I realize it’s been a bit of radio silence on the blog, but we are continuing to move full-steam ahead in the adoption process!
We had our second (and last!) home study visit on Wednesday, April 1st. This visit focused primarily on parent education. Before we met with our caseworker, we completed a process of education including 10 hours of online training (we actually did 14 hours – oops, should have read that more carefully!), reading a great book (The Connected Child), reading several articles, and interviewing a family who has adopted. We talked through all we had learned, preparation for parenting an adopted child, and more during our home visit, as well as what the next steps look like.
We have all of the parts of our dossier compiled and notarized. I scanned them in and sent them to our caseworker last week – she wrote back that they look “fabulous”. Seriously made my month! This has been a labor of love. Some of the documents have taken multiple steps, all have been notarized. It’s a lot for two very non-administratively minded people!
At this point, we are waiting for our home study to be complete before we take the next step. As soon as we receive the completed, approved home study we will immediately mail off a copy of our home study and an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Office, which is the first step in gaining approval from the US government for our girl to become a citizen. This approval will also be the FINAL piece of the dossier. On average, it is running about 45 days right now to get the approval back (this includes a fingerprint appointment in the middle somewhere). We will add this approval and the home study to the documents we already have done for the dossier and then WE WILL HAVE A COMPLETE DOSSIER. I’m not sure I ever have or ever will be more proud of an endeavor.
As soon as we get the approval back from USCIS, we will have to get all of our documents certified by the State of Texas and the Chinese embassy, then they will be ready to go to China! I had a great conversation with our caseworker today about taking the documentations through the Secretary of State’s office and through the Chinese embassy. We had planned all along to use a courier service or let our agency walk the documents through, which would cost an extra $1000 – $2500. With some research and the encouragement of our caseworker and my adoptive mom community on Facebook, I’m feeling fairly confident about us walking all of it through ourselves, saving us both time and money.
As nice as it feels to be nearing the end of the “dance of 1000 documents”, I am already missing the way it occupied my mind. The waiting is hard. Every day that our home study is not ready, that we have to wait for the next thing to happen or something to arrive in the mail feels long and difficult to wait through. I feel an urgency knowing that our daughter is alive and out there without us. I wish she knew we are coming for her. I have to take myself constantly back to that place of choosing to believe what God has told me – that His time table is perfect, that He has all the hours of this mapped out, that none of this is wasted time. And that He loves Elliott far more than her daddy or I do – and wants the very best for her.
Last weekend, Easter, felt monumental to me. It was the first of the big holidays we celebrated since being in the thick of this adoption. It was also the first of the “lasts”. I don’t know exactly when we will get her, but I feel confident that by Easter next year Elliott will be celebrating with us. It felt sort of monumental, as we dreamed what life will be like with her here next year.
On Good Friday we went on a family date. Gluten allergy and Chinese food don’t mix well, so we don’t eat it much, but we have been talking a lot about how to keep her native culture a part of our lives. We went to Pei Wei and introduced the kids to chopsticks, fortune cookies, and (yum) edamame. And somehow it helped us feel closer to her.
We continue to pray about the last bit of money – we are so close! I don’t know how God will provide the last $4,000, but I KNOW He will. We are thinking through fundraising options, researching grants to apply for once our home study is complete, and pinching our pennies. I’m still floored that we have seen God provide so much in such a short amount of time. I can’t wait to watch Him finish out that part of the story.