The social worker came for her final visit, yes we were surprised too, only two visits.  She asked us a few more questions like do we know what’s left on our packet before consideration for placement?, Can we talk about discipline strategies?  She also asked us about training.  Ok, so for international adoptions, as in domestic ones, we must complete a web-based training on things like, adopting an older child (even if you are not), attachment issues, and obvious differences in families that may call attention from people and prompt them to ask really stupid questions like, How much did your child cost? Why don’t you get an american kid instead? and my favorite Where his/her real parents on drugs/alcoholics? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS? people actually are that stupid to ask questions that insensitive that it prompts a ridiculously long 2 hour training session on how to respond.  I tell you what if, just if, I haven’t punched you in the face for not only being so stupid and insensitive but for actually voicing your stupid comments in my direction.  My answer to that would be, Who lets you out every morning and how is this any of your business? End of training.  Anyway back to the training; the cost for the international adoption training is about 150$ and it takes about an hour or 2 to complete each section (there are 5) and once you are done you must take a test on the information.  Word of advice, do not try to skip or fast towards the end, they know.  We got two of them back to redo because we spent too little time on it.  They also read each and every one of your answers, oh right, it is NOT multiple choice questions.  There are only five questions per test per session but they require you to answer in very thought out sentences.  Lets just say the box allows 1500 words per answer.  I was lucky to do 300 at most.  Not because I didn’t know what to answer but I thought my 300 words covered it. Here is the link to the site:  Adoption Learning Partners

We are now done with the Baker Victory Agency, our agency in NY, at least until we have to do post placement visits with the social worker.  We have recently began filling out the information that our placement agency Villa Hope requires to start putting together our dossier (the book-like document that goes to Peru explaining who we are).  This is where most of the eye and mouth opening chunk of loot is dropped.  This application goes with 6000$ yikes!!  But it is bringing us closer to bringing home Peru child and that is priceless.

A lot of things have happened since the last post.  Being a military family is never boring, never a dull moment here I can tell you that.  The last week of January the base told us that they  have a house for us and we should be ready to move. Our current house was up for renovation. We were excited because it is a nicer house but worried because it is winter in NY.  Since the movers were going to do everything we went ahead with the move.  The week of our move however a winter snowstorm hit us dropping over 6 inches of snow and another 2 of ice.  If anyone has been watching the weather on the east coast that was the first of 4 snowstorms within 2.5 weeks.  All of those storms, with the most recent one being today, have dropped over 30 inches of snow and have created a mess from school closings to mail deliveries.  Anyhow while we were distracted with the snow and the move things with the adoption shifted into third gear.

Last week on Monday the social worker assigned to us called us and made an appointment to meet us at our home.  After we scrambled with calendars and schedules we set a wednesday appointment.  We were so excited about going through the next step in all this we didn’t realized that we HAD JUST moved and we had boxes upon boxes to open and pictures to hang and furniture to rearrange.  In all our 9 moves we had not set up a house as fast as we did that time!  We were going to be ready for the social worker.

Her name is Pamela and she was so nice.  She came to our home and asked us questions…..lots and lots of questions, ranging from how were we as children and teens, to how healthy are our parents.  I am going to list the questions I remember in case it may help anyone be more prepared or at least less nervous.

  1. Describe yourself; hobbies, activities that interest you, strengths, weaknesses.
  2. Now describe each other.  (to include my 14 year old son)
  3. Tell me how you were as a child and as a teenager, your up-bringing, your family life.
  4. Tell me about your parents; their jobs, their backgrounds.
  5. Your health, any arrests, convictions, drug abuse, domestic problems etc.

She also took a tour of the house to make sure we had fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, basically alarms for anything that may kill us.  All in all she was at our house for 1.5 hours and she told us that she had to make one more visit and she was done.  We were shocked to learn that all that is required was 2 visits.  The social worker also has her own fees.  For the 2 visits she charged us $700.  I have no frame of reference but as much as we have been paying for all this it didn’t seem too bad.  Her next visit is next tuesday and fingers crossed we pass with flying colors and she goes back to write a nice report  on us.

This week we also received the formal application from our placement agency in AL.  This one has a lot of notarized papers and must go back with a hefty check of $6,000.  Things are moving along nicely.  We are so excited!  Hopefully things continue to run as smoothly as they seem to be now.

It takes a village to adopt…….. a village of professionals that is!  I feel like I need to have a notary public on retainer….and maybe a lawyer, and a social worker and perhaps a psychologist….we could maybe throw in a massage therapist in there.  So last friday we finally received the paperwork for background/child abuse checks of 7 states, yup you heard right 7 states.  We needed to fill out one form for each of us and some needed to be notarized some needed witnesses and a few needed money, of course.  Yeah that’s right Missouri you are a bit steep, I hope you work fast!  I have to say all of them came from the agency with an envelope already stamped for return and with most of the forms filled with our information.  Now I am not sure if all the agencies work this way but that ROCKED!!  It had directions and clear areas for signatures and best of all we send them all back to them and they send them out to the corresponding states.  That was fabulous because I wouldn’t be able to keep it all straight.  Yesterday we also received a receipt for the $850 we gave as an application fee.  I was very excited to see this and here’s why.  I feel like when you cash my check you are telling me that you are now committed to working for me and you are telling me that your agency is now contracted to complete a service needed for the process of adoption.  Most of all I loved seeing “for homestudy” on the receipt because this means the party has officially begun.  Cue the waterworks!!

For the initial application we had to name 3 people who could give the agency some character references.  Basically someone who can vouch for us being essentially decent people and in our case loving parents etc, etc.  Those letters have been sent this week by the 3 we chose but we have no idea what they have said.  I know these people will write great things about us but I am still a little nervous about it.  I feel like there is something the agency wants to hear that they may not have said, or there is some kind of standard they are looking for maybe.  Ugh I may just be over analyzing this whole thing.

Well things are moving steady again so I am ecstatic!  I feel like as long as there is something I need to do, fill out or send we are working to complete this and we are still in the agency’s radar and that makes me feels hopeful.

Things have slowed down to a crawl and that is very discouraging.  I know that it will take a while to run the background checks for all those states we have lived in but I feel like we have not heard from the agency for a little while and that makes me nervous.  I know we are not the only couple they are helping but I wish they would keep in touch and keep the communication going with how things are progressing.  That would definitely make a us feel like they haven’t forgotten about us.  We were fingerprinted for the state of NY on Monday so hopefully things can move a bit faster once that clears.  We have also started to talk about money.  How much we will need for this, how much we need to save, where are we going to move it from or borrow from and how much it sucks that there is, in fact, no money tree.  Sometimes I think that with so many children needing homes in this world it is a sin that someone is making SO much money simply matching us up.

We finally mailed the initial application to our placement agency (Villa Hope).  They will now start a file for us and they are just waiting to get our completed home study.  They will evaluate and start a dossier which they will send to Peru in hopes that they see us fit and match us up with potential children.  Oh my God just saying that made me giddy!  I can’t wait until we are in that stage.  Right now I can’t even see the tunnel……no I can’t even see the highway that takes you to the toll booth, that takes you to the tunnel with the proverbial light at the end.

I finally heard from the agency…….and I say finally but a) it hasn’t really been that long and b) I don’t really know how long it is suppose to take.  They told me they received our application but apparently I am a moron and some papers where not fully filled out.  OK they didn’t say that but that is certainly how I felt when she mentioned the little details that were missing.  The one thing that surprised me was that they needed my son’s vaccination records.  I guess they want to know that I am doing a good job with the one I already have:).

We are now waiting to get fingerprinted by the state of NY and medically cleared by our physician.  It’s unreal to me that this is only the initial application and I have already divulged more personal info than I care to mention.   I feel like I should be cleared to hear classified government secrets at this point.  I complain but the truth is, that if the agency asked me to send them a bathroom selfie, I would oblige.

The agency also told me that they have successfully entered our information for a NY background check.  I celebrated a little until she continued to say their in-house social worker will be contacting me about the process and fees for the other states we have lived in…..and then I cried.  Between us we have 9 other states they need to check.  Don’t you just love the Army.

Join the Army they said……….you will travel the world they said.

I am not sure how long it takes to get a background check, hopefully just as fast as getting your credit score check.  If so I will visit a car dealership in everyone of those states, those dealers pull your credit score even before you park your car.  No one said this will be easy, or fast, or inexpensive but oh boy is it worth it!