Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home Study Appt. #1

Well, our first home study appointment was fast and easy... All that cleaning I did for our house was pretty pointless, as the social worker only saw the kitchen. We already scheduled our next appts (our Social Worker only works on weekends). I begged our social worker (ok, exaggerating) on having Saturday then Sunday appointments for our homestudy, but she says that her rules are that the meetings have to be a week apart. Oh well, our next 3 meetings are already scheduled for the next 3 weekends! We should be geared up to finish the homestudy appointments for Father's Day!!

In other news, I got my passport back after only 2ish weeks, and our adoption workbook Eyes Wide Open has been reviewed and approved. Only things left for the dossier: homestudy and references!! {If you are one of them, I'm not nagging, but I sure would love it if you would send it in to me :) }

You better believe all our paperwork is copied, in order, and ready to be mailed. Now, off to celebrate having a clean house and our first home study appointment! Will's dad is here for the weekend, and we will be enjoying our day off on Monday before Will has an intense 6 weeks of summer school.

Also, what is the consensus on the timeline for setting up a nursery? Haha... I am so ready to start moving things around in our house. I guess it would be wise to wait until we are on the waitlist at least! Can't blame me for being excited!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I Celebrate My Sons' Birthdays (Trevor Atwood)

Taken from the Summit College Ministry Blog. This was written by Trevor Atwood, our church's college pastor. Trevor has been a tremendous source of encouragement for me throughout this whole process.

Why I Love to Celebrate My Sons’ Birthdays
May 14th, 2010

Today is my eldest son’s birthday.

He’s 7. Loves baseball, listening to stories, and finding things to jump off of.

Certainly, his birthday is a time we celebrate his life by eating hot dogs for supper and 3 rounds of cupcakes.

But there is another reason I love to celebrate Micah and Isaac’s birthdays. We adopted them.

Sound strange? At first glance, yes. In fact, many wonder why I don’t make as big a deal out of their legal adoption day as I do their birthday. While we do celebrate their adoption days, we celebrate their adoption as sons on their birthday as well. The great thing about this is that God has reminded me of the gospel this way.

When my boys were born, they weren’t with us. In fact, for them, and many orphans, their first birthdays were not times of celebration. They represented a time of despair or neglect: a great sense of hopelessness surrounding what may have been a young, confused, desperate mother in some cases, or in others, tragic death of parents and family (not necessarily my sons’ situations, simply generalizing). What’s to celebrate?

Then, I think about my life. What was I doing when Micah was born on May 14th, 2003. Mowing the yard, coaching a soccer game? Who knows? The date was not very remarkable to me. But little did I know, in a small town in Russia, the son whom I now dearly love was being born into a world of heartache and sin. Totally apart from me. I was completely oblivious to what God was doing.

In the same way, Christ on the cross took the sins of the world on himself. In one of the darkest days of history, he was beaten, wounded, killed in order to bring me to the Father from which I was separated. It is difficult to think of the despair of that moment on the cross and the Saturday that followed. ”How does a dead Messiah rescue anyone?”, many of the Jews must have asked about the “King” they expected to free them from Israel. They were oblivious to what God was doing. But as God worked in my life and in my sons’, he brought from the most dark, egregious event in history, the forgiveness and redemption of all those who trust in him.

So on each of my sons’ birthdays and every time I see a cross, I am encouraged that from dark beginnings can come a beautiful life. From sin, good. From death, resurrection. From despair, hope. And I may have no clue what God is up to at the time, or how He is going to pull it off.

Happy Birthday, Micah. Your Dad loves you. Let’s celebrate!

Trevor

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Keep Up!

I get questions about how things are going, what we have been doing, etc.... well we have created a handy tab marked "Timeline" for you to peruse (click up top under the picture). It gives you a glimpse into what the process looks like, and we will continue to update as necessary.

I know that when we first started the adoption process, I was blogstalking everyone's timelines to see what I could expect for ours. How long did it take to get FBI fingerprints? When can I expect the Orientation Packet to be approved? How soon do you get on the waitlist after the dossier is sent? And so on.... So not only is this a good way for me to document our timeline, but I'm sure someone else one day will check ours out to compare!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Preparations

Greetings friends!

Just wanted to give a little update... just because I haven't posted, doesn't mean there hasn't been a good bit going on. The Lord has been so good to us; we have received several things back to us that we were warned could take several weeks (FBI Clearances, passport, etc) and things are going very smoothly so far. We intend to send off our Eyes Wide Open workbook today or tomorrow (but we also realize that the social worker who clears our education is going on a month long honeymoon from June 1 -July 1) so it doesn't matter how fast we send it in now, she probably won't get to it until she gets back.

Our first home study appointment is on Saturday, May 29th. My blogstalking investigations have shown that other families get long meetings the first time, in which interviews and inspections are done... not so in our case. Our social worker said we would meet 4 times, the first time would only be an hour so we can go over the process. I'm a little disappointed... Let's get this going! She only works on the weekends, so I asked if we could have 4 consecutive weekend appointments. I hope that works out!

So this week, Will and I are working on the last few things for our dossier, cleaning the house for the home study on Saturday, dreaming of nursery items for a baby (oh maybe that's just me!) and clicking "refresh" on our bank account to see how in the world we are going to pay for the dossier (haha).

Truly, God has been faithful to us so far. We have clearly seen His hand in providing for us and know that He will continue to do so. Thank you friends for praying alongside us!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I love our church.

Last night as Rebekah and I were worshiping at church, I began to look around at the families in the sanctuary.

I began once again to think of James' statement that true and undefiled religion is "visiting orphans and widows in their affliction" (James 1:27). I also recalled that in the early 1st and 2nd century church, Christians became known as those who would care for unwanted children.

Many children in Roman culture were cast from their families because they looked weak or sick. Those children would be put on the street, left for dead. However, Christians were the ones known to make "baby raids" at night, where they would seek out and rescue these orphans.

As I looked around at the 400 or so people in our sanctuary. I noticed multiple families with adopted children. Hispanic couples with black children, interracial couples with Hispanic children, and white couples with black children. What a beautiful sight! In addition to the commands to care for orphans, there was also a small glimpse of heaven where people of every tribe, tongue, and nation will be worshiping as one to our Lord.

So thankful to a part of a church that gets it. We have received so much support and encouragement from the body of Christ. Thank you, Summit Church.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not Just for a Holiday

We've already started to receive weird comments. Like, you should talk to {this person}, because this person has adopted a lot of kids in {said country} ...when it turns out what they meant by adoption was really sponsorship...not taking a child home, loving, nurturing, disciplining, raising....but sending money each month and getting updated pictures. That is great and needed too, but that's not what we are doing.

Or another conversation, where a person asked if we were doing this to make a statement, or if we were doing this for the child. Wow. We want this child. We know, with all of the hardships and craziness of it all, that we are getting a little human to come home with us. One that will cry, have bad dreams, get loose teeth when he/she is older, one we can teach our skills, values, Bible stories. We will let him/her get involved in sports or dance or drama, will read with the child and take family trips and family pictures. We will live on a budget but will occasionally spoil just because we can't help it, because its our first kid! Our hearts will break when our child disobeys us or makes bad decisions. Slumber parties, birthdays, school plays, skinned knees, temper tantrums, asking "why" a million times.... those things come with it. We know. Yes, we may make some statements in the process, but we want this life to share with our child. Our Ethiopian, brown-skinned child.

Another comment regarded how this adoption will affect our ministry. You see, Will is in seminary, and may one day seek full-time ministry opportunities. We know that if any door shuts because of our multiracial family, that is ok! We also know that God is doing ministry in our lives now, through this adoption. Conversations about why we would choose adoption first, or how "good" of people we must be to choose to adopt... we can easily explain our gracious Heavenly Father's adoption of ourselves as believers, and point people to the cross.

I'm sure other adoptive families can also attest to intrusive or weird comments that they have received. We understand that not everyone "gets it" but also hope that more people become open to adoption through our example.

We love this baby so much already. The way we picture our home now, we think of a little brown skinned baby running around in it. We already feel so attached, and we haven't even seen a picture or know any details.

Thanks for praying along with us on this journey!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

MSNBC Article on Adoption

Check out this article online:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36968339/ns/health-womens_health/

It is a family's tale of what brought them to adoption and their journey after bringing their child home. Although there is no mention of God or faith or anything like that, I am still glad that more people are hearing about adoption, so that other families may consider adoption to expand their families.

Thanks Bethany G. for the article link!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's The Difference Between Home Study Packet and Dossier

I have received several questions about what the packet was that we sent in last week, and what is the dossier paperwork.

Home Study History Packet (sent in before we can be matched with our Social Worker to do a home study assessment):
2 Autobiographies
Marriage and Birth Certificates
Employment Verification
Pictures of us and our home
Tax forms
References
Proof of Life and Heath Insurances
Guardianship Letter
Financial Statement
Information Release Forms/Sworn Statement/Hague Disclosure

Dossier:
2 Power of Attorney Forms -done, 1 still needs to be certified
Application Letter -done
2 Passport Photos- R done
2 Notarized Copies of Passports -W done
Photographs of our family and home -still need to be organized
Home Study (to get our assessment to finish this, we had to send in the above packet)
Employment verification -done
Financial Statement
Birth Certificates for both of us, and Marriage Certificate -done
Medical Forms for both of us -done
Criminal Checks for both of us -done
2 Letters of Recommendation
Post-Adoption Commitment Letter -done


There is some crossover in the things we needed for the homestudy and what we will need to finish our dossier. There may be variation in what each home study agency requires of its clients, this is what ours asked of us before we could be matched with a social worker. Hope this helps!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baby Doll Cousins

For my niece's birthday I made her gift: cousin baby dolls! We don't know if we will have a baby boy or girl from Ethiopia, but I wanted her to have two little baby dolls to play with, as she anticipates her cousin from Africa.


Aren't they sweet? What do you think?? I am just a beginner when it comes to sewing, so don't look too close!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homestudy Update

I just found out that our homestudy packet is safely in our agency's hands (Not AGCI, our homestudy agency). An email from the homestudy coordinator last week said:

"Hi Rebekah - Once we receive the packet, it will be reviewed. It can sometimes take a week or so to do this – depending on the volume of cases we receive at that time. I will try to expedite yours as quickly as possible. Then I will assign a social worker to work with you on the homestudy and let you know who that is. We then send the social worker a copy of part of your case record. Once the SW’er receives that, she will contact you directly to set up the first appointment."

Let's hope that the ball gets rolling sooner than later! Yay for expediting!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guest Post by Kari: An Adopted Child's View of Adoption

Let me preface this “guest post” with a little background… Bekah and I were suitemates in the great Lupton Hall freshman year at Auburn! The Lord was so good to cultivate our relationship and keep us close. We had a very special relationship… We didn’t have the same friend group or major or anything that MADE us stay close, but we continued to meet for coffee dates & walking dates, and we shared a very cool bond! I am so blessed to call her my friend (I remember helping her get ready on one of hers and Wills first dates), to watch her marry Will, and now to watch them become parents…
ADOPTION…
The very word brings deep emotion to me. Most of you don’t know my story, but I am adopted… not only by my gracious Heavenly Father, but my earthly parents as well. I was adopted here in the U.S. not far from the town that I grew up in. My brother and I were both adopted, and I will forever be indebted to my birth mother (who was strong enough to give me up), and to my precious parents, who began sacrificing for me the moment they heard about it.
ADOPTION…
I have this grasp of the view of adoption through Christ, that I don’t know if I would understand it so deeply without being adopted. God is so willing to give us the opportunity to be his child… the same goes for all the orphans out there… we have such a great challenge as Christians to care for them, and Bekah and Will’s steps to adopt have moved me deeply. I believe that every child deserves a home, and that one child at a time we can make a difference.
ADOPTION….
On a different note… not only has being adopted changed me, but also God has used my experiences to change people around me. I have been through quite a few things/hardships over the past few years that have given me the opportunity to hold some people close that I call “family”, but the world does not recognize as my family. So, to be politically correct… a family is a mom dad and THEIR kids. I wasn’t raised that way. My family is not blood related. Now, God has shown me how to use that background to build up my “family” in times of need. I don’t know that I could have offered myself in the ways that I did, if that weren’t my outlook on life…
ADOPTION…
Sorry this guest blog is scattered… if you knew me you’d know… well that’s just me! All over the place! My sweet husband Dan puts up with a lot!
But I want all of you to get something out of this… whether you have children of your own, adopt, have no kids, whatever, we have a great responsibility with great rewards. Even if adoption to you is taking care of your neighbors kids, being there for someone and taking them in as your own when needed, loving someone’s child as your own, teaching your biological children the importance of the fact that we are all deserving of love… we can all adopt! If anything…
ADOPT a new mindset today.
ADOPT someone who needs a friend.
ADOPT a new gratitude for your parents.
ADOPT thankfulness.
ADOPT a love for the Lord that no one can deny.
ADOPT ADOPT ADOPT!

Thank you all so much for listening! Thank you Bekah and Will! Thank you mom and dad. Thank you birth mother. Thank you sweet Dan. All praise and glory and honor be to HIM alone.
-Kari

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Progress

Some recent accomplishments:
-Home Study History Packet sent off
-5 out of 6 complete on ALP online education
-Local criminal background checks
-Physicals
-Sent off for Rebekah's updated passport (new name change since marriage)
-We are also de-cluttering and organizing for a yard sale this summer. Our parents, the McGees, have graciously offered to host a yard sale for us in Scottsboro, AL this summer.

Next Steps:
-Home Study visits
-Continue "Eyes Wide Open" education workbook
-Continue to prepare documents for dossier
-After the above are finished, we submit our dossier and go on the wait list. The dossier process takes 2-4 months (we are one month in). Then, we will be on the wait list (6-12 month wait for a referral).

I have also been humbled by the generosity of others, as well as the general support that we have received. It is beautiful, and I am surprised that I am surprised at God's goodness. Of course he is faithful. Thank you to those who have invested in this adoption- prayerfully, or financially. We cannot wait to tell our baby about those who cared enough to bring him/her home. Continue to pray for us as we depend on the Lord to provide for us and for the steps that are still ahead.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celebrate Adoption 5K


Sunday we went to downtown Raleigh, and Will raced in the "Celebrate Adoption 5K" that benefited A Child's Hope Adoption Services. It was really neat to see the many adoptive families and even a large group of birthmothers. We feel privileged to be a part of the adoption community, and excited to see so many families celebrating it!

I am so proud of Will for running hard in the 95 degree heat- there was NO shade on the whole course! It was so hot!! There were a lot of people out running, and it was so neat to see all the people who care about adoption. Will did a great job- he placed 3rd in his age division, and 14th overall!

We found another resource for us- there is a group of adoptive families that meet together regularly. The kids get to spend time together, as well as the parents. We have also learned of another group, specific to Ethiopian adoptions- but all resources are welcome!!
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