Sunday, January 25, 2009

still here, still movin along

Man, we are so close now. So close to being done with the paperchase I can taste it! Well, I hope we're close. I do panic when I read other adoptive family's blogs (yes I am a blog stalker, haven't quite worked up the nerve to "introduce" myself yet) and I see how they had to redo this document or that or many documents, for various different reasons. It's just not simple. None of this is simple. I find myself cursing that fact from time to time. But then I give myself a pep talk (yes, I actually do that) and I try to get over it. Eyes on the prize, as my very wise sister said.

So we have taken the remainder of our adoption classes that are required by our homestudy agency, FRC. Our favorite, by far, was a class called Race and Adoption. There was a panel of adoptive parents and adult adoptees and there was just so much perspective and so many things to learn and consider. We talked about so many different things that I couldn't possibly cover it all here, but let me tell you one of the most important things to consider if you are a white parent adopting a black child. I'm going to speak to the white folk reading this blog now. People, we do not know about the hair! And it's not trivial, it is in no way unimportant! Hair, especially for black women, is a source of pride and identity. And it cannot be cared for the way that white people care for their hair. So if I don't want to look like a neglectful momma, I better learn about the hair!
Anyway, we took two more classes after that, one of which was an on-line class about medical issues in international adoption (important because there can be so many unknowns when you are adopting from another country) and another class at FRC called Viewing Adoption from a Family Systems Perspective. It's a fancy, social worker-y name for a class that actually was pretty interesting. The idea is that the adopted child's birth family actually becomes a part of your extended family network, which I really liked. We have no idea if we will actually meet any of the birth family, but if we do, we are very interested in trying to keep contact with them, as much as possible.

Sooooo, the classes are done, what else is there? Well, our homestudy has been finalized and printed up. Very many things can hopefully move forward now. Our main agency, Gladney was waiting for copies of our criminal clearances obtained by FRC. They needed them for our application with them to be complete so they can approve us for adoption. But FRC didn't want to send the copies until our homestudy was complete. The homestudy couldn't be complete until we finished our classes. We couldn't finish our classes until FRC actually offered the classes we needed. (Do you see how this is a vicious cycle of waiting for things that are completely beyond your control?) We also are waiting on a couple of things that will complete our dossier. We just received our FBI clearances by FedEx (those dudes at the Bureau are quick! only took them 2 weeks!) so we have to get them notarized. We have to get our budget worksheet notarized, but our dossier service hasn't sent it to us yet because she needs to see the homestudy first (of course) and we have a couple more reference letters to come in. We also now have to wait for our I-171H which is our approval from CIS (immigration). This was also completely dependent on the homestudy. Is your head spinning? Are you even still reading this? If you are, kudos.

Sometimes I wish I could just live like this guy:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

back in the saddle again

Today was a Thursday of immense production. It's curaazy how much we got done today, and even more impressive is the fact that my poor husband managed to get through all of it without having a wink of sleep last night.

So what did we do? Oh you know, everything. No, not everything, but almost, I swear! We started out by stopping off at our State Farm office to get a notarized letter from them stating that we have life insurance. I tell ya, what a nice group of people this is. Not only were they so happy to do it for us, but Dave Fredrickson, the guy who owns and runs the agency came out of his office to offer any support he could possibly give us, including introducing us to a local Ethiopian businessman he knows from the chamber of commerce. That's just so nice.
Our second stop was the bank. I had spent a while this morning calling around to various Washington Mutuals to find out if any of them had a notary on site, which surprisingly few of them do. We finally found one and went off to get a letter from them stating that we have a checking account and are in good standing. I was kind of dreading this. I feel so awkward when I go into an establishment and start stammering about international adoption and company letterheads and notarizations. Sometimes they just stare back at me with blank faces, like I'm speaking another language. But luckily the guy completely understood what we needed and was happy to do it for us. He just asked for a little time to complete it, so we left it with him and went off do do more tasks.
Our next stop was downtown. We had to get fingerprints (yes more,) notarizations for a bunch of different documents and passport-sized photos. Driving in downtown Chicago sucks and parking is even worse. But sleepless Matt managed to do it without loosing his sanity entirely. We parked in a garage that cost almost as much as this adoption is going to cost and trotted off to this weird little store that performs all of these services. It was a mad house when we got there and the man who owns it was running around yelling "two hours ago, nothing, now lunch time, everybody is here!" When it was our turn, we got inked, fingerprinted, photographed, notarized and outa there!
Once we made it alive out of downtown, we drove back up to the bank to pick up our letter, back home to make copies of everything (an absolute must in the adoption process) and then back out to the FedEx to send everything off. We sent the fingerprints to the FBI and all of the rest of the documents we had compiled off to KBS Dossiers, who I am sooooo glad we hired to put all of this stuff together for us.

So now, our dossier is almost complete! We have a couple of things left to do, but not much and then we still have our classes to take. I can't believe we are nearing the end of this part of the process. I was looking back at my older posts and remembering how intimidated I was and how I thought there was no way we would be able to accomplish this. I'm pretty darn proud of us, if I do say so myself!

And now, my poor husband can get some sleep.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

Ok, I'm back! Time to stop moping about winter! I live in Chicago. Winter happens. Time to move on :-)
I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I have to admit, I'm glad that's all over. We had a pretty lame December. It was dreadfully slow at my work, I couldn't focus on anything important, and to top it off, we were supposed to go to Seattle to see Matt's family for Christmas but our flight got canceled so we just stayed home. And I got a cold.

But it's a new year! And it's time to get back to the business of adopting!

Soooooo, we still have paperwork, all of it for our dossier. And we have two more classes to take in person (on the 11th and 15th) and we have to do some online classes too. But that's it. Our goal is to be done by the end of January, or possibly even before. Then we just wait.

And that brings me to what I believe will be our theme this year: Waiting. Once all of this work is done, we will be placed on the waitlist with Gladney. And we wait for our referral. I believe we will be waiting about 6 months. Then we get our referral. Then we wait for our court date. 1 or 2 months. And in this time we will also be waiting through the rainy season (August and September) when the courts in Addis are closed. God willing, we will pass court on the first try. But I don't count on that. So we wait to pass court. For some families this takes months. Once we do pass court (hooray!) we wait 3 to 4 more weeks to travel. Oh Tom Petty, its true; the waiting IS the hardest part.

Patience has never been one of my strongest qualities. But in 2009, I will learn to be patient. I don't have a choice! I am looking at it like this: When we are put on the waitlist, I will consider us pregnant. Ok, so our gestation period will be a little longer than normal, but that will give us more time to save money and, of course, to buy baby stuff! I can't wait to buy baby stuff! Then, hopefully at the end of this year, there will be a baby to go along with all the baby stuff. I can't wait! Oops, I mean I can wait! I will wait! I loooove waiting!

Happy 2009 everybody!