Taking a Deep Breath

19 Aug

I just spoke with our case worker once again about Theo’s condition and I got some more details that have greatly comforted my heart.  We are still waiting for the doctors full report but we know that is condition is not as dire as I had feared.  Praise God!  One of the main reasons he is being admitted to the hospital is because we know that we cannot hold the orphanage accountable to get him healthy.  They COULD feed him the high nutrient formula that I sent over with another traveling family this week and get him to a place of stable health but there is no way to guarantee that.  The orphanage director is very defensive, not open to outside input and very hard to work with so it is best for him to be removed from there and be in an environment where his care can be better controlled.  Our agency pushed to have him admitted to the hospital so that what the doctor prescribed for his care WILL happen.  Having him in the hospital will give our agency staff better access to him so they can get me update a couple times a week on his condition.  He will also have one-on-one nanny care, which is something we all want for him as well!!  He can’t get that in the orphanage but in the hospital, it is policy.  My case worker also assured me that my agency has had many children in Theo’s condition admitted to the hospital for better care over the years, and all of them have come out thriving and gone home to their forever families.

Thank you for the outpouring of love and prayer, please keep it coming!  I will keep you all updated when I know more.

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Protected: Court Date & Our Son’s Health

19 Aug

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Protected: Its official. Officially heart breaking.

6 Aug

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Anti-climactic Update

4 Aug

This morning our court document was scheduled to be redone.  In case you missed the last post, MOWA lost our court document weeks ago but failed to inform our adoption agency.  They waited until the last minute to fess up and make an appointment to have the document redone.  Without the court document submitted by MOWA, we cannot receive a court date and travel to meet & adopt our son.  We’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this day to come for the past week and I did not let my phone out of my site all morning, hoping for an encouraging update that our case has been submitted to the court and we’ve been given a travel date.  I just talked to my case worker and here’s what she said:

What we know:

  • We know that the court document WAS redone today.  Yay.  Sometimes appointments like this are made and people don’t show up, so we can thank God that everyone showed up and the document was redone.
  • We know that the court has not released a new schedule of court dates yet.

What we DON’T know:

  • We don’t know if MOWA has filled out and submitted our document to the court. (We know they got the document redone today, but don’t know if they actually filled it out and handed it off to the court.  I REALLY HOPE THEY DID THIS and that they aren’t dragging their feet for any reason).
  • We don’t know if MOWA will inform us when they submit the court document (typically they don’t inform us and we just hear that we have a court date some time after they’ve submitted the document).
  • We don’t know if the court is still issuing court dates for August.
  • We don’t know if the court will give us a date for October, in the event that there are no more August court dates.
  • We don’t know when we will know more information (hopefully tomorrow?).

A few other families from my agency had prelim hearings today so the in-country staff is vigilantly checking with the court to see if/when they will issue court dates for all of us.

Please continue to pray, pray pray!  There is still time for God to move.  Pray for mercy and urgency and good old fashioned compliance in the hearts and attitudes of ALL those who will be part of the decision for if & when we get a court date.

I already have all of our orphanage donations packed.  Tonight I will pack our suitcases because if we get a court date, we will have about two seconds travel notice.  I want to be ready so it’s not more stressful than it needs to be.  The worst thing that could happen is we don’t get a court date and I cry a thousand tears while I unpack my suitcase.  Just a day in the life of an adoptive mom.

Big Update

29 Jul

1024881240934401I have horribly neglected this blog the past 8-ish months (have I mentioned that I hate blogging?) but I’m forcing myself to sit and write an update because something big happened in our adoption process yesterday.  I know so many of our friends and family have been faithfully praying for us, especially the past couple months, and this is the easiest way to get information to everyone.  To help you all understand this stage of the adoption process, let me start by breaking it down in a concise timeline:

Almost 4 1/2 yrs ago we started the adoption process.  I’m a tinsy bit ready for this process to be done.

Nov 13, 2014– We got a referral for a beautiful baby boy!  We immediately accepted the referral and began filling out the “referral acceptance paperwork.”

Nov 15, 2014 — Our son turned 1 yr old!

Nov 26, 2014– Finally completed the paperwork and Fed-Exed it to our agency (Josh was overseas for work when we got our referral, so it took us a hot minute to get everything signed, notarized, etc).

—At this point we were launched into the PAIR process.  PAIR = Pre Adoption Immigration Review.  This means that the US Embassy in Ethiopia has our case file and is doing an investigation into all the documents to make sure everything is legit.  Once the PAIR process is complete, they are basically saying that they approve for us to move forward with this adoption.  They do this by sending us our PAIR letter.

—March 5, 2015 — Got an email from the Embassy notifying us that our PAIR process is complete and our letter will arrive within 7-10 days.

Mid March, 2015 — PAIR letter arrives and we send it off for authentication.

March 26, 2015 — Authentication is complete and our PAIR letter is sent to Ethiopia.  At this point we are waiting anxiously for a Preliminary Hearing to be scheduled.

May 5, 2015 — We find out that our Preliminary Hearing has been scheduled for June 1st.  YAY!  This is not something we attend.  We need to have a favorable hearing, then get the stamp of approval from MOWYAC before we can get a court date and travel to meet our son.  (MOWYAC = Ministry of Women, Youth & Children for the country of Ethiopia.  More often referred to as MOWA)

June 1, 2015 — Our Preliminary Hearing takes place and all goes well.  It was a “favorable hearing” and the court asks for nothing else from us.

—At this point, our case file is handed off to MOWA.  Our case is assigned to one of the five MOWA investigators, who will have the responsibility to look over our case and make sure everything is tip top.  Basically, MOWA is doing EXACTLY what the US Embassy just did a couple months earlier, just on a smaller scale.  Once they complete their investigation, they give their stamp of approval in a MOWA letter — or “court document” — and we can FINALLY be given a court date and FINALLY travel to meet our son.

__________________

So, June 1st comes and goes.  The first few weeks I check in with my agency 2 or 3 times to make sure everything went well and there is nothing that MOWA needs from us.  They assure me that we had a favorable hearing and MOWA has not asked for any additional documentation on our case.  It is not unusual for MOWA to ask for additional documents or for clarification on certain aspect of a case file.  This makes the wait for a court date even longer but they did not request any of this from us.  Thank God!  MOWA works at their own pace and can be extremely unpredictable.  We really have no idea how long it will take them to review our case and give us the approval needed for us to get a  court date.  Months ago, I was added to a facebook group message with several other families who were at the same stage in the process as Josh and I.  We were all keeping each other updated and getting to know each other because we expected to travel together.  I saw each of these families have break-throughs in their cases and travel to meet their kids.  Some of them have even brought their children home already.

Each day that goes by, my anxiety grows.  Just before the 4th of July, several people from my agency who had prelim hearings on the same day as us (June 1st) receive their MOWA approval and were issued court dates.  Many of them traveled on the 4th of July to meet their children.  I was thrilled for them and sure that we’d be issued a court date the following week.  The first, second and third weeks of July came and went with no MOWA approval letter or court date for us.  I am becoming more and more distressed as I watch families who were weeks and even MONTHS behind us in the process, zoom pass us as they receive court dates, travel to meet their children, and bring their children safely home.  I am happy for them, but WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG FOR US?!  It’s hard to wait for something this important when you have no idea why you are being made to wait.  I felt like something must be wrong. I kept checking with my agency, who is consistently checking with MOWA about my case to make sure that there is nothing MOWA needs from us.  Our agency cannot figure out WHY MOWA has not completed our investigation and given us a letter.  They have asked MOWA specifically about our case time and time again and each time they are told, “Everything is fine.  NO we are not waiting on any other paperwork.  Nope, don’t need anything else from the orphanage, We just haven’t gotten to it yet — we’ll get to it soon.”

135477342301707The courts in Ethiopia close for the rainy season every year, which runs from mid-August to mid/late-October.  If we don’t get a court date before the closure, we will not bring Theo home before his 2nd birthday, possibly not even before the New Year.  A couple weeks ago, I get added to a NEW facebook group message with several other waiting families and we begin getting to know each other, believing we will all travel together.  All of these families, who were weeks or months behind us in the adoption process, have received court dates.  Most of them have already traveled or are leaving this week.

The past 2-3 weeks have been excruciating.  I just kept thinking…”God, what am I doing wrong? Am I not praying enough? Not submitted enough? Is my attitude wrong? Am I not trusting enough? What can I do to fix this so that you will answer our prayers?” I know that sounds ridiculous but at that point I had moved through every stage of grief and was at the point of bargaining.  I also needed someone to blame.  So why not blame myself?  So many people are praying for us and we are praying as well, but it felt like God was asleep at the wheel.  I’m not proud to admit that I had these thoughts but the struggle is REAL. When we needed God to move mercifully on our behalf, it felt like He was silent.

I was getting so extremely concerned that I actually started having nightmares. Early last week I had a dream that my 2 yr old daughter, Giselle, drown. It happened right in front of me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. We were enjoying a day at the lake with the family and swimming together.  She had a life jacket on and she sunk right to the bottom.  I went after her as fast as I could but by the time I brought her back to the surface it was too late.  She had drown.  The nightmare repeated itself three times. I felt so much powerlessness, unspeakable grief, and this deep sense that I should have or could have done something to “fix” it and keep her from drowning. It was awful.  A few days later as I was pondering this nightmare, I realize that it was a manifestation of what I’m feeling as I walk through this adoption process. Grief. Loss of control.  Powerlessness. Striving to fix something that is broken beyond repair.  I am concerned about Theo.  I don’t know what kind of care he’s getting at the orphanage, what kind of trauma he has already endured, or what it will be like to meet him and bring him home to our family. Some days I feel numb, other days my feelings are SO BIG that they explode out of me.  I know families who were given court dates two weeks after their prelim hearings, and others even sooner than than.  Yet our case has been sitting on someone’s desk since JUNE 1st for no apparent reason.  IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I am trying desperately to surrender to God and trust that His plan is for good, even though it seems like it’s harming us and our son. It’s so hard!

BUT WAIT, that’s not the end of the story.  Monday morning (yesterday), I’m finally coming to a place of acceptance.  Whatever the reason for us not getting a court date before the closure, I sure don’t understand what it is but I have to trust that God has a plan that is bigger than my pain.  Even bigger than my child’s pain.  THEN I get a phone call from my case worker with a huge update.  On Monday morning (yesterday), the MOWA office in Ethiopia called my agency’s office in Ethiopia and confessed to them that they had LOST our court document.  Yep, that’s right.  THEY LOST IT.  It has been lost for quite a while (weeks?) and they’ve been trying to find it.  So all this time that my agency has been checking with them about our case, instead of being honest about what happened they’ve said “Oh we just haven’t had time to get to that case yet”, hoping they’d be able to find my court document and get our case pushed through.  They finally decided to quit wasting time (since, you know, the courts will stop issuing dates in like a week) and fess up about what happened. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear this but also relieved to have a real answer as to why our case has not moved in nearly two months.

—So where do we go from here?  MOWA has scheduled for our court document to be redone next Tuesday, Aug 4th.  My agency is pressuring them to get this done sooner but we don’t know if that is possible.  Having the court doc redone will likely be a quick process and hopefully we can get a court date right away!  We are in the eleventh hour, folks!  We really need a mircale to actually get a court date before the closure at this point.  My case worker assured me that our agency’s staff and the MOWA personnel are working their butts off to get this all sorted out and get us a court date before the closure, but of course there are no guarantees.  We will have extremely short notice if we do get a date before the closure so I am getting packed and ready to go.

Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed for us.  Please continue to do so!  WE love you so much!

We got a REFERRAL and SUPERHERO CAPES FUNDRAISER!!!!

19 Nov

After 3yr and 9 months in this adoption process, we have finally received a referral for a precious boy!!!!!!  We are already falling in love with him and over the moon excited to meet him and bring him home.  More details to come about all that!

We are wasting no time and getting right into fundraising for travel costs. INTRODUCING>>>>
SUPER HERO CAPES! $20 each, flat rate shipping $5, no matter how many you buy. These will make great Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers! Super cute color for boys and girls! They will fit a child through age 10. If you are interested in purchasing a cape or two just leave a comment and I will send you a message with payment options. You can also email me here: annaktimmer(at)gmail.com

I hope to place two orders before Christmas, and we’ll continue ordering after that if there is enough interest!!!superhero

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!! THANK YOU!!!
These are double lined satin capes. And the superheros and colors we will have available are listed below:

1 = Superman (Red on top & Blue underneath)
2= Superman (Blue on top & red underneath)
3 = Batman (black on top & yellow underneath)
4 = Robin (red on top & green underneath)
5 = Flash (red on top & yellow underneath)
6 = Captain America (blue on top & red underneath)
7 = Spiderman (red on top & black underneath)
8 = Green Lantern (Green on top & Silver underneath)
9 = Batgirl (black on top & fuchsia underneath)
10 = Wonder Woman (red on top & blue underneath)
11 = Spidergirl (Purple on top & pink underneath)
12 = Supergirl (pink on top & silver underneath)
13 = Iron Man (Red on top & Yellow underneath)
14 = Thor (Red on top & Black underneath)
15 = Hulk (Green on top & Purple underneath)

Also, I’ve have an Etsy shop, the proceeds of which go straight to our adoption fun. I would love for you to check it out and share with friends.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBloomingWillow…

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child

2 Apr

I cannot take credit for the post below.  I read it on another adoptive mom’s blog but it was so well written that I wanted to share it here.  I identified with so much of this (I bolded the parts that were exactly our story as well).

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,

I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.

Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?

I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.

I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.

I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.

I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.

Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.

I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.

And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.

And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.

I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.

I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.

And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.

I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.

I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.

I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.

I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.

I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.

I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?

I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.

I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.

But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.