Thursday, October 28, 2010

We are on the waiting list!

Today was an exciting day. Our adoption coordinator at the international agency called me twice today. All of our dossier documents were approved -- I don't have to redo any of them!!! That was a huge relief. The dossier will most likely be sent to Washington, D.C. for authentication on Monday -- basically the US government's approval saying we are who we say we are. That process should take about 2 weeks. Then the dossier is sent back to the int. agency, and they send it on to Ethiopia. So exciting to think our dossier could possibly be in Ethiopia within the next month or so.

We are now officially #25 on the sibling list. However, since we are willing to accept a child over the age of 4, it could go much faster for us since kids over the age of 4 are considered "waiting children" and they don't go through the same "wait list" process. She said we would be the first family they would go to if that situation comes up. That is super exciting to think about! ......AND now the waiting begins.

I-600A application is in the mail!

I mailed our I-600A application on Tuesday. This is to request pre-approval from USCIS (immigration) to bring a child into the US. Now we wait to receive our appointment date to go to the local immigration office to have our biometric fingerprints done. I'm very curious to find out how biometric fingerprints are different from the regular ones! What in the world does "biometric" mean??? They must be really fancy since it costs $80 a piece just for the fingerprints. The approval form that we must receive back from them is called the I-171H. Without that little form, you don't bring any kiddos home. Needless to say, that is not a form to misplace!!!

Our Home Study is Done!!

Monday was a crazy day! Our local agency called to tell us our home study was completely done and ready to be picked up. Yippee!! I was so excited to go pick it up and get it in the mail to our international agency -- int. agency has to have it in order to go on the waiting list!! That excitement lasted for only a few minutes, because after I picked it up...we discovered that the notary commission expiration date on the criminal clearance letters from the KBI had ALREADY EXPIRED. The Ethiopian government requires the notary date be at least one year out from now. So...I called the KBI in Topeka. They were very nice and reissued the letters with a new notary date, but this meant a very quick drive to the KBI in Topeka to pick up the new letters. I did still manage to get the home study and clearance letters in the mail on Monday. The international agency received them on Tuesday!!! Now we are just waiting to find out when we can officially be added to the sibling waiting list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Dossier Arrived in Colorado Today!!

Our dossier arrived at our international agency in Colorado today!! I was beginning to panic that it was lost because it was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Darn post office!! I was soooo relieved to get the email from our adoption coordinator when she received it. Now it's being reviewed to see if I need to redo any of it...fingers crossed! The next step is to complete the I-600A Orphan Petition application for USCIS (immigration). We can send that form in as soon as we have our completed home study (hopefully that will be in the next week). The second requirement for this application is to have biometric fingerprints done. After approval from USCIS, we receive a form called the I171-H...this is the golden ticket. Without this, you can't bring a kiddo home...definitely not a piece of paper to misplace!!

As soon as the home study is completed we can be placed on the wait list...and then the waiting and waiting and waiting begins.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dossier is complete!!!

Whoo Hoo!! Our dossier is complete! It's going in the mail tomorrow morning. The dossier is the set of documents that will be sent to Ethiopia -- it includes things like doctor letters, bank letter, copies of passports, copies of tax returns, proof of insurance, proof that we are not criminals, etc. Craig and I drove to the Secretary of State's office in Topeka this afternoon to get 4 documents certified -- basically notarizing the notary's signature. Isn't that a bit redundant?? At least we got to see the capital building. :) We also have to include 8 passport sized pictures of each of us -- 4 sets of passport pics each is a bit pricey!! We're still waiting for the final copies of the home study. It is in the final review process with our international agency. Yippee!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our Awesome Church!

We have AMAZING people leading AMAZING ministries in our church!! Jen and Loren are doing a fabulous job kicking off the new International Adoption Network group at WFC! They have such a passion for international & domestic adoption. Russ and Tiffany are also leading the efforts to guide people interested in adoption and foster care through their ministry with the “If You Were Mine” workshops and lifegroups.

The International Adoption Network met last Thursday with a counseling expert in the area of bonding and attachment with adoptive children. We found out MNU has a nationally recognized play therapy program just minutes from our house – he recommended all internationally adoptive children be involved in play therapy for at least the first 6 months after coming home. I think we’ll be checking out that program soon! What a resource to have so close to us. We also learned that we probably traumatized our 2 older kids when they were toddlers…haha! We’re lucky they seem to be well-adjusted in spite of our lack of knowledge on how to raise children. :) Next month, we get to hear from a woman who was adopted as a toddler from Korea – she will address what her parents did well and what she wishes her parents would have done differently.

Our Adoption Journey Begins

So where do I begin???? I began praying/considering adoption nearly 3 years ago, but frankly, it was too overwhelming to even contemplate. There are so many children in this big world that need a forever family to love them…hundreds of thousands of them!!! How do you decide where to adopt from? Where does your heart feel a connection to? After Craig and Braxton returned home in August from their 3 weeks in South Africa with the AIDS orphans, God’s answer was crystal clear to us…He was calling us to adopt from Africa.

It has been a whirlwind ever since…completing mountains of paperwork, spending hours in workshops at the adoption agency and church, hours spent completing online training courses, trying to be patient with the bank to get one little letter signed & notarized (only took 6 visits to the local BofA branch to finally get that done), trips to the doctor for everyone, TB tests for all 4 of us, fingerprints at the police station, friends completing reference letters for us, teachers completing reference letters for the kids, proving that yes we do really have medical insurance and life insurance, cleaning and cleaning for our home study visit -- and on and on. I think my friend, Lisa’s fingers almost fell off from notarizing a gazillion pieces of paper! But, most importantly, remembering that in spite of all the hoops we must jump through, there will be an amazing ending to this story. We will be able to bring home at least 2 Ethiopian angels, and we will be their forever family!!