Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The things I do for An...

I am sure that the future will bring many statements of this variety, but those closest to me know that what I did today - voluntarily - will probably rank near the top of any list that I may hold over An's head.

I got a shot.

It brings tears to my eyes just to write that sentence.

Not only did I get a shot. But I have to get AT LEAST two more for the Hepatitis A/B series and who knows what else. It is probably better that I don't know what else right now because it was a big shock to me that I have to get TWO MORE for this series. I thought it was only one more after 6 months.

To anybody that feels sorry for babies that get vaccinations all the time, I have just one thing to say. At least they don't remember it!

I, on the other hand, have to schedule my own appointments, shake for a few hours after scheduling said appointment, feel the dread building as the time for the appointment comes, consider fleeing the doctors office once I am there, and then come to tears when providing my arm.

MY ARM. It's not supposed to have needles stuck in it. I feel just as strongly about blood tests. It's my blood and my body was designed to keep it on the inside.

I'm sure that I provide major entertainment for the medical providers. I know that I provided major entertainment for Brian today. He has heard me talk about my intense fear of needles but this is the first time he's actually witnessed it.

So years from now when An is telling me that I don't love her or care about her, I will pull this example out. This example of incredible devotion to bringing her home and how I was willing to set aside my biggest fear FOR HER!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Final Countdown

Today we received word that the Vietnamese government had accepted our dossier. Our agency forecasted that it will be about 7 months and a few days until we get our provincial approval, and then eventually our travel orders. That means that we will probably travel sometime around the middle of June.

Often times we will find ourselves talking about what we think will happen and what could happen. Our thoughts will wander from the project that we are working on to a little girl far away who has heard little about us and looked only at a small sample of pictures that we have been able to send over. I cannot image how she must feel or how she will feel when the day arrives for her to begin her new life with us. Perhaps she will feel the same joyful awkwardness that we look forward to and the tingle that comes from two very simple words; "mommy" and "daddy".

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


First hurdle down - our dossier is on its way to Vietnam! What a relief.

DTV stands for "Dossier to Vietnam". Just one of the many acronym's in the adoption world. I had to search for a list when we first started the process because I had no clue what people were referring to on their websites, blogs or forums.

Did you know that we are PAP's? That's prospective adoptive parents. Once An comes home, we get to drop the first "P" and become AP's.

Coming next is MOJ, DOJ, TA and G&R. I think that's the right order - but I'm sure the agency will let me know precisely which one is which when the approval happens. I'll even wait to share the definitions - a little an-ticipation for the rest of you. Just know, though, that when we get to G&R, we'll be in Vietnam with a beautiful three year old in our arms.

Happy, happy day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From Here on Out...

Now that our dossier is out of our hands and into others, we will get updates as it clears each hurdle. We have no control over this process. Things will happen when they happen. We have a record of when they have happened for the families that have completed adoptions from Dong Nai Province before us, but past history is no indicator of future performance (where have I heard that before??).

Today we received a message from our agency. Everything is in order with our dossier and it's on its way to San Francisco. That would be the Vietnamese Embassy in San Francisco. See, once everything in our dossier is notarized, it has to be certified by the State that the notary is indeed licensed and able to notarize. Then the Embassy authenticates that the State is indeed a State in the United States and is authorized to certifiy that the notary is licensed and able to notarize (okay...I'm projecting here - I really don't know what the Embassy is actually authenticating but this sounds like a good story).

So...we are on the way to San Francisco! Our next update will be when we are back from San Francisco and on our way to Vietnam. We are living vicariously through our dossier these days!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beginning the Journey

Before Brian and I got married, we talked about adoption. We didn't make any decisions, but we opened the door. After being married for about a year and a half, we started talking earnestly about starting a family. And adoption just made the most sense to both of us.

We thought we had settled on China. But we needed to wait until Brian turned 30 to start the process. Two and a half weeks before the big '30', we learned that China was changing their rules and unless we could get our dossier logged by April 30 we would not be eligible for another 3 years. So we called the agency we had planned to use. They hated to disappoint us, but they didn't really think it was feasible - it would be just too close with getting Immigration approval.

So we regrouped. We investigated domestic adoption. It wasn't for us. Then we started looking at other countries and Vietnam just felt right.

And every time I look at this face, I know just how right it is.

We spent some time choosing an agency - it is far more important to us to complete an ethical adoption than it is to spend a few extra months in the process. The agency we chose, Holt International, pioneered international adoption and is considered a leader in ethical adoptions. They were the first to be licensed in Vietnam after a 2+ year shutdown and they provide humanitarian relief to kids and families. Their first priority is to reunite families by trying to improve their economic conditions so that they can support their kids. When that doesn't work, their second priority is to facilitate an in-country adoption. We are their third choice. That is okay with us.

Holt is not in our state so we had to use an approved provider to do our homestudy. We applied to Holt at the end of January 2007 and submitted all our paperwork to our homestudy agency on February 11.

The homestudy is not a fun process. It's rather invasive. It's frustrating to think that any teenager can just get pregnant, but we have to have our lives examined and prove that we will be good parents. But it is for the protection of children and we lived through it.

Our homestudy was accepted by Holt on May 11. We were told that we were 33 on their informal waiting list (it's informal because each family may be open to different ages, gender, and medical conditions - therefore referrals don't always move in a linear fashion) and that we could expect a 12-14 month wait for referral. Imagine my suprise when I received a call in JUNE with An's referral! We formally accepted her referral on July 11. It is very typical to have a child's medical file reviewed by an international adoption medical clinic (we used the University of Minnesota) and that accounts for the time between referral and our acceptance.

On July 12, I hand delivered our I-600A application to USCIS and they fingerprinted us immediately. We were told we should have our approval in 2-3 weeks which definitely did not end up being the case as we received in in the mail TODAY (that's 75 days, if your counting).

In the meantime, we prepared the rest of our dossier so that it would be ready to go as soon as we received our I-171H approval. Tomorrow I will get everything state certified and overnight our dossier to Holt. Once they receive it, we estimate 9 months before we receive travel approval.