9/23/08 - Paperwork Update

We had some more paperwork approved by Duni last week! Almost everything is done - amazing since we began gathering documents only a month ago!! This is so God!! We had a small glitch with the notary stamp on our police reports - the stamp expiration date was before the adoption would have been finalized. So Mike stopped at the police station yesterday and they notarized it with a stamp that won't expire until 2010.

NEXT STEPS: We have requested a letter from our doctor in regard to a surgery Mike had last year and are waiting for it to come in the mail. We also need to have a financial page we completed notarized. Hopefully these two things will be completed by the end of the week.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: A huge praise for how God has moved in our gathering of paperwork. Please pray for our I-600A form as it should be arriving at the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) this week.

9/19/08 - Passports Are Here

Our passports came in the mail today - a week and a day after we applied - yeah God!! We are so excited, we have them sitting on top of the entertainment center and are imaging the Ethiopian stamp that will go inside.

NEXT STEPS: We are working on taking pictures of us and the house for our photo pages for our dossier. This is fun!

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise that our passports are here! Prayer that God would continue to be at work and covering the adoption process.

9/18/08 - I-600A Form in the Mail

We mailed our I-600A form this morning to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Office (USCIS) this morning! We need to be approved by the USCIS to adopt a child internationally (hence the form). They send us a fingerprinting appointment, evaluate our home study, and send us the I-171H form which is the acceptance form needed to proceed. It is taking approximately 4-6 weeks for this process.

NEXT STEPS: Faith needs to finish our home study, have it approved by 3 different people, and then she can have a notarized copy sent to the USCIS.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise the form is in the mail! Please pray that the approval of our home study is a speedy process as the USCIS can't process our I-600A form until they receive a copy of the home study! (Are you confused by all that!?)

09/12/08 - Paperwork Update and Other Discoveries

All of our paperwork we sent to Duni, our Family Coordinator at America World, has been approved! No changes needed! Praise God!! We have applied for our passports and are faxing some more paperwork to Duni next week.

We have also begun researching children's adoption and multiracial family books so we can expand our personal library collection. Stay tuned for our best picks!

We found an old PBS special on Africa and watched the section on Ethiopia. It was great to see the landscape, learn about some of their traditions, and even see the hotel where we'll probably stay as the host of the show stayed there!

NEXT STEPS: We have the certified bank check and needed paperwork for sending in our I6ooA form (to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS]) which we will be doing on Thursday! Our completed home study will follow in a couple of weeks. Then we'll get a day and time to be fingerprinted and hopefully get approval (the I171H form) quickly.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Huge praise that we do not need to make any changes to the paperwork we have already gathered! And another praise for some more online training classes our social worker Faith has guided us to. Please pray that the home study comes together soon and that it does in fact only take 4 -6 weeks (the last time frame we were given) to get approval from the USCIS as well as 4 - 6 weeks for our passports (the time frame we were given) to come.

9/08/08 - Various Paperwork Faxed to Duni

We faxed some of our paperwork (our birth certificates, marriage license, proof of health insurance and life insurance, Amy's employee letter, Mikes' physical, and our police department records) to our America World Family Coordinator today! Duni will look them over, answer the couple of questions we have, and let us know if we need to do anything differently with them.

NEXT STEPS: Amy will be going for her physical this Thursday and Mike is going to the Lake County courthouse this Friday to gather some needed paperwork. We are both going to the post office Thursday to apply for our passports.

PRAISE AND PRAYER REQUEST: Praise that everyone we have talked with as we gathered paperwork has been so NICE to us and always wish us the best of luck, Please pray that we are on the right track with our paperwork and don't need to make too many changes and that our passport applications are processed quickly!

9/06/08 - Home Study Training Complete

We have finished the 10 hours of training required for updating our international home study! The training was wonderful!! We reviewed the whole paperwork process, specifically talking about how our child(ren) will enter the United States and what kind of visa they will receive (an IR4). There were several discussions on keeping the adopteed child's homeland culture alive in our family. There were two different panels - one group of adult international adoptees and one group who have recently adopted internationally - who spoke and shared about their experiences. A lawyer explained the whole readoption process, something not only recommended by our agency but required by us because of the way the adoption happens in Ethiopia. A doctor and therapist spoke about delays related to early orphanage life and shared many strategies for helping the children. And best of all, we met a couple from Lyons, Illinois adopting from Ethiopia whose marriage and adoption journey is virtually identical to ours - is that God at work or what!!!

NEXT STEPS: We will mail/fax our certificates to our home study worker Faith and see if she needs anything else from us. If not, she will be able to finish writing our home study in the next few weeks!

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise for the couple we met at our training - we already know our children will grow up playing with each other! Please keep the orphanage and caregivers who are loving on our child(ren) in your prayers.

9/02/08 - Gathering Paperwork

We have begun the process of gathering necessary paperwork for our dossier! (A dossier is a file of paperwork that will eventually be sent to Ethiopia) We went online last Monday night and ordered our birth certificate and marriage license and they arrived UPS on Wednesday. We were not home but were when they were delivered the next day. That was pretty easy!! (We are hoping the other paperwork will be too!!)

NEXT STEPS: Mike will be stopping at the police station on Wednesday to ask about getting our police reports. Amy will be calling health insurance and life insurance poeple to obtain necessary paperwork. Both of us have asked our employers for our letter of employment. We have a couple of questions to email Duni, our family coordinator, but then should be able to write our application letter as well as obtain our three letters of reference.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise for a great long Labor Day weekend where we got to read through and talk about adoption and multiracial family articles. We also talked about how camping will one day be different - Daddy will set up the tent and campsite while Mommy plays with the kids, Mommy will get dinner and breakfast while Daddy plays with the kids, etc. And with the addition of one or two car seats, we'll need to take two cars! Praise also that Duni was able to check her email and answer a notary question even while she was on vacation. Continued prayer that our home study would be quickly completed, reviewed, and approved and that we would be accepting of God's timing!