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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Child Specifics

Many of you would like to know more about what we are looking for in the age/gender department. Seeing as we (hopefully) have our last homestudy tomorrow night, we ourselves had to narrow that down to something very specific and precise. What did we end up deciding?

Well we finally put our finger on it. Our main concern is that our new additions are younger than our oldest. Much research has gone into adoptions and it is advised against adopting older than your oldest. There is a lot of technical stuff that goes with it and the more I ran into it in different places the more I figured I had better trust those with experience. Now everything past the age thing is simply desires of our hearts. A "brother and sister" is how the girls put it and we would be good with that, though 2 boys and 2 girls wouldn't be bad either. So when we meet with our social worker tomorrow, we are going to simply say ages 5 and under (Olivia turns 6 in December) and we will plan on leaving it at that.

We firmly believe that God give's us the desire's of our heart! We know that in the end His plan will be unfolded and it is exciting to see what turns up. I also know that He knows what is in our best interest, and I don't plan on interrupting that. Sometimes it is so hard to simply take my hands off of things and let Him do it.

Like I had said in my prior post, I'm learning a bunch....some of it little, some of it life-changing!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


This whole process is one of learning....learning little things, learning big things. I learned a few little things today.
  1. I never know where our checkbook is
  2. Our bank limits how much you can charge to your debit card per transaction
  3. That number must be lower than the cost for our I-600A forms
  4. The post office won't take a credit card for a money order (makes sense if you think about it!)
  5. The lady at the post office is really nice and understanding as I try the 2 different debit cards not figuring out why they weren't working
  6. Our bank opens an hour earlier than I thought
  7. I shouldn't run errands before eating breakfast

Ok, so it is the little things right! Live and learn.

What is an I-600A? That would be the paperwork we sent off today in order to get permission to bring 2 orphans into the US. It used to be simply part of immigration but now goes through the Dept of Homeland Security, specifically the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. Good or Bad, they got a chunk of change from us coming in the mail today. Then, in about a month or so, we will have to go and get fingerprinted for an FBI background check. Then we wait another month or so to see if we are approved. Oh, and as soon as our homestudy is done we need to send it out to them as well as it is part of the paperwork on us that they review. Thankfully they let your paperwork "get in line" while you finish up your home study. Nice of them isn't it!

AND after all that we put together our dossier to send off with more expected waiting. Waiting might be an issue with me, I am not good at it. I will learn though.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

next week

Our social worker called while I was at work yesterday and had to reschedule our appointment as she was ill. Now I have to keep my house clean for another week...this is becoming a habit. That is a good thing right. It is my hope I will have ALL paperwork done and ready to hand to her that evening. We are so close and only need to get fingerprints done as well as fill out our financial paperwork. Time isn't flying as fast as I thought though.
I've been lucky to get in on messaging with some families using the same agency as we are. It is nice to be able to ask questions and read info from those a few steps ahead of us. However, ignorance can be bliss as well! I didn't realize how popular our agency was and am afraid the timeline of 6-9 months might be stretching further and further. We'll see. Summer travel would be nice as my dad would LOVE to go and if he went, my mom would probably follow, but it will be REALLY hot there in the summer and next summer is a LOOOoooonng way away. Oh well, in God's timing it will be complete and I have to turst in that ultimately.
Meanwhile I am going to keep working on paperwork!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Night before the last homestudy meeting!

Well here I sit, working on an autobiography, figuring out how to tell our plan of keeping the children's heritage alive for them, and simply wasting time before doing housework. The list of what rooms still need dusted and mopped goes like a ticker tape in my head (along side of all the paperwork I need to present tomorrow as well.) I am not nervous, excited really, as that pretty much polishes off the homestudy with the exception of finding someplace in rural Ohio that has electronic fingerprinting abilities and getting myself and my husband there. I think the only part that makes me anxious about the whole thing is that when this part is done, we start on the dossier. It is one giant step done for us and the part of the adoption that we have ability to speed up or slow down is soon coming to an end. From there it will be in our agency and the Vietnam governments hands and not our own. Our biggest prayer is that we make all the right choices now as they will so greatly affect us later. We want God's will in this and are trying to keep our hands from stopping His.

On a personal note, we celebrated my dad's birthday today. It is nice right now thinking that this time next year there will be 4 little voices singing "Happy Birthday" instead of just 2. Maybe he'll have that grandson he has always wanted???

Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, July 21, 2006


We were approved on our fire inspection, and the girls got a kick out of having a fire fighter in the house too! One more thing to check off the list and one less thing to think about, whew!

Day one of the yardsale was today and I am AMAZED at how well it is going. We didn't take in donations of items, nor did we advertise it much. BUT, my goal was to raise enough for our immigration paperwork. Today we made $500, so only $185 to go! It was kind of sad getting rid of my maternity clothes. It is nice to have them gone though as I won't have to move them around anymore.

The best part of doing a yardsale is sitting on the swing spending time with my grandma. We usually hang out and chat as she likes to watch people come and go and I simply like to visit with her when I can. She always has the best stories (don't worry, grandma, I won't share the one about the bells on the bed!) and I treasure that time we spend. It's almost enough fun that I would think of having more than one yard sale a year...almost!

Still have some family that isn't quite on board with us on this. I know their concern is how our girls will react and handle it. It's hard to think past the two little sweeties! Then they worry about finances. Even though we re-assure them that a huge chunk will be reimbursed back to us, they know the struggles we have had in the past 5 years or so. Then there are some that think one of us should have surgery so we don't have children on our own anymore. I know they are all well meaning and only concerned for us, and that is ok! However, money we would spend on an operation like that could be used towards this adoption, therefore less money we would be borrowing, etc and so-on and so-forth. Besides, our youngest will be 5 soon and what we have been doing to prevent pregnancies has worked well so why kick something that is working well. Anyways, we both feel we are young enough that any surgery isn't necessary. What if 10 years from now my bp goes back to normal as quick as it skyrocketed...maybe God has more kids planned for us? Who knows, but I do know that we are doing the right thing with this adoption...that the timing is now and God will provide and we will persevere with His help.

I can't wait until the day I post on here that we have a referral in hand (that would be the identity/photos of our new children.) But for now all I can say is that I will type more later as it comes. Our final homestudy visit is on monday and then we hope to start working on our dossier (that would be the big packet of paperwork we get translated and send over to Vietnam.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To take our girls or not

That is the question!

We have been encouraged by our agency to consider taking our girls with us to Vietnam. Wow, we never would have even considered it otherwise. I don't know how I am going to handle the plane trip, let alone how my 5 and 6 year old (by then) will. It would be nice to have them there though when they meet their siblings and it is an opportunity of a lifetime to see that the world doesn't operate as we do here. My kids are very sheltered...for a reason! I like to protect them from the bad in our world, however I know better than to pretend that bad isn't there. Is this an instance when we should let them see the poverty and hurt that exists in this world? Are they ready to handle it? Definitely something to take to a Higher Authority!

A short post, but deep thoughts

Monday, July 17, 2006

Home Studies and Finances

Our first homestudy meeting was accomplished last night. It was fairly easy, easier than I thought. The next one however is in our house...makes me nervous. I'm the first to admit I am not the best housekeeper, but you can guarantee it'll be spotless next monday!
Those of you wonder what a homestudy is:
  • You are assigned a social worker who prepares a fairly thick doccument called a home study to pass along to your adoption agency. The homestudy verifies that you are a fit parent, are aware of adoption concerns, and that you have a fit home for the child/children to live in.


WOW! do we even want to go there. We choose Vietnam as they are on the lower end of the cost spectrum, not the lowest (we aren't bargain shopping here!) but we knew finances were going to limit us some. Today I am finding out how limited we are. It is going to cost us about $35,000 to adopt two children. Now, before everyone's brain checks out at that amount of cash, here is how we plan to pay for it:

  • Husband's employer offers a benefit of reimbursed adoption expenses up to a certain amount.
  • The US government has an adoption tax credit that we will be able to take advantage of over a period of 5 years. Not just any old credit either, it comes right off you liability. We happen to fit into the parameters nicely, however it will take us the full 5 years to recieve the amount back.
  • That should leave us a grand total of about $8-9,000 left out of our pocket in the end (a small pice for the shipping and handling of 2 children to call our own!!!)

So what is the kicker? These are all "reimbursements". How are we going to come up with it in the begining when it is all due? We really aren't sure yet, we are having faith that it will all work out though. We are investigating home equity loans or 2nd mortgages. These would give us low monthly payments as well as the time needed to pay them off. However we need to determine how much we are able to borrow against our home. Another option is signature loans, or specific adoption loans. These however would have higher monthly payments and require us to put Brian's school loans on hold for a year or two. Not ideal as the interest will gather, but an option.

Did I mention I am having a yardsale this weekend. Selling lots of my stamping and scrapbooking items in home of raising enough to apply to the CIS (citizenship and immigration.) I also dream alot :)

More later

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why Vietnam?

YEAH! Doctor appointments and forms are filled out, we are ready to get the homestudy rolling.

Ok, next question many of you ask is "why Vietnam?" Aren't there many children here in the U.S. waiting to be adopted? Yes, there are. However, the process of foster/adopt you go through here in the states is a bit unnerving to us. The thought of having children thinking they could within the next year or two be our own only to be taken away and put back with the parents who have already caused them such pain and then given back to us when it doesn't work out, and so on and so forth....it just isn't something we think we can deal with. Now I am sure there are cases out there where this doesn't happen, however you choose a route you are comfortable with, and this is not something we would handle well. I find it upsetting that most of the children placed into "the system" in the U.S. are usually there due to emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Our society, it seems, has lost it's value on life, particularly the life and innocence of a child. It takes a special person to be able to care for a child that has to deal with that. I don't think I am that person, and neither does Brian.

So back to why Vietnam:

  • Vietnamese culture protects their orphans, a child is a treasure to them. Most of the children in these Orphanages have caretakers that love them dearly, family that had to make the most difficult decision of their life to give them up (due to poverty or death of one of the parents usually) I can't imagine loving my child so much that I give them up, hoping that the life they get will be better than starving with them!
  • Cost was a factor as well. Anyone who knows us, knows Brian has school loans (yes we are paying for all those beautiful pots of flowers they rotate it seems daily at ONU and will be for the next 10 years..but I am not bitter.) So cost was a BIG factor in where we chose to go. The idea of spending $60-70,000 in Russia, most of it in the form of handoffs of cash was very unnerving to us and simply not possible with our finances. For two children we will be looking at about $34-36,000 depending on if we take our girls with us or not.
  • Time away from our girls should we leave them here was another factor. Some countries require you be there for 5 weeks or more. Not possible due to jobs, for one thing, but more importantly our girls. Should we leave them behind for the trip, we don't want to be gone from them for weeks on end. The travel to Vietnam right now is running about 2-3 weeks. We are hoping by the time we travel it will be closer to 2 than 3 weeks.
  • The last factor I'll adress for now is the availability of older children. We aren't looking to adopt babies...ages 1-5 are what we are specifying. Due to the shut-down of adoptions there for 3 years we are hoping older children will be needing homes and that we can find a good fit

That is it for now...we appreciate all prays in this process and we'll keep updating you as we go!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

When it rains it pours

Well, talk about an eventful 24 hours! What started out as a summer rainshower turned into a couple hours of non-stop downpour. Our basement started flooding and we were getting concerned that it was going to get into the furnace. Wespent a few hours filling whatever we could with water and carrying out buckets filled to the top. The rain stopped and the flooding seemed to slow not too long after that. After a good nights rest, we rented a pump and emptied all the containers we filled as well as the floor. So all is good, right? We sit down to relax a bit while the kids are napping and hear a loud noise followed by the doorbell. Someone ran into Brian's car. Now, anyone that knows us well, knows that we don't buy nice cars. Cheap is usually the first qualifier and this one is no exception. No "OH NO someone hit the BMW!!!" here. The only thing is we were hoping to drive this one until we could afford to get the mini-van we will need to trasport our soon to expand family. I guess we will just take it in stride and see what happens...what else can we do?

Time to move on to the adoption topic. One thing many of you ask is why not have more of "your own children." First the answer your looking for and then second a caution to feelings.
  1. A while back I developed high blood pressure out of the blue. I tried changing diet, exercise, different rounds of meds and what it all boils down to is I am very sensitive to salt and regardless of diet I still need to be on meds. The meds that keep my BP in control however are a no-no for pregnant women, without them I skyrocket into unsafe (for myself and baby) levels for pregnancy. However, note that adoption is something we have always discussed, even before the birth of the girls. So this really wasn't a "plan-b" thing for us. It was encouragement to step out and go for it!
  2. Be cautious in how you ask things. I promise you not one of you have offended me, but I have been exposed enough to the adoption community now that I do know some people get offended very easily. When saying "your own children" you imply that an adopted child is not their own (perhaps they are just borrowing???). To an adoptive parent that can be hurtful, especially for couples that have dealt with infertility. Like I said, I'm not offended, but prior to researching adoption, I would have never thought twice. Just passing on my tidbit of wisdom to you :)
Life is good and we are lucky to even be able to consider bringing two more children into our home. I have been so blessed by the two I already have...their pregnancies, birth, hugs and kisses, and even tantrums and fits. I know some never get to experience any of it and I can't imagine! The journey we face now is just as exciting to us, but just as emotional, especially for me. When your pregnant you feel that anticipation and connection to the child growing in your womb. With adoption, though it is yet just an idea/process, I feel a similar attachment and can't wait to finally meet our children.