Friday, November 28, 2008


I am happy to report we've both completed our 19+ question questionnaire! wooo hooo! I must admit, that was the most difficult task for the home study to date, though less stressful than the home visit.

I am now working on our profile which will go to our attorney, my aunt who works in the maternity ward of a hospital and a few other people. The idea of the profile is to tell about yourself and catch a potential birth mother's attention.

I have downloaded some scrapbook software for Mac (iScrapbook), and am currently working on our redoing our profile.

Our third and final home study meeting is next Friday, December 5. Within two weeks of that final meeting we should receive our final home study report/approval and we will be free to adopt.

Please keep your eyes and ears open and if you learn of anyone who is making adoption plans for their unborn child, please keep us in mind.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

shopping online for the holidays?

I just wanted to remind you that if you are shopping online, you can shop through and the merchants will donate a percentage of your total to the National Adoption Foundation and to me (if you choose to include me, I am listed as Old Navy is there, Omaha Steaks, LLBean, Target, you name it, they are on!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

new look - same blog

I just didn't want you to think you ended up someplace else. I'm trying on a new look. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

what I learned from our meeting with our attorney

What I learned from our meeting with our attorney:
  1. It's all about networking and marketing ourselves. Please feel free to tell anyone and everyone you know that you know a loving couple who is looking to adopt a newborn.
  2. It is legal to advertise in the newspaper (in Virginia) that you are looking to adopt. Most newspapers will need from your social worker or attorney confirming that your home study is complete.
  3. Get an 800 (or 866) number in order to make it easier for a birth mother to contact you.
  4. "Dear Birthmother" letters aren't really used anymore.
  5. It can take 12–24 months to be matched with a newborn baby (domestic adoption).
  6. Expand your Christmas card list, include a dear friends letter that includes info. about you looking to adopt (yes, friends and family: this does mean you will be hearing from us this holiday season!!!).
  7. Have business cards made with your contact info on them so if you end up having a conversation with someone about your impending adoption, you can give them a card. You never know who knows who.
  8. Network, network, network!
  9. Make sure your ob/gyn knows in the event that one of his/her patients has an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.
  10. Announce that you are looking to adopt in your church bulletin (we don't belong to a church, but she suggested we join one, but we feel this is the wrong reason to join a church). If you attend church, please feel free to post info about us looking to adopt :)
  11. IRS Tax Credit: keep track of your mileage to and from social worker's location and attorney's office, keep track of the money you spend on your profile (ink, paper, printing, etc) it all goes towards your IRS Adoption Tax Credit.
  12. She asked us if we had any family or friends who would be willing to act as a surrogate, we thought this was and interesting question. We haven't asked anyone but if you are willing, please let us know :)
more later...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the infamous 19-question questionnaire

The 19 questions we each have to answer:

  1. Describe your personality?
  2. Describe your spouse’s personality?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. What are your limitations?
  5. What do you feel are the strong points in your marriage?
  6. What do you feel are the areas for further growth in your marriage?
  7. How do you resolve conflict in your marriage?
  8. What are your interests as an individual?
  9. What are your interests as a couple?
  10. What are your attributes that you feel best contribute toward your ability to parent?
  11. Who/What has been the strongest influence in your life to date?
  12. What do you regard as your greatest personal achievement to date?
  13. What three things would you most like to be said about you if you died today?
  14. What are your needs as a person? Which ones are satisfied within your family, your work, in recreational activities, in other ways?
  15. In what ways would you find satisfaction and fulfillment if you never had children?
  16. What are your most important values?
  17. What are your expectations for your child?
  18. What goals do you wish your child to achieve?
  19. What are your thoughts on the following:
  • Parenting
  • Discipline
  • Love
  • Positive Self-Image
  • Negative Self-Image
  • Adoption
  • Biological Parents
I think these would be difficult for just about anyone to answer! I think #13 is my least favorite.

This is the hardest thing we've done so far, even more difficult than the autobiographies. I just want others who are considering adoption to know these are potential questions you could be asked, so you can think about stuff like this ahead of time!

We are saving copies of everything for ourselves of course, but also things like this are going in to the baby's book :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

immigration déjà vu

So when Chris immigrated from the UK, there was a lot of paperwork, a lot of hoops to jump through. We jumped. We were never anything but honest. Chris got his green card four short months (short by immigration standards, long by newlywed standards) after we were married.

When we started our home study, we were given a checklist of documents our social worker would need from us (see post below called "home study checklist" ). Now she keeps asking for additional documents. More hoops, and once again we are jumping and being nothing but honest.

In both cases (immigration and adoption) it seems like they are asking "how badly do you want this" and in both cases the answer is "we will do what ever we have to" for Chris to immigrate, for us to have a baby.

I like to know the rules of the game, so I know how to play the game. I get really frustrated when the rules change mid game. I am trying to continue playing and as Sharon says "accept the challenge."

Game ON!

first "trimester" reflections

It's been three months already. I wonder if a pregnancy goes this fast. I wonder if pregnant women savor their pregnancies or wish them away.

I wish we only had six more months to go, but I fear it will take longer than that for us to have our baby at home with us.

It think the first three months has gone so fast because there has been SO much paperwork to do, so many documents to collect, so much keeping us busy. I'm wondering what it will be like when all that's over, right now it's hard to imagine the end of paperwork.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

home study checklist

completed and/or received by our social worker:
  • application
  • personal finances form
  • marriage certificate
  • medical history forms
  • criminal record check
  • autobiographies
  • photographs
  • verification of employment
  • corporal punishment policy agreement
  • 1st home study meeting (10.24.08)
  • sworn disclosure statement
  • 2nd home study meeting (11.14.08 home visit)
  • release of information form
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) report
  • letter from MH
  • each of us answer an 19-question questionnaire
  • reference letters received from: JB, EK, SF & CB
  • letter from KK
  • 3rd home study meeting (12.5.08)

third and final home study meeting scheduled!

Our third and final home study meeting has been scheduled for Friday, December 5! Woooo hoooo!

Our Child Protective Services (CPS) report came back (that's all the social worker said so I'd assume that means there was no problem or she would have mentioned it)!

We meet with our adoption attorney this Friday and are excited about that. She will be helping us locate a potential birth mother, among her other attorney duties, we will find out more of Friday. Mom and dad will join us at this meeting, four heads are better than two!

Can you believe it has already been three months since we made the decision to pursue adoption?! Let's hope the search for a baby goes by as fast as the past three months have!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

i found hope at a farm market

The first Saturday of the month, there is a farm market nearby. There was a new vendor at the November market, Jewelry by Heart2Heart. I bought a circle with Hope on it (mine just has the word once).

As my friend Rick's grandmother says "Hope gets us to the bridge, faith gets us across."

I've learned a little hope goes a long way.

(Jewelry by Heart2Heart will be at the Irvington Farm Market in December and/or you can check them out at their website. They have circles with other words on them and they will create pieces upon request. They handcraft each piece with precious metals and genuine gemstones.)

family trees

Those of you who are not related to me, don't know that my family had a big reunion this summer, in honor of my great aunt Dorothy's 90th birthday. I think there were over 50 of us from around the country present.

This particular branch of my family tree has had reunions in the past, but it's been a long time since we'd all gotten together (years? a decade?). For this occasion, one of my aunts and I worked on a family cookbook that also included food related stories, our family tree, and other family and food related items. I worked closely with my aunt (well, we are on opposite coasts - so as close as technology will allow) for six months creating this cookbook. This project brought my aunt and I closer.

Ok, so, the point of this post. The family reunion, our impending adoption. It's got me thinking. At first we didn't really want to know the woman who gives birth to the child that will become part of our family tree. But the more we think about it, we've decided we do want to know her (there is always more talk of the birth mother than the birth father, as they are not always in the picture at the time of the birth, but we'd be happy to know him too).

Family has always been important to me. Unfortunately I am closer to some branches of my family than others. I try to think of our adopted child at different stages of his or her life. I would want my child to know the types of things I know about my family's history. I would not what my child's biological tree to be blank. I can't imagine not knowing the things I know about my family's history.

Since my family's reunion in June, I have been keeping in touch with more family members, you know how you seem to drift away from people over time. I have really enjoyed being back in contact with these family members and they have been VERY supportive of our plans to adopt.

Our child will be lucky and have two family trees.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

our references & more

I am happy to report my references FINALLY got their letters from our social worker. She was supposed to have sent the letters out after our first meeting on October 24. They were finally sent out Monday, November 10 after I called a few times to see if they'd gotten lost in the mail.

We have been very diligent about getting our paperwork in as quickly as possible in order to move ahead quickly, so this really frustrated me because it was out of my control (other than to be a nag).

We have scheduled our third and final meeting for later in December, but Chris and I talked after yesterday's home visit and decided we want to try to move it up, otherwise we are afraid our report won't be completed until after New Years.

Oh! and our social worker told me our police reports came back with our last name spelled incorrectly! Ack, I just need MORE control!!! LOL!!!

This is definitely a lesson in patience.

what to expect

Ok, so maybe I'm getting a bit excited here, but I figured what the heck, I read "What to Expect When you are Expecting" over eight years ago. I may be able to read this at least three or four times before we actually have a baby.

I bought it second hand (recycled) for $6 so it wasn't a huge investment. I have refrained from purchasing anything else baby related (aside from two baby outfits I purchased eight years ago that are probably so totally out of style now and my baby wouldn't be caught wearing them outside the house, and a bib that says "Bebe" that may still prove useful).

Friday, November 14, 2008

we survived the home visit

Can I just tell you how glad I am that our home visit is over.

It only lasted 45 minutes, but the 48 hours prior were the worst ever. I got so wound up by the thought of some one coming into my home to judge the way I live. I thought I'd just pass out after she left.

She was only at our house for about 45 minutes. Looked in all the rooms, asked us how we plan to discipline our child (very difficult to think of when the discipline years are still a few years away). We said we'd use the time-out chair in the early years and then withholding luxury items (cell phone, TV, internet, etc) in the later years.

She asked about our religion backgrounds and what values we would instill in our children. She also asked who we would name as guardians if something happened to both of us.

She also asked us if it snows, hmmm, was that home visit related or is she thinking of moving?

This things are all difficult to think of when you child is still hypothetical.

She didn't ask if we had a fire extinguisher. We were disappointed since we bought a new, additional one just for the occasion.

We will have our third and final meeting in December. After that we will get our final home study report.

We meet with our adoption attorney next week. She has asked us to bring a copy of our profile to the meeting. She said she can start searching for a match for us at that point.

Our social worker said it could take 12 to 24 months to find a match.

There was an extra $100 charge to come to our house since we live in the boonies ($50 each way).

I feel like we should have received t-shirts at the end of the meeting that said "I survived my home visit!"

This was quite possibly one of the most stressful days of my life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the kindness of family & friends

Our home study isn't even complete yet and the gifts are already pouring in!

Cousin Karin has generously offered us a crib, changing table and dresser that was passed on to her for her son Noah from our cousin John whose children use it. She has even offered to deliver it when we need it (I hope Pete knows)!

My dear friend Angie is planning to send us a car seat and stroller used by her daughter Harmony when the time comes.

We have received a gift of financial support from a family member, who we really want to thank, but also think it inappropriate to post her name. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

We are also receiving the gift of financial support from my parents, for which we are very thankful.

Woo hooo! Now if we can just find a baby, we will be good to go!

Thank you for hanging on to this stuff for us. I don't think I'm ready to have baby stuff in the house yet, it's just too early for me. Your support, kindness and generosity are really appreciated!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

adoption stats

  • 85% of adoptions happen because someone knows someone.
  • 20% of children exit foster care at age 18 without an adoptive family.
  • 85% of business offer their employees financial assistance with adoption.
  • 82% of European-born adopted children under 6 are from Russia or Romania.
  • 33% of adopted children under 18 live with a householder who has at least a bachelor’s degree. This compares with 26% for biological children and 16% for stepchildren.
  • 58% of American's are personally affected by adoption.

Please feel free to add more stats under comments, thanks!

(some of these stats are from the U.S. Census Bureau)

the case of the basket case

So, everyone keeps saying how happy they are that this is all moving so fast. While it might seem like it's moving fast, the home study is only a small step in the adoption process. And it's kinda funny because it doesn't seem like anything's going fast to me. LOL.

We have our home visit this Friday. Our social worker will come to our house, make sure we don't have guns, drugs or anything else unsafe laying around.

We've been burning candles for a week trying to get the doggy smell out of the house. It never smells doggy to me until we've been out and come in when the house has been closed up. Don't want to offend our social worker with the doggy smell (sorry Woody & Gemma!).

It's suggested that you serve your social worker a beverage and cookies or something, but we are afraid the dogs will drool all over her so we've opted out of the food and will just offer her something to drink.

I'm worried. Worried about being judged. Biological parents never had anyone look into their lives (I mean every nook and cranny) the way pre-adoptive parents do. It's all very intrusive, very unsettling .

I keep telling myself, "hey, whatever we have to do to have a baby, just do it!" I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Just think, this time next week it will all be behind us :) wooo hooo!

Thanks to all for your kind words and support, it means a lot! *hugs*

Monday, November 10, 2008

note to self: baby bjorn

We saw a couple with twins wearing these at the Oyster Festival this weekend and Chris said we should get one when we have a baby and that he'd wear it. Baby Bjorn Carrier. ("when we have a baby" I still can't believe we are saying stuff like that!!! :):):)


Of all the rights of women,
the greatest is to be a mother.
– Lin Yutang

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the Cinderella complex

I must admit, for many, many years, whenever I see women with children or families together, I feel jealous. I feel like I've been left out of something big, very big. Like I haven't been invited to the biggest party in the world and everyone is there having the time of their life. Like Cinderella, everyone is at he ball but me.

All these years of waiting to be a mom, all these years, it's been like waiting for my life to start. I'm 43. Life HAS started. I guess I've been waiting for my life as a mom to start.

So back to my Cinderella complex. I've been pregnant (went very briefly to "the ball") so now I just have to find out who has our glass slipper (a baby for us to adopt). I guess that would make our social worker either our fairy godmother or prince charming!

I'm ready for some magic! Yes, I do look forward to having a baby, being a mom and not having any time to blog!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Casa de los Babys

If you haven't seen this film by the IFC, I highly suggest it. I own it, and we watched it again tonight. The first time we watched it we weren't considering adoption. I think we found it much more interesting this time. Be sure to watch the special features too!

The film tells the story of six white American women, all but one over thirty, impatiently waiting out their lengthy residency requirements in an unidentified South American country before picking up their adoptive babies.

Read about it on Wikipedia Casa de los Babys

Rent it on Netflix Casa de los Babys

This film is listed under my "relative" films links along with others about adoption, infertility and creative ways to build families.

November is National Adoption Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau supports many activities that promote the adoption of children and youth from foster care. National Adoption Month raises public awareness about the thousands of children and youth waiting in foster care for permanent, loving families. Visit National Adoption Month for more information.