29 November 2009

Almost Complete with the Home Study

We had a great Thanksgiving with my mother visiting. She and Alicia were gracious enough to allow me to cook the Thanksgiving dinner.......all by myself.
With Alicia's expertise on the pie, we had a fantastic dinner. I cooked a bone-in turkey breast with vegetables. I opted to enclose the turkey in a foil tent to keep it moist. I took the additional measure of placing a number of butter pats between the skin and meat. I'm sure that was the key to a moist bird......and a few extra calories!

We're almost done with the Home Study process. Chuck the social worker has conducted all of the visits, and he is now writing up his final report. He expects to complete that sometime next week. After that, he will submit it to AWAA for final review and completion. Only the background checks from the various police agencies are required to finish this stage of the paperchase. We submitted that paperwork a while ago. We must have criminal and child abuse checks by the VA State Police, CA (we briefly lived there a couple of years ago), and also a second check done by the Child Protective Services of VA. Oh......and a fingerprint and background check by the FBI. Needless to say, we hope all of those background checks are processed quickly and get to AWAA to complete the Home Study. With the number of times my background has been checked and rechecked for various security clearances and accesses throughout my Naval career, I just wanted to tell AWAA to trust me that if I had any skeletons, they would have been found by now! I wonder how many background and criminal checks birthparents go through before they welcome their child in their home? The Home Study is only half of the pile of papers we'll submit to the State Department as our official adoption application. We're almost done with the other half. Luckily, we're still on track to complete the dossier before the end of January - about four months after we started this journey - super-quick compared to what we've heard from fellow Ethiopian adoptive families.

With any luck, I'll be able to say our Home Study is finalized in our next posting!

19 November 2009

Home Studies are Almost Done!

We must do four Home Studies; the first one was the Orientation back on Oct 28th. We've met with our social worker, Chuck, two times, and the final meeting (the one where he meets with Alicia alone) is next week. Chuck has been very encouraging and has done a great job putting us at ease throughout the entire Home Study process.

Today was the in-home visit with all members of the family, to include Chloe. Chloe was well-behaved during Chuck's visit. In the spirit of making a good impression, I vacuumed last night to get most of Chloe's black hair off our light-cream colored carpet. I wanted to tell Chuck that our carpet is rarely this clean and he should make special note of our cleaning abilities in his final report. This is an especially-tremendous achievement now because the unusually mild weather has transformed Chloe into a four-legged shed monster. Alicia was grateful that I didn't share that detail with Chuck. All in all, it was a great visit.

I must confess the Home Study process is going much quicker than I expected. Chuck met with me last week; he visited the house today, and he'll meet with Alicia next week. It looks like our Home Study final report will be all wrapped up and submitted to AWAA by early December.

07 November 2009

The Rowland Coffee Shop is Open!

Just in time for holiday shopping or simply satisfying your caffeine addiction.

If you didn't know, the world's original source of coffee beans was Ethiopia! Last year, a family adopted two daughters from Ethiopia. The father is in the coffee business, and was so captivated by Ethiopia that he now runs a coffee bean supply company specializing in Fair Trade coffee. Part of JustLove Coffee's mission statement is to help families adopting from abroad, specifically Ethiopia, with fundraising.

Whenever you purchase coffee (or other items) through our website, we receive a portion of the proceeds. You can drink Fair Trade coffee...from the birthplace of coffee...and help bring our son home. We are still in the paperchase portion of the adoption process, but we intend to adopt an infant son. It's only a matter of time (and additional paperwork!).

Join us in bringing him home through our new coffee shop!

01 November 2009

The Number of Orphans in the World

We stumbled upon this video through one of our fellow Ethiopian adoptive parents. It puts in perspective the estimated number of orphans in the world. The latest estimate of the number of Ethiopian orphans is around 4.0 - 4.5 million. As you watch the video, keep that number in mind and how it compares to the various city and country populations that are in the video. To say the least, it's staggering!