Tuesday, January 29, 2008

10 days and counting down

Yep, that's right- 10 days until I leave for Ethiopia!

Last night, Isa B's health insurance card came in the mail. It hit me again that soon she wouldn't be just a photo on my computer screen. Isn't it funny that something as simple as seeing her name on an insurance card could be so thrilling?

I imagine that pregnant women have a similar feeling as they approach their due dates. But, they've had the physical presence of their baby for the last many months rather than just a 2-dimensional photo. Does it feel more "real" to them beforehand? I try to imagine what it's going to be like, but it's just so surreal. She's real in my heart but maybe not real in my head yet, if that makes any sense.

The good news is that I think I have most of the big stuff taken care of now- FMLA, insurance, her room, travel plans. Now come the details. Mom and I are doing a BRU run on Saturday to get the essentials that I'm still lacking. I've had two wonderful baby showers already but am missing some crucial items (like diapers and bottles!).

While we're out running errands, my Dad is going to install the tray for Isa's changing table. Princess that she is, she is getting a custom changing table! Dad traced the design of the headboard on her crib and copied it onto the back edge of a tray he built that will be attached to an existing bookcase to become the changing table. Does that make any sense? (I really need to post some pictures of the nursery, huh?)

We'll also divide out the donations and Isa's items this weekend so that Mom and I can both start packing our checked bags. We're hoping to have two big suitcases each chock-full of goodies. I really wanted to focus on the older kids at Toukoul and we hit the jackpot at Old Navy last weekend. 50-75% off of clearance prices - shirts for $2, pants for $4. We got two huge bags full for less than $100! My friend C felt inspired and bought some more clothes, soccer, basket & recess-type balls with a hand pump and some adorable toothbrushes (which I promised to donate, although I very much want to keep the Hello Kitty one!). We bought lots of supplies during the back-to-school sales last fall, as well.

FYI- for anyone travelling in the future, the cashier said that Old Navy often will donate items for this sort of thing. I don't have enough time, unfortunately, to work on this before my trip but those of you still waiting- call the Old Navy corporate office and see if they'll donate items for you to take!

Anyone have any thoughts on what to get as presents for the nannies? I want something unique to this area but all I can think of is candy.... Unfortunately, our usual claim to fame here in Seattle - coffee- isn't an option. I actually plan to stuff my bags with Ethiopian coffee on the way home!

Okay, enough blathering for today.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The last of the bouncy seat photos!

I got my monthly update today. This is the last set of photos we will ever see of Isa in a Toukoul bouncy seat!

She is now a whopping 13.7 lbs, which is solidly on the US growth charts, something rarely accomplished by Ethiopian babies. It's wonderful to know that she's obviously thriving and makes me hopeful that we won't have to deal with lactose intolerance or giardia. I'm pretty sure that all the formula they give her is staying in her system!

3 weeks from tomorrow we leave to bring her home. :)

My brain is completely devoid of any function now and this is as many sentences as I can string together at the moment....... Sorry.......

Thursday, January 17, 2008

There, but for the grace of God....

There was big news in the realm of Ethiopian adoption today. A family's dossier was rejected by the Ethiopian government and they are banned from adopting from Ethiopia. The reason is that they had posted their referral's photo on their blog prior to successfully passing court.

Now that I know about the rule against posting photos, it makes sense- this is not my child until after successfully passing court. I don't have the legal right to put her picture into the public realm yet. But, I didn't know that when I got my referral. I wasn't calmly, logically thinking about things like that. I was shouting from the rooftops "I have a daughter!!!!". (And haven't stopped shouting it since.....)

So, today please say a prayer for that family and their journey. May they find their child, even though that child will now not be from Ethiopia as they had planned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Less than a month & counting!

As anyone who knows my in real life will attest- I am now officially a basketcase. I have fewer than 4 weeks before I travel to meet the Amazing Miss Isa. My to-do list is a mile long. My house is a complete wreck. My brain refuses to focus on any task longer than, oh, 2 minutes. It's the perfect storm in terms of emotion- anxiety over becoming a parent, the stress and anticipation of planning such a big trip, and the sheer bliss of getting to finally meet my daughter.

My mom, God bless her, is already having stress dreams about the trip. In the first one, we got to Toukoul (the orphanage) and were waiting for them to bring us Isa. One of the nannies came in and said "I'm sorry but she said she doesn't want to go with you." No amount of cajoling could help- the nanny insisted that Isa had told them that she didn't want to meet us. (Apparently my daughter is a very advanced 6 month old!)

I haven't had any crazy dreams yet, but I don't rule it out in the coming weeks.... I'm trying to avoid my favorite partners in crime (Ben & Jerry) because if I don't lose a few pounds, I'll have nothing to wear while in Ethiopia! Darn Hollywood writers' strike also means that my second favorite form of stress reduction, staring at the TV, is much less enjoyable. Without those two options, I'm at a bit of a loss. Granted, I could go the route of actually completing all the items on my to-do list. That is much too logical and efficient for me. *sigh*

If I can finish Isa's room this week/weekend, I'll post pictures. That is one of the fun things on my to-do list!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

December Part Deux

The "official" monthly update came the Friday before Christmas. My heart dropped because it looked like they'd cut off all her gorgeous curls. Looking a little closer, I could see they'd actually done her hair up in little ponytails. It's very comforting to know that she's getting the kind of care where they actually take the time to get her all gussied up like that. Of course, now I have to somehow learn how to do hair, too....

The day of the 2nd court date finally arrived.... and I am officially a mom!!!!

Along with that wonderful news, the agency gave me my travel dates. Now comes the fun of planning all the travel. To make everything simple, Mom and I are going to stay at the agency guesthouse. It will cost more than making arrangements at a separate guesthouse, but the price includes everything- the room, up to 3 meals a day, the driver around Addis Ababa, even the option of laundry.

At this point, the plane tickets are booked. Mom and I leave February 9th, arriving in Addis Ababa on February 11th. My Embassy date to get her visa is on Valentine's Day. Because the following Monday is a holiday, we won't get her visa and therefore, be able to fly back, until the 19th. Now we just need to figure out what, aside from loving on Isa, we are going to do with our time while in Ethiopia. I know that we'll head out to Dire Dawa to see where she was born.

Head spinning.... sooooooo much to get done in the next 5 weeks!

PS- I promise to try and be my witty/sarcastic self in future entries. This was kamakazi blogging to get everything up to speed and my brain had enough trouble being grammatically correct (verb tense being my primary enemy tonight).


December was a busy month- holidays and starting up with the fourth job meant lots of running around. I was thrilled to hear that my court date was scheduled for December 13th.

Unfortunately, the agency coordinator called on the 14th and said the judge asked for additional information. I was crushed.... Court was rescheduled for the 27th. All I could do was sit and wait for another two weeks. Luckily, it was right over Christmas, so I had lots of distractions.

I did get the set of update photos above on the 15th, which helped improve my mood. Note that Isa is already working on her princess wave! Again, are we sure she doesn't actually have my genes????

I'm back!

I've promised several people in the last week that I'd get the blog going (for real this time!) so that everyone can keep track of the last part of this amazing journey. Funny how having 4 jobs takes up an immense amount of time and energy. :)

Here is the update of the last couple months.... My first monthly updates came in November. No longer was Isa the peanut we all saw at referral! My girl gained 4.5lbs in 6 weeks. Apparently she does somehow have my genes! Isn't she the most beautiful baby???