30 September 2009

Step #4 - The First of Many AWAA Paperwork Packages

We mailed the first of many packages to AWAA today. This package was very simple and only required three forms to be signed and returned. Once they process those forms, AWAA will assign us a case worker, and then the real paperwork begins! We have quickly learned that adopting isn't for the faint of heart. By the end of this process, we both will have gone through extensive background checks, physical exams, one home study with two additional in-person interviews, and a ton of more stuff! It is all worth every bit of it. For anyone considering a domestic adoption and how the expenses of that compare to international........From the research we did as we prepared for our adoption decision, we learned that domestic adoptions can be just as expensive as those from Ethiopia. Many of the European countries and China are much more expensive than Ethiopia (and domestic adoptions), but we discovered the range of average expenses for Ethiopia are comparable to those of domestic adoptions.

In the paperwork we recently received, we learned that the wait time for adopting an Ethiopian infant boy is slightly less than that for infant girls. At the moment, we are planning to adopt an infant boy. We say "at the moment" because Alicia would prefer to adopt a girl while David would prefer a boy. It's interesting we both provide the same reason for our preference: "Girls/boys are more fun." The home study is where we make the final determination as to our adoption preference. We hope to do the homestudy within the next month, but we won't know anything until AWAA processes the forms we mailed today. Based on feedback from other couples who have adopted from Ethiopia, we plan to keep a broad perspective regarding the age. We'll most likely say we're open to adopting in the age range of infant to 2 years old. As far as whether we'll put a boy or girl, we're still discussing that!

Our Church has a "Blessing of the Animals" every year in October. We call it "Animal Sunday" and we have been fortunate that our church here in Va Beach as well as the one we attended when we briefly lived in San Diego both observe this custom. Everyone brings their pets (of all sorts -- we've even seen a ferret!), and the pets sit in the pews for the entire service. I must admit that communion is a different experience with half the congregation on all fours. It's even more of an experience when a ferret is in the pew behind you.......and your dog knows it! Animal Sunday is this Sunday, and that gave us reason to look at the pictures from last year. Chloe has been our completely-spoiled-rotten dog for about seven years. It's hard to believe she's been with us for that long. She's a mixed breed we adopted from the local animal rescue society. She's got a lot of Chow and a little Shepherd which means we could vacuum every 15 minutes in the summer!

26 September 2009

Step #3 - AWAA Acceptance........and a Mini-Vacation at the Beach

AWAA called yesterday; we have been accepted into the program. We're sure at some point we should stop numbering these steps because we'll probably lose track because there are so many! We remain very excited but we have a long way to go. By following the adventure of many other couples who have adopted from Ethiopia, we know this process will take over a year. Luckily for us, we'll have plenty of activities to keep us busy between now and then.

Between now and next fall, we will find a house to rent in San Diego (Alicia will probably do most of that by herself as David will be in Navy schools to prepare him for command of the CURTS), drive two cars and across country as we move to San Diego, and David will assume command of his ship and be away from home for about two months at sea.

Speaking of keeping ourselves busy, we decided to play tourist at Virginia Beach by spending the weekend at a hotel on the oceanfront even though we live in the area. Through his travel, David had accumulated two free weekend nights with a hotel chain so we decided to treat ourselves. The room was labeled as a "city view" and we assumed that meant it would overlook the city.........not exactly.

As you can see, our view wasn't exactly of the city. We overlooked the roof of the portico. Since we were there to enjoy the beach area and check out some of the great restaurants there, we didn't particularly mind the "city view." ....that, and it was free.

We also enjoyed the boardwalk. The wind was brisk and put enough of a chill in the air that we needed a pull-over but nothing more than that. Alicia regretted forgetting to bring something to keep her hair back. Watching her comb her hair later that night was especially entertaining.

09 September 2009

Step #2 - The Application to AWAA

We took step #2 of our Adoption Adventure by mailing the application today to America World Adoption Association. We remain excited about the prospect of welcoming a child in our home, but we know that moment is not exactly around the corner. None of this has sunk in yet, and I'm sure it won't until we hold that child. We expect to hear from AWAA within a couple of weeks (they say 10 working days on the application) and conduct the home study at some point after that. We fully expect to have to conduct another home study after we move to California, but we didn't want to wait until after we moved.

Part of the application requires a picture of the two of us. As we looked through the literally hundreds of pictures from holidays and vacations, we realized we do not have very many pictures of the two of us. There are plenty of just one of us. Nearly all of the pictures that have the both of us are self portraits. You know - one of you holds the camera at arm's length, hoping the camera is both steady and aimed at your heads! We ended up sending the picture that we are currently using for our profile on this blog.

David is slated to assume command of a frigate stationed in San Diego (USS CURTS - FFG 38), and we will move in April and he'll leave to report to the ship in early June. Since the ship will be on deployment, that leaves Alicia in a new house to do all of the unpacking. Needless to say, we'll have our hands full getting settled in San Diego through next summer. Waiting to start the adoption process until then would have added too much time. We've waited long enough to grow our family, and we weren't interested in waiting an additional year!

07 September 2009

The First Step on a Long Road

We took the first step of our adoption adventure yesterday (6 Sep 09) by deciding to adopt from Ethiopia. We'll mail the application in the next few days. I guess the very first step was the AWAA seminar we attended at a local church about a year ago. As we talked about the seminar on the way home, we both realized that Ethiopia had made a significant impression on each of our hearts. As we further explored adoption, we contacted a few couples through the AWAA web site who had adopted from Ethiopia. Their enthusiastic and quick responses were very encouraging.

We are moving to San Diego in April 2010, but we didn't want to wait until we were settled to begin the paper chase on the road to adoption. We fully expect anywhere from 12 to 18 months to go by before we have a child in our home. Tacking on another six months to that did not excite us. I'm sure we'll have to repeat some of the paperwork or maybe a home study, but that is a small price to pay to begin the adoption process now

We worked our way through various challenges to get to this point. Without belaboring the various hurdles on the way to making the decisions to pursue IUI and IVF, we attempted IUI four times. After those unsuccessful attempts, we decided on IVF. We went through one IVF process unsuccessfully in May09, and the results did not lead us to believe that another IVF attempt would yield different results. We then considered adoption. As I said, we didn't stop talking about Ethiopia since we walked out of that AWAA seminar!