Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Welcome to Travel"

We've reached yet another milestone in this whole process!

There was an email title "Welcome to Travel" sitting in my inbox...the day after courts reopened!  I nearly had a heart attack, thinking it was a court date!  Alas, it was not, but it is a big major step in the right direction!

AWAA lays out the entire travel process from start to finish, and I'm feeling much less stressed about unknown details at this point.  It was also a request for some travel documentation that needed to be submitted in the next three days.  It was easy stuff, but the fact that they wanted it so soon made me wonder if they knew something we didn't!

Of course, all of that information was submitted the very next day. :)  And now, we wait for the word "go!"  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Movin' Right Along...

Well, the courts in Ethiopia are officially reopened!

While we've been waiting, we've gotten quite a bit done.  At the end of August, Mark and I submitted ourselves to $800 worth of vaccinations for travel!  Last week we took our last "self-induced nausea pill," aka oral typhoid vaccine.  Phew. Now to get our malaria meds squared away.

We also had to have our biometrics renewed for USCIS.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why we need to be re-fingerprinted after a year.  Thankfully, they give you one free renewal...seeing as they're $830. 

We also have to update our home study, as it needs to be renewed yearly.  I can't believe that it's been a year since we've done it...and Judy, our social worker, will actually be here this afternoon!  We do need to make changes regarding Mark's new job, but other than that it should be quick and painless.

And, of course, we feel much more ready to bring home a new baby!  The girls' room is all set, Karis' clothes are all washed and in her dresser (assuming she's not the next size up by the time she comes home)!

I do still need to get a few things, like a bassinet/co-sleeper.  I also don't have a swing or infant seat anymore, so I'll be scouring Craigslist again.  I'm closing in on feeding details being taken care of, so we're in good shape, I think!  Now all we need is a court date to go meet our girl and legally become her parents!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It begins...

...the uncontrollable urge to buy something, anything, for Karis! (This was shortly after we received her referral)! Anna slept with this little package of pacifiers in her bed for weeks-along with the picture of her baby sister! (And yes, I realize she may not ever learn to take a pacifier-that's why I only bought one package)!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Girls' Room is Ready!

I've had so much fun these past few weeks getting the girls' room ready for Karis to come home! Rebecca has put in a ton of hours on this with me...I wonder if she regrets the Christmas gift coupons she gave me for "Color consult" and "Painting one room in your house!" Seriously, we've had such a blast with this! There are few things in life more exciting than nesting for a new baby!

Anna LOVES pink and purple. When we discussed the room makeover with her, those were really her only parameters. So, we went with a nice soft pink (the coloring in the pics is a little off), and a light chocolate brown, and a faint lavender for the closet and for accent. For inspiration, Rebecca did a huge search of nursery decor and I searched etsy vinyl stickers. She found the most darling crib set, that I thought I would never get because I didn't NEED it...the pink and yellow gingham set I had for Anna was perfectly fine. Unbeknownst to me, Tricia and Rebecca went ahead and got the window valances and bedding set for me for my birthday! I am thrilled with it...thank you, thank you!

For the "stencils", I printed on transparency paper the animals/tree we wanted to use, and then with the overhead projector, we enlarged, traced, and then painted over our lines. I couldn't be more pleased! Rebecca did much of the giraffe free-hand, and lest you don't take time to watch the video, check out the Africa spot/Ethiopia heart on the giraffe! Anna is delighted with her room, and is even more excited for her sister to come home now that we have the crib ready and her baby toys in a basket! The only thing really left to get are the letters K-A-R-I-S for the wall.  I was so excited about having a girl before Anna was born that I splurged at Company Kids and bought the pink gingham wall plaques to spell her name.  Silly me.  Now I have to get them for Karis, too...and at $10/letter, well, there aren't that many really nice girls' names with only 1 or 2 letters.  Lesson learned.  And we still have to bring up the bin of baby clothes from the basement...I can't wait to do that!

Interestingly enough, someone insinuated that this whole room makeover wasn't fair to Anna, like "This is all well and good for Karis, but what about poor Anna who now is unfairly subjected to this African-themed room?" Granted, they didn't say it in so many words, but that's exactly what they were saying. I was glad they asked, because it really helped me articulate some thoughts on the subject matter, as did finishing the book "There is No Me Without You." More on that later, but the ending is perfect for this situation.

Yes, Karis is being adopted into an American family, and she will be an American citizen, and the culture she will "fit with" is going to be overwhelmingly American. But that is only one side of the equation. We are also adopting into an Ethiopian family, and Ethiopia is becoming a part of our culture (to the best we can manage), and it is just as right for us to integrate Ethiopian heritage into Karis' life as it is to integrate it into ours. She is as much American as we are Ethiopian. Will the scales always be balanced? Probably not...but you can bet that we're going to try.

 I thought I should include a "Before" picture and video to give you an idea why I'm so excited about this room makeover!

Another view of "Before":

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update from Ethiopia

(Another pic that Jen took while Rebecca was holding Karis back in July)

Another adoptive mom is in Ethiopia right now, completing her embassy appt. to bring her baby girl home this week! As is typical on our yahoo group, those who travel offer to take care packages and/or photo consent forms. It was too short of notice to send a package, but I did email a consent form to Jo, and she sent me this email that blessed my heart:

Just got it and printed it off. I will love on her and check to see what size clothing she is wearing . She must be a tiny peanut. Lidiyanna is too. I completely understand your emotions. When did you get your referral and when is your court date or are you waiting for an assignment? I know how hard it is to wait.

We are soooo thrilled to bring home our daughter as I know you will be as well. I remember how much it meant to me to have someone love on Lidiyanna before we could go, so I will be honored to do the same for you.

Then I received this note via facebook yesterday:

Took pics or your sweet baby girl yesterday. I will try to send them to you soon. Computer stuff is slow here.She looks great and healthy. I loved her adorable chubby cheeks. She was wearing a 0-3 month outfit and it fit her well.Send you the pics soon.

So at almost 4 months old, she's finally out of newborn size clothing! Good to know! And Jo, bless her heart, just emailed me pics this morning! She will send them full resolution later, but I'm so thankful for the pictures this morning!
Posted by Picasa

August Update

It dawned on me that since I started a private blog with pictures of Karis (until she's legally ours, we can't share on a public forum any identifying information-name or pictures), I haven't been posting any of her updates on this blog. And I should!

Aren't these feet precious? This is one of the many beautiful photos that Jen Ely took for me while she and Rebecca were there at the end of July!

Here is her August update...I apologize for the redundancy for those of you who have read it already! We will receive another update at the end of September. And, joy of joys, they won't send us an October update because that month, we will get to feast on her with our own eyes and get the update ourselves, in person!

Name: L***** Milligan
Taken on: August 31,2010
Weight: 10 pounds (up from 7 and a 1/2 in July!)
Height: 58 cm
Head Circumference: 38 cm
She takes 5 ounces of formula seven times per day.
She had rash on her neck on August 17th; she was treated with Zinc Oxide. She had URTI on August 23rd; she was treated with Cotrimoxazole syrup. She has occasional cough.
She follows moving objects with her eyes.
She making sounds like e,e,e…
Personality/Other Comments:
She doesn’t like to be held. She likes to be rocked in rocky bed (per those who have been to see her, this isn't exactly true...they've held her and she seemed plenty content that way!).
She smiles when the nannies play with her.
1. What is L*****’s daily schedule (eating, sleeping, awake times)?
She takes nap almost after every feeding for 1-2 hours during the day. She eats at 6am, 9am, 12am, 3pm, 6pm, 10pm, and 2am. She sleeps well at night waking twice for feeding and diaper change.
2. Does L***** smile, and if so, what makes her smile?
She smiles when the nannies play with her making funny sounds.
3. Can she hold her head steady when being held upright, or does she still need her head supported?
Yes, She needs her head supported.
4. Does she go to sleep on her own, or is she rocked to sleep?
She likes to be rocked to sleep.
5. When she is fussy, what soothes her the best?
She gets comforted when she gets her bottle with formula and is rocked on her rocky bed.

Posted by Picasa