Adoption timeline


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Chaos

So... it is late Tuesday afternoon. Dennis has been out of town since Saturday morning. In that time we have had two baseball games, the Prom, a birthday party, and a play date. The dishwasher has broken, the laundry is piling up, and the dog peed on the carpet. I will now admit, I have a new respect for my husband. See, all along I thought I was the glue that kept our family together. I mean, the guy loses his keys on a daily basis... he is a lot of work to keep up with. But alas, I must now admit we are far stronger as a team! I owe him more credit than I have offered in the past. I also have an untappable respect for single moms. I really don't know how they do it! I am exhausted and counting the minutes until he gets home tonight.

Now... that isn't to say it has been all bad. The kids and I (and both dogs) all slept in my room for the past three nights, and it has been so much fun. Samantha had a look of pure glee each night as she realized we were all in there together. She slept in bed with me and the boys in sleeping bags on the floor. Humorously enough, Betty (dog) joined us in bed and Harold slept on the floor. I guess it was a boy/girl thing! The look on her face when she woke up and saw me right next to her melted my heart. Just this slow grin that took over her sweet face - nothing better. Sam is turning out to have quite a little personality. I think she will be my "wild" child. She has a sense of humor for sure. She has formed an alliance with Ugly Harold, our 1 year old boxer mix who is constantly getting into trouble. Yesterday I caught her opening the front door and yelling "Aaroooold" and watching him run out the door (we have a fenced in BACK YARD - NOT front yard) and clapping as he ran off! Then, later I caught her in the pantry scooping dog food and putting it in Harold's bowl. She had such a mischievous little grin that I couldn't help but laugh. The dog will be as fat as can be before we know it.

She seems to have an absolute love of life. What a gift. At Reilly's baseball game she indicated she wanted to wear her back pack diaper bag. It was pretty heavy, but I put it on her and she labored trying to walk with it on (and fell and looked just like a turtle, which was cracking me up). She was so stubborn and was not going to give up. I love that about her. She knows what she wants and she will accomplish it. I also love that her brothers completely delight in her. I have been really proud of them. They fight with each other constantly, but they are very sweet to her.

well... the boys will be done with school soon. Dennis will be home tonight. Phew...

Friday, April 16, 2010

I am still amazed...

On a daily basis I find myself in awe of Samantha, my boys, and the ease of the blending of our family. Samantha is the happiest, easiest chunk of cuteness imaginable! The pace at which our family lives is daunting to many, but she just jumped right in and is leading the pack! No matter where we go, people stop to meet her. It might be because she waves to everyone she sees - won't say a word to them, nor will she let them hold her (which secretly makes me really happy), but she waves and if she really likes them will blow them a kiss! She is so much fun to dress, so she is always in an adorable outfit (the kid's closet is ridiculous! She is blessed with many "aunties" who love to bring her cute clothes!) The boys are great with her and love showing her off at school. Colby is still having the occasional adjustment issue, so we are trying to make some one on one opportunities for him so he feels like he is getting some quality time with one or both of us. Reilly seems to be adjusting easily, which doesn't surprise us.

I am struggling a bit with being back at work. This is new for me, as I stayed home with each of my boys for 4.5 months, but was very ready to go back to work, and quite honestly, felt like a better mother for doing so. I am lucky to have a great schedule, so I really can work the hours the big boys are in school and be home with them the rest of the time, but even that is hard. She is really fun!! She is spending time with Grandma, so that is awesome. We are lucky to have that! I am trying to work half days, but sometimes those get stretched... I really love my job, so it does pull me in several directions, but I wish I could spend even more time with her.

I am growing increasingly used to living in a house that is cluttered and messy. I don't like it, but I am growing used to it. It just seems like there is stuff on every surface of the house! Now, I had a really rough week at work and came home yesterday to a clean house! My husband had worked his butt of and put everything in its place and cleaned! Talk about a good guy!!!!!!!!!! I honestly don't know how to describe how happy I was!

Well... I am very glad it is a Friday and my boys will barge into my office in about 20 minutes ready to jump in the car and go home (well, swing by Grandma's first to get Sam). It is beautiful outside so I am ready to get out of this suit and put on some flip flops. (not just flip flops, because that would be creepy).

Ahhhhh. Feeling insanely lucky at the moment. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Have Been Home 1 Month!!!!

It is hard to believe, but we have been home an entire month. In some ways, it seems like Samantha has forever been ours, and I suppose she has, in our hearts. She is a dream come true. Honestly, I can't express the ease with which she has transitioned into our family. I keep waiting for that moment when I think "Uh Oh, the honeymoon is over" but she is just a laid back, happy kid. Our household is chaos, but fun, loud chaos. I didn't really think I ran a tight ship before Samantha came home - I always felt like I was nagging the boys to pick up clothes or toys, etc. But now, our house is often a wreck. Interestingly, it doesn't stress me out as much as I would expect. (well, maybe it does...) I am finding that I am more relaxed as a parent with Samantha than I was with the boys. I admit now that I was a control freak with them. Now, Samantha sets the pace - we take slow walks through the neighborhood and look at rocks and grass and whatever else we come across. She also has to stop and wave at everyone she sees. I find this funny, as they inevitably talk to her, and she can't respond. She just stares at them quite seriously and waves. Depending on who it is, I sometimes explain she doesn't know English. Occasionally I just let folks wonder if she is mute. :)

We are only facing a few minor issues. She arrived home with a double ear infection that was not cured with oral antibiotics. She had to get the shots after she perforated an ear drum. Apparently she has a lot of scar tissue in there - likely due to chronic ear infections. She also has ring worm. But, the kid didn't complain about either. I wouldn't have known about the ear drum if I hadn't noticed the ooze coming out of her hear! She was sitting in my lap perfectly content eating a banana. And that brings me to our next "issue". FOOD. The kid loves to eat... and eat... and eat. We are using some baby sign language, and she has made up her own for eat. She signs it often. It is impressive what she can pack away in a single meal. I try to offer only healthy foods, so that I can give her a satisfying quantity. Then we try to distract her away from the kitchen in between meals. We went to a play date with 7 Ethiopian toddlers. I thought at snack time a melee would ensue. It was somewhat comforting to realize the others had the same problem, though.

The boys have adjusted well. Colby needs some extra attention and cuddles, but seems to be turning the corner. The first week home he was verbally awful to his brother, but now they just seem to fight as they always have! Harold, the puppy, drives Samantha nuts because he often walks by her and gives her a big lick. He is great at under the high chair clean up though! He is just a big, goofy 6 month old puppy who is forever chewing on something he isn't supposed to. If he isn't digesting a lego, he has a toilet brush in his mouth. Betty, our 2 year old mutt, on the other hand is not handling Samantha's arrival very well. In fact, she is going on doggie prozac today. Now, she was already neurotic and couldn't handle being around men. She was nervous all the time except around me and the kids. Lately, she is just so anxious - she tore through the screen to the porch TWICE. (the second time an hour after we had it fixed!) So... drugs it is.

Other than that, life is just plugging along. We all went to the beach for Easter weekend. The boys seem to love the beach in theory, but really don't much like sand. I think if they had friends to play with, they would be happier. Samantha, on the other hand, LOVED it. She was rockin' the bikini and sunglasses. She was covered in sand - head to toe - and was happy as could be. She stopped to visit with all the people sitting near us. She was just too cute.

So... I will post some pictures soon. Today is my first day back at work (I returned part time for a while) so I really need to get busy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We are leaving in 2 days. 2!!!! I can't possibly begin to describe my excitement at the thought of holding my girl. I have missed her so very much. She gives the best hugs in the whole world and I am dying to get one! I can't wait to introduce my husband and kids to her as well! We are about 90% packed and I think I only have a couple of errands to run. I did panic this morning and beg a dermatologist to see me to tell me the spot on my face was not skin cancer (that would be some cruel twist of fate - spend two years waiting to adopt and find out 2 days before leaving I have skin cancer), but alas, it is an "irritated freckle". I do, unfortunately have a raging sinus infection, but I have an appointment in an hour, so i will likely have an antibiotic soon. Ironically this happened just before I went over in November too.

We are looking forward to bringing care packages and taking pictures for several families. I know how much it meant to us when others would love on Samantha and send us new pictures. We also vow to keep working with our agency and our government to improve the process of inter-country adoption. It must get better!

ok... have a great day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

And the Drama Continues...

The US Embassy did not meet with AWAA today, so we still don't know if we can travel Friday. They are supposed to meet tomorrow. AWAA's email indicated we should "guard our hearts and expect delays". Really, guard my heart? My heart that has been loving my daughter since September? Guard it?

This is our own government. It isn't like it is the Ethiopian Gov't at fault here. UGHHHHHHHHHH

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yet another disappointment...

Just got an email from the agency that there is now only a "small" chance we will be able to travel when we were scheduled - ONE WEEK from today. Seriously? I am so tired of this journey. We passed court a month ago. It is time to bring our girl home. Ohhhhh, I am sick.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And the Countdown Begins!!!

9 days. 9 days until we board a plane and head to Africa. YIPEE. Ok, so we don't really have confirmed travel, but we booked it and we are going. Naturally I have been excited for months, but this morning I woke up at 5 am and immediately my brain starting thinking about Samantha and logistics and packing, etc. This weekend I finished her room. It is so cute! It is very girlie - which is a welcome addition in our home. Two boys, a husband, and a teenaged male exchange student. This lady is ready for some girl power. I had a very sweet conversation with my 6 year old last night. He was in my lap cuddled under a blanket watching TV. I commented on how our dog Betty gets very jealous whenever I pet Harold and Betty tries to climb in my lap. I told Colby that Samantha will likely take a lot of lap time at first, and that she won't have the words to express her own jealousy. Colby teared up a little and said, "How long will she get your lap?" I told him that he does have the words to tell me he is jealous, and it is perfectly ok to admit - and that if I know he is feeling jealous, I can ask Daddy and Reilly to help a little more with Samantha so that I can make room in my lap for Colby. His quiet little smile was adorable. He is already having some adjustment issues - he has been extra clingy lately. I am a little stressed about leaving him behind for the week, although I know it is the best thing for him. He will have a ball with Grampy, his favorite person!

So... tickets are booked, packing has begun and will be 80% this weekend. Now I am attending to details... I cannot wait to squeeze my girl!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Book, or Not to Book... that is the Question...

I just held tickets on Emirates airlines for Feb 26 - March 6th. They were willing to do this until Monday at noon. There is a good chance we still will not have travel confirmed by then, but if we don't book them, the price jumps and availability becomes increasingly limited. I have had a knot in my stomach all day. What do we do? The US Embassy is being completely illogical; they want to review the paperwork on families sent for visa's two weeks prior to appointments. The agency won't confirm travel until these documents have been approved and confirmed. This would mean that all future families could get as little as a week's notice on travel. How devastated will families be if flights are full? This just seems so ridiculous. I feel bad because I know we are putting undo pressure on our agency, and they are not controlling this policy, but it is so hard to sit back and wait.

so... do I take the leap and book them and assume it will all work out? That is the way I am leaning, but it makes me a little nervous. aghhhhhh There really is not enough chocolate in the world for this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still Waiting...

We are still waiting for travel confirmation. The US Embassy has not yet told our agency which visas will be issued the week of March 1st. Another day passes and we can't book tickets. We are supposed to leave in 16 days. I would REALLY like to book those tickets.

On a positive note, I had a proud mommy moment. Our oldest son, Reilly, is a sweetheart. He is so very bright, but struggles with focus and organization. His teacher emailed and said that he lost his spelling notebook and his homework folder, etc. She also mentioned he had a verbal altercation on the playground that upset him. I was scolding him for not telling me he lost the notebook (and mad at myself for not buying 10 of them in August, knowing full well he would lose a few...) and he was getting upset - he is extremely tenderhearted. I asked what happened on the playground, and he explained that the class "bully" was being mean to another one of the boys (the only boy in the class who is not REALLY into sports). Reilly stood up to the bully and told him he was being mean and told him to stop! I WAS SO PROUD. How cool is it that my 8 year old felt the confidence to stand up for what is right. That is so hard. I just finished reading Jodee Blanco's book "Please Stop Laughing At Me" and my own son demonstrated the entire lesson of the book. Yay Reilly. If you haven't read the book - do so. It is fantastic. I will require all of the students in the program I run, as well as all of the field hockey players I coach, to read it. All middle and high school students should read it. Kids are so cruel and this book really makes one think.

Anyway, here is to hoping tomorrow brings confirmed travel dates!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Step Forward... Two Steps Back...

In our two year process of adopting sweet Samantha, there have been many procedural and/or process changes invoked by the Ethiopian government as well as the US Embassy in Ethiopia. We have literally been 2 weeks behind on every single one of them - so each and every one has affected our case. Seriously - it is like going on a cross country trip and hitting every red light encountered. So very frustrating! Right now we have tentative dates to travel Feb. 26- March 6th, but we can't book our tickets because the US Embassy can't confirm that we will have a visa appointment that week. It is in 3 weeks! I have so much to do before we travel (including lining up child care, which involves flying my dad in for two weeks, which he would like a little prep time to plan for!). I feel badly for our agency staff - I know it is not their fault, and I end up bugging them to no end. But really? How can the US Embassy in Ethiopia be so poorly run? Really, the inefficiency is baffling.

At this point, I am aching to go. We are so close, and I just want to book those tickets!!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

4 weeks from today!!!!!

I woke up feeling like myself again. Honestly, it has been a long time since I have felt this way, so it feels really good! I woke in the middle of the night to Colby climbing into bed with me. He hadn't done this in a really long time, but the past few weeks or so, he has been coming in more and more at night. He is definitely a little nervous about adding a member to the family. I am so glad it looks like we will be snowed in for the next few days. It will give us some good family time to play games, cuddle in front of a movie, and just relax together with no distractions. I am also looking forward to finally giving in to my nesting feelings. I kept them at bay for so long, but now I am ready to get little bit's room set up! Yesterday I bought her the cutest pair of Carole Little shoes. I swear, she already has a silly amount of footwear -but I can't help myself!

So... the count down begins! 4 more weeks!!! Yipee!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


We got our tentative travel dates! Feb 27- March 5th. I am thrilled to have this next step getting us closer to our girl! I can't believe that we will be there in a month!!!!! It looks like we will have an awesome travel group too! Yipee!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Still waiting for TTD's...

I am anxiously awaiting travel information. I emailed our agency last week, as some work plans sort of revolve around knowing when I will be going. I was told that we might find out last Friday, but we did not. I know we will likely travel the first week of March, but I am holding on to a glimmer of hope that we will go with the Feb 15th group. Nothing has gone our way in terms of timing (told we would have an early Nov court date, got one Dec 15, told we would have an expedited second court date, got one Jan 18, etc. so... my hope is pretty minute!) But I keep staring at these pictures of my girl and I just want to have her in my lap!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, hoping, praying, and crossing fingers and toes that we will be going soon!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moving Forward

I am still on cloud 9... I have a daughter! She has certainly felt like a daughter for many months, but now she's ours for real! My husband picked up the dresser I am having refinished and I am ready to head to the store for paint. I simply couldn't make myself do it before we passed court. I have so many things to get ready in her room; it has literally all been sitting in bags! She has an incredible wardrobe already (buying girl clothes is REALLY fun) but now I am in the mode of gathering practical items. I went to baby gap this weekend and bought a bunch of socks. It is amazing how purchasing socks could delight me so much! (I also just spent 100 dollars on Carol's Daughter hair products!!! Shhhh, don't tell my husband!)

We still don't have TTD's, but I am guessing we will travel the first week of March. It is a bummer that the Embassy is now only allowing 10 children to pass through on any given day, since we would likely have travelled the week of Feb 15th otherwise. We actually have a few days off of school that week, which would have been great since Reilly wouldn't miss so much. It would also allow us to travel to Phoenix at the end of March. I think I will have to table that if we have only been home for a couple of weeks. It might be too much for her to deal with.

Last night I had a really odd dream. I was on a school bus with my family and a bunch of kids. A nanny came on board with a beautiful little girl and the kids on the bus started cheering because Samantha was being handed over to me. I looked at Dennis because it wasn't actually her - it was a different child. I immediately took her in my arms and Dennis leaned over and whispered "It's ok, we'll love her and Sam too". I know where this stems from - given our journey and the bumps along the road, but it was funny that this is still apparently a latent fear in my subconscious.

Anyway, we are just so happy and ready to have cute Samantha home! This part of the wait is harder than waiting for the referral. The wait for court was the worst, by far, as it had so much fear of the unknown embedded in it. Now, it is pure and simple impatience. She is ours and I want to hug and kiss and squeeze her. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Montage 11/24/09 at

We passed!!!! Samantha Jane is officially a Ring!!!! We are soooooo excited!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This adoption process has beaten me. As a self-proclaimed optimist who has always taken life in stride with a positive attitude, I concede. I am depressed, frustrated, and broken. I have been staring at a beautiful face since September - and now have no hope of bringing her home before March - at best. One might think that since a baffling error was made on our case, there would be some effort made to make things move a little faster, but apparently not. As we head into our court date on Monday, I am increasingly on edge and irritable. Now that I know that even if we pass the agency can't get us in front of the embassy until early March (again, at best), I am just torn up. It might have something to do with the fact that I finally boxed up the rest of the baby stuff I had. I also had to pick up a pre school application. How bizarre is that? My "baby" will be in pre school in August. And each day that passes is one less day with her. All of the winter clothes hanging in her closet will likely have to be given away as well. I also had to mentally rule out the spring break trip we were going to take, since likely we will have only been home for two weeks - IF we travel in early March.

I am tired of feeling this way. I can't even bring myself to send in update questions because it hurts. I am tired of people asking me when she will be home and the pithy comments about what a crazy long process this is. My poor girl has been through the ringer, but continues to sit in an orphanage because people can't file things correctly. And why is it the embassy can't hire more people? Clearly there is a need, so there must be money to do so.

I get that there are no guarantees in the process. I knew it would be tough. I knew it would be long. I hear everyone say it is so worth it in the end, and I know that it will be much easier to forget when I have Samantha in my lap. But that still doesn't take away the fact that it is by far the most inefficient, poorly run process imaginable. Sadly, when folks get home with their kids they are willing to forgive and forget, but then it never improves.

So... I am feeling a bit broken today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

May the Tide Turn in 2010

Wow, it is January 2010. How did that happen? It is 27 degrees outside and while I hate to wish away time, I am ready for spring. This was a rough holiday season, and I struggled to hide my sadness. I just couldn't jump whole-heartedly into the holidays without Samantha being home. We started staring at her picture in September! Two weeks from today we head to court again - 5 full weeks after our first attempt. We received that last of the correct paperwork today and have to sign a new referral acceptance letter, since we accepted the referral officially for the 8 month old who is now apparently living with a different family. I think part of my holiday blues was mourning, once and for all, the idea that I am not bringing home a baby. Having held sweet Samantha in my arms, I can't imagine not bringing her home, don't get me wrong. But I had to return the crib bedding and I gave away several outfits I had bought her. The girl is wearing a 3T!!! I know those feelings will vanish when she is finally here and I can concentrate on all that she is, rather than what she is not (or what she was). I was sure when we got the call in September that we would have her here for Christmas. So, her absence just made me sad. Then, we lost the January 6th court date, since our case number changed. The so called "expedited" date they were hoping for is the 18th. I have a friend who went to court two weeks after us, failed, and got a new date 2 weeks before us. What is up with that? I feel like we must have ticked off someone in Ethiopia!!!!!!

I am just ready. Ready for her smile and cute little body to wake me up in the morning with the greatest hugs ever. I can't believe it has been almost 2 months since I have seen her! We got some wonderful pictures (thank you Staci!) and it is great to see her smiling in them all. She is growing up!

So... I will quit whining (ok, maybe not for two more weeks). I pray we pass on the 18th - I will really struggle if we don't.