Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Officially 3

It's official! We readopted Nevaeh in our home state so now we are officially a family of three. Again, let me clarify, three humans that is. I cannot forget our beloved chocolate lab!!! (He has been with us for almost 12 years now.) Basically the hearing was just a formality, but we legally changed her name and we will now file for her certificate of citizenship. The judge was super easy going. As soon as we sat down, Nevaeh started grabbing for the microphone and she started blabbing loudly into it. The judge made a funny comment about her being shy so it really lightened things up for us. Not that this wasn't a happy occasion, but we were in court room, with a judge in a robe, a bailiff, and a court reporter. We had never been in a courtroom before. It all seemed so formal, until his comment. He said this hearing would be a snap after all we have gone through to bring her home. I told him she was worth every home visit, every piece of paperwork, every second of our wait, etc. The whole thing took about 15 minutes with the hearing, pictures, and paperwork. The judge even had three different stuffed animals Nevaeh could choose from. A moose, pig, and cow. She chose the pig.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mother Nature Changed our Plans

Nevaeh, today you turned 11 months old. We were going to celebrate by finalizing the adoption today in front of a judge. Mother Nature had other plans. We had our first HUGE snow storm of the season. 17 inches of snow fell upon us. Needless to say our court hearing was postponed. We spent most of the day digging out, but we were able to get you outside so you could see and touch snow for the very first time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two Months Home


Yesterday marked two months being home with our beautiful daughter. We couldn't be more pleased with how things are going. She is happy and healthy and attachment seems to be going really well. I am just amazed at everything she has accomplished in the short time we have been home. She can sit up on her own, stand with some assistance, wave hello and goodbye, roll across an entire room, clap, play peekaboo, etc. She sleeps through the entire night and is now starting to eat "grown up" food such as toast, pancakes, waffles, cheese (a must for Wisconsin), pasta, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Her bottom front tooth just cut through last week with another one just about ready. She is genuinely a happy baby and she is just a joy to be around.

I am going back to work on December 21. This week she spent an afternoon at her daycare to help her with the transition once I do start working again. It was hard, and I would love to be a stay at home Mom, however, it's just not in the cards at this time. I think she will enjoy being around the other kids as she spent most of her life in a room full of noisy babies. They are going to put her in the "One Year Old" room so she won't have to transition to another room when she turns one in January.

Well, that's it for now. I am still trying to create a slide show detailing our trip but for some reason I am having trouble viewing certain video montages.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

video

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We Made it Home!




I don't even know where to begin. We had the most amazing trip and met some wonderful families. We returned home last Friday afternoon and since then we are adjusting to being a family of three (three humans that is). I don't have much time to write as our new duties as parents are keeping us extremely busy. In the coming days I will detail our trip and provide a slide show of pictures. Until then, here is our baby girl on her first walk around the neighborhood and another one of her chillin at home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Bags are packed and we are ready to go. There are 4 suitcases and two carry on bags. We are just about ready to head out. I can't believe it. We will soon be united with our daughter.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Where Was I???

OK, breath. I have been going non-stop since we got the news that we are leaving on September 23 to pick up our daughter. Plane tickets are boughts, suitcases brought up from the basement, laundry getting done, packing has begun, and somewhere in all this chaos I was even able to try some Ethiopian food, although I have to say I am not a huge fan. We have been extremely busy getting everything ready for this trip of a lifetime, but I have to say I am lovin' every minute of it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Speed Bump?

Just when I thought things were going to get delayed, they actually sped up. Today we received new travel dates. September 23. We are leaving to pick up our daughter in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!!!

Turns out the blunder on our court decree really isn't that big of a deal, it was only a translation error and our agency is having it fixed. We were also notified of an earlier opening for travel and our specialist suggested we go for it!!!!! It all has to do with our expiration dates on paperwork at the US Embassy in Ethiopia and even though it seems tough pulling this trip together in two weeks, it could be more of an issue if we wait and go in October.

Needless to say, there are lists, lists, and more lists of things to do, errands to run, even a "honey do" list for Randy. My mind has been racing since we heard this news today.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Uh Oh...Speed Bump.

We were moving right along in the right direction to finally pick up our daughter. Birth certificate received, medical exam at the embassy cleared, we even received tentative travel dates; then we hit a speed bump. Friday our specialist emailed me a copy of the court decree which was issued by the Ethiopian judge and much to my dismay I noticed it used words like "he" and "his". I immediately contacted my specialist to see what this all means. Unfortunately, at this point, no one seems to know. Worst case scenario, the judge will have to issue a new court decree. However, they are still on their holiday until October so that means a definite travel delay. Best case scenario, it doesn't matter and we can leave it as is. Of course this had to happen on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend so we won't know anything until sometime later this week. I have never been so anxious in my life for a weekend to finally be over.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moving Right Along!


YIPEE!!!! We received Nevaeh's birth certificate today. We are now waiting on her medical exam at the embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Should happen in the next couple weeks. Once she has cleared her exam, we should get tentative travel dates. Things are rolling right along. Here's one of my favorite pics of Little Nevee. I cannot wait to get a hold of this littly beauty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thank You!!!

Thank you Kim for the wonderful message about our beautiful daughter. Kim and her family just returned home from Ethiopia and her baby boy shared a room with Nevaeh. They were able to play with her somewhat and she gave us a wonderful update. Someday soon I hope I can do the same for a family waiting to travel.

Thank you Kate and Stefani. Kate and Stefani have helped me keep my sanity during this crazy and wonderful journey like only others going through it can. It's amazing how close I feel to these women and I haven't even met them in person. Some day soon I hope that will all change.

And thank you to all our family and friends who have given us so much support, listened to me ramble on about things I probably repeated a million times, and for just being there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introducing....


...Nevaeh Biruk. We got word today at 11:00 am that we passed court. Another step closer. Isn't she beautiful?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Court Date Tomorrow!!!!

Tomorrow is a huge day. Our case will go before the Ethiopian judge and if all goes well the judge will declare Randy and I the legal parents of Little Miss B. I'm not sure when we will hear the outcome, hopefully it will be sooner than later. I want to think that we may hear something tomorrow as by the time we will be getting up and heading to work, it will be the end of the day in Ethiopia. If not tomorrow, I hope Friday. I don't think I can make through the weekend not knowing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We've Been Showered!

My niece Cassidy.

Cassidy getting ready for the festivities.
Lots of good eats!
Cupcakes in the shape of a baby and rattles.
Ethiopia incorporated into the decorations.
I have such wonderful family and friends. It was really fun opening all the gifts. I can't wait for Little Miss B. to use them all.
One advantage of adopting, you can have a drink at your own baby shower.

An enormous thank you to these ladies, Lori, Sherri, Jody, Aunt Becky, and Stephanie for putting together such a wonderful shower.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unexpected Surprise

Next to holding her in my own arms, today we received the next best thing. Little Miss B's social report. It contained a ton of information about her including her latest measurements, temperament, sleeping and eating habits, etc., along with 20 plus photos. She has grown over 2 inches and gained 2 lbs since we received her referral. She is so beautiful, she has the biggest brown eyes and full pouty lips. I cannot wait to bring her home. Our court date is August 13, two weeks from today. I cannot post any pictures until the judge declares us as her legal parents, you will just have to take my word.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Rollercoaster of Emotions

Wow, it's been an up down last few weeks that's for sure. We were so happy to finally have received our referral, and even more thrilled to hear that it was pretty certain we would make it through courts before they closed for the rainy season. Then we hit a snafu, a really big snafu. Before we can get a court date, MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) needs to issue a favorable opinion letter to the courts before a judge will even review our case. Last week we found out that MOWA decided to unexpectedly close for a couple of weeks to review some staffing issues. They are not expected to return until July 24. What this means is, we don't have a court date because we don't have a letter from MOWA. And once MOWA returns, then the judges will be going on their two month leave during the rainy season. I was devestated, I couldn't stand the thought of having to wait an extra two months because of the MOWA closure, and then because of the court closure.

Then I started to hear rumors. Rumors that maybe the judges would work through the rainy season. So I contacted our specialist, but she had heard nothing of the sorts. Again, my heart sank. For a few moments I thought there would be a chance.

Not three hours later my phone rang. I see it's our specialist. "Cheryl, it's Jill. I have some great news. You have a court date of August 13." As I was sitting at my desk and trying to listen to what Jill has to say, my feet are stomping, my arms are waving. Once again I am overjoyed and cannot believe it. One step closer. I guess the judges decided to stay on for a couple of extra weeks and there are several families from my agency that will also go before the judge on this day. Again, this is a tentative court date and things may change but it's step in the right direction. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we all pass. After we pass, we wait for a Birth Certificate and then travel. Travel should be about 6-8 weeks after court. Hang on Little Miss B. We are getting closer!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You Are 6 Months Old Today!

Dear Little Miss B,

Today you turn 6 months old. Although we are not yet together physically, know that we are together emotionally and spiritually. We are always thinking of you from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. We are amazed at how much we love you; how much we need you, even though we have not yet even met.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Wish I Could Fit!!!


Our agency allows us to send one care package to Little Miss B, however, it all has to fit into a one gallon size ziplock bag. We are sending a blanket, a small photo album, 5x7 pics of Randy and I, a small rattle, and a Brewers t-shirt. I wish there was someway I could fit into this small bag, I would send myself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's Next?

Wow, what an overwhelming few weeks. I am still shocked and overjoyed by this news, I still cannot believe we received our referral for this beautiful, amazing, baby girl. I have to admit, I am struggling at work, it's been hard to focus on anything else but her. The support we have had from family, friends, and coworkers has been amazing.

The most common questions we have been receiving is what's next? When do you get to travel? Before we can get on that jet plane, a few things have to happen. First, our case needs to go before an Ethiopian judge. We are now waiting for our case to be scheduled in their court system. We are hoping and praying that we get scheduled prior to August 1. You see, as of August 1, the Ethiopian courts are closed for two months during the rainy season. If we don't get scheduled before then, it will be October before the courts re-open and just that much farther out our travel will be. We have been told by our agency that they are quite hopeful that we will make it. Once the judge declares us as her legal parents, then we wait for a birth certificate. Once that arrives, then we can schedule travel. If we make it before the court closure, I am hopeful we will travel in September.

People are also asking us about her circumstances that led her to be placed into the orphanage. This is something we are not going to share with anyone as this is her life, her story to tell if she so desires once she is old enough to understand.

For the sake of this blog, I will call her Little Miss B as I don't want to reveal her name until we pass court. As much as I want to show you all how beautiful she is, I also cannot post any pictures until then. You will just have to be patient and trust me when I say she is the most beautiful, precious, baby with a perfect pout and big brown eyes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!

Last Friday, June 19, 2009, we received the call that we have been waiting to get for over 14 months. It was the call that changed our lives. At 3:30 pm I was at work when my cell phone started ringing. I noticed it was our social worker, but I just thought the call was something to do with our home study since it's about time to have it updated. I answered my phone and the first thing I heard was "It's a girl!" I for sure thought I was hearing things and I said "WHAT?" I think I said what a hundred times. Then after that, I think I said OMG a hundred times. Julie, she is our social worker, asked If I wanted to hear any more information. I said no, not without my husband. So I hung up with Julie, called Randy and tried to tell him the news, but I think I was crying at this point. I finally spit it out and said I was leaving work right then and there so we could speak with Julie together. I ran out the door like a crazy women and drove what seemed like the longest drive ever. I got home, hugged Randy, and then we sat down together and reviewed the referral as we spoke with Julie. She is a healthy and beautiful 5 month old baby girl. We cannot stop staring and studying her picture. What a wonderful Father's Day. Three days later and we are still in shock.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

14 Months and then some....

We hit our 14th month of waiting last week. 14 months. Never in a million years did I think we would still be waiting for our referral at this point. If we don't receive and accept a referral by the end of this week, we are quite certain our Ethiopian court hearing will not be scheduled until after the rainy season. During the rainy season, which runs from August - September, the courts are closed. What this means is we would have to wait an additional 2 months, already on top of the 12-16 weeks after referral, until we travel to pick up our son or daughter. I have been on edge all week as I am hoping and praying we hear some news. I spoke with our social worker today and she said she is very, very confident we will hear something soon. I am not sure what she meant by soon, as it seems we have been hearing this for some time now. Did she mean soon as in today, soon as in this week, soon as in this month? I jump every time my work or cell phone rings. My mind is constantly wandering, I am having a hard time focusing at work, I just want to know that this is really going to happen.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Celebration of Mom

As all you faithful readers, family and friends know, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. In celebration of her, I decided to put a team together for our city's Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure which is being held this Saturday. I am excited to say we have 21 team participants including family and friends. We decided to do a play on words so our team name is "Creating Great Mammaries". So far we have raised about $1300. Just an update on my Mom, she had her last chemo treatment in March, and she is just about to finish her six weeks of radiation. As she says, she feels great from the waist up, however, she is struggling with tingling, numbness, and pain in her feet. She is having trouble walking and keeping her balance so she is currently using a cane. It's a common side effect from chemo, although her doctors have said it's rare to see it this bad. I love my mom of course, but I just want to say how much I admire her as a woman. She is so strong and I have never once heard her complain or ask "why me?" about this situation that has been dealt to her.

On the adoption front, referrals are very slow, in fact, we have a conference call with our agency next week to discuss the increased wait times. There have been a few referrals this month and we have now moved to number 6 on the unofficial list, however I am going to say 4 since two families in front of us are waiting for siblings. There was however, two long time waiting families that received sibling referrals this week. Great news for them since they have been waiting for almost 17 months.

Monday, May 11, 2009

No News

Another Mother's day has come and gone and we still don't have any news. Last Saturday marked our 13th month of waiting. We are number 8 on the unofficial waiting list, but when people ask I say we are holding at number 5 since three families ahead of us our waiting for siblings.

We have been doing what we can to stay busy. I started a team to walk in our local Susan G. Komen Race for the cure on May 30. Recruiting teammates and pledges has kept my mind off of our referral somewhat. Last Saturday we built a small deck for the front of our house. Tomorrow is our 8th wedding anniversary so we are going to the Brewer game which is something we both love to do. I've said it before and I will say it again, we are blessed to have wonderful families and friends that have been there to support us during this time. The wait was fairly easy for us up until we hit our 10-11 month mark. Now it's getting downright difficult.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Year and Counting....

A couple of weeks ago we hit one year that we have been officially waiting for our referral. April 9, 2008 we got word from our agency that our all of our paper work was approved and we were officially put on the waiting list. At that time we thought our wait would be between 6-9 months. How things have changed. Our year "waitiversary" has passed, and it still seems like we have a ways to go. We are number 10 on the unofficial list, however, I say 7 as there are three families ahead of us waiting for siblings. Our social worker told us we are so close to our referral, it's just a matter of time before some infants come into care and are cleared for referral. Here is a great blog post called "The Weight of the Wait" written by another "waiting" mother. Please take the time to read it as she captures the essence of the "wait" so beautifully. http://www.mindful-mama.com/blogs/thrive/archive/2009/04/17/adoption-the-weight-of-the-wait.aspx

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some things NOT to Say.....

...to adoptive parents. I have been wanting to post this for a while, not for the intentions of offending anyone, but just to make people aware of what they are saying.

Why do you have to pay so much for a baby?
Babies don't cost money, adoption costs money.
Your child is so lucky.
No, we are the lucky ones. How lucky is a child that is born into a situation where he/she cannot stay with his or her birth family?
There are so many kids needing homes here in the states, why another country?
Children all over the world need loving homes.
Now that you've adopted, you'll get pregnant.
Everyone has a story about how their co-worker's cousin's best friend got pregnant shortly after they adopted. The statistics show this really doesn't happen, and to me it implies that an adoptive child isn't as worthy as a biological child.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Golfing in March?????

So yesterday Randy and I and another couple went golfing. Yes, golfing in Wisconsin on March 22. It was absolutely beautiful. The snow is completely gone, however, the grass is still brown. There are no leaves on the trees, and if your ball landed in the water, it would just sit atop of the ice. But days as nice as yesterday don't come around too often this time of year so it was wonderful to be able to swing the clubs. This weekend it's suppose to snow. The saying around here is "if you don't like the weather, stick around for five minutes."

Adoption news; we are now sitting at lucky number 13 on the "list". I know we are so close to getting our referral; it's driving me nuts. Since my last post we hit 11 months of officially waiting. I am doing what I can to keep busy. This weekend I am going out of town with the girls, we are heading up to the Dells for the weekend. There will be lots of food, drink, and a ton of laughs.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Your're So Vain

Well, it has been a while. I don't really have a reason as to why I haven't posted in a while, I guess some of it may be because I am on a computer all day long at work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is come home and be on the computer. Another reason may be that I just don't think my blog is that good. I have been reading some really great blogs and mine is just, well, kind of boring. OK, really boring. For all I know, no one is reading this thing anyway. Well, I know I have some family and friends that read it, so I will continue on.

Since my last post, we had several families pass thru court. This means that in the eyes of the Ethiopian government, that child is legally theirs. The kiddos were absolutely adorable and I thank those families that have shared pictures. Also, some families had their court dates moved up from May to April so that is wonderful news as well. Not sure why, but all the sooner these families can be united. And on the referral front, we have moved up another three places on the "list" so we are sitting at 15. I heard from my specialist this week that more referrals are going out during the month of March, however, she doesn't know when or how many.

Today a great discussion was had on my agency's forum about using hair appliances such as a blow dryer or flat iron when at the guest house in Ethiopia. (The guest house is where we will stay while in country). I for one, cannot live without my blow dryer. I am just that vain. I heard stories about sparks flying out, adapters blowing up, losing all power in the building due to blow dryers, etc. I guess I'd better save some room in my luggage for bandannas, head bands, hats, you name it. Maybe I will try one of those travel blow dryers that has the duel voltage. Who knows, I will probably have more important things on my mind that week that I won't even think about my hair.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

OK, It's Getting Tough

Well, I have to admit, the wait is becoming more difficult by the day. It must be the closer we get to referral, the more excited and anxious we get. Today I damn near had a heart attack. I was in a meeting at work and when I got back to my desk, I saw an email from my specialist. My heart started pounding, she never emails me out of the blue...something must be up. Well, nothing was up, she was just checking in and wanted to go over the time lines with us once more. Nothing has changed, we were told to still expect 12 months give or take until referral, which for us will be the first part of April, and then another 16 weeks until travel, which will be sometime in August. I really appreciate her checking in, and I have to remember we still have several weeks before referral. I shouldn't jump every time she needs to contact us.

All in all, as I have said before, the wait has gone by pretty fast. A lot has happened to our family over this past year. We lost my Grandfather last February, our dog had surgery to remove a tumor, my niece was born in April, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, I turned 40 in September, the holidays came and went, my Grandmother broke her hip a few weeks ago, and well, I guess that brings us up to date. I can just imagine what this year will bring us!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finally Taking Shape







Last week our baby furniture arrived and over the week we were able to put it together. I did most of it; believe it or not I am the more handy one when it comes to this kind of stuff. Randy did help a lot when it came to needing 4 hands, tightening screws, etc. You can also see our new carpeting we had installed last month. I know we have a long ways to go, but I don't think I am going to go much further until we know if we are having a boy or girl. I have looked and looked at gender neutral bedding and nursery decor, but I think I want to do girly girl if it's a girl, and boyish boy if it's a boy. Also, this will help pass the time between referral and travel, which by the way will probably be more stressful than waiting for referral.

Speaking of referral, we haven't heard much this past week. Still holding at number 18 on the unofficial list. This past week we hit the 10 month mark of officially waiting. We are still being told to expect right around a 12 month waiting mark but I have this feeling that it will be longer. I am solely basing this on the list activity and hopefully I am wrong. The closer we get, the more I day dream about getting that call. The call that will change our lives forever.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

We Cracked the Top 20!

I cannot believe it. Today we are number 18 on the "unofficial" list. Last April we started at number 103. I have talked with both our social worker and our CHS specialist and they are still advising us of a 12 month wait. That is only 2 months away. 2 months away from finally seeing that beautiful little face. We are getting so excited. We finally ordered our baby furniture and it should be here tomorrow. We are busy Friday and Saturday so hopefully Sunday we will be able to put it together and get them set up in the baby's room. Wow, to even say the "baby's" room is something special for us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can I Cook?

Today is Randy's birthday. All he wanted to do tonight was stay home, relax, have a nice dinner, and a few cocktails. I really wanted to make him something special for dinner. So I asked him what I could cook for him. I told him I would make anything he wanted. Can you believe all he wanted was Tater Tot Casserole? Maybe I am not as good a cook as I think I am.

Nothing much new to report on the adoption front. Hopefully the next batch of referrals will be coming through in the next couple of weeks. I would like to offer my apologies for those families who did not pass court this week. I don't think it was anything to do with paperwork, it's just some of the government offices moved into different buildings so their appointments were rescheduled, however, most of them didn't get rescheduled until March. Hugs to those families and here's to praying they make it through court next time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proud to be an American

No, No, I am not going into the song. However, I am extremely proud today. That's it, enough said.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally a Nursery?

Well, we finally put new carpeting in what will be the baby's room. We picked it out a couple of weekends ago and they came and installed it last week. I just love it. Our next step is to buy some baby furniture. I think I know exactly what I want so it's just a matter of taking the next step and buying it. I cannot believe it's actually starting to happen. Once we get some furniture, it will really sink in. It's just so hard to believe that this is truly happening after so much heartache. I mean, I know we are still a few more months away from referral, and then a few more months after that, but it seems like no time at all when you consider how long we have been trying to add to our family.

Not much to report on this week regarding referrals. We are at number 25 on the "list" so we are inching our way to the top. I have heard the next batch probably won't be here until early February. I am however, hopeful that the families waiting for court dates will hear some news real soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

9 Months and Counting


Last Friday Randy and I hit the nine month waiting mark. When we started this process well over a year ago, I was certain we would at least have had our referral by now. But, if it's one thing we have learned through this whole process, it's to expect change and to be patient. I have to be honest, the wait for us is going by fast. I cannot believe it's been nine months. Not to mention we are not even close to being ready. I wonder though, maybe I am OK with it because I know we are in the home stretch. We should have less than three months to go before we can see our baby's face. Oh, we did do something constructive this weekend, we finally bought carpeting for the baby's room and it will be installed on Wednesday. I cannot wait. It's really starting to hit me that soon we will be parents.

Oh, that's me with my new hair color.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, New Do!

Well, I have been wanting to do this for a while now, but I finally decided it was time to change up my hair color. I have been wanting to go to a dark color so I took the plunge and I now have reddish brown hair. I would say it's kind of drastic since I was so blonde for so long. So far I just love it. I went to a new stylist and she did a wonderful job.

I have to give a big shout out to my blogger friend Cathy who received her referral today. I have been following her blog from the beginning and I am just so happy for her. Her and her husband also live somewhat close to us so someday I hope we can meet her and her family. There were other referrals this week as well so we have moved up the unofficial list to number 27. There are several families ahead of us waiting for siblings so really we are like number 19.

Just a quick update on my Mom, she is still tolerating treatment pretty well. She has ten weeks of chemo and six weeks of radiation left. She had a little rough spell over the holidays but is now feeling much better. Still hoping and planning on her taking the trip to Ethiopia with us.