Thursday, January 31, 2008

Doing the dossier dance!!!!!!!!

Uh huh, that's right....we submitted our dossier today!

We decided to make a day of it and take the day to head down to Eugene, visit the Holt office, and submit our dossier in person. No, it wasn't us not trusting Fed was simply a good excuse to head on down, take the day off work, and also, we went to college in Eugene, so we had an excuse to return to our old stomping grounds and eat at the best Chinese restaurant ever- Maple Garden!

Now before I get too excited, I am sure I messed something up, so it may be a few days before I hear back from our agency. Hopefully (cross your fingers now), I haven't screwed anything up too bad....I am a bit (ok, a bunch) obsessive with details, so that may be on my side...

Anyway, what would such an event be without pics?

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Twice today someone mentioned that I am missing a picture of my dear little kitten, Kootenai from my blog. Apparently I am a bad momma and show off the puppy more than the kitty...

Brando and I have had Kootenai since October of 2000 and she is the world's best little cat. She is fluffy, gray, and has the world's best belly fur - hands down.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Notarized Home Study received!

Yup, got it today! Now all we have to due is cruise on over to the capital to get it certified this week and we'll be ready to hand in our dossier. Sweet. Sweet. Sweet.

What? A home study photoshoot? Why of course! We'd be crazy if we didn't.....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Adoptive families gathering

We had another get-together for families in the region that have, or are in the process of, adopting from different African countries. Prior to, I rushed around like a manaic, yelling at Brando that we would be late, and then we showed up an hour early...why the man stays married to me, I have no idea! :)

Anyway, we had some good parking lot time and the event was pretty good too. We knew quite a few families, met a few new ones, and my Holt friends made an appearance as well.


Yeh! Brando just got an email accepting him into the Wedding Photojournalist Association!

The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) is a professional organization composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. This is a pretty difficult org to get into and congrats to my awesome husband for making it!!!'s cutest nephews below!

Brando finally got the pics together so here are some from last weekend of our nephews Owen and Ryder and the newest little guy - Sawyer!

We got to watch Owen and Ryder 2 nights in a row and they quickly learned how to work Aunt Sunshine and Uncie Monkey. Here is Owen, looking like trouble...

This is me attempting to get the boys ready to go meet their new little brother in the hospital...

Owen and Ryder finally get to meet "Baby Bumblebee", officially known as Sawyer Philip.

I am now an auntie of three!

And here is "Uncie Monkey", officially known as Brando Dean.

Seriously, how can she look so beautiful only a few hours after delivery? I don't look that great with 8 hours of sleep :)

I just love this pic!

And finally, once more....Sawyer!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

3 months

Today it has been exactly 3 months since we submitted our application to Holt. We are now just inches away from submitting our dossier, so I'd say we are moving right along!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best. Social. Worker. Ever.

I need to take a moment and recognize how much she rocks!

First of all, she e-mailed us our home study to proof at 10pm on a holiday! Yes, 10pm on a holiday! Sweet! Then, she sped the document through the Portland office and onto the Eugene office. Hopefully we''l hear back from them soon and finalize!

In the beginning of our home study, when we told other families in our agency who our social worker was, they all talked about how great she was and how they wished they had her, etc. Now I know why...10pm on a holiday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

So, I am pacing the room excitedly....

Wow! I just get way too excited! I just received an e-mail from our social worker, letting me know she just received our home study from the transcriptionist and would be proofing it tonight. She'll e-mail it to us when she is finished!!! Whoo hoo!

We'll review it, make sure everything looks good and then hopefully finalize ASAP! Once finalized, it will be sent to CIS and they will hopefully (cross your fingers now) make our fingerprint appointment soon, and then issue us our 171H (approval to adopt). We'll then be FINISHED with our paperwork and officially "waiting". Now, keep in mind this little tiny bit of paperwork could still take months (we are talking about the U.S. government here), but exciting that I am pacing around like a school girl on her first date.

Babies everywhere!

Last night was a busy night! Both my sister-in-law and good friend delivered their sons last night, exactly 4 hours apart!

Sawyer Philip Jones (our wonderful new nephew) was born at 9:37 pm and weighed 7lbs 10 oz.

Henry Stephen Poizer was born at 1:37 am and weighed 7lbs 1 oz.

Both mommies are doing wonderful and we spent today running between the 2 hospitals. The baby boys are GORGEOUS and I am so happy to finally meet them!

Once that husband of mine finishes the pics, I'll post some pics of that beautiful little nephew of mine and his handsome big brothers as well!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brides Against Breast Cancer

Ok, so this post is not adoption related, but I just had to take a moment and mention how cool my husband is!!! He spent the last 3 days volunteering at a Brides Against Breast cancer event. To check out more details about the organization check out this link:


A friend of mine from work is getting married this summer and wanted to try on a few dresses, so a small gaggle of us ladies accompanied her (and Brando was our photographer, of course). If you want to check out his pics, go to:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Home study....check!

Yup folks, that's right, we are now finished with our home study visits. Our social worker will now write up the study, we'll review, and then we'll send it off to all of the important people who need to read about what great parents we'll be. Well, provided she actually says we'll be great parents :)

We busted out the house yesterday. Brando's family came over and we worked from well before sun up until well after sun down. We woke up again early this am (I'll admit, Brando woke up 1hr earlier) and worked for 5 hours until she came at 10am. WHEW!

Kootenai and Zulu were great! Both on their best behaviour and trying hard to be cute and sweet. Zulu actually was laying on the social worker's feet for the entire interview. We basically just sat upstairs and chatted through questions about parenting and our marriage and then took her on a tour of the house. It is still well in construction mode, but fairly put together and we're moving pretty fast on the house, so I feel secure in having it finished before we become parents.

All in all, the visit did not seem invasive one bit, and was actually sort of anti-climatic, since we don't have a ton to say about it. On to our next step, waiting for immigration paperwork so we can submit our dossier!!

On that note, I'll end with a cute Zulu pic....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Baby & Toddler Care

We had another parenting class this weekend. This class was optional and was put on by NAFA (Northwest Adoptive Families Association). It was a day-long course on baby and toddler care. The class covered development, care, feeding, etc. and was pretty helpful all around.

I think the best part of the class was watching Brando carry around 2 babies all day. We started out with one African baby girl and then added a Caucasian boy a few hours into the class. (They were dolls, by the way). We decided that since we are hoping to adopt 2, that we should "practice" with 2 as well. Brando was so cute, he kept reminding me to change the diapers, and even made me use new diapers, although I am pretty sure that the plastic dolls didn't dirty the previous ones....oh ya, and he dressed the 2nd baby away from me, so I didn't know we had a boy until the end of the day when I had to change his diaper- what a brat!

Another nice part of the class was that they had dozens of baby carriers to choose from - slings, wraps, packs, etc., so we had the chance to wear a few for a while and decide which ones fit us best.

Better rush off to bed, it will be an early morning as Brando's uncle and parents are coming over to work on the house and help us prepare for our home study on Monday am!!!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oops, I forgot something important!

Our agency has officially completed registration and is legally recognized and approved for adoptions in Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gena celebration photos finally in!

Ignore the ugliness that is me without hair and makeup and check out that food! Good ol' Ethiopian home cooking by the Schmidt family. (That's the dorky brother-in-law)

Me opening my first baby gift.....getting teary eyed...

Brando modelling one of our first baby gifts.....not teary eyed at all!

Our nephews took a turn modelling too....

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Sorry for the delay in updates...I have been working long days and struggling with quite a few headaches, so the computer was the last place I wanted to be at the end of the day!

OK, Home study update first! First of all, we LOVE our social worker! Brandon, of course, was not nervous, at all, but I was pacing, butterflies, etc. She immediately put us at ease and it just felt like we were sitting there talking to a friend about our lives and adoption plans. We didn't really cover any heavy or rough topics, just brief questions about ourselves and our families. I did, however, let her know that we definitely wanted to adopt 2 siblings, and she is checking in on that with the Ethiopia Program Coordinator, amongst a few other little details. Hopefully we'll have some answers by this coming Monday when we have our final home visit!

We also celebrated Gena that evening. That day, Brando and I made a trip to the Merkato Ethiopia to get some fresh injera and a few other ingredients we needed for the meal. The young woman working was so sweet and told us how her whole family was back home celebrating Gena in Ethiopia. She helped us with the spices, etc. (which were not labeled) and even laughed at me when the language barrier caused me to suggest putting incense in my coffee. :)

The meal was wonderful, if I do say so myself. I think his family tolerated it alright (I am not sure they are too adventurous when it comes to food, but they tried...) We also exchanged gifts, and we received our first new baby presents. It felt so weird to be handed a PB Kids box...weird, but exciting!

My wonderful mother, although she couldn't make the trip from Montana to Oregon to help us celebrate, send along a sweet little package....a pair of jeans I used to wear as a baby and my "mother's helper" apron I loved so much as a child. Thanks Mom! It brought me to tears.

We did, of course, take pictures, but Brando is busy working on a different photo set, so I'll have him help me once he gets a few minutes and I'll update the post when complete.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Melkam Gena!

Merry Christmas!

For those who don’t know, today is Ethiopian Christmas. Gena is a major holiday in Ethiopia where more than half of the population is Orthodox Christian. The celebrations occur January 7, the Feast of the Epiphany, instead of December 25. We plan on celebrating by having Brandon's family over for our first attempt at a traditional Ethiopian meal.

We also have our first home study visit today!!

I'll post pics of the food and a home study update ASAP.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Never again!

Never again will I spend 3 hours in Babies R Us!!!!!

My good friend Abbey is expecting her first child (a boy) in less than a month. I volunteered, along with another friend, Robyn, to help her register. WHEW! As this is her first child, and Robyn and I have not had children yet, we were extremely out of our element. After staring at nipple pads, breast pumps, and over-priced baby gadgets for way too long, we were more than happy to leave that store! The good thing was Abbey is very simple and opted to not buy the 137 different options for mattress pads, mattress covers, mattress protectors , etc. I think we both about melted down when faced with 4 isles of mattress accessories....what ever happened to putting the baby in a nice, clean, dresser drawer? Just kidding..well, kind of :)

It made me realize though, that when the time comes for me to register, I will follow my sister-in-law and mother of three's advice and break the trip into a few visits. I am also going to trick her into helping me :)