Sunday, September 30, 2007

Homestudy paperwork complete!

Our homestudy paperwork including 4 background checks (Department of Children and Families, local, state, and FBI), and our health forms complete with blood test results will be in the mail tomorrow! This should complete our homestudy and hopefully it will get sent to the USCIS this week! Once it gets to the USCIS they will have all three parts (so long as they accepted Mike's digital fingerprints!). These are the application, digital fingerprints, and the homestudy. Then it's a waiting game to get approval :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our kiddos

I finally got some new *decent* pictures of our two kiddos! Lately all I have gotten are closed eyes and shy glances. Here's another peek at Kristopher and Brianna. The kids were thoroughly enjoying some pizza, so yes, that's food all over Kristopher's face :) These were taken on Tuesday evening. I can't wait to have Aleksa in on the pizza messes!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Kristopher's getting it

Kristopher is really asking questions now about whether there's really a person named Aleksa and she's really coming to live here. He's often asked where her parents are or if when she stays with us if her mom and dad will come and get her like the baby that I watch during the day. We've explained to him that she doesn't have any parents right now and his mommy and daddy will be hers too. Also, that she will be his sister and this will be her home. Noone will be coming to pick her up, she's here always.

Well... I guess he's listening, even if he isn't fully understanding yet! Today at Wal-Mart an older woman said hello to the kids and asked him if he has a granny. He said 'no' but I told him that he has a Grandma and a Grandmommy, and those are all the same as Granny. Ok, he got that. Then he replied with "I don't have any parents either!" So I asked who I am and he said "you'll be my parents later." LOL I explained to the very nice lady (with a very shocked face!)that we are adopting and he has recently been asking many questions about the child's parents... Who'd have thought he would go around telling people that HE doesn't have parents?? I guess sometimes all you can do is laugh!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


USCIS or CIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
INS: Immigration and Naturalization Services
Homeland Security: includes the CIS and the INS
I-600a: paperwork- we file this petition to adopt an orphaned child internationally
I-171H: paperwork- the 'ok' that is sent back to us from the INS to adopt
SDA: State Department for Adoptions (in Aleksa's country)
dossier: paperwork packet for adoption
apostille: state level notary stamp
Ds: Down syndrome
SN: Special needs

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Saving the world

I love this story and read it again the other day in a book called Adoption Miracles by Karen Kingsbury. I don't know who the original author of the story is. Here is my paraphrase...

A little boy walked along the shore one day after thousands of starfish had been beached in the sand. Each step of the way he bent down and picked up a starfish and threw it back in to the ocean. A man walked by and told the boy that he'd never save them all, why even try? The little boy looked at the man, bent down, picked up another star fish and replied "it mattered to this one" and threw it back in to the ocean.

No, we can't save the world, but we can make a difference one child at a time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's a dossier

Basically it's the packet of papers that get sent over to the foreign government. Every document has to be a 'certified copy' or an original, needs to be notarized with both a county stamp and a state stamp (called an Apostille). Here's what it includes:
  • Homestudy
  • Agency license
  • Social workers license
  • Letter from homestudy agency stating social worker's employment status
  • I-171 H approval letter from INS
  • Photocopy of parents passports on one piece of paper
  • Local and State police clearance letter
  • Letter of employment
  • Letter of Health
  • Marriage certificate
  • Petition to Adopt
  • Letter of Obligation
  • Power of Attorney
  • Returned/Rejected Dossier letter
  • Cover letter

Monday, September 10, 2007

The real test of adoption

is not whether or not you will commit to love and care for, provide for and include, raise up and teach... it is whether or not you can make it through the process to get them!

Today I decided I should get my bloodwork done since Tomorrow is already booked pretty tight and I don't want to wait too long to do it. So I load up my two kiddos and the baby that I watch (5 mos old, I will call her Bella). We get in the car, drop by and have lunch with my husband at the church, then off I go to the hospital to get my labs drawn.

Not too complicated- sign in, they give you a buzzer (the hospital has a huge atrium area and the lab waiting is in there- thank GOODNESS!) and you wait for registration. And you wait...and you wait... and you visit the bathroom with your 3 yr old, and you go to the car for a bottle for the baby (might as well get the entire bag so we don't have to make another trip). And then you finally get called for registration. Turn over your insurance info... and wait... Wait for them to upload you in to the system, change addresses, make sure you're still married to the same person (seriously, they asked me that). And of course comment on "Are these ALL YOURS??" Luckily, I could answer "No"! LOL After registration they send you back in to the atrium for yes, a little more waiting. We looked at the fountain, made laps around the waiting area, toured the seating for the cafeteria, explained to Kristopher about 50 times that no, we wouldn't be climbing those beautiful winding staircases nor would we be riding the elevator today. It's lucky that Leo and Annie (from the Little Einsteins) hitched a ride or we would have been very out of luck. Finally we settle (for about the 10th time) in to some chairs and Brianna was making enough fuss to want out of the stroller (of course I was holding Bella the entire time since she wanted nothing to do with the carseat after getting out for her bottle). So with two girls on my lap, the stroller parked in a 'no parking zone' and Kristopher making laps around both the stroller and me, they call my name. Hmm... now what? Toss two girls into chairs, clean up the entire ensemble of Little Einsteins (along with a machbox car and his sunglasses, the buzzer and my paperwork...), and follow the lady through the double doors.

Now I have to brag on the nurses though. I come in with three kids, two girls that are obviously unhappy about the quick way they were put down and their lack of movement in the now still stroller, and the nurses did not run away. In fact, another came over and cooed at Bella while she told of the tragedy of being put down. Kristopher was enthralled with the idea that MOM was getting the shot, and Brianna sat like a princess making eyes with other nurses as they roamed the halls- since of course with a double stroller we were all pretty much in the hall!

I do believe that the reason that they needed bloodwork done may not have been for the actual blood tests at all, but for the test of GETTING it drawn! CAN you survive going to the hospital with three children and waiting forever? There's never a boring day... never at all.

Best of all, that's not the end. We then proceeded to the bank and on to the Sherriff's department for fingerprints. By this time I'd talked Michael in to joining us and it was a much smoother process. Then off to the records department for local background checks and HOME AT LAST! So, we can check off bloodwork, local background checks, and fingerprinting! YAY!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Want to see??

We were just given a link to our 'sponsorship' page on Reece's Rainbow. I didn't realize they would do this, but on my 'private' link Aleksa's picture is on there! Don't be thrown off by the name, it is a nickname. So all of you across the country whom I told couldn't see her yet- here ya go!

Monday, September 03, 2007

A little about Aleksa

We have been fortunate to find out some info about little Aleksa that we never thought possible. Thanks to a new friend who has held and interacted with Aleksa, we can share a few details of our little one! Aleksa has medium brown hair and GREEN eyes (I told Mike we would end up with a child with green eyes like his eventually!) She is very tiny, an approximate height is 36" and weight of 25 lbs. This is an 'eyeballed guess'. Just a little perspective: Kristopher was about 28 lbs and 36" at TWO years old. Aleksa is 4 1/2. She currently has a very short cut- about 3" of hair all the way around that stands up a little. We can't wait to put bows in it and let it grow a little! In order to be in the orphanage that she is in she is probably day-time potty trained, able to feed herself, and able to be involved with the other children enough that she doesn't require too much individual attention (although what child doesn't NEED it??).

How our adoption will work

Our adoption process will be a little different than some. First, we chose a country to pursue. Then we do all of the paperwork and fulfill the requirements before we travel. When we travel we will be given a referral of a chid. If the child we originally considered is available, then she will be referred to us. If not, then we can know that God has used her as an instrument to lead us on this journey to reach another child. We are not actually 'preselecting' her, but there are not many families interested in adopting these children with special needs, so the chances are VERY good that she will be waiting. If she is not then we would ask for a referral of a 5-7 yr old girl with Down syndrome and go from there. Now I will tell you some more about Aleksa without having to explain this every time. :D

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Beginning

We are adopting! At the request of friends and family I've set this up so you can follow along on our journey. The beginning... We have a child 'in mind' and are planning for a 5 year old little girl with Down Syndrome. For the time being we will call her Aleksa. She will be just over a year older than Kristopher and 3 years older than Brianna, which seems to us like a perfect fit! It looks like we will be traveling to meet Aleksa in March/April and will bring her home shortly after!

At the moment we have scheduled our home study (this Friday!), completed the application for my passport (Mike has his already) and completed the I-600a (Homeland Security petition to adopt an orphan child) paperwork. This week I'll be working on getting copies of Mike's and my birth certificates so that both applications can go in the mail. I also need to get a check cut for the I-600a and a photo for my passport. By the end of the week all 3 pieces will be started.

Soon after receiving our I-600a we should get an appointment for digital figngerprints to be done. Once those are in, the homestudy is done, and my passport arrives we will be on to the first waiting phase! This initial process usually takes about 3 months. We shall see!