Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I enjoyed my first Mother's Day at home this year! Because my step Dad Randy was down in Honduras this year, I invited my Mom to come down so she could relax with us!

We had a great mother daughter date night at the Melting Pot down at the plaza

The next day we enjoyed time at church and I was able cook up a meal in the new kitchen and use our new kitchen table!

Next year, I get to celebrate with BOTH my kids, and I'm pretty excited about that.

Easter 2011

We kept Easter pretty low key this year here at home :-) We enjoyed a fantastic morning all spiffied up at church.

Then later on, we were invited to a family gathering with our friends the Wissels from church who took pity on us as we had like.. no plans.

Easter Egg hunt!

Lucas' 3rd Birthday

Well in all of the excitement and drama in the days following Lucas' Birthday, I forgot to put up all the pictures!!

So, we kept Lucas' Birthday lower key this year, because he had already had one party in Iowa while I was in Haiti, and will be having yet another one in May with the Sibley grandparents as well. Since his BDay fell on Good Friday, we celebrated on the 23rd with Pizza at Fun House Pizza in Lees Summit, and "shooting" of the "bad guys" at Chuck E Cheese afterward. It truly is his favorite activity and all he wanted to do!!

We drove, and then they shot things.

And then we were really sad when it was time to go...

We went home for some Birthday brownies and present opening as well

We Cleared Embassy!!!

So I awoke on Thursday morning with an e-mail beeping into my phone from the Embassy in Addis Ababa saying that our immigration investigation had cleared. I can't really express to you on a blog post how AMAZING that is. That is most amazing thing just behind taking custody of my son in a few weeks and stepping off the plane in Kansas City a little over a week after that.

This means that both Ethiopia and the United States are satisfied with all of the paperwork and we have been invited to travel. We plan to be leaving sometime in the week of May 22nd and will likely have our interview the week after. Holt has requested an appointment for us the week of the 30th, and we are just waiting for the confirmation so that we can formally book our plane tickets.

I am SO ready to get on the phone with Erle from Azumano travel in the near future.

Since we have a vague idea when we will be traveling, it occurred to us that we have to tidy up all those loose ends as our family of 3! HOW EXCITING to FINALLY have something to really be excited about.

A few little things on the list? I learned last night that even though Ben is almost 12 months old, he will still need bottles and formula as that is what he is used to... and apparently baby food as well?! I'm kind of excited about it actually :-) This afternoon I also ordered the Ergo carrier that I kept putting off because it was so depressing. It will be delivered on Tuesday :-)

I have a few projects that I want to have completely caught up again (I had them caught up back in January when I thought I would be traveling...)including this blog. If it isn't done by the time I get on that plane, I don't plan on it getting done, at least for a long time. Ted and I have also scheduled a few date nights/deal with stuff evenings next week without Lucas' "help".

We won't have our dates confirmed until likely Monday, so I'm just doing the mundane work this weekend. I want to have the last year of Ben's baby book completely updated so I won't be piecing it together later. I need to go through the boys closet and get it really organized...

and the fun part is, that for the 3RD TIME, I will be putting together Ben's clothes and making sure we have enough of everything. Granted, stuff is like 3 sizes larger than I had originally thought, but it's still FUN. I have to save that project til last though, and use it as motivation to get the less enjoyable stuff done. Like going through Lucas' toys and doing the ol' purge or random junk he accumulates.

I just might have to get the other high chair back out of the basement soon too, just for fun :-)

Updates to come.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The update of updates

WOW... I can't believe I haven't written on the family blog in almost 2 months. Well, I sort of can.

In some senses, LOTS AND LOTS of things have happened. In other senses, nothing has changed.

Here is a few biggies that have nothing at all to do with Ben.

1. Just a few days before my last post, we heard of a rental home in Lees Summit. We loved it. We threw away some money paying double rent for a few months, but we wanted it so badly and it was such a great place for our growing family. We moved into it on April 15th. Pictures to come as I'm still perfecting it in Erin fashion :-)

2. After not passing court in March, we received word that our case wouldn't be reheard by the courts until April 15th... almost 6 weeks later. 6 weeks of nothing. 6 weeks of no movement. So what did I do? I went back to Haiti.

3. I went to Haiti. More details regarding Haiti and the workings of my heart can be read on my person blog.

4. I started a personal blog. I haven't written much on it, but I THINK of things to write on it pretty much every afternoon. This afternoon I actually will I think, once we get done with this business.

5. The day before we moved, we found out by surprise that we had passed court EARLY!! I was so surprised/happy/moving that I never wrote it on the blog. Sorry Ben ;-( I promise to revisit the events of that day in the future, because I remember them really well. All the way down to the happy dance in the parking lot of church when the email from Holt popped into my phone.

6. A few weeks after that, Lucas turned 3. My first "baby" turned 3. He is a busy busy determined little person right now, but he is adorable. That will also be its own post soon.

So now that you have the basics of what has gone down around here, the point of the post!


I know, so much has happened.. you may be saying.. "So why is that a big deal again? And, more importantly, WHEN are you finally getting that kid?!?!"

Well, lucky you I am in a fantastic mood and will explain all that.

In the months between when we were doing all of this before in January/February and now, the US Embassy has made some changes to their processes. In the long term, these are GOOD changes. Changes that will cut down and/or eliminate child trafficking with many more check points. Before, once you were "submitted" to embassy, it meant you flew for your visa interview about 2 weeks later. It was pretty much a done deal. NOW, you are submitted and the investigation starts. You don't fly until that investigation is complete. Sometimes the "investigation" is just a checking of facts to ensure that the child meets UNICEF's definition of "orphan" and that there are no discrepancies in forms, or sometimes it means they fine pick every single word anybody ever said about anything and re-interview half the country. Some families take weeks or even months to clear; some cases clear within days. We don't really have any way of knowing on what side of that fence we will land on. Our agency has really had to roll with the punches with each individual case and the whims of the embassy.

Because I was FLOORED when we were submitted to embassy within 3 weeks of court approval, my heart is in a great place for another potentially long wait. Some good news finally happened. Twice in a row in fact. We were finally ruled the legal parents of our son, AND there is movement towards his immigration. That makes me a happy lady. If I need to wait some weeks or more weeks to know that everything about his immigration clearance is perfect, so be it. I'd much rather know that his case was put through the ringer than to feel like anything was rushed just to please me. Some day, our children will have to think about such things as they come to terms with being taken away from their birth countries due to whatever the circumstances were of the birth parent(s) and also the economic poverty of their countries. It is my hope, that they will take some small comfort in knowing that two countries seriously put their heads together and agreed that nothing else could be done, than to allow the baby to leave the birth country.

Although I love my children more than my own life, I would not wish their loss on anyone. Adoption is as beautiful as it is heart breaking. Everyone gains and at the same time loses huge parts of ourselves in the process. My sons are too young to understand such realities right now. Right now, Lucas knows that I am Mama. I am the only Mama he has ever known and we don't have to think of such realities as "biological" or race or hereditary things. We can just be. At some time though, my sons will look in the mirror and really ask "who AM I??". I hope to be there to hold their hands as they piece that together. I hope that they can find some identity as sons of God, not just my sons, and not just born into a particular race.

I love my boys, but such things are heavy on my heart as they grow.

Besides some retroactive posts about Lucas' birthday, our new home, and more details about the adoption process as it has been, I HOPE that my new post will be regarding embassy clearance!!