One of the major things that was a concern to me about adopting a girl instead of a boy is having a whole new adventure in learning how to care for hair that is so different from my own.
But like everything in life, I overcome a lack of knowledge by extensive research and treating new areas of information like a school class that I will be tested on, and I learn. My FAVORITE site to teach me about how to do black hair is at chocolatehairvanillacare.com . It helps my confidence to know that the woman who is able to do beautiful enough braids and twists etc. to have a whole website about it is also someone who wasn't born with that kind of hair and had to teach herself before she could teach others.
Among many things that she posted that will be extremely helpful in the future was how to make a hair braiding practice board. She even mentioned in the post that it isn't required to learn how to braid with a practice board, it is more for those of us who want to make sure that we really learn how to do something before doing it for real. So, I made one of my own. I did tweak one thing, and that is how each piece of yarn was attached. She slip knotted them, and I couldn't figure out how to do that. I threaded each piece of yarn through a needle, and then tied a knot to get it to stay.
Here is a picture of mine:
This is if I want to use it horizontally.
Or I can use it vertically.
Here are some of my first attempts with it, center and left are cornrows and the one on the right is a flat rope twist. I am excited to have this to practice with, and I think it will serve me for many years. For the first few years she is home, she will have so little hair, I will need the practice board to actually do braids on. Then, I will have a squirmy toddler/preschooler who, if she tolerates the braiding time at all, will not want me to spend any extra time with her hair trying to figure out how to do stuff. I will need to be fast and efficient in the time I do braids, so that it ends as quick as possible for her.
I have also been working on a quiet book. They are all over pinterest, and it keeps me busy and occupied during those moments when I am antsy to do something to get her home, and I am powerless to move the process along. I feel like I am connected with her as I work on it, and thus is a craft that brings me lots of joy.
I started with the cover. My previous sewing projects means that I have no lack of fabric around. I was going to be really on top of it, and take pictures as I went, but I forgot. I wanted stability, so there is cardboard sewn into both sides, and then covered with fabric.
Honestly, I haven't decided how to attach the pages yet. I either will make button holes in the middle of the cover, and then put binder rings through them and through the pages, sew ribbon on the cover and then thread each of the pages and knot them together or I will sew down the middle to attach all of the pages together. For now, I have a cover, and am starting to work on the pages, and will deal with how to put it together later.
This is my first completed page. I am REALLY happy with it. Each shape is felt, and has a loop on the back. The background and seaweed are also felt. The parts are sewn together. The lines are made out of fishing line which I braided to make a bit thicker than a single piece of fishing line. I knotted the ends, and then sewed them in place when I attached the seaweed. Both of the fish and the jellyfish can be moved back and forth by little hands.
The last project that we are moving along with is her room. Years ago, when we were trying to get pregnant, we planned for the nursery to be a classic Winnie the Pooh theme. For that reason, we painted the walls a pretty light yellow. I got some wall decals, and even put them up. After time passed, we weren't getting pregnant, and we knew there was a strong possibility of adopting an older child (3-4) so we took those decals down, and I put the things I had bought away (but never got rid of them).
The fact that our little girl is only a year old... I get that dream back! It has been so much fun getting her room ready, especially since it means all those classic Pooh things come back out. These two pictures are the theme/ color scheme for the room:
Here are the two main pieces of furniture we have so far (a crib and a chair will also be added later):
For those who are curious, as strange as it seems, being her legal parents is not enough to get her home. Here is the easiest way to understand it:
- She is not a U.S. citizen until we readopt her in the United States after she gets home, so at this point she is an immigrant requesting a visa to live here.
- She can't get a visa processed until we file a document called the I-600, which has to be filed in Ghana by us, in person.
- Two of the requirements for filing an I-600 is proof of adoption (adoption decree) and proof of birth (her birth certificate with our names on it).
- It typically takes 4 weeks to get the adoption decree and birth certificate after you pass court.
We know, logically, that things can get delayed, and slow our process down, but we decided to act on faith (and hope) and we booked tickets and a hotel room for the week after Thanksgiving (which is more than four weeks after passing court). It could get pushed back, and we realize that, but if things go smoothly (please pray that things go smoothly) we will be filing our I-600 at the end of November.
From filing the I-600, it is typically another 2-3 (usually 3, but why not hope for 2?) months to getting her home. Fun stuff!