Yesterday marked 18 months on the waitlist for us….
Referrals have slowed to an average of about 2 per month these days. Those of you asking how much longer…well, we are around #36 on the wait list, give or take.
Not a whole lot more to say.
Last week, Abigail and I had the joy and privilege of flying to Connecticut to spend five days with my sister, Sandra’s family. Many thanks to my wonderful BIL, Keith for masterminding this trip, and helping make it happen!!
Sandra and Keith welcomed Baby Lilian Clare in late March, and I am so very grateful that I got to meet her this soon!!
We don’t see nearly as much of the Nedells as we did when they lived here in Dallas, so it was a huge treat to soak up a few days in their beautiful new home with them.
Most of the pictures included here are pirated from my sister since I didn’t bother dragging our new camera on the trip. Probably just as well: getting through airport security with the few things we did bring felt pretty intimidating after having not flown for more than four years!
I was blown away by how lovely everything is in the Northeast. Yes, I was born and grew up there, but I forget the tallness of the trees, the lushness of the surrounding hills, and the cool crisp air that just smells “right” to me. Don’t get me wrong; I love our life in Texas, but the local topography just cannot compare to the beauty of New England, at least in my book.
Even more wonderful than the gorgeous scenery was the relaxed time we got to spend with two year-old Jacob and his new baby sister, Lilian, or “Yiyee” as Jacob refers to her.
She is the prettiest little baby, and rewarded our efforts to charm her with smiles and coos aplenty! How fun to snuggle a tiny baby again! Abigail, for her part, was also smitten with her newest baby cousin, and announced that we absolutely need another baby in the family, STAT!
Jacob was tons of fun, gave us awesome new nicknames (you hereby have permission to refer to me as “Auntie Cheetah”, thank you very much!), volunteered to make us smoothies a gazillion times a day, and was a complete joy to be around.
Sandra and Keith were wonderful hosts: despite the busyness of a new baby in the family and a full workweek for Keith, we were treated to several outings, enjoyed delicious food, and great company! Here are Abigail and Jacob at Flamig Farm, feeding Indiana, the goat.
Thanks, Guys, for a truly wonderful visit.
My absence from home would not have been possible without the amazing efforts of my sweet Hubby and my dear MIL. Thanks to Jay and Grammy Ruth for holding down the fort in my absence, and even managing to accomplish some schoolwork with our three rambunctious boys!! I’m so grateful to both of you for your hard work while I was away.
I leave you with a short video clip of Baby Lilian showing off her cuteness. Please excuse the silly woman in the background who is trying to speak “baby talk” while filming. :-) (Note: you must click on the link below to see Lilian’s video.)
I never, ever thought I’d be writing a post with this title.
Today marks exactly 17 months that we have been on the Gladney list of families who await a referral for the child/children we will be matched to for adoption.
Given the date, it seems rather fitting that just this morning, a social worker from Gladney visited us in our home to perform the required update to our Home Study. Each 18 months the home study must be briefly updated to reflect any changes in the family/home. (Our changes by the way were rather boring overall: in the 18 months since our last home study, we have added two little rabbits to the household, and Jay and I have each turned 40.) I HOPE that our adoption process will not stretch out so much longer that we will need to have yet another update before our daughter is home, unless we, for some reason end up moving houses. But…I just don’t know.
When we began this process just a little over 2 years ago, the average wait time after all your paperwork was complete to referral was 9 months. The process has lengthened considerably now and there really is no “predictable” average wait time anymore. The best guess as to how much longer we will wait for our referral is, conservatively, a year from now. Even my 6 year-old can do the math on how many months of waiting that will be, but it is too sad to me to type that number out here. Perhaps (I HOPE!) it will be sooner than that, but realistically speaking, that’s what it looks like today.
Increased wait times are mostly due to increased scrutiny in Ethiopia into the adoption process. Much more information and paperwork are being required by the Ethiopian government to go along with each adoption case, particularly relating to investigation into each child’s background prior to them being cleared for adoption. All of this takes more time and manpower, and as a result, far fewer referrals can be given out each month.
After our referral, we wait for a court date, which is scheduled at about 3 months after referral. We make a first trip to Ethiopia for that court date, and that is when we will finally get to meet our daughter (we can’t wait!!). However, we are not cleared to bring her home till after waiting another couple of months for an Embassy date — basically, for her visa to be ready. Right now, the estimated time from referral till a family brings their new son or daughter home is about six months. It could be less, but it could be more.
If all this sounds incredibly long, well, that’s because it is incredibly long!! And yes, it is hard, hard, hard. But as hard as this wait is for us here, I know for certain that the increased wait times are much harder on the children and their caregivers in Ethiopia. And the sad fact is that the longer the wait times are overall, the fewer children who are in need of families will ultimately come home and be welcomed into a family, their family. That makes my heart hurt incredibly.
I have been horrible about updating this blog. Truly, life is full, things are busy, and the fact is that most of us find it simpler to type out a quick little status update on Facebook than to sit down and write a blog post that hardly anyone is going to read anyway. I hope to blog more in the future, if only because in the past, I have so appreciated the account here of our family’s growth and change. Perhaps in the coming months, I will have the joy of blogging about our newest family member, a little girl whom we do not yet know, but who is very real to each of us as we think of her and pray for her daily. She has a place in each of our hearts, and we feel so privileged to wait for her.
May God be with all of those who wait, the children and the families. May He comfort those who mourn, be close to those who are brokenhearted, and place the lonely in families.
I want to share a recipe given to me by a dear, old friend who is not really old at all, but with whom I share an “old” friendship, at least in my view of things. In fact, I guess I have known Steph for just about 20 years now. Whew!
Stephanie shared this pork roast recipe with me long ago, and I have played with it and added a couple things along the way. It’s easy, it’s fairly inexpensive, and you can either eat it at home with family for Monday night supper like we did tonight, or cook it for company if you want to!
Take a center cut pork loin roast of any size. This is a fairly lean but also pretty inexpensive portion of the piggie.
You will need:
* several tablespoons of a nice spicy mustard
* copious amounts of minced garlic
* fresh rosemary
* 4-5 slices of bacon (I like the center cut variety)
Rinse your roast and pat dry. Douse your roast with the mustard. Slather the spicy stuff all over — don’t worry that you are using too much.
Next, chop/mince/dice or do whatever you like to do to garlic — and spread that atop the mustarded loin.
Remove the rosemary “leaves” from their stems, cut finer if you prefer, and sprinkle the rosemary over the garlic.
I forgot to take a picture of this next part, and I’m sorry for that. Keep in mind there are often at least two or three short people trying to ask me important questions/share vital information while I attempt to get supper in the oven. Usually there are dogs sniffing around also, greatly interested in the goings-on at counter level in the kitchen. If things are especially interesting, the resident rabbit will also have been brought into the room at this time to offer tips and advice on preparing the evening’s meal. Evidently, I am easily distracted.
At any rate, you’ll have to use your imagination for this step: just lay a few slices of the bacon along the top side of the roast, ends touching or barely overlapping. I usually use about four for a 3 to 4 pound roast.
I like to cook this recipe on a little roasting rack in the pan so the juices gather easily underneath and enhance the flavor of the dish, but it’s not necessary. Pop the porkie in the oven and roast at about 400 degrees until the roast is cooked to about 155-160 degrees in the middle.
Now here is the important part: do NOT attempt to cook this roast if your meat thermometer is broken. I may have learned this the hard way today. Let’s just say that when your meat thermometer says 180 degrees and the inside of your roast is so undercooked that it’s still oinking, well, you may be fairly certain that aforementioned thermometer is no longer of any use. You will, at this point, in an effort to avoid giving your loved ones food poisoning, overcook the lovely roast so that it more closely resembles shoe leather than nice, tender gently-cooked pork loin. (Sigh.)
Even overcooked, this dish is still pretty good, but please take my word for it, and use a thermometer that works! When your meat is done, slice it thinly, and be sure to cut up plenty of the bacon to enjoy with the roast. Spoon the wonderfully rich roasting juices from the bottom of the pan over the meat to serve it, and your family will devour this meal, lick their fingers, and declare you the bestest cook ever!!
If you get tired of eating the leftovers, the sliced meat transitions beautifully into barbequed pork you can serve as sandwiches a couple nights later!
Today I am thankful for blue sky breaking through the clouds, for hot coffee after a chilly morning walk, for old friends and time to catch up, for the fun of introducing a fourth child to the warmth and humor that is Paddington Bear (and the snuggles I get whenever I find time to squeeze in yet another chapter), and for Chicken Pad Thai.
I am thankful that food and other supplies we need (plus a whole lot more that we don’t!) are a couple of blocks away and so simply acquired. My family doesn’t know what it is to be in want for sustenance or even a treat.
I am thankful for wonderful thunder storms and much-needed rain; for coming home to a warm and cozy house after being drenched in aforementioned rain during our grocery shopping; for songs that are so happy they make me cry, and for gluten free pie crusts in my Whole Foods’ freezer case.
I am thankful for….a day of rest.
Today I am thankful for friends both old and new, those nearby and others who are far away. I am glad for sweet friends for my children…what a blessing to have kids who pop in and out of each others’ homes and feel like family. Thankful for friends who love me and encourage in this stage of life, wonderful women whom I learn so much from, and who are just a blast to spend time with. Thankful for folks who have known us a long, long time and love us still. Thankful for folks who laugh and cry with us, who celebrate joys and disappointments as they come, and who are kind enough to allow us share in the stuff of their lives as well. We are blessed.
Today I am thankful for roller skating with friends, for long trips to the library with kids, for a date night out with Hubby, for my children’s enthusiasm and joy about so many things in life.
We entered the library this afternoon while an elderly lady was leaving. She looked my brood over, thanked the two boys who’d held the door for her, and instead of the “My, you’ve got your hands full!” comment I am subjected to most every time a random stranger says something to me about our family, this lady smiled at me and said, “Oh, it is so good to see children who are happy for a change!” And I blinked a little because I was so shocked, but then smiled at her, and said thank you for saying something so kind.
So today I am also thankful for encouraging words from complete strangers, and the reminder again of how blessed I am.
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Today I am thankful for all the teachers in my children’s lives. Despite the term “Home Schooling”, there is much we learn about in settings outside of our home, and a great many more teachers are involved in this endeavor than just me!
These teachers gently guide, and nurture creativity and a love for learning in each of our kids, and are a huge blessing to our family. While there is not space to mention all of them, I especially love and appreciate our piano teacher, who is fun and amazing, and who meets each child where they are, and helps them to create the most beautiful music. I am thankful that my boys have the opportunity to work and learn with a brilliant engineer who teaches them all about the science behind electrical and mechanical systems and then guides them in building all sorts of woodworking projects, circuits, electronics, and more: something I wouldn’t even begin to know how to do even if I wanted to! I am grateful for a dear friend who teaches Latin beautifully to my three oldest, since I cannot. And my little budding artist is thriving under the care and encouragement of her art instructors who are not only fabulous artists but amazing people.
My personal favorite teacher this year is not being compensated in any monetary fashion for his wonderful work with Abigail. I think that is partly because you cannot put a price on how cool it is for a 12 year old girl to enjoy learning General Science under the loving and watchful eye of her grandfather. Grandy John doesn’t seem to mind too much that he is grossly overqualified to teach 7th grade science, and the two of them are having a blast exploring the subject together. They do several experiments each week to reinforce/illustrate whatever it is they are studying about. Here is a pic I snapped of the two of them earlier this year; despite the looks of it, no, Grandy is not teaching Abigail to concoct mixed drinks in General Science!! (At least, not yet!).