Friday, March 30, 2012

Everyone is Up to Date

In case anyone happened to be wondering, the cats are now legit!  They are both up to date on all their shots and they were both champs at the vet.  No one pooped in their carriers this time and in fact, we found Jellybean sleeping in her new carrier once we got home from the vet.  Real progress.

So that's one more item to check off the list, which brings us down to 11. Yay!

I dropped off a bunch of paperwork at The Cradle this afternoon along with the next check.  I then promptly emailed our counselor to try and schedule our home visit.  I want to make sure that this part gets done before our final class and I figured that means I should try and schedule it now.

I am not so freaked out about the home visit.  I am proud of our home and know that we are good on things like fire stuff (after a fairly large trip to home depot).  I kind of get the sense that mostly they are looking for fire alarms in the right spot and a place for a baby to live.  I already confessed to our counselor that I am nervous about the behavior of our two-year-old lab mix.  Those of you who know Frankie know that she is not the calmest dog you have ever met.  But luckily she has gotten way better in the past few months and has even been allowed to mingle with guests when they come over!  So I am looking forward to getting the home visit schedule because in my mind that gets us one step closer to the end of the paper work stage.

As you might have been able to sense, I am getting antsy about this phase of the process.  I feel like we have been meeting requirements forever now (thought it has only really been five months).  I am ready to be in the waiting pool and let the wait time begin.  Though, I am sure once I am in the waiting pool, I will long for the days when we had some control over how quickly things were going.  Oh my!

I suppose that's it for now.  It's a good thing that I am going back to work on Monday.  Too much time to think only leads to unnecessary worrying!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

12 Items and Counting

Well, here I am on spring break.  I mostly have a week full of wonderful nothing planned for my break. So far it has been incredibly delightful.  I feel caught up on things that I have not felt caught up on in a lifetime.  I have had time to see family and friends and enjoy just being home.

After a couple of days of just hanging out, I decided to make today a get things done kind of day.  So this morning, I took out the ole adoption checklist.  Slowly, but surely, we have continued to check items off of the list.  It is amazing how long this initial stage is taking us, but I feel as if with each checked item, we are becoming a bit more prepared for what lies ahead.  I was able to check a few more things off the list today that simply required putting things that we already had into the pile or printing off some things from on-line.  After checking off the newest items, I realized that we are now down to 12 items left on the checklist.  I have no idea how many items we started with, but I can guarantee you that it was a whole lot more than twelve.

Some of the big items left are safety plans for our home, a hand-drawn fire evacuation plan, a health form, and some other items that I have to ask our counselor about because I have no idea what they are.  We are getting there.  We are now enrolled for our last two classes and will be emailing our counselor soon to set-up her home visit.

On Friday we will take care of another big item on the check-list.  We must submit records that show that our pets are up to date on their shots.  For the dog, this is no problem.  She is a good two years ahead of needing more shots.  The cats are another story.  Furby (the little one) is not really a problem as she is up to date and only needs the next round.  Jellybean is kind of a rebel.  She hates the vet.  She hates the vet so much that she is willing to let us know just how unhappy she is by pooping in her crate on the way to the vet.  You get the picture.  Well, on Friday, we are sucking it up and going to the vet.  We have no choice.  Carla and I are both taking the cats as this is most definitely a two person job.  I even brought a brand new cat carrier for the occasion.  I am hoping that this one won't have any traumatic memories associated with it.  I have even put the new carrier out and scattered salmon flavored treats inside, in hopes that will entice her to enter and fall in love with the new carrier.  Sure our bedroom now smells of salmon, but in my eyes that is a small price to pay.  So as of Friday (provided we all make it safely to the vet and back) all of our furry pets will be caught up on their shots and we will have the necessary records to submit to the adoption agency.

It's crazy what we are willing to do to get this home study completed.  I truly don't think that there is anything that they could ask of us that would make me want to stop the process at this point.  So I will keep filling out forms and creating plans to safely evacuate our home in case of a fire and I will do it all knowing that at some point this part will be over and then the waiting will begin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Individual Interview

What a day! I just got home from my individual interview with our adoption counselor and since Carla is still at work and I have no one at home to debrief with other than the cats and dog, I figured I would blog about it.

Let me begin by saying that my meeting was scheduled for 4:00 today.  I work about 30 minutes away from the adoption agency and school gets out at 3:15.  Technically, we are not supposed to leave until 3:45, but I took some creative license and excused myself early.  Normally, the last few minutes of the day are not all that stressful and I can get ready to get out when I need to.  Today, however, was a little but more of an adventure.  We walked over to the junior high to be the audience for the dress rehearsal of their musical.  The musical ran late and we had to run the kids back to school and hurriedly get ready for them to get on their busses and go home.  Luckily we made it with minutes to spare, but it was certainly a stressful end to the day.  So I was already a bit harried when getting in my car.  I had about 40 minutes to get to the adoption agency.  And since I can't get anywhere without getting lost, I took a few wrong turns.  So I pulled up to the agency just a few moments early, which to me feels like being late.  Luckily, our counselor was running late so I had a few minutes to do some deep breathing.

It was strange to be at the agency without Carla.  We have gone through every single step of this process as a team and it was weird to be there without her.  I can't say that I was really nervous for the interview, but, as usual, I had no idea what to expect.  Our counselor came out and we went into the same room we have had all of our other meetings in.  It is starting to feel comfortable there.  We spent the next hour and a half talking about a myriad of things.  We covered my childhood, my schooling, what I do for fun, how I take care of myself, religion, beliefs on parenting, and I don't even remember what else.

There was certainly nothing scary about the interview. In fact, most of the conversation was enjoyable.  Every so often though, I thought about how strange it was that I was being asked to explain how I planned to parent when there won't even be a child in my life for quite a while.  I thought about how most people get to formulate their thinking about parenting as they are parenting. There were moments that I just felt unqualified to answer some of the questions she was asking.  I don't know why, but I left with sort of a frustrated feeling.  I am thankful that we have the chance to think about these things now and I know I have to just get it out of my head that there is some right answer that they are looking for.  I am proud of what I have to share about my life and where I have come from and I suppose that needs to be enough.

Carla goes for her interview tomorrow and I am looking forward to hearing her take on it.  She is usually the more positive one about these things and I suppose part of my feelings have to do with the fact that she wasn't there to reassure me that everything went well.  Perhaps tomorrow things will seem different.

One of the big pieces of our talk today was going through where we are in the process and what we have left in the process.  Through our discussion we made a tentative plan to be done with the home study and paperwork by May.  The last class that we will need is on May 5th and so hopefully that will be the last step in this process.  It's good to know that there is an end in sight as this can all feel never ending at times.  I know that we are anxious to be done with this phase and I know that other people in our lives are ready for us to be officially "waiting" as well.  It is nice to know that it will happen soon enough.

Well, I suppose that is it for now.  I am off to take the dog for a long walk and enjoy the nice weather.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Legal Seminar and A First Draft

Yesterday Carla and I were back at The Cradle for a workshop all about legal issues for same-sex couples. The presenter was a woman who is a lawyer who specialized in adoption and specifically in gay and lesbian adoptions.  She was fascinating.  The first part of the workshop was really just about the legal process of adoption in general.  In Illinois, there is no difference in what we will go through as a lesbian couple and what any straight couple would go through.  The more she talked, the more we realized just how lucky we are to live in Illinois.  In many states, one person would have to do the adopting and the other person would then have to do a second-parent adoption.  In other states, both of our names wouldn't be able to be on the reissued birth certificate.  In many states, I believe she said it was 35 states, there is an amendment to the state constitution or some other law that makes it impossible for gay marriage or even civil unions to be allowed in that state.  Again, we felt very lucky to be living here in Illinois.

The second part of the workshop was about the Civil Union bill and what protections it gives us and what it doesn't give us.  It was nice to hear from a lawyer, definitively, that our marriage license from Vermont is all that we will ever need to be considered to be in a Civil Union here in Illinois.  Carla and I realized that we were one of the first gay couples that the Cradle required to have a civil union before they would consider us for adoption.  Their view is that they wouldn't adopt to a straight couple who wasn't married and therefore, to keep things equal, they will not adopt to gay couples without a civil union.  It is certainly an interesting time.

After the workshop, Carla and I decided it was really time to sit down and work on our Dear Birthmother letter.  We decided to start with the long profile which is supposed to show who we are and the things about our lives that will make us a great choice for a birthmother to choose.  It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to write.  But we did it! We now have a first draft of our text.  We even have pictures picked out to go along with what we have written.  Now we just have to find a way to put it all together so that is looks engaging, eye-catching, easy to read, and filled with love.  Not an easy task.

It feels good to be getting more things done.  We did so much about a month ago and then really put adoption things on the back burner for a while as other things in our lives needed to get done.  But with this seminar and the first draft of our profile done, I feel like we are back into things.  We sent an email to our adoption counselor yesterday to try and schedule our individual interviews, which is the next meeting we have to have with her.  Hopefully we will hear back soon and get those scheduled.  Until then, we will continue to put together our letters and check more things off of our checklists.