I’m happy to announce that today all of our paperwork (Dossier and I600A- immigration approval) left my house to head to our agency in Alabama and then hopefully make it’s way to Haiti in the near future. Not a lot new on this end with the adoption other than the large stack of paperwork is out of my house and I couldn’t be happier about that!
The people of Haiti could use some prayers! The prime minister resigned from his position in December. The President, Michel Martelly, just installed a new prime minister this past Friday. However, he still does not have the constitutional approval of parliament, whose term ended January 12 without any date being set for new elections. Our agency sent us an email last week saying this “I know that we have all been praying as the Haitian government continued to make decisions and work through challenges. The potential elections did not occur yesterday, and this has caused unrest in the Port-au-Prince area. The unrest has resulted in riots some of which have become violent in nature. There is potential that the unrest could cause different governmental offices to close for several days. All of our in-country staff, homes, and children are safe and doing well.” Please pray for the Haitian people and government.
I never got to personally thank everyone that was a part of the Chosen Marathon with us! What an awesome, Christ centered event that we are so thankful we were able to be a part of! It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for all of you who ran with us and helped financially support us! This adoption does feels like a marathon in so many ways. We have already been in the process for 16 months and we have a lot longer to go but the end goal (bringing our son home) is what are keeping our eyes on and pressing towards!
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Just wanted to give an update to those of you wondering what’s going on in our adoption world. For the last 2 months (since we made the decision to switch our adoption country to Haiti) we have been redoing all of our adoption paperwork and medicals. We had to do an update on our home study. We also had to redo our whole dossier as most of our paperwork had expired and Haiti had some different requirements than Ethiopia.
Here’s where we are now and how you can pray for us.
1. We are currently waiting on Mississippi to send a criminal clearance for Emil. As soon as this paper is received our home study will be done.
2. Once home study is complete we add that to our paperwork to turn into immigration then we wait for their approval.
3. While we are waiting on immigration approval I’m sending paperwork to the state level for authentication. Then we wait again to receive these documents back and add them to our Dossier.
3. Once we get immigration approval and our docs back from authentication at the state level then I can mail our Dossier to our agency. Our agency sends to Washington (I think) for more approvals and then they will have our Dossier translated before it goes to Haiti. Once received in Haiti we will get on the waiting list for a referral!
Currently the wait for a referral for a child is said to be about 8-12 months. Within 2 weeks of getting the referral Emil and I will head to Haiti for a 2 week visit to meet our son and spend time with him. Our agency is hopeful that sometime in 2015 Emil and I will be in Haiti! That’s exciting news to me!
Thanks for all your prayers and support thus far! Please pray our clearances and government approval would come back quicker than expected! And that I will continue to have patience! I’m very anxious to get this huge stack of paperwork out of my house!
The Tampa Chosen Marathon that we have been training for to benefit and bring awareness to adoption is in 2 weeks! We have a 12 mile run this weekend to wrap up our long runs in our training! I’ve never ran a half marathon before and I can say during this training it has been a good reminder to me of what adoption will be like. I’ve had many ups and downs in training. Days you feel great while running and days you feel like death would be better than to continue running another step (okay that’s a little dramatic). But we have been determined to finish, Kept our eye on the end prize, persevered to the end, and I know at that finish line it’s going to be a special feeling. Not only a great feeling that 13 miles is over and I can sleep in some days instead of getting up at 5:30am to go torture my body – ha ha – but the joy of being given my medal by an adopted child and knowing that everyone there has come together and trained for months on end to bring awareness to adoption and are there to care for the fatherless. It’s going to be a great event and we are so excited to be a part of it. I’m really excited to continue my running journey hoping to be a part of this great run and this organization (chosen and abba fund) every year – Not only for my own child’s benefit but for the benefit of all adopted children!
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.
With much prayer, research and seeking advice from other families that are also in this adoption journey, we have made the decision to switch our adoption country from Ethiopia to Haiti. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes in Ethiopia that have us feeling uncertain about how long it will actually take us to bring home a child. Our agency was currently asking families on the waiting list to patiently wait in the adoption process with Ethiopia for at least 3-4 years from now, and based on how things are currently moving we feel it actually could be much longer than that. We still feel a strong love and burden for the country of Ethiopia. Although our son won’t be joining our family from this country anymore we have decided to still support a little boy in this country through the wonderful mission of Compassion International.
The Lord has really opened doors and moved our hearts towards Haiti. When we first started the adoption process in order to adopt from Haiti some of the international adoption requirements were things we did not meet such as; the adoptive parents must be 35 years old, must be married for 10 years and had to have no biological children. With these requirements in place when we first started the adoption process Haiti was not an option for us to adopt from that country. Recently the international adoption criteria has changed to one adoptive parent must be at least 30, five years of marriage and you can have biological children, all of which we do meet!
The process in Haiti is very different than Ethiopia although it will still be a lengthy process we have high hopes it should be quicker than Ethiopia in bringing our son home. There’s still much uncertainty in Haiti and their adoption process but we are trusting the Lord that he will work all of those things out in His time.
So what now? First we wait on Lifeline to approve us to be a part of the Haiti program. Then we have to do an update on our homestudy and we have to redo our Dossier, which is the packet of paperwork that will go to Haiti including more doctors’ visits, immigration approval stuff like that. Then we wait again, but hopefully a shorter wait to get a referral match. The Haiti program director with Lifeline (our agency) feels within 6 months of submitting our Dossier to Haiti we should have a referral for a child – could be shorter or longer. The referral for a Haitian child is a little different than an Ethiopian referral. Once we receive a referral soon after we head down to Haiti for a two week trip to meet and bond with our child. After our visit then we wait again with behind the scene approvals going on for an unknown amount of time before we bring him home. The wait will still be long but it will be different than it would have been from Ethiopia and maybe even harder knowing that we have met our son, held him, played with him, fell in love with him and can’t bring him home until paperwork is completed. In a way it could make the wait easier too though knowing that it’s for something tangible and real since we will have met our son.
We are excited and sad at the same time about our news. I just had a long conversation with Owen about why we switched countries. Owen had fallen in love with Ethiopia and I hope to help his love for Ethiopia to continue in him! But we can say with confidence we feel this is the next step the Lord is leading us through in our adoption journey! We have already learned and grown a lot through this so we can’t wait to see what else He has for us :)
Isaiah 40:21 Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether it be to the right or to the left.
Got an email today from our agency that we are now #26 on our referral waiting list. Referrals are actually happening again in Ethiopia. That’s so encouraging to see! Even though we know we still have a long wait we are excited to see other families, that are also working with the west sands and dove agencies, bringing home their babies.
The big news on our front is that we are starting to get ready for our Chosen Marathon. We are very excited about it and starting to train for the half marathon. Our church, family and friends have been so supportive. Many people who have never run before are starting to train and possibly going to do the race with us.
We are excited for what Chosen stands for and their support of orphans and adoptive families across the world. For more info on the race and how you can be a part of it see the tab “Chosen Marathon” on our blog or go to Chosenmarathon.com!
We only get an update once a month now, so you probably wont hear from me again until July 1:) Until then…
I heard today from our Ethiopian adoption agency that we are #29 on the referral list. This means with our agency their are 28 families in front of us to receive a referral for a child. Although that number doesn’t sound like a HUGE number, in our case it actually is. Since November of 2013 our agency has only given out one referral and it was a sibling group ages 5 and 7. They haven’t been able to refer any children under age 5 in about a year. The process in Ethiopia has become a lot more complicated, hopefully for the good. They are intending to make sure each child that is referred to a family is truly an orphan.
The way referrals work is that the orphanage will let our agency know when they have children who are “document ready” – meaning all documents needed to satisfy the U.S. Embassy and the Ethiopian Courts have been obtained and translated. When they receive the documents, they review them carefully and then – if they appear to be accurate and complete – our agency prayerfully refers that child to a waiting family on the list who has indicated a preference for that age/gender.
With all of this said, we have been asked to be patient for the next 2-3 years. It’s a lot longer process than we originally thought. We are excited that we are now on the referral waiting list and we are just ready to see what the Lord has in store for us as we wait! I think with all the paperwork completed I’ve really started to internalize how our life is going to change with our new son! I’ve started to pray for our son and his birth mother so much more in the past couple of weeks. I am excited and nervous to see what the future holds:)
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended the Quail hunt fundraiser. Emil had a great time so hopefully everyone who went did as well! A special thanks to Nick and Tullia Yzzi for setting up and planning the fundraiser with Colliers Ranch. Colliers ranch donated $600 towards our adoption fund from the payments made from everyone who attended. Here’s a couple pictures of the Quail Hunt.
Just wanted to give a short update where we are in our adoption journey.
We have been waiting for weeks on two documents to be mailed back to us from Tallahassee after they were sent for State Authentication. This process was supposed to take about 5 days and took 15.
We did receive those items today and I immediately sent our Dossier to our agency in Oregon. Dossier is the Word used for a HUGE stack of paperwork all about us and our financials.
Our Dossier will go from Oregon to Washington. The two docs that needed state authentication also need a higher level of authentication. There’s a non profit organization called caring hands who will personal walk our paperwork over to get this authentication needed.
Once this higher level of authentication is complete the paperwork will go back to our agency in Oregon and then finally to Ethiopia.
Once our Dossier is in Ethiopia we will be put on a waiting list to get our son! This waiting list is normally a minimum wait time of 18 months before we receive a referral. The rate things are going I’m expecting longer.
So that is it for now! Over the next 18 months or so we will be trying to raise and save the rest of our funds needed. We have a large payment to Ethiopia once we receive our referral and then traveling expenses for two trips to Ethiopia.
Our next large fundraiser is going to be in November 2014 a half marathon called “Chosen Marathon”. Once we have more details we will share with everyone! Start training to run 13 miles so you can be a part of this really fun event!
Kerri Metzger and Jasmine Koch, the best hair stylist ever, are cutting hair tomorrow from 9-5 and giving
100% of the proceeds towards bringing home our son!
TWO PRIZE BASKETS HAVE BEEN DONATED FOR THE CUT-A-THON!
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE PRESENT AT THE “CUT A THON” TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THESE BASKETS
One basket was donated by Kerri Metzger and includes
$180 dollars worth of great hair and beauty products and a gift card!
The second basket was donated by Pinot Palette, in Oldsmar.
This basket includes two wine glasses, a bottle of wine and a $90 gift certificate.
Check out their website at http://www.pinotspalette.com/Oldsmar.
For every $5 donation your name will go into the drawing 1 time.
We will do the drawing on Feb 14th – Valentine’s Day!
Here’s how to donate Online http://www.balticadoption.com
Go to the heading “Donate to prize baskets”
Click on the paypal link
In the purpose section put in “gift baskets”
put in the amount you want to donate – for every $5 donated your name will go in 1 time.
A HUGE thank you to Kerri and Jasmine! You both are awesome friends and godly women. I appreciate both of your friendships very much! I love you both! And a special thanks to my sis, Gina, for getting snacks for the ladies while they get their hair done and for getting Pinot Palette to donate the great prize basket.
Seems like a lot longer than just three short months ago that we started our home study process. The Home study process was a love/hate relationship for us. Mainly Love from Angie and Hate from Emil:) ha. Kidding.
One of the love parts of the homestudy was the godly woman we got to work with. Lesley, who did our homestudy for our agency, was great to work with. So far our agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, has been nothing short of fantastic. They have been so helpful with the paperwork and training but most of all the people we have interacted with seem to truly love the Lord. We have learned a lot through the process and are thankful for the people the Lord chose for us to learn from!
Some of the hate part was some of the hard stuff we had to learn. The truth of what orphans and institutionalized children go through and the aftermath and effects of that is hard to swallow. It was somewhat overwhelming to learn how to deal with it once our new son is home with us. Of course we still have so much to learn in our next 18-24 months of waiting but we do honestly feel like after our home study process we are a little more prepared to raise our new son.
Through the homestudy process our main thing that was keeping us focused and calm was how sovereign our God is. Adopting a child with so many unknowns can seem scary at times. But one reassuring truth that we kept coming back to is our God is the one who chooses to love us in our sin and depravity. God knows all the dirt in our hearts, He knows how we run from Him instead of to Him, how we choose sin over obedience, and He still chooses to love us and accept us and he even adopted us into the same inheritance of His perfect obedient Son. We don’t have the misconception that this road will always be easy or perfect but we do know the reward for our family and our new son will be great!
We finalized our homestudy and turned in our I-600A to immigration for approval. The next step is for us to put our dossier together (just some more paperwork that goes to Ethiopia) and to start apply for grants. To date we have raised and saved $12,000 towards our adoption that will cost somewhere around $37,000. Thanks for those who have already supported us! We really appreciate it. Still lots of shirts for sale if anyone wants one let us know. They are cute and comfy!
I just wanted to share a portion of an email I received from a friend this week. My dear friend has been to Ethiopia before on a missions trip and her email this week touched my heart and was exactly what I needed during this busy week of paperwork, t-shirt sales and home study interviews!
Ethiopia is such a beautiful country in so many ways: the look of Ethiopians is different than most African countries (smaller noses, pointier chins, chiseled faces), the women wearing bright colored outfits that contrast with their beautiful dark skin, the joy of every child I met in Ethiopia, the green countryside…even the dusty, unpaved roads and shacks made out of Teff (their main grain in Ethiopia). Anyway, I cant WAIT till you and Emil visit your son’s country! You’re heart will ache for the wide-spread poverty (worse than I saw in India) but somehow these families (at least the ones that I met) still had so much joy and we’re so welcoming.
Reading this email brought joy to my week! It has been a busy two weeks working on loads of paperwork for our home study and meeting with our social worker for our 2nd interview. Sometimes just the small reminders of the end results and end goals are very helpful! Thanks Gibbs aka: Crystal Greis! God used you this week and you didn’t even know it:)
We had our 2nd of 3 home study interview. This was individual interviews – Our first meeting with our social worker Emil and I were together. Our final home study meeting will be on November 25th and then it’s the home stretch, on the home study end of things anyway. We should have our home study completed before Christmas and on to the next phase of the process. It’s a long process but being able to check the first big box of the list I’m excited to do! (I’m one who makes lists just so I can check things off!)