We continue to plod away at our home study paperwork and let us tell you - it's actually exciting and dramatic at times as you will see below (who would have thought that about paperwork?) ! And we continue to be blessed by people's generous donations to our adoption fund. Here are some updates from the past few weeks, mainly successes, one (short-lived) setback, a thrilling fire inspection, and as always a whole lot of fun (because we are doing this all for baby!).
More Paperwork Done
We got our fingerprints taken, which was interesting because there was no ink involved - it was all digital. And we completed all of the medical forms that needed to be done: a self-reported medical history that had to be signed by our doctor, a visit with our doctor for her to fill out a current health form, and lab work to test for HIV, tuberculosis, and a whole host of other things. It turned out that we had to spend a total of six hours at the doctor's office or lab over a few days. We forgot to fast the morning of our appointment (oops) so we had to go in for lab work the next morning. And after we got the TB test (a shot in the arm), we had to go back two days later to have it checked, and to pick up our lab work and the signed forms. So that made for a busy week, but thankfully it's all done and we are disease-free!
Bethany finished her autobiography, which was both fun to write and pretty challenging (and she will be signing copies of it soon! j/j). It was difficult to know what to say and not say in a four page, single-spaced history of one's life! The point of the autobiography is to introduce ourselves to the social worker so she can then ask us more in-depth questions at our interviews. Dan's is still in progress.
Forms Lost in the Mail
Bethany mailed a packet of forms from work, and kept checking...and checking...and checking to see if they'd arrived at the agency, and they didn't. It was pretty stressful. Several of the forms had to be originals, so if they were lost, we'd have to redo them from scratch, pay extra money etc. Not to mention that the forms had sensitive information like our social security numbers that we didn't like being "out there." Yikes!!!
Ten business days after mailing the forms, a few prayers to Saint Anthony (patron of lost items) and getting close to the point where we were going to give up, contact the post-office, and re-do the forms, they showed up at our house with a sticker that said "Unable To Deliver." What?! On one hand, we were thankful to God and St. Anthony. On the other hand, we couldn't figure out at all why they never arrived at our agency nine miles away! The envelope had the right address and exact postage. Whatever the reason, we were so relieved that they were found, and we have resolved to hand-deliver them going forward - it's just not worth the headache, even if it is certified mail. We take that this was a test of our resolve. Rest assured, we are more than committed!!!
Fire Inspection Passed
On August 3rd, a fire inspector from Prince George's County visited our house and declared it passable for purposes of adoption! This was very exciting because as we shared on our adoption timeline, the main reason that we moved to our current house was because our previous apartment (a basement apartment) didn't have windows in the bedroom and so most likely would not have been approved for an adoption. So it was very gratifying to complete this step of the process - and we're very happy we don't need to move again! Oh here is one funny moment from the inspection:
Fire Inspector: "Where is you CO detector? You need one near every furnace area."
Dan: "It's around here somewhere plugged in."
Dan then proceeds to look everywhere. Five minutes passed. He can't find it. Definitely not plugged in.
Fire Inspector: "You need a CO detector to pass."
Dan, getting frantic, proceeds to look all around to no avail. Another five long minutes pass. Fire inspector's patience getting tested and then speaks.
Fire Inspector: Leans an elbow on a table and says "Well, I don't think . . ." "Wait a second, what's this?"
Lo and behold, the fire inspector found our new CO detector . . . buried beneath some papers on a table! Thank you, fire inspector and how did that little guy get there?!
Dan: "Oh, there it is!" He sheepishly then plugs the CO detector into wall and vows never to move the CO detector again. Proceeds to say silently one Glory Be in thankfulness. The fire inspector is pleased and ready to move on.
House is now ready for baby from a fire safety perspective! Hoo - ya!
All Reference Letters Received
Our agency told us that one of the main reasons home studies get delayed is because reference letters don't get sent in. We're happy to report that all four of our wonderful references sent in their letters, so we don't have anything to worry about there! And we assume they said good things about us, too :)
Thank you references (you know who you are)!
Fundraising Total So Far
Since our last update, we've been given another $1,395.46 from our generous friends and family. We are grateful! This brings our fundraising total to $7,709.46. Combined with our adoption savings, we are now at $11,327 - almost half of our goal! The list of names to add to our quilt keeps growing :)
Baby Stuff Bought
It's yard sale season...so a lot of baby stuff is really cheap. In a leap of hope, we (okay - Bethany) have started buying up some basics that will come in handy for our little one, whenever he/she arrives: a little tub, a bouncy chair (which was tried out by a friend's baby, who seemed to enjoy it), some infant clothes and hats, two cloth diapers (in case we go that route), and some books and toys. This all feels quite surreal. Baby stuff has felt "off limits" for so long that we still can't wrap our minds around that this stuff will be for our baby some day. So we bought it, and it's in the closet, ready to go. So, here's hoping!