Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another update

Peter and I had a phone meeting with the program coordinator of the Ethiopia program at Wide Horizons for Children (WHFC) yesterday. She confirmed that once we get on the waiting list for a referral (please send us our document Dept. of Homeland Security!) our wait time for a referral should be within 12 months. And we hope to get on that list by January 8th.

She said we would likely be referred a child aged 13 to 24 months old. And that most of the referrals are coming from three regions in Ethiopia: the capital of Addis Ababa, a southern region called Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR) (primarily the Sidama ethnic group), and a northern region of Tigray. Addis Ababa is in the center of the country, SNNPR borders Kenya to the south and Sudan to the west, and Tigray borders Eritrea to the north and Sudan to the west. In case you're curious, here's a map of the regions of Ethiopia:

While Amharic is the official language of all of Ethiopia, different languages are spoken in this various regions -- Amharic in Addis Ababa, Tigrinya in Tigray, and primarily Sidamigna in SNNRP, though there are at least 10 different languages spoken in the SNNRP alone. Once the children are referred to WHFC, however, they all travel to Addis Ababa to live in the WHFC orphanage until adoptive parents travel to pick them up. There, the language is predominantly Amharic. So, we hope to learn basic Amharic in the coming year to be able to speak with our toddler when he/she arrives.

In that spirit, Melikam yelidet beale Melikam Addis Amet! (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Totally Unrelated Funny Story

Let me tell you a story about a car, a smelly heater that died, and the dog food...

Two weeks ago Peter's car heater quit working. But of course he is so busy, he didn't have time to get it fixed and simply started wearing lots of long underwear to make his 45 minute commute, each way, to Westfield every day. Then his car started smelling really bad.

Peter kept telling me, "My car smells like dog food!" I kept saying, "Get the heater fixed!" Then I rode in his car one day to a place we go running (we didn't want to stink up my really nice car with our post-running scents). His car stunk! It smelled like a rotten banana. Peter said, "My car smells like dog food!!" I responded, "No it doesn't, it smells like something died, or rotted! It smells like a rotten banana! You have a rotten banana somewhere in your car! Clean your car! Get the heater fixed!!" And so forth. I can really get on a soap box and yell. Peter says he likes that about me. Most of the time...

So this week, since my classes had ended and I could work from home for a couple days, I loaned Peter my car and we took his to the shop to get the heater fixed. The car guys said, "It'll be around 40 bucks for the part and 50 bucks for the labor to put in the new 'switch' for the burned out heater." Whatever that meant. We left it Tuesday morning at 6am, hoping to retrieve it that afternoon.

Around 3pm I called the car guys and asked when it would be ready. They said something about the part not coming in, but it should be in, and they would rush and have it done at 5:30. I walked down the hill for the car at 5pm. I said "Hi, I'm here for the Echo." The car guys looked at each other and started laughing. They said "Come out here, you gotta see this." I was reluctant, thinking they were going to show me a nest of dead mice in the engine. They reassured me saying, "No, this is cute. This is funny."

The car guys walk me up to the car and open the passenger door. THE ENTIRE FLOOR OF THE CAR IS FLOODED WITH DOG CHOW! I say, "You've gotta be kidding me! Did my husband call and put you up to this? This is nuts!" They say, "No, it's dog food! When we pulled out the dash to get at the heater, about 8 pounds of dog food cascaded into the car from the heater box." (ok, they probably didn't say 'cascaded').

So the heater box, and every nook and cranny of the car engine was filled with dog food. ??? Obviously, the car isn't ready. I trudge back up the hill, walk over to the 40 pound bag of dog food we had stored in the garage, and pick it up. It's light as a feather. There is a hole in the bottom and the bag is 2/3rds empty.

All the previous week I had called my dog Belle away from that bag as she (blindly) wandered through the garage to her doggy door that leads to an outdoor run. I couldn't figure why she kept going off her well worn path around the cars to that little door to investigate the dog food bag. Our dogs are not enamored with dog food. They are free fed Purina dog chow 24-hours a day, and it's just not something that excites them. Turns out my blind dog was scenting on the rodents pillaging her dog food.

Well, the next day and $240 smackers later, Peter's car had a new heater and was free from dog food. We've moved the dog food into the house and have bought dryer sheet softeners. We've been told to pack those into the nooks and crannies of the car to keep the rodents out. Apparently they like the smell of rotten bananas over fresh laundry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dossier Accepted!

Yea! We just heard from Katie Landry at Wide Horizons for Children that our error-free dossier has been accepted by the Ethiopia program. She said she was impressed by the careful way we prepared it and we don't need to fix anything!

What happens now is our adoption agency sends it to various government agencies (American and Ethiopian) for seals of verification (called apostilles). The one last thing we are waiting for is the official approval from USCIS/Dept. of Homeland Security regarding our advance petition to adopt an orphan (the I600A form for which we were fingerprinted on Dec. 6th). The prediction is we will have that in hand by the first or second week of January 2009, and at that point we will be "logged in" on the official waiting list for a referral of a child.

So everything is on track and moving along as we had hoped. Woo-Hoo!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Medical Missions to Ethiopia

Still waiting to hear from the adoption agency on our dossier. Still waiting to hear from Homeland Security about our application. But in the meantime, have been following our adoption agency's latest initiatives in Ethiopia...

I'm reading an excellent book, "There Is No Me Without You," and wrapping presents for our Christmas in the midwest. Hoping for snow and skiing soon!

Monday, December 8, 2008

We Need Africa

We need Africa more than Africa needs us.