Monday, November 30, 2009

A Fine Combination of Geeky Meets Pop Culture

Magnolia now has her own twitter account. So far she's following Tyra Banks, the New York Times, John Mayer, and WIRED Science. She's also following our cat, Lucy, but that's because we made her do it. Should she follow you, too? You can let us know by following Magnolia on twitter or by sending an e-mail to Magnolia's new e-mail address: findingmagnolia at me dot com.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Shopping Reminder!

Cyber Monday is upon us, not to mention the rest of the holiday shopping season, and with it comes an excellent opportunity for you to help us fund our adoption by shopping online. It won't cost you any extra money, just a bit of time to register through OneCause.com.

OneCause is a nontraditional fundraising program in which online merchants donate a percentage of the sales made through the OneCause website to a charity of your choice. A number of merchants that I already order from are part of OneCause, including Amazon.com, Target, iTunes, Gap, J. Crew, and my fave, Boden. We have registered with OneCause to support the National Adoption Foundation, and the National Adoption Foundation will give 50% of what is raised back to us. That means that if a retailer gives 2% of the sale back to OneCause, we would get 1% and the National Adoption Foundation would get 1% to continue their good work. So here’s how you make it happen:

1. Click here to be taken to the OneCause page for the National Adoption Foundation.

2. Click on “Support this Cause” and register.

3. Once you are registered, click on the My Home tab and find the “Supporter Crediting” link on the left hand side, under the “My Profile Settings” heading.

4. Check the “Enroll in the National Adoption Foundation Supporter Crediting Program” box.

5. Enter marymuses@gmail.com as the e-mail address in the box provided.

6. Remember to log into OneCause to do your internet shopping. Use the “Search Merchants” box in the upper right hand corner to find the merchants you usually use, and take advantage of the ability to favorite the ones you use the most.

And that’s it! Happy shopping!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Your Assistance is Requested

As many of you know, Jarod and I are working on opening a Storenvy shop to fundraise for our adoption. It will include various handmade goods and also t-shirts and tote bags with our Finding Magnolia logo on them. I've got a basic design down for the shirts/bags, but it lacks a certain something. Like awesomeness. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to improve upon our current design. The basics need to remain the same. In particular, on the design that includes the Africa outline, the flower needs to be in that spot because that's where Ethiopia is. I'd prefer to stick to a single ink color for printing, but two or three colors would be fine if it makes the design extra super awesome. So here we go:

Text only design, for shirts:

finding magnolia text design

Africa outline design for shirts and tote bags:

finding magnolia africa design

Also, if you care to weigh in on shirt and bag colors, please do. We'll do girlie shirts and unisex shirts.

If your design is chosen, I will not only be forever grateful to you, but I will also bake you something delicious and either deliver it personally or ship it (depending on your location, of course).

Now get to it! I need you!

Class Clown

One of the requirements for adoption through our agency is that we take a parenting class. We needed to either have it done or be registered in one prior to dossier submission. I had a little trouble finding a class that would work for us--it was either newborn care or a series of classes for troubled families. We chose newborn care, and our agency approved, even though Magnolia will not be a newborn when we bring her home. The class was fine, but we both felt that we learned a lot more from the DVD series and the other exercises we've done. Aside from the latest info on SIDS, there wasn't a lot that was new to me. And that's okay. We did get to play with fake babies, and since no one else in our class was adopting internationally, let alone from Ethiopia, I was able to snag the only fake baby that was not pasty pale or very slightly tan. It was nice not to have to fight over the cutest baby doll in the box. It might have come to fisticuffs; instead it just came to silliness.

we look alike!

We kind of look alike, don't we? Clearly this was meant to be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Onward We Trudge

Once all this paperwork stuff is done and gone, I'll start posting photos of the crafty things I do to get ready for the baby, and won't that be more fun? It will! You know it will!

The good news is that we have just three documents left to procure before I can head to the Secretary of State's local office to have everything state certified. Two are documents that we originally planned to do on Monday, but our notary was entering a casserole contest, and if someone is entering a casserole contest, I firmly believe they should be free from all other obligations in order to focus on their casserole. This is the law of casseroles, may it be written forever and ever, amen. No letters of police clearance shall interfere. We rescheduled to get those next Monday afternoon, and it's not bothering me because I know it's going to get done, and it will get done, and there will be two other people there with me, so even if I feel a little sheepish and afraid to insist upon what we need, I've got backup. It's always good to have backup. The third document is our I-171H form, which will come from USCIS (immigration), and we need our home study to attach to the application before that process gets rolling. But the home study is in the works, all those documents (a whole separate set, yes, that's right) have finally arrived at our agency's doorstep, and so I'm not too worried about that either.

We did recently find out that the wait for healthy baby girls is longer than it once was, so I am adjusting to that news and trying not to think too hard about it. The time will pass quickly regardless of whether we wait more than a year or if there happens to be a special needs baby for us before then. I still stand by my original statement that either way is good. If we wait longer, we have longer to save up for the referral and travel fees so our loan will be smaller.* If the wait is shorter, we'll have a very cute baby sooner. It only gets hard when I see other people having kids while we wait or when I think about my age. On that first point, well, I should also remember that those people no longer have the luxury of sleeping in, and also, Mary, it's not a contest. On that second point, well, there's nothing to be done about that except use more eye cream.

And so: onward we trudge. Someday you will show up here to check in on our progress and I will not say a word about paperwork. You'll either fall over dead from the shock or sigh a huge sigh of relief that the tedium is over. I hope it's the latter; we'd like to keep you around to see our really cute baby.

*And also I'll have more time to do baby crafts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Got It!

Yesterday all the stars and planets aligned, and TA-DA! I have my doctor's letter. Relief! Today we got another document, and Monday we will get one notarized and two more fresh off the KCPD printer, and that will be that for collection and notarization. Next up will be state certification, and then getting through immigration, and then the dossier will be complete, and we will officially be a waiting family.

Lately I've been feeling guilty when I tell people that we have requested the most sought after of all orphans, the Ethiopian baby girl. We are part of the problem, not part of the solution! OH NO! But our reason for requesting a baby is simply that we are just starting our family, and we feel that, for us, a baby is the right way to begin. The girl part, well...I have a lot of experience with children, and I do dearly love the boys I have cared for, but when it came to how I envisioned myself as a mother, a girl just seemed to be the right fit. That probably sounds terrible to those of you who have no preference and will gladly take whatever (um, whomever?) (still doesn't sound right) you are given. The thing is that there are a lot of choices to be made when it comes to adoption, and our choice is for a baby girl. Frankly, I am not among the "as young as possible" crowd, and definitely not among the "perfectly healthy" crowd. This doesn't make me better or more compassionate, it just makes me who I am, with my strengths and weaknesses on full display in a way that isn't always very flattering.

We do intend to do this again someday, and hopefully from Ethiopia so that our children will share a common heritage. At this point I envision us with a second daughter, but older, perhaps joining us when she is four or five or six. But who knows? Perhaps things will have changed by then, or perhaps I will have changed by then, or maybe a little boy who needs his nose wiped will catch my eye, and that will be it. I remain open. Years ago when I thought about adoption, I assumed it would be an older child from Russia, perhaps of the non-blonde-haired-blue-eyed variety since everyone seems to be clamoring for those, while I prefer darker beauties. Later I imagined that it would be a girl from China, and yet here we are endeavoring to adopt a baby from a different continent altogether. Maybe Forrest Gump was right, and you really never know what you're going to get. Honestly, I kind of like it that way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Doctor's Office Hates Babies

Well, maybe not, but they apparently hate answering the phone and returning calls. Or maybe they're too busy giving flu shots to their high risk clientele. After all, the name of the practice has the word geriatrics in it. Perhaps it's a time of geriatric illness? And they're just swamped? I find it to be kind of ridiculous. I like my doctor, but I'll be changing if this is what it's going to be like.

And, apparently, I'll be calling several times a day trying to get their attention. I don't like being the squeaky wheel. It's gone beyond growing as a person at this point, don't you think? I had no idea that getting a simple form signed by my doctor was going to be this much of a hassle. In fact, some of the things I thought would be a total pain have been easy, and the things I thought would be easy have been downright inconvenient. I will note this for next time.

I know that getting adoption paperwork together has nothing on the physical effects of actually being pregnant and delivering something the size of a watermelon out a very personal area of the body (or, alternatively, getting one's abdomen sliced open to get the baby out), but I do think I have this in common with some bio moms: once the pregnancy (in our case, the paper pregnancy) is over, I don't want to think about it again until it's time to make it happen one more time.

UPDATE: They called me back, and of course the phone didn't ring. In all my messages, I requested an appointment between 3 and 5, and they gave me an appointment...at noon. NOON. Which is not between 3 and 5, in case you hadn't figured that one out. Luckily, my friend-turned-personal-notary can go at noon, and the family I work for tomorrow is able to be flexible with the hours they need me. Big props to Jen and to the Whitmans. You're fantastic!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Priorities

Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one who doesn't have a specially decorated adoption binder. Because we do not have one of those, and it appears that a lot of people in the online adoption world do. Am I missing something by not decorating a three-ring binder? There is absolutely nothing decorated or three-ring about our particular system. All our documents are in a manila folder with the master list, complete with check boxes for each stage (requested, obtained, notarized, state certified), clipped to the outside. It's quite utilitarian. I guess when it comes to cute, I've been focusing on clothes (boy, have I ever, to a shameful degree) and nursery decor. I briefly considered a sweet little accordion folder, but decided I'd rather get something for her to wear off the clearance rack. I've got priorities, people, and the level of attractiveness of my paperwork doesn't even make the list.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Worrywart

Pretty much I worry about silly things. I'm going to start scanning and sending document copies to our adoption consultant so she can look over them, and I am suddenly worried that I did every single one of them wrong. It will all be a giant do-over, and it will all be my fault! Or, my favorite, we will probably have to wait forever to get our baby, and then I'll be OLD!

Let's face it--compared to a good many people I know, I'm already on the ancient side when it comes to starting a family. It's not like another year or more will make it that much worse. And besides, I need to stop comparing myself to other people. I need to stop comparing my timeline to other adoptive families' timelines. There's nothing productive about obsessing about things that are beyond my control. It's not even a good trick to pull out at parties.

So I guess I'll just get back to my paperwork, then. Sooner or later, I'll know if I did every document wrong (probably not) or if I am, indeed, OLD. Oh, wait, I already know the answer to that second one. So never mind.
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