Sunday, September 30, 2012

I wish I had more to say....

I've said it before: I feel like I need to be updating my blog at least once a week. I'm not sure where that need comes from but I get a weird feeling if I see that it's been more than a week and I haven't updated.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anything to update. The official referral packet was supposedly sent from her country to the adoption agency by FedEx last Monday. It would appear that FedEx uses mules or something equally slow in that part of the world. As of Friday, the package still had not arrived. It's frustrating because I really want more, updated information about my little girl. (And I know you are all awaiting updated pictures!) However, if I've learned anything in this process, it's that I have no control over any of it!

I pretty much gave up my belief that Sara would be home for Christmas about two weeks ago. There is still a slight possibility but I can't hold on to that. In my mind, she will be coming home in January. That way, I won't be disappointed if she isn't here by Christmas. If it does happen, I will be surprised and thrilled!

There are two other families adopting little girls through RR from Sara's country. Right now, we are all literally waiting for the same thing---our official referrals. We've all been approved but don't have the actual referrals in our hands yet. We've talked for a while about all being in country together and now it looks like it might actually happen. Wouldn't that be amazing? I'm not scared to travel but sometimes the thought of being in a country where I know no one for so long is a little intimidating. I would love to have these two wonderful woman by my side for at least part of the journey!

Once again, I am realizing how very blessed I am to be fully funded at this point in my journey. I see so many people waiting for travel dates and still very short on funds. I am so grateful for all of the people who have helped me get here! I know I didn't do it on my own! (I'm sure this paragraph will soon be featured on a certain blog but I don't care!)

I know this post was pretty random but those are the little things going on in the process right now. Hopefully I'll have a REAL update to post soon! (Just as soon as that mule carrying my package gets across the US border....)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Clothes for Claudia

I have decided that I'm going to shut down my Adoption Bug T-Shirt sale at the end of the month. I have a list of things that I need to do when I get a travel date and this is one thing I can take care of now.

I am incredibly blessed to be fully funded. Some of my friends are not in the same situation--for whatever reason. So, I've decided that I will donate all the commissions that I get for the t-shirt sales to Claudia's FSP.

Claudia is a beautiful little girl that is in the same country as Sara. Her parents and I have been walking through this process together almost from the first day I committed. They are a great couple and we are still holding out hope that we will be in country together. (You can read more about their journey on their blog.)

Please consider placing an order and helping this beautiful little girl get home.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Official Referral

On Wednesday, the adoption agency told me that it would take 40 days to get approved by Sara's orphanage to adopt her. This news meant there was no hope that she would be home for Christmas. This, and a few other stresses in my life, sent me into a bit of a tail spin. I have been given so many different potential travel dates throughout this process. First it was June, then August, then October, then November, then maybe January. If I had been told up front that it would take a year, I would have dealt with that but this constant changing and rearranging was starting to wear on me.

After a Thursday of tears, ice cream, mind-numbing movies, and amazing friends, I was feeling much better on Friday. I had processed the potential delay and had come to terms with it. I still didn't like it but I actually felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I could stop checking my phone and email constantly. I could stop counting weeks in my head to figure out when I would travel if I heard today. I could stop wondering. She wouldn't be home for Christmas. At least I knew.

When I saw Private Number on my phone Friday evening, I didn't even get excited. My mom was supposed to call to ask me a favor so I just assumed it was her. It wasn't! It was the adoption agency. I still wasn't excited. I figured she was just calling to tell me to keep waiting patiently. When she finally got around to telling me that the orphanage had approved my dossier and my request to adopt Sara, I had to make her say it again just to make sure I had heard her. The orphanage has approved my request to adopt Sara!!!

I should be getting my referral pack on Monday or Tuesday. This will include all of Sara's medical, educational, and social information and history. It will also include updated pictures, etc. I cannot wait to get my hands on this information! It will be so nice to have more than 2 pages of information and a picture that is about 2 years old. I'm dying to know whatever I can about my little girl.

There are still a few more steps that need to be taken. I need approval from USCIS to adopt her and bring her into this country. Then I need an Article 5 from the Embassy in Colombia. After those steps are completed, I will be given a court date and a travel date. It is possible this could all happen quickly enough for Sara to be home for Christmas but it's also possible that it won't. I've given up trying to figure these things out.

Whether or not she comes home this year or early next year, she will be home!

(Stay tuned for more pictures and information early next week.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh The Waiting....

I always feel some pressure to write an update when it's been more than a week since the last one. The problem is--when I haven't updated, it's because nothing is going on.

I love how much people care and how often people ask about Sara and the process. I hate not having any new information to give them. Here are the most popular questions I get and the answers as I know them:

*Do you have any new pictures yet?
No. I had heard from a friend of a friend that was down at her orphanage and saw her about a month ago. I was thrilled at the possibility that they would be able to get me more pictures. However, when they went on their official tour of the orphanage, the older children were all at school. So, I will have to wait for her official referral to get more pictures.

*Is your little girl home yet?
No. Trust me, you will know when she is home! I will shout it from the rooftops. Plus, I'll be gone for quite a while. If you've seen me in the last month, she's not home. (Sometimes, I get a little bit sarcastic...)

*Wait. What? You have to go get her?
Yes. I do. Different countries have different rules. Sara's country requires that I go there and stay until all the paper work and legalities are completed. I will be in her country between 4 and 7 weeks.

*So you'll be down there just waiting for her?
No. Not waiting for her. Waiting for paperwork. From my understanding, I will have custody of her after court. There is a "bonding" time that will allow us both to get to know each other and to make sure this is something we both want to do. After that, we will be in her country waiting for her new birth certificate, passport, visa, etc.
The good news is that we will be together during this time. We will get a chance to start the bonding process before we return home.

*Are you coming back to work?
Yes. I will be going back to work. I can take a leave with FMLA of up to 12 weeks. How long I'll be off depends on a lot of things--including how long we are in country and when exactly the leave falls. (If it falls over Christmas break, I'll have even more time off!) It will take a while to get her settled in after we get back both from an emotional stand point and a logistical one.

*When are you going? I hope it's next week.
Who knows! There are still a few more things that need to happen before I can go. Right now, I'm waiting for approval from Sara's country and her orphanage. Both could come soon (like this week!) or could come in 6 weeks or more. I heard on Thursday that the dossier has been received by both the orphanage and the country. When they sign them is completely out of my control. Thus all the whining about waiting.

When both of these approvals are given, I will get the ever-coveted "official referral." This means that I will get all of her medical and social information and---wait for it---new pictures! I can't wait to find out how my little girl is doing, what she's learning, how much she's grown, how her health is--any little bit of information I can get!

After I officially accept her referral, I apply to the US government for permission to bring her into the country. (I have their approval to adopt a child from her country. Now I need permission for her to be that child.) This process has been taking 2-3 weeks.

After that approval is given, I will be given a court date. It could be between 2 and 4 weeks out. I'm hoping and praying for 2 weeks. I'm ready to go now. I don't need 4 weeks to get ready!

So, as you can see, there are several things still that need to happen before I can go meet my little girl. Also, her country shuts down for most of December. I am praying with all my heart that I can travel by November 1st. If I can't, I won't be going until January. I really want my girl home for Christmas! Alas, it's all out of my hands so I just keep waiting.

*How much more do you need to be fully-funded?
I have been incredibly blessed with the support of all my friends and family. I've received a grant and I worked summer school to earn a chunk of money to put towards the adoption. So....

I will be done with my major fund raising efforts after my current auction.

I will continue to knit because it gives me something to do while I'm waiting. I will list new items on my Scarves and Skirts for Sara page on facebook. I will also take custom orders until I get a travel date.

I will also keep my Adoption Bug t-shirt sale open until I get a travel date. I love their shirts and jump on any chance to promote adoption.

While I still don't know how much I will need for travel, I know that God does and I know He provides. I'm choosing to rest in that. (You can think I'm crazy. I'm ok with that.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Auction #2!

Update: 9/7/12 - Lots of new items added daily!

The auction is open for bids!

One last push to be "fully-funded"! I'm hoping that I'm close to traveling and I'm getting close to have all the money I need. Right now, I'm working on saving up enough for travel. 4-7 weeks in a foreign country is going to be quite expensive! (I'm still waiting to hear from a bunch of grant organizations. I'm hoping between those and this auction, I'll be good to go!)

The auction will be on the same facebook page as the previous auction. It will officially started September 1st. The auction will end September 15th at 9PM CST.

Here's a preview of some of the items that are currently listed:

If you want to bid on any of these items, go to the facebook page. Auction starts September 1st and ends at 9PM on Saturday, September 15th.