We finished our Bethany training last night. It was the last of 8 sessions, and for this one we had to appear in person. There were three other couples with us, adopting from Ukraine, the Philippines and Russia. Two of them already had referrals.
We talked a lot about adjusting at home, dealing with grief, and the basics of creating a Lifebook. This is a scrapbook you compile throughout the adoption process that tells the child's story. It may include information about his caretakers and orphanage, photos and history of the country, mementos, even details about his circumstances presented in a positive way. I'll write more about it when I've had a chance to read up on it. I think it will be a good project to start once our dossier is on its merry way.
I have to say the training has been really good, but after 20+ hours, I'm ready for a break or just a sappy romance novel.
A word about I-171H's: You don't have to go far to get bad news, like our trainer who said her last one took 5 months and they had to get their congressman involved. She had some criticisms of USCIS too, but it appears things have improved since her last adoption. I'm feeling pretty positive we'll have our approval within the 8 weeks that they estimate.