Monday, June 21, 2010

Lucky #7

So it has been a few weeks with minimal movement on the list. On one hand, we have waited a little longer than we originally anticipated given the amount of referrals in the spring, but on the other hand, we are still on the shorter end of the wait timeline that our agency is quoting. Nothing to complain about, but still looking forward to some news soon :-)

MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) was closed last week due to a holiday. None of the people that received referrals in May or June have been assigned court dates. We are hoping these folks get court dates soon so that they can get the first Ethiopia trip out of the way before the courts close for the raining season (about 6 weeks from mid of Aug through October).

So there wasn't any news today, but we can't really expect lots of referrals and court dates to come from the Ethiopia staff who have to obtain them from MOWA in their first day of being open after the closure.

Since I'm starting to get a bit more anxious.. I'm trying to not be. I went to pick up some more adoption reading and I'm trying to focus on good quiet time with God, play dates, and time with family and friends.

Lucas and I have had some wonderful days at the zoo.. so that will be our cuteness factor of this blog update :-)

Here are some pictures of his favorite animals and activities while at the zoo!

Of course we had to remember to chat about our new brother or sister while we were on the Africa side of the zoo!!

It was so hot on this day that my camera lense was all fogged up, but it managed to capture the joy of a little boy waiting for the choo choo train to start :-)

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Sibley for the zoo pass!

BabyMoon #2

We had a FANTASTIC time on a much needed marital weekend. We began to plan this weekend back when our paperwork first went and Ted was on pulmonary rotation in April... because that month was about equally exciting (babies) as it was difficult (rotation). SO.. Ted started trying to find a way to get 2 days off in a row which is no small deal and I started to coordinate child-care and book a hotel room in downtown KC.

We hadn't spent time like this together since Colombia in 2008. As overjoyed as we were..I don't think we really understood that we would never be alone in a hotel room again. We were such rookies.

So we planned to spend an entire 24 hour period doing things we couldn't do with our beloved little boy.. or the baby that is on the way. Seize the moment right??!!! So this was how we celebrated Father's Day, our 7th Anniversary (June 7th), and our coming baby....

This is me hanging out in the car because we kept forgetting stuff..

Nothing says excitement like IHOP. Ted loves IHOP. Happy Father's Day to Teddy.

We went from there to the Nelson-Atkins art museum in KC. We walked through the whole thing.. and I rather enjoyed the silence :-) We couldn't take photos in there.. but we can basically sum it up by saying everything was beautiful and old and priceless of course.

When we came back out to the entrance the weather had changed dramatically from when we had enterred and we were in the middle of a nasty storm that we had to wait out before driving.

We left the museum and drove about 45 min out of the city to a rustic area of Kansas and enjoyed an adorable winery. It was quaint and the staff was fantastic! We bought a few gifts and look forward to visiting again!

After some wonderful wine sampling we drove back into downtown KC to check in to the Philips Hotel downtown. It's a cute old 4 star establishment just a couple blocks from Power and Light. The room was tiny but very charming. We even brought our own picnic basket of yummies.

This is the view from our room on the 15th floor

These are the fountains near our hotel in front of the convention center

The following photos are of a couple having entirely too much fun in each others presence after being married for 7 years and together almost 10. We went to Howl at the Moon to see some very fun musicians.

So we enjoyed some alone time walking around the Crown Center and Union Station area on Father's Day. Union station was having a fun family sidewalk art festival going on which we returned to later with Lucas ;-)

This is Washington Park outside of Crown Center

Outside the WW1 Museum

Since it was really really hot that day we brought Lucas back to play with the kids :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still hanging at #8

I checked in yesterday after letting Holt know about our immigration and they confirmed we're still at #8.

Which is always a happy place to be!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy I-171H day!

We received our immigration clearance last night after 2 months of waiting for it to clear.

What does that mean? It means that after our referral, and after we have passed court in Ethiopia, that when we are ready to go to the US Embassy to have our child's immigration settled, that they will say "Ah yes... Erin Sibley... I have you in the system approved for (insert child's name here)" and they just do it :-)

So the fingerprinting and background checking have already been completed so our child will enter the United States fully known to Homeland Security.

Since I have the time due to Lucas taking a power nap.. I think today is a great day to explain some random points of this adoption process- both for some of our new friends, and also for old friends and family that watched us go through this 2-3 years ago.


For Colombia friends: We still go off of I600, but now you can't apply until after Homestudy is complete.. but you have to have a full clearance before you can be submitted to court- hence why getting it in 2 months was good for us. Referrals are more steady- as our office does closer to 150 referrals across the nation per year from Ethiopia. Referral information is similar in terms of what you get at the time of referral.

Once you accept referral, they take those signed referral papers and submit them to the Ethiopia government.. where you are eventually assigned a court date (Sentencia) 1-2 months later


For you Colombia families.. Trip one is basically showing up for Sentencia. We aren't being grilled or anything by the judge, we are just there to say "Yes, we are us, and that is our baby, and we want it!" Think of it like a Bienstar interview. Once you testify for the judge, your time is complete. Our case may not necessarily clear that day- as sometimes another random paper peace is missing calling to revisit the case in a week or so. It's totally normal and nothing to freak out about. The first court trip is a new requirement (that has changed since we started this process). It is to ensure that no agencies are able to lie about the condition and age of our child prior to the baby becoming ours. This is a great way to ensure the children are being processed correctly, it just costs us some more money. But we get more time seeing our baby earlier in the process and more pictures!

TRIP 2- Once your case passes court (sentencia) the baby is yours. At that time, all of those documents get submitted to the US Embassy.. but the Embassy in Ethiopia is a lot busier with babies so you have to wait for a visa appointment. This is usually about 6-8 weeks after they get all your papers from the court. Then they call and say "Hey Erin, be here about a month from now for the Embassy". At that time, I come back and do the running around that we do in Colombia post sentencia.


So we are waiting patiently for our referral :-) At that time, we will let you know gender and age and health. We are unable to post any photos of our child on our blog, facebook, or any other public place until after we come home. This is the Ethiopian governments way of protecting their children from exploitation.

Unlike with Lucas, you will just have to be in suspense until baby comes home ;-)

We are enjoying this blessing of a time of waiting. Would I love a referral today? Yes. But this needs to be God's timing in His way. He has our baby in his hands at this moment.. and we can't wait for some news!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day in Iowa

We were able to have the Black family reunion in Iowa to welcome my grandparents back from Florida and also to celebrate Grandma's 75th Bday and Grandpa's 80th!

We enjoyed a great day at my aunt Peggy's house while the kids played outside and we enjoyed some fantastic food. Ted even had the day off making it perfect. Here are a few photos from the day.

Look at this little boy sitting with the big kids! He didn't even throw anything or put pre-chewed food on anybody else's plate. I was so proud :-)

Being number 8-9... or somewhere around there!

So there was more movement on the list in the last week of May.. and according to my sources the gal in front of me was told she was #7 last Thursday!

Deep breaths.

We were scheduled for our I600a immigration fingerprinting on Friday May 28th. We were very thankful to finally receive notice of this appointment- because some of the new regulations to be admitted to court require your immigration approval. In the worst case scenario we could receive a referral.. only to wait for months while our case goes nowhere because we're waiting for a silly piece of paper. Having the appointment done means that they have our stuff and it is being processed, and hopefully that clearance will come soon before the referral or shortly after to not hold us up from being admitted to court quickly. People that applied after April 6th (us) have been receiving approvals within a few weeks of their printing, so let's hope we are the same!

After our printing was done I had an "excuse" to email Holt to let them know and request our number- they verified that we are somewhere in the 8-9 ballpark due to some referrals that were still in process.

So at this time.. if I were a guessing person.. I would think that we will have a referral sometime this month. It's possible that it could not be until next month, but then we would be at the top of the list by then I would think.

Exciting to think of what this month might bring in adoption news!

More Minnesota visiting

I went back up to Minnesota after our time in Iowa. On May 23rd we celebrated Lucas' cousin Emmy's birthday with the Sibley family. Lucas did well watching someone else open up presents :-)

She had a lovely Nemo cake made by uncle Brad which was thoroughly enjoyed by everone :-)

We also enjoyed a play date with our friends the Wagner family who were our buddy couple during Lucas' adoption process. As you can see, Lucas really blends in with this crowd of boys! Lucas and Matthew (who is almost 3) were FANA buddies and lived there at the same time.

Lucas really enjoyed getting to use their "wee" in the backyard, the outside toys, and all of those cars! We look forward to spending more time with them on future trips :-)

there was also more time spent on Grandpa Sibley's "beep beep"

I was also able to enjoy my friend Kristi's graduation party from grad school that just happened to be scheduled while I was there! I'm really not that tall.. it was the shoes... the shoes worn by a woman away from her toddler for an afternoon!