PK and the Gang

Bringing Eastern Europe to Eastern North Carolina

Archive for the category “Paperwork”

A Bumpy Ride

poland-151461_1280 (1)Sometimes the trip to PK seems to take forever. In fact, a lot of the time the days seem to drag out. This past weekend, however, has been an intense rollercoaster ride of emotion.

Thursday afternoon, Becky and I got an email around 3:30pm saying that the agency had accepted the dossier and that Friday it should be on its way to Poland. Mission accomplished! The paperwork that we’d been working on for a year and a half was FINALLY finished. Now, we just had to be patient and wait for a phone call saying that Poland had a child for us to consider. We’ve been told that it takes about three months to translate the paperwork and so that would put us around mid-January staring at our phones and willing them to ring. Imagine my surprise when I get a phone call from our agency about ten minutes later saying that they had a child for us to consider.

We had been told that, on a rare occasion, a situation like this could happen. Occasionally, a family has to, for one reason or another, turn down a referral. When this happens, sometimes Poland allows the agency to look through its other waiting families and see if there is another possible fit. Since our agency had accepted our dossier, we were eligible, met the stipulations for this particular child and the fact that they had just read our dossier made them think of us. We said that we definitely would be interested in considering this child. They told us that, instead of the usual 14 days to consider, we had until Tuesday. After that, Thursday is a blur of me acting out of my head trying to process the speed at which this all happened, figure out where we could pull the needed money out of thin air, calling family, reading medical info and watching a video of this little boy who could possibly be our baby. It was hard to get to sleep and I kept telling myself that this needed to not just be a heart decision – the head had to get included as well.

Friday morning brought about strange feelings. It was all still a bit surreal. The rush had worn off some and I think the pressures of everyday life – going to work, giving a lecture, etc. – helped ground us a bit. A look back over the medical records, showed that a bit of information we had glossed over and explained away the night before really was the potential to be a big issue we just weren’t sure we could handle. To top it off, for all the praying we had done, we just didn’t feel a peace about it. Some good conversations and some tears later, we decided to wait until Saturday to really make the decision. When we woke up, both of us were on the same page – he wasn’t ours.

Those words were so hard to say, they were hard to say when we called our families, when I told our agency that we were passing on this referral and they’re hard to type. How do you, in essence, tell a child that you’re not their parents? It may sound silly but the moment we saw his picture, he’s stolen a little part of our hearts. He’s adorable. He’s got a fun personality. He’s just got another family out there, somewhere, that can meet his needs better than we can. It doesn’t make it hurt any less, though. Becky and I have been grieving the last few days for ‘what-might-have-beens’ and been feeling massively guilty. Words just really fail to convey everything that is going on inside. We went to the internet, since it apparently knows all, and searched for people who had experienced what we were going through. One page described it like a miscarriage. I don’t know. Thankfully, Becky and I have been spared the pain of that type of loss. I do know that I still feel like I’ve been punched in the gut and that someone’s tap-danced on my heart. You comfort yourself with the fact that PK is still out there, that this little boy has parents who are dreaming of him like we are PK but, honestly, the best comfort is that even though he isn’t PK, he’s always going to have me rooting for him. When I hear the song that he was rocking out to in the video, I’ll think of him and toss out a prayer. When I’m looking at the adoption Facebook groups that I’m a part of, I’ll hope that one day his face will pop up there with his forever family and thank God that they are better able to care for him than we would have been.

Where does this leave us? Where we were at 3:30pm Thursday. We’re back waiting for our dossier to get over to Poland and to be translated. For now, the roller coaster ride has smoothed out. We’re thankful for this experience, this preview of coming attractions. We’re thankful for the encouragement and the support that we’ve gotten so far. For now, we’ll keep day-dreaming, work on fundraising, and be very grateful that we have months instead of weeks to try and master Polish.

You Can Go Home Again…With Some Delays

Last night/early this morning, Becky and I got back from Connecticut. It was the first time we had seen Becky’s parents in about a year, the first time Becky had been home in two years and it had been a while longer for me. It was nice to visit with friends and family and to relax after some craziness. The few days prior to leaving were rather insane.

Thursday morning, the 20th, Becky and I had an appointment with USCIS for our biometrics, which is just a fancy word for fingerprints and a photo. We drove up to Raleigh the day before. After staying in a motel that can best be described as “slightly murder-y,” we got to the building for our 8am appointment. We were ushered to the room where the citizenship ceremonies were held with lots of other people. A little after 8, a lady came in the room and asked if anyone had an appointment for 8am. Becky and I stood up, along with around thirty other people. We found ourselves in the midst of a cattle call. A bit of paperwork, another set of fingerprints and a photo reminiscent of a mug shot later, and Becky and I were done. This information would be paired with the other information sent to USCIS to see if they would approve us to bring a child into the US.The next evening, we were supposed to fly out to Connecticut.

They're called a murder of crows for a reason.

We don’t know what we did, but the birds were angry.

The plane we were supposed to fly out on was late originally due to a crew member not getting to the plane on time. It would have made making the connection tight but doable. Then the plane hit a bird while landing and caused maintenance issues. We were going to miss the connecting flight and, by extension, miss getting to Connecticut and a cook-out with Becky’s high school friends. Some tears and a little light manipulation later, we were scheduled for an early morning flight out the next day and bump to first class on the flight out of Charlotte. Both of those flights were delayed as well, one for birds who decided to camp on the runway and the other because the plane was missing 19 of those emergency cards that tell you what should do in the unlikely event of the plane experiencing troubles. Still, in the end, we got to Connecticut and a pleasant surprise was waiting for us in the airport.

There in the baggage claim were a crowd of people with signs saying “Welcome Home James.” Our pre-adoptive parent instincts kicked in and Becky headed over to them and asked a woman if they were waiting on someone coming home from an adoption. They were – a little boy from Ethiopia was about to meet up again with his family and a massive amount of cousins and friends, many of whom were adopted as well. We, and Becky’s parents, had the honor of watching James get back together with his family and we all about did the ugly cry. It was a nice picture of what we will experience in the future and while I’m thankful we got to see that, I could have done without the drama that got us there. I’m still not sure what we did to anger the birds.

On our return home last night, there was envelope from the Office of Homeland Security. Inside the plain envelope was a single piece of paper stating that we had been approved by USCIS to bring a child into the country. The piece of paperwork we have been waiting for is here! Now we just have to send it and a thick stack of papers to get apostilled in Raleigh. We are planning on tackling that Monday and when they come back, our dossier is done! We can then send it to Poland and we’re officially waiting.

Along with the waiting, we will be filling out grant applications, Becky is planning on a massive amount of nesting and, in all likelihood, more fundraising. Several folks have asked if we had a Gofundme page. I recently put one up, which shows the amount needed for the money we have to send over before each of the trips and a bit more for extra expenses like the apartment we’ll have while we’re in Poland. We’ve been so blessed with your love and support both spiritually and financially. If you wouldn’t mind, please, feel free to share our story as well our blog and the Gofundme page. You can get to that page by clicking the button at the top of the blog or here. There’s a button there that you can easily share to Facebook with.

On the Polish front, today is the anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of Poland which precipitated World War II. Also, Becky and I have been asked about what PK’s name is going to be. Since PK is likely going to be at least two and their name will be the only thing they have in the world, we want to keep whatever name they come with. There’s a great website dedicated to strengthening Polish cultural impact through the world. They have lots of great pages dedicated introducing Poland to the world at large and have recently done a page on Polish names. If you want to know more about Polish naming traditions and the baby names that were recently popular, click here. Who knows? Maybe PK’s name is on the list. We’re excited to find out!

Polish Holidays and a Huge Thank You

I want to start this post with a huge thank you! Our Chrome Buffalo drive ended on Wednesday and Becky and I feel so blessed. Through your generosity, we received $330 through the drive site and with other gifts and donations during the drive we raised another $150! This money will go towards sending our dossier to Poland. Next week, we actually head to Durham to have our fingerprints taken by USCIS which will lead to the last form we need for the dossier. After that, we just have one more (very large) stack of papers to send to get apostilled!

Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Polish Black Madonna

Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Polish Black Madonna

While we are doing our own little celebration because we’ve been so blessed, today is a pretty big holiday in Poland as well. August 15 is a kind of double holiday there – the Feast of the Assumption and Polish Armed Forces Day. The feast of the Assumption celebrates the belief that Mary was taken bodily up into Heaven. The Catholic churches will have special masses today and many people will make the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa where Poland’s famous Black Madonna is kept. There are several legends surrounding the icon including that it was originally painted by St. Luke on a tabletop belonging to the Holy Family (though studies point towards it actually being a Byzantine icon) that came to Poland in the 1300s. Another legend surrounds how it got its dark coloring and the scars on Mary’s face. Hussites (a protestant group predating the Reformation and very opposed to icons) stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, they had difficulty in covering up those slashes as the painting was done with tempera infused with diluted wax. Another legend states that, as the robber struck the painting twice, the face of the Virgin Mary started to bleed; in a panic, the scared Hussites retreated and left the painting. The painting is still kept as Jasna Gora and many Catholics travel to pay homage the painting.

Today is also Polish Armed Forces Day. It is in honor of the Polish military and a way to remember the victory of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. During the battle, the largely outnumbered Polish forces held off the invading Red Army, ensuring Polish independence for a time. Many national cemeteries will have a reading of the soldiers who died in battle. Today will also hold a very ceremonious changing of the guard at the Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I’m loving learning more and more of the culture of PK’s home country and want to share it with you all. While we might not celebrate all the Polish holidays when we have PK here, I’m going to have to start making a note of which days I should wear red and white – the Polish colors.

Again, thank you all so much for all of your support and love! Until next time!

Paperwork and T-Shirts

Well, the days tick on and we are slowly but surely making progress. Two weeks ago, we mailed off a few of the documents that we needed to get apostilled and then the I-800A, which will eventually lead to us getting approval from Immigration to bring a child into the country. These forms are starting to make their way back! We have the documents that we need from Connecticut back and two days ago, our FBI checks came back with their apostilles too. The Connecticut documents make both Becky and I happy since they have a big, shiny, gold seal. It just looks official. The FBI pages aren’t nearly as impressive, but what’s important is that they get the job done. While we haven’t heard much back from USCIS and the I-800A, we did receive a letter saying that they got our paperwork and forwarded it to the office in Missouri that processes those. Hopefully, we’ll hear back about our fingerprints before we head to visit Becky’s parents in Connecticut at the end of the month.

The "official" shirt of this fundraiser.

The “official” shirt of this fundraiser.

We’re currently in the middle of our fundraiser with Chrome Buffalo as well. The drive will continue until August 13. This company is awesome. Essentially, they are a husband and wife team who do this because they know from first-hand experience what the cost of adoption is. When they found out that there were some technical issues at the beginning of our drive, they not only fixed the problem but extended the drive by three days to make up for the time. This may sound a bit strange, but Becky and I set a fairly low fundraising goal because we like the company so much. Each drive that meets their goal raises the statistics of the number of successful drives they have facilitated and we wanted to do our part in helping make that number a little higher.

We are so blessed that we have so many family, friends and strangers that have shown us love and helped us already reach that goal of $250. That being said, adoption is expensive and we will certainly welcome and can put to good use any other money that is raised. We often get asked about the cost of the adoption and I know I have laid some of this out before, but when we send all the paperwork that we are currently trudging through to Poland, we have to send over $6000.  After we accept a referral (and, no, we don’t know how long after the papers get to Poland that it will be when we get a referral – we know of families who waited months and even two years), we have two trips to Poland. Each trip requires us to send over $8000 before we travel and then we have the expenses incurred by having to live in a foreign country for about two months. Thank goodness that there’s a good exchange rate between American dollars and Polish złoty (pronounced zwol-teh)! We currently have a good amount of the $6000 and any funds that we raise will go towards that and the other fees.

If you’re moved to help us out, please, know you have our thanks and love. If you want to buy a t-shirt you can click here to purchase shirts until 13 August. Some folks have asked if they can just make a donation and you can find a Paypal donate button in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post. There’s also our JustLove Coffee storefront and it, too, has a link in the sidebar.

Thanks to everyone who has given, asked how things are going or even just sent a prayer in our direction. Becky and I are constantly overwhelmed by just how loved we (including PK) are.

Until next time!

The I-800A

Today, our I-800A should have arrived at the USCIS office in Texas. For those of you unfamiliar with all the adoption lingo, this means that Immigration has our paperwork asking for provisional approval to bring a child into the country. I don’t know exactly how long this step of the process will take but hopefully in the reasonably near future (which can mean about anything in adoption time), we’ll be contacted in some way to tell us when we need to go to Durham to get our fingerprints taken. This should, fingers crossed, be the last time we do that. It’s the last one that I know of anyway. The trick is that they give you an appointment day and time and Becky and I have a trip to Connecticut coming up. Knowing our luck, we’ll get the appointment for some time when we are gone. I’ve heard various and sundry things about how easy it is to reschedule so prayers and stories of experience are appreciated. At the end of this step, we’ll have a sheet of paper to put in our dossier to let Poland know that the US government is all right with us adopting. Later, when we accept a referral for PK, we’ll submit another form that is for a specific child.

We’ve mailed off a few of the other forms that we need to get out and we’re preparing a massive stack of other papers that need to go to the North Carolina Secretary of State. It is so nice to actually feel like we’re actively doing something to forward this process.

This isn’t a big update but it is nice to be able to say that we’re inching forward! The Chrome Buffalo fundraiser starts on Saturday! Please feel free to share the link with family and friends. As I was writing yet another check for the adoption today, I figured up that we have a little over half of all the money we need for the adoption! We’re hoping that we’ll be able to secure some grants to make up some of the left over amount but any money we get from the sale of the tshirts will be put into good use!

A Whole Stack of Paper and a Whole Lot of Homework

A massive stack of paper! Lighter placed for comparison.

A massive stack of paper! Lighter placed for comparison.

After far too long of radio silence, Becky and I are happy to post another update. Yesterday, we received a large stack of papers in the mail. This was our long awaited home study.  This is the culmination of months of work. The home visit, the trip to Charlotte, the insane amount of paperwork full of intensely personal questions, recommendations from friends, doctors’ notes, and background checks are all bound up in this packet. This is also the document that will allow us to start applying for adoption grants. It is strange to finally hold it in our hands and even stranger to realize that our lives can be bound up in these pages. I’d like to think that it at least would take a full novel to record the antics of the Arthurs.

For a moment after opening the packet and seeing the product of a year’s worth of work, I wanted to take a break. It only lasted a moment though, as Becky can attest, because within a few minutes, I had the pack spread out and was reading through the instructions for the next steps. The journey continues and we’re already in the next steps. As soon as we got the packet, we started preparing to send the different pieces out to various places.

Our next steps:

Another view of the home study packet.

Another view of the home study packet.

  • One copy of the main body of paperwork plus a few other documents goes to US CIS in order to get approval to immigrate a child into the country. Part of this process is getting our fingerprints done for a third time. This time, however, we have to go to Durham to get it done.
  • The majority of the pages has to be sent to the North Carolina Secretary of State to get apostilled. Apostilling is the process of getting notarized papers a seal that will allow them to be used as legal documents in another country.
  • Some papers have to be sent to Connecticut for the same process. Documents can only be apostilled in the state that it was notarized or, in some cases, created in.
  • Some papers have to go to Virginia as well.
  • Finally, some of the pages have to go to the US Secretary of State’s office to be apostilled.

(While that seems easy, there’s a good bit of prep work that needs to be done. Mostly that involves several documents that need to be notarized and we have to get duplicates of some pages.)

When all of that is done, we’ll have a form from the government that will tell Poland that we have the United State’s clearance and blessing to adopt and we’ll also have the papers we need for two copies of our dossier. The dossier is the paperwork that gets sent to Poland to be translated and guides the Polish government in selecting PK out of all the children who are eligible for adoption. When we send the dossier to Poland, we have to send a large payment as well, which we have the lion’s share of. With your help, we’ve paid almost half of the money that we have to pay the agency.

In order to try to raise some more of the money and due to several folks asking, Becky and I are attempting another Chrome

The "official" shirt of this fundraiser.

The “official” shirt of this fundraiser.

Buffalo fundraiser. Chrome Buffalo is the company that made and sold the t-shirts that we did last year. While the previous design is not being offered in all sizes, we have found another shirt that not only looks nice but has a message that Becky and I feel is very appropriate for our adoption – Love Always Holds Onto Hope. It’s a phrase that has guided us through the adoption and is true on some many other fronts as well. As with the previous drive, we will receive $11 for every shirt purchased and while the anchor shirt is our ‘official’ shirt, there are other great shirts to choose from and I have it on good authority they’re really comfortable. The page says our goal is $250. Honestly, we need a great deal more than that but it is a suggested goal by the company and if we reach the goal posted it helps their statistics. We figure helping the company out a little bit is the least we can do in support of a company that is helping us get closer to PK. The fundraising drive begins on 1 August and can be reached here. Please, feel free to share the link to others you know. If shirts aren’t your thing, we also still have our Just Love Coffee storefront and you can find the link in our sidebar.

We cannot thank you all enough for your love and encouragement as we have gone down this road. Poland is this much closer!

Now that we’ve reached this point, I am going to try to be better about more regular updates and perhaps even some info on Poland, Polish culture and interesting links so that you can learn a bit more about PK’s homeland and culture. I would write more but we’re trying to get two of the above pieces out in the mail tomorrow and so I have other writing to do – government forms!

Another Step In The Journey

This binder only cost a few bucks but it's currently our most valuable possession!

This binder only cost a few bucks but it’s currently our most valuable possession!

Well, a month has passed since we last posted and we’ve completed another step in the process. Becky and I just got home from a trip to Charlotte to meet the folks who work at our agency. It was a bit of a haul, but we’re glad it was something we had to do.

You see, we’ve spoken with the owners of the agency over the phone, through email and once over Skype but we have only ever met our social worker. It was very nice to meet them, shake their hand and know who it is that is helping to make this whole process happen. Everyone was very nice and they approached it with warmth but also a professionalism that is truly impressive and appreciative.

Most of the time was spent with our social worker going over the home study and helping her fill in some blanks. You might have seen the binder that we have compiled, well, most of that was stuff we needed for this meeting and the lion’s share stayed in Charlotte with them (we’ll get it back after the document is completed). It was one of the few times that I felt like I actually had my act together. The social worker would ask if we had a bit of information and we were, usually, able to pull it out and hand it over to her. In case you’re wondering what all is needed at this stage of the journey:

  1. Certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate
  2. A certified copy of our deed
  3. Copies of our monthly bills
  4. Letters with proof of employment
  5. Medical forms
  6. Proof of health, life, home and car insurance
  7. Property tax information
  8. Information on our mortgage
  9. Copies from our three references (you all rock, by the way)
  10. This year’s tax return

Add to that, the massive forms of social and family information, background checks in every state that we’ve lived in since we were 18 (so, NC, SC, VA, CT, and CA), proof that we have completed our adoption parenting classes and a few other things and you get an idea of how thorough this all is. In the end, this document is going to be around 22 pages, along with the documentation, and certificates that our agency has to tack on. It’s no joke.

We also left with some more homework. I have to get proof that I’m paying into the State’s retirement plan (done!). We have to hound the states of California and Connecticut to get their results from our background checks. Because of Becky’s DM and my Tourette’s, we both have to get letters from our doctors explaining our condition, its history and treatment and that we do not have shortened life expectancy and be good adoptive parents. Becky also has to get her TB shot and another copy of one of her employment letters since they didn’t type out the notary oath. Also, we have to get our fingerprints redone by the FBI since those are apparently only good for a year and, therefore, will be defunct in June. While that last little bit is a little disappointing, it really is no big deal and we’re happy to know what needs to be done. Like I said before, I like having a list to check off.

What happens after all of that? When we turn in all our homework, the home study will be submitted to the owner of the agency, when she proofs it and passes it off, it will be sent to Becky and I for our edits (things like deciding medical conditions we don’t feel we could handle, etc.). When we agree to it all, (and I could be misunderstanding some of this) we have to mail off a smorgasbord of documents to get apostilled, get our fingerprints done by USCIS (meaning a trip to Raleigh/Durham), and then I think we’ll be ready to ship our dossier off to Poland (with perhaps a stop by USCIS for their approval). Then we’re in the waiting game. On the upside of that, we’ll have a completed home study and that means we can start applying for some grants. There are some grants that prefer you to have a referral and so we’d have to wait for those but it will be nice to have something else to do as opposed to just sitting on our hands.

As always, thank you all for your continued support. We got our first check from Just Love Coffee today and every little bit helps! We’re so glad that all of you are rooting us on. We know that we are loved and that PK is going to have quite the fan base when they finally do get here!

Until next time!

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.

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!

Getting to Know ALL About You

First and foremost, I just want to send out another thank you to everyone who has given towards PK’s adoption! I’ve tried to make sure to send thank you’s to every one who has given but if my ADD has gotten the better of me or the internet hiccuped, please know that it is not from a lack of gratitude. We could not have gotten this far without your love and support.

Today, we got our first apostille in the mail. Not only are we cleared by the FBI, but the Department of State has given it an official seal of approval. It’s a bit disappointing when the coolest aspect of these forms, visually, is that the State Department uses a rivet instead of a staple. Still, we’ve got another piece of the puzzle in the freakishly huge stack of papers that make up our dossier. All in all, that wasn’t a bad wrap up to our first two weeks back into the full swing of working on the adoption. We’re almost done with the last of the paperwork before the social worker comes for the home study.

It's true. I like think of my life as film noire.

I had gotten a bit more comfortable with the whole interview process for the home study…and then I saw the paperwork. Before, I had joked that it felt like a 1940s interrogation scene – spotlights, a Sam Spade figure breathing questions like “Where were you on the night of June 14th?” down the back of my neck. It turns out that, at least in terms of pre-meeting paperwork, that it is much more like that than I thought. One of the forms has gone over lots of intimate details of my life. Everything from what is your relationship like with your parents, did you get along with your siblings growing up, and what sorts of children are you willing to consider to what were your accomplishments in school, where will your child go for childcare (complete with phone numbers if you have them), and everything in between. This one piece of paperwork took me almost four hours to complete which is much more than anyone really should want to know about me. I don’t even find myself that interesting. Becky hasn’t gotten a chance to do it yet. As soon as that happens, and we get one more questionnaire (which thankfully isn’t 12 pages long) done, we can mail off a packet and get the official home study meeting under our belt. From what I understand, it is basically an in-person version of the forms we filled out. It’s not for me to understand, just do and know that at the end there is a little one for us. Until then, perhaps I should get my fedora dusted off and get Becky a nifty little hat with a blusher veil like any good femme fatale. 

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