Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paper Chasing, Part I ~ Overview

Oh, the paper chase.  Going into this adoption process, Michael and I were prepared for the fact that there would be a literal* ton of paperwork.  You have to collect birth certificates, passports, tax forms, income forms, marriage certificates, statements from your employer(s), references, and more.  You also have to write several letters.  In our case, I had to write a letter explaining to the government of Ethiopia why I am "unemployed" (because apparently nanny and teacher and cook and maid and chauffer only count if you get paid with dolla dolla bills instead of children's artwork and sticky kisses).  We also had to write auto-biographies (hello middle school language arts assignment!) and get physicals and bloodwork and tuberculosis tests and background checks and a fire inspection and go through manymany hours of cultural and parenting training.  Then, after you get all your paperwork together, you have to get everything notarized. Then county certified. Then state certified.

We're probably about 90% through our paper-chase at this point, and now we're waiting to hear from our social worker who will, I am told, learn everything there is to know about our family through a series of interviews.  If I am to believe the hype, I think she will know more about us than *we* know about us by the time this process is complete.

And then?  Well then we get to submit this giant pile of paperwork to the US government, hope to be approved, then get another background check done (all told we will get 3 sets of fingerprints done each, which doesn't make me feel at all like a criminal. #sarcasm).  Then all of that gets translated into Amharic (most widely spoken language in Ethiopia), sent over the ocean, and we wait.  And wait and wait and wait.  In fact, we wait so long that it is not unlikely we will have to repeat the entire process again before we see a referral.  Super fun times.

But, like I said, we were prepared for the overwhelmingness of the paper chase.  When you start talking to other adoptive families, noone says, "oh, ya, super easy!  You'll totally breeze through it!"  Nope.  More like, "hahahahahahaha good luck ha!" (ok, not like that, people are actually amazingly supportive and wonderful <3). I've been doing most of the chasing, but Michael, always thinking like an engineer, has been keeping us organized.  More on that in another post.

So, there you have an overview of what our last 2 months has looked like.  Over the next couple of posts, I'll talk more about a few of the steps in more detail.  Then we'll talk fundraising, or as I like to call it, FUNdraising.  j/k

In case my sarcasm comes across as frustration or discouragement or any other negative emotion, know that it is not.  I'm just sarcastic by nature.  God made me that way and I'm pretty sure He likes me so I'mma stick with it ;)

*ok, not a *literal* ton...I just did that because Michael hates it when people misuse the word ya babe! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Livin on a Prayer (for spring to be here soon!)

Normally February is my "oh my goodness I cannot believe how awful this month is" month, and it just seems to drag on forever and ever with nary a peek of spring.  This year I was really excited as for some reason February just wasn't so bad.  And then?  And THEN?  Then came March.  Don't get me wrong ~ March has not been all bad.  We've had fun times for sure.  But this snow and cold and wet is killing my happiness one gray cloud at a time :P  16 more days...

Whooah, we're halfway there,
Whooah-oh, livin on a prayer...

So that I don't come off as a total Grumpy Gus, here are some good things that have been happening :)

1. Maya is, like, for real reading.  It's incredible to see (or hear) her pick up a book and just start reading it!  I take no credit for this as I haven't been very consistent on including phonics work in her schooling ~ one day it just clicked and she's now off and running!  She also started asking some more serious questions about God this week, and it is so neat to see her begin to process her own faith.  One night we had a fairly long discussion about how God answers prayer (ie. He doesn't always give us exactly what we ask for, or do it on our timeline).  The next day she scraped her leg, and she told Michael, "I prayed that God would make my scrape go away, and He's just doing the best He can right now."

2. Charlotte hasn't cried at preschool drop-off for over a month (yay!).  She likes her new student teacher, and especially likes that he brought in his two guinea pigs; she has never shared so much about school as she did the day she got to meet Piper and Isabel. They are best friends, they eat carrots, and Isabel has a louder squeak. In case you were curious.

3. Milo is making progress with his language!  I was starting to stress just a bit before his last checkup  but our pediatrician assured me that he was doing fine with his (then) 15 words/signs.  Today I was counting with him for the millionth time, and when I asked him to say the numbers after me he did!  I mean, noone but me would have understood what he was saying, but I'm taking it as a win :)  Somehow my friend Sierra always gets him to say new things; I think he saves up his new words for her, so I was glad he shared this one with me ;)


I've been watching my friend's kids part-time the last 2 weeks, and it's been going really well!  Alex (4) and Maya (5) play really well together.  Milo and Lilly are exactly 2 weeks apart in age, and I describe them as "frenemies" :)  They will be hugging and holding hands one minute, and screaming at each other over a dry-erase marker the next.  It's like toddler fight club up in here!  They're both still in that tippy-toddler stage, too, so it's a teensy bit hilarious to watch it play out (I intervene before anyone could possibly get hurt, don't worry ;))

"Milo is Unimpressed" face strikes again!

The following pictures were taken exactly 1 year ago today.  Oh how I long for the days of bare feet and sleeveless dresses...