The past two weeks since we accepted our referral, have been full of "to-do's!" We pretty much knew we needed to kick it into high gear to prepare for the arrival of our little princess, since there is the possibility we could pass court and travel sooner than later. Here are some of the things we've been working on:
1. Putting together a "Family Welcome Album." Here is a glimpse of our first few pages... we are also adding in some stickers and a coloring page for FUN! Our agency allows us to send anything flat (paper-thin). It was fun to put together the album, but very surreal knowing that we are sending these things to our daughter on the other side of the world.
2. Growing a closet of "girly things!" Yeah, what a blessing this has been. Some generous friends from church started our collection with a bunch of clothes their little girl had outgrown, we then added a cute pj set as a gift from another friend, and a whole stock of cheap (but great) "finds" from a local thrift store. I am a 100% believer in used and hand-me-down clothes for kids... they just outgrow things way too fast! Sure, I love shopping for the new outfit for holidays or pictures, but for any other day I am happy to take the cheap and free stuff :)
3. Reading books. We ordered some books from Amazon (ones we've been meaning to get for awhile) and have now begun the process of filling our heads with helpful information. Here are a few that we just purchased, as well as a special book for Eli called "A Mother for Choco." Such a CUTE story - really helpful for "waiting siblings" in explaining the concept of adoption... in kid-friendly terms that is!
4. Fundraising. We sent out some support letters, have a garage sale planned for two weeks from today, and are selling some great t-shirts from our website: www.4africa4life.org. We have kids sizes available now, and we will begin shipping this week for everyone who has already ordered. THANK YOU! I also applied for two adoption grants this weekend. The grant applications take so long to complete, and typically there are tons of people who apply and not very many who receive anything. I'm not getting my hopes up, but at least we have a chance :) Please keep our fundraising in your prayers.
5. Dealing with USCIS and updating our home study. Fortunately - we THINK we are GOOD TO GO! Our home study agency amended our home study (for the 2nd time in the past week) to now say 0-4 years, so that we are still okay if we travel after our princess's 3rd birthday. We were able to reach a lovely woman at USCIS who found our previously submitted amendment and agreed to hold on to it, to swap out for the new one... this way we are not having to send two things to Addis Ababa (talk about confusion that would create), and we are also not having to pay a fee for requiring more than one amendment. We now wait for our next I171H approval... then we can truly breathe easy.
UP NEXT: Painting a cute girly bedroom and preparing for a garage sale!