Thursday, July 30, 2009

So Close... Yet So Far....

Today is my birthday. There was the fantastical part of me that thought Julie, my caseworker, was going to wait and give me my referral call on my birthday. How cool would that have been. Well, it would've been... but it was a bit of wishful thinking!

I think I am officially lame because instead of playing on my birthday, I chose to continue on my quest to get every square inch of my place painted. I love that I spent literally half the day painting the spare bedroom this cool green... oh, how I marveled at what a great choice I made.... I kept running downstairs and looking at it from different angles -- from inside the house, from outside, from the entrance way.... oh it was great... the natural light just hit it perfectly.... I couldn't have made a better choice. That was up until dusk hit. OMG! What happened to the perfect hue?? How is it now mint, crest, green. I can't have a mint, crest, green room... sigh. I'm thinking I should've gone out to play instead now! It wasn't all a bust though. I successfully used the drill today... I always think I'm handy when I get to use a drill on a project.

Never fear. In case you were thinking I am totally boring.... friends are coming over tomorrow night to celebrate my new home and birthday. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday throughout the day... its making up for the mint, crest, green -- I think. Ha.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Enough is enough....

I feel like I've been patient. I feel like my spirits have been high. But, I'm tired of holding the coveted position on the waitlist since the beginning of the month.

So, I say -- bring on the pitocin!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

While I wait....

Another week passed without a referral call... So, what does one do while you wait?



You get a visit from the very cool, CJ, and her super fun son, Pax. Pax checked out a few of "M's" stuffed giraffe's and rated them fun. Phew...



Attend a going away BBQ for Chelsea and Casey. (BTW... I have some very amazing friends -- I have to brag about Andrew who placed first in his division at the Coeur d'Alene Ironman 2009. Look for him at Kona.)




Hang out with some very awesome friends -- Jeff, Carin, and Ryan -- on Bainbridge.....



And enjoy a pre-happy hour boat ride (well, except for the two adult passengers that started one on the boat...)



Attend an AGCI Annual Picnic and meet local families who have, or are in the process of adopting too. It was great to see all the families with their amazing, brave, and beautiful children. Going to the picnic also gave me the opportunity to harass my caseworker, Julie, about her absent phone call. I'm pretty sure she's scared now. I'm pretty sure she'll call me this week. Or, I'm pretty sure I have no idea still... but let's pretend ;-)



And, continue to paint (repaint in some instances), visit your now bff's at Lowes multiple times, organize, return custom-made pink blinds that were supposed to be off-white, coerce your friends to help you mount a tv and shelves, eat Timothy's home-made pies twice in one week, skype with Rosanne and find out how awesome the U2 concert in Dublin was (I can't wait for Vancouver!!!), and try to remain cool in the Seattle heat wave..... among other things.

So, here's to another week.... I think its going to be a good one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chelsea....

First off.  No referral yet.  Maybe tomorrow?

Today is a bitter sweet day for me....  Chelsea, one of the sweetest and most giving people that I know, has officially moved south with her hubby, Casey.  Casey was accepted into Loma Linda Medical School -- so California they return.  I am so sad to see her go, but I am so excited for them and the adventures that lay ahead.  In life, Chelsea is a huge cheerleader... she sees the absolute best in people and encourages endlessly.  She really puts most of us to shame!  Chelsea and Casey plan to adopt from Africa in the future, and she has probably been my biggest fan in my whole adoption process -- you couldn't ask for a more supportive friend.  She has bought "M" so many gifts already, celebrating every step of the way....  Also, I am losing my running buddy.  Who am I going to run events with now?  Great.  Now my health is at risk.  ha.  So, I am sad for me... and very happy for them.    I figured a montage of photos, in no particular order, was appropriate...

Exploring the Pumpkin Patch


Leukemia & Lymphoma's Pineapple Classic Run


Our Goodbye BBQ for Chels and Casey


Chelsea and Me



Playing in Vail


More Vail fun


After the Jingle Bell Bash


Mid-way through the Seattle Half Marathon


Classic Chels expression


And, she's really good at Karaoke

Hanging at the cabin


Snowshoeing in Leavenworth


More cabin fun

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Referral Yet...

I am nowhere close to a morning person.... but, ever since I learned that I was #1 on the waitlist, I have slightly more spunk getting out of bed in the morning, wondering if the day will bring the call that I've been daydreaming about since I mailed my application in last September. I am so excited and curious as to who my little girl will be and what her story is. I do have a lot of peace during this time though, and my anxiousness hasn't taken over, thankfully.... I'm enjoying this phase actually. I love the anticipation -- My life is about to be altered in ways I cannot even fathom. I know that my relationship with my daughter will absolutely amaze me. And, I am in awe at my friends and family by how supportive, excited, and anxious they are too. We're all going through this together in our own way. I love it. So, I will patiently await Julie's phone call... in the meantime, I stay busy.

It is helpful that I have the personality that cannot relax until everything is settled -- I am, without a doubt, determined. Perhaps this is not always a good trait, but it is distracting. I continue to paint, organize, and decorate my place. I love knowing I'm doing this for us. It is a good thing that I get a bit more energy in the morning with the wonder of it all because I've been staying up way too late on work nights chipping away.... wonder and caffeine-- its a good combination.

Homeless....

I'm trying to help alleviate stress.... Who wants to help my friends, Kathleen, Jeff, and their cuter than cute baby, Elizabeth? They will be homeless as of Aug 11th because they have just sold their house but have no where to go yet! So, if you know someone in Seattle that would be willing to rent/housesit their apartment/condo/house month to month while they find a new house to buy... let me know! Look how cute they are... who wouldn't want to place them? ha.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A phone call from my caseworker....

So, an update.  I talked to my caseworker, Julie, today for our monthly check-in.  She was nice enough to email me in advance to warn me that she would be calling me today, but only for an update and not a referral.  Obviously, at this point, anytime my phone rings I wonder if its "the call"... and I would've likely freaked out seeing my agency's phone number on my caller ID... wondering.  Anyway...  no referral today... but still, any day could be the day.

I did get the opportunity to ask Julie about referrals and when they can give them out.  Essentially children can come live at Hannah's Hope (the home in Ethiopia) at any time -- sometimes even before they're officially ready to be adopted out (meaning -- their documentation is not quite in order yet deeming them orphans) .  Our agency works with a few governmental orphanages and accept children when space is available at Hannah's Hope.  I am quite certain that my little girl is already cozy in her crib there.  Amber, who just got back from picking up her baby boy, Levi, made this comment to me when she returned: "I hope you get your call soon.  When we were at Hannah's Hope 6 new babies arrived.  I didn't see whether they were girls or boys."  You've gotta think that at least one of those babes is a girl...  time will tell.

Oh... and there is a rumor that the Ethiopian courts may not close this year.  I have heard this for awhile but have paid no attention to it, really -- I didn't believe it.  But, it would appear that if they do close, they aren't closing for as long.  They are still making court dates through mid-August at this point... so there is a possibility of me squeezing through much earlier than I thought... a possibility anyway.  Wild and crazy.  Better keep painting and get this place ready for a family of two....

I made sure Julie had all my various phone numbers so that she could call me wherever I might be.

Painting has begun...

So, what am I doing while I wait for my phone to ring from my caseworker?  Apparently a little retail therapy in the form of heading to the local Lowes to buy paint and custom blinds.  It would appear that I should stick to buying ridiculously expensive jeans instead; home improvement retail therapy is much more expensive...  ha.

I am on a mission.  I'm in the middle of a paint craze -- once I begin on a project, I can't stop.   Amy kindly came over a couple of days ago armed with her color wheel to help me decide on my new color theme.  I painted for about 11 hours straight yesterday.  I only had to make one repeat trip to Lowes for a misjudgment on how much paint my itty-bitty bathroom would require... but other than that, I carried on.  I managed to complete the main room ceiling, and get the first coat on the bathroom and desk area.  I also spackled and primed the lower staircase -- erasing all evidence of the "couch incident".  The music pumped and a combination of Kings of Leon, U2, Van Morrison, Train, and Yonder Mountain kept the inspiration strong...

I feel like I'm 80 years old this morning... My neck and back, in particular, did not enjoy painting the ceiling.  I have popped the ibuprofen, am having my coffee, and gearing myself up for another stellar day holding a paint brush.   


A spackled staircase


I did not enjoy painting the ceiling...




A gift...

"M" has her very first doll.... in the middle of my painting frenzy the doorbell rang.  I wondered who was going to get the pleasure of seeing me in all my painting garb, but instead I was treated with a delivered package.  "M" doesn't know it yet, but she thanks you Auntie Stacy, Uncle Todd, cousins Taryn and Kate.  It is super sweet of you...



Sunday, July 12, 2009

7th Annual Camping Trip....

This past week I took two of my nieces -- Taryn and Kate, on our 7th Annual Camping Trip (Unfortunately, due to geographical difficulties (Australia), Emma and Josh have been unable to participate in this annual tradition). My brother and sister-in-law have it down -- they send out the kids every summer for 2-3 weeks to make the circuit and get spoiled by all their relatives. I'm just thankful that I always seem to get the start of their trip before the excess of sugar, spoiling, and sleeplessness takes hold!

I cannot believe it has been 7 years... it started when Taryn was 3 years old. That was my rule -- you must be 3 to participate. Therefore, Kate has technically only been on 5 camping trips... but, who's counting. Every year, except this one sadly, Taryn and Kate's cousin, Erika, has joined us... This is a super fun tradition that I have loved doing with the kids. The formula seems to work every year -- pitch a tent, have a playground nearby, roast a hot dog, and make s'mores... a winning combination every time.

I am overcome by how quickly the girls are growing up -- but camping is significantly easier every year because of this!  The kids were essentially babies when we started this thing. I decided to pull out some of the previous year's photos and walk down memory lane. I'm so thankful to have such a fun tradition with the kids... It is something I know we all look forward to every summer.

1st Annual - starting in 2003 





2nd Annual 




3rd Annual






4th Annual






5th Annual






6th Annual





7th Annual






Saturday, July 11, 2009

So, what next?

This is redundant information to those already in the adoption process, but for those that aren't, I thought I would shoot out a quick post on what happens when I get "the call" -- as this seems to be the most frequent question I get nowadays.

Essentially my case worker will call me with a referral... this means, I get to learn all there is to know about my little girl -- sometimes there will be a lot of information, and sometimes there will be very little. I will also learn of her known medical status as an Ethiopian pediatrician will have assessed her and done lab work in Ethiopia. And of course, I will receive all the pictures they have of her via email... I think my caseworker hits the 'send' button when she's on the phone with me so I can see photos of my little girl while I'm learning about her. Super cool.

What next? I freak out, I call all my friends and family, and then I get busy. I have to contact my International Pediatrician to pass on all the information and photos that I've been given so that they can make their own assessment, based on the information they have. They will send me a report within 48 hours and at this point I say whether or not I will accept the referral. I believe this is done so that there is absolute clarity about the children and their health, as much as can be known, anyway. Then there are forms to fill out,get notarized, and then sent back to my agency... the turnaround time is fairly quick -- within a few days.

And then, I await for a court date in Ethiopia. This is the clincher. In order for my daughter to be legally "my daughter", the Ethiopian courts must declare this the case. There is a lag time between referral and court date because there is a bit of a bottleneck for all adoptions that are taking place in Ethiopia -- all agencies go through the courts. I will not fly over there for the court date as I have given a Power of Attorney to my agency to act on my behalf in Ethiopia. It is not terribly uncommon, although frustrating, to not pass court the first time, and even second sometimes... It may be because a birth parent doesn't show up to court (if there is one), or paperwork isn't filled out properly... who knows... anyway, it seems to always get sorted out in the end. I will most likely get caught in a longer lag period because the Ethiopian courts typically shut down for the months of August and September due to the rainy season, so I wouldn't expect to get a court date assigned before this happens...

Finally, once I pass court -- I will then be assigned an US Embassy appointment In Ethiopia... and that seems to happen 2-3 weeks after court. That is when I would travel (along with my sister-in-law, Stacy)!

Sorry for the long-winded post. I barely had the attention span to write it, nevermind read this. I just thought I'd shed some light to the process. As I mentioned, I am now carrying my phone with me all the time -- well, Monday - Friday 9am-5pm. My friends tell me I'm 2cm dialated and 70 effaced... my water could break at any moment. The difference is, it will only break during business hours....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Officially No. 1


Although, this is not new news... it is official.  I am #1 on the infant girl's waitlist.  Hence, I have my phone on extra loud and with me at all times. Every morning I wake up and wonder if this day will be the day that my world changes forever.

Other happy news... I have internet again. Seriously, two weeks without internet was more difficult than I thought. I have a few more things to report on this blog, but I must run to go celebrate my good friend Chelsea with a BBQ in the park... so, until later then...

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Updated Unofficial Number....


Its very surreal to hold the coveted spot of number one.... the only thing better is to get "the call". I cannot wait to see what little life will change my world forever....

How long do I sit at this position? Who knows. I may receive a phone call tomorrow. I may sit at this spot for a month.... but you know that I'll share the news as soon as I get it myself....