Thursday, May 22, 2008

Home visit a success!!

Today was the day our social worker from Wide Horizons for Children, Jennifer, came to visit us at home and complete the last step in our home study. Things went great!

Jennifer arrived at 1pm and was "officially" greeted by Tyson and Lucy and then we all sat down at the kitchen table for lunch. It's funny - the word on the adoption bulletin boards is that some social workers don't want to eat a snack while at the house but we feel like Jennifer is becoming a part of our family so we served her lunch - it was 1pm after all and you know me and when I get hungry!!!

The home visit was a breeze - a few questions about our town, the schools and children activities and then we gave her a tour of the house and showed her which room(s) we would use for the kids and that was it!!!

We are just waiting on a few more pieces of paperwork (new finger prints for Christine, data clearance check by family services,reference letters and our pre-adoption class) and Application B will be complete! Jennifer is going to be sending us a list of documents to begin pulling together for the Russia dossier and then it's on to our next step!!!

Oh, and for those of you who know Tyson and Lucy - they were unbelievably well behaved while Jennifer was here! Who are these dogs is all we kept asking - Tyson never tried to jump on her and Lucy became bored after awhile and went and took a nap on the couch - again "Who are these dogs?!?!?"

Getting ready for our home visit

Well today was our home visit - more on that in another post. I felt like there was so much to do to get ready - I'm glad I took the entire day off - at first I thought I'd only take a 1/2 day but my boss said to take the whole day - it would be less stress. She was right, so thanks Pat for the suggestion.

Let me tell you a little about my morning (Stephen did go to work for a 1/2 day). I started the day by getting in a workout on the eliptical and then called our town police station to go down and do another round of my finger prints. They said I could come right in so I go all my stuff together and left for the police station. When I got there the office who was going to do my finger prints said we needed to hurry because they were bringing in a "bad guy" and they didn't want to have me come back. We did two sets of finger print cards just to be sure - fingers crossed these go through!!!

The fun part began when I came home and noticed that Lucy had helped herself to the flowers I had sitting on the front steps. Appears that she wanted to help get a jump on planting them so some of the impatients were strewn around our front yard and the plastic containers and tray they were in were in little pieces throughout the front and back yard! She's such a good helper - NOT - so I added to my list of things to do to plant the flowers that were out of there containers and pick up plastic pieces then it was off to vacuum the downstairs.

Good news - everything got done by the time Jennifer arrived at 1pm!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Different Trips to the Same Place

This poem was posted on the adoption bulltin board I belong to through RESOLVE. I thought I'd share it with everyone to give you a sense of how we are preparing for our family. I hope you enjoy it.

Different Trips to the Same Place

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you look forward to be being pampered on the trip.

So you go the the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you, you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait, and wait, and wait.

Flights to Australia come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax, You'll get on a flight soon.: Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!", you say, "Going by boat will take a very long time and costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than by air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined and the beauty is magnified by you long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during the voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible, traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty is not in the way you get there but in the place itself.

Step 2 of homestudy DONE!!

Stephen and I journeyed out to Pittsfield, MA on Friday (5/16/08) to meet with Jennifer, our SW to do the individual portion of our homestudy. We both spent about an 1 1/2 hours with her talking about our "individual" life - what it was like to grow up, describing our family life, how close are we with our siblings, how did we like school, where did we go to college and where have we lived since graduating. It wasn't to bad and the time passed quickly!!! Jennifer comes to our house on Thursday (May 22nd) to spend more time with us and to meet Lucy and Tyson - don't worry we've prepared her for their greeting!!!

We have also finished all our pre adoption reading and on line courses! So that step is out of the way and we are just waiting to attend our pre adoption class on June 24. We tried unsuccessfully 2x to get into a Saturday class in NY but no luck so it will be back to Pittsfield on a Tuesday for us!

Updates on paperwork

Reference Letters: The deadline for these is coming up --- May 23rd. So far we have one in ....THANK YOU Kristin but we know the others are not to far behind so we say THANK YOU to everyone for taking time to write these on our behalf.

Data Clearance Check: We got this form back from Wide Horizon and had to make a few "changes" and resend. This is the form we had to list all of our name alias on and where we have lived for our ENTIRE live! The list was VERY LONG for me ... all those moves since Graduate School and being in Higher education!!! Let's hope we got it right this time!!!

Finger prints: Well, looks like we need to do this again too! Stephen's came back fine but mine had a smudge and needs to be redone. What a pain.... our police station doesn't do the old way with ink and paper..everything has gone electronic so it makes it difficult but to be on the same side we've asked the office to send a couple of forms so we can have them do a few sets to get the best copy!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A few hours with Jack and Christopher

Stephen and I went to Massachusetts this weekend to visit family but our highlight was visiting Jack (7) and Christopher (5)!! For those of you who don't know, Jack and Christopher are the sons of our friends Amy and Brian Josey and the boys were adopted as siblings from Russia through Wide Horizons in 2003. These boys were AWESOME and we had a blast with them.

Just after we got to the house, Brian brought out some photo albums from their Russia trips and Jack and Christopher helped us look through the books and talked with us about the pictures!! It was so wonderful to talk with a family we knew about their trips to Russia and how things went for them. The boys have soooooo much energy and were just a blast to hang out with - we can't wait to visit with the Josey's again. Thanks to Brian and Amy for sharing your memories of Russia with us!!

Stephen commented on the ride back to my sister's how it helped to make tangible what we are doing and knowing that in the end we will have 2 children who come home with us.

Step 1 of homestudy DONE

We have completed the first step in our homestudy - we met as a couple with our SW - Jennifer in the Pittsfield, MA office. It went great!!! We spent 2 hours with her talking about our relationship as a couple, how we came to decide on adoption, did we know what country we'd like to adopt from - (yes, Russia and we'd like siblings :-), did we feel ready to move on from IVF and how did we grieve the IVF process.

We signed up for our pre-adoption class on May 17th and then she gave us some required reading for adopting and we have to take 6 online courses together. Can you believe that people who get pregnant NEVER have to do any of this stuff - it's a little bewildering that if you are lucky enough to have a child the natural way - no one says "hey, are you sure you want to do this, have you given this any thought and what have you talked about as a couple???" It just makes you think!

We will meet with Jennifer again on May 16th for our individual appts and then she comes to our house on May 22nd - I can't believe how quick this process seems to be going- I really thought it would be June before we finished our homestudy!!! Most of our paperwork has been completed and sent back - just waiting on the reference letters from friends and our doctor appointments next week to complete that step and then all paperwork for Application B is FINISHED!!! I think the Dossier for Russia will be more complicated but we'll be ready!!!