Monday, November 7, 2011

Homestudy Complete...

Well, I might be having my first of many adoption freak outs. We received notice that our homestudy is complete. Finally. Since I haven't had time yet to chronicle you through our entire process, and I am admittedly updating you in the middle of it, I'll give a little explanation.
Basically, the homestudy is the all necessary check that needs to be done on our home and our family to make sure that we are fit to bring in and raise our daughter. It was a lot of what you'd expect: a fire inspection, discussion with a social worker on our families, our backgrounds, our religious beliefs, our beliefs on discipline, how we met, why we are adopting, what type of child we want to adopt, child abuse clearances from both Ohio and Georgia (apparently Georgia does not have a child abuse registry, don't you feel safe now, down there in the ATL?), FBI fingerprints, our financial income, and yearly budget. And then there was some of what you wouldn't really expect, but kind of makes sense: Chester's shot records, the school district we live in and all the schools our kids will attend, the distance to the closest fire department and hospital, medical examinations for us and Matthew, the confirmation that we do indeed have running water (Matthew got to flush every toilet in the house for the social worker. He was so excited.) And then a few things that you think, "really?" What day do we take out our trash? How close is it to the nearest playground? Never once did she open a single cabinet or drawer. We had three very gracious friends who wrote wonderful letters of reference for us. All in all, we met with our social worker 3 times, visited our local notary at least 3 times, and filled out a million forms. We began this process during my surgery rotation in August when I was just 9 or so weeks pregnant. They say it takes about 8 weeks to complete, which seems right in our case, even with my insane schedule.

And now.... the homestudy will be signed, certified, and apostilled (so many legal things are at play for documents involved with international adoption) and it will be approved by the agency that works directly with Russia and our adoption agency.

So, what's next? Russia closes down for Christmas from December 15-January 15 (they have adopted the college schedule apparently) and the next step in the process for us is submitting our dossier documents. These are the set of documents that go to Russia and that put us in line to get a child. Once we submit our dossier document we will wait 6-9 months (or more or less, we never know....) for them to call us and tell us they have a little girl for us. At this point, we will still be months away from bringing her home if we indeed choose to adopt her (we can turn down the referral based on medical issues or other issues we might find.) So, Tim and I have decided that we want to submit our dossier to Russia before they close down in December. This means that our documents have to go to the agency that works directly as the liaison between our adoption agency and Russia by the end of November. That agency will then get all documents to Russia before they close for the holidays. This means that Tim and I will be very busy in the next couple of weeks trying to get all our ducks in a row. We are hoping we can make it before the deadline so that we don't have to wait until January to send things to Russia. We are both terrified and excited that we are at this new step. I will document more about the dossier process later on.

Please keep us in your prayers if you think about it, that everything would fall in place so that we can get the dossier submitted before the end of this month. We are not the only people who have to do things in a timely manner for this to happen, and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, lots of offices will be closed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trick Or Treat...and....

Matthew had his second experience trick or treating on Monday night. He LOVED it. He ran from house to house for an hour and a half, visiting houses the whole time. We filled up his little pumpkin with candy. I thought he would be dying to eat some when we got home (he kept asking the whole time we were out) but his Aunt Abby gave him a dump truck for his birthday (of course it makes noise) and he was so obsessed with that when we got home he forgot all about his candy. He still hasn't had a piece yet. Fear not: it will be eaten. Mostly by us. But he had so much fun trick or treating, I think the experience was enough for him. We went with his friend Cooper. Cooper was a little slower than Matthew (though he carried his own pumpkin the entire way) so Matthew kept running ahead and then running back and yelling "Cooper, Come on!" Matthew also invited himself into several houses to pet their dog. He would run in, pet the dog, give the dog a a hug, and run out, closing the door behind him and yelling, "Bye bye! See ya!" What a hoot. Below are some pictures of our little monkey.

In other news, we caved at the ultrasound and decided to find out the gender of baby Larson #2. We decided that if it was a girl (in my mind, highly doubtful. My pregnancy with Matthew was nearly identical to this one, and so from the beginning I was convinced it was another boy) we would adopt a boy from Russia instead of a girl. This is mostly because we could get a boy several months younger than a girl. So we found out at the last minute in order to be able to make a more rational decision about the gender of our adopted child.

All credits for the pumpkin go to my former roommate, Marni. I am totally not that creative!