Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Home Study is Wrapping Up!

Tonight is our last meeting with our social worker.  Aaron and I are meeting her in B'Ham.  We will go over the rough draft of our home study, make sure everything looks ok, and then she will go and finish the final draft.
It will probably be at  next week before we get everything to her.  We still have a few things we are waiting for, such as my lab results and medical form, Aaron's employee letter, ..
We have to finish the online adoption training, which we should finish today and then we have to wait for them to send us out completion certificates, which takes a couple of days.
I am getting my labs drawn tomorrow at my doctor's and they probably won't be back until early next week, so I will pick up our finished medical forms then.  Good thing is, we went ahead and got the medical forms done for China while we were there.
Yesterday, all 7 of us went to the doctor's office and had TB Skin Tests, so I will be taking all of the kids in the morning when I get my blood drawn to have the TB Skin Tests read.
I will be excited to have the home study done because...
#1  We can start applying for grants, which we are in desperate need of.  Our adoption is predicted to cost around $30,000 and we are up to around $3800 in donations.  THANKS!!!
#2  We can apply for USCIS.  This takes about 6 - 10 weeks to come back. This is basically the US Immigration giving us permission to bring a child into the US.  So, while this is being processed, I will work like crazy to get all of our dossier paperwork done.  It all has to be notarized, then has to be county certified, then state certified.  Once our USCIS comes back and our dossier is compiled, this will be sent to China to be translated.  Once this is sent to China, our agency says that families normally travel to pick up their child between 3-6 months from sending paperwork to China.
So we are getting closer!!!
If you are in our area, we are having a fundraiser at Beltline Church of Christ May 16th 7-10am.  Pancake breakfast... tickets are $6 person. Come out and support our adoption.

Friday, April 17, 2015

3/4 Home Study Done

Tuesday we had our 3rd home study meeting.  Our last one is April 28th.  We will be meeting in Birmingham, going over the rough draft of the home study, turning in the rest of our paperwork and then our social worker will make the polished draft and we will hopefully have it in hand the first week in May.
Let the fun begin once we get our home study in hand.  Once we have the completed home study, we will start applying for grants.  Will we get any?  I sure hope so.  We are still thinking of other fundraising ideas and will hopefully have another fund raiser soon.
In between now and our last social worker visit, we all need to get to the doctor to have our medical paperwork filled out for both the home study and our China dossier.
Our Tuesday home study included the interview with the kids.  Some funny answers from the kids...
     Social worker "tell me what your daddy is like"  Seth "he is scary in the hallways"   So I had to explain the new game Aaron has taught the boys of hiding behind corners and jumping out and scaring the person coming down the hall.
    Social worker "what is one thing you would change about your family?"
    "our van, I hate our van" Said by an anonymous teenager.  Who knew our van wasn't cool?
    "not getting in trouble"  said by Ethan
     Social worker "what are you going to do with your new sister?"
     Ethan "read with her"
Ordered our birth certificates and marriage certificates  this week $62.  For some reason, they have to be issued within the last few months. I had copies I had ordered a few years ago, of course they weren't current enough.
I am also going to work on our adoption education this next few weeks.  Including a trip to the International Adoption Clinic in August for their next seminar that we are required to attend.  another $150.  So things are adding up. Some times it gets a little overwhelming and my chest gets a little tight, but then I know that God sent us on this journey and He is walking with us.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Home Study Update, Fingerprints, & Answered Prayer

We have gotten a few things done this week.
Our 2nd of 4 home study visits got done this week.  Our social worker came to the house and we had spent all afternoon cleaning. I realize that it doesn't have to be spotless, which our house never is, but it is a good excuse to clean up a little.  So she got here around 6:30pm and stayed until around 8pm.  This was the interview with Aaron and I together.  There wasn't enough time to interview the kids, or do the house walkthrough (all that cleaning for nothing!)   She will be back in about 1 1/2 weeks to do visit number 3, the kids' interviews, and the house inspection.  After that, we will have one more visit, which we are planning on doing in B'ham where will we go over the rough draft of the home study and make sure everything looks good. Turn in the rest of our paperwork if we haven't done it, and then she will finish it and make any changes that need to be made and mail it to us!
Once our home study is done, we will apply to USCIS, who will give us permission to bring a child into the US.  Once our permission comes back (normally 6-10 weeks) then we will send our completed dossier(stack of paperwork) to China to be translated.   Once that is send off, our agency states that we should travel 3-6 months from that time..
So here is our predicted timeline...
1. get home study back by first week in May and immediately apply for USCIS
2. get USCIS approval back anywhere between the middle of June to the end of July.
3.  have dossier ready to send as soon as USCIS approval is received.
4.  get dossier authenticated with the state as soon as done
5. send off dossier to China  the first week of August
6.  wait for the go ahead to head to China to pick up our girl, sometime between Nov. and Feb.

Of course, nothing is certain with international adoption.  Just trying to get it in my mind how things will go down.
Aaron and I also got our fingerprints done.  Up until this adoption, we would have to go to a local jail to get them done, but now that has changed.  You apply online, through a specific website that the home study agency uses.  You pay online, print out your receipt, then you take that to one of the fingerprint sites in the state.  Unfortunately, there were none in our county, so we had about a 40 min. drive.  Mom watched the kids, so Aaron and I got a little "date" in.  Of course, we just went and got our fingerprints and headed straight home, but uninterrupted talking is wonderful.  And I like it much better than going to the jail.  This fingerprint site was in a non US postal service post office.
Answered prayers:
In addition to normal adoption expenses, there will be other things come up... such as needing another bed for another child. I have been thinking for a couple of months at least that we will need another bed for our new girl, unless we wanted to throw her in the same bed with Hannah who sleeps in a double. Which we really didn't want to do, but that was months in the future.  I have really wanted bunk beds, which will save us some space.  I think I have even prayed about it a few times, but I am not 100% sure.  Anyway, had a couple at church ask us the other night if we wanted some bunk beds they were getting rid of.  So, I am excited to get those and thankful that God saw our need and provided before I started begging Him for it.