Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where do I start?

It was this time last year that I stopped blogging for seven months. I had no intention of repeating history, but I can now clearly remember why I stopped. The sun shines, the garden calls… Harry and I wake up early and play outside til the sun goes down.

So much has happened since I last wrote here, so much that beginning again seemed overwhelming and I let time pass.

Shortly after my last post Harrison turned two. And he is 100% two, by the way. He is so fun and so strong-willed. And everyday I feel more on top of the world to have this amazing little person as my son. And everyday I feel like being a mother is the most impossible job ever.

My mom has been staying with us on and off and it is such a blessing to have her here. I have missed having her so close and can’t wait until she can come back permanently.

Tim built me an amazing vegetable garden. I did a little research and planned it out and he worked himself to the bone for four Saturdays. It is fantastic. He has never been the handy type at all, in fact I have done pretty much all the handyman work for most of our marriage. So it is all the more special how much time and work he put into it. The garden in done, now he is putting in a walkway around it. I will post photos over in our albums. You will be impressed!

Our adoption process has hit more than a few bumps in the road. We have had very difficult decisions to make and basically haven’t really been able to move forward in the past 6 weeks. In fact, we’ve moved backward. Here’s the story…

We found an agency we loved. They had everything we wanted, but they were still in the process of getting licensed by the Ethiopian government. They were expected to have their licensing within a month, so they encouraged us to sign on, work on our homestudy and dossier and then we would be ready soon after they were licensed. I had reservations, but really liked them so we moved forward with that plan. Our goal was to adopt 2 children younger than Harrison. Our ideal situation would have been to bring home a 6 month old baby girl and an 18 month old baby boy when Harry was about 2 ½ . So they would each be about a year apart. We were willing to be flexible, but still, two babies under two is a tricky request. Our agency was fine with it.

I knew that adopting two at once would present challenges. Attaching with 2 children at once couldn’t be easy, since I knew first-hand attaching with just one baby presented a lot of challenges. And the sheer amount of work involved in having 3 kids under three…scary! Then there is Harrison, through his little eyes… “Mommy and Daddy leave me for 10 days and when they return they bring not one, but two babies home who take up so much of the time that was just mine.”

But the positives out weighed the negatives in our minds. We really are not trying to be a “global family” with one child from each of eight countries. We would like each of our children to have someone else in the family that shares their country of birth/ethnicity. Guatemala is closed and no one can say for sure we will ever be able to return there for another child. Nor can anyone say what the future holds in Ethiopia. Adopting two babies at once would ensure we would not run into this problem again.

So when our homestudy agency told us they do not approve the adoption of two non-related children, we knew our chances of finding a baby boy under two with a younger sister would be nothing short of miraculous. We were stunned. We had paid a nice chunk of money and submitted a nice chunk of the paperwork. I called other agencies, we could go elsewhere and be approved. It took us almost a month to decide but in the end we opted to stay with our homestudy agency.

Then, I emailed our adoption agency to see if there was any news on their licensing. They told us that Ethiopia is currently investigating several agencies and has decided to freeze all applications for licensing. They told us they had set up a networking agreement with another agency and that agency would process the adoptions for our agencies clients. I have never felt comfortable with this. It just seems ripe with problems. I have known others who have been involved in these situations and I think they could have saved themselves a lot of headache (and often heartache) if they just dealt with one agency. Plus, I keep reading that this practice is illegal in Ethiopia. Our agency assures us it perfectly legal and they have read the actual laws. But how can we know for sure? We really can’t.

We are now restarting our homestudy and searching for a new agency, one that has it’s own license in Ethiopia. Adoption never ceases to be a rollercoaster. It is in times like these that I love when people tell me how easy I have it, because I don’t have to go though pregnancy and childbirth. Nothing about adoption is easy. When they tell me how lucky I am to not be getting stretch marks, and they have no idea the wrinkles and gray hairs that I’ll get instead.