Monthly Archives: November 2009

Somewhere in Ethiopia a Kid is Plotzing!

Andy and I got to visit the police station downtown and get fingerprinted. This is to for our background check as part of the adoption process.  We had more fun than we should have. First of all we got to go to the Forensic Evidence laboratories. We met a real crime scene evidence person. She did confirm that:

a)     Her job is not really as exciting as it seems on tv

b)    They don’t have a super computer that does everything for them

c)     She never gets to interview suspects

d)    And her job REALLY isn’t as interesting as it is on tv

She was amazingly good-natured about us taking a million photographs. I figured we aren’t going to have ultra-sound photos or anything like that so we should document the process! It was really fun. Andy was typically good natured about all the photos. He knows who I am. We kept joking that somewhere in Ethiopia a baby (in the tummy of his/her birth mom) is so SO embarrassed and he/she doesn’t even know why!

I got news for you kid- get used to it! Your future parents are goofballs. We love you and haven’t even met you yet!

Awesome Resource Peeps!

Hey- I have been listening to this awesome podcast from Dawn Davenport. She wrote the The Complete Book on International Adoption which was the first book we turned too when we started considering all of this stuff. She has an great podcast for both adoptive families and folks struggling with infertility. I really suggest you check it out and pass it along to anyone who is interested-or has a friend or family who are going through this stuff! You can also find her in itunes- just search for Dawn Davenport and it will come up.

I Been Reading Some Books- ‘Cause I Know How

So I have hit the library hard and heavy. I love love LOVE the library so much. It’s like going shopping for free. Apparently Multnomah County has a nationally renowned library system. My favorite library ever is the main branch of the Durham County Library, not because my friend Naomi a the librarian there (holla), but because there was something truly community feeling about it. It has an AMAZING knitting book section (holla Nao) and basically every book I have ever wanted to read. It’s a totally special place in my heart for me. BUT I digress…..

So I have been reading up on all this transracial adoption stuff and I want to give a shout out to a few of the books that have been really helpful. The first book I checked out is entitled Weaving a Family, Untangling Race and Adoption by Barbara Katz Rothman. I really like her take on things and am going to actually BUY it so I can read it more throughly. Also, In Their Own Words Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories by Rhonda Roorda, which interviews adult adoptees of who have been adopted transracially. Really good reading. I found out she has one where she also interviewed adoptive parents and another where she interviewed adoptive siblings- I am gonna check those out too.  And finally my friend Bibi bought me a book called There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Green. About a woman who started an orphanage for kids whose parents have HIV and AIDs. I am on page 23 and have already cried like three times. Thanks Beebs for the book. I also cried when it came in the mail!

Finally, I took out a book from the Cultures of the World Series on Ethiopia. It only looks like it was written and designed in 1974 but has in-fact, pretty up-to-date info. I think it was updated in 2005 because they talk about President Bush. Since I am really starting from the ground up on this stuff- the book is really informative. It has great info on the history, geography and culture of the place. I am learning tons from it!

Ethiopia fun fact: Did you know that Ethiopia is 3 times the size of California? I am full of them… Really I am.

Robot Sheep Everywhere!

This weekend I think my baby fever went into overdrive. I was in Portland and passed a shop that had this little sheep baby hat. My mind immediately spun to our future child’s room. Should it be sheep themed? Or Robot themed? I mean there is nothing cuter or cuddlier than robots right? Then I got it! Robot Sheep! I mean there is Robot Chicken’s right? I think I have lost my freaking mind. WE haven’t even done the home study yet- its WAY to early to be thinking about this stuff, but I feel that since I have been denying myself these things for so long- I had a momentary lapse of sanity!

For the record- I am not going to knit or buy a single thing until we have an actual referral and this hypothetical baby becomes a real he or she. Then LET the knitting begin. In the mean time I am going to concentrate my efforts on my preggo friends who could actually use some baby knittery. I was also thinking about making little crocheted dolls to sell as a fundraiser or to give away at the orphanage (if they are into that kinda thing). Dunno.  I know I need to channel all this nervous/excited energy somewhere.

Some Pretty Good News

I just learned that Holt has changed the policies regarding referrals. “Referrals” are when the agency refers a child to you. Its basically when the agency says “okay here is your kid- do you want him/her.” According to all of the adoptive parents I have spoken to- that when it feels all very real and when you start falling in love!

So Holt changed  its policy so now you get referred to a child much earlier in the process.

Before Holt used to give you your referral after you completed your dossier.  The dossier is the giant list of legal documents that you have to do to adopt a kid from another country. It takes about 5 months to complete

NOW Holt gives you your referral about a month after the home study. Which we can do anytime (once we save up some money for it). So we can essentially be referred to our bambino really soon. We still have to go through the Dossier stuff- but I bet its a LOT more motivating now that you know your baby is literally waiting for you. Also I have the info, so I can start working on the dossier now. To speed up the process.

While you are doing all the documents- Holt sends info on how your babe is doing. The kid also gets moved to the bigger (and fancier) orphanage in Addis Ababa- where we will pick him/her up! Horrah!

I Just Had Halloween Candy for Breakfast- Can I be a Good Parent?

Hi Everyone!

This is our first blog post about our adoption process.

First a little background. Andy and I have been trying to have a baby since the weekend of our friends Stacey and Jim’s wedding. That was July 4, 2006. First we didn’t really sweat it that it wasn’t working. We just went with the flow. We were living in Brooklyn then and frankly the idea of raising a kid in the city seemed daunting. How could we ever handle alternate side parking AND schlepping a baby stroller!  Seriously people. I don’t know how you do it!

Then we moved to North Carolina where things seemed much more mellow and family orientated. The first year we lived in Raleigh (full of Republicans) then we moved to Durham. Ahhhh Durham was the city of our dreams; cool, slow paced, good food and booze, and amazing people. We bought a house, thought we were stay there forever.

It was in Durham that we finally decided to take this kid thing very seriously. We went to the Duke Fertility Center. Really- believe the hype. Duke is a medical force to be reckoned  with- they were organized and kind. We once had a 45 minute conversation with our doctor. I have NEVER had that long of undivided attention with a physician (other than my friend Betsy but we are usually just talking about other stuff. She just happens to be a doctor).

Anyway to make a very long story short- there were issues. Not insurmountable  issues, but they existed nontheless. We had the choice of going through all that IVF hoopla and trying to have a biological child- or to adopt. And it was an amazingly easy decision. I had read about how women go through a bit of mourning when they find out that they couldn’t have a biological child. I really didn’t have that- the second we decided to adopt  it felt like it was10,000% the right choice. I can’t explain it but it made me happier and more excited than ever having a biological kid. Andy has always wanted to adopt so the idea really gelled with who we are as a couple. We always joked that our genes were no great shakes anyway. I have funny hair and Andy always looks tired.

So jump ahead- we decided we were going to adopt. We had an idea that we wanted to adopt internationally- but had no idea where or even how. THEN we moved to Portland. My mom moved with us too! Goodbye idyllic Durham, Hello the utopia that is Portland! Portland is like Durham but on crack. Andy’s job took us here. I think Andy’s job will take us to the moon someday. I have come to accept this about Andy and his work. I hope the moon is as nice as NC and Portland. If it isn’t I will be pissed. But I digress…

So we get to Portland and I decided to sniff around about this adoption thing. I asked our landlords (they are super cool and have kids) and some folks in Andy’s office. Then I had a revelation! Raverly! It’s really a knitting website- but it is actually where I found an amazing community of friends and knitters in Durham. I also had a friend who had a miscarriage and said she found a lot of support from the various user groups on Raverly. Knitters are a pretty freaking kind bunch of people!

So I posed on a “Where the hell do I begin” thread on the international adoption group on Raverly and met a bunch of cool women all who have adopted or are waiting to adopt internationally. Some of them had used an agency called Holt International. I had looked at their website and was a little put off by their religious affiliation (they are a Christian organization). If you don’t know this already. Im’a Jew, and Andy really doesn’t consider himself anything.

I went back to the Raverly folks and said “WTF I dunno about the religious stuff”. I was assured that they serve everyone and don’t hold any prejudice about non-religious couples. I have worked for Jewish non profits for most of my career and I can handle faith-based organizations. I really just don’t want fundamental. I also spoke very bluntly to the Holt people and they said that when they look to place kids in adoptive families they look at values- not necessarily religious ones. Which echoed what the Raverly folks said. Andy and I have a value or two.

We also spoke to Portland’s Jewish and Family Services and they highly recommend Holt. So that really solidified our decision. We also spoke to a bunch of folks here in Portland  who have adopted (I have been stalking them) and they had used other agencies and had issues across the board. I haven’t heard one complaint about Holt at all. I was even in line at the fabric store. I was chatting with the woman in line next to me who had a daughter she adopted from China. She used Holt too and had nothing but good things to say about them.

So our Criteria for a kid has always been a) young as possible b) healthy as possible c) in a good care situation until we can take them home (none of that Rumanian Orphanage mishagas)  d) not have to wait 5 years for a kid.   So what I have learned about this process is that the countries change from time to time. A few years ago China was really open to adoption, but now its really difficult. Same with Korea.  Guatamala was really open but that program has been closed down completely. So the next country that met our criteria is Ethiopia.

I really didn’t know much about Ethiopian culture other than the food is tasty, they drink mead and that they are (as a whole) some really truly beautiful people. Regardless of where we were going to adopt we are gong to be a trans-racial family. So why not! We are drawn to the program because it meets our criteria, and are committed to learning as much about Ethiopia and becoming a transracial family as we can! I am 38 years old and no dummy. I know that there will be joys and challenges in our new family. I also think you can say the same about any family. We are funny, smart, grounded and practical people and totally positive that this is going to be the best experience imaginable.

So on October 22, 2009 (which is also the same date of our 9th anniversary)  and I applied to Holt International to become parents to an Ethiopian infant. We are so excited- and really want to thank all of our friends and families for their support through this decision process. I know this kid is going to have an awesome group of adults in his/her corner!

Our next step is to save up for the home study! Looks like miz Lisey is gonna have to get herself a job! I have had it too good for too long!

Peace out!