Saturday, October 29, 2011


Thankfully, within the last week we have gotten everything else we needed paperwork-wise to Nichole's desk at Children's Hope.  It all should have been there by 10:00 this morning.  (This should be all that Colombia needs in order to give us an official referral match with the children!)  We knew Nichole was flying back from Colombia last night and that she would be in the office for a few hours today, and just in case she had a chance to forward our paperwork on to Colombia, we wanted it ready for her!

We knew she would be in today - we just didn't know when.  I thought if we did hear from her it would be in an email, so I was really surprised when Kevin came over and said he needed to see me in the office - quickly. 

I didn't have a clue. 

I heard Tyler yell from the kitchen, "Did you get a phone call?" 

I still didn't have a clue. 

Kevin replied in an unbelievably steady voice, "Yes.  That's why I need your mother." 

I'm starting to catch on.  

"Yahoo!" yelled Tyler. 

How did he figure it all out before I did???  

At the door Kevin had to explain to me that Nichole had called!  He said that she had names, genders, birthdays and where they were from!  Ever hear the expression, "Be still my heart?"  I'm not sure if it fits, but I think mine stopped for a few seconds.  Words can not describe how I felt just KNOWING that we were going to get to hear this information. 

We quickly left the children in the house, letting them know we would be back soon to share with them what we found out, and headed over to Kevin's office.  I grabbed pen and paper while Kevin made the call - Oh, no!  He had to leave a message!  I asked if he tried Nichole's direct line and got that for him.  Still busy.  I theorized that Nichole was on the other end giving another family good news and that it could take awhile, so I headed back to the house.  Kevin and I agreed that he would call me on my cell when Nichole called him,and then I would come back to the office.

Back at home, as I walked in the door I yelled that we didn't know anything yet because the phone was busy.  I didn't want the kids getting their hopes up for information just because I walked in the door.

I got myself settled down again at the same place where I am now - yup, in front of the computer.  In just a few more minutes MY phone rings and it's Nichole!  She must not have received Kevin's message to call him at the office.  I had Nichole wait a minute while I got my shoes on and headed back over to Kevin's office.  (His office is above our detached garage.  We wanted to talk to Nichole there b/c we have a nice land-line, otherwise it is just my cell phone with poor reception).  He was surprised when I showed up!  I gave Nichole Kev's office number and had just enough time to grab the pen and paper while waiting for her to call back.

The ages and the genders of the children couldn't be more perfect.  Here is what we learned:

The oldest is a boy and he is 9 years old.
The next is a girl and she is 6 years old.
The next is another girl and she is 4 years old, but will be 5 in December.
The youngest is another boy and he is 3 years old (we thought originally 2 years old).

That means if we travel in January to pick them up, our children will be: 13, 12, 10, 9, 6, 5, 4 and 3!  Oh my - look at it the other way!  They will be 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12 and 13!  It's going to be FUN!  Oh, and as another adoptive mom pointed out to me - we will have 8 children within a 10 year time-span.  I love it.

We did learn their names, but I'm not sure if I can share that yet.  I'll ask next week and then post here if I can.  We also learned that they are from Florencia.  While researching Florencia I found the blog of another family who adopted a sibling group of 3 from the same area.  I'll put that on my side bar.  As soon as I'm done here, I'm going to read through their entire blog!

One of the things that we were hoping for is that we would travel by the end of the year, but that doesn't look like it is going to happen.  Nichole said that ICBF (Colombia) was very disappointed with this as they really like to see the children with their new families as soon as possible, and they hoped we were an I600 family.  If we were doing this adoption under what is called "I-600" then we could have traveled in about 2 weeks.  But since we are what is called an "I-800" family, it will take our government at a minimum of 5 weeks to process all the paperwork they have us fill out.  Bah.  Humbug.

Fortunately, I am a BIG believer in God's perfect timing and that all things are for His glory.  I am totally excited to be a part of this adoption adventure and grateful that He has opened our hearts to building our family through adoption.  The waiting will be hard, but when we do finally get to meet our children it will be all the more sweeter because it is His perfect timing - and not ours (which isn't so perfect).

Can't wait to share more information with all of you!

In His name,


OH!  I forgot to share how Carissa, Tyler, Laurel and Lyric responded to the news.  Tyler was happy to hear that the 3 year old was a boy - he is finally (after 12 years) getting himself a brother.  We said the next two were girls and everyone was really happy about that.  Finally, we said that the oldest, who was 9, was a boy.  Tyler, who was on the other side of the room from me and sitting on the couch, jumped up, ran to me and tackled me in pure joy and happiness.  Laurel is happy that at least one of the older ones is a girl.  Carissa is just happy she is getting more siblings.  And Lyric, we told her she was going to be a big sister.  So far, she's really liking it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a roller coaster kind-of day!

Today definitely had its ups and downs regarding our adoption.  At one point I apologized (via email) to our officer from USCIS for pestering her and not being patient.  It may have been more than one phone call and one email last week to find out information and then it may have been (okay, I think it was) more than one phone call and one email this week to see if there was any new movement on our supplement 3 (approval we need to adopt up to 9 years old instead of up to 8 years old).

You see, there is a great website known as rumor queen (China Adopt Talk) that is mainly geared to China adoptions.  Lots and lots of activity on that site and on the forums.  They keep stats of every bit of paperwork so you know the average timelines for approvals.  I was on it a lot for our adoption of Lyric, and I hopped back on it to track how fast the USCIS paperwork had been moving.  What I was finding was that there were some people who already had their approvals for their I800's (processed at the same time as the supplement 3's) even though they had sent theirs in after us. 

I let this information make me a bit, well, let's be nice and say "a little impatient" and sent me into what could lovingly be called "THE CHECKING ZONE" or not so lovingly as "TEMPORARY OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVENESS IN REGARDS TO VARIOUS ADOPTION PAPERWORK APPROVAL IN ORDER TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP IN THE PROCESS DISORDER".   This disorder looks a little like this (and if you know of anyone who is adopting you may recognize these signs on occasion): Mom is often found sitting in front of the computer.  Just a little at first.  And then you notice that she is more often at the computer then not at the computer.  She may have developed a callus on her right index finger from hitting refresh on her screen every 5 minutes so she can check  to see if there are any new emails.  If she is waiting for a phone call, then when the phone rings, she feels a tightening in her stomach and a "let's not get my hopes up too much" feeling washes over her in the split second before she rushes to see who is calling.  If she is expecting something in the mail, she watches or listens for the mail man.  She KNOWS the earliest that he/she may arrive.  If it is nice out, she may walk out herself to check.  If it is not so nice and it is raining, she may bundle up the children and send them to check the mail while waiting comfortably inside the house at the door where she can yell out, "Anything?" just as soon as the children get close enough to hear her.  (yes!  I'm guilty!  Fresh air is good for kids - even if it is raining). Dinners, breakfasts, and lunches were once really nice with a lot of home-made items.  Now you notice that cereal, mac and cheese, hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are frequenting the menu much more often. (We had hot dogs for dinner and I just bought peanut butter and bread for tomorrow's lunch.  The peach jam is home-made though!) 

Take heart.  The symptoms of this disorder ARE temporary, but they can only be put into remission when whatever piece of paperwork she has been expecting has been delivered.  It is a cycle, but she can be cured.  She will be cured when she holds her precious child in her arms. It is a happy ending for a disorder with a really long name!  (Beware though.  On occasion, some moms who adopt find that the disorder sneaks back into their lives.  Dad's: one sure sign it is coming back is if you often see your wife sitting in front of the computer (again) with pictures of many different children on the screen who don't have family's yet.)  As far as disorders go - it's a really good one to have!)

Back to my day.  Kind-of got side-tracked there.  Because of this disorder, at 12:00 today I told myself I would not check my email again until 4:00.  Gulp.  I only made it until 2:00.  (Baby steps here!)  To my very, very surprised self, there were TWO emails from our officer at USCIS!  I quickly clicked the top one and with a glance saw that we could be approved - IF they get some information from our adoption agency.  I saw all this in a split second.  Not one second later, my phone rings.  Turning in slow motion towards the phone, I hear Laurel say, "It's an unknown caller."  Hopping quickly out of my chair in front of the computer, I rush to answer the phone.  On the other end of the line is our USCIS Officer!  She asked if I had received her email.  I think I blabbered that I had told myself I wouldn't check my email until four, but I couldn't wait that long and had just opened it up when she called (She is a good officer and let me blabber away).  She told me the same thing the email said - that she could approve it today if we got some information from our agency.  They had to send in evidence (a letter) which stated as a Hague-approved agency they had reviewed our home study and that it was all correct and conforms with, well, conforms with something.  In just one of the emails I had previously sent her, I had told her that Nichole, from our agency, was actually in Colombia on behalf of Children's Hope, and that if I could get her our approval while she was still over there then she would get it translated and to the right people quickly.  It seems our officer wanted to make sure, not only just by emailing, but by calling as well, that we could work on it as soon as possible.  I told her I would contact our agency and see if anyone there could get it done, and guess what?  They did! (Thank you, Children's Hope!)  At 4:52 this afternoon we received an email saying that a "favorable decision had been rendered" on our application - in other words, "we were approved!"

Wait!  There's more to the roller coaster ride!  Before Nichole (from our agency) left for Colombia she had emailed and asked when our FBI fingerprints had last been done.  I emailed her the other day that it was in April, but hadn't heard back yet b/c she is now in Colombia.  I finally got around to looking in our travel guide and it said that the FBI prints have to be done within 6 months of travel. UH OH!  It took about 8 weeks to get them done last time and we really would like to be in Colombia by then.  (Personally, I think by the end of 2011 would be perfect timing to get our children, but my "perfect" timing and God's perfect timing isn't the same thing.  Mine is flawed and His is not.  Really excited to see how He works the rest of this adoption story out!)

When Kevin got home from work we rushed over to the police station at 3:30 to get our prints done and in the mail for the FBI in West Virginia.  We did a few more errands (picked up peanut butter and bread) and headed back home by about 5:30.  I felt drawn to the computer.  Really, with this disorder, checking email is very hard to control.  To those who have phones that you can check your email on - oh, how I fight Envy during times like these!  My computer was the first thing I went to.  Well, the second thing.  I got a big hug from Lyric first.

How GREAT it was to see the email from our Officer at USCIS.  We were approved!  But wait.  There is no remission for my disorder yet.  I'm still hoping to get information from our agency about the children.  That could come at ANY time.  And next week, I'm sure to be running out to the mailbox (or in inclement weather I will bundle up the children for their bit of fresh air) just as soon as I think the mail man has been by.

After I checked email and had cheered (another symptom of the disorder I forgot to mention previously.  Cheering can be accompanied with happy tears,hugs, lot's of phone calls to friends and family relaying the good news, and, yes, more time on the computer as the mom updates all her wonderful internet friends because she knows that many of them have experienced the same disorder or are even experiencing it now.), I saw a post on facebook from someone in my local Christian Adoption Support Group.  Before we had left in a rush to get the FBI prints done, I had posted an update on our group (yes, updating others whom you have never met except online at every step of the process is a symptom!) about having to get the prints done and that it could take 8 weeks to get them back.  Another adoptive mom had posted back that they went through the state police to get theirs done and it only took about 2 WEEKS! 

"Um.  Honey?  Kevin? Maybe we should have waited a day to get our FBI fingerprints done"...

And that was the end of my day.


I'm at the end of it now.

Telling friends, family, and those whom I have never met, all about my adoption roller coaster ride of the day.
(It can be one of the symptoms also...)

Grateful for all He has done in our lives and for placing adoption into our hearts,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just the girls...

Carissa at the state fair with one of her photography posters
At the zoo - it was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the wind gently blowing
At the zoo.  Kevin had just bought some Dippin' Dots.  Lyric really, really would like some!
Laurel dressed Lyric up for fun and added the memo :)

Just a quick update

No new news on the children, but our paperwork is moving along with USCIS.  We received our receipt in the mail at the beginning of the week, and I'm praying we receive our approval this coming week.  I have been in contact with our officer at USCIS and she offered to let us know via email when our paperwork had a decision made on it.  That will be really good to know so we can watch for the paperwork in the mail and be prepared to get it notarized and apostilled and sent to our agency the day we get it.

One bit of information we are pretty excited about is that Nichole from Children's Hope (our agency) will be traveling to Colombia on Tuesday.  While there she will try to find out more information about the children for us!  Very excited about that, and I know that after Tuesday of next week I will be checking my email about a gazillion times a day just to see if she had emailed us :)

After we do get the paperwork from USCIS we will scan it in and email it to Nichole so she can get it translated and into the right hands.  Until then, we will keep on praying :)

In His name,


Friday, October 7, 2011

Waiting on the paperwork

I realized a bit ago that I should have posted an update here before now!  We decided to go ahead and update our home study so we could be approved for up to 9 years old, and about two weeks ago we had our social worker write up an addendum/update for us.  As soon as she got that done, Kevin picked it up and brought it home.  We signed the papers, scanned them in and emailed them to our agency.  Nichole (from agency) then sent them on to Colombia to their translator, hoping to get a head start on the translating of the paperwork.  Next,  Kevin overnighted the paperwork to USCIS in Texas. 

On Tuesday, October 4th at 3:30 in the morning, Kevin received a text saying our application/petition had been received and was routed to the National Benefits Center for processing.  It said that within 7 - 10 days by standard mail we will receive our official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with our Receipt Number.  I know that's how it worked with our original I800 paperwork, but I'm not sure if it will be the same with this update.  I think I'll give them a call on Monday to ask about the process.  Oh, Kevin usually leaves his cell phone in the kitchen at night, but for some reason he had brought it upstairs with him that night.  In the morning I had to ask him if he had really told me in the middle of the night that we had received the email or if I had just been dreaming!

We haven't received any more information on the children other then they are pretty healthy.  It sounds like we won't learn anything else until after we get this new paperwork translated and into ICBF's (Colombia's Welfare Institute) hands.

In the mean time, we are having a fundraising yard sale!  The weather has been absolutely beautiful, couldn't ask for anything better.  Thank you to all our friends who have helped organize and offered to bring and/or brought tables for the sale.  They have made it a lot nicer!  Also, to my friend who has brought over not one but two meals for us to eat during the sale - THANK YOU!  You are a wonderful example, and I plan to set one corner of my freezer aside so I can have ready-made freezer meals prepared and ready to give to someone who needs one (or two!).

In His name,