Monday, March 16, 2009

Hello Friends and Family,

Well this is my first time posting to our blog, I thought it was going to be more difficult then it ended up being. We still have things we need to learn how to do, but we will figure them out as we go. I’ve been working a lot of hours due to year-end, but things are finally starting to slow down and I’m so thankful to have more time to work on our house and all the projects that have been waiting for me. We haven’t posted for awhile because there hasn’t been much to say, but we are now making progress again.

On Saturday we met our social worker, Thea, in Tacoma. We decided to make the drive up there to save on the cost of her mileage and then visit our friends, Ken and Claire. We met her at the Mandolin CafĂ© and had a great first visit. We shared with her our journey thus far to start our family, and discussed what life would be like with our kids. We told her how we met, of course Christopher told his version and then I told her the truthJ It was really nice talking about our marriage, it’s a real self-esteem booster to hear your husband describe you, I turned a nice shade of red with all the sweet things he said. Mid-way through our conversation she said that he had described me in a couple different ways thus far and then asked how else he would describe me. I about died when he called me a hotty in front of her, but she laughed and thought it was cute. I didn’t find out about the most embarrassing part of our meeting until after we left…luckily it happened at the beginning of our visit and we had time to redeem ourselves. When we arrived, I went to the ladies room and Christopher went with her to the conference room, he placed the backpack with the laptop in it on the back of his chair and then went to sit down. Little did he know the chair had fallen backwards due to the weight of the backpack and he sat down and kept going to the ground. His legs were flailing around in the air and a spectator came running to see if he was okay. Luckily the only thing he bruised was his ego and the laptop works fine. After our two-and-a-half hour visit with Thea, we drove up to Seattle to see Ken, Claire and Jack. We had a great time at their house visiting and eating dinner. We look forward to our next visit in April when we will stay the night and get to hang out with them longer.

We will be working through our Homestudy checklist the next 3 weeks before we meet Thea again and hopefully will have a final homestudy by the end of April. We are also working on the checklist Joy gave us for our Dossier, we really appreciate her help and know this wouldn’t be possible without her. Thanks Joy!

We love you all and appreciate your prayers and kind words during this journey.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home Study

Home Study Issues
While waiting for our passports we’ve been debating who should do our home study. We live in Washington close to Portland Oregon. The social worker we found to do it is associated with an agency licensed in Oregon, but not Washington. He says he is a licensed social worker so he can do home studies anywhere, but I’m not so sure. So we’re thinking about finding an instate social worker.

Home Study Resolutions
Amazingly enough a couple moved into our neighborhood who are planning to adopt from Ethiopia. With out our asking they told us about the social worker doing their home study and they indicated they were awfully pleased with her. I contacted her today and had a very pleasant conversation. Since we are planning on adopting older children she recommended a web site, a book, and a periodical. She sounded knowledgeable enough, but what I especially enjoyed hearing is that she only charges $900 to do the home study. The other social workers we talked to were in the $1500 range. Money isn’t everything, but this is a significant saving and of all the people we considered to do our home study, in my opinion, she was the best.


Well I haven’t posted as much as I thought I would. Life and stuff keeps us busy. That and there’s really not much to report. We sent for our passports first thing because we figured that would take the longest, but we already have them back. We applied for them on 1-9-09 and had them back by 1-26-09. FYI, for both ours it cost $229.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Today Michelle & I decided to adopt from the Ukraine. I also decided to keep a journal of sorts about our adventure on account of all the help & inspiration I’ve received while reading other blogs. Hopefully this will be of assistance to someone else, and if nothing else I’m sure our future children will enjoy knowing how they became apart of our family.

We will start by thanking Ken & Joy Rae. My older brother Ken and his wife Joy, adopted Jessica, Erika, & Kyle from the Ukraine. Perhaps I will add a link to their blog once I figure out how to do such things. Since Michelle and I indicated that we were considering the same, they have been a great support. There is no way we could have accomplished so much so fast with out them. Joy has sent us tons invaluable information, contacted her facilitator for us and the list could go on and on. However, you probably don’t want to read about that because well, she’s not your sister, and she won’t help you! :-) Also Ken’s not your brother so he ain’t gonna call you to offer support and advice. However, I highly recommend having a magnificent support group and we have the finest.

Our Story
Once Michelle and I discovered that it would be next to impossible for us to have children the old fashioned way, we decided to foster adopt. I personally did not want to adopt a baby. I’ve known many babies & I think their wonderful and all, but there are so many other people who really want and need babies. I realize that older children come with greater challenges and issues, but I’ve also known a few foster children & have always wanted to reach out and try to help them. Also, I figure the fewer diapers I have to change in my life the better. Michelle and I had decided that the best thing we could do for ourselves and society at large was to adopt foster children through the state. We also figured the age range we could manage would be from about 3 to 5.

When Ken and Joy informed us that they were going to adopt through the Ukraine; I thought “That’s great for you, but it sounds like far too much bother and money when there are so many children here in the states that need a home.” Then I met Jessica and Erika during our trip home over the Christmas season. I met their son Kyle last summer and was impressed with him. He is as cute as a boy can be, but I was more impressed with was Ken and his ability to discipline the boy while at the same time showing him love, even though Kyle, age 3 at the time, didn’t speak much English. This Christmas we were introduced to Jessica and Erica, 14 and 11 respectively. I have never been more impressed with teenagers. They are intelligent, friendly, loving, grateful, every thing one could hope for. We laughed and played and then did it some more. I saw them clean the house without complaint and wait on my brother hand and foot when he hurt his back. I thought to myself “Yep, that’s what I need, a couple of cute slaves.” :-) Ken and Joy tell me that things at their house aren’t always bliss, and I believe it’s true. I’ve also taken a few classes that the state requires prior to fostering, & understand that there is a “honeymoon” period for a time (The girls have were adopted a few months ago). However, after meeting these girls Michelle and I thought we should reconsider our stand on adopting out of the country and age ranges.

Once I had met Ken’s family I was convinced that the best thing for me was to adopt from the Ukraine, but I know it’s not about me, it’s about helping children. I’m aware that there will be challenges either way, & I openly admit I’m clueless as to what all of the issues might be. So what is best for the children? I believe that having Michelle stay home from work would be one of the greatest thing I can give my children, and she agrees. I realize that that’s not a possibility for most, and according to Michelle’s math (she’s an accountant) she will have to work at least part time after we have children. If we adopt through the Ukraine, after the tax credits, it will still cost us $7k to $8k more than if we had adopted through the state. Therefore, Michelle will have to work that much more.

Michelle and I made a decision matrix in Excel to help us determine which would be better, adopt through the Ukraine or foster adopt through the State. Perhaps I will post it, you will see that we didn’t get around to rating all of the concern we listed, but it did help us to prioritize and gave us subjects to research and discuss. The problem I had with our decision matrix was that rating and weighing the performances was that it’s completely subjective. For me all of the research and discussing we did was needful, but quaint.

In the end there were only three considerations to my decision. Well there were many things considered, but I could only come to three things that were absolute and definite. First, it was Ken’s children. They are amazing. See, for me everything we considered was based on theory, opinion, and conjecture, except Ken’s children. They are tangible and the experiences were real. Second, while reading a blog I came across a video. Perhaps you have seen it. It talks about the conditions of the orphanages in the Ukraine and what happens to orphans upon their release at age 16. Now I know I can give a better life to an orphan here in the states, but I also know I can do far more for someone in the Ukraine. I mean relatively speaking, Ukrainian orphan to American orphan. It goes with out saying that I can be the world’s greatest dad to either, :-) but when we take them from the Ukraine we offer them and their entire posterity with all of the possibilities and blessings of being an American. Last of all, it just feels right. I’m not one that does a lot on faith and feelings, but I have prayed and this is what feels right. So, is all of that worth having Michelle gone a couple extra hours a week? I sure hope so. In the end who knows, I guess we’ll just have to take a step into the darkness and see.