Thursday, August 10, 2006

Virtual Friends and Real Papers

One of the early joys of our adoption process has been the kindness of everyone connected to the agency. As soon as we applied we were invited into their online forum of people who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Since I’m addicted to online adoption info these days, I joined right away. My introduction was greeted with numerous welcoming replies on the site and even a couple personal emails. I believe three other familes also joined that week, so a bunch of the “regulars” re-introduced themselves to everyone. And a couple of referrals came through, so there was much rejoicing (yaaaay)! Several familes are from the Portland area and getting together for a BBQ in a couple weeks--I hope we can go meet my new virtual friends!

The group discusses everything from health questions, travel advice, and fundraising to interesting news tidbits, Ethiopian recipes, and the insanity they’re feeling as they wait for referrals. The Ethiopia program is large enough now that although our agency doesn’t send people in groups, it's working itself out that families are going at the same time. I wonder who we will travel with? Certain folks sure seem like fun! It will be interesting to see how it works out as we get closer. Right now we have no real timeline . . .

. . . but we do have real paperwork! We mailed our agency contract (and big fat check, ugh) last Friday and got our dossier packet today. That’s the list and examples of all the letters and documents we need, how many copies, what has to be notarized, etc. Earlier in the week I took care of our USCIS I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (I just like saying all that fast to sound smart). Basically it starts our pre-approval to bring a child into the U.S. So I wrote my first ever check to the Department of Homeland Security. My joke about suddenly feeling safer feels much less funny today, though.

The other day in Ray's grocery store a man stopped me because he saw my t-shirt from the Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor, Michigan—he and his wife used to work there! They moved here two years ago. And I thought it was funny that a man at Young Life leadership camp last year said he had the same shirt; they had visited Michigan from Montana. Okay, I get that it's a small world after all . . . but if I ever meet an Ethiopian in Ray's, I may actually pass out!

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