Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Trails

Today we received good news in the mail:  our appointment from USCIS for our fingerprints!
Hooray, the paper chase is nearly complete!  This the last item for our Dossier.   The trail of papers is thick and we are ready to move ahead.     We've also been busy filling out grant applications which has kept us quite busy.  We have also been taking lots of notes from Julie and Jim, and Ramie and Vito.  It's been so exciting to see the dream become a reality for them!:)    It also makes me feel a little overwhelmed by how much we need to still prepare.  We still haven't finished the paperwork to get the boys' passports.   I am also a little concerned about how it's going to work with our entire family in Poland, and I've been thinking maybe Jim and I should go to Poland first, and get settled before the boys join us.  I don't want to overwhelm our precious child (or children) with so many new faces and chaos right away.    Thankfully, my parents, brother, and a family friend said they would fly with the boys and stay to help, but there are still so many unknowns.  Also, does anyone know if Poland readily accepts American Express?  We are still trying to decide what form of currency would be best.

In  other news, I saw this story yesterday ("Battered Adoptive Parents Give Away Their Child") and it got me down.  My heart really goes out to this mother, the child,  and everyone in the family.   I will admit, I already started judging when I read the headline, but I realized quickly that it was much more complicated than what I thought at first glance.     What an incredibly difficult situation.   To top it off, has anyone else had an experience where someone felt the need to share an adoption horror story with you?      A friend of my mom's was visiting and she recounted a story of a couple who nearly "lost their minds" after being subjected to mental abuse from their adopted son.   I know these things happen, but I could also tell you equally devastating stories of biological "prodigals"... but I certainly would not share those with a woman who was pregnant!        I will admit those kind of stories do freak me out a bit,  but I also realize it's important to keep things in perspective.   I am grateful for all of the books and articles  available to prepare for loving, learning about, and raising an adoptive child.   With having three kids, sometimes I have a "been-there, done-that" approach but, I know adoption is not the same, and we will be ready to love our child or children no matter what.:) 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Six Weeks

I ran across a trailer for a small little independent film from 2009, and I can't stop thinking about it.   As we've continued on our adoption journey, our eyes have been opened to new things to pray about, that never occurred to me before.  For instance, until you know the medical history when you receive the referral (and sometimes not even then) you can only guess at the circumstances that brought your child to the orphanage.    It's prompted our family to really start praying for the mothers and fathers who will give their child up for adoption (either willingly or by the courts).   This new documentary takes a look at "the other side"....or all sides actually.   I would love to see this film in it's entirety!  Here is the description:

 The six weeks of the title is the period in which parents of newborn babies in Poland can decide to give up a child for adoption. For the mother in this unassuming, intimately shot documentary, the choice is clear. In a letter she leaves behind at the orphanage, she says that she does not have the means to support her child. Her house is too small, she has no hot water, no gas, and the welfare payments are not enough. And no, the child's father doesn't want it, either. The filmmaker is clearly moved by the fate of the babies in the orphanage. The camera zooms in on them so closely, we can count their eyelashes. To help the audience identify with the babies even more, the film is interspersed with scenes in which we see the world from their perspective -- blurred images that emphasize the helplessness and unknowingness of these children who have been given up by their parents. The grief of the mother who has to give away her newborn contrasts starkly with the unconfined joy of the adopting couple when they get their new child. The filmmaker seems to want to show how three lives can be completely transformed in just six weeks.


Click here for the trailer.  After I recovered from my thoughts (and a few tears), it left me wanting more.    Unfortunately, I could not find it available to purchase (or even rent) anywhere in the Internet. However, from what I can tell, the movie, in it's entirety is only 12 + minutes long (is that even possible?!)    I guess maybe if it was filed under "shorts" in the  film category.  Either way, it looks like there are some painful, powerful moments documented which I would like to see.    If someone is able to track it down, I would love to find out where to get it.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inch by Inch

Just checking in with a little update.  On Friday we received our finished home study in the mail.  After we received word from our home study agency that it was done, a draft was sent to our adoption agency for approval.   There were a few items that needed to be edited/corrected and then St. Mary's (our adoption agency) attached some documents that made it officially complete.    All told, it took us about 3 1/2 months from the time we signed our agreement with the home study agency, to when it was finalized and in our hands, ready for the next step.  We had wonderful social workers and a great local company, two thumb's up for Adoption Home Study Services of Ohio!     This process also further solidified my confidence in St. Mary's, they made sure every page was perfect. 
The timing was good because it has allowed us to start applying for grants over the long weekend.  We submitted an application for Show Hope, and will apply for several others too.   In all honesty, it is a lot of work.   Melanie was gracious enough to give me some advice about it, she said once you apply for one grant, most of the information is the same, so you just fill in the blanks and keep your previous info ready to go.   They were blessed with a few approvals, so I am encouraged by that and  hopeful it will be worth it.

Next on the list is sending in our I800A form.  It's ready to go and will be in the mail this week!   Not sure what to expect with that (time-wise) but hopefully they will process our forms without any touble and send our date/location for fingerprints.

As we change seasons, I keep wondering what we will be doing next year at this time?  It seems like (from reading other blogs) that the process is beginning to hit it's stride (since the new Hague guidelines came out) and it's becoming a more well-oiled machine in terms of turnaround times for documents, referrals, and court dates in Poland.  I don't mean to generalize because I know that is not always the case, but I think overall it seems like things have been more efficient, which is exciting!   
Last night my dad took us to a University of Akron football game.  As we were watching the sights and sounds, I thought about our daughter (s) and wonder if they will be in gymnastics?  Maybe a cheerleader?  Although, with three brothers and and an Army veteran daddy, she might be a tom-boy instead!    Either way, I can't wait for the adventure to begin.  What a gift it will be to get to know her interests and help her find her strengths and thrive.    Here is a photo from the game last night.  Garrett (our youngest) is in a camera-shy mode.  He may not be looking, but at least we got a smile out of him. :)

Will write with another update, hopefully soon.  Off to apply for more grants!:)