Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another trip to the mailbox

Well, technically it was the FedEx overnight box. 

The dossier is done.  It made it through the state certification process with only one minor snafu (I forgot to send in a few pages) which was easily corrected.  So now it is off to our adoption agency, Children’s Hope International, in St. Louis, where it will be given one final review.  From there they will send it to the US Department of State in DC where it will be “authenticated”.  Then it will travel across  town to the Embassy of Ethiopia, where it will authenticated for a second time (sheesh!)  This whole authentication business is supposed to take about 3 weeks, but may take a little longer this time of year, with all the holidays a whatnot.  

And here it is.  Isn’t this an exciting picture?  Jeff holding an envelope, just before heading out in a snowstorm to make the FedEx overnight drop.  You can tell he’s excited too.  This would be the last time we’ll ever see the dossier. It feels good to be done with it, but also a little nerve racking.  Now the real waiting begins.  Say a prayer, cross fingers. 


And here’s some random pictures of the boys, 'cause I know that’s what my mom really wants to see (she definitely doesn’t care about seeing Jeff hold an envelope).  


Gavin shoveling the sidewalk. 


Ryder trying to break dance .  Wish I had a video of it. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Progress! (sort of)

Do you see this folder? It is a very important folder. It contains our blood, sweat and tears (and a stack of papers that claim we are suited to become adoptive parents). We have all the medical letters, reference letters, financial statements, immigration approval, DCFS approval, yada, yada, yada, that we are required to gather. Everything has been signed, dated, notarized and agency approved. This morning this folder began it's first leg in a very important journey. I dropped it off at the post office where it is now making it's way to the Illinois Department of Index. It's a magical place where life changing things happen! And where all those notarized documents will hopefully (fingers crossed, prayers said) meet the approval of the state and become CERTIFIED. "What is this certification?," you ask. Well, it's basically a "super notary", but instead of just a stamp, each notarized document gets it's own fancy sheet of paper stapled to it with a gold seal, approving the original notary's signature.
Now, I have heard horror stories regarding the Certification process. I hear they can be pretty finicky over there at the Dept of Index. If the notary's signature is does not exactly match what they have on record, or the stamp isn't dark enough, or the planets are not properly aligned, they can refuse certification, which would severely irritate me. So, cross your fingers, say a prayer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Square One

As of yesterday we are set to go forward with an adoption in Ethiopia. It's exciting to us to be back on track and hopefully not have to deal with too many more ups and downs. However, this does mean that we do have to start all over again (ugghh) . We are already in the process of having our home study updated to reflect that we are no longer adopting from Haiti, and as soon as that is in then we will be getting our immigration paperwork updated as well. Here is the list of other things we will be working on over the next several weeks:

¨ Letter stating reason for adopting from Ethiopia

¨ Photos of applicants and home

¨ Letter of Commitment for Post Adoption – Social Worker

¨ Employment Letter

¨ Financial Statement

¨ Certified copies of Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate

¨ Power of Attorney

¨ Medical letter

¨ Police clearance letter

¨ Three signed reference letters

¨ Letter of Obligation for Post Adoption Family

¨ Qualification for Naturalization

¨ Passport ID pages

¨ I-600 approval (immigration forms)

¨ Fingerprints

We've done all of this before, exactly a year ago. But now it all has to be redone with current dates and notarizations and state certifications. This list is actually much easier than the dossier requirements for Haiti, so it should go much quicker. Once this doss is submitted, we are told that the waiting time is 8-12 months, which is also much shorter than the Haiti time line.

Let's hope the 2nd time is a charm :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No News

People often ask us "So, how is the adoption going?". And I always wish I had some exciting news to share. But no. It has been nearly a year now since we started the international adoption process. As expected, nothing about it has been easy or straight forward. We spent several months getting our dossier ready for Haiti; gathering all of our financial info, getting reference letters, scheduling doctors' appointment to get medical clearance, getting fingerprinted, filling out form after blessed form. And I thought that was the hard part. In early 2009 we were told that Haiti was most likely no longer an option for us. The Haitian govt has made it much harder for adoptive parents, and we no longer meet their qualifications. - Sigh - Our case worker then suggested we consider adopting from Jamaica. Our agency is just starting the Jamaica adoption program, so it is not up and running at full steam yet. But hopefully soon (at least that's what they keep telling me.) We have submitted our "pre-application" to Jamaica, and that should get approved........someday. So as of this very moment we are stuck.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Today was a day like any other. I was in the kitchen making dinner. The boys were in the family room playing video games. Or so I thought. As I set the table I called the boys in to dinner. Jeff and Ryder came to the the kitchen. "Gavin!" I called. No answer. "Where is Gavin? Wasn't he playing video games with you?", I ask Jeff. Nope he wasn't. Neither of us knew where he was. Somewhat panicked, we called all through the house, looked in the garage, out in the front yard. No Gavin. Then Jeff glances up the stairs and this is what we see. Gavin. Peacefully sleeping at the top edge of the stairs.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Boys and their toys

Despite the bitter winter weather, the boys have done a pretty good job at keeping themselves entertained this season (thanks to some fun Christmas gifts and handy woodworking grandpa).
Here is the "Bumper Ball" the boys got from Great-Grandma Hoefer. It's basically a giant inflatable ball you can climb in and roll around. And no, we haven't taken it down any snowy hills....yet, and yes, each hexagon shaped bubble has to be individually inflated.

Grandpa Berry made the boys this hand car. It took them a few tries, but they finally figured out how to steer with their feet and pump with their arms.

Gavin also got his "I Spy" quilt from Grandma Berry this winter (she makes them for all the grandkids). It can keep us entertained for hours! (well, maybe not 'hours').

And what fun would winter be without sledding?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We are still waiting to find out if we will be able to adopt from Haiti. And while this has been frustrating (to say the least), there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Our case worker contacted us this past weekend to let us know of a new opportunity. Our agency is starting a new program to facilitate adoptions in Jamaica. So in addition to submitting our dossier to Haiti, we will also submit it to Jamaica. We still have a lot to learn about the Jamaican adoption process, but I do know that we meet all the requirements. And supposedly it is less expensive and has a shorter waiting time that Haiti. So, once again, we'll wait and see.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Last week we received an email from our adoption case worker. It was not good news. She told that starting in 2009, Haiti is raising the age requirements of adoptive parents from 30 to 35. This was a devastating blow, to say the least. Our facilitator in Hait recommended that we write a letter to the Hatian child welfare dept. explaining our situation, and basically beg them to allow us to proceed with the adoption. So that is our only hope, and who knows if it will work or not. Uggghhhh.