PK and the Gang

Bringing Eastern Europe to Eastern North Carolina

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

In which our heroes survive their home study…

It was a long week for everyone. Rex is still recovering.

It was a long week for everyone. Rex is still recovering.

This past week has been a whirlwind. After we found out we were having the home study, I think a secret signal was sent to pull out all the stops. Work was wild, my family joined us in a multi-prong approach to clean the house and prep for a yard sale, we held said yard sale, and then the day of the actual home study. Rex the Dog had a rather exciting week with people coming in and out of the house. He’s a big fan of my niece and nephew. My mind had Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” running through my head all week. Thanks to everyone who donated things to the yard sale and to everyone who purchased things as well! The yard sale was a great success! The money raised through the sale covers the next step on the journey and the money we already have will cover the rest of the home study plus put a good dent in the money for the dossier (which is the next big milestone).

Sunday Becky and I were a bit on edge. The time leading up to our appointment seemed to drag. Thankfully, I work with a great lady who has been through the international adoption process who gave me some very important advice, “Don’t worry. The agency’s job is to make you look good. They want you to adopt.” My mind bounced around between that and more than a bit of panic. The social worker was great. She knew we were anxious and started right away to making us more comfortable. On of her first statements was that we had already applied to the agency and they had accepted us. If they had concerns they would have addressed them, this was to prepare the paperwork for the US and Polish government (which shows how common the fear has to be). Granted, always plan for a hiccup or two – ne’er did the course of adoption run smooth. The calm way she said we were accepted made a feeling of peace fall on the whole meeting.

She reviewed how the adoption process with Poland works. It was pretty much all review for us (the benefit of being a nerd who likes homework). We talked about how the referral process works and then worked on the wording for our home study papers. This will tell the various officials how old of a child we want, how many, if we have a preference of a boy or a girl, and what sort of issues we would be willing to consider.  We’re going for one child, boy or girl, up to five years of age (which basically means up to four because according to how the paperwork goes a child of 5 years and a day would be too old). Along with the usual wording about special/medical needs, ours will have a sentence about being very open to a deaf child. We also had the surprise of being called a young couple. We’re both over 30. We’ve never been called young in regards to starting our family, especially by Southern standards. When we got married I was 27, just about to turn 28 and a lot of my friends from college and high school had at least one baby under their belt and several were working on number two (or more). Still, we got called young and with as much gray hair as I’m getting, I’ll take it!

Most of the meeting we were together. There was a short bit where we spoke to the social worker separately. While there had been times I had mixed feelings about that, I completely understand how good that is. It’s a time to ask questions, or to talk about parts of your history that could be painful and, God forbid, a chance for a potential parent to come clean that they aren’t really feeling this whole parenting gig. She asked about my Tourette’s and how that affects my life (aside from the occasional hoot or flap, it doesn’t) and how my family felt about adoption (they couldn’t be more supportive. I think, if we didn’t keep a close watch on my mom, she would fly to Poland, grab a kid and drop them off at our front door just to speed up the process). I actually asked her why there is the big hush around home studies. She said part of it could be the personal nature and part could be the major differences between how international adoption agencies and DSS run things. We chatted about the need to work to make the home study less mysterious. The last thing she did was a quick tour of the house. Seriously, like three minutes. Still, both Becky and I were glad for the work that we (us and the family) did on that front.

Becky and I have some more homework to do before the next meeting for the home study. It’s mostly information gathering and mailing some things off. Sometime, near the end of April, we’ll head up to Charlotte and actually go to the agency to meet folks there, wrap up the home study portion and check another box off the list.

So, there you go. A week of edge on the edge of our seat for a few hours of calm talking. If you are out there and are on the adoption journey and are getting ready for this part, listen to me closely – Don’t. Freak. Out. You can survive this and you’ll find yourself strangely at ease afterward.

The First Rule of Home Study…

5334281676_14e1e3ffc2_zSince we last chatted, we’ve exchanged several emails with our agency. It has been nice to get to see a bit more of the staff’s personalities. They’ve always been wonderfully nice but in this last week they’ve seemed more like real people. We also managed to schedule the portion of our home study that actually happens in our house. Cue the insane house-cleaning. Now, we’re not slobs, but the idea of someone official coming into your home to make decisions about whether you can get a child or not would make even Mr. Clean ready to break out the big guns. Thankfully, between awesome family and amazing friends there is a team that I’m sure would put Martha Stewart (who is entirely of Polish descent) to shame.

Aside from what seems to be the obligatory cleaning frenzy, there is the nervousness that is setting in full swing. The home study is on Sunday and is supposed to last two hours. At some later point, we’ll head up to Charlotte to have another meeting at the agency. We know that it is a conversation and we figure it will likely be close to the questions that we filled out and sent to them. In some ways, it’s good to meet face to face. You present your real self and paper is a notoriously bad way to read facial expressions. Still, there is an aspect of the unknown. Also, it somewhat feels like the first rule of home study is the first rule of Fight Club – You do not talk about it. I don’t know how much of that is because of its personal nature and how much is that you can’t talk about it but the fact remains. Thankfully, I have some cousins who are great people who reassured us that it isn’t bad. Regardless, any prayers and good thoughts you can send our way would be much appreciated.

While I hate to do shameless plugs, I figure if you’re reading this you must be at least moderately interested in supporting us. With Mother’s Day is on the way and if you’d like to get your Ma a gift and help us out there are a few options. You can get organic, fair trade coffee for the coffee-loving mom from our storefront for Just Love Coffee (there’s a link in the side bar). If you are more interested in something family related, shoot me an email (found on the Fundraising page) or contact me on Facebook about doing family research or transcribing some of your old family letters in order to save them for future generations.

As always, thanks to everyone for your support. We’re so blessed to have so many wonderful people undertake the journey with us. See you on the other side of the home study!

Life is a Highway

This is a detail shot of one of the many gnome statues in the city of Wrocław. While we don't know where PK is in Poland, we do know our heart is somewhere in that beautiful country.

This is a detail shot of one of the many gnome statues in the city of Wrocław. While we don’t know where PK is in Poland, we do know our heart is somewhere in that beautiful country.

And we’re a little farther on our journey. Today we mailed off over 40 handwritten pages as well as copies of those pages to the agency (one thing we’ve learned quickly is that the adoption process is all about the duplicates)! It might not seem like much but this part of the journey was a beast. I’ve mentioned before that these questions were intense. The forms covered everything from our upbringing to how we’ve faced stressful situations to our feelings about the birth mother. It is one thing to have a memory or an idea about those sorts of things and it is something entirely other to put pen to paper and make them concrete. You answer honestly and silently pray that no one  notices just how crazy you are until after the adoption is final.

These papers were what was needed to be turned in before the meeting portion of the home study can happen. This basically means that any crazy I was hoping to hide will surely come out then. I know I can appear much more normal on paper. When we were in the UPS Store today mailing it off, Becky looked at me and told me she was nauseous. When I asked why, she said because now she has to get the house spotless before the social worker comes (and this from a gal who enjoys cleaning). I was nauseous because it meant the meeting is actually going to happen (although we don’t have a date for that yet). I’ve written about my slight feelings of anxiousness about the meeting before so I won’t go into detail. The long anticipation of it hasn’t helped. I’m trying to remember what a co-worker of mine, who has been down this road before, told me – “There’s no need to be worried. The social worker is on your side. They want you to adopt. If they do their job right, the Polish government should want to gift-wrap a child and send them to you.” We’re so glad for our allies and supporters in our family, our amazing agency, our workplaces, our church, and on here.

The papers in question

The papers in question

So, what’s next? Becky and I start gathering letters, (more) financial information, and other documents. These have to have copies made, affidavits signed and notarized, documents apostilled, and eventually a trip to Charlotte to meet with the agency, a trip to Durham down the line for more fingerprints and government documents. I’ve gotten scarily revved up about this section. We have a checklist, we know what we need to do and I feel like I can rock this like a boss. I was so focused this morning on a plan of attack for today and in the near future that Becky thought I was upset. I’m not upset. I’m ready to kick butt and take names.

I know we’ve said thank you many times before, but we truly mean it. We were blessed by several coffee purchases (the link to our storefront is on the sidebar, if you want to order some for yourself) and donations. We put some of that money to good use today. We really could not do this without you.

We’re moving on to the next step in the journey! PK, we’re trying as hard as we can to get to you!

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