Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things at stake

When you're adopting, everything in life seems magnified.  Everything.  Maybe I'm just an anxiety-ridden crazywoman, but every little thing that goes wrong (or can go wrong) is met in my increasingly insane mind with "What will this do to the adoption?".  Some folks at Cory's work got laid off--what will this do to the adoption?  Will his employer fill out a form saying that he has long-term prospects when half the work force is gone?  A snowstorm hits Seattle--what will this do to the adoption?  Will the social worker not approve of the salt used on the sidewalk, or think the ice on the trees is a hazard, or will our power go out and make our condo seem a dank, dark and lonely place? So yeah, I'm a nut.

Saturday morning was crazymaking in the extreme.  Cory had his physical last week, and the China program requires a pretty extensive workup.  So we were just hanging out, drinking some joe and enjoying the beautiful snowy scenery from inside our warm little home, and the doctor called.  And told us that he needed to see Cory soon to go over his labs. 

No, it couldn't be done over the phone. 

It had to be in person. 

And the soonest appointment was Wednesday at 5.


We had no idea what to think.  Cory called back and just laid it out--we are stressed and very worried--and just exactly how worried should we be?  An in-person appointment can only mean something bad, right?  A complete metabolic panel is a lot of tests.  It could be anything.  But it's gotta be bad, right?  All they would tell him is that they needed to see him in person. 

That's gotta mean something bad, really bad, right?

In the end, no, it doesn't mean that at all.  As it turns out (oh, how I wish I had known this over the last 3 days!) if you have an HIV test, as required by the China program, medical offices are legally required to give those results to you in person, negative or positive.  They cannot call you with results.  They can't even mail them.  Maybe this is just in the state of Washington, but that's what was explained to us.  As our paperwork for China was completed and notarized today, they canceled his appointment and said that as long as he picked the results up in person when he was picking up the adoption paperwork, they would count that as an in-person appointment.

Maybe tonight we will sleep.  And maybe I won't have recurring dreams that Cory is lost and I can't find him.

Getting a call like that is really, really scary.  Super, duper terrifying. 

The interesting thing to me is that right after the call came in, Cory turned to me and said, "What will this do to the adoption?"  Not "What is wrong?" or "Is it serious?" or "I'm so worried" but again, the ever-present worry in the back of our minds at all times--what will this do to the adoption? Years and years of working toward the goal of a family will do that to you, I guess.  It feels like every single little thing can potentially derail our dreams; maybe they've been derailed so many times we don't know any different.  I look forward to the day when a snowstorm is just a snowstorm. The day when a layoff is scary but won't mean we will never have children (how can those two things even possibly equate each other?).  When we aren't, in essence, asking (begging?) others (employers, doctors, social workers) for permission to build our family.

Relief, sweet relief.  But tomorrow will bring something else (hopefully not as dramatic!!) that will have us asking the ever-present question:  what will this do to the adoption? 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Call it what you will, this insane weather in The Emerald City:


With the ice, spin-outs and fallen trees comes the wonderful, amazing

snow day!!

In anticipation of some cozy nights in front of the fire, I decided to learn some new Chinese dishes, specifically fried rice and gyoza, and they turned out pretty well.  For the gyoza, I just followed the instructions on the package, using both a pork and a veggie mixture, and they were excellent.  I have about 2 more full freezer meals of gyoza, so hopefully they will cook well later.

I also tried fried rice (from the Mayo Clinic website so not quite as much fat content as the traditional recipes--those post-holiday pounds aren't going to lose themselves, amirite?) and it was good, although a little gummy with the egg added.  I don't think my wok was hot enough.  Something to work on.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Checking off the boxes

Our social worker is a major rock star, and actually braved this crazazy weather to complete our new homestudy for China.  I think it was a bit of a formality, actually, but it's still nice to have it out of the way.  Our sweet, elderly dog acted like a maniac, barking and passing gas with the best of them.  Cory and I were looking at each other--who is this crazy mutt who has replaced our girl?  Our social worker seemed unperturbed by this, although I think her eyes watered at one point.  Darn dog.  She ended the visit by saying that she didn't have any concerns, so that's good enough for me.  Stressful, yes, but done.  Phew! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Sense of Snow

Snow: Check!  Lots and lots.  Ice, too!
Homestudy: Not sure.   

We are proceeding as if the homestudy is still on, although I certainly won't be driving in this winter wonderland.   If our social worker doesn't think she can safely make it to our place, we will reschedule. Nothing more to do.  Certainly a bummer for all of us.
Ok, maybe not all of us. 

Miss Maggie got her frolic on.

Suddenly, she seems so much younger than 13.

Bobbing and weaving, sniffing and peeing...

It's hard not to have a pretty great day when your dog is this happy.

And of course, the other furballs enjoy having the heat on full blast...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Major Snow Event

As the news around here excitedly calls it, we are looking at a Major Snow Event here in the Pacific Northwest.  So after they driest fall on record (after the wettest/coldest summer on record) we are preparing for other-than-drizzle weather, with snow falling on...you guessed it...Tuesday.  Our homestudy date.  Our Ethiopia homestudy was also canceled for snow, which was not the end of the world, but pretty annoying.  Looks like that may be the case again.  Dang.  Seattle is notoriously unprepared for weather other than rain (does anyone else have "Sun Breaks" as an actual weather term?) so if the Major Snow Event actually happens, we will be pretty much out of luck.  So if we ever have another homestudy, fellow Seattle-ites should buy some extra bags of salt and take the day off.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What now?

We’ve had a lot of questions about what happens now, what paperwork is needed, why is that paperwork needed, etc.  So here are the basics, as far as I know at this point:
What paperwork is needed to complete this adoption?
We need all of the same dossier paperwork as we did for Ethiopia, as nothing can be more than 6 months old when it is authenticated (or when our notary is notarized).  This includes new medicals, certificates of birth, marriage and divorce, homestudy, immigration approval, police clearances, etc.  The list is long, but we are checking things off pretty rapidly. 
Why do you need a new homestudy?
We are joining a new program entirely, and (I’m guessing) the new homestudy documents are different. 
What happens next?
Once our homestudy is written (this took about 6 weeks last time), we submit the homestudy and accompanying paperwork to immigration.   We can’t reuse our old approval, as China is a Hague-certified country and Ethiopia is not.  This process took several months last time, but hopefully the fact that we were approved last March will make the process a tad faster. 
After immigration is approved I’m a bit fuzzy, but do know that the approval letter is authenticated, and the whole dossier is authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in LA, then sent to China, where we (hopefully!) receive final approval to adopt this cutie-patootie. 
Is there a time limit?
Yes.  We have 6 months from our preliminary approval date (12/14/11) to get our paperwork to China.  A lot needs to happen in that time period, so I’m expecting to cut it close.  Maybe we will be surprised, but we are preparing for the worst.  I expect this will drive me insane; however, I have faith that no one wants to be responsible for this adoption falling through because they were slow.  It will happen.  (It will happen.  It will happen.)
Can you post pictures?
Nope, not for a while.  We have a long way to go until he’s definitely ours. 

What do you know about his background?
What we know we will share with him first.
Can you share anything about his special need?
Not until he is adopted by us.
Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Surely you can’t be serious.
I am serious.  And don’t call me Shirley.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homestudy Scheduled

Our new homestudy is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17 at 8:30AM.  Should be a blast and half, right?  I really, really wish it was sooner, but the c'est la vie.  I was such a stress monkey last time, and the experience really wasn't that bad (not that it was fun, of course) so this time I'm going to try to cool my jets just a tad.  Hey, I can try. 

Originally we were told our new homestudy would likely be done over the phone, as nothing really has changed on our end--same condo, same animals, same jobs, same everything, really, just another year of waiting.  But this is the world of adoption, and the control isn't in our hands, so a home visit it will be!

Hopefully she will complete it quickly and the immigration dance can begin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pleased to meetcha, 2012!

Hasta la bye-bye, 2011!  No offense, but you will not be missed a whole heckuva lot.  Onward and upward. 

We put a little gravel in our travel this week and spent time in Montana with Cory's parents and grandmother, who is plugging right along at 92, so it was nice to spend time with her.  We did spend time traveling to Helena to get Cory's birth certificate authenticated, as required for our China dossier.  One thing checked off a very, very long list.

We also sort-of planned out the next 8 months, should this Chinese adoption actually happen.  It's very overwhelming--there is a ton of paperwork, money, money and more money that needs to be spent and saved, and complicated processes to figure out.   So we made an epic list of things to be done (that covers our the entire front of our refrigerator), and are going to just start at the top.  Maybe this time the work we are doing will actually end up with a child. 

We are hopeful that the new year brings good things for everyone waiting to complete their families.  Come on, 2012, show us what you've got!!

A few Montana pics:

(Butte, MT, is an old mining town.  The mining gallows are all over the city to this day.)