Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is It Really Almost July???

I am in shock that in less than a week it will be July.  I find that when I am traveling the time passes so quickly, as all of my home projects stack up, but I end up spending more quality time with the family after I have recovered from my trip, which puts me a little behind again.

I had hoped to have Isaac's family book done by Fathers' Day to ship to the family taking it to him on the 4th with plenty of time to spare, but I would have probably been done last week, but apparently there are more names I spelled incorrectly besides my own last name.  And to keep the lighting the same as the other pictures (read detailed-oriented scrapbooker) I had to take the photos when it was dark outside.  And since I have been on Central time, last night was the first time I made it up past 10PM and could do this.  (Thank you Summer Solstice for all of the sunshine!) So I am getting Isaac's package out in the mail today, which is a little later than planned, but it will still make it in time without extra fees.  Yes, I will be insuring this package, as after you have spent 40-50 hours on something, you don't want to have to do it again!  And I am only sending him photocopies, which turned out great from our local UPS Store!  And then I put them on cardstock and laminated them.  I am working on the covers and binding them together this morning!  Once I have the original done I will be taking photos and probably posting them. :)

So speaking of being short on time, I cannot express how grateful I have been for E-Mealz.  I just printed off this week's meal plan and Dane and I will leave shortly to go shopping for the week!

Shortly after we discovered Dane's gluten allergies, our friend April told us about E-Mealz.  It's a great way to save money, make healthy and nutritious dinners and save time.  Once a week on Thursdays, they post a one week dinner meal plan, including a main course and a side, and then a handy shopping list that matches up.  You can get a store specific list, such as Walmart, or Kroger's (Albertson's for us in the NW).  The meal plan has (generally) easy to follow instructions and within 1/2 hr - 1 hr, dinner is on the table.  They have specialty meal plan options, such as diabetic, gluten free, low fat, etc.  Since I had NO experience with gluten-free and at the time I was keeping a little more than extremely busy, I was so thankful for the meal plans.

Now we have several family and friends who are also using several variations of these plans, and it's fun to talk about, did you like this, or did you like that! I added a button to the website and if you decide you want to use E-Mealz, use this link and we get a small credit on our account and right now with flight prices to Ethiopia doubling since we originally put the budget together, every penny counts!  And share with us if you like it!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tornados, Concerts, Paula Dean and Best Breakfast Buffets

Hello!  I'm (Patty) out in Birmingham, Alabama this weekend for a work project and it just happens that the Alabama Tornado Concert Benefit was in Birmingham this week!  I wasn't able to go, because the only tickets left were $1000, and that was a little out of my price range, but lots of money was raised and lots of people will be helped!

Paula Dean was in Birmingham this week too!  Busy and exciting place, which was only enhanced by some major storms.

I went outside to see one of them and I noticed that there were LOTS of kids out there too.  LOTS.  Did I say LOTS?  One of the teenagers asked me if I was here because of the tornados too.  I must have looked at him sideways because he said, oh you are from out of town, well welcome to Alabama, Ma'am.  I ended up talking with him and the reason I had trouble booking hotels is that many of the victims of the tornados are living in hotels now.  This particular teenager was in a one room hotel with his family.  His Mom is a working Mom and the Dad is out of the picture so he's here with his siblings most of the time.

Talk about seeing the face of those affected by adversity.  He's a 14 year old, big dude.  He is a football player and most all of his possessions were lost.  He's going to be in this hotel for 3 more months until they can rebuild his family's house.  And you know what he was doing?  He was telling me about all the things I should go see and do.  On the top of the list, the "best breakfast buffet" in the lobby each day.  "They have pancakes, bacon, all kinds of juice, and oh coffee if you drink it Ma'am."  He told me about what life was like before the tornado and then after the tornado, and let me tell you, my life is a cakewalk compared to his every day.  Shortly after we were talking, his sister (who is 7) came out and wanted to talk too.  I was shocked at the realization that I am talking with a family who has lost everything, yet they have hope and they are focusing on the positives.  She was very excited about the pool and how her big brother was taking her to the pool every day and to the "best breakfast buffet" every morning.

The Mom came out and she looked completely exhausted.  She asked the brother if he could watch the sister while she slept so she could get to work in the morning and he obliged.  I said hello and asked if I could pray for them.  She said, sure.  At the end of the prayer, I looked up and she was crying telling me how much she needed that and how proud she is of her son.  And I find out that he gave up a football scholarship this summer so that he could take care of his siblings while his Mom worked.  The relocation has affected their childcare options and her son was a lifesaver.  I gave her a hug and I promised to pray for her daily.

This evening  I intend to ask her for her name, phone and email address so that I can check in on her and encourage her, as she spoke of needing someone to talk to more often last night.

When I talked to this boy about his football plays and what he wants to do when he grows up, he was overjoyed that someone was listening to him and what he was interested in.  He had such a beautiful smile, that just thinking about it makes me smile.

So our news last night that our Court Submission being completed in Ethiopia and not really knowing what that meant, and being a little frustrated, it seemed like I needed to draw upon this family.  It's good news, a step I didn't know existed is taken care of,  and I need enjoy the "best breakfast buffet" and appreciate the daily blessings while we wait.  And when  I get discouraged,  I will think back to his smile and remember, even in the most difficult situations, having someone to talk to and is interested is often the cure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

7 Weeks...Or More

Today I sent an email to our adoption agency contact asking her who I could send the care package for Isaac to.  It works out best if someone takes it in their luggage when they travel.  They said that they were in Colorado and leaving July 4th!  Independence Day, what an exciting way for their family to celebrate this day!  So my package will be on it's way in time!  Yeah!

But as an added bonus she told me they just found out this week AND they signed their papers three weeks ahead of us.  Based on this trend, we would be leaving in seven (7) weeks could still possibly make it over to Ethiopia for our court date before the rainy season!!!!  Rainy season is basically when they shut down the government to avoid the spreading of this little thing called Malaria.  So basically, if we don't make it before then, until the Malaria threat is over for the year, everything goes on hold.  If we make it there before, it means Isaac will make it home sooner and if he does get sick during the Malaria season, we can get him home quicker and nurse him back to health quicker.

Every year my (Patty's) company has a conference in the summer.  Missing the conference could be hazardous to my employment and going after rainy season means a 6-12 week delay for the first trip. :( There was only one week between the conference and rainy season, and we have been praying this would be the week we would get our court date.  So, while we don't have any paperwork or anything finalized, we are praying even harder for this date than ever. 

We have been so at peace with waiting, but anticipating having to pickup and leave at any moment, which means all of our plans come with a tentative "unless we are in Ethiopia" trademark response.  We were actually talking last night about how when he comes home it's probably going to be very cold for him and came up with his first nickname, "Ice Cube." It's kind of weird to think in 7 weeks we could be on another continent hugging and kissing our little Isaac (where, in fact, he will not be an Ice Cube, but we will probably still call him this!).

So while I am still putting the album together, I thought I would share a couple of pictures from our book for Isaac together.  We are trying to pick a title and deciding between, "Putting the Pieces Together" or "More than Words Can Say"  Let us know what you think or if you have any other ideas!  Glue and paper will be adhered next week. :)

 Thank you for your continued prayers!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

US Embassy "Update" & More

June 2nd the US Embassy in Ethiopia is reporting that the caseload from the pre-March 8th timelines are continuing and they are processing 15-20 cases a day and MOWA continues to plan to process 5 cases a day for all cases after those submitted after March 8th.  Isaac's case was submitted on ~April 8th, so we have to wait for all of the cases submitted from March 9th-April 8th.  The interesting "news" is that this tells us pretty much nothing other than more waiting.

This reminds me of a sermon I once heard, God's answers are yes, no or wait.  Guess we are going for the last approach.  We are still hopeful we will have Isaac home for Christmas, but the poor little guy will probably go from hot and humid weather to cold and frosty winter.  Well, I guess I should rethink that...We did have hail on the first of June this year!
100 degrees in Addis Ababa today...With a high of 72 and a low of 58...I am pretty sure there weather people might need a little more training on the "greater than" and "less than" principals!

One of the things I have finally figured out is that the USCIS (immigration offices) don't have an office in Ethiopia, the closest is Nairobi.  So that explains why the cases may be processed in Nairobi or why there will be more cooperation from US Government offices in Nairobi going forward.  What did they say, "The more you know..." ;)

We also found out this week that my step-dad had a terminal diagnosis with his cancer.  He's had problems with his kidneys before and he's only got one now and it's only working 20%. :( This can be very hard to face and he's have a rough time.  My step-dad and I aren't really close and I've not really been so kind to him through my life, but when I was reading the book "Chicken Soup for the Scrapbookers Soul" over the last few days, I knew I needed to take on a scrapbooking project to archive an older family members' life.  I wasn't sure who, but once I heard of Harv's diagnosis, I decided I would ask him.  So this morning, I asked him and he said that would be a great idea!  I have started putting together the papers, stamps and stickers and he is going to call me this week so we can discuss some details and then see what photos he can scan for me to use.  It's going to be a great way to archive his life and to get to know him better and give him the best birthday present ever!

God is definitely providing enough for me to work on while we are waiting, and we appreciated your continued prayers.

Many Blessings,

The Hendrickson's