Sunday, April 21, 2013

I discovered what is NOT my true calling...

In case I needed solid evidence, I discovered yesterday that my true calling in life is definitely not to become a firefighter, or any other emergency personnel for that matter.  While I was pre-heating the oven to bake muffins (a typical and once- thought safe activity), the oven started to make the most awful noise, like metal objects were flying around inside of it. Then a whole bunch of sparks flew out of the oven, followed by some smoke. My first reaction, of course, was some wordless screams. After that I had collected myself enough to scream specific things: "FIRE!", "MATT!", "SPARKS!", "MATT!". By the time Matt got to the kitchen, the sparks had died down and he was able to bravely turn off the oven. It turns out the "heater thing" in our very old oven broke and was sending electricity everywhere. I"m just happy it didn't happen while I was out walking the dogs and nobody was home. So, there is no more baking right now for me and definitely no applying to firefighter jobs!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

We Passed Court!

The last week has been tough on me. We hadn't received any updates on our baby in a month and our agency kept promising us new pictures of him, but we never got any (and checking my email 100 times a day didn't help any either). We still do not have any new pictures, but we received even bigger news yesterday: Our adoption has been approved in DRC court. This came as quite a surprise since we did not know our case was even ready to go to court and nobody told us we had been assigned a court date. I don't know all the details of how it worked out. All I know is that a process that is estimated to take four months only took one month for us. Even our case worker said this all happened "miraculously fast". It is definitely nice that something happened faster than usual and helps make up for the fact that our home study stretched on for seven months instead of the usual four.

The post- adoption documents are now being translated into English so we can begin our work with the US Embassy. Next week we will begin filling out the I600 immigration paperwork. While we work on that, the process of obtaining a passport for our son starts. After the 5-6 weeks it takes USCIS to approve our I600 paperwork, the Embassy finally begins their 3-6 month long orphan investigation. It does seem backward that the Embassy investigates an orphan's eligibility for adoption at the very last possible stage of the process. You would think that would be the first thing done, but I guess they don't want to invest too much time in a child until a family is working on adopting him.

Anyway, when the Embassy can verify that our baby meets US orphan status, they will issue him an US immigrant visa. Then we can finally fly to Congo and bring him home. We still have some long waits ahead, but we are finally on the last stretch of this process. Right now we are figuring we will bring our son home sometime next winter.

there is no better way to celebrate than with homemade chocolate cake

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

We are home (tired, but happy) from a wonderful 12 day visit with our families in Virginia and North Carolina {and, yes, it did take three modes of transportation to get from Idaho to everybody's houses on the East Coast.}

First, we flew to the Washington, D.C. area to visit Matt's family over Easter weekend. It was so nice to visit with Matt's parents, his younger brother, older sister and brother- in- law, two very cute nieces, and uncle and aunt. Most of the time was spent catching up, but we managed outings to a children's museum in Baltimore and Shenandoah National Park. I am ashamed to say we were quite unprepared for our trip to Shenandoah. It was in the 60s and sunny when we left the house, but a storm blew in that afternoon. There was still some significant snow on the ground, which surprised us, and the storm quickly made the temperatures drop and created some very gusty winds. Matt and his brother braved a short hike in the snow while Matt's parents and I waited in the warm car. We had a nice scenic drive and a frigid picnic and called it a day. I guess you never know what to expect in springtime in the mountains.

We decided to take Amtrak from Washington, DC to Raleigh, NC to visit my dad and his wife. Usually we rent a car and drive, but our trips always became much longer than expected because of bad traffic or getting lost. With Amtrak, we didn't have to stress over traffic or directions, but we still arrived close to two hours late due to engine trouble. We are still looking for the best way to travel from Virginia to North Carolina....

In North Carolina we had a nice time visiting with my family and enjoyed some lovely spring weather. We spent a lot of time in downtown Raleigh exploring historic areas and museums. We also visited an old gristmill, an old cotton farm and went on a hike at Raven Rock State Park. The hike was fun, but the crowds were a shock. Hiking outside of Raleigh is much different than hiking outside of our tiny Idaho town, where we might come across only a couple people and a pack horse. But, we couldn't beat the company or the pleasant weather.

All of the travelling was tiring, but all in all we had a great time visiting with everybody. It was so nice to see how excited our family is to meet our Baby Boy. We soaked up everybody's love and interest and excitement to give us the emotional support we need for the rest of our adoption. We can't wait to bring our baby home and have him meet the rest of our family.

Easter Family Photo (Matt's side of the family in Virginia)

Easter Egg Hunt with our nieces
Shenandoah National Park (before the storm...)
Matt, my dad and me exploring historic Raleigh

 Beautiful historic house in Raleigh

Historic Yates Mill, NC
(a very pleasant park to stroll around and watch the abundance of turtles and birds)

Hiking at Raven Rock State Park, NC