Monday, May 31, 2010

I Couldn't Help It

I will admit it.  I broke down and bought a stroller last weekend.  I have been combing Craigslist for the last few weeks and stumbled upon this deal.  It's everything I am looking for, and I didn't have to pay full price, which is the best part!

First of all, it's only 31" wide, which means it can fit through most doors.  Easy to fold down, two independently adjustable seats, a ton of storage, pivoting wheel for walking and a locking options for running.  And another big bonus, it fits in my car trunk!

This weekend I made some great progress on the kids' room.  I finished painting and touched up the walls where it needed it.  Now the only thing remaining is touching up the trim and then we're ready for carpet!  I will post photos as soon as it's finished.  I am way excited to see it all come together.  It helps to make things seem real, like they are actually going to be here soon :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Like Tripping at the Finish Line

Yesterday I received our H171 approval.  This normally is an ultra-joyous occasion because it is the last thing we need for our Dossier.  Unfortunately, this approval was for our original home study and not the amended one.  We need the approval to be for our amended one since the age range and types of children are different.

Upon examining the approval notice, I realized that the day I over-nighted the amended home study was the same day that the USCIS approved our application. 

It's weird to think that if it were correct, I would start looking for our kids....crazy.

And you know what?!  I am oh-so calm about it.  Eric even said he was taken aback when I was so calm and cool on the phone talking about it.  He said it was a little unnerving :)  Usually in this situation I would go into panic mode racing around like a chicken with her head cut off figuring out what to do next and who I needed to call. 

But I did call, I called the USCIS and they told me I had to call back ten days after I had mailed the amended home study.  So, I will call again on Monday morning and hopefully then we can get everything worked out. 

Hopefully I will update more on the situation after I talk to the USCIS Monday morning and then...I hope to announce the arrival of the correct approval notice and the completion of this step of the adoption.  Once we have everything together, I mail it to our agent who then sends it off to the Congo.

As we've said before, it's a lot of rushing then waiting and for now, I'll just keep waiting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Wide World of Jogging Strollers

Over the last week or so, I have been scouring Craigslist looking at all of the baby stuff for sale.  I am mostly checking out the bigger items like strollers, car seats, cribs, saucers, changing tables, etc.  It makes me want to go out and purchase everything I'll need.  I guess it just seems so reasonable when it's so much cheaper than buying everything new.  Eric has to continually remind me though, that we don't know when we're bringing these kiddos home and I should just be patient.  It's just that everything seems like such a great deal, and you should take advantage of good deals right?  I'm just trying to be a savvy shopper since we're going to need to be more frugal after kids, right?  And my mom likes to remind me that I am going to have showers and that I should leave some things for the registry.

For now, I'll just keep looking so when I'm let loose, I can know exactly where the deals are :)

Up until this point it's been pretty fun looking.  But one thing I am having a whole bunch of trouble figuring out is our stroller.

I really want to forego a regular stroller and just get a double jogging stroller.  One, because I will want one for actual jogging; two, since we are so tall it would be nice to have more area underneath for our longer strides.  And lastly, we have a small house and I didn't want to store two different strollers.  This task has become much more challenging than I had originally estimated.  I am having the hardest time finding double jogging strollers that fit through most doors.  And unfortunately, the majority are side-by-side.

Anyway, this is what I've found so far.

BOB Revolution Duallie Stroller
This stroller is top of the line and is supposed to fit through any door.
It is also top rated by users.
Sadly, it carries a very hefty price tag.

Run Around LTD Fixed Wheel Double Stroller
This stroller has some good ratings, but then I check another website and there are a bunch of negative comments, ugh!
This stroller is pretty cost effective.
But I hear that having a fixed wheel makes it more difficult to use in stores, grocery stores, etc.

Safari Swivel Wheel Sport Double Stroller
This stroller has an adjustable handlebar so Eric won't have to be hunched over while using it.
It is also very cost effective.
It has mostly good reviews.
It's said that the swivel wheel is great for indoors but isn't as sturdy while jogging.  You need to lock it if you're going to run.

So there you have it.  None of them are perfect and none of them are guaranteed to fit through all doors, but I think this is what I've narrowed it down to.  It doesn't help that there are hundreds of strollers out there to choose from.  It's actually pretty overwhelming if you try to keep them all straight.  Maybe if I can't choose on features I'll decide by price and which one is the cutest :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Short & Sweet

Surprisingly, there was barely any paperwork needed to change your mind from one kid to two.  All I had to do was contact our social worker and ask that she amend our home study.  This involved changing the details of our child and stating that she still recommends us to adopt.

This isn't a lot of paperwork, but based on the original, I was afraid it would take weeks.  Wonderfully, our social worker completed and mailed the updated home study on Tuesday.  I received it in the mail yesterday and overnighted it to USCIS this afternoon.

I pray that it gets there safe and arrives prior to our I-600A approval.  If it doesn't, then there is more paperwork to do.  But since we were just fingerprinted last week, I don't expect approval for another 3-5 weeks.  I don't know if it will happen, but we expect this change to set us back a little bit on our timeline.  Though, you never know.

That is really the extent of my update or maybe it's just the amount of information my brain is able to contain right now.  School has been taking up most capacity.  But that's a post in itself.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Said That Two Is Always Better Than One

To all our Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your incredible generosity. All told, our adoption fundraiser made over $8,000. This is beyond our wildest expectations. You have forever changed the lives of two Congolese children. That's right, two!

From the beginning, we have been committed to our adoption regardless of any outside support. We know that we are extremely fortunate to even be in a financial position to being an adoption process - there are many families who would like to adopt but their income prohibits them from taking the first step. Your gifts have been a huge blessing, and have eased a difficult financial burden, but had we not received them we would not have been forced to completely abandon our journey.

This put us in a unique situation, and immediately prompted us to ask the question: Do we move forward in our new, more comfortable financial state, or do we explore the opportunities that would have been completely impossible without your gifts? It didn't take long for us to draw the obvious conclusion. We are going to use the money you have given us to bring home two children rather than one.

If this decision seems hasty, it isn't. We have always foreseen ourselves as being open to multiple adoptions. We view our current situation as the first step in a journey that God has undeniably placed on our hearts. The question of how many children we will adopt (and the choice whether or not to have biological children) is one that we plan to prayerfully consider over time. Not surprisingly, in this case that prayerful consideration took all of a day. As Americans, we are among the wealthiest people in the world, and by contrast to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo we live extravagantly. To us, it just doesn’t make sense to live a little more comfortably when we can use your money to give another child a home. We have no doubt that this is what we are supposed to do.

It is impossible for us to express our thankfulness. Your selflessness has changed two lives forever.

All Our Love,

Eric and Teresa

Fundraiser Photos

This post is going to be very heavy with pictures so I will compensate with few words.  I'd only like to say, THANK YOU Katy for being the oh-so amazing impromptu photographer.  Love you.

These babies love each other, mostly because we say so :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Life Goal - Run a 5k, Check!

So, this morning I got up bright and early to make my way downtown Grand Rapids to participate in the River Bank Run's 5k Race.  It has always been a goal of mine to run this race.  Because let me know you, I am not a natural born runner.  Working up to a whopping 3 miles has taken me quite some time. 

And as my alarm went off at 6am, I questioned my own reasons, which was only compiled with the rain and 40 degree weather.  But I managed to get myself out of bed, dressed and stretched before 6:45am and headed to the race with my brother and Eric.

Once we arrived downtown, there was no turning back.  I had the adrenalin of a schoolgirl on her first day.

Paul, my brother and I started lining up about 7:10 and the starting horn was blown at 7:30am.  And then we were off!  We stuck together for a while, but Paul is a better runner so I told him to go ahead.

At some points it seemed like a breeze and at others I thought I was going to throw up.  But, I didn't die and crossed the finish line in 27:09, in the top 20%.  My ultimate goal was to do it in under 28:00, which I reached!  I ended up being the 286th female to finish out of 3,074.  So I view this as more of an accomplishment than anything else.  Either way, I did it :)

Our prize for completing was this lovely pin, which I am going to wear...never.  Sorry River Bank Run, no offense against you but thousands of people completed the 25k, so I don't think I did anything worth wearing a pin for.  But I did take a picture for you all to see.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to post a whole bunch of pictures from the fundraiser.  So just be warned of the photo heavy post coming soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fingerprint Success

Today, Eric and I had our appointment for FBI fingerprinting.  I was ultra nervous, which was only heightened by some comments from our adoption support group on Monday.  I was ready to be rejected, to have to wait hours and then have to redo numerous things.  Well, today I showed up 20 minutes early (since I figured it would take all day) only to find that I was one of three people in the building.  My documents and IDs were checked; I filled out a short form and then was fingerprinted.  I was there a whole 25 minutes, which is CRAZY!

I am so excited about the favor we are having with these steps, but don't want to get my hopes up just in case something went wrong or it takes longer than I think. 

But....if everything goes as they say, we should start looking for our baby in the next 6-10 weeks and then we know who they are!  I think that is what I am most excited about.

Don't get me wrong, I am super excited to bring our baby home but in an effort to avoid heartbreak I only get excited about the next step.  And in this case, the next step is finding out who our baby is!

Well, there isn't a whole lot of details that come out of fingerprinting.  So this post will be relatively short.  But there will be bigger things coming!  My cousin-friend took a bunch of photos during the fundraiser and I am hoping to post some soon :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

Last night was the fund-raising dinner.  So many wonderful family and friends came and supported our adoption, it was just incredible.  We just want to thank everyone for the love and encouragement that was shown to us.  So, thank you SO much!

One thing we had at the dinner is the beginning stages of the documentary we are making for our baby.  Throughout this process we have been video taping important points and where we are in our life and are hoping to put something together for our child.  It will be able to show the entire process, including footage from the actual Congo.  I know not everyone could come last night and not all those who came were able to see it, so I wanted to post it for everyone.

Again, thank you so much for all your love and support.

And now, its on to more fingerprinting.  Thursday is the day we see the FBI for fingerprints which puts us one step closer to knowing who our kid is and one step closer to bringing them home!