Tonight I attended my "packing the box" party for National Board certification. For those of you who aren't familiar with this process, it is a year-long professional growth/development process that includes the compilation of a massive, very specific and detailed portfolio, as well as a lengthy, in-depth written assessment. I have been working on the portfolio since last August, and it is a "beast" to finish! It had to include a lot of analysis, reflection, and descriptions of many aspects of my teaching, instruction and communication with others. The written commentaries alone were over 50 pages of written text, and there were multiple other pages of descriptions, artifacts and student work. Between adoption paperwork and this process, I feel that I have always had a weight on my shoulders or a nagging voice in the back of my mind. While I am nervous about mailing the "box," (I am a perfectionist and so worried that I have made a mistake), I feel a huge amount of relief at this moment! It's almost hard to believe. I will still have to study and prepare for my written exam that I will take in June, and then I will be officially "finished!" Unfortunately, I have to wait until December to find out if I passed (the pass rate is very low - which only adds to my anxiety). I've done the best that I could do, so I will have to accept that and just wait!
In terms of the adoption, we received official notification of our I-800a acceptance, which means the Department of Homeland Security received our documents and nothing required was missing. We are waiting for our FBI fingerprinting appointment (which should arrive in the next two weeks). Then we can go to the Louisville FBI office for a biometrics appointment/interview. It was exciting to receive correspondence from Homeland Security in reference to immigration and approval to adopt internationally.
I also wanted to share a piece of jewelry Jason bought me for Valentine's Day (with a little inspiration and guidance). He bought me a Brighton bracelet and a few charms. The bracelet is going to be a visual keepsake of our adoption process. The original charms he purchased were a heart with pink feet, and two ladybug beads/charms (unofficial "good luck" symbol of Chinese adoptions). Each time we reach a milestone, I will be adding a charm. When our homestudy was finished, we went to the Brighton store in Louisville and I bought the fortune cookie charm to symbolize our "good fortune" thus far. We plan to select themed charms that represent different phases that we complete. In the end, we plan to have a bracelet full of memories that we can share with Annabelle when we tell her "story." When I had Alexis, Jason bought me a special ring with her birthstone that I wear daily. This bracelet will serve as my special jewelry representing Annabelle!