Saturday, 23 March 2013

A fabulous start to the year

This has been the best start to a year for as long as I can remember. We have been so incredibly blessed with amazing things happening both separately and together.

  • Murray's new job is filled with lovely people who value and respect him.
  • I have a new job which will start in the middle of April which is a really positive step forward in my career. 
  • Our adoption application is progressing steadily, as is our progress on the public IVF waiting list. 
  • We have been doing things around the house and now have a new patio roof, our kitchen ceiling is fixed, our kitchen and lounge room ceilings painted, and our meals area has a beautiful new light fitting and table. 
  • My Dad did a lot of work to fix my car including new brakes, a new front windscreen and fixing a leak in my radiator
  • I am no longer obese and am loving my new body and lifestyle. I've joined a new gym, am regularly attending exercise classes, and even went for a leisurely jog today with my dogs
  • This is my last year of my Commerce degree! I'm really enjoying the classes that I'm enrolled in this semester, and I'm very excited to be so close to graduation
So many things are happening for us. We have been truly blessed by God.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Adoption Application - The next steps

After digging out my adoption paperwork yesterday, I found our adoption checklist which has the full process of local adoption in WA.

So far we have:
  • Attended Adoption Information Seminar (July 2009
  • Attended Preparation for Adoptive Parenting training (October 2009)
  • Attended Separation & Attachment training (October 2009)
  • Submitted Expression of Interest form (November 2009)
  • Attended Assessment Seminar (January 2010)
  • Submitted referee reports
  • Completed Criminal Record Screening and received clearance
  • Completed Medical reports and received clearance
  • Forwarded certified proof of identity documents
From now we have to
  • Pay registration fee $750
  • Be allocated an assessor 
  • Conduct assessment interviews
  • Complete assessment report
  • Adoption Panel meets to approve/reject assessment
If we manage to be approved as adoptive parents, then the next step happens
  • Prepare a family profile
  • Profile can be presented to birth families.
  • If profile is selected, an allocation offer is made and the child's information is provided to us
  • Accept child and start gradual transition to adoptive parents
  • Provide evidence that we are not pregnant
  • Complete Placement Conditions form accepting child
  • Adoption Plan completed and signed by all parties
  • Child placed with applications
  • Minimum 6 months supervision and support provide by Adoption Social Worker
  • Commence the process of applying for an Adoption Order through the Family Court
  • Family Court report prepared
  • An Order of Adoption is granted
  • Copy of Order and new birth certificate received!

 Still a very long way to go, but we have come so far already. I can't wait until we get to that last line!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Adoption Medical Clearance Received!

We received some very exciting mail in the post today! Our medical assessments for our adoption application were submitted only last week thanks to the stuff up at our GP, but we have already received our medical clearances!

We are so thrilled to be past this barrier. I was so nervous that despite all the life changes we have implemented, that something would still go wrong, but it didn't.

So onto the next step in the adoption process. We need to pay a $750 registration fee, after which we will be assigned an assessor and proceed to the 'suitability for adoptive parenthood' assessment stage.

While I don't know everything that will be in this stage, I've re-checked some of my original adoption seminar notes, and know that the following things are covered:
  • Assessors are contract workers, usually a psychologist or social worker
  • Takes 12 weeks to complete the assessment
  • Consists of a minimum of 6 interviews, 2-3 hours each at home
  • Can come into the office to read the assessors report and can make changes to factual information, and we can also include an appendix if we don't agree with a statement.
  • Have to meet a range of different competencies
    • Physical environment eg childproofing. Need to lock up poisons and medications, provde proof of income, prove that you can commit to 12 months off work to dedicate to the child, have space for a child to live, and no dangerous pets (!)
    • Family life & functioning - How we live on a day to day basis, hours of work, what do we do with our spare time, do we currently have kids in our life. What social and family support will we have. What routines will we have in plae. 
    • Child rearing beliefs - How were we brought up, and what our beliefs are regarding child rearing eg discipline, other adopted children, our future plans
    • Parenting a child from a different background - What if the child is aboriginal or from a different cultural background? How will you deal with racism? What support will you have?
    • Children who have additional needs - Are you ready for this and what access to support do you have? In local adoption this often means intellectual disabilities, downs syndrome and cerebal palsy.
    • Personal characteristics - How do you communicate as a couple and relate to others. How do you manage stress. Who makes the decisions and how? Demonstrate relationship skills and how you deal with conflict and crisis. 
    • Problem Solving - Will you seek support eg counselling if needed. Being aware of own limitations (eg no sleep)
    • Motivation and understanding of adoption - Why do we want to adopt? What will be the impact of our adoption. How will extended family respond to adoption? How have our fertility issues affected us. Our attitudes towards open adoption and what contact we would like to have with the birth family
  • After all of that, a recommendation will be made to the Adoption Panel about whether we are approved, and if so recommend an age range of the child suitable for us, and if we are suitable for a child with special needs. The panel meets each month. 
  • The assessor and the agency will let you know they are considering not approving you and will discuss issues with us. 
  • The panel can impose conditions on approval
  • The non-approval rate is around 5%, most people opt out if it is unlikely to be approved
  • We can review/appeal a decision within 90 days, but we must provide new information or show a procedural error.
The only thought that possibly worries me is how my new job will affect our adoption plans. To be eligible for parental leave (which covers adoption), I need to be working in my new role for 12 months. I start my new job in April, and I realise that the assessment and approval process is going to take some time, probably six months or so. On top of that, the odds of us being placed in the subsequent six months are sooooooo low, like 3% low. But it's possible. Murray and I have discussed it and we know we would make it work financially, but I guess it's one of those niggly thoughts in the back of my mind - I hate being unprepared!

Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Flying the coop with a new job!

So this week has brought about another great opportunity. I recently applied for a job that I really wanted. It offered the right benefits and culture, but it's in an area that I'm genuinely passionate about, and I really felt like it was a good fit. After three weeks without hearing anything, I assumed I didn't get anywhere so tried to put it out of my mind, when out of the blue I was invited for an interview.

At the interview I had to provide my response to three scenarios and how I would respond, as well as general interview questions. I felt like I had done well but couldn't really be sure. Two weeks had come and gone and as each day went, my confidence died a little more. That is, until yesterday afternoon when I got the call saying that I was their preferred candidate and was I still interested in the position!

Of course I couldn't say yes fast enough! I am so excited for this new venture! I have been in my current organisation for nearly my whole working life, and the last 7.5 years have been fabulous, but I feel like I am ready to move on and see how other organisations work and approach things. I need to learn and develop, and I felt ready to take on a more senior role, which wasn't an option in my current job.

So my last day at my current job is April 9, and I handed in my resignation letter this morning! I was very nervous at how my boss would respond but he was actually pretty good about it. I'm hoping the official announcement will go out to everyone tomorrow after I tell my team formally. And of course leaving means farewell dinner and drinks which is great as well.

The timing works out well, as Murray's parents are both having operations on April 10, so I will be off work for those couple of days in between the jobs, and able to see them in hospital. I'm hoping to blog about it soon, but Murray's Mum is having a kidney transplant, and his Dad is donating a kidney to someone else, in return for the kidney that the Mum will receive. So they will both be out of action for a while, and I'm grateful I will be around for them.

Anyhow, I must shuffle off to bed but just wanted to share the news. I'm flying the coop!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Hold ups, losing weight and freedom!

It's been a long weekend in the Dunstan household. I've been getting a mix of migraines and headaches since Friday morning, and to top it off, I have also pulled a muscle in my neck which is agonising! I'm sure it will calm down soon, but right now painkillers are my best friend. I haven't gone to work on Friday or today, which isn't great, but fingers crossed I'll wake up tomorrow without pain and can get back to it.

While I've had the day off today, I rang my GP to follow up on a few things. Firstly I was copied in on a letter from the public IVF clinic to my GP, wanting to confirm in writing that my BMI is below 35. I spoke to the receptionist and she confirmed that a letter had been sent back to them with that information. Winning!Then I rang the adoption agency to follow up when I would hear back about my medical report and get medical clearance. They usually do a medical panel once a month and I had hoped mine would be back by now. Unfortunately they had not received anything from my GP! So back to calling the medical centre again.

It turns out they sent my medical report to the public IVF clinic instead of the adoption agency! I have no idea how they could have mixed that up considering it has ADOPTION MEDICAL REPORT written in giant letters across the top of the report! They were very apologetic when I alerted them to their error and are faxing it through to the agency now. Admittedly I'm probably one of their most difficult patients, what with general GP stuff, bariatric surgery, IVF, adoption applications and anything else that comes up. I can understand the confusion. I'm just very grateful that it was picked up now, and that it wont hold things up too much. Murray has his doctors appointment this afternoon to finalise his adoption medical report, so I will make sure that his gets faxed through straight away to the correct place!

If you've been over to Lose and Hope lately, you'll also know that I reached a milestone this week - 40kg lost! I'm thrilled to bits and feel happier and healthier than I ever have before. I really hope this is the start of something great for us, whether it's through IVF, adoption, or living childfree for a longer period of time. We are pretty darn lucky to live where we do, to have our family, friends, Charlie and Daisy, good jobs earning good money, and being free. Free to walk the streets, practice our religion, speak our minds, and love each other. That kind of freedom should never be taken for granted, and I'm trying my best to celebrate that.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Uni Achievement - with photos!

As you know, I have been studying at uni for the last few years, working towards my degree in Business. I'm still six units away from graduating (well five actually after my summer school exam this morning), but I had a very exciting moment last week, when I was awarded a prize! I won the Accenture award for the best student in Systems Analysis & Design 251, a unit that I completed last year. I was thrilled to bits, and the ceremony was fabulous. Unfortunately Murray couldn't take time off work to attend, but my Mum came along which was lovely.

I was awarded a trophy, certificate and a cheque for $250 which is going straight towards some new work clothes! I've popped some photos in below, I especially love the photo of my Mum and I!

Receiving my award
Discussing graduate programs with pwc

My Mum and I - how gorgeous is my Mumma!