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Journey to Ethiopia

An Adoption Experience




March 28th, 2008

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 This journal has moved!  go to www.ephromsfamily.blogspot.com. :)

February 25th, 2008

So much for resolutions

You know? I'm just not the journaling type.  I accept that now.   My blog is never updated, I never managed to write in the journal at home, and my pictures are in piles instead of in albums.  I should hire a documentarist to keep track of everything.

Adoption news:  We sent in the paperwork on Saturday!  Whoo hoo!  A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel much better about everything.  We've been told the wait for a boy is about 5-7 months.  So maybe in August?  With my luck, it'll be August.  Marc and I are involved in Civil War Days here in Pipestone (in August) and this year I'm making a new dress, doing two different live presentations, and so you know what will happen, don't you?

I'll get the dress done, the presentations all prepared, and then we'll travel during the actual days!  Which, if that's what it takes to get things moving, is okay.  Ha.

But now its off my dresser.  The copy is still there, but all the originals, all the stuff that ook so long, is finally on it\s way.  Now we just wait and see.

With luck ,we'll be travelling with some of the other moms who are sending in or have sent in their papers.  Alisa, Danielle, Alecia...you know who you are!

January 2nd, 2008

Awake at last

Okay, the holidays are over.  Whew....that takes it out of you, doesn't it?

Adoption update: We've got all our paperwork done!  At leat everything that we are responsible for.  We are waiting on MN and CA to get our authentications back to us, all the other ones are here.  And now we wait for the I-171, which I know will take awhile.  And once that gets here, well...then we send in the dossier and wait for a referral!  So we're almost over the hump of paperwork and into the valley of the wait.  And a long wait it can be, as evidenced by recent events with other families.

The good news is, at the end of January or so, FIVE families will be travelling to get their beautiful babies.  And I say beautiful, I've seen the pictures.  Oh, they're amazing.  The parents are so proud.  And it's taken so long.  I can't imagine what that will feel like when it finally arrives.  I can't wait to see his picture.  Every time I think about it, I cry.

In the meantime, Marc came up with a brilliant idea.  We have formed TEAM HALL at our house, which means we are getting into shape to go get our son.  We've got a sheet of paper on the wall where we are keeping track of weight an exercise so we can egg each other on.  AND...I've finally started taking my vitamins again and trying to remember my steroid inhaler, to keep my asthma under control.  My mother thinks I should visit a travel clinic before we go, just to get some advice.

She's right, though.  We had a scare at Christmas and I landed in the ER with an asthma attack that my inhaler couldn't stop.  I had come into contact with a mouse nest while cleaning my old blocks up for Dagny and that was all the trigger I needed.  I haven't been to the ER for asthma since 2002, but that kind of put the fear of God into me, so now I'll try and control it.  My doctor will be so happy.

Speaking of doctors, we're going to start getting our shots soon here, so we'll have those all done and won't have to worry.  Should be good (see the sarcasm there?).  I'm terrified, of course.  Who wants to get vaccinated for scary diseases?  I have it in my head that I'll get them... *snork*  I'm so paranoid.

We had a good Christmas, with too many presents for the Dagster.  She now has a kitchen set, food, and pans which she loves, more books, and more clothes.  She's growing like a weed and starting to insist she doesn't need a nap.  How annoying.  She DOES need a nap, she just fights it. *sigh*  We're working on that.  And the whole potty training thing.  I really wanted that done already, but she doesn't show any interest in GOING on the potty, just sitting on it and reading books.  She must have learned that from her grandfather.

Another NY resolution? Journal more.  At least once a week hopefully, just to keep everyone informed of what's going on with us and to keep my thoughts in order.  Hopefully with this paperwork almost done and things returning vaguely to normal I'll be able to get myself on a better schedule and feel better about things.  At least, that's my goal.

You know how they say toddlers don't like change?  I don't either, honestly.  I can deal with it, but I prefer to be where things make sense and are the same.  Such a homebody I am.  Maybe this is the year to break out of that, too?

December 9th, 2007

Homestudy Accomplished!

Well, we passed the home study!  We knew we would, but its still a relief to have our social worker tell us that we did.  So that's done.  So now what?

Now, we have to send in all the various papers to the states in which they originated for authentication.  Basically, the Sec. of State has to stamp his approval that the notary who signed our papers is who she says she is.  Silly, but necessary.  And unfortunately, we've got documents originating in SIX states.  So now I have to hope that those go through quickly because if they do, then all we wait for is Immigration to tell us we can bring in an orphan.  That takes typically three months.  So if we're lucky, we can turn in our dossier in March of 2008.

Then the real waiting begins.  Then its out of our hands and into God's and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs in Ethiopia, who will decide whether or not we'd be good parents and then send us a referral.

Cross your fingers.

I'll try to be better at updating.

December 4th, 2007

Expecting Parents

Bad me!  Took me long enough, didn't it?  Well, there's so much going on that I get slowed down in some areas and forget about others completely.  I'm sure you all know what I mean.

We're slowly making our way through our paperwork and making headway now, so I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, which is good.  Haven't felt that way in awhile.

Let's see, where to start...we were in the paper in the middle of November for National Adoption Month.  It was a good article with a big picture, right on the front page.  Made us feel pretty special.

However, in response to that article, someone from the community wrote us a very nasty letter about how we shouldn't fundraise because other families don't, and that our daughter was poorly behaved at church.  It was completely bizarre and very hurtful.

Luckily, our pastor was also upset, as were people at Church council, so we know it's not the feelings of the church at large, just some busybody who felt like being mean.  Whoever wrote it mailed it to us with no return address and didn't even sign it, so Pastor told us to just ignore it.  Which is hard, but we're trying.

That, of course, did not stop us from fundraising!  We had a fundraiser last night at Pizza Ranch which netted $375.  Which is great!  I bussed tables for two and a half hours, which was really fun, and lots of people came in and showed support, which was fabulous.

So in the next two years or so, there will be FIVE children from Ethiopia in Pipestone, which is a huge number considering the small population.  It's very exciting.  We'll all be connected on a deep level and I'm looking forward to that.  Hopefully we even like each other.  Ha.

Okay, so our final homestudy meeting is Saturday, and I'll write more then.  Promise. 

October 28th, 2007

Home Study Part 2


Yesterday, Stacie came to our house to do the interviews.  We started with a tour to show her all the rooms and she thought our house was great (which is good, since I cleaned just for her).

Marc went first, so Dagny and I went to the store and played outside so they could talk privately.  He said it went well.  She needed a break between the two meetings so she could could them as two visits instead of one, so she went to see her grandmother in Luverne, which is about a half-hour away.

When she arrived at her grandmas, Grandma had fallen and cut her head open, so Stacie called and let us know what was going on.  She took her grandma to the emergency room and we supposed she wouldn't come back.

Of course, she called right when we were getting ready for dinner and said she was coming back and was on her way!  So we fed her, which won't get us extra points but was nice, and then she and I talked about the autobiography that I had written.  There were a lot of questions.  In fact, I wrote nine pages (Marc wrote about 3), but then again, I'm very verbose.

I can't even begin to go into detail about all those questions, but suffice it to say we talked for about two hours and it went quite well.  Now we have one more to do and we'll probably go up to the cities for a weekend to get that one done.  Not sure when, but it'll be soon so that process can be over.

This morning at church, I showed off our shirts for the fundraiser and lots of people want one, so hopefully we'll be able to make a little money to support our venture! :D

If YOU want a shirt, you should post a comment and I'll get the information to you.  They're very nice.  As soon as I figure out how to post a picture here, I will1

October 15th, 2007

Home Studies

Well, the first meeting went great.  Stacie, our coordinator, seems to be a very lovely woman and she made me feel right at home.  Basically, the entire meeting was a get to know you kind of thing, though she did give us some bedtime reading (handouts) and we exchanged the paperwork that was completed.  And don't forget the money.

It went much better than I thought it would and she eased my mind about the next home study which will actually be at our house.  I asked her if I needed to clean from top to bottom and she informed me she wanted to see it lived in, which makes sense.  If it were too clean, it would show just how anal I can be! :D  So I should leave the dog hair on the couch, and the scuffs on the kitchen floor, and the dust on the top of my fridge.  It's all normal, all everyday, and that's what she wants to see.

If only the entire process could be this easy. 

October 10th, 2007

Physical Results

So, our physicals were normal.  Everything was fine: no HIV, no Tetanus, no Hepatitis, none of that.   Even Dagny's TB test was negative.  She was such a big girl for getting that, she didn't even fuss too much.

But she did insist on watching my blood test and stood right next to me.  

"Whatcha doin'?" she asks, in her small voice.

"I'm taking your mommy's blood," the tech replies.

"Hey, that's MOMMY'S blood," Dagny says, looking a bit mutinous.  I have to reassure her that it's fine and the nice lady needs the blood to run some tests.  She doesn't look as if she believes me.

Then, of course, I have to pee in a cup.  There's nothing like trying to explain to a toddler (who is trying to learn to use the toilet) why Mommy is peeing into a cup instead of into the bowl.  And there's performance anxiety involved here, since she stood right between my knees and stared at the cup very curiously.

But we made it through, with stickers and suckers to assure the kid (I didn't get one...sigh) and everyone went to lunch mostly happy.

Our Home Study occurs this Saturday, though not in our home.  We're meeting our coordinator at a Happy Chef in Mankato for lunch and all of those things that come with a first home study.  I have no idea what that entails, but you can be sure I'll write about it here.

And I really miss Cassie.

October 8th, 2007

Loss of a Best Friend


Today we had to give our youngest dog into rescue.  

Her name is Cassie and she is a 5 year old Australian Shepherd.  I came late into dog ownership and she was my very first dog and I am heartbroken that she had to leave our family.  But her jealousy of the baby has not gotten any better and it will only increase when a new child comes into our house.  About four months ago, she began licking a spot on her leg until it was raw.  Because of that, we put her in an e-collar (those satellite things) and hoped it would heal.  It hasn't been healing.  Every time I take the collar off to wash it and brush her, she starts licking it again and its raw all over.  So she's been in the collar for four months.

We though perhaps a muzzle would help, instead of the e-collar, so we talked to the doctor and found a good one.  And then we discovered she was peeing on the carpet and the furniture upstairs.  In fact, we'd scold her for doing it right in front of us and she'd go do it somewhere else.

Not to mention the e-collar was being used as a weapon against Dagny.  So we decided the best thing for our family and for Cassie would be to find her a new home where she could be an only dog and be loved.  And she will be, she's a wonderful little dog.  She just doesn't fit with our family anymore.

That doesn't make it easier.  She is my little darling, has been for awhile.  We got her when she was a puppy and she was my baby until Dagny came along.  So I'm feeling pretty miserable.  She left with Marc this morning at 3:30 AM to be delivered to the rescue lady.  We checked the groups references, their track record, and I know she will be cared for until she finds a good home, but I miss her already.  Our older dog, Atlas, cried when she left.  I know that sounds weird, but he refused to go back to sleep and has been wandering around the house sniffing her favorite places. 

We'll get better, but right now this really hurts.

October 6th, 2007

Let's Get Physical!

Okay, so this morning Marc and I (and Dagny) have to go get physicals.  They're going to test absolutely everything, from thyroid and liver function, to TB and Hepatits.  And Dagny has to have a physical, too, though since she just had one recently, it's not a big deal for her.  But it should be fun, a family visit to the doctor's office.

Marc is stressed out and worried that someone he won't be healthy enough to go through with this adoption.  The only problem he has is being a bit overweight.  Who in America isn't a bit overweight? (Supermodels not included).  I'm a bit overweight (but going to Weight Watchers), I've got asthma, been diagnosed with PTSD (though its much better now), and have regular sinus infections.

Other than Marc's weight, he's as healthy as a horse.  He has white coat syndrome, which means when a doctor gets close, he gets very nervous, so he's been tracking his blood pressure for the past two or three weeks to prove its good, because when our doctor takes it, it always seems high.

I think we'll be fine.  I will, of course, post our results here so you all can laugh. :)

We're doing pretty well on the paperwork so far, collecting the bits and pieces we need for our home study.  With an exhibit going in at work, trying to get things in the house organized, and getting new carpet, I'm left with very little time to do anything else and i've determined that I simply scheduled too much to happen in one month.  But I'll survive it.  After next week, things will slow down and get much better.

And I should have more time to finish getting ALL the things I need for the study.  I don't have to have it all for the first meeting, but the more I have done, the less I have to worry about.  Basically, I need to finish our financial statement, write a short autobiography (which won't be very interesting) and prove that I'm employed.  Not too bad, right?  Marc has a bit more to do for himself, but he'll get it done eventually, if I poke him a bit.

Anyhoo, that's the news from the front as of today.  I'll write more later. 
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