Friday, May 29, 2009


Today has been trying. Our paperwork debacle is still looming. Everyone involved claims there's nothing they can do. There are conflicting reports on policies, which if all were true, then our adoption would be permanently halted. I'm getting a real taste of red tape and apathy.
However, strangely enough, I have faith that it's all going to be sorted out. This is not rocket science, people. We can get a piece of paper from Tennessee to New Hampshire and then a cable from New Hampshire to Ethiopia between May 22 and June 9. I am getting on a plane June 3. Period.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Testing my mobile blogging

Just trying out my ability to blog via email. If you're reading this, it worked.


Flight is confirmed, guesthouse is booked. Paperwork is NOT at NVC. So we're going on an Emirates Air wing and a prayer. Spence is getting to know the NVC staff well and rest assured they will be hearing from him every day until our approval arrives. I'm not going to worry. It'll get there. I would just feel better if it got there before we take off.

We're spending the weekend packing and cleaning house. And Sunday our church is throwing us a little send-off party.

Here we go!

Monday, May 25, 2009

One step closer

We received word that our reprint approval was sent to the National Visa Center on Friday. I'm not sure how they do that - hopefully not by snail mail - but I estimate they'll receive it by Tuesday. Once the NVC receives it, they'll cable it to ET. I'm also not sure what cabling means, but they tell me it's electronic, so that's good. It sounds old fashioned, like a telegram. My social worker and many blog friends think we're in good shape to travel as scheduled, with an Embassy date of June 9.

IF all that happens, we will board a plane on June 2nd (my 40th birthday) or 3rd so we have time for an overnight trip to Awassa before picking up our little boy, who is now 6-1/2 months old. That's a week from tomorrow! Oh my, why am I sitting at a computer?

Friday, May 22, 2009

We have movement

I just received notice from USCIS that our reprint approval was mailed to us yesterday and will be sent to the National Visa Center today, which means they'll have it by Tuesday. Now, NVC just needs to add their stamp of approval and send it to Ethiopia. Technically, that gives NVC two weeks to get it to the Embassy (our appointment is on the 9th). Piece of cake, right?

Not exactly. My underground sources say NVC is not the most efficient piece of machinery. And we really need to know the approval is on its way before we get on a plane -- June 2 or 3. Why don't we just take our copy of the approval when we go? Because that ain't allowed -- it must come from NVC, I'm told.

So now we begin our next phase of begging and pleading and praying. Anyone care to wager a bet on whether it gets there? As for me, hopes high, expectations low. It's a good place to be.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Travel call!

We got our travel call today. Our Embassy appointment is June 9, and we are supposed to be in Addis by June 4 or 5. I'm writing this using many fewer exclamation points than I imagined I would when this day came. That is because we have a potential glitch that could delay our travel.

Our fingerprints expire on May 29, and they must be current in order to travel. We got reprinted yesterday, but there is a good chance they won't make it through the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, National Visa Center and to Ethiopia before our Embassy date. In that case, we'll have to travel later. But hopefully only two weeks later.

Instead of kicking myself for my role in this snafu or analyzing the silliness of this rule or the slowness of government agencies, I'm choosing to take it in stride. We'll hope for a little miracle. But sooner or (a little) later we'll get there for our little boy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Done nesting, now resting

This is BEFORE. You might look at this with the light streaming in the window and think, well that looks nice. What was she thinking? All you have to do is look in the mirrow at the purply-gray tone cast on your face and know that I speak the truth. Icky.

Here's AFTER. It's a tiny bathroom so it's hard to get a wide angle view.

And because I'm comfortable with my flaws, here's a gander at my cut-in. I spent a good hour this afternoon with a liner brush trying to straighten the lines, minimize the lilac peeking out here and there. And considering the house was built in the '50s and nothing in it is a straight line, I'm pretty happy with it.

The best compliment was when Caroline hopped on the potty and exclaimed, "Oh mommy, it's purple!"

Painting and nesting

A year ago, I bought some plum color paint to replace the icky lilac in the bathroom that makes one look like a corpse. While the paint aged on a shelf, I spent a year scoffing at the previous owner's pitiful cut-in. Blobs here, bobbles there.

Yesterday I took the paint to Home Depot for a good shaking, then came back home to learn that I am not scoff-worthy. Painting a bathroom is ALL about cut-in, and good cut-in is even more important -- and a lot harder -- when you're using a dark color. MY bobbles and blobs didn't line up with the previous owner's.

I wish I could've warmed up on someone else's bathroom because I got better as I went along. Unfortunately, I was halfway through before I got my groove.

Overall, it looks pretty dang good. This weekend, while Spence kept Caroline, I got Sunrise completely cleaned and streamlined, junk to Goodwill, baby toys down from the attic, garage cleaned out and swept, more orphanage donations collected and bathroom painted. If the rain holds off, bushes trimmed, weeds Rounded Up. And tonight, meet S and C at Cedars of Lebanon for a picnic and toddler trade. Good weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

He smiles!

I got an update on D today. Granted, the update was from way back in February, so the only difference between it and our original referral was the fact that HE SMILES at his nannies. That may seem like no big deal to all y'all. But it's monumental to us. Babies don't smile if they're not happy, right?

We also learned that he has been transferred from the orphanage to the transition house in Addis. This is where babies go while waiting for their new parents to pick them up. He's been there since mid-April, which explains why the families who went to Awassa didn't see him. Now I'm hoping those same families saw him at the transition house -- even though they didn't know who he was -- and took some pictures they can share with me.

There are still a few paperwork hurdles that have to be cleared before we can get an Embassy date, but we're hoping to travel the first week in June.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Seven lives

I found Shelby, my enormous gray cat, about 13 years ago at Shelby Park in Nashville. He was a kitten following a little boy across the parking lot. I scooped him up, took him home, and he's wreaked havoc on my life ever since. It was Shelby, not Caroline, who introduced me to toilet locks.

He loved Snaffle, his lifelong buddy, and chased and tormented her relentlessly. She died a couple years ago.
He liked to help me work.

And cook.
He liked to hang out.
In 2006, Shelby escaped the house without us realizing it. Nashville was in the middle of a winter storm where temperatures stayed in the teens for days. I hung signs all over the neighborhood. After two weeks, when I was starting to give up hope, my next-door neighbor called and said, "Um, I think I have your cat." When he escaped the house, he apparently went looking for a warm place and crawled under their house and into their duct system. There he lived for two weeks. One day they heard the heat register in their dining room rattle and went to investigate. They removed the register and up popped Shelby's head. He is not a small cat, so extracting him through the small opening was, according to my neighbor, much like giving birth. He arrived back home a couple pounds lighter and one life shorter.

Since then Shelby has lived at my office in Nashville, tormenting my coworkers, barfing on their chairs and drooling on their papers. He likes to romp in the backyard, which backs up to the cemetery. Last Thursday, our next-door neighbors hired some huge equipment to cut up a tree that had fallen on their shed. When Shelby heard the racket, he took off.

Friday, no Shelby. Saturday and Sunday, no sign. Monday, I walked the neighborhood looking for evidence, calling his name.
Today, I hung signs, visited neighbors, just praying he'd found a lonely retiree down the street and was curled up in her lap.

Then, at about 3:30p, I heard a familiar meow at the door. Shelby was back, another life shorter.
Seven to go. Maybe life isn't all that short.

Caroline funnies

On the way to the grocery store:

Caroline: Where are we going, Mama?
Mama: To Publix.
Caroline: I don't wanna go to Puglix.
Mama: We'll only be there a few minutes.
Caroline: I wanna walk. I'm not gonna ride in the basket.
Mama: Caroline, honey, I'm afraid you're gonna have to ride in the basket.
Caroline: Don't be afraid, Mama. Are you afraid of the basket?

In my bedroom while putting on make-up:

Caroline: Mama, your face is dripping.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day surprise

The Inman cousins converged on Mama Norma and Pop for a surprise Mother's Day celebration.

Caroline greeted her 4 1/2-month old cousin Sarah Jane for the first time.

And got a little practice for when her little brother arrives. "She's heavy," Caroline said.
And no Inman gathering would be complete without a photo session in which you try to get 5 people looking at two separate cameras without someone making a silly face...

...or splitting the scene.

It was a very Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Time for my husband to quit cutting his fingers

We have to be re-fingerprinted before we can travel to Ethiopia. We got our appointment today. I was worried, with the slowness of USCIS, that this might delay our travel. But it looks like it'll happen well before our travel call. Yay!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

And three became four!

Yep, we passed court. Now we just wait on an Embassy appointment, which will tell us when we can travel. Hopefully in June. I can tell as I type this that the reality has not yet sunk in. I'm way too calm.

There's a little fellow in Ethiopia waiting for his new parents to come pick him up. How cool is that?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend on water

And, oh my, was there a lot of it. Spence and I took our usual anniversary trip to the Tellico River and we got in one great day before the river rose to a juicy level. How about that look of determination?

And this one:

A smile that belies the butterflies...

This is our crew for the day:

Shortly after the trip, the river rose to a very zippy level and I was glad to be walking on land. This is Baby Falls, a 15 footer. I did not go over this.

The next day, with rivers at flood level, we decided to drive around and look at the scenery. This is beautiful Citico Creek.

And this is a kayaker, braving it.

We had a nice time. And it kept my mind off the elusive court results. Hopefully my next post will bring good news.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Five years!

In some ways, it seems like yesterday. But a lot has changed in the five years since Spence and I said "I do" on our front porch. A new barn, two new horses, two lost horses, loss of our precious dog Jake, lots of home improvements, a new baby who has grown into a little lady and the imminent homecoming of our little boy from Ethiopia.

I would do it all over again in a second. Although I cringe to think what it might be like if I tried to put on that dress again.

I love you, sweetie!