Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Times

I know, I know. I say we are finally on the waiting list and then I decide to take a three week nap, leaving my faithful readers in the lurch (all four of you). Life has been kind of stressful lately.

We have been trying to catch up on a lot of things that we put off while we were saving money for submitting the dossier. One of those things was a vacuum. Our vacuum handle broke off again, and this time, it was irreparable. Instead of getting a new vacuum, we duct taped a pencil to the wiring inside putting it in a permanent "on" position, then we duct taped over the gaping hole to cover the wiring. This means that it has a shorter handle perfectly designed for a person 12 inches shorter than me, and also, it turns on automatically when you plug it in. Yes, I know what you're thinking, where can I find one of those? The sad thing is that my husband uses it more than I do, so I think it was slowly driving him mad. We having been using this "custom" version of our vacuum for around six months, and we finally bought a new one. We are really enjoying the luxury of a new vacuum - the sound, the cleanliness quality, the features! Sometimes I like to deprive myself just so that I can fully appreciate and savor the experience or, in this case, new vacuum. Can you tell which is the new and which is the old?
Unfortunately, right after we laid down the big bucks for our new vacuum we got three different unexpected bills in the mail (dental, dental, and OT for misquoted benefits grrr). Then there are rumors going around poor husband's company about 32 hr workweeks, forced vacation, etc. because there is no work to do. Compound that with my stress over upcoming elections. Plus... Our Crapavan seems to get a new problem every month, and they all came together last week as it threatened to die on the road. Something having to do with oil pressure... valve covers.... water pressure... nothing having to do with the a/c that we repaired ourselves (that works perfectly). Anyway, we determined that we could not easily fix it. We ended up paying $500 to get it working. It would have cost an additional $850 to fix everything. Oddly when my dear husband drove it to work the next day after having it fixed, all the pressures dropped and the engine stopped working. Thankfully the repair place was very honest and helpful, they paid to have it towed back to them. Apparently, the serpentine belt (third one the van has had) came off, so they determined it was the belt tensioner (second one) and replaced that. So five hours after leaving for work, my husband ended up back at home (he burned a vacation day for this!). On the plus side, I used that time to finally finish staining the piano that has been sitting in our garage. When we moved here, dear husband said we could not put our old, ugly piano in our new pretty house, so I had to make it pretty. It only took me close to two years, but it is finished. Dear husband is very happy for all the new found space in the garage. It means we will have room to fit... the Crapavan when we admit it for experimental surgery in a few weeks. That should be oodles of fun! So this week, I have been doing some heavy prayer. As any Christian can attest, the good life brings apathy, and stress pulls us into God. I had a day of fasting and prayer yesterday, mostly for the elections and dear husband's job. Okay, it wasn't a whole day. I only made it until 4pm. I get really cranky when I don't eat, and that's just not fair to the kids. I think I will try a sundown fast next time, maybe Monday, and that would be a sacrifice because that is when I eat my ice cream, cookies, etc. Thanks for the idea, mom. You're totally awesome. Anyway, God has already answered some prayers this week. Poor husband is exhausted because they had three jobs come up, and he has gotten at least twelve hours of overtime already. So he is billable and that is good! Plus he got a small quarterly bonus today!

I was getting stir crazy having the kids all to myself for three days, so we all piled into the car and indulged in Sonic tonight. It was overpriced but well worth it. I thank God for small moments that feed my heart. I was eating a big bacon cheeseburger Toaster sandwich with onion rings and drinking peach iced tea. The kids were all quiet as they filled their bellies. I had Coldplay on the stereo chilling us all out. The weather was awesome.

I do not need more possessions. I do not need a bigger house. I am thankful for what God has blessed us with because it fills my heart to the brim when I think of what we already have. Seriously, listen to this song and tell me if it doesn't stir your heart?
Or maybe I just like Coldplay a lot.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I am pleased to announce that after many unforeseen delays, we have finally sent in our dossier and are officially on the waiting list! We were disappointed to learn that we did not receive a grant from Shaohannahs Hope. But thankfully, God in his provision seems to have made in unnecessary. The only thing we have to save for now is travel. We are happy, excited and relieved, and now we get to look forward to waiting (probably about 12 months). Although I know I will soon find myself impatient with waiting, I am glad to have all that time to read all those adoption books that are recommended. I have already read a lot of Ethiopian history and travel books. My absolute favorite is Journey to Ethiopia. It is a big coffee table book with lots of beautiful photos. I can't even find it on Ebay, but it is available at the library :) I also recommend There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. It's a non-fiction book that beautifully intermingles Ethiopian politics, history and culture with the story of a selfless woman taking care of AIDS orphans. It took me a few weeks to read because it kept making me cry. Anyway, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what we had to put into our dossier and what it involved.
Here is the list:

Dossier Papers
Page 1: Dossier Family Profile Summary
Page 2: Letter to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Enclosures: passport size photos of me and the hubby
Page 3-10: Certification of notary with Home Study Report
Page 11-12: Agency License
Page 13-14: Certification and Power of Attorney
Page 15-16: Certification and Power of Attorney
Page 17-18: Certification and Power of Attorney

Page 19-20: Certification and Power of Attorney
Page 21: my Birth Certificate
Page 22: dear husband’s Birth Certificate
Page 23: Marriage Certificate
Page 24: Letter of Recommendation
Page 25-26: Letter of Recommendation

Page 27: Police Clearance for me
Page 28: Police Clearance for dear husband
Page 29: Medical Certificate for me
Page 30: Medical Certificate for my dear husband
Page 31: Employers Letter for my hard working hubby
Page 32: Notary for 2007 Income Tax 1040
Page 33-34: 2007 Income Tax 1040
Page 35: Notary for 2006 Income Tax 1040
Page 36-37: 2006 Income Tax 1040
Page 38: Attestation and Declaration of Personal Conditions
Page 39-40: Bank Letter

Page 41: Certificate from Parents re: Post Placement Reports
Page 42: Copy of both of our Passports
Page 43: Form I-171H from USCIS
Enclosures: Two money order to Embassy of Ethiopia

Two checks to Department of State
Check to courier
Check to agency for certification

Check to agency for country fee, visa/medical fee
Also included:
-Two page Contact Agreement, signed
-Referral Disclaimer, signed

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back to Normal

Well, I really don't want to admit to anybody in the area how quickly we got our electricity back, but here's a clue, it was less than three days. It is nice to finally be able to find milk, eggs and the essentials - ice cream. And thank goodness the gas lines are gone.

In a sick way, I sort of missed hurricanes when we first came. I missed the camaraderie and family time and forced isolation from modern technology. But now I remember why we tried to move away from hurricanes - the lines (for everything from ice or gas to coffee and milk), the complainers, the piles of tree refuse, the sacrifice of perishables out of the fridge (thankfully, all we lost was mayo, eggs and sour cream), the interuption of all routines and activities, the days of abnormaility. And did I mention the complainers? I'm not talking about people that lost everything. I'm talking about people that didn't prepare in the first place, and then they are whining that they need things. Why do you think they talk about this in the news for a week ahead of time?? yeesh. I am sick of hurricanes, and I am glad that where we live seems to be returning to normal.

I have included some photos of things I saw nearby in the few days after Ike left. I have never seen so much structural damage from a category two. It seems to be that trees this large don't exist in south Florida (probably because God's tree trimming service comes to town every few years), but here in Texas, they haven't had a storm this bad in 25 years. So there were tons of houses that had catastrophic damage because some giant tree fell on it. In fact, that is also why some people here went so long without electricity. We are very grateful that none of our trees toppled over, and we ask you to keep in your prayers those that lost their homes or loved ones in the storm. There were some amazing stories from survivors in the paper.