Friday, June 25, 2010

Early morning gifts, and progress

Like many of my friends' kids as of late, my daughter has begun waking up (and waking me up) much earlier than normal.  I'm not going to tell you the time, but suffice it to say it's early for ME.  We've always been a "late to bed, late to rise" kind of family.  She shares a bedroom with her brother, and usually I'm able to whisk her out of there without waking him up.  I bring her into my bed where she is uncharacteristically sweet, funny, and cuddly.  (No sleep actually occurs.)  I wish she'd stay in bed longer, but I'm gradually coming to view these tender moments with her in the morning as the gift that they are. 

On a slightly related note, I found a dime in my bed.  I'd been sleeping on some bizarre twist on The Princess and the Pea.  I didn't feel it underneath me, so does that mean I'm not a true princess? 

Adoption progress made today!  Here's a brief overview of the process, if you're interested:

International adoption requires the notarization of many, many documents--medical exams, signed agreements, bank statements, home study report, employer verification (I even have to write a letter stating that I am a SAHM and therefore, not employed), etc.  This is somewhat tedious, but not so difficult given the abundance of notaries. 

Then, every single document has to be sent to the Secretary of State in the state where it originated to obtain a seal of authentication, verifying that the notary who signed it is indeed a true notary in that state.  Yesterday I sent our birth certificates off to KS and FL for authentication, a feat which is not nearly so simple as it sounds and which had me on the verge of tears once before the letters were in the mail.
THEN, once every. single. document. has been state authenticated, the documents are sent to the appropriate Chinese consulate (most of ours will go to Chicago) for its final seal of authentication.  This entire collection of documents, including photos in which no one has bare feet, is called the "dossier," and will then be sent to China.  DTC ("dossier to China") is a monumental accomplishment in the adoption process! 

If you're wondering how to pray specifically, I'd ask you to pray for favor and for NO mistakes in this document-collecting process.  There is so much room for error along the way, and I've been asking God to make the rough places smooth for us as we do what He's calling us to do.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Ryan

This post is for my friend, Ryan, who is surely sitting by, waiting with bated [insert pause while I check the spelling of "bated." Spelled it wrong the first time.] breath to read tonight's ramblings. I got to visit Ryan and his wife this evening and meet their newly adopted newborn son. Their adoption saga is truly epic, and not in a good way. But I know they'll say it was all worth it to have their tiny, beautiful son in their arms and hearts and family forever.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paper chasing...

I imagine this will be the title of, like, 27 more posts in the months to come. I wonder if the chasing burns calories....

So this morning I had some exciting communication with the states of Florida and Kansas, asking if they'd authenticate our 36+ year old birth certificates. Any tiny mistake can trip up the whole adoption process, not to mention cost us more time and money, so I'm trying to be careful and ask lots of questions. I hope no one gets annoyed with me.

My sister-in-law took a fantastic family photo last night (for use in our dossier), no small task with three kids under the age of six! But the baby is barefoot in the photo, which might be offensive to The Powers That Be. Might have to slap some shoes on that girl and take another pic.

Update: Phooey. Babies can't be barefoot. Still a good pic, though. Thanks, Gena.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Slow going

I called our agency branch office here in Missouri. Not much for me to do this week except locate birth certificates and marriage license. Can't seem to find our son's's gotta be here somewhere.

We are feeling the gravity of this decision. It's just. so. huge.

My parents have each expressed wholehearted support for our adoption journey and love for their perhaps-not-even-born-yet new grandson. As you can imagine, this is very meaningful to me. So thanks, parents, if you're reading this. :o)

Update: son's birth certificate does NOT have to be here somewhere, because apparently we never ordered one for him. Ordered one this evening, along with another copy of our marriage = $30. Just an itty, bitty drop in the adoption bucket.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's official...

...We're adopting a son!

I just received the email stating we are officially approved for the China adoption program! The email contains all the vital information we need to know and all the data we must collect in order to move forward in the process. First up--the home study. Must prove to China that we are not criminals and that we can be good parents...and a few dozen other things. :o) This process should take between 12-18 months, start to finish. I have a LOT of work ahead of me!

I've been waiting until we received this important email from our adoption agency to let you all know about our exciting news...and my fledgling blog. Please feel free to follow, ask questions, and/or comment. Prayers are welcome too. This is a BIG deal...totally life-changing...but we know without a doubt that God has called us to adopt. Join us in praying that the right little boy will soon join us as his forever family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking a break from the "serious"... talk about my new denim skirt from Target. Was I looking for a denim skirt? No, I was not. But there it was on the clearance rack. The perfect length. The perfect shade. The perfect price...$4.98. Score.

We are waiting to hear from our adoption agency this week that we are officially approved and in process for the China program.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Culture of Adoption

Read this today on a blog written by Jason Kovacs, Director of Ministry Development for ABBA Fund.

The greatest thing you can do to establish a culture of adoption/orphan care in your church is to be gripped by the reality that God has adopted us as His children. The church is God’s great trans-racial adoptive family. As the gospel takes root in our hearts and we recognize that adoption is central to the heart and mission of God it also becomes something we care about. We will naturally begin to reflect our vertical adoption in our horizontal efforts. This is the foundation for creating a culture that believes that every Christian is called to care for the fatherless in some way. Not everyone is called to adopt but everyone is called to do something. The question for each Christian and each church is not “Should I care for orphans?” The question is “How can I care for orphans?”

Well said, Jason. I know the International House of Prayer in Kansas City is also deeply committed to releasing the adoption spirit and fostering this culture of care and compassion for the orphan.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The beginning...

One evening last fall, Vince and I were listening to Lou Engle ( speak:

"From slavery to the civil rights movement, it was always the praying remnant that mobilized the future into being with intercession and activism. Today, the same God who ended these atrocities and injustices wants to use this generation to end abortion.

While reading a quote in a biography on William Wilberforce, the great parliamentary figure of the 1800s who almost single-handedly ended the slave trade in England, I was suddenly and forcibly apprehended by the presence of God. In that moment, I received an undeniable and irrevocable commission from the Lord: "Raise up a prayer movement to end abortion in America." TheCall is a part of that prayer movement.

God is looking for intercessors. That's not just a fancy word to replace "prayer." It is a high calling---some say the supreme vocation. There is a small piece of real estate that exists in between God and His rebellious creation, and it's called "the gap." You are called to stand there. You were made to stand there. God said, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30)

The true heir to the civil rights movement is...freedom for the unborn and the pregnant mother, and the Underground Railroad for the great injustice of abortion is adoption."

Whew. We both found ourselves weeping at his words--the authority and the anointing they carried. Almost overnight, adoption went from being a great concept to something we needed to do, wanted to do, planned to do.

And so began nearly seven months of talking, thinking, praying, and research. (I'm kind of a research freak.) Fast-forward to this past Saturday evening when I finally convinced my husband that we needed to submit our adoption application--for an international adoption from China--and get, right NOW. And so we did.

And I'm really, really excited!