Thursday, April 29, 2010

Little E is 18 months old!

Our daughter is 18 months old today! It's also my sister's Birthday and court day for my good friend so here's sending a lot of good thoughts and prayers to Ethiopia. We are so anxious about our court date on Monday. The day can't come fast enough when we get to go meet her and bring her home. I don't want to miss any more milestones! We love her so much already.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bring it On!

My husband and I started our rounds of vaccinations for the trip to Ethiopia. We got 4 shots to start, and will go back in a month to get the rest (another 3-4). The vaccines? Polio, MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella), Hep A and Hep B (we'll be getting more of these), Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Tetanus, the Flu shot. The nurse who administered the shots was so great she actually made animal balloons for our boys (who were quite happy to hear Mom and Dad were the ones getting the shots this time rather than them!). We will also be taking malaria medication in advance of our trip. All of this is actually making it all seem a bit more real...some days I still can't believe we will be bringing home our daughter this summer! Our court date is on Monday, May 3. We heard the great news that there are 3 Embassy dates in June (you travel for your Embassy date). So, if we were to pass court on May 3 (which is a big if because the cases are rescheduled about 50% of the time), then there is a good chance we will travel in June. How unbelievable would that be?!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thankful

There's so much to be thankful for these days. Our daughter is getting the care she needs and is making huge strides. Our family is healthy. And happy. And we are surrounded by family and friends who are nothing but incredibly supportive.
We have a nanny who cares for the boys two days/week while I work. She's been with us 4 years and is part of our family. She put together a beautiful scrapbook for little "E." Here is one of the poems she included:
I didn't give you the gift of life, but in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real, as if it has been so.
For us to have each other is like a dream come true,
No, I didn't give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
We truly feel blessed and are looking forward to the day we can bring our daughter home so that she can feel the love that already surrounds her.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Update

Since the day we were matched with our daughter, we have been a bit worried about her. She was very malnourished when she first came into care. She was even transferred to another care center that has more resources to better care for her. We've been receiving little tidbits of information here and there but it's been hard to have a clear picture of how she's been doing. We received the great news last week that her malnourishment has been improving and then today, we learned she's walking holding onto furniture! This is such incredible news considering the developmental report from the end of March indicated she was just sitting and wasn't active due to her malnourishment. Everyone kept telling me to trust in the care she's receiving because they take such great care of your little ones. I now know it to be true because she has come a long way in a short period of time. We are feeling extremely relieved to know she's doing better. May 3 cannot come fast enough to learn whether our court case is heard. We are so anxious to get over there and bring our daughter home!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations Beth & Jared!
They are a fellow Holt family who happened to also receive their referral on the same exact day as us!
Thank you so much to everyone for your participation. We raised $200 to buy medicine for AHOPE! We will pool this amount with the money raised through Sarah's raffle and plan to deliver the medicine when we travel to pick up our daughters.
Thank you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Court Date!

May 3 it is! We are so excited, and completely surprised it's so soon! Often times it takes 2-3 times to pass court since the stars pretty much have to be aligned that day (birth parent has to appear in court, all paperwork has to be perfect, there has to be electricity...), but we can hope! And if it is rescheduled, it's usually for just a couple weeks later. Once we pass court, it's typically 6-8 weeks until we can travel to bring her home. So June just might be a great month! Please keep our daughter in your thoughts that she continues to get the care she needs until we pick her up.

Don't Miss Out!

Here's your chance to get the coziest blanket on earth and donate to a great cause - buying medicine for AHOPE. Just $5 for a ticket and a chance to win a Little Giraffe blanket. The Raffle ends this Wednesday. See the prior post for details. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Raffle!

I've decided to raffle off this cozy Little Giraffe blanket for the purposes of raising money to buy medicine for AHOPE. AHOPE is a wonderful orphanage in Ethiopia that cares for children with HIV and AIDS. My friend did a similar raffle recently (although she made her quilt....can't compete with that!) and we will pool our resources to provide much-needed medicine for the children at AHOPE. We will bring the medicine over ourselves when we travel to bring home our daughter.
You can buy tickets by clicking on the Paypal button on the sidebar. You can do a one-time donation with Paypal without having an account. Ticket prices are:
$5 for one ticket
$10 for three tickets
$20 for eight tickets
(Please notate in the comments section how many tickets you bought)
Both my boys loved their Little Giraffe blanket. The blanket measures 24" x 36." It has satin edging and it's white quilted on one side and the softest pink material on the other.
The Raffle will end Wednesday, April 14. Winners will of course be selected at random and announced by Friday, April 16. Pass along the news of this raffle to anyone and everyone!
All funds donated will be used to purchase supplies for children in Ethiopia. You will not receive a tax-deduction for this donation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What Next?

We are still riding the high of being matched with our daughter. We're so happy to finally know who she is. Many people have asked what's next and why can't we go pick her up now. Here is a list of the frequently asked questions... 1. Why do you have to wait so long until you pick her up? (warning....long explanation) We are waiting to be issued a court date with the Ethiopian High Court in Addis Ababa. Letters and paperwork need to be submitted to the court by the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) representing that the child is eligible for adoption. As I understand, there are only 2 judges reviewing adoption cases and with the high number of adoption cases, it can take up to 3 months until your case is heard. We are told it may take multiple times to pass court because everything has to be perfectly aligned to pass court the first time. All the appropriate paperwork from MOWA has to be submitted, the birth parent or relative who relinquished the child has to appear in court (they may live in a remote village 7-8 hours away), the electricity has to be working, etc. After we pass court, the Ethiopian government has to issue a birth certificate for our daughter (they are not issued at birth and by the way, birth dates are approximate in Ethiopia). Once she gets her birth certificate, she will receive her Ethiopian passport. Next, the birth certificate, passport and court decree gets presented to the US Embassy in Ethiopia. All this takes time, not to mention the time involved with translating everything from Amharic to English. Then our daughter gets a full medical screening by an Embassy doctor (she was previously screened by Ethiopian doctors) but they do another physical exam. Only after the medical tests can we be issued an appointment with the US Embassy. That is when we get to travel to pick her up! We take our daughter to the US Embassy to get the Visa so she can travel home with us. It can take up to 2 months or longer from the court date until your Embassy appointment since each agency is only allowed a certain number of appointments with the Embassy each month. So there you have it....4-6 months is what we are expecting until we can meet our daughter and bring her home. 2. Where is she now? She is in the care of an NGO (Non-Government Organization; i.e. non-profit) orphanage in Durame (southern Ethiopia). She will be there until around the time of court and then she will be transferred to the agency-run Care Center in Addis. That is where she will stay for the couple months until we can pick her up. 3. How long do you stay when you pick her up? You are there about a week. I believe the first two days you spend getting to know your child in the care center, and then usually on day 3, you get to take your child back to the hotel with you. Then you are together the remainder of the time unless you choose to travel to southern Ethiopia to meet any living birth family (which we hope to do). During that overnight trip, you leave your child in the care of the nannies. 4. What language does she speak? There are over 80 languages in Ethiopia and over 200 dialects. We think she grew up hearing Welatigna but when she was transferred to the orphanage in Durame, the nurses and nannies speak Amharic and Kambatta. In Addis, they speak Amharic. As a result, we will learn some basic Amharic. 5. How long has she been in care? She's been in care since the beginning of February. 6. What is her history? We are going to keep her family history private and let her share her story when she chooses. We continue to be told by adoptive parents who have traveled before us that our children are well taken care of and feel loved by the nannies. It's so hard not to be able to jump on a plane and go get her. All we can do right now is trust that she is getting the care and attention she needs until we are able to bring her home.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Shopping

I tell myself it's therapy. Having two boys, I see now how I was deprived of cute clothes shopping. I have yet to see a girls outfit that isn't cute. And God help me if our little "E" doesn't like dresses. I have a closet-full and I haven't even reached my nesting phase yet. I came across this website tonight. Thought it was worth passing along. Every day there is a cool kids item that is 1/2 off. Happy Shopping! http://www.babyhalfoff.com/

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Big 5 Year Old

Spencer turned 5 today. I can't believe it. We are super proud of him. He is going to be the sweetest, most caring big brother to "E." Tonight he wanted to go to Red Robin for his Birthday dinner. When they sang Happy Birthday and brought him his sundae, he asked if he could have another spoon so Blake could share his sundae with him. He has always been that way and I know he's going to be very protective of his little sister. She's going to feel so much love from her big brothers.