It's been so long since we've written, but, yes, we are still working toward adoption. We have nearly completed our dossier (that's the inch thick pile of notarized and certified documents that will get translated and sent to Ethiopia). We are waiting (of course!) for our own gov't and our state for docs. We hope to have everything completed in the next couple of weeks. Then we will wait. (Of course!) :)
In accordance with our foster license from DCFS, we must take 10 hrs. of training. Some of it we did online... and actually, if you want to do some too, just to get involved, anyone can sign up on this site. It is free until you want the certificate, which we had to get to prove we took it, but you totally don't have to do. I imagine some of it would be helpful to parent children born to you as well.
Last Tuesday, we took a class hosted by our home study agency about International Adoption in general. Much of it was familiar to us. (Ok, honestly, one good thing about waiting so long for things to work out is that it gives you THAT MUCH MORE TIME to prepare, and figure out how you really think about things, and start developing skills.) I was glad we went, though, because it solidified some ideas we had about the post-adoption experience.
1. For the 1st month at home, we should cocoon and bond, just the children and us. Yes, this excludes friends, family, and even grandparents, which I know is difficult. The reason for this is because the children will have to bond exclusively to us. They have probably received inconsistent and sporadic care in the orphanage, and they need to learn that WE are their caregivers. Some children display indiscriminate affection for adults, because they have not bonded with one or both parents or caregiver. This has to be addressed in this way for their future development as individuals.
2. Consistency and Structure will be the watchwords for the 1st year or more. These kids will be used to the routine of the orphanage, which we will try to find out when we go. We can then keep a similar schedule, but change the institutional parts out for family ones. For example, they may be used to spending a great deal of time in bed or in a crib. Any playing at the orphanage happens in bed. We would not keep toys in their room, and use the bed for only sleeping and sleep related activities... you know, the bed time routine.
3. Keep a quiet, stress-free home, and ease them into things. These kids will be easily overwhelmed with a new culture. (A bunch of the families at the training already had kids, and were trying to figure out how to integrate new kids into the hub-bub of current family life. We should have that part easier, since we are, by nature, pretty calm and quiet.) Even after the one month cocooning in the very beginning, we'll not want to travel to see people for quite awhile, but people can come to us.
Next week we have a class about Attachment. I'll write more tidbits of info as I think of them.
Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.