Sunday, May 20, 2012


And just a reminder:  the art was painted in Oct, 2011 by Katie Bradley from Mossy Rock Designs.   Olivia Selam would have been around 4-5 months then.    You can go to Katie's shop to purchase other children's prints and support her adoption of her little girl as well.

She has never seen Olivia and sent the print to me a month BEFORE our referral to cheer me up.  It still cheers me up to see how perfect and planned she was for our family!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why my baby may live in a sling..

Just so you don't think we are being stingy with Olivia.  Or overprotective.  Or rude.   Parenting an adopted child looks a lot different than parenting a biological child.  Especially at almost one year of age.

So a brief summary of our new daughter:

We arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday morning. After not sleeping much on the plane with sleeping pills and Melatonin on board I asked 'should we bring Olivia home today? Or wait til tomorrow when we are more rested?' We/I decided we would wait and see how she reacted to us and if she was very skittish, we would let her stay at the Transition Home one more night. Turns out she did great with us!  She was a little scared at first but within an hour was smiling and playing so I decided to take her with us even though the little Livvie that loved being held by mommy from our court trip wasn't quite back yet.

As soon as we entered the guest house, her fear level went through the roof. Big eyes. Scared cry. Big tears. Even though she was ok with me holding her, she was just so, so scared.   Clinging to me with wide eyes.
And now, almost a week later - She is extremely attached. Extremely to the point of me not being able to take a shower or go to the bathroom without her screaming. And I mean screaming. Loud! If I stand up, she clings to my legs and cries to be picked up. If she is on the floor, she wants to be sitting in my lap.   She is scared to death of falling asleep in her portacrib.  She finally has a mother and is so scared that I might not be permanent.   Although today, with our last official Embassy appointment - she is definitely permananet. 

Her official birth certificate with Tony and Tracy Wages listed as her parents. 

So what does that mean for the coming weeks/months?
- Olivia has been abandoned by those that loved her at least three times in the last 11 months.  So while she is attaching to me great.  And loves me.  She doesn't understand or know for sure that I am forever.   So we have to teach her that WE are her parents and not just another shift of nanny care.  Which means WE will need to be the ones to comfort her when she is upset, give her her bottles, and feed her. 
- She also doesn't understand that every new stranger may not be a new 'mom' or 'dad' wanting to take her away.  So she gets very serious when strangers talk to her and will cry if taken or held.  It has taken a week for my sister and mom to be able to hold her without her crying just so I can go to the bathroom.  So you can imagine that she would not be comfortable with lots of different people holding her at church or the ballfield.   I will be trying to keep her in the sling as much as possible to assure her that she is attached to me/us.
- Just as she became very scared as we enter new places here, she will get very anxious with new and unfamiliar places outside of our home.  So aside from 'have to' appointments and places for the next several weeks, we will be trying to limit how much transition she is exposed to, to help build her trust.  If she settles in great.  But if not, we may need to limit church, grocery stores, park outings, etc.
- And just as this new mommy came and took her away from the nannies that she loved.   She may have trouble adjusting to new people coming to our home to see her as she will not understand or know if that means she is being taken away or not.   So we may have to limit visitors as well for a time.  And all the above is up to Olivia, not us.   If she begins to settle in great.  Is showing that she is attaching to our family vs every family.   Is sleeping without night terrors or screaming fits of fear, we will be able to return to our 'old' chaotic, crazy lives much quicker.  But all that is up to her little emotions.

So please don't think we are hogging our new baby, not wanting to share her gorgeous smile.   Or that we are withdrawing completely from all our friends and family.  It's just that until we see what this little fragile 11 month old mind and soul can handle - we don't want to expose her to more stress and anxiety than absolutely necessary.   Which is why she may hang out safely in my sling for the next few weeks.  At least she is loving it now.   Kind of hard to take a shower with a 22 lb baby attached though...

We love you all and thank you so much for the many prayers and support we have received in the past, almost 3 years.   She is finally coming home.  Praise the Lord!!! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Leavin on an Aeroplane

Did I happen to mention that every morning for the last 2 weeks, I had been waking up at 3 am and again at 5 am to check my email to see if a response from the embassy had come?   'It should take less than a week... most do.  It may be right at a week.....'  When it wasn't, I started freakin out a tad bit (understatement).   The Embassy's form response email says they have 15 days to reply.  SO.. Get the email to the Director - request status of file.  Get the email to the dude in Ethiopia's Embassy - request status of file.   I'm told that it could be 2-3 weeks before they make a decision... that's norm now.

So I curl up in a ball and cry.   Add to this the fact that on the SAME day, we get her monthly update and baby girl is now taking steps.  What!?!  We had a deal chick!!!  No walking til mommy gets back!!!   Feels like a punch in the mouth.   Oh, AND, I get an email saying we need to start the renewal process for our fingerprints, for the third time (they are only good for 18 months...) THIRD time.   Because they expire in June.  WHAT!?!  I may not get her til June??  I go into fetal position.

But after all that crying, I sleep well.  Like, til 6:15 well.  When I wake up, think about going back to bed and making Tony take the kids to school, cause I did all that crying last night and just feel like Part II.   Instead I go check the email and WHAT!?!  It's there!!  We are clear!  I immediately email right back 'can I have an appointment for Thursday??"  But low and behold, they close half day on Friday, so IF I had woken up at 3, or even 5, they might have gotten that request... but at 6:30, they had already left the office.

SO -- Go?  Stay?  Delay?  Our paperwork is set to mail out of Nairobi on Monday.   Which means 1-3 days to get to Addis.   So possibly, if our paperwork is there, I could meet with Embassy on Thursday, pick up her visa on Friday, and come home as planned.  Another family that live in India and got the same email as me that they were clear emailed right back and WERE given a Thursday appt.... so hoping that they honor my request as well and that ok meant they foresee the file being back in time. 

SO -- a bazillion people tell me on Facebook to go.  My husband tells me to go - and we HAVE to honor our husbands, right??   So after staring at the computer screen for a good hour, I finally pull that trigger, purchase the tickets...... and we leave tomorrow morning at 6 am.

SO -- IF the Embassy gives me a Thursday appt.... and
IF the paperwork gets to Addis Tues-Thurs......
I could bring her home with my mom and sister on Saturday into Charlotte at 3:00 pm.

BUT -- IF the Embassy says their Thursday is full.... or
IF the paperwork doesn't get there til later....
I could have to stay to meet on Monday, pick up her visa on Tues/Wed.  and come home by myself next week.  

It would be an understatement to say that this is all a little 'dangerous' to my usually plan oriented, follow the rules, do as advised personality.   The agency recommended we be safe and wait until the file gets to Addis, sometime this week.  But my heart says go.  So we GO.  

Pray friends, God has been in the details of every.single.step of this adoption so far.  I know he can do this too with the snap of his fingers.  

The last step - bringing her home.