Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Babies, toddlers and pre-teens - OH MY!

So, we got a taste of parenting the other night. We have some close friends that have 5 kids - 5 great kids. Ages 10, 8, 6, 3, and 13 months (i think). 4 boys and the baby girl. I love these kids - I always tell Laura that if we could be gauranteed a kid as cute as any of these guys, I would be the first one on board to have a bio kid. Anyway, having that many kids means that you are ALWAYS dealing with some sort of virus, or injury, or massive all consuming school project, and for Scott and Angie, the last few weeks have been even worse. Sadie, the baby, had an infection in her foot and spent 5 days in the hospital, meanwhile the boys were dispersed among family. The oldest boy ended up getting sick during that time as well. So suffice to say that they were ragged by the end of the experience. So Laura and I wanted to give them a night to themselves. So, all five, and of course I think that the baby and the toddler count as two a piece.:) We went to thier house and spent the evening. It was SO MUCH FUN! WE played video games and rough housed and I felt like a kid again. Sadie, who usually won't have me near her, was following me around while Seth rode on my back. I even got her to go to sleep while I rocked her. I let Laura take care of the dirty diaper thing though. It was fun - and a lot easier then I thought it would be, of course it was just for a few hours, one night. And I slept like a baby that night. I didn't realize that I was so tired. They are great kids though. Getting ready for the full-time position.... -- Stephen

Home Study continues....

We have a social worker assigned to us - we have not heard from her yet, but it has only been a few days so I am not overly worried yet. Her name is Christi. Kathy told us she is very laid back and experienced, so that made me feel a little better. So far for the home study - we have : 1. my voe (verification of employment) 2. birth certificates and marriage license 3. We have chosen the people that will write our reference letters. WE are still waiting for those to come back -- get on it you guys -- you know who you are. :) 4. I have completed my Autobiography, Laura is still working on hers. 5. I am in process of pulling my financial records together, which is, well .... embarrassing. 6. We have completed our medical exams and on Thursday will have all the lab work back and all medical paperwork filled out. 7. Thursday we also have our appointment to be fingerprinted. This is not the main fingerprinting for the i-600A, this is the state required livescan fingerprinting. But in the immortal words of Willy Wonka "So much time so little to do - wait - strike that, reverse it". -- Stephen

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Home Study Begins!

I was going to post this last Friday, but decided to wait till today, since FedEx is dropping off the retainer and the check to Partners for Adoption today. We got all the money together, finally, and sent off a cashier's check. I waited until Friday so I could get the cashier's check. I did not want to have 2400.00 dollars sitting in my account waiting to have a check come through. I am so paranoid about that kind of thing. Any way, I was anxious this weekend about the whole thing, so I re-arranged the bedroom. Put the bed in a different spot, moved Laura's "wardrobe" over to the corner, and got rid of the dresser that I wasn't using anymore. We also got rid of the TV and DVD player that we had in the bedroom. Laura has been bugging me for awhile about not having a TV in the bedroom, so now she has her wish. I already miss it. I think that from the SW's perspective it is probably for the best. Who knows whether she would even care though. I also moved our "security camera". We have a small little radio shack camera that plugs into the back of our TV that I salvaged from an old office that worked at. For fun, I put the camera up by the front door which, if you have ever been to our house you would know, that that is stupidest place to have the camera. So I moved it around to the back so I could see the side of the house. We have a church next door to us with a big parking lot, and the kids are constantly harassing the dogs and making them bark, so now I will be able to see what is going on without having to get up every 20 seconds. I have been reading more about the HS process trying to figure out what we should do. We subscribe to Adoptive Families magazine, and they had a section this month where people wrote in about what they did to prepare. One stuck out -- "Deep clean the bathroom and kitchen, and clean the clutter. Make a meat and cheese dish, and relax." I think that I can do all that. Except the relax part. :) I know that we are making way more of this then we need to, it is just hard to shake the fact that this person will be judging whether we will make for fit parents. Everything we do or say, will work for or against that perception. I have grown up with the mentality that what other people think of me is unimportant. That makes it difficult for me to accept that with the stroke of a pen this person can make or break our adoption. I keep thinking, "what if they are having a bad day, or someone irritated them before they come to our house." I have finished my autobiography though. It is a bit on the negative side though, so I think I will be making some edits to it. As humans we tend to focus on the negatives sometimes. I think that it is good for the SW to know what Laura and I have been through on the negative side since I believe that has a greater impact on your thinking then the positives do. As I read and re-read the autobiography, with the mindset to remember more positives, a lot are coming to mind. With my past the way it was, it is difficult to see past some of the worst, and fish out the good things that happened. When I think of my daughter, and fast forward 10, 15, 20 years I hope that her good memories are easier to pick out then the bad ones. I wonder if she will remember being in an orphanage, if she will remember her bio mother, even if just on a strictly emotional level. I wonder if she will wish that she could have stayed in China. I wonder if I will support her enough , or if I will support her too much and not properly equip her for life. Will I be able to handle the challenges of explaining why she was abandoned, how we can love her just as much as anyone loves their bio child, how even though she doesn't look like us we are her family. In the autobiography, one of the questions was "How do you anticipate the addition of a child will affect your family?" For me that was the hardest question. I hate the way I answered it and I will be changing it, but I have been thinking about that question a lot. I really don't know. I have been thinking about what we will do about certain, specific things. Taking her to work with me, or out in service with Laura and I. Trying to come up with schedules to allow both of us to have some alone time. Will she sleep through the night? Probably not, so who will get up to take care of her. Changing diapers, that will be a new one for me. Seriously - never done that before. Not ever having even one minute where I do not think about where she is or what she is doing, and not seeing that as a bad thing. Having her fall asleep on my chest while I lay on the couch. Having her scream non-stop for an hour because I am too dense to figure out what she wants. Helping her learn Chinese, and having her help us learn Chinese. I think about being away from her, and how great it will be to come home and see her waiting for me. Staying up all night, worrying because she has a temp, or a sniffle, or a cough. So have I considered what our life will be like after the adoption, yes. I still don't know how to answer the question. I anticipate that the addition of a child will be the greatest thing to happen to Laura and I since we found each other. I think it will bring great joy and sorrow, and anxiety and happiness, and love to our house. I think that it will make me an adult and a child all at the same time. It will drive Laura and I apart and will bring us closer to each other then we have ever been. Everyone keeps telling me how my life will change with a baby, and everytime they tell me some "horror" story, I just keep thinking, "Yeah, but I will have this precious baby, so who cares". I think that really sums it up for me. I know that things will be hard sometimes, and sometimes they will be easy. I know that it will forever change our relationship, our free-time will no longer be free. We can't get up and decide to go for the weekend and leave out cares behind. We can't go to any movie we want, can't spend the day playing video games, or watching TV, just to unplug, or "take the day off". The loss of that type of freedom will kind of suck, but you know it doesn't matter, because I know that when I look at my baby for the first time none of that stuff will matter. I will have this precious life, that completely relies on me. I will have this person who will unconditionally love me, and that I will unconditionally love. Why wouldn't I give up my "free-time" for that. I think that is a small price to pay. -- Stephen

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Been a few days -- sorry

It has been awhile since I posted anything here. Here is a quick run down of the last couple of weeks. We were accepted by the Home Study provider and we are currently going through the retention contracts and still trying to pull the money together. I am confident that by the 16th when I get paid, we will have it all together. Such a headache though. Laura is back from her visiting her family in Minnesota and she was happy to see the changes to the house. It seems like it has become a tradition that whenever she leaves the house for a few days or more, I remodel. Gotta do something when your bored. :) We have been thinking a lot about a certain topic that is going to come up in the Home Study -- who will parent our child should something horrific happens to us. That is a hard quesiton to answer and for those of you who are reading this who were not offered the job, don't be offended. We thought for along time about what we wanted in an alternate parents and I feel like we made a good choice. I just hope they are up for it. It is a weird question to ask someone though. With those things in mind, I picked up a term life insurance policy to make sure that if I die, Laura and the baby will be taken care of, and if we both die, it will give our "alternates" a chance to raise her without the hardship that taking on another person brings. Still working on the autobioigraphy and finding it very difficult to focus on it. I am probably going to have to do a Starbucks sit in with my laptop this weekend and get it banged out. There is alot that happened in my breif existence on this planet and a lot of it is hard to put down in words. So hopefully in a few weeks we will be knee deep in the Home Study and getting all the dirt sucked out of our life for the world to see. :) --- Stephen