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Archive for November, 2007

Coffee revisted.

Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo. Thank you for sticking out and keeping my visit stats high. This month has made me rethink my goal to write a book. I seem to have plenty of thoughts, but I get board with myself when I write them down daily. Blah. Who want to read a watered down adoption story?

Yea. Bittersweet. Whew.

I have 7 long months before we see a referral, so I will have plenty of time to continue my blogging, addressing the Q & A questions, telling the wonderful story of the Ethiopian community that I am starting to feel part of in Mpls., and just post random stuff perhaps pertaining to few other than me.

Soooooo, on that note, remember that rant about Star.bucks? If you have not watched the video yet you really must, the content matter in that short trailer is intriguing and the tune is rhythmically addicting. Anyway, Star.bucks seems to be responding to their PR nightmare with the Ethiopian Coffee industry. According this this article they are now going to help the farmers better their techniques for coffee production.

I should be pleased, but come on Star.bucks, the Ethiopians have been farming coffee much longer than you have been charging 4 bucks for an overpriced latte. Businesses, like Star.bucks, should not have to be motivated to treat farmers fairly for the sake of bettering their PR, it should be standard operating procedure.

But, better to get there by misdirected means, than not at all.  Right?

I will most likely still boycott corporate coffee, not only because of their ethical practices and reactive correction, but their coffee tastes burnt, stale, and harsh.

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Can’t break it now.

So I have 2 days of NaBLoPoMo left.  I almost just blew it.  That would be like running a marathon and pulling out at mile 26 when there is just a downhill .2 left to go.

I had a great post planned for today, but that was before a bottle of Prosecco, a visit to the Russian Art museum, a bottle of Dogajalo, a fabulous dinner with dessert, all enjoyed with two of our dearest friends. So, “needlesstosay”, that will have to wait till tomorrow.

The post I had planned for today involved the few Amharic words I learned from a co-worker.  She was so excited to hear from another co-worker (both are Ethiopian) that we are adopting from their beautiful country.  This whole exchange happened in Amharic and I tried very hard to figure out what they were talking about but since the only word I can recognize is thank you, I had to be brought up to speed after the conversation, reaction, clarification, occurred.   All I can add is that I adore the Ethiopian culture and customs.  When I told my one co-worker that we were adopting a few months back she has embraced me with open arms, that was repeated with another co-worker today.  I am not saying all Ethiopian people are this way, of course, but generally I have felt only gratitude and pride in return for my news.

So, I managed to find some Amharic classes and can hopefully soon be participating in these conversations rather than being brought up to speed.  The classes are unfortunately offered on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, so I will have to give up a little fun in exchange for another kind.

Don’t even say it – I know it is on the tip of your tongue – I will not turn into a mother with this regiment as my preparation. (clarification – that is the loss of fun time on Friday & Saturday, not the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed this evening.  Although, if I have to choose…..)

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17ethiopia_600.jpg

To read the article that goes along with this photo, click here.  The slide show / multimedia function shows how beautiful the country is.

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Paperwork be gone.

Our final paperwork (for now) went into the mail today.  It was a fabulous feeling both to have it in the mail and also that I have become generally all right with writing checks for money we have access to but not in our actual possession.  I had not totaled up the entire amount, and was not planning to, until M. sent me an e-mail outlining it all.  Yikes. It is entirely worth it, but it still burns a bit. Well, it burns a bit more than “a bit.” But, when I analyze the costs, every penny is justified and well spent. The program cost is actually quite affordable and the quality of service and care amazing.  The though of paying for a child is icky so I prefer to say we are paying for the services needed to acquire a child.  Simple word games I must play with myself.

I am fairly certain you are board of my constant paperwork posts.  I am board of actually doing the paperwork, so I cannot imagine the utter joylessness you get out of reading about it.  Bear with me and it will soon be over for a while.

The paperwork we completed today was for advance orphan processing through immigration.  Why is it that governmental forms make me cringe, sweat, and ultimately start writing with a blue pen when the form clearly states in the 6+ pages of instructions to a 2 page document that you must write in BLACK pen in capital letters.   Capital letters, damn, I must do it over for the 4th time.  I fret about little things, like…the form we received from our agency was on pink paper.  I got 5 characters into that form before I made an error and had to chuck it.  So I downloaded a new form from the site and printed it.  On white paper that is.  I started to fill it out, put our address in the wrong spot and then decided that I needed to match the pink paper just in case it was secret code between our agency and the processing center for the really stellar adopters.  Secret code – you think I am delusional, but this is the government and immigration.

Pink paper it was, until, I gave M. my maiden name.  I am entirely competent people, but I swear this was the most confusing form ever.  The blanks did not match up with the info you were supposed to put there and the questions were jeopardy hard.  For example how would you answer this question…..

Do you plan to travel abroad to locate or adopt a child?

You would assume the answer is yes, but low and behold, it is NO.  We are traveling abroad to pick up our child, but not to actually locate them or adopt them.  According to our very informative program rep that is all done ahead of time and we are merely traveling to PICK THEM UP.  Luckily I e-mailed her 3 times for clarification during the completion of this 2 page form.

So, yeah, I would have gotten that question wrong.

How about this one:

Do you plan to adopt more than one child?

Well, we don’t plan on it per say, but if twins, triplets, or siblings under the age of 1 come along we are willing and approved to accept them.  So, I actually had to put that we are planning on adoption two children or I would have only been approved for one.

See my anguish?  To add to it, M. pulled out the medical checklist form to reconsider a few items.  My brain is spent and that may have to wait until January.

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On another note, as I was trying to compose this post I was alarmed by about 18 gun shots in the street outside our house.  Almost all the neighbors called 911 and then called each other.  Cops are here – not random shooting, but unfortunately a gang thing.  This is urban living I guess.   I love my house, most of my neighbors, and the city. Crap.  I can honestly say that I will most likely not be sleeping tonight so you may be hearing from me again.

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We do plan on traveling to Addis Ababa to receive our son or daughter. Five days to a week of our stay is rather structured, but we may travel a few days earlier to recover from jet lag & see some sites in the city. If we travel early, we will most likely spend a few days at the Sheraton and will not be able to see our child until the official meeting date set by our agency. Once we enter into the structured segment of our visit we stay at a guest house near the care center. You can learn more about it and even see pictures on the CHSFS Ethiopia website.

Part of the reason we chose the Ethiopia program was the short country stay and the requirement of only one visit. Our child will have processed through the court system before we arrive and will already be legally ours. We will have one interview at the Embassy while in Addis, but most of the legal and formal process work is managed before we arrive. Families who have travelled previously remark about the cleanliness of the facility, professionalism of the staff, and the affection of the caregivers.

Part of our visit includes an optional visit to the southern region to possibly meet with any of our child’s birth family. I am looking forward to this with great anticipation. I am eager to see the countryside, but very anxious about meeting family members. I would not pass up this opportunity, but even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes at this point. Imagine the emotional bearing of having a child waiting for you in Addis, a child you may not have met physically yet but have grown to love, and then having to meet the family that had to make arguably their most difficult life decision so we could fulfill our dream of having a family.

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With adoption, there are many steps that must be completed before we can progress to the next possibly time consuming stage.  Currently we are in the waiting stage, which is currently estimated at 5 -7 months.  In this stage we are waiting to get a referral of a child.  If we accept the child referral, we then wait for our child to process through the court system after which we can travel to Ethiopia to pick them up.

From the beginning of the paperwork to having our child at home with us, the process takes about a year.  We started with submitting our application in August, and then attended a 2 day Pre-Adoptive Parenting Class.  After the class, M. and I had to write self-studies and complete a trans-racial parenting plan. Once this homework was submitted, we met with our social worker to complete our home study.  The homestudy was one of the documents sent in with our dossier on November 16th.

An estimated date projection would be:

8/07 – 11/07     Paperwork, Home Study, More Paperwork

11/07 – 6/08     Waiting for Referral

5/08 – 7/08       Estimated Time of Referral – could come earlier or later, though

8/08 – 9/08       Travel to Addis Ababa to pick up baby

*As I have said many times before, this time frame is merely an estimate.  Things could happen much faster or much slower so we are trying to keep our schedule relatively clear.

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When blogging we chose pseudonyms for ourselves. The names we chose are mother (enat) & father (abbot) in Amharic.  I know may of you know our real life names, but for the sake of maintaining some degree of privacy, we don’t refer to ourselves by name.  Sometimes you will see me refer to Abbot as M. also – I use them interchangeably.

If you want to leave a comment,  please don’t use our IRL names.  You can post with your name or create your own little pseudonym.  The choice is yours – have fun with it!

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