"Every child deserves a home." --Harry Holt

Monday, July 23, 2012

Still a Rookie

After having Cupcake home an entire YEAR, I was reminded today that I am still a parenting rookie. I learned this lesson in a courtroom. In front of lawyers and a judge and a court reporter. We re-adopted Cupcake today. I'll get to that part. First, I'd like to air my shame as my daughter, basically tried to blow snot rockets in the courtroom in front of the judge, and I had NO TISSUES. I didn't even have wipes. I figured we weren't even going to be in the courthouse long enough to warrant bringing the diaper bag. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I did have a spare diaper in my handbag, so I had her finish blowing into that. If you have tips on getting the message across to a toddler that it is customary to use the tissue, THEN blow, I'm all ears. She does this backwards, quite a bit lately since she is teething and has a really congested nose. It's awesome. Don't visit our house for another week, I'm trying to keep up with all of the snot. Parenthood is glamorous.
Re-adopt you ask? Yes, we adopted her in Ethiopia last May, she became a citizen of the United States when she went through customs exactly ONE YEAR AGO today. When she was adopted (the first time) it is customary in Ethiopia for the middle name of the child to be the father's first name. Poor thing. We couldn't let her live her life with THAT as HER middle name. So, we went through the 'readoption' process which meant furnishing all of our paperwork, financial information, etc. to our lawyer and the court. She will now get a state issued birth certificate in the mail, and we were able to change her middle name in the process. It was a lovely way to commemorate her being home for one year. My mother asked, "Okay, so does this mean you are finally done with all of the red tape for her adoption." The answer? "Nope." Now, we wait for her birth certificate to be issued, change the name on her social security card, certificate of citizenship and then just for giggles we will apply for a passport, because if there is one thing we love around here, it's paperwork. Said in the tone of someone with lots of papercuts, eye-rolling and dripping with sarcasm. Honestly, the hoops are nothing compared to the joy and miracle of parenting this kid. Don't ever let the hoop jumping stop you from adopting, just know there will be days when it feels like the process is never finished, but parenting itself is never done either. I recommend just getting a really nice, fire-proof filing cabinet, a fun, cute label-maker and pretty files. Might as well add some sparkle to the paperwork.

Our original plan for the last few months was to head to Chicago and do all of our favorite touristy things there to celebrate our FAMIVERSARY. Have I mentioned it is my favorite city in the middle states? It is. I love it. A lot. Then, we ended up getting our court date assigned for today, which wasn't all bad, until we had another setback. More on that later. We're coming back someday Chicago, hopefully sooner, rather than later. 

I sent K a text message last year when he was in Chicago that I would have a large diet coke with ICE waiting for him at the airport, but he had to immediately hand over Cupcake to get it from me. Also, my dad in the green is just slightly emotional about the homecoming. I love him.

A couple of things to point out. 1. I'm smiling, but I felt rotten from mono still. I'm also in denial and still think parenting is all sunshine, rainbows and roses. It's actually a lot of poop and snot. FYI. 2. K looks awesome from traveling with a toddler for 24 hours +. 3. I didn't notice this until a couple of weeks/months later, but Cupcake is clearly petrified. She is one brave little girl. It breaks my heart to look at the photos from this day, because of how fearful she looks.
I still think they make the cutest 'gay-dad' family from Embassy day. Next time, my brother says he is wearing a shirt that says, "I'm the uncle"

We had an awesome judge this morning. She also had on really expensive shoes. Too bad she has to sit behind that desk where nobody gets to enjoy them! K was supposed to earn a 'prize' by using lines from "A Few Good Men" in his testimony. He chickened out. In his defense, it probably wasn't a wise idea for me to encourage him to say things like, "You can't handle the truth" and "You're G** D**** right I did." Couldn't help myself. It's my favorite movie.

We don't have photo evidence of the snot rockets, but here we are outside the courtroom with a new middle name!

Proof that she is a complete ham for the camera and has adjusted well in the last year. No fear in this photo, just a look of complete confidence.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smelling Misir Wat

The hubby made Misir Wat for a work potluck. It tastes fantastic. The house still smells like Berbere and Cardamom. Smelling those wonderful spices brings this back to mind, which has me giggling like a fool to myself.

Hard to Believe...

I still cannot believe that 1 year ago yesterday my oldest brother and favorite husband left for Ethiopia to attend the Embassy appointment for Cupcake and bring her home. My mind is boggled just trying to remember all that took place leading up to them leaving. When we left the ER last year, after begging to not be admitted to the hospital, it was clear that the Dr.'s were right, and I was in no shape to travel. When we asked my brother if he would go to Ethiopia on a moment's notice, he didn't hesitate. He was immediately rushing around to get all of his immunizations (which probably made him feel a little funky on the trip). I'll forever be grateful to him. 

1 year later, Cupcake is completely attached to her daddy. She throws a parade every day when he gets home from work. She manipulates him into not being put into a shopping cart, or being put down by just snuggling her face into his neck and wrapping her arms around him. It works, every.single.time. When she sees her Uncle T, she has a huge smile for him. It often takes her a bit to warm up to people she doesn't see every day, but not him. She is in love with the 2 men that entertained her in an Ethiopian guest house and a 24 hour airplane trip. 

I am pretty much in shock that we are already going to be celebrating our 1 year home, Famiversary. What an incredible year it has been. Blessed.

***I wrote and posted the following, 1 year ago***

Well, today marks the beginning of the very last step in our adoption journey. Our daughter is FINALLY coming home. I can't wait to begin the next part of our journey as a family under the same roof. 

Expectations are such a fickle thing. We have expectations of ourselves, our partners, co-workers, we place expectations on our wedding days, how and when we will start a family, etc. Is it just me, or are expectations usually off the mark? God either blows my mind away, or I set my sights way too high for anyone or anything to perform too? Either way, things rarely go as I expect. When I think back to 16 months+ ago when we officially submitted our adoption application, I remember my head and heart being full of these timelines and mental images of how things will go (mostly, I blame 'gotcha day videos' that only show the lovey dovey parts of adoption...I'm not stupid, but I think I was still duped). Well, I have realized in the last 2 weeks that I have anticipated and expected what it will finally feel like to walk off of the plane in our hometown with our first child. Mostly, I expected we would be exhausted, but blissful. 

Well, my expectations were wrong... it just isn't going to go down like that. After 3 trips to the Dr. and feeling worse and worse every day, it was discovered that I have mono. The Dr. was glad to pinpoint what was making me miserable, but felt bad that he could only send me off (knowing we were leaving for Ethiopia) by telling me to rest, get lots of water and pray. His poor nurse had to call me the next day (a Sunday) while I was on my way to the Emergency Room to let me know that I also have pneumonia. Surprise! Plus, I didn't just have any regular old mono. Without using all of the medical jargon, they basically said, I have every mono complication and am going to be feeling rotten for a while. 

The poor ER Dr. and nurse, I was a mess... they did a great job re-hydrating me, pumping me full of anti-nausea meds and antibiotics for the pneumonia. There was discussion of admitting me, to which I sobbed and begged no (they relented). Leaving out a few fun details here, but essentially, the decision was made that I wouldn't be making the trip to Ethiopia :(. Let's just call it Mom Fail #1. (I owe my oldest brother for rearranging his schedule last minute and flying out with K... I forgive him all of our childhood squabbles). My mother believes we should be making a movie about these two guys who have never parented a child before, taking custody of a 10 month old girl in a foreign country and then flying 24 hours. We shall see. 

Without getting too graphic, according to the one taking care of me, I've made some slight improvements...the only one that I notice is being able to eat a little. I hate to admit it, but the Dr. was right, I wouldn't have hacked the travel to Ethiopia (I can sit up for about 10 minutes...also a slight improvement). 

Turns out our Cupcake has recently been admitted to the hospital twice (which makes this all that much harder for me not be going). It sounds like she is doing better (PTL), but I would kind of like to see with my own 2 eyes. Originally, our plan was to wait it out a little for Dr. appointments upon bringing her home (we were hesitant to have one of her first experiences here be getting blood drawn and immunizations), but those are our stupid expectations again. Instead, she will be seen a few days after arriving, we need to make sure we can quickly get the issues resolved. 

In short, thanks for the prayers. I'll be posting some pics of her oh-so-adorable face as soon as K takes custody! She turns 10 months old on Saturday...glad her daddy will be there to give her some cuddles! Have I ever mentioned I have the greatest husband in the world? We bicker like the best of them, but let it be known... he is amazing, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't know it or how blessed I am to share my life with him, but he has pulled out all of the stops over the last week +. I love you, K! 



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