Friday, June 24, 2011

Dossier Paperwork

On Tuesday, Jeremiah and I received our dossier instructions from CHI. Oh boy! We have a ton of work to do! We knew we would have more paperwork to fill out, but we didn't realize how much work was left to do. I'm beyond thankful that I have the summer off and I'm able to complete these tasks. Otherwise, I have no idea how everything would get done. Here are just a few of the things that I've been doing this week:
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, " 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 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.

Home Study Complete

June 21, 2011

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.:)

What a great feeling!

June 20, 2011

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. :)

First chunk of change...

June 15, 2011

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!). Enjoy!

We were accepted!

Jeremiah and I got an official acceptance phone call on Tuesday, June 7 from our International Adoption Agency. We are going to be working with Children's House International. Yipppeee! Today, our local adoption case worker sent us an e-mail asking to schedule our 3rd Home Study visit. Praise God for our amazing case worker. She's just fabulous.:) Praise God that Children's House International accepted us and that they are willing to work with our family.

2nd Home Study Visit

June 6, 2011

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.

We are starting the "Pregnancy Paperwork."

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. 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. 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.

We are adopting

May 2, 2011
Jeremiah, Olivia, and I are very excited to announce that we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. The process will take at least 1-2 years. We hope you enjoy reading about our adoption journey.