Thursday, October 22, 2009

Odds and Ends... and a Poll:)

If this is your first time checking out the blog, hi! I hope that you will be able to make it to the wedding on December 26, 2009:) If you are looking for more information to plan your trip to PA, be sure to check out the links above.

I am having fun planning the wedding, now thinking of all the ways we can work with a wintertime theme. We are not changing a lot, but we are incorporating more winter-ish ideas:) John's mom is awesome and is making all sorts of things to help out (Thank you, Elaine!)

One of the things we have finally settled on (for the time being) is our vows. We worked on the entire ceremony, actually, and spent quite a bit of time on our vows as well as the special part of the ceremony that will involve Abigail and Anna. I think we really found the right sequence of words to express how we feel. At least I hope so!

Speaking of which, I am sure you all saw the famous wedding entrance video that was viral on
youtube over the past few months:






This video, combined with planning our ceremony and writing our vows, really made me think about what kind of ceremony I want to have- what kind of tone I would like to set.

Funny is one thing, but crazy is another thing entirely:




But mostly, there is just a sweetness about being yourself:




So, by popular demand, a poll:



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pangs

Sometimes, in the course of reading a blog or getting an email from an adoptive family, I get that pang. The uncomfortable but familiar twinge deep inside my chest that was so frequent during my own journey to adoption. I thought, at the time, that the pang was one of longing for my child, and it was. I thought that surely that pang would go away once Anna was home.

It didn't.

There are children out there who I long for- children who I love. I don't know them, and I may never know them. But I love them as deeply as a mother's heart knows how to love. I hope that one day I will be able to hold them in my arms.

And if I can't, I hope another mother will.



(Note, this does not mean that John and I are adopting, pregnant, or adding to our family in any way at this point in time. At this time, we are not sure how we will grow our family.)

(Note to my note: I really would like to add to our family in the canine department. I know there is a dog out there who needs to come live in our house and run around with my children and answer to the name Albus Dumbledore. I know it. But my guess is that John will not allow us to have a canine addition any time soon. In fact, he is much more open to human additions than canine additions. But Abigail said she would get me a dog for Christmas, so I am holding out hope.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Help Needed

So, I have been thinking and researching about how I would like to use the money that this blog raises. I am committed to using it to benefit Ethiopian orphans. I feel like there is a lot of aid that is needed and useful in Ethiopia, but since this website is about connecting adoptive families, and our common denominator is Ethiopian children, I want to do something for the kids. Especially the kids who won't be adopted.

Right now, one idea I am tossing around is sponsoring a meal for the Kolfe orphanage. This can usually be done for about $200-300. This means that, with continued support here, this blog may raise enough to do that by the end of the year. I love that this would provide an immediate intervention for the children.

I am also interested in other ideas, particularly ideas that create more sustainable aid for the orphans. I would love to hear your ideas.

Thank you for your support of this blog- and of me. I am so thrilled to be a part of something that is such a positive in so many lives. I hope that this blog and the FBI list can continue to connect families, encourage those considering or in the process of adoption, and support Ethiopian orphans.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Troubles...

For the most part, I love the FBI. I love that it brings people together, and lets you know that you are not alone, no matter how long the process takes, or what happens when you are home.

Then there is the other side of things... the less pleasant side. The side where people email me and complain that they have not received their referral or court date yet. The side where people blame me if someone receives a referral before them. The side where heartbreaking stories of delays and loss of referrals are poured out to me, because I am the one tracking these things. The side were people use the FBI list and my name and complain to Gladney that things aren't going in order of the FBI list.

Despite all the wonderful things that this list brings about, the less-than-wonderful things sometimes out-weigh them. This is one of those times.

I have been contacted by a family on the FBI asking to be removed from the FBI listing due to comments they are receiving. My guess is that these comments are not meaningfully rude or hurtful. They are probably comments that people left on the spur of the moment, without thinking about it. As a person who waited longer-than-average for a referral and saw people well after me on the wait list receiving referrals for children in my age range, I can say it hurts when people say "that referral should have been yours." I can imagine that it hurts just as much to hear "you got your referral out of order" or "I can't believe you are on your 7th court date!" For the non-religious who are with Gladney, I am sure it is offensive to hear comments that attribute their blessings to a God in whom they don't believe.

I think we are all adults and mature enough to know what our behavior should be. I would hope that as parents, or parents-to-be, we are also mature enough to act in ways that are congruent with what we know our behavior should be. In a process as emotion-laden as the international adoption process, please remember to be sensitive to others in your comments. This recent incident is not the first of it's kind, and certainly, this is not the first family who has asked to have their info removed from the FBI.

But I hope it is the last.

I don't want to make threats or try to coerce anyone into better behavior. But I also refuse to be a part of something that is hurting others, especially when I am so intimately involved in the process. I will take the FBI down if this kind of behavior continues. I know that it is just a few people who are engaging in this discouraging behavior, and I hate to think that the rest of you who are really so lovely and encouraging would not be able benefit from the FBI, but I really don't know what else to do.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pics and Vids from visit

My parents and sister visited last week.

My sister just posted lots of pictures and videos on her blog. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Rush!

For the first time in my life, I placed a "rush" order.

We decided that since things have changed a bit with our wedding, the "re-do" invites would be a little different, too. We designed something that incorporates a lot of the same themes from our original invites, but are a bit more fun and definitely different:)

I am excited to see how they turn out, and I should have them by Monday! We plan to get them in the mail as soon as possible so that you can begin making your arrangements. We hope to see you in December!

Monday, October 05, 2009

New Date!

We are so excited to announce that we have found a new date for the wedding...

December 26, 2009!

I was pretty convinced that we would not be getting married until next spring, but after getting a clean bill of health and really starting to feel better (more "like myself" than I have felt in about 18 months!), I started considering something a little sooner than spring. John loves the idea of a wintertime wedding (the guy loves cold weather, and SNOW!) so he gave the plan 2 thumbs up!

All of our vendors were really gracious and agreed to re-schedule us at no additional fee, but I was guessing that there probably wouldn't be a date available in 2009; in fact, I had heard that my photographer was completely booked. However, when I put my feelers out, it turned out to be my DJ (who is going to make the night so ROCKSOME that I couldn't consider going forward without him) that had the most limited availability. But, lo and behold, there was just ONE date in 2009 that everyone was available.... so we decided to go forward!

We just made the final decision this weekend and are frantically working on getting the invites ordered. We know a lot of you may not be able to attend due to the holidays, and we will miss you. But we are sooooooo ready to be married!

More info to come as we get it:)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Potty Training Conversations

Otherwise known as "Things for which my daughter will one day resent me."

Me: Anna, are you going poop?

A: (nods head.)

Me: You wanna go poop on the potty? Go tell Daddy to get out of there so you can poop on the potty!

A: But I don't wanna.

Me: But I want you to go poop in the potty. It's gross when you poop in a diaper.

A: Okay. (runs to bathroom door and starts pounding on it and yelling.) Daddy, come out, I gotta poop on the potty!

(John says it will be a minute yet.)

Me: Wanna poop on your little potty?

A: Okay. Where's my little potty?

Me: I'll get it. (gets potty and Anna sits on it.)

Anna: (grunts, scrunches up face.) I deeeed it!

Me: There's nothing in there.

Anna: All done!

Me: Are you sure? Do you wanna sit on the big potty?

Anna: Yeah! I poop on the big potty!

(John takes over to put her on the potty.)

Anna: I poop. On the potty.

John: Okay, go ahead.

Anna: I deeed it! I pooped on the potty, Daddy!

John: I didn't hear anything.

Anna: I deeed it! All done!

And lo and behold, she had!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Disclaimers and other Important Stuff

The FBI is an unofficial list of the Gladney Ethiopia families, and is representative of about 50-75% of the Ethiopia program families. This list and information on this list is NOT supplied by Gladney and is NOT 100% accurate. Gladney cannot be held responsible to give referrals in the order of the wait list date as there are many factors that influence referral time lines. Please recognize that this is a reference tool ONLY and has no predictive value.

It is my goal that the FBI will allow potential/adoptive parents to remain as anonymous as they desire. For that reason, you may see families referred to by initials, or you may see references to a private blog. I will not share personal information from these families unless I have been given their permission to do so.

Finally, the ads that appear on this site are generated by Google AdSense. I do not necessarily endorse any products, services, or organizations that appear in the ads on this blog.

Check it out...

The new FBI.


I know. It's rocksome in ways you never imagined.

Why the change?

For "Gladney ET-opians" who have been around a while, this blog is a change. After 21 months of maintaining the FBI as an independent Google document, I chose to make the document available only by visiting this blog. Why?

I want to help orphans.

The FBI is a frequently-visited, highly desirable, and fairly addictive product. I love to maintain the database of information, and have never felt the need to be compensated for doing so. However, because of the popularity of the FBI amongst the Gladney ET-opians, I decided that putting the FBI into a different format could benefit someone other than the PAPs.

Revenue earned from the ads on this blog will be benefiting Ethiopian orphans. I am not sure yet what form this help will be (it will kind of depend on how much revenue this blog generates), but it will be used in some way to help Ethiopian orphans.

FYI and FAQ

Q. What is the FBI?

A. FBI stands for "Forensic Blogging Initiative." This is a little something I do in my spare time to track the process of Gladney Ethiopia families from the paperchase stage to their forever families. As the FBI progressed, it also became a place to connect with others in the adoption process and celebrate all the families who have completed adoptions from Ethiopia. The FBI was started in January, 2008.

Q. How do I participate in the FBI?

A. Email me (grace) at yellow_grace at yahoo dot com. Please include all pertinent information including your blog or family name, where you are in the process, pertinent dates, and age/gender preference.

Q. Wht's this I hear about court closures? How will this affect me?

A. Each year, the courts in Ethiopia close for the rainy season. The courts are generally closed early-August to early-October. While the courts are not processing cases during their closure, Gladney does continue to give referrals. Families who have had a successful court date prior to court closure will still be able to travel during court closure as the American Embassy in Ethiopia (the agency issuing the visa to your adopted child) remains open. When courts re-open in the fall, there can be a backlog of cases, and there can be a longer-than-normal wait to receive a court date.

Q. What does "judgement postponed" mean?

A. There are 2 critical components of a court date. The first is the "opinion" issued by MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs.) This is the agency in Ethiopia that works to ensure ethical and legal adoptions as well as acting as the advocate for the adoptee. The second is the actual court ruling itself. The judge has many roles, one of which is to verify the orphan status of the child by handling things such as the legal relinquishment of the child by the birth parent(s). Often, if a judgement is postponed, it is because the judge did not have a piece of information (such as the opinion from MOWA, or paperwork from the birthparent) in order to finalize the adoption. The judge may perform some parts of the legal adoption process such as legal relinqishment by the birth parent(s) and leave the case "open" so that when the opinion arrives from MOWA, the judge can rule on the case without re-scheduling a court date. Sometimes, however, a second court date is needed.

Q. Why do some families have more than one court date?

A. There are several reasons why a second court date might be needed. First, a piece of information that is needed may be missing, such as the opinion from MOWA. Second, a person who needs to be present on the day of court, such as the birth parent, may not be available on the original court date. Third, the judge may request additional information. Fourth, there may be technical difficulties, such as a power outage. Finally, even judges take days off, and there were several cases that had to be rescheduled when the judge took a day off work! I am sure there are other reasons as well. Gladney does a great job of keeping court-process families aware of anything that may be affecting their case.

Q. What's up with the difference between singles and married couples in terms of wait times for referrals?

A. In 2008, one of the government offices associated with the adoption process in Ethiopia (namely, MOWA) changed their policies regarding single women adopting from Ethiopia. Gladney was affected by these changes and informed that as of the 2008-2009 court year, the court would process fewer single parent adoptions. All agencies operating in Ethiopia were affected similarly. Based on these changes, wait times for referrals for single parents are different than wait times for married couples as Gladney will only be allowed to submit a limited number of single parent cases to the Ethiopian court.
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