Friday, December 14, 2007

The Blessings Keep Rolling In

Have I mentioned lately…God is Good, All the Time! We received a call this week from a family who have become good friends of ours in our community. My friend called me, who works at Delta, and offered us, all of us, buddy passes to travel to Colombia. She issued us 4 for now and said she would give us 2 more when we got the referral (because they have to have the legal names on them of the person traveling). All we have to do is change the tickets with the right travel dates and destinations and pay the international taxes! So each ticket will cost us about $200 instead of $700. She also explained that if something happed we couldn’t use them to travel to Colombia, to use them for a vacation once we have the kids home. Whoohoo! The only negative, which doesn’t worry me at all, is that we will have to fly standby. Now, if God has made prevision for this trip to be funded and to have someone offer us tickets at more than half off, then I can believe that our flights and standby status will be taken care of too.

On a different note, but still positive, mine and Eric’s anniversary is Monday. We will be married for 13 years. Every year Eric says, “Let’s go somewhere for our anniversary” and I always say, “no way, it’s Christmas time and I have so much to do…bad timing.” So this year he got smart! Eric said, “Surprise! I made reservations, you can’t say no!” So we are heading to Niagara Falls this weekend for a nice weekend with just the two of us. He felt we really needed it and we were sure not to go anywhere alone after we bring our Colombians home…smile. So I took a weeks vacation for next week to give me time to prepare for the mass company starting next Friday. Plus the college is closed (I work at a college) the week between Christmas and New Year, so I have 2 ½ weeks off for the holidays! Can you tell I am just a little bit happy?

Now, here is just a bit about Colombia and their Christmas traditions:

Since Colombia is about 90% Roman Catholic, the Christian aspects of Christmas are the most celebrated. The Christmas season in Colombia starts on December 7th when families light candles in honor of the Virgin Mary. The church celebrates the 8th of December as the day of the Immaculate Conception. This is a Colombian National Holiday and a day of Obligation with the church. It is celebrated with a display of lights as each home will light approximately 100 candles on the curb and sidewalk area. City streets and parks are illuminated with large Christmas lights as well.

On December 16th Colombian families typically start setting up the Christmas tree.

From December 16th through December 24th, families usually gather together at night around Nativity scenes to pray and sing carols in the Novena. On Christmas Eve family members and neighbors gather to eat and dance. (Traditional Colombian foods include: Ajiaco - a soup with potatoes, chicken and natilla (like a custard) a dessert and buñuelos (like small elephant ears.) Everyone waits until midnight to wish each other Merry Christmas and to exchange gifts.

I may try to make the natilla for Christmas Eve this year. It depends on how much I get finished throughout the week. Also, there will be two candles in our front windows this season as we await the call to bring our children home.

Many blessings to all of you during this holiday season!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Feliz Navidad

December Already?! How ironic…since time can’t go fast enough for us to receive a referral.

No word for the Hollis’ in November. Upon submitting our dossier we were given two different time lines, one much shorter than the other with hope that we would hear of approval in early November. However, now November has passed and still not a word. As much as I want to hear something from Colombia I can still say that I have great peace that God is orchestrating our adoption, our family.

It is especially difficult to celebrate the holidays knowing how close we are to bringing our family home. I wonder if anyone has told them the meaning of Christmas? Will they have a gift to open? Will they feel the spirit of Christmas? My prayer for them each night as I lay my head on my pillow is to give them a good nights rest, to feel peace and joy in their hearts to keep them strong. For the caregiver(s) to have patience and guidance from above to care for our children as they wait for us. I pray they have a loving hand offered to them when they need comforted or someone to laugh with them when they are being silly. Gee Whiz…I just can’t wait to get a photo of their faces, hear their names and bring them home.

With the holiday season all around us I think daily about what I am thankful for. What a blessed life I have. My list would be much to much to include. However, with this being a site for our adoption I can make mention of things that would relate. Actually, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the goodness and faithfulness that God has shown since we have started our journey. Each and every detail has been so amazing and great testimony for us to be able to give. I still can’t believe our adoption is paid in full, how awesome is He to tell us to adopt and then to pay for the process in full! Think about that. It’s really just that simple…trust and obey and He will take care of the details. It sounds so easy, but yet faith is often times the hardest thing we deal with. His hand in our financial part, really every part, of our adoption process so far, is why I have complete peace that His fingerprints are all over our paperwork in some pile, on some desk in Colombia. He has two children picked out especially for our family and has it all timed out perfectly. How could I doubt that after He has proven Himself bigger than I could have imagined.

Well, Feliz Navidad! Enjoy the holiday season. Don’t take the time you have with your family and friends for granted, soak in every gathering, capitalize on moments placed in front of you and be the Spirit of Christmas for those around you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

All I Really Want For Christmas

With this being National Adoption Month, I have been putting a lot of thought to the questions that may be asked by others as they see our multi-cultural family. I wish I could put into words what God as put into our hearts. These children are as much "ours" as our biological children are "ours."

We are so anxious to get our arms around them and bring them home. Having a heart for adoption is something I am so thankful for. Having family and friends who are supportive of our hearts call has been amazing and for that we are also thankful.

Below is a video that I watch over and over.

Steven Curtis Chapman, who also has adopted children and has many songs that are related to adoption and orphans has one specific song that I just love. I heard this song last Christmas called "All I Really Want For Christmas" which is right about the time that God was telling us to move forward to bring the rest of our family home. I then came across this song posted with photos on YouTube and saved it to my blog to post around Christmas this year. For some reason it seems right to post it now. I noticed it was posted on another families blog this week too, so I am not the only one who finds this close to my heart.

Click on the link below

YouTube - All I Really Want For Christmas: ""


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dancing the Night Away

I thought I would test out the feature that allows you to add video. I am watching my nieces for a few hours and they were dancing with Emilee and a neighbor boy, Kyle. I took some video on my camera and thought I would play with trying to upload it onto the blog.

We'll see if it works. I want to be prepared for when we travel. My mom and sister especially will enjoy having some video footage to see on the blog while we are away. We are also looking at buying them a webcam so we can video confrence with them too. (but we are waiting to see if my dad will really splurge and pay for high speed internet)

Friday, November 9, 2007

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the adoption.

So here is some general info regarding adoption in Colombia.

According to the US Department of State, 344 Immigrant visas were issued to orphans coming to the US in 2006. Compare that to the 6,493 from China in 2006. Wow! Due to the issues in Guatemala regarding adoptions the numbers for Colombia will likely increase greatly for 2007 and 2008.

Colombian law does not allow for private adoptions. Children may be adopted only through the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) and approved adoption agencies. This means that both the U.S. agency that is contracted by the adoptive parents and the Colombian agency facilitating the Colombian part of the process must be approved by the Colombian government.
Every adopted child must have a final adoption decree in order to leave Colombia. Colombian law also requires that both adopting parents be physically present when the adoption is presented to a “family judge.” No exceptions are made to this requirement, and the process takes two to four weeks, sometimes more. After both prospective adoptive parents have appeared before the court, one of them may return to the United States, but the other parent must remain in Colombia until the adoption/immigrant visa process is completed. (this is the process we are looking forward to when we arrive in Colombia)

One other thing that Colombia is known for are the many holidays that are observed as well as their colorful festivals. They observe more than double what we observe in the states. Here is a list of most of them for 2007.

Carnaval de Barranquilla is celebrated February 17, 18, 19 and 20. The Bogotá Carnival starts at around August 6th. Rock at the park (Rock Al Parque) in October, is the second largest rock festival in Latinamerica. The Iberoamerican Theater Festival held in Bogotá every two years, is the biggest theater festival in the world. Carnival of Blacks and Whites (Carnaval de Negros y Blancos) held from January 4 to January 6 in Pasto. Cali Fair (Feria de Cali), held in Cali, Colombia from December 25 to New Year's Eve.

Public Holidays include:

New Years Day (January 1)

Día de los Reyes Magos (Epiphany) (January 6*)

St. Joseph’s Day (March 19)

Holy Thursday and Viernes Santo (Holy Friday) (variable dates in March or April)

Primero de Mayo (May 1)

Ascension (May 20*)

Corpus Christi (June 10*)

Sacred Heart (June 18*)

Saint Peter and Saint Paul (June 29*)

Independence Day (July 20)

Battle of Boyacá (August 7)La Asunción (Assumption) (August 15*)

Día de la Raza (October 12)

All Saints’ Day (November 1*)

Independence of Cartagena City (November 11*)

La Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception) (December 8)

Christmas Day (December 25)

So we are sure to at least encounter one holiday and or festival while we are there. They are all about having a day off…smile! On a side note, these are days adoptive parents keep handy, because we know the Colombian agencies are closed meaning no news for us on these days.

Well that’s all from this end for now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Enduring the Wait

I was feeling a bit discouraged yesterday evening and this morning, and feeling guilty for feeling discouraged. I think I have gotten myself back on track now.

One of my yahoo sisters has waited 3 years for a referral for a baby. She just received word that she will most likely travel in November and be home for the holidays, I was so excited for her, she is super sweet and God has had me praying for her and her family. Their little treasure is going to be a real treat, I think they are going to be surprised what God has in store for them by adding this jewel to their family. I just really feel God impressing on me how special this little guy is and what a joy he is going to bring to their family. Another family who had sent their dossier to Colombia one week before us, requesting 3 siblings, just found out that they may also have a referral coming in the next week or two. Not to mention another yahoo sister who I also feel very dearly towards has received her referral for a sib group of 3 after waiting well over a year (due to some mishaps) and will be traveling in Nov. So maybe I am feeling a bit left out. I honestly don’t feel it is our time to travel, but I would just love to have a simple word from Colombia…something as simple as your docs have been translated and in the hands of the ICBF, we will get to them soon. Sounds silly to be discouraged, and I guess I have to kick myself in the butt because we have only been waiting a month and a half. Some of these families have waited years.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord...plans to give you a hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

I really do have peace about the timing and Emi is hopeful for a referral by Christmas (knowing we won’t travel till January if that is the case). That would actually be ideal for me. Having several weeks to prepare to travel and prepare the house would be perfect for me, especially since I have a few weeks vacation in Dec. But…we will wait and see. I am just thinking positive thoughts, but reality is that according to the agencies time line we will not be called on to travel until late spring at the very earliest. So I better get used to just being excited for those families who receive referrals and travel between now and our time. And it truly is exciting to watch their stories unfold. Our time will come and it will be perfect!

He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. Acts 1:7

On a lighter note, Mamaw, Eric’s mom, bought Emi and Nate each Elementary Spanish level 1 workbooks. The kids have been excited to start working on them and are learning new words. Things are going to slow down for us quite a bit in about 2 weeks, so I plan to incorporate Spanish lessons at least 3 times a week for myself and the kids. The workbooks will really help.

I think that’s about it on our end.

Thanks to those of you who have signed the guestbook. It’s nice to know who’s keeping up on our journey.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mama has to brag

Sorry in advance, I think this may be a bit lengthy.

It has been one of those weeks that you just couldn’t be any prouder. Let me start with Nate. First of all a few weeks ago he was given an award by his school. He received the “2007 Southwest Local School, Outstanding Student Award”. He was chosen by his teachers and school staff as the only 5th grader to receive this award. This is quite an honor. The plaque was presented to him at the local school board meeting. Emilee received this same award a few years ago. The faculty and staff at the kid’s school is amazing and it makes us proud to know they think so much of our children.

Then on Saturday at Nate’s football game he made his first touchdown. I should explain that he starts on both offense and defense. But on offense, he is a lineman, not a ball carrier. However, his coach put him in as full-back on about the 10 ish yard line. Nate was pumped, then made a touchdown. The action shot photographer, a friend of mine, captured the action then printed the shot and asked Nate to autograph it to be displayed in his photo bus. Then after the game the coach stopped me. He said that he put Nate in to run the ball because he has been the hardest working kid on the team for the past few years and always comes to practice and games with a good attitude and gives 100%, so he deserved to have a chance to run in a touchdown. It was very nice for Nate to be rewarded for his efforts.

Then Nate several days later comes walking down the hall, obviously in deep thought. He stops in front of me with a very serious look and says to me “Mom, do you ever wish you could see the future?” I said, “Yep, sometimes” He just looked at me silently for a few seconds and then continued to explain why he wished to see the future. “I really wish I could see the future and see who my other siblings are and when we get to go get them, I also wonder if I will get to play college football and then be in the NFL.” I had to laugh at him, but he was as serious as a heart attack. I just love to hear about what they are thinking. It warms your heart.

Now to brag on Emi a bit. The other day Emi said “hey mom guess what I ate today?” She went on to explain that they had tacos at school and one of the sides was refried beans. She said “I got them just to try. Guess why I tried them?” She then asked. “I tried them to start getting used to trying to eat new things and eating things I don’t like to be ready to go to Colombia.” I can’t imagine what is going thru their minds…fear of the unknown, but excitement to complete our family.

This week, today, Friday is Parent’s Day at their school. I was unable to go, but Eric, Daddy, is there. They have breakfast together and then they have an assembly that the parents get to sit in on. Well Emilee was chosen as one of two sixth graders to give a short speech for the parents. The title of her speech is “Why I am Proud of my Parents”. She gave the speech to me last night, knowing I was not going to be there today. It will be a surprise for her daddy. The speech reads as follows: My family is adopting 2 children from Colombia in South America. We are adopting 2 children under the age of 7. We have gone through a lot of paperwork and now we are just waiting for a cal to tell us they found a family of 2 for us. I am proud of my parents for doing this because I know there will be a family helped. Another reason I am proud of them is that I know they will give a better life to them. It will take cooperation, but there will be a better place for my new siblings. None of this would be going on if it were not for my mom and dad.

I have awesome kids.

Now, adoption stuff…

I will answer a question that was posed from my last entry. I mentioned that several families have received referrals and several families were traveling. The question was, Are any of them adopting 2 siblings ages 0 – 7? Nope, so we are still about 8 or 9 down on the list. I also mentioned in a previous post that no one travels after Nov 15th and that things pretty much shut down Dec 15 – Jan 15 (ish). So I asked if referrals are still made at this time or if that comes to a halt too. Our agency replied saying, “Referrals continue all through the holidays, although at a much slower rate than normal because personnel is out on vacation and they can't get everyone together always for an adoption committee meeting.” So that is good news, things will continue to move along thru the holidays.

Sorry this is so long, but being a mom is who I am, and I can’t help but brag on them when they deserve it. I have just been so proud of them as we have gone through this process. They are real troopers and are just as excited as we are. But in all the hubbub of the adoption stuff, I don’t want them to feel left out and praising them for who they are and what they do is very important.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We call it Paper Pregnant

Tough week…yup…tough week, for no particular reason other than having an overwhelming feeling in my gut and not being able to digest it. For as long as I can remember this “feeling” happens to me…I get these “feelings” from time to time, I like to call them feelings of intuition, but really it’s God tugging at me to listen up. Normally I can get to the meat of it and focus my prayer to relieve the “feeling”. But there have been a few times that I just can’t shake it. Well, this week I have spent the entire week with my gut in my throat and not being able to pin point its point. I can’t focus at work, can’t sleep well and I become emotional in my quiet time. Eeek! I would like to think that it’s adoption related and we will receive word that the ICBF has approved us, but I just don’t think that’s it…it’s more than that. I may never know…ugh…I hate surprises. Actually, I do feel better today…what a relief.

Maybe I am just feeling overwhelmed at the fact that God thinks enough of us to give us 2 more blessings to raise. When you put it that way you are reminded of what a huge responsibility it is to raise your children. Wow!

I am so anxious for the process to move along. Emilee (and the rest of us) really wanted to travel by Christmas. She keeps saying, “look at all the miracles already, we can still travel by Christmas.” The faith of a child! I am trying to think realistically that it will be in the late spring, I don’t want to get our hopes up and be let down. But Emilee gets upset with me for my lack of faith. Actually, I have complete peace about the timing. God knows I am not the most patient person when it comes to surprises so if He doesn’t give me peace, I will become a crazy lady and probably not very pleasant to be around.

Several families from CHI will be traveling this weekend and will meet their children early next week. I am hoping a few of them can blog some so we can keep up with their journey. And for some reason it helps our time here go a bit faster. I guess because by reading their journals it makes us feel a part of their journey and distracts us from “our wait”, but also allows us to rejoice that an orphaned child has found their forever family and is loved. Not to mention it’s just really cool to feel so close to what’s going on when you are so far away.

I just can’t wait to see their faces, learn their personalities, and love them as they so deserve. I have noticed that I am now noticing every pregnant woman around me. We are what is called “Paper Pregnant”, the swelling is of the spirit and soul. I remember all the questions we had when we were pregnant with Emi and Nate. What will they look like? Will they be a mommy’s girl/boy or daddy’s girl/boy? Boy or Girl? Fussy or easy going? And on and on the list goes. It’s all part of the pregnancy, it’s fun. The biggest difference is that when you are physically pregnant, you know that at the most in 9 months time you will have your hands on your little one. But being paper pregnant there is no definite time, I guess that’s why the wait is harder. Plus knowing the children are living in less than optimal conditions…mmm…tough to swallow.

"Let us hold fast to the hope we profess without wavering - for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Back in a week…or sooner if we hear something!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

8 'ish' Families Ahead of Us

Okay, for those of you who don’t know I love culture and languages. I would love to know a handful of languages. I have wanted to learn Spanish for a long time and finally was able to take college courses at the college in the Spring. But because of my work schedule and the kids activity schedules I have not been able to continue with the classes and it’s driving me crazy. So I finally broke down and bought a Spanish series that I can do at home and it has practice CDs for the car…perfect! I know I won’t be fluent without some formal education and emersion into the language, but it’s at least a way for me to continue with what I have already learned.

The other night I was practicing some of my Spanish working with Nate. He finally started catching on and is a pro at the basic greeting paragraph. “Hello”, then if someone asks his name he can reply with “my name is Nate”, then the person may say “nice to meet you”, and he can say “likewise” (igualamente…his favorite Spanish word)! By the time Emi joined in, Nate was doing really well and Emi was a bit jealous. She said that I will have to use Spanish for Nate and Sign Language with her. She understands sign, but is having a more difficult time with the Spanish. They have learned a few key phrases like Good Night, I love you, time to go to bed, thank you, your welcome, please, sorry, bathroom and a few others. So I am hoping that having this series to work with on the computer, that it will help all of us to learn. Nate can mimic the accent really well, it’s funny.
Aside from the Spanish some other news is that we had asked if there was a way to find out how many Children’s Hope International families are ahead of us with paperwork already in Colombia and waiting. Our Ohio representative was able to tell us that there are approximately 4 families ahead of us for 2 siblings ages 0-6 and 4 families ahead of us for 2 siblings ages 0-7. So about 8 families are ahead of us. It will be kind of fun to watch the monthly notices we receive from CHI of who is traveling and who is soon to travel because they state the siblings and ages of the children that families are adopting. So we can kind of keep up and have an idea of how quickly things are going, by the monthly updates. The numbers she gave us are by no means a gage of the timing, when it’s our turn, it’s our turn and it will be perfect timing. But still the numbers are a kind of comforting as we see the folks who are traveling each month.
We did request a list of the children who are on the waiting list to be adopted. Some have special needs of various sorts, some are older children or sibling groups etc. We looked over the list with open hearts, but did not feel that any of them were our forever children. So we will wait, but pray for those on the list to find their forever families.

Also, several families from the Yahoo group will be traveling in October. Some of us meet in a chat room on Monday nights for chat time and prayer with each other. It has been the neatest thing. It’s great to rejoice with the folks getting ready to travel and to be able encourage those who are waiting. It’s a great way to get feedback on simple questions and to learn from those who have already traveled and are back home. I am glad I joined, it really is a blessing to be able to connect with folks all over the states also adopting from Colombia.

That’s all for now
Hasta luego (see you later)

Friday, September 28, 2007

I will not leave you as Orphans, I will come to you (John 14:18)

The word from our CHI rep is that we should not expect to hear when our documents are translated and move to the hands of the ICBF. The adoption agency does not receive word when the paperwork moves to the next stage. So we don’t expect to hear anything for quite a while. This is really all the news I have. A few more folks from the CHI Adoption Yahoo Group have received their referrals. So hearing about their news and the things they are doing to prepare to travel has been fun.

I learned of a travel company that works specifically with adoption. I will be keeping this in mind when it’s our turn to travel.

Also, my grandma purchased a few more things for us to put in our bag as we are waiting. A few Bible coloring books, crayons and some fun cards.

The next few weeks are booked solid, every night of the week and the whole weekend will be taken up with football and cheer practice, games, cheer exhibition and cheer competitions. So I may have to take a day off work just to clean the house and keep with household chores. I am much too tired at 9 pm when we get home at night to sweep floors and clean bathrooms. Needless to say the photo album I want to take with us to Colombia will not be worked on until near the end of October.

One of my Spanish words/phrases of this week is… Te quiero (I Love You)!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

From Emilee

Dear Siblings
I am excited to have a new brother or sister. I think it will be cool to meet you and for you to meet us and our family. It will be cool to learn about your culture and you learning our culture. I am kind of anxious. It’s hard to wait because I am excited. I think about you when I lye in bed at night or if I am sitting around. I am afraid you may have been abused and am sorry for whatever happened with your biological parents, but am glad you will be coming home to be with a good family that will always be there for you.

It will be neat to see where you have lived and to see how Colombia is different than where we live. I am kind of nervous to go but excited in a way too.

I like to cheer and dance. One of my hobbies is reading and I like to hang out with my friends, but it will be cooler to hang out with you. I like school and lots of other things. We have good schools with good teachers. I think you will like them. Mom likes to sign, she works at Cincinnati State, which is a college. She is an interpreter for the deaf. She likes to take us where we need to be and likes our sports as much as we do. Dad is a boss at his work. He is a strong Christian and is smart. He is fun to play around with and likes to do what we do. Our brother Nathan is an outside kind of boy. He likes to play sports and is helpful when you need him. We don’t always get along but that’s just because we are brother and sister, but we do love to play together. Me and Nathan play music instruments together. We have a big dog named Jazz, she is a sweet dog. We also have two bunnies, Floppy and Joey, they are sisters. They are very soft and pretty. We have many fish and a turtle. We have a cat that stays outside named Kia. Kia is black and white. Our grandma, Mimi, is a kid kind of person who loves to be with us. Our grandpa, Papa, likes to take us on his motorcycle and do stuff with us. We have lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. Some live in Tennessee, Kentucky and some live in Ohio close to us. We also have several other grandmas and grandpas who live in different places but like to visit us.

Our house is a medium size house but good for us. We have a pretty big yard. We have a few cars and small basketball court in the back of the house. We have a living room, family room, dining room and kitchen. When you go down the hall there is a bathroom, 2 bedrooms for us, and mom and dad’s bedroom with another bathroom.

It has been neat going through the adoption stuff. I can’t wait to see you and bring you home. It is very hard to wait, but we will come see you soon.

Love your soon to be sister,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From Nathan

( I asked the kids to write a letter telling their new siblings a little about themselves) Nate completed his. Emilee has not had a chance to write hers yet, due to homework and a busy activity schedule. I will post hers as soon as it's finished.)

To my siblings,

I can’t wait to come and meet you so we can bring you to the US to Ohio and let you see what our home and our culture is like. I am really happy we are adopting you. You will be in a better home to live in. I hope we get to know each others language easily. I want to show you all around the places we will go together. The schools where we live are great. The food here is different than what you are used to. My favorite food is steak and tacos.

You will have a lot of family who are really nice and will take care of you. Some of them live in different states. Emilee our sister is nice but sometimes sassy to me, because I am her brother. Emilee likes girly things. We call her Emi. Our dad is a funny man and a man of God. He has lived in many states and can teach you a lot. Most of his family lives in Kentucky and Tennessee. He is tall and has glasses and dark hair. He is very smart and can help with math. Mommy has red hair like me and Emilee and works at a college. She is a nice person and will always help you with whatever you need. Mom’s family mostly lives near us. If you want to do sports or other activities, Mom will sign you up and take you where you need to go.

I wonder what your favorite things are and hobbies. I think it will be fun having someone in my family that I don’t know but can learn about. I hope we will be good friends as siblings.

Papa, our grandpa loves sports and is very nice. He will take us on his motorcycle for rides. Mimi, our grandma likes to play with kids and likes to do things kids like and has fun with us. It’s always fun to be at our grandparent’s house.

I can’t wait to go to Colombia to meet you. I think the airplane ride will be boring but getting you and learning your culture will be a lot of fun.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Keep On Movn'

Here is what we are looking at. The Colombian courts shut down mid December. Knowing we will be in Colombia for at least 3 weeks means we would have to travel before Thanksgiving. A referral would have to come in the next 5 weeks. We are not even through translation yet. With that being said I am setting my heart on a spring referral.

I have inquired with our agency about information regarding (after ICBF sends approval) how many people are in the stack, of 2 siblings 0 – 7 yrs of age non gender specific, ahead of us. They said they will be able to tell us how many CHI families are ahead of us, but not how many applicants the ICBF has in front of us. So the timeline of 6 – 12 months is anyone’s best guess, based on past statistics and trends.

In getting to know other folks adopting babies from Colombia and other areas, they have waited 2 and 3 years for referrals, so by no means am I complaining. I just simply wanted to clarify the timeline. Everyone’s desire was to have them home by Christmas. What I am really doing is trying to ease my pain of having my heart set on November. I have come to terms with November being the month we will receive approval from the ICBF.

Other than an update of completion of translation and ICBF approval, the journal entries from now until the time of referral will simply be an account of feelings and general life activities as we wait. I want to kind of keep track of life as we wait. It will be a neat thing for the kids to read someday. We just can’t wait to get them home!

Taking a deep breath….Sigh…

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Travel Portfolio

We received our travel portfolio from CHI this weekend. We had the nieces all weekend, so I didn’t have a lot of time to look over it. But I did scan through it when the girls were sleeping.

One thing the kids wanted me to look into in our packet was what shots we will need in order to travel. The packet has no info on shots, so the kids were very excited. I will have to double check with our representative just to be sure.

Also, there is a family who sent their dossier to Colombia just a few days before we did. They found out this weekend that their paperwork is already translated and will be in the hands of the ICBF next week. They are adopting 3 children under age 6, so we should be close behind them.

I feel so helpless right now. I feel like we should be renovating the house or something so we can accommodate two more children. However, there is nothing we can do until we have ages and gender. I was just telling Eric I wanted to take a week off work to go through all of our closets and clean them out. Just kind of go through everything in the house and organize (…nesting…hmmm?). He said I should wait till the end of the year. I just know once we get the call it will be hectic trying to get everything ready to go. 4 weeks seems like a long time to prepare to travel after receiving the referral, but the time will fly by with everything we will need to do. There is some paperwork we sent over that at the time we receive our referral, if these items are more than 6 months old, they will have to be redone. (FBI records, medical letters, and new employment letters with a current date)

I have started doing a bit more research on the country itself. As I have been pulling up various sources to read up on the history, people, culture, climate and so forth, I found some cool descriptions.

Just in case you don’t know, Colombia is bordered on the northwest by Panama, on the east by Venezuela and Brazil, and on the southwest by Peru and Ecuador. Through the western half of the country, three Andes Mountain ranges run north and south. The eastern half is a low, jungle-covered plain, and the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, inhabited mostly by isolated tropical-forest Indian tribes.

For example, one source/opinion says: “If something should be said about Colombians and Colombia, it is that everything here is done passionately: living, partying and arguing. ‘Intense’ might be a word that describes not only 44,000,000 warm hearted people but that also applies to the whole of experiencing Colombia: the lavish green of the Amazon, the deep blue of both oceans and one of the most exuberant and diverse fauna and flora in the planet.”

Another site advises: “Colombia is such a beautiful country, their people are always happy despite the hardship they've been through, go to Colombia with an open mind and heart and you'll be guaranteed to come back full of great memories.”
Also, it is noted that Colombian jewelry is incomparable and the emeralds are among the most perfect in the world. My birthstone is an emerald. I may just have to do a little shopping J
That’s all for now…hopefully you will hear that our dossier has been translated sometime this week!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We are offically "Waiting"

The latest news I received is that it will take 3 to 4 weeks for translation and 3 – 5 months for ICBF to approve our dossier. The good news is that these time frames are part of the 6 – 12 month wait we will endure. Our OH office rep has told us to lean more towards 12 months. That way we will be really happy if happens earlier.

The previous info with the shorter translation and ICBF approval time line was from the Oregon office, which is where the program director is. They said 1- 2 weeks for translation and 1 ½ - 2 months for ICBF approval.

Right now the program director for CHI is in Colombia. She will be meeting with the ICBF while she is there. Hopefully when she returns she will be able to tell us the status of our Dossier and a more clear time line of what we might expect.

But the good news is that our “wait” has officially began as of September 12, 2007.
Our paperwork is in Colombia.

As the paperwork arrives in Colombia it is logged in and receives a case number. Dossiers are reviewed in order, unless you are requesting older children. By older children we mean ages 8 and up. However requesting siblings also receives some priority, but not as much priority as if you are requesting 3 siblings. All in all, it really doesn’t matter because it is in God’s hands now and in his timing.

Good news on the Colombian front. The two families who have been in Colombia for almost two weeks, just found out that they will be coming home early. It looks like they will be home around the 2 ½ week mark, or at the most only 3 weeks!!! I am so excited for them. Also one of the families who is a member of the yahoo group just received their referral. They are adopting 4 siblings ages 5, 4, 3, and 2. Boy will they have their hands full. Here is the cool thing. I was on the computer last night at 9 and they had not made their announcement. At 8 am this morning when I logged on the announcement was made to the yahoo group and already about 6 or 7 families had replied their congratulations, everyone was so excited for them. It’s nice to have connections with people who are in the same boat, adopting from Colombia and able to share their experiences and information.

My day will be spent being happy for the family who just receive their referral. That will help take my mind off ours.

Glad the weekend is coming up. I get to watch the nieces while Jeanie and Matt are out of town for their anniversary.
The photo is of one of the bed and breakfast in Bogota Colombia. This is where lots of CHI families stay.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Paperwork in Colombia

Our Dossier was sent on Monday, September 10th from Oregon to Colombia. The first stop will be for translation which will take 1 to 2 weeks. Then it will be off to the ICBF to look over and approve. Once in the ICBF office it will be 1 to 1 ½ months before we hear that the ICBF has officially approved us. So we are looking at the end of October or very first part of November before we hear of our approval. We will be approved, that is not an issue. CHI made sure we fit all of the criteria in Colombia before accepting us in the program. On paper the wait time from the point ICBF approves us until the time we receive a referral is 6 – 12 months. That is the time line on paper. Who knows what the time line looks like from Heaven? We have had November on our hearts since we started this process, but didn’t know why. Looks like official approval will be early Nov. At least that’s what I am now telling myself. My secret desire is that our paperwork ends up on the top of the stack and is approved earlier than anticipated and a referral comes early November…hee hee. I just can’t imagine what it would be like to have them home for Christmas this year. What a holiday that would be. You just never know.

I find myself pacing back and forth from room to room but accomplishing nothing. The weight of the world is off our shoulders, adoption paid in full, paperwork complete! what in the world do we do now??? Ha, like we don’t have enough on our plates as it is!

With all of my spare time now (those of you who know me well are laughing at the “spare time” comment), I plan to focus more on my Spanish. I am anxious for our Travel Guide to come, that will help me to focus this nervous energy. Plus the next month will be pretty busy. Emi has a cheer exhibition and two cheer competitions (3 weekends in a row), not to mention football games every Saturday.

The kids and I are still checking blogs daily from two families who are in Colombia now. It has been the highlight of our morning to check the progress and events of the prior day for these two families. I am hoping when these families come home that other families take their place and blog daily.

I went to the grocery store over the weekend and couldn’t help but buy some bubbles, Uno cards, Phase Ten cards, and 4 packs of crayons. We are going to need to take some items with us to keep the kids busy. We put them in a gift bag, which is on the china hutch. We will buy a few things here and there for the trip and put them in our Colombia bag. Also, for Mother’s Day, just after my family found out we were adopting, my mom bought me a Willow Tree Angel, The Angel of Miracles. We have placed our Angel by our bag, as a reminder of the miracles God has given to us.

More later…

Friday, September 7, 2007

I Stand Amazed

Okay, since April when we received approval that CHI would allow us to start the adoption process with the, every time I see a plane I think of landing in Colombia. As of last night, every plane I see I almost gasp without realizing it. The next time we fly WILL be to Colombia. I see a plane and I smell the smells I remember from being in Central America and the sights.

All day yesterday and even this morning, I will just kind of giggle out loud. I am in utter awe of the blessings we have received. I imagine God smiling and shaking his head at me for ever doubting that he would follow thru. But really more than that, my giggle is that I know we are in the perfect will of God right now, and what a place to be and to know it without a doubt.

We knew God gave us a green light and told us to move forward on the adoption. But having no funds and no means to get the funds is almost, well stupid, risky, and a set up for an emotional disaster in human eyes. I guess my lesson in faith goes so much deeper than I realized. Yes, we did step out on faith, blindly doing what we felt was the right thing to do. But now, having seen God’s hand and his fingerprints on every paper and event so far in this process, we have moved to a new level of faith. To be honest, I often would change the subject or gloss over the financial part when people would inquire. I could give them a total of what it would cost, but was too afraid to speak any further. Eric had a hard time even talking about the adoption, I guess feeling it would happen so far away, knowing we did not have the money. But Eric is totally lit up and pumped now. He speaks of the children as if they are already ours and will be coming home next week. He has such a refreshed aura about him, how very nice to see.

Speaking of this new level of faith, it is hard to wrap my mind around, but knowing that our children are already born and in Colombia and that God has his eye on them and that when we receive our referral it is in His perfect timing, is so easy to believe in. Our house has a felling of peace but excitement. The time we spend waiting for “The Call” will be full of excitement but peace knowing God is moving all the pieces into place as this portion of our family puzzle completes.

One last thing…The yahoo group I joined has been such a blessing. One of the ladies sent us a note and at the end she said “ I am anxious to see how God scripts your story.” I love how she said it. It is such a story that has been perfectly scripted so far. I wish I could type from start to finish every little detail about our journey. It really is amazing. It would start with me meeting Eric and him telling me he wanted 12 children of our own and someday wanted to build and run an orphanage. Little did he know that two of the children of our own would be orphans that God would trust us with to care for and raise.

Maybe I will write a book…hee hee…like I will have time with four kids.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Out of Our Hands

Today the rest of our paperwork came in! Everything is complete and official as far as paperwork goes.

Earlier today I was talking to our agency in Ohio. She was telling me if we could get everything to the Oregon office before Monday, that there is a possibility our paperwork could be in Colombia to be delivered to be translated on Tuesday next week. The Colombia program director is out of our Oregon office and will be traveling to Colombia next Tuesday.

So when I saw the paperwork had been delivered today, I was so excited. I was anxious to be able to send it. I am not able to share a lot of details at this time, but Eric was on the phone at the time I was checking off all of the items on our dossier list to be sure we had everything in order to send. He hung up the phone and explained that if I was ready with the paperwork that it could be in the Oregon office tomorrow morning with the $750 check we need to send with it, thanks to the phone call he had just hung up. He hustled out the door and was on his way to get the check then to overnight the paperwork.

So at this moment, our paperwork is on its way to Oregon for them to check over, then off to Colombia to be translated. Everything is out of our hands and completely in God’s control. How quickly the paperwork is processed and our family is matched with our children is all in God’s timing.

The wait has officially begun. There are a few important things to take place. First the Oregon office has to check through everything to be sure our paperwork is perfect and ready to send. I don’t foresee any problems with this, as our local agency has gone over everything with a fine tooth comb. I understand the translation process takes about two weeks, but I do not have confirmation on that. Hopefully we will be given a timeline for the translation next week. Then the paperwork will go to the ICBF in Colombia. This is the government agency that our adoption will be processed through. Once they receive the paperwork, they will then have to approve it. I will have a better timeline soon.

So for now, we wait anxiously for the phone to ring to let us know our paperwork is moving along through the process. In the meantime we will be sending $5175 to pay our program fee then the agency will be sending us a travel guide for us to prepare for the next phase. I am so excited to begin this next phase. Even though it is hard to wait it is a much more pleasant wait. God already knows who our kids are and where they are and when we are supposed to meet them. So we will let Him work his plan and patiently wait for the call that ICBF has a referral for us.

Adios for now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Gotta Testify

God Is Good…All The Time!

Let me share our story. We just found out that an anonymous donation has been made to pay off the balance of our adoption. We have been asked to not share any details. But we can ask that you pray blessings back upon those who gave. Yes, you read that right, paid in full.

When God told us that it was time to start the process to bring the rest of our family home we struggled knowing the expenses that come along with adopting, especially knowing we were bringing home two, not just one. Eric said we had to save the $30 grand before we could start, that he felt God did not want us to take out a loan, then we came to a realization that God said GO, so we felt we had to move on. After struggling over this for a few weeks and feeling God say to trust him that he was taking care of it, we did move forward. The next day I went to McDonalds, my regular morning stop on Fridays. I was praying about the financial part of the adoption and how it just didn’t make any sense, we didn’t have the money and could no way save $30,000 in a year. When I pulled up to the window to pay for my breakfast, the lady said “The woman in front of you already paid for your breakfast.” God gently reminded me that He is in control and not to worry, the financial part would be taken care of.

Then I worried some more.

A few months later I was driving down the road on my way to work, listening to a Christian radio station. But not the one I normally listen to. Every song was for me and my struggle with faith. As I was pulling off the highway my radio started blaring and a song came on that was about not keeping God in a box. Again, a gentle reminder that God is listening and in control.

Then I worried some more.

We were at a point that we were going to owe $2000. We didn’t have it at the moment, but it was a reasonable amount to save that we felt we could pay the following month. Then my parents came home from visiting my grandmother who had given them the $2000 to give to us. She did not know we needed that money the exact week. Right on time.

Believe it or not…I worried some more.

I wrestled with the fact that we were trucking thru the paperwork and paying the few hundred here and there, but the rest of the money was out of our league, and Eric would not budge on the loan idea. I also didn’t feel it was the right avenue, but we were going to need the money real soon, and we didn’t have it. I applied for every grant out there, but we had no luck, it appeared we made too much money. So I cried and prayed and still felt God telling me to be patient, and just when I think it is going to be too late, we will see His hand move for us. Boy, it’s hard to be patient and just trust and have faith. So a few weeks ago I was going thru the drive thru at McDonalds on Friday for my breakfast and when I got to the window, the lady said, again, “ the woman in front of you just paid for your breakfast.” I about passed out! Another gentle reminder that God is still in control and hasn’t forgotten that we are going to be needing the money.

But I still worried. Obviously, I am not a fast learner.

Then I saw the shooting stars as I have already written about in a previous post. But this week our paperwork will all be back in our hands and ready to send off for translation. We needed to send about $5,300 along with our paperwork, next week, and we didn’t have it. You got it, I was about to freak out, but God continued to tell me to be patient.

Sure enough, God was faithful to his word, and the money has been provided. I had promised that I would testify on how great God is to us and how much he listens and cares about us. We just have to trust and believe in Him. I think I have had a lesson in faith.

The gentle reminders I have written in this blog are only a few. God has been very patient with Eric and I in our tendency to worry and try to take things in our own hands.

The only instructions that came with the donation were to go get our children and bring them home!

Thank you all for your prayers.

A penny for your thoughts

I must journal today, just because it is therapeutic. Plus, i want to be able to remember what the process felt like and posting on the blog will help me to keep track. So I will use my lunch time to post my thoughts.

Well this past weekend was our family party for Emi and Nate’s birthdays. Emi got all gift certificates as she asked. She wanted to go shopping. Sunday was the party, then Monday over the holiday just she and I went shopping. It was really great to have a day with just the two of us. Nate went to the office with Eric, who allowed him to take his new Wii to play all day. Nate was in heaven…at work with dad, playing Wii.

Emi was a lot of fun as we were shopping. She had a lot of questions for me about the adoption. The kids can feel the closeness of being able to bring home their siblings. She told me she has a hard time thinking about it because she wonders what they are doing, if they are being abused, are they still with their parents or in foster care, do they have enough to eat. She is having the same thoughts I am having, which is amazing to me. She told me that every night she looks out her window at the stars and wonders if they are okay. She cried when she was talking about it. She can hardly wait to go. She has some really mature thoughts about the whole deal. She said, “ I know it’s going to be hard being away from Mimi and the family for a whole month, and not eating what we want, but it will be worth it to be able to bring my siblings home and know they are safe.” She loves them and hasn’t even met them.

After realizing just how much she really does understand I decided to share some other folks blogs and photos of their Colombian children with her. I recently joined a yahoo group thru our agency. Everyone in the group has or is in process of adoption from Colombia. It has been so nice to hear the stories of others. At this very moment there are two families over there who are blogging daily and posting photos. It is so nice to have a visual of the place we will probably be staying and the general surroundings. One lady has been great in adding tid-bits about the closest stores, meal times, the agency staff there etc.

The place we will stay in Bogotá is a bed and breakfast type place that caters to families who are adopting. Meals, laundry etc are included in the price we will pay for the month we are there. So this lady was talking about what meal time is like, and the driving, and the house staff. Internet is included and a free phone to call home. I have been letting Emi read the blog, she loves to hear about the cultural stuff and see the photos of the house and the children. But then yesterday she came home from school and was kind of jittery. She said, “ mom I have to tell you that the weirdest thing happened today at school.” She said, “my mind just kept wondering off and I had to keep telling myself to focus. I just can’t stop thinking about it, I can’t make it stop!” She has a great sense of intuition that she knows something big is happening soon.

Real quick, before I sign off, we received the Tennessee items back and should get the Ohio items back any day, then off to be translated!

I feel better. Thanks for listening…smile!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Shooting Stars

All paperwork is out of our hands and in the hands of the states. We are just waiting on KY, TN and Butler County OH to send our items back all certified, I should have them by early next week. When the Butler County items come back to us we will have to send them to the State of OH and wait for them to come back again. So all in all we are looking at around Sept 10th having all paperwork in our hands, IF everything goes quickly in Ohio.

I think my mom is going more crazy than me with the waiting. She makes all the grandkids Christmas Stockings and Eater Baskets, but doesn’t want to start on anything until she knows the gender. Even today she was talking about Christmas. I always host Christmas at our house, I LOVE CHRISTMAS! But mom said she or my sister would host it, that Eric don’t need the extra stress of hosting Christmas while we are preparing for the kids. I told her that the stress is over for now, the paperwork is done. If we travel before Christmas we will know in Nov. The Colombia system shuts down at Christmas till the new year, so no one travels the weeks of Christmas to adopt. Anyway, it would be a true miracle for us to receive a referral so quickly, as early as November! The more likely possibility is next spring (My fingers are crossed for a miracle…NOV!).

Last Friday night I was really struggling with how we were going to finance the adoption and how to make it happen quickly. All day long God showed me different things in other people’s lives that he had taken care of and in His timing. It was really amazing and I knew, once again, he had not forgotten us. As I am writing this, I am realizing I have not shared the many testimonies I have witnessed to this point regarding Him showing me that this was all in his timing and working according to his plan. Anyway, I worked late that night and arrived home around 10:30 pm. I went inside to grab the dog and take her out to potty. When we got outside I realized how clear the sky was, it was a beautiful night full of stars. (I recently was explaining the kids that Colombia is on the same time as us, but the do not follow Daylight Savings Time. I was telling them that if we look at the moon and the stars and if in Colombia there is a clear sky, that our kids there can look at the same moon and stars we do and at the same time. They thought that was cool.) Anyway, as I was standing there with the dog I started thinking how long it has been since I saw a shooting star, probably back in high school was the last time. I said a quick prayer that I would like to see a shooting star again. No sooner than the prayer left my mind, I saw not one, but two shooting stars! One for each of the kids we are anxious to bring home. God quietly reminded me that he hears our prayers and is still in control.

Time to run out and try to beat the kids home from school.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Slight Hold Up

I recently learned that Eric and my birth certificates are too old to have authenticated. Does that make us antique?? I had sent Eric’s to the KY Secretary of State, they called me and told me that it was old and I would have to get a new one with a current date in order for them to authenticate it. I have to do the same for mine. So I ordered Eric’s and should have it by mid week, next week. Then I will re send it to the KY Sec. of State. I went this morning and waited in line to get mine, same day service. Also, one of our notaries we were told was registered in Ottawa County. The County called me and said she was actually registered with Hamilton County. So they are sending me that form back and I will have to send it to Hamilton County.

We still have several items to be sent to Butler County but are waiting on the approval of the Psychological report. The main person over the Colombia program from our adoption agency is checking over it. This is a very important piece that is looked at and must be just right. As soon as the Dr. gets the approval it will be notarized and we can send it off. Again, once all of our OH items are back in our hands we will send it to the Ohio Sec of State. So by the time all of the paperwork is sent off and returned, I still anticipate another 3 weeks at least before we are able to send everything to be translated.

Our representative from our adoption agency emailed me this week. I have copied part of her correspondence for you to read. It reads as follows: “You are well on your way. I looked over the psychological and it looks very good; I am having Julie in the Oregon office look it over to verify that it is okay and will let the Doctor know ASAP. We are very, very close!!” (These were exciting words for us to hear!)

I had a mini breakdown this week, just feeling overwhelmed with life and knowing our children are so far away and we just have to be patient. I always have a mini breakdown in August, with the kids birthdays and them going back to school, I just hate it. Before we know it they will be off to college, then starting families of their own. Time flies…but yet I am having a hard time with patience. Ironic! Anyway, I guess I just let my emotions flow, having to wait on these items to be apostilled seems to be taking forever. Once our paperwork is in Colombia and we have to wait, the wait is a bit more exciting, and I will have so much to do here to prepare to help the time go by. Not to mention that Aug – the first part of Nov is crazy busy with Football and Cheerleading. Those months fly by.

One last note on the positive side, things in Colombia are moving very quickly for families who have there paperwork in Colombia and are waiting. Colombia has changed their process in how they release orphans from their country. This is great for all of us on this end, because people currently waiting are receiving their referrals. Basically that means it will be a shorter wait time for us who are getting ready to send over our paperwork because there won’t be as many people ahead of us.

Patiently waiting, for now!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Photo Pages for Colombia

I was finally able to upload the photo pages. The captions are in Spanish. One of the Assistant Dean's in my department here at work is a native Spanish speaker from South America. She was happy to help me and check my Spanish grammar. We wanted to caption the photos in Spanish so our children's caretaker could read it to them. They are kind of hard to see, but you can get an idea of what they look like.

Your House
Your Home
Your Family

Look Inside

Your Family Forever

Your sister and brother enjoy...

Where we live sometimes it hot, sometimes it cold

Love, Hugs, and Kisses forever

Eric just called to read me the results of our personality test from the psychologist. It described us perfectly! Amazing how over 350 questions about unrelated things can tell so much about you. Here are a few examples of the questions. Do you like to read mechanic magazines? Would you like to be a librarian? Do you avoid stepping on cracks? Our results showed that we are are in good mental health, and I even answered yes, that I avoid stepping on cracks :) HA! The test gave great detailed description of our personalities too.
Adios for now

Little by Little

Little by little we are getting back the items we sent to be authenticated/apostilled. Once we get everything back from the counties in Ohio, we then have to send them to the Secretary of State in Ohio for final authentication. We have not been able to send our items notarized by Butler County yet, because we still do not have the PSY report back. It is written, but we are waiting for the adoption agency to check it over to be sure nothing needs added. I was hoping that it would be ready to notarize today, but no luck. The PSY report will be notarized in Butler County, so we have to wait. I imagine by the time we get it, send it to Butler County Clerk of Courts for approval, wait to get them back, then send all Ohio items to the Sec. of State for approval and wait to get them back again, we may be looking at the end of August or early September before we are ready to send everything of for translation.

The items will actually be sent to Colombia to be translated. The cost of translation is $750. I just found out this week that I am expecting a check from a raise I didn't know I was recieving, and the back pay check will equal about $700. God is Good!

So, I guess this is where I learn more patience. I have done all I can do for now and must be patient and wait. In the meantime, I need to start making a list of what I will need between now and the time we travel. I need to get a larger memory card for my camera and want to research a digital video camera to take with us. We have an older video camera that takes the small VHS tapes. Taking a smaller video camera that uses a small CD would be ideal. I also want to put together a photo album of family, friends, pets, activities etc to take with us to share with the kids before we get home. The photo pages we sent them are a brief look at our family, but nothing extensive. I want to buy some bubbles, and other small toy items that will be handy when we go too that are good for kids of all ages.

I will try to post the photo pages we are sending over soon. I uploaded the photos, but the computer I am on will suddenly not let me post pictures on the blog. It is blocking it for some reason. Eric and I will be out of town until late on Tuesday, so maybe Wednesday night I can put the photos on.

Thank you for the emails you all are sending. You are all so encouraging.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

All In Due Time

First of all, what about this heat??? Poor Nate is practicing in full equipment at football and has been sick with a terrible bark like cough, but still loving every minute of practice. 104 degrees yesterday…gee whiz!

Okay, first I realized that I have a spelling, pronunciation and grammatical error in one of our paperwork steps. I have been using “apostillized” it should be “apostilled” …oops! And it is pronounced entirely different than what I thought. Live and Learn : )

This week we are beginning to send off all of our notarized items to be apostilled. We will have to send each item to the state it came from, for example, Eric was born in KY so we have to send his birth certificate to KY. Ohio is a bit different. You have to send each item to the county where it was notarized. So all together we will be sending items to 5 different places. The Psy report is being finalized as we speak, so hopefully by the end of the week we will be able to have it notarized and sent off by early next week. It will take up to two weeks to get everything back into our hands.

Shucks, I have run out of time. Maybe more tomorrow.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Time Flies

Sorry for the hold up in adding another entry. Is time just flying by…wow!

Jeanie, my sister, asked me if we made our August 1st goal…yes and no. We have several items to be notarized, but we have been waiting for the Immigration Office to send us our final approval, the 171-H, because it too will have to be notarized. Just this morning before I left for work the phone rang. It was a lady at the immigration office calling to congratulate us. She said she just completed our approval and will put it in the mail today!!! How awesome is that?! I would have thought the immigration people would be crabby and hard to deal with. Our experience has been just the opposite. When Eric and I went in to be fingerprinted they were the nicest, most friendly, people! Then they call us to congratulate us…imagine that! Kudos to the Cincinnati Immigration Office!

So now we will wait for that to arrive and take the remaining items to be notarized. The Psychology report will also be finished by the end of this week. Our agency is going over our paperwork with a fine tooth comb in the next week to be sure we have dotted every “I” and crossed every “T”. Then we will send things off to be apostilled (have our notary seals approved), then to be translated and sent to Colombia….I just got chill bumps thinking about it. Breathe…Breathe…Breathe!

Another question that has been posed is ”Will re-name the children or keep their birth names?” Our answer is “It Depends.” It will depend on several things, but in the meantime, we are working on names. If the name is completely Spanish and not easily translatable to English we will use their given name as their middle name and give them a new first name. We want them to keep as much of their heritage as possible and would love to keep the name, but not at the expense of making it hard for them here in the States. So, we’ll see. We will decide on possible names so we are prepared.

It was a lot easier to agree on names when it was just Eric and I. But now that Emi and Nate have a say, it is much more difficult for all of us to agree. Emi really liked Lilly, but the rest of us said no, so she named her new baby bunny Lilly instead. Nate is completely indecisive on girl names, he says he has to see her picture to know her name…good point and we all agree, so we have started a list of boy and girls names that we like. For a boy we all like the name Elijah and call him Eli, Samuel is another option. I liked Ross but it is very American and Eric doesn’t like it because, my siblings and parents live in Ross OH. The boys names seem to have been easier to agree upon than girl names. Nate likes Gabriella, but Eric doesn’t like Gabby for short. Emi chose Arianna, which is lovely. We talked about Leah, Moriah, Allison and Tori too. Hopefully the given name and the photo, when we receive it, will make the decision easier.

Another issue we have been talking about is the fact that we will need a van. I have/had an SUV but it won’t seat all six of us. Plus, I totaled the SUV last Monday in a car accident, luckily the kids weren’t with me and I was not hurt, but the vehicle is totaled. So I am now driving our truck while we prepare to buy a van.

I am glad the paperwork portion is coming to a close. Football and cheerleading have begun and school will start soon, so extra time is hard to come by.

So much to do, so little time!
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Reality Sets In

We finally have an appointment with the Psychologist…July 19th, next week!!! I finished the photo pages last night. It was fun. I took pictures of the individual pages, maybe I can post them for you to see. I will play around with it. These pages will be given to our children as they wait for us to travel. There are photos of the house and family. Originally we planned to include photos of everyone on both sides of the family…that’s a lot of people. So I spoke to the social worker about it and she said to just make it of us 4 plus the cousins they will see all the time and of my mom and dad because that will be their caretakers when we need someone. Including everyone may be a bit overwhelming.

I have to tell you…I am an emotional mess this week. I cry at the drop of a hat. It’s like being pregnant, your hormones are out of control and you cry at anything. I guess I just can’t believe that we are within about 2 weeks of being able to send everything off for translation and then soon after to Colombia. At the beginning of this process I had to not allow my mind to wonder, but now that the paperwork is nearly finished, I can’t stop myself. I wonder if they have a bed to sleep in, are they fed enough, what are their names, why are they orphans, did they get hurt today, who takes care of them and so on and so on. I have been having the most vivid dreams of the day we meet them and how our family of 4 will be 6.

Okay, now I have a favor to ask of all of you. We knew this day was coming and this is the time when the big bucks are due for us to be able to bring them home. We have been able to pay everything so far on time as needed. Only about $5000 since April, but now we will be needing a great deal more. I am just asking you to keep us in your prayers as we seek guidance on how to possibly finance the rest of the adoption. I have been a mess thinking about the financial part of this process and God continues to envelope that fear with peace, but my human brain cannot help but worry. God has been in control of every little detail, I have been amazed to watch his hand at work, so I should not fear, but I do. I will be sure to report His miracle to you as it takes place. He has been giving me some gentle reminders that he is in control. Even just this morning he was sure to let me know we are not forgotten. One through a verse I saw this morning “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20. And secondly by a quote I came across this morning by Joni Eareckson Tada “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future…It’s simply taking God at His word and taking the next step.”
One last thing. This week Emi and Nate have also realized that we are really getting close to finishing all of this paperwork and realize too that the rest of the money will need to be availalbe soon. Just to tell you how much they are excited and how God has been working on thier hearts, here is a cute story. Emi had a friend over for the day and they set up a lemonade and chex mix stand on the corner of the street at my mom's house. At the end of the day Emi and her friend split the money. Then the following day Emi and Nate washed my mom and grandpa's cars, who in turn paid them. When I picked them up that evening they asked me to take the money and put it toward the adoption. So we are now $10 closer in our savings.
We will move forward in Faith!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Exciting News

I just received the Home Study report for us to review. It looks great, which means the first and biggest step is complete! I can hardly breathe!! This is a huge step in being able to bring the rest of our family home. The agency will now notarize the home study and send it to us. Once they notarize it we will have to send it to the immigration office here in Cincinnati so they can complete our paperwork. The immigration office already approved our application and accepted us. But in order to complete things on their end, which is the I-171, they need the home study report.

I am hoping by the end of next week the only things left on the list are the PSY report, wait for the 171 to come back to us, Eric's Employment letter and then we can send everything off to be apostatized. Then step two is done!!!

HOLY COW!!! This is exciting!
Love to all of you reading!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Another Step Closer

As you have probably noticed I have added the list of paperwork items for you to see how far we have come and for you to see what we have left. I tried to remember everything, but did not have my list with me when updating the blog, so I may have missed one or two things. I also changed the color scheme to represent the colors on the Colombian flag.

Last week was a big week. We completed our Home Study and the Social Worker is writing up her report as we speak. We also completed our 10 hours of parenting education. I plan to complete a few other items on the list this week and then WOW...we are really getting close. The biggest thing that we will have to wait for is the Psychologist report. Once we meet with the PSY he will have to write the report, hopefully it doesn't take too long. Eric will also need to get a letter from his employer, which is just a form letter and should not take too long.

Also, just an update about Eric's job. Long story made short, just pretend he never left his job in the first place :-). God works in mysterious ways and as it ended up, he is now working back at Midas and is the Cincinnati District Manager. He no longer has to drive to Dayton everyday!!! Yippee!!! We are very excited and Eric is happy.

Now, back to the adoption. The list on the right side of your screen is a list of the paperwork we need to complete the Home Study and the Dossier, which are the two main parts of the process of adopting internationally. Below is a general list of steps we need to go thru in order to bring our children home.

1) Complete a Home Study with a Social Worker - This is complete for the most part. Once the Social Worker completes her report, which she is working on, this will be complete.

2) Complete the Dossier - This is a bunch of legal stuff and paperwork for the international side of things. Everything will have to be notarized then sent off to be apostatized, which is a process of someone checking to be sure our notaries are valid. We are really close to being able to send off all of our notarized items.

3) Send all items to be translated into Spanish

4) Send all items to the Colombian government and wait for approval. We will be notified when they receive our paperwork and we are approved.

5) Receive a referral. This is when we receive photos and background info on the children.

6) Travel 4 - 6 weeks after we accept the referral.

I know this is a lot to take in, but we have had so many questions about the process and the amount of paperwork. I thought putting it in a list form may help you all to understand a bit better.

Adios for now!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Getting Closer

Yesterday Eric and I had an appointment with a marriage therapist. We had to have an assessment of our marriage which included how we deal with stress, how we problem solve, what do we include or not include the kids on. We had to discuss the most difficult time in our marriage and how we dealt with it etc. The point is that anytime you bring in an older child to your family, there will be stress and additional issues to deal with. Colombia wants to be sure that the the adopting family is strong and will be able to deal and overcome the additional stresses that may come with the child/children. Anyway, the appointment went very well and the therapists report will be complete in a week.

After the appointment Eric and I began to discuss what all is left to do. We both became very excited to see the light at the end of the paperwork tunnel! We have to set up visit with the psychologist for personality testing and Eric needs a letter from his employer, proving his salary, and other general employment issues. Then we have to write an autobiography of ourselves. These are the next major steps. There are some additional things we will need to do too, but what I have just listed are the next steps we are focusing on completing.

Baseball is almost over and we will have a few weeks before Football and Cheerleading start, so I am hoping to accomplish a lot of this in the next few weeks. My real goal is to have all of our items complete by the first of August!

The kids are getting excited too. They have stopped asking a lot of questions so I have been trying to be creative with thoughts to give to them. Food for thought, kind of. They are in for such a shock and I want them to be as prepared as possible. My thought for them this week is on the country and our trip itself. I want them to view it as an adventure and to find something to learn everyday while we are there. The trip will be hard, just being away from home for 3 to 4 weeks, but also they will have to go to every legal appointment with us. They are so well behaved, but even they will get tired of the running to all of the appointments we will have to attend. I want them to be prepared for the change in food style, and the fact that they will not understand anything the people around them are saying. It's easy to accept these things for a few days, but for a whole month...can any of us really be prepared for that?

Hope everyone is doing well. I will write more soon.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Slowly but Surely

Here is an update for those of you reading.

It has been so busy, other than the adoption paperwork, that I haven't had time to think about the blog. The kids are out of school, baseball is coming to a close, Emilee's dance recital is this weekend, the kids took off for camp for 3 nights, Eric was offered a job 3 miles from home, more money, and just one shop instead of 7. His boss was a bit surprised at him taking a "demotion", but it's really a blessing from God. Less stress, less travel, close to home, and more money!

With all of that going on, and that's not even all, it's been kind of hard to keep our heads above water. I was feeling a bit discouraged because I hadn't spent any time on the adoption. But the other day I was able to get back on track.

The last thing we need to do in order to complete the first set of paperwork is to meet with a Psychologist and a therapist. We have to have personality tests, an assessment of our mental health, an assessment of our family life, and Emi and Nate have to be interviewed too. Normally this is about a $500 process, but Eric recently met a guy who is a Psychologist and wants to do the assessments and reports for us for free!! It has been so amazing to see God's hand at work in all of this. So anyway, we are setting appointments and hope to have all the reports completed by the end of June.

We also have one more meeting with the social worker, then we will have the Home Study complete...yippee!

The next step is just more paperwork, but it doesn't require as much running. We have to write biographies, a letter to the Colombian government, have tons of stuff notarized, etc. But for now we are just focusing on completing the Home Study.

I am so excited to think that we could actually have all of this complete and out of our hands the first part of August. I know it's all in God's timing. He has given me a real peace about everything we have done so far.

This is such an amazing time in our lives, we are getting anxious to be able to bring the rest of our family home.

Love to all of you! I will let you know when our Psy Report is complete and another step is behind us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Questions / Answers

Wow, we have had great response to the blog already. And lots of questions to go with it . It's hard for me to know what to include or what to tell people. So fell free to ask questions. It helps to guide me in informing all of you.

First...How do I leave a comment on the blog? Just click comment at the end of the daily journal. Then it will bring up a screen for you to type a msg. You will have to give yourself a user name and password for it to post. But you don't have to open a google account to do so.

Second...Will we see the kids before we travel? Yes, we will receive a photo, medical information and any background info available. After seeing this info we will "Agree" that these kids are to be ours. Then we prepare to travel. We will travel 4 - 6 weeks after we "Agree". This will not happen for several months.

Third...How long will we be in Colombia? We will have to stay for 3 - 4 weeks. We will be taking Emi and Nate with us. It will be a good cultural experience and life lesson for them. Yes, they will be in for a culture shock. We have tried to give them bits of culture each week to try and prepare them. But they will still experience culture shock. We want them to see where their siblings are from and to experience some of what that part of the world is like. We show them all the photos we can find to help prepare them for the sights.

Forth...Will the kids be Spanish speakers? Yes. I am taking Spanish at the college now. Eric is good with languages, and knows some Spanish, he will be fine. I will go nuts if I can't communicate at least somewhat for a whole month while we are there. Not to mention that I want to know if my children are telling me they are hungry, sleepy, etc. :-)

Fifth (last)...Will the kids come from an orphanage or foster care? They could come from either. The agency we work with works thru both orphanages and foster services. We won't know until we get our referral.

Thanks for all the interest. Hope everyone is doing well.