Saturday, January 31, 2009

CPR and First Aid Certified

Our local home study agency recently added a requirement that all of their families become CPR and First Aid certified. Although we were kind of annoyed to have to add this to the already long list of things to do (and it's not a requirement of our placing agency), it really was a good idea on their part. Honestly, anybody who is a parent should become certified in these areas, and I realized that we probably should have done this back when Eli was born. But who has the time unless you're "forced" right? Well, I know some of you other there make the time, but you are all better people than I am :) And SMART!

So, we went to our "forced" certification training today, and it was a very positive, beneficial experience. I feel much more confident that if something were to happen where my kids (or anyone else for that matter) stopped breathing, or their heart stopped beating, or they were choking, or having any number of other "emergencies," that I could actually help them and do more than just guess at how to help :) Hopefully this is a training we will never have to actually utilize, but I'm glad to have had it... just in case.

As a side note... Micah went to his individual home study interview last Wednesday and apparently our social worker had the wrong day written in her planner. UGH. It wouldn't be as bad if the drive wasn't an hour from our house. So, he is now rescheduled for next Wednesday. Kind of annoying, but what can you do, right? Hopefully he'll be able to get a date nailed down with her for our actual home visit, so we can have a more solid time line in our heads for wrapping up our dossier and sending it to Holt!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Surprise!

I was sure surprised today to find a letter in our mailbox from USCIS (Immigration) stating that we need to appear for fingerprinting next Thursday - I had been told they would not fingerprint us until after receiving a copy of our home study, so this was completely unexpected! But, we are quite happy, nonetheless, to be fingerprinted early and keep the process moving along :) This "should" be the last time we have to be fingerprinted during this process, let's hope that holds true... third time's the charm, right?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lots of Movement!

No matter what phase of the adoption process you are in, it's always so exciting to see "movement" occurring for other families that are with your same agency, adopting through the same program. The past couple weeks have been so exciting for Holt Ethiopia families and congratulations are in order for these families who received referrals:
The Czarnceki Family (referred 2-month old baby boy)
The DeAndrea Family (referred 7-month old baby girl)
The Gibler Family (referred 2-month old baby boy)

This family who passed court:
Darin & Becky

And all of these families who are traveling within the next couple of weeks to bring home their beautiful children:
Adam & Sarah, Sunshine & Brandon, Bobby & Kyla, Brad & Danielle, Matt & Dawna

Woo hoo!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Amharic Worship Service

Today we had the opportunity to attend an Ethiopian worship service at Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix. It was an amazing opportunity to join other families from Arizona who are also adopting from Ethiopia, to be able to worship in Amharic (the official language of Ethiopia) and have a delicious homemade Ethiopian feast. This was the first time Micah and I had tasted Ethiopian food, and both agreed that it tasted great!

Pastor Surafel leads the Ethiopian congregation at CUMC. He is the founder of an awesome ministry for street children in Ethiopia called Hope for the Hopeless. He is so thankful for families that are adopting children from Ethiopia, so that they do not have to face a future of winding up living on the streets. He prayed a prayer of blessing over us, and although we couldn't understand it, the spirit behind it was so genuine and passionate. It's awesome that we can all get together and worship the Lord, no matter what languages we speak. A small glimpse of heaven, right?!?

Eli had a difficult time sitting through the entire service, but he certainly enjoyed making friends at the lunch. Sometimes he can be quite shy around other kids, but not today! In fact, a group of Ethiopian children who regularly attend this church got up on stage to sing some songs for all of us... and low and behold, we look up and there's Eli jamming out on stage with them! Ha! He was just dancing away, having no idea that he was not a "scheduled part of the program." We got a great laugh out of it! In the 2nd picture he's looking at me like me like, "What Mom? Why are you telling me to get down?"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Home Study Has Begun!

Today we had our first home study interview!! This one took place at our agency's office, and it was a joint interview with both Micah and I. The questions weren't quite as bad as I expected, and overall I think it went really well. We found out from our social worker that the FBI did clear our fingerprints (yeah!!) so it's at least nice to know that we won't add extra time to our process by having to re-do them. I was kind of bummed to learn that the remainder of our home study process, up through being certified through the AZ court, will probably take 2-3 more months from now. I had been thinking that we would be able to submit our dossier by the end of next month, but it will more realistically be in March or even April. I think in my mind I am going to start thinking "April," just so I'm not being overly anxious about it... then if everything is completed faster than expected that will be a nice surprise!

We also received an email update from our placing agency today, that the adoption process in general in Ethiopia is slowing way down. I guess they are very understaffed for the amount of adoptions that are processed in that country, and things are just taking a lot longer than they were even a year ago. So, we pretty much just need to be preparing ourselves for what could be a long waiting game. It's at least comforting to remember that God already knows who our child is, and that ultimately the timing of everything will work out perfectly in His plan for us to bring THAT child into our family forever. I get so excited just thinking about it!!

Here's our timeline for the remainder of our home study (as of now):
Jan. 23rd - Bethany's individual interview
Jan. 28th - Micah's individual interview
Social Worker writes up most of the home study
February - Social worker visits our house to meet Eli, and have our final interview (pretty much just to fill in any holes in what she has written up)
Social Worker finishes the home study and sends it to Holt for "approval"
Revisions are made if needed, and then the final version is sent to the court

So everyone be praying for this portion of our process please!! Pray that our social worker would be diligent in dedicating the time to write our home study, our interviews would go well, and that things would be in place for approval from Holt and the court on the first submission :)

On a final note, we are so excited for a number of Holt families whom I interact with regularly through an online community board. A number of them found out this past week that they made it through court in Ethiopia and are going to be traveling Feb. 5th to bring home their long-awaited children. Please keep the Rhodes Family in your prayers, as they are in Ethiopia right now bringing home their sweet little girl!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Even though we aren't at the true "official" waiting phase of our adoption process yet, I have definitely felt impatient this past week! We submitted everything to our home study agency in mid-December, as well as a few last minute items on Christmas Eve, and have since been waiting for them to schedule our interviews. Granted, this has been right in the midst of the holiday season, so I understand the timing was slightly off... but let's go!!! I couldn't handle it anymore as of yesterday and I emailed our agency just to make sure they had received everything. I received a reassuring email back (I know that she knows I'm anxious), that everything was in order and we should be contacted within this next week by a social worker to schedule our interviews. Let's get going!

In the meantime, I occupied myself by preparing our I-600A, which is an application we have to submit to the Dept. of Homeland Security (USCIS) to give us permission to adopt an orphan from another country and bring them into the United States. After our home study is completed, we will have yet another fingerprinting session with Immigration, before they will approve us to adopt an orphan.