Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Monday, April 30, 2007

Frustrating Day

Well, I emailed all my doucments that I had ready for my adoption counselor (about 3/4 of the required ones) and they all got kicked back out to me. I abbreviated Virginia in my personal letterhead instead of writing it out. The dossier handbook we were given doesn't address this at all and all the sample letters they show all have abbreviated states on them. Argh! So now everything has to be reprinted and renotarized. Most of it won't be too bad (except from the notary's standpoint) except the medical letter and the employment letter. This will be the second rewrite on the employment letter and the lady in Human Resources, while being helpful, never looks too thrilled to see me coming. Tough Toots!

So that's my day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Passport Picture and Fingerprints

Okay, not sure why everyone is so curious about my passport photo but here it is...excuse the puncture marks on the neck. I was not attacked by a vampire but my picture was attacked by a stapler before it was returned with my passport!

I went to Northern Virginia (Alexandria to be exact) today for my fingerprints for the feds...Deborah, you were right about me being in the minority at the Immigration Office. I better get used to that before I go to Ethiopia; they've probably never met anyone as pale skinned as me (of course, with Dad along, I'll be outshined--literally!). Anyway, after a grand total of over 300 miles and about 6+ hours of driving (yeah, we had a few stops), my appointment at the Immigration office lasted a grand total of about 10 minutes. What a long trip! Thanks Mom for coming along and keeping me company. That DC beltway traffic is a nightmare and it wasn't even rush hour. The fingerprinting part was pretty cool. At least these were digital (I just got the ink off my fingers from Monday's printing). They wipe your fingers with a windex-soaked rag and then press them on a screen. The print shows up digitally and it clicks into places when they have a good print. Easy as pie.

So that is another step down. Only a gazillion more to go!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Certification #1 done

My Birth Certificate has been officially ceritifed by the Secretary of State of West Virginia.

Now only able 3 million more documents to get notarized and sent to the Virginia Secretary of State to certify!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Look what came today!!!

Another piece of the puzzle is clicked into place.




I also got fingerprinted by the State Police today. That ink does not come off easily! It will probably still be there Friday when I let the Feds print me! I took a picture of my prints (they give you the fingerprint card and you have to mail it in yourself) but I decided not to post it--someone might steal my prints and use them to commit a crime...yeah, I know, too much CSI again.

Weekend's over.

Well the beautiful weekend has come to an end. It finally reached a temperature above shivering and I absentmindedly left for the entire day without opening any windows. When I returned home this evening, it was 86 degrees in my house. At least I was warm for once! We had a wonderful time on Saturday at Chad & Lesa's baby shower (my brother and sister-in-law). It was a lot of fun--thanks Angela and Joey for playing hosts! They did all the work while I played with baby Will (he is being held by Chad in the picture with my other brother Todd looking on). Angela made a corsage for Lesa out of baby socks and made a wonderful "diaper cake" for them. Only about 6 more weeks until I'm an aunt!!!!!


Nothing new on the paperwork front. I go to the doctor this week for my medical clearance and I have to be fingerprinted twice (for state and federal). Next week is my last home study appt. Other than those obligaitons, all my paperwork is out of my hands...just waiting on other people/agencies. Since I found out it will probably be mid July before I get my magic form from the Immigration service, I have decided to just slow down a little on the papers. As soon as I get a few more, I'll head to Mom's office to them notarized (thanks Jeff!). But there is no hurry now.

Bought some more clothes today...I have got to STOP!! I am mostly buying separates (and only on clearance!). I have gotten several bibbed-overall sets, jeans, a little skirt, and today I actually bought some essentials--onesies! I bought a stroller on Friday. One of the local church had a huge baby sale (an entire gymnasium full of baby stuff) and I found a stroller that looked like it had never been used and met all my requirements (tray for the baby, tray for me, storage underneath, and easy foldup)--it also has a reclining seat and is in blue (a color I've had trouble finding in a stroller!). Best of all, it was almost half the price of the one I had picked out for my registry. As you can see, Mickey approved of the purchase.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Big day today--big week coming up.

Today is a red-letter day. I have been officially invited to get fingerprinted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. I go next Friday morning in Fairfax. Yea!!!! I'm also getting fingerprinted by the VA State Police on Tuesday. So I'll have inky fingers all week and by next weekend maybe I'll be behind bars!!! Hahahahahaha...I've been watching too much CSI lately!

I also checked the status of my passport and it has been mailed!!!! It should be here early next week. My birth certificate made it back to WV Secretary of State (I love delivery confirmation) and hopefully they will mail that right back officially certified. I sent a pre-paid express envelope with it. So I will be haunting the mail again next week.

The only sad part is that the USCIS states that their processing time (after fingerprinting) is nine weeks--this doesn't start until after my home study is done (which will be about the second week of May). So I'm looking at not being done with my paperwork until mid-July. So that officially shuts down any chance of getting a baby before the courts close from July-Sept. This is actually what I wanted because now I can build up more sick time for maternity leave (I am shooting for 8 weeks off but thanks to my foot/ankle surgery last summer, I have only built back up about 6 weeks). Still it is a little sad. Oh well, that gives me the whole summer to bond with my niece and learn infant care firsthand. Thanks Chad and Lesa for going first and breaking me in!!

Transition Home

This is a picture of the transition home that CHI has obtained in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The children chosen for adoption will be taken out of the orphanages and brought to this tansition home until we travel to pick them up. In some cases, we may actually be able to stay here with them instead of being at a hotel.

Here are some of the stats that accompanied the photo:
1. 22 rooms + 7 bathrooms
2. The kitchen is the green building
3. Located in the center of the city, very close to the MOWA(Ministry of Women's Affairs) and the High Courts that finalize adoptions.
4. There are rooms large enough where some adoptive families would be able to stay (in lieu of a hotel) if they'd like to.
5. Each 2 rooms are connected. One big room connects to a smaller room; so the caretakers can stay in the smaller room while the infants and the other children can stay in the larger connecting rooms.
6. The number of children for each room will range from 4 to 8 (depending on the size of the room)
7. There is telephone hook up, running water, and electricity.
8. The home will consist of our office space, laundry room, classroom, a room for children to stay who might get sick (to try to keep all of the other children from becoming ill), lounge area, play area, sleeping quarter for the caretakers, etc. etc.
9. The home is freshly painted.
10. Once the home is ready for the children, they will be brought to the transition home from their different situations,(orphanage or community) and stay under our care until the adoptive parents travelto pick them up.

Sounds like a good plan over all. This will cut down on the chance of the children catching stuff being brought in by new children to the orphanages. It will also help that this home is run by my adoption agency--that means more info will be available about their health, daily routine, development, etc.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sea of papers!

Thank you Deborah for your words of wisdom! I have taken on the pile of papers. I think I have knocked out everything I have to do...the rest is waiting on others. It is very hard to just sit back and wait on others to do the work that will affect you. Have I mentioned that I have control issues? Augh!

My second home study visit went great. My SW Beth has several pets at home so she was not upset about my dog jumping all over her or my cats trying to climb in her tote bag or laying across the paperwork we were working on. The peanut-butter filled frozen Kong kept Oliver busy so it was all good. The only paperwork left for my home study is my medical clearance (Dr's appt Tuesday) and my State Police clearance. They have finally decided that, yes, I do have to be fingerprinted to do this but, unlike the federal government, I do not have to wait to be invited to get fingerprinted. I just walk in and do it...and then it only takes about a week to get back. So my home study should be done by my last home study appt on May 2.

The dossier is a work in progress. The hardest part of this whole process has been to write my letter to Ethiopia. They want a letter explaining why you want to adopt from their country and why you would be a good parent to one of their children. This was the hardest thing to get started and to formulate but once I got started, I found it was even harder to stop. Then I had to do some editing because it was twice as long as it's supposed to be. My SW Beth read it today and was very pleased with it, so I must have gotten the tone of it right. I thought it was a little cheesy but it was all true.

I'll be putting some pix on here soon. I am having trouble with the blogger not recognizing my pix...even some of the ones from prior posts are not loading and they were fine the other day, so hopefully I'll get the kinks worked out.

I'll keep everyone posted. Chad and Lesa (my brother and sister-in-law) are having their baby shower this weekend so hopefully I'll have some pix of that!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

OVERWHELMING

Well, I got my much anticipated "packet" in the mail today. It has a list of all the documents I need and spells out exactly what to do with each of them. I thought this would answer a lot of my questions...it just opened so many more! I can't wait until Monday to call Lindsay (my adoption worker) and go through everything together. That may be a LONG phone call.

So, anyway. I have a list of about 23 documents that have to be filled out or obtained, each one has to be notarized that they are true and then they all have to be sent to the VA Secretary of State (except my birth certificate--it goes back to WV) for that person to authenticate that the notary is valid. After this is sent back to me, I send it on to CHI and they triple check everything and send it on to DC where everything gets checked checked by the US Dept of State to make sure that everything is kosher. Then it goes from there to the Embassy of Ethiopia to get authenticated and then back to CHI. Once they receive, it gets expressed to Ethiopia where it is translated and printed and presented to the people over there and then I wait on them. Whew!!!

If that isn't enough to make your head spin, then consider that some of the above documents have multiple components. For instance, one of these documents is the home study (which so far has been a list of 16 documents). You get the picture. So most of the paperwork is waiting on other people to do stuff...I hate not being in control!!!

That is where I am right now. My passport is in processing (should be here in about 2 weeks) and I sent my application for my 171H (the paper that allows me to go to Ethiopia and bring a child back with me) which can't be completed until my home study is done. Hopefully, the home study will be done in about three weeks.

I'll keep everyone posted. In the mean time click on the link for Stacie's blog (at the right of my screen)--she is part of my group that is adopting right now. From there, you can link to a few other websites (I'll be adding them to mine shortly)...my favorites are Ethiopia or Bust and Baby G. They are both families working with other agencies that have recently gotten referrals and are waiting to travel. Absolutely adorable kids!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My "kids"

Here are my "kids." They get along remarkably well and seem to enjoy each others' company more than mine.

Mickey

This is Mickey Mouse. He is almost 5 years old and is very vocal--he meows incessantly! He also loves to "rub" heads and knows how to sit for his treats.




Oliver
This is Oliver...aka Ollie Dog or Buger-Butt. He is four years old and just now out-growing his "puppy" days. He is still very precocious and energetic but has settled down enough that he enjoys just laying next to me on the couch. He is well behaved but only when he wants to be...selective listening!



Sam
This is Sam. He is only 2 and a half but is every bit as fat as he looks. He sleeps 24/7 except when he is eating, although sleep-eating is probably involved. He is also the sweetest in the house and loves to cuddle up and purr.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Here at Last!

Here is the news that I have been waiting for...Children's Hope is finally licensed for adoption in Ethiopia! This was the last major obstacle standing in my path...until the license was signed, none of the paperwork could officially go through and that was slowing down things a lot because each step depends on the step before it completing first. There are still lots of little bumps to get through but now it is definite that this is going forward! Whew! A lot of emotions going on--90% of them happy, 10% terror!

As far as what is left...Once the dossier is complete, it gets sent to Ethiopia and I wait 0-4 months for a referral (then another 6-8 weeks to travel). The dossier is not complete until all the elements are done and these include CIS (immigration) approval which does not happen until I'm fingerprinted which doesn't happen until I get an appointment from the government which doesn't happen until my application is approved and also include my home study. The home study is not complete until I've had three visits with my social worker (more about that in a minute) and I complete a few more documents. One of these documents is VA State Police clearance which may now include fingerprinting (they are still debating this)...so I may have to be fingerprinted in order to get cleared to go get fingerprinted in order to get clearance to travel to a country that doesn't have McDonalds! AUGH!!!!

I went to Richmond for my home study appt today and met with my social worker Beth. It was a smooth visit and was pretty quick because I had already finished most of the paperwork she had sent ahead of time. She is coming for my home visit on April 18th and then I go back to Richmond on May 1st for the final visit. That will conclude my home study and I can focus on my dossier.

After I finished at the social work agency, Mom and I went to Babies R Us and I started my registry. It was a little difficult since I'm unsure of the age, size, and developmental level of the child I'll get so I just stuck with general items. My nursery is pretty close to being completed...I'm keeping it simple because some of the literature I've read emphasizes that children in orphanages are not used to much stimulation and may actually be frightened by bright colors and sounds! So I'm close to being done...Mickey and Sam are in love with the baby furniture...Sam sleeps on the changing table and I found Mickey in the crib this morning (that will stop immediately!). Ollie hasn't seemed to care about his room changing so much...he's pretty cool so far. I'll post some pictures soon (I bought a new camera and am still learning the ins and outs of it!).

Well, I think that is it for now. Still a lot of work to do but at least now I can relax a little. I was worried I was getting ahead of myself by working on the nursery and starting a registry but now I feel better about going ahead.