Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Jolene!!!!! :)

Today is my dear friend Jolene's birthday .. she writes the amazing blog on the right ... Thompson'sTreehouse.  We have yet to meet ...... SOON though right Jolene, RIGHT??!!!
She will be joining the Adopting in Kenya so we are moving our family across the world group as well!

Another friend who's blog is to the right -  Powers Adoption Chatter - got their referral last week ... the official information and photo about the child they are going to adopt.  I was able to go and see her son at his children's home.  She cannot meet him yet until she finalizes some paperwork.  He is a sweet little 14 month old boy :)  SO excited for the Powers Family!

On another note,  its been 13 days since the NAC meeting and there is NO news.  I went to KCH yesterday and there is an issue at the NAC office so they have not released the results for any of the adoption agencies here in Kenya.  I have 5 friends that are waiting on news from the NAC this month .... so we are ALL waiting for our results. Hopefully soon!  We are told they need to release the results by 30 days past the previous meeting ... we are at 13 days ..... my brain may explode if we have to wait 30 days!  None of us know if our paperwork was reviewed .. they don't disclose whose paperwork was seen at the meeting. Although for most people when they paperwork is submitted to the NAC they have results within a month or 2.

We carry on with our days.  Paul works while we are here, his company has an office here about 15 minutes away (with little traffic) or over an hour if it's end of the day, rush hour, traffic ... so he tries to come home between 1-4 pm to avoid the rush hour. The he works from home.
He has traveled a bit to Europe, India and Western Africa since we have been here.

The boys have a nice schedule going with gymnastics, music lessons and horse riding for one of them to come.

The weather is still cool but it should be warming up here soon I'm told. Most days are partly sunny, no rain for the most part.

We just got TV service on Saturday.  We have done nicely without TV for almost 2 months,  but with the Olympics we wanted to catch a bit of it.  We shall see how it goes ..... the boys have read over 40 books each in less than 2 months .... I don't want that to slow down because of TV. We have a limit on TV watching so it should be OK :)

I will post again when we have more news :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

what's new?

Lets see,  our documents were submitted on July 5th (the deadline for this months meeting) for the NAC (National Adoption Committee) meeting on Wednesday, July 18,  yes in 2 days .... BIG prayers needed :)   We were approved for one child in February by the committee and we needed to submit our FBI  document to be approved again.  So this week we are hoping all our paperwork is now in order and that we are approved to adopt our ****2**** older children!
I have 5 friends that are adopting (from the US, Canada, Australia, and Germany I think) that are hoping to be approved at this months meeting so prayers all around :) PLEASE!

Paul celebrated his 50th birthday last week and we went to Maasai Mara for a safari.
It's about a 5-6 hour drive, 3-4 hours on terrible, bumpy, crazy roads.

this is the boardwalk to the main tent area for dining, main entrance, bar area, pool ...

I was going to share more photos but I will have to do that later.  I uploaded a bunch and now they are gone.  Now my internet is really slow ... so I will do it all again tomorrow ... :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Terror warnings, Adoption news & some facts

Let me start with recent news.  There was a recent US Embassy warning that stated there is an imminent threat of terror expected in Mombasa, Kenya.  On Sunday there was an explosion at an outdoor bar near Mombasa and 3 people were killed and around 50 injured.  Please keep these people and their families in your thoughts. 
Mombasa is on the coast,  the Indian Ocean coast.  Nairobi is inland, in south central Kenya and about a 6-8 hour drive from Mombasa. 
We are about 30-40 minutes outside of Nairobi, in a very safe area. We are registered with the US Embassy. We get any warnings, we have a neighborhood person that will make sure we get the warnings as well. I have friends at the Embassy here that let me know of any warnings. 
We feel very blessed and very safe,  but we are careful and watchful all the same. 

I have not posted any adoption news because there is no news right now. We are waiting for the July NAC (National Adoption Committee) meeting, our documents need to be submitted by July 5th by our agency here, we are in touch with them and are hoping everything they need to include with our documents is complete prior to July 5th.  Then we will need lots of prayers that we are approved once again by the NAC in July,  but I will let you know that date when I know when it is ..... which I should find out soon :) 

Lets see ....  a few things you may not know or expect about (Nairobi) Kenya.

we are at 1°18'S 36°45'E .... but it's still cool here. 
Nairobi, Kenya - altitude 1,661 metres (5,449 ft), which is higher than Denver, Colorado,  the "Mile High City" which is elevation 5,280 feet.  

July is the coldest month and February is the hottest month.

Being a former British Colony the cars are right-hand drive and we drive on the left side of the road ..... I'm still getting used to driving here. 

(Ki)Swahili and English are widely spoken here.

Nairobi has about 3.5 million people, it's East Africa's largest city.

the currency is the Kenyan Shilling, it's about 80-85 KSH (or KES) to $1 US

We have a store that is walking distance to us ... about a 20 minute walk depending on how fast my walking partners (my 2 boys) walk. The shop is called Nakumatt, it's a fairly large chain, it is like Wal-Mart in the USA ... with groceries and other household and necessary items,  but not as much selection and NOT cheap.  A big box of Kellogg's cereal costs over $10 US! 

Kenyans do NOT like cheese,  now this may seem like a large generalization,  but every Kenyan I have asked If they like cheese and they make a face like I said rat poison.  My friend even told me snakes, chameleons and cheese she dislikes most! 
Now I tried cheese here, because I LOVE cheese ..... now I know why Kenyans do not like cheese ..... ACK!  It's not so good here ..... 

There are speed bumps everywhere.  Even on the highways, if you are lucky they are marked with lines or a sign to let you know they are there.  If you aren't so lucky ..... BAM! there's a speed bump.  On our mile trip to the Nakumatt there are 3 speed bumps. 

So the cost of living is more expensive than in the US.  Food, cars and housing ... all the more necessary things are more expensive then at home for the most part or at least similar cost.  
As we are looking for activities for the children we have found that these special things can be inexpensive. 
Waterpark, not as fancy as Great America,  but still looks to be great fun for the boys with at least 6 water slides and swimming pools and a lazy river .... open every day 10 am - 6 pm. Weekdays it's about $3 US and weekends about $5 US.  We haven't been yet as the weather is cool this time of year. 
IMAX 3D movie, boys want to see Madagascar 3, if we see one of the first 2 daily shows it's about $5 US. 
Horseriding, Gymnastics, Soccer, Music lessons ... a lot of  the things we would do at home are available to do here as well. 

Please comment .. I love to hear from all of you as well please :) 

Blessings from our family to yours. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Contact information and photos

Life in Kenya is not SOOOOOO exciting that I have not been posting .... it's busy that's for sure, so by the time evening comes I'm TIRED!    Things take a lot longer here ...... even making boiled eggs in the morning takes longer ..... the altitude in Nairobi is pretty high .... close to a mile up if I remember correctly.

Ah,  but I had promised contact information .... let's begin with that:
If you would like my phone number in Kenya please send me an email at TracyHerring at mac dot com.
No one receives mail at their home here,  so if you want to receive mail you need to have a PO Box, so the people we are renting from are allowing us to use their PO Box.
Letters are appreciated, please contact me prior to sending large packages or envelopes as we will have to pay for them when we pick the up at the Post Office.
Paul & Tracy Herring & family
PO Box 65018-00618
Ruaraka, Kenya

the postal code is after the box number (00618) but it should be written as it is above as not to confuse US/Kenyan postal workers.

We also have Skype (HerringPJ) and Facetime on the Iphone, Mac or Ipad,  so if you have an Iphone, Version 2 or 3 Ipad, or a Mac we could do Facetime with you,  just let me know your phone number or email address asscociated with Facetime.

We are 8 hours ahead of US Central Daylight Time, we don't change our clocks here so when you do in the Autumn we will be 9 hours ahead. If you are not in the US or on central time you can go HERE to check to time difference.

You asked for some photos:
Welcome to our Kenyan Home. We live on a compound of 4 homes. This is the entrance to our house.

The photo below is looking out to the main gate, our house is to the right in the photo. 

coming into the drive you will likely see the boys and our dogs will greet you. The blond colored dog is Grizwald, he barks a lot but in the end he's quite friendly.  "Shorts" is the dachshund, he belongs to our neighbors, we have not met them yet as they are out of town for the summer. My boys LOVE their dog :) 

Front of the house with Mocha and Grizwald, they remain outside and watch out for us. 

The boys on the front porch hangin with the dogs

view from the other side of the porch, carport is to the right. A very kind friend (in Kenya) loaned us 2 bikes for the boys,  they have been PERFECT :) 

Mocha in the backyard near the stream. There is a garden to the right, behind the house and another on the other side of the stream. We have bananas, kale, onions, beans, corn, nuts and a few other things. 

Our little stream, that's deeper than it looks and our bridge that needs repair :) 
 This is the boys new pet, Fred, He's a baby Chameleon and he's about the length of my thumb if his tail is stretched out,  the boys found him Sunday,  but since he's a baby they are going to return him to where they found him tomorrow.  Bye Fred!  They hope to find a larger one that they can care for easier sometime soon. :)

I will try and share more photos soon.  
I hope you enjoyed them :) 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We have arrived in Kenya

Sorry for the delay,  as many of you know we arrived in Kenya on Tuesday evening.  All 16 of our checked bags/boxes arrived.  we are having some wireless internet issues,  as in our wifi is not working,  but we do have a wireless modem so I am able to get on the internet .... Whew!  That's a relief.  But my photos I wish to share are on my phone and I can't share them until we have wifi in the house.

SO I had GRAND intentions of posting as soon as we arrived on Tuesday night .... but I was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as the boys were down to sleep.

The boys are SO happy .... mind you it's still new and a great adventure for them,  but the weather here is great .... like home for now .... this morning was beautiful and sunny and the boys were up bright and early ... running outside and playing!  We have 2 dogs,  they are watch dogs,  but pretty friendly and the boys LOVE them,  they have also fallen in love with the dachshund that was standing at the front gate yesterday .... they let him in and now they have fallen for him.  ALL day they run around the yard with the dogs .... we have a nice stream in the back yard and the boys were making dams, racing leaves, branches,  their new ball ..... which slipped through the metal grating so off it went.  the were asleep not long after their heads hit the pillow tonight ... Life is good!

Adoption news,  we went yesterday afternoon to our adoption agency here.  The director was out but we are hoping to have an appointment with her by next week.  We wanted to meet with them to let them know we are HERE, we ARE committed about adopting our 2 children .... so let's get on with it :)
We did meet with someone in the office and she even said .... I thought you would wait  a few days to get rested and settled .... UGH!!  No need for that ... we had arrived less than 24 hours before!
With the many delays we are hoping things will start progressing now. :)

I'm sure I left LOADS out so ask me questions .... Paul needs to get on to try and fix the wireless ....

Blessings :) x

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We have an official H2K Day!

So I have already mentioned we are leaving for Kenya.  I wrote this a while ago ... so here's our 'formal' announcement lol

We have booked our plane tickets and we are: Herrings to Kenya on June 4!

We are so excited to FINALLY be going.  This would not be possible if we did not have a house.
We found a house to live in .... it's AMAZING and are thrilled to have such a beautiful home to live in while we are in Kenya.  We are thankful to the family that agreed to rent to us!
Here's our house:

We are living just outside of Nairobi.

There is much to be done before June 4. We need to pack up our home here and hopefully find someone to rent it. The realtor is coming today.  And just general packing of items that we are going to bring to Kenya. We are bringing the stuff in our luggage, we are not shipping anything, so we are very limited.

We will not have our referral (information about the children that we are going to adopt) by the time we go.  Since we have had this 2 month delay with the FBI background check. So we will go to Kenya and get settled in with our family of 4 ..... and wait to become a family of 6 :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Documents part 2 of 2 ... Done and already IN Kenya!

Our FBI documents were retrieved from the Kenya Embassy in Washington DC last Friday by our courier. We used Caring Hands Services for our courier for these documents.  They were really great.  They communicated well with us.  Let us know when our documents were authenticated at the State Department,  that they were dropped of at the Kenya Embassy and let us know when they would be ready for pick, they agreed to Fedex our documents directly to Kenya and sent copies of our documents to us. So I highly recommend them :)! I filled out the Fedex air bill online and faxed it to them.
We received our copies via the air bill I enclosed with our account number on Monday.  I checked in on how our delivery to Kenya was doing on Fedex.com .... our FBI documents arrived at our Kenyan adoption agency on Monday evening!  That was amazing, super fast service ... it was due to arrive today (Wednesday)!!
Yesterday was May 1, a holiday in most places including Kenya,  but not here.  They were off from work so hopefully today we will have some news.
Our US adoption agency faxed a cover letter for our documents and they needed to submit  another document on our behalf as well.  Those were both faxed on Monday and the originals were sent DHL.
SO now we are hoping all our documents are in order and acceptable to be submitted to the NAC (National Adoption Committee). We have already been approved by them pending the arrival of these documents.  The NAC only meets once a month, we never know when,  usually the 3rd week ... but not always.  Documents need to be submitted to them by the 5th of the month to be seen at that months meeting.  That is our hope that everything is in order and can be submitted to the NAC by Friday May 4th for the May NAC meeting!
Prayers PLEASE :)

After the NAC gives us the final approval to adopt 2 children,  then our Kenya adoption agency will work our our referral (of our 2 children). This can take up to a couple months we are told. We will be already living in Kenya by that time :)

After we accept our referral (of our 2 children) then we need to finalize our US immigration approval for these specific 2 children > our 1-800! we are told this can take up to 90 days to get approval!

I will write more on that when the time comes :)