Actually it's from Ohio to Ukraine, back to Ohio, then to China

Monday, October 29, 2007

not much going on

I haven't posted in a LONG time, but other than work, nothing much has been going on. We are still waiting on our dossier to be submitted. Word has been going around that the yearly quota of American dossiers has been met for 2007, but I haven't seen anything that proves the rumor is true. So until then, we are holding out hope. If it turns out to be true, then we'll have to roll with the punches :) Obviously we want to travel as soon as possible, and we know that we'll be travelling when we are supposed to travel. It is difficult to keep your spirits up, but we are doing the best we can!

Work has been going well - it's busy, so that helps keep my mind off things regarding the adoption. I am working on the 2008 budget right now, and that's quite a challenge!

We have been getting the child's room ready. I am so excited to see it all come together. The bedding is dogs, so that's the theme we're going with. I saw the bedding on amazon and just fell in love with it!

The dogs are doing well. Yesterday afternoon Katie ripped out her toenail at the base. Talk about a mess!! She tracked blood all through the house, but I think it is all cleaned up now. I took her to the vet this morning, and they said she'll be fine with an antibiotic.

We'll keep you up-to-date if we hear any news (good or bad)...

Friday, August 10, 2007

become an m&m...

Have you seen this website? You can design an m&m to look like you.
Here is Damon and me walking down the road...

Here we are in front of our house...

Seriously, I can't stop!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

no news

I haven't posted in a while, but there hasn't really been anything to report. We are waiting for our dossier to be submitted, and I have begun to accet the fact that it will probably be next year before we can travel. We have started getting his room ready though, so I'll post pictures when we get a bed. (I have been having trouble making a decision!) We have already received the bedding though, and it is adorable!! The theme of the room is...DOGS! We love dogs, so we figured, why not? I just hope that our son isn't afraid of dogs...

We found out recently that the trip to Ukraine will probably take a couple weeks longer than originally thought. The issuance of a Ukrainian passport for our son will take an additional ten business days!!!! This is in addition to the required ten day wait after the adoption has been finalized!!

Dealing with the uncertainty in adoption is the hardest part! We don't know when we'll be traveling, how long we will be gone, how our employers are going to react to us being gone, how the dogs will react to us being gone and coming home with a child, how we will adjust to being parents, on and on...Now I am starting to stress myself out!!

Here is a picture of my high school girlfriends...actually I shouldn't say that they are my high school girlfriends because they are still some of the best friends a girl could ever have!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

happy 4th of july (almost)

It's almost Independence Day here in the United States, so we'll be going to see fireworks at our friend's house. Never fear - we aren't setting them off, but we are watching local fireworks from their house!! I don't want to be near anyone setting off fireworks!!!

Check out this video about Russian orphanages doing "portage" with disabled children. (I would describe portage is one-on-one therapy) From what I have seen of Ukrainian orphanages, I believe they are similar to Russian orphanages. It makes me want to go to Ukraine RIGHT NOW and get our son!! I am learning to be patient (even though I prefer not to learn :)

Onto a completely different subject...
We had a great time on Sunday at a family cookout. My grandparents were in town, so we all got together. I always wonder why we don't get together more often when almost all of us live within a half hour of each other!!

The reason that I included this picture of Damon is because he's always making that face at me - it means "you have NO idea what you're talking about!" And sometimes I do know :)

The cute little dog is my parent's Yorkshire Terrier "Punkin". Can you believe that she's 10 years old? Speaking of my little "Punkin Pie," here's a picture of her partying when we were on would think that my parents had taught her to behave better than that. I guess that makes me the good sister :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

what's in a dossier

my title sounds a little like "what's in a name"

People have asked us what paperwork is included in our dossier to Ukraine, so here's a little breakdown. All documents have to be signed, notarized, county certified (the county verifies that the notary is legit), and apostilled at the Secretary of State's office. (Yes, all those steps can take as long as it sounds like they could. And sometimes much more...)
(1) homestudy - see my post on January 25th to see what was involved in getting this paper!
(2) copy of the homestudy agency's license from the state Department of Job and Family Service
(3) copy of social worker's license
(4) another copy of the social worker's license - this is not normally required, but our social worker had to renew her license before our paperwork was submitted
(5) letter from homestudy agency stating that our social worker works for the agency - sounds redundant, doesn't it?
(6) I-171H approval - see April 25th posting
(7) color copies of our passports - I HATE my passport picture!! I got it taken at the post office for expedited service, and the woman smashed my hair down. I look like I was out in the rain before getting my picture taken!! Enough about that...
(8) Damon's background check from the state
(9) my background check from the state
(10) Damon's employment letter
(11) my employment letter - more proof that we have jobs and can afford the adoption...
(12) Damon's medical results - HIV, TB, and syphilis
(13) my medical results
(14) copy of Damon's doctor's license
(15) copy of my doctor's license - same doc as Damon
(16) copy of marriage license
(17) another copy of marriage license - are you noticing a lot of multiples?
(18) copy of our home's deed
(19) a petition to adopt - this letter is to the Ukrainian government and it states the list of documents we are sending in and asking for permission to visit an orphanage in the hopes of adopting a child
(20) letter of obligation - a letter stating that we will register our son with the Ukrainian Embassy in the US within one month after adoption, and that we will send in yearly reports. We also have to state that our son will keep his Ukrainian citizenship until he is 18 years old.
(21) power of attorney - a letter giving our permission for our translator and/or facilitator to "carry out all actions corresponding with the adoption of a child or children in Ukraine."
(22) another power of attorney
(23) yet another power of attorney
And that folks is our dossier! I know it seems very intimidating, but it is very do-able! When I first saw the list of all the documents we had to get together, I almost freaked out! I was sure that it would take YEARS to get everything together. No paper took longer than a couple weeks to get. The background checks took the longest because we had to send a letter and a money order requesting them, then wait to get them in the mail. We just had our background checks done again, and it took two weeks to get them back this time. Mine expires in late July, so we wanted to get it ready to go in case our dossier isn't submitted before then.

All of the above documents (with one exception) are good for one year from the date of signature, but for Ukraine they must have six months left when they are submitted. So this means that all documents have to be updated after six months. Most of our documents begin to expire in early November, so until then we only have out background checks to send over.

The one exception to the one year rule is our I-171H approval and fingerprinting. Now I can't remember which is which, but I think the fingerprinting expires after 15 months and the I-171H after 18 months. I hope the dossier get submitted before then because I REALLY don't want to pay another $685 to the government!!

Now I am signing off again - have a great night!!

so many things happening...

This post is going to be a long one, so sit back and get comfortable. So many things have been happening that I haven't had a chance to post...

Our dossier is in Ukraine right now!! It should be just about translated. Then comes the wait for submission to the SDA (State Department on Adoption and Children's Rights) which could be as quick as next week or even months... I saw on a newsgroup today that someone heard there are 354 dossiers waiting to be submitted!!! I sure hope not because then its likely that ours won't be submitted for 9 months or so!!!! I shouldn't complain though because MANY people have been waiting longer than us and they survived :)

The garage sale was a smashing success!! We made over $3000 which makes all the hard work worth it! I REALLY have to thank my parents for all the hard work and time that they spent helping get ready and during the sale. No one else was there with us the WHOLE time. Mom and Dad - Thank you so much!! You are the BEST!!!!!!!! I love you!!
Here are a few pictures...

I could not believe how many people showed up! I think as many people showed up to this garage sale as they have to every other sale I've had combined!!

We just got back from a much-needed vacation to Michigan. We go every year with the family and stay in a house on a lake. What a great way to relax!! The only problem is having to come home and go back to work!! Isn't it gorgeous?

Signing off for now...I guess the post wasn't as long as I thought it would be :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

garage sale coming together

Thank you so much to everyone who has given their stuff, time, and money for our garage sale! I am confident that things will be a success!! I thought I would let everyone see what our house looks like right now. And to those of you who know me, you can guess how much this bothers me :)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

correction on garage sale drop-off

Turns out I mailed out garage sale donation letters, some saying the 12th was the drop-off and some saying it was the 19th. So either date is fine with us - we'll be here, probably doing yard work (yuck)! I realized the mistake after writing, stuffing, and stamping all the envelopes. Since I wasn't sure which envelopes had which date and I didn't want to waste all of those stamps, we're just going with either. I guess next time I need to make up my mind first, instead of typing up two flyers and planning on deciding later.
The dossier collection is going well - everything should be together by this week! I am so excited and nervous!!! After that comes the excruciating wait! I will have to keep myself busy this summer so I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it! I guess I can use that time to learn some Russian and Ukrainian. Maybe I'll start speaking Russian, kind of like how Damon occasionally throws Spanish into the conversation :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I-171H approval!!!

We received our approval from USCIS on Saturday! Our homestudy was mailed only one week before receiving approval. That means as soon as we get our dossier together it can be on it's way to Ukraine!!! We are hoping to have everything ready to go by late next week. I can hardly even believe it!! I thought we would have to wait at least another month!!

Things are coming together for the garage sale. It will be held on Saturday, May 26th from 8:00a-4:00p at our house. I am hoping that Memorial Day weekend is a good time. If not then I guess we keep the leftover items in our garage for another date later in the summer.

If anyone has donations for us, you can drop them off on Saturday, May 12th from 11:00a-3:00p. If that doesn't work, email me and we can arrange a time to pick the items up or to meet. (

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

YouTube video

This video is AMAZING! It really shows the conditions and the life of the Ukrainian orphans. It just breaks my heart to think of our son (or maybe even daughter) and all the other children suffering!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

still on the paperwork

I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I'd use tonight to catch things up. We had our home study visits on February 22nd and March 8th. Our social worker Kristy remembers Damon from college - small world!! We are just waiting for the document to be drawn up. Once it is, we will send it to Cathy Harris for her approval. Then once she approves it, the home study goes to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. Then hopefully we get our I-171H approval from the government in about 6 weeks. Then our paperwork goes to Ukraine to wait for a submission date!!!

We had our fingerprinting appointment on March 12th at USCIS. It was an interesting experience to say the least...Turns out that the appointment was scheduled for my first day at my new job!! I let work know, and they were very good about letting me off. I had to work late that night anyway, so it wasn't a big deal! Good thing because I didn't want to change the appointment!!! Anyway - we get to the federal building about 7:25a (our appointment was at 8:00a, and most of you know how compulsive I am about being on time), but we couldn't get into the building until 7:30a. I think everyone we were in line with outside was going to the social security office, but we got in before waiting too long.

Once inside the building we had to wait in another line until the doors opened at 8:00a. The line grew to about 20 people by the time we were able to get in and get a number. While we were waiting in line, a few employees came out to tell us that we might have to reschedule because their computers and phone lines weren't working!! "You must be kidding" I thought. Turns out that they could do the fingerprinting, but not issue green cards (not a big problem for us). A guy in the waiting room though started yelling and getting VERY upset about that, but the USCIS guy calmed him down somewhat.

I was the second person to be fingerprinted and Damon was third. The actual fingerprinting took about 5 minutes, and everyone in the office was nice. While I was sitting in the room waiting on Damon, a girl sat down next to me (I say girl, but I am sure she was about my age). She kept looking at me out of the corner of her eyes, so I figured that she wanted to say something to me. I smiled at her, and then she asked me "Where are you from?" At first I wasn't sure what she was asking, but then I remembered that I was in the USCIS office. I told here, "Here, the United States." She said "Oh, I thought you seemed very American. So what are you doing here?" (I don't know if "seeming American" is a complement or not ???) I told her that my husband and I were adopting a boy from Ukraine, and she told me that many countries had children who needed homes and that it was nice of us to help them out. I still wonder what country she thought I was from...

My new job is going well. I have been pretty overwhelmed, but I am getting things under control. It difficult to start a new job when you've been at the old one six years and you were comfortable there. It's even more difficult because there is no one there to train me or to tell me the correct way to do things!! So I am just trying to figure things out on my own. Each day it gets a little easier, so that's a good sign :)

Not much else going on with us. We are in the process of planning a garage sale to help fund the adoption, so I have to start getting things in place for that. A lot of people are donating items so hopefully with advertising we can get a lot of people out and raise some money!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

working on paperwork

We know that very few people who read our blog will know all that is involved in the process of international adoption, I am going to explain a little about the process. We are adopting independently from Ukraine (do not call it "the Ukraine" because that is considered rude) with the help of Cathy Harris and Ukrainian Angels ( I know that the word independent sounds scary, but the truth is that when we are in Ukraine, we cannot have the assistance of a state-side agency. It's just us, our translator, and facilitator.

Before any paperwork heads to Ukraine, we have to complete a home study. The home study is basically us opening up our whole lives to a complete stranger - scary. huh?! Home studies were about making sure you had everything ready in your home for a child, but now they are more about whether or not we have the ability to parent a child. (Of course the house still has to look nice :)

The documents we have to gather for the home study are as follows:

(1) adoptive applicant financial statement (
odhs 1681) - lists of all our assets, liabilities, monthly expenditures, insurance coverage, etc.

(2) medical statement for adoptive applicant (odhs 1653) - statement from the family physician stating that we are physically healthy enough to raise a child

(3) autobiography - a one-page summary that includes childhood experiences, family life, educational experiences, relationships, child-rearing experiences/expectations, and discipline beliefs (now seriously - do you know how hard it is to fit everything about you and your beliefs regarding children into one page????)

(4) marriage certificate

(5) state criminal record check (bcii) - we have to go to the local police dept, pay $25 for them to tell us that we don't have a criminal record (which we already know)

(6) child abuse registry report - the bureau of family services has to tell us that we don't have a history of child abuse (again - we already know)

(7) verification of employment - a letter from our employers stating our job title, length of employment, job security, and income.

(8) five non-relative reference letters - we asked five people/couples to compose letters for us stating that basically they think we will be good parents

(9) ohio adoption photo listing waiver - I really don't know what this form is for!

(10) two fairly current photos of your family - does that mean that we should include our dogs in the pictures? They are DEFINITELY part of the family. Now to get them to sit together with us for a picture...

(11) safety audit - the social worker completes this form when she visits. We have to have all cleaning materials "stored in a safe manner" and all "arrows or projectiles for weapons stored in a locked area" (what to do with all the bow and arrow sets we have sitting around...? Let me know if you would let us store these items at your house :). We also must have indoor working bathroom and toilet facilities.

(12) fire inspection - which reminds me that I have to call the local fire dept to have them look at the house

(13) education - we have to compile a list of educational courses attended or books read. I have read at least 15 books on international adoption, so that should cover us!

(14) heritage/self-awareness plan - we have to develop a plan on how we will keep our child's heritage alive once he comes to live in America. Again another one-page limit

(15) copies of dossier medical and financial statements - we have to again visit the doctor or health dept to have several tests done. We both have to be tested for tuberculosis (TB), AIDS, and syphilis. (I had to look up the spelling for the last one :)

So that's a little intro on the home study process. I will explain the dossier later. (The dossier is the paperwork sent to Ukraine)
Here is a little picture of baby girl Katie - isn't she adorable?!?!?! She might be chosen to be in the 2008 Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue calendar ( How about that - we might be living with a celebrity!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

getting started...

This is my first attempt at creating a blog, and so far, so good! I have seen a lot of families create blogs of their adoption adventure, and we decided to do the same so our friends and family can keep up-to-date on the process.

Damon and I are in the paperwork process right now for an adoption of a son from Ukraine. It is SO hard to believe the amount of paperwork that's required, but we're willing to do it to bring home our son!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers on our adventure!
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