Thursday, August 28, 2008


We are getting the heck out of Dodge until Tuesday afternoon! We're heading to the lake tonight. No telephone, computer or television. Ah, peace and quiet! You can see our priorities in our luggage. The duffle bag on the left holds clothes for eight people -- one bathing suit, one t-shirt, a pair of shorts and pajamas for each person. The duffle bag on the right holds books!

More Early Intervention Woes

Even though we can't get a hearing screen, speech therapy, physical therapy or occupational therapy until we get a social security number and three insurance denials for therapy services, we were told that we could have someone come to our home twice a week from Foundations to work with Ephraim on his developmental and communication skills.

Well today we waited around half the morning for yet another paperwork meeting with Foundations so that Ephraim's sessions could finally begin. The appointment involved signing three pieces of paper, which took all of five minutes. For this I cleaned my house and put on makeup!

After we signed the paperwork, the teacher got out her handy dandy appointment notebook. She gave us a choice of either 1pm or 2pm on Thursdays. Great! When we told her that it wasn't a good time for Ephraim, she said 9am to noon was booked each day because her other clients took naps after lunch! Duh! When does she think Ephraim naps!?! She's the only teacher for four counties, so they can't just assign him to a different teacher. This is crazy!


I've tried and tried to get a picture of Ephraim with one of his big grins, but he's just not cooperating! I did catch a few tiny smiles during his bath today. That kid's going to be able to have an awesome mohawk when he's a teenager, isn't he?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Cute Pictures

Two posts in one day!


Ephraim has learned to play peek-a-boo, and it's so cute! He'll squint his eyes and cover up a bit of his face with his tiny, carry-around blankie when we say, "Where's Ephraim?" Then he rips off the blankie, pops open his eyes, and gives us a wide gummy grin when we yell, "Pea Pie!"

I can't go to the grocery store without having a half a dozen people making all over Ephraim. He'll act shy, ducking his head down into my chest and closing his eyes to "hide". Then he'll turn his head to the side and peek at them out of one squinted eye. Of course, that makes everyone laugh, so Ephraim does it all the time now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ephraim Update

Ephraim picking up a tiny bit of dirt. I think we can rule out his initial diagnosis of retinopathy.

He has learned the joys of slamming doors.

Ephraim looks evil in all his close-up pictures now. He squints each time I point the camera at him because he knows the flash is coming.

Playing with his favorite toy, the doorstop

... and quickly up the stairs he goes.

First pair of shoes

Things seem to have suddenly clicked with Ephraim. We've all acted like monkeys for months now trying to get Ephraim to mimic us. He's just looked at us like we are all crazy. This past weekend he was the monkey! If we hold our hand up and say, "give me five", he slaps our hand, he has learned to click his tongue, and if we waggle our head back and forth, he'll do the same with a huge grin on his face. In fact he'll initiate the tongue clicking or head shaking if he thinks we aren't paying enough attention to him. He'll roll or toss a ball back and forth, and he'll also pass an item back and forth and say, "thank you" when he takes it from us. Actually it sounds more like, "dang you". Other skills have suddenly clicked too. He can squat down on his heels and stand back up without support. He's standing without support now for several seconds. He's cruising the furniture and scampers up the stairs the second I turn my back. He's also just cut his four top teeth! The side teeth are coming in more quickly than his front two teeth, so he's going to look like Dracula for awhile.

It's a good thing he's suddenly making so much progress because I think we can forget help from Early Intervention. We've jumped through all their hoops for months now, filled out all the paperwork, had multiple meetings with them, and Ephraim has been tested twice already. We had his hearing screen set up for next week, and his therapy was supposed to begin right after that. Suddenly they call us today to tell us there are even more hoops to jump through.

First they need a social security number. Well we haven't gotten one of those yet because we had to wait for his Certificate of Citizenship, then file a re-adoption and name change with the Chancery Court, and wait for the paperwork to all be returned before we could even apply for the social security number in his new name.

We had told them at the very first meeting that our insurance wouldn't cover speech, OT or PT. They said that was no problem; it was covered by TEIS. Now they are telling us that before Ephraim can begin therapy, we have to get a letter from our insurance company stating they won't cover the services, then we have to go to the state to get a TennCare denial letter, and finally we have to get a denial from CoverKids. Arghh! By the time we get Ephraim's social security number and a denial letter from three different insurance companies, Ephraim will probably be too old for Early Intervention!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yet Another One Has Flown the Coop

Griffin left yesterday morning for Wake Forest University, which is eight hours from home. He plans to major in either pre-med/physics or math. He's not sure which yet because he really likes both subjects. Fortunately for him he inherited his father's brains! He's thinking he'd like to eventually be a radiologist or pathologist. That's so many years down the line though, he could change his mind many times over before he must make that final decision.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

He Drinks! He Wets! He's Better Than a New Puppy!

It's rough to be the baby brother of seven older sisters. Here's a couple of pictures of the girls' dress-up play. I don't know if Ephraim is an evil angel or an irritated fairy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yet Another Birthday

Today was Jensen's eleventh birthday. Whew! That's the last birthday until the end of October. Jensen just had a small family celebration today, but she'll have a couple of girls spend the night this weekend. Her celebration turned out to be a hand-me-down birthday, but that's exactly what she wanted. She's been dying to get her hands on our old digital camera ever since we bought a new one for our trip to Vietnam, so that's what she got. Griffin gets a laptop computer from Wake Forest when he starts school this week, so he gave Jensen his desktop. That way she can store her photos and learn PhotoShop if she'd like. Griffin reformatted the computer and put on a user-friendly version of Linux. I wonder how many eleven year olds run Linux?!? Jensen loves to write, so I'm going to get her set up with a blog of her own. The rest of the family gave her a printer, photo paper, a memory card and rechargeable batteries for her camera, so it looks like she's all set for that budding journalism career!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Only Lefties Are in Their Right Minds

Your result for The Right Brain vs Left Brain Test...

Right Brained!

You're answers indicate you are 60 percent right brained.

Your answers indicate that you are more right brained than left brained. Approximately half the population is right brained. People who are right brained tend to be more creative, spontaneous, visual, and emotional. You prefer variety and randomness. You prefer to look at the whole picture, rather than the minute details, and you probably don't like being pinned down. Art, religion, and philosophy are subjects that most likely interest you. You are the friend that gets the most calls for 3am diner runs. You are a bit of a dreamer ,and sometimes flighty. Artist Pablo Picasso was right brained.

Take The Right Brain vs Left Brain Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sasha's New School

Sasha moved into his new school today. He has been pretty nervous about the move since he is going from being one of the big guys at his old school to now being one of the youngest, but when he got there he decided it was going to be OK. He was especially excited about their new gymnasium, the sports fields and the game room. He thought it looked like church camp and was told it was like church camp with school attached. It is small but has a great teaching staff and is in a beautiful area of the country - very rural. The children get to go whitewater rafting for PE! They have a wonderful ESL program, which is what Sasha really needs, and they have children attending from all over the world. Several of the other children were also adopted internationally. By the time Ben left, Sasha was already going from room to room introducing himself and making new friends. He's so outgoing and social, I'm sure he'll be the hit of the party in just a few days. I think Sasha has been very bored stuck on our farm all summer with no one to hang out with but his siblings.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bradford's Visit Home

Brad and four of his friends came home this past weekend for a visit. Their trip was mostly to pick up some furniture and dishes from us, but I think they had a good time too. On Saturday Ben took the boys skeet shooting at the Nashville Gun Club, and that night the boys spent the evening on Music Row. Sunday they had to pack up their U-Haul and hurry back to Atlanta because Brad and one of the other boys are on the music team at church, so they had to be home in time for the evening service.

Brad and two of the boys are moving into their first apartment. One of the other boys just graduated from Georgia Tech in Computer Engineering in May, and Brad and his other roommate graduate in December with a major in Industrial Engineering. Their first love is music though, so both of them hope to find jobs in the music field. Brad was very excited about an offer he's already received from Georgia Tech. He will be the cello instructor in their music program, and he is starting right away -- even before he graduates. I think that's a great offer!

While Ben and I were bicycling yesterday, Brad called us for help in installing a ceiling fan. We thought it was pretty funny that three engineers had to call a medical doctor for help with their electrical problems!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Logan!

Today is Logan's 17th birthday. We called her at 11 o'clock this morning, and it was after supper in Germany. We only talked with her for a few minutes because she was in the middle of a party. Her host family threw a big surprise birthday party for her and invited a slew of teenagers from her new school. That was so sweet! Logan said her family is very nice. She rode one of their bicycles into town the other day, forgot to lock it, and when she came out of the store, it was gone. She said the family didn't even get mad.

Logan just started her new school this week. She said there were about 30 kids in each of her classes, and there were over 1000 kids in the high school. She's used to attending a small private school with a graduating class of 30, so this will be quite a change for her -- notwithstanding the fact that all her classes are in German!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bailey's Birthday

Yesterday was Bailey's 20th birthday. For her birthday she wanted to bake her own blackberry cobbler. Ephraim thought it was pretty good! With all these birthdays in July and August, Ephraim is going to develop quite a sweet tooth. It seems all the pictures we've taken of him lately have been with him stripped down to his diaper and covered in something very messy.

This is my first post on my new laptop! Our oldest son, Bradford, picked up a MacBook for me on tax-free weekend using his student discount. The deal included an iTouch that I gave to Logan for an early birthday present. We hope she'll have internet access in Germany, and we can stay in touch online. Brad kept the computer a couple of weeks so that he could install some applications and get the computer all set up for me, so I didn't get it until today. I've never used an Apple before, but fortunately Bailey has owned an Apple for several years, so she'll be tutoring me. I feel like a first-time computer user. I think maybe it's true you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Final Post-Adoption Report

Today was our final meeting with the social worker for Sasha's post-adoption reports. We had to have the face-to-face meeting early since Sasha will be away at school when the report actually has to be filed in October, so there will still be a telephone update just before the report is finalized and sent to Russia. Still the bulk is completed and there will be no more! They weren't a big deal, but they always seemed to fall during inconvenient, harried times in our lives, and my camera or photo printer always managed to go on the fritz when I was trying to get together the required seven poses. The required shot with Sasha, Ben and me together in the same picture always was a pain and turned out awful since Ben or I always take the pictures, so that means we must depend on a child to get that shot for us. It's usually one of the younger children too because we don't plan ahead and it seems that the teenagers are always gone when we think about it. Even though I know the home visits don't actually include a home inspection, I can't help but stress over getting the house spotless beforehand. Of course the others hate that time because I put the whole family to work picking up, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and even scrubbing out the refrigerator! Besides the extra time and preparation needed for the home visits, our agency just started charging mileage even though we'd pre-paid for all the post-adoption reports long before the adoption was finalized. The mileage adds up to $50 per visit, so that's a little bit we no longer have to spend! Here's a favorite photo from our last report.

Referral Picture

Referral Picture

Adoption Timeline

  • 2006
  • November 8 - Application Mailed
  • November 22 - Accepted
  • November 24 - I-600A Mailed
  • November 27 - Delivery Confirmed
  • November 28 - Receipt of I-600A
  • November 30 - Fingerprint Notice
  • December 15 - Home Study Update
  • December 21 - Stacey Fingerprinted
  • December 28 - Added to List (#116)
  • 2007
  • January 24 - Home Study Mailed
  • January 25 - Ben Fingerprinted
  • February 8 - Waiting List (#111)
  • February 20 - Waiting List (#109)
  • February 27 - Waiting List (#105)
  • March 8 - Waiting List (#101)
  • March 22 - Waiting List (#99)
  • April 19 - Waiting List (#98)
  • April 25 - Dossier Authentication
  • May 2 - Delivery Confirmed
  • May 2 - Added to SN Wait List
  • May 3 - Waiting List (#97)
  • June 7 - Waiting List (#86)
  • June 25 - Dossier Translated
  • June 28 - On Waiting List Six months
  • July 9 - Waiting List (#81)
  • August 6 - Waiting List (#4 SN)
  • August 8 - Waiting List (#76)
  • September 7 - Waiting List (#70)
  • October 8 - Waiting List (#67)
  • October 22 - Waiting child -- OURS!!
  • October 23 - Official Referral Date
  • October 25 - Letter #1 Submitted
  • October 29 - Referral Receipt - CHI
  • 2008
  • February 5 - Fingerprint Request
  • February 7 - Proof of Delivery
  • March 1 - All Fingerprinted
  • March 3 - I-600 Application Mailed
  • March 5 - I-600 Acknowledgement
  • April 17 - I-600 Approval!
  • May 2 - Original G & R Date
  • May 3 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
  • May 5 - MEET EPHRAIM!
  • May 6 - Drive to Kien Giang
  • May 7 - G & R Ceremony
  • May 8 - Medical, Apply for Passport
  • May 12 - Fly to Hanoi
  • May 13 - Visa appointment at USCIS
  • May 14 - Pick Up Visa, Fly Home
  • May 15 - Arrive in Nashville!
  • May 23 - Certificate of Citizenship
  • June 12 - Re-Adoption Filed by Court
  • July 3 - Tennessee Birth Certificate

G & R Day

G & R Day