I am growing up so fast!

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Amanda's age

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God Doesn't Make Mistakes

For Amanda

Our three T21 princesses

Monday, March 31, 2008

Making a list, and checking it twice

I have been going through the lists of what we need to bring for Amanda's adoption. I am hoping it will fit into one suitcase, but I doubt it! Besides our clothing and shoes and sundries, we will need the following items for Amanda.
  • Jacket
  • Sweater
  • Tops
  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Pajamas
Personal care items:
  • Diaper Bag
  • Diapers
  • Diaper wipes
  • Baby wash
  • Baby lotion
  • Toys
  • Washcloths (they just do not use them like we do)
  • Blanket
  • Books
Medicines to take, just in case:
  • Adult and Children's Tylenol
  • Adult and Children's Ibuprofen
  • Children's Benedryl
  • Children's Gas medication (to help pass gas)
  • Children's tummy ache medicine
  • Neosporin
  • Band aids
  • Pepto for adults
  • Imodium
  • Thermometer
  • Antibiotic, just in case
After she leaves the orphanage, I will need food for her. I wonder if she chews her food? I need to be prepared for a soft food diet for her. I was lucky to have a store right down the street from me in Vorzel and a dining hall, but I wonder where I will shop and how we will eat in Tallinn? I would love to be as close to the orphanage as possible, but I do not know where I will stay? I know there is a bed and breakfast that other parents stayed at for $100 a night. It is the place recommended to us by other parents.
Gift Giving
It is the custom to bring gifts in Europe. Our paperwork says to bring 9; 6 small gifts for caregivers and nicer gifts for the orphanage director, doctor, etc. We will need a gift for the orphanage which can be toys, clothes etc. They ask that we don't bring stuffed toys. I do have a few blankets and a couple of homemade quilts for them. Any ideas for gifts would be appreciated.

It is never too early to get everything ready...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday to Amanda

Yesterday was Amanda's 3rd birthday! Our little one is 3! I hope the orphanage did something for her birthday.

Next year her birthday will be full of love and special gifts just for her. A special cake and little friends. She will have three sisters, four bothers, and two parents to love and cherish her.

Please join me in praying that this will be her last birthday to spend without her family.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Court application has been sent in

I am not certain if the agency has sent it to Estonia yet, but it is with them! I am so excited just thinking about traveling to Estonia and meeting our new daughter, some nights I have trouble sleeping!

I have been having nesting urges, remember them when you were pregnant? I have been looking for dresses for Amanda's "gotcha day" but every extra cent is for the adoption, so I never buy anything. Although it is a constant urge and it is driving me bonkers. LOL I will survive, and I have a lifetime to get Amanda pretty dresses. She has plenty of hand me downs as well, believe me. I know she is likely a 18-24 month as I know she weighs around 18 pounds. Looks like she has pretty large feet though. Her sister Meghan is barely in a 10 toddler at 7 years, so kids with Down syndrome tend to have tiny feet from what I hear and see. No telling Amanda's shoe size, I would guess a 5 or 6T.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Delta Airlines and my aching head

We are busy raising money for our stay in Estonia and our air travel expenses. We learned the hard way that buying bulk airline tickets is a precarious venture when you travel for an extended time and are not 100% positive when you will return. I lost my return ticket home from Ukraine because the holiday flying season began, and as a discounted ticket, mine was not honored during that time. Flights are 2-3 times more expensive during that one month period. My original round trip ticket was just under $1,000 (for Tom, Meghan, and I it was $2695 total), and most of that was paid for with grant money. Because I had to buy two more tickets to get home for myself and Kara, we ended up paying another $2,500 for our tickets home, for a total of nearly $5,200. Our story is not unusual, airfare is the largest expense after adoption fees.

So though we are busy raising money, we are fearful of a repeat of the flight expenses. I checked today for round trip tickets for Tom and I, they were over $1,500 each, but for Amanda's one way ticket home the cheapest I found was $1,600. Now we do not know when we are traveling, we just sent in our court application, but we heard two to three months after it was received. I just put down a late June into July travel date. The total would be $4,600. a little under the charges for Ukraine. No, I did not book anything, I am just checking prices.

I just spent a few hours talking to Delta about my canceled ticket, I did not get my 14,566 sky miles either, but half that because I did not fly back home using them. All because they said it was a nonrefundable "bulk" ticket...However, I sat at the American Consulate waiting for Kara's visa and heard that 2 of the 3 families there that also had canceled tickets by Delta, and theirs were not bulk fare, so what Esther said to me was untrue.

After a couple of hours talking to Esther I was told, "We are a business, we are here to make money, it isn't personal". A HUGE pet peeve of mine is that folks excuse themselves for not being human or humane with this absurd statement. The same thing that was said to me when I was fired for having cancer treatment and surgeries in 2004. I ended the conversation with Esther after she said this to me.

Bottom line, booking a bulk fare with a travel agent will get you into trouble if you are adopting because the ticket cannot be changed and you will get stuck paying for a one way ticket home. Esther was kind enough to tell me (insert sarcasm), one way tickets cost more because there are no restrictions on them as there would be with round trip tickets. So you pay the most expensive fare for it. when I said that was a terrible thing to do to people, especially folks who adopted, she said her "It's only business" line.

I just don't know what to do with our Skymiles, Delta to me does not care about their Skymiles members, I was hoping to get some Skymiles donated somehow too. I was also hoping to somehow get the $500 owed to me for that canceled ticket back from delta and was given their corporate office address. For others who also got the raw end of the deal from Delta over the holidays, here is where you write:

Delta Corporate Office
P.O. Box 20980
Department 980
Atlanta, Georgia.

Though I am not assuming anything will come of it, I will write a letter to them. Esther made it clear it was our travel agents fault (always passing the buck, aren't they?) for not being clear that the cheapest fare is the hardest to change, in fact we were told it would only be $100 to change my ticket, but what I was not told was that I would also have to pay whatever the going price was for the one way ticket after the $100 was paid and the $500 (the second half of my return ticket price) was deducted from that price. No bargain there at all. Caveat Emptor, and a reminder to always read the small print...if there is any, which for us, there was not.

Oh well, as you can see, we need to raise at least $5,000 for the airline tickets, we would also gladly take Skymile donations, we know Delta is not alone in their lack of appreciation for their customers...Esther pretty much said no one made us adopt, and we should have known what could happen!

Thank you blog readers and friends

We have a two ways we are raising money through donations, one is Reality Charity and the other is our FSP at Reece's Rainbow. In the last week we have received very generous donations to both and we are very grateful. Kathy, thank you for helping once again. Kathy also shopped for a coat for me right before I left for Ukraine to adopt in November. She is a wonderful friend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Even the stars know I am slacking on housework

I adore reading horoscopes, usually they are vague and apply to just about anything, but today's was dead on accurate, someone is looking in my window. LOL Read my horoscope:

The Big Picture

The concerns of daily life just aren't important now. You're far more focused on the future -- and that's totally understandable. Just don't forget to do the laundry and take out the garbage while you're at it. The future may be coming, but in the meantime, the present is right here.

OK I am not looking to the future completely, I have a new daughter and with she and Meghan, I have to be vigilant because those two get into some real trouble, but I suppose one eye is to the future and meeting Amanda for the first time, and I admit I have been wondering how having her home will change our family dynamic.

What I don't like is how they KNOW(tongue in cheek) my house could use a good cleaning but come on, I have two adorable daughters to play with during the day, meals to cook, diapers to change, home schooling to attend to, my new candle business to learn, and my wonderful 15 year old daughter Julia to talk to and watch great (and not so great) movies with. I have 4 grown sons to talk to and to visit with (when they have time to visit). Laundry and emptying garbage, not so much at the top of the list.

Honestly, I know I could use some tips on organizing, I have tried Flylady, I got kicked out for not logging on (this is not a joke), and I buy containers and baskets to fill up to get things off the floor, Kara adores removing every last article from these containers, and Meghan likes throwing them....I need a maid AND a much larger house....:o) Remember Alice on Brady Bunch? If she were here, I would have so much more time to just play with my girls, see movies and hang out more with my older children too. Then there is Mr Brady, I mean my DH :o), when he finally gets home he gets to help feed and diaper after a long day, but you know what, we are so happy right now, despite the mess and the chaos, we are very happy and grateful for our family. Kara is such a doll, and we love her very much, both of us are looking forward to adding Amanda this year. March is her birthday month, she turns 3!
Now because of that horoscope, I am looking at the baskets of laundry, the folded laundry I still need to put away, and the full garbage, ack, someone is looking in my window after all. LOL

My three little girls

My three little girls
Finally got all three to smile at once