Saturday, May 30, 2009

So Cool!

I LOVE the color-blind world of adoption! Why is this story so amazing? I think any adoption story is amazing...but this adoption story by Dallas Cowboy, DeMarcus Ware and one special baby girl, is really cool!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8 Days Away...

We are eight days away from our court date. When we started this process, that court date was everything...the final phase before travel. Now, it seems like just another milestone, a step in the right direction, yet, not homebase . Now, with the new TB testing, we will wait again. I feel like I won't be truly relieved until that test result is clear.

In the meantime, we are polishing up on our Amharic. (I think we have managed a few phrases). My friend Mona completes her schooling this Friday and says she will have all the time in the world to give us some language lessons. Good thing.

There have been some wonderful families willing to look up our little guy while at HH. They haven't had a whole lot of luck. He seems to be a bit of a mystery. No one has had a chance to really visit with him. I would love to know just one little he shy? energetic? happy? athletic? big, small, anything...

For now, we continue to ready his room, buy some clothing, pull out old toys and books, get some rest and wait...

For everyone else that just returned from Ethiopia and those going soon...thank you for being willing to help out and congratulations on your new addition!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things I Have Learned From Mona

My Ethiopian friend, Mona, has an interesting story, some of which I can't share. Yet, talking with her has enlightened and educated me on a culture that is soon to be part of our family. Mona has now lived in Minnesota for 7 years, coming over on a lottery visa. She was very young and spoke little English. She is now a U.S. citizen, works fulltime, studies to become a medical technician and speaks English fluently. She is struggling with how to bring her nieces to live with her. Her sister passed away, leaving Mona's nieces as orphans. They have since been adopted by their grandmother, Mona's 48 year old mother. Immigration has approved Mona to bring her mother here as a relative, but not her nieces. Her nieces, 12 and 14 years, would be left behind in Ethiopia. Our trip to immigration services taught us that there is no consideration for these two girls in whether they are left alone...they cannot travel with their grandmother to the U.S. as they do not have a visa. Understandably, Mona does not want to see her nieces left behind, but what are their choices? When I asked immigration, "what happens to the girls when their grandmother comes to America? They belong to their grandmother." The response we received was, "We are not a babysitting service. We are not responsible for them." She must have repeated that 4 times in our conversation. What?! Is that a recording? We have an open door policy with every other country, some of which are a threat to our country...yet, we don't care about children (who are not a threat) left behind. Interesting...

Some of the things Mona told me were both funny and interesting. In Ethiopia, children believe there is money all over the ground. They think that in stores, you can have anything...for free! Funny, my kids use to think that too!. The people believe that American's have a golden heart, that we take care of everyone else in the world and are especially soft-hearted with children. She believes that is why America is a blessed country.

I asked, "What do the Ethiopian people think of foreigners coming to adopt your children?"
~Mona-"American's are generous and kind, and our own wealthy people do not care about their own poor. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer."
I asked, "Is there a fairly wealthy society?"
~Mona-"of course"
I asked, "Why wouldn't extended family care for a child who will be orphaned?"
~Mona- "They don't do that like in America. They are poor too."
I asked, "what would happen then to a child like ours?"
~Mona- "She is a very good mother to think about her child like this. Many times there are no plans for that child. He would be on the streets."
I asked, "Have your views changed about the American people since you have come to live here?"
~Mona- "a little. Most are very kind, but I have met some that are not. I still think Americans are wonderful."
I asked. "what was the most shocking thing you realized when you came here?"
~Mona- "how much food is wasted here."

Mona also tells me that she has not grown accustomed to our foods and the only thing she likes is pizza! I was a little surprised at that. She is impressed with how open-minded American people are in trying new foods and learning about other cultures. I have to agree.

I realize that one person's opinions of their people and country can be as different as the next, as it is in America. But there is a common thread of respect, kindness and appreciation that I feel has been evident in the Ethiopian culture, thus far. I hope to preserve those attributes and help others to learn more about this intriguing culture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting Ready...

Today, we have finally decided to stop procrastinating and finish our little boy's room. A part of me feels it's pointless because I don't really think he will sleep there. It's our daughter's old room where she slept for 14 years! However, she was there from the beginning and the distance to mom and dad's room never mattered to her. Our room is located upstairs and two levels up. It could be a problem. Our daughter moved up there as well, just 2 years ago. The only other room on the same level as our little boy, would be our BIG boy's, who is mostly away at college...

Well, we have no choice, really, it will have to do. So we are taking the computer out and all of the storage. It's almost ready.

For my dear friends and family not familiar with the adoption process...I have some clarifications. I have had a lot of questions on the court date and realized that I didn't "get it" either at the beginning, middle and almost the end...

Our court date (June 4) is when the Ethiopian government reviews our file for approval. In many countries, they require the parents to be present for this part. We can stay put until we are given the results. If we pass, we are issued a travel date approximately 2-4 weeks later. As I mentioned earlier, there are some things that could hold us up, but we aren't going to entertain those thoughts...ha,ha

Then, we will travel to pick him up and that will be a 5-day stay in-country! Although we would cherish a longer stay and tour, we understand that this time around may not be the best time.

To answer a few other questions:

~Will he speak English? I don't think much. He hasn't been at HH very long.
~Will he start school in the fall? Only if he speaks enough English. I may try Homeschooling for the first time!
~How will you communicate with him? Besides books and computer help, my friend Mona??
~What about his mommy? I am anticipating a lot of sadness...I get it. We hope to meet her and she will always be very special to us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prayers Answered!

When the news is good, it's GREAT! We have a court date on June 4th! My husband is out of town, so we will celebrate when he gets home! I can't tell you how excited we are...unless you have been through this, you already know!

Every step of this process does not come without worry. Basically, it works like this. The court appointment is for our son to become "legally" our son. Now, with some changes in the process, the US Embassy will require him to go through a TB screening prior to our travel. Hopefully, all will be well and we could travel 2-4 weeks later! What may determine not passing court could be if his mom does not show up at the appointment with the proper identification. For those of you that don't already know this, she is dying. If she passes before the date, we could be put in an abandonment situation (don't really understand why, since she relinquished him). That would hold things up. Or, if he didn't pass the TB test, that could hold things up as well.

I am going to think positive and assume we will pass, he will pass, and his mom will be there for us to meet! That would be so amazing! We are asked to write a letter to the birth mom if she exists, and I am just finishing it up. It's so sad, but I hope I can reassure her that we will give him the best home possible! Before she leaves this earth, she will hopefully have peace in her heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Praying for a Court Date

I told my husband and daughter yesterday that I feel like this is our week! I don't know why I said that, but that made me get a text from my daughter at school today, asking if I'd heard anything yet! I said, "not yet", which she responded "Grrr..."

Then,I jokingly said, "If you are serious about wanting to adopt one day, you may want to start on your paperwork now!" Okay, keep in mind that she is a junior in high school. She responded with "Can I?"

Hmmm...Knowing her, that will be her new mission. She still has Prom in a couple of weeks!

Every Sunday, we sit in church and we leave saying we can't wait to have our little guy with us! The wait is so agonizing! Anyone who has ever adopted, and those in the process know what I mean.

Praying for a court date...and others to pass court this week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Little Update

I haven't had much to talk about lately. I was waiting for any update on our little guy. Well, today I received some new photos...none of which I am allowed to post, unfortunately. They were so adorable and answered some of our questions. "Does he know about us yet?" Well, he is pictured looking through the photo album we sent introducing ourselves. He is also wearing a Spiderman shirt we sent and holding the birthday gift we sent him! He looks happy and very content! We can't ask for more than that!

We realized that he is smaller than anticipated. The shirt we sent was an "Underoo", size 7/8, and we expected it to be tight-fitting. Instead, it is kinda long and a bit baggy! Oops! Hmmm...I'm thinking the other clothes we got him are going to be enormous! The great thing is, he can only grow UP!

Seeing our things all the way over there seems quite remarkable. It makes this entire event very real, a bit scary and tremendously exciting!

I am praying for all the upcoming court and travel dates! Hope to join in soon!