Thursday, June 30, 2005

Parenting 101: The Math Class

June 30, 2005
I stopped by the lab on my way to work this morning to get my TB test read. The medical assistant giggled through most of my two- second "exam," since she couldn't even find where she had poked me. (Think it's negative?) :) I think I won the award for the easiest patient of the day! I didn't even have to go to an exam room; we just stood in the hall and laughed at my arm for a minute. So, she scribbled in my chart, and I was on my way.

We have one more page of paperwork of our homestudy packet to fill out. It's our budget page. It shouldn't be too hard, since we already keep a budget. We are supposed to show that we are anticipating on budgeting for child expenses. So, we're planning on working on that this evening. It's been helpful to wander around stores, and figure out how much formula, diapers, and clothes cost. We had to read up, and find out how many bottles and diapers we would go through per day, and then go to the store and figure out how much we would go through per week/month! Good thing we took math classes before deciding to become parents, huh? :) We've been clipping coupons for baby stuff, too. (If anyone has coupons you're not using, send them along c/o The Clearance Queen.) just kidding! :)


June 29, 2005
This morning as I was leaving for work, Calvin's doctor's office called to cancel his appointment for next week. (Guess the doctor decided to take an extended 4th of July weekend.) So, he had to reschedule his exam for the following week.

Meanwhile, I went and got my medical exam completed, so that's one more step out of the way! It was nice that I had already scheduled my annual exam months ago, so I didn't have to try and make a last minute appointment! It was such a bizarre appointment; they usually assume all of their patients want to be pregnant or on birth control, so they weren't quite sure what "educational lecture" they should give me! The nurse has always been a real nut, and says pretty obnoxious comments, but my doctor is really neat. The doctor quickly reconciled to the idea of adoption, and was excited with me. (The nurse tried to be "Educational" and told me that 95% of patients that adopt subsequently end up pregnant. The doctor and I quickly informed her of her error. The average is only about 1 - 3%!)

It's been fun coming up with comebacks for people who make dumb comments. <hehehe> :) (If people in the public feel the need to inquire about our reproductive systems, they should know they could end up embarrassed!)

At our orientation, one couple said that if someone asks, "So, are you still trying?", they respond by saying, "Do you mean, are we still having sex?" :) It stops people in their tracks!
Don't people know that pursuing adoption is a desirable and valid way of trying to grow your family? Our goal isn't to be pregnant. Our goal is to add to our family, and to be parents!

During our orientation, it was pretty funny to hear the adoptive moms tell about their early experiences during the initial days of their child's life, such as in the hospital and grocery stores! They've experienced jealous glares from recent postpartum women, and comments from fellow shoppers, who say, "Wow, your baby is only 2 days old? You look great!" <hehehe>:) Gee, Thanks!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


June 28, 2005
Today, I woke up really early in order to go get my TB test done before I went to work. Apparently they have a new way of doing the test, which involved several needles. (ouch!) The nurse keep commenting that she really "didn't like these needles, because they don't go in the skin very well!" They kept getting stuck, and she would have to wiggle them out! (ouch, ouch!)

I thought adoption meant that I didn't have to deal with any more needles! (oh, well.)

We also got our forms witnessed today, so they are ready to mail off soon.

Monday, June 27, 2005


June 27, 2005
Today, we both called our physicians' offices to schedule exams and TB tests. For some reason, my doctor's lab doesn't do TB tests, so I needed to call around, and find a lab that would!

Thankfully, though, we were both able to schedule appointments really soon! They are all within the next two weeks! (Usually there is about a month wait for an appointment.)

Our pastor is excited to do references for us, also! I felt kind of sorry for him; in addition to the usual pastoral reference, he also has to do my employer reference as well! Double the paperwork doesn't sound like much fun, but he's been really understanding. (I love my job!)

Willing Volunteers

June 26, 2005
This morning, we distributed the reference forms to our friends. They have all been calling over the past few weeks, wanting to know when they would get to be references for us! It's so nice to have such willing volunteers! We were apologetic, when we told people there was homework for them to do. It seems like such an inconvenience for other people to have to do work for our kid, but no one else seems to think so! They all expressed total excitement at being able to participate in our journey, telling us that they want to do whatever they can to walk alongside us. Before the evening was over, I received calls from two of the three people, letting me know that they had already completed the forms!

I am so surprised at the pace this journey is taking! Our references were informed that they had two weeks before they needed to return the forms, and they filled them out in less than a day!

This afternoon, I went to the store, and bought a few things to start "baby-proofing" our house, to get ready for the homestudy visit. So, I came home and ran around plugging all the electrical outlets with those little plastic plugs!

This evening, we sat down with a couple of pens, and our contract paperwork, and started signing all those blanks! Some of the forms need to be witnessed, so we'll do those later this week.

Moving Along the Journey

June 25, 2005
Our Homestudy Application Packet arrived in the mail today! It was fun to realize that we have already completed the majority of this packet with our Self-Study paperwork, which we turned in at our orientation.

The packet contained reference forms for us to distribute to our friends, employers, and pastor. It also contained forms for our physicians to fill out at our medical examinations. The rest of the packet was mostly just contract forms for us to sign.

Yesterday, we had friends over for a dinner party. We had been storing (and using!) their living room furniture for them while they had been traveling over the past year. We had planned on returning it all that night. They surprised us, though, and decided to give us their couches and rocking chair! They said, "You'll probably need that rocking chair soon!" What makes it even more amazing, is that it looks just like the rocking chair my mom got when I was born!

We're praising God for His provision in helping our budget once again. We had figured that once our friends' furniture was out of our family room, we would need to go furniture shopping.
Thank you!


June 23, 2005
When I arrived home from work, I picked up the mail, and began going through it. I opened a little envelope, and was shocked to find a check inside designated for our adoption fund! We had not expected anyone to support us financially, and it was such a surprise.

I immediately called Calvin at work, and we just cried. It is so amazing to see God working, and prompting others' hearts. At that moment we could only stand in awe of God- He suddenly seemed so Big. . . so Holy.

The arrival of this check saved us two months of waiting. We had planned on having to wait for two more months of salaries before being able to pay for our homestudy, but now that expense is covered! Thank you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More Paperwork...

June 21, 2005
We stayed up until midnight again filling in more forms. This time, we worked on our Formal Adoption Application.

We had to write all of our financial information (debts, assets, etc.), employment info, medical details, directions to our home, etc. We also needed to write about the children we felt we could best parent. We spent most of our time digging through filing cabinets and computer files to find old employment and banking information. The information on this form will later be used in helping match us with potential birthmoms. It will also serve as a basis for questions during our homestudy with a caseworker.

After all this writing, my hands are getting pretty sore. We were joking that some expectant moms get morning sickness, but I just get carpal tunnel!

So, this morning we mailed the application off to Seattle (along with another check). Now, we're waiting to be contacted by a case worker, and for more paperwork to arrive in the mail.


June 18, 2005
Today was Orientation Day at Bethany. Believe me, I feel oriented. My bum also feels a little sore from sitting all day.

Of the eleven couples there, I think we were among the youngest. All in all, it was an interesting group. One couple was from Alaska. Most were only interested and hadn't even turned in their initial batch of paperwork. One couple had already decided they were going with another agency, but wanted to eat Bethany's free food anyway. Just joking. They came "to get information." Then there was the guy who asked if it was really necessary to buy a car seat after being chosen by a birthmom. Of course not, the luggage rack works just as well.

One of my favorite sessions was when an adoption attorney went up and outlined the legal process that goes into adoption. It was great learning what goes on behind the scenes and what to expect, especially if we go outside of Oregon.

A couple of adoptive families came in and gave their story of how their recent adoptions went. That really gave a human touch to the whole process. We can do this too!

After that, a couple of case workers spoke on adoptive child developmental issues that adoptive parents often face. They also spoke on what goes on emotionally in the birthmom as she places her baby in another family. That led in to a session where a panel of birthmoms gave their accounts of placing their babies. Birthparents amaze me. I mean, they sacrifically choose life for their baby when the easy way out is abortion. Then to love their child so much as to provide the best future possible by relinquishing their rights to parent. It's so hard to imagine, but I think I came closer to doing so this weekend. It adds a new sense of urgency as we pray for our birthparents. We were really encouraged by all the counseling available to the birthparents and grandparents of the baby.

The agency workers informed us that they really need families right now. They typically place about 30 babies a year, and they only have about 10 families waiting. We have been expecting that our waiting period could be years, but we learned that most families have been able to complete their adoption process in less than a year through this agency lately.

We were able to look through the prospective families' profile books, since we will need to start making one soon. We're trying to take lots of photos in the meantime. And then, it will be on to the scrapbooking!

The Orientation was so worth the drive to Seattle and back. It was fun spending that time of learning (and shopping!) with Sheli. She is definately my soulmate during the adventure.
Thank you, Father!

Weekend With The Clearance Queen

June 17, 2005
Today we arrived at our hotel in Lynnwood, WA, tired and praying for a room that was at least clean. We were in town for Orientation at the Bethany office the next day. In preparation, Sheli had found a room at a Best Western for cheap on the Internet. I mean, really cheap. As in, "fifty-five dollar room" cheap. We were really hoping for a mattress at that price. But why, oh why, did I doubt the Clearance Queen? Our room was tucked back away from the hall, and very comfortable.

After checking in, we slipped into our swim suits and soaked in the steamy spa under the stars (which were above the clouds, but there nonetheless!) I gracefully (yeah, right) swam laps in the outdoor pool, while Sheli lounged on the pool deck. Wrapped in our towels, we skipped up to our room, where we dined on Cheetos and apple juice while watching the latest movie on the big screen TV. Parent Trap is such an awesome movie! In the morning, I gorged on hot waffles and freshly squeezed orange juice, complimentary of course.

Anyway, my point is that Father God took care of us (pampered us, more like it) once again. And He did it through my Clearance Queen! Yahh, let's hear it for my wife! Blood hound of amazing deals!

But wait. That's not all folks. Did you know you can barter with the cashiers at your neighborhood Gap store? No kidding. I didn't know it either until I watched with amazment as my wife wrapped the cashier around her little finger. She was buying me birthday presents - off the clearance rack. She had a coupon which allowed her to take five dollars off of a ten dollar item. When she took the item to the cashier, she found out the item was $9.99. Now in that situation, tell me if I'm wrong here, I would apologize and take that item back and find something that would probably end up being fifteen dollars. Not my dear-heart. She quickly and smoothly makes him an offer he can't refuse. "I'll give you this shiny new penny if you let me use the coupon." The cashier melted like butter. Then, just to remind the guy who really won the barter war, she flashed her Oregon driver's license and asked to be exempt from the one dollar sales tax. I swooned. She says I'm worth every penny to her.
I love you, Sweetie.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Support Along the Journey

June 16, 2005
A special older lady in our church stopped by my office today specifically to pray over me about this weekend. It was so nice to meet with her for a few minutes, and talk about how God is working! At one point, she even made the point of how important it is to not only pray for our children, but for our grandchildren, and future generations as well. Now, that's faith!

It is wonderful knowing that we have prayer warriors along this journey, uplifting us and supporting us- that people actually sacrifice time out of their daily lives to think of us, and then to let us know! This reminds me of the account in Exodus 17:8-16, during Joshua's battle with the Amalekites, when Moses was supported by his friends:

"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up- one on one side, one on the
other- so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."
(Exodus 17:11-13)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

God's Timing

June 15, 2005
Calvin just went out to get the mail, and it's full of good stuff! His official birth certificate arrived, along with some of the life insurance policy paperwork we need! Praise God for His perfect timing; He's never late, always on time!


June 15, 2005
This week has been so busy! We're really feeling the pressure of deadlines, as we are getting ready for our trip to Seattle this weekend for our Infant Adoption Orientation. We need to turn in our paperwork at the orientation. I spent pretty much all of yesterday typing up the answers to our self-study questionnaires. (Thankfully it was a slower day at work!) We filled up 3 legal pads of paper with answers, and I needed to type them all up! Calvin finished proofing them for typos after midnight.

I also spent a large part of the evening getting laundry done, and food prepared for this weekend, since we will be living out of a hotel for Friday-Saturday. Then I raced around this morning finishing up the grocery list and rounding up coupons for grocery shopping this afternoon.

Yesterday, amidst the craziness, we decided to take a break for lunch and do something fun. We wandered around Gottschalk's department store, since they had just opened, and Calvin had never been there. They had a 50% off sale on baby clothes, so he bought a cute little white sleeper with silver stars on it. (It'll be awhile before we can use it, but Calvin knows how much I love starry stuff, and couldn't pass it up!)

We're still compiling all the official paperwork. A couple weeks ago, we placed an order for an official copy of Calvin's birth certificate, so we are waiting for that to arrive. Hopefully, it gets here soon!

Yesterday, Calvin met our insurance agent in Salem to begin a life insurance policy. The adoption agency requested that we have a policy in place, so we are working on it! We are now in the process of scheduling his required medical exam for the insurance, and waiting for the paperwork to be processed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


June 7, 2005
Just a little side-blog to Michele's last post. It's been fun for me to stop and dredge up my childhood memories, both good and bad. I guess "fun" isn't the right word. "Refreshing" possibly? Anyway, looking back, I see the faithfulness of a God who was always there holding me up. And how could I have forgotten the heavenly bliss of being covered with mud after mountain biking the trail across the street? What joy! Thanks, God.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Wading Through the Paperwork

June 6, 2005
All weekend, we've been working on brainstorming, and filling out our autobiographical questionnaires. If anyone happened to peek into our home, they would see us carrying around legal notepads at random times, jotting down answers- in the kitchen, in the bedroom, etc. During drives in the car, we've been discussing the questions, and spending any spare minute at home writing down the responses.

We each have to write about our personalities- strengths & weaknesses, our goals for the future, our memories & descriptions of our families as we grew up, etc, in response to two full pages of questions. We were instructed to write down everything we can think of. ("Don't worry about rambling," the instructions said!) We've finally each completed the rough drafts for our individual statements of faith. Now we just need to type them up. We've also completed our family health history forms, which also asked us to describe our families' lifestyle & interests!

We need to have all the paperwork completed before we go up to Seattle. We will turn it all in during our orientation on the 18th. It almost feels like "Finals Week" again! We're praying that we will have the time, stamina, and answers to complete this step.

Another Step

June 3, 2005
Before I left for work this morning, we double-checked our criminal background check forms. We made sure all our signatures were in place, and all the boxes were checked. Then, we placed them in the envelope with our completed fingerprint forms, and mailed them off to Seattle. (Maybe we should take stock in manila envelopes!) It was so nice to have one more step completed!

It was really neat that the agency helped us plan ahead, by sending the fingerprint forms. Since we have lived outside of Oregon within the past 5 years, we had to check that "Yes" box on the criminal background forms. That would automatically trigger a request for fingerprints- which we've already completed! This will definitely save time, since we won't have to wait for a request, and mail the fingerprints separately.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Reticient Fingerprints

June 1, 2005
It was only a year ago that I last gave up my fingerprints to the big inkpad. But for some reason, my fingers were a little reticient today. When the lady taking my fingerprints told me to relax, I felt like saying, "Hey, it's the fingers that are uptight, talk to them."
For whatever reason, my fingers would not bend the slight amount needed for a good fingerprint. And if they did, the finger next to it would decide it wanted to be done at the same time and refuse to separate itself from the finger that they really wanted fingerprinted. But it worked out in the end. And now, another hoop has been jumped through in the adoption process. It's interesting to me that adoption wanna-be's have to give up their fingerprints, as if we were being booked or something. Oh well.