Monday, January 11, 2010

Nature vs Nurture

The nature vs nurture debate abounds, but maybe more so for adopted children. Last week I held my first after school SAT prep as part of one of the many new initiatives. There were 15 students and 10 of them are Asian. I compliment one of the boys on his advanced explanation and a girl commented on how that never happens in their English class. She said it was his "Asian skills" that make him a better math student than an English student.

It was at this point that we started to talk about our future child. Some of the kids already knew that Frig and I are in the process of adopting a child from Korea, but not all of them did. They reacted very positively to the fact that we are adopting an Asian (Asian pride is a big deal with this group of kids). We talked about how much of their academic skills are because of nature (genes) and how much of it is do to nurture (the way they parents raise them). They agreed that the way they are raised, the high expectations and levels of accountability that their parents have for them, plays a part in their academic success.

It was a very interesting conversation and nice diversion from the 2 hours of math after a full day of school.

Also, one of the boys in the SAT program had known for sometime that we are trying to adopt from Korea and that I hope to learn some Korean before our child comes home. He shared this with his mom and she has offered to teach me. I plan on taking her up on her offer once we have our referral. Maybe she will also teach me how to cook a few Korean dishes!

Is this the year?

Two weeks ago I went onto the message board for Korean adoption that is hosted by our international agency. While there I spotted a post from another women about her finger prints and how they were about to expire. Not surprisingly this got me nervous. I realized that I didn't know when our finger prints would expire and I had no idea what steps we were supposed to take as that date approached. I went through the file we have and was unable to find a form from USCIS with the approval dates. I looked at our huge Korean adoption manual and it wasn't helpful either. At this point I was getting pretty upset and decided I would just go ahead and email the HS agent.

It turns out there was a form, I had even faxed a copy to the HS agent back in September, but I didn't recognize it when looking through the file. Finger prints are good for 15 months and the HS is good for 18. We can request a 1 time free extension up to 90 days before each expires. The 90 day prior date for the finger prints is mid March. I have the forms we will need and have posted the date on my Outlook calendar so it will remind me to get the forms off.

I had a very positive conversation with the HS agent. She asked if I had heard anything from the international agency and I read the contents of the quarterly email. We agreed it seemed as if things might happen for Frig and I by the end of the year.

It seems like this would be the year for us. Mom and Dad Ratcliff got Chris on their 5th anniversary when he was 10 days old. I was born during my parents 5th year of marriage. This is currently our 5th year of marriage as well; I hope this is a sign!