This is a picture looking out my front door at 11am on Thursday. As you might notice, there is no snow on the driveway, none on the walkway and none on the street. However, when we arrived at the bus stop at 8:09am, we were informed that school was CANCELLED! What? There was not a flake of snow or rain anywhere to be seen. We live in NEW ENGLAND people. They name storms after us. We're tough, we can handle snow. Or even the slightest possibility of snow. I find this to be so annoying. Especially because the kids can't even put on their snow gear and enjoy the first snow day. They actually rode bikes on the first snow day! We are becoming soft. Snow days when it might snow, trophies for every kid who even wore the soccer shirt so that no one will feel left out. What ever happened to the hard lessons in life? You don't always win, snow days are a rare (and fun) occasion, life is unfair. I feel like that served us well, but I'm afraid that my kids won't learn this. Don't get me wrong - I want them to enjoy life, but don't we enjoy the ups more when we have to experience the downs too?
Anyway, one down part of my day today is that we found out today that William is allergic to wheat. Yes, he is almost three and we're just finding this out now. We suspected lactose intolerance, but even that was only a few months ago (and we won't even know if that's true until we let his belly heal a bit from the wheat overload). I'm feeling like a bad mom that I've been poisoning him for approximately two years now with no knowledge of this fact. I guess technically it's a wheat intolerance, since it's not life-threatening and is really just an intestinal issue. That's a positive. The second positive is that he's not allergic to gluten, which is in far more things than wheat alone. So, once I become educated on the best wheat-free products to buy, it will be fine, but right now it's kind of a bummer - no bread, most cereals, crackers, cookies, pasta, pizza. Granted, they do make all of these things with no wheat, but I don't know how appetizing they'll be. The loaf of wheat-free bread I bought today resembles a large brick more than a loaf of bread. Anyway, I am happy to know why the poor kid has the largest, hardest, distended belly at bedtime and rarely eats dinner. I think he just got accustomed to feeling lousy - poor kid.
As far as Sophie, she's doing really well. She is still sleeping like a champ and starting to eat a lot more big people food despite having only two teeth (I can practically see all the others, so apparently they will all arrive at once - that should be fun!). She has gained a pound and an inch each month home. She is over 50% in height and head, and catching up in weight. Her Dr. is pleased and so are we - she's healthy as can be.
We have our 3 month homestudy update on Monday. In Connecticut you don't have to "readopt", you simply validate the international adoption in the local probate court, which took all of 30 seconds with a very nice judge. By the way, anyone who is adopting in Connecticute, DO NOT hire a lawyer - I almost paid $3,000 for a random lawyer to stand with us at this 30 second court date until our social worker told me I didn't need him - thank you Barbara!
She's definitely expressing herself these days (often screaming at the top of her lungs just to hear the sound) and absolutely loves wrestling with the big kids. And I mean full-on, tackle to the ground, wrestling. She loves it! It is so funny to watch. I love that she is going to be one tough cookie.
Ok, well I feel like I have whined enough in this post. I just sent out our Christmas cards today, so once I know that people have received the paper version, I'll post the pictures on the blog. I love how they came out - they really captured the kids well. Before I go I also want to say a big congratulations to the Runnions, the Clevingers and Ethiopia Mama. They are all officially parents of beautiful Ethiopian babies and are in various stages of travel or prepping for travel. I also want to congratulate Jocelyn on the referral of Pacey - she's had a long road and by the looks of the pictures, it was worth the wait - Pacey is beautiful!! To the Quinn girls, Frey family and Renee and Geert, we're thinking of you and have the court dates on the calendar - we can't wait to hear the good news!
Oh, I almost forgot. For those of you who haven't seen this Elf site, I can promise you it is the funniest thing I have seen in a VERY long time. If you don't know my kids, it's probably even funnier if you do it with your own, but it's hilarious nonetheless. Check it out for a good laugh. Have a great weekend everyone!
One in ten children die before their first birthday• One in six children die before their fifth birthday• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa• In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)• Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.• Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.• In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.
1/4/07 - Sent Gladney application request and I600A Application
1/11/07 - Sent out requests for birth certificates, marriage certificates, employment letter, proof of health and life insurance, bank letter, reference letters, prepared "Why we want to adopt" and homemaker letters, financial statement. Got color pictures of our passports and gathered pictures of our family, house and yard. Sent Connecticut Criminal History report and Dept of Children & Family Background check requests.
1/20/07 Sent Gladney application & fees, FBI background check, Home Study application (JFS in Bridgeport, CT). Notarized "Why we want to adopt letter", employment letter, homemaker letter, financial statement, passport copies, power of attorney.
1/21/07 - Received Heidi's birth certificate
1/22/07 - Received letter from USCIS saying they received our application and instructing us to have our fingerprints taken in Hartford.
1/23/07 - John's physical & receipt of notarized health form
1/25/07 - Received John's birth certificate
1/26/07 - Received a letter stating our proof of life insurance from the insurance company, but they woudn't notarize it.
1/27/07 - Received notarized bank letter
1/28/07 - Received 1st notarized reference letter
1/30/07 - Received Connecticut Criminal History report and Dept of Children & Family Background checks.
2/1/07 - Received FBI clearance packages
2/2/07 - Received a notarized letter from our insurance agent (NOT insurance company - they wouldn't do it) for proof of life insurance
2/9/07 - Heidi's fingerprints taken
2/10/07 - Received marriage certificate
2/16/07 - Received Dept of Children and Families background check
2/21/07 - First home study interview with Barbara Paris of JFS in Bridgeport, CT
3/2/07 - Home study home visit
3/3/07 - Received 2nd notarized reference letter
3/7/07 - Final home study interview, Notarized FBI letters, received 3rd notarized reference letter, sent KBS Dossiers the first package of dossier papers.
3/9/07 - Heidi's physical & receipt of notarized health form
3/20/07 - Received a proof of insurance letter from our health insurance company, but since they woudn't notarize it, we just had John's firm write and notarize a letter.
3/31/07 - John's fingerprints taken
4/26/07 - Received redo letter of proof of life insurance (the letter dated 2/2/07 wasn't properly notarized)
4/27/07 - Home study complete!
5/3/07 - Officially Gladney approved!!!!
5/15/07 - Received approval from USCIS (I-797C)
5/17/07 - Notarized CIS Approval letter - this was the last thing we needed to do with the paperwork before the official waiting starts!
5/29/07 - Dossier complete!!! Fully authenticated by the amazing Kate Sproat and sent to DC for final authentication.
5/29/07 - We are OFFICIALLY WAITING!!
6/8/07 - Dossier delivered to Belay, Gladey's representative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
7/12/07 - Scrambled to get new passport photos b/c somehow the US Embassy in Ethiopia lost them - ugh!
7/21/07 - Signed and sent Gladney the PCR form (indicating how many HIV tests you require of the child before receiving a referral)
8/2/07 - RECEIVED REFERRALL!!
8/7/07 - Officially accepted referral
8/27/07 - Official Ethiopian adoption date - SHE'S OURS!!!
9/17/07 - Fly to Ethiopia
9/19/07 - Meet Sophie Yordanos!
9/24/07 - Forever Home
12/4/07 - Adoption officially validated in Connecticut
We are a family of six living in Connecticut. We brought our youngest daughter home from Ethiopia in September 2007 and have not stopped thinking about how we can help improve the lives of the amazing Ethiopian people since. We are so lucky to have met an ever-growing community of Ethiopian adoptive families that have given their hearts and souls back to Ethiopia. We look forward to sharing this journey back to Ethiopia with you and hope that you can help us help Ethiopia Smile!