Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We have a date!

Yay! I talked to the homestudy social worker, finally, and we've set up a date for our interview! I'm so excited to actually have it on the calendar! (She'd sent me the dates last week but I never received them because her computer got a virus and ate her emails. Grrrr...)

She's going to try to combine the four appointments into 2 by having extra long meetings. So we're getting together on New Years Eve and then again on January 7th. She seems super sweet and laid back, so I feel like it will go well. And, she said she wants to have it completely done before she goes out of town the third week of January. So that works in our favor!

As soon as our homestudy has been revised and finalized by both agencies, we can immediately send it off with our I-800A imigration form. This is when the US government approves that we can adopt. It takes about 2-3 months to hear back- so the faster we can submit the I-800A, and get it back,  the faster we can send our dossier to Mexico! Can you tell I'm chomping at the bit to get through this paperwork stage? LOL!

I do love all the paperwork, though. It makes me feel like I am DOING something. I have a feeling I am NOT going to like the time period after all the paperwork is submitted and we are just sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting to hear something. But, I know God has lessons to teach me in that stage, too. Patience. Lots of Patience. I'm learning that the adoption process is very sanctifying....

Unfortunately,  we still don't have any answers from the licensing department about the use of bunk beds. In order to fit everyone, we have to use a set of bunk beds and the health inspector said he didn't think they were allowed. If we can't, then we're going to have to build a bedroom (and, of course, a bathroom)  in the basement for Brent and I.

We had been planning on doing this in the future (I think we're going to need some space for US with 7 kids in the house...), but we were hoping we didn't have to before the adoption. Too Expensive!  There is nothing in Maryland law about the use of bunk beds, but the social worker thinks that it might be  a licensing regulation.

So we're still waiting. She did say that the construction wouldn't have to be finished before the homestudy is complete, thank goodness! That would have slowed us down drastically!

Here's a little sweetness that God sent our way....
We have to submit a bunch of photographs of each room of our house and the outside for our dossier. I wasn't too thrilled to send a photo of the outside of our house because our landscaping stinks. Our grass is weed filled and very un-lush. We definitely need to do some work on the front gardens, but let's just say "it ain't even in the top 10 of the priority list".

I had jokingly said we needed some snow to make our cute, little red rancher look better and hide the ugly garden. Well, we got it- didn't we! A whole lot of snow! That massive amount of snow hid a multitude of sins in our landscaping. Sooo, now Mexico will think we have an adorable little house AND think the bushes under that snow are just as cute! Brent got a bunch of good photos!

Here are some of the things I'm doing over the next few weeks...
-a notorized letter from our health insurance company saying that the adopted children will be under our insurance- was expected to be here a week ago and still hasn't come....hmmm....
-finalizing a date with the psychologist to do our evaluation
-go to State Archives in Annapolis to find a copy of a document that I need another copy of
-start our 10 hours of adoption classes required under the HAGUE convention- thankfully, they are online! We plan on starting them while Brent is recovering from sinus surgery on the 28th! He won't be able to do much else, so perfect timing!
-find out how many post placement visits state in Mexico requires so we can prepay for them according to HAGUE regulations
-have a conference call with socialworker on the specifics of our dossier paperwork! I love this! I'm giddy just thinking about doing this part! I should have been a secretary!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Please read this...

My friends,
You need to read this girl's blog. At least the first few entries on this page. You. Just. Need. To.


Health Inspection is done! Whew.
We had the guy come out and though he was nice, he was much more thorough than I thought he'd be. We got called on a few things, but thankfully he allowed us to just write a letter saying that they had been fixed. We had to fix a broken window, get a more recent water test and fix a leak that was under our bathroom sink. The leak was a shock! We've never had a leak there! In fact, it wasn't leaking there the night before because I put stuff in the vanity cabinet and all was well.
The water testing man actually came 2 minutes before the health inspector. Instead of testing the water in the basement like normal, he went back to the bathroom to do the test. The water was running for 20 minutes and I guess it was during this time that we sprung the leak! Figures! The leak started WHILE the inspector was there! Kind of comical, huh?
Anyway, all is fixed and a letter has been sent and our health report has been turned in to the homestudy agency.
Then, as if we don't have enough going on, we- ok, "I", decided that painting the living room, dining room and hallway was the next priority. We hadn't painted since we moved in 9 years ago and when we replaced our flooring 5 years ago we'd put up primed trim, but had never painted it. So, as you can imagine, with four kids, it was dirty and messy beyond belief. Since it was primed and never painted, I can't even get the fingerprints off with heavy duty cleaners!
Brent had to work, but my wonderfully awesome Dad and brother came over to paint with me/for me! Mom and the girls came a few days too and were great helps- especially when it came to the finishing touches and getting the room back together! Thank you, Lord for parents with servant hearts! Dad had to work nights, but he graciously came during the day to help me. He had to be exhausted! Thank you, Dad! And, Jordan, you are the best brother a girl can have! Mom and Sammi and Abbie- my house looks so pretty now! Just how I've always imagined it, but could never pull off by myself! Ab- you should be a designer, seriously!

So this week we've just been waiting around to hear from our homestudy agency on a date for interviews. And getting back to some normal school schedule after 2 weeks of chaos. And getting our Christmas tree. And shopping for presents. Whew. Seems like nothing after the past few weeks, though!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm Pooped!

I am so exhausted! It's a good exhaustion, though. Wanna know why? Ok, since you asked, I'll tell you! LOL!

Last Monday, I was emailing a few questions to our homestudy lady and I casually asked if she'd turned in our health department form and how long would it take for them to call for the appointment. Boy am I glad I asked! Apparantly I misunderstood who was supposed to get the Health Inspection Request form! I sent it to my agency instead of straight to the Health Dept.! I was so bummed! I turned that paper in a few weeks ago and now I was going to be behind! (You see I have had it in my head to get this homestudy done by Christmas. I know it is probably unrealistic, but I can hope, can't I?)
Now I had to re-do the form, send it in and wait 2-3 MORE weeks before they even call for an appointment! Count out the "by Christmas" plan!
Ok, can you see where this is going? Already, after such a GOD MOMENT last week, I was already starting to assume control over this whole situation. I wanted MY timeline. My Plan! Sheesh. The nerve I have, right?
 Unfortunately, I didn't clue in to this myself. My loving hubby pointed it out gently. Thankfully, God is quick to forgive and give peace! God gave me a calmness and peacefulness so that I could not be annoyed at my homestudy lady or anyone else that crossed my path! (Oh, I hate when I get like this! Just keepin' it honest, though.)
So, first thing Tuesday, I filled out a new form and sent it with Brent for him to HAND DELIVER to the Health Department across the street from his office.
Later that day I found an email from Brent saying that the actual Health Inspector was there and spoke to him personally! He even set up an appointment ON THE SPOT! For Monday! Can you believe it? I think this all worked out even better than if it had gone right in the first place! So now, we're still on track for finishing by Christmas! I know I don't deserve that, after my snotty controling attitude, but God is so gracious!
And, just because He can, He had the Fire Inspector call and set up his appointment for tomorrow! Whew!

So, the reason that I'm pooped is because we've been working our backsides to the bone getting the house TOTALLY clean and fixed up! Let me just tell you, I've found places to clean in this house that I didn't even know existed!
Brent has been going strong fixing screening in a few windows, installing more smoke detectors in EACH room, taking lots of junk to the dumpster, sorting through every various chemical in our house since certain things aren't allowed in certain rooms, baby proofing (which is so funny because we've never baby-proofed the house, we house-proofed the babies), rearranging our storage room so nothing is stored within 30 inches of any combustion-producing appliance (believe me, I've measured!), putting up a sign that has our house number on it, and vacuuming any evidence of furry friends that make their home in our basement in the winter (just part of living in the country!).
The kids have worked very hard, too. In fact they earned quite a decent paycheck for some of their chores. I think I will find myself broke!
After all this cleaning and fixing, it does feel nice knowing it is done. In fact, I told Brent that maybe we should schedule a Health Inspection every year, adoption or no adoption- just for the pressure to keep it clean! He didn't find that funny. I think I heard him muttering something about getting a divorce....LOL!

SOOOO, we are on the final stretch of our paperwork for our homestudy! I can finally turn in the last bit of paperwork! Next is on to interviews!