Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thoughts- Edited

Okay, I am reading through what I wrote here, and I realize that it could still be confusing to people. So, let me start at the beginning.

The Court Process

After a family accepts their referral, some final papers are gathered. The file is then submitted to court. Once a court date is issued, reps submit the file to MOWA at least 7 days before the court date. Then Gladney informs the family of when a court date has been set.

The Court's role is to finalize the adoption- either by granting it, not approving it (rare), or by requesting more information to allow them to grant the adoption. At the court hearing, the court handles things like relinquishment and establishment of the child as an orphan. They review MOWA's opinion and make a ruling on the adoption. Once they rule in favor of the adoption, the child is legally yours.

MOWA's role is to investigate the child and family, and decide if the adoption should be granted. MOWA takes the file, reviews the paperwork, and issues an opinion (favorable or unfavorable) about granting the adoption, or requests more information. The opinion is usually issued the day before the court date, although due to recent power outages and internal changes in MOWA, there has been some hold up of late.

Out of respect, I have taken down the rest of the information in this post that relates to the present delays in the courts. Gladney has indicated that Ethiopian culture dictates that even the most factual and anonymous data posted on blogs could be viewed as disrespectful of the parties involved, and for this reason, I do not want to post anything further in this public arena.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Feeling... (Updated at 8pm)

Cautiously optimistic. But resigned, at the same time.

Please pray for my friends M&R and Jana and Michael who are both going through a very difficult part of their wait. Hopefully we will all get good news today.

As of 8pm....

So, it looks like no one got a referral today, and for good reason. Gladney announced some delays in Ethiopian adoptions that are beyond their control. Out of respect, I have taken down the details.


All that to say- yeah, I don't think I will be getting my referral any time soon. The cautious optimism is gone, and resignation reigns.

17 days until I exit The Window.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"In the Window" Daily Routine

0500- Hit snooze button. Resume dreaming about referral.
0540- Stumble to coffee pot.
0541- Check email/blogs for any "overnight" announcements of referrals/court dates.
0600- Apply full face make-up, including waterproof mascara and lip gloss.
0615- Drink second cup of coffee. Consider how nervous will feel with any more caffeine on board. Seriously consider third cup. Decide not to have third cup of coffee as jittering in referral video would be concerning to others.
0630- Check work bag. Ensure tissues, camera (battery fully charged), cell phone (also fully charged) and lunch are ready to go. Double check chocolate/treat supply.
0640- Talk with Abigail about "sissy" on the way to school.
0700- Arrive at work. Remind secretary that today could be "The Day" and any incoming calls from outside lines should be screened: if it is from my agency, she is to overhead page "important personal call" so that I can drop everything and get to the phone.
0900- Note that Gladney is now open for normal business hours. Feel heart rate and blood pressure increase. Begin checking email/blogs every spare moment.
1400- Note that it is now "after lunch" at Gladney (I think most referral calls come after lunch.) Obsessively check caller ID on any call coming into my unit.
1600- Walk outside and check voicemail on my cell phone. Hurry back to the unit in case "someone" called while I was gone.
1800- Start to get sinking feeling in stomach. Remind myself that referral calls have come as late as 19:15 (7:15)pm EST.
1930- Leave work. Check voicemail again as I am leaving... still no call.
1940- Arrive at babysitter's house. Get my act together, and try to not look disappointed.
1942- Get hug from Abigail. Remember why I want another child.
2030- Put Abigail to bed. Bedtime prayers for her sister and for "The Judge" to tell us we can go get her sister.
2045- Resume blog stalking and obsessively checking email.
2200- Turn in for the night. Remind myself that tomorrow could be "The Day." Drift off to sleep, thinking of taking Abigail and Sparrow to the pool later this summer.

Help A Sister Out

Actually, help my sister out.

My sister will be traveling to Mexico with her church in June. Among the various outreachs the will have, they will be running a well-baby clinic. (My sister is a NICU nurse, so this is perfect for her!)

If you have any supplies or baby items that you might be willing to donate (diapers, wipes, formula, medical supplies, clothes), drop me an email (see the sidebar on the right.) Help her bless the sweet children of Mexico!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Feeling... Me-ish.




That's right folks- actual, un-retouched photos. Yowsa.
Updated my Birthday Post. With Video.

Made a Cake.

Frosting (and it's unpredictable/messy) nature freaks me out, so I let Abigail and John do the decorating. (No, Abigail is not freakishly tall- she is standing on a stool.)













Getting through the day.






Sometimes, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
More pics (with Abigail, or with me.)

Week 19



Again, I am left without words. 19 weeks of waiting to meet my daughter. 4 months, 1 week, 5 days. Feels like a lifetime.



Please, God, soon. There is a glimmer of hope in the FBI movement....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Psalm 33:18-22

But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.


Friday, May 23, 2008

How Do You Spell Relief?

W-E-E-K-E-N-D.

I don't know how to describe it, other than to say that there is a strange relief that comes over me each Friday evening since I've entered The Window.

It's the relief from the constant awareness of where my cell phone is and how far I am from the nearest Internet connection. It's the release from carrying my laptop and camera with me everywhere I go. It's the weight that's lifted when I know that I can go without mascara and stay in my jammies until noon. It's the relief of knowing that the next 2 days probably won't be life-changing.

And this weekend, it's three days of relief. Happy Memorial Day! And enjoy your weekend:)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Condolences

I am sure that many within and outside of the adoption community are aware of the loss that Steven Curtis Chapman and his family experienced yesterday. A blog has been set up to express your condolences.

Please take a moment to support his family if you feel led, by visiting and commenting on the blog dedicated to the memory of his youngest daughter, Maria Sue.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For the Fournets!

Praise be to God, the giver of all good gifts!

He has blessed the Fournet family with 2 beautiful babes, and on Beau's birthday at that! Go see their blog for details!

Wait List Delirium

I think I have wait list induced delirium.

Delirium is not a detachment from reality, but rather an altered interaction with reality. It's like- you are completely aware of reality, you are living in reality, but your interactions with reality (your interpretations and responses to reality) are tainted.

I know that I am experiencing wait list delirium when loosing my keys and being a few minutes late to work causes me to freak out. Or when my hands shake upon finding my phone and discovering that it was not thisclose to me during Gladney business hours.

And I am not the only person suffering from wait list induced delirium. Meredith of the Guzo variety describes herself as follows:

Anxious. Excited. Mind racing. Attached-to-cell-phone. Hopeful. Freaked Out. Crazed. Can't concentrate. Obsessively checking messages. Sleepless. %@&*!#!! = Me

A clear example of wait list delirium. But the wait list is not the only kind of delirium.

Jess may be suffering from court-wait delirium: she writes:

When I open the refrigerator for my daily morning yogurt, I peer at all of the expiration dates on the top shelf. Cottage Cheese….ooh expires June 2nd, that’s after my court date! Extra firm tofu…expires in August….way after my court date. Is that crazy or what???

No, Jess, it's not crazy, it's court-wait delirium.

Meredith might be suffering from paperchase delirium. She writes:

Oh, Alabama!
Where is my clearance letter?
I will punch you soon
.

Punching an entire state is not crazy, it is simply paperchase delirium influencing Meredith's view of reality.

So, in my wait list induced delirium, I have emailed my poor, sweet, patient caseworker, Jessica, 2 times in the past 2 days. Over silly things- things that are not really all that important, but that have made me freak out. I feel bad for her- she must get an awful lot of crazy thrown at her each day. Although, as I told her at the end of my last delirium-induced email:

I know I am probably over-reacting and succumbing to the "wait list delirium;" I probably just need to take a chill pill, but sadly, my hospital won't dispense those to the nurses, only to the patients! (I am becoming that wait-lister that I never wanted to be, but man, who knew the wait list would affect me this way? It's like the crazy cravings of pregnancy- you think they won't happen to you, you think you can predict them, and in the end, the hormones run wild and you end up craving Spaghetti-Os and canned spinach. Well, at least I did.)

Week 18

Well, at this point, what is there to say? 18 weeks waiting for my little Sparrow.
This morning I couldn't find my keys, and I knew I would be late for work. I ran around my house like a maniac, checking under pillows and cushions, and tears streaming down my face. The subtlety of this stress of waiting is hard to articulate, but I know it's there when I am crying because I am going to be a few minutes late to work. As if somehow, if I am late for work, I will miss "The Call." Even though, logically, I know that Gladney isn't even open when I start my work day.
Please pray for me. This is so much harder than I thought it would be.

Added to my To Do List

Things have gotten desparate. When you wear your "fat day" jeans every day, it's time to do something about it. I guess this is what I get for living in the land of Saturated Fat.

I ordered an elliptical last night. Should be here next week. Gives me plenty of time to get in shape before I go to Ethiopia!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (NKJV)

Peace in the waiting, to all who wait. Do not be afraid, but know the power, love, and soundness of mind that you have in Christ Jesus. Be encouraged!

Monday, May 19, 2008

26 (UPDATED!)

It's my birthday today. More thoughts on this to come.

Okay, so here are some thoughts:
~ 26 doesn't feel any different than 25, but it sounds so much older and more mature.
~ Reflecting on my life, so many things that I thought were horrible and devastating, God has used for good. What a gift.
~ My mom loves me. Enough to give me 3 birthday cards.
~ The older I get, the more shy I am... the more I want to be with the select few, not the non-discriminate many. I want to be with the people who love me. That is the best gift you can give me.
~ When John snorts, it makes me giggle. See below.

Psalm 25:5

"you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

Just one of those reminders that God is my Savior- not just for the purpose of spending eternity in heaven with Him, but He is my Savior today, all day long. He saves me from envy, anger, pride, hurtful thoughts and actions, and from a spirit of defeatism. He saves me from myself, so to speak, and He does this, so that I can learn to bless Him and bless others, regardless of my circumstances. To bless people who share this ache in the waiting, and to bless those who are living in different circumstances, whatever they may be.

So, to anyone who reads this today, be blessed. Know how deeply you are loved, and be encouraged!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD."

Jeremiah 29:11-14
P.S. Today is my 26th birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rough Night

Yesterday I got home from work and heard the surprising news that Abigail had asked to go to bed early; she wasn't feeling well and hand a low grade fever of 99, so the sitter had just put her to bed. I didn't think much of it, and after eating dinner, I sent John in to check Abigail's temp.

When he said that is was 102, we kicked back into doctor/nurse mode (after both of us had had very long days at work), and while he woke her up, I got Tylenol and Motrin for her. After a bit of cajoling, she got it down. And up it came, after all of 3 seconds.

Let me just tell you right now: taking care of a sick kid is no fun. Taking care of a sick kid who is on the top bunk is just plain hard. Her first instinct was to puke over the side of the bed, which, as you could imagine, would have resulted in puke all over the bed, the bottom bunk, the furniture, the carpet, and me. But my quick-witted nursing mind took over and before she actuallty vomitted, I pushed her head back over her sheets.

When she was done, I sent her with John to get cleaned up while I cleaned up her bed. So fun. Then we began the "take a sip of water and see if it will stay down" cajoling. 2 loads of laundry, half a cup of water, and another dose of Tylenol later, I was able to go to bed. Since he was off today, John volunteered to take the "I'll listen for her puking again" shift on the couch, and I headed to bed at 12:30am. An hour later, Abigail woke up John to say that she was scared- scared she would throw up again, and could he sleep next to her on the floor? Of course, John's doctorish instinct is to run far away from anyone who might throw up, but, he was brave and went and camped out on her floor.

In the mean time, I was having a very strange dream. I lived in my current apartment complex, so I had neighbors across the way from me. For some reason, I had a balcony off the master bedroom, and on the balcony was my outdoor shower. I wanted to take a shower, but I could see my neighbor across the way watching for me. In fact, he was sitting on his balcony, waiting for me to go out and get cleaned up. I didn't. Also on my balcony was a trash can in the shape of a Starbucks cup. (Anyone want to take a stab at interpreting that dream?)

At 6:20 this morning, John woke me up since I was sleeping through my alarm. I stumbled into the hall to make the coffee that I must have before heading to work, and as I walked past her room, Abigail saw me and came out to the hall (John had promptly fallen back to sleep on her floor.)

"Momma," she said. "Guess what? I didn't throw up again!"

"That's great!" I replied, relieved that I didn't have to do another load of laundry.

"Wait, let me show you something." She went back into her room and picked something up. "Look," she whispered, extending her arms towards me, "No puke in my puke bucket!"

I smiled, gave her a hug, and headed towards the coffee pot.

Help Wanted

Do you enjoy stalking blogs for adoption-related information? Do you have consistent access to the Internet? Are you part of the Gladney Yahoo Group? Then you are just the person I am looking for!

With school starting next week, I am thinking that it may soon be time to pass on the responsibility of keeping up the FBI list. I think that there are a lot of people who enjoy and benefit from the List, but sometimes, between working full-time, school full-time, and preparing to (hopefully) travel soon, it can be too much at times. I would be happy to share the responsibility with someone, or pass the responsibility on completely.

In order to maintain the list, all you need is a Google account. If this is something you are interested in doing, leave a comment or email me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

4 Months

4 Months waiting for my referral.

When I say "Lord, have mercy!" I don't mean that as a figure of speech. I'll be honest- I never thought that for the age range I am requesting, I would wait 17+ weeks. This has been a huge disappointment.

But I am keeping the faith; somewhere in a little home in Addis Ababa, in the distant and foreign land of Ethiopia, a world away from me , Gladney knows the name and story of my little girl, and they are so eagerly anticipating the moment that she gets a Momma, just as much as I anticipate the moment that I get a new little girl. And this is all in God's hands, the hands that hold the world, and that cradle my sweet Sparrow in my stead.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Poll: Fellow PAP, Elle Woods



I may be wrong, but I think Jennifer is actually the real-life Elle Woods. Why?

* She is cute, blond, and has great glasses that make her look bookishly sexy/smart.

* She is a practitioner of the law.

* She likes and owns little dogs.

So, what think you, readers?



Disney: Video Dump

It's long, but lots of good stuff here, people!

Especially if you can't get enough Abigail in your life:)


Disney: Click Here

Click here to see some photos from Disney. These are the ones that Disney photographers took. For some reason, the photos we had from our lunch with the princesses and from our breakfast with JoJo didn't get on here yet... Hmm.

Anyway, do enjoy these!

Week 17

Locked out. That is sometimes how I feel. But by the grace of God, I don't feel that way often. Nonetheless, this is a difficult post to write, so I will let this picture speak for itself. 17 weeks waiting to meet my little girl.

Faith

Go say Hi to my sister on her new blog!

Faith

My sister loves babies and kids. Her 2 favorite kiddos are Abigail and my little Sparrow in Ethiopia. How do I know this? I read her new blog!

Stop over and welcome her to the world of blogging!

Disney

In a word- Rocksome. Stories and pictures to come.

In the mean time, there are only 2 remaining referral guesses (see the sidebar on the right.) If you would like to re-submit a referral guess, leave me a comment.

And no, I am not engaged. Nor do I expect to become engaged any time before October 10. Just so we are all on the same page:)

Oh, one more piece of business... check the FBI and make sure your info is up-to-date. I added a column (# of court attempts) and want to make sure I have it right.

Disney

It was rocksome. What else can I say? Abigail loved it!!!

Pictures and stories to come:)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Checking Out

Abigail and I have a date to eat lunch with some princesses, so I will be checking out for a few days. Keep me updated on anything exciting. Until then, keep the faith. See you soon:)

P.S. If this isn't rocking my daily routine, I don't know what is!

Room Service

Me: So, we are going to the hotel tonight, and Disney World tomorrow! Are you excited?

Abigail: Momma, guess what!

Me: What?

Abigail: My friend at school told me that when you are at a hotel, you can call a number, and you know what?

Me: What?

Abigail: They will bring you food to your room! Can you believe it?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Choices, Choices

Jana is up there on the list. So is Meredith(Guzo). So when Meredith wrote this post, I could totally relate. Then Jana left this comment:

"You are echoing my feelings EXACTLY. In a few days, I have gone from zen girl to jumping out of my skin.....I am SOOOOOO with you, girl. It is really quite unpleasant. Today I got pulled over for expired registration, THEN I didn't have my ID with me (long story) and THEN my ins. card had expired a few weeks ago. I ended up with a 500.oo ticket. I thought, as the police officer was writing up my ticket in his car, "What if my referral call comes right now? I think I will spontaneously combust."Again, everything you said, I echo!!!"
Oh Jana, how I know what you mean... Yesterday, I was in a near-code situation, and all the while, I kept thinking... "Man, what if I am on this lady's chest doing CPR and my referral call comes?"
In the end, I did decide that if that happened, I would have to call Jessica back.
But it was a real toss-up.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Proverbs 19:28

"Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
And prevail, He will, in whatever happens in this referral process.
Keep the faith.

Jokes

Adoption Acrostic

There seems to be some confusion about what an acrostic poem is. I did not make it up! I present the following as an example:

Across the wide ocean
Deep in the heart of Africa
One little girl waits.
Patiently, I wait
Thinking of how
It will feel when I hold
One dear heart
Near to mine.

Here is a slightly more desperate acrostic:


Can it be that
All these families have their
Little one's pictures? Their
Little one's name?

Maybe one day I will hear Jessica's
Excited voice, too.

(Week) Sweet 16

Could this be the week? Could week 16 be my super-sweet 16? Let's hope!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The FBI List- A Haiku

Refresh. Click. Refresh.
So many times, and yet-
No referral date.

Stubble

I had this really strange dream last night (Thanks, NyQuil) that I was in Disney World (that's not the strange part) and I would shave my legs each morning. And by the afternoon, I would get a "5 o'clock shadow" on them.

It was really frustrating and disgusting in my dream. Thank God that doesn't happen in real life.

Reminder

His eye is on my little sparrow in Ethiopia... and on my little anxious heart right here in Pennsylvania.


Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

So, after reading The Kennedy's account of their referral call, and Chris and Shasta's account of their call....

I theorize this: You must rock your daily routine and then you will get the call. Do something you don't normally do... and then the call will come.

So, my mind jumps to my upcoming Disney World trip... but maybe I will scrub my kitchen floor today, just to test my theory.

(Hey, it's a theory. They are usually proven wrong, and my kitchen floor could use it...)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Keeping the Faith

Sometimes it's discouraging and difficult to hold onto the hope that my referral will come. In the past month, there have been 7 (known) referrals in my agency. One was for an infant girl. One was for a sibling group (both girls). The other 5 were for boys.

People who went on the wait list after me, some as much as a month after me, have gotten their referrals. It's hard to keep faith that my referral will come at just the right time- God's time.

But I will keep faith.


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose... What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28-39

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Die to Death

Me: I ordered you broccoli ice cream with shredded carrots on top.

Abigail: Ew, Momma! If you make me eat that, I am going to die to death!

Commando

I just found out that Abigail went commando at church today.

Nice.

You know, she's one of those "nice, Christian girls."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Abigail's Quilt

Abigail had to make a piece of a quilt to bring to school (above). Let me tell you, for the non-crafty, non-artsy, non-able-to-draw-or-write-prettily mom, there are a whole slew of iron-on goodies out there. This was actually fun to make (which I rarely say about anything crafty since I am so bad at crafts and such a perfectionist that all I can see or think about when I do crafts is how bad they look!)



She will be combining her piece of the quilt with all her friends' pieces. Check out what she had to say.








(This was taken with my new camera- can you notice a difference in quality?)

Poppin!

video
Doctor John introduced Abigail to some poppin' music... and a whole new genre of dance!
(This was on my old camera- can you notice a difference in quality?)

New Camera











Jinx?

So, you know how I like to post a little picture with each weekly update? Well, I was browsing for a picture for this upcoming week and it occurred to me that I don't have a picture to post for when I receive my referral.

I seriously debated if I would be jinxing myself by browsing for a "referral announcement" picture. I mean, looking for a "week 16" picture was difficult enough...

But I did. And it is ready when the call comes (hopefully soon.) And if the call doesn't come any time soon, I also have a "week 17" and "week 18" picture ready. I figure searching for more weeks of pictures would cancel the jinx of searching for a referral picture, right?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Personal Call

So, after Chris and Shasta got their referral, I was sitting at work (correction, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off- I'm a nurse, you know?) and all the sudden I got paged for a personal call.

I about peed my pants. "This is it! They are calling about my daughter!" My heart was beating out of my chest and I rushed out of my patient's room and to the closest phone.

It was about my daughter, actually. It was the babysitter, calling about Abigail.

Kind of a let down:(

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out

I was at a friend's house this evening (super cute baby, by the way).

I ate beef heart. That was interesting.

Tastes like steak.

Joy Comes In The Morning (Perspective)

I am a beloved child of the Most High God. He created me because I bring him pleasure, and he loves me so much that he sings over me.

God's plan is always perfect, and he is using my life and my ups and downs to set the stage for a revelation that will bring him glory.

God designed women for marriage; he designed Eve to be Adam's right hand. To want to be married is to want what God designed me for. To want what is right.

Through the heartbreaks and devatations of that relationship, God has brought me to a much better place and many wonderful, fulfilling relationships.

(Thanks to Ruthie, Jess, and Jennifer for reminding me of these things.)
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