Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How YOU can be a part of our adoption!

We are a few steps closer to adopting!!!

We sold our house in August, and moved to our new place (locally) on September 27th. Amazingly enough, we lived in our previous home for 6 years exactly. Like, to the DAY. We are going to be in our current house for many more years than that. Goodness knows, after the moving experience we had it will be a lonnnnng time before we attempt that again.

The biggest hurdles we have yet to get over are our home study (starting early next year), compiling our dossier (to send to Moldova) and fundraising. 

The good news is that there are many ways YOU can help us bring our daughter home! In the next few weeks I will be posting a fee schedule, outlining a rough estimate of our major expenses. We will be setting up a "gifting" site where people can donate to different needs (flights, fingerprinting, court costs, etc) if desired. We don't want to make people feel like we're begging for money, but if you are wanting a tangible way to be involved in the process, this is it!

For starters, if you shop on amazon.com, we now have a link that will allow Amazon to deposit a portion of your shopping dollars into our adoption savings account. Don't worry, it's legit. I had to go through a rigorous process to get it set up. Just click on this link:  http://tinyurl.com/mhy5xsb and shop as normal. During checkout (or before) you will be able to sign into your own existing account and still have the portion donated to us. We don't get cash, it gets deposited directly into our account. 

We are hoping to travel to Moldova sometime in late summer or early fall, but between now and then we need roughly $40,000. That seems like a huge number, but with God's help and YOURS we can make it happen.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Needs to Happen

I was talking with my mom the other day, and she said it might be helpful to break down the dominoes that need to fall before we are able to bring our daughter home:

1. Sell our house

2. Buy a new house

3. Move into the new house

4. Start our home study

5. Receive Dossier documents list from our agency

6. Start compiling Dossier (official documents needed for adoption approval)- this has a sub-list that don't have access to yet!

7.  Complete home study

8. Complete Dossier

9. Submit home study documentation and Dossier to our agency, Beacon House Adoption Services (BHAS)

10. BHAS approves our documents

11. BHAS sends all the paperwork to Moldova

12. Moldova's state adoption department reviews our documents

13. Moldova approves our documents and sends our info to an orphanage

14. The orphanage assigns us a child

15. Moldova sends the child's information to BHAS

16. BHAS sends the child's information to us (a referral)

17. We have 30 days to review the information and make a yes or no decision on the referral

18. We send our answer to BHAS (most likely a YES)

19. BHAS sends our acceptance to Moldova

20. Moldova assigns us travel dates for our first trip (travel typically happens within 30 days of Moldova receiving our YES answer)

21. We fly to Chisinau, Moldova (most likely via Paris!), spend the first few days touring the country with our guide

22. We visit the orphanage and meet our little girl face to face for the first time, and fall in love immediately of course

23. She spends the rest of the 10-14 days with us during our stay in Moldova

24. We return to the orphanage and leave her there to travel home to get everything ready and await her adoption approval from the Moldova government

25. Moldova state department processes our daughter's travel visa and adoption paperwork

26. Moldova contacts BHAS to assign us a court date in-country (usually within 30-45 days of our first trip, when her visa application is submitted)

27. We fly back to Moldova, attend a court hearing with our guide

28. Upon passing court we return to the orphanage, collect our daughter and anything that belongs to her

29. We remain in Moldova for another few days until we get her official paperwork in-hand

30. Fly home- 3 tickets!!!!

31. Once back in the states we will continue to have home study follow-up appointments and then officially apply for permanent US adoption and citizenship status for our daughter. 

That's a lot of stuff that has to happen (and a lot of $$). Please pray for things to continue smoothly!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Almost Another Step Closer

We have had a lot of people asking how things are coming with the adoption. The truth is that we haven't done a whole lot with it. We've had a lot of other things going on, and this has kind of been temporarily moved to the back burner.

Our house is still on the market. We are almost at the 6 month mark. We are waiting to start our home study until we move, which will hopefully be soon! We keep praying that God will send the right buyers our way sooner rather than later. We found a house that we love, and it's empty so we would be able to move right away once we sell ours.

So that's our next step- the home study. During the time that we are having that done, we will also be compiling our dossier. Depending on how smoothly all our official government documentation applications go, our dossier should be pretty much completed by the time our home study is ready to be submitted as well. Then all the paperwork will be sent to Moldova and we wait to see which child gets assigned to us!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Almost Delivered

Last night we took the 3 boys to the bank about 3 minutes before they closed and had our official adoption contract notarized! This morning I stopped at the post office and had it sent via certified mail to our agency in Florida. We paid the initial fees of $2500 yesterday as well. Once Beacon House receives (and accepts) our contract, we are locked in! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Adoption, a la Isaiah

I love the book of Isaiah. Some of the imagery in there is so powerful. There are two chapters in particular that really stand out to me as pertaining to our adoption journey, as well as the drought conditions in our country both physically and spiritually. The entire passage is written out below, with the "special" parts highlighted in bold purple.

Isaiah 43:1-8 & 44:1-5

But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have bought you with a price; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

"But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says- he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you; Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meado, like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, 'I belong to the Lord;' others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, 'The Lord's" and will take the name Israel."

WOW- talk about powerful stuff! We all hear from an early age that we are God's people blah blah blah, but we become desensitized to it. But the thing that really hits me hard right now is that God already has his hand on my daughter. Somewhere out there, she is alive right now (probably around a year old). Eventually she will belong to us, but right now, she belongs to the Lord. Even though her earthly circumstances may not be ideal right now, I have peace knowing that she is in the greatest place of all- in the loving, possessive care of my Heavenly Father.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Gates of Chisinau

This is the view of Chisinau (pronounced Kish-in-ev) upon arrival from the airport. I can't wait to see it in person!

Chisinau is the capital city of Moldova, and as such will most likely be our base while we are there. We will fly into the international airport in Bucharest, Romania, and from their either take a small plane to Chisinau or drive across the border (roughly 250 miles).

I have no idea where her orphanage will be, but we will have to pass court in the capital before we can bring her home!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We picked a country!

We have been talking for several weeks now about which country we want to adopt from. The entire time that we have considered adoption we have felt God pulling us towards eastern Europe. Justin has a lot of Russian/Polish heritage and we wanted to stay close to that if possible.

Before we shared our decision with anyone outside of immediate family members, we wanted to start the application progress with an agency. Once it's submitted, there's no turning back as far as we are concerned! There are six agencies in the US that are accredited to work with the country we picked, and four of them responded to my request for more information. Out of those four, three are accepting new families to that country's adoption program. Two of them returned my phone calls, and ONE of them seems like the perfect fit for us!

Okay, no more suspense! We now know that God is preparing our daughter for us in...

MOLDOVA!


Moldova is a small country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with one river giving it access to the Black Sea. They have been closed for adoption for many years, and just reopened last year! Because of this, there are many, many orphans who need homes, and the country is making it very easy to adopt!!! If you saw my last entry, it was a picture of the Moldovan flag that I posted.

Why Moldova???

I loved the church we attended while we lived in Lafayette. It was very large, and as such had more ministries than I can count. One of these is their partnership with Moldova regarding teaching seminary students. It is sort of like an exchange student program. While we were attending church there, I didn't think much of it at the time, but something about the country itself seemed to stick in my mind.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Our church here in Indy tries to do a large missions trip once every couple of years. In 2010 it was taking the youth and several adults to Belize to run sports camps for a week. The next trip they want to take is to Moldova to work with inner city kids and an orphanage in the capital of Chisinau. Once again, something twitched in my brain when the youth pastor started musing about it.

I don't remember exactly what made me think to do this, but one night, out of exasperation, I googled "map of eastern Europe" and started writing down countries that we had not yet eliminated from our adoption search. The Ukraine was no longer an option, and Romania recently closed its adoption program... but right in between those countries was a name that stuck out to me as if it were highlighted in neon and surrounded by flashing flourescent lights. Moldova.

Holding my breath, my next search was "Moldova adoption." Here's what I found:
*This program is OPEN. After closing in 2001, the program is now reopened.
*After reopening in 2011, only 10 children were adopted in the US from Moldova. In 2012 the Moldovan government is hoping to increase that number to 300!
*Trips required: 2 (both parents must travel each time), both about 1-2 weeks in length. During the first trip you spend 5-7 days with your child. You then return home while her paperwork (visa, passport, birth certificate, etc) are processed and approved. After about 4 weeks you travel back to the country and spend 3-10 days during which time you attend court. After passing court, you return home with your child.
*Children 2 years and older are eligible for international adoption
*Nationalities of orphans include gypsy/romani, caucasian, Jewish
*Start to finish, the process to adopt from Moldova as a US citizen is approximately 1 year

Really, we could not have asked for a more perfect situation. There are so many children waiting for permanent families that the Moldovan government basically chopped the dossier requirements in half, no longer requires court to be passed in Romanian (a translator is used), and is allowing parents to return home while paperwork is processed! A lot of european countires require the parents to stay the entire 3-6 weeks, which is just not feasible for us with the three kids back here at home waiting for us. Of course, it's going to rip my heart out to leave here there, but at the same time it will be so much fun to come home and get her room ready and buy her clothes and toys and all kinds of fun things... I am getting so excited already!

A lot of the countries we had wanted to look into were nixed right away because the youngest child we could get was anywhere from 5-9 years old! Bulgaria and Russia are the only other countries besides Moldova that allow younger children to be adopted internationally (2 yrs for Bulgaria, 6 months for Russia). For a couple weeks it looked like Bulgaria was "it" for us, but they run on about a 3 year process and that was too long. Plus, something just didn't feel right. We knew we didn't want Russia from the beginning. All we have ever heard is horror stories about the red tape and legal matters concerning finalizing a Russian baby adoption. Not that it can't go well in some cases, but it was just something we personally didn't want to have to deal with.

I've dreamed my whole life of a little blonde haired, blue eyed daughter, and most European countries only have gypsy/romani orphans because the blondes are always adopted in-country first. Moldova has an abundance of different ethnicities- including Jewish, which is really cool because of my family's connection to Jewish ministry and heritage. We are not going to request anything more specific than "Female, 2 years old," and we trust God will give us the perfect child. If she has dark skin, hair and eyes, then she will still be perfect. But for some reason, just knowing there are more choices in Moldova makes us feel more like this is the right choice. It's hard to explain.

The agency we are applying to is Beacon House Adoption Agency. They are newly accredited to work with Moldova, and we are very excited to work with them. I have corresponded with their international specialist over email several times, and spoken on the phone as well. Once we submit our application, we will apply to the US government for eligibility to adopt, complete a homestudy, compile our dossier and start shelling out thousands of dollars.

After our dossier is complete, the agency sends it to Moldova for translation and approval. From there a child is referred to us and we are given her information, pictures and possibly video. Here's the hardest part- Moldovan internationa law prohibits us from sharing anything about her until we set foot back in the US with her- no name, no pictures, no video. Nothing on the blog, Facebook, or snail mail. We are not sure yet whether we will change her name, we are waiting to see what her given name is before we make that decision. I am under the impression that if we will be changing her name that we can share that, just not the one that shows officially on her Moldovan birth certificate. Violating any of these rules can make us ineligible for adoption AND we could possibly be prosecuted by the country of Moldova. Yikes. Well, I've waited my whole life for her, so I guess I can wait a few months to share her with the rest of the world. :)

After we receive our referral (her information), we will receive our travel dates in approximately 2-3 months, and usually those dates are only a week or two away from the notification date. For anyone who has adopted internationally, that is fast!!!

Ideally we would like for her and Calen to be about a year apart. In a perfect world, she would be born next month (a June birthday would give us one birthday per month from February through July in our little family, I know it's so silly to hope for that), and we would be able to stretch out our homestudy and dossier compilation until early spring of 2014, then trave to get her sometime that summer. In a perfect world. Of course, we don't live in a perfect world! God has held our hands and gently guided us slowly through this process so far, and we are confident that if we have patience (so hard!) and don't push things, he will continue to show us the next steps as they come.

Please stay tuned as I will be updating much more frequently now that things are starting to move along!