Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!!! What a Surprise!

After receiving the 171h on Saturday, I wanted to be sure that I emailed it the most effective, efficient way possible to WACAP. So I emailed Megan (our adoption coordinator) to touch base and get her input. Her response was that she was snowed in and unable to get to the office, but wanted to chat with me on Monday. About mid-afternoon, I received a call and was excited to let her know that we were anxious to get put on the waiting list, knowing that we could now settle in for a few weeks...or find out who our new little guy would be.

Surprise! Surprise! Megan says, "Well, I have some news for you." response..."Really? Is it good news?"...Megan..."Let's just say, I think your family will have wonderful Christmas after you hear the news!" YES! You guessed it! We got a referral! My mind was whirling...I still can't remember much of the conversation as the emotion flooded over me!

We chatted about him for a while...still reeling...and I got off the phone to immediately check my email for more information....there it amazingly handsome photo of little Yonas! He is 8 years old....and apparently a bit of a prankster....thinking he might fit in perfect in our house where there never seems to be a dull moment! hahaha!

So....we are all still reeling a few days later....there are framed photos of him in every room of the house...and conversations about how our lives have truly just changed for the better can be heard throughout the day...

We may be traveling as soon as late winter/early some point it will all sink much to do...where do I start? For now, I am just constantly looking in the direction of that handsome little guy and wondering what next Christmas morning will be like in our living room!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Got it!!!!!!!

Yay!!!!! Today we received our 171h from immigration! That means at the beginning of the week we will officially go on the waiting list for a specific child! Unbelievable! I can't believe we are at this point!

We went out to dinner last night and ate at a chinese food fortune cookie said..."A small gift will bring joy to your whole family!" appropriate! :)

I emailed the coordinator at WACAP tonight, knowing that she would not get my email until Monday...surprise! surprise! she checked her email at home and sent me a response that said it shouldn't be long for the referral! Amazing!!!!

Thank you to all of out there saying prayers and waiting along with us!!!!!...hopefully, it won't be long now!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yay! Alina is home from her week in NYC....once again, I am reminded of how blessed we are. What a great opportunity for her and so many other kids to see and experience things they never dreamed of. Rockefeller Center, Hard Rock Cafe, Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan Skyline dinner cruise, Wicked on Broadway, and a spot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Unbelievable!

We topped our week off tonight with a few hours ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Belk's. It was a great family experience...I highly recommend can go to the Salvation Army website and volunteer to be a part of this wonderful way to give back!

We sang n danced n drank cappucino n hot was chilly willy, but loads of fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a week.....

I received the final authenticated piece of paperwork for the dossier this week...and signed all of the paperwork for WACAP to begin the official Ethiopian we sit and wait for the I171h from Immigration...this tiny single piece of paper is what places us in a holding pattern for being placed on the official waiting list for a referral...ahhh and I am told in North Carolina it could be weeksor even months...I could barely type that sentence. Just typing it made me feel like I accept that possibility, and I absolutely do not. My mental chosen deadline before panic mode is December 15...but of course I have a sadness episode everyday when I open the mailbox and it isn't there.

On a happier note! Alina is headed off to NYC tomorrow for her Macy's adventure! The band, in uniform, marched through the halls of the high school yesterday. My beautiful kids in my class were so overjoyed to see it that one of them actually burst into tears! What an amazing blessing to see the innocence and excitement and how little it takes to bring them true happiness! I love what I do!

Keep your eyes on the Macy's Parade! Feel the Teal and watch for the West Johnston High School Marching Band! They are the last high school band to march and will be near the end...and if you happen to see the teeny tiniest mellophone player (it looks like a giant trumpet), give a cheer, that's my Alina! .....and of course, in our house filled with a bassoon, mellophone, trumpet, french horn, oboe, piano, trombone, snare drum, guitar, clarinet, flute.......we all can't help but wonder, what will the new little brother want to play...and will our beautiful little Ethiopian addition someday too be able to march in the wonderful American tradition that is Macy's!?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We moved to the next step!!!!

Yay!!!!! Our homestudy is signed...sealed .....delivered...and approved! We have moved on to the Ethiopian Program at WACAP and will be added to the waiting list for a referral for our new little guy! We are SO excited!

Still working on all of the paperwork...all of the authentications came back with the necessary seals from the Secretary of State, with the exception of one. The notary didn't do things exactly as needed, so the fix on that one will take a week or two....but all in all, the butterflies in my tummy tell me we are closer and closer everyday to bringing him home!

I am trying to maintain my composure....I want to paint and decorate, like bringing home a new baby! patient....breathe....I know that the waiting could take months, but I want a picture of his face, and I want to hear the sound of his name, it possible that the waiting will be easier once I have the referral with all of the details in my hot little hands? I guess for those of you out there reading this who know me, you are laughing hysterically...I am not, nor will I ever be even remotely close to being the most patient person in the world....

So...for now! Wow! We have made it to the Ethiopian Program in only two months!!!!! Fantastic!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's funny how we take for granted the littlest things in life.....I took the kids to the pumpkin patch on Wednesday and we took pictures to include in our dossier to send to our new little guy. I copied the pictures onto my computer, but didn't delete them. I also used the camera to take pictures of my kids in class trick or treating through the halls at school (I teach multiple/severely disabled students in high school). Sadly, I only got to do that for the first half of the day because during lunch a regular education student came into the classroom and stoled my camera....I truly cannot afford to replace it right the time the student was searched, the camera was not in his possession, so there is no proof....and no camera.....

I don't know what bothers me more...the loss of the camera, or the fact that another child is carrying around my camera with pictures of me and my that were to be the first photos my new son would see of his new family...

Praying for peace, and forgiveness, ........and a new camera.....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hey! My first attempt at posting a picture! There's Alina in her spectacular West Johnston teal! I'm so proud of her!!!!

Tessa had a great time on the band trip to Towson, MD too....We got to have a giant slumber party in a school gym! About 100 high school girls, a few mommies, and TK...ahhhh the joy! (and very little sleep).

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time!!!! My two grown up girls, Beth and Alina!!!!! I am amazed at their beauty, inside and out!

That's my boy!!!!! We did the family camping trip this summer, and Steven had such a great time! It is always my favorite few days of the year....Can't wait to head to the mountains again next summer....hoping we can work it in around our trip to Ethiopia (hopefully, Beth and I will be traveling together).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fingerprints done!!!! Medical clearance being notarized tomorrow! Home study being notarized in the next few days! week everything is headed to the Secretary of State for authentication! and my home study will be sent to USCIS! Wow! The paperwork portion comes to an end! Hoping immigration is in a speedy mood hese days so we can get that 171H back soon soon soon!!!!!

My agency handles the authentication in DC and then sends the dossier off to Ethiopia once that is done...then......we wait for a referral.

Here at home....we headed to the pumpkin patch tonight and then came home for the ooey gooey carving! The kids are all excited about costumes and candy...well...except for Alina who will, of course, be marching Friday night and Saturday....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The weekend update...

So here is where it all stands as of right homestudy is in review at WACAP and should be headed to the homestudy agency for final write up in the next day or so. On Wednesday I will go in and get fingerprints and head to the doctor (I gave up and changed doctors, since the one I have been using clearly isn't inspired to help me unless I am popping out a baby the old fashioned way). So.......hopefully by this time next week, I will have a completed, notarized home study, a notarized medical clearance, and good to go fingerprints! I will then have everything I need to send in the dossier documents for authentication in NC! According to the site this process should only take 3-4 business days! Wow! So to bring it all together...everything should be at USCIS for approval for the 171H in the next 7-10 business days and my dossier should be through with authentication by then as well....and then we wait!

On another note....I watched Amistad really makes my mind reel about the experiences and history between the US and didn't really give me perspective....quite the truly makes me ponder the implications and irony of adopting a child from a continent that my ancestors so horrendously abused. It makes me wonder how much awareness there is on the African continent about what Africans went through for generations as they were brought here so many years really makes me wonder..........

Sunday, October 19, 2008


YAY!!!!! I got my fingerprint appointment in the mail yesterday! I am scheduled to go in on October 29!! Another step down. That leaves my medical clearance (which I hope my doctor decides to finish at some point). It's a bit frustrating that they don't seem to have the sense of urgency with the adoption process that they have with a "real" pregnancy. (That was me venting).

The only other piece of the dossier is the homestudy which went to my social worker for a couple revisions and should be in my hot little hands this week...and I still have to get some pics of me and the kids. That's just a matter of Alina's band schedule.........

Speaking of band.....we spent the weekend in Towson, Maryland for Bands of America Regionals...slept (using the term loosely) on a gym floor Friday night, then drove overnight last night to get home (8 hours). So I had about an hour of sleep since Thursday...a tad bit delirious, but well worth it. West Johnston High School Marching Band won Regional Champion!!!!!!! First time in it's seven year existence!

Back to adoption.....nice to be making progress! Hopefully, the USCIS will keep things rolling along with the paperwork once the fingerprints and home study are completed!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The dossier update...

Got my passport in the mail yesterday...started mailing off my paperwork to be authenticated...the birth certificate went of to Massachusetts today...I have to send one item off to California, another off to Wisconsin, and the rest will go through North Carolina...the joy of having moved all over the country is that now each of my documents has to be authenticated in the state where it originated...

Next week I will work on the Police Clearance, get the letter of adoption to the Ethiopian Government notarized, and check in with the doctor's office to see if they have finished my medical clearance. Took the outside and inside pictures of the house; still need to do individual and family pictures (it's a little tough to do that these days with Alina lost in band land) :)

......on another subject.......we are a "band family" :) Alina will be marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade this year with the West Johnston High School band! Over 300 bands auditioned, and only 5 high school bands were selected! So....we see very little of her these days with rehearsals being frequent and long in preparation for their week in New York City.....check it out:

Beth is a senior at Mississippi State University, majoring in Music Education. Tessa has been playing oboe for about a year now, and Steven has begun taking trombone lessons. The kids are all excited about helping their new brother pick an instrument when he gets settled in! At the rate we are going, we may end up with a marching band of our own!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The home study is "mostly" complete....I am dropping off the letters of reference tomorrow and it will be off to the home study agency for draft review. Once I get my copy and everything looks good I can send it along to WACAP (my adoption agency). After all of the draft reviews, it will get final approval and be sent along to USCIS (immigration) where it will be reviewed yet again and I will hopefully receive my 171-H before the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

The waiting isn't driving us crazy ywt...I think that is primarily because as anxious as I am, I am hoping that the travel to Ethiopia happens in summertime so that we have plenty of time to enjoy our life as a family (I'm a teacher for those who didn't already know). Beth is also hoping to travel with me, and summer would make that much more feasible.

Soooooo we are anxiously waiting, but hoping and praying the timing is best for everyone.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nothing like a good miracle to reassure me!

The day I made the final decision to adopt, pulled off the road into a gas station to call a dear friend who is a hard core prayer warrior. I had discussed the possibility of adoption with her many times, so she was not shocked to hear the news. I asked her if she could begin to pray me through the process. Her response was, "Well, Lisa, tell me specifically what you want me to pray for." UGH! THis was challenging since I hate to admit it out loud, but I sucked it up and told her that I needed her to pray for the finances to make this work.

Let me digress for a moment....about 4 years ago we sold a baby grand to a wonderful man who teaches children with special needs. He made a few payments, but then faced financial hardships and could not continue making payments. He still has the piano, but we never received the balance for it. I am years later and I arrive home and start opening the mail. Thinking this particular envelope was junk mail I ripped it open nonchalantly to hold in my hands a check for $1000!!!!!! What in the World!!!! I started crying and just could not believe it! What an amazing blessing! I definitely plan on writing a letter to let him know how much I appreciate his fulfilling this debt and playing such an awesome role in bringing home our little guy! I called my friend immediately to tell her how impressed I am with her hotline to God! haha!

Keep the never know when a miracle will arrive in your mailbox!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

....moving forward

The I600a was mailed to USCIS yesterday.... It would seem that this would mean sitting back and waiting..but definitely not the case. I received an email from WACAP this week that my information packet is on the way. I had already begun to accumulate much of the paperwork required for my dossier, but will have a much more defined list once the packet arrives. The home study is still in progress....hopefully it will be sent in the next week or so to WACAP for their review...

This weeks goals are beginning to take shape:
I have received 4 hours of adoption education through my home study agency here in North Carolina and will begin the additional 6 this week...
I have to complete the Parent Resource Survey for's a doozy, but enlightening as it really makes me locate and consider resources available to me in the community...

It's difficult to maintain a clear thought process these brain seems to be jumping from document gathering to emotional excitement to finances to anything and everything, but in no logical order....I guess for anyone going through this process, that is just standard operating procedure! :)

Thanks to the suggestion of someone on an email list, I cruised over to youtube and typed in "Ethiopian Adoption." Wow! A few minutes of viewing brings it all back home again! A mix of sadness, happiness, impatience, and excitement come over me like a flood. If your looking for a way to bring it to life and share in the experience up close and personal, check it out for yourself! This one in particular:

Well....back to the will be worth it in the end.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And so it I filled out the application for WACAP to begin the adoption process. Tomorrow I will send off the application to begin the home study process.

Am I crazy? A single mom with 4 kids...three at off to college...working fulltime...going to grad school....and beginning this roller coaster journey. As I begin to share my plan with friends, they express a mix of emotions...."You're crazy!" "How exciting" "What are you thinking?"

For anyone who has known me for any amount of time, this comes as no surprise. Adopting a child from Ethiopia has been on my heart for over 10 years. There comes a time when you hold your breath...squint your eyes real tight...and jump in!!!!!

So....that's where it is....and so it begins....