So much is happening, I cannot even keep up! It MUST be time for an adoption update to keep everyone posted on our progress! Leaps and bounds people!! WE ARE ALMOST DONE!!! For those of you who are just now tuning in...we have been compiling our dossier (huge, ginormous pile of paperwork to send to the Ethiopian government to prove our pure intentions to adopt children from their country) and working with a licensed social worker through a home study process. It is such a LONG process and grueling at that, especially for a family of seven who has questionably TOO much going on already!
UPDATE #1: We PASSED our home study!!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah!! We have been interviewed, several, several times...even the kids were interviewed, and yes, we still passed. Kids will certainly say the darndest things! And while during our family visit, I was certain we had morphed into a cross between a KISS concert and the Beverly Hillbillies right before my eyes, our social worker laughed and still gave us rave reviews. We have been approved for TWO! Siblings, older children and special needs children are harder to place. Although, none of this guarantees us anything! We are so anxious (in a very good way) to see what, or more specifically WHO, God has in store for us!
Pretty lengthy, huh?
UPDATE #2: Now with our Home study behind us, new doors of opportunity open! We are now eligible to apply for most grants available for adoptive families! So with our fundraising efforts on hold (and totally exhausted at the moment), we will focus our energies there. We have our eyes on matching grants. These grants are large sum grants from foundations/organizations that are matched dollar for dollar with donations, fundraising efforts etc on our part up to a certain amount! Please be in prayer that God would allow us what He sees fit for our needs! He has most certainly provided above and beyond so far!
We are at the tail end of our dossier compilation as well. I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. Background checks are complete. Certain major documents, like a thousand of them, have been requested, received, notarized (everything has to be notarized, and I mean EVERYTHING!!!) county certified and even state certified. Not without a fiasco here and there, mind you! We had to very politely jump through hoops for employers, insurance agents, the police station, various physicians for all seven of us, and vital records offices in three different states to get it all done! And we are not quite done yet!
Can I stop my moaning and groaning for just a minute to tell you just how good God is? After getting all the various documents in order, which was a monumental task, we realized that we had not applied for passports yet! After some research we realize that the current processing time for passports is FOUR weeks...another WHOLE MONTH!!! UGH! Why did we not apply sooner? We filled out applications and got the two quickest appointments possible. Do you know what? We applied late Friday morning and had passports in our hands EIGHT days later! God is a God of miracles, because not only did He get these passports here in record time with no expediting whatsoever, but He did it two days before our government shut down, halting all passport processing!!! He is for us! No doubt about it! And now, OH MY GOODNESS, we are prepared to leave the United States for Africa. Talk about things getting very REAL all of a sudden!!!
We are still being as frugal as ever. To save money, we took our own passport photos with the help of epassportphoto.com . We did a pretty decent job. Although they look like mugshots, due to the fact that you are not allowed to smile, wear jewelry, wear glasses etc. Just stare into the camera. Awkward!
UPDATE #3: Finally, we have applied with the United Stated Customs and Immigration Department. We are awaiting our appointment to be fingerprinted, then we expect to receive a determination letter. APPROVED or denied! Certainly hoping for approved. Then our dossier will be sent to our agency, then sent to translation, and on to Ethiopia!
This has been a game of hurry up and wait. We have been and are still at the mercy of so many other agencies. God has granted smooth operations so far. The real game of hurry up and wait is still yet to come. After the dossier is sent, we will wait and keep on waiting until we receive our referral. We will never know when it is coming. There are no updates to tell us where we stand. Just wait and trust that it all rests in God's hands...
...so that is where we are folks!