Sunday, March 21, 2010

(Most of) It's in the mail.

I mailed our I-600A* Friday evening.  I took a picture of the FedEx envelope and documents.  Then had a brief exchange with my new bff: the girl behind the counter (TGBTC).

TGBTC:  Can I ask what you are adopting?
Me:  A child.
TGBTC: Oh, my goodness.  Can I hug you?
Me:  Sure.

End Scene.

*While our home study (a required component of the I-600A) is yet to be completed, it is scheduled for the 28th.  So, at the advice of some new but dear friends, I went ahead and sent it in sans home study.  Fingers crossed that I remembered to include everything else.  ** Redacting is fun.  You should try it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why adopt?

"Why would you adopt? Just have another of your own." 
That question makes my heart hurt.  We could have another biological child, God willing.  We have been fortunate enough not to struggle with infertility.  But I can't look at images of suffering, hurting, lonely, hungry, thirsty, dirty, sad children without thinking about doing something.  In response to sharing those thoughts, I was told to donate money.  Which is great.  And we have.  Most recently, we have collected donations for Haiti.  Donated to other worthwhile organizations who help fight poverty, hunger and thirst.  Both domestically and abroad.  But it is not enough for us.

I grew up with one or more pictures of children from across the world on my parent's refrigerator.  Children they had sponsored to be able to go to school, eat regularly, have a safe place to be.  That is a wonderful thing to be able to do for that child.  It is a needed.  But it is not enough for us.

I always wanted to adopt.  There was not a defining moment in my life that resulted in that determination. Although, I love Anne Shirley, Jack Kelly aka Francis Sullivan, and Annie Warbucks deeply.

I don't think Kendall has any deep connection to fictional (or non-fictional) adoptees from his childhood.  But regardless of his inability to understand a trio of girls singing "Tomorrow" at the top of their lungs, adoption is something that we have consistently discussed and desired over the past 11 years.
The choice between giving birth or adopting a child was not a difficult one for me.  I already felt - if we had a biological baby - that I would be turning my back on a baby who would complete our family.  A baby who we need and who needs us. I couldn't/can't do that.  So, the choice was easy for me.  I can't speak for Kendall except to say that he agrees.  Not to the same extent.  He doesn't have some sort of bond, connection to a child he has never seen, doesn't know.  But that is ok.  He didn't really have that bond with our girls until they were 2 or 3.  Or at least well into the pregnancy.  It will come.  We both agree with that fact.  He's just far more practical than I am.  Boring.  And while I dream of "pink ponies, happy sky," I am also well aware that the road we have chosen is not the easy one.  But we have never done things the easy way.  That would have been too...easy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Why blog?

I must apologize in advance.  I have read so many of the blogs by people like us venturing into adoption.  They all seem so utterly sweet.  And that is awesome.  But unlike these amazing people who share my desire to grow their family by adopting from a foreign country, I am offensive.  I can't help it (or won't?).  Regardless of intent (typically I don’t mean to offend, unless I find it hysterical), but it appears to be unavoidable.  Even when I am desperately trying not to be blunt, I end up being deliciously, verbosely offensive.  C’est ma vie.  This is my disclaimer.  I am sorry (mostly).

And with that, here is a heartfelt post about why a cynic would pursue such a idealistic path.

The decision for us to adopt was not made quickly, lightly and without an insane amount of research.  However, I was completely caught off guard a few nights ago.  We were having dinner with a group of people, some of whom were aware of our decision.  I didn't think anything of it when the conversation turned to adoption.  A friend looked up blankly, was quickly filled in, and then uttered, "why?"  A seemingly innocuous question.  I stammered out something unremarkable in response and the conversation continued.  But I keep coming back to that question, "why?"  Something that appears to be so basic to me: the need, the desire, the ability.  In my head, my best Amy Poehler was saying, "Duh! Really? Really? Why wouldn't we?"  But what might be right for you, may not be right for some.

I am sure there are a bazillion Bible verses that many of the adoption bloggers I read will cite when faced with criticism/adversity or just ignorance.  And while I would agree almost 100% with what they would say, this is not that blog.  Those blogs serve a different purpose and a different audience.  Those blogs mean the world to the authors, their friends, family, even me.  There may be a time when I feel scriptures, poetry, musical lyrics, or even sit-com theme songs appropriately convey what is on my heart.  In fact, I have done so today.

This is a blog that tries to answer the "why" for those that we love, while loving that fact that they don't view the world exactly like we do.  A blog that - I hope - will stay true to my "quirky" personality, deep compassion (so deep you didn't know I had any, did you?) and cynical nature.

So, as we move forward with trying to find the right person to do our home study, something akin to a rectal exam of our family, I will be blogging a lot more about the "whys."  Why adopt?  Why international adoption?  Why now?  Why us?  But hopefully this post answers the first "why" - why blog.  Because I love you and want you to share in this experience.  And I don't like answering the same questions a million times. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It has begun.

The process of adopting a precious child from another country will be a roller-coaster of emotions. But before we get to the "fun" part consisting of waiting and waiting and waiting and responding "we haven't heard anything, so please stop asking," the mountains of paperwork intimidate me with the uncertainty, complexity and enormity of this undertaking.

The first piece of paperwork due is the 1600A, which is the "application for advance processing of orphan petition." This is the form required by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), enabling a U.S. couple (us) to be determined qualified or not to adopt a (non specific) foreign-born child. Doesn't that sound amazing. (This will be a fun game, guess when I am being sarcastic or not.) No, it doesn't. It sounds boring. But whatever, I feel like Anne Shirley and will begin renaming governmental entities and documents to reflect how they should be called. For example, 1600A shall forever more be referred to as: Critical Appraisal for the Dependably Discreet Parentally Deprived (CADDPD). Taa daa.
In order to file the CADDPD (aka 1600A), you have to have certified birth certificates, certified copy of your marriage license, and home study. (For anyone else independently adopting from a non-Hague country, I am not sure if the documents have to be apostilled yet.)

I have ordered our certified birth certificates. It is now official. I have begun hemorrhaging money. It is pretty exciting.
I will mail the request for a certified copy of our marriage license today as well. Next, we wait for 2 weeks until the next baby step.

America’s Next Top Cockrell

Welcome to this blog.

We want to expand our family and decided that since we have talked about our desire to adopt for the past 11 years, now is the time. While there are many other reasons to adopt - religious, moral, emotional, pragmatic - each alone is enough for us. So, we begin this process independently. It is scary. It is exciting. We are praying constantly and selfishly ask for your prayers as well.

Apparently, in order to start the process of an international adoption you must also start a blog. It is an unspoken, yet necessary, prerequisite for this journey involving mounds of paperwork that will overtake our life for the next year and a half or so. Here it is.