Monday, September 22, 2008

On Hold

With the huge economic and political changes going on right now- we've decided to wait until the new year to make any decisions about the adoption. We finished all of our paperwork and it's ready to go- so we're just going to sit on it for a few months and make sure we're making the right decision for our family. I'll let you know if anything changes!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Two Weeks is UP!

So do you think we did it? Do you think I finished that whole, long list of paperwork in two weeks? Of course I did! I actually finished my last piece (the TB test) on Friday- so officially I was done earlier than two weeks. Of course, we're not ready to turn everything in yet because Dan is still working on his "essay"- but that's OK. I'm actually not in a huge hurry, now that everything is ready. I have to make copies of everything and put it all together in a file before we turn it in. We've decided to take this week and think it through, make double-triple-quadruple sure we're making the right decision. All of this training and education makes you really think about what a huge responsibility it is and we want to make sure we're ready. So, I will let you know when we take our next step!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

I have to say, particularly for my friends that live in other places, that we have been having the most amazing weather here the last few days. August and September tend to be the most amazing months for sunshine here in the Santa Cruz area- at least until the fog rolls in! This morning it was 75 and brilliantly sunny by 9 am, so I had to take a quick break from the computer and walked down to the beach with Aurora (my dog) so I could take a picture. For those of you who have never been to my house- we have a little path down to the beach and it takes about 3 minutes (that's without kids of course!) to get there. Here was the view this morning from the path:

On Wednesday, the kids have a minimum day at school so a couple of friends and I took our (combined) six kids down to our beach for an afternoon of boogie-boarding, sandcastles, and sun. We had gorgeous sun until about 3 o'clock when the wall of fog literally moved right in. However, while we were sitting on the beach, we saw the most amazing sight! Our beach is known for it's dolphins- they love to play in our gentle waves- we're right in the middle of the bay. On Wednesday, though, we saw something I've never seen before. LOTS and LOTS of dolphins- at least 50 of them swam by within a half an hour. And then, in the middle of them- a whale! It breached and it's huge tail came crashing down- right in front of us. It was unbelievable! Even the six kids were mesmerized by the dolphins and the whale. So, while I'm stuck inside working on online classes and getting to know you forms- I will be wishing I could be out there, laying on the beach with an iced tea! Have a wonderful long weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lady Luck is smiling on us!

Why are we so lucky? Because everything is moving right along so smoothly. Our doctor called and said she will squeeze us in this week (her next appt. was 8 weeks away!) We've already completed several of our docs and sent away for several more. Why am I in such a hurry to get things done, you may ask? I'm just not the kind of person who likes things hanging over my head. If I have a task to do, I just want to get it done. Also, I have this strong, strong feeling that our daughter is waiting for us and that every day that we accomplish something we're working on bringing her home to us! So, many people have asked exactly what we have to do (hopefully in the next 2 weeks or so) to complete the homestudy. Here's the big list:
Live Scan Fingerprinting
Criminal Record Statements
Child Desired Worksheet (6 pages)
Getting to know you (11 pages each parent)
Getting to know you as a couple (10 pages)
Autobiography for each parent
CPR for both
Guardianship Form (notarized)
Marriage Certificate
Medical Reports with bloodwork for parents and kids
IRS 1040
Financial Statement with income, debts, investments, etc.
Job verification letter
School reports for kids
SIX character references (3 friends, 2 relatives, and a neighbor)
Adoption Risk Release (notarized)
Release of Information
Affirmation Statement
Duty to Disclose
Proof of Health Insurance
Proof of Life Insurance (for both)
Post Placement Agreement (notarized)
8 hours of online Hague training
Attachment workshop (7 hours on a Saturday)
3 Required books
Adoption Learning Partners Online classes- required for each to take separately- a total of about 8 hours each: Medical Issues, Conspicuous Families, and Let's Talk about Adoption
Plus online research with short essays about each site
And then the interviews and home visit from our social worker
This is in addition to all the documents from our placing agency! WHEW!
See why I'm a little overwhelmed? I just have to remember one thing at a time and it will all get done :) Send more "lucky" wishes our way- it's working!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Whew! That wasn't so bad...

Okay, I didn't realize that this wasn't an "interview" but more like an informational meeting. We spent about 45 minutes reviewing all of the forms and paperwork that we need to turn in before the official homestudy interview takes place. I have never seen so much paperwork in my whole life. You know what it's like when you buy a house and you sit down at the desk at the title company and they just start laying the papers in front of you to sign? It was like that times 100! I knew that there would be a lot to do, but I honestly didn't realize just how much. I asked my social worker how long she thought it would take and she said she has had clients take 2 weeks or 7 months! Seven months? She asked me what kind of person I was and I said, "Definitely more like 2 weeks!" If I do nothing else... if my kids watch lots of TV.. if I don't eat or sleep... You get the picture. It's pretty insane. It makes me realize that we'd have a LOT fewer children in this world if everyone had to do this to have a baby! I started right in on the paperwork this morning and dropped some forms off at the pediatrician's office. Dan got a phone call tonight, panicked from the kid's doctor, "Your boys are adopted? Why didn't I know this? Blah.. Blah..Blah..." I guess that is what is hardest for me. All of the items that I have no control over! Anyway, I better get back to that pile. Send me your best wishes for getting it done ASAP.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Homestudy Interview Scheduled

Yeah! She called. We have our first couple interview for the homestudy scheduled for Monday at 8:30am. She is training a new social worker and letting her "practice" on us, so that should be interesting! We also received the big "list" from our placing agency of what documents we need to compile for the adoption. Wow! I'm telling you- just that alone seems like a full-time job. Here's just a partial list of what we need:
Criminal and Child Abuse clearance checks
Financial statements
Property ownership letter from the mortage company
Medical forms for parents
Medical forms for kids
TWO certified marriage certificates
Immigration 1-600A approval
Photographs of family and house
Passport photos
That's just SOME of the stuff that I need to chase down in the next few weeks! Good thing the kids are both in school and I have a little time on my hands! I'll post again on Monday after our interview. Cross your fingers that we DAZZLE her with our personalities and great parenting skills! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I need to start a running list of the cute things my boys say about their soon-to-be sister. I was loading them in the car last Friday to take them both to school and Taye asked what I was going to do. I said, "Well, Mommy is going to have some free time to herself!" Ian looked at me with a smirk and said, "But Mommy, when you get our baby sister you're not going to have any more free time for yourself!" Oh, how true! Ian has also been telling everyone about his baby sister. I've heard from friends that the conversation goes something like this, "Hey Zach! I'm gettting a baby sister." Zach's mom (surprised by this news) says, "What Ian? Is your mom pregnant?" Ian says, "No. We're just getting her and we're not giving her back!" How sweet is that? We'll see how he feels about giving her back when she's here! Dan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on Saturday with a lovely dinner out at the new French restaurant in Aptos, Au Midi. Here's a picture that our babysitter took before we left:

No word yet from my social worker- I can't wait for that phone to ring! I'll let you know when she calls.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We've started the process of bringing Sweet Pea home!

Sunday night I left the adoption application out on the dining room table. We've been talking and discussing and talking some more and I knew Dan was on-board, I just needed his signature so I could send it off! Monday morning, I woke up early with Taye jumping in my bed. Even before I got my coffee, I walked by the dining room to see if he had signed it. HE HAD! I called him up, giddy, to ask if I was dreaming. Nope! We are on our way to being parents of a little girl from Russia. When I told Taye that Daddy had signed the papers, the first thing he said was, "Oh good- we'll finally have someone to wear that princess dress in our dress-up box!" Well, sure that IS important. Tuesday morning, after dropping Ian off at preschool- Taye and I headed over to the local adoption agency in Capitola that will do our homestudy to drop off the application.We circled the block looking for parking and Taye asked, "If we can't find parking, does that mean we won't get my baby sister?" Taye took a picture just before we headed in:

Yeah! Then, on Wednesday, Ian and I headed to the post office to mail off our application to our placing agency (didn't get a picture of that!) Wednesday was also Taye's first day of First Grade. Now, he's at school from 7:49 until 2:05. Ian will be at preschool Tuesday/Thursday and Friday which gives me a nice little break three days a week. Now, I'll have time to fill out the mountain of paperwork that I know is coming! Heres a picture of the boys on the first day of school:

Now, we're on day 2 of 1st grade and it's a little scary to him! I'm crossing my fingers he has a better day.