Author - Erica

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Giveaway Pictures!
2
We
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Give Away!
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Adoption Store!
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With a finger-print and a smile
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A look at our time line
7
I’m still here!
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Papers flying in every direction
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How to Stretch a Penny… all the way to Ethiopia
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A work in progress

Giveaway Pictures!

I know you have all been waiting to see the exciting giveaway pictures! We currently have 10 readers entered in the giveaway for the kitchen scrubbies. Purchasing a facial scrubbie set for $10 enters you to win the set of 5 Kitchen scrubbies. Check them out! A winner will be drawn Sunday Night at 6pm!

We

I’m dwelling on the future tonight
In our house that seems a bit too big for four.
I’m making plans and signing my name on dotted lines,
While friends in Texas buy wares
to bring our baby home.
And grandparents crochet quietly
knowing each turn of the yarn helps
a child in need.
And We work each day
and dream each day
of ways to speed the clock,
of ways to find the means
to change one life
to bring our baby home.
We is not us, we is us all
It takes you, It takes me
to change one life
And words can’t express
the gratitude felt
when you step forward,
take our hands
and join our dreams
to bring our baby home.

Give Away!

To make the scrubbies even more tempting we are going to sweeten the deal a little for those of you who place an order this week. Everyone who orders by Sunday will be entered to win a set of 5 bright and sunny dish scrubbies. They are hand crocheted, cute and round and made from a non-abrasive nylon material and safe to use on all pots. Even the non-stick variety! The colors are bright, the result is super clean dishes, who could resist! Machine Washable. Will post pics later, you’ll love them!

Click Here to go to the store.

Adoption Store!

Scrubbies!
We are so excited to launch our Adoption Store! We are starting small with some beautiful little hand-crocheted scrubbies. All proceeds go directly to our adoption fund so feel free to stop by and pick up a Mother’s Day gift or something to brighten up your bathroom counter. We will be adding new colors and styles over the next couple of weeks, so please keep checking in!
Click on the store tab above to enter.

With a finger-print and a smile

I realized that I have not blogged about one of our most exciting adoption adventures to date… our FBI finger-printing session.

One sunny afternoon I drove downtown to pick up Calvin from Lifeway and head over to the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center.  I have been finger-printed previously for my teaching license, but that was a measly state check.  The FBI check is a tad more hardcore.  We walked in the building and headed toward the officer seated behind the bulletproof glass, now I hate to feed the stereotype of policemen who over-eat, but there was defiantly some fried chicken aroma wafting out from under the slit which allows your drivers license to pass through for inspection.  We were told to pay the clerk for the finger-prints and then return with the receipt.  We did as we were told, standing in line behind a gentlemen getting his first set of mug-shots, and brought the receipt back to the officer.  After the exchange we were buzzed through a door and escorted upstairs by another officer.  The woman at the desk asked us if we were “applicants” with a somewhat confused look on her face.  I told her yes.  (I thought she meant applicants for adoption, it turns out she meant for the police department)  After that was straightened out I told her we were there because we were adopting a baby, a statement that rang gloriously in the air.  Not that she thought it was glorious.  It just escaped from my lips so easily and hovered in the air so tangibly, large enough to grasp.  Moments like that make this process so real.

We filled out our cards and, one at a time, took our place in the next room where we were electronically finger-printed for the FBI background check.  During the process I was very thankful I had chosen not to commit any felonies in the past, they are a lot nicer to you when you aren’t a criminal.  At the end of the session my inky little prints came rolling out of the state-of-the-art printer and my task was complete.  Calvin, on the other hand, has wacky fingers and his prints kept coming out too dark.  Therefore a sweet little letter stating that “the condition of the applicants fingers prevent passable prints”  accompanied his prints to Texas.   Oh well, at least Calvin also chose to avoid a life of crime.  Although his wacky fingerprints may have given him a leg up.

A look at our time line

So how long is all this going to take?  A question we seem to be getting a lot lately.  Here is my best attempt to explain our time line/process:

Right now we are working on our dossier.  It will probably be another couple of months before all the documents have returned and we are able to send the completed dossier to the U.S. department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Once the dossier reaches Ethiopia it will take about 6 months to receive a referral for our child.  When we receive a referral we will get a picture of our child and any medical/background information that is available about our child.

Once we accept the referral (just a matter of a couple days) our agency will send the dossier and our child’s information to the Ministry of  Women’s Affairs in Ethiopia.  The new travel requirements for Ethiopia will require us to travel to Ethiopia for the first time at this point.  We will get to meet our child and finalize the adoption in country.  Sadly, we will not get to bring our child home at this point.  After staying in Ethiopia about a week we will return to the U.S. and wait another couple of months.  Once everything is approved, stamped with a big stamp and checked another hundred times we will travel to bring our child home!

So…. if all goes smoothly, our homecoming should be around ten months from now.  Whew.

It’s amazing to sit here at my computer and think about this process.  We will ACTUALLY fly to Africa and bring our child home.  It’s not a dream, it’s not a nice thought.  It is reality.  So weird, in a good way. (=

I’m still here!

Goodness.  It’s been a long couple of weeks!  I recently went back to work and I’m enjoying it but I’m sad to say I had to abandon the blog for a few days while I adjusted.  All is well and I’m back on the blogging horse.  As far as adoption news goes, there is little to report at this point.  We are in the stage where we are waiting on a lot of things.  One exciting thing to report, as of today, is that the tax credit for adoption was extended once again.  The tax credit will be a tremendous help in affording this adoption.

Sometimes when I’m doing my day-to-day I forget about how our lives have changed and will change with this adoption.  And then it hits me.  I long for the day when we receive our referral and when we hold our child for the first time.  I wish I could speed up the paper process.  I know, you are all thinking about the things people say about God’s timing and being patient but I have a hard time being patient in this department.  I’m ready to have a number three running around the house.  I guess I just don’t want him to be away from his family even one more day than he has to.  It’s a weird thought to know that a member of our family is somewhere else right now and that he will have experiences that we may never know about.  When I’m tired, and I’m very tired this evening my mind just wanders and ponders all the scenarios.

Praying that you are safe and well until you are with us baby boy.

Papers flying in every direction

The title above is about how I would summarize our adoption progress at the moment. I keep filling out papers, signing checks and depositing them into the mailbox.  There is something gratifying about flipping that little red flag up.  It’s like a signal, a little reminder that things are moving along.  I walk away feeling a little lighter, a little more accomplished.

Our last home study visit, the scary in-home one, was scheduled for Friday.  However, both of our children were very ill this week.  We are coming to the end of an RSV, allergic reaction and stomach virus frenzy that has left us worn out and wishing we lived near family.  C is on some ridiculous steroids to calm the allergic reaction and she likes to get up around 3am.  She is an angry girl at 3am and fights us with a He-Man like aggression.  Must be the “roids.”

Long story short we have rescheduled for Wednesday.  I’m really looking forward to it actually.  Our social worker is super sweet and I’m excited to show her around the house and be on the path to finishing this thing.  Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the fire-extinguishers.  Picking those up this weekend.  Thanks for the reminder.

Looking forward to posting Wednesday.  I’m sure it will be a good one.

How to Stretch a Penny… all the way to Ethiopia

Lately we’ve become serious penny pinchers.  Those of you who know us well might wonder how Calvin could pinch that penny any tighter.  It is possible my friends; quite possible.  We’ve come up with some ways to make regular life cheaper so that adoption life can gain speed.

1. We buy those coupon books that kids sell for fund raising.  Seriously.  These are a major score.  The auto coupons inside can save you 10-20% on car maintenance.  Free oil changes.  We recently had work done on Calvin’s car and saved well over $100.  So spend $20, help the kids, and rake in the savings!  Getting a dinner out at a super cheap price every once in awhile is also a major perk.

2. I cut hair.  Calvin’s and Elliott’s to be exact.  For Elliott’s hair I set the blade to 7 and go to town.  Calvin’s is 5 on top and 2 on the sides. This saves roughly $30 a month.

3. Ladies, this one is super daring.  I wax my own eyebrows.  For real.  It’s not that hard after you mess up a few times.  Savings: $12.

4. I shop (and volunteer) at kids consignment sales.  Volunteering comes with early shopping privileges and credits.  I am able to get the kids clothes and necessities for the entire season for a 1/4 of retail cost.  (maybe less)

5. COUPONS.  Can I say it again… coupons.  If you aren’t on the band wagon, hop on it.  I literally cut my grocery bill in half each week.  Often I cut the bill by 60-70%.  People, it’s like cutting dollar bills out of the newspaper on Sunday, printing dollar bills from the computer, finding them in the mail… it’s awesome.  And let me be clear.  I do not feed my family crap loaded with MSG and gross preservatives.  We eat partially organic and mostly natural foods.  There are coupons available for any way you choose to eat, you just have to take the time to look for them.

6. We don’t buy things we don’t need.  Pretty straightforward.

7. We don’t have Iphones.

8. We are pretty green.  We recycle, of course.  But the trick that helps us save is conserving energy.  Not running the heat/air too high.  Washing large loads of laundry instead of many small ones.  Starting a vegetable garden in the back yard so I don’t have to pay $2.69 a pound for dang tomatoes anymore.

9. We don’t spend money on lawn care.  Sorry homeowners association.  Of course we will mow, but we aren’t going to fertilize or hire lawn care people to make our lawn look like outdoor carpet.

10. Finally, we just try to cut out the unnecessary.  Eating at home, playing together, making use of what we already have… all these things help us achieve our goal.

Saving money isn’t so bad after all.  For me it’s a challenge, a quest of sorts.  And I love a good challenge.  Anytime I open my wallet I try to think of our child and how every dollar brings us closer to him.  It’s pretty easy to close it after you meditate on that for a few seconds.

A work in progress

Yesterday I hauled my sweet babies into the office of Catholic Charities again.  I love explaining the statues of Mary to Elliott.  When we left he said, “bye, Jesus Mommy.”

Our individual interviews are now completed and the stack of paperwork is in our social worker’s hands.  I’m feeling quite accomplished.  However, I know that while the progress of our adoption is gaining speed there is much ahead of us.  We recently found out that we will have to travel to Ethiopia twice.  We will travel after accepting the referral to meet our child and then a few months later bring him home. Thankfully our agency is really on top of this change and sending tons of info. our way.  My mommy heart aches at the thought of meeting him and then  promptly heading back to the states without him in my arms.  God give us strength.  In addition, we will now incur around four or five thousand more dollars in travel costs.  To be honest it really doesn’t scare me.  If we can count of God’s provision for $24,000 we can certainly count on him for a few thousand more.

We have had some inquiries about making a donation to our adoption.  If this is something you feel led to do you can donate, any amount, using the donate link on the left side of our blog.  We are also taking donations of cool stuff that we can auction off on our blog.  For example, I have a gently used Coach that will go up for auction soon.  We are pretty much open to anything that will help us raise funds to bring this sweet child home.  (=

We appreciate all of you and your continued prayers and support.  We have been blown away by our “support system.”

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal