I've spent part of the past week (when I wasn't scribbling on forms, talking on the phone to a General Assembly member about adoption law, posting on adoption forums about those phone conversations, and, oh yeah, sleeping, packing Laura's school lunches and trying to make sure her hair is combed) choosing a blog host and a blog template. I'm too much of a control freak to just pick any ol' thing, and back in the Paleozoic era of 2002-2003 when I had my first adoption blog, there was no such thing as A BLOG HOST. You either knew HTML or ... you faked it. (Guess which one I was. I'll give you a hint: My blog had FRAMES. Yeah. Obviously, I was in the latter group. A friend of mine who is a stellar web designer tried to gently break the news, sometime in September 2002, via email. I could hear her whispering as I read it: "Um, people don't really use ... <b>frames</b> ... anymore ...") Alas, my need for control won out over my need for kickin' style, so the frames stayed.
That blog no longer exists, which stinks, because I'd love to read it. (It wasn't even CALLED a blog back then. People referred to it as "that website thing you have, where you write about stuff.") But the contents, stored on some server at some long-ago ISP, and on my hard drive, approximately 73 major hard drive deaths ago, are naught but a memory. And one memory stands out: Typing out my angst during that long, 10-month wait for our referral (the moment we saw a photo of our daughter, read a few paragraphs about her and -- in my case, at least -- burst into tears) saved my sanity. I found it much easier to REMAIN CALM AT ALL TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when I had a place to go to type out my thoughts.
This time, things are different. The Hague Convention on Adoption, and China's changing adoption program (mainly, the MAJOR slowdown in referrals for babies and children without special needs) has pretty much meant that, once again, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. Several times already, I have put some documents into a lovely FedEx envelope, filled out the airbill with high hopes and a huge sense of relief ... only to get a phone call a couple days later from the addressee of said airbill, and the addressee has news of something I forgot to include, or THAT'S NOT HOW WE DO THINGS IN THIS STATE, or NO, REALLY, IT'S OK, YOU CAN JUST FAX IT. This is nervous-making, because, as fellow adoptive parents know, there can't really be any mistakes in the adoption dossier. The papers that go to China must pass muster, and "muster" is a code word for "approximately 47 separate inspections, with varying sets of fine-toothed combs."
I have a notebook. An actual binder. It's pink (gag -- it's what was available on the store shelf among the pathetically lonely leftover school supplies). I'm keeping a stack of 3-hole-punched instructions (47 pages of them, from our adoption agency, the true experts in this thing) in there, along with forms and folders and lots of ... nervous sweat.
I have been making headway on the checklist. Still to come: Photos of our house's exterior (front and back -- note to self: Be sure to choose angle that shows off the playset, and WHEN IS IT GOING TO STOP RAINING, I CAN'T TAKE A PHOTO OF MY HOUSE WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE A SET FROM A TIM BURTON MOVIE!!!!), doctor's exams and the <b>actual</b> home study, to go with all those lovely FBI, state police and Social Services background checks we've been doing, among other things. We had a date on Friday -- we went to the Police Operations Center and got fingerprinted!!!
Tomorrow is Sunday. I hope to do more paperwork. I have given Tim a deadline for completing his updated autobiography. (I had kept the hard copies from when we adopted Laura. I couldn't bear to throw away such meaningful memoirs.) I want to cross things off that checklist!!!