Friday, June 18, 2010

All of the Training is DONE!

We have finished all 16 (more like 20) hours of pre-adoption training! It was all very informative actually. You know, you go to these workshops and think I know this stuff... blah, blah, blah. But this was different. Some of it wasn’t new but all of it was relevant to us which made it interesting =) And to finish off the day we meet a couple with a beautiful 15 month old daughter from The Marshall Islands! She was adorable! Just like a little doll. A little Golden doll.
We learned about Grief and Loss and Racial issues that will arise and how to protect our children and how to teach them what to say if they’re ever confronted alone. Being Latina myself I figured, “I got this”. But it’s a different story when it’s not only discrimination on race or culture but add in adoption too. Poor kid! We’re going to need to be really strong for him. It’ll be a life long process and yes, it probably won’t happen everyday, but our child will probably think about one of the two at least once a day.
Man, I really hope this all goes through; I think we’d need a bereavement day if it doesn’t. I’m really trying to not get my hopes up because after dealing with so much let down in the baby department, you learn to shield yourself, you know. I don’t know if I’ll be able to put my guard down until that baby is in our arms and all papers are signed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Info about the Islands

So a little about the Marshall Island's. The RMI (Republic of the Marshall Islands) are a group of 5 Islands and 29 Atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They're located between Hawaii and Australia. The country has about 60,000 people (St. Paul, MN has close to 288,000) with about 25,400 living in the Capitol City, Majuro. The next big city is Ebeye with approx. 15,000. Here's a quote from wikipedia regarding Ebeye: "Settled on only 80 acres (360,000 m²) of land, it has a population of more than 15,000. Over 50% of the population is estimated to be under the age of 18. With crowded living conditions, an inadequate school system, and scarce clean water, Ebeye has been known by the unofficial and unfortunate title of "Slum of the Pacific." "
The Marshallese people have a reputation of being an extremely friendly and family oriented culture. Shawn and I were reading about the cultural norms last night and I think we'll fit in perfectly!! It's very much like the Mexican culture. Children are raised communally and families include EVERYBODY! Aunts, Uncles, cousins, second cousins, the cousins sister's brother.... everyone is welcomed as part of the family! Just like in my family, I don't even know how my "cousin" is related or if that "tia" is really my aunt but hey, if you need a family, come on in! I love it!
Life on the Islands is very difficult. Food is very expensive and employment is very scarce. A 12pk of Mountain Dew will run you $10.20! 1/2 gallon of Orange Juice $5.00! People are starving and children are dying. The infant mortality rate is between 22-26/1000, here in the U.S. it's 2-4/1000. Age expectancy on the islands is only about 67-69 years old!
I really think word about what's happening on RMI will hopefully spread soon. You see, there is a U.S. base there. The U.S. tested the Nuclear Bombs there from 1946-1958 and then some other tests have been performed on the people. You know the Deprovera birth control shot? That was tested on the women of those islands. As more people leave the islands, more people are starting to hear and talk about what goes on there. There are still active bombs lying around the outer islands from WWII and although people have gone to the base to asked them to remove them- they're still there and occasionally detonate. The people on the outer islands are starving and have to wait for supplies to be delivered to them, while Majuro has restaurants and nightlife. Of course, this is all from what I've read. Once I get there, I'll let everyone know what I see.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1st online training complete! (By me anyway =P)

So since Monday when all the craziness started, we've been running around trying to find papers for our application. Normally families have 1 month to complete the application and 1 month after that to complete the 16 hours of training (6 or so online, 10 at a workshop) BUT since nothing is ever normal in Shawn and Titi land, we have 1 WEEK!!! We need to get everything done by June 17!!! Holy smokes I'm stressed! And of course today was the last day of school at work so that didn't help much.
I just finished my first 3 hour online training called "With Eyes Wide Open" which is funny/weird because I always told Shawn that I was going to play that song "With Arms Wide Open" when we got pregnant. So, not really pregnant but expecting a child= not really the song title but close enough!
Things to do for tomorrow- print out our tax return, call the SPPD to get fingerprinted, encourage Shawn to finish his training, find someone to write our reference letter, Remind Shawn to get his medical letter done, Go through our papers again and fill in the blanks.... oh and of course go to work, go to graduation and come home and do another training. =) After this the rest should be a piece of cake =P Let's hope so!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our first Post!

Well I'm not sure how this will turn out since it's my first ever blog post but here we are starting our grand adventure!

A little about us: Shawn and I met in High School. We met Freshman year ('97) and had classes together every year and never noticed each other. Junior year we were both elected on the Junior Class Officers board to plan prom. We ended up going to prom together and the rest is history! Shawn and I dated for 5 years before getting married and have now been married for 4 years.

Now the personal stuff: We always knew we wanted a family and talked about it very early in our relationship. We both decided that one day we'd like to adopt, we never knew it would be our only option to start a family. I always felt there was something wrong but the Doctors always said, "you're too young to worry about that now". I actually had a Doctor tell me " Why are you trying to have a baby anyway, you're only 20, you're too young" I explained that I knew something wasn't right and that I wanted to get a jump on it because I was getting married and wanted to be able to have children. No one listened. Then I got Kidney Cancer. Although the surgery went really well and I did not have to do Chemo or Radiation, it put everything else on the back burner for a couple years. Finally, in 2007 and with my doctor's ok, we started trying to have a baby. We tried pill after pill, injections, needles in my tummy, inseminations, scans, xrays, we even did a spiritual cleansing. Months and months of heartache but nothing worked. We finally decided it was God's way of telling us "Let it be". Instead of praying for a baby, we started praying for acceptance of our situation.

The decision to adopt came easily for both of us. As I said before we had already decided to do it eventually so we just agreed we needed to start in reverse! Adopt first then time will tell what our path will be. After a year or so of going back and forth on what country to adopt from. We choose Colombia! The wait was going to be long (2-3 years) and pretty expensive (30k) but we were ready. We called the agency and requested our packet! As we read though we saw a small caption on the bottom of your paper that said The Marshall Island's were opening adoptions in MN. Shawn joking said "Let's adopt from the RMI (Republic of the Marshall Island's) and I said "we should!" The more we looking into the program, the more we knew it was right for us! It's a beautiful country on the brink of starvation. It has truly been a calling from God to be drawn to these tiny little island's in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I PROMISE I'll write less on my next post! I just had to get all the details out before the fun stuff begins!