Sunday, October 5, 2014

And then there was 4

We officially became a family of 4 on September 29th!!!  We have been in Warsaw almost 1 week and are anxiously awaiting finishing up the last few steps before we come home.    Once the appeal period is up we will be able to get our daughters passport and have the interview at the U.S. Embassy.  The Embassy will prepare the documents needed to for our daughter to enter the United States and be issued her citizenship.  We will collect those documents which come in a sealed envelope.  This envelope can not be opened until we go through passport control at the airport when we arrive home in The States.  At that point the envelope that we guard with our lives will be given to a special officer at passport control in the airport. Then we are done!  The adoption is official and we are home!

So, what are we doing this time around?  We are enjoying the warm weather.  We were here in the dead of winter for our son's adoption.  We are able to go to the parks and enjoying just walking around.  We do get few looks for pushing the kids around in our Sit and Stand Stroller.  But we don't care! 

We are learning everyday more and more about our daughter.  She likes the color purple, she is shy, she can be a tomboy, she likes to boss her big brother(earning her the nickname:  The Queen), and she is a good eater.  Our son was and still can be a terrible eater.  Little man is picky and when first adopted him he would hardly eat anything (especially veggies).  We would put in ketchup on everything to get him to eat it and then slowly weened him off of having ketchup with every meal.  Little sister will try new foods and has a good appetite.  I am always amazed at how children can learn a language. Little sister is using more and more English everyday.

We are counting down the days till we can fly home. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Welcome Back!

We are in Poland!!!!!  Yes, we are in Poland!!!!  It all happened so quickly, let me recount to you the last few days. 

It is Wednesday September 10, 2014.  I am sitting discussing lunch options with one of my best friends and coworkers.  When my cell rings I notice it is our adoption agency.  I figure it is probably a problem with paperwork or maybe, just maybe, it is the call to come get our little girl.  The lady from our agency gave us the best news that we can go get our daughter.  But, we had to be there on Sunday.  Yep, Sunday, September 14, 2014.  Wait....WHAT!! I must have repeated "this Sunday" at least six times back to the agency.  You want us to be in Poland in 4 days!!!! That means we had to leave no latter than Saturday.  Oh My!  How am I going to get everything in place to leave the country in just 3 days.  I quickly called my husband, who had the same response and then called our families (each one had the same response). 

I start panic mode.  Must buy plane tickets, must go to store, must find pet sitter, and so the list making started.  First, got to get the plane tickets.  I called my faithful adoption travel agent, Golden Rule Travel.  We love them!  They are easy to work with and have always gotten us good prices on our flights.  As I am explaining the trip to the travel agent he is looking at the flight schedules.  "Mrs. Brady, all the Saturday flights are booked.  You will need to leave on Friday to make it there by Sunday". " ***Deep Breath***, OK, we can leave on Friday." So now, we are leaving for Poland on Friday afternoon.  That will give me 1 full day of preparation.  ONE DAY!!!!  There is no way this would have worked except that we have amazing friends and family.  They helped us pack, make travel arrangements, get the house ready, and million other things that made this trip possible.

So, it doesn't end there.  We are old pro's at this Poland adoption thing.  We wanted to stay in the same apartments as before.  We like "our" apartments.  We knew were the grocery store was, were the mall was, and were playgrounds were.  With adoptions from Poland you spend the first part of your trip " in region". Basically, you are staying near where your child is from.  Then the second part of the trip you travel to Warsaw and stay there to finish up everything.  So at this point we are arriving in Poland on Saturday. But, we find out on Thursday that our first apartment won't be available until Sunday.  Now I have to find a hotel for Saturday night.  I know what hotel chains I like to stay at, but that all goes out the window when you are looking at hotels in a foreign country.  So, after reading reviews and looking at pictures, and discussing this my coworker/best friend, I decided on one.  My stomach was in complete knots. 

Some how, some way, we made it on the plane and we are now in Poland.  We have settled into our apartment and are getting into our routine. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

I800 for our Princess

We finally got the paperwork necessary to submit our I800!! Woohoo!  I have spent the evening filling out this form along with a couple supplement forms.  I remember this being a big pain and very confusing forms to fill out but it was way worse than I remember.  Nevertheless it is ready to be mailed to USCIS in the morning.  Hopefully USCIS will be quick with getting the approval back to us(fingers crossed). 

If you are new to this journey of International Adoption below is the description of what the I800 form  is from the USCIS Website:
       "To determine the child's eligibility for classification as a Convention adoptee. The petition is filed by the U.S. Citizen prospective adoptive parent to finalize the immigration process of a child who habitually resides in a Convention country. The petitioner must have an approved, valid Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, in order to file the Form I-800."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prepping to file taxes post adoption

The Adoption Tax Credit

Every adoptive parent knows about this!  It is for most of us how we hope that we will be able to afford our adoption.  It is why we keep every receipt and piece of paper regarding any fees we paid.  

I would like to give my readers some of my new helpful hints we learned this past season with filing this tax credit.  This year was first time we filed taxes as a mom and dad.  More importantly as adoptive parents.  The Adoption Tax Credit in my opinion is complicated.  I am not good with numbers and all the tax mumbo jumbo makes my head spin.  For this reason we chose to use an CPA.  We have used a CPA for several years to do our taxes simply because it made my life easier.  I just give them all the receipts and W-whatever forms and they call when it is all said and done.  I can not imagine trying to file our taxes that include this tax credit on our own!  I am not saying that you have to use a CPA but I recommend it.

So with that here are some my helpful hints:

  1. Use a CPA- like I stated before you don't have to but for me personally it was  the best way to go.
  2. Have your receipts organized - Not just put into a file but separated by type.  Agency fees, travel expenses, in-country living expenses and so on.  Also, we found out that it helps to scan the receipts into a file and type a brief description of what it was used for and translate it.  Most likely the CPA won't be able to translate international receipts so this will help them know if the receipt is for train tickets or groceries.
  3. Attach a note to the tax forms - I typed a simple note stating everything tax wise that had happened to us over the year and any document that went with it (Yes my OCD kicked in).  For us it was busy year; adoption, selling a house, buying a house, and so I wanted our CPA to have a quick reference to what all the forms we dropped off meant.  I was so glad I did this because our CPA was able to make sure all the necessary forms and what not was with him. It also helped me to make sure I sent in all these papers.
  4. Keep all this stuff together - Once you get your completed taxes back keep all the receipts/form/paperwork together.  I like the idea of putting it all in a big manilla envelope with the tax year written on the front.  This way if you ever need to refer to any of it you can quickly locate all the tax documents in one place.  
I hope this helps and please feel free to share in the comments section any other info that may be helpful to other adoptive parents.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Yesterday our little man got glasses!  He is so stinkin' cute!!!  Little Man is very excited about his "cool" glasses. 

When the optometrist said he needed glasses last week I said a silent prayer that he would like this idea. Thank heavens our optometrist is amazing with kids(and grown ups).  Because telling a 5 year old that he needs glasses always sounds better when it is done with a Donald Duck voice!  So while finished up with my appointment(yep this mama has worn contacts/glasses for years) one of my dear friends helped Little Man pick out his first pair of glasses.  Then we had wait a week for them to come in.  Oh boy, has this past week been hard!  Little Man has asked every morning and evening if his glasses are coming today or did they come today.  Then when told no that said little face looked up and said " I know a few more days".  I hate to see my little one disappointed.  But, yesterday when he was picked up from school by Mama and Grandpa to go get a "surprise" it was so, so worth the look on his face.  His eyes lit up and the huge smile on his face melted my heart. 

I am overjoyed at his excitement.  When I was told I had to get glasses I was one sad teenager.  A teenager!  Way older than my son and I didn't handle the news of glasses with half of his optimism.  I knew it would help my vision(actually I knew that I couldn't see worth a hoot)  and allow me to drive.  I had put off getting glasses as long as I could.  My mom, dad, sister, both aunts, and both sets of grandparents all wear glasses so it only a matter of time before I had to breakdown and accept that I would wear glasses.

 I hope that he continues to be excited about his glasses.  I hope that as he grows he will face any new challenge or change with the same excitement as he has with getting glasses.

In other news we are still waiting to hear more on dossier.  It is in Poland now we continue to wait for the next set of instructions to get our Princess home.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Our dossier is in Poland!!!  We are anxiously awaiting to get word on completing the next steps to bring Little Sister Brady home!!.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dossier is done!

Our dossier for adoption #2 is on its way to our agency!  Our agency will review it and if everything is a-OK with the dossier it is sent on to Poland. 

If you are new to the process of international adoption let me explain more about what a dossier is and why this so important. 

1)  A dossier, in abbreviated terms, is a compilation of documents(home study, birth certificates, employment verification, etc.) that will tell the appropriate people in Poland who we are.

2) Once all the documents(2 of each document) are gathered together and notarized the Secretary of State must apostille them.  Apostille (not Matthew, Luke, John) is basically a fancy French word for certification.  It lets Poland know where the documents were issued and that they are authentic.

3)  This is big step in the journey of international adoption.  Once the dossier is in Poland and translated it means that you are waiting to be matched with child.  In our case however, this means that we are waiting for Poland to send us paperwork back to file an I-800 so we can that approval back to them so we can go get our Little Princess.