Friday, February 27, 2009

Good News!

Well my family and friends, we've done it. The paperwork is complete!
Here's how it went down: Monday we received our certificates of completion for our online training course we had to complete, Tuesday we received the post placement agreement form that had to be signed by our home study agency and Wednesday I finished our photo pages! Thursday I emailed our family coordinator all of our documents to make sure we had everything and to see what the next step is to get our dossier on it's way to be certified and today I mailed it to the Secretary of State!

I can not believe we're at this point. I can't believe it's all coming together now. It seems so surreal. Ben and I have been filled with nervous excitement all week knowing that this paper pregnancy stage is coming to an end...and now that we've mailed it off it just makes everything seem so much more real. Our wonderful coordinator said that we should expect it to take a week to get our dossier back from the state. Then we'll make a bunch of copies (4 total) and send 3 of them to her (we keep one to take with us when we go pick up our baby) and she'll send everything to Ethiopia. WOW!! Is this really happening?? Someone pinch me to make sure I'm not dreaming!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Do's & Don'ts of International Adoption

While doing our online training we came across this list. I thought it was a good one to share.

Do's of Internatioal Adoption
Do treat her like any other kid. It may be difficult and take a while for adopted children to feel like they belong within their extended families. Treating these children like they're "nothing special" can go a long way toward making them feel at home and comfortable within the group.

Avoid the temptation to spoil her because she didn't have everything that the other kids had in the first few months or years of her life. The most valuable gifts you can offer these children are patience, routine, and consistency -- and most of all, unexaggerated expressions of love and devotion.

Do support her when curious strangers ask questions. When curious (and sometimes thoughtless) strangers ask questions or feel the need to comment on the circumstances of the adoption, do not let them lead you into uncomfortable territory. Instead, gently steer them back to more suitable small talk or respond in such a way that shifts the conversation to positive adoption language that in turn lets the child know that you are on her side.

Do respect her privacy. Adopted children have the same need for and the right to privacy as you do. They do not want their entire life story being told to strangers. If she hears you discussing the intimate details of her origins, she will likely feel embarrassed. Until the child is old enough to decide for herself how much information she would like to share regarding her background, please respect her privacy.

Do treat prospective adoptive parents the same as expectant parents. Adopting a child is just as exciting for soon-to-be parents as being pregnant. They feel the same way all expectant parents do -- overjoyed, overwhelmed, nervous, impatient, and most of all, excited. Don't be afraid to ask adopting parents about these feelings. After all, adoption is neither a secret nor a source of embarrassment or shame.

Do acknowledge and celebrate the differences. One of the best things you can do to show your support as well as your love for the adopted child in your life is to learn a bit about the culture and history of her birth country. Read a couple of books, especially travel books. Even if you have no plans to travel there, there is no better way to get the feeling of another country.

Don'ts of International Adoption
Don't introduce her as adopted. The pain this inflicts on the child is obvious. The child is made to feel inferior, like she will never be considered a real part of the family. The rule is simple: Don't ever, ever do this.

Don't say how "lucky" she is. After hearing this enough times, the child can be made to feel like a lifelong charity case, rather than the cherished child she is. Yes, she is lucky, but so is any child who has a supportive, loving family. And we parents are lucky, too, to have been able to create this loving, supportive family.

Don't assume adoption is a second choice. The reasons people choose to adopt are as varied and unique as the people themselves. While it is true that many choose adoption because of infertility, it is also true that many choose adoption for a myriad of other reasons as well. Many people choose to adopt not because they are out of other options, but rather because they believe that adoption is the best choice for them.

Don't jump to conclusions about the birth mother. Often thought of as weak, irresponsible, cheap, and worthless, birth mothers often suffer a lifetime of pain far greater than that of childbirth. Please don't jump to the wrong conclusion that these women are any different than you and me or that they love their children any less.

Most cross-cultural adoptive families know little or nothing about the circumstances that led their child's birth mother to relinquish her child. What they do know is that they love their children's birth mothers because they are a part of their children and it is because of them that their beloved children are who they are.

Don't tell us we're sure to have "our own" now. She is our own. Having "our own" is irrelevant; the child we have is the one we want and it is inconceivable that we could love or want any child more. Like all parents, we have the best.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our I-171H is here!

We are almost done! We received our I-171H in the mail last week and are finishing up the online training course and getting the last documents finalized and notarized. I think we should definitely have our completed dossier in the mail to the agency by the end of the month to be sent to Ethiopia. We're going to have a dossier celebration when it's finished! :-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cakes Galore!

Here are some pics of some of the most recent cakes I've made. I'm working on building up my protfolio. :-)