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A GREAT Mail Day!

18 Jul

I was stuck here all day waiting for Fed Ex to bring my bank cards (bank made a mistake and canceled my existing ones). Otherwise I would have been over at BFFs house when the mail came.

I was just laying down for a nap (this week has been really tiring!) when I heard the mail truck. I argued for a minute with myself about whether or not I should get up and check it but I told myself, “no, it’s too soon.” Well I finally did decide to check and lo and behold, the certification had arrived!

The date on the certification is 7 days after the court would have received the application. The agency received it within 7 more days. The agency notified us today, just 2.5 weeks after the initial mailing date of the application to the court. That’s crazy fast! Rather, it’s God fast! He’s the only explanation for why things have moved so quickly and smoothly, and we give Him all the glory!

The other good news that came in earlier today is that I can go in for my Sono-Mock on day 1 of the next cycle! Once all that’s done, we’ll be able to do the transfer as soon as the embryos are here!

The next steps take a bit longer than I thought. We wait for our HS to be sent from CFCA to Nightlight. Then, if Nightlight has all of our documents and all of S and Bs documents, then they can issue contracts. If not, we wait for those first. We don’t think there will be any delay here because both families have been pretty diligent about submitting everything.

After the contracts are signed, S&B’s lab work can be sent to our clinic. Our doctor would then review it and decide if their blood work met our state’s standards (every state is different and they’re in another state so they would have been processed according to CA standards), as well as the clinic’s standards (clinics can be funny about using embryos they didn’t “create.”) If that all passes muster, then Nightlight can send the Embryology Report to our clinic. Again, the doctor here has to review it all to see if everything meets the right standards, and if they’ll accept them for transfer. Once THAT happens, then Nightlight can arrange for Fed Ex to move the Embryos. If there’s something “wrong” then something else may need to be done on the GP’s end but we won’t know that til our doctor reviews everything, nor would they know to expect it either.

So the part with the doctor is what could take longer. Megan (Nightlight) said that more blood work or reports are needed about 50% of the time. She said doctors can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks to review the reports and make their determinations. Coordinating with Fed Ex takes a week, too.

The contract stage just takes as long as it takes everyone to sign and have everything notarized and mailed back. The transfer of information between clinics and getting the “all clear” can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months. We don’t really know since we barely know this doctor. Megan said the average is 6-8 weeks from start to finish. Fed Ex takes a week (though I can’t remember if that’s included in the 6-8 or not).

Then we could do a transfer the next cycle after all that is done. So it seems like October-ish might be optimistic, but we also know how quickly God has orchestrated everything else, so we are confident that everything will continue to happen in the perfect time!

Thanks for celebrating with us!

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Tests

1 Jul

7 vials of Blood Later, my part in most of the tests is done. It’s nice to have something else to check off the list! For a major needle-phobe like me, 7 vials is a big deal 😀

Today has just been spent tending to various details. I’m printing pictures the genetic family wants to see and making sure the profile match letter is the exact-no-turning-back-now-because-we’re-going-to-give-it-to-them way we want it.

I’m excited for tomorrow. I don’t think we expect to walk away with an answer tomorrow (though it would be cool!) but I do hope that we have at least as strong of an inclination as to know whether or not we should continue seriously pursuing this or not. We’d love for you to join us in prayer for this meeting!

Oh, another piece of happy news is that our caseworker called and said our homestudy report went postal today! I hope hope hope the court processes it quickly. She said she sent one in a few weeks ago and it’s already been accepted so at least a few weeks ago, the calendar was moving along fast. I hope the same is true now!

I’m off to nap. I have a feeling I won’t sleep a wink tonight in anticipation of tomorrow so I’m going to sleep while I can get it!

I’ll try to update tomorrow night!

Homestudy Update

13 Jun

Beware-there are two very long posts below them! After a time-imposed blogging drought, I had a lot to say 🙂

But here is the update on the Homestudy Visit.

The visit went very well. We went to bed relatively early last night and took a leisurely pace this morning. Our home has never been this clean! She came and took a surprisingly fast tour and then we sat in the living room answering a few outstanding questions she had and going through Nightlight’s required questions. Everything went flawlessly (so far as we know).

What happens now is that our social worker will write up her report (20 pages!) and send it along with our references, medical information, fingerprints, etc, off to the court. She said she expects to have it ready to send off by the end of this month. Then the court takes 3-6 weeks to review everything, and, Lord willing, accept it and certify us. Once we’re certified, our social worker here sends it to Nightlight. Then we’re considered eligible by Nightlight for a match and we wait. If the potential match on the table is a go, we could proceed at that point (provided everything was already agreed upon and such). If that match is not a go, we would enter their regular match process and wait for a family whose desires are similar to our own.

So that’s it! We’ve done all we can do and now we just wait! It feels really good to be done!

My friend Henrietta from Sweden arrives in the morning (and it’s already really late) so I have to scoot in order to be up early enough to pick her up at the airport. I’m really excited about her visit!

If you couldn’t see the John Piper video, here is the link to it on youtube. I hope it works for you!

Hope you all are well!

TGI Friday

16 May

This is such a busy month for us! I find myself with a few free hours today and wanting to do nothing but rest!

C’s son’s wedding rehearsal was last night. I “ran” much of the rehearsal dinner for C which was a blast but between all of the errands and relocating 3 times due to weather, I’m plum exhausted. The wedding is tonight and I am setting up the centerpieces but am hoping that I can pass off cleaning them up to the woman who wants to reuse them tomorrow because I’m so tired-I don’t know that I can make it to the end of the reception!

A very close friend from college was in town this week and we had dessert with him. He’s another one in my “good for soul” category. We’ll see him again next month and the only thing that would make it better was if his wife could fit in his suitcase and come along too–sadly, I don’t think his employer would appreciate that. (Priorities, people!)

I’m a little run down. We got back from Jon’s wedding and I immediately jumped in to Cs son’s rehearsal details. That’s all done as of tonight. We have a week to work on the house (still not done with all our homestudy goals) and then next Saturday we leave for another wedding in Michigan. Then we get back and SIL will be here before we are and we get to spend the week with her, which we’re very excited about. In that time we also have another homestudy meeting, and an important meeting (more on that in a minute) and then the visit to the house here. So it’s a busy time and I’m pooped! We’ll have a short visit with my friend H from Sweden. Sometime this summer, we want to take a trip to Hawaii with our free airline tickets. We’re sort of waiting for our HS to be done and then we’ll go “celebrate” but we’ll see. Since the tickets are free, we’re at their mercy as to when there are two free seats available and it’s not like anyone else on the planet likes to vacation in the summer time 😉

On the Embryo Adoption front…I think I can share a little news that I hinted at earlier in the month. I asked for prayers for wisdom regarding a decision that we have to make. At the end of April, we were approached by a couple we’ve interacted with in my Christian IF community, who asked us to pray about adopting their embryos. Over the last several weeks, we’ve done a lot of praying and sought out a lot of counsel from people who have adopted under various circumstances (domestic, international, closed, open, traditional, embryo, etc), as well as a lot of soul searching (having to put our desires for a match down on paper for the first time was a bit overwhelming!–to our happy surprise, they didn’t run screaming!) and we’ve done a lot of talking with them. None of us have made any decisions yet, other than that after many emails, we’re still interested in each other and would like to continue to learn more. It looks like we’re going to meet up with them in a couple of weeks and I think after that, we’ll both have a better idea of how/if we want to proceed. We do know that if we do proceed, we will still go through Nightlight. We would just enter in with them “prematched” instead of their workers doing the initial match.

So, we’ll see. It’s big news, to be sure, and I don’t at all mean to sound underexcited. We’re just trying to proceed cautiously and guard our hearts. I know my heart and I know if I commit to these children now, before it’s prudent to do so, I’ll be done, hook, line and sinker and retreating at that point would be devastating. We all 4 obviously want what’s best for these children so I think all 4 of us are being pretty level headed about proceeding with both appropriate enthusiasm and caution. None of us wants to jump in carelessly, but we don’t want to let the fear of the unknown dictate us, either. So we’re all 4 proceeding as prayerfully and responsibly as we can, knowing that God has the perfect match out there for both our families and just waiting for Him to reveal to us whether its each other or not.

One thing I really have appreciated though, even if our conversations ended today, has been the opportunity to get to know the hearts of some genetic parents and really try to understand what’s going on in their heats and minds. I have so much respect for this couple–they are working painstakingly hard to do what is best and right for these children. One thing is for sure-these kiddos are going to end up with amazing parents because so much care is being taken in selecting them.

I also appreciate the learning process it’s been for us. We’ve had to think about what our non-negotiables are, what things we can really give up, and what things we hadn’t even thought about before. The process has solidified our thinking in some areas, relaxed it in others, and still in others, expanded it. We’ve learned so much in talking to them, to other adoptive families and to our amazing caseworker at Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency.

I don’t feel terribly comfortable sharing specifics about the family or the embryos, because they’re not our children (even if they will be, they’re not yet), so by answering, we’d be sharing someone else’s family privacy. I’ll share more if and when it becomes appropriate to do so but please forgive me for not taking those kind of questions at this time. If you have questions about us, fire away! 🙂

On the homestudy and adoption education front, things are ok. We’re halfway through, which was a nice milestone. We’re on the downward portion of the hill. The entire process has been sort of a let down. I feel like we paid the agency quite a bit of money and have learned remarkably little. We were told by someone (I can’t remember who and in the agency’s defense, it may not have even been them) that the home study is 70% education, 30% interrogation. We’ve found that nothing could be farther from the truth. We spend the HS visits talking about things we already know about ourselves, and the classes do little more than push the agency’s agenda for one very specific kind of relationship with the biological parents. I understand it’s necessary for them to interrogate us because they have to be wise and responsible when they write their report about us, but I guess I expected us to get something out of it too, and I don’t really feel like we are. The classes are taught by a different person every week, which makes having a fluid dynamic hard. This last class was a huge repeat of stuff another teacher had already covered. We are enjoying getting to know the other couples but in a few cases, the teacher has put a quash on any social interactions with the other parents, even in non-instructional time. And no matter how many different ways they try to push this specific openness scenario on us, at the end of the day we are responsible for and accountable to God and our kids for the decisions about that dynamic and I really would like to be well-informed from an objective stand point. Questions are worded “What are the benefits of this kind of relationship?” rather than, “Are there benefits to this kind of relationship? What are they? What are some of the disadvantages?” “Studies” and “experts” are referenced, with little specifics given as to who or what those sources actually are.

I guess I always resist “one size fits all” approaches in any non-doctrinal area of Christendom–worship, evangelism, church style, leadership, marriage, parenting, discipline, etc. We may ultimately end up at the same place the agency advocates (though I doubt it) but I want it to be because we’ve prayerfully considered and logically researched all angles–not just the singular view they present.

Maybe my expectations of the process were wrong. I’d be interested to hear from other adoptive parents about what their HS process involved/involves. I was really wanting to learn constructive, concrete things, like age appropriate language for adoption, ways to introduce it, how to celebrate while not communicating that the child is “different” or an outsider, how to educate family and friends. So far we’ve received a lot of lecture on why open adoption with direct relationship between kids and biological parents is the only way to do things 100% of the time. At the end of the day, I just don’t think it’s the Agency’s place to make that decision for us.

Fortunately, Nightlight (seriously, I love them!) has been much more “neutral” and has helped balance the equation for us, as have other adoptive families. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely believe in full disclosure about adoption and about the special way in which the child will have come to join our family, and we want enough of an open relationship to know who the genetic parents are, what their cultural and medical history is, and how to put the child in contact with them at age 18 if the child so chooses, but beyond that I think there is a lot of gray area that’s going to vary from family to family, based on family dynamics, child(ren)’s temperament and mental capacity, and other family factors that just aren’t universal.

So anyway, didn’t mean to get off on a tangent! I’d love to hear what the HS and adoption education process has been like for other families. Maybe I just came in expecting the wrong thing and that’s ok. In the mean time, we’re supplementing with readings and counsel from other sources to fill in some of the gaps. We’re confident that God will lead us to the right decision for our family and certainly the HS and Adoption education have given us some things to consider and factor in, and I’m confident that they’re sincere in their efforts to do what they think is right and honoring to God and the children involved, but I guess I just feel less equipped than I expected to be at this stage in the game. Maybe that’s my fearful nature kicking in too, who knows.

Gotta run. I’ve been operating in slow motion all day (still feel like a truck ran over me last night!) but I’ve got to get to doing something! Hope you all are well. I’ll try to make blog rounds this weekend!

Phew! Where to begin?

5 May

Wow, I have so much to write about! Not even sure where to start.

I guess the thing that happened first since my last post is that we attended our second adoption class. We’re excited with how they are going. The group is larger than usual, but is very dynamic and we have a lot of fun while learning a lot. I actually look forward to class.

We had our first homestudy visit. In it we scheduled all our remaining visits. If all goes as planned, the caseworker’s visit to the house will be June 12th and that is the last visit. Assuming we have all our meetings and none are canceled or postponed, she expects to send in her report by the end of June. The sometime in July or August, we should be certified and then we can begin waiting for a match! That’s so soon!

I’m starting to work on our family profile for the match book–scary but fun and exciting, too!

Last week was a whirlwind. We came home from adoption class Tuesday night and left very early Wednesday morning for Michigan to attend the Med school graduation and wedding of DH’s best friend from high school (who was also our best man 5 years ago). It was a wonderful trip, which included a reunion with a friend who is a missionary in Germany, but every ounce of every day was full, between the bachelor party, the graduation, graduation party, wedding rehearsal, wedding, reception and as many extra moments of free time we could spend with the happy couple.

The wedding was Friday night. I’ve seriously never seen my husband cut a rug the way he did that night. I think I’m a combination of astonished, amused, tickled pink and frightened. He was the talk of the party that night and he continued to party throughout the next day.

On Saturday we were able to take a day trip (the couple was “busy” –gee, wonder why 😉 ). I emailed our friends and gave them a list of cities I had heard were fun and to my surprise (and delight) they picked Holland, which is where DH and I vacationed last year. It was so nice to be there again. We went back to Windmill Island and froze our patoots off. It was too cold to wait in the line for the windmill tour, which I think they would have enjoyed, but the Island itself was fun and we had Dutch food for lunch. We stopped by the local Wa.lmart for some warmer clothes (we were FROZEN!) and much to our chagrin, Michiganders apparently think 40 degrees with high winds off the water and rain is summer weather because all we found were tank tops, bathing suits, capris and sun dresses. We did find a little cart with clearance hats, a few pair of mittens and some umbrellas. I found ONE long sleeved shirt on the clearance rack for me, and ONE for DH. I don’t know how people live out there without becoming Eskimos. Seriously, Sara, clue me in!!!

Anyway, we went to the Veldeer Tulip Gardens again, which is quite possibly one of my top 5 favorite places to go. 6 million tulips are all planted in a dazzling display of God’s beautiful handiwork in color, variety and texture. Plus inside they have a Delftware factory and make wooden shoes, which is fun too. We had a TON of fun! The boys were bored to tears with the flowers and suddenly relapsed in to their dancing ways of the night before and treated onlookers in the garden to a spontaneous comedy routine, leaving us all in stitches. The rain and cold kept us away from some of the other places we wanted to share with them but I definitely think we got to see the two best attractions there. We saw a movie that night (Ma.de of Ho.nor–not recommended!) and hit the jacuzzi before collapsing in to bed.

We snuck in one more breakfast and lunch with the bride and groom today (they don’t leave on their honeymoon for 2 more weeks-don’t worry!) and then it was off to the airport.

In an amusing set of events, the Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano (not-so-affectionately known as J-No, so dubbed for her extensive abuse of gubernatorial veto power) got on our plane in Chicago and flew home. Much as I was tempted to “accidentally” spill something on her, sit behind her and “accidentally” kick her chair 50 times, or sit next to her and hold her attention captive while I told her what a crummy job I think she does as Governor, I resisted (much to my friends’ relief). She did get like half a brownie point for flying Sou.th.west instead of some swanky airline in first class, but that was quickly lost as I wondered what she might be doing in Illinois, considering she’s the governor of Arizona. Given that she was surrounded by staffers (though not body guards/security detail), I doubt it was a personal trip, and given my knowledge of how enthusiastically she supports a certain Presidential Candidate whose home state happens to be Illinois, I can wager a pretty good guess about what she was doing there, which annoys me but (my tax dollars are not paying her to spend her time gallivanting around the country campaigning for someone else’s job!!) but like I said, I WAS mildly impressed that she flew cattle car airlines like all the rest of us “little people.”

We’re home now, and exhausted from the combination of activity and the confusion of jet lag and multiple time zones. But it was a wonderful trip! I’ll sign off with some pictures, all from Holland.