Saturday, January 27, 2007

11 months and Still Waiting...

Today was our 11th month being LID. Sadly, we're still waiting but yet still very excited about our future with Lexi. We were supposed to have our homestudy visit today for the update but we got a call Thursday night telling us that our social worker wouldn't be able to make it and that we are being reassigned to another worker. She called Geoff yesterday and told him to mail all of the update paperwork and then she would set up an appointment with us. The woman we used last time had told us to get the paperwork together and have it when she got her today. I guess this is just differences in their preferences. We have everything done, including Muffin's vet update much to her dismay, and Geoff is going to mail it off on Monday. Hopefully, she will be able schedule us in pretty soon.

I have to admit, today was a tough day. I'm disappointed that our homestudy was postponed and maybe I'm just "pms'ing" a bit. I don't think until I gave up and cried today did I realize that I was disappointed that the social worker wasnt' coming today and that we are still waiting to go to China. I can deal with it and I will but I guess it is okay to admit that waiting is hard. Very hard. I am hopeful though and am thankful that we have reached the 11 month milestone. Our agency is still saying that the wait is around 16 months. We're getting there albeit slowly but yet getting there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Busy Day Paperchasing!

Today was the perfect day to take off of work. They are replacing 19 of the computers in the lab and were installing them today. I figured I'd take off and get as much done as possible on the paperwork for the homestudy update. I began the day with the vet. This was somewhat successful but Muffin messed it up for me. I was taking her to the car and she went nuts! Patches was already in the car more than excited to be taking a trip but Muffin would have nothing to do with it and after an intense struggle... Muffin won. She took off and ran straight for the woods. Needless to say, only Smokey and Patches went to the vet. (Sable already is up to date on her shots.)

I came home and began the rest of the paper chase. I went to a doctor's appt., got the bloodwork done and scheduled Geoff an appointment for Wednesday morning. Then I met Geoff at the police department to get an updated background check. After that I headed over to DFACS to get that paperwork started and headed back to the vet's office to pick up the animals. When I got there I was waiting when I heard a dog barking and suddenly recognized that it was Patches. Every two minutes or so she would bark that "where is my Mommy", "why did she leave me here" and "is she ever coming back" bark. When it was finally my turn, I asked them if they were ready for the "barker" to leave. Then the guy told me that Smokey had pitched a fit too and that they would need two people to get him out of his cage. Apparently, he wasn't too fond of the shots and tried to leave. He ended up with the door to the cage slammed on his head as he tried to bolt and bit his tongue. Poor fellow. He also had tape worms from drinking ditch water. I was amazed that he didn't make a beeline for the woods like Muffin did when I let him out of his kennel. I can't believe the only pet that behaved today was Sable! This is probably only because she didn't have to leave the house. Daddy is taking Muffin on Thursday. Believe me... she WILL be in here kennel before I leave for work.

So to finish the homestudy update we only need Geoff to go to his appt., get Muffin to the vet and make sure the DFACS lady faxes the necessary information to our homestudy agency. Then on Saturday, we have our home visit. I guess we'll have to get our fingerprints done in Atlanta too.

I spent all day running all over town and back and forth two towns over going to the vet. At least we are getting somewhere. I can't wait to get it all behind us! Look at the counter, we're getting oh so close to being 11 months LID!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Wahoo! Finally I have made some progress! I'm taking off of work on Monday to spend the day collecting papers. I have my doctor's appointment in the PM. I have vet appointments for Patches, Smokey, and Muffin and have been told that I will have the vet letter in my hand when I pick them up. I also plan to get the police letter that day too. Maybe I'll go to the DFACS office too and refuse to leave until I get to speak to the lady who can do our paperwork there. I've called her two days in a row now and left messages. Why is it so hard to get things from them?? They were a major hold up on our original homestudy and the reason we never became foster parents locally with the intent to adopt. And to think people wonder why Americans adopt internationally. Hopefully, we'll have everything we need to give to our social worker on the 26th.
I also got a call today from my advisor. Finally some good news! I so scared that he was going to take my latest draft and shredd it. I had to do some major revisions over the holidays and at the last minute I made some very big changes that will ultimately make it easier for me to do the study. I just knew that he would disagree and have me make it harder. Honestly, I don't think I'm finally getting somewhere because I am getting smarter at it... I think I'm learning to play the game. I'll be sending the minor changes to him by Saturday or Sunday and then my draft will finally make it's way to my program professor! What a milestone!! (Of course with this "high" is a low to follow... he's already prepared me that the program professor will have his version of changes for me to make. That's just how it works. I guess I'm getting good at jumping through hoops!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm sitting here trying to get warm and pretending that I have a fire burning. Yes.. pretending. It's easy with the new Wood Wick Candles. I just love them. I've got two by my fireplace and they crackle more than those fake burning logs do. The temperature is dropping outside and is supposed to get really cold tonight. I know, it's January but come on... just last Saturday it was 80 degrees outside. We really don't get much cold weather here and when we do you can count on it only lasting 2 days at the max.

I've been in blog la-la land. Actually I've been busy doing stuff around the house getting ready for the upcoming social worker's visit and paper chasing for the homestudy update. This part isn't nearly as painful as the first time but still nerve racking for me. I worked on some of the paperwork last night during American Idol... so I completely tuned out the whole show and therefore, had NO CLUE what everyone was talking about today. I have to say though that somehow the new year has brought about a new hope in me... a new anticipation... the feeling that we're on the edge of a new beginning. It feels good. Really, really good.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Guess What??

We have good news to ...

Here's a hint...

YES!! Sara is pregnant. She's already in her 2nd trimester and is due in July. I can't wait to be a Grandma AND a new Mother. Finally, Sara will be a mom and will get that baby sister that she has always wanted at the same time.

I couldn't be more happy! Now what will it be??? A Boy? or A Girl? Geoff keeps telling Sara that she can only have a girl because Lexi will only be allowed to play with girls! :) This truly is turning out to be a very good year!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Interesting Article

I ran across this article today on the Internet. Thought I'd share it. It's long but interesting.

Foreign Adoptions in U.S. Drop in 2006
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer
Sat Jan 6, 2:06 PM ET

NEW YORK - After tripling over the past 15 years, the number of foreign children adopted by Americans dropped sharply in 2006, the result of multiple factors which have jolted adoption advocates and prompted many would-be adoptive parents to reconsider their options.

The consequences could be profound for the ever-growing numbers of Americans interested in adopting abroad. Already, some have had their hopes quashed by tightened eligibility rules in China; adoptions from Africa, where millions of children have been orphaned by AIDS and wars, could increase if those from China and Eastern Europe continue to decrease.

Declines were recorded last year in nearly all countries that recently have been the top sources of adopted children — China, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine among them. Increases from less familiar alternatives — Ethiopia, Liberia, Haiti and Vietnam — partly offset the drop, but some experts believe the era of constantly surging foreign adoption has ended.

"The huge growth rates you saw in the '90s — I think that's over," said Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services.

He urged Americans considering international adoption to "reassess any preconceived notions they have ... and get educated on the myriad options that are available."

Overall, according to new State Department figures, international adoptions by Americans dropped to 20,679 in the 2006 fiscal year from 22,728 in 2005 — the first significant decline since 1992.

Adoptions from China, the No. 1 source of children since 2000, fell 18 percent, from 7,906 to 6,493, while adoptions from Russia, the No. 2 source for the previous six years, dropped about 20 percent to a 10-year low of 3,706. Both are among many nations trying to reform their child welfare systems and increase domestic adoptions.

In some cases, reform campaigns are coupled with skepticism toward foreign adoption, including concern about occasional cases of abuse. Romania has banned adoptions by foreigners, except for relatives; Ukraine and Kazakhstan insist that foreign parents submit regular reports on their adopted children.

Thomas Atwood, president of the National Council for Adoption, said the drop in foreign adoptions is both understandable and worrisome.

"There's always been the issue of national pride, where the country of origin wants to take care of their children themselves," he said. "But there are so many orphans that an increase in domestic adoptions shouldn't result in a decrease of international adoptions. We urge these countries to be enthusiastic toward both."

Atwood sees potential for increased U.S. adoptions from Brazil, Mexico and India. He also says more African governments should be urged to overcome their traditional wariness of international adoption.

For many would-be adoptive parents in the United States, however, China is by far the country of choice. Its government-run adoption system is considered honest and efficient, and its orphanage population — mostly abandoned baby girls — is considered healthier on average than those in many other countries.

Now there is widespread concern over last year's drop in adoptions and China's recent announcement of new rules, to take effect May 1, regarding who can adopt. They give priority to stable married couples between 30 and 50. Single people, and those suffering from obesity or depression, will lose out.

Among those dismayed by the rules is Ann Freeman, 42, a travel agent from West Valley City, Utah, whose longtime dream of adopting a Chinese child has been dashed by the new curb on single parents.

"I'm heartbroken," she said. "This child would have been the world to me."

Her preparations included learning Chinese and studying child psychology. She eventually may consider adopting from elsewhere in the Far East, but worries that other countries' programs aren't as reliable as China's.

The same new rule against single parents would have prevented Anna Spitz, a University of Arizona research coordinator, from adopting her two thriving Chinese daughters — Rachel, 14, and Sarah, 9.

Spitz credited Chinese authorities with seeking the best homes possible for orphaned children, but finds the new rule "a little insulting."

"I recognize it's nice to have two-parent families," she said. "But it makes me sad that a lot of single parents who'd create great families won't be able to adopt now."

Chinese officials say the new rules will shorten the waiting time — now around 15 months — for well-qualified couples. China also wants more children with disabilities to be adopted overseas; criteria for people willing to adopt special-needs children is slightly more lax than for other adoptions.

The number of orphans and abandoned babies in China remains substantial, though authorities say it is dwindling. About 51,000 were adopted in 2005, according to the government — 13,000 by foreign families, the rest in China.

Professor Li Luxin, deputy secretary general of the China Association for Juvenile Studies, said domestic adoptions will surely increase.

"More families are well-off," he said. "They own apartments and cars and it is a way for them to repay society by adopting an orphan."

The president of one of America's largest China-oriented adoption agencies, Joshua Zhong of Colorado-based Chinese Children Adoption International, said China's new restrictions were in line with those of many other countries, and he predicted China would remain the top choice for Americans seeking to adopt.

However, he hopes democratic reforms will occur in China that shrink the pool of abandoned children.

"I'm praying to be out of a job as soon as possible," said Zhong, a one-time child member of the Red Guard who came to the United States in 1986. "I want to see a China where no one will be abandoned."

The only major country of origin to increase U.S. adoptions in 2006 was Guatemala; with 4,135 adoptions. It overtook Russia in the No. 2 spot.

However, that status is expected to change later this year when the United States ratifies the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, a pact setting tough standards which Guatemala's corruption-prone adoption system doesn't meet. Adoptions may be suspended while Guatemala tries to make required changes; some experts doubt the number will ever return to last year's level.

Some advocates worry that the Hague treaty, though well-intentioned, might not succeed in encouraging more international adoptions.

"We sincerely hope that all the good work that's being done isn't going to result in fewer adoptions," said Lee Allen, a spokesman for the National Council for Adoption. "Every time adoptions slow down in these countries, it means less opportunities for kids to have a home in America. It's not just numbers — it's a tragedy."

Associated Press writer Audra Ang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Homestudy Update Time

We have officially begun the homestudy update process. Last night we heard from our HS agency. In Ga. the homestudy is only good for one year. Ours expired late last October. (Opps! We didn't know!) However, weird as it is... our fingerprints are good until early March and our I-797 is good until September. The good news is that right now, we just have concern ourselves with the HS and fingerprint updates. The HS lady told me that she hoped we would travel by September. Whew!! Here I was asking her if she thought we would have to update our HS now and one other time. (I mean, come on the rumor mill .... which includes the Rumor Queen... has the process getting longer and longer with no hope of relief in sight!) I, however, believe that things will speed up even just a little bit. She said that we could file for a new I-797 approval later IF needed.

So even though we have had good news that does not mean that I am NOT stressing over another social worker visit. The SW called today and we have an appointment on the 27th. This should give us time to get new medicals, new local fingerprints, and YES... another visit to our local DFACS for a child abuse clearance form (anyone remember THAT hassle??) and maybe a few other minor things. The packet of what all we have to do is in the mail. STRESS... can you say "YES!" I can't help myself. I've already cleaned out the Entertainment Center in the living room, the hallway closet, taken down the Christmas decorations, the cabinets under the sink in our bathroom and the bathroom closet. YES, it's only been 24 hours since I talked to her. I know without a doubt that she could care less how much junk is stored in my cabinets but you can rest assured that every.single.inch.of.our.home. WILL BE CLEANED by the 27th. I just can't help myself. And I don't think I'm alone. Today I came home and Geoff was vaccuming the house. It's tax season people! Help around the house during tax season is unheard of!! Plus, he didn't even flinch when I gave him a trash bag and told him to clean from under his part of the bathroom sink.

Tomorrow we are working on the garage. I will not be putting things in the attic as I have been barred from going near the attic since I fell through the ceiling (remember the post from last January???). At least we will have some help passing the long month of January. January has always seemed long. As a teacher, we always get paid the last day before Christmas holidays and then don't get another pay check until the last workday of January. Somehow I don't think a long wait between paydays will be a concern this year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 is here!

We're home today from our trip to visit Geoff's family. The holidays are officially over tonight. I have to go back to work tomorrow. I wish I had a few more days so that I could get some things done around the house but oh well. Such is life.
I just know that 2007 is going to be our year!