Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just another week!

So here it is another Sunday night and I'm trying to remember what we did this week...


We traded the boys in one day for Caroline's BFF Allison...This wonderful family, that deserves a post all their own, have a little boy Tommy who is right between Jack and Sam, and oh my have they hit it off! (almost as much as Caroline and Allison!) Every night when I'm tucking them in I ask what they want to do tommorow..."can we see Tommy?" is what they both ask. And their wonderful mom Jodie, who really, I will write about soon...is so great about trading kids for the day. One day we take the boys and the girls go to Jodie's the next we take the girls and the boys are with Jodie...they're all having so much fun together! And it gives me a little break to do fun things with them...

This week the girls and I took a walk to the sprinklers!




















Of course we went to beach again!!! This time with some old pals! (Not Caroline, because she was at Allison's!)


Preschool Buds! Jack and "Big Sam"

























Then this weekend we had a few visitors...My ridiculously wonderful sister Kristin brought a few of the Green Bay cousins for a little visit! We don't get the chance to see cousins often but when we do it's awesome!



Now that's a crew!
















Of course there was a beach!


































Why are boys always sooooo crazy?























And then today Caroline finaly had the LEMONADE STAND she has been "waiting her whole life for"!



















Oh she's been wanting to have a lemonade stand in the worst way!!! But I kept telling her, I didn't think she'd get many customers...because we are on the corner of a busy street, but we don't have sidewalks on our side, so people don't just walk by...how many customers could she have?

Well I was wrong.

These two made a heck a lot of dough!

















Runners stopped. Bikers stopped. Teenagers walking on the otherside of the street stopped. PEOPLE IN THEIR CARS STOPPED! It was insane!

Here they are counting their loot! All $24.00 of it! Not bad for 10 cents a glass!


















So now onto the LAST WEEK OF SUMMER! I have a pile of paperwork that needs my attention...school forms, school lists, post placement report, updating homestudy stuff (which of course involves running all over town!) ...and of course the kids are asking to see Tommy and Allison again!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

hmmm...

This morning while Caroline and Jack were at their last day of Jr. Golf I was trying to run a couple quick errands with the little two...

They were both being silly talking and laughing in the backseat of the truck. I heard them talking about Sophie and Sketcher, our dogs...then suddenly (seemingly to me anyway)Emma says, "momma, our baby's out." confused because I thought they were still talking about dogs, I asked "what baby?" (because the last thing we need in our house is another puppy!) She said, "our baby. it's out. it's ready to come home."

Sam, I guess just as confused as I was by the jump of conversation was very puzzled and asked, "a baby in mommy's tummy?" To which Emma quickly replied, "No, our baby from the airport...in Ethiopia, just like where I'm from...it's out and ready to come home."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rejuvenated

























We had a great weekend and I feel like I'm starting to feel like myself again for the first time in quite awhile...

The weekend was jampacked with fun but lots of relaxation mixed in! The kids and I went to a movie on Friday night, I wish I would have gotten a picture of them all in their 3D glasses, it was hysterical!

Saturday, Caroline and I spent the morning just the two of us...First we were off to get pedicures per her request! Hence the matching bright pink nails:) Followed by some back to school shopping! I was really surprised that this is what she chose to do...she usually does not enjoy shopping in the least! In fact she normally dreads it. So when he asked if we could go shopping and if she could try things on I was a little suspicious. I think that unbenounced to me the girl has found her style! She was so funny, and excited going from one thing to the next, pointing at displays, "ooooo I like that!" The only problem was that many of the styles for little girls was strikingly similar to that of the styles for teenage girls and I am so not ready to have her dressing like a teenager! She's only 8...although while we were out for dinner last night, someone asked her how old she was and she replied "almost NINE"!!! I think my heart stopped.almost nine. yikes!

I feel like her finding her style is an important step of her finding her voice. She's no longer happy just wearing what I pick out for her, or having me do her hair... She is becoming her own person. Of course I want her to grow up capable of making her own decisions and using her voice to stand up for herself, but really. Already?

I guess I should just be thankful that the styles have gone back to the 80's so lots of layering, and leggings!!!

After our day of shopping we played in the yard while Jud took down the back side of the new fence! Sound crazy? I know. But we have a plan don't worry. While Mr. Muscles was hard at work Caroline and I were clearing brush and the rest of the kids were jumping in the "jumpy castle"! We got a ton accomplished!

Saturday night Jud brought Caroline, Jack and Sam to Green Bay for their first ever Packer Game!
























Turns out they were a little more excited about having McDonald's and a movie in the car on the way! They were in the stadium for about 25 minutes when Sam asked if they could go home! poor Jud.






Yesterday we all vegged out for much of the day...it was glorious:) In the afternoon we headed to the pool, got nice and tired out and returned home for more vegging! We didn't even need to prepare dinner, because we had the kids sports banquet dinner to go to! It was quite the set up complete with a kiddie cocktail bar! The kids loved it! And you can't have a sports banquet without awards, Caroline and Jack both got a plaque with their name on it for jr.golf!!!They were so thrilled when they saw it! Ah, and then disaster struck...Caroline got a trophy for being runner up in their tournament. Doesn't sound like a disaster? Well, Jack did not. Oh the boy was sooooo sad. There were many tears. Caroline was a very gracious winner and told him he could touch her trophy he wanted! He did not.



And to make the great weekend complete I heard that these two women,Julie and Christinawhere home with their beautiful familes!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where are we?

Well, we are about a week shy of hitting the 14th month mark!

I haven't written much about the wait, because I fear it will come across like I'm complaining. I know, I know that there is another family on the other side of this. I know that while I sit here and wonder about names and rooms and strollers there is a family in turmoil. While my heart is filling with anticipation about seeing a photo of my child's face for the first time, I know that there is another mother who's heart is breaking having to say goodbye to that same little face.



You know, when you start the adoption process, someone should warn you that there will several times at which you feel like the biggest asshole in the world! And this, well this would be one of those times.



My head and my heart just hurt lately. I am so excited to have another child in our family. I can't wait to see the kids surround the newest little one with love. I am eager to see Emma's reaction about being a big sister! And of course I'm looking forward to holding, rocking, loving another little one too!

But the feelings of excitement seem to quickly fade into those of worry.

Jud and I were talking the other night, he is worried that I've seemed down and distant lately. And I know I have. But I don't know how not to be. I asked him if he thinks about where our child is right at this moment, what is happening in their world, are they scared are they sick are they being loved...? The things I think about constantly. But he doesn't. Well, he does but he said he stops himself because it's to hard to think about. Is that a difference between men/women? Sometimes I wish I could just stop myself from thinking what I'm thinking! I just don't know how to do that. I FEEL that I have another child. I just don't know who they are yet. I already feel some connection, which I know sounds crazy but I do, I feel connected to this child. No, I don't know if its a he or a she or if it's a baby or a toddler or really anything about them, but I know that I love him/her and I can't wait to have them home.

sigh.

So, where we are? I have no idea. Hopefully not to far from hearing something. anything. I should probably stop holding my breath though...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

need support.

First read this and this. Do you see how this is affecting families? Now read this letter by McLane Layton, president and founder of Equalitly for Adopted Children, and see how you can support these families. these children.





Open Letter to the Adoption Community
July 31, 2009

As an adoptive Mother, the President and Founder of Equality for Adopted Children, and a former senior legislative aide on Capitol Hill, I would like to address some questions that have been raised about the newly introduced Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (FACE Act). These questions have caused some to suggest the bill should not be supported. This is unfortunate, because the FACE Act will bring significant improvement to the adoption process and will, if signed into law, provide equality for our internationally adopted children as well as save adoptive parent’s time, money and regulatory hurdles. I know because I was deeply involved with its predecessor.

The FACE Act was introduced to amend and improve upon the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), a bill introduced by Senator Don Nickles and Senator Mary Landrieu. At the time the CCA was introduced and passed, I was Legislative Counsel to Senator Nickles and was responsible for shepherding the CCA through Congress. The bill was conceived after my husband and I adopted three siblings from Eastern Europe and I discovered that despite the fact that my husband and I were both American citizens, our citizenship did not transfer to our foreign adopted children as it would have if they had been born to us abroad. As a lawyer I found this disturbing because I knew that under adoption law, once a child is adopted, that child is entitled to all the same rights, duties and responsibilities as a biological child. The law says they are to be treated as if they were the “natural issue” of the adoptive parents. CCA was drafted to remove discrepancies between the treatment of children born abroad versus children adopted abroad to U.S. citizens. In short, to bring adoption practice into line with the law and in the process ease a number of procedural burdens unnecessarily borne by adoptive parents.

The CCA began the process of addressing a primary inequality: If an American gives birth to a child overseas the child is considered a citizen from birth and is given a U.S. passport and a Consular Report of Birth (which acts as the child’s birth certificate). The child is allowed to enter the United States as a citizen with documentary proof of citizenship. In other words, the child does not have to go through an immigration process. Not so for an adopted child who must obtain an immigrant visa, go through a very different (and more costly and cumbersome) process even though they are every bit as much the son or daughter of American citizens. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the few developed countries that still treat internationally adopted children of their citizens as immigrants and force adoptive families to go through an immigration process to bring their children home.

U.S. Court decisions have established adoption laws that recognize that adopted children are entitled to full equality of treatment as biological children. Yet despite the passage of CCA, not all inequalities have been addressed. The FACE Act would align U.S. adoption laws with U.S. statutes by recognizing all children of U.S. citizens as equal, whether biological or adopted. The FACE Act would rectify inequities both past and present. Regrettably, as I know is often the case with legislation, some have misunderstood the contents of the legislation.

Protecting Safeguards and Meaningful Procedures

Some allege that by removing adopted children from the immigration process the bill removes the safeguards that protect adopted children, their biological families and their adoptive families. This is a completely incorrect assertion. This bill absolutely upholds current requirements in regard to approval of parents to adopt a foreign born child, preserves current safeguards, and maintains current regulations related to intercountry adoption. Here’s how:

Upholding Requirements and Procedures.
The FACE Act continues to require that before citizenship attaches to an internationally adopted child, adoptive parents must be approved by the U.S. government as fit to adopt, just as under current law.
Adoptive parents will still need to meet the same requirements currently submitted for approval of an I-600A or I-800A including an approved home study, criminal clearances and all other documents that are now part of the approval process.
Preservation and Maintenance of Safeguards and Investigations.
The FACE Act continues to uphold and require all immigration safeguards currently in place to ensure that a child has been adopted legally without fraud or trafficking.
Conditions required to fulfill an I-600 or I-800 form will continue unchanged including an orphan investigation as mandated under current law.
The U.S. government will continue to affirmatively determine that a child has been adopted appropriately and that the child meets the adoption requirements of U.S. adoption law for international adoptions.
A welcome change in the FACE act would be the elimination of the paperwork, procedures and costs required to file for an immigration visa after an adoption has been completed and the child has been approved by the U.S. government as having complied with U.S. adoption law governing international adoption.
Put simply, American adoptive parents abroad would take their documentation of a legal and appropriate adoption and follow the same process as American biological parents who gave birth abroad. The entire process would be simplified and standardized for both sets of parents and most importantly, would apply equal treatment to the children as established in U.S. adoption law. Time and travel costs for adoptive parents would be reduced lowering further the barriers to international adoption.


The FACE Act makes no changes to current regulations related to intercountry adoption. Current adoption law language does not detail what must be done to approve a family to adopt or what paperwork must be filed to get an immigration visa. Rather, the details are found in the regulations implementing the law. This bill and subsequent regulations would do the same. The FACE Act merely sets the parameters of how the law would be implemented and the subsequent regulations would provide the specifics of how it would be implemented.

Establishing Equality for All and Respecting Heritage

Another unfortunate misunderstanding of the FACE Act arises from a section of the bill that amends Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which defines who is a U.S. citizen at birth. Currently, this section of law provides automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to U.S. citizens abroad, but not to those adopted abroad by U.S. citizens. The practical effect is that under the status of an immigrant instead of a citizen at birth, the adopted child could never be President of the United States even though a child born in the same foreign country at the same time to American citizens could. Amending this section of law to include our internationally adopted children as citizens from birth will finally correct one of the major remaining inequalities that our children suffer under federal law.

Some have erroneously concluded that this provision will strip adopted children of their birth country’s citizenship and erase their birth history. In actuality, the FACE Act will help support adoptees who seek to learn more of their original birth history and reconnect with their country of origin. The FACE Act includes provisions that state:

“It is the sense of Congress that the government of each foreign country from which children are adopted by citizens of the United States should provide documentation of the adopted children’s original birth history to the adoptive family in accordance with the laws of such country.”

“Nothing in this Act, or in any amendment made by this Act, may be construed to abrogate any citizenship rights provided to an adoptee by the adoptee’s country of origin, or nullify the facts of the adoptee’s birth history.”

Granting of citizenship from birth cannot eliminate the fact of where a child was born, or to whom that child was born, or deprive them of their original citizenship rights any more than what occurs now when U.S. citizenship is granted to them under the CCA.

To the extent a foreign country allows dual citizenship and the privileges that accompany that citizenship, that child will always have those privileges as a citizen of that country in the eyes of that country. No legislation passed by the U. S. Congress can change citizenship laws of other countries. If a country chooses to negate the citizenship rights of a child born in that country because they become a citizen of the United States, there is no law that the U.S. Congress can pass to rectify that decision.

Further, although Congress cannot pass laws ordering other countries to provide original birth documentation to adoptive families or to change their citizenship laws, these provisions mark significant steps towards establishing U.S. policy in these regards and would strongly encourage countries from which children are adopted by American citizens to provide such documentation and maintain such rights.

Protecting U.S. Citizenship and Preventing Family Separation

The FACE Act also improves the current citizenship process for international adoptees with a provision that rectifies the damage that is done when adoptive parents fail to take the necessary steps under past and current law to acquire U.S. citizenship for their child. Prior to the CCA, internationally adopted children had to go through a naturalization process to attain citizenship. Many parents wrongly assumed that their adopted child was a citizen because they themselves were citizens. Unfortunately, this was not the case and there are many adult adoptees who found out much later in life that they are not citizens.

Even after the CCA was passed, the problem remains due to the way the law is implemented. Currently, only adopted children who arrive on IR3 visas (where both parents, if married, saw the child during the adoption process) receive automatic U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States. Adopted children who arrive on IR4 visas (where only one parent, if married, saw the child during the adoption process) must be readopted in their new home state (whether required by state law or not) before citizenship attaches. If the child is not readopted prior to his or her 18th birthday, they lose the right to automatic citizenship.

Over half the international adoptees enter this country on IR4 visas and risk losing their citizenship rights if their parents fail to readopt them. Many children do not find out they are not citizens until they apply for a passport or for college scholarships. A number of adoptees have been deported back to their country of origin due to minor crimes they have committed because their parents failed to take the necessary steps at the time to acquire citizenship status for their child. The FACE Act rectifies this for all future international adoptees by conferring citizenship upon completion of the adoption and the U.S. determination that the child was adopted according to law. Citizenship is conferred with no further action required of the adoptive parents. This is a significant improvement over current law and will eliminate the tragic stories of adoptees deported to their country of origin with no knowledge of their original language, no support structure and no ability to return to the United States.

For deported adoptees, The FACE Act allows these adoptees to file for and receive U.S. citizenship if U.S. citizens adopted them under the age of 18.

In summary, the changes made by the FACE Act are significant but easily implemented. The FACE Act would:

Remove internationally adopted children of American citizens from the immigration process saving time, money and, for many, travel costs;
Confer U.S. citizenship upon internationally adopted children immediately upon completion of all the necessary steps without requiring readoption within the U.S.;
Improve upon the current system by encouraging foreign countries to provide original birth documentation; and
Provide the added benefit of making our internationally adopted children eligible to run for President.

The sponsors of the FACE Act - Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Jim Inhofe (S.1359) and Representative Diane Watson and Representative John Boozman (H.R. 3110) are great friends and supporters of the adoption community and have crafted a bill that will provide equality under the law for our internationally adopted children and allow them to benefit in all ways from full American citizenship.

In closing, I recommend that all read the relatively short FACE Act bill in its entirety. It can be found at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.1359:/ In addition, I invite you to read a detailed section by section explanation of the bill as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions that can be found at the following link: http://www.equalityforadoptedchildren.org/legislation/face.html. Once you do so, I believe, like me, you will find this bill worthy of your wholehearted support.

For the sake of our internationally adopted children,

McLane Layton
President, EACH

Saturday, August 1, 2009

a post with words?

I feel like I'm turning into one of those bloggers, you know who you are, who have started to neglect their blogs. I've been trying to come up with a post that's got some meat to it. Something worth taking the time to write, and for you, worth the time to read. For many reasons though, it's really difficult lately. For one I simply don't have the time. Not just to write something, but to really think and process and make sense out of everything swirling around in my head. These days there are lots of thoughts, worries, fears, about the adoption. Followed by excitement and anticipation! It's definitely a wild ride. Which we've been on so long, we need to start updating our paperwork for because it's all starting to expire! Which is good, because I was starting to feel like we had nothing else to do!( sarcasm? yup, still got it!)

I've also been thinking a lot about family lately. Jud and I have been blessed with an incredibly supportive and loving family. But with the size of our extended families there is always room for some drama. Nothing huge, just enough to keep me worried, and to bring my blood to a boil every once in awhile!

Basically, when I'm not teetering between obsessing and avoiding become obsessive about the adoption, I'm doing the same with family stuff.

Luckily, I don't have much time to do either! The kids are keeping me very busy! We've been having a really fun summer.

We took a trip to MN to meet the new cousin Nora and love up the old cousin Spencer!





































The kids had a blast and it was great to see everyone, but yuck, I really don't like that drive!


This week work started on the house, finishing a playroom and putting in a patio door... two things that the builder agreed to throw in! yes, there definitely are perks to being married to the master of negotiation! But that means that the house is chaotic and covered in dust. So we've been hanging out at the pool a lot! I know, rough life. But believe me bringing 4 kids swimming is no easy task. It's quite a work out! Well, that's what I tell myself anyway, in the absence of any other type of workouts lately!

Caroline had a busy week this week. She FINALLY had a sleepover with her new BFF! Oh my gosh she was so excited! I think she's found a friend that she'll be friends with for years to come:) It's pretty sweet to watch! She's just so happy! Well, until yesterday morning when she was accidentally poked in the eye by one of the boys who were wrestling...never a dull moment. She wasn't able to open her eye all day. I ended up bringing her into the Dr's office to make sure it wasn't anything serious. There doesn't appear to be a scratch so that's good news. She has some ointment to put in a few times a day that seems to be helping, at least she was able to open her eye this morning. It's still really red and looks very sore. Poor kid! I think she got my luck rather than Jud's!

And Jud, he's been crazy busy too! He works his tail off and then comes home to my, "can you hang this?" "can you make that?"

Poor poor Jud. This week I bought a swing set. A pretty good sized one at that. It came in SEVERAL flat boxes! It took two nights just to organize the boxes of screws and bolts!!! But like my mom says, "that Jud works like a bull!"















Lest you think he did it all alone, he did have helpers!