Two Pieces of Good News

Originally posted October 28, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

We got two pieces of good news last week. The first arrived by mail and was titled, “NOTICE OF FAVORABLE DETERMINATION CONCERNING APPLICATION FOR ADVANCE PROCESSING OF ORPHAN PETITION.” Does the federal government know how to write a compelling letter or what? Anyway, we needed that clearance and we got it, so that’s a good thing.

The second piece of good news came from an organization called Life International regarding the Tapestry Adoption Assistance Fund.  We encourage you to read more about the fund via the previous link, because it is such a great thing. We just found out that LI and the Tapestry fund awarded us an interest-free loan to help us pay for part of our remaining adoption expenses. We are grateful to those involved with the fund because of how this will help us in our process.

That’s all the news for now, we’ll report back soon.

More Papers

Originally posted October 11, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

So, we finally got our paperwork from CAS. Now, we just have to wait until the end of the month to send them the deposit they need. The good news is that we can “officially” start our foreign dossier after we turn in the deposit and paperwork to CAS. I say “officially” because we’ve already gathered several of the documents we need.

Also, you remember that we were fingerprinted in September. Well we got a letter, yesterday, saying we had a few deficiencies. Luckily, they were referring to paperwork they needed not us. We’ve already contacted our social worker and she’ll be forwarding the papers for us. This was easy to solve. We’ll see how the rest goes. 🙂

Head of the Line

Originally posted September 21, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

Today we got our fingerprints made at the Application Support Center. We were prepared to spend the better part of our day at the center, but instead we only spent 40 minutes. Twenty of those forty minutes were spent waiting for the center to open. Once we reached the inside of the center, a man checking people in saw that we were adopting and put us on the fast track to the front of the line. About twenty people had started their paperwork before us. The helpful man kept hurrying us to fill out our paperwork, and even filled some parts out for us! Just to make sure we got in before anyone else. He said that he liked people who were adopting, and we ended up being the first ones. Assuming our fingerprints come back clean, we should be cleared by the government. 🙂

Fingerprints and More!

Hey, so it’s a good thing at our house when you receive mail from the Department of Homeland Security. We can now go to the Application Support Center and wait to get our fingerprints made. Hopefully, they’ll let me have two copies because as a preschool teacher, I now have to have my fingerprints on file at work. Who knew?!

Also, we received an email from our social worker with Carolina Adoption Services (CAS). She was letting us know she was going on vacation and who we could contact while she was out of the office. This was our first email from her, so I was just happy to know that CAS knew who we were. I’ll be sure to bombard her with all our questions when she gets back from vacation. 🙂

Then, one more thing happened, I went to the Women’s Bible Study at our church, and I told my small group that my husband and I are adopting. First the small group leader thought I said my husband and I were adopted from Vietnam which was confusing for her since I don’t look Vietnamese. 🙂 (It was loud in there). Later, when there was a chance to chat more, the lady to my left turned to me and said, “So, what else do I need to know about you besides that you’re going to be a mom?” I was so happy that she didn’t ask lots of questions. She accepted the adoption and didn’t let it define who I was; she asked more questions about me! This is the kind of first reaction and acceptance I’ve hoped for as I explained in our article “We’re Expecting, Too”. Needless to say, I feel fortunate to have had this experience.

Photos

Originally posted September 5, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

So, I was actually joking when I said we needed 200 word essays and photos. Sorry. I thought people would know, but I guess that’s what I get for trying to do a bit.

Not Really the Foreign Dossier

Originally posted August 29, 2007 to our old Vox blog.

So, we submitted all the forms to the social worker for review, and she made a comment. Only five of the twenty pages were actually for the foreign dossier. The other papers were the rest of our application. Ooops! The agency said that nothing was late, but we could turn them in. So, we did. Now, we have one more thing checked off.

I did receive an email from the agency today saying that our file cannot be approved until we submit photos of our friends and family. So we are asking our friends to submit photos and a 200 word essay on why they should be in the photos we submit to the agency. Unfortunately, I’m kind of anal about getting things done, so if you consider yourself to be one of our friends, then you have until midnight, Saturday, September 1 to submit your essays and photos for reviews. You can email the material to be considered to me, Annie, and if you don’t know my email, then you probably shouldn’t submit an essay. Happy writing! I’ll be waiting. 🙂

We’re Expecting Too

Originally posted August 19, 2007 on our old Vox blog. This is an article I wrote and Scott edited. We wrote it for the Tapestry newsletter. Tapestry is the adoption ministry at our church.

My husband, Scott, and I started our journey with the simple phrase, “We’re open to adoption.” God heard us and provided opportunities for us to learn more about adoption. In the end, we’ve chosen to start our family by adopting from Vietnam. We didn’t try to conceive, and we don’t know what the future will bring, but we do know that we are starting our family and “pregnantly” waiting for our child.

As we’ve started this journey we have encountered many different perceptions of adoption. I naïvely thought we might not experience some of these reactions since we aren’t infertile (at least as far we know). However, it seemed like some people need that answer as a reason for our decision to adopt. Since we can’t give it, I suppose we appear a little weirder to those people.

One lady told me, “You know, I know people who have gotten pregnant after adopting.” I replied, “We’re not adopting because we found out we were infertile.” She said, “I know, but still.” Still what? It’s an inappropriate comment? Another woman, whom I know a little better, said, “You’re doing it for good reasons . . . adopting another person’s child.” I was puzzled by that comment, but eventually I figured it out. We are adopting “another person’s child” in her eyes. But we are also adopting our child – the child whom God already knows will be a part of our family.

Adoption stirs up different feelings in different people – but we only feel love. We are ready to love our first child and welcome him or her into our home. In the same way, my seven pregnant friends are waiting to welcome their first children into their homes. My pregnant friends are all having baby showers and counting down the weeks until their little ones arrive. I attend their showers, but I’ve been introduced twice as “the one who is adopting.” It seems that I am no longer introduced with, “This is my friend Annie,” but with “This is Annie, the one who is adopting.” Apparently I have a new name! My standard response is usually just a smile because honestly I feel a bit put on the spot – but I really wish I could say, “and I drive a black Xterra.” I think others hearing this sort of introduction feel put on the spot too, because they usually don’t say much.

At these baby showers, after the introductions come the presents. I sit and watch as the expecting women receive newborn clothes, newborn diapers, mittens, and all sorts of breastfeeding paraphernalia. As I watch these gifts being opened, I realize I won’t need to register for those things. We won’t likely meet our child until he or she is 12 months old. So I sit at the showers with these thoughts running through my head, and at times I feel out of place. There is a whole pregnancy world that I’m not a part of . . . that I’m not experiencing. I’m not looking for pity, though. Instead, I’m looking for understanding and acceptance, because I’m going to be a mom, too – and I’m going to think I have the best child ever known to mankind. I’m going to be a mom, but I don’t have a protruding belly, I don’t have morning sickness (which I’m not upset about), I don’t have weight gain, and I don’t have water retention. I don’t have these telltale physical signs of “expecting,” but I do have a heart. I’m not undergoing physical change – I’m undergoing heart change.

Choosing to adopt is one of the greatest decisions Scott and I have made as a couple, and I feel privileged to be welcomed into the adoption family. I feel privileged because I get to experience the blessings of a community that not many people get to experience. We found this community in Tapestry, and have felt supported from day one.

Even so we still field occasional random and ridiculous questions, but we’re making peace with that. In fact, we’ve even learned to laugh at some of the questions and comments we get from others. Bearing in mind that we are adopting from Vietnam, we were recently asked, “So will your child look Asian?” Another person, in response to hearing the news that we are expecting, said “You know, there’s a Vietnamese piano protégé at my college.”

How do you reply to that? The best we can do is to try to understand, and to try to laugh about it later. After all, both comments were spoken innocently enough. But we are also giving serious thought to foregoing our 401k’s, and instead investing in a grand piano.

Foreign Dossier Part Two

Originally posted August 15, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

So now, we have filled out our foreign dossier forms. We got checked for life-threatening diseases, and we are clear. The next step is submitting our forms for review to the social worker for Vietnam. She will review and let us know if anything needs to be changed. Then we get notarize like every page. Then I think we start then authentication process. I still don’t know where the forms go first.

One more thing, I received my passport this week, but we are still waiting on Scott’s. I’m sure it will be here by the end of the week.

Foreign Dossier Part One

Originally posted August 8, 2007 on our old Vox blog.

So our homestudy is finally finished and submitted, and now we can start on our foreign dossier papers. First, there are several forms that we have to fill out and then have notarized. After we have all the forms notarized, then the forms go through an authentication process. We’ll try to explain that later because we don’t fully understand.

We weren’t sure when we would be able to start filling out the foreign dossier papers because we didn’t have our passports back. We both applied for our passports in April, so it’s been more than 12 weeks which is what they say to wait. Today, I decided to check on the status via telephone, and I found out why we don’t have our passports yet. When we filled out the travel date, we put 2008 because that’s when we’ll hopefully be traveling to Vietnam. Well, the passport people aren’t too worried about processing an application that someone doesn’t need until 2008. Thankfully, the customer service agent said she could put in a request to expedite our passports because we need them for our adoption application. She requested them for August 15, but I think for sure we’ll have them by the end of the month. I  just wish I had called sooner. 🙂

We also have appointments on Monday for blood tests. We have to make sure we don’t have any life-threatening diseases. After the appointments, filling out and notarizing the papers, and receiving our passports, we will fax our forms to the  Vietnam social worker for review. Then, we start the authentication process.

It’s nice to be moving forward.