Friday, December 23, 2011

Paperwork, check!

Homestudy paperwork, that is.  We submitted the last of it yesterday, and realistically won't hear a thing until 2012, but that's all right.  My goal is to have people waiting on items from us as little as possible, so are focusing paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork.  Next on the list: a brand new dossier....

Hoping for a peaceful and restful holiday season for everyone, near and far. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Maybe, juuuuust maybe...

Possibly.

We might have something incredible coming our way.  Maybe.  We're trying not to get ahead of ourselves, but that's harder than I thought it would be.

We have preliminary approval to adopt a sweetums through the China Special Focus program.  He is just over 2 years old, and absolutely perfect.  Has a special need which we can't disclose just yet.  It's minor in the grand scheme of things, although it is obvious (hence him being on the Special Focus list). 

He's really, really cute and overall really healthy. 
What happens now?  We have a lot of work to do.  Updated homestudy, re-fingerprinting, re-doing our dossier (well, creating a China dossier).  Saving money like biggest tightwads on earth. 

Once we have a  new homestudy, a new dossier and new Hague-certified fingerprints we submit everything to China.  They say yay or nay.  Usually if preliminary approval has been given the powers that be say yay to final approval, but we haven't always had the best luck with things going smoothly (to put it mildly).  We don't have a whole lotta faith left in the system, but maybe, just maybe, juuuuuust maybe.....

We can't let ourselves get excited.  But we are kind of in love. 

OK, not kinda.  Totally and completely head over heels. 

In.

Love.

But not excited at all.

Yeah, right.

:-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Season is Upon Us

We put up our very first Christmas tree last weekend.  We always travel for the holidays and while we've decorated for Christmas before, we haven't ever had an actual tree.  We took Maggie to the tree lot with us, where she proceeded to pee on the first tree she saw.  Whoops.    (Note to self--next time, take her on a walk first.)  The toothless guy who helped us didn't seem to mind, so we marched boldly on.



A Starbucks and a sort-of-black-lab.  Dare I call him a yuppie? 

Anyhoo, the tree looks lovely and smells wonderful (hey, the dog didn't pee on ours) and is very sparkly and festive.  We've also discovered that Goose the Cat finds tinsel to be a delicious and satisfying snack, so that had to be removed as well.  The things we learn. 

Anyway, we have to bring our canine-baby to the vet this weekend for a growth on her leg--I think it's just an old-dog-warty thing, but it's not going to be fun.  So in honor of our warty old lady, Cory bought her the biggest rawhide bone I've ever seen.


The rawhide is as long as her, but she finally figured it out...



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Sort-Of Update

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We did--spent time with the fam in sunny, gorgeous California.  I haven't had Thanksgiving with my sis in many years as she was living in the UK, so that was marvelous.

Not much new here, although we have decided to explore the China Special Focus program more closely.  At this point we don't qualify for the general China program as we haven't been married long enough--I'm divorced so we need to be married for 5 years (it's been a little over 4).  Exceptions can be made for the Special Focus program, as children in that program may have more specialized needs that require extra advocating on the part of the adoption service provider.  The program works quite differently from Ethiopia, in that we are sent files on children to consider and should a match be made, we would request that specific child to adopt.  So it may happen that we adopt from China, yet we are also staying on the Ethiopia list.  Sort of dualing, although not officially as the Special Focus program operates so differently from the other programs.  Not sure if any of this makes sense...

Who knows what the future shall bring? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seattle Weather + Torn Dog Raincoat =





Nothing like a little duct tape and an extra-cool trash bag to keep the old lady dry in the pouring rain and wind when her yellow doggie slicker is kaput. 

And my new favorite Seattle joke:

Question: Why do you have to watch where you step when it's raining cats and dogs?

Answer:  Because you might step in a poodle.

Ha ha! 

Happy American Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not much adoption news right now from our little neck of the woods.  Dualing options are very much on the table, and we have been exploring specific programs; many are so different from Ethiopia it's hard to wrap our minds around .  Actually, the dualing process itself is really difficult to wrap our minds around, but we are getting there.  Some awesome options exist (China special needs in particular), although, of course, adoption is a business and an expensive one, so we may stick it out with Ethiopia and see what happens.  At the same time, we've waited to see what would happen for a really long time, and adoption isn't our first rodeo in trying to build a family.  What to do?  Not sure, yet.  We are weighing options, talking to different programs, re-evaluating what we can handle.  Lists, lists and more lists. 

In the meantime, we are prepping for the holidays.  I looooove Thanksgiving and Christmas--the lights, the music, the food, the family, the community.  And I dream of the day when I won't avoid the mall after Thanksgiving because children dressed up to see Santa is just....hard.  Maybe I'm the only one that feels that way, but maybe not.  But we are working on enjoying the moment (and finishing Christmas shopping in advance).  And hoping against hope that this is our second-to-last holiday season without a baby.  I'm realistic enough at this point to know it won't be our last.

So I leave you with this picture.  Yup, another day of diving in the Puget Sound....wait!  What is that on the ground, you ask?




Yup, snow.  We are officially Pacific Northwestern divers.  Feel free to call me Dr. Awesome-Badass amongst yourselves.  Time for a hot buttered rum (minus rum, so is that just a "hot buttered?"), a Snuggy and a movie.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Clash Said It Best (updated)

Should I stay or should I go now?

So a couple different folks suggested we ask about our numbers on the list, which was really, really good advice, so thank you.  I love this community—it helps keep the insanity at bay.  So anyhow, our agency doesn’t really give numbers regularly until you are nearing the top, as child requests can change, etc.  But you can request then anytime.  I was kind of avoiding that until after the holidays, as there has been so little movement.  Last April-ish, we were around #72 and there have been 7 referrals since then.  So doing the math on that (…carry the one….) we should be around 65 or so.  Apparently, people have left the program or changed their child requests, because our new number is 35 for an infant and around 13 for a child over the age of 1.  So if the next 35 referrals (which they expect to start in around Feb) are infants, we wait as those families are matched.  At the current rate, that will a long, long wait. If some referrals for 18 month olds are mixed in, we move up that list.  However, all of the referrals for the last 7 months have been infant referrals, so we should really view ourselves as #35.  Anything else would be icing.
These numbers were unexpected by a long shot, and were really helpful, as I feel like it gives us breathing room to make a solid decision.  We started this process over a year ago, so are pretty attached to Ethiopia and would love to continue on this road. Yet I’m not sure if I am comfy having all of our eggs in one basket.  The conversation with the agency was very, very honest, very informational and very blunt, which was good, albeit hard to hear (could you tell from my last post?  Ha).  The one piece of information we did not have was our numbers, and I don’t have any idea right now what I think about that. 
Should we wait it out and just hope for the best?  Our agency is still allowing families to enter the program (with warnings about long wait times), they are working with quite a few orphanages who may be issuing referrals again in February, and are being as honest and forthcoming as they can.
Should we dual and make our 2nd adoption (we’d like 2 kids—pipe dream, I know) from Ethiopia?  Dualing is expensive and easier said than done.  However, it’s a really good option and I’m glad it’s available.
Should we leave the Ethiopia program?  No.  Not yet.
It’s all so confusing and makes me feel like this:

video


(that’s my nephew, who just learned to cross his eyes from my sister, who always was a talented eye-crosser)

Update so this makes more sense:
I love comments and advice from those who have been there, so keep 'em coming.  And just to be clear, dualing adoption is basically applying to another program within our agency and seeing what happens.  Only one adoption would happen at a time (whichever referral is accepted first), and once everyone is home and a certain amount of time has passed (6 months to a year), homestudy updated and such, the second adoption could proceed.  So we would not be adopting two children at once, unless they are sibs in the same program.  This is definitely taking the looong view.  Hope that makes sense. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our new adoption spot: Pandora!

We had a conference call with our agency tonight, and it was pretty much what we expected. Actually, it strongly reminded us both of the Post-Failed-IVF “WTF Conversation” with the docs, ie:

1. Things aren’t where we thought they would be.
2. Things have changed.
3. We don’t really know why, but we have some ideas.
4. Here are some options.
5. They are all really expensive.
6. They might work.
8. We assume zero liability for any of them.
9. They are all really expensive.

In a nutshell, adoptions in Ethiopia have slowed down lots-n-lots and will stay that way for the foreseeable future through our agency. New families are being told they have a wait time of three years. Three years. 7 months ago, the wait time for new families was 8 months. So, yeah, you could say adoption from Ethiopia has slowed just a tad.

So, yeah, I've got my Irish up. Feeling snarky. And depressed. And anxious. And extremely upset. Again. Have we just wasted (another) 7 months (yup, 7 months yesterday--not that it matters--)?

It’s one thing when the agency is upbeat. It’s easy to go into denial mode, and believe things like once court opens, things will speed up/this is just a speed bump/it’s a minor slowdown while the process gets worked out. Of course, once the agency itself starts to acknowledge there’s a problem….well, that’s a different story.

Our options: Dual with another program (2 at once--starting over on a lot of stuff), exit the program and find another one entirely, or wait The Wait.

Denial—not just a river in Egypt, right?

Soooooo.....what's next?

I have absolutely no f*&%ing clue. It’s just been such, such, such a long road, with no end in sight.

Is the Ethiopia program deader than disco? Maybe.

Should we change programs? Probably.

Dual ET with another program? Maybe.

Raise the age considerably? Maybe, but likely it won't help.

Give up entirely and spend our free time diving in tropical waters all over the world? Maybe.

It's hard, just hard, to constantly, constantly revise the future. It's just....hard.

So maybe we choose not to. I mean, really?

Maybe we are done, and this is the sign we‘ve been avoiding for so long.

**I fully admit that this post is knee-jerk reaction to the convo tonight. Whoever calls me out in comments for wanting families to fall apart in order for me to purchase a baby will have their email address used to signed up for pay-for-it-later magazines, starting with Cat Fancy.


**Ok, that was kind of judgmental to those who subscribe to Cat Fancy. Sorry. I'm sure it's a super knowledgable publication about fancy cats.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happiness is... (part 2)

Happiness is spending an entire week on the island of Maui with your smoochie-woochie-lovey-dove, just diving and boogie-boarding and soaking up the sun. Since our adoption went Code Red on the Suck-O-Meter about 12 hours before we boarded our plane, we made a pact to talk about children/adoption/future family for no more than 15 minutes a day (old trick from IF days) and it worked like a charm--we actually never addressed the issue once. Disengaging from life was the best possible thing for us right now; no bills or work or adoption news or stress of any kind. My biggest worry was whether I was getting a tad too crispy--sue m e, I'm Irish.

Our agency is holding conference calls over the next 2 weeks discussing options for waiting families (that's would be a bad sign, right?) so I'm sure more info will be coming. So in advance of impending despair, here are some pics to make you drool:

4 dives, including Molokini (crater in the middle of the ocean), Airport Beach and Turtle Town:


Paddleboarding, my new fave sport-except you really need some of those things...you know, those things...what are they called?
(Tapping head)
(Snap!)
Oh yeah! Muscles!!! Yeah, got to get me some of those. But still LOVED paddleboarding, which is quite popular right now. Cory, not so much. Apparently it helps to be short--some nonsense about centers of gravity.



And snorkelin and eating and soaking up rays from that big ball of fire in the sky that we will likely not see for around 11 more months.




Ahhhh. Maui.



Paradise.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happiness is…

These three people: my sister, niece and nephew...













All of whom have…

Moved
back
to
AMERICA.

To California. As in, 2 hours by plane from me. As in, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Close enough for a quick trip to visit, to talk on the phone in the same time zone, to see whenever I want!!!! Ice at London Heathrow 2 days before Christmas? Kiss off, you’re not my problem ANY LONGER!! Her hubs is back in the UK finishing up the final details, but should be here as soon as is humanly possible.

Welcome home, sis!!! More glad to have you back than I can possibly tell you.

Eating at In N Out...















Having birthday cake with Nana...

















(On a totally separate note, anyone have any insight into the latest State Dept adoption notice? Sounds like they are a bit disgruntled with agencies, or is that just me?)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I had a weird experience last night. Not sure if it’s good or bad, but it is what it is. I was laying in bed, listening to the rain against the window, reading a good book, snuggled up with a purring kitty, and I thought (for the first time ever) “If this is it, then that’s fine. If the adoption works, fine. If not, fine. Whatever, Universe.”

From what I can tell, our agency has not had a referral in 3 months. Meaning for 3 of the 6 months we have been waiting, no one has moved on The List. How in the world are we going to get a referral in the estimated (and our agency has made it very clear that this is only an educated guess) 10-18 month wait? It’s got to be closer to 24-36 months, right? I mean, 10-18 months would be incredible, but is pretty airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky, right?

We have a lot going on right now outside of our adoption, and all of it exciting and fun. As we don’t get monthly numbers updates, I was planning on touching base with our case manager about our place on The List in November (last time we spoke about it was in May), but think that I might wait until after the holidays. Because honestly, I just don’t want to know. I can’t tell if I’ve just given up and lost hope, or if I’ve accepted our lot in life and that the wait is going to be years.

The Minister of MOWA arrives this weekend and will spend some time with the Ethiopian community in Seattle. I won’t be in town, but Cory will be there to represent. It sounds like court reopens next Weds, so maybe things will start shaking out then and some new norms for wait times will be in place.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Certifiably Certified

Aaaaand, done! 4 open water dives, lots of skills testing (including removing your mask 40 feet underwater--yikes!) in the Puget Sound, check! We had a surprisingly great time and are now officially PADI certified, just in time for Maui! YAHOO! Visibility was excellent (for the Sound), and we saw a huge octopus and fed a wolf eel. Very, very cool.






Cory finishing the book work, which had, you know, mathnstuff. (Pop Quiz: What do you get when you marry an art major with a theater major? Answer: A couple that strongly hopes that their child's first family has serious math skillz. Nature's just going to have to take over in that area, folks.)




Scuba diving is all about the gear:











YAY to certification!



(Can wet suits be any more uncomfortable? But man-oh-man, do they ever work! We really weren't cold at all, but my knuckles are all kinds of torn up trying to get the darned thing on. Some people coat themselves in olive oil ahead of time, and I don't really blame them--anything to help.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Half of a year

We've now been on The Amazing List for a half of a year, and have been in the adoption process for just a little over a full year. It's hard to believe that much time has passed, yet alas....

A very smart woman told me recently that her biggest piece of advice for us during The Wait is to indulge ourselves mightily, without apology. So we are:


Yup, we are finally learning to scuba dive, in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Maui. Let the indulging begin! We had the first class this weekend, which included classroom time and pool time. Next weekend we have two open water dives in the Puget Sound, which is very dark, cold and swirly. So I'm just keeping my eye on the prize, scuba-ing in Hawaii.

So, for now, yay for 6 months on The Wonderful, Amazing, List:



And, well, I just had to include it:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Somethin' Afoot?

If you know me IRL, you know that I am not the most patient when waiting (working on that) nor, at this point in our quest to hear the pitter-pat of little feet, the most trusting of souls (working on that, too). Through our agency, we receive a weekly update on news and happenings both at our agency (read: referrals or lack thereof) and in the Ethiopian community, such as holidays or events. I look forward to the Friday Email each week, as it is a good way to feel connected to the agency and not wonder if we have accidentally been deleted from The List, only to realize it two years down the road--have I mentioned that I'm not the most trusting of souls?

So in the next two weeks a lot will be happening in our corner of the world and in the larger picture of this adoption.

*Court will reopen--the prediction is next week. Court closures/openings happen according to the monsoon season starting/ending, so there are not set dates. However, our agency has reason to believe it's set for next week. They also feel like referrals will get off to a pretty slow start. This was not a surprise.

*The Vice President of M.OWA will come to the Seattle area for a visit. This is closely tied to the horrendous death of an Ethiopian adoptee earlier this year in the area. (It was not an adoption associated with our agency) It sounds like we will have a chance to take part in a meet and greet with him or her, which we are looking forward to. Fallout from a situation such as this one is to be expected--we are interested in seeing what impact it has on overall procedures and expectations.

*A Vice President from our agency is heading to Addis to take part in a meeting at the Embassy, and make face-to-face contact with orphanages and staff in-country.

So I feel like the next month or so will tell us a lot about the future of Ethiopian adoptions. I'm glad things are moving and shaking, and at the same time have the usual fears that something is afoot and that we are in the dark. Sigh. We went into the summer months with the attitude that nothing would have been happening anyway as we haven't been waiting very long (relatively), so we might as well enjoy the summer. Fall is upon us, and I'm working hard on not being anxious about the future. It's harder than it seems.

Happy first day of autumn!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"The idea that no one is perfect

is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren." -Doug Larson

This weekend our agency had a "Grandparentin With a Plus" course, which was an introduction to adoption for future grandparents of domestically or internationally adopted grandchildren. It was incredibly informative, including a talk given by a grandmother of an internationally adopted child, who told their story and gave some excellent advice. It was our first class of the year (our agency takes summer off) and got us excited again about our adoption.

Tomorrow is Cory's birthday, so off to make a cake!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You know how some people...

just make everything better? This is one of those people:


who came to Seattle for a long weekend. Old friends just, well, they just get it, you know? I don't think we stopped talking for three straight days. Loved every second of it.

Thanks again for coming, Kristen! Looking forward to seeing you again SOON!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Labor Day Song

Set to Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves (in honor of blue skies and sun in the coldest summer on record in the Pacific Northwest)

Ahem. (clearing throat)

Meemeeemeeemeeemeeeee……

OK, here we go. One, two and a one- two- three-four!
___________
Cory loves to fish for salmon, yeah baby that’s tru-ue
While he catches our dinner, I enjoy the view-ew
Blue ocean, Olympic Mountains, warm su-un, I’m going to say yayyyy
Seattle, I was thinking about moving, but now I will stay-ay

We’re fishing on the Puget Sou-ound,whoa-oh!
No one else arou-ound, whoa-oh!
And don’t it feel good, yeah!
All right now
And don’t it feel good, yeah!
All right now

I used to want to climb to the to-op but now I’m not suuuure
That’s one ginormous mountain, still covered with snoo-oow
Now every time I think about tackling it, gotta say “pass”,
‘Cause I’m scared of falling, down a deep crevasse

I’m walking on Mt. Rainier, whoa oh!
Wait, there’s a deeeer, whoa oh!
And don’t it feel good, yeah!
All right now
And don’t it feel good, yeah!
All right now

I feel the sun, I feel the sun, I feel the sun
That’s really real
I feel the sun, I feel the sun, I feel the sun
That’s really real
On sunshine baby yeah!


Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.

(Bows)

_____

Hmmm. Maybe I won't quit my day job after all. And here are the obligatory pictures:





Thursday, August 25, 2011

As the months go by...

Five months on The List. When we started our Ethiopian adoption process, the longest wait time for a baby boy was 10 months. We would have been halfway there. Not so much anymore.

But 5 months is 5 months....







Friday, August 19, 2011

Paperwork Call

The USCIS call today regarding paperwork after bringing a child home was pretty straightforward, covering topics such as types of visas your child will get, what to do if names are spelled wrong, what is needed to enter the US, etc. For those who didn't have a chance to listen in, the Powerpoint is here--near the bottom (and they pretty much just read the presentation from the slides, so the pertinent points are covered). I printed it off for later use.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strange Week

I wish I had more to post, something adoption-related and exciting. But there isn't much happening right now on the family front, nor will there be for a while. We do have a call with USCIS on Friday regarding "The First Year Home"--I don't really know what the content will be, but am interested in what they have to say. Assuming it's paperwork-related, and while we are pretty far from worrying about that, it's good to start mentally preparing for it.

It's been a strange week in the infertility/adoption/Horn of Africa world. Between a new surrogacy scandal, exceedlingly difficult international adoption issues, and the famine that has a good likelihood of directly affecting our future child and their first family, I have found myself defending the infertile and the adopting over and over again. And while the greed of the few who prey on folks who want children is unacceptable, vicious and cruel to all involved, it does not represent all of us. In fact, the adoptive/infertile parents have not been charged with wrongdoing in any of the cases. I thought the "Octo.mom" situation was bad enough, as we were IVF-ing when her story broke, but I was wrong. The perception the public has about those of us who build our families in alternative ways is changing, and (I believe) not for the better. Infertile families are often seen as depraved, desiring to steal babies, which is simply not the case. Yet it is the perception, and I make that statement after reading comments following several news stories regarding recent cases--yikes! Infertility is a medical condition, not a mental health condition (hence why IFers really hate being told to "relax"--who would say that to a cancer patient, or even someone with allergies?? "Just relax" = patronizing and dismissive, but that's a post for another time) and one that needs advancement in areas like medical coverage, and that will be largely dependent on advocation from IF families, friends and medical professionals. And while the cases in the media are not the norm, they are the focus. It's hard to stop thinking about those affected, and what they must be going through right now. It's equally hard to comprehend how the actions of those who caused these problems will affect the futures of children and families alike.

So anyway, it's been a strange week for us in our little bubble of a world. Here's hoping the book will be thrown at those who endangered the lives of children for nothing more than simple greed, and that those families dealing with the aftermath have ample support.

Oh, and if any PAPs want info on the call on Fri, let me know in comments! I don't think it's just for the Ethiopia program...



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Four Years Ago

A boy and a girl got married. Don't they look young and innocent?



This boy and girl thought they would start having babies right away.

What a nice, sweet (albeit, clueless) plan!

So here we are, four years later. Still planning, still hoping, and still in love.

And, at the end of the day, that's what matters.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Yes, I went to my reunion....

...It was as if everyone had swelled."
-Joan Cusack, Grosse Pointe Blank

This weekend we headed back to Montana for Cory's 20th high school reunion. Yes, 20th high school reunion. Considering we are the same age, I can truly say I have no idea how this happened. I mean, I am 19 still, right? Right?? No?

Dang.

Anyway, it was fun to put faces to names of folks I had heard about for years, but had never officially met. Nice people, good food, good times for all. Everyone met a local watering hole on Friday night...


We skipped "Family Day" on Saturday, but went to the big dinner/dancing night. Nothing like Montana-folk to know how to cook a really, really good steak.

Good times, sun, heat, vacation days, no pelting, driving, freezing cold rain...perfection.

Although this morning, I'm feeling a little like this...




Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Month Down

Which makes


months since we were added to The List. Only 14 more to go!! Yayyy....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning Amharic

One of our projects while waiting is to learn a bit of Amharic, as we have bumped up the requested age of a child of our adoption. Since our future kiddo may have some language when coming home with us, it would be in everyone's best interest for us to be able to communicate a little bit, but I have also learned that the best way to learn Amharic is to be born an Ethiopian baby in an Ethiopian family in Ethiopia--it's pretty different and pretty darned hard.

So we got this book/CD combo this week:

(Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families)



This is an excellent resource for us, and exactly what we were looking for.

And it broke our hearts.

Here are the first few phrases:

I am your mommy.
I am your daddy.
You are going to live with us.
We will take good care of you.
We are so happy to be your family.
Don't be afraid.
We are going to ride on an airplane!


This long-distant future, elusive, theoretical experience of going to Africa, meeting our child and bringing them home to live with us just slammed us upside the head in a major way. The loss, the fear, the confusion our child will face...I think I just actually, truly started processing this. We are doing our homework, reading the books, taking the classes. But attempting to explain to a child just how much their life is changing, for better or worse, is just...I don't know. Inconceivable. Understanding from their point of view...also inconceivable. But we will try. And try. And try.

Honestly, I could write a novel or a completely incomprehensible blog post, so I think I'll stop while I'm ahead. And I will slowly, and I'm sure incompletely, attempt to wrap my head around this aspect of adoption.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ethiopia Adoption Program Update

We were just informed by our agency that the Ethiopian government is going ahead with plans to close specific orphanages over the next few months; these institutions are being closed for a variety of reasons. One orphanage is connected to our agency, although the relationship is extremely new and (to my knowledge) few, if any, referrals have come out of this particular program. Instead, the relationship has involved the creation of humanitarian programs, which will continue to build with the hope that the orphanage can apply to be licensed again in the future.

The closure of orphanages was discussed back in March when the slowdown happened, so this is not particularly surprising. I'm glad that our agency will, at this time, not be overly affected by these decisions, and they strongly support efforts to ensure ethical adoptions. We hope the institutions they work with will not be affected in the future.

Referrals will likely be extremely slow in the coming months as court closes in Addis for the monsoon season.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth in the Mountains

For the Americans out there, happy 4th of July! Without much to talk about regarding our adoption (other than 4 referrals last week--not too shabby!), we did have a really fun weekend hanging with my parents in the booming metropolis of Mineral, California. Population 90.

Booming. Metropolis.

Maggie was an angel on the long drive down...




Mineral is located in Lassen Volcanic National Park (ignore my Seattle-white legs, btw--they just may blind you)




The lovely cabin...



We did nada, zip and zero. Just mainly read, slept and yakked. (beware the picture below. it may traumatize you)




We also drank many, many lattes topped with whipped cream and crushed-up Heath bars. Again, not too shabby!




A lovely weekend! Hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July!

**Oh, and it was H-O-T!!!