Friday, November 30, 2007

no news

Ever since Tuesday afternoon, I've been waiting for the doctor's office to call to say that my medical letter for our home study is ready, and I can come pick it up. No phone call. Just me waiting all week for the phone to ring. We'll be calling them Monday morning to find out the status.

Stephanie M. is leaving tomorrow for their 2nd trip. They have court on Dec. 4, and we'll be keeping them in our prayers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

boots

I just ordered some boots which I hope will be perfect for our travels to Russia.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Yesterday, while shopping with my mom and sister, I tried these on, but they were too big, and the store did not have my size. They look better on than they do in this picture. I was happy because they looked like regular shoes and not puffy moon boots! They are waterproof, and they have a snuggy soft faux fur lining, so I think they'll be perfect for the snow. After searching online, I found them at Shoe Show, and with shipping, they were only $27! Super Score!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

moving forward

Well, I survived the physical! This was a new doctor for me. He has been R's general physician for 16 years now, but this was my first time to see him. I liked him, and I think I'll continue to use him in the future. He was supportive of our adoption, and said that he'd write the medical letter for me this week. As soon as I have it, our home study will be finished and ready to go to DSS. Yesterday, I got the draft of the home study from our social worker too. More progress!

We broke down and applied for a credit card today. We got a mastercard with a $3000 limit. We're worried about going over our adoption budget, so that will give us a cushion to cover any emergency expenses or plane ticket troubles. We haven't had a credit card in almost 4 years now, so it felt strange to be applying for one again.

Last night, we told our neighbor across the street that we are adopting. She is so excited for us, and thrilled that we'll have a baby on our street! Turns out she has traveled to Russia. Don't know what the circumstances were, but she said she went during the Communist era. (I'll definitely be getting the story about that from her later!) It's very interesting that on our little street in our small town that not only will we have traveled to Russia, but our neighbor has been as well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

all things medical

I ordered a travel card today to use in restaurants in Russia. I have a severe allergy to tree nuts. The card explains in Russian that I have an allergy and need to avoid any foods containing nuts. I have been worried about what I am going to eat there, when I don't speak the language and can't read a menu. I'm planning to take food and snacks, and then buy food at a store once we get there. Eating in restaurants is my last choice, but I wanted to have the card just in case.

Tomorrow morning I have my physical. After the physical, I am asking the doctor to provide a letter stating that I am healthy, free of communicable disease, and emotionally capable of parenting a child. This is the last thing needed for our home study. And also, next month, he'll be able to fill out the medical form needed for our dossier as well. I'm so ready to cross this off the list. I hate, I mean hate, going to the doctor. I get tense and feel anxious. It takes a lot of deep breathing, praying, and talking to myself. I will get through it tomorrow by thinking about the baby and focusing on meeting him/her as soon as we can.

Now we're not sure about gender. Our home study will read either gender, as young as possible. Our social worker told us that by saying either gender that our baby would definitely be a boy. But today Lori , who is also with our agency, shared with us that even though their home study specified either gender, their referral was for a little girl, 13 months old. So, who knows? We would be happy with either a boy or a girl. Right now, only God knows until we are surprised with the wonderful news.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

happy thanksgiving

R. and I are together, healthy, in a beautiful home, with a baby on the way. We are very happy, and so grateful for all the blessings that God has given us.

Hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

successful home visit

We survived our home visit, and it went very well! Our social worker arrived 15 minutes early, which wasn't too bad. We sat down at the dining room table. R fixed coffee for her, and she quickly reviewed the biographical profiles that we had written. She didn't ask intrusive or difficult questions at all! (R. and I prayed before she arrived, and it definitely made a difference.)

She ended up being very helpful. She spent the rest of her time with us giving us some great information. She gave us the name of the person who will handle our apostilling. She also told us how to apply for the Title IV Non-recurring Special Needs benefit, as well as the adoption benefit for state employees. She mentioned the federal tax credit, which we already knew about, and she said that there is a state tax credit as well. She recommended that we contact the Health Department to have the baby evaluated for early intervention services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy). She also recommended that we enroll the baby in a Mothers Morning Out program for a couple of times a week to help with his language development. She said that if he is just with me, I will understand his grunts and not force him to talk. If he is around other small children, they will not understand him, and he will be motivated to talk better. Makes sense. I have waited a long time for this baby, and right now, I feel like I want to have him with me all the time! I think I can adjust to a few mornings a week though!

She also recommended that we domesticate his adoption, and that is something that we definitely plan to do. I want him to have a birth certificate in English, so his life will be easier later. She said we don't have to do this until after his first post placement report, so that helps. That gives us a little break in the paperwork.

Even though I didn't sleep much last night, I'm too excited right now to be tired. I'm so relieved and happy that it went well, and I'm so happy that we have made a huge step forward! We are closer to meeting our baby!

Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers!

Monday, November 19, 2007

house beautiful

Well, I'm fine after my fall. A few bruises and a little soreness, but I'm fine. I was so thankful that I didn't have a broken bone right before our home visit with the social worker! That would have been hard to explain!

The social worker is coming tomorrow morning, and I think we're ready. This house has never been this clean! At least it will be clean for the Thanksgiving holiday too, so that's an added bonus. I got all the home study paperwork together too. I printed out our biographical profiles, and now all the papers are organized and ready to give to her. I'm sure I won't sleep well tonight, because I'm nervous and excited! I'm nervous that she'll ask some difficult or intrusive question, and I'm excited because this is a huge step forward for us. I'll be so happy to cross this off our list.

Please send prayers for success and positive thoughts our way...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ouch

I fell down the stairs this morning. I'm ok, just bruised and sore. A few pulled muscles in my back. It's my own fault, I guess. I had just gotten up, so I was half awake; I wasn't holding on to the handrail, AND I was wearing these very fuzzy socks which are slippery on the bottom. I won't do that again. I'll wear slippers with a tread on the bottom.

R. and I are about to go to Target to get a laundry hamper, so our utility room will look nice and neat for the social worker.

Friday, November 16, 2007

a multi-generational book

(This post was written by Russ.)
When I stopped by my father's place today he was cleaning out his bookshelves.

"You gave me this one," he said, handing me a hardback copy of Sailing Alone Around The World by Capt. Joshua Slocum. "Then you gave me a copy of The Complete Joshua Slocum. Why don't you take this one with you?"

On the way home, I thought about the book. The first time I saw the book was when I was a child, and my father had a tattered paperback copy held together with a rubber band. Slocum was a down-on-his-luck sea captain who was given the Spray, a sloop that had moldered for years in a field. After rebuilding it, he became the first person to perform a solo circumnavigation, having great adventures along the way.

Slocum wrote with a lovely, light touch that was just about ideal for young folks to read - apparently, edited versions were on school reading lists back before the Great War. Lots of good lessons there, about solving problems, seeing the world, experience and competence - and in general, life and how to live it.

I know I've always loved the book, and I already had Slocum's book on the mental list of books that any child of mine should have around. This copy - from son to father, then father to son and eventually to another generation - well, it's special, isn't it?

another baby gift

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


My mother brought over a gift for the baby this morning. It's a fabulous advent calendar. It has people of the world in the little pockets. They are puffy and just adorable! I was surprised to see that he pocket for December 22, which is my birthday, holds the little man from Russia. It's a sign! We know this adoption is God's will for us. I just love this calendar, and can't wait to use it every year. It will be a nice part of our family Christmas tradition for many years to come.
(Thanks, Mama!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


No other adoption news today. I did do some cleaning in preparation for the home study, and R. is planning to hang some pictures tonight when he gets home from work.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

h.b.

Happy Birthday, Michele!
Thinking of you with lots of love...

exciting day

We got the date for our home visit! Our social worker is coming on Tuesday morning, Nov. 20. I'm not dreading it anymore. I'm excited about it, because it will be a HUGE step forward for us, bringing us so much closer to traveling and meeting our baby. So I'll be cleaning and getting the house ready this weekend. You're all more than welcome to come help me!

The snail brought a fantastic package from my aunt and uncle! (Thank you N. and J.! It really made my day!) It felt like Christmas had come early! They sent me a gorgeous baby afghan that she knitted, as well as an adorable blanket and beautiful baby quilt that she made. They also sent a bib that she cross-stitched with "yummy" on it, a super soft stuffed dog, and 5 Little Golden Books ("The Saggy Baggy Elephant", "The Little Red Hen", "Baby Animals", "The Poky Little Puppy", "The Happy Man and his Dump Truck"). I was excited to see those, because I love those stories and didn't have them yet. It was a wonderful surprise, and I loved it!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

luggage & shots

Today was another productive day. We went to the health department and got the 2nd in our Hepatitis A/B combo shot series. We waited for a long time for them to process our payment correctly, and we agreed it was just practice for later!

(Enjoyed seeing you today, Sweet Pea! )

This evening, we went to the K-Mart and got the luggage for our trip! It was not expensive and it's not particularly attractive, but it should work well. It's small enough to fit in the small trunk of a Russian car, and if the airlines abuse it and damage it, we won't mind. This photo is not the best, but it is green. (Of course!) We thought green might be easier to spot in the sea of black luggage on the baggage carousel at the Moscow airport! After talking to Stephanie M. last night, I was inspired to get the wheeled duffel! I think it will be easy to pack our clothes in it, especially since the suitcase will be full of food! Originally, we were hoping we could just carry on 2 backpacks, but now we've decided to check luggage too, and just hope it makes it!


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

home study paperwork almost done!

Today's snail brought the third reference letter that we needed for our home study. (Thanks again, D!) We now have all the paperwork completed for the home study, except for my medical letter. I have a physical scheduled for Nov. 27, so we will have that by the end of the month. I just emailed our social worker about scheduling our home visit. Finally!

The house is 90% ready. Maybe 95%. We still have cabinet latches, smoke detectors, and baby gates to install, as well as a few pictures to hang, but we think we can get it done. And we still need to put the crib together too! Ok, maybe just 90% ready!

The home study is such a big hurdle. I'm not looking forward to the home visit. Having a stranger come to the house to examine it and then talk about our personal life will be difficult, and I'm dreading it. Of course, it's probably much worse in my imagination than it will be in reality. I'm just ready to have it over and done with, because having it done brings us one step closer to our child.

Monday, November 12, 2007

online courses completed!

We just received our final certificate from Adoption Learning Partners, and I just emailed it to our agency. So now we have completed all 3 of the required online courses, and all the completion certificates have been emailed to our agency! YAY! Another thing done!

We didn't think we would enjoy doing the courses, but R. and I ended up having some really good discussions, especially about attachment and the medical issues we might face. We didn't think we would, but we actually do feel more prepared to parent after taking these courses.

documenting our journey

After discussing it for months, we finally have a blog to document our adoption journey for ourselves and our child, and also to share our progress and news with our family and friends. I encourage everyone to post their comments, because down the road, I would like to have this blog printed as a book for our child.

Today's news - reference letters!
We now have 2 of the 3 reference letters that we need for our home study. R. brought them when he came home for lunch, and we were so excited!

A little explanation about the llama - He was a gift from my mother, and the first thing we received for the baby. I can't wait to see our child sleeping with him and dragging him all through the house!