Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pablo's Names Again!

Pffffff.....
I sure hope this one doesn't come back to haunt us... After having to explain why Pablo doesn't always use his two last names to our provincial government, we just got the same question from our Ontario agency.
Our agent was satisfied with the explanation, but I'm worried it will become an issue once our file is in the hands of Sri Lankan officials, or a judge...

On a more positive note, our agent also said that she is reviewing our file in order to send it downtown for provincial seal and consulate authentication tomorrow! If things go quick, our dossier should be on its way back to the Alberta government on Friday. If not, it'll be early next week.
Things are moving along and I LOVE IT!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

That's Us (in a couple of years)!

I love this picture!


I stole it from this blog from a teenage adoptee. Have a read, she brings a different view on this whole adventure!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Status Update

Since I am recovering from surgery, I asked Pablo to get me an update on our adoption file... I knew it would help me feel better :-)

So he called and our agent told him that our file was still sitting in her office. It will go to get authenticated both by the Ontario government and the Sri Lankan consulate sometime next week.

I love it when we're moving forward, after the stagnant last few months!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Surgery

This is completely unrelated to our adoption, but I'm getting surgery tomorrow. I've never been under general anesthetic and I'm scared to death!
Will you send some positive energy my way, please?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Big Cheque

Our agency just cashed the big cheque that came along with our Dossier.

All agencies work differently. Some require a lump sum upfront when you register, others charge minimum fees upfront and send a bill everytime they have an expense related to your adoption, others again get paid mostly at the end of the process.
When you're deciding on an agency, there's a few questions you should ask:
- What is the fee schedule? There are risks related to paying upfront.
- How rigid is the fee schedule: could they increase dramatically if problems during the process required extra work?
- What can you expect if you decide to stop the process halfway: will they keep all the money or is some reimbursed?
It's important to remember that you're not paying for an end result, but rather for the services. Even if the program closes, or for some reason your agency isn't able to find a child for you, you should still expect to pay full price for the professionals who have worked for you during the process.

Our agency charges non-refundable registration fees as soon as you register with them (which we just did when we sent out our Dossier). They also ask that we send a big cheque (it's got 5 digits on it...) along with the registration fees. This money is ours, but fully accessible to them.
What this means is that the agency places the money from the big cheque in a bond in our names. Everytime they have an expense (professional fees, courrier fees, etc), they help themselves in this account. They will regularly send us statements to keep us informed of what is left in this account. Hopefully, this amount is sufficient to pay for all their fees right up to the post-adoption reports. But there is no guarantee: if they need more money, they can ask for it. If there is money left after the adoption is finalized, they will send it back to us.
It also means that we can get whatever is left in the bond back at anytime, if we decide to stop the process for any reason.
The one big downside of this way of working is that we become a creditor. If our agency was to go bankrupt while our money is in this bond, we could lose it.

Now that this money is out of our hands, I don't expect there will be much adoption expenses until we get our referral!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Sri Lankan Restaurant

(I know, I’m blogging a lot lately… It’s because I’m excited, it will wear off next time we get a bump in the road .)
Yesterday, we went to a Sri Lankan restaurant, Canada Dosa Corner. It’s Gina who told me about it, I didn’t know there even was a Sri Lankan restaurant in Calgary!
Since I’ve started cooking Sri Lankan food at home, there are some recipes that I have decided I won’t even try making. They are the complicated, long recipes that require special equipment and techniques. Usually, as in any culture, those are the most typical, festive foods. So I thought I wouldn’t be able to try roti, kokis, string hoppers and the likes… But a restaurant is the perfect place to try these!
Pablo and I shared a vegetable roti mix and chicken string hoppers. The roti is flat bread made with (I suspect) a lot of fat. It’s delicious! It was cut in small pieces and mixed in with vegetables in a yummy sauce.  The string hoppers are a bit like vermicelli.
The restaurant is this small hole-in-the-wall place. You don’t just stumble on this place, you have to want to go there! But the food was good and the pictures on the walls made us want to go to Sri Lanka even more…
The good news is that the taste was not much different from when we cook Sri Lankan recipes at home, so I guess it means we got it right! I even think it’s better when I cook ;)
Now, I want to go back to try some desserts and drinks…

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ceylon Tea

We watched another episode of My Sri Lanka this week. This one was in the hill country, where the tea plantations are.
Do you remember this picture I had posted a while back: 
Picture taken from http://www.srilankatravelcentre.com/
This is a typical tea plantation.
The sceneries in this episode where so beautiful, with lush terrace agriculture, waterfalls descending the cliffs and sudden fog turning it all white! And the food looked delicious too…
We also learned that 80% of the world’s cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka. I never thought my blog’s name was so well chosen :-D

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Our Dossier is in Ontario!

I got an email from our agent in Ontario saying they have received our file!
One word: HURRRAYYYYY!!!
They will register us shortly (I’m keeping an eye on my bank account, to see if they’ve cashed the big cheque).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A New Timeline

You’d think I’d know better than to estimate timelines, by now... But I can’t help it, I need to set a date at which I can start being hopeful!
So let’s do the exercise again...
Our agent said the quickest referral they ever got was 8 months. The longest was 2 years. 1-1/2 year was her estimated average. I can only guess the program will slow down after this unfortunate pause, though...
Let’s give ourselves until July for our Dossier to be approved, authenticated by the consulate, sent back to our provincial government and received in Sri Lanka.
This means a referral in February 2013 is a possibility. Most likely we will get it between December 2013 and July 2014.
I know I'll start hoping in 2013, but it's much more likely that 2014 will be our year...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finally!

I was at work when I got the email.
My office is all open concept: cubicles where you can’t talk on the phone to your husband without the whole floor knowing what you’re having for supper. So running across the floor and yelling hysterically was not an option... All I did was sit there, shaking from excitement, in silence.
When I could master my voice again, I called Pablo: go mail our Dossier NOW!!!! (Good thing my coworkers don’t know French, I still haven’t told I’m adopting at work...)
Think I’m overreacting?  You got it all wrong: I think I’m setting an example in self control here!
You have to remember that we first heard the program was closing in early December, 2011. Since then, all we’ve heard were rumours, and not always the most encouraging... Also remember that our dossier, itself the product of 7 months of hard work, a lot of worry and $4500, has been sitting in our kitchen, all sealed up and ready to go, since January of this year. Add to this that our Home Study expires in January 2013 and, on top of all, that it’s our child we’re talking about here, and you get an idea of why I am so excited!
You got it right: the program is open again! According to our agent, only the government run homes are allowed to place children in foreign countries for now. Any private orphanage still has to wait for the new procedures to come out.
I called our agent to ask what this meant. She thinks the children may be a bit older when they become available (we’re talking 9 months and up rather than a whole lot of 3-4 months old). The other thing is birthmothers usually don’t stay at government run homes with their babies to care for them until they are placed, as is often the case in charity homes. This means that parents picking up children from public homes have less chances of meeting their child’s birthmom.
Our agent doesn’t know much more than this at the moment. It’s hard to say how this is going to affect us. Our timeline is now a complete unknown... The program may be completely reopened by the time we get a referral, so we may still adopt from a private orphanage. Who knows?
I’ll worry about all of this later... For now, I feel like celebrating!!!