Posts Tagged “Adoption”

I wish each good family that had even the possibility of making room in their home would open their eyes to the world of the orphan.

I wish I could shake people and make them see what I and so many others have seen in orphanages.

I wish they could feel the yanks on their heart strings (trust me, it’s more than a slight tug) when 10-year-old boys so excitedly run up to them with pink flowered flip-flops to show them off because of how proud they are to have new shoes.

I wish everyone could go to a country and see naked toddlers living on the side of the road as their mother washes their only shirt in a mud puddle.

There are so many excellent and trustworthy people who are willing to take a few bucks from  you and put the food it buys directly in a child’s mouth, not their own.

You need to watch this. Depraved indifference.

You need to see this.

Then you can DO THIS.

Look at your own child who has all the food, milk, & clothes they need and imagine your child sitting in an orphanage or foster care waiting if they’ll ever have a mom or dad to take care of them again.

There are many grants, fund-raising programs, and low-interest loans “out there.” Too many for anyone who can MAKE room in their house to have an money as an excuse to not adopt.

And if you really can’t adopt, then help. Send money by way of Hope Arising or another honest organization. You would be shocked how far your money can stretch to feed a child.

 

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So things have been going well with Mili. She’s talking, walking, has a few more teeth, understands what we tell her (and if she disagrees, she lets us know that, too).
The older kids have taken to her like a duck to water. She has truly become “one of the kids.” She just blends right in.
We still have a couple food issues though. She will eat until she bursts. She doesn’t seem to know when to stop eating. It’s definitely worrisome, and we hate being the bad guys by telling her no to more food. But we do.
She loves the pool; I take the kids on average 4-5 days a week for about an hour each time. Each of them has changed a lot with water. Pierce can swim for a few feet, Dean kicks all over the place in his round floatie, and Mili has one she sits in and can kick around. It’s been fun so far.
Right now Ethiopia is going through a drought/famine…and things weren’t great before. I’m happy to have her out of a situation like that, but my heart breaks for the other people there. I wish we could do more.
But, things are great here. I have to be thankful for that. Gab just got back from spending a month with cousins. So things are rolling along.

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Here’s a time line of our adoption process. There were times it felt longer and others shorter, but I think it’s fairly decent.

January 19, 2010—Decided to adopt

January –Mailed out application to first agency

March 10—Denied through agency (religious differences)

March 12—New application to new agency (West Sands Adoptions)

March 17—Began home study

March 24—Approved by West Sands Adoptions

June 30—Home study complete

July 1—Mailed dossier (to UT for authentication) & the I-600a to USCIS

July 19—Dossier on its way to D.C. & the Ethiopian Embassy

July 20—Heard back from USCIS (unfortunately, we had to reschedule the time they gave us for fingerprinting)

July 26–Dossier arrived in Ethiopia

September 7–Received USCIS approval/I-171H

September 23–Received referral

December 21–Court date in Ethiopia — first trip

March 28, 2011–Embassy appointment–second trip, baby came home

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We got word about our second trip, the one where I actually go get our baby and bring her home. We are leaving in just a couple days and I’m such a bag of mixed emotions!

Obviously I’m very excited. We’ve waited a long time for a little girl. I’m excited to have her home and show her the animals and brothers (sometimes I get confused which is which).  I’m excited to introduce her to friends & family who have been along for the ride with us, in all its ups and downs.

But I’m really nervous, too. I’m not looking forward to lugging all the luggage around the airports. I have 2 rubbermaid tubs full of donations, 1 suitcase full of donations, my suitcase with clothes for me & Mili, snacks for Mili, and other stuff, a diaper bag, my jumbo travel purse/bag & Gab’s carry-on-size suitcase with all her stuff. I’m nervous about the 17-hour plane trip home. What if Mili screams the whole time? What if she throws up the whole time? Or Gabby for that matter. I am bringing dramamine & benadryl, just in case. But still….

I’m worried a little. I’m worried she won’t be happy for a long time. I’m worried she’ll push us away.

Then there’s Gabby, now 13. She’s going to see so much on this trip. So much poverty, so many orphans. But she’ll see the best of mankind, too. She’ll see people giving all they have to support each other (directors of orphanages) and people working together to give what they have to those that don’t (humanitarian water projects). She’ll get an eye full.

So many thoughts and things to think about! It’s been a wild ride.

 

 

 

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Today is Christmas Eve. We got home yesterday.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and nice. Their way of life is very “live and let live” and they care about each other. They don’t sweat the small stuff like we do. Family is a way of life, not just something you have or do. The adults treat the children as if they’re each an amazing person, not a small annoyance that’s running around making noise. And the children are very well-behaved. In these ways, Ethiopia is far superior to the USA.

Sadly, there is huge amounts of poverty. Driving around you can see tiny little huts on the side of roads; families live in these. Some are about the size of your bathroom. They provide shelter and nothing else. These people cook right outside their huts. They clean their clothes in mud puddles. Their small children walk around half naked so they don’t soil their clothes. There are fences and tall gates around homes, some churches, and many semi-private areas (like guest houses and businesses).

The orphanages are many. They, too, are surrounded by tall fences. At the top of the fences (which were cinder block or metal), there would be broken glass or barbed wire to keep people out. Each of them has a guard or two to protect the children. The smallest orphanage we visited had about 20 children, 5 or 6 of which were infants. The oldest was a mid-teen. The largest had about 45 kids, 12 were babies. The children are allowed to play. They are taken care of and loved and protected by nannies and “sisters” (nuns). In the baby room in one orphanage, it was obvious when a particular baby would spot their main caretaker. The child would smile and light up. So there is definitely love between the children and caretakers. This made it less heartbreaking. But it was still very sad that all these children didn’t have a true family.

The children were healthy (many had colds and runny noses, but that’s expected where there’s a lot of kids). Of about 100 kids, I saw only one with special needs. We were allowed to go where we wanted to go, but not allowed to take pictures. It’s against the child trafficking laws, so we were more than happy to follow the rules to protect the kids.

We were able to complete the adoption. We now have 4 children. Milinium Grace is going to be called Mili for short. She’s supposed to be 14 months old, but judging from size and development and orphanage, I’m guessing she’s 10 months, 11 months at most. She’s got the chubbiest cheeks I’ve ever seen, curly hair and loves to stick out her tongue.

We go back in the end of February or beginning of March to bring her home. As jet lag wears off, I’ll put pictures up. But I have her pic as my Facebook profile if you’d like to see her 🙂

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Today is Tuesday; we leave for Ethiopia on Friday morning. It’s hard to imagine we’ll be leaving in just a few days. Very surreal; I can’t picture something I’ve never experienced.

I’m so excited to meet our new baby! Paul’s excited for the whole trip; he’s very adventurous as far as going to a country and just being at home and walking around. So he’s gonna take the lead for the touristy stuff.

I don’t know what to say…My mind is kinda numb because I’ve been doing paperwork and waiting so long. Plus there’s a few other things going on right now that I can’t quite say yet.  And Christmas on top of it all!

That and we can’t bring her home yet, so it’s just a trip and then more waiting. It’s just very surreal.

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I didn’t know there was a month dedicated to adoption, but there is. If you google it, there’s great information out there.

I must admit, I’m a little nervous about what people’s questions will be when we bring our little girl home, but I’m doing my best to find snarky appropriate answers to rude curious strangers and associates.

“Is she yours?”  me: No, I just like to pick up random children to take to the grocery store (park, mall, etc.).

“What happened to her real parents?” me: They were too busy being president and first lady, so I said I’d take over.

“Didn’t that cost a lot of money?” me: No, thankfully we have medical insurance like we did with our others. (that should confuse them a bit.)

I did find a couple interesting links HERE and HERE if you’re interested.

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Well, not right away…but sooner than we thought! Can I just scream “YAY!!” right now?

We got our call today…I was a little confused, because I was told, “We got your date for court. You can travel on December 17th, arriving on the 18th. And court is on the 21st, so you can catch a flight out on the 22nd and be home before Christmas.”

I was speechless. Because first, there is a court date (that we don’t have to be present for). When we pass that, THEN we get a travel date.  So I was a little confused.

“So we passed the first court already?”

“No, they combined them to be on the same day.”

Wow…

Yep…expecting one thing but getting something way better and sooner. I get to see my baby girl right before Christmas. Best. Gift. EVER.

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I have decided to ask everyone to please take this opportunity to help out an orphanage in Ethiopia.

I’m going to take a suitcase (or more) of things for the orphanage our soon-to-be daughter is coming from. I asked our agency what they need and she gave me a list. I’m planning on taking over some clothes, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind more.

So PLEASE…if you can help, please do so. You can give me the items or, if you prefer, cash. Everything will go directly from my hand to the director of the orphanage.  One great benefit of cash is the dollar is stretched further there; they’d be able to buy more than we would here.

But here are the items I’d like to take:

  • children’s blankets
  • children’s books (yes, in English)
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • crocs or flip-flops
  • games
  • toys (without batteries)
  • children’s medicines (tylenol, cold & flu, etc)
  • toothbrushes & paste

If I use up my quota of check-on weight for suitcases, I can always take more the second time! So please don’t ever feel it’s too late if you want to help. TIA 🙂

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Thursday night, (2 days ago) I was doing a spa night for the teen girls at church. Paul was out of town all week so I had the boys with me, and Gab as my lovely assistant.

Midway through my phone rang…I saw a 435 area code (Utah) and figured it was my sister, so I figured I’d call her when I was done. But then by the time we got out, it was after 8pm and I was in a hurry to get the kids home and to bed. When we did finally get home, I told everyone to get pajamas, and took that opportunity to check my email.

And there it was ….”CONGRATULATIONS!!” from our adoption agency! I clicked on it and it read something like, Congratulations, we’ve matched your family to a darling baby girl….

me: What? BABY?? I clicked on the attachment to see her info and photo…birthday read October, 2009! A baby!!! Almost 12 months old. And her name…a beautiful name…Darling photo…she was perfect! (due to Ethiopia’s request, I can’t/won’t post photo or name online until she’s legally ours…but I will tell you her middle name will be Grace, so we’ll go with that for now)

I hurried and called Paul and told him and he said, “Oh, man,  you have her photo there? I can’t see her until tomorrow!” So I had sympathy on the guy and forwarded the email to him. Nice of me, I thought 😀

We’re very, very excited and began telling everyone the next day.

But here’s the really funny thing….In January, Paul was out of town. That’s when we decided to adopt. Now, 9 months later, when he was out of town again, we got the referral! I had a feeling it might go down like that, and it was amazing how it worked out.

So the next step is to mail our acceptance paperwork in…then it gets sent to Ethiopia and they will set up a court date. We’ll travel to Ethiopia for the adoption itself and to meet Grace. Then we come home (and I post pics!!!) and wait until her new birth certificate and visa are ready for her to travel. When those are done, I travel to pick her up and bring her home!

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