Monday, July 30, 2007

An Artist's Rendering...



I couldn't handle not having him on our site in some way any longer. So, here he is!

Hard Day...

You know, it's funny. Adoption is a lot more like pregnancy than I expected. I was so excited not to have to deal with the hormones this time around, but no such luck... There just must be something about adding to your family that triggers these emotions. Some days are harder than others.

I should not complain too much - we have been so lucky and, for us, this process has been mostly ups! We were matched with our son much sooner than expected and we've already taken him into our hearts more deeply than I expected this soon. Sometimes I wonder, how can you love someone so much that you haven't even met? But I loved Grace and Ally before they were born, so I don't know why I would expect Abenezer to be any different.

Yesterday was a hard day for me though. I heard the great news about two families from our agency bringing home their beautiful children (to see a video about the Tweitmeyers, who added a lovely sibling group of 3 to their great family, click here). We also heard about a family that was just a few weeks ahead of us in the process whose court date is Wednesday and they plan to travel in September to get their son (he's only a little older than Abenezer). All such great news! We are so happy for them!

And yet, it was hard. I was so jealous for those families that had their babies home. And so frustrated that this family who was only 3 weeks ahead of us in getting their paperwork in would likely have their son home 3 months before we can. Who was I angry with? No one in particular. It's just how the cards fall. But it just makes me sad to know that Abenezer must wait that much longer...

Making it harder is the fact that I don't think Abenezer knows he has a family yet. We sent our welcome bag to our agency, but the bags can only be taken to Ethiopia when someone from our agency travels there. I think we happened to fall in a bit of a dry spell, or may have just missed a traveler or something... so we have no idea when it will go... But I'm just so anxious for him to know!

Sorry to be such a downer today. I guess it is good to share that this whole process isn't excitement and joy. And I knew that going in! I actually have expected there to be more "downs" and stress overall.

I just don't think you can ever truly prepare for the feeling when someone you love is literally a half a world away - and you can't do anything about it...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guess where our dossier is??? (finally!)



It's official! We got word yesterday that our dossier was mailed on Monday. Whoohoooooo! Took a little longer than I expected, but we are stuck with the rainy season closure either way. So, in the next few weeks it will be translated and finalized so it can be submitted to the Ethiopian courts in October. Hopefully we can get a court date in October or November (keep your figers crossed for the soonest!). We are getting a little worried now that it may take several tries to get through court, so the earlier we get in the better!

The Ethiopian courts are being very picky lately about the paperwork/evidence to prove the children are actually orphans. Overall I think this is GREAT - countries do need to step up and do what they can to protect their children for the atrocities that can accompany adoption.

Unfortunately, it is really tough on some kids, especially the older children that have been waiting for families for over a year. When they came into the orphanages, not as much paperwork was kept (the courts didn't require it at the time) so now there is much scrambling to fill in the gaps. We met a family this weekend at our a Michigan (midwest) Ethiopian adoptee get together (will post about that another time) that will be traveling in 2 weeks to pick up their son (age 11 or so) and it took them five tries to get through court! How emotionally draining! But congratulations to the Van Ee family and Dawit!

So please keep us and Abenezer in your thoughts and prayers that we can still get him home by Christmas (and maybe sooner!).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Welcome Bag is in the Mail!





We have finally finished Abenezer's welcome bag. Had to wait a bit for the t-shirt and photo album to come in the mail. But, we are very happy with the final result. He is getting two very cool Matchbox cars and a toy Raptor. We got this great little teddy bear from Mack (get it at Brookstone) that is the softest we have come across. Hopefully it will be of some comfort to him in the meantime.

His t-shirt says "Property of Grand Rapids, MI XXL" on it. Kinda cute. That was a tough decision for some reason. A lot of people send shirts with family photos on them, but we wanted all the kids to have the same shirts.

Of course we are sending a letter as well just telling him how excited we are and who lives in his house and what we will do for fun when he gets home.

The photobook was from Snapfish. It turned out really nice. Just a few pages. Everyone in the fam here has a page (including the pets). Then there is a photo of our house and the swingset.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fingerprints!!!



So yesterday was another big step in the process. Mark, Al and I trekked off to the Grand Rapids branch of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for fingerprints. It went fairly smoothly. So, once it is confirmed we are not convicted ax murderers, we hope that our 171h will be fairly soon forthcoming! That is the document USCIS sends that gives you permission to bring a foreign orphan into the U.S. Abi cannot get a visa without that document.

Oh, and for those of you who have not had their fingerprints taken lately (which I hope is most of our readers - less any of my law school friends since it was part of the fun preparing for the bar exam!) it is a fairly easy process. Everything is digital now so basically they just scan your hands. Pretty neat.

So please keep your fingers crossed that things keep moving smoothly! There was a brief point this week where we thought we had a chance of getting through the courts before they closed. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it. So, that puts us back to our original plan of getting through (HOPEFULLY) in early to mid-October and traveling in December (!?!?!). Please also pray the rainy season doesn't last extra long this year!!!

=) And thanks to everyone for your well-wishes. We are very excited and it has been great fun to share the process with so many supportive people.

Monday, July 9, 2007

BIG News!!!

Well, we haven't exactly been keeping up on here lately, but now is time for a little catch-up post! I guess we can go in chronological order?



Al was baptised on June 24th. She looked so cute wearing the little dress Gracie wore in the wedding. I thought she was going to have a fit since she was crying her eyes out in the church nursery. But she really kept it together and I think she enjoyed it! We were fortunate to have a great turn out of friends and family - thanks so much for coming! Mack wins the travel award though, since she came all the way from New York!

Friday, June 29th was a pretty big day ... WE FOUND OUT WHO OUR SON IS! Just one kiddo - but that's fine by us! We knew that things would work out as they should and we couldn't be happier! He is an adorable 3 year old little guy named Abenezer. We are going to keep his given name. We will probably call him Abe or Abi (ah-be). Our agency advised against us posting his picture online but most of you readers already got them via email (if you haven't seen one, just email me!). He is a CUTIE... one picture we got he was sporting some great curls! In another one he is wearing an adorable tiger costume!










Unfortunately, it is still likely to be awhile before we can get him home. We are likely to hit the court closure for the rainy season - yuck. That sets us back a few months. But, fingers crossed, we hope he will be home before Christmas! What a great gift!!! Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers!

And, last but not least, the news for our eldest child - Gracie sucked it up and got her ears pierced yesterday (her idea, not ours)! What a trooper. She was very brave. I must say, she cried more before they did it than after! (she's a worrier) She looks so grown up - hard to believe she's almost 6!!!



Yes, yes, lots of exclamation points in this post. ;P