Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Adoption process continued...

So, here I go...I will continue to tell you about our adoption journey. Beware, parts will be extremely boring...

During March 2007, I filled out what seemed like an endless amount of paperwork for our home study. They want to know everything about you and then some. Ryan and I each had to answer questions that ended up being 10 pages each of answers! Our home study agency is a small local agency and they have been great. Cathy, who we work with, has always done everything as quickly as possible. We also met with an adoption attorney to look over AAC's service agreement and just make sure we weren't making any big mistakes. All looked good, so we signed the service agreement and sent in our first big chunk of money to our agency! At the end of the month, we also sent in our I-600A, our petition to adopt an orphan. It had been rumored that the fees were going to raise on April 1st, but I don't think they actually raised until July. But, it got us to get it done and we sent a chunk of money to our government.

During April 2007, we received our invitation to be fingerprinted for our I-600A application and a week later we took a day trip to Naperville to get that done. Ryan and I each had our individual meetings with Cathy for our home study, plus we had our in home visit. Now, she just has to write it all up! We also each had our physicals, plus our TB test. I also got a writeup from Kiara's doctor. I had the hardest time getting our state background checks. It is ridiculous, but we had to be fingerprinted 3 times at the same place before they got it right. I spent countless hours on hold with the state police to make sure everything was right. If it wasn't for Yahoo adoption groups, it probably would have taken me another month to get done. But, I put a post out to my state's group and got the name and phone number of the lady that notarizes the police clearances and that helped tremendously!

During May 2007, I spent time compiling our dossier. Everything from pictures of our home and family to employment letters. Our home study was completed and approved by AAC and on May 23rd I sent it off to immigration for our I-600A application. It should now be 4-6 weeks until we get our approval, which is called an I-171H. I had hoped to send it at the beginning of the month, but there were delays that I could not control, so what are you to do? My goal was to have everything waiting and ready to be state certified by the time I got my I-171H approval.

Well, I will leave you with that for this time. The months of June and July were probably the busiest months in our adoption journey so far, so I will leave them for the next post.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What are your weekend plans?

Well, it is bitter cold here today! Luckily, it is suppose to warm up a little this weekend, into the 30s. This winter seems to be dragging on forever this year, for me. I am so ready for spring, but it is still so far away.

I have a busy weekend coming up. Kiara has a concert for her singing/dancing group on Saturday. I also work for my friend who runs the program, so our weekend will be busy. Sunday, we are going to hang out with my family so that should at least be relaxing. What is everyone else doing this weekend? Anything fun?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Midnight musings...

We just got back from Chicago tonight, or I guess that is yesterday at this time in the morning. On the way home we witnessed a bad car crash. Ryan actually saw more of it than I did, but I saw the car hit head on into a median wall and I won't be forgetting it for a long while. It was so scary, the car was on the other side of the interstate, but if that median wall had not been there, it would have been headed right into our lane of traffic. The car crashed head on into the wall and it looked just like what you see on the shows where they do the crash tests. The car hit and everything went black. Ryan pulled to the side of the road and we called 911, I have never been in a situation where I have had to call 911. Luckily, an off duty police officer was on his way home and stopped on the other side of the interstate. In the mean time, my husband, the selfless man he is, is wanting to cross 3 lanes of interstate traffic while it is snowing and blowing like crazy! I, being his selfish wife, was trying to get him to stay on our side of the interstate because I didn't want him to be running across the interstate on a dark night. And, I kind of want to keep him around for awhile! Well, he finally goes across and the police officer is also there. There was a man and a woman in the car and the woman had been driving. Luckily, they were both conscious and the woman was saying her chest hurt. It is only by a miracle that they survived that crash. I really didn't think anyone would have survived it. When Ryan saw it happen, he thought someone had committed suicide.

That whole experience really put life in perspective for me. I don't want to take anything for granted. Life is too short, to sweat the small stuff. All the stuff that had been bothering me earlier in the day just seemed so trivial after seeing that crash. I need to really count my blessings that the good Lord has given me and give praise to Him. My biggest blessings are my sweet and selfless husband and my adorable daughter that I just love more and more each day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How we realized we wanted to adopt...

Most of you know, we have one 4 year old daughter, Kiara. We had no problems conceiving her, it probably happened on the first try! So, when we finally decided to start trying to have our second child, we were shocked that we weren't being successful. I went to a doctor to get my hormones in check and learned the Creighton Method of tracking your cycle. I can't vouch for it working to get you pregnant, but if you want to use it to make sure you don't get pregnant, I know it works! Ryan also got checked out and we were both for the most part healthy. So, I guess what we were/are experiencing is secondary infertility. Knowing I didn't want to go through any extensive medical procedures to get pregnant, knowing how many children were already out there who needed a home, wanting to add a sibling to the family for Kiara sooner rather than later, not really enjoying being pregnant, and sick of going through the cycle every month of thinking you might be pregnant to only be disappointed we decided to start researching adoption. Or, rather, we decided I would research adoption and fill Ryan in!

At this point, we thought we would do a domestic adoption. But, after doing lots of research and talking with our SW, realized that we were more fit for international adoption. I didn't enjoy Kiara's newborn phase, so ideally we would get a baby that was at least 6 months old and this is nearly impossible for a domestic adoption. So, now the question was, which country should we adopt from?

After considering every country on the U.S. Department of State's website, http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/country/country_369.html, (Yes, there are probably at least 100 countries listed, I am definitely a Type A personality!) we finally narrowed down our search to Uzbekistan. And really, if it wasn't going to work with Uzbekistan, I wasn't sure what we were going to do. We picked Uzbek because it had one short trip to the country, it was suppose to be a relatively quick process, and we could get a child under 2. Also, it just felt like this is where God wanted us to go to find our next daughter. We also decided to ask for a girl 18 months or younger, hopefully not older than 2 by the time we brought her home. So, now the question was, which agency would we use?

Honestly, I can't remember how I even got interested in Uzbek, but I think I came across it when I was researching Kazakhstan adoptions. One website that was very useful in starting to research specific countries was: http://myadoptionlinks.com/. Also, joining different Yahoo groups for specific countries was the best information out there. My Uzbekistan Yahoo groups have proved to be the best source of support through this bumpy journey. Thanks ladies, you are the best!!! Somehow I came across the agency About A Child. I started to research it and couldn't find one person that could say a bad thing about the agency or its director. There were other agencies that I was researching that were getting mixed reviews. I felt that AAC was the most open and up front with me than any other agency. My gut feeling was to use AAC and I would be in good hands. Even though this process hasn't gone like it was suppose to, I still feel like I am in the best hands with AAC. I found out on March 19, 2007 that AAC would take us into their Uzbek program and I was elated. I felt like I had just found out that I was pregnant, and didn't have to gain all the weight!

So, that is how we decided on adoption and to adopt from the country of Uzbekistan. I will leave that with you today and tell you more about our journey later...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are you there, God? It's me, Nichole!

I am feeling really frustrated tonight. I have been looking into Kyrgyzstan adoptions and realized that if we had chosen that country over Uzbek, we probably would have our daughter home already! I also realize that even if I switched countries now, we would probably bring a child home around the same time we would from Uzbek if we stuck with it. So, probably no good in switching.

I then have to remind myself that God led us to the Uzbekistan program for a reason. He knew long before us how long this process would take, he also knows who our daughter is. If only he would just tell me how this is all going to end up....and when!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ready or Not, here I come!

I have finally made it into the blogging world! You will have to bear with me as I learn how this all works. I am excited to share our adoption journey with everyone. Stay tuned and I will catch you up on where this journey has already taken us...