Monday, September 22, 2008

Pile of Paperwork

There are some other things going on in our process right now. Some of our friends have received letters of recommendation to fill out on us through the mail. They will have to complete them and turn them in. I think we had to give them names of five people if I remember correctly.
John and I have to have a physical. I had mine this morning and John will have his tomorrow. We have to have TB and HIV tests. How fun! John's HIV is already done since he is a regular blood doner. I have to wait for the results of mine to come back before we can send the paperwork in.
We have written answers to some pretty interesting questions about our expectations of adoption, or extended family's view on international adoption, our families health history, our experiences growing up, our relationship, our parents relationships, financial information, community and neighborhood information. You name it they most likely asked it. The completed form is 16 pages long. John and I were also not allowed to look at each other's answers.
Once all this paperwork is in and the background check comes back which could take 16 weeks from the time of our fingerprints, then everything is given to a social worker who will schedule a home study. Our HOLT social worker lives here in Sioux Falls so I am sure our home study won't be difficult to schedule.

PIP Class Catastrophe!

John and I got signed up for the Parents in Process (PIP) classes 1-4 in Omaha. They were Sept. 19th and 20th. The plan was to stay at my friend's house from high school, attend the classes and hit the zoo with the kids.
One major problem we had was we had no one to watch the kids on Friday while we took our classes. I spent hours using all my resources and found three different people who said that they would be available to watch them. The one we decided to go with was a lady I met on the HOLT adoption website who has three year old twins from Korea. I figured Allie would have a blast playing with the kids and Ethan would get good attention from the mom since the three big kids would be able to keep pretty busy on their own. She was a nurse before she stayed home and I even went as far as to call her social worker to see what she thought of the whole thing. The social worker had no hesitations whatsoever and said that she would leave her two children of the same ages there in a heartbeat. I was feeling pretty good, on top of the world that things were working out so well. To add to the positives all three places, the class location, my friends house where we were staying and the lady's house who was going to watch the kids ended up being about five minutes away from each other. Considering how large Omaha is that was pretty miraculous. Then... my world came crashing down on me. I found out for sure on Thursday, a little before noon, that the gal who was to watch my children could no longer do so because the twins were both in bed with fevers. We were planning to leave town around 5pm on Thursday. I frantically called up the back ups I had lined up to discover they were both thirty minutes across the town of Omaha. Way farther away than I wished they would be while we were in class. I was starting to feel very uncomfortable with the situation. Then Ethan started a low fever. "Could be teeth." I said to myself, way emotional from all the sudden changes to the great plan I had spent so long planning.
John came home from lunch, I started to feel sick but blamed it on the stress of the situation. If we didn't take the classes in Sept. we would wait until Nov. for the next opportunity. We could not even begin our home study until these classes were complete. John had already taken off work and just wanted to get them completed so that we could continue the process. We decided at lunch time that if Ethan did end up being sick no one in Omaha would want to watch him and we would be making the trip for nothing. So I called my mother, bawling at this point from the stress and frustration of it all. I felt like a duck on a wheel in a carnival shooting game.
Mom said that I was being silly and of course she would watch them on Friday and spend the night. She had volunteered earlier but I didn't want to take her up on it because we had it covered. Now that we didn't have it covered I headed her way. I also felt guilty for even asking because she was also helping out with her two, one week old, grandsons (twins) a couple days a week. Yet super grandmas to the rescue. John's mom also agreed to help out by taking Allie Friday after she got off work and watching them both on Saturday.
The plan was to leave early Thursday morning 5:45 am for Omaha. Grandma one, my mother, would watch both children until Grandma two, John's mother, got off work. Then Grandma two would pick up Allie and have her for the evening then Allie would have a sleepover at her cousin's house down the street. Great plan until... Ethan was sick and threw up a few times on Friday, Allie refused to nap in the afternoon. Then Grandma two picked Allie up and had to bring her back a couple hours later because Allie was also ill. At this point we had taken the first day of classes and had one day left. I was having stomach issues also but not enough to prevent me from going to the classes. I seriously considered giving up and driving home at that point, but the Grandma's had another plan.
The plan on the home front had changed to both Grandma one and Grandma two spending the night at our place, tag teaming through Friday night's sick child adventure. I was told that they had it covered and we should stay and finish our class. I felt guilty being away from my babies when they were not feeling well. I was confident in the abilities of the Grandmas to handle everything yet guilty that they had to deal with it as well. Emotions were all over again at that point.
We did finish the classes and left and went straight home. We had an enjoyable evening with my high school friends on Friday and had breakfast at a fancy place the next morning (McDonald's). It was a whirlwind trip and I am sure I won't remember much about it in the future because of all the worrying, emotions and because of the fact that I did not feel the greatest.
I just want to say a personal thanks to the two best Grandma's in the world. We love you both very much and want you to know that we can not thank you enough for what you two did. We know that you are awesome grandmas and can't wait for you to meet the little person who you went to such trouble for and who you did all that hard work for. I know you did it for us and for Allie and Ethan too, but there is another one out there who this is all for also. I am sure this story will make them smile when they are older.
John described the classes as having a total of about one hours worth of information that he got out of them that he previously didn't know already. Considering that the classes lasted about six hours each day that didn't say much for them. I knew, I would say, 90% of the material covered in the classes already from research I had done myself. I understand that no everyone thinks and researches things the way we do and know that the information needs to be shared with everyone that is adopting since there are things you obviously have to consider. It is just unfortunate that the circumstances leading up to and during the classes made it feel like a real waste of our time.
There were six couples attending the class. All the other couples were adopting from countries other than Korea. With the majority adopting from Ethiopia. We were the only couple adopting an Asian child which surprised me greatly.
I was also surprised to find that they are closing the Korean program to new families on October 1st. Only those who have adopted from Korea before, Korean Americans, and those choosing the waiting child program will be able to apply from then on. This does not effect us since we already have our application in, but if we would have applied three months later than when we did we would not be eligible for Korea. Which makes me very sad to think about. I was also surprised, when I went on to the HOLT adoption forum, to find out that other families that are adopting from Korea were also not aware of this new change that will happen very soon.
Korea is slowly weening itself off of international adoption and hopes that there will not be a need for international adoption in there country in the future, which we knew. At this point there is still a need, but there are enough families interested in the great program that Korea has for adoption that if they continue the way they have been their will be more parents waiting than they have children who need homes. I think that it is great that Korea's plan is that they be able to provide more homes for children in their own country, yet until that happens I still feel that this is where our child is waiting for us.