Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Event Down

When we found out that we'd passed court this morning, Paul posted a Facebook update saying that he felt like he'd just completed a leg of the Ironman Triathlon. It's one of the best analogies of this adoption process that I've seen - with the added caveat that you don't know at the beginning of any leg of this race exactly how long the course will be.

We go to the pool almost every weekend, but I can't tell you how long it's been since I swam the entire length of it and I haven't ridden a bicycle since college unless you count pedaling the kids' bikes to demonstrate. I do know a little bit about running, however, and can tell you that the wait for a referral was like signing up for a one-mile fun run only to find out that it was actually a 10k. Totally doable, but a real drag if you weren't prepared, were worrying that finish line would shut down before you got there, and all the good varieties of Jimmy John's sandwiches would be eaten at the schwag station before you had a turn to enjoy one.

The journey from getting our referral to passing court was akin to anticipating a 10k only to find that you were actually on the half-marathon course - and a really hilly, hot one at that - with very few water stations, poor organization, and road signs that weren't easy to read. The type of race where the scenery isn't pretty, even the little kids and elderly are lapping you, and you start to curse yourself for ever signing up in the first place.

Finding out today that our case had passed court - almost seven months after being matched with our bambinos - was a huge relief. For those wondering why this is a big deal, it means that in the eyes of the Ethiopian and American governments we are now legally the parents of Little Girl and Little Guy. We are theirs. They are ours. We're really, truly, according to binding legal documents, a family.

Now we prepare ourselves for the final leg of the triathlon: U.S. Embassy Clearance. In the Ironman, the final leg (after a 2.4-mile swim and 115-mile bicycle race) is a marathon. In current Ethiopian Adoption Land it's taking families about 3-6 weeks for their cases to be submitted to court (in the interim, the adoption decree is published, new birth certificates with the adoptive parents' names are issued, and Ethiopian passports are procured for the children). From our perspective now, that span seems like a fun run v. 5k situation. [Remind me of this when we hit Week 5 of waiting to be submitted.] It's the path after submission that will hold the challenge. Some children's U.S. visas are issued a week after submission. This would be akin to rounding the corner on Mile 2 of a 10k and finding a handsome Swedish masseuse waiting to rub you down and lead you to the hot tub. For other participants, it turns out be an ultramarathon in which they're expected to navigate an entirely new course without a map or guides. My personal hope is that we'll have the kiddos home by our son's second birthday. That's a semi-modest vision that allows for a few minor bumps in the road. Really though, we don't know which version we're in for. March? August? 2013?

Tonight we revel in another leg completed while looking forward with wide eyes and plenty of trepidation.

It's Official!

We are legally a family of six. The babies' cases were both ratified by the Ethiopian court yesterday and we are now their legal parents. Sweet, sweet relief.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waiting List

Wait, wait, wait. Whine, whine, whine. Rinse. Repeat. I'm boring even myself.

Eventually - we hope - our two little ones will come home and we might not have much notice at all. If we pass court on Wednesday, we've been told that it will take at least 4-6 weeks for our paperwork to be submitted to the U.S. Embassy. After that, everything is up in the air. We could pass within a few days and be given clearance to travel immediately, or they could decide to do additional investigations and reviews of our cases and it could take many, many months. [Wait! This is veering into whining territory! Get to the list!] At any rate, we might have a ton of time left before our babies come home, but it could be just a couple of months away and I will surely want to go back in time and shoot myself if I don't get certain tasks out of the way first.
  • train for a 10-k scheduled for 4.4.12
  • declutter the babies' room
  • finish decorating the babies' room
  • donate infant clothes and equipment that the newbies will be too big to use
  • get rid of the old drop-side cribs
  • buy new/used cribs
  • obtain and probably paint a new/used dresser to house the newbies' clothes
  • find a minivan to buy
  • declutter the entryway
  • repaint the entryway (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • clean out the kitchen cabinets
  • purge clothes that the rest of the family no longer uses
  • lesson plan for maternity leave
  • Enjoy Atticus and Norah and revel in being a family of four before everything changes.

There you have it, Reader. If it's on the internet, then it must be true that I'm going to dig into this list and get it all done as soon as possible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Court Update

Our agency emailed us an update about our case tonight. The update is that they had previously given us the wrong date. Our new date was not yesterday, as they'd told us, but is instead next Wednesday the 25th.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Around Here

I made my first foray into putting yarn twists in Norah's hair. She's not a fan of having her hair done, but she does love the finished product. A great tutorial is available at Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care if you're interested in trying them out for yourself. The style is supposed to be a good way of giving her scalp a rest from the styles we often use that require her hair to be pulled toward the center of her scalp. In addition, yarn was soaked first in coconut and olive oils, so it's supposed to provide her hair with plenty of moisture during this dry weather. I didn't do a perfect job, but the braids took three separate styling sessions to put in - so I'm really glad it looks presentable!

Around here, we encourage our son to jump on the bed. Anything to run off some of his boundless energy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Court Update

We have another court date set for Monday, 1/16 at which point it's hoped that the information that was missing from our daughter's file at our 12/22 date will be there. Please keep your fingers crossed and send out hopeful thoughts/prayers/vibes that everything goes smoothly and a court decree is issued.

We missed Atticus and Norah terribly while we were in Ethiopia and were glad to get home to them. On the other hand, it feels like we left pieces of our hearts behind with our new little ones. It's agonizing not to know how the rest of our case will unfold, whether we'll get stuck in the Embassy process, and, most importantly, when the newbies will be able to come home. They are so sweet and it's physically painful to reflect on how much of their lives we're missing. This video of Atticus and Norah was taken at roughly the same age that the newbies are now and it makes my heart ache to see how quickly my first babies are growing and to think that our new children are at about that same age but lacking parents to appreciate it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Atticus Educates His Gymnastics Class

Today was the first day of a new session of gymnastics and the teacher was leading the children in introductions.

Girl #1: I'm Jane. I'm four!
Girl #2: I'm Mary and I'm four.
Atticus: I'm Atticus and I'm four.
Norah: I'm four, too!
Atticus: (to the instructor, class, and all the parents) But I'm older. Because I came out of my Ethiopian mommy's uterus first. Norah came out of her mommy's uterus after I did. Because I started growing in my mommy's uterus first from the special hug and then Norah started growing in her mommy's uterus later. But we were in our mommies' uteruses for the same amount of time. I just came out first, so I'm older.
Teacher: That happens. Thank you, Atticus.