Monday 29 June 2009

Bundling up the joy

So we are progressing with the baby shopping, and we got a moby wrap. For some reason, maybe because of the no-breastfeeding thing (of which more, maybe, another day, although hmmmm, maybe not, because I'm not sure I like what that would do to my search stats ) I really, really want to be a babywearer. I know that babywearing isn't always straighforward, but I can tell you now that I'm going to be giving it a very good try. So, in preparation:

Here I am, practising looking lovingly at my little one, all wrapped up in the moby lotus hold:

Newborn cradle hold this time, still with the bonding face on, like someone slipped me too much oxytocin:

I think that probably someone needs to tell me that all I'm cuddling is a stuffed rabbit. She is cute, though, isn't she?

Bearing in mind that I haven't tried it out with an actual baby, I have to say that my first impressions of this wrap were very positive. It feels very comfortable, and I really like the fact that you tie the wrap in one way, and then there are several choices of how to put the baby in once it is tied - you don't need to learn seven different knotting techniques. One bad point I should note, though - the instructions were remarkably sketchy on where to place the baby's tail.

J clearly isn't taking this as seriously as me:

The evening sort of went downhill from there. He seemed to think that the length of black cloth had given him magical ninja abilities: (he was wrong). Although I later talked him into trying the twin hug hold:

You know. Just in case.
In other news: Yesterday, it was exactly a year ago since we met this little man (top pic is his referral pic): We love you, Kevin. You're not very bright, and you shed your fur EVERYWHERE, but you've been a very bright spot in an otherwise difficult year. This is why I get up in the morning:

And this is why I come home at night.

We promise not to forget you once we have a hoomin baby to love.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

So where are we now?

Well, not in Addis, that's for sure! But a few things have happened since I last wrote. The director of the orphanage we're working with has now acknowledged our interest in twins, and we have some kind of a game plan. Since we have been asking about this for AGES (emails, letters, all kinds of stalking, basically, which has all been met by a wall of silence) I can't tell you what a big relief this is. We have agreed that we will wait until mid-September, initially, and if no twins are available in that time then we will talk again about whether to wait longer, or move towards adopting a singleton. This is probably a good time to say that I really don't like using the word 'available' in this context, but can't think of a better one. This is probably also a good time to say that we really are very open to one on their own. How could we be other than thrilled by the news of a baby! I do want twins, if that can happen, but the reason I've been upset about this is not that I'm completely set on more than one baby. It's just that - I don't want our referral decision to be based on a miscommunication, and to have to wonder whether we should have tried harder to get answers, especially if we got to the orphanage and found cribs full of baby twins with nobody to take them home (cough cough unlikely!!)

Because of all this, I was talking to some friends (Hi Amy! Hi Sian!) yesterday and freaking out about the fact that when we adopt actually determines who we adopt. The baby that we might have been referred this week, if we hadn't asked to wait for twins, is almost certainly not the baby that we will end up adopting. And who knows what our family would have been like had we adopted this week's baby? Statistically speaking, he or she will probably end up in Belgium - I hope they have a very happy life there, eating moules and drinking bier (although obviously not yet, they are WAY too young for all that). They might have come home with us. That makes my head spin.

As a recovering control freak, and a Christian, it helps me enormously to know that God has his hand on this whole process. I was reading the beginning of Jeremiah today, where God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet and starts off by saying 'before I formed you in the womb, I knew you'. It reminded me that this is true for all of us (errr... not the bit afterwards, where he calls Jeremiah to a prophet and then Jeremiah gets stuck down a well, I just mean the bit about being known even before we were born). And I was reminded that God knows who our little one, or littles ones, are. Of course, right now, I'd rather not be in this holding pattern. I would rather have some idea of where we are in the queue, or even better, not be in the queue at all, but on a plane.

But. Either this delay will lead us to our singleton baby, rather than our Belgian might-have-been baby, or our twins, and they will be the baby or babies that were meant for us all along. One day we will see their little face/s and say, Hello Baby. No more hypotheticals. It's finally you!

Thursday 18 June 2009

The Ugly Truth

Right now I should be feeling joy, joy, joy but am suddenly full of fear. Here is a list of some o fthe things I am afraid of:

#1: I'm afraid that we wont' have our house sorted out before we need to go into panic-travel mode. There are some big things (sort out the baby room) that need doing as well as some small niggles (painting over where some plaster has been patched, sort out the awful dim and depressing lights in our dining room) that I was really hoping would be done before we had a baby in the house. Many a time, expectant parents have talked about their plans to do stuff to their house before having the baby and I have always thought - 'what is your problem? The baby isn't going to care about its nursery!' but suddenly, I'm desperate to get these things finished. What I hadn't realised before (and apologies to those to whom this was always obvious) is that this really has nothing to do with the baby, and everything to do with me. The baby won't care what the house looks like, but I do, and I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the house in the next few years. And we are NEVER going to get the opportunity to do these things if we don't do them now. I've always thought that the secret to a happy marriage is good storage - when everything has a place to go, life is so much less stressful. Things don't get lost. I feel (comparatively) calm. Now suddenly we're losing a lot of our storage space to make room for something else - something much more precious than books and a computer, but the books and the computer and the boxing gloves from when J fancied himself a bit of a hard lad still have to go somewhere and for the life of me I don't know where. We have one of those cute little English terraces that is lovely, but not exactly overflowing with space, and if I'm still tripping over all of this stuff when we get back with a baby, I just know that I will. not. cope. I want to be laid back and flexible but wow, I'm really not. And I wanted to deal with that character flaw by getting organised. And we're not. And it's eating a hole in me. This is about much more than the house, obviously - I'm afraid that I'm not really going to cope with the baby, that it will scream all the time and not love me, and I wanted to make things as easy for myself as possible by reducing all the stressors that I could control. I wanted our house to feel like our little sanctuary, but right now it just sends my blood pressure through the roof. I know I'm lucky to have a house to live in. And I know this is only a problem because I have SO MUCH STUFF. But still - I actively DO NOT WANT to get the call until our place feels more like somewhere I actually want to live.

J has said that if worst comes to worst, he will sort things out during the time that I am on my own in Ethiopia. For those who don't know - we can't work with an agency because of where we live, so we have to make our application for a court date in person just after we get matched. After we've applied for court, I'm planning to stay out there so that I can visit the baby every day and let them get to know me. J then has to come back for the court date and we will then have about three weeks after that while we sort out birth certificates and passports and visas. This plan means that I could be there on my own for a significant chunk of time. Which brings me to big worry #2: I do not want to spend several months on my own in Ethiopia. I'm afraid of this trip. There, I've said it. Don't get me wrong - I'm dying to visit, but the thought of being anywhere on my own for several months when I don't speak the language, and being without J during such a huge emotional upheaval- well, I'd rather not. And I want to be there, of course, because I don't want to miss that time with the baby. But I also want to be with my husband. I want us to do all of these new things together. And I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself on those long evenings on my own after the orphanage has shooed me out for the night. I keep telling myself it's going to be a big adventure, and I'm sure it will be, but.... yeah. Just but.

#3: This isn't really a fear, it's a disappointment. We spoke to the lady who is in charge of the orphanage yesterday, for the first time. We have tried to contact her about our request for twins in quite a lot of different ways and never had any reponse. Yesterday J mentioned it and she just said 'oh, I think that's quite unlikely'. I have been trying not to get my hopes up about twins but... it turns out I'm incredibly disappointed. And I don't understand - if the answer was no, why didn't she tell us back in March? We've said that we are willing to wait, but I don't know whether she really heard that. So I really have no idea where we are. Is she planning for one baby for us now, as soon as possible? Will I get a call on Monday about a single infant? Is our singleton baby already in her care? Or has she decided to wait and see what happens with twins? I have no idea. If it's one baby, she really could call us any day. And that would be amazing! But now I have no idea what timescale we're working in, and I'm no closer to finding out what size pram to buy.

I need to keep reminding myself about the end of Matthew 6:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Now, if only I could learn to put that into practice...

Tuesday 16 June 2009

This is what I like to see...

okay, you might have to take my word for this due to blogger picture resolution issues, but that's a whole lot of pixelly goodness there that you can't see... the red smear at the bottom says 'shipment picked up'. No, really!!
I've just looked back at my last post and laughed pretty hard - that was some adrenaline high I was surfing, I think! I don't know why I could'nt get those fonts to behave - I have no idea where I was clicking. I've spent all of today telling everybody that from now, things could really happen! Sometime between Friday and December, hopefully, our lives are really going to change. I can't wait.

Monday 15 June 2009


Just had a call from the Intercountry Adoption Team.

Our dossier is ready to go. As in, our dossier is ready to go. As in,

our dossier is ready to go!

and because I happen to be sitting at the computer, you people are the first to know. The first. I haven't even told J yet - he's probably in the tube.

This is game on, people!


Can I say again:


edited about ten minutes later to say - my freakish reaction to *that* call does not bode well for the referral call, no not at all. I can't even get these fonts to be a sensible colour. I've spoken to the lovely, wonderful people at DHL and they are picking up our parcel tomorrow. I have NO idea how i managed to hold it together long enough to tell the woman my credit card number. (Although actually, I had enough presence of mind to use our JOINT credit card rather than blow the funds in my separate account. Good to know I haven't lost it completely).

They're picking up the parcel tomorrow, and I'm going to start tracking it obsessively for the next 48 hours. I want that screenshot saying 'delivered', dangit!!

Oooooh, I can't believe this at all. We weren't expecting this for at least another two weeks.


And hey, why is all of this in BOLD?

Thursday 11 June 2009

Sweet Thursday

Did I say that I got my work to agree to the four day a week thing? Well, they did. Did it have anything to do with my staring very intensely at my boss and saying 'I want to go to four days a week so that I don't have a nervous breakdown'? Well, maybe. Who cares anyway. The point is that they did. And I'm having Thursdays off, which is brilliant.

And did I mention that today is Thursday?

So far I have had a leisurely coffee and started Jamaica Inn, by Daphne DuMaurier. Don't tell me how it ends, because it's pretty exciting already.

I have cleaned the bathroom.

I have hauled my macro lens out of retirement and taken some photos of roses,

and also tried to photograph a recalcitrant bee who keeps hiding under the stamens on the passionflower that is blooming for the first time in our back garden.

I have watched a corgi teasing a cat on you tube.

I have been to the post office and picked up my amazingly super bargainous beautiful dark ch0colate leather changing bag that was reduced by something crazy like 90% because it was the only one left in stock of that colour, which just happened to be the exact colour that I wanted anyway.

I have stroked a sun-warmed cat.

I have done some sewing.

I have started to simmer some ham in coke.

I have fallen asleep in a deckchair.

I have not felt sad at all.

It has been a lovely day .

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Two reasons why that was not 'The Call'

Yesterday, my mobile phone rang. On the other end, a voice sounded far away and a little unsure, but determined. She asked to speak to me as if she was reading my name of a piece of paper - say, oh, an adoption dossier. She had a foreign accent. She sounded like, say, oh, the director of an orphanage. And suddenly, with no conscious thought, my body went into 'The Call' mode. It was really weird. My heart was racing. My palms were sweating. I couldn't form a complete sentence. I took the call, even though I was in a meeting, and started to squeak.
Now, if I had engaged my brain before my body went into overdrive, I would have remembered the following:
1) My dossier is still in the UK. The director of the orphanage has not yet seen it. She is not going to call me.
2) Even if she WANTED to call me, she does not actually have my mobile telephone number.
So yeah, big surprise, it was my mobile phone provider, calling to offer a special deal, just for me, which I didn't take.
And even though I know that 1) and 2) are true, I still felt incredibly let down.
Oh well. Maybe one day.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Good Post Day

Let's get the stupid stuff, the 'oh, per-lease' stuff out of the way first, shall we?

Now that I've got British Citizenship, I've applied for a British passport. (Of course). Bad news is that, in order to apply, I had to send away my original passport. This was a bit risky, of course... even if we were to magically get a referral, no passporto = no aeroplano. (Can you tell I have never actually studied Italian? Yes, I thought so). But anyway, it had to be done, and they don't lose passports VERY often, so I bundled up my little package, kissed it, and sent it on it's way.

I keep expecting my documents to come back - they'll be arriving through the post, and I keep getting false alarms. I had to go to the post office to pick up a secure delivery package a few days ago - I was SURE it was my passport - nope, printer toner. Today, though, I get a package and it's finally from the right people:


Or so I thought, until I opened it. I'm going to show you an actual photograph of the letter so that you know I'm not making up what they sent me:

Just in case you can't read the squidgy letters, it says: 'Thank you for your passport application. Unfortunately, you do not appear to have a neutral expression in the photographs submitted'.

I was neutral! I was! My mouth was in a straight line, no teeth showing, bad hair, unfortunate squint - it was the perfect passport photo.

Tell you what, though, I certainly wasn't feeling quote unquote 'neutral' after I read that. I have to resubmit photos, and I guess they won't be returning any of my stuff until after I've done all that and gone to the back of the queue again. I expect the next letter I get will say: 'Thank you for your passport application. Unfortunately, you seem to be holding a sharp object and a threatening message in the photographs submitted'. Bah.

However!! On balance, it was still, against all the odds, an excellent post day! Cos I also hit the craft-it-forward jackpot from this lovely lady who sent me the most fabulous stash of ethiopian flag cards!

Want to see my adoption announcement cards? Well, you just did :) Did you ever see anything cooler?

I am beyond chuffed - thank you SO MUCH! Also... I have a feeling we're on a similar crafty wavelength here. Those of you who are forward in my chain, you have a hint! Ooooh, the mystery!

Tuesday 2 June 2009

African Geography . Or not.

Today, we got the bill from our notary. It's a lot of money, as expected, so I decided to read the itemisation. Right, here we go.

Prepare notarial certificate. Yes.
Copy documents. Yes.
Request courier. Yes.
Legalisation at Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Yes.
Prepare postal order. Yes.
Phone call to Nigerian Embassy. Collection of documents from Nigerian embassy.


She means Ethiopian Embassy, doesn't she? Doesn't she? This is the first (and probably last) time in my life that I have ever actually WANTED to find out that someone was thinking 'oh, those African countries, they're all the same. Nigeria, Ethiopia, whatever, just type the itemisation out'.

The remaining two alternatives are:

1) Our papers haven't been appropriately legalised, and we have to go back to the government department of doom AGAIN

2) I'd better find a new set of Nigeria-adopt blog buddies, because we're off to Lagos, baby!!

Errrr.... I'll keep you all posted.

*******update: it was a typo. Huge sigh of relief. **********