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Guest Julie&Rick

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We made a lot of progress last week! Met with the wonderful suebee for dinner Thursday and then mailed off our completed application Friday. USPS.com shows that the package should arrive at the Abrazo offices today! I also contacted a local social worker to update our TN home study for TX standards and should hear back from her tomorrow about scheduling and cost. We worked on draft 1 of our profile over the weekend and it's coming together so well! Fingers crossed that an orientation invitation comes and that we'll have a chance to get feedback on this profile and use that TX-updated home study!

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We made a lot of progress last week! Met with the wonderful suebee for dinner Thursday and then mailed off our completed application Friday. USPS.com shows that the package should arrive at the Abrazo offices today! I also contacted a local social worker to update our TN home study for TX standards and should hear back from her tomorrow about scheduling and cost. We worked on draft 1 of our profile over the weekend and it's coming together so well! Fingers crossed that an orientation invitation comes and that we'll have a chance to get feedback on this profile and use that TX-updated home study!

Oh, I remember sending that big package to Abrazo.....it was so exciting!

Congrats on getting started & beginning the next steps. Why don't ya hop over to the Joyous Journeys & start your own blog there?? I look forward to reading your journey.

xoxo...Amy

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I'm enjoying reading about the excitement of starting the adoption journey - thanks for posting us with updates, Melissa & Erin! Each step towards that sweet baby is a step closer - and it's a good number of steps when you have a big packet that has to get mailed and measured for postage!

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Hi Everybody. Just jumping in here like we're hoping to jump into the adoption process with Abrazo! Exciting times.

We sent our inquiry form in late last week and are waiting to hear back. In the meantime, we are continuing to read a ton and share with our families along the way. It has been really interesting to see how reading books has already "stretched" our assumptions and to then turn around and work with the built-in assumptions about adoption that our family and friends carry. We've had (mostly) good times learning and then educating the folks in our lives.

Here is our funniest example so far of "educating", which I shall call "kids say the darndest things":

My Sister-in-law to nephews and niece: You know, Craig and Amy are going to adopt a baby and it will be your new cousin.

10 year old nephew: (very excitedly) Awesome, I have just been dying for a Chinese cousin.

Me: Well, we are probably going to adopt a baby from the US. But why are you dying for a Chinese cousin.

10 year old nephew: Because it will play basketball with me when it gets bigger - like Yao Ming. (He's a huge b-ball fan and visited us in Houston recently.)

Me: Wellllll.... (interject 4 year old nephew)

4 year old nephew: I'm glad the baby won't be Chinese.

Me: Why is that?

4 year old nephew: I won't be able to understand it...(Pause, deep thought) because it would speak Spanish. (He can only conceive of one foreign language and his siblings learn Spanish at school.)

Me: (giggle) Well, we would have to teach any baby English.

4 year old nephew: What's that?

Me: (Laughing on the inside and thinking "oh brother, what have I started").

BTW, this forum is really great! Finally, a view from the inside.

Amy (and Craig)

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Welcome Amy and Craig!!

This forum is full of great info for before during and after the adoption journey. The people here are great and many I consider family. :)

Looking forward to hearing more from you and of course more funny stories along the way.

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Welcome Amy & Craig to Abrazo :)

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Welcome to Abrazo Amy and Craig!!

Kids say the funniest things!

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Welcome Amy and Craig! It is great to see you jumping right in on the forum. There is so much information and support on the forum.

Blessings,

Tracey

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Thanks for the warm welcomes! Judy (or Chris maybe), we live near Meyerland - SW between 610 and the outer loop. Do you guys come into the city much- for work or play?

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Welcome, Amy and Craig!! You're right - the forum is a wonderful place and you'll find so much support AND learn so much before you reach orientation. There are so many people with so many different experiences to learn from, so it's awesome that you've jumped in! Good luck on every upcoming step! Can't wait to read your journey!!

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Thanks for the warm welcomes! Judy (or Chris maybe), we live near Meyerland - SW between 610 and the outer loop. Do you guys come into the city much- for work or play?

Yeah another Houston couple!!

We live in Pearland!!

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Monica, Pearland looks like a great place to raise kids. We looked there years ago but ultimately decided to be closer to our jobs in the med center and museum district.

Melissa, you guys live in TN right? I grew up in Nashville - well Franklin area. My husband is from western KY - Henderson. So we drive through Memphis at least once a year. I enjoyed the pics you posted recently - those kids are adorable!

Any advice on things I can be doing while I wait to hear back about the inquiry? We haven't contacted anyone about the home study - is this something I should wait on until I get a referral from Abrazo (if and when, fingers crossed).

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Amy,

I would get started on your homestudy if you are planning on adopting. Any agency will require a homestudy. It will also bring you closer to your goal. When your ready things can happen quickly!

Heather :)

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Melissa, you guys live in TN right? I grew up in Nashville - well Franklin area. My husband is from western KY - Henderson. So we drive through Memphis at least once a year. I enjoyed the pics you posted recently - those kids are adorable!

Any advice on things I can be doing while I wait to hear back about the inquiry? We haven't contacted anyone about the home study - is this something I should wait on until I get a referral from Abrazo (if and when, fingers crossed).

Hi, Amy! You're right - we're in Memphis. There's a huge group of us here, who I found under "United States of Adoption" on the forum when I first joined. It quickly got me connected with the families in my area and is a huge help during the journey!

We were just recently in the same spot as you - trying to figure out how to be proactive while we waited to hear back from the inquiry and then the application. I wanted to go ahead and schedule my home study (ours was an update, though), too, but Elizabeth suggested we hold off since a home study is only good in TX for 6 months. By getting it completed too soon, you'll cut down on the time when it's valid and potentially spend un-needed money. We scheduled our home study (an update in our case) for 2 days after we'd return from orientation. That way, if something changed, we could just cancel and there was no harm. The ladies at Abrazo can most defintely give you the most sound advice for your particular situation, though.

One thing I'd really suggest is getting started on your profile. I worked for over 2 months on ours and (with your orienation invitation), you'll receive samples from other couples. Photos are important and you can see other couple's 1st page on the gallery. Our total profile was 6 pages with a focus on photos more than text. We did ours digitally, but I know many families handmake theirs, too. Our 1st page should go up in the gallery sometime soon, hopefully!

You can go ahead and ask for reference letters from friends, too. I believe 2 non-family references were required for both of us.

This is the time to do lots of reading, too. We were lucky enough to borrow books from another family here in Memphis, but I know there are threads on the forum that give suggested reading. You can often find them on Amazon.com for low prices when they're used.

And learn as much from the forum as you can, assess what you're comfortable with, and mentally prepare for your journey, too! Let me know if you have other questions and I'm happy to help! :)

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Thanks Heather and Melissa.

I started sorting some pictures for our profile last night and requested some fun ones from our family. Someone I know created their profile at Blurb.com. I might see if she can help when I get further along. Melissa, did you use an on-line publishing site to do yours digitally? I know you can use Snapfish and Kodak.com too. But I also don't want to over-do it:)

Do reference letters need to address specific questions? And can they comment on both of us - since our friends know both of us. Or did you go with friends and then someone like your employer or co-worker too?

Yes, books books books! I'm currently reading The Open Adoption Experience (every time I see its cover from the 80s I think of a kid version of the Star Trek Enterprise), and I've plowed through several others this Spring. I tried reading every night about an hour before bedtime but found that it got me so excited that I couldn't sleep. Now I'm reading for long stretches on the weekends.

Found "united states of adoption" - checking it out.

Edited by Amy&Craig
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Melissa, did you use an on-line publishing site to do yours digitally? I know you can use Snapfish and Kodak.com too. But I also don't want to over-do it:)

Abrazo profiles are different than any other profiles we've seen at other adoption agencies. For our other agency, we used Shutterfly and that worked out great because we had to provide a hardcover/bound book for them to show to expectant parents at their office. At Abrazo, they'll want 10 color copies of your profile, not bound, just stapled. I am comfortable with PowerPoint, so that's what I used. I read that another couple on here used Word. I'm sure some others use Adobe Illustrator or some other multi-page layout program. Your call... but I say you use what you're good at laying things out in. If you love paper and glue and that feels good to you, I say you do what you love! I think it comes through in the final product.

Do reference letters need to address specific questions? And can they comment on both of us - since our friends know both of us. Or did you go with friends and then someone like your employer or co-worker too?

Concerning reference letters, Steven and I were just talking about what we did for these and he ran and grabbed the copies I made of what we submitted so that I was sure to tell you correctly! Okay... 3 non-related personal references who know you well as a couple/family - whomever that is who spends time with you both and can speak to that. They should be able to speak to both of you and refer you as suitable parents in an honest referral (no specific questions).

----

Here are another couple of things that I found mentioned beforehand scattered around the forum, so I'll list them here all in one spot!: doctor's letter stating infertility in no uncertain terms, "blueprint"/floor plan of your home (drawn is fine), photo of each room + exterior of your home, proof of insurance for yourselves + an adopted child valid at time of birth, copy of your tax return for the previous year or financial statement.

The rest of it mostly involves copies of documents, signing paperwork, and answering questions. Reading on the forum/in books will mentally prepare you for the questions! I read tons on the forum and some in books - Steven didn't hang out on the forum much, but easily read twice the amount of books as me. All of that knowledge has become more and more important with every step of the journey!

Hope this helps! :)

Edited by Steven&Melissa
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If it helps, I did our profile on our Mac, and then uploaded the pages on the fedex/kinkos website and they did a really nice job printing them off there. I just picked them up later in the day. You can choose really good paper quality, etc.

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Our profile was kind of a hybrid - Scott is a graphic designer so he designed the background and type and printed them off on a nice color printer, we then mounted that paper to some heavier board to make it sturdy - and then we used real photos and scrapbooking stuff to put on the photos and some other sticker type stuff. That seemed to give it a homemade feel - which I think helps. The advice we were given in orientation was not to make it look too perfect. Scott wanted to do the entire thing on the computer, but we decided it would be better to have some homemade elements on it. We just made 10 color copies of the original after it was completed. Hope that helps!

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God bless Fridays. We sent our inquiry last Friday, and I left a message with a handyman to come by to re-grout the shower (overdue project). Then today - again Friday - got our application materials from Abrazo from the mailman as I was leaving for work AND the handyman called me back to come by tomorrow. I know what I'll be doing this weekend!!!

Such great advice on the profile book - it does help. The creative side of me is like ohhhhh, project! When I asked my mom for some pictures yesterday she shared some priceless advice - "be sure to include your bunnies in your book, people love fuzzy animals!" Apparently birth parents make this huge decision by the cuteness of your pets (NOT). Yes, we do have 2 pet, house-trained bunnies, and no I don't advocate getting any just to put in your book :)

Have a great weekend everybody.

Amy

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Have fun this weekend! You'll have to move on over to the application thread now instead of inquiry - you're past this step now!! That was FAST! 1 week? I think ours was almost 4 weeks to the day. What a great surprise!

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Hi! We mailed our inquiry pre-app just yesterday! I am loving the forums...answers to so many questions...and questions I didn't even know I had if that makes any sense! :blink: ) Looking forward to finding out more. Good Luck to everyone!

Edited by Allie & Ross
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