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I own you.

23 Apr

I had posted a “quick” update awhile ago here, but I really wanted to explain our homestudy for those who have been asking. The homestudy is probably the most involved part of the adoption…so far.

The outside of our tiny 1188 sq. ft. condo. 

With our massive paperwork, Jeremy and I each had to write a 6-10 page autobiography on ourselves. It was tedious.

As our homestudy interviews approached, we spent some time talking to Lil’ B about adopting. To be honest, I really didn’t want to explain it to him so early at first. Mainly because, at 6 years old, he doesn’t have a concept of time yet and the Philippines program (which at that point, we were still in) is a 2+ year process. I didn’t want to tell him today that he might have a lil’ brother or sister, then it not happen for 2 years. But we knew the case worker would be asking Lil’ B some questions and we felt it was best to prepare him for it.  Lil’ B’s mom is well aware of us planning to adopt; we told her about it last summer and she has been very supportive with our decision. In fact, she even wrote one of our referral letters for us. ❤  I’m not sure how much she had been telling/explaining to Lil’ B, but I assume she might have said something to him.

One evening as Lil’ B and I were veggin’ on the couch, watching TV, some commercial about babies came on.
Out of nowhere, Lil’ B says. “I want a brother”
Me: “I know, hun. You know daddy and I are adopting a brother or sister, right?”
Lil’ B: “Yeah.”
Me: “Do you know what adoption means?”
Lil’ B: “That they don’t have an owner yet”

Owner. He said owner. Ohhh I laughed.

Me: (trying to contain my laugher) “Well…it means that those kids don’t have a family and we’re going to adopt a brother or sister and they will be apart of our family.”
Lil’ B: “Ohhh. I don’t want to know where babies come from.”
Me: (still laughing): Well, one day you’ll want to know”
Lil’ B: I don’t want to know where babies come from” (saying it a bit firmer)
Me: When you’re ready to know, you can come ask me, your dad or your mom.

Ohh…trying to explain it on a kids level…not easy!

When the case worker came to our house for a 3 hour interview. Yes…3 hours. She mainly asked us questions pertaining to our autobiographies; things that she just wanted to verify or have us elaborate more about. She asked us a lot about our relationships with our families and how our parents treated us growing up. Of course, she also asked Jeremy and I questions about each other; our personalities, our likes and dislikes and how we handle our anger. She asked Lil’ B about 2 or 3 questions; if he wanted to be a big brother, if he’d rather have a brother or sister, questions appropriate for a child to answer. And then Lil’ B gave her a tour of the house (which lasted a whole 5 minutes or less).

Spare room/Computer room…which will eventually be our new lil’ one’s room

After the homestudy interviews, the case worker writes a whole report on you. It pretty much lists everything anyone could ever know about you, your finances, your childhood, every school you ever went to, your family, your reasons to adopt…everything. Our report was about 14 pages long. No kidding.

AND that’s where we’re at now. We’re waiting for our agency to “re-write” our homestudy. Our original homestudy was specific to the Philippines, so now they have to take out any reference to the Philippines and replace it with Korea. Also the “Child Conditions” form (the hardest form to ever fill out; it lists just about every medical condition a person could be born with and we have to say if it’s something we can handle or not) is different for the Korea program than the Philippines, so we had to re-do that paperwork, since there is a section in the homestudy that lists what you are able to accept and handle medically. Once we receive our *new* homestudy, we fill out the I-600A form, send it in (with our homestudy)….and then we are on the wait list. woot, woot!

Anyone adopting read my blog? How did you explain to the kids in your family (whether they be sons, daughters, cousins, nieces, nephews or other) about your adoption?

Updates!

22 Mar

Ohhh I know…it’s been waaay to long since I’ve updated everyone. Eeep! I do apologize for that! Lots have happened since I last posted an update. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good.

  • In December we finished the first part of our massive paperwork. Phew.
  • We also had our homestudy done in January and are homestudy approved! woot, woot!

The bad & ugly.
After 9 months of paperwork and a few thousand dollars into this, we found out that we will not be adopting from the Philippines after all.
Even though the first and main question I asked at our initial information meeting (back in June 2010) was about the religious requirements, it seems that after ALL this time, we won’t meet that requirement (Parent must demonstrate a relationship of at least 5 years with a religious or spiritual organization.). Our agency didn’t catch this until now. Now, after we’ve already had our minds and hearts set on the Philippines. Now, after we already are emotionally and financially invested. They did try to “fix” this; our agency sent our religious affiliation letter to the Philippines for pre-approval (before we got any farther in the process), but it seems that, even though the Philippines is okay with us and our letter (they really didn’t want to refuse a Filipino family a Filipino child), they don’t think it will pass the Inter-County Adoption Board (ICAB) since it is a requirement for the Philippines. And if the ICAB doesn’t approve, then our dossier would never make it to the Philippines, regardless. 😦
We are a little heart-broken. We were really looking forward to adopting from the Philippines and still being able to share that cultural background with our child.

Back to The good.

  • We have decided to continue our adoption journey and adopt from Korea!
  • Luckily, the $$ we spent up to date and most of the paperwork we’ve already done will transfer over to the Korea program.
  • There are MANY pros to us adopting from Korea:
  1.  No dossier! Once we are homestudy approved (which we already are), our homestudy gets sent to the agency in Korea, we send paperwork to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and we are on the wait list!
  2. This brings us to pro #2, shorter wait times! With the Philippines, we had an estimated 2 year wait. Korea’s average wait time is 1 year or less to receive a referral.
  3. We could bring home a younger child. The youngest we could adopt from the Philippines was 2 years old; we could get placed with a child as young as 7 months from Korea. I think we’re still going to aim for toddler age, but we’ll see. ;o)
  4.  One of my Besties is half-Korean. After talking to her on the phone, she seemed pretty excited for us and I am totally going to be expecting her to be the favorite “Auntie”. 😉

Summary:
We are not adopting from the Philippines anymore. 😦 BUT we will be adopting from Korea. AND that means we could have an addition to our family by this time next year! That also means that we need to get our arse in gear and fundraise! When adopting from the Philippines, we thought we had 2 years to raise and save money. Now it looks like we’ll need to save and raise a lot more, a lot sooner. So this is where I ask you to help out! If you haven’t scored one of our awesome “Adoption Rock’s” shirts, puuuulease do! I also have toddler sizes and totebags available. Or donate $1.50 and get an awesome sticker!

The Adoption Process

12 Oct

 

I’ve had quite a few friends ask me what’s involved in the adoption process. I thought it would just be easier to write it all down for you*.
Hopefully I will be able to quickly check all these items off the list!

First there is the initial application. For our agency, it’s called the “fact sheet”. Or what I like to refer to as the application before the application. Once our agency receives this, they send us a packet to “finish” our application. The paperwork and documents required to complete our application will be used in our Homestudy and Dossier later, so a lot of the paperwork that we are to complete now, is for our packets later.

Alright, ready to see the loooong list?

  • Service Agreement – signed and notarized
  • Fee Policy – signed
  • Hague Training form (I’ll get into this later)
  • Financial Statement – notarized. This is where we explain our financial background, income, debts, insurance, etc. This gets submitted with a signed and notarized copy of our most recent 1040 income tax form.
  • Medical Examination Report – Jeremy, my step-son and I must each get examined by a physician. For Jeremy and I, this includes an urinalysis, TB testing, blood work, etc…
  • Photographs – Photos will be sent to the overseas agency with our dossier.
    We must include: 1- 8×10 photo of Jeremy and I, 1 photos of us and step-son, photos of extended family, 2 photos of outside of our home, photos of the inside of our home.
  • Letter from employer – Must include current position, annual salary, length of time with the company in current position and a statement addressing job security (must obtain 2 copies with signatures).
  • Certified copies of birth certificates
  • Certified copies of marriage certificate
  • Reference letters – Must be completed by 4 people who are not related to us. These references are confidential and the forms are sent directly to the agency by our reference. More references will be needed when we get to our dossier.
  • Risks in Intercountry Adoption paperwork – signed
  • Philosophy and Policy on Discipline – signed
  • Civil Rights Compliance – signed
  • Child Conditions Form – This has to be one of the hardest forms to fill out. It lists just about every birth defect a child could have (from asthma to mental retardation) and we have to go through it and list if we are capable of providing for this child (mentally, physically and financially) or not.
  • Autobiography – Jeremy and I each have to write our own autobiography. Must be 6-10 pages long. Yikes!!
  • Child Abuse background check
  • Criminal background check
  • FBI fingerprint check
  • Pre-file I-800A with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services

Did I mention this is for just our application (although some paperwork will also be used for our dossier)? The agency recommends that we complete ALL documents within 60 days of our face sheet. Yup, 2 months. Talk about pressure! This is just the first step! I haven’t gotten into the social worker meetings (that is for the Homestudy) or the dossier packet.

The dossier package of documents is compiled and submitted to the Intercountry Adoption Board. Its is the way that they get to know us. Once it is approved, they will use the information within to match us to our child. Including much of the information on the list above, we will also need for our dossier:

  • Psychological evaluations
  • Character reference from a religious leader
  • Character reference from community member
  • Application Form for Intercounty Adoption

And then we wait. This could easily take up to 24 months of waiting. Maybe more, maybe less.

Once we get the anticapated call with a referral, we then finish filing our I-800 application, finalize travel plans and fly to the Philippines to pick up our lil’ one.

So, for all my friends who have been asking how the process is going, it’s going. And it will be going for awhile.

*Please note that every country and agency is different, so my paperwork requirements might differ from others.

It’s official.

24 Aug

We are officially in the adoption process. Our initial application is in the mail and now we wait for the massive paperwork to come. Eeeeek! I am soooo excited!

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