Colin & Noelle

Colin & Noelle


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Big Update...

Well. Today was the day...

The day we have been building towards for the past 6 months.
The day we finished our education.
The day we turned in our dossier!!!!!!

Our home study report was finalized last Friday, the 24th. We had it overnighted and received it Saturday - giving us the last component necessary to complete our dossier. So after we double, triple, and quadruple checked that we had everything... we drove to our other agency today to turn in all our education and dossier paperwork! 

For those that didn't know, we received an email a few weeks back, letting us know that there would be some changes in requirements for any dossiers submitted after August. Well. Those new requirements would likely delay our process up to an additional 3 months. Needless to say, we busted our tails and prayed like crazy that God would let this happen. We knew it would be tight, but we also knew it was doable. We did a massive amount of education, and spent the majority of our free time over the past few weeks making calls and obtaining as much paperwork as possible. And well, despite a few close calls that had us getting a little nervous... by the grace of God, it happened!! With several days to spare!!

Whew. It feels weird. Awesome, yes. But mind-boggling weird... We're not really sure what to do with ourselves, and we're still processing everything. We keep looking at each other in disbelief -- "Did we really just turn it all in? We're done?!"

So what now?  Right now, our dossier is being sent around the country (The U.S.) for the next few weeks for authentification, and it should arrive in Ethiopia within the next month. Once it arrives, we are officially on the wait-list! There will be a few documents to update here and there. A few papers to file. But mostly.. we're just waiting around for the next year or so. Our agency updates us with wait-list numbers once a month. We are hoping to hear a number by  the October or November notifications, but we shall see... Then we can give monthly updates and let everyone know where we are at on the list. And you can all count down with us each month! :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Update: Home Study Education [probably] Complete!

Well. It's [almost-but-not-quite] official!

With the completion of our Ethiopia essay tonight, we have finished our educational requirements for our home study agency!! [Now, we are still waiting for it to be reviewed, and they could always kick it back and ask us to re-do some of it, but we over-did a lot of it, so I'm hoping that will not be an issue!].

Once this essay is reviewed and gets approved, we *should* be getting our home study finalized, which puts us another step closer to our dossier being ready to go to Ethiopia!! :]


Now, before the dossier can be sent, we need to finish some education for our main agency:

     * Read Through 2 websites from the D.O.S. on Ethiopia
     * Read "The Connected Child" book by Dr. Karyn Purvis
     * International Adoption Clinic Seminar by Univ. of Alabama
     * The Hague Convention "Inter-country Adoption Training" (10 hrs; online) [almost completed]

So for the next few weeks, we will be focusing on getting our dossier documents together, and finishing up these educational requirements. We're getting closer!

Okay, I guess that's it. We were just so excited, we had to share! :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming Up for August (& Sept) ...

Well, we are this|close to finishing up our home study. We have just a little bit left of our essay to finish up, and we are done with this piece of the adoption!

And tonight we had a support group meeting with our placing agency and other adoptive families. All of them except one are adopting from Ethiopia! The one family that was there adopting from China are actually another military family, so Colin had a great time chatting with a fellow soldier for a little while. We also got to hear a little about the recent trip to Ethiopia that was made by two of the people who work for our agency. They checked out some of the orphanages while there and the program they partner with in Ethiopia. It was great to hear about what they experienced!  :)

So what's next in the process?
Compile Dossier --> Send Dossier to Ethiopia --> Dossier Arrives in country --> Get put on a wait-list.

Now, we have good and "other" news.

Good news: We originally thought that we had to finish our home study so we could send a copy in when we file a very important document called the I-600A (which is still the case). But we hear that document takes up to 90 days to get approved, and needs to be in our dossier. So we started thinking, "Oh now we have to wait at least a few more months to get our dossier submitted and get on the wait-list!". But we found out that we do NOT need it when we send the dossier. We can submit our dossier as soon as we have all the rest of the pieces, which hopefully won't take too long. We will just get our I-600A going, and when it is approved in a few months, we will send it to Ethiopia to be added to our dossier! That is wonderful news! It means we can potentially get on the wait-list months sooner than anticipated! So now we are doing our best to get our dossier documents compiled asap, so we can get it sent off. We are aiming to send it off August/September! :)

"Other" news (because it's not really bad ) : The wait-list has grown, again. Not by a whole lot, but it's a bit of a jump from when we first started the process in March. It's a bit of a bummer for us, but the reason it has been delayed is because the program has been growing, and many more families are being added to the list! So it means more children will be getting their forever families! It's a wonderful thing, but of course, it makes us extra eager to get on the list as soon as we can! We were a little bummed when we heard this news initially, but it's nothing we weren't told to expect as a possibility when we signed up. They warned us that anything could happen. And you know what? We trust that God has the perfect (for us) child planned for our family, and that He has this timed how He knows it needs to be! So we are just doing what we can to get the dossier together as best and quick as we can, and to get on that list so we can start our waiting! :)

Whew! Got all that? If not, thats okay. Our minds barely comprehend it some moments! ;) But if you're thinking of us and could remember to pray for us, we are always in need of prayer! Prayers for God's timing, and for Him to supply us with enough patience and grace for the moments we need it most...

Thank you!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thank You, Rachel Beckwith!

Some of you may remember hearing about a terrible 15-car pile-up accident that happened near Seattle, July 20th of last year. [You can read about it here - including local news footage.] The story of a young 9-year-old girl, by the name of Rachel Beckwith, quickly made headlines. Several days after the accident, she passed away from injuries.

Rachel Beckwith

But her story reached audiences beyond the Seattle area. Within a short time, her mother was featured on national news shows, including The Today Show, where she shared more of Rachel's story and legacy. So many people were deeply touched, not only at the loss of such a young girl, but of such a GENEROUS young girl. For those that are unfamiliar with her story -- After hearing that many children around the world don't reach their 5th birthday because of a lack of clean water, Rachel decided that for her 9th birthday party, she would ask for her friends and family to make donations to an organization that would bring clean drinking water to those in need around the world, in lieu of any birthday gifts. Her goal was $300. She raised $220. She was disappointed, but eager to try again next year. A month later, she was killed in that accident.

Those around the world who were touched by Rachel's story decided to make donations to her fundraising page, in remembrance of her. Within a short amount of time, her story brought in more than 1.2 million dollars!! All going to help the organization Charity: Water.

So why am I posting this now? Well, it's come full circle. Rachel's donations have been put into action, and many communities around the world have received clean drinking water through wells that have been built in her honor. In Ethiopia.  And because, obviously, Ethiopia has been on our hearts lately -- we can't think about our future child without wondering how far along they may be, what conditions they/their biological family may be living in, and if they, too, have access to clean, safe, drinking water. Because of Rachel, over 60,000 people -- over 250 communities! -- in northern Ethiopia, now have one of life's most overlooked gifts. Don't get me wrong, clean water for any community (no matter the country) is fantastic! I just can't help but feel an extra sense of gratitude to Rachel, as Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia have been so heavily on my heart lately, and as I've spent so much time this past spring praying against droughts and lack of water for them. So I just wanted to share this video (below) with you all. It's Rachel's mom, Samantha, visiting Rachel's wells in Ethiopia... It is inspiring!