Saturday, March 31, 2007

Drowning in paperwork

We had our first meeting with our social worker this week, and also received a huge book from Holt with all the information we should need. It's a little overwhelming, but we are attacking it all as quickly as we can. We're actually already finished with the first group of papers we need for our local agency and started on the second group. We're taking a break from writing answers to a million essay questions today to go to Milwaukee and see Meredith and Ewan. Ewan might make "squidgies" (?), which he claims are Thai-style gelatin treats, similar to firmer jello jigglers, perhaps? Sounds tastey.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

On the verge

Since our first blog entry on our adoption an awful lot has happened, but the development are about to come much more quickly.

Robin and I were planning for a long time to adopt from Nepal. We were excited about this country for many reasons, but after a lot of study on Robin's behalf, we discovered that there are a lot of concerns about adoptions from Nepal at the moment. There are reports of corruption and concerns about the origin of some of the adopted children (some of them may have been taken from their parents under false pretenses). We are still excited about Nepal and may adopt from there in the future, but we could not tolerate the possibility that our child may have been unethically taken from its family.

So, that brings us to our next decision. We decided on Thailand for our first adoption. The adoption process in Thailand takes a little longer, but the process is thorough and ethical. They also use foster families to care for the children, instead of an orphanage. Further, we are adopting through an agency called "Holt International". This agency is considered the gold standard for international adoption and we are feeling quite good about their work. They too are very methodical and thorough. Robin's attempts to find any negative information about them on the Internet has been fruitless. Nepal requires adopting parents to be at least 30 years old. Thailand does not. So, we don't have to wait until November to get the process started.

With a great deal of excitement, we filled out our application last weekend. It was a good preview for what's to come. We had to send pictures of us and our house, tax information, and all sorts of other personal and financial information. I mailed it on Monday and they called us from Oregon on Tuesday. Wow. They got the ball rolling right away by referring us to our social worker in Madison. We are already scheduled to meet her on Tuesday afternoon.

Holt was quick to point out to us that we are not likely to get a girl from Thailand, which we had indicated as our preference on our application. Apparently there are simply not many girls available for international adoption. This news was unexpected, but not disappointing. We have always been open to adopting a child of either gender, and we are certainly excited about raising a boy. The point is that we have to be open to a child of either gender, which we are. After all, if we were having children the natural way, we would have no say either! Our application will say that we're open to either, but we are likely to get a referral for a boy.

Although it feels like things are moving quickly now, it's quite an illusion. It could take up to 2 years to complete the process once we complete our application. It seems quick now because the ball is in our court. The process right now will move as quickly as Robin and I can move. Once all of our paperwork is in and the home study is complete, the real waiting will begin. The most difficult portion of the wait will be after our referral. After we get a picture, it could take 8 months before we can fly to Bangkok. Still, Robin and I feel the extra wait will be worthwhile considering the quality of the process and our high level of confidence in it. It's fun to think that because of the length of the process, our child could be alive now, or at least, very soon.

The paperwork part of the process can take months, but Robin and I have been planning very hard for this and hope to get it done in weeks instead. We are streamlining our current schedules so that once we get the paperwork in the mail (any day now) we can drop a lot of the other pending projects and focus exclusively on the paperwork. There will be plenty of time for painting and such when the paperwork is complete.

At this stage it is rather comical to me that we have two blogs that are telling two very different stories. Punkin's blog talks about everything going on in our life outside of the adoption, and this blog is nothing but adoption stuff (at the point this is being written, this blog was not made public). It's getting harder and harder to write in Punkin's blog about our life without mentioning the adoption. And it's only going to get harder. Robin and I have not yet decided when to go public with this. The latest we would wait is for our referral. In the meantime, we are writing in Punkin's blog about a ton of home improvement projects we are urgently undertaking. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed that we have not made mention in the blog of why we are working so urgently on these projects for no apparent reason. We haven't even mentioned that the reason we are switching our bedrooms around is because we are creating a nursery.

Yesterday we went to the library to get a ton of books on Thailand and adoption. Some of the adoption books we have checked out before, but we wanted another look. We got some children's books on Thailand. We find that they make for a nice easy read on the country's culture and customs. They also have a ton of pictures. I got a book on Thai history. It looks very thorough. I'm not sure if I'm going to make it through, but I'll be giving it a try. We also got some Thai cookbooks. Those should be fun!

I was also thinking yesterday that I would like to find some Thai artwork for our house. I'm not sure where to find Thai artwork in Southern Wisconsin, and I don't think it will be easy to bring any home when we visit, so I'll be on the hunt.

To make us feel good about our progress, Robin has started a spreadsheet where she tracks everything we've done in this process. If you count every mailing and every phone call, it starts to look like an impressive list. It should be fun to read once we are all done.

There is so much more to share, but I think I will call it a day. I hope we can write here more regularly now that we are underway. Certainly we hope this blog will be a good tool for others and we also hope it will help us communicate with everyone when we finally travel to Thailand.