Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We just had an earthquake!!

Wow!! At 8:05pm we just had a 5.6 magnitude earthquake. I haven't felt one that strong since the big one in 1989 at 6.9. I had just walked downstairs after kissing both boys goodnight. The whole house just shook very fast and very strong. I almost lost my balance and just saw all the pots on my potrack swinging back and forth. I yelled out my husband's name and ran back up the stairs to grab my boys out of their beds. My youngest was face down in his bed...he thought he had caused it. My other son thought it was fun and wanted to do it again!! Ugh!!

It's funny, I had so much to get done tonight and was thankful that the boys were in bed so I could get started. And now...still a little shakey, I'm glad we are all fine and we are huddled around the TV to hear more and wait out all the aftershocks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're Back!!

Wow!! Where does time go? I wanted to post a lot earlier but unfortunately my sons' preschool is keeping me very, very busy.

The highlight of our trip...meeting with our agency. We spent most of Friday with them going over the adoption process, what to expect, working on our dossier paperwork, and asking and answering lots of our questions about everything adoption related. We also got a chance to meet all of the staff that we will be working with on our adoption and post adoption. I did not realize until after we met how comforting that really is..to see the face on the otherside everytime I call..and to see the agency, their offices and where it is in the world...basic stuff but what a HUGE difference that makes for us.

We are grateful for the time they have given us and know we are in really good hands. I finished the rest of our paperwork today and will send it in tomorrow. And now we wait. We don't expect to hear anything until maybe spring.

So...the official wait begins for our baby girl!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We are on our way!!

We are all ready to go to the airport. We are set to fly to the east coast by noon today. We have an appt first thing in the morning with our placing agency!! Yeah!! We are so excited. I'll let you all know how it goes!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Have you had any trouble getting a document?

So..the paperwork trail is long and time consuming for an adoption. Some documents are relatively easy to get and some take months to get. Some are very simple and some seem a little bizarre in their request. For the most part, the entire process has been pretty smooth and easy and no matter what we have asked of people, no matter how unusual the request, people have been willing to help us.

We are now at the final document (for the moment) required by our placing agency for our dossier. It seemed to me to the be the easiest of all the paperwork to get. It was a simple 2 line letter written on our mortgage company's letterhead that said something to the effect that we were the "record owners" of the home we live in. Doesn't sound to hard. Much easier than all the lab work and medical exams or the 2 hour psych evaluation or the entire homestudy process. How hard would it be to get your bank to write out 2 lines and mail it to you? How hard could that be? Never will I estimate if something is easy or hard again.

I contact a Vice President of the bank that holds the loan for our home. It just so happens that we also have some personal accounts at this bank as well and we have spoken by phone before. So I explain our situation, send her the sample letter our placing agency required, gave her our loan number so she could verify our loan. Explain that the wording "we" "owner" "home address" needs to be included in the letter. That a copy of the title or mortage statement will not do. This is all stated in the directions of the sample letter I've sent her. I also mention that we are needing this letter in 3 weeks time as we are traveling to the east coast then. She tells me, "This should be no problem, I'll get back to you in a couple of days and we should have this for you." "Great," I say. Done. or so I think.

A few days later, she calls and gives me an update. The bank wants to know what the letter is for "exactly" as they are feeling a little unsure of using the word "we" and "owners" of our property because of the fact the bank has the first loan on the house and thus we don't technically own it outright. "Yes" I understand this hesitation. I explain again that since it is coming from our mortgage company it is assumed that we have a loan on the property, however we are on title as the owners, our property taxes are being addressed to us and not the bank and it is just a necessary requirement for an adoption in Russia. Different country, different rules, translation issues, etc.

So she agrees to relay this explanation and to see what they can come up with. A week later I receive the letter. Unfortunately, it does not say anywhere that we are the owners of our home instead that we are the "borrowers" of a loan of our home. I fax it over to my placing agency to see if this is good enough. "No" is the reply. The wording "owners" is very important and will be understood in Russia. So a little desperately as I'm now down to 2 weeks, I send an email to the person who wrote the letter. A very emotional and personal email about our situation, about all that we have gone through to get this far and how this one little letter will hold up our dossier and make it so we can't move forward to bring our little girl home. She calls within minutes and says, "Do not worry, we will do the letter again and send it to you." This was 2 weeks ago today. I emailed last Friday, to inquire about the status and remind her we are traveling next week and need to bring that document with us. No reply. I left a message today. No word. I'm a little nervous and if I don't hear tomorrow I will politely inquire again with the same Vice-President I intially spoke with.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Run into a problem at getting an important document? I'm wondering what else I can do other than drive down to the bank and plead in person. Which I may just do anyway if I don't hear from her soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The MMPI-2 Personality Inventory

Last week I had my appt with a psychologist to take my MMPI-2 psych evaluation as required by some regions in Russia. I've never had an appt with a psychologist before. She was very nice and actually specializes in adoption issues in kids. She agreed to give hubby and I the test, score it and do the write up of the results and get it back to us in time to bring it with us next week for our dossier.

The actual test was something else. What an experience that turned out to be. Generally this test is used for those screening new applicants or anyone interested in measuring how a person copes with worry/stress/anger.

It is a scantron type test with 571 True or False questions. It took me 2 hours to complete the test. For the most part the questions were bizarre. The first question asked, true or false "I read Mechanics magazine". There were also several dark questions that asked if voices were talking to me, if I wanted to kill myself and then the very next question would be..true or false.. "I would like the work of a forest ranger." Or.."if you were an artist would you want to paint flowers?" Does your stomach hurt most of the time, does your throat hurt most of the time. Okay. It was so bizarre that I couldn't believe this was going to be helpful to anyone about whether I could parent a foreign born child or not. And what could someone write about that person based on how they answered. I guess if you anwered True to all of the... "do you want to hurt yourself or others?" or True to all of the "you are angry and upset with the world most of the time" that would be a red flag but what about the other 350 questions about random stuff like being an artist and painting flowers?

Next week we get to meet with the psychologist and go over her summary of each of our test results. I can't wait to see what in the world she writes.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I-600A application complete!

I called to check in with my homestudy agency. I hadn't received my "official" copy of our homestudy yet in the mail and wanted to check to make sure they had sent in our homestudy to the USCIS office and also to our placing agency. Yeah!! She did not forget and it was mailed on Sept 27th, 2007. I was so excited. It's funny how something so simple can make your heart flutter with absolute joy. Yeah! yeah! I'm hoping our application will be processed quickly so we can send in our dossier.

We are just a little over a week out before our big trip to the east coast. I'm so excited to meet with our placing agency. We have started our big list of questions. I can't wait to hear all that they have to say. I'm also a little nervous about what they will tell us, esp concerning the wait time. Hubby is finally picking up speed in becoming interested in the adoption issues. He has bought a few audio books to listen to in the car while he is commuting to and from work. We have had many interesting conversations this week about what he has been learning. I'm so glad he is taking this initiative. And what good timing too, before our visit with our placing agency!
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