Friday, May 28, 2010

A Hug for Her From Me

My good friend, Sarah, got to meet her daughter today, and meet ours too. She called me this morning to say she was able to hold her and hug her. She spent about 10 minutes with her and hopes she can spend time with her tomorrow too. She said Etta's doing great.....she let her pick her up and Etta made good eye contact with her. She held Sarah's hands and walked to her. Sarah told me "She needs her mama....and to come home." Two weeks from today we will meet her ourselves. For now, I keep replaying the glimpse Sarah provided me into our daughter's world. I am so thankful for Sarah. My heart is happy to hear she's doing well. I just can't wait to hug her too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2 weeks from today....

We'll be on a plane to our daughter! Today we finished the last of our travel vaccinations and I have the necessary prescriptions to pick up for ourselves and Etta (in the event we get sick over there). Loads to do. I'm on a mission to do a bit each day so that I am not running around frantically when it's time to go. I've made some good headway on my list and hope that all I'll be doing the couple days before we leave is playing with our boys. I already know I'm going to have a hard time leaving them. I find myself tearing up just thinking about it. They will have such a great time though. We are so fortunate to have grandparents that will have them the majority of the time, and then our nanny who watches the boys twice/week while I work will be having fun with them too. I know it's absolutely the right decision not to bring them because they are so young, but I will miss them like crazy. So my good friend, Sarah, and her husband left today to go bring home their daughter. On Friday she visits the Care Center for the first time and she will get to see Etta. I know she will hold her close and tell her her mom and dad will be there soon. And then she's going to try to call to tell us about her. It will make me so happy....also bitter sweet that I can't be there....but happy nonetheless. Making the most of the time we have left before we leave. Because I know things will sure be different as a family of 5!! Can't wait....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reflections....

It's been one wild ride since we started this journey 18 months ago. It's been full of lessons....mainly lessons in patience and faith. It's been full of anxiety, some sadness (for Etta's history and her birth family), and complete joy. As I sit here today, all I can say is that we've been truly blessed. We have had 100% support from family and friends. Everyone is overjoyed to have Etta in the family. I can't think of one person that has not been supportive of this journey....and I know that's often not the case with international adoption. I've met some awesome people. I've learned more than I could imagine from the adoption community. I've made a close friend and love that her daughter and Etta are living together in the care center, and now they will grow up together. Yes...there is much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bringing Her Home!

We got the news today we are confirmed for a June 15 Embassy appointment! We are so excited. That means we leave June 9. Three weeks from tomorrow! We were really hoping to get in the June 1 Embassy travel group and finally received answers as to why we aren't. Etta is still in Durame (a total surprise as we thought she was in Addis already). She'll be transferred to Addis on Friday and then will get the physical for medical clearance by the Embassy. It was just the luck of the draw....it sounds like a number of infants were brought up from Durame, but maybe not toddlers. They decide to transfer them primarily based on when there is room for them in Addis. The bottom line is that we have a date for when we're bringing her home! Let the packing begin!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not Yet

It's funny how disappointment can only happen if you have expectations. All along I didn't really think we'd be traveling as soon as May 26 (for a June 1 Embassy date). The possibility existed, but it was unlikely. Well today my expectations changed when a handful of families got word they are in the June 1 travel group. And most of these families passed court on or after us. Disappointed. Once I realized it really could have been us, I suddenly felt bummed. I'm excited for the families who get to go bring home their kids, I just want to be on a plane with them!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why the Wait to Travel?

We wish we could jump on a plane tomorrow to pick up Etta. Unfortunately, a few things need to occur before a travel date is assigned. First, our agency needs to get a birth certificate for her as well as an Ethiopian passport. Then the doctor for the U.S. Embassy does a full medical exam for clearance to travel back home. Once these steps are complete, you are assigned an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Addis (to obtain the travel visa for Etta). We are hopeful we can get the green light to travel in June. The Embassy appointments for our agency are June 1, June 15 and June 29 and there is a maximum of 10 children per appointment. We already know June 1 is pretty much not happening. There just likely isn't enough time between court approval and the deadline to get assigned a date (paperwork has to be submitted two weeks in advance). So that leaves us looking ahead to a June 15 Embassy appointment! We would leave June 9. Regardless of whether it is June 9 or towards the end of June, there is a whole lot to do before then! We sure hope we get to leave sooner rather than later. We are so anxious to meet her and bring her home!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Floating on Cloud Nine!

We received updated pictures today of our beautiful daughter - Etagegn (Etta) Jane Israel! We had requested them a long time ago since the referral photos were so small. And we have been so anxious to see how she has grown now that she is getting the nourishment she needs. I can't stop looking at her picture! Her big beautiful eyes, eyelashes a mile long, beautiful skin, cute little chin and nose, and perfect lips. She is beautiful. Tonight, Spencer said "I want the days to go faster Mom, so we can bring Etta home sooner." I know what he means.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Awesome Mother's Day

Today was an awesome day. I spent the morning with the boys then joined my mom and sister for lunch and an afternoon of shopping (it is so rare we get out together without kids so it was a treat to have that time). Then played outside the rest of the day and pretended summer was here. Oh, and my husband got me a beautiful Calla Lily plant. What I didn't know is that a Calla Lily is also known as an Ethiopian Lily, and is the national flower of Ethiopia :-) It's the best feeling in the world to have two boys who are the light of my life and to know we will be bringing home their sister very soon. She's been in our hearts since the day we saw her face and I am so anxious to meet her. To learn her personality....what makes her happy, how to comfort her, how to connect with her. I'm just anxious for her to feel all our love.

Friday, May 7, 2010

She is Ours!!!!

We passed court!!!!! We are thrilled beyond words. I can't stop crying. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and support during what has been an unbelievable lesson in patience! Now we wait for a travel date....it is likely we'll travel some time in June!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No News

Thanks everyone for your supportive words and encouragement about court. We still have no news. Our agency shared there has been a lack of communication with Addis due to phone and e-mail outages (construction in Addis). At this point, we're just hoping to hear by the end of the week. We're hoping for the best but I'm also preparing myself for the worst-case scenario. The worst-case would be that court was rescheduled and it may significantly impact the timeline for travel to pick up our daughter. There were so many referrals around the same time we received ours that it will likely be a while before we'd get another court date, and then another long wait until travel. It could mean the difference between traveling in June and traveling in August or possibly longer. As with everything else with this journey, it is completely out of our control. This just seems to be the hardest part of the journey yet. The good news....we will bring our daughter home.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

As We Sleep....

I've read this post by others during our wait and can't believe it's that time for us. As we sleep tonight, we hope the High Court in Addis Ababa hears our case and our daughter becomes legally ours. There are many reasons why the case could be rescheduled including a birth parent not appearing in court (travel to Addis from where our daughter lived is about 8 hours), no electricity, or a lack of a signature by the government agency on the multitude of documents presented to the court. I think I've said this before but it's almost as if the stars have to be perfectly aligned for you to pass court the first time. If you are the praying time, please say a prayer that we pass court tomorrow so that we can bring our daughter home as soon as possible. I've also been thinking a ton about what her birth family is going through. I cannot even begin to imagine. I hope and pray they are at peace.