Sunday, February 29, 2004

February 29, Home Study just days away.

A couple of things happened this week, the police clearance reports returned from Harrisburg on Friday and we are thrilled at the speed of the turnaround.

With our home study just days away, and that yesterday was a wonderful spring day, we threw open windows, got that first rush of fresh air in the house and spruced the house as part of an early spring clean.

A trip to Home Depot we also purchased a number of childproof items for the kitchen and for the nursery. The nursery currently yellow, soon to be painted fairytale pink, now has every electrical outlet baby-proofed. Indeed everyroom has been babyproofed as best we can over the weekend. Including new catches on the cleaning fluids kept under the sink. We also bought new smoke detectors and have working smoke detectors on all three levels of our home.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Moving in the right direction.

Since our home study part one, we have been quietly working through some of the paperwork and some other "fun" stuff as we continue to move in the right direction.

Our three cats (Jaffa, Truffles and Kiki) have all been taken to the vet to bring their shots up to date.

A trip to Home Depot was on the list last weekend as we headed to pick out a paint color for the nursery. Long gone are the days of pre-made paint colors, today it is mixed by computer. What color is our nursery to be, - well as we are only going to to this once, we selected a Disney color, Fairtale Pink.

While baby sitting for Glenn, Tommy and Siobhan on Monday, we both sat and completed our Police Check and Department of Child Welfare forms that were sent to Harrisburg PA on Friday. We were both required to complete a form each, total four forms and needed to submit a money order for each. When Taney went to arrange this, the kind lady processing the request on hearing that the money orders were for our adoption waived the processing fee. Glenn who is interested in word puzzles now was very interested in the government word puzzles we were completing, as the grids to enter phone numbers and such looked like something he could play with.

When I arrived home on Friday, I found a giant panda in our family room. As part of a major sale at the foodstore this afternoon Taney picked up a panda for $3, bearly (no-pun intended) a tenth of the full cost. Who could say no. We have named this panda, Laura, the other panda we have in the house at christmas we called G.W.

Finally, this week, and after I had posted this entry, Taney and I have been asked by our home study social worker to answer a number of questions in writing before meeting with her for Home study - part 2, tour of our home. I thought as a matter of record I would list the questions for your information.

1. What are your feelings about adoption? What are the feelings of your extended family?

2. Is non applicable as this is an international adoption.

3. What are your goals and expectations (educationally or otherwise) for your child?

4. In what ways will you handle the situation if you child has emotinal problems, learning problems, physical problems?

5. What causes stress in your life and how do you handle stress?

6. What was the greatest dissapointment in my life? What were your short-term and long-term reactions and responses to this dissapointment?

7. Name your strengths and weaknesses?

8. Explain how you manage you anger?

9. In what manner do you and your significant other resolve conflicts?

10. Under what circumstances would you consider counseling for yourself, your marriage, or your child?

11. Have you ever been abused physically or emotionally? Explain.

12. Describe any history of addiction in your family.

I am sure you will agree these are probing questions. Now I am off to answer them.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Home study - Part 1.

This morning Taney & I met with Sheri at our Home Study Agency, licensed to conduct homestudies in the state of Pennsylvania.

The meeting lasted a little under two hours and we were both questioned on questions we expected and other we were not. In conclusion it was a good meeting and we have a new pile of papers to pull together for the home study, and a target date for Home Study - Part 2, at our home on March 3.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Where are all the Dads on APC?

The following is a posting added to the Yahoo Adopting Parents from China APC boards tonight and also to my London Chimes blog page.

The subject is where are the Dad's who are adopting from China and why do the rarely chime in on the subject matter posted on APC.

This is my tonge in cheek response.

Good evening to Kurt and all the guys on APC who lurk quietly and read these posts.

The question has been raised "Where R the Dads?" in the APC and similar message boards. As one of the above "lurkers" and occassional (very occassional) contributors, I have decided to chime in on this topic.

My dear wife (DW) Taney is a frequent contributor to APC and established my access to APC and Paperchase groups. Both I have to add are excellent, testiment to the great people who are at one stage or another in the process of bringing a member of their family home.

As thrilled as I am to be a Dad-to-be, my personal email account is deluged each day with the many emails on great topics. I would like to say that I have the time to read them all, but hey-you-know, the small matter of working hours and commuting actually prevents me from reading more than a handful of topics that grab my attention or have my attention grabbed by DW telling me of the latest must-read, must respond subject in the evenings.

Kurt, in your original email you wrote:

While walking back to the office from the post office yesterday afternoon, I passed one of our many shops that sells kids clothes and things. From window shopping, to stopping in the doorway and finally asking the big question, "Do you sell baby clothes?" I found myself being ushered by the owner to a corner of the shop. 50% Off All Clearance Items. Wow, nirvana. Paydirt, The holy grail. Geez, I'm in this shop with a bunch of women, and here I am kneeling down to pull out some small dresses - Hawaiian print (having lived in the islands for more than six years, I prefer the spirit of Aloha) - and then the owner begins firing off a bunch of questions, with the first being, "What size is she?" "I have no idea," and feeling a bit stupid over that answer I clarified that we were adopting out of China. That's when the conversation got heated!

DW and I are in the paperchasing stage we expect to be DTC in June or July 2004, and have our first homestudy meeting next week on Friday the 13th. Yet in the lead-up to the holiday season last year we were prompted by family members to register for gifts that we would need eventually.

As a Brit married to an American, the whole concept of registering for anything is to put it mildly an alien experience. I may have well as been a Mars Rover walking for the first time into Baby's R Us and being handed that gun thing. Good-grief, couldn't they have given me a pad and pen? But this is all computerized and as many readers on APC will know Baby's R Us are slowly being dragged into an adoption-friendly age. Again thanks to APC we were warned in advance that registering with them more than nine months ahead threw their computer into error mode. Resulting in me facing off with the store manager and accusing the company of discrimination. (I totally digress).

My first visit to Baby's R Us with Taney was like landing on Mars. "Do we really need most of this stuff?" And confronted with a wall of bottles, liners and other feeding related implements I asked the dumb question, "how do we know which ones to register for?" If there is one thing I have learned is that I have much to learn!

Half-way through our four-hour visit to register in Baby's R Us we "arrived" in the area for car-seats and strollers. Safe-ground I thought. - Wrong! Even the simplest strollers I could not fathom how to collapse and reading the small print on the sizes and weights for each car seat simply made me dizzy. DW and I agreed that if we could not work out how to unfold / fold a stroller in thirty seconds, then we would find a different model that would meet our needs.
As if I was not brain-fazed enough, we drove to our local Zaney Brainy and registered for the other stuff we could not find in Baby's R Us.

Christmas Day was great, we ended up with the stroller we wanted (McLaren Triumph - its made in the UK), the Eddie Bower car seat we selected, and a ton of other smaller items including bedding. My birthday was last week, add to the list the high-chair, bottles, liners and a Baby Einstein musical toy.

Before the guys reading this think I am a complete woose, hey I also got a bottle of liquor from one of my sister-in-laws.

To be serious for a moment, bringing my daughter home is the single most important thing in my life today, even with the daily distractions of my family, my work and my friends. Originally I was the reluctant spouce, not so much avoiding the subject of adoption, but unable to commit to the concept of adopting. That was about a year ago. My taking the time to sit and read and understand as much as possible about adopting helped me catch up with my wife on the subject and fully commit to this.

Heading off to the baby stores is not as an alien experience that it once was, (but I have yet to walk in alone) so who knows. Its all that other stuff sitting on our registry that confuses the heck out of me. I guess we need it all, and more besides.

The whole adoption journey is a real adventure for me, at least that is how I see it, and to be honest how I approach life in general, as an adventure. I enjoy the opportunity of taking the road-less-travelled, and if my path takes me from Britain to America to find my wife and to China to find my daughter then it is to be.

Another contributor to APC recently mentioned if there are any adoption bloggers out there. Please visit which I have set up to record the Friend Family adoption story.

I thank you for the opportunity to write this posting this evening, and wish everyone a great weekend.

Malcolm (41)
DW - Taney (29.5)
DTC expected June/July 2004.