Thursday, June 27, 2013

Go Team Embassy!

We have an appointment for our finders!  On Monday our finder will be heading to the US embassy for an interview.  If all goes well, we will have good news next week and will be booking tickets soon after to go get our little boy!

God is great guys.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Our Ethiopian Adoption Journey

I was talking to a friend last night about the process of adoption-- it's long.  Like elepant gestation long.
In summary here is our story.
  • Late 2008--We get married-- prior to marriage we talk about family-- notably our potential family.  We decide to adopt!  You know. . . "someday."

  • February 2009-- We find that we are pregnant with a honeymoon baby! 

  • November 2009-- James.  He is awesome.

  • January 2010-- We find that James' hearing loss is caused from a virus I caught during pregnancy.  This could take some time to clear before we can get the greenlight to go ahead with another pregnancy.

  • February 2010-- is now "someday?"  We start doing informational interviews with local agencies first and have some discussions around international vs domestic etc. etc.   We feel pretty fired up about this-- and committed to growing our family this way.   We also take a lot questions from family and friends about adopting with an "infant."  More on that below. We talk to said people about wait times and paperwork and no-- we are not adopting NOW-- we are starting the process now. 

  •  March 2010-- Research continues.  We decide to adopt from Ethiopia for a number of reasons.   Despite opportunities since then to change programs or explore other paths, we have decided to hold the course.  Ethiopia is an amazing place with amazing people and we felt committed to bringing that culture into our family.  From this point forward, we only searched for Ethiopian programs and found that the local agencies weren't a great fit for our family dynamic.  We choose an agency based in Seattle called WACAP. 

  • April 2010-- We start our homestudy.  In fact, because one of us is more comfortable in excel than in most forms of communication, we built a spreadsheet and decided to complete our WACAP application, Homestudy and the Ethiopian dossier at the same time.  There is a lot of duplication on these papers-- many of the documents are used for 1, 2, or all 3, so it was a kill 3 birds one stone type of thing.  We management folk would call that synergy.*   All in all, this step included 57 documents that needed to get completed-- including some lengthy ones like 2 visits with a social worker, physicals for both of us and James, letters of recommendations from friends and family, several hours of adoption training, criminal background checks and two sets of fingerprints (for two different forms.)  In a nutshell, we could also call this phase the paper chase.  

  • June 2010-- We completed our homestudy and did our initial fingerprints and applications for the government portion. 

  • July 2010-- The government has consolidated their processing centers and one of our primary applications was lost with all the documents.  Lost in the move apparently.. . . We start scurrying to repeat.  To find out  . . .

  • August 2010-- They found the original. . . but now we have two applications and the world of paper shufflers is confused by WHY we have TWO applications.

  • August 23 2010-- We officially join the wait list for the Ethiopia program!!   If my memory serves me correctly-- we are about the 50-60 th on the list for a child of either gender.  At first referrals are moving along very fast with between 5-15 a month.  We are told to expect between 4-11 months for referral.**

  • October 2010-- There are some rumblings about ET making changes to the process. 

  • November- Mar 2011-- We continue to track the rumblings but since we are near the top of the list, we start the dangerous conversations around thinking the adoption could be around the corner.   Adoptions seems to slow for our agency with several months of no new referrals.  Despite this, we still think "any day now."  I could write a book on how thinking "any day now" for multiple years will mess with your head.

  • May 2011-- We have a conversation with our agency about what to expect.  They think there will be substantial delays ongoing-- we talk about our family goals and they suggest that if we want a large family that we may want to consider either starting another program or consider a bio child while we continue to wait in ET.

  • June 2011-- Preggers.*** We decide that if we get to the top of the list we will go on hold until 6 months after the baby is on born. We were 10th on the list at the time for a boy and in the 20's for a girl.

  • Feb 2012-- Deirdre is born! Also awesome.  Still haven't moved much at all but we have a baby to keep us busy while we wait. An awesome baby.

  • May 2012-- Update our homestudy and other documentation as we are now applying as a family of FOUR!  More paperwork awesomeness. More appointments, more fingerprints muckity muck.

  • March 13- 2013-- We get the call.  We were presented with a little guy about 7 months old.  We ask some questions and accept the referral about 1 week later. 

  • May 13--2013-- We formally adopt our little guy

  • NOW-- We are waiting again!  We are hoping to go back the week after the fourth.  We are anxiously checking emails to see if we get anything from the embassy or our agency.  




* I don't know this for certain-- but I am betting Matt is now rolling his eyes with my casual use of the term 'synergy.'  Awesomely enough, they often have slight variations to them aka, notaried/ not notarized or specific form letter vs free form etc.

**Suddenly all the people who thought we were nuts for starting so early seemed to be correct. 

***Irish Catholic.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Long Way Home


Do you remember a while back when we had this awesome announcement because-- Y'all We are Having a BABY!

Well--the time marches on and we have a little news but not a lot of news.   So here is what we know--

May 13- We passed court and in the eyes of of the Ethiopian government, we legally had a son.   The next step was to make sure that the US agreed with the documentation and the what-not.

We were told to expect 6-8 weeks for the embassy process and for us to get back to pick up our little guy-- which if you are doing the math is right around the corner.

Our agency is arranging for his finder to make a trip to the capital, Addis Ababa, in the next week or so (we were hoping for this week but it isn't looking good.)    We are hearing that it is raining a lot in Ethiopia right now and some of the roads are not passable so we are keeping fingers and toes crossed.  Prayers welcome if you are so inclined.

At this point, we are hoping to travel the week after the fourth or soon after to pick up Simon.  We aren't sure if both of us will go on this trip.  I had a lot of heartache over leaving the kids behind last time so we are still contemplating.  Both kids now have passports-- so the options in my mind include all four of us traveling over and coming home as a party of five or Matt and one of his parents traveling over and me staying back with the other littles.

 I am leaning toward the second option* since I know we will have opportunities to go back with Simon down the road once the kids are a little older.   We will see though-- we are keeping our options open.

Communication from the embassy has been very good and frankly a stark contrast to the communication we received prior-- they are very specific about what each step and document is being reviewed.   We get emails every time our paperwork moves from one step to the next-- unfortunately those emails don't come frequently enough! 

Our little guy is still living in the agency's local care center- WACAP house.  We did receive a picture last week and updates on his measurements.  He is gaining weight well and is progressing well developmentally.

*I think taking Deirdre on a flight that long would be akin to cuddling a badger for 15 hours straight with the key entertainment being the hair of the poor person who sits in front of us.  Both our kids have flown many times but it is still a very long flight for young people-- especially when the focus should really be on our youngest on the way home. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Daisy, Our Delicate Flower

Something funny happened to baby girl in the past two or three weeks-- for lack of better words, she got opinionated. 

We spent a long time thinking about walking, then contemplating walking and then navigating walking.  It's odd--because once James starting to think about walking, there was a determination about mastering that skill.  It was about 1 month between cruising to toddler "jogging".  

There is a theory that kids work on walking or they work on talking-- but they don't necessarily work on both at the same time.  Daisy had a different path to walking-- she took two steps for about four months but didn't have a tremendous interest in taking that third step.   Now if the above theory nets out-- it meant that she wasn't progressing on the talking front either. 

I'll be honest, Matt cringes a little when I pull out the "well, people say. . . " theory of medicine but Daisy was pretty tough for a while and I think a lot of it came down to a lack of empowerment.  She wasn't able to communicate or go where she needed or wanted to go--  we had a lot of temper tantrums for a while. 

How three weeks can change a girl.  We have mastered walking and have a desire to be understood.  AKA. Her new favorite activity is bellowing.  Girl hasn't yet learned volume control

Say Nana

NAAANNNAAAYYY

Say Daddy

DADDDDDDDDAAAAY

Say Freedom

FREEEDDEEEAY

May I present our daughter. William Wallace.





Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cloudy

Life in Minnesota has been cloudy lately-- both personally and literally.   On a personal note, I have come down with strep- which is my third course of antibiotics this season.  Boo.  I'm over here enjoying my weekend by catching up on episodes of Scandal and pounding smoothies.  I can't seem to catch a break health wise-- I have been sick on and off since last fall.   What gives?
 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chillin'

Things have been keeping on in a pretty mellow manner around here.  We are still waiting for any sort of update on our little guy.  It's a different kind of wait now-- but one that we are growing pretty used to.    Now we know his name, know him, see pictures of his adorable little face all around our house, and talk about him routinely with our other kids.  But he is not here and we still know very little about when he will actually come home. 

I do have some degree of frustration over this fact-- I really thought that once he was legally ours we would be getting more updates on him.  I struggle in the fact that I am probably acting like an entitled American--  but damn if I don't want to know if my kid bonked his head, got a boo-boo on his finger or has a tummy ache.  I want to know what he had for lunch and what toys he is playing with--  More importantly, I want to know that someone is loving him up.  These are questions I ask of our caregivers when our kids are with someone else and they seem fair.    To date, we haven't received any updates or pictures since we were in Ethiopia.  ugh.

We have two steps we need to clear before we can go back and get him-- after court, the ET government needs to finish their paperwork and make sure that medicals etc. are in order. If I understand correctly, this is a three week process generally. (We are currently at or past the three week mark)

Then those documents will go to the US embassy, where they will do their own research and immigration documents.  Once the embassy has completed their work, we will get notice that we have been granted an appointment which is our all clear to book travel and get over there.  This process generally takes three to four weeks but can be as soon as one week.

I feel a little whiny complaining-- especially after how far we have come in the past three and a half years- but geez, this slog of a wait continues!  I have heard that adoption waits are a little like the amnesia of childbirth-- after your child is home you forget about the pain! 

I'll let you know.