Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Almost there!!

So tomorrow I'm driving my Dossier docs to the city to drop off and be CERTIFIED. Then apparently I can pick them up the next day. I just found out today that out of state documents need to be certified in the state that they originated in. So 3 docs need certification in California and Texas. I'll see if that can be expedited some how. Still waiting for 1 doc for the Home Study from California. Now that I think of it, does that too have to be certified once I get that back? Darn. This is never ending!!!! But I did see some incredibly cute baby and toddler pictures while I was at the agency. None of which were for our family, but just adorable and you just want to hug them!

It can be mid February when the entire Dossier goes to Ethiopia. Wow! That is fantastic. Probably Shawn and Lory are right with me there. We're now at our 3rd trimester of "Paper Pregnancy" and that is when you start nesting. Which I know I'll be out linen closets, rearranging Brandon's room and buying new furniture for the girls room. And we just bought Brandon a new bedroom set. The Queen bed of which I don't think will fit in his new bedroom. The girls I've decided with the lovely guidance of my friend Monica in Alhambra confirmed with me that twin beds are the best instead of bunk beds. The trouble with bunk beds, is that when you want to tuck them in at night and have sweet cuddles and lovely conversations, the child in the top bunk loses out. Not fair. So it's twin beds with a fabulous African theme....but not too out there African. This girl stuff is all new to me. Shouldn't be too hard....I was a little girl once!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Few More Steps.....Whew!

Everything I need for the Dossier is done as far as I know. I've done everything on the list. So tomorrow I hop over to my agency to look it over with someone just to make sure. My Home Study is done, it just needs to be sent to my agency for them to look over.

I feel like there might be a form or two missing that I see other people talk about. So I'm curious to see where I am truly. I'm really excited about the fact that there may be 2 other couples going at the same time as David and I and are at the same place as we are with this process. That would be really fantastic. Lory and Shawn...we need to work that out!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Home Study Complete!

Our Home Study is now complete. The ONLY things I'm waiting for with the Dossier is one more referral letter which is coming in my mailbox today and a Calif. document which will come in the mail tomorrow. Then, I meet with my agency to APPROVE it. I then drive it (ain't gonna mail something this important) to the Dept. of State which is here in the city and wait for it all to be CERTIFIED. Then we mail it to Washington for AUTHENTICATION. Then Washington mails it to Ethiopia............and we wait for a court date. Once we know a court date, which could take, I don't know, but guessing 4 to 8 weeks to get the court date???? We can then book our flights to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet our girls for the first time and never let them go!!

I'll keep updated as the steps grow closer. Our boys are still incredibly excited and worry that this may not really happen. It would absolutely devastate them should this not go through. But it will, not to worry.

David and I have many great ideas involved with the orphanage that the girls will come from, so we look forward to sharing them down the road. We are surely blessed!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dossier......Almost Done!

I am at a great place with the Dossier. I've completed all of my Home Study requirements such as the documents needed and copies and blah, blah, blah. I'm only 2 referrals shy of the Dossier from my good friends Terry in Texas and Debbie in Diamond Bar, CA. I'll probably get those on Friday so I can go straight to the agency and go over it with my new friend Aneata at the agency. She doesn't know it, but yes, she's my new friend. We both love looking at all of the new pictures that come across her desk of these Ethiopian children. So if the agency gives me the OK to proceed, I believe the next steps are I take it or mail it to our Department of State (which is right here in the city) and have it "Certified". Then I get it back, and mail it to Washington for "Authentication". Then from there, Washington ships it off to Ethiopia for their approval and authorization. Of course anything can happen with the paperwork in between like I could have wrong documentation or whatever. I always leave room for mess ups along the way.....although so far it's been a pretty smooth process for us.

Once my paperwork stuff is off my hands, it'll just be the waiting and fingers crossed and prayers prayed that everything in Ethiopia goes smooth. Once they find our girls, they must verify that they are fact true orphans or at the orphanage with the families legal approval. Even if I get our referrals soon, I'm not sure if I can post them right away. If I can, I absolutely will post them. I really can't wait to be done with this paperwork though. Then I can move on to doing more things around the house that will prepare us for the girls. David's business has been doing really well, so that means that I'm shipping more orders daily and handling more emails and requests. We hope that it gets too busy for me that we have to hire someone to take over what I do.

Really, emotionally, I've not yet let this all sink in. I've been too preoccupied with the legalities and formalities. I look forward to the moment when I can exhale.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Second Visit to Our Ethiopian Church

Well, this past Sunday my whole family went to our new Ethiopian Church. And again, the pastor came straight up to David and introduced himself. There was worship time and a wonderful sermon about Ninja's and morphing. We had a translator on our head set that did a really fantastic job of translating the message so that we understood it. It must look funny cause when he would say something with some humor, David and I would laugh when all 500 of the others were done laughing. So we must have looked REALLY out of place. We met more people afterwards and I was able to connect with several really lovely people. We hope to keep in touch with them and I'm sure we will see them when we attend this church.

All in all, David too felt what I had felt weeks before. That the warmth and genuineness of the people we met and saw cannot be translated here on this page. You must experience it to know what I mean. In fact, it would behoove you to attend an Ethiopian church at least once to know this feel it. I feel cheated to not have known people like this all my life...really. The associate pastor was telling us he recalls Hilary Clinton stating that "It takes a village to raise a child". He of course knows this first hand that it does in fact take a village which is standard practice where he comes from. He said it would be nothing for someone down the street to give your child a little spank on the bottom should they need it. And no one would question it. Here, well, you would go to jail. I would have spanked many a children on my street now, let me tell you! But I can't, can I? I've got one woman already not talking to me because I confronted her about punching my son. We can't get too honest here, can we? Let's not get into anyone else's business or it gets uncomfortable. This is what I miss about a neighborhood. I want it to be like African villages where the village really does help you raise them. Actually, there are several neighbors that have welcomed us wholeheartedly and have been there for us at the drop of a hat. And it does seem friendlier here than where I just moved from. But so many have decided that it's too much work to be friendly. It's typical that many neighbors would drive to and from work in and out of their garage and not think to have any sort of communication with someone that they've lived next to for the past 5 years. What the heck is that? It doesn't hurt to say hello to someone. I'm not gonna ask you to bake me a cake if you say hello. I might bake YOU one, but I promise, you won't have to commit to anything long term. Venting here!!!

The movie we are in the middle of watching called "God Grew Tired of Us" is so saddening when there are 4 Sudanese guys living together in a 2 bedroom apt. because they have fled Sudan in fear of being murdered. They are living in Philadelphia through government funding and find that although there are 4 of them living together, they are feeling very lonely and sad about not living in their village anymore. They go out and work 2 jobs. Come home late at night on a bus and have been out in the world....yet, they are lonely. Because they know what it is like to be around "family & friends" and have each other. They remembered what the village provided for them. What is missing is the most important thing to them....the feeling of being connected. They are in a world of millions in their city now, yet they are lonely. How does that happen? We get lost in ourselves, don't we? We forget why we are here. This is what God wants of us, isn't it? To take care of each other. It's a very simple request of His.

When I'm at this Ethiopian church and feel the heart of the people, it is very clear to me why they are so real and so is because of where they come from. This is embedded into the core of who they are. It'll be interesting when we are in Addis Ababa, the capital, to experience the traditional coffee ceremony. They roast the bean, grind it, then make the coffee from there. It is what they do as common as when we serve a glass of water. This is how they "fellowship". This is how their village becomes part of their family. Here in America, a child without a parent will most likely go to an orphanage or Foster care, whereas, in Ethiopia it seems as though if there were ANY living relatives at all, the child would go there. Unless they too are suffering from a terminal disease. But even though they have nothing, and probably not even enough food for their immediate family, they will still take in their nieces and cousins, etc... I'm not an expert, but I've been doing a lot of research and learning much needed information. The heart of the Ethiopian people will NOT be splattered on the front page of People magazine, or the front page of the New York Times. It is not media worthy, yet it is everything that showbiz and sensationalizing is not. Some people are like silent heroes that will never have their stories told and if we don't search it out, or look a little further, we'll never know where those stories are, will we?

I was looking at some old emails and found one from a friend in Sweden who I had forgotten had married an Ethiopian woman. Her name is Demanesh. She was adopted when she was an infant and is now married to our friend in Sweden. I'm waiting for his return email so that we can tell him our news about the girls. I think it'll blow his mind.

Today's Guest Blogger.......Brandon.

Hi, this is Brandon. I'll be 13 in March. I am so excited to see the girls and I've been dreaming about them every day. I dream about how I can protect them from other people or mean kids. And it feel good to be the older brother for them to look up to. I just recently watched a documentary about Africa and it looked horrible the way some of these lives are. Especially when there was war and people had to leave their homes and family. The documentary is called, "God Grew Tired Of Us".

I've also watched video at school about how the children were forced to become soldiers. I can't wait to have my new sisters here and adopt them because I feel like we will be giving them a better life and opportunity to start fresh. However much money it is costing to adopt them, it's all worth it to me.....(even though I'm not paying for it).

The day they come home, as soon as I see them, I want to jump with them on the trampoline and push them on the swing. I also want to show them their new bedroom, which is my room right now. And I want to show them our cat, Sadie and show them how to play with her. I'm excited to see their faces when they see our house. Recently, I've had a toy gun around and because of the violence over there, I've thrown that in the trash. I didn't like the way it looked knowing they were going to be here when I've just seen a movie about so much violence with guns there and children. I didn't want that in the house.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Today's Guest Blogger ......Evan!

Hi I'm Evan. I'll be 11 this Thursday. I used to be the youngest in the family...but not anymore! The girls will! Mwaa-ha-ha! I'll be a big brother to my new Ethiopian sisters. It's been a great experience being a brother to Brandon and even more exciting with the girls. No offense, Brandon. Anyway, I can't wait till they get here.

When my Mom and Dad go to the airport, I want to stay with my friends Blake and Dillon. They are also in my band. I want to teach my new sisters how to play the guitar and build legos. They'll be in the room next to me so that will be really fun. I can't wait to get them here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Beautiful Adoption Poem

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women,
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember,
The other you call "Mother."

One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.

Two different lives shaped
to make yours one;
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.

One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.

The first gave you life,
The second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.

One gave you up,
It was all she could do.
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me through your tears,
The age old question through the years;
Heredity or environment -
which are you a product of?
Neither my darling, neither;
Just two different kinds of love.

-Author unknown

I'm a Closet Hair Stylist!

The other night we colored and cut Brandon's hair. He goes back and forth with wanting it long, then he gets bored and we make a change. So he gave me permission to go for it and we did. I've been cutting their hair since they were babies and save lotsa money ... which then goes into my hair color and cuts ... and that ain't cheap.

Before we moved to Colorado from California, I had seriously contemplated getting my license. But it was after I'd done a few friends hair at my home when I discovered that my back couldn't take standing and bending for that long and had decided against it. I was so excited to go for it and start doing hair! But ultimately it would not have worked! So, I play around with my 3 guys' hair dos and can't wait to get my hands on my 2 girls' hair. Huuuuge learning curve with the girls, but I'm up for it.


We go back and forth now about hair product and actually putting it in. The product makes all the difference in the world. I think he looks great! He really likes it too ... particularly the color in it! does it look?

Side... handsome!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The First Class

Yesterday's first adoption class was really fantastic. The first portion was taught by a very informative clinician and the last hour by our own lovely (and surprisingly funny) social worker that WE'VE been working with for our Home Study. There were about 22 people attending who were adopting from different countries. Four other couples were adopting from Ethiopia. We met all of them and went to lunch with 1 couple from Boulder. Our lunch with them was filled with really great conversation and I'm sure we're going to keep in touch with all 4 of the couples. The meeting showed a video documentary called "Outside Looking In" which was about a black child adopted by white parents in the 1970s and raised in a predominantly white suburb. It was a very honest account of his life from the perspective of himself (who produced it) as an adult male. I highly recommend every one of you to watch this! It will open your eyes to how important it is to never deny the race of your adoptive child and how you MUST stay connected to their culture and keep their heritage alive. Really fantastic film.

All the topics covered were helpful and I can see how much research findings have changed since I had a baby 11 years ago. I really look forward to the remaining 4 classes. Another couple we met is in the same place as we are and blew me away with how much "on top of" the paperwork she is. I thought I was good about being organized and getting paperwork pushed...but this gal sent in one of her forms with baked cookies in hopes of expediting the process, which I believe she accomplished. (Can you imagine doing such a thing? I am so sure. Note to self: pick up more chocolate chips and flour!) We're using the same Home Study rep and now I believe she and I are in competition to see who can bake the best and fastest, most amazing cookies to get our rep, Susie, to complete our Home Study first. All I know is that Susie likes me best (sorry Laurie) and I'm sure that she will put our Home Study report above Lauries no matter what she bakes!!!! ;)

All of the couples were so precious and loving. It is nice to see how people have such wonderful and open hearts for these children in 3rd world countries. It is such a wonderful thing to do!

I'm off to bake......

Friday, January 11, 2008

First Of Five Adoption Classes

Tomorrow we go to our first of five adoption classes that are required by law. International requirements are 24 hours and domestic is only 16 hours. So five hours tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it because anything that has to do with our adoption and moving closer to getting them home is good for me. This is what they will cover tomorrow...

  • Parenting a child of different culture/racial background
  • Culture and Identity
  • Multi-culture family
  • Understand social /medical history information
  • Culture background and history of the child
  • Sign language with baby
  • Infant care including basic care and feeding, shaken baby syndrome
Should be fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Waiting On My Referrals!

Our agency owner is in Ethiopia right now looking at more orphanages and looking for families' children to refer to us. So as I sit and wait, I find it exciting to know that someone right now is in Ethiopia looking around orphanages for our 2 girls (and of course other families too). It is thrilling and I can't wait for a couple of more weeks to go by, when hopefully by the end of January, I'll get a call that they have some idea of who our girls are.

Of course anything can change, but I just continue to move forward with paperwork each day.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Paperwork!! A Few More Steps Closer.

Moving forward....little by little. Went to 3 police stations to find the right one today to give us a "Clearance check" that is notarized. Spent an hour at the bank having them pull up records and notarizing each one.

I got up earlier today so that I can get a handle on some more of the paperwork for this Dossier. I felt like I moved forward today, but still see lots more. David and I took an extended lunch time to tackle about a dozen more documents...

There are even directions for the directions for the Dossier. If you don't cross a T or dot an I, it can be kicked back. No kick backs here!!!!! We want smooooOOOOOOth processing!

Not saving any trees here.....

See, there is so much paperwork, Sadie has to help me hold it all down with her little paws!

And this is how I keep it all organized and easy to get to. The only people who know how much paperwork and notarizing and certifying and sticky notes is involved are the adoption agencies and the adopting families.