Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome Home!

Last night the boys flew into Indianapolis airport and Eric and I, along with our parents met them there.  It was a pretty chaotic event that ended with a long drive home.  Thankfully the boys did really well, and slept the majority of the way home.

Eric's dad took a whole bunch of photos, so once I get them, I will be sure to put them up. 

But now it looks like nap time is ending early and I now have two children to care for.  So I guess this is going to be a short post.

But other good news.  Now that the boys have arrived home safely, the blog no longer needs to be private.  I have publicized it again, so anyone interested in reading, can.

I'll hopefully be back soon with an update on how our new task of parenthood is going, but until then, Baxter is wanting to play...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today's the Day!

This morning I got a text from our agent letting us know that the boys made it safely to Paris, now it's just a hop, skip and a jump from there to Indianapolis and then home with us!  So it looks like it's the real deal now.

I won't lie, it's kind of scary to think about.  Today, as I just go about my usual business, will be the last day at this point in life.  Our lives will never be the same again after 8:30pm tonight.  I am super excited, but the reality of parenthood can seem daunting when you stop and think about it.  Except for Eric, he is totally cool, and every time I bring up some sort of new reality, he doesn't understand what I'm talking about.  That is probably a good thing, it will help balance out all of my planning/prepping nuances nicely.

I know that you no one is ever completely prepared to become a parent for the first time, I just tend to think I can anyway.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Good news...the boys' visas were ready and were picked up yesterday!  We definitely sighed with relief, although we won't be completely convinced until they are on the plane bound for home.  But, barring any more problems, the boys will be arriving in Indianapolis on Monday at about 8:30pm.  Eric and I, along with our immediate families will be at the airport to great the escorts and boys.

In preparation of their arrival, we are finishing up all of the little things left to do around the house.  Eric cleaned out the cars, and built the table (we previously did not have a kitchen table).  I spent the majority of the day doing a deep clean to the house so I can be at peace if I don't have the opportunity to clean again for a while.  Here are some pictures to show how we've spent our afternoon.  Tomorrow is going to be a day of relaxation before the boys come home, although I don't think either of us are going to sleep Sunday night.  We're going to be too excited.

Again , a thank you to everyone for all of the love and support that has been shown over the past week.  It really helped as we made it through everything that happened.  And I will make sure to post pictures of the boys' homecoming as soon as possible.

Hooray for Atticus and Baxter's homecoming!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Making Progress...

I got a phone call at 5:45am this morning from our agent, the boys got their visas!  Thank God.  This is great news, although I don't think I will get super excited until I know they successfully made it onto the plane.  They will definitely be coming in on Monday night, but now their arrival destination is Indianapolis instead of Chicago.

Like I said before, I am just excited to have them home, however they get here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Still Thankful

Despite all of the madness that has taken place over the last few days, I still have so much to be thankful for.  I am truly thankful for all of my amazing support systems, my husband, my family, my best friends, an amazing adoption support group, and all of the support that I have received through social networks and this blog.  The amount of encouragement over the last few days has been astounding...thank you.

And I am also thankful that my boys will be coming home soon.  Even though things didn't go according to plan, they are still coming and that is the best holiday gift a mom could ask for. 

So as you all eat, drink and be merry, just know that I am thankful for you today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Flights, But Less Confidence

In response to the lack of visas, our Congolese adoption lawyer went ahead and rescheduled the boys' flights.  I have just been informed that they will be arriving on Monday.  I am not sure what time exactly, only that it's Monday.

But I don't think I will be able to get my hopes up until I know they have the visas in hand and have acquired the exit approvals needed to leave the country.  We're still praying for favor.

I'm to the point that the day the boys come home doesn't matter as much as just getting them here.  It will be nice to know without a shadow of a doubt that they will be on a plane bound for home.

And I will make sure to keep everyone updated, since I can only anticipate that things will change.  But, to lighten the mood that has plagued my posts recently, here is a little video from our time spent with our boys in the DRC.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't want to admit it, but....

I don't want to admit defeat, but unfortunately, it's after 5 o'clock in Kinshasa and the Embassy is now on Thanksgiving break.  We managed to make a small amount of progress.  Our Act of Abandonment came back valid, Baxter and Atticus' visas were issued.  Although it then must go to the printer, which isn't a Xerox machine (this is what I was told).  The woman at the Embassy acted like she was helping, but in reality, she didn't do anything above and beyond what she was already planning on doing.  Then, after speaking with Representative Hoekstra, they were going to the printer today and are pretty much being guaranteed for Friday.  Now, this isn't the best news, but it means that the boys will probably travel on Saturday, bringing them home on Sunday. 

No matter what, it's been a rough few days.  And Eric, who's been in Mexico and was scheduled to fly home today missed his flight and will not be back until 3pm tomorrow.

I just hope that they can fly out by Saturday, because that's as long as the U.S. escort is willing to stay.

There are a lot more details, but it's just not in me to go into them right now.  Thank you for all your prayer and support.  I know the boys' will come home soon, although the cost (physically, emotionally, financially) is still unknown and is worth it no matter what.

Who doesn't love a phone call at 3am?

It's almost 3am and I am trying to get a hold of someone at the Embassy in Kinshasa (because it's morning there).  I called about 10 minutes ago, but the operator said that no one in the visa department was answering.

So I am going to wait and try again.  I pray that I can speak with someone who may be able to help.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why So Much Trouble?!

Please pray...

The boys' visas are now not being issued.  Our lawyer was supposed to get them yesterday, and they weren't ready.  They told her to come back today.  She did and they still wouldn't issue them.  Apparently there is another organization that partook in fraudulent behavior and now they are halting everything.

But our U.S. escort is already in country and the flights are booked to leave on Thursday.  I have emailed the Embassy, the DRC Consulate and the Public Diplomat, called the U.S. State Dept, called my state senator, my congressman and am currently on hold for my federal senator.

I don't know why the last two days have produced more problems that our entire 11 month adoption process, but it has.  So please pray for favor and that all obstacles would be cleared from our path so that our boys can come home.

Because that's all we want.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Possible Changes

This morning I just got an email from our agent.  If their escort doesn't receive his visa by today (which is contained in his passport), he will not be able to travel and therefore, we will have to postpone the arrival of the boys by a few days.

She is going to keep me updated, but it's hard not to get discouraged since this type of thing has happened throughout our adoption process.


Crisis averted.  I was just informed that the visa arrived at our agency.  Talk about a nail-biter to the very end!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So much to say, but so little time

I could go on and on about our trip to Kinshasa, but right now I am preparing for the boys to come home.  Yep, that's right, the boys are coming home.  Before we left, we were given a tentative escort travel date by our agent, but didn't want to say anything until we knew how the visa appointment went.  Although there were a few bumps, the visa appointment went great and it looks like the boys are probably coming home this Friday, November 26th.  Which is why I really do not have time to do an extensive update on the blog.  I must go and get all of the remaining items needed, primarily clothes.

But I thought I'd leave you with this little video.

Thank you all SO much for all the support.  We are super excited to have the boys home and start our new life as a family of FOUR!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good News & More Work Than Was Necessary

As you all know, I mailed our visa applications on Saturday.  And they arrived safe and sound on Monday morning.  Because we had received a visa for our last trip (yes, even though they were the reason we couldn't travel, they took our money and issued the visa), I had to send a cover letter asking for the previous visa to be voided and a new one issued.  The reason we needed the last one voided, was because it expired the day before we depart to come home from the DRC.  And we thought that we wouldn't be allowed to leave without a visa that was valid throughout our entire trip.

I knew that this wasn't a simple request, so when my phone rang with a D.C. area code, I wasn't surprised.  I was actually nervous that for some reason, they wouldn't like what we're doing and again, we wouldn't be able to travel.

When I answered the phone, the gentleman informed me where he was calling from and proceeded to ask what I was doing.  I went on to explain the situation, and he simply answered that the visa is good until January, it's just that you can only stay in country for a month maximum.  I was polite until I got off the phone and then did a super-happy dance. Of course this is how it would go, that I would scramble all day Friday for no real reason.  But it was all worth it, even if it was all in vain.  The best part is, he's also sending back our money order!  So we don't have to pay for the same thing twice.  And if he mails it today, like he said he would, it will be back in my hands tomorrow.

There truly aren't words to describe how relieved I was after that phone call.  For me, our visas were the one thing can could keep us from leaving on Sunday.  But now, we are all set to go. 

And now, I am off to spend the evening with the loveliest friends a girl could ask for.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making Lists, Lots and Lots of Lists

I have successfully made it through yesterday and this morning.  I spent almost the entire day on the phone, or booking flights online, corresponding with our agent, and preparing everything for our visa applications.  And because this falls at the worst possible time for Eric's work trip, I spent an hour on the phone with United trying to rebook a flight for someone who is headed to Mexico to replace Eric while he's not there.

So since yesterday I have been making nonstop lists.  I spent the last 24 hours checking and rechecking the list for our visa applications.  If for some reason I missed something I think I am going to scream.  I can't tell you how long I looked at that list.  But now I am just waiting to see.  I mailed the application along with EVERYTHING it needs today.  It's guaranteed to arrive on Monday, then we'll just cross our fingers and possible call a friend who has a friend at the Embassy ;)

After I mailed everything this morning, I spent some more time making lists.  This time I was organizing what homework I want/need to get done this week, what I will have to complete while we travel and what will have to be done once we get back.  Let's just say I doubled the number of post-it notes on my magnet board.

Now I think I may start of list of outfits and necessities that I need to bring with me when we travel.  Since we are now attending an appointment at the Embassy, I have to be conscious of what I wear.  Except when I asked our agent, she said "informal but nice," like a skirt/slacks with a nice top.  But this time should be much easier to pack.  Last time I had to pack for two different temperatures, since we were going to spend time in both the Congo and Germany.  This time, I will only need to be prepared for one day in Belgium.  That will make a lot more room available.  That, and the fact that we will be traveling for fewer days.  

Although I feel a lot better about everything, I know this week is going to be pretty crazy.  Aside from leaving for the Congo, the thought that I will spend the entire day on Saturday crafting with my besties can get a girl through anything :)

Okay, well, I'm off to create that other list.  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview Appointment

This post is going to be short and sweet, since I now have a lot to do today.  This morning, we received our visa interview appointment.  We are scheduled for November 17th!  That is crazy soon.  I spent the morning racing around getting flights booked, then I had to send our agent our travel dates so she could then request our letter of invitation.

The invitation letter is what we had tons of problems with last time we tried to get our visas to travel and which contributed to the cancellation our trip.  Well, this time I only have 5 days to get our visas.  It's going to be a nail-biter for sure.

And to top it all off, I have a 10 page research paper due soon after we get home (which I won't be doing while traveling) and Eric has to figure out his work trip to Mexico.  The same day we leave for the Congo is the day he was supposed to leave for Mexico.  Let's just say it has been an exciting, yet stressful day so far.

Any prayer would be greatly appreciated.  We are super excited to see our boys and complete this step in the process, but the next week is going to be pretty crazy.

On a note about the weather, I hear it's now snowing!  I hope everyone has a great (and warm) weekend. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spontaneous Paperwork

Yesterday I got an email from our agent asking for a couple different forms that I needed to fill out and copies of our tax returns.  I had the forms all printed out, but was waiting to hear when they were needed.  Well, they were needed yesterday.  That means I spend the majority of the morning filling out forms and corresponding with our agent in order to answer everything correctly.  Sigh...I was able to do it.  She needed them yesterday because the Congolese attorney is trying to set up our visa appointment, which is the appointment we will be attending personally in Kinshasa.  So I was obliged to drop everything I was in the middle of, and get it done.

But today, I got another email from our agent asking for passport photos of each of us.  She says that I never gave them to her (according to my Dossier list, I had checked them off and sent them with the entire Dossier packet, but oh well).  I just got back from CVS and the post office.  They have been over-nighted.  Hopefully we will hear something tomorrow or Friday about the appointment.  The Congolese attorney is supposed to have an appointment at the embassy for them to review our Dossier tomorrow.  I was originally told that at that appointment, they would schedule our visa interview.  As soon as we have that, a whirlwind of booking flights, hotels, and getting our travel visas will ensue.  I am trying to be ready to jump as soon as I hear from her.

And as soon as I hear from her, I will make sure to post about it.

I'm going to try and get back into the groove of school that I was in earlier today.  I hope everyone has a great Wednesday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

School + Unknown Arrival of the Boys = ?

Today starts week #10 for GRCC's fall semester.  Only 5 more to go before Christmas break.  I must say, I would not choose to do online classes again if I didn't have to.  I have realized how much better I learn in an actual classroom.  That being said, I signed up for classes for next semester, all of which are online.  Hopefully this can be the last semester that I have to do it this way.

Beyond not liking them, GRCC doesn't even offer a huge variety of online classes anyway.  Even with this semester, I felt like I had to settle on classes I wasn't terribly interested in or needed, just because they were available online.  But I think it will just be too difficult to go to class next semester, with the boys just being home (or so we're expecting).  

I can only hope that after 4 months, the kiddos and I will be adjusted enough for me to leave for a few hours each week.  But I guess I shouldn't count on anything.  Who knows what will be happening in 4 to 6 months?

All I can do is plug away at the classes I am currently enrolled in, which is what I am going to do now.  Happy Monday & Happy November!