Thursday, July 19, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen...arrivederci

We are going on vacation! I won't be posting until August, so no news from us right now is not bad's just no news!


I stalked the postman last night. He came just as I was taking Abel to soccer. I jumped out of my car and ran to him before he was even at my house. I stood impatiently waiting for him to gather my mail and pointed to a small package that I knew was the video. I said THAT is what I'm waiting for...he had no clue really, except that I was weird....

I waited until soccer was over and we were all home and hudled in front of the tv. My heart fell.....These children are so beautiful and so scared and mostly sad. You wouldn't be able to tell just from seeing their pictures, or the video. But when the translator asks the children if they know their family history, and they say that their mom and dad have died of AIDS, you "see" it, and feel it.

I don't even know how to explain how heartbreaking that is.
I said out loud, "we could take those kids

BUT, what is encouraging is looking at the list that AAI has sent us, along with the video and seeing as they come on screen that a sibling group of 3 are on hold, or placed. That is encouraging.

We are waiting to talk to AAI. It is not as easy as seeing beautiful children. We have to take into account their "levels of age" (that is my term) For example, a 10 year old's physical age (which might be older or younger than Abel (but they don't celebrate birthdays and don't really know how old they are--there are guesses and semi-medical ways of telling.), school age (which might be a lot younger than Abel's because of language, and lack of schooling.), life experience age, (which might be older than Abel because of say, living on the street for 4 years.), and emotional age (which could be a blend, of not having stability and care, and then of seeing both your parents die, or abandon you.). All these issues blended together will have to be taken into account. Whew...not easy.

We are going to slow down just a bit. After talking to AAI, we are going to go on our trip--watch a suggested video series and not get wound up in picking children right...this...minute.
Prayers are requested! Thanks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If you are joining us now....

Go over to the right side and start in the May section. There we began our journey!

Tom chimes in!

Why are we adopting girls from Ethiopia?
During our home study, Susan, the representative from Adoption Advocates International, showed us a video about trans-racially adopted children who are now adults. In the video, these adults recounted their experiences of being adopted by parents of different races. It was an astonishingly eye-opening video, and it shows that taking on such a task will not be all lullabys and kisses. These adults had some issues!

Afterwards, Deb and I talked about the video with Susan and she said that this was a great time for us to consider the question: Why are we doing this? Why do we want to adopt children, specifically from Ethiopia?

If we told the adults in the video that we were doing this to "save" two unfortunate Ethiopian girls, they would certainly call us out for our well-meaning racism. And they would be right. Not only that, but I don't think the answer would be true. And honestly, I think we're doing this for a better, purer reason.

The reason we're adopting girls from Ethiopia is that we want daughters, and we want them to be beautiful and wonderful and increase the wonderfulness of our family. At least at this early stage in the process, we're feeling pretty certain that adopting from Ethiopia will give us the greatest chance of success in that area. Does this mean it will be easy? Heck no. It will probably be very hard, mostly in the same way it's hard to have biological children. But on top of that, we'll have to deal with issues of confused identity and racism and loss, just to mention the obvious ones.

Deb and I thought about what our future daughters would want to hear, when they asked us why we brought them into our lives. The answer would have to be honest, as the girls would have their whole lives to analyze it for authenticity. So no phoniness allowed. If I were them, I would want to hear the truth, and if the truth was that we did this because we wanted them in our lives, because we valued them enough to take on all the hassles and expense and scariness and risk, then that, it seems to me would feel pretty good.

So my daughters, just to be clear, and just in case you ever read this, here's why we adopted you: Because you seemed wonderful to us. Because our lives would be so much better with you than without you. Because you were so beautiful. Because you had so much to give to us. Were we trying to save you? Not so much. We wanted you. Maybe, in the end, you'd be the ones to save us.

A study of our home

That is what happened on Saturday. We had our homestudy. Susan from AAI came to talk to our family about adoption. She also chatted with us about our lives, our dreams, and why we are wanting to adopt from Ethiopia. She also talked with each of the boys about what they were feeling. It was exciting to hear Ben say he was up for the task, and comforting to hear that Abel was nervous. The funny thing is, is that both Tom and I feel both of those things. We are nervous and up for the task! After this meeting we feel so much more connected with AAI and we also feel like it is for real now. Susan is very smart and intuitive. She has been to Ethiopia several times escorting children home. She has been to Layla house and knows some of the children. I am so happy that the person doing our homestudy is part of our agency. She stayed for dinner, and I think she got a good feel for who we are. We watched an informative video about the identity issues of children who are adopted. Tom and I have had quite a few little talks about this since our meeting. It will be a challenge, but not something we can't do, but something we will have to be deliberate in dealing with. Susan also toured our house...we joked that she HAD to go through it because we cleaned and organized for it! We both think that the homestudy went well.

Gal Around Town

That is where I have been! I started going around town gathering the dossier documents on 7/9/07. I am happy to say that I have sent them all back to AAI on 7/17/07! It was a short but arduous and slightly mind numbing task. Some of the paperwork was easy as pie to get together. I have copies of our marraige license, birth certs, and tax forms. Others, however were a little more tricky. I had to wait 20 minutes one day just to get through the metal detectors to get into the courthouse to see about police clearance. I found out then that I needed 20 dollars--each--cash, and some paperwork signed and photocopied since Tom was not going to come in. Our bank statement took a week to get...those poor girls at BECU. They were very nice though. They had to pull every statement for the year and find deposits and add them all up. It was a huge taste for them. We also had to get 8 passport photos each...not a huge deal, but ca-ching ca-ching...again! I did start to stress out a little when looking for a notary. One bank I went to charges 10.00 per signature. Most of our pages had 2! Tom asked someone at work if he knew of a notary, and to our delight, there is one at his work who does it for free! She does a lot of the adoption notarizing for people who adopt at Russell. She was also very nice and accomodating. When I took our paperwork back to the courthouse for processing, I really thought I would have to come back in a week or more, but the lady at the the desk took the paperwork, ran the checks (we do not have criminal records in case you were wondering!) and notarized everything while I waited. I did feel bad for the 3 men who were waiting for their gun licenses....but not too bad. Tom's doctor was moving her office a few days after I had dropped by the paperwork, and I feared that that piece of paperwork would get lost or misplaced, but the very next day I got a call saying it was ready! I did pull out my adoption card in as many instances as I could, and I would guess that it must have struck a cord, and that may be why things happened so quickly. I am very appreciative at all the personalized and quick responses we have had. So, the paperwork is done and UPSed today!

Monday, July 09, 2007


Well, after a few days on the Oregon Coast, we came home to a very official looking packet of papers from AAI! It is our Dossier! While it doesn't look too terrible, I don't understand some of what I need to do, so I will have to call today and ask some questions. I am going to get started today and see what I can come up with. What I really need is a notary. Hmm...I will have to do some research!

I am exicted and a little terrified. Lately I have been overcome by feelings of "We can do this" and sometimes at night, I feel like my breath is taken away with feelings of doubt. Not doubt that it won't happen or that I don't have the means to do this, but doubt that I will be a good mother to two little girls ripped from their homeland. We have things to offer, I just hope that what THEY need is what we can give. I cannot imagine the loss and grief that they are and will go through. I am afraid for them and hopeful for them, and I don't even know them!

After our homestudy, I expect that we will get to see some children via video. I can't wait....I just can't. I think that they boys will be able to feel more involved once they physically see what the children look like and can put some faces with this process.

I am reading a wonderful book called "There is No Me Without You"
I will fill in more info as I go along in the book.