Soooooo only a couple months later...
I'll talk about the education portion. Every agency has different requirements, but it seems like most have you complete 10 hours of adoption training online, read books/articles, etc. Our homestudy agency deferred to our original agency, which had us do the National Council for Adoption's online training. It was a little overwhelming for Stephen because it was actually more like 13 hours, and we did it in 6 evenings, with Ezra in tow. The other sad thing about it is you need a certificate for each person, but there's no way for you to both do it on the same computer, so I had to "catch up" to Stephen every day afterwards.
I've read a few books that were really helpful. Definitely one I would recommend to anyone considering international adoption (psh, any parent would find it a good resource) is The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis. It's just so good.
They also had us read Love and Logic, which had some good things in it. I know it's just a personality quirk, but I have a hard time wanting to implement anything from a book that is all or nothing. I don't want to be a love and logic parent. I don't want to be a _____ parent, period. But, beyond my knee jerk reactions, it does have good advice on how and when to see if natural consequences work. I'm 100% skeptical because natural consequences don't work very well for me. I'm too impulsive. I still (far too frequently) will do something now, knowing full well there will be consequences later, simply because now is fun and later is whatever. My parents did a lot of natural consequencing, and anything where the consequences weren't immediate was completely ineffective. I just have a very difficult time caring about tomorrow. I don't meant o dog on my parents by any means; I have no, no idea how I would parent a person like me. I'm afraid I may learn, but it's honestly quite unnerving because I don't know what works with me other than age... I'm getting better, but I think I'm a little past being parented.
A book I currently have waiting in the wings to be read is Parenting the Hurt Child. We don't know our child's story, but adoption involves incredible loss for children, a loss or losses that will effect them for the rest of their lives in one or many ways. I'll let you know how I find it.
Anyway, our homestudy agency had us come to their office for a couple of hours of in-house training, basically a friendly-type quiz on what we'd learned. It was a little hectic because we had to bring Ezra, but he did fine and that was that.
The education requirements can seem very daunting, especially for those who don't spend a lot of their free time reading (like my husband). With the books, I highlighted parts I thought summed up what the author was saying or were especially meaningful, and that helped it seem less like a big pile of work he had to get done.