Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The BIG six.

Lately I have been feeling quite energized, excited, and hopeful - so, I decided that I am NOT going to contact my caseworker this month (as I usually do), I just don't want to hear anymore bad news about delays. Anyway, now that the busyness of Christmas has passed, I have an awful feeling that January is going to ddddrrrraaaagggg on forever - finding out that we have another month added to our wait is just not what I need to hear right now. So, I am going to sit in my "8+ months" bubble for a little while longer.

Cheers to 6 months.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rockin' it out on Christmas

My two favorite rockstars... The first thing Sara said when we got in the car, on our way home from my parents, was "Oh boy, now the Easter Bunny will come soon!"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Sarah and Dae on your Christmas referrals, although you both waited WAY to long to tell us, but I forgive you :) :) :) You made Christmas even more special - you have made it a bit more real for me that this will happen and I dreamed of my baby all week long...thank you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to my baby far far away...

When Sara first came home to us, I would dance with her to this song everyday...I can't wait to repeat this tradition...

I know that we will be blessed with our second miracle soon...I am at peace.

Miracle by Celine Dion

You’re my life’s one miracle
Everything I’ve done that’s good
And you break my heart with tenderness
And I confess it’s true
I never knew love like this ‘til you

You’re the reason I was born
Now I finally know for sure
And I’m overwhelmed with happiness
So blessed to hold you close
That one that I love most
Though the future has so much for you in store
Who could ever love you more?

The nearest thing to heaven
You’re my angel from above
Only God creates such perfect love

When smile at me, I cry
And to save your life I’d die
With a romance that is pure in heart
You are my dearest part
Whatever it requires
I live for your desires
Forget my own, your needs will come before
Who could ever love you more?

There is nothing you could ever do
To make me stop loving you
And every breath I take
Is always for your sake
You sleep inside my dreams and know for sure
Who could ever love you more?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Charlie Brown tree.

So this is what you get when you ask your husband to go pick out the Christmas Tree. I gave him two simple instructions - "not too expensive and not too big". Well, I certainly got what I literally asked for. When I saw it, I could not stop laughing. And, oh yes, the picture is not deceiving - it is that pathetic. Please remind me next year to be MUCH more specific with my instructions or go get it myself.

Sara was so excited to decorate the tree, I would not have dared send him back for another. And I honestly thought that maybe if we decorated it and it settled into itself that it would look better...I was mistaken. In fact, the next day, after Sara's excitement about the tree had subsided, she even realized that something was just not right with the poor Charlie Brown tree - she asked "Daddy, when are we going to get a Christmas tree like this..."

Friday, December 12, 2008

I can't believe I am going to say this but...

I did not think about the adoption for almost one whole week...I wish I could be on vacation for the next four months.
Las Vegas was FABULOUS. If you want a distraction, Vegas is certainly the place to do it. It was such a great relief to be free of mind for a while...now back to the real word - aaah, the habits of home and life.
I even made it on to the Hot Tamolly Train with Mary Murphy from So You Think You can Dance.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It is what it is.

I have come to realize that most of my frustrations/anxiety during this process really have nothing to do with the actual process, but rather the constantly changing timelines. We have gone from 2-4 months, to 4-6 months, to 6+ months, to 7+ months, and now 8+ months. With every month behind us, another is added in its place - I feel we are making no progress what-so-ever. I think I would be much more accepting and settled if the wait times would not keep changing, whether it were 2 months or 2 years - at least we would not have so many false expectations and could mentally prepare for our wait accordingly. Each change in our wait time means having to readjust my mental timeline - this is exhausting and draining, emotionally and physically.

Do I sometime wish we would have started this process sooner (especially when you look back at families from last year who only waited about 2 months for a referral)? - yes, but only sometimes. The reality is that this is our journey and I don't understand or can't explain why our journey is different, shorter/longer, more/less complicated then others - but it is what it is. God had another plan for me and I have accepted my path - Not to say that this acceptance has come easily or that I do not slip back into the "why me?" mode from time to time. The bottom line is that life is not fair; however, we need to take what life gives us and do our best to make it right - to make it meaningful - to make it worth something. As much as I get frustrated, angry and pissed off at times, I am also grateful for everything that this journey has and will bring - a test of patience, a sense of meaning, an appreciation for what is important in life, and most importantly, a beautiful and amazing family that I would not change/trade for anything.

To my Australian blogger...

I would love to know more about the adoption process in Australia - Why does it take so long to adopt from Ethiopia? I fully appreciate your comments and can truly say that I cannot even begin to imagine having this whole process take over 4 years.

Monday, December 01, 2008

"8+ months"

I was told "8+ months" for referrals today. I have nothing to say...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

FIVE

I actually don't have a whole lot to say with hitting 5 months. I am not feeling much right now...kind of numb. I am resigned to the fact that there is no possible way (no matter how you look at it) that our referral is coming before Christmas (sad sad sad thing is that a little part of my heart still hopes I am wrong) and will be anxiously awaiting great news in the new year. I really do feel that we are getting closer with five months behind us...and I keep hoping that our "older" infant referral (up to 18 months) may make a little difference in our wait time ...I might be dreaming on that one, but according to my list of all the families I keep track of, we are one of the only families waiting for a babe over 12 months - so I am kind of hoping that the extra 6 months might make a little bit of a difference.

I am beyond the point of feeling sorry for myself (for now). I need to chanel my energy somewhere else for a bit. So, with that, Chad and I leave for Las Vegas in one week. We have never been and I am getting really excited. We have not really planned anything while we are there. We know that we are going in the low season, so we have not purchased tickets to any shows - we are hoping to get some last minute deals. If anyone has any suggestions of "must sees", please share. I really wanted to see "O" but it is not showing in December :(

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life gave me the gift of you

I didn’t give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true.
No, I didn’t give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
– Unknown

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Does anyone have a friend who...

you have known for years, MANY years

you don't see very often (maybe a few times a year)

you rarely talk to on the phone or correspond by email

you each have "closer" friends who you correspond with much more often

But...

is one of the first persons you think of when something really important happens in your life

is the one who is always a shoulder to lean on, a pep talk, a place to cry, and a place to just be, a place where it is safe to feeling crappy or depressed…with no judgement

where there is a mutual, unspoken feeling of an unconditional commitment, trust, and assurance that she will always be a soft place to land in any moment

has seen you at your best (and celebrated with you) and worst (and sat with you through all of it)

Thank you Christine for the precious gift...and so much more.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Adoption T-Shirts

I found a site where you can order cool adoption clothing and nick-knacks - http://shop.cafepress.com/adoption - I tried copying some of the pictures, but it wouldn't let me. So instead I have included some of my favorite idioms I found - there are also some really cute pictures.

For Babies/Children:
* Don’t tell my parents, but they don’t look a thing like me
* I don’t have my mom’s eyes. But I do have her heart
* I’m living proof that adoption is beautiful
* Sorry to have kept you waiting
* I grew in my mommy’s heart, not under it
* So I’m adopted. You were an accident
* Sorry Angelina I’m taken
* Yes, I’m bilingual. I cry in two languages
* I am a dream come true…
* Hand picked & heaven sent
* I was wished for, longed for, hoped for, prayed for, and now I am a dream come true.
* Yes, we’re really sisters (brothers).
* Adopted. And proud of it.
* Adoption is a magical kiss, released to the wind, that travels the world, and rests on the cheek of a miracle. I am a miracle.
* Special Delivery from Ethiopia. Handle with care.
* Blogling.

For Parents/Parents-to-be:
* No, still waiting. No, no news. Yes, make it a double.
* I may not be showing, but I am growing…
* Childbirth is an act of nature, adoption is an act of God.
* Adoption is another word for love.
* It isn’t how you birth your baby, it’s how you love your child.
* Yes, I am his/her real dad/mom.
* Some babies come by stork. My baby is coming by 747.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What would you do?

So, we had a babysitter a couple of nights ago and I would like to know what others think about what transpired and what you would do the next time you needed a sitter.

Background: First off, my feelings with babysitters and food is "if you find it in the kitchen, you can eat it." This was her second time babysitting for us. She is young, quiet, but nice and polite; she is fantastic with Sara - she loves to play. She even cleans our house! So what's the issue???

When we arrived home and I was getting ready to take her home, she grabbed her jacket and a jawbreaker (one of my MANY jawbreakers I buy in bulk - yes, I love candy, any candy) fell out of her jacket pocket and rolled down the stairs, plunk plunk plunk plunk... So I am thinking "OK, fine one jawbreaker, no big deal." Then after the first one landed, a second one fell out following the first one down the stairs, plunk plunk plunk plunk... (what was only a few seconds, felt like a scene in slow motion). Chad and I looked at each other and it took everything in me not to burst out into laughter. I tried to downplay the event, because I am sure she was embarrassed enough.

So I drove her home, with only a little bit of small talk - "How was Sara? What did you guys do? Was her a good girl? What time did she go to bed? etc." But the entire time I was thinking about the jawbreakers...

When I got back home and opened the door, Chad looked at me and we both burst out into laughter, at the same time I said "I'm really not sure what to think of that."

So with much pondering, I have two very conflicting feelings about this event. On one hand, she's young...so she likes candy and she wanted a bit for later...I said she could help yourself to anything - so she took a couple (at least) jawbreakers, is it really the end of the world? On the other hand, it starts with the jawbreakers, then what? My spare change, my jewellery? With that said, I have difficultly placing jawbreakers in the same category as jewellery. However, the bottom line is she took something (kind of without asking) out of my home. Can I trust her in my home next time?

So, parents and parents-to-be, what would you do, would you have her back?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do you have AOCD? Take this test to find out.

If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions you may need to be treated for Adoption Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (AOCD). You should immediately consult with family, friends, and especially fellow adoption blogger.

 Repeated actions over and over - Do you ritually check adoption blogs and forums MANY times a day; especially at the most unusual/inappropriate times like during work or before your coat and shoes are off when you get home from being out for any amount of time?
 Involuntarily persistent thoughts - Do you wake up every morning and go to bed each night (and most hours in between) thinking about adoption? Or do you find yourself trying to steer conversations onto the topic of adoption because it is the only topic you can seem to concentrate on for any period of time?
 Arranging and having things orderly - Do you keep a tracker and/or spreadsheet tracking wait times and referrals (if you use a color coding system, add two points to your score)? Or do you check other peoples trackers and/or databases to count where you are "in line"?
 Aggressive or horrific thoughts - When people say "Hang in there!" and you smile and say "thanks", would you rather hang them? Or when people say "Good things come to those who wait", do you wonder if they have ever had to wait for something this important (we are talking about a baby, not dessert)? Or after someone says "Everything happens for a reason", would you like to smack them and say "I'll show you my reason!"
 Uncontrolled emotions - When you see beautiful black babies at the grocery store do you become overwhelmed with emotion? Do you get disappointed when someone doesn't comment on your blog, even when you know lots of people are reading it? Do you scream into your pillow for, what seems like, no particular reason?
 Repeated doubts - Do you wonder if your adoption will ever happen? Do you wonder if your file got lost/misplaced somehow, so technically, you are not on the "waiting list"? Do you ever think that they might forget you are waiting and skip your referral?
 Demanding reassurance - Do you depend on regular updates and correspondence from your agency for your sanity? And if you don't hear from your agency, do you email and/or call them to subtly remind them that you are still waiting?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling defeated.

I am having a bad week. I am feeling completely defeated and doubtful that this is ever going to happen. I am feeling panicked that "something" is going to happen before we get our referral and that this will NEVER happen. I have a heavy chest just thinking about it right now. I look at the loooooong list of families ahead of us and selfishly wish that we should be bumped to the front, just because...then I feel guilty for even feeling this way, because I know there are so many families that have been waiting a lot longer then us, just as desperate to hold their babies as I am. And to add to my guilt, I have a beautiful, amazing, remarkable 4-year-old daughter and husband that I should be putting all this energy into.

I feel like every time a referral comes in that we get a little closer, then a new family appears on the forum who are ahead of us or I hear of families switching from siblings to singles, which puts us right back to the end of line again.

I sometimes feel like a fraud with my friends and family; they ask "Soooo, anything new?" and I respond "No, still waiting, but hopefully we will hear by Christmas...in the new year...in late winter...in the spring." - my answer changes every time someone asks. Was I ever a fool, when we started this process back in January, I actually thought that maybe we will be home with our baby by Christmas - jokes on me - little did I know that Christmas really meant 2009, not 2008.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is it really that Black and White...

I'm sure most have seen a version of this at some point, but every time I see it I get the chills. How can we teach our children that they are strong, powerful, beautiful, and deserving in their own skin, that diversity should be celebrated and honoured. I feel that as much as I believe and teach this, society sets such a powerful message that tells us that we all need to look like "this" or act like "that" to fit in. So sad.




Chad and I did a version of this experiment with our 4-year-old daughter; the results were very encouraging. She seemed to "randomly" select the white or black doll regardless of the questions (nice vs bad, pretty vs ugly). Her comments included: the white doll is ugly "because she is not smiling", the black doll is pretty "because she has pretty eyes." She pointed at both dolls when asked "Which doll do you want to be your friend?" I want my children to honour themselves inside and outside. I want to ensure that my children grow up to be confident in who they are and respect others as they are. I hope I can?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

FAM...my other baby.

Friends of Adoption Manitoba (FAM) is an organization that I was part of establishing a couple of years ago. It started with a group of families that identified several gaps in adoption services and support in Manitoba. We are now working towards addressing these issues in our province. You can learn more about our organization at our newly launched website - www.friendsofadoption.mb.ca/.

We most recently held a Candle Lighting Ceremony at the Legislative Building in Winnipeg to launch Adoption Awareness Month. We honoured adoptees and everyone who loves them. We had about 150 people attend - it was great!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do I even dare say it!

We are at 4 months (18 weeks) today - Do I even dare say that we are now passed the half way mark...I hope I did not just jinx myself. I feel like we are getting soooo close...

However, as you can see, we are all going a little crazier by the day with this wait!

It is great to hear about all the recent referrals. Congrats to all the families who have recieved such wonderful news!

I guess I shouldn't have said it...Just heard from Imagine this afternoon - we are now being told "7+ months" for our referral - How quickly things change in just one month! Wonder what the delay next month will be? That brings us to at least Feburary now - @#$% - not feeling so close anymore. I feel like I am running a dog race around the track for the rabbit...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Teaching moment with a 4-year-old

Sara: "Mommy, am I white?"
Mommy: "Well, we are kind of whitish, beigey, pink."
Sara: "And our new baby will be brown?"
Mommy: "That's right."
Sara: "Well, our new baby won't match."
Mommy: "The new baby may not match our skin, but he/she will match our family in other ways. The new baby will have brown eyes and black hair just like Daddy. You and me have the same skin, but look at how we are different - what is different about our hair?"
Sara: "You have straight hair and mine is curly!"
Mommy: "People come is all different shapes and sizes, that is what makes us all special."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let it rain...

Let it pour...let the referrals begin again...first one announced today after a 2 month drought.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Because a few friends have asked...

Well, this post will certainly not be anything new or informative to my fellow Etho-adoptive bloggers, but I have had a few questions lately from friends and family regarding our international adoption process and thought I would break it down from the beginning. Please add comments/clarity/questions as you feel necessary.

Deciding to go international - An international adoption has always been a possibility for us, we said that if Sara turned four and we were still waiting domestically that we would start the international adoption process. So we probably started talking about it approximately 2 years ago, began exploring our options more seriously in summer 2007, and made our decision in fall 2007 (see the "Why Ethiopia?" post). If this would have been our first adoption or used a different local agency we would have been required to take an educational course on adoption; however, we took this course before we applied for our first adoption in 2003, which saved us several months of time.

Applying for international adoption - Our first meeting with our Adoption Agency was scheduled in February 2008, where we signed our "Letter of intent" to adopt internationally and were provided with the endless paperwork to start our homestudy.

Completing a homestudy (3 months) - So we completed one homestudy for Sara's adoption, one homestudy for our second domestic adoption, and a third for our international adoption. Fortunately for us, we had our domestic adoption file open with our agency so we were able to use most of the history content to develop our international file. For clarity, an international adoption file or application is called a "dossier". So, I will now refer to our "file/application" as a "dossier".

The following is a list of just some of the documents/tasks/materials we had to complete/compile/gather as part of our homestudy approval:

* Security Clearance (Fingerprint Check through Interpol in Ottawa)
* Medical Reports from Family Doctor
* Handwritten letter to Minister of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia - explaining our desire/reasons to adopt a child from Ethiopia
* Proof of Life Insurance and Health Benefits
* Passport photos
* Criminal Checks
* Notices of Assessment
* Letter from Employers
* 4 reference letters from non-family members
* 2 pages of labelled photos of our family
* 12ish page personal, work, family, parenting, etc. questionnaire
* Trans-racial questionnaire
* Request questionnaire - selecting gender, age range, and why

Homestudy Interview - Again, fortunately for us, because we had already completed a VERY intensive homestudy interview as part of our first adoption application, we simply had to provide an update homestudy interview.

Provincial approval (1 month) - After our interview, our local adoption worker compiles ALL the documents we have collected/completed and requests our approval for an international adoption, our dossier then goes to our provincial government for formal approval. This means that the province approves our dossier and our gender/age request.

Foreign Affairs approval (1 month) - Our local agency then sends our approved dossier to the international adoption agency, who then sends it to Ottawa where it gets legalized and authenticated by Foreign Affairs and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Dossier travels to Ethiopia (Less than 1 week) - Once our dossier is returned to the international adoption agency, they send it to their contacts in Ethiopia and we are officially put on the "waiting list" (for lack of better words). Currently, we are being told that our referral will come approximately 6 months from this time.

Referral (about 6 months) - This is where the real fun begins! A "referral" means that we have been "matched" with a child; we receive photos and a medical and social history of a child. Our international agency will send the referral to our local agency, whom, in turn, will inform us that our referral is in. We will review the referral and formally accept the referral. At this point, the child is put "on hold" (again, for lack of better words). The child is NOT legally ours until after court.

Court (1-3 months) - Receiving a court date can take anywhere between 1-3 months. This is the legal process in which the child legally becomes ours, granted by the Judge in the Ethiopia courts.

Waiting to Travel (2-4 months) - Once this Adoption Order has been granted, we will wait another 2-4 months for the immigration documentation to be prepared for our child (passport, birth certificate, visa). Once the final piece of documentation has been prepared by the High Commission, we will be notified and then we can travel to Ethiopia.

Travelling to Ethiopia (7-10 days) - Once we receive notice to travel, we are required to travel to Ethiopia for at least 7-10 days to pick up our child. We are only required to send one parent to Ethiopia; however, we will be travelling as a family (Chad, Laura and Sara) to pick up the final member of our clan.

And worth EVERY second of our time, energy, frustration, labour and waiting!!!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 months or 13 weeks

Well, we have made it through the third month and I must say that I am a little disappointed, although it may seem that I am not keeping up with my referral tracker, the fact is that there have been NO referrals in over a month...a bit depressing to say the least. I knew the referral pace was too good to be true. There are a few families that have now been waiting over 8 months for a single infant referral. If this pace continues, this would bring us to a March referral...pretty crappy considering we were originally told back in February that our wait would be only 2-4 months! Sorry, don't mean to sound so negative, but this waiting never gets easier. Our caseworker is still saying "about 6 months" - so I am still holding onto that time, until we are personally told otherwise.

On a brighter side. It is a fact that our baby exists, whether in the womb or in the world - our baby is anywhere between -5 months to +12 months old. A big smile appears on my face whenever I think of this. Where is my baby? What is he/she doing right now? Is he/she getting lots of love? I want to scream to everyone I see that we are already parents, we just don't know to whom (or when). As I was bogging with Shannon awhile back, I often see pregnant moms out and about and want to blurt out "Hey, I'm expecting too you know, any day now - can't you tell by the big smile on my face!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Something Fun!

This is so adorable, I just had to post it. I like the last half best.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About the Ethiopian Art

Well, I have had a few requests about where I found the beautiful art. I was interested in seeing what type/style of work was out there by Ethiopian artists - so I simply did a Google search on "Ethiopian art". I found hundreds of the most wonderful pieces. Here are a few of the best sites I found, with galleries of work and artist profiles:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day!

Four years ago today Sara came home to us.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2 months down

2 months down! I am so thrilled that Imagine is already into their Feb08 referrals. I have been religiously keeping my referral tracker up-to-date - in just over one month there have been 13 referrals come through. It looks like the the wait is averaging about 6-6.5 months; but I am praying for an early Christmas present...please send positive vibs our way that the referrals keep on coming at this pace! I told Chad the other day that when the first Jun08 referral comes through I will be practically useless until ours comes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adoption article in the Wpg Free Press

This article was published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday. It is really powerful.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/subscriber/westview/story/4217328p-4810443c.html

Let me know what you think...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daydreaming...

I found this poem online the other day and thought it was so perfect. I wish I could take credit for - my only contribution is sharing it.
Daydreaming...
I stepped into her room today
Knowing she’s not there
This waiting for referral
Is more than one can bear

But taking in the moment
I sit down on the floor
And dream of her here with me
When waiting is no more.

A little giggle fills the air
As I rub her feet
I place my hand upon her heart
To feel its every beat.

A song is sung so very soft
Her eyes begin to close
She’s meeting me in dream land
A place where love still grows.

My vision now is very blurred
The tears stream down my cheeks
I’ve dreamed of her quite often
Throughout these past few weeks.

Suddenly a sound is heard
The phone rings in the hall
Waking up I quickly pray
Please let it be “The Call”.
By Tom Fisher

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We're back!

Well, almost two weeks with limited access to emails and the internet and I survived - it was touch, but I made it through. We had an amazing holiday, with one week in Grand Beach, MB with friends and one week in Cypress Hills, SK with family. I can't believe we are back to work and our next holidays are not until December - that seems like a really long time away :(


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One month down!

That was not so bad...I think I can do this for another 6 months or so?????

It is wonderful that there have been several referral announcements in the past week. This means a few steps closer for us! The recent referrals were for single infants - and the families had been waiting since Nov and Dec 07 and Jan 08 (yippee, we are in the 2008 referrals), so about 6.5-8.5 months. I think I can manage that wait...ask me that again in a few months :) Congrats to those families! I have added a referral tracker to the left column of my blog, so we can track timelines.

Thank you to all our family and friends that have wished us congratulations and have been supporting us through this journey. This experience is quite different then our domestic adoption; although everyone knew we were adopting, we did not know when (could have been days, months, years, never) and even after we received the call for Sara, the fear of reversal kept us from celebrating too loudly and sharing our news with anyone outside our inner circle. But this time, we have an estimated due date - an actual date we can anticipate and look forward to, plan for, and plan around. It is so wonderful being able to share this experience with others. I love answering all the questions and inquiries we are receiving - it makes it so real!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guilty confession...

"Oh, that child is so lucky."
"What a wonderful thing you are doing."
"You are doing such a brave/courageous/noble thing."
"It is so great that you are giving a child a chance at life."

and so on and so on...while all these comments we have received in one form or another have validity - I must confess that our main decision to pursue an Ethiopian adoption is purely selfish...I JUST WANT ANOTHER BABY AND BE DONE! This mission is simply a means to an end.

At the same time, I sometimes feel quite guilty for sounding so egocentric - we are spending all this money for our own selfish desires to complete our family - I have often thought "why not send all the money we have put towards this adoption to help a family in Ethiopia?" Just writing that made my stomach turn with guilt. What if our future child could have thrived within his/her birth family if only they had been provided the resources. STOP - how timely, I just read a blog posted (and comments) this morning on this very topic - it is said more eloquently then I could have ever express, check it out http://rowanfamilytree.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/a-25000-question/ - Thanks Nicky.

My rationale - Bottomline is that adoption is the only way we can complete our family - so I need to think of it more as our reality then being selfish. I like to think of it this way:
"We are so blessed to have this child join our family."
"We are honoured that we were chosen to be parents for this child."
"We are the lucky ones."

I think I am kind of talking in circles and I don't even know if I have truely expressed my thoughts or even know exactly what I am trying to say in the first place. So take this post for whatever it is worth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We are "EXPECTING"...and I am celebrating with a glass of wine!

Who can say that these days and still be politically correct...I can! We have just recieved confirmation (why did it take so long?...who knows? - at this point I don't even care!) that our dossier arrived safely in Ethiopia on June 30, 2008 and we are now officially "expecting" - let the count down begin! Our gestation may seem more like an elephant than a human, but at least the end is in sight :)

Just think, our beautiful babe could be somewhere across the ocean as we speak - how cool is that?

So now what...we wait (and as you have already read, we are experts at that; however, it never seems to get any easier). We hope by January/February 2009 (or maybe, if we are really lucky, an early Christmas present) that we will receive a child referral. So, we have about 6 months until referral and about another 3-6 months until travel - we are hoping to be in Ethiopia by next summer.

In the mean time, we begin the first part of the citzenship paper work for our babe.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

GRRRRRR...still waiting for confirmation.

We just got back from a few days of camping and the first thing I did when we walked in the door was rush to the computer to check our email to see if we received our confirmation of our dossier arriving in Ethiopia. To my disappointment, no email. Our file left on June 26 - it has now been over three weeks - we are quite confident it has arrived (because it is only suppose to take a week for it arrive) but we don't want to officially celebrate until we know for sure. Hopefully this week we will hear...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A little bit about Sara's Adoption

This picture is from the first time we met Sara.

An Adoption Prayer

Not flesh of my flesh.
Nor bone of my bone.
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute.
You didn't grow under my heart
But in it.

Sara was our first miracle. On August 23, 2004 I received the best phone call of my life (so far) - "Laura, are you somewhere you can talk, we have a birthmother that would like to meet you and Chad...and the baby is already born...and it is a girl...and her name is Sara" - words that changed our family forever. Eight days after that phone call Sara came home.

We have an open adoption with Sara's birthparents - something we cherish - we feel blessed that they are a part of our life. They are amazing people and we look forward to each visit with them. You can never have too many people who love you in your life!

Sara has always know how she was brought into our family - adoption is just the way we became a family. We have a special box that we keep all our adoption memories in for her and we read her lots of children's books about adoption - our favourite is "Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born" by Jamie Lee Curtis. We also celebrate Sara's "Gotcha Day" every year as a family.

Sara has brought more joy into our life than we ever thought possible - we are so blessed that we are on another amazing adoption adventure that will lead us to our second miracle.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Big sister in training...

Although, I do not think Sara realizes that our baby will not take direction as well as her new doll!!! Or that our baby will be crawling/walking, maybe talking, and most definitely will be getting into "stuff" - including Sara's "stuff" right away.

By the way, we are still waiting to hear confirmation that our file has arrived safely in Ethiopia - takes about one week to get there, but we just heard that IA does not receive confirmation until about 1-2 weeks after that...more waiting.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And we're off...

Our file was sent off to Ethiopia today! YIPPEE!!!!!!! We are thrilled and can’t wait to receive notice that it has arrived safely and the real waiting can begin.

With our file leaving Canada, this means that our domestic file has officially been closed (don't even get me started on the "why can't it stay open until you get the referral" and the "that doesn't seem fair" - it's LAW and it's just the way it is - whether it makes sense or not).

I am having trouble describing the feelings associated with our domestic file closing. Of course, we are so excited to be on this Ethiopian adventure; however, domestic adoption is all we have known for so many years, including all the good (the miracle of Sara, our open adoption experience) and the not so good (the endless waiting, the close calls). We have been in a constant "waiting" mode for so long now, the thought of this whole infertility/adoption journey ending and our family finally being complete is kind of unfathomable – I only know how to wait.

Also, the unknown about an international adoption is also fairly new for us including all the added "worries" like potential politics within Ethiopia (ex. civil war), natural disasters (ex. the recent drought sweeping the country), Ethiopian courts approving the adoption, applying for citizenship/visa, baby medicals before we can take him/her home, etc...

I will be sure to check in once our file has arrived in Ethiopia and we can officially announce that we are “expecting”.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Ethiopia?

A question we get almost every time we share our news...

Our choices for selecting Ethiopia for our international adoption are multiple and I can't really say that one reason was more significant then the other. The reasons just all seemed to add up together and made sense for our family. So, in no particular order, our reasons for selecting Ethiopia are:

* Children receive exceptional care in the orphanages and are generally very healthy.

* On the international adoption scale, Ethiopia is one of the least expensive country to adopt from (not that we would ever want to put a price on this journey - but the reality is that the money has to come from somewhere).

* Canada/Manitoba has a very established adoption program in Ethiopia - the process is next to seamless and very well organized.

* There is a large network of families in Manitoba who have adopted from Ethiopia to connect with.

* Ethiopia has one of the shortest waiting times for being matched with a child and bringing a child home (about 12 months in total).

* Ethiopia has the youngest children available for adoption (as young as a couple months).

* The race of our child was not important to us (well, it is important, but you know what I mean) - being parents and completing our family is (and always has been) our priority.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bitter Sweet

Bitter...We have found out that referral times have increased for all child(ren) requests. For us, the wait will now be "at least 6 months" (we were originally told 2-4 months) for an infant either gender referral. And this could change again without any notice...we are now looking at 2009 before our referral comes in. Regardless, we are committed to this journey and (as best we can) prepared for all the bumps that come along the way!

Sweet...We have had contact with Imagine and it feels like such a relief to have connected with them finally. Our situation was bit different then others - we did not have any contact with IA until our local agency sent our completed approved homestudy to them, along with all the other documents including our retainer. Our contact with IA has been nothing but positive. They have answered EVERY question I have thrown at them...and there have been many in just this short time. Looks like our Dossier should be traveling by the end of June (fingers crossed)...then the real count down begins.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Great way to keep informed...

I came across the greatest way to stay connected to other Canadian families on an Ethiopian adoption journey using mostly Imagine Adoption (some CAFAC). It is a "members only" group - families at any stage of their adoption can sign up at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Canadaadoptsethiopia/ This forum has been SOOOOO helpful - Our family is one of the first families in Manitoba to have an adoption to Ethiopia facilitated through our local agency using Imagine Adoption. It has been a bit lonely along the way - so it is wonderful to know that there are many others on this journey to check in with from time to time.

Dossier to Imagine

Yippee! One more hurdle down. Our Dossier is on its way to Imagine Adoption. We are slowly moving closer! Hopefully by July we will be "expecting".

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"When is that baby coming?"

I think we might be over preparing Sara for this new babe. She now asks almost daily, "When is that baby coming?"

She also has annouced to a few people "We are going on a airplane to get a brown baby from Efiopia" - soooo cute. She also really hopes for a sister by asking us "if we get a boy baby, can we get two babies so one can be a girl with pink?"

I think Sara is going to be in for a big surprise when that baby does come...she has had Mommy and Daddy's attention all to herself for over four year now. My hope is that the more we talk about the new babe the more prepared she will be - maybe wishful thinking, but it is all I can do.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Which is worse...?

I don't know which is worse - waiting for a referral or the waiting to start waiting! It seems like it is taking forever to get our file to Ethiopia, we can't even officially start counting yet - we signed our homestudy at the beginning of May and it has not even been sent to KidsLink/Imagine yet!

Another question? I have been surfing around a number of Ethiopian adoption blogs (Canadian) and am amazed at the varying referral times. In fact, just doing a quick tally, this is what I have found, from the time the Dossier arrived in Ethiopia to the time of referral: 2 months, 1 month, 10 months, 4 months, 8 months - and this is for single and/or siblings. Then, for families still waiting for their referrals, it seems to be taking even longer, for example, according to some family timelines they are still waiting for their referral after 4 months, 9 months, 5 months, and 6 months. And I have not even gotten into the varying time from referral to travel - anywhere from 4 to 10 months. KidsLink/Imagine is currently giving us a timeline of 2-4 months for an infant either sex referral (which we requested). Are we naive to think that this timeline provided is accurate?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Ethiopian Adoption Journey


Introducing Chad, Laura and Sara...

We are overjoyed by the thought of our future babe from Ethiopia completing our family.

Our adoption journey began several years ago with the adoption of our daughter, Sara, in September 2004. Sara was brought into our lives through a domestic adoption. We have now been waiting over three years for our second domestic adoption and the bottom line is that it just ain't happening...so we are now on a new adoption journey...Ethiopia here we come!

To date we have completed our homestudy and are waiting for provincial approval. Next it goes to Imagine Adoption and then Ethiopia.