Friday, January 26, 2007

Very, Very Close to a Referral

We are excited to announce that the mounds and mounds of paperwork are completed (thanks to Kim) and we mailed the remaining birth certificates, marriage certificates and notarized this, that and the other thing to Acres of Hope today along with a check for half the adoption fee. We have received our appointment to be finger printed (required for our I-600A) and it is scheduled for Tuesday February 13 in Milwaukee. Our Home Study will be completed on Monday and mailed to Acres of Hope by our agency - ECFA. So after February 13th (after they receive the I-600A), we will be anxiously waiting and praying for our referral from Acres of Hope Liberia. So we have begun to actually discuss names. Trust me it all seems so surreal.

Regarding the finger printing, we still have some details to work out. Kim and I have committed to a missions trip to help rebuild Biloxi, MS from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. We went down last October and were so touched by the people of Biloxi that we wanted to go again and help, even if in just a little way, to make a difference for someone in need down there. I was scheduled to go from Feb 10-18, and Kim is scheduled to go from Feb 17-24. Unfortunately our finger printing falls right in the middle of my trip and I already have plane tickets purchased and all that jazz. From all our consulting with others who have been through the adoption process, you don't want to miss your finger printing unless your willing to be significantly delayed. They only allow those who miss their finger printing to be seen on Wednesdays on a first come first serve basis with no guarantee that we will be seen. So we could drive all the way down to Milwuakee, wait all day, and still not have finger prints. And with Kim and I both going to Biloxi, that alone would push us back 2 weeks with no guarantees. So I have decided to reschedule or possibly not go to Biloxi. I'd appreciate your prayers for God to work out the details with regards to that. Either to find someone to replace me to go, or for me be able to adjust my flights in such a way as to still serve in Biloxi for just a couple days rather than the whole week.

The only other news is that we had all the windows in our home replaced this week and will be having siding installed sometime in February. We live in a "this old house" home. It's 94 years old and 75% of the windows you could not open. 3 were broken, another 2 cracked, and all in general need of repair. They were extremely drafty in winter to where we resorted to plastic in winter to stop the breeze. So we are happy to have more insulated windows that actually open. On the Korean Connection - our guests will be heading home next Friday. We've enjoyed the experience and will try to make the most of the last couple days we have with them.

Give Thanks in All Circumstances for this is God's Will for You in Christ Jesus

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another Step Closer

Well we completed our series of Home Study visits on Friday. We also received our security clearance from our local Law Enforcement, and received my employment verification form, and our final letter of reference. So once we receive our I-600A and they schedule our finger printing, we'll have everything we need for Acres of Hope to give us a referral. This will be very exciting, to be able to put names and faces to what to this point is just a dream and a goal, but not so much real children. But it will also represent the most difficult part, which is waiting to get them once we know who they are.

Kim and I are going to get official copies of our Birth Certificates and our children's birth certificates because we need several copies for different steps along the way. Other than that we hope to get our 2nd shot for Hepatitis A vaccination. On the non-adoption front we still have our Korean guests, and our dog Emma bit Jae Hyun this afternoon. Nothing major, but I think our dog finally had enough of the in-your-face and abuse. Koreans, due to the fact that most live in high-rise apartments rarely have dogs and Emma's put up with a lot, but today finally broke. I know how she feels. The kids are only here until February 2nd, just under 2 weeks, and they will be very busy sight-seeing the last two weeks, so i'm sure they will be tired, and it should go by quickly. Also we are having all the windows in our home replaced, and so beginning Tuesday they will begin replacing 27 of them - one by one.

Lastly, today they had a Right To Life march in Shawano, and our church had it's first ever Celebrate Life pot-luck and celebration. It was great! It reminded me again why Kim and I are doing what we're doing. All life is precious to God. God created us all in His wonderful image, and before each of us took a breath, before we were even formed in our mother's womb, he knew us. He knows the children we are going to adopt, and he cares for them. And in our own little way, in declaring that all life is precious, we want to make a difference in two children's lives. To be the hands and feet of a God who truly does care for them. To Bless them through what we have been blessed with, which ultimately comes from Our God who Blesses. Not everyone is called to adopt. But we can all find ways in our own communities to help the helpless. Find ways to serve others and you will experience a profound joy and blessings.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In for the Long Haul

Well our final Home Study visit was rescheduled for Friday, and according to our social worker the final report is usually ready in about a week. So we'll take a big step towards getting our dossier to Acres of Hope and getting a referral. We stopped off at the County Sherriff's Department to file paperwork for crimal background check and security clearance for adoption. When we pulled into the parking lot for the county jail, our daughter Elizabeth said "Wow, there sure are a lot of people adopting" which made both Kim and I laugh heartily. Also we drove all the way down to Oshkosh this morning to get our second Hepatitis A vaccination only to find out they had no adult doses left. It's all part of the process. Preparing us to be patient and ready for little set backs along the way.

Donna, a representative from Acres of Hope gave us this general timeline for the adoption from Liberia. Once they get our dossier and I-600A approval from the US Government, we will get a referral for our children within 1-3 months (Feb-Apr). I actually think the referral will come quickly because they have so many waiting children. The younger the child requested, the longer the wait. We have requested a 1 year old and 2 1/2 year old so that may mean a longer wait, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. After the referral, it's 4-5 months (July-Aug) for the adoption process (paperwork, preparing for court, case histories - lots of work for the AoH staff). After the adoption is completed there's a 2-3 month (Oct-Nov) wait for passports out of Liberia for our children and then travel plans going to Liberia and arriving safely back with our new addtions to our family. So 9-12 months is not uncommon. We are praying and trusting that next Christmas we'll celebrate the precious gifts of our new children.

So that's the latest from the Adoption Homefront.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Things Are Settling Down

    Well we have finally adjusted to our family of ten. Children are sleeping during the night and things are no longer so chaotic. They still get loud and excited every now and then like normal 10 and 11 year olds, but all is well on the homefront. Kim is a trooper and cooking, washing and cleaning 'round the clock. She caught a cold so she's a little run down or is it that she was a little run down and caught a cold. Either way she could be feeling better, but is holding her own.

Kim and I had follow-up readings on our TB tests for our physicals and got those signed. I completed our petition to the Liberian government on why we want to adopt and tomorrow we have a date to get several documents and forms signed and notarized. Also we are going to get pictures taken for our passports. So things are still progressing before we hit the dreaded holding pattern. So for now we are too busy with everything else to really give much thought to our adoptive children. To think about whether they were hungry today, or sad or lonely. Fortunately we serve a BIG God who cares about sparrows and who will be trusted to meet all their needs until we get the chance to help him out.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. We are headed to Waukesha this weekend along with 2 korean chaperones to boot. They wanted to come along to see the big city. But we are headed down to send off Kim's nephew Jody who enlisted in the Army. He felt it was his duty to serve, and so please keep him in your prayers, that God would protect him from harms way. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Insanity Sets In

What started out as two Korean visitors has now become four. We accepted two more 10 year old girls for a week due to some circumstances with another host family. But it was completely out of control last night. Had tried unsuccessfully to get them to sleep by 9 and finally had to call a translator to threaten them in order to finally calm them down. But by 5:02am everyone in the house was up. Unfortunately they are still going tonight (like the everready bunnies). Korea is 14 hours ahead of us, so their night is our day, and they haven't adjusted their biological clocks yet. But I'd like to introduce Eunsu Cho (in the red) with her adopted American name Ashley, and Eunbi Jo (in the turqoise) with her adopted name Emily. Ellim our other 10 year old girl was this quiet-thing until the others showed up and now its just a wild bunch of 10 year olds. Eight is DEFINITELY enough.

On the adoption front, Kim and I each had physicals today required for our dossier, and we had our 2nd home study visit. Our final visit, which will include all our children, is next wednesday. Then hopefully within a couple weeks after that our social work will be able to complete it and forward it on to the appropriate parties.

Otherwise Kim's been helping us keep up with the paperwork. Filled out applications for passports. Kim keeps copying and I keep signing. Other than that, nothing new with us.

Until next time...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Ahn Nyung Ha Seh Yo

That's "hello" in Korean. We interrupt this adoption with some exchange students from Korea. I'd like to introduce Jae Hyun Kim (boy) and Ellim Oh (girl). They will be staying with us until February 3rd. They arrived in Green Bay at 6:30 this evening, and so far it's been a real good time. Jae Hyun seems to know a good amount of English and so that will be a great help. Otherwise, thanks to the internet, I can type any phrase in English and it will be translated to Korean with a click of the button. So it helps in a bind. They brought gifts for us and each of the children. One of the gifts was a traditional Korean game called "Yute" so we had fun playing that too.

The latest update on the adoption is that we had our first home study visit this past Tuesday. Our social worker will be back on Monday, and then one more visit after that to wrap it up. We mailed in our I-600A form along with the fee to get finger prints done for both Kim and I. On the I-600A we had to make two very big decisions. 1) we decided to adopt two children 2) we decided we are traveling to Liberia to get the children when that time comes. Those are both faith decisions so we are trusting God will work out the necessary details regarding both. We also joined a user group on Yahoo for all families adopting through Acres of Hope Liberia. It's basically a support group of those in the process or who have been through the process to share tips, tricks and experiences. Through the group we've been able to see pictures of recently adopted children as well as those still in the orphanage waiting to be adopted. They are all so beautiful, and it's incredible to think we might be looking at a future member of our family. Thanks again for caring enough to be part of this process.