Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
Happy Lunar New Year (aka Tet)!! It's officially the year of the dog - the year my daughter will be born! We didn't do anything special today. I'm bummed that not only did my boys not celebrate Tet with their Dad and his family today but he didn't even show for his parenting time today (maybe next week, he says ::sigh::). One year they got their red envelopes - out of 11, only one year. I try to think maybe this is just some Americanized thing on their part. Thankfully my boys don't know enough to be disappointed.

Next weekend we have a big Tet party to go to, I'm so excited, mostly for the food! LOL So at least they'll have that. I decided, with the decision to adopt, that I'm no longer taking a backseat to these celebrations. I can do them up right, myself! I've never been to a Tet party so this year will be a learning experience for at least some of us. My boys have been to countless Vn parties but nothing this traditional.

I'm soooo excited about our home study meeting this week. I know this will be a good week. I'm finally 100% healthy, we got my dog a bark collar so our house is much quieter, there isn't a million things on the plate for the next week. And tomorrow my contract fee and I-600a go out (missed the mail on Sat). Can you believe DH's divorce decree STILL is not here?!?! So I'm calling them tomorrow, even though we don't need it anymore, just to throw a fit. It's the principal of the thing. I'm going to get my passport photos printed out and maybe I"ll apply for that tomorrow, too. Can't hurt!

It's going to be a quiet week, aside from the one appointment, I think. Hopefully I'll get my agency notebook this week but I won't hold my breath since I haven't even sent out the check yet. So, hopefully I can keep busy by painting. I'm on a painting streak! I painted the boys' room today and yesterday - it looks so cool. I am going to paint another room and the wall our fireplace is on in the livingroom this week too. I hope. Plus we have 10000 other projects to consume us. So we won't have trouble keeping busy.

posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/29/2006§

I think I made it to the other side of chaos!!!!!!!!!!! I can't decide whether to do a happy dance or just enjoy some mindful breathing, so I will do the later. Less energy out, more energy in :-)

So I think pretty much everything is straightened away. We are filling out the I-600a as if we are both going to travel - will determine if we ARE or not, later. Talked to the agency a few times and cleared away the application requirements. Our application WAS accepted and our contract WAS received, we just need to send the contract fee. So yippee - we have an agency!!! I'm impressed with the communication that has gone on in the last 24 hours - better than what has gone on under my roof anyway! LOL The vaccine thing - I'll talk to our SW on Wednesday to see how to proceed but I'm confident that it won't be an issue. So, on the adoption front, I feel great. We have a plan, we are putting it in motion, I feel back on track.

I wonder if I should even bother sending in the I-600a right now? Thoughts? In our state, they won't even look at it until the home study is turned in. We can't get a fingerprinting until after that. But the director of our home study agency originally told me (in December) "Do it NOW" but last week our SW said "Don't bother". I, selfishly, just want it off my list. But then I think "Gosh, what if we didn't pass the home study?!?! What a waste of money...."

But we'll pass the home study, right?!?!? :-)

Well the house is completely empty for the morning! DH took the kids on various errands and soccer and doc appointments and then we are meeting up to see Nanny McPhee. My task is to go paint a bedroom! I can not wait! New construction -ugly bare white walls! Buh-bye!!!!!!!!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/28/2006§

Not Coping...
....I think I hit my breaking point this morning. Sometimes I think we need to do that so we can get it over with, get back up on the horse and keep on going forward through another round :-P

I'm still sick which is a vicious cycle. My immune system sucks from the stress, the stress makes it harder to get over the cold so I'm more prone to MORE viruses. I am not getting the sleep I need, the food I need, the peace of mind I need to get healthy which means I have fewer reserves left to make sure I get those things today! Blah blah blah.

I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of crossed lines of communication. I'm sick of not knowing the right questions to ask or who to ask them to. I'm frustrated beyond belief. My husband gets the brunt of it, poor guy. I am exhausted. I just want to cry, so that is what I've done this morning. I feel a little better now :-)

I really want to get the I-600a out the door today. I still have no idea what we'll do for travel. I was up early this morning pondering the options, as I know them. We could try to come up with the money for DH and our 3yo to come with us but then we'd have to figure out what to do with DH's three kids, our 2 dogs, 4 cats, fish, hamster, etc. PLUS it would shave time off his paid leave. PLUS I do NOT like how divisive it feels to take half of our kids and leave the other half behind but taking them all would just NOT work at all, financially or otherwise. But as I understand it, if DH doesn't come and at least meet Madeline, we will all have to go through some complicated process stateside involving monthly drop-in CPS visits and we won't even get to adopt her for six months, at least, after returning home! Forget that! On the advice of my SW, I emailed our BCIS office on Wednesday (they don't take phone calls or visits, period) and, to my total shock, I received a reply today. He said "I have no idea what you are asking". In other words "you are a big idiot, too stupid to be trusted with a baby and I can't decipher your question, don't waste my time". Ok, that is probably my beaten down exhausted virus-laden self talking. Still, I just cried. I obviously still have no idea what I'm supposed to be asking.

I think we have the vaccine thing mostly worked out. Thank goodness. Still need to figure out how to communicate what needs to be done between the agency and the SW. Wish they'd just talk amongst themselves. Is that too much to hope? Is that how it normally works? I thought it was but the SW keeps telling us to call the agency and find out xyz, or call BCIS and find out xyz. I guess I'm not clear on what her responsibilities to us are since she is ONLY doing the home study.

There is some confusion over our application and contract. I didn't see THAT coming. I totally was thorough, went down the list of requirements, everything was nicely bound up, notraized, paid for, cover letter and everything. But even though the agency says they got our application, they are still speaking as if we haven't "chosen" them, yet. They actually SAID that to DH last night "If you chose us...". Didn't we already do that? Isn't that what was in the envelope? I have no idea how you can have a conversation like that and not request some clarity or something but I wasn't home so I have no idea what the deal is. Dh took the call and hung up with NO idea how things stand. Thanks, honey! I emailed the agency and hopefully we will talk later. I get the gist that there is more to it than either they or we completely forgot to convey. Maybe others with experience would better be able to anticipate. Like we didn't send enough or the right money or the right forms or something. I am totally TOTALLY lost. Hopefully today we will be able to get EVERYTHING straightened up, know where we stand with our agency, know what is left to do, I can quick reprint the I-600 and cover letter, write the check, get it all in the mail and maybe - just maybe - I can get some sleep and get healthy this weekend.

So where I stand this morning? I am not even signed with an agency, I haven't even started my BCIS process and I don't know how to fix any of it. I may as well be at the beginning. Two months of DAILY work toward this process and NO progress :-(

I finished Finding Katherine this morning. What a great read!!!!!!!!! I highly recommend it. I also ordered the Rough Guide to Vietnam, should be here tomorrow. The baby asked me to take him out to pick up a rattle last night, so we did that. He's excited. He wants to teach his baby sister to eat peas from the pod, specifically. A new found skill of his, I guess. He's way too excited about this whole process so, good, bad or indifferent, we're gonna have to break it to the family in the next week or so. Three year olds don't keep good secrets :-P I really wanted to wait until after the home study though. We'll see.

Hopefully today will bring some clear answers and progress and I have relax this weekend and enjoy getting healthy, peace and quiet. :-P
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/27/2006§

DH talked to our agency today about our vax situation and about the travel situation. She has no clue, she will have to research it and get back to us. Ugh - what does that mean? That they are researching whether or not we can even adopt? Or just how to make it happen!?!?! And when will she get back to us? Today? Next week? Next month? Meanwhile?!?!?

This vax issue is a deal-breaker. I'm really nervous about it. I will consent to Madeline having all the required vax back in the States but I can not consent to that for the other six kids, ethically. I just can't. I thought I covered all my bases on this issue before we even started the process and we did all the things they required for the home study. I guess because our agency doesn't even require med histories for other children that it never even OCCURRED to me to contact the agency about this issue. Now I feel like everything is on hold (including my heart!!!) waiting to hear if there is a way.....

The travel issue is a total headache. I put it out there to our local int'l adoption list and to a few of the other bigger adoption lists and got responses ALL across the board. They all contradict each other's experiences and, meanwhile, my agency has no idea how to handle it and either does my SW! I did some research, sent it to DH who did some more and thinks we would basically have to do this whole huge adoption thing here which would involve monthly FIA visits and the whole she-bang. Well, as much as I do not want us all to travel, if it means avoiding that mess, I guess we'll find a way. DH is now talking about flying out for the first week only, so he can meet Madeline and fulfill the requirements so she can return with the IR-3 visa instead of the IR-4.

I feel like being a big ole toddler and jumping up and down and issuing deadlines to everyone. OK EVERYONE HAS 24 HOURS TO GET THIS STRAIGHT SO I CAN SEND IN THE I-600A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't mind waiting. But uncertainty is not my friend. Waiting with an end in sight - ok. Waiting only to be told "no, you don't qualify" is making me sick :-(
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/26/2006§

What I really want to come in the mail....

Unfortunately, unless I win a small fortune, it ain't happenin'!!!!

posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/25/2006§
In the mail today.....

CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

It is so tiny. The boys humored me with many ooohs and ahhs. The picture doesn't do it justice on that ugly red background. The amazing thing is that I think it will be TOO BIG for Madeline at G&R!

I know, it's too soon to buy clothes. I have to do SOMETHING to pass the time. :-)

posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/25/2006§
Strike! Homestudy Meeting #1
We are home from our first home study meeting. It went just fine. I wasn't nervous. I do so love talking about myself :-P I actually look forward to the next meeting even more because I could talk about parenting and stuff all day and we didn't get to talk about THAT at all. My poor SW - she's going to have to shut me up! Hopefully I won't say anything too mean about DH - my cold should be better by then :-P I am really only nervous about the home visit. I'm not sure what to expect or what she will talk with the kids about.

She left me with a bunch of questions - or at least a few - and my head is spinning. There is a question with the vaccination status stuff. I need to contact our agency to make sure they are ok with it. I don't know why it didn't occur to me until now. There is also a question of whether or not I can travel alone, as we had planned. Our state is not a re-adopt state so it makes it tricky. I am hoping that it is so simple as us just needing to certify the adoption. If we have to both travel it will cost a lot more and Dh will have to find somewhere for his three to stay for 2-3 weeks. THAT would be a nightmare.

I'm feeling better today. My friend who babysat the boys gave me an echinacea/vit C tab and I think it really helped! I didn't raelize it until later when I started feeling worse again.

We tried to get the med forms for DH while we were down south today but Dh's idiotic doctor who said he would be in wasn't. Locked door and all. Sheesh - it was 1:30 in the afternoon! We'll have to get it tomorrow when we are down south again for our refi (not adoption-related, just "finally sold our old house" related). Then off to Bats of the World and home in time for Destination Imagination. All in a day's work :-P
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/25/2006§
I forgot the most annoying part! I found out today that we do NOT need that stupid divorce decree I've been waiting on for two months AT ALL! We can send in the court order - first and last page - instead. How annoying. I'm chosing to think of it as karma for being impatient :-) So I will get the I-600a out tomorrow. Anyone have any advice on how to mail it? Should I get a return receipt? or a signature? Or just normal USPS?
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/25/2006§

Finding Katherine
...on this night before our first home study meeting, feeling miserable and sick, I finally cracked open Finding Katherine. Half way through the book and dozens of tearful realizations later, I feel so much more at peace. I feel grounded. When I'm done, I plan on rereading it and making notes! This book - this gift - wow. I am speachless!!

I am also having MAJOR second thoughts about the name Madeline! I think. I just don't know.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/24/2006§
Doin' the happy happy dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LICENSED LICENSED!!!!!!!!!! My agency got their license!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/24/2006§
::Hack :: Sneeze - Don't Mess With Me
Well, it's tomorrow and I'm sicker than yesterday. Blah. I hate colds. I woke up feeling like death warmed over. DH left early for an appointment so I get to hold down the fort. My kids have good "Leave Mom Alone" radar, though, and have been generally low maintenance. The animals, on the other hand, not so much. Oh well, I'll take what I can get.

I called the State about our one missing vital record. When I called today I got basically an "oops". Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm sorry but we went for our marriage record at least a week AFTER the divorce decree and it got here already from further away. The turn around time is just not that ridiculous. Poor woman on the other end of the line probably thought I was going to burst forth into flames although I probably sounded more hysterical and miserable than bitchy. Blame that on the cold. She said she was hand-delivering it to her supervisor for today's mail after I gave her a few choices (!!). So it won't get here for our homestudy appointment tomorrow but it WILL be here by week's end.

It's Tuesday so I fully intend to get my I-600a FINALLY in the mail no later than Friday. It is all ready to go in it's envelope and everything - just like it's been for weeks. Just waiting for that final vital record.
Remind me to call the State back tomorrow to follow up.

Hey, maybe all of this is happening this way so that our home study is sent almost back to back with our I-600a and I'll be processed lickety-split! Ha. That's my optimistic story and I'm stickin' to it.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/24/2006§

I do love a good meme :-)

Four jobs you have had in your life:
Fundraiser for Abused and Neglected Children
Pediatric Nursing Assistant
PC Support

Four Movies you would watch over and over:
Napoleon Dynomite
The Notebook
What Dreams May Come

Four Places You've Lived:

Rota, Spain
Lacrosse, Wisconsin
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan

Four TV Shows you love to watch:

Desparate Housewives
Boston Legal
Adoption Stories (guilty pleasure)

Four websites I visit daily:

My Yahoo

Four of my favorite foods:

General Tso's Chicken
Michigan Rolls (sushi)
Filet Mignon
Tortilla Soup

Four places I'd rather be right now:

Anywhere warm and sunny
Anywhere healthy (achoo)
In a warm bath sipping margahritas
Skiing in denver

Four bloggers I am tagging:
I don't know that many blogspot bloggers so.....
Tony (myspace)
Courtney (myspace)
Tracy (myspace)
Gladys (myspace)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/23/2006§
One of those days.....
DH and I are both down with colds. He's being a whiny stressed out baby and so am I. As it turns out, we both have exceptionally busy weeks. He has tons of pretty large work deadlines and appointments and major commitments every day. I have most of the same commitments plus some of my own. He asked me to talk him off the ledge today but gosh, who is going to talk ME off the ledge?!? :-P Ah well, such is married life, huh?

Along with the cold comes my lessened tolerance for mistakes. Today was Dh Botches It Up day :-/ Hopefully he got it all out of his system in one fell swoop :-) First Dh made the long (and long awaited) trip out to his GP's office to meet the notary (who he incidentally did not bother to arrange to meet up with UNTIL this morning). I've been waiting for him to do this for a MONTH! He gets there only to find out that his jerk of a doctor who has been most inflexible with him also already signed the document in need of notarization. When the notary pointed this out, doc went off on a tanget about international adoption and how stupid it was with all it's BS red tape. Turns out that not only did he offend US but he also offended the notary who recently adopted from Russia. Nice. Jerk. But I don't want to shift the spotlight from DH, do I?! :-P

As if it would be so easy to just walk away and wash our hands of this doc (whom we've had an 8 year relationship with, by the way), nope, can't be so. Turns out that after mentioning it and having whole entire conversations about the need for TWO notarized originals, Dh blew it off so now he still has to go down and do this all again. Lovely. I can't tell you how annoying it is to me to have the only area of this process I *do* have control over be botched up in even the slightest way. But I'm sure that's just my cold talking :-P

Well, no, that wasn't the end. I, being the prepared one in the family :-P, decided to get ready for our home study appointment this week, two days early. So I went through all the required paperwork only to find out that TWO of the required original birth certificates were missing and DH KNEW they were missing and never bothered to replace them. Whether Dh knew they were needed for this appointment is up for debate (guess you know which side I'll take!) but either way, as the custody of his kids, he should have these things on hand at all times - adoption or otherwise! You lose it, you replace it! Isn't that common sense?!?! They were both for his kids so I woudln't know about them OR be able to replace them myself. Argh. How in the world we are supposed to come up with TWO kids' birth certificates on a dime is beyond me. Dh called to see if we could use photocopies (did I mention that he has photocopies of these but NOT the original?! HOW does that happen?!?!?) and they said ok. He lucked out. So the appointment is still on but I'm still annoyed. Did I mention how much I hate that the ONE part of this process that we DO have some control over keeps getting botched up?!?!? Oh I have? Well, there, I said it again :-)

I don't know whether to throw my hands up and let Dh do it his way (and maybe we'll have a daughter in ten years!) or take it all over myself and stop relying on him in any way. I'm sure I should stick it out and give the whole TeamWork thing another try but today, single adoption sounds a lot easier :-P

And Dh, if you read this, pllllllllbbbbbttttt
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/23/2006§

Garbled No More!
Today I downloaded w.blogger, finally. It's been a few years since I've used it - it is a lot more feature-rich now. Now I can try to figure out how to get that icky Word macro out of my Office Suite. It really sucked!

Are you a morning person? I'm not. I wake up with my Internet like others wake up with their morning coffee. I'm not sure which is worse!? Anyway this morning I woke up to Dh bringing groceries in the house. Yes, he did all the grocery shopping before I even woke up! So I stumble down the stairs, plop in front of the computer to try to focus my eyes on something - anything. Meanwhile, DH unpacked all the groceries while simultaneously making muffins and bacon for breakfast - all of which he served with a mimosa served up in our anniversary flute! I know I should be enjoying it but it makes me want to go back to bed! He's done more already this morning than I might do all day! :-) I do love him though.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/22/2006§

Licensing and Medicals
Today I found out that our agency is still on the radar for licensing. I knew they were but it was still reassuring to hear it again ( They are very close to licensing and just need to complete a final step. Yay! I am hopeful that perhaps around Tet (two more weeks or so) they will have license in hand. I can go back to being rushed to finish everything now! Of course we are still in “hurry up and wait” mode since we can't do a thing until the stupid Divorce Decree gets here. Hopefully this week….

On a happy note, I picked up my medical forms today and all is well! I’m healthy! Yay! ( So now we just need to find two traveling notaries to make the trip to the two separate offices to notarize the medical forms for the agency.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/21/2006§

Screwy Text - Yeah, I Know
The Word – Blogger integration sucks in a major way. Just ignore the terrible lack of apostrophes. I am too lazy to go into Blogger and manually edit each post. But yeah, the integration needs help…..
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/20/2006§

Status Update - Divorce Decree
Well, Dh's sent in the request for the divorce certificate in Dec. They cashed the check on Dec 29. Here we are....still waiting for the darned certificate!!! Without this, we can't send in out I-600a. We also need it for our home study meeting next week. This sucks. Dh finally called them today and they told him that the turn around time was 4-6 weeks which is a total crock since it says ALL OVER the website and the forms themselves that it is 10-14 business days. She explained that that does not include mailing time to get there (duh), processing time for the check, THEN it's processed in 10-14 days and then it is mailed which, she claims, brings the total turnaround time up to 3-4 weeks. Right. Whatever. Had I known, I would have gladly taken the time to drive the 2 hours to Lansing and get it myself a month ago. She claims it is on day 10 or something, in the system, so Dh still thinks we'll get it in time for the home study meeting but my bigger concern is getting the I-600a mailed off. If that takes 6 months to turn around, every day counts. I suck at this waiting stuff!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/19/2006§
My Adoption Physical
Today was my medical, finally! I don’t know why but I dragged my feet – I had to find a new, local doctor. Wow, I absolutely ADORE my new doctor. He is fabulous – I can’t wait to transfer all 7 of us over to his care. Not to mention the fact that he is just five minutes away – how awesome is that?! Anyway, the blood draw was no problem; the TB shot didn’t hurt as much as the kids made it out to hurt! My blood pressure was great. He declared me in good health but we’ll know for sure, of course, when the lab results all come back. Saturday I go in to have my TB test read and to get the rest of my lab results, if they don’t call sooner. I’ll have to arrange another traveling notary to get those forms notarized for the dossier. Anyway, another check on my list.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/19/2006§

References Sent
Today at least of a few of my friends got their home study questionnaires. They are excited which makes me really excited! I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful, supportive friends!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/18/2006§
Agency Licensing Bummer
Yesterday was a major bummer. There was a huge influx of licenses delivered to agencies. THE influx we were all waiting for. But our agency wasn’t on the list. Blah. So what do we do? We wait, that’s all. It’s not a set-back. We aren’t paper-ready anyway. But I was soooo looking forward to our agency being one of the early ones so we could watch others traverse the process.

I checked out the other agencies and was discouraged by the referral times listed and the price. Holy cow!!! Nothing like what I’m expecting from our agency. I am still optimistic that things will go more closely with how I envision them, though. But no one really knows until those first referrals start to come in.

Today I felt a lot more positive about agency licensing. I saw another agency was licensed today and feel like ours is soon to follow.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/18/2006§

Agency App Sent
Today we sent in our agency application, finally!!! We got the application in the mail on Saturday evening, had everything together and notarized, ready to send back on Tuesday. Tuesday because Monday was a holiday! Lol. So off it goes into the hands of our future agency (I hope!).
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/17/2006§

Assigned A Social Worker
Today I got the call from our assigned social worker for the home study. We went over what is needed for the first meeting. I don’t know why I’m surprised but I guess I expected to be able to meet in the evenings or weekends and she wanted to meet during the day during a work week. It took me a few minutes of scrambling but my wonderful friend, C, stepped up to the plate and offered to baby-sit the kids and – voila – we have a first home study appointment! I am really looking forward to it. Who knew a month ago that I’d ever say those words? I feel very positively about things. I know I’ll be nervous about the home visit portion of the study – I envision my kids suddenly freaking out – all at once – and horrifying the social worker! I’d be so nervous I wouldn’t know how to handle things and she’d look at me like I am the World’s Worst Mother! Ha! I know it will be fine, I’m not really that nervous. But then again, it’s a few weeks off yet!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 1/16/2006§

Name: Stepping On Legos
Stepping On Legos Stepping On Legos Home: TX, United States
About Me:

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Addy-Mai. Make your own badge here.
Our Adoption Timeline
Our Referral!!!
The Sedona Hotel
Common Adoption Abbreviations
Packing Lists
Baby Shopping
Ethical Agency List