Monday, October 12, 2009

June-September 2009 posts

Its been a while…

Its been over a month since we’ve posted, but that is kind of the name of the game right now. However, things are happening…

We have finally completed all the necessary paperwork to submit our “dossier” to the agency and various governments. We are officially approved by the State of Colorado and the US government to proceed on our journey. This dossier will be sent in to the Agency today or Monday, they will review it for completeness (which it is) and, assuming their approval, we will be at the stage of waiting for a referral (which will likely take many months). Then again, who knows…

Michelle met some local folks recently who have been through the process. They came home from Ethiopia last week, but we haven’t talked with them yet; need to give them some decompression time. We are curious about their experience.

Later this week, we are attending two day-long adoption classes that are required by the State (hence, Grammy and Papa are coming into town to help watch Everett while we do this). We will have one more day-long class after that, but then we will be completely done with requirements on us.

Looking forward to the next step!

Michelle has really done a lot of research on adoptive families. In doing so, she found that there is a community of Coloradoans that are on the same journey as us. She found a forum on the Internet and began to make some connections with other parents.

Last Thursday, we got together with a couple of them at a Highlands Ranch music event. One couple is a bit further along in the process (they should clear court any time now). Another mom was there, and she had her 3-year-old daughter, Tigist, with her. What a treat….it was my first experience watching, listening to, and interacting with an Ethiopian girl. Very sweet personality, social and quite happy. It really solidified for me that we are doing the right thing! She was full of hugs for all of us… the most funny being that when she hugged Wesley, she wanted to kiss him…he would have none of that!

Anyway, it was nice to know that there are others around us on this same journey. And the Country Music was good, too.


Our homestudy is finally off to state (after having to make some WACAP required changes this past week). So, timeframe from homestudy review to it being sent off to state — one-and-a-half weeks. But the paperchase is not over! We still have many documents that have been notarized but still need “verification.” We need a local police report (even though we’ve already been background-checked by the feds, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico), and we have to have our “application letter” approved by WACAP (even though they won’t call me back). Thank you to our “reference letter” writers. I now have all of those and can send them off for state verification. It’s moving along — but slowly!

Thanks Doc!

We have finally finished our requisite physical exams, HIV and Tuberculosis testing and general all-around poking and prodding. The process requires two separate medical evaluations. The one for our Home Study is really just the doctor commenting as to whether we are physically and emotionally capable (in her medical opinion at least) to be an adoptive parent (good news…she said, “yes”). The other evaluation is for the official dossier that goes to the Ethiopian government, detailing our HIV and TB status among other things. Our wonderful doctor was so cooperative when we asked her to take it to a Notary Public (required). She really went out of her way to help us.

The good news overall is that the Home Study interview and medical portions are complete. Next Monday (8/3), we go to our social worker’s office to review the study she has created from her visits in our house. Assuming all goes well, it gets finalized by the State of Colorado and is submitted to the adoption agency….we shall see. The next hurdle will be the I-600 Immigration form requirements…President Obama wants to be in the loop. -p.

Interesting tidbit

Most couples who hope to adopt request a girl! But, except for China, boys are given up for adoption way more often than girls!

Foster/Adoption: We looked into this first. There are plenty of babies but also plenty of adoptive parents who want these babies. Biggest downside: Biological parents’ rights aren’t terminated until after 12 months. We could raise a child for a year and then have her taken away!

Domestic adoption: Biggest downside: there are way more parents wanting to adopt than there are babies. We didn’t want to be competing with parents who were desperate for their first child when we have already been blessed with two. Other downsides: you are not guaranteed that a birth mother will ever pick you, it is expensive, and higher risk of drug/alcohol exposure.

Russia: biggest downsides: high risk of fetal alcohol exposure, only babies who haven’t been adopted by a Russian family after 9 MONTHS are eligible to be adopted by foreigners. Wait for girls over 12 months. Youngest child will be is 18 months.

China: the wait in China is 3 years! Plus, we haven’t been married long enough.

South Korea: haven’t been married long enough, very few girls, and long wait time

Haiti: Desperate need for adoptive families there, BUT, we haven’t been married long enough, and after your matched with a child you wait about 2 YEARS to bring them home (gov. very screwed up)

Other countries: only available children are older, girls hard to come by, marriage requirements too strict for us.

Why Ethiopia?

We have done tons and tons of research and Ethiopia has turned out to be the best fit for us. Biggest reason: everything we’ve read says that the children from Ethiopia are so resilient and adjust so well in their adoptive families. Other reasons:
-families are really important in the Ethiopian culture. Families are forced to give up these children because of extreme poverty, or often, because the parents have died
-unlike lots of other places (including the U.S.) there is little incidence of drug or alcohol exposure in these children
-The Ethiopian program goes pretty quickly (by adoption standards)
-you can request gender
-you can request an infant
-a two-year marriage is long enough

Long story short — we weren’t sure whether we wanted a third child but when we got pregnant we were so excited we knew we did. We had one miscarriage, and then almost a year later another one. We decided then that we didn’t have to have a biological child to be happy. There are so many kids out there who need homes. Plus, we could ask for a girl!

Where to start?

We’ve started this blog so our family and friends can better understand why we’ve chosen to adopt, why we’ve chosen to adopt from Ethiopia, and what the lengthy and complicated process of adoption looks like. We’ve already gone through so much it’s hard to know what to talk about first!

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