Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Suitcase Packing is like a game of Tetris

Our visas arrived today.  Woo Hoo!
Most of the packing is done.  There is still the ongoing 'shifting things around' to optimize space.  It'll be a challenge, but we're planning on making the trip with only our carry-ons (ie. no checked baggage).  If it was the middle of summer, it might be a little easier.  However where we're headed is C-O-L-D.  Boots and several layers are a must.  Add in some small gifts, granola bars, and the "just-in-case" medications we hope to NOT need... well... it's a challenge for even the most skilled suitcase packer I've ever met (Dave)!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Where to start ???
It's been an incredibly crazy few days, but let me back up.

The 'realness' of adopting hits me in stages.  Every once in awhile I take a giant step forward in that realm.  Monday was one of those days.  I was blindsided with the thought "This is really happening.  It's not just a 'good idea' anymore."

Hello ?!?  You spend your days compiling documents, reading adoption blogs, and scheduling doctors' appointments... and you're just figuring this out now?

Yes and no.

It's like when you first see those 2 little pink lines.  While you know you're pregnant, it becomes more real after the blood test... the first flutter... out-growing your jeans... not being able to touch your toes... this really is  happening.

Fast-forward to Wednesday morning.  The phone rang and the brief thought it might be our Social Worker flashed through my mind.  As I reached for the phone, Caller ID told me I was correct.

"Carla, you dossier's been registered..."
                              ".... you need to fly out on the third."

WHAT ???!!!???

We were suppose to have our dossier registered.  [wait]   Get out travel dates.  [wait]   Travel.


I felt like Aaron Rodgers after winning the Super Bowl...
    "Aaron Rodgers, now that you've won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do?"
            ... "I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD !"

"WE'RE GOING TO [ insert country here ] !!!"

The excitement and tears were soon quelled by the list of things needing to occur before departure. 
-- childcare secured:  check
-- visas:  pending
-- flights:  check
-- etc. etc. etc.

Tasks are being checked off of our list.  The packing has commenced.  The anticipation grows.

Before I go back to chiseling away at my to-do list, I'm going to steal a closing line from Reece's Rainbow Blogger Mommy Ashley.
One thing I know for sure:
             ...next week we'll meet our Little Dude!

Friday, January 27, 2012

We Passed!

There's a whole list of college exams that I prepared less  for than the "test" we took today.  For the past 3 weeks I have used gallons of hand lotion in hopes of "passing" our USCIS fingerprinting.  Okay, maybe gallons  is an exaggeration, but I've use a lot.  From what the officer explained to me this morning, the digital fingerprinting measures the moisture in your skin.  You also run the risk of being turned away if you have an open wound on the pads of your fingers.

My patenal grandfather was a wonderful man.  However, one less-than-desireable trait I inherited from him was the tendency toward the ends of my fingers cracking and bleeding in the winter. 

[Enter my OCD-like handcare over the past 3 weeks]

Away went the glue gun (I can't tell you how many times I've blistered my finger tips using that thing!) and out came the lotion.  No more patching the little cracks in my fingers with Super Glue (works like a charm if you've never tried it).

My efforts payed off and not only do I now have beautifully soft hands, we both "passed" our fingerprinting!

I have to say, the whole experience at USCIS/DHS (United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services/Dept. of Homeland Security) was great.  The staff was efficient, pleasant, and we were on our way home in about 20 minutes!  The waiting room is a fun place to people-watch.  Each face has a story.  We were the exception... the only ones there for an adoption petition.  All of the other faces-- many different colors and ages-- were there because they are in some phase of the immigration process.  They were there pursuing the legal right to all of the priviledges that I was born with... the ones I take for granted... the things I am too often not thankful for.  Because my great-grandparents did the hard work of immigrating to the United States, I can choose my political view, vote, birth/adopt as many babies as we choose, and worship God without risk of persecution.  Thanks, USCIS, for this reminder.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wait - Waiting - Waited

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, I pretty much stink at waiting.  You'd think a girl who waited until her third decade for Mr. Right to come along would have gotten good at waiting by now, but it's just not so.

I realize that checking my email dozens of times a day is like repetitively pushing the button while waiting for an elevator... it doesn't speed anything up.  But push  we must!

Before you go throwing a pitty party for me and a wait that seems to be dragging on, stop and think about all of the children waiting  in orphanages around the world.  In the grand scheme of things, our wait is short.  Our dossier will soon be registered and we'll receive our travel dates.  Yes, there will be more waiting  for a court date then another wait until we can actually bring our little boy home.  But in the end, that's exactly where that little guy will be... HOME.

Hop over to Reece's Rainbow's list of waiting children.  Take time to look at their faces and read their stories.  These kids have been waiting  their entire lifetime.

I'm not going to lie.  International adoption is neither easy nor cheap.  But it can be done.
Merriam-Webster defines Ransom  as "a consideration paid for the release of someone from captivity".  This ransom is paid in many ways, not just monetary fees.  These "considerations" include mountains of paperwork, adoption prep classes, travel, time away from children & family at home, all of the messiness of life after institutionalization, and yes... waiting.  All are small prices to pay for freedom.

Today I am choosing to believe and claim God's timing and purpose in our wait.  It seems like a no-brainer because He is God afterall... of course He knows best and is in control of the timing.  But this is a shift of focus from me and my ideas of timing and to God and His perfect will for the timing. 

Will I continue to check my email?  sure.   But I'll do so with a renewed commitment of trusting God's timing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My weekend project

I spent a good chunk of this weekend sewing.    I really hadn't planned it that way, but once my creative juices got flowing (and the boys were busy playing with Daddy), it just kinda happened...
...or maybe it was my attempt at avoiding housework ???  Either way, it was fun and productive.

The project?  A quilt for our Little Dude.

The center block has his photo and the four corner blocks are of us.  Across the top it says "My Family" and the bottom says "Daddy, Mommy, brother _____, and brother _____ love you."

We'll take this to leave with our Little Dude until we're able to return for court and free him from orphanage life forever.

Hopefully our dossier was delivered to the MOES last week and we will receive news that it's been "registered" this week.  Once registered, it will be a few weeks until we receive our travel date and will head to EE a few weeks after that.  It's surreal to think that not only could we be half way around the world next month, we'll also be finally holding our Little Dude.  For the first time in his life he'll experience the love of a Daddy and Mommy.  God is a-maz-ing.  I am blessed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thank You

A great BIG thank you to those who have shown their support in prayer, blog comments, the purchase of Just Love Coffee, an Adoption Bug T-shirt, or a donation to our Reece's Rainbow Adoption Grant.  While we do receive an email when someone orders a t-shirt, we don't know who has ordered coffee and will not receive the list of donors to our grant until right before we travel.  Therefore, unless you've personally told us of your purchase or donation, we have no way to individually thank you at this time.

And so with greatful hearts, we offer you this big-- albeit generic-- blog THANK YOU.  You have and continue to make a difference.  Your journeying with us has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Just keep knitting...knitting...knitting...

It's no big secret that I enjoy anything handmade-- and especially handknit.  I love the process of crafting gifts for those dear to me... from the moment an idea starts rolling around in my brain until it's presented to it's rightful owner. 

Now that my Christmas projects are done, I've started on some gifts we'll take when we travel.  It's a common (and expected) practice to take gifts for those who assist you along your journey... our interpreter... our driver... the orphanage director... you get the picture.  Because we'll be making at least 2 and probably 3 trips before actually bringing our little guy home, we'll need multiple gifts.  Something 'trinkety' during the first trip and more substantial gifts when we actually take custody of our Little Dude.  Our Social Worker told me that a handmade gift would be welcomed as they appreciate the thought and time put into it.  If it's something useful and warm-- like a hat, scarf, or mittens-- then bonus!

Let the knitting begin.

Currently I'm working on Infinity Scarves.  I have yarn designated for 5 of them and will accent each with a satin flower pin (also handmade).  I'm not completely sure who will be the recipients of these particular gifts, but right now in my mind at least two or three of them will be for our little guy's nannies.

While we're hoping and praying that our Little Dude is loved and well cared for within the orphanage walls, we have no way of knowing that right now.  Our little guy will be the first Ds adoption that our agency has had in his region.  There are no families who have gone before to tell what they saw.  I'm not going to receive photo another mom was able to snap while adopting her child.  Instead, it will be our first trip when we get these answers.

I really don't how I'll feel if I witness our little guy's nanny being less than kind and loving toward him.  I have a feeling that Momma Bear may need to be restrained.  Seriously though, I'm hoping that inspite of anything, I'll be able to show her (them) love and gratitude.  These caregivers are overextended and under resourced. 

Another project occupying my needles right now is a shawl.  I'm a total sucker for a handknit shawl.  I LOVE them all... lace, triangle, Faroese, rectangle, garter, stockinette, circular...
I received some natural/undyed worsted weight wool as a Christmas gift and have cast-on another modified Mara (knitting friends- check out my Ravelry page if you want the specifics).  This will be my traveling shawl.  It'll make the trip to EE with us.  The squishiness of garter stitch will not only provide warmth but serve as a nice pillow on the airplane.

I guess I'm not getting any closer to finishing either project by sitting here at the computer... gotta go knit!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Biometrics Appointment

Thursday we received notification of our biometrics (digital fingerprinting) appointment-- which is the end of January.  It's great timing because it allows us enough time to secure a babysitter for that morning, it does not  interfere with some major things happening at Dave's work over the next few weeks, and yet is close enough to not make it seem like we're waiting forever.

In actuality, things are rolling along quite quickly.  Our documents are in-country, may already be translated, and are scheduled to be delivered to the MOES this coming Monday.  If all goes as planned, we may be making our first trip sometime in February, which would be amazing on so many levels.  We may get to be there for our little guy's 4th birthday.  While what we'd be able to do to celebrate within the orphanage walls would not parallel what we do to celebrate our sons' birthdays at home, I'm pretty sure it will be the first time his birthday is acknowledged and his life is celebrated.

I've started a notebook of "the essentials" of our day-to-day life... doctors' names and phone numbers, Medical Power of Attorney, etc. for family members who will be caring for our boys while we travel.  As our departure draws near, I'm not sure I'll be thinking straight and hope this aleviates some of the last minute rush.

I'm also rallying our Army of Knitters to create hats to donate to our Little Dude's orphanage.  It hasn't taken much arm-twisting... we had a GREAT time doing it for my friend Robyn's trip and many have already responded to the plea I sent out this morning.  I'm not sure if it's their love of knitting or me saying I'll make Buffalo Chicken Dip again that caused a few of them to commit so quickly  :o)

Finally, we have also started the process of gathering our court documents.  Because many of these are time-sensitive (ie. have to be valid within 3 months of our court date), we can only gather 6 of them now.  The other 21 will have to wait until after our first trip.  The process is much the same... gather the documents, have them notarized then apostilled before sending them to our little guy's country for translation and delivery.  The main difference with court documents is that they will be scrutinized to the Nth degree.  Every detail and figure must agree.

So that's where we are in our Journey to EE... With a toddler and pre-schooler underfoot, our wait is anything but dull.  I am truly blessed.