Friday, June 4, 2010

More "quality time"?!

Those of you who know Eric and I know that he and I, on more than one occasion, have ended up having a hilarious time together in the worst of situations. Seems that a lot of our "quality time" occurs in hospital ERs (which I discovered last year is a LOT more fun when it's HIM in the hospital and not ME!). So, today, we had some more "quality time" together as we checked some more 'things to do' off the list for the adoption.

We finally received our fingerprint appointment letters from USCIS a few weeks ago and his appointment was today. Mine wasn't until Monday, but we had learned from some ladies on the Yahoo board that oftentimes if you just show up with your letter on a different day, the nice people working at the USCIS offices will go ahead & do your fingerprinting for you. We decided to take the chance. So, while he was off work for the day for his fingerprinting, we thought we'd make the most of the time and also get our vaccinations out of the way.

We headed to the Allegheny County Health Department down in Oakland for our vaccinations. I must admit that we were both a little freaked out to discover that the health department building was seriously the dirtiest, most disgusting building that I have been inside in quite a while! Something actually dripped on my head when we were walking in the front doors. Thankfully, I discovered when it dripped on my head again on the way out that it was from a window air conditioner a few floors up. (ewww!)

Despite the gross environment, the staff were super friendly and accommodating - esp. with regards to my request (aka. begging) to photograph the visit. :-)

We decided that given Eric's and my bad, bad luck when it comes to bizarre accidents, health conditions, etc., that we'd better just suck it up and get every recommended vaccination for travel because if there is even a remote possibility that someone could catch something, we WOULD be the ones to do it!! So, we got:
1) Polio booster
2) Tetanus booster
3) Yellow Fever Vaccination
4) Meningicoccal Meningitis
5) Live Typhoid Oral pills

Thankfully we both already had Hep A and Hep B from previous jobs so we were able to skip those. Regardless, that's still a lot. 2 shots each arm. 4 pills to take at home for each of us. (we decided to wait a few days to give our bodies some time to recover before we start taking them!)

Picture of Eric's vaccinations all ready to go!

Interestingly enough, the nice nurse who gave me my shots had a large world map on her cubicle wall.  Right behind my head? AFRICA!  :-)

It was a little helpful to be staring right at Ethiopia when she asked me to turn my head so she could do the Yellow Fever shot on the backside of my arm.

Woo Hoo! I was finished. No crying or anything! (which I was sure to tell the kids since both of them have their well-check visits in the next couple of months!)

Eric's turn! Another interesting tidbit: turns out that his nurse had 2 children - both adopted domestically.

She went over all the details with Eric (but checked with me after each instruction to make sure that I already knew the info. from my nurse because she figured that I'd be the keeper of the information/instructions. Smart woman!) :-)

Eric got the not-so-nice view of a window air conditioning unit (now that I think about it, possibly the one that kept dripping on my head!)

He didn't cry either (although I'm sure that I will hear a LOT of whining this weekend). ;-)
The nurse actually agreed with me and tried to tell Eric that the BEST thing he could do for his arms would be to work on the shed this weekend! (Like I said, she was a SMART woman!)

Last note about the vaccination part of the day: this was the bag that they gave us to hold all of our paperwork and our Typhoid pills.

After the vaccinations, we drove downtown for our fingerprinting appointments - navigating our way through 2 different parking garages which both had construction going on inside! (as Eric said, "it just wouldn't be Pittsburgh without construction!"). That office was immaculate! And the staff were extremely friendly and nice. Very fast, very efficient. They were super nice about doing my fingerprinting early. Of course, we were the ONLY people there so that probably helped, too! Regardless, it was a productive day of Stark style "quality time". Nothing like a "date" driving around in traffic, dealing with parking hassles, and having lots of deadly bacteria and viruses injected into your system! Oh yea, and paying $586 for it because your insurance won't cover travel immunizations for adoption! But again, as the bag said, "it's a matter of love!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

DTE - 6/3/2010!

Yay! One more item checked off the list of necessary things to be done. We received word today from Holt that our dossier had arrived in Ethiopia.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the process, after it was approved by Holt, it was sent to Washington, DC to be authenticated by the U.S. government. From there, it was FedEx'd to Ethiopia. It has now arrived in ET and will be translated and prepared to submit to court once we have a referral.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Movin' On Up

Well, today is June 1st and after having controlled myself for a whole two weeks without contacting the Holt Ethiopia staff to find out what our referral wait list # was, I finally broke down & emailed them today. Jennifer nicely wrote back to let me know that we are now #16 on the list! Woo Hoo!

Because I participate in the Holt online Yahoo group, I know of a good many other families that are also in-process. Of those participating in the yahoo group, I know of only 1 other family that is ahead of us who is waiting on a referral of a toddler aged boy or either gender. I know of about 8 other families that are ahead of us who are definitely waiting on either girls or infants. That leaves a few families unaccounted for that don't currently participate in the Yahoo group who may or may not be ahead of us waiting for a toddler aged boy, but we are certainly getting closer and closer to getting that much anticipated call!

I have started dreaming very real dreams about our referral and it's kind of freaking me out -- in a good way! Like a small child a few days/weeks before Christmas! :-)

The 6 days away in Arizona with Mackenzie were wonderful! What a beautiful state!!! God is AMAZING!! We had such a fun time together and although it's sad in some ways that Mackenzie is now a teenager (ahhh!), in other ways, I can see that it's going to be great in many ways, too. She is such a special, smart, loving, wonderful young lady already! We are so proud of her. We received a letter right before we left for Arizona notifying us that she was being recognized at the Academic Excellence Program at her school on June 3rd and would be receiving the Distinguished Honors Award for her GPA this year. Yay Kenzie!

Anyway, the trip was also a good distraction from the waiting period with the adoption, but now it's back to reality. Back to life. Back to waiting! Ugh!