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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homestudy Visit #3!!! Social Worker dissection DONE!!!

Well, we did it! We survived the microscopic dissection that is the Homestudy! We are blessed that God brought to us, a fabulous social worker who was super chillaxed and wonderfully supportive!

The last visit was mainly focused on our marriage and parenting strategies...Luckily, we knew it was coming and did a little research. I remembered the basics from my minor in early childhood education in college, but made sure I googled the exact terms. After having some time to discuss over the weekend, we both agreed we are authoritative (not authoritarian!) We decided that we're more apt to use the "naughty chair" or other means to begin to teach reasoning and consequences with our child with tons of talking and open lines of communication. All that said, we completely realize that there will be instances in which a screaming two-year-old cannot be reasoned with, and must be removed from the situation at hand. Trust me, we're not living in a fantasy world. But with my experience with kiddos, I have learned quickly that children CAN be taught to problem solve and resolve conflict. I have used my own "ABC" method of "Ask Questions" (what happened? How did you feel?), "Brainstorm Solutions" and "Compromise" (pick a solution that both parties agree upon.) All that said, I was blessed to have my wonderful college training and thankful that this knowledge was retrieved from the far recesses of my brain! (And that Lee was open to hear me teach him). We were totally on the same page about spanking and that we want to avoid it at all costs and not use it as a threatening means of discipline (we knew this issue was going to be broached). All in all that topic was a piece of cake and our Social Worker Donna commended our research and ease of answering.

Then...the fun part!

Donna asked us how we met and gave us each time to share what attracted us to each other. I made Lee tell the "love at first sight" story because he tells it so darn cute! The way he grabs his heart when he says "And then I walked out of the Halle Heart Center after having met Kylie and grabbed my heart and said to my friend Brycen, 'OWWWW!'" I love how he tells it. :) Then we shared the traits that attracted us and that was soooo neat! We don't share those things with each other enough. I got teary and just grabbed Lee's hand. I still love him as much as I did the first weekend we had a marathon phone session. :)

Finally, we talked about our marriage and how we deal with conflict, and how we compromise. Donna was impressed and said she thought it sounded like waiting to get married until our 30s allowed us much wisdom and that it seemed as if we knew what we wanted from the get-go.

All that said, she gave us the approval and said she'd begin to write up our recommendation! We were soooo relieved! Now, its entirely up to us to finish paperchasing and finish our 250 page book (we're only on page is SO intense!).

Many of you have asked about our timeline. I know we've been saying a year for a year, but it really is about a year. My fear is that God will make us wait longer than we think it will take (*sigh*) But we know it is His timing! And it could go fast or slow, as God has no sense of human time. (*sigh again*)

Here's a little timeline:

1. Finish collecting documents and wait for final homestudy report and have AWAA (our agency) approve it (1-2 months)

2. Once our agency accepts it, we mail in our I-600 form to the USCIS (US Child and Immigration Services). We will receive a notice of our schedule $830 fingerprint appointment and we head down to the state building to do so.
(2 weeks +)

3. Then we wait for the approval 171 form, which approves everything and we get our dossier (fancy name for paperwork packet) sent to our agency!!! Of course we have to send another big check (to the tune of about $8000) in order to send it off.
(Because of that, we have taken our time in doing the paperwork so we can save! We are still waiting for God to provide the finances for this endeavor He has called us to do and we have witnessed miracles time and time again! We BELIEVE he wants us to bring this baby home!)
(1-2 months)

4. So, after our paperwork arrives in ET (Ethiopia) we'll be DTE (Dossier-to-Ethiopia/paper preggers) and we'll just wait! Right now, the average wait time for an infant is 4-6 months. We also plan to put ourselves on a list for siblings (one 0-12 months, 1 up to age 3). We don't have to accept a match if we don't want to, but we know God will bring us the right child/ren. We're still planning for just one. :)
(4-6 months)

5. After the match/referral is made, we wait for a court date, then we travel to court, then we wait to get embassy clearance and go back for our child.
(4-6 months)

There is nothing more I want for my birthday and Christmas, than to be paper pregnant. I imagine it feels a bit like a biological pregnancy when you first find out! Everything at that point is out of your control as you just wait. So, our goal is by December we'll get our paperwork in. But, since my timing has been off thus far, we are fully prepared for it to go a bit longer. :)

Sorry for the LONG blog, but hopefully it helps explain where we're at. To end this blog, I'll include two awesome quotes about adoption! I love these!!!


"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is....meant to be shared." - Author unknown

"The only difference between a biological child and an adopted one, is that one grows in the tummy and one grows in the heart."

Kleenex please!

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