Tuesday, July 13, 2010

learnin and money

now that the homestudy is over, we're tryin to work on a few other things...

the state of texas requires at least 8hrs of adoption education. most agencies require adoptive couples to attend an 8hr orientation seminar. these seminars qualify as the required education. adoption covenant, however, allows adoptive parents to complete the 8hrs on their own via the online route. there are numerous websites offering such education....and if you google 'adoption education,' a lot of what you'll find has to do w/the hague requirements. when folks adopt internationally, a whole other set of rules apply, among them the education mandates - and that's what the hague convention is about. however, since we're adopting domestically, state law governs.

we searched around a little, tryin to find the most affordable options...some places charge b/w $30-50/class per person. other places would let us both take the class for about $35/class. after all our searchin, we decided to go thru adoption learning partners, which was the site the adoption agency referred us to in the first place :). so we bought about 9hrs worth of classes and will start goin thru 'em today. i've heard good reports about some of these classes, and they seem worthwhile, so we're eager to start.

now that we've turned in an application, completed the homestudy, and paid a little bit of money, we're also startin to look into financial options. it's no secret that adoption is expensive. although josh and i have both been fortunate to complete our college educations debt-free (much thanks to mama and daddy on both sides!), and we've tried to work hard to be financially responsible, we simply don't have the thousands of dollars lyin around to foot this bill. we've worked really hard for probably...2-3 years now, to put back as much as we can for an adoption.... but 2-3 years isn't long enough to save enough w/everything else that's happened (a move, job changes, me goin back to school, etc).

what's been hard financially is that no one gets married and thinks "we may not be able to give birth to our children one day, so we better start savin like crazy so that we can adopt." most of us get married and just worry about the bills and puttin food on the table....and then cashin in the coin jar to go on vacation :). then you get out of school and get higher than minimum wage jobs and get another vehicle or buy your first house....then you start thinkin about havin babies, and you think about affording life post-birth - the diapers and clothes, etc....even in the midst of dreamin about kids, you don't think about the cost of adoption.

so it's only been in the last couple years that we've had to adjust ourselves around the idea of adoption...and only in the last couple months, adjust ourselves around the reality of adoption. and we're not complaining - the baby in our arms will be worth far more than the money spent....and at the same time, it doesn't come w/o some serious adjustments....financial changes, delays in some of our dreams....

fortunately, there are various ways to afford the costs. lots of places offer interest-free loans...others offer grants....still others encourage adoptive couples to have fundraisers.... josh and i decided long ago that we won't go into debt for an adoption...even if that meant waitin longer to sign up w/an agency, we wouldn't negate our years of hard work to turn around and take out a loan....but we have been lookin into some of the grants available. thus far, however, they all require a homestudy to be completed...along w/the documents to prove it. so as soon as we get a copy of the homestudy, we'll start fillin out applications and paperwork to see if we qualify for any grant money.

adoption covenant has put our picture and information on their website. josh isn't happy about the picture...but it's b/c we took them an actual picture, and they scanned it in...rather than havin a digital version. maybe we can work on that. anyway, if you want to look at, you can go here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

1047 - 1404

sorry it's taken so long to get this blog posted...lots of work, school deadlines, and a 10 year high school reunion have kept me busy...josh's last couple weeks have been busy preparing for, going to, and recovering from a long work weekend at possum kingdom lake over the holiday. glad we're both back home and in the routines of normal life.

so on w/the reporting....

if you haven't put 2 and 2 together yet, the title of the blog is the time frame during which the social worker was here. yep - 3hrs, 17min. let me assure you - there were no awkward silences, no bathroom breaks, and no time for relaxin. he walked in the front door talkin, and the last we heard his voice, he was closin his car door to head back to the city. the flow of the visit went somethin like this:

social worker introduction. josh and lindsey introduction. josh and lindsey answer the "how did yall arrive at the decision to adopt" question. the three of us discuss a few directly-adoption-related topics....such as how josh and i plan to handle the adoption story w/our kids...and the social worker (his name was brad, though he looked like russell campbell) would talk to us a little about the various decisions/behaviors/pursuits he's seen work and not work....like, readin books and educatin ourselves about age-appropriate disclosures...and the importance of an adoption-related scrapbook...and the availability and benefits of story books that talk about adoption. it was encouraging to talk about things like this....b/c the discussion was in the context of reality, of the recognition that this is actually happenin....it's not just an idea or a theory anymore...we're actually on the road toward adoption.

then the discussion headed into a more question and answer time....how our families and friends feel about our decision to adopt...what our beliefs are about discipline...what our academic expectations will be of our children...our financial stability (both in proportion to the adoption and in regard to our capability to afford children)...our expectations of parenthood - to which i responded, w/affection and longing delight streaming, "it'll ruin everything. we won't sleep. everything will be a mess." i then had to explain this a little, as brad seemed to be a rather literal person.

all of the above took about an hr and a half. straight thru. he kept askin questions, we kept answerin, and he filled several pages of yellow legal paper with thick, smeary blue ink.

he then directed one of us to leave....physically leave the room....out of ear shot....while the other stayed at the table and answered more questions. josh left first and went and drove around. i was nervous at first....but really, the questions he asked were mostly off the application...he just asked questions that expounded on those we'd already answered on paper - how we met, how i feel about josh, what i think about our marriage, how mama and daddy disciplined me, what my relationship was and is like w/my immediate family... then josh came back, i went into the back room, laid on the bed, and read the sunday paper.... each of these individual sessions took about half an hr.

then brad was ready to inspect the house. 'bout time! after all that time i spent straightenin up and wipin down! the inspection portion took about 30-45 min. he didn't comb thru everything w/a fine tooth comb...and he never whipped out a white glove... i was relieved to be over-prepared, though, rather than under-prepared. he asked about the guns and the ammo, and we told them where it all was, and that seemed to suffice. the dried bug skeletons were scarce...the mousetraps had been transferred to a locked cabinet.

then he headed outside....and he eventually made his way out to the barn. my heart quickened.... oh no!...it's not just hazardous back there - that whole place IS a hazard! kids, adults, pets beware. fortunately, he only looked around briefly and didn't seem overly concerned. he took a few pictures of the outside of the house, gathered his brief case, and got back in his gps-guided volvo and left.

we were exhausted. shoot....i'm kinda tired all over again, just writin about it.

the plan from here: it'll take him about 30 days-ish to write everything up. he'll send a copy to the agency, and then we'll get a copy (which should prove to be interesting). in the meantime, we do a couple more things here.... we need to complete our 8hrs of adoption education. we've bought about 9hrs of online seminars, so it's just a matter of sittin down and listenin to 'em. the other thing we do? wait.... wait for a phone call or an email....tellin us there's a young woman who's interested in meetin us.

to end on a lighter note....here are a couple of homestudy funnies that happened...enjoy!

- less than 5 minutes before brad arrived, i was rinsin out a cup in the kitchen...only to find the water pourin from the faucet was a cloudy yellow color. potability questionable.
- when asked what our beliefs were on discipline, josh joked, "we believe in electrocution." that didn't go over very well....brad just looked at him, blankly.
- so he decided to try again when asked how his parents disciplined him, "i was beaten severely." another blank stare. no laughter. no chucklin....except from me :)
- while brad was lookin around the entry way, josh went to open the cabinet door...behind which are various chemicals....and to which are attached those blasted kid-proof safety latches...you know - the ones that you can't see until you've jerked on the door, had your entire body jolted forward 1/2", and found yourself using inappropriate expletives to express your frustration? anyway...when josh went to open the cabinet door, the safety latch didn't catch...the door just swung wide open...josh's eyes about popped out of his head....fortunately, brad had his back turned and didn't see our faulty, non-kid-proof latch.

think that's all....

thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes. it went well.