Sunday, January 10, 2010

Individual meetings & home visit preparations

Last week was a busy one! It was happy and tumultuous all at the same time. We finally announced our plans to the world, we had our individual meetings with the social worker, and are preparing for our home visit tomorrow morning.

The individual meetings were a unique experience. I just can't help but feel that every parent should have to go through this experience. She asked about domestic violence, substance abuse, our families, each other, strengths and weaknesses, and for us to rate ourselves and each other in many areas. At the end of my meeting she said that we did well and most everything was answered the same. She said we'd go over what didn't match at our next meeting.

After Jason and I compared notes we realized that we are SO on the same page. When she asked me what Jason would say my weakness was I told her that I get my mind set on things sometimes and can be quite relentless. Yep, that's what he said. She asked him the same question about what I'd say his weakness was...which had to do with communication. I said that sometimes he'll hold in his feelings, especially during challenging times, because he doesn't want to burden me when I'm already down. Of course, he hit the nail on the head. I'm thinking we need to go on the newlywed game or something. I couldn't believe how much we knew the other would say. The only thing we can think of that was off had to do with spirituality and religion. We had to rate each other and ourselves in this area on a scale of 1-10. I gave Jason a 5 but told her I thought it might be higher, but that this is not a big topic in our home. He told her he was a 7 but that I might guess lower. Hmmm... that's pretty accurate if you ask me!

We've been preparing our home this weekend for the home visit tomorrow morning. It feels good to do thorough cleaning and organizing, which we've been doing for weeks now. We've gotten rid of so much stuff! I am definitely in the nesting stage.

I'll update everyone tomorrow about the home visit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

LOTS of updates!

Okay, for today, I hope to explain a little about what we've been up to, breaking news and also a little more about the experience and things to come. We've actually learned a lot over the past 2 weeks which has been very exciting.

Let me start by saying that today was the day that we officially "broke the news." A few of you may have received paperwork to fill out on our behalf and some of you are receiving the news right now. In any case, there are no secrets and we feel very confident that everything will go our way.

Over the past few weeks we've been plugging along trying to complete the info contained in our homestudy packet. Not only are we completing paperwork for Catholic Charities, who is doing the homestudy, but also for the adoption agency itself. WACAP, the adoption agency has a homestudy coordinator who is working with us to make sure the homestudy is complete, providing additional paperwork, and making sure we fill out our immigration paperwork. We've also begun and completed several home improvement projects. Yes, I'm nesting! I just want everything perfect for the baby. With the help of my family we renovated our guest/baby bathroom, painted our hallway, did some thorough cleaning (dusting the blinds and all the crummy stuff nobody wants to do), and Jason laid the wood floor in the baby room. There is still a lot to do but we've made a lot of progress. Some of you will recruited shortly so I don't blame you for screening your calls if we give you a ring!!!

As far as the homestudy goes, we are meeting with Geralyn from Catholic Charities on Wednesday. This will be our individual meeting. We'll each speak with her for about an hour. I'm looking forward to seeing her because I have a couple of questions about our paperwork. She needs to sign off on a document stating we have had 10 hours of training (which I really think every parent should have). She also needs to help us fill out a portion of the immigration paperwork. Hopefully from there we'll schedule our next and I think last visit, which will be the home visit. I'm hoping to have all of the WACAP and Catholic Charities paperwork complete by Wednesday so we get hand it over. Once WACAP receives a copy of the homestudy they'll verify that everything is acceptable and send it along with our I-800A (immigration form) to be approved. Once immigration approves, they'll send us a lengthier form, instructions to be fingerprinted (again), and we'll begin our dossier.

We also got the instructions for assembling our dossier over the weekend. This is a list of documents to submit which will be sent to the issuing state to be verified, sent back to WACAP, and then sent all together to the Chinese Consulate in Houston to be authenticated. Then, all systems a go!

The great news is that we've almost finished the collection of documents for the dossier also. Some of these items will be notarized and some must be certified copies. We'll also need to do another local background check but we may wait until we receive the instructions from immigration about our fingerprinting so that hopefully we can complete both at the same time.

Finally, today was a very exciting day for another reason. We got the bedding I ordered!!! It is sooooo cute. The theme is Chinese cherry blossoms. When we get a little closer to final approval we'll order the furniture, which will be PINK. So fun!!! We're going to get a 4 in 1 crib because we may need more of a toddler bed then a crib or will not need the crib for too long. It seems more economical to purchase something that can stick with us for a while. If you want to see what the bedding looks like, google cherry blossom baby bedding by kidsline. Oh, and did I mention we're going to make a cherry blossom tree? It will be SO Extreme Home Makeover! I guess this is what happens when you have 5 years of pent up thinking and planning for this moment.

I'm sure I'm leaving out tons of info but I guess that's it for now. Let us know if you have any questions about the process. We're happy to share. Unfortunately, we don't get to "wear" our expectancy like most women, so it's nice to be able to share and relish every moment.