Monday, June 27, 2005

Quiet before the storm (of paperwork gathering)

We are in our second to last waiting period, sort of. We are still waiting for our 171-H, which is our approval from the US govt. to bring an adopted child into the US. We are hoping to get that this week. Courtney had her second physical and has now been tested for just about every communicable disease known to man (negative on all, of course!). Everything looks normal and healthy. :)

Mark has started playing vintage base ball, which is base ball played with the rules from the 1860's (and yes, it is "base ball", not "baseball"). You would think that with all of the sports he plays, he would want to have little boys, but he is hoping for girls. Courtney, on the other hand, would love to have some rambunctious boys running through the house. Of course, we will be happy with whatever gender our children are, and we grow more excited daily at the prospect of meeting them and bringing them home. Although it seems like the process takes a long time, we are all too aware that in a few short months we will be returning home from Ukraine. No, we don't have a travel date yet, but we are still anticipating traveling in December. Spending Christmas and New Year's in Ukraine would be a wonderful experience, and spending it together as a new family would be even better!

I mentioned that we are in our second-to-last waiting period. From here on out, we will have a flurry of activity as soon as we get out 171-H. We will be gathering paperwork and putting our dossier together to send to Ukraine. Once there, it will be translated and submitted to the NAC. After (hopefully) a short wait, we will be registered with the NAC and will then have the last waiting period, in which we are waiting to travel!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Good news for Ukraine

We're not sure yet if it's good news for us. ;) In an effort to redesign their adoption process and how orphans are registered and provided for by the government, Ukraine will be temporarily shutting down international adoptions. This is only expected to last a couple of months, and there is no word yet as to when it will actually begin. Adoptive parents who have already submitted a dossier will proceed as usual with the adoption process, but at some time in the near future the NAC will stop accepting dossiers (just temporarily) from international prospective adoptive parents.

In some ways, this is really good. The new president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, is very pro-child, and is trying to improve the process to help more children be adopted. Hopefully this will help streamline the process and make things even better! However, we don't know exactly what's going to change. Our facilitators have advised us to continue putting our dossier together. It is possible that we would be able to submit our dossier before the temporary closing. Or that we would submit after they re-open, and still be able to travel in December. There is also, however, a possibility that the restructuring will change the required documents necessary to adopt. This would not be a huge setback--we would simply need to gather whatever new documents are needed and send them to Ukraine. Point being, we had a psuedo-timeline before, now we really have none. :) We will keep gathering documents and put our dossier together until we hear otherwise, and we'll keep you posted as we know more.

Please pray for peace about this situation, and a knowledge that God will send us to Ukraine when our children are ready for us.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Fingerprints...but no messy fingers!

Last Wednesday we were fingerprinted at the INS office in downtown St. Louis. Our fingerprints will be run through the FBI database which will check for any convictions, arrests, etc. It is still possible to adopt with certain things on your record, but it can make life very difficult, and some countries are more willing to take adoptive parents with a criminal background than others. Thankfully neither of us have any criminal background of any kind!

The fingerprint scanner is really cool. For those of you who have a chance to do biometric fingerprint scans, it's great! No ink, so your fingers don't get messy, and the computer helps the INS staff make sure they get a good fingerprint. After your fingerprint is scanned, the computer program points out "problem" areas, such as areas that are too light, too dark, ridges that don't connect, etc. Thus, it will also highlight things like scars. When the program catches a problem area, the INS staff can choose to override the computer and accept the fingerprint, or retake it.

We are hoping to hear back on our application in the next 2-3 weeks. This is still just our US approval to bring an adopted child or children into the US. After our FBI check, our I-600A application will be sent to an adjudicator who will decide whether or not to approve us for international adoption. Please pray for a favorable, quick response (the favorable part is more important than the quick part!).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On being a parent

In researching adoption and post-adoption parenting, we've done a lot of looking at websites, talking to people who've adopted (that we know personally and that we've only met over the internet), and reading of various books. We are also required to take an adoption "class" of sorts, that discusses a lot of the issues associated with adoptive parenting. It is true that parenting is parenting, but there are some additional things to consider with adopted children, including how you respond to people asking about the adoption. Many children like to be the ones to tell people (or not) that they are adopted. There was an interesting point in one of the books we have, talking about discussing adoption with children when they ask. The question usually comes up of "Why was I adopted?" Oftentimes, the parent will respond with something along the lines of "your birthparents couldn't take care of you and they loved you so much they gave you up for adoption". In and of itself, it seems like a harmless and valid answer, but the authors point out that this presents a serious problem for adoptive children. Children think very literally, and very simply. Thus, you can follow the child-like birthparents loved me so they gave me up for adoptive parents love me too, so will they give me up for adoption? Interesting food for thought.

We had a discussion in our women's group the other night talking with a mother about the 2-year-old they recently adopted from China. We were discussing the fact that none of us recognize her as their "adopted daughter"--she is their "daughter who was adopted". Do you see the difference? She has always been their daughter. They just had to go someplace else to find her and bring her home. This is how I feel about our children. They are in my heart, and my thoughts. We haven't even seen them yet, but they are already part of our lives as we prepare for them to join us. I don't think I will ever think of our children as our "adopted children". They will always be simply our children, and we just had to go a little further to bring them home.