Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Study

So much changes through the adoption process that it makes my head spin!  One day I think I have it all figured out and then the next day everything is different than what I thought.  One almost-constant aspect was the home study.  The big change was that we do not need to complete it for Taiwan as originally expected.  I'm not exactly sure why we don't need it, but I'm told it has something to do with our little boy's age.  In any case, I wasn't really sure what to expect and I would like to share our experience to help those behind us in the process.

We chose a social worker based on the recommendation of friends.  She has done several home studies for other church members and they went well, so we decided that she would meet our needs.  After contacting her, she emailed the following forms to complete:
  • Employment References

  • Educational References (which we didn't need because our kids are homeschooled)

  • Medical Evaluations (for every member of the home)

  • Income/Expense/Financial Worksheets

  • An autobiography written by each of us addressing our upbringing, hobbies, lifestyle, etc.

In addition, we had to provide the following documents:
  • Marriage Certificate

  • Birth Certificates for every child currently in the home

  • Criminal Record (fingerprinting by local law enforcement)

  • Last 3 pay stubs from each of us

During the interview, she asked many questions.  She asked about our parenting styles, our marriage and relationship, how we handle disagreements, and how we would handle any special needs our child may have.  She then asked each of the girls about themselves and what they thought of us adopting.  After that, the social worker took a quick walk around the house and asked how we will accommodate our new family member.  She spent about 1 1/2 hours at the house and then asked us to complete a form for a child abuse background check.  With that complete, she left and let me know that we would hear back from her in a couple of weeks.

I was very relieved to have that part out of the way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Moving Forward Inch By Inch

Well, our autobiographies weren't written as fast as we would have liked, but they are now complete.  Also, two of the five references are in the mail.  Today, two more items were added to our checklist.  We need to get a Power of Attorney for our lawyer in Taiwan and physicals for everyone in our family.  The good news is that two of our five family members already had appointments for annual check ups, one of which is tomorrow.  I am so grateful for our friends who are about five steps ahead of us in this process.  They have helped greatly in guiding and encouraging us along. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome Home Daddy

Our daddy and biggest sister arrived home at 1 am this morning from Taiwan.  They brought small gifts home for the rest of us which they gave us before we all went to bed.  They weren't tired as it was 2 m in Taiwan, but the rest of us needed sleep so we all went to bed.  This morning we looked at some of their pictures before heading to an office to be fingerprinted.  This is the first of two times we will be fingerprinted.  We also looked through some pictures of our little boy as a baby which his mother sent home with my husband.  Tonight we will be working on requesting references from a few friends and writing our autobiographies, all for the home study.  No time for jet lag, there's a boy to bring home!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's in a Name?

Because of some events in our lives, we had a girl's name chosen before we were even married. During my first pregnancy, we never had an ultrasound, so knowing the baby's gender wasn't an option. We struggled with coming up with a boy's name and ended up deciding that the baby would be a junior if it was a boy.  Well, it was a girl.  With my second pregnancy, we had ultrasounds but chose not to know the baby's gender.  Again, we easily came up with a girl's name but no boy's name.  Our daughter is as lovely as her name.  With my third pregnancy, we were told throughout the pregnancy that it was a boy but we never settled on a name that we loved.  That was OK because it was another girl (the doctor admitted he may have been incorrect about a month before she was born). 

When we contemplated adopting our little boy, we went back and forth about changing his name.  We learned that what we thought was his name is, in fact, only a nickname.  His Chinese name sort of translates into a very common American name, but he doesn't go by either name.  He is only known by his nickname.  Although his American name isn't a top choice for my husband or myself, we decided to use his American name as his first name and his nickname as his middle name.  We chose this for a couple of reasons.  We wanted him to have an American name to represent his new home, but a Chinese name to retain his culture.  We also wanted him to feel connected to his old life but have an option when he is older.  By giving him the American derivative of his real name and the nickname he has always known, we are addressing all of these desires.  Of course, now we are second-guessing that choice. long do we have to decide? I'm afraid it won't be long enough!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Unexpected Blessings

I always wanted to be a wife and mommy.  Not long after my husband and I were married, we were told that we would have difficulties getting pregnant.  For that reason, I stopped taking oral contraceptives (which had been prescribed for medical reasons) and expected to wait for a baby.  The wait didn't last long because we were surprised with a pregnancy the same month.  I went back on the medication after our daughter was born, but stopped a year later hoping for another pregnancy.  This one didn't happen as quickly.  It took long enough in fact that we looked into foster parenting and adoption.  Before we got far enough to do paperwork, we found out that I was again pregnant with another girl.  This pregnancy was difficult but we were thrilled to be blessed with another girl.  By the time she was just over a year old, we decided that I would talk to the doctor about making some changes so I could stop taking the medication.  At my appointment, the doctor found that I was again blessed with a pregnancy!  We were speechless!  Honestly, I figured that two children would be good for us and it took me some time to get used to having another.  Over the past six years, we have enjoyed watching our three girls grow into lovely young ladies.  Although we have occassionally pondered the "what if's" of another child, it has not been a burning desire of ours.  Several of our fellow church members have recently adopted and we have been very happy for them, but my husband and I have also enjoyed our family as it is.  Our daughters, on the other hand, have been praying for months about adopting a brother or sister.  In June, a church member contacted us about a little boy needing a home.  He lives at a children's home in Taiwan and must either be adopted or moved into foster care due to his age (six years old).  Coincidentally, my husband and oldest daughter (now 11) were planning a trip to Taiwan with our church to help out two other churches there.  After much prayer, we decided to hold off on a decision until my husband made a side trip to meet the little boy.  We were leaning towards a yes by this time, but wanted to know how the boy felt about being adopted.  By the time the group left for Taiwan, plans changed with one of the churches and they had a week to fill.  Of all things, the leaders chose to put on a summer camp at the home where this little boy lives.  The day my husband met him, he sent me a text message saying, "start the paperwork."  I know of many families who have a surprise baby, but not many have four.  I am so thankful for each of my blessings!