Thursday, March 31, 2011

All over the place.

I am back. I have been trying to catch up and comment and so some of you know I am home (!) and I felt like I needed to post something...but I am just all over the place.


My heart, my mind, my body, completely disjointed. So forgive the bullet points but it's the only way I can oroganize some quick thoughts for an update type post.

The amazing:
  • The babies. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Fairly healthy.There are no words to describe the experience of meeting them in person for the first time, even though the nanny tried to hand our son to someone else, thinking she was the mother! We are smitten, pure and simple.
  • Ethiopia is beautiful. The people are wonderful, gracious, peaceful souls. They wanted nothing more than to please us. Despite all of the issues they face that would take our spoiled western selves down in a second, their spirit is inspiring.
  • The foster home where the babies are now is good. The nannies (ratio of 1 to 3-4 babies) are loving and kind and extremely attentive. So attentive in fact that we were not 'allowed' to do anything--I did not get to feed them or change them once because they view that as their job, not ours. And we did  not want to ruffle any feathers so we didn't fight it.
  • We had unlimited time with the babies--endless hours to hold them, cuddle them, and play with them.
  • We received our MOWA letter, the potential holdup that could have stalled our case for months.

The bad:
  • We did not pass court. . This was completely unexpected. Court was supposed to be easy, almost a formality. We do not travel back, though I would in a heartbeat, exorbitant airline costs be damned.
  • Now we just wait. Instead of waiting for our Embassy date, we wait for the court issue to be resolved. We hope and pray it can be resolved because while not legally ours, they are ours in our hearts and minds and I cannot imagine anything otherwise.
  • Leaving the babies. Most definitely the most heartbreaking thing I have ever done. I sobbed and sobbed and frankly freaked the nannies out.
  • Poverty. I will post more on this later, but it is unimaginable for those of us here and no one deserves to face the hardships we saw everywhere.
  • The orphanage where my babies lived for their first three and four months. I held it together during the 'tour' and then fell apart in the car leaving. I can't even describe it here, it still overwhelms me to think about it.  They are no longer living at this orphanage but rather at the foster home run by our agency that I described above. But the orphanage is full of other babies, waiting to be adopted, and we will not forget them. More on this later as we organize the CD sale fundraiser and other fundraisers to benefit this orphanage. The needs are immense.
  • I feel bad for even listing this as something bad because it feels incredibly petty in light of all we saw in Ethiopia, but it took us 48 hours of traveling to get home. Canceled flights, inept airline employees, and lots of tears and frustration and jet lag later, we are home.
So yes, our bodies are home. But are hearts are in Ethiopia. I can scarcely look at the nursery which now looms ever more empty. I have no control over what happens next but if I were wealthy, if I didn't need my job, I would get back on a plane this instant and live there until I could bring them home. They need me and I need them.

For now I will just stare at the hundreds of photos we took, watch the video clips we shot, and dream about going back. It's all I can think about and all I can do.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

T Minus...A Few Days

So it's Sunday.

Which means in three days we'll board the first flight, spend the night in DC, and then fly direct to Addis Ababa on a very.long.flight and then...and then....hopefully see the babies for a few precious hours.

I'm all over the place. What does one do when getting ready for such a trip? I wrote this whole post on how I'm having my own version of labor pains but that no one really gets that in the non-adoptive world. That's ok. I wouldn't get it either. And I think they're only going to intensify after I hold these babies and then leave them behind. No epidural could ever touch that kind of pain.

So what does one do?

One might put 23 miles on one's running shoes in three days....
One might go out for delicious Cuban food....

One might sit surrounded by so many things to pack (yes, that is a giant bag of Skittles, and a roll of toilet paper).

One's dog might get a little freaked out by all the packing...

While the other dog pretends nothing different is ever, ever going to happen....

One might have to go to the lake just to try to relax....
One's super cute hubs might make a little face when I remind him how soon we will see the babies (as if he needed reminding!).

One's heart might skip a beat when she sees the tiny baby clothes in the laundry basket, freshly washed in Dreft (something she's heard people talk about--even complain about--for years, but feared she would never, ever do) waiting to be packed...

There you have it, my weekend in pictures.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just an update.

I guess I don't always get into the specifics of the adoption on here...I have never been one to want to just post facts or timelines, I guess I usually am more of a rambling writer :)

But just to point out, we were always going to court in less than two weeks. That has not changed, even with the new (now official) rules in Ethiopia. For those of you interested, here's a little peek into the process.

When you decide to adopt from Ethiopia you fill out one million pieces of paper, you submit financial records, medical records, letters of recommendation, a homestudy, federal background check and fingerprints, state background check and fingerprints, child abuse clearances, pictures, warranty deeds on your house, letters to the Ethiopian government, etc. etc. etc. It's quite a bit and it's called your dossier. When this is translated and registered in Ethiopia, you are placed on a waiting list for a referral.

When you are given a referral you can either accept it or not. It never occurred to us not to accept a referral--before we even saw their little pictures we looked at each other and screamed "YES!" At any rate, when you accept your referral your file goes to two places:
1) Ethiopian court
2) Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA)

You wait for two things:
1) Court date with approval from the judge
2) A letter from the MOWA stating you are approved.

This basically involves two government entitites working in parallel on your case. Normally--hopefully--you go to court, pass, and also receive your MOWA letter at about the same time. Then and only then can your case proceed to the US Embassy for their review and processing.

When we received our court date everything was moving along as originally planned. Then the MOWA announced major changes--that it would only write five letters per day instead of the normal 40-50. And a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Ethiopia stated that persons currently in the pipeline (as in US) might very well go through court but then face a very.long.wait for their MOWA letter.

And just for the record, I applaud any effort by the Ethiopian government and adoption agencies to ensure that every single adoption in Ethiopia is ethical. Of course. I would be sad about additional waiting times but could deal with it if it assured me every single aspect of the adoption was ethical. Of course. I hope (!) those who know me would know at least that much about me. But there is a lot of debate about how well any of the recent changes in Ethiopia have done anything to ensure more ethical adoptions. I don't really know. I do know this: the agency we chose was chosen with careful consideration, with references, after we started with another agency and then switched, and is run by a physician who has dedicated his life to uniting orphans with families. He is a part of every single effort to reform adoptions in Ethiopia. The orphanage from which we are adopting has a very good reputation.

Obviously there is a huge element of trust involved in international adoption--after all, you cannot be there personally to know the circumstances of every adoption, to know how thoroughly everything was done, to know without a shadow of a doubt there are no ethical violations. But you don't just blindly trust, you do your research.

So here we are, getting close to our court date, praying for our MOWA letter, and hopinig to have our case move forward to the U.S. Embassy. But if I found out tomorrow that something was 'wrong' with our case, that our babies were not actually available for adoption, my heart would break but I would only ever want what is the absolute best for them.

Because I love them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Thank you, for the support, the outrage, the emails, the phone calls, the comments.

I cannot say much but I can say that in two weeks we will be on an airplane (a big one!) flying halfway around the world and then we will get to see our babies in person. That much is still the same.

Two weeks!

And nothing is certain in the world of international adoption. I think we may be ok. I think we may have dodged a bullet. I wish I could be more certain with you here but alas I can't.

But I'm exhaling.

And in two weeks I will get to hold the babies. Feel their skin, their warmth, their breath, hold their tiny hands, peek at their tiny feet. It may only be for a few hours but it will be the most precious hours of  my life.

Ahhhh, another two week wait.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A punch in the gut.

I feel stupid.
Stupid as I look at the BOB Revolution Duallie stroller parked in our dining room.
Stupid as I look at the completed nursery--the two modern cribs waiting to be slept in, the two modern rockers longing to be rocking, the books on the bookshelf, waiting to be read.
Stupid as I look at the summer outfits hanging in the closet that I knew we would need when we brought the babies home this summer.
Stupid that my sister and I narrowed down the dates for my baby shower. The baby shower that now will not be, not anytime soon.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Consider this quote regarding the Ministry of Women's Affairs drastic slowdown in processing cases:

"Abigail Rupp, head of the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa says the cutback is likely to result in a drop in adoptions to the United States from last year’s 2,500 to fewer than 500. She says the biggest concern is for the estimated 1,000 children currently in the adoptions pipeline, who may be forced to wait more than a year for their cases to be considered."

So two of those 1,000 kids are OURS, in the pipeline.

One year.

For our case to be considered.

I cannot wait one year.
I cannot.

I do not know what I will do but I cannot wait.

My heart is broken.