I can see the bottom of my folder! Packet II is over half way complete. All the forms are filled out. Adam and I have a three-day long to-do list and one more Power Paper weekend in our future and I think we will have it finished. That's my goal: Complete Packet II by Sunday.
Here's what our week looks like so far:
*Adam has his appointment for a physical exam and blood panel today
*Adam is having his fingerprints scanned today and then mailing in the cards
*I have my blood work scheduled for tomorrow morning (I will remember to fast this time!)
*I plan to have my finger prints scanned after tomorrow's appointment
*Wednesday is our first Home Study visit! Can you believe it's here already?? It's so surreal. We are a little nervous, but I figure, "it is what it is" and we are who we are. Hopefully she thinks we're great. ;)
I've spoken with our closest friends over the weekend regarding our references. Boy, do they have their homework cut out for them. I contacted each person to be sure we're still friends after they had time to review their assignment. One reference said her letter to the agency was three pages long after answering all the questions on the form. Our adoption agents are going to know us better than most of our readers by the time we get through all this paperwork! Check out the 52 question "Self Study" we have in our Home Study packet. I finished mine this weekend (thus the angel choir) and Adam is working on his. I'm going to list every single one of them. You know why? Because if I were reading this blog from the other side, I would be interested to know this part. I've added my own commentary at an attempt of entertaining you while you read (and read and read and read). Alright, here goes nothin':
1. Briefly describe your personality, temperament, and the values which are most important to you.
2.What do you like best about yourself? (Brag a little!)
3. What would you like to change about yourself?
4. What have been the most fulfilling accomplishments in your life?
5. What kind of things in life are most important to you?
6. What are your personal short-term and long-term goals?
Your Childhood and Family
1. Briefly describe your childhood-your feelings about parents, siblings, and other early memories about your family.
2. Describe your mother's personality and temperament.
3. Describe your father's personality and temperament.
4. Describe your parents' marriage.
5. How did your parents show affection/anger?
6. Describe your school years-academics, relationships with peers, school activities. What schools did you attend, date(s) of graduation, etc?
7. What things about your childhood would you have changed?
Your Marriage Relationship
1.Briefly share when, how you met, and what first attracted you to one another.
2. Discuss your decision to marry and the wedding.
3. Describe your first year of marriage.
4. What do you like about your marriage?
5. What do you admire about your spouse?
6. What activities/interests do you share together?
7. Describe how your marriage has changed over the years.
8. Describe the highlights of your relationship.
9. Describe the low points in your relationship and how you worked through the situations.
10. How do you handle disagreements and conflicts between you? How are feelings expressed in your relationship? (Can I tell you that I've thrown my shoes at Hubbo's head? Will that make me look bad? Lucky for him my aim isn't so great...)
11. If previously married, please list the name of former spouse, date and reason for dissolution of marriage. (Woo! We get to skip one!!)
12. What is your current relationship or contact with former spouse? (Woo! Skip ahead one more space!)
13. Where there any children born or adopted during this relationship? (Aaaand skip three....woo hoo!)
14. What is your division of labor around the household? Management of finances? (Division of labor? Well...that's what the kid is for...duh.)
15. What are your short-term and long term goals as a couple? (to stay married. Does that count?)
16. Compare and contrast your life as a couple with or without adding a child to your family. (Um....not having children in our life is not an option, does that count as an answer? Because that's what I said....)
1. What is appealing to you about parenting?
2. What changes would you expect to occur in your lifestyle after placement of a child in your family? (Everything? Just a hunch...)
3. How do you/would you parent the same/differently than your own parents
4. What role do mothers/fathers play in a child's development?
5. What is/will be the hardest part of parenting? (I won't know until I get there, but I can list about 25 things off the top of my head...?)
6. What is/will be the most rewarding part of parenting? (Please see number 5)
7. What expectations do you have for your child educationally? Spiritually? Socially? Occupationally? (None. Is that okay? Then everything they do will make them look genius....)
8. How do you/would you feel about disciplining children? What disciplinary methods do you/would you use?
9. What separates excellent parents from average parents?
Employment and Community Life
1. List significant previous employment. Why did you choose other employment? (Oh, you mean all the stuff I listed on your last form? You want me to repeat myself. Are you going to ask me this in person too? Like doctors do? Oh, okay. No problem. .:copy; paste:.)
2. How do you feel about your present employer? What kinds of satisfactions/dissatisfaction do you get from your job? [L, my boss, would be happy to know I only have great things to say here! I have the exact job I was looking for. Craziness and all. ;)]
3. What leisure and recreational activities do you enjoy? (Filling out adoption paperwork! Do I get points for that one??)
4. What community activities (groups, church, clubs) do you participate in?
5. Describe your friends and what kind of things you do together. (We talk about adoption paperwork and the crazy hoops I've been jumping through and that maybe I should join the circus...)
1. Why do you wish to adopt a child (Hey, there's an important question in here...that's nice to know!)
2. What is your definition of open adoption (Aaahhh! I'm done with this topic. I don't care if we have joint custody at this point, I just want to be finished answering this question! OKay some of that isn't true....)
3. What are the advantages of open adoption?
4. What are your fears of open adoption? (Suddenly the old Chili's commercial jingle pops in my head, "I waaant my babyback babyback babyback....")
5. What are your attitudes toward birth parents who place their children for adoption?
6. How will you and the birth parents negotiate/resolve differences in expectations regarding openness? (Can we flip quarters, pull straws, and play rock/paper/scissors? It works on the playground...)
7. How will you tell your child about his/her adoption?
8. Do your parents and siblings know you plan to adopt a child? If so, what are their reactions and understandings of adoption? (Nah. We figured we live out of state so we can just pretend I'm pregnant and stay away from home for 9 months...then just show up at Christmas with a little tyke that randomly has curly red hair and freckles. Seems like a good idea to me...)
And done. Are you crazy yet? Did you consider your own answers to any of these questions and not go nutso? If your answer is yes, give yourself 10 points! Okay you can have 20 points, I don't care. They don't count anyway...
******* In Other News*******
Friday's experience at the doctor's office made me determined to make today feel like anything but a Monday. It also brought up a not-so-fun-but-oh-so-necessary conversation with my best friend. I have been pushing all things related to infertility out of my life for the last five years. I prefer not to go into detail on here because, well, that's a tiny bit personal, and I'm sharing everything else...I want to be a little bit mysterious. ;)
However, I will say that I've realized I have some things to face that this paperwork has pushed to the surface. The interesting thing is that the things that have come up that bother me most, don't seem to be things my adoptive parent friends had to deal with when doing their own paperwork. So...maybe God made my journey different so I can stop running into the same brick wall? Maybe. He seems to kind of know what He's doing.
I plan to schedule an appointment with the people recommended to me by my doctor. Not only will I get the consultation I need for adoptive breastfeeding (updates to that page coming soon!), but also a little counseling through the adoption process. I'm not ashamed to talk to a counselor or therapist and have learned to appreciate all they can do for me. My life has completely changed because I've been an open book and willing to learn. I've received some really bad advice that definitely wasn't work the $80/hour I was charged...but even that taught me to still listen to myself, even when the voices in my head sound a little trippy. :)
So, there you go. Lots on the list for this week, including a visit to a counselor. But I'm okay with that. Adopting forces you to think about a LOT of feelings. And I'm kind of tired of thinking about my feelings....so I'm gonna have someone pull it out of me, make me cry some more, then make me feel better, and make me more awesome. Oh come on, it's funny.
Okay, I think that's it. I'll keep you posted on our visits to the State Patrol for fingerprints (Like a live CSI audition, without the cameras and celebrities...) and our three hour interview with a case worker. That will be the highlight of the week for sure. Does anyone want to guess how excited Jovi will be to see this lady? How many times might she here, "Jovi! Off!", "Jovi! Sit.", "Jovi! No Lick.", "Oh, Jovi." Maybe we can take guesses and if I can keep track the whole time, I'll pick the person closest to the correct answer. I'm going with 97 million times Jovi will be redirected and/or reminded how to behave politely...you know, by giving people space and not demanding every ounce of their attention. Huh. She kinda sounds like her Mama. So proud. :)
Have a Happy Monday! Pretend it's Friday!!