Friday, December 31, 2010
I confess that I have been completely overwhelmed and beyond grateful for all the support we have received over the past couple months and comforted that we have so many amazing people sticking with us through this long drawn out painful chaos.
I confess that all I want to do for News Year Eve is hibernate.
I confess that I purchased a WAY too expensive purse for myself and am in love with it.
I confess that I am so so so so happy for Rana and Yvan to FINALLY be bringing their sweet boy home! Finally Finally Finally!!!
I confess that the extreme stress I have been under lately is the best weight-loss program ever, too bad I feel like shit. I have two levels of stress - Level 1: "Oh that really ticks me off and I can't stop thinking about it so I'm going to eat my face off and maybe that will make it go away" stress, and Level 2: "Oh that hit me across the back of the head and I didn't even see it coming and the thought of eating makes me ill" stress. I've been in level 2 for a couple months now.
I confess that I want to vomit into my computer almost everyday and tell you everything about the hell we are living, but cannot...
I confess that I have not exercised since the summer.
I confess that I think about the time I spent with Seth everyday. I can still feel his soft skin and hair and see his big beautiful smile.
I confess that I bought something at Lu Lu Lemon a couple days ago, not because I loved it or needed it, but because it was on sale.
I confess that my thumbs are numb from playing Sara's new Super Mario DS game. The other day Sara asked me "Can I please have a turn?" Mark my words people, I will rescue that frickin' princess if it kills me, unless my thumbs fall off first.
I confess that I can always be more hopeful for other people than I can for myself.
I confess that I am feeling guilty for not going to church on Sundays more often (thanks Mom for reminding of this each week :))
I confess that I can't wait for NFL football season to end.
I confess that I like watching iCarly with Sara. OK, and SpongeBob and Hannah Montana.
I confess that I have a 1000+ more confessions and could go on and on and on and on...
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wishing everyone in my life a wonderful family-filled Christmas with much love and joy.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
With this renewed hope, for the first time in almost two months, I let myself dream about our boy coming home the other night - I didn't even try to stop it, I just let the dream come. It was scary to let my heart open up that far, but at the same time, as I held him in my arms and rocked him to sleep in the dream, it felt so peaceful. And the other day, for the first time in a long time, I stopped and studied one of his photos we have hanging on the fridge...I looked into his big brown eyes and wished with all my might for him to be ours forever.
The following is taken from something I posted almost one year ago about my feels of "hope":
Hope. I most often associate the word 'hope' as something positive. Synonyms for hope include expect, trust, anticipate, wish, look forward to, desire, faith - All words that imply a strong belief in a positive future.
We use the word hope so freely in day-to-day conversations - "I hope it doesn't rain today." We sometimes use the word to be rude - "I hope you aren't planning on wearing that tonight?" We also use the word for things that will probably never happen - "I hope we win the lottery." And we of course, use it for more significant events - "I hope our baby comes home."
Hope is nothing more than having a belief in something that has not happened. There is no guarantee, promise or assurance in hoping. Hope means that we are waiting on or wanting something - that something has not happened yet and there is a chance that it may not. Hope can make us vulnerable, fragile, and exposed.
So why do we bother with hope?
Hope gets us out of bed each morning. Hope is sometimes the only thing keeping us going. Hope can never let us down. If you have hope, anything is possible.
Hope is sometimes all we have...
Monday, December 20, 2010
And thanks to Les, Dave, and Mari for making it extra fun!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
I know we have so many people praying for and thinking about us and we are told daily that we are not alone, and this has truly been an invaluable comfort, but the reality is that we are the only family living through this experience right now.
As another critical date approaches we are left anxiously waiting once again. Our next court date has been scheduled for Monday, December 13th.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We do not have another court date set. We hope to know more about our timeline next week.
Things still do not look to be in our favor, but we continue to hold on to our hope until they tell us it is over.
For now we wait some more...
Thank you for the overwhelming support we have been receiving. Maybe, just maybe all your prayers, thoughts, positive energy, and vibes are doing something...so please don't give up on us - we still need a miracle.
I will likely continue to be fairly quiet, I hope you can understand. But please know that even though I am silent, I am feeling your love.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Our next court date is scheduled for November 25. We predict that it will go one of two ways - it will end quickly and badly on the 25th, or we are in for a very long fight on our hands, with no guarantees of success.
We are broken and hurting. We feel like we are being tortured and punished. I touched him and kissed him...and now he is being ripped from our hearts.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
The drive to see Seth was about two hours South of Addis Ababa, in a city called Adama. The drive was crazy, zigzagging through traffic, with cars, vans, trucks, bikes, cattle, and donkeys. They have no traffic signals or signs, just horns that they continually honk. We saw three very bad car accidents where you could not even recognize the front from the back of the car, scary.
I was accompanied on the drive by the head nurse from the Transition Home and the gentleman that will attend court with me on Friday.
When we first arrived at the Kingdom Vision International Orphanage (or KVI Adama), two young children, about age 3, immediately came running up and hugged me and followed us around almost the whole time, always reaching out for more hugs. I met the director and few staff and gave them a bag of donations. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. Soon they escorted us to the baby room - there were three small rooms with about 20 cribs in total. Most of the cribs were filled with smiling bear-bummed babies (it was changing time for all of them).
As I entered the last room, one of the workers came from outside holding Seth. All of the six workers in the room were pointing at me and smiling at Seth saying “Mama, mama”. He was shy and put his head on the workers’ shoulder.
They laid a mattress on the floor and placed 7 babies, including Seth on the mattress. I was able to sit on the floor and interact with all of them. They were crawling and slobbering all over me – it was fun.
Seth was the biggest child in the baby room. He is beautiful, he has a wonderful smile. His eyes were bright and alert. He is not walking on his own, but could walk while hold someone’s hand. He looked and seemed very healthy, but smaller than I had thought – still wearing size 12 month clothes. I measured his foot with my hand; it was about 4.5 inches long (now I can start buying him shoes!!!!).
What I was not expecting during this visit was physical contact with Seth, BUT, along with the other babies, I was able to hold him in my lap, kiss him, stroke his face and hair, blow into his neck to make him smile, tickle his toes, and beep his nose. We played with a small container, where I would put it on my head and let it fall, he would give a big smile each time, and even bigger when I put it on his head. Then all the babies were trying to put it on their heads...so cute.
At one point, one of the workers came into the room and picked up one of the babies. Seth immediately started fussing and whining. I was told that this worker was the one Seth had bonded with. I asked her to join me on the floor with Seth and after she put down the other baby, Seth clung to her and berried his face in her shirt. You could see how much they cared for each other. I was able to get only one picture at the orphanage; it was one with this worker. It will be great to be able to show this to Seth while he is growing up.
I was here for only about 30 minutes, the time went by very quickly. They would not let me take any pictures of Seth, and trust me, I asked about a bazillion times.
The day I met Seth is a moment I will never (or want to) forget...
Saturday, October 30, 2010
My packing is well underway and I actually think everything will fit!! I am nervous, excited, and anxious all at the same time.
I am overwhelmed by the many people who are supporting and encouraging us along the way. We are not done yet, BUT this trip is certainly one giant leap in the right direction.
Bon Voyeur to All.
ONE MORE SLEEP!!!!!!
P.S. I'm teaching Chad how to post on the blog, so if you see a new one in the next week, he got it right!!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We have just been informed that we will NOT pass court on November 5, 2010. WHY? Let me explain...
So here is the deal, our agency is in the middle of renewing their licence with the Ontario Government - a formality that happens annually. We have been told that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Ethiopia will not provide the support letter for a family until this licence has been renewed. We can still make our appearance in court next week (thank goodness), but the adoption order will not be granted until the judge receives the support letter.
What this means for us next week...
I will (only) observe Seth prior to court, but will not have a visit with him after court. I am going to plead and beg to get at least couple pictures at the observation, even though technically we are not allowed.
And another kicker...We will be assigned another court date (after I am home) and the judge will grant the adoption order during that court date when the letter is present. However, it is very possible that our original court date of Dec 7 will remain as this new court date, which puts us no further ahead than before.
The bright side, cuz I have to look for one right now...
* At least we know now. No surprises on the day of court. It is what it is.
* If we knew this information on Monday, when our court date changed (BTW, we had a choice to keep our Dec 7th date), we would have still chosen to go next week.
* I will not have to say goodbye to him.
* The first time I hold Seth, I will be with my family - Chad, Sara, me, and our boy, all together.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sara: "Why won't you sleep?"
Mommy: "Oh, just thinking about all the things I need to do before I go and all the things I will be doing when I'm in Ethiopia, like meeting Seth."
Sara: "Why don't you just dream about all that instead?"
Mommy: "Sometimes it's hard to get to sleep when you have lots on your mind."
Sara: "Well, what you need to do is take it out of your mind and put it all into your heart and then save it for when you see Seth. So, just put your hand on your head, like this, and take it from your head and then put it to your heart. See, now you can sleep!!!"
Mommy: "Will you share your toys with the new baby?"
Sara: "Well, only the soft ones, like stuffies, so he can't hurt himself on all my good toys."
Daddy: "What do you think we will say to the baby when we see him for the first time?"
Sara: "Party's over!! Time to go!!"
Daddy: "Remember Sara, it might take our baby a bit of time to get used to daddy, and might want to be with mommy a lot."
Sara: "OK, but as soon as he is not scared of you anymore, I get to go back on mommy's team."
And for a good chuckle...
After a lengthy discussion of different body parts...
Sara: "I know where babies grow too!"
Sara: "In the mommy's tummy."
Mommy: "Well, not in the tummy, but under the tummy in the uterus."
Sara: "And you did not grow a baby in your tummy, right?"
Mommy: "That's right, my uterus cannot grow a baby."
Sara: "Hey, Mommy!!!! Did you and Daddy try that lovin' thing to get a baby? Maybe that might work!!!"
Mommy: "Do you mean 'make love'?"
Sara: "Yes, like when you go into bed and a baby comes out?"
Mommy: "We tried that, but it didn't work..."
Monday, October 25, 2010
I found out only this morning. I have offically changed my flights and I leave on Oct 31 in the morning!!!!
IN ONE WEEK I AM GOING TO SEE MY BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT DO I NEED TO DO????? My brain is mush.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
As part of my travels to Ethiopia, I plan to visit several orphanages. WITH YOUR HELP, I am hoping to collect several key items/supplies that orphanages are in desperate need of.
IT’S EASY TO HELP!!
Just send any of the following items to me by December 1, 2010!!!!
(email me for mailing address email@example.com)
NEW or Gently Used Children's Crocs
(Orphanages would like Crocs because they are antibacterial, durable, easy to wash and care for, and fully protect little feet from disease.)
NEW Children's Socks NEW Children's Underwear
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We have busily been planning our trip to Ethiopia. Well, I should say "I", as I am travelling to court by myself - yikes!
This is how it is suppose to happen:
I am required to be in Ethiopia 3 days before court. I have already BOOKED MY FLIGHT - EEEEEEE, what an amazing feeling... I arrive in Addis Ababa on December 3. As of today, there are 51 days before I leave (but who's counting)...I can do that, right???
Prior to court, I will have an opportunity to see Seth for the first time. This visit will last only about 15 minutes, there is no one-on-one time, and NO pictures can be taken. It is an opportunity for me to observe him and ask few questions about his development.
I appear in front of the judge sometime on December 7. I believe there is no specific time set, I have to arrive in the morning and then just wait for my name to be called.
IF we pass court, we become the legal parents of Seth - AHHHHHH!!! He will be moved from his orphanage to the Imagine Transition Home. Once at the Transition Home, I will have a chance to visit with him. I will spend about 1-2 hours with him (and TH staff), give him his gifts, hopefully play a little, hold him (hug him, kiss him, touch him) if he lets me, and take a MILLION ZILLION pictures and videos.
IF we DO NOT pass court that day (or in other words, the court decision is delayed), I leave on my scheduled departure day, without another visit with Seth and not one single picture of him. Not passing court, does not mean that we will not become Seth's parents - it means that we do not pass court on that particular day (for example, a document is missing or clarification is needed on a document). My appearance/testimony would be logged and we do not have to reappear in court again. However, it may take days or weeks to acquire what is necessary to pass court. I pray that this is not the scenario that we are faced with.
I depart on December 10, arriving home on December 11.
Then what? We have chosen to bring Seth home as a Canadian Citizen (the other option was to bring him home with a Permanent Residency Visa). Seth documents will be sent to the High Commissioner in Nairobi, Kenya that processed immigration for Ethiopia (and several other African countries). Once Seth has been issued the appropriate travel documents, we (Chad, Sara and I) will travel back to Ethiopia to BRING HIM HOME!!! The wait between passing court and finalizing immigration papers can range anywhere from 3-6 months... I hope and pray that Seth is home sometime in March, but it is entirely possible that it may take months longer.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Receiving a referral is like the view from the top of the tallest and steepest mountain. You have endured every bit of pain humanly possible for the hope of the most exhilarating feeling ever. You have climbed, scaled, tripped, and stumbled along the way, and many times thought of giving up and never thought you would ever actually make it.
But then, when almost all your energy and determination is gone, you reach the top and it is glorious - all the pain and suffering up to this point are (almost) forgotten in one single moment. You scream, celebrate, and throw your arms up in the air in thanks and wonderment and take in all the beauty around you - nothing can break you in this moment, it feels like you could climb the mountain a 100 times over to achieve this euphoric feeling.
Then, when your adrenaline has taken you as far as it can, you sit and contemplate your journey, and realize that although you have made it all the way to the top, you still need to get back down to the bottom.
You know that there is still a risk of injury and hurt, but you have survived all the elements now and going down a mountain is always easier and less exhausting then climbing up. So, right now I have begun my descent - I am still cautious as I round each corner and scale down the cliff, but going down does not look as scary to me as it does going up. I now have a renewed perspective and a definitive purpose to my journey.
My hope is that our court date is just around the next corner...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
On the day we saw our boy's face for the first time, we both knew that this would be his name, but for some reason I was still a little scared to share it with others - maybe we had kept it to ourselves for so long it felt like telling someone our secret, maybe I did not want people to judge or dislike the name because we love it so much, or maybe saying this name made him become more and more real, and I am afraid to fall too hard for him before he is legally our son.
But as the weeks have passed, saying his name has become more and more comforting and natural. His name is a part of our daily conversations and we love talking about him by name.
Seth is the name we call him and it means "Appointed One." His birth names will be his middle names and we will share these names after we pass court.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
"Stop that you guys."
"Someone is going to get hurt."
"I'm not getting involved in this, sort it out yourself."
"If you guys make a mess, you have to clean it up too."
"Don't do that in the house, you might break something."
"Don't start that now, it's bedtime soon."
These are some of the voices of THE mom I often use when Sara and Chad get going on their playing. As much as I love watching them play, I sometimes feel like a single parent when something gets brewing with the two of them. But in the end, nothing can make Sara laugh better then a silly joke, game, or prank by Daddy.
However, there is one particular activity they do together that I just cannot give "the mom stamp of approval". This activity is a fairly recent one, like within the last 6 months or so, and it has now turned into a regular event on our living room floor.
It's wrestling...and not the competitive sports kind.
These are a few of things I have heard coming from my sweet baby girl's mouth (all heard from Chad originally) when a match gets going:
"Daddy, prepare for hurt!"
"Daddy there's a bird behind you, look that way...(CRASH)"
"Do you want to go to the hospital or the grave yard?"
"NOOOO, not the meatball."
"Mommy!!! Daddy is not playing fair."
I sit back watching this take place right before my eyes, shaking my head, and occasionally warning them about the potential consequences of their game - but most of the time I end up laughing along with them. I know I shouldn't, my mama brain knows better, but sometimes they are just too hilarious not to crack a smile.
Come on, just look at Chad's face, tell me these aren't hilarious (click on the pictures to make the collage bigger):
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The good new: Our dossier is FINALLY on its way to Ethiopia! Which is certainly a relief. Let's just hope it arrives safely (Did I just jinx myself?).
The bad news: Ethiopia court is no longer issuing court dates during closure; in fact, you had to have filed before the closure to get a court date, so in the end we never had a chance anyway. We have also been informed that we will not know our court date until at least mid-October (that is still another month from now). And to top it off, our agency files for court as files arrive at their Ethiopian office, not according to referral date, so we are officially at the bottom of the pile right now.
I'm trying to find the good in this bad...but I just can't seem to.
I promise that my next post will be a bit lighter (I have an idea brewing for one about Chad and Sara - stay tuned).
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
But I have to look at this in relative terms - what this point in time means to me and stop comparing myself to everyone else. So I am not going to feel guilty (well maybe a little, it's human nature) about feeling sad about not having a court date. I see the picture of a beautiful boy and I dream of when I can call him "son" - anyone would. I have kept my distance from this little man - a coping mechanism, I presume. I keep him in a dream-like place, not yet ready to make him real.
Nothing about this journey seems fair, no matter where you are in the process - it is not fair that families have to wonder if and when a referral will come, it is not fair that some people wait longer then others, it is not fair that parents randomly receive visas no matter how long (or short) they have been waiting to hold their baby, and it is not fair that we can't dive right into the love we want to feel for a beautiful boy and swallow the excitement whole.
Court re-opens in less than two weeks and our dossier is STILL in Ottawa, it has not even made it to Ethiopia yet. And yes, I am pissed that everyone with July and now August referrals will all have court dates before us. And this will become even more real when all these families start travelling and we are not. We have been informed that at this point our court date will likely not be until November, that is over 4 months post referral!
So that's my rant - a bit selfish, maybe. But I needed to get it out. I generally try to stay positive and look at how far we have come, instead of how much further we have to go, but sometimes it's hard not to hope for better days - and I know everyone can relate to that, no matter where you are on this crazy ride.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Enkutatash means the "gift of jewels". When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her bolts by replenishing her treasury with inku or jewels.
The festival has been celebrated each spring and marks the end of the rainy season. New Year's Eve is spent feasting and partying. On New Year's Day, the house is decorated with yellow Meskal daisies and girls armed with a kabero drum, go from house to house singing a special Enkutatash song. Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal new year greetings and cards or a traditional bouquet of flowers.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I walked straight into the window (next to the door). It was the loudest sound I think I have ever heard and I had 20 sets of eyes starring at me - I didn't do any damage to anyone or anything, besides my ego, but there was tea running all the way down the window and my head had a little buzz-on for about 30 minutes afterward.
All I could do was laugh at myself - what else could I do? I was so embarrassed. Everyone kept asking if I was OK, while trying to hold back their own laughter. And once everyone confirmed that I was indeed OK, they all erupted, taking their cues from my laughter. It was a pleasure to add a bit of comic relief to the week and to your day! Besides, if you can't laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at?
Friday, September 03, 2010
We just "clicked" - online (for many months now) and in person too!! Get it??? - Just "clicked"! Chad loves telling people that "Laura is going to meet someone she met online." He loves the reaction he gets. But for me, it was the next logical step in the friendship we have been building over the past couple years. Besides (as Rana has already assured me), who better to trust, visit, or stay with, then adoptive parents - we have all had more checks/tests/assessments than anyone else on earth - criminal, medical, child abuse, fingerprints, psychological, etc. - who could you trust more? Well, besides the fact that we are all a bit crazy, but at least we are all safe!
We spent the weekend doing LOTS of girl stuff and having LOTS of girl chats. Our conversations went something like this: adoption adoption adoption family adoption adoption adoption kids adoption adoption adoption life adoption adoption adoption shopping adoption adoption adoption books adoption adoption adoption reality TV adoption adoption adoption celebrity gossip etc... And while we chatted all weekend long...
We shopped (for our babies and ourselves)...
We went for lunch and pedicures (while drinking wine)...
I also had a chance to spend an evening with a few of Janice's closest girlfriends. What fun and what a great group of gals she has to lean on. I also met a few of her neighbors - and when we pulled up in the car next to one of her neighbors for the first time, Janice rolled down the window and her neighbor immediately said "Hi Laura!! I swear I'm not a blog stalker!" ;) It was so cute and I loved her enthusiasm.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2004 will mark the day that changed my life forever. Prior to this day I had known nothing but disappointment along the road to become a parent. I never thought that I would ever know such joy as I did that day.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004: My phone rang in my office at approximately 1:00pm. "Hello, Laura?" - "Yes?" - "Are you somewhere you can talk? – “Yes?” – “We have a birthmother who would like to meet you.” – “What what what what????” I really don't remember much about the next 20 minutes. Thank goodness, I was madly writing everything down. Our caseworker did not tell me that Sara was born until towards the end of our conversation and despite everything I was told about keeping our feet on the ground, it all vanished once I heard “the baby is born…it is a girl…and her name is Sara” - I never thought that love could overcome me so quickly. Although my head knew that nothing was decided or definite, my heart was committed instantly.
Of course, there was no work getting done for the rest of the afternoon. So, I wandered down to a nearby department store and picked out a pair of pink booties and baby card. Back at my office, I printed out the following words, each in large print, on separate pieces of paper - "If - you - could - have - one - wish - what - would - it - be?"
I left work a bit early that day (I figured they would understand). After I got home, I set each word at the front door, up the stairs, down the hall, and into our spare room (Sara’s room)...and waited and waited and waited. What was only about 10 minutes seemed like FOREVER before Chad arrived. I stayed in the room with the door closed when he came home.
I have never heard Chad move that fast in his life – in the door, up the stairs, down the hall, bursting into the spare room. In front of him were the pink booties. I came around the corner and handed him the card…but of course, he already knew that we had got “the call”. The card read, "It's a girl...and her name is Sara." We both just held each other and cried. At first Chad was a bit confused about the whole "baby…girl… Sara…already born" thing, so after I explained that, yes indeed we have a baby girl named Sara who was two months old, we began crying again.
We decided that since we only had about a week before Sara would be home that we would not tell our family or friends about our big news until her arrival.
The best words to describe the days leading up to Sara’s arrival are "numb" or “surreal” – almost like a dream (that you never want to wake from).
We did not sleep AT ALL that night. We would be lying in bed at night and one of us would say "You awake?" and the other would reply "Yup, wide awake." This continued each night for a week.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004: Back to work, but not much getting accomplished. We decided not to tell anyone at work until after we met our birthmom. We called each other back and forth all day long, just checking to see if in fact this was all real. No sleep that evening either.
Thursday, August 26, 2004: "Match meeting" with birthmom. I wish I had taken more time to remember that moment – it was so overwhelming that I can hardly describe the feeling – a combination of fear, excitement, self-consciousness, doubt, disbelief, joy, and humility. During this meeting, we saw pictures of Sara for the first time - that moment is truly indescribable. Our birthmom also had no hesitation in letting us know that we were to be Sara’s mommy and daddy.
We posted her picture everywhere around the house. No sleep again that night.
The Weekend, August 27-29, 2004: This was the BUSIEST weekend of the entire year, with a wedding and my parents’ 35th anniversary celebration. All I wanted to do was sit at home, gaze at Sara’s picture and just take it all in. We walked around in a dream-like state that whole weekend. And STILL no sleep.
Monday, August 30, 2004: "Details meeting", where we discussed with birthmom about Sara's name and the details of the placement. We also found out that we would be meeting Sara the next day at her temporary placement home. Do you think we slept that night?
Tuesday, August 31, 2004: We had to drive an hour outside the city to where Sara was staying. As we walked in the house, her caregiver said, "She is still sleeping, she should be up shortly." - So I'm thinking 'are you kidding me? I am not waiting another second' and slowly started moving my way to the room where she was sleeping. Chad and I both walked in the room and Chad began to cry uncontrollably (funny thing is that Chad does not cry easily, so when he does, I seem to go into protective mode and did not cry much in that moment). We just stared at her at first, almost afraid to touch her. I nudged Chad, and as he picked Sara up and held his precious daughter for the first time, I began crying too. We spent about two hours with her that day holding, feeding, changing, starring…
That evening we went shopping for a few baby supplies and because we wanted to keep her arrival top secret, we drove all the way across the city to shop, so we would not bump into anyone we knew. Even still, as I placed everything into the cart, Chad was the lookout.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004: Gotcha Day, a day we celebrate every year as a family. We spent the whole day with her at her temporary home, just being a family. Later that afternoon, our caseworker, birthmom and Sara met us at our home and she was officially placed with us. After everyone had left and we were finally left alone with our sweet precious baby girl, we laid in our bed, with Sara in the middle, alone for the first time as a family, and just took it all in.
Later that evening, we headed to my parents - they were expecting us, as we had told them that we might drop by to say hello. We walked into their house unnoticed. We could hear my dad on the phone and my mom watching TV. We stood in their front room for a few minutes, waiting for my dad to get off the phone. However, when it became apparent that he would be awhile, we decided to walk straight in. As I walked around the corn with Sara bundled in a pink blanket my dad started babbling to the stranger (his insurance broker) on the phone saying something like "daughter... baby... adopting... here with baby... call you back..." My mom carefully took Sara from my arms, whispered to her “We have been waiting for you my sweet girl”, and kissed her gently on the cheek – as my dad still stood in absolute shock.
Next, we headed to my younger sister's home, following behind my parents car. She and her husband were painting the outside of their house. We parked the car a bit down the street (by the way, in all the excitement we forgot to strap Sara into her car seat on that ride - we started as such great parents!). Now, if you knew my younger sister, you would know that she is wild, emotional, and a bit unpredictable at times, so as we were walking up the street with Sara, my mom was trying to lure the paintbrush from her hand. Too late - she spotted us, carrying our pink bundle. And in the middle of her front lawn, she fell to her knees and began crying hysterically. It was exactly what I expected from my younger sister...it was perfect. Her poor husband was in the backyard and (said afterwards) was scared to come to the front.
Next, over to my older sister's house, following with us again was my parents and my sister and family. My older sister’s husband and son were home, but she was out. So we all just waiting for her to arrive home. You have to know that at that time my grandmother was 92-years-old and not doing very well, when my poor sister saw all our cars in the driveway she immediately thought that grandma had passed away. But when she walked in the door, I was standing in front of it with Sara. Ironically, my older sister is quite the opposite of my younger sister, more laid back, strong, and steady. But she could not even control herself in that moment.
Thursday, September 2, 2004: The next morning, at about 6am, after our first night of sleep after eight days, with our babe between us, we headed out to Chad's parents, who live about 1.5 hours out of town. When we arrived at their home, they were still sleeping. While Chad held Sara, I was banging banging banging on the door, until Chad's mom finally came. As we walk inside, she asked us repeatedly "Whose baby is this?", "Chad, whose baby is this?" and each time Chad replied, "Mom, she is our baby."
September 21, 2004: Even though we felt quite confident of our birthmom's decision, on the evening the 21st day (in MB, this is the day Sara became ours forever), our family and friends came to celebrate with us and we popped a bottle of Pink Champagne.
And we have been celebrating Sara's arrival ever since. To this day still, one of us will say "I still can't believe it" and we always know exactly what the other is referring to. I don't think I will ever get over the arrival of Sara - I never want to.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
If you haven't, you must watch GLEE! If for no other reason then to escape from reality for at least a few hours...
After only one episode, I was completely hooked. Chad thinks I have totally lost my mind - I sang along and then replayed the songs again...and again. While I was on vacation, I watched all 22 episodes in the course of four days and now I cannot wait for Season 2 to begin.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Don't you think he is beautiful?
Don't you want to kiss him all over?
Don't you just want to eat him up?
Well, I certainly do and I don't even know who the heck this kid is, I don't even know if it is a boy - found the picture randomly on some baby photo website, but I needed to give everyone a visual. So just imagine multiplying this cuteness by a trillion and that is what we received earlier today. To my very pleasant surprise, I found two precious pictures in my inbox of our growing and changing boy....still perfect in every way.
I immediately forwarded the pictures to Chad, with the subject line reading "CALL ME, I hope this makes you smile." I waited...and waited...and finally after a very long three minutes a message pop up in my inbox reading "I can't. I'm crying." Then I cried...while smiling.
Now let's get that court date!!!!!!!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
BUT, I found out this week that Ethiopian courts, even though they are closed, are still issuing court dates for when they re-open (which is the first time they have done this). So once our dossier is in Ethiopia (still another couple weeks to be authenticated in Ottawa), they will apply for a court date for us.
So sometime in the beginning of September we hope to know our court date. It will be so nice to be able to start planning and booking flights ahead of time. And even better, it is more likely that our court date will be in October (no guarantee of course), rather then waiting until re-opening and it would have likely been in November.
I am staying grounded on this one. My "cautious but hopeful" feeling is all too familiar. We will hope for best, and prepare for the worst...
Monday, August 16, 2010
I am trying to only think of all the good things to come, yet, being realistic about the wait ahead. Today was the first day I didn't feel like flying! We have already had a glitch in our process - With the delays that occurred at our local agency with sending our updated dossier to Imagine and it requiring authentication in Ottawa, it was impossible for us to apply for a court date prior to the closure. I have really been trying to stay positive and not dwell on this delay too much (because this is still a time to be celebrating and I still want to feel joy), but now that EVERYONE that received a referral in July have announced their court dates for when courts re-open (Sept 30, Oct 6, and 3 on Oct 21), I have suddenly become a bit sad and frustrated. We will not know when our court date will be until mid-Oct (that is when all the others will be welcoming their new babies as members of their families). We have been told that our court date will likely not be scheduled until the end of Oct or more realistically, sometime in November. I keep trying to tell myself that it will all be OK ,and besides, what's another month or two at this point - right?
Don't get me wrong, there is a boy I already love and I feel blessed that we have his beautiful face to dream about. BUT, having a court date would bring us a sense of comfort and a feeling of knowing that we are well on our way to a son...
Friday, August 13, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
I even had the opportunity to meet another friend while we were there - Laura! We share the same name and DTE and connected a while back. It was so great to finally put a face to an email!!
And seriously, Sara is in love. The first thing she did when she saw our family (that we haven't seen in over two years) was tell them ALL about the animals and showed off the dozens of pictures she had taken of them. And she kept telling everyone "They really liked me, you know. I took care of them and they did tricks for me."
Thank you Rana and Yvan for a your hospitality. It's our turn next time, and as we run around frantically after our boys, Sara can take care of your other four babies.
I cherish the friendships that this journey has brought me.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
On May 28, 2009 a very special boy was born.
I looked back to see what I was doing on that day - it was just a regular Thursday, with a day full of meetings and Sara's dancing in the evening. That same week we completed our homestudy update, I started a new position at work, and Chad and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. Who knew that this boy, born on May 28, 2009, would change our life forever.
Here are some of the things our boy might be up to these days (according to what 'they' say children do at this age)...
Says two or more words
Stands and walks with help
Takes a few steps
Bends over to pick up objects
Drinks from a cup
Scribbles with markers or crayons
Rolls a ball back and forth
And according to ALL the moms I know with young boys , he is also VERY VERY busy!!!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
When we got "the call" my parents were out for the evening. I had thought often about how we would finally tell one of our most hopeful and enthusiastic supporters. With them being out, my plan would play out perfectly...
So Chad, Sara, and I drove all the way across the city and snuck into their house while they were out. We were only here for about 5 minutes - I replaced the empty picture frame with the face of their future grandchild and turned on the side lamp. Then we went home and waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, at around 11:45pm our phone rang with my mom and dad screaming into the phone...
We had an unbelievable time sharing our news with our family and friends. We are overwhelmed by the encouragement and support we have received with our recent announcement - your comments and celebrations are truly indescribable. It is absolutely amazing that we have so many wonderful people cheering for us. We have a long way to go, but having all of you to get us through and a face to dream about makes things seem not so far out of reach.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
As most of you know, referrals began again just over a week ago after a long two month drought – so everyone has been on high alter, including me. From my post last Friday, you would also know that we received an update from Imagine that said that a family could not receive a referral until their updated homestudy had been submitted to Imagine, which ours was not. That same day, we were informed by our local agency that they received our approval letter and would be sending it to Imagine first thing on Monday, and that it would arrive at Imagine by Wednesday at the latest. PHEW…
I emailed Imagine this past Thursday to confirm they received everything and to my surprise I was informed that they had not yet received the package with our approval letter and homestudy documents. AAHHH, where were they??? The thought of THIS being the delay was killing me – even though I had no idea if it would make any difference. I guess just the thought of the possibility of a referral and not knowing was enough to drive me crazy.
I immediately emailed our local agency to enquire where our documents were. They were as surprised as I was that they had not arrived and said they would find out where they were with the tracking number. So, about an hour later our local agency informed us, very apologetically, that they had accidentally sent our documents to the old Imagine address and were looking into how to resolve. WHAT????
On Friday morning they informed me that the package was currently be rerouted back to Winnipeg and we could not do anything but wait for it to arrive back at their office. It would likely take a couple days for it to be returned and they would overnight it as soon as possible, which meant likely Monday or Tuesday. AAAHHH…
Later Friday morning, I received a glimmer of hope. My local agency said they would ask Imagine if they could scan and email our copied documents to them immediately and Imagine said YES. So I’m thinking, why would Imagine want the scanned documents if it didn’t matter whether they had them or not…BUT, our local agency quickly reminded me to “keep my feet on the ground” and that Imagine simply wanted to ensure everything was in order so we had no more delays. Up down up down up down. At that moment, I was sure this week was another write off – and continued about my day. BOOOOO to another week with no news…
Little did I know that behind the scenes…Once Imagine received our scanned documents and saw that they were in order, they immediately forwarded our referral (which I now know was ready on Thursday for us) to our provincial government (this was at about 11:30 am). Our provincial government quickly approved our referral (YIPPEE for them being so speedy) and sent it off to our local agency on late Friday afternoon.
I don’t know if anyone else is like me in this way, but often times when it hits 4:30pm (in MB or even in ON), I know that offices are closed and I am able to let down my guard, at least until the next morning.
Meanwhile, back at home after work, it was just another Friday evening, with no big plans – making dinner, playing in the backyard, getting things ready to go to our friends cabin on Saturday morning, etc...
A bit after 6:00pm, Chad and I were both standing in the kitchen and the phone rang. Chad said “OMG, it’s XXXX (our case worker from our local agency, she was calling from her home, so he could see her name on the call display), YOU GET IT!!” And he backed away from the phone, motioning for me to answer it.
Cautious, but hopeful (a feeling I know all too well), I picked up the phone…and it went something like this…
Caseworker: “Hi Laura, how are you?”
Laura: “Fiiiiinnnneee? How are you?”
Caseworker: “Well, I am just looking at a picture of the most beautiful little boy.”
Laura: “WHAT??? OH OH OH!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!”…not sure what I said after that.
Chad: “What? What? WHAT????? Is it good or bad???” While signaling with thumbs up and down.
Laura: Thumps up.
Caseworker: “I am going to let you go and send the emails, go look at your son...”
I hung up the phone and screamed “WE HAVE A BABY!!!” And picked up Sara for a big hug.
THIS WAS IT!!! THE moment. The moment we would see the face we have been waiting for so very long. The face I once dreamed of seeing. The face that one day I would touch and hold and kiss and love.
I went running to the laptop and grabbed it; with Chad saying “Is it a boy? Is it? Laura?” I couldn’t even hear him talking.
We three, Chad, Sara, and I cozied together on the couch and frantically opened up the email. Refresh…refresh…refresh…it seemed like an eternity, but the message finally pop up in the inbox…
Chad: “LAURA, WHAT IS IT? IS IT A BOY?”
Laura: “I’m not telling you, you have to wait and see.” Yes I know, torture.
With Chad and Sara on each side of me, we opened the file…
The first thing I saw were his lips – his big, beautiful, kissable lips. Then his eyes - his big, beautiful, sparkling eyes. Then his skin - his soft, smooth, beautiful, almond skin.
Chad: “A BOY! MY BOY!” Tears
Sara: “Is that my brother? We have our picture Mommy!!”
Laura: “Yes, Sara that will be your brother.”
Then we opened the second picture – A BIG beautiful open-mouthed smiling face, with his top teeth just poking through, and the hint of a dimple on his left cheek. And his eyes looked right at us…
And we have been flying ever since and don’t want to land anytime soon.
I will finish with one of my favorite moments. It was late Sunday night and before I went to bed I went to Sara’s room to give her a late night kiss. She had placed his picture next to her, on her pillow...side by side my babies slept.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It FINALLY happened, we received "the call" on Friday evening.
He is 13.5 months old and perfect in every way!!!! He's handsome, healthy, smiling, with baby-chubby wrists - a perfect little man.
I'm in love - instant mother love - it is truly indescribable - I am flying.
Stay tuned...more to come when I can gather my thoughts, feelings, and excitement.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I have debated posting about this particular day, but soon realized that if we do not remember the past, we may forget how far we have come. And as devastating as the tragedy of those first days were, the commitment and accomplishments in the days and months following is what I reflect on today.
The panic and fear that set in those first couple of days still brings chills to me. It is amazing to think how quickly everyone snapped out of the shock of the devastating news and moved full-force into action.
Someone once asked me why I was not angry at S.H. for all she had put us through. And my answer was that I had chosen to funnel my anger into fighting instead – if I spent my energy being angry, I would have become consumed with rage and resentment and never could have accomplished anything…that would have also meant that ‘she’ had won – and I was not doing to let that be an option. Oh, don't get me wrong, if I ever ran into that wench on the street, I can think of several choice words to share with her - and hopefully someone would be there to stop me from pouncing - like I said, I may not be angry, but I'll fight.
Commitment, passion, dedication, determination and a bit of stubbornness all played a part in the cross-Canada movement that took shape over the weeks following the bankruptcy and it still astonishes me at how much was accomplished in only a few months. I find it ironic that the old agency often “warned” us of our use of blogs and forums – cautioning us about what we read and what we posted. And in the end, I truly believe that if it was not for these medias, we would not have accomplished what we had, or as quickly. Hundreds of posts, ideas, and information were shared daily – we were efficient, fast, and united. Letters, phone calls, media interviews, meetings, etc., our voices were being heard loud and clear. I often wonder where we would be if this had happened even 15 years ago, with us trying to do the same thing without forums, blogs, or facebook – virtually impossible I believe.
Not only did the families affected directly by the bankruptcy jump into action, but people all around us made a commitment to help – family (near and far), colleagues, experts, politicians, close friends, distant friends, old friends, friends of friends, even strangers. It was incredible to witness such human compassion.
We, of course, were not without our critics. Those who questioned or doubted, and even mocked, our efforts. I was not without doubt myself - There were moments when I wondered whether this was bigger then all of us and whether we were working so hard only to fail. There is no question that time was one of the hardest in my life. But for others to not understand the consequences and significance of what had happened was hurtful and ultimately helped me to fight even harder.
The efforts of all our hard work began to take sharp and soon we could celebrate a new beginning. I once again could feel our dreams awakening.
And then, the moment we had all been waiting for, only 5 months after our world came crumbling down around us. We fought every waking minute for this very moment - the first referral of the NEW Imagine.
Although we have a long way to go, this day is not to think about how much further we still have, but to celebrate how far we have come.
Never stand between a mother and her child...you will ALWAYS lose.
Friday, July 09, 2010
I think I’ll be drinkin’ this weekend – nothin’ like a little wine to numb the pain. Probably better we didn't get our referral anyway - just think how distracted we would be all weekend long, right?
Come frickin' on already - just give a girl a break...
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
And another one just announced - XXXXXXX (that is me crossing my fingers)!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Yesterday, after we had been out for the day, we had a voice message on our phone telling us that we had a gift basket to be dropped off - when we called back they were closed for the day. All evening, Chad and I kept trying to think of who would send us a gift basket - it is nobodies birthday, our anniversary has long pasted, or likely a wrong address.
We finally received the gift basket this afternoon - and it was incredible and I immediately smiled. It was from Leanne (and Greg), a special blogger (and beyond) friend I have met along this journey. She received her referral and passed court just days before the bankruptcy and brought home her sweet boy last summer. Although our paths have divided since we first connected, she continues to stand by me to this very day, sending me smiles and encouragement - and now chocolate!!! Thank you my friend.
I often wonder what I would do or how I could continue with this adoption, if it was not for the amazing people I have met along the way - and most I have never even had the pleasure of meeting - including Leanne. Despite this, I find comfort in their friendship and support.
I'm not sure what connects me to some bloggers more then others (I'm sure most of you can relate), but I have attached myself to a small handful of strong, supportive women (I know that you know who you are), who will never give up on me, no matter how miserable or low I become. And I can promise that you can expect nothing less from me in return.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
How long can we be "close" or "next" before it doesn't count or matter anymore? I have not felt this low in a very long time. There is not much anyone can say at this point that could even come close to make this awful feeling go away.
I have now seen several people with the same DTE month or later arrive safely home with their precious babies - this nightmare is finally over for them - and as happy as I am for each one of those families, I can't help but feel so sad for us – it’s just hard when so many good things are happening all around me. I just want to catch our break - just one little break, is that too much to ask?
We celebrated Sara's 6th birthday this week (with a clown, cake, and her friends - it was GREAT and she had so much fun). She is getting so big, I love watching her grow, but sometimes miss my sweet little baby girl. She asks constantly about her baby brother. It is hard to even know what to tell her anymore. She saw my blog the other day and noticed that the Baby Lilypie tracker was near the end of the line and she said, excitedly "Look Mommy, we are almost done, when the baby gets to the end that is when our baby will come!" I cannot bear to see my Lilypie Baby fall off the end of my tracker AGAIN – so I have moved the tracker into a timeout at the bottom of my blog!
In our recent (sad and depressing) homestudy update, we increased our age range to up to 24 months. We have been wanting to change our request for over 18 months now - You may ask yourself - then why didn't you? Well, 18 months ago we were told that we were so close that it wouldn't make any difference. Then we waited and waited and waited. Then the bankruptcy. Then we were close again...and so on... So this time, we decided that no matter how close we are and if it doesn't really matter anyway, then we midaswell change it.
Ethiopian court is expected to close during the rainy season (as it does every year), usually for most of August and September. Which means, even if we receive a referral soon (Ha, there I go hoping again, why do I keep doing that to myself?) we will likely not make it through court before the closure, leaving us to sit and wait (yet again) until Oct-Nov-Dec for a court date. This one is still sinking in for me - I'm not quite there yet.
I can’t even say, “I just want to see a referral, any referral at this point”, because, I don’t, I only want to see OUR referral – selfish? Yes, but at this point, I don’t really care – I think I have earned the right to be selfish. Being at this point in the wait is harder then ANYTHING I have experienced along this adoption journey to date. And yes, even harder then the bankruptcy – that was devastating, but this is torture.
So, considering I can’t see an attitude adjustment for myself anytime soon, I have decided instead to adjust my blog – give it a little face lift – nothing fancy (I don’t have the energy for that right now), just a little tweak.
Wow, was this post full of a whole lot of nothing but bitchin’ – I guess I needed to get it out…
Thursday, June 24, 2010
When he is with me, he is always wearing it, because he knows better! But sometimes when he is alone in the car, he admits that he doesn't always buckle-up. I have been telling him for a long time now "Don't do it for you, do it for us!!" The other day I was sent this ad from the UK, which finally puts a picture to the words I try to express to Chad. It is so powerful and heart-hitting, I thought I would share with you:
I love you Sweetheart, I just want you to be safe - for you...and us!