Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Study Done and Under Review

We're a bit ahead of the time line I gave myself.  Our home study went on to our agency last night! 3/29/11! Our home study was done in record time - 3 weeks total!  As of yesterday's weekly update, there are 10 families waiting for girls.  I have no idea how many HS's were submitted with ours, but my fingers are crossed it will get approved soon and in line.  They said up to 10 days, but the person I spoke with said our social worker is known for her thorough home studies and rarely do they not just slide on through.

We aren't breathing a sigh of relief until it's approved from the agency and we're officially in the Korea program.  Next week maybe?

Until then, we're slowly giving ourselves permission to think of names. Which sounds crazy.  So, my question to anyone who wants to give an answer -- what's your favorite girl names! We've never really thought of girl names before, so the idea is so random to us! :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time Line - A Lot of Unknowns

To give an idea of the time line that we're looking at.

We started our home study on 3/7/11.  A home study consists of 4 visits with a social worker and a million forms, letters and essay questions. There are back ground checks and child abuse checks among many other checks.  Our last meeting with our amazing social worker is on 3/28/11.  She'll need up to two weeks to finish, but we're getting the impression that she'll be done well before that. (Whoot!) 

So, let's assume she sends our home study to our agency on April 4th.  Our agency needs up to a week to check it over and then we're officially on the wait.  Let's assume we'll be on the wait on 4/11/11.

Here is the point where some variances lie. First, it is estimated that currently it will take between 1-8 months to be referred a healthy baby girl.

There are four agencies in South Korea where all of the adoptions go through.  Every agency that works in Korea are assigned one of these agencies to be the agency they work through.  In our agency, 90% of the children come through one (We'll call this agency 'A') and 10% come through another (We'll call this agency 'B').  You can not pick what agency you will work with.

The one that 90% goes through takes quite a bit longer than the one that the 10% goes through.

Example of how it works, at least to my knowledge to date.

Agency A refers on average 3-6 children every 10 days, so about 9-18 a month. (Boys and girls typically 5 months of age.) Once you get a referral and get medical clearance and decide to accept your referral, it still takes approximately 10-11 months to get clearance from Korea to go and get your child home.  Most people meet the criteria to go this route. It's the easier of the two agency to 'fit into' when it comes to their criteria.

Agency B refers 4-5 (approximately) children per month. This agency has very strict guidelines to you must fit into to qualify for an adoption.  Once you get a referral, get medical clearance and accept the referral, you should assume you're going to travel 5 to 10 weeks later.  (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 months!!!!!) 

I'm not 100% yet, but I do believe that we will fit into agency A and B.  We'll find out after our home study is finished.  So you can see the huge variance. 

I talked to a woman at our agency yesterday who told me that there were currently 14 families waiting for a girl.  When I asked how many typically are approved for both agency a and b, she told me only about 30%.  So, let's say for example, by the time we get on the wait (and not taking into account that there are any other families jumping in before us! haha!) there are 10 people in front of us waiting for girls. 

If 4 girls come in from agency B and only 3 people (30%) of those 10 qualify for agency B, whoever in the line below that qualifies will get to move ahead to be matched with that child.

We have to assume that we'll go through agency A because only 1 in 10 do not.  But if we go through agency B, things will move so.much.faster.  Our referrals will come at the same time, but we'll have to sit and wait for an entire year while our little girl is in foster care in S. Korea instead of home with us if she comes through agency A.

If we go through agency A, we've been told we can assume our baby girl will be about 15-18 months when she gets home.  Let's say she's referred to us in 3 months, just a guess.  Add on another 11-12 months and we're looking at her not coming home until late next summer.

If we go through agency B, we're probably looking at at her coming home at 8-9 months old. Again, if she's referred to us in 3 months, add on another 2-3 months to that and we're looking at this fall.

See how it's a big variance? See how we're praying with all of our heart that we can sneak into agency B?  This is one of those times where I have to say, "OK God, I know it's all in your timing and I'm at peace with that."  But it's so hard not to say, "OK God, I know it's all in your timing, so can we please both get on the same page!?"

But the most important fact to take note of, regardless of what agency we are picked to work with is that she very well MAY be born already!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Check. Check. Check.

Went back to get the readings of our TB tests. All negative. They just need to look at your arm to see if there is a big lump remaining.  Logan asked if we could get more donuts to celebrate passing! ha!

The surprising thing is that Dave has ZERO immunity of Hep. B and I'm only 50% immune, so add another 6 shots to the list of 10. We got our first today and have to go back in one month and 6 months for the 2nd and 3rd doses.

I think I read that 10% of children in Asia are Hep B carriers or Hep B positive, so seeing we're traveling to Korea, it's important to get immunized now before our trip.

We also had a 2 hr meeting with our social worker today and are officially licensed as foster parents. There are a few levels of foster parent licenses, and ours is strictly for adoption. We turned in a tree worth of forms that we filled out and now we're down to just a few final steps before our home study is complete.

We have an online training program we have to complete, hopefully by Monday when our social worker comes out to do our final meeting/tour of our home. We have to get a few more things around the house ready for inspection and we still are hunting down a few juvenile records that have been erased but still need documentation of the 'erasing'.  (Think that something you did when you were a teenager will never matter in your adult life? You've clearly never had a home study. ;)  Any of my youth group girls reading this? Oy!)

My brain has officially turned to mush, yet I'm surprised at how well I'm keeping all of the papers, forms, contacts, appointments, etc... organized.  It's a process that, if we can make shorter by our own organization, I'm happy to do all I can.  4 more days to hand it all over to our social worker, let her write our home study report, send it to the agency to approve and we'll be able to sit back and get back to normal life a little bit more.

A few people have been asking about time frames.  I'll explain that in another post.  As for now, my brain must rest.  Wish there was a control-alt-delete button for our bodies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It Was a 'Man Up' Kind of Day

Physicals for Dave and I, check ups for Miles and Logan.  Between the 4 of us there were 7 needles and 10 shots/vaccines/blood tests.

Yes, there were tears.
Yes there was an abundance of the word, 'why!? and Noooooooo!'
But they definitely manned up!
Here, look at their TB tests! ;)
 He looks semi-smiley, but let me promise you he was not one bit smiley.
 But after almost 3 hours at the clinic, we celebrated the end of that step of the process with donuts.
 Cause really, what's better than a donut? Even a stale donut that was made 12 hours earlier. It's still a donut.
And the boys are still boys. Love them.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Finding out I was pregnant with Logan:

Positive pregnancy test. Called the doctor to see if they could do a real test. Sorry! Nope! Your test is as real as our test. Come back in a month and we'll go from there.

Finding out I was pregnant with Miles:

You ovulated!? What! Are you sure? Come in for blood work.  (Check!)  Come back in two days for more blood work.  (Check!)  Compare the numbers - looking good!  Come in for an ultrasound immediately. (Check!) You're really pregnant! You don't need a reproductive endocrinologist anymore.  Good bye and good luck.


You've already been parents for 9+ years? No credit given.  We want you to fill out 1,000 forms. Here are some of the things we need to know:
  • What's your income
  • do you have health insurance
  • does your boss think you'd make a good adoptive parent
  • what about your hr rep?
  • what about your doctors:
  • and your kid's doctors
  • How much is your life ensurance
  • Find 3 people who know you as a couple and ask them to answer really personal questions about you
  • And an essay. (Thanks friends!)
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Passports
  • Car insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Do you have a fire exit sheet for each floor taped to your refrigerator? (Do YOU!?)
  • Do you have a disaster plan
  • How well do you know yourself
  • And your spouse
  • How were you disciplined as a child?
  • How do you discipline your children? 
  • What do you think of your siblings?
  • And their spouses?
  • What are your values
  • And goals?
  • Type it all up in 5-8 pages - no less.
  • Do you have little outlet plugs in all of your outlets? Cause I'm going to look when I come to your house to make sure it's a good livable home for the soon-to-be child of yours.
And if you answer ALL of those questions and then some, you make it past the home study.  *whew!*  I remember with L & M simply needing an installed carseat to take them home.  Congratulations, go to your unknown living condition that may or may not be suitable for a newborn.

It's OK though, right up my alley with all of the forms. I've been running around like a crazy person getting them all filled out be all of the people who need to fill them out and organizing them and checking off my list, one check at a time. And it's actually kind of fun. Plus it's made us get organized with our papers etc...

Doctors appts tomorrow for all four of us, blood tests included.  Pray for the kids who really want to do everything they can do to help with this, but the fact that that includes a needle is a hard one for them.  I'm expecting tears from them both.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The ball is rolling

About 8 years ago, Dave and I were trying to get pregnant for the 2nd time.  We had already had a miscarriage and my reproductive body was unfortunately well past my mid-20's biological body.  "If this doesn't work, let's adopt."  I said, and Dave agreed.  We sent out for information packets from adoption agencies, continued on fertility treatments and were blessed with a pregnancy.

7 years ago, we had found out that our baby growing in my belly was a little boy. Celebration! Cause raising Logan had so far been an unbelievable amazing experience.  "I know we said we only wanted to have 2 kids, but I might want to try for a little girl."  And Dave said maybe. ;)

A little more than 6 years ago, lay in my hospital bed with my newest little miracle and listened as my doctor told me that my HELLP Syndrome was Stage 1 and we were lucky.  "Rarely do women still die in the US from child birth, but HELLP Syndrome is one of the reasons they do.  Consider yourself blessed and think long and hard about taking permanent measure to eliminate the chance of pregnancy again."  And Dave did.

3 years ago, I couldn't get adoption out of my head.

2 years ago, we talked about adopting a teenage girl.

1 year ago, I tried to forget about the desire to adopt.  I didn't work.

Today, our boys are 6 and 9. Our life is pretty darn easy! They're independent, we go on semi-regular date nights, we've traveled quite a bit with them in the past couple of years and a common phrase we use is, "We've graduated!"  Life isn't so stressful anymore!

So, what are we going to do now that life is pretty easy and our boys are growing up so fast?


Yep! A little girl.  A sister and a daughter and a niece and a grand-daughter. And boy, I have spent about 500 hours on the computer researching the US, international adoption, special needs listings, photo listings.  I've talked on the phone with strangers who have adopted from the Congo, Ukraine, China, Ethiopia, Russia and Guatemala.

I thought I found the right country about 5 different times until I learned why it wasn't the right country.  I thought I picked the right age-range for our soon-to-be daughter until I realized that maybe I was wrong. But I'm not positive about that yet.

We're almost done with our home study and we've already signed up with our adoption agency.  As of this moment we're almost positive that we're Korea-bound!  But we're up for a waiting child on the Korea or China list if that child comes available.

Our stress-free life is going to change, but that's OK! It's all good. The kids are SO very excited about having a sister and I can't believe that Dave and I are going to be parents of a girl. Imagine my life: 2 boys, a husband a male dog! Pink! Tights! Tu-tu's! Nail polish! (Wait, Miles digs the nail polish.)

So anyway, I wanted to blog about our experience.  I'm not promising anything with this blog.  I can't even promise a positive adoption, to be honest.  Things happen, things change, countries change and we just have to trust God in all of it.  And I do. So pray for us! Think good thoughts for us and check back here as we go along.