Friday, February 19, 2010

Homestudy Update

Hello everyone!

So yes, we are prepping for baby. We weren't trying to be all crazy buying the 2nd crib early, it was more just an opportunity of having the money and being near an Ikea store in Minnesota so that the cribs will match :-) They still had Lucas' model at a nice price! I have such attractive models!

I have been meaning to get on here and let you adoption folks know how the homestudy is going :-)

So here is the deal. After being accepted in the middle of December and me being gone in Minnesota (and thus unable to sit down and make a huge mess and get organized) we really didn't get cooking on things until the first week in February.

I am returning to this process as a "more seasoned" veteran that somewhat knows what is important and what is expected. Would it be easier if I was in the same state with the same agency and the same country requirements as we used with Lucas? Yes. BUT.. all of the same pieces are generally there with roughly the same process.

The good news is that all of the things that require processing time are gone and "cooking" ie: Mn background checking, MO background check, FBI fingerprints, and recommendation letters.

We had to get 6 medical letters this time rather than 2 for Colombia. Ironically, MY letter gave us the most trouble! Will NOT be seeing that primary care physician again.. will be switching to Ted's. I almost got up and walked out from her visit. I almost wanted to send her a cautionary letter that giving your long winded opinion about why the adoption process is so annoying for physicians is not a way to make a good impression on a woman who won't be conceiving babies anytime soon. NO ONE wants to be the person standing in between an adoptive mother and completed dossier without a good reason (and I am the healthiest 28 year old woman imaginable. I kid you not). I expect the occasional issue in this process, but MY health was not one I was prepared for. If she had concerns it would be one thing.. but it seems she just wanted to complain about the system. As if I DON'T struggle with wondering why I have to get my children in this way???!! She just about saw my teeth. Don't worry.. I was courteous and thankful in the end. I understand that I come at adoption with emotional baggage other people aren't thinking about when they talk... but it took some will power. They also took 2.5 weeks to give me ANY info about my HIV screen that is required when Ted has his back in 2 days. Physicians: just examine me, voice any concerns you may have, ask me parenting questions if you would like, take a good look at my son as an example... DON'T grump and whine. If you don't want to be involved in this type of screening, say so, and I will gladly go elsewhere :-)

So.. long story in a nutshell.. our medical letters are finally done! We even obtained a written summary of care from Ted's oncologist from the 90's in Minnesota which is FANTASTIC.

The only thing left in the homestudy that we can control are our personal statements. Once all of those things get back to Holt, they will send out the social worker for a few visits for our interviews. Then we are done with that piece and will be finalizing our dossier that will require a few more documents. Immigration I600 stuff will be in there too.

If things stay on track of how I guess right now, we will be dossier ready by the beginnings of April roughly, which is a nice place to be. We aren't rushing this, because the sooner the referral, the sooner all of this money has to be ready to move, and referrals seem to be coming fast in the world of Holt these days. When we started this, we didn't think anything would be happening until spring 2011 and we were prepared financially for that type of scenario. Please pray for adequate time to be considered for grants (I can't apply till homestudy is done, but I can't accept a grant after I accept a referral... you see my predicament. Small window of time)

Please pray for God's timing to be evident to me as to when I submit papers. I don't want to rush things when they aren't supposed to be rushed. So we are going with the flow :-)

As is customary, I will leave you with a snapshot of cuteness. Lucas is getting more used to babies. He does a fantastic job. He points out babies when we're out and about. This was our first of many African American dolls you will be seeing in our household.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Belated Minnesota Christmas and visiting

Like I said when I first put up this blog, here are a few pictures of our time in Minnesota in January.

We spent New Years Day at Ted's parents back in Minnesota with his siblings, inlaws, and our niece and nephew.

Here are a few pictures of all of the craziness that exploded with our toddlers.

Ted went home on the 7th and Lucas and I spent the rest of the month visiting friends and family and doing some play dates!

My Mom also came up for an extended weekend. During that time, Lucas enjoyed some quality learning at the Children's Museum in downtown St Paul.

He should probably stop trying to run over his Grandmother with a bus.

Little boy with some big dinosaurs... or "roar"s as he calls them

And what trip to Grandma's house could be complete without a few rides around in the big red car. This is of ultimate importance.

We have been back in Missouri for about a week and a half and we are up to our EYEBALLS in Homestudy and preparation for Haiti. That will be the next post though :-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Erin goes to Haiti

That's right. I said it. I leave for Haiti on February 25th and will be there through March 2nd.

I will spare the details at this point regarding how I arrived at this decision.. because it's a wordy wordy thought process.

In a nut shell, I could not come to peace with writing a check (although I'm very thankful for anyone else who wrote a check!). I spent a lot of time praying for God to either take away the desire to go, or give me a tangible way that I could help that would give me some peace. My girlfriend Angie posted something that was right up my alley.

I will be going with The Global Orphan Project based out of Kansas City. They already had orphanages in Haiti outside of the capital and are now receiving many of the children coming from the capital that have been released from the hospitals or whose parents are lost.

I will be traveling with a team of 9 from Kansas City and will be working directly with the children during the time of trauma. Lucas will be with his Grandma during this time.

I am thankful to be in a position in life where I will be able to do this. Once the next baby comes home there will be no traveling for me sans-children for many years. It was the right time where I could leave without affecting the adoption and Lucas is at an age where I think he will be okay with Grandma for a few days.

Please pray: for my nerves (cause I'm scared), for my emotional health during and after, for the $1,750 to be raised, and for my safety getting in and out of Port au Prince.

Committing to this trip meant sacrificing some of the money we had set aside to start the adoption. We are trying to be faithful with every $1 that God gives us. We trust that He will provide when and how He wills.

There will be more fundraising details in the future, but for now please note the new "Donate" button at the top of our blog. We are attempting to raise $8-10,000 for Ethiopia from private donors, friends, family, and adoption grants. Please pray that God's will would be clear as far as timing and that we will be at peace regarding whatever He decides.

Since I hear a crying toddler that is my motivation to wrap this up. Thank you everyone for reading up on us!

Homestudy in Process...

It has been a really really eventful week. Eventful enough to make my head spin and require some deep breaths so as to not panic.

I will keep this post only on the topic of Homestudy and Ethiopia adoption things for the sake of not overwhelming you my reader! I'll leave taxes, fundraising, and Haiti out of this one.

So for the majority of the month of January, Lucas and I were camped out up in Minnesota seeing family and friends. During our time there, we got some bulk emails from Holt both on the Homestudy (United States) front and also the Ethiopian program details.

Our process for this child will differ than Lucas' in that we will be working on the Homestudy and Dossier concurrently rather than one at a time. We found that we needed to get additional letters (signed and notarized of course) from some Dr's in Minnesota regarding Ted's cancer history on top of our regular letters for safety. It took a lot of phone calls and messing around, but these have all been obtained! Ted also saw his physician here in Missouri and got all of his documents (and HIV screen) taken care of. You would all be happy to know that Ted does not have HIV :-)

Now that I am home, it is my turn to do all such things. I go to the Dr tomorrow for all of my papers.

We have a slight predicament in that we need to obtain a Minnesota form for background checks. No idea how to get that yet. So far nobody in Minnesota wants to help out. Turns out I'll have to do some whining. Please keep this part in your thoughts that his particular piece of red tape will work out.

We will be scheduling one first round of fingerprints here in Missouri this week. We are hoping to have everything that we can control at least in process in the next few weeks. All of that has to be done and returned and cleared prior to our 2 visits with our social worker from Holt. We are really hoping to have all of these paperwork pieces done by the end of March. That is the current timeline we are shooting for.

For those of you who remember my posts on our old caring bridge website for Lucas, there were times of high stress and processing.. and times for sitting around waiting for stuff to come back.. and months of waiting for a referral. As overwhelmed as I am (and trying to figure out how I did this all before but don't seem to remember much of it now) I know there will be plenty of months later where we will just be here waiting for a referral.. and then waiting for court.. and then waiting for approval to travel.

We love you very much baby Sibley #2 :-) We think you might already be born or be born soon based on what we know of the children in the program and the wait. Be safe and we will get there as soon as God says its time :-)