Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adoption Update

We are in the full swing of things and life has been busy. I feel like most of my days are spent going over paperwork that has been sent to us by our adoption agency and home study agency. I read them, re-read them, and then begin making appointments for fingerprinting, background checks, doctor appointments, social worker visits, etc... There is always something to be done and it can seem quite overwhelming at times. But, when I think of the end result it is always worth the small hassle and puts things in perspective quite fast.

So, where are we at in the process? That is the big question that everyone is asking right now so let me explain it as best as I understand it knowing that we are newbies and I may have some of this wrong. Ha!

January 2014 -
** submitted application to adoption agency - International Adoption Guides - located in Georgia...David and I travel to their orphanage in Ethiopia which is why we chose this particular agency. They are a fast moving agency compared to others and the children there are well taken care of. Plus, we like knowing that if things move quickly enough (very doubtful at this late stage), we may get to meet our child in June when we go.

February 2014 -
** application was approved for Adoption Guides
** first home study was completed - a home study is where a social worker is assigned to your family to make sure that the child you are adopting will be coming into a safe and loving family. This is a LONG process that includes fingerprinting, background checks, doctor appointments, lab work, reference checks, copies of every form known to man, etc... plus actual visits to the home to meet the family and get to know us.
** second and third home study scheduled for February 17th - she is going to do 1 long visit with us to cut off some of the time. Yay!

After the home study is done, we can start applying for grants - PRAISE THE LORD!!!

So now we are in the process of raising money to pay our agency fee of $6000. If any of you have an extra $6000 laying around and want to donate it to our adoption fund, we won't say "no," but will humbly accept it. HA! I have a fantastic fundraiser planned starting March 1 that I cannot wait to announce...but I have to.
Once the agency fee is paid, we just wait and gather millions of documents for the dossier
(which is another $1000). And shell out more money for more fingerprints ($850) and other miscellaneous fees. This is a stack of papers that goes to the Ethiopian government. During this time though, our agency will call and say they have a child that fits our age and gender request. They will send over a medical report and pictures. We will have a chance to get the medical report reviewed by our pediatrician and pray about this decision. If we say "yes" then the child is ours.
At this point we will owe the Ethiopian government $13,000 for their fees. Ugh! This is where I am praying grants come in and help us out!!! Within 6 months (usually) of getting our referral we will be given a court date and be heading to Ethiopia. David and I will both go before a judge who will just verify that the baby truly is an orphan and that we truly do want her. If we pass court we will come back home and then travel again once the embassy has the baby's paperwork ready.
At this point I have the option to stay in country between court and embassy but it will just depend on many circumstances whether I do that or not. If I do, baby can stay with me in the guesthouse and not have to go back to the orphanage! If I don't, I will probably travel back to ET by myself to pick up our baby (to save on airfare) and then come back home a few days later.

As you can see, it is quite a process and quite an expense. HOWEVER, we know that God has put this in our hearts and called our family to this. It is worth every single hassle and headache and wait to know that there will be one less orphan in this world. To know that our family will be growing by one in about a year. We are excited about this and hope that our friends and family will rally around us and join us in this journey.

And...just a little note to let you all know. "Believe" is the word we chose for our family for 2014. We are choosing to believe for God's provision in this adoption process and his timing. We sold the "believe" bracelets as a way to hopefully raise enough money for our home study which at the time was going to be $1500. Things went a little awry and we had to find a new agency to do our home study and the new cost was $2250. GOD PROVIDED! We have sold enough bracelets to not only cover the cost of the home study, but also the adoption application fee of $300. Thank you to everyone who bought one or two or ten! We appreciate you and the fact that you have chosen to be a part of our child's coming home story. We will keep selling them so if you haven't gotten one yet and want one, just let me know.

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