Thursday, August 30, 2012

All our paperwork is officially in Colombia!

Thursday, August 16th - a big day for our family  - all of our paperwork was sent to Colombia on that day!  It seems like such a simple sentence to write, but there is sooo much more to it than that.  Every step of the way we did what we had to do for the paperwork and to get to our children as fast as we could possibly do it.  It's sad, really, that the process of bringing a child home and into your family through adoption is sometimes like jumping through a lot of hoops just to get the approval of the crowd (government and all the little laws/agencies that come with it). I know, the laws are there to protect everyone.  Sometimes... it just seems... well... too much when there are little ones waiting who NEED someone to hold them and comfort them...

I think I might have been a little antsy today when I emailed our agency.  I asked if they could ask ICBF in Colombia if they had any idea of when we would be getting the official referral of the children.  I didn't realize it has only been 2 weeks since we sent out all the paperwork.  That's not very long for it to get all the way to Colombia and on the right person's desk...  Once we get the official referral and accept it we would be traveling in about 10 weeks.  Right now, that places us at the beginning of November for travel if we are able to get/accept the referral next week. 

In the meantime... we are working as a family on cleaning up our home/yard/garage.  I seem to be in a constant state of decluttering...  I often remind my husband that I never, ever was a clean person, but that I have a desire to be clean and orderly, and I will continue to work on it!  Maybe by the time I'm 50 I'll finally get it down :) Nevertheless, I see another garage sale in our near future...  Oh, I also tell him that I really do think that having more children in the home will make me more organized - well, it could happen!

Oh!  We also had the pleasure of celebrating my husband's 40th birthday this past week (Happy Birthday, Honey!),  and on the 31st (Friday) we will be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary!!!  That's a lot of years together, but I'm glad of every one of them and thanking God for them too!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

So close to having everything sent in!

Thursday we were able to get the results of all of our tests!  Unfortunately, our doctor was out and not back in until this coming Tuesday :(  I was quite a bit disappointed and tried to see if anyone else at the office would sign the paperwork and they said "No.  I'm sorry.  It has to be your primary doctor."  So I left the office in a bit of a huff with slightly glistening eyes, but after venting a bit to my husband I soon calmed down - and I thank him for it!

I am trying to stay busy this weekend, but I find my eyes wandering to the children's pictures more and more often.  We have them taped to the wall in our kitchen so I pass by them often, but it is usually at night that my heart and thoughts are drawn the most to them. 

One of my biggest prayers is that the children are able to attach easily to our family - to be able to trust us and to love us.  I can't even begin to imagine what they will be thinking or feeling, what fears they may have when we come to get them.  Not only will they be around a bunch of people who don't easily speak their language, but we will be whisking them away with us to a "new" temporary place (apartment/hotel) for them to live with us.  They won't even have the opportunity to gradually get to know us.  They will also need to learn how to live and interact with one another again because the five of them are not living in the same home together.  I think that is very sad after everything they have been through so far.

Praying for five little ones,


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Got our approval from USCIS for the kids!

We finally got it -  our approval from USCIS to adopt the five children!  Tomorrow we just need to try and get our test results back from the doctors and then get our doctor to sign our medical update.  I need to look into whether or not we need to get that apostilled.  If we do, we will have to do that on Friday.  Once the paperwork is all put together we can get it sent off to Colombia and we can get the official referral for the children :) 

This past week ICBF was asking our agency when we would get them the rest of the paperwork.  The short answer: as fast as we possibly can!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oh my - what a day!

Our day started out normal enough with Kevin and I getting up bright and early to get our TB tests done for the medical update.  Then, Lyric and I headed on over to a neighbor's for a play-date.  We were having a great time chatting and playing when my phone rang. I almost didn't answer it. The number that came up was 816, from an unknown caller. It was our officer from USCIS!

I think my heart skipped a beat when she told me they were getting ready to close our file and NOT approve us for the kids.  We had sent in the wrong paperwork that they had requested as evidence.  She said she had tried calling yesterday to let us know but she didn't reach anyone and was trying one more time.  Then she said if I could get the right paperwork to them asap (we could email it), they could approve us.

The paperwork they are talking about is considered "evidence".  In this case USCIS had requested proof that our home study agency was Hague approved.  I had called our home study agency when we got the letter requesting the evidence in the mail, and they very quickly sent me information to send to USCIS.  I sent it and thought everything was good.

Then, a few days ago I got a call from our social worker.  She said they were not Hague approved and that I needed to talk to our adoption agency to see if they had sent a letter to USCIS stating that they (CHI) were a Hague approved agency, that they had reviewed the updated home study and that they approved it.  We had done this before, but didn't realize we needed to do it again.  So I called USCIS and left a message for our officer that our social worker had called and told us we may not have sent the right evidence in.  I said to please let us know if they needed anything different, and we would get it to them as soon as we could.

I think it was because of this phone message that our officer made the effort to contact us.  She said that usually their policy is to NOT approve a file if the right evidence is not sent in.  But she knew that we were trying to get them what they needed so she had called one more time.

I said I would go home immediately and try to contact Nichole (who we work with at Children's Hope) so we could get them the right evidence.  Driving home, I was alternating between thanking God that I had answered the phone (I ALMOST left it in the car) and praying that I would be able to get in contact with Nichole and get the right information to USCIS.

At home, I quickly called Nichole and waited anxiously while the phone rang and rang and rang - and then she answered!  I was so very happy to talk to her and not a machine!  I told her what was going on and she said she would take care of it IMMEDIATELY and that she would copy me on the email to USCIS when she sent it!  Phew. 

After I got off the phone, I tried calling our officer at USCIS again - but I had to leave a message.  I let her know that I had gotten in contact with our agency and that she would be sending over what they needed asap.

I then drove back to my neighbor's house where I had left Lyric playing with her friend.  I tried not to think too hard about what was going on, but it was really hard not to!  Around 11:00 we headed back home to fix lunch before Carissa, Tyler and Kevin headed to the state fair to show the kid's rabbits.

After I got them out the door I tried calling USCIS again to see if our officer had received the email from our agency (Nichole had copied me on it.  She got it sent out really fast!).  The phone rang and rang and rang.  When voice mail picked up I just hung up.  I didn't want to be a pest to our officer so I decided to call at 3:00.

And after all that... I took a nap.  I needed it!  I figured it was the fastest way to pass the time :)  I woke up just after 3:00 and placed my call again.  I had decided that I would just talk to whoever answered the phone to see if I could get any answers.  I told them that we had sent in some important paperwork earlier and that I needed to make sure it was the right information our officer needed but her phone just went to voicemail.

And then the officer said, "Mrs Burgess?  This is Officer ....)"  It was our officer!  She said she had to work the call center and when she does that her number goes right to voicemail.  She said she did get exactly what she needed and as soon as she was done with the call center she could send us an email letting us know their decision - which was an approval!  I rather giddily thanked her and hung up the phone.  I would have hugged her had we been in person.

An hour or so passed when I got another call with the mysterious 816 unknown caller id.  Why do I automatically think that something is wrong when when we get a phone call from USCIS?  It was our officer again.  She was calling just to let us know that we were approved.  She had sent an email to our adoption agency and to our address.  We would be receiving the paperwork in the mail within a few days.  Again, I could have hugged her!

Kevin and I ended our day with a date to a carnival fundraiser at a church.  We watched fireworks, ate a bit of ice cream, and had a really nice time together talking about our day and dreaming about the future.

As for the medicals, we were able to get all of our tests done this last week.  Now we just have to wait for the results, which we should get all of them back this coming week accept for one test.  I'll have to look up the information to see which one it was, but it's not supposed to come in for another 2 1/2 weeks!  We are going to contact our regular doctor's office on Monday to see how much it would cost to get it done there and how long it would take to get the results back.  If it isn't too much, we will do it there. 

As always, thank you so much for praying for our family and for our children in Colombia.  Can't wait to show you pictures!  The children are adorable!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We made it 14 years without a cast!

Our oldest daughter is 14 (made it 14 years without a cast on any of our kids!), but this smiley faced girl is our 10 year old.  She got to go skating for the first time with a friend of hers on Sunday and towards the end had one big fall.  We thought her wrist just had a bad sprain with some swelling - there wasn't any bruising and she could wiggle her fingers without a lot of pain. We were wrong.   
We ended up taking her to the doctor.  He said he was 95% sure she had a fracture and sent her to get x-rays.  She had two fractures - one in her ulna and one in her radius.  One of the fractures goes up into her growth plate so they had to put the cast up over her elbow to help it heal even better.  
On top of all this, my sweet girl has poison ivy - on her face!  That's the other reason we took her to the doctor.  You can't see it in the picture because the swelling is already starting to go down, but the redness and swelling from the poison ivy was so bad that she could hardly see out of one of her eyes.  Even half of her nose was swollen.  We are so thankful that the swelling is almost completely gone now!

As you can see in the picture, Laurel isn't a pink or purple kind-of girl - she's a green one!  When she was younger we always called her froggy - she had and still has one big frog hop!  Because her favorite color is green, she picked the green tape for her cast.  Then she found out they have glow-in-the dark tape - boy, was she excited!  She has to keep this cast on for three weeks, then she gets a shorter cast on that is below her elbow.  That one is going to be the glow-in-the dark color, and she is already planning a camp out :)

Laurel is a funny girl - she can make you laugh and laugh.  While she was getting the cast on she asked the doctor what the part of her arm was called that she hurt.  He said it was called her forearm.  And she said, "But I don't have four arms!"  He laughed and explained to her the difference in spelling.  Too funny.

On an adoption note:  we are still waiting for our I800a approval from USCIS.  I put in a call today to see if they needed anything else but had to leave a message.  We also need to get our medicals updated, which we are working on tomorrow.  I thought we could just get our regular doctor to fill out a medical form but as it turns out we need all new testing done for TB/HIV/VD and HEPB/C.  We go to one clinic to get the testing done for the TB.  We go to a completely different clinic for the other tests...

To all those who are in the process of adopting - if your insurance doesn't cover you for HIV, VD and HEP B/C testing try seeing if you have a local clinic that tests for sexually transmitted diseases - it's A LOT cheaper (ours is like $15.00 total!) than getting it done at your local doctor's office, and it can be a little eye opening watching the videos they like to play at the clinic (at least our local clinic here in Indy plays them) :0