Thursday, May 27, 2010

FBI Fingerprints

Yesterday Kevin and I got our fingerprints done at a near-by police station. Today I mailed the fingerprint cards, cover letters and cashier's check to the FBI so they can search their records for any criminal activity related to either of us. This will be the first of 3 sets of fingerprints needed for this adoption!! Apparently the FBI prints have been taking about 13 weeks to process :( I do hope ours are an exception to the rule.

It's kind of fun that one of the ladies at the parcel station recognized me from Steven's adoption, and asked if our current process is almost done. I told her we're just plugging along and she encouraged me to remember last time when it was all finally accomplished.

Today I also contacted 4 people to see if they are willing to provide a personal reference for us. For our last two adoptions I believe we just needed 3; this time we need 6!

We are tentatively scheduled for our first home visit for this home study on Monday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm sorry to those who wrote such sweet comments and they never showed up. I forgot I had set the comments to a moderation-needed setting :) And then once I found the comments I marked them all as OK and only one shows on the blog.

Friday, May 21, 2010

She has a new name!!

We plan to change "Stephanie's" name to Abigail Anne and call her Abby.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19--Three envelopes on their way

One with 6 forms requesting background checks from 6 states to A New Beginning office in Boise; the 2nd with our Reece's Rainbow Family Disclosure form to Andrea; and the 3 rd to our home study worker with paperwork for her to fill out from Reece's Rainbow and About A Child.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 19 FSP, Notary, Background checks

Andrea emailed me with the link to our new Family Sponsorship Profile. It is
It is so fun to see our family information and Stephanie's pretty picture all together--it just makes the adoption seem more real. This is also the place where anyone who wants to partner with us in accepting God's invitation (to join with Him in providing a loving family for one fatherless girlie) can contribute to our adoption fund. Remember, all monies donated through Reece's Rainbow are 100% tax-deductible and are actually given on behalf of the CHILD, not the family (just in case the family, for some reason, cannot complete the adoption) The funds aren't distributed to the family until just prior to traveling to bring their child home.

This morning we got a couple more documents notarized--one for Reece's Rainbow and one requesting the state of Texas to diligently search their files for records pertaining to that notorious villain known only as "Joy The Adopter". We were waiting at City Hall when it opened at 9:00 am. That way Kevin could run in, sign his John Henry in front of the city clerk and still get to work by 9:30 as needed. I just cannot express how wonderful it is for both of us to be on the same page with this adoption.

And just in case there is anyone out there in blogdom who is perhaps considering adoption from Bulgaria, you do need background checks for every state in which you have lived as an adult. BUT this is not nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. Our agency, A New Beginning, emailed us the specific downloadable form required for each separate state. All I had to do was print and then fill out name, date of birth, address, SS# on each one. Some also wanted the name of the city where I had resided, while a couple needed actual street addresses. This last requirement threw me for a bit of a loop momentarily. We are talking ancient history here, back when I had to scratch my cave number above our entry hole with a sharp rock ;) Thank the Lord, in a moment of rare inspiration I had written down most previous addresses on a piece of paper in my old resume' file several years ago and I was able to find the street address of my Alma mater on the internet.

And very, very early this morning I found out I now have access to the Bulgarian documents section of About A Child's website--so now I can even get going on paperwork for the dossier. I love to have something tangible to do to help speed the process of bring Stephanie home.

You can always tell when I've spent too long enhancing my blog entries--I start getting silly.

Tuesday, May 18 Multi-State Clearances filled out

Guess what! Our worker says she has actually started our new home study! I don't know why that juicy bit of news makes me so happy. I think because the home study is like the backbone document for the whole process--without it there is no adoption, plain and simple. It must be completed prior to submitting to USCIS (the US Immigration folks) for pre-approval to bring Stephanie to the US and is the major document of the dossier, the stack of papers that will (hopefully) be gathered and sent to Bulgaria. Since we're adopting from a Hague country this time we have to get child abuse clearances for every state we've lived in. I'm not honestly sure if this is every state we've lived in since we were 18 or every state we've lived in for the last 18 years, excluding Idaho (Idaho's clearance will be taken care of when we get fingerprints at Health and Welfare in June) I was thinking the first choice. So today I filled out paperwork for 6 clearances--5 for me and 1 for Kevin. One of mine has to be notarized--hopefully in the morning--and then I'll hope to send the whole batch to our agency in Boise for further processing. Also found out today that we will need SIX personal references for this adoption.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Commitment Application has been filed in-country

This is the message I received this morning from Toni: Just wanted to let you know that this morning your commitment application for Stephanie was filed with the MOJ. Now all we are waiting for is for your completed dossier (HS, I-800A and the rest of the documents) to be filed with the MOJ to officially start the procedure. Keep the good job!

Also registered for the required "Issues In Adoption" training session to be held in Boise in June.

Celebrating every bit of progress!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Background Checks scheduled

Today we got background checks scheduled. Mine is June 1 and Kevin's is June 3. There weren't any available times left in May.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A New Beginning Adoption Agency Application

Sorry, I know this part may be boring to everyone else but it's encouraging to me to think that everyday I'm doing something toward getting Stephanie home.

So yesterday, May 13, I began filling out the essay part of the application for A New Beginning (the local agency that is doing our home study) called Motivation to Adopt. I fell asleep working on it last night and finished it today. I will be mailing the ANB application forms and application fee today. These are the questions that were asked and my answers:

1. How did you come to the decision that adoption should be your next step toward building your family?

I have been interested in adoption and orphans at least since Junior High. Around that time I read a book called The Family Nobody Wanted about a minister’s family that adopted 12 children.
Kevin and I love children and have already adopted six but I have been feeling for some time that there was another girl “out there somewhere” for us. Adoption is the very wonderful way God has chosen for us to build our family. I believe that adoption is a win-win situation for kids who need parents and parents who want kids. We see adoption as a mirror of the way that God the Father lovingly brought us into His own family through Jesus Christ and gave us the rights and privileges of His precious children.

2. Who initiated the decision of adopt?

3. Do you have a history of infertility? If so, what was your experience?

I was never officially diagnosed with infertility. Kevin and I married later in life. I was already 33 and wanted very much to be a mommy. We tried for a year to get pregnant and then I finally conceived but miscarried at 12 weeks in 1996. Billy had joined our family in March about a week before the miscarriage as a foster child. I loved him so much. Watching him blossom and grow and learn helped me maintain my sanity and gave me a special reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was absolutely devastated by the miscarriage. I had done everything I knew to take good care of my body and our unborn baby. I was very angry at God for letting this happen when He knew I wanted a baby so badly. I’m sure I spent time journaling, crying, screaming at God--my memories there are somewhat cloudy. Slowly but surely I worked through and prayed through and cried through my feelings. I just didn’t have it in me to try again to get pregnant for at least 5 years. By that time we had adopted two of our kids and had another foster child living with us.

My periods started getting heavier and heavier and finally after 3 people told me how horrible I looked :) I went to a doctor and found out part of my red blood count was very low. I was eventually diagnosed with fibroid tumors for which I had a hysterectomy in 2003. I felt very blessed to be the mother of 4 adopted kids by that time though I must admit I was somewhat sad to totally cut off even the remotest chance of ever becoming pregnant.

Have you attended counseling to address any issues of grief and loss associated with the infertility? If so, what did you learn through counseling? If not, do you feel like counseling would be beneficial?

No, I did not attend any counseling to address this grief and loss. (I had attended a series of classes on grief and loss back in 1992 or 1993 after my first husband left me) I did read some books on the subject as well as my Bible and was surrounded by people who loved me--including my husband and our children and I gave it a lot of time. Over time I have come to realize that life does not always make sense and God is not under any obligation to explain His ways to me. HOWEVER, He is totally trustworthy, He walks through all the hard places with us, and He is not intimidated or put-off by my loud or prolonged grief.

How may your thoughts and feelings about infertility effect your adoption and ability to bond to an adopted child?

We already have six adopted children and absolutely consider them OUR children. Bonding/attaching with a couple of them has been a longer process than with others, I think largely due to their life experiences before joining our family. I really don’t believe “infertility” has adversely affected the bonding at all.

5. Why did you select the adoption program that you chose (I.e. Infant Waiting List, Waiting Child Program, International)?

At our ages of 49 and 48 Kevin and I really aren’t in the “market” for an infant. We have tried the Waiting Child Program before and I found the ‘shotgun approach” very emotionally difficult (having our home study submitted on 25 different children but not being able to get my heart set on any single one) and besides that program has a waiting list right now. We chose the international program because we have successfully adopted internationally twice before (Ukraine). Little Stephanie from Bulgaria is such a cutie, has so many abilities, has special needs that seem so manageable with my nursing background, reminds me of James’ older birth sister, and needs a family very much. I am beginning to fall in love with her already. I am very interested in her country and excited to return to Eastern Europe--even looking forward to seeing the Cyrillic letters again on signs J. At 8½ she will fit nicely in our family between the “big kids” and the “little boys” and will still have the blessing of being the youngest girl. Though we loved Ukraine I just could not face being away from our children for another 5 weeks or more. Travel to Bulgaria is only about 10 days on one trip and a week on the other.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bulgaria or Bust

Since this IS a private blog I got permission from our in-country facilitator (or whatever her official title is) to post a picture and the name of our country. So let me introduce you all to "Stephanie" from the country of Bulgaria. She is 8 1/2. Isn't she just precious! I am trying really hard to envision her here in our living room but right now she seems a bit unreal.

As you can see from the quotation marks around her name, "Stephanie" is not her real name (though it is kind of an Americanized version of it.) And what will we be naming her??? Well, I have a couple ideas but we haven't decided yet. Honestly haven't discussed it yet. As those who followed our last two journeys know, we are notorious for making final decisions on names the night or morning before actually meeting our child. Those people who figure it out right away amaze me. Though I go by "Joy" my full name is Anna Joylean. My mom is Joyce Ann. My maternal grandmother was Anna. My daughters are Teresa Joy and Scheri Lynn with the middle names coming from my middle name. I would really like Ann, Anna, Anne, Anya--etc. to be part of Stephanie's name. We'll see.

I've been wanting to share my Bulgaria story. As some of you know, back in January Kevin and I had felt led of the Lord to cautiously proceed with the adoption of a little girl from another country but on January 27 Kevin lost his job. Those adoption plans came to a screeching halt (thankfully another Reece's Rainbow mommy came forward and is in the process of adopting that little one) yet I could not get away from the idea of adoption. On January 31 our pastor came to Acts 16 in the course of his sermon series. This is the story where Paul is on one of his missionary journeys, knows he is called to preach the gospel but when he thought to turn one direction and go into the province of Asia, the Holy Spirit blocked him. When Paul and party tried to turn the other direction and enter Bithynia, the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them. So they just headed straight for Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Paul and his crew determined God wanted them in Macedonia and headed there by ship to share Jesus. Well this story reminded me of our adoption journey. We thought God wanted us to adopt so we decided to try to bring home two little girls. We found out one wasn't available for adoption so we thought to adopt just the other one. Then the door slammed shut. I'd been wondering about Bulgaria--especially since the in-country travel time is so much shorter than with Ukraine which could be especially important if Kevin had a new job. So I got on the internet in the next two or three days (early in February), went to the RR site, looked at some Bulgarian kids listed there, looked at the Bulgaria program site, pushed the highlighted "Bulgaria" link and was taken to a history page. I found out that Bulgaria used to be part of Macedonia!!! (Though not at Paul's time) I was so intrigued I spent several hours studying the country of Bulgaria.

Adoption stuff done today: printed off the I-800A form, directions, and tips--that's a PILE of paper. Printed off a passport renewal form for Kevin AND found his current passport. Tried to go to the Health and Welfare site and schedule fingerprints for background check for home study but the site will only use Internet Explorer and we use a different browser. Filled out 2 pages of application for our home study agency--the EASY pages that just ask for name, address, DOB, education, job, income, kids' names and birth dates, dog's name, number of toes on your cat's left hind foot, language spoken at home by your parrot, etc. Now I just have the short answer questions that ask about motivation to adopt--these always take me way too long to write. I am rarely satisfied with the 3-5 word response but must expand and expound. Except the question that asks "Who initiated this adoption?" I really can't think of any profound, drawn-out way to say "ME"

Getting tired and silly obviously. Must go to bed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One step at a time

This was the message I received from our in-country facilitator this morning: "I already translated the commitment application and will file it for authentication tomorrow. It takes 3 business days for them to authenticate. As soon as I have it ready I will file it with the MOJ. I will let you know when I do that, as well a the reference number."

The other adoption-related event was scheduling my physical for our home study. Unfortunately, I had to do it toward the end of June because that is when our insurance through Kevin's job kicks back in. That seems so ridiculously far away. I'm praying that will change.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Well Kevin and I have taken the first steps on the journey of several thousand miles to a new daughter in a Eastern European country--NOT Ukraine this time. :)

I'm not sure yet what this country's rules are about posting picture or specific country on our blog so you'll just have to take my word on it that she is a cutie-bug. Or better yet, you can go to and you'll see "Stephanie for the McClain's" [Our page there isn't totally set up yet but that is the same site that anyone interested in donating to our adoption can go. Two really good things are (1) that donations through Reece's Rainbow are totally tax deductible and (2) all funds stay with "Stephanie"--so if for any reason we would have to back out of the adoption, the money stays there to help another family adopt her.]

Hey, wait a minute, this IS a private blog, isn't it?!!! Perhaps that opens up the possibilities a bit as far as posting a picture! I'll have to find out.

There's so much I want to say but right this second I want to just lay out what's been happening so far.

January 31 Pastor preached a sermon about Macedonia. (See May 12 post) Found out later in the week that Bulgaria used to be a part of Macedonia!!

February 16 Had emailed several concerns to Victoria at About a Child and found out we do qualify for adoption from Bulgaria

March 26 Praying about adopting Stephanie

March 27 Email from Shelley that a family has stepped forward to adopt Stephanie

Mid-April Stephanie's adoptive family had to back out. Only few days to find another family before file has to be returned.

April 18 Inquiring about Stephanie with Shelley and Andrea

April 20 Mentioned Stephanie again in my journal

April 22 Trying to figure out if we qualify financially for her country.

April 23 Advocating for Stephanie on Reece's Rainbow while also asking a lot of questions to the adoption agency. Finally sent pre-application and family picture to About A Child, the agency that is handling Stephanie's adoption.

Monday, April 26, about 1:15 AM, Kevin and I finally agreed to try to adopt Stephanie. Extremely busy day but kept having a feeling like I'd just had a positive pregnancy test--just this little interior smile that says I'm having a baby and no one knows it. Just my own special private secret.

Tuesday, April 27, the line from the Bible "Sing oh barren woman" just kept playing over in my mind. With some hunting found that biblical line in Isaiah 54. Another insanely busy day. I believe it was this day--but perhaps Monday-- that I spoke on the phone with both Carla and Victoria from About A Child and printed off documents from About A Child, from Toni and from Reece's Rainbow.

Wednesday, April 28 in Boise airport on way to Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VI in Minneapolis, Kevin tells me about how God was working in his heart concerning adoption over the weekend both through the Men's Fellowship lesson that he taught (David and Abigail--the FATHER is my source) and Children's Church lesson about providing for the needs of a little orphan girl. Kevin's main objection to another adoption was concerns about job stability.

Thursday, April 29 Met Tammy from RR at the Summit. I knew she was specially interested in Stephanie's well-being so I told her our special secret.

Saturday night, May 1- home

Sunday afternoon, May 2 worked for several hours--like 6-- on document for Toni about our family and finances. On Monday May 3 found out the financial part was way too detailed--she only needed a couple lines :) Emailed the shorter version.

May 4 Notarizing documents didn't work out

May 5 Kevin and I went to City Hall and had the 3 initial documents for Toni notarized. Put pictures of our family into a document. After little boys went to school I hurried over to Twin to pick up a printer cartridge. Back home to take, download and print pictures of our house plus print pictures of family. Took documents and pictures back to Twin, copied them and tried to fax copies to Victoria--kept getting answering machine. Gave up. Across town to shipping store. Overnighted the 3 documents by Fed Ex to Boise for apostilles and also paid for shipping on to Stephanie's country. There was $60 difference between Economy and the faster one but didn't seem like the more expensive one was THAT much faster. Afterwards I was feeling I shouldn't have chosen Economy. Back to pick little boys up from preschool.

May 6 Documents arrived at Secretary of State office at 10:13. By the end of the day they were in transit to Tennessee and expected in B------- on the 16th or 17th. Faxed documents to Victoria at AAC. Kevin and I started formally reading through the 26 page service contract from AAC

Friday, May 7 Documents are now in Paris. Arrival date now listed as the 12th. (Toni is out of the office for holidays until the 10th anyway) Signed the AAC service contract--mailed it with two accompanying checks. Finished Family Sponsorship Profile application for Reece's Rainbow--took me forever to write up the little ditty about our family--mailed it with the two accompanying checks. FINALLY got to make the announcement on the Reece's Rainbow yahoo group--so fun to receive so many excited responses.

Tried to contact A New Beginning Adoption Agency. Didn't see our social worker Dixie listed on their site. Concerned that she isn't working for them anymore and we'll have to start with a new worker.

Monday May 10
Paperwork arrived in B----! So glad I used economy rate.
Dixie called from A New Beginning--she IS still with agency. There have been several changes in the agency's policies/procedures since our last adoption. Now all paperwork comes from Boise, goes back to Boise and then they let Dixie know we can set up for subsequent home study. Will need new physicals, references, background checks and financial info