Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wading our way through the impatience stage

I certainly know that in the world of adoption, patience is extremely important to possess. For me, that is an ever-present challenge to overcome. I imagine at the beginning of each stage of the adoption I will have to struggle through my initial impatience. For example, when Joe and I first decided to move forward with adoption last September, we didn't decide to begin right away, but start doing our research and prepare ourselves while waiting for the "right time." At first, it was so hard to wait to get started, I think I brought the topic up with Joe every day, discussing whether we shouldn't really get started sooner. After a time, though, I resolved myself to waiting a while, and then "all of a sudden" it was May and we were ready to get started!

Well, here I am again at the "beginning" of the next stage. The paperwork stage. And, not surprisingly, I am feeling very motivated to knock this stage out quickly and keep things moving forward. Impatience. Well, sort of. I also know that the majority of the adoption timeline is completely out of our hands... how quickly our social worker gets our homestudy written up, how long Immigration takes to process our application for a visa, how long we have to wait for a referral, how long we have to wait to travel, etc. So, this is the one stage I have some control over. Therefore, I find myself going crazy when someone or something else in the process holds us up. Seriously, I feel bad for my friends trying to write letters of reference for us! I have all of the documents to Angels' Haven Outreach that they need in order to start the homestudy... including the $1000 check I overnighted to them on Tuesday morning, but when I spoke with them yesterday, I was told they hadn't received any of our letters of reference, and they needed at least two of those before they'd assign us a social worker. Agggghhhhh!!!! Didn't anyone realize how hard I'd worked to get everything turned in so we could get a social worker assigned this week?! To make it worse, the agency is closed on Fridays, so now it's unlikely they'll get any of our references before Monday. Darn it. I should've sent money to each of the people we asked and begged them to overnight the letters... but I guess that may just be silly and showing my impatience too much.

You know you need to realign your focus when you spend an entire day hovering around your front door and walkway up to your front door, watching and waiting for the UPS delivery person. I seriously checked the door at least every 15 minutes throughout the afternoon. I even sat on the front porch for a while. I got a call yesterday morning informing me that a Next Day air package from "Tennessee Vital Records" would be delivered and someone had to sign for it. Now, I was left a bit confused since Joe was born in Cincinnati and that's where I ordered his birth certificates from, but what else could it be?! So, all day long, I couldn't leave the house, and poor Suka definitely found it to be unjust that we missed her park playtime! I started getting "nervous" when 5:00 came and still no delivery. Wouldn't you know it though, UPS stated on their website that deliveries were made to residential addresses until 7:00 pm. So, I waited. And then, at 6:47 pm... the UPS MAN ARRIVED! And, he DID have Joe's birth certificates! (Yes, I know I need to focus on other things...)

I also know that North Carolina Secretary of State's Authentication Department has my employment letter in hand now. (Thank goodness for package tracking!) It was delivered to them early yesterday morning. So, hopefully that'll get overnighted back to me and be in my hands by the early part of next week. One more item I can check off the list. Boy, do I ever love checking things off the list! It feels so good to inch each little step forward.

Yesterday, I finally received the letter from my bank (that I later found out they charged me $10 for without my permission or knowledge!), and it was a complete disaster! The letter was addressed to Donald and Cindy P... at our address! It had 3 accounts referenced on it (we have 4 through them) and the 3 on there were our account numbers! Let me remind you in case you've forgotten our names. We are Jessica and Joseph G... Not even close! The letter also did not state what it needed to and it wasn't notarized or on the blue and red bank letterhead paper!! The signature on the letter wasn't even a "wet" signature... it was printed off! It took over a week to receive (mailed from 20 miles away) and it wasn't even written for the correct names. Geesh. I'd heard BANK OF AMERICA was bad, particularly for obtaining the letters need for adoption dossiers, but come on! I will tell you though, that after spending 42 minutes and 15 seconds on the phone with the assistant of my Premier Banker (yep, having a large mortgage with the company I bank with does have its perks!) I had 2 copies of a new letter overnighted to us and the $10 charge credited back to my account. So, later today I should get the letters and HOPEFULLY this time they'll be right! Goose frabah.... (think "Anger Management" with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson). I'm feeling better now. ;-)

I will also probably have to send another application and check to my placement agency, Adoption Avenues, because as of yesterday they still hadn't received my original application. That'll teach me for using regular old USPS. Slow and unpredictable. And with no way to track it, I have no idea if it's lost forever or still making its way to Oregon. By the time they get that, we'll be ready to turn around and send them a much bigger check ($4,000) and our signed contract package!

**Update, my application check to Adoption Avenues has been cashed and the application is in hand! Yeah!**

So, yeah. Things are moving along really well, but never fast enough for me. ;-) I think I'll feel better when we have a social worker and the next big hurdle (our homestudy) gets going. It looks encouraging to see how few items are left on my list of needed documents for the homestudy or dossier:
  1. Criminal Clearance letter
  2. Letter from Financial Establishment
  3. Letters of reference
  4. Homestudy report (from homestudy agency)
  5. Homestudy license (from homestudy agency)
  6. Homestudy agency agreement (from homestudy agency)
  7. I-171H (can't apply for this until we get our completed homestudy!)

Not too shabby considering I just picked our agencies and got the list of items needed 10 days ago!

All in all, progress is good, and my impatience is starting to ease up as I settle into the paperchase phase. I really couldn't be happier that the journey is begun... I even let myself wander through the baby section of Wal-Mart the other day. Of course, I became so excited and overwhelmed that I began to cry, but that's another story! Bottles, formula, gidgets, and whatsits galore! Another reminder that this part of the journey into parenthood is only HALF the battle, the other part is learning what you need, what diapers to buy, bottles to use, formula, etc.

If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to hear about the progress and setbacks! Now, it's time to get back to work. I am banning myself from adoption related matters until 4:00 pm or later today (yeah right! I'm planning on running out to express mail Joe's birth certificate to Angels' Haven Outreach now!).

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