Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cake Masters!

Here are the pictures from our final night of Course One, the rose night! To the left is my cake, Brittany's is the other yellow rosed one, Michele's is pink. Shani was sick :0(

Every week we've learned a different part of the rose, leading up to this Monday night where we learned how to put the petals on. It was a lot harder than one would think. I think I am the only person of our group of four that is entertaining the thought of taking the next group of courses, level II. The roses almost did me in though....So I'm still thinking about it. The bad thing is that there is no break, the next level of classes starts next Monday night.

After class we had dinner with our dear friends, Mark and Dale, and I was talking with Mark about the adoption, of course, and we were talking about the waiting. We are 5 months into the process, less than a month into the "official" wait with our Dossier in St. Petersburg. I think the key to waiting is to stay as busy as possible and go about life as usual, which for us is 100 miles a minute. I think it's a good thing that when I grocery shop, I count the number of meals we will be eating at home per week, and it usually amounts to three or less. Time honestly flies by. I can't believe the 4th of July is this weekend! Mark brought up a great point. He pointed to his oldest son, who is about 5 years younger than we are, and said "By the time your son/daughter is his age, you won't remember the waiting or whether or not they came in October, November, or February." In the grand scheme of things, a year goes by in the blink of an eye.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Have Crib Will Travel

Our adventure to Charlotte this weekend was really a multi-tasking type of trip. Many of you know the recent crib debacle, if not see post of June 15th. It's a long story.....

Anyway, we set out to see what the "Queen City" had to offer as far as cribs go. We went to a lovely posh furniture store, Bellini. It was nice but WAY more than anyone should spend on furniture that will be used and abused by a little one.

We went to be fingerprinted at USCIS, then we went to Jim's USA Baby (also in June 15th post) for round two of crib shopping. We once again had the great crib debate within my family. Chad started saying "Whatever you want, babe" which is code for "I don't care, pick out a crib and let's blow this Popsicle stand!" So a decision needed to be made. We could have ordered a duplicate of our previous crib and waited for it to (hopefully) come in, or we found two cribs that we loved that were store models and we could take those with us TODAY! Being gun shy and nervous of this "we promise" furniture again, we actually went with our second choice (Chad's first choice) from the last hurrah at USA Baby in Greenville. A lovely brushed nickel crib by Creations. We also got a steal on it because it was the floor model. We went to Super Target and drove back to the store to pick it up, giving them time to dismantle. Tony, the hottest man in Charlotte (not hot, like HOT, but super sweaty from working in the warehouse) unloaded the dismantled crib wrapped in shrink wrap from the loading docks. He took one look at Clifford the Big Red Car and said "that crib is not going to fit in that car". Tony obviously does not know us, the bankruptcy saga, my dad (a.k.a. McGuiver), the time we strapped a grill to Chad's tiny Ford Escort, and the shear determination we had to have a crib TODAY. He walked back inside, leaving us 4 blocks of Styrofoam and some tie down material. Daddy and Chad went to work. 30 minutes and some blood, a lot of sweat, and some tears later, Baby Deetz' crib and mattress was in the back of the Trailblazer and in route back to Spartanburg!
1 1/2 very hot, loud, and windy hours later the crib was in Baby Deetz room. We only lost one Styrofoam block on the way into town whizzing around on the Interstate.

By Sunday, Daddy had assembled it. Last night I was lying in bed thinking about the room and the crib....it's starting to sink in that a little one is on the way. I don't know why it took a crib to make me realize that....I guess when it was ordered, but out in Outer Space somewhere, it just didn't sink in that that crib is for our son or daughter, that it will grow with them to a full sized bed, hopefully it will be a place of sweet dreams for them for years to come.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today was the day..... USCIS "biometrics" testing. Our appointment was at 1:00. We arrived in Charlotte early so we had plenty of time to have lunch and visit a baby furniture store, Bellini. Mom and Dad came with us to Charlotte, so we dropped them off at a nearby shopping center because on the bottom of our official looking appointment card (complete with watermark and "United States of America" seal that was printed in the same "font" they use for money) it said "no visitors allowed inside the waiting room". Anyway, here is a picture of the nondescript government building this time. No signs, no frills, just a vacant looking office space. We arrived at USCIS at 12:30.

This time, I wasn't even allowed to bring my purse inside. The security guard was once again, all business. This time he asked to see both sides of our hands? Hmmm..... Chad thought maybe it was to make sure we weren't wearing "fake fingers" for our printing. I think it might have been to make sure we didn't have any open wounds on our fingers. Either way, we didn't ask Gus the Bus any questions.
Gus: "Appointment cards?"
C&S: "Yes, Sir"
Gus: "Any cell phones, cameras, recording devises?"
C&S: "No, Sir"
Gus: "Passports or other I.D.?"
C&S: "Yes, Sir"
Gus: "Have a seat and fill this out"
C&S: "Yes, Sir"
We fill out a brief form, bring it to Rico behind the front desk. (Who by the way was an excellent stamper. He stamped the dates and form numbers on the appointment card and form with ease.) Chad said "Wow, you've done that a few times before, huh?" Rico: "Uhh Yeah." O.K. Rico and Gus definitely did not win "Mr. Congeniality" in USCIS University. We sit and wait for our number. We barely made it back to our molded plastic, standard government issued oatmeal colored chairs and my number is up. Glenda, who was also a woman of few words, starts entering in my information and scans in the bar code on my appointment card. I stand on this foam mat in front of a computer screen and she goes to work, spraying the finger pad screen with mystery liquid (water? rubbing alcohol? acid removing my fingerprints forever?) working a foot petal like a sewing machine while simultaneously rolling my fingers around in said mystery liquid. My fingerprints appear on the computer screen. I say "Ohhh wow! That is so cool!" Glenda says "uh huh". Ok- I've once again lost the silent game. I never was good at that game anyway. She reviews her handiwork silently, and presses enter. Each print pops up and a little green box highlights a "unique pattern" in each print. Good news, I am not a clone! Each of my prints have a unique qualifier. Cool! I keep my enthusiasm to myself this time.
Chad's number is called, I have a seat and Glenda goes to work on him. His pinky finger on his left hand doesn't want to take. Glenda rolls it over and over again. Poof, he's done in a few minutes too. He was disappointed there was no DNA swab. Personally, I don't want Gus, Rico, or Glenda swabbing anything on my person.
They ask us to fill out a comment card before we leave about the quality of their service. I check all "Excellents" even on the "customer service" question. These people are just doing their jobs, they can't help it that they are one step away from florescent lighting induced insanity. They weren't mean or rude, just incredibly bored. Maybe they should add some color to the walls and pipe in a little "mu-sac" over the speakers to make life worth living. I didn't write that on the comment card.
Anyway, we picked up mom and dad at 12:52. The whole thing only took 22 minutes! We had enough time to spare to visit the Mega-Target complete with it's own PARKING GARAGE! It was like in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy leaves the black in white Kansas and arrives in Technicolor Oz. It was like sensory overload leaving drab USCIS to the wonderful world of Tar'get.
P.S.- We also made another very important stop in Charlotte, more on that tomorrow......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Christmas in June

HAPPY BIRTHDAY UGGIE! You will be the best aunt in the world......Now onto the blog!

Every year after Christmas I buy our Christmas cards for the following year and just throw them in a box that goes up to the attic. This way, I can buy 4 boxes for the price of one and save money for important things, like shoes.
For the last 5 years or so, I've bought photo cards so I can put a picture of Chad and I along with a letter letting people know what we've been up to. I try to make the letter creative and fun, and the most important rule of form letters, no more than a page long. One year I made a tree out of single words or phrases that had to do with that year. Last year was a quiz. There is nothing worse than reading 6 pages about Aunt Gretchen's bunion surgery and Timmy not making the junior major league baseball team.

For the last few years we've had a youth in the local debutant club (yes the south still has debutant clubs.) Therefore, we've been invited to the Lady Gainsborough Debutant Ball for three years in a row. Since it's a black tie event, it's a perfect opportunity for a "Christmas Card Photo Op". (FYI- last year's picture is also our blogger profile picture). Anyway, for several years our card has been our picture from the "Deb Ball". This year was going to be no exception. Unless, we have a picture with a little one in it by Christmas? Then I will happily chuck the deb picture and buy some new precious "baby" friendly cards AT FULL PRICE! (gasp). Wouldn't that be wonderful?

But just in case here is our standby, taken at the ball on Friday, June 19th. Unless a better picture turns up after the 5 million pictures we posed for!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sweet Sleep

This year our Vacation Bible School Mission Project was to benefit an organization called “Sweet Sleep”. It was a “dream” given to Jen Gash, a Nashville local working on a Mission Trip to Moldova in 2003. Moldova was part of Russia until 1991, and since its break with the Soviet Union, Moldova ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. 80% of the citizens of Moldova earn less than $1 a day.
While working in one of the largest orphanages in Moldova, Jen was overwhelmed by the dirty, soiled, 50 year old beds used by the orphans. 700 children shared 430 beds, some of the beds did not even have a mattress and the children slept on the metal coils. Jen felt helpless, at the hopelessness of the situation. She opened her bible on the flight home from Moldova and the scripture, Proverbs 3:24 rang loud and clear:
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Her ministry was born, to provide a “bed for every head”.
Despite the overwhelming odds of more than 210 million orphans worldwide and 5,760 more children becoming orphans EVERY DAY “Sweet Sleep” has now spread from Moldova to Africa. You can join a Mission team to go build beds, youth groups can sponsor “insomnia” lock-ins by gathering pledges to stay up all night and give up a nights sleep, children attending VBS around the world can bring in their gifts to build a bed or two (our kids raised $500, providing two complete beds with sheets and pillows!). This is a great “instant result” project because any group or team can raise enough for one bed! You can also go online and contribute. Just a few dollars buys a pillow, $250 gives a complete bedding set- frame, mattress, pillow, waterproof seal, sheets, comforter.
Mention this project to your children’s director, youth pastor, mission coordinator, or pastor. Forward the link to other people that may be able to help. It’s a great ministry and a great example of God’s promise to us that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1:27
Most of all, please pray for this project and others like it. Pray that maybe the generosity of others have provided Baby Deetz and the thousands of other orphans around the world a sweet place to dream. That Baby Deetz has a safe and warm place to dream, until we can provide a whole house, not just a bed, for them.
Check them out at http://www.sweetsleep.org/index.html you’ll be glad you did.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ace of Cakes (Night Three)

Here are our masterpieces from tonight..... Michele is on vacation, so it was just us three tonight. Mine obviously says "Chad" since he loves clowns so much, Shani's is the one with the two toned icing and the lounging clown and Britt's, well, says "Britt"!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Chad, Just think of this time next year??? Happy Fathers Day to all of our fathers (Daddy, J.R., and Ricky) and men that are like fathers to us and have adopted us along the way of our ministry.... Chad has so many wonderful examples of men that are loving, kind, strong, courageous, and faithful. What a blessing and a responsibility it is to be a father. I know that Chad is going to pass with flying colors!

I took this picture of Chad and Jordan (our summer intern that is living with us this summer, a.k.a. practice son) playing video games after church today. It was so cute how they matched and stuff (not on purpose, I'm assured, and Chad offered to change when Jordan came down the stairs this morning) But Thanks Jordan on being our guinea pig. But, don't give us too much credit- he's a really mature and respectful young man. And he cleans....
Today we went to church, Pastor Dave preach a really great message that really spoke to me- it was about Storms. His text was from Matthew 8:24, when Jesus and the Disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee in their boat. Jesus falls asleep and a horrible storm breaks out at sea. The disciples "draw straws" on who is going to wake Jesus up because they fear certain death from the wind and waves. Jesus is awoken by Peter (who drew the short end of the stick) and Jesus rebukes them all for not trusting in Him, but then calms the storm. Maybe he does back to sleep?
When the storms of life happen (Dave said either we are leaving a storm, in the middle of a storm, or we are about to enter into a storm) we should remember these things:
1- Don't complain about the weather (It doesn't do us any good, buy an umbrella and shut up)
2- Don't fight with our fellow passengers (We are all in this together)
3- Go out to deep water. (Experienced sailors know the worst place for a boat in a storm is in the harbor; They will pull anchor and go out to the depths of the ocean.) Likewise we should trust in Him and not be afraid of not having a safety net.....
4- Face the storm head on! Have courage.
5- Hang onto the Mast. (Cling to the Cross!)
6- Enjoy the Ride.
Sometimes we feel like we are standing in the middle of an open field waiting for the storm to roll in. We can see trouble on the horizon. But sometimes, the storms of life catch us by surprise and we are left soaking wet, wondering if we should wake up God because obviously he's sleeping on the job! Whatever storms life gives us, we need to hunker down and enjoy the ride because if God is with us, whom then shall we fear?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Buy a Frosty this weekend!

If you buy a Frosty tomorrow or sunday Wendy's will donate 50 cents (per Frosty) to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. After a week of Bible School, cake decorating, teaching a scrapbook class, and a Debutant Ball, I personally will be consuming 83 Frosty's. See if you can beat my $41.50 donation.

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Praying for PDQ

At work I’ve been digging through hundreds of pages of a popular mass retailers “safety guidelines” and “employee training manuals” (yes it is as fun as it sounds) for an upcoming case and they keep referring to PDQ. “Make sure items that are PDQ quality are well stocked at eye level.” PDQ this, PDQ that. What the heck is PDQ? After a few minutes of research on the Internet (what did we ever do without it?) PDQ means “Pretty darn quick” in the retail world. Place items that move “pretty darn quick” on the shelves above the items for easy restocking. “Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen in stock during the summer months and tell your employees to expect PDQ placement”

PDQ. Here is hoping and praying for a PDQ adoption.

Sidenote: There is also a 20 page guide on how to properly use a box cutter. My husband should be forced to read this material prior to taking the next “Team Survival Challenge” with our youth. * Chad: see pages 751-771 of the manual to avoid trips to the emergency room in the middle of nowhere, resulting in stitches and permanent scarring.*

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Here is my cake from class Monday night..... One is fun photo shopped cartoon image, the other is the real thing. It says BUMS because I gave it to our youth praise band (Bethel United Methodist Students) because the last thing we need is a whole cake to eat at our house.

Here is Britt's cake. As you can see, her colors are much darker than mine, our instructor gave us creative liberty when choosing color. Britt had some issues with the purple. She happen to be wearing a purple shirt, so her purple fingers weren't quite so noticeable. However, her purple tongue from "sampling" was a dead giveaway.
Here is Shani's cake.....And Michele's picture from my phone is M.I.A. I promise it was beautiful though and she survived cake night #1. Maybe I didn't save it because she tried to cut her finger off with the wax paper and I got distracted. As you can imagine, it was a very fun night. Next week.... clowns. Who thinks of this stuff?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Our federal fingerprinting appointment cards for USCIS came in the mail today! They call it “biometrics testing” which I guess makes people feel better about spending $80 per person for the fingerprinting. It makes it seem all high-tech like something James Bond or Batman would do, not some government employee with an ink pad named Flo. It even came on officially looking paper with a watermark and seal! Like top secret stuff! Anyway, that was a lot faster than we anticipated…..
Our appointment is set for next weekend (no missing more time off work) and we’ll be “biometrically tested” in Charlotte so we won’t need to drive all the way to Charleston. Since my parents are in town, they get to join in the fun too. I will remember not to carry any laundry products in my bag this time, trust me. We are moving right along.
It’s kinda exciting because we are doing things now that expire! So just to think we may have a little one before everything “expires” in a year is an exciting prospect. Either that or we’ll be renewing everything and going through this all over again. I am definitely hoping for the first option, that someone in their infinite wisdom has found that 12 months is more than enough time to be fingerprinted, travel twice, and be home with their child in that time span. Maybe it was Flo, Biometric Tester by day, USCIS Knowledge Guru by night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Q/A With Jim

As you know, we purchased our crib and dresser/changing table at USA Baby in Greenville. Well this week we received a letter from them in the mail. Since it has been 9 weeks since we ordered the furniture and the e.t.a. for the furniture was 8-12 weeks, I thought to myself, “It’s strange they sent us a letter and not called us to tell us our furniture is in” Since we are professional “waiters” I hadn't even called them to ask them “Is it here yet? Is it here yet?” I was being patient! Imagine that! And look where it got me…
The letter read something to the effect of “We are filing bankruptcy. You will not get your furniture. Game over. If you paid with cash, hire a lawyer…you’re never going to see a penny of your money. If you paid with a credit card, call the card company immediately and dispute the charge stating that you never got the goods you paid for. Good luck on getting your money back, best wishes on your little bundle of joy that will be sleeping on the floor and having its diaper changed on the bathroom counter.” Ahhhh!!!!!
Luckily we paid we credit card. (I should say, my parents paid with credit card) In the span of 5 minutes, I call mom. She drops everything and calls the credit card company. I call USA Baby. Disconnected. I go online….the web site is gone. I Google the name of the company. All of these local news stories pop up, “Mother due next week, won’t be getting furniture” or “Expecting couple looses $1,800 on baby furniture”. Stories of families that went to the store one day and went back the next only to find the lights out and the windows boarded shut. Ahhhh!!!!!
The letter also mentions contacting another USA Baby. I call the Charlotte store immediately and talk to a very nice man named Jim. Poor Jim…..I think every crazy pregnant mother in the upstate has called him asking the same thing.
Sarah: “Can I get the same crib from you at the same price?”
Jim: “Yes”
Sarah: “Can you transfer the previous sale to your store?”
Jim: “All USA Baby Stores are independently owned, so unfortunately we cannot transfer the sale to our store. Chances are your money is long gone, spent by the Greenville owners”
Sarah: “How long will it take if we reorder from you?”
Jim: “As soon as you (hopefully) get your money back, then the crib ships out of Arizona. I will mark it “Urgent: Greenville Bankruptcy” and they will rush the crib to me in 2-3 weeks.”

Then I asked him a question that I don’t think anyone else had asked because he started laughing immediately.
Sarah: “Now Jim, tell me the truth. If the odds are in our favor and we do get our money back, I need to know that your store is in a healthy financial situation. Is your store in ANY danger of bankruptcy in the next month-two months?
Jim: “M’am 2008 was our best financial year to date. In 2009 we have two had a fantastic quarters and are looking to exceed 2008’s sales already and it’s only June. We are not going anywhere.”
Sarah: “OK, Jim. But if I don’t get my “April” Creations Convertible Crib in the espresso finish with ogee shaped plinth base, complete with a dresser with English dovetail drawer construction, I don’t know what I’ll do!”
Now if that didn’t sound like some hormonal desperate pregnant lady …..
Jim: “Yes m’am, well do everything in our power to get you the crib.
Sarah: “And the dresser, don't forget about the dresser Jim! The one with the real hardwood, hidden hardware, and wood on wood glider construction?”
Jim: “Yes m’am that too.”
Sarah: “Ok…Jim….sniff….. I’ll call you in a few days after we can get the credit card straightened out…..”
Jim: “Yes m’am….I’ll be looking forward to talking with you then.”

P.S.- The money was credited back to the card. Now back to square one. When Mom and Dad come for a visit next week we’ll sort everything out and make another trip to Charlotte. I’m still waiting for the easy part…..I was hoping the furniture would be most enjoyable/hassle free part of this process! Guess again…..We really are fortunate that we received the money back. There are a lot more expectant parents in a worse situation than we are.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Dreams

Top ten things baby Deetz will love about summer....

10. Vacation Bible School. We kick off our bible school tomorrow! Something about little kids making those cute crafts, singing, and learning about Jesus. It's absolutely priceless.
9. Aunt Brittany's Birthday (June 25th). After my birthday, it's my next favorite!
8. Swimming! Slathering up the sunscreen, getting out a fluffy beach towel, putting on those cute swimmies. Kiddie pool in the back yard, public pool, hotel pool on vacation, at the beach, whatever.....as long as it's wet!
7. Catching fire flies in the back yard. Those little things still amaze me. In Florida the constant mosquito spraying kills them, but we have TONS of them in our backyard.
6. Fireworks on the forth of July at the Fischer's house. They have a community baseball field in their backyard and the neighbors all gather and put on a great show- no crowds, just fun.
5. Eating hot dogs off the grill, watermelon, and ice cream. I love summer food!
4. Camping out in the backyard. (Or in the living room). Something about a tent makes the night magic!
3. Movie under the stars at the Deichman's house. We bring our projector over and put a fun movie on the big screen. We bring our folding chairs and blankets and make popcorn too. Last summer we watched "Heavyweights" the year before that- "Goonies"
2. Running through the sprinkler. Why don't more grown ups do this?
1. Going on vacation and making wonderful memories. Sometimes a new city a few miles away to visit a produce stand or a strawberry farm, sometimes going fun places we've been a million times before (like Disney). Just going somewhere together, even if it's across town! Nothing makes you feel more like family than going somewhere together....

Thursday, June 11, 2009


This afternoon I noticed our USCIS check and our DSS check (for them to send our approved home study to USCIS) have both cleared the bank today. That means something right?

#1-They both just like money and wanted it right away so they cashed our checks and put our paperwork back into a pile for another day.
#2- They've processed everything and have sent our fingerprinting appointment in the mail today as well.
#3- All the planets have aligned and people are actually working instead of enjoying their summer breaks/vacations.
#4- I should stop over thinking before my tiny little brain peters out. (chug-chug-chug-kaaapoof)
That's what sound it would make (FYI)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Short but oh so sweet....

Today's email.....

Dear Sarah and Chad,
I would like to let you know that your dossier arrived to S-Pete and being translated now

That is the best news I've ever received in one sentence. Short, but oh so sweet.

In a separate e-mail, we also received our June Newsletter from C.W.A with some good news, showing families that have traveled and brought their children home this month. God is good, we share their joy!
You can subscribe to their "eNews" too if you so desire, it's a great way to keep the pulse on international adoption and ways you can help children from a Global perspective. http://www.cwa.org/cwa_newsletter.htm

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Step 5

We have made it to step 5 on our online planner- “Preparing to Travel”. The online planner CWA provides to their families is a step-by-step guide for what you need to do and when you need to do it. It also has different family’s stories that have adopted from Russia. One family submitted their Dossier on Friday and their case worker called on Monday with a referral. Another family’s process from start to finish was 18 months. No rhyme or reason. That’s a big jump, huh? Just think, you could have another year of my ramblings! Don’t worry I won’t put you through that, I would definitely only update like once a week or something.
Anyway, preparing for travel…..We need to get our USCIS stuff sorted out. They still haven’t cashed our check, so I’m assuming nothing has been processed. I keep checking the mailbox for our fingerprinting appointment card (hopefully in Charlotte not Charleston). As of today, nada.
We need to be up to date on our shots per the “Center for Disease Control” website. I think those people have lost their ever loving minds. Maybe I’m thinking St. Pete isn’t as nice as it sounds. The CDC makes it sound like we are traveling to the African bush, not the home of the Hermitage and ornate cathedrals. I know I shouldn't’t drink the water or even eat the ice while I’m there, but really? Is the human pin cushion necessary? Hmmm….. I’ll put that on the list of things to do. Getting shots is still under flying on an airplane of things I would rather not do. Eat live scorpions is in between those two. Flying still rates number 1 on my list of things I wish I never had to do. Ever. ANYWAY…..
They also suggest reading up on the area, customs, and culture. That is much better than shots and USCIS. Reading is my friend ;0)
Finally, on Step 5, something we actually had prior to our adoption adventures- passports! That was the first thing I checked off our list 5 months ago. Everything else has been one crazy step at a time.
One more big step not on the planner, we have to save $3,500 more dollars to carry with us when we travel, as well as random money for stuff like visas, medical evaluation, orphan relief, etc. If my estimates are right, I think we need about $10,000 more total. God is so good, we're almost there!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cake Decorating....One down, three to go

Brittany and I decided to take a Wilton cake decorating class at our local craft store. I also roped Shani into it, because I thought we could have regular girls night out during the month of June. I then mentioned it to Michele and she wanted to join in. So we show up to class tonight all chipper and excited. Tonight was the "basics" class. We didn't touch a cake, icing, or piping bag. We....just....sat....and.....listened. At some point it was like watching paint dry, literally. We had to wait for the cake to, I forget the word she used, but basically get a crust on it so that she could show us how to smooth the icing with a little plastic trowel.

By the end, I had the glazed donut face. She was talking about having to have a dime to make a circle, but if we didn't have a dime we could use....IDK, something else round like a dime. WHAT? It didn't help that there was music over the loud speaker in the class room. I was humming along to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Buttercup" while waiting for the "cake to crust" Thank the Lord Michele, Brittany and Shani were there to crack me up. Britt doesn't own a cake pan. This could be very interesting for her. Michele hadn't had dinner and wanted to lick the icing so badly I think I actually saw some drool. (It did smell really good!) Shani had just left work at a summer camp and still had that "I just entertained 25 kids all day long" look on her face. We were a sad "girls night out". Next week we have to bring a cake, already iced, with four different colors of icing. We are going to make a rainbow cake. Hmmm.....

Here's what it's suppose to look like. We'll see about all that. I can't wait to take pictures of what kinda rainbows are produced by the fantastic four. I think next week will be a lot better, when we are actually doing something! My goal is to make Baby Deetz his/her birthday cakes- maybe something nice and round, like a balloon, or maybe a happy face. Not this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Parental Thoughts.....

If I had to describe our weekend in one word it would be: Normal. Our Dossier has definitely gone to Russia. (Confirmed with Denise it was sent Wednesday, YEAH!) We saw a movie (Up in 3-D) It was cute, but very sad in parts. Cartoons are not suppose to make you cry. I cried twice. That was my only complaint. But then again I cry at the "abused pet" commercials on t.v.
I did LOADS of laundry, cooked a few times, even took a nap today (which means I will be up for hours tonight) I read the last half of my book "Were Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Bell" by Celia Rivenbark, which was as funny as it sounds. My favorite part is when she talks about the adventures raising her daughter and the high standards of those other "granola" mothers. She talks about when she almost wrecked her car when her daughter, in response to the question "What did you do in school today?" by stating that in show in tell the topic was "What did you eat for breakfast?" Every morning in a mad dash, she "throws" her preschooler a Nutragrain bar into the backseat. She does say that "sometimes she does unwrap it for her. She tries not to panic because "they've been down this road before" however their road is "strewn with cheeseburger wrappers and half empty containers of nugget dipping sauce." Her daughter said "Don't worry Mommy, we tell what we ate for breakfast every morning."
I've heard someone say "I was the best mother in the world before I had kids" I try to remind myself of this when a preschooler screams in church or a toddler is pitching a fit in the middle of the grocery store over a box of Fruit Loops. I try not to judge. I just pray that it's those kids' worst days and this behavior is not an every day occurrence for those poor parents. I'll admit that I pitched a fit at Wal-Mart before when a woman stole my parking place I was waiting for. It's not beneath me either. Every once in a while we must fight the injustice that is cast before us, whether it is over fruity cereal or rude public behavior such as parking space theft. Sometimes when you've had enough....well.....you've had enough.
Today, while at lunch with some friends (with teenage children) and some of the youth kids, the topic of "discipline" came up. One of the youth kids asked if Chad and I were going to spank our child. I wasn't spanked as a child, Chad was. I think we both turned out just fine. For a minute we just looked at each other like this was a trick question. We probably came across like we really haven't put a lot if thought into parenting. My gut instinct said "no" because in my head I am picturing a darling perfect angel that would never do anything that could warrant punishment of any kind. (I know you don't have to tell me this isn't true, I know, I know....) Chad said "I'm not apposed to it" I said "I guess, but I'm not doing it". Then I said "We'll just have to play that one by ear". That seemed to be a good fit for us. We both sighed a breath of relief. I think we should see how it all works out and then judge punishment based on what works for our child. As long as we are a unified front I think that will be key. And it looks like we'll add spanking to "the stuff we don't know what we are going to do about". Besides, I'm still holding out for the perfect angel.

P.S.- I missed the 3,000 visiter by 28 hits! Yeah!!! Thanks for reading my ramblings. It really does mean a lot to me!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stay Positive

This is a message to remind us (especially me) to stay positive and avoid negative thoughts and people. Maybe this might be me next time I get my hair cut (lol). I hope our trip is as great as this lady's was. I thought you might enjoy this....Thanks Shana.

"A woman was at her hairdresser getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded,

"Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. How are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," the woman replied. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental," asked the hairdresser? That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place on the Tiber River called ‘Teste.’ "

"Don't go any further,” the hairdresser said. “I know that place. Everybody thinks it’s something special and exclusive, but it's really nothing but a dump."

"We're also going to go to the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope," the woman said.

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser! You and a million other people all trying to see him at the same time. He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."

A month later the same woman came into the salon again for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

"It was wonderful," explained the woman. "We were on one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked so they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful and I had a handsome young steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was also great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job and now it's the finest hotel in the city! They were overbooked also, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!”

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but of course you didn't get to see the Pope, right?"

"Actually,” replied the woman, “we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors and if we’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet us! Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook our hands! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me. It was FABULOUS!"

“Oh, really,” asked the hairdresser? “What'd he say?"

“He said, ‘Who messed up your hair?’

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Call it quirky, call it crazy, but I had some kinda psychological block about getting my haircut until our Dossier was sent off. You see, at the 11th hour, the day before our home study (back in March) I suddenly realized I HAD to have my hair cut before our home visit. So that Saturday, I looked all fresh and new, like my house. Well, I was due to have my hair cut about a month ago, but I just refused to do it. I guess the best way I can explain it is, well, my hair has always marked chapters in my life and usually by the time I get around to getting it done, it's usually a drastic change. One, because my hair is consistently the same whether I try to fix it or not, so I really don't care about the style. Two, hair is a renewable resource, so I like to try new things. When I think back on my life, I can look at pictures and see right where I was by my hair. Shaved underneath=grunge was king. Cheerleading days=cute bob. Bad perms=girl scout days. Super short=Meagan's wedding. Super long=Our Wedding.
BUT, this time I simply could not "move on" to a new style until I closed the chapter on the home study and the struggles that ensued.(I know you probably think I'm weird now). So, with this next chapter in the adoption adventure coming to a close, I went and saw sweet lil' Chelsey and let her chop away. This lady was my inspiration, I think her name is Lesa something, I know she was on Dancing With The Stars, so she must be famous. However, I did not get my lips done. They don't do that at JC Penneys.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crisis Diverted

I have a funny story to share with you about our adventure to USCIS. I didn't want it to detract from the original story, but it is funny nonetheless. Also, it's a story that in retrospect could could have been absolutely disastrous. Y'all better get use to these kind of stories while I have no news to report.

On Sunday I volunteered at the children's shelter and I was in charge of the devotional for the kids. I talked about the fruits of the spirit and how each fruit was a "gift" from God. I got 9 gift boxes, wrote each "fruit" on a piece of paper with a kid friendly explanation, placed a seed in each box, and wrapped each one up. The kids came up one by one and read the fruit and we discussed each one. Then they took the seed and placed it into one of four jars. At the end, I told them, "like any gift, such as a baseball or Rollerblades, we have to practice using it to get good at it. Like with the fruits of the spirit, God wants us to grow fruit with the gifts he has given us!" So in one jar I poured in grape soda. The kids shouted "No! That won't grow!" I crushed up chips and poured in salsa. "No!" The third jar I filled with Tide laundry powder. " No!!!" In the fourth jar I poured in potting soil. "Yeah! That will make our seed grow!" We need to nurture love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to grow fruit that is pleasing to God. ANYWAY, after the lesson I poured the soap powder into a zip lock because, hey man....every penny counts and Tide is expensive! I threw it in my purse to take home and do some laundry later and didn't think another thing of it....UNTIL.....

I was searching for my cell phone at USCIS to leave in the car. Thank the Lord I spotted the zip lock bag, full of a WHITE POWDER substance. (See where I'm going people?) Can you imagine if Ol' Security Guard Jim would have caught me with that in my purse? "Oh, I swear officer, it's TIDE! It's Tide!" Then I would have had to explain the entire "Fruit of the Spirit" thing to him. It was a long story, I'm sure I would have been escorted into a tiny dark room and given the "special security breach" treatment. Wow. That was definitely on my list of the dumbest things I almost did. The story about Oscar the Alligator was probably #1, but that's a story for when I am really desperate to talk to you and I have nothing to say. Stay tuned kids!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dossier News

Today I spoke with our case manager. Here is the breaking news: Our Dossier was received by C.W.A. on Friday morning, May 29th. Anya in turn discovered that a document was missing that needed to be Apostilled, but she caught it in time, overnighted it to Columbia with a return envelope to overnight it back to Flat Rock and they got it in yesterday, June 1st. Our COMPLETE Dossier was sent to Denise, our document manager, for review yesterday.

This morning Denise sent me an e-mail and said that she had completed her review, found one minor problem concerning our marriage license, but other than that everything appeared to be in great shape. Before our second round of paperwork is hand carried with us on our first trip we would just need to get a more current certified copy of our marriage license (certified in 2009) and have that re-Apostilled. She will make a few copies of the documents C.W.A. had Apostilled on our behalf, add a few “standard” documents to the package AND…..SEND IT TO ST. PETERSBURG TOMORROW MORNING! Can you believe it? When I called Chad to tell him I almost busted out in tears. It just seems too good to be true.

Once our Dossier is received in Russia, it will be translated (that takes a few days) and we will be officially registered with Russia as a family waiting for a referral. Then the big wait begins! Let’s start praying that:

1- Our Dossier does not get lost in transit. (To date it has not been out of human hands and now it must cross the ocean, all alone. However, that is one trip I cannot speed up via hand delivery. It’s going to have to be a grown up and go it all by itself)
2- We can squeak in before Summer break
3- The obviously very intelligent person translating our documents is super fast and makes us sound better in Russian than in English
4- We can beef up our savings account with C.W.A. and our personal account prior to our referral. The majority of what we have raised will be going to Russia with our Dossier tomorrow. YIKES. We are kinda back at square one as far as fundraising. But God is faithful and we have been so blessed. He has provided what we need when we’ve needed it so far, we are trusting in him to bring us the other half!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Easy-Peasy, Lemon-Squeezy

Today we ventured to USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services). No, it wasn’t like that t.v. show, NCIS. I don’t know what that stands for, but there was a guy with a gun at USCIS. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

USCIS does a lot of technical stuff concerning immigration/naturalization/etc. The purpose of USCIS in our case is to file an I600-A form. Basically, that is a Petition to the United States government to allow us to bring an unknown, at this time, orphan into the country. The form itself is only one page, front and back, so that was like cake compared to the virtual mountain of paperwork we have completed. We also needed a copy of our birth certificates and our marriage license to accompany the form. (Also super easy). We paid $830.00 by check. (Easy but crappy) to file the form and pay for our fingerprints. Once the paperwork is processed, USCIS mails us a card to be federally fingerprinted. At some point, within a year of our application, DSS must directly send a copy of our Home Study to USCIS. (We paid $225 for that a few weeks ago). Then, when we are approved, a cable is sent to the Consulate in Moscow to be registered and we are sent a certificate that says we are A-OK to travel and get Baby Deetz and bring them home. Once an orphan is identified, then we must file another form with USCIS to bring that particular child into our country. (Fortunately, that doesn’t cost anything.) Really, not that bad of a process. I spent more time on the phone trying to figure out if our birth certificates needed to be original “copies” or photocopies. I brought both to be on the safe side.

The whole hang-up was the unknown, what would USCIS look like? Would it be some kinda huge government building like the Secretary of State’s office? The whole experience reminded me of the time when Heidi and I were invited to take a blimp ride…. The only gauge we had concerning a blimp was that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you know the one where Indy and his father were escaping the Nazi’s on the blimp out of Germany? It was like a grand ballroom-“Tickets please!” Ladies were drinking tea and gentlemen were reading the daily paper. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EHwxFaLyWM . The blimp we were on was not like that! It was like a hollow shell with a cockpit. We did get to fly over Sea World and Universal Studios and we even got to fly it ourselves which was totally cool (and really scary). But anyway….not like the movies. USCIS was not like Ellis Island (With the Immigrants and the Statue of Liberty and sailors hugging their girlfriends and that stuff….) It was kinda weird.

It was in Greer. If you are from this area, that says it all. Greer is a sleepy little suburb of Greenville. It is about 20 minutes from the house, isn’t this a great theme we’ve been having? Everything is only a drive away! But needless to say, it’s not in a booming cityscape like Columbia. And it was in an area that looked like a warehouse loading dock. The office was in a strip mall. It had tinted windows and signs hanging all over stating “leave your weapons and cell phones in the car” Uhhhh…. There was one car waiting for the office to open when we arrived for our 8:00am appointment. The lady was chain smoking and digging in her ear. When we got to the door she said “Y’all look like Americans”. Uhhh….thank you? I guess she was too, but the lady she was with was from Germany. It was kinda like airport security inside. There was a guy with a gun at the door. You signed in with your driver’s license, dropped your keys in the tray, put your purse through the x-ray machine. Then “step on the black mat” for the frisk up and down.

I lost our “InfoPass” appointment card and was hoping that would not tie us up. We tore the house up last night looking for it (see mountain of paperwork as described earlier). The lady at the window said “Sarah?” and said it was no problem that I lost the notice. Whew. 10 minutes and $830 later we were done. Easy-Peesy, Lemon-Squeezy. The lady was super nice. She recommended that we avoid Charleston for the fingerprinting and request that our prints be taken in Charlotte. (3 hours of driving vs. 6 hours of driving) so we hand wrote a little note to accompany our paperwork and signed it. She said if we have any trouble to come and talk to her and she’ll get us an appointment in Charlotte. Maybe we can stop by Ikea on the way home……

P.S.- Happy Birthday Grandma, I wish you were here to meet your Great-Grandchild when they arrive.... But please know that Mom is going to do a terrific job spoiling them for the both of you. You did a great job showing her the way to properly spoil a child rotten.