4.09.2010

Bye-bye Blogger

I've moved our blog to WordPress. I know...it's such snobbery. But I work with WordPress all the time while maintaining our Wild Olive website, so I can't help myself.

But don't worry...I figured out a way to move all my "followers", so if you're one of them, I'll see you over in WordPress-ville-land-berg. Our new blog is here. (www.myuglycouch.com)

So long, Bee-logger!



4.02.2010

Home study complete

Hooray! We got an unexpected surprise in the mail today...our completed home study. I did a little boogie-ing, despite my non-boogie-ing post-op orders.

Lucas and I were pretty impressed with ourselves for filling out that much paperwork. You don't realize it's that much until you look at that big, fat wad all in one stack.

You better believe I'll be at the post office first thing tomorrow morning, express mailing our home study up to Immigration so we can get moving on our immigration approval. Well, maybe it will be Lucas at the post office and not me, seeing as how I can't drive just yet. I love my errand boy.

Yippeeeee!!!
3.31.2010

I'm home!

My surgery went well, and I am now home. Hanging out...with my good friend...Percocet. Thankfully they gave me a patch in the hospital to stave off the nausea that usually accompanies painkillers. (I'm a medicine wimp...can't help it.) My doctor was able to leave in my left ovary - for that I am incredibly thankful!

Thanks for all of your prayers and notes of encouragement! Now you're going to have to pray that I will SIT STILL for the next several weeks. I'm no good at sitting still for long. I like to get up and boogy. And wiggle. I'm like a 5 year old little boy.
3.27.2010

So long old gal...you done me proud

I have to say goodbye to my uterus and one ovary on Tuesday. (I get to keep my other one.)  Should be good times. Not really, but I'll get over it.

She did do me proud, though...carried my two sweet girls for 9 (well, only 8 with Jane) months. But it's those two sweet girls who wrecked her, and made a mess of my insides. Rude. And after all I did for them.

I've been calling her "Bertha" for the last few days. Pretty funny, I think. We shall refer to my uterus as Bertha for the remainder of this post.

My sweet friend, Audra, has arranged meals for my family for a month while I recover. I'm so thankful for one less thing to take care of.  Thanks, Audra!

The irony of all this is that I am pregnant on paper (aka, adoption) during the time when I am losing my physical ability to ever bear children again. And if I sit and ponder the latter point very long, I might get sad. So I shant. Ponder, that is. (I like to talk like I'm in a Jane Austen novel. That's why I say shant.)

That's about all I have to say regarding this event. Except I said earlier that I would refer to my uterus as Bertha, but then I never really mentioned her again. So...bye-bye, Bertha. I'll miss what might have been, old girl. But I also get to say BUH-BYE to all the cramps, pain, and all the rest of the stuff she brought along with her. SEE YA, sister!
 
3.26.2010

Times

We took our girls to Winter Jam last Sunday. It was their first concert and we had a great time. They were so cute, falling asleep in our laps while Third Day blared in their little eardrums.

I think Tenth Avenue North was my favorite band (although Newsboys were ridiculously cool). They put the lyrics up on the screen so you could actually understand what they were singing, unlike Fireflight. Couldn't understand a word that girl sang. She's super talented, but she shouts a lot when she sings. The girls and I call her Screamer-Singer.

But back to TAN - their lyrics are beautiful. I could post a song every day. There's a song called "Times", and I just love the lyrics in the bridge... (by the way, when it says, "My love is over," it doesn't mean 'finished'. It means God's love 'covers all over'.)

"I hear You say,
"My love is over. It's underneath.
It's inside. It's in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can't feel.
The times that you question, 'Is this for real? '
The times you're broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it's underneath.
It's inside, it's in between.
These times you're healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you're falling from grace.
The times you're hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry, and are tempted to steal.
The times of confusion, in chaos and pain.
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I'm there through your heartache.
I'm there in the storm.
My love I will keep you, by My pow'r alone.
I don't care where you fall, where you have been.
I'll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends."





3.21.2010

My reject has returned

It came back already! My reject I-600a. So much sooner than I expected.

And not only that, they didn't actually send my entire application back and make us start over. They just sent some official letter (with some official numbers on it like 176-R) stating that I shorted them their cash, and would I please send it to them, along with the letter. Don't mind if I do.

I can't believe they would be that efficient. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

 So of course I went right from my mailbox to the post office to send it on it's way, so they could have it in their hot little hands on Monday or Tuesday, and resume passing us through Immigration.

We're back on track, baby.
3.16.2010

Woops...

I've been nervous about making a mistake on our adoption paperwork from the beginning. Not only do mistakes cost you time, but they usually cost you moo-lah.

Well, I finally got my first mistake over with. It's like getting a good ding on your new car, or accidentally bonking your baby's head on the door jamb (no...I never did that!)...you totally dread it, but then you realize that the world will still turn.

But I couldn't have made a bigger, more time-sucking mistake than to screw up with Immigration. ARGH! I thought I read those I-600a instructions a gozillion times to make sure that I did everything right, because I knew one little teeny-weeny mistake and they reject your application and send it back and you get to start all over again. Apparently I missed the part where it said add $80 per person to your fees for fingerprinting. HOW DID I MISS THAT?!?!?!?

But I did. And I realized it yesterday.

So I called Immigration and actually got a human on the phone (can you believe it...and it was after 5:30 pm!), and in a very monotone voice the lady told me yes, my application would be rejected and sent back to me so that I could send in the proper fee. Really? You can't just take my credit card number over the phone? Really? What year is this?

Then I remembered that I was dealing with a giant government-run department, so I politely asked her how long it would take to get back my loser-rejected application. "Ma'am, it can take up to 30 days." Nice.

Bureaucracy at it's finest, people.

So I will wait. And I will check my mailbox like a crazy person. 3 times a day. The upside is that my postman, Bruce, will start liking me now. I normally check the mail about once a week and he has to cram all my mail in our box until all the catalogs are wrinkly. Well, no more, Bruce! Take that!


3.13.2010

6,359,421

That's how many pieces of paper I filled out yesterday.

Photobucket

My eyes are buggy and my bottom hurts from sitting in the same place for so long.

Between filling out my medical history for 3 different doctors for my upcoming surgery (partial hysterectomy...yes, very tragic...let's all weep for my uterus now), getting our house listed with MLS so we can sell it (I don't know, nor do I care how old my hot water heater is and how many gallons it holds!), and adoption paperwork, I am papered out!

Good thing I had a nice pen on hand.


3.10.2010

I-600a day!

It's a big day in our household...we finally got to mail our I-600a to Immigration. YEAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! To those who are unfamiliar with the adoption process, this is the pre-approval from Immigration to adopt a child abroad. And this is one of the things that take the longest to get on the US side of paperwork. The problem is that you can't just stick it in the mail the moment you decide to adopt. You have to know a lot of details in order to fill in the blanks...details that you don't know on day 1. But we're happy to say that we've now got the details now!

I was a sweaty mess at the post office, making sure I filled in every blank correctly, wrote out the check properly, attached the right documents...one little mistake and they send it back and you have start all over. Rude. We'll see if I got it right!

Here are a few more pictures from my girlie trip to Sedona. When you get together with your girlfriends who you haven't seen in a year and a half, you tend to do a whole lot-o-nuthin' except flap your gums.

Here are some of our more exciting (code word for "super-dorky") moments:

We went to breakfast in our jammies...

We sat in the hot tub in the cold rain...

We got eaten by the piranhas...

We went to a ghost town called Jerome and ate ice cream...

We found a toy store owned by a dude who looked like Pee Wee Herman...

We tried on flower-headbands in a vintage clothing store...

We were total posers in the Mexican restaurant...

Mostly, we had a good ol' time...







3.07.2010

Ain't nothin' like 'em...

...best friends.


I got to see all of them yesterday, as we congregated happily in the Phoenix airport. It was such a fun reunion. We get to spend 4 whole days together, and it's already going by way too quickly.

After piling all of our luggage (I had the most...go figure) into our rental car, we drove 2 hours north to Sedona...the land of beautiful red rocks. We drove straight to the Pink Jeep Tours and met up with Tim, our driver. He took us out on the most crazy-sauce 4-wheel drive roads - at times we thought our jeep would tump over. (Tump...it's a technical word)


We were able to take some beautiful pictures, squeal as we drove over huge boulders, and laugh a lot. Can't wait for the rest of our weekend....



3.01.2010

Isaiah 30:18



"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him."
(emphasis mine)


We're only in the beginning stages of this excruciatingly long waiting game. Waiting on emails, waiting on paperwork to come back, waiting on appointment dates to get here. And we haven't even gotten to the point where there's nothing left for us to do but wait! At least we have the distraction of paperwork right now.

I love this verse. It takes my waiting and wraps it up in God's compassion. The same Hebrew word for "longs" is the same word used a few phrases later for "wait". The word is haka, and it means "to hope for, long for." So while our hearts long to see our son, I'm humbled and awed to know that my Creator King longs right along with us. He knows how my heart feels, and most likely isn't thinking..."Eh...it's a good lesson in patience. She'll get over it."

He's longing with me.
2.28.2010

1st home study appointment today

I really need to quit typing this post and go make beds, wipe down bathroom sinks, and make sure all my cleaning supplies are put away properly (don't want anyone thinking we aren't safe around here!).

We didn't get to go to church this morning. Lucas has to finish with his MAJOR inspection at work, and Jane has strep. So, the bummer is we didn't get to go to church. The upside is that I have a few unexpected extra hours to get my house in order.

Our wonderful social worker will be here at 3:00. I'm excited to finally meet her - she seems really sweet and came highly recommended by my good friend Stefanie, who used her. I just hope our friendly resident mouse (we'll call him Leonard) doesn't decide to make an appearance while she is here. He showed his face on Thursday morning. I can't seem to kill him - that sucker is fast and he doesn't seem to be interested in my mouse poison. Leonard, please stay hidden this afternoon!!! I will give you a cheese reward if you do!

Since I haven't posted any pictures, which heretofore makes my blog really boring, I thought I would do so today. Here's Jane and Addy, showing me how to floss their teeth. They think they're so grown up now that they "know" how to floss.


I will hopefully post tomorrow about what a successful home study visit we had, and that none of the dead bodies in the basement were discovered. Oops...didn't mean to let that one slip.

PS - I'm KIDDING about the dead bodies. I repeat...I'm KIDDING! There are no dead bodies in my basement. None. None-point-none.

PSS - Why do mice feel, as they wander around my home as uninvited guests, that they have the right to just poop anywhere they please? "Oh, this looks like a nice little space to take a dump...right under this lady's sink. Don't mind if I do." Rude.



2.27.2010

Could it be?

...that we've actually made a decision? Why yes, we have!

Ever since last Friday, when we were told the boys were going to another family, we've felt like we were flailing, not knowing which agency we should use and which country we should choose. It was maddening. We had received no clear direction from God as to which way we should go.

Then on Wednesday, I went back to Gladney's site for some odd reason. I had never been attracted to them and their boring green and white site. However, I started nosing around and found their Rwanda program, which piqued my interest. After reading every single word on their site about their Rwanda program, and speaking to three different peeps at Gladney, I was feeling really good about this. Talked to Lucas...he was in!

I filled out Gladney's pre-application (apparently you have to apply to apply with them), and sent it in, along with 50 bucks. The minute I clicked 'Send', Lucas turned on the TV. And what do you think was on the cable's Guide, in big blaring letters?? HOTEL RWANDA! I love it when God does stuff like that.

So, watch out, Rwanda...here come the Jobes.



2.20.2010

Moving on

We finally got our answer from Holt yesterday about the boys. It was a "no".

I was sad at first, since we've been looking at their faces for nearly six weeks. But I was very careful to try not to attach myself to them. (aka - I didn't look at their pictures 10 times a day, and obsess over what middle names I would give them...okay, maybe I did that a little.)

But Lucas was very positive when I called him with the news. He's so good like that. We know that God's got our children picked out for us, and we trust that He's been doing some big things while we waited for those boys all these weeks!

We're not sure where we're going as of yet - still researching various African countries, programs and agencies, as well as independent adoption. We are confident God will lead us in the right direction.

In the mean time, we will focus our efforts on finishing our home study (our NON-Hold home study :) ), getting our fingerprints cleared, getting immigration approved and praying, praying, praying....



2.12.2010

Thursday, Thursday

That's the big day! This Thurday (the 18th), we'll know for sure if the two brothers in Ethi0pia will be matched with us.

I'm terrified of either answer at this point. If they say no, I'll be so sad to move on from them. And if they say YES, our adoption shenanigans will have officially become real. The reality of adoption can be quite scary, as opposed to the romantic notion of "rescuing a child". Trust me - I've read enough "preparing yourself for adoption" books to scare the snot out of me!

However, if these our the boys that God has handpicked for our family, then I will trust that He knows what He's doin'.


2.03.2010

Mama Dollar and Papa Dollar

In case you've never seen "It's a Wonderful Life", that's where the title came from. Just so you're not left wondering. I love that movie. Enough about that...moving on.

Lucas and I have been waffling and delaying regarding the choice of an agency. They boys that we're currently trying to be matched with are on the waiting child list at Holt. One doesn't need to be "in" with Holt in order to be matched with one of their waiting children. Now, if a family matched, that's a different story. You would have to use them for the rest of the adoption process.

While we're waiting for this committee to meet (and wait and wait and wait, week after week after week), there's a whole lot of nuthin' going on in our adoption process. No home study started, no fingerprints being printed...nuthin'. So every week that's delayed is one more week that it tacked on to this whole process. Our original thought was that if we weren't matched with the boys, then we'd move on to another agency. I had a problem with Holt's phat home study fees, and the fact that they made you use their home study peeps, as opposed to getting one done on your own (for a much better price) and then submitting it to them.

However, Holt is an excellent, reputable agency. What's a few thousand extra dollars? Ugh!

Therefore, we have decided to delay no further. We officially put all our eggs in the Holt basket in order get this ball rollin'. We've filled out the "official" application and have sent them our first wad of adoption cash, aka Mama Dollar and Papa Dollar. They are stuck with us till the end.

Mountain of paperwork, here we come!

That's all I have to say about that.

The end.



1.29.2010

Our hat's in the ring, baby!

It's official. Not really. I just like to say that. But we kinda are. We are officially in the ring to be considered for the two precious boys from the waiting child list at Holt. Don't know if we stand a chance to be matched with them, as we're "up against" a family who has previously adopted and is already paper-ready. I don't really like to say "up against", because regardless, these fellas are going to get a home and a mom and a dad and siblings to love them.

The committee meeting is on Thursday. It's gonna be a LONG week!



A booketh I have readeth

Okay, so I know my blog is boring, thus far.

No pictures. No exciting news. Yet.

So, I thought I'd bore you by telling you about a book Lucas and I read. The most exciting thing about this post is that we each read this fatty book in less than a day. I know...we're wicked-fast readers. Our lightning speed-reading was due to the fact that we were highly motivated - our social worker wouldn't let us proceed with the boys in Ethi0pia until we had read this book.

"Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child", in case you can't read that for yourself. It's actually a scary book - lots of "worst case scenarios" about various behaviors one might see in an older adopted child. It was a very eye-opening book, though. A book everyone should read if they're considering adopting an "older" child. Gotta prepare yourself.

The one thing it doesn't take into consideration, however, is God. THE most important factor, in my opinion. Will it be hard? Yes. Will there be nutty temper tantrums that I don't know how to deal with? For sure. (Ugh!) Might there be poop smeared on the bathroom walls? Possibly. (I shudder to think.) But this I know for SURE. God has asked us to adopt. If He's asked us, and we obey, what makes me think that He won't provide for our EVERY need? He will. He always does.

"My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber."
Psalm 121:2,3


1.25.2010

Wait, wait, wait...

Probably the most annoying word to anyone pursuing adoption. And that's what we're doing...waiting.

Waiting to get the full file on these cute fellas so we can pour over it and pray over it to see if we can move forward with them.

Waiting to hear if the agency will match them with our family, despite their reservations about the boys' ages mixed with our girls' ages.

Waiting to hear God's voice - YES these are your boys! Or NO, move on.

So we wait, (somewhat) patiently.



1.16.2010

I hope

We've found a pair of brothers! They're not ours (yet) - they haven't been assigned or referred. But the agency is reviewing our application to see if we'd be a match. The turtle's pace during this process is killing me!

I found the boys last week on an agency's Waiting Child List, before Lucas and I ever had the discussion of "let's start the adoption process." After we decided it was finally time to start, we put in our application with the agency. And then suddenly they were gone...being looked at by another family. I was disappointed.

Fast-forward 5 days, and the agency is calling me, asking if we might still be interested in these fellas. What?!?!?!?!?! So we're waiting, with hope, that they will say that the boys are a "good fit" for our family, so that we can proceed with the mountain of paperwork.

These sweet boys are in Ethiopia, and are ages 3 and 5. The three year old has club feet, but it's being corrected, so they are both considered special needs (the other one is because he is "old").

I've seen their faces. Gasp! I'm in love already...



1.14.2010

It's true...

My couch is ugly. And small. It's a love-seat, actually, and I love it for a small handful of reasons:

Number 1: It was my sweet grandmother's couch. She was a shorty, at 4'11", so she had no need for a long ol' couch. I had the privilege of living with her in college - no one else on campus had a 76 year old roommate. I inherited it from her after she went home to be with Jesus. The right arm of 'said couch' has a worn spot where she used to rest her little head while watching Law & Order reruns every night.

Number 2: It's soft and squishy.

But the big fat reason I love my ugly couch is because it's a reminder of our priorities (mine and my husband's). It means that we are beginning to value things of this world less and less, and are seeking the things that touch the heart of God more and more. It means that rather than saving up for a big new sectional-with-chaise-lounger, we'll be spending and saving our money for things that really matter. Like bringing little ones home to live with us. To give them a family and a home and lots and lots of love.

And this is why I have started this blog. Not necessarily so everyone can read my mind-numbing posts, but to chronicle this amazing, overwhelming journey so that someday he/she/they can read about it. And also because I have a weak-sauce memory, and if it ain't down on "paper", I won't remember it.

And mostly to give God His worthy, all-deserved glory. Thank You for putting sweet, precious orphans on our hearts.

I design blogs, too...

Weaksauce Blogs

Kigali, Rwanda

Adoption Timeline

  • Since 2007 - thinking, praying, talking about adopting
  • 01.07.10 - Found a pair of brothers in Ethiopia on Holt's waiting child list
  • 01.10.10 - Lucas said "let's get the adoption ball rolling!" Applied with Holt's Waiting Child program
  • 02.01.10 - Spent our first official adoption dollar and applied with Holt
  • 02.02.10 - 02.18.10 - Delay, delay, delay. Wait, wait, wait for Holt to have their committee meeting to choose a family for the brothers.
  • 02.19.10 - A different family was chosen for boys in Ethiopia. We're moving on.
  • 02.25.10 - Applied with Gladney's Rwanda program.
  • 02.28.10 - First home study meeting with our social worker. I hope my house is child-proof enough!
  • 03.01.10 - Applied with Mugisha Ministries to help us with an independent adoption. Received renewed passports in the mail.
  • 03.03.10 - Fingerprinted for state and local backgroud checks.
  • 03.06.10 - Accepted by Mugisha Ministries!
  • 03.10.10 - Mailed I-600a
  • 03.11.10 - Mailed our birth and marriage certificates back to HI and AR for authentication.
  • 03.14.10 - Home study visit #2
  • 03.15.10 - Realized I messed up the fee on my I-600a. Waiting for its return. Started online adoption training.
  • 3.20.10 - Received our Immigration rejection and sent them the rest of our fingerprinting fees.
  • 4.2.10 - Completed home study received in the mail

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