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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too awesome not to post!

My best friend Amy took these amazing photos of our trip to Yellowstone National Park! I know I already posted about our trip, but these are too amazing not to share! She has such SERIOUS talent. I have asked her to do photos of our baby when he/she comes home. Lee and I never got engagement photos done, so I am so looking forward to the day when we get amazing family portraits. Amy just gets better and better. ENJOY!


Bear?








See anything "different" in this picture? :)






























Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homestudy Visit #3!!! Social Worker dissection DONE!!!

Well, we did it! We survived the microscopic dissection that is the Homestudy! We are blessed that God brought to us, a fabulous social worker who was super chillaxed and wonderfully supportive!

The last visit was mainly focused on our marriage and parenting strategies...Luckily, we knew it was coming and did a little research. I remembered the basics from my minor in early childhood education in college, but made sure I googled the exact terms. After having some time to discuss over the weekend, we both agreed we are authoritative (not authoritarian!) We decided that we're more apt to use the "naughty chair" or other means to begin to teach reasoning and consequences with our child with tons of talking and open lines of communication. All that said, we completely realize that there will be instances in which a screaming two-year-old cannot be reasoned with, and must be removed from the situation at hand. Trust me, we're not living in a fantasy world. But with my experience with kiddos, I have learned quickly that children CAN be taught to problem solve and resolve conflict. I have used my own "ABC" method of "Ask Questions" (what happened? How did you feel?), "Brainstorm Solutions" and "Compromise" (pick a solution that both parties agree upon.) All that said, I was blessed to have my wonderful college training and thankful that this knowledge was retrieved from the far recesses of my brain! (And that Lee was open to hear me teach him). We were totally on the same page about spanking and that we want to avoid it at all costs and not use it as a threatening means of discipline (we knew this issue was going to be broached). All in all that topic was a piece of cake and our Social Worker Donna commended our research and ease of answering.

Then...the fun part!

Donna asked us how we met and gave us each time to share what attracted us to each other. I made Lee tell the "love at first sight" story because he tells it so darn cute! The way he grabs his heart when he says "And then I walked out of the Halle Heart Center after having met Kylie and grabbed my heart and said to my friend Brycen, 'OWWWW!'" I love how he tells it. :) Then we shared the traits that attracted us and that was soooo neat! We don't share those things with each other enough. I got teary and just grabbed Lee's hand. I still love him as much as I did the first weekend we had a marathon phone session. :)

Finally, we talked about our marriage and how we deal with conflict, and how we compromise. Donna was impressed and said she thought it sounded like waiting to get married until our 30s allowed us much wisdom and that it seemed as if we knew what we wanted from the get-go.
Precisely.


All that said, she gave us the approval and said she'd begin to write up our recommendation! We were soooo relieved! Now, its entirely up to us to finish paperchasing and finish our 250 page book (we're only on page 50...it is SO intense!).

Many of you have asked about our timeline. I know we've been saying a year for a year, but it really is about a year. My fear is that God will make us wait longer than we think it will take (*sigh*) But we know it is His timing! And it could go fast or slow, as God has no sense of human time. (*sigh again*)

Here's a little timeline:


1. Finish collecting documents and wait for final homestudy report and have AWAA (our agency) approve it (1-2 months)

2. Once our agency accepts it, we mail in our I-600 form to the USCIS (US Child and Immigration Services). We will receive a notice of our schedule $830 fingerprint appointment and we head down to the state building to do so.
(2 weeks +)

3. Then we wait for the approval 171 form, which approves everything and we get our dossier (fancy name for paperwork packet) sent to our agency!!! Of course we have to send another big check (to the tune of about $8000) in order to send it off.
(Because of that, we have taken our time in doing the paperwork so we can save! We are still waiting for God to provide the finances for this endeavor He has called us to do and we have witnessed miracles time and time again! We BELIEVE he wants us to bring this baby home!)
(1-2 months)

4. So, after our paperwork arrives in ET (Ethiopia) we'll be DTE (Dossier-to-Ethiopia/paper preggers) and we'll just wait! Right now, the average wait time for an infant is 4-6 months. We also plan to put ourselves on a list for siblings (one 0-12 months, 1 up to age 3). We don't have to accept a match if we don't want to, but we know God will bring us the right child/ren. We're still planning for just one. :)
(4-6 months)

5. After the match/referral is made, we wait for a court date, then we travel to court, then we wait to get embassy clearance and go back for our child.
(4-6 months)

There is nothing more I want for my birthday and Christmas, than to be paper pregnant. I imagine it feels a bit like a biological pregnancy when you first find out! Everything at that point is out of your control as you just wait. So, our goal is by December we'll get our paperwork in. But, since my timing has been off thus far, we are fully prepared for it to go a bit longer. :)

Sorry for the LONG blog, but hopefully it helps explain where we're at. To end this blog, I'll include two awesome quotes about adoption! I love these!!!

LOVE YOU ALL AND YOUR SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED!!!

"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is....meant to be shared." - Author unknown


"The only difference between a biological child and an adopted one, is that one grows in the tummy and one grows in the heart."

Kleenex please!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An adoption friend is giving away a cruise to the Bahamas! $10 gives you 1 entry, $50 gives you 10! Also, you can post on your blog or Facebook page to get entries too!!! Check it out!



http://www.freedomhollowfarmkiddos.blogspot.com/2010/09/fabulous-friday-give-away-our-first.html

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

YELLOWSTONE, GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK AND AMY!



God has blessed me with amazing friends. We are all scattered throughout the US, but it never seems like any time has passed when we are together. This past weekend we were invited by Amy and Brett to join a group of cool people on a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons! We were excited because we've been needing a reason to go (as if we need a reason other than we live close...DUH---its Yellowstone! :)

We left Friday afternoon, hung out on Friday night, hit the park early on Saturday for about 12 hours of sightseeing and several hours of hiking, had dinner at the cabin, headed out early on Sunday to watch the sunrise in the park and do more sightseeing, dinner in West Yellowstone, and back to the cabin for a little dance party. Monday we all left early and Lee and I headed through Grand Tetons and had lunch in Jackson, Wyoming.

SUPER FUN TRIP and I LOVED seeing my Amy! She and Brett just moved to Denver (why are we not still in the 'Springs? NOT FAIR!!!!) Just what I needed. We're ready to do another trip!!!



Miss Grand Teton herself



Snake river near the Tetons


There is a story behind this bear. We'd been dying to see one and hadn't. Amy, Brett, Lee and I made a wrong turn in following our friends and ended up going back to the cabin a different way (a way we had already been) and BOOM, we saw this little guy!!! We were ECSTATIC and felt we had to brag a little to the rest of the group when we got back...



People were CRAZY and getting out of their cars to walk on the road to get closer to this guy (NOT ADVISED) and driving all over the roads. Funny how a bear can make you lose your marbles!


Original entrance to Yellowstone NP from 1872 (Notice the sign says "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people")



One of MANY waterfalls we saw





Me and my girl Amy


Awful picture (of me!) but a FUN family dinner. We were BEAT though! We ate at 9:30 pm because we got back so late and Lisa made a wonderful Shepard's pie. She is from England and wanted to share her recipe. YUMMO!



Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone



Us, after a long hike that we didn't expect. Our little viewpoint hikes turned into MILES...In Flip Flops! And we'd already been hiking around all day!




This is Old Faithful about to blow! It blows every 90 minutes (give or take 10 minutes) like clockwork! AWESOME (see video below)





One of MANY geysers and crystal springs. You cannot touch this water, it is full of sulfuric acid and will "blow your skin off" as Lee said...





ELK galore



Amy, Brett and Ky



One of MANY hot bubbling geyser pools--this one was called "heart spring" as it looks like the chambers of the heart


What up 'B-lo'?



sssssssssssssssssssssss

We found a watering hole at Old Faithful Inn

Yellowstone Lake


The gurlzzzzzzzzz


Lee taking a picture of Brett taking a picture--Oy Vey!





video