Sunday, November 28, 2010

Colombia vs. Ethiopia- the process explained again :-)

So in a giant world changing nutshell, here is the major difference between Colombia and Ethiopia:

Colombia= travel right away but stay forever through court and immigration
Ethiopia= travel first trip once court is ready to finalize, come home for a bit to wait your turn at immigration

I love both processes, but in different ways. Colombia gave me a 3 month old little boy, but gave me a financial heart attack one day at a time while I was in Colombia living out of an ATM with the balance getting lower and lower and never knowing when I would come home with this baby. Ethiopia gives me timelines so I can plan financially and efficiently, but I miss part of my sons life while that happens. Do I wish I was with him right now? YES. Am I occasionally glad they don't give me the choice to stay there in Africa for what would have been 2-3 months of court process ($10-20,000 dollars!!!???). Kinda.

So the big question I get all the time: WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BRING HIM HOME NEXT WEEK??

The $3,000 answer: It takes a few weeks to obtain the fancy document resulting from next weeks court case that shows that we are the parents. Once that's done, it will take a few weeks to obtain his Ethiopian passport and the new birth certificate of his Sibley-ness. Now here is when it gets annoying, because of the additional investigation to ensure there was no funny business AND the fact that the United States Embassy doesn't have enough workers, we will wait for a few more weeks after that for our space in line to be processed. Hopefully someday they will have this 2 trip process streamlined so that you can come over for court and stay 3-4 weeks and do it in one big trip... which is basically what Colombia has going on. The thing is, Colombia doesn't have the orphan crisis that Ethiopia has to deal with. The numbers are just crazy.

So, God was gracious to me, and let me return home with my empty arms to a gorgeous Christmas season with my 2.5 year old boy and the people I love. No doubt I will be missing my baby BIG TIME. There will be tears and I give myself permission for that... BUT.. they will be the tears of this legal mother. As the legal mother, if he should get very ill or there is a natural disaster, the United States embassy can ship him to me or allow me to get him in an emergency. I haven't had that right until next week. I can also know that he WILL be coming home, maybe not the end of January as I'd like, but he WILL be getting here because he is MINE :-) There are a lot of people that have had court in the 2nd half of November and a good batch the week before me. All of those people are ahead of me in line for embassy appointments. It would be LOVELY for some of those people to get their papers done super fast so that maybe they could get out of my way in the December dates!! I'm sure they would love that too. We will just have to see how fast the Ethiopian courts can get their stuff going.

The first batch of 2 trip families went to court at the end of September and beginning of October and they are there picking up their children right now. They all waited 6-8 weeks to go back. If I can get back that quickly all depends on the people in front of me since only 20 are processed per month (10 every other week).

Please pray for us in this process. I'll try to write again before the airport on Thursday morning :-)

Preparing to Prepare to Travel- and other giddiness

So where did November go? Here is a brief summary:

We had my lovely step-sister Laurel come visit us while she traveled the country after returning home from Iraq. We ate lots, we worked out lots, we chased my child, we shopped a bit, we enjoyed girlie times.

The following weekend, Ted turned 29. Now you know how old he is in case he forgets which happens often. We celebrated with a family outing to Chuck E Cheese and I bought him lots of yummy treats from the grocery store.

Following Ted's birthday, it occurred to us that we were leaving in a matter of weeks for Ethiopia and the trip we had been longing for for so long was finally becoming a reality. In the attempt to not obsess over the countdown, and I had intentionally NOT prepared because I didn't want to get sad. Then, I panicked, because I did not plan.

So then I literally sat down with a road map of all the things that need to happen so we wouldn't get caught with our "international adoption pants down" so to speak. We got the time sensitive things under control such as making sure we had the appropriate types of cash needed in large sum from our bank (because for some people it takes over a week to get). We got out pictures printed for baby boy's album of Mommy and Daddy pictures that he can chew on until he comes home. We took care of our visa's a long time ago so that wasn't an issue.

Then, we had Thanksgiving to plan for and budget for since we had family(s) coming to town. That finished yesterday, so here I am, Sunday before travel, in my final times of getting you all caught up.

I can't believe I finally get to see his little face THIS WEEK. I get to become his legal mother THIS WEEK. After 4 months of looking at his sweet little face, and two months of counting down to Thursday, we are finally in the motions of this whole thing becoming REAL :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Days with Superman

So Superman, rather than the actual holiday of Halloween, has been a very big deal around here.

It all started when we let him watch portions of the newer Return of Superman movie. This resulted in an obsession with the actual DVD case. So we have been trying since to find more age appropriate super hero options for special rewards (or non child friendly situations) since then.

I was able to record the old Christopher Reeve version from 1978 that is mostly clean and doesn't require too much fast forwarding from me! Since then, we have been watching portions of that during special times since.

So, how could we possibly think of being anything else for Halloween this year?!!

Here are a few photos.

We had the Kids Carnival at church last week. Here are a few from sitting on the swings at church before that.

We also went to Boo at the Zoo which was better than anticipated! Since we are Friend of the Zoo, it was free for us :-) It was a beautiful 70 something degree day.

We were just a wee bit tired after all of that.

On Sunday night, we went for Tricks or Treats with our friends the Thurmonds from our church. Lucas did a fantastic job holding on to his pumpkin bucket very tight and saying all of his "thank you"s to the people handing out candy. Uncle Evan also came along to help out. We all used our super hero muscles to propel Lucas effectively :-)

We had a wonderful time, and can't wait for next year when we will have TWO little guys to steal candy from!!

Our little boy has moved!!

So we received an update (from August) last week. The good news is, that there is very little news! Nothing to worry about. As of 2.5 months, he was 11.4lbs and developing well. Eating really well! He was on track for all of his milestones.

I wish that we had more current news, but I am also glad that he hasn't had any incidents worthy of speedy news delivery.

Today, we received word that he has officially been moved from the southern Durame region, where he was found, to the Addis Ababa transitional facility. All of the children at the transitional facility have forever Mommy's and Daddy's and are in some sort of the court process. He will be hanging out there until we meet him in a little over a month!

31 days until life off people.