08/29/09 - 3 Months!

It has been 3 months! It has gone fast and slow at the same time. But to think that we are so much closer to knowing the children God has planned for us than when we started this adoption process in May 2008 is sometimes hard to believe. And then other times, it's like enough already - let's know!! We are excited to see what the next month holds.

08/27/09 - Our "On Deck" Email

This email actually arrived on the 26th but we didn't see it (in fact almost missed it!) until the 27th! Amy, who hadn't even told Mike what an on deck email was because she thought it was so far in the future, had to stop her heart from racing to read through it!

An "On Deck" email is sent when a family is getting close to the top of the referral list. It asks the family to verify their age and gender request and make sure phone information is up to date.

So what does this mean? It means that we "could" receive our referral in 1-3 months! What does that mean? It means that in the next few months, we could know who are kids are!! We are still thinking it's a few months away, but it sure is exciting to be on deck!!!

So what happens after the referral call [that is when our agency calls, begins by saying the words every waiting-to-be-adoptive-parents are longing to hear, "This is your referral call!" and tells you about your child(ren)] - We would get an email with their pictures!!!!!!!! Then we would sign the acceptance letter and return it to America World. They will then be able to petition the courts in Ethiopia for a court date, which would come approximately 1-2 months later. A judge in Ethiopia will look through our paperwork and we will either pass court or something will not be quite right (something wrong on paperwork, judge doesn't come in to court that day, witness not able to show up due to car problems, the list goes on and on) and we will not pass court. If we pass, and 40% of families do not pass the first time, we will receive travel dates of 2-4 weeks later. If we do not pass, our agency will work to fix the error and we will receive another court date. So that's a summary of the journey ahead!!

NEXT STEPS: We will email our Family Coordinator Nicole at America World to verify that we will wait for a sibling referral but that we would be open to children aged 0-5. Then we will email our Social Worker Faith to ask about beginning the process of updating the age range on our home study. This will require Faith to change the age range to o-6 years old (in case we as referred a 5 year old who turns 6 before arriving here in the US). An updated home study will be sent to DCFS Intercountry Coordinator for approval, then USCIS (United States Citizenship and immigration Services), along with a fee, for approval. Then the updated paperwork is sent to Ethiopia.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise God that it took such a short time to be moved to "On Deck!" Three months from DTE (Date to Ethiopia) to being in the top 16 (that we know of) is really, really quick! Please pray that everything, and I emphasize EVERYTHING, would go smoothly and quickly with the paperwork update and that God would give us the grace to survive any challenges that may arise.

08/19/09 - Thoughts While Waiting

So as we move up the "waiting list" for our children (we began the wait with 11 families, that we knew of, in front of us - there are now 5, that we know of, ahead of us - things moving much faster than we'd thought and should slow down a bit as the Ethiopian courts close from end of August to beginning of October!!!), here's what goes through our, (but mostly Amy's,) minds: excitement, terror, joy, anticipation, all the fun stuff we'll get to register for (yes, I began a list!), how we'll need to kid proof the house and move all the fragile stuff off the living room shelves, what adorable outfits we'll have the kids change into before getting off the plane here in the US, packing up most of the toys in the playroom and introducing a few new toys at a time, deciding on a daily schedule routine (routine being important - EVERYTHING in their lives will have changed!), asking if the ABC quilts Amy will make for each child should be the same or different (we've decided different), developing a plan for when the "referral call" comes (if it comes when just one of us is home or when Amy is working and Mike is sleeping, there are actually quite a few possible scenarios!), making a list of all the people we'll want to tell about the referral call and coming up with the best plan (we're thinking phone trees because we are so blessed by the love of so many!), and planning a Referral Call Celebration - our house, the evening we get the call, champagne/sparkling grape fruit juice and plastic champagne glasses!!! Just a glimpse!

August Adoption Reading List (so far!)

Lots more interesting information!

Finished: Becoming a Family: Promoting Healthy Attachments with Your Adopted Child by Lark Eshleman - it was okay. I (Amy) had Mike read the middle chapters which talked about bringing children home and ways to foster attachment.

Finished: Love in the Driest Season: a Family Memoir by Neely Tucker. I actually listened to this on CD and finished it the day after a comment was posted about it on my July reading blog entry! It is a story about an America couple, living in Zimbabwe, who go through an incredible journey to adopt a baby in Zimbabwe. Amazing! And even on our worst adoption waiting day, I never had to crawl around on my hands and knees in an office looking for our lost file!!

Still Reading:Parenting Your Adopted Child by Andrew Adesman with Christine Adams. This has been GREAT! Lots of "common sense" information which helps me to not feel a bit more confident (yes, I do kind of know how to be a parent!). The book is divided into 4 parts: Basics of Common Sense Adoptive Parenting, As They Grow, Talking About Adoption, and Special Issues. I'm about half way through and wouldn't mind having a copy of this to keep in my library.

Still Reading: Parenting Your Adopted Older Child by Brenda McCreight. I'm actually reading chapters of this book aloud with Mike (I know, how cute!). This book covers all types of adoption, so we are just reading the ones that apply to international adoption. We like this book because the chapters end with several detailed ideas.

Now, lest you think that all I am reading is adoption books:
When I walk, I have been listening to:
3 Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger with Tony LaRussa (ultimately tells the story of a 3 game series between the Cubbies and Cardinals in August of 2003 - the year we were five outs away from he world series! Really gives you insight into the mind of baseball) but have but that aside to listen to, for the second time, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale. I couldn't remember if some events happened in book six and were just left out of the movie or if they happened in book seven - so far they've left a bunch of stuff out of the movie!

I'm also reading:
God Is in the Small Stuff : and It All Matters by Bruce & Stan - Encouraging, quick read that I would also like to add to my library and A Time for Freedom : What Happened When in America by Lynne Cheney - I love history and am loving this book! It is organized by dates, with a few paragraphs after each date, focusing on political happenings in the US. Having taught fifth grade for seven years in which social studies curriculum is all US History, I am familiar with everything I have read so far. But we only teach up to the Civil War in fifth grade, so I know I'll be learning some new things soon!

The Blue Crate Update

During our paper chase process, I posted about the blue crate, the place we kept and organized all out paperwork: http://godsplanaformikeandamy.blogspot.com/2009/03/31809-blue-crate.html
Since we have been DTE [Date to Ethiopia - the day all our paperwork, (except for the copy we kept and the copy America World, our international agency, kept) was sent to Ethiopia] the crate has found a new home - the floor of my closet. And as you can tell, I have been putting anything into the files but rather just setting it on top! Ahhhhh, not having to worry about paperwork!

More Presents from Friends

We were blessed with these cots from Amy's friend Sue to use when we go camping with our children! They're set up in the playroom in this picture, but I can't wait to take a picture of two beautiful sleeping babies on them!!

Our friend Karen gave us some extra teaching materials she had: a picture dictionary and picture flash cards. The book is awesome - lots of great, mulitcultrural pictures, a rhyme on each page, and everything is labeled. The flashcards have the same picture on each side, one labeld and pne not labeled.

We are so blessed!!