Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Home Visit, Check!

Done!  One more (major) thing to check off the list.  The home visit was everything we expected: stressful, long and somewhat (well, very) invasive.  However, the social worker is clearly completely on our side, is acting as our advocate, and feels that she can support our decision to be adoptive parents wholeheartedly.  At the end she said that she has no reservations or concerns moving forward, not that we were particularly concerned, but still----phew!.  Our homestudy, which is soon to be a legal document and used to apply for immigration (the last step before being added to The List), should be ready in the next 8 weeks.  In the meantime, we are going to work on our dossier and enjoy the holiday season.  We have felt very under the gun to get stuff done and out, so it's kind of nice to know that we can't move anything along any faster right now.  So we will do little things here and there, and get the dossier done, done, done. 
We have a full-day class this weekend on adopting a baby and a Kwanzaa party at the agency the following Friday.  Hopefully we will continue to meet other adoptive families and learn more about the process. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mi casa es su casa....

Oh, the anxiety!! Our homestudy is tomorrow, and, of course, I am completely freaked out about it.  Cory is far more zen-like in his approach so at least one of us is calm(ish).  I, however, have decided that something is going to go terribly wrong--this whole experience has been pretty smooth, so the other shoe has to drop at some point, right?  And for some reason I have convinced myself that the problem is Maggie, our 11-year-old furbaby.  She is known as the Photoshopped Dog (my sister's nickname), as she has a spaniel face, a lab body and toothpick legs, with large ballbearing google eyes that generally point in opposite directions.  She’s a beaut, let me tell you.  As she is regularly beaten up by our cats I don't know why I am convinced that she is going to leap into action, Cujo-style, and disembowel the social worker, but there you have it.  If you haven't met Maggie yet, here is a picture: 

She had a long day of hiking and digging trenches in our campground, and was tired and cold.  This picture just screams fatherly love, doesn't it?  Someone get this man a baby, and make it snappy!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

So our home visit is officially canceled.  It is actually beautiful outside, but around 20 degrees with several inches of snow on the ground.  We are rescheduled for next Tuesday morning.  Argh. 
On the plus side, we are both home and safe right now.  The roads are very, very dangerous, and many people who went to work yesterday were stuck for 10+ hours on the freeways.  Yikes! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is frightful....

It's snowing here.....a lot. 

Will the home visit be canceled?  Probably, but we are holding out hope that the ice on the roads will magically vanish before tomorrow.  In the event we are on for the visit, I made some chocolate chip pumpkin bread this morning (yes, I had an official Snow Day!  Can't complain about that!).


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Challenge For You, Dear Friends

I challenge any of you to have a house cleaner than ours is right now, pre-home visit.  Seriously, this place is absolutely spotless and pet-fur-free, and that is no easy feat!  Our wonderful, amazing cousins (and, of course, good friends) braved the snow (yes, snow) to help with the cleaning efforts, so we were done lickety-split.  So here's a shout-out to them--thanks again, guys!!  We couldn't have done it without yout! 

Cory also steam cleaned our disgusting carpets so they are (sort of) white again without obvious cat-barf stains, and everyone got baths.  Poor Maggie...

And, of course, she needed a blow-dry, although she kept trying to eat the air out of the hose....

To prepare for the home visit, we were told to relax (yeah, right), not clean in excess (again, yeah right) and make the place "homey".  So here's a question--is this too kissy-kissy?

Yes, the title is "E for Ethiopia"--a wonderful kids' book--just laying, you know, just casually laying out on the nightstand in the future nursery.  Too much?  We can't decide.  Not that we're overthinking things or anything.  :-)

In other news, this week we attended a class called "A Sort of Life", which gives an overview of a child's life in an orphanage.  The title itself made me pretty sad, and the class was very insightful into the challenges of life inside an instituton. One interesting fact--for every three months of life in an orphanage, a child loses one month of development across the board.  Yikes.  The class leader has adopted four children at all ages and from different cultural backgrounds, and has a tremendous amount of insight into this issue.   We are loving the classes for their excellent information, and also for the opportunity to meet other adoptive families. 

Yesterday, we checked another huge task off of our list.  As Ethiopia does not recognize American notaries, we need to have certain documents authenticated by the Secretary of State.  So yesterday, we finally received all of the pertinent documents, and finished writing ones we need to submit, had them notarized, and put them into the mail to the Secs of State for Washington, Montana (Cory birth certificate) and California (my birth certificate).  It's scary to let these documents out of our sight, as they are originals and a huge pain to get hold of, so hopefully things will go along smoothly and we will get them back in the next couple of weeks.  Phew!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Conspicuous Family

In the distant, murky future, when this adoption rollercoaster is complete, we will be a very conspicuous family.  This weekend we took part in a webinar that outlined strategies for handling some of the difficulties in having an obvious transracial adoption as part of our family.  The class gave specific examples of the most common questions and comments, including:
*Why was he given up for adoption?
*What happened to his real parents?
*Are you his real mom/dad?
*Does it feel good to have saved this child?
*How much did he cost?

and, our personal favorite (drum roll, please):

*Couldn't you get a white baby?


Now, we are certainly learning to steel ourselves for curious looks and innocent-ish comments, but some of these questions seem pretty unreal.  I truly can't imagine anyone asking the last question, but it was included in the webinar for a reason.  The class gave strong strategies for dealing with each question, using humor, information or conversation-ending comments, and when to use each.  The old Miss Manners question "Why do you ask?" was their fallback response in the event of surprising or extra-rude questions.  It was definitely food for thought, and something we will be discussing for years to come.  We have been told by adoptive parents that havng time to practice our answers before our child is completely aware of the situation is invaluable, which is comforting. 

Tuesday we take a class on attachment, which is also a crucial area for any adoptive parents.  Looking forward to that one, too!

And, of course, all the cleaning...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Is Where the Cat Fur Is

Our home visit is scheduled!!  Tuesday, November 23rd is the big, scary day--whut whut!  Let the cleaning begin.  We really don't know what to do to prepare, other than "make things homey"--whatever that means! 

This weekend we are taking a class called "The Conspicuous Family", which should be pretty interesting stuff.  Next week we have a one-night class on attachment issues for adoptive children, which is an area we feel the least prepared for, so the earlier we can start getting information, the better.  Then the home visit--whew!--a lot of heavy adoption events in a short period of time, but hey, that's just how we roll. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WACAP Weekend

Yesterday and today we attended WACAP Weekend, which is a required training through our adoption agency.  The first day was mostly nuts and bolts adoption info, such as where the orphanage is in Addis, how the referral process works and health concerns for adopted children.  The second day was all about adopting older children.  While we are interested in adopting a younger child, we figured that knowledge is power so it couldn't hurt to take part.  It was an excellent class, and we learned a ton.  The most important part of the weekend for us, however, was connecting with other adoptive parents, many of whom are adopting from Ethiopia. We also met our homestudy social worker; hopefully we will get the home visit date scheduled soon so we can begin deep cleaning every  inch of the condo :-)  Overall, we were very, very impressed by the knowledge and insight of the WACAP staff, which was encouraging for our future adoption roller coaster.  We have another training next week (on attachment issues), and later in the month, a webinar on "The Conspicuous Family" and a full-day program on adopting young children and babies.  This training makes the process somehow more real, and we are looking forward to every opportunity to connect with WACAP staff and other adoptive parents.