Capturing our essence, in 24 pages or less

We spent this weekend putting together our family book. This is a scrapbook style document which includes a letter to the birthmother and several pictures of us and our lives, this will be the first thing a potential birthmother will see of us when selecting a family for her child. It is a strange thing to try and capture a family’s essence in 21 pages of photos and a letter. Trying to show someone who has never met us that we are the right home for them to place their child has been a challenge. We know we’d be good parents, and would lavish love and affection on a child entering our home. We know that we have a wonderful family who is eagerly awaiting the newest addition and has already purchased tons of clothes and toys.  We know that our friends are excited for us to add another baby to our growing numbers. We know that a child growing up in our house, with our people, would grow to be a happy, healthy adult. How do you extend that knowledge to a perfect stranger in scrapbook format?

We started out making decisions about what the most important things in our lives were.  We settled on; our relationship, us as individuals, our families, and our close friends.  This settled, we began the great search for photographs depicting all of these things in the best light.  Most of our photos are digitized, so this wasn’t too difficult.  We also dug into our family and friends’ stashes.  The search for the best photos took about two weeks.Our biggest challenge was finding photos of Joel.  He is behind the camera 90% of the time.  We managed to get enough after much searching.  Having a photographer in the family means lots to sort through 🙂  I, as token English teacher in the house, was in charge of the birthmother letter and captions.  Joel, as token graphics designer in the house, was in charge of layout.  One might look at these qualifications and say that we had it in the bag.  Not that easy.

We wanted to make sure that everyone was similarly represented, that we had serious and crazy times, that we showed the full gamut of our lives. We spent the majority of two full days on the task.  After several versions and updates, the first draft is complete and we’ve sent it off to our social worker today.  Phew!

She gave us a little advice and her seal of approval, we’ll be ready to print up a few copies of the book and send them to the agency by the end of the week, then we’re in the pool!

No news, no stress

Domestic adoption is certainly much less of a roller coaster than the Vietnam adoption was. Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But it is bad for the blog. Not much has been happening. So nothing gets reported here. So here’s just a quickie.

We had a brief scare a couple of weeks ago. Our social worker had previously told us we could go into the waiting parent pool before we took the mandatory adoption class.  About 3 weeks later we got an e-mail telling us that she’d changed her mind and wanted us to wait until after the class, which would have set us back another two months. Thankfully Joel was able to convince her that that was not the best decision for us and we can now hop into the pool as soon as our family book is done and take the class in mid-August. But really, this was considerably less stressful than anything we went through with the first round of adoption attempts. And thank goodness for that.

We are still working on the book. Now that I am done with school for the year (yipee!!!!!) I can go to work in earnest and get our “Dear Birthmother” letter written, and Joel and I can settle on which photos will go into the family book. We’re hoping to be finished with the book by the end of the month. It will be so nice to be in the final stages of waiting. We’ve been working for over a year to be waiting. What a strange thing to want!

Thanks for checking in. I’m going to try to post at least once every couple of weeks, more if things start to get exciting 😉

A Quick Progress Update

HI All,

Sorry for the lack of writing, but here is a quick update on our progress.

We had what we’re calling our “Mini-Home Study” on May 7th. Our previous agency was able to give us our entire dossier back because we hadn’t gotten to the point where it had been sent over to Vietnam yet. So along with all of our medicals and fingerprints, we also got our home study. Our current agency was able to use that to create a new home study for us, so we didn’t have to go through all the rigmarole again. Woo Hoo!

However, our social worker did want to come over to the house and fill in a few holes that weren’t in the Vietnam home study. It was pretty much the same as the first one, except with a lot fewer questions and a very different social worker. She is very laid-back and conversational. It’s nice and calming.

The next step puts the ball in our court. We are in the process of creating our family book. The family book is a scrapbook that showcases us as a family (thank you Captain Obvious!). It begins with a Dear Birthmother letter. This is a letter from us to the expectant mothers who are also working with our agency and talks a little bit about us and our journey to adoption. Then there are pages of photos showing us as a couple, our families both immediate and extended, our social group, and us as individuals. The goal of the book is to give expectant mothers a look into our lives so that they have a better idea of who we are and whether they want to place their baby with us. Once the book is finished and turned into the agency we will be in the pool of waiting families and are officially “Paper Pregnant”! So here’s hoping for quick publishing!

Pardon me, may I see your biometrics?

Sheesh! Took ’em long enough but we finally received our fingerprinting appointment at USCIS. Or as they put it “USCIS must capture your biometrics”. I hope they warm up the equipment first *wakka wakka*. The strange thing is that two other families with our agency sent their I-600a application in within two or three days of us (one sent in after ours) and they both received their fingerprinting appointments weeks ago. The US government running in an unorganized fashion? I’m shocked … SHOCKED!

Fingerprinting Appointment Letter

The appointment is Jan. 2nd. What better way to shake off the New Year hangover and start the year on a good foot by being fingerprinted by Homeland Security? But when it’s for a good cause, USCIS can capture my biometrics any time 🙂