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Archive for October, 2012


We did get a call from Senator McCain’s office last week that was potentially good news. Or, maybe not.

They found Asher’s folder and are sending it to Tucson. It is … empty. But he exists. He just isn’t in the country, according to them. They think they have enough in Micah’s folder to complete his. If they don’t, we’ll have to help them reconstruct it. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. This has had more twists and turns than a Harlan Coben novel. We’ll see how this ends up.

Amie is mostly better, which is not quite like mostly dead. Just a cough that acts up from time to time. My chest cold lingers on. It didn’t really help that I decided to remove the buffle grass from the backyard. There was plenty of it, and it stirred up lots of dust. If I don’t talk much, I don’t cough much. But Sunday is a day filled with talking. So, it was a long day.

But before all that…

A friend had a birthday party at the local bowling alley Thursday night. This was the first time, we think, that Micah has gone bowling. We had a fun night. Among the kids, Micah won. It is great progress that the other kids were not upset. They started bowling the old-fashioned way. About half way thru we shifted to the ramp. They really enjoyed that.

Sore on Friday morning, we got up early to head to the Phoenix Zoo. It is vastly superior to the Reid Park Zoo in many ways. It is much larger and we didn’t see all of it the first time. They kept reminding us that it is “A World Class Zoo”. It was significantly light on Asia & the Americas, however. Heavy on Africa. We had a great time. Micah really enjoyed the carousel. Eli …. still afraid of it. We finished up, after a hot day, at the petting zoo so the kids could rub down the goats.

Sometime in the midst of all this fun, Amie decided it was time for potty training-lite. He has actually made significant progress. This morning, though he had a diaper on since they went to BSF, he held it until they got home. We’ve had a few of the obligatory “accidents” in the garage and waiting for a sibling to get out of the bathroom. But pretty good.

Yesterday afternoon I was throwing the ball for the kids to hit. Eli rocketed the first pitch, and it was down hill from there. Then it was Micah’s turn. She slammed quite a few of them. Maybe she’ll end up playing softball some day.

Amie called me at work today, asking when I would be home because Micah kept asking her when I’d be home. I guess she likes me.

We also cut up the pumpkins. Eli’s has 3 eyes. The girls’ pumpkin is named Pumpkin Joy, and she has eyebrows.

We are reminded, again, at how thankful we should we. We know some other people who have had very difficult transitions. Ours has been pretty easy. That has probably been helped by the presence of Jadon and Eli. This despite the fact that Eli teaches Micah and Asher all his bad habits, and has been known to hit Micah from time to time. This has been a bad week for that.

At the zoo, we talked to another family that has adopted a few kids from China. They thought the younger girl was 3 1/2, and it turns out she is actually 5 and rather delayed developmentally. One of the other Congo families adopted 2 kids they were told were 3 and 4. Later they were told they were really 4 and 6. Turns out, they are actually 6 and 9. Heartbreaking, to be sure.

This is one risk of international adoption. Sometimes ages are not able to be verified because they were not born in hospitals and don’t have birth certificates. Sometimes they are “given” ages in keeping with their development, or possibly to make them more adoptable.

It is shocking, and quite painful for the parents at times. But I am reminded that when the Father adopted me, he didn’t get any prize. I’ve been plenty of trouble. When we adopt a child, we get unexpected troubles. They frighten us, stretch us and can even break us. In preparing for my sermon this week, I’m referencing 2 Corinthians 12- that His power is perfected in our weakness. It is a process that we do not enjoy

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I

am

not

happy!

Amie heard from Senator McCain’s office today. They (USCIS) cannot find Asher’s file (yes, we have known this for some time). What has to happen is that we go to USCIS (again) and use his paperwork to reconstruct (or that would just be construct?) his file. The good news is that we have a stamp on his passport!

The Senator’s office told us that any of the 10+ USCIS officers we talked to should have known to do this, and this includes the woman who told me to my face that it had to be entered at the point of entry. So, we have wasted weeks waiting, hours on the phone and at least one trip to the other side of town and have nothing to show for it but governmental incompetence. If we ever get socialized medicine people are going to be dropping like flies or going to prison for going postal or medieval on someone. Supposedly the Senator’s office (not to be confused with Angela’s husband, the State Senator) will be contacting the district supervisor to make sure the peons understand they have the authority and responsibility to do this instead of just passing it along the chain until we just give up and go away. It really seems like a game to see who is more persistent, them in their laziness or us in our desire to obey the law. Funny, that: people who want to obey the law being given the run around while the government makes sure they cater to people not interested in following the law. I’m living a Kafka novel.

A relatively quiet week here otherwise as Amie and I cough in stereo. I have felt particularly lousy much of the week. While sleeping, or lying down, my chest makes a strange noise after I exhale. Gunk accumulates while I lie down, which creates all kinds of fun when I get up.

We did have our post-placement visit from the social worker Monday. Asher, the laughing man, was not in a good mood the whole time. Mostly crying. Great… She was here for about 90 minutes and asked far too many questions. Then on Thursday, we loaded up the van and went to the County Attorney’s office to sign the re-adoption paperwork. Looks like we’ll be all set for the “court at the park” date of November 3rd. Much more fun than going to court.

The kids don’t have parasites. Thankfully only Ash was tested but they have been in the same environments. That may save us some money of the rather expensive tests.

It was Amie’s birthday on Wednesday. Lots of singing and dancing. On Tuesday we went to Thunder Canyon Brewery with a friend to take advantage of her birthday offer. Her birthday breakfast was sausage and french toast. I had Men’s Group on Wednesday, so we had a few friends over for dinner Thursday night for her birthday dinner of marinated skirt steak, cheesy risotto and roasted brussel sprouts.

The Dog Club in “Action”

Friday, as usual, was Game Day. Amie ran errands including a pedicure and haircut while I took the kids to Game Day. It was a beautiful, cool day. You’d think it was a rainy day with how grumpy they’ve been all day. As the older gets get … older, they start to drift farther and farther away from where their father is sitting and reading a book. While they have Game Day I listen to a sermon (today’s was not so good as there was a huge exegetical flaw in it) while I walk the perimeter of the park. Today I was not pushing the stroller since now there are activities for kids Asher’s age. Afterward, the kids play with their friend Stephanie. They (Jadon and Stephanie) formed the Dog Club and bring stuffed dogs to play with. I don’t really get it, and neither do their friends who have been sucked in, but they have fun. But they start roaming and I lose track of them. Sometimes they leave Asher in the dust and that isn’t good since he’ll roam. You end up feeling like a bad parent, and in that moment you probably aren’t one.

Tonight I get sprung from the zoo, as I head to Phoenix to see The Choir in concert. I haven’t seen them play live in over 20 years. I’m excited. Been awhile since I’ve been to a concert. I’m sure I’ll be one of about 50 people who recognize the greatness of the band. Maybe there will be more. It should be good and loud, so no one will hear my coughing. Before the concert, I’ll see my doctor in Phoenix about this cough. Though I feel better today, I just don’t want to take a chance with the weekend coming. Keep in mind that I’ve got 3 hours of membership class to teach on Saturday and then the usual stuff on Sunday.

Here is The Choir performing Circle Slide, since USCIS has me on one!

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Has it really been nearly 2 weeks? Wow!

Amie’s feeling mostly better, but the cough lingers on. The past few days I’ve been feeling lousy and coughing. So we are the Coughing Cavs. I have a dry cough and sound “froggy”. Amie has been more active, and I’ve been slightly less. No congestion, just some post-nasal drip I guess that leads to congestion in my lungs. Always nice when you have to teach and preach the next day.

We got good news on the kids’ blood work. They had chicken pox! They will appreciate skipping that shot. They were negative for syphilis and HIV. They do not have Sickle Cell Anemia. This is all good stuff. We are in the process of checking for parasites. Yes,, folks, stools samples! Four for each child. That is always exciting, isn’t it? I appreciate the fact that Asher has diapers for a change. It makes the whole process much easier. Micah is not keen on letting us know when she has to do some business. For a stay-at-home, Amie never seems to be home when the kids go poop and a sample needs to be collected. I’ve been way ahead in the race neither of us wants to win.

Asher is still undocumented. We called USCIS again. Actually, Amie did and then got busy and handed me the phone. I inadvertently hung up on a person looking for the file. Yes, it sounds like it is in a box or filing cabinet. It is doesn’t sound like an electronic file. The next person I talked to said we should set up an appointment at the district office. Now they tell me this? Why didn’t they say this 2-3 weeks ago? I felt like I was talking with Verizon or something.

So Amie set up an appoint which was this Thursday. So I drove the 30 minutes to the office by the airport. Unlike the packed SSA office, no one was there. The blessing of appointments, I guess. I spent about 5 minutes there. Most of that was a highly unproductive conversation in which the officer kept telling me “They have to enter the information and create the file at the point of entry.” To which I kept replying, “How will they know they need to do this?” Did I need to fill out a form, was she going to send the photocopy of the stamped visa to them? She refused to answer my question. More Verizon-like service. Finally she said they would send that slip of paper with my phone numbers on it to DC to have the info entered.

The Friday Amie finally heard back from Senator McCain’s office. Apparently the person handling our case has been sick, but the office has been quite mysterious about her schedule assuming we must obviously be stalkers or terrorists. The paperwork is actually at the National Benefits Center, but the alien number is incorrect and no action has been taken. It might be in with Micah’s file. So… we might be getting somewhere. Might.

Since we are scanning documents to re-file our 2011 taxes (2011 was a refund year, and since the DRC is a non-Hague country the important date is the Decree of Adoption, not when we take physical custody of the children), we decided to start the re-adoption process thru the Country Attorney’s Office. It is much cheaper than going thru your own attorney. If we can get everything done by next Friday, we can have our “court” date at the Adoption Celebration at a local park on a Saturday in November. Yeah, instead of in court the kids will be able to play in bounce houses, slides and more. That sounds much better to us! Suddenly we need our post-adoption social worker visit ASAP. So, we’ll have that Monday afternoon.

With Amie’s birthday next week, she wanted to do a family type thing this Saturday. We hoped to go hiking or up in the mountains. But with me being a bit slow on the draw that didn’t happen. We went to a trail by the Santa Cruz River, water courtesy of the water treatment plant. It is very green there! We brought scooters for Jadon and Eli, and Micah’s bike. I forgot the stroller for Ash. Not so good. Amie and Ash too the slow road. Not too many ducks on the river today. But we tossed rocks into the river. Always fun. Lulu came along this time, so that keeps me on my toes as people go by. No other dogs this time.

Then the kids played on the cable jungle gym. Eli, ever the timid one, still doesn’t go close to the top. Micah made it about half way up. While we were sitting in the shade watching the kids, someone came over to talk to us about adoption. We’re always happy to answer questions, and they are usually good questions.

In between coughing fits, Amie has been talking to some other people who have recently adopted from the DRC. They are having a more difficult adjustment than we are. It sounds more like when we adopted Eli. I think we all dropped weight from the stress. I’d like to drop a few pounds, but I’m glad this has been a pretty smooth transition.

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