Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
1. travel pillows
2. travel blankets
3. first aid kit
5. pens and pencils including Sharpies
6. toilet paper
7. paper towels
9. over-the-counter meds (15 different kinds)
10. prescription meds (8 different prescriptions)
11. peanut butter
13. Cliff Bars
14. hand sanitizing wipes
15. laundry soap sheets
16. flashlight with extra batteries (the power goes off a lot in Addis Ababa)
17. solar alarm clock (wouldn't want to over-sleep!)
18. travel garment steamer
19. travel hairdryer
20. Wet Ones (individually wrapped and in packs of 25)
22. sewing kit
23. electrolyte drink mix (gotta stay healthy and hydrated!)
24. instant coffee (for me the caffeine addict)
25. powdered creamer (coffee is just not coffee without cream)
27. scissors (with blunt edges of course)
28. Downey Wrinkle Releaser (double bagged with Ziplocs)
29. puzzle books (it's going to be a long plane ride)
30. clothes pins (you never know!)
31. extra rubber bands
32. Ziploc bags in 2 different sizes
33. individual Kleenex packets (public restrooms are rumored to be short on supplies)
I think that's all for the time being. I'm hoping that the above list can be useful to others who are going to be traveling, and I really welcome any suggestions for items that I may have forgotten. I haven't even begun to tackle packing the clothes, electronics, and paperwork that we need to bring over. Just think, on the next trip, I get to pack all this stuff plus the stuff for the babies as well as orphanage donations! Exciting times folks! Exciting times indeed!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I found this short video about the orphanage where Laurel and Willow are currently living for only a short time longer. For those of you out there in Blog Land who are going through this orphanage, I hope that seeing the pictures of where your children are or will be coming from brings you much peace as you can clearly see how clean and cheerful the environment is.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Going off on another tangent, I need to vent about FedEx. After spending over $4,000 on airline tickets and traveler's insurance, our travel agency sent the aforementioned items to us via Federal Express complete with a tracking number. After waiting a couple of days for our tickets to arrive, T checked the tracking number and discovered that they HAD arrived when in fact, they HAD NOT!!!!!! We checked the front porch and also asked L if she had seen them. Lo and behold, they were not on the porch and L had no idea what we were talking about. Well, where could they be? When I called FedEx's customer service number, they couldn't find them too! They were going to run a trace the following day as we were calling on a Sunday, and FedEx only operates Monday through Saturday. Our tickets were floating out there in FedEx land complete with personal and identifying information about me and my husband. Needless to say, we were not pleased. I decided to take matters into my own hands and proceeded to shake down my neighbors. My closest neighbors didn't have them, so I went around to the other side of my neighborhood to the person who lives in a house that shares our address but not our street name. He didn't have them either! I was starting to get that all-to-familiar nasty angry-panic-helpless feeling as I walked home. I looked up to the sky and said, "Lord? I really need those tickets! Would you mind helping out a neurotic woman when you have a chance? Thanks. . . I'd appreciate it." I rounded the corner and was passing by a house that is three doors up from us, and what do you know! Our tickets were sitting on their front porch! The FedEx guy left our very important package sitting on the porch of a foreclosed house with a lock box on the front door! Also, the address was different than ours! I raced home happily all the while thanking God. With much relief, I presented our airline tickets to my very happy husband who promptly called FedEx to lodge a complaint. Shesh! I am really ready to be finished with all of this adoption drama! On the positive side, I AM GOING TO MEET LAUREL AND WILLOW NEXT MONTH!!!!!!!! Hooray!!!! Yippee!!!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can hardly wait to hold them, rock them, play with them, cuddle them, and tell them how much I love them!!! Life is good!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
I have been asked to post pictures of our beautiful new daughters, but I am in the unfortunate position in which I can't! The Ethiopian government has mandated that adoptive parents who have been issued referrals cannot post pictures, names, or ANY identifying information over the Internet! This is because they highly value the privacy of their children, which is highly ethical in my opinion. One family who did not know about the mandate posted pictures of their referred child on the web and when the Ethiopian government found out about this, they subsequently revoked the family's referral, shredded their dossier documents, and barred them from ever adopting within Ethiopia! WOW!!!!! Is that hardcore or what?!? Needless to say, with those severe consequences, we will not be posting pictures or any identifying information. What I can say is that they are so very beautiful. They have the most amazing brown eyes that are full of life and energy. They are very healthy and are eating and sleeping well. Developmentally speaking, they are right on target. They like to giggle and smile at the orphanage nannies as well as sit up and push up on their hands and wrists. They are happy, lively, and thriving. I couldn't ask for more! We will be receiving more pictures at the end of the month, and Tony and I are so excited to see how our babies have grown and changed. As we progress through this new phase on our journey of international adoption, I will keep everyone posted.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Here is a slide show with images of the Afar people.They live in the northeastern part of Ethiopia. They are a nomadic people who live in dry, desert conditions.
These slides feature the Amhara people. They are the largest tribe in Ethiopia, and they live in the north central highlands of Ethiopia. They are primarily farmers.
The Mursi people live near the border of Sudan. These people are famous for their lip plates as you will see in the slides. They are nomads who survive through cattle herding.
The Borana Oromo people are a subgroup of the Oromo tribe which split into two halves. The Borana Oromo can be found in southern Ethiopia, and they are considered pastoralists.
The people of the Hamer tribe are located in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. They live a pastoral lifestyle, so cattle is very important to them.
These slides represent just a small sample of the numerous and diverse tribes found throughout Ethiopia. I am excited to share images such as these with my future daughters. Hopefully they will be proud to call these people their own; they are a part of their amazing heritage!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The 1st stage of waiting is, I believe, very similar to the 1st stage of grieving; shock and denial. You are shocked that all of the insanely complicated and sometimes almost impossibly unattainable paperwork is compiled, completed, notarized, apostilled, and shipped off to some foreign country you've never been to and cannot easily locate on a map. You may be in denial because you cannot believe that you were capable of finding and retrieving documents you didn't even know existed within our sometimes inefficient government bureaucracy.
The 2nd stage of waiting is different than the 2nd stage of grieving in that they are polar opposites; excitement and optimism as opposed to pain and guilt. You are over the moon with knowing that you have reached this important stage of the adoption journey. You are optimistic that the wait will go quickly. You say to yourself, "4 to 6 months is nothing! That's just a blink of an eye, the drop of a hat!" and other corny euphemisms. Excitement is flowing through your veins because you know that soon, very soon, you will see the faces of your new children.
The 3rd stage of waiting is discouragement and distraction. The excitement of stage 2 has worn off, and it seems that time. . . is. . . moving. . .very. . . slow. . .ly. . . !. . . !. . . ! You know that your referral will happen, but the months of waiting that are stretched out in front of you seem insurmountable. You try to keep busy, and there is a flurry of plans being made in order to distract yourself. This is all to no avail because that feeling of discouragement keeps seeping back into your consciousness and even into your subconsciousness because strange dreams begin to make appearances when you sleep.
The 4th stage of waiting is similar to the 4th stage of grieving in that you begin to experience feelings of depression (not clinical mind you) and fear. You start to think that your referral call will never come and that maybe there is something wrong with your dossier paperwork. Intense and irrational fear ensues along with random tears. Thoughts such as these start swirling around in your head: "The orphanage lost my paperwork!", "Maybe my desired criteria regarding age and sex of children are too narrow!", and my personal favorite, "Perhaps they just don't like me!". At this stage, you assign a special ring tone on your cell phone to coincide with your agency's phone number.
The 5th stage of waiting is numbness. You don't feel anything when you think about the referral, adoption, traveling, the whole thing. You just stop feeling anything at all and try to get on with your life. You begin putting up a wall between yourself and the adoption. You don't keep contemplating paint colors for the nursery, and you stop looking at the stuff in the baby section of Target. Guarding your heart is common during this stage.
The 6th stage of waiting is reconciliation. You begin to realize that your referral will come in due time; that there is a divine plan of events already set in motion in order to bring together a bunch of people who are destined to be a part of each others' lives forever. You still are guarding your heart, but there is a faint glimmer of hope and excitement present once again.
The 7th stage of waiting is complete and utter bliss! You finally, FINALLY receive THE CALL from your agency!!!!! You gaze upon pictures of your new children with the realization that you have become a parent once more. The discouragement, fear, and numbness dissolve into the background, and you begin to understand that all of your hard work and waiting has paid off. Now you have something tangible, SOMEONE in fact, to cling to and to persevere for as opposed to some abstract child who is out there somewhere in the great nebulous mass of humanity. This feeling of bliss and parental instinct will keep you going as you move through the 7 Stages of Waiting for Your Adoption to be Finalized! I'm just kidding. . . sort of!
Friday, April 9, 2010
The cost, thus far, to bring home 2 baby girls from Ethiopia is. . .
1. Homestudy fingerprint fee for Tony and I: $212.00
2. Application fee for Dove Adoptions: $100.00
3. First installment of homestudy fee: $1000.00
4. Second installment of homestudy fee: $1,048.00
5. First installment to Dove Adoptions: $3,000.00
6. Second installment to Dove Adoptions: $6,000.00
7. Third installment to Dove Adoptions: $9,100.00
8. I-600A petition to classify foreign orphan as an immediate family member: $650.00
9. Department of Homeland Security fingerprint fee for Tony and I: $160.00
10. State of Colorado background checks for Tony and I: $60.00
11. City of LQ background checks for Tony and I: $68.00
12. Certified copies of birth certificates for all family members: $219.00
13. Passports: $300.00
14. Passport photos: $10.85
15. Adoption physicals (not covered by our medical insurance!): $246.00
16. Adoption education classes as required by our agencies: $400.00
17. Notary fees: $366.00
18. Apostille fees: $40.00
19. Dossier photos: $24.16
20. Photocopies: $5.77
21. Postage: 21.90
And the grand total so far is. . .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: $23,031.68
All in all, the Ethiopian adoption costs are far below the fees for other countries who have international adoption programs. In Russia, for example, the cost is over $50,000 when you factor in travel and lodging fees. We are anticipating spending around $12,000 for air fare and lodging fees which is not bad in the grand scheme of things, especially now that we need to take two trips to Ethiopia! We will also need to get travel vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A and B (we are still considering getting the Rabies vaccinations as recommended by our adoption agency and the Center for Disease Control) as well as medications for Malaria and Cipro tablets for extreme traveler's diarrhea which should cost us $2,500 because our insurance will not cover these things. We also need to purchase medical evacuation insurance which should be a few hundred dollars as well as rent an international cell phone. I did not count the $12.00 we paid for the yummy cookies we bought at Panera to feed to our social worker during our home visits, but I will factor in around $1000.00 for spending money when we travel because we want to purchase Ethiopian items to give to our daughters on their birthdays and other special occasions. I find that when I see money flying out of our bank account at an alarmingly fast rate, I shrug my shoulders and say "It's only money!". Really, it is only money! We have good food to eat, a comfortable home, adequate clothing, and a machine that makes great coffee. What more do we really need? Yes it's a bit tight right now financially speaking, but I know deep down that we are doing what we were always meant to do which is open our home and family to two little souls who need us (we need them too, by the way). People are what matter, not new cars, fancy appliances, huge houses, and other material trappings. Tony and I willingly and gladly shell out obscene amounts of money for a cause that is priceless; building our family and welcoming more children into our home!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Did you know that Ethiopia. . .
Follows the Julian calendar, which comprises twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (or six days in a leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar with Christmas being celebrated on January 7 and New Year on September 11?
Does not adjust for Daylight Savings?
Has an official language called Amharic?
Is the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant?
Was the birth place of the Queen of Sheba?
Was never colonized or conquered except once by the Italians?
Is the source of the Nile River?
Is home to "Lucy" the skeleton of the oldest human being?
Is home to the Mursi tribe, one of the fiercest in Africa, famous for the women wearing lip-plates? They used the lip-plates to protect themselves from slave-traders and began the practice in order to appear less attractive to those who might capture and sell them.
Is a land of lush green pastures and meadows, thick forests, and plentiful lakes?
As you can see, Ethiopia is a fascinating country full if interesting places, people, and traditions. One good thing that I can see coming out of us taking two trips there is that Tony and I will get to spend more time exploring this unique country!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Did you know that in Ethiopia. . .
5 million children are orphaned, and over 1 million children are orphaned by AIDS?
1 out of every 7.7 children dies before the age of 1?
There are 3 doctors for every 100,000 people?
Fewer than 1 out of 4 Ethiopians have access to clean drinking water?
The average life expectancy is around 49 years of age?
Over 78% of the population lives on under $2.00 per day?
1 out of every 6 children dies before their 5th birthday?
These startling statistics are sometimes difficult to wrap my head around, but I believe that it is important to remind myself that I am in the very fortunate minority of the world's population because I have access to unparalleled wealth, opportunity, and standards of living. Sometimes I find myself struggling with feelings of guilt for what was a happy accident of birth, and sometimes I believe that I was born where I was because I am meant to learn to become a more selfless human being. The discrepancy between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is wide in this world, and so often I see people living their lives unaware of this concept. My future daughters are about to be endowed with the same privileges that I enjoy on a daily basis, but I constantly question what will become of the children who are left behind. International adoption only saves a few thousand Ethiopian orphans annually; what about the few MILLION who do not get adopted? Personally, the call to assist the Ethiopian population will not end when we bring Laurel and Willow home; their adoption will mark the beginning of a lifetime of joyful giving to the people of my daughters' country of birth!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Legacy of an Adopted Child. . .
Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
Two different lives shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first one gave you a need for love; the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent; the other gave you aim.
One gave you emotion; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.
One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child, and her hope was not denied.
And now you ask me through your tears
the age-old question unanswered through the years.
Heredity or environment, which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling, neither,
Just two different kinds of love!
One of my biggest fears is that the program will shut down. This has happened with numerous international adoption programs in the past such as with Romania, Vietnam, Russia, China, and Guatemala among others, and the shut down of a program can happen at any time for a number of very small and/or very strange reasons. That is one of the reasons Tony and I chose Ethiopia. It was said to be a stable and growing program. I guess that it is still a growing program with growing pains! Anyway, we are expecting our referral for two baby girls between the ages of 0 to 3 months sometime between the dates of March 24th and May 24th. We are almost there! Laurel and Willow are out there somewhere, and I really miss them and want them in my arms. I sometimes wonder how I can miss someone so much whom I haven't even have yet to meet. I suppose that would be one of the mysteries of being human. I ask you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts for our family and that you include a prayer for clarity and ease for the Ethiopian court officials. There are over 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone, and a moratorium on Ethiopia's international adoption program would spell doom for thousands of children who could have had a chance to live by being adopted into loving homes.