Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dear Baby Girl ~ August 2013

Dear Baby Girl,

Today was a quiet one. No emails from either agency, no paperwork screaming with immediacy, nothing to pickup or drop off.

Sometimes, these days are harder than the chaotic ones.  On these days your mama has a chance to breath, therefore losing the adrenaline that has fueled the last few days.  Days or weeks.

You feel so incredibly far away.  I know for our wonderful readers that statement must sound absolutely insane, but it is so very true.  It pains me and your daddy that we are not able to share you yet.  There are rules, regulations, governments, and legalities.  My heart doesn't want to hear anything about legal-schmegal. We've seen your sweet face, your beautiful being.  We've seen you in your element, and heard your infectious giggle.  Oh, how I wish we could share you!

Your big brother and I watched your videos again today.  Each time he becomes more and more familiar with what we are watching.  It is so incredible to watch him connect with you.  I turn the volume up so not only your brother hears you, but your furry siblings too.  I look at every single detail in your pictures and videos.  Where things are, how many straps are on your shoes, and what colors you are surrounded by.  When we first learned about your brother, I memorized the colors of the mats in the first picture we received.  I'm memorizing your story too, sweet girl.

I listened to some Bulgarian language learners today.  Oh, nelly.   Your mama and daddy have a lot of work to do.  I know you are understanding and responding to Bulgarian, so we need to get on the ball.

We our dosssier requirements yesterday.  Holy coconuts.  Do you know what a coconut is?  We'll teach you.  Anyhow, when you are older, I will explain this all to you.  And we will make copies of the papers and color/paint/put stickers all over them and make them look pretty.  Yes we will.  Because the anticipation of experiencing that moment, and some many other moments with you is what keeps us moving forward.

There is something about filling out all of this paperwork. The whiplash from hurry, hurry, rush, rush to being stopped dead in your tracks. It wears on you.  It digs deep.  It's almost as if we are being second-guessed, constantly. But we are ready.  We are ready for you and will do whatever we need to bring you home!

Your room is slowly coming together.  We've chosen a paint color (Misty Aqua) and have found a toddler bed for you.  Your room is very Weasley.  That's a tip to Harry Potter.  Harry Who?  I will explain this to you too.  Did you know the adoption authority in your home country is called the Ministry of Justice?   It is. Mama giggles whenever she hears someone say  "The Ministry..." because it reminds her of Harry Potter. I wanted your room to be warm, cozy, and cottage-like.  That is what it shall be.  The perfect shelf was hand-delivered, as was an adorable toy box.  Grandma found a glider and we found this beautiful fabric for it....

The time of day has changed around here...when asked what time it is, we now state the current time along with:  it's x:xx in Sofia.  This helps guide our thoughts as to what you are doing.  Are you outside?  Are you napping?  Are you eating?  Are you playing with your favorite things?  Do you sleep with a favorite toy or blankey?  What did you have for lunch today?  What songs do they sing to you?  What's your favorite book?  Who is your favorite caregiver?

All these questions.  With no solid answers.  But they will come, I know they will.  For now, I stay addicted to my phone, checking my email what seems like every 3 seconds.  Making sure my ringer is on and not on vibrate.  I'm praying for so many things. This all going so fast and not fast enough all at the same time.

I see you everywhere.  Every nook and cranny of trouble your brother gets into, I know that all too soon you will be right with him.  I see a photo of children holding hands now and weep.  Uncontrollably. You are the greatest all of us.

I hope you can feel how loved you are.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Loving Her

There are many things about the adoption process that bug me.  Many.  Perhaps the reason they are weighing on me now is because we are in the thick of it and I am seriously overwhelmed. 

What has bothered me the most recently is the polar opposite reaction to Mimi and her special needs. 

I have heard things you would never, ever, ever ask a pregnant woman.  For all intensive purposes, we are pregnant, people.  Except we have no due date.  And are dealing with three different governments. But its kinda the same. Just imagine a bucket of paper in front of my tummy if that helps give you a visual.  Except, no we aren’t pregnant.  So this makes it a bit abstract, doesn’t it. 

The most common question, “If you get there and she has more than they’ve shared, will you say no?  You can say no, right?”

I’ve answered the question matter-of-factly with “Yes, if it’s not a good match, we can say no.”  It is truth that is a possibility if you are looking at this through a sterile lens of insensitivity.  We have the option, per our rights as adoptive parents in this process and how Bulgaria’s program works, we can say no.

But we won’t.
And we don’t want to.
We will not say no.

And please, please, please, I ain’t too proud to beg, please stop asking me this.

Because when you do, you forget that this is my daughter you are talking about.   You are turning her into a “headache” rather than the gentle human life she is.  She is a real person, with a heart,  and feelings, and a longing for a family that she probably doesn’t even realize is within her. 

Remember my Perfect post?  Yes.  I do believe this was my introduction of Mimi to all of you without me knowing at the time.

Imagine being handed a checklist.  A checklist in which you choose the type of child you are open to.  You can have all the medical technology in the world, the miracle of human life is that there are always surprises.  Beautiful, expected, unexpected, and sad.  They still exist.  When a woman births a child, she does not hand that child over simply because she has a birthmark.  She does not say no to that child when he or she is diagnosed with a childhood cancer.  We just don’t do that.  We do not deny children families and love because of their diagnoses-whenever they are given.

So why is it different in adoption?  There is such a dumb, for lack of a better word, assumption that you get to choose your child in adoption.  Therefore it is easier?  Haha, um, no.  I find this round, with knowing the child’s needs upfront, much more difficult. Please don’t misunderstand me as saying that we didn’t think long and hard about what medical needs we felt we’d be able to parent.  We did.  We thought long and hard and knew it would be a big concern for our social worker and agencies as to how we would hand X, Y, or Z.  But how do you handle things in life?  You either handle them or you don’t.  Fight or Flight?  We are fighting people.

I almost feel selfish being able to fill out ye ‘ol medical needs checklist.  Will you accept this?  Will you accept this? 

I have a deep love for this child.  Visceral. Did you feel that when your child was growing in your womb?  I bet you did.  I feel it too-in my heart.  Love is unconditional, isn’t it?  I have grieved for this child.  Oh, have I grieved.  Reading your child was abandoned is something you can’t quite describe.  I grieved for her the day we accepted her referral. I cried and literally shook for her.  I listened to this song, and this song, texted my dear, close mama friends, and prayed like I’ve never prayed before.   The phone call came with the question of our decision, and we stepped out on the edge.

I grieved the same for AJ, except I was a wreck in the midst of his doctor's appointments, therapies, and bonding. We came in on the back road, detour, dirt road, alleyway, when it came to AJ.  We had no idea what we were in for.  And now here we are, with this amazing little boy who has taught us more than you could ever imagine.  We will love this little girl for who she is.  Plain and simple.

No, I’m not sure how the logistics will work having AJ’s needs and Mimi’s needs together under one roof.  Right now, we are focusing our attention on AJ and doing everything we can to get his little sister home.  I have no doubt it will be difficult.  I also have no doubt it will be the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my thirty-some years thus far.  I know that with AJ things got better and better. We’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel with AJ.  I can’t wait to see him holding his little sister’s hand at the end of her tunnel.  HE makes all things possible. I can only imagine the possibilities when she’s home and growing into the young lady she is destined to be. 

Rila Mountains-Bulgaria

What's Next?

That is the big question these days.  We are 95% done with our homestudy (all items below with an * are forms that have been completed and submitted already).  Once the last few forms come in, our social worker can write up the big report and send it off to our placement agency.  We'll have a copy too, so that I can begin applying for adoption grants and scholarships.  We will also begin working on our dossier requirements.  The dossier is the big kahuna.  It is the BIG packet of paper that is sent off to Bulgaria.  It includes our homestudy as well as other documentation that is required to be part of the dossier.  Our dossier MUST be in Bulgaria by the end of November.

So, say it with me "They are finishing this homestudy thingy, applying for grants, and working on another bunch of paper."


Since so many have is a breakdown of what is required for the homestudy:

*Interview(s) with your social worker, one of which is counted as the “home visit” where she comes to your home and rummages through your stuff---no, not really, but it feels like that!

*Adoption Application and Fee
*Supplemental Form (I do not do drugs, I do not have a history of bad things, etc)
*Adoption Study and Fee Contract
*State Criminal History Check
*State Driver’s License Record Check
*Background Information Disclosure
*Consent for Disclosure of Confidential Information
*Local Police Criminal Record Check
Adoptive Parent Health Report
*Child’s Health Report
*Health Insurance Verification (will your health insurance cover the adopted child?)
*Certified copies of birth certificates, marriage license, divorce decrees, and death certs of former spouse
*Federal Income Tax Form
*Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth Form
*Three letters of reference
*Autobiographies for each parent
*Pre-Adoption Education/Training-18 hours required for Hague Convention countries *Bulgaria IS
*General Safety and Fire Protection Plan
*Vehicle and Homeowner’s Insurance Verification

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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