Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Year of Waiting and Anticipation

If you know me at all, you know what 2012 was all about for me.  It was a year of lots of big decisions, lots of waiting, lots of stress and lots of excitement.  2013 is sure to be the craziest year of my life so far!  Here are some highlights of 2012 (both adoption and non-adoption related):

I started this entire process.  I looked into different programs, contacted Reece's Rainbow, the adoption agency and the home study agency.  I sought advice from family and friends.  I received a packet containing this beautiful picture.
I started filling out reams and reams of paperwork.  This would continue for the entire year.

Ummm...something must have happened......

I had an intake meeting with the social worker for my home study.  
My homestudy was officially started.  
Sara and I were officially matched on RR.

I spent a weekend in Indy with Anna and with some dear friends from Maine.  It was fun to reconnect with Lisa and her family.

I had my home visit with the social worker.
I did my 10 hours of training required by Hague.

I spent my spring break with my family in NY.  These are the kinds of things I do with my family:

My amazing work friends through me a toddler shower.

My family welcomed another little girl.  Kinsley Morgan Keller was born to my brother and sister-in-law on April 20th.

My home study was FINALLY finished.
My i-800A was submitted to USCIS.

I spent my last "I'm not a Mom" Mother's day.
I got to meet my first RR baby--Henry.

The women in my small group put together a huge yard sale for Sara.  Despite the yucky weather, it was a HUGE success.
My mother threw me a shower with some friends and family in NY.  My sister made the trip and I got to meet my new niece.  I also got to meet Angie and Jason.  (We have walked through this process together.  I can't wait to get our girls together.) 

Anna and I went on one last girls' vacation to Cozumel, Mexico.  Thanks to LivingSocial, we got a great deal.  It involved sitting in the pool and doing little else (except dodging some of the staff) for 6 days.  Amazing.

My I-800A application was approved by USCIS.  This let me start filling out grant applications and submit my dossier.

I dog sat for a week.  The dog survived and so did I!
I spent a weekend in Holland, MI with my dear friend Becky.

I received word that I had been given a large grant by Show Hope.  What a blessing!
Sara celebrated her 4th birthday---the last one she will know without a family.
My dossier was submitted.

I spent a weekend in Indy with Anna.  It involved lots of trips to Joanns and Redbox.  I have to appreciate a friend that loves low-key weekends as much as I do.
I also spent a chunk of time in NY with my parents.  My mom and I even went "camping."  We stayed in the air-conditioned RV and watched lots of ER and knit.  We did it in the state park so it's considered camping, right?

Sara's orphanage approved my request to adopt her.

I started my 13th year of teaching.  I'm really not sure how that happened.  I swear I'm not that old!

I got Sara's official referral in October.  Before that, I had a few pages and a couple of little pictures.  Her referral allowed me to find out tons more about her and fall even farther in love with her.  It also allowed me to accept her referral and tell my country and hers that I wanted to be her mom.  It also meant I got a new picture.

I was issued my approval by USCIS.  A huge step in the process!

I spent three days in Minnesota at a conference for work.  I got to experience the Mall of America and add another state to my list.  I think we decided I'm at 40.

Not much really happened on the adoption front.  I found out that Sara wouldn't be home in time for Christmas and that I would have to wait until January to travel.  The rest of the month was spent waiting and waiting and waiting.
I got to hang out with Angie.  We had our own little "our girls won't be home for Christmas pity party."  We also went and met Selah and Yvonne.  I had been following their story since August and had seen Selah in the hospital days after their accident.  It was nice to finally meet them!
I flew to NY for Thanksgiving.  My sister didn't make it home but the rest of the family got some time together.  I got to spend a little time with my aunt and 4 cousins.  I'm not sure the last time we all were together.

Sara's Article 5 was issued.  This is the promise from the US Embassy that they will issue her a visa to come to the US.  This means that I finally got a travel date.  I booked tickets, got a visa, booked the hotel.  Traveling planning was in full swing.

I also got to Skype with Sara.  It was absolutely priceless.  I didn't really say much.  I just sat and watched her.  She's convinced my dad is Santa Claus and kept asking where the dog was.  Poor child may be very disappointed when she finally gets home!

I got to spend the day waiting for this little princess to arrive into the world.  Her mom and I have worked together forever and it was such a privilege to spend a day in the hospital awaiting her arrival.

I drove to NY for Christmas.  Every time I drive, I vow I'll never do it again.  But, I needed to bring back a lot of pork from an adoption fundraiser so I drove.  I managed to miss most of the snow on the trip but there was definitely plenty at my parents' house.

Our Christmases tend to be very low key affairs, which is really how must of us prefer it!  We spent some time with my nieces---something I just don't get to do enough of.  It was fun to think about what Christmas will look like next year with another little girl running around!

(I also got an iPhone.  Not sure if this is blog-worthy or not but I love it!)  

Lessons Learned:
*I have some of the most amazing, generous, giving, supportive friends and family in the world.
*Sometimes, if you have the guts to speak your craziest, wildest ideas out loud, you'll learn that they aren't crazy at all.
*Sometimes, it's best to not really know how hard something is going to be when you get into it.
*There are good people in the world.  People that will help complete strangers.

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