Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our "Blalbum"

What is a "Blalbum?" It is our blog in an album! I decided that with all of the time and effort we've put into our blog, I wanted to be able to show it to our children when they get older, and chances are it will not exist on the internet indefinitely.

Our new Canon printer/copier/fax machine has "Easy-WebPrint" which formats the web page to fit onto the paper. Pretty cool! I had planned on somehow cutting and pasting our entries to print them, but stumbled upon the Easy-WebPrint by accident. It doesn't look exactly like the web page, but good enough.

I'm such a geek that I put the pages in "acid-free," "archival quality" sheet protectors, and I must find the perfect notebook to put them in.

So, make sure you make lots of nice comments on our blog for our "Blalbum!" We'll read them when we're old and have fond memories of you! ;-) Just click on "comments" below the entries to add your 2 cents!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Progress Update #11

WOW #11 already!

Our marriage certificate arrived on Monday from the OH Secretary of State! I must say that the seal is not a beautiful as the one from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia's seal is very shiny, and they put our paper in a large envelope so that it wasn't folded. Ohio crammed ours into a self-addressed-stamped envelope and the seal is a dull gold. (Just glad to have it though!) I'm wondering what NC has?

Sunday, we got emails from the passport service that our passports had been mailed and that they should arrive by Wednesday, July 26, and THEY DID! They took 13 weeks to process.

Wednesday, I realized that our birth certificates also needed to be authenticated by the Ohio Secretary of State. DUH! I was in denial that they needed to go. I should have sent them with the marriage certificate. Oh well. At least I have something to look forward to getting next week.

We're hoping to get out fingerprinting appointments...sometime. William has jury duty August 6, so we're hoping that it will not conflict with our fingerprinting appointment. The fingerprints are required to get our approval from immigration, and we'll have to drive to Charlotte for the day to get them done.

Still waiting on the medical forms from our doctor...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Progress Update #10


Tuesday night's swim meet was thundered-out during freestyle to be continued on Wednesday evening. We finished Wednesday and were beat pretty badly, but we all still had lots of fun! In a season with 6 scheduled swim meets, we have had to prepare and go to 9 to get 5 completed meets! What a crazy season!

We had a favorable week for adoption. Our new marriage certificate arrived on Monday, and we shipped it out on Tuesday to the Ohio Secretary of State. It arrived in Columbus, OH on Thursday, and we hope to see it again early next week!

Saturday, we went out for Ethiopian food with our new friends who are moving in 3 weeks! ACK! It was sort of a "Gotcha Day" celebration with their beautiful daughter, Megan. Our kids and their kids had a blast playing together!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Progress Update #9

Whew! I am just tired!

This was our last full week of swim team with yet another weather delay (2 1/2 hours!) on Tuesday with another delay and cancellation on Wednesday. So, it was declared a tie. Only one more meet left.

Monday, we had our home visit with our social worker. Our home now includes a *new* fire extinguisher and a *new* carbon monoxide detector. So, everyone should feel safe when they visit. :-) She knows almost everything about us now!

Tuesday, I went for my follow-up appointment with my doctor and got a meningitis vaccination. OW!

Last week we had sent our marriage certificate to the Ohio Secretary of State to have it authenticated, and also received it back with a note saying that it needs to be signed by a judge rather than the deputy clerk who signed it. Bleh!! Anyway, the nice lady at the Montgomery County Probate Court is sending us a new one with a judge's signature that should be here next week. God bless her!

For our dossier, (the collection of official papers that goes to Ethiopia with our request for a child) I had wanted to get pictures of each room when the whole house was clean for our homestudy, but I've been so busy this week that it didn't happen. I'm sure it will be clean again before our paper from immigration gets here in November or so!

Maybe, we'll get our medical forms and new marriage certificate next week!? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How many orphans in Ethiopia?

Ever since we started telling people of our plans to adopt from Ethiopia, we have had a lot of questions from friends and family. I enjoy getting these questions, it shows you are interested. Sometimes; however, I don't have the answer handy, and have to go look it up.

One of the more common questions is "Just how many orphans are there in Ethiopia?." This is not really an easy question to answer because accurate statistics are not available. In 2005, UNICEF estimated the total number of orphans to be 4.8 MILLION children. I can't find a solid number that is any newer then that, but I have seen several conservative estimates that this may now be as high as 6 million. These are orphans by "any cause" although the majority of these are due to HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and many other chronic illnesses in the United States.

Now, let's put this into perspective. Six million children is the just about the same number of children living in New York State (4.5M), Massachusetts(1.4M), AND the District of Columbia (100K). Imagine removing all parents and adults from these three states. In 2006, there were 75 million people in Ethiopia. This would mean that roughly 8% of the population are orphans. That is one in twelve children.

One more comparison. By no means, do I mean to belittle the orphan situation in the United States. It is a crises as well, but to compare, the U.S. Census estimates from 2001 show 2.9 Million orphans from a population of 300 Million people. This is just under 1% or less then 1 in 100 children are orphans in the United States. One last caveat on the U.S. Numbers. I had a hard time finding a number of orphans. 2.9 Million is the number of children living with zero parents. It includes children living with grandparents, relatives, non-relatives, orphanages, and even living on their own.

Here are some links I found useful in doing this research:

UNICEF information on Ethiopia: http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/child/p70-104.pdf

U.S. Census data
esp. The report on children:
and this report on # of children by state:

Wikipedia page on Ethiopia

Friday, July 6, 2007

Progress Update #8

We and another local family adopting from Ethiopia met with our social worker on Monday for adoption education. It helped to prepare us for health and emotional challenges that come with adoption, and we also were educated on African hair and skin care. We felt like we were from Mars for that part! People with African heritage have a lot of moisturizing to do -skin and hair! (Tips are welcome from friends with experience! Favorite product suggestions are appreciated also.)

Our home visit with out social worker is next Monday, so we're working on getting the house straightened up.

~Swim Team Update~ (Proud Mama Warning!)

This week, our team swam against our dear friends' team, so we enjoyed visiting. We were dying as we watched Marissa and Miriam as they stepped onto the starting blocks to begin freestyle and discovered each other. Their looks were priceless!

Both Jeremy and Marissa had a very good night! The best ever! (AND it didn't thunder!)

Marissa swam her first main event ever (the "main event" is the first round of the stroke that counts for points for the meet) for breast stroke, and to all of our surprise, she placed third and earned a point for the team!!!

Jeremy, the boy who couldn't swim across the pool last year when swim team began, learned to dive last week, and it had a very positive effect on his times! He placed 4th in freestyle, won the 2nd heat for backstroke, placed 3rd in breast stroke, and 2nd in butterfly! AND his 9-10 year-old medely and freestyle relay teams both placed 1st! We were amazed! Who knew that this little guy who hung on my neck for 4 years in the pool could do that? :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

FSOTD (Funny Story of the Day): Granola

Strictly speaking, this is not an adoption story, but I just wanted to share a really funny story. Today, Susan had taken Jeremy and Marissa to swim practice, so I was home alone with Annika when she woke up. About 10 minutes after she woke up, she announced her plans to have granola for breakfast -- her favorite. When I told her there was no more granola in the house, she said "Well, we need to get in the blue car and go to the grocery store and buy some granola for me to have for breakfast." I explained that was not really possible since I had to work. She thought for a minute and said "Then we will wait for the phone to ring, and then tell mama to pick up the granola on the way home." I told her that was reasonable, and convinced her to have some Rice Krispies while she waited for the phone to ring (and just in case it didn't exactly work out that way :-) since Susan rarely has occasion to call after swim practice.). She ate and enjoyed the Rice Krispies, Susan didn't call, and I didn't hear any more about the granola -- we'll see what tomorrow brings. Annika is truly a woman in training who knows what she wants and has a good idea how to get it.