It's been a little quiet on the blog lately, but more than a little bit busy around the house...and the apartment...and the other apartment...
The house is still in negotiations, but it's empty and everything we own is here in Nebraska!
Our temporary, corporate apartment has been emptied (of the five things we had in there) and keys have been returned.
We are happily settling into our new apartment, which is beautiful (by the way), and things are slowly coming out of boxes, finding a new home. I have the biggest closet and bathroom I've ever had in my life. We have crown molding on our bedroom ceiling, and I'm already on a first-name basis with a maintenance guy who has a 24 hour turn-around policy for work orders. These are all firsts for me...and (in case you can't tell) I'm pretty excited about it!
Our new apartment
is mostly brick, on a street facing other apartments (no pool gate,
parking lots, or stores in view) and full of big, mature trees that are
in full colorful attire for the season! I love moving in the Fall!
Before now, we have moved in Winter and haven't had the best of
experiences. Compared to those, this move was perfect. :)
Jovi is a pro at moving and finally gave up being anxious about a new place. She has had more "homes" (including doggy camps and hotels) in the last 6 months than I have in the last 10 years! She's happily snuggled and asleep in front of the window, on the arm of the chair, like a cat, as I type this.
Okay, on to adoption stuff. That's what this blog is for!
I've met with our agent from Child Savings Institute and completed my family tree history, talked about my feelings regarding every single even that has occurred in my life and the lives of each and every family member, and talked about how I chose my dog's name. (Remember...I told you I wasn't sure how that meeting was going to go, how relevant it really was, or why half those questions were anyone else's business....but I also said I was done complaining...repeat: I also said I was done complaining....one more time: I also said I was done complaining.) Okay, I'm good now. Moving on...
Most of our paperwork that came in, and then went back out, has arrived at its final destination. A couple references are missing, and a few things on my end are missing. But EVERYTHING government or physician related IS IN!! We had a specific set of documents (fingerprints, background checks, criminal histories) that were expected to take five to eight weeks. EACH of those items came in under three weeks from they day we sent them out!!! We're still ahead of schedule and things are still exciting!
I can't remember how much I've talked about CPR and First Aid training, but it's required for us as adoptive parents. There was a form in packet two that needed to be signed, saying that we attended and completed classes for CPR and First Aid. After a little memory search, a reminder from Adam, and a phone call to the agency...I realized that Adam is already up-to-date for his job. So we can just send in a copy of his card. And while my own certification is expired, it's something I've stayed on top of for the last 10 years and is considered current enough for me to send in a copy of my old card and call it good. Ideally, I will renew my certification soon...but it won't be an issue in the adoption process. (Woo! One less "to-do" on my list!)
On that note, due to my field of profession, we are exempt from taking parenting classes! (Thank you, Jesus! We don't have to spend a Saturday or two listening to some silly lady teach us how to put diapers on a baby doll and take turns giving said baby a bath or checking said baby's temperature with an ear thermometer...I took that class when I was 14, and I could have helped teach it then, too). Despite the exemption, we do have to submit some sort of form stating the important facts like when to call a doctor, what types of situations are considered emergencies, and when to call 911. We also need to list normal vs. fever/alarming body temperatures for a baby, and state our knowledge of basic infant care. So...I will basically copy and paste a chunk of my resume, have Adam add a little chartie-poo and voila. Done. Honey, please sign. AnnndThanks.
On a personal note (you know, because none of this other stuff we've covered for the last three months is at all personal)I've met with an adoption counselor and am establishing a great relationship with her in the midst of all of this paperwork, moving, preparing for a baby, and interviewing with social workers! She has been a priceless resource already and I'm excited to have her in my life right now and for the post-placement days to come.
For the Moment:
I have a long to-do list after touching base with both agents last week. Today, I have followed up on reference letters for both agencies, sent in our Family Autobiography (you know, the 27,000 questions we had to answer...I sent in one agency's, but FORGOT the other....) and am going down my list of last minute items for Packet II.
I need to print a copy of our Family Autobiography for my own records (which happen to be in a pretty three-ring binder with everything in page protectors, and divided by Packet number and categories such as forms, expenses, receipts, etc.)
I need to create our Pictorial Essay (now that I have our desktop and photos at hand, I can do that this weekend!!)
I need to print copies of the Pictorial Essay for Love Basket and one for myself
[Side Note: all this printing means I need to set up my printer in the apartment...after I find it in the back of the closet...which also means setting up my wireless home network so that my printer can communicate with my computer since we opted *not* to buy the $50.00 cable to manually connect the two devices (and breathe...)]
Also on the list is...wait for it....wait...PACKET III! What? Packet III? I thought there was Packet I and Packet II and then a training DVD. (yeah, that's what I thought, too).
Well, guess what! The training "DVD" is actually another folder as big as the last two and is full! "Packet III" (renamed, by Yours Truly, for its actual content) consists of THREE DVDs (about nine hours of viewing pleasure), articles on adoption, articles on parenting, power point slides, and additional handouts...all pieces of the in-person training we chose to opt out of due to the physical distance between us and Love Basket. They literally mail the day's' training to you. This is really nice, and really...a little more than I expected. Looks like "Power Weekend II" went from a weekend for unpacking every last item we own, to ALSO "attending" adoption training in our living room. Woo! Life is back to full speed and crazy to-do lists. Grab the caffeine, the quick dinners, ditch the snooze button and let's go!
Our training is the last part of our paperwork checklist from Packet II. Once that is completed, we sign a form saying as much and send it to Love Basket. The only other form to send in is our Open Adoption Agreement which we will continue to hang onto until the very last second. Our training covers a LOT that will help us make decisions regarding our relationship with our Birth Parents and their relationship with our Baby. I'm looking forward to sorting through those emotions and coming to a peaceful decision about our future as a family of three+.
I think I've covered everything! As I type that very statement, I see a small stack of papers I haven't addressed. Tiny note, but still, I don't want you to think I'm leaving you out of the loop! ;) I need to send copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, and W-2 forms to our Home Study agency. Those forms have been sent to Love Basket already, but they were on the list of requirements for our first Home Study meeting and I had overlooked them. I have them in front of me and our agent is on a two-week vacation. So, they will stay in front of me...or, at least, in this folder that's in front of me, until our final meeting with her.
The (final) Home Study meeting is October 24th! We will cover Adam's family and personal history along with answering questions regarding our parenting philosophy, family traditions, core values, and morals we hope to instill into our children. "What does is mean to be a Lewis? To be in your family...what will it look like?" is the question that was posed when I was provided a mini-prep of what is to come. Alright then...I can do that for you. Thanks for the heads up on such a loaded question! I can't answer that five seconds after you ask. (oh...um...Adam, honey...I forgot to tell you...for our Home Study Meeting in a couple weeks, we need to able to discuss the above content and you need to decide what it means to you, to be a Lewis.) Okay! Now we're both prepared. ;)
Once the meeting is over, our agent will type up a report that summarizes all three meetings (totaling 8 hours spent together), and send it to Love Basket. Our adoption agent will review the Home Study and we will move forward in the process.
In an effort to keep your brain from hurting, I'm going to stop here. I'm sure there are details I've missed. After a three-week lapse, it's impossible to cover it all. Comment or email if you're missing anything! I'm happy to share whatever I may have skipped over!
Prayers continue to revolve around our Birth Parents and their joint decision to place their baby for adoption. Also, for peace on their journey through this process, and for a healthy Baby and healthy relationships for all of us.
Thank you for your continued support! We feel nothing but love in every comment, prayer, email, text, and phone call. Our support system is the best we could ask for! Feel AWESOME today! Because you are. ;)
Love, from the Lewises.