Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go. Joshua 1:9

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Few Key Things I Wasn't Told Before Starting The Adoption Process....

Ya'll, International Adoption is no joke! This is a crazy, long, hard process which frequently has you wanting bang your head on walls because of all the red-tape, numerous documents needing notarized or apostilled, or the never-ending Hurry Up and Wait. 

But here are some key things that I'm jotting down for you and myself if we do this again in the future!

1. As soon as you begin the process, send in the appropriate requests for Vital Records, especially birth certificates from states you no longer reside in, and NUMERO UNO, the State Department. 

Just so happens I was born abroad, which means I have to request a new copy directly from the State Department...a process that takes 4-6 weeks. What I DIDN'T know until after I'd sent in the request was that you can (and in most cases absolutely HAVE to) request that an Apostille be attached at the same time and of course make sure they know what country you're adopting from (since this only applies to those within the Hague Convention). 

When I finally received my certificate right at that 6 week mark, I immediately overnighted it to a courier, who then notified me that it wasn't going to work and then sent it back. Couriers cannot walk in apostille requests on birth certificates for those born abroad. I now need to mail it to Vital records where it will take at minimum 7-10 business days for them to process it and attach the apostille. Dragging this all out to nearly 2 months just on one document. 

2. Schedule the Dr visits!
I saved this till towards the end of my homestudy for some now unknown to me reason. Of course, when I did go to schedule them, I discovered our Dr.'s offices were booked at least a month out for well-visits! Doh! Maybe not a big deal if you're taking your time on things, but we're trying to bring a waiting child home as quickly as possible and this was a frustrating thing to find...and just hadn't considered it would take so long to get in for a simple check-up. 

3. Make sure if there are any special or medical needs to be noted for your Dossier, that it is spelled out clearly on the form, and the Dr only has to sign and notarize. You would not believe the amount of back and forth we had to do to make sure this was all done, t's crossed and i's dotted. Save yourself the hassle and have your homestudy social worker write it all up. 

4. When it comes time to get your dossier documents apostilled, some states have branches where you can just walk it in! You can also get a courier service to do this and save a lot of time waiting on processing and mail! We live 3 hours from the nearest branch, but it was still worth it to us to make a day trip of it and have it done, rather than mess with the mailing and courier service. Call your Secretary of State office for all the details!

5. Just breathe. 
Seriously, do what you can, call and triple check what you need to do, but in the end. The timing is not in our hands, and it does no one any good to stress out about any part of the process. 

Anything you think I should add? Or that might be helpful for others just starting this journey?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

We're adopting!

Wow, how much life has happened in the last 3 years since I last posted.

In that time we bought a house, then it flooded and we had to live with family for 3 months. Then back into the house, started foster parenting classes,then struggled with business, realized fostering wasn't the path we're supposed to take then, started a new business, watched it flourish and thrive and now here we are.

So, after many years of prayers, and waiting for the peace that the time is now, we're adopting!

A little backstory....
We contacted Childrens House International in May of 2016 and they added us to their Facebook Group of currently waiting children they're advocating for.
In that group I found a video of the most precious little boy with brown hair and a contagious laugh and I fell in love. The name on his file was Wesley and he was in Poland.

I heard his laugh and immediately my heart said, "he's mine".

So we interviewed with the agency and received his file to review. And oh boy was there a lot to review!
Little Man had a very rough start with many issues at birth including 3 heart defects that required 2 surgeries.
After consulting with the International Adoption Medicine clinic at Childrens Medical in Dallas, a lot of prayer,  we felt confident in moving forward with his adoption and signed papers to begin in July! This included signing on with our agency and sending a letter to Poland letting them know we're working on everything with the purpose of bringing Wesley home.

We immediately started the Homestudy process and were able to begin checking documents off our list in pretty good order.
We had 3 visits from our social worker during that time and fell in love with her! Miss Heather felt like she immediately became our friend and has been so wonderful during this whole process.

Early September we were wrapping up the Homestudy when we got an email from our agency that started with "So we've never had this happen before...."
Evidently, somehow, the media had learned about our little man and had run a story on him. How long he's waited for a family, and even though his foster family loves him very much, they just want to see him settled in a family.
Talk about pulling my heart strings! I wanted to scream... "That's OUR little man! He HAS a home and we're coming for him!"

Our agency contacted Poland and let them know again that we're working towards bringing him home and we'd get our dossier done just as quickly as possible. So for the last 3 weeks it's been a flurry of paper work getting all the documents for Poland in order. Even making a quick day trip to Austin this to get everything apostilled and not have to waste mail time on it.

We are just waiting on my birth certificate to arrive from the Department of State and the USCIS approval then everything is done!

It's already felt like such a long wait and so much work has already gone into preparing for him...but I know it's also only just begun! We don't know exactly when we'll be traveling to pick him up, but possibly in early spring...maybe even right around his 3rd birthday!
Can't wait to add his face to this family!