Thursday, March 25, 2010

You're not seeing things...

that little thermometer on the side.... Yeah, it appears to be stuck. Our chip-in account, also stuck. But no - we are pretty much just hanging around.

Unfortunately, a good amount of the money we had been saving the last few weeks just went out the door to our homestudy agency to finish up our homestudy and pay the travel expenses for our social worker. A mere $500 more than we had estimated. So we are back to needing $5000 to have our money to submit our dossier when the timing is ready.

And that's kind of been stuck too. We 'thought' we were done with our homestudy. Finally. But it needed a small wording change. So then we 'thought' we were done with our homestudy. But then they found out our background checks had expired after only 6 months. So we again submitted the permission forms and an extra fee and are now in a holding pattern again. Until we 'think' we have a finalized homestudy that we can submit to Charleston to try to get our government permission paper - that coveted i-171h form that I think can take from 30-90 days to receive.

And by then, we are hoping, no - praying, no - trusting - that God will have provided our needs for the remaining $5000 to submit our dossier. Cause it stinks being stuck.

**as an aside, in case you were wondering: since we didn't sell the house, why not a home equity loan? We checked into that too - with our $20,000 equity. They could only approve a loan of $5000. Which is too low for a home equity loan to be drawn up. Go figure, and here we 'thought' home equity loan meant the equity on your home?

** as another aside, I can completely see how pork projects get through Congress. A.K.A. bribes for votes. With this health care bill that may truly bankrupt our country and increase all our taxes, and increase our insurance rates to the astronomic proportions - also came an extension on the Adoption Tax Credit which was set to expire in 2010. It also increased the amount refunded to a little over $13,000. Which is awesome!! I just hate the $3,546,035 I'll have to pay in taxes/insurance to be able to get that $13,000 refund.

** and as if 2 asides were just not enough - Ethiopia courts just posted a sign saying the 'two-trip' rule for parents to attend court was suspended indefinitely. But our agency is still recommending planning for 2 trips just in case they change back. And thaaaaaat's all folks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Best Place Ever

Braeden has been begging me to go eat Ethiopian food since oh... last February when I got back from my trip. He prides himself on being able to "eat anything I make". And that's a good thing. As in, my little trooper will actually eat fish, spinach, and mushrooms like his mommy - AND like them.

So on a trip back to NC to celebrate his birthday, we made a detour through downtown Charlotte to go to Meskerem - one of only 2 Ethiopian restaurants close enough for us to visit. Little sister was also with us but with her picky palate, I opted for the PB&J before we left the house.

SO - the progression of the most perfect date with my son - with a little chaperone named Addi:
Waiting for a table having nice chit-chat around the traditional Ethiopian serving platter.
Yummy food arrives. We are so stoked. The bread under it (injera) is what you use to pick it up. We had beef tibs, spicy beef (in the middle), really, really good collard greens, and bean sides (the yellow and orange on the left). You just use a piece of your injera to pick up a piece of meat or a little veggie, and pop it in. Even a kid can do it!!
You KNOW I'm not going to eat that!
My favorite (and his) - the beef tibs.
Oh, sweet Meskerem, we think we love you. We put a hurtin on that plate o' goodness. But just couldn't make it to the finish line.

Braeden's review: "that was the BEST PLACE EVER!!!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Change is a happenin'

I'm emotionally and physically worn out. For the last two days I have purged our house of every toy or child item that hasn't been touched in 2 weeks and man did it feel good. Or not. "I'm too old for this" my back is screaming. In reality - our local consignment sale is next week and for the first time ever, I'm actually working on it earlier than the night before. Go me.

In today's news: Ethiopia has now decided to make their adoption process a two-tripper. Some other countries have had this in place for some time but we were getting out easy. When we started last year the process was - you wait forever, you get your kiddos picture and history, a month or so later you went to court and prayed to pass, if you passed, you would get to travel a month or so later to pick up said kiddo.

Then last month, after CBS came out with a 2 min. expose on corrupt Ethiopian adoptions (based on an Australian puff peace which has already been investigated and found to be seriously flawed), and idiot Americans tried to smuggle Haitian babies across country lines (seriously, were they not thinking at all???) ---- the US Embassy started doing long investigations before issuing exit visas. And they started limiting appts. to 10 per month, per agency. So you pass court - then wait 2-3 months before being able to get an appt. to pick up your kiddo. And seriously, I understand the investigation aspect and agree it is a good thing to make sure children aren't being stolen from their parents. But why not before you are the legal parents of that child??? Wouldn't that be the best time to make sure the adoption is legit??

So after today: you wait forever, you get your child's picture and history, a month or so later, both parents have to travel to Ethiopia to attend court and verify that yes, they do want to love and care for this child. Then, you travel home, without your baby ..... and wait 2-3 months for the US Embassy to decide that yes, the adoption is legit and you can go back and get the child.

The upside - we will get to see Olivia, hold Olivia, kiss Olivia about 3-4 months earlier than we would have otherwise. Which is awesome. Another upside is that it looks like because we will have seen our child before court, it allows you to come home on another type of Visa. One which will make her officially a US citizen upon entrance to the country. Which means we will not have to go through the long process of paying to have her re-adopted. Which was a whole other paperwork hassle after you get home.

The downside - coming home without her. And knowing that she is in an orphanage. Being cared for by other women. Without you. That sucks. Another downside - the $4-5000 extra that a second trip will require. That sucks too. (Sorry for the language but there is just no other way to explain how I feel about it.)

BUT - that's a lot of change going on in 6 months. So who knows what the next year will hold as we wait? And while I stress about not having the money.... how are we going to get the money.... having to leave her behind after seeing her.... I read these passages this morning:

Psalm 20:4-5 "May he give you the desire of your heart. May he make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests."

If God can design drops of rain into a rainbow, and the changing color of the leaves - I'm sure He's got this under control too.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Confessions of a Blogaholic

I confess, I am addicted to adoption blogs. Just being able to follow families from the paperwork chase, to submission of their dossier (oh, dance of joy...), to referral of that sweet baby's face, to travel and home - it is addicting. And I spend way too much time that should be devoted to laundry salivating over little round faces with great big eyes.

And while we are in the mood to confess (or me anyway) - after a Sunday School lesson this past week, I need to confess to all my peeps - I have no mercy. Or very little. It's sad really. Feel free to stop following me at this point.

We did a spiritual gifts survey to which my score in the mercy column, let's just say, it's less than the number of fingers I have. Almost on one hand. As a Compassion advocate, I should probably be fired.

But as I told the teacher, I have mercy, it's just for certain people... To which he said, "that may be the definition of not having mercy." Oh, mercy.

Let me explain - if you are going through a divorce, sorry, I can't help you. If you have just been diagnosed with a strange foot disease, I really don't want to talk about it with you. If your brother's mother-in-law's second cousin was just diagnosed with cancer, I would be lying if I said I would be praying for you. I just can't do it. And up until now, I have felt really, really guilty about that. Like I am an emotional defect. Why is it my hubs has his heart ripped out when he finds out a complete stranger has cancer and my response (inwardly at least) is usually very ho-hum? We've seen a very dear friend fight and die from cancer and as painful as it was to see her go through - she's dining with the creator of the universe right now while I'm eating shredded wheat - who's got it better now?

I know that all sounds very callous and heartless but as I said, I realized that while I don't have the gift of mercy - I think I'm pretty content that I scored when God was giving out the presents none-the-less.

I got the gift of prophecy. Which just sounds cool to me. In the description, it listed those people as "strong convictions and expects others to as well; need to express herself verbally, especially regarding right and wrong; painfully direct when correcting others; persistent in expressing feelings regarding need for change; ability to proclaim God's truth without compromise." Oh honey, if you looked my name up in the dictionary - that might just be the definition! Big mouth, big heart, but also big attitude about telling you about it.

So while I may not be the one to be visiting rest homes weekly or baking casseroles for widowed spouses, I am pretty passionate about showing mercy to those little ones who are so often overlooked. And the way I figure it, since God is perfect, and His plan is perfect, He must think it is perfectly alright that He made me this way. Cause He's got those areas already covered and needs me for other things, right?

So what gift did our Daddy give you?