Wednesday, April 30, 2008

YES!!!!...... but; no.

Well..... IT CAME! The highly sought after I-171H came today!! AND.... they screwed it up. The government messed it up. Can you believe that???? I mean, I didn't think our government COULD mess up!! Okay. That is enough sarcasm. They got the approval wrong. They only approved us for one infant girl, 0-24 months. You know, after all the prayer and discussion and thought that went into making our final request in the first place.... Well, I just sort of had to laugh. So I wouldn't cry :) It really isn't a big deal. At least I don't think it will be. We'll see how long it takes Immigration to get us a new corrected form. They said 3 business days. They also said in the reply email that they rarely make mistakes and not to email back a "thank you". I kind of think that is funny. They DID rewrite the correct approval back to me in the reply email AND they got back to me in the SAME business day, instead of the two they said they were allowed to take up to-- don't ask me what I would get to do if they didn't get back to me in two days... call the "now your not even following your own rules" police??? Okay-- no more sarcasm, I promise.

For all my "non-savvy" adoption friends, let me explain what the I-171H does. I know I've said before that it is our "pass" to bring our kids into the country. It is NOT my ticket to now go to Ethiopia to pick up kids!!! I WISH! All this form does is complete a packet of about 15 or so other documents called a "Dossier" (maybe one day I'll actually count them all up) which is then shipped off to Ethiopia so that we can "get in line" so to speak. Pardon the pun-- that is not how I mean it, but that sort of how it is. At least that is how it feels, right now. But the cool thing is, you know how when your in a really long line-- I mean a REALLY, REALLY long line-- you start to chat with the people around you in the same line and by the end of the wait you have created all these new friendships and have a date to get together next week for coffee at B & N? Well, that is the wonderful thing about waiting in the adoption line. We have the honor of meeting amazing people, making new, lifelong friendships and sharing in all the ups and downs of this unique journey called "adoption". So, when the I-171H came today but it was all messed up... it was okay. Because God is in control and I'm not alone ;)

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Living with Gracious Uncertainty

No... before you have to get any further, the I-171H has not come yet. But that is okay, because I am living in "Gracious Uncertainty". It is the life filled with "breathless expectation" at what God is doing behind the scenes and causing to work for our family's good, even though we do not see it with our eyes. "Wow!" You say... "Why, Shari, that is so profound!!"... well, Friends, it is; but I did not say it or think of it on my own. It was in today's Oswald Chambers devotion. Click on his name to read it yourself. It's good stuff and just what my little pattering heart needed to remember and tuck away as we continue this wait. (Man... and all this paper does is get our stuff to ET-- so we can REALLY start waiting!)

Adoption paperwork isn't the only thing we are waiting to understand. Over the weekend, my middle son was riding in one of those caged-in, go-cart, dune buggy things (that sounds awfully accurate, doesn't it?) and the boy who was driving the go-cart, dune-buggy thing accidentally flipped it over with my almost 7 year old in it (Yes, he was wearing a helmet and buckled in). Yikes!!! Besides the shock factor which took the rest of the day to overcome, he kept his right arm dreadfully close to him at all times and cried continually about it being in pain. He refused to keep ice on it, and when Tony mentioned "hospital" and "x-ray" he about went into shock again-- AAAAAHHHHH!!! So... we opted to wrap it, splint it and wait for the morning. Tony did manage to get him to the ER on post the next morning and the x-rays revealed nothing. No break. But... I'm not so sure. It was VERY sensitive last night still, and swollen in one particular spot on the top of his hand, and puffy all around his wrist. He still can't squeeze anything with that hand. Breaks are so tough in little kiddos-- especially in those parts of the body with tons of bones and lots of space in between them, naturally. It probably isn't broken. All we can do is wait and see. Poor baby. :(

Thank you to everyone who is keeping up with us and praying for us!! Somedays it is hard to remember that we ARE indeed adopting! But, I am confident that in just the right timing, all things will come together and happen. Not just with paperwork, but throughout this roller coaster ride :D

Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where, Oh Where is our I-171H?

Please join me in singing:
(to the tune of "Where, oh where, has my little dog gone?"

Where, oh where is our I-171H (you have to say that fast)?
Where, oh where can it beeee?
I look every da-ay, but still it's not here,
Where, oh where can it be???

Where oh where is our I-171H?
Where, oh where, can it beeee?
Someone may think this is sooo fu-nny,
but I'm not la-a-au-ghing!!

Grace and Peace,
Woman who can't find her I-171H

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No real news, but a good article to read :)!

Our Yahoo Group has been hopping lately!! Lots of great discussion and debate and article sharing, too. This one in particular, I wanted to share with all of you adoring Team Dragovich fans ;D. It is an article from the BBC concerning adoption in Ethiopia, AND the orphanage they highlight at the beginning of the interview, Kids Care, is the orphanage that our agency is currently partnering with-- along with another orphanage we just began working with called Kingdom Vision International (you can find them to the right of our screen under "Adoption sites we like"). Anyway, here is the link to the article:

BBC article

On the paper chasing front... well, our home study coordinator received the green light from our family coordinator on our home study report review. She was supposed to get the report notarized yesterday, so I except to see it any day in the mail, now. She also would have sent a copy of the report to the USCIS office, so MAYBE.... SOON... we will have the coveted I-171H and can get this paper baby shipped off!! It's burning a hole in my dining room table... and I NEED that table!! It's going to be our homeschool table soon!!!!

Grace and Peace to you all,

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nothing to blog about

So why even blog? Maybe if I blog, it will SEEM like something is happening, even though it's not. Not that life isn't happening here at Team Dragovich headquarters-- plenty of life is happening here every day!! Even more life than I care for, some times-- and that's saying a lot! In fact, because we have had so much "life" lately, I decided to skip soccer practices and stay home for one whole day without going ANYWHERE!!! Now that felt weird-- but not for long. I was happy to not suck the money out of my pocketbook and into my van and I think my van was happy, too!

But, what doesn't seem to be happening is movement forward with adoption. We are still stuck on those two pieces of paper. The homestudy report and our I-171H form (immigration)-- which is waiting for the homestudy report. We have seen the draft and it has been sent to our coordinator, but I haven't seen a copy in my mailbox or gotten any confirmation that it has been sent to USCIS so they can finish their piece and get us our form. I read on another family's blog that our coordinator is getting ready to go to Ethiopia for a month beginning on Friday-- YIKES!! That is great, but I hope she finishes reviewing our report before then! And I guess if I need anything, I can contact the other coordinator at our agency??? I was REALLY hoping to have our Dossier to Ethiopia by the end of April. Okay... let me be frank here, I thought we would have it done before now. But that is not how it is working and based on watching the many families who have gone before us... I better just count this as practice :D!!

I have to say, that when I start to get anxious about how long this paperchase is taking and whether or not we have been forgotten (that sounds silly, doesn't it?), I hear the whisper of the One who knows all, sees all and directs all things... He quietly speaks, "Keep your eyes fixed on Me, Shari. Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart". My head is up, Lord!! Don't let me trip!

Grace and Peace,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Super Great Adoption Family Blog

This morning I was checking out our agency's blog site and stumbled across this family's story. They had some video posted of life with their two new girls which they adopted from Ethiopia last year. I have visited their site before and I have always enjoyed their pics and video. Today I spent more time scrolling down and discovered a TON of great videos which capture life and the adjustment of their family the past 8 months.

Drop in and be amazed at these sweet girls, their dad's awesome video work and most importantly, the love of the Father who has brought them all together!!

Click here to visit The Waal Family Blog

Just keep scrolling; you won't be disappointed :)

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bickering, Snickering and Puzzling

Yesterday evening on the way to soccer, the boys started bickering with one another. Usually, I am rolling my eyes and biting my tongue to keep from intervening and even sometimes breaking down and shutting off the fussiness before they have a chance to work it out-- I know, bad Mom. They are not big "car" arguers-- in fact, I would say we have more peace in our home than not (I am NOT talking about loudness or unruliness, just bickering)-- HOWEVER, we do have our little "seasons" of fussiness where all they seem to do is pick on each other. So, back to the car... they were bickering with one another and I have to say, it was the most HILARIOUS argument EVER!! I can't remember all the words used, but it was so civil and calm! Wyatt would say, "Isaac, could you please not move this guy's arm after I place it just how I want it?" Isaac-- "No." Wyatt-- "Isaac, could you PLEASE not move it. I worked really hard on it." Isaac-- "No." Wyatt-- "Isaac, you're so annoying." Isaac-- "Well... (pause), I don't care." On and on it went in similar fashion. Wyatt was using 98% of his vocabulary pool-- he has a LARGE vocabulary-- to express to Isaac his feelings and try to control Isaac with his words. Isaac, on the other hand, whose vocabulary is not nearly as large, but has a resolve that will knock your socks off, was tying Wyatt's tongue in knots by not saying much at all; rather flinging his darts of stubbornness for a direct hit.
This entire time, Tony and I are in the front seats doing everything we can to not bust out in hilarious laughter!!! I'm not kidding! We were turning our heads, biting our lips, covering our mouths, snickering under our breaths and coughing to keep from laughing at our two boys "go at it" in this most civilized way. Meanwhile, Sam is in the back seat feverishly looking for "slug bugs" and "PT Cruisers" (you know, the ole' "Slug Bug, No Return!" game in the car-- we added PT Cruisers to the mix) and every once in a while, in between insults, the voice of Sam yells out from the back seat of the van, "B-b-black PT Cruiser, NO PUNCH BACK!!!" as he slobbers and stutters all over himself just to get the words out! (there is no one in the back for him to "slug", by the way-- he just yells it out anyway).
The best part is that once we got to practice and everyone filed out of the car, it was as if they had held hands and sung "Kumbaya" the entire time!! Too much!! And then, as if my heart wasn't full enough from watching my three boys in action, Isaac walked up to me during the last part of Sam's practice and announced, "Mom, you know that in not so long from now, or maybe sort of long from now, we are going to have 7 people in our family. That is going to be fun!" I smiled and said, "What if we only have 6? What if we only get one baby instead of two, will that be okay?" "Yeah, I'll take 7 or 6. Both would be fun. One thing is for sure, we'll have even more people to help work on our puzzles!" (Isaac and I LOVE to puzzle. I currently have my mom's antique dining room table as our puzzle table and we just finished an African Safari puzzle by Ravensburger-- the colors are beautiful!) Now, if that didn't just burst my heart open, I don't think anything else could!! I LOVE MY BOYS :D

By the way, our social worker has our home study report finished. She emailed it to me yesterday to make some corrections. We got it done last night and shipped it back to her. She will send it to Duni for review, then send a copy off to USCIS, and we are one step closer to being done with our Dossier-- YEAH!!!!

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Our Official Request

Well, I finally was able to connect with Duni, our Family coordinator today, and spoke with her about our request. She said, what we should do is request an infant girl or a sibling group. This way, our request for a girl is a definate and if a sibling group with a girl in it becomes available, then we will get to bring home two. I have to confess that I had a to do a little "dying" to myself and my desires after that conversation. I just had it in my mind that we would bring home two kiddos from Ethiopia some time next year and at least one of them would be a girl. I have to say that there was a definate weight lifted as we gained this direction, and I certainly know that it is God's doing. But, there was still a "death". Maybe that doesn't make sense to some, but that is the best way I can think of to describe it. Tony was very easy going about it all. He was just happy to have it settled one way or the other (not that we know we will only bring home one, we could still bring home two). He didn't have any "dying" to do-- just me :).

Our home study coordinator emailed and said she is working hard to get our report done this week. She will mail a copy of the report to Immigration services so they have our approval-- for two children ages 4 or younger-- then, hopefully they won't waste their time in sending out their approval. At that point, we can put ALL our pieces together and mail off our completed dossier to America World, who will have the entire packet authenticated by THE Sec. of State... then, off to Ethiopia!! Come on April-- be our month!!!

Grace and Peace,