Sunday, March 16, 2008

Step By Step

Hello, everyone! Welcome to our blog!

This blog was created by me (Kathleen) in an effort to keep our friends and family updated on the status of our adoption process. But Jeff may write from time to time. Feel free to check back often. And we'd love to get your feedback/thoughts on our blog! Look for the button that allows you to do that (probably located near the bottom of this blog screen--this is my first time blogging, so bear with me).

This blog is a way for me to keep my sanity during a process that, although wonderful in its outcome, I've been told certainly has its share of frustrations, delays, and maddening moments. This is kind of my attempt to exert control over one tiny part of a process over which I ultimately have no control (but a process that will unite Jeff and me with our child--so one that is well worth the wait!).

So here's what's happened so far (see bold for Cliff Notes version):

We submitted our initial application to Catholic Charities of Baltimore in late January 2008 (there were so many good agencies recommended by our friends/neighbors who have adopted; it was hard to pick one!), and after having to get our doctors to fill in and fax back some forms (basically telling the agency that we'd be good parents--already, the bureacracy is at its finest!), our application was accepted in early March 2008. We're so excited and thrilled beyond belief!

Because there are so many steps to this process, and I get overwhelmed thinking too much about "the big picture," I am choosing to look ahead only one or two steps past wherever we currently are. We'll get there--one small step at a time. If there's anything I've learned from not being able to get pregnant and going through fertility treatments, it's the power of patience. I wear that hat slightly uncomfortably, as patience is definitely not one of my virtues. But my yoga is helping me with all of this.

So onto the next step: We were sent an outline/questionnaire, asking us to fill out the "dreaded autobiographies" (our caseworker Margie's terminology, not mine!). We were asked to not exceed 10 pages (single-spaced). Both Jeff's and my autobiographies were exactly 10 pages apiece! That's how many questions they asked us. They asked about our past, our upbringing, our parents/siblings, our experience with children, our relationship (courtship/marriage), why we decided to adopt, our job history, and the list goes on. Being a creative writer, I didn't find this exercise particularly insufferable. I actually had fun doing it! And it's nice to have a comprehensive chronicle of our lives, for our children, in the future. Jeff and I read one another's finalized autobiographies tonight. It was interesting to see what commonalities we had written, and also to see how our responses differed, too. Just shows our individual character traits! We just e-mailed our finalized autobiographies to Margie tonight. Man, it feels good to have gotten that done!

[Hey, I just realized that it's one hour until St. Paddy's Day! So maybe by sending our forms to Margie practically on St. Paddy's Day will bring us "the luck o' the Irish" in our adoption journey!]

The next step is having our first face-to-face meeting with Margie, our caseworker (probably sometime next week). After that, she has forms for us to take immediately to some state office down the street, where we'll be fingerprinted for the state of MD. Kill two birds with one stone--I'm loving Margie's way of thinking! Margie seems to know the ins and outs of the system, having worked for Catholic Charities for something like 20 years--and having about 5 or 6 adopted kids of her own (from Korea, I want to say--which, incidentally, is one of our top choices should we go the international route).

After that, I know we have to attend two consecutive Tuesdays (all day) of adoption classes. Not sure what that entails, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

After that, there will be two home visits (which are just one part of the "home study"). What is a home study? Well, it's not just an assessment of one's physical home (a common myth) but more like a psychosocial profile/study of the couple overall (physical, psychological, emotional, etc.). I believe that we'll be paying the first of several large "chunks" of cash when the home study begins (it typically costs $1,500 to $2,000). We have secured all of the money we need to adopt, so we have alleviated that worry--which caused us a lot of anxiety for several months.

That's all for now. Kind of a long first blog post (but look who's doing the writing, folks).

Please check back often, and feel free to ask us anytime about our adoption. It is by no means a "taboo topic." In fact, we are happy to talk about it and are thrilled that you care!

One more thing: Thanks to all of you for being such wonderful, supportive friends and family during the past year and a half of hell. You showed us the true definition of friend: there for you during life's absolute lowest moments. Please continue thinking of and praying for us as we continue our exciting journey toward parenthood. We love you all, and we see you as an amazing blessing in our lives.

Peace out,
Kathleen & Jeff


debrosenella said...

What a fabulous idea!! I'm so glad that the ball is rolling and you two are on your way. A friend of mine at work is adopting a child from China and they have finished all the "stuff" and are now on the waiting list. I know you said Korea is a top choice...what will be the determining factor? Lisa and I are thrilled for you both and can't wait to read your future posts!


Taniza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taniza said...

This is so great!! Thank you so much for sharing this. In the time I've known you, one thing striking about you is your boundless love for friends and family. It was so nice to meet Jeff and get a peak at the warmth and giving in store for your child. I look forward to reading more of your updates and being here if in any way I can help.

Kyrie said...

OK, this is my second attempt at this. Google kicked me out because I didn't have an account. How rude.

I'm so glad for you and Jeff. I know this was a big decision for you and it's great you've gotten started. You both will make wonderful parents. Your child(ren) will be lucky to have you and will be dearly and hugely loved. I'm looking forward to meeting the lucky kid!

Love you! Kyrie

Kathleen said...

Deb: Answering your question: If our social worker can convince me that the 30-day revocation period for domestic adoption (that is, from the time the birthparent signs the Termination of Parental Rights [TPR], they have 30 days to change their minds! Longest revocation period of any state in the union!) usually doesn't mess up an adoption, then we'll go with domestic. That's the only thing about domestic that makes me nervous. Nothing else does. With domestic adoption, they can't give us an average estimate of time because the birthmother reads your "packet" which includes a bio, and a "Dear Birthmother" letter written by us, and so it just depends on whenever a birthmother "picks you" among the bios that Catholic Charities gives them. So if we change our minds and go with international (which averages to about 1.5 years of waiting), we'll go with Korea, likely, because adoption has been around the longest in that country (40+ years), the kids are the youngest you can get (8 mos), the healthiest you can get, and are cared for in one-on-one foster-care arrangements (no orphanages). So we'll see what happens!

Fadia said...

You know how thrilled I am for you and Jeff. I also know what it feels like to finally be at this point in you decision's like the darkness is ending and you're starting to see some light. It will get here sooner than you can imagine and oh, how beautiful it will be. You are going to be such a great mom, and I can't wait until we can get together "with the kids".
With love,