Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Idaho documents are DONE

Wow, I did indeed get the apostilled copies of the last two letters back from the Secretary of State of Idaho today. Do you think R's home country would settle for 98% of a dossier :) Surely in the midst of these 50-some pages, they wouldn't miss one little letter would they. :)

Isn't it funny how the item that hangs you up in one adoption may not be a problem at all another time. I remember with Caleb we must have re-done Kevin's medical letter at least 6 times. This time we got it right the first time (well, I guess we'll know that for sure when our friends in yon Eastern European country say it's right--but it passed our stateside facilitator's approval anyway) Last time it took forever to get scheduled for USCIS fingerprints--this time it was almost immediate.

We all know the holdup this time around. But, please God, hopefully I'll soon be saying "Virginia document is done!"

Emotional roller coaster part 2

Thank you so much for your sweet comments regarding the emotional roller coaster. To know that other people have experienced the same thing, helps so much-- and to know that people are praying . . . that just makes me teary-eyed.

I do know (hope) that one day the last necessary paper will be in our hands-completely correct and apostilled-and that we will ship our paper baby to a far away land.

The funny thing is that when I check my mailbox today I am sure I will carefully look for the needed document in spite of the fact that when Kevin called Human Resources at the main office of his place of employment clear across the US just yesterday, the lady hadn't even typed it yet --though she assured him she has all the information. And I'm sure I'll feel disappointed that it isn't there!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The emotional roller coaster

I imagine that many who read this blog have personal acquaintance with the emotional roller coaster of infertility. Though it is been 5 1/2 years since my hysterectomy I still get a knot in my stomach and a sick feeling in my chest when I recall the monthly rise of breath-holding hope and building excitement followed by the monthly plunge of crushing disappointment and even anger when it became evident that once again pregnancy had not been achieved. Maybe next month!

Yesterday it occurred to me that adoption also has its roller coasters. Right now mine is centered around a certain document from Virginia. Each day sometime after 11 am (when mail is put into our postal boxes) hope begins to build in my heart and mind that perhaps that letter is awaiting the turn of my key in the mail box lock. Excitedly yet fearfully I drive down, open the box, eagerly thumb through the letters, more slowly sort through them again, and then with hurt and even anger in my heart, I get back in the car knowing that once again that piece of paper has not arrived. Maybe tomorrow!

I know many of you know what I mean--whether you're desiring pregnancy or an item for your adoption dossier or notice of your adoption travel date or whatever it is. May God ride the roller coaster with us and give us peace in the midst of it all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Called for a purpose

OK, two letters of employment are on their way to Boise for apostille via UPS. They are to arrive on Monday. I also enclosed prepaid postage for overnight back to me. (Interestingly enough, paying both ways from this particular UPS office was cheaper than one-way from the office I used last week.) The third letter seems to be taking up residence in Virginia. Kevin called and left a message at the Human Resources Specialist's office--so far no phone call in reply.

An exciting thought occurred to me today: this adoption could actually happen!! We are getting so close to having paperwork completed.

I've missed sending dossier by end of August, I'm missing end of September--could it possibly happen by end of next week. Please God!!

On a totally non-adoption note, all 7 of us went to see Kung Fu Panda tonight. I thought the turtle-guy said something quite profound: the past is history, the future in mystery, now is a gift--that's why they call it 'present'. Also I liked the idea of needing to fulfill our God-given destiny (yes, I'm interpreting this from a Christian, rather than eastern mystical standpoint). God has made each and every one of us on purpose, for a purpose. I honestly believe that there is a unique individual 'something' that God puts in each of us that we can do better than anyone else on the planet. Like Kung Fu Panda, we may not feel like the Dragon Warrior, but if GOD has called us to do something, then we know we can fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives, with His help. . . . So maybe it DOES has something to do with adoption after all. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is this even a step?

No big news today. I got one of the employment letters fixed (I hope) and the other one underway. I really hope the second will be done tomorrow so I can get them sent to Boise for apostille.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Today Caleb (he was playing hooky) and I and my Mom made the two-hour trek to Boise. I was so proud of myself for thinking to print off maps/directions on Yahoo to get from one stop to the next. First,we picked up the corrected and notarized home study and the letter of social worker's employment from our adoption agency and enjoyed showing off Caleb to the workers there. Next, we took all the Idaho-originated documents over to the Secretary of State for apostilles. Unfortunately, I was told the letters of employment from H and M couldn't be apostilled at this time because the notaries only signed, dated and notarized but didn't have the proper notarial wording (on such and such a day, so and so personally appeared before me, __ a notary public, blah, blah, blah) She said if the notaries could squeeze that wording in on the current letters, that would be fine. Apparently this has not been such a big deal in the past--I know we got by with it just a year ago-- but they are being more strict about it now so . . . so. . . so I am not quite done with the Idaho portion of the dossier. RATS! I hope I can get these two letters rectified tomorrow or Friday and get them on their way for apostilles. And I am excited that we DID get 23 documents apostilled at $10 a pop.

Still waiting on letter from UPS in Virginia.

Though it was a 'business trip' we had a lot of fun today. While waiting on apostilles we got to spend about 1 1/2 hours at the Discovery Center--not even close to enough time. For those not familiar with this place, it is a fantastic hands-on, very kid-friendly science center and even rather ancient children such as I have a wonderful time there--especially when we had a free ticket for immediate family. Both to and from Boise Mom and I were talking so hard that the trip just flew by. In fact on the way home we were busily discussing Christmas dinner plans and I actually drove right on by our exit! It was hilarious.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Dossier Puzzle

Just a couple more pieces to the dossier puzzle. Yesterday our social worker made the necessary changes in our home study (added one word and changed two numbers), I picked up the copies over in Rupert and overnighted them to Boise. According to tracking they were signed for at 9:11 this morning.

I photocopied the I-171H and got it notarized at our local City Hall.

I have asked our Boise office whether they'd rather I pick up the home studies and letter of social worker's employment tomorrow or Thursday morning. Since these are the last of the Idaho documents, I can then get everything apostilled while in our capital city. I am just not brave enough to risk mailing them all to Boise though I do realize I will have to take the chance on mailing them to Europe since that is slightly out of the range of our van and I'm not that great at paddling a canoe.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Unbelievably good news

I cannot believe this!! I 'ran away' this evening (meaning I took some time to go to Twin, eat a salad and tea, journal, do some Bible reading, study my Sunday School lesson, pray, eat ice cream, get a few grocery items ALL BY MYSELF) As I was driving back through town after 9:00 p.m. I decided to stop at our mailbox and could not believe my eyes: our I-171H was in there. Remember the USCIS had just received our home study on Wednesday--as in 3 days ago!!

I did find out from our stateside facilitator today that we need to change about 3 words on our home study for our Eastern European country's requirements. I'm hoping that can be done like Monday, overnighted to Boise and quickly back to us.

All you people who are praying for this process to start moving more quickly--Thank You! God is listening. Please pray that we don't have any hold-ups with the home study changes and that we quickly get our document from Virginia.

Almost there!! We're coming, sweetie!! Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One small step for man . . .

Yippee for our adoption agency--they got our 4 page home study signed and notarized and back to us already!!

I don't know if this is true for everyone but for us we have to have two versions of our home study: the 7 pager goes to USCIS and the 4 page version becomes part of our dossier.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prayer is against the law

This was sent to me and I want to pass it on.
This is a Statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School, Kingston , Tennessee , by school Principal, Jody McLeod. 'It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country.'Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it 'an alternate lifestyle,' and if someone is offended, that's OK.I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it 'safe sex.' If someone is offended, that's OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a 'viable” means of birth control.' If someone is offended, no problem...I can designate a school day as 'Earth Day' and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess 'Mother Earth' and call it 'ecology.' I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as 'simple minded' and 'ignorant' and call it 'enlightenment.'However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated.This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical... I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. For this reason, I shall 'Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's,' and refrain from praying at this time.'However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM,in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet.' One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray.They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box!The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America- the Seat of 'Justice' in the 'one nation, under GOD.' Somehow, Kingston , Tennessee Remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the FreedomFROM Religion. Praise GOD that HIS remnant remains!JESUS said, 'If you are ashamed of ME before men, then I will be ashamed of you before MY FATHER.'

Sad Mommy

Today Caleb cried when I left him at preschool. The teacher says he's been having a hard time for awhile--I assumed she meant the first part of the morning. It reminded me so much of his behavior when his orphanage caregivers would bring him into the room to visit with Kevin and I. I just wonder what is going on in his gel-covered little head. He cries so seldom that his tears just break my heart.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm excited

Today I went to the UPS Store in Burley and photocopied all the dossier stuff we have (including the home study for our Eastern European country) plus the home study for USCIS--I think it was 41 pages total. Then I faxed the appropriate documents to our stateside helper. Finally, I overnighted the 4 page home study to the director of our adoption agency in Boise for her signature and notarization AND overnighted the 7 page home study to USCIS in Boise along with copy of workers license and copy of agency's license. (I made the mistake of showing Caleb how to help mommy by pushing the green button on the copy machine--at least I only ended up with 2 unnecessary copies including one blank one!)

I had thought I'd just drive to Boise today, collect signatures, make the USCIS delivery and get apostiles done while I was at it but Kevin reminded me we actually have 2 more documents I'd y have to apostil at a later date so I might as well save the drive and do it this way.

In case you're curious, I overnighted the documents by UPS since they have NOT lost any of our important adoption stuff so far.

Progress at last!

Please don't faint at me posting 3 days in a row--and don't imagine I'll make it a habit either :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yippee Skippee

We are the proud possessors of a really truly honest-to-goodness pre-adoption home study. Boise USCIS office, here we come!!!

I drove over to pick the paperwork up from our social worker and was able to get Caleb's 6 month post-placement interview done at the same time. The 6 month post-placement is not a requirement of Ukraine but of our adoption agency (maybe our state, too?) Ukraine does require yearly self-reports on the kiddos adopted from their country until the child is 18 but these do not necessitate the help of a social worker. Caleb was a hit as usual with almost everyone else in the office.

Oh this morning I had my eye exam and the optometrist asked about anything interesting going on in my life this year. Well of course I immediately told him about our trip to Ukraine and adoption of Caleb and about the fate of kiddos with DS in his country and our hopefully-upcoming trip to adopt another little guy from Eastern Europe and let him know there were plenty of other children there if he was interested.

News from our household

Thanks everyone for your encouraging words. Our pastor spoke this morning from Nehemiah chapter 4 about perseverence -- about sticking with what God has called us to do in spite of difficulties and discouragements.

Adoption update: The conclusion of the search for our document at the Sec of State in Virginia was that the document is nowhere to be found in spite of intensive searching. So tonight I sent off the request to Kevin's employer headquartered in Virgina for yet another verification of employment letter.

Friday Kevin and I were actually able to be together for several minutes during business hours and got the rest of our Idaho documents notarized down at our own City Hall. (Kevin drives truck and is often out of town until late evening making pick-ups and deliveries of freight) Here I am wracking my brain to think of someway, somewhere, somehow we could get this done right away and Kevin just calls our local City Clerk and sets up an appointment for 'today'. Absolutely could not beat that.

Caleb update: Caleb started pre-school on Sept 8th. He attends Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 8:15-11:00. He'd gotten 4 immunizations the week before so just has one more to go before he's 12. I'd explained about his missing birth certificate but his teacher didn't care since she only needed a photocopy anyway. I went ahead and showed her our adoption decree and Caleb's passport and citizenship paper. The school is about 2 blocks away. I've been taking him to school but he rides a little bus home. Caleb will be getting speech therapy and assessed for his need for physical therapy and occupational therapy.

About a month ago Caleb actually began answering questions with a very clearly enunciated 'yes'. This was a welcome change after months of 'nyet' and then 'no' as the standard answers. Now he's down to the very American "yeah"

Caleb had his 4 year well-child check last week. I am so proud of his progress and was bummed that he didn't show up better on the Denver developmental screening test. But it does give me ideas of things to work on. He's at the 5th percentile for weight and 10th percentile for height (possibly the other way around) on a typical child's growth curve. I couldn't find the curve I'd been given at his first Dr. visit that is specific for children with Down syndrome and Caleb's doctor is looking into why the DS curve isn't scanned into their office computer. Caleb doesn't require any other testing at this time (thyroid, neck, lead OK in April, recent eye exam and dental exams OK)

Critter update: I'm sure all you out in blogland have just been dying to know what became of the itching at my house. Well let me tell ya'll this is one experience I hope NEVER to repeat EVER, EVER, EVER in my lifetime. First we had to clear off our carpets as much as possible--empty out closets, empty out everything under the beds, move the coat bin and the sports-items bin and the toy bin and the shoe bin and the doll accessories bin and the scrapbooking bin and the mismatched sock sack and the swimsuit bag and even the plastic drawers. . . I'm sure you are getting the picture . . . move ALL this stuff into the center of our kitchen (where there is no carpet) and use it to form a shape resembling Mt Fuji or something. Then we had to thoroughly vacuum every strand of carpet that could be accessed as well as couches and cushions. I had to load all bedding and the pillows--not just bedding on the beds but bedding in the open linen cupboard and the stacked bedding plus all of the washable stuffed animals in addition to any regular laundry into black garbage bags and stuffed them into the back of the van and then the back seat of the van. When the kind exterminator showed up at our house I showed him around and answered questions like "where does your cat sleep?" which is basically "anywhere"--computer chair, piano bench, couch in the corner of the living room, couch in the extra room, up on the top bunk with all of the stuffed animals, in our closet. Then when he got ready to spray around 3 pm Caleb and I grabbed our sandwich components and ate them in the car while waiting to intercept the school-age kiddos as they came home. Then we drove to the Happy Laundromat Land where I proceeded to wash 18 loads of laundry (and some of these were double-load washers) after making 3 trips to the ATM. Kevin joined us during this adventure and got the unique joy of taking the van down to the carwash and vacuum spot and then to the pet store to purchase flea spray and shampoo and some kind of oil to treat our pets for one month. I left five or six big sacks of laundry that we wouldn't be needing in the next week in my parents' garage. After we finally got back home, I had to place the non-washable pillows and stuffed animals and the piano bench in black plastic bags and set them outside to "cook" in the sun. I had to even put my vacuum dirt in a black bag, throw away the filter and soak the canister in bleach water. I believe my last act of the day was helping give our dog a bath in flea soap and Dawn dishwashing soap and we got the flea-repelling oil on her. Someone else had the joy of bathing the cat. It was about 18 hours of non-stop thrill.

Then exactly one week later I got to repeat the above fun for the follow-up spray (in order to kill whatever little critters hatched in the intervening week) Now this time I only had 6 double-loads of laundry because I'd left so much stuff at my parents.

The good points: throwing away a lot of junk, re-organizing other junk, finding long-lost junk, having a tidier house.

General news I got interviewed by our local newspaper for an article for the Health and Religion page--about whether having faith in God helps when parenting children with special needs. (God makes all the difference in the world to me) There was a chance that it would come out in yesterday's paper but no one has said anything so it must not have. We don't take the paper.

J., our 5th grader, is playing football this year. He looks so cute (wouldn't he hate that description) in his jersey and pads and new cleats. The league had a jamboree on Saturday. All the teams from the league met over in Buhl for weigh-in at 8 am followed by mini-games over the course of the day. Each game lasted around 12-15 minutes. J's team won one, tied two and lost one. We'd gotten into our motor home after our high school Home-coming game on Friday night and driven the hour to Buhl where we stayed the night. This seemed much preferable to getting our crew up about 6 am after a late night. (By the way, S's class won 1st place and B's won 3rd place in the Home-coming float competition)

Good grief, this LLOONNGG post should excuse me from blogging for quite some while :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good Grief

Would you believe we are STILL waiting on our home study? Our social worker mailed it to our agency's main office in Boise and then they apparently mailed it back to her last week but as of yesterday (Wednesday) she had not received it. I had figured they would just mail it to me.

For this and other reasons I am feeling kind of discouraged today. I just wish the whole world were as happy about adoption as we are. I know God calls each of us to our own ministry but it boggles my mind that many other strong, Bible-believing Christians don't share my passion (and I believe, God's passion) for orphans--or at least concede that God could possibly be leading US toward another adoption even though He might be leading their own family another direction. It makes me sad that some think we are ruining our lives by adopting again.

I emailed the Commonwealth of Virginia yesterday to find out what's up with the document they received on Aug. 25 for authentification. Today I got a reply that they are checking on it so that is much appreciated.

I just got done changing the notarial wording on our dossier documents on the computer--now I hope we can find someone else who can work with Kevin's job hours. But in printing the new editions off I see I need to add a new printer cartridge to my shopping list.

Jesus will you please be Lord of our adoption hopes and dreams and of the timing of each step. My fretting and sticking by the computer for hours in case of some new message is not helping anything--not our adoption or my attitude or the condition of my house. Amen.