Friday, September 28, 2012

Club Soda and Muffins.

So we were told about a week ago that we were *hopefully* being submitted to embassy on Sept. 26th (this past Wednesday). Two of our good friends who went to court with us were also given this same news, and we were all VERY excited because several embassy cases within the past two weeks have moved QUICKLY. A few friends have been submitted and passed within FIVE days. This is practically unheard of. There are basically three possible outcomes at this stage in the game:

#1. Your case is held up indefinitely (waiting to be submitted to embassy) due to missing paperwork.

#2. You get submitted and then the embassy may hold off on your case and not review it indefinitely.

#3. You get submitted and the embassy reviews your case and makes a decision as to whether or not to investigate you further, or to clear (pass) your case.

Of course, we want #3. Two friends have gotten this and the embassy has cleared them in record time. They are leaving this week to go get their kids. JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!!! A third friend also just cleared. Since I can't go over and get MY kids, these lovely ladies have kindly agreed to all take pictures for me, which should ease my heartache a little. I am also sending care packages with two of them (they happened to travel at the same time, so my kids will be overloaded with gifts!). I am sending shoes and a dress and t-shirts with our family picture of us and the kids silk-screened on the front, as well as picture albums with the house and from our court trip, tons of little toys, and snacks. I wish I could be there to watch them open the packages, but I should be there myself SOON, so I will be patient. :)

Anway. Abe left for Texas for a work conference on Sunday and I was trying to distract myself from the possibility of being submitted to embassy. Embassy submissions only happen on Wednesdays, and I didn't want to obsess, even though I was pretty sure we would be submitted. Right before Abe left, we went to a craft store and I bought a ton of flowers and plain head bands and little jewels. Then I spent the afternoon making Z a TON of headbands. I had made her some beautiful ones before, but I sent them all to Ethiopia for her. So I made a bunch for her to have HERE. They turned out great!!! I can't wait to see her wear them. :)

Sunday night I went to my BFF Jamie's house, and she and her daughter and I made welcome home t-shirts and poster signs for our friends who were bringing home their little boy from China on Thursday night. Our t-shirts turned out great. :) We did, "LIVE. LOVE. ADOPT.", stacked on each other in hot pink and then under the "ADOPT" I put, "Ethiopia" in bright yellow (Levi's color) and Jamie and her daughter did "Colombia" in green down the side of their shirts.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all day were spent working texting my girls Carrie and Marina, who were also waiting to be submitted. When you are waiting for embassy submission, there are only two days. Wednesdays, and not-Wednesdays. By Tuesday night we were almost losing our minds. Ethiopia is seven hours ahead of American time, so the earliest we could hear about submission would be 2am our time. The window is 2am-9am, and if submitted, you recieve an email. If you don't get submitted, there is no contact.

Marina decided that directly asking each other would be too hard, especially if one person passed but another did not. She came up with some code words to help us tell each other what was happening. If we got submitted, the code word was "Big Bird." (Don't ask why, it's just what we decided haha). If we did not get submitted, the code was "Muffin". I voted in a third one, to signal that we had heard nothing, and that was "Club Soda."

I'm not sure but I think Marina and Carrie were up most of the night. I tried to sleep because I have to wake up at 2:45am anyway for work, but I was pretty much texting back and forth with them ALL night inbetween nightmares. I figure it was because I was so stressed, but I had horrible dreams all night on and off as I cat-napped and in one, all my teeth but one fell out. I'm happy to say that Carrie laughed at me (instead of sympathizing) when I told her that one. Cause we are tight like that haha. :)

2:00am hit. 2:55am. No word. Marina texted out sadly, "Muffin." I was like, "No way, we are CLUB SODA till 9:00am!!!"

FINALLY at 6:21am we got the first "Big Bird" text from Marina. :) HUGE sigh of relief. I started checking my email like every minute. Nothing.

7:07am. Carrie got her "Big Bird".

7:30am.  I left my VRS job and headed for my second job. A friend from work texted me, "Ok, club soda text me as soon as your big bird flies away! Fingers crossed, just said a prayer, k?"

8:00am. I knew. Somehow, deep down, I knew. It wasn't happening. I was going muffin.

9:00am. 10:00am. I emailed our agency. Sometimes the embassy doesn't have the correct email address, so you are submitted but not notified. Somehow I knew this wasn't the case, but I asked anyway. 10:22am. We got an email from the travel coordinator. We were not submitted.

I was in class at that point. I had promised myself I wouldn't check my phone (I was interpreting 10-12) but of course I had to. Luckily since I had already felt like it wasn't happening, I didn't break down in class. But it felt like CRAP. Here my kids are waiting, asking for me, and we have been in this process SO long..........I was just hoping SOMETHING would start going right/processing quickly. Think again. I should have expected this to go wrong, like pretty much everything else. I can't express how overwhelmingly grateful I am that we passed court on the first try; THAT would have been devastating if we hadn't. This is just a minor set back. And the travel coordinator said she is hopeful we will be submitted next week. I want to hope, but I will believe it when I see it.

Missing my kids aside, last night was really cool because we got to see little Micah come home. :) Amy left for China a few weeks ago and the family flew in last night. We got to be party of the welcoming party home and it was so amazing. Micah is so precious and adorable and everyone was so happy. Jamie and I were bawling our eyes out of course. :) It was SO good to see it finally happening for SOMEONE. I admit wishing I was the one getting off the plane with MY babies, but seeing Micah was such a cool experience and the next best thing to seeing mine or Jamie's kids come home. Totally in love with my little nephew already. <3 :) We love you Micah!!! :)

Below are some pix from Micah's home-coming!

Friday, September 14, 2012

And. Hulet. Sost.

If you walk past me and hear me muttering things like, "And. Hulet. Sost. Arat. Amst. Sdst. Sebat. Smnt. Zetegn. Asr, ", don't be alarmed. It's just me counting in Amharic. I have been practicing a TON. My goal is to impress my little sweetheart with my amazing counting abilities. She was trying to teach us to count before we left and we failed miserably. So now I'm going to show her that I learned it just for her! She is smnt by the way! :)

I miss the kids so bad that I can't even explain it. Everything feels wrong and pointless right now. I just want them HOME. My self therapy consists of constantly trying to count in Amharic, or memorizing little phrases for Z. And I walk into Levi's room all the time and just stand there and cry. Work also anesthetizes the pain. Getting up at 3am and home at 10:30pm pretty much leaves you too tired to think and while I hate my work schedule, it's been a godsend. I don't have time to obsess over the kids. Literally. Four weeks ago yesterday we got on a plane to meet our kids. Four weeks ago today we saw their precious faces. Only four weeks, but it feels like a lifetime has already passed. It feels like a dream; like it never actually happened. And yet, I have one ring fingernail with splotchy layered orange nail polish to prove to me that it DID happen (I refuse to paint my nails again until ALL her nail polish has worn off). I have pictures that they drew for me on my fridge, and a homework assignment from Levi with a perfect score (he was SO proud). I have videos that I obsessively watch instead of working on my to-do list, because nothing matters except hearing Z's giggles and seeing Levi's precious smile. I have a chunky Ethiopian handmade ring that I bought as a reminder of my promise to their birth mom, which helps me feel close to her--as if she can know I will keep my promise, every time I look at it.

Every time I hear or see a plane, I get frustrated. I want to be on a plane, flying out of here, headed for my babies. Me, who HATES (despises/loathes) flying. I WANT to be on a plane. 

I am here and I am functioning, but I am a shell. My heart is halfway across the world with two precious brown-eyed angels. 

P.S. We received an update from our agency. We asked if the kids knew we loved them and are doing our best to get back ot them and this is what they said: "Yes, she (Zahria) is well informed and she loves you and can’t wait to meet you again. He (Levi)  knows very well!!! He loves you and misses you a lot. He has been asking 'When will you come?' and can’t wait to meet you again and start living with you." They also said (regarding Levi): "He loves all the CD's you sent and wants to thank you very much. He has been watching the CD's repeatedly and has improved his language skills." #bestillmyheart

A Letter To My Babies

*This was written about two weeks ago (Friday, August 31st)*

Dear Levi and Zahria,

I miss you. As in, words can't explain MISS Y.O.U. Ever since we had to leave you and come back to America, everything has been different. The world feels like it has gone gray; all the color sucked out of it. Nothing seems to make me happy now. All I can think about is you. What are you doing? Are you getting enough to eat? Do you miss me? Do you know I'm coming back for you? Do you think about me?

Daddy and I kept our watches on Ethiopian time. We're always looking at them and saying, "The kids are eating now," or "This is when we would be at the TH playing with the kids," or "They are sleeping right now." Knowing vaguely where you are and what you are doing is a little comforting. It helps us feel closer to you. 

Everything has been insane since we came home. Daddy started work the very next day. I got really sick and was home for a day with fever and terrible cramps and then I worked a half day. The next day I was back to both jobs. I think work is the only thing keeping me from losing my mind. I'm so busy all day that I can barely function, much less cry 24/7 about you. I'm so exhausted I can barely stand up, but the pain of missing you is dulled by the constant run from 3am-11pm. Everyone always asks how I do it; work 18 hours a day, that is, and my response is always, "For my kids. When I wake up, I look at their picture, and that's what gets me out of bed." Don't ever forget, my precious babies. I love you more than anything and I will do anything for you. 
Your Dad and I are insane. I just wanted to warn you, before you come home and have to figure it out for yourselves. We are totally out of our minds. How we are still alive is a miracle. Take this week for example. We were supposed to close on our house on Wednesday (yes, we are moving and it is a LONG story!!!). It didn't happen. We were rescheduled to Thursday. This was slightly (okay, VERY) stressful but we tried to go with it and just deal. Our social worker is scheduled to come on Wednesday night next week to do an update/addendum. Which means we have to be totally painted and moved in by that Wednesday. No big deal right? We're superheroes, so it's no problem. (*cough*) Then we got a call on Wednesday saying that Thursday wasn't going to work. The stress factor tripled. I spent a LONG time on the phone with my real estate agent, Abe, and the paralegal on Wednesday. And Thursday. They told me we weren't going to close. No closing? People, you don't understand! We HAVE to. Our adoption appointment is Wednesday. We HAVE to make this happen. If we don't, we can't get a new I-171H from immigration and then we can't be submitted to bring the kids home. How about pre-possession? (I have to say, our paralegal was FANTASTIC and I love her; she was SO willing to work with us.) Then my real estate agent called me at 10pm (she and her husband are AWESOME like that) and told me she had been calling the other attorney herself and pushing for us to get a closing date. On Thursday, we found out we would close Friday afternoon at 4pm.
AWESOME. Except that gives us Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to paint and move in. No big deal, right? Oh wait, yes it is. Friday I work till 3pm. I will then be running to the bank for a certified check with most of what is left in our bank account. Then we will go to closing. We were told this could take hours. We are *POSSIBLY* picking up a table and chairs, washer and dryer tonight (thank you, Craigslist). Which means we have to borrow the truck from Jimmy. Then we intend to go and start taping the house in preparation to paint. And if we are lucky, get one coat down in the living room. I work at 4am tomorrow. So we will call it a night around 11pm and go back to the apt. Tomorrow (Saturday), I work 4am-8am. Then Callanach has a mini-show until 12pm and then I have to run and get more painting supplies and stuff from Home Depot. Back at the house by 3pm and then painting  like our lives depend on it. Sunday no work (thank goodness!) so up early to paint, and then church (where I WILL be interpreting). Then back to paint. Until late Sunday night. Because we have to be done then. Period. Monday is Labor Day. Abe has it off. I do not. His job will be to move us. I'll help when I get out. We need to be 90% moved by Monday night. Tuesday I work 4am-10pm and Wednesday I work 4am-6pm. Then the social worker comes at 7:30pm.

I'm not sure if this will actually work. It scares me to think about. I could really use Mary Poppins right now.