I would say more, but I cannot think of a single thing right now except....
AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, THAT'S IN 3 WEEKS............................................................................................................
Travel will happen 2-3 weeks after a successful court date.
I would say more, but AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, THAT'S IN 5-6 WEEKS...........................................................................................................
Nothing strikes dread into the adopter’s heart more than comments from the uninformed. Do we use it as a teaching moment? Do we ignore it and answer as if nothing happened?
I’ve received comments (even today) about “natural” or “normal” children: normal as in “not adopted”. I would hope no one would ever say to a child something about their joining our family by adoption is “not normal” or “not natural.” And, yet, saying these things in the positive immediately draws to mind the idea that “if I am not this, then I must be the opposite of it.” I throw the term “real parent” into this same mix.
I have to tell you, this dance of words takes PATIENCE, beyond anything we have previously encountered. It took all my power to hold my tongue. Lee asked if my eyes dilated like a cat about to pounce. (I think maybe they did.) I am sure no malicious was meant in this case, but that horrible word!
What is natural or normal anyway?
Jesus himself was adopted by Joseph. Jesus is listed in the genealogy of Joseph. Does that mean that the adoption made Jesus Joseph's TRUE SON, with all the rights and privileges, regardless of biology? Something to think about.
The Bible also says that True Religion is looking after widows and orphans. If that is our mandate from God, maybe that will turn our ideas about “normal/natural” on its head.
I guess I will continue to walk the line between educating, assuming no malicious intent, and ignoring bad behavior. And, I suspect, I will learn more about being humble, about being patient, about letting things go.
I realize that we are doing something extraordinary. Nothing like this has been done in our immediate circle before. I want to keep the communication open about adoption… I want people to understand.
Do the children know English? No, but the woman who runs the Transition Center is from the U.S., so I'm not sure if they will pick any up from her.
Do the children attend school? The 9 year old has had 2 years of school and can read and write in Amharic. The 6 year old has had very little school. The TC (Transition Center) has just started having a teacher come to the children staying there.
What is the status of the children's biological parents? We are keeping this information within the immediate family to protect our children's privacy. It will be up to them to share this information later, if they wish.
Why is this taking so long? Ha ha. Yes. To us this is actually not a long time. Our paperwork landed in Ethiopia in December, and here we are with a referral in April. But, yes, overall, it has taken us 6 years to get this far. (We 1st applied to Ukraine, and as our paperwork was complete, the country closed their program. We took a year off to rethink things, then it took about a year to complete the Ethiopian paperwork. ) If you are considering adoption, do not be daunted by OUR time-line. Your time-line will be most likely be different.
What are the next steps? We are waiting for our I-171 to be updated to reflect the change in our children's ages (between what we said we wanted: ages 3-7, and their actual ages: 6, 9). After that, we'll get a court date in Ethiopia, where the lawyer with our power of attorney will go to court for us. Once we get official approval to adopt the children from the court, we'll start making travel arrangements, and should travel within 2-3 weeks after the court date.
How long do we have to stay in Ethiopia? One week. We'll have a court date there with the children. Then we will re-adopt them once we are in the U.S. (I'm not sure why, except maybe so they can get Social Security #s? We are pretty much just going to do as we're told!)
If you all have more questions, please write them in the comments section, and I will answer as I can.
After the service, the hugging began. Then my friend Karen came up and said "The whole church wants to give you a shower/fund raiser." Just when I thought we couldn't be overwhelmed any further. We don't even know what to ask for yet.
Maybe it is the overwhelmingness of motherhood. Like, who thought it was a good idea to put ME in charge of small people? I've taken "classes" so that I can be "certified" so that I can "raise children", yet I know when they get here, I'll be in over my head. Hats off to you all who have gone before and set good examples for me... I'm gonna need ya' later.
We received this information recently about the children's diets.
"For breakfast the children eat traditional Ethiopian bread and drink hot tea. Lunch can be a variety of things. Our side items are usually steamed spinach, cooked vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes), or salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers). The main dish is pasta with tomato sauce or meat sauce, rice with veggies and sauce, or injera with a lentil sauce. The children usually have a snack around 5:30 pm, which is bread with honey or fruit. Dinner is eaten around 8:30pm, and they eat the same thing as lunch. "
3/7 Received call from AWAA regarding 2 children who were a little older than what we were looking for, but would we be interested in seeing a full referral? We did not think we'd be hearing anything so soon since our paperwork had only hit Ethiopia in December. We said sure, send us the info. There was not a lot of info, but enough that we wanted to see a full referral. There were pics attached, and dang, were they beautiful. They told us it would take 4 - 6 weeks to get the full referral.
3/26 We were home for Spring Break when we got the official referral call. We were in shock, since it had only been 3 weeks. We had a week to decide if we'd accept it. We contacted a Dr. who specialized in international adoption medicine, and sent him the docs we'd received.
4/7 We officially accepted the referral. We had lunch with Lee's folks that day, and then started making phone calls. The past few days have been a blur of phone calls, paper work, and, in general, feeling overwhelmed and "scarited". (which is a word coined by a co-worker for our situation: scared+excited.)
Finally, we have adoption news. We have received and accepted a referral for a 9 year old boy and his 6 year old sister. Their names are Habtamu (boy) and Yordanos (girl).
Here is the process as we understand it from this point on…
Our people (America World) will contact the Ethiopian agency to let them know we’ve accepted the referral.
Our power of attorney man in Ethiopia will start setting up court dates and get through most of that paperwork on our behalf.
We have a few documents to update (sigh) here.
When the court/paperwork things are done, we will work with the travel coordinator to obtain visas and schedule and book flights.
Once things start moving… they really go, go, go…