Another Great Day!

I started off the day waking up to a winter wonderland.  Last night it snowed about 2 inches, and “they” expect another 5 overnight.  I really don’t mind the snow – I just need to have all the roads plowed and I will be fine.  I then watched Elf – one of my favourite holiday movies.  Will Farrell is too funny in that movie – I always laugh out-loud and if I’m being honest, I cry when everyone is singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town… I love holiday spirit 🙂

Matt and I also did our annual trek downtown to make our holiday lists for each other.  We go to one of our favouite pubs, have a pint, and write down what each other would like for Christmas.  I know – no real surprises – but at least we get things we need and want.  We also decided to get Alex a Montreal Canadiens jersey (if we can find one) for Christmas – he needs to be prepared for Hockey Night in Canada when he arrives (he already has a Habs bottle)!

Then, just now (about 5 minutes ago), we found out that on Friday our LONO (Letter of No Objection) was received and sent to the Canadian Embassy in Seoul and the Social Welfare Society!  Happy Dance!  So that now means we are in the REAL WAIT – The wait for Alex’s Visa to be issued and for our travel notice to be received.  From what I understand that is on average 8-10 weeks. 

I was also crafty this weekend.  I finished one of the quilt’s for the crib (hopefully I will get a start on the crib skirt tomorrow morning).  I also made a felt brooch this afternoon.  It’s been a busy day.  Pictures to come soon…

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Weekend Updates

As I mentioned in previous posts, this past weekend I was attending AdopTalk, a seminar, kinda like PRIDE (but 100 times better), put on by our agency.  Luckily Matt was able to attend the Sunday sessions which really meant a lot.  A lot dealt with attachment and coming home, but there was also talk on possible health issues, and what to expect when you travel.  The dr. who came in to talk about health conditions of the child was amazing – he has adopted 2 children from China, so he has been there and done it.  He also talked about what to do when you get sick while you are picking up your child – something that hopefully does not happen! He talked about the medicines you should take – and really tailored his talk around hte counties our group were adopting from.  The travelling segment was also very informative – what to take/what not to take, and then we got to meet with a family who had recently adopted from our country.  It was really cool – our family had just come home from Korea after picking up their beautiful baby boy 5.5 weeks ago.  They shared tips, tricks, and what they experienced in country and on the way home.  It made things so much more real. 

I must admit though – when we got home, I kinda started to crack.  Our Adoption Practitioner had to delay our appointment, which meant we had to reschedule the bank apt., which means we will be delaying sending our paperwork back.  And with our computer being down, that means it is more difficult to get the paperwork done (I’ve hijacked our my in-law’s computer today).  So, I’ve taken 2 days off work – I need to decompress and relax, and get this stuff done!

I took our computer in to the tech shop today – they think it might be the hard drive – if so it can be fixed – if it is the monitor… well then we will be looking into getting a new machine.  That sucks – especially since we haven’t done a backup recently!  I think we are going to look into the online backup services for the future.

So hopefuly after this week things will calm down, we can focus on getting a package together for Alex and send it off, and get a REAL start on the nursery!

Labor of the Heart

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was reading a new adoption book – but didn’t really go into any further details other than that. I have finally finished it so here are few tidbits about the book.

Labor of the Heart: A Parent’s Guide to the Decisions and Emotions in Adoption, by Kathleen L. Whitten.  Location at the library 362.734019 Whi (at least at the Stratford Public Library – I am such a nerd 😉 )

Kathleen Whitten is an adoptive parent of a little girl from Vietnam (1997) so in the world of adoption books, this author has experienced the adoption process a little more recently than most.  She also writes from the view of being an adoptive parent who has first gone through infertility – and for me I found that comforting.  Sometimes when you read adoption literature or even some blogs, I feel that you can be made to feel almost guilty for trying to have a child naturally first before looking into adoption – that is not the case here.

The first half of the book looks at (as the title suggests) the emotional part of making the decision to adopt – so for someone who is initially looking into the world of adoption, it can help you break things down to see if adoption is right for your family.  What I felt was useful was the breakdown of decisions in adoption into various parts – the “Heart”, “Brain” and “Practical Decisions”.  A lot of people focus on the heart part and don’t always get to the practical considerations…

The second half of the book works through the emotions of a referral and the myths of the adoptive child and the adoptive parent.  I thought it might be useful to list the myths here:

Myths of the Adoptive Child

  1. Adopted children are more likely than non-adopted children to be socially maladjusted and to engage in delinquent behavior. Just like Mrs. Rachel in Anne of Green Gables – she thought the child they were adopting was going to set the house on fire… According to the author, it has partially been this myth that has caused the secrecy in adoption.
  2. Adopted children have low IQs, have learning disabilities and do poorly in school.  In actuality many studies now show that adopted children on average have an IQ that is 10-20 points higher than other children and the biological parents. 
  3. Adopted children have problems with maladjustment and identity, especially if they are adopted transracially.  You can see this myth still being believed – some of the adoption programs specify you must be of the same race as the child.
  4. Adopted children must have contact with their biological parents to be healthy.

Myths of the Adoptive Parenthood

  1. You will fall in love with the “referral” – the baby in the picture or video.  While this is what everyone wants (and I’m sure it is the case for many, many families – I hope it is for me!), the author wants people to know that it is ok not to have an immense bond at right – you need to absorb it.  You will feel commitment at first sight – the decision to love the child – but often the connection may not be there until they are able to bond/attach with the child
  2. You will bond immediately when your child is placed in your arms, or your lap, or in your home.  Again – while this is true for some parents, for others it takes time.
  3. Adoptive parents are selfless saints who are “saving” children.  The author mentions that often adoptive parents are told that the child is so lucky to be adopted and taken from poverty.  That is obviously not always the case – but a good reply is to simply state “No, we are the lucky ones”.
  4. Adoptive Family relationships cause adopted children to turn out badly. 
  5. Adoptive parents cannot be “real” parents.  The author quotes a study done in the where 30% of those surveyed believe that adoptive parents and their children do not love each other as much as biological families. 
  6. As soon as your child comes home everything will be wonderful.  What?  It won’t?  It will take time to mesh with one another.  The author recommends having as much prepared/planned as possible before hand so you have time and energy.

I had heard many of these myths before – and acknowledged them as myths – it was however good to see so much of the book dedicated to them.

At the end of each chapter there are exercises you can do to help prepare you as well as lists of additional reading and websites you can explore.  Overall it was a pretty good book and I will definitely refer it on to anyone I talk to who is just starting to explore adoption.

Immunizations

In preparation to travel to South Korea, we were advised to have some Immunizations done.  So earlier this summer I had a tetanus shot and I had already been updated on diphtheria and polio so I was good there.  We have to find out about Matt for those 3… Today we started our Twinrix shots for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A.  It is a 3 shot process – one today, one in a month, and one in 6 months from today.  Don’t believe the doctor/nurse when they say it won’t hurt – it will.  It goes into your arm muscle – and it gets sore!  Even Matt who has big arms was commenting.

One more step done!

AdopTalk

I was looking into registering for AdopTalk – a 2 day adoption seminar on adoption run through our agency (kinda like PRIDE, but more focused on adoption and travel) – but the closest session is in October in Toronto.  And anyone who knows me, knows I am a paranoid psycho passenger when driving on the 401 – I’m sure other drivers are out to hit us… I’m working on it…           So I enquired about a session closer to Kitchener or London (there was one in London this past spring).  Just checked my e-mail – there might be one this Spring – but… because of our anticipated travel / referral time line we really should do the GTA training this Fall!!  So… to me that sounds like they think we will be getting our baby in Spring 2009!  That is kinda what I was thinking… but it is nice hearing it from our agency.

So off to Cleveland tomorrow – wish me luck on the highways!  Or should I say wish Matt luck…

Dossier Done!

Well we did it – last night we finished our Dossier.  For those who do not know what a Dossier is, it is a collection of legal documents required for international adoptions.  We finished up our adoption cover letter and this afternoon I will be mailing it away to Children’s Bridge.  We are so excited! 

Our Dossier and the home study will be sent to the Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services where we will be approved (cross your fingers & toes!) – that takes approximately 6 weeks.  Once that is done, our paperwork is translated to Korean and then sent to the South Korea Social Welfare Society.  Once there, it will take 6 – 12 months to get a referral.  We are in the 2009 Children’s Bridge time line so we won’t be travelling until next year – but hey – that is only 6 months away!

Next steps will be to do the Immigration paperwork and wait… and wait…  and prep a nursery.  Since we don’t know if we will be getting a boy or girl, or how old the child will be it will be difficult – but at least we know we will be in need of a crib, highchair, playpen… I’m getting started on blankets and quilts – will post pics as soon as I’m done.  Yeah!!

Education Kit

This morning while still in my pjs with wild wild hair, the doorbell rang – a girl’s worst nightmare!  It was the Purolator man with our Children’s Bridge Adoption and Parenting Resource Kit!  When we sent away our retainer we also sent away our education fee which essentially the Resource Kit. 

The binder is easily 3 inches thick with hundreds of articles and parenting sources.  There is also a copy of Adoptive Families magazine, two children’s picture books, two adoptive parenting books, a dvd, and a few brochures. 

It will be an amazing wealth of information!

 

Finished PRIDE!

Yeah!  We finished PRIDE yesterday!  It was yet again a very long day – I guess I’m just not used to sitting still for 8 hours a day.  Yesterday’s topics were continuing family relationships, planning for change and making an informed change.  We also had a panel of those involved in foster / domestic adoption where we were able to ask questions.  It was an interesting day for sure.  But I am super happy to be done.  One thing they could have improved upon was the lunches.  Yesterday we were served bologna sandwiches.  Yes – bologna.  The deserts were very good however.  Just wondering if anyone else in our group had a nice cold one when they got home?!

On a sad note, on our way to PRIDE we were listening to the news on the radio and were shocked to hear about a car accident on HWY 4 on Friday.  There was 42 year old woman killed an a 1yr old was in critical care in London.  We were not sure if we heard the name right – but unfortunately we had – it was the wife of Matt’s teaching partner a few years ago.  She was a wonderful woman – a mother to 4 and a foster mother to many many more children in need.   So Matt and I were in shock and obviously were not paying as much attention to PRIDE as we should have.  Shawn we are thinking about you and praying for you.

2nd PRIDE Session

On Saturday – a beautiful sunny day after a cold wet week – we attended our second PRIDE session.  I have to admit, this session was much better than the first one.  This time we had sessiosn 4 – 6 (no – I did not write the descriptions below).

Session Four: Meeting Developmental Needs: Loss
The session covers the types of losses children have before they enter foster care  and adoption and explores how placement can deepen the child’s sense of loss. Loss is presented as something everyone must face, and participants have a chance to consider their own responses to losses in life.

Session Five: Strengthening Family Relationships
The focus of this session is on family identity, cultural heritage, and self-esteem in children. Participants have the opportunity to learn ways to help a child develop positive cultural identity and important family and sibling connections.

Session Six: Meeting Developmental Needs: Discipline
This session explores the challenge of discipline and the difference between discipline and punishment. The session offers an outline of ways foster and adoptive parents can best meet the goal of providing discipline that works.  

I have a great set of directions for the optimal Time Out procedure if you need one!

One more set to go…

One Step Further!

Today I sent away our retainer for the adoption!  We technically could wait until our dossier is submitted, but this way we can get the ball rolling more.  We will now get an Education package full of adoption resources and picture books, etc.  We will also now have access to Korean Adoption chat lines and get more updates from the Bridge.

Yeah!!  One step further!