i am my daughter's hero

here I am with a stand-up, cardboard Cinderella and according to Lily it's the best picture EVER! we found Cindy at a bookstore in downtown Denver and I couldn't pass up the photo-op. actually, if you look close, Cinderella seems awed by my presence. sigh

these kids need their little brother. they've been waiting a loooonnng time. here's to good travel news this week.



A few families that have just returned from Ethiopia with their new children said that the Internet in Ethiopia is down. As in...not working. And since our agency uses the Internet for 99.9% of their communication with the care center and its staff, things are at a standstill right now. We had really hoped the phone would ring yesterday (Friday) with a travel date for us. But if our agency can't communicate with the courts in Addis, there's no way they have any news for us. All I can do is take slow deep breaths, eat chocolate, and pray that things start working again real soon...


the $700 memory maker

I would not call us big spenders. David works in public education--enough said. But it's funny how once you begin paying adoption fees left and right, money is just that: money. In the big scheme of things, we don't care about the finances of this adoption because we serve a big God who promises to take care of all our needs. So we've quit adding up how much all this is costing because it just doesn't matter. Still, with David traveling to Africa in just a few weeks (hopefully), it seemed the right time to update our video camera, circa 1996. We looked around for a while and settled on this little beauty you see in the picture. It is about the size of a large apple and it is amazing. While in Ethiopia, David will take a day to travel south of Addis to see the region where Zenabu lived. This is an incredible opportunity for us and we want to have a recording of each and every second. I also want to be able to view the first time Zenabu and David get to meet, the care center where Zenabu has lived the last few months, the nannies who have loved and cared for him, and Addis!!! So, all of a sudden $700 seems like a bargain! I think you'll agree.
look what daddy lets me do...

I think a ball wound up on the roof yesterday, so out came the ladder and of course Lily had to try it out. I don't think she climbed up much higher than this rung--too freaky for her. But it made her feel big and tough for a moment.


It's Ready...

This is a photo of the boys' room. The beds actually stack on top of one another as bunks, but we wanted to start this way. Zenabu will be on the left and Carver on the right. I HATE having anything under our beds, but I finally had to resign myself to the fact that it would be a decent place to store the boys' toys. So Carver's toys are hidden under his bed, and likewise for Zenabu. It's a good thing I held onto the younger kiddo toys like wooden blocks, tinker toys, plastic dinosaurs, and lots of matchbox cars. Carver still plays with all of these and I am preparing him for the rude reality that Zenabu may not want to share a whole lot at the beginning. I guess we'll wait and see.

Adoption and paperwork are synonymous. My thesaurus defines synonymous as "equal, identical, interchangeable, one and the same." It's just part of the process. We're getting down to the last of it at our house. In our office I've taped to the wall some of the last bits and pieces, but they are also some of the most important. I am terrified I will forget something. David is traveling to Addis to pick up Zenabu, and you have to bring with you documents critical to your adoption. So we have a few more forms to fill out and have notarized, but the big daddy of all the paperwork is the packing list. Our adoption agency, CHSFS, is awesome and has an online forum where you can chat with other families also adopting from Ethiopia. It has been invaluable to our peace of mind. I mean, where else can you go and ask, "What did you do when your child threw an incredible tantrum in the middle of the outdoor market?" Or "What did you do when you had uncontrollable gastrointestinal distress from something you ate?" One dear woman was kind enough to post a list of everything she packed...for herself and for her child. I have not yet laminated it, but if you know me at all you know I'm itching to. The packing list is long, but we'd rather have David take too much and not need it than be without something and be miserable because of it. Right now I like to call this the calm before the storm. There's not a lot we can do before we get our notification of travel. When that comes, we have to move like gangbusters and get it all together.
Here we go...
This is a good time to start my blog because we have so much progress in our adoption. I began this blog over a year ago, but because we had so many delays and setbacks with our old adoption agency I chose not to post at all. I mean, really, how interested would you have been in reading "no news, no news, and still no news." Not likely, I'm sure. So...without further ado, I am going to try to post regularly so friends and family can check in on the Engstroms. I wish I could post Zenabu's picture, but Ethiopia has strict rules about when you are allowed to post photos of their children. Once Zenabu's case goes to court in Addis (we were informed it would be by the end of this month!!!!) then he is issued a new birth certificate with our names on it as his parents. THEN we can show off our little dreamboat online. So sit tight...and while you wait I'll show you some pictures of Carver and Lily.
Typical Colorado...shorts and T-shirts on Monday, and a blizzard on Tuesday. Today happens to be a nice day so I kicked the kids outside and told them to "be creative." I'll see what happens.
My beauties...

Look at these beauties! Introducing big sister Lily and big brother Carver. Just waiting for little Zenabu.