Tech troubles…

I have been working for several days on getting our i800A forms done. Argh!

The forms didn’t take too much time, but our scanner isn’t cooperating and I can’t get the forms scanned into the computer.

I tried filling in the forms online, but then when I emailed them to Lifeline they came through blank.

Now I am resolved that I will have to print out the forms and fill them in by hand and send them by snail mail to Lifeline. Ugh.  So much for expediting!

 

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Tomorrow will be our last home study visit with our social worker. YAY!

I can hardly believe we are FINALLY at this point.  We watched all the videos, read all the articles, wrote out all the forms and answered all the questions.  We did it.

We are still committed to moving forward as quickly as we can, and we are hoping that we might be able to accept a referral very soon after we are LID.  If it takes awhile to get  referral or be matched to a child, we are still feeling like we will probably need to step back and put the brakes on for a few months, because we do not believe we will be able to travel during the fall months.  We want to try and avoid a scenario where we have accepted a match and have to travel during the fall. 

With that in mind, I am now looking toward what we can do next while we are waiting for our Home Study to be written.  I want to get working on being DTC as soon as possible.

I see on the timeline form that Lifeline gave me that it takes 2 to 3 weeks to get everything certified, but I know that other agencies often have adopting parents do that step themselves and that it can often be done in a day or two if they are able to devote a full day to getting it done. Lifeline says that immigration takes a standard 2 to 3 months, and this authentication is the only place that we can save time right now, and that is minimal.

I am wondering if I should attempt to do the certification myself, or if it is really more trouble than it is worth.  I don’t think it will save us more than a week, and I might have to spend two days in Atlanta to save that week.  And if immigration is going to take 2 to 3 months anyway, it may be easier to just let Lifeline do the certification.

We were told this week that the wait time for matching with a young minor girl with correctable needs is increasing to 3 to 6 months from dossier login.

While I am waiting for the social worker to finalize the draft of our home study, I am going to get started on the i-800A paperwork.  That way Lifeline will have all of my paperwork in hand before they receive the home study from our social worker, and they can overnight everything to USCIS when they get all the items.  We should get the notice from USCIS about getting our next set of biometric fingerprints done about 4 weeks after submitting our i800A application.

 


Perfect Storm

Perfect storm tonight….we have a 6 pm football game here in town, a 6 pm game in the next town west of us, and we just found out that we have a 6 pm make up game in the next town east of us, too….and our high school son’s football practice won’t end until after 6 pm.

I’m still figuring out how we are going to make all that work.  I’m hoping my mom can help, but she is out of town all afternoon and out of cell service range until later today. This is the type of stress I don’t like about football season!

I Know the One Who Knows…

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One reason I have been discouraged about the adoption process is because things are changing in the way the referral process is being done.  That is a major reason why the timeline may bog down.

I was told this week by someone from Lifeline that we have been blazing through our Home Study!  Yet, if we manage to complete it by the end of October (my goal, 2 months after starting) we still won’t be LID until January or February because of everything else that will need to be done.

And we will need to accept a referral by February if we want to be able to travel this summer (in August).  And they probably won’t give a referral until we have LID unless we are open to a child that is older or with more serious needs.

Most adoption agencies seem to be doing the orphanage partnership programs now.  Someone told me that there were only 22 kids on the shared list last month, from all of China, and most of them are older or have more serious needs.  Everyone else is being referred through orphanage partnership programs.

I am thankful we went with Lifeline, in God’s sovereignty, which partners with 9 orphanages at this point.  But because we want a young girl with minor correctable needs, and I believe it is all done in order of LID (those with earlier LID get priority), it is looking VERY unlikely that we will get a referral within the first month.

It sounds like it could take many months to even get one referral, and if we don’t accept it for whatever reason, it could be more months before we get another.

Or it might not.  I need to remember that it is all in the Lord’s hands.

We have also been told that we can pray that the child will be under 2 when coming home, and it does happen, but it is the exception not the norm.

In China, apparently, they often do not automatically start processing paperwork when the child turns 6 months and they legally can.  They often wait a year or more before they decide to start even processing the paperwork, and it is all up to the director at each individual orphanage, whether they think a child is “adoptable” and when they feel like doing it.  I am convinced this is part of the spiritual battle surrounding adoption.

All of this fuels more prayer….but it can also be discouraging, making me feel like we will never get a referral, or that our expectations are not realistic for the type of referral we will get, and that everything is changing and maybe it isn’t going to work out.

David said we can’t get caught up in that type of thinking, and he is right…we just need to keep moving forward, and trust that the Lord will open the doors if it is His will for us to adopt.  If not, He will close the doors as we move through the process.  But for now, we feel Him telling us to move forward so we just need to keep doing that, trusting in His plan and His timing, whatever it is.

I need to trust that in His sovereignty he led us to start this process in August 2012 not January 2012. He knew we would be doing all this during Jack’s senior year, and He knew what that would mean for me, for David, and for Jack.

He knew all of this, and we just have to keep trusting Him, since we don’t know the answers to any of it.

I don’t know how it will all work out, and for someone who likes to be in control, that can be frustrating and discouraging.  But I know the One Who knows, and He not only KNOWS how it will all work out, He is SOVEREIGN over it.  And He loves us!  And He loves this little girl, our future daughter.  That is what I am holding on to in the midst of so many unknowns…

Encouragement as we finish up the home study…

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I talked to Lifeline again a couple days ago about the timeline for matching.

It is still do-able to hope we can bring home a child in August, if we keep moving forward at a fast pace like we have been.  They say it would be best if our home study is completed by the end of October…and it may take a week or two after our last interview to do that.

What we are pressing forward toward is getting a Log In Date ASAP, preferably by February…and to do that, this part needs to get wrapped up fairly quickly.  Even if we have to put the brakes on at some point due to some commitments we will have during our oldest son’s senior year, it will only benefit us to have an earlier LID.

I still get discouraged at times about all the “what if’s”.  The training has been somewhat grueling as it points out so many negatives and struggles.  I got a very encouraging email today from a dear friend who recently adopted.  It was just what I needed to hear!  The Lord is so good to send these encouragements along right when we most need them.

She wrote:

Y’all are so close to finishing your home study. Adoption is a hard thing. I had a hard time reading some of those books too. I think I told you, The Weavers Craft was the first book I picked up. It scared me so bad I abandoned the idea of adoption for several months. It busted the bubble- the magical thinking.

The Lord kept bringing adoption back to my heart. He kept bringing to my mind that these are the most needy children/people out there. They need to know the love of Christ, and if the Christians don’t minister to these most needy, who will?

Keep in mind this is not about you or about fulfilling some need in you. This is a mission. You are a missionary. That doesn’t mean we aren’t wise about the decisions (like timeline, medical needs). It just means whatever happens is in God’s hands.

Adoption is a huge faith builder. As adopted parents there is so much out of our control. We have no choice but to trust God’s sovereign will.

In many ways it’s freeing to plunge forward knowing God is working this out for your good, your family’s good, her good, and His glory. He will work out these issues. Not necessarily easy for you, but worth it for His glory, and her salvation.

I know you know all this. Just a reminder.”

What a fabulous reminder, and so timely!  I praise God for good friends who have already walked this road, and I thank Him for keeping us on it, even when our faith falters now and then. 

Training

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In addition to the 8 hours of Hague certified training, Lifeline also requires that we complete a series of training videos from the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham (this is another 8 hours of video).  The third component of our training is to read Karen Purvis’ book The Connected Child.  The final part is to read a LOT of information about China.  Once we have completed ALL this education, we can finally schedule our last interviews with the social worker.

I confess, when I first started reading The Connected Child, I wasn’t sure whether we should proceed with the adoption.  It was sobering.

But all along we have felt that we need to go into this with our eyes wide open, even though it would be more pleasant to delude ourselves into thinking that orphanage life is not traumatic for children.

All of this reading and the video courses have forced us to confront reality.  Better to do it now than after our little girl comes home.

I am glad that Lifeline required so much training, even though it felt like quite a hurdle to get through it all.  I have been eager to get our final home study visits scheduled so we can keep this ball rolling, but it has been impossible to rush through the training phase.

If you are adopting, and have not seen the Birmingham International Adoption Clinic seminar, I highly recommend it.  It has been the most valuable thing we have done so far.

Our final meeting to complete the Home Study phase is schedule for October 5.  I can’t believe that two months ago we were just working on our initial paperwork for Lifeline.  We worked very hard to finish the Home Study portion as fast as possible.  That has been my goal ever since we decided to move forward and it feels really good to be there now!