Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The next day, my brother and sister-in-law joined us and we spent the day visiting, swimming in the lake, going for pontoon boat rides, and, of course, eating. We came home early and spent the evening at a neighborhood party, again eating, watching a Bouche Ball tournament, and watching fire works. We had a great day! Unfortunately, I did not have my camera....
...and High School Musical
Hannah in her old room....Doesn't she blend in with the walls?
A close up of her border
Zach posing in Kaleb's newly painted room....Ahhhh, peace and serenity!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
When Wednesday came and we hadn't heard anything, my worrying rador kicked in. What if there is an issue with our paperwork and they couldn't schedule us an embassy date? What if the guest house is full and they are having difficulty finding us a place to stay? What if....
Thankfully, up until that time I was still in Chicago. However, by the time my colleague and I arrived at the airport, I had "what if'ed" myself into calling the agency...I only got the voice mail of the director. I resigned myself not to leave a message, but to just wait for a while longer....So, we had lunch at the airport and then I called again. When I reached her voice mail again, I left a message telling her that I was worried that something was wrong because I hadn't heard from them. I also told her that if there was an issue scheduling the guest house, that we could stay at the Hilton. (I have no problem staying in nice hotels. :o)) Then, to make sure no stone was unturned, I called the assistant director too. "Please tell the director to call or email me just to let me know what's going on," I said.
My flight landed in Atlanta at 7:05, early! Hurray! I quickly turned on my cell phone...but no messages were waiting. By the time I retrieved my bag from baggage claim, I had called the agency once, okay maybe 3 - 4 times, but I only received their voice mail. Hmmm...I'd try another tactic. Hannah was home; I called her to check our emails. Perhaps they had sent us the travel information. However, nothing was there. By that time, I had resigned myself that we would not hear about travel dates until Thurs.
My ride home was relatively uneventful. I say relatively because I was pulled over and given a speeding ticket for the first time in my life....I guess my brain was elsewhere.
My in-laws were at the house when I arrived; they had been helping Tim watch the kids when I was away. I hugged and kissed Hannah and Zach and sat down with them for a bit to catch up....Tim came home....I went up to do a final check of emails (routine)....and I saw it! Finally! Our travel dates!!!!
However, it was not 6 weeks away; it was not even 4 weeks away; it was 2 1/2 weeks away!!! Yes, 2 1/2!!!! It stated that we had to be in Ethiopia on July 14 or 15 and could leave no sooner than the evening of the 21st. Our embassy date would be the 17th.
We were thrilled! Surprised! Shocked! And scared! How were we going to get everything prepared for our little man and get us prepared for travel in 2 1/2 weeks???
Tim and I didn't sleep that night. I know I had "to do" lists running through my head....After having a couple of days to let it sink in though, I am calmer. We'll get what we can get done, and what we can't get done, we'll do after we return. The important part is that we'll have our son home and he will have precious time with Tim and the kids before they have to go back to school. That is truly a gift!
The morning was bearable. I worked; I packed; I left half of my wardrobe at home,(Yes, my head wasn't completely there.)and then I drove to the airport around noon...and anxiety set in. Sitting in the car for an hour with nothing to do but think about what transpired half a world away was excruciating. To keep myself from calling the agency, (I didn't want to interrupt the possible phone call they would be having with the lawyer in Ethiopia.) I called all of the ladies who worked for me to "check in" before my flight. Then, I called my sister. Having 3 telephone conversations and leaving 3 voice mails left me with 5 minutes to get to the airport. The time was a little after 1:00 and I had to physically move the phone from my reach in order for me not to call the agency. (I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't call until 2:00.)
Check-in and security moved relatively quickly at the airport (the one instance when I was trying to prolong my time). I was thankful that I had a long train ride to the D terminal before I had to sit...and wait...and think....My phone rang. I jumped to answer; it was Tim. "Did you hear anything?" I asked. (I had left the agency Tim's number to call too.) "No, did you?" he replied. "No," I responded. That was the gist and the extent of our phone call.
I was thankful when one of my colleagues that I left a message for called. We caught up on work related events for awhile...and then my cell phone rang again. Time stopped; it was Dove!
"Hello," I answered. "How did it go?"
"Do you feel like a parent?" Kari, our assistant adoption director asked. "Do you feel like a parent?"
"Yes, I always feel like a parent," I responded. (I have been a parent for almost 11 years now, but I don't think she remembered that.)
"Do you feel like a parent?" she repeated.
"YES," I practically screamed into the receiver.
"Well, you are officially a new parent today!" she answered.
I honestly can't remember the exact words I said back - probably "Thank goodness!" or "I'm so excited!" I do remember telling her that I was so thankful that everything went well. However, I was thankful for a lot more than that. I was thankful to Kumsa's mother for loving him so much to bring him to the orphanage to live; thankful to the people at the Toukoul orphanage for matching us with a beautiful, healthy child; thankful that G-d was watching over us and all was progressing smoothly....I was just thankful.
Of course, I immediately shared the news with Tim. He was actually speechless when I called. Later, he would tell me that Zach was so happy and astounded he cried all the way home from his baseball practice.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We should receive the call from our agency tomorrow afternoon regardless of the direction the court rules. Hopefully, I won't be on a plane to Chicago when that call comes. (I have to train some of our customers this week.) If I am, I've given the agency every other possible number to reach Tim or me.
Did I mention that it's currently 7:35 in Ethiopia? Kumesa should be waking up...along with our lawyer. I am hoping for a great Monday!
The kids had a great time, and we were able to touch base with friends we met when we started our Ethiopian adoption journey in January and meet new ones. We were prepared to picnic after, but the rain stopped us, so we lunched at the Pizza Cafe.
We truly had a wonderful time!
My sister had a training retreat downtown on Thurs. and Fri., so the kids and I picked her up for dinner on Thurs. and walked around Atlantic Station. We went to the new H & M Store....Boy, was it crowded! It had fun clothes, but we did not buy anything. On Fri., she drove out to Loganville to spend the night with us before her journey up to Lexington to meet her family. Even though time was short for both visits, I LOVED seeing Scott, the baby, and her. I miss them terribly and hope to see them again soon.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
We are crossing our fingers that all will go well on the 23rd. Our agency should notify us that Monday to the court's decision and, hopefully, we'll learn when our embassy date is shortly after. We travel based on our embassy date which is usually 4 - 6 weeks after a favorable court date.
I have high hopes that all will go well the first time through since the agency said they had much more information on Kumesa's background than they usually receive for their children. However, the following could potentially happen:
1. Even though Kumesa was a clear relinquishment where the orphanage now has all legal rights to the child, if his mother is still alive (She was very sick when she relinquished him.), she could be required to appear in court. If she doesn't appear, we will not pass.
2. If she is now deceased, does our lawyer or the court know this? If not and they expect her to be there, we will not pass.
3. If there is a question about the paperwork, we will not pass.
4. If not all documentation is present, we will not pass.
Okay, now I have it all out of my system, and I will remain positive. We will pass! We will pass! We will pass!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I thought I'd give you some background on our referral day for Kumesa. It was Monday, April 28, my grandmother's 89th birthday around 3:00 p.m. The kids were in school. Tim was at school (so I thought); I was working away...and the phone rang. I saw it was from the Portland area, thinking it was either my work or the adoption agency. It was the adoption coordinator from Dove on the line.
She said, "I have some news for you."
I said, "Oh no, what's wrong?"
See, since our dossier had arrived in Ethiopia April 1, I thought that there must be something wrong with the paperwork.
However, she immediately said, "I am looking at a picture of a beautiful boy! He's 6 months old."
I almost dropped the phone. Now? Today? I had expected 4 - 6 months for a referral, not 4 - 6 weeks....I was speechless. I went ahead and had her send the pictures and information on Kumesa immediately. If I was thinking clearly and had time to plan it out, I would have probably waited for Tim, but honestly, he wasn't first on my mind. I wanted to see that boy!
Of course, after I saw his delicious face, we tried to get Tim on the line. He was in Home Depot and service was not available where he was. I told our adoption coordinator that we would both call her back when he got home and immediately dialed and redialed his number. When I finally reached him and told him the news, all he could say was, "I told you so." See, he had a feeling that we were going to hear something about a referral that week. (That was very strange because I am usually the one who believes in "feelings" and "intuition," not him.)
I don't know how many laws he broke driving as fast as he could home to see our new munchin', but he arrived in record time. We just stared at his picture: big eyes, fine features, full lips, long fingers....He was beautiful!
When the kids arrived home from school, we were on the phone with the adoption agency asking questions, but mostly absorbing the information. Hannah was the first in and when I asked her whether she wanted to see a picture of her baby brother, she screamed and ran up the stairs. (Our adoption coordinator was laughing.) Zach came next and flew up the stairs too. We were all thrilled and just amazed.
Fun facts about Kumesa (at time of referral):
Birthday - October 4, 2007 (Zach and Hannah's original due date - Strange, huh?)
Meaning of Name - His Thousand
Place of birth - Ambo, which is a spa town (They have those in Ethiopia? See below.)
Date of entree into SOSEE (orphanage) - December 4, 2007
Weight - 5900 grams (approx. 13 lbs.)
Height - 64 cm (approx. 2 ft. 1 in.)
A street in Ambo
Ambo is also called Hagere Hiwot. It is approximately 77 miles west of Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia.
Monday, June 9, 2008
So much has happened over the past 5 months, but I will highlight a few:
1. In Feb., Hannah got her braces off.
2. I started a new job as instructional manager for KC Distance Learning in April...and I LOVE it. I'm able to work with great people and get back to doing what I truly love...focusing on quality online instruction. In addition, although I have to travel every so often, I can basically do the work from the comfort of my home.
3. We vacationed at my parents' house in FL for spring break...and Dana and Meredith joined us! We had so much fun. We were able to go to the beach and visit with many family members. (It was Cousin Sasha's birthday.)
4. Hannah and Zach have successfully completed the 4th grade. Both were invited to join Jr. Beta next year. Also, Zach is participating in safety patrol and Hannah is working on the morning news show. I'm so proud of them!
5. Zach earned his high brown belt in karate and the best student award. He also completed a succcessful baseball season where he played on the Yellow Jackets team (assistant coached by his father).
6. Hannah made fabulous pieces of art, including paintings and figurines, from her art class this year. She also attended drama camp at the end of May. (Boy, was that her nitch!) :o)
7. AND...we got a referral for a beautiful baby boy at the end of April. He is currently 8 months old and he's healthy! (More on this later....)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
The kids and I headed to Jacksonville, FL on Friday to visit my sister, her husband, and my new niece, Meredith Olivia. She is delicious! We had so much fun holding her, feeding her, and playing with her...and she loved her cousins, Hannah and Zach.
What a great weekend!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Today, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant and met other families either in the process of adopting from Ethiopia or have completed the Ethiopian adoption process. Everyone was so warm and friendly. We received some wonderful advice, listened to great stories, and ate Ethiopian food for the first time....Well, most of us did; Hannah had tiramisu. I had the vegetarian platter, Tim had lamb, and Zach had shrimp. There are no utensils to eat with; you simply eat with your hands. You scoop up the food with sponge-like bread. It was good! Zach and I really enjoyed ours, but Tim did not. When the waitress saw that Tim was not eating his, she immediately took it off of the bill even though he told her he simply was not hungry.
We're looking forward to another branch of our life journey....Mind you, we're not giving up our China adoption plans....We're just branching out in another direction for the time being.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
1. Thanksgiving in Jacksonville - Tim, the kids, and I met my sister and her husband in Jacksonville for Thanksgiving. The kids and I left the Sunday before, my grandma and mom came that Tues., and Tim flew in on Wed. Needless to say, my sister's house was crowded for a while, but we had lots of fun! She was eight months pregnant then, so eating was definitely on the agenda. As soon as blogger lets me post some photos, I will post some of her shower. (It's not letting me post pictures tonight.)
2. Chanukah - Tim, the kids, and I had a great time celebrating Chanukah this year. We made latkas the first night, and the kids received a present each night.
3. Zach's High Blue Belt - Zach earned his high blue belt in Dec. He's now half-way to earning his black belt.
4. The Birth of Meredith Olivia Bauries - My beautiful niece, Meredith, was born on December 22 in the early morning. She weighed 8 lbs., 6 oz. and both mom and baby were fine. Meredith is a great eater, and at 2 weeks old is already almost 9 lbs.
5. Christmas - We celebrated Christmas with the whole Watkins' clan on Sunday, Dec. 23. Mom and Dad Watkins stayed with us through Christmas. The highlight (other than just being together) was the Wii. I think Tim and I had as much fun playing the Wii as the kids did. Dance, Dance Revolution is definitely my favorite.
6. New Years - We had our traditional New Year's dinner at Blue Willow Inn with the Watkins' clan. There is just something about going there when it's decorated for the holidays; it's just beautiful. We spent time investigating each room and evaluating the decor; then, of course, we spent time in the gift shop. After, Tim, the kids, and I just came home and watched the ball/peach drop for New Years. (Hannah made it; Zach did not.) It was just nice to have a quiet evening with family.
You are now officially caught up! (I'll post more if I missed something.) Right now, Tim's in the midst of basketball season, the kids are doing karate (Zach) and art (Hannah), and I'm working away.