Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feeling more hopeful today

I spoke with our agency today. They had just got off the phone with our agency over in Addis. They said that they have had requests for our missing pieces before and they are hopeful that they can get our missing items into their office by the end of this week or next week. This is such good news. On Monday, we were looking at no timeline but possibly months... it sounded very grim. However, a two week delay is FAR better than a two month delay! Here we are hoping again. It's very weird but I think it's safe to say that you can't stop someone from hoping. After this most recent excitement being dashed I told myself to stop hoping so it didn't hurt so bad when bad news came. I REALLY tried to take today's good news in stride and not get excited but it didn't work. My heart jumped in my chest and I called Amos right away. There are no guarantees that our stuff will come in by the end of this week or next week but it gives me hope that someone thinks it can be done:) And even if it doesn't come in, this new hope gets me through the day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I don't even know...

I hope you all don't think I'm cranky and mean but I have a favor to ask. Please don't ask me how things are going or who's fault this all is. I have no answers. The embassy can choose to pick on any one's case and ours has things that don't meet the standards. What we don't have could take a long time to get. This, again, isn't a matter of just slipping it in and saying, "Oops sorry we forgot that!". It's dates and spelling that should have been filled out more completely by various people. The agency has to go back out and find those people and have them REDO forms. They get mad because they feel the US is too picky (and I agree!) so they don't get right on it if you know what I mean. It requires sending requests for documents and then waiting for them to come it. God only knows how many weeks it will be.
I'm not getting on a plane on Friday. The embassy specifically told me not to.
I'm enraged, sad and empty. The sucky thing about all this is that life goes on. I have a school to run, dinner to make and a pet bunny to feed:) I'll be plugging along but it would make it easier if you don't ask any questions or try to offer something helpful to say because I'm constantly fighting tears as it is.
Thanks and hugs to all you supportive, loving friends. I'll just be in my hole until this ends.


We got word last Friday that our case was submitted! That was so exciting. However, Amos got an email this morning from the embassy saying we need 3 more things. Can you believe it?! It's random stuff and it doesn't even really matter if I list them or not. This whole process is so ridiculous. I'm fuming. The email from the embassy specifically says, "Tell the family NOT to make travel plans until they hear from us...".

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Okay all you eager beavers who like to stay on top of what's going on with our adoption...
After getting word from the embassy that we should submit yesterday, I got an email this morning from our attorney asking me to quickly scan and email our I-864W and visa. I was so confused because I was told to fill out the I-864 (no W) and my scanned visa was emailed to the agency months ago. I yanked Amos out of bed at 6AM and told him we needed to fill out another I-864 and scan and email all 8 pages along with my visa (again). We knew that we didn't get it to our attorney in time to be submitted before the embassy closed but there was nothing else we could do. I got a call from our agency today saying that the embassy screwed up. They wouldn't allow us to submit without a I-864W (which is not relevant to our situation) and Amos' visa (that doesn't exist because he didn't travel to Ethiopia with me in February). Our attorney was livid and our agency got all fired up because the embassy has been doing this with families often lately and it doesn't make any sense. So.... the lady at our agency is going to stay up late tonight and call the embassy in Addis to let them know that they are insisting on papers that aren't relevant and don't exist. She is going to ask them to let us submit today because it was their error that made us miss our deadline.
On top of that, the embassy is all booked up with the massive flow from the 800 MOWA cases that just recently got shoved through with our case. They are having to book embassy appointments a couple weeks out instead of a couple days.
I still plan on traveling to Ethiopia next Friday or around there because we are getting so close and these stupid little things will get sorted out. I just may be there a few more weeks than planned.
Seriously, I am not surprised by anything anymore. If this was a different situation and we weren't trying to bring our little guy home, this process would be hilarious.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh YEAH!!!

I got an email from the embassy this morning when I got to work! You should have been there! I screamed and jumped up and down in my office:) It basically said, "Tell your agency to bring your case in on your next submittal day (Thursday). We asked for this new document but we will not deny your case without it." CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! So... there is a possibility that the person reviewing our case could ask for more documents but we are on our way! It usually takes about 3 or 4 days to hear from the embassy whether or not our case is approved or not. If we hear on Tuesday (which is when most of my friends have heard) that our case was approved, I will fly out on Thursday or Friday of next week (26th or 27th). I WILL FINALLY GET TO TAKE CUSTODY OF KEPLER! So, we wait again...until Tuesday:)
I cannot tell you the joy I feel right now. Nothing can take away my happy! I'm going to Ethiopia and I'm coming home in a few weeks so we can begin our new life together as a family! Take that!
Amos is so excited too. He will be meeting his son for the first time in a couple weeks:)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Last Effort

We heard back from our attorney in Addis today. Apparently he requested this missing information months ago. The hang up is in Kepler's home region. Kepler comes from a very remote farming village. Attempts to meet up with government officials have all failed. When our agency tries to set up appointments, government officials don't show up. I guess this has happened a couple times. It boils down to the fact that I won't be able to do much from here OR there. It's been 13 weeks of waiting. There is no telling if our missing document will come in tomorrow or in another 13 weeks. It's a bit scary to think that I may not see Amos for months if I hop a plane.
I had emailed the US embassy earlier this week and they said that as of January they asked agencies to include this new documentation in the court process IF POSSIBLE. Amos and I are sitting down to email them back asking if we can be excused from this rule because we have done everything we possibly can do to get them but with no success. In the past, I have heard back quickly. My hope and prayer is that they will let us submit without these documents and we can be submitted this Thursday. Please pray that the person reading our email and the one looking over our case at the embassy has compassion on us and lets us through!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It pays to know people

I had a firm discussion with our agency today. I told them the Amos and I NEED to know the exact steps required to get us to embassy. We also want to know which of those steps have already been done and how close we are rather than holding our breath every Thursday just to hear "Your documents haven't arrived but he's on it". I want to know if this is something I can travel to Kepler's region to get to speed things along.
While this was all taking place I had also been emailing a friend of a friend who happens to live in Addis. She got back to me today stating that I don't need to worry about a time limit. I can stay with her until this whole thing is sorted out! Seriously?! I was so excited because this means I can go, take custody of Kepler and stay with a kind American who works a lot at a hospital and is welcoming me into her home with open arms. She even said, "I won't even know you're there. I work a lot but I have a cook, a guard and a housekeeper. It's much easier than life in Seattle." This is HUGE because now I have time to spend with Kepler and a place to stay for FREE while all this document stuff gets sorted!
We may be buying tickets this weekend depending on what our attorney says about our case in the next couple of days!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More drama

We were not submitted yet again last Thursday. It has been 12 weeks since court and almost 4 weeks since our case was denied at embassy due to lacking details on the occupation and address of the witness to Kepler's birth mother's testimony in our case. We were so angry and heartbroken last Friday to hear AGAIN that we were not submitted. One thing that makes us so mad is that our agency is not giving us any information on what is taking 4 weeks to get done. We are told the same thing every time I call: "He's on it." , meaning our attorney is on it. I have very little confidence in this because if he was truly 'on it' we would be getting some information about the process or what is hanging it up.
Amos and I wrestled with all the facts and info that other adoptee parents have given us about their cases, the process and our agency. We have decided to put me on a plane this coming week. If we are not submitted again this Thursday I will be on my way to hire another attorney to work our case. A friend who was stuck in Ethiopia for 4 months had to use a third party attorney to get her and her baby home. She said that this other attorney was able to do in 2 weeks what our current attorney couldn't manage to do in 4 months. What we are hearing over and over again is that our agency is wonderful if you have no problems. If you are one of the cases on the conveyor belt that just moves along, you're good to go. However, case after case where people ran into issues with paperwork or extra stuff that needs to be done are shoved to the back burner. All of a sudden the lady at the agency is never available and you are told to wait and wait and wait. We're done with being put on the back burner and I'm going over there to get this done so we can bring Kepler home! Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just to let you know...

Hello Friends and Family,
We are breathing much easier now that we are waiting for the call with current fingerprints:) I will be caught up in a crazy rush to hop a plane to get to our little guy in a couple weeks so I thought I would let you all in on our plans for Kepler when he first arrives home.
We love you all and are so thankful for your support in our adoption. Everyone is welcome to come to the airport to welcome us home when Kepler and I (and Alison!) get off the plane. This will be a tearful, happy celebration and I would love to see you all there as we embark on this new adventure of Kepler's arrival into our family. You all will get to see Daddy Amos meet his little guy for the first time!
When Kepler first arrives, we are going to hide out at home a bit. The only life Kepler knows is the SOS EE orphanage. Adjusting to Amos and I and our home is going to be a big deal. As lovely as it is for him to have a mom and dad and home, it is completely new to him and will be very stressful. We want to give him calm time to adjust to his new life with us. When we feel he is getting comfortable, we would love to have company or visit you. You are welcome to play with him and talk to him but we are going to ask that you leave his feeding and emotional comfort to us. This may seem silly but Kepler needs to learn what parents do. He needs to learn to trust Amos and I to meet his physical and emotional needs:)
Thanks for understanding!
Hugs to you all!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A load off our minds

Wow. Yesterday I had this idea to camp out at the USCIS office and beg for mercy. Amos and I went in early this morning to try to get fingerprinted. Usually this process takes months. You fill out a request form and mail it in. They mail your appointment slip to you in a few weeks. Your appointment is usually 3 weeks- a month out. You go get fingerprinted and they mail you an approval notice. We did it in ONE DAY! We had to get past the front desk lady, the guy who handles "special cases with no appointment" and the guy who ultimately decides if our case is important enough. Amazingly, we were allowed in to wait for someone else to not show up for their appointment. And bless their hearts, someone didn't show up and we got to go back and get fingerprinted!!!
This means that we have until August (when our I-600a expires). This is a load off our minds because we were out of time. Now we can wait more patiently and do things by the book. I'll get to visit Kepler for a few days before taking him and there is still hope that I will get to meet his birth mother in their home village.
Thank you God! And thanks for the prayers everyone!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One more week

I'm surprisingly calm as I right this latest entry in the world of adoption delays. I think God knew I was on the edge of insanity- maybe this is the coma I've been hoping for:)
Amos called the agency today to find out if we were submitted to embassy. We weren't. The paperwork from Kepler's village didn't come in. We found out that there is a chance that the embassy will allow our attorney to submit our case on Friday since we had to submit a day early due to a Muslim holiday on our usual submitting day. We'll see. There is a chance they won't let us and there is a chance that our stuff won't be in by Friday either. If that is the case, we should get submitted next Thursday. I know you are all saying, "But wait! I thought this was the last possible day to submit?!" It is if I want to go to Kepler's village and meet his birth mom (which is VERY important to us!). However, if we aren't able to, we will write to her. It just might HAVE to be that I fly out as soon as our paperwork is submitted and pick up Kepler from the orphanage without any visits and then go to the embassy the next day. Hopefully they'll work with us. We've heard that they are very accommodating once your stuff is submitted and you are in the country.
We also found out this week that 4 weeks ago all the kids at Kepler's orphanage got the chicken pox:( Poor baby- wish I was there to put socks on his hands and snuggle him:(
Prayers and more prayers please...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It got worse

Even thought it's been a few days since our saga got worse, I am just now getting to blogging about it. I think I have officially cried ALL my tears out. I can now see clearly enough to type this:) The paperwork we overnighted got to our agency in time but it was the WRONG paperwork. They were supposed to send us an I-600 and they accidentally sent us the I-600a form. I felt so bad for the poor girl that rushed it to us quickly and made the mistake. She felt horrible. That is something I would have done! Anyway, when we found this out we looked at the overnight times for mailing and the days we have left to get it to Ethiopia before we run out of time. There weren't enough days unless we got them the paperwork that afternoon. Amos and I jumped in the car and drove from Seattle to Banks, Oregon. The staff stayed until we arrived there at 3:30. We handed it over and took a picture together:) It was really nice to see the lovely faces of the folks that we have talked to on the phone for 2 years! 10 minutes after arriving in Banks, we left Banks and headed home.
This last week has been unbelievably difficult. I had to squeeze in business quarterly taxes during all of this as well as track down our missing business checks that were supposedly mailed to us weeks ago. I was thankful that someone blundered and forgot to mail them rather than someone was out there writing checks from my business! I was feeling a lot like Job this week. It feels like we are running to try to catch a boat and someone keeps throwing things in our path that we have to jump over and go around.
Even though we know that the paperwork we needed to get in should get there on time, we have NO IDEA what is happening in Ethiopia with the missing paperwork that needs to be in our file before we can submit to the embassy. This is the hardest part.
I feel like I don't have anything left. I'm numb and empty.