Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reader's Choice results

LOL. I guess I asked for this, didn't I? Looks like I need to blog about all of them, with most poeple wanting #4 and 5# first. However, due to #1 on the list, this might take a while to get done (I am surrounded by boxes and things that need to go in boxes and things that aren't going to fit in any box....AARGGHH)

The conversations with our home study agency and our placement agency took place while I was dealing with Bogey's Bad Day and Moving On up to Colonel's Row. R and I were seriously considering moving from our current duplex to a very nice single family HUMUNGOUS home with a private back yard (complete with two tire swings -let's hope that is a good omen!). The best part is it is all one level, which is very important given What's Wrong with Ben. In making the decision to move, we needed to find out how it was going to affect our adoption - would we need a new homestudy, an update to our home study, an adendum? Also, what do we have to send to USCIS about this move, and how will it affect our approval to adopt?

So, I emailed our placement agency and explained the situation, asking what we would need to do. The reply from our agency Vietnam representative from our regional office was this: unfortunately, we would need to have an update to our homestudy and we should contact our home study agency to find out what that would cost etc.

The email link to our home study agency wasn't working, so I picked up the phone and called them. The worker that I spoke with said, yes, we would have to do an adendum, which would require a worker to do a walk through on the new house: total cost, 350 dollars plus travel, lodging, and food expenses [ the one downside to our home study agency is that they are located in downstate michigan, and we live in the wilds of the U.P., so travel is a bit expensive]. However, they felt that if we did make this move and were willing to wait a little bit, they often have people coming to the U.P. in the summer time and could cor-dinate the visit to time with an allready planned trip up here so that the travel costs etc would be shared with other PAP's or with whatever conference or trip that was allready planned.

In the course of the conversation, the home study agency representative pointed out that we would need to do an update anyway, as the home study is only good for one year and, given the current time lines for our placement agency's Vietnam program, we are going to need to do that update.

I expressed my frustration with the current state of the Vietnam program (i.e. the loooonnnggg wait) and said that when we started the wait was a mere 3-4 months for referral, and now it was 12-15 months.

I was then asked, have we considered domestic adoption? Would we reconsider it? If we were willing to consider adopting an AA baby, they would be happy to have our information on file (for free), as they often have very few choices for Birth Mom's to choose from when the Birth Mom is AA. We would, of course, need to make a few additions to our homestudy (which we could do easily when we do the Moving on Up to Colonel's Row update), and she would have to check with our home study worker to see if he felt we were good candidates for a AA adoption.

I asked if this would require us to drop out of the Vietnam program and was told no, we could do both. As long as we are aware of the additional financial and emotional costs: that is, the additional cost of the domestic adoption (which is far less than the cost of IA) and the emtional cost of having a new baby and making travel plans etc for an IA.

In the meantime, I was waiting for an email back from our placement agency regional rep as to what the likelihood was that we would have to do an update anyway -in other words, is it likely that we will have to update our homestudy due to the time limit on it (one year) given that the wait is currently 12-15 months for referral?

The reply was predictable - as in, they can't say for certainity if we would have to or not, as they never know how many referrals they are going to receive, but her best guess is yes, we are probably going to have to do an update anyway.

Since we are most likely going to shelve out even more money yet again for an update (hence, this adoption is going to cost us more money) we decided to Move on Up to Colonel's Row.

While I sit here amdist boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff and even more stuff not yet in boxes, I am also mulling over the home study agency's "offer" (for lack of a better word) to keep us on file for AA birth mom's to look at when making a choice on her child's future adoptive family. We had closed the door to domestic adoption a long time ago, for many reasons. Should we open it again?

A final troubling thought: Would our placement agency for Vietnam "let" us do both?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reader's Choice

So much has been going on since I blogged last (which is why, of course, I haven't blogged in a while), that I do not know what to write about first. So, I thought I would go the democratic route and let you all decide what you want to hear about. Simply pick from the following list which topic(s) you want to hear about and I will share that particular story...and do please, pick something, otherwise I am going to feel rejected and unloved...and you don't really want that on your conscience do you?

Here are the choices:

1. Moving on Up to Colonel's Row
2. Bogey's Bad Day
3. What's Wrong with Ben?
4. Conversations with our placing agency: This waiting game is going to cost us money
5. Conversations with our home study agency: Should we open a "door" we previously shut?
6. Haunted by the little boy in Georgia
7. Difficult People Suck

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

10 Odd Things - aka I have been tagged

Since I have been tagged by two people- KelleyO (Bunny's mom) and E (Looking for George) and am now feeling quite loved and cherished (they like me, they really like me!) I will expose all things (well, 10 things) that are odd about me.

1. I hate feet. I think socks should be required apparel for all people everywhere.

2. related to #1, I hate anyone touching MY feet. This is a problem, as it is now Lent and on Maundy Thursday we will be having a foot washing ceremony. The Bishop will be there. Our congregation is rather small- so if I do not participate there will be many questions about "what is wrong." I am also the warden on the congregation (what an awful title that is...doesn't it sound terribly punitave?) and a licensed preacher, so not participating in the foot washing ceremony is definitely going to look like a failure to live up to my leadership responsibilities. And how does one tell one's bishop, "no, I am sorry. but I would have to kick you if you touched my feet." And what if I have to wash other people's feet? is a dilemma.

3. I hate ordering in a restuarant. double that when it comes to ordering food via the phone. Yet I will, without a second thought, stand up in front of a congregation and preach or give a presentation in a classroom. A 20 minute sermon in front of 400 people (not our current church, but a church at which I was a college intern) or a sermon that is live broadcast over the radio does not bother me. Ordering a peperoni pizza from a pizza parlor- terrifying. And don't get me started on fast food drive thru.

4. I have a scottish terrier who insists on drinking water out of the bathtub. Periodically throughout the day I will hear him whining and arooing as if the world as we know it is ending, only to find him in the bathroom, sitting in the bathtub and staring at the faucet with a look of desperate longing on his face. He will stay there until the end of time if I do not turn the faucet on so he can have a drink. Then I must lift him out of the tub, dry off his feet, and send him on his way. I have no idea why I must lift him out, as he obviously is able to jump into the tub on his own....but that is Bogey for you.

5. I have a pomeranian who sings everytime Jodee Mesina comes on the radio. Or the Dixie Chicks. I actually have this on film, and it is quite hilarious.

6. I love love LOVE Gerber Apple Blueberry desert. I got hooked on the stuff back in high school when I had jaw surgery and could not eat anything but soft foods for many many weeks. I cannot wait until I am a parent and can buy the stuff without feeling like a dithering prat and a poser.

7. I slept with my teddy bear, Teddy (yes I know, what an original name for a bear, but hey I got him when I was 2, so give me a break, will ya?) until I graduated with my Bachelor's degree. Entering graduate school and getting married forced even me to accept that it was time for Teddy to retire. But I still cannot sleep without him in the room. I should probably get therapy for this.

8. I fell madly in love with Kenny Rogers when I was 4 years old. I have every recording he has ever done, as well as every tv show he ever did and his one movie. Not to mention a bulging scrap book of every newspaper article about him. Try being in high school with a Kenny Rogers addiction when everyone else is into pop music. Talk about odd.

9. My dog, Ben, is named after Ben Cartwright from Bonanza. You can blame the Family channel for playing Bonanza re-runs while I was in middle school and high school for that. Or possibly the fact that I am truly and completely an odd ball with wierd taste. Ben is one of my favorite names, but, sadly, I cannot name a future child Ben, as they might think we named him after the dog...which surely would rack up the psychologist bill when he is a teenager.

10. I read. constantly. I am never without a book. Which may not be that odd, but I my reading preferences are rather eclectic. Currently I am reading a book on the life of St Ignatius of Loyola (who counted his tears, considering them a gift of the Holy Spirit. What kind of anal retentive dude counts his tears and writes the numbers down in his journal" But then, that is a saint for you- never are they ordinary blokes), a book on Vietnam titled "Beyond the Baby Lift", and a memoir about autism called "George and Sam: two boys, one family, and autism."

Normally this would be the point where I tag some folks, but everyone I can think of has allready been tagged. If anyone reading this has not been tagged and would like to share their oddities with the residents of bloggerland: "Tag, your it."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

the strange workings of a deranged mind.... adoption fears

I do not worry.

I obsess.

The latest news in international adoption has me obsessing about some fantastical imaginary (hopefully) consequences that the recent warnings about Guatemala and the continued "backlash" of China's new rules will have on Vietnam adoption.

Freak out Scenario my deranged mind has conjured up:

Vietnam, allready under seige by PAP's who once were in a China Adoption program but now are flocking to Vietnam in droves [because a) the China wait is too long or, b) they no longer meet the new China requirements ]will now have another ginormous (not a word, but an apt description of the size) influx of PAP's who were once in a Guatemala adoption program and are now scrambling for another program because our beloved government has all but told people "you don't wanna go with Guatemala people, cuz its on the verge of combustion due to some really rotten dishonest people and greedy lawyers...oh yeah, and the Hague thing" (truthfully, what the state department website said was that PAP's should "strongly consider their options" but we all KNOW what that really means).

[How's that for a run on sentence? Would it shock you to know I have two degrees and I still can write a run on sentence of epic porportions?]

Seriously, my friends, Vietnam is not that big of a country. There simpy cannot be that many orphans in Vietnam that need homes. Certainly there are not that many infant girls (or boys) in Vietnam that need homes. How in the world can ethical adoptions continue in Vietnam when (excuse the economic terms, but let's be real here, economics plays a big role in adoption) the demand is fast exceeding the supply?

I never went into adoption with the mindset that we would scramble and shove and push our way to the front of the line for a baby. I do not want to be fighting for a child like it is the newest toy out of the market. We wanted, quite simply (and perhaps niavely) to become parents to a child who needed parents.....If there are more PAP's then there are children in Vietnam, are we really in the process of becoming parents to a child who needs parents, or are we fast becoming part of a maddening crowd of people who are putting such a strain on the system that corruption is sure to result and children who DO NOT NEED parents might well be taken/stolen/bought from birth parents just to meet the demand of PAP's and satisfy the greed of those who are making the big bucks in this "business" known as international adoption? [run on sentence #2...I am on a roll here]

I talked at length with R about all of this and suggested perhaps we need to reconsider our plans, or at least have a back up program. Yes, we want to be parents, and I am not about to take the very high road and not adopt out of some high moral standard that dictates that being a part of IA neccesarly translates into being a part of a possibly/ potentionally corrupt process that does not allways serve the best interest of a child in need of a family. Perhaps I should, but my own need to be a mom is a powerful drive that shows no sign of abating any time soon. Shoot me if you must, but I am human, an I am far, far, FAR, from sainthood.

I spent the last week investigating yet again domestic foster care adoption. I neglected all my usual favorite blogs (sorry about that, I promise to catch up and post comments very soon) and went looking for some foster-adopt blogs. And boy did I find them. Cindy's blog kept me captivated for days as I read through two years worth of posts about her family formed through adoption primarily through foster care: I received a first hand look at how the many issues foster care kids typically have manifest in every day life. Cindy, I am sure, is a rare woman- part crazy, part saint, and 100% genuine in her commitment to her children and all children in need of homes. That being said, while I admire her, I learned quickly that I am not cut out for foster adoption OR being the mother in a large family. Claudia's blog was also an eye opener for me, and confirmed that, while I admire and respect people who have the tenacity (or calling) to parent children who come into a family via the foster care system, I am not one of them.

I plan on keeping up with Cindy and Claudia's blogs, as I have "fallen in love" with their families: however, I know deep in my bones that I do not have what it takes to enter into that fray. I may have fantasies about being the kind of women, and mothers, that they are, but the reality is that I am NOT that kind of woman nor could I be that kind of mother. Humbling to face that fact about myself, but when we are talking about the well being of children, it is downright abusive to try to be something that I am not..the children, more than anyone, would suffer. That is unaccepatable to me.

So, where does that leave me? Truthfully, I do not know. I am concerned (ok, obsessed) about the current and future state of adoption in Vietnam. No rose colored glasses for me, thank you very much. At this time I am not prepared (and R is definitely not prepared, he thinks I "worry too much") to hit the brakes and give up our place in "the waiting line" for a baby from Vietnam.

I am painfully aware that, when it comes to the ethics of adoption, there is a lot of grey areas. I may have to accept that, while there are things I can do to make sure that we make the "most ethical" choices possible, there is no way to be 100% sure (or comfortable) that our choices will be the "morally right" choices for all parties involved.

The whole thing rather sucks, doesn't it?

Then again, perhaps I need meds. Seriously, who obsesses about things like this?