Sunday, January 29, 2012

PACT Training...

The state of MN requires 10 hours of training as part of the home study. We accomplished 8 of the 10 hours yesterday by attending an all-day class called Parenting Adopted Children Today (PACT). We thought we’d be fighting to stay awake, but it was actually a good class. Among other things, we discussed how to help a child understand and accept adoption at each age and stage. It’s sad for me to think of a struggle that I can never resolve for my child, but it’s comforting to learn some strategies that will help.
In addition to the teachings, the class gave us the opportunity to connect with other adopting families who are at the same stage in the process. Support is so important! Oh, speaking of other adopting families… At the end of the class, the facilitators gave us a few sample profiles* to page through.  One of samples was of a couple that I know, and as I’m flipping through I realize that there’s a photo of me! It’s a group photo from a Twin’s game. Too funny. I’m sure that’s why they were matched so quickly! ;)
    (*A booklet designed to give a birthmother a glimpse into your life.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Church is definitely a place where I find strength and peace, but, with our church being so large, the barrage of babies and pregnant women can sometimes be difficult. It’s easier nowadays, now that our hearts are fixed on adoption, but it was particularly difficult in 2011. Instead of running from it, though, I decided to embrace it. A few months ago I became a regular volunteer within the children’s programming. I typically work in the “crawlers” room and I love it. It’s put a whole different spin on seeing those mothers and babies at churchI now have a personal relationship with many of them!J 
My volunteer t-shirt
I'm also including a song that I heard in church last year that has stuck with me…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Visit...

We had our home visit yesterday!  Sheila came by in the morning and spent about an hour with us.  She was very relaxed and personable.  We sat down to review the paperwork we had completed thus far, and we got her the few things that were still missing, like a copy of our 10-40 tax form.  She then took a full tour of our home, to ensure it's a safe environment.  She also gave us our Home Study Guideline Questions.  These are the questions we have to answer before she can write up our official home study report.  The list of questions is extensive--every question you could ever think to ask a person, starting with how we were raised.  Other adoptive parents have told us that their answers came to 14 typed pages each.  We better get started!      

Saturday, January 14, 2012


We got our fingerprints done yesterday. It's required as part of the Adam Walsh background check. I had never been to a jail before!
I expected the old ink and stamp technique, but it was actually a fancy scanner. Ross's prints went fine, but mine did not turn out so well. The lady kept telling me that I had "bad fingers". What?! She must have said it 20 times, no kidding. I knew Ross was cracking up on the other side of the partition. It was comical, but actually frustrating too. The processing of background checks can take weeks, and if the prints get rejected, we'll be set back quite a bit. After talking to our worker, Sheila, I decided to go back and have them redone. This time I had a lovely, older man and he did a much better job. Praying they go through ok!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

No Home Visit Today...

Sheila called and cancelled. Her son is sick. We rescheduled for Tuesday the 17th. We're disappointed. We were ALL READY... Ross even filled our candy dishes with conversation hearts! (Those will all be gone by Tuesday. :)) But, at least we'll have our office furnished by then. New furniture is being delivered tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Visit Tomorrow!

Sheila, our worker is coming tomorrow! Not sure what to expect. We're just excited. Zabby will be with her grandparents. They're stopping by prior to the meeting to pick her up. It'll just be easier to not have her here. Sorry, Zab.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Catching Up...

1/7/12: Group Acupuncture Session… I’ve cut back from the weekly private acupuncture sessions I was doing during fertility treatments. I didn’t want to let go of it completely though. I would miss Nicole too much. She has been such amazing support for me through the last year. So, I’ve decided to start attending the monthly group session. It’s the first Saturday of every month, from 9am – 11:30am. This month there were 3 other women and the topic was Gratitude. Nicole’s teachings…
Gratitude helps us celebrate what we have right now but also reminds us what we have to share with our future child. Living an abundant life full of gratitude does not erase the sadness, frustration, anger, or guilt, but it does reframe how we view them and brings balance, peace, and hope.
It was a great session. I enjoy connecting with the other women more than anything. Here’s a photo of the string of gratitude beads I made during the class. The idea is that you take some time to tick through each bead, naming something for which you are grateful with each one. (Might be a little out-there for some. ;)) 
1/6/12: Paint Update… Ross thinks we can paint ourselves. I think he forgets how not-fun painting is. Maybe we’ll compromise and hire half of it done and do half ourselves… or something. We’ll see.

1/6/12: Paint… We need to prepare the nursery. Some agencies even insist you have a nursery prepared prior to completing your home study, because once everything is turned in, you could have a baby in your home days (or weeks, or months) later. I called our paint guy, Justin. He can do the job later this month. I just need to choose colors. I’ll work on that this weekend. This is the fun part! I’ve always dreamed of doing a nursery. I think I’ll do a dusty, pale turquoise. And why not have Justin repaint all the rooms upstairs while he’s at it. :) Here’s the before picture of the nursery...
1/6/12: Profile Design Service… I just made contact with a profile design company. They help waiting families to create their profile. The profile is THE most important piece of the adoption process. People often think it’s like putting your name in for a table at a restaurant. It’s not. It’s not first come, first served. It’s about being CHOSEN by a birth mother. And she bases that choice solely on your profile. The profile is typically a booklet of about 10 pages. It’s customary to include a “Letter to Birthmother” letter, information about the couple, the individuals that make up the couple, the couple’s family, pets, the couple’s home, lifestyle, etc. Very overwhelming! Gosh how I wish we had taken more photos along the way!  Couples who choose to design the book on their own use programs like Shutterfly, but we are opting to pay someone to help us put it together. We supply the photos and the text and the design inspiration, but they take care of the techy details. Total load off and worth every penny, I’m sure!

1/6/12… Forms Sent (first batch)… I sent in our completed forms today. We currently have two things on our to-do list. 1) We need our Physician’s Reports back from our doctors. We submitted them this morning and hopefully we’ll get them back soon. 2) We need to get our fingerprints done. We plan to do that next week. There will be much more paperwork, but for now we are caught up.

1/5/12: Home Visit Soon!... Wow, Sheila, our worker, just emailed and confirmed our 1/12 home study appointment. I assumed the first visit would be at the Crossroads office, but it’s IN OUR HOME. Yikes! This is so exciting.

1/5/12: Paperwork… Ross and I spent about 4 solid hours on paperwork last night and this morning before work. For one piece, we had to recall the address of every place we’ve lived since turning 18. And we needed to know the month/year moved in and the month/year moved out. Not easy! We still need to get our Physician’s Reports completed and our fingerprints done. We scheduled our first home study meeting for January 12th, at which point we’ll receive more paperwork to complete.

1/4/12: The Document Packet… We received the first packet of documents that we need to complete. Wow, this seems like a lot at the moment. I’m trying to not get overwhelmed. We plan to get started on it tonight.

1/3/12: Adoption Support Group… I started attending an infertility support group back in August, just before our third IVF. I’ve now switched over to the adoption night. There are usually around 8 or so women (and sometimes husbands), but only three of us made it tonight. We ended up just chatting and not formally covering the planned topics. It was nice.

1/3/12: And So It Begins… I mailed the initial application today. Step one—done! I emailed our contact, Jill, to let her know it’s on the way. I told her my goal of having everything done by the end of February and be officially “waiting” in March. I hope she feels that that’s realistic. Next steps… more paperwork…          

1/2/12: Goodbye to the Old… I cleared out the kitchen cabinet where I kept all of our infertility/IVF stuff: billing, paperwork, instructions, drugs, needles/syringes, books, pamphlets, articles, etc, etc. I tossed everything. I kept only the prayers and cards of support. It felt good…and bad…but mostly good. Moving on! Ross and I also finished the Crossroads Adoption Services initial application. I will mail tomorrow!