Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Home Study Complete!

Yesterday we received in the mail final notarized copies of our home study report! We have officially passed the test. I zipped to the post office to get one copy up to immigration so they will process our I171-H form (which is kind of like a pre-visa for your child). The bad news is that our social worker and people online tell me this is taking up to two months right now! I'm not sure if the fact that we have already done the required fingerprinting will make any difference. I'm not usually one for asking God to bend the laws of nature or government for little ol' me, but . . . praying that when some fine civil servant opens my envelope, they for some reason actually heed my little note and put ours on the top of the stack since they already have our prints . . .

Two months--ugh. I can't believe we might not have our dossier in to the agency until Christmas when I wanted it in by October. It wouldn't matter so much but we are also hearing that referral wait times for our agency (as every other agency) have increased because of the explosion of interest in adopting from Ethiopia. I think that's wonderful, of course, but being pregnant without a due date is hard to plan life around. April or May travel is looking more like June. Still, maybe referrals will speed up when the backlog in the Ethiopian courts clears up (they close for at least a month at end of summer). And there are good things about having the school year winding down and having a little longer to prepare to be first-time parents and to raise funds . . . at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself!

Speaking of funds, we keep receiving garage sale items, so another sale will happen but probably not until spring. A huge thank-you to the relatives who sent a gift to Dove on our behalf! If any of you know Bill Gates, you can tell him all he has to do is send his gift there with a note that it's for Wetzels and they'll kindly give him a tax receipt. Or he can send money to keep our church running--but that's an UGH for another time and place.

Meanwhile, time to go admire photos of other people's Ethiopian babies . . . er, I mean, time to get to work!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Help Me Win $50!

Adoption is expensive. My husband's face is funny. Bring these two things together--help me win $50 in a funny photo contest! Go to this web site and VOTE--but ONLY ONCE or you will disqualify my photo:

Photo B12 on this page: (Ain't he cute?)

And photo C1 on this page: (Miss you, James!)

I have many more where those came from . . . I will get the $500 bonus someday!

Home study update coming soon (much like the home study itself).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fingerprints / World Orphan Week

Our immigration fingerprinting appointment went so fast it was comical. We drove three hours, found the nondescript building a few minutes early, filled out a simple form, chatted up the bored guy at the desk, and went to the next desk. He checked my papers and told me to sit down. I sat down for five seconds and a man said, "Forty-two?" Oh, that's me! Aaron didn't even sit down at all; his guy was waiting for him. They scanned our fingerprints on nifty, ink-free, CSI-like machines and gave us comment cards to fill out (I suggest they provide their fine employees the luxury of some windows). At 2:05 we were headed back to the car. Good thing we had that appointment.

October 2-8, 2006, is World Orphan Week. War, poverty, and disease claim the parents of so many children who end up in orphanages or adopted.

The situation in Africa and other developing places is more staggering than we as rich Americans can fathom. AIDS is producing a flood of millions of orphans--a child is orphaned by AIDS every 14 seconds. In a few months we will meet many of them; perhaps we will bring home one, but only one.

From an Ethiopia update I recently received from Compassion International: "Nearly half its population is under age 15. . . . But a perfect storm of tragedy--HIV/AIDS, war with bordering nations, and poverty--has converged to rob the nation of its adults. Parentless children are usually taken in by extended family, but there are so many Ethiopian orphans that even that safety net is strained. The government estimates it costs $115 million a month to care for orphans. That price far exceeds the $140 million a year it spends on the country's entire health system."

Today I feel too rich.

World AIDS Orphans Day: May 7

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ethiopia Everywhere

Everywhere we go, people tell us stories about Ethiopia--so it seems at times, anyway. Last summer the weekend after we returned from Michigan, our guest pastor from Presbyterian missions told us stories about Ethiopia (and other places) and blessed us in Amharic. (Did you know there are more Presbyterians in Ethiopia than in the U.S.?) That cinched our decision to adopt from Ethiopia.

Two weekends ago the main speaker at our Young Life leadership weekend was director over many of the international YL groups. First picture he threw up on the screen was of an Ethiopian Young Life Club. We are going to see if we can perhaps visit them while in Addis. And I really want one of their t-shirts. Some info on YL Ethiopia and photos can be found here.

Here is an interesting article on household characteristics in Ethiopia. Some stats from the survey:
  • Only 8 percent of households reported having drinking water on their premises.
  • 14 percent of households have electricity, but this varies widely by place of residence. Only 2 percent of households in rural areas have access to electricity, compared with 86 percent of urban households.
  • Slightly over three-fourths of households have no bedrooms or have only one room for sleeping.
Now we're headed to Portland to see the Feds--they want our fingerprints. Nothing like 6 hours of driving for what I can only assume is a 15-minute process.