Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thinking of You...

A Christmas Letter for My Child:

During this busy Christmas season, I have been thinking a lot about you. You are living so far away, and I wonder what you are doing today, Christmas Day. Your daddy, your brother, and I enjoyed our time together this morning opening gifts and having fun, but something was missing... YOU! We have been working diligently to bring you home as quickly as possible. There is so much paperwork and so much "red tape" involved, but we are making progress little by little.

Your daddy bought me a special gift for Christmas this year, it's a Prayer Box necklace. The idea behind it is that you "place your prayers inside" and then wear the box close to your heart to remind you to pray. Inside the box, he placed a small picture of Ethiopia, to remind me to always be praying for you. I think it's also a reminder that even though we don't even know who you are yet, you are already so close to our hearts.

Today, on this Christmas Day, we pray that you are happy and healthy. We pray that you have enough food to eat, water to drink, and a roof over your head. We pray that you are surrounded by people who love and care for you. We pray that you will be home with us for Christmas next year. We love you!

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day... no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:4-5,10-11).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fingerprints, FOUND!

Go figure... we went to the Florence PD last Thursday to have our fingerprints taken (again) for FBI clearance, and as soon as I put them in the mail to our social worker she sent me an email saying that she received our fingerprints - the FIRST round that were supposedly lost. I have no idea why it took over three weeks for that envelope to arrive there, but oh well. Now we have a back-up set, I suppose.

Our agency is currently in the process of reviewing all of the paperwork we submitted last week in preparation for our home study, and we will likely complete our home study interviews in January.

Right now we are keeping busy trying to complete our adoptive parents training, as well as continuing to gather documents needed for our dossier.

The journey continues...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Home Study Paperwork - DONE!

Today I had the wonderful privilege of taking our big pile of paperwork to the post office and mailing it to our home study agency. This included our 10+ page autobiographies (whew!). This is not the end of the paperwork trail (unfortunately), as we still have various forms to fill out and our official dossier to complete (the home study will become part of that once it's finished). But, it felt great to finally get something else checked off the list, and now our home study agency will be able to move forward with scheduling our interviews and getting us through the AZ juvenile court system so that we become "certified" to adopt in the state of Arizona. Woo Hoo! Every step forward is worth celebrating :) Now if we could just get up the motivation to get those fingerprints RE-done...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where, Did Our Fingerprints Go?


Well, it didn't take long but we just encountered our first "annoying" glitch in our journey. You may remember a couple of posts ago that we completed our fingerprints. One of the rules in Maricopa County (where our home study agency is located) is that you aren't able to touch your fingerprint cards once they are taken. You have to have the person who fingerprints you mail your cards, along with your FBI clearance forms, to the home study agency. So, we sealed everything in the postage-paid envelope and left them with the deputy to mail. And that was the last anybody saw of them!

I emailed our social worker yesterday to see if she had received them and she had not, so I knew we had a problem. They should have gotten to her before Thanksgiving at the latest. I called the Pinal County Detention Center yesterday and was able to get through (after a long series of transfers and calling back twice) to the person who mailed them, and he claimed that he did! Who KNOWS? So, we are now in the boat of having to be RE-fingerprinted and send everything all over again. I think we will visit the Florence PD this time, instead of Pinal County Sheriff. Ugh, how annoying.

Guess we should get used to it, their are families further ahead of us in the process who have many stories similar to this, and it looks like we should continue to expect them throughout the entire process and even after returning home. Did we really need a warm-up? :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Congrats!

It is always so exciting to watch things "happen" to families within Holt's Ethiopia program. Many of us converse frequently through a Yahoo group, as well as blogs, and are able to see one another's progress throughout their adoptions. I love the support system it provides, because nobody else truly understands the ups and downs of this crazy process than those who are experiencing it (or have experienced it) themselves.

November was a fairly disappointing month for many families that had court dates, as some of the rules surrounding requirements for passing court were changed at the last minute and many of the cases did not pass. They were rescheduled for January so we are wishing everyone the best and hoping the 2nd time is the charm. There are quite a few other families in our program who have upcoming court 1st time court dates this month and next, so please keep them all in your prayers. Everybody wants to bring their children home as quickly as possible.

There were two families (one being the Gratz family) that DID successfully pass court last week and we are so excited for them! They will be leaving for Ethiopia next week and will be home with their beautiful children to spend Christmas together. Please be praying for their safe travel, smooth process in Ethiopia, and transition upon coming home.