Monday, October 26, 2009

It's All Good

Well, we've gone and done it now. Our social worker has visited and approved of both our safety standards and our decor. Before you know it we'll be so close to done we can taste it. At this point it still seems like we've got plenty to do (USCIS, more documents, state certifying all those documents, writing a few terrifyingly large checks), but at the same time, it's nothing compared to what we've already accomplished. It won't be long now before I'll have nothing of note to report except which craft project I've finished. Won't that be nice? I hope you'll keep tuning in when it's just a Mod Podge and white paint extravaganza over here. Progress will be measured differently then, but measured nonetheless.

I really can't wait for that. Have I said that before? I. Cannot. Wait.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Home Visit Ahoy!

Tomorrow at 9am, the nicest social worker in the world will come to our door to make sure our house is suitable for a child. We spent the day working to get ready, but it wasn't too stressful. See aforementioned comment about nicest and social worker and in the world. We've met with her twice, and she really is just fantastic. I feel at ease with her, and she has assured us that the home visit portion of the home study is not a big deal. However, we do clean and make the bed the first time someone comes over, and if we have time, we also put out the nice towels, arranged just so.

The nice towels are already out, arranged just so.

I am really looking forward to moving ahead with this process. It will be a relief to have all our documents in order and to begin the process of waiting for our referral. Which is to say that I'm looking forward to not worrying about if our documents are in order and instead get to work on the many crafty projects I already have in mind. It seems I read more and more blogs lately that feature families that waited quite a long time to receive a referral. I'm preparing myself to be ready for that. I'm not always very good at waiting, but I will do my very best. After all, once we've got her in our arms, I know I won't really care how long it's taken. It will probably feel just about right.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OneCause for One Certain Magnolia

We've completed the first of our home study meetings, and so far our social worker seems to think we're competent parents. This brings us closer to Magnolia, which is a good thing indeed. It also brings us closer to needing some funds, which is a challenging thing. Jarod gets adoption assistance through his work, and we'll get federal tax credits as well, but none of this is available to us until after the adoption is finalized, and it won't be enough to cover everything. Our adoption will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000. We've paid some of that from our savings, and our plan as it stands now is to take out two loans, one now since we have a chunk of fees due as soon as our home study and dossier are complete, and one later, when we receive our referral. On the upside, I am really good at making beans and rice. On the downside, once we take out that second loan, our finances will become a little strained until the adoption is final and we can receive the adoption assistance through Jarod's work. The tax credit will take even longer to receive. It's a lot of financial juggling. So we are beginning our fundraising now in hopes that by the time we go to pick up Magnolia, we'll have enough to cover our travel expenses and a bit extra to cover various other expenses until the adoption is finalized and we can apply for the adoption assistance through Jarod's work, thus alleviating approximately one third of our financial strain.

Our first fundraiser is one that will cost you a tiny bit of time, but no extra money. OneCause is a nontraditional fundraising program in which online merchants donate a percentage of the sales made through the OneCause website to a charity of your choice. A number of merchants that I already order from are part of OneCause, including Amazon.com, Target, iTunes, Gap, J. Crew, and my fave, Boden. We have registered with OneCause to support the National Adoption Foundation, and the National Adoption Foundation will give 50% of what is raised back to us. That means that if a retailer gives 2% of the sale back to OneCause, we would get 1% and the National Adoption Foundation would get 1% to continue their good work. So here's how you make it happen:

1. Click here to be taken to the OneCause page for the National Adoption Foundation.

2. Click on "Support this Cause" and register.

3. Once you are registered, click on the My Home tab and find the "Supporter Crediting" link on the left hand side, under the "My Profile Settings" heading.

4. Check the "Enroll in the National Adoption Foundation Supporter Crediting Program" box.

5. Enter marymuses@gmail.com as the e-mail address in the box provided.

6. Remember to log into OneCause to do your usual internet shopping. Use the "Search Merchants" box in the upper right hand corner to find the merchants you usually use, and take advantage of the ability to favorite the ones you use the most.

And that's it! Simple, right? Get to it! Magnolia thanks you, and we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Progress as Promised

We somehow seem to have convinced a very nice social worker to do our home study meetings and home visit, despite the fact that we are still missing a letter of reference from one person and a state child abuse hotline check (Connecticut is confusing!). The first two meetings will take place at our social worker's office, otherwise known as Panera, and the in home visit will be on October 26. I'm enlisting the help of a good friend to give the house a thorough cleaning the day before, and Jarod's parents are being coerced into coming over on Sunday to help us finish up a few small house projects. I'm making honey mustard glazed brisket and roasted root vegetables--if you want, you can come, too! In addition to the necessary projects (finish painting the house, install a cat door, caulk the tub, boooooring), I'm also keen in getting some crafty things finished in Magnolia's room. I bought the Mod Podge! Who wants to decoupage? Do you have a sewing machine you can bring?

I can't seem to help buying little things here and there for our future daughter. I know that it might be a long time before we see her face, but we might be surprised, and quite frankly, our financial situation is such that it is better to buy things we'll need as we go along as opposed to suddenly needing to get a whole bunch of stuff. Most of what we've bought are deep discount clearance items, but we picked up some sweet little things on vacation as well. In addition, as is our custom, once the next phase of the process is done, I'll get another something super special. This time it won't be from the Target clearance rack; in fact, it's been something I've been wanting for her for a long time. In this case, the next phase will be the completion of the home study, and I believe that this beauty is what will end up on our doorstep. I look forward to placing the order not just because I love the print, but also because it means I can sigh another sigh of relief that one more big hurdle has been cleared.

So giddyup. Let's go.

(PS--I was serious about the Mod Podge. Come over!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Patience and Progress

We are back now, and I am all aflush with the joys of paperwork. There is not so much more to do now, but I have questions about what little I have. There is scheduling to do to get our friend-turned-notary so that we can go together to two different offices to notarize signatures of people who cannot go elsewhere to sign something for us. I like to call it BYON: Bring Your Own Notary. We are blessed and lucky to have a friend who is willing to do this for us. But today there's not much that can be done because (surprise!), it's Columbus Day, and government offices, where many forms originate, are not open to answer my queries. I guess that's all right; I've got plenty to do for one day. It's just that this is what I'd prefer to be doing, much more than I prefer to do laundry or unpack or let Ira Glass be my companion as I cook our dinner. Because while we were away, something happened. We got our weekly update from our agency, and noted that there were new waiting children on the site, and when I pulled up the page, there was a baby girl there that we most certainly would be willing to adopt. She is beautiful, with big eyes and stripey pants and a birth defect that needs correcting. There would be a short series of surgeries, then some additional work to do. We could handle it. But there are a couple of things standing in our way. First, another family is already reviewing her information. Second, we don't have a completed dossier, so we couldn't request to review her information even if there weren't someone else already doing so. These two factors combined mean that she is likely not the Magnolia we are looking for. I know that I couldn't have had any more done with our paperwork, given my schedule during the summer and early fall, plus the obstacles that we didn't foresee. But the fact of the matter is that if we'd had our stuff together, she might not have shown up on that waiting child page at all. She might have just been presented to us as a possible referral, and she wouldn't have to wait. I hate that she has to wait; if you saw her, you would hate it, too. One reason I want so much to make a family by adopting is that I believe that every child deserves a loving family, that no child should have to wait. And yet there are all these children, with big eyes and funny sneakers and noses that need to be wiped, and they are waiting.

And so, I begin to work again in earnest on our paperwork. Because when our Magnolia shows up? I don't want to keep her waiting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where'd We Go?

Oh, hi. It seems I left you hanging there. We finally hung up the "gone wandering" sign and went wandering, but not before I FedExed our home study documents to the agency and sent a few e-mails to follow up. We're in London at the moment, having a ball, but I must admit that I hear the siren call of paperwork all the way over here. I know, right? LAME. Can't even go on vacation without bringing all my adoption thoughts with me. But this is important to us. It's more important than vacation. And so, while I'm enjoying the time away a great deal, I can't wait to get home.

To do paperwork.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.

See you soon, post-its and file folders. I know you miss me while I am away.
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