Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rue the poppy seeds in the dressing on my salad!

Yes, I realize how pathetic that sounds, but it's true! I'm cursing its yummy goodness right now for the unexpected wrench it throws in the tenuous little plan I've built, house-of-cards style, for the next couple of weeks. See, here's the thing - as part of our home study we have to have a physical performed by our physician which includes a urine drug test. We clearly aren't drug users so no problem, right? Wrong. Wouldn't you just know that within the last month or so I have grown incredibly tired of all the "regular" salad dressings out there - easy to do when you make it a point to eat salad at least several times a week, I suppose - and whole-heartedly rekindled my old flame with poppy seed dressing. (Used to love it but hadn't had it in years...)

"So where's the problem?" you may be asking yourself. Problem is it seems that the old urban legend about poppy seeds and drug tests is not so much legend as it is an actual fact. Call me crazy, or cynical, but I originally heard this tasty tidbit from a rather "unsavory" character and thought that it was a bunch of bologna. (ok, ok enough of the food-and-taste-type puns...) But seriously, I never really believed it was true. Yeah, I know it was on Seinfeld, but Kramer also literally buttered himself to tan on the roof in Seinfeld too...still puts me in a consider the source kind of thing, you know?

Anyway, in a last ditch effort to shorten this already too-long story, I have single-handedly devoured more than two complete bottles of Poppy Seed dressing in the last month, most recently served on today's lunch, and, since I now know that it really CAN cause me to appear to have a heroin habit that would *obviously* disqualify me from adoption, I now have to determine the appropriate amount of time to wait before going to have my urine tested for the presence of illegal substances or foodstuffs with a bad rap.

I recognize this is small potatoes compared to the worries and concerns some of my Yahoo girls are dealing with right now, and this is NOTHING compared to some of the hassles yet to be endured, but it is rather inconvenient. And to tell you the truth, I think the worst part of it is not the extra couple of weeks to wait before I go for the physical, I think it just may be having to go back to ranch dressing until then! Ugh.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What fun a week can bring!

I have decided that I will make it a point to add an entry at least once per week, whether I have anything to say or not. I can always find SOMETHING to say -like you've seen before, I talk a lot. Don't worry though, I won't always be as long-winded as I was in my previous "super-post". That was really long...

This week has brought a lot of adventure, but not much on the adoption front. I have the request ready to ship off to the Bahamas for our certified and apostilled copy of our marriage license; we meet with the social worker on Monday about the home study; and I am still compiling items for our "fundraising garage sale." Unfortunately, this week my attention has primarily been focused on other household drama (leaky pipes and such) so I haven't made much more progress than that.

I really hope you've taken some time to check out the other blogs I have listed over there (~>) because it is so neat to follow along with these families. The Armstrong family (all 5 of them, finally!) should be settling in at home right now. The Hollis family is preparing to travel soon and, when they go to meet and finally bring home their children, they are going to be hand-delivering books to an orphanage in Bogota. They've set up a book drive through Usborne Books on their blog, but it looks like it is ending at midnight tonight (I wish I'd thought to bring up here earlier; sorry, Beth!), but please check out their blog and consider helping to donate a book to these kids.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"So much time and so little to do... Wait a minute - strike that. Reverse it."

Ahhh, the immortal words of Willy Wonka! A childhood favorite I never grew out of, I guess. But don't even talk to me about Johnny Depp's weird-o version of late. Anyway, I am trying to find a creative way to post a “to-do list” on the blog for those who want to just take a quick peek in to see what we’ve completed to date but don’t want to sift through my ramblings to do it. So far I haven’t come up with anything. Perhaps one day I will accomplish that but until then there’s rambling to read. Sorry. (Not really, I am just being polite. Tee hee) At least I have categorized this entry for you to pick what interests you most. So, let’s see…where are we today?


We have identified a social worker with Children’s Home Society who (we hope) will be willing and able to do our home study. We have scheduled our first “orientation” meeting with her for February 25, 2008. I am trying to prepare everything I think we’ll need for this meeting, even though it’s just an orientation and we’ll still have to do their application and such before we even really know if we’ll be going forward with them. Basically, we are going in blind; but I have the packet from our agency that is designed to assist the agency performing the home study with ensuring all the Colombia-specific requirements are met, and I have already started gathering the copies of the listed documents that are in my possession and researching how to get the ones that aren’t. We’re looking forward to the 25th and I am hopeful that all will proceed smoothly.

I have read and re-read through the Instructions for I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) but even after almost ten years in the legal field it still sounds a bit like Greek to me. I haven’t quite deciphered if it’s better to go ahead and send it to USCIS (which is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, for those of you who are scratching your heads at the abbreviation) now or wait until we are moving along with the home study, since a completed home study appears to one of the requirements for approval and the approval is not without an expiration date. I guess we should wait until we meet with the social worker?


(I’m half-wondering if it’s incredibly gauche to be including an entry on the finances of adoption, but it is a very big, very real part of the process so here it is.) I am still brainstorming ideas of how to work the finances to make this all come together. I think I have mentioned the garage sale we’re planning; looks like the first weekend in April is going to be the time for that. My brother in law suggested adding a “bake sale” type aspect to it and if I can get some of my nearest and dearest bakers-extraordinaire to help me out that would be perfect. Other than that I’m not really sure how to go about it. In my “pennies from heaven” post I explained the incredible blessing of an unexpected check for our mortgage company covering very nearly all the cost of our approval fee/adoption agreement fee. We were very thankful for that! Now it’s time to get down to the business of paying for the next set of immediate expenses, including: USCIC fees for the I-600A ($830.00); the home study ($ unknown at this time); and the various little charges for gathering the documentation we need from four states and one foreign country ($ little charges add up fast). Then, there’s the program fee and all the other (much bigger) amounts that will start to come due when we get past this stage and closer to our children. I am open to suggestions here – if you have any ideas on things we could do I’d love to hear them! I know there’s a lot of creative people out there – click on the “ELLIE DUB” badge on the side over there (~>) to see what one family’s fundraising idea turned in to. They’re so neat!


Katie’s been struck by creative lightning and has an idea that won’t let her rest. She knows that lots of times when babies are born their families put signs in the yard saying “It’s a Boy,” or “It’s a Girl,” or “The Twins are Home.” She has been on a mission for the last week or so to have a sign of our own. I asked her to describe it for me and this is what she said:

“I think we should paint designs on it and write to say that we are going to have new brothers or sisters, and Mommy and Daddy are going to have more sons and daughters because we are going to adopt them. We can put flowers, Barbies, ninjas and a cross for Jesus, and put it in our yard like they do when there’s a new baby in the house.”

At four it’s so hard for her to understand that her new brothers or sisters aren’t going to be home for awhile but it makes me so happy to know that she’s excited about it and wants to have a sign in our yard to tell the world about them.

Thanks for checking in (and for the patience to read through to the end!) I hope you’ll continue to keep us in your prayers as we keep chugging along on our path here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Finding symbolism in emeralds

Zechariah 9:16 ~ On that day the Lord their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

I am so-o-o NOT a girly girl. Surprised? Not if you know me you're not. I'm just me. I like to wear comfy clothes and prefer jeans and my favorite clogs to high heels and dresses; I practically revolt against make-up unless it's a "special occasion," although I have been known to don pink glitter nail polish at the slightest appeal from my daughter; and, while my husband has exquisite taste in jewelry, I haven't worn more than my simple wedding band in YEARS. The only other piece of jewelry that I wear with any sort of regularity is a cross pendant. I had a beautiful one of white gold and tiny diamonds that I wore for the longest time. I really never took it off. Until, that is, when I was given this one as a gift from my mother in law for my birthday last summer.

This necklace was a gift that she'd purchased for me while in Bogota last spring. It's beautiful and I really love it. I wear it all the time and rarely take it off. One day, sometime last fall after we had made the decision to go forward with the adoption, out of nowhere I took it off and looked at it and it occurred to me that it is made up of six beautiful Colombian emeralds, fashioned into a cross. Even though that was never a consideration when the gift was purchased, or even for many months after I received it, I now find my cross pendant to be a symbol of God's direction for our family - soon to be a family of six when we are finally able to bring our two children home from Colombia.

Several places I have researched have indicated that the emerald is symbolic of Christian faith and hope; how fitting! Maybe I am romanticizing these little signs I've found along the way a bit too much but I really don't think so. I count myself lucky to have been able to see the significance in them and believe that all too often these are the kinds of gentle reminders and reassurance that we miss out on when we're too quick to discount them as mere coincidence.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

When my honey's right, he's RIGHT ON...

Label/Receipt Number: EH03 3190 775U S Delivered-->

Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 10:20 AM on February 8, 2008 in SAINT LOUIS, MO 63146 to CARRIER EXPRESS . The item was signed for by “A. NONYMOUS”.

(Ok, obviously I changed the name…)

Yes, that's MUCH better than waiting and wondering for an indeterminable period of time!

Good thinkin', babe! (Hey, FedEx was MY idea, sending it next day delivery from the post office was all YOU! Great minds think alike; right, Genece?) :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Adoption agreement...check!

As of today we have placed one more mark in the "completed" column of our to-do lists thus far. We have mailed back the Adoption Agreement, along with the necessary approval fee, completing the next baby step (no pun intended) of our journey. Bill took it to the post office today. Last night as we were addressing the envelope we tossed around the idea of sending it FedEx, since I can easily do that from work, but on Bill's suggestion we decided that delivery confirmation at the post office would be sufficient to prevent a recurrence of our last mailing hysteria.

I made sure everything was ready for him to mail before I left for work today and when I talked to Bill later in the morning he confirmed that he'd successfully mailed the packet - and that it would arrive in St. Louis by noon tomorrow. I couldn't help but laugh as I asked him to repeat himself. Turns out his suggestion of using the USPS delivery confirmation had been one we could both live with ...UNTIL it was his turn in line today. It was at that point that he decided that he didn't want to wait the additional time for regular "delivery confirmation" - he wanted the Adoption Agreement to get there as quickly as possible. That's my honey, I swear he shares my brain most of the time. I think it's great he was so excited to get the paperwork in the hands of the agency. But deep down somewhere I bet he knew I'd be antsy and the longer it took to get confirmation the more he'd have to deal with me!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's here! It's here!

After spending a long overdue, much needed, and very thoroughly enjoyed weekend alone with my honey in Key West, we returned to find our approval packet from our agency gently tucked into the P.O. box. Hooray!!! It was very exciting, to say the least. Now we have all the (basic) information we need to get started on the long road ahead.

We are mailing the Adoption Agreement back this week and I will be calling to schedule the beginning appointments for our home study this week too. I have begun to compile all the documentation we'll need to put together and, I have to be honest here, I am really getting quite anxious as I look over the monetary timelines, but I am trying desperately to supress that fear with the hope and faith that it will all be fine. A week or so ago I was talking with my mom, sister and some friends about the adoption and how we will be trying to come up with the money to pay for it. The conversation drifted to the idea of holding a garage sale to help raise some of the money we need since about two years ago the same group of us held a relatively impromptu garage sale in my driveway and donated all the proceeds to the Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST - an aptly-named agency that provides support to families whose children are being treated for cancer) and the proceeds from that sale were about $350.00. Tonight, I was pleasantly surprised to receive my first donation for another garage sale with all proceeds going to our "adoption fund"! (Thanks J!) Now that a little corner of my garage is dedicated to the housing the items for a garage sale, I just have to go through and start gathering items from our house and plan a date.

Right now, I am trying to set up some sort of a plan. I'm getting a basic idea of a lot of it but I am still completely perplexed with one issue -we were married in the Bahamas and I have no idea how we are going to get our marriage certificate apostilled for our dossier. I emailed the Minister of Foreign Affairs for information but received no response. I also emailed our friends in the Bahamas to see if they could get me a name of who to contact but they had no luck either. I guess I'm going to email the Program Director at our agency and hope that, between her and the social worker we'll be using for our Home Study, SOMEONE will be able to help us get the documentation verified. Worst case scenario maybe I'll just send them a copy of the People magazine or the Connie Chung clip! HA! (But I bet that would lose something in translation...)

Anyway, just thought I would give you a quick update, in case you're wondering what on earth is going on with us over here. Thanks so much for checking in on us and for your prayers and support.