Sunday, August 25, 2013

...and we're off!!

We are officially in the Holt China program! My 29th birthday was last Monday so we spent much of Tuesday night filling out the Adoption Application and paying our first $300 towards bringing our kiddo home!
It's official! The application has been submitted!
Our adviser sent us the China program guide book along with all the documents we will need to work on in February. Now we start the 6 month countdown till I turn 29.5 and can get crazy about the home study. Not gonna lie, it's going to be so hard to wait! To help me feel productive I took the advice of Brandyn (a dear friend who just finished her home study and is adopting from Ethiopia) and have been organizing all of our paperwork in a binder. There is a heck of a lot of paperwork. We are going to get really good at filling out forms...

So for now we are getting familiar with the process and making a bit of a schedule for the bizillion forms we need to submit to various government agencies. The biggest project we started this week is mapping out our fundraising plan. We will need about $5000-$6000 to cover our home study and a few other fees. Much of that will need to be paid up front so we are praying and working towards having this first chuck of change by the end of the year.

Tim has started to work on a business venture that we are hoping will help create some of those funds...more to come on that soon! We are going to be heading to our hometown of Tehachapi next month and participating in the annual Bear Valley Rummage Sale in the hopes of making a few $100s as well. Every little bit counts, right? There are a few other fundraising ideas up our sleeves that we will be rolling out over the next few months. We are taking it one step at a time but walking with boldness into this adoption adventure God has set before us!

One last treasure for this post...

When people hear about our upcoming adoption they often ask me what the kids think of it all. Well, lately, any time Sawyer hears the word "China" or sees Chinese characters written somewhere he yells, "Hey, that's China! That is where my brother or sister lives!" Be still my heart. I love this kid...
He is a keeper.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Holy smokes we're actually doing this...

So, as you might have figured from our blog subtitle, we are officially in the process of adopting child number three! It has been a looooonnnngggg road to this point and we have a much longer road ahead of us. The purpose of this blog is to keep our friends and family in the loop with the goings-on of our adventure. As this is our first adoption, we feel like we are kinda making it up as we go, though we have found some amazing resources and will definitely share them over the next few months. 

Sometime soon I will blog about the "how we got here" story but for now I wanted to write a "where are we today" post in effort to stay current...

As of today we are working towards adopting a child with limb difference (missing a leg, arm, foot, hand, etc). When we had originally begun looking at countries, we settled on the Philippines and began looking at agencies working in East Asia. The more we learned about the Philippines, the more excited we became. The culture, the government's approach to adoption, the cost...we were in. The only road block we kept coming across was that not many children with limb differences were being adopted out of the Philippines. I began to call some larger agencies working in East Asia and asking them about Waiting Children (that is the official term for adoptable kids with special needs) with limb difference. No one had good news. Everyone told us to go to China. 

Now, we never crossed China out, but China has a few more rules and stipulations than most countries, one of which being that both adoptive parents must be at least 30 at the time a dossier (all the paperwork required to request an international adoption) is submitted. China is also a bit more expensive than the Philippines and since this adoption will be primarily paid for via fundraising, we were hoping for a total cost of less than $20,000. Lastly, we are ready to move on this adoption. Having to wait an entire year before I turn 30 and can apply to China felt like forever. The road to international adoption is tedious enough. 

All of this to say, last week China was not high on our list. 

While talking with a social worker about what country she felt fit our profile best she said, "If you want to go where the need is greatest, go to China." She then proceeded to tell me about the many children with Amnionic Band Syndrome and limb differences who are regularly added to the Waiting Child list. She also explained that with the Waiting Child grant offered by her agency, our total cost would be between $22,000-24,000.

So we began to ask whether our son/daughter might be in China. And today, we think our son/daughter is in China. I am hoping that as we get a bit further down the road, we will KNOW our son/daughter is in China...though I know once we reach that point in the journey, it will become monumentally harder to wait to bring him/her home.

We will be working with Holt International and they have put together a plan and timeline to keep us moving forward as quickly as possible. We will submit our initial application to Holt on my birthday, August 19th. We will then take the next six months to begin saving and raising money to cover the cost of the homestudy and stateside legal fees. On February 19th, my half-birthday, we will officially begin our homestudy. This process should take 4-6 months, getting us as close as possible to my 30th birthday. On August 19th of next year, we will (Lord willing) submit our dossier to China. The social worker I have been speaking with said that because we are willing to take a special needs child, our wait for a match could be as quickly as 1-2 months. Once a referral is made and we accept, there is about a three month wait till we can begin making travel plans. Best case scenario, we will be flying to China to pick up our child in about 18 months. I am very aware of the fact that international adoptions rarely go according to plan but we will be praying for things to stick as close to the ideal timeline as possible. 

So that is all of it in a nutshell. There is so much more to the story and I will use this blog to fill in the holes as the weeks go on. God has already taught us so much and I am thankful to have a means to record what He is doing in our lives. I love to think that someday our third child will be able to read over these posts and clearly see the hand of God orchestrating his/her arrival to our family!

"God sets the lonely in families..." Psalm 68:6