Monday, March 9, 2009

More Info

Okay really I am not sure that I have a whole lot more information to share. I have received and accepted a referral for a baby boy. I still have several steps I need to take before I will be able to bring my little boy home. But I am working my way through all the paperwork. I am still waiting for US fingerprinting and the forms that will come with that. I need the paper that that process produces in order to petition the courts in Ethiopia for the adoption. But in order for that to happen I need my home study, which should be done in the next few days. Once the home study is done I pack my dossier up and send it off for translation while waiting for my petition paperwork. Then it is in the hands of the courts in Ethiopia. So then I wait and wait and wait. 

So while all of that is going on I am getting fundraising ideas together in order to raise some money to help with the cost of the adoption and also to be able to help support the care center where my child is currently.  I know that I am having a fundraiser evening on April 5th, so I will post more details as I get together what all the fundraiser will entail. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It is A BOY!!!

I am a mom!!!!
To a beautiful boy.....more details to follow as I can.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A baby?

I am excited and a little nervous all at the same time. I have received a referral for a baby. This makes me giggly and excited and really nervous all at once. I can’t wait to be able to bring a baby home and hold him and start all of that mommy stuff. And as I am sure all new moms are there is the nervous about doing it right!!

But the crunch has also come on. I am getting to the point where I need to get some more finances secured. I have most of it, but there is still some I need. I am hoping that I can get some more donations in or that I can get people to start buying pictures. I am at a loss for how to fundraise. Never was my strong suit. There is a part of me that wonders if I am in over my head. 

So for now I send out a new email to friends and family again with a link to pictures and hope and pray. I have to have faith that if one of these little guys is suppose to be my forever family, that the money will come through. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Group

Well March has come in with a cold and blustery beginning. The schools have called a two hour delay due to snow that is suppose to be coming. 

This weekend I had my last meeting with my social worker, who informed me that the home study would be completed by next week. I got the forms sent to USCIS this week and so I wait for my fingerprinting appointment. I should hopefully have my birth certificates this week and can send in my dossier papers as well. 

I think the most exciting thing is that I got my invitation to join a web group of people that are all adopting or have adopted from Ethiopia. I have spent two days reading and looking at their blogs. Their stories are inspiring and the pictures are amazing. The children are beautiful. I look forward to the day when I will be able to post pictures of the child I get to welcome into my home. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More paperwork

Otter in Canada by Jenn Kramer

I got back from Canada and am off to a productive day.
  • I talked to the social worker and we are going to have our next meeting this Saturday, so that is good. Hoping it means that the home study will be done in the next week or so after that.
  •   I have to get a few more copies of things and then can send in my I-600A form. 
  • I went and got my physical today and sent first set of prints off to SBI. Waiting to hear when to do next set of prints but that goes with the I-600A form so it will be a few weeks I am sure. 
  • Need to go back and read but I believe once the home study is done I can send in my dossier and get that ball rolling. Now I know that nothing can happen until the I-600A form is approved but at least then I am mostly waiting on people to approve things and not on myself to get paperwork in order :) Somehow seems better when it is in someone else’s hands. Although I am sure that eventually that will not be the case and I will be anxious for things that are in other people’s control to get done so I can get to the next phase. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Yosemite by J Kramer

          I have stepped back from the adoption paperwork for the last few days. Mostly because I have been in Canada working at an IB workshop. But while it was a forced step back it was a good thing. I am ready to get home and get working on getting things done. So Tuesday when I get back it will be time to go to doctor and get a physical, and then start my vaccinations I will need for this trip. I am a little more determined to try and get things done quicker as I met someone here in Vancouver who lived in Ethiopia for a year and is going back in May for a month. She works in health care so she goes over and volunteers to work with children who have been orphaned because of HIV. So it would be kind of nice to go over the and have a familiar face to meet up with.  I also had a woman who was in my workshop that had lived in Nigeria for 15 years. She actually had both of her kids while in Nigeria. I am finding more and more people to connect and talk with, which is awesome. 

I am also happy that teaching this workshop has paid for the fees for my I-600A form. One less thing I need a loan for!! That is the other goal this week is to go secure a loan for that last part of this adoption process. Lots of things to be getting done, but all good. This weekend was a great help to me..I got to see old friends and share my news and watch them be excited, I got to take a small break from the mounds of paperwork :) but mostly I got to remember my dedication to this process and having a baby. I feel like maybe I can see an end in sight. It still is several months off but there is an end. The books say once you finish the paperwork then there is just the waiting period which can be long and you might actually wish for the paperwork again as at least it kept you busy. 

Well off to catch my flight to come back to the states. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Study Part One- Check

              The first stage of the home study is completed. My social worker came on Saturday morning to complete the home visit part of the process. Matt and I frantically cleaned the house before she got here. We sat and talked for about an hour. I started out very nervous, after all she will decide if there should be a child placed with me or not, but after a while I relaxed and realized I really had done all the things I needed to for this process and cleaning the house was the least of what I needed to do.  She gave me some information on attachment and malnutrition, which are problems I might encounter. The packet she gave me also included some information on vaccines I should take before traveling to Africa. So now I get to start the process of  getting my shots before travel. 
            So I started my dossier paperwork today.  And am trying to keep calm. There is still a lot of steps to take and things that could go wrong between now and the final adoption.  But I am definitely beginning to get excited. :) 

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Background check:  check
Fingerprinting:  check
Survey filled out: check
    This is sort of how things go at this point. Checking off to make sure that I have everything that I am suppose to for the visit on Saturday. I am going to be missing a few things but hopefully will get them at the beginning of next week and can send them to the social worker as soon as that is done. Have to call the SBI today and find out if I need to hand deliver my prints for a background check or if I am suppose to mail them and wait for my background check to come back to me.  Then it is off to Durham to send in the first part of the governmental paperwork to be cleared for international adoption. While I still see all the paperwork and work that has to get done before all of this becomes a reality I am beginning to get very excited about having a child. I finally sent the email to most of my friends yesterday telling them about the adoption and linking them to this page and have received a lot of positive feedback. 
     Next week I am headed to Canada to present at a teacher workshop for IB and I will get the chance to see my Canadian friends. I did not send them the link yesterday because I can’t wait to be able to tell them in person. While I love having friends all over the place I unfortunately don’t get the chance to see their faces and receive the hugs as they learn of my starting a family. I have gotten lots of virtual hugs, but not the same. So next week when I get the chance to tell some good friends in person it will be awesome. There are still a few friends here in NC that I have not told. Beginning to feel a little guilty about that, but since they live near me I am kind of waiting to tell them in person. 
      As Saturday approaches the list of things I want to get done gets longer and the time to get it done gets shorter. I am nervous about the home visit but my friends keep reminding me to just be me and I will be fine. Back to the checklist..... 
Budget: check
Tax return: in progress......

Monday, February 9, 2009

Paper Chase

Determination by J Kramer

          I titled this picture Determination because that is a 100 foot tall tree in the middle of El Capitan in Yosemite. In order to make it period much less to become 100 feet tall that tree certainly had to be determined to grow there. This is the belief that I am hanging on to as I go through this process, with determination, because I know that the there will be things that prove challenging, and that may seem impossible to overcome. 
  My homestudy will begin this Saturday morning at 11 with my first meeting with my social worker. It will be at my house and while I know that they don’t expect the house to be immaculate I certainly spent a lot of time cleaning this weekend and will spend I am sure several evenings doing more cleaning. :) I am nervous and have a bunch of things I need to get done this week to have all my paperwork ready for the social worker. Matt (roommate) and I are going tomorrow to go get our fingerprints and background checks completed. Then I need to find a day to go the doctor and get my letter for that. I also would like to get my taxes done so that I have current financial information for the social worker and then I have an idea of how much I need to get in loans for the last part of this process.  Oh so many things to get done in so little time :) 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Photo by J Kramer

               My picture website is up and running. I am very excited to have it and see if i can start selling some photos to earn some money for the adoption fees. Here is my website: Please share this with anyone you know who might like photography or be looking from something different to give as a gift. 
     So the next step of the adoption has begun. I have been given the name of my social worker that I will be working with to get my homestudy complete. There is a lot of paperwork to complete. I am beginning to be a little overwhelmed with all the stuff that has to get done for this adoption to happen. Thank goodness I have a roommate that is willing to jump through all the hoops with me. I am also blessed to have friends that are willing to help me stay organized. I know I will be a good mom, but organization has never been my strongest suit. So here comes the part of making sure I get all the stuff I need for the homestudy, the dossier and eventually traveling, but also making sure that timeframe of the documents is right so that I hopefully don’t have to get everything done twice. 
    So here is what I am having to gather now; birth certificates, background checks, fingerprints, medical paperwork. I will need all of these for myself and my roommate for the homestudy, but I will also need most of that again for my dossier paperwork and some of that for travel times arrive. 
    I have finished my I-600A form and am ready to send it to the state government for processing. I know it won’t get fully processed until the state has my homestudy. 
    Stay tuned there will be more soon as I meet with my social worker soon. 

* Please note the smugmug website is now down but I am working on a new one to sell photos on!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Call- Meeting my adoption counselor

Max and Mini..nap time
              Talked with Janet tonight. It went well and I feel better about everything that has to happen and the time frame for it all. There are a lot of little pieces that while, not difficult have to happen at specific times. Medical exams, birth certificates and all sorts of stuff to be filed with our state and the government. 

I have worked out some of the financial stuff and am waiting for the information on a few other pieces. I am also hoping to get the website for purchasing photos and gifts up this weekend as well as the place for people to make donations. I should be ready to send off the application for my home study this week and make that payment. Then it begins the process of gathering information, researching Ethiopia, and meeting with the social worker. 

Some time this weekend I also need to clean my house. Time for a good spring cleaning, just a little early.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Packet Received

By J Kramer
             So I went to my mailbox today to find my official packet from the adoption agency that outlines all the steps I have to take through this process. It is a very large 3-ring binder with a ton of things I need to know and I think maybe even more that I need to do!! I have scheduled a time to talk with my adoption counselor, she has been great so far and I am looking forward to talking to her Wednesday night.  So for right now I am just looking at the introduction stuff in the front flap and being patient. I think while patience has always been a strong character trait of mine it is going to get much stronger during this process. Well until Weds, there is not much more to say, but I definitely have a lot to read! ;)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Application Mailed

By J. Kramer

So today is the day I have everything completed to mail the application. Reality, it will not get in the mail until tomorrow, but everything is complete. I had a hard time selecting a picture of me to put in so I decided to send two, one picture, my friend Keith took of me, and one some stranger took of me when I was hiking in Yosemite. Now it is on to getting funds together to start the home study and the dossier paperwork. I emailed my adoption counselor yesterday to make sure I was doing things in a timely and correct manner. I hate for paperwork to be my stumbling block. The paperwork is already going to be the slow process, getting it all completed and checked and translated and back with approvals. But that process gives me time to fundraise and secure loans needed  for this process. As I have begun sharing with more and more people what I am doing more and more people are shocked at the expensive of adopting. It is a expensive process but I know that the child at the other end is worth it. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The process begins

I have started to fill out my application for the agency and sent out two of my reference letters for people to fill out. I have two more reference letters to send out and then get in touch with a social work to complete my home study. Then it is on to the dossier paperwork and the background check. I almost have my website done to be able to sell photos to help me earn some money to offset the cost of adopting. It is well worth it I know, but I am amazed at all the costs that come with the process.

 I am so thankful for my friends that have been supportive so far. They keep me going as I wade through all the paperwork.