Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Approaching Splash Zone

After months of preparations, we're nearly in the waiting pool!  In total, we have provided all of our materials to the agency and checked off every box on our list as of Thursday last week.  The only thing left is for OA&FS to handle the internal paperwork before we're in the waiting pool.  I have my fingers crossed that this will happen by the end of May (this week), but it could potentially be further out than that.

How could it take so long to process our paperwork after months and months of prep?  If you're asking that (hi mom!), you're probably not alone.  I have that thought crop up from time to time, but then I remember what the agency's priorities are.  Getting families into the waiting pool is very important to them.  However, many of their staff and counselors need to drop what they're working on when placements happen.  Speaking from past experience, when we went through Dominic's placement, that was the time that it mattered most to have support from the agency!  The engineer in me wants a hard and fast deadline for pool entry, but I keep telling myself that it'll happen when it happens.

A freakin turret!
In the meantime, May has mostly been a month filled with various projects and the relief of not having adoption "homework" hanging over my head most nights after work.  We have made a lot of fun trips to the park with Dominic now that the weather is getting nicer.  I've been training with actual consistency for a half-marathon next month, and we have also been working on Dominic's new bedroom!  Eventually, Dominic will move to the bedroom next to his and his room will switch over to the baby room.  (We might have decided it was easier to redo an entire bedroom for him rather than take apart the crib.)  One of things we did for that new bedroom was to make an IKEA run to get some shelves and bins for the closet.  While we were there, we bought lots of frivolous things that seemed like fun: a mini-chair and table set for Dominic, lingonberries for me, and a turret.  Yeah, that's right.  We bought a freakin turret!  Best $20 we ever spent.

For now, no other notable updates on the adoption front.  We're still at a similar point to last time, but I need to drive this story into the ground like I'm a one-man-CNN.  BREAKING NEWS - ALMOST NOTHING NEW HAS HAPPENED!  But seriously, something is about to happen.  When?  Who knows.  I'm tempted to speculate on it....but I won't.  You will all just have to look forward to our next post  :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Waiting Pool or Bust!

This is almost like our checklist...
It's been an incredibly busy April for us.  I've been juggling one deadline at work after another, my parents came out to visit, and we've also been working towards the last few checklist items to complete before we get into the waiting pool.

The last two items we've had to complete have been the Family Introduction Letter and the Family Book.  These two things are the most important pieces of our preparations to enter the waiting pool.  They are the first things birth families see when looking at potential adoptive families for their child.  (No pressure!)

What is a Family Introduction Letter?
When you visit the profiles of families in the waiting pool, the text on their profile page is the Family Introduction Letter.  In essence, it's like reading the first page in a new book or the opening of a 60-minute presentation.  The good Family Introduction Letters get your attention and make you interested to read more.  They make you feel connected to the people that wrote them while also giving a good sense of who they are, what they value, and what sort of parents they would become (or are).  On some levels, this is really tough because you get 1 page to cram a giant pile of information into place while also making it seem light and effortless and fun.

Family Book....that sounds like a novel.  Did you write War and Peace or something?
Oh my god it felt like it.  This one was incredibly tough for us to make as it was brand new and was not something we prepared for our last adoption.  The Family Intro Letter seems like a piece of cake as it's condensed down into a neat little 1 page package.  This behemoth took us over a month to pull together.

The Family Book is a 20-30 page book filled with photos and text.  You know how people make cute little photo books on Shutterfly or Snapfish that show off pictures of their weddings or vacations?  Yeah, those books are easy.  Hell, someone could pick up a pile of 100 vacation pictures, shove it into one of those sites, and it will spit out an entire book in 60 seconds.  

I may be exaggerating a bit, but the Family Book is something that, for us, required a lot of thought, preparation, rifling through thousands of pictures, and the entire month of April.  The hardest part was just building an outline and a base of pictures that started to help it all make sense.  Until that happened, it was like having the same piece of homework every night after work and never making any progress, but in the end we crammed in 87 pictures, 67 text boxes, and far too many customized layouts later we have a drafted copy of this ready to go!

What Next?
We sent drafts of both the Letter and the Book to our counselor, Katie, just last night.  Earlier today we heard that she's headed out on vacation for a few days (lucky for her!), but that we'll hear back in a week as this will be at the top of her list.  We'll likely have some tweaks to take care of and then after that we'll have these finalized and ready for production.  The only other big items out there are for Katie to finish up our homestudy report and for us to send in a big fat check to the agency to cover pool entry/marketing.  Barring any issues, we could be in the waiting pool by the end of May!