Wednesday, June 30, 2010


One down. One to go.

Thank you all for your amazing support over the past few days! We felt it :)
at work, but will write more later.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two More Days

The clock is now officially ticking in my head.
I think I've reached the point of being aware of each hour ticking by in descending order from 48. The morning brings the biggest rush because 6-8 of them pass by while I snooze.

5am, Sunday morning: woken sharply by the sensation of a colony of butterflies nose-diving into and out of my belly at the speed of light. Waking to such a whirlwind is not fun, especially on a Sunday.

It has now hit me that Wed., 6/30 is THE day. Since being told we have two court dates, my focus has been on 7/14 (the one WE attend if 6/30 goes well). As of Sunday, things have turned 180 degrees. There is so much riding on 6/30 that it makes my head hurt if I think about it too much, so I'm not.

Tomorrow we start our day at 8:30am at the immigration office by updating our fingerprints. I later have two work-events after 6pm which are sure to keep me busy and take me straight into the Wednesday workday which is where I will be in meetings most of the morning. So, in theory, I really only have about 20 minutes to wait for this call.

Yes, I wish it worked like that. I've packed my schedule to the brim through Wed. and have a massage scheduled for Thursday. Whatever the outcome, I'm certain a massage will be in order by then.

I'm really curious to see how this goes. As one of the first families with two court dates, will MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) and the courts be overly meticulous with our file, likely causing a delay? or is there the outside possibility that's already occured because of the new laws, making these final steps continue to move forward with no delays? There is no way to know and that's what makes me resort back makes my head hurt if I think about it too much, so I'm not.

What I will happily think about...
A mom who is currently in Ethiopia and who has visited Baby N multiple times, informed us that his favorite thing right now is bouncing in the jumper! You know, those things that clamp onto a doorway? HA! For some reason I couldn't stop laughing when I heard that, thinking how wonderful it is that he has a jumper. We're getting one asap for him and may pick up a second to take with us when we travel to leave at the care center. If he's getting this much joy from it, then we must pass this along so other kiddies can do the same.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Six Days...

...we will know if it's time to begin the end of our journey.

Next Wednesday afternoon, say 4pm'ish, I will most likely be very annoying to be around. I'll either be:

a) yapping non-stop with much excitement about meeting Baby N and how much there is to do even though we've had 18 months to prepare or...
b) Bitter Betsy will rear her ugly head

Wed., 6/30 will be a similar scene at work to many days in the past, with phone glued to hand awaiting that magical "817" to appear with news of our next life changing moment. Isn't it crazy? On Wednesday, Belay (in-country rep) will be notifying our caseworker (in TX) with the results of our first court date. If MOWA issued a favorable opinion on our file, we will leave on 7/8 and begin our journey to Baby N for our second court date (7/14) in Ethiopia. If they issue an unfavorable opinion, our agency will let us know what our next step is and approximate wait time.

Pending Baby N's schedule that day, (HA! isn't it great he has a schedule?) we're anticipating a little one-on-one time with him the day before court. We could actually be sitting in the same room with him in 19 days!!! WHOA! The thought of that gives me goosebumps. I really need to compose myself when I see him or he'll have an image of a squealing crazy lady cemented in his head, only to find out she's his mother. Oh my, that's not good.

For those not familiar...under the previous law when families traveled only once, they were traveling AFTER they had passed court, meaning their children were legally theirs. Baby N will not legally be our child on the first visit which means he will remain in the care center while we're in-country and our visit will be limited.

Because of this new structure, I spoke with our caseworker about taking packages for other families and meeting their children on their behalf. During our wait, we've had the luxury of receiving photos, videos and personal updates of Baby N through the generosity of so many traveling families as they bring home their own children. They've also transported our Ziploc baggies of goodies; delivery little pjs, blankets, photo albums, stuffed animals and even audio of us reading to him.

One mother who delivered a package for us described these updates as 'salve for a waiting mom's heart'. Perfect description. We want to ensure we're passing this along when we travel and were comforted to know that even with limited time in the care centers, we'll be able to make it work. If you are waiting and would like us to take a Ziploc goodie bag to your kiddo, email me the following:

Baby's Name
Which Care Center
Pix of Baby
Your Name & Blog Name
email to: nydshop at gmail dot com

I'll get back to you with my shipping address.

In closing, I'm sending a huge congrats to those families who recently received their referrals! Your feet will not hit the ground for at least two weeks. I'm also sending positive vibes to those awaiting court dates. Hoping the recent movement continues with court and we see more families get through before rainy season.
Thinking of you all...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What Lies Ahead

look at these cheeks!

We're still in a whirlwind since receiving our court date. What a surprise this is! Of course I expected to be excited but never to this extent. I thought our court date call would resemble that of our caseworker holding a little flag and waving us through to the next stage. Oh, it's SO much more! Because of the new two trip law, we are going to MEET HIM in a matter of weeks. WOW!!!

Remember those monthly updates we receive that I mentioned being a little bittersweet recently? Well, we received one yesterday and I think that's what made it all fit so perfectly. Seeing his little tufts of hair coming in and what his new habits are...they're all a part of our very near future - in person. I can't wait!

So, the dirt that everyone wants to know...what lies ahead for two-trip families.

I have no idea if the itinerary we were given is agency-specific or applies to all those operating in Ethiopia. This is simply what we'll be doing over the next few weeks.

We were issued two court dates: 6/30 and 7/14.
  • 6/30: MOWA's date to review our file and hopefully issue a favorable opinion. The lapse in time between 6/30 and 7/14 allows some padding for MOWA to gather any additional paperwork or details, should they require it. This (hopefully) ensures all is in order by the time we travel and appear in court on 7/14.

  • 7/14: Our day to appear in court (IF the above occurs in a timely manner).

  • 7/12-7/19: approx dates in-country for trip #1

  • mid-late August: approx timeframe for trip #2 for U.S. Embassy appt and bring home Baby N

We're advised to hold off on purchasing airline tickets until MOWA gives us the final okay on 6/30. Should they need additional time to review our file, say their opinion doesn't come until 7/5, we would most likely still have our 7/14 court date. However, should they close unexpectedly or simply need more time on our file, we would forfeit our 7/14 court date and await a reissue.

Once our adoption is approved and finalized in the Ethiopian courts, we're anticipating a return to pick up our little boy 3-6 weeks later. During this time his court decree, passport, birth certificate and other required travel & immigration docs will be processed. It is required to have all this in order upon our return for our U.S. Embassy appointment in Ethiopia. That trip will also be approximately seven days in-country, solely focused on bonding with our son.

Beause I am convinced to have been a travel agent in a past life, I will most likely be moving forward with purchasing our tickets once I find the perfect deal. Many times a change fee is more cost effective than a new purchase only days before departure. We'll see.

p.s. Did I mention that 6/30 is my grandfather's birthday? Hoping for good stuff.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Court Date!

We're a two-trip family with a court date (7/14)! *Happy Dance*

I'm bursting with excitement and have no idea how I'll sleep tonight. There is movement folks!

Yes, movement for all the other families who now fall under the new law and will travel twice. It's happening and I can't wait to see more court date announcements!

I will post more tomorrow. In the meantime, we'll be falling asleep with big grins and thanking each of you for the amazing support while we waited (and waited) for this next step.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

80 Days

80 days ago we saw a picture of our son for the first time. Absolutely speechless.

We're headed out of town tomorrow. I wanted to write a full post before leaving but my to-do list is ever growing and has yet to be touched.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!
2:30pm EST Sat: USA v England

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slow Dance

My ladies-from-the-80s are sure to have at least one flashback moment of awkwardly going around and around in mindnumbing circles while your mind fast-forwards to thoughts of friends, your weekend plans, the next shopping trip or maybe just wondering - Will this dreadful dance ever end?

So, I've created a face for this wait for a court date and it's that of a big, boring slow dance. As I do the small talk and the fake smiles during this dance, with various update versions of 'no news is good news', my mind decides it needs a little more action and has moved forward with a self-created proactive approach. This slow dance is a little too monotonous for my liking and overall, quite the bore.

My proactive approach begins with heeding one's own advice. As I wonder what advice I would give to someone else in this pending stage, it would without a doubt be get busy. Get busy with all things that normally end up on the back burner. Take a deep look and try to envision the little crumbs of spare time in your very near future and...

1. clean the closets, fix the chip on the bookcase, sort & donate unused items that are taking up valuable space, paint that wall the color you love (not necessarily the one that blends), get the A/C tuned, filters changed, put those lingering photos in books with proper labels and on & on. You see where I'm going with this.

2. cooking/recipes
I've started hording recipes that appear to give me more time to play with Baby N when I get home from work and less time focusing on dinner. Kai has been the lucky (*sarcasm*) recipient of my finds. And yes, some have been followed by a quick pizza delivery. But I must say, this is the time to be trying out the new stuff.

3. gym/exercise
a) for the obvious health benefits and...
b) I'm totally serious I can carry this guy around!!!! I was told once that I have 'Rolling Stone arms'. I'm not sure what that means, but it does paint a fairly accurate picture. I'm not a huge fan of the gym but I have ventured into a pretty good place right now and am building up the arms and back strength. The first thing traveling families reference when they report back is Baby N's shockingly large frame. I have taken this report seriously and will be ready :)

4. babybook/lifebook
BN's babybook arrived a couple of weeks ago and with each agency update, we've begun filling in the blanks. Loving this task! I've yet to begin a life book, but am having fun in the planning stage and researching others' ideas online.

5. packing lists for two trips
This is the fun part because it's a task directly related to bringing BN home! and yes, it includes Excel spreadsheets. :)

6. letter
I'm writing a private letter to BN that I'll share with him when he's much older.

7. daycare
We've researched daycare centers in our area, which I think I mentioned awhile ago. This is a great thing to do if you live in an area with various options. It's something that needs to be done if you plan on working and it also relates directly to your child, making you feel a strong sense of accomplishment and a little closer to him/her/them.

8. read
There isn't enough time to read everything out there that I feel I should. I see various books suggested through different sites and also from what others are reading and I want to read them all! Will I be a little more prepared with each book I read? Who knows??? I do know it's a very productive way to pass the time.

I can't think of any moment in my life that created a complete an undetermined halt of action. As we await a phone call that brings things back into motion, I think...What an opportunity this is to clean life's house! If I was ever the organized fool before, watch out now. No nook or cranny is off limits while I go round and round in this slow dance.

Feel free to add your own tips. I would love to add more to my list and I'm sure others would too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Speculative Living

It's the analytical, hypothetical and very-much-assumed stage. Simply put, I've fallen into the abyss of theory.

Because now that I know what Baby N looks like at seven months old, that man who just bumped into me at the Union Square market is most definitely what Baby N will look like when he's in his early 30s. Yes, I see the similarity in the cheeks and the smile.

And the woman on the train who allowed her little boy to stand up in his seat while she was so fully engrossed in her novel? That will NOT be happening on my watch! and the mouth on his little sister!!! Are you kidding me? Baby N will utter nothing by lovely little oos and ahhs....forever. ha!

As I walked to the train this morning, I followed a father walking his son to school. They were engaged in a deep conversation as the little boy made little catch-up steps and wiggled just right to keep his backpack from falling off one shoulder. Awwww....this is where it's all going down. The father & son time will be what he looks forward to at the beginning of each day.

Then come the 'nexts'. This weekend, Kai and I celebrated an awesome seventh anniversary (16 years including dating!) that included a bike rental and a romantical, fun-filled afternoon ride along the promenade on the Hudson river. Much of the ride was spent chatting about next year at this time and the little tot-seat that will be plopped on the back of one of our bikes. We decided whomever has the smoothest ride will be the one in charge of this tot-seat, considering it will be carrying some pretty valuable cargo!

Another 'next' was, of course, when Mother's Day rolled around and how we'll be spending it next year. We're now discussing this Father's Day and next. As big soccer fans, we're welcoming the new Red Bull's stadium and are psyched to have scored tickets to some upcoming Euro teams coming to town. I don't think I was done checking out when we were already speculating on the appropriate age for Baby N to attend his first game. Is next Father's Day too soon? No, I'm sure it will be fine if we bring the right amount of snacks and sun protection - and so went the conversation. It was as if he was already home and in need of a bag for a field trip at school the next day; certainly not a soccer game that may or may not be happening in the summer of 2011.

It seems once the referral comes in and you have an image of little feet, a face and the smile that you know was smiled just for YOU, that you've just been warranted the right to speculate. Who knows what the timeframe will be at this point, but odds are with every holiday and major family event in 2010, that Baby N will be in the mix of it all when it rolls around in 2011.

I say speculate away and the bigger the imagination, the more fun!