My Life 2013

Wow! What a year 2013 has been – started the year in an Ethiopian adoption process, just to make a turn and go the pregnancy route. Ending it with possible IVF. No wonder I’m exhausted. 🙂

So the year started with me preparing for the home study of my Ethiopian adoption. I had the home study around the end of Feb, just to find out the social worker couldn’t take her focus off of my student loan. Is that all that makes a person, is if they have a hefty student loan or not? Yes, granted my loan amount right now is hanging around 48k and my payment don’t seem to be making a dent in it, the monthly payments for it aren’t that much, so why are we dwelling on this? All my credit cards were paid off, I had roughly 10k in savings – so my only remaining loans were my car (to be paid off in 2014) and my student loan. My house was  great, my job was great, my inspections were great…WTH!

So they make me wait six months.

In the couple of weeks following that heartbreaking news to wait, I thought to myself, I wonder if I can get pregnant? I did some research and found Shady Grove Fertility Center, which gets great remarks and has a wonderful reputation. So I contacted them and set up my initial consult. Then I said let’s do it! They sent me for a ton of tests. Besides me being 38, I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR), which basically means I don’t have many eggs left in my life. Sad to hear but just made me want to jump start this whole process.

I attempted three IUIs – all were unsuccessful. I have a follow-up visit with my doctor on the 17th of this month. I’m sure she will suggest moving to IVF – more expensive; more successful; higher risk of multiples – Ugh!

Besides the baby-making plans, I adopted my first puppy at three months old. Her name is Kona. She is wonderful and I hate to compare dogs to kids, but in a way I think she is preparing me for kids…a little bit anyway. 🙂

My mom still lives with me but the goal is the end of this year she will move out on her own. She has a boyfriend, which is weird. She’s never dated anyone while I’ve been an adult so I’ve had to adjust to things. Still adjusting.

I dated a guy for a few months but that just didn’t work out. He was young and needed to live a different life than what I am working on. Great guy though, just not for me.

I started a new business – Origami Owl – which is an awesome concept and hope that I can elevate the business in 2014.

So for all IVF folks out there, if you have questions that I should add to my list to ask my doctor on the 17th, please let me know, maybe you had questions after the fact that you wish you had asked before-hand. Anything to help me out is greatly appreciated. I feel somewhat alone out here doing this but I have reached out to two people I know who have done IVF to have support and someone to talk to. It can’t hurt to have more, right?

Process on Pause

thumb160x_pausePeople say that adoption has many hurdles and constant changes. They aren’t kidding. I worked so hard to get all my paperwork done before my case worker went out on knee surgery and it still didn’t pay off.

It’s suggested that I put the process on pause for six months. I’d rather not get into the reasons but this week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me.

Sad. Upset. Frustration. Confusion. Defeat. Unworthy. Unfair. The list goes on…

So for the next six months, this blog might be fairly quiet. I’m not sure what I will have to blog about unless it is about my emotional state while I wait.

I’m trying to see this as a good thing but at times it’s hard. At least I wasn’t denied, but instead just paused.

Sunday’s Home Study Visit

houseLet me just preface this with something that is off topic from the title. I originally started this blog to document my adoption journey – the ups and downs and every point in between – however I also ended up blogging about random life things. I’ve decided to break up my posts into more individual blog sites, keeping this one specifically for adoption. I know many of you are probably following me for some of the various posts I posted so if you want to remove yourself from this blog and add yourself to the other blog, that would be fine.

For opinions on movies, TV and books read, follow me here: http://watchedandread.wordpress.com/

For my life’s rants, random posts, and my life in general, follow me here: http://mydandelionlife.wordpress.com/

Keep in mind that both of the above are still in draft format so the themes. URL, title, taglines, etc might change over the course of a few weeks. So be sure to subscribe to the blog to make sure you stay connected.

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So on to the original topic of this post – the home study visit! It was yesterday from 9-12ish. My case worker met with my friend first and then my mom. I stayed downstairs for both of their interviews. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, but only because I didn’t know what she was going to ask them or what she was going to talk to me about.

Once we got to my portion, there was some paperwork I had to correct which was no problem. The main topic of our talks were around finances. Because I’m single I don’t have a double income coming in that will allow for a bigger savings account. All I can do is save what I can, try to make money on the side and hope that nothing in the house breaks. I have the next two years planned out financially for my mom and I and I do believe I will be able to do it. Another option is taking out a loan which I have no problem doing. We discussed all of this in great detail and length. We also discussed extending my mom’s stay so she can help out more and that is always an option.

We discussed the placement agency I’ve chosen to do the adoption through and once we are both in a more relaxed state, she would like to learn more about them so her agency can continue to utilize them.

She loved my house and can visualize my child sitting at the kitchen island on the bar stools doing homework while I make us dinner. It was nice that she could see that. She loved the dog and cat and thought that they were both very friendly pets.

Overall it wasn’t bad. I did feel like I was under an interrogation light in some respects but I did feel like she was just being thorough in her job. I hope that I get approved but don’t see any reasons why I shouldn’t. She could sense my determination in making this all happen so I hope she passes that along in her staff meeting.

Keep your fingers crossed! And if you’re interested in helping me in some way, just let me know.

Wondering when…

approvedI turned in my home study when I had training class – back on March 8th. It really hasn’t been that long since I dropped it off, but it feels like months have gone by. Yesterday I started wondering when the home study visit was going to be scheduled. My case worker said she is going out on March 25th for knee surgery and well, we are approaching that date. I worried that she would schedule the day – a day or two before – which leaves me no time to coordinate with my mom and my friend.  Then I’d feel bad because they would have to rearrange their plans in order to make mine. If it’s possible.

I reviewed my dossier paperwork and I’m not doing too bad. The items I can do that I still need to do are:

  • local police clearances
  • two references (again and already asked those friends)
  • letter from HR verifying that I have health insurance (sent email today)
  • letter to Ethiopia government (working on)
  • copy of passport and social security card (need to get and looking for)
  • email six passport photos to my placement agency case worker (not sure why I need six).

Tasks completed: 14 out of 28

So overall I’m not doing too bad considering once the home study is complete, then I can apply to USCIS (immigration) which takes up to two months. So it looks like I”ll be waiting for them and not the other way around.

I emailed my home study agency case worker this morning and asked her, out of curiosity, about when she thinks the home study visit will take place. She emailed back asking if this Sunday would work, from 9-11 am. Yikes! I wanted it but now that’s it scheduled it makes me nervous. What takes place during this home study visit? What will she ask me? What will she talk to my mom and in-person reference about? I’m sure I’m worrying for nothing, but I always worry about the unknowns. I don’t think that abnormal though. All she told me was that while she is talking with my mom and friend, I’ll be reading through my home study write-up.

 

Home Study Submitted!

officepaperwork600
Yep, it’s submitted. Now I wait and hope I filled out everything and did everything correctly. I handed my case worker most of my paperwork when I went to the full day of adoption training, but I was waiting on one last document – my mom’s test results from her physical, along with the form the doctor has to fill out and sign.

Friday we received those documents and Sunday I scanned them in and emailed them to my case worker.

I’m 100% submitted.

Please pray that all of my paperwork was done correctly. 🙂

 

Adoption Training

ClassroomWhat a week. Monday was the health department inspection, Thursday I sat on a call with other families to hear about our case workers trip to Ethiopia, Thursday evening I had the fire marshal inspect my house and I passed, and Friday was a full day of adoption training.

At first I was really dreading the training day, thinking that this could be a waste of time. But now that I’ve gone through it, I wouldn’t say it was a waste. The morning talked about the adoption process. Most of it I knew but it was good to get it again. The afternoon was to discuss race. Since we will all be a transracial family, they want us to know the different situations that could arise.

Honestly, it did make me think, but in a good way. It made me more aware of what the child may be faced with and what types of questions they could be asked because will be a mixed race family.

During lunch we had to give our research presentations and my case worker had me go first so she could leave the training for the day. I gave my presentation on the wonderful experience that my mom and I had with the coffee ceremony. Both case workers were amazed and giddy – just like I was before and during that day. I passed out handouts to show pictures from the ceremony and on the back I provided the websites to the Blessed Coffee and Ethiopian Festival. They mentioned that both will go on the newsletter. They have never had a presentation like mine and were so excited for me. The others in the training group didn’t want to follow me after that…LOL.

I also turned in my Home Study paperwork (minus one item that we are waiting on for my mom). So I can almost say the Home Study is done.

My next steps are to work on the dossier paperwork…

 

Home is Healthy

choosing-perfect-family-house (1)

Health department came this morning to inspect my home and deem it healthy enough to adopt a child. The house passed – perfectly!

I stressed for no reason but in my defense, it is scary to have some stranger come into your house to determine if you live in a pig pen or you actually clean, not knowing exactly what he or she will be looking at.

The things she looked at are:

  • Fridge/freezer temperatures
  • Under the kitchen sink
  • The future child’s room
  • The bathroom tub
  • Tested the hot water temperature at the sink
  • Check the laundry room for flooding

Only thing that I didn’t have for the inspection was Molly’s rabies vaccination certificate. But have no fear, I can email it to her tomorrow (after the vet appointment) and she will then email the report to my case worker.

Check!

Well maybe half a check!

Last Weekend to Prep

HealthDepartment
I noticed the check I sent in with the health department application was finally cashed yesterday. I received a call this morning from an inspector scheduling the inspection for this Monday. I think I’m ready, but still want to go through the house and make sure everything is good to go.

I’m a bit nervous about this since I don’t know what to expect. Has any had a health department inspection and how did yours go?

Next, she will schedule the fire marshal’s inspection.

 

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

My first day of training is March 1st, 2013. During lunch at this training event, we all have to go around and present our research project. This project is research but more of a hands on research. We are allowed to use the Internet for the initial research but must discover a real experience to go along with it.

In all my Internet research about Ethiopian culture, one stood out for me. Coffee Ceremony. I entered some keywords in Google and at the top of the results page was a link for Blessed Coffee (pronounced bles-sed). I said, “oh how cool, an Ethiopian cafe”. Yeah, not so much. I sent an email to Blessed Coffee to verify that they were not a cafe and to see where I could buy their coffee. Thinking this was a long shot, figuring I probably wouldn’t get a response – but I did.

The founder of Blessed Coffee actually responded. He sent a link to a few places to buy the coffee. One of them is a co-op market that was by a membership, but after asking Tebabu, the founder, if the membership was required, he said that it wasn’t.

I then asked him if he could help me with something. I explained that I am a single woman adopting from Ethiopia and part of my assignment was to learn something about their culture. I also explained that I was intrigued by their coffee ceremony and I’m interested in including that in my new life as a family tradition.

To my amazement, he emailed me back and invited me to his house where him and his wife would give me a traditional coffee ceremony. How awesome is that?

The ceremony in a nutshell is a community social event comprised of three rounds of coffee, with the last round being the “blessed” coffee.

To learn more about the coffee ceremony, click HERE.

My mom was excited and wanted to go with me. It makes me so happy that she is here to walk this entire journey with me.

We arrived at Tebabu’s house this past Saturday at 11am. They were still setting up but it was great to see it from beginning to end. Tebabu was great explaining the difference between coffee and why the ceremony is such a wonderful way to create community. His wife was equally amazing as she explained each step of the ceremony as she was going through it.

I asked if I could take pictures and they of course welcomed it. I took one at each step so you can get a better visual of what I am talking about. We also got a group photo or two at the end before we left.

Ceremony setup  Burning frankincense   My mom sitting across from me

Coffee beans before they are roasted      Tebabu and Sara     Roasting the coffee beans

Removing beans that burned or didn't roast enough  Brewing the coffee   Pouring first round of coffee

Me, Sara, Tebabu, Linda   Me, Sara, Family Friend, Linda

Not done yet.

Tebabu and his wife are also the founders of the Ethiopian Festival that occurs in July. The festival is two years old so this year will be the third year. Tebabu puts together a festival booklet and he asked me if I would write an article sharing with the Ethiopian community, my physical and spiritual journey of adoption. Wow is right! They also invited us and our friends and family and I’m very excited to participate. I believe he said either this year or next he hopes to have a special area of the program for adoptive parents and their children.

I hit the jackpot!

To top off this wonderful experience, he offered his family as our extended family. A friend of his family stopped by (not sure I know how to spell his name) and he also extended himself as a resource for when I bring my child home. They all said that if I have any questions about culture or whatever, they would be more than happy to help me.

At the end of the ceremony, Tebabu suggested we go around and say something to end our conversation. I can’t even put into words everything they said, but everyone make my eyes moist and my heart swell.

I have made a lifetime of new friendships as well as a new branch in my family tree. I can’t wait to see what the future brings me.

Decision Made

decision-making
Yep, that’s right, I made the decision on the placement agency (agency #2). So now I get to wait and see if I’m accepted. So stay tuned for a lengthier blog when that happens!

But really…why wouldn’t I be?

I’m really hoping I am accepted with this agency as I’ve heard some really great things and they have some nice perks that the other one didn’t have – well I didn’t ask – but in my defense, it wasn’t standing out on their website like this other agency had.

The reasons I love this agency, well, I can’t really tell you right now. Not until I have a final answer on being accepted. Let’s just say it makes me very excited and very scared, all wrapped up in one.

I’m so thankful to be on this journey and I pray that I can find my way through the financial hurdles that are up ahead.