Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Physical

I had my adoption physical yesterday. It went well, but they are closed from today until Monday for the holidays so I was not able to get my TB test since it has to be read at 48 hours after the test. I am going back Monday afternoon and will go back on Wednesday afternoon to get it read. The Husband has his physical on Wednesday and has to go back Friday afternoon to get his test read.

I got my Moral Conduct thingy notarized before my appointment and the Husband will be getting his done in the next few days. We plan on turning in those forms along with our physicals when we turn in our application and payment for the home study.

I have to get with our references this weekend and get them started on their letters. I kind of feel bad that they have to take time to not only write the letter but get it notarized and all this formality. It doesn't seem fair that not only do we have to do so much to start our family, but now our family and friends have to jump through hoops too. Well enough whining.

I bought the first baby item since we started our adoption process. Sure we have a box full of baby stuff from previous pregnancies and things we picked up on sale during our many years of trying, but this is the first thing I bought specifically with this adoption in mind.

You would think it would be something really spectacular or significant. Maybe it would have a lot of sentimental value. Or maybe it would be something from the "have to have on hand in case of a stork drop" list. No, it was none of those things. It's a dishwasher basket for baby stuff. I bought the white one with orange accents. I like orange and it fits boy or girl.

I have spent hours browsing the baby aisles of Walmart and Target (Babies R Us is about 40 minutes away and my friend M and I are planning a trip together so that she can give me advice.) and I am having a really hard time finding things that are on my immediate needs list that are gender neutral and still something I would like. I know that I only want the very minimum in gender neutral stuff. I actually selected gender neutral for the gear like car seats, strollers, swings and play yards, but for the little things like blankets and pacifiers I want it to be girly or boyish. I don't mind a little green and yellow, but I don't want completely non-specific stuff.

I am hoping that our trip to Babies R Us will yield better results.

In the mean time, if anyone is out there reading this, I could really use some advice on a couple of things. First, where can I get baby towels that don't cost more than good quality adult towels. I don't care if it has a cute appliqued frog on it, I just want it to dry my baby and be small and thin enough to wrap the kid in but still be absorbent.

The second question is where can I find an old fashioned diaper pail that doesn't cost $50. I don't want the fancy type that wraps each individual diaper in a plastic bag. Just a plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid. And if it had a foot pedal then that's even better. I have considered a trash can, but don't know it that would work or not. I really don't want the smell to escape when the lid is closed. From looking online and in the stores at Walmart and Target I am having no luck. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

More updates soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I am so excited to finally get started on the paperwork for the home study. I know I will probably change my tune by the time we are done, but right now it feels like we are accomplishing something to get us closer to our baby.

I called the agency to figure out how to get this process started. Turns out it is very easy. The Husband will be dropping off our application (already filled out and ready to go) along with our affidavits of good moral character and our fees for the application and the home study. They will mail our home study packet to us within two days so we can start filling out the questionnaire.

I asked a few questions about what to expect with the home study since the experiences I have read online have varied so widely. We are using their social worker and I was told to expect one visit where she will tour our house making sure it is suitable for living in and go over our answers to the questionnaire with us. She told us we do not need a nursery already set up or covers on the outlets and baby locks on the cabinets.

She also emailed me the forms for the Physician's report. I have a Dr's appointment tomorrow and will get mine filled out. I will make an appointment for DH once I talk to him about his schedule.

The final form she emailed was the personal reference form. I have already selected who will be doing these. We are required to have 5 references and one can be family. I plan to end up with a few extra since we both want to use our brothers and I have two friends who are very close and will be offended if they don't get to participate and the other does. Better to have too many people who are willing to help you out than too few.

Well, hopefully I will have more exciting updates soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baby Fever

I have it bad. I make lists of things I will need and have even browsed the baby section at the grocery store to get a fix. The only problem is that it is hard to plan when you don't know the sex of the baby or even when it will be born.

I keep worrying that we will get matched quickly and be totally unprepared. Luckily I have an amazing friend, M, who has volunteered to loan me her car seat so that we can have it on hand. That way we won't be doing the crazy rush to pick one up on the way to get the baby and can wait to order ours once the baby is born. I have already picked out the model I want, but it has to be ordered on the internet and it comes in several fabric choices and I don't want to commit to a choice and then a better one comes out.

She has also volunteered any thing else we need since her son is now two years old. We are planning to get together soon and spend the day looking through her baby stuff for things I can use. I still intend to buy our own stuff once we know what our situation will be, but this will be a load off my mind in the being prepared department. Now I just need to stock up on bottles and blankets and the other little things you have to have.

Since M and I have a little business making diaper bags, burp cloths, bibs and blankets, I just need to pick out a cute fabric and I can have that out of the way. I was planning on something unisex and cool anyway so the Husband doesn't feel silly carrying the bag.

I found a couple of basic scrapbooks that might work for our profile, but they are online so I can't really see them and be sure. I have checked my little tiny Jo-Ann store, but I think I should look at the Super Jo-Ann before ordering them online. They have a much larger selection and will probably have something that will be a good size and price. I don't want a big 12" x 12" book and I don't want it to look like a fancy, leather bound scrapbook either. I am picturing something maybe spiral bound with a space on the front for a picture ideally. I checked out the local scrapbook store and they have loads of beautiful scrapbook papers that are low key.

I have been researching the profile and considering what we were told at the seminar and have decided we are keeping the dear birth parent letter short and to the point and adding lots of small chunks of info next to the pictures. This seems to be the advice from people who have been through the process. From what we are hearing, potential birth moms like lots of pictures and they like the info scattered around in smaller portions rather than page after page of small text that must get overwhelming to read.

Other than picking up as much overtime at work as possible, that is all that we are up to right now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Orientation Complete

Yesterday was our orientation. There were 2 other couples and 3 individuals in the meeting. One of the individuals was a woman who stated that her husband was not able to make it. The other 2 may be adopting as single parents, but I am not sure.

One of the couples has a birth mother from out of state lined up. They will be going through the law firm side of the process and will have much less expense. Another person expressed an interest in adopting a sibling group and was looking for a toddler more than an infant. The rest seemed interested in newborn domestic, like the Husband and I.

One couple has used the agency a few years ago and were still completing their home study when they got word of a stork drop. They know they won't probably get that lucky this time, but are very excited anyway. Their story reminds me that I need to really get things together early in the process because you just never know what can happen.

The seminar was probably very informative to someone who has not researched adoption and the laws in their state, but I have been reading up on it like crazy, so while some of the info I had already found was explained in greater detail, I don't feel like I learned anything new and surprising. It does count for 3 hours of our 10 required adoption education hours, but the class actually lasted well over 4 hours.

We have decided to sign with the agency after the first of the year. We just want to get through the holidays right now. We would not start the home study before then anyway.

I did find out that there will be a form for the Doctor to fill out when we get our physicals. The Director told me I could call one of her staff members and she would probably give me the form early, but I think we will just wait until we sign up.

We also found out that we will need 5 copies of our profile. Since we only need this small amount, I will probably do them in actual scrapbooks. I have lots of free time at work and really, the cost of the supplies, many of which I already have, will probably be less than making color copies of a large profile. She told us to include lots of pictures and said that we can do one book and submit it to them and they will pass it around the staff and critique it for us. We will definitely be taking advantage of this as they would know better than anyone what birth mothers are looking for in a profile.

We also found out that they average 50-55 waiting families. They say that they make every effort to match a family and child within 1 year. If a family is approaching their one year mark, they start looking at the stork drop option for them. She said they get quite a few stork drops each year.

That is really all the details we learned right now. Until we sign I will just be working on the holidays and decorating and painting the house. I will also be gathering pictures and probably working on our profile and birth mother letter a little bit too. The agency sent samples and I am sure I can find a ton of guidance and ideas online.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Killing Time

We are signed up for the Adoption Agency class that they offer to potential clients. The class is next week and I am hoping to have even more of our million and one questions answered. It is limited to only 4-5 couples, so we should have plenty of time to ask questions related to our particular circumstances.

I have spent the last week browsing the online baby sections of popular superstores and reading adoption blogs. I have also made list after list of things we will need to have on hand in case of a "baby born" situation as the pros like to call it.

I just spent 30 minutes researching pacifier clips. It's a sickness I tell you.

I will be so glad to get started on the home study. I am hesitant to schedule appointments for our physicals until I find out exactly what they expect from the Dr. Fingerprinting is one of the first things we will do once we find out how they want it done. Our documents are in order and ready for inspection. The house is a work in progress. We moved in just over a year ago, but we have been slow to decide on colors for the walls and this has held up everything else as a result. It is a brand new home and is definitely livable, just not as completely decorated as I would like.

I have been giving friends and family a heads up about potential help we will need from them in the form of recommendation letters and pictures for our profile. I need to get a new picture of the front of our house now that the landscaping has matured a little. Sounds like a good project for tomorrow.

The Husband just found out he will be starting a new job at the beginning of the year. It is a good move for him career wise in regards to stability and benefits. It will take away from his extreme flexibility in a way, but he will most likely be well past his six month probationary period and have lots of sick and vacation time banked by the time we need it, so no worries there.

My real concern is the fact that we both changed jobs within 4 months of (hopefully) being put on the waiting list and have moved twice in 2 years. It is easily explainable as we moved here from out of state and rented for the first year so that we could take our time finding the perfect house. Once we built the house, we had moved away from the area we originally lived and worked in, so we have both made career changes based on this fact. The area we now live and work in is a wonderful area to raise a family and has a great school system and a low crime rate. I just need to figure out how to explain this in our profile so we don't come across as unstable.

Well, more updates soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FMLA and Adoption

Ever since we have been trying to get pregnant, I have always saved my sick and vacation time for when the baby was born. I have also always made sure I had an Aflac disability plan in place so that I would have that income available in case of bed rest or for after the baby was born. Adoption has put a snag in my plans.

I just started my new job in October. I accrue 8 hours paid vacation and 8 hours paid sick leave each month. I also have a personal holiday that I can take when needed, but I can't carry them over from the previous year. I called our HR department today just to make sure there was not some kind of adoption assistance offered. There is not, but I will qualify for FMLA. That means that I can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after we adopt. I have to use my sick time first and then my vacation. After that, they will send an email to all employees asking for donations.

I am not sure how I feel about asking for donations. I have a co-worker who's daughter was born several months early and weighing just over 1 lb. I just received an email requesting donations for him and if I had anything to give I would, but being so new I don't have anything to offer. To me, that qualifies as an emergency. I don't think an adoption really qualifies.

I did the math, and it is going to take at least a couple of months to even get in the pool of qualified adoptive families. Who knows how long after that. I mean, we hope soon, but it could be a year or more easily. If it's a year from when I started with my new job, then I would have almost 5 weeks of leave saved between sick and vacation. I could safely take 4 weeks, leaving a buffer in case I or the baby get sick. The Husband could probably take 2. He works for our friend at it is just the two of them, so no set policy or plan for this kind of situation, but our friend is the kindest person I know, so I am sure he would give him all the time we needed. If worse came to worse, the Husband could pack the baby up and take her/him to work if he had to. I have no doubt my Mom would mind taking a week to spend with the new grandchild. Not to mention that she has been at her job for like 20 years and accrues crazy amounts of vacation time.

That puts us at 7 weeks. Not bad between the group of us.

I have other alternatives also. My Dad is retired, but he doesn't drive because of a heart condition. He is doing great with his heart, but because of an internal defib he doesn't feel comfortable endangering other drivers along with himself should it go off. I would not ask my Dad to babysit all the time, but he would be good in a pinch. I worry about the not driving but if it's a real emergency he would call 911 anyway and if if was semi important, my Mom works like 3 minutes away. The only drawback to that is that they live about 25 minutes away from where we live and I work. The husband would only go about 10 minutes out of his way to go there on his way to work though. There is also my Mother-in-law. They leave about 45 minutes away, but would help if needed. It just wouldn't be a good solution for permanent. My Grandparents would love to help, but my grandmother can't lift anything over 10 lbs and my grandfather broke his left arm and cannot lift with that arm. It would be too hard for them to watch an infant for an entire day.

I hope to find a nanny. With my schedule it would make more sense and be more cost effective. I work 12 hour shifts and only work 3 days one weeks and 4 days the next. On the week that I work 4 days, 2 of those days are on a weekend when the Husband is off. This means I would only need childcare for 5 days every 2 weeks. Daycare does not work with that kind of schedule.

My friend, M, has a nanny now that lives about 15 minutes away. She started out coming to M's house, but now she sometimes takes little M back to her house for the day so she can get stuff done. She is an awesome nanny, very devoted to little M. She acts like a grandmother. She also cleans M's house and does laundry when she is there. She is also very reasonable and works around our odd schedule. The only problem is that her husband has recently been having heart problems and she has had to tell M that she cannot watch little M a few times in the last couple of months. The occasional call out does not bother me, especially since she gave M plenty of notice. I could just use a back up plan person. The concern I have is that if his health continues to fail, she will not be able to care for both him and an infant. Of course she is not the only nanny in the world, but we are new to this area and don't know many people. I am putting out the word at work in case someone knows of someone.

Well, enough babbling for now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

And On To The Next Phase

So we are not pregnant. I kinda new deep down inside, but waited for the proof before totally giving up hope.

We are sticking to our guns about not continuing with the fertility treatments. We are ready to move onto adoption.

So ready, in fact, that I spent hours researching agencies. I narrowed it down to six choices and made calls and grilled them about everything I could think of. That narrowed it down to two choices and when the packets started coming in, the choice was made.

Funny thing is that the first agency I called was the one we have selected. They were professional and friendly. Their stats and wait times are believable and their prices are right in line with what I had expected after my research. They were honest about potential roadblocks.

I called this morning and secured our spot for the December orientation. In about two weeks we will spend four hours asking every question we can think of and soaking up all the information they can give us.

I am prepping for the homestudy now. I have emergency phone number lists to laminate and post by the phone, birth certificates and marriage licenses to pull, Doctors appointments for physicals to schedule and so much more.

We also need to fill out our packet and start thinking about our profile. So much research.

We are so excited to think that we could be parents soon. I promise to do better about updates. At least now I will have things to say.

Now off to figure out how to change the little description thingy in my title bar.