Saturday, May 12, 2007

Learning about multiples in Ethiopia

I recently saw an article about an NGO in Ethiopia called Ethiopian Gemini Trust. Their mission is to help families of multiples. It's fascinating to learn how much higher the percentage of births are twins in Ethiopia than in Europe or the US. The link I'm including is a transcript between a reporter and people that work at Ethiopian Gemini Trust and a few of the families supported by the foundation. It's fascinating to learn about the numbers...

Here is the link to Ethiopian's Gemini Trust website. There is information on what they offer to families, as well as ways you can help. You can even sponsor a set of twins!

Their current struggles are mentioned in the most recent newsletter:

If you're into statistics, graphs, and figures, be sure to check out this study. It shows a very high level of infant mortality in multiple births in Ethiopia, and a VERY interesting trend for an increased number of births to multiples in the months of March, September, and December; whereas singleton births remain relatively consistent throughout the year... Hmmm.

So, ask yourself, what can YOU do to help??

Happy Mother's Day...

Friday, May 11, 2007

We're off to the races!!!!

Oh my gosh! What is the world's best Mother's Day surprise?! Finding out you're beginning your journey towards motherhood! But, in order for you to fully understand how this news came about, I've got to give you the whole story!

Joe and I were determined to get our moms great gifts this year for Mother's Day. Too many Mother's Days have passed with us getting them little more than a card or a phone call. This year was going to be different. So, we finally decided on the right gift for my mom, but then were stumped as to what to get Lee (Joe's mom). A few weeks before it crossed my mind that it'd be fun to surprise Lee with a visit from Joe for Mother's Day, but lately Joe's been super busy at work trying to meet some deadlines, so I didn't think it'd work and kept thinking. Then, on Wednesday evening, as Joe and I discussed what we'd do for Lee (I mean, we now only had DAYS to make it happen), Joe casually suggested he thought maybe he should go out and see her for gift. We discussed what days he could afford to take off work, and I began to price flights. Nothing seemed to be working out. Ticket fares were high and he didn't have enough flexibility in his work schedule to get anything to work out. Bummer. All evening long, Joe and I were bummed that the idea had flopped. Thursday morning (yesterday) I was still so disappointed I hadn't been able to find a winning ticket fare/schedule, I decided to give it another look. This time, I took I bit more initiative with Joe's work calendar and found something that would work... he'd just have to miss a meeting he'd told me he couldn't miss. (I know... shame on me!). So, I bought the ticket and called Joe. Here's the way our call went:

Joe: Hello
Jesi: Hi. You're on a flight today at 3:40, so you need to be home by 2:00 to pack and let me take you to the airport.
Joe: What?
Jesi: You're flying to Colorado this afternoon to see your mom for Mother's Day. I'm sorry you'll have to miss your meeting, but you haven't seen your mom in a year and a half, so you're getting on a plane at 3:40 today!
Joe: Wow, ok.

And so on... he was home by 2:00 to pack an then off to the airport. As I drove him to the Orange County airport, he told me I was going to have a busy weekend too. I asked why, and he said that he was going to tell me on Mother's Day, but since he'd be gone, thought he should tell me now. He wanted us to finally start the adoption!!!!! Let me tell you, the last mile or two of the drive was quite perilous! I was crying/misty eyed, shocked, and generally having a tough time paying enough attention to the road. I couldn't believe it! After that slab leak, I figured it'd be another 6 months before Joe would consider moving ahead... silly me!

So, as you can all guess, I've been VERY busy since yesterday afternoon. Despite all the agency research I'd done starting in September 2006, I was totally unsure of what agency we'd use to do our Homestudy and Placement. Since there are no agencies in the state of California that do Ethiopian placements, we have to work with two different agencies. Yikes... it's such a difficult decision to make. I really like certain things about different agencies, but in the end what is most important to us is the flexibility in what they let us specify as to the child(ren) we want to adopt and our ages (still aren't 25... but we're getting there!). I'm hoping/planning to have the agencies selected by Monday. The biggest reason I haven't decided on the Homestudy Agency yet is that the one I THINK we're going to use is CLOSED on Fridays. Go figure. I have some questions to ask, and no one but an answering machine to tell them to! Rats.

So, that's it for now. I'm beyond elated that I'm finally on my way to being a mommy! I think the fun we had at the last potluck may have broken Joe's final thread of patience... what do you think? Anyway, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you all! Please keep us in your thoughts as we begin this whirlwind experience! The race to finish the paperchase has officially begun!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May Potluck - picture time!

Potluck Fun for Southern California Ethiopian Adoptive Families... and more updates!

Wow, what an amazing weekend Joe and I had. On Saturday, we finally reunited with other Ethiopian adoptive families from all around Southern California for a potluck! It was the first potluck our group has had since November and it was so exciting to see everyone. As before, it was exciting and inspiring to see all of the amazing families. I felt so fortunate because we had the opportunity to meet our friends two beautiful new girls that arrived from Ethiopia only two weeks before! I can't believe how great they were doing as a family after only 2 weeks! Joe seemed to have a blast playing with some of the older kids, and I lucked into playing dress-up and having my make-up done by a couple of the younger girls.

The potluck was a welcome break from the showings at our house. Just about anytime we start to feel relaxed or comfortable, we seem to get another call for a showing. Since we have 3 d0gs, that's a bit of an ordeal! Straighten up the house, load up the dogs, water bowl, etc. into the car, get all the dog beds and dog toys out of the house, and go for a drive until the showing is over. We had the dogs in the car with us for about 4-5 hours on Sunday! One of the showings lasted about an hour... and that's after I walked in on them looking around the house! Whoops! It's definitely good to have lots of showings, but it's been rather stressful for me on workdays. Even if I'm on a conference call I have to answer the house line, because it could be a realtor calling to schedule a showing and if I don't answer, they can come over! So, I've been trying to become proficient at conducting meeting with my laptop in the car with the 3 dogs whining to go back in the house! If I keep the car parked close enough to our back patio, I still get internet reception and can get my work done! Not ideal, but I know I have to try and be flexible right now.

Oh, and to make things even more exciting, our house had a little gift in store for us... We listed the house on April 23rd (a Tuesday). The following Wednesday, I discovered something rather devestating. We had a hot water SLAB LEAK!!! NOT what you want to have happen ever, but especially not when you're trying to sell it! After re-prioritizing my day and calling around to try and find out what we'd have to do, I got an estimator lined up to come out that evening. We've decided it's best to have the pipes epoxied. They determined the hole in our pipe is small enough it should be able to be fixed with the special epoxy mixture, and at the same time, it'll seal all the pipes in our house and prevent any future leaks! AND, it's 100% guaranteed for life! The problem is, it's not cheap. There's $8,000 out of our adoption fund. Grr! But, the likelihood another leak will develop, and soon, is quite high. So it really is the best choice. Plus, they shouldn't have to do any drywall work this way, so all that new drywall in the ceiling of the kitchen that was done about 2 weeks before this happened SHOULD be able to stay untouched! HOORAY!

So, that, in a nutshell, is how it's going. We are planning on trying to nail down our start date for the adoption in about 14 more days! That's 30 days into having the house listed and we'll decide whether we want to start moving forward while the house is on the market. It may not sell... and I'd hate to wait another 6 months to start the adoption for nothing! If it does sell, I figure we can coordinate the details and deal with that as it arises. Sometimes I think you just have to have faith in yourself that you will be able to work things out. That's life... you never know what's coming next.