Friday, June 20, 2008

Progress, or lack thereof

edited on 12.28.08
The first adoption, I seemed to be propelled by some sort of cosmic energy that enabled me to tear through the paperwork at a furious pace. It seemed I was checking things off the list daily. Now I'm lucky to get to cross one thing off a week! Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that anytime I begin to work on paperwork, I already have a sweet small person dancing at my feet begging me to play knights & castle with him, help him transform a transformer, or tell him why he can't have cheezits for breakfast. I suppose it's like the beginning of being able to juggle two!
I really did forget though; how much WORK all of this paperwork is. And I don't have that first time mom buzz thing going on to really push it along. As excited as I am, I'm equally scared to death about how things will change with a second one!! part of me LOVES our family of three. And sweet silly Bek, oh he's just so special. Some times I think my heart will break I love him so much. Will adding a second throw this balance and order completely off?! I think my fear comes from knowing that the answer to this is YES! Then I think about the joy of adding a new one, how much love we all three have to give, and how much she will add to our family, how Bek has a innate need to love a tiny baby! He announced today that he wants to share HIS ROOM with her!! I can't wait to do it ALL over again, yes even the painful parts that I apparently have blocked out!! And have I mentioned all those cute girl clothes...?
So about my's pathetic, but it's a start: Application to agency has been completed. This included a detailed financial statement, copies of all our passports, birth certificates marriage license, last tax return, lengthy application including complete job/career history, references, hobbies, family's bio's, Criminal background checks at local PD for past 5 years, astrological signs and political persuasions...ok maybe those last few were not included but Dear God they may as well have! I've said it before and I'll say it again; if all the regular old procreating derelicts of the world had to go thru all this before producing offspring, there'd be A LOT fewer people in this world!! But I digress...I need to make copies of all of the above and then send it off to the agency w/ the fee. Once we are officially accepted, I'll need to print & send the I600A form - this is for INS / BCIS, allerting the U.S. that we'll be bringing a new citizen into our fine country. After that I need to start the homestudy, which is a part of the all important Dossier - which is a big hand stiched document that represents us to the Russian government. It will get translated and sent to Russia. Where upon reading it, some ambassador of Fate most likely named Olga will decide who our daughter is to be.
**sigh*** and we've only just begun....(insert carpenter's fade out music)....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is this thing on??

edited on 12.28.08
Well I don't really know who will wind up reading this blog. Does anyone really want to read this much about us or really care what I have to say??
But the main purpose of it will be to document and track our process, to educate (& possibly entertain?) you the dear readers, serve as mental therapy, keep family & friends posted on our journey...and ok i admit it...might even satisify some of those lofty goals I always had of being published!! Free blogs have got to be one of the greatest inventions out there. I know that I love reading others and learned so much about adoptions thru these amazing first hand accounts. So, friends & family (and anyone else who made stumble upon it); check in as often as you like...but I'll be sure to resend the link as we get closer to all the really exciting stuff that you are enduring all my blabbering for...that brand new baby!! In the meantime, just ignore all this self absorbed banter!
To clarify some goes: WHY RUSSIA? Our ideal choice would've been Kazakhstan. But the travel time required for KZ is very long and difficult. For Bek we were there for 34 days. We loved our time there and even contemplated making a go of it many times, but as much as we enjoyed it, it was also very difficult. Add a high energy sometimes asthmatic 5-6 year old and it could get downright torturous. And there is NO way we'd leave him for that amount of time, so that ruled it out. Over the last few years I've researched every possible country, and we came very very close to going to both China & Vietnam. I mingled with Mongolia, checked out out Uzbekistan and even did the Domestic due dilligence. We looked into Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan and Nepal. One night I even found myself googling "hire surrogate mother". Around this time, the international adoption world really changed. Countries closed, the Hague Treaty was implemented, countries that were longtime sure things like China became impossible with 4-7 year waits....I did not want to give up on a second child but just as something seemed possible, the door would close again. I researched all options until all options seemed exhausted, and quite frankly I was getting exhausted too, and thought maybe we're just meant to be a family of 3. All this time, somehow I overlooked Russia, the Motherland of Kazakhstan, and quite possibly the land of Bek's biological heritage. It was like being hit on the head cartoon style, why didn't I look into this sooner? I'd never given it serious thought, and only had vague and unfounded notions about conditions of birth mothers, orphanages, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. These of course are all valid concerns, but I had no real documentation or research to substantiate it. With my trusty adoption friend Google I began to read and search (how did anyone ever complete an adoption before the internet??). What I learned is that what we experienced in Kazakhstan is virtually the same as what we can expect in Russia. Kazakhstan, especially Uralsk, located on the border of Russia and KZ, modeled their adoption program on Russia's. So armed with lots of information, prayers and a good in-country international adoption specialist, i'm hopeful, optimistic, and downright flippin' psyched to be going to Russia for our daughter!!
Fast forward to today: Russia's adoption program is changing. The government implemented a program that offers a monthly stipend to families that take orphans in. This means fewer children are available. The economy, overall, is improving in Russia, allowing families to keep a child when they may have in the past abandonded them. And, Russians are looking down on foreign adoptions, their country's conscience is changing and they are no longer seeing it as the only option for these children, they are seeing their futures taken away. With all of this said; it is very good we are getting in now, as it is very uncertain where the future of international adoptions as a whole are headed. Our agency, Catholic Social Services of Charlotte, NC; is not accepting new families at this time, since the waits have increased due to fewer children available. Our projected wait AFTER submitting our dossier, is 12+ months. That "+" could mean one more, or 4 or 9 more. You just never really know. I am hoping we will submit our dossier in early spring, so that we will travel to get Baby Girl the following spring. I'd really like to avoid a Russian winter if at all possible!
There is a question that everyone seems to ask. WHY not adopt from here in the States? It's a valid question, really it is. I know most people ask because it makes sense that because we live in the U.S. that we would adopt from the U.S., and people in general are just curious. But we all make personal choices for personal reasons. I liken it to how you might feel if someone has ever questioned a personal choice you may have made; bottle or breastfeed? circumcise or au naturel? paper or plastic? For us, the domestic process just seemed to have an awful lot of room for risk + issues we'd rather not deal with. Adoption of any kind is already a HUGE leap of faith with risks involved. Some might counter and say flying to the other side of the world is way riskier. But...for us it was just the right decision. All children are deserving of a family and a home, and the kids on the other side of the world are no less deserving, nor are the ones in the U.S. more deserving. I also really would love for Bek to have a sibling that shares a similar heritage. And just for the record, we're big supporters of all kinds of adoption in general. Brad was adopted in the "old" domestic system, along w/ his sister and my dear sister in law Carla. I could go on a rant about how flawed our system is, but I'll stop myself.
And now the number one question we're getting since announcing the second adoption: BOY OR GIRL?? I have two boys both voting for yet another boy!! While I'd love another sweet baby bundle of boy who turns into a lightsaber wielding bundle of energy, I have to stand my ground and say GIRL. I really want to experience both. And my God, the CUTE clothes!!! Of course, I'd fall head over heels if another boy were put in my arms, but since I have the choice...right??