Tuesday, December 9, 2008

sucking the life out of me

That's what I feel like Chicago is doing right now. No, I'm not referring to today's delightful story of our Governor's "crime spree." I'm talking about winter in Chicago. It's not even technically winter yet, but it's freezing, snowing, disgusting, dark, and it blows right in your eye. Right in your eye, I tells ya! And it's sucking every bit of energy out of my body. So, I haven't blogged much lately. We haven't done much lately. We've been dragging.

Tonight we had to go to an adoption class. It was all we could do to force ourselves out into this mess of a night. The class was called Becoming an Adoptive Family. To be honest, we didn't love this class. I felt like it was a bit too broad, as it involved domestic and international families, and was a bit too heavy on the idea of psychoanalyzing adopted children. I know social workers have their structures and their boxes and their graphs that they work from, but I have a hard time fitting that stuff into real life. There was one thing we really liked about the class, though. At the beginning of it, she asked us to use words we felt were associated with "family." She wrote down the words on a dry erase board, and they included things like support, love, responsibility, identity, etc. After she wrote down all of the words, she asked us to look at them and think about whether any of these words had anything to do with being biologically related. It was a great point, because of course, they don't. I consider Matt and myself a family and we are not biologically related (that would be awkward :-) It was also nice that there were other couples there who already have adopted children. I really enjoyed their perspective.

So what do we have left? We still need 3 more adoption classes and we need to complete our dossier. Hopefully we will be able to overcome Old Man Winter enough to get this stuff done!

Monday, December 8, 2008

been a while...

And this is not the real official blog update. But I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still here! We have another adoption class on Tuesday, so I have the day off and will have time to do a proper update.
In the meantime, I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I, myself am finally getting my arteries back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels of occlusion. Good times :-)

Tuesday, update, for reals.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

classy

So we went to our class the other night. We were worried about 2 things before we went. One, that there would only be like, 1 other couple there (awkward) and two, that their would be role-playing games (the most awkward.) Luckily neither of these fears came to pass. The room was packed, and their was only a brief period at the beginning where we were forced to converse with complete strangers :-)
So the class was Talking to Your Children about Adoption from the Adult Adoptee Perspective. That last part is the key. From the adult adoptee perspective. We had a panel of 3 adult people who were adopted as babies. Two of them were white women adopted by white families and one was a black man adopted by a white family.The biggest thing you take from this class is that you start talking to your child about their adoption from birth (or from when you first get them.) That way it is never strange, never a "gotcha" moment. It's just something they always knew. Side note: we were talking to a girl last night whose boyfriend found out he was adopted when he was 35! Can you imagine?
The other thing we took from this class is that, while it is important to talk to your children about adoption (and specifically in our case, to keep their Ethiopian heritage alive) you don't talk about it every day of their lives. I think that is something that gets a little lost in this adoption process. You're not going to spend every day considering how adoption has affected your life. You just live your life. For the people on this panel, they all said that yes, they knew they were adopted, but it wasn't like they sat around thinking about it all the time. It just is what it is. And to them, as children, it was no big deal.

Useful class, good information, no role-playing games. All in all a success.
Now we just have to take 4 more classes to complete our homestudy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

schooled

We have our first adoption class tonight. Talking to Children About Adoption.
Should be interesting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the homestudy....

has happened! It's done. It was so short, we barely made it to 3 and a half hours. I guess we're easy :-)

The past few days have been a rush of cleaning and form-filling and a little bit of panic that for some reason she would walk into our apartment and say, what, you want to bring a baby into this incredibly unsafe unchildproofed home? Are yall crazy? Not that our home is unsafe. It's not childproofed yet, but we're still a year out from having a baby. It's just that, because we have to get this stupid foster-parenting license, we thought maybe our home was going to be judged a little more harshly than it was. In fact, the home inspection portion was literally just a walk through, much like I would give one of you who had not been to my home before. As in, here is our bedroom and here is the living room. That kind of thing. The only thing she wanted to make sure of is that we have a working smoke detector. Which we do.

The bulk of the homestudy was just the 3 of us sitting at the table while she asked us questions. These questions had to do with us, our backgounds and families, our ideas on child-rearing and adoption and parenting adopted children. It was very laid back and, for the most part, there were no wrong answers. She is an adoptive parent, herself, and let us know that she was not exactly fond of the process when she went through it.

So now, she has to write the homestudy, which I think she said takes about a month, and then she has to send it to FRC and Gladney and us for any changes or corrections. Then she will finalize it.

So, that's that. It's a great relief to have it done. Now we can just get to work on our dossier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

homestudy.....

tomorrow!
wish us luck!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

some thoughts on obama

I know its been a while since I blogged, and truthfully, not much has happened. We were in Minneapolis last weekend visiting some friends and Matt had to work this past Thursday so I just ran about a million errands. Pretty lame.

But I wanted talk for a minute about what happened last week. This is not a political blog post. This is not about Right or Left, Red or Blue. This is about what I felt on Tuesday Nov. 4.
I wasn't thinking much about the implications of the day, to be quite honest. We had already voted a couple of weeks ago, so there would be no long line for me to stand in. I was more concerned with being deathly slow at work really. But when I got up and I got on the ol' internets, I began looking at the photographs. The pictures of the lines. And the pictures of the people in the lines. And the pictures of people shedding tears. They shed tears, because here they were, voting for a black man to be the president of the United States of America. And they never thought that day would come. And it made me cry too. In the ugliness of the last two months of this race, I guess I forgot what this would mean. It means that in this time, in this moment, a black man was given a job that no black man has ever been given before because we as a country felt that he was the right man for the job. It wasn't just black people and young people that elected Obama. It was blue collar people and it was rural people, city folk and country folk, Americans who maybe had to put their inner voice aside to do what they never thought they'd do. Vote for a black man as the President of the United States of America.
And I thought about what this means to me. Next year (hopefully) Matt and I are going to welcome a child into our lives. And this child will be black. And I will be able to say to him or her, when you were born, and when you came to this country, the President of the United States resembled you. And that means something to me.
I don't deify President-Elect Obama. I do not think he is a perfect man. He has a lot of work to do and many promises have been made. As Matt says, it starts now. Let's see what he can do.
I had an interesting conversation with a client the other day. A very nice man visiting from Fort Worth, TX. He said to me, well, he wasn't my guy, but he's my guy now. It gave me just a little bit of hope that this country does not have to be so divided, that we don't have to bow down to the politics of fear.
Maybe, when my children are adults, this won't seem so novel. I don't know. Racism isn't in danger of disappearing overnight or anytime soon. But I guess I am just a little more hopeful now. And that is what November 4, 2008 meant to me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

unproductive thursday

It has come to my attention that Sarah B is impatiently awaiting a Thursday update. Baby sisters are so demanding :-)

Unfortunately Matt and I are both working today. Gotta cover shifts when you are embarking on a (let's just say) pricey adoption.

But, just to give you a few breadcrumbs, we mailed in the rest of our Gladney application last Friday, and I contacted Kate from KB Dossier Service today to get us started on our dossier.

Signing off for now. Gotta pay da bills.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

productive thursdays

Thursdays have become a mad flurry of doin stuff because they are the only day we have off together (that don't involve football :-)
Today we picked up our IL foster parenting medical forms from Doc Brown, dropped off our packet of forms to Family Resource Center to get our homestudy rolling, early voted (I highly recommend this,) ate at our new favorite Thai restaurant that we found in DearCharlie's neighborhood, drove down to Matt's work to get his employer letter for the Gladney app, grocery shopped, and got a call from our FRC case worker to set up the homestudy (set for Nov. 13.) And we're not done yet! We are going to assemble the remaining part of our Gladney application so I can send it in tomorrow.
We are a little bit behind schedule on that because we had a few missing pieces to put in. Matt and I are so forever grateful for the two people who did our employer letters. These letters are not only for the Gladney app, but will go in our dossier as well. Which means they had to be perfect. It seems quite simple. A letter from your employer stating that you are an employee of said company, how long you have been an employee and how much you earn. This letter is to be signed by someone you work for, in our cases, a manager. This letter must be signed in front of a notary. The wonderful and amazing Kirsten did mine about a month ago. Took the letter on her own time to a FedEx/Kinkos and got it notarized. It was beautiful. Great. Done. Except.... The date of the letter didn't match the date it was notarized. Remember, it has to be perfect. So Kirsten (maybe we'll call her DearKirsten) went back and did it again this week. She's so awesome. Matt had a similarly frustrating experience. He took his manager, Scott to get the letter notarized at the bank across the street from his work on one of the ridiculous days we were waiting for the car loan approval code. Oh, I'm sorry, you have to be a bank customer to use our notary services, would you like to open an account? No thank you (crumples letter in rage.) Then, last week he took Scott to the UPS around the corner from work to get it notarized. Oh, I'm sorry, our notary is not here today. Great. But, the third time was the charm. The notary was at the UPS today and we will bother Scott no more.
The other missing piece of our Gladney app was a collection of pictures of us and our lives. This has proved difficult, because apparently Matt and I don't appear in many pictures together. Some family and friends were kind enough to send us whatever pictures they had, but we still had to take a couple of our own a few of nights ago. Here's us trying to take a picture of ourselves while our cat, Bishop decided that family pictures without him were unacceptable:
Hopefully we will be able to pull together enough pictures to get this thing done.

Btw, I also wanted to mention that Matt took our Prius to get gas for the first time in the two weeks we've had it, and found out it is only a 10 gallon tank and only cost $30 to fill up. That's pretty awesome.

Ok, signing off for now. Gotta be productive!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

some stuffs

We did a few things the past two days. Yesterday we got another set of fingerprints, this time for our IL foster parenting licenses. For this set, we had to go to the YMCA in Evanston. Holy cow, I've never seen such a nice Y. The reception area looked like a fancy hotel. Then we go past the two enormous indoor pools to this little room where they've got a gal set up with a laptop and a portable biometrics pad. This one was much faster than our last set, but thank goodness we got there when we did, because apparently all of Evanston needed to get fingerprinted that day and walked in just after we did. So, two fingerprintings down, one to go (as far as I know!)

Today, we got to do the delightful task of bringing the cats to the vet for their vaccinations (required for foster parent license.) Oh man they hate this. We have indoor cats, whose universe does not expand outside of the confines of our condo. Putting them in the boxes, taking them in the car, pulling them out to get needles stuck all over them, its all terrible. They both get carsick, so by the time they get to the vet they've got puke all over themselves. Yeah, not awesome. Then when we get them home, Bishop has to pout all day like he has just witnessed the worst atrocities imaginable. Ridiculous. But it's done. Now they won't get the rabies from us, i guess?

We also took more forms to Doc Brown's to get filled out. I think they must be getting sick of seeing us there. But they are so nice and he and his wife (who is his receptionist) have adopted children, so at least they understand.

One side note from today. We went with our neighbor, Suzy, to a hearing downtown for a unit in our building that is being foreclosed on. We were standing in front of the building chatting afterwards and a black car pulls up and who should pop out? Mayor Daley. He shook a few hands, posed for a few pictures, and went into the building. Weird.

Tonight, we fill out some forms. I can hardly wait.

Monday, October 13, 2008

the kick is true

It's hard to describe how mentally taxing the past couple of weeks have been, when every possible little thing that could have gone wrong did, and yet somehow, the two biggest things we needed to go right, did.
A week ago, at this time, Matt and I were low. Really low. Our car was dead. We had to get a new one. There was so much confusion over how we should go about this. All of our adoption plans for the week were scratched because A - without a car, we could not accomplish our tasks, and B - we had to get a car somehow. And the icing on the cake? We were both totally freaking out about a bill we had received in the mail a week before from my fertility doctor for $5500!! So yeah, things were not looking too bright in the McBride household.
What a difference a week makes. I was going to write down the whole story about the car, I really was. But its so long, so complicated, I just don't know how I could put it all into words. The long and the short of it is, we now own a beautiful 2004 Toyota Prius, bought from a man I will always refer to as ThatCharlieGodBlessHimSuchANiceBoy (or maybe just DearCharlie, for short.) We went through a lot with DearCharlie in the two days we spent with him. Expired registrations, expired emissions tests, tickets for expired registrations, and most importantly, a loan approval code that seemed like it would never come. But somehow, in the 11th hour, in overtime, in extra innings, at the end of the day, the end of our patience, the end our sanity, the code came through. And DearCharlie sold us his car.
And our beloved Subaru? Bought by our mechanic, Norm, for $300. Norm loves Subarus and he will fix her up nice and good.
Oh yeah, and that $5500 doctor bill? Oh sorry, just a mistake, don't worry, everything went through insurance, call me if you have any other questions. Are you kidding me?!?

The most frustrating thing through all of it, is that I cannot help but think about how our adoption process was being delayed by all this junk. I know a week doesn't seem like a very long time, but in the world of International Adoption, where the waitlist grows and grows every day, it is a significant amount of time. I'm realizing that, because of the approximate time that I think we will be put on the waitlist, and because the courts in Addis close during the rainy season in August and September, we probably won't be able to get the baby until sometime around November, instead of late summer like I had hoped. It's not the end of the world, but it still sucks.
However, as evidenced by the last couple of weeks, I know the big stuff will work out in the end.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

pop quiz 2 (electric boogaloo)

Dear Dad, I'm sorry to say, you were right. Every time you send us money, our car dies. I don't know why this is. I have tried talking to her nicely, telling her the money is for the baby, not her. But she just won't listen. I think she thinks she is the baby.

Yes, that's right. Last night, after picking Matt up from work, our car (the beloved Subaru) began a new round of dying gasps on the way home. It seems she is trying to tell us that she is old and not long for this world. So sad. And to make matters worse, I was supposed to go to an all day ethics class today as a part of my required continuing education requirements, but after only 4 hours of sleep, the thought of sitting in a classroom for seven hours while somebody tells me not to touch my client's private parts makes me want to barf. So I'm skipping. I'd rather spend the time feeling sorry for myself. Wah.

In other news, the adoption process is progressing. We had our meeting with a social worker from our homestudy agency this past Thursday. I thought it was a really good meeting. She asked us a bunch of questions about ourselves, our lives and adoption. But it really was more like a lovely conversation between three people. About us. And I must admit, I really like talking about us. Is that vain?
We were, however, dismayed to learn that with this homestudy, we have inherited a whole new pile of paperwork. In Illinois, it seems you are required to see and spend time with your child before you can adopt. So when we bring the baby home, in the eyes of IL, we will be considered foster parents. Which means we have to get a foster parenting license. It's not really that big of a deal, just so much more paperwork.
This will be piled on top of the paperwork we have to do just to set up our homestudy. Many forms to fill out, including a trip back to Doc Brown to have him fill out another form for us. And kitty cat inoculations. And, much to our delight, another set of fingerprints! This will make it three rounds of fingerprinting that we will have to accomplish. Seriously, can't these people just share?

We did get one more big thing done. We sent in the first part of our big Gladney application, along with our program fee deposit. It felt great to get that in the mail. In the next week or so, we will be sending in the next two parts, and then we can start working on our dossier!
Do you all understand how happy I am going to be when the paperwork is over? If that day every comes, it's going to be beautiful.

In the meantime, apparently life doesn't stop just because you are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. So, maybe the next time I write, we will have a new car. And then Dad, you can feel free to send money again :-D

Monday, September 29, 2008

timeline

I added an easy-to-follow adoption timeline to the left.
Cool, huh?

what? i'm supposed to keep doing this?

Oh hey everybody. What's up? Yeah, it's been a while. Apparently once you start one of these blogs, you're supposed to keep updating it. Hmph, who knew?
Well, I do apologize that it has been so long. But for anybody who might be still checkin' in every now and then, things are happening, we're movin and shakin, we're in it.
So what have we been up to? Well, glad you asked :-)

First let me say that I looooove my husband. He is so awesome. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, after I had completed my 19th nervous breakdown, he realized it was time for the two of us to sit down and organize ourselves. I just kept doing the same thing over and over. I would read through all of our materials trying to get an idea of what we were supposed to be doing and get completely overwhelmed and think, nope, there's no way we can do this. It's impossible. So one night, Matt and I went it through all of it together, broke it down into small manageable sections, and set deadlines for each section. Listen, I realize that most of you will think, duh, of course that's what you should do, but honestly, I had no idea. My career does not require me to organize myself in this manner, and I seriously doubt I ever had anything this elaborate to accomplish when I was in school. So it really was like a revelation to me and it made me feel so much better. I have remained relatively calm ever since!
The first thing we had to accomplish was our our I-600 application for Immigration and we had already sent that in. About 2 weeks later we received acknowledgment that they had received our application, followed quickly by our appointment time for our fingerprinting (or biometrics, as they are fond of calling it.) We went this past Thursday, very early in the morning to a very bare-bones, cold government looking office in a strip mall to have that done. Very exciting. But, now all they need from us is our homestudy report to complete the application.
And that brings us to our next item. We sent in our homestudy application to Family Resource Center here in Chicago, along with what is probably the biggest personal check I have ever written. Get used to that, I guess. We have our first interview with our social worker in her office this Thursday. I feel like this is a big step, because everything is dependent on this homestudy, and it is really the first time we will sit down with someone face to face to discuss this adoption.
Our next step outside of the homestudy is to send in our Gladney application which is in three parts. We will send in part one this week, followed by the next two parts in the next two weeks. At this point, we will really begin to work on our dossier, which will be the toughest part of the paperchase. But, more on that in a future post.

So, that's where we're at. It feels really good to be able to cross stuff off our list. I think the most frustrating thing right now is that, instead of feeling like this is about a baby, it just feels like it is about paperwork. I really can't wait until this is all done and I can just focus on the fact that the end result of this is that we will become parents.

Ok, I will be updating more frequently. I swear!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

um, er....

an update is coming. i swear.

Monday, September 1, 2008

doctors and hurricanes

It's hurricane day, err, labor day. I slept on the couch last night with the tv on so I could wake up to coverage of hurricane Gustav. My stomach was doing acrobats inside of me all of yesterday while I waited to see what would happen to my hometown of New Orleans and my family and friends who live there. As of now, 1:53pm (and I am seriously knocking wood) the proverbial bullet was dodged. I'm sure Fema, the army corps of engineers, the state of Louisiana and George Bush himself will take credit, but really, we're just lucky the storm went westward.
Anyway, if all holds (again, knock knock knock) I can go back to just having my stomach do acrobats about adoption stuff.
I spoke to my mom and my dad, and they each reminded me that I must take this one step at a time. And guess what? We've made a couple more steps. I sent in requests for certified copies of my birth certificate and our marriage license and mailed off form I-600A last Thursday. Also on Thursday, we both went for our required physicals. Our doctor is Dr. Mark Brown and he is awesome! We show up with packets of forms and instructions, some of which need to be notarized, and he just takes it all in stride and is very excited for us and tells us, no problem, we can get this all done. Good ol' Doc Brown. And, you will all be happy to know, we are both free of all communicable diseases. Whew! And, to top it off, my cholesterol has dropped 30 points since the last time it was measured!
So, we continue with the steps. And to all my Gulf Coast family and friends, I will continue to watch and hope for the best.

Monday, August 25, 2008

we did stuff

We have begun the paper chase! We've done stuff! Woo-hoo!
So this is what we've done. We got life insurance (yikes, so adult.) We began working on our Gladney application. We completed form I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition which will be sent off to US Citizenship and Immigration Services tomorrow (along with 2 checks made out to Department of Homeland Security - awesome.) We bought a filing box and filing folders (I've never been so organized.) And we bought one of the most useful items I could ever imagine, a copy machine/scanner/printer!
How bout that?
Next on the agenda, filling out and sending in our application for our homestudy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i want to be a number!

I've just spent about 2 hours staring at instructions, checklists and applications and all I keep thinking is, why can't I just give them our credit scores!?! They're good! I thought that's all that mattered in life anyway. Doesn't our whole life and worthiness as a person boil down to that one little number? In the past, I've gotten so mad at the idea that this one little number could describe to some big corporation that I was worthy of their affection, and now, I find myself very pissed off that there is not one line on any of these forms that asks me for that very number. We've worked very hard to make our numbers good. And now I can't even use them! Dag-nabit!

So what's happened since my last post? Well, the car got fixed, Catherine visited for 10 days, I went to my first soccer game, watched approximately 500 hours of Olympics, we received our Gladney application and about a million attachments via email, I've freaked out about this about 5 times, and I opened a FedEx account. In no particular order.

Thursday is the next day that Matt and I have off together, so we are going to go through all of this stuff and try to work out a game plan. And next time I post, hopefully I will be able to report that I have actually done something productive. But for now, one might find me huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth, muttering my credit score over and over and over...

Friday, August 8, 2008

pop quiz, hot shot

Sometimes life tests you. I think this is one of those times for me. Not a big test, like when a certain family member gets a certain baseball sized tumor, but little tests. You know, like when you're about spend endless amounts of money on an international adoption, and your car decides to break down on the way to pick your best friend up from the airport. And luckily it happened right in front of a service station, but the very nice man there says your radiator is broken and he's gonna have to replace it for $455. And you're half way between here and there, so you have take a cab back to your home and wait for the man to call you back.
Well, that's where I'm at.
I hope I pass.
But, Catherine is safely here and I mailed off the request for our Gladney application today! So that's good.
Oy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

phone orientation

We talked with Judy from the Gladney Center today for our orientation. She basically outlined everything I described in the post below, only in a much more concise, organized, non-rambling manner. She's sooooo nice and has this perfect Texas accent and makes you feel like this is a manageable set of tasks that you can accomplish.
Oh Judy, can't you just do all this for us? Pretty Please?
Ok, no, we can do this. One step at a time, one step at a time...
Wait, what are we supposed to do first?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

how long's this gonna take?

Ok, as promised, here is a rough rundown of how this is gonna go.
The gist is, its going to take about a year. Give or take.
Tomorrow morning we have a one hour phone orientation with one of the people from the adoption agency. In it, we will learn the details of everything that we're going to have to do to make this happen. She has already emailed me the manual. I read it and got scared, fast. There is just so much paperwork and documenting and notarizing and certifying and copying and inspecting and so on and so forth. I understand it. The whole goal is to make sure the child is going to a decent home with decent people who are truly fit to be parents. (I just wonder how it would go if they did this for EVERYONE who is having a baby.)
The other thing that makes all of this so much more complicated is that we are dealing with international adoption. That means that, not only are we proving ourselves to our agency and the US government, but we also must prove ourselves worthy to Ethiopia as well. In order to do this, you must compile what's called a "foreign dossier." In this dossier are about a hundred million things documenting your life, your health, your home and everything else. And it must be presented exactly how Ethiopia says it must be presented, or you're gonna have trouble getting through court. Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself.
One of the first things we will have to take care of while we are compiling documents is to complete a homestudy. A homestudy is when a social worker comes to your home for 5 or 6 hours and, well, studies you. Well ok, they don't just sit there and watch you while you go about your business. They ask you questions and you ask them questions and they write stuff down about you and your home. How this lasts for 5 or 6 hours, I have no idea. But we'll find out. When they are done they write a report, which takes about a month. This report will go to our agency, the US government and in our foreign dossier (I think.)
At the same time as all of this, we will also be filling out our enormous application for our agency.
When ALL of this is complete, the homestudy, doctors visits, applications, fingerprinting, background checks, documenting, all of it, our dossier will be sent to Ethiopia. At this point we will be put on the wait list for a referral. A referral is a child. Well, ok, its when they send a recommendation of a child to you and you can either accept it or deny it. Our agency says this wait list is about 3 to 5 months, but of course, that can always change. Once you get your referral, you will then wait another 2 to 3 months for a court date. The court date is when the adoption is either approved or denied. Near as I can tell, you rarely get through on your first court date. It might take as many as 5 or 6. And god forbid your court date happens to fall around late summer, because the courts close in August and September for the rainy season.

But then, once we have finally passed our court date, we get to go to Ethiopia and get our baby!
Yay!

Monday, August 4, 2008

friends and family ROCK

You all are SO awesome! I have received so many wonderful responses and it makes Matt and me feel so good. Thank you all so much. I have been trying to email everyone back, and if I haven't emailed you already, I will. But just know how much it means to me that you have given us your support.

I wanted to do another post tonight to sort of give a rundown of the time line of this whole process, but I got home really late due to the torrential apocalypse of thunderstorms that hit Chicago tonight. So I'm just gonna watch some tivo'd Paranormal State and go to bed. But I promise the time line for tomorrow night.

Love to you all!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

and so it begins

This is a blog to document our adoption process. That's right, we're adopting! From Ethiopia! We're so excited! But how did this all come about (you might be wondering.) Actually, you might be wondering a lot of things. Let me see if I can answer some questions.

Why are you adopting?
Well, as many of you know, Matt and I have been trying to start a family for a couple of years here now. And well, it wasn't going too well. So we enlisted the help of a fertility expert who, after several tests and one surgery, determined that the only way I'd be getting knocked up would be through in vitro fertilization. And aside from the fact that I always told myself I would never do IVF because of the hormones and the stress and the less than 50% chance of it working in a given cycle, we simply couldn't do it because we do not have insurance that covers the process (thanks a lot American health care system.) This is how the math works in my head: $10,000 for something that has a good chance of not working, versus $20,000 for a process in which we definitely end up with a baby. After a day of torment, grief and helplessness that followed our last meeting with the doc, the answer became very clear. For as much as I really wanted to be pregnant, and feel a life grow inside of me, the ultimate goal was always to be a mom. And for us to be a family.
And truthfully, Matt and I have always discussed adoption as an option for a second child. Matt has especially strong feelings about it, as he himself is adopted (by his dad.) So it certainly was not a foreign notion. Speaking of foreign...

Why international adoption?
First, let me say that, truthfully, we know deep down in our hearts, the really right thing to do would be to adopt older, waiting children in this country. There are so many kids who have physical, mental and/or emotional issues right here in America that need families, not to mention that there is very little cost in that kind of adoption. And it makes us both sad that we do not feel emotionally or financially prepared to care for those children. I really wish I could be that person. Maybe someday I will be.

So ok, what about signing up with a birth-mother domestically and getting a healthy newborn? Well, you know that part in Juno when they are flipping through the penny saver looking at advertisements for couples who want to adopt? Yeah, that's true, and I can't go through that. I can't be posting advertisements for us. I can't be hoping praying begging for somebody to pick me. I have a big enough fear of rejection. I don't need that. And of course, we've all heard the horror stories of families going through that whole process, only to have the birth-mom change her mind in the end. I would die. So international it is...

So why Ethiopia?
In the end I just knew it was right.
But at the beginning of my research, I was um, daunted. How do you do this? How do you pick an agency? How do you pick a country? How can we, a couple of shift-workers, afford to go overseas to get a child?
All I can say is, THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNETS!!!! Honestly, I don't know how I would have figured any of this out without that special series of tubes. It went like this: Google international adoption, click on a couple of websites for adoption agencies, end up on website for The Gladney Center for Adoption from some link on some website, click on Ethiopia, watch video that automatically plays of this nice couple describing how the man from the agency came down the stairs and simply placed their baby in their arms, sob and sob and sob and know in my heart that I want us to be that couple. And then through the tears, I did the research. The basics are that Ethiopia is one of the easiest and cheapest countries to adopt from (that doesn't mean that it is either easy of cheap.) And we can get a baby, under a year old, which is not true of many other countries. But what got me, really, once I started reading a little bit about Ethiopia, is that there is just such a need. There are so many children that grow up in extreme poverty, the kind that we don't know in this country, in orphanages that have nothing. And please don't think that I am thinking I am some kind of savior. God knows I'm far from it. I'm just a girl who wants to be a mom hoping to find a baby who needs a mom and a dad.
And so in the end, I just knew it was right.

But Tam, if you adopt from Ethiopia, your child will be black. And you and Matt are white.
Yes, thank you, we are aware of the situation. It's ok if you were thinking it, even if you didn't want to say it. Matt and I are not naive enough to think that, just because we are cool with it, everything will go smoothly and we will all live happily ever after. People will stare, and people will say things. That is not my biggest worry. There are ways to deal with that. My biggest worry is that I will have a child (and eventually children) who will be straddling two worlds without knowing which to identify with. And we're gonna have to work on that. All I know for sure is that I will love them and hope to provide a safe sanctuary within our family.


So that is it, my very long-winded summary of how we came to this monumental decision in our lives.

Please feel free to comment, ask me any other questions, share thoughts, etc.

A lot of people have asked me to keep them up to date on what is going on with this process, so if you are interested (and you made it through my excessively long first post - good on you) please follow along in this exciting and terrifying journey with us.