Thursday, January 28, 2010

Startin to sink in

Today, I had two Aha moments. I love Aha moments. They are usually burned on my normally forgetful, scattered brain and I remember the why and how and sometimes even the lesson from them :)

1. We were in Target and Abby and I were looking at baby blankets and it hit me that I am really, really going to get to use these for more than decoration this year. This year. 2010. :)

When we were in Florida trying to do a domestic adoption through the state, it was never really clear. There were so many pieces that had to fit together. A birth mom had to chose our profile, she had to have the baby and decide to sign over rights, this needed to be done in the 12 months our home study was current or we would need more $ and time to make it current. Sooo many variables and although I prepared a crib and clean baby clothes, it never really seemed real. And turns never came to be.
With an Ethiopian adoption, we may not know the exact time, but the chances of us traveling to ET and bringing a baby boy home in 2010 is very very good. Yay!!

2. I was blog stalking (ahem) searching and I found this family's blog that has the cutest baby boy! He is darling! I was looking through their photos and I thought about when Abby, Nathan and Esther were that age and how everyone told me to cherish this time, it is so short and they grow up quick. You know what??...I didnt. I was a spaz that I was going to do something wrong with my firstborn and then Nathan was only 8 months old when I found out I was expecting Esther. Then with Essie, I had three babies under the age of 4. I was doing good to stand upright, much less enjoy moments.

With Isaac, I am going to be able to. We are all ( including Abby, Nathan and Esther) sooo excited to have a baby in the house. I can't wait to buy him cute clothes and see the zoo and the beach and other places through his eyes. I just got so excited all over again. It is easy to get bogged down in the paperwork and the waiting and the costs, but to think that in the next 10 months, there is going to be another member of our family to love on just came on me so clear today.

It is really good timing to because we are waiting for our homestudy to be finished and I am starting to feel the impatience building. Realizing this is more than just a dream... its going to be a reality made the waiting so worth it. AHA!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The many stages of adoption

I have tried to document this whole adoption process through this blog and also in a journal that I am keeping for Isaac. It has been a crazy kind of ride so far and we are not really near the end of the tunnel. I have had a few people ask me about the process and so I am gonna break it down. There is a whole experience that we have not went through yet. Adoption, to Ethiopia at least is broken down into these stages:

The Paperchase: This is where we are. gathering documents, getting a home study complete, filing government forms. This takes about 4 months. We began chasing on Nov 19 so we are around 3 months into it and I PRAY we will be finished by the end of Feb.

The Wait and the Referral: Once your paperwork is sent to Ethiopia (DTE), then you wait. If you are adopting a baby boy it is anywhere from 12-24 weeks. ( I like using weeks, it doesn't sound as long) or a girl (8 -12 months). Then you get the Referral call. This is when they call and tell you that you have been matched with a baby and the agency will send you a picture and medical information. You either choose to accept or deny the referral. I have never read about anyone that has denied a referral, but I guess if there is medical unknowns it is possible.

The Wait and Court: Once you accept a referral , they will give you a court date. This is generally about 4 to 6 weeks after a referral. You can actually send care packages with other families picking up their children and if your lucky, they will snap a few pics or a video and send it to ya. On your court date, if every paper is present and the case seems on the up and up to the judge you will have passed court. I think about 25% of families fail court the first time. This is not because they have done anything wrong or that AWAA has done anything wrong, its just a document might be missing or a family member doesn't show up. There are many reasons you may fail and if so they give you a second court date,in about 4 weeks... more of Wait time.

Wait and Travel Time: Are you picking up on my wait theme here? After you pass court, you must wait for AWAA to arrange travel times for a group of families coming to pick up there children. The Ministry of Women and Children are now only issuing a limited number of Visa's every other week, so this may increase the wait time to travel (BOO!) Eventually you get your travel dates, book your flights, and pack your bags! This is around 4-6 weeks after you pass court.

Travel Time: No more waiting!! You are in the country of Ethiopia around 5 days. The whole trip is around 7 or 8 days. Some families choose to go through London or Paris or Egypt to get there and take 2 weeks. Our plan is to fly up to NYC one day early and see Greg's sister Kimberly, fly to Dubai for a layover and then on to Addis Ababa , Ethiopia. Right now, families usually arrive on Sat or Sun, check in, meet the children on Monday, Get the children on Tuesday, have their Embassy appointment on Wednesday for the child's Visa and Have a free day and travel home on Friday. I am so excited about this part! I already have a handy dandy packing list spread sheet!

So there you have it! The stages of Ethiopian adoption. It usually takes 10-12 months to complete. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel in August or Sept 2010. My kids are staying with my mom and dad and they want to be able to swim in their pool that whole week and I can wait and start my school year when we get back, but we will just have to see what Gods timing is for us.

Good News

Our agency, AWAA, puts out a weekly update on their blog that let you know what all is going on in the different countries that they have programs in.
I always check once a week to see what is up and this week I saw something that has changed. Ever since we began the process it has read that for Ethiopia, the expectant wait time for a referral of an infant baby boy was 4-6 months. This week it read 3-6 months. 3 months! Thats only 12 weeks after DTE. Thats like last trimester! Just thought that was kinda cool that the wait time is decreasing! I cannot wait to have our homestudy finalized, get our I-171H form and get DTE!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Adoptions

I just watched on CNN that over 100 orphans from Haiti who have been waiting for the system to process their paperwork will be allowed into the US this week. Praise the Lord! Anyone that has dealt with international adoption knows what a miracle this is. The red tape seems to be never ending at times.
When we first began to consider international adoption, we looked into Haiti, but there is a rule set by the Haitian government that adoptive parents can only have 2 biological children in their home. You could, of course, apply for an exception. This taking much more time and money than the 2 years and $25,000+ for a standard Haitian adoption. That was when we decided to not pursue Haiti as a potential country to adopt from.
We often feel like Ethiopia chose us. We funneled down the criteria for adoptive parents ( income, biological children requirement)and then what we were looking for ( infant adoption, shorter wait time) and it came down to Ethiopia and Korea. The agency we felt most comfortable with did not have a Korea program, so Ethiopia it was!

I want to say first off, I love our agency and I am 100% committed to adopting a baby or two from Ethiopia. That being said, I posed this question to myself last night..."What if the Haitian government and the US government said that anyone with a up to date, approved, international Home study could adopt a Haitian orphan. What would I do? What would others like me do?

I know for me, I would adopt one in a heart beat! I think I could say the same for many of the other AWAA families. It is already proven we have a heart for orphans. We have already been through many criminal, credit and personal history checks. We have already put thousands of dollars into an adoption. We have already been educated on foreign adoption and the issues that come with adopting a child of another race. I, for one would love to adopt two children from Ethiopia under the age of three, but that is highly unlikely for a sibling group under three to become available. China for instance is now taking 4 years to complete an adoption so agency's are allowing families to adopt from somewhere , like Ethiopia, while waiting for a referral for China.

The positive side of me wants to think this may happen and that it would be a solution to all those children in Haiti needing homes and all the families in the US wanting babies and how wonderful it would be. The cynical side of me knows that is way too simple of a solution and if the governments were not getting something out of it, there is no way they would agree to it.

I am not a President Obama fan, but if he was able to make this work and rescue that many starving orphans from life in an institution or worse, on the streets, then I would say his presidency was redeemable.(At least in this case).

I am curious though...I would like your opinion. If you are going through the process of adoption and this situation presented itself to you, what would you? What are the drawbacks of this plan? Could it happen? Why? Why not??

I just keep on thinking, in two weeks, I will have an approved international home study that is good for 18 months. Is God going to use this to bring a child home form Ethiopia? I sure hope so! BUT...what if it is to be used for more than that??

The verse in my head that keeps repeating is:

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father,inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

Mathew 25:34-36

It is what He commands us to do, so shouldn't we?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Valentine project...Can you help?

Kari Smalley Gibson at My Crazy Adoption is teaming up with Tom Davis to deliver shoes to orphans. Buy a beautiful shirt from Kari's website for $25 and you can help orphans. Just click on the link on my sidebar that says "Be my Valentine" Here is some info from Kari's blog:

HopeChest Project Ethiopia – Shirts For Shoes:

  • Providing shoes & shirts for 400 orphans enrolled in HopeChest programs.
  • For every T shirt you buy- HopeChest will provide a new pair of shoes & a new shirt for an orphan.
  • 100% of proceeds will benefit orphans in Ethiopia.
  • To Ethiopia with Love- projects throughout the country that HopeChest sponsors.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our fingerprints

Our fingerprints are now in the system! The whole appointment took 12 minutes! Greg and I were both in and out in no time. Hopefully they will be issuing that I-171H form to us just as quickly!

After we left the USCIS building we went to Olive Garden to meet with our social worker, Michelle, for the last time until post placement! We should have our homestudy final draft by some time in February! We will send that in with our Dossier papers and hopefully be DTE Soon!! Yay!!

We also had a family give money to our Eternal Family Program. It is a program that AWAA has that allows people and businesses to give a tax donation and it will go directly to our adoption fund. We are so thankful for the financial and prayer support of so many people that have blessed us along this journey!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Home Study Visit

We have our first of three Home Study interviews today. Another one tomorrow and the one next Wednesday. The house is clean, Greg is on his way to Lowes to buy smoke detector batteries. Now I just pray she doesnt look in my closets! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Diaper bag

I bought the very first new thing for our baby (babies). I have been waiting and bought a few little yard sale outfits, but today I bought a VERA BRADLEY diaper bag!!
When Vera's first became popular, I thought if I ever have another baby, I am gonna get a Vera Bradley diaper bag. Well, I had to exchange something at Hallmark and I used the money for this!
I love it!!


We got them in the mail while we were in Florida! Check check checkin off that list!!

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