Friday, June 29, 2012

A Glimpse Into Our Week

So we had an interesting week.
On Monday something clicked with me, or something gave out...
I had reached my ultimate limit with the co-sleeping.
2.5 years and I could not do one more night.
Monday night we began sleep training, Supernanny style with me sitting in the floor next to his bed, no eye contact, no touching, no speaking.  Jude has done relatively great, and has really exceeded my expectations. (Sometimes it's good to have low expectations.)

This pic is from Wednesday. I had kept him up during nap times, not allowing him to sleep in order for him to be utterly exhausted for bedtime. On this particular day I packed us lunches, packed lots of water , and lathered him in sun block expecting to stay out at the playground from 10:30 to 1:00 during his sleepiest time of the mid-day. For whatever reason, he wanted to come "home" after 45 minutes of playing. A few hours later, inside, and still lathered in sun block, his eye turned red. And then in a matter of minutes it completely swelled shut. It just did not open up and my heart ached. It was an afternoon of slight panic and a rush to the eye doctor. Lo and behold I shouldn't have lathered him in grown-up sun block. Both of his eyes reacted terribly to grown up sunblock. (No worries, 48 hrs later and he's all better, and we've purchased tear free children's sun block for the summer.)

This is a picture of day 3 after sleep training. (Sleep training really means that we either wake up super early or we have a few hours of sleeplessness combined with lots of screaming and whining in the middle of the night.) He fell asleep on the couch while I was in the bathroom blow-drying my hair. Okay, so maybe I had showered at 11:00 am. Don't judge. We had already been out of the house. Promise.) I took a pic of him on my phone and sent it to Brett. Brett responded with this text: "I've always wanted a kid who would fall asleep on the couch."

And this is after I transferred him to his comfy bed, Buzz included.

On Thursday we got a 4th of July goodie package from Grammy Jill and Pops. Jude had been walking around the house all afternoon in his new flip flops, minus pants of course. He was having his lunch on the couch and he was a never ending giggle box.

Can I just tell you that I love little things like this? I love, love, love, that he eats both ends of the burrito, and then eats the middle. Seeing those random bites makes my life better.
And then today we had fun with stickers taking turns decorating each other's faces. This is my life, and I cherish it. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adoption Glossary

The world of Adoption has a few terms and vocab words all their own. So I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain some of the steps we're doing.

Home Study-- A Home Study is conducted by a Social Worker. It involves roughly 3 to 4 visits and completing a plethora of paperwork. All in an effort to show the Social Worker your life. The Social Worker wants to know things like...monumental experiences growing up that affected your life, parenting style, communication style, who are your friends?, who supports you in adoption?, how do you as a couple handle arguments?, who will be your child's friends?, where will they go to school?, what's your neighborhood look like?, does your home have any glaringly obvious hazards?
It also involves background checks in all the cities you've lived in, physical exams, and photocopies of important documents (passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, etc.)
The Social Worker compiles all the information and writes a report that either approves or doesn't approve you for adoption. She basically writes a synopsis of her findings, and this report is sent to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) ...because USCIS has to approve us as a family to bring in a child from a foreign country.

Dossier-- The Dossier is a bundle of paperwork that includes the Home Study, copies of marriage license, birth certificates, criminal check, passport photocopies, physical exams, family pictures, bedroom pictures, letters of reference, employment verification, bank statements, tax return forms, and USCIS approval.

Apostille-- Everything I listed in the Dossier bundle has to have a notary. After each document is notarized, it has to be sent to the Secretary of State in which the document originated (and where the notary received her commission.) And each notary's commission cannot expire from one year in which the document was notarized (a notary's commission is usually good for 4 years.) The apostille is a piece of paper that is attached to the original document with a gold seal and the signature of the Secretary of State.

Hague Convention--  (as defined by the Department of State on their website) The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international agreement to establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child. The Convention entered into force for the United States in April 2008. The Hague Adoption Convention applies to adoptions between the United States and the other countries that have joined it.


The reason we have Dossiers, and Home Studies, and notaries, and apostilles, are all in an effort to safeguard the children and prevent the exchange of money under the table, and ensure safe homes for the children. Not every country is a part of the Hague convention. Adoptions can legally happen between the U.S. and non-Hague foreign countries, but India just so happens to be a Hague participant. 



The unreliable and unpredictable timeline we've been given:

Once our Dossier is sent to India (our goal is October 2012) and arrives at CARA (their adoption entity), on average our paperwork will be matched to an orphanage within one month (could be quicker or slower.)

After that, it is predicted that it will take 6-14 months before we are matched to a child. The referral usually consists of a picture, any medical tests that have been conducted, and a socio-biographical sketch. 

Once we officially "accept" the referral, we file another form with the USCIS, and they officially conclude that the child is indeed eligible to adopt and bring into the U.S. Then paperwork is filed with the U.S. consulate in Delhi to apply for a visa. Once the consulate receives the visa application, a letter is sent to the foreign adoption authority that we are eligible to adopt the child, and the child will be able to enter the country and have permanent residency in the U.S. We then obtain legal guardianship, and do a final visa interview with the child present, along with the guardianship decree. 

We bring her home, and adopt her through the NY state court system, legally change her name, and apply for a U.S. birth certificate. It is my understanding that our child will be a lawful, permanent resident, until we choose to officially adopt and apply for citizenship. 

There you have it. I hope that clears up any questions! ...and I hope I got it all right. :) I seem to learn more details every day, and we've been encouraged to expect changes. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

First Apostille

Our very first apostille came in the mail today. So Missouri is proving to be the easiest and quickest state to get things moving through a government entity. Thank you to the clerks who moved our paperwork fast through the Secretary of State office. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It feels good.
Only 13 more shiny gold apostille seals to go.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

DUMBO

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

I've been wanting to visit DUMBO for weeks now after seeing the park on a Mommy blog. It was a perfect way to burn a few hours of a lazy afternoon. Not only were we surrounded by spectacular views, but the Subway ran across the bridge and thus made it an ideal spot for our little train lover.



During our few hours there, we saw about 8 brides getting portraits taken. The city views and the people watching made for good entertainment. See pic below...

My main reason for visiting DUMBO was because of the gorgeous 1922 Carousel set next to the river. And silly Jude, after paying the 2 bucks to let him ride, then refused to ride. Weird.
So we did a lot of running around the carousel...


And they also had a huge playground. Everything was under that bridge!

He's an expert bubble blower...


Snacking and playing in the shade...


Choo-choo Momma!!



So for the record, having a car, plus good weather, plus a beautiful public park, plus my two favorite people makes for a great afternoon living in the city.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rockaway Beach

We miss the beach so very much since moving to NYC.
But today we headed out for an afternoon of salty air. We do live on an island after all.

All the pics were taken with the phone camera, so bear with us.

The boys looking for jets...



Somebody was not afraid of the water...

Momma got to relax for a bit...

And then the boys were worn out and enjoyed some relaxation too.


Have I said Happy Summer yet? Bring on the warm temps!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cuteness at 98 Degrees

It's supposed to reach 98 degrees here in NYC today. And at 8:00am we're thankful for AC and no blackouts yet.
Today of all days Jude decided to get out my winter hat.

How is anybody supposed to get anything done with this cuteness standing in my living room?











Happy Summer!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Encourager

So here's another little adoption update. (I know I haven't posted pics of the little peanut recently, but my point and shoot camera bit the dust and I have to be really intentional to get my huge Canon out. I will be more intentional. Promise!)

Our agency's corporate office is located in Virginia. We don't get many phone calls from our caseworker that works out of Virginia. But boy, when he calls we are immensely encouraged! He doesn't always have wonderful news about India updates, but any information is such a relief. If I get him on the phone I seem to ask a million questions, and every time he is so incredibly patient, informative, and encouraging. We leave every conversation knowing a wealth of information, and having been guided to pray for specific things along the way.

So I feel compelled to write today to fill you on the biggest prayer request our case worker has asked to pray for. He reminds us of this need every time we talk, and he can't emphasize it enough (so it seems).

To our prayer partners:

Please pray for the specific orphanage our paperwork is matched to. Our agency has no authority to request a particular state (though we may try), or a specific orphanage. The timely manner in which we get matched to our little girl has much to do with what orphanage our paperwork lands in. Particularly, because the orphanage could be large or small, have tons of boys or girls, have specific special needs, or be staunchly Hindu----all factors that could simply speed up or slow down the process. We know our paperwork has a while before it lands in India, but it's not too soon to pray our little girl is in an orphanage that likes foreign adoptions, and is willing to give their children homes quickly and smoothly. And ultimately we know full well that all authority and decision making rests in He who is above all nations. Please pray that no obstacle will stand in the way of getting our little girl home quickly.

Our first Home Study interview begins tomorrow, and our Case Worker in Virginia has reinvigorated our confidence in the process and in our agency as a whole. Thank you Lord for sending us encouragement!
Oh and the word apostille makes me want to vomit. We're knee deep in apostilling from 6 states. Bleh.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Hope To Never Forget

I know the internet is full of mommy blogs with monotonous pictures of their little cuties. I know I'm just adding to the antics with my blog.
But. This is for me, the grandparents, and for printing at the end of the year.

So here's the little love of my life doing what he loves best.
Figuring things out, using anything as a tool, getting underneath furniture and cars over and over and over to figure out the engineering.
I sit on the couch and check email, and this is my view...


He takes some old keys that Grammy Jill gave him and he uses them as a tool to very specifically, carefully, and intentionally stick them in the coffee table.

And a small pile of wood chips that he's carved out lay underneath.


Keep doing what you love Jude.
I don't mind the wood shavings.
Every time I bring out the broom they make me smile, thinking of you and your love for all things tools.


So if you come into my house, take a peak.
And you'll see a set of old keys dangling from underneath the coffee table.


I love you Jude, and love watching your little brain work.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Faces

So 3 weeks after we sent all our Home Study paperwork and documents off to our agency, we now have an appointment for our first Home Study interview officially set.
The interview is not happening on my time table, but it's not my time table to entirely set now is it?
Even though I would really, really, really, really, like to have our first appointment come sooner (like tonight please!), our meeting is set for June 21st. I tried my hardest to get it set sooner (probably at the annoyance of our dear Social Worker), but the date is set as it should be.

And because I'm slightly crazed in my desire to have my little girl home, these are the things that go through my mind...(like maybe one hundred times a day)...
June 21st will be 5 weeks after we mailed our initial huge-honkin' Home Study packet to our agency, and it'll be 10 weeks after the Home Study began. But like I said before, who's counting? Since we've been told this is supposed to take 4-6 months to finish, and if it takes us the full 6 months to complete the Home Study and Dossier... then my very un-mathematical brain tells me it would be October 11th, 2012 when we're done.  So my "due date" of sorts is set in my mind for October.
 India will hopefully be holding our paperwork in their hands some time in October.
I know I should ignore silly time frames like this, but thinking about October just might get me through June. And if October passes, and the Dossier hasn't been sent, well then that'll be perfect too. Because this thing called "adoption" is reminding me that at the end of the day I have zero control.  And I'm not in a race.  And it's okay if everyone around me seems to be growing and adding babies to their homes. As much as I would love for Jude to have a little train-playing-buddy, he simply doesn't right now, and may not for years to come. As much as I would just like to jump on a dang plane to India tomorrow, I can't.
I'm just continuing a fight and a battle God began ahead of me.  He loves our little girl way more than my heart ever will, and His way of getting her home, even in suffering, will be perfection.

So all in all we have happy faces today. (The Mental Health Counselor inside me has been teaching my little 2 year old to understand and identify feelings lately.)

So these are our happy faces...



And if you really want to know, his sad face, and his angry face, are just as cute!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New York Hall of Science

Our day at the New York Hall of Science. Thank you Bank of America for free museum tickets on the first weekend of the month!