee so bad in his life, Ella is tired of walking (after sitting for 8 hours, then walking half a block), and Eli put his recently hand-me-down cowboy boot on with a sock wadded into the toe of it. I pulled off the cowboy boot in the elevator and put on his sock then jammed his foot back into the boot. Then told Ella that she'd be taking a nap for the ride home if she didn't toughen up. I repeated this to Everett and told him we could go to the restroom AFTER we dropped off our papers. At 4:25 we arrived at the window. Just 30 minutes later we were back on the road with our beautiful gold seals. And this, hopefully, will be the last "exciting" post that I make until I'm telling the story of our referrals!

For all of you who are wondering about my parental skills after reading this post...Here's a photo of the kids and I on a better day in Chicago last week.


I'm having very angry feelings towards FedEx right now. I'm getting geared up for a big day racing around certifying and authenticating documents (probably totalling 7 hours in the car with the kids). As a precaution to decide whether I really SHOULD drive 2.5 hours to the capital, I checked the status of the authentication in Virginia. Our document never got to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. I called FedEx, hoping that I misunderstood what I saw on the tracking page, but nope, never got there. And they aren't going to try and find it. I get to file a claim. I'm a little irritated, but trying to trust that God's going to work it all out. Won't this make a great story to tell our kids later on, "We sent this paper THREE times to Virginia before it finally got done."

Off to try a third time to get this done, then proceed with the scheduled activities for the day. And yeah, I'm making the drive to the capital because I no longer trust FedEx to actually DELIVER my paperwork.

May 4, 2007

A watched pot never boils

We've been in Chicago for 3 days and arrived home tonight to a surprise. Our 171h (aka important paper from USCIS) was waiting in our mailbox. I guess things change in three years, but I was looking for this greenish, important looking paper. This was a low key, white paper with the statement: "...application has been forwarded to the American consulate at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and email sent 5/3/07, approved for two children"

I read that, then re-read. Then felt like an idiot because I didn't know what I was looking at, and only expected one document from USCIS, and this couldn't be it since it was NOT green nor fancy. Then at the lower left corner it said, "Form I-171H". I think I squealed, but then I realized that I don't have everything ready! ACK! Double ack! This realization was followed by Seth's constant pestering of me, "What is it? Is that IT? Do you (italics added for emphasis) have everything else ready? Where are we in this thing? What is that?" I have a hard time thinking while he's acting like a child. My mind already wasn't functioning at a high level. After 5 hours in the car with the kids and..ahem...Seth. Ella singing solos for the last hour--only song she knows goes like this: "I love Jesus! I love Jesus!" repeat that in a high pitched wail and you are singing an Ella original. Beauteous for the first verse or so, but honestly... So I was having a hard time processing, then my mind tripped to the fact that I don't have everything else ready.

We are leaving town again on Tuesday, so I'm going to race around Monday getting certifications and seals. One problem though, the previously mentioned document that went to Virginia is not back yet. So I'll race around Monday then probably wait around for another week...or more. Hurry up and wait-that is the name of the game.

I'm still pumped about getting this, even if I have to wait a while for the document from VA. We waited for about 3 or 4 MONTHS to get this when we were paperchasing for Ella. I was hoping for 3 weeks (since I've heard it's faster up here), but never dreamed we would get it in a week. Wowie, wow, wow!

May 2, 2007

Good food, good fellowship

Last night we had an wonderful evening! We trekked about an hour away to an Ethiopian restaurant. The food was great but the company was even better. We were excited to talk to our friends about their recent referral of two girls, discussing what their lives are like now and what their plans are for the next few weeks. They, in turn, were excited to talk to us about living out our faith and challenged us to "put our money where our mouth is." This is something that Seth and I have struggled with for years. We are both fed up with what Christianity has become in our nation. I can't begin to comprehend what others around the world endure for their faith, or the struggles that most of the world has to endure because of poverty, hopelessness, disease... BUT I know that I have hope based on God's Word. How do I live this out in my day to day life? Some people would say, "Look at the great thing your family is doing! You are giving a home to two children who would languish away in an orphanage in one of the most poverty sticken counties in the world."

We aren't great people, we aren't doing a great thing, we are doing what God has called us to do. Beyond that, what are we doing with our lives and the blessings (ie. children) that God has given us? I'm confronted by this a lot lately, and try to supress it because I feel like a downpour on the parade of middle class life. I bite my tongue when these feelings begin to bubble up. I told Seth last night, "We can't adopt the world, and we can't make adoption our ministy. What are we going to do with our lives?"

What are you going to do with your life? God has a plan for each one of us, His greatest hope is to welcome you into eternity--do you have the hope of eternal life spent in heaven with Him? If so, are you doing what He has called his church to do? He has called us to tell others about Him and to live our lives in a manner that those around us could only see Him in us. I can't honestly say that I lead a life "worthy of this calling" (2 Thes 1:11). Are you living a life that glorifies Jesus Christ (2 Thes 1:12)?

Go visit this family and see what they are doing to further God's kingdom.