Thursday, December 20, 2012

RollerCOASTER Ride??

They say international adoption is a rollerCOASTER ride. Maybe it is...

My good friend and co-worker, Kelly, was my Secret Santa in a gift swap. She made, yes made, these super special coasters as part of her gift to me. Since we follow each other on Pinterest, she was able to see the different items I have posted on my ET Love board (adoption/ET related). She took those quotes and pics and made them into coasters. Of course they are too nice too actually use so I am thinking I may put them on a shelf in our son/daughter's room someday. In the meantime I am looking for a place in our house to display them. Thanks Kelly! I love, love, love this special gift!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dossier to Ethiopia!

The day has finally come~our dossier was sent to ET on Monday which means we are officially on the referral waiting list at number...

This means there are 41 families ahead of us. Some families are requesting 2 children, or requesting 1 or 2 children, which lengthens our wait a bit. On the other hand, some families are specifically requesting  boy or girl, or a certain age range. In addition, any family can change their criteria at anytime so nothing is ever set in stone. The # of referrals each month also varies from month to month. This is another factor that will affect our wait. I feel somewhat at peace knowing our documents are all in order and we will wait for now until we someday get that call.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My personal goal

I have downloaded three different Amharic apps on my ipad over the last few months with the hopes of learning some basic expressions and vocabulary. I have come to the realization that this self-taught method will most likely yield mediocre results at best, but I do intend to attempt this. I have also realized that no matter how hard I try I will probably never acquire reading and writing skills, as Amharic is so very different from English. So, anyway, my hope is to improve my oral comprehension and expression. My goal is to learn one word or basic phrase per day. At this time I only know a dozen words/phrases and can count from 1-10.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting closer...

Our dossier has finished the authentication and bundling process in D.C. The courier service picked it up from the Ethiopian Embassy this morning and shipped it to our agency in Michigan. It is set to arrive on Thursday. It usually takes 1 to 2 days for our agency to make copies, etc. and then they will be shipping it off to Ethiopia. So, at this rate, I anticipate it will be flying eastward across the Atlantic early next week! Hoping and wishing our dossier safe travels on its journey!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

oh, big brother, you are too funny!

So, I am probably one of the most outspoken, blatantly honest people you will ever meet. I hear the response, "TMI" several times a day from those around me. It doesn't freak me out when my computer suggests ads and links to products and services based on my past internet searches. Yes, Big Brother is watching us. Anyway, I had to laugh when I came across this ad while searching for recipes online. Clearly, I search for Ethiopia-related topics/info so frequently that my computer is now suggesting this ad below. Now, only if I had family in Ethiopia...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Heart "on" Ethiopia

On a table in our living room I have a canvas that I painted and decoupaged with a map of Africa. There is a painted red heart over Ethiopia and the word Ethiopia are glued on top with scrabble tiles. Last night I had my scented wax warmer plugged in and when I went to shut it off I saw a heart over my Ethiopia canvas. The wax warmer had projected a heart shape. This made me smile!

What it looks like during the day
Last night

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nothing much going on here...

Nothing much to report here. As of Tuesday our dossier was at the State Dept. in D.C. getting authenticated. Next it will go to the Ethiopian Embassy, also in D.C., to get bundled. Still hoping that it will arrive in Ethiopia by the end of the month. At this time we officially go on the referral waiting list. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Goodbye Dossier

The day finally came and the day was today! We mailed off our dossier to the courier company and it will be delivered this upcoming Tuesday. I am not sure how long the authentication process will take. As hard as it was to give up up possession of these very important documents, there was a sense of relief, as we have done our part and now the rest of the story will unfold however it is supposed to. I am hoping that all of our docs are fine, things will go smoothly in D.C., and our docs will safely arrive in our agency in MI and then in Addis Ababa. I have learned a few important things throughout this process. First, it is so crucial to become super organized. Prior to the adoption, I would have important docs in different places around the house and I would never be able to find my passport, social security card, etc. when I needed them. Now, I believe I have adopted the binder system for life! Secondly, I am a pretty impatient person and once I have my heart set on something or want something done I have a hard time waiting. This process is going to be the ultimate wait. Finally, things go well and then there is a bump in the road, things go well and then there is a bump in the road, and so on. I am hoping that the bumps remain little and they are resolved quickly. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

You learn something every day...

So, Tuesday I brought our Power of Attorney and Dossier Affidavit letters to the Secy. of Commissions office in Boston to obtain state seals. I stood in line for a few minutes and then when it was my turn I pulled my 2 docs out and laid them on the counter. The office worker looked them over for a few seconds and then said, "I can not notarize these. They are done incorrectly." I wanted to freak out but I actually kept my %*&^ together during those few minutes. I had 2 options: I could go back home and get them re-notarized. If I chose this option, I would have to use a personal day as they are only open M-F. Plus, I was already in the city and it had taken me 1.5 hours on the train (stupid train schedule) plus walking time to get to this place. He said my other option would be to walk a few blocks over to the Bank of America to get certified copies of the documents and have them re-notarized. I am still not sure exactly how that makes them any more "official." I just know that if I came back with the re-notarized docs he would give the great big gold seal. After calling my agency, I opted to go with option two. They said that it should be fine and I figured I had nothing to lose. So, after an hour of waiting at the bank I was able to get the docs "fixed" and then later sealed. The moral of the story if for those of you live in the state of MA...please follow the notary wording on the Secy. of Commissions website ( I had followed our agency's template exactly but the state did not care. I am not sure if the have become more strict with this, as our agency said they have never has this happen before and they have had other clients from MA. Anyway, that task has been completed and now we are working on our letter to the Assistant Stork, the courier service that will be bringing our dossier to the State Department and Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. for authentication, grommeting, and bundling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An oldie but goodie...

I am hoping that tomorrow I will wake up and Obama will once again be our president. My husband said I should keep politics off of the blog, but this is something I feel passionate about. Plus, in true Aja fashion I don't always listen to him. I find others in the world of international adoption frequently blog about their religious beliefs which you will never see me do. So, in the end I guess this balances out my "shout outs" to our Pres! 

Anyway I am on the commuter rail now, on my way to Boston to get those 2 dossier docs sealed by the state. I am hoping that everything with our paperwork is accurate and we will be all set now so our dossier can be sent to ET by the end of the month. Fingers crossed.....

Monday, November 5, 2012


It finally arrived today!!!!!

Our I171H arrived in the mail today. Last Wednesday I had spoken with the immigration officer processing our case and she informed me she would be mailing it out that day. So, I checked our PO Box on Thursday (yes, I realized it was highly unlikely to arrive the next day), Friday, and Saturday. Tonight we rushed up to the UPS Store to get a copy of this document and another document notarized. Tomorrow I can take advantage of my day off from work (b/c of the election) and take the train into Boston to get our Power of Attorney Letter (gives our Agency our permission to match us with a child) and Dossier Affidavit Letter (Dossier Table of Contents) sealed by the State of MA. Our next step will be to ship our entire dossier (I cringe when I write that) to D.C. where it will be authenticated, bundled and then sent to our agency in Michigan. Feeling lucky to have this document in hand less than 2 weeks after our fingerprinting appointments. I feel that it is partially making up for the missed/rescheduled fingerprinting appointments and, consequently, the 3 week delay.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Schools were canceled today so no work for me. This is actually the second year in a row we have had a hurricane "snow day." I got some great video of the ocean, but unfortunately, it did not come through when I emailed it from my husband's phone. We went to the ocean at high tide and the waves were pretty big, but the wind was unbelievable and both of my ear drums actually hurt. The winds are definitely beginning to pick up now.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We have completed our fingerprinting requirement for U.S. immigration. Now we will wait to receive a document from the government which basically approves us to adopt internationally. This is the last document we need to complete our dossier. Once we receive it I will need to go to Boston to get 2 documents sealed by the state of MA. After that, our dossier will shipped to a courier service in D.C. who will bring our dossier to the embassy and state departments for more authentication. Our documents will be bundled into 2 packages, a power of attorney letter and everything else. Then it will shipped to our agency in Michigan who will then ship it off to Ethiopia. Realistically my goal is to have our dossier arrive in ET sometime in December. It will really depend on the turn around time of the document we are waiting on. 

I had been so worried about our fingerprints because I read a blog post by someone who had to redo fingerprints more than twice because they did not come out well. We have been using moisturizer and made sure not to use strong chemicals beforehand. It was definitely a good excuse not to clean the bathrooms last weekend! Anyway, the guy said I had nice prints. I also felt better when I saw that the whole thing is computerized and the computer screen read "reject" when the print was not good enough. So, hopefully, everything will turn out well and we will receive the document we are waiting for.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Waiting & Realizing

I am beginning to realize that this is just the beginning of the waiting. We are still at the beginning of this process, yet I am starting to understand the "adoption rollercoaster" phenomenon that other adoptive parents/prospective adoptive parents have talked about. Leading up to our application, there were months of excitement, just waiting until we could officially apply. Then we were let down when we were denied by the first agency we applied to. That was a complete blow but I quickly rebounded the next month when we were accepted into AAI's program. During the summer we were super busy gathering and preparing docs for our dossier, going to appts., etc. and the whole process began to feel real. Then we missed our first fingerprinting appt. when our appt. letter was mailed to our physical address instead of our mailing address. Just a bump in the road, I keep telling myself. Our rescheduled appts. are approaching so hopefully we will feel like we are back in the game after that. I am already to become impatient and the real waiting has not even begun...

As Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers said...

Every time I hear this song, I think about the little one we will meet someday...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bump in the Road...

Well, my gut is always right! This is something I have learned especially as I have become older. I have had a bad feeling about how long we have waited for our fingerprinting appts, although the wait time is still considered to be within the normal time frame. We just got a phone call tonight from the scheduling center telling us we missed our fingerprinting appointment that was scheduled for this past Tuesday, the 2nd. Although we followed our agency's instructions exactly and on our cover letter we also stated that documents should be sent to our mailing address, they still sent the appt. letter to the physical address (which was listed on our application b/c it is our legal physical address that matches all of our other documents that are included in the dossier).  

The worst part was that the lady was kind of rude and short with me on the phone. Apparently they separate the I600A application from the other supporting documents (including the cover letter) when it is forwarded to the department that schedules appointments. So, anyway, our new appt. is scheduled for the end of the month. Chris has reminded me that this has really only set us back a few weeks. So, I am trying to be positive. If any other adoptive parents out there are reading this, how long did you have to wait between getting your fingerprints done and receiving the I171? She said current processing times were between 75-90 days and I am wondering if this was what she was referring to? From reading others' blogs it seems like the wait time was shorter than this so I am a bit curious.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Tommy...

 and crew:

Thank you for finally getting your acts together and coming up with this big win today. I was beginning to become extremely worried, but you pulled through. Thank you and see you next week...

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Lull...that's the word that comes to mind when I think about our adoption at this point in time. It has been 2 weeks since we mailed our I-600 A application to immigration and we are continuing to wait for our fingerprinting appts. Our agency has said this usually takes about 4 weeks. I was wondering if other APs have been experiencing this approx. time frame as well. Anyway, there is nothing exciting to report...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Election Apparel

Yesterday I was out shopping and I passed a woman wearing a "Healthcare Workers for Obama" t-shirt. In 2008 I wanted to get an Obama t-shirt but I never did. Although Chris and I have the same political views, he thinks it is kind of goofy to wear things like that. I have a sweatshirt that says, "Everyone Loves a Speech-Language Pathologist" and he gets pretty embarrassed when I wear it out in public. Anyway, I was browsing some Obama apparel online this morning and came across these cute outfits. Maybe Lucy and Brody would like to wear these...

thedogcoatlady on

Maybe, instead of a t-shirt, I may just have to splurge on these. After all, I would be providing a child with a pair of shoes at the same time! And if you are a republican, they also have these cute shoes in the red elephant print.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Melkam Addis Amet!

or...Happy New Year! Today, September 11, 2005, is New Year's Day in Ethiopia. Although it is 2012 here in the U.S., it is the start of the year 2005 in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months, each consisting of 30 days. There is also a 13th month that consists of 5 days (or 6 days in a leap year). The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian/western calendar from January to September, and 7 years behind from September 11 through January 8. Therefore, beginning today, there will be a 7-year gap as it is 2012 here and 2005 in ET.

Example of 13-month calendar from the year 2004/2011

This New Year has been celebrated since early times. It marks the ending of the Horn of Africa's long, rainy season. According to tradition, children get new clothing and hand out freshly picked flowers. Dancing and singing can be heard in villages along the countryside and daisies bloom in the fields.

 Here is a youtube clip of an Ethiopian New Year's celebration from last year (2004/2011):

Information & Picture Sources: