Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The paper chase is no joke!

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. That's the name of the game! But we're getting closer to being done with the paper chase-at least on the US side. There of course will be more paper chasing once we're over in Ukraine.

While our social worker put together our home study it was time to start on documents for our dossier. Certified marriage licenses, proof of home ownership, another round of medicals...and then yet one more because I messed up the birth date for Lance on one of them, employment verification...and then yet one more because of a minor typo, etc, etc, etc.

Lance and I made a quick trip to Arlington on a Saturday morning before Tanner's soccer game for the live scan fingerprinting for our FBI background report...and once it came back (all clear!), I turned around and mailed it off to the U.S. Department of State to get apostilled. Still waiting for that one to get finished and returned to us (but I check the tracking on its return envelope daily...maybe the more I check the faster it'll happen?!?!?).

We got our home study back to review and then off to Ukraine it went (via email) for them to review. After a few minor revisions we got the completed packet of our home studies in the mail last Friday! Talk about happy mail! Saturday morning we had the Green Door 5k but I managed to make a mad dash to the post office 30 minutes before they closed to mail our I-600A form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
They review the documents, send us for yet another set of fingerprints and then will eventually issue us our I-171H...basically saying we can bring an adopted child into the States. Homeland Security's website says their normal turnaround for this is 2.5 months...ugh. SLOW!

This morning I got the last batch of forms that will be included in our dossier. 14 different forms, some needing multiple copies, for a grand total of 29 documents to sign and get notarized! They don't call it a paper chase for nothing! This was what Hadley's nap time looked like for me today...double checking birthdays, passport numbers, names, etc. on all the forms before printing them out! Our poor printer is tired!
So the dossier paperwork is almost done...but now it's time to start working on adoption grant applications. There's non profits out there willing to help people adopt, but of course they each have their own application and supporting documents (references, tax returns, pay stubs, etc) that they want to review. We've gotten one application submitted and hope to have a second one complete and in the mail later this week. I've got them all on a spreadsheet and hope to apply for 5 or 6 different ones that we might qualify for.

And then we wait. Wait to hear back on whether we are awarded any grants and wait on Immigration to issue us the I-171H - the last document we'll need for our dossier to be complete! Both of those things are completely out of my hands. This popped up on my Instagram feed yesterday and it was such a good reminder for this control freak.

So that's the boring update...just lots and lots and lots and lots of paperwork. But totally worth it and won't be a big deal at all when it means we get to bring Bailey kiddo #3 home!

Friday, April 8, 2016

One step closer...still lots to go!

We had our home study yesterday! Yea! Check one major thing off the list!  The last few weeks have been full of paperwork leading up to our social worker’s visit yesterday. Marriage certificates, financial statements, autobiographies (yes we had to write them!), TB tests, fingerprints, physical forms, employment forms, tax returns, reference letters and the list goes on! 
 A screenshot of just part of the list of documents for our homestudy...it's a long list!

The kids were troopers…they had to each get a TB test. I was so proud of Tanner-he was so brave and there weren’t even any tears!
 Suckers for everyone after their TB tests and Tanner proudly showed off his "dot" as Hadley called it!

We also had to complete 10 hours of online Hague training…lots of time in front of the computer after the kids went to bed watching “interesting” presentations.

Since all the forms and paperwork were collected, we were ready for our home study visit. Thankfully my mom had offered to send someone to clean the house on Wednesday or I would have been a crazy person. What I thought was going to be a slow week has turned into a week full of long doctor’s appointments for our family. Monday and Tuesday for Tanner-looks like he’s got the beginnings of kidney stones (poor guy-he was doomed with genes from Lance and me) and then Hadley must have been feeling left out because she went to the pediatrician Wednesday for what I thought was an ear infection (it of course was nothing-she’s just not sleeping because she’s a toot!).

So I was beyond thankful that I didn’t have to worry about scrambling to clean everything! House was cleaned on Wednesday, we went to play with the Huntons right after school (at their house so the house stayed clean) and then dinner at the Pieratt’s so the kitchen stayed clean! Probably the longest stretch ever that my house has been clean! We felt very loved this week...texts checking on Tanner and offering to help with Hadley and then texts and phone calls letting us know that so many people were praying for us on Thursday. It takes a village...and this little one is going to join our family and get an awesome village of friends who love well! We are thankful!

We found our social worker through two friends that had adopted and she was just as great as they had told us! Made the interviews super easy and laid back – even as she asked us every question under the sun! She talked to Lance and I together and then separately. And then it was Tanner’s turn! Overhearing some of his answers was funny. He told her he thought the adoption was “awesome!” He told her that we like to go to 6 Flags as a family (um we only go once a year…). And then when she asked him about what happens when he gets in trouble, Lance and I were trying to not laugh out loud! Hadley insisted on being interviewed too! She heard Tanner finish downstairs and she headed downstairs saying “It’s my turn! Mommy you stay upstairs!”

Tanner helping Hadley with her home study interview - discussing things like Paw Patrol, Tanner's favorite letter and number (he decided she would definitely ask him that question, and their ever changing favorite colors!)

So now we wait for the home study to be written up and start working on the paper work for the dossier! But having the home study done is definitely one big step closer to meeting the little guy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Exciting News!

Well, LOTS has happened since the blog went quiet! Ha! Tanner is obviously older…started Kinder this year…and we added a sweet, spunky daughter to our family-Hadley! But the big announcement and main reason for resurrecting the blog is that we’re adopting!

Part of me can’t even believe I’m typing those words and that it’s really happening…but it is! We have officially started the process and been accepted by an agency to adopt a little boy from Ukraine.

For me adoption is something I’ve wanted to do since 8th grade when my family lived in Ukraine. Living there and then going back to both Ukraine and Russia to work in orphanages has always stuck with me, and I’ve known I’ve wanted to adopt…and my heart’s desire was to do it from Ukraine or Russia. It was a topic Lance and I discussed early on in our relationship and has been something we’ve revisited often.

Since those early conversations, lots of changes have happened on the adoption front-ups and downs. Late last year, we decided we wanted to add to our family through adoption, but were kind of stuck as to what that was supposed to look like and where we would end up. We thought for the longest time, we’d adopt from Russia, but Russia is closed, and Ukraine had changed its laws so we thought that was off the table too.

We contacted several different agencies and even considered different countries, but ultimately found Grace International Adoption Agency and are excited to be starting our journey to add a little Ukrainian to our family!

Tanner is beyond excited. Lance mentioned the possibility to him in passing and it stuck! He immediately came downstairs and told me we were going to “get a kid from another country!” He’s got his own list of names going for his brother and has started announcing to anyone who comes over “We’re adopting a kid!”

Hadley isn’t quite sure what all is going on, but when you ask her if she wants to be a big sister, she’s game for that!

Big brother pointing out Ukraine to lil sis

We’re excited (and a little nervous if I’m honest) about the adventure we’re embarking on! Should be quite stretching for this control-freak! Ha! Or maybe just a good, hard exercise on trusting God because it’s completely out of our control! But he’s taken care of us this far…even when I’ve wondered what in the world he was up to or accused him of putting me in the wrong family (back in 8th grade when moving to the Ukraine was the worst idea I had ever heard of). He’s proven Himself faithful over and over and over-in small things and big-and He is good.

Can’t wait for this journey and really can’t wait to introduce you to Bailey kiddo #3!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

thanksful that's over!

we spent this morning at children's visiting with an allergy doctor for tman. when we finally figured out he was actually allergic to peanuts our pediatrician suggested we get him tested since peanut allergies can be severe for some kiddos.

to tell you the truth, i've been dreading this morning ever since i set the appointment up. lance had told me how awful he remembers his allergy testing and i most definitely wasn't looking forward to subjecting tman to that torture. but i was also looking forward to getting some definite answers. we've been completely avoiding all nuts since we figured out peanuts were off limits and i was hopeful to get a definite yes/no on those. and to see if there was anything we hadn't thought of to try for his horrible seasonal allergies/drainage/throwing up.

lance took the morning off to go with me (no way i would have wanted to have done it alone!). they did two environmental tests and then tested for 11 food. and yes, it was pure torture for both of us. lance held his arms and i held his hips down, sang 'jesus loves me' trying to calm him down at least a little and tried not to cry. he screamed and cried. as soon as it was over i picked him up and he puked all over me and him from being so upset (i had planned on this possibly happening so thankfully we all had a change of clothes in the car).
 snuggled up with mommy waiting for daddy to get our clean clothes from the car.  
he perked up a little bit when he realized he could wash his hands (and of course this mommy would let him do whatever he wanted since we just finished a torture session).
top left was the outdoor stuff...clearly allergic to a lot-bermuda grass and marshhelder and elm were the top 3. gotta love that bermuda grass is everywhere...not much we can do at this point but keep the allergy meds going. bottom left weren't too bad-the dog and cat test were in that batch and thankfully those were negative. 
the numbers down the side were foods. shellfish came back negative. peanuts were a definite allergy. almond hazelnut, pistachio and walnut all had some reaction.

the almond and hazelnut were small and the doctor thought we might be able to try those (he suggested trying them in their office first just to be safe), but definitely no peanuts. 

we're going to learn to be a label-reading family!!! 

the doctor did say there's lots of trials going on helping kids become desensitized to peanut and he said he was certain that tman wouldn't go to college still allergic to peanuts-they are going to figure this out! after this, we had to get lab work. torture session #2. clearly not fun having to hold your child down while he cries, but thankfully the nurse got it on the first try.

being near the train track, we had heard several choo choos go by while we were at the hospital and tman kept asking to see them. so after enduring two torture sessions we figured he deserved a fun trip to the main hospital to see the awesome trains!
while this morning was tough and exhausting (i was sweating before we were even finished with his vital signs-he doesn't like those either!), i was thankful that we were only there for some allergy testing. thankful that while his boo boos from this morning weren't fun, having a band aid boo boo from a blood draw is nothing compared to the boo boos that some of the kids have to face. i am beyond thankful for my healthy little guy who hasn't needed to visit the hospital for anything worse than allergies and can walk and run and play and talk...definitely things i usually take for granted. a children's hospital will put things into perspective for ya real quick!

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Monday, May 7, 2012

catch up

ugh-it's been over a month. so this is going to be brain-dump/blog catch up and hopefully i won't fall so far behind again. although some of it is for a good reason...after we got moved back in from the skunk, lance had a 8mm kidney stone and was home for almost 2 weeks before getting it blasted. so things were a little hectic around here! we did a LOT of this:

we visited a fun place called the gentle zoo with kristin, anna, audrey and ellery over spring break. it was tons of fun-tanner's favorite part was the big sand box. he liked feeding the animals too-followed his big cousins lead and wasn't scared at all.
we've had a couple of fun baby showers for taylor. tanner even got to attend the one at her school and "help" her open all the gifts. he kept saying "tanner's" after each one...he hasn't quite figured it out that it's not all for him! pic on the right he was cheering "YAY!" about burp clothes (aka tanner's binkys)


we got to go to dinner with rachel and chad while they were here house hunting and checking out rockwall...yes, they're MOVING HERE! so exciting!

i made borscht with my new neighbor, anastasia. she's russian (lived here until her mid-20's) so it was totally authentic! lance was a great sport and tried it for dinner!

we went to the zoo for the first time with taylor. tanner loved the lions (HUGE he said) and watching me feed the giraffes. he wasn't quite brave enough to feed them himself.
 he LOVES driving!
 watching the lions on tay tay's shoulders

and probably one of the highlights...watching a digger over the bridge. true boys!
we had a fun playdate with our new Rockwall mops friends at the arboretum...my allergies were going nuts, but still a fun time. of course i decided this one time not to take my camera. several of the other moms were taking pictures and apparently tanner felt left out because he looked at me and asked me to take his picture...normally when i pull out my camera he waves me away saying NO! go figure! but i did get a fun iphone pic of the 2 of us...one of my new favs (minus my crazy red, itch, watering eyes). we've loved meeting some new friends as we jumped in mid-semester in rockwall mops!
funny story-as i was changing tman's diaper, i realized i had started to put it on him backwards. i said something like, "oops, mommy was trying to put your diaper on backwards." with no prompting he looked at me and called me a "do do." it was hilarious! he loves the big bird movie and the do do family in the movie...so now anything silly is a do do-including ME!

we had a fun afternoon of painting. he would paint, decide he was dirty, and then forget about it and keep painting...over and over. he painted LOTS of paper and then decided to paint his knees, arms, tummy and even ears!
tomorrow we are headed to the allergist for tanner. i'm dreading it...skin tests or blood draws-neither sound fun, but i'm guessing it'll probably be more traumatic for me than for tanner.
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