Saturday, September 30, 2006

Check this out also!!!!!

hey everyone, after you check out "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" go check out "Bring me Mia"......some amazing news posted over there that is definitely Snoopy Happy Dance x 2!!!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Check it out!

Doing the Happy Snoopy Dance for Kelly over at Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds! Click on the link to "Lucy" on this page and go read for yourself! What wonderful news!!!!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Random comments on Homestudy, Quilts, and Hockey in the U.P.

whew! what a week this had been! We had our first homestudy visit last sunday, our second monday morning, and our third (and final) on tuesday morning. Our homestudy social worker, A~, was great and quickly put as at ease. Truthfully, we both found the process quite enjoyable and informative. I especially appreciated the handouts A~ provided with websites, articles, and books about international adoption and adoption in general. Signed up and took the "Conspicious Families" online course monday: a good course and gave us both some things to think about, especially in regards to strangers possible questions and how to respond to those questions. The walk through of our house took place monday morning- all that cleaning my mom and we did and A~ spent about five minutes tops on the walk through! ha! that will teach me to freak out over THAT particular part of the homestudy process.
R and I asked to be approved for 2 on the homestudy. Yes, I know, a bit crazy and hopeful on our part, but we are not getting younger and would love to have twins or a sibling group so that our children will allways have someone in the family who "looks" like they do. And, of course, most importantly, we would love to have 2 children!!! The odds are probably against us, but we can dream, can't we?
The rest of the week was a blur: wednesday I had to pick a friend up at the airport, thursday we had our drs appointments for the medical needed for the homestudy and I had a meeting to attend, and Friday I had a meeting in the morning and then a ton of things to do at work (it did not help that the darn computer was not working at work AGAIN!). Saturday I finally forced myself to take the time to get my quilt sqaures and wishes put together for the 100 Good wishes group I joined on one of my vietnam adoption groups: Dec DTV 05. So, if any of my list mates are reading this, your quilt sqaures should arrive this week!
After all the craziness of the week, R and I decided to do something fun together- so off we went to the inaugural home game of the Marquette Rangers Junior A hockey game against the Alpena Ice Diggers. It was a good game, and the Rangers all but had it in the "net", until they lost steam (partly due to their captain getting into a fight and getting sent to the locker room) and gave up 3 goals in the last four minutes of play. Oh well. Maybe next time, Rangers!
The funniest part of the game came right at the beginning when the audience was asked to stand for the national anthem- all THREE of them. Two of the anthems did not surprise me, as I grew up around here and its not uncommon to hear the Canadian national anthem (Oh, Canada, my home and native land- see I even know most of the lyrics!) and the United States national anthem (that lovely ditty by Francis Scott Key that is so hard to sing in "key"). But the very first national anthem sung at the game was an unknown to even me, a native yooper. Can anyone guess what country's national anthem was sung first?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bogey and the Harrod's Bear

On Wednesday, I drove to the Green Bay airport to pick up our friend, B, who was returning from a trip to London, England. B brought back a Harrod's bear for the baby-an adorable cuddly soft beige teddy bear with a green ribbon around his neck and "Harrods" on the bottom of one of his feet.
R and I decided to put the Harrods Bear in a place of honour in the baby's room - on top of the dresser with the Moon Doggie bookends and the Eric Carle board books. He looked quite grand and regal sitting up there!
Shortly after we set the Harrod's Bear in his place, Bogey, our Scottish Terrier, went missing.
Turns out Bogey is very fond of the Harrod's Bear. We found him sitting in front of the dresser in the baby's room whining and staring longingly up at the bear.
Too cute!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blessed Baby

This morning I woke up thinking "in less than 11 hours, we will have our first home study visit."
The anxiety of this thought dominated my attention as we made our way to church and settled in the pew.
Shortly after we arrived, S came in with her three young grandsons, S (4), B (2), and N (8 months). I had not seen N since his baptism on Easter sunday, and he has grown so much since then! He is a beautiful, alert baby boy. I confess that my focus from that point on was not on the liturgy, but on N.
Then something God-sent happened.
S handed N to me.
I held him throughout the rest of the worship service, relinquishing him only once, to R (dh) to hold.
From the moment little N was in my arms, all anxiety over the homestudy visit dissapated- I could feel the tension leave my body, replaced with a joyous content infused with the smell and feel of that little baby boy in my arms.
During the Eucharist, I held him in my arms, nuzzled his neck, and closed my eyes in a prayer of thanks to God, that on this day of anxiety and tension, a baby boy was placed in my arms to remind me what this whole process of gathering paperwork, meeting with social workers, and writing checks was all about: the blessing of a baby in my arms.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Puppy Sabotage!

Tomorrow is our first homestudy visit. My wonderful mother came over on Thursday and cleaned for me (I was at work, as usual) and the house looks great! As I noted in my previous post, I rushed around yesterday getting bank letters and our marriage certificate so that we had all our paperwork ready for the visit.
Maybe I am paranoid, but Ben, our little black bear of a dog, seems to have sensed what is going on and has decided to do a little passive aggressive protesting...last night, as I was going over the bank letters, he stepped on the paper and wrinkled it.
This morning, he threw up on the newly cleaned rug.
Hmm...maybe if I throw in an extra greenie or two today and tomorrow he will be placated? he IS a serious greenie addict, so it just might do the trick.....

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hectic days

Today I rushed around getting together some documents we need for our homestudy- marriage license, bank letters, and the like. It is strange, yet exciting, to answer the question of "what is this for?" with "our adoption." Of course, close friends and family know of our adoption plans, so it isn't top secret or anything, but still, there is something so real about saying it out loud to a complete stranger- even if that complete stranger is "just" the bank customer service rep or the clerk at the courthouse.
Of course, I keep going over and over the list of documents needed and triple checking that it is all done....only to go back and recheck yet again, as if these documents are going to magically disappear or be altered into some unacceptable state. Seriously, I think I am becoming neurotic over all of this- which makes me wonder how I am going to survive this process, if I am allready going goofy over simple document collection?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Adoption Questions

Katie Yael, over at "Making Aliyah" (a cherished friend and "sister" of mine) posted a comment asking some questions about "why vietnam?" and I thought it would be a good blog topic for "Snips and Snails" since others might also be wondering why we chose Vietnam.

When Robert and I began talking seriously about adoption we first debated the pros and cons of domestic adoption vs international adoption. Personally, I had my heart set on international adoption from the "get-go" as very good friends of mine adopted a little boy from Honduras back while I was in high school. However, since Robert was "new" to adoption and since we are in this together, it was important for us to discuss all aspects of adoption-including domestic and international. Being a research fanatic, I delved into various print and internet publications to explore domestic adoption. We found that there were several reasons why domestic was not a good "fit" for us: first, private open adoption could involve a very long wait; second, the birth mother has the option, for six months after the placement, (as well she should) to change her mind -a risk neither of us could handle emotionally; third, foster adopt programs held similiar risks of disruption/termination (the state's first priority is to reunite families, which means a child could be in your home for a long while and there is still the chance that the adoption will not be completed), additionally, the children available through foster adopt programs are often older and carry with them the unfortunate side effects of neglect/abuse at the hands of biological parents AND the trauma built in to being shuffled around in the foster care system. While Robert and I support and applaud people who choose to build their families through private, open adoption and through foster adopt programs, we found ourselves unwilling to take on the risks related to these options.

Having made that decision, we focused our attention on international adoption. For a very long time we were committed to adopting from Guatemala - Robert has a cousin who adopted an infant girl from Guatemala and we were impressed with the speed of the process, the young age of the babies adopted, the general good health of the infants, and the fact that most infants are in foster care as opposed to orphanages. The trip is very short, four to five days in country-far more appealing than the 1o day trips involved with China adoption or the two week, two trips involved in Eastern European adoptions (specifically Russia, but other countries as well). The only drawback to Guatemala at the time we were considering it was the cost: agencies were quoting us upwards of 35 thousand dollars.

Our decision to adopt from Guatemala seemed a "done deal" for almost year, and I belonged to several guatemala adoption yahoo groups. Robert was still concerned about the cost, but with my obtaining a job working with at-risk youth (which included benefits), and his jewelry business, we figured we would find a way. However, the longer I was on the gautemala adopt lists, the more concerned we became over reports of disrupted adoptions, instability in the government, corrupt adoption lawyers, rumors of "baby brokering," and parents waiting over a year to bring their child home. We also spoke with several agencies, and one, in particular, discouraged us from the guatemala program due to increased instability.

Back we went to the drawing board: Russia was out due to the very high cost (40,000 plus), the reported poor orphanage care, the two trip requirement (very expensive), and the need for "blatting" (Bribing) left and right while in country. China was an appealing option, but the wait for a baby in China was growing ever longer- 18 + months. Also, while we were open to either gender, we both thought we would like a baby boy, which is not really an option in China, save for Special Needs adoptions.

In an internet search one day, I discovered that Vietnam had re-opened and, being ever the research hound, I dug in and searched out every bit of information I could find. At the time it first opened, there were a lot of unkowns about how it would proceed, but the process was expected to be relatively smooth, the infants referred being quite young, and both boys and girls available. The cost was about ten thousand less than Guatemala (around 25 thousand when you factor in the trip), and while the travel is between 2 and 3 weeks, we had rethought about travel time and realized that, while perhaps a bit difficult to work out all the details, a longer period in country would provide us with wonderful opportunities to learn about the people and the culture of our child's birth country. Also, the time frame was pretty short: leaving us to expect we could complete our adoption in 6-8 months.

As of this writing, several families have traveled to Vietnam and returned with their children. It seems that many people had the same idea we did and switched to Vietnam when it re-opened. That, coupled with people who started their paperchase before the country reopened (with the hope and expectation that it would re-open) has resulted in ever increasing wait times for referals. One of the agencies we considered (and are still considering) is listing a 12-18 month wait for a baby girl referal(with travel taking place 4-5 months after that) and a 4-5 month wait for a referal for a baby boy (with travel taking place 4-5 months after that). Waiting lists at some agencies have grown quite long, which is discouraging to many PAP (potential adoptive parents).

Although we are a bit dismayed at the increased time line, we are happy with our choice for Vietnam and have (as noted in the first post) scheduled our homestudy. We have not decided on an agency just yet, but are leaning strongly towards the one agency that is quoting the longest wait times ,yet has a solid reputation and has been upfront, honest, and caring in all our communications with them.

whew. what a long post! I hope that answered your questions Katie Yael. If you have any more questions (or if I neglected to answer one) do drop me a line and I will get back on the blogger train and tackle the topic again. That goes for anyone else reading this blog as well!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Blogging and Adoption

After weeks of reading other people's blogs like some kind of adoption blog addict in constant need of a fix: Ifinally broke down and entered the blogging world. I have no illusions that my blog will even come close to being interesting (trust me friends, there are a lot of great blogs out there!) but at least it will give me a place to talk about this daunting, incredible adoption journey we are finally about to embark on.
After two years of talking about adoption and after a lot of life changes to make the adoption possible (new jobs, moving back to the U.P. etc.) we have made the first "official" step towards being parents of an as of now unknown, and probably unborn, baby boy from Vietnam. Yes, that is right folks, we have sent in the sizable check to our homestudy agency and in just two short weeks, we will meet with our homestudy social worker.
For those of you who are seasoned adoption veterans, this may not seem all that exciting, but for us it is nerve-wracking, exhilerating, and over all a call for a shout out to the world: "WE ARE ON OUR WAY!"
p.s. check out our two cuties in the photo: the black pup is Ben aka "Bubba" and the wheaten scottie is Bogey aka "Pookie" They have no idea they will soon share their world with a baby, but we are hopefull they will not be too jealous!