June 20, 2008


I have already come to love the beautiful country of Ethiopia and its people. It is situated near the Red Sea and is surrounded by the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan in Eastern Africa. Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. In fact, the oldest remains ever found (a woman given the name "Lucy") was recently unearthed there. Ethiopia is also the poorest country in the world. It's population is approximately 75,000,000, half of which are under the age of 20.

Ethiopia's seasons are different from ours. I am hoping to travel in October or November which is their Spring. Summer begins in January and I will definitely want to miss that! It's calendar system is also different from ours. They have 12 months of 30 days each and then a 13th month with 5 or 6 days. The beginning of each of their months begin in the middle of ours.

I am looking forward to traveling there and meeting the people. To see some incredible photos of the country, people and its beautiful orphans, go to http://www.whfc.org/ - click on Adoption Programs / Ethiopia / individually on 2007 Photos and 2008 photos.

June 11, 2008

The Switch

I terminated the San Diego agency and hired the Oregon agency. They were very nice about it – and I am still retaining them for post placement reports. Ethiopia requires 3 follow up reports by a licensed social worker at 3, 6 and 12 months after adoption. Reports are then due annually until the child is 18 years old; however, those will be submitted by me. Both agencies are currently working together to transfer paperwork.

The new agency (Adoption Avenues Agency) tells me I will have a referral within 2 to 4 months of dossier submittal. Once I accept the referral, all the Ethiopian paperwork will begin and a court date will be set. One to two months after the referral is accepted by me, I will travel to Addis Ababa for one week. I also have the option of having the child escorted to the USA; however, it is recommended I travel to Ethiopia in order to begin bonding with the child in her own environment. Also, should it be discovered the child has major medical problems while I am there, or if there are any other difficulties, I would be able to get another referral. I plan to go there as I want to see where my child came into the world. And God bless my sister-in-law Kathy who still plans to travel with me. She really wanted to see Russia and I’ve bounced her all over the world. Kathy, was Ethiopia high on your list of places you really wanted to see?

For those of you not familiar with what a dossier is – it is a ton of paperwork that needs to be completed, notarized, authenticated and translated prior to being sent to the country of adoption. I was very near completion for Kyrgyzstan, so hopefully Ethiopia wants the same type of paperwork. It contains very detailed information regarding my medical history, assets, family, employment, police clearance/fingerprints, birth certificate, guardianship, home study/recommendation, and verification of residence, just to name a few of the required documents.

As fate should have it, my I-600A USCIS (Immigration) form had not been approved yet, so I do not have to file an Amended form. Apparently the individual who live scanned me input the incorrect birth date, holding up approval and saving me about $200. When the revised home study is complete, it will be sent to USCIS to be matched up with the I-600A. That gives me the permission of Homeland Security to bring an adopted orphan into the USA.

There you have it – the current status on my road to motherhood.

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”

June 8, 2008

The Beginning

I seem to be living my life in reverse. I was born 6 weeks early. I was supposed to arrive at Christmas, but my Dad said I smelled the turkey and decided to come early. I was small at birth, but size-wise caught up fast. By looking at me today, you'd never guess that I was preemie; although I've discovered that I exhibit a lot of the characteristics common of children born before their time.

I hated school, but loved to shop. I got my first job at age 13 and have been working ever since. It took awhile for me to catch up academically, but made it through and graduated from high school with straight A's. I didn't want to go to college, but my parents encouraged me to at least finish junior college, which I did, mostly to please them. And then I started working full time.

I had always planned on getting married and having a large family, but God obviously had other plans for me. I say this because I am nearing the big '50' and I'm still single. But I'm not complaining.

To fill my life I did what most retired people do; I traveled the world! I have visited such exotic places as the Canary Islands, Morocco, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy (my personal favorite), France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Ephesus, Istanbul, England, Ireland, China, Japan, and Israel to name a few. Typically after one retires and travels, they buy a vacation home and relax. I wasn't ready for that yet (nor could I afford it), so what does one do to occupy her time?

This girl went back to school to obtain the degree she never got. I started college in 2003, well into my 40's. It was tough, but I never stopped. At one time I was working full time while taking 9 units. I am proud to say I graduated from Chapman University in 2007.

So, what does a single woman do when she's finished college? Most, I would say, find a husband, get married and start a family. Once again I'm deciding to skip a step.

I remember as I was growing up I always had a soft spot in my heart for children. I would see pictures of the little kids starving in Somalia or some other third world country and my heart would ache for them. I wanted to adopt every single one of them. I would beg my Mom (a mother of 8!) to adopt some of them promising to help her. She thought she had enough kids already, imagine that! I always wanted to work in an orphanage, and my friend Dana often told me I could run an adoption agency on my own. I have volunteered my time at Orangewood Children's Home and most recently as a CASA; however, there was still a yearning inside of me. I believe God has been leading me to this stage for a long, long time. It took awhile, but I am now clear on what He wants me to do.

Throughout my discernment process, I made it a point not to talk to anyone about this as I wanted the decision to be my own. Late in February of 2008 my answer came to me through a little girl (Mary Kate) who always sits in front of me at Church; and I decided to adopt a daughter of my own.

Having received positive responses and resounding support from my family and friends, I started researching and surfing the web like I've never surfed before. Initially I believed I was to adopt from Ukraine and started down that path, but was soon told I was too old and would have to take an older child. Since then, Ukraine has passed a law that refuses to allow single persons to adopt.

I then researched Russia and thought that would be an ideal location. I signed a contract with an agency in San Diego that said I would be able to adopt a toddler; but just as my home study was being finalized, laws changed in Russia and I was told at best, I would be offered a 3 or 4 year old. I spoke with the agency director and asked what country would allow me to adopt a child under 18 months. He suggested Kyrgyzstan and said I would be able to adopt a little girl from 3 months to 24 months of age. So the home study was completed and the dossier paperwork began. I was also placed on "the list". I was told there were 15 families ahead of me for an infant girl.

A family that had already received a referral recently traveled to Kyrgyzstan. While there, they discovered the baby girl had a medical problem that they were not capable of handling, so they chose to decline the referral. To my amazement there were no other infant girls available for this family to adopt. So they made the long trip back home. Now, after being on "the list" for nearly a month, I have actually been bumped back a space and there are now 16 families ahead of me.

This distressed me because I realized that there really is not a "need" for adoptive parents for infants/toddlers in Kyrgyzstan, so I started researching again. I wanted to go where there were children waiting for a forever family to take them home and love them. I already love my daughter, wherever she is, and I was determined to find her.

My search led me to a country that I hadn't even considered initially - Ethiopia. That country has over SIX MILLION orphans! This is a country where medical care and supplies are scarce and hundreds of children are orphaned daily. There are so many orphans awaiting to be adopted that I am told I will most likely receive a referral as early as 2 months after dossier submittal. Travel is typically about 2 months after that. Kyrgyzstan was going to require two trips; the first for about 2+ weeks and the second thirty days later for 7 to 10 days. Ethiopia only requires one trip for about a week. And did I mention that agency and country fees are about 1/3 that of Eastern European adoptions?

Tomorrow I will send my contract termination letter to the San Diego agency and sign up with an agency located in Oregon. As my dossier is near completion, all I need to do is notify U.S. Immigration of my country change. As soon as I get clearance from Homeland Security, I will wait anxiously for my referral. I cannot wait to hold my little girl in my arms and bring her home.