Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dental pain and government offices

Sunday evening I began to notice a slight sore spot by my nose.
I figured it was an underground attack zit just waiting for my next photo opportunity to pop out and say "hello".
That would have been nice.
Monday, the soreness was more clearly from a tooth.
#11 to be precise.
So I went into work a tiny bit early and asked our assistant to please x-ray 
that tooth and see what was going on.
Since I have worked in the dental office for a year now, 
I could see right away that I have a "halo" around the root ... meaning infection.
It was ok the rest of that day...
then, as if my own body was mocking me...
evening fell.
By Tuesday morning, I was DONE.
I texted my mom (.../boss/office manager) and said this tooth needed to come out. 


Like 3 hours ago.

Well... my stepdad who is the dentist said it can come out, 
but there would be more to deal with than just the normal placing the implant, abutment and crown. 

So... he called a friend to get me in to have a root canal.
Their earliest appointment was today at 10:30.
By 3pm yesterday I was begging for a shot of anesthetic.
So, he numbed it up nicely and wrote a prescription to get me through the night.

Later that same day... I was in excruciating pain. The anesthetic wore off, the lortab was not working, and my stomach was upset since I couldn't eat and was taking all these pills.

I laid on the couch with a heating pad most of the night. I fell asleep for 30 minutes here and there, but vividly remember almost every hour on the clock all night long. 
Finally, morning came. I began to be aware that I was incredibly itchy and it was not localized to any one area.
My eyeballs itched.
My ears itched.
The bottom of my feet itched.
My knees itched. 
The webbing between my fingers itched.

I called the pharmacy to find out if it was the combination of the lortab, the amoxicillin, advil and tylenol pm...
or if it could be something else all together.
She asked if I had ever taken lortab before. 
I never take anything like that.

Guess who has an allergic reaction to hydrocodone?


And I am STILL itchy (8 hours since my last 1/2 pill).

So... I got the root canal phase 1 finished at least.
I am swollen to the point that I look like I tried to stuff my face full of marshmallows.

So... once my pain subsided to the point where I could think about anything else...
I began to think... I have not heard back from the congresswoman's office about my USCIS case yet!

So... I tried to call. Guess what? The person I need to speak with is not there.
So I sent ANOTHER email.
I hate waiting on people to do stuff like this.
My paperwork is literally sitting on someone's desk waiting to be approved.
If I don't get that paperwork or at least a verbal approval, I can't get my court date for whenever it is first scheduled. They will reschedule my date. 
I don't want that to happen.

Also the past couple of weeks our agency has matched nearly 20 referrals THAT I KNOW OF!
Not that I don't love hearing about those referrals.
Not that I am not happy for all of the new parents.
Some of these referrals are for tiny itty bitty babies and they JUST came into care.
I really will feel frustrated if those families get court dates and travel dates before me (or my other WCP friends who have kids who have been in care for a year already).
Not that I don't want them to get their babies soon... because I do.
I just feel like the longer a child has been waiting... the faster they should be allowed to come home.
Maybe that's wrong.
But, that's where I am today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


12 years ago this evening I had a baby girl!
She was a tiny little thing!
As mom's of two or more can attest...
seeing your first (who you thought was still a baby) next to your second (actual infant baby) is a frightening thing! I was sure "baby" Paul was going to squish her with his moose-like girth.

He didn't.

Now, my sweet baby girl is TWELVE years old! How did this happen?
We have had a good 12 years so far!
There was the time when she was a baby that I dyed her, myself and the couch purple with Gentian Violet trying to cure her thrush! 

She fed a stray dog the cookies from her walker tray, assuring we then kept the mangy dog...
and named him Cookie. 
(And took him to the vet for that mange. Yes, literally a mangy dog.)

There was the time she was in her Aunt Dawn's wedding!
She was around two.
She did great in rehearsal...
then had a meltdown at the back of the church.
And got carried down the aisle.
By me.
In my fancy dress.
With a baby on my hip.

There was her "beach dress" that she wore until it totally lost its ability to act as a dress.
It was a pastel green and white floral print, halter top with smocking.
She wore it nearly every day! 

Now her "beach dress" is her lime green hoodie. 
She loves lime green!
And zebra print!

She is super smart, witty and clever!
She comes up with the funniest things!
Most of the time its appropriate timing on the funny things.

She is a pre-teen now, with all the joy and trials that brings.
She is growing into a beautiful young woman right before my eyes.
She is at that magical in-between age.
For her birthday she wants a Pillow Pet...
And Victoria's Secret PINK perfume.
Yep... she is a Tween!

My beautiful Allie Cat... I am so blessed to be your mom! When you were a baby I was nervous because you were SO tiny and fragile. Now I am nervous because I know our years are numbered before you will be all grown up and won't need me so much anymore. I will always be here for you.
When you are all grown up...
When you find that one person we are already praying for and you want to marry him...
When you have your own tiny baby...
When that tiny baby grows into a pre-teen (and cries about her hair...).

I love you, sweet baby girl!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Today I am waiting.

Waiting for 12:00 so my work week is over...

Waiting to hear back from Congressman Blackburn's office about my USCIS paperwork...

Waiting for news from my baby sister who is in labor right now having my first niece! Baby Sister's blog

Waiting for spring to get here so I can de-germify my house and get rid of the strep-bugs that plague us...

Waiting for a call back from a grant application...


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I got an email today.
From Holt!
I opened it and there was an attachment!
Suddenly, my excitement turned to sadness when I saw what it was.

It was my kids' relinquishment decree.

This just kills me.
Somewhere in Ethiopia three witnesses had to show up to verify their birth-father's story.
This is not a happy document.
This is a necessary document.
It does not make me happy to have it.
My holding this document means someone had to sign it.
This is another aspect of the paradox of adoption.
Such an amazing gift for our family... such incredible pain in another.
How is it possible to grieve for someone you do not know and have never seen?

We (anyone able to read this) are incredibly blessed.

And we complain about our old cars.
We complain about the price of fuel.
We complain about our slow internet connection.
We complain about needing to go BACK to the grocery store AGAIN this week.

We are blessed to be able to have transportation.
We are blessed that we can work, have income and afford to drive.
We are blessed to live in such a technologically advanced society that we can use the internet for recreation!
We are blessed to be able to drive down the street and pick up food for our family with little to no inconvenience.

I was given proof of this today.
Go hug your family and thank God for your MANY blessings today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to turn a bonus room into a girls bedroom 101

You may or may not want to follow these directions verbatim.
Suit yourself!

1. Discuss color schemes for weeks. 
(Try fruitlessly to mesh the wants of two girls with one dad who hates to paint.)

2. Decide a three-day weekend is the time to finally get started.
(because really... when else are you going to do it?)

3. Begin by sorting toys and making one large pile for garage sale stuff.
(May 1st...)

4. Observe that garage sale pile is running over into "keep" pile... move "keep" pile.
(Consider moving "keep" pile into "sale" pile... decide against it.)

5. Spend 6 hours in the bonus room before deciding 
tomorrow's weather will be great for this project.

6. Saturday morning, wake up and begin again. 
(after several cups of coffee)

7. Decide to take a box to the garage for the sale.

8. Husband observes garage and deems it unpleasant.
(uh oh.)

9. Husband decides that first, we must clean out the garage.
(Double uh-oh.)

10. Drag everything onto the driveway.

11. Sweep garage.

12. Put everything back, piling garage sale stuff in centralized location.
(stop to take 13 year old to baseball practice.)

13. Make many trips up and down 2 flights of stairs from bonus room to garage.
(Who needs a stair machine?)

14. Husband starts sanding spackled nail holes.
(send hubby to pick up son from baseball practice)

15. Move TV into master bedroom.
(stop to help husband carry sectional down stairs and to the garage. Sleeper sofa included.)

16. Decide master bedroom must be rearranged.
(to make room for P90x... reluctantly.)

17. Realize rearranging master bedroom involves cleaning out from under the bed.

18. Find more garage sale stuff.
(lots more.)

19. Realize library's "fill-a-bag" sale was not kind to your dust bunny allergies.

20. Against better judgment, send hubby and girls to Home Depot for paint.
(File this under "and you didn't see this coming?")

21. Finish moving furniture around master bedroom.
(Thankful for those sliding furniture mover things from Walgreens!)

22. Try to act happy when kids and hubby return with Barbie-meets-Pepto-swirled-with-bubblicious-PINK paint... when you were hoping for a blue or purple tone.

23. Begin racking your brain for ways to color coordinate the second shade Hubby chose, a strange beige color, with the bright pink.

24. Decide that certainly they make a fabric which will incorporate both colors and decide to hunt until you find it and make it into curtains and pillows

25. Go help paint.
(still unable to believe you are consenting to put this color on the walls...)

26. Realize edging paint job was done by hubby, not 8 year old daughter.  

27. Begin to feel that 9:30pm is feeling more like midnight.

28. Decide that a shower sounds like a great plan BEFORE bed.

29. Try to not fall asleep standing in the shower.

30. Get to bed.

We then decided that Sunday would be a family day - not a painting day.
Tonight we will paint some more.
Today I have some better ideas about how to blend the colors together which 
will make me happier with the choices... 
and ultimately... 
it's the girls' room and they wanted PINK. They sure got it!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flow Charts

I would like a flow chart.

I would like to be able to post it on my fridge and see from beginning to end, where we are in our journey.

Right now things are somewhat unpredictable in Ethiopia.

We don't know for sure if we can get a court date in this "grace period", but we are sure hoping it works out.

Our agency has said that we must have our 171H (see prior post on getting fingerprinted) before we go to court, since they are concerned about our approval. Not super sure why they are so concerned, but they are, so we wait.

From what I have read elsewhere, the issue of the children being legally adopted in Ethiopia and then not claimed by their parents has happened many times. Maybe even more than 50 times. These are children who are quite literally STUCK now since their new legal parents do not claim them. I just can't get over those numbers.

So, yes... I understand the two-trip requirement. I really do! Being able to meet and get to know your potential child/ren before going to court is a very big positive in an adoption! If we are required to travel twice, we will pray for the best, we will pray for the money, and we will pray that our children -being some of the first to have their parents arrive, meet them and then leave - -will understand and that they would not be further damaged by the sudden change in procedure. Thankfully, our children are NOT at the Addis care center where they would partake in the going-home ceremonies twice a month. Therefore, they have not seen this happen over and over again for the past 7 months. I can just pray that if we are required to make two trips that they will not be moved to that center until just before we arrive.

I feel like I am rambling...

I am going to DO something today. I am going to clean out the closet in the bonus room, get that room ready to paint, and be productive in the things I CAN control (somewhat).

I can get my home ready for our new kids.

I can pray for them.

I can pray for our process.

I can pray that USCIS would approve our paperwork super fast.

I can pray for the others in this journey along with me.

I can focus on my sweet baby sister who is now a week over-due, (two if you count like normal 28-day people) and pray that by first niece will be here soon... Melissa's blog
I love you Mo! Remember, no woman has EVER stayed pregnant forever. She will be here soon... my money is still on Sunday. She just wants to be a spring baby! ;)

Off to get my shoes on and get to work!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This past Friday (3/12) when our dossier made it to Ethiopia, we were also contacted by our social worker. She said that due to the new regulations (see prior post on New News from ET), she wanted us to NOT wait for our official fingerprinting appointment, but to instead just "show up on Monday and ask nicely" to get it done.

Um... okay. This is a government agency. They have intimidating initials (USCIS). They wear uniforms with patches and have warnings on the doors about not using recording equipment inside. These folks don't "do" fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.

So, of course, Paul and I showed up Monday.

It went AWESOMELY well! They were super efficient, very friendly, and we were in and out in under 15 minutes! (We can only dream that someday the DMV or Postal Service would work like this!)

I called to let Holt know and they were glad to hear we were successful in getting that done!
I spoke with the social worker who had given us our rogue assignment and she was also glad and said that she will start her email campaign this coming week to check on the status.
I sent an email to the Memphis office asking nicely (half begging) for them to expedite our application.
I got a reply back that they always expedite.
(By definition, this can not possibly be true. Always expediting is not possible. That would be your normal speed. There would still be room to make something go faster if this was your normal speed. Should I send a dictionary?)

Anyway... I am trying not to think about it as the days go on.

Today, I am that much closer to our babies and they are closer to being ours!

Today, our oldest did a presentation for his class. The assignment was to choose a charity or non-profit and try to convince the class that they should spend their money on that person's choice. He and his group chose Holt. He showed photos of his newest siblings! He talked about their programs to keep families together! He is said to have done an awesome job!

He. Wore. A. Suit.
Yes... he also had on a baseball hat and high-tops... but he wore a SUIT, people!

It's in there. It's in their hearts. My own children are seeing the need and are vocalizing their heart for the least of these!

I love my family!
(even more than the Nashville USCIS office!)

Monday, March 15, 2010


To my children,
Tonight an argument erupted between two of you and you decided to use some inappropriate words – words that are not allowed in our house.
You have been punished by losing the privilege of having a cell phone until I see attitude improvements 
(which, at this point, may be when your phones are rendered obsolete).
This brought about lots of tears and an angrily spewed "it's like we live in a dictatorship!" and "It's not FAIR!"

Sweethearts, I hate to be the one to break it to you… but life is not fair and you DO live in a dictatorship.
This is not a democracy.
You do not get a vote.
Dad and I are the "dictators".
We make the rules.
There is no other option until you move out and create your own little dictatorship.
This is the way it is and I am not sorry.
You are barely teenagers.
You do not have the mental or emotional capabilities to make decisions about important things in your lives.
I know you believe that you are fully capable of being tiny little adults, but until you have a job and are on your own – you live under our set of rules.
This is life.
Things happen that you do not like and it is our job to teach you how to roll with those punches.
Things happen that are not fair and it is our job to teach you that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
You may not always be able to control your circumstances, but you can always control your responses.
Today, you did not do a good job of controlling your reactions.
I am disappointed.
In this house, in this family, in our little corner of the world – we do not put each other down.
We do not call one another names that hurt.
We do not use our words to harm others.
THIS is a safe place when the rest of the world teaches you all about life.
So, sweethearts, I took away your cell phones.
You will survive.
I made it 26 years without a cell phone – you will make it for a few days.
You may have to speak to your friends as they sit near you on the bus rather than text them.
You will survive. I promise.
One thing I can guarantee you – if you choose to continue spewing meanness towards your family you will live a friendless, media-free, house bound, Amish existence.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New News from ET

Taking a queue from my sister Melissa, I am going to attempt to put on my "positive pants" about this situation since I know that
A. Being frustrated, annoyed, angry and generally sad about it will do me no good and will not change a darn thing.
B. Trying to think of something positive to say will stretch my brain and may get my forehead out of its now-near-permanently wrinkled state. 

Ethiopian High Courts have announced a quick little blurb today that states in a nutshell that all adoptive families who do not have a court date scheduled as of today will be required to attend court personally instead of using the agency's attorney, with our POA, who is in Ethiopia.
Positive Pants:
Traveling prior to the visa appointment will allow our kids to come home on an IR-4 visa (I believe thats the right one) which basically says they get to become US citizens upon setting foot in the USA. Now families have to file a lot of paperwork once home to get their kids recognized as citizens.

An already expensive venture just got MORE expensive by adding another travel date, another hotel stay, another stay in Ethiopia with meals and such, and the logistics of providing for the kids at home.
Positive Pants:
Yes, it is expensive and that "grand total" number is never set in stone until you are home and done with the processing. This is just one more twist and turn along the adoption road. It's unexpected, but you can't get GPS-quality routing down the adoption road. And, in the grand scheme of things, what's another $3-$5K?

Will both parents have to travel for court? If so, that pretty much ensures that Paul and I both have to make both trips since neither of us alone could travel to bring home three preschoolers on a 20+ hour flight. Not knowing the answer to this not only leaves a question mark over our dollar signs, but the added frustration of feeling that if we had passed our committee the first time around (or even the second) our dossier could have been done faster and maybe we would have missed this new requirement. 
Positive Pants:
If everything happens for a reason, and I believe this is all in God's control... there must be some reason why our paperwork is on the path and with the timeline we have right now. If I trust Him for the calling, trust Him for the money, then...I have to also trust Him for the timeline. 

One more thing...
It seems that most of the information I am reading online is all happy-isn't-this-fabulous from the perspective of adoptive parents who are ALREADY HOME. While I love and respect those parents, I think they have a form of adoption "pregnancy amnesia". They have forgotten how the unexpected ups and downs affect everything. They have forgotten what it is like to wait.
They have their children home.
 I understand the reasoning behind this has to do with making sure the adoptions are all ethical and that parents are able to see the child/ren they are adopting before it is legal and nearly impossible to reverse. HOWEVER, when we entered into this process we were told Ethiopia was a one-trip country and that made it very appealing to us for several reasons. (Finances, planning, logistics with the rest of the kids, etc.) Changing the requirements for parents who have dossiers already turned in seems like a breach of contract or something, even though 
I know we never had a contract with the government in ET. 
Positive Pants
The Ethiopian government is within their rights to change the rules at any point they so desire. They can stop all together and close the country if they want - it has happened before (Guatemala). It hurts because my children are there and they have been waiting 6 months already and now, that wait is extended. 
I suppose if the option is two trips or a closed country... I would choose two trips in a heartbeat. 

Please pray for our finances. I am applying for every grant I can find, planning fundraisers and basically hoping to meet some wealthy benefactor who loves orphans and wants to see our three come home soon!
Now with this added trip, our expenses just went up.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The sweetest thing!

No, still no DTE today.

That's ok...
because I have the world's sweetest almost-12-year-old daughter!

Check out what I got yesterday!
She made the cover out of her own scrapbooking papers!
(Note the gold glitter glue "family"!)
(I can't figure out how to make the pictures in the right order with this blogger thing... so you will just have to be imaginative!)

NOT losing it...


I'm good.

I am SO not losing my mind over here.

Know why I am NOT going crazy? 

Because another Waiting Child Program mom just heard her dossier made it to Ethiopia over the weekend...
And hers was approved the day after mine.


It's cool.

I'm good.

She is a super sweet mom over at waiting on a baby girl! I am happy for her... and ALL the other people I don't know about who are hitting milestones ahead of me!


I am!

I just want to know where my dossier is TODAY. 

That's all.

Monday, March 8, 2010


There may be nothing quite as destructive to an adoptive parent's peace of mind than to obsess over other AP's timelines.

There are three possibilities when you do this.

1. Someone's timeline will match yours thus far and you begin to expect things will continue to match up.

2. Someone is moving at WARP speed and you begin to get frustrated and wonder why it is that their paperwork moves so much faster than yours.

3. Someone is moving WAY slower than you are and you begin to wonder what big wall you will hit next that will slow things down to that speed as well.

Where am I on this scale?

It depends on what time of day you ask me.

If you ask my husband? We are on the warp-speed path.

Today I am thinking we are more along the lines of the normal to slow path.
I have yet to hear our dossier is in Ethiopia... if it were there already it would be less than a month between our submission and it's arrival there, which would qualify for the warp-speed status. This week we will hit one month, which would be average. If it does not arrive this week.... I will start to obsess that we are slower-than-average for some reason.

As for other stuff...
I have planned a big adoption fundraiser yard sale for May 1st!
That seems to be good timing since in my heart, I am really hoping to be in the first travel group of June. Of course, in order to do that, we have to have our Holt fees paid in full as well as be ready to purchase 2 round trip and 3 one-way tickets!
I am also in the process of making these t-shirts to sell, but needing to finalize the design and the wording before we can proceed.
In addition to these two fundraisers, I am drowning in grant applications. Quite literally drowning. Each one has such different documentation required and the letters for each one are slightly different, that I am trying to just attack each one separately and cut and paste whatever I can from one to the other! They sure don't make it easy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wish I was a wabbit.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wish you could just crawl in a hole somewhere and let the whole world go on around you?

Nothing particularly earth-shattering today with us... nothing with the adoption... just TIRED.

Big drama over on Facebook that sucked some of my joy...
Feeling sorry for myself over the mess in the house that I don't have the energy to clean up tonight...
Husband who is stressed over the lack of progress on fundraising...
Me who gets upset that he is stressed...
Me who feels blamed for the lack of progress...
Getting frustrated with not being able to keep my house like I want it AND work AND help with homework...

Good things are out there too.
Sam had a very short speaking part in his 1st grade production tonight and the whole thing was SUPER cute.
We have a wonderful school district with great teachers who put extra effort into their classes.
My little sister is carrying around a fully baked baby Alice, who should make her debut ANY day now!
She will be my first niece! I have 5 nephews!
BIG answered prayer in my parents' world today!
My dossier should be in Ethiopia ANY day now, which will put us into the "waiting on a court date" category!

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

They can't all be sunshine and roses, right?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Updated info!

Late yesterday just as I was leaving work, I got an email from Holt with a new update on my babies!
I was so excited to read all about how they are progressing while in care!

Here are some tid-bits on each of my youngest three!

4-year old girl:
She has gained 3.3lbs since December!
She grew 1cm too!
She is reported to enjoy singing songs, 
praying with her care givers, 
and is doing "well for her age"!

3-year old girl:
She has gained 2.2lbs 
and grew 5cm since December!
She still just likes to play with her siblings... and a toy car!
She also loves to sing and is doing "well for her age"!

2-year old boy:
He has gained 2.2lbs
and grew 2cm since December!
He has a vocabulary of at least 20 words,
likes to play with his sisters, but not alone...
and he "can" follow directions of caretakers!
He is also doing "well for his age"!

I know it may not sound like much info, and it is a little more detailed than those few lines, but it's so encouraging to hear that they are growing and doing well socially. The little lines about their personalities are just about the most wonderful gift a waiting adoptive parent can receive! I can't even express how wonderful it is to hear something about your child's personality since you can't witness these things yourself yet! 

EVEN MORE excited to get things moving faster now!
On the fundraising front... we are in the process of ordering some t-shirts to sell! They are going to be SUPER cool, so start thinking about how many places you will wear yours this summer and build your spring shopping around using our t-shirt as the base for every outfit! ;)