Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing, Hoping, Thinking and Praying

Happy New Year tomorrow everyone!

As the Christmas holiday came and went, so did the weeks with no news on the adoption front. Both Rob and I declared that all we wanted for Christmas was to be matched with our Haitian child, but alas, that did not happen.

We are at the point in the process where our dossier looks great and has been translated to French Creole to send to Haiti. At this point, we can review children in hopes that we can get matched. There are so many orphans in Haiti that Rob and I will likely review many in hopes of finding our child. The thought of this seems exciting, but it actually breaks my heart. I am not sure how I will be able to see the faces and information on so many children and have to choose. Choosing to pick one child over another is a thought that actually makes my stomach turn. How do I look at the profile of a child and decide that I am not going to bring you home and give you the family that you deserve? Not to be dramatic, but it haunts me. And I haven't even started the process.

Unfortunately things in Haiti are getting worse with the spread of Cholera and the rioting because of the elections. Human rights seem to be non existent there. On top of over 1,000,000 people still living in tents because little progress has been made to rebuild from the earthquake. This kind of social unrest leads to information coming out of the country at a snail's pace. We are working with 2 orphanages that have several children that meet our criteria, but they don't think they can get any information to us until late January. Their top priority is keeping the kids safe and healthy. Which we appreciate.

So we wait. Hopefully things will go faster than we expect but until then, we will continue to wait.

A week from today we have our Biometric appointment for Rob and I with Immigration for our I600 application. So things are moving on that end, which is great! Now we will just pray for the other.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No news is....No news

Well since the beginning of the month when we turned in all our adoption paperwork and reviewed our home study, not much has really changed.

I got a receipt from the USCIS department of the government that they received our I600A application. Not so much big news except that the agency was able to get our home study approved by the State of Colorado in time to send in our application before the November 23rd fee increase deadline. This is something I appreciate very much! Any time we can save on fees, it is a win.

I could go on a rant how they spelled our names wrong, first and last, how they spelled Wagon in our address as Wujen and how it is not that easy to get through to the Department of Homeland Security to correct such things....but I won't. I actually ended the day talking with someone very helpful, found out they have a separate department for adoptions and that department responds within minutes, so thus far I am impressed with them.

We will see how far that impressed feeling lasts through this process. :)

So no news. We could be sent a child to review any day but the "two week or sooner" time frame I was told has already come and gone. So we sit. And wait.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's get moving!

So tonight we got to review our home study. It is so weird to read a 17 page document that sums up your life, your spouse's life, your life together, your mental capabilities and well being as well as your parenting style. Who knew that could be done in 17 pages?

I must say that our social worker summed us up pretty nicely. Had a lot of nice things to say about us and our parenting style (and how adorable the child we parent is). So I feel better. Also a lot to make me realize how much I have struggled with things in life and came through a better person for (and how much I appreciate my mom for getting me through those). It is funny the things that I don't even remember talking to her about that came into a document that will seal my fate of getting my next child.

Now we wait for the Home Study to be approved by the State and sent to be translated. Then it will be sent to Haiti and hopefully we can be matched. I wish I had a timeline for that but everything works in its own time. And to cut down on frustration and me going crazy, I have decided to sit back and hope that it all turns out faster and better than I expect. I am turning in the rest of our dossier tomorrow so we are done with our part. It is now in the hands of the agency, the State of Colorado, Immigration and Haiti. And God. Let's not forget the most important hands of all.

So hopefully in good time, we will have answers. Photos. A baby to worry about and pray for every day and fight to get home to our family as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cholera Outbreak

So late last week the news starting reporting that Haiti is having an outbreak of Cholera. I didn't know much about it except that it isn't good. It is intestinal disease that seems to spread pretty quickly especially for people living in less than clean and safe living conditions. Which sadly, at this point, describes most of Haiti.

Most cases have been reported in St Marc which is outside of the capital, Port au Prince. Volunteers and medical workers are working hard to help vaccinate those not infected and treat those that are. Hospitals are overcrowded and turning people away. Make shifts centers are being set up. Sadly in a country that is still devastated from the earthquake, these things can't happen quick enough for the population that is infected. As of yesterday, over 250 people have died.

I did read that they are getting people treated and so they are starting to stabilize the situation so the loss of life is slowing down. Clean water is the key to stopping the spread of cholera and they have been working hard to get it to the infected and surrounding areas.

I got an update from our adoption agency yesterday that all of the orphanages/creches are in Port au Prince and that none of the children, workers or volunteers have been infected. They are working hard to protect the children so the outbreak doesn't reach them.

This story hurts my heart on so many levels. For all the people that have died, those that are sick and unable to get help. For the country as a whole. It is a devastating blow to a country that cannot catch a break. And unfortunately with most of its population displaced and living in tents with no source of clean water, this probably isn't the end for them.

My heart and thoughts are with all the people of Haiti.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Last home study and dossier progress

So tonight is our last home study visit. It has actually been a very enjoyable experience. Not to mention that Linda, our social worker, is great! She has been so nice and helpful. I think we are truly lucky to have her on our side for this. And an added bonus, Adriana loves her. She hams it up every time she comes over. The first night she walked her to the door and thanked her for coming and said that she hoped she would come back soon. Last week when she came Adriana told me "mommy, don't be mean, walk her to the door" when she was leaving. Who is this kid? :)

We are also making great progress on our dossier paperwork. All except birth certificates. I started out by ordering them online. It is the electronic age. Shouldn't that be easiest? I guess not. We had to fax in a copy of our IDs to them to prove we were who we said we are. Then I couldn't get the fax to be clear enough of our IDs for them. After trying a few times, I had to cancel that order and just send in the request paperwork through the actual mail. Last week I received both requests back because I forgot to add the check for the fees. Sheesh. I am about to drive to Wyoming and stand in line for them. Could it really be that hard?

So that is our progress. Slow but steady. My goal is to get everything received, certified and legalized, then translated by the end of the year. Hopefully, if I could ever get proof that Rob and I were born, that will happen. ha ha

Saturday, August 28, 2010

1st home study scheduled!

So this Monday, August 30th, is our first home study. I talked to our social worker yesterday and we are set!

Wish us luck!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Let the Dossier Begin!

We just got off the phone with our adoption agency to discuss the dossier, home study and immigration process for adopting.

I must say the thought of completing the dossier has always freaked me out a bit. It is a lot of gathering of paperwork and information from us, but I think I am much less scared of it now. It is just the start of a long long process. So I guess I shouldn't be intimidated just yet. Maybe....

I also found out that we really do get matched with our child very early on. So once we finish our home study, we will be matched within a couple months and then a couple months from that going to Haiti to meet our child and go in front of a Haitian judge to declare our intent to adopt that child.

That alone makes me so excited! And scared. Once we go to Haiti I will have met my child, and possibly been able to have that child stay the night with us while we are there, and then we have to come home empty handed. I think that is when the true test will begin. The heart break of meeting them and then not being able to be there for that child everyday. Having to sit and wait for that call each day, knowing it won't come for a really long time. Waiting. So much waiting in this process. But that will be the painful one.

But on the bright side, I will someday be that child's mommy and get to take care of them each and every day!

So let the paperwork, government craziness and wait begin!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Application approved!

So yesterday we got an email from our adoption agency and here is what it said.

"Thank you again for your application and indeed, it is approved!"

So yay! First step complete! We are approved to adopt from Haiti. Yesterday was a great great day!

So now we start the paperwork. Disclosures, agreements, questionnaires and then onto our dossier and home study.

Here we go!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Name

A special shout out to my good friend Sophie for coming up with the name for this blog. I love it. It incorporates all the emotions and bureaucracy that goes along with adoption.

Tears, of course, are obvious. I have already shed many. Happy tears, sad tears, scared tears. I am sure frustration tears will come around many times as well.

Paperwork....In the next 2 years Rob and I will fill out more paperwork about ourselves, our lives, and our intentions for the agency, our Government and the Haitian government then we will ever fill out for anything before or after this. The paperwork involved in anything (even in this electronic age) is overwhelming, but this will epic. :)

Benjamins. Ok, added that in to be funny. Let's face it. Adoption is expensive. Many fees are paid to the above agencies and governments. It isn't a cheap. And it is one of those things you must joke about or it will create a lot of those frustration tears. :)

But with all that being said, it is all worth every moment, every stroke of the pen and every penny. What it will bring in the end is something that will be such a blessing, we won't remember how our hand cramped filling out our dossier. Or that we have to stop eating take out. It won't matter. What we will have will be worth more than any of that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And the Adventure begins..

Welcome to our blog. We have decided this would be a great way to keep people up to date to what we are doing and our journey along the way. What journey? Well....

After many discussions, research, meetings, tears and deliberation; Rob and I have made the decision to adopt our next child. And we have decided to adopt from Haiti.

Warning: The blog will take many twists and turns. As will this post. I am not a writer, nor pretend to be good at it. But the best form of therapy without paying millions is getting it out there right? So here I go. :)

So why Adoption? And why Haiti?

Well, that is a lot to answer. Why Haiti, I think, might have to be a post all its own. So here we go. The story of us. How we and this came to be.

I was adopted right after I was born. My birth mother was young and decided she could not care for me, so I was brought to my family that I know now. I had a wonderful childhood, great parents, and amazing siblings. It was a really great experience for me. My family is the only family I have known and I honestly can never say that I felt like I wasn't a part of them or born into it. Some even say that I look like I was meant to be a part of their family. And it is because I was.

I grew up with a lot of interest in the adoption field. I majored in Professional Family Services in college with the idea of working in the adoption field. I wanted it to be my career. I even did my internship at the Wyoming's Children Society, an adoption agency in Wyoming. It was amazing. I loved every minute that I worked there. The ladies I worked with were great and they taught me so much. I met a lot of families hoping to adopt, some that had already adopted and a lot of mom's ready to give up their babies for adoption. It was emotional. It gave me such a different perspective on the entire thing. When I moved to Denver, there were no opportunities at that time for me so I started down a different career path. After I had my first child, I became a stay at home mom. And that is what I am still today. :)

*off track rant* When you are adopted, a part of you believes that you are unwanted. That something about you made someone else decide to discard you. No matter how great your family is, how wonderful your experience, this is always in the back of your head. It feels like rejection. And of the worst possible kind. That being said, when I worked with birth moms, I realized that no matter what, no mother doesn't love her child. Her decision to give you up, is and will be, the most selfless act she will do. She is a teenage mom, a woman in her career prime, or maybe just unable to care for a child. They all agonize with the decision and love their child and only want what is best. They decide that they cannot do that for you. They give you to someone that can. It is truly an amazing thing. And while the "rejection" feeling never quite goes away (and molds a part of you) I can say I get it. I understand. And I thank my birth mom every day for giving me this gift. This life. This family.

And as a result of all this and since I can remember, I have always wanted to adopt. I didn't ever care if I gave birth myself, I just wanted children. I wanted my children to feel as loved and wanted as I did. As Rob would put it, simply, I want to pay it forward. :)

Ok, back to our story. Enter Rob into the picture. We met almost 20 years ago now. High school sweethearts. I dated Rob for most of my high school life. We had ups and downs that young, stupid love will bring. We got to college and we decided to break up. There were many different reasons and it effected each of us differently, but we found our way back to each other as adults and have been in love and happy every since. I truly feel that we have loved each other since we met and that although we broke up, we both needed it. We would have never lasted if we stayed together in college. We both needed time to grow up, experience life, and time with others; to truly realize and appreciate what we had. We were so young the first time around. I have always been grateful for our story. Our life. The way we are now. We both lived on our own and kind of established ourselves independently, which made it so much easier to establish our life together.

After we were married, we made a deal. Rob has always been supportive of adoption, but also wanted to have a child of his own. And honestly (after all I said above) after we got married, I wanted that too. We waited a while and were married for about 4 years when we had our daughter, Adriana. She came into our lives and changed our world from the minute we found out I was pregnant. She is truly so amazing, wonderful, fantastic, funny, smart, crazy, happy and all around a joy. She is now 2 and a half and makes me laugh every day.

Once you have one child and they reach the age of one, the questions begin. Are you going to have another? When? It is like the minute you are married for 5 seconds, everyone starts asking when and if you are going to have kids. It was also about a year when I started thinking about our next child. We talked about adoption and Rob was completely supportive of doing it. I, oddly, was the one with doubts. There had been a lot of stories about adoptions going bad, taking 5 years instead of a couple. It completely scared me. So I panicked and decided that we would just try and have another one of our own. And we decided that we would after this September. So pressure off. At that point, we had a good 9 months to just relax, enjoy and not think of baby making. Fear makes you decide many things. I think at that time in my life, I had this 1 year old and it was so overwhelming. So much to think about and having another child ourselves would have been much simpler. At that time, I chose simple.

About 3 months into our 9 month "window", I started to think about adopting constantly. This nagging feeling that I was cheating myself, not being true to something I have always wanted to do, kept coming in. So we started talking, researching, discussing and the decision was made. We both really really felt it was the right thing for us to do. And exactly what we wanted to do.

So here we are. Present day. We both wanted to do international adoption and had narrowed it down to Ethiopia and Nepal. We went to meetings and talked to adoptions agencies. One agency I always heard great things about was CCAI. They specialize in China adoptions and since the wait is now 5 years and you don't have an option of adopting a boy, we had ruled China out early on. But they did have a Haiti program. Haiti was a country I had looked at before the earthquake 6 months ago, but hadn't looked at it much presently. I figured it would be a nightmare as they were still trying to dig out from the wreckage of the earthquake. And I believe it did close down its adoption for a while, but then recently reopened. We decided to go to the meeting though I didn't feel that was the path we would take. But what could it hurt? We wanted to be as informed as possible to make this decision.

I can't explain what happened to me in that hour. Nor could Rob. All I know is something transformed inside of me. I came out of that meeting emotional, sad, hopeful and with a strong feeling that my child is in Haiti. And Rob felt the exact same way. He was as emotional, excited and scared as I was. I truly felt we both had made our decision, but since I left every meeting wanting to save a child, we decided to sit on it for the weekend and discuss the next week.

Not much needed to be discussed when that next week came. We both had made up our minds and were on the exact same page. Haiti is were our child is. We turned in the application last Friday and now are awaiting to hear if we are approved. After that, the long journey begins.

And I cannot wait!

Thank you for reading and staying with me this long. I hope that reading our story will move you, make you laugh or cry. I have already grown such a support group of amazing friends and family that are as excited for this as we are. We couldn't do it without you. Thank you for being a part of our lives.