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Archive for March, 2007

My friend Jeanene and I headed out to Santa Fe on Thursday.  Our flight was great.  We got exit row seats so we had plenty of legroom, we had a bible-sized In Style magazine and the flights were short.  We had a great lunch outside of Albuquerque and then got into Santa Fe around 4.  Our hotel, La Posada, was very nice and we had an ample sized “casita” for a great rate (through Travel Zoo – if you haven’t subscribed to their weekly email – you should).  The weather was sunny and mild.  We headed out to walk to the town square and look at the shops.  They were mostly starting to close but we got a good idea of what to look forward to in the coming days.  I was able to get a couple of pictures from the square before the sun went down.  Santa Fe Square 1 Santa Fe Square 2 Santa Fe Square 3  We walked back to the hotel and decided to have a drink in the bar.  The bar was very hot so we took of our coats and sat down.  The waitress told us they had other rooms, which were cooler, to sit in so we moved to a great area that had a sofa and comfy chairs.  We had tapas and a couple of drinks and then I realize as we were leaving that I left my jacket over the barstool in the other room.  I go grab it and we head back to our room for a good night’s sleep.  The next morning we awaken to heavy rain and colder weather.  We decide to schedule spa services for the afternoon since it was raining so hard and drive around for the first half of the day.  I grabbed my coat to leave and realized that my wallet was not in it.  Yes, it was stolen out of the bar.  All of my money, credit cards and my ID.  Lovely.  I call my husband to ask him to cancel my credit cards and he doesn’t answer because (some good news here) he is being fingerprinted for our I-600A.  He calls back while I am standing in a fabric store and I lay out my tale of woe.  He tells me he will cancel all of the credit cards (as I am looking at all the fabric I can’t buy) and that I need to file a police report so I can fly back home!  I had completely forgotten I didn’t have a driver’s license as ID for the airport.  My friend and I are adjusting to our new situation and starting to laugh about it.  We head to the nearest police department and as I am waiting for an officer J gets a phone call from her sister.  Her mother has had a heart attack.  I am standing in a police station on the morning of our second day of vacation and my poor friend is crying in the parking lot.  I get my report filed and find out that J’s mom was resting and was scheduled for an angiogram.  We try, yet again, to adjust to our new situation and decide to 1. buy wine 2. have lunch 3. continue with our spa treatments since we won’t hear about her mother’s test until that afternoon.  As we are buying our wine it starts hailing.  As we are eating lunch it starts hailing again and the lights go out in the restaurant.  We head to the spa and try to relax for our treatments.  They were wonderful though we were both distracted by the stressful news.  I head back to the room and J is already there and has found out that her mother had passed away during a second ambulance ride to another hospital.  It is just too tragic.  By this time it is too late to get out of town so we attempt to have a nice evening.  We drink our wine, toast her mother and remember their happy times.  Yesterday afternoon J flew on to California and I back to Austin two days early.  It wasn’t the trip either of us expected but we hope to get back to Santa Fe and try again.

On a brighter note, as I mentioned above we received our “fingerprint appointment” letter on Thursday.  My husband drove to San Antonio on Friday and was fingerprinted with no problems and I intend on going on Tuesday.  The outlet mall in San Marcos just happens to be on the way back.  Can you say “Pottery Barn” and “Baby Gap”?  I thought you could.

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I wish the adoption message boards would get back on topic and get over the Angelina Jolie drama already.  It is so exhausting.  They go back and forth and say the same thing over and over and over again.  Aaaarrrrggghhh!

Let’s talk about something interesting like the continuing saga of the substance abusers over at Simplicity.  I cut out all of the pattern pieces for the new dress I am attempting to make (yes, gasp, the one with pleats).  I started pining the pattern pieces on the fabric and it soon became obvious (to anyone that wasn’t stoned or drunk) that all of the required pieces weren’t going to fit on the 1-3/8 yard of fabric they told me to buy.  Now I have to go back to Wal-Mart and buy another piece of fabric.  How annoying is that?  I am still befuddled by the difference between “stay stitching” and “basting”.  I understand the “… for Dummies” book writers are making patterns now.  Do you think they had me in mind?

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Signs?

So this is weird.  Today in the mail I get an advertisement from AT&T written completely in Vietnamese.  Is that totally strange and cool or what?  Today also happens to be the day I mailed the final piece in for our I-600A to be processed.  Not that I needed a sign to tell me Vietnam is the place for us but it was still nice to see that AT&T thinks so too …

Also in the weird category, I decided I wanted to sew some dresses for our soon to be daughter.  (I need a blog name for her – please feel free to comment with any suggestions).  I was in Wal-Mart and found several really cool/modern fabrics and a couple of patterns.  I have to say my first attempt turned out  pretty darn cute.  But, don’t look too closely or you will see that one of the straps is about 1/2″ wider than the other one.  I know, I could have ripped it out and started over but I figured a 2 year old wouldn’t be that critical (at least I hope so).  I am thinking our daughter will be anywhere from 6-12 months old when we get her but I made it in a size 2 just to be safe.  Although both of the patterns are classified as “easy” I think Simplicity is smoking crack.  Granted, I haven’t taken “sewing” since 8th grade Home Economics but you just can’t throw around words like “selvege” and flower-dress.jpg“underpinning” and call something easy!  The next pattern has pleats.  What was I thinking? 

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Adoption 101

As promised, here is an overview of our adoption process.  Thank you to a fellow blogger because I basically cut and paste straight from her site.

The adoption process is broken down into 3 steps:

The first step to adopt a child from Vietnam is the completion of an Adoption Home Study, a written document that explains who we are and the significant experiences in our lives. It also includes medical and financial information, references and criminal background information, as well as our motives for adoption.  The home study must be performed by a Social Worker that is licensed in the state in which you live.  The home study is required as part of the application (I-600A) required by the USCIS (formally INS) to adopt an orphan.  We received our completed home study on Friday, March 9, 2007.  Our home study was approved by our agency on March 13 and sent to USCIS in San Antonio on March 14.  Once your application is approved the USCIS mails a 171-H.  This document becomes part of our dossier, which is explained below.  We expect our 171-H around (could be longer) April 15, 2007. 

The second step is to compile a dossier. The dossier is a group of documents required to complete our adoption in Vietnam. Most of these documents will require State Certification, U.S. State Department Authentication, and Legalization by the Vietnam Embassy before they can be sent to the International Adoption Department of Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice in Hanoi.  We will not start on our dossier until closer to the time that we think we will receive our 171-H.  The dossier documents are time sensitive.  They are only valid for 6 months.  We think we will have our dossier to Vietnam by the beginning of May.

The third and final step is the referral.  Depending on the agency, the referral could take as long as a year or more.  Our agency is predicting only a 2-4 week wait for a referral (after paperwork is in Vietnam).  This is much faster than other agency’s estimates.  Only time will tell if their estimates are realistic.  Once a specific child is referred to us, medical information, social history and a photograph will be provided for our review. Once we officially accept the child referral, a date will be set for our Giving & Receiving Ceremony (the legal transfer of care for the child from the orphanage to the family) and plans are made to travel to Vietnam.   The time between referral and travel can vary greatly.  I know of some people who have been waiting almost a year!  I think the average is 4-6 months to travel after referral.  Again, our agency estimates is much faster than others I have seen.  They are saying it will take approximately 6-8 weeks after referral to travel.  

Once in Vietnam the process takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks.  In a future post I will explain the process while we are in Vietnam.

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Finally!

We have been trying for over a week to get the Schmoops medical form for our homestudy and we finally got it today.  That is the last document we need for the homestudy portion of our adoption.  Our social worker will now write the official report and submit it to our agency for review.  Once it is approved we will send it to the USCIS as part of our I600a application.   We will then get a letter from the USCIS with an appoinment date to have our fingerprints taken for our FBI background check.  The only thing hard about the adoption process (so far) is waiting for other people to complete their part of the process.  Tomorrow I will post an “Adoption 101” process that I found on another blog that helps explain the different stages of the paperwork and processing we are going through. 

On a different note, we had to get our Pomeranian, Lily, spayed today.  She is 11 years old and was having all sorts of “girl” problems.  The vet said it was a difficult surgery because all of her reproductive organs were so enlarged and she also had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia.  She is the sweetest, happiest, most patient and loving dog I have ever had and to see (and hear) her in pain is heartbreaking.  I just gave her a pain pill so I hope she sleeps for awhile.  She just can’t seem to get comfortable.  I think it may be a long night for both of us.

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Okay, okay.  I know we just started this process and I told myself I would NOT buy anything until after our referral but I had to have these socks.  Who could pass up these socks?  What kind of cold blooded monster could NOT like these socks?  These were my first official purchase.  I told myself that it would be the last until the referral.  That lasted for 3 days.  My friend Keli has a little girl who is 3 months old.  I went over to see them both on Friday and her daughter had on a shirt with a really cute bird on it.  She recently purchased this shirt from Target.  Target is right down the street.  I think you can figure out the rest. 

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Hello world!

Well, I finally did it.  I talked about it for a couple of weeks now but I created my blog and this is my first official post.  My husband (hereinafter referred to as “Schmoopie” or “Schmoops” or “The Schmoopster” – you get the idea) and I decided to adopt a few weeks ago.  While doing internet research I came across many, many blogs from people who were in various stages of adopting.  I loved (and love) reading about their progress, joys, frustrations, travel for their child and then their life at home.   Their thoughts and experiences have made me smile, laugh out loud, cry and get angry.  You hear about all kinds of journeys: the easy ones, the hard ones and sometimes heartbreaking ones.  They have educated me and have been encouraging and discouraging all at the same time.  I have learned a lot from reading them and thought maybe something I write during this process could help someone like me out there.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

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