Colin & Noelle

Colin & Noelle


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are We There Yet?

So I mentioned before that we had to get this binder of all our paperwork turned into our Home Study Agency before we could even begin the actual home study interviews. You may have also noticed that it's been almost a month since our last post... That's because we've had little to say - we've just been working on this binder.
Colin working on his application for our binder.

Okay, maybe we've had a *little* to say. But you know the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say..."? Maybe that describes our situation a little more accurately.

My list of things to gather.
Colin's was about the same.
Don't get me wrong. Not everything has been bad/hard/stressful. A lot has gone right - and quickly! But the issue with our binder is that is has to be complete (aside from a few of the background checks that get sent directly to the agency). Every form of our application, every background check that comes to us, every bank statement, every physical form, every section of our autobiography typed, everything has to be in the binder. So although we are ecstatic to have had some forms come back to us quickly, and each piece is one more piece to check off the list and no longer worry about - it doesn't help us move forward in any way if everything else isn't ready to go as well.

Here's what happened (said in my best Adrian Monk voice): we kept running into issues with my physical. That wasn't because our adoption required anything crazy. It really should not have taken 4 weeks, like it did. The Army insurance we have wouldn't cover the physical and blood tests unless I drove over an hour to the nearest military installation. Then we ran into issues with me needing to go through the process of switching my doctor "officially". Then they couldn't get me in right away. Then I went for both scheduled trips. Then there was an error with my liver enzyme test because they forgot to tell me I should have fasted 12 hours before my blood drawing. So I had to drive back again for that. Then I had to drive down to pick up my forms. So after 4 weeks, and 4 separate 2+ hour (round trip) visits, I finally have my physicals in my hand. The Army/Insurance made that way harder than it needed to be, and if I hadn't been so pre-occupied with a million other things to do for this binder, I would have written or called someone about it. The reason I had to go through all of that headache was because of some of the guidelines they have in place, that I think were ridiculous to begin with. I'm not angry, but perhaps nobody has ever pointed these things out? Perhaps adoption just isn't a huge thing in the military (as I've suspected from my own observations), so nobody has said anything? Maybe by pointing out some of these flaws in the system, it will bring some things to light that could help military families have an easier time with getting physicals for their adoptions in the future... Maybe that's highly optimistic to expect any change, but you never know until you try!

If you are a military member or spouse and this is bringing some concern to you - I should mention that this was primarily an issue because we are not near a military installation, and are on the prime remote plan. If we were on or near an army post, it wouldn't have been nearly the ordeal it was. So if you see a PCM at an MTF, then you should be fine. Just give yourself time to get appointments scheduled, depending on where you're stationed - I hear some MTF's have longer wait times for scheduling appointments than others.

On a more positive note - here is a picture of
our first load of items donated for our Garage
Sale! Thanks to the Alleyn Family!

Part of the reason I have refrained from updating on our binder/home study process is because I've struggled with whether or not I should. In addition to this blog being for our family and friends to keep up on our process, we are hoping this can be a place for them to learn more about adoption, and for other prospective adoptive families to find resources and encouragement. So I want to be honest, and I want to document everything. But I also want to do so in a way that is as uplifting as it is factual. And sometimes, the process is just plain ol' not uplifting. There are moments where it gets hard. Moments you want to cry. Moments you do cry.

Maybe those statements are seen as discouraging, but in some way, I think they're necessary to know. Especially if you are considering adoption for your family. Because honestly, if you don't know to expect some of those discouraging delays ahead of time, I think the process would end up being that much harder.. We knew that we should expect hard moments or moments of greater delay than we wanted (although maybe we didn't expect to have them come so soon?), and it is still difficult.

Some adoption agencies and advocates warn adoptive parents who blog to be very careful about what they post. Although this is our blog, and our story, and none of you likely expect it to be roses and sunshine 24/7, we have some responsibility to convey adoption in a positive light for many reasons.

So let me say this. I am not going to lie, this process is already hard. And we're only still beginning. Sometimes the process seems like just that - a "process". There is so much paperwork, and so many hours of writing, typing, researching, discussing, etc., that it's easy to lose sight of the fact that there will be an end to this paperwork madness. But Colin and I also know that anything worth having is worth waiting for; worth fighting for. And time will pass. One day we will have the joy of being parents to a beautiful little one, and we don't doubt that when we look back, it will all be worth it! In the mean time, I can't count the number of times over the past month that I have cried out in prayer and been answered. God has been bringing us so much comfort and encouragement, right when we've needed it. It has been constant, plentiful, and several times, so specific. There are times when I am so exhausted and so discouraged and briefly think, "I don't know how I'm going to get through this.." Then I remember. With Him. There is one story in particular that I hope to share with you in the future. It was so "random" of an answer from God, that it blew my mind and increased my faith in ways I have never experienced before. But that will have to be an entire post of its own. ;)

Also, if by some odds you, too, are at a stage where you're going through piles of paperwork, or on a seriously long wait-list, or just need a little peak at that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, let me share with you another blog that I've been following for about 4 months now. Check out The McGee's blog. They recently brought their little boy home from Ethiopia. I do not know them personally, but watching them go from referral, through both trips to Africa, and now having brought their little guy home... I will say that I feel like I have a small glimpse at our future, and it has been so encouraging to me! If not their blog, I hope you find one by another family that is a bit further along than you -- it's a great way to watch an adoption develop successfully and remind you that you will be there one day as well!

Our list we have to go over to choose which characteristics
or medical conditions we will accept in a child. There are so
many... a lot of which are listed by their medical terms,
requiring a lot of research on different conditions and diseases. 
So that's kind of where we've been lately. Doing paperwork, praying constantly, and following the McGee's blog for encouragement. We've gotten our physicals back (both for the home study and dossier when we get to that step). We've gotten most of our reference letters back, all our security clearance letters back, and have most of our other papers filled out, including most of our 6 pages of child characteristics form (where we check whether or not we'll take a boy, girl, what age, and with what medical conditions). We are so close to having it done. I'm *hoping* that the binder will be done by Tuesday and sent off very quickly after.

Coming up: Our Garage Sale (Next Saturday, June 2nd), a fundraiser we'll be announcing soon (happening June 11th), and a trip home to see our family in Seattle in June! In terms of our process, we are hoping to get our home study interviews and educational portion to happen a.s.a.p. - our preference is before we leave for WA, but we're not sure that's realistic.

Please pray that our home study goes well and can be conducted soon! We are sooo ready for it to happen!