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Friday, June 29, 2007

Still waiting...

Still no authentication on the I-171H. The SOS office was able to authenticate all my other documents (16 of them) in one day and get them back to me before I even checked the tracking status. So I am surprised that it is taking so much longer on just the one form...they recieved it Wednesday morning and still haven't UPS'ed it back. If they don't get it out before the end of the day, they will have to wait until Monday...which means I won't get it until at least Tuesday...Wednesday is a holiday. Looks like my dossier won't be getting to Brentwood TN until the end of next week...boohoohoohoohoo! What can you do? Oh well, still waiting.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My daily tear-fest.

On CHI's blog, there is a link to another blog written by Emily, a 12-year-old that was adopted from China. She and her sister (also adopted from China) have returned to their native country to explore and their blog follows that journey (they are there right now). Anyway, she has a poem on her blog that her mother gave her...I'm not sure where it came from. Out of the many "adoption" poems I've read, I had never read this one and it was, by far, the best. So I'm posting it here and I'm going to work on a LifeBook page with it. I may also end up doing something with it and framing it.


Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember. The other you call your mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star. The other became your sun.

The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you the need for love, and the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent. The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotion. The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.

One gave you up, it was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.

And now ask me through the years.
Heredity or Environment - Which are you the product of?
Neither my darling, neither - Just two different kinds of love.

Product Plug

Since there is nothing happening on the adoption front...I'll put in a plug for a great new product I found. I've had this nasty cold for about 6 days (thanks to spending an hour one-on-one with a croupy kid in the ER Friday night...adult don't get croup but the virus that causes croup can give you a cold virus...sort of like RSV). So I woke up this afternoon feeling like you-know-what and I had exhausted all my OTC meds (which I have quite a collection of) so I decided to try these shower soothers tablets. I bought them last year but had never tried them. You just stick one on the shower floor and it dissolves under the water...kind of makes your shower into a giant vaporizer. Can I say OMG! It totally broke up the chest congestion, the snot is flowing freely from the nostrils again (remember--you are reading a blog written by a nurse, sorry if I gross you out!), what an amazing relief. I just hope it lasts. If not, back to the shower. BTW, Ollie's sinuses are clear now too! He always sits on the bathroom rug and waits on me to get out of the shower--separation anxiety.

So next time you have a cold, don't underestimate the power of eucalyptus and menthol steaming up all around you. AHHHHHH! (That was me breathing through my nose again!).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One step closer!

For those of you that have been following my blog, you will notice that the Lilypie ticker (counting the wait for my immigration form) that I had at the top is missing! That is because I'm no longer waiting for the form!!!!!!!

I had a very vivid dream today (I think the cold meds were messing with me). I dreamed that I went to the mailbox and pulled out the envelope from Homeland Security, opened it, threw it on my desk and then went back to bed. Then I got back out of bed and really read it and it said "Tokyo, Japan!" Where my poor brain came up with this, I have no idea. Luckily it was just a dream.

My form says Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! Everyone has said that their forms looked pretty unofficial or xeroxed or just not what they thought. I thought mine looked pretty good--maybe I just had low expectations after what everyone else said. I mean it's not fancy but it does look professional and official. Then again, mine came out of the D.C. district office, so they may be a little more "official" than other states.

Hopefully, I can have my certified document back by Thursday or Friday. The rest of the dossier is ready to go, I just need to slip the form in and off it goes...hopefully never to be in my house again. I can't wait to get it out of here!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Update!

No I-171H yet. I was hoping it would come yesterday but, oh well, I would've had to wait until Monday to do anything with it anyway. Hopefully it will come tomorrow...if it does, I can get it notarized and off to Richmond tomorrow afternoon...planning to have my dossier to CHI by either Friday or next Monday. Depends on the mail and on UPS. It will be nice to have it out of my hands. Then I can start thinking about the future. Start getting my shots, making some lists (I am the queen of list-making) for travelling and prepping, etc. Really start looking at names--MAJOR indecision right now! I won't really be able to pick a name until I see a picture and hear my daughter's given name but I need to narrow it down.

I'm still having panic attacks about travelling. I get nauseated every time I think of getting on the plane. I'm not scared of flying...just don't like being stuck in one place for that long without the option of getting off for a little while! The hardest part will be the 2.5 hour drive to Dulles! We passed the exit on the way to get fingerprinted and I thought I'd lose my lunch thinking about it. Hopefully the excitement will outweigh the nerves.

I am in the throes of my annual summer cold...started with a sore throat the other day and woke up today with all the other fun cold maladies. Unfortunately, this is keeping me from seeing little Maddie--she is too little, I don't want to make her sick! And of course, I have to be sick on my only days off for awhile. I'm trying to work a lot of overtime to make some moolah. Worked two 4 hours shifts the last two nights and on Saturday morning....I delivered a baby!!!!! Okay, I didn't actually catch it but I got to help. After getting the girl out of the car, we checked her real quick and determined we thought we could make it to L&D (the ER is not a great place to deliver a baby!). We made it with about 3 minutes to spare! A beautiful little girl! I won't go into all the details but it was the mom's first kid and to quote her minutes later "Oh, my God. I just had a baby! Is that all there is to it?" I think she better camp on the hospital parking lot if she decides to have anymore! What a great way to end a shift!!

So that is all for now. Back to work tomorrow night, hopefully I'll feel better. If that I-171H comes tomorrow, I'll feel much better.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Apologies from Dept of Homeland Security

I got an email today that my corrected I-171H would be in the mail today and that they were apologizing for their mistake. Yahoo! That feels so good but before I celebrate, I'll wait and see which country they put this time!

What's next? Well, I copy the I-171H and have the copy notarized, send that to Richmond to get certified like I did all my other documents. Once I have that back in my hands, I UPS everything (along with a BIG check) to CHI where they will "bundle" it. Bundling means it is made into one document (except my power of attorney because this needs to be separate) which means that there will be less fees because there are less "documents" to worry about. This can be bad because if one little thing is wrong--the "bundle of documents" can be kicked back. That is why everything is checked a million times. After bundling, CHI sends the dossier to D.C. where a courier takes the it to the US Dept of State for authentication and then the courier takes the dossier to the Ethiopian Embassy for authentication. This step will take about 1-2 weeks and then the dossier is sent back to CHI. CHI sends it on to Tsegay in Ethiopia who takes it to be translated and delivers them to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOSLA) and then I wait for a baby.

Where does that put me? By the end of next week...it will all be out of my hands (literally and figuratively!). I'm learning a lot about faith and the lesson is about to intensify. Thanks to everyone in my Yahoo chat group (esp. Stacie and Jenni!) who are always telling me that everything will come faster and easier than I moan about (they are always right). It has been wonderful having total strangers become your cheerleading squad. Hopefully one day, we will all get to meet and laugh about what an "easy time" the dossier prep was in comparison to motherhood!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You ain't gonna believe this one!

My I-171H came today! I was very excited to find the official looking envelope from the Dept of Homeland Security in my mailbox. Yahoo!

So, I pulled out the letter, read it, and then just started laughing hysterically. Usually I would dissolve into tears, but for some reason I just laughed (pregnancy hormones I guess...hahaha). I am officially approved to adopt one child from KOREA. Huh?????????? Where did they get that? My application said ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA and my homestudy said Ethiopia about 2 million times....not sure where Korea came from. CHI is not even licensed in Korea.

After a consultation with Lindsay (who was blown away by this development!), I left a voice mail at USCIS and emailed them. I am also to write an official letter and zip it up there. I am to give them a week and then get my Senator involved!!

So...on with the waiting!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's Official!

Children's Hope International has issued it's first Ethiopian referral!!! The announcement came a little after 2pm today. We got a little heads up last night that it might happen today. A little while later, Kevin and Stacie posted the information about their son! No pix yet, those will be coming shortly. Keep an eye on Stacie's blog to see the exciting news.

Hopefully, more referrals will be coming soon. I think I have figured out a way to provide a link to Jenni's website (they are on a different blog site that requires a name to get in)...but I wanted to make sure with her that it was okay. (Jenni-just leave me a comment if it is okay or not.) They should be getting a referral any day now, I hope. They are also asking for a little boy.

I'm still waiting on the I-171H to come from immigration. It has only been about 12 days of the estimated 45 business days, so I'm trying to be patient. I keep reminding myself that the longer I have to wait, the more maternity leave I can have built up. But that hasn't stopped me from haunting the mailbox. There is nothing for me to do but wait...and share in the joy of my fellow adopters who are moving ahead. So, while I have no news for myself, I'll continue to keep you posted on those who do!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Update - Nothing New!

Nothing new to report...just waiting. I took Jenni's advice and wrote both my Senators. Both websites had this lengthy form that you could fill out and mail in about resolving issues with government agencies. I didn't really think this applied (yet), so I just emailed them both. I simply explained that my dossier was done except my I-171H and that with the Ethiopian courts closing on Aug 5th (new update from CHI) and not re-opening until Octoberish that it would be nice to have everything done. I requested that they see if they could do anything to expedite the form or at least check the status and get an update on timeframe. I'm hoping that since I emailed them, the form will magically appear before I hear back (yeah, yeah, wishful thinking!!).

I took 2 days of computer classes this week and spent all day today on the cardiac unit orienting so that I can precept the new grads starting next week. It was very interesting to be on a daylight schedule. I have not seen Leno once this week (withdrawal!) and have not stayed up past 10pm...that's usually when I start the laundry and housework. It has actually been very nice to be up with the sun and I can't wait until after the baby gets here and I have to switch to daylight. I have always loved nights because of the autonomy you have with less staff around (and I've always been a night owl!) but I definitely can feel the benefits of being on days. I'm sleeping better--I think this is the first time in a longtime that I've slept 8 solid hours without waking (of course, a baby will change all that) and I'm eating better. Actually had three meals a day the last three days instead of one dinner, one midnight "dinner," and lots of snacks. I plan to stay on nights until maternity leave so I can make more money, but I will welcome the days more than I thought.

With that being said...I'm going to fold the laundry, take a hot bath, and go to bed!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hi Kaili

Happy Gotcha Day Kaili...one whole year! I was just looking at all my favorite blogs (my newest hobby) and saw that today is Kaili's Gotcha Day. This little girl was probably the biggest inspiration for me to start this journey. Adoption had always kind of been in the back of my mind, but seeing someone I knew accomplish this amazing task made it seem obtainable. Thanks Wheelers!

I'm in a posting mood.

I already posted once today...nothing new to report on the adoption front. Kind of emotional at times. I think through this whole process, everything has seemed surreal...almost like I was just going through the motions. Today with all my certified documents in my hands and knowing it was down to one document...it was kind of like getting the official stamp of approval. I kind of expected all along the way for someone to step in and say "what do you think you're doing, you can't do this." Now with these documents all approved, I feel a sense of permanency. I'm not explaining this very well...it's just such a weird emotion. I think being single and being the "baby" in the family, sometimes I don't feel grown up. I still look at my cousin Juli (6 months my senior) and think "I can't imagine her teaching junior-high-schoolers." Likewise, it is hard to imagine me running a busy night shift in the ER. But maybe I am grown-up enough for this!

I remember when I went to the information meeting with CHI (thanks Tammie Perkins) and I asked Tammie what obstacles I would have being single...she gave me a strange look and said, "it's not going to make a difference." She even pointed out that I would have less paperwork to gather than couples and couples with kids. Point taken! I also had a dream a while back that I was reading our chat group and one of the members whispered (like you can whisper on a computer!) that she had heard that CHI was kicking me out but they weren't going to tell me. Needless to say, that has not happened.

So, I'm traveling a new road in life. Not sure why this step hit home more than the others...I think the stress and exhaustion surrounding all the paperwork has left me emotionally drained. I can't wait for Stacie and Jenni and some of the others to get their referrals. What a boost in the adoption moral that will be!

I start a new job tomorrow. Not really a new position as much as a new role within my position. I will be taking the new nursing school grads and precepting them through their mentorship program within the hospital. It gives me an opportunity to do some teaching (which I love) in a more controlled environment, rather than trying to teach and work a trauma at the same time. It is kind of a trial run to see if the new grads benefit and may turn into something permanent. I'll still work my weekends in the ER and anytime the orientees have a class, etc. Once I've trained all the current new grads, I'll be back to straight ER...that is the current plan. About the only big change is that I'll get to pick my own schedule but I'm staying with nightshift (desparately saving every penny and that shift differential is very lucrative).

So, we'll see what this week holds. May prove to be one of the strangest ones I've had for awhile. I've not had much change in my life lately; just cruising along for the ride. Time to shake things up before the major earthquake (parenthood) hits!

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Certification - $10 per document
UPS trackable next day air - $20.20 each direction
HAVING MY DOSSIER CERTIFICATION DONE - priceless!!!!!!

With the exception of my ever-elusive 171H form, my dossier is done and certified. This means all my documents are notarized and that the Secretary of the Commonwealth of the Commonwealth of Virginia has officially signed and sealed (with gigantic gold seals) that all these documents are good to go! Once I recieve my 171H, I copy it, get the copy notarized, send that to Richmond for certification and then send it all to Lindsay at CHI...she sends it to DC for the feds to check it, then onto the Ethiopian Embassy, back to CHI and then on to ETHIOPIA!!!

Yahoo!!!! Almost there!!!

I really wasn't expecting this so soon. The website said that it would take "longer than 5 days for more than 10 documents." So when I sent them on Thursday, I really didn't expect to get them back at 9:45am Monday! Let's hope the Immigration exaggerated proportionally on their estimates about the 171H.

More later...I'm heading off to play with my 8-day-old niece (practice!!!).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Gorgeous Boys!!

I added a new link at the right for a group of triplets that were adopted several months ago from Ethiopia. These are by far the most beautiful faces I have ever seen...and so expressive. Check it out.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Update and Pix!

This is likely to be a long, windy blog...so sit back and read on!


Today was a red-letter day in my dossier process. I sent my dossier to Richmond to be certified. Barring any redo's that they may need, I will only have one more document to go...the 171H (immigration form). I thought I would be totally elated to send everything in, but it kind of freaked me out. I'm having major separation anxiety not being able to recheck the doucments 20 times a day. Hopefully they are all okay; they passed Lindsay's inspection and she demands perfection (thankfully--I want them to be right). Jenni suggested that I contact my senator and see if it is possible to "hurry" the 171H along. Jenni works in politics, so I hate to say this...but I'm very embarassed to admit that I don't even know who my senator is (someone catch Jenni before she passes out!). Easy to find on the internet and I'll do that here shortly.


My niece Madison is doing great! Her mom and dad are fair-to-middling. Madison grows cuter every day and that is not just her aunt talking...she really is a beautiful baby. And so sweet and content (except, apparently, between the hours of 2am and 6am!). I went over today and watched her for about 2 hours while Chad and Lesa took naps...rough job! Just sat and watched TV, all snuggled up...warm and fuzzy! Then the whole family came over and did dinner. My other brother Todd was even caught holding Madison. His wife, Diana, may get a kid out of him yet. (Sorry Todd, but I promise she did not bribe me to say that!). I even got a picture of him holding Maddy but I'm not posting it because he has a very weird look on his face...don't want to embarass him!



Added some pix of my nursery in-progress. Still have a few things to do, cushions for the rocker, add some shelves for toys, etc. The wall hanging is fabric I found at Wal-Mart and Mom sewed it up so I could hang it. It is the same design as she used for my quilt that she made. I'm going with giraffes...I love them, they are so fascinating. The last time Dad went to Kenya, he asked me what I wanted him to bring me...I said "a baby giraffe." So he brought me some carved giraffes and they are sitting on a shelf in the nursery. I also have a great giraffe print of a mother giraffe leaning down to nuzzle her baby...it's hanging over the changing table.

Mom bought me a stuffed giraffe off of e-bay. It is Geoffery, the Toys R Us mascot. If you squeeze it's ear, it talks and sings--yes it sings the "I don't want to grow up" theme song! Anyway, I set it on the floor and the animals had to investigate. Being a typical dog, Ollie headed straight for the back to check out the giraffe's important parts.

Last, but not least. Here is a great T-shirt I got from cafepress.com. It is for 12 months and I can't wait to get a picture of my daughter in it. I'm thinking of taking a picture of her with it on when I first get her (it would probably be big like a nightshirt) and using that as my adoption announcement!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Panic attack

So yesterday, the director of the Ethiopian program posted a message on our Yahoo chat group to dispell the rumor that Ethiopia was closing its doors to single adopters. Talk about heart attack--I hadn't heard this rumor. But apparently neither has CHI or Tsegay (our rep in Ethiopia)! So it looks like things are okay...I hope! They also state that even if something changes, they usually don't make changes immediately...there would be time to be "grand-fathered" in. So, I pray that the rumor is just a rumor. And I hope immigration hurries up with that form so I can get going.

On the home front, Chad and Lesa's baby is doing great. They are going home this am. Madison is a cutie pie. She seems content most of the time and hopefully they will have an easy adjustment going home. We are not sure how Jack and Chloe (their cats) will react but time will tell. Their cats are a little more sensitive than mine (mine don't care who is around or what is happening as long as they get their food in a timely fashion).

I'll post more pix soon!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I'm an aunt!!

Welcome
Madison Nicole Catlett
Sunday June 3, 2007 7:25 am
8 pounds 6 ounces, 22 inches
Yes...she has strawberry blonde hair!
Takes after her Aunt Jill!
Here are Chad (my brother) and Lesa with Baby Madison.
My favorite picture...scoping each other out!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

No Baby

Still no niece to report...what can I say?