So Hard to Decide

make your choice

I thought I had it all figured out. Who I was going to go with for agency #2, but then I got to researching more and now I’m more confused and unsure than I have been so far.

My local agency recommended agencies that they use – WACAP, Wide Horizons, and Holt – specifically for Ethiopia. All except WACAP are currently accepting new applicants. So I figured my decision was made.

I recently joined a yahoo group for Ethiopia adoptive families. I have learned a lot by reading their questions and advice. Things I wouldn’t have thought about  yet. Tips on where to stay when traveling to Ethiopia and what to do to the water in order to be okay drinking it.

I posted a question today asking for feedback on agencies that have an open Ethiopia program and that accept single woman. I asked for people to message me offline and I received a few responses. One suggested the agency they are currently using – Adoption Associates. So I started researching reviews and testimonials, etc. I found nothing that raised any red flags. I filled out a form so I could be emailed a packet of information. I haven’t received it yet though.

I’ve emailed my local case worker to see if she has heard of them or if she has ever worked with them. I just wonder if she will try and convince me to use one of the agencies that they normally deal with. I like to have options.

My goal by end of this weekend – to pick agency #2 and apply

Anyone out there have any agency feedback or other agency suggestions?

Adoption Meeting

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Ok. Where to start. Um. Today was my first adoption meeting with my local case worker. I was nervous – only because I didn’t know what this meeting was going to be about. The only thing I was told was that I would be given a written assessment and some homework to do when I leave. Vague huh?

I arrive to meet my case worker at 12:45 and we went to a private room. A little bit of small talk was made and then she jumped right in with some questions she had based on my autobiography. They were good and thorough questions.

We move to some paperwork that she had to fill out while asking me questions, some other paperwork that she had to read and disclose to me. Honestly, it’s all a blur. I feel like I should have brought a tape recorder with me.

I took a bunch of notes of questions I need to find out from agency #2 and a checklist of what my next steps are.

  1. Finalize my decision on agency #2.
  2. Apply to the agency #2 that I pick.
  3. Order two copies of certified birth (me), marriage (me), and death certificates (Rob).
  4. Get fingerprinted (me and my mom)

She gave me a huge packet of paperwork for my home study. Most of it I can fill out myself or read over and understand. There are online courses I must take and some books I must read. But first, she suggests that I work on the things that are out of my control. They are:

  1. Medical physicals – my mom and I both have to do this. Mom has to because she is currently living with me.
  2. Schedule the health department home inspection.
  3. Schedule the fire marshal home inspection.

They provide two training days. Day 1 is a full day where they go over the adoption process in more details and then because I’m adopting internationally, they will discuss racial and cultural issues. Again, sort of vague, so we’ll see what happens when it happens. My Day 1 training is scheduled for March 1st 2013. Day 2 is a half day of training and won’t happen until after the referral and before I travel to meet her/him. So this one is nothing to think about yet since I have quite a bit of time before this happens. This training will be more specific to my child and how to bond with him/her and how to prepare for bringing him/her home.

Okay, enough of saying him/her. For blog reasons and of course my preference, I’m going to refer to my child as her. My preference is a girl so that’s what I’ll go with until I get my referral. So, him/her = her – for writing reasons.

Back to the training, I have some homework to complete BEFORE the training and some of it scares the cookies out of me. But I’m sure if I take it one thing at a time, it will all be okay.

The home study paperwork consists of things like:

  • Transracial/transcultural awareness plan of action – So I have to jot down five activities that I will do to gain awareness of my child race. I have to really think about this and come up with five things for what I’ll do before placement, when the child is 1-4 yo, 5-11 yo, 12+. Seriously? I have no clue.
  • Transracial/transcultural research homework – This is a more creative way to learn about the culture. They don’t want me to google it and simply write it down, but maybe go to a church affiliated with the country and talk to someone and document what they say. That is just one example. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do for Ethiopia. Maybe a restaurant?
  • Online courses – I have to take these and mark the date I took them, plus print out a certificate to prove I took them. This will be fun.
  • Financial statement – Provide a list of my finances and an average of what they cost.
  • Gynecological exam results – Self explanatory.
  • Medical self report – I answer a ton of questions and then get my doctor to sign off on it.
  • Health Insurance Coverage – This verifies that I carry health insurance.
  • Three references – I have to get three people to write up something about me. One has to be present at a home study. They are sealed up so I can’t read them. Dang!
  • Medical Issues Checklist – This list is for me to go through and check off what I am willing to have in my child and what I’m not comfortable with.
  • Guardian(s) Information – This is a legal document but the country needs to know that if something happens to me, there is someone on file that will be able to take care of the child. Any takers?
  • Home Safety Checklist – Few questions about safety in my house. Should be easy enough.
  • Firearm Safety Checklist – Not an issue.
  • Inspection Checklist – This is great because it will help me prepare the house before the Health Department visits my home.
  • Letter to Birthparents – Self explanatory. This will be hard to do.
  • Parenting Questions – I fill this out.

I know this was a lot to read and I’ll be surprise if anyone actually reads it. But see why I’m overwhelmed? And I didn’t even list out all the documents, just the more critical ones that will require some work.

It’s feeling very real now and I’m really terrified. I’m sure it will pass, but holy hell!

The Ball Has Moved

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ADOPTION UPDATE!

I’ve received paperwork that my mom and I both had to fill out. It is our previous addresses for the past 5 years. This will start the background check. Unfortunately, because my mom is currently living with me, there are some things she will have to go through as well such as, background check, child protective check, finger-printing, and a physical exam.

I sent back the previous addresses and was able to set up a time for my first meeting with my case worker. It was going to be Jan 11th, however she had to reschedule it to Jan 16th. She said to bring agency #2 process outline so they can schedule things along with them. I’ll also have a written assessment and some homework to do.

The ball has been pushed and is slowly rolling now. I can’t wait to get this show on the road!

Autobiography….Done!

Writing-How-to-Write-an-AutobiographyIt has taken me awhile to put together my autobiography for my local adoption agency who will be handling the home study. I just emailed it to my case worker. I believe the next step is they will schedule either an interview with me or schedule a half day of training. I’m unclear at this point which is next and maybe it depends on the training schedule and the availability of my case worker.

I took the suggestions of friends and my blog followers on being completely honest in what I wrote about religion. My intent was never to lie, but I was worried about some of the topics. I’m not worried anymore because honesty and expressing how I feel about something or how I will raise this child still reflects a good home and a loving mother.

The social worker was right when she said by the end of writing this autobiography, people ended up enjoying the newly documented life story of themselves. I feel the same way now that it’s done.

My Life in Words

I’ve started writing my autobiography for the adoption agency. I didn’t get far though. If someone were to ask you to write about your life using a guideline of questions, your first thought might be…oh that will be easy. Well it’s not. Not for me.

Once I sit down in front of the laptop and try to write, it’s amazing how quickly a draw a blank. I look at these questions and can’t figure out what to write. For example, “Based on each place you’ve lived, describe what kind of neighborhood and types of friendships you had in that location or in your school that were rewarding or disappointing” Really??? I don’t remember where I lived five years ago and they want me to remember where I lived when I was five years old and what the neighborhood was like and the kinds of friendships I had?

Should I just summarize the fact that I don’t recall names of friends or what my neighborhood was like if I can’t remember?

I look ahead at the upcoming questions there is a whole section on religion. Great.

When I was younger my mom and I went to church every Sunday. I can’t even remember what age I was when we stopped going, but I haven’t been since. I think part of it was my anger at God for taking Rob away. Sounds stupid and silly I know, but at that time that was a big part of my thoughts. I don’t have that anger today, but I haven’t found my way back to the church. I still have my beliefs and my moral compass is in tack. Does it make me a bad person for not going? Will I be a bad mother because I’ve been out of touch with God and the church?

I feel like by them devoting an entire section to religion that it could be a key factor in this adoption. Since Rob died, I’ve always said that when I do have children I plan on raising them up with beliefs, which involves me taking them to church. I don’t have a problem with that as I want my child to have that experience and knowledge of the Bible. So in my autobiography, should I say exactly that?

Part of me fears that I will put something in this autobiography which will sway them in the wrong direction ending with me not being approved to adopt a child.

Anyone have any experience with that or advice?

Please Sign This…

I just came across a petition on change.org which states the possibility of the Adoption Tax Credit going away in the next year or so. This is terrible news for all of us who are trying to financially figure out how we will afford all the fees that come along with adoption. This tax credit is a bit of relief for all of us…

So please sign the petition HERE. Post to your Facebook wall, email it to friends and family…basically spread the word and let’s make this tax credit permanent.

Leave a comment if you signed so I can be nosey and see who all reads and responds….and SUPPORTS adoption!

Am I Back in School?

In my adoption paperwork is a guideline to use to help me write my autobiography. Really? In the info session they made it seem like it was going to be 1-2 pages but at the top of the page is states 7-10 pages – typed! I wonder if I can use size 16 font and double space…LOL.

So I started tackling the first section FAMILY ORIGINS and at first glance it looks like it will be easy to answer all these questions, but as I stared at the blank screen, I realized this may be harder than I thought.

But it’s okay…

I plan on taking it one question at a time…one section at a time, and just write a bit each day. The agency states that other adoptive parents have enjoyed having this…once it was done. I think they’ll be right, but right now I’m looking at this and thinking to myself, I don’t remember what activities I did when I was 5 years old, or what my neighborhood were like when I was little. But luckily I have my mom to help answer some things while I still make it known that I don’t remember a lot of the details. After all, this autobiography will be used during the Home Study so they have a guide for asking questions. So I can’t add too much if I don’t remember too much of it.

So 7-10 pages; size 12 font; single spaced….am I back in school? Sure feels like it.

The Upside to Paperwork

I received my first batch of paperwork last week, however I am just now getting to it now, or I should say that I am REALLY reading through it now….I skimmed it before. They list some items that are needed (birth certificate, marriage certificate, and Rob’s death certificate). I know I have them somewhere….but the question is – where?

So…to be completely honest, I have never been good about filing paperwork and keeping it all organized. It drives me nuts, so I keep building up these piles until I move the pile into a box or file cabinet. The last year or so I’ve been wanting to scan all paperwork in so I have it electronically. And since I have to find tons of paperwork, I suppose there is no better time than right now to get Project Scan started.

The simple way would be to just order those three items again (which I checked and it would be roughly $90 bucks). Not bad in a normal life’s budget, however with adoption costs always bouncing around in my head, I can’t justify paying for them – if I already have them. So the hunt begins….

So the upside to this adoption process (aside from the end result of having a wonderful and loving child, of course) is that I will be able to finally get my life, my paperwork, and my space organized.

I Did It!!!!

Yesterday, Wednesday Oct 10th, I submitted my agency #1 application along with the payment which officially begins the adoption process. After I got off the phone, I had a wave of all kinds of emotions….excitement, fear, worry, anxiousness…just to name a few. This process, from what I’ve read from other bloggers, can be difficult for two parents so the fact that I am a single parent, makes this all very emotional for just one person. I’m the only one that will be carrying the stress of the entire process…but I know in the end, it will all be worth it. I will have a son or daughter and that is worth all of this times ten.

As I am telling more and more people, everyone has said “why not this, or why not do that”. Trust me when I say that I have researched every option available for me. Being single put many limits on what I can do and where I can adopt from. The Ethiopian program is a great program and there are millions of kids that need a good home. I feel that if I got pregnant through a sperm bank or getting knocked up that I am being selfish. I don’t need to birth a child to be a mother to a child. There are so many children in the world that are looking for a good and loving home. I can provide that. I have also thought about the child when they grow up and the talks we would have if they were from a sperm bank or adopted. Answering those difficult questions and in my mind, explaining why I went to a sperm bank is not a conversation I really want to have. With adoption, since I would be getting a 4-7 year old, they will already have an understanding about that. Maybe I am just all wrong in my thinking but it’s just the way it is.

Anyone who reads this, please pray for me getting through this process with success!

 

My Heart Says Ethiopia

I’ve finally selected the country – Ethiopia!

All weekend there were signs that pointed me in the direction of Ethiopia. It’s almost like the country is calling me there. It’s hard to explain and sounds a bit silly but that is the best way I can describe it. TV that I watched said Ethiopia, my dreams took place in Ethiopia, my mind was always on Ethiopia. So I felt that it was the path I am to take. I also spoke to my social worker and she also compared my options and told me her opinion was for me to go to Ethiopia. Everything I feel has been confirmed that I am on the right path. Now I must have faith in the rest, that God will provide me with what I need to bring my child home one day.

So now comes the fun part…riiiiight. Paperwork and lots of it. I looked at the application and I have some medical paperwork I need to find in order to complete the application. Since my mom is currently living with me, I found out that she will also need to be fingerprinted for the US as well as for USCIS (immigration), get a physical (although not as extensive as mine), driver’s license clearance, child protective clearance for our current state as well as from the state she moved from. I feel terrible having her go through this portion of the process just for it to be removed from the paperwork once she decides to move into her own apartment. But what will happen, will happen.

I have a yard sale ready for Saturday (pray it doesn’t rain) that will help me raise money for the application, which is $400. I’ve even asked for donations from a couple of friends to help out and they are both checking to see what they have  to donate. I am taking another bloggers idea to put a sign in the yard stating that this is for adoption and if they want to donate more, they are welcome to.

I am very blessed to have my friends in my life to have someone to talk to about everything and for them to be my support. I am also blessed that my mom is local during this process and after. She will be a grandma one day and it means the world to me that she will be in his/her life.