Thursday, November 22, 2007

Catching you up

Hi all who are reading this. I have started my blog late into my journey but I did keep a paper journal from the beginning so I thought I would catch you up but putting brief entries from my journal onto the blog. It may make a long entry but it will show you my timeline and hopefully be interesting.
Week after Thanksgiving 2006--Spent time thinking about a new opportunity at work that would take a lot of time and committment. While thinking about that something else keeps popping into my head--ADOPTION. The job at work would be a great opportunity but being a mom-WOW that would be a dream come true.
Next week--Think about adoption every day--it is daunting, scary, and exciting. Am I too old?, can I do it by myself?, How can I afford it?, What about daycare?
I did some internet searching--there is a lot of information out there--found some agencies to get info from, looked into adoption benefits at work and I am blessed that they have very good adoption benefits.
11-30-06 This is what I want! I told my boss at work and she was so excited "wow--this is the best news I ever heard and it is such a perfect fit". It was great to have my first reaction be so postitive but I still get butterflies in my stomach when I talk about it.
12-1-06 Went to Barnes and Noble and bought 3 books on adoption--maybe overkill but hey--I'm new at this. Also read through info from internet, info packet from work, and info from Children's Hope----International Addoption is the way to go for me!
12-2-06 Talked to my sister about it. I explained to her how I see her with her kids and how every story she tells (whether good or bad) shows immense love. I have that kind of love inside me to give and really want to have some one to give it to. She is a great mother and she really does understand.
Dec. 2006--found two agencies that had information meetings in my home town and attended them. I liked the second agency and started on my registration with them.
12-24-06 Went home for Christmas and let the rest of my family know--Mom and Dad first, and then all the brothers, sisters, and nieces and nephews. Mom and Dad were supportive and reassured me that they would love any grandchild no matter how it came into the family--they already have 13! The rest of the family was excited also--maybe surprised first--and the nieces were so excited to be getting another "baby" in the family.
1-3-07 Got my packet in the mail from adoption agency and read it through--started asking family and friends to be references.
1-6-07 Started filling out the agency's application but something is holding me from mailing it.
1-14-07 Have talked to the MN rep from another agency--Children's Hope International a couple times on the phone and I really like her and how everything sounds. It is making me rethink which agency I should go to. I so desperately want to choose the right one for me and my child but I just don't know how to be sure. Children's Hope is coming to my town on Feb 1st for an informtional meeting so I decided to wait until then. One of the first things you need to do is choose your country as you can only apply to one country. So I am reading about the countries and what different "rules" each country has.
1-26-07 I have found a buddy in my process. I told a friend of mine about my plans and she had a friend going through the same thing as an older single mom. After checking with both of us she got us together and it turns out we are already friends with each other but didn't know we were both doing that! She is one year older than me (yeah) , has her home study done and is in the waiting stage for a child from China. It's so nice to know someone else going through the same process.
2-1-07 Went to info meeting with Children's Hope International last night and met with Ali--Wow--I feel like I have found the perfect match. I decided to go with Children's Hope and to adopt from Kazakhstan. You also have to know what kind of child you want which feels a little strange but I requested a daughter up to the age of 3 years old. I applied right that night. So--Today is the official start of my journey. Children's Hope calls it a journey of love. This is going to be quite a journey.
2-12-07 Filled out papers for Summit Adoption Home Studies--the agency that Children's Hope uses for home studies in Minnesota. Made a list of things I will need to gather.
2-13-07 Got word from Ali that Children's Hope accepted my application to adopt from Kazakhstan. You may ask why I choose Kazakhstan--I really liked what I read about the adoption in that country, I fit into their rules (not all countries allowed older single parents), and it just felt right.
2-16-07 Got my Kazakhstan Adoption Guide in the mail. Ali called and went over the whole packet. It is a lot to get done but doesn't sound as complicated as I first thought.
2-19-07 Got a lot done today--Sent off three certified letters--one to Summit Adoption Home Studies to start the home study, one for Children's Hope to start the next step, and one to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services for advance processing of an International Orphan (the I-600A). I got a bunch of forms I wrote up notarized, got my police record, made an appt for fingerprinting (I thought I could just walk in, silly me), talked to my employer to get verification of employment and insurance. Confirmed my guardians, and called a couple more references as I found out I needed two more for Kazakhstan.
3-16-07 Went to St. Paul to get fingerprinted by the USCIS and to meet with my social worker for my second visit (the first was in my house). I was with the social worker about 2 hours and all seemed to go well. Found out I have to fax her another couple forms that she wants. Fingerprinting was no problem. After all that I met my sister and her daughter for dinner and shopping--had a great time.
4-20-07 I got my home study back and had to edit a few facts that they wrote down incorrectly, they also sent it to CHI (Children's Hope Internatinal) for editing and they suggested a couple changes as well so it needed to be redone.--am waiting for the final copy.
I sent all my dossier documents to Ali at CHI and she was impressed--said they looked great but had a couple small changes I needed to make in the wording. I wondered if they told every one that there paperwork looked great but I was proud of mine so I believed her.
Am waiting for my I-171H form from USCIS. they need the completed home study before they can send that so hopefully Summit Home will be quick with that.
4-25-07 got computer parenting classes from CHI that I need to complete.
5-20-07 Still waiting for I-171H. I think about the adoption every day and I am thinking about my little girl a lot and putting a name to her now (but it may change so I won't say). I know God has his timeline and I trust him but I pray for things to happen quickly.
5-21-07 Started my parenting classes on line today. They are really good and have some valuable info in them---How to establish myself as the child's caregiver, the importance of choosing the right daycare, ideas for how to parent a child from an orphanage. .......It reawakens all those feelings of fear and excitement. Mostly it reinforces my desire that I really want this. I'm starting to think of myself as a mom. It also makes me realize that I have a trememdous responsibility to do what is right for this child and that is kind of scary. I really want to give her a good life.
5-28-07 I GOT MY I-171H TODAY!!!!
Just got home from a fantastic weekend in Galena, Il. The whole family was there for my nephews graduation and we rented a big house to all stay in together. It was one of our best weekends ever. It will be so great to bring another child into this crazy bunch. She will have so much love in her life.
6-17-06 Had my final documents notarized and mailed them into CHI. Ali found three documents that I had to make revisions on and three documents from Summit Home that were missing required signatures so I got that all done. Sent everything off to the Secretary of State to be apostilled--given a stamp of approval that works internationally.
7-17-07 Alot has happened in the last month but really nothing has happened. I had to send three documents back to Summit Home because when they added the signatures, they did it electronically and I was worried that Kazakhstan wouldn't accept that so I sent them back for real signatures. They sent them back to me with real signatures but then they didn't notarize them so I had to send them back again. I did get upset and sent them an email to let them know how frustrating this all was. It ate up another month but that is better than to send them all the way to Kazakhstan and find out they weren't done right. Finally got them back in correct form, got them apostilled, and sent my complete dossier to CHI.
I have also started reading the book on Adoption Parenting that the agency gave me. It is very interesting and a bit overwhelming--but I am up for the challenge.
Just yesterday some one told me how lucky the child would be that I adopt but I really feel like I will be the lucky one. I can't wait to come home to some one that loves me and that I can give love to. I know I will feel challenged at times but it feels like a dream come true. I still pray to be accepting of God's timeline and I pray for my daughter out there, whether she's born yet or not. Whenever I get doubts, I reread my reference letters and realize I can do this--especially when I read the one from my brother Steve--some how his really touches me and makes me feel special.
7-20-07--Ali approved everything in my dossier so I mailed it into the main office in St. Louis today. I had thought I would be so organized and really speedy with my dossier but it still took 5 months so I am relieved to finally have it done.
7-30-07 My travel guide to Kazakhstan arrived from CHI today. I started reading it and immediately got overwhelmed. Somehow I thought the bulk of the work would be done with the dossier--WRONG.
One of the first things I read was that a travel companion was strongly recommended. Kazakhstan requires two trips--the first one is about 3-4 weeks long and the second is about 7-10 days. I don't know anyone who can take that much time off for me. I did email Jeff at CHI to ask him about that and he said a travel companion is not required and he plans to put me in touch with a reference family--a single mom who recently brought her daughter home from Kaz and made both trips alone.
8-26-07 Went to CHI picnic in Burnsville today--was great to meet other families at all stages in the process and working with all countries. My friend Lori came with me and after hearing everyone's travel stories she got worried about me traveling alone. She decided that she will apply for her passport and try to come with me on my second trip when I pick up my little girl. That would be so awesome if that worked out!
9-5-07 Got in touch with the reference family Jeff gave me. A single 40 year old mom that just brought her daughter home. She was very open about everything--she had a lot of good tips for me. She sounds just like any new mom--said there are challenges and joys but that is the best thing she ever did. She said sometimes you just spend time looking at her. I can't wait. She will be a good support for me.
9-10-07 Just got my first "expecting a child" card in the mail today--it was really cool. Thanks Jeni.
9-21-07 Started looking for little girl bedding--need to change my spare bedroom.
9-29-07 Saw my friend that is going through the same process with China--she got some disappionting news. the wait time in china has grown and she may have to wait up to three more years. I feel so bad for her and it is also scary news to me. I wonder what may change while I am waiting.
11-08-07 still waiting to hear about my dossier--feels like a long time. I have joined a couple yahoo groups through CHI and have been reading other adoptive parents blogs--that is what got me to do this.
11-15-07 couldn't wait any longer and finally emailed Jeff to see where my dossier was at. He emailed back that it was registered at the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs in Kazakhstan on Oct. 19th. What great news--not sure why I didn't find out right away but I am sure glad I asked. Next it has to go to the Ministry of Education in Kaz and they are the final step--I think I still have 4-10 months to wait--I know pretty vague on the timeline but that is the way it is.
11-18-07 I joined the world of blogging and here we are.
11-22-07 Happy Thanksgiving!! That is my story up to this point. I told you the entery would be long but I hope it wan't too boring. I promise they won't be so long in the future as I keep you updated.


Sam said...

If you go to my blog
you can copy my stuff. I think that you just right click and save the pics to your coomputer (map, flag etc) and the other stuff, clocks and all, should have a little link under it. theres also a list of tons of kaz families who are adopting from other agencies

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing your information with us Mary!! It is almost as if we are now part of your journey too! You will be a GREAT mom! I am SO excited for you....and for the lucky little girl who will have you for her mom!!

Chris and Gretchen said...

I can't wait to follow your story! Hope everything runs smoothly and quickly.

Children's Hope International said...

Great timeline, Mary! I definitely feel up to speed and was glad you have found such great support along the way. I look forward to hearing more about your bright future!

Jennifer N.