Friday, June 5, 2009

Our First Paperwork Hiccup

Well, after thinking everything we needed to complete the home study was finished, we got an email from our social worker yesterday that the USCIS has just instituted a new rule that you have to get a central registry check for child abuse/neglect from every state you have resided in the past ten years.  For us that meant sending off application forms to Nevada, Illinois, Tennessee, and Missouri!  Debbie has been so gracious to help us get all this done before we leave.  We thought it might not happen by Monday, but we received our last form for Illinois today and will put it in the mail tomorrow.  Praise the Lord!  All to say, no clothes are in the suitcases yet, but I think the paperwork for the home study is now really done.  We also started the online training that is required and will complete that during this next month.   This has been one intense but wonderful week!  Carson turned three on Monday and is very excited to be a "big" boy now.  We had a super fun "tractor" party for him with all the families with kids from church.  We are praying for grace to get all packed for our big trip out West and excited to have one more Sunday service and potluck with our church family before we head out of town.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our Homestudy is Completed!

Within 2 and a half weeks of our first home study interview, it is completed!  Now our social worker who is an amazing Christian woman named Debbie Taylor will write the report and we should receive all of the notarized copies in a few weeks.  As soon as we do this, we will be able to send in our I-600A application to the USCIS which will be the last thing we need to wait on approval for before we can send our Dossier to Ethiopia.  The I-600A is the petition to the US government to be approved to adopt an orphan.   The Lord has been giving us favor and grace to work hard and fast as Debbie said we have the record on document collection :)  She has been so gracious to meet with such an accelerated pace.  (An average home study takes 3 months to complete.)
We also have received $3600 dollars so far for the adoption costs which is close to the amount we have needed for this first portion of the process!  We are so thankful for the provision of the Lord through His Body!  We love having this testimony!   I will post a schedule of the fees and what we have already paid as soon as possible.  The next large portion of money will be due when we send in our dossier.  The total we will to send at that point is $7050.  Later this month we will need to send in $830 with our I-600A. To look at the Ethiopia program information and fees on our agencies website, you can go to  and click on the Ethiopia under programs.  
Our whole family is going out to Southern California on June 8th to spend a week with family and friends, going to Sea World and Disneyland, and culminating in Nathan's graduation from The King's College and Seminary in Van Nuys with his MDiv.  Then Nathan will return home for a few weeks and I will travel to Reno with my parents and our kids to spend three weeks with family there.  Nathan will return for the 4th of July and my birthday (July 5th) and we'll be back in Knoxville on July 7th.  While we are gone, we will be working on our education requirements for the adoption.  We need to take an online Hague accredited course on adoption and read six books each on adoption and parenting.  The cost for the class is $175.  We are thankful we both love to read as this will make this requirement enjoyable as well as informative.  
While we have been working on our home study we have also been collecting our documents required for the dossier which are quite extensive, but we are close to completing that as well.  By the time we receive our U.S. approval (1-3 months) we will be ready to begin the certification process for our dossier.
For anyone interested in learning about Ethiopia and the situation there in regards to orphans, there is an excellent and heart wrenching book called There's No Me Without You.  I have not been able to make it through a chapter without crying.  There are almost 5 million orphans in Ethiopia at this time due to the Aids epidemic and poverty combined.  This book puts names and faces (it has pictures) to those incomprehensible statistics, and has only confirmed in my heart that we must do something to show God's heart for these people.  It is amazing to realize that my heart will forever care and pray daily for the people of Ethiopia and her children.  He is already putting a love in our hearts for our daughter and her people that is overwhelming!  We appreciate everyone's prayers and gifts very much--may the Lord continue to go before us as we take each step forward in this journey.