Tag Archives: Ukraine

LONG day

Today was a long, tiring day. I got up earlier than usual to drive over to Topeka, which is about a half hour away, to get some documents apostilled. I had another errand to run in Topeka, too, so that took up my morning.

I headed back to Lawrence to get my physical done for the adoption paperwork. That took quite a while, over an hour. Which might not seem like that long, but most of that time was waiting, only 15 minutes or so was actual time with the doctor/nurse/phlebotomist. I got done there around 2, drove home, across town, stopped for another errand, got home about 2:30.

BUT, at 3:15, I had to leave to go to our home study appointment, which was at 4 in the KC area. Fortunately, Aaron came home and drove over with me, because I hadn’t eaten lunch… I had spent my 45 minutes letting the dogs out, making phone calls, responding to emails, and printing things off.

4-6 was our home study appointment. That was good, fortunately she asked us lots of questions, or I don’t know how well I would have stayed awake. Then, after the home study, I had to go by FedEx Office and mail our apostilled documents from earlier in the day. Done by 7:30. Finally, home by 8:15. Ate dinner. Sat on the sofa. Then, had to take the dogs out to the park, of course. Because, they had literally spent almost the whole day in their crates.

WHOA. So much got done today, but I’d prefer not to repeat it. At least any time soon. I am working my way through the paperwork… waiting on Aaron to get the cashier’s check to mail the USCIS paperwork, waiting to get our passports back to do much of the dossier paperwork…

Homestudy?

A lot of people have asked us about our homestudy– what it is, what we have to do, etc. The purpose of a homestudy is to get a homestudy report, to mail with all of the rest of your paperwork to the country that you are adopting from. The report tells about your family, why you will be good adoptive parents, who you should adopt, etc.

To do a homestudy, you have to find a licensed social worker, licensed in home studies that is. When I was  searching for our social worker, it was not easy! This is partly because I was looking the Kansas City area, and social workers are licensed by state, so I would find some licensed in Missouri and not in Kansas. But, anyways, I asked potential social workers lots of questions BEFORE picking one. About our ages, length of marriage, finances, all of that, to check and see if any of it would be a problem for her.

Once I picked someone, the first thing that she did was mail us oodles of paperwork, some of it which needed to be completed before we met with her at all. What we needed to get done before we met her: application to work with her, financial sheet & autobiographies for both of us. Other paperwork included: info for reference letters, medical forms, HR letters, etc.

We had to write our autobiographies. There were lots of questions (four pages worth) to work with. Questions about our family of origin, schooling, childhood, spirituality, spouse, pets, EVERYTHING. My autobiography was like 6 or 8 pages… I think Aaron’s was 4.

I can’t tell you much about the financial info we had to fill out– Aaron did that all. But, it was mostly budget, etc.

Now that we had the preliminary stuff done, we mailed it all back to her and then scheduled our first meeting. And in the meantime, I started bugging everyone for reference letters.

Our first meeting was two hours, it was a lot of listening to her speak about adoption. The challenges. Things to consider. Honestly, it was nothing new, because I have read SO MUCH– books, articles online, blogs, accounts from parents, even corresponding with adoptive parents. And, I highly recommend that if you ever decide to adopt. READ EVERYTHING. It was nice to sit there and have everything reinforced, not hearing it from the first time and trying to commit it to memory.

We have three more meetings with her. Two in her office and one in our house. She told us it will be more questions for us. Judging by the few questions that she did ask, I expect it is very therapist-style, if you know what I mean. The few questions that she asked us reminded me of our pre-martial counseling which we did. Questions like: “What did your parents do that you liked? What would you change for your own parenting style?” “Why do you want to have children? What do you enjoy about children?” “What made you decide to pursue adoption?”

I hope that I am not wrong in saying this, but I am not too stressed about the homestudy. Not TOO stressed. I don’t think it is so much a test of whether you are fit as it is an educational experience about how adoption works and to get us thinking about the questions which we need to ask before we will bring children home. I do think it is a lot like pre-marital counseling, but in the end, there is a report that gets written up on your adoption & sent to the children’s country.

I hope this helps shed light on the homestudy, and what we’ve been up to lately.

Erika & Quinn

We have OFFICIALLY committed to adopting two children from Eastern Europe. I was going to write some long story about how we chose them, but I decided to skip the monologue and get to the cuteness… sound good?

As you may know, we were looking for children between 2 and 5. We were thinking that if we were going to adopt two children, we wanted them to be a couple years apart in age and preferably a boy and a girl. And… (I feel like we need a drumroll)

We committed to adopting Quinn…

There is something about that big smile that drew me in! Quinn is almost four (in five days). There was a missionary in his orphanage in March, and she wrote: This guy likes to be the center of attention. He is full of fun, smiles and laughter. He is very energetic and he seems to be needing a lot more attention than he’s getting. He is very playful and laughs easily. Really cute kid. He would have been quite happy to crawl all over me and cling to me the entire time.”

As if he isn’t cute enough, we also committed to adopting Erika…

How adorable is she? From the same missionary, “She is a quiet, pretty girl. She likes playing outdoors. She was very curious about us. She seems very sweet.”

I have a few more pictures of them… I will have to post them at some point, or you send me an email and I will send them to you!

Links about Adoption

This is a really great video about orphans in Ukraine: http://s68.photobucket.com/albums/i33/lesliemlandrum/?action=view&current=Ukraine20062.flv

One of the first times that we realized the realities for children in Ukrainian orphanges was when I read this post: http://reedadoptionblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/need-is-great.html

One of our favorite websites for understanding the basics: http://www.howtoadopt.org/

This is definitely a Christian video, so not everyone may find it so compelling, but if you do watch it turn on the sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrPGyzvI_nU

This is the short list. I will add some more links later so you can learn about the particular children that we are hoping to bring home!

The "Whys", Part 1

Why adoption?
Naturally, this is the question that comes first, but I am not sure that I can answer it so briefly! Aaron and I have learned about the sad, heart-breaking lives of children in orphanages and we knew that we needed to do something. We had always considered adoption for something that we’d do down the road, but realized that we just could not wait. There was no reason great enough to wait. Sure, I can think of a million reasons why this is not the perfect time in our lives, but one of these reason are worth the life of a child. You probably think that sounds melodramatic, but with the realities of institutionalization and even if a child survives that institutionalization, the realities of suicide or a life of crime or prostitution once that child “graduates” from the orphanage system, really, that is not too far off. I’d love to share more resources with you, things that “softened” our hearts. I am working on complying a list of those.

Why not a domestic adoption?
I don’t want to answer this for Aaron, but I know that I don’t feel like a domestic adoption is “for” us. The foster care system in the US has plenty of flaws, sure, but one of the worst things for a child is institutionalization. Living in an orphanage. Of course, we don’t have orphanages in the US anymore.

Also, this might sound a bit batty, but Eastern Europe just feels right to us. My husband asked me where when we were first talking about adoption. I said that I thought Eastern Europe sounded like a good program for us. He told me not to think that he was crazy, but he had been thinking about EE too (he was not aware of the advantages of certain countries over others!). There are other reasons why we chose EE, which I will be sharing later.

Why us?
This is NOT an easy question to answer. We are not wealthy. We don’t have children. We are YOUNG and newly married. We don’t have resources. I only personally know a handful of people who have been adopted or who have adopted (although I know plenty more online!). Aaron could not think of a SINGLE person he knows who is adopted or has adopted.

I know that I am still wonder “why us”, but we know that is right for us. A few months ago, I started reading the blog of a girl named Katie. I think Katie is younger than I am… I think that she is only 20!, but Katie, an American, moved to Uganda and is raising SIXTEEN? little girls and she and her daughters care for many, many more, I want to say thousands of children. Katie’s story truly touched me. Katie is living her life radically for others, for God.

When I first read Katie’s story, I donated some money and walked away. Sure, I still thought about her, how amazingly strong, faithful and loving she was. And I’ve kept reading her blog since. But, when we first started talking about adoption, I thought about Katie. How can I say that I am TOO young, TOO poor, TOO whatever?

I know I can’t try to be Katie, but when we first started talking about adoption, I kept thinking about her. Katie’s story was on my mind when we were thinking about adoption, and it just reminded me to keep my mind open and not write ourselves off so quickly as “not enough”.

I am sorry that this so SO long!