Friday, December 26, 2008

Next steps

The next step is to take all of our AZ notarized documents to the Secretary of States office for certification - then off to LA for authentication. Once our HS is through the courts we will do the same with it. Then it is compiling all papers, certificates, documents, letter and photos...making copies and sending our entire dossier off to China. We anticipate this happening sometime in February or March.

Then the real wait begins!

A year in review

Originally Posted 070808: When we started this process we thought that the decision to adopt was the difficult part. We just made one of the biggest decisions of our life now let's just go get out and get one, right? There is just a big list somewhere of kids that are waiting for a home, right?

The great world of adoption is a complicated and sometimes very confusing culture that has many options. Each comes with it's own set of issues, demands, and challenges. But in God's perfect plan and in His timing, the end result is loving parents welcoming a beautiful child into their world to take care of forever.

Today: We look back over the last 5 months, all that we have completed and take a deep, deep breath. We have now completed every requirement pertaining to our Home Study, our agency has even sent us our Hague approval letter, we are now waiting for our social worker to return from vacation to sign off. It will then be filed with the juvenile courts here in AZ.

Our fingerprints have been taken by Homeland Security and the process for USCIS clearance has begun. We are being told that both will take 60-90days respectively. So let the wait begin.

Once these last forms are received we will be able to compile our dossier and send it off to China!

All that once seemed so overwhelming, is now completed. Piles of paperwork and daunting time frames are now just distant memories. Just another great reminder of how time in our lives flows by so quickly.

We have yet to write via our blog, but we have also decided to proceed with a concurrent adoption here in the states...yes you read it right...number 2 (or hopefully number 1). We have been contacted by our local agency and have an appointment set for Jan. 16. We are super excited!!!

This process will be so much easier since our Home Study is already completed. We will have to attend two classes, write a letter to the birth mother and basically just wait (:

We will be eligible late February or early March. A friend of mine said..."Just think--your baby could already be in his/her birth moms tummy right now!" WOW that is crazy to think about.

Please pray for us. All the birth mothers that will be posed with the most difficult decision in their lives and all the orphans or soon to be orphans in this world.

2009 will be a great year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Christmas Song Ever

My favorite Christmas song ever is O Holy Night. It was composed in 1847 from the poem Minuit, Chr├ętiens by Frenchman Placide Cappeau. It's message is just as clear now as it was then. The next time you hear it stop and consider the words that he wrote. They are full of the hope and joy and love and freedom that is the Christmas story.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Behold your King.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Merry Christmas.

(Michael Crawford from 1993 TV Christmas Special)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home Study is complete!

Yep...that's right our home study is complete and on its way to VA for approval from AWAA HQ. This is a big one folks - really BIG! Just in case you are curious or just want to better appreciate and understand the details of the adoption process - I have outlined below for you.

Our HS is a compilation of documents that includes a 17 page detail of our life.
  • Adoptive Parents stats
  • Application & Type of Child Requested
  • Duty of Disclosure
  • Adoption issues & motivation to adopt from China
  • Description of adoptive parents (that's us!)
  • Education and Employment
  • Personal
  • Marital Relationship
  • Attitude Towards Birth parents
  • Lifestyle
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Child Care Plans
  • Financial Capabilities
  • Home and Community Environment
  • References
  • Parenting
  • Expectations to the Development and Growth of a child
  • Clearances (CPS)
  • Pre-Adoption - Home visits
  • Ability to Travel
  • Documents
  • • AWAA Application
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Verification of Health, Life and Auto Insurance
    • Verification of Employment
    • Verification of Homeowner’s Insurance
    • Copy of Arizona Driver’s License
    • Verification of Fees Paid
    • Copy of Letter of Request for Child
    • Current income tax return
    • Five letters of reference
    • Financial Statement
    • Medical reports
    • Police clearance letters
    • Fingerprint results
    • Child Protective service clearances
    • Autobiographies
    • Signed Guardianship Statement
  • Guardianship
  • Summary & Agency's Recommendation (we passed!)
To all our family that we love and appreciate so much - you may not know it but your are already doing your part. We couldn't have told our life stories - without mentioning our wonderful parents - Mom, Dad, Ken & Carol - thank you for life...thank you for the wonderful childhoods memories...thank you for endless opportunities, lessons and wisdom.

Then of coarse what would our lives be without our brother's, sister's, BIL's, SIL's and nieces and newphews! Bro- Don, Denise, Amanda, Mathew & Michael. Ken, Julie and Brittany. Thank you for being BIG brothers, little sisters and friends.

We are so happy that you are apart of our life story - we could not have done it without you!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adoption Update

Hi everyone

We have not posted an update in a while - and Dave said that our blog is looking a bit promotional. Today - I have updates on our HS that I would like to share.

This am - I awoke at the crack of dawn and can I tell you - there is nothing more beautiful than an Arizona sunrise on a cold December day (cold being relevant - I know) I did just looked and it is currently 37 degrees - very cold by AZ standards.

We spoke with our SW (social worker) yesterday - she is working on the final stages of our HS (home study) and we should see a rough draft today or tomorrow. Once we see a copy - we are required to go through it and check dates, names, numbers etc. Then back to SW for final draft - from there it goes to VA where our FC (family coordinator) and her boss from AWAA review and approve it!

Once everyone signs off on our HS - we are ready to submit to the courts (AZ reguires all HS to go through the juvenile courts) where a judge must approve that we are worthy to adopt! Crazy - huh? All these processes are in place to protect these little helpless babies - but what is the turn over value for us?

I know I have said this before - but the entire HS process has been an incredible journey. It has forced us to look deep into our souls. It has forced us to reminess about the amazing life we have been given (thanks - mom's and dad's). It has forced us to open up our hearts to each other and others more than ever before. It has also forced us to be humble and have a bit more humility. I believe this process has strenghten us as individuals and as parents to be.

I want to thank all our family friends for their kind words of encouragement and support.