Monday, November 23, 2009
Does anyone know of any children's books that specifically address older children being adopted internationally? The books I have come across portray children who were adopted as a baby, and that is not what I am looking for right now.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
UPDATE: It appears that Mexico is starting to limit the ages that international dossiers can request to age five and older. Some states are not accepting dossiers for ages under eight, etc.
We have been communicating with the DIF, and things are progressing. We don't know when we will get a referral, as it is hard to predict. We've been on the waiting list for over 25 weeks for siblings of any gender. We know after talking with the DIF that if there were siblings cleared for adoption that were a match with us, we would have received a referral by now. The siblings that could be a match with us haven't been cleared for adoption through the courts. That process can be complicated and can take a while. We would have more possibilities for being matched if we are open to only children, large sibling groups, or older ages. The entire adoption process our preferences have been evolving, so we will see.
We know we aren't the only couple on the waiting list for siblings, because in the reception room of the DIF, we met another couple who were also waiting for siblings. It was nice to meet them and be able to exchange stories with them. They are lovely people and live in the same city as the main orphanage. There are many couples in Mexico who are also hoping to adopt, and that can mean that international applicants will wait longer for a referral.
We will eventually get a referral, we are confident of that. Of course, we are ready right now, and hope we don't have to wait much longer.
The photograph is a basket of conchas, a popular pastry in Mexico that is excellent with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. I'm craving that right now. And pickled jalapeno peppers. Is there such a thing as adoptive-mother-in-waiting cravings?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
A lot of people want to know what state we are adopting in, and although it's not really a secret, we're just not comfortable disclosing it on the blog right now. We believe people should find their own path. It may not be the same path as ours. Mexico is a complicated country to adopt from in that things vary a lot from state to state. We picked our state for a variety of reasons, a big factor was that we have family there. But mainly it was a gut instinct. We have questioned and re-evaluated our decision to pick the particular state over and over. So far each time we have felt reaffirmation that this is where we are supposed to be right now.
Others have also asked whether we are using an agency or if we are doing an independent adoption. We are using an agency. We chose our state ourselves, but that doesn't mean we are doing an independent adoption. We appreciate having the support and experience of an agency. If we had chosen to, we could have put everything in our agency's hands, and the agency would have picked our state and coordinated everything. But since P is Mexican, and we are finding that we are able to communicate with the DIF, we decided to maintain close involvement. Not everyone wants to do that, but it works for us. For example, we didn't have to submit our dossier in person to the state we chose. Our agency would have coordinated that for us. But we were going there to visit family anyway, so we took the opportunity to visit the DIF in person.
UPDATE: We cannot recommend doing what we did, as in the end it did not work out.
Some people hope to discover a state that is easier to adopt from than others, or a state where they will be able to adopt the youngest children possible. If there is such a magical state, we don't know which one it is. We called every state where we have family and spoke with adoption coordinators of the DIFs before deciding on our state. We found that in the states we called there were at least 100 Mexican families already waiting to be matched, some states even had over 300 families on their waiting list. In general, the children that are more readily available for international adoption in a quicker timeframe would be older children or larger sibling groups or children with disabilities or special needs. We shared with our agency the information we learned from the states we contacted, and our agency has contact with even more states.
UPDATE: We have heard that the National DIF will be deciding which state that dossiers will be sent to. Finding your own state might not be an option anymore. Check into current regulations and processes. Things change.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Even though we've been working very hard on this for over a year, it has actually only been two months since our dossier has been in the hands of the people who will provide the referral. It helps to keep perspective.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Coincidentally, a few days ago I found out that I won, via the Spanglish Baby website, a copy of the book 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child by Naomi Steiner. I am looking forward to receiving it, as we have been putting a lot of thought into how to raise children bilingually. That blog has a lot of useful information and links regarding this topic.
We have already starting collecting a few children's books that are versions either written in Spanish or are bilingual. We saw many wonderful children's books in Mexico that we resisted the temptation of buying when we were there in May. But now that we know where the bookstores are located with the large selections of children's books, we'll certainly be buying more when we return. It will be easier to chose which books to buy when we know their ages and interests.
Children learn new languages quite easily. P moved to the United States as an adult without knowing any English, and now he is completely bilingual. Our bigger concern is for our children to be able to build their Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Since half of our family speaks only English, and the other half of our family speaks only Spanish, our goal is for our household to remain bilingual.
We are looking at different options for how we can nurture bilingualism in our household as well as researching schools. We are seriously considering implementing, at the very least, the One Parent One Language method for raising children bilingually. P would only speak in Spanish to the children, even if we are around people who don't speak Spanish. When addressing the group, he would speak in the group's language, but when speaking directly to the children, it would be in Spanish always.
We will both be speaking Spanish with them when we meet them. I'm not fluent, but I have been working on my Spanish for years. I hope that speaking Spanish to them will come naturally to me, even though Spanish is not my first language. I think it will help us all bond as a family if we all speak the same language at first. I hope to continue speaking as much Spanish as possible with them even after they become fluent in English. Speaking Spanish at home would benefit all of us in building and maintaining our Spanish fluency.
I know that even with the best of intentions, it can be a very difficult endeavor. We've seen it with friends who have had challenges raising their kids to speak Spanish in the United States. But we think it is well worth trying!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
We made a photo album that we gave to the DIF along with our dossier. The album will be a way for the DIF to introduce us to our future child or children. It wasn't a requirement for our dossier. It's something extra I wanted to add, because I am a very visual person. I made two albums with the exact same photos and layout, so I have an extra nearly identical album at home. Inside the album are a few photos of us, our house, some family members, our neighborhood, parks, school, grocery store, etc. The kids will be able get an idea of the things we will do with them and places we will go as a family regularly.
These albums are called Peek-a-Boo Albums because they have windows in some of the pages to see through to the next page and some of the pages are made out of clear acrylic to also allow views of the next pages. In hindsight, it wasn't the most practical album style to use for making my first album, since it is extra complicated. This particular album required a lot of advance planning, so that the layers of pages not only look well coordinated, but also make sense thematically. It would have been much simpler to make a more traditional album. But I enjoyed the challenge.
I have also tried to include a variety of textures for tactile appeal, using felt, ribbons, different textures of paper, 3D paints, etc.
I am not really sure how the kids will respond to the albums. I showed one to a 5 year old I was babysitting, and he spent a lot of time focused on why some pages had holes while others didn't! It was cute.
We do know that the DIF certainly appreciated receiving it. They said it really helped them to visualize the life that our kids would be living. I have really been enjoying putting these albums together. I already have more blank albums similar to these with papers and themes already picked out for future scrapbooks! I have been reading about Life Books and look forward to helping our kids make them too. I plan to share more about Life Books later.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
We are so pleasantly surprised at the fast timing of our approval process. But be aware that our timeframe would not necessarily be an accurate expectation for other international families. We did things differently than it is normally done, and there is no predicting how things will be done in the future. We didn't have to, but we delivered our dossier in person to the DIF. We had arranged with the DIF in advance of our trip that we would be submitting our paperwork to them in person, and that we would be available to meet with them at any time while we were there. We ended up meeting with them in person three separate times, and we answered many questions. So, I would like to stress that everything differs depending on which state you chose and your particular circumstances.
Also be aware that the process of submitting the dossier differs by state. Some states require that the dossier be submitted to Mexico City first to be registered there. Other states have a different process or different order to the process. So if the state you are adopting from requires that extra step at the beginning of the approval process, it could add quite a bit of time before your paperwork reaches your chosen state.
We are very happy and grateful we were able to meet with the DIF in person, and that we were able to get to know each other. We are extremely impressed with how they conduct adoptions and with the care the children are receiving. We so look forward to returning! We miss it already!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Our dossier is in México. We're very enthusiastic! We know it is there safe and sound, since we delivered it ourselves. After a year of paper chasing, we felt a very deep need to carry our dossier to its destination. We visited family too, so it was a trip well worth while. We feel such peace.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
We're still here! The adoption process is so unpredictable, and we are just going with the flow. Right now we happen to be overflowing with activity! I have been so busy I haven't remembered to post updates here.
Above is our road weary dossier which has traveled many miles in the last two months. In February I sent it off to my agency and never expected to have it in my home again. And yet here it is by my side, at my request, as I wanted to make a few changes to it. But it won't be here long. It is about to take yet another journey.
The reason we made changes to our dossier and added some new documents was to accommodate the different requirements of our chosen state. Each state has different procedures. I hesitate to mention which state we chose because so much of what drove our decision was purely gut instinct, and it was very subjective. We have no idea whether there will be a referral soon or if we will wait years. But the decision to choose this state was completely ours, and we are at peace that this is what we need to do right now.
We are very excited that we are so close to starting the approval process in Mexico!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Ever since we decided on pursuing adopting in Mexico, we had one particular state in mind where we were intending to submit our dossier. But since we have family in several states in Mexico, we decided to explore possibilities in each of those states before submitting our paperwork. Our agency supports us in this which is very nice.
We, our agency, and family members in Mexico have been establishing contacts and gathering information to help us decide which state. Each state has their own civil codes which determine adoption procedures. So we are finding out that depending on which state we chose, we might need some additional documents for our dossier, since every state has their own requirements. We are gathering those documents in the meantime. We have narrowed it down now and are very close to submitting our paperwork!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Now that our dossier is in Mexico, we have no way of getting a status on anything ourselves. But our agency has been keeping us updated. It took so much to get our dossier put together, approved by our agencies, then approved by the US Government. Most of those steps took significantly more time than we were expecting. So, I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it is not all that surprising that our dossier is taking at least five weeks to get translated. These are circumstances way beyond our control.
It's hard to know what to tell people when they ask. We have absolutely no way of knowing how things will progress now that our paperwork is in Mexico. All we can say is that we won't be able to be matched until we are approved in Mexico. And we won't be able to be approved until our dossier is translated.
Everything is still moving forward, we just have no timeline to go by. Part of having no timeline is very frustrating. But part of it is also exciting. We are going to be surprised. It will probably happen when we are not expecting it. So, we are OK with that. Everyone has told us that all the waiting is just a normal part of the process, and that in the end, it is well worth it. We believe it!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Unfortunately many common ways to refer to adoption have negative connotations. For instance, instead of saying "giving up a child" or "giving away a child," more positive way to phrase making plans for the child's well being is to make an adoption plan.
Another very common phrase is "real parents." This is most often used when intending to refer to the biological or birth parents. This implies that there are somehow imaginary parents who are raising children. Parents who raise adopted children are also very real. There are other ways to differentiate the people in one's life with more clarity.
Along the same lines as that are having "children of your own." As in, they had to adopt because they couldn't have their own children. That belittles adoption as a method of building a family. The children who join us through adoption will be no less our children, we will be no less a family.
Another thing people talk about is how much adopted children cost. As if they are purchased! All children are priceless. Yes, there are fees involved with the adoption process, but there are expenses involved with all children. People who have biological children will have prenatal care costs, special vitamins, maternity clothes, hospital and doctor fees, etc. Nobody expects a couple having a biological child to give an accounting of how much was spent bringing their child into the world or how much it cost them to raise their children.
Another concept we are finding is that people assume that one adopts as an act of charity or that the children will be grateful for being adopted. Raising children is not an act of charity. It is an act of love. It can be uncomfortable when people say adopted children are lucky. Although adoption is a beautiful thing, a lot of loss also come along with it. The children aren't the only ones who benefit from adoption.
When we have our children with us and we hear negative adoption language or invasive questions, I will probably be caught off guard, even though I am expecting it to happen at some point. People say and ask inappropriate things all the time, about all sorts of subjects, without even meaning to do so. It's just much harder to deal with when those comments are made in front of your children or are directed at your family. And from what I have heard, it happens more than one would think.
Following the advice of other adoptive parents, I have been trying to prepare myself for ways to respond to the common questions and comments we will likely encounter. But I am also trying not to get caught up in semantics. I'll be a much more effective advocate for adoption if my feathers don't get ruffled too easily by innocent comments. Almost always, people do not intend to be hurtful with what they say. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt though.
I have found help from all sorts of resources like books, forums, articles, adoptive parents, etc. I hope that I will be able to model for my children positive ways to handle these situations. Adoption is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. But the private details of ones life are private, and not all questions need to be answered.
Here is a workbook that empowers children to take control over their adoption story and teaches strategies for dealing positively with uncomfortable comments or questions about their backgrounds, W.I.S.E Up! Powerbook by Marilyn Schoettle
Adoptive Families Magazine has put together some helpful insights. Here is a link with a chart of positive and negative adoption language and here is an article about nosy questions that adoptive families sometimes face.
Here is an interesting essay written by an adoptive mother, Unsolicited Comments.
Adoption.com has this article Questions Come With The Territory.
I have also read some great responses to inappropriate questions that other adoptive families have shared on adoption forums and blogs.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
People have asked us why we can't translate it ourselves or have a bilingual friend do it for us. It is because it needs to be done by a certified translator who is impartial. After all, it will be submitted to the government and courts in Mexico.
We aren't sure how long the translation will take, but we are excited that our paperwork has at least reached Mexico!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This was such a huge step for us, the culmination of eight months of chasing paper. At times it felt like I had to move mountains to get some of these papers. So many emotions, ups and downs, so many dreams went into compiling all the necessary information. I actually shed tears as I saw it go.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Once we get the notice, we'll take it to a notary to make a certified copy for us. Then we'll go to Tallahassee to get the certified copy apostilled, since that is where apostilles are issued in Florida. Then our dossier will be complete and we can begin the approval process in Mexico.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
But then we decided to change a document in our dossier, and we needed to wait for the new document to get in order. A change that seemed simple ended up taking more effort than expected. Right around that time, we discovered that our I-800A paperwork was being processed by the CIS, more than a month earlier than we expected. So, we ended up holding off on sending our file to the translator, and now we may as well wait until we have the approval to complete our dossier.
We have not yet been issued our approval from the CIS, but we're getting very close. There was a bit of a delay due to P being naturalized, rather than having been born in the US. Because of that, the CIS had to order his US immigration file to be retrieved from storage and sent to them to review before they are able to issue an approval. This is standard procedure. It adds a little more time to the approval process, but that's OK. We found out today that the CIS has just received the file.
In the meantime, the CIS has reviewed our paperwork. They informed us that there needs to be a minor addition of language to our homestudy. Our agency is putting that together now and will be forwarding it to the CIS. Very very soon the CIS will have everything they need to make their ruling.
So, despite changing the order of things we did this month, we are making great progress! Day by day, step by step, we are getting there.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Hang in there and don't lose hope!!
"We will keep praying. In the meantime, try to think positive thoughts!"
"I'm very excited for you two!"
"I'm praying that you are just paranoid. Have faith." - out of context that sounds so funny!!! You had to be there... it's actually very sweet!
"[I] hope it's an all clear!"
"I'm all worked up just reading about this!!"
"What a relief!"
"Hey, that's a snag in your favor!"
"[name withheld] told us all to pray for you because of what you are going through... we are all praying this problem can be fixed..."
"Please know that we are all pulling for the four of you, and we are only a computer or phone call away"
"I'm sorry. What can I do to help?"
"Hopefully this will be the last confusing thing you have to do!"
All of the above are words of support we received just in the last few days. (They are not listed in order received). And it doesn't even come close to listing all of them. This process is quite a roller coaster with so many ups and downs. It is so very comforting to have the support our friends and family. They are helping so much by being so amazingly supportive and on top of things! We are grateful!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
- Dr. Purvis led the online courses we watched. The book really helps to reinforce the concepts in the videos. Dr. Purvis is affiliated with Texas Christian University's Institute for Child Development.
- Here are some online articles to which she has contributed which talk about some of the concepts in the videos and book.
- This book is like a textbook for international adoption, in a good way. Plus, it has so many practical tips, from games to play and songs to sing to help with attaching and many many anecdotes to learn from. It overlaps many of the same concepts as the first book, but gives even more details to reinforce them.
- Here are some online articles that Patty Cogen has written.
- A lot of people criticize this book for being negative. We have read some books that are so negative that they have caused us nightmares. This was not one of them, in our experience. We see the book as a valuable insight into how an adopted child *might* perceive things. No one person or book can speak for everyone who has been adopted. Not all adopted children will feel the same way. We know that.
- Here is an interview with Sherrie Eldridge conducted by Dawn Davenport who hosts a weekly pod cast (Internet radio show) on a wide variety of themes related to adoption.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I also found out that the CIS Hague Unit has hired additional staff due receiving a much larger number of filings every single month than they expected since April 1. The CIS could possibly now process the I-800A approvals in under 90 days. We weren't expecting our approval until around February 23, so if we do get it sooner than that it will be very good news!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Also, if anyone has a blog about their Mexico adoption experience, please share it with us so we can follow your journey! If you would like us to post the link on our sidebar, let us know. Otherwise, we will not.