Monday, February 25, 2013

Dog Walking Misadventure

 On our daily walk around the field behind my house, the dogs and I had some unwelcome excitement. A neighbor dog that always barks viciously at us behind a fence got loose today. As we walked by he immediately charged us. He attacked Yukon repeatedly by jumping up and trying to bite his back and neck. He was in complete, brutal, ferocious fight mode. All I could do was try to keep them separated as much as possible because I knew if Yukon had the chance to fight back, the other dog would just fight that much harder and maybe turn on Copper also. As he attacked Yukon, I screamed at him to go away (trying to sound authoritative, but probably sounding more panicky). Luckily, he was just tame enough to hesitate at the sound of my screams for a couple of seconds so I could pull the dogs away about a foot. Then he charged Yukon again and started biting his back and neck. This attack- scream- hesitate- pull cycle repeated itself several times before we were finally far enough away for him to lose interest. We made it home uninjured. For all of that dog's attack efforts, I think he was only getting mouthfuls of fur.

I don't understand why, but the dog focused his attacks solely on Yukon, the much bigger, furrier, stronger dog. I am so glad he did because he would have torn Copper to shreds, if I couldn't have separated them. Not only is Copper's hair much shorter, but he also has zero aggression to other dogs. If he couldn't run away or hide, I"m pretty sure he would let another dog tear him apart. Yukon, on the other hand, has a wonderful natural defense system (his very long fur, including an incredibly thick mane) and he has no issues with defending himself, his home, his family against other dogs or anything else.  I guess that is the difference between hound dogs and guard dogs- hound dogs are bred to be overall friendly with people and dogs while guard dogs always have an aggresive streak in them. We have experienced Yukon's bravery in other situations, but today I fully realized the benefits of his fur coat. As a house dog, we always complain about his shedding and dirty fur, but if he were living his life as a livestock guard dog, this protection would be invaluable. Matt and I had decided that our next dogs will be short- haired to make dog and house maintenance easier, but what happened today may have changed my mind a least until Yukon's next shedding season.

Yukon, Great Pyrenees

Copper, Redbone Coonhound

Monday, February 11, 2013

Farwell, Dossier

Today I finally mailed out our complete, official state- certified dossier to our international adoption agency for authentication and translation. Yay!! I spent several hours last night making copies, scanning papers into our computer and organizing everything. Getting this dossier together feels like a pretty big accomplishment and I am so happy to be done with it. Once our agency receives it, they will officially start looking to match us with a child. This is where the waiting really begins. Let's hope it doesn't take the full 6 months.
Our Dossier & two complete copies

This is what it takes to adopt a child from Congo- lots of paperwork!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Timeframe

When we first started the adoption process in April 2012, we thought we would be bringing our child home in the spring of 2013. This was based on our agency's expected timeframe and from the timelines of other families who had recently adopted from Congo. Then our home study took longer than it should have, so we mentally pushed back our travel date to the summer. Not too long after that our agency told us that the wait times for a referral are taking longer due to the increased popularity of the Congo program and the new requirement of the birth mothers to testify in court in Kinshasa before the orphans are available for adoption. So, we then estimated we might travel sometime around October. We have just recently been notified that there is now an additional delay of 3-6 months while the U.S. Embassy in Congo completes the orphan status investigation. We probably will not be travelling to Congo to pick up our child until January- March 2014.

When we first applied for adoption, we thought this process would only take one year. It has now been 10 months since we started and it looks like we may have a whole other year to go. (This is not even counting the two years we spent waiting before we even began the adoption process, due to financial constraints.) It is very disheartening. I was so looking forward to having our child home for Christmas. The only thing that kept me from being all- out depressed last Christmas was telling myself that it would be the last one without our baby. We really don't know when we will be able to bring our child home, but the chances of it being by this December don't look so good anymore. It is very aggravating to have already done all of this work and waiting and know we still have more ahead of us than what we have already gone through.

I guess it could be worse. At least the Congo adoption program is still open; it is just taking longer. Russia, on the other hand, has suspended adoptions with the U.S. I can't imagine the emotions that the families who already have referrals are going through. It touches our hearts pretty closely because for a long time we were planning on adopting from Russia. That could have been us right now. I suppose it is better to be where we are than to be matched with a child and then have the government close adoptions.

{sigh} I just have to keep faith that we will get there eventually.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fingerprints in Spokane

This past week we had to drive to Spokane to have our fingerprints done. During our home study we had our fingerprints done in Lewiston for our background investigation, but that was not good enough for USCIS. They required us to have them taken at the nearest USCIS office, which is in Spokane. We decided to drive out there the night before to make sure we would be there on time (in case the weather was bad). Matt's dad travels for work so he reserved our hotel room for us using his rewards points. We ended up with a two- bedroom suite that had two full baths and three nice flat- screen t.v.s. Not too shabby, considering at home we have one bathroom and we watch t.v. on our computer. We wish we could have spent more than 14 hours in the hotel room.

It took us a little while to find the right building and parking because we have not spent much time in downtown Spokane. By the time we went through security, we made it to the office a couple of minutes late. Matt's appointment was at 1:00 and mine was at 2:00. We were both finished at 1:10. (Who knows why we both had hour- long appointments.) We drove for a total of more than seven hours and spent a night in a hotel all for a fingerprint appointment that took less than 10 minutes. We love living in a small town, but I guess it's times like this that it is nice to live closer to a major city. Well, at least we accomplished another adoption task, we had nice weather and we were able to enjoy some northern Idaho scenery.

The dogs enjoyed having their own private bedroom.
They are not spoiled at all.