Saturday, July 26, 2014

Profile Book

I finally realized that the fist step was to just gather photos. I spent a lot of time going through the past 12 years of photos looking for happy memories of the two of us. You need vacation photos, hobbies, etc.

I found 135 and then DH found some. The next step was to  uploaded them to Shutterfly. That took an hour. While I was waiting I browsed through the sample book the agency gave me. They said that this couple was very popular.

They are very  cute. They both look the same in almost very photo, so I am not sure if they just aged well or just used recent photos. I tried to figure out what was so special out this couple. They have great large smiles. They seem playful. They had a lot of writing.

After my photos uploaded, I used the storyboard feature which allows you to group related photos on the same page. Then once you are done it automatically fits them. At this point I had over 40 pages. The sample book had 40 and the SW said 20-30 is common. The book comes with 20 and every page after that costs extra. I have to keep the cost per book down bc I need to send 5 to my agency for their various offices and then I might want some to pass around locally.

I started to rearrange the pages, cut out photos, cut out pages. I got down to 25. DH said that you don't want to make it too long and have someone loose interest.

I went back and added more text and took out more photos. I realized that these photos give me happy memories when I look at them bc I was there. When a stranger looks at my photos she won't have the same experience. That is when I thought that this is more of a story book than a photo album. The main focus is the text that provides a story about the two of us and the photos are just a visual to back it up.

DH is going to edit it this weekend and then I am sending it to the SW on Monday for her review. My stomach has been in knots bc I know that she will rip me apart. I have to just face this a plow forward.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Picnic

I have one friend who is waiting to adopt. She shared a link to a local adoptive families group. At first I was hesitant.  I finally decided to mail in my membership form and go to the next event.

The had a picnic. I asked DH to go. He said sure and we put in on the calendar. Last weekend was the big day. We showed up at a local park and saw a bunch of children playing. That is when he turns to me and asks if we will be the only ones without kids. I had no idea, so we made a plan to go and wing it.

We showed up and were instantly welcomed by the head of the group. She pointed us to the "waiting area." There were 3 other couples who were waiting. We walked over and made instant connections. It was weird but comfortable at the same time. Of the four couples two had been to the group before and two of us were first timers. We ate lunch at spoke about some things, but I also felt like there was a wall. Everyone was nice, I had to hold back tears a few times, and we never really spoke about anything too personal.

None of these couples were using my agency so at least I don;t have to worry about the awkwardness of competing. One of the couples had been waiting a long time. She did not say how long, and I thought it might be rude to ask, she just said a long time. When I went home, I found her profile online and she was the first one listed which means she had been waiting the longest.

She asked all of us if we had set up a nursery. Two said yes, two said no. I said no.  They said that their agency required them to have a pack and go and a car seat bc you might get a call last minute. I thought about the car seat, that is a good idea. DH said that you could just buy whatever you need that day.  I have not bought anything yet. Maybe once I am active.

They also mentioned having a list of names. I said I gave up thinking about names years ago. I tried to be careful and not sound negative and not cry.

I really enjoyed reaching out and talking with others going through the same crisis as me. They said that they meet once a month for coffee and are thinking about starting a men's group. I really hope they do bc dh could really use other men to talk to about this.

One woman asked us about taking infant CPR and infant care classes. The thought never crossed my mind. I guess when you are pregnant you sign up for classes like that through your hospital. She said that she was going to check places that would take group members so that we don't have to sit through all the pregnancy stuff that we don't need or can't handle.

I told her that I loved her attitude. She said that there are days when you can handle stuff like that and days that you can't. She said the same thing about this picnic. She was not sure if others could handle coming. I told her that I wanted DH to see how happy fathers are with their adopted kids.

After the picnic, I felt rejuvenated. I wanted to have what those parents had. I wanted a child and I was ready to go back into the ring.

I finally started my profile book. That was a really hard thing for me to start.  I will write about that next time.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Home Study Approved

 I just got word that my home study was approved. YEAH!! I should be really happy. I was hoping to get a certificate of completion that I could hang on my fridge or show my family etc. All I got was an email with a few words.  I was hoping to be able to move forward after waiting all this time but now I am I am stuck.

My friend suggested Adoption Star and said that she knew others who had used them. They looked great online and mentioned a sliding scale for fees.  I was really hopeful that I would be able to transfer my home study and move on. I emailed them and got a response right away. That is when I froze. I though about it for a while and then had DH call today.

They do not accept home studies from other agencies. HMMM wish she had mentioned that in her email bc  I mentioned wanting to transfer mine. This was a big slap in my face. I guess I just assumed that it was something that you got from the government like a driver's license. So it surprised me to learn that we would have to do the home study over and pay $1,675. Not only is this more but the first one  just took me months to get. I don't know if I can go through that all over again. The other fees would be about the same, except they charge double the amount that Bethany is going to charge to maintain the home study every year.

I was so crushed. Now I am back to where I was. I don't like my SW, but I am not sure if I can handle switching agencies due to money or time. I looked up a few more online and DH is going to call them this week.

Bethany is a national agency but I am not sure if I would be able to work with a SW from another branch. I think there is only one branch in my state. I can't really call the home office to ask unless I am desperate bc my SW will find out that I don't like her.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fee Contract

Thank you for all the kind words on my last post where I had a melt down. I feel that there may be more coming. I have tried my best over the years not to complain too often on this blog, but lately it has been very tough. I thought IF was lonely, well adoption is lonely too. Most  people I come in contact with don't understand the process that I am going through both physical and emotional.

DH contacted the SW bc I can't stand her. They talked about it, she apologized for being "frank" hmmm the last time I looked up the definition of frank it did not describe her. They did not bring up specifics but made it sound like we were good to move forward. She told dh that we had a great application bc she has had some people with DWI etc.  My thoughts were then she should we wining and dining us bc our records are spotless.

I asked DH to get the final copy of the report or at least some physical proof that we passed like a certificate etc. Neither have come in yet.

I thought and prayed about this and decided to just let it go bc I have taken so long to get this far. The one other agency I contacted during my melt down did not respond.

Today in the mail we get the contract with all the fees in it. $50 for initial application and $450 for formal application, were already paid. $1,300 for home study was due. I expected that since we just about finished it and was wondering where the bill was.

Then I got a surprise. At this moment they want $7,000 for pre-placement and it is non-refundable. I looked back at the price sheet they gave us in October. It was listed on the form, but I guess they way they spaced it out, it looked like something you would pay later on. It did not say non refundable, but in smaller print down further it said all fees are non nonrefundable except post placement.

I tried to figure out what was going to cost $7,000. It listed a few general items. The way the contract is written it locks you in. Now I have to make a huge decision bc if I sign this I can't change agencies unless I want to lose $7,000.

We spoke about it and I want a lawyer to look this over due to the large sum of money. $27,00 in all plus lawyer fees, birth mother medial etc.   I am curious about anyone else's experience with fee schedule. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post it publicly.

Now I am looking back into other agencies to see what their fee schedule is like.  UGH