Monday, October 25, 2010

Court Date!

I had promised myself today that I was going to restrain myself from checking my email every 15 minutes, in hopes of getting something from our social worker.  I managed to wait until about 10 AM.  My heart sank when we still had no news.  Then, I got a surprising phone call from her.  I was finishing up my lunch at work, and my cell phone rang.  I was expecting it to be a carpet installer calling me to set up a date to have our new carpet put down in Samantha's room.  I was happy to hear our social worker's voice.  I wasn't sure what she was calling about.  We had not even heard that our case had been submitted to court, and I didn't think she would call us for that.  She would just email us to tell us that.  I was shocked when she said we had been assigned a court date.  I had been really hoping that we would be able to make our first trip before the end of the year, and God granted us that.  Our court date is December 27th.  We are going to get to meet our baby girl on Christmas Day!  We are still not sure when our case was submitted to court, but our social worker thinks it was around October 8th.  We are going to try to arrange a visit with our Compassion child was well, but that will have to be coordinated with Compassion International and the timing might not work out.  We will see.  We are so thankful that we have received this news!  Thanks to everyone who has been praying for us these past few weeks!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A quote from another adoptive mom-to-be:
"In the adoption world, Mondays are like Christmas morning . . . and then Friday is when you realize you've opened your last present and didn't get what you wanted. Its a vicious cycle."

On Mondays I wake up with the hope of hearing some news from our social worker. On Fridays at 5 pm, the work week draws to a close with the disappointment of another week passing without hearing a thing. Another week that our daughter has changed, grown, learned new things, and become more accustomed to the orphanage. Without us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reflections on Waiting

These past few days I have certainly felt the prayers of others.  I feel like I have a little more of my sanity back and I'm able to focus on what I'm doing without checking my email every three minutes hoping to find some news from our social worker.  Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for us.

One thing that I thought about this week is that as a parent there are so many times throughout your child's life that you will not be able to be with them, holding their hand, helping them make the tough decisions, protecting them.  When you have your kids the old fashioned way, I think those days when you are not able to be there come a little later in your child's life.  We are living through those days right now.  When you give birth to a new baby, you might make the decision to keep that baby under your own watchful care for months and months before you leave them with a baby sitter for the first time.  As the child gets older there is probably more of a sense of trusting in the Lord to watch over them while they are at school or at a friend's house.  Well, we are walking through that same kind of trusting right now.  We cannot be with Samantha right now.  I will not be by her side when she sits in kindergarten for the first time or goes on her first date or when she takes her first spin behind the wheel by herself or when she agrees to be someone's bride, but Someone else will be there with her through all of that.  From the moment of her conception, she has been in Better Hands than ours. . .God's hands.  He already has her life story written, and He has chosen me and James to walk with her through it.  She will be in HIs same hands after she is grown and James and I are no longer living.  God gives us children for a season.  They are not things to be gotten.  They are gifts that He gives us for a time.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well
Ps. 139:7-14 (NIV)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adoption Update

I'd rather call this a "downdate" instead of an update because this isn't the happiest news.  Not awful.  Just disappointing.  We had really been hoping to be able to travel to Ethiopia in November for our court date.  That is not going to happen.  There are families with our agency who got their referrals back in July who just got assigned Dec. 3rd court dates.  We are still hoping that we will get to make our first trip to Ethiopia before the end of the year, but we do not know if that will be possible.  Our social worker had told us several weeks ago that it was reasonable to expect that our first trip would be in November and our second trip would be in January.  With the long lead time that these families were given about when they would need to travel, we are not going to buy tickets beforehand like our social worker had suggested.  We should have no trouble getting tickets.  It is just so hard not knowing what is going to happen.

I've tried to not be fixated on this.  I want to hear something from Ethiopia.  We're still waiting to hear that our case has been submitted to court and we are hoping to get an update on Samantha from the orphanage.
We at least know that we will be able to spend Thanksgiving with our family in Louisiana this year.  I wouldn't mind spending Christmas in Ethiopia though. :-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Waiting. . .is the hardest part

That song by Tom Petty has been playing in my head the past few days.  It has been over a month since we received our referral for Samantha and got to see her face for the first time.  I'm really hoping that we hear some kind of news soon.  Here's what we have left in the process:
Find out that our case has been submitted to the Ethiopian courts
Court date scheduled (we have no say so in this). 
Travel to Ethiopia for court and meet Samantha for the first time
Come back hame and wait some more
Receive invitation to travel for our Embassy date where will be get Samantha's visa and bring her home.

Much of my time has been taken up with preparing to make our first trip.  We are waiting to get airline tickets until we hear that our case has been submitted to court.  We will get our tickets before we know exactly when we need to be there.  Sometimes families only get 10 days notice before their court date, and it is very expensive to get tickets for a trip across the world in such a short amount of time.  It is cheaper to guess about when you will need to travel and pay the fee to change your tickets.

I have not had too hard of time waiting until lately.  Part of the reason is knowing that I might need to go to Africa next month and we don't have tickets yet.  I just want to hear something.  An update from the orphanage would be great!  We are getting our house ready for her.  Some friends of ours came over yesterday and helped us move our office furniture downstairs.  This was a huge help to us.  There is no way James and me could have moved our desk downstairs.  Her nursery will be where the office was.

I bought this new luggage at Macy's on Friday.  My luggage was given to me when I graduated from high school, and it is tearing up.  The zipper on the suitcase is shot, so I was very happy to find these for 50% off.

I'm trying to soak these last few days of having James to myself and the freedom that we have since it is just the two of us.  We've had over nine years of this freedom, and I think it will be a hard thing for me to give up.  If we want to go to a movie at midnight, we go to a movie at midnight.  We certainly want to have Samantha home soon, though.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The things people ask . . .

I got one of those nosey questions about adoption today.  I have a membership at Curves, and today was my first day back after breaking my leg in June.  I was wearing a shirt that said "Mercy Justice Compassion."  Someone asked about the shirt, and I told her that I bought it from one of the worship pastors at our church.  He was selling the shirts to raise money for their own Ethiopian adoption.  This lady was unaware of our pending adoption.  She said that she didn't understand why people go overseas to adopt when "there are so many kids here who need a home."  Well, I'd like to know where all these kids are.  People who have never darkened the doors of a social worker's office seem to know a lot about all these American children who are available for adoption.  And since they know so much about these needy children, why in the world have they not adopted three or four of them themselves?

There are literally MILLIONS of children in around the world who have been orphaned who are available for adoption.  Wanna know how many kids there are in foster care in the states that are available for adoption?  Less then 200,000.  Wanna know something else?  Those American kids in foster care will not die of things like malaria, malnourishment, or tuberculosis.  Kids in developing countries will.

I would be absolutely shocked if any one who has this mind set of "why not adopt from the US?"  has ever set foot into a developing country.  They have never seen Mexican children become awestruck over the gift of paper, crayons, and yarn.  They have never seen Haitian children playing in the road with practically no clothing on.  After you do see those things, how can you not want to do something for those kids?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'  Matthew 25: 35-40 (NIV)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Travel Shots

James and I went to the health department to get some of our vaccinations that we will need to travel to Ethiopia.  Some of the vaccines that we needed were available at our doctor's office, so we got what we could there because they were able to bill our insurance for the shots.  I called a travel clinic to see what it would cost for us to both get vaccines for yellow fever and a polio booster.  Those four shots would have been about $500 there.  The prices at the health department were about half that, and we're going to see if we can submit a claim to our insurance ourselves to cover the cost.
It did not take very long.  I think we were there for about 30 minutes, maybe less.  The health department was clean and the staff was very friendly.  It feels good to cross one more thing off our to-do list.

Here's a list of the vaccinations that we have gotten, for other readers who are going to be bringing their babies home from Ethiopia.

hepatitis A and B
typhoid fever
yellow fever
James is going to get a tetanus shot too.  Mine was up to date.  We got prescriptions for an anti-malaria medication too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baby things

We've begun to register for things that we will need for Samantha. I set up a registry at Amazon, which is so easy. I did it on the laptop from the comfort of my couch. I'm hoping to find some time later this week to register for her at Target. While it is fun to be pick out stuff for her, it is overwhelming. There is so much to choose from, and I want to pick out things that really are practical that we will actually use. Since Samantha will probably 10 or 11 months old when we bring her home, I'm trying to pick out things that she will need at that age. I've gotten some really helpful advice from some experienced moms, and I've picked out some of the first things that we will need for her, like a backpack style baby carrier that we will use in the airports bringing her home. It is still a little overwhelming. It is incredible that so many things are "needed" for such as small person. I'm having visions of my house turning into this:

I don't want to see our rather traditional home turn into a labyrinth of big bright chunky plastic baby toys. Of course, I had toys as a child. But I'm sure I only remember a few of the things that I had. I remember my Rainbow Bright and Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I remember a little scooter that I had. One of my favorite "toys" wasn't a toy at all. It was a purple blanket that belonged to my grandmother. I'd get it out when I went to her house and play with it. I've seen kids find amusement out of simple things. I just don't think I'd feel right if our house did become excessively filled with toys. There are so many kids who are in need that have never had a toy.

Sometimes James and I have differing opinions about what looks nice. He's an electrical engineer, and I think he looks at a piece of electronic equipment and sees a piece of art. He understands the intricacies of things like speakers. I just see a black box. He came into the living room a few days ago looking for a free outlet where he could plug in the battery charger for a new cordless vacuum cleaner. I said, "Oh, I think I see an ugly piece of electronic equipment." He laughed and asked me where he could plug it in. I suggested the garage or the storage room in the basement. He put it in the basement. I think that if women hadn't been kept out of working in engineering for so long, that things like speakers and battery chargers would look more like a piece of art instead of a chunky black box.

So here's what I can't figure out. Why are so many baby toys so ugly? Why haven't women infiltrated Fisher Price and started making toys that are still fun for kids, but are also nicer for the adults to look at?