Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fingers Crossed

The best social worker in the whole wide world worked her social worker magic, and guess who got into the Department of Homeland Security today? That's right, yours truly. After four days of rigorous moisturization and stooping so low as to exfoliate my fingertips last night, I felt I was ready. Handily enough, Wednesday is fingerprint make-up day, and I didn't have to be to work until 11:30am, so today was the day of magic. I hope. I had the same tech as last time, and she said the prints look much better, so we're all crossing our fingers (yes, all of us, CROSS 'EM, yes, YOU) that they can be read and that it will be revealed that I do not have a secret criminal background.

And still, we are waiting for that one piece of paper, the I-171H. Broken record, I know. If you cross your fingers hard enough, perhaps we'll have different news for you within a week.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'll Need a Dental Appointment Daily Until the 20th, Please

That title will make no sense unless I preface what I'm about to tell you with the information that my dentist offers a paraffin hand dip during each visit. So. There's that.

And now there's this: another little bump in the road. I received a letter today from immigration that stated that my fingerprint card could not be read by the FBI. I've been instructed to come back at 8am on January 20th. I'm fairly certain that the problem is that my hands are so dry that there are tiny cracks in my finger pads. As the tech was doing my prints, she asked if I work with my hands a lot; when I looked at my fingerprint on the screen, I saw little splits all over my fingertips. I'm not surprised that I have to go back, but I am a bit discouraged. In the winter, my hands are the kind of dry that causes socks to stick to them when I am folding laundry; however am I going to get them moisturized well enough that all the tiny cracks will disappear for my next fingerprint appointment?

I go to the dentist on Monday; it's too bad the moisturizing effects of the paraffin hand dip won't last three weeks. Perhaps I'll come up with a dental emergency on the 19th.

It Cannot Be Helped

I've had to buy a second storage tote. Magnolia, though she might not exist yet, got a couple of Christmas presents, and then I got some stuff on clearance, and now it's just ridiculous. But I can't help myself; I'd rather have the lion's share of what we'll need and not have to worry about it once we're paying the loan for our referral fee. It's after Christmas, but I've made a list, and I'll be checking it twice, and I won't feel at ease until we've got the nursery set up. I understand that the wait for baby girls is long, and we do not even have our I-171H yet (another adoption family referred to this as "the Golden Ticket," and yes, indeed, I wholeheartedly agree with that moniker for it), but might I remind you that international adoption is unpredictable? And that there are a variety of special needs we feel comfortable with? Like a boy scout, I desire to be prepared.

Besides, once all the necessary items are purchased, I can focus on the frivolous ones. It's just not like to me resist a hippo in a dress for too awfully long.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Time to Be Grateful

First and foremost, I would like to thank those of you who have ordered from the Finding Magnolia store. We have sold more than half of our stock of cards! You are wonderful, beautiful, gifted individuals. And have I mentioned that your hair looks nice today? Seriously, thank you.

We are also grateful to have had the time to visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security this morning to have our fingerprints done. I anticipate another envelope-ripping session when that final piece of paper arrives in the mail. We are wishing, praying, hoping, and believing that it will arrive soon.

I am just so thankful to be this far along in the process. Soon the paperwork will be a distant memory, and the fun of waiting to see who our daughter is will begin. We are truly blessed and lucky. We wish you and yours a blessed and lucky holiday, too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ever Closer

Yesterday I opened up our mailbox to find an envelope from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security inside. I ripped it open immediately, and you can tell. No letter openers for us! If necessary, we use our teeth! Inside was our fingerprint appointment information, which indicated that we do not have an appointment. Wait. What? We don't have an appointment because we can go anytime the office is open within the next 84 days. We will go on Monday. The I-171H cannot be far behind, which means that we must get one last thing that I have forgotten about consistently since we began collecting paperwork: passport photos. I'm pretty sure my forgetfulness is due to the fact that the photos do not have to be notarized or state certified or anything. We just...get them. After all the chasing after notary stamps and state seals, that feels odd. I have made myself a note so that I won't forget one more time; once that I-171H shows up, I want it to be the only thing we have to prepare and put in the envelope. If there's a Christmas miracle, perhaps we will have that piece of paper soon after the new year begins. I would love that.

Magnolia McBride, we are one step closer to you, and on Monday we'll move two more steps closer. Before you know it, we will scoop you up in our arms and never let you go. Won't that feel good?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looky! Looky!

Over there, to the right, now up a bit...yep! There you go! That's the button you click to get to our Finding Magnolia Storenvy shop. At this very moment, there are note card sets in there, but there's lots more to come. We will be adding some fabulous handmade goods that have been given to us by some very stylish people, plus official Finding Magnolia tees and tote bags. If you join Storenvy, you can even follow our store to see when we put new stuff in. How fun is that? SO fun! You should try it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Window Shopping

For me, one of the joys of being in the process of adopting is that I get to do a lot of window shopping and dreaming* about what our daughter will wear and play with and ride in and such. Some things are necessities, but some things are just fun. For example, I have signed up to be notified when this dapper fellow is restocked. A grasshopper. Wearing trousers. I am deep in toy love. Actually, I am deep wearables love, too. Wild Dill carries organic, fair, natural products, and I'm hard pressed to find one thing on the site that I think is absolutely hideous. If you know me well, you'll know this is high praise coming from me.

I am encouraged by how many wonderful options there are now for children's toys, clothing, and gear. Gone are the days of brightly colored plastic geegaws being the only option. Thanks to the internet, at our fingertips there are not only places to purchase the kinds of things that we want for our daughter, but also a wealth of patterns and tutorials for making it ourselves. I imagine that we'll go for a good balance between making it ourselves and saving to buy the things we know we wouldn't do a good job creating from scratch. For example, felt food is within my range of crafting skills; a play kitchen to put it in** is not. I am excited about both the crafting and the searching for just the right items that will delight our girl.

*Okay, fine, you caught me; it's not been all window shopping and dreaming. Evidence is in the post in which our cat is wearing a baby sweater.

**How sweet is that kitchen? I realize it does not come with a refrigerator component, but it's cheaper than the Target version, and I cannot resist those wooden mushrooms. Perhaps Santa will want to bring it for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now Chasing: One Single Document

That's right, all our other documents came back just fine from the Secretary of State. Being the anal retentive detail-oriented person that I am, I put them all in order according to the list we have and tucked them neatly into their folder. I put Xs in all the boxes in the "State Certified" column. Aside from waiting for USCIS to come through for us, we are finished with the paper chase. And that one we are not so much chasing as we are just waiting for it to come to us.

I cannot express the relief I feel, looking at that folder and knowing that absolutely everything that I had to chase down is in there and done right and ready to go.

If you've got champagne, pour a glass. This is cause for celebration.

Why Am I Nervous?

This morning I dropped all of our documents except the one we are still waiting for, the I-171H, off at the Secretary of State's office to be state certified. This goes fairly smoothly for most people, but there's always a chance that there will be issues with a particular notary or a document. If you get this before 3pm, you might say a little prayer for Magnolia's paperwork. It would be perfectly lovely if everything came back just fine.

In other news, the State of California threw us a bone and certified Jarod's employment letter. It had been returned to us once, so this was a relief. I am looking forward more than ever to the great relief of turning everything in and having it out of my clammy little hands.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

USCIS FTW!!!

I just pulled our home study document copies out of my mailbox. I'm putting them with the other necessary documents so I can send in our I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition). Am I the only who thinks it's funny that the check* is made out to "Department of Homeland Security"? Something about that just doesn't seem...right. I picture Donald Rumsfeld, and he is judgmental, and dour, and he makes babies cry. I'm pretty sure of this. I guess it's good he doesn't work there anymore.

*Also, it's a kitten check. This adds to the hilarity.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dreaming Amidst the Stuff of Life

We're not many minutes away from meeting our favorite notary at the police station to finally get our police clearance letters. You may note that we meant to get these twice before, but holidays have a way of rearranging schedules for entire weeks at a time, so we are getting them today. Thus the machine of my paperwork acquisition begins to whir again. Indeed, the machine of Getting Ready for Baby is whirring. It may seem unrelated, but we are also getting caught up on dental work, and I am getting new glasses. The dental work has been years in the making, as neither Jarod nor I had been to the dentist on a regular basis prior to 2009, and thus have a lot of cavities to fill. In my case, there are also leaky fillings. Mercury just isn't what they once thought it could be, I guess. As for the glasses, I've been using the same ones for at least five years now, maybe six, or even seven. Mostly I wear contacts, but they only work for a certain amount of wakeful hours before drying out, and I do not want to show up to meet my daughter and not be able to see her without blinking a lot and squinting. So we're taking care of these things now, while we have the time and the money (sort of) and the good sense to do that instead of, say, buying a lot of fabric for little girl clothing. You know how Jarod is, always trying to be crafty. Er, wait, maybe that's me.

Speaking of being crafty, our Storenvy shop is in the works, and I hope that within the next week I'll have items ready to fill it. We've already been giving some fantastic things by dear friends, and I am getting down to the business of photographing everything and making a few things of my own to put in. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) we will also have t-shirts and tote bags available thanks to the printing services of Storenvy. Shirts will feature the Africa map design from a few posts ago; enough people liked it as is that we decided to keep it and print up some stuff. We'll have men's shirts in asphalt and navy (sizes L & XL) and girlie shirts in asphalt and raspberry (sizes M & L), plus tote bags in red, navy, and black (so many choices!). I'm not sure they'll be ready by Christmas, but if you want to give one as a gift, ask me for details and I can hook you up with a little card with the graphic on it as a placeholder until we have those available for sale. Shirts will sell for $20 each and tote bags will be $15. Girlie shirt sizes run a bit small--they're American Apparel, so make note of that. I wear a small in a lot of women's shirts, but always wear a medium in American Apparel items.

We are super excited to be getting so many things done as we prepare for our daughter's arrival. We know that it might be awhile, but it is always good to dream. It feels especially good during the holidays; I hope you have time to dream during this season, too.
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