Real

  

As I write this, here is the face looking at me. Cutie pie. 

So many stories scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I cannot possibly read them all. Sad stories. Courageous stories. Fun stories. Tragic stories. Sometimes I wonder if the stories are real. 

Last night we received a message warning us that our T-shirt fundraiser might be considered spam. We posted it under a group and a member of the group did not “know” us. She did not appreciate seeing our fundraiser in her Facebook feed. 

I get that. There is a lot that goes through my feed that I care nothing about. It actually makes it very hard to notice the things that do matter and that I care about. 

Our family’s story is special. Our baby girl is a real person. Soon we will be able to share her picture with you all. 

One last day for T-shirt sales: http://www.booster.com/pursuinglove 

My verse for today: Exodus 1:21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 

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Together

  

Z and I just spent 6 days in the hospital. A nurse commented that he was milking the one-on-one time with his mom. Yes, he was. So was I. 

At times like this I am reminded that he was abandoned on the side of the road in China as an infant. Abandoned by a parent or by parents who were doing the most loving thing they could for him. All his needs were taken care of in China, and for that I am thankful. 

I am also reminded that he had major surgery in China as an infant. By major, I mean spinal surgery. During that time, his mommy was not with him. 

I’m here now little buddy. 

Birth

BirthIMG_2901 It has been a while since I have done a post so I thought I would give it a go. As Lori in previous posts has alluded to, we are on the adoption train to Europe. We knew we were going to adopt again. We were just up in the air of where it was going to be. China and India were in consideration. For those of unfamiliar with international adoption, there is a process…a lengthy process. Ever tried birthing paperwork? This type of birth is very unique…it can give you paper cuts. This method of birth can be done by either a dude or dudette. It can be stressful, frustrating, and invigorating blended with “why the heck do they need to know that!?” kinda of moments. Hey paper work is easy right?

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Come with me for a moment into the mind of the adoptive parent. First off, into the nitty gritty of it, there is high level of commitment in adoption, especially international adoption. We’ve done it once with A&E and we are doing again for sister V. Non-believers would say that we are a glutton for punishment. Those who have been on the journey know that it’s more than that. It’s a calling of a different nature, a calling that needs the faith of a mustard seed. Plenty of unknowns are at play depending on the country, age of the child, wellness of the child, and travel issues (to name a few). It takes a lot of faith to take on those unknowns. You would ask yourself, “Do I trust God enough to get me through this?” Your commitment and faith are tested in this “birth process” through three major pieces and that’s even before you board the plane. Those pieces are the homestudy meetings, the homestudy paperwork, and the dossier.

The Homestudy What’s a homestudy you say? A homestudy for all practical purposes is an outside party (social worker) that comes in to your home on four separate occasions (three if you are lucky) to interview you as a couple, separately as mother and father, and then interview your existing children. They will delve in details of your life past and present. They will ask many thought provoking questions: What are your thoughts on parenting? How do you discipline your children? What was your home life like growing up? Describe your personality, your strengths and weaknesses? What types of activities did your family do together? How did your parents discipline you and your siblings? What aspects of their parenting do you hope to emulate & what will you avoid? What is your religious background? When/how/where did you and your spouse meet? How long did you date prior to marriage? Imagine 8 pages of questions like that could expose you and your family to potential criticism by someone that doesn’t know you much at all. Imagine how would you answer all those questions? Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Oh, I forgot to mention, there’s a home inspection. Every room is looked at. Do you have smoke alarms? (You should.) Do you have a fire extinguisher? (You should.) Do you have pets? Have a room in your house you’re ashamed of because you’re a pack rat? (Get ready to show it.) This time around it was a little easier. If you’re a first timer, it can be a scary, what am I thinking kind of moment. Families like us that go down this road do not do it lightly. Normally, all the visits take around four months. The Homestudy Paperwork

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Ok, now gather all those important documents that you’ve hidden from yourself or take for granted. It’s a long list: birth certificates (you, spouse, and kids), marriage certificate, SS Cards, driver’s licenses, W2, and your last set of tax returns. Now print and sign various documents for background checks at the county, state and federal levels. Ask your job to provide proof of employment, get the vet to give you a shot card for your pets (this one was new to me, too), and get fingerprints for the FBI. Run to the MEA (doctor’s office) and get yourself checked out and the kids too. Home studies also require that the adoptive parents have education credits (online usually). Oh, remember all those questions I mentioned above? You’ll need those typed up in your autobiographical document per mommy and per daddy. Still with me?….good. Once all that is together, the social worker will generate you a spiffy report that you will need later. The Dossier Normally, if you are going the domestic adoption route through agencies like Bethany Adoption Service or Lifeline Adoption, you’re pretty much done and waiting on a referral (child match). International adoptions add a unique and fairly costly step, the Dossier. It’s a French sounding word loosely meaning in the adoption world as “boatload of important documents about your family that a foreign country has to have.” A lot of the same documents are utilized again from the homestudy collection, but they have to be original documents. Passports are now included. All those documents have to now be apostilled. Side Note: Now this word (apostille) for some reason is the bane of my verbal skills. I verbally butcher it every time. Even after being told repeatedly how to say it, I still can’t say it correctly. Ok, now the documents that are generated by an activity such a medical exam or employment verification have to be notarized by a notary public. After the notarization, those documents have to be apostilled or “certified” that the documents are genuine. Documents generated by a registar (birth certificates) or county clerks don’t require notarization but do have to be apostilled. The apostilled documents are all put together, translated into the necessary language (in our case, Polish), then logged into the country’s welfare system (or something similar). Lots of documents and lots of steps. I have simplified it a little, but there is still a lot. Now that you have a good idea of the mountain of paperwork, you can see that this is not something that a family takes on on a whim. God has put this love of children in our hearts. The desire to find them anywhere they may be. Many of us have this desire. Sometimes it’s below the surface waiting for a good push. IMG_2899 This desire does come at cost though. As Lori mentioned in here previous post, we are in fund raising mode to take care of the various fees, applications, travel and logistics of getting our girl. Why go there you may say? I say why not go there? A child needs a home with a family. Brothers to play with and big dog that will clean up the food that doesn’t make it into her mouth. This journey of ours is a compassionate journey. It can be a journey that we all take together. I would ask that everyone please diligently pray that the steps, the hands, and the finances all come together to bring her home to the great state of Mississippi where she will witness God’s love first hand by her parents, her brothers, her family, her church, and her friends. Our journey can be your journey. Will you come along with us? We will be raising funds in various ways. T-shirts are our first way. Come check them out at:

http://www.booster.com/pursuinglove

Shirts

  

http://www.booster.com/pursuinglove

If you would like to support us on our journey, please consider buying one of these cool shirts (designed by Mr. Awesome). This is our first fundraiser (hopefully of many). I cannot lie, I am a little nervous. 

The cost of adoption, domestic and international, is high. Money is one part of it. Costs also include time, sanity, and sleep. There are others I may touch on in future posts. Time is in the forefront of my thoughts, as I realize our baby girl is 11 months old today. 

Our adoption, as far a monetary costs go, will be between $35,000 and $40,000. We hope to raise at least half. 

Thank you for considering and following us on this journey. 

Crazy

 
Don’t let this picture fool you. These boys can act crazy! If you want to see, just come over to our house and pretend you are a social worker working on our home study. One wanted to change into his pajamas, then wanted to take his shirt completely off. One wanted to sit in my lap and demanded that I tickle him. The third wanted to go in the backyard and risk our big dog escaping in the process. 

Lesson 1: If you plan on adopting and currently have children and/or animals living in your home, your children and/or animals will do things they have never done before during the home study visit. Just knowing this helps a little. 

Our third home study visit is done. Our autobiographies are done. Fingerprints are halfway done (waiting on mine). After my fingerprints the U.S. Government will run a background check. Compared to the adoption of our littles, the fingerprint /background check part of the process is super fast!

Yesterday, I started a chronological bible reading plan. Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.”

Since I have never birthed a child, I don’t know the bodily pain of bearing a child. However, I do compare the adoption process to birth pains. Sometimes it can seem unbearable. The waiting, the wishing, the lists, the papers, the forms, the needle sticks, and the questions. These pains do not subside once your child is here. There are follow up forms, visits, and questions. There is grief and pain that your little one brings with them. 

Somehow, it is still beautiful. Somehow, it is still totally worth it. 

Not somehow. God is how. 

Abiding in Him.