About 1/3 of our Packet II forms have been filled out! I have a pile of papers tabbed with post-its, thanks to a tip from a friend, and labeled "Adam's initials", "Adam sign", "for physician", etc. Most pages need to be notarized and all need to be photo copied before we send them in. I'm hoping to have this finished by the end of the week with appointments on the calendar as necessary.
I've been filling out paperwork during nap time at work. Last night, Adam and I sat down and went over each page, one at a time, before he signed, initialed, or provided other information in writing. Some forms needed to be "re-done" because I scribbled information as I found it, but our application looked far from "pretty". Our conversation went something like this:
Adam: "Can we redo this?"
Nic: "Why? (possibly in a whining voice)
Adam: "Because it's messy. It doesn't look professional"
Nic: "Who cares. We aren't 'professional' this is a family thing" (knowing he was right)
Adam: "Can we please do it over? I will fill it out and copy it word for word. I can do each page so the handwriting is all the same."
Nic:(sigh) "Sure. It will look better. But if you want to do all of them, you have a crap load of papers to start filling out, despite the fact that I already did them once...or twice on my own"
Adam: (looking at stack of papers weighed down with post-its) "Oh. I don't want to do that. I'll just do these two. They don't have to match."
Nic: "Good. That would take all night."
So, we prettied up our application, filled in gaps where we could, and went page by page until Adam couldn't write down our address without making a mistake because he was so tired. Of course, while he was making up numbers for our address, I was falling asleep across the table. It was far from my late nights of studying and writing papers, and not as fun without me being intentional about being excited, but looking back this morning, its a memory for the books for sure. It will go right next to memories of wedding planning together, and filling out "thank-you" cards every night after work until all 350 were mailed out.
One of our forms that is up for discussion at dinner tonight (Date Night! Woo!) is concerning the openness of our adoption. We need to provide the agency with our preference of "Open", "Semi-Open", or "Closed". Most Birth Parents prefer contact with the adoptive family, so our options are drastically different between an "Open" adoption and a "Closed" adoption. Here's the skinny on each:
Open: Contact information is exchanged, including addresses and phone numbers. Visits are made about twice per year, with letters and pictures promised at 3-month intervals the first year. Every year after that is decided during the adoption match, and may or may not be at the discretion of the Adoptive Parents only (depending on State laws).
Semi-Open: First names are shared and all contact is managed by the adoption agency. Visits may include a chaperone from the agency. All letters, packages, etc are sent to the agency and then on to the recipient.
Closed: No information is exchanged. No contact is made.
I've almost made up my mind about which option I prefer, but I've been thinking about it for a long time. Adam just started considering the options and isn't sure, yet. He has questions for tonight's conversation and we need to agree on this decision. It's one of the most important decisions we will make regarding our child's adoption experience as he/she grows up.
Another item on our most current "To-Do" list is sending out reference packets. We have a stack of reference sheets that need to be mailed to each person. In addition to the list of questions, I want to include a "Thank-You" letter for their time, stamped envelopes addressed to Love Basket to be sent directly to the agency, and also one other thing (to be identified later because our references are reading this and I prefer to surprise them). Once the packets are ready, I will mail them out and call our friends every single day to see if they've filled out their information. Okay....I will want to call them every day, but I shall refrain. I want to keep them all as friends long after this whole process! ;)
Today, I'm going to work on reference packets. I also plan to fill out the rest of Packet II so that Adam and I can review it all by the end of the week. Hopefully a big chunk of Packet II goes to Love Basket on Monday. Some forms need to wait on a doctor or lab tech, but the ones that don't are only waiting on me.
I have my doctor's appointment scheduled for this Friday. The form I filled out requires my medical history, both physical and emotional/psychological and contact information. The doctor will do a complete physical and a blood panel, then fill out the rest of the form with the results of each. I've been told that the physical is the same that is done for in-home childcare providers (think daycare at your neighbors house). The blood panel checks for all forms of Hepatitis, kidney and liver function, Diabetes, and more things that I can't remember at the moment. The purpose is to check our overall health in every way possible. We each filled out information concerning our BMI and exercise routines. Thank goodness I just started yoga! "I don't workout" isn't exactly what I want to put on my application. Reads: "LAZY-A" a little too loudly. ;) Included in psychological history is a handful of questions about our marriage, whether or not we have ever received counseling and what each experience was like. Contact information for counselors is requested, along with permission to discuss our case files. I'm going to be very transparent here: these forms are invasive. I don't mind this, and I understand why, but it sucks that people who don't adopt, people who conceive children on their own or with help from Science, don't have to meet all of these standards. Our society wouldn't be nearly as screwy as it is if everyone had to be evaluated this way before starting a family! I'm not angry. I'm just making a point. It is what it is and we will do as we are told. No big deal.
That's it for now. Our Home Study Packet is still in my bag, untouched. I'm sure there's something in there I probably should have returned by now, but I've talked to our HS Agent almost daily since my initial phone call, so I'm not worried about anything. I can't worry about anything more than necessary. Right now, that means the top of my list, one item at a time.
On we go....