Thursday, May 18, 2006

Special Meeting and Big Happenings

The last 24 hours have been fun, complete with checking more "to do" boxes on the checklist for our paperwork chase. But first a little history. My cousin had a baby 3 1/2 months ago and when I came to visit the first few days after he was born, he was still in the hospital due to his premature arrival. It was at the time that Mike and I were still discussing international vs domestic adoption and talking to others about their experiences, their agencies, etc. While I was in town (Tallahassee), my aunt arranged for me to meet a friend of hers who had recently adopted their second daughter from China. I was so excited to meet her and her family because I had followed their trip on her blog just a few months earlier. I spent an hour or two with them that day. I went directly from their house to the hospital to see my cousin and the baby one last time before heading back home to Jacksonville. While in the waiting area my grandmother started talking to a family and I quickly realized that their daughter was adopted from China. They were so friendly and open to discuss their experience and we talked for at least an hour. It was so awesome because they used the same agency as the family I had just met with, the agency we eventually joined with, CCAI. It was an amazing experience. I had planned to met with the first family but just by chance met the second family not 30 minutes later. That meeting was so powerfully moving, that night I knew China was the path for us. After I got home and through a couple of discussions, we decided on adopting from China and using CCAI. So I fast forward. I was driving over to Tallahassee for the first time since January to visit my cousin and her baby and I thought of the family I had met in the hospital. I had stored their number in my cell phone. As I scrolled down there it was: "Kim from Georgia". I called, got an answering machine and left a message basically stating I was the one they met three+ months ago in the hospital and told they how much their openness and encouragement meant and that Mike and I had started our process. And if they wanted to return my call great, but if not it was okay, but I really just wanted to express my gratitude. Later last night the phone rang, the ID screen read "Kim from Georgia". I excitedly answered the phone - we talked for an hour! She said that when they left the hospital that night she told her husband she felt God had put her there in that hospital waiting room to talk to me. She said she almost didn't go to the hospital that night to visit her friend but last minute changed her mind. How amazing. God works in wonderful ways. She said they are thinking of adopting a second daughter and by coincidence, if they do her name will be Kelly. I plan on keeping in touch with Kim from Georgia as we continue our journey. I think it took talking with her again to realize how powerful that meeting was that night.

On my "things to do list", since I was going to be in Tallahassee, I brought some of my papers that have been notarized that now needed to be certified. My understanding was I could just walk in with the papers and they'd do it on the spot. So cool! I walked in all excited and handed 7 documents over and she looked at them, said they were wrong and handed them back. My jaw dropped. What?! I thought I read everything correctly and did everything correctly - I always read directions! I walked out and started crying! My mom quickly calmed me down, pointed out we could fix the mistakes and be back in there probably by the end of the day. She was right. I calmed down, when back to a computer to pull up the notarized instructions, fixed the documents and headed to my cousin's office who conveniently had a notary and she took care of it for me right away. Interestingly enough, the notary said she was adopted and was excited to be part of our process. We headed back to the state office, handed them back over and they certified them right there on the spot! That's 7 check marks!! I came out of the office this time jumping up and down! I'm so excited when I complete a step. This has been a big week!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Third, Fourth and Final Home Study Meeting

Last night Mike and I met with our social worker Jeannie and 3 other people in the process of international adoption for a group home study. We discussed a lot of issues such as bonding, multi-racial families, discussing birth parents with our children, etc. It was very enlightening. Once the group was done, Mike and I met briefly with Jeannie about a few things such as child care plans and how much I expect to work after Mia comes. Then that was it - our home study is done! It was actually a very enjoyable process and really made us think and talk about issue we had not before. Now Jeannie will write up a home study report to be submitted with our I600A! I can't wait to get that in the mail! One step closer!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Second Home Study

We did our second home study meeting. This time was both Mike and me with our social worker first but mostly just with Mike. I think I was more nervous for Mike's meeting than I was my own! Maybe it's that "not in charge" feeling. But it all went very well. We will either have one or two more meetings and then she'll write her report and then we can submit our I-600A! That's our petition to the Department of Homeland Security for us to "process an orphan" from another country. That's a big step and it's even bigger when we get the final approval back. But don't want to get too ahead of myself!