So now that we have been matched to Elise and we’ve spread the good news, we often get asked, “How can you stand it? Don’t you just want to go over there and get her?” My general response is, “No.” This statement usually gets a confused look and response. I figure its about time to try and explain myself.
We have this picture of this baby. This baby has a name, and we’ve decided to give her another name. We don’t know what she does all day. We don’t how often she sleeps, how often she eats, how often she poops; we just don’t know. Yet, she’s our baby. It’s all very confusing and overwhelming. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I’m excited that we are starting our family, that we have tons of support, and a super cute baby room. But I’m terrified of the end of the adoption process. So when someone asks, “Don’t you just want to go over there and get her?” I think, “No.”
I don’t know what to pack for me. I don’t know what to pack for her. I don’t know what she eats or what she likes. I don’t know what kind of bottles to buy. I don’t know what to do with a newborn much less starting with a 6 month old. I don’t know how to get through a 13+ hour flight. I don’t know what to do with a “stranger” baby in a foreign country or traveling back with her on another 13+ hour flight. I have a lot of unknowns, so I need this 60 days to prepare for the last leg of our adoption process. I need some time to finish “processing.” We still have some preparing to do–some of it physical, such as babyproofing, and some of it mental/emotional/spiritual–and in that way, having 60 days to go is somewhat comforting. With that in mind, we’re going to try to make the most of the rest of our wait. Besides, Scott and I have already invested 18 months in this process; a few more months won’t hurt us.
I do appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and excitement. I need that while I struggle through all my insecurities and unknowns. So just be patient with me, we are delighted and overjoyed to be chosen to parent Elise, but I have few other things running through my mind.
PS – My parents finally got power on Monday, September 22, and their office got power on Sunday, September 21. They have been able to resume work and the regular routines after a 10 day interruption.
So we ordered our crib over Labor Day weekend, and it took a week to come in. When it came in, Scott unpacked the crib and found that the left headboard didn’t have threads for the screws. Luckily you could order a replacement part free of charge. The replacement headboard finally came this Thursday, September 18, so Scott and I put the crib together. As we were almost finished, I noticed that the new left headboard didn’t have any track for the drawer, but the old left headboard did. After switching the track from the old to the new left headboard, we finally had a complete crib. It was a bit of an adventure, but Scott thinks it’s a rite of passage for your first crib. Here are the pictures, so now you can see the bedding with the crib and the bird pictures hung and how it coordinates in the room.
Crib with the Bird Pictures finally hung
I painted the dresser to coordinate with the crib.
So Tuesday, we got an email from our agency telling us that our I-600 paperwork was submitted on Thursday, September 11. After the paperwork is submitted, USCIS notifies you within two weeks saying they have your paperwork and are working on it. Then the USCIS in Ho Chi Minh City has 60 days to verify the I-600 paperwork and issue Elise’s visa so we can travel to get her. I checked my email this morning before work, and I had an email from the USCIS in Ho Chi Minh City. Five working days after our submission, USCIS notified us to tell us they are verifying our paperwork, so now our 60 day wait starts. Our social worker said they have been move quickly, so maybe it will take less than 60 days to get Elise’s visa. We will just have to wait and see. We are one step closer, and it feels good to be making progress.
Hurricane Ike Update
My sister and her husband got power restored to their house, my parents are still without power in northwest Houston. (My sister’s house is only six miles from my parents.) Today makes day number five without power. I check Center Point Energy’s website everyday, and slowly but surely they’re restoring power. They average about 3-6% a day in my parents’ zipcode. Hopefully they don’t have too much longer without power until then they just keep using their generator. They say they’re enjoying the cool front.
Well, today is day three after Hurricane Ike. My parents still don’t have power, but they’re in good spirits. Scott found these picture today http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/09/the_short_but_eventful_life_of.html. Since I am familiar with the area, it blows my mind to see these places devastated. It is going to take a long time to clean – up.
In other news, Scott and I are still waiting for the USCIS to acknowledge our visa paperwork. Once they do that we will be in the next phase of our adoption process. We are looking forward to the end. Just pray for all our paperwork to get approved and for Elise to be safe and healthy. Thanks!
I checked in on my parents this morning. They are still without power, but they do have running water. (They do have a bathtub (and a pool) full of water, so they can flush the toilets should they not have running water.) Their friends in the Bellaire area already have power back and have invited them over. My dad wants to wait a little longer and see if the power comes back on before they head south to Bellaire.
My dad, mom, sister, and brother-in-law checked out my dad’s office and my sister’s house yesterday. Both places had downed fences and no power, but no downed trees or damage to the house or office.
Today they are going to see if they can find a gas station (in northwest Houston) with power, so they can get more gas for the generator. Their neighbors told them where one was. They also heard that eleven HEBs (grocery store) had power and gas; they’re hoping the HEB by them is one of the eleven. I guess they’ll find out.
Okay, now my mom has sent me pictures from her cell phone. I would repost them, but they’re not good quality. They have tons of plant and tree debris all over. My parents have a “lake” in their front yard. It didn’t flood, but it has waves which it never does because it’s a shallow manmade lake. They also did have small trees taken down by the winds. I said before that they were leaning, but they’re not leaning anymore. My mom said she thinks the yard looks good with the tree gone, so I guess she likes it. They just don’t know how long they will be without power.
I called my parents this morning, and they have very minimal damage. Of course they have no power and are running their generator which got two lights, a fan, and some plugs working, so they were making coffee. They only have their back fence blown over and several small trees leaning. All their neighbors have several large trees down or broken in half. Luckily for my parents their large tree fell into my room back in October of 1998, but that’s a story for another time. My Uncle who lives in the Friendswood area didn’t experience any water damage which is amazing because he always floods. He does have one tree on his house. My sister’s streets may be flooded, but she stayed with my parents last night. Both my parents and uncle got the west side of the storm which is the “dry side” while east of I-45 got the “dirty side” and experienced much more damage. They are still waiting for the south side of Hurricane Ike to completely pass through which is bringing more rain and possible flooding.
The SciGuy is still able to update his blog http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/, so you can still get information on the Hurricane there. Of course, you can also be glued to the weather channel like me.
For all those who have asked, my family (mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law) lives in northwest Houston which is west of I-45. Though the hurricane is projected to go through Galveston and Houston, the worst of it is expected to hit east of I-45. They have a generator to keep all their refrigerators running should they be without power for a prolonged amount of time. My dad gave me a blog to check http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy. It has good information. I don’t know that it will be updated tomorrow since the blogger is in Houston and could be without power.
The only problem they’ve already experienced (thus far) is the phone lines being jammed. I couldn’t get anyone on their cell phone yesterday, and I have to call more than once to get through to their home phones. When I did get my mom on the phone around 4pm today, she was telling me about all the flooding that has already started in Galveston. The San Luis pass on the west end of Galveston Island is already under water. Front row beach houses already have water under them, so no beach. She also said that a pier out to a restaurant at the seawall and two houses had already been washed away because of the waves, so it sounds like a lot of damage is coming especially with the water already up to the seawall.
Again, my family lives in northwest Houston. They will definitely experience Hurricane Ike, but probably not the worst of it. I do have extended family in areas of Houston that were evacuated and a friend evacuated from the island. My friend is a nurse and had to evacuate herself and her patients to Austin, and now she has to work through the weekend while her husband waits out the storm in north Houston. I don’t think she was expecting this when she went to work Thursday.
I’m sure this is an anxious time for over a million people. (I heard that number thrown around.) We’ll just have to be prayerful and ready to lend a helping hand.
A funny thing happened the other day …
We asked our caseworker exactly how much we owed for our final payment and, unfortunately, the number she gave us was more than we were expecting. We were prepared for what we expected, but the new number was about 20% higher (gulp). To be honest, we weren’t exactly sure what to do about that extra 20%. Luckily, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday happened.
On Thursday we got a check. On Friday we got a check. On Saturday we got a check. (Two of the checks were reimbursements we’d been waiting on, and we expected the third check much later.) None of the checks were overwhelmingly large by themselves, and the amounts were all kinda random, but when Annie added them up Saturday night, I couldn’t believe the total she came up with–it was the exact difference between the final payment we expected and the actual final payment. It was the 20%, right on the nose. OK, it was 21 cents less than the extra 20% we were trying to come up with, but we can probably find that in the couch cushions.
So, that’s it–just one more crazy chapter in our adoption story. Three days, three checks, the exact amount we needed to complete our adoption. Coincidence? Sure …
After that momentous Monday, we began our nail biting wait. We were aware that international adoptions with Vietnam were ceasing on Monday, September 1, and we were aware that normally the official referral we needed took three weeks to get. How were we going to get the paperwork in less than a week? We had no idea, but we knew the facilitator in Vietnam was pretty sure he could get it done. Continue reading 'Tuesday, August 26 – Friday August, 29'»