Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Overdue Update

Hello!  I can't believe how quickly time flies by these days.  I can't believe it's already been a month since my last post!

I have to tell you all, I have SO many times when I think to myself "oh I have this great idea for a blog post and will get that written as soon as I get home".... and then of course I get home, get distracted or busy, and then the post never gets written.  I can only imagine how much harder it's going to be get to things accomplished when we have a toddler running around here!

So all that to say, stay tuned/bear with me... I do have a number of posts "brewing" I just need to find/make the time to sit down and get them written.

I feel like we're finally making progress with all of our paperwork.  In recent weeks we've been able to finish up our online parenting training, complete our second home visit with our social worker, get our passports ordered/re-ordered, and got our labwork done for our medical form.

This week James and I both have our doctor's appointments, which will complete the last task for our home study.  We are a little bummed out because our social worker leaves for a long vacation the day before we have our appointments, so we can't get our paperwork turned in right away, but we aren't in a HUGE hurry to move onto the next step yet because we have a bit more saving/fundraising to do.

Along with our home study, we've been working on our Dossier, which is the collection of documents that will get sent to China.  Many of the documents are required for the dossier are also needed for the home study, but there is a lot more to the dossier, so we will still have quite a few steps that need to be taken before this is ready to be sent to our placement agency (CCAI).  A completed home study is also one of the required pieces of the Dossier, so completing our home study is necessary before anything else.

We have our next meeting with our social worker set up for November 4th, and then I believe she has ten days from then to get us a draft of our home study report.  Our goal is to have our home study mailed to our adoption agency by the end of Thanksgiving, and then our Dossier sent in by the end of December.

Nothing is set in stone with adoption, and of course much of the process is dependent on how quickly we get OUR part of the work done.  But since I'm sure many of you are wondering what all of this means for the overall process, so here's a total guess at how the next few months might play out.
If we get everything turned in for our Dossier by the end of December, we SHOULD hear back from our agency within 4-6 weeks that it's been translated and sent on to China (providing that there isn't anything we need to revise or redo).  "LID" (log in date) is the step that everyone strives for in the adoption process.  That is the date that your documents have arrived to China, they've been reviewed, and deemed acceptable, so you are "logged in" to the China adoption program.   It is after this step that you can start receiving children's files to review.  In a perfect world,  this means we COULD reach this step sometime in February or March. Travel to China usually occurs between 2 and 4 months after accepting a match, which means we COULD be traveling to China as early as next April, and fairly likely by June.  All of that being said, we went into this process telling ourselves that as long as this (2015) is the last Christmas without our child, we will be happy.  I figure that's giving us an extra six months of cushion, which should be more than enough time to cover any bumps that come up along the way.  I'm still not getting my mind or heart set on any particular timeline, however, because there are still SO many variables in this equation, and I don't want to set ourselves up for disappointment.  Part of me would prefer to travel in the fall of next year, as that will allow me to have a few more days of my time off paid, but I'm sure as soon as we receive that match we're not going to want to waste any time going over and getting our kiddo and bringing them home.  So there you have it.  The best guess I can give you is this:  highly unlikely we'll travel to China before next April, and quite possible we'll travel before next December, but we are still too early in the process to really know anything for sure.

Going into this adoption I kept hearing so many people say that the paperwork is one of the hardest parts of adoption, I thought to myself "I don't know why everyone stresses out about the paperwork so much, how bad can it be?".  Let me tell you, it's honestly not that bad.  I think people who have never adopted actually assume it's a lot more cumbersome than it actually is.  So far, it's just gathering up a lot of legal documents, and then we will have to get them all notarized.  From there we'll have to take them to the Secretary of State to be certified, and then after that happens they go to the consulate in Chicago to be authenticated.  Because there are so many steps and so many documents it's easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the process, but I've found if we just take it one step and one document at the time it's not nearly as bad.  The hardest part for me is just finding the time and motivation to sit down and work on it.  I can tell you, after a long day of work where I sit in front of a computer working on forms all day, it's the LAST thing I feel like doing in the evenings.  It's so easy to say "well I'll just do that tomorrow."  But then we all know how that story goes...

So as of this week, I've committed myself to taking one step forward each day.  Even if that means one thank you card mailed, one document gathered, one thing notarized, or one blog post written. I'm hoping this new strategy will help us reach the finish line a little faster.

On top of all the paperwork fun, we've also been gearing up for that next fundraiser, which I will be launching within the next  couple of weeks. *stay tuned for more on this in a later post*

So there you have it!  A very brief summary of what we've been up to for the past month or so.  I still hope to write some of my posts that have been brewing in my mind soon, but I felt like I at least needed to get SOMETHING out there before I lost everyone.

One post I'd really like to do is a FAQ style post.  In order to do this, I need some CROWD PARTICIPATION!  I need to know what questions you all still have unanswered.  These can be about China, about adoption in general, our process, our story, family, anything!  If you have a question you'd like to see answered, please leave it in the comments, or email me!  

For now, I'll leave you with a cute picture of the dogs I took yesterday.  These two are our first adopted "children" (well, technically 2nd and 4th if you take our cats into account).  Our dogs are a VERY important part of our lives, and I think it's safe to say they will be almost as happy to have a little brother or sister as we will be to have a child.  Thankfully they love kids and are super sweet with them.  Chester (the smaller one of the two) has a little "nanny" personality type and I even get to use him to help rehabilitate kittens and cats who have fear issues through the animal rescue I volunteer with (where we adopted each of the dogs from).  Huck (the larger dog) is a little more skittish and takes a little bit longer to feel safe with new situations,  but is a total sweetheart.  I can't wait to see how the relationships play out between our kids and our dogs.  I know it will be hard at first, as many Chinese adoptees have never been around animals, so they tend to be very scared, and need to learn safe boundaries with pets once they do open up, but we hope and pray it all comes together nicely for everyone!