Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Adoption

Here is the story of Josiah's adoption.  It is long overdue.  Back when we were in the process I decided to begin a new blog to document the story and then I was going to continue that blog when we got home and began our new family life.  Well, blogging has been difficult this past year.  So what follows is what happened with the adoption.  In the future we will post some stories about the actual trip to Ethiopia to bring Josiah home.

FYI - the other blog was called "2 More Makes Perfect," which will make one of the following entries make more sense.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The beginning...sort of

So it is now October and Christian and I have been working on our adoption for almost a year. We have made mention of it on our other blog but not much. We both know we should keep track of things. The boys may have questions about what it was like. Or the girls, for that matter. They are only 4 and 1 now, so it's not like they'll remember much about all this.

We decided to start looking at adoption soon after Amelia was born. I had a very hard pregnancy and everyone agreed that I should NEVER do that again. But we wanted a bigger family so adoption was the way to do that. We had already gone down the adoption path a little ways before Elizabeth was born so we had some idea what it was like. We were comfortable and open to it. We had previously picked South Korea as our country but that was years ago. Now we started looking at our options again and Korea didn't seem like the best choice. The kids who are available for adoption get "snatched up" very quickly. Many agencies have a waiting list just to apply. We knew we wanted to go somewhere that was truly in need of adoptive families.

Ethiopia came up as an option. It was a newer program at Holt International so they needed families to apply. The wait time promised to be shorter than some places. The fees were somewhat less than other countries. And we knew there were children in need there. Especially boys. And we really wanted boys. Like I keep saying, we need a little less drama around here! Kinda funny to say we need less drama but we are trying to add more chaos.

What the process is like...

We knew there would be a lot of paperwork. It is a lot but when you think about the fact that someone is entrusting a child to you (FOR LIFE!) then it doesn't seem like enough paperwork. The biggest thing is getting everything notarized and then some things need to be certified. That means we take them to the county and then to the state so they can certify that the notary really is legit and licensed and all of that. Kinda strange, but o.k.

The other thing, of course, is the homestudy. We didn't know what to expect with that. We have 2 kids already so our house is pretty kid-friendly and we know how to take care of kids, basically. We figured the house would pass inspection no problem. Fire extinguisher in the kitchen, smoke detectors, plugs in the outlets. The questioning by the social worker took place at her office and in our house. We had one joint interview and then separate interviews at her office. Next she came to the house and we talked some more. She met the girls, also. They were their usual adorable selves. It was all pretty laid back.

So where we stand now is the homestudy is being sent to Holt. We may be matched up soon. A referral is what they call it. We want a sibling group of 2 boys so it may take a little longer than if we were open to anything. We need to get the dossier papers notarized but they are all collected and waiting to go. We are waiting for our passports in the mail. I finally sent in the i600 which is needed for imigration but we are still waiting to hear from them about coming in for fingerprints.

How do we feel? Excited, happy, scared, worried. I think everything we felt before we had Elizabeth. I wasn't scared or worried when we had Amelia since we had been through it before. But this is all a new experience so scared and worried comes back. We do pray every night about the adoption and we know that God's will will be done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We might need a name change

Jennifer from Holt called last week to give us an update on what is going on.   They had received our homestudy and wanted to know if we wanted to be matched with a child right away.  Christian was on his way out the door so I said no we would wait until we got the dossier done.  Not a huge wait because it's almost done now.  We got all the paperwork notarized last week.  Two things need to be certified and the first step of that process was done by Christian today.  He had to take them to the counties and get the stamp and signature of the clerk of courts.  The next step is taking them to the Secretary of State and getting it certified.  I think that will be done next Monday so then we'll mail the dossier in next week!

The name change is because Jennifer told me they don't have a sibling group at this time that matches our request.  They are asking us to take a single boy at this time.  We are fine with that.  Two would have been difficult to handle, anyway.  So now maybe I'll rename the blog.  Don't know what yet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Still doing paperwork

We have all our copies done.  I'm waiting to hear from Holt about what does or doesn't need to be stapled together.  Staples are the hold up.  Silly.  But we want to get it right so we don't have any problems.  If I hear from her today I should be able to get the papers Fedexed tomorrow.  I don't know how soon we'll get the referral but my guess would be in a week or two.  Of course, with Thanksgiving next week it might be a little slower.  It would be great if we had something a little more specific to be thankful for on that day.

My last post was about the name of the blog but I guess I should make it official on here what we are planning to name our son.  I gave up and am letting Christian choose the name.  Josiah.  That's the name he has wanted since I was pregnant with Elizabeth.  It's a good name so I'll let him use it.  Of course, if our son is older there is a possibility we will decide to keep his Ethiopian name.  I guess we'll find out soon!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We heard from Holt

So on Thursday night I got a phone call.  I knew it was Holt from the caller ID.  I thought they might be calling for an update about our paperwork.  They've done that a few times.  So I answered the phone ready to tell them that I had just gone to FedEx that morning and put the dossier into the mail.

I was a little surprised when Stephanie told me that they had a referral for us.  This was so surprising that I probably didn't react like other people do.  I think I said "oh, o.k." and that was about it.  As the conversation went on I think I reacted a little better but I'm sure she probably wondered what was going on with me.  Actually, what was going on was I was trying to figure out how they had gotten the paperwork that I had just sent from Blue Ash that morning.  It was going by ground to Eugene, OR.   I was a little confused.  But it turns out they just had a referral that matched well with us and wanted to get us the information.

His name is Tamrat (it means miracle).  His birthday is May 12, 2009.  So he's about 6 months old.  He is cute as can be.  His medical records, from what we can tell, indicate he's healthy.  His birth mother brought him in about a month and half ago.  She was by herself and unable to take care of him.  Because he's so young we think we will change his name to Josiah.

We haven't accepted the referral yet.  We took the paperwork to our doctor on Friday and we are waiting to hear back from him.  We don't see any problems ourselves so we should be able to accept and make it official in the next day or two.  We haven't told Elizabeth yet since it's not official.  I can't wait to show him to the girls.  I hope the doctor calls in the morning.


We have accepted the referral

Christian and I accepted the referral of Tamrat Mirkeno (or Tamirat, depending on which paperwork you look at).  I emailed Holt on Monday morning, right after the doctor FINALLY called.  They Fedexed the paperwork to us and I just opened it up now.  All we have to do is sign it and send it back and the whole process in Ethiopia begins.  Holt got our dossier on Monday but I haven't heard from them yet.  I hope we did that right and there are no problems with it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our dossier is good to go

I heard back from Holt and our dossier is complete.  The next step is to send it to the US State Department and the Ethiopian Embassy.  Then it will be sent on to Ethiopia and we will wait to hear about a court date.  We don't go for the court date itself.  That is handled by representatives.  That accounts for the short travel time for Ethiopian adoptions.  I know in other countries you have to go to court, maybe even a couple times and that causes the travel to be weeks, even months long.  Luckily that's not the case here.

We've been looking at packing lists that other parents have put on some of the web forums.  They are very helpful but sometimes very silly.  I'm not going to be packing my curling iron for the trip : )  However, it was good to know that we would need an alarm clock, flashlight, and garbage bags.  The alarm clock is for waking up at the correct time because even though the hotel has wake-up calls they can happen 30 minutes after the requested time.  The flashlight is because the power sometimes goes off and you can't see in the middle of the night.  And the garbage bags...well, the person said they would be needed for dirty diapers.  I'm not sure what the hotel does with the other trash and why we need to bring our own bags but we'll bring them just to be prepared!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everyone is happy for us

We have been showing the picture we have to everyone and they are very happy for us.  Everyone thinks Josiah is very cute.  I wish we had more pictures and another update but that won't happen too soon.  I've been working on an album to send over to him.  They will show him the album so he will know what we all look like before we come to get him.  It's a nice idea, but at his age I don't know how much it will matter.  We'll see how he reacts when we get there.  Maybe we'll seem familiar to him.

Elizabeth took Josiah's picture in for show-and-tell today.  She had to bring something starting with the letter J.  Good thing we are naming him Josiah.  I gave her teacher a note in the morning with an explanation of the picture.  Elizabeth is really good at explaining who Josiah is and where he is coming from and all of that.  But sometimes she doesn't actually speak at school.  I think it went o.k. though.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Things are still moving along

We got an email on December 21st that our dossier had been received in Ethiopia!  That was exciting until we looked at the probable wait time for travel.  We are looking at May or June, most likely.  It seems like a long time but will probably come sooner than I expect.  I have a lot to gather for the trip and this is the worst time for me to do it.  I hate the cold weather and dragging the girls around for errands.  What I really need to do is make a weekly plan for things to get so I can be more organized and not keep running around so much.  We'll see.

We were able to show Josiah's picture to everyone at Christmas.  Most of our family members in Cincy and Cleveland have now seen him and know about the adoption.  It was a fun thing to share at the Christmas parties.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We passed court!

We had a court date scheduled for February 8th and we learned on the 10th that we passed court.  That means Josiah is ours as soon as we can get over there.  We are now waiting to hear when our travel dates will be.  Holt gets two dates a month at the embassy.  They send 8-10 families over in a group for each court date.  We may find out this week when we will travel.  Part of me wants to go on the very next date but that would only be a couple weeks away so another part of me is terrified and doesn't think we can be ready by then.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.

We also found out that Josiah was transferred to the main care center in Addis.  He had been at Durame in the south where his birthmother had brought him in.  We keep hoping for another health update and possibly a picture but no luck yet.  I certainly hope to get one before we leave so I know what size he is!

We are trying to figure out what kind of donations to bring with us, as well.  There was a recent update on the Yahoo message board from someone who just got back.  That was helpful so we know what they really need.  We don't want to take things that aren't useful.

It's going to be very busy around here for the next few weeks!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our papers are at the embassy

I just heard from Stephanie today that our paperwork is at the U.S. embassy in Addis.  That means we are just waiting for travel dates!

That was good news because Friday of last week I was a little nuts about things.  Christian had emailed to ask if they had any idea of when we would travel.  Stephanie emailed back that it would depend on when we got our I171-H, which is our approval from immigration for the adoption.  I was a little upset about this because the day before I had emailed that exact approval to Jennifer at Holt.  I know, no big deal.  Jennifer simply hadn't let Stephanie know that she had the approval.  But when I emailed Stephanie back to tell her this it was late in the day so she didn't get back to me until Monday.  So, I spent the entire weekend worried about it and upset that somehow something got screwed up.  And I was mad at myself because I had gotten that approval weeks ago but didn't send it to Holt because I didn't realized it was something they needed.  Of course, everything was fine and like I said in the title, our papers are in Addis with our son, waiting to be brought home.

I've actually been remarkably calm about this whole process so I guess it's o.k. to get a little freaked for a couple days.  Everything has gone so quickly and without any snags.  I know other people have a harder time with their adoptions but we have been very blessed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ethiopia, Here We Come

No postings for a little while but not because of no news.  Just busy.

First, busy obsessing on the Ethiopia group I'm on.  People were posting all sorts of things about no travel dates in March and the embassy changing the dates for Holt and everyone was upset that no one had been notified of anything.  Really a general panic for all the adoptive parents waiting.

Well, it turns out it was panic for no reason.  We got an email on the 23rd that we will be traveling in March to pick up Josiah.  Yippee!  We (meaning mostly me) were so bummed by all the info on the group.  I really wasn't expecting the email.

Now we are in packing (and panicking mode).  I just realized tonight that I should probably get a temporary guardianship form filled out and notarized for Elizabeth and Amelia.  Not too smart to go halfway around the world and not have my parents able to take them to the doctor if they need to.  I hope I don't forget any other important things.

We also got updated measurements for Josiah.  He is about 29 inches and 20 lbs.  I'm looking into baby slings right now.  Thought those might be nice for the travel home and bonding afterward.

Elizabeth is excited about seeing Josiah soon but she's also a little scared and sad that we'll be leaving.  I hope she has so much fun with Mammaw and Papppaw that she hardly notices.  I know saying goodbye to the girls is going to be very hard on all of us.  I hope the time away goes quickly for everyone.

We leave for Ethiopia on the 17th!

One week to go

I thought the time would go quickly but it seems to be dragging at this point.  I don't feel too worried about the trip (yet!)  I'm sure the day before we leave I'll be worrying about everything.  We still never got another photo of Josiah.  That's been disappointing for me.  We did get another health update.  Actually, two.  One just gave some progress/milestone information.  He is doing some "baby talk" now and it says he responds to objects and his name.  Happy about all that, except maybe the name thing since we will be changing it.  The other report was more of a medical one.  Everything seems to be in normal ranges (blood counts and all that).  He did have malaria at the end of last year and was treated for it.  They say he's doing fine now.  Hearing that makes me glad we opted for taking our malaria meds.  I know some people on the message boards are not taking or did not take theirs for traveling.  That just seems like a risk not worth taking.

Gotta finish packing in the next couple of days.  Also waiting on some donations from our church family so we can finish packing those.  Not much else to report.  Just waiting...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Post # 1,000

I think this is the thousandth post on this blog. I should win a Butterburger or something.