Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another step forward

I think with all of my updates, trying to string them all together has become rather confusing. So I am going to do a little summary before giving you an update.

13.33 years ago - I spent a couple hours at a Romanian orphanage and my desire to adopt started.

13 years ago - I meet my husband, a man whose heart would be open to the idea of adoption.

11.5 years ago - I married my true love.

Initially - We planned on adopting from Russia. I spent a year there and my parents are currently missionaries there, so it seemed to make sense.

The past few years - Adoption from Russia has become more difficult. It began to feel like we needed to consider other countries. During this same time frame, the idea of having 4 kids starting coming up in my mind more and more often.

7.5 months ago (Mother's Day 2010 to be exact) - We finally started the process by putting our adoption agency (WACAP) application in the mail. At this point we started working on our homestudy. Ultimately our homestudy would be written approving us for up to 4 children and children who are up to age 12.

3 months ago - Our homestudy was completed and we were moved from the homestudy department to the Ethiopia program department within our agency. We received a call to discuss the Ethiopia program. During that call we did not feel that they were very supportive of our hopes to adopt 4 siblings at once. In fact I felt torn after that call. As a result I contacted a woman that I had found via the blog world. This woman had adopted 4 at once from Ethiopia and so I looked to her for advice and prayer. She suggested that I look at This lead to us change agencies, to Hopscotch Adoptions. But changing agencies means more paperwork! :)

3 weeks ago - I submitted the last of the needed paperwork needed to change agencies.

Today - I got the email that our application was accepted by Hopscotch. As my mom said: "a mother sized step forward".

Next - Now that our application has been accepted, our homestudy can be amended. Why does it need to be amended? Because it was written for Ethiopia. Every country has slightly different requirements.

Once the homestudy is amended - Then we can submit our i-600 (request to US immigration for permission to immigrate children).

At some point in the near-ish future - We will be contacted with an appointment date and time to get fingerprinted for our i-600.

Once our i-600 is approved - Then we can file our dossier. (Maybe we can do this simultaneously with the i-600. I'm not entirely sure just yet.)

Once we have a referral (names & faces) and approval on the i-600 (which takes approximately 2 months) and our dossier submitted - Then we request a court date.

Once a court date is requested - We wait. I have heard that the timeframe for this varies greatly. I believe that 3 months is an approximation.

Once we have a court date - We fly to Ghana where we will meet our children and go to court. I think at that point we legally become parents to our children.

Approximately 2 weeks after arriving in Ghana - We will leave.... without our children. I'm not sure how we are going to explain this to them. I do dread this part already.

At some point during all of this - We request visas for our children.

Once the US Embassy issues visas for our children (I think approximately 1 month after leaving Ghana) - We return to Ghana.

Approximately 1 week later - We bring our children home!

It's a long journey. Based on my experience so far, I think the adoption process involves 1% of the time spent on paperwork and 99% of the time spent waiting. One step at a time; we keep moving forward towards meeting our children, hugging our children, and bringing our children home.

If you are asking how you can pray for us, let me answer that question. I will admit that I struggle with feeling anxious. It's not so much that I am in a hurry. It is more that I worry about not being in the right place at the right time in order for our children to find their way to us and for us to find our way to them. That might sound silly. It is really difficult to explain. So there are 2 things you can pray for:
  1. That God will bring our children to us. That He will guide the adoption agency staff to find our children and connect us with them.
  2. That I might be able to let go and trust Him. The closer we get to being connected with our children, the more I struggle with this.

Thank you for your love and support that you demonstrate by walking beside us in the process.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

11 Days in Paradise

I am currently sitting in the lobby of the Riu Pacifico Palace in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. We have checked out of our room and leave for the airport in about an hour. We have spent the past 11 days and 10 nights relaxing in paradise. We arrived on Thursday and had a couple of days by ourselves before my parents showed up on Saturday. Then my aunt and uncle showed up on Sunday.

Unfortunately, late Saturday night is when I got hit with the flu. I got so sick that I drug my pillows into the bathroom and just slept on the floor. I bounced back pretty quickly for the most part but then Josh got hit with it 2 days later. He was a little slower to recover. But I have never been sick in such a nice place. At least I didn't have to do any cooking or cleaning while feeling so awful.

In spite of getting so sick, we still had a great time. We sat on the pool deck looking out towards the ocean everyday. I spent my time sleeping late (very late), chatting, eating, relaxing, thinking, and praying. It was a great trip but I am also looking forward to getting home. Back to the real world.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Right around the first of November, my boss announced that he had accepted another position within the company. So of course I applied for his old job. Over the course of the past month I had 4 interviews. The last interview was this past Tuesday. I was told that I was the last person and that they would be making a decision later Tuesday or early Wednesday.

So of course, being the patient person that I am, I was waiting hopefully all day Wednesday for news. Thursday rolled around and I knew that there was no guarantee that I would hear that day either, but I also knew that if I didn't hear until Friday there was a serious increase in the risk of me having a heart attack.

Early Thursday, a coworker's boyfriend misdialed and got my number instead. I don't get many calls at works so when the phone ran I got excited only to hear the wrong voice when I answered the call. Thankfully I got the call that I was hoping for later that day. Not only did I get the call but I got the answer I wanted, I got the job!

When I found out that I would not be graduating on time I was disappointed. In the back of my mind I knew that I would still graduate but just a couple months later than planned, but I knew that if I didn't get this job that the opportunity was not going to come again anytime soon. And I definitely do not want anything to sidetrack our adoption. I had 3 major things going on at the same time. And sometimes you can't have everything you want exactly when you want it. So if I had to be disappointed, it definitely came in the right category. This promotion is something that I have wanted for a long time and the raise that comes along with it will help with our plans for Josh to become a stay at home dad. We were prepared for him to stay home either way but this will just make it that much easier.

Life just continues to be exciting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why don't I cry?

We just finished a movie. I won't tell you which movie because I don't want to spoil it for you. But the movie took place in New York. The movie starts with getting to know the characters, then the problem develops, and then comes resolution. A pretty typical movie. In the last ten minutes of the movie, the main character was looking out the window of a sky scrapper. And then there was a reference to Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Immediately I starting saying to myself "please don't show it, please don't show it, please". They didn't. But I still cried. Cried for real. The memory of that day is still so disturbing. 2,998 people died that day. (I refuse to include the 19 terrorists in that number.) Its been 9 years, 2 months, and 23 days... and I still cry.

We all watched the news coverage on the trapped miners in Chile. We were on pins and needles waiting to see if those 33 lives could be saved. Multiple websites report that the BBC spent 100,000 British Pounds (aka $157,00 USD) on reporting the events in Chile. The rescue effort cost somewhere between $10-20million.

Malaria kills 2,000 children every day. Why don't I cry for these lives lost?

Just $18 provides insecticide treated bed nets for an entire family. These bed nets can be used for approximately 4 years!

13,000 children die from malnutrition related causes every day. Why don't I cry for these lives lost?

$17 provides seeds to a family, allowing them to eat not just today but tomorrow and the day after.

It is estimated that 17 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS... and the number keeps rising. Adoption is wonderful for children who need a mommy and daddy. But never losing their birth parents in the first place is so much better. AIDS and HIV is preventable. It's stoppable. This doesn't have to happen.

Is there a price on human life? They say that a life is priceless.... is it? Are some lives worth less than others? If all life is priceless, why do people die every day from completely preventable causes? Why isn't this on the news everyday? And why don't I cry for them?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World HIV/AIDS Day

Did you know that Dec 1st is World HIV/AIDS Day? Yah, I didn't either. This adoption journey has brought me to learn so much more about so many things, one of which is HIV. I realize now that what I knew about it was based on what I learned back in high school. I hate to admit it, but that was a while ago now. I am still learning and I am going to ask you to do so also. If you truly believe that God loves everyone, then you believe that he loves every person who has HIV/AIDS. And for that reason alone you should be willing to learn more, learn about what is afflicting so many of His precious children. This includes those children with HIV waiting to be adopted and perhaps the person standing next to you in line at the grocery store.

If your knowledge about this subject is based on what you learned in high school like me, let me give you a couple facts in order to help peak your interest:
  • Antiretroviral medication for people living with HIV/AIDS now costs about $140/year, down from $10,000 just 10 years ago.
  • A child today with HIV and treatment can expect to live a normal life expectancy.

How can you learn more? Easy! Watch a video, get answers to FAQs, or read a blog about a real family (you can read about HIV specifically if you "read by subject" on the right hand side or you can just enjoy reading all of her posts about their normal life with normal kids, one just happens to have HIV). These are just 3 resources that I have found helpful but if you are really interested, there are many more out there. I hope you will join me in learning more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am thankful for so much

I have so much for which to be thankful. Family, friends, safety, comfort, choices, opportunity... The list is so long. Lately I have been thinking alot about this. There are so many things that I take for granted.

In class this Tuesday, we were discussing global access to education for women. Education is not a given for boys or girls in some countries. And when I say this I am talking about basic education, not just access to an university education.

We live in a country where people eating too much is a very common and epidemic problem. We eat more than our bodies actually need every day. I know I do. And to celebrate all of our blessings, once a year, we eat even more than that.

This makes me this of the story of the good Samaritan. (Prior to this passage Jesus has been telling the people to love their neighbor.)

Luke: 29-36 NLT
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied with an illustration: "A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a Jewish priest came along; but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan cam along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.' "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked. The man replied, "the one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same".

The world is a small place. We watch the morning news and we know about the effects of the earthquake in Haiti. We know that malaria kills almost 1 million people per year. We know that more than 4,200 children die every day from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and sanitation. We can't just turn our heads and say "oh oops, I didn't know."

So at what point do I become the Jewish priest that crossed to the other side of the road to avoid contact with the inconvenient truth? If I acknowledge the problem but do nothing about it, am I the Temple assistant that looked at the man but then continued on? I can't save everyone so what am I supposed to do? The Samaritan in the Bible story did not save everyone but he did come to the aid of the person in from of him. But the world is so small and the tv and internet put so many people in my path; I can't help them all. I believe that this is the burden of wealth and blessings. When God blesses us, He expects us to use that for more than just ourselves. I have said before that I believe that God speaks to us through our hearts.

I am so thankful for all the blessings that God has given me. And I am honored and privilaged to use my life for Him. I do believe that we will all be held accountable for our action or inaction. I only hope that I can answer well when it comes my time to answer to God for my life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some clarity

As you know, this adoption process has been an emotional roller coaster for me. But today I have found some clarity.

For weeks now I have been agonizing over every little detail. I have attempted to control something which cannot be controlled. For the longest time I have said that God knows exactly who are kids are and all we have to do is find them. I have been so worried about finding them. What if I find them too slowly and they have to wait longer than necessary? What if they get hurt in the meantime? What if I don't find them at all? But I had it all wrong. I don't need to find them. God has not placed that burden on me; I placed it on myself. God will bring our children too us. I have to stop looking at every waiting list photo looking for them. I have to stop trying to predict who they are just so I can buy their clothes and toys months before they will ever need them. I have to stop.

Josh has said for a while now that he wants to wait until our i-600 (immigration form) gets approved before we expect to find them. I just wasn't listening. I know what I need to do now but here comes the hard part, I have to do it. I have to let go of control. I have to let go of the control I never had in the first place. I have to trust God. I have to trust God to take care of my kids until we can get them home. I have trust God to bring them to us.

I have to note that this clarity did not come to me as a sudden revelation. Multiple people have come to me to verbalize to me what God has been saying. Yes, I am a slow learner. Perhaps this blog is going to become the "what not to do guide to adoption"? :)

So I want to ask you to pray for me. I know what I need to do but I need your prayers for the strength to let go and trust God. This is so simple and so difficult all at the same time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Highs and lows

I seem to alternate between highs and lows lately.

I was so very excited about graduating and was counting the days. Then I learned that my timeline would not be as short as I expected. It is official. The good news is that I do not have to pay tuition again and I do not have to start over. The only thing that has really changed is the timing. It is not the end of the world but I was so looking forward to crossing this off my list. I feel like I have too many big things going on at once.

My biggest highs and lows have come from the adoption process. I feel bad writing about this. I feel like I am just going on and on about the emotional stuff. But at this point that is the majority of it. It seems to be lots of emotions combined with waiting, hurrying up, waiting, hurrying up, waiting, and then waiting some more. Sometimes I wonder about women being emotional during pregnancy because at times I feel so emotional.

I never expected this process to be as difficult as it is. I hate to say this because as I have said before, I really want my writing to encourage people to adopt and certainly not to discourage. But I have to be honest and this is so very difficult.

You hear about the costs and you hear about the waiting. But you don't hear about the wondering, the thinking and rethinking, and the difficult questions.

Would you take an infant?
Would you take a toddler?
Would you take a school age child?
Would you take a teenager?
Are you sure? Are you really sure?
Do you know what you are getting yourself into?

Would you take 1 child?
Would you take 2 children?
You would prefer 4?!?
Are you sure? Are you really sure?
Do you know what you are getting into yourself into?

Would you consider a child with delayed development?
Would you consider a child with a deformity?
Would you consider a child with severe dental problems?
Would you consider a child with fetal alcohol exposure?
Would you consider a child with a scars or birth marks?
Oh, this list goes on and on and on.

They are all very real questions. Questions you have to answer and you have to be realistic. And they are so very very difficult. And then you think and rethink and think them over again.

If you are considering older children you probably look at waiting lists. These are lists of children who are ready to be adopted and are just waiting for someone to claim them as their own forever. And you look at their faces. So many faces.

I think that in many ways it must be easier to adopt an infant. The wait times are normally longer but when the time comes a baby become available and you are asked a simply yes/no question.

This stuff is not for the faint at heart. But perhaps this is as it should be. Children shouldn't come easily.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Patience is just not my thing

Patience is just not my thing....

On Friday I got a call saying that me graduating this quarter is in question. Oh but the person I need to talk to is not available until Monday. SO stressful! Good news is that I am not the only one. 4 out of 10 of us are in the same boat. Its not good news for them but it is good for me in the sense that we will have to figure this out together.

Adoption paperwork is still in process. Its a hurry up and wait game. If you are trying to catch up on where we are at let me summarize:
  • Our new agency, Hopscotch, is still working on our application. So technically we are not yet a part of their program.
  • Our homestudy is being amended for Ghana (instead of Ethiopia which is how the original written).
  • Once our homestudy is done we can file our i-600 (immigration form)
  • Once our homestudy is done we can submit our dossier (forms sent to Ghana)
I'm not sure when exactly were are eligible for an official referral. It might be after the homestudy is done or it might be after the i-600 is submitted, but either way those documents all get done within a pretty short time frame. A referral means that a child or children are officially referred to you in order that you can claim them as your own. It is at that point that you get all of their information. I told you before how we fell in love with some little faces before off of the rainbowkids site. The problem was that it was way too early to go falling in love. They were not a referral. I'm not sure how you avoid this. I think adoption requires being open to the possibility of heart break, much in the same way that trying to get pregnant when it doesn't happen right away or even a miscarriage. Having children requires alot from a person, no matter how you go about getting those little ones. So the next steps, after all the initial paperwork steps, are:
  • The i-600 takes 1-2 months to get approved. Nothing can move forward until this is done.
  • Then (assuming we have a referral at that point) they start requesting court dates for us. (I think, I am a little unclear on things after the paperwork phase.)
  • Then we travel to Ghana for a first trip, meet our children-to-be, and do court stuff. (Again, I am not entirely clear on this part.)
  • Then we return to the states for about 1-2 months until court things get resolved. Or maybe it is visa things.... (Visa like for their passports, not visa like you use at the mall.)
  • Then you return to Ghana for a second trip and get to bring your babies home.
I had hoped that keeping a blog during the process would serve to help others learn more about the process and for loved ones to be able to keep up with us, but I think it is only serving to confuse people. I think at times I confuse myself. It is just not a simple straight line.

I have been reading blogs of people who have adopted from Ghana and it seems that the time lines vary quiet a bit. This appears to be due to circumstances outside of their control such as "passing court" in Ghana or getting visas for the kids from the US embassy. So I have started trying to avoid reading these parts as they only make me anxious. For a control freak like me, I think this adoption process might actually take a year or two off of my life. It's worth it though. I think if someone offered to take 5 years off my life in exchange for bringing my kids home tomorrow I would take the deal. Heck, I think I would take that deal just to know exactly who are children-to-be are.

So why on earth am I shopping when we are still at this point in the process? Well I bought school supplies in September just in case we got school age kids home during the school year. I bought 6 backpacks just to make sure I had every size and gender covered. Last week I bought a lifetime supply of body butter because one should "always be prepared". Are you seeing a trend? The problem is that because there are so many unknowns, I am inclined to try to prepare for every situation. It's a little nutty, I know. I am just so excited.

When I said in my last post that I daydream about them, I have daydreamed about them for at least 5 years now. At first I envisioned being in a Russian orphanage and meeting 2 little ones. Then I envisioned embracing 2, maybe 4, little Ethiopians. Now I envision travelling to Ghana. Now I actually envision embracing one at a time (not sure why) so even my daydream is unclear on how many. I still hope for 4...

Like I said, patience is not my thing. I think my deep desire to plan and prepare is my way of cooping.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I keep thinking about my kids... over and over and over and over again. I think about our first hug. I see it in my mind and imagine that embrace. It is not realistic. I know that my kids will be intimidated and scared during that first meeting. They may or may not choose to hug me. And if they do it won't be like what is in my head. In my head I practically tackle them out of pure joy. I'm pretty sure that would only serve to scare them. But I am going to enjoy these daydreams for now until I know more about our children-to-be.

Black Friday is coming and I would just LOVE to be able to shop for them... maybe next year. But there are some things which are generic enough that I can buy now. One idea I am excited about is those little key chain mini digital photo frames. The ones that are supposed to hold 50 photos. I have the idea of giving them to our kids on our first trip. We will meet them and then have to leave them for 1-2 months before we can go back and get them.

I'm sure there are so many things that I will be able to justify needing for our children-to-be during that pre-crack-of-dawn shopping event. But I have to remember not to go too crazy; We have to have some money left over to pay for all the adoption fees. (Someday after the fact I will write a post about what the costs were as that is common question. A question I had in the pre-paperwork days. But right now it involves alot of estimates.) Hehe. Maybe I will have to drag Josh along with me as my voice of reason!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Moment In Time

I have told you a little about this before but I though you might like to actually see it. This is where it all began. Look at this picture. What do you see?

I'll tell you what I see...

I had finished high school a couple months prior. I had just turned 18 a couple weeks prior. I was just weeks away from breaking up with my high school boyfriend. I was to leave for college in a month. That coming fall I would meet my husband-to-be. I had been in Romania for two weeks. I was with a group teaching English at a bible camp for a week. We were about to leave to head back to the states in a day or two. We stopped at this orphanage. I think we were only there for an hour, maybe two.

These kids were so starved for attention. I use that word very deliberately, starved. Have you ever been hungry? Without food for a day? What about years? Can you imagine being without attention, much less love, for years?!

During our adoption class (for those adopting children age 2+) we were asked to do an exercises. I am going to ask you to do the same one. Seriously, I am asking you to answer these questions. You will need to write them down. Please humor me. It really is not the same unless you actually get out a pen.

  • Write down 5 people in your life that you care most about.
  • Write down your 3 favorite memories.
  • Write down 3 traditions you look forward to. (ex: picking out the Christmas tree)

Ok, you are about to be adopted, taken to a strange country by strange people. They say they love you but you don't even know them. You are about to leave behind everything you have ever known.

  • Cross off #2 and 3 of your people you care about.
  • Cross off #3 of your memories.
  • Cross off #1 of your traditions.
  • Now go back and cross of #5 of your people you care about.
  • And cross off one more from your memories or traditions.

Kinda hurts doesn't it? And this is just an exercises...

Ok, now you are one of the ones that never gets adopted.

  • Cross off every line on your list. One at a time. Line by line. Do it.

Are you crying yet? I am.

When I look at this photo, I wonder where these children are now. I wonder if they ever found a family. Chances are they didn't....

Adoption can't be about a "rescue mission". You can't adopt because you want to "save" them any more than you can get pregnant because you want to have a baby that will give you unconditional love. You can't bring a puppy home from the pound and expect them to be so grateful to have a home that they never poop again. And a man cannot marry a woman who came from a previously abusive relationship and say "well at least I don't hit you" after forgetting their anniversary. In the same way you can't adopt a child and expect it to be easy from there on out because you did a "good deed". You certainly can't expect them to say thank you any more than any other child says thank you for having a home and a bed and food and a mom and a dad and love.

So why adopt? I don't know your answer. It is not the same for everyone. But I can give you my answer. I want to adopt because I believe that my children were born to another woman in another land. I believe they need me. I believe they are waiting for me. I believe they are mine.

I started this post with the intent of sharing a nice little story with you of where our adoption journey began... but I guess I took a tangent. I started this blog in hopes of advocating for adoption... and I still hope that is the result but it is just not a simple thing.

I look at that photo and I think it is funny how one small moment in time can shape so much of your life. I didn't know then what that moment would mean to me but with time it became very clear.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Body Butter Baby!

So apparently our kids will be predispositioned to have super dry skin. I am not clear if this is true of all African Americans or just those having lived in Sub Saharan Africa. (I'm sure someone will clarify for me me now that I have publicly admitted my ignorance in this area.)

Yesterday a friend and I were out shopping. (Don't you just love the kind of friend that will join you on just an hour notice!) We stopped at Bath & Body Works. They had a special of buy 3 signature collection items and get 3 free. Plus I had a coupon for $10 off and a coupon for a free item. They let you combine all of these offers at once.

It is my understanding that body butter is the best for significantly dry skin. You know, I have to be prepared for when we get our kids home. Ok, I'm getting a little ahead of myself as we are still many months away from this, I know but who could pass up such a deal!

I was able to puchase all of these goodies (6 body butters and 1 triple moisture body cream) for just $39 with tax. I have no concept of how long this supply will last us but I think it is pretty safe to say that we are all set in this particular area.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ghana - What I learned today

So as you know, we have switch to Hopscotch Adoptions. With this agency change is a change of countries. So I have been doing some research on the country of Ghana. Here is what I have learned today:
A person from Ghana is Ghanaian.
Independence (from the UK): March 6, 1957
Currency: Cedis; currently 1.4 Cedis to 1 US$
GDP: $1,500 per capita; 201st in the world (comparision: US is 11th; Ethiopia is 218th)
Population: 24.3 million (comparision: Texas has 24.8 million)
Size: Slightly smaller than the state of Oregon
Literacy (among those over age 15): 57.9%
Time difference: 7hrs ahead of Pacific Time. When we go to bed they are about to wake up. When we eat breakfast they are eating dinner.
Life expectancy: 60.5 years
Religion: Christian 68.8%; Muslim 15.9%; Traditional 8.5%; Other .7%; None 6.1%
Languages: Asante 14.8%; Ewe 12.7%; Fante 9.9%; Boron 4.6%; Dagomba 4.6%; Dangme 4.3%; Dagarte 3.7%; Akyem 3.4%; Ga 3.4%; Akuapem 2.9%; Other 36.1% (now I have a BA in Linguistics and I had never heard of any of these.... maybe I should have paid more attention in school...)
Source: CIA World Factbook

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moving on

One of the details that I left out of my earlier post, was that the 4 siblings we saw were in Ghana and with a different adoption agency. Picking an agency the first go round was difficult. It felt like such a scary decision as the agency you work with is your median between you and your adoption and can really make or break the experience. So the idea of changing agencies was equally intimidating.

I read everything I could find about Hopscotch Adoptions (the new agency) and went to yahoo adoption group for parents adopting/adopted from Ghana and asked if anyone knew anything about Hopscotch. I found good things and we felt comfortable with making the change. But we had told ourselves that we would not change agencies unless a sibling group compelled us to do so.

After the past few days we were left wondering why God would have allowed the events of the past two weeks to have occurred. We are still not clear on that but we do feel that it was for a reason. And we feel the need to move forward on faith. So we will be switching over to Hopscotch Adoptions' Ghana program. This means more paperwork and a little more money but it is also exciting. I can't explain it but it feels like the beginning of something truly big.

Well that's where we are at. We will continue to update you as we progress along our little journey. Thank you for all the support and encouragement we have received, especially lately.

Here is a little bit of info on Ghana: (copied from
Ghana is a beautiful country about the size of Oregon. The ancient and historically significant country of Ghana is one of the five African nations along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered on the west by Cote d'Ivoire, on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the east by Togo. The country consists mostly of low-lying savannah regions, with a central belt of forest. Children reside in orphanages or foster homes.

The children available for adoption from Ghana are generally age 2.5 and up. Occasionally babies do become available. Sibling sets and older children are also in need of forever families.

Married couples may adopt from Ghana. The country does not permit adoption by single parents. Parents must be between the ages of 25 and 50 and at least 21 years older than the child/children they wish to adopt.

The process is two trips or one longer trip of 6-8 weeks. The first trip is a short stay of around 5 days and 3-4 weeks later returning for a second trip of 10-14 days.

An adoption from Ghana is typically completed 6-9 months from dossier submission.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Been talking with God

Today we went to church and almost immediately I started crying again. I'm telling you, this crying in public this is getting really old. As the church began to sing I just stood and read the words:

Lead me to the cross
Where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to you
Lead me, lead me to the cross

I've been talking with God alot this weeknd...

How many times I have I sung this before?
Bring me to my knees.... Fine, I'm on my knees.
Ok! I admit it! I didn't mean it!
I didn't actually want to be brought to my knees!
I didn't mean it!
These words felt so loud in my head I actually expect those around me to turn and look at me.
Why is this so difficult? I am trying to do the right thing!
How could you dangle that carrot in front of me and then take half of it away!?!
Why would you let me fall in love with their little faces?
I want your blessings but I still want control! How can I let go?
It's too much to ask...

It made me realize something. After being disappointed just one time I am ready to build a wall around my heart, to not get too attached. One of the most difficult parts of bringing home older adopted children is getting them to let down their gaurd. They have been disappointed and let down so many times that they are in survival mode. Not only trying to survive with food and shelter but also trying to protect their little hearts. After just one heartbreak I am skidish. How much harder will it be for them? How long will it take for them to feel safe? To believe that it is true and not going to get yanked away?

I have no idea how we are going to navigate the road ahead. Yes, I know: God has a plan. But do you know how hard it is to follow Gods plan when you have to make big decisions along with way? Please pray that we will be able to make the right decisions, that we will be able to hear God's voice, and of course please pray for our children-to-be.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Unexpected heartache

This is so much more difficult than I could have ever predicted. Yesterday I was on top of the world. Life was so good. And even in that moment I realized that a fall from so high would really hurt... and I was right. Today I anxiously checked my email for the news I had been dying to get; only what I read was not at all what I expected.

Since the early years of our marriage we have planned on adopting a sibling pair at one time. We never felt the strong need for an infant so we figured it made sense to keep a pair together. A couple of years ago I started thinking 4... yes 4 siblings all at one time! I don't know why 4. I remember specifically discussing it one day in the car and Josh saying that he would be open to it but it would be many many more years before we could afford it. I didn't want to wait that long so I said let's just plan on 2. But the nagging in my head, and most of all my heart, never went away. Lately it had felt stronger and stronger. Josh said that he was okay with it and we agreed that we could find a way to make it work financially. So we started to pursue the possibility.

Three weeks ago we were moved from the homestudy department of our agency over to the Ethiopia department. Two weeks ago our case worker called us to give us an intro to the program. During this she informed us that sibling groups of 2 are common, groups of 3 are rare, and they have never seen a group of 4. I know she was just trying to be realistic but we felt like she was pressuring us to give up any thoughts of 3 or 4 siblings. I felt torn. I didn't know what to do. As I have said before, I believe that God speaks through our hearts. He doesn't boom down from heaven. Rather he speaks softly in a voice that can be heard if you stop and listen quietly.

A month ago, or so, I stumbled across the blog of a woman who had adopted 4 at once. It is such a unique thing that I asked if we could email and she kindly obliged (which is big as I am a stranger and she has 7 kiddos to consume her time). So after our call with our case worker I emailed her. I told her how I felt torn and asked her to pray. I had felt strongly the need to ask her specifically for this help. She agreed and also suggested that I check out a website called I had never heard of it. So I looked, and there were 4 beautiful faces. They were labeled "SIBLING GROUP OF 4". Now I believe God speaks softly but I also believe that at times he is very obvious. This felt obvious. We requested more information 11 days ago. We were told that the agency did not have details but that they were requesting details for us and would update us asap. At that point we did not know anything about them including their ages. We were guessing 3-10. We talked about it, prayed, thought, repeat, repeat, repeat. Their faces were in my minds eye everyday. A few days ago we were at the point that we were almost ready to commit to them in spite of so little information. We were ready to go. We were so ready.

Today I checked my email and there it was! Finally the answers we had been waiting for. Only it was not at all what I had waited for. The email stated that the 2 oldest are 8 and 10 years old but that the 2 youngest were no longer available. I was stunned to say the least. I shot back a reply to ask why and how. She explained that she did not have the details but that likely a family member said they could care for 2 of them but not all of them. At first I just stared. I didn't feel anything. And then it hit me. I started crying. And then I cried harder and then harder. Now let me note: I was at work. My office has 700 people and NO one has an office no matter their rank. Its just a big cubicle farm. I think this might teach me not to check my personal email at work. That was at about 9:15am. It is now 8:30pm and my eyes still burn, that salty scratchy feeling.

Thankfully I work with many dear friends. They all comforted me in their own way. Many said words to the effect of "God has a plan for you, he will bring you your children." I knew it to be true. And if the situation was reversed I probably would have said the very same words. And yet they were of no comfort to me.

We had long ago agreed very firmly that we would never split up a sibling group. Now in this case these kids are split up no matter what. In fact that is very common and we knew that. But we had said that we would never be the ones to do the splitting and so initially my mind was spinning so hard that both our immediate reactions was "no way, we can't take the 2 without the other 2". Of course the 2 little ones getting to stay with their family is a good thing. But we had let ourselves fall for them. When I first showed Josh their picture he said he didn't want to see any pictures. He said that he didn't want to fall for them until he knew it was for sure. But how can you choose who you adopt without knowing anything about them? Now I feel the same way.

I believe that God blesses adoption. In fact, I believe that he is the master of adoption having adopted all of us and loving us regardless of all our unlovable moments. But I do not believe that God designed adoption. I don't think it was in his design for a child to ever be without loving parents, in need of adoption. "Choosing" your children is not natural. It doesn't even feel right. How can we choose?

I do know that God has a plan for us. I do believe that He already knows exactly who our children are. But I am still brokenhearted. I thought we had found them. It seemed so perfect. I was so excited. At some time in the future we will look back at this and see that this was all a part of bringing us to the point we need to be to find our kids. But I am still hurting. It will pass. It already hurts less. But I never expected this heartache.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Have you ever heard of operation Christmas child? It is the program that delivers shoe boxes filled with gifts to children all around the world. Josh has an annual tradition of attending a charity golf tournament with our old church. The proceeds of that tournament go to support operation Christmas child. This year I made up a shoebox for him to take with him and donate at the tournament.

Last Sunday our church made an announcement about operation Christmas child and how they would be gathering boxes again this year. And suddenly I started crying. All I could think was "I wonder if our kids will get one this year". I've told you before that adoption can bring with it inconvenient emotions that strike at any time and without warning.

So when you give in the future, to whatever cause, remember that you are not just parting with your money and/or time. Remember that you are giving to someone, to a person, to someone's child, maybe even to our children without even knowing it, and most certainly to a child of God.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Want to hear a funny story?

Want to hear a funny story? This has nothing to do with adoption or finishing school. Just one of my clumsier moments in life.

This Sunday we were about to run out the door to church. At the last moment I decided I should take some medication. Josh was already out in the car. So I grabbed what appearred to be an almost empty water bottle. (We often have 1/2 empty ones laying around just waiting to make their way to recycling.) I always get the water in my mouth first and then pop the pill through my lips. So I took a big swig of water... or what I thought was water. Right away I knew something wasn't right but I couldn't figure out what. It tasted funny so after a few seconds (probably a couple seconds too many) I ran over to the sink to spit it out. Then my mouth started to burn and I knew what it was.... pure Russian vodka!

Ok, rewind a couple of months. I have had this decorative Russian decanter full of vodka for years. A few months ago I had some friends over for a girls night. We were testing out some mixed drinks and were in need of vodka for the recipe. So I opened up the good stuff. Well the bottle got to a point where there was only a little bit left and it was difficult to pour out of the decorative container. So I poured the remainer into an empty water bottle and put it up in the cupboard. Saturday night Josh can across this bottle in the cupboard and thought I had lost my mind again so he sat it out on the counter.... where I grabbed it and took a huge mouthful thinking it was water!

Well that was a surprise! I came out to the car still sputtering. Boy did Josh laugh when he heard the story!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Accept into the Ethiopia program

We have been officially accepted into the Ethiopia program! This doesn't really mean anything other than our paperwork has moved from the homestudy department of our agency to the Ethiopia department. But its progress!

We got a call from our case manager called us and went over things. I don't think we really learned anything new except for what is normal in terms of siblings. We learned that sets of 2 is common. They have placed a few groups of 3 in the past but she doesn't remember them ever placing a group of 4. This was interesting. Maybe a group of 4 will come along and since it is very rare that anyone ever specifically say that they are interested in a group of 4 it would seem like a sign from above, don't you think? My mind has been kind of stuck on 4 lately. But then again maybe they are 2.... It is more common and financially and logistically easier.... But then again I don't think that matters. God's plan for us is his plan. So time will tell. :)

What to expect: Anniversaries will be rough

In our adoption class we were told that anniversaries can be rough for kids, even if they were just toddlers when adopted. They tend to act up a little more than normal. Thankfully a little extra love and reassurance does the trick. But it is interesting to me that even a little one tunes into this even when they don't understand months and dates like that.

I read the blog of another woman the other day and I came across her retelling of they day her son prayed for another orphan. He saw a photo of an orphan and he got upset. His mom asked if he would like to pray for the baby and he proceeded to pray "God, baby hurt--give daddy...and mama..." "No starvin God" he prayed this over and over finishing with "Amen!" (I recommend reading the full story for yourself.) Here is the part the really got me: he was only 20 months at the time and obviously was younger when brought home. I used to think that a toddler couldn't understand or at least that they would forget. Naturally memories fade, but this little boy was praying that God would give this baby a mom, a dad, for protection, for food, and a family. He understood. He knew what he had been through. He hadn't just been through trauma; he remembered it. He understood. I'm not sure how to explain how that hits me.

The beautiful thing is that he developed a heart for others experiencing the same. I can only pray the same for our children.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What to expect: We might face rejection.

Thankfully many people have walked this road before us. We attended a required 2 day class with our agency. One day was about adoption in general and the other was about adopting older kids. I have also learned so much from other people's blogs telling their own stories.

It is easier for me to tell you about these things now while they are hypothetical. Once they become real they will also become personal. I will want to respect our children's privacy and as such I do not plan on sharing all the details. But these details can be helpful if you are thinking through adoption. So I will try to share these things now when I can talk about them in general.

So today I will tell you about one thing that we have been told to expect. Because we are adopting older children, our children might very possibly reject one of us. It is most likely to be me. It is possible that our children will have had bad experiences with men in which case Josh might be the subject of rejection. It is more likely that they will have had less exposure to men in which case a relationship with a man would be a novelty. If our children have spent any significant amount of time in an orphanage (which is likely), it is possible that they might see a female caretaker as someone who feeds you but not does stick around for the tough stuff. So it is very possible that they will reject me. I have heard about this happening with others and for those who did not expect it they naturally took it pretty hard. I hope that expecting this would make it less painful for me. I don't know how it could be not painful at all as you would be both rejected and know that your child has experienced pain that no child should experience that would lead him/her to feel this way. So in this way I expect to be broken hearted. The hope that comes with this is that you will be able to teach them to trust again. But it will take time to prove to them that it really is safe to love us both.

Sorry, this is not really a cheery subject. But is something that I am sharing with you now because if/when it becomes personal, I might choose not to share.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Single digits!!!!

As of last night, I now have only 9 classes to attend in order to complete my master's degree. Single digits!!! I estimate that between homework, reading, and class time I have about 100-120 hours left to put in.

I can totally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And on the other side of it is a trip to Mexico to celebrate! I can't wait!

Our homestudy is complete!

Our homestudy is officially complete! This is a huge milestone. I am so glad to be done with it.

What next? Next our agency sends a form to the US government requesting permission for us to immigrate kiddos. I am told it takes about 2 months to get approved. After that we officially go on the waitlist.

In the meantime I am still working on our dossier. This the set of documents for the Ethiopian government. I have gotten everything authenticated except 2 documents, which are our medical forms. I got them once already but the WA Secretary of State rejected them because the notary's seal did not have an expiration date on it. It took me 3.5weeks to get them the first time so I was pretty happy to find out that they were ready again for the second time in less than a week. But.... they spelled my name wrong. So I left a voicemail this morning letting them know that I needed it done a third time. Third time's a charm, right?!

I have been told that the Ethiopia program coordinator from our agency will be contacting me withing the next couple of days to go over anything else.

We are making progress!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Last textbook

I bought what I believe will be my last book for school... ever. I thought you might like to see it. Yes, I am serious. My final case study for my oral exams is completely statistics oriented. I wanted to make sure that I did not make any basic mistakes. So I found a book that covers all the basics. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who are you?

I found a new feature of blogspot today. It is your history of pageviews. It even tells me where these people are from. I am so very curious as to who you all are. Don't worry, I purposely made my blog open to the public. I know that strangers can read this. I hope they/you do. I just wish I knew who you are! :)

622 US - this is easy
66 Canada - probably family?
39 Russia - my mom, anyone else?
13 Singapore - is that you Lynn?
5 China
4 Nicaragua
2 Brazil
2 Guam
1 Israel
1 Slovenia

You don't have to tell me who you are but I would so love to hear from you if you would!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've thought about adopting but...

When I tell people about our plans to adopt I often hear "i've thought about adoption but...". I do know that adoption is not for everyone but I so wish that everyone would think about it. I mean really think about it. There are 167 million orphans in the world. And everyone of them deserves a home. Everyone of them is loved by God. Have you ever thought about how much it must pain God that 167 million of his littlest children are without parents to love and protect them?

Is adoption expensive? Yes
Is adoption a lengthy process? Yes
Is adoption an intrusive process? Yes
Is adoption difficult? Yes Yes Yes
Is adoption intimidating? Yes
Should you be a responsible adult and think through the realities of adoption? Yes

Am I missing something? YES, we are talking about a child. A human being. Think about how much work your kids are or even a dear friend or sibling. (All relationships are work.) Can you imagine not having that person in your life because they are too much work? If your loved one needed an expensive life saving operation and years of therapy, would you hesitate for even a moment? So how is a child's life any different? Because you don't know them... yet.

Please think about adoption. It is not for everyone but it is for many.

If you know that adoption is not for you directly you can still support adoption. They say "it takes a village" and it really does when adopting. I was reading a blog about a woman who was describing all the ways that people had helped their family. (Every little bit counts, 9/24/10) She writes about the doctor in their town that donates 4 physical per month to adoptive parents (part of the paperwork process) and how anyone can give of their talents and/or time.

I thought about writing this for a while but then I thought "no, we don't need any help, i don't want to ask for handouts". My pride was stopping me. But I realized that the point is not needing help. The point is about people having the opportunity to be a part of something that is big. Really big. Many years ago we were able to help out one family with their adoption. I know without a doubt that God would have facilitated their adoption with or without our involvement. But we were privileged to be a part of it. I have their photo on my wall at work and every time I see it I remember them. Although they are on the other side of the world I feel so connected to them and know that I always will.

I don't say this with regards to us specifically. If you want to support adoption, just look around you. There are people adopting everywhere. I'm sure there is a way that you could help them. And I am sure that you would be blessed by that connection you would develop with them.


I got a call from the WA Secretary of State. Two of our documents got rejected for authentication. It seems that the notary our doctors' office used is not "valid". Her stamp does not include the expiration date. So they are authenticating all of our other 14 documents. Dang it, those were the two most difficult documents to get! I already called our doctors' and told that that I need new documents with a different notary. But this is why I started our dossier paperwork so early.

I have read in may other peoples' blogs about them having to re-do paperwork. I'm telling you; if you are thinking about adopting, reading blogs really helps you know what to expect. :) I have been trolling around reading one adoptive mother's blog and then looking at her friends' blogs and then looking at their friends' blogs and so on and so on for about a year now. That is part of why I wanted to do a blog myself. I so appreciated people being willing to be open and share their stories.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grace like rain

I often wonder why God made me the way he did. I feel like I have fire in my soul. If I'm not in the deep end, inches from drowning, I feel restless and inadequate. I run (figuratively, I wish literally) towards whatever has my attention. I joke that Josh just sits and watches me go running past in one direction and then off in another. He knows that eventually I will land.

I wish I could run in one direction forever. The fire inside me compels me. When I stop running I feel without conviction. And rarely do I feel like I have run far enough or hard enough. I wonder how a person could live without something worth running towards. But in my hast I often run like a bull let loose in the streets of Spain or like road runner (I so loved that cartoon) only I then feel like wylie coyote when I run face first into the side of the mountain.

Sometimes I wonder how Josh and I can live the same life together when he is so grounded and I am so restless. I feel a lack of peace with regards to why God made me the way he did. Or maybe he didn't make me this way. Maybe he made me to be a sweet and calm person and by some twist of history I changed. I do know that God gave me Josh for balance. :)

So often I anguish over the mistakes I have made. Why did I run in the wrong direction? Why did I not think before I spoke? Why did I not slow down long enough to see that my friend was hurting? I could have been a better friend. Why did I not think before I spoke... AGAIN?!?

I hope that someday I will be able to look back at my life and say "oh, so that's what God designed me for". I have to trust that there is a purpose. And I have to learn to channel my energy. That might be a life long lesson.

Today our pastor spoke about grace. As a christian I know that I am a sinner just like everyone else. But as a christian I know that I am a forgiven sinner. I am so thankful that God's forgiveness is not contingent on me achieving a certain level of goodness. Yes, God calls us to be good in response to his love and forgiveness. But oh how much trouble I would be in if God would not forgive me until I was only so good or if he would take away his forgiveness if my sins crossed an invisible line.

Our pastor defined grace as...
... the forgiveness of God, which we could never earn on our own.
... the goodness of God, when we deserve his judgement.

Grace like rain falls down on me
All my stains are washed away

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Everything is in the hands of someone else.

Well its out of our hands for the time being. All of our remaining documents are sent off to their respective secretary of state offices. The WA secretary of state website says that they usually take a week from when they get documents to send them back out again. Funny thing is that WA charges $15 per document while KS charges $7.50 per document for authentication and ND charged $10. So $15 x 16 documents meant enclosing a $240 check for WA. Why do we have to live in the most expensive state of the three? It's okay, we expected this. So at this point there is nothing for us to do.

We got our first draft of the homestudy on Thursday. It is a 12 page, single spaced, description of us. She had a couple blanks that she needed filled in. We were able to get it back to her this morning. So I expect that the final draft will be done soon.

Once the homestudy is done the immigration for goes off. I understand that takes about 2 months to get approved. The overall timeline of this is longer than I had once thought but I do know it will work out.

So, everything is the hands of someone else. You would think that would be a bad thing but it feels good to have our part done. This is a huge milestone in my mind.

Last night was my first class of fall quarter. I found our I have a first draft of my final case study due in 2.5 weeks. Yikes! And thus the blogging... the procrastination has returned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not sure what I expected...

I've read so much about adoption and I'm sure I will read much more. One common theme is often referred to as "why grandma can't hold baby". The subject is about trying to explain to family and friends why they need to give you space to bond. The number of classes and books dedicated to this subject, often with that exact name or some version of it, made me very nervous about how our family and friends would react. Would they understand or would they pressure me to be "normal" even when I know that the emotions my kids are going through are not normal? There is nothing normal about getting a "new" mom and dad or about trying to determine if you are safe and loved using the logic of a child. I've talked about this before but I had no idea how many times I would have to explain before others would understand and respect our family's needs.

Last week a coworker asked me very carefully, 'I know you will need your time to bond but at some point will you...'. She let me know how excited she is for us. She was letting me know that she wanted to respect our needs but also looked forward to meeting our little guys and wanted to know if we would let her know when it was okay. So not to worry, we will certainly let you know when it is okay to meet them, hug them, hold them, etc. We have no idea when we will hit those milestones so we will have to all take it as it goes. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your openess and flexibility. The reaction that I have gotten from everyone has really put me at ease with regards to this.

I never expected anyone to discourage our adoption plans but I also never expected the reactions that I have gotten. I have been told "congratulations" so many times! The very first was one day early in the process when we went to someone at work to have a document notarized. Josh had already asked if she would do us this favor and so she already knew what was going on when I walked over. When I showed up at her desk she said "congratulations" so enthusiasticly that it took me by surprise. I expected people to be okay with us adopting. I even expected many to be encouraging. But I never expected this much support. It really has been so much fun! Thank you for that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More light

I can see more light at the end of the tunnel!

Today we completed re-doing our police clearence thingy. (We didn't ask to have it on letterhead the first time.) And our friends' reference letters have arrived. (THANK YOU Joe&Jamie, Erin, Drew&Erika!)

Now remaining:

Homestudy (This is the part that allows us to get on the waiting list.)
- Waiting for the social worker to complete her report. (I am trying to be patient but it is not my area of strength.)
- Once that is done our agency will send a form to the US government requesting permission for us to immigrate our kids.
- Once that form is approved we go on the waiting list.

Dossier (This is the part that has to be done before we can bring our kids home. So of course I want it done way in advance to make sure we don't run into any problems.)
- Send all of our documents to the secretary of state to get all of the notaries authenticated.
- Then send that all to the Ethiopian government.

Our to-do list is getting shorter!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

I think I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been thinking this for a little while but my theory is that if you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel you should give it just a little time to make sure it is not just another train coming. :)

The light I see is the end in sight to all of this adoption paperwork. Today both of our managers signed letters stating that really do have jobs and we really do make the salary that we said. I also finished prepping our remaining documents so that all we have to do is sign them in front of a notary.

There are 2 parts to adoption paperwork. Here is what we have left for each:

For the homestudy: (This is the US side of getting approved.)
- Wait for our homestudy to be completed. (We have done our part, just waiting for the social worker to complete her report.)
- Once the homestudy is done the agency sends an immigration form to the US government so that we can get pre-permission for our kids to immigrate.
- Once we get the immigration approval we go on the wait list to find our babies.

For the dossier: (This is the Ethiopian side of getting approved. You don't have to do a dossier if you adopt from the US but any international adoption requires it.) This part doesn't have to be done in order to get on the wait list but it does have to be done before we can go get our kids so of course I am doing it now.
- Redo 1 form from the police dept because we didn't ask to have it on letterhead the first time around. This was a time consuming the first time so a little painful to have to do again but not the end of the world.
- Wait for the postal service to deliver 2 reference letters that friends have done for us.
- Sign about 6 or 7 documents in front of a notary. (I have them all ready to go.)
- Send all of these prior listed documents to WA state to have all of the notaries authenticated (confirming that the notaries really are notaries).
- Send the one friend's reference letter to KS state to have that notary authenticated (confirming that her notary really is a notary in KS). All of this authenticating might sound crazy but in some states you have to have your documents authenticated by the county and then the state. And unless you were both born, married, work, and have all your friends in the same county you would then have to send to all of those different counties. So we have to count ourselves lucky to not be in one of these states.
- Send all of these documents to Ethiopia.

This might sound like alot left to do but if you look at my post back in May when I shared our "checklist" you can see that we have made some serious progress.

I have heard that the waiting list part is the most difficult. I hope that is not true because I have found the paperwork phase to be pretty stressful. I keep thinking that my kids are sitting all alone in an orphanage somewhere because I can't or won't move fast enough to go get them. I would like to think that once we have done our part I can feel some peace about that and know that once we are on the waitlist it is about us waiting for them and not them waiting for us.

I have plans that once our paperwork is done and once I have finished school in December, I will vent my energy on projects. Our house is plenty big enough for 2 of us but it will get alot smaller once we have 4+ people living here. So my idea is that if I do projects to make efficient use of our space we will feel more comfortable. Installing extra shelves in some closets, cleaning out junk, etc.

I guess I am never happy unless I am tackling something big but I am pretty excited to finally see some light at the end of this tunnel.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lord, please take care of my babies today.

Lord, please take care of my babies today.
As I go to sleep they will likely be waking up.
Please protect their little bodies.
Protect their little minds.
Protect their little hearts.
Give them someone to hug them today.
Someone to love them today.
Kind words today.
Watch over them.
I don't know their faces, but you can see them.
I don't know their hearts, but you have know them from their first days.
Please God, protect my babies today.
I don't know if they are okay. I can't see them.
If they are hurt. I can't hear them.
If they are lonely. I can't be with them.
Somehow, someway, please give their little hearts peace.
Peace in knowing, somehow, someway, that we are coming for them.
Knowing they will not be without a mommy and daddy forever.
And when the time is right, please help us to find them.
Please lead us to the children you already know to be ours.
Please prepare us. Prepare our hearts.
Prepare our lives for all the change you have in store for us.
Lord, please take care of my babies today.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Books and Backpacks

As I shared before, we now own 8 backpacks... 5 for our kids-to-be. Everywhere I go I see stuff for our kids. I am resisting buying because it is so hard when you don't know their ages, boy/girl, or even how many kids. (We are planning for 2 siblings but are willing to consider a sibling group up to 4.) From the time that we know who are kids are we will have about 2 weeks before going to Ethiopia for court and then another 2-6 weeks before the final trip to go pick them up. So this will leave plenty of time for me to go into planning over drive. Oh Josh hasn't seen nothing yet! Look out!

One thing I had been hoping to acquire at some point was children's books. I look forward to us reading with them all the time. A few months ago we fell into learning that our nieces and nephew love story time before bed. I'm not sure what prompted us but one night of babysitting, we offered them that if they wanted to get ready for bed early we would do an extra long story time with them. We gave them the choice and they jumped at it. So I am looking forward to the same special time with our kids.

Yesterday Josh's parents gave us a gift. I pealed off the wrapping paper and right away I saw that it was the back of a book where they list all the other books in the series. I could see that it was the Berenstain Bears. I love those books and I just know that our kids will love them too. I was telling a friend at work about this and she so generously offered me some books that her daughter has out grown.

We have enjoyed so much support. The books are great but the love that comes with them is even better.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I feel like I owe an update as I know so many people were praying for us and that our home study visit from the social worker this past Tuesday would go well.

The social worker came to our house after work and did her thing. She was perfectly nice and I know she was just doing her job. But after 4.5 hours I was exhausted! I felt very under a microscope, exposed. I know that the point of this whole process is to protect the children. And I know that when you become a parent, your life becomes about your children. But that doesn't stop me from having feelings of my own. It is so difficult for me to admit that I was discouraged because I would never want to discourage anyone else from adopting.

After weeks of preparing documents for the home study, a weekend of adoption classes, a full evening of home study visit, and knowing that we still have the dossier documents to go... I am exhausted. I know in my mind that I still want to adopt. I have wanted do so for 13 years. But this process will definitely test your resolve.

Once we complete the home study (which is mostly in the social worker's hands now, except for a few more minor documents that we need to do) and complete the dossier (about 10-14 documents, they go to the Ethiopian government explaining why they should consider us for adoption) which we are just starting, then we go on the wait list. I would say about 1-2 months before we get ourselves on the wait list.

So the process continues...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feeding the monster

Josh has been feeding the monster in me.

The other day I decided that I need to buy backpacks while they are on sale. The idea was that I would bring them with us to Ethiopia so that our kids could have them for carry-ons for the flight home and so that they could just carry around whatever is precious to them on all the other days. I thought that in the midst of so much change and so many unknowns, having a few things that are important to them near by at all times might serve as a sort of security blanket for them.

I also decided I should buy school supplies while they are on sale just in case we bring home school age kids before the end of this school year. I talked with my sister-in-law and asked her to send me a list of what she suggests considering we won't know our kids ages for a while.

So off to WalMart I went. I bought tons of glue sticks. According to my sister-in-law, kids just love gluing stuff together. I bought crayons, markers, folders, paper, pencils, etc, etc. But then came the backpacks. Do I buy girl backpacks or boy backpacks? Do I buy little ones (for preschoolers) or regular ones? After a VERY long time debating, I bought 2 neutral regular size ones and 1 little one.

I came home, with $80 of school supplies in tow (and 2 mini etch-a-sketches for our kids to have for the plane ride home), and told Josh my dilemma as to what backpacks to buy. His answer: Buy one for every possibility and we will just donate what we don't use. So now we own 5 backpacks. (In addition to the 3 that we already own for ourselves. My school backpack. His laptop backpack. And our backpack for summer outings in the sun that stays stocked with sunscreen and such.)

Josh really should know better than to feed this monster in me!

Becoming one of them

For years I have listened to women who would talk endlessly about their kids. I would think to myself "you do know that there is an entire world out there that has nothing to do with your kids". And now... I have become one of them! Here I am going on and on about kids we don't even have yet as if there was nothing else at all going on around me.

So I apologize. Adoption has long been a passion of mine. And now, as we move forward towards that day, I fear that I will get more and more obnoxious with every day. I already think about it constantly. With everything we do, I think "what will it be like the first time we do this with our kids". With every kid I see, I think "soon my kids will be home". As I look around my house, I think "that will be a good place for our first family photo and we will need to add shelves to this closet to fit more kiddy clothes and this glass coffee table probably won't be a good idea anymore if we have a toddler".

The otherday I was at Costco and saw the cutest snuggly kids' pjs for winter time. Oh how I wished that I knew who are kids are so that I could pick out their pjs. As a very poor substitute I resigned myself to slowly touching every stack of them as I passed by. I think I've lost my mind... but then again maybe its always been gone...

Time to clean!

We have finished the majority of our paperwork. (I showed you the list of questions in that prior post). This Tuesday the social worker is coming for her visit. It is common that people think the social worker visit is just about making sure our house is good enough. That is actually just a tiny part of it. Sure, she will take a quick look around to make sure that our home is adequate but not much more than that. The primary reason for her visit is to talk with us and make sure we are prepared and really know what we are getting into. Naturally they don't want us freaking out first thing when we get our kids home.

After the home study visit we need to complete our dossier. This is all the legal paperwork that goes to the Ethiopian government. They will review our dossier and decide if they are willing to let us adopt from their country. Once this is complete we then go on the waiting list. This is the scary part for me because I don't wait well.

So while the social worker visit on Tuesday is not about how clean our house is, we have some MAJOR cleaning to do! For the past 8 weeks I have been at school 2 nights a week and doing homework the rest of the week. That in addition to summer fun has not left much time for cleaning and our house is a pit! Besides, I have to take advantage of the excuse to give Josh extra chores to do. :) He has already swept the garage, did a little weeding, emptied the vacuum cleaner, and done tons of laundry. And its just after noon! Maybe I should arrange for the social worker to come every week...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home sweet home

Home sweet home. We are home after a whirlwind weekend of adoption classes, baseball games, and my grandma's 90th birthday party. We drive 5 hours to get home and what is the first thing we do? Drop our stuff as we walk in the door and turn on our computers!

Our adoption classes were good but for every question they answered I thought of 3 more. It was a little overwhelming. I think if any parent was forced to think about all of parenting prior to conception they would be overwhelmed too. And here we are, planning to go from just the two of us to four of us and the little ones will be walking and talking already expecting us to know what we are doing. It is the 'expecting us to know what we are doing' part that makes me nervous. Thankfully we have some time between now and then as we have alot more research and planning to do.

How did the naming thing go? Not so great. It turns out that 25,000 names means AT LEAST 20,000 ridiculous names. We'll keep working on that.

Well this is finals week for me so I probably won't be writting much between now and Thursday night as I really have no time left for procrastination. Well, except for tonight that is.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baby Names

A few weeks ago I was reading the blog of a woman who adopted from Ethiopia. She mentioned that they picked out their kids' names a year prior to ever knowing them. Immediately I decided that was something that I wanted to do. It makes sense. Pregnant women get to name their babies before they ever meet them. I want to be able to pray for them by name. Now you might be wonder, if we adopt older kids who already know their given name, what about that name? Its pretty common for people to pick a name and give that to their adopted child as their middle name or move their given name to middle and give them a new first name. The idea is that they still get to keep their identity but also have a more common name that they can choose to use here in the states.

I picked out two names. One boy name and one name that has a girl and a boy version. I think we will either end up with two boys or a boy and a girl but it seems unlikely that we will adopt two girls. You see there are more requests for girls. I heard once that the theory is that women often are the one in the family driving the desire to adopt and often they want a girl to round out their family. We don't really care boy or girl so it seems unlikely that we would end up with two girls. Back to the naming. So I picked out two names but Josh didn't love them so I asked him to pick out a couple. For days I asked him if he had any names yet. Finally he told me that he needs a book of names to look at. Ask and you shall receive!

I was on the hunt for a baby name book. My coworkers told me that you can often find little mini-magazine versions near the checkout at the grocery store. I looked at a few places and didn't find anything. So I looked at WalMart. Sure enough they had one. They seem to have one of everything. The name of the book.... one hundred THOUSAND baby names!!! Jippers! I bought it because it is the only one I found but just looking at it made me sick to my stomach. It was easily the size of my textbooks. So I decided to try Barnes and Noble to see what they might have. This time only twenty five thousand baby names. Still alot but much better. So I bought that one and will return the other one.

This weekend we have a 4.5 hour drive over the mountains and then back again. That is 9 hours in which I will have a captive audience. I am resolved that we will have names picked out before we return on Sunday!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good practice

Adopting from Russia has become very difficult. Our agency is no longer accepting applications for Russia. So it seems that Ethiopia is going to be our place. With that I have been doing alot of thinking about what it would be to have children of a different race; the questions people might have for us; and the questions that our kids might have for us. I confess that I find myself spying around me, looking for multi-racial families. I'm not sure I really know why or what I am looking for.

This weekend my nephew decided to give me a little sneak preview of this. We were at the water park with his family and his grandparents. The big boys were off doing the speed slides while the girls were watching. My nephew and I were sitting down. I had him all wrapped up in a big towel as he had gotten cold. We were just sitting when I noticed something catch his eye. There were two older African American kids with particularly dark skin headed into the wave pool. Thankfully they were at least 40ft away when he stated very matter-of-factly "they're black". Well that caught me off guard. Uhhhhhh... I didn't want to be all "oh honey we don't talk about that" and trying to explain that they should be called African American... well it just didn't seem to fit when I knew that to him he was just talking about color, like he finds in his crayon box, nothing more, nothing less. So I said "yup"... brilliant, I know. Well that was immediately followed by "why?". I should have answered with what my Mom used to tell me, that God loves variety and so he used different colors when he made us. No, I replied "because their parents are and so they are too". About halfway through that sentence I thought "oh that's going to create confusion for him in about a year when we adopt, nice going".

Yes, nieces and nephews are good practice. I love that little guy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making Progress

Weww! I completed my autobiography (12 pages) and we are 99% done with our parenting resource plan (15 pages) and Josh is about 80% done on his autobiography. Boy am I going to be glad when this part is done!

So do you want to know what questions are included in these? I don't share this to scare anyone. Quite the opposite. But it is a very real reality check.


1. Parents
1. a. Describe each of your parents, stepparents, guardians or any others directly involved in your upbringing. Include your relationship with them individually, past and present.
1. b. How were you disciplined? What impact did it have on your childhood? Do you feel it affects your role as a parent now (if applicable)?
1. c. Did you ever feel rejected or threatened by your parents? Describe any experiences in your childhood that felt overwhelming or traumatizing to you.
1. d. As much as you recall, describe how early separations from your parents were handled. Were you ever apart from your parents for any amount of time that felt significant to you?
1. e. Did anyone besides your parents take care of you in childhood? What was that relationship like for you?
1. f. How did your parents communicate with you when you were happy and excited? How did your parents communicate with you when you were distressed, discouraged or unhappy?
1. g. Describe your parents’ financial and work situations.
1. h. Describe your parents’ relationships and conflict resolution styles. Are your parents currently together or divorced/ never married/apart?
1. i. What did you learn from your parents about marriage and commitment? Would you say you generally have parented (or want to parent) in ways similar to how you were raised, or do you plan to do anything differently?
1. j. What were your parents’ attitudes on education?
1. k. Were you raised in a religion or spiritual belief? If so, what denomination or religious practice?
1. l. If applicable, what religious faith or spiritual belief do you currently participate in? How important is it to you?
1. m. What values did your parents pass on to you?

2. Brothers and Sisters
2. a. What is the birth order of your siblings, and what are their current ages in relation to yours?
2. b. Describe your relationships with your brothers and sisters, past and present.

3. Yourself
3. a. Describe your education in high school and beyond. Include any degrees or diplomas you received, and what areas you received them in.
3. b. Briefly describe activities you regularly enjoyed as a child, adolescent and teenager.
3. c. Did you have any positive relationships with people other than your parents that you could depend on during any difficult times?
3. d. List a brief history of employment and military service (job title, description, and satisfaction and length of time in the position). A resume may be submitted in lieu of the above.
3. e. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Do you have behavior patterns you would like to change, but have difficulty doing so?
3. f. How do you usually handle problems, stresses or difficulties in the workplace and at home?
3. g. How have you dealt with separation and loss? (Please give an example.)
3. h. What impact do you think your childhood has had on you as an adult? Do you find yourself trying to behave or not to behave in certain ways because of what happened to you as a child?
3. i. Describe your personal goals. How do you see yourself? Is there anything you would like to change your self-image? Is there anything you would like to change about how you relate to others?
3. j. List hobbies, interests and community activities you enjoy as an individual.
3. k. Describe your support network. How much contact does your family have with relatives or friends?
3. l. If your family knows you plan to adopt, how do they feel about it?
3. m. Do you have friends, neighbors or family members who have adopted?

4. Previous Marriages/Partnerships/Relationships
4. a. List the dates of any previous marriage(s) or partnership(s).
4. b. Describe the marriage(s)/partnership(s) and the reason for its/their termination.
4. c. What did you learn from this relationship? How is your current marriage different than the previous one(s)?
d. If you have children from a previous marriage or relationship, what are your child support obligations? Where do your children currently reside and what contact do you have with them?

5. Courtship and Marriage/Partnership
5. a. Where and how did you meet your partner, and what attracted you to him or her?
5. b. How would you describe your role within your current relationship?
5. c. Give an example of your problem solving process with your partner.
5. d. Describe your partner’s strengths and weaknesses.
5. e. How has your relationship changed over the years?
5. f. How much is your marriage like your parents’ marriage? How much is your spouse like your own mother or father?

6. Others in the Home
6. a. If you have children, briefly describe them, including ages, physical description, personality, attitude toward school (if applicable) and activities they participate in or enjoy.
6. b. If you have children, what activities do you enjoy as a family?
6. c. Are there others besides your partner and children who share your home? (If so, include the person’s name, occupation, length of stay, role in the family, financial contributions to the household and his or her feelings about your adoption plan).
6. d. Describe a typical week day and weekend day in your home.

7. Family Health
7. a. Do you have any current medical problems? If so, how do you manage them?
7. b. Are you currently using any medication? If yes, what type? What are the reasons for the medication?
7. c. Have you ever been hospitalized for any physical or mental health needs? If so, please describe.
7. d. Have you ever sought counseling? If yes, describe when this was, circumstances, length of counseling and feelings about this experience. Did you receive any medications as a result?

8. Other
8. a. Do you keep firearms or weapons in your home or on the premise? If so, what safety precautions have you taken?
8. b. Are there any arrests, criminal records or histories of domestic violence or child or substance abuse in your background? (All arrests or convictions that have been expunged must be disclosed. USCIS will have access to these records through the FBI check.) If you have any doubts about past police contact, please fully disclose this information to your WACAP counselor. Failure to disclose this information may result in denial of your adoption application.
8. c. Have you ever been the subject of an unfavorable homestudy or been rejected as an adoptive applicant?


Motivation to Adopt

1. Please describe how you came to the decision to adopt (include information regarding infertility or any other medical condition, if applicable).

2. Describe an incident or anecdote in your life that illustrates why you want to parent a child (or another child).

3. What programs/countries interest you? Why?

4. Do you have any specific concerns about the adoption process or social and health issues of the children in the programs/countries you are considering?

Adoption Process

5. What issues do you feel are important to discuss with your child in regard to his/her adoption?

6. If it were possible, would you be comfortable with contact with your child’s birth parents, siblings or significant childcare providers, such as orphanage workers, foster parents, etc.? Please describe your comfort level and why.


Parenting Preparation

1. Please discuss your parenting and/or other childcare experiences.

2. What education or training, if any, do you have in child development?

3. What forms of discipline have you used, or do you plan to use?

4. If you already have children in your family, how will the adoption of another child impact them?

5. What are your attitudes regarding the use of family and individual counseling to work on personal or family issues?



1. How much time off work will each applicant take when the child comes home? Be very specific. If you have a flexible work schedule, describe in detail the time you will have to care for your child and how you will manage your child while working from home.

2. Do you have other demands on your time, such as caring for the special needs of children already in your home or family members (such as elderly parents) or coping with possible out-of-town travel requirements for work?

3. What is your back-up plan if your child is not ready to enter daycare/school when you are scheduled to return to work?

4. Specify your financial resources to cover extended time off from work.

5. Who lives close enough to you to be available for support?

6. If you are adopting a preschooler, what are your community resources for preschool-age children who are behind in their movement skills, speech and/or social skills? Do you know how to enroll your child in your local Early Intervention Program?

7. What are your resources to meet the daycare needs of a child with developmental and behavioral issues? Where would you go if your long-term daycare provider turned down your child as too aggressive, difficult or just different? What if full-time daycare is not possible for your child?

8. Describe your health insurance coverage. Is your child covered from the date of placement (not adoption)? What percent of care is covered? (Paying even 20% of a very large bill can be difficult for most families.)

8. a) What is the extent of your mental health coverage?

8. b) Many children come home with severe dental needs due to neglect. How will you pay for this care if it is needed? Do you have dental insurance?

9. Birth mothers of children we place for adoption may have used drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy. This information is most often not known at the time of placement. Describe your understanding of the major effects of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and your ability to meet the needs of a child with this background.

9. a) What are the major effects of drug use during pregnancy? What resources do you have to meet these needs?

9. b) What are the major effects of alcohol use during pregnancy? What resources do you have to meet these needs?

10. A history of sexual abuse or molestation is often unknown at the time of placement. Even children in institutions can experience this. Describe your understanding of the major effects of sexual molestation on a developing child.

10. a) What resources does your community offer to help a child recover from this experience?

10. b) How would you respond to the knowledge that your child had been molested? How would you handle the effects of this experience with other children in your home and extended family members?

10. c) Discovering that a new child has been molesting children already in the home is often the most difficult situation for a family. How would you handle this event?

11. For families adopting children age 1 to 3, please describe at least five ways that early abuse, neglect and institutionalization can affect the personality and development of a young child.

11. a) Even young children may show some signs of abuse, neglect or institutionalization when they come home. Describe at least two specific ways you will parent your child to develop trust and attachment—methods that you are not using with your current children. What if after six to 12 months your child appears still unattached?

11. b) How will you deal with a child who may tantrum for an hour or more, perhaps several times a times a day?

11. c) How will you deal with a child who rejects you?

11. d) How will you deal with a child who never wants you to be out of sight?

12. Many children, most of who have never slept alone, have great difficulty sleeping through the night in their new homes. Please describe two ways that you might help your child, and you, get a good night's sleep.

SECTION B - All families adopting a child of a different race or culture than their own are asked to complete this section.

1. List adoption support groups in your area that can assist you in dealing with adoption issues and maintaining your child’s cultural/ethnic heritage:

2. List local cultural activities appropriate for the child you are planning to adopt:

3. If appropriate, list the language/translation services available in your area for the child you are planning to adopt:

4. If your child is of school age, please describe the ESL (English as a Second Language) services available in your school district. Who have you spoken to at the school district?

5. How diverse is your community, school system, place of worship, circle of friends and extended and immediate family? If you don’t currently have adults in your life of the race and culture of the child you plan to adopt, what steps will you take to add diversity to your life?

6. Please describe your understanding of what it means to be a racial minority in your community and in your family.

7. Please describe how you would handle the following circumstances:

7. a) At a family holiday dinner, discussion turns to an enthusiastic, affirming conversation about the physical traits that everyone in your family (except your child) shares.

7. b) Your child is asked, “Is that your mother?”

7. c) If applicable, your adopted child’s sibling is asked, “Is he/she your brother/sister?”

7. d) Friends (and even strangers) constantly comment on your child’s beautiful eyes, hair, skin color—physical characteristics that make them different than you.

7. e) Your teen comes home and says he and his friend were asked to leave a store but other white teenagers were not.

SECTION C - Anyone open to adopting a child with a specific physical condition/disability is asked to complete this section. If you have not yet identified a child but are open to specific health and/or developmental conditions, please answer #1 and #2 below.

1. We are open to these physical issues:

2. Do you have any personal/professional experience with these issues? If not, why are you interested in adopting a child with these issues?

If you have identified a child:

3. List any local specialized clinics that treat your child’s identified medical, developmental or emotional problem, including local counseling resources.

4. Consult with medical professionals and describe how many clinic/doctor/therapy visits children with this disability typically need each month. How many surgeries? What is the length of stay in the hospital and recuperation time at home?

5. After consulting with medical professionals, do you know of any other issues associated with this disability that do not become obvious until later in life?

6. How might this disability affect your child’s self esteem and sense of belonging as he or she grows into adulthood, and how will you help your child with these concerns?

7. Please describe how you will meet the time demands of your child’s possible medical care, including how you will get time off from work. How much support is available from your spouse, extended family members and friends? Please be as specific as possible, identifying by name those available to you for support.

8. Based on your discussions with medical professionals, identify the type of daycare setting that best meets the needs of a child with this condition. Is full-time daycare possible for this child? Would a daycare have to cope with any particular ongoing medical needs? Might a daycare turn down this child as too difficult? What is your plan if your chosen daycare is unable to provide care?

9. What special services will your local school district need to provide? Does your local district offer all these services? Have you spoken to your local district yet?

10. Based on your discussions with medical professionals, describe what might be the worst possible outcome for a child with the physical or developmental issues that you are considering.

11. What are your resources for meeting this worst case outcome?

SECTION D - Please complete this section if you are adopting a child age 3 or older. In our experience, children of this age will require resources outside of the immediate family. These questions are not solely based on “worst case” situations, but on issues that arise in many of the children placed at older ages in adoptive homes.

1. Why do you want to adopt a child age 3 or older?

2. Do you have any experience, skills or special training regarding children who have experienced abuse (including sexual abuse), neglect and/or out-of-home care? If so, what have you learned about the type of parenting these children need?

3. If you do not have such experience, what steps will you take to educate yourself?

4. Many older children show at least one of the following reactions when they join a new family. Please consider how you will help a child who has one or more of these behaviors. How will you parent a child who may:

4. a) Have several hour-long tantrums each day?

4. b) Be physically or sexually aggressive to others, including your children and pets?

4. c) Reject you, show no desire to be part of your family and want to return to previous caregivers, even after six to 12 months in your home?

4. d) Be clingy, whiny, not let you out of sight and demand constant attention so that you have no time for your other children and are exhausted?

4. e) Give you little affection or cooperation, despite all your efforts, even after six to 12 months in your home?

4. f) Be disliked or even feared by your other children because of the disruption he or she causes in your home? This is often a cause of major questioning about the wisdom of the placement. How will you handle the stress with your other children?

4. g) Be much more behind developmentally than you expected and most likely never catch up to his or her peers?

5. Identify the nearest support/advocacy/information group for your child’s developmental or emotional issues. List three contacts with this group and what you have learned.

6. Identify any local specialized clinics that treat your child’s identified developmental or emotional problem, including local counseling resources. List the name of a counselor or an agency that is affordable to you and can provide counseling in your child’s language. If counseling is not available in your child’s language, can the translation services you listed in section B be available to attend counseling?

7. What might be some of the long-standing concerns associated with early abuse and neglect for your child as a teen and young adult? How will you help your child if they have difficulties becoming a self-sufficient adult?

8. Please describe how your family will meet the time demands of your child’s possible emotional and/or developmental issues, such as attending multiple school conferences, picking up your child mid-day after a fight at school, making it to counselor appointments, etc?

9. What type of daycare setting best meets the needs of a child with emotional or developmental needs? Is full-time daycare even possible for this child? What is your plan if your daycare turns down your child as too difficult due to ongoing behaviors such as aggressiveness, ADD, sexual advances, refusal to cooperate or a maturity level too low to participate in the program?

10. Is a regular classroom setting best suited for your child, who perhaps has not been to school before or has issues with ADD, impulsivity, compliance and aggression? What other school settings does your district offer and what is the procedure for accessing them? What is an IEP?

11. What typical recreational/outdoor activities does your family enjoy together? Are there family activities you typically enjoy that your child will not be able to participate in due to perhaps ADD, fearfulness, oppositional behavior or impulsivity (ignoring safety rules)?

12. Please describe what might be the worst possible outcome for a child with the emotional or developmental issues typical of children who have spent considerable time without a family.

13. What are your family’s resources to deal with this worst possible outcome?

Statement Regarding the Children I / We are Willing to Consider for Adoption - Please include your thoughts on considering a child with a special physical or emotional or developmental need. If you are only interested in adopting a child with no presenting health, medical or developmental disabilities, please state this in your own words. A family wishing a child with no special needs will not be approved for children age three and older since all older children have risk factors in their history which can lead to special emotional or developmental needs.