Saturday, November 28, 2009

Adoption Advent

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Church season of Advent. A time of waiting for the birth of the savior. At school I taught my students how we prepared room in our hearts for the rebirth of Christ. To help them understand the preparation I always made the connection to the preparations parents make while waiting for the birth of a child.

Well, I guess I could say that I'm in the Advent season of my life now. A time of waiting and a time of preparing for my child. One day I will travel to Kazakhstan to meet my child, but for now I wait.

Waiting is hard. Every season marks another milestone that I thought would be different this year. But the passage of time also means I'm moving closer to getting my LOI and officially packing for the trip of my life.

One thing this season of waiting is not, it isn't lonely. With my real life friends and my on-line friends, the waiting time is shared.

I've resolved to really enjoy this Christmas and have a wonderful time with friends and family. Usually I have to fight myself not to get into the mood too early. As a primary teacher it was always a struggle to keep kids minds on work when they were thinking Christmas, and I mean from two days after Halloween. This year I'm as bad as my former students, I've already been listening to Christmas CD's in my car for 2 weeks, I've put up some decorations and I attended the Santa Claus parade.

The reality is I have a lot to do before I travel to meet my child. None of it HAS to be done before I travel, but it would be nice to have my to-do list smaller before my workload doubles. So, Advent roll on, I welcome you and your message. I'm happy to prepare both for this Christmas and the child I will one day call my son/daughter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santa Claus Parade

Last Sunday Toronto held the 105th annual Santa Claus parade.

Now, I've lived in Toronto my entire life, and this was only the second time I've attended the parade. The first time was 2 years ago. I joined Diane and her daughter Ciera, Diane sister, and a friend of Diane and her daughter.

It was a cloudy and cool day. Not actually cold, sort of comfortable. It wasn't until the end of the afternoon that I began to feel cold.

There is a lot of waiting around, as you have to be there early to get a spot on the sidewalk. I actually was later than I'd planned as I lost track of time. But Diane and friends had found a great space on the sidewalk. The road is closed off hours before the parade actually passes and the children use sidewalk chalk to send messages to Santa and the marchers to stop in front of us.

A favourite of the parade is always the upside down clowns. Diane and her sister love the clowns. I have to admit I really like them too.

There were lots of marching bands and beautiful floats. Next year I hope to be there with my own little one. (Fingers crossed - not that that wasn't the thought I had 2 years ago when I attended the parade)

My camera is a Canon Powershot SD300, a Digital ELPH. It's nice and small and can fit in my pocket. At one of our Can-A-Kaz parties, someone mentioned they had a similar camera, but upgraded to a better one after adopting their child as the camera wasn't fast enough. I didn't understand until I tried to take pictures of the marchers at the parade.

Heck, the people are just walking and they come out all blurry. I guess I'll be looking for a new camera for myself for Christmas.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Feature on the Blog

I've added a list of the final stages my dossier has gone through. I love reading on other peoples blogs when they passed through each stage of the process, and as time passes I realize I'm beginning to forget when I did things. To help me remember I've added a list from the translation stage forward, with Return Home at the top of the list.

I would have liked to have gone back further in the process, but my memory is faulty to the exact date of different steps, and I love to be exact.

I'm still waiting to hear which of two cities I will be traveling to. My file is will either go to Uralsk or to Almaty. I've been reading about both cities and have talked with families who have traveled to both cities. I'm exciting about going to either. Hopefully, I will learn shortly where my LOI will be issued from.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still Waiting to Start Paperwork Over Again

Well, I got the final, final, final word that my letter of approval would not be extended and that I need to do a renewal. That's fine, but since I don't know what paperwork I need for this 'renewal' I can't start on the paperwork.

I emailed my AP yesterday, and I learned that she is out of town. She'll be home on Sunday, so she can prepare the paperwork for me to pick up.

As usual, I'm really worried about the local police clearance. That takes over 6 weeks to come back. And we are going into the holiday season, so I don't know how long it will take now. The sooner I can drop off the request the better.

IF I get the form to bring to the downtown police station this weekend, I can take it down after work on Monday, otherwise it might be Friday before I get a chance to go down there again during their open hours.

My AP keeps reassuring me that this is simply my provincial approval. This is just a technicality and that it won't affect my dossier at all. Okay, I get that, but I hate not having all my ducks in a row, signed, sealed and delivered.

In the meantime, I'm working on some redecorating. I was pulling up the carpet in the bedroom. Ummm, aren't the tack strips just supposed to be tacked down themselves. I think my father, God Love Him, put the strips down because they have 1 and 1/2 inch nails ever inch or so. I'm quite handy with the crowbar these days.

This evening I'm going to finally pick a paint colour. I've never really done this before. All my life I've lived in a white house. The array of available paints is so incredible. I could never understand my mother's desire for white throughout the house. We live in a country where the outside view is all white for 1/2 of every year (feels much longer most years). I'm thinking of a soft yellow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Christmas Carol Movie - Not for Little Ones

On Friday evening, as I wasn't picking my sister up from her group home, I decided to go the movies. My brother, Christine and I decided to see the new Christmas Carol movie.

We attended the 5 pm show. What a great time to go to the movies on a Friday evening. There were maybe 20 other people in the theater. We went to see it in 3D in IMAX. WOW, that is a great way to see the movie.

At the end of the movie, by brother turned to me and said he found it scary, I thought it was me because I'm quite the movie wimp. Because Jim Carey is the star, I expected it to be 'ha ha ha' funny. It isn't! I found the movie to be a great version of the Dickens story, I was scared by scenes and moved to tears by others. I just read the Sunday Independent news coverage for the movie and the sub heading said "Christmas has come early, and it's a thoroughly ghoulish affair". And it certainly was ghoulish. This is NOT a sentimental treatment of Victorian England. Oh, and dress warmly for the movie. I was SO cold watching it, as the movie is completely believable in it's coldness that you 'feel' cold.

Oh, and Jim Carey is wonderful in this movie. It is the Christmas Carol with Jim Carey, not the other way around. You totally forget that the actor playing Scrooge is Carey (for that matter, most of the movie is Carey, not that you get that until the credits).

Just a word of warning, don't take young children to see this movie. It does have some very frightening scenes, sensitive little ones might be overwhelmed . Or the little ones might not be able to follow the story. It relies on the telling of the story as much as on the 3D effects. A little one in our audience actually was very bored, as she didn't get it, and of course we could tell, luckily her parents bought her more popcorn to keep her quiet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paperwork, Here I Come - AGAIN

Well, I heard back from my agency and I have to get a new Letter of Approval. That means an update with my adoption practitioner, new police clearances (both local and RCMP/Interpol) and medical. Once all the paperwork is done it could take up to 16 weeks to get the new Letter of Approval. Considering the local police clearance can take 6 weeks, this process could take me 22 weeks.
Supposedly, I could have gotten a 6 month extension, however the province stated that they couldn't issue an extension as I don't have my Letter of Invitation right now. So that means starting the paperwork again.
I have to tell you I hate this! It had better not take 5 or more months to get my Letter of Approval. I can just see me waiting to see which will come in first, my Letter of Approval or Invitation.

Blogs: How many is too many?

Blogs have been SO important to me as I've learned about the adoption process in Kazakhstan and in keeping me sane as I wait. I also, along the way discovered knitting blogs. They are a wonderful way of sharing my love of knitting and learning about this comsuming hobby. So it seemed natural to begin both a blog about my adoption journey and my knitting. However, somewhere along the line I started a third blog about my house. I guess somehow I'd separated my life into boxes and created blogs for each of the boxes.
Well, I've decided to do away with my home blog and I've deleted it. It's now gone. Hmmm, maybe I should have saved the entries first, oh well, it's not really gone for the next 90 days and then it will be really gone.
From now on I'll have a blog to keep track of my adoption and homelife (they are one and the same, right) and one for knitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The short life of Paperwork

I was thinking the other day that it has been nearly 2 years since I got provincial approval for my adoption. At the time I believed it would only be 6 or so months later that I'd become a mother. Well I'm still waiting and the paperwork is expiring again.

Since I began this process I've had 3 sets of fingerprints for RCMP and Interpol clearance, local police clearance twice, 4 medical forms, and 1 home study update. I sent a note to my agency last night asking about my provincial approval. I learned today that it is set to expire on the 20th of this month. Hmmm, is it my role in this process to stay on top of these things???? I've never had a provincial approval, I didn't know that they expire after 2 years. Good thing I wondered about the age of that document, eh? I have less than 18 days to do whatever I need to do. What do I have to do to get re approval (my agency is looking into this issue, they don't know exactly what will is required- I guess I'm the first to go through this process - not!)

The only problem with fingerprints is actually getting good prints from me. Who knew that hand washing dishes and forgetting to use gloves would make my fingerprints so hard to read. Do crooks know these things?My brother (as we share a house he has to be checked too) has no problem getting his prints read (read that anyway you want). Once I go to the fingerprinting office, I receive my clearance letter within a week.

Local police clearance is a little more challenging. I have to ask my adoption practitioner to give me a request for a police check. Then I go over to her office to pick up the paperwork. When I have the requests filled out, I go downtown to the central police station, where I stand in line to hand in my request and pay the fee. As I stand in line, I listen to the officer tell the others how long they have to wait for their request for clearance to be completed. Most are done in 3 to 10 days. Then it's my turn and they say it will be 6 to 8 weeks. Yah, lovely.

Thankfully, my doctor is wonderful when it comes to the paperwork for this adoption. All she does is fill in the paperwork and say, "Let's hope this is the one that works the charm." She does remind me that I'm not getting any younger and that it's hard to parent a little one as you get older. Ya, that's helpful. Like I could hurry this process up.

I rant over all this as I might have to update all this paperwork to get a new letter of approval from the province. Then, when I go to Kazakhstan I will probably have to get them all done again.

If you haven't been through this process, you have no idea how frustrating paperwork and their expiration dates can be.

Well, that's my rant for today. Tomorrow I'll discover what I need to do to get a new letter of approval.