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.

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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. ┬áThen 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. ­čÖé

 

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!

Conflicted Options

In January 2010 I lost my job at a really great company despite the fact that the team I was on was not what I consider a team at all. I was devastated and angry, scared and upset – wondering how I was going to survive on unemployment that barely covered bills and left me little for food, gas, etc.

After nine unsuccessful interviews, I went for my tenth interview and thought this would be the perfect place to work however it was a contract to perm position. I was offered the job and started in August. Yay for me! This was a new position for this team so it was a trial with the anticipation of the position becoming permanent by the end of 2010 – so they said.

It’s been over two years and I’m still a contractor. The pay is great, but lacks benefits such as vacation or sick time, no matching 401k, no bonuses – basically I get paid for hours I work and that’s it. I’ve been fighting each year to become permanent and I really thought this would be the year. The department I’m part of moved under a new, and much better, department so the hopes were┬ádefinitely┬áthere for making this happen.

Between talks with my new director and my boss, I REALLY thought it would happen. I felt good about things for once. Last week my bubble was popped when the bad news that my position becoming permanent wasn’t going to happen this year. After today’s meeting, it was realized that there was a huge misunderstanding so the three of us all were able to get on the same page.

I have options now.

Left Hand | Take the pay cut

  • company benefits (vacation, sick, bonuses, etc)
  • annual raises
  • room for growth in skills
  • can’t save for adoption
  • feel happy and sad

Right Hand | Remain a contractor

  • no benefits
  • higher salary
  • no raises
  • room for growth in skills
  • can save for adoption
  • feel happy and sad

I feel sad and happy…conflicted.

And scared that adoption won’t happen or could be delayed.

What to do.

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?

Supplemental Income

I’ve been trying to find ways to come up with the adoption money without going into major debt. I haven’t told everyone on Facebook yet and only my mom knows from the family. I’m hoping and praying that someone…and I mean someone uses one of my ways of donating, whether it is buying some of my Etsy items or just using Paypal or GoFundMe to place a donation.

The first chunk of money needed to begin the home study is hefty $5300. That includes the home study and three post-placement meetings, plus paperwork processing fees. But I don’t have that lying around either. Luckily I have a couple months or maybe even a few months to get that money.

So let’s talk about the first part-time job that I have. Over a year ago a friend of mine I met at my previous job, met with me to discuss becoming a business partner with him and his company. His company is only a few years old and thought it would be a great idea. I signed the paperwork and was immediately the one woman department for eLearning. My role is to develop online training based on the customers needs. In the last year, no contracts came in because of an employee in his company not doing her job in finding us contracts….so the GREAT news is, last week he told me that he got a contract for some onsite training as well as online training. Yay! Looking at the curriculum there could be about 28 online courses for me to develop. So I am really hoping to get this going to bring in some extra money. It will be nice to see the adoption bank account increase. ­čÖé

Now on to the second part-time job. A couple of weeks ago I attended DogFest and met two ladies who work with a wonderful and award winning dog walking company. My friend and I both got to talking to them and somehow in the conversation they brought up they are looking for part-time help. My eyes lit up so I inquired. I received the application, filled it out, and returned it. So last night I had my phone interview and it turned out to be a great conversation and she explained in details some of the more popular services. For example, overnights are really popular! That shocked me because I guess I can’t imagine a stranger staying in my guess room for a week while I am on vacation. But apparently people do it.┬á She explained the pay system and the fact that if I don’t feel comfortable with the client for whatever reason, I can turn down the job. So after we talked and everything sounded great, she told me to sleep on it and let her know in a day or two.

I’m wondering though, can I handle a full-time job and two part-time jobs? I worry about part-time job #1 going full force and not having time to do the dog walking, or vice-versa. But then again, if I don’t try, I might not know if I can do it or not and I wouldn’t be bringing in any extra money. I might decide to not do part-time job #2 and then end up waiting months before actually getting any work from part-time job #1.

I’m ready to sacrifice my time in order to get some extra money, but I also have to keep in mind I am a one person house and I don’t want to neglect my own dog and her needs. My mom is currently living with me and can at least let her out so she can do her business but my mom can’t do the dog training with her. We are currently in a Rally I class that requires a good chunk of time training. If I knew that part-time job one was going to come through, I probably wouldn’t consider the dog walking or at least not do the overnights and just do the dog walking service.

Too many decisions….oh sigh.

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┬á 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.