Tuesday, April 1, 2014

January, February, and March 2014 Update

As I'm sitting here determined to get this update typed and posted, even though I should be doing my bible study homework, for some reason it's hard to believe it's April 1, already. It happens, to me anyway, every year. January rolls around and I brace myself, knowing the next 3 months at least are going to be cold, we may have a few days of warmer weather, but for the most part it's cold, cold, and a little more cold. This year however, has been bitter cold, and a lot of it. Our fall was cut short as the cold temperatures moved in sooner then "normal". And the cold temperatures have stayed, the kids had 3 (some school districts around here had 4) days off not because of snow, but because of how cold it was. This has been a long, long winter, and while we've had a couple of teaser days of warmer weather, it still goes back to being cold. And even though it's April, I've learned that the state we live in doesn't have a predictable "normal" when it comes to spring. Some years we have spring, like you normally would have spring, but most years we have, almost-spring, sort of spring, maybe spring, boom, summer's here (and summer sometimes doesn't arrive until the end of June). However, regardless of what our spring holds, we know there's hope that what is now brown and dead looking outside, will within the next month become green and alive again...that is one "normal" we can count on. :)

I meant to post updates each month, however, the past 3 months have been a lot more waiting then anything paperwork related. In January, we were in the middle of basketball season, we had a tournament the last weekend of January, out of town, and honestly, there was so little to post about, my extreme tiredness won out, and I chose sleep instead of updating. February we wrapped up basketball, but again, not much to post about, I don't really have a good excuse as to why I didn't type out an update, so we move on to March. And even though not a lot happened, a few big things happened, and we are officially finished with dossier paperwork! Our dossier has not shipped to China, yet, we're hoping, maybe that will happen before Easter, but it's so good to have what seemed like endless paperwork done...for now. :)

December 31st- Finally picked up my ear tube letter from my doctor's office. Taking the kids to see Frozen and the first theater we went to being sold out, ended up not being so bad after all. Went to a theater 5 minutes from my doctor's office, and we were early so I was able to pick up my letter before seeing Frozen. :)

January 13th- Receive letter from the Department of Homeland Security regarding our appointments that had been scheduled for us at our local Homeland Security office to give our biometrics (be fingerprinted again).

January 14th- Find out that my in-laws will no longer be back in town (they were out of the state visiting family) in time to make it to the appointment (yes, all 4 of us needed to be fingerprinted). My step-mom-in-law's brother passed away, and the funeral was the weekend of the 24th.

January 16th- I mail (you can't call and reschedule, I tried calling to reschedule) requests to have my in-laws fingerprinting appointments rescheduled.

January 23rd- My husband and I go in for our biometrics appointment. It was short and sweet. Not at all as spy-movie like as I thought it might be.

January 24th- Receive new appointment dates for my in-laws in the mail.

February 14th- My in-laws drive out bright and early to our local Department of Homeland Security building for their biometrics appointment.

February 22nd- Come home from a 2-night family get-away to a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. Our USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) agent sent us a letter stating that there was specific information missing from our home study and without that information our Immigration Approval request could not be processed or approved.
-I may have had a mini freak out. It's fuzzy at this point. I was very sleep deprived and it was over a month ago, but I'm pretty sure some kind of small-ish freak out happened, whether out loud or in my head, I don't exactly remember.-

February 23rd- Scan the letter from the Department of Homeland Security and email it to our social worker, since there was nothing we could do.

February 24th- Thankfully hear from our social worker that she got my email, had typed up a home study addendum, sent it to her supervisor for approval. Once approved she would mail us copies and also get copies to our agency.

March 5th- Receive home study addendum in the mail.

March 6th- Mail home study addendum to our Immigration Services Officer.

March 14th- Emailed our Immigration Services Officer to make sure she received our addendum.

March 15h- I got an email early (on a Saturday) that our immigration application had been approved, was mailed out (March 13th) and that we should be receiving it soon. That afternoon when we checked the mailbox, our Immigration Approval letter was there. We were so excited! We'd waited 2 1/2 months for that letter and it was finally here!

March 17th- After I drop the older kids off at school and stop at the UPS store for a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope, we meet with a friend who happens to be a notary to have our Immigration Approval letter notarized.
Then, I and my 2 little ones drive to the Secretary of Sate's office in the capitol to drop off the last few documents we needed state certified before we can send the last papers of our dossier to our case worker.
E and I both go to separate Walgreens to have passport pictures printed to include with our dossier papers.

March 19th- Receive our documents back from the Secretary of State. I make lots of copies. Also make sure our family pictures we need to include in our dossier are ready to go, along with copies of our passports.

March 20th- After double checking all of the papers I mail the last of what our case worker needs to complete our dossier! :)

March 22nd- My husband gets and email from our case worker (was sent to all of the families adopting from China, for some reason I didn't get it). It was a reminder email letting everyone know they had recently moved their office, and again just a reminder this is the new address...

In Anna from Frozen's voice, "Wait, what?"
-insert me having, not a panic attack, but, it wasn't pretty-

**Side note, I did get the original email with the mention of the address change. It came in a newsletter a few weeks earlier. I'm pretty sure I started reading the email while in the pick-up line at school, kids got in the truck, I put my phone down, never finished reading the newsletter, and the rest is history...

March 22-24- We are in contact with our case worker, letting her know I didn't get the reminder email, I sent everything (original documents, important, original documents) to the old address. She says not to worry that it'll be forwarded to the new address. Ok, crisis averted...for now...

March 27- Email our case worker to see if she's gotten our documents yet, you know since I mailed them a week ago, and I know the need to be forwarded and all that, but it's been a week, and I just really want to make sure they're not lost.
Nope, has not received them. Oh really? But do I have a tracking number I could check? Sure. (Just keep breathing)

Plug the tracking number in on the Post Office's website. Find out our envelope has bounced from the state I mailed it to, to the state it needs to be in, back to the state I originally mailed it to...deep breaths.

Email our case worker with the latest I've found out. She asks if I can call and see if I can get it sent to the right address...
Let me just say, I absolutely love our case worker! When she asked if I could call around, my first thought was, "this is going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack." Call who? The post office(s) I'm calling are across the country. I'm pretty sure this is not going to work.
I start googling, get the phone number for one post office in the city our documents, according to the tracking information, are in. After going through the pre-recorded menu, and making selections that were dead ends, I talked to a live person, who told me they couldn't help me (my heart sank) but, here's the number for Consumer Affairs.
Asked a couple people to pray for me, as I was praying before making my next call.
Called Consumer Affairs, the man who answered the phone was wonderful, he went out of his way to check on things, and was able to tell me that if our envelope of documents was not delivered that day, they would be the next day. Also, if for some reason our envelope wasn't delivered he gave me another number to call or said to just call him back. Made. my. day.

March 28th- Got an email from our case worker. She received everything, and would be sending documents out that day to Washington DC that needed to be authenticated.

Once she gets those documents back, she can mail everything to China!

We are getting so much closer. We've still got a 2-3 month window before we'll know who our little girl is, but we are getting closer.

If you have been praying for us, thank you, so much!! We cannot begin to tell you how much we appreciate your prayers! Please keep praying!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mind and Heart

There's a small bit of clarity, understanding, sense made of what I've been feeling for the last almost month and a half.

One of the biggest fears/concerns I had about adoption (there are still others) that was silenced has now become this place of pain, aching, confusion, depression almost...


Love for a little girl with almond eyes who lives on the other side of the globe.

I love her deeply. I ache for her. It physically hurts sometimes to not be able to hold her, kiss her, snuggle her, right here, right now.

My mind is confused. It doesn't quite know what to do with this love.

When I gave birth to my kids, there was, for me, an instant bond, on my end. I had loved them for the months they lived and grew inside of me. And when I held them, each of them, for the first time, that love, however possible, became stronger. My eyes beheld them in their pink, squishy, newborn beauty. My heart burst with love for them. I would protect them at all costs. That fierce, gentle, all-consuming, mother's love. My other children have been with me since day 1. For 9 months I held them and protected them under my heart. When they were born, I held them in my arms. I've never had to love them from afar.

This little girl who's face we don't know. I love. I love her so much it hurts.

I can't see her. I don't know her.

I can't dry her tears. I don't know if she's afraid.

I can't hug and kiss her. I don't know if anyone does.

I sometimes see her when I dream...but she's elusive, I never quite see her face.

My mind is looking for her face. This love that's pent-up inside, waiting to be given to her. It's looking for her.

I see faces of beautiful almond eyed children online. My heart sometimes whispers, "could it be you?". My mind tries to remember the face I've seen in my dreams. Nothing. We still have months to wait.

There are many days it's easier to be indifferent, to try and not think about her. But my heart never allows that thinking for long, she is, after all my daughter, I can't deny her.

I just wish I had a picture.

So on the days that my mind is spinning, wondering what in the world to do with the love for this little girl who's not physically here. I can look at that picture and calm myself down.

Perhaps, that's not how it works? I've heard and read of many adoptive parents who say it's even harder to wait once you have the picture.

I just have days, many recently, that I wonder what to do with the emotions that come along with not having a picture. This is all new territory for me. And recently it's been so much harder then I care to admit.

I wish I could say I had a great way to wrap up this post (which I'm not sure made any sense) and put a pretty bow on it, but honestly I've got nothing.

The truth is I've had a lot more days of knowing what to say and what the right answers are, but even knowing the answers on many days has not made things any easier.

Trusting God the way we've had to over these past months has been one of the hardest things I've ever done, and the scary thing is we've probably only barely scratched the surface of where God is leading us to trust Him.

God has brought us to a place where all we can do is trust. There is absolutely nothing we can do in our power right now to speed anything along. I know it's a good place. To be completely reliant on Him. But it's not easy...not easy at all.

So we will continue to wait, continue to pray, continue to trust...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Update of 2013

My original intent was to write my final update of the year on New Year's Eve. However, tomorrow is going to be a busy day and I'm pretty sure if I wait, it would be New Year's Day or later before I get this up. So 1 hr. before New Year's Eve will have to do. :)

December 5th- Get a call from my Dr. office saying my re-done ear tube letter will be complete and notarized by December 12.

December 11th- Emailed our social worker to see if there's been any progress on our home study, just curious if she has any news.

December 12th- Hear back from our social worker saying she's received our home study, but cannot mail it out until Monday. I was a little confused because I wasn't sure if she had just gotten it from her supervisor and still needed to send it to the state for approval.
Also, completely forgot about my ear tube letter, and as I'm writing this, I still haven't picked it up...it's been that kind of month. Plus, our Dr. office is really not on the way to anything, so it'll be a special trip.

December 13th- I emailed our social worker for clarification, but she's not in the office on Friday's so I know I won't hear anything until the following week.

December 16th- We emailed a scanned copy of our I-800 form to our case worker so she can double check it for us (we want to get it right the first time). She emails back and says everything looks good.

December 17th- We get the email we've been waiting for...oh, for months! Our social worker emailed to let us know original, notarized copies of our home study were in the mail on their way to us (Hooray!)! Also found out that she was sending a copy to the state to have it certified for our agency, that saves us one trip to the capitol, her having it certified for us. :)

December 19th- After being gone all day I come home to a note from our mail carrier telling me there's a certified envelope waiting for me at the post office...Gah!

December 20th- Run to the post office to pick up the certified envelope with our home study in it on my way to school to help with our oldest's Christmas party.

December 21st- E runs out to get 2 cashier's checks. One to cover the processing fee for our I-800 form and another to cover the cost of us all being fingerprinted, yet again, at a later date. This next time it'll be for the FBI.

December 22nd- Put the finishing touches on our I-800 form, basically we all sign where we need to sign (E, myself, and my in-laws). I make sure we have the correct number of copies of the other documents we need to mail with our I-800 form.

December 23rd- First day of Christmas vacation for the kids. I and 4 of the kids trek over to the post office. Of course it being only days before Christmas there's a few people there, and my kids, upon entering the building, suddenly can't keep their hands off of each other or select post office merchandise. Even though they got strict instructions before entering the post office that they were supposed to stand right by me, and touch NOTHING! So, what could've been a 3 minute deal turned into a bit longer. Thankfully I double checked all the documents that needed to accompany our home study and I-800 form to USCIS to apply for immigration approval for our daughter. Somehow everything made it into an envelope, I addressed it, paid, and we made it out the door in one piece, and my children didn't bump into any of the elderly people at the post office. Yeah... I've been praying that God gets all those documents and cashier's checks into the right hands, because, well, I was a little distracted.
All that aside, we were so happy to get everything off for immigration approval before Christmas!

Now we wait, some more. Immigration Approval can take 2-3 months to get, and that's the final document we need to complete our dossier. So we're praying if it's God's will it won't take the full 90 days, but we'll get approval sooner.

December 28th- Email family pictures to our case worker for approval before I print them out. These pictures will be included in our dossier. She said they were great! :)

December 2013 was insane, really. There's no other way to describe it. The weird thing is, almost none of the insanity was adoption related. December is busy, no matter what's going on, there's just extra stuff. Programs and parties, cookie exchanges, shopping, decorating, attempting to get Christmas cards out (we succeeded this year!), and that's just Christmas related. Nevermind just the day to day craziness. And our oldest son is on the school basketball team, so now we are trying to find a new normal that includes basketball games twice-ish a week. We didn't do so good this month, we're adjusting, and, well, there were a few other things going on. Hopefully, January's new basketball normal will be a little more, um, normal. :)

Looking back, and still having vivid memories of this month, I know God carried me through most of it. This month was exhausting, and I had a few days where honestly, I was relying on the Lord moment by moment just to make it through the day. I'm so thankful for how He met me. Things didn't magically get better, but He gave me the strength to keep going.

As 2013 is coming to a close, I'm very thankful! Thankful for where God has brought us, what He's done in us, what He's done for us. I'm thankful that through the trials and storms of this past year He has been a refuge. He's not ever left us. He has been and still is faithful.

If you think of us, please pray for us. Please pray for our daughter. Please pray that if it's God's will our immigration approval will happen sooner then later and that all the details will be taken care of. Please pray that we continue to trust God's timing.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

6 Month Update

It's hard to believe that tomorrow will bring us into the last month of 2013! This year has gone by so fast! This past month was pretty quiet adoption-wise, so this update will be short-ish. :)

The past 2 years now for the month of November, I've tried to do "30-days of thanks" on Facebook. I know that some people think it's cheesy, but for me, I love how it makes me more conscious of all the many, many things I have to be thankful for. And with the adoption news being next to nothing for close to a month, sharing something(s) that I'm thankful for daily was great for helping keep a right perspective. It's easy, at least in my case, sometimes to get tunnel vision with adoption, and keeping an attitude of thankfulness, helped to widen my vision. :)

November 1st- 6 months ago we contracted with our agency.

November 13th- Go to the clinic to pick-up my ear tube letter. Everything looked great, except it was not on clinic letterhead. It needs to be re-done on clinic letterhead, so I'm waiting for a copy of my letter on clinic letterhead.

November 19th- Decide to email our social worker to find out if there's any news. Hear back that she's just waiting on background checks to come in, the new ones we just did in October and my step-mom-in-laws.
E and I call her to find out if she thinks it'd be a good idea to call our local sheriff's department to see if we can speed things up, she says, yes.
I call our sheriff's department and get transferred to the lady who is doing the background checks. I asked her if she could give me any kind of timeline as to how soon she might be able to get to them. She looks through her pile and ours were the 2nd stack of papers on her pile. She told me that she'd have them finished in the next 15 min. and would email the results to our social worker as soon as she finished (Yay!!).
I also get an email from the woman who takes care of a lot of the background check stuff at the agency our social worker, works at, saying she had just received the final bit of information on my step-mom-in-law (out-of-state background check), and everything is clear and good to go. She'll get the information to our social worker the next day.

November 21st- We get an email from our social worker saying she had just sent an updated copy of our home study to our adoption agency to look over.
I emailed the lady who reads over all the home studies for China at our agency asking her if she could give me an idea of how long it might take before we'd hear anything. She emailed me back within 10 minutes letting me know that she was actually reading through our home study when my email came through, and she'd be finished in the next 30 min. and would let me know. Within the hour she let me know our agency had officially approved our home study and that she'd given our social worker the go-ahead to finalize our home study (Hooray!).
An hour or so later we got an email from our social worker saying she'd gotten approval from our agency. She sent our home study to her supervisor for approval and once her supervisor approves it, she'll send the home study to the state for approval. Once the state approves things we'll get the hard copy of our home study.

The 21st was very exciting for us! Our home study is so close to being finished now. After almost a month of hearing nothing, we finally received news, exciting news! The most time consuming portion of our dossier is so close to being complete. I'm not sure when we'll be holding the hard copies in our hands, but we're hoping it's really, really soon! Up next (after we get our hard copies) we apply for Immigration Approval, which unfortunately can take 2-3 months to get. So the sooner we get our hard copies the better. :)

Heading into December as much as I wish we were further along in the process, I am thankful for how God is teaching us through all of this. I'm thankful that even on the hardest days, He's teaching me to be thankful even when there's pain. If you think of us please pray for us, we still have a long way to go, and while we would like for things to be moving along quicker, we also don't want to get a head of God's timing. Pray for patience for us, and that we continue to trust Him no matter what things may look like from day to day.

If you have been praying, thank you! Thank you so much!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quiet-ish Moments

I'm not exactly sure what direction this post is going to take. Over the past week or 2 I've had 2-4 different ideas for blog topics swimming around my head. I'd think of a topic and somehow as I began writing the post in my head it would take a turn and I'd decide that I should maybe make the one topic into 2 topics, otherwise the post would get too long or maybe too confusing. However, I'm pretty sure this post won't have much to do with my latest ideas. :)

When I type out my monthly updates or any other blog post I try and wait until I have some down time, alone time, quiet time...basically a time when I'll be least likely to be interrupted. With 5 kiddos, that doesn't happen very often. I should rephrase that, ideal time for me to blog would be early in the morning or at night when the kids are in bed, but those are typically not my best intelligible sentence making times of the day. :) And I'm writing this when I probably should be trying to sleep, but it so rarely happens that I'm the last or only one up at night these days, so you've been warned. If there are parts of this that make no sense, you know why.

This post I think is mainly for me. A way to write out how I'm feeling, so I can look back and remember a year from now where I was at, what I was thinking.

The past couple weeks have been not the easiest parenting-wise. Dealing with attitude issues, addressing school related issues (i.e. homework not always complete, not reading as much as one should be), bathroom issues, and other normal child-related issues. Add into the mix all of us getting some form of sickness (colds, sinus infections, ear infections, strep throat) all within a 2 week period and there's plenty of days I'm left feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.

My 2 youngest kids are a small 2-man wrecking crew. They can wreak havoc in any room in a matter of minutes. If they're out of eyeshot for too long, it usually doesn't end well. And lately we've been dealing with some newer ways they've come up with to make life interesting. For example, the 3 year-old is newly potty trained (Yay!). Monday, we were getting ready to leave to pick the older kids up from school and he decides that it'd be fun to take a cape that he has on a pair of pajamas and use that instead of going to the bathroom. So minutes before we need to leave, I've got a wet mess to clean-up. Then once we were at school I was meeting with one of my older boys teachers to finish up our conference from parent/teacher conferences and the 3 year-old had an accident in the classroom on the carpet. Accidents happen, I just felt bad it happened on the carpet, but was very thankful I had an extra set of clothes along.
Later that night when I was getting ready for bed, I had be out food shopping so my husband got the kids to bed. We usually snuggle our little ones in our bed before they fall asleep. Well, apparently at one point the 3 year-old, although we don't know for sure if it was him or his sister or maybe both together, were left alone in our room for a time. I was going to climb into bed and noticed white streaks all over the sheets. Thankfully my small children are not good at covering their tracks so I figured out right away after seeing my deodorant laying on the bed that he/she/they decided to deodorize our sheets...yeah. After the earlier events of the day this was par for the course, and I was too tired to care, so I flipped my pillow over to the untouched side and went to bed figuring there were worse things I could wake-up smelling like. :)

Why am writing all this out? Well, I'm slowing coming to a realization.

Often times when I'm having days like this, and we end out in public somewhere, well really many times when I'm out somewhere with my kids, I get the comment a lot, "wow, you've got your hands full." And I know that most of the time it's because people may not know what to say to me because I have 5 kids and not a lot of families have that many kids these days. For the most part the comment usually doesn't bother me. I get it, I have a lot of kids, and when someone said it to me yesterday, I literally had my hands full (my purse, a bag with books in it, a coat or 2, and a child) but lately it's been harder to hear that.

I take things very personally when it comes to my family. By that I mean, when I see failures in an area, I'm really good at blaming myself. I mean logically if my child fails his social studies test it's my fault. When my son forgets his lunch and adamantly tells the office ladies he cannot get hot lunch and when the school calls (about the missing lunch) and finds out our phone number changed and I forgot to let them know so they had to call my cell phone, in my mind the school thinks I'm a delinquent parent. Or when my child pees on his pajama cape, clearly I'm doing something wrong. I know these seem extreme and as I'm writing them now, I'm finding more humor in them then I originally did. But that's how I roll, instead of remembering in the first place that there are failures in life, because I remember most things for 5 sometimes 6 people other then myself, I'm bound to forget things now and then, and well, life is messy, and when your potty training your kiddo life can get even messier for a while, I blame myself.

On these days that are harder then normal, more emotionally draining then normal, especially when there's many consecutive days like that, it's so easy for me to question our choosing to adopt. So easy. And I've had a lot of days like that recently. Wondering how it's all going to work. Realizing we truly are crazy. :)

And it's days like that I'm so thankful that God made it clear that our adopting is part of His plan for our family. He has sent us on an adventure that's going to take us literally to the other side of the world.

I know that I'll have many more days to come where I wonder why God has led us to adopt, why He would think to entrust us with another child? It leaves me speechless sometimes...

The past couple weeks have been harder, and sickness has played a part, but for the past 5 days in the midst of all the extra craziness and questioning how we're going to do this all with 6 little people, my heart has been aching. My heart has been hurting, my heart is missing her, my arms are aching to hold her, my eyes are wishing we had a picture, my mother's heart is aching for my daughter.

I'm thankful for that ache. It brings me to tears.

But it reminds me to pray. It reminds me to trust. It reminds me to savor the moments we have as a family of 7. It reminds me of all God has done in my heart so far.

I'm realizing that our hands will be much more full, our life is going to be even more crazy, and the day-to-day is going to get harder for a while, but she is worth it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Month In Review

The end of the month is here once again. When I started making notes and kind of reviewing all that we've done this month for our adoption...it was busy, very busy...I knew it was busy, but thinking it all through and writing it down made me tired. :)
Earlier this week I was thinking about how my update for this month is nothing like what I thought this update would look like.
When I wrote September's update we had just seen the rough draft of our home study, I was on cloud 9, thinking that things would really start moving, well, moving as much as any part in adoption moves...slower then you want usually. But in my head the biggest, hardest part of the dossier was going to soon be complete and November's update would be about how we had sent in all of our documents for Immigration Approval, we had all the rest of our dossier papers just sitting and waiting for Immigration Approval to come back, and, well, that didn't happen...at all.
Sitting and typing now, with this month's storm behind me I'm seeing how God is truly causing us to trust Him in ways we've not trusted Him before. And that our trusting Him is also refining us, and the refining we're going through is hard and painful at times, but He's teaching us, growing us, and drawing us closer to Him.
At one point this month, when I was at my lowest (I had a couple very hard, discouraging days), my husband said to me, "It's possible these delays are not just about our daughter, they could be so that God can refine us as parents to the children we already have."

That really hit home.

I remember having another conversation earlier in the month telling my husband how sick I was of paperwork, how ready to be done I was, because adoption related things easily take up so much of my time, that I felt like my kids were just getting "leftovers" from me. And I don't want that.
I know that I have so far to go as a mom, there are days that I feel like a complete failure, and still wonder why God called us to adopt. Feeling inadequate some days to parent the children we have, and then knowing we'll be adding someone new, who at first will likely be harder to parent for a while for a number of reasons...

I come back to the fact that, I have to trust Him, and I have to believe Him.
He is more then able to give us the wisdom and strength to raise our children, and another one...He is able! It's when I'm relying on myself completely that I so easily see my shortcomings, but God is greater then my shortcomings. Hallelujah!

And that was a long rabbit trail, that I'm not sure made sense. :) So let's move on to the update.

October 1st- Pick up fixed psych evaluation letters (there was an issue with the dates).

October 4th- I dropped paperwork off at our local sheriff's department to have local background checks run on us.
E had a couple job related letters for our dossier notarized.
I was working on our financial form for our adoption agency. There was an area that we had to fill out that hadn't been listed on the form for our social worker. This area would change some numbers around and everything. needs. to. match.
It was a Friday night, and I was afraid that this would mess some things up because our social worker would have to change numbers around, and I wasn't really able to get a hold of anyone because it was Friday night. Long story short, I had a meltdown...
I know there were a few factors that played a part, but I was in our bedroom sobbing, wondering if we had missed God's timing? How was this all going to work out? Not good. I was a mess.
God is so good though! He met me in that low-tear-filled place.
I was also texting with E during all of this and when I mentioned I was afraid we had missed God's timing, he was encouraging me and texted back, "sometimes God's will isn't convenient." So true.

October 5th-I was doing much better. The fog had cleared, and I realized that what seemed like a huge mountain the night before really wasn't anything to be worried about. Part of my meltdown was stress related. We were pushing and running around trying to get a lot of papers finished and notarized by October 8. E was going to the state capitol for work and we wanted to drop off as much as we could to have things state certified. We had a few documents that needed to be authenticated in Washington D.C. before December or they would expire and would need to have them re-done or re-printed.

October 7th- I go back to the sheriff's department to pick-up our notarized background check letters. I run to UPS to get a pre-paid label so when our documents are state certified they can mail them back to us. E and I met with a friend who is a notary to get the last few documents we wanted to have ready to be state certified notarized.

October 8th- E takes documents (a good chunk of our dossier) to be state certified. Get an email from someone at our social worker's agency saying that there was some paperwork she sent my step-mom-in-law to be filled out. She was wondering where that was at because that paperwork had to be processed in order to finish her FBI background check. And the home study cannot be finalized without it. We get working on that.

October 11th- Our documents arrive from the capitol state certified!!!
Later in the afternoon I stop at E's office to make copies of everything we just had certified so we can mail it to our case worker and she can then send if off to D.C. to be authenticated. While I was making copies I noticed that 2 of the documents we not notarized correctly (there was some info. missing). I really believe it was the Lord that helped me to notice that because we had already looked over the documents and technically they shouldn't have been certified because they weren't notarized properly. Had we not caught the mistake, they would've been sent back from D.C. to be re-done correctly, and that would've cost time and money. I was thanking God for noticing that.

October 12th- E runs the 2 documents to our notary friend so she can fill in the missing information. He made it to her house an hour or 2 before she and her family we're leaving for vacation for 2 weeks, out of the country.

October 15th- Mail all of the dossier paperwork we have done (there's still more) and state certified to our case worker!! Also mail the paperwork my step-mom-in-law needed to fill out so her background check could be finished.

October 16th- Our social worker sends us an email with follow-up questions our adoption agency sent her. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, however, there were a couple of things that kind of made us go, "Really?!" Just an example, my husband's parents adopted and fostered kids when he was growing up. We now needed to have my father-in-law fill out release forms for all of the agencies he worked with. Thankfully there were only 2 agencies, so that made things easy, but getting info. from release forms takes time...another delay.

October 17th- Find out from our social worker that the fingerprinting and release forms we filled out for background checks in May, were set to expire mid-November and we had to re-do those ASAP. More delays...

October 22nd- Bi-weekly phone call with our case worker. Find out I need to get another document from my Dr. Before she explained what it was, she told me, "You're going to think this is crazy."
Because my doctor wrote on my medical form under the "Surgeries/medications" portion of my medical form that I had ear tubes as a child, I now need to get a letter from my Dr., notarized, on clinic letterhead stating that the ear tube surgeries I had as a child will not hinder my parenting abilities when we adopt our daughter.
Let that one sink in...
We did laugh. :) So I'm now waiting on my ear tube letter. :)

October 23rd- E goes to the sheriff's department to be fingerprinted again. And also, he drops off a sample of our well water to be tested, to make sure it's safe to drink. That was one of the things in the follow-up email.

October 25th- I go to the sheriff's department with my father-in-law, step-mom-in-law, and all 5 kids (No school that day) to be fingerprinted again. We may be on a first name basis with the people at the sheriff's department by the time this adoption is complete. :)
I mail the fingerprint cards, new release forms and a few other documents to our social worker on the way home.

October 26th- Our water results come in the mail, and our water is safe to drink. I scan the letter and email it to our social worker right away. The ball is back in her court as far as stuff for the home study, we've gotten her all the new information she needed including answering all the follow-up questions from our adoption agency.

This was a long, busy month. I'm sorry this post got so long, but this is how I'm documenting our adventure for our family, and if I don't put details in now, I'll forget.

I don't know what will happen in November with our adoption process, only God knows that, and as much as I want to be further along in this process, as much as I'm wishing we already knew who our daughter is, we are trusting His timing. Some days it's easier then others, but there is a peace that comes with trusting Him.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Appointments, Paperwork, and Delays

Time for another update. :) Since starting these in May, each month has gone by so quickly. Adoption related things add a lot of extra to any given day, but also the day-to-day keeps us plenty busy. September, however, didn't seem to go as fast. Each month has brought different hardships and joys, but September was a hard month emotionally. More delays we didn't foresee (can we ever foresee them?) and missing our little girl terribly. As always though, we come back to the same place, we have to trust Him.

We have to trust His timing (which can involve delays), we have to trust Him to love, keep, protect, watch over, and sustain our daughter, we have to trust that He knows far better then we do, that He can already see the end of this journey. And with each delay, frustration, tear, heart ache, victory, and joy He's weaving a beautiful tapestry out of this story of ours. Our trusting Him, our putting one foot in front of the other on days it'd be so much easier to stop or just plain give up, is part of how He is teaching us and creating a testimony to bring Him glory. Honestly, I believe that we won't even know the half of all the tiny details He is orchestrating and moving and sewing together until this particular journey is complete...but it's very possible we will never know all the how's and why's on this side of eternity...

Let's get this update started. :)

September 3rd- E and J2 go in for updated physicals for the home study. J2's form gets filled out and sent home. I send a new medical form in to be redone (China allows no mistakes on their forms).

September 5th- J3 goes in for his updated physical. My father-in-law has an appointment for an updated physical. Everything is time sensitive...everything. J3's medical form is filled out and comes home with us.
Oh, side note, the sickness I mentioned most of us having in August's update, yeah, find out it was most likely some form of pneumonia...good times. :)

September 6th- Our oldest celebrates his birthday in a low-key way. Thankfully he was back at school, but we were all still recovering. Special dinner and a movie at home it was. Truth be told, I was thankful for doing it low-key this year.

September 10th- E picks up his medical form (his and mine need to be notarized because our medical forms are part of the dossier).

September 11th- My father-in-law's completed medical form comes in the mail.

September 13th- Get a call from my doctor, the dates were signed wrong when she was having my medical form notarized. Can I send her a new form? I email her a link so she can print out a new medical form.

September 14th- My notarized medical form arrives in the mail.
Another side note. :) I am so thankful for our doctors!! They have been awesome! Filling out forms, re-filling out forms. No complaints, they've been great about everything, apologizing if things have to be re-done or if mistakes were made. I just can't express how wonderful they've been, it's been amazing!!

September 18th- Email from our social worker saying she's got a problem with our financial forms, some numbers weren't working out. Another delay... Also have a conference call with our case worker to discuss the financial forms (what does she need from us vs. what our social worker needs). All the financial forms/info. have to match between the home study, our dossier, and even letters. We need to get this right the first time.

September 19th- Conference call with our social worker to fill her in on what our case worker needs and how does that affect what she needs. Also during this call we find out our background checks will expire next May (Background checks expire? Who knew? We do now.) and she recommends just re-doing them now (that means making appointments for 4 people to be fingerprinted, it's not hard, it's just another thing we have to re-do, another delay, sigh). The rest of that day I was pretty discouraged. That was a day that I had to remind myself probably close to 100 times that, God is in control, I need to trust Him, He's not surprised by this...

September 24th- One of my bi-weekly calls with our case worker. I bring her up to date on everything and mention the new background checks. She stops me and tells me that if we can wait, if the background checks do not need to be done right now, that she recommends we wait. Wait until all our paperwork is done and we're waiting for a picture of a little girl to be sent to us. Wait until there are less pressing things to be done. Wait. As simple as that conversation was, it was exactly what I needed to hear, it encouraged me, and I so needed it!

September 26th- We email copies of our revamped financial form to our social worker. I also mention that if waiting on new background checks is ok with her, we are choosing to wait.

September 30th- Receive an email from our social worker with an attachment of a rough draft of our home study!!! Can we read through it make any corrections and send it back ASAP. We've been waiting for this for months! So exciting!! Finishing our home study, finishes a big chunk of our paperwork for our dossier.

As I'm writing this tonight, there's lots more paperwork to fill out, and get ready, but I feel "lighter" then I have in a while, I feel like there really is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, and even though the light is dim, it's there and I can see it! God is good!