Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Okay, Deep Breaths Now...

I totally freaked out. Yes, I did the happy dance after I took the mail out of the mailbox and *thought* I saw the Dept of HomeLand Security address in the pile of papers, calmly placed the pile on the counter and slowly went through each piece telling myself not to be disappointed if I was wrong. The happy dance did involve a little jumping and woo hooing for sure (Not red shirt kind of dancing but still a decent effort). Then I snapped a picture for posterity and skipped downstairs to the office to post the good news. It all went down hill from there.

First, blogger is RIDICULOUS. I know free is free but yeesh, it is so frustrating not to be able to post pictures (or anything for that matter) when you have something important to show! So all aggravated I decided to skip that and instead read over the materials for our next education session which goes over the next stage of this process. I started to totally. freaking. panic. How on earth was I supposed to remember all of this? There are lists upon lists!!! Things to bring, things to buy there, contact names, fees to pay, gifts to give, court dates, forms to sign..aaahhhh!!! Is it not stressful enough that I am going to be given ownership of a live human being as soon as I get there??? I got really REALLY cranky. Just ask my husband, oh wait you can't because I snapped his head clean off (unfortunately for him his response to my crankiness is always to get mad at me...not exactly good for his health...you'da think he'da learnt by now).

The thing about Colombia is, when you get there, your baby is presented to you fairly quickly. From that point on, for all intents and purposes, you are the official parents. Therefore, care of said child is now YOUR reponsibility. Now while that is a very good thing for many obvious reasons, it is also overwhelming because you basically have to bring (or buy when you get there) everything to take care of a brand new baby for several weeks.

Cause the other "thing" about Colombia is that there is a long in-country waiting period. Because you must be seen before the courts, and because the assignment of your court is by lottery, you could wait several weeks. Some people have waited 2 weeks, some 6 weeks. It's a crapshoot. This does not bother us, because a) our jobs are cool with it; b) we have no other children to worry about c) no matter how long the wait we are pretty much guaranteed a kid at the end and d) we could use an extended vacation in a country that has a rainforest.

But, having never taken care of anyone but myself for 30 odd years, I am more than a little frightened. No running to mom(note to self: ask mom how she feels about traveling to South America). Granted, those adoption people know all of this, and will have lots of experienced baby people on hand to help, but it does not for one second alleviate the hyperventilating that starts when I think about it. I am going to seriously drag one of my cousins out to help me do some of this baby survival kit shopping. Gah.

Okay so what are the next steps here? To be honest I am not totally sure. Now that we have the I171H, our dossier (they call it the "document packet") will be overnighted to our agency either tomorrow or Thursday. Assuming everything is in order (note to self: go to church and light a candle), they will overnight it to the orphanage. From there we wait for a referral or "assignment". I have no idea how long this takes. I am assuming (hoping!) that it will come within one to three months, but who knows. Once we get THE CALL we will know the name, gender, age and health info of our child and soon thereafter we are emailed a picture. Then we start packing and running around like lunatics. We will travel within one to two weeks of THE CALL. That's when we start learning REAL QUICK LIKE how to keep a baby alive and in good health. We wait around, knitting, sight seeing, smiling at spanish speaking government officials, signing papers and eventually GO HOME WITH THE BABY (assuming of course we were successful in the maintainance of good health thing).

Thank you all so much for your words of congratulations. And thanks for your comments on why you chose the program you did. It was truly fascinating to read. It's amazing how we are all led down this path in different ways. And as usual, thanks for all the support, it is so unbelievably critical to my sanity.

Lastly, thanks to Erin, who reminded me that the SUPER HUNKY John Leguizamo is from Colombia. I should have my application rejected for not knowing that. Heh..just kidding.

Questions?

18 comments:

MAMB said...

WOOHOO!!! That's awesome! I can't wait to hear the good news that your document packet is perfect and that you have received a referral! *Doing a happy dance with you*

Sonya said...

Yes, questions. Will you have a referral before you travel? What age are most of the children at adoption? Do you travel with a group from your agency or on your own? Is there an equal chance of adopting a boy or girl? I'm so excited for you!

MMrussianadoption said...

Congrats on the approval.I did tha happy dance when I got mine too.
I just found your baby shoes site. That is soooo kind of you to do.
Melissa

Elle said...

Holy crap! I didn't quite realize that now that you have your 171-H I am going to have to really start stalking your site for referral news. Whoa nelly this is gonna be cool!

ladylinoleum said...

That's awesome! Congrats! You guys will be great parents. Peeps have been doing it, well, since peeps have walked the Earth. Don't worry you guys will do wonderfully!

Margaret said...

Woohoo! And a second Woohoo!

You're really on your way now.

p.s. Just forget blogger and photos. I post them all to photobucket and just link to them. Much, much easier!

Stephanie said...

I'm so happy for you!!! I know how much this means to you from reading this blog. You are going to be awesome as a mom--you are committed, and you already love this child to pieces without having ever even seen him/her. Take a breath and enjoy the wonder of the moment. Then panic. ;)

Kay/Hanazono said...

Wahooo! Congratulations! Yippeeee!

wavybrains said...

Congrats! I am so happy for you. If packing makes you feel overwhelmed, remember other adoptive parents face similar dilemma's---chinaadopttalk.com has links to extensive packing lists that you can use as a guide for forming your own. Viva la Colombia has adopted twice and was in Colombia for about six weeks each time. http://vivalacolombia.typepad.com/ She probably has some advice about what you need to bring---including MOM---her mom accompanied her on this last trip and was a big help. My friend who adopted from Colombia twice also took her mother on both trips--Mom seems to be a popular accessory. I love flickr for hosting photos and you can easily add a badge to your website and can set the viewing level (friends, family, everyone) easily.

Avonlea said...

How wonderful to have these worries - I'm so happy for you! I'm sure you'll figure it all out and be great!

jill said...

again congrats.. you will be great with the baby...




and wouldn't it be awesome if her/she ends up enrolling at columbia in 17 years?

del said...

YAY!!! I'm so happy for you! I hope the rest of this process goes smoothly for you.

Julie said...

Mozel Tov! Start packing now. I'm serious - I wish I had started packing early. We had 3 days notice when we had to leave for Guatemala and it was insane. Make up lists of what you want to take and check them off as you pack them.

Oh, the one thing we didn't do that we wish we had - if you are taking any kind of meds (tylenol, benedryl etc) find out the baby's weight right before you leave and check w/your pediatrician about dosages. Also, bring a medicine syringe - it's the easiest way to administer the meds :)

Erin said...

I'll email you a packing list. Mostly, bring your own baby food. Colombian baby food is, well, icky.

Yes, lots and lots of baby food.

Lori Rode said...

Isn't it delightful to have a whole new set of worries with which to entertain your brain? You'll do fine, dearie. We are lighting candles for you, too.

-Jenny said...

OH MY!!! Sweet sweet news.
Lots of good news today. I am soo excited for you. I hope things are closer to the 1 months time frame for a referral! Man, you better start getting ready sista.

Amy Lane said...

I'm soooo happy for you... and scared and excited and a thousand other things... Lessee... advice I could give to any new mom that would mean the most... A. relax--they are surprisingly sturdy creatures and are not easy to break. B. Onesies--girl, boy, nb to two yrs old, onesies are THE all purpose garment,C.'listen'--all human beings have rhythms, have communication sounds...simply listen to silences, to grumbles, to squeals...they all tell you something--even if it's as simple as 'feed me now, woman, I've got a stomach the size of a cherry pit and it's empty.' God bless you... good luck! (I hope this is not posting the same comment six times...it just keeps returning to this page...if it is, I'm terribly sorry!)

Anonymous said...

You don't have to bring a lot of things to Colombia, you can buy most stuff there.

It is best for the baby to continue eat what he/she is used to. Don't change the food, buy at Fana if you can or at the nearest store. Same with diapers and bottles. As little change as possible untill you get home and start your nerw life together. Make the transition quite and smooth, buy baby formula in Colombia to give you baby the first weeks at home. Even if Erin thinks colombian babyfood is icky, your baby will be used to it ;-)

Good Luck!

\L in Sweden with 2 wonderful Fana girls