Major Adoption-Related Events

  • 09-04-29 Part One Sponsorship Application Completed and Sent
  • 08-11-04 Dossier in Ethiopia -- the wait begins
  • 08-10-24 Dossier on its way to Ethiopia
  • 08-10-23 Dossier back to Imagine
  • 08-10-17 Dossier to Ottawa
  • 08-10-07 Dossier (finally complete) at Imagine
  • 08-09-10 Dossier (most) Sent to Imagine
  • 08-09-04 Provincial Approval Received
  • 08-07-08 Completed Dossier Sent to Province for Approval
  • 08-06-26 HAR Signed and sent back to ABC
  • 08-05-16 HAR Started
  • 08-04-22 Int'l Adoption Self-Study Course Completed
  • 08-04-07 Application sent to ABC
  • 08-02-19 Initial Application faxed to Imagine
  • 08-02-16 References Requested from Friends

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Still Beginning

(April 26, 2008)
Well, I’m still waiting. Of course. I’m barely into the process. I heard back from the ABC folks, that I’m missing a couple of things from my application – the Alberta Government International Adoption Application, my T4 from the past year and I have to send in my Child Welfare check when it clears. And then they will get the home assessment report moving. It should be good. Hopefully we’ll have the HAR on the way by the end of May. And then I think they just have to put it in my file and then it should be okay. I think once that’s done, they can send my file off to the Alberta Government for approval, and after that to the agency and I hope a recommendation in 3-6 months. My heart is aching a bit. It’s a bit like being pregnant, because, you know, I’m expecting. I don’t know when though, and that’s the big difference. Already I’m feeling anxious. That does not bode well for me having a non-emotional-rollercoaster kind of adoption experience. I’m still so excited though. I bought some little dresses a while back, and then I saw some great deals on ebay. Granted, the clothes will not be worn by my girl for several years, but even so, good deals, and they will be used – eventually. I even got a couple of little shirts today that are in smaller sizes (2-3). I just like to build up clothes in advance when I can get the best deals. I did the same for Jonah.I worked my way through the International Adoption course a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty eye-opening. Things that I never thought of came up. Some of it was kind of scary. I guess I started off thinking that adopting a little black girl wasn’t really a big deal. But it really is. I can’t just raise her like a little white girl. Identity, the article explained, is based in part on your family group, and in part on your societal group (including your racial group). Of course, it makes sense. I am Canadian, but if anyone here asks, I say I’m Dutch. It is my ancestry, where I’ve come from and it plays a part in who I am. It was silly not to consider this for my girl. Of course, she is Ethiopian, and needs to know that side of herself, and will. And the other thing – although I expected we would eventually need to move from Provost to a less racist place, I never really identified a greater reason than that to move. But then I learned, because of her ancestry, she needs someone who can teach her and coach her in that part of her life. I can love her and support her and give her family, but I can’t give her understanding when it comes to race issues. I can learn all I can about Ethiopian culture and history, but I can’t be black for her, and I can’t understand totally what it is to be black. I need to make friends that are black so she can find a mentor for that part of her. The other reason we will have to move at some point is that I want her to be confident enough to make good decisions and fear that if she is in a community where she is already noticeably different, then she may choose to become a follower, just so that she isn’t any more different. I would hate for her to feel as if she needs to do the same as this bunch just to fit in. And then there are relationships as she gets older. Of course she will want to date and I want her to have the opportunity, but the articles mentioned that even thought she will have friends all through out elementary in a small white community, there will likely come problems when she is older and wants to date. Parents may have issues with her at that point just based on the color of her skin. So frustrating. So it is very likely that we will find ourselves near the city (near enough to attend school there) within the next 10 years again. Oh well. It’s a sacrifice that we are of course, willing to make.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Beginning

(April 8, 2008)
Here it begins... the start of the adoption journey. I’m bound and determined to keep better records of this than of anything else in my life. I figure I have a scrapbook of Jonah’s first part of life, and so this is the least I can do for baby #2. I am so excited about it, but pretty scared too. What if it doesn’t go? What if the child is really sick, or has major attachment issues and never does settle in with the family? What if she grows up and resents that fact that I have taken her from her native country, her home? What if she doesn’t like to be raised by a white mother? Will it be an issue? What if she is rejected here in small town, pale-faced Alberta? I would move to the city, I guess, but I sure love it here.
I can’t help but prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. I imagine having a beautiful baby girl, who will be so loved by me and her brother. And the rest of the family. I look so forward to being a bigger family, with siblings in the house. Jonah and baby will share a room for a little bit, probably until we move out of the trailer, because I think when they get bigger, we will look at getting a house. I’m looking at houses constructed with straw square bales. I’m just looking into that right now though. It seems like an inexpensive way to build, and an energy-efficient, strong, easy way too! Just researching though – I only saw an article about it in a magazine last week at the doctor’s office, so you know, it’s just a thought.
Anyway, off topic! I really want to record the process of being a single gal adopting. I’m going through Ethiopia, and using the company “Adoption By Choice” to prepare the dossier and home assessment report, and then “Imagine” agency for the actual kid end of the deal. I talked to Ramone at ABC this morning and she’s going to send the international adoption self-study course book to me today. Yes! And I will zip to the post office and send off the completed application forms. I’m taking a sick day – I really am sick (coughing mostly, but combined with the start of spring allergies? I’m staying home!).
When I talked to Ramone, and asked her what the process looks like, she said it’s hard to say. I told her that from what I’ve read, it seems like it’ll be long and try my patience. She said that sounds like a pretty good description. From what I’ve read, it’s an emotional rollercoaster – feeling like things are moving along, and then all of a sudden, you hit a bump in the road (or crash altogether and have to wait for the wheels to get turning again). I am determined to not let the highs and lows bring me down. Even though I am an emotional girl by any standard, I just think, if I go into this knowing that it’s going to be long and arduous, then I should be able to deal with it.
My mam is super supportive of the adoption. She does worry that I have resigned myself to be terminally single, and that this adoption indicates that, but the truth is, I’m already a single parent of one – Jonah is going to be three this month – and that’s a hard sell when it comes to meeting a brilliant, godly, outdoorsy guy. Heck! Single me is a hard sell! So why put my life on hold, waiting for some invisible man to come along and help me build the family? I would hate to look back 10 years from now, and still be single, wishing I would have pursued adoption, and regretting that I had just waited instead, and not have that 2-kid family. I am pumped. I do worry that I am going to be single for life, but this adoption is only a very small part of the reason. So... oh well! I love my life! Would I like to be able to come home to a big pair of arms to wrap around me? Absolutely! But it ain’t happening, so I’m moving forward.
My sister, on the other hand, is kind of being a jerk. She always seems to feel like I need her protection, and if I don’t do things the way she thinks they should be done, then I’m doing it wrong. Well, she’s a married mother of three now, and so she can’t really say how she’d feel in my position. Admittedly, she’d never have gotten in a position of being a single mother. She would have gone the direction of virginal old spinster had she not married. Yeah, that’s NOT my way. I got the vibe from her that she doesn’t support this, and so I didn’t ask her to be a reference. I told her that I only need one family reference (which is true) so I just asked my mam. Her response was that she wouldn’t have done it anyway, and when I asked her why, she said, “I don’t support it.” Ow. She will take care of the child as her own (along with Jonah) if I should die before they reach adulthood, so it’s not the child she has an issue with – it’s me.
I force myself not to take it too personally. I needed three references – two friends and one family – so I asked my mam, who I knew would do it, and sent off a letter to each of three friends. That way if one didn’t want to do it, I’d still be okay. And that worked out, because Cindy didn’t want to. She may have if I’d talked it out a bit with her. She was just wanting confirmation that the decision was made prayerfully. That is totally fair, but I don’t know how to assure her that I have. There’s no proof there.
I did pray about it, and the verse that speaks to me more than any other in the bible is ______. It says, “ ____” I knew that I would follow that calling by opening a women’s retreat. My plan is to build two houses on a quarter-section, plus cabins for guests. One house would be for me, and I would oversee the retreat, but I’d still want to hire a manager. The manager would be a woman I hire from a shelter who could clean, and collect money from guests. A bit of maintenance maybe if it’s simple – that’s it! And its a job that would allow her to keep her kids with her, and it would give her a place to stay so she could get a leg up – save some money so she could get out on her own again. I think it would be a great way to care for single women (victims of abuse, homelessness – “widows”). And the guests would get away from stress for a weekend, and have an opportunity to relax. I’d probably have an adult part, and a moms-with-kids-three-and-under part, because those moms need a break at least as much as anyone else! Any profits from the retreat would go to the Sharing Way, a company that gives microcredit loans (small loans) to people in developing countries, to start their own companies. They provide training and then when the person pays back the loan, the money can be lent out to someone else! It’s a great thing. And I would keep teaching so I wouldn’t be dependant on the retreat as income.
But anyway, the second part of that verse is about taking care of orphans. Yes, adoption is a selfish thing – I want a bigger family, a daughter and a sister for Jonah. I want a little sweetheart to love and indulge and cuddle. But it also excites me that I will be able to give her opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available. And I hope that there will be an opportunity to meet her family and help them out in some way. I know that children go up for adoption because of the death of one or both parents, or because of poverty. I can’t imagine being so poor that I’d have to give up Jonah. How sad. But I hope that if that is the case for this little girl, that I will have a chance to help out the whole family.
It’s expensive, adoption. I took out a personal line of credit to finance it. Nearly $3000 for the dossier preparation, $6000 for the agency and $6500 for the Ethiopian government for paperwork and court. Add to that the cost of passports for me and baby, airfare, accommodations in Africa and so on... about $20000, I hear, when all is said and done. Yow! It’s a lot of money for sure, but when I think of it, it’s pretty reasonable: court costs and so on are expensive, and to pay someone $6000 to raise my child for the first year of her life? I’d say that’s a pretty good deal! So people who’ve asked about the cost, have balked when I’ve told them, but I’ve come to terms with it. There’s a part of me that says, That money can go much farther if used differently (think of how it could help people if I just sent it to the Sharing Way). But there are all sorts of opportunities that will come up throughout my life, and I will send money then, or even teach in Ethiopia later, or another country. But this time, I’m being a little selfish. I rarely spend money on stuff for myself, so this is a big, selfish move. But I am doing it! And I’m so excited about it!