Thursday, February 26, 2009

BUT I'M NOT ADOPTING FROM RUSSIA

So, despite allusions of unresponsiveness, the PA State Board of Psychology did complete a letter of good standing and submitted it to my adoption agency. It arrived there today. Unfortunately, it is the standard letter they complete for families adopting from Russia and even noted Russia, not Kazakhstan, as the country as the one I was adopting from! Of course my agency contacted me immediately to tell me it would not work. The good thing was the letter arrived with a signature and a phone number, so I finally have a contact person. When I called, I was told over and over, "but this is the standard letter we use for Russia." I said, but I am not adopting from Russia. I could not explain the idea that I was adopting from a different country and needed a different letter. I kept getting that same answer. Finally, she saw that the letter noted Russia and not Kazakhstan and I had a breakthrough! It was like a light went on. She even got the person who wrote the letter on the phone and she is going to try to get permission to deviate from the "standard Russia letter" and write the letter I need, based on a fax I sent her.

I am disappointed that my dossier could have been finished as of today. I know it wont impact the wait in any way, but I really want the dossier to be complete and out of my hands. It won't go to the consulate for a few more weeks, but I am ready for the part that I am responsible for to be over. I want my official waiting period to begin. Last time I adopted I finished my dossier in under 6 weeks. This time, due to delays and the agency only being able to submit 1 per month, it has taken since August.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RED TAPE

I am so baffled. I need one item to complete my dossier. It is a letter from the State Board of Psychology saying that the psychologist (who wrote my letter of sanity because I am single) is in good standing with the state of Pennsylvania. I requested the letter on January 30th and was told it would take 7-10 days and would cost $15 per letter. I requested 2 letters. A few days after I requested it, I received a call and was told that the there was good news. There was no charge for adoption letters and my check would be returned. I received the check back a few days later and waited 7-10 more days for the letter of good standing, but nothing. I called and was told that it was being handled by the Borad's legal department, and the legal department does not give out timeframes and was transferred to a diferent department. Then I was put into the voicemail of the person who is responsible for the letter. I have the name and phone number of the person who will do the letter, but she neither answers her phone nor has she returned my phone call. I left a message a week ago! If I can't call anyone, and they don't give out timeframes, how do I resolve this?

Monday, February 23, 2009

All But One

All of the items that I need for my dossier, except one, have made it to my agency. My FBI fingerprints, and everything that that required an apostille arrived on Friday. Now I am waiting for my psychologist's letter of good standing. I called to check on the status of it on Friday. The State Board of Psychology told me it is handled by their legal department and the legal department does not give out timeframes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fedex Stalker

I have a new morning activity. After Annika goes to school, I am stalking my own email box! I have 3 items that will eventually be Fedexed to my agency via Fedex using my account, and I receive an email from Fedex every morning between 9:02 and 9:20, so I stalk my mail box during that time eagerly looking to see if the FBI has finished my finger prints, the Board of Psychology has finished my psychologist's letter of good standing, or my last 6 apostilles have been completed. Nothing today! (I am not doing so well seeking patience...still need to keep working on that!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Annika's Dream

Annika woke up smiling today. "I dreamed that my sister was born!" she said sleepily. "She was cute. She had short brown hair and brown eyes and teeny, tiny ears."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Big Sister

Annika's daily life is filled with thoughts being a big sister. I don't talk about it a lot or focus on it with her because it is so far away and I don't want the waiting to be any harder on either of us than it has to be. I think were at least 9 months away. I don't ignore it either....its a major life event and we need to prepare appropriately, but I want Annika's life to go on unencumbered by a long, tedious and often stressful process. We prepare for our family to grow. I tell her of the landmarks....our paper work is finished for now or an important paper came in the mail, but I don't dwell on it regularly. We celebrate the big steps. (Actually, I don't really mind the wait...i do mind the delays...but the wait is ok for now...its part of the process to get to our next family member, my second daughter. I just don't want to make it more stressful for Annika.) On the other hand, Annika has embraced her future role and we discuss it often. She has already involved the next child in the fabric of our lives. At each meal she asks, will my sister like this food? Where will she sit? Will I help feed her? She brings old toys in and tells me she is now too big for them and the baby can have them. The baby already has a toy bus, a 2 wheeler, a tricycle, and a phonics bus! When we are shopping she wants to shop for clothes the baby. (So do I, but I resist at this point!) Annika begins many sentences with "when i am a big sister I will...." She also reports, as she does her big girl tasks, "My sister won't be able to do this because it is too big for her." Her teacher reports that this excitement bubbles over into school too. She is realistic. She knows that it will not be all fun, asking "what if my sister pulls my hair or pinches me?" She smiles with relief when I tell her we will say, "No, no baby, please be gentle with your big sister." "What if she doesn't stop?" she asks. "Then I will come and move her away for you," I say. These conversations seem to work out many issues in her mind and give her a clearer picture of where we are heading. She even asks, "What if I yell at my sister?"I love that she is thinking so deeply about it and cares so much about the relationship already. I am glad she is happy and excited. I hope the energy doesn't wear off with a lengthy wait. Annika tells me she is already a sister and the baby is born and she will be home this year. It all remains to be seen, but she surely seems ready as she tells me "I love my sister already!" Sounds so familiar. She echoes what is in my heart.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Waiting for Our New Love

We are sitting happily on Valentine's morning having a lazy start to our day. I am enjoying my coffee and Annika is reading to me. Its freezing out and I am not anxious to start our day, so we cuddle and relax. She is reading "Love Lola" a Valentine's storybook given to her by Collin, a boy at school. It is a sweet pop-up story about a little bear named Lola who pesters her brother while he is making his Valentines, but in the end gives the cutest one to her. I am struck by the fact that my daughter, who not so long ago, was saying, "Happy Hollentine's day, Mama!" is now reading to me. A look back reminds me of my tiny princess and our first few Valentine's together...the first year she was just walking, with a cute heart sweater and Pebble's hairdo, not so sure about what the day meant. Now she knows and and celebrates with joy.

As I sit here with her, I cherish this day and wonder what our next Valentine's Day will bring. A look forward to next year could reveal an array of possibilities. Will there be a little one crawling on our floor? Will we still be waiting? Will we be in Kazakhstan? its possible that our baby is already born and waiting for us. Annika thinks this is the case and says she is already a big sister. She has a good sense of such things and may be right. I don't have that feeling yet, but I have been a bundle of nerves and am not tuned into my senses just yet.

Whatever the next year brings, with so many unknowns, it will hopefully be posiitive and exciting. There are so many things to hope for while waiting and the excitement in our house on Valentine's Day 2009 is palpable.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do it Right!

As I complain about the last few pieces of paper work that have yet to arrive at my agency, I got an email from my agency and a phone call from the FBI today. I did not fill out the money order for my finger prints in my haste to drop it in the mail! Rather than delay things, i was able to provide an alternate form of payment. However, I cannot complain about the wait if i don't do it right!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Out of my hands

My dossier is officially out of my hands today. I fedexed the last 6 pages to be apostilled and once done, they will be forwarded directly to my agency. Annika made a little celebration of it and I waited until after school to put it in the fedex box. She actually did the honors, with a little kiss, and wish to "go fast to Kazakhstan."

I also talked to Libby, my coordinator, today who assured me that all is well, most of my dossier is already on the way to be translated, and I am now second in line to be submitted to the Consulate in New York. It looks like it will go to NY in late March or early April.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The second time around

Things have changed the second time around. The first time I completed a Kazakhstan adoption, my time frame from dossier submission to travel was 5 1/2 months. The entire process, from the day I made my decision, through researching agencies, homestudy, dossier preparation, etc, was 1 year and 1 month. I decided to move forward with number 2 on July 8, and it has been 7b months and 2 days and my dossier is not even finished yet (because it cannot be submitted to the Consulate by my agency until March/April). Then the real waiting will begin.

With my last adoption, I was fairly sure of when I would travel, fairly sure that my daughter had been born and was waiting in a baby house, and absolutely sure it would be a daughter. I had a much clearer picture of who was waiting for me and more faith in the process as a quick and sure process.

I found out a few days ago I need 6 or 7 more documents to complete my dossier. I have now gathered them all or they are the process of being created and should be ready by the end of next week, then my dossier will finally go to translation. I will feel much relief when it is translated and on to the Consulate. I am ready for it to be out of my hands and for a clock to start clicking.

With my last adoption from Kazakhstan, the most daunting part of the process was the trip...I was not worried about the time or my baby, but the conditions in which I would be living. It turned out to be wonderful. I hope this time, we are just as well off. I do still worry about accommodations. I'd like to be in a hotel again because it gives us options to get out and about, but one of the cities we may travel to is Astana and it may cost prohibitive to stay in a hotel in that city. This time, along with worries about where I'll stay, I worry about traveling with Annika, the whole worrisome process, the unknowns that were not there last time, and the thought of traveling home with 2 children!

Nevertheless, I am trying to remind myself that each step brings me closer to my child and my child is not ready yet. I thought the fact that I had a child would make me more patient with the process the second time around. I was sadly mistaken!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Peace, perhaps

I am holding onto yesterday's thoughts and feel more at peace today. All day yesterday, I turned off NPR, turned on music and let the problems of the world go, and gave myself some time. I can choose to be miserable or make the most of my life. What I have is my life and I need to choose to do better. Yes there is a big gaping hole without my mom and dad, and there always will be, but the only way I fill it it is by moving forward. Not moving on. I can't move ON without them. Moving on feels as if I am leaving them behind and that breaks my heart. But moving forward means choosing to live my life, knowing they were apart of it, knowing they are with me, and keeping their memories alive more my children.

Its hard to lose your best friends...harder to know their not coming back ever...holding on for eternity is not enough right now....I miss them and I need them! These are the thoughts I am burdened with and I seriously contemplated them yesterday. They are wearing me down. I need to make changes. I was always happy, carefree, and seriously worry free. My mom called me "no nerves." because I didn't really get stressed and when, very rarely, I did, I did not show it. The last 7 years have taken their toll. My trust in the universe and in myself has been shaken to the core. I have had the audacity to put God on probation for a year and the day he was due to come off, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. Probation continued indefinitely. I have lost most of my family and many friends, or people who I thought were friends during my ordeal. Brian and I have been stretched to a place beyond where I thought recovery was possible. I have gained weight and now lost most of it. I am tired. I am a little lost. Nothing in my life is as was.

However, as I realized yesterday, I am still me somewhere buried deep, and I can continue to be me if i try. I was always positive and will work on doing it again. I will let life happen as it is supposed to. I cannot control it anyway, so why make myself miserable. I just need to keep reminding myself of that and how good my life was and is. I have a beautiful daughter. I am working on bringing home a second child and that will happen in due time. I am never going to have the life I dreamed of for my children, with grandparents and a full house at the holidays, but I will have 2 little sweeties who I love, love me, and love each other, filling my house with giggles, silliness, and joy, and that is more that I dared to dream of when I adopted Annika.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Perspective on Adoption Number 2

When I adopted Annika, I was at peace with the process. My life approach was more zen-like than it is now. I approached every moment of it as a step toward leading me to the child that is to be mine. The bumps did not bother me in the least. I trusted that they were part of my journey. I was so calm about it that even my adoption coordinator complimented me on being the model client. Even when Mary Jane Capron's agency hijacked my dossier and would not give it back, i was calm. Almost 5 years later, I struggle to find that trust in the universe that used to have. I have a greater need to control the process and I realize how much I have changed and perhaps not for the better. My life has changed dramatically. I no longer have parents and I am a mom. I am no longer calm, cool and collected at all times.

With this adoption, I started my process on July 8th, did my home study in September, then due to various delays, was asked to postpone completing my dossier until further notice. Just before Christmas, my agency gave me the go ahead to finish my dossier after the holidays, which I did. I am so quick with a dossier!! Just last week, my agency reviewed my paperwork and gave me a list of 6 or 7 things that either need to be updated or added before my dossier can go to translation. I was able to gather all but 2 items in 4 days, the others will take about 2 weeks, so it is not a long delay.

The issue that bothers me is that 5 years ago, I was not a nervous person. I went along with life as it happened. Is it simply motherhood? It can't be the one thing I've wanted forever has changed me into bag of nerves, can it? I don't think so. Being a mom is the best part of my whole life. I think perhaps with the second adoption comes the realization of reality. It is not a dream, but a living, breathing, crying baby with an older sister who also has many needs! I now know how huge the responsibility is. On the other hand, I also I also know how huge the joy is, and am anxious to live that joy again....meeting my child for the first time....getting to know each other....having Annika see her birth country....are all things I am anxious to experience, so that makes me eager to have the process in motion, but of course I must learn to tell myself as I did last time, our baby is not ready yet.

Simply writing this has given me better perspective on my feelings and a bit of peace. The realities are, it the later I travel, the better...having 2 in pre-school will be a stretch. It will be done, but when Annika is in first grade, the burden will be eased. Financially, traveling closer to the end of this year will allow me to save more. All this said, I have relaxed for the moment. I still want my dossier to be complete and out of my hands, but that will happen in the next 2 weeks. Until then, I'll try to find my peace.