Monday, December 31, 2007

Death Valley Family

Here and Gone!

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! We returned from our week in the desert and what did I find sitting on the very top of our mail stack? That's right! I-171H. I spent a lot of time today making all the certified photocopies, getting various money orders necessary for the authentication of our dossier and even Fed-Ex'ed it on to The Assistant Stork. For $60 they will take it to the Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. Tonight I'll organize the four sets of photocopies (two certified and two plain). Hopefully I'll be able to drive the completed and authenticated dossier to Children's House International next week. And then, we'll be officially waiting for our referral! I anticipate we'll be traveling to Ethiopia to pick up our daughter next summer, give or take a few months!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Baby Girls

What is it about clothing for baby girls? Seriously. I was in the Gymboree clothing store and I found myself picking up the most darling little things, holding them up by the hanger, smiling stupidly and just getting completely lost in my dreams of outfitting our baby girl . And I'm kind of embarrassed that I'm dreaming about how cute she'll be instead of how bright or charming or curious. It's all about the clothes.

It's not the same with boys clothes. For my boys I look for pants that will hold up to lots rough play in the mud and dirt. I look for all solids - maybe stripes. There's no dreaming, no fantasizing.

Anyway, I was able to control myself and walked out of there with nothing for a girl. But I can't wait! Maybe after our paperwork is all finished I'll treat myself and pick something out.

By the way, still no form I-171H. Now it will have to wait until January. I'm getting worried that they've lost our paperwork, but I think I'm just being paranoid.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Santa came through and delivered our tree gifts early as planned! Beck tore out of bed at 6am and shouted from the living room, " He was here, guys!" We had a fun morning of opening presents with grandma and grandpa, enjoyed a light brunch, and then spent a lot of time playing with all the new toys. After naps we headed over to the zoo since it was the first dry afternoon in several days. And finally had a nice dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Chris and I commented at the table that we might need more rice and then suddenly we hear Yogi yelling at the top of his lungs in order to get the attention of our waitress who was across the room, "WE... NEED... MORE... RICE!" Chris and I just looked at each other and said, "Did he actually just do that?!?!" Apparently, what we really need is more practice with restaurant behavior :) I shouldn't laugh, but it is quite entertaining to see them in a restaurant. I'm attaching a little slide show of pictures that we included as part of a present for Yogi.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No News is...

No news news. Still no I-171H, but several other blogging families have gotten their referrals recently and are anticipating court dates and travel! See the links on the right!

This evening while I was making dinner I put on some cheery Christmas music. I'll admit my Christmas selection is very limited, but I still like it and with all the lights and decorated tree in the corner, it just fills me with the Christmas spirit. Not so for Yogi. He came stomping in, crossed his arms and said, "No more Santa songs!" Later this evening both boys wanted to play Santa so we pretended to be asleep in the living room while one or the other of them hid in our vacuum cupboard. Then after a few seconds of our fake snoring noises they would creep out with the canvas domino sack slung over their shoulder. It was very cute! We'll be having our Christmas morning on Thursday since we'll be in the desert for the actual holiday. I told the boys that I talked with Santa and that we agreed to have tree gifts on Thursday and stockings in the desert.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Feeling Anxious

I've been checking the mail each day hoping to see that I-171H so that we can send our dossier for authentication before Christmas. I don't think it will happen. Most likely our paperwork will be sent for authentication in January which is just fine, right? The best timing for us to actually bring home our daughter would be next summer since Yogi will be potty trained and both boys can attend the same preschool program together at the same time! Still, it's hard not to feel anxious. It really only took me about 2 1/2 weeks to gather all the paperwork and get all the notarizations, another month to complete the home study, and then another two months on top of that to get our I-171H.

So today I finally tackled the job of wrapping the Christmas presents! That meant that I was locked in our bedroom on my hands and knees on the floor trying to get it done before the kids caught on to the fact that I wasn't around. Luckily Chris was here to help keep them distracted. I still have at least another hour of wrapping and labeling which is where I'm headed now. Good night!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I do declare...

After several weeks of not doing much for the adoption aside from waiting for my fingerprints to be officially rejected, the past few days have been busy! I called CHI about whether they could recommend a notary in Seattle who might be familiar with adoption paperwork. Mike, the Ethiopia program assistant, said that if I didn't mind making the trip up, they could do it for free! The CHI office is in Ferndale, WA which is about an hour and a half drive north of Seattle, but only about 10 minutes south of my parents' cabin. This was great news since I needed to make two copies of my dossier into "certified copies" by having each photocopied document notarized which seems to be confusing to the notaries I talked to and would be quite expensive. This was on Tuesday and Beck was already at preschool. So I packed up some overnight bags, picked up Beck, and we headed up to the cabin where my parents happened to be this week. I spent about an hour that night at a "business park" (really just a copy machine in a mailing center) and made 200 copies total - four copies each of the original documents in the dossier. And then today I drove to Ferndale and spent about 3 hours getting two sets of the photocopies notarized. Each document required that I hand write the statement, "I do declare that this is a true and correct copy of an original document." and then I signed it. And then the notary did her thing and stamped each one. I haven't done that much handwriting in a very long time and my hand is aching now in protest!

I was curious about the actual office and was impressed. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly, organized, and professional. I am so grateful that they were willing to help us out like this! It was a whirlwind of a trip since we left after lunch today, but I feel like I got a lot accomplished! Here are a few photos of the building.

One funny thing did happen last night at the cabin. Beck came running out of the bedroom yelling, "Mama, Mama, Yogi took off his diaper!" I marched into the room to remedy the situation and found Yogi with one little hand on his hip, the diaper swinging from his other hand. He fluttered his eyes haughtily at me and announced, "I don't NEED this!" Of course, based on recent experience, he really DOES still need it, so I reached for him and he dove into the plump comforter, little white bum flashing amidst the folds of fabric. I did finally get ahold of him, but I swear, changing a toddler who isn't interested is like trying to put a diaper on a bucking calf at a rodeo. It's not easy!

Ok, I promise that after we're finished with all the paperwork, these posts will be a lot more interesting! It can only get better after an entire post on government form I-171H, right?!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The I-171H Mystery Solved

While browsing a few of the other Ethiopia adoption blogs I follow, I noticed that many people including folks from my own agency, sent in their dossier without the I 171 H. But in the directions I have, the I-171H is supposed to be included as part of the original dossier. We've already been waiting for 4 weeks for that piece of paper so I called the agency to get this clarified. It turns out that they've changed the policy in the last few months. I was told they would allow me to send in the dossier without it, but that I would now need to change other papers that would need new notarizing and authentication so ultimately I decided that it wasn't worth it. We'll just wait. Which is how I ended my last entry and how I'll probably have to end many of them! I'm just really hoping that we can get all the papers off before Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Getting Started

Welcome to our blog! We thought it would be fun to keep our family and friends current with the latest developments in our journey to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia. We signed on with our adoption agency (Children's House International) in September and completed our home study in October. So far all we have is a big stack of notarized papers ready to send to Ethiopia -- well, almost ready. We're still waiting for our 171 (permission from the department of homeland security to adopt an orphan). We should've had that by now except that it turns out my fingerprints are "unacceptable". I actually drove over the mountains to Yakima twice to have them printed, but after the last time they asked me to get a police clearance letter instead. Hopefully the 171 will come in the mail soon so that we can finally get the papers sent off!

I'm not sure about the timing after that, but I'm thinking we'll get matched with a baby in the spring and then we'll travel to Ethiopia next summer. We'll just have to wait and see!