or ten. I tend to be long winded. Since the end of May, we have made huge strides in our adoption. Every time we checked another box off our timeline list of things to do, I felt guilty that I didn't put it on the blog. But like I said yesterday, I didn't feel much like opening my soul to the world, so I just kept to myself. But now is the time to catch everyone up to where we currently stand.
On May 23rd, we had our fingerprint appointment with Homeland Security. These fingerprints are run through the FBI to make sure we are not big time criminals. Luckily, we passed...besides a few tickets, Nick and I are pretty upstanding citizens. The fingerprint appointment made for a nice weekend in Chicago where we took the kids to a Children's Museum, Chicago-style pizza at Giordanos and the highlight of the trip: swimming in the hotels hot tub (someone threw up in the pool so we were restricted to the hot tub...the kids didn't mind).
Two weeks after our fingerprints were taken, we received our I-171H, which is a VERY important document for an adoption and the LAST document we needed to complete our dossier!!! My friend Danae and I took a Friday afternoon to drive to Springfield to get all of our documents authenticated and to have a nice lunch.
Danae and I found a Thai restaurant that earned rave reviews and we decided to try it out. After driving to the ends of Springfield, we finally found the abandoned looking shack of a restaurant. In front of the restaurant was a run down minivan with the license plate POO VAN. We looked at each other in half horror and half humor and decided to book it out of there. We did another quick internet search and discovered they had moved the restaurant downtown. We ended up having lunch there and it was delicious, but I will always have POO VAN seared in my mind.
I'd heard rumors that almost everyone has to make two trips due to a document not be completed correctly...and this rang true for us, too. So, Monday afternoon I packed up the kids and made the return trip to Springfield to get our last document authenticated and shipped off our dossier to Children's Hope International, our adoption agency. It was an AMAZING feeling to have everything I was able to do completed.
For two weeks we waited for the documents to be shipped to the embassy in Washington D.C. During that time we had our fundraiser, Operation 127. We were able to take our new friend Kathy's house and in one day we repainted her living room, dining room, and kitchen, installed new countertops, painted and installed new hardware for her cabinets, painted the entire exterior of her home, and installed a permanent air conditioner for her. We were so blessed to be working alongside 30 volunteers of our family and best friends. It was a wonderful day for all, and helped raise $4200 towards our adoption. Talk about blown away!
On June 24th we got the news. I was so excited to open the e-mail...we were officially a waiting family!!! It is such a wonderful feeling! We were #44 on a list that includes those adopting boys, girls, and sibling groups. In reality, it meant we were further on the list, but how far we are not sure. They told us that the wait time was typically 12-15 months. We were hopeful for a much shorter time and that within a year we would be bringing our little girl home.
Many uneventful weeks went by and we were happy to wait without any responsibility on my shoulder of things I needed to do. Unfortunately, we noticed there were not any referrals being given in the meantime. We waited and waited but nothing. At the end of July, we received an upsetting email from our agency. Do to some issues in Ethiopia, the government was closing down 18-20 orphanages in Southern Ethiopia so that they could begin to focus more on humanitarian aid. The children were all moved into other orphanages, but referrals were being stopped for the moment. I felt defeated again.
Adoption is an emotional journey. There are so many moments of excitement, moments of waiting, and more moments of disappointment. I'd heard it all, but thought for sure our journey would be a smooth one...I guess I am not the exception :)
Currently we are still waiting and in two months we've moved one spot. #43. To me it seems so unreal and like it will never happen. I'm so used to getting pregnant, feeling instantly bonded to the life inside of me and knowing that in 38 precious weeks, I will hold my baby forever and ever. Adoption is so different. Nick says its like a period in a pregnancy where guys kind of disconnect from it all because they don't have the same bonding feeling. They kind of forget about the pregnancy it is not all consuming for them. I guess I'm just getting to experience how all my pregnancies felt to Nick. It's hard, especially for a control freak, however I'm learning all about God's perfect timing.
I'm learning that right now not having to stress about timelines and paperwork and just waiting without an end in sight is a great way for me to continue to focus on myself and heal. So at this point, my prayer is that we will bring our little girl home in the next year or so, but we will patiently wait and see.
Please be in prayer for the orphans in Ethiopia who really would love to be with a forever family and whose cases are being stalled due to the government shutdown. Also be in prayer for the people of Africa who are facing one of the worst drought and famine they have had in decades. These are our brothers and sisters around the world and they need our prayers and support!