Thursday, December 2, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
This year was especially special because we were able to have [T] sealed to our family. A sealing is a simple ceremony done inside the temple to show that before the eyes of God and the church, [T] is part of our family from now on and forever. It was a very special day for us to make our family complete. Below is a picture of us right before we entered the temple. It snowed the night before our sealing so the world turned a beautiful white winterscape.
Snowing the night before also meant that our kids got to have a day playing in the snow! We don't see snow very often, maybe for one day a year, here in Aviano, so snow is a real treat. Also, I think it was [T]'s first time seeing snow. I'm not sure what she thought of it, but we had a great time having a snowball fight and running around in the snow. After [T] watched us a bit to see what we did with the stuff, she was happy to join in as well--a least a little. I think she mostly thought it was cold. [I] and [A] didn't let a little cold stop them and spent most of the day outside!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
First day of school! So maybe that was a month ago, at least I posted it, right? Notice what hams my children are.
[T] in the hospital with her big splint on. This is while we were waiting for them to open up an operating room for us so they could decide whether to do surgery or not. She looks pretty happy for a girl who wasn't allowed to eat from 8pm Friday night to 3pm Saturday.
Here are my "twins" at the welcome shower for [T]. [K] did most of the unwrapping for her. I think [K] is trying to remind me that he never got a birthday party this year. Neither did the other boys. Poor boys. :(
Finally we have a family photo! It's not the best photo ever, but it took us forever to just get this one. We brought both of our cameras with us to this location and both ran out of batteries trying to get a few pictures. Luckily one turned out okay, because we weren't able to take any more.
[I] is in 2nd grade this year. He is 8 years old. The other night at bedtime, [D] was talking to the boys about random things when [I] starts this conversation:
[I]: When do you start doing math with letters?
[D]: What do you mean?
[I]: Math with letters like a+b?
[D]: (After a moment of shock, he explains the basics of algebra) Are there kids in your class doing math with letters?
[I]: No, I just saw some kid.
**The conversations continues, leading to college. Can I just add that I didn't know what college was until I was in high school--[I] is 8**
[I]: Are there good colleges and bad colleges? (You should know that [I] decided about 2 years ago that he is going to design games when he gets older. He has already made us do quite a bit of research about it, found websites to create his own game, and designs games on paper all the time.)
[D]: Yes. For example if you go to MIT you could get a job almost anywhere. But you have to get good grades to go there.
[I]: Do I have to go to MIT?
[I]: How do you find out if a college is good or not. Can you find out about colleges online?
[I]: Can we look now?
[D]: No, it's bedtime. We'll have to do that later.
This response worked until after school the next day when [I] asked me to research colleges for him. I answered that we needed to homework first and I needed to make dinner, so we would have to wait until later that night. [I] did not forget and when [D] came home, [D] and [I] researched different colleges that would be good if you wanted to go into designing games. Yes, [I] has a plan and he amazes me all the time that his brain works this way.
It just so happens that [K] has this super cute pouty face that I've been trying to get a picture of for ages because it just makes me laugh every time. I thought I was finally getting a picture this time, but the camera was set to video. Here is the result. It is only a few seconds long but I hope you see why it makes me laugh--he's really just too cute!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Tuesday began our real saga with the Italian Embassy. (No pictures today since taking pictures of an embassy is just a really bad idea.) They had recently made a change to their policy (starting June 1st) where they no longer made appointments for visa applications. Instead you had to show up at 8:30am outside the gates and they would allow around 12 applicants inside. So of course we showed up early, not wanting to be #13 in line. So we waited with [T] in tow from 7:45 – 8:30am to be admitted inside the gate. Then we spent a few minutes in the gates but outside the building. At 8:45am they let us inside the building into a tiny room with only enough space for about 20 chairs and that many people. We sat down and waited until a bit after 9am for them to start helping people. We were called as one of the first people because they must have thought we had Italian citizenship when Dan said he worked there. Getting in didn’t help us, though, because we didn’t have the paperwork he wanted—specifically the US Visa in [T]’s passport, but he also listed a few things we didn’t have such as our marriage certificate and a printout of our travel itinerary in and out of Italy. (We had the one out of Ethiopia, but not of our trip to the US.) They also said that if we came on Friday (since we wouldn’t be getting the visa from the US Embassy until Thursday) they could not get the Schengen Visa completed until the following Mon at the very earliest. We left a bit discouraged. Plus, I will not go into detail, but it is no small ordeal to get a page printed off the internet here, so getting our missing documents printed took about a full day. It may not sound long, but think about how most people have a printer at home and can print something in a few seconds.
To make sure Tuesday was a very full day, our agency then took us on a shopping trip with the other adoptive families then home for lunch and off to the US embassy in the afternoon.
Two embassies in one day is 2 too many. I will say that the US Embassy was much nicer to deal with. They have two waiting rooms for people coming for Visas and one had a big play area for children. While there were twice the number of people there—many who were also adopting children, our wait time was probably about the same. We were at the Italian Embassy from 7:45-9:30am and at the American Embassy from 3:00pm to 5:15 or so. At least [T] had something to do while we were waiting which made the time go much quicker.
So this is how the process goes. When it is your turn, you go up to a window with a worker behind it. They ask you some questions about the adoption and how your child became available for adoption. A form is filled out and signed and that is about it. Our worker was amazing! He was nice and we kept joking with him. We expressed how we needed to make sure we got an IR-3 instead of an IR-4 Visa because of our living in Italy, and he made sure to get that done. We then joked about how this process was so much better than going to the Italian Embassy—and joked about how they must be bitter about losing in the World Cup. Then, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it came up how we really could use some help speeding up the process since we did have to work with the Italians. He quickly talked to his co-worker and it was done—our Visa would be done the next day by 3:30pm instead of the normal two-day wait. We were ecstatic!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday we got to pick up [T] from the Thomas Center, her orphanage. She was pretty excited to see us, but I think it has more to do with base personality. She has a way of just tackling anything that is thrown at her head on. Plus, we found out later that [T] always loved going in the car to anywhere--just as long as she was going. So maybe she was so excited because she knew she was going somewhere, but I also hope that she remembered us a little from when we came out and visited her in Oct. In any case, she was more than happy to leave her home for the last year and start this new adventure.
This day was spend mostly sitting around different places. First at the orphanage after meeting the nannies and letting [T] say goodbye, we had to wait for the other families to do the same. Then we moved to the CHI office there in Addis Ababa while each family took their turn checking through and preparing paperwork for the embassy appointment the next day. It is a little difficult to try to get to know your new daughter while sitting in a room with a group of people you have just met, above your agency's offices, with no toys for a couple of hours. It wasn't bad or annoying, but a weird way to spend the first several hours with a 3 year old that is suddenly mine.
So this whole time we thought we were adopting a 2 year old and that [K] and [T] would be almost exactly a year apart. We still believed this last October when we went to visit [T] at the orphanage. She was just learning to walk then and the right size for a 15 month old. So when we showed up this time with a bunch of 18 month and 2T size clothing, we weren’t expecting to find a 3 year old. Since she was abandoned, they guessed her age when she was found. Our guess is that the conditions she lived under before going to the orphanage must have caused her to be delayed in her development, but under the great care of the Thomas Center she was able to catch up more to her actual age. So it looks like we have twins now (or at least close to it). And we are here in Ethiopia with a bunch of clothes that are way too small for her (she’s wearing a lot of capris and mini skirts—with capris under the skirts).
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Sunday was very uneventful. We slept in and found out that ALL the families that are picking up children from CHI were staying in the same guest house as us. This is very unusual but worked out great for us because we were all able to get to know each other very well and not have to spend any extra time picking up and dropping off people all over the city. (There was another family there with a different agency who said they would spend almost 2 hours picking up everyone in the group from their different hotels/guest houses.) We all just lazed around most of the day and checked and re-checked all of our paperwork, clothes, and diapers for the next day. Happy birthday to me! A very weird sort of birthday it was, right on the brink of picking up a daughter. I don't think I have words to express it.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooo EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Now it looks like [A] is busy chasing the ball, but no, he is just playing in the dirt. When I asked him why he kept laying down in the dirt, he replied, " 'cause I'm bored." So instead, he would pretend he was sliding to catch a ball. To be honest, it wasn't all boring. [A] had some fun. As proof I give you exhibit B, C, and D!
This time he actually is going after the ball (it's at his feet).
Up to bat!
Coming in to home base!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
A little pre-baptism advice.
All of us!
Friday, May 21, 2010
We are pleased to announce to the world that we are now the proud parents of [T] Hatcher. Our adoption court date was today and we passed court, so now in the eyes of the Ethiopia and the world, we are officially her parents.
We are so excited!!! We will be traveling in July to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick up [T] and accomplish the immigration paperwork at the US embassy . We will be traveling from Italy to Ethiopia and then directly to the United States.
Thank you all for all of your prayers and support while we have been waiting for this day over the last 2 years. Please continue to pray for us as we wait for our appointment time with the US embassy.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It was pretty gross at the doctor's office going from the doctor's office to the casting office. His foot just jiggled at the end of his leg when he hopped on his crutches. You could just see that it wasn't attached to anything inside. I was going to video it, but then I thought better of it since it was really disturbing.
A week after that doctor's visit, we went in for surgery. This is the boot [D] came home with.
This boot was so big that [D] couldn't even get pants over it. He had to wear shorts the whole time--even to church. He had this on for 2 weeks after the surgery.
Here is [D] a couple of days post-op. You can tell it was a couple of days because he's smiling. Those first 2 days were rather uncomfortable for him. I dragged a twin mattress down from upstairs and put it into our storage room on the first floor next to the bathroom. That is where [D] stayed for the first 3 or so days post-op since he wasn't allowed to go upstairs where our bedroom is. He was only allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom--to which he mostly crawled since the change of pressure when standing up really hurt his foot.
K seems to think that adequate winter clothing includes a hat, coat, gloves, and boots--pants completely optional.
I had a whole roll of paper and A. and K. made some beautiful murals!
K. will do anything for the chance to play in water. I've had to become very creative to find ways to let him play without making huge messes. I'm not all that successful since our bathroom is flooded at least once a week. Thank goodness our house is all tile!
Mom caught sleeping on the job.
Where's my children?
Oh, there they are!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Then came the phone call--from the emergency room. D had ruptured his Achilles tendon. Yes, it's a 95% tear. We spent a stressful day trying to find out if he would come home for the surgery or stay there. Well, he has gotten to come home, although the flight home was not great (every flight was delayed and thus he missed every connection). Although D tells me flying with your foot in a splint was horrible, he did get to go through all the airports in a wheelchair, and thus go through all the secret passageways of the airports.
The next phone call I got was to tell me that the base surgeon was out of town. That person thought the surgeon would not be back until the 20th or so, but luckily the surgeon will be back on Tuesday. It's still a much longer wait between injury and surgery than it should be, but I think I would have gone mad with worry if D had the surgery in S. Carolina with no one to help him.
So, I guess I will post an update after Tuesday when we know more about when the surgery will be, etc. What we can definitely count on is at least 6 months of rehab. D has never broken a bone or seriously sprained anything, so I guess this is his way of making up for it. As for the deployment coming up . . . we don't know how this will effect it, but I'm sure we'll find out soon.
(I'll post a picture of gimpy D soon!)