Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home at Last!!!

It has already been a week and two days since we brought the kids home! We passed US Embassy on Monday, April 4th and began the long journey home on Thursday, April 7th. The kids did amazing on the plane-either sleeping or playing. They are adjusting well considering the huge change that just occurred in their lives. They are eating well, sleeping for nine hours a night (most nights), playing together nicely (most of the time) and getting used to their new home. Steve and I are hanging in there and have been good about tag teaming and giving each other breaks. Tucker still isn't so sure about this new arrangement but the kids love him. All is good:D

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Happy Day!!!

We found out early yesterday morning that we were approved to travel by the US Embassy. Our Embassy date is Monday! We are so thrilled and so relieved that this long journey to bring our kids home is almost over! Soon, they will be nestled in their beds, snuggling with us, playing with Tucker and exploring their new surroundings...words can not describe how happy and excited we are!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finally at Embassy

So our journey to bring M. and S. home has been much, much longer than we ever imagined. It has been 15 weeks since our court date. Since our last post, we found out that MOWA (the Ethiopian agency that overseas all adoptions) didn't like the wording of our criminal background letters and wanted new ones. Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as just sending off the letters to Ethiopia. Once they were obtained, we needed to have them notarized, certificated (with the state) then authenticated (at the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C.), all of which takes time. Once MOWA accepted our background letters, we waited to have the kids' birth certificates and passports issued-that finally happened last week. So finally, this past Wednesday all of the proper paperwork was submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia!

The Embassy has been investigating 90% of adoption cases so the likelihood of our case being investigated is very good. We are a bit anxious because our I-171-H (a critical document issued by the U.S. Immigration Office) expires April 15th. We are hopeful that we can bring M. and S. home before that time as applying for a new I-171-H will add more time to this already lengthy process.

Good friends of ours left on Thursday to meet their little boy who is in the same orphanage as our kids. We have some comfort knowing that M. and S. will get some love and attention from them. In the meantime we are rockin' out some major house projects...the kids' bathroom is getting demo'd this weekend....and enjoying some new pictures we were sent of our kids.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Still Waiting

It has been a while since I last posted. Unfortunately, we have no new news. We are still waiting for a US Embassy date. Fingers crossed that it happens soon. In the meantime we have been busy with house projects and currently are painting the playroom.

Colorado requires 24 hours of parent training for adoptions. The trainings have been very educational and enjoyable. For our family and friends I thought I would post some information that I found interesting about "Positive Adoption Language":

Positive Language.......... Negative Language
Birth parent..........Real parent
Biological parent..........Natural parent
Parent ..........Adoptive parent
My child ..........Adopted child
Birth child..........Own child
Was adopted.......... Is adopted
Terminate parental rights.......... Give up
Child placed for adoption.......... An unwanted child
Make an adoption plan.......... Give away
Waiting child..........Adoptable child; available child
Intercountry adoption.......... Foreign adoption
Child from abroad.......... Foreign child
Court termination.......... Child taken away
Child with special needs.......... Handicapped child
Born to unmarried parents.......... Illegitimate child

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One more step...

We are one more step closer to bringing M. and S. home!! We found out today that the kids' paperwork passed Ethiopian Court so now we just wait for that US Embassy Date which should be in the next 6-8 weeks!

I keep thinking that before we know it the four of us (plus Tucker) will be snuggling in front of that fire on those cold Colorado days!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back from Ethiopia

We arrived home Tuesday night after 34 hours of traveling and are finally coming out of the fog of jet lag. It was an emotional and amazing week! We met the kids on Tuesday, November 9th. S. (our son) ran up to me when we got out of the taxi. (The nanny at the orphanage told him that we were coming and didn't realize that M. was our daughter too). Once M. was told, she came over to us and hugged us. They are both so sweet and after a week with them (we were able to spend 2 hours a day at the orphanage) their personalities started to show. S. is very "happy go lucky", energetic and outgoing. He loves to play with his friends and with us. He would frequently run off to play with his friends then a while later come running back to us with his arms wide open to be picked up (it was amazing!) The kid has unbelievable eye hand/eye foot coordination and loves balls. M. is the more quiet, shy one and a little slow to warm up. She likes to sit on your lap and snuggle (it is so sweet). She is also a bit stubborn and likes to do things in her own time and way. She has an amazing smile and the most beautiful face. They both seem to understand that they are now brother and sister and have enjoyed playing together with us.

On Friday, November 12th, we passed the Ethiopian court and are officially S. and M.'s parents!! The judge was a beautiful, soft spoken Ethiopian woman who asked us a few simple questions and the whole thing was over in about two minutes. Later that day, we met S. and M.'s biological families. While this was difficult and very emotional, we are very happy that we had the opportunity to meet and learn about their families. We have decided that we are only going to share their stories with them (when they are older) and they can decide who they would like to share it with.

So the next step is more waiting (imagine that!). We will return to Ethiopia for our US Embassy date (which will hopefully be by January). At that point we (hopefully) will be given visas and passports for both kids and we can finally bring them home!

Leaving them was tough but at the same time I felt like the sooner we left, the sooner we can see them again and bring them home! When we left S. hugged us and then ran off to his friends; M. hugged us and wouldn't let go. We made a picture collage of the four of us (and Tucker) and taped it to the wall near their beds and also left a blanket for each of them. We hope that they find some comfort in this. Until then we have a lot of house projects to do to get ready for them. Hopefully the time will go fast since it is the holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! We surely have a lot to be thankful for this year:D

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Always Adoption

Back in 2001, I had an amazing opportunity to volunteer for a month in a Romanian orphanage and children's hospital. At the time, Romania was moving towards getting the children out of orphanages and into foster care homes. I was responsible for training foster care families and orphanage staff on issues relative to occupational therapy such as feeding, sensory integration and childhood development. I also had time to spend time with the children and in some cases, provided occupational therapy services (there is no such thing as occupational therapy in Romania). The staff was amazing, and on the whole, more than willing to learn anything they could to improve the quality of life for these children. They truly cared about the children but there was only so much that they could do when only there eight hours a day.

I can remember spending time in the infant rooms. The children were often fed with their bottles propped on blankets. They missed out on the bonding and socialization that happens when one is fed by a caregiver. When holding the infants, it felt like they couldn't get comfortable in my arms, as if they didn't know how to snuggle. Never once did a baby fall asleep while I was holding or rocking them. They were so used to calming and putting themselves to sleep that they couldn't do it with another person's touch. The older children craved attention from adults, one as adorable as the next, yet they lacked play and social skills that children raised in a loving home have. Being in Romania was hard and leaving Romania was could I find the balance to leave an impact in a mere month and emotionally separate myself so as not to get too attached?

I returned home with the resolve to adopt one day. There are so many children in the world without a loving family to come home to, a bed to sleep in, toys to play with, and food to fill their bellies. My Romanian experience helped me to realize that adoption was how I wanted to become a mother. At the time, Steve and I were dating. He was more than supportive of me when I decided to go to Romania for a month. And when I returned, he considered and then shared in my desire of adoption being part of our way to have a family.

So for us it has always been is our choice, our dream come true, our way of becoming the parents we have always wanted to be.