Monday, December 10, 2007

Here today, gone tomorrow

Well, I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon. I'm super excited. I'll be gone three weeks which is forever. Other than a couple of work trips, I don't think I've been gone from home for three weeks since the mid 90s. To boot, I'll be largely away from email and phone communication which I know hasn't happened since the early 90s. In fact, Matt always gets on me for taking my computer and constantly "checking in" when I travel.

Our dossier is on the way back to us so I will be hand carrying it to Ethiopia. I'm also hand carrying two 50 pound boxes of donations for several orphanages. I've even got lots more stuff to take for the next trip thanks to several generous donors and Matt's mom who seems to have cleaned our Walmart.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Could it be?

Well, we are over the first major hurdle. The country dossier is all done and on its way to the Ethiopian embassy tomorrow and then to Ethiopia itself next week. I may hand carry it or may have it sent via DHL to arrive there right around the same time I am arriving. As the dossier being "in-country" is a requirement for getting a child referred, I suppose there is a chance that we may get a referral while I am there or at least that I may meet our eventual son or daughter. Can you imagine? I am coming prepared with camera, memory cards, extra batteries and computer for downloading.

Thanks to many generous people, I have two large boxes filled with supplies, toys and clothes to take to several orphanages. I even have some leftover to take during our next trip.

Meanwhile, we are busy packing, getting together our first aid kit, getting shots, buying malaria meds ($250 for us both, what?!?), hand sanitizer, etc...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hah, hah, the joke's on me

So I thought I was sending off the dossier today, huh? Very funny. I went over to pick up the homestudy and the social worker casually mentioned that I must be on the way to city hall before heading to the state department offices on Golden Gate Ave.

What's this you say? City hall? Why would I go there?

Oh, didn't you know that each of the notary signatures needs to be certified at the county level before being taken to the state? (before being taken to the US govt before being taken to the Ethiopian Embassy)

Umm, no.

Seems in SF they don't have the same database that Sacramento does (go figure) so I've got to make trips to line up at the Alameda, Contra Costa and SF County county clerk offices before I head back to the state department in SF. Or I can drive to Sacramento, hand in everything, and wait around for a while until they hand it all back.

Sacramento it is. Tomorrow. I still might make it if the East Coast ice storm doesn't delay the process.

First major milestone

After much cajoling, calling, complaining and general carrying-on, it looks like the dossier is complete and ready to go to the state for authentication and then off to Washington DC. Well, kind of... Since our fingerprints had to be redone due to our homestudy agency going kaput, a new agency will be taking over the file. However, since the prints can take as long as a month, we are going to submit the homestudy on the old agency's letterhead since the Ethiopian government really doesn't care. But we'll send to the Feds under the new agency's letterhead since the US government will care. This might pose some problems down the road but I figure we can deal with that then.

So what does all this mean? It means I have a pretty good chance of hand carrying the dossier with me to Ethiopia and handing it personally to the agency director who will be there at the same time. This then officially puts us on the waiting list for a referral of a child. While I suppose there is always a chance we could get a child referred while I am there, it is more likely to happen a month or two down the line depending on how picky/specific we are regarding the age range and sex. But come Matt's birthday, we very well might have a little addition to our family. That would be crazy!

It's just a good thing we don't know the age and sex as I'd be all over Craigslist trying to pick up bargains on toys, clothing, name it, we need it all.