Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wooo Hooo!

Our documents were sent to our Little Dude's country on Wednesday.  Friday morning I received a text that USCIS has received our application.  Now begins the wait for things to be processed.  This will take time and perhaps a little longer due to the holidays both stateside and in EE.

Hang on little buddy, it looks like this will be your last institutional Christmas !

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Same Day Service... Are you kidding me?!?

The past 24 hours have been pretty amazing.  Thanks to the wonders of FedEx and online tracking, I had a front seat for it all.

As I said previously, our documents were sent on Friday.  They went to Madison via Memphis and were delivered to the Apostille's office bright and early Monday morning.  We chose to have them processed at the standard fee of $10 per document-- which can take up to 10 business days.  (There is the option of having them expedited for an additional  $25 per document.)  While we want to get our paperwork processed quickly and on it's way to EE, the fee difference on 42 documents just wasn't worth it.

[ Enter God ]

Not only were our documents delivered yesterday morning, they were processed and sent out  in the same day!  They arrived at our placing agency this morning.  If all goes as planned, they will be winging their way to EE tomorrow.

There's a lot more to the behind-the-scenes part of the past 24 hours.  Sometime I'll try to sit down and post about that.  Let's just suffice it to say that this whole thing is God's doing.  He's pulling everything together and stretching me in ways I never expected.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Madison and Dallas bound

As of 5pm Friday, our first set of documents is out of our hands.  Friday morning I was able to mail our form to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).  This form heads to the lockbox in Dallas and then into the hands of Immigration officials who will review our Home Study, determine if we can indeed care for a child we've adopted internationally, and (hopefully) approve our request.  They will then assign us our date for digital fingerprinting.

Our packet that needs to be apostilled is sitting in a Madison FedEx facility right now (I know this because I've checked the tracking several times this weekend) and is scheduled to be delivered before 10:30 am tomorrow.

I've had to telephone the Certification Desk at our Secretary of State several times over the past few weeks to clarify things about the apostille process.  The people who've answered the phone-- yes, believe it or not you get an actual person  answering the phone, not an automated system-- have been wonderful.  They've gone beyond my expectations in answering my questions.  Now I'm hoping that these same wonderful people are having a particularly slow week and just waiting for our documents to arrive tomorrow so they can process them right away.  Hey, I can hope can't I???

On an entirely different note, our Adoption Bug t-shirt fundraiser page is up.  Adoption Bug allows us to raise funds toward our little guy's homecoming while letting you publically make a statement about Orphan Care.  I have my last minute Christmas gifts in my Adoption Bug shopping bag right now.

Speaking of Christmas, the business of collecting documents and completing paperwork has allowed less time for planning and crafting than I'd like.  Now that our documents are sent, I'm working at a fast and furious pace to complete all of the knitting and sewing projects I have queued.  I'm blessed to have a family who appreciates handmade gifts.  I really enjoy taking the time to make things for those I love.   Okay, time to get back to work.  I have 2 sewing projects that need completed before bedtime.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I have arrived!

I knew it was coming, but I wasn't sure when.  Today's the day.  The misinformed and misguided person hiding behind the blogger name Kaylee Lee gave me my Official Welcome  to the world of International Adoption... my first nasty blog comment.

Along with all of the great things social media provides, it also affords a spine to those who most likely lack one in face-to-face communication.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel the day this happened; I've witnessed it several times on other Reece's Rainbow families' blogs.  The remarks can be cutting and often not only directed toward the International Adoption process, but also the child's diagnosis of Ds.  I can honestly say I'm not at all angry... I'm actually sort of thankful.  This one comment posted by "Kaylee Lee" in hate has made me feel more like my little boy's Mama than anything else in our process to date.

In closing, I'm reminded of something I read earlier this morning:
             "Hurt people hurt people. But forgiven people are forgiving people and loved people are loving people."

I'm sorry Kaylee Lee for all of the hurt you've had to endure in life to bring you to this point.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We've Moved!

... well, not literally.
But today our Reece's Rainbow family profile moved from "Home Study in Progress" to "Compiling Dossier".  This is one more step in our journey to EE. 

Since we now have a 'completed' date on our HS, we can get our first packet of documents notarized.  The HS and notarized documents will then head to Madison for Apostilling.  Additionally, we can start to file our paperwork with US Immigration.  Once they receive our application and review it, we will be assigned a date for our biometrics (digital fingerprinting).

Oh, and on a side note, our Just Love Coffee that I ordered last Wednesday arrived today.  That's probably a good thing because now we're into the biggest phase of this journey-- compiling the bulk of our dossier.  I may need the caffeine!

Monday, December 12, 2011

HR 213 / S 2816

It's no secret that adoption fees can be quite hefty.  Currently, our government provides a $13,170 Adoption Tax Credit.  This credit, however, is set to expire the end of this year.  YOU can help.  Contact your Congressmen... ask them to please preserve the Adoption Tax Credit.

Not only does the tax credit help families who might have not been able to afford adoption, it also helps an already overstrained Foster Care system.

Making a difference is simple and will only take a few minutes of your time.  Pick up the phone and call... fire off a quick email... tell your friends and family to do the same.  Your Senator and Representative's contact information can be found here.  When contacting your Senator, reference bill S.2816 and your Representative, H.R.213.

A few minutes of your time may literally be the difference between life and death for an orphan. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Less

As the clock on the wall ticks toward my bedtime, halfway around the world my friend Robyn prepares to meet her daughter.  In two short hours she'll gather her youngest in her arms for the very first time.  This moment has been 11 months in the making.  Little Grace has no idea how her life is about to change.  Her differences-- the unique genetic traits that caused her to be orphaned in her own country-- are the exact same qualities that have caused her family to work and pray toward this day.  Grace is leaving a culture who views her lack of pigment as a curse; she is gaining a family who understands the value of her life... a Forever Family  who will celebrate all of the things that make her uniquely Grace.

So with thoughts of Robyn and Grace on my heart, I'll lay my head on my pillow and thank God that there's One Less Orphan in the World Tonight.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I just have one thing to say... Thank You Jesus!  Kim, the woman I've been talking to in Virginia, just telephoned to say that my background check is done, she'll fax it to our HS agency today, and follow up with a hard-copy by mail.  As of yesterday, my form was MIA.  It had been 5 weeks since our HS agency had mailed it, 1 month since it was logged in to VA's system, "pending" last week when I called, and MIA yesterday.  Due to this, VA requested a copy of the form be faxed to them (which our HS agency did).  Kudos to Virginia for the less than 24 hour turn-around on this!  Despite me being a pain in Kim's butt over the past week, she's been great.  She's the Mommy of a 4yo little boy and I think she understands my "Momma Bear mode" and urgency in getting our Little Dude home.

God is Good!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Love Coffee

Well, this is not about our clearance, but it is good news.  We were able to get our Just Love Coffee storefront up and running.

Just Love Coffee was founded by a family with a passion for coffee and adoption.  A portion of each purchase made through our storefront will help fund our adoption.

JLC is Fair Trade Certified and purchases only organic, shade grown beans whenever possible.  Additionally, they have committed 5% of their proceeds to the Coffee to Water program which seeks to provide clean water in developing countries.

Thanks for your support.  I'm anxious to hear what you think of the coffee.

Slow moving in the paperwork area...

I've watched the Feedjit bar on my blog and know many of you are checking to see what's up with us, so I guess I'd better update...

The saying "no news is good news" may not hold true in this case.  We're still waiting on the final background check to arrive from a state I won't mention by name right now.  Each of my calls has been met with the standard "it's our busy time right now... give it a few more days" and "it should be done today or tomorrow".  We've had almost a week of tomorrows since I got that response and it's still not done.  I obviously don't understand what all goes into background checks.  I thought a data base was searched based on your name, SSN, etc.  If that's the case, then why the backlog?  It's computerized!!!  It should be able to be done quite quickly since it does not involve someone sitting down and paging through a stack of paper files and every police report from the past 20 years.  Like I said, I obviously don't understand the process.

I was pleasantly surprised to have an actual person answer the phone when I called the apostille's office last week.  The lady was extremely helpful and as of Friday, there was only a 3 day wait for documents to be processed.  I continue to live in the hope that our documents can be completed, sent to EE, translated, and delivered to the Minister of Education before Christmas.  That would be a Christmas miracle!  Come-on (unnamed state), help us out with this one!!!

Speaking of Christmas miracles... Wednesday, my friend Robyn will be flying to China to bring home their little girl and return home Christmas Eve.  I'm so excited for them.  I'm also thankful for the many people who are stepping up to support Robyn's family during this time.  This anticipation and ministering to their family helps make our wait easier.  I have another friend who's in the process of praying about adopting and from what she's said, it's been good for her too.  We're not meant to live our lives alone... we were created for community... and I've certainly been blessed with a great community!

Hopefully my next post will say our background check is finished and we can move on to the next phase of this journey.