Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't Play it Safe...

I nabbed this today from Shell's blog.  What an amazing challenge.   Really puts that "be all you can be" into a new perspective... 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh, it gets better

Make sure to read this first.


We not pass because the MOWA letter wasn't there. Keep in mind, this letter should have been completed for our first court date December 3rd. So we are a full 4 months late on that one. And yet, no one can "do" anything about it.

But now, our agency has hired new legal counsel (which sounds like a good move). Although our agency was originally told otherwise, the power of attorney we executed for the old legal counsel is no longer acceptable (which I could've told you b/c that's how power of attorneys work, but whatever). So we have to have a new power of attorney document executed, notarized, marked with our state seal, sent to Washington D.C. for authentication at the Ethiopian embassy and get it over to Ethiopia all in time for our next court date.

Which is April 16.

So, on the one hand, I can't believe we have to wait, again, all the way to the middle of April. Yet, it will be cutting it very close to pull off all the bulls**t above in any less time.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

I am trying so, so hard to not be angry and bitter. I know that doesn't fix this. But it is very difficult.

When all is said and done, *S* will arrive home a solid 6 months after she should have. And that is a very difficult pill to swallow.

Same Ole Song n' Dance

We didn't pass.

The MOWA letter was not in the file. It should have been there December 3. It still isn't there. I am so incredibly upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed... nope, none of those words quite cover it.

It took 2 calls to AAI (our agency) to get this information. After putting my foot down on the 2nd call (at 2:30 our time, 2 1/2 hours after the office opened) I was able to get someone on the phone with the bad news.

I'm so tired of it.

It's 9 a.m. in Washington...

Court news please! :)

(I'm asking nicely okay!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2 More Days...


Monday, March 23, 2009

This is going to be one tough week...

Lots going on here this week, more of which I can "fill in" later... but this week is going to, well, suck. At least the first half.

Really (really!) hoping that it ends on a high note, since:

Our court date is Thursday. We need to bring *S* home. I can't even comprehend another delay at this point. It's been a long time...

Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers this week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cutie Pies

Say Cheese!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Year Ago today...

One year ago today, we met Abi and Hana for the first time. What an amazing journey - an amazing year.

More on this soon...  I just don't have the energy to do this justice.  

But look at them now:

What a difference a year makes.  :)

Recent Randoms

Movie night cuddles

Sister slide time

Ally with a dirty nose - enjoying the "almost" spring weather last week!

Daddy's girl. :)

Yes, breakfast is often like this...

Abi waiting to catch a butterfly at the butterfly house.

Ta-da Miss Grace

Goofy Al...

Gratuitous Baby Photos

It's Baby Liam!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Hana!

It's hard to believe - but Hana is six years old!  She had about as long as humanly possible to wait for her birthday with us (we met the kids 363 days ago!) but she's been patient.  Obviously that was helped by last year's shared birthday extravaganza (which I still think was a good choice...) but this time it was HER day and she loved it.

Hana has been very excited for a few weeks for her birthday and we had a great day.  We did most of the celebrating yesterday with Gma and Gpa, Aunt Ana, Aunt Stephanie and new baby cousin  Liam!  Today she took doughnuts for a treat for school and overall had a good day.

Hana is one amazing little girl.  So tough - but so sweet.  The most infectious giggle you have ever heard.  It's been an absolute pleasure watching her unfold and develop these past 12 months.  She started out so tough and outgoing and loud and on and on and on... and then she started school and slipped into a more shy mode.  Not bad - just different.  Now, you can tell she is really starting to find her balance - with herself and with us.  She doesn't miss much.  Always watching, listening, learning.  She can't wait to learn to read and although we have a ways to go, she tries so hard!  I'm so proud of all she's accomplished this past year. Watching her friendships develop in our family has been wonderful as well.  She and Grace have really clicked these last few months.  She and Abi remain close buddies and you can often find her dealing with Ally's ...  well, Ally being Ally. 

I'm also proud of who she is.  I've already learned so much from parenting her!  I'm a pretty lucky mommy to have her for my daughter. :)  Love you baby.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This might solve some of the world's financial problems... :)

I spoke too soon...

apparently Play Doh is devisive...

It is 10:30.  The kids have been playing together nicely for hours.  

Love it.  :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

What about THIS stimulus plan?

What a great story.

BREWTON -- A small-town pharmacist intrigued by the government's economic stimulus plan decided to launch his own version with $16,000 in $2 bills, and area stores have already felt the impact.

Danny Cottrell gave each of his full-time employees $700 and part-timers $300. He asked them to donate 15 percent to charity and spend the rest locally, particularly downtown, where store owners say that business has been lean.

"I wanted to do something for my employees, let them know our business is not in jeopardy, and for the local merchants," said Danny Cottrell, owner of The Medical Center Pharmacy with its main store in Brewton and a second in Atmore. "This seemed like a good way to do it."
Cottrell said he paid his employees with $2 bills so he and the rest of the Escambia County business community could see how the money circulates.

Before he explained the plan to his employees last week, Cottrell said, he couldn't resist creating a little suspense.

"Times are hard," he said, "and the downturn has hit us some. Employees start to worry if they will even have a job. So I called a meeting of the staff. One employee broke out in hives from the nerves. My partner, Tom Henderson, said he heard some employees talking about the meeting. They were scared to death."

Cottrell said he began the meeting as usual, encouraging workers to answer phones faster and serve customers better. Then he began passing out envelopes.

When workers saw the cash, some were so excited that they wept, he said.
"I was so worried, I made myself physically sick," said Lana Jackson. "But spending it has been fun. It feels like you are doing a good deed."

Carolyn Kennedy said she was so shocked she couldn't speak at first.

Workers are keeping a log of the stores that they visit, more than 65 at last count. Some have stopped in at stores they never tried before. From the Winn-Dixie to the Peebles department store, merchants said the $2 bills have been noticed. "I've had three customers this week come in and pay with $2 bills," said Candy Smith, owner of a clothing boutique downtown. Sammy Weaver, owner of Weaver's in Brewton, said he appreciates Cottrell and his commitment to the town. "The $2 bills make it easy to see where it's going, see how it turns over and generates tax revenue that helps our town and schools," said Weaver, whose store sells jewelry and clothing. "I plan to save up the bills that come in here and pay Danny my bill with them."

Some of the $2 bills have even circulated back to the pharmacy. "It's not a huge amount of money," Cottrell said of his hometown stimulus package. "It would have a more noticeable impact if someone with more resources came up with a huge amount of money, but the times are tough."

Still, for the workers with the windfall, this is just more of their boss' big heart shining through, they said. "I tell you, I love him like cooked food," said Bobbie Edwards.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Chat with the IRS

Who knew talking to the IRS could be fun?

Yesteday a random number came up on my cell phone and I grabbed it. It was a woman calling from the IRS office. She had Abi and Hana's ATIN applications and had a question about their birthdates. She had completed our application and it was kicked back to her in "error" because the birthdates on the applications didn't match their green card information.

Well, duh. That's the problem we are having with the social security office (hence the reason for the ATIN numbers!)! Ahhhh!

But she was just calling to find out why that difference would exist. I explained that the information on their green card was based on the adoption paperwork (from Ethiopia) and that, after the adoption was completed (and while we were in Ethiopia), we discovered our children's actual birthdates. She was geniuinely surprised that children wouldn't know their actual birthdays or that the information wasn't readily available. So I explained to her that this is actually fairly common (partly because birthdays just aren't a "big deal" as a general matter, and because sometimes children are relinquished by someone that simply doesn't have that information, etc). We were a somewhat unusual case in that we were able to find out both kids' actual birthdays later.

Well, she was really interested! She asked me a few more questions and then told me she'd bring it up at their next meeting so that other IRS folks were aware of this issue and could recognize it when they saw it.

And she told me we should get our ATIN numbers in a week or two. Whoo hooo!