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!