Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Commence Loopholes

Me: Atticus, you may not put dirt in your sister's hair!
Atticus: (contemplating) But I can put it in my brother's hair?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life

Atticus and Norah found two caterpillars and spent quite a long time nurturing them. It quickly became apparent that Norah's was D-E-A-D, but that didn't stop her from loving it. They drew their caterpillars houses using chalk and brought them herbs to eat. Atticus's eventually crawled away and we put Norah's in the garden so that it could wake up in a nice place.
Atticus picked tomatoes and basil from our garden for our caprese salad last night and cut the basil up for me using his scissors. It won't be long before we can turn over all culinary duties to him.

The kids made an airplane out of the couch cushions and were pretending to fly to Ethiopia to bring home their new siblings. Sigh. The waiting is hard on all of us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Afternoon Activity

Atticus requested that his most recent sticker chart be dedicated to a trip to the airport to watch the planes take off. Given that the airport is about five minutes from our house, always overly air-conditioned, and parking is free for the first half hour, I think we may have found a new favorite activity to add to our list of things to do when it's super hot outside.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Growing Friends

Last year not everybody was big enough to stand on the rail.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Siblings!

Atticus and Norah spent ten days with my parents and grandmother at the lake and just arrived home tonight. Paul and I had decided to wait until they were home before telling them the news about their new siblings. I wish I could post the video I took, but it includes the new kiddos' names and ages, so I can't do that. However, much excitement was produced. Atticus and Norah gazed at the pictures and then Atticus exclaimed, "Are they in your tummy right now, Mama?!" Norah found her own baby book and declared that the pictures were of her little sister (they don't look very similar at all). Then at bedtime, after telling me that his little brother will want to sleep in his room, Atticus added, "I'm pretty sure my new brother speaks Spanish."

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Happens Next?

Now that we have our referral, I know everybody wants to know when we get to bring our new little ones home. I do too! The answer is that it will depend on a lot of variables. There are three big milestones we have to hit:
1. Our Court Date - Paul and I will travel to Ethiopia and meet our new daughter and son. We will then then appear before a judge who will (hopefully!) okay the adoption. We will then travel in Ethiopia and return home without our children.
2. The Arrival of Our MOWA Letter - In order to be granted legal custody of the children, we need to have a letter from the Ministry of Women's Affairs. These letters were at the center of the big upheaval this spring when it was announced that the ministry was going to reduce the number of letters written. Some families find that this letter is already in their file when they appear for court while some are finding that it takes many weeks for it to get there.
3. Our American Embassy Date - After our MOWA letter arrives, we will be submitted for an appointment at the American Embassy in Addis Ababa. When that date arrives, we will travel for the second time to Ethiopia and get to bring our children home.

How long will all of this take? We really can't predict that. There have been many changes to the Ethiopian adoption process in the last year and families' experiences seem to vary widely. I've read stories of people who got referrals last July, traveled for court in October, and were able to bring their children home in December. I've also read stories of families who received referrals at the same time, traveled for court in December and were able to bring their children home in April. I've heard one or two stories about families who have seen an entire year pass before they were able to bring home their new children. The slowdown with the MOWA letters is just going into effect and it will be "interesting" to see how that affects the process. There doesn't always seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason as to why some families are able to move through the process so much faster than others. Certainly the entire wait will be an extended and painful lesson in patience. Our little ones have already been in institutional care for a long time and we obviously want to have them home as soon as possible.

For now though we wait some more. The Ethiopian court closes for two months beginning at the beginning of August but we're very much hoping that our agency will get our paperwork submitted to get in line for a court date before then. I've set my heart on an October court date, though there are no guarantees of that and it could end up taking much longer. IF we get submitted for a court date before August 5th, we should be notified of our court date sometime in late August or September. Please keep your fingers crossed about that for us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Referral!!!!!!

We know who our new children are! We are delighted to announce that we will be adding TWO more children to our family. We have a young toddler son and a young toddler daughter waiting for us in Ethiopia!

On Friday evening, Paul and I were in LaGuardia Airport being ushered through security at one of the smaller terminals. As I put my purse into one of the x-ray bins, my cellphone started to ring and I glanced at it and noticed as it was heading into the x-ray machine that it was our adoption agency. Panic ensued as I told Paul who it was and tried to decide whether to answer it. By that time, my belongings, including the phone, were already in the machine. We went through the human scanner and Paul got pulled aside to be frisked. It took forever and I was frankly freaking out. Meanwhile, I checked my voicemail and it was empty. Paul dug around in his bag for his phone (which was off), turned it on, and he didn't have a message either. We debated whether to call the agency. Paul wanted to wait but relented when he saw the look in my eye that roughly translated to "Your wife will explode if you try to prevent her from calling the agency Right Now." I got to call.

To give you an idea of ambiance, there were about three thousand people sitting around this hot, stuffy, enormously loud terminal. We were supposed to be making our connecting flight momentarily. However, the adoption coordinator confirmed that this was indeed The Call. She could tell us about our new children. I'm sure all the bystanders in the terminal wondered why I was pacing around the room shaking and shrieking. That area of the airport doesn't have free wireless internet, so Paul immediately started the process of purchasing a subscription on his iPad so that we could see their pictures. The photo above is of Paul looking at their paperwork while calling his mom to tell her the news.

They are both darling. Our new little guy is already looking like a serious little man and is so, so cute. Our new baby girl is a chubby peanut with the most squeezable looking little cheeks. We're completely enamored.

More Camp Pictures

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ben & Jerry's







This is at the graveyard for retired flavors. Norah took some of these pictures and directed all of them, instructing us all to look very sad. I miss you, From Russia with Buzz!

I've spent every summer of my life plus four years of college within driving distance to the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory, but I'd never visited. Middlebury College stocks its dining halls with the factory rejects of ice cream and I used to eat it approximately two meals per day - sometimes three if there was a really good flavor out at breakfast. When I graduated from college Paul and I were already engaged and I had purchased my wedding dress. I got home to Indiana and couldn't figure out why I was suddenly losing weight. Normally this is not something I would consider to be a problem at all, but alterations to wedding gowns are expensive. It finally occurred to me that the weight loss was due to withdrawal from the ice cream. Only quality ice cream is worth eating, in my opinion and there was no way I could have afforded to buy the good stuff on a daily basis. I ended up being able to exchange the dress for a smaller size and we all lived happily ever after.


The drive to the factory was gorgeous and the factory itself is situated right next to the mountains of Stowe. The tour is cheap (free for kids, three dollars for adults) and includes free ice cream at the end. There's a very nice playground at the site that allowed the kids to run off some energy before being packed into the car and Atticus was fascinated by the machinery that packs the ice cream. Overall, I would totally recommend the tour to anyone who will be in that area!

Tongue Mountain









We spent last week with my parents on Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains. Before we had children, Paul and I used to love hiking there in the summers so we were very excited that the kidlettes are now old enough to accompany us. The hike up Tongue Mountain is a little over three miles round-trip. There may have been a little whining and then some promises of ice cream for those who finished the trek. It was a hot day and by the time we reached the summit I think we'd inspired about half the other hikers on the trail that they, too would enjoy some ice cream after the finish. We ended up having a good time, however, and the kids were proud of their inaugural hike.