Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yesterday our agency emailed the embassy for an update on our case after they received the new information we gave them. Just our luck, they are closed today. But they did email and let our agency know they would email them on Friday. Hmm. My thought is if you are going to email to let someone know you will email later, why not just give the update in the first email?


Aside from non-update updates, we have been dealing with two kids not getting along in their shared bedroom. They have been together for several months now, and the situation is not getting better. To be completely fair, Ava had her own room for 8 years, and then we put her brother in it with her. It happens to be hot pink, which I think Owen isn't crazy about. And Ava is always trying to put her stuff all over the place and on his dresser. Plus she locks him out whenever she thinks we aren't paying attention. In the end, we always know when she has done this because Owen freaks out and starts pounding on the door and yelling. Plus, Owen has the tendency to call it Ava's room, so we know he doesn't really consider it his.

I am not real sure how to handle this situation. We were going to finish a room downstairs for him this summer, but adoption being what it is, it is costing us more as time passes then we had originally thought. So, this summer isn't going to happen. I think I probably need to change the color and that would help some, but Ava is freaking out about a color change. But it hardly seems fair for Owen to live in a hot pink bedroom.

Maybe because it's summer and they are forced to be with each other all the time that may be contributing to some of this angst. Either way, I have to find a way to deal with it before they kill each other. Owen has occasionally resorted to biting her when he gets really mad, and Ava resorts to telling him he's a baby, and there has been more than once where I have heard her tell him that she hates him. Ah, brotherly/sisterly love. We nip this in the bud really fast. I haven't yet told them how much fun they are going to have when the kidlets come home and get bigger and get into both of their things. That should shake them to the core!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weirdest play date ever

Last week one of Ava's little friends from school called, and the girls really wanted to get together. Now Chris and I have a strict policy that we don't allow our kids to go to people's houses that we don't know very well. So I told the mom that her daughter was welcome to come to our house, or we could meet at a park and the girls could play and us moms could chat. She decided for the second option which is totally what I would have done in her shoes.

Fast forward to today- I made our lunches and got our waters and we headed over to the park. I pulled in right at 10:00 which was our time to meet. This older man heads over my way and says "Are you Jess?" Um what? (I didn't say that, I actually said yes) Turns out the mom had an appointment, so she had her dad drop off her daughter at the park, and then the grandpa left. Now, I thought this was bizarre for several reasons:

1. The mom and I had a fairly lenghty discussion on how she has the same rules as us, no going with people she doesn't know well, so not only does the mom drop her off with a complete stranger, but she has her dad do it!

2. Why on earth would you not call and let someone know you had an appt. and would it be okay for your dad to drop her off?

Maybe it's just me, but I would never not tell someone that I can't make it, send my dad in my place, and drop my child off when it was supposed to be both moms, both daughters and our sons for a picnic lunch at the park.

I've never been put into a situation like that before. I am sure the mom has a very good reason for her appt., but again, people are only a phone call away- I guess in my mind it's just proper ettiquette. Oh well, at least the girls had a good time. And Owen had a good time following them around. Even I had a good time because I brought my Country Living and Better Homes and Garden magazines with me "just in case". Can I take a moment to say how old I feel when the above magazines are my reading of choice? I remember being a little girl and flipping through those same magazines of my mom's and thinking how lame they were!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Finally Monday

You don't hear that very often! But Monday means that the US Embassy is hopefully working on our case. I waited all weekend for this!

As far as my Monday, well, I am hoping to fill it with lots of distractions. I am trying to make it until Wednesday morning to call the Embassy. Even I realize that if I called them today when they were just given the new info. last Friday, that that may be pushing their ability to get anything done in one day.

So my day has shaped up so far:

Broken up numerous brother/sister fights.
Told Ava many times that we do not call our brother annoying.
Drank one cup of Lipton Iced Tea.
Done two loads of dishes (no dishwasher here!)
Done one load of laundry.
Busted the curtain in our bedroom.
Made Ava go through her clothes to see what she doesn't want because they don't all fit in the drawer and she is jamming them in there.
Checked my email several times.
Had to flush the toilet by taking the top of the tank off because I busted the handle and haven't quite gotten around to fixing it yet.
Killed one mosquito (I hate those things).
Watched Owen kill one spider. (I know it sounds like I am wussing out on this one, but Owen has developed a fear of them, and so I figure the best way to get over that fear is to deal with it. Plus it was a teeny, tiny one, and even he wasn't too afraid!)
Wondered a million times if any work has gotten done as far as our visas.

And it's only 8:43 am.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Waiting Sucks

There really is no other way to put it- waiting sucks.

Adoption is all about waiting. You wait to get paperwork filed, you wait for a referral, then you wait for updates, you wait on two separate governements, and you wait some more. By far the worst wait is the waiting we are doing now- the final wait, the wait for the embassy to give us the visas if they see fit to do so.

They have asked us for some additional information which hopefully was given to them last Friday. I have never wanted a weekend to go by so fast in my life so things could move forward again and keep our process going!

In the mean time, I haven't been doing the best. There are times where I will just break out into spontaneous crying. This happens a lot when I go pass their room and see their beds and blankets that were sewn just for them, and open their drawers and see all their clothes. Waiting, waiting for them.

I have heartburn from all the stressing, plus I am not sleeping well at night. Do you ever feel like your body is keyed up so tight that it is almost vibrating? That's how I feel right now. I look at my computer a million times a day in the off chance that an email came in since the last time I looked 5 minutes ago. It's best for me to just be out of my house and distracted, but that isn't feasible for a long term plan.

I know, the obvious answer is to give it to God. And I am trying, it's just that I am struggling so hard with it right now. Because what will I do if it isn't God's will for these kids to be a part of my family? How will I ever deal with that?

Please keep praying- I so need them right now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More adoption prayers and a milestone anniversary

Today our in country coordinator either had or will have a meeting with the embassy about our case. I am trying to figure out with the time change if it has already happened, and I guess there is about a 50/50 chance it has. Our agency doesn't open for about another hour, and the director is quite busy, so I am thinking it will be several hours before I hear anything. I can already feel the heartburn!

I think I may be the most annoying person to our agency today- I am anticipating a lot of "did you hear anything yet" phone calls to them. Even though I completely realize that it is akin to your child asking "are we there yet" two seconds after you pull out of your driveway for a 4 hour trip to Grandma's house.

It also happens to by Chris' and my 10 year anniversary today. Man, that sounds like a long time. (in the best possible way!) I have been married to him for 1/3 of my life- that sounds even longer!!

Have to admit I somehow snagged one of the best men in the world, no idea how that happened. And I have to laugh that when I originally met him I wasn't really looking for a relationship and so I tried to set him up with a good friend of mine. After about a month of extolling his virtues to her I came to the realization that why in the world was I trying to set him up with her? I needed to set him up with me!

We had a fairly rough go in the beginning, the one incident that springs forth from my memory is when we both went to a christian conference over New Year's- remember
Y2K? When lots of people thought the world would go crazy with the computer transition to 2000? Anyway, we went to this christian new year's get together, and Chris said that I might as well meet his parents. And then, I kid you not, the following sentence came out of his mouth: "My parents are going to think that you are my girlfriend, but you're not." Oh my word, I can't even tell you what I was thinking at the time! And then when I did meet his parents, his mom got all Tommy Boy on me and gave me this huge, crushing hug when all I tried to do was shake her hand so Chris wouldn't freak out! I still laugh every time I think of this story.

Anyway, fast forward 11 1/2 years later and we are still going strong. I love him so much and am so thankful for what a wonderful husband, friend and father he is.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Please Pray

I can't really go into a lot of details since this blog is public, but I would absolutely love your prayers right now for our adoption.

We are dealing with some things that need to be worked out before the visas can be issued. Truthfully, I don't know if this is more along the lines of routine, or more along the lines of something else.

Thank you for thinking of us, and I will keep you posted as soon as I know anything.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This past week we got Ava's report card in the mail. Above average in everything. I have to say I am very proud of her. Especially for her reading. By the end of second grade you are supposed to (in our state anyway) be able to fluently read 90 random words in one minute. Ava read 202. I am not even sure how that is possible!

The funny thing is, is that when she was in kindergarten, the school made a big deal about how she wasn't keeping up with her classmates, and they wanted to put her in extra help on the days she didn't have school. (They went all day, every other day)

We enrolled her in the extra classes, because of course we wanted her to succeed. Then she started bringing home the worksheets that they worked on while in that extra time. The A's on all of her workesheets are the funny ones that are used by computers, so of she tried to make her A's look like the example and then got everything marked wrong. The lower case L's on the sheets only went up about 3/4 of the way, so she copied that and got everything all wrong. I became very frustrated that the school was using worksheets and then marked everything wrong when the kids did it exactly the way the worksheet showed. Needless to say, I stopped sending her and we decided just to work on things at home.

The funny thing during this whole ordeal is that we never noticed at home that she seemed to be struggling in reading. Everytime she read to us she did just fine, perhaps she read a little bit slow, but she was only 5 and 6! Then we learned when she was in first grade that for reading tests they take the kids by themselves into a separate room with a person they don't know and do their test. Ava was taken into a room where the tester was a man. I don't know if that had any role in it or not, but she refused to take the test for him. When we got her score in the mail it just said that she had gotten zero right on her test. I couldn't figure it out. When I went in to talk to the teacher, it was only then that she said Ava had refused to take it completely, not that she had taken it and gotten them all wrong. From that point on, we pretty much ignored everything her teachers said about her reading. She was doing well at home, and we weren't concerned about what her school scores were.

By the end of first grade, her teacher had said that she was slightly above average for her grade level. So imagine my surprise when we got a letter from the district saying that she was being recommended for extra reading classes. I quickly hauled butt back into the school to once again figure out what was going on. Well, it turns out that this extra funding comes from the govt. and that they automatically offer it to any kids who it was offered to the year before even if it is not necessary. I have so many qualms with that I don't even want to go into it. Needless to say, I am quite disappointed with our educational system.

So now at the end of second grade, my girl is the top reader in her class and is doing amazing. We are so proud and never doubted it for a second. I know that I am probably gloating a little bit, but it only reiterates my own personal belief that sometimes we push children too hard too fast when it comes to education, reading specifically. (I do want to take a moment and recognize the fact that teachers work so stinkin hard, and that class sizes and other issues play into scenarios like this, but we did see a lot of ridiculous stuff with her teachers that we felt was just plain silly and sometimes just someone not doing their job.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Excessive blogging in my future

I foresee a lot of blogging going on in the next several weeks. Mostly because it is an outlet for me so I can burn up some of my geez-it's-time-to-bring-our-babies-home-what-is-taking-the-embassy-so-long-itis I have going on.

Okay, so I realize that it has only been 1 1/2 weeks from our son's embassy appt., but oh my word, doesn't the embassy know that we should be their main priority?! (I have a feeling that adoptions are low on their priority list, and I totally understand that they have a lot to do, although I will admit I am not sure exactly what it is that our embassy's do in foreign countries, but I do believe that America rocks and that they are probably doing something great for our country, so yes, I understand why we may not be their number one right now)

Still, in my selfish world, my kids are number one and it is killing me that we are this close and still 8 million miles away.

Plus, I have been doing things in the room like putting their clothes in their drawers because I am starting to feel the nesting big time, and I really would like everything to be perfect for them. But the down side to that is every time I place something in a drawer and see all of the cute shoes lined up that I don't know if they will fit them, I think about the possibility that their visa could be denied and my kids don't actually make it home.

I know I write about that a lot on here- my fears of them not coming home, and I honestly don't know if this is something that all parents adopting go through, or if it is my excessive penchant for worrying that is driving it.

Truly I am trying to remain positive, and I am still getting everything ready for them. And a huge part of me is still hoping that the embassy will be fast. I am not sure I can maintain myself at this level of stress/excitement for an extended period of time until one day we get that email that says "visa approved".

Man I really hope I am normal!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Adoption Dreams/Nightmares

Last night I had a dream about our kidlets. I don't do this very often, usually my dreams are whacked out and I have no idea how my subconcious comes up with this stuff. But yesterday I spent a lot of time looking into visas and all that jazz, and so it just sort of carried over at night.

Anyway, I had a dream that the consular wanted to see a picture of what the kids' bedroom was going to look like. So hubby and I drew up a really detailed plan of where everything was to scale. Well, it was not good enough for her. She emailed us back and said she wanted it done on Auto CAD, which for those in the engineering/drafting world know is a a drafting program. (Apparently hubby's job is slowly eeking into my life!)

I woke up in the middle of the night and for the life of me could not separate the dream from real life. I started panicking about how we were going to get their room done in this program and back to them so the kids could come home. Slowly I realized that I had been dreaming and eventually fell back to sleep, but it took a long time.

I guess this goes to show how desparately I am waiting for visa news- nothing yet, and I know it has only been about a week, so chances are good that we have a fair amount of waiting left. Hopefully I can hang in there and will have no more crazy dreams where I can't tell if they are real or not!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cloth Diapers

Those are not really words that I thought I would utter together and have them mean anything connected to myself. The thought of cloth diapers has always sent me into fits of gagging. But....

After realizing the change to the Nelson family budget that is going to be happening quite quickly (we hope), we are doing all things possible to save money. And that means biting the cloth diaper bullet.

I have done a fair amount of research and talked to several people who have done cloth diapers. In all reality, it doesn't sound as bad as I may have imagined it. But, that being said, I am still trying to wrap my head around this idea.

We were gifted a set of cloth diapers, which arrived in the mail last week. I mostly opened them up, and then put them in the babies room without doing a whole lot with them. After all, it will be quite some time before they can wear them, they have to be parasite free which can take awhile.

The other day I decided that perhaps I should read the information that came with them. Lo and behold, you are supposed to wash them at least SIX times before they go on a baby's bottom! Low maintenance they do not appear to be- at least in the beginning. It's a good thing I just didn't throw that piece of paper away. There is a decent chance I would have washed them only once and then put those puppies on the kidlets.

Hubby is eyeing up the diapers and wondering how this is all going to go down.

On a side note, I could not believe how expensive they were. Up front, cloth is a lot of money, but the savings really seem to be worth it in the end. Still, I have to familiarize myself with terms like wet bag, and items like diaper sprayers that you can hook up to your toilet. Oh, and you are also not allowed to use any type of butt cream or it voids the warranties. I almot feel like I need a PhD in diaperology to figure it all out!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Moving Forward?

Well we got an email from the embassy saying that they did, in fact, receive our new prints. So we should be good to go and moving forward with our kidlets. We have not gotten an update on how our daughter's appt. went, but we are hoping to hear today, and hoping that they don't tell us that our prints are still expired!

Yesterday I went to the Carter's outlet and picked up the most adorable little outfit along with a couple of rockin summer t-shirts for our son. When I showed them to the hubby, honest to goodness, he asked "won't we need more than that while we are there?" Somehow, he interpreted my 3 shirts and one pair of shorts that I had bought to be the extent of the clothes that we would be bringing for our son.

I have to admit that I laughed at him. And I suppose after 10 years of marriage that I can get away with that! He then admitted that he didn't know why in the world he would ever think that would be all we would bring.

Truthfully, we have no idea what all the stuff is going to look like! We don't have an accurate height or weight for our kids, only an age. They will both be almost one year old, but judging how big they may be from pictures has proven to be almost impossible. I think our plan is to bring both 12 month clothes and some 18 months. Our son looks big and our daughter on the small side, so we may bring some 9 months for her as well.

We have been getting some wonderful items from friends and hit up a couple of garage sales for various size clothing. We certainly don't have all those different sizes still floating around our house! It has been a long time since we have had such tiny people in our house and the clothes just seem so little!

We've also collected various size shoes in the event that they are walking (although we are not planning on that too much). We read the blog of a family who had already traveled, and there was another family with them who needed shoes for their daughter and went they went to try and purchase a pair, the store wanted something crazy like $50 for one pair, and $100 for another!

I still have a ton of sewing to do as far as their blankets for their beds and lovies. I am starting to feel like I need to kick it in gear in the event that their visas come back sooner than we are expecting, but I keep putting it off because I still have that slight fear that their visas will be denied.

I know, I need to get over it and think more positively!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another hurdle

Last night we got an email from our caseworker stating that the embassy said our fingerprints were expired at our son's embassy appt.

Can you just see the instant panic?

We had our prints redone in April. Apparently, though we don't yet know for sure, our new prints were not cabled to the embassy. The other option is that the embassy looked at the I-171H which would have showed that the prints were expired because it gave the original date. But, they do have our approved I600, which shows that our prints are good until July 2012.

At first I thought we had gotten a visa denial, and I started freaking out. That is NOT what happened, and they still have to do their own orphan investigation, but this is something that needs to be sorted out ASAP so we don't lose anymore time. I have no idea if they will wait on the orphan investigation until they learn that our prints are good and we aren't criminals.

The good news is, that while it's a hassle, and caused me to panic, it should just require a few phone calls. But we would defiitely appreciate your prayers to get this solved supernaturally quickly.

Monday, June 6, 2011

prayers please

Our embassy appointments are this week. I have really no clue what happens at them aside from them looking at our paperwork. We already have I600 approval from here in the States, so I am not 100% sure what their role is. I believe they also run a few more medical tests, but other than that, I am in the dark. I am hoping that they don't vaccinate them because we would prefer to do that here in the states, but we will have to wait and see.

Last night I had nightmares about going to pick up our kids and our son had died but they didn't tell us even though it had happened several months ago. Then they tried to give us a 7 year old white boy and convince us that he was who we were adopting all along. Crazy what your subconcious can come up with.

We are getting prepared to sweat in 90+ weather today. I am thinking perhaps the beach- even though the lake is probably not warm enough to spend too much time in. I have to chuckle a little bit thinking about how hot we will be, and then I think of our kidlets who are used to such weather, and then they will move here, and get to see our crazy seasons, plus our 6 months of winter. Then I feel like a whiner to even complain about heat. Especially given that I spent most of the winter complaining about the cold!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Down below is a picture of the kids' dresser. See that ugly orange Trojan lamp? That was a $5 thrift store find. I had hopes that I could spray paint it something else. My hubby just looked at it and said "Really? A trojan lamp?" But for 5 bucks I thought I could run with it.
After a coat of red spray paint, and some black fabric I just wrapped around the shade yo get the idea, here is what it looks like now:
I am absolutely loving it. Even hubby was surprised and semi liked it. Mostly I decorate and he just sort of rolls with it. Even when it doesn't always make a lot of sense to him! See the deer silhouette in the picture frame above? Cross my heart I did that just for him. Hunting is huge at our house, and most of our meat is from things he goes out and gets. I would say catch, but he always reminds me that you don't "catch" meat, unless it's fish!
Aside from my lamp, I think my son is getting us ready to be up at night with the kidlets once they get home. Last night he came up 3 separate times. The first time to tell me he couldn't sleep because he was afraid of spiders. The second time to continue to tell me he couldn't sleep because of spiders, after which we had a conversation about why God created spiders, and how they eat woodticks and other yucky things. And then he came up a third time to tell me that he was no longer afraid of spiders.
Normally we never have issues with him coming out of his bedroom. Have to admit that I am dragging this morning, but I had better get used to it. With two one year olds, this might be my new de riguer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Embassy document review

Today was our document review at the embassy. Basically my understanding is that they looked through everything to make sure we had all the paperwork necessary. And guess what? We didn't have copies of our passports.

Not exactly sure how that happened because I know for sure, without a doubt, we sent copies to our agency. Did the agency lose them, did they get literally lost in translation, did the embassy lose them?

The good news is, after much running around to get them out of the safety deposit and make color copies to email and fax, they will be emailed to our country coordinator and then brought to the embassy appts. No reason to panic. But I will admit, for just a slight moment, panic I did.

I am starting to have secret fantasies that the embassy will be really quick in issuing our visas and we just might be able to travel this month to go and get them. Mostly I am aware that this is almost 100% not going to happen, but it is fun to think about. And a little scary too. We haven't gotten a lot of stuff for the kids in the event that they for whatever reason did not come home. Once we have those visas we will kick it in high gear to get ready for them in time.

In the mean time, for whatever reason, the days have been going by quite quickly for me which I am grateful for. I am so anxious to see my beautiful babies and can hardly stand the wait anymore!