Archive for January, 2008

Megan is two! We enjoyed a fun night at the Pizza Ranch with our two year old and all of the rest of our kids. It’s not often that we’re all together!

Megan brought cookies to decorate for her daycare birthday treat. It sounds like that was a hit with the Tiger room. I’m sure a dozen 2 year olds with frosting and sprinkles made for some lively entertainment as well as some minor messes.

Megan received a little cd player that she loves. It plays Disney songs on little plastic disks (that will likely be missing in action very soon.)

We ended the evening by shooting baskets and playing in the Rec Center. We all came home exhausted.

Happy Birthday little one!

megan1.jpg

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I think we decided that she is definitely 35……or so….

We love volcano cake!

dode-cake1.jpg   dode-cake2.jpg

dode-cake3.jpg   dode-and-shega.jpg

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Gotta love these two Hannahs!

megan.jpg   shega.jpg

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We heard from our agency about the reasons behind the suspension of the post adoption services. It seems the US government is concerned about the legal status of orphans. Apparently there has been some concern about children who have living parents who choose relinquishment. The US government feels continuing contact could indicate that the parents haven’t given up their interest in the child.  In that case, the child woudn’t fit the legal definition of orphan. Here’s a section of the information we received today. It deals with the definition of “orphan”

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According to U.S. immigration law, a child may qualify as an orphan because either:

(a) The child has no parents because of the death or disappearance, abandonment, or desertion by, or separation from or loss of both parents  or

(b) The child’s sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing proper care and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption

Of particular interest here is (a): “the child has no parents.” U.S. immigration law recognizes six ways in which a child might lose his/her parents and qualify as an “orphan.” An orphan may have no parents due to any combination of the following six reasons: death, disappearance, abandonment, desertion, separation or loss.

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There seems to be special concern about children who are relinquished by two living parents. Apparently those children might not fit the legal definition of orphan.

(Since this is a public blog, I feel I should say that our girls do fit the legal definition of orphan.)

I am really sad that we can’t keep in contact with the girls’ first family, however, I do want every effort to be made toward ethical adoptions. I guess I’m pleased that someone in the US government cares about parents in sending countries who don’t have the money or voice that we have on this side of adoption.

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We just requested a packet of information from our agency CHSFS. We were hoping to establish contact with the members of the girls’ first family in Ethiopia. In the past, the agency served as a “g0-between” for first families and adoptive families to stay in contact.

Yesterday we received a note from our agency saying in part:

Effective immediately, CHSFS is suspending any birth family meetings and all ongoing contact between adoptive and birth families (including Post Adoption Intermediary Services). This is in direct response to statements made recently by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa citing the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1989; regarding orphan status, irrevocable relinquishment and termination of birth family rights.  

I’m sad for the girls and for us. I was envisioning a lifetime of keeping in contact. I hope that things change.

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The kids had a snow day today. I still had to go to work, but I left the kids home with their big sister. Here’s my send-off conversation with Megan.

M: I go too!

Me: No. Daddy called and said it is too dangerous out there.

M: Dangerous Naughty! (repeat 9 times.)

She was pretty sure dangerous was a person, and that person was naughty for not allowing her to go out with me. Her language is growing!

Here’s a conversation with Shega yesterday.

Shega: All of the brown people at my school speak Spanish except me. When I was on the plane, I spoke Spanish, when I got off, I didn’t speak Spanish anymore.

Me: You actually spoke two languages when you were Ethiopia. You spoke Hadiyya and Amharic.

Shega: How come I can’t do it anymore? Does my first mom speak Spanish? If I see her will I be able to talk to her?

ahhhhh! I guess I have some work to do!

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I found this brain quiz http://www.blogthings.com/whatcolorisyourbrainquiz/ on an ET adoptive parent blog: http://hawu.wordpress.com/

I guess I am scattered and random. (See the orange brain below) I’m sure my students didn’t need to see the results of this quiz to know this about me. I am afraid I’ve passed the “orange brain” on to several of my kids. I’m wondering what will happen to Megan and Shega. I enjoy thinking about how the girls will develop. I’m also excited about not taking either the blame or credit for their genetic traits.

This hasn’t been the case with our first four kids. Steve was a state track sprinter. He was FAST. His brother has several track medals to his credit too. No such accomplishment has occurred on my side of the family. When Joe is on the bases during baseball game, we have always stood and shouted “NO! DON”T GO!” when the ball gets past the catcher. He is strong, he is coordinated, but he is NOT FAST!  I and my family have always taken the blame for his obviously genetic slowness. I am so glad that I won’t have to take the blame (0r credit) for the girls’ speed, agility, or whatever. It is simply a joy to watch them develop. I wonder if they will have an orange brain.  Do you?

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Your Brain is Orange
Of all the brain types, yours is the quickest.
You are usually thinking a mile a minute, and you could be thinking about anything at all.
Your thoughts are often scattered and random – but they’re also a lot of fun!

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about esoteric subjects, the meaning of life, and pop culture.

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Shega gets to stay in school!

The school wouldn’t accept her immunization dates in Amharic, but her pediatrician faxed a waiver to the school. I have no idea what the waiver said, but the nurse said it was ok to send her to school.

One of the things the US government makes you sign when you adopt internationally is an immunization agreement. The agreement says you will get the appropriate immunization for your adopted children. I guess I had better take the immunization schedule a little more seriously with the two little girls than I did with my first four. There always seemed to be a reason to put off the shots. Their school didn’t take things quite as seriously as Shega’s school does either.  Oh well… We’re constantly learning something!

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The school nurse called. They said Shega will not be able to go to school after Tuesday, if they don’t get the dates of her immunizations. I have some version of the dates. The Ethiopian calendar differs from the US calendar. It is the year 2000 there.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_calendar

The types of immunizations are written in Amharic. This is what it looks like. 25/3/99 she had OPV 3. The others dates are similar. I’m not sure they’ll take that! I’m also not sure what we’ll do with Shega if they lock her out of school! 

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It’s Thomas’ birthday! He’s 10 today. He was born on Grandpa Dyk’s 75th birthday. We enjoyed celebrating both of their birthdays today.

The drug store served cookies and cake and Maddie and Andrew made some great signs inviting the town to celebrate with Gramps. I think he had a really good time sharing good wishes with friends and customers. He’s a very young 85!

I think Thomas is a very young 10 too, but he would disagree. We tried to convince him that he was turning 8 today, but he wouldn’t budge. I’m hoping he is now too old to pester his sisters!

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Steve and I went to the republican caucus. It was interesting. The winner was Huckabee. We voted for Ron Paul. He only scored 3 votes out of the 100 or so people there. Two of them were Steve and I. Oh well. It was fun to participate.

After the vote for the presidential candidate, people proposed platforms. The meeting got quite interesting at that point. We talked about universal health care, adoption credits, English voting, homeschooling etc. It was hard to believe the variety of opinions out there, even in a little town.

I was excited about the Iowa outcome in the Democratic race. I’m glad that Barrack Obama is a front runner. It is cool that our little ones won’t remember a world where an African American couldn’t be president.

Here’s a link to a fun quiz. It’s too late for those of you in Iowa, but it is fun:  http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html

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Mr and Mrs Joe will begin their last semester as husband and wife. Joe is studying sociology, cultural studies and a smattering of Spanish. He has a few classes left plus a leadership role on the baseball team,  so he won’t be able to take it easy for his last semester. Kendra will be working hard as a student teacher in kindergarten and P.E. She is wonderful with kids, and her cooperating teachers will appreciate her good work.

They are still waiting to hear where they’ll be placed for the Peace Corps. They know that it will be somewhere in a Spanish speaking country in central or South America.  Joe will be doing agricultural work and Kendra will be teaching. I know they are eager to know where they’ll be.

We are very proud of them. We wish God’s blessing on them.

May the Lord bless you and keep you as husband and wife, Mr and Mrs Joe!

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Mr and Mrs Joe Heitritter were married on Dec. 29, 2007. The wedding was absolutely lovely. The bride was a vision in white and the groom looked great in his black tux with a pink vest. The bride’s family did a great job with the decorations. Kendra’s mom put together the flowers, the chapel decorations and the centerpieces for the tables at the reception.  She did a great job.

Everyone in the family played a part in the wedding.  Emma, Paul and Thomas were attendents. Shega and Megan were flower girls. It was such fun to have us all involved.

Much of the extended family on both sides were there. It was great to celebrate with so many.

Megan did very well for pictures. She smiled and hammed it up. I am eager to see the pics. She didn’t exactly want to participate in walking down the aisle. I had to walk up and help her down. I could soon tell that she wouldn’t be helpful in the pews, so I brought her back to some waiting friends. I wouldn’t have been able to contain her all day if it hadn’t have been for Anne, Tressa and Kim and crew. Thank you all for your help.

Both Shega and Megan have had some trouble sleeping since the wedding. It is probably time to get back into a routine.

Check some preliminary pictures out here: Wedding Pictures

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We had a nice crowd for soup and a few rounds of “Merry Christmas”, the card game. Even Josh and Shega, who are both in kindergarten, enjoyed the game. It is our tradition to eat soup and pie, and play the game with family and friends. When everyone leaves, we open our own gifts. This year we had to work around Kendra’s family, so we opened ours early. It was hard for me to forget that Joe and Kendra will likely not be with us for several Christmases. They will leave for the Peace Corps sometime next summer or fall and will be gone for 27 months. That thought makes this year’s Christmas memories seem especially precious.

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