Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Sweet Sounds of Charlie Brown's Teacher

MWaaaawwwnt MWaaaawwwnt MWaaaawwwnt MWaaaawwwnt MWaaaawwwnt...

These are the sounds in my head.
I hear them when I'm in a meeting, on a call, boarding the train, greeting my neighbors, picking up my dry cleaning - you get the point. I have so many balls in the air right now (as we all do) and I really don't care what I catch and what falls. I want a court date and I want to bring Baby N home. End of story. Anything non-adoption related...ech, whatEVAH.

I admire everyone who has gone down this road ahead of us because I don't recall any whiners; only loads of stoic fellow-bloggers. Well, to be honest, now that we've reached this stage, all I want to do is whine. And not for attention. It's purely because I don't think anyone should be expecting anything of me right now except to wait by my phone for our call that we have a court date, we passed and it's time to travel. HA! Not too much to ask right?

Apparently the world doesn't stop when you're waiting for a court date (or to be on wait list, or to get your referral, or for your travel date, or even for your return home and you begin to hunker down with your new family). You must continue to deal with your daily responsibilities and not lose focus. I AM trying and on most days, consider it a success...then come the moments of fluff in others. I don't like fluff in others. I like strong people who care about others.

A fellow Gladney family was awaiting word today on the outcome of their second court date. On pins and needles all day to find out if they passed, only to hear no news is coming out of Ethiopia today because all phones and internet are down in the region. Court proceeded as normal and issued their decisions; families just won't know these results until tomorrow. They're not complaining. They're waiting patiently for their news.

So, to hear someone in the elevator completely devastated over their iPad or that 3G isn't fast enough .... *enter Charlie Brown's teacher*
This is where I drift off to a land I have yet to visit where our son currently lives with frequent blackouts, poverty, limited resources and where any type of internet is a luxury. I can't focus on anything BUT this and going to get him. Nor can I help but think what's really worth complaining about in life.

I have nothing to complain about.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Six Month Old Cheeks...

I think I even see a dimple. Can you see it?

Our little guy is six months old today! As you know, we're not allowed to post his name or any identifiable mentions. This will be the only picture we post. How can we not share these fabulous cheeks (well, a portion of)?

Happy Birthday Baby N! It's heavy on the heart right now, knowing you're so far away but there are plenty of birthdays to come and we will be there for EVERY one of them! Every one of them, until you're too cool for us and want to hang with your buddies instead :)

...and we'll still be there

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Every Line Means Something

Every line means something Basquiat

After not posting for a week, I have a lot of random thoughts to put to paper that really don't flow as a whole. I thought I would wait until I had a more complete story and then I realized...nothing in this journey flows as a whole so who cares if my post doesn't?

Then I thought, if I slap up a poignant quote for the opener the rest would mysteriously fall into place. My bff, Google, just exhausted 45 minutes of my time as I read through a plethora of life-changing quotes and inspirational thoughts of the notable (and not-so-notable) personalities. In the end, so many are longer versions of Nike's money making Just Do It campaign. That's when I remembered Basquiat's (LOVE!) 'Every line means something'.

How awesome is that statement? We're all artists; each of us creating our life one line at a time. Now this is my interpretation, not his. He was simply responding to the critics who thought he sucked and was only in the spotlight because he was pals with Mr. Warhol. However, as a huge fan, I'm incorporating his comment into a more personal meaning.

So, back to all those random "lines" happening right now that mean something...

  • We received our monthly update from our caseworker on Friday. The in-country team forwards photos and a developmental report each month on the status of your child(ren) from the time you accept a referral to the time you travel. This is both exhilarating and very difficult. I have found myself trying to remain a bit distant as I see these photos, read the updates and realize that what I'm seeing and reading is about our son who lives on the other side of the planet. It's too hard. It's too hard because I don't know when we can see him and hold him. Our hearts are melting and I will become a miserable lunatic if I wake up each day and focus on how many more days, weeks or months are ahead without him. I choose to not think about that part.

  • All updates point in the direction that our little boy is well...NOT so little! Another Gladney mother currently in-country visited Baby N, which we are beyond grateful for. The update was so encouraging and again, tugged away at our emotions. One comment that caught me off-guard in her email and caused a roaring LOL at my desk was..."I was able to hold him and kiss him and hug him and tell him his family will soon be there...that was before my arms went out. He is a big boy." HA!

  • The volcanic cloud from Iceland has delayed the flights of thousands, including this family. They are making their way to Addis via Amsterdam to pick up their (very adorable) little girl who is currently in the same house as Baby N. They have generously offered to carry and personally deliver our first care package to Baby N, so needless to say we are following every minute of their journey. Our thoughts are with them as they navigate through the next few days and make their way to unite with their daughter. All int'l adoption experts tell you to prepare to let go - that everything is soon to be out of your control and on a completely unpredictable timeframe. You never really think volcanic ash is on that list!

  • We still don't know if we're traveling once or twice. The family who received a referral ten days prior to us found out their paperwork was submitted to court last week. If that timeframe is any indication to us, that would mean our paperwork would be submitted to the courts in Ethiopia by the May 9th deadline. This family sent us an email on Saturday that they already received a court date and it's for April 30th!!! They're with a different agency, but it's all positive news to hear how quickly the courts are moving right now. We've already prepared ourselves to travel twice and would LOVE the opportunity to see Baby N sooner (with the two trip rule). There are pros and cons to both sides, as most things go. In any event, we're all getting closer. Whatever stage you're at right now, things are moving and things are being watched. These are very, very good things for both the Ethiopian children and program.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So Now What?

Operation Baby N is a go!

We have forces in NY, NJ, DC, GA, PA, CT, NC, TX, MD, CA, AZ, NH, KS, OH, IL, ME, WV, VA, TN and of course on the ground in Addis (and I'm not even referring to the amazing Gladney reps). These are all locations that Baby N either has family, friends or traveling parents who are all playing a role in our final journey to him and his to us.

There are only three (very big) steps remaining in our journey...
1) receive our court date
2) pass court
3) travel to bring Baby N home

The lovely "ifs, ands or buts" will be in charge of these steps, not us. As much as I prefer to control everything along the way, I am passing this off to them and watching from the sidelines. Yes, I am and I'm actually fine with it because Kai and I have done everything in our power to make this as smooth as possible and so has our agency. There's really nothing more we can do except wait to be told when and how many times we will be buying plane tickets.

Many friends have asked what happens when we get home. I'll do a homecoming-specific post for that one, but in the meantime it's definitely worth mentioning.

Unlike what is typically seen on TV upon the arrival of an adopted child, we will not be met with balloons and fanfare. The three of us (*gasp*- LOVE it!) will simply grab a cab from either JFK or Newark and begin hunkering down asap. I imagine pulling an all-nighter with many bottles, books, rocking and loads of Chinese delivery that night. (Did I mention they are also aware and very supportive of Baby N's arrival?) When I tell you our neighbors are excited, I mean ALL neighbors - including local businesses.

Kai and I will be the only ones to feed, bathe and put Baby N to bed for the first two months, which is key to our attachment and bonding. Feeding will be the only thing that changes when we return to work, but the others will remain in effect for at least six months. During the first two months, we will reluctantly be avoiding visitors. He's so darn cute and we want to share him with the world, but we also know we need to do what's right according to him. I can tell you right now that his grandparents will be having none of this and are certain to slip past the Baby N Velvet Rope! and that's exactly why we love them!

To all non-grandparents reading this...we'll be making loads of time for everyone once we all settle in. I see many, many roadtrips in our future, which we're honestly looking forward to. One thing I realized at our shower that is also becoming clearer the closer we get, this little guy has THE biggest instant family and friend network imaginable. How awesome is that?

In other news, we need a new picture! I still can't help getting up at all hours to come look at his perfect little face and chubby cheeks in the middle of the night. We should have a few more pix in the next couple of weeks from other families and from our monthly agency update.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Kai and I have a blow out argument every 9-10 months.

This has been the case for the past 15.9 years and simply appears to be the working synergy of our relationshipalness.

It's disturbing that it's so predictable, yet it's cleansing. It opens our eyes and keeps us on our toes. It's a bump in the road that forces us to value and be so very thankful for our relationship. It's also inevitable when you share 1200 sq ft with the same person for almost 16 years! It's life, is what it is.

So, why in the world would I share this with all of you? Because I know you're all not "unicorns & rainbows" everyday either! (I must say, that previously "quoted" phrase is one I never heard prior to adopting and thought it fitting in this instance.)

Our fights normally happen at the end of a long day, which inevitably leave one of us on the couch.

In the past, couch-time for me meant..."If I'm forfeiting a comfy, fluffy king-size bed for this, then I'm certainly not going to spend my narrow-mock-bedded evening in a he-said she-said rehashing mindset." My thoughts would be "If I lived alone, how would I decorate my own apartment?" And by the time I got to the second room (third, during a big argument), I would already be missing Kai and all his stuff. I would realize all will be fine in the morning and I would begin to doze off.

For some reason since we submitted our adoption paperwork last February, these 9-10 month spouts disappeared. That was until...about a week after we received our referral and bingo. Well, after 20+ months, I was headed back to the couch and this is how it all went down...

Things were different this time. "I don't want to be on the couch!" and "I can't sleep on the couch. We're having a baby!" and finally "There's no time for make-believe decorating anymore. This is serious stuff." That's when it began to sink in that we've been kids ourselves for a very long time. It's part of who we are, how we met and why we work so well together.

These near-annual outbursts may continue for the rest of our lives, who knows? The point is, I foresee them taking on a new form. A more discreet form. You know the kind, like when you were six years old and riding in the backseat of your parents car and your mother is answering your father through gritted teeth. You're not sure why her face looks like that, but you also don't focus on it. You're six, that's not your responsibility and nor should it be.

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is, other than to say there are a lot more preparations required when bringing a child into your home than simply having a big heart and creating a nursery. It's the day to day stuff; the real-life stuff. We won't always get it right, but I can honestly say that Baby N is already having an influence on how we see things, how we need to see things and what priorities will shift as our family grows. He may not yet be here physically, but he has completely arrived in our hearts and is 100% a part of our family in mind and spirit. Baby N, you're already changing the rules in the Gittens' home and we welcome it with wide open arms!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


My widget's word of the day is cynosure.
Substitute 'Baby N' in the example sentence below and I think it applies to the rest of our lives. Everything I see lately applies to Baby N and the rest of our lives. It's a bit ridiculous how our mindset has shifted gears so drastically so quickly.

cy·no·sure (sī'nə-shŏŏr', sĭn'ə-) n.
An object that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration. the cynosure of all eyes.

We've had loads of questions from family and friends asking What's Next? Very good question! There have been some recent shifts in-country regarding court proceedings and requirements. It's not uncommon to see changes put in place, but when they are - it takes a minute to get the dirt on what is fact vs. speculation. Now that all has settled and we have confirmation from our agency of the new rules (via email and a long conversation with our ever-patient caseworker) we know better where we are in the scheme of things.

Remember the ginormous amount of paperwork we were collecting, notarizing, copying and scanning for the first six months of this journey? Well, that is our dossier. It has lived in Ethiopia since July 10, 2009, where it has been translated to Amharic, scoured with a fine tooth comb by in-country attorneys and given a thumbs up. It is now awaiting Baby N's paperwork (orphanage intake forms and some other government docs). Once his paperwork is gathered (began the day after we accepted our referral) it is put with our dossier and both are delivered by a Gladney rep to the court in Ethiopia to request an official court date for our adoption. If this package is submitted to the court PRIOR to May 9th, we will be traveling once (upon passing court to bring home Baby N). If it is delivered after May 9th, we will be traveling twice (once for court date and then three to six weeks later to bring home Baby N).

In either event, we are anticipating travel before July.

The wait time for families finding out their court dates is 2-3 months from accepting their referral. However, The Schmidts (Congratulations!) received theirs in only five weeks. A few months ago, the wait was only 4-6 weeks. You see? This is why speculating is exactly that. Nothing is firm until you get word from your caseworker and each family's case is so very different.

A few positive thoughts are being sent to the families at the top of the Wait List, awaiting referrals for baby girls. Hang in are so very close and we're all thinking of you.

and in closing (BIG BIG drumroll here folks....) HEIDI & MARK GOT THEIR COURT DATE!!!! April 23rd will be a day we are all awaiting to hear the news that the twins are coming home!

Okay, I am now off to watch ManU vs. Chelsea and get some baking done for our big dinner tomorrow.
Happy Easter everyone!!!