Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ray of sunshine!

Ah, the rollercoaster of international adoption! 

We would like a big family with several (many!) children, and have no intention of being a "one and done" family, but the pain of this "labor" will have to fade a lot before we would consider another international adoption! Maybe, like childbirth, this gets easier with successive children...?

Anway, here's today's hopfully good news:

I just got off the phone with someone helpful from USCIS who said we are being assigned a caseworker today (we were apparently in the next batch of cases to be assigned).  Please pray with us that the processing will go quickly and we will receive this I-171H in the mail early next week!

Last year the courts closed from August 6-September 28 for the rainy season. When they re-open there is a backlog of cases so it can sometimes take longer to get a court date then.

So, with a new normal of 6-12 week wait (or longer) to hear a court date and a 5-12 week wait (or longer) from learning our court date to when it actually happens, and then often another week or two until the MOWA letter is ready and we officially pass court...if we get our I-171H next week and get our completed dossier authenticated and sent to Ethiopia in the first two weeks of April, there is still a decent chance that we can pass court before the closing (Embassy appointments continue during the rainy season...). After April 15 I think our chances will start to rapidly decline.

Of course, with all this work on our end, being ready to pass court assumes on B's end that the agency staff in ET have assembled all his paperwork in accordance with the new and ever changing guidelines, that his lifebook is ready (a documented thorough investigation of his history and how he came to be at the orphanage that our agency is now issuing to help provide clear documentation to the Embassy and ensure as best they can that everything about how B came to the orphanage was ethical and that adoption is the option his remaining relatives want for him and really the only viable option for him), and that there are no big glitches in the system. We keep checking-in with our agency re the status of B's paperwork, birth certificates, death certificates, interviews, government paperwork, lifebook, etc. and just keep hearing that they know it is in process but they don't know how close to being done it is...

B's birthday is at the end of October.  He already had his second birthday in an ophanage, we are really hoping that his third birthday will be with his mama and ababa in NYC!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Super craptastic day...

Well, after several hours in the auto-phone system and on email with USCIS it seems that our I-171H is not close to being issued...every prospective adoptive parent I have talked to in the past 3-4 months has gotten their I-171H within about 2 weeks after fingerprinting.  Apparently not us...

We are now well into 3 weeks and no sign of our I-171H so I reached out to USCIS.  After a bunch of run arounds for a receipt number that was not on our fingerprinting receipts, we learned that our case has still not been assigned to a case worker and that USCIS is estimating 75 days from receipt of I-1600A to processing (and approx. 30 days from receipt to be assigned a case worker).

The first reps I spoke to online said the number we had couldn't be tracked in the online system and was being processed by the local center, but I was under the impression that all I-600A applications were being processed through the central processing center.

Also, our receipt number starts with SIM (which the caseworker on email said all of their case receipts start with) but the USCIS site it specifically says: The 13-character application receipt number can be found on application notices you have received from the USCIS.  It begins with three letters such as (EAC, WAC, LIN, or SRC).  When I called the first few times they specifically said only those letters were what could begin the receipt number. Our receipt number with SIM doesn't work in the online system either...

Shocker, there seems to be an issue here...I wish that USCIS could get their story straight and get our I-171H issued ASAP!

We are at 40 days from receipt of our application and no sign of a case worker...

Sigh...!  We could really use a good break right now!!!

B-we love you and are trying to bring you home as soon as possible!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Attachment, parenting, and jumping into life with a toddler 101...

Claudia over at My Fascinating Life started a really interesting blog symposia on attachment.

Since attachment is a huge topic in the adoption world, and since it is something that can be an obvious challenge for older adopted kids, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon.  I totally reserve the right to change my mind on all parenting matters:-)

Attachment of a family is a nebulous and tricky thing.  How do you really know if a child is attached to the parents and parents to a child?  What makes a child, especially one that is not related by genes, your child as opposed to a child you love very much but are perennially babysitting? What makes a child decide they are part of you, of your family, of your heart, and not walk up to strangers in the grocery store and ask them to be their new mama?  How do you know deep down what you feel, what your child feels?  How does a scared, grieving toddler whose entire life has been turned upside down and moved across the world build these delicate gossamer threads of attachment?  How do Mamas and Ababas make parenting choices that foster strong and positive attachment in themselves and their child?


These are the questions we are currently grappling with, researching, interviewing, reading, hypothesizing, and trying to articulate.  Also, how do you do these things in a genuine, responsible, and loving way that doesn't feel like you are trying to brainwash your child...(Also, is it a bad thing, and is it even possible, to positively brainwash a child? I'm not going to touch that one for now:-)

After about $200 in purchases from, hours of reading, and months of soul searching, we still don't have the answers, but we have assembled a basic toolkit of techniques that will hopefully help Mama, Ababa, and B (and even Woosha) all begin to attach to each other as a family.

Since we have several months (please, Dear God let our I-171H be here tomorrow, our paperwork be processed quickly, and us pass court before the rainy season!) before B comes home we'll explore these an many others in greater detail in the coming weeks/months.

But, here's the quick and dirty, Cliff Notes version.  (Disclaimer: We are not really quite this level of earthy-crunchy granola people--well, I might like to be, but DH is firmly not in that camp:-)

The best tip we've gleaned so far, is that B will probably be functioning at several different "ages", namely his actual age (which hopefully is close to the age reported on his paperwork, but may not be), his developmental age (which is probably several months or even a year behind), and his family age (which won't start until we assume custody of him).  So, when we become B's parents it is likely that we will have an almost 3 year old, who is developmentally a 2 year old, and whose family age is a brand spanking newborn!

Removing prenatal experiences (which have been proven to strongly impact children and parent's attachment), hormones, and the somewhat egotistical, but also very real, attachment prompted by parent's recognizing their own genetic traits in their child, newborns demand and require constant activities that facilitate attachment.  Skin to skin contact, cradled holding (especially with their head near the parents' heart), 24/7 care by parents for at least the first few months, frequent feedings with prolonged eye contact, and interaction throughout the day and night that prompts eye and skin contact at regular intervals.  For at least the first 6-12 weeks of a newborn's life, a parent's job is just loving and caring for this tiny, demanding, needy, helpless, creature.


B will not be a passive, needy, little baby.  He'll be an active, hurt, confused, grieving, jetlagged toddler who probably doesn't know how to play with toys and will have lost any language communication advantage he had in his native language and culture.  How do we spend hours practicing skin to skin contact, eye contact, interaction, and constant holding with this child?!?!?!?!? Have you met a 2 year old? or a 3 year old? or an almost 3 year old who is developmentally closer to a just turned 2 year old?  They are obstinate, active, and constantly on the move!  How do we help B understand that we are his family forever, his Mama, his Ababa, his family!?!?!?!?


The short answer is, we have no idea.  The slightly longer answer is our strategy is to recognize that anything we try will need to be customized to B's unique needs, personality, and situation.  So, we'll have to constantly refine our strategy on the fly.  The longer answer (our Cliff Notes tips) is below:

1. We are going to co-sleep for the first 3-6 months home (much like we would with a newborn)--either in our bed on my side, or in a packnplay right next to our bed--of course we will follow all guidelines on safe co-sleeping.

2. We are going to babywear and carry B for as long as is possible.  (Yes, I will be that granola mom toting a 5 year old around in a carrier if he'll let me!)  To that end, we have acquired several awesome carriers--a Sleepy Wrap, Boba toddler carrier (which I think will be our #1 go-to carrier), and a Catbird Mei Tai.  If we can score one for cheap on ebay we are also interested in a Scootababy hip carrier...

3. We are going to give B a bottle (or bottle-like sippy cup) in the morning and evening, with lots of cuddling, cradle holding, eye contact, and snuggles, ideally for his first year home.

4. We will limit B's interaction with other people at first (yes, this may include immediate family and close friends, yes this might mean that we are the only ones that will feed him, hold him, kiss his boo-boos, put him to bed, and meet any and all of his needs, yes this gets REALLY complicated when you factor in the fact that he will likely be in daycare after the first 3 months--we're still figuring out the best way to approach that!). Hopefully the carrier will help with limiting his interaction with others at first and hopefully our friends and family will understand--we'll definitely post more about this when it is closer to when B comes home.

5. We will interact with B using books, toys, and activities that are appropriate for a variety of ages birth-3 years old to see what will work best for B, teach him to play, and help him and us to engage (and shh...don't tell...begin bonding and attaching) with each other.

We fully anticipate that it will be hard, complicated, and full of dead-ends and wrong turns.  But, we'll do the best we can and have faith that we and B will become a securely attached family!  Like most things in life, attachment is more about the journey than the destination.  There's not a clear sign that says sunshine, roses, puppies, and lollipops--we have arrived in secure attachment land!  Attachment issues can rear their complicated head again and again, it's more a spiral corkscrew than a straight road...

P.S. lest you think adoptive families have all the attachment fun, the term and strategies regarding attachment challenges and disorders actually originated with diagnoses of children who were born into their forever families.  Yep, that's right, these very same issues can also occur in much loved and wanted biological children who are raised by their birth families in secure and stable environments.  Although factors like separation of mother and child after birth (often due to birth complications in the mother or child) can be very strong, a large determining factor is simply the child's natural personality and resilience....

B we can't wait to meet you (and we are hoping that you are resilient; flexible; and enjoy snuggles, eye contact, the Boba carrier, and being cuddled in cradle holds, but if you aren't we'll figure it out and develop strategies that help us all attach to each other as a family!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


We just got back in town (worst experience ever, and we are never flying Delta again--I'll post about our flight back later, we are way to tired and way to irritated for me to write anything about that now)...

I was disappointed b/c our I-171H wasn't in our stack of mail...but...we did get a video of B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The first time we have seen him in video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is amazing, he is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He looks so sad and so serious and so skinny, it breaks our hearts, but makes us even more want to be his parents!  He doesn't speak at all in the video and he doesn't smile, he just keeps looking at the camera like he's trying to figure it out and plays with a partially deflated soccer ball.

We cannot wait to be his parents and hope that the final leg of this paperchase is done soon and that we will legally be B's parents and have home with us soon (we are still praying--fervently, but somewhat optimistically at this point--that we'll pass court before the rainy season closure in Augustish....)

We learned a few important facts:

1. He does NOT speak Amharic
2. We have now heard Ethiopians pronouncing his Ethiopian first name (so we can practice before we go and he'll actually know that we are talking to him:-)
3. He loves balls--the video opens with him clutching a frisbee which he promptly chucks when a soccer ball enters the picture (the whole rest of the video is him toddling around the nursery room tossing the ball to himself, digging it back out from under the crib, and in general amusing himself:-))
4. He is very sad and serious, but his little intent face just melts our hearts
5. He definitely still sleeps in a crib and (although his paperwork says he's pottytrained) he is definitely wearing a diaper in this video

We are praying that our I-171H gets here Monday and we can get our dossier authenticated and sent to Ethiopia by the end of the month...since I have a business trip in there and the end of the month is fast approaching, that may be ambitious, but we are working towards it anyway!

B-we are coming to meet you as fast as we can and we can't wait to be your Mama and Ababa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A quick post from vacation!

Suffice it to say that visiting Ababa's and my parents inevitably leads us to consider leaving NYC.  Life in a small town is just so much slower and easier and CHEAPER!  In New York, if you need to go to the grocery store...yes, you could just go online and order from Fresh Direct, but if you want to stick to your budget it involves multiple trips to multiple stores, long walks and subway rides carrying heavy bags, and battling somewhat violent crowds of shoppers.  In a small town, you drive 15 or 20 minutes to wal-mart, cruise through a spacious, well-light, well-stocked store and cruise out having spent a fraction of what we would have spent in NYC.  And when we go to visit my best friend from childhood in Upstate New York we get to visit the utopia also known as WEGMANS! (Nige, I can't wait for Memorial Day!!!)

Anyway, we are loving our vacation with Ababa's family in smalltown Louisiana.  Ababa has been working around his parents house, hanging a gorgeous new screen door (I'll try to post a pic later this week:-), spending time with all of Ababa's siblings (he's one of 6 kids, so there's a lot of people to see:-) and in general just relaxing and detoxing from NYC.

The family started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago which is great b/c we've been eating pretty healthfully, and doing Zumba pretty much every day...but...we've been saving extra "points" for things like:

My love for shrimp po boys is legendary:-)  Although, I think boiled crawfish kind of look like roaches I do love the corn and potatoes at a boil...and we're having one Friday!!!!

We've also been showing off B's pics, "introducing" him to the extended family, getting his son-to-be grandparents introduced to the internet, and in general having a wonderful time!

I've been staying off the internet by and large, which has been a great break, but I thought I'd give a quick shout-out on the blog:-)

We've also been praying about the situation in Ethiopia that it will be resolved in a way that is best for the children of Ethiopia, praying for B, and praying for the horrible devastation in Japan.  Honestly, this has been a great week to be exposed to only limited is very sad, heartbreaking, and overwhelming.

So, back to focusing on our vacation--probably going to New Orleans tomorrow, swinging by some more family's houses, and getting ready for the boil on Friday!  Our super early flight Saturday a.m. will be here too soon!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Appropriate response to slowdown...?

As you may or may not have heard as of right now, Ethiopian adoptions will be slowing way down.  How much of a long of a slowdown...for what purpose a slowdown...these all remain to be seen.

Below is the US State Department Notice

 Government of Ethiopia Plans Major Slow-Down in Adoption Processing

Citing the need to work on quality and focus on more important strategic issues, the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA)  will reduce to a maximum of five the number of adoption cases it processes per day, effective March 10, 2011.  Under Ethiopian adoption procedures, MOWCYA approves every match between prospective adoptive parents and an Ethiopian child before that case can be forwarded for a court hearing.  The U.S. Embassy is working with Ethiopian government officials and adoption agencies to learn more about this change in procedures.  We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Given MOWCYA's current caseload, the U.S. Embassy anticipates that this change could result in an overall decline in case processing of some 90 percent.  If this change is implemented as proposed, we expect, that parents who have begun the process of adopting from Ethiopia but have not yet been matched with a child could experience significant delays.  It is not clear if this change in procedures would have any significant impact on cases in which MOWCYA has already approved matches. 

Prospective adoptive parents should remain in close contact with their adoption service provider to obtain updates on individual cases.

The Embassy's Adoptions Unit can be reached at

Please continue to monitor for updated information as it becomes available.

Of course we will be extremely upset if B's adoption is caught up in this and heartbroken if it is not able to be completed at all; however, some of the response by American adoptive and potential adoptive families, adoption agencies, and advocacy groups has been, in our opinion, very unhelpful and inappropriate!

Instead of stomping our feet, sticking our heads in the sand, pretending it is ok for PAPs to request healthy infant girls as young as possible and acting suprised when that creates stresses and corruption in the system, let's stop acting like citizens of the developed world who think we have a right for some reason to the children of a less developed country and let's actually consider the entire issue!

We know that the Ethiopian system is not perfect.  We know that many of the inconsistencies begin at the local kebele level and during the relinquishment process.  These are exacerbated by Ethiopians' perceptions of the adoption process, their government, and their cultural and political system. they are further exacerbated by the American (and really the whole developed world) adoption process and demand for healthy infants as young as possible, preferably girls, and the amount of money the system generates in the US and in Ethiopia. 

Adoption can be a wonderful solution for a child and a family, but make no mistake about it, adoption is a business for many people in Ethiopia, in the US, and around the world.

I don't know what the solutions are.  I think a great place to start would be more, and more thoroughly trained, social workers at the local level in Ethiopia, more transparency in the entire process in Ethiopia and in the US, real and effective action on the part of the US government to close US-based agencies/facilitators that are known "bad operators" in Ethiopia and in the US, and a requirement for US agencies to not cater to PAP's demands for healthy infant girls as young as possible!

Of these four steps, I think the only one that would require any significant resources and collaboration by the Ethiopian government would be local social workers.  The rest may not be popular, but they would be effective, would have little to no cost to implement, and are entirely appropriate for the US to implement.

I don't think it is appropriate for the US to tell Ethiopia how to run it's court system, government, or adoption process. Perhaps, we as Americans should take a hard look at our own system of adoption and fostercare before we do that!  One of the major reasons prospective adoptive families turn to international adoption is because of how difficult it is to adopt through US fostercare, particularly to adopt children who are younger (by younger I mean under 6, and especially under 4).

Children are funneled through our fostercare system, growing up without a stable family environment or any sort of permanence.  Parental rights are finally terminated in cases of unfit parents, but that usually doesn't happen until the child is in late elementary school or is a pre-teen or teen and has many issues brought about by their complex background.  The child is then in a much more difficult place to be adopted and to bond to a new, permanent family. Domestic infant adoptions in the US can certainly be positive, but are often what most people would consider "baby selling" in Ethiopian adoptions (birth mother receives benefit/financial gain like medical care, living expenses, etc. and the facilitator/attorney/placing agency receives exhorbitant fees...). 

We have exponentially more resources than Ethiopia, yet America's system of caring for our children is very, very broken!

I hope with all my heart that the situation is Ethiopia is resolved and we will still pass court to adopt B before the court closure this summer.  More than that, I hope that the system is somehow changed for the better.

Someone posted on an Ethiopian adoption board today that "the system must be changed b/c it is unacceptable that even one child is trafficked".  Another person posted that "it is unacceptable that even one child dies because of this radical slowdown of adoptions".  I agree with both statements, but I also recognize that inorder to benefit the most number of children and Ethiopian families, the answer may not be so black and white.  I also recognize that adoption is not the solution to the economic, social, or other needs of the vast majority of Ethiopian children and families in desperate situations. The most beneficial solution may be for Ethiopia to work for the greater good by devoting all of its resources and energy into benefitting the much, much, much larger group of desperate children and families who are not benefitted by adoption.

My prayer is that God will somehow work in this tangled and imperfect system, moving governments, influencing people, and transforming the entire process.  I have no idea what the answer is, but I know that God does, and I know that he loves each and every child, mother, father, and family who is impacted.  He knows every hair that falls from their head, every hurt, every need, every situation, and He reigns over it all.  I don't understand it, but I do have faith in Him! 

We are not signing any radical petitions demanding that Ethiopia/MOWA return to processing a higher volume of cases, and quite disagree with that approach. But we did fill out the survey below in the hope that knowing the number of children who are matched with families and will be stuck in the system will be useful data for policy makers in the US and in Ethiopia.

March 9, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finally, something smooth!!!

Wow!!!  Go USCIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We went in this morning for our fingerprinting (even though our appointment was for the 30th).

They open at 8am and we got there around 8:20, parked in a munimeter spot 1 block away (which is pretty much a miracle down there!), and we were done and out by 8:40.  The longest part of the process was waiting in the security line to enter the building.!  Way better than the NYC offices like 1PP and the county clerk!

Staff were courteous, polite, and spoke english fluently, and the building/process was not crowded or backed up at all. It was so great that Ababa and I actually both took the time to fill out and hand in the comment cards!

So, YAY!!!!  Hopefully our I-171H is being processed as I post this and it will arrive in the mail soon (we're out of town next week so hoping we have a great suprise when we get back in town) then Ababa can do the last step of certification on 3/21!

Today I am calling with a few questions for our agency, namely is it ok that on my notarized medical form(which is a huge pain in the rear to get done b/c we have to bring a traveling notary to the Dr and this is the second time we've had to do it b/c our new agency requires a different medical form that our first agency) my Dr wrote that she just met me and had no idea if my immunizations were current (despite the fact that I've been her patient for 4 years, just saw her in Nov, and a year ago she did all my immunizations for grad school-including getting my vaccine records and administering a blood test for MMR antibodies that resulted in me having to get another MMR booster--all of which is documented in my chart which she clearly did not read while filling out this form...I wish I could find a Dr that I like in NYC)! Let's hope the form is still ok!!!!!

But, all groaning aside, if our medical forms are acceptable, there will be 1 day of Ababa running around city and state offices to get our dossier certified when our I-171H arrives and then we can send our dossier through the authentication process in DC and to Ethiopia!!!!  And then our paperchase will be done for now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are praying that our dossier is in ET by 3/28!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that our agency has been diligent about B's paperchase even with all the recent changes in regulations and that his paperwork will be ready to be submitted to court!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One step closer to sweet baby-B (who is really starting to look like an adorable big boy in his photos:-)

On the have my cake and eat it too front-there was a clear reason why I was freaked and it's b/c my spidey sense told me that the proposed situation was no good. Well, it all became clear this weekend and I am so glad that it did!  So, we'll see what other interesting opportunities are out there or if I should focus on making the "cake" I have more palatable!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Guess who is going to try to crash the local USCIS office tomorrow morning to try and get our prints done early?!?!?!?!  Yep, mama, ababa, and..., well not woosha, but we could get a paw print for solidarity:-)

Here's hoping that USCIS is not backed-up tomorrow morning and we can be in and out!

Friday, March 4, 2011

B's Quilt

Well, there's all kinds of drama going on with court dates/MOWA letters right now all of which could delay our court date, plus we are still waiting for our fingerprinting appointment from USCIS (we are going to start phone stalking them on Monday to see what is going on), so we figured we'd post about B's quilt instead:-) Plus we got 4 new pics of him today, showing off a sassy personality, grinning from ear to ear, and wearing a cheerful yellow shirt with a dinosaur!

We've bought a lot of necessary items for B, mostly from craigslist, ebay,, and other discount places (though I do have a soft spot for Amazon sales, especially since I now have Amazon prime:-) We got an awesome crib for B that converts to a toddler bed since he still sleeps in a crib at the transition home, but he'll probably be close to 3 by the time he comes home...and we hope that B will have younger siblings at some point down the road so it should get more use as a crib then...the crib has some scratches on the dark wood that Ababa is going to cover-up with some non-toxic stain, but we got it for about 1/3 the retail price, so we're not complaining:-)

Here's B's crib/bed it's the Babyletto Mercer:

So, we wanted to get something special for him, something new, something custom made just for B, and something that would fit in the mod vibe we decided to go with in his room.  I had fallen in love with Tanneicasey on Etsy's windowpane quilts right after we got married and decided I wanted to get one for our future child.  I also fell in love with the Michael Miller Zoology fabric. So, I was thrilled that Tannei could work with me to incorporate fabrics that we really wanted for B's room.  I picked all the fabrics in the quilt except for one that she picked. She did the layout, picked which fabric to use for the edging, and had the genius idea to do the backing in dark grey.  The first quilt she made had some of the same fabric squares next to each other which looked a little out of whack.  She realized this before posting it for our purchase and emailed us offering to make another one. Usually we would have just chalked it up to being homemade and bought the first one, but we wanted this quilt to be really special for B.

And WOW is it!  We love this quilt and can't wait for B to wrap himself up in it!  It looks awesome in his room.  Reversing it gives a completely different look and a special inset tag on the back with his whole name embroidered on it makes it so special.  I hope that we'll get to spend many many years snuggled up with B under this blanket--reading books, talking, laughing, cuddling, and loving our son!!!

So, here are some more pics--most of the fabrics are by Michael Miller.  In a few weeks, or maybe months, we'll post pics of his whole room.  It's starting to come together and look really cute!!!

Hmmm...blogger seems to be not dealing with pics very well.  here's a link to the Etsy posting if that works better: B's quilt:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

IT'S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!

FINALLY, WE CAN SHARE OUR BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are delighted and overjoyed to share that we decided to switch agencies and on February 10 we officially received and accepted the referral of a two year old waiting child with whom we are already head over heels in love.  We first saw his precious face on December 16th and, after much prayer and consideration, we were unofficially matched with him January 6th (we couldn't officially accept his referral until our homestudy was done--and what an ordeal getting our homestudy done was!)

We can't post his picture or Ethiopian name on our blog until we have legally adopted him, and we are still not sure if we will share his first name (American or Ethiopian) online, so here at mamaababandwoosha we will call him B.

B for:

Sweet Baby Boy
Bereket (an Ethiopian name meaning "blessing")
Brown Sugar (the color of his adorable face)
Lil'Bit (he's tiny--but growing quickly!)
Beloved (which he is already more than we can express!!!!!)

So, take your pick as to what wonderful word or phrase you think B represents...we think they are all great, just like him:-)

We were hoping that it might work out through some unusual but potentially feasible circumstances to adopt Aang at the same as B, but we learned today that is not to be, so we decided to share our wonderful news with you.  We'll finish the story of Aang and why we switched agencies (as they are closely related) another day, but that is not the story for today.

Today is a joyous happy day and it is B's day!!!!

We'll go back and fill-in the blanks of our path to accepting B's referral in the next few days.  Right now, the biggest wait is that we filed our I-600A on Valentine's Day, got confirmation of USCIS's receipt, and are just waiting for our fingerprinting appointment so that we can get fingerprinted and have our I-171H issued.  The rest of our dossier is ready to go the second that I-171H shows up in our mailbox!

There have been some changes in the Ethiopian court process this week that could really slow things down, so we are praying fervently that we can pass court before the closure this summer!

Sweet baby B, we are coming to you as fast as we can!!!! We love you so much already and can't wait to meet you! Love, Mama and Ababa (and Woosha)

(The picture is the quilt we had made for B.  We'll do a whole post on it later as we think it is awesome.  We had it custom made by an incredible vendor on and we are using some of the prints to make accents for his room too.)