Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ok Power in Info: What happens between Court & Visa Apt?

While sufring the net, I saw this wonderful blog of info. So here you go, while I can not take creidt for it, It does give you some tanagelable info that does make sense. PS added more to my Medical travel list, see post after this one.

What happens between the court date and the embassy date?
Posted by : Mary Owlhaven in Ethiopia Adoption Blog at 09:35 am , 504 words, 1062 views

An adoptive mom emailed me today, frustrated. She said that she got the referral of a baby girl in August during the court closure and is not scheduled to have a court date until late November, with travel planned for mid January. She is understandably eager to get her baby home and is wondering if her timelines are normal. She was also wondering just what has to happen between the court date and the embassy date since her agency is being vague regarding details.

Her timelines sound very normal to me. In fact, I know some families who got referrals in early summer who have not yet gotten through court. More cases these days are taking several attempts to finally pass court. Some this happens because a child's relative does not show up in court. Also lately the Ethiopian Children's Commission has been swamped with paperwork and has been a little slower to send their part of the paperwork on to court, which delay often is not discovered until the actual court date, causing a new court date to be necessary.

As far as travel permission, sometimes families are scheduled to travel as soon as 2-3 weeks after court. But it is just as common to have 4-6 weeks between your court date and your visa interview. Agencies that allow parents to travel a couple weeks after the court date risk having parents have to cancel plane tickets if the original court date is not successful.

There are quite a few steps that have to happen between the court date and the embassy date.

-- A few days after your court date, the courts will issue the court paperwork: the adoption decree as well as your child's new birth certificate with the adoptive parents' name on it.

---Both of those documents are needed so that your agency can go get your child's passport photos and then the child's passport. In my understanding the passport office is only open two days each week, and with the recent boom in Ethiopian adoptions, this office is very busy.

-- It will take another week or so for the passport to actually be issued. (This is fast, actually-- think about how long you waited in the US for your passport. Several times I've paid big bucks to have a passport expedited and have still waited several weeks.)

-- Once your agency has the passport in hand, they can do your child's visa physical, along with that last HIV test. And then, finally, everything is pulled together for the embassy visa interview, which will be done while the adoptive family is in Ethiopia. Keep in mind that the embassy interview is scheduled weeks ahead of time. Some families will wait as little as 3 weeks after the court date. Others will not have their interview scheduled till 6 weeks after the court date.

The entire process takes a lot of patience. Hang in there as you wait and know that everyone is trying to get things done as fast as possible.


I am so wound, this hanging on a date is just torture! I find it so hard, we have looked at her photo for so long, she must be so sick of sitting in the orphanage (she probably has no idea we are even her parents) :) But if I were her, I would wonder...whats the hold up? Now that our travel meds are purchased, there should be no more delays right?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Inventory Time...

Crunch time, Ok this list has been in my head for a few weeks now, today it became reality . This is what I purchased:

Danskin Jogging suit, (its light cotton and so cozy, for the airplane ride)
socks for son & daughter that will be home with Nana, (socks vanish in our home!)
1pack of Take n Toss sippy cups
SPF 50 Sunblock, tear free
Toothpaste,(lg tube and sm carryon) toothbrushes for us and baby, travel case for them
Make-up Towelettes, (feels so nice after a long trip wash face with bottle water)
All new make-up (I deserve it)
Quick Read digital Thermometer
Baby nail clippers
Eucerin CREAM, (lotions for kids a no no, normally reactions)
Monistat 7 yup,,,,a gal never knows, (could be along trip)
Excedrin Migraine
Band aids
Soap case
3oz travel bottles (to fill with shampoo,conditioners, baby soap, big bottles will be checked)
Individual Antibacterial wipes for hands and surface. quantity 50
Hydrocortisone Cream 1% (in case baby has itches ect,some type of relief until we get home
40 pack of wipes for travel/ will purchase more in Ethiopia

Doctor Perscribed Azithromycin:for baby ear infections, powder form mix with water if needed*paid full price baby not yet on insurance

Doctor Perscribed: Ciprofloxacin HCL 500 MG: AKA for travelers diarea, for Mom & Dad

Benadryl: 2 pills I sleep like a baby, better than sleeping pills!
Alka-Seltzer Plus Day & Night, just because it helps us sleep
4 pack pedialyte singles, I also have powder packets but the singles are real handy, if they fit I will bring them
*unplanned purchase sweet dress 80%off for baby $6.00 and two neat T's for kids,soap dish (ours broke last night)
TP: 2 sm carryon/2 normal rolls checked
sm jar of vapor rub, for chest colds-baby
sm bottle eye drops:dry eye relief-adults
TOTAL Expense $293.24 it does add up fast, and I did not shop crazy either!

*PS forgot to purchase Feaver Reducers like Childrens Tylenol or Motrin have to do this.
ADDED to list Latex Gloves (for yuck)
Small Flashlight, (incase of power outage)
Shampoo for AA hair
Dramamine: motion sickness

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thank you Nana..aka Mom

Mom sent us a beautiful box of little girl outfits. This is my favorite one so far. I want her to wear it the day we get her, but also when we arrive in the airport...however the airport outfit is not as important to me, we will be happiest to just be in our own beds! We are currently waiting on the outcome of the TB test, lets hope it is NEGATIVE, as a postive could create some very sad delays. I hear it takes 72 hours to see if there is a reaction to the test. Not sure when she is getting it done, I hope soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our kids happy in the new seats.

*for product info, see youtube video below/ Properly seated, the black clips should rest at nipple height on the child. The shoulder straps heights should be at an angle just below the ear lobes (not wraped around the shoulder like a bra strap), the space between the should be hard for an adult to slip their hand between the belt and the child's body. If your child's head is higher than the back of the car seat, they have outgrown it, which could result in whiplash to them or harm in a crash.

Research before you buy

Not until I viewed this video did I know that there is a 5 point car seat available that will hold your child front facing up to 80lbs. We purchased the Britiax last year and are very happy with them. If we had known sooner it would of saved us money from purchasing the next one in between the rear-facing. Anyway, after reading the facts, we purchased them, not out of fear,but because it was the best on the market.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Ask and ye shall recieve"

Many months ago I did ask, I phoned a Knights of Columbus member in a near by town. Not sure what the out come would be, "I asked", Sir, I see from the computer that you are a Knight, we are trying real hard to bring baby formula to an orphanage in Ethiopia, will you be able to help us? That one call resulted in members gathering funds to purchase us 7 cases of precious formula, a total of 42 CANS! Small questions, regular people can do great things. When I think of my contact, I smile!

Thank You Thank You!

This is a HUGE shout out to J&C, Thank you very very much for the Crayola Donation, not just one box, BUT 3 CASES total crayons of over 1400! Nothing like a nice fresh box of Crayola, nothing beats this. I am so excited to bring these to the orphanage. So if we see little scribbles on the concrete walls at the orphanage we can smile and thank J&C! Busy hands make happy kids! Thanks again Guys! Your day is coming soon, I promise.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Interview with a Travel agent...

I have been in contact with a few travel agents. The one so far that we are most comfortable with is Scott Nordwall of International Travel. His email is
He is very informed with our travel goals and what we expect. He has also made this travel journey several times and has assisted over 500 families that were adopting. I am happy we interviewed a few, some agents never got back to us on basic questions, some asked us many "survey" questions and never got back to us. So it looks like we are putting our trust in Scott! Stay posted, I feel a travel date should be early this week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Referral Photo

The day we waited so long for. The first look at our daughter. It seems like a lifetime ago that we started this adoption. It was truly worth every moment!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ok, Ethiopia time to wake up!

In six more hours it will be 9 am Monday in Ethiopia! Sounds like that's when courts are open. It will be 2am here Monday! I hope so bad we get notified tomorrow, I know our POA is working hard for us and knows how excited we are.

Its almost late Sunday Night in Ethiopia!

I hope our POA has a good nights sleep. That the Judge favors well on our applications, that travel comes fast and Carmens adjustment goes smooth. This adoption has been soooooo long. It will be nice to have a new year of not worrying about paperwork, fees,new approvals, scrimping with money and just settle down and get in some family vacations and long weekends. No one ever said it would be easy, but the rewards are well worth the struggles! Will we sleep well tonight. Probably not, but I do so much want a good rest, I lay in bed thinking will "will I rest tonight" then morning is here! I need to be fresh so I can absorb all the new travel info we have. Its a debate between staying at a guest house or a big hotel. From what I have been reading guest house is the way to go, however our agency prefers a big hotel???? Anyone have any suggestions. Not sure if a guest house will be too full of activity with other families adopting, vs: staying in a hotel room which is normally a little more privacy~(not looking for a circus) Price is also a factor, since we are not planning on a long stay, I am not looking for a five star price. I would rather spend that kind of money for a big family trip when we are all together. We are not beneath roughing it some.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Almost 1 day til court!

As well as beauty, the African rose from Ethiopia produces a vitamin-rich fruit, “very much liked by children and eaten fresh and raw. The fruits can be harvested from December onwards. When consuming too much, the fruits may cause stomachache and tingling sensation on the teeth.”

So our POA will go to court for us on 3/16, but in USA time that should be Sunday night while we are trying to sleep. I wonder if we will get good news early Monday morning, or will he try to get us our Embassy apt so we can plan travel then contact us.

A real nice adoptive mom from our old agency IM me a few days ago. She also just changed programs and wondered if our orphanage could use bottles. Well of course I said they would be welcomed. She is mailing them out today....she is sending 51! They should be nice and light weight, I wonder if we could stuff some candy in them??No sense bringing an empty bottle! right?

Finally started our 2008 family year book on Shutterfly. In the past we have spent so much money on photos that end up in drawers, wasted money of scrapbook materials ect. So last year, I saved all my best photos in separate files on Shutterfly. They are sorted by month, event ect. I went an entire year of not ordering one photo. They are all being printed in a wonderful book. I think it should be about 80 pages when complete. I started this in 2007 and it truly has been enjoyed. You can change the layouts, backgrounds, type in stories, captions ect.. It looks real nice when done. I start with Chinese New Years and end the year with Christmas! Plus God forbid, if anything was to happen to the book. A new one can be ordered, or for that fact, say when the kids get bigger and want to have their own. We can just order them a copy. It was getting very hard to keep up with separate books for each child. This seemed like the best solution. One more thing then I am done, what if your computer was to crash, and you lost all your photos? I know personally it would be horrible. So please find an on line company like Shutterfly and store your best shots there. You will not regret this.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2 Days Til Court

Our Ethiopia Program Travel Instructions came in by email today! There is alot of info to review and absorb. I was not having a day where I could have full concentration on all this important info. It would be best to get a good nights sleep, read the info a few times. Then flood our adopion rep with several questions we will have. I did a fast scan, everything seems pretty forward. But for now we will rest on it. Guess what 2 days til court! PS: I read fast that Hershey's chocolate is popular in Ethiopia, I wonder how it will travel? If anyone knows please reply. thanks.

Look Who's Walking

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3 Days til Court !!!

#1 Scared my self real bad today: Our new USCIS approval came in today's mail. I went to the fire proof safe to put it into our file. Guess what? The file was not on the top where I left it. So for a half hour I empty the entire safe, mind you its packed, disks, documents, power of attorneys, stuffed with real important stuff. My heart is racing, It has to be here, I always put it back when I am done with it. I pull open all the drawers on the desk, look Thur odd papers ready to be burned. No where! Then I hear, "flop" the Ethiopia adoption file was lodged into the top cover of the safe, and flopped down. Not a good joke, it took a while for me to calm down, my mind was racing on how the heck I would recreate that file. All ended well.

#2 Our poor little boy has been feeling bad, his ears hurt. Sounds like an ear infection. Got him into the Dr. at 10am, sat for an hour to be seen. Yes he did have an infected ear and hard build up. The Dr. cleaned out the ear, he screamed so badly, it earned him a promise of a big box of candy at the store. Just when we are almost done, I remembered he needs his Hep B 2nd shot. Lets do it now and get it over. Well I did not restrain him well, Half of the shot went in him, half ended up all over my hands. He needed a 2nd shot. It was very bad. (side note) The doctors office was short on nurses, and I had to restrain him for his shot,even though I did a bad job. HOWEVER: a rule for adoption and bonding is for shots and blood draws, the parent should never restrain the child, it should be 2 nurses, or Dr and nurse. The reason is the parent is never to be a source of harm to their child, the nurse or Dr. should hand the child back to the parent directly after the shot or blood draw so the parent is only seen as the source of comfort and safety. Plus the Medical employees can normally get the procedure done much faster if the parent steps out of the room and waits by the exam room door, I have done this with both of our kids and they do calm down much faster. Regardless it is heartbreaking to hear you child scream and carry on, but you do it for their wellness, thats part of being a parent. Looked what happened today to us, I have never restrained our children for any medical procedures, I should of held off on the shot for a better time. It was my fault he needed the second shot. (FYI according to the CDC all family members in the household should have the Hep shots before your child from Ethiopia arrives home)

#3 I got in a wonderful relaxing swim tonight at the local pool.

From the mouth of a first grader....

What the heck was I even thinking serving a vegatable that was NOT corn? So the kids sit down to dinner and say "what is this?" "Oh, thats Ok Michael, we will just pick out the corn then ask for more"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

4 Days til Court!!!!

Well trying hard to kick in into gear. I did make our tax appointment, that was on my to do list. Cleared out a huge cupboard of miss matched everyday plates ect. Replaced the entire cupboard with all the china we normally keep in a box and never use. What's the purpose of that? So we have our 3 squares on the best china, snacks included. So whats the worse that could happen? They break, big deal.

PS: I can not wait to share Carmen's referral photo, I hope we pass court the first time. She is changing so much! I have heard she is shy & not trusting. So we will take it real slow, and keep things low key. It will just be nice to get her home.

Monday, March 9, 2009

FIVE days til court!

Sept 8,2008 was the official start of our fresh journey in the adoption world for Ethiopia. What have we learned: To trust another agency after a very hard history with a big agency, Never give up, don't let yourself become a number, remember the children needing families, speak up, keep organized, follow up with phone calls, emails, extra thank yous, appreciate the people that helped smooth out your journey, forgive the people that created roadblocks for you,when needed change directions, (find the right path). Thank government officials that helped you, remember those that did not when time to vote! Learn to become a leader, be a friend to those on the same journey as you. Do not ever feel trapped by big agency's, if you loose money, you can always make more. Be nice to your Notary, she is your biggest helper in this paper chase. Ask for help when needed. There are many routing for you, just keep at it. When you are having set backs; there is a faceless child waiting for you. Worry when needed, but know this is entirely in Gods control, worry will not change his timing.

Stuffed Fun......

SIX days til court!

Things I want to do to keep my mind busy:

1. Make a memory book of a few photos to bring on our trip

2. Yet again organize the home for better efficiency. "if possible"

3. Get our taxes done.

4. Enjoy the moments of being a family of 4, soon our world will be "rocked"

5. Write a heartfelt letter to our new daughter for later on in life,(currently a work in progress in my head)

6. Continue my walking, swimming, eating healthier styles. (hard under stress)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Could Not Resist

Yeah, I went back out shopping today. Last night I remembered another location with hopefully big discount deals. Fist thing this am, I ran out and grabbed these last few crocks. They are really perfect to travel, #1 they don't weigh alot and #2 They should fit many children because the sizes are so generous and #3 when the lining gets "yucky" it simply can be pulled out and still remain a functing crock.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Heck of a deal!

Normally I am not a shopper, but today a deal jumped out at me that I just could not pass up. A 70% off rack! I saw a nice group of size 4 pants and immediately thought of the little boys in Ethiopia, I know there are alot of little boys in the orphanages. I wish we could afford to purchase the entire rack. Well we purchased 9pairs for a total of $21.00! If our old agency would of just refunded part of our fees, we could of done alot more donation shopping. I am still bitter about the wasted fees and lack of any refunds,,,,even partial. We will recover, but still feel stung!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Best Nation is DOUGH-nation!

Formula, Shoes, Cars, items are adding up fast! In about a week we will recieve another 42 cans of Soy formula from the Knights of Columbus. Our agency currently has 60 children in The Ark Home, these are much needed items. I so look forward to getting them their saftely. Adoption Ark is also having a diaper/formula drive in hopes of collecting more items to send to Ethiopia with families that are due to travel. The link is at the right of this post, I personally feel money donation is the best, as then items that are really needed can be purchased.