Monday, April 27, 2009

Halverson Extreme Home Makeover Weekend

OK, maybe it's not really that "extreme" a makeover, but it's definitely a face lift!

What a beautiful weekend it was! Sunny and hot, in the upper 80s, not a cloud in sight. Jeff's brother, Joe (who is a contractor), came up from Northern VA for the entire weekend, to work on the various home improvements that our caseworker told us we'd need to work on before the baby comes home. Joe and Jeff worked their butts off starting Friday night and all the way into Sunday at about 4:00. We had to convince them to take meal breaks.

The results? Well, we finally have a fully fenced in backyard...I had forgotten what it was like! Now we can just let Jupiter out the back rather than standing in the front yard in our pajamas, praying that no one we know drives by. They did such a nice job putting the fence in. Joe and Jeff worked on it together.

Joe also built a knee-wall inside our front foyer because of a dangerous open floor that was to the right of the steps going down into our family room (those of you who have been in our house know what I'm talking about). A kid can take a serious tumble, according to Catholic Charities (don't get me started on all the birthparents' homes that probably had this very "danger" when they brought THEIR kids home...but I digress...). And we bought a bunch of baby gates to be installed (the kind that hinge to the wall and can be pushed open and locked closed), as our house is kind of challenging, with all the sets of steps.

Joe also did a bunch of other little things: odds and ends here and there, like fixing doors, nailing down some loose shingles, fixing dimmers, light fixtures, and the list goes on. He is a very skilled contractor, and owns his own contracting company in Manassas, VA. (So anyone in MD or VA who needs work done, please consider using Joe! I can put you in touch with him. My neighbor is already planning on calling him, she was so impressed with the knee-wall he built. He knows his stuff!)

We're in the process of updating our home study, because it's been a year since it was completed. Hard to believe a year has passed, but it has. So we had to go and get yet another copy of our certified driving record, fill out yet another Child Protective Services background check form, fill out our financials yet again, and there's one more thing I'm not remembering. At any rate, I suppose at least it's a sign that the process is moving along.

The baby's room is in an ongoing state of renovation/transition from junk room to nursery, but it's coming along nicely. Sometimes I go in there and sit in the middle of the floor, just imagining what it's going to be like to finally be a mom...I might be kind of old to be a new mom (compared with so many of my friends, whose kids are in elementary school and on up), but I do believe I'm going to be pretty good at this mom stuff. Time will tell, I suppose.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Friend Debbie's Referral From Russia!!!

Whoo-hoo! A very close new friend of mine, Debbie, just got her referral yesterday. She's been matched with an adorable little 14-month-old boy named Alexander from Russia. She's a single mom who lives in nearby Silver Spring...I've already told her I can babysit. She and her mom leave for Russia probably within the next week. She and her her mom are the ones I rode to Baltimore with, just last week, to attend the parent support group meeting (Jeff was out of town), and we had such fun! They are two amazing, fun women!

Russia is different from Korea, in that once you get a referral ("match"), you must travel to Russia to accept the referral in person. You must stay there for, I think, one week, and then you have to come back to the states, wait for the paperwork to go through (a few months I think), and then they call you back to the country when your child is ready to be picked up and the adoption will be finalized in country. It will probably be hard for Debbie to meet him, get to know him, and then have to leave him until everything is finalized.

Korea is totally different: We'll get the referral and be able to accept it over the phone (our caseworker handles the direct contact with the Korean officials), after we review the child's file and run the medical file by a doctor to make sure he is healthy and there are no hidden medical issues.

Those kids from Russia are adorable, and I cannot wait to meet Debbie's son, who she's decided to name Lucas Alexander. What a beautiful ring that has to it, huh? I'm ecstatic for my friend and just had to share the good news with all! Our time is a'comin'! That being said, I have to admit, the wait is getting a lot harder, but it helps having so many friends and family members supporting us and keeping us busy with fun stuff while we wait for our dream to finally come true.

It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend here and in PA (which is where I'm headed tonight, for a much-needed visit with my nieces, sister, and parents). Enjoy the spring--it's turning out to be filled with beautiful little blessings indeed!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Should Clarify...

...that when I say we hope to get a referral by August, it means that we will get a MATCH at that point. Once we accept the referral, we will then have to wait 4-5 months before being united with our child. Sometimes it feels like this is never, ever going to end, but that's on the bad days. On the good days (and there are many of those), I am reminded that, like anything else in life, this is a process.

But does it HAVE to involve the damn DMV? (Whoops, I'm in MD now...I mean the MVA!) I am expecting more cranky bureaucrats behind desks. (sigh)

Going to teach yoga now. That is certainly bound to cheer me up!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friends Getting Referrals, Updating Our Home Study

Hi, everyone! We had a parent support group meeting Tuesday evening in Baltimore, and we found out that several of our friends got their referrals! Their babies are beautiful! Three couples who are adopting from Korea got referrals...and since they were ahead of us on the list, now we are bumped up by that many slots! (CC still doesn't tell us what our number is on the list, but there are 16 families waiting for boys, and we think we're at least halfway up the list, if not higher). The new estimate for time to referral is 14 months. Our paperwork went to Korea in June 2008, so it'll be 14 months in August. So hopefully we will have a referral (remember this is the "match") by the end of the summer.

I have to say, friends, the waiting is getting much much harder (to those of you waiting longer than me, sorry that I'm saying this, and I empathize with your wait!), and time seems to be passing much slower. This is the biggest test of patience I think I've ever been through in my life. I was riding with my friend Kyrie and her mom and her kids in Vienna, VA, the other day, and Kyrie started to pull into a parking spot that was labeled with a stork ("for expectant mothers only") so she was like "Whoops!" and started to pull away. But I screamed "Hey! I'm 'pregnant'! I've been freaking pregnant for 12 months now! Park here, dammit!" And she did. Ha ha! It was great. We parked there. And I dare anyone to argue with me about that.

Apparently, our caseworker informed us, we have to update our home study. So we need to obtain new copies of our latest certified driving records, we have to fill out another financial "scenario" form, we have to get new letters from our employers (stating that yes, we still work there, we were hired on X date, and we make X money). And there's one more thing I'm forgetting (I really hope it's not something ultra-bureaucratic like getting re-fingerprinted with the state or something--ugh).

Anyway, life continues to move on, and we continue to look forward to the day when we are finally, ourselves, parents. That will be one freaking awesome day.

Love you all!