March 28, 2007

Phew!

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 11:02 am by Erin

Thank you all for your sympathy and understanding!  Happily, the crisis has been averted.  Maybe Ms. By-the-Book was just having a bad day on Monday, and we exacerbated it, but she’s been fine since then.  She called J back right away yesterday, they met this morning for his individual visit, and she’s willing to come to the house tomorrow even though she normally only does the home visits on Mondays.

It sounds like things are on-track again, thank goodness.

You know what’s holding us up now?  My birth certificate.  I have a certificate that says my birth was registered but it’s not an official birth certificate (as I found out when we went to Jamaica when I was in 7th or 8th grade and they gave me a hard time about coming back into the country).  I sent the form to NY over a month ago and haven’t gotten it yet.  I’m going to have to suck it up and pay for an overnighted copy, and send out the request today.  It’s only $45 but I had figured that a month would be enough time to get it!

Anyway, then we’ll have everything except our taxes done, and J’s doing them this weekend.

My sister’s reference letter for us made me cry.  I’ve pasted it below:

"I can’t express how honored I feel to be able to write this letter of reference for my sister, Erin, and my brother-in-law, J. Having the opportunity to play even a small role in helping them bring home their future child means the world to me.

Simply put, Erin and J are wonderful parents. Since their son, P, was born, they have become the kind of parents that all parents should aspire to be. They are both highly educated, and have shared their love of knowledge and learning P. They teach him not just right from wrong, but also the importance of fairness and morality. They have encouraged P’s budding creativity and athleticism, and frequently get together with other young families in the neighborhood for play dates. Both Erin and J are also making sure that he gets a religious upbringing, getting involved in the local synagogue, taking P to Tot Shabbat services weekly and celebrating holidays as a family. While P has everything he could ever want, they make a very conscious effort to not spoil him. He’s a funny, smart, curious, polite, sweet little guy, and he can’t wait until he gets to meet his new little brother.

The extended family on both sides is very supportive of Erin and J’s decision to adopt another child. While I’ve only met J’s family on a few occasions, I know that J’s parents, are extremely loving and generous, and P is just crazy about them. My parents have been behind Erin and J from the start, and they’re just waiting for the day when they can start doting on their new grandchild the way they do with P. I can say with all confidence that all everyone from the G and M families wants is for Erin, J and P to be able to share their love with a child who needs them.

Erin and J have gone through a lot the past few years with their struggle to conceive. While they’ve experienced a lot of pain and heartache, I know that they’ve never regarded adoption as a last resort. They have so much love to give, and it has never mattered to them whether they give that love to their biological children or to adopted children.

My sister and brother-in-law are wonderful people. Not only are they both extremely smart and ambitious, they’re also just plain fun. We only get to see each other a few times a year—not nearly enough for any of us, but we make up for it in frequent phone calls and e-mails—and when we get together, all we do is laugh.

There’s a child out there who needs a good home. Erin, J and P are a family in need of someone else to share their lives and love. I hope that this letter has given you some insight into the happy, fulfilling life that their future child can expect—a life with incredibly loving parents, a big brother just waiting to teach them all that he knows about being a kid, and an extended family eager to meet their new nephew or grandchild. If there’s anything else that I can provide, or if you’d like to talk further, please feel free to contact me…"

I feel so lucky to have so many supportive and loving people helping us through this process.  Thanks to each and every one of you.

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March 27, 2007

How to piss off your social worker in 2 easy steps

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 11:18 am by Erin

1.  Be sure that you get called, with only a few hours of notice, to be at court an hour after you’re supposed to be having your home visit

2.  Call Ms. By-the-Book immediately and leave a message with her answering service an hour and a half before the home visit

Ummm, why would that piss someone off?  I’m not sure.  Let’s recap:

We were supposed to have our third and final homestudy meeting yesterday, the home visit.  J was to meet with her first and then I would come home after my class and we would look at the house together.  Ms. BtB only does home visits on Mondays, making things very complicated for me–I’m in class or office hours from 9-noon and 1-4:45 on Mondays, and skipping office hours the day before giving a test for 80 students is frowned upon.  But I decided that I’d have to do it, because we’re trying to get done as quickly as possible.

All was planned and well until J called me in a panic at around 10 a.m.  His client’s trial wasn’t supposed to start until Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday, but several cases ahead of his settled unexpectedly and he was expected there at 1 p.m.  A court that is almost 45 minutes away.  (And really he had to be there early to prep his client last-minute.)  Our home visit was supposed to start at noon.  I didn’t have Ms. BtB’s number with me, so J ran home (25 minutes) and got it so he could call her, explain, and cancel, which he did at around 10:30.  I know it was around then because I left for class at 10:40 and didn’t get back to my office until noon. 

When I returned, there was a message saying that she had been 5 minutes from our house when she called in and got the message that J was canceling–she didn’t know why, but we needed to call her ASAP.  When I called her back, she was very pissed-off.  She’d "called her answering service at 11 and there was no message then", there was "no explanation", and "none of J’s numbers were working."  I was apologizing up and down, telling her what happened.  There was just absolute fury.  She said that J was going to have to come to her office for the individual visit and then after that, we can schedule a new home visit.

It wasn’t until after I hung up that I realized why the conversation hadn’t seemed right to me.  First, J did call, as soon as he could.  She had almost as much notice as he did–and he was on a 2-hour call, so they could have required him to be there even earlier (he was lucky to get 3 hours of notice).  I know it was before 11 that he called because I was in class giving a test at 11 and got there 15 minutes early in case there were last-minute questions.  So if she’d called her answering service at 11, there would have been a message from him.  He did explain what happened in the message.  And he did ask her to call his office rather than his cell phone, and left the number.

So, one of two things happened: either her answering service really screwed up and didn’t give her the message or she lied about checking her messages at 11.  J pointed out that answering services make their money by being good and accurate, so that’s unlikely to have been the case.  But why in the world would she lie about something about that?  I mean, if she hadn’t gotten the message until almost noon because that was the first time she’d checked her messages, isn’t that just as valid as saying that the message didn’t come in any earlier?

Regardless, she’s pissed.  J called her yesterday after court (which he lost, and so was doubly unhappy about having this as the result AND not getting paid since it was a contingency case–as he pointed out, he could have not shown up and had the same court result but with more homestudy!) and she hasn’t called back.  Since every other time, she’s called us within an hour or two, he called again this morning to try again.  She hasn’t called back.

I’m scared and worried now.  She holds an awful lot of power in this process.  She could easily say she doesn’t have time to make another home visit for a month or more, then not write up the homestudy for another month after that.  She could write that we’re inconsiderate and thoughtless people.  After the sound of her voice yesterday, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if she’s really vindictive.

I’m not sure whether I should call our homestudy agency (she contracts through them, she’s not an employee) and explain what happened and ask for their advice.  Maybe we should ask to be reassigned to a new social worker?  They said they could do that if we didn’t click with ours, but I’m not sure if we can do it at this point.

I can understand being upset for driving out to our house and having us not able to keep the appointment, but it’s not like we just didn’t show up.  And we did try to give her as much notice as possible–I don’t know what happened with the answering service, but we did try to keep her from making the drive.  It just seemed like her reaction was a little extreme for the situation.

I guess I’ll wait and see if she calls J back and reschedules his visit before doing anything else.  If we haven’t heard from her by tomorrow, though, I’ll probably call the agency and see what to do.

March 22, 2007

Kids say the most manipulative things

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:53 am by Erin

First, please go and give some love and support to Heather.  It’s not an infertilty or adoption thing, but she’s asking for support and, after reading her story, you’ll completely understand why she needs it right now.

As far as mommy-blogging, I promise that I’m not ashamed or afraid of the label.  Trust me, I love being a mommy.  I would share cute P stories with all of you every day if I had time.  I’ve always tried to be very conscious that I started this blog as an infertility blog and that many of my readers are infertile.  And it can be painful to read about children when you’re dealing with infertility. 

I’m also always conscious that anything I write on here is public information.  P would probably be rather embarrassed if he found out someday that I’d told you about his potty-training escapades.  And you would probably rather not read about that part anyway.  But if you really want more mommy stories, I’ll be very happy to share them.

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Bill Cosby has clearly never met my kid.  I’m sure some kids say the darndest things, or the funniest things.  P is extremely amusing–he’s learned to make puns at age 3.  Sometimes just his honesty is as amusing as anything I have ever heard.

After writing my concerns of his behavior, I decided that the next strategy towards dealing with his hitting was to take away a toy.  Not just overnight or for a couple of days, the way we do if he won’t pick something up before bedtime, but for good.  I did it that night when, after he tried to run away rather than go to time-out, he hit me when I picked him up to put him in the corner.  So I told him that I was taking away a toy.  I settled on a stuffed giraffe that he’s been playing with lately.  I took it away and told him he would not get it back–it was going into the basement for good.  He cried a lot, which hurt my heart, but I stood firm.  And lo and behold, it seemed to make an impact since he didn’t hit me when I put him into time-out yesterday afternoon.

Last night, he took out a small plastic giraffe, brought it over to me, and said, in a squeaky little voice, "Where’s my mommy?  I want my mommy to come back."

Let’s just dig that knife in a little deeper, shall we?

March 20, 2007

More like a yield sign than “all ahead”

Posted in The musings of Erin at 2:09 pm by Erin

I knew we were going to hit a wall, but it’s so BORING!  We’ve done all the paperwork that we can do and are waiting on some things that we cannot hurry along.  Our home visit, the last one for our homestudy, is Monday.  The house is getting cleaner by the day and we’ll be in good shape after the weekend (it works out perfectly since J’s parents get here on Tuesday).

P’s been the most challenging of children lately.  Everyone told me that 3 was harder than 2 and I blithely thought that P had been such a joy through his 2’s that 3 couldn’t be that hard.  When am I going to learn that I’m going to eat my words every time I think something like that?  When???  He runs away when he does something wrong and has to go to time-out.  If we pick him up to put him there, he hits us, which then necessitates stricter punishments that seem to have very little effect on future behavior.  He’s getting into fights at school frequently (there are other factors involved there but it’s still not acceptable).  He backtalks all the time.

When he’s happy and behaving, he is the best child in the world.  This morning was great, for example.  He woke up with a big smile on his face and said he’d been dreaming about his little brother coming home.  We read stories and dressed him in his PJ’s for pajama day at his school.  We ate breakfast together and giggled a lot.  When he’s misbehaving, it’s frustrating and upsetting.  I’ve laid down and cried twice in the last week after putting him into extended time-out yet again, because I feel like I’m at my wits’ end and how am I going to deal it if he’s still like this when we bring home a special-needs child? 

*sigh* I know that this isn’t a mommy blog (mostly) but if any of you who have kids have been through this and have any insight, I could use some.

March 15, 2007

Shock and disbelief…with a side of giddiness

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:20 pm by Erin

I’m still stunned.  The car accident?  The hit-and-run?  My amazing, wonderous husband was intelligent enough to get the license plate.  We found them.  We demanded damages in the maximum amount from their insurance company because J was hurt, and he can bill the time he spent at his chiropractor’s at his maximum rate.  It ended up being a lot.

They called today.  They’re sending us a check next week.  For $25,000.

We can afford the adoption now.  We can afford to get the car fixed now.  I’ll be able to open the back door on the driver’s side to put in our youngest son’s carseat.

I cried happy tears when J told me.

March 14, 2007

Adventures in cooking

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:44 am by Erin

I really enjoy cooking.  Not so much baking–my talents there are paltry at best–but in cooking a meal and watching others enjoy it (and enjoying it myself, of course).  Some people won’t consider what I do to be particularly creative since I often follow recipes, but I do.  I try to make two new recipes each week.  Tonight, for example, I’m making chicken with two-olive topping.  It sounded good, so we’ll try it and see.  I have a very wide range of recipes that I make; of course we have our favorites, but J and I like to try new things often.

P will probably eat the chicken and Kalamata olives but will pick out the green olives.  He’s the kid who would be perfectly happy with eggs, chicken nuggets, tacos/burritos, macaroni and cheese, and applesauce for pretty much every meal of the day.  And steak and fish/sushi.  Kid’s got expensive tastes.

My other new recipe this week was for our adoption parenting preparation seminar.  We had to do 10 hours of preparation training.  2 hours came from articles we had to read.  The other 8 came from the seminar that we attended the past two Sundays.  Part of our "homework" for the second one was to bring a dish from your child’s country so that we could all have lunch together.

J and I had just been out for Ethiopian food a couple of days earlier.  Ethiopian food is served communal-style without utensils and on a "tablecloth" of injera, the pancake-like flatbread made of teff (a grain we don’t have here in the US, though I think I can get it).  Rolls of injera are served alongside, and small pieces are torn off to wrap around the food and eat it.  The "tablecloth" can also be eaten. 

Our adoption agency sent out a huge packet of Ethiopia-specific information when we were accepted into the program.  Included in it was a description of how to have a traditional Ethiopian meal and several recipes.  Injera was listed using grains that are available here, and we’ll try that some other time.  Instead, I decided to make Doro Wat, a chicken-stew dish served with hard-boiled eggs in it; it’s quite spicy.  The recipe substituted cayenne pepper, paprika, and black pepper for the ber-beri, a spice that isn’t available in the US.  It was bland.  Didn’t even give the ol’ lips a good tingling.  So I added another 50% of each of the spices.  It tingled a little but nothing else.  But I figured that maybe other people would prefer it less spicy, so we called it good and off we went.  The other couple adopting from Ethiopia brought injera and a spiced-lentil dish, so we had a great sampling of Ethiopian foods.  People really liked the Doro Wat.

Next time, I’m halving the oil and doubling (or more) the spices.  Otherwise, it was very good and easy to make.

There were leftovers and we brought them home.  We’d never exposed P to Ethiopian food before (why, I don’t know), but we thought we’d start with this.  He refused to touch the chicken but I suspect he will eventually.  But the hardboiled eggs in the stew!  Oh, he loves them.  They’re covered with the stew and he calls them his "Ethiofia eggs".  Mind you, he can say EthioPia.  I don’t know why the eggs are EthioFia.

Next week, I’m going to try making injera.  I’m going to see if they have teff at the farmer’s market–it’s the most extensive one I’ve ever seen and there are some native Ethiopian employees there, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they do.  If not, I’ll try it using the ingredients on the recipe that they sent.  The adoption agency listed a cookbook that I’m going to order that has a lot of traditional African recipes.

I really want to be able to make foods that are familiar to our youngest son, because when everything else in his life is changing, it would be nice if he could at least eat familiar foods.  I love a new challenge in the kitchen.  Once we’ve settled in as a family, I want to start having people over in small groups to meet our son and eat Ethiopian foods.  I’m going to enjoy that cooking.

March 13, 2007

Contagion

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 12:51 pm by Erin

First, a good note: I had my individual meeting with Ms. By-the-Book today.  It was pretty short and very standard, which wasn’t much of a surprise.  We scheduled the home visit for Monday the 26th at noon.  J will meet with her individually first, then we’ll meet with her as a couple to discuss any last concerns or questions that she has.  I’m going to be a little rushed, since I have a class that ends at 11:50 and another that starts at 2, but I think I’ll be OK.  She knows I won’t be home until about 12:20 and said that was fine.  Then she just needs to hear from our homestudy agency that we’ve turned in all of our paperwork, and she’ll write it up.

She said she likes to write up homestudies on Mondays and tries to get them done quickly, so hopefully she might do it the next week, on April 2nd?  Maybe?  We’ve got nearly all of our paperwork done except our taxes (and still waiting on my birth certificate), so we should have it all done before the home visit.  Then our agency proofs it, sends it to us for approval (via e-mail, I think), we send them approval and the remainder of the fee, and it’s done.  I have no idea how long it takes them to proof it but, barring something really wrong with it, I’m bringing a check down to them the day we get it for approval.  We could be done with it by mid-April!

Then comes the wait.  I’ve heard that the Atlanta immigration office is really slow for getting I-600A approvals done.  I have no idea how slow "really slow" is, but we’re going to submit to them as soon as we have the homestudy in hand.  Then we’ll wait.  We’ll be preparing our dossier but really, we’ve got many of the parts that we can do in advance already completed and I don’t think there will be much else to do.  So we’ll mostly wait.  We will be requesting a video/list of waiting children, and maybe we’ll meet our child then.  Eep!

I suppose you’re all wondering why I titled this post "Contagion".  Have you ever thought that infertility might be contagious?  I’m starting to think I’m the Typhoid Mary of the infertility world.  I seem to infect everyone with whom I become friends.  We had to list four non-family references on our homestudy application.  Three of them we already knew were infertile, and those three have since become parents to four (hopefully five come this fall–Courtney, you know I’m thinking of you everyday) adorable children.  And all are wonderful and lovely readers of this blog!

The fourth reference were our friends D and Y.  I’ve mentioned them before.  J met D in his bar exam review class almost five years ago, and D and Y got married about 2 years ago.  They’re a really sweet couple.  They’d never tried to prevent, and have been actively TTC for a while now.  J put them down as a reference without actually talking to them, so I badgered him into calling and letting them know.  He finally did and D said they’d be happy to be a reference.  But guess what else J found out?  Y was just diagnosed yesterday with blocked tubes.  She’s devastated.  Their only option is IVF.

I hurt for them.  I was so sure that I’d have to face a glowing pregnancy announcement from them last fall, and was saddened when I didn’t.  And now I’m so upset that they’re going through this. I’m sad that we didn’t know before putting them down as a reference, because I don’t know if it will hurt them to do this.  (To be fair, if J had called them a month ago when we submitted our application, they wouldn’t have yet known.)

I have a student in one of my classes who has three children, ages 12, 9, and 3 (I think).  They’d decided to have another baby about a year ago and began trying.  No fertility issues with getting pregnant or being pregnant with any of their kids.  Since they started trying, she’s had two miscarriages between 8-11 weeks and both after seeing a heartbeat.  The second one was less than a month ago, and she’d told me when she got the positive test (pregnant women are supposed to limit exposure to some of the chemicals we use in lab).  We’ve had several e-mail exchanges about it because naturally, she’s in a lot of pain.  She said she appreciated that I didn’t shy away from discussing it because talking about it was the only thing that helped her feel better, and her husband was trying to pretend it had never happened and didn’t want to talk about it.  I’ve told her about our fertility problems and I think I was able to help her feel less lonely.  But it makes me hurt for her.

I wish this didn’t happen.  I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone.  And I wish that I didn’t seem to pass it on to everyone I meet.

March 11, 2007

The infertile who loved birth control pills

Posted in The musings of Erin at 5:05 pm by Erin

If I wasn’t so sure that we’ll TTC again someday, I would stay on birth control pills until menopause.  I LOVE birth control pills.  I want to marry them and have their babies.  OK, that might be a little impossible but still, I must convey to you how wonderful they are.  I don’t take them with Metformin since they seem to alleviate all of my PCOS symptoms, so that’s the only thing I’m taking.

I’m on the 90-day Seas*nale pill.  I haven’t had a period since the beginning of February.  OK, that in itself is completely unremarkable, since I probably wouldn’t have had one since the beginning of February anyway.  But the really remarkable part is that I’ve only had 1 1/2 migraines since then!  Normally I would have had 3 or 4 in that same amount of time; instead, I’ve only had 1.5 (I count one as half because I took my medicine early enough to make it go away before it really started).  And I can take my medicine without a single thought of "have I ovulated?  Is it safe?"

I have a sex drive again and I can have sex whenever I want!  Or not have it whenever I want!  It’s very liberating.  J’s very appreciative since our love life during 2+ years of secondary infertility had, well, suffered might be the kindest word I can put to it.  Become nonexistent except while ovulating might be more applicable.

I can drink whenever I want.  In the last week, I’ve had a margarita AND a glass of wine.  That’s 2 drinks more than I normally have in a week!  Just call me Erin the fish.  I know, I know.  I’m quite the lush.

I went to donate blood last week.  I haven’t donated blood since November 2001, because we started TTC P before I was eligible to donate again.  Since then, I was either TTC P, pregnant, breastfeeding, or TTC#2 while on medications that were incompatible with donating nearly every time I thought about doing so.  Sure, I could probably have made a greater effort and donated a couple of times, but my cycles were long enough and I worried that the stress of losing a pint of blood would make them even longer.  So when I went to donate blood last week, it was another thing that I can dedicate to being done TTC#2 and being on birth control pills.  As it turns out, I was anemic (which explained quite a lot).  So I’ve been taking my (regular) vitamins faithfully and eating iron-rich foods, and will be going back again this coming Friday.  Because it’s something I can do now.

I thought that I would be sad to go back onto birth control since, even though I wanted to stop TTC child #2 in order to adopt child #2, it would be such a final step to a chapter in our lives.  Instead, it’s opened up so many things.  I can genuinely look forward to the adoption without even a niggling doubt in my mind about "what if it happens this month?"  I don’t focus any part of my day on where I might be and what our chances might be for the month.  Instead, I can focus on the fact that, as of today, the only things we have left to complete for our homestudy are the last two visits, the 2006 tax return (because we haven’t done it yet), a copy of my birth certificate (paperwork requesting it went in two weeks ago, so it should be here soon), and receiving the letters of support from my sister and J’s parents.  We’ve got all the other paperwork done.  I’m so excited that we’re making such progress towards bringing our son home.  And, although I’m very surprised, I’m grateful to be back on birth control pills because it allows me to focus my attention on the adoption rather than on my body.

March 9, 2007

The eagle has landed

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 5:13 pm by Erin

It is official: I am nesting.

Let me confess to you that I hate nesting.  Despite popular beliefs, it is not just something done by mothers-to-be.  That just seems to be when it is most acceptable and/or recognized as nesting.  Unless I am an absolute freak, and that can’t really be ruled out, I have nested repeatedly over the last 10 years or so.  And, as I listen to my half-naked 3-year-old only child running around yelling about his engines, I can say with certainty that I’ve not been pregnant or a mother-to-be for 10 years.  It would be even louder and more chaotic around here if I had.

I seem to go through serious nesting periods about every other year.  Sometimes more often, rarely less often.  I get very ambitious about doing things in my house that have sat undone since the previous nesting.  Yesterday, for example, I bought a good deal of flowers and decorative plants, dug up the entire area around my mailbox, ripped out a half-broken little fence thing, transplanted all of the daffodils, pulled weeds, trimmed underbrush, turned all the soil, mulched, watered, and planted half of the flowers/plants up there.  The other half were planted down near the front steps after similar steps were taken.  It took me two hours to do the whole thing.  I have been meaning to do these things since we moved in.  Three and a half years ago.  Since my last nesting period coincided with painting our family room red (6 coats of paint), our hallway a light coffee color (a measly 2 coats of paint), and making curtains for both areas, that was postponed until this time around.

Yes, I will post pictures.  You will look at them and say "It took her two hours to do that?"  Keep in mind that P, while very interested in being outside, didn’t really help with the planting as much as he said he would.  However, he can now tell pansies from primroses and kale from chard, which are skills that can never be learned too early.

I also brought out the paint to touch up the area at the bottom of the stairs that has fared the worse for all the toys that now come flying down the stairs on a regular basis.  I started composting in earnest, and will be building my compost bin this weekend.  I pestered J into finally getting something done about getting my sheeting to finish my greenhouse.  I have been keeping up with the laundry.  I’ve cooked every night this week, and they’ve been healthy meals with lots of fresh vegetables.  I bought a picture frame to frame the adorable pictures of P that J had done around the holidays, but misplaced until last weekend.  I bought a curtain rod, curtains, and tiebacks for our bedroom.  I bought fabric and a new curtain rod to make P a new curtain.

Today, I was at M*chael’s and had to seriously refrain from buying skeins and piles of yarn to knit a blanket for our new son, despite the fact that I don’t know how to knit and already have skeins and piles of yarn, as well as a half-crocheted blanket that I started years ago and never finished.  I avoided buying the yarn.  I did not avoid buying a pair of knitting needles.  Mind you, the knowledge of how to knit was not magically bestowed upon me with their purchase, so I suppose I should find some directions.  Keep in mind, I also have cross-stitch pillows to finish for babies who were born last year (Christy, I swear A’s is almost done!).  Somehow the allure of a new project is always very appealing when I’m nesting.

I think I would have entered this nesting phase anyway, but the good social worker visit on Wednesday certainly escalated the sense of urgency.  She shall henceforth be known as Ms. By-the-Book because she literally went down the list of questions that our homestudy agency has said would be asked.  At on point, she said "Let’s talk about P."  P, who had been happily playing with the toys in her office, turned and said "I’m right here!"  She loved him.  I have my individual appointment with her on Tuesday afternoon and J will be doing his individual appointment at the home visit, probably the following week.  I can’t believe it’s going so quickly all of a sudden.

After talking with Ms. By-the-Book, we also widened our age range for a referral.  It had been 1-2 years, and now it’s newborn – 30 months.  She suggested making it as wide as possible to hasten a referral and since our only real criteria is that we want him to be at least a year younger than P, it just made sense.

Amanda, you asked about timelines.  I genuinely have no idea.  We’re going to hit a wall shortly when we’ve done all we can and are just waiting on the homestudy writeup, unless she does it very quickly.  We’re going to start on the I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) soon but will still need to wait on the homestudy to submit it, then it depends on how long it takes to percolate through Immigration.  Then we can submit our dossier and begin our wait for a referral.  How long the referral will take is anyone’s guess: we definitely want a boy, our age range is 30 months, and we will accept certain medical conditions.  There could be a little boy waiting for us already because of a medical condition, or it could be months.  Either way, it will probably be 2-4 months after that when we bring him home.

I hope things continue to move quickly.  Right now, with this nesting-thing going on, I feel the need to do everything yesterday!  Since I have very little control over many aspects of the adoption process, this is a bad time to nest.  But at least my son will have a pretty house to come home to.

March 7, 2007

Must not feel overwhelmed

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 6:16 am by Erin

Keep repeating that, Erin, or you may end up running, screaming, through the neighborhood while wearing only your penguin slippers.

We’ve been mired in adoption paperwork and plans lately.  Sunday was the first part of the adoption preparation seminars.  It was a lot of fun–we met another couple who’s adopting a toddler from Ethiopia, as well as a lot of other nice people.  We didn’t take a whole lot away from it since it was mostly geared towards first-time parents.  This was a little ironic, since there was only one first-time parent couple who was there.  The rest of us all had at least one child already, some biologically and some through adoption.  Most of it was about not trying to shoehorn your child into a specific role and being flexible.  Since J and I have always tried to read P’s signals and adjust as needed, we’re already used to being flexible.  I think we’ll get more out of next week, when it focuses on transracial parenting.

We’ve got most of our paperwork close to done for the homestudy. I feel like we’ve really made a lot of progress.  Our first appointment with our social worker is this afternoon.  I’m excited and nervous.  I can’t imagine why we would fail a homestudy, but it still kept me up worrying for part of last night.  Naturally, I’ll update you all.

We’ve also got the next packet of information from our adoption agency, and it includes how to get started on our dossier.  We can’t officially do it until our homestudy is approved, but we can start collecting documents and paperwork now.  J’s got a notary at his office (he can’t notarize his own forms), so that part will be easy and free.  We can get our photos taken and do a lot of the paperwork.  And, since we got our application in early enough, we avoided the $1000 increase in Ethiopia program fees that our agency is implementing!

As another side note, the car accident from last fall may actually end up paying for much of the adoption, rather than ruining it as we’d first feared.  We did find the other driver, and we’ve sued him for actual damages (including J’s injuries–he was looking at me as we got hit on his side, and he had some painful whiplash that necessitated a month of chiropractic care) as well as punitive damages.  Since he left the scene (and a few other things), J’s confident that his insurance company will want to settle quickly.  And since J did a lot of this work when he was first out of law school, I trust that he’s right on this one.  It may end up being most, if not all, of the program fees.  Even if they just say that they’ll pay for actual damages, it’ll be a good bit.  It’s a horrible way to get some of that money, but at least something good has come out of it.

Well, I’m on spring break and, rather than spend the week having no fun at all, I’m keeping P out of daycare today and we’re going to the zoo this morning.  I’d better shower and head out with him!

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