I'm Moving!!!
Well, I'm taking the plunge. I'm moving over to LiveJournal. I have a private adoption journal on my homepage, I have this journal, I have another journal here that I rarely use. It's time to consolidate. I love Blogger but it doesn't have filtering. So come join me at LiveJournal!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/28/2006§
Question Of The Day
At what point in this process will you apply for a travel Visa? How much does it cost? What is involved?

posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/28/2006§

My Name Is....
Now that the First Trimester of Adoption (home study) is out of the way, I've finally changed my silly profile to reflect my name! LOLOL Now we can tell family - here's hoping they are at least SOMEWHAT supportive!

And another thing - we got approval for TWO!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) I emailed my agency to get a cost breakdown for that to see if we can swing it. I really really REALLY want it. I won't be totally heartbroken if we only bring home a single daughter. But if we can, I really want to go the "two-fer" route. And we initially wanted twin infants but now we are STRONGLY considering a toddler/preschooler!!!!! Are we nuts? I just think it would be a nice age span between Noah (who is 4) and Madeline (who will be under 1).
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/27/2006§
The Good and The Bad
On the adoption front, it's all good! We had our final home study meeting (the much anticipated home visit) and it was very lovely. The kids did great, I'm very proud of them! She didn't specifically say we passed but she spoke of the home study as a done deal, said it would be ready to send to INS in a week, so that means we passed! Probably she never really thought we wouldn't, unlike me :-P

The bad part isn't really related to adoption but it has totally ruined my day. RIGHT in the middle of the visit today, my 11 year old son (who has never been big on tact) announces that his biological father told him and my 8yo son, last night, that he was going to "take some custody". A little background: He's a total loser deadbeat who owes massive amounts of child support. Last week he went to court and they ruled that he pay a few grand in two weeks and I'm sure that sent him off the deep end. He's always been totally unstable even though he can see the boys as much as he wants, he's always limited his time to just one day a week for two hours (or less, sometimes, very rarely more). He's NEVER had them overnight, never participates in their life, etc. He's pretty much just an occasional visitor in their life. But apparently he got it into his head that he can avoid child support by taking custody of the kid! It's ludicrous and doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of happening but the reason I am totally devastated is because he is now taking out his anger by putting my boys in the middle. He talked to them all about what leaches my husband and I are for "living off" his child support and the support of my husband's ex-wife (she doesn't actually pay any either, by the way). And how he is going to take us to court for custody and I don't even KNOW what else he told them. That is all they were willing to talk about and I don't want to put them even more in the middle by prying.

So, even though we are one HUGE step closer to our daughter, I feel like this huge ominous black cloud hanging over my head and I have NO Idea what to do :-(

And, incidentally, I really really REALLY HATE drama.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/27/2006§

Intro to Vietnam Adoptions
I decided to write a general overview of adoption in Vietnam. It is meant to be a brief 101 but turned out not so brief.

I'm totally feeling like I missed important things or wrongly stated certain parts. Take a look here and tell me if you see any glaring errors or omissions.....thanks :-) It is meant to be written for someone with no international adoption experience (or at least no Vn adoption experience). Thoughts?
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/24/2006§
Just a few more days....

Our home visit is Monday. I'm not as nervous as I thought I'd be, even given the huge disaster that is my house at the moment! In prep for this home visit, I thought I'd try to conquer every single major project looming over our heads these last six months. I reoganized all my decade of sewing supplies, all my scrapbooking stuff, all my knitting stuff. It took hours! I finally gave up at the bins of craft supplies and am just storing those until I have more time. Not that I think it is necessary, just using it as an excuse to get motivated I guess! Of course now I'm worried we wont' get it all cleaned up and wrapped up by Monday.

Today my goals are minimal - clean off my sewing table, my computer desk and hang a few pictures sitting here waiting for walls. Speaking of which....here is the end result of our kiddy canvas painting project :-) This is the wall people see when they walk through our front door. We will definitely have to adopt two kids as one will throw the whole balance off :-)

What are your plans this weekend? We are hoping to see 8 Below now that the kids are mostly healthy but mostly we'll be trying to wrap up this home visit prep stuff. I will be glad when it's over and we get approved so I can start telling family of our plans :-)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/24/2006§

Full Moon?
I ask because first of all two mamas who aren't even due yet both went into labor! A friend of mine had her baby early this morning after a 45 hour labor - what a champion! The coolest part is that she and her hubby set up a webcam in the hospital so we could watch her on and off throughout labor. When she wasn't comfy having the webcam on, her hubby conferenced with us over IM and kept us up to date with each new piece of information. What this means for me and at least one other mama is that we stayed up until 4am to meet the new arrival :-) We got to see him minutes after birth over the webcam and a more beautiful baby never existed! I'm so happy for their family as this was a re-marriage and a tubal reversal for Mama.

Another friend who is having a homebirth is in some active labor right now and has also kindly kept me posted over IM. Gotta love technology!!! Anyway, when it rains it pours.

And if that wasn't proof enough - this morning in broad daylight at 9:30 am a coyote ran across our lake in the backyard. We live in one of those newer subdivisions where there aren't any trees yet and our lake is really really small - if the kids go fast enough they can sled clear across it to the other side. The houses all surround the lake below (think old rock quarries) so when anything is on the lake, they are in broad completely exposed daylight. We've seen deer by the water in the early morning hours but seeing a coyote run across the entire lake was a site to behold.

There is definitely something weird going on......
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/19/2006§

Here we go again!!!
Man, I'm starting to feel like we live in a sick house :-(

My oldest son (11) now has a fever. He NEVER gets sick so this is not a good sign. He relented on taking some meds for comfort after an unrelenting headache today. He has already napped once. Blah. We just can't seem to escape the bugs.

I've been eating like crap lately. I really need to do something about that to get some energy. I'm all about convenience foods during the day, though. Any ideas on good, quick, fast foods that don't involve cooking?!?! :-P

My puppy is getting neutered today. I don't miss him. Is that bad?!?! :-) It's quiet, no one is eating toys, I wish I could say no one is peeing on the carpet but my other dog took over where the puppy left off today, it seems.

What are your weekend plans? We had a soccer game that seems like it won't be happening now that D is sick. And I think it's high time we clean the house for the home visit. I have friends coming over early next week so at very least it would be nice if they could make their way through the scattered easter baskets baby N took out today in preparation for Spring. Wheeee! So nothing exciting except the All Star Game on Sunday - woot!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/17/2006§

New Books
I've been collecting books on Vietnam and finally dove in to Culture Shock! Vietnam. It is really great! It was written in 2000 which means it's 6 years outdated which, actually, probably makes a huge difference. I already feel...well...less shocked! I highly recommend it. I also have Rough Guide to Vietnam but have only breezed through it. I feel like it's silly to spend a lot of time reading it when we won't know for awhile if we are going to be in the north or the south.

It does bring up a lot of questions that I am curious to know about my boys' grandparents who are Viet Kieu. Even though I lived with them for several years, the only them I really know is the Americanzed version. Here, in America, they are Catholics, they are obsessed with wealth and materialism. They still cook traditional Vietnamese and speak Vietnamese in the home. They have five kids including one special needs child. As a family, they don't really seem to push education as a goal - only their daughter went to university and my boys' father dropped out of school in the early highschool years. They spend a lot of time singing karaoke and gambling. And cooking and eating. It always seemed to me like a sad sort of combination of old world and new americanization. But I don't even know what religion they were back in Vn. I don't know where they lived, how much family they have left over there, how it was to raise a child back in the 70's in Vn, what they did for fun in Vn, how often they go back to visit, etc. I pretty much know nothing. Unfortunately I don't have a good enough relationship with them to be able to approach them on any of this.

I was, however, thinking of assigning a family history biography to my kids and having THEM to the research. After al, it is their family! They SHOULD know these things! Ahhh, the benefits of homeschooling!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/15/2006§

Baby hammocks
I was writing an article, this morning, about Attachment Parenting and reference Dr. Sears' website where I caught glimpse of this ad and just HAD to click on it. I swear I'm not usually an ad-clicker but this caught my eye:


Doesn't this just look a LOT like the baby hammocks that are often seen in Vn??? I bet some of us with younger babies would really use a gadget like this! Too bad the Infant-to-Toddler Amby is like $300!!!!! The basic set isn't much cheaper. I did a quick check on ebay, though, and they are way cheaper. Maybe this will be my referral gift :-P

Verrrrrry interesting.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/14/2006§

Ok, I've looked over the agency packet and, as always, I have a bazillion questions. I feel like such a dummy in this process! I don't like not understanding. I've already rattled off a bunch of emails to my agency but here are my questions......

  1. Do we need to get our passport photos state certified? Because they are on the list of documents to be state certified and I thought that was maybe an error!? LOL No, these are fine the way they are :-P

  2. What is a gold seal and how do we find a notary who uses them? We found them but also found out we don't need them. Since we already have some documents notarized, this is a good thing :-)

  3. How do we notarize our vital records? We don't actually SIGN them so how can they be notarized?! And why bother? Our agency included a form that we staple onto the vital record. That is notraized and then state certified so we won't have to go to the trouble of getting new vital records. Yay!

  4. Do I need to state certify my certificate of birth abroad? (I found this info online and the answer is NO - yay - it is already certified to the greatest extent possible - the benefits of having an annoying certificate abroad, I guess :-P)

  5. Is the police clearance needed for the dossier the STATE clearance? I found some info online from our state department about getting a police clearance through the state that involves going to my local PD, getting fingerprinted and sending the print card to the state we live in for processing which can take up to a month. Is this what we need to do? I thought I read other people just go do this in person on a local level. And how is this different than the clearance that BCIS does or that our homestudy does? Local clearance is fine. Woot!

Ok, that's it. Any help, anyone?!?! Have pity on me!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/11/2006§

Dossier Prep Begins
I got our packet from the agency today! Yay, now the fun begins. I glanced briefly at it but felt so overwhelmed that I closed it as fast as I opened it. Today is not a good day to preview all that is ahead! I made the apparently large mistake of taking a half day off to take our 3yo to see Curious George (so cute!) and that meant that I came home to find that not only did I have a day's worth of work to squeeze in a half day, my older boys have done nothing but play video games all day so now I have to supervise making sure they, too, have a full day's work crammed into a half day. I also have a web hosting biz that I decided, recently, to make a huge change to that requires manually moving every client to a new server and I started one project before I left today only to come home and find out that it did not go as planned and I can not figure out why. Of course, sensing how overwhelmed and stressed I was, my 3yo decided to break into gut-curddling screams, Dora the Explorer cut off midway through Tivo-ing and I'm left with nothing else to do but to contact tech support (oh do I LOVE tech support) for support. So now I wait. My head is still swimming with details. And I've let DH know that when he gets home from work at 5pm tonight that he's On Duty for the rest of the night so I can try to catch up with the month's worth of writing, the server move project, a few other web projects and maybe, if I still can keep my eyes open, I can look through the folder again and see what we need to do. FORGET doing any household projects today - NOT gonna happen!

Tomorrow DH and I have a romantic V-day linner (lunch-dinner) :-) and then Sunday Dh has agreed to drive out to pick up a pool table we scored for free! Yay! Of course, as you might guess, there won't be a whole lot of time or opportunity to play. At least not for me!

So anyway - another strike on my list! Woot!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/10/2006§

Just a bump...
I'm healthy again. I guess I ate some bad Chilis. Weird. I never got super sick but I was nauseous on and off all day. Well I"m good now. And I got a bunch done last night too.

I heard from our agency today. She got our contract check and is FedExing our dossier prep stuff today. Yay! I also had asked when the agency would show up on the Embassy List and she said that she had just not taken the time to submit the info required yet. I didn't realize that was something that needed to be done on the agency end. I know my agency is very small and there are so many hours in a day so I am glad to hear that they just are busy serving us clients :-P

Well, it's snowing here AGAIN! The kids all had dentist appointments yesterday and they are all cavity-free. Yay! On a weird note, my youngest son tripped on a toy on Friday and hurt his foot really badly. He wouldn't really walk on it until Saturday and was still limping 24 hours later so we took him to the ER for x-rays just to be sure. They said he was fine so we went home. He was 100% by the next day and hasn't had any issues since. Last night the ER called to tell us that on second thought they DID see a fracture! oy! But they said since he is fine, it would not need treatment. Phew!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/08/2006§

I woke up when DH came to bed last night and I felt like puking. I woke up this morning and didn't feel much better. Now I'm wandering around the house whining. I don't know if I have just not been eating well or eating too much or not enough but I REFUSE to believe I have yet another virus. NO NO NO!

I painted one of the kids' bedrooms in 4 hours on Sunday. This is really good for me, believe me! LOL It also includes set up (taping, laying down plastic, etc....) and clean up. I bought a power roller and I LOVE it. It did such an amazing job on the walls that I only needed one coat and one gallon of paint. It looks fantastic, too, no streaks or anything (unlike my manual rolling jobs!). The color is great. I thought it would be too yellow but it's a sort of yellowish-green. It is so bright and cheery. I'll try to get pics up later.

That's all the painting I have immediately planned (or at least bought paint for). I still have the smallish project of getting my two oldest boys' photos into albums (bought albums, not scrapbooking right now). Hope to do that today, stomach willing. And I am going to frame and put up the three prints I bought for my youngest son's room and maybe some shelves too.

We bought canvases for each fo the kids and cool colors of paint and we are going to have all six kids paint a picture, sign and date and hang them in the foyer. :-) It is going to look GREAT! I stole this idea from a friend. We have all these massive walls (our old house had NO walls) and no taste or money for art! LOL So this is what we'll do while the kids are little.

Adoption News: No news on my end. I am loving seeing the referrals start to trickle in. I am SO pleased that referrals are being made NOW for babies that were born in Dec/Jan as we really want a very young baby. I hope to be able to nurse our new baby and the younger the better. I know breastfeeding an adopted baby isn't for everyone but it is something I want to at least try to do. The bonding is amazing between a breastfed baby and his/her mama :-)

Our home visit is still several weeks away. Don't really feel much like preparing for it yet. Some word down the pipeline on a local adoption list advises NOT to send in the I-600a until the homestudy is ready so I"m glad I held off. So beginning of March it is. I hope the turnaround is super fast. Still no packet from the agency. Maybe next week, no rush. Still haven't broken the news to family. No rush :-)

This weekend Dh and I are going out to celebrate Valentine's Day. I have no idea where we are going - it's a surprise. I just better not be sick!!!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/07/2006§

Second Home Study Visit - check
We had our second (and last non-home-visit) home study meeting today. Phew - it's glad to have that behind us. The meeting itself went fine but getting there was a royal PITA. My friend who agreed to watch our kids got the flu this week so we had to hit up another friend who gratiously agreed but lived over an hour away from us. Our appointment was at 9am. We had to leave at 7:30am, with kids in tow, but traffic kept us from reaching my friend's house until 9am! :-( Thankfully we made it to the visit by 9:20 but, suffice it to say, it's been a long day of being in the car. DH had to make arrangments to get two of his kids on the bus and his Kindergartener needed to stay at school a few minutes because we didn't make it home in time for him to take the bus home. Yikes!

The kids will be excited to learn that they get to stay home from school for the morning for our home visit.

The bad news is that we can't get squeezed in for the home visit until the end of February :-( Blah. I was hoping the home study would be done next week. Oh well - best laid plans.

Our SW wants us to hold onto our I-600a to turn it all in with our home study approval. Things here at BCIS are NOT going well. The whole office moved and the staff changed hands in the last six months and they implented new policy (no fingerprinting until after home study is received) and apparently things are totally disorganized and chaotic. So I don't get to cross that off my list after all and won't get to until beg. March. Now we are looking to be DTV by June - that seems so far away. Maybe we'll get a referral right away and be ready to travel by fall :-) One can hope!

I'm keeping busy by painting like a maniac. This is the wall I painted yesterday. I still need to stencil some chinese characters on the wall around the clock, I think, in some subdued color. Or maybe we won't. This weekend we are painting one of the kids' rooms - this time bright colors, not dark. It will be way easier, I think! Anyway, I always ALWAYS wanted a purple wall. Now we have one :-) My oldest son said "Wow, not it feels like home and not just a new construction house!!" ;-)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 2/01/2006§

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