Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who are you?

I found a new feature of blogspot today. It is your history of pageviews. It even tells me where these people are from. I am so very curious as to who you all are. Don't worry, I purposely made my blog open to the public. I know that strangers can read this. I hope they/you do. I just wish I knew who you are! :)

622 US - this is easy
66 Canada - probably family?
39 Russia - my mom, anyone else?
13 Singapore - is that you Lynn?
5 China
4 Nicaragua
2 Brazil
2 Guam
1 Israel
1 Slovenia

You don't have to tell me who you are but I would so love to hear from you if you would!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've thought about adopting but...

When I tell people about our plans to adopt I often hear "i've thought about adoption but...". I do know that adoption is not for everyone but I so wish that everyone would think about it. I mean really think about it. There are 167 million orphans in the world. And everyone of them deserves a home. Everyone of them is loved by God. Have you ever thought about how much it must pain God that 167 million of his littlest children are without parents to love and protect them?

Is adoption expensive? Yes
Is adoption a lengthy process? Yes
Is adoption an intrusive process? Yes
Is adoption difficult? Yes Yes Yes
Is adoption intimidating? Yes
Should you be a responsible adult and think through the realities of adoption? Yes

Am I missing something? YES, we are talking about a child. A human being. Think about how much work your kids are or even a dear friend or sibling. (All relationships are work.) Can you imagine not having that person in your life because they are too much work? If your loved one needed an expensive life saving operation and years of therapy, would you hesitate for even a moment? So how is a child's life any different? Because you don't know them... yet.

Please think about adoption. It is not for everyone but it is for many.

If you know that adoption is not for you directly you can still support adoption. They say "it takes a village" and it really does when adopting. I was reading a blog about a woman who was describing all the ways that people had helped their family. (Every little bit counts, 9/24/10) She writes about the doctor in their town that donates 4 physical per month to adoptive parents (part of the paperwork process) and how anyone can give of their talents and/or time.

I thought about writing this for a while but then I thought "no, we don't need any help, i don't want to ask for handouts". My pride was stopping me. But I realized that the point is not needing help. The point is about people having the opportunity to be a part of something that is big. Really big. Many years ago we were able to help out one family with their adoption. I know without a doubt that God would have facilitated their adoption with or without our involvement. But we were privileged to be a part of it. I have their photo on my wall at work and every time I see it I remember them. Although they are on the other side of the world I feel so connected to them and know that I always will.

I don't say this with regards to us specifically. If you want to support adoption, just look around you. There are people adopting everywhere. I'm sure there is a way that you could help them. And I am sure that you would be blessed by that connection you would develop with them.


I got a call from the WA Secretary of State. Two of our documents got rejected for authentication. It seems that the notary our doctors' office used is not "valid". Her stamp does not include the expiration date. So they are authenticating all of our other 14 documents. Dang it, those were the two most difficult documents to get! I already called our doctors' and told that that I need new documents with a different notary. But this is why I started our dossier paperwork so early.

I have read in may other peoples' blogs about them having to re-do paperwork. I'm telling you; if you are thinking about adopting, reading blogs really helps you know what to expect. :) I have been trolling around reading one adoptive mother's blog and then looking at her friends' blogs and then looking at their friends' blogs and so on and so on for about a year now. That is part of why I wanted to do a blog myself. I so appreciated people being willing to be open and share their stories.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grace like rain

I often wonder why God made me the way he did. I feel like I have fire in my soul. If I'm not in the deep end, inches from drowning, I feel restless and inadequate. I run (figuratively, I wish literally) towards whatever has my attention. I joke that Josh just sits and watches me go running past in one direction and then off in another. He knows that eventually I will land.

I wish I could run in one direction forever. The fire inside me compels me. When I stop running I feel without conviction. And rarely do I feel like I have run far enough or hard enough. I wonder how a person could live without something worth running towards. But in my hast I often run like a bull let loose in the streets of Spain or like road runner (I so loved that cartoon) only I then feel like wylie coyote when I run face first into the side of the mountain.

Sometimes I wonder how Josh and I can live the same life together when he is so grounded and I am so restless. I feel a lack of peace with regards to why God made me the way he did. Or maybe he didn't make me this way. Maybe he made me to be a sweet and calm person and by some twist of history I changed. I do know that God gave me Josh for balance. :)

So often I anguish over the mistakes I have made. Why did I run in the wrong direction? Why did I not think before I spoke? Why did I not slow down long enough to see that my friend was hurting? I could have been a better friend. Why did I not think before I spoke... AGAIN?!?

I hope that someday I will be able to look back at my life and say "oh, so that's what God designed me for". I have to trust that there is a purpose. And I have to learn to channel my energy. That might be a life long lesson.

Today our pastor spoke about grace. As a christian I know that I am a sinner just like everyone else. But as a christian I know that I am a forgiven sinner. I am so thankful that God's forgiveness is not contingent on me achieving a certain level of goodness. Yes, God calls us to be good in response to his love and forgiveness. But oh how much trouble I would be in if God would not forgive me until I was only so good or if he would take away his forgiveness if my sins crossed an invisible line.

Our pastor defined grace as...
... the forgiveness of God, which we could never earn on our own.
... the goodness of God, when we deserve his judgement.

Grace like rain falls down on me
All my stains are washed away

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Everything is in the hands of someone else.

Well its out of our hands for the time being. All of our remaining documents are sent off to their respective secretary of state offices. The WA secretary of state website says that they usually take a week from when they get documents to send them back out again. Funny thing is that WA charges $15 per document while KS charges $7.50 per document for authentication and ND charged $10. So $15 x 16 documents meant enclosing a $240 check for WA. Why do we have to live in the most expensive state of the three? It's okay, we expected this. So at this point there is nothing for us to do.

We got our first draft of the homestudy on Thursday. It is a 12 page, single spaced, description of us. She had a couple blanks that she needed filled in. We were able to get it back to her this morning. So I expect that the final draft will be done soon.

Once the homestudy is done the immigration for goes off. I understand that takes about 2 months to get approved. The overall timeline of this is longer than I had once thought but I do know it will work out.

So, everything is the hands of someone else. You would think that would be a bad thing but it feels good to have our part done. This is a huge milestone in my mind.

Last night was my first class of fall quarter. I found our I have a first draft of my final case study due in 2.5 weeks. Yikes! And thus the blogging... the procrastination has returned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not sure what I expected...

I've read so much about adoption and I'm sure I will read much more. One common theme is often referred to as "why grandma can't hold baby". The subject is about trying to explain to family and friends why they need to give you space to bond. The number of classes and books dedicated to this subject, often with that exact name or some version of it, made me very nervous about how our family and friends would react. Would they understand or would they pressure me to be "normal" even when I know that the emotions my kids are going through are not normal? There is nothing normal about getting a "new" mom and dad or about trying to determine if you are safe and loved using the logic of a child. I've talked about this before but I had no idea how many times I would have to explain before others would understand and respect our family's needs.

Last week a coworker asked me very carefully, 'I know you will need your time to bond but at some point will you...'. She let me know how excited she is for us. She was letting me know that she wanted to respect our needs but also looked forward to meeting our little guys and wanted to know if we would let her know when it was okay. So not to worry, we will certainly let you know when it is okay to meet them, hug them, hold them, etc. We have no idea when we will hit those milestones so we will have to all take it as it goes. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your openess and flexibility. The reaction that I have gotten from everyone has really put me at ease with regards to this.

I never expected anyone to discourage our adoption plans but I also never expected the reactions that I have gotten. I have been told "congratulations" so many times! The very first was one day early in the process when we went to someone at work to have a document notarized. Josh had already asked if she would do us this favor and so she already knew what was going on when I walked over. When I showed up at her desk she said "congratulations" so enthusiasticly that it took me by surprise. I expected people to be okay with us adopting. I even expected many to be encouraging. But I never expected this much support. It really has been so much fun! Thank you for that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More light

I can see more light at the end of the tunnel!

Today we completed re-doing our police clearence thingy. (We didn't ask to have it on letterhead the first time.) And our friends' reference letters have arrived. (THANK YOU Joe&Jamie, Erin, Drew&Erika!)

Now remaining:

Homestudy (This is the part that allows us to get on the waiting list.)
- Waiting for the social worker to complete her report. (I am trying to be patient but it is not my area of strength.)
- Once that is done our agency will send a form to the US government requesting permission for us to immigrate our kids.
- Once that form is approved we go on the waiting list.

Dossier (This is the part that has to be done before we can bring our kids home. So of course I want it done way in advance to make sure we don't run into any problems.)
- Send all of our documents to the secretary of state to get all of the notaries authenticated.
- Then send that all to the Ethiopian government.

Our to-do list is getting shorter!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

I think I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been thinking this for a little while but my theory is that if you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel you should give it just a little time to make sure it is not just another train coming. :)

The light I see is the end in sight to all of this adoption paperwork. Today both of our managers signed letters stating that really do have jobs and we really do make the salary that we said. I also finished prepping our remaining documents so that all we have to do is sign them in front of a notary.

There are 2 parts to adoption paperwork. Here is what we have left for each:

For the homestudy: (This is the US side of getting approved.)
- Wait for our homestudy to be completed. (We have done our part, just waiting for the social worker to complete her report.)
- Once the homestudy is done the agency sends an immigration form to the US government so that we can get pre-permission for our kids to immigrate.
- Once we get the immigration approval we go on the wait list to find our babies.

For the dossier: (This is the Ethiopian side of getting approved. You don't have to do a dossier if you adopt from the US but any international adoption requires it.) This part doesn't have to be done in order to get on the wait list but it does have to be done before we can go get our kids so of course I am doing it now.
- Redo 1 form from the police dept because we didn't ask to have it on letterhead the first time around. This was a time consuming the first time so a little painful to have to do again but not the end of the world.
- Wait for the postal service to deliver 2 reference letters that friends have done for us.
- Sign about 6 or 7 documents in front of a notary. (I have them all ready to go.)
- Send all of these prior listed documents to WA state to have all of the notaries authenticated (confirming that the notaries really are notaries).
- Send the one friend's reference letter to KS state to have that notary authenticated (confirming that her notary really is a notary in KS). All of this authenticating might sound crazy but in some states you have to have your documents authenticated by the county and then the state. And unless you were both born, married, work, and have all your friends in the same county you would then have to send to all of those different counties. So we have to count ourselves lucky to not be in one of these states.
- Send all of these documents to Ethiopia.

This might sound like alot left to do but if you look at my post back in May when I shared our "checklist" you can see that we have made some serious progress.

I have heard that the waiting list part is the most difficult. I hope that is not true because I have found the paperwork phase to be pretty stressful. I keep thinking that my kids are sitting all alone in an orphanage somewhere because I can't or won't move fast enough to go get them. I would like to think that once we have done our part I can feel some peace about that and know that once we are on the waitlist it is about us waiting for them and not them waiting for us.

I have plans that once our paperwork is done and once I have finished school in December, I will vent my energy on projects. Our house is plenty big enough for 2 of us but it will get alot smaller once we have 4+ people living here. So my idea is that if I do projects to make efficient use of our space we will feel more comfortable. Installing extra shelves in some closets, cleaning out junk, etc.

I guess I am never happy unless I am tackling something big but I am pretty excited to finally see some light at the end of this tunnel.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lord, please take care of my babies today.

Lord, please take care of my babies today.
As I go to sleep they will likely be waking up.
Please protect their little bodies.
Protect their little minds.
Protect their little hearts.
Give them someone to hug them today.
Someone to love them today.
Kind words today.
Watch over them.
I don't know their faces, but you can see them.
I don't know their hearts, but you have know them from their first days.
Please God, protect my babies today.
I don't know if they are okay. I can't see them.
If they are hurt. I can't hear them.
If they are lonely. I can't be with them.
Somehow, someway, please give their little hearts peace.
Peace in knowing, somehow, someway, that we are coming for them.
Knowing they will not be without a mommy and daddy forever.
And when the time is right, please help us to find them.
Please lead us to the children you already know to be ours.
Please prepare us. Prepare our hearts.
Prepare our lives for all the change you have in store for us.
Lord, please take care of my babies today.