I woke up this morning with great expectations for the day. We would wait for the FedEx truck to come bearing our homestudy report. Then we would grab the rest of our paperwork, rush off to Becca's (who was also waiting for the FedEx truck to come so that she could send her dossier today, too) to make a few copies (picking up a $.99 latte from Dunkin Donuts for each of us on the way--wouldn't that make such a momentous occasion even sweeter?), and then we would all head to UPS to overnight our completed dossiers to AGCI.
Last night I had meticulously put together all of the four (an extra just to keep with me) copies of our paperwork for the dossier--application letters to Ethiopia, post-adoption commitment letters, birth certificates, our marriage license, letters of good conduct, proofs of employment, financial statements, letters of reference, doctors letters of good health, power of attorney forms, photos of us and our house--24 pages each. I just needed that homestudy report which is 13 pages of separate but similar information from more forms that tells the story of our family.
I stayed by the windows for a good chunk of the morning watching and listening for the truck--my camera ready to capture the moment. And then I thought, much like trying to watch a pot of water boil, it might happen if I started doing something else. So I folded and put away the laundry.
Hark! At 11 o'clock I saw the FedEx truck driving into our neighborhood. I yelled, "It's really here!" And then he pulled into our neighbor's driveway. Not to worry, though, surely we were next! And then...he drove away. Hmm...maybe there are more trucks that come?
At 11:45 I called FedEx to see if I had missed something. They checked and said that it had been delivered an hour earlier and was on my front porch. I walked outside. No, nothing.
Now, today, all of the weather reports had been calling for maybe, at the most, an inch of snow and then rain as the temperature climbed into the high 30's. That would be no problem for my traverse. By midmorning, however, they are now calling for 6-10" of snow (big difference).
So, while FedEx was trying to track down my missing (very valuable) package I started to look around at our neighbor's houses for it. First I checked the box that had been delivered earlier--maybe it was stuck to it? Nope. Trudging through the very steady snow I saw something resembling either a chunk of snow or a plastic bag a few doors down. Yay! It was indeed, my missing package--safely tucked into a snow-covered plastic bag. (I must have missed that truck when I was in my closet putting away the laundry.)
I quickly grabbed the kids and headed out to Becca's. The snow had really picked up and our road was covered. The first two stops were pretty slippery and the main road was not so good. It really didn't seem like such a great idea to try to go to Becca's house (on windy country roads). Ugh...with this newly expected snow, maybe tomorrow...?
Completely bummed, I called Becca to tell her we couldn't come. And then, so cool, she said that Eric (her husband) would love :) to come and pick them up so that they could go out today. Wow! How awesome is that?
Becca made my last copies (on her great copier) and then Eric sent them off! They should be at AGCI (in Oregon) tomorrow. Then after everything is reviewed and approved we will finally get our number on the waitlist!
Okay, so this day completely did not go how I had expected. No pictures of the FedEx truck--or tellling the driver how excited I was to be getting the package. No lattes. No taking the package to UPS for it's send-off together. :) But, it all turned out just great. :)
And how cool is it that I have such a close friend who I can walk through this process with? All because of different delays in each our processes, here, today, we got to send in our dossiers together. Pretty cool.
So love having someone to talk through the frustrations and dreams of this process. We are two separate families, with two unique stories, but we get to walk this journey together. Love it...
Thank you, Becca and Eric!
[P.S. FedEx was great about tracking down the missing package. The deliverer even came back through all of the snow just to make sure that I got it. :) ]
T turned 2 on Friday. A year ago last Wednesday I made the initial phone call to start our "official" adoption process.
A whole year. A whole year of decisions, conversations, dreams, frustrations, growth...
On February 17 (last year) I called an agency to find out more about countries open for adoption with our parameters.
Over the spring and summer we prayed about and researched countries and agencies.
On July 26 we decided that we would use AGCI to help us welcome our third child into our family from Ethiopia.
In early September our Application was approved.
On October 17 all of our AGCI and homestudy agency contracts were signed, notarized and sent.
We have spent the last several months taking classes and courses, going to numerous doctor appointments, getting multiple sets of fingerprints, filling out and sending a stack of forms--tracking them and waiting for them to come back, checking off checklists, learning about Ethiopia, having our hearts broken for orphans.
It took 5 tries, but we finally got our Letters of Good Conduct from our local sheriff. We waited for seven and a half weeks for FBI Clearances. It has been one very long (often frustrating) month of waiting for our homestudy to be written and approved.
Tomorrow we will be sending our completed Dossier to AGCI. Wow...
A few weeks ago Nana, Pop and Grammy came to visit. While they were here Grammy ironed all of J's wrinkled shirts and pants (there were a lot). :)
A few days later we were at the pediatrician. An ambulance was sitting outside and EMT's were unloading a stretcher out of the back (for a non-emergency). M said, "Look, mommy! Those guys are here to do the ironing." :)
The little guy turned 2 today! Yes, so amazing how fast it all goes by!
We celebrated 2 weeks ago with Nana, Pop and Grammy and then this week my parents, GrammyKathy and Grandpa came for more "cake and candles." So much fun to celebrate with family!
I grew up with 3 sisters and so it is fun to watch a little guy grow up. He is into all things "boy" these days. Snakes, trucks, tools and his little "guy" figures. He can spend a very long time just putting the guys in and out of a truck and making it go back and forth. He even gets down on his belly just to watch the wheels move. Firetrucks and trains are the most fun to him right now. Everything is a train. His stool. His bed. My bed. The two pretzels on the table that can be lined up to make a train. Two firetrucks can even make a firetruck train!
A Few Fun Facts about 2-year-old T:
Chows down on: "Donos" (donuts), pancakes, green beans, chicken nuggets
Reads over and over: Rain Stomper, Any book with firetrucks or trains
Sings to: Pat the Bible, Jesus Loves Me
Quenches his thirst with: Water
Can be found watching: Sesame Street, Thomas, Curious George, Boz and Mary Poppins (the things you do when you have a sister)
Likes to Say: "That's so funny."
Never Seen Without: Bear
Always needs: His pants pulled up and his sticky hands washed off
Really doesn't like: Shopping
Is an excellent: Napper
Love him so much--he is such a cool part of our family. Happy Birthday, Little Dude!
I've been spending the last few nights painting the basement steps. They used to be a nice gray but they were paint splattered and someone used them as a canvas for some creative coloring. :) So now they are black(ish) and white. Gotta say though, it's a bit tough to paint steps going into the basement--coming back up is quite hard. ;)
But anyway, while I'm painting I actually take the time to listen to some podcasts. Love Family Life Today. Francis Chan is on this week talking about his new book--"The Forgotten God." Really good stuff.
Then I listened to an episode with Dr. Dobson and his son Ryan talking about Ryan's adoption story. That one made me cry like the whole time. Very hard to paint trimwork with tears in your eyes. :)
And I also listened to coach Mark Richt and his wife share the story of their adoption of 2 children from the Ukraine. Love their story, too.
Glad that painting makes me slow down to have the time to be inspired. :)
So, the little dude has become quite the master of using boxes, stools and chairs for climbing. Last week he used the bathroom step-stool to climb into his top drawer (of a 3-drawer dresser) where I found him sitting in his sock bin. Yesterday he climbed up on a chair to use a butterknife to help himself to a piece of blueberry coffeecake. I'm never that far away when it happens. But he's little and he's sneaky. I usually think that he is in one place and then I hear (or don't hear--silence is never good) a suspicious noise.
Tonight I needed to vacuum the bedrooms. Knowing his propensity for getting into places he shouldn't be, I brought him upstairs with me and gave him an easy, yet novel, job refilling a bin (which I emptied a few times to keep him busy) in a place where I could easily see him. :)
I'm sure you can see where this is going...after stepping out of my bedroom for literally 2 minutes, this is where I found him...
He pulled the ottoman from the way opposite side of our bedroom into the bathroom. Then he (along with his trusty Bear) proceeded to brush his teeth with J's new toothbrush. Pretty icky for J considering that T has spent the last several weeks keeping tissue companies in business and more recently tossing his cookies. :)
Today was a Snow Day. We actually didn't get very much snow--but we all stayed in--even J worked from home.
We recently got our Compassion magazine and inside was a sample of their new magazine for kids. The issue was all about Africa! M loves learning about this stuff right now and the magazine had some fun ideas to try at home. So what better day than a Snow Day?
We started out by making paper magazine beads. M and T looked through some old magazines to find brightly colored-pages. T was amazingly good at this and quite proud to have found some very cool pages (he cracks me up!).
The finished product...
Then we started an experiment to learn how to make dirty water clean. We mixed a lot of salt and then some other spices and food coloring into some water and then set up the bowl below. So, I think this is supposed to work well in the heat of the sun, but, you know, it was a Snow Day, so no sun here. I just put it on the hot oven. It is a project in process--we would be very thirsty if we needed to do this to get clean water--we maybe have like one drop of condensation and it's been 12 hours. Makes me very thankful for faucets with lots of clean water (seriously).
And finally, we made Baked Bananas (the recipe is for plantains, but we didn't have any of those). :) I thought they were delicious! The kids not so much--they don't have very adventurous palates quite yet. But they did have fun painting the butter and brown sugar onto the bananas.
Fun stuff. Cool magazine. Next we'll be making the grocery bag balls. :)
Here is today's post from Drawn from Water (in Africa)--They had to wait 5 days for a car to become available:
"Sort of mixed news today… We were able to save one little two year old boy today named Labuko! And although we could not be more excited to be bringing him into the home we were very sad to learn that a few more did not make it. We were apparently a day late for at least two others, it was unclear if there were any more than two, but there are two we know of for sure who were killed. There are just not words to describe how sad this is.
Today however we are choosing to focus on the one that God has brought into our arms, we are thankful for this precious life, and are going to be just that much more determined to get out there faster next time.
Please pray for the families who lost children this past week. We were not able to find out exactly what happened but we know that there are some terribly sad families today, families who will never forget the children that they had to give up. Indescribable, the pain they must be feeling….
These are things I do not understand. It seems unfathomable that because they did not have a car (something I take way too for granted), two little lives are gone. So, I share this tonight. I can give a little. Together we can give a lot. With a car they can save a life. That little life will be the beginning of whole new generations. That's big stuff...
These days I love wearing anything that reminds me of little sister. Becca (my awesome friend who is also adopting from Ethiopia through AGCI) and I have seriously bought like every kind of product(RED) shirt that was on sale at GAP a few weeks ago. And Becca's amazingly creative friend made us some beautiful t-shirts (I'll have to post those later). We literally need to call each other before we go out to make sure that we're not wearing the same shirt! (Which would be totally okay--what a better way to start a conversation!)
But I have 2 favorites that I'm loving to wear. One is the necklace above. "Enat" is amharic (language of Ethiopia) for "mother." That one reminds me that while this process is long, it does have a sweet ending. :) It is from Next to My Heart on Etsy (www.nexttomyheart.etsy.com) and all of the proceeds go towards the seller's Ethiopian adoption.
And the other is the scarf below. I got it from the Hunger Site (www.thehungersite.com) for myself and all of my sisters for Christmas. It was made in Ethiopia and when I'm bundling up against this winter chill, it reminds me of little sister.
Can't wait until I have a little body to hold instead of these little reminders! :)
Okay, can I just say that I love "Coffee Wednesdays!" Every Wednesday morning after I drop M off at preschool, I meet up with two great friends at a small local coffee shop. I get a nice hot cup of coffee and a cookie or two for T (I know, really healthy, right? He definitely looks forward to his special treats!). I bring a bag of books and toys for T to play with and then we cozy down in chairs to just talk for about an hour. Love coffee shops. Love friends. Love "Coffee Wednesdays."
(Above are some of the remnants from today's escapades.)