Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mama and Ababa's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!

Some days are want to go right back to bed!

It all started yesterday night.  I was still stuck at work and Ababa went to get in the wasn't there.

It was parked in a legal spot and had no tickets.

He looked around the block, called 311, checked online, and wasn't able to find our car anywhere.

For hours he called different numbers talking to the police precincts, towing companies, impound lots, 311...then it popped up in the system as "towed".

So he made all those calls again, trying to determine why our legally parked car with no tickets was towed from the street right next to our building.

The amount of rudeness, hostility, condescension, and disrespect he encountered was shocking.  We will be drafting many letter of complaint next week but suffice it to say, I don't think that even in the rudest New Yorker's mind it is ok to treat people the was Ababa was treated.

Today he followed the instructions from 311, the police, and the impound lot.  Went downtown to pay the $205 towing fee--which took over 3 hours of waiting in line, came back uptown to get the car out of the lot (you can't get it until you have your receipt from downtown) and learned that indeed our car had been stolen and abandoned.  It had been towed from the spot where it had been abandoned and accumulating tickets over the past two minus a radio, with a broken steering column, dents in the body, out of gas, and with hoses and misc. items in the engine disconnected (it was obvious they tried to steal the engine and somehow got interrupted).

The tow lot made Ababa reconnect the engine and drive it off the lot.  He called the police to file a stolen vehicle report and they said that since it was towed from where it was abandoned it was "criminal mischief" not "grand theft auto" so Ababa had to go to the precinct where it was found to file the complaint.

Ababa went there and they told him that indeed the other precinct should have done the paperwork and that it was grand theft auto (once something is stolen it is stolen...the fact that it was recovered doesn't negate the fact that it was stolen!).

Then Ababa filed the insurance claim.  They were very kind and helpful and said it may actually be a total loss given the extent of the damage.  Their adjuster will contact us tomorrow.

We will have to go to traffic court in person to get the tickets the car incurred while stolen waived and to get our $205 back.

Now we are home...with the car parked on the street...waiting to hear from our insurance company.

Good thing Ababa is not working right now, b/c between the adoption paperwork and stuff like this he practically has a full-time job!  I just got home from work (at about 10:15 pm) and there is no way that I could have taken care of this today.

To NYC, the NYPD, 311, and the various towing companies and impound lots you need some serious customer service training, some major IT improvements, and a general examination of the process for retrieving stolen cars.

To USAA insurance: you have the best customer service in the world!!!  Maybe you can help NYC/NYPD/311, etc.

To whomever stole our car:  WTF!?!?!?!?!?!
Go buy your own car or car parts and keep your sticky fingers off of ours!!!!!!  What on earth makes you think you can just take someone else's car?!?!?!?!?!  That car may be a piece of cr*p 1995 H@nda Civic, but that is OUR piece of cr*p 1995 H@nda Civic.  We worked hard for the money to buy that car, have put a lot of money into the car, JUST had major repairs done 2 weeks ago, and need the car for the next five weekends.  We may call that car "Tool" b/c it is a purely utilitarian vehicle, but that is OUR purely utilitarian vehicle.  Keep your grubby hands off of OUR Tool and so help me, if you steal it again from our street...well...I don't know what I would do about that, but if we ever figure out who you are we will prosecute you to the fullest (FULLEST) extent of the law and if we don't well...I may just have to freak out if I see any suspicious looking person loitering near a parked car.

Oh yeah--apparently Hybrids are some of the least stolen cars in NYC and H@ndas are the most stolen cars.  Our next car (which probably won't be for 5 years) will be a Hybrid for many reasons, including this one!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is risen...


On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:1-6)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…     (1 Peter 1:3,4)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fasika-Ethiopian Easter

This year is pretty special because if my stellar online research is correct:-) Ethiopian Easter (Fasika) and our Easter fall on the same day! 
Happy Fasika B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(photos are stone churches at Lalibela-we hope to visit there when we travel to Ethiopia)
We hope that B is learning about Fasika and is somehow is already learning about the incredible gift of salvation that came through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Photo is Easter vigil in Ethiopia
According to Wikipedia:
Fasika (Ge'ez: ፋሲካ, sometimes transliterated Fasica) is the Amharic word for Easter. This article discusses the observance and importance of this festival inEthiopia.
In Ethiopia, the main and longstanding religion has been the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church since the times of Frumentius. Ethiopian Easter, or Fasika, takes place in Orthodox Churches throughout the country, and follows the eastern method of calculating Easter (see Computus for details), thus tending to fall afterEaster in the Western calendar (some years both fall on the same date). Fasika is a much more important festival than Christmas, since the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is more significant in Orthodox theology than his birth. Jesus' crucifixion which led to his death on a Friday, according to Orthodox thought was for the purpose of fulfilling the word of God, and led to the conquest of death and Jesus' resurrection from the tomb after three days, the third day being the Sunday when Ethiopian Easter is celebrated.
Fasika is a climactic celebration. Fasting becomes more intense over the 56-day period of Lent, when no meat or animal products of any kind, including milk and butter, are eaten. Good Friday starts off by church going, and is a day of preparation for the breaking of this long fasting period.
The faithful prostrate themselves in church, bowing down and rising up until they get tired. The main religious service takes place with the Paschal Vigil on Saturday night. It is a somber, sacred occasion with music and dancing until the early hours of the morning. At 3:00 a.m. everyone returns home to break their fast, and a chicken is slaughtered at midnight for the symbolic occasion. In the morning, after a rest, a sheep is slaughtered to commence the feasting on Easter Sunday.
In Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity or the 'Tewahido faith', it is believed the near-sacrifice of Abraham's loved son Isaac (Genesis 22), which was a test of faith from God to Abraham, was interrupted by a voice of an angel from the heavens, and the sending of a Lamb for the sacrifice instead. This Old Testament story is said to be a prophetic foreshadowing of God sending his only beloved son for the world as a sacrifice and the fulfilling of Abraham's promise.
Easter in Ethiopia is a day when people celebrate; there is a release of enjoyment after the long build-up of suffering which has taken place, to represent Christ’s fasting for forty days and forty nights. People often have food and locally-brewed alcohol from fresh honey (tejtella and katikalla).

This website has some more great info and pictures explaining how Ethiopian celebrate Fasika (I think next year we'll try to make Fasika Dabo and hopefully we'll be wearing Yabesha Libs with B at home!): Fasika blog entry

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Breathing through the Jumble

First things first, our gorgeous niece (and B's soon to be cousin) "V" was born this week!!! YAY! It sounds like a very a rough delivery but everyone is healing now and headed home soon.  We can't wait to meet her and hope that we get to soon!!!

As for us...

Life right now feels like a huge jumble.

Ababa is keeping things under control at home (cleaning, cooking, taking care of woosha), finishing some lingering projects around the house (YAY!), and doing everything he can to start the classes he needs this summer and in the fall so that he can apply for med school as soon as possible.

I am juggling a demanding work schedule, an elite MBA program, adoption-related stuff, research for childcare options when B comes home, a job-hunt to try and find a more family friendly work-place with a more flexible work schedule, and trying to figure out the details about maternity leave that I am entitled to at my job.

Just speaking for myself (Ababa can post another day:-) I am tired!  I feel like my life is always spinning and I am flitting from one thing to another with TV and internet time filling-in the chinks so that I literally have no time for anything, including my husband, myself, and God.

Ababa and I got stuck in a horribly blustery rainy NYC day yesterday.  We went down town to take some pics of a property I am researching for a class project.  We intended to get Ethiopian for dinner to celebrate our dossier being in Ethiopia, but the idea of going cross-town from where we were for my project was unfathomable so we ate chinese instead.  It was a wonderful to spend some together just the two of us and the food was yummy.  We were cold and wet from trudging through the rain so I drank tons of tea.  I realized too late that it probably had caffine.

Um, yeah! Caffine and me, we do not get along.

I didn't fall asleep until about 3:30 this morning.  Needless to say, I slept-in and stayed home from church.  Ababa ended up being asked to give our testimony about adoption today, even though I wasn't there and he didn't have his notes/outline. So, MAJOR PROPS TO ABABA.  He just spoke from the heart about his experience and how God has worked in him, to bring him from having never really thought about adoption to being SO EXCITED about adopting B. (I'd love to hear from people who were at church what else he said, b/c he can't remember:-)

Meanwhile, I took advantage of my time at home today to read Francis Chan's Crazy Love (which we had been reading in small group, but I fell off the wagon after chapter 1)...and then I took a long walk where I could just enjoy being outside and talking to God.

It was amazing, but reminded me of how insanely busy I've been, crowding God out of my life with all the hectic chaos.  I am still processing a whole bunch of thoughts from today (it felt like the first time in months that I could just think) but the bottom line is:

I need to take time to breathe through the jumble and God needs to be at the center of the busy-ness.  If He is not at the center it's just empty busy-ness, but if he is at the center, well that would be pretty amazing for my life and my heart, and for the impact my life could have.

What does that look like?

I have no idea!

How am I going to make that happen?

I have no idea!

What's the first step?

Spending more time with God and not crowding every second of my life.

Let's see how this goes:-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Paper Chase is Over!!!

We got this email today:

Dear Ababa and Mama,

Your dossier is on it's way to Ethiopia right now! we wait...and pray...and wait some more...and pray somemore...

Our agency said that it will take about 4 weeks for our dossier to be translated, combined with B's paperwork, and submitted to court, and another month to get assigned a court date...and that assumes that the "slowdown" doesn't really go into effect...

So, we will try to stay busy until mid-June before we get antsy for a court date. (In reality, I think we'll be doing really well if we stay chill until Memorial Day...)

We are still praying for a court date in June, July, or early August...pretty much anytime before the court closure!

In the meantime, we are going about life as usual...registering for classes for the summer semesters, finishing projects around the house, work stuff, church stuff, trying to visit family and friends, and waiting for the imminent arrival of our little niece or nephew any day now...

Oh, and I bought two really cute things for B's room today:-) The name decal has the initial in white and his name (both his American and Ethiopian first name) in grey.  The animal decal is the same grey.  The walls in his room are a lime green that Ababa picked out:-)  Sometime in the next 8 weeks we'll get B's room done and post some pics...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Amazed and humbled!

We are truly amazed and humbled!  We had a tag sale/bake sale today to raise money towards our remaining adoption expenses (namely 2-4! round trip tickets to Ethiopia--for us to go to court and to go to Embassy; our stay in Ethiopia--2 weeks-4 months in a guest house with money for food, water, and a driver/guide; B's visa/medical exam for immigration; and B's return ticket home).

We've had a long, tiring week, and were exhausted.  We weren't really sure how many items people would donate for the bake sale or the tag sale, or how many people would stay and help us.  We had a horrible morning trying to get a car to take us, our baked goods, and our items for the tag sale the 10 blocks to church--the first set of cars left after waiting 5 minutes which was before we got down stairs with all our stuff; the second set of cars refused to take our items; and, we finally ended up having to get a minivan cab and one of the two cars we ordered for the THIRD time finally showed up.  We were 30 minutes late to church, missed the testimony about adoption that we were supposed to give, and were pretty much convinced that our tag sale/bake sale was going to be a bust.

Well...God is so good and we were so wrong!  We were blessed in about 100 ways today.  Our whole church family gathered around us with more cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and brownies than we could have imagined, designer clothes, coats, an aerobed, and hundreds of other items for the sale.

A core group of people (including two awesome pregnant moms and a great friend with a severely sprained ankle!) stayed almost the whole day, helping with set-up, pricing, the bake sale, and the checking-out/purchasing process.

Our teenaged friend K pretty much ran the whole first half of the bake sale and our friend M brought D, the teenager she mentors, and bank rolled her shopping spree:-)

People from the community stopped by all throughout the day to shop and to donate more items for us to sell.  There were families who just wanted a cupcake and families who bought bags of items, a lady who bought a dozen! to send to her child's school tomorrow, a teenager who got a designer dress for her Sweet 16 party, and two amazing older Dominican women who scored some incredible household items at a low price that made their day.

Everyone got to see pics of B, watch his video, and learn more about our story of adoption and the journey that is bringing B into our family.

And WOW...just WOW...

Little B you have no idea how much love is waiting for you in NYC!  Not only can we not wait to be your parents, but you have a church family who is waiting for you with open arms and is earnestly praying you have a community of kids your age from our church and from our neighborhood who can't wait to be your new BFFs--they know your name, recognize your picture, pray for you, pick out toys for you, and in their little garbled toddler-speak tell us their interpretation of your pictures and how you are coming from Ethiopia to be part of Miss Mama and Mr. Ababa's family.

We got recommendations for preschools and daycares, brand-new clothes that neighborhood moms who we have never met picked out and specially saved for you for when you are older, and-as soon as you are ready-you have requests for playdates from about 20 boys and girls your age:-)

Also, WE RAISED $1,664...yep, $1,664 which includes a shockingly generous donation from a couple who we had never met before.


We are so blessed.

So, as we enter this part of the adoption process where our dossier is sent to Ethiopia (hopefully this week) and we wait...(wait for our paperwork to be processed and submitted to court, wait for the court to assign us a court date, wait to travel to Ethiopia for our court date--and to meet B for the first time!--and then wait to get our Embassy appointment and bring B home) we know that God is using the community of our church and our neighborhood, but especially our church, to stand beside us, to wait with us, to pray for B, and to pray for the adoption process.

Thank you!

We are amazed and humbled!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dossier ready but whew, what a day!

I'll post more tomorrow, for now, here was our day:

Ababa drove me to work so we could get our I-171H and final dossier docs notarized, the car stalled in the middle of West End Avenue. We missed our notary appointment, had to push the car out of the middle of the road, and had to have it towed back the rain...

I walked the rest of the way to work, Ababa joined me after "Tool" (our car) was hooked up to the tow truck.

We spent 2 hours getting the final papers notarized and making copies and double checking that everything was in order.

Ababa went down to the county clerk office and the new york state department office to get our affadavit and power of attorney certified.  He spent 3 hours waiting in line and then learned that he needed to be in another line first and they were closing at 3:30 today!  He sweet talked his way through the other line, "please, my wife and I are adopting and this is the last paper we need and it has to be certified today..." and all these jaded New Yorkers tapped into their inner kindness and LET HIM CUT THE LINE!  He made it back to the other line and got certified with just minutes to spare.

On his way home Ababa was on-track to drop our dossier in Express Mail with the requisite money orders (and to check on the car at the mechanic) BUT...he was stuck underground on the subway for MORE THAN 2 HOURS!  Because...there was "an unauthorized body on the tracks" (yep, someone died!) and they shut the power down to the whole subway line!

So, he missed the express mail pick-up and the mechanic.  We'll try again tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, I was at work trying to do 8 hours worth of work in 4 so that I could leave on-time to take a midterm at school, and now I am supposed to be writing a final paper for another class that is due tomorrow.  Oh, and the State Department released another statement today saying that even though people seem to be moving through court quickly right now MOWA is still holding firm to the 5 cases per day once this backlog is cleared.  So, who knows when we will pass court for B!

We are taking things one day at a time and moving forward in faith that God will bring this sweet little boy into our family in His time...we just wish we knew what that time was...:-)

So, back to the paper for school, but suffice it to say, today was one h*ll of a day, especially for Ababa!

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Were you blinded today?  By a flash of light?  A ray of sun...nope...that's the gleam from my ear-to-ear grin...I can't stop smiling...OUR I-171H ARRIVED TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  God is so good!

I have a midterm tomorrow and a paper due Wednesday so I'm trying to work on those things, but Ababa and I are combing over our dossier one last time, have an appointment first thing tomorrow with the notary, and then Ababa will get the last few documents certified by NY, pop the whole thing in FedEx to DC to get certified there, and hopefully our dossier will be in Ethiopia next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please pray that this all goes smoothly, that B's lifebook and paperwork are all ready to go, and that we can be submitted to court as soon as our paperwork arrives in Addis.