Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Month and More Progress!

It's hard to believe that another month has come and gone since I last posted - the fact that time continues to keep flying by makes me hopeful that I will be on a plane to China before I know it (a girl can dream, right?).  In the midst of vacation, softball games and baseball tournaments, we managed to make a lot of progress on our "paper chase".  We arrived home from vacation via a red eye plane flight on Saturday, July 14th; within two hours of landing in Philadelphia we found ourselves in the blazing July sun at a baseball tournament.  It took us a few days to recover from jet lag and in that time we met with our social worker two more times in order to  finish our home study visits.  Our social worker is completely awesome and finished the report within two days and sent it to corporate for final review and approval!  Our goal was to have the draft completed by August 1st and then it takes about two weeks for final review and approval - we are hoping to have our final review completed this week so she was able to get us ahead by two weeks (YAY!!).  We have also received our passports (complete with horrible mug shots of both of us!).  In the last week, we have been busy working our way through the 10 hour Hague required training course, Waiting Child Applications and talking with medical doctors about our list of special needs - WOW!! 

I hope that sounds impressive (LOL!) - it has definitely been a whirlwind and taken a lot of work to get all this done so quickly.  So - where are we in the process?  We are getting closer...

As soon as the home study is approved, our social worker will send us the required notarized copies (she leaves for vacation on August 10th - pray that we can get these completed prior to her leaving!).  Once the notarized copies are in our hands, we can send one copy along with our I-800a form to the USCIS (United States Immigration) for approval from the USA to adopt internationally.  We will be issued a fingerprinting appointment at the Immigration office in Philadelphia - after the fingerprints are taken, we wait for our I-797 from USCIS - this gives us approval from Immigration to adopt Makenna.  We've been told this process takes approximately five weeks. 

Then what??

Then we submit our dossier to China and wait for a picture of our daughter... 

In the meantime... please continue to keep our family in your prayers - we are excited about these next steps, but the reality of the financial impact at each step continues to try to steal the joy in these moments.  God has provided what we have needed at each step (remember that amazing yard sale ?!?!) and we TRUST that he will continue to finish that which HE has started.  Adoption has stolen our hearts - we have a love for orphans that has come alive in these past months and we firmly believe that God has called us to adopt Makenna and continue to advocate for orphans and adoption after Makenna is home.  We were reminded on Sunday morning about storing our treasures in heaven and not on earth - what a sweet reminder and challenge to keep trusting, hoping and praying that God will continue to direct us and lead us.  We are planning our next fundraiser - an event for the whole family - our "Race for Makenna"!  Check the page out on facebook here, mark your calendar for October 6th and stay tuned for more information right here on our blog! 

Thank you for journeying with us - we know that we have so many faithful readers and prayer warriers standing with us as we wait and pray... may you all have a Blessed week!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Update on our Adoption Process...

Well it's been a few weeks since we posted anything on our blog, but we have been very busy chugging along through the first stage of our process!  I am very excited to say that we have almost all our paperwork "ready" (ready is a loose term!).  I just sent the last batch of clearances to our social worker that she will need to complete our home study.  We have also gathered almost all the paperwork we will need for our Dossier (the Dossier is the final set of paperwork that gets translated and sent to the Chinese government).  At this point, we are in a holding pattern of sorts for our Home Study to be complete.  We had the first meeting with our social worker back in the middle of June - the meeting went very well and feel so blessed to have been assigned to this individual!  Due to her vacation schedule and our vacation schedule, the home study process is taking a little longer than usual, but, we know that this is in God's timing and we really didn't want to rush through the process.  We will have our final two sessions in the middle of July. 

Once the Home Study Report is finalized, we submit it to the US Immigration Department (USCIS) to receive approval from the US Government to become adoptive parents. Part of this approval process will include Jason & I heading down to Phildelphia to get fingerprinted for the immigration process.  The time line for USCIS approval is currently about 6 weeks.  Realistically... this puts us at about October 1st to receive final approval.  With the final USCIS letter of approval we take all our documents out to Harrisburg to be authenticated and then we put them in the mail to the America World Office in Virginia; all the paperwork will be translated and then sent to China - at this point we are considered DTC (Dossier to China).  When the Dossier is received in China we are then LID (Logged in Dossier) - this looks to take 2-3 weeks.  Then we wait for our referral... the chance to see the face of our daughter!

Keep praying for our family - the past two months have been busy (so very busy!).  We continue to rely on God's grace and wisdom through this process, we trust that He will continue to provide all that we need physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially thorugh this process.  Last fall we planned a family vacation to head out to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  As we embarked on this journey to adopt Makenna, we began to feel guilty about taking a vacation and spending the money on this trip.  We certainly wouldn't have planned this if we knew where we would stand right now.  But, God knew where we would be and He knew that this is the exact time that we really need a vacation - time to recharge and spend some extra special time with Megan and Mattthew, too!  We still feel guilty at times when we think of Makenna in China waiting, but God had planned this as part of our journey, too.  Please pray for safety for us as we travel over the next few weeks! 

As I write about the progress we have already made in the past two months, I must admit that I am EXCITED!!!  So excited that we are privileged to be on this journey - excited to see Makenna's face in a picture in a few months, and excited to travel to China to meet her and bring her home to her forever family (hopefully next Spring).  Every now and then I need to stop and almost pinch myself - we are having another daughter!!  Keep praying for all five of us - we certainly have felt the overwhelming flood of support from so many of you - we know we still have a long way to go on this journey, we pray that God will find us worthy of the calling that we have received to journey with Him to our daughter!