Sunday, December 30, 2007

An Alternate Universe

In an alternate universe, we are on a plane right now. Probably just leaving the runway in Dulles Airport. Headed to Ethiopia.

But that alternate universe required that we pass court on Nov 30th. And we didn't.

And we still don't know what happened at court last week. We just don't know anything. And it sucks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Joys of a Christmas Spent at Home

In no particular order...

(1) Letting your kids plow through their gifts at their leisure - no need to hurry them up to get on the road.

(2) Getting to wear your jammies ALL day.

(3) Having an excuse to cook your first turkey with your husband (and sans meat thermometer - oops!)

(4) Not having to worry about icy roads, time tables, or clean clothing (or a clean house!)

(5) Not having to answer any questions about when the Abi and Hana will actually come home... and not having to hide the tears because they aren't here yet...

Merry Christmas!

Miss Ally dressed all fancy for the party at the grandparent's this weekend:
Miss Ally showing off her scary face to mommy:

Gracie showing off exactly what she asked for from Santa (although I think she was a little disappointed with the actual gadget)

Ally watching a master-unwrapper at work

Oooooh tickle me Elmo was a hit

Curious kitty!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Birthday Boy!

Christmas time brings other fun in our house - Mark's birthday falls on Christmas Eve!

This year, we didn't do our normal round of parties and driving all across the state. We. Stayed. Home. And it was wonderful!

Yesterday, we woke up at our leisure. Ally slept in. Grace has slept at a friend's down the street. We had a nice breakfast and decided to go to the Gardens in town to view the Christmas exhibit. We picked up Grace and her friend and took off. It was very pretty. They have Xmas trees decorated from many countries. My favorite was Mexico. Grace and her friend liked the one from Greece. All the kids loved the great train that runs through the gardens.

Then we came home and got Ally to take a nap. Grace vegged out for a bit and so did we. Then we got the kids up and ready and headed to church for a lovely service. This was our first Xmas attending a service at our church (and my first not going to a Catholic service). It was really nice. We all enjoyed ourselves.

Then home for pizza and cake! Ally was a HUGE fan of the cake. As you can see, she kept checking her belly to make sure she didn't drop any. And she kept doing the sign for "more"! She was a little ticked it didn't work this time. How much cake does a 15 month old need though really? ;)

Then it was bathes for the kids, off to bed. We stayed up and watched the 2nd Lord of the Rings while wrapping like crazy (okay, I wrapped, he vegged - only fair right?). All in all, a great day. And the first birthday Mark has EVER been able to spend just together with the family - no Christmas parties! I think that alone meant a lot. I was hoping for a special birthday present for him/us, but no such luck.I hope he had a great day. He deserves it more than anyone I know. He's an amazing husband, wonderful dad, and my best friend. I don't know what any of us would do without him. I am more in love with him each and every day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

No Christmas Miracle This Year

We were hoping for a miracle today. We were hoping someone from our agency would be able to get the missing letter from MOLSA.

I guess it could've happened. But I doubt it. Either way, we didn't hear a word. Nothing positive, nothing negative. Our agency rep in ET never called the US. So we waited ... but nothing.

It was a hard day. I had NO idea how hard it would be to be apart from the kids during the holidays. Oh, you can 'imagine' and know that it would suck. But the actual feeling is so much worse. I assumed that it would've been easier if we 'knew' the kids were ours and when we could get them. And it probably would help.

Right now, we can't think of anything but them. Tonight in church, I just got really emotional. I started crying at the end and it was hard to hold it together. I hate that I'm distracted and not much fun this year. The girls are so excited, especially Grace. But the holiday just doesn't have the same spark this year.

Grace didn't want to sleep alone tonight. She's sleeping in Abi's bed in he and Ally's room. And it just makes me mad. He's supposed to be there. Hana is supposed to be keeping Grace company. This wasn't supposed to be this way. When we accepted Abi's referral over six months ago, I never dreamed that he wouldn't be home by Christmas - let alone that we wouldn't even know when we'd be traveling. It isn't fair. It just isn't fair.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Strike Two

Today was NOT our lucky day, unfortunately. It sounds like our file itself is in order. However, MOLSA (and don't ask me to remember what that stands for), which is an ET gov't agency, has to put approval letters in our file. We needed a new letter because of the error last time. Even with three full weeks, the letter didn't get done.

So its a no go.

Someone from our agency (in ET) will go to the MOLSA office on Monday and try and take care of it. In theory, if he is successful we will "pass" as soon as we have the approval letter and we could possibly still go in mid-Jan. But that would be a long shot. HOPEFULLY we'll get it and won't need another court date and will travel only 1-2 weeks later than planned. But who knows at this point.

I can't get my hopes up any more. I just can't. It hurts too much.

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere...

It's just a few minutes after 9 a.m. here - which puts it just pass 5 p.m. in Ethiopia. So as business winds to a close thousands of miles away I wonder ... are they ours yet? Or is the time not right?

I can't dare to hope for good news. But I can't bring myself to prepare for the worst either. So, I sit in limbo, staring at work that should've been done yesterday.

And I wait.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

T Minus One Day - Part Deux

So, as you may recall, we've been here before. And I DON'T want to be here again. But here I sit, at work. Not working (as you may have noticed), but rather thinking of tomorrow/tonight. Thinking that in less than twenty-four hours (HOPEFULLY) we will know if we are legally the parents of Hana and Abenezer. Or, finding out that we aren't quite there yet and preparing for that disappointment.

I tried not to get worked up again this time - tried not to get my hopes up. but you know, that doesn't work so well for me. It's almost Christmas. I have to believe we're going to get our Christmas miracle. We didn't ask for anything else this year. Mark and I aren't even getting each other any gifts. Only one thing on our list.

If our wish comes true - mass chaos begins. If it doesn't ... well, let's just say that I'll probably leave work in tears. Let's be honest here. But I HAVE to believe they are mine. I just have to.

We've known about our son for over seven months. That is a long time to know something like that and not have him be ours yet. We've known for quite awhile about Hana too - although it took us a little longer to realize we were in it for both of them! Regardless, they are both firmly implanted in our hearts... we just need a judge to sign that dotted line.

It's going to happen - right? Right?

I wish Santa could bypass the space-time continuum. That would be handy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Quiet on the Western Front

Yes, I'm still unreasonably quiet. That is really the compilation of many factors, not the least which has been a busy work schedule and lack of sleep from a teething little screamer.

But three more days. Just three.

And then [HOPEFULLY] I will [legally] be the mother of 4. Crazy.

We are feeling positive at this time. We have some flights reserved. No firm accommodations plans. But lots of discussion, rate-checking, etc. Assuming a successful court date, we'll have an embassy date in mid-January. So, we are planing on that. Which means we'd be leaving in less than a month - yikes and yay! Still so much to do!

Please keep your fingers crossed that Friday is successful. I have never wanted anything more for Christmas...
Oh, and I couldn't resist the "lawyer humor" =)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shower of Love

I haven't had time to type a post to do this weekend justice. But rather than ignore it completely I'll throw in a few details!

This weekend my best friend from college and my sister threw us an adoption shower at our house. It was so much fun! We had a very nice turn out with a random crowd - some of Mark's friends from high school, some of mine from college and law school, some family and even our neighbor! We had so much great food, including some yummy take out from a local Ethiopian place. I'm embarrassed to admit, but this was our first time trying ET food! I don't even know the names of everything we had (Mark ordered and then couldn't remember either...) but it was all very tasty, especially the beef tibs. This was my second time trying the injera and I actually liked it this time with the food (not so tasty by itself...). Overall, the ET food was a decent hit at the party too, even among some of the pickier eaters. It is nice to know that we have several options for it so close. I'm sure the kids will appreciate that once in awhile when we get them home!

Everyone in attendance was also EXTREMELY generous with gifts! I was so appreciative just of the support alone, but to get the piles of presents was too much! Everything from sheets to scooters to play ground balls to savings bonds. Our kids are all so loved. That was an amazing gift in and of itself.

I do have photos from the party that aren't uploaded yet. I'll have to add those soon. It was a long, but wonderful day. Thank you so much to everyone that was a part of it.

My Baby is a ... Toddler!

I'm a bad blogger. The year is coming to a close. Our 2nd court date draws near(er). And work is insane. So, blog-world gets neglected. But I'm back for a [relatively] short update on our happenings!


Per true kid form, she refuses to actually walk on camera. So no video footage to prove it. But Ally took her first steps on Thursday. She sort of accidentally took one that afternoon and then promptly fell on her bottom. But, I think she was saving it for me! I had to work late, but while we were all hanging out in her room before bedtime, she took about 5 steps in a row at Mark to get her new favorite toy! I was so glad to be home for it!

She's growing up SO fast. And this weekend, she just started spouting off all kinds of words. I have been trying to determine how much was on purpose and how much was on accident. but she seriously said, more than once "mama" (I've been waiting for this one!), "strawberry" (seriously - we have several witnesses) "Ally play" (all together, while holding up a toy), among others. It's been crazy.

AND last night she did her first sign that i'm sure was intentional (the sign for more). It was so cool! It's been really fun to watch and to watch Grace be excited for Ally. I dont' remember all of this with Grace. How quickly we forget the little stuff...

It's been so fun watching her grow. And watching Grace grow as a big sister. They are really starting to play together now. I can't wait to have all 4 kids home and geling as a family!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finding Peace

It is interesting... this adoption journey has taught me a lot about myself. I think that pregnancy could (in theory - and maybe for some) have a similar effect. However, I was so crazy hormonal with my girls that I didn't care much about self introspection and personal growth (other than growth of my midsection)!

But I can honestly say that this stressful, joyful, horribly painful, frustrating, exciting, emotional roller-coaster of a journey has made me look at myself and what I want for Mark and I and our family.

Turns out I don't have much patience. I know, this is a total shock to most of you.

I'm hot headed. Quick to anger when I want to protect my family. Easily hurt when it comes to my children. I am much more of a softee than I ever claimed to be in the past. I cry easily these days. The mere thought of my kids that I have yet to meet can make me randomly catch my breath in the middle of a meeting.

I have grown so much as a parent, although still much MUCH growing left to do!

What a revelation. Scary thing really.

Yesterday I spoke with someone at our agency. I won't go into the details, but she explained to me in more detail what had happened with our case. And, she basically admitted that it WAS preventable and should've been caught. To be perfectly honest, I was taken aback by this. And then I just let go of a lot of the anger and emotion that had been bottled up since Saturday (well, Friday really). How many times have I screwed up something at work? No one is perfect. Owning up to a mistake is a big deal - especially with a potentially emotional parent on the phone (although I was very polite and NOT emotional). It was like a weight had been lifted.

Although the error is easily correctable and it appears our file is in order other than that, there are no guaranties we'll pass with flying colors next time. Once we go before the court again on the 21st, someone else could review our file and find something else they want. But this was good to know - I need to still remain cautious. But I feel very hopeful.

Abi and Hana are my children. Maybe not legally yet. but they will be eventually. And at that point all of this frustration will melt away. And that first real hug will make it all worthwhile.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Every Emotion Under the Sun

It has been a rough couple of days.

To be perfectly honest, I did not realize how much I was banking on passing our first court date. At some point in the last 2 weeks my mind set completely changed and I had gotten very set on traveling at the end of December. That was a mistake. In international adoption, so much is left to chance, so many things can go wrong to delay your progress. And we know once we decided to adopt Hana that we were doubling the possibility of failure.

Once we heard on Saturday that we didn't pass, I had a good cry. A seriously hard cry. I think I had so much pent up inside just waiting for news that when it came back negative it just had to come out. Next, I became very angry. As it was described to us, the error that caused us not to pass seemed very preventable. In all fairness, I have not yet been able to talk to my agency to confirm this. I have since calmed down quite a bit. Although I'd like to have a better handle on what happened, what didn't, what needs to be fixed, etc - well, it is what it is. We didn't pass, and in 3 weeks (2 weeks and 4 days!) we have another chance. In the grand scheme of things, this is just a blip.

but it is so hard when you are in the thick of it. I feel incredible peace in one respect though - I know my kids are very well taken care of. I received a new photo of Abi this weekend - he is so so cute but looking so old! But, most importantly, he looks happy and healthy.

So, regardless of this rollercoaster and my up-and-down emotions, I know that my kids are okay. I'll have them home [relatively] soon. And we'll be a family.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bagels Didn't Work

Unfortunately, my bagel karma was too little too late (see post below). We didn't pass.

We finally hard from our agency about 12:30 or so today. It was a hard morning of waiting. Although I'm so upset right now, I think it is still better than not knowing at all.

Apparently there was a mix up with paperwork. There is some contract (?) that needed to be filled out by the orphanage for our file and it was filled out by the orphanage they are currently at. It should've been filled out by the first orphanage they were at. (Some sort of intake paperwork or something).

We've been rescheduled for December 21st to allow time to have the proper paperwork submitted. I have no way of knowing if this was the only error in our file or if once this error was discovered we were immediately rescheduled. There could be other problems.

If we pass on the 21st, we'd likely travel mid-January. Hopefully flights will be a bit cheaper then. I have to find a bright spot.

I'm so angry at myself - I promised myself I wouldn't get my hopes up. But I did. Last night we received some new photos of Abi. He is so handsome. But he's grown so much. We're missing it. I know it doesn't seem like it, but 3 weeks is a long time.

My hearts aches.

No News.................

It is now 11:10 a.m. (EST). We thought we'd hear by 11. In all fairness, 10 min late doesn't mean NO news at all. But still. This morning was even worse than yesterday (well, mabye not, but up there!)

I'm hoping that by posting this I'll make them call me. Gotta love playing with fate.

I need to know!