Monday, February 16, 2009

Third Trimester or Something Like It

Deepest apologies for not updating this blog in a while.  I hit an impatient spell in January where it felt like word from my agency was very slow in coming.  For the longest time, I had no court date (now I know it is April 7).  I kept checking my email for notice that the Welcome Bag had been delivered, to no avail.  One mother graciously offered to take photos of M. for me when she traveled, but instead of making me feel relaxed and optimistic, it only served to make me more of an email fiend.  Bless her heart, she has since returned with a gorgeous photo of my sweetie (who by the way looks much older than six) and the following day, I received news that the Welcome Bag had finally been delivered!  I wish I could post a picture, but you'll have to email me for one.  Mareshet has giant doe eyes, chocolate skin, and circlets of short curls atop her head.  She has long fingers and a rather flat nose, which I love.  Visiting parents all tell me the same things: that she is friendly and very patient with smaller kids, incredibly active and involved in the orphanage goings on.  She now has pictures of us and can begin to imagine life with a family.  I also have sent two letters in addition to the Welcome Bag letter.  One should reach her this week, and the other next week, with the aid of our "Ethiopia Express."  I can't wait until it is my turn to offer to take photos and letters to waiting children.  It is amazingly difficult to know what to put into a letter.  I repeat some themes, in case the person helping her read the English tries to gloss over parts of it.  I keep saying how much we look forward to getting to know her, how beautiful the Pacific Northwest is, and that I am ready to take care of her like any Mama takes care of her daughter.  I write about N. and send new pictures of her.  I try to describe what the seasons are like, and what we do at different times of year.  I wonder how much of it is actually translated for her, and whether she can read any of the words herself.  I do put a tracing of my hand on every letter, because more than words can say, my hand is outstretched and waiting... and I can't wait to feel her little hand in mine.

Many have asked me about the timeline so far, so I will attempt to summarize this briefly, here: 
6/08  Made up my mind to adopt.
8/14/08 Mailed the initial application to AAI
9/22/08 Completed the subsequent packet of required information for AAI
9/25/08 AAIs response-- another packet to read
10/6  Received (yet another) packet with Dossier instructions
10/22  Schedule 1st Homestudy Interview
11/9  Second Homestudy Interview
11/24  Sent completed Dossier to AAI
11/26 Dossier received!  I start inquiring about waiting children.
12/4 Homestudy Approved!  I immediately ask for the file on Mareshet.
12/11  I commit to adopting Mareshet!  My Dossier travels to Ethiopia.
1/5  Welcome Bag received at AAI.
1/6  My documents are submitted to court with several other families and we are henceforth referred to as "Group G."
1/26  I am finally given a court date of April 7.
1/27  I receive confirmation that my Orphan Petition (I600A) has been approved by the US.
1/28 Welcome Bag travels over to Ethiopia with our director
2/2  I go to the USCIS office to be fingerprinted
2/8  I receive the first photos of Mareshet from other parents (thank you Allie and Kari!)
2/9 I receive the news that Mareshet has received her Welcome Bag--and a photo!
2/16 I finish painting her room; her bed comes next week.  This is starting to feel real.  Still trying to complete the final visa paperwork however...

Ironically enough, when typed up in this way, it doesn't seem like this has taken that long at all.  Except that about 12 of my friends have had babies since I began this process, making it all feel so much longer...

No comments: