Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mildly Annoyed

Looks like turning in our dossier is going to be held up, but not because of us. We still need two documents and to write two letters and have it all notarized, but I was going to have it done this week or next. I'm just procrastinating because other things have been calling my name and because even when we get our stuff done, we need our completed home study and a form from the immigration office before we can turn in the dossier.

At the beginning of last week I called Social Worker S. to see if the home study was coming--it should have been coming, from what she'd told me (already taking longer than we expected). But she realized we hadn't gotten fingerprints for the state which they need because we've lived in state less than five years. We went to the sheriff's office to get those last week and sent them off with the criminal check form. Emailed SWS today to see how long it might be now; she called and told me she'd have the home study written up next week (we're second on her list--again/still?) but the prints/check from the state can take a month.

That means that even though we are driving to Portland Tuesday for our immigration fingerprinting appointment, they won't have our home study for probably three more weeks. And until they get that they (presumably) won't start processing our I-171H which could take six to eight weeks (per SWS). It's no one's fault that takes so long, but that clock would have started ticking this Tuesday (or sooner) instead of three weeks from now if we'd known about and done those state fingerprints long ago.

So the vague timeline in my head seems to need adjusting back one month--perhaps travel in May instead of April--and it is a wonder I am only somewhat annoyed with SWS. Of course I know that I am only guessing on our wait time between dossier and referral anyway and that God's not saying, "Oh no! They're going to mess up the plan I had because they won't get the right referral!" No, I will choose to take it on faith that this slowdown was needed to have us ready when our child is, still, "born at the right time."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sale of the Century!

We finally have our garage back after the sale of the century Friday and Saturday. The last two weeks have been insane. I had rush work projects, appointment in Corvallis, ads to get in the paper, broken van brakes, my first paintball experience, and friends and strangers calling and giving me all kinds of stuff for our adoption fundraiser garage sale. The collections included:
  • a carload plus a truckload from people I'd never met up in Alsea
  • a carload from a friend's coworker in Yachats
  • a garageful from Janice
  • a refrigerator we finally figured out how to get over here
  • the kiddie pool Jessy had left in Aaron's office (complete with water and rubber duckies)

By last weekend we could no longer park in the garage. By midweek we could no longer get to the laundry. By Thursday the items were overtaking the house, and that wasn’t even counting the several chairs and bags of clothes of our own I was adding to the pile.

A huge thank-you to Karen for keeping me sane and helping me get organized starting Wednesday. We pulled everything out into the driveway, semi-sorting it as we went. After school some kids came to help and we girls started putting things on tables in an organized fashion while the guys took forever and a day to pick up the refrigerator (only minor injuries sustained). Thursday Karen and I took care of last-minute tasks in town, then Aaron and I continued sorting and pricing. We had to get more tables from church and recruited Kerry to help make signs with her paint that would survive rain—yes, rain! It hadn’t rained here in oh, two months, but guess when it was due to roll in? Friday! This had me panicky since it wouldn’t allow us to just throw everything out on the drive/lawn and call it good.

Friday morning it was cloudy but dry at setup time. Nancy brought her crazy canopy we’d used in Mexico, the one that explodes out at you to set itself up but takes seven people 45 minutes to wrestle back into its box. That worked nicely for electronics and guitars, which Terry and Aaron wheeled and dealed into a good bit of funds. I’d advertised to start at 9:00 but at 8:40 here they came . . . and once one’s looking, the rest swarm! It was quite chaotic as we were still pulling things out and not everything was priced and I was trapped taking money while answering a thousand questions. It settled down, but then we got a short rain shower that sent us scurrying for tarps. Thank you Nancy, Kerry, Terry, and Karen for maintaining order and being great sales clerks! We definitely could not have pulled this off without you!

Once we got settled, the sale was the fun part. We had put up signs indicating this was for our adoption so lots of people asked us about it and congratulated us. Some were curious about the process or how we chose Ethiopia (see our FAQs). Many told us about people they knew who had adopted internationally or that they were or had adopted. I felt like we got to know more of our community members—and now they all know about us!

And now for the only thing you are really reading this to find out . . . the grand total! Total profit: $1471.15! (Yes, it’s in the bank. Don’t come rob us.) That is a lot of money for a lot of junk! Sure, we have a long way to go with funds, but what a great start. Again, thank you to all of you who helped out with the sale and donated items to sell!

Overheard in Waldport:

Woman at sale: “Waldport could use a little color!”

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dossier Productivity

We are making good progress on gathering our dossier paperwork. This week we got one letter of reference and employment letters from church for Aaron and our accountant/tax preparer for me. On Friday we had planned to make a day of getting several things up in Newport (nothing brings freelance work pouring in like having appointments to keep).

Our day involved getting the car ignition looked at (yep, it's messed up), getting passport photos taken at Rite Aid, picking up photos and other things at Wal-Mart and Staples, going to City Hall and learning that the courthouse is a different building (oops), and going to the courthouse and requesting our criminal checks, house deed, and passports. Unfortunately, they noticed that our passport photos weren't done right, so we had to head back to Rite Aid. Now we know why my dad calls it Wrong Aid. As we're driving up and down the hideous part of Highway 101 that's all strip malls and fast food (like 28th St. in GR), the bank sign tells me its 95 degrees. Since 75 is a warm day here and 85 is a heat wave, plus I was hungry and annoyed with Rite Aid, I was getting kind of cranky. But a snack from McDonald's and a free drink from Rite Aid to go with our reprinted photos and I felt better.

Back to the courthouse we went, and the nice lady got our passports finished up. I felt pretty dumb taking that oath with my right hand raised and my left hand on my checkbook, but whatever makes Uncle Sam happy. Then she said, "Now you just have to get your blood drawn at the lab and bring that back . . ." Aaron said, "WHAT?!" He fell for it big time. But she was just yanking his chain and truly very nice about it all, as was the woman across the hall who had the criminal check letters done by the time we checked back (at least the Rite Aid delay was good for something).

The day yielded 2 major documents plus the passport applications. That's a good feeling! Unfortunately, when we learned we would not be assigned a passport number until our passports actually come, we realized we had to pay $120 extra to have them expedited so we can get the number to put on another letter that goes in the dossier. Ah well, at least we will not have to order another copy of our birth certificates since we'll get the copies that went with the passport application back in two weeks. But the birth certificates would have been cheaper. See how confusing all this is? Expensive, too. I laid out $408.95 in two days.

While we were out chasing papers, the couple we met recently who were waiting for their referral got it! He's three months old and his name means "Be a hope." Like us, they are young and it's their first child, so I'm hopeful we'll get a very young referral too, as our social worker said was likely. Every referral story and picture makes it seem more real!

Question for the day: What should we do to celebrate when we have the dossier complete? (Bonus points if you can come up with something cheap, for obvious reasons!)