Monday, November 23, 2009

An Unfamiliar Feeling

So, this is a strange new feeling. We are SO THRILLED to being so close to the day we meet Ari, yet it's very surreal. Like it's hard to believe it's really happening. I made a registry, for crying out loud. There was a time I never thought I'd get a chance to do that!! We lived with NOTHING happening for so long, it's hard to wrap our brains around all of this reality. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it's not going to happen or there's been a mistake or there's a new huge delay (that's really depressing, isn't it?). In the meantime I am super-busy with work, preparing to take an extended time off to be at home with Ari (SO EXCITED!). When I'm not at my computer or at a deposition I spend a lot of time silent, deep in thought, not able to turn off all the checklists I'm making in my head. Roger also is a little more pensive and quiet these days. Luckily we started preparing for a baby a year ago, so we do definitely have a jump on things!

We are still waiting to hear of our embassy appointment. We're being told it will likely be the first or second week in January. Hopefully we will have confirmation soon. I'm sad he won't be home for Christmas, but it is still just around the corner and we are not complaining one bit! I am planning to be completely done with work by the end of next week and then it is full steam ahead with travel and more baby preparations!! We can't wait!!!


With all the great news of passing court comes a whole new set of issues to think/talk/worry about. Abby and I made it through the first week with a few hurdles but we were able to keep a good attitude and make it to the weekend. That's when Abby got a set of "travel documents" to look through and we decided to start checking out some travel agencies. This is the scene Friday night as I'm almost asleep...

Abby: When does your passport expire?
Me: June, 2010.....WHY?
Abby: Just reading and in different publications it says your passport cannot expire within 6-months of travel. In order to get a VISA in to Ethiopia your passport has to be good for at least 6-months after you arrive.
Me: And....
Abby: Looks like you are going to have to get your passport renewed.

So this morning I did one of the most nerve-racking things I've done in a long time. I mailed off my current passport, along with a check, two photos and application to the passport office in Philadelphia. It's nerve-racking because right now I have NO WAY of leaving the country. We aren't expecting to travel until the first of the year, but now the race is on to see who can get their paperwork ready first: Me or Ari. At least there aren't any Holidays this time of year for the Passport office to take off. Oh wait.......

Just another fun step in International Adoption. Lesson learned.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No News news.

I've talked to our agency a couple of times and they have received no word from Ethiopia today. Our agency did double-check this morning and was able to confirm for me that our case was indeed scheduled to be heard on the 12th, that it wasn't rescheduled without us knowing about it, but no one has gotten word as far as the outcome or if it was for sure heard. Sorry to be so anti-climactic, but I know there are many who are awaiting any news at all from us.

I did read a great post today on another blog that describes our current situation exactly, written by Alisa, an adoptive mother who has been through it and now has her son home. So hopefully it will give you a better perspective that this is the nature of the Ethiopian courts, it's not just me and Roger who get to experience all these wonderful delays. If you make it through court on your first try, consider yourself lucky!

And to put it all in perspective, I thought I'd include this forward that I received a while back and still think about often because I think it speaks a lot of truth. And because I'm getting tired of writing about our adoption.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God.. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?"
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38.. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace Under Pressure

After my post from yesterday, I thought I should maybe try this again. You'll have to forgive me -- I am a work in process, still learning how to handle and manage all of my "adoption" emotions. As they say, patience is a virtue.

I am not mad at our agency, per se. I know they are doing the very best they can with the resources they have. But, due to my control freak nature and desire to know all there is to know (yes, I have always been this way), it is difficult to endure this process with no real explanation. BUT, I have finally come to the conclusion I don't need an explanation. Because even if we had an explanation, it wouldn't change anything that's currently happening with our case in Ethiopia. So for now I am working on letting go. Learning how to live gracefully under pressure. The highs in the adoption process are so very high and the lows so incredibly low. I think there is a learning curve to managing it all, realizing that you will experience both ends of the spectrum before the day arrives when you meet your child. We do believe Ari will eventually come home, but we are working on letting go of our expectations. They do us no good. When it is meant to happen it will happen. Maybe that's Thursday. Maybe that's in six months. Maybe that's in two years. Until then we are doing the best we can to reflect international adoption in a good light, to enjoy today and not yearn for tomorrow. So I apologize when the difficult aspect of this adoption comes through my words. It just means we are experiencing some lows.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 56:9-11

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Insanity Continues

Our case was not heard today. Now we're being told it's been rescheduled for Thursday, the 12th. In three days. But no one can/will tell us why. Are you surprised? Because I am not. I will be surprised, though, if this adoption even ever happens. I am thisclose to losing all faith in our adoption agency. International adoption is very complicated. I GET THAT!!! With that being said, it is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to choose an agency who knows what they're doing. We are learning that lesson the hard way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

College Week

This past Monday Roger and I traveled up to Fulton, Missouri (Westminster College), to speak to a freshman seminar class about our adoption. Well, okay, Roger was speaking -- I was sitting to the side listening to him speak and helping out with details or dates he may have forgotten. As we all know, I am no public speaker. Definitely #1 on my list of least favorite things to do. I did, however, maybe kind of take over the question-and-answer session afterwards, so in the end it was a team effort. And let me tell you, what a great experience it was for us. We are definitely used to talking about our adoption with other adoptive families, close friends and family, but this was by far a new forum for us in which we were able to talk about our passion. With friends and family it is easy to be uncensored when we talk about the adoption process -- to speak of our frustrations, selfish wants and opinions, our impatience and worst fears. But when speaking in an educational setting to people who don't know us, don't know much about international adoption, well, it changes the way in how you word things. You for sure want them to know how it's not easy, how it's emotionally challenging, but yet you also want them to see the big picture of international adoption and how great it really is. The students had lots of insightful questions for us and for the most part seemed truly intrigued and interested to hear what we had to say. At the beginning of the class Roger did a recap for them of our infertility journey, all the testing and procedures we had done leading up to our decision to adopt, and, boy, I'm not sure they were expecting to hear such intimate details about us. About 30 seconds into the presentation when Roger said "So in April '06 Abby went off birth control," you could hear people shifting in chairs and clearing their throats. Too funny. At least Roger knows how to get their attention! But, as I said, it was an awesome experience for us and almost therapeutic in a way. We are at a "high stress point" in our adoption process right now, and for us to be able to share our international adoption experience to a room full of young, open minds was really so refreshing and good for us. We are excited to get the feedback from the class next week!

And then to end "College Week" I am heading up to Des Moines this weekend to see my cousin Megan who is following in my footsteps and attending AIB College of Business. I'm looking forward to being in the old dorm building again, reminiscing, probably driving Megan crazy with all my "I remember when" stories. I CANNOT even believe it's already been 10 years since I started college. Wow. So, yeah, it will be good to be out of town this weekend and have a distraction for two days before our next court date on Monday. We are, so, so, so hoping things go well on Monday. There are five or six other families with our agency who also have court the same day, so I'm hoping that works in our favor. Does that make sense? Probably not. At this point any logical reasoning we used to have has gone out the window. We have become really good at speculating about all sorts of circumstances that could, would, should work in our favor. Anything to get us through the day at this point.