Sunday, December 27, 2009

Still stuck in Nairobi

Bill left yesterday because we are just gone tooo long from our daughter - with a heavy heart we missed Christmas with her and our families but did spend it together here in nairobi wuth Elijah. It was a bittersweet Christmas. Christmas eve was special though, with people from Several nations sharing Christmas traditions. The Danish did a traditional " conga line" the mAasai treated us to a traditional song and dance ,, and the Australians ended with fireworks. It was a memorable night bur we would have liked to spend our first Christmas as a full family.
So status for Now

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trapped in Nairobi

Well no good news on our visa. We heard from our awesome friend Leta at the state PA adoption clearance center that we apparently passed the Adam walsh screen! We took the letter to the consular today who said that is not tha Adam WALsh screen we need. It's something from the stAte dept. It's an entirely helpless process. We are trying to keep our spirits up but I looks like we will be spending Christmas here alone with Elijah, but we do have a christmas invite to go to a friends village, or spend here at the hotel with friends. So I will have surrogate family. If I could complain to someone here I would, but it's all nameless faceless databases. I DO NOT RECCOMEND NAIROBI FOR ADOPTIONS. I think addis abba must be better than here. They do so many adoptions and everyone who went there is home already. RWanda adoptive families will have to figure out how to get a Ethiopian point of entry visa or visa in advance then go to addis. Nairobi consular crowded, long lines, impersonal, unsympathetic, and to top it all off took my son's toy lobster everytimex we went through security. ReAlly? A toy lobster! ?
I cannot leave Kenya. We are trapped. On the bright side we upgraded our tent today and now have a shower and toilet in our tent. We're movin' on up at the Wildebeest lodge...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

photos from Kigali and Nairobi


Stuck in Nairobi

(PHOTO IS OF US AT ROCAS AID SCHOOL IN KIGALI SUBURBS -- A school we have been helping sponsor)
Well, granted there are much worse places to be stuck than in the heart of Africa, but with Christmas fast approaching and our daughter being 8,000 miles away at home, we are getting anxious to go home. We were told on friday -after 2 days of unreturned phone calls, emails, and even an in-person refusal to be admitted to the visa office, that we can check in "tuesday for an update". Our flight leave monday night. So we plan to camp out in the visa office at 7am monday and just pray for a small miracle.
For now, we have no idea what the hold up is or what the ETA of the visa may be.
But on a lighter note, we met up with the dorbands today and their Rwandan sons Levi and Judah and did a game drive in Nairobi national park, where we say lionesses stalking zebras, monkeys who took a banana from us, and beautiful giraffes tower over the savanah. It was a great day! Then bill and I went to the on -site animal orphange, where we "tipped" the guide in order to be allowed in with 2 adult female cheetahs- who let us pet them and they purred! That was five of the best minuites we've ever spent! Amazing!
Please join us in praying for a monday visa ! love from Nairobi.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Nairobi kenya

Hi everyone! We are in Kenya now since Monday to process our visa. We had to sit at a health clinic for 9 hours at oim agency which was awful but Elijah was a trooper! The next day ( tuesady) we went to drop off our visa papers which took a mere 3 hours. Lol. Hopefully we get visa tomorrow or Monday- but it better be Monday cause that's when we leave!!
Elijah is coming out ochoa shell day by Day and doing well bur his cough and diarrhea are persisting despite antibitocs. I think I got him to say juice today! And he says oh! For uh- oh when he drips something. He also smiled at me this morning for the first time when he woke up. From a tourist standpoint, Nairobi is awesome. We went to a baby elephant orphanage today where they rear abandonded baby elephants. The young ones are only as big as a big dog!!! Sooo cute. A family of wart hogs ran out and rolled in the elephants mud during the bottle feeding session. It was sheldrick animal orphanage. Really fun. We also went to a croc farm and could touch a 15 footer thruogh the wire fencing. I also held a baby croc.
The trip highlight today was driving in nairobi national park, and seeing a dew vans stopped. We drove up to the vans and saw what they were looking at-- SIMBA! Swahili for -- lion king fans know thus- lion! A male lion within 10 feet of our car. I muttered an explicit because my window was down - we quickly roller up the window and sat in awe of the King of Beasts for about 10 mins. We also saw the elusive Cheetah in the thicket!!! An amazing morning. The only problem was Elijah got car sick from the bumpy roads and projectile vomited lal
over me several times. Luckily we had e tea clothes. U know it's a good day when u don't mind letting baby vomit air dry on you. Gods creation Is breathtaking and it's been a pleasure to see it up close and personal!! We find out to
orrow if we get his visa. Please pray for us!!
With love from nairobi-- jen bill Elijah

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 4 thurdasy in Kigali

We were supossed to get Elijah,s Rwandan passport today bit it wasn't ready. They told us tomorrow by 2pm, but bill very politely asked for8am and they told us 9 am. We hope and pray it happens! Tomorrow is supposed to be our last day in Kigali but I think we may change the flight to go to Peter our POA's church on Sunday. And maybe some more tourist things on Saturday . We did see the genocide museum today which was sobering, horrifying, and undescribable evil. To hear events described by our friends was so upsetting I had to try hard to hold back tears. One friend said simply- the devil entered everyone. They were no longer men. Our friend described how, as a 14 yr old boy, he wAtched as members of his family were hauled away and murdered. He was not saved at the time but prayed anyway to God who protected him and his family. He then went on to describe a road littered in corpses for miles on the way to a refugee camp. They were duing of thirst and the only alternative was to drink water so fouled by corpses it was salty. He prayed for God to protect him after drinking the water and he didn't get sick. This story wad so disturbu
ing I felt I had to share it, but I left names out in case the friends of ours didn't want it told. I think fir me one of the hardest sights was a childs outfit and superman sheet stained in blood, and a Cornell university sweatshirt from the dead. It makes you realize Rwandans are exactly like us. They are not an exotic far away society, they are our neighbors. I was so ashamed when I asked Peter what the united states did to help, and he was quiet for a second and said " I think, nothing". The conversation grew silent and I wished I hadn't been a 16 yr old girl while a million people were murdered, maybe I could have helped somehow. It certainly seemed like a chapter from Revelations. Watch and Pray folks, watch and pray.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Travel letter and lunch with friends

We got our travel/ "to whom it may concern" letter today! That means Mugisha never has to go back to the orphanage again, he has a family. He Is a sweet boy, and he had a fin day and long nap today. He was a little lethargic though., and not eating well, with terrible foul watery diarrhea and a distended abdomen, and a cough/ snotty nose. So we took him to a 7th day Adventist health clinic. It was very simple. My husband and I marveled at the amount of money that childrens hospital wastes in a day, and how much good even a little bit could do here. The doctor was very nice and thorough, a french speaker but we co
municayed well with his English. It's amazing to realizeoat people here don't speak one or even 2 languages, but most speak 4 or 5! We did not have a stool sample so we have to go back tomorrow. The dr said he was negative for malaria abs his white blood cells were normal. The dr thought his lungs were clear but the abdominal distemsion cuold be from malnutrition. He gave us a multivitamin and oral rehydration salts. We want to make and appt at childrens hospital as soon as we get back. But I will look at their fancy building and expensive finishes with some dismay at the inequities in healthcare in this world.


Tuesady- day2 in Rwanda

We were not ablrto get our to whom it may concern letter today which let's Elijah sleep with us so we has to take him back to the orphange tonight, but what a fun day we had! We picked him up at 7;30 and went to meet Peter our poa at the kigali passport agency to apply for elijahs Rwandan passport, then off to the us embassy to file our I-600 immigration form. Elijah was quiet and still with a faraway look on his eyes when we first picked him up but as the day progressed his smile appeared and he loved to play witb his monkey toy, be held, play wrestle with Papa, and play with the drAin in the tub. He also ate a ton at lunch-- we need to fatten him up as he does seem thin and malnourished. Nothing like steak and fries to clear that up! He was a lot of fun a ll day and we loved seeing his personality evolve through the day, blank stare replaced by toothy grin and silly giggles. He didn't even nap all day!
Tomorrow pray we get out TWIMC letter-- if not we may need to extend our trip as the minister of women and family promotion is out till Friday??? We had a great dinner with another aawa adoptive family tonight and " shared notes" on our schedules. We were also thrilled to meet special friends from rwanda, Robinson and Dorothy, who we have been supporting and communicating with over the last 2 yrs. Robinson runs an orphange and also is a Pentecostal minister. Dorothy is a young woman who lost most of her family in the genocide. We hope to help Robinson find sponsors for the kids and Dorothy to maybe go to nursing school in the USA. God is working in amazing ways in our lives and the lives of our Rwandan friends. I will end with this thought- bill and I were bummed a little that our trip wad in December because we would miss Christmas season. But holding our son I'm our arms, I realized were not missing it, we're living it. Thank you, heavenly father.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meeting elijah!

We arrived this afternoon but didn't catch up with Peter our poa until about 4pm, partially because I told him the wrong hotl room number. We are at chez lando hotel. It's Simple and a liile " worn". Our Kenya air flight went s
well and it's a nice airline. Peter took us to met
et veronique who was very nice and the secretary of the minister- also very nice. But they aren't sure we can get our to whom it may concern letter tomorrow- we need that for Elijah to be able to spend the night withu us. So we need prayers to get the minister to sign the letter for us so Elijah doesn't have to stay at the orphanage! b But the highlight of the day-- the moment we've been waithjbg a year for- came after our visit to the ministry of woman and hender. We pulled up in front of the blue gate at the home of hope orphanage. A very sweet sister from Kenya met us and took us down to see Elijah. We went down a long hallway with rooms on either size and voices of many, many children laughing.
, crying, talking and yelling. Each room had a few dozen babies and toddlers. I'm told there are over140 kids there. We went to elijahs room abs the nun went up and patted him on the head and said this is mugisha. I couldn't hold back the tears as she held him out to me and he reached his little arms for me. He's very tiny- much smaller then I expected. His sad little eyes had a faraway look
And he loved me to hold him up against my face,
I kissed his perfect tiny arms and then he went right to papa who held him close for another few mins until we had to put him back. I am humbled by gods plan for this child and his work to bring us this far. I am happy and blessed beyond words bill and I are to be used by Him in his plan for His son -- and our son-- Elijah.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bill is in nairobi

Yeah! Thank God bill is here safely!! Tomorrow morning we leave for Kigali to meet our son!!!! Praise god!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In Nairobi

Still in naiorbi at wildebeest tent lodge, a little oasis hostel in the city. I went on a game drive this morning jn naiarobi national park and saw wilf zebra, water buffallo, wildebeest, warthog , ostrich!, impala, gazelles, beautiful birds, giraffes, rhinos in the distance , and lion killed carcasses but no lions. Then I went to a factory that makes beads and supports single moms. It was a busy morning and unfortunatly my afternoon nap turned in a 7 hour jet lag sleep so Now its10 pm and I amwide awake. I never have trouble in Europe with jet lag but here it's going to take me a few days. Tomorrow lake Nakuru ! To see thousands of flamingos and hopefully hippos. And best of all bill arrives to join in the adventure and on to meet our son!!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

In nairobi

I made it with gods hands on the trip. I'm sitting in a comfortable lodge using my trusty iPhone to stay connected with the world.
I am rejoicing tonight!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

packing crocs!

just wanted to post a quick photo of croc-loaded suitcase, which were donated through 4-More a group of ladies dedicated to helping the orphans of Rwanda. These crocs came from all over the country i was told! They will be leaving with me on thursday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flying under a Full moon and African Skies

In less than 48 hours i'll be on a night flight to paris, then an early morning flight to Nairobi. I will arrive friday night in Nairobi, and wait for Bill there -- he'll be there sunday night. I am not sure what i will do alone for 2 days but I certainly don't plan on staying in my hotel room. While I am so anxious to meet Elijah, we want to meet him together. So monday morning bright and Early, we will travel to Kigali to meet our son for the first time, and God will "take the lonely and put him in a family" We will feel so humbled and priveledged to be a part of God's plan for this little boy, who has not been forgotten by his heavenly father although his earthly parents are gone and he has no one to wipe his tears,hold his hand, or comfort him. We were told he knows the words for Mama and papa. I wonder if he means his birth parents, or he was just taught this by the nuns. He is probably old enoguh to remember his birth parents and has only been apart from them since July, when circumstances which we will never know separated them forever . I hope when he is told that Mama and Papa are coming his little heart isn't anxiously looking for his birth parents. But I know that love can heal a broken heart, so litte one, a Mama and Papa are coming- it may not be who you think, but we hope to make your mama and papa proud by raising you to love God above all, and love your family as much as we will love you, our son. Love, Mama and Papa.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We Passed Court!

Elijah Mugisha Eymard Cropf is officially our son according to the Government of Rwanda. We are even on his birth certificate. Praise God for bringing us this far. We were also able to get our state PA clearance in ONE day, thanks again to God's hand on our journey. This was a last minute thing and our clearances were expiring left and right but with a help of a friend from my dad's church we made it!

So now i am trying to book plane tickets for this weekend. It's surreal to think we are getting a child this weekend. We are very nervous about flying, the journey, and the dangers of the trip, and especially about leaving our daughter. That is driving me sick. literally.

Please keep us in your prayer for a safe journey to Africa, to our son, and home again across the ocean to our daughter and life as a new family together.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

baby feet and travel induced stress illness

Thanks to friends and family who have volunteer 4 more suitcases! we have at least that many toys and clothes to send= awesome!

Our friends the dorbands were able to check Elijah's feet and thet are "19-20" we think that means shoe size. (which makes hime about 12 months/ size 3. We can't wait to get him little sock and shoes for his feet.
I do think I am the most stressed out the past 2 days as I ever, ever rememver. Comparable to final exams in vet school, or the final days of preganacy awaiting labor. But so stressed my head is in a fog and I feel physically ill. I am dreading the flight and trip itself but eager to meet Elijah.
Bill and I have made 2 important trip decisions in the "11th hour"
one- we are leaving emilia with bill's parents, and 2. we are flying separetly "just in case"
now we need to book tickets.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friends are in Rwanda!!

We are getting sooo close to holding Eljiah in our arms! in the mean time we are happy our friends are blogging away so we can follow their progress!
the Dorbands are another "independant" family (no agency) and here are their gorgeous boys!

The Spore family is also meeting their son as we speak
AND the Bowers :
AND the Smiths:

These families have been along side us for most of the adoption journey through a daily (sometimes hourly!) email list group. We encouraged each other, shared any shreds of news in the long, long waiting process, prayed for each other and now we finally get to share in the joy of meeting our kids for the first time!!
The blog world is indispensible for adoptive parents and I am so grateful for this forum to share our adoption journey.

We may be traveling FRIDAY to meet Elijah but no tickets yet! we are frantically packing, spraying clothes with permethrins, cleaning and sorting the house, and basically running around like the proverbial chickens with our heads cut off.
But we are getting that mcuh closer to meeting our boy for the first time.
we can't wait!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paperwork Panic

WEll, our homestudy doesn't allow us for a greater than 15 month old baby BUT I wrote the consular in Nairobi and they said "as far as they are concerened the homestudy is good for the whole adoption" So I think we are ok there. That can be a note to other adoptive families if this happens to them, but I still suggest double checking with the nairobi embassy too!
Secondly, All of our police, child abuse, and FBI clearances expire Nov 26, Dec 1, and Dec 26 respectively. We apparently need a state PA clearance to re-enter the country. This is unique to every state. You can check if your state requires it by this confusing link. Out homestudy lady emailed us and told us make sure we get clearances, but it was a last minute thing. (not really her fault, we are not using an agency and only used her for homestudy)

God may be working a small miracle here however-- my dad lives in harrisburg and a woman from his church is a lady who-- PROCESSES state PA CLEARANCES!! (one of only 3 or four who do this-- she is "the lady" ) I talked to her today adn shes is going to try and get everything through for us if she can before we go, then just add those clearances to the file when we get back (we still need to re-do them)
That is a great lifeline at a time like this!

We have court on monday and then Elijah will be officially ours, then we are following our friends the Dorband's journey to see how long paperwork is taking them before we book flights. We may leave as soon as next friday!

I also got a wonderful box of crocs from the Greer's of 4-More raised by families all over the country. I stuffed them all into a donated suitecase from my dad, along with about 2 dozen other pairs of shoes, and filled all the cracks with beanine babies, clothing, washcloths, medication-- anything i could fit in a croc, i did!

We recommend vaccume bags to suck the air from clothes and stuffed animals. you can fit at least double!

That's the news for now-- court date monday pending, paperwork still flying, no plane tickets yet, excited to finally meet our son.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Between 7 and 28 months

Well, to say there is confusion over Elijah Mugisha Eynard's age is an understatemnt. His medical reporst said his DOB was 29 march 2009, while an email from our POA said it was July 20 2007. A clarification to that put him more at July 20 2008. So, we really have no idea. The problem is, if he is more than 15 months old (WHICH he will be on FRIDAY) we have to re-do our homestudy paperwork and get it re-sent to Kigali.
Which means more delays. We did ask clearly for an infant but there was confusion on our request and the child is clearly much older. We are needing to "reset expectations". I wouldn't go so far as to say Bill and I were disappointed, but we were just expecting a baby-baby, not a toddler-baby. But two good friends both pointed out that our daughter will be able to play and interact with her brother right from the beginning, which will be a good thing I believe. God know what He is doing.
And I pray he doesn't forget the part about not giving us more than we can handle. ;)
We did hear about the circumstances by which Elijah came to the Home of Hope.
On July 20, 2009 he was brought to the authorities by a widow who lives in Kigali. The widow went to bed one night, and while she slept a child was left in her kitchen. When she awoke she found him. She herself was very poor and unable to keep him so she contacted the authorities. Someone loved Elijah very mcuh to leave him in a safe home. We can only wonder what circumstances led up to such a heart breaking decision. I think about the mother or family members who had to make that choice and I wish it didn't have to happen to them. While we are thrilled God has called us to care for an orphan, I wish we could also care for a mother so that she didn't have to lose her child in the first place. I am more sad right now for our baby's family than I am for him. I simply cannot imagine making such a mercy choice as leaving your son in the home of a kind widow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Update on Elijah

We heard from a friend in Kigali that she MET Elijah and said he has a smile that lights up the room and is walking all over the place! We are so excited to meet him! His birthday on his medical papers says he is 7 months old but his is walking with several teeth, 17lbs and 28" tall. We are very confused on his age but thrilled about his smile :) We may have info tomorrow about when we can go to GET him if all goes well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IT's A BOY!!!!

Well, insomnia pays. I was still up at 2:30 am reading "there is no me without you" and i decided to check email--and spam folder-- one more time. There was the file we have been waiting for for over a year. I ran down and woke up Bill so we could open it together. Out little boy -- Mugisha (blessing) Eynard (a famous priest) was looking back at us for the first time!
We are so excited and THANK GOD for this moment. We will keep everyone posted-- goodnight!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thankful thoughts for those who help us along the way.

This is a post to thank all the people and agencies who have help to bring us here so far. Sometimes (often) paperwork is very frusterating and it's easy to lose sight of the hard work people do to help orphans around the world. First of all, I want to include the nuns at Home of Hope in our prayers who have a 24-7 duty to care for babies and children as best as possible, giving them as much love & tenderness as they can, as well as being the closest person to a parent some of them may ever know. They also teach them that Jesus loves them always and is their Heavenly father. Secondly I want to thank our Power of attorney, Peter, who is working tirelessly on our behalf in Rwanda and is so good about sending us updates on progess over there. He is a Pastor and a huge help. I also want to put myself in the shoes of the ministry for women and gender, who suddenly have a very large work load with all these adoptions that was never there before. I am sure they have additional needs for technology and staffing that have not been met yet that makes their job that much harder. We appreciate that the timeline for adoption from Rwanda is still much faster than almost all other countries and have to commend Veronique and the Minister for doing the best they are capable of.
So, that is my thanksgiving post.
Praying we get our referral soon!

Waiting & hoping & praying!

We are so happy for FOUR of the families on our email list who got their referral yesterday, and in it pictures of their new children. Even though ours did not arrive, it was still an incredible experience to be emailing instantly as families got the great news. What a once in a life time chance to be part of such an amazing event as families all over the country "meet" their children for the first time. We are so happy for everyone, and pray our little one follows soon!

I had a dream last night (my second adoption dream) that our baby was about 2 yr old cute little girl but she had club feet. It was a very strange dream but not as strange as the one in which our "referral" was a teenage prostitute. I wish I could have a "normal" referral dream!! although when I was pregnant I dreamt once I gave birth to a kitten and another time that the baby had crazy blue- green eye shadow like the character on the drew carey show. So I guess the referral dreams aren't too far off.

In closing, my daughter hit us with another tear jerker last night. I went a little crazy and ordered a veritable library of books on adoption and on Rwanda/Africa so I can be a better educated momma for our Rwandan baby. E was going through a box of books and this is a little excerpt of her monologue "this one for baby sister, this one for me, I looking for wheels on the bus books to send to baby sister. She no have any books. I send her this book. I share with baby sister."
Then I asked her, where is baby sister? We had just talked about Africa so she said "In Africa. She coming in God's Car."
She is wiser than she realizes.
Still waiting...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

reading list while waiting?

So I was hoping today would be the day, but if not, HOPING for tomorrow!
In the mean time, I went on amazon and ordered a veritable library of children's books from Africa. They have a bunch of books for 5-6$ and if you buy 3 you get one free. So, I will review them when they arrive and let you know which ones we love!

I would also like to reach out to bloggy-world and see if you have any suggesstions on Rwanda books or adoption books.

Ones I've read:
Land of 1000 hills by Rosamond Carr - A biography of a woman who moves to Rwanda in the 1940's and her life there in peaceful times. When the genocide hits in 1994 this 80 yr old amazing woman evacuates to the US but decides she can't leave the land she loves. In a passage that gave me goose bumps she describes hopping on a soviet era plane as an elderly woman and returning to the most dangerous country in the world to help orphans she loves. Very interesting read/ easy read. 5 stars!

Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America (Hardcover)
~ Adam Pertman Kind of all over the place and hard to follow at times, but I got if for a few bucks on ebay used. It had some interesting points on trends in adoption and how adoptions have changed dramatically over the years. 2 stars

Chicken soup for the adopted soul- if you like chicken soup stories you'll love this. Not great literature but nice pick-you-up reads 4 stars

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew By Sherrie Eldridge
Very insightful on some topics, but totally seems whackie on others. I'm not sure she has scientific studies to back up her conclusions and seems like she fights a lot of her own demons. Nevertheless, since I am new to adoption I am glad I am aware of some of these issues, but I hope she's off base since she makes it seem like every adopted person will be severely off base at the core of their being but will only be happy when the supress some things. At least that's what I took away from it. You may get a totally different impression. I do still recommend reading it with a grain of salt. 3 stars

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be killled with our families… (Paperback)
by Philip Gourevitch Interesting first hand accounts of Rwanda Genocide and especially interesting Politics that led up to genocide and especially how the world community reacted (not in a good way!) I had to skim it sometimes because it got a little to dry but the post-genocide reponse I found most interesting. I also skim violent passages because I find them too upsetting, but it doesn't have too many and they also play into larger stories in the book (not just random violence scenes) Four Stars

Ishmael Beah’s memoir, “A Long Way Gone,” Boy-Soldier in sierra Leonne. Riveting, disturbing, eye opening. HIGHLY recommended. This is a NY times review- much better than mine!

So that's my list for now- Any other Suggestions?? PLease add them in the comments!

Praying tomorrow is the big day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Support Adoption Blogging!

The news in the blog world is that Veronique (who processes the final referral email) is "upcountry" for today but is doing everything possible to get the referrals out by friday. The court shut down in December is scary. I am hoping and praying that she really does help us out.

I also want to add what a WONDERFUL support network we have via blogs. We are on two informal group email lists- one by Mugisha Ministries who helps people adopt independantly from Rwanda, (our friend Tina) and another or 9 families who linked up over blogs and we are all awaiting our referrals.

I would strongly suggest if you are adopting from any country you find other families in the same position as you on the blogs and contact them, and send a group email out once a week or so with updates, prayer requests, love and support for each other. It's a fantastic way to help each other and lift each other up during the hard wait.

One concern I have is I have heard that several families have agencies that have not allowed them to have a public blog. I feel this is a TERRIBLE and UNETHICAL restriction placed on a family and on the adoption world. I certainly understand not posting information on children to protect them but posting over paperwork and trials of paperchase should be a basic (American!) freedom0- freedom of speech, freedom of press! . If you agency doesn't want you to have a blog you need to ask why. My feeling is they don't want the realities of adoption publicized (the frusteration, the waits, the hold ups etc) But these things are part of adoption for better or for worse and only by sharing the expereinces can we collectively life each other up and give support. Up until you get your referral there is no danger to any child by posting this process. If there was, I wouldn't be posting. I think the agencies don't want the world to know about their imperfections, customer service (or lack of) etc. For the money people pay agencies they should publish the blog FOR you!! LOL. If you have a good agency with nothing to hide they will welcome blogging as a support network and ways to meet other families.

Just a thought while I wait (with my bloggy friends) on the Lord for our baby...

Monday, November 2, 2009

rwanda update

look like all the info is in but they have not had time to send it- this is the letter i got from our POA.

Today I went to the ministry to check with Velonique. She said she has already received the info. for the children, she was not able to send them due to many other responsibilities she has. I shared with her how the parents eagerly want to see the faces of their children,, she promised to have them sent ASAP this week. So there is more time to wait and pray. I asked her to give them to me so I just scan them and send them to you but this is not possible.. so... . I even told her that the court will be closed by December , that if possible the parents would come this Months ,...

I also went to the orphanage to ask if there is posibilities of staying with the child before the court. The nuns said it is not possible but that I needed to ask at the ministry.
Going back to the ministry, they said that is not possible to stay with the child in the hotel till the final letter ( To who it may concern letter).
You can however go visit, spend a day with your child but not taking him or her to saty in hotel.

Jen, The court date always depends on the number of the cases the court has to work on. But the maxmmum would be four weeeks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

fasting for fast action!!

We are approaching a deadline of sorts- if we do not receive our referral SOON, we will hit December when the Rwanda courts will be shut down, and thus pushing our "gotcha day" off until january. The thoguht of the baby in an orphanage an extra month (and over Christmas no lesS) is very difficult. So our prayer email teams (we have 2 awesome groups- our "independent" adoption circle and also our "families awaiting referral" cicle. We are going to join together tomorrow for fasting and prayer to God that our referrals arrive soon and we can get those precious babies before the court clamp down and they are "stuck" for another month in the orphange. Please join with us to bring our babies home!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Think Cubic

So another week has come and gone, but this week and last week were especially hard because we know our baby has been chosen and is waiting at this point to paperwork to be done before we can move to the next step. So days tick by and I think of that sad song from the disney move an american tale -- somewhere, out there, love will see us though... and I continue to shop for baby items at a furious pace with a crazed look in my eye, then stuff them into a 12x12x5" flat rate postal box to mail to Rwanda. As Ikea says, think Cubic- and so every last atom of space is taken up with my latest baby item nesting spree--
here's what fit in the modest sized box,(which is currently glowing, pulsing, and occasionally singing electronic lulabies as some gadget inside goes off spontaneously under the extreme pressure within the box:)'s first Bible
2. Fisher price crib soother with jungle animals and 20 continuous mins of music
3. "gentle Giraffe" large stuffed giraffe with 4 song settings including heartbead and samba drums (and money from the sale goes to help giraffes, an added bonus!)
4. froggy taggies blanket
5. super soft and warm white baby blanket (wish they made this in my size its so soft)
6. baby photo album with family pictures
7. musical keys with family photos inside
8. hanging infantino pengiun with pull-and-play music box (and yup, a family photo slot)
9. toy telephone
10. toy crab
11. 2 onesies 18-24 mo size
12. 2 pairs of socks
13 recieving blankt
14. desitin full size tube
15. travel baby powder
16 sample packs of diaper rash cream
17 sample pack of lotion
18 2 bottles of infant tylenol
19 infant liquid multivitamins
20 thanksgiving bib
21 winnie the pooh chewable crinkle book
22. old mcdonald finger puppet glove with book attached
23 pair of wrist rattles
24. thank you note to Peter our power-of-attorney

Yes, contents under pressure. it was an intricate masterpiece of stuffing, molding,shaping, squashing, taping and praying. I then coated the entire box in about 6 layers of packing tape, crossed my fingers and said a prayer it arrived intact to our POA peter. I'm going to mail it even though we don't have our referral yet so the second we do peter can take the baby its entire "Shower-in-a-box"
I can't wait to see who our baby is!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update from Rwanda

So we heard from our Poa that the minister has not yet looked at and reviewed any kids files yet. That is a bummer. So basically wait for now ...we are getting good at that, unfortunatly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One Year Waiting

This past saturday marked the 1 yr anniversary of when we met Tina of Mugisha ministries who help us begin our journey of independent adoption from Rwanda. I can't beleive a whole year has gone by and I think of all the personal changes and growth we have made as a family over the past year. Bill and I have had many serious conversations about the steps we are about to take, the challenges we are going to face, the burdens we will carry, and the blessings that will come from this choice- and every time we still both smile and know in our hearts this is what *we* want to do, and this is what we feel God wants us to do, more importantly. Who wouldn't want the blessing of a child? There is no greater Gift to us than a baby.
Like the Nike slogan- Just Do it.
I'll end with this verse from Isaiah 54
"Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.

This is the Bible's version of "you need an addition to hold all our children..." That would be awesome.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Waiting and Waiting (and shopping...) in the 11th hour

SO, this week we HOPE is the week we get our referral- the email that will change our life and a child's life forever. The vital stats on a young life who has already experienced great loss, but is about to experience great love as God "takes the lonely and puts them in families". Is it a boy or a girl? how young or old? why is he/she in need of a family to love him/her? God has known this child before he or she was born and has amazing plans for him / her and us as well. We are humbled by this awesome gift and responsibility.
To make the wait a little more fun, I hit TJ maxx and target and bought a whole armload of baby toys, blankets, clothes... you name it, I grabbed it. I also started going through emilia's old toys and clothes and have gathered 2 full suitcases of *stuff* so far to bring along. Looking at bins and bins of leftover clothes and toys in the basement makes my a little ashamed of all we have while others have so little. Im happy for it to be getting "new homes"!
We got brother/sister a little thanksgiving bib that says "i'm thankful for my family" since we're hopeing to be getting him/her thanksgiving time or early december. We also got a photo album for babies to chew on that holds 8 family photos which we filled with his/ her new mommy, daddy, sister, cousins, and grandparents.
Also a clever little set of keys which you can put a small picture in each key-- mommy, daddy, and big sister! And of course, a first bible just like I got our daughter when I first found out I was pregnant- The inscription is very much the same- Even though we have not met you yet, God knows you and loves you. We can't wait to meet you. Love, Mommy Daddy and Emilia.

Monday, October 12, 2009


We have a baby chosen for our family!! We don't know who, but next week we will finally find out who he/she is! All the medical tests have been done, and the nuns have to forward the baby's info to the Gov't before we get "official" word.
We are so happy! We will keep everyone posted.
We are now the Cropf Family of FOUR!!
Thank God for this great news. I had the strongest feeling this morning when I opened my email our referral would be here. And thoughts of the baby all weekend!

here is the letter from the power of attorney Peter:
Hi Jen,

Today I was able to meet with the nun at the orphanage..
Talking with her this morning, she said that she has already done the medical tests and for the identified children for about 12 families including yours. She has not yet submitted the results and all the information required to the ministry, she was to take them today but Velonique is not in the office. She has made an appointment with Velonique on this coming Friday, it is when she will submitt all she has for the kids according to the martching files. So..let's wait patiently to hearing from Velonique later this week or early next week.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Age of excess...

No news on our baby yet, but tongiht was a strange mix of emotion for us. We were lucky enough to go the Children Hospital's biannual Carousel Ball, their major fundraiser for different children's health issues. Well, this year one of its main fundraising projects is childhood obesity. I was looking around a room of the richest people in Philadelphia, dripping in diamonds and slathered in furs, realizing they are donating millions of dollars to help "fat kids" while I have a little son or daughter in an orphange half way around the world who is drinking watered down baby formula made with contaminated water and children are dying of starvation. Not that childhood obesity need not be addressed, (and not to be insensitive to the struggles of overweight kids) but it just seems soooooo strange to be fundraising to prevent obesity in the privledged few while starvation is a reality for the vast majority. I felt my face burning with indignation while I thought of the baby whose face I will be seeing in a few short weeks for the first time. BIll and I exchanged looks and sighed at the irony of the whole situation.

In other news, I found two awesome adoption videos- I hope to add one of our own soon!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eye of a hurricaine

When I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter, every passing day felt like we were drawing closer and closer into the eye of a hurricaine. A calm before a storm. Not just any storm, but a life changeing, life consuming, life-will-never-be-the-same-storm. Well, as the final 4 weeks tick by until our referral of our son or daughter, I feel as thoguh I am again the the eye of the hurricaine. But this time, I read about things like reactive attachment disorder, failure to bond, and "terminated adoptions" and I am sort of freaking out. It's just a harmless little baby, right? (Ha!) But, I do need to be prepared for the worst case scenario so I can be the best possible parent. I don't want to just hope "this won't happen to us" because it can. It's a risk you take adopting an institutionalized child. Just like you take a risk with a biological child, for genetic diseases, dangerous births, mental disorders, on and on. But I know I owe it to my son or daughter to give them this chance, and to give us this chanch, at becomming a family. I'm sure with any little problem that arises we will get "I told you so's" from our often less-than-supportive extended support network, but this is a limb we mentally have to prepare to go out on. I hope for the efforts our family with be stronger, our love extended, and the world a better place for one child and one family waiting to adopt that child. Taking the road less traveled has always been the one I prefer.

But, non-the-less, prayers and support are appreciated as we sit in the eye of a hurricaine. I can only trust in God, know He is the one who is sending us on this path and He won't give us more than we can handle.

In other news, I added a great song by Brook Frasier called Albertine. Every time I listen to it I get re-energized for our adoption, and I feel like i'm needing some energy these days. Not just because I have lyme disease either, but that doesn't help matters!
here is Brooke Frasier's video for Albertine (the name of a girl she met while in Rwanda)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blog Stalking made easy...

Well I'm having a hard time keeping track of blogs now, so I decided to try and find everyone I "know" (ie, stalk daily progress of ) who HAS APPROVAL and are Awaiting that incredible email when we will see our son or daughter's face for the first time (referral) . So here are the ones I know about-- If you are also awaiting your referral and I left you out, please let me know so I can start obsessively checking your blog several times a day!!

4. The Furr Family
5. The Smiths
6. The Spore Family

7. The Dorband's
8. US!
I would add the the dorband's and us are going it solo- without an agency. We need extra prayers please!
So enjoy my consolidated list for your blog stalking pleasure!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buy Dis for bruder-sister

Well, no news on our referral. I emailed our POA (power-of-attorney) Peter 3 days ago but haven't heard anything yet. What I have found is that our daughter has "discovered" a new way to get what she wants at a store. She looks up at me with big eyes and says "Mommy, buy dis for bruder-sister from Wanda (rwanda.) Of course I can't say no to that! I think she is certainly aware that a baby will be "coming to live at our house" some time in the future. While Bill and I do complete flips daily on whether or not to bring her along on this tremendous journey, at least we know either way she is aware of what is going on. We would love to hear from anyone who has brought small children to this part of the world to help weigh in on this weighty decision, or better yet, if we have any volunteers to go with us to help out that would be an ideal way for us to travel!
We'll keep the blog world posted on progress!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No News Yet, but Thank God for Blogs!

No news yet, but we are so grateful to blogging families, which have been warning us of paperwork pitfalls as they pick up their babies in Rwanda. We are not using an agency, as are several other families in our "adoption circle" so any help from other families is greatly appreciated. I simply do not think we would be adopting if it were not for blogs and the internet. We also found a simple way to donate to our adoption effort if you feel as though you would like to do so. Any help is greatly appreciated to bring our baby home! If you want to donate money to the orphange for us to bring supplies with us, just designate it for the orphange and we will use it for that! Any help is greatly appreciated! Jen&BIll

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Holding God's hand

I have a cute story about my little girl, who is 25 months old, and her thoughts on the adoption. The other night we were falling asleep in the bed (we were on a mini vacation so she was sharing the bed with us) and I was talking to her about the adoption of her brother or sister. As I held her little hand, I said "see how mommy holds your hand when you fall asleep? Your little brother - sister (as we call him/her ) doesn't have anyone to hold his hand so we are going to go and bring him to our house. She was quiet for a minute and then said "Brother sister hold God's hand, mommmy." This was out of the blue, and I could feel tears in my eyes and said "you're right sweetie, brother-sister holds God's hand." This sentimental moment was quickly changed to a laugh when I asked her what she wants to name him/her and she was quiet for awhile, then after some thought whispered "Froggy Froggy Ribbit Ribbit". That made my night :)

No adoption news, but we're so exicted, stalking blogs like crazy for the 3 families in Rwanda now and emailing with others whose dossiers sit on Veronique's desk...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another thought for today

An old man was sitting outside a city’s gates. A traveler stopped and asked the old man what kind of people lived in the city. He replied, “What were the people like in the city you just left?” The traveler responded that they were horrible, mean, and cheats. The old man replied, “So Shall you find the people here.” The traveler kept going past the city. A second traveler asked the old man, “What kind of people live here?” The old man replied again with a question. “What were the people like in the city you just left?” The traveler said, “They were wonderful, kind, and generous.” The old man said, “And so shall you find them here.”

midnight musings

I am still up at mindnight with a slight case of insomnia, and in the process I found about 3 new blogs tonight of families adopting from Rwanda. Two fascinating common themes I have found with almost every family adopting from Rwanda- 1. We all love Jesus and proclaim that God has called us on this journey, and 2. We almost all have biological children already. Why is this significant? Well, for one the face of adoption is radically changing as years pass. It has gone from a secret, almost shameful process to a glorious union of parents and children placed together for all the world to see. Secondly, there remains a sort of feeling (rather misconception) that adoption is a "plan B" for infertile couples. I think God wants this to change. Adoption is powerful, glorious, and should be celebrated. The fact that almost every family adopting from Rwanda that I have come across has been blessed with biological children already SCREAMS that adoption is not a plan B. This is PLAN A. This is people seeing a need in our world and picking up our Cross to follow the Lord's directive that we care for the poor, the homeless, the needy, the lonely, the widow and the orphan. Our actions will speak louder than words ever can. God is sending us, and I see a river of American families from every corner of the county is answering a call. In return we are receiving the most incredible blessing ever given to a human in this life and on this Earth- a son or daughter. Several familes have 3,4 or even 5 biological children already. No one will look at these families and think adoption was just an answer to infertility ;) We are all going to be powerful proponents of adoption - very visible, very obvious, and living testimony that every child is created equal and every child is OUR responsiblity. PLEASE don't think I am saying anything disparaging about infertile couple who adopt-- on the contrary, they have been doing all along what the rest of us SHOULD be doing. God has a reason for everything including infertility. When a couple finds they are infertile and welcomes a baby home though adoption they are carrying out one of the most beautiful directives in the Bible, to care for the orphan & become a family. But I wish it was not just infertile couples who adopt. (This is the point of my tirade...) Imagine if every one who is able to do so adopted an orphan... an incredible thought which would solve the world's orphan crisis. Having your "own" children is no excuse for not caring for the orphan with all your heart. Kind words do not solve poverty, warm wishes do not fill stomachs, and happy thoughts do not stop children from dying of diarrhea.

Now that you have seen, YOU are responsible.

For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved. (RESV - Richard E. Stearns Version)

I would add,
I could not afford a doctor, and you said I don't work hard enough. I could not feed my children, and you said I was lazy. I was homeless, and you assumed I would spend the money on cigarettes, so you did not give. You stepped over me while I slept on the steam vent. The school my child attends is dangerous and your solution is to move away. The house I live in is falling apart, but you just added an addition. I cannot afford a car to drive to work, but you have three.

What Would Jesus Do, Folks? What would He say to every problem facing society today? That is a powerful question.

How do YOU propose to solve the World's orphan crisis? What would YOU do? Do you need to do anything at all? Does it matter? Is it your responsibility, or someone else's? Who is "someone else"?

Who will help the person on the sidewalk? Why did I see a man with a urine bag tied to his pants begging for money outside the aquarium as I entered with my daughter, in the RICHEST COUNRTY IN THE WORLD. AND WHY DIDN'T ANYONE GIVE HIM MONEY BUT ME? BE ASHAMED. I was ashamed for America, and I was ashamed of America. There is no excuse. Only if every person was moved to love thy neighbor as thyself...

Action in rwanda

Three families from Rwanda have their children today.
Here is a link

It's so wonderful to be able to follow their stories too, as they add to their families in this fabulous way. We are getting so excited, and I can barely wrap my mind around the fact this will be us, God willing, in a few short weeks or months.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not twins but progress...

Well it's not twins--our Poa Peter confirmed it was a typo. I am ad
itedly a bit disappointed but bill is visably releaved. I agree it would be a huge change and probably very hard on our little daughter. But in ex iting other news we heard our dossier has already gone to the orphangd!!! Yeah !! Praise God to be at this point. I'm getting REALLY excited!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vaccines and travel companions

Well, we went to the Penn travel medicine center today and had a wonderful conversation with the RN and got all the vaccines we need. I needed yellow fever, typhoid, and my second HEP A. Bill needed yellow fever, typhoid, HEP B, HEP A, and polio booster. other considerations were mmr, rabies (i have that one) and tetanus (we both have that) Lots of needles sticks, but hopefully for a healthy trip!! We also stocked up on all manner of mosquito repellants and learned a lot about the liitle monsters. I will be wearing a permethin soaked bee-keeprs outfit my entire time in Africa. The baby will look like a permethin soaked mummy when i'm done...
(or should i say...babies??!!)


WEll, I got a copy of our adoption letter from Peter, and I read it closely and it says we're approved for TWO kids!!
Do we want TWO? Do we NOT want two? can we handle TWO? is it just a clerical error? Can we change our US immigration paperwork for TWO?
YIKES! Nevertheless, if this is God's plan, I can't say I would want to turn my back on a child! we will keep everyone posted!

Monday, August 31, 2009


WOW, What a shock as I slunk into work this morning, tired, sick,. and opened my email to find a congratualtion letter from Tina, the wonderful woman (and momma to a rwandan son) who is helping us and several other families with independant adoption through her new Mugisha Ministries. I thought she was confused and was writing to the Dorbands, another independant familiy who just got approval!! I stated to freak out when I saw another email from our POA peter, asking me if i got the approval letter from them ministry-- WHAT?!! So soon!!! PRaise God!
Of course i started crying and got hugs and high fives from all my coworkers who feel like part of my family too. My finger trembled and I was a total mess and all i could think was CALL BILL! I didn't get him at first and had a hard time completing my sentences! I got through to him and forwarded him the emails finally and he's so happy to hear the news too! My coworker Lisa got us little bottles of wine to celebrate and brought them back over her lunch break. My dad was also very excited and was actually giving some thought to going along to pick up his new grandson/daughter!!! I have to smile as I think how Great is God.
we will keep everyone posted!

Friday, August 28, 2009

You need to read this

If you want to read an awesome testimony of what God can do with one person, read this. Imagine if everyone one of us reading this blog was like Katie, or rather like Jesus working through Katie. Be prepared to cry from shame, happiness, sorrow, and joy.

In adoption news, no news. But from blog buzz, approval letters are flying out from Veronique's desk left and right. Let's hope they keep flying! from what I can tell, there are maybe 4-5 families in "front" of us?

Watch and Pray.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bigger family, bigger car, big suprise on my negotiating skills.

Well, if we're having another baby we're probably going to need more room to haul him/her. With our 2 yr old, 2 dogs, stroller, diapers, formula, stuff, trash, etc. our subaru feels crowded. Bill's camry made the decision for us when after 150,000 it seems to be croaking. So late last night we went to the toyota dealer, found a lovely hybrid highlander with low miles, and THOUGHT we negotiated a good bid. We sighned papers, and got home at 1 am last night. Imagine my suprise when i went on ebay motors this am and found the EXACT car, (same dealer, same VIN#) for about 3,000 less than we negotiated last night!!! I'm going to have to go in today and renegotiate. I think God was like, good job my child, hope you had fun negotiating, but you suck. Here is a little ammo to get a REAL deal. BAM. God is a powerful ally. Car dealers beware. His timing doesn't alaways make sense however.
Just like with the adoption. No News, but we have (hopefully) a snazzy new hybrid to haul you in, our little son or daughter!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Veronique is back...

just heard from our POA peter that Veronique has been gone for 3 weeks and is now back in town. maybe that's why no news?
Keep waiting and praying!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dreaming under the stars... Month One

Well, one month is now past as of tomorrow since our Dossier arrived in Kigali.
Last night my husband and I had a "SUPRISE" date night. Suprise, Because I forgot I asked the sitter to come, and when he showed up I was asleep and Bill was confused:) I stumbled up from my nap, mumbled some instructions, said "Suprise honey! Date night!" and trippped over my own shoes as we flew out to the car.

We had a wonderful night seeing Ladysmith Black Mombazo and the Blind Boys of Alabama (awesome gospel trio from you guessed it, alabama) at the Mann music center- an outside concert venue where we take a picnic blanket, lay on the grass, and soak in the most incredible skyline views of Philly while listening to the music.

Ladysmith is an acapello, all male group from South Africa. they are pure enchantment. As I laid on the grass, i wished our baby from Rwanda was laying by us, listening to the music in the night. I hoped he could hear the music across the ocean in his dreams, where he lays in his crib in an orphanage. I tried to see his face in the clouds, and when the wind caught it just right, I think I may have caught a glimpse... All you moms out there longing for this adoption process to shift to warp speed know the ache I felt. But there was a peace knowing, at least for our son or daughter, there is a family across the ocean who loves him and God has put a powerful tidal wave in motion to bring us together.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What does your Dossier LOOK like?

Well, this is a post to all of you in the adoption process or who have completed your blessed event. What does your Dossier LOOOk like? It feels like a person to me now, after how many steps and how much a arrranged and rearraged. while a never took an acutual picture of it, i kept a copy for us. It was in a black 3 ring binder, and we made a cover / title page you slip in the cover that said "Jones Cropf Adoption Application" and had orange earths in a light ink as a background. It was a very business-like template i did online through the binder company. Every document was put in a plastic sleeve and labeled in the edge with a sharpie what was contained in that particular sleeve. It's the most important, and expensive, document I've ever made.

So, what did YOUR dossier look like?

Minister reviewed and off to VERONIQUE... the mysterique

Well, We heard monday July 6 that the minister has reviewed our paperwork, and passed it along to the mysyerious Veronique (I just say that because i hear so much about her i think i should know her, but alas, not at all. thus the mystery...)
Our POA Peter is VERY on the ball and emails us with every update.
So, at least some progress is being made. I also asked my friend at ROCA aid Robinson Gasangawa for help, if he has any pull, to put a good word in for us. it never hurts I guess!
Good Lord willing, I'll be a momma of 2 by Christmas. That's my goal :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bujumbura BI II

Bujumbura BI II. Just like it sounds. dossier still in Bujumbura BI. For the second day. The wait is driving me batty!
I hope it's ok!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


BUJUMBURA BI: That is where our dossier is at the moment. For those of you wondering where that is, which included me up until i googled it 5 mins ago, that would be the capital of Brundi, nestled on the west coast of Africa. Ah, to have a little dossier-cam microphone sending me back the sounds of people in the market, cattle on the roads, music in the night- that's how I picture the far off coast of Africa, based on my wikipedia short-course.
Our Dossier is on a Grand Adventure! I hope it's having fun, staying dry & intact, hiding from prying eyes of crooked Fedex guys, and thinking of sending us a post card for all the trouble its put us through to get it to the distant shores of BUJUMBURA BI. I also hope it's booking it's little binder-butt to Kigali, where it's suposed to be NOW. God Speed, little Dossier! Sigh...
God's Timing, my friends. Not mine. Or FedEx's.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Well, the final missing documents arrived from the Assistant Stork Courier in DC on Friday, and after I got off work today we went as a family to the FED EX store to bid our dossier BON VOYAGE. I took a picture of emilia with it before we sent it off. It feels like a living thing by now so we wish it safe journey. Keep your fingers crossed and us in your prayers as it makes its way to Africa...
now the REAL wait begins!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Paperwork Tango

WEll, I haven't posted much lately but we've been in a paperwork tango, trying to get our last 5 docuemnts authenticated (2 birth certs, 2 dr letters, and guardianship form). I took everything to harrisburg (notarized copies) only to find out its "illegal" to photocopy birthcertificates. Nevermind that the PA notary notaried our photocopies of birth certificates, charged us and never mentioned that little fact. Now, to make it crazier, they DID authenticate MY californai birth cert copy since that did not say "illegal to photocopy" on it. But Bill's PA cert did say that, so they rejected it. I have to go get an official state copy, they have THAT notarized, AND authenticated, even though it's an official state document.

The paperwork in this process is A JOKE, AN ABSURDITY, A PRACTICE IN IDIOCRACY.Mind you no where, by no one, are our documents certified to be authentic. Just that's it's our signature. I could have photocopied all fake stuff and everyone would have happily authenticated it as long as a notary somewhere will stamp it.
And take my money along the way. BOGUS.

Sorry to vent. Thanks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

We'll see if embedding this works. I have shamelessly lifted it from another adoption blog because I thought it was so cool -- enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Been mailed already, or will be mailed.

"It's already been mailed, or will be mailed" This is the reply i got from the embassy when I called a second time Monday may 4th to see where the dossier was, after almost 3 weeks had passed. I had also called monday april 27th and was told it was finished, but the US postal service would not pick up the box we had already put postage on and self addressed. So, they were waiting for an embassy employee (probably our friend Jenny) to walk it to the post offfice. This was about a 2 week wait, but our Dossier did arrive May 9, complete. Or so we thought. We found out through the Rwanda-blog-friend-Grapevine that now Medical tests cant be more than 3 months old (ours were done in Dec. 08) and we need a guardianship form for godparents, and also we need birthcertificates. You got it- notarized, stamped in harrisburg, authenticated by the State dept, and finally stamped by the embassy. The paper chase will need to be run again. This is like finding out you've been in labor for 10 hours but your cervix just got smaller. Pitocin, Anyone?

We need Paperwork Pitocin. Haha. Haha. Waaaaaaa.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I stole that title from another blog but i tohught it was funny ;) No news, but my friend Tina told me the Rwanda embassy told HER it should be no more than 5 business days to get the approval letter, and well, it's now been 10 or 11, depending if you include good firday. :( I tried to call the embassy twice on friday but both times it said enter a mailbx number, and had no voice mail or no answer. odd. anyhoo, that's the non-update. and wait. I just found out my friend jenny is expecting! she's due in December, and since our little girls are only a few weeks apart, she thinks are new baby may come in December too!! the way things are going, it looks like that may not be far off- but what an awesome present!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Rwanda Embassy - it was a clear beautiful spring day! I caught the flag mid-furl

Wasington Dc!!!

First of All, HAPPY EASTER! Let's thank Jesus for his gift to all of us, and for leading us on this wonderful journey. Secondly, thank Him for getting us to DC and the State Dept- where we almost were turned down since we had more than the 15 documents allowed in one day, but we told the nice woman at the counter that we drove from philly and it's for an adoption, and I think God changed her mind for us and she let us do all of them at once. Then off to the Embassy, but they told us we needed a cashier check and we also forgot our pre-paid return box so we drove on a wild goose chase for those 2 things, then back to the embassy! We dropped off everything and walked away with a smile, Paper Labor is in full swing! The final step now is get dossier returned with letter of no objection, and Mail it to Rwanda!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting closer by the minute...

Well, we are getting closer despite the sudden twist of needing to get all of our papers stamped at the state level in harrisburg, and then DC, we now have the harrisburg approval- sort of. i missed a few documents and have overnighted them to our family who, conveniently, live in harrisburg :) so hopefully we'll have themby wednesday then - We're going to DC! We have always wanted to see cherry blossoms so this will be perfect timing, God's timing is always perfect of course ! Another family adopting frmo Rwanda got their approval letter the *SAME DAY* but we're not counting on being so lucky...but we can hope and pray!
i''ve been getting nesting instincts a little more, thinking of how i'll orchestrate 2 babies at lunch, where to fit 2 babies in our bedroom (yes, we are crazy overindulgent parents with our toddler happily sleeping in her toddler bed, just east of our bed, north of the dog bed, and south of the cats' bed...we currently have, on average, 6-9 living things peacefully snoring, snoozing, tossing, turning, talking in their sleep, barking in their sleep, purring, hissing, knocking down picure frames, burowing, sometimes sleeping, crying for bottles-still-, whining for binkys, wide-eyed with insomnia, dreaming, waking, or hitting the snooze button on any given night-- whew, but i digress) 2 car seats, a double stroller... but it's thrilling to be thinking in 2's now! twice as nice, probably 4 times the chaos, but 100 times welcome, welcome, welcome to our world, little one. we're gonna love it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Paper progress!

Just got an email from our adoption agency that we have US gov't approval for our adoption and the paper should arrive in the mail in a few days! Yippee! One day soon that mailbox won't be empty! Praise God, I was getting impatient!! I also talked to a client today who just adopted a baby from Ethiopia and she lives 5 mins. from us! I hope they can have playdates very soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Empty Mailbox, full hearts

I feel anticipation every day when I open the mailbox, and while I've got a great coupon or two, a free pair of underware at victoria's secret, and my sping mail order chicken catalog, no magical approval letter to bring our son or daughter home. I had the notary come again last night to do our W2s and a few other extra copies of papers so I can hopefully drive them home next week to harrisburg for approval, then ship 'em to DC while we wait.
Tonight is a bummer since we sent our little girl to grandma and grandpa's for 2 nights since I have a conference to go to tomorrow, and I loathe the thought of any extra daycare days since she despises it so much. This is only the second time we've spent a night away from her. It's funny, peopel think it's good for a new mom to "have time to herself" or "get away" or "have a break" from the kids. Maybe this will be true someday, but even now the thought of being away from her is like saying "oh, you must need a break from your legs, you walk so much" or, boy, you're eyes are tired from working so hard, you should just go blind for a few days to give them a rest" I feel like a vital organ is missing. Sigh, I'd rather miss her than send her to day care. we're thinking about re-hiring a new babysitter, since she's done so well with them in the past.

Plus, we have to start grooming the new nanny for #2! Soon I pray!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

wait and wait ...

well, 2 of my friends have just delivered healthy babies, and two more are pregnant with their second. We tell people of our paper pregnancy, but it's a shame it doesn't get a bigger excitment level than if we told them I was pregnant again. I think adoption is still a little misunderstood. People seem happy for you but immediatly ask "why" and "where" and kinda think we're crazy. more like off the rocker, a screw loose, few cards short of a deck... no one asked "why" or "how" or thought we were crazy when we were pregnant with our perfect little girl. Still, we wait. Still, we follow God's call. I know when we hold this child in our arms we will know we're doing the right thing, making the right choice, and follwing the right trail, even if it is the one less traveled.

So, wait we will. Our friend Tina who adopted a son from Rwanda as been sending us updates on paperwork and we have contacted the embassy to make sure we're doing the right things with our paperwork, just waiting on a reply from them.

We are waiting 4 weeks on saturday for USCIS approval.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Presents for Elijah

Well, I was at the mall today with my little gal and I had a gymboree coupon burning a hole in my pocket, (moms, you know what i mean) and alas, nothing for Emila there. BUT i did come across and adorable pair of bluejean overalls with a turtle in the pocket and matching turtle onesie. I had to think of Elijah. But how big will he be? what season will he finally arrive home? I figured 18-24 months (so he can grow into it) and at least overalls can be summer or winter, if you use them with or without the onesie. (That is the name I am calling my "unborn" (or perhaps born?) son to be. Who may turn out to be a daughter but you never know God's plan. Bill has no such neurosis yet. He is always the logical one. It gets worse, I even now admit I bought him a picture frame at Christmas. I saw it on ebay, and it was made from recycled materials by a Christian artist. The name was ELIJAH just sticking out at me. It practically jumped off the page and I shoveld out too much money and bought an Elijah frame. If Elijah turns out to be a girl, so be it. But if it's a boy, Mommy's getting ready! It may seem funny to spend money on something that may never come to be, for so many reasons, but it makes me feel connected. Otherwise all I have is a string of money orders, notarized forms, signatures, and family member apathy. I need something tangible. So Elijah, you have a name, a picture frame, and a pair of adorable turtle overalls. Now all we need is you!
I felt the same way when I saw my daughter's ultrasound picture. All that vomiting was making sense, finally. Something tangible in an otherwise intangible, mind boggeling process.

I also got some encouragment from a friend at Widow's of Hope in Rwanda where we sponsor a school child. My friend Robinson told me he knows several people at the Ministry and will do anything he can to help us out. Praise God! I will also be so excited to finally meet him and Dorothy, our sponsored school child.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

updates and waits

Well, still waiting. But it's only really been 15 days, and only 5 days since USCIS was mailed our homestudy. A watched pot never boils, so I'll not dwell on that. I did update our adoption paperwork time line with financial time line as well. We are still expecting to pay a liason in Rwanda $500, plane tickets and travel (I shudder to think...$) and now I think we may have to get all documents approved at state level which may be another 500-700$ and also at the embassy which will be another several hundred dollars. Our friend Tina is helping us figuure out if we REALLY need state approval. Pray NO because it takes $ and more importantly precious time.
In other news, Emilia and I had a fun day today, with her watching me get my teeth cleaned at the dentist. she freaked out seeing the "la-la" (or lady, =dental hygenist) approach mommy with a mask and spinnign whirring dental instruemtns, but luckily she was so tired she promptly forgot the trauma and drifted peacefully off to sleep the whole time. I was going to drop her at daycare, but I'm really glad I didn't. even mundane moments with her are fun. While we were waiting in the waiting room of the dentist office she loved tolook at a picture of a baby alligator hatching from and egg and read the magazines with me. It seems insignificant, but every min. w/ her is awesome. even if it involes me having to get my teeth cleaned. any lying that I floss everyday. Acutally, I didn't even bother to lie about it, I knew the hygenist knew the truth. Some days, i'm just lucky if both shoes match. so sue me if dental floss is used more often in more arts& crafts projects than oral hygene in our home.
I can't wait to spend little precious moments with my son, wherever he may be. (or daughter. but I really think it's gonna be a boy, Elijah.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

making progress

well, on Feb 7th at 8am we had our USCIS fingerprint appointment and on monday we got our completed homestudy report in the mail! So now, we need to send the homestudy report to USCIS, and... wait. But that's good, I feel like we're making progress, really! I'm gonna call the embassy of Rwanda in DC tomorrow and see if we can take the paperwork there in person ,and maybe make a cherry blossom/adoption paperwork short trip soon.
Sorry I've been off of updates, we've all been sick and tired and lazy-feeling. I have strange foot/mouth blisters that I must have caught from Emilia- she started her 1st week of daycare at the church last week and it didn't take long to spread the associated germs around. It also breaks my heaart to send her!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

moving along...

Well, we got our fingerprint appointment for next saturday for USCIS and our premilinary home study report came today, awaiting still bill's dr report and 2 rec letters. But things are on the move.! Elijah, we're coming slowly but surely! In other news, we took emilia to the aqwuarium today to see her beloved hippo and our friend wendy and baby delaney. Then, dinner with daddy downtown at Parc, a really great french bistro. it's so darn cold though-- spring, hurry up!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Then a miracle occurs

my wordier earlier blog got deleated so here's the low down:
10 simple, easy to follow steps left till our family grows and God blesses us with a second "greatest gift!"

1. finish getting 2 final letters of recommendation
2. get bill's dr letter notarized after 3 failed attempts to get dr to fill form in first place!
3. get fingerprint appt w/ USCIS and approval of fingerprints. shouldn't be hard, since 2 other vast computer networks already have "approved" my fingerprints...
4.submit remaining documents to social worker for homestudy
5. get USCIS approval
6. send dossier to Rwanda embassy for notarization
7. send dossier to Rwanda
8. get approval from ministiry of gender and referral from orphanage
9. then a miracle happens!
10. Baby!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Home Study over, sort of...

Well, I'm a little behind but we did have our homestudy on the 29th of December with Megan Rasmutten and it went very well, but she did say we have too many pets (is 3 cats and 2 dogs too many? :) But I think it's ok :) But we didn't have all of our documents together yet so we need to get her more things before she can write our reports. Bill's state fingerprint clearance arrived about a week ago, which was good. The homestudy was WAY less involved than I imagined. We cleaned frantically and installed missing cabinet locks (that we should have anyway!) before she came, but she really just wanted to meet us and see our motivations for adoption. I'm feeling sluggish in the paperwork again. I have to go get a money order for the I-600 and I've been waiting to do it for almost 2 weeks now. I also need to : Get my midwife to sign off on all my test results, get A letter from E's pediatrician saying she's healthy and receives regular exams/care/etc, write my autobiography, write a letter of intoroduction to the Rwanda minister, dig out two of my recent paychecks, get Bill to get 2 letters of reccomendation, pick up my notarized letter from my regular physician, bring bill's physician letter back to the doctors since she never signed it either, and also arrange the notary to come and notarize it, go get the money order for the 1-600, and i You can see this is A LOT of paperwork. I get so overwhelmed instead of doing one or two I want to do them ALL, then that is too overwhelming so i do NONE. Sigh. I need some motivation!
In economic news, i'm sad to say I think we;re going to lay off our nanny and put E in day care to save some money and pay off bills. Yuck. now she's gonna get sick all the time. If you know any nice, cheap :) nannies in philly, let us know!!

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