I've been hounding Spence to build Caroline a swing set before spring. He insisted his list of pre-spring chores did not include building a playground, so we set out on a search to buy one -- before they got in big demand. Voila a la craigslist:
Spence installed a red tin roof on the playhouse. And we were surprised to learn that C already knew how to work a big-girl swing without flipping out.
My last rally cry worked, so I'm going to throw another request out to the blogosphere. My friend Kim and her daughter Annalise are anxiously awaiting their travel call so they can pick up Savannah in Ethiopia. It's been more than 4 months since their referral. They passed court on the first try, but the travel call has been somewhat elusive.
Please send your prayers and good vibes their way for a call today (or at least early next week) -- so Margaret doesn't have to break out the Magic 8 Ball again!
So Spence met me in Nashville to celebrate his birthday. We kicked off the festivities with slew of shots at the travel clinic. To say our nurse was enthusiastic about her job would be an understatement. She let us know she's been sticking people, herself included, with needles since she was 12 (she has diabetes). And she feels strongly that anyone who gives shots should have extensive experience practicing on themselves. I thought for a minute she was going to make Spence and me give each other our shots just to prove her point.
When it came time for the deed, she coached us on how to relax and receive the shots in a way that would minimize soreness. Spence was pretty calm through her lecture, but my second shot really hurt and I had to shout, "Ouch!" That's when Spence got all twitchy. But he was brave, and we both got chocolate cherry kisses (the dark kind because that's better for your heart, she said).
Two hours later, we walked out 6 shots, 1 heart-transplant-looking cooler full of typhoid medicine and one tube of DEET-laden insect repellent richer -- and $716 poorer. And our brains full of diarrhea-dodging travel tips. For all you middle Tennessee families needing travel shots, I highly recommend Nashville Travel Medicine clinic. Cheryl was amazing, and we were barely sore for 24 hours. And their prices were better than the other big clinic.
Despite all the scary things we learned about food- and water-borne illnesses, the experience made us very excited about traveling. Come on, court date!
I knew the day would come when Little C would have an opinion about her ensembles (that's a fancy word for clothes!*). That day was today, and she was quite adamant. I first put on some rather stained white socks, good for playing outside. She promptly yanked them off, saying they were dirty. She brought me these, in their rightful pairs, and insisted I use one of each.
*If you have a little girl and don't get this joke, drop me a comment and I'll give you a book recommendation.
Your computer is NOT on the blink. Yes, you can only see his forehead.
For all you friends and family who are not immersed in the politics of international adoption: I cannot show you his whole face...yet. The Ethiopian government understandably does not allow adoptive parents to post pictures of their kiddos on public forums until we have physical custody.
I can show you a picture in person, however. And believe me, I won't let you get away til you gush over how cute he is. I haven't resorted to the laminated pic pinned to my shirt yet (I guess technically that's a public forum), but my Blackberry can zoom in on every precious detail.
His skin is the color of vanilla soy latte. His huge black eyes are set in alert half moons and seem to say, "Me? I'm going to America?" His full pouty lips just beg to be kissed. And his delicate little fingers are already wrapped around my heart. He has the most perfect ears, flared nostrils and the sweetest tuft of hair on top.
When I stopped by my favorite Ethiopian restaurant to get take-out for dinner, I had no idea we'd be celebrating a huge milestone in our adoption journey over injera and doro wat. I placed my order and told her I'd be back at 4p to pick it up. Then I headed back to the office.
About 3p my office phone rang and Karla intercommed that Lisa from Bethany was holding for me. Allison, my SIL, happened to be in town and sitting in my office. We just stared at each other as my heart hit the floor. I knew it was THE call. I've been walking around with my Blackberry glued to my palm for 8 months and she calls on my office phone!
When I answered she said, "You knew you were getting a referral today, didn't you?" (Apparently Spence had called her earlier in the day to ask about travel shots.) I said, "Actually, I thought it would be tomorrow, but I was just rallying for a pre-Valentine's Day baby." She said, "You got it!"
She proceeded to tell me the details, then said she was going to email me some docs, which I knew would include a picture. When she asked to confirm my email address, I gave her the WRONG ADDRESS. She read it back to me, and I apparently just made up half of it. Truthfully, I was talking and listening, but not hearing or making any sense. When the doc finally arrived, I forwarded it to Spence so we could open it at the same time. We searched and searched, but there was no picture. I hung up with Spence and called Lisa back, knowing she was about to leave for the day. The receptionist pleasantly said, "She's in with the director. Would you like her voicemail?"
"Absolutely not!" I shouted. "I just got my referral and there is no picture! Please don't let her walk out the door until she calls me."
I'm sure she deals with pushy, impatient adoptive parents all the time, so she said, "Hold on a minute." Within seconds, Lisa was on saying another email is coming through with more detail and a picture. I popped the email open without even forwarding it to Spence -- whoops! -- and saw...[insert angels singing].
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of questions like: How do you pronounce his name? Wonder what his story is?" And me gasping things like: We have NO boy clothes. And Caroline's pastel room won't work.
When I got home, we feasted on Ethiopian cuisine and stared at his picture. But we didn't show it to Caroline until after dinner. Instead we broke out the video camera to capture the virtual meeting of brother and sister. When we said, "That's going to be your brother," Caroline replied, "No, that's my sister."
Well, he is dressed in white and lying on a pink blanket.
So I ask, would it be too much to laminate his picture and pin it to my shirt?
Never underestimate the power of a rally cry (or the online magic 8 ball - thanks, Margaret!) Ask and ye shall receive. At approximately 3 p.m. today we got a referral for a precious baby boy, 3 months old. He is an absolute doll.
Tomorrow I'll post some details about the call. Tonight I'm going to bask in the glow with my hubby.
I'm confident that one day Caroline, like her mama, will eat or at least try most anything. She's not a picky eater, thank goodness. But if left to her own devices she'll always choose carbs and cheese before anything else. Me too, but I'm old enough to know better. I struggle over how to mold her into an open-minded eater. Today, my friend and blog buddy offered the best advice. And I want to share it with moms here.
Today marks 8 months since our dossier went to Ethiopia. Based on trends over the past 5 months, I estimate we're due for a referral in the next 3-9 days. In fact, since referrals started rolling in back in June, there has only been one month that our agency didn't dole out a handful of referrals. And based on where we sit on the list, there's a good chance we'll be in the February group.
If you happen to be on the waiting list for a referral, on the verge of being on the waiting list, or in some other adoption wait mode (I-171H, court, travel, etc.), I'm confident you're following my logic. Because I'm not the only one who checks the waiting list every day, counts the days between referral waves, tests the ringer volume on my cell, and sends my SW a dozen roses just to gauge (and perhaps influence) the probability of some referral action.
One thing I haven't tried is a rally cry. So will you please join me in rallying for a Valentine's Day referral.
And if that doesn't happen, I'll be hiring an actuary to further analyze statistics, evaluate trends, crunch numbers, and put an end to the eternal question: when?
Edited to add: Happy birthday Allis. Lunch Tuesday!
If you want Caroline to shape up and be good, tell her she's going to a party. It doesn't matter if it's a potluck or a staff meeting, if there are a bunch of people and some semblance of cake, it's a party to her. So Saturday we drove to Knoxville to a "party" of Ethiopian adoptive families.
What a crowd we had. Just count how many kids are in this pic alone.
Caroline thought she'd horn in on some foosball.
We had a great time visiting with everyone and meeting some new friends. If you'd like to see more pics by a photographer much better than me, go here.
Later we headed to party #2 and more cake -- Sarah, the princess on the left, turned 3. Happy birthday, Sarah Jean!