Thanks :)

Just a quick “thank you” for all the support we’ve been getting from friends & family, online & in person.

Paul and I feel very blessed that so many of you are willing to help with the yard sale, donating stuff, and words of encouragement!!

This is a very exciting, yet stressful, process and knowing we have so many people behind us makes this all the more special.

Lots of love! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

Good Home Study Visit/Interview!!

Paul and I went to our home study office today and met with the social worker. He’s been in adoptions for 23 years (phD in social work I think it was) doing interviews, counseling, and placements. And he also has 2 adopted sons!

He said his job today was to “scare you so you run out the door.” He wanted to make sure we’re firm and ready to adopt internationally.ย  Luckily, at the end of the interview, he passed us and told us he wished he could place with us ๐Ÿ™‚

He’ll be out to our house in a few weeks to talk to the kids and see what kind of an area we live in.ย  Then he’ll write up his report and, I’m guessing, by the end of May we’ll send our dossier in for authentication!

So it was a good day! Another step up the adoption ladder.

Why So Complicated?

So as time goes by and the adoption progresses, I’ve been getting more and more excited. It feels like a pregnancy, minus the physical uncomforts (yay!!).

And since we’re going to try and get a girl, my mind turns pink…pink ruffles, dresses, shoes, dolls, books….etc.

Oh, dolls….*sigh*

I decided to get this girl a doll. A little black dolly she can carry around and sleep with. And I’m picky…don’t want a hard-body one, or an eat-&-pee doll…just a cute soft little doll.

It’s not been easy. We don’t live anywhere near a Toys R Us, so I decided to look at Wal Mart. NONE! NO black dolls. Yes, they have Barbies, but no dolls. I decided to order a Cabbage Patch doll when the time comes. Very cute.

Last week I tried looking in the local book store for books…same problem. It’s hard to find a book centered around a black/African girl. I think I’ll have to go to a city (D.C. or Baltimore) to a big bookstore to find what I want.

I know there’s no way I can put myself in my future daughter’s shoes every day, but I’m beginning to get a taste of what our future will be like.

Home Study Pt 2 & Ethiopian Names

We got a call from our home study agency that all our paperwork made it safely…the last 2 documents needed to be sent by other people, and those ones took the longest.

So, next week we have our first appointment and phase 2 begins!! We have an office visit, just Paul & I. I’m a little nervous, but it’s more a nervous-exictement. I don’t think we have anything to worry about (hopefully!) so there’s no fear in the situation. Just ready to go!!

I don’t think we’re going to make the 2-week-mark (see previous post) but that’s ok.

Today I was thinking about names. It’s a bit of a debate in the adoption world about changing a foreign adopted child’s name…and in our case, Ethiopian names can be complex! So the thing is, do we change her name to be “American” or let her keep her name and her “heritage”?

We’ll probably do both. Heritage and background are very important to us. Even before adopting, we’re both interested in our genealogy and traditions. And we want this child to have hers. We don’t want her to grow up missing a piece of herself, we want her to feel as though both halves are fulfilled.

It depends on her age and name. If she has a more complex or hard-to-pronounce name and is very, very young (like under a year) we’ll probably change it to her middle name and give her a new first name. But if she’s older (2 yrs old) obviously we won’t want to disrupt her life more than what we’ll be doing already. We’ll probably give her an easier name for a middle name and use her first name or find a nickname.

And if she has an easy name (Amara or Desta are common) then we’ll stick with it!

So many “IF” scenarios.

Wow…and…PLEASE!

I got an interesting e-mail yesterday. Our adoption agency asked how far along I was in our dossier…I told her we only need a couple more things (which I hope to get this week) and then the home study interviews.

She said great, is there a way we could finish within 2 weeks…2 WEEKS!?! It normally takes 3 months! The reason she’s asking is she’s traveling to Ethiopia and it would be easier/faster if she could take our dossier with her for authentication and acceptance.

So I forwarded the mail to our home study agency and hope to hear today. I’m expecting to read, “Less than 2 weeks? It takes 3 months, a month if we really push it. Impossible. Sorry.”

But I’m hoping I read, “Wow, that’s really tight and it’s gonna be tough, but let’s try.”

This could shave 2-4 months off our adoption and could make having a baby by Christmas a reality!

So I’m a little nervy until I get the news…expecting a no, but SOOO hoping for a yes!

DONE with Home Study Paperwork!!

Yay!!!

Tomorrow morning I’m going to the post office to mail off our paperwork for the home study. I’m so excited to be done with that! The stack of paper ended up being 2 inches thick ๐Ÿ˜€

“On to the next!”

Dossier Guide

We decided to send for our dossier guide…the paperwork that goes to Ethiopia for the government’s approval.

Wanna see how fun it is? Surprisingly enough, it’s less than we had for the home study. We are accepting volunteers to do this for us ๐Ÿ™‚

  • letter indicating why we want to adopt (done)
  • birth certificates for both parents (done)
  • marriage certificate (done)
  • “good conduct” clearance letters for both parents, notarized by police department
  • medical report for both parents, signed and notarized by dr (done)
  • 2 home study reports
  • letter of employment verification (notarized by employer) (this week)
  • letter from bank indicating good standing (notarized by banker)
  • letter from life insurance company
  • letter from health insurance, indicating policy for adoption coverage
  • 3 letters of recommendation from friends/family, signed and notarized by friends/family
  • obligation of adoption-reporting, notarized
  • verification from United States Citizen and Immigration Services with approval to adopt
  • passport photos (done)
  • photocopies of passports
  • power of attorney; 3 copies, signed and notarized
  • copies of past 2 years tax returns (working on it today)

Vertigo….Not Just for Hitchcock.

A week ago, Paul was feeling really dizzy….long story short, the doctor said it’s vertigo.ย  Dizziness for no reason, basically, with no real time line to when it should get better.

I’m really surprised how many people have this from time to time. About half the people I talk to have this or their spouse does. For something that’s so common, I’m wondering why it’s not talked about more!

Recently I read (somewhere) that 2-3% of ER visits are due to vertigo.

Anyway, I just think it’s strange…and I hope it goes away soon.

New Adoption Tax Credit/Refund!!!

Yesterday, Paul and I read wonderful news.It’s spreading like wildfire through the adoption community.

“Specifically, the provisions contained in the health care bill include:

  • The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011;
  • The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from $12,170 to $13,170.
  • The increase is โ€œretroactive,โ€ meaning that any adoption occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher credit.
  • The credit is now refundable. This means that even families that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related expenses.
  • The full text of the amended language begins on page 903 of the Health Care Reform Bill (PDF).”

    So this means that instead of just a credit, we can actually get money refunded for the adoption! This is such amazing news for our family we’re so thankful.

    Added a New Page!

    Please check out my new page, ” Fundraiser FHE Chart”….and even better, order one ๐Ÿ˜€

    (yes, I know that was shameless, but I had to!)