Thursday, December 22, 2011
When I was pregnant with Olivia, everyone bought her stuff for Christmas. It's different this year because no one knows when our little guy will be home. We have no idea how old he will be or what size of clothes he will wear. Even though we don't know this information, Jeremiah and I still wanted to get him something for Christmas. We have his stocking hanging up in our living room, but we wanted a small gift for him too. I found this book called, I wished for you: An adoption story..
I went to the bookstore to see if there were any adoption books. I felt like a huge dork in the store because as I was reading this book, tears started running down my face. This book is the perfect gift. I started crying when I read these words. "A mama will grow a baby in her belly, and for all kinds of reasons, she'll decide she cannot be the very best mama she wants to be. The mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish-a wish for a family who would love her little one with a total and adoring love. The kind of love I have for you. When I first wished my wish I didn't know your name. Or if you'd be a boy or girl. But that didn't stop my wishing. I asked God to look around and find the child who would be the perfect one for me." One of my favorite parts says this, "Of all the children in the whole wide world, God picked you for me." I felt like this part of the book was written just for us..."I wished for you with my morning coffee, and when I made my bed. I couldn't get my wish for you out from in my head. I wished for you through many phone calls..and through mountains of paperwork. I wished for you while I waited and waited..and waited. Sometimes I didn't hear any news about you for wees or months. But I held onto my wish tightly-like the string on a balloon. During the waiting I would imagine you. I imagined what you'd look like, or what color your fur (it's about a bear) would be. I imagined you playing with your blocks and trains. I wondered, too, if you'd like soccer or piano or art projects."
Jeremiah and I are going to write a note in this book to our little guy. Even though he isn't here with us this Christmas, he is definitely in our hearts, prayers, and thoughts. We know that God is in control and that HIS plans are even better than ours. I can't wait to read this book to our little boy. That is, if I can get through it without crying.
*For our little boy to remain healthy and feel loved wherever he is.
*For our family to remain calm about our adoption journey.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I've been meaning to post pictures from our journey thus far, but I just haven't had time. Here are some pictures from our adoption journey (starting in May).
May, 2011-Filling out our homestudy documents.
This is the picture we used with our dossier paperwork.
Our paperwork is ready to send off to the state of Illinois for approval.
These are some of the documents for our dossier.
Waiting to send off our dossier...she really is excited to bring her baby brother home!
September 13, 2011-We sent off our dossier to the Assistant Stork. Doesn't Olivia look thrilled here?:) These were the best pictures of our family. We want our little guy to know that we all went together to send off these papers. We can't wait to become a family of 4!
October 9, 2011-It's been about two weeks since our caseworker received our dossier (and a little over a week since it was sent to Ethiopia). We are going to try to take pictures every couple of weeks so that our baby boy can see how long we were waiting for him.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today also marks another important event. We sent off our dossier this evening!!! Jeremiah, Olivia, and I went to the post office and sent it off together. I'm such a dork (I know!:)) because I made us all go together as a family and even had someone take our picture (I will post it another day). I told Jeremiah that I wanted to capture this special event. It has taken us almost 5 months to prepare our dossier and we are so thankful to be done with this part of the journey. When I was pregnant with Olivia we had multiple sonogram pictures and I took weekly belly pictures. It makes me sad that we don't have these pictures for our little guy. So, I am trying to take pictures of all the exciting steps in our journey. This is the reason I made our entire family go to the post office to take a picture of us sending over our dossier. I want our little boy to see how excited we were to send this over and to feel just as special as Olivia does.
Here is where our dossier will go now:
1. The Assistant Stork in Virginia-they will take our dossier to the Ethiopian Embassy to get it authenticated.
2. The Assistant Stork sends our dossier to CHI (our agency).
3. CHI sends our dossier (along with two other photocopies of our documents) to Ethiopia!
After the dossier is in Ethiopia we will be placed on a waiting to list to be matched with a child. We are celebrating both special events at our house tonight.:)
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
So, what's the next step? We will take this document and two other documents to our local bank to get them notarized. After that we will take two of those documents to Springfield to get them certified. Once we've completed these tasks.....we will send off our dossier to Ethiopia! We are beyond thrilled to be at this step in our adoption journey.
We would love for you to keep praying for our journey. We both know that it will be tough to be patient as we wait for a referral.
In addition to praying for us, I would love for you to pray for my friends Mike and Brandy King. They are adopting a sweet little girl named Abi from Ethiopia. They went to meet her in July and are just waiting for the Embassy in Ethiopia to accept their paperwork. Pray specifically that they can bring Abi home soon and that their paperwork is accepted the FIRST time it is submitted to the court. During the past few months numerous people have had their paperwork rejected the first time (and multiple times in some cases) before it is accepted.
Thank you for your support. We appreciate it!:)
Saturday, August 27, 2011
We are so thankful for Jackie and Canaan because they spent the night at our house on Thursday night so they could watch Olivia for us yesterday. Olivia had a blast with them and I think they enjoyed being with her too.:) We are lucky to have so many friends who love our daughter like their own.
Our agency said it will take at least 45 days for the results from the appointment, but other people say it'll take about 2 weeks. We can't wait to get our I-171h in the mail. Once we get this in the mail we can send our dossier to Ethiopia!
On a side note, Olivia is just thrilled about "our baby boy." She talks about him often and says, "I going to hug and kiss our baby boy. I share toys with him." We went with my mom and Kacy to the Peoria Zoo a few weeks ago. While we were there we went to the African exhibit. Kacy said, "Your baby brother is in Africa right now." Olivia responded, "No Kacy, my baby brother is in Ethiopia." We explained that Ethiopia is in Africa. Now Olivia says, "Our baby boy is in Ethiopia, Africa." It's quite precious. When we were driving the other day Olivia said to me, "Mommy and Daddy stay here...no go to Ethiopia." She loves little babies and often asks, "Where my baby brother go?" I hope that this process continues to go quickly so that we have a picture of her baby brother soon.
Please keep praying for us. We really appreciate the encouragement, prayers, and financial support!!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
The reason why we were so excited about getting our fingerprinting appointment yesterday was because this appointment is the last big step before we send our dossier to Ethiopia. Once we receive our results, we can finish up our dossier paperwork. One of us will take the final two dossier documents to Springfield to get them notarized. After that, we will send our dossier to Ethiopia.
We want to make sure that everything is done before we get our results back so that we can send our dossier over as soon as possible.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
This is Jeremiah, Kortny's husband. Nice to meet you. This is the first time I've created an entry on this blog. Kortny has done a terrific job of keeping all of you updated on what's been going on with our adoption. I've decided to write my first entry while 30,000 feet in the air on my way to the Echo Conference in Dallas.
I'm pumped about this adoption, and what God has in store for our family. At the same time, I'm a typical guy in that right now when we're in the midst of paper work, financial support raising, act… those are the things I'm mainly focused on. As you can imagine they're not the most fun things to do, but we also knew what we were getting into when we signed up for this.
When we first decided that this is what God called us to do, I wasn't really all that worried about how it would all come together. I felt that if God is calling us to do something, that he'll provided all the emotional, mental, and financial support we'd need. I know that's all true, but in the past few days I've began to doubt some of it. Seeing our savings account dwindle and waiting for this form to get approved and that form to come in the mail, it's created a considerable amount of worry in me. This morning, I woke up at 3:30 to catch an early flight out of O'Hare, and I drank a full cup of coffee. Both of these things can make my stomach a little more sick than normal, but I was also extra worried about adoption "things" more than normal. Before my plane left the ground, I sent a quick text to a friend asking for prayers that God may calm my fears and that I'd again trust Him in this process.
Once we got in the air and the pilot approved usage of electronic devices (I waited to use it because I work for a church and try to be a good person, okay?). So with a sick stomach and more worried than I've been in years, I fired up the laptop to work on my annual staff self-evaluation (I'll post that when I'm done. No I won't.). I then opened up iTunes and picked Page CXVI to listen to. I played the first song that showed up, and here are are the lyrics I heard…
Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side
Bear patiently the Cross of grateful pain
Lean to your God to order and provide
In every change, He will remain
It's pretty amazing when God directly speaks and comforts you while 10,000 ft in the air through a song written 200 years ago
3 minutes later, I had to go through the awkward moment of having grown man tears in my eyes while telling the flight attendant I'll take sprite and pretzels.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
As some of you know, we sent out fundraising letters last week. We actually had to send out two different groups of them because we ran out of paper. The last bunch was sent out last week. We want to say thank you to the handful of people who have sent us financial support over the last few weeks. It means so much to us that you support us on this journey and that you are excited to help bring our baby boy home.
Since our letter asked for financial support, we thought it would be good to keep people updated on the financial side of the adoption. Jeremiah and I have already spent quite a bit of our savings on our adoption thus far. Today we sent out a check for $900 and next week we need to send out a check for $3,000 to CHI and another check for $2,000 to the Babyfold. In addition, when we get our referral (which we hope is in about 3 months but it could be longer) we will owe another $7,000. We know that God will provide, but it's just a little daunting to look at all of these upcoming costs.
God is totally in control of our adoption and it becomes more evident every day. We can't control this process, so I'm thankful that we know our God is in control!:)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Today I sat down for my quiet time. I was praying about our adoption and that God would give me patience throughout this process. I was telling God that I knew He was in control and that the paperwork would get done. When I finished praying, I had a sense of peace. I know that God is in control. I know that right now God is preparing the perfect child for us. So no matter how long it takes us to complete our dossier, God is going to match us with the child he wants to become part of our family.
The second I finished praying (no joke), I saw the mail truck come to our house. I went out to check our mailbox and found our passports! It's kind of silly, I know..but I had tears in my eyes. It was just like God was telling me, "See...you need to trust me. There's no need to worry because I'm in control."
Monday, July 11, 2011
On a different note, I read the Ordinary Hero blog frequently and today I was moved to tears by this post. Throughout the past many months it has been hard for Jeremiah and me to put into words how we are feeling about adoption. I've often said to people things like, "I just don't understand why I was born here and other people were born in Africa. Why do I get to live a comfortable life when other people are suffering?" You can go to the Ordinary Hero blog to read this entire post (written by the daughter of the woman who started this foundation), but I am just posting a tiny part of it. It sums up how Jeremiah and I feel about adoption and why we are adopting from Ethiopia.
"This isn’t fair. I don’t know this mother’s life, but because of the family these kids were born into, they have to sacrifice EVERY SINGLE day they are alive to begging for money, and if they don’t, they STARVE. Because of the family I was born into, I have everything I could ever need, and then some. I can go about our day without worrying once whether or not I will eat, but end up thinking things like “Do I want Mexican or pizza for lunch?” “Do I want to wear my new shirt or my favorite shirt?” Things that do not matter on the other side of the world. Things that do not relate to life or death. So why am I the “lucky one”? How did I end up in the comfortable van and not with my brothers begging for a few coins? It allowed me to realize that God has given me everything I need, so that I could be able to provide for people like this family, and everyone else I come across stuck in poverty. I can’t spend thousands of dollars traveling or tons of months in Africa, but I CAN glorify God when I do get the opportunity, I CAN support these causes from home, and I CAN find ways to reach out to the poor of my own community. If everyone in the world had exactly what they wanted, and all of our needs were provided for, we would rely on ourselves, not on God. Through the works of Christ, we are proving our faith in Him, and obeying his Word in the process. If we turn from the poor and ignore the fact that millions are suffering around the world, we are in the end turning away from God, and ignoring the command that comes from Jesus’ own mouth in the Bible."
Friday, June 24, 2011
1. I called the doctor's office to talk with Olivia's doctor. We needed to ask her about the possible risks of some the special needs we are willing to accept. I also had to ask her to write a letter confirming that Olivia does not have any type of disease and she's up to date on her immunizations. We picked the letter up this morning.
2. Neither Jeremiah or I have a passport. We filled out the applications and I got my pictures taken. We hope to get these sent out on Monday.
3. Police Clearance Letter-We need to get a letter from the State Police saying that neither of us have records. It seems easy, right? Well I called the State Police in Joliet and told the lady what I needed. She seriously said this, "Um...they (CHI) don't know what they are talking about. You don't need a letter from us to adopt. You will get your background letter." I tried explaining that we really did need a letter on their letterhead and that the letter needed to be notarized. She again said, "Yah..um your background check letter will be fine." Ugh...I decided I would just call back another day.:) So, that's on my agenda for next week.
4. A notarized letter from the bank stating that we have accounts and that we have financial stability. Jeremiah did this for us!
5. Get a fire extinguisher-Jeremiah did this for us.
6. Read over the home study and make changes-we both had to read over this 30 page document.
7. I had to e-mail the lady who writes my paychecks to ask her to write a letter of employment. This letter also has to be notarized. I will get this letter on Monday.
8. I typed our fundraising letter and then we made a few changes to it.
9. Reference letters
Here are a few things we will be working on next week:
1. Copying our taxes from the past three years and attaching a cover letter to them.
2. Writing a letter telling the Ethiopian government why we want to adopt from Ethiopia.
3. Contact Health Alliance about the coverage of our future child.
4. Get 2 passport sized photos and attach them to a cover letter. Get notarized.
5. Fill out the parent commitment report
6. Get 3-5 photographs of our family and get a notarized letter stating that we are the people in the pictures.
7.Adoptive parent forms-fill out
8.Fill out Power of Attorney sheets
9. Affidavit of Dossier (will do this last)
We are waiting on our background check to come back. Once that comes back we can submit our I-600A to the USCIS. Then we will get our fingerprinting appointment in Naperville or Indy. I hope we get them back quickly so we can get this appointment set up soon. We'll need these results before we can send our dossier to Ethiopia.
Things I'm thankful that we already have:
1.Marriage license (multiple copies of this)
2. All of our birth certificates (multiple copies of all certificates)
3. Our medical forms
4. Olivia's Well-Baby form
Okay, so now you'll understand why I feel a little overwhelmed.:) It'll get done...it just may take a little longer than we expected. I know God is in control and He has the perfect child waiting for us. I'm not worrying about it, I just want to get it done.
I know I've said this before, but I love our case worker. She rocks! Our case worker sent us our home study today and it looks great. She approved us to adopt a 0-12 month old child from Ethiopia. Yippee! We are one step closer to bringing home our baby.:)
As of this morning, our home inspection is done and so is all of our Babyfold paperwork for the home study! Yippee! We will have more paperwork to complete for Children's House International, but we are done with the local paperwork. We met with our case worker today and she took the last of our paperwork with her. She is going to finish our home study tomorrow and then e-mail it to us. We will look it over and then send it back with any changes that need to be made. Our case worker will then send it to CHI. Our case worker told us today that she hopes our background clearance only takes a few weeks. She has a couple who has been waiting for 3 months to get their results back. I hope we get our results back in a few weeks, so we can continue our process. After we get our background clearance and the home study is complete, we will send our I600 to the USCIS. They will contact us about getting our fingerprints in Indy or Naperville. I really hope this happens before school starts again! Our case worker will also send our home study to the woman in charge of the adoptions in Illinois. She has to say that our home study looks good and that we are fit to be parents of a child who is from Ethiopia. So, it'll still be awhile before our dossier is sent over to Ethiopia. I'm happy that we are done with our part of the home study! It's a big relief. :)
Jeremiah and I sent off our Family Service Plan and the first big chunk of our agency fee. We also were given a password to see some of the "Waiting Children" at our agency's orphanage. These children are so darn sweet and I wanted to adopt every single one of them! All of the children were around 4 years old, so I think we are going to hold off on a waiting child. Right now, we are requesting a child who is 0-12 months old. Our minds may change as we get further into this process. I still feel like I want Olivia to be the oldest child in our family.
Jeremiah and I have started (for about a month now) brainstorming ideas for fundraising. I think we are going to start writing letters/getting things together next week. We also have our 3rd home study meeting on Monday, June 20. We have a few more papers to complete before Monday. I feel like the paperwork is never going to stop (and we are just beginning our International Agency paperwork). Our case worker is going to do our house inspection and also see how we interact with Olivia. Hopefully, Olivia is on her best behavior-ha!:) I am sure the visit will be great and I hope our case worker can tell how much we love Olivia (and will love our next child too).
Also, last week (6/13/11) we went to get fingerprinted for our adoption. We will go to Naperville to get fingerprinted later this summer, but this was for our local fingerprint/background check.
Here is a blog that I follow. I just thought some of you may want to read her blog. Her "Lucy Lane's Gotcha Day video" is so inspiring. I cry every time I watch it. I can't wait to hold my baby in my arms and kiss all over him (just like she did with Lucy!). www.weloveourlucy.blogspot.com. Enjoy!
We had our 2nd home visit today. Jeremiah and I cleaned our house last night and our case worker didn't look at it. I told him today that I'm glad she is coming over on a regular basis because it makes us clean our house!:) Our case worker is wonderful and I am so happy that we picked the Babyfold for our local home study. Our case worker interviewed us together, we did some paperwork, filled out a family tree, tested our water temperature, and then she interviewed each of us separately. We had to fill out two different documents (that took us 10+ hours each) a few weeks ago. I seriously gave her about 40+ pages about me. I felt kind of bad, but it definitely paid off. Today, she spent about 40 minutes interviewing Jeremiah and she only had to interview me for about 10 minutes!:) We have a bunch of paperwork to fill out over the next few weeks and she is going to write up a few more pages for our home study. We are going to get together after she finishes the paperwork. It was a calm and stress free meeting today. We turned in our International Adoption Application at the end of last week and we are waiting to hear from them. I hope to hear that we've been accepted soon.
I hope to update my blog on a regular basis this summer. I'm going to try to document everything that's going on with our adoption. It'll be neat to look back at this blog in a few years when we have our child in our arms. Here are a few things I need you to pray about:
1. Our child-I assume he is born or in his mother's womb right now. Pray that he is taken care of and loved on like we would love him.
2. Pray that our child stays healthy and his mom does too (if she's pregnant with him).
3. Pray that we can get the paperwork done for our local home study quickly and we can send if over to Ethiopia soon.
4. Pray for us as we start to think about fundraising for our adoption.
5. Pray that we can be patient throughout this process.
6. Pray for Olivia and the role she will take on as being a big sister.
May 23, 2011
As most of you know, Jeremiah and I are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. We are absolutely thrilled about this and can’t wait to bring our child home. I thought I would write a quick update about our adoption journey thus far. We’ve just started the process, so I don’t have much to blog about. However, I want to document (for myself) each step in our process.
Jeremiah and I met with our home study caseworker last Monday, May 16. We feel like she’s on top of things and will be extremely helpful throughout our adoption journey. She gave us at least 6 folders full of information to fill out. In addition, she gave us a gigantic packet of articles to read. I think we’ll be doing a lot of reading this summer! We spent at least 10 hours individually filling out our marital assessment and autobiographies this past week. We also completed the application for the Babyfold. I’m glad we spent so many hours completing the paperwork last week. We were able to turn in our application and get the process started! Our caseworker said our local home study should take between 2-3 months. After that, our home study is sent to a few different places. This could take another 2-4 months.
Today, Jeremiah and I attended an all day adoption training class. It was insightful and gave us a better understanding of the adoption process. We were given multiple packets about Ethiopia and international adoptions. In addition, our caseworker talked with us about various things including what needs to be done before we go over to Ethiopia (for us and our child), what medical/emotional/social needs our child could face, how to develop proper attachment with our child, and what needs to be done after we come back with our child (birth certificate and finalization of citizenship). We met 4 other couples that are just starting the international adoption process. One couple is adopting from Ethiopia. I really enjoyed getting to know them and learning about why they were adopting. I love learning about people and hearing their stories. We left with numerous “homework assignments” and we felt pretty overwhelmed. However, I think every couple felt this way. We are taking a break from the paperwork tonight, but will start filling out our international adoption agency’s application tomorrow. I’m so thankful that school is almost over. I will be able to devote more time to the paperwork and read more of the articles our caseworker gave us. Our next home study visit is on June 6. I believe our caseworker is going to start interviewing each of us separately. I think she will also take a tour of our house to make sure it’s safe for our children.
I’m so excited that we’ve started the paperwork, completed the required training, and already have our 2nd home study date set. It’s a long process, but I know it’ll be worth it. I just can’t wait to get our referral and actually see our child’s sweet little face. Obviously, I can’t wait to hug my child and tell him/her “Mommy loves you!” However, I know it will be awhile before I’ll be able to do that. I feel so blessed that God has placed adoption on our hearts. Believe me when I say that I know this journey will not go perfectly or smoothly. I know there will be bumps in the road and at times we will become frustrated. In spite of these things, I am just so thankful that God had picked me to be this child’s mommy. I can’t wait to add another little one to our family.
*While we were sitting in our training today, I was thinking about all the little kids overseas (and in the U.S.) who don’t have a parent to love on them. Many kids only have contact with a caregiver for an hour a day and that is not enough. These poor kids need a mommy and a daddy to love on them. Ugh..it just makes me so sad. When we got home tonight, I snuggled with Olivia on the couch. I put her to bed at her normal time, but I could hear her talking in her crib about 45 minutes later. I sat outside her door smiling at the sound of my little girl talking to herself in her crib. Then, I went into Olivia’s room and picked her up. I hugged her tightly and rocked her while thanking God for my precious little girl. I am so thankful for moments like this when I can love on my girl. I can’t wait to love on my future child and let him know how much I care about him too. I don’t normally go into Olivia’s room after I’ve put her to bed. But..today I just craved spending time with my daughter. I wanted to be close to her and just thank God for what he has given me.
*Many people in the adoption world call the stage we are in right now the "Pregnancy Paperwork" stage. Instead of being pregnant and going through all of the hormonal changes to have a child, we are completing paperwork to get our child.