Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Call of the Day

I never thought I would feel giddy when getting a call from the Sherriff's Department!

Today I had to go to the Sherriff's department and ask them to write up a letter on behalf of Ryan and myself stating that we didn't have a record in our county and there were no outstanding charges against us.  I had to have him copy our licenses and wait for them to call after they typed the letters and had them notarized.

He called me to come pick up the letters on the same day!!  He didn't make me sit and stew and wait for a week!! Do you know how good it feels to cross just one more thing off of my list?  Thank you Sherriff's Department!!

Now to tackle the 40 other items on the list!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ready... Set... Go!!!

We submitted our preliminary application and found out the same night that we were accepted into the Uganda Guardianship program!  That was a super fast turn around! 

The agency sent me a lot of paperwork over email to fill in and have notarized so I started working on that and it will be sent out today!  I'm pretty proud of myself for only taking two days to get things done!  It would have been done yesterday, but Ryan was out of town.

Now that we have been accepted, the next step is..... more paperwork!  I have partnered with an agency to just do our home study since our placing agency is out of state.  I have filled in the paperwork they sent me as well and hopefully we will be assigned a case worker sooner rather then later.  Once our caseworker is assigned we will have meetings and she will take close to eight weeks to write her report.  I am crossing my fingers that it is sooner since we have had two home studies done in the past (one for our first adoption and one for foster care) so all of the background information and community information is already in there which will require less work on the social worker's part.

My placing agency seems pretty proactive and sent me a two page list of things I have to include in the dossier, which is the packet of paperwork that is sent to Uganda.  Things like referrals, marriage licenses, birth certificates, financial statements, passport copies, background checks, and employment letters are included on that list and that isn't even touching the surface of it all! 

Last night as I looked things over and began to read about people's suggestions in how to prepare for what's to come I began to feel a bit overwhelmed.  I had not forgotten that the paperwork was daunting, but I think you forget the other feelings that come along with it.  The feelings I remember are the ones associated with the good things.  They all out weighed anything negative.  I remember the sheer relief of getting our PGN appointment date and knowing it wouldn't be long before she was ours forever. Each time I remember the first time I saw her and the feeling I had I have to hold in the tears.  It was pure joy!  There is nothing like it.  Other adoptive parents may understand what I mean.

So I will try to hold on to the memory of the joy and remember that all will come together in the time it is supposed to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just the Beginning..

I know some may think we are crazy.
They would be right.
We are at a point in our family life that things are feeling pretty easy peasy. 

We have three great children who are older and able to do things on their own.  They sleep all night.  They can make their own lunch for school.  We can sleep in on rare Saturdays and they can entertain themselves.  We even have one who is old enough to babysit!

So why rock the boat?

Because that is what we are supposed to do. 

We are meant to add more children to our family so we are adopting again!  We are beyond excited, but we are also trying to keep it in check.  This is just the start of a long and sometimes frustrating road.  We've been down a similar path with adopting from Guatemala so we are well aware that we need to keep an open mind and be ready to give a lot of control over to strangers half way around the world.  We know that the stack of paperwork will be the equivalent to a forest of trees.  But we also know that at the end of it all, the bumps and bruises of the journey will be long forgotten and the only thing we will be focused on will be our arms around our child!

We are just at the very beginning.  Today I filled in a preliminary application and sent it in to the agency we chose to facilitate our adoption.  It takes a minute to get to even this very beginning step. 

Here is what you need to do if you are thinking about adoption:
Ask yourself questions:
  • Why do I want to adopt
  • What age range would I prefer
  • What gender
  • What ethnicities am I open to
  • What medical needs am I open to
The answers to these questions may tell you if you would be better matched to chose International or Domestic Adoption.  If you find yourself thinking International you will have to start looking at countries and look at their requirements.  For example, we would not qualify to adopt from Nepal because we already have more then one child in our home.  We would qualify for China, but someone with a BMI of over 40 would not.  Once you decide on a country or domestic adoption then you have to decide on an agency.

There are many, many, many agencies out there.  The key to picking one is to start researching and ask questions.  Stalk facebook pages, look up reviews, call agencies and speak with them, ask for references and contact them all, join adoption forum groups.  Not one agency will fit all people.  When you find the right agency for you, you will know.  You are going to be relying on these people for a long time for something very precious so make sure you like them!

Once you find that agency the paperwork begins!  You will be required to fill in a preliminary application.  Our recent application was 7 pages long.  With that application you will also send in a payment to show you mean business.  Once you hit this step you are ready to MOVE, but things don't move.  They take time....

I'll tell you more when we take the next step!

We are Expecting!!

Our fourth child is waiting in Uganda, Africa!

We are so excited to announce that we will be adopting again!  This time our daughter will come from Uganda.  Her future siblings are thrilled!  Lola is ready to wear matching outfits and Jackson is ready to switch rooms!  Tyce is a little bummed not to have a younger boy to beat up on, but I'm sure he will figure something out....

I'm sure you have some questions so here is our FAQ section:

  • What???!!!
    • see above
  • You're crazy!
    • Not really a questions, but yup that about sums it up! :)
  • Why Uganda?
    • Uganda has roughly 2.4 million orphans.  AIDS and poverty has taken its toll on the population.  There is a huge need for these children to have forever homes.  The wait time for a referral is relatively short when looking at International adoption, the country is beautiful, the timeline to complete everything is less then most countries, and you do not have to live in the country for months on end.
  • Why don't you adopt from Guatemala again?
    • Guatemala adoptions remain closed to outside countries.  In fact, we were lucky to get Lola home when we did!  Adoptions shut down very soon after she was home!
  • Are you adopting a baby?
    • No.  I am too old for a baby!  Our youngest is 7 so we have requested that our child be 3-6 years old at the time of referral.  We want to stick with the same birth order which is why we are not going older then 6.
  • Boy or Girl?
    • We are requesting a girl.  It makes sense with the children we have and through fostering so many children we have found that a girl works best in our household.
  • Aren't you scared to adopt an older child?
    • I'm scared of what our life would be missing if we didn't adopt an older child.  After having foster kids, we have seen a lot and we know what we can handle and what we would prefer not to handle.  We filled in forms about what we were willing to accept much differently this time around as compared to the first time we adopted!
  • How long will it take?
    • I have asked so many different agencies this question so many times and there is never a concrete answer.  We are hoping the total process from start (sending in our initial application) to finish (bringing our daughter home) will be 12 months.  Of course I am hoping and praying for sooner, but I'm trying to prepare myself for that timeframe.  With Lola it took 11 months from start to finish.  If we were adopting from Ethiopia it would take about 2 1/2 years.  If we were adopting from Vietnam it would be closer to 3 years.  Other countries could be closer to four years.  This all depends on how flexible you are in accepting a child.  If you want a healthy infant, the wait is longer then for a teenager.
  • How much does it cost?
    • That is the wrong question.  The question should be how much richer will our life be with a new child in it and that answer is Priceless!  The fees we pay are legal and travel fees to facilitate the process.  We are not buying a child.
  • When will you know who she is?
    • If there is a child that would fit our family we may know sooner rather then later.  We will have to do what is a called a Home Study.  This will be our third one!  We had one done when we adopted Lola and then another one done when we became licensed to do foster care.  A home study is an intensive look into your life.  It is a very long report that tells someone from the outside all about you and life around you.  It can take about two months to complete.  It could be at that time that we are referred to a child or it could be after we complete the paperwork for the dossier.  The dossier is more paperwork that the country requires in order to adopt.  Believe me, when we know, we will let people know!
If you have more questions please let me know!  I love adoption and would be happy to share!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Guess What!???

Can you guess what this means??

The "Itch"

How many of you out there have ever felt the "itch"? 
There really is only one way to cure it.  Unfortunately it is a way bigger commitment then just going to buy some cream for a normal itch.  The "itch" I am talking about is the itch to add more children to your family!  I found the blog below which I wrote back in 2013 but never published.  Funny how after so much time the "itch" still hasn't gone away!!

I am a huge researcher and love to make lists so when I asked myself if we were done adding kids I went to the books and the computer to find an answer.  Yes, I have looked at all of the lists online stating how you know you are done having children.  Most of them are compiled of reasons that would cause me to say "Yes!  I am done with babies!":
  1. You are done changing diapers
  2. You value your sleep and can't do without it
  3. You got rid of all of your baby stuff
  4. You don't want to be pregnant again
  5. You just know you are done
But that list doesn't really apply to what I had in mind in how to expand our family.

After we had Jackson people always asked when we were going to have more kids.  After awhile that became the most hurtful question anyone could ask me and thankfully people stopped asking.  Infertility is not fun. 

There is a happy ending in that we adopted the perfect child and then had a surprise miracle child to top it all off!  Funny how after we had Tyce people never asked when or if we are going to have more children.  I think it is because people automatically assume that pregnancy is the way to build a family so they didn't dare ask. (and to be fair, I kind of had my hands full with two little ones 12 months apart!)

Four years ago when the little ones were 1 and 2 years old we were talking very seriously about adopting again.  You see for us getting pregnant again really wasn't the way we wanted to go to expand our family.  Conceiving and pregnancy is a scary thing for the both of us and we didn't want to go through that again. But more then that, there are so many ways to grow your family and adoption has been such a blessing for us that there was no question about wanting to do it again.

I did all of the research with agencies and countries and signed up for all of the newsletters.  I talked with other parents who had adopted from my country of choice since Guatemala had shut down their doors to international adoption.  I was all set to go and then 2008 happened.  What a mess!  Unfortunately, adopting takes some money and international adoption takes even more!

We decided to sit on it and wait.  That is when refugee foster care came into play.  We began to expand our family through foster care.  It was a huge blessing and we have loved every minute, but each time a child moves on it is difficult and selfishly I want to keep most of the kids that pass through our doors!  So the question of how do we know if our family is complete comes to mind yet again!

I wish there was a list or a how to or book or something that I could refer to that would point me in the right direction!  My most often "go to" doesn't always answer my questions in my expected time frame or maybe God is answering my questions and I just need to listen harder!