Friday, March 26, 2010

Closer and Closure

The dossier is getting closer to being completed. There are so many annoyances though. I got a lot of the paperwork notarized, only to realize that the notary's commission expires in a month. It can't be expired when it goes to Ethiopia, so I had to print it all out again, fill out the forms and find another notary.

Luckily there are several on campus, and after a phone call found one who's commission doesn't expire until 2011. However, I also needed to get a medical clearance form signed by my doctor and notarized. And after I picked up that form this morning, I saw that the notary's commission expires in July. I'm not sure if that will work.

I also have a form that needs to be sent to Albany to be state certified. But first I needed to go to the County Clerk's office and have it county certified. Tomorrow I will call the local police department to get a letter stating that I am a "citizen in good standing." (All my friends who have adopted assured me that they will know what I'm talking about.)

Nothing too hard. Just annoying. I think the hardest part will be my two-page statement. I've worked on it -- and will show it to my local social worker tomorrow when we meet to see what she thinks. I will post the entire thing when it's finished, but this was the first thing I wrote and it's how I'm planning to end it:

I hope I can live up to the dreams the birth mother has for her child. I can't thank her enough for her unselfishness in allowing me to raise her child, to be the mother. Not only is she giving her child a better life, she is giving me a better life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Dossier

My training requirements are complete, which means the home study is done. I am just waiting for a final, notarized copy to mail with my immigration forms to Homeland Security. Once I have that clearance, the only thing left is my dossier -- the official file that will go to the country I'm adopting from.

My goal is to have the dossier complete and mailed out before my birthday in the middle of April. Everything needs to be notarized, one thing needs to be state certifies -- but other than the annoyance of that, it's pretty cut and dry.

Several forms that are already in the packet that I need to sign; and then: a letter from my boss stating my length of employment, job title and how long I've worked there; photos of my and my house, inside and out; an original birth certificate with seal (I ordered it on Friday); a form signed by my doctor attesting to my good health; a letter from my local police that I'm a citizen in good standing; and two letters of reference.

The hardest piece of it all will be my statement of reason for adopting a child from this country -- two pages about my commitment to the child and his culture, my community's acceptance of a child of this heritage and my reason for adopting.

I've started to write it in my head, over and over. And so many times, I get hung up on how it will sound to a stranger. Will it be convincing enough. Will they not like what I write?

As I have been reading through information about the country, I've made notes. I love the idea that it's a mostly Christian country, so I won't be raising my child in a religion that he most likely wouldn't have been raised in. Unless he was abandoned, there will some family and I will be able meet the birth family and to send them updates. I get to share the amazing journey of being a mother in a very unique way. And I get to thank his family for that opportunity, and I get to share the connection with them with my child.

It will take me the next three weeks to my birthday to figure out just the words for that part of my dossier. There are thousands of children in that country who need a mother -- and I'm just one woman who needs a child to make me a mother. I hope I can express how much this opportunity that will be entrusted to me really and truly means.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adoption Update

I started the week doing 10 hours of online training, necessary for my adoption application. It was over-whelming and made me have doubts. I realize they want to know about every possibility, but to read about it all at once. Holy shit.

Every medical problem, every regression or attachment issue, every disciplinary problem....all over the course of two days. I called my friend who adopted from the same country three years ago.

"Robbie's okay, right?"

She talked me off the edge. Most of the issues I read about happen to children who are institutionalized or older when they are adopted. But they have to cover their ass and tell me everything.

Once I talked to her, I felt a little better. The whole idea of adopting, of being responsible for someone else's baby, for being given another life is a lot to absorb. And it's so much more than just getting pregnant and giving birth.

While I know that I will love my adopted child as my own, will feel that way about him or her -- when it's all abstract, the baby to be named later doesn't feel like mine yet.

So I have the first part of my application in. I am awaiting instructions from the placement agency for the last of my pre-adoption education. I spoke with my social worker at the placement agency today and she said she'll be getting that out to me. Once all the education is done, my home study is complete and I can send in my immigration paperwork to Homeland Security.

At the same time, I can begin putting my dossier together. Depending on how long the immigration paperwork takes, I could have everything in by the end of April. And so from that point, from dossier to referral (the actual paper that says, this is your baby, do you want him?) is an estimated 12 to 18 months.

Still a long time to wait. But that's really when the bulk of the money needs to be paid, so it gives me 12 to 18 months to save, to raise, to borrow.

It's starting to feel like it's going to happen. Little by little.

Friday, March 12, 2010

No More Dual Tracking

I filled out my application for the international agency, along with a $1600 check. I suddenly feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. I haven't thought about the failed attempts, just looking forward.

Of course, I didn't get there on my own. I had to call Buffalo Dave yesterday to find out my balance in one of my retirement accounts. And when I told him, I guess I didn't sound very excited about it. He was. And then asked what was up. When I told him I was still sad about not being able to get pregnant, he said, "you know how when you're reading a really good book? And you can't wait to read the next page? You're not thinking about the page you just read, but what's about to come."

It was pretty profound for him. And pretty quick. And I appreciated his little story. Of course the best part of the story -- best for my ego anyway -- was when he told me that he would buy me a "MILF on Board" bumper sticker. I told him I would hold him to it.

I came home last night and finished filling out and signing a stack of paperwork. This morning I copied it all, wrote out a check, and put it all in an envelope. Tomorrow I will go to the post office in the course of my errands and mail it out.

It's hard to think that it won't be until at least this time next year before anything happens, but I can use the next 12 months to work on me, to get me (mind and body) back to where I need to be.

And so the next steps are...

* application, part 1 ($1600) will get mailed tomorrow
* I need to do a 10-hour, online training session for my home study to be complete
* once the home study is complete, I can mail it and my immigration forms (along with $750) to Homeland Security
* and then application, part 2, along with $1500

I'm not even looking past that. One step at a time. When I go to Baltimore next month for my birthday, Bubbles and I will put a plan in place for some sort of fund-raiser (stay tuned, faithful readers). It will most likely be a raffle -- I have lots of signed sports memorabilia and get my hands on more, thanks to my friends in my previous life.

I told my "gym boyfriend" tonight that after spring break he gets the old Laurie back, hardcore Laurie. That will go to working on getting me back to me (mind & body).