Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fingerprinting Appointment

We got our paperwork with our fingerprinting appointment last night. Ryan told me that we received the appointment but that I shouldn't get excited about it because we have to CHANGE it.

I'm thinking I've heard NOT to change your fingerprinting appointment. Is that true?

We have an appointment for Feb 16th. I guess we'll have to change it though. Ryan is solo at the vet clinic that week. He can't exactly close the clinic for an entire day. With a 3 1/2 hour drive one way, it would be an all day deal.

I'm really bummed about having to change this appointment. I'm not sure how well received my request for changing it would be be. Obviously my prayer for smooth sailing here on out was not in God's plan. We have had a little snag in every piece of paperwork so far.

Here's hoping for another quick appointment from USCIS!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lessons and News

I work for the federal government. My husband says I can have whole conversations with acronyms and not words. He might be right. So, it surprises me when I don't know what an acronym stands for. Such was the case recently. I've seen "DHS" written on several forms from USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Service). Not knowing what DHS stood for, I assumed it was Department of Human Services. Much to my surprise, I learned today that I was wrong [3rd time in my life so I don't feel bad :) ]. DHS stands for Department of Homeland Security. Oh, now I get it. That makes since.

Along the lines of DHS, I heard from Ms. Amy at our local DHS office. I emailed her to ask if my i600a ap was okay after she emailed me a week ago to say she'd received it and would look it over. Amy replied today saying:

On 01/25/10, I requested that you and your spouse be scheduled for the first available fingerprint appointments. You should receive your notices within several business days.

This is why I, and so many others working on adoptions in Iowa, love Amy at Department of Homeland Security :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Update on the Update

I finally had a chance today to actually read the health update (given on Nov 9th) and compare it to the health update done on Jan 9th. According to their records, this is how our little guy grew in two months:
  • Gained 2.2 pounds. Now weighs over 25 pounds.
  • Grew 3.5 inches. Is said to be 31.9" tall. I have a hard time believing he grew 3.5 inches in two months but that's what his paperwork says.
  • His head and chest are basically the same.

His health report also mentions that he is healthy now. His last report said he was healthy so he must have caught a little bug in between reports.

The other bit of fun info from his report says: "he walks and runs well. Speaks in known speach which is understandable, plays with other peers. Laughing and smiley face!" Sounds like he'll fit right in with his siblings!

Haitian Adoptions

We all have heard the news about Haiti. Some of have prayed, cried, and prayed some more over the circumstances there. For those of us involved with international adoptions, the orphan issue in Haiti may well be front and center in your minds. For 10 days now as I've watched the devastation, I have prayed for my friends Jock and Lisa who have two children in Haiti. They have passed court there which means the kids are legally theirs yet they long to hold them in their arms. The last 10 days have been a wild ride for them as they seek to get their kids safely home, allowing the orphanage workers to focus on new orphans. Their journey following the earthquake is amazing. I would love for you to stop over at Jock and Lisa's blog, do a little reading, leave them a comment and most importantly pray for the orphans who hopefully will be flying out of Haiti today.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

update on our guy

We got an update on our little guy. One update via Holt after I emailed them asking where my son is. I was told that he's still in Wolyta at the orphanage. They also kindly informed me that any of my friends travelling to Ethiopia can't go into the orphanage to sneak a few pics for me. Bummer.

I also got an email update today. No pictures came with the medical update but at least we got something. His medical update was Jan 9th and from what I could read, he has grown 9 cm tall and weighs a kilogram more. I might be wrong on the details but it was obvious the pdf I was reading had been scanned/faxed multiple times and wasn't real clear.

Things can only move forward right???

i600a application

I've had lots on my mind to post in the last week. I've chosen to remain quiet and spend some time focusing on and praying for the Haitian's following the earthquake and those here in the US who are affected by it.

Until today. I have no HUGE news or anything though. Just regular 'ol news on the adoption front.

Last Friday I got a letter from USCIS (that's Customs and Immigration). It confirmed that they had received my i600a (petition to adopt) application in their local office. But, I would need to send in the homestudy. I had sent the homestudy about 2 days after the i600a. Lucky me, that was Friday and since we federal employees enjoyed a holiday on Monday (thank you MLK), I would have to wait 4 days to contact the office. Tuesday rolls around and during lunch I decided to call. Only the letter that I'd placed in my purse was no longer there so I jumped on the net to find the info. Nothing has been super smooth sailing in this process. All the info for my local office in Des Moines is there but not the phone number. So I call the national # and get put on hold. So I set my phone to speaker phone, set it down and grab lunch. Some time later I talk to a woman who tells me I have to email my local office. Okay. Go back to my desk quick and send the email.

Today I get a reply. They did in fact receive my homestudy TODAY and lovely Amy would be checking it over to see if I needed to fix or add anything.

Here's to hoping and praying that it will go smoothly from here on out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dossier Update

We received an email from Jen today. Our dossier was in tip top shape and they were forwarding it to the Ethiopia embassy in DC.

Up next... a report of when it arrives in Ethiopia...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Dossier is in the Mail...

With a few minor hiccups, which are nobody's fault by my own, our dossier (and referral paperwork) will be in the mail in a few short hours.

Now, I'm praying that our only hiccups were the ones I've already experienced. That our dossier will have smooth sailing to Ethiopia!

I'm guessing Holt will let me know when they receive it...

updated to say: Thank you Julie for being patient with me while I got all the papers in the priority mail folder. The dossier is in the mail! I will email Holt today since I didn't even put a cover letter or note in the envelope. I thought about it after I got to the post office. I considered some scrap paper or the back of the label for the note but decided against it. I guess it would have just told my busy mom story by writing on the back of a label :)

Woo hoo. Little brother, we're one step closer to bringing you home!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Referral Paperwork

We've had our referral since Dec 2nd, I think, and the official paperwork a week or so later. In the referral paperwork, we had to sign to accept the referral, fill out some travel paperwork, and pay the rest of our fees ($13,980). It doesn't take that long to take care of those documents but since I knew I would be getting my certifications soon in the mail, I just figured I'd mail back the referral documents with my dossier papers.

On Christmas Eve, we received a lovely phone call from our social worker, Fred. We like Fred. In the midst of trying to prepare a meal with a kid hanging from my pants, I answered the phone and had a brief conversation with Fred. He called to wish us a merry Christmas but also asked us about our referral. I apologized for not getting the referral back next day like some others have done. I told him of our plans to of course accept the referral and send it in with the dossier papers.

Now that we had the dossier all put together, I had to look at the referral paperwork again. Yikes, it needs tobe notarized. A late lunch today would take care of that, right? Wrong. Of course Ryan has to sign the paperwork too which means we have to stand together in front of the notary. The bank would be closing in 30 minutes, there was no way Ryan could get to town that fast, assuming he wasn't performing a surgery or working cattle.

You've waited a month to send this in, one more day won't hurt, I thought. That was true but I still had in my mind to get it done today on my lunch. Now I've killed my lunch break and still haven't mailed the dossier or referral back. Oh my.

In comes Rhonda to save the day. My sweet friend happens to be a notary. And she worked her schedule around ours so that we could get the document notarized today and in the mail tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

state certifications

I requested the state certifications for our notaries during the week of Christmas. Kathy at the office in Des Moines informed me that they would be sent out the next day. With anticipation, I checked the mail daily (for those who know me, I don't usually ever bother) so that I could grab out the certifications all while enjoying a few Christmas cards. It never came. Each day I thought I should just have a little more patience and didn't call to bother the Secretary of State's office. I even peeked through a few piles of Christmas cards to double check. Finally Monday, I emailed my new contact in the SoS office. She informed me on Tuesday morning that the information had been sent out on Dec 22nd.

Okay Lord, I thought. Either I'm way to busy, or I really do have Brownies in my house stealing things... my phone charger, my watch, a copy of our dossier, and now my certification papers??? Is this satan and his devilish little games?

I called Ryan and left him a voicemail sharing my frustration and the need to comb through the house for the info. I also called my friend who happens to be our mail carrier to vent my frustration. Unless they mailed it certified, she said, you won't be able to track it.

Needless to say, that night Ryan found it in the one stack of cards I didn't go through. The stack that I sat down at the top of the stairs and just knew that it wasn't in. Thank you honey! We know have, er, have had for almost two weeks the certifications that will complete our dossier paperwork

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vacation Raffle

[mixing tickets]
[we did put them ALL back in for the drawing]
[and the winner is...]

Of course, I can't leave the post at just that.
Jody Halsted is the winner of 2 airline tickets and 5 nights at a Marriott. I called her last night after 10pm to tell her. Ready to apologize for calling late, I was seriously bummed when it went straight to voicemail. For those who remember the iblog conference I went to in November, Jody planned and hosted that. She's a fabulous woman, loves her family and loves God. Go on over and congratulate Jody at Jody also writes at This time Jody, I guess you won't be able to travel with teh kids. Congratulations!
A few things I learned in the process:
  • Be very clear and concise about the details when asking friends to help sell tickets.
  • Know that it does take lots of time to administer the whole deal.
  • Raffles are fun when you're the winner. Not so fun when you know just about everyone who bought tickets and wish they could all win!

And a few other thoughts of appreciation:

  • I want to express a HUGE thank you to our dear anonymous friends who donated the vacation. You guys offerred us the package and we tried to say no but you were sure that you wanted to share your vacation. I'm so glad that I had just learned to let people participate, to not take away the gift that God gives. Thanks for journeying with us friends!
  • Also a big thanks to all those who sold tickets. You guys rock.
  • All in all we sold 723 tickets which greatly helps us in our journey to adopt our little guy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Raffle and more

Thanks to those who've spent their hard earned money to participate in our raffle. I'm anxious to see who wins the vacation package!

On another note, I've been not-so-patiently waiting to get the state certification paperwork for our notary signatures in the mail. I called them before Christmas and they said it would go out the next day. I still haven't received them. Since we'll be gone today when the mail arrives, I just might call our mail carrier (ah the benefits of living in a small town and having your friend be the mail carrier) and ask her if she can look when she puts my mail in the box. If I don't get the papers this weekend, I will be calling them on Monday! (side note: I get stuff from my state office which is in the same federal building all the time the NEXT day... certainly the holidays aren't slowing it down that much?!?!)

The kids are talking more about their brother, and about Ethiopia. Just a few minutes ago Scott said "mommy, I missed you when you were in Ethiopia". I shared with him that I've not gone to Et yet, but that he will miss me when I do go. I love my son!

We also had the opportunity to share pictures with a few friends and family the past week. It's fun for them to put a face with the name and the child that I hope they're praying for!