Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dossier To China!

Our agency called this morning to tell us that our dossier arrived there and needs no corrections. Praise the Lord! I'm so thankful to have that stack of paperwork (seven months' worth) out of my house and on its way. Holt sends dossiers to China in batches every Friday, so we will be officially DTC (dossier to China) this Friday, September 24th. It will take a couple of weeks to get our official log-in date from China. Once we have that, we will be eligible to receive a referral. New special needs lists are released on or around the 20th of each month, and the lady I spoke with today told me she expects that we will receive a referral from the October list. They are matching families very quickly, and we are open to a variety of minor medical needs. So a month from now, we could know who our daughter is! We are EXCITED!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Approval letter arrives!

Wow! Only 6 days after being fingerprinted, our CIS approval arrived in the mail yesterday. Finally something happened faster than we were expecting! This afternoon I made a quick trip to Springfield to have the form and our home study certified and mailed them to Chicago to the Chinese Consulate to be authenticated. Once we get them back, our dossier can be ON ITS WAY!

Meanwhile, we have just begun watching a 9-month-old girl four days a week, which is giving all of us good practice having another little one around. She is very sweet, and we are enjoying her!

Friday, August 27, 2010

CIS Fingerprints

We had our fingerprinting appointment with USCIS on Tuesday, August 24th. The appointment letter states that if you do not show up for your appointment, your application will be considered abandoned. Mark and I drove up the night before and stayed with some family that lives near Naperville. Armed with a map and GPS, we left their home at 7:30 am for our 8:00 appointment. Our drive was supposed to take 17 minutes, so we thought we were in good shape. After some unanticipated construction, we finally got to the intersection where we were headed at exactly 8:00. Only one small problem -- we could NOT find the office! We were in an area filled with various strip shopping centers and we drove and drove, looking for the right place. Finally, at 8:16 we found it and ran in. We told the lady that we had some trouble finding the office, and she said,"Yeah -- we hear that every day." It was no problem that we were late, and the fingerprinting went well. The technician told me that there should be no trouble with my fingerprints being readable, praise the Lord!

Now we are just waiting for our approval from USCIS. Once we have that our dossier will be complete and we can send it off to China!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ahhhh. . .

Finally, after a four-week wait that turned into seven weeks, we have our home study endorsement letter from DCFS. I drove to the social worker's office to pick it up along with the official copies of our home study and went directly to the post office to mail off our I-800A to immigration. Our immigration approval is the LAST piece of paper we need to complete our dossier. Hopefully within a couple of weeks we will be notified of our fingerprinting appointments. Please start praying now that my prints will go through the first time! We are getting more and more anxious to see our daughter's face for the first time. Each step gets us a little closer!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Home study approval

After my second set of prints was rejected by the FBI as "unreadable," they did a name check instead. We've spent the past four weeks waiting for that to come back. Finally, on Monday it arrived! Our social worker sent our home study off to Holt for review, and after a couple of very minor changes, it has now been approved! Thankfully, something happened quickly! Once IL issues our foster care license in hopefully a week or so, our home study can be submitted to the state for review. Then we can apply to immigration. One more step behind us, and on to the next.

Elizabeth is so excited about having a little sister. She has already been in tears several times because she wants to have her sis NOW! She also is very faithful to pray for her sister -- that she is healthy and has enough food until we can bring her home. We are thankful to have a girl with such a sweet heart!

Evan is still trying to figure out exactly what's going on. Last night we ate at a Chinese restaurant and he said, "But is this the China where we're going to adopt our sister?" Smile.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hague Training completed!

Yesterday we finished our 10 hours of adoption training, a requirement of the Hague Treaty to adopt from a Hague country. We weren't really looking forward to sitting in class for two Fridays, but it ended up being not so bad. To the best of our knowledge, all of the participants in the class, both guest speakers, and at least one of the two social workers doing the training were believers! It was really a blessing to meet the other families and to be able to encourage one another. That said, we're still very glad to be done!

My second set of fingerprints got rejected by the FBI as well (no surprise there!), so now we are waiting for them to do a name check. Once our social worker receives that clearance, she will send our home study off to Holt to be approved. Hopefully that won't take too long! We are anxious to have this part of the process behind us!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not so fast!

Well, the fingerprinting wasn't quite as easy as I thought. Mark's clearances came back fine. My state police and DCFS clearances were fine, but the FBI wasn't satisfied with the quality of my prints. They issued letters to me and to our social worker on March 8th stating that I needed to be re-printed. My letter never arrived, and the one that was sent to our social worker went to the wrong agency! Finally, we got it tracked down, and I was able to go yesterday to be fingerprinted again. The good news is that if this set of prints isn't good enough, they will just do a name check. Now we're hoping that this last clearance comes quickly so that it doesn't hold up the completion of our home study.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Making progress

The last few weeks have been busy with filling out lots of paperwork for our homestudy, doctor's visits, and appointments with our social worker. She will come to do our home visit on Thursday, and then we will be pretty much finished with our home study. This is the largest, most time-consuming part of the dossier (packet of documents) that goes to China, so we're feeling encouraged. Next up is the Hague training we have to do. We'll complete that April 9, and then hopefully our home study can be sent off to DCFS and Holt for approval. Then we can finally apply with immigration. The order in which things must be done has changed a bit since our last adoption, and it looks like the changes will add a couple of months to our paperwork phase. We're hopeful that it will all go as smoothly and quickly as possible!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Could it be true?

Today we had our first homestudy meeting, which went very well. Of course, we now have a huge mound of paperwork to begin, but we knew that was coming! The amazing thing is how fingerprinting has changed since our last adoption. In 2006, we had to get separate clearances for DCFS, Illinois State police, the FBI, and immigration. Because my prints came back as "unreadable" a few times, I think I was printed a total of seven or eight times.

Today our social worker told us that DCFS, state, and FBI clearances can all come from the same set of prints now, AND they do them in the lobby of the building we are in, AND they are doing them today, AND it's free! So we marched down to the lobby where they did a live scan on each of us, and except for the immigration prints, we might actually be DONE with fingerprints! Woooo hoooo!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why adopt again?

That's a good question. We are very content with our lives right now. Why would we embark on a journey that is certain to be stressful, expensive, and difficult? Why would we consider adding a child with a special need to our family? These are questions we have talked about extensively as we begin this adoption. The short answer is, why not? There are millions of orphans in the world in need of families. Scripture commands us to care for orphans. We have room, we have food, we have plenty of love, and most importantly, we know Jesus. We desire that the Lord would use us to help our new daughter understand her worth and value in His sight, and that He would draw her into a saving relationship with Himself. In the end, it's really not about us at all. The better question to ask is not why adopt, but rather, how could we NOT?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Here we go again!

Welcome to our blog! We are happy to announce that we are beginning another adoption journey! On Monday, February 1st, we applied with Holt International to adopt a little girl from China through their Child of Promise option. She will have a minor/correctable special need, and we anticiapte that the process will take between 14 and 18 months. We are excited to see how the Lord will work to bring another daughter into our home, and we will use this blog to keep you updated through the process. We covet your prayers as we begin all of the paperwork again!