Wednesday, April 21, 2010

*adoption update*

are you surprised? i actually blogged 2 days in a row!!!! i even surprised myself with this one :)

our ethiopian adoption is moving forward! we are definitely still doing the paper chase but i hope to have that wrapped up in the next 2 weeks or so.

unfortunately, things have been complicated quite a bit because of the boys being in foster care. our home study agency requires a background check (for people over the age of 12) and a medical check on even the kids living in our home, and the state wasn't very quick to give us authorization on those things. (just fyi - since the boys are not legally in our custody, we're not even allowed to check them into the ER without approval by the state, you can imagine how getting authorization for background checks and medical history goes!) however, i think we've finally got approval for all the paper components we need for them. praise the Lord!

for my own sake and maybe even for your curiosity, here's where we stand with all the paperwork and preparation stuff for the adoption:

*home study:
-interviews - we completed our individual interviews last tuesday (april 13) and have our home walk through and our couple interview next tuesday (april 27)
-paperwork - we have all our paperwork completed except for a copy of our previous state home study that we are still waiting on. we thought we were going to get out of having to turn this in because our state social worker told us that the state would not release a copy of this, but turns out, they will! we just found this out monday so we mailed off our request form yesterday. i sure wish i would have known that 4 weeks ago but hopefully it won't hold us up too long!

*i-600A form:
-for all you who are unfamiliar with the adoption processing (which i totally was 2 months ago!), this is a form filed with the US citizenship and immigration services. this very costly ($670!!!), 3 page form is where we ask for permission to bring a non-citizen into the US as our child. with filing the form, we are also granted an appointment to be fingerprinted with the FBI ($160!!!) which is required before adoption approval is given.
-according to our lovely, usps delivery confirmation, our form was received in texas on saturday. after polling friends who are also in the adoption process, it seems that it has been taking 6 weeks or so after the form is initially filed to be given a fingerprinting appointment.
-once we are fingerprinted, we also have to forward USCIS a copy of our completed home study. when they receive it, we will most likely wait another 6 to 8 weeks for our final approval. once we are granted this approval, we can send our dossier to ethiopia!!

-a dossier is the packet of documents that will actually be translated into amharic - ethiopia's language, and sent to ethiopia for their government's review. it's basically our whole life summed up into a huge packet of paper.
-we received our dossier paperwork checklist last week from our agency. honestly, i was nervous about all the paperwork it would entail but it's really not that much! most of the paperwork is stuff that we already had compiled for our home study so that helped! just to give you an idea, here are the documents we have to have:

1. letter from our bank stating that we're in good standing (check)
2. physical form with labs from our doctor for both ryan and i (check for me, ryan still needs to get his tb test done but that's it)
3. letter from our health insurance agency stating that our adopted child will be covered on our policy (check)
4. copy of our last 2 years' tax returns (check)
5. local police clearance for both ryan and i (check)
6. 3 letters of recommendations from friends, co-workers, etc. (check)
7. color copies of our passports (check)
8. employment verification letters (in progress)
9. original passport photos (we both need to get some more taken)
10. letter to the ethiopian government stating why we want to adopt from ethiopia (in progress - this has been kind of hard to write! i don't want to say anything that will not put us in a favorable light with their government and i also want to reflect our heart to adopt, which is hard to put in a 1 page letter.)
11. government issued birth certificates (check)
12. power of attorney forms (in progress)
13. an original copy of our approved home study (in progress - hoping to have this done soon!)
14. obligation of adoption form (in progress)

-we have a few ideas floating around for fundraising. mostly, we're really praying that we'll be able to get a matching grant for our fundraising efforts. there are a lot of different organizations that offer these sort of things but all of them require you to first have your home study completed so we can't apply until we get that back. asking people for money is always hard, but we're praying through it and hope the Lord will use this time to humble us and surprise us yet again with how awesome He is. we know all the money in the world is ultimately His, but it's hard to put it in perspective sometimes and to really believe it!
-we're in the middle of working with my wonderful friend and designer, elizabeth on some cool artwork for some fundraising tees. i used to work for this great t-shirt company, hands on originals and tend to be a bit of a t-shirt snob, so i'm really excited about this project! it's our dream to sell 400 shirts at around $20 each to pay for the last big chunk of money ($8000) we'll owe right before we travel. think we can do it?!?! i dunno, but hey, a girl can dream!
-i'm also setting up a craft booth at a farmers market 1 week each month this summer to sell some of my crafts so i can make a few extra bucks for the adoption fund. i'm in the middle of reorganizing a spare room in our basement into my craft room so i'm hoping the new space will keep me motivated to craft some great things that will sell!

i think that's all i've got...hopefully we'll get everything wrapped up on our end soon so that we can kiss our dossier goodbye and send it on to ethiopia. oh what a wonderful day that will be!!

any questions about adoption, ethiopia or anything else?? if so, ask away! maybe it will give me some inspiration to keep blogging too :)