Friday, January 29, 2010


The ups and downs of adopting had me going every which way emotionally this past week, and a bit physically, too!! It felt just like being on a roller coaster many times as the week progressed. Wanna ride with me? Do you get queasy?? Hold on tight ~~~~~~~~~~here ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
we ~~~

SATURDAY'S ELATION: As in running for the coaster, first ride of the day, gotta beat the crowds, high five-ing your friends...

Our meeting with our Home Study Social Worker went great!! Everything seems to be in order and she actually liked us, or did a great job acting the part ;)
It is amazing the difference in feelings I'm dealing with this time around. We've adopted many times and been thru myriads of home studies and I have always been very nervous. I don't know if it's age that's relaxed me, or experience, or the fact that int'l home studies seem to be a bit more laid back during the interview portion as opposed to County. But, I actually felt a bit of confidence rather than gut-wrenching nervousness. And, definitely more relaxed. Didn't even get a migraine after we waved good-bye!! Now, that's progress...

SUNDAY'S BREATHER: A time of refreshment, catch your breath, knowing there's another thrill around the corner...

A great day in church and lunch at Costco, our favorite bistro ;)
Then, the guys went out to play in the mud in Dad's 1947 Jeep Willys and on Drew's quad. Charissa and Mom rested a bit and then watched the beginning of Hans Brinker/The Silver Skates, a classic we'd never seen. A friend called and before we could even get into conversation, she remembered we weren't supposed to be on the phone! We were supposed to be on our way to church! She was working in childcare and we were supposed to be on our way to drop Charissa off so the rest of us could attend a special winter class on God's Design for the Family. Okay, so it wasn't that much of a breather but when you're on a roller coaster, do they EVER give you enough time to really catch your breath between loops?!?!?!

MONDAY'S DROP: I'm not gonna cry, I'm not gonna cry, I'm not gonna cry...
This roller coaster is not gonna beat me, I'm braver than anything it can throw at me.
That was what I kept telling myself anyway...

The phone rings and it's the Founder/Director of the placing agency that we've chosen to work with. This is a huge agency but they don't act like it. And, they are the best, so I'm waiting on pins and needles for their answer as to whether or not they'll accept us as clients. The founder's sister has, at this point, told me it's a go, but I've received no contract so I'm still shaky~bakey (can you tell I live in the California desert by that phrase? ;). I answer the phone and after she identifies herself, I'm thinking, "This could be very good or very bad."

Yeah, it was very bad! She was calling to tell me she just didn't see how they could do my adoption for me and weren't willing to take my $$ if they didn't feel they could succeed. The problem is that the region our Jewel lives in REALLY does not like the paperwork from the region I live in. And, it is one of the most difficult regions to work with, period, regardless of where you live. I took a deep breath, fearing I was careening right off the track I was on and was very careful to listen and make sure I got the message. Then, I repeated what I thought I'd heard to make sure we were communicating properly and if what I was hearing was correct.

I was hearing right, shucks! Another deep breath... and, out comes, "So, my girlfriend that lives 10 minutes down the road from me just did this with an agency that did not know their business near as well as you and she succeeded and they've been home for 3 months now. WHAT IF I go over to her house and we copy every piece of paper that she was required by the judge to submit in order to succeed? And, I send it to you? Would that help you consider helping us?"

"Well, just three months ago?? Same judge?? YES, That very well might help." she says. I am holding on tightly to this track and not letting go this easily! I knew from the beginning that this would NOT be an easy adoption. But, is it worth the life of a child? What's a few months of inconvenience in exchange for the life of a precious child destined for doom in just a matter of a few years??

So, I get on the phone and call my girlfriend and she just had an appointment cancel so we plan to spend the day together on Tuesday going through her paperwork like good track inspectors would!

TUESDAY'S CLIMB: Once you've dropped, it's a lot of work to get back up to ground level on those large coasters!

So, chugging right along, we read, analyzed, organized and photocopied a mountain of paperwork! We worked for 6 hours straight, while corralling kiddos. I came home, fixed dinner for the family and then headed out the door to a 2 hour appointment with our Chiropractor discussing a new nutritional plan (for the ADD, Autism, OCD spectrum) we're going to be embarking upon shortly. Back home and on the computer by 9p.m. in order to type up an organized Dossier documents list to go with everything we'd photocopied. I work till midnight and have only completed my responsibilities list, I still have to do the one for the home study agency tomorrow. After an 18 hour climb, I head back into the depot for some rest.

WEDNESDAY'S EXCITEMENT, JITTERS AND PANIC: Finding joy in these loops, for the most part, because I know every one brings me closer to the Jewel at the end!!

I spend a good part of Wednesday morning organizing and typing up the Home Study Agency's responsibilities list that the judge required in my friend's adoption case. Yes, this is all stuff that the placing agency is supposed to do for me, but I'm doing what I can to convince them to represent us as clients in Russia. There aren't very many agency's working in the region we're going to and this one is top notch!!

As we straighten up the house for the Social Worker's return visit tonight, my strong-silent-type son asks in a slightly jittery way, "What is she going to ask us?" I tell him she'll most likely ask what he thinks of his parents adopting another sister. His answer floors me as if I'd scripted it myself for him, "I'll say I think it's cool we're going to rescue a kid out of one of those orphanages and it's good to be getting our sister a sister." Great answer, hold onto that thought!!

So, does she ask him that?? No, too predictable! She wants to know how they'll help their new sister adapt to a busy household with 3 big brothers and 1 little sis! They answered as a team and came up with they'd be practicing some Russian, helping her learn English, how to ride a quad, how to surf, etc. etc. Then along comes Princess Charissa and gives a huge list including teaching Jewel how to be a princess; mermaid; fairy; work in the kitchen, both real and imaginary, dance ballet, read English, and on and on and on and on...

After she leaves, I sit down to read the next of my online adoption training classes and all the guys leave for lap swimming. I get Charissa to bed and sit back down and am only going for a few minutes when I have this feeling that I need to look for Jewel online. I know that, supposedly, countries frown on their children being posted all over the net, but for some reason I cannot resist the feeling that I need to search for her. And, I am no computer whiz!! So, why I thought I could attampt to find an orphan from the other side of the world is beyond me, unless it was a little Holy Spirit prompting. You see, it has been 3 months since we found out about her, yet still don't know officially if she is adoptable. So, all of this work could, potentially, be in vain. However, I found her in just a few minutes, just THREE websites later, and immediately felt, "I'm gonna throw up!" My emotions were just so shocked by seeing her much younger face, and were already on overdrive by all that had happened earlier in the week and there I am looking at her face in an old pic! She's been waiting on that database and in that orphanage for her forever family for YEARS!! And, I still cannot believe I, with my simple computer knowledge, was able to track her down that fast. But, at least we now have the confirmation we desired, she's listed as adoptable!!

It's 12 a.m. I've been going since 7 a.m. time to shut down! I will finish this ride later...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Social Worker Call!

Woohoo! Tonight at about 5p.m. our social worker calls to introduce herself and see if we can get together on Saturday for our first meeting. Okay, so we're supposed to be on our best behavior with social workers writing up our homestudy to be read by anybody and everybody involved in this rescue right?!? Soooooo, how do I answer? "Hold on just a second while I get out of bed and check my calendar." AAARRRGGGHHH! I burst into laughter realizing what I'd just said and that she probably had immediate first impressions of me on the not-so-favorable side of the scale and quickly explained that our heater was broken, it was below freezing outside as we'd experienced a bit of snowfall already today, and that I'd decided the bed was the warmest place in the house and I'd just declared I wasn't going anywhere until my hubby had fixed the heater. And, now I was joyfully getting out of bed because of her call! Thankfully, she joined me in laughter!!

We celebrated the phone call with Blueberry pancakes; real maple syrup; my friend, Missy's homemade wild blackberry syrup; and smoothies!!! Of course, when I handed Mark his smoothie while he was working his little heart out on the heater thermostat, he says, "It's freezing outside and in, don't ya think hot tea would have been more appropriate?!!?" HA HA!! Don't rub it in...

So, we are on our way!! Our SW comes out Saturday and I'll try and keep my foot out of my mouth. Wish I could keep a few other feets out of mouths around here, also. But, I'll just have to leave that in the Lord's hands and a have little flesh colored duct-tape on hand. :o) Or, maybe those big red wax lips?? Hmmm...

So, I'm sitting here at the computer a few hours later as all of the children were mostly in bed (Charissa and Daniel's beds have springs just like Tigger's tail in them and they get tossed out several times each evening before getting themselves successfully tucked in for the night) and Mark had said, "Be right back." I'm thinking he just ran back to the Depot for another heater part and I sit down to work on one of my online education classes necessary to complete this adoption homestudy. After a bit, he walks in with a space heater!! Does this mean my heater is NOT getting repaired tonight?? YUP!! He gets it all set up in the hall, blocks off the livingroom and kitchen doors, explains to the children that they have to leave their doors open tonight and goes to bed! So, I'm sitting here typing away completely bundled up in the cold living room and I go down and ask him if we're practicing for our first trip to Russia. "Nope, it'll never get cold enough here to say we're practicing for Russia." Oh, thanks, that really makes me anticipate our first trip which will, most likely, be in winter!

Charissa wants to know if we can roast marshmallows on the space heater tomorrow!!
Nope, we won't be home, we'll be at the dollar movies or in the thrift stores seeking out central heating so our noses won't be blue when Dad gets home from work :o)
That is, if the kids can convince me to get out of bed and get dressed in this igloo we call home! Wait, I know! I'll have one of them move the heater into my room and get it toasty before I venture out...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paperwork Pregnancy

I've heard the term "PAPERWORK PREGNANCY" tossed around in regards to all of the crazy paperwork that needs to be done in order to become parents when you adopt. It is really quite unnerving to think of all of the hoops we have to jump through in order to help out children in need. (And, don't get me started on how immature, irresponsible or even dangerous parents are either producing numerous children they cannot provide for, or getting their children back out of foster care at alarming rates! And without even a hint of the level of paperwork and training that foster parents have to go through in order to care for those same children.) I'm all for protecting children and I totally "understand" that that is the purpose of our flaming hoops. But, I've jumped through these hoops so many times, you'd think they would give you a few less hoops if you are a repeat offender, (oops!) I meant rescuer! For instance, I've been told that during the course of this adoption, we will have to repeat our fingerprint/criminal clearance process several times. Is that just in case that over the course of the next 6 months we decide we don't like our normal little My Three Sons (and a princess) lifestyle and up pops a latent urge to just pop over into the COPS realm so we can really shine on TV?? No, no. It's because not all of the people, or better yet, gov't bureaucracies, involved in helping us rescue an older orphan or two don't believe in trusting one another on whether or not we're "cool". Or "sick" as I've recently been informed by my boys is the new "cool!" Ugh!

So, we're jumping through flaming hoops at a remarkable rate according to our home study agency, Chrysalis House, Inc. We're in our first trimester and I'm watching my waistline, hoping it shrinks, rather than grows throughout this pregnancy!!! I'm also hoping and praying for a premature delivery date! Our friends' agency took 18 months to get their son home and we are feverishly working to do EVERYTHING in our power to get Jewel home before her 11th birthday early this summer!!

My biggest CHRISTmas gift this year was calling Kaiser on Dec. 23rd, the first day I had my paperwork packet in hand, to schedule our required physical exams and having them return my call having made room for all FOUR of my children to have their physicals done within about 2 hours of my original phone call!!!! Whoa Nellie!!! Never could I have imagined that amazing gift!!

One big huge speed bump that is really causing issues for us is the choosing of guardians if something should happen and Mark and I cannot be here on earth to finish raising our children. It's not that there aren't completely competent amazing people in our lives that we'd trust with our children. No, it's that we've chosen to serve those children of God that have prenatal exposure issues, primarily. Our children are pretty much a special needs crew and there are a lot of them by today's standards. It's an issue we've discussed on and off for about 15 or 20 years now and have never come up with a solution. God is good and we're still here and they haven't been orphaned again, as of yet. But, we know very well that it just takes a twinkling of the eye and God can call us home. Yes, we do know this and we do know we need to prepare. We do know it's a stewardship issue. We do know all of these things, but the knowledge doesn't make it any easier. Finding someone that God has called to the same level or type of commitment to special needs orphans isn't a common occurrence and if you find them, do they already have a houseful?? It's a tough one, alrighty! However, the clock is ticking and this is the last piece of paper we have to complete in order to finish our homestudy paperwork. Definitely a difficult part of our pregnancy that has to be worked through, and, like yesterday, already!! Yikes!

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