Archive for June, 2006

Visa Day!


Today our passports came back from the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. with our Ethiopian visas in them.  Pretty cool! 

I’m a little worried, it seems as if we only get about two weeks notice for travel.   That’s going to be difficult on several levels.  For one thing, it doesn’t give us much time to get all our stuff in order at work, etc.  For another thing, not as much time to prepare big D for his parents leaving for a week. 

Although, at least we’re not going during the World Cup.  Several families have to stay for two weeks due to limited availabilty on return flights. 

Right now, the best ballpark we have for travel is end of July or early August.  And man, is that coming quickly!


Computers Make Crazy!


I have decided that computers make me insane.  My Mac crashed this weekend in a big way, which has been putting a little damper on my social life (no addresses or phone numbers of any friends or family), my consulting work (in the two weeks since I’ve last backed up I’ve done tons of work which I am now in the process of recreating), and just my general demeanor (trips to the Apple store are better had under more fun and purchase-related circumstances).

Additionally, personal computer issues aside, I’ve been visiting my first discussion board ever.  Don’t get me wrong-I’m a savvy internet user since 1994, but the prospect of chatting with other folks that I don’t know online just never held much interest for me.  I mean, I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer as much as the next nerd, but I can geek out about it in person with my friends and family, so why chat online with strangers?

But this discussion group is for other families adopting from Ethiopia using the agency we’re using, and it’s really interesting to see other families in various stages of the process, people ask questions, other people answer, etc.  I had been "lurking" (apparently the term for reading other people’s posts but not posting or introducing yourself) for a couple of months, and learning quite a bit about the other people in the program, as well as cool tips about adoption, Ethiopia, International Travel, etc.

So I lurked, then finally introduced myself and was formally welcomed into the group. And all was well.   But then someone asked about the mountain of paperwork you apparently receive after your referral (for the child’s visa and immigration, etc.)


I haven’t got any of that yet!  Should I be starting on that?  So, of course I email my adoption worker and ask about these additional forms, and of course she’ll be sending them to us in the next week or so, and there’s nothing to worry about.  But then I think that there are probably tons of other people reading those same things and asking frantic questions of the program staff.   And I feel kind of embarrassed for my panic. 

And I feel like rolling back to the stone age where at least I kept a non-digital address book so I could call my sister if I needed to and didn’t have my laptop nearby.  Thank goodness for the speed dial on my cell phone…


p.s.  I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the great emails of congratulations, support, and excitement on our referral.  Due to technical difficulties I haven’t replied promptly to all of them.  Complaints can be routed to the Apple store at Mayfair Mall.   

A Rose by any other name…


I am so happy to report that after speaking with our pediatrician today (we faxed him her medical records yesterday) we have accepted the referral of Rose Bizunesh Collins. 

We decided to change her name a bit because although her given name is beautiful, and if you google it you’ll find out about a cool Ethiopian musician and a principled female journalist/publisher who went to prison for reporting unpopular news, we didn’t want her to be subjected to a million mispronounciations and misspellings and teasing.  If she decides to go by Bizunesh, cool.  But in the meantime she won’t have to have terrible first days of school while teachers butcher her name.    

Plus, Rose is a family name (Charles’ great-grandmother) who was a very special and amazing woman.  She brought Charles’ father to Milwaukee from Mississippi, mostly by foot, when he was a small child, after his mother died in childbirth. 

I felt very priveledged to have known her for a short while from the time I joined the Collins family until she passed a little over a year ago.

So, as Dillon Joseph Collins has elements of his family history and special people in his name, Rose Bizunesh Collins will share that with her brother. 

Surprise, Surprise


So, today I am doing some work from home, making some calls to folks, when my phone rings.  I assume it is someone returning my call and answer, "This is Molly…" 

Apparently I threw my adoption agency rep off, because there was a pause, and she says she’s calling from the agency and she has a referral.  

My pause.  My brain is like… what’s a referral?  I know this word but its totally meaningless to me right now.

<Snap back to reality, woman on the phone> "Is this a good time?"

Me:  "Yes!  yes."

And then I listen as she describes my daughter.  She’s from a town south of Adis Ababa, both her parents died, of typhoid and malaria.  She’s 30" tall.  She’s 19 lbs.  Her development is optimal.  She’s on track for everything a 2 1/2 year-old-kid should be doing.  HIV negative.

They are going to email me the information.  Do I have any questions?

My hands are shaking.  I am  having a hard time processing this.  I’ve been pretty detached so far with this whole process- I mean, excited, with a sort of pleasant anticipation thing going on, but nothing like this.  In this moment it takes on a sort of hyper-reality that I am having trouble keeping up with. 

"Do I have questions?  My mind is blank.  I’m pretty surprised right now." I am positive I do have questions but I can barely speak. 

All I can think of is opening the email and looking at her picture.  I tell the agency representative that I’ll call her with questions and hang up.

 I call Charles, but I’m unable to determine if I will be able to speak when he answers the phone.  I half-yell "we have a referral" into the phone and I hear his silence as his brain parses that word.  I tell him to go to his email and we open the file together and see the photo of our daughter, together, for the first time.

 I tell him to fax the medical records to our pediatrician and then come home so we can tell our son together.  It seems like hours before he gets home, but I am sure it is just a few minutes.  In the meantime, I obsessively start trying to find some answers to my questions.  I never thought we’d get the referral this quickly.  I had heard many warnings about how the wait time had been increasing, and while we had been told the wait was 0-6 months, I had anticipated it being on the longer end of that timeframe. 

When will we travel?  <check discussion boards> Looks like between 6-9 weeks, 9 weeks being more common.  But crap, we only turned in our final paperwork on May 26th!  This isn’t typical so far!

Obsessively start thinking about a thousand other details while printing out a picture to show Dillon of his little sister.  <Door opens.>  

We show D his first glimpse of his little sister.  He giggles happily.  "She’s brown!" We tell him the few little facts we know about her.  He thinks she looks happy to be joining our family.  I tell him that he doesn’t have to worry about us leaving too soon to pick her up, that it will be a couple of months before we leave and he goes to stay with grandma.  But he’s not worried.  He thinks it will be cool if she’s here for his birthday.

I tell him her favorite toy is a ball, that she likes to kick it, and we talk about how they can play soccer, he can be the goalie (his favorite role) and she can be the striker.  

 I want to tell everyone but I don’t know what to say.  We decide on an email as we can tell everyone at once and then no one is our first call.  Also, it buys us some time to digest the information.

We decide to go out for dinner for a last splurge as we’ll probably be squeezing our pennies pretty tight over the next couple months, and Dillon carries the picture of his sister to the car and declares that he wants to hold it all the way to the restaurant.