Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The long, long, long homestudy process

I'm sure that there are large differences in the process between various homestudy agencies. BUT, I never thought it would take THIS long! Today I e-mailed to check the progress of the writing of the homestudy and I was told it was being reviewed . I mentioned that I would like to send it to be apstilled before the holidays. The response was: "Remember the home study draft will first go to St. Mary's, then we have to send it to the State of Illinois/DCFS intercountry for approval before the state will allow us to release it to you or immigration."

There are so many steps that they don't tell you about when you start. Is "state of Illinois/DCFS intercountry for approval" different than apstilling? I assume so. How long does that take????? We had our first interview on October 5th, our 2nd interview on Nov. 2nd...now it's December 15th and it is in review and then state of Illinois/DCFS intercountry for approval ... Are homestudys usually 3 to 4 months?

Something to keep in mind if you are starting this process....ask about the average time for each stage and compare agencies. We didn't really have a choice though, since we had an infant in the house, several homestudy agencies would not do one with us until the baby is over 1 year and we didn't want to wait that long.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Final homestudy meeting

Now we wait for the social worker to type up our homestudy. We have to provide her with a note from our 2nd son's doctor, because he has a heart defect. (not sure why this matters, but we will do so). She said it could take up to a month to put the homestudy draft together.

I have been thinking about the transitional objects. I found a nice soft album on Amazon that seems perfect at http://amzn.com/B000GKW6CY It holds 12 pictures.

I also think a build-a-bear with our voices recorded on it, seems like a good idea. The social worker suggested a blanket, but I like the soft doll idea better, since I'm sure the children all share blankets.

I am sending some of our papers to Michigan to get those apstilled this week. The Illinois papers will have to wait for the completed homestudy.

I hung some pictures of prairie flowers in her room last night. Our 2 oldest boys' room is done in a forest theme, our baby boy has a swamp/marsh theme, and she will have a prairie theme. David explored the doll house designs at Hobby Lobby today! So it's not just me who is jumping the gun a bit with the thoughts of a daughter joining the family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

After the 1st homestudy visit

Four hours is a bit much for my husband, but we made it through all the questions, etc. Both the homestudy agency and the adoption agency wants the original reference forms ...but I think I convinced the homestudy agency to take copies. I asked about the CIS for I600 A, and the homestudy social worker said to file it, BUT Lina (adoption agent) says that it is the I800A form not 600 and that we should wait. I guess I am going with the 800, but at $670 I hope that is right!

We have our 2nd meeting on Nov. 2nd. In the meantime, we have to take 3 more online classes (nothing in person though), type up the answers to almost the same 15 questions the social worker asked us in the meeting, and get the medicals notarized.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our homestudy is Monday (Oct. 5th)!

I think I have all the paperwork together and probably some that they don't even need. I was a little confused about whether to give up the originals of our references and medical forms, but Lina (from our adoption agency) said to hang onto the originals. I am still confused about the notarized medical forms. Our doctor does not have a notary and Lina said to have our signatures notarized and write on it that it is a true copy of our medical records. Anyone else do this this way? We actually have the same issue with our work letters, no notary there either.

When I read in someone's blog about the homestudy being read out loud, I began to get nervous about what to say. We did a mini-homestudy to become foster parents, so the questions probably won't come as a surprise.

So far I have the following questions:

Should I just include a picture of our house and one of the family, or should I include more than just 2?

When do I file the I 171H (approval form from CIS) form?

What else can we do to fulfil the requirement to attend a face-to-face class for international adoption? We have done 2 online courses, but the homestudy agency says that Illinois requires some of the hours to be in person.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The journey is beginning or continuing depending on how you look at it

I am starting this blog to keep a record of our process and because I really enjoy reading everyone elses blog as they go along on their journeys through the adoption process.

Our story: David and I have been married since 2001. Our first son was born in 2003 and our 2nd son was born in 2005. Then we had our first loss in 2007, it was a girl at 20 weeks. It hit me hard and the loss made me "go after" a healthy baby quite fervently. I lost another baby in July of 2008. We were now going about the 3rd child in 2 different directions. We went through the process of becoming foster parents. It wook several months and we took 27 hours of training. We never got a child placed with us, because we live in an area with a lot of foster homes and they only place children within a small radius of their birth home. (Even though there is a shortage in the low-income areas) I tried one more time and we got our 3rd son, who was born in July 2009. The theory we are going with is that there was something wrong with the "girl" gene and that is why this boy was perfectly healthy.

So, we told a number of people that we wanted to adopt and in June 2009 we found a birthmother who wanted to give up her daughter. We had her for 5 days from the hospital, but then the birthmother changed her mind. To us, it was worse than the 2 miscarriages.

So, international adoption seemed like a good choice, mostly because you can select the gender of the child you want to adopt. With 3 boys, we wanted to be sure our 4th child will be a girl.

We decided on Poland, mostly because it didn't seem as common as Russia or China. We found an agency in June 2009. Our next challenge was finding a homestudy agency in our area. It was a challenge because we have a newborn and some agencies will not let you adopt with a baby under 1 year in your home. We found one and now we are gathering documents and going through the homestudy process.