Tuesday, September 30, 2008

things you can do BEFORE your home study

We are trying to do as much of the adoption on our own as we can. We aren't working with an agency (yet).

I've been trying to find a social worker who will do our home study. I guess they call it an "independent" adoption because we are doing it independently, but don't quote me on that.

We are trying to get a home study done, and I've been doing my home work. The highest quote so far is $3,150, the lowest quote so far is $1,300. Do your homework, I can't stress that enough. This includes two meetings with the social worker and one visit to your home.

Even though we haven't started a home study yet, there are some things we can do to prepare for it, like ordering birth and marriage certificates. You don't need to wait for someone to tell you to do it. Specifically you need "certified" copies, which are different from "informational" copies. And the procedure to order these certificates varies from state to state, county to county, country to country. Again, do your homework.

While you you are waiting for your certificates to arrive, I also suggest you do a credit check to be sure your credit is in order because at some point, someone will be looking into your credit history.

Be thinking about who you'd like to have write references for you. I've read different things on this, some want your references to have known you for only two years, others for five years or more, so I'd suggest playing it safe and thinking of those who've known you five years or more. Just make a list at this point.

Get your house in shape. I've read that we shouldn't worry, they aren't going to come in with white gloves, but they want to be sure there is a room for a child and that your home is safe.

I hope to add more tips to this posting as I learn more.

10.31.08 On your financial statement, you may be asked if you have life insurance and what are the face and cash values. This is something you can find out before you begin your home study.

Monday, September 29, 2008

how to make adoption an affordable option

from the National Endowment for Financial Education

This booklet was developed for people who would like to consider adoption, but who may believe the process is too expensive. It details the expenses common to most adoptions, as well as those that were unique to the adoption of waiting children, independent adoptions, and international adoptions.

download a free 73-page booklet: How to Make Adoption an Affordable Option

Sunday, September 28, 2008

books i bought yesterday

The Complete Adoption Book
by Laura Beauvias-Godwin & Raymond Godwin, Esq.
copyright 2005
(thanks to Stephanie for the recommendation!!!)

10.25.08 I want to add that this is a BIG book (690 pages!) and I find it very strange that the part about the home study is in the center of the book (page 306), I would have thought that would be at the beginning. I also find it frustrating that it was last updated in 2005.

Labor of the Heart:
A Parent's Guide to the Decisions
and Emotions in Adoption

by Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D
copyright 2008
10.25.08 I am liking this one too. It is a little more warm and fuzzy, rather than all business, if that makes any sense.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a book by Jamie Lee Curtis

When a young girl asks her parents about the first night of her life, she wants to know every detail. Was she tiny and perfect? How did her parents feel during their first night together? Why had her mommy and daddy decided to adopt her? Funny, tender, and altogether exuberant, here is one family’s celebration of their first cherished moments together.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is a heartwarming story, not only of how one child is born but of how a family is born.

A note from Jamie: Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is a celebration of adoption and belonging to a family. Both of my children are adopted, and Tell Me Again is about the experience of adoption from a child's point of view. The fact that the book has been so embraced by the adoption community has been a bonus that I did not expect.

Find this book at the Jamie Lee Curtis website and on Amazon.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

home study preparation

I am hoping to schedule our home visit soon. I am in the process of document collecting!

A home study consists of:
  • A series of visits with your adoption social worker, including at least one visit to the family home
  • A medical form for all members of the household, completed by your family physician
  • References from non-relatives, who have known you at least two years
  • An autobiography which will include significant happenings in your life and your feelings associated with adopting a child
  • Copies of birth certificate(s), marriage license (if applicable), divorce decrees (if applicable)
  • Verification of employment or income
  • Criminal, Sex Offender, and Child Protective Services Record Checks
  • Agreement of Non-Use of Physical Punishment for a child placed in your care

    Additional requirements will vary depending on the type of adoption you are considering, whether it be international or domestic (relative, open, parental placement, or agency).

a book by Sharon Liddle

Sharon wrote this story in Spring 2003 during a trip to Ukraine. She had an interesting experience and the word wombat was part of a conversation and seemed unique and appropriate. That was the year Sharon met her daughter Katy. This story is dedicated to the orphanage and the family Sharon traveled with. Her daughter will tell you that it is her life story. It is at the publisher now.

I will let you know when it's available for purchase. Sharon in planning on writing many more books. I've had the honor of seeing a proof of the book and it is beautifully written and illustrated.

Visit Sharon's website: The Elijah Foundation

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The National Adoption Foundation and OneCause

When you register with OneCause and participate in their easy programs (online shopping for one thing), you automatically earn contributions for the National Adoption Foundation – 50% of which is disbursed to the member of your choice.

If you'd like to choose us:

  1. Go to http://www.onecause.com/ and register as a OneCause member.
  2. Choose The National Adoption Foundation as your favorite cause.
  3. On your home page, on the left side under "My Profile Settings" click on "Supporter Crediting."
  4. Click on the "Enroll in the National Adoption Foundation Supporter Crediting Program" and enter our registered email address: gemmabean@earthlink.net

You can shop online and enter your credit cards to earn credits.

This is very similar to the Upromise program that lets you earn credit towards your child's college education.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Mommy Orphanage

What if there was a Mommy Orphanage where moms lived until a child visited to pick them out and take them home to be their mom?

The Mommy Orphanage was created by the mother and daughter team of Cheryl and Emily Krass. When Emily was five years old, she imagined the concept of a Mommy Orphanage and Cheryl expanded it into a book. Cheryl loved the unusual twist of the story and just knew it needed to be shared.

The Mommy Orphanage presents a unique twist on the international adoption story. While many children’s adoption stories are told from the point of view of parents as they portray the story of their journey to bring their new baby home, The Mommy Orphanage unfolds from a child’s perspective.

Emily was born in 2001 in the Guangdong Province of China in a city called Gaozhou. She spent the first 9 months of her life living in an orphanage called the Gaozhou Social Welfare Institute. In June of 2002, her parents Cheryl and Louis Krass, along with big brother Alex (who was 10 at the time), traveled to China to adopt Emily and bring her home to her new family.

The Mommy Orphanage website

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

don't get excited when you see this, she's not ours

This photo is from a trip Sharon took this past March to the Ukraine with a family from Atlanta. They adopted 2 girls: a 3-year old, and this darling 20-month-old. Sharon worked for 6 years as a social worker for an international adoption agency in the Norfolk/Va. Beach area.

We are lucky to have Sharon on our team!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

learning curve

We have a lot to learn. Fortunately we have a few teachers and lots of support.

Sharon, a friend I went to Va. Tech with, use to work in international adoptions and has offered to lead us in any way she can. She has already given me lots of great information. In addition to three boys, Sharon adopted her daughter Kate from the Ukraine.

Ashley, an old friend of mine who also went to Va. Tech, as offered to mentor us through the adoption process. He and his wife Karen adopted their son Russell from Russia.

Jennifer, a friend of a friend, has also offered to help us in any way she can. I have never met Jennifer, but we've spoken on the phone and emailed. Jennifer and her husband have a daughter through domestic adoption. Wow, the kindness of strangers.

My family is already getting bigger :)

We have not decided whether we will do a domestic or international adoption. From what I've read, there are a lot of children in orphanages abroad, and in some ways, international adoption is preferred because these children have already been given up, therefore, there is little to no chance their birth parents would want to take them back.

I am also looking into grants to help us defray the cost of adoption. Sharon has given me a list to go through. She also gave me a checklist of things we need to do and collect, what a blessing she has been.

I'm still trying to get my head around all of this. It's a lot to take in. But with Sharon, Ashley, Jennifer and my family's support, everything seems a lot less daunting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the road to motherhood

Within three days this week, one family member and two friends pointed me towards Russia for adoption.

Who knows where this adventure will lead us, as long as there is a baby to complete our family at the end of the road, I don't care where it takes us!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

connections & networking

Do you know of a hospital, doctor's office or person who may have a newborn available for adoption? Any information you'd care to share with us would be greatly appreciated. The more we can get the word out, the better our chances of adopting a newborn. We are not limiting ourselves to one hospital in southern California.

A new door has opened for us, we just wanna be sure we check behind EVERY door.

Thank you!

Julie & Chris

the eight-year pregnancy

When you've been an expectant mother for over eight years, one tends to get a bit over excited at the thought of actually holding and loving a newborn baby and calling it our own.

We need to do a lot more work on our profile. We need to complete a home study. We need to hire an attorney. It's just all a lot more involved than we originally thought.

When the home study is complete, THEN our profile can go in the pile the birth mother picks from. We also found out the hospital in California only has 3–4 babies available for adoption per year. So we will be looking in additional places.

So we aren't expecting a newborn baby tomorrow or next week. But we are still expecting.