Thursday, December 31, 2009

No New Year's baby for us

Well, I called Holt this morning and asked if they would have news for us before the holiday. They said they've been having trouble contacting their Ethiopia staff this week due to phone line problems and electricity outages. So, no court news until next week.

And no New Year's baby for us.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Court drama--day two

Well, twenty-four hours later and still no news.

And it turns out my complicated theory from yesterday doesn't hold water.

Another family from our agency had their hearing December 25th and didn't hear any news until today--which using my theory would have meant that they should have passed. They didn't. Apparently no cases were heard on the 25th (not because of Christmas by the way--Ethiopians celebrate Christmas January 7th).

So. Bummer.

The good news is that that family was rescheduled for January 1--a quick turn-around. My fear is that we won't pass and then won't get a new date for another month--or that we'll get lost in limbo.

So, yesterday I thought no news was good news. Now, it seems that no news is--no news.

Wow, do I suck at waiting.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm afraid of my email today

Has anyone ever been afraid to read their email? It's never happened to me before. Until today.

I don't want to get an email from our adoption agency today. I don't I don't I don't.

Our court hearing was held in Ethiopia today. I say "was" because the workday is over in Africa (here it's 12:51 p.m.). So whatever decision has been made about our little girl has been made. Were all the right documents there? Did little e's birth mom show up like she was supposed to? Did the electricity work? There are people out there who know the answers to these questions. I'm dying to know, too.

But not today.

Because this is the game we play at this point in the adoption process: someone in Ethiopia calls (I assume they call) our agency with the results of the court cases heard that day. If we don't pass court, our agency can tell us right away. If we do pass court, they won't. Because they want the judge's written order in their hot little hands first. Which obviously takes longer.

But we adoptive parents on our agency's board aren't stupid. It didn't take us long to see the pattern: if you hear from Holt the day of your court hearing, it's bad news. If you don't hear for a couple of days, it's because you've passed.

It's now lunchtime in Oregon (where our agency is. 12:08 precisely). I bravely peeked at my email and so far no news. Whew. Five more hours in the workday. If we make it through five more hours, we'll know--okay, we'll know nothing (ahh, the adoption process is fun).

But this, I suppose, is adoption labor. Or false labor. Hopefully we won't know for two more days.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas last year

I stole this title from a friend and fellow blogger. She wrote about how last Christmas for her family was so different from this Christmas. I thought it was such a great idea that I would do the same.

For us, on the surface, you couldn't tell this Christmas from last Christmas if you tried. My mom is visiting from SLC. My sister is here from L.A. The world is snow-covered. We lit "Silent Night" candles at Christmas Eve service. The family room is littered with new video games, Legos, and guns. Wesley is playing the XBox360. Everett is on the GameCube.

Last Christmas we were resigned to be a family of four. We'd suffered a miscarriage in the summer of 2008. We'd decided that forty-one was just too old for me to be pregnant. We dabbled with the idea of adoption. But we'd decided to adopt cats instead.

Then, in the spring of 2009, surprise! we were pregnant again. We were frightened by the risks of birth defects. But when we saw our baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound we were overjoyed. We wanted this baby. So badly.

Two weeks later the heartbeat disappeared. I miscarried again.

It seemed cruel that we would get pregnant again, only to lose another baby. Especially after we'd spent months making peace with the idea that we wouldn't have another child.

God seemed to be rubbing this baby thing in our face. We didn't understand why. Then my obgyn told me his story--how he and his wife hadn't been able to have children and had adopted through the foster care system.

I am not very religious. I have never believed that God literally tells us how to live our lives. But at that moment I swear God was up in the heavens with a megaphone shouting down, "Okay, now do you get what I've been trying to tell you?! Quit ignoring me!"

Our adoption journey began.

And this Christmas we are almost parents again. You can't tell it from my belly. But you will see it if you look closer, at the picture of the little girl pasted on our fridge, at the "29" on the December calendar circled in red, at the soft little dolly nestled under the tree amidst the Legos and guns.

Our little e had her first Christmas last year. We didn't even know she existed. Now, very soon she will be our daughter.

Our very own Christmas miracle.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Daddy practice

We had some friends over from our Ethiopian group last night. Pat got in some "daddy practice" with our friends' daughters. Beza (on his lap) is almost exactly our little e's age. Helina (the other cutie) is a couple of months older. What fun!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Amazing Adoption Community

Pat and I started on this adoption journey hoping to add a child to our family. Along the way, something unexpected and remarkable happened...we were adopted, too.

The Ethiopian adoption community is an amazing group of people. Before we started our adoption, we didn't even know it existed. Now, we have been welcomed into the family with open and loving arms.

On-line we belong to the Yahoo Ethiopia adopt board, the Yahoo Holt board, and the Google Colorado board. I stalk the Holt board daily. I'm addicted as Wesley (my twelve-year-old) is to X-Box. Has anyone gotten a court date? A referral? Travel dates? I spend way too much time reading the blogs of these new friends. I'm caught up in their journeys. When one of them doesn't pass court, my heart aches.

And they are so supportive. I've never met any of these people, but they know how to comfort me. Their children are (or were) halfway across the world just like ours. They feel the same need to get to their little ones as we do.

From this on-line community we've met a wonderful local group of Ethiopian adoptive families. We meet at least once a month. If you're in Colorado you can find our group at We're always happy to welcome new members.

Some of these families have their children home, some don't. When we get together we talk about adoption agencies, Ethiopia travel, and lactose intolerance. We ask, "How long has she been home," instead of, "When was she born?" We talk about court dates instead of due dates and we pass around referral pictures.

We are so grateful to this new family of ours. We can't wait to introduce little e to them. We know they'll welcome her with open arms, too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Weeks Until our Court Date!

Wow. I can't believe I'm writing that!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Pregnant Belly

I bought a changing pad for little e's room today. When I went to check out, the clerk asked, "Is this for someone's baby registry?"

Clearly the woman had looked at my (relatively) flat belly and concluded that I was purchasing the changing pad for a friend.

I was--hurt.

"This changing pad is for MY baby," I wanted to say. "Not someone else's." But I didn't feel like explaining. If I'd been pregnant, I wouldn't have had to. The woman would have taken one look at my big stomach and rung up the purchase with a smile. Perhaps she would have said, "Ahh, getting the room all ready, huh?" Or, "So, how far along are you?"

Not even once during this adoption journey have I missed being pregnant. I enjoyed carrying my two biological children. But adopting is full of its own unique excitement and I've relished every step of the way (okay, except for the paperwork. And the waiting).

But today, for the very first time, I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted my big belly to announce to the clerk and everyone else that, "This woman is having a baby! Give her a smile. Indulge her by holding open her door. She's bringing a new life into the world."

I'm bringing a new life into my world, too. But no one can tell by looking at me.

So I have a new business plan: adoption bellies. I'll buy up the prosthetics actresses wear to feign pregnancy. Then I'll sell them to adoptive moms for when they go out shopping for baby stuff. Because when people acknowledge your impending mommyhood without you having to say a word it's a nice little thrill.

Okay, I'm too lazy to start a business. Or to figure out where to buy a fake pregnant belly. Next time I buy something for little e, I'll just smile and explain about our adoption. It will be good practice for when little e comes home. Because then we'll get lots of attention. And those formerly pregnant women will get nothing. :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hair bows and ribbons

I went shopping for little e today.

I've bought things for her before: a bedding set for her room, a dollie for under the Christmas tree.
Still, today's shopping trip was different. Today, I picked out something for little e to wear. Something that will touch her skin. Something that I will place on her little body.

They are just hair bands and bows. Still, for me they are a symbol. A demonstration of my faith. With our court date only 20 days away I'm starting to let myself believe that little e will really be ours. That this sweet lonely child half-way around the world will be our daughter.

It's a scary leap of faith. I don't believe it entirely yet. So many things can still go wrong. But I've taken a step forward. I have hair bows that one day soon I hope to place on her little head.

I hope. I am full of hope.

(Dora the cat is full of hope, too. She thinks the hair bands are for her. And the crib, too).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An early Christmas gift: a court date!

Holt e-mailed us today that we have a court date...December 29, 2009!! We're so excited!

(I have to explain the photo. Not even my husband understood. It's a "legal eagle" ornament. See the scales of justice?)

Anyway, back to the court date. Once we pass court we will officially be little E's parents. Then, four to eight weeks later, after another pile of paperwork is completed, we'll be able to travel to get her!

We know from many other adoptive families that having a court date doesn't assure you of anything. Only about half pass court the first time. There are so many things that can go wrong. Sometimes the docket is too full, sometimes they don't have the necessary paperwork, and sometimes the birth family fails to appear. When that happens, a new date is scheduled, usually about a month later.

We don't care about any of that. We're ecstatic to know something. To know that our case didn't somehow fall through the cracks. To have a date we can look forward to (and yes, stress about!). Merry Christmas early!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Waiting Blues

The waiting blues have got me.

I know I'm not the only one to feel them. All the blogs I read have at least one entry on the misery of waiting. Some expectant parents get through it with prayer. So far, my strategy has been: moping.

When that doesn't help, I scour other blogs' timelines. "They only waited a month after their referral to pass court," I grump. "This family learned their court date only two weeks after they were matched with their baby."

I refuse to consider the families who have been waiting since summer to pass court. The thought of waiting more than four months for a court date is too much for me to bear.

My moods are dictated by the news on the Holt board. Two weeks ago, when a flurry of court dates were issued and parents were passing court without even knowing they'd been assigned a date, I was euphoric. "Maybe we'll travel in January!" I thought to myself.

Then, just before Thanksgiving, several families who have been waiting a long time had their Nov. court dates rescheduled to late December. That's when my blues hit.

I haven't been able to look at little e's picture on the fridge for several days. I feel like I'm letting her down. She needs us. We need her. And there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I feel helpless. Never before have I been so frustrated by bureaucracy.

And I haven't even been waiting that long.

I can only imagine my reaction once we finally do get a court date--two minutes of euphoria followed by a month of worry that we won't pass. I guess I just need to accept that I'm going to be a big wreck for awhile.

In the meantime, I've read about something called retail therapy on other blogs. Perhaps I'll give that technique a try.