The Paper Trail

When we started letting news of our adoption trickle out in the spring, we honestly thought we could finish our paperwork (called a dossier) by the time summer ended. However, because of a few documents getting lost or just not even dealt with, we have only recently submitted them (they arrived in Ethiopia yesterday, 12/7).

Some of our friends and even family have expressed frustration over the process taking so long. We keep getting asked if we have a picture of a child yet or a travel date. Those things are still months away.

To let you in on what we’ve been doing so far, I am listing the documents we’ve been working on SINCE APRIL. Items 1-20 had to be notarized/certified originals. We also were instructed to compile 2 sets of originals in case one set was lost in transit.

  1. local police clearance letter (for each of us)
  2. passport photos (for each of us)
  3. birth certificates (for each of us)
  4. marriage certificate
  5. medical clearance letter (for each of us; different from item 24)
  6. family photos and cover sheet
  7. employment letter (for each of us; different from item 30)
  8. letter from our bank that we are in good standing
  9. form 1040—page 1 of tax returns for previous 3 years, with cover sheet
  10. letter to Ethiopian government requesting adoption from us
  11. four reference letters (as a couple)
  12. commitment letter to provide post-adoption reports
  13. adoptive parent form (for each of us)
  14. obligation of social welfare agency
  15. power of attorney
  16. dossier cover letter
  17. social worker license
  18. home study agency license
  19. home study provider approval letter
  20. the actual home study, which includes the following:
  21. three different people each submitted a four-page reference form
  22. a list of all our addresses for each of us since age 18
  23. child abuse registry checks for each state of residence since 18 (for each of us)
  24. criminal records check (for each of us)
  25. full physical and medical history (for each of us)
  26. drug screening (for each of us)
  27. pet vaccinations
  28. health and life insurance verification
  29. proof that our home is up to code and a safe environment
  30. record of any 911 calls made by us (luckily there were none)
  31. a letter from our employers stating salary, job duties, performance, etc.
  32. a monthly budget
  33. a list of our personal assets and liabilities
  34. a family reference (from a parent for each of us)
  35. pediatrician’s report for Avery
  36. extensive autobiography forms (for each of us)
  37. cultural study and worksheets
  38. plus several other forms which required reading, signatures and notaries

During this time we’ve also been educating ourselves in all things related to adoption, including our own personal journey as well as required training, such as reading an adoption manual and taking a test, watching videos, reading articles and attending webinars.

We’d like to say a big thanks to Mandy Eden for helping us with the notaries and Christina Bennett, our amazing social worker. Thank you for making us feel such at ease. We enjoyed all of the home visits and interviews and look forward to seeing you again.


Christmas Gifts

I received two catalogs in the mail yesterday, both advertising Christmas gift ideas. The first was from an adoption agency with the front caption: “giving gifts that make a difference.” Gifts ranged from a month supply of baby formula at $20 to a gift of $500 for a metal crib in lieu of wood in order to keep cockroaches off the babies. The second catalog was from a department store, which I thumbed through reluctantly because deep down I want to rebel against what (according to this catalog) Christmas has become. I stopped on the page with the princess-themed gifts because Avery loves princess anything. I was astounded by the caption: “she already thinks she’s a princess—make it official.” Are we supposed to allow our kids to think they’re princesses? Should we encourage it by lavishing them with ball gowns and anything that sparkles? At two, Avery has her share and more of tutus and tiaras. Is it fair that the Asian girls in the picture are dressed as Cinderella and Snow White and life for them will probably end “happily ever after,” while the little girls in China might not even see their first birthday simply because of their gender? I found it appalling that the cost to send a Ukrainian child to school for a year was less than that of a musical keyboard vanity. The Disney Princess Sparkle Babies listed for $25…the same price it would cost to transport a foster child to a loving home, help an unexpected mother provide the basics for her infant, or buy a gas card for a struggling family to get to work. Instead of deciding between which Disney Princess Dress, on sale for $15, I could provide a backpack to a foster child in school.

In the past, Keith and I have asked our friends and family to buy “gifts that make a difference” instead of presents for us. (See link below.) We would encourage the same this year. The cost of this adoption is something we know God will provide for, just as Jesus paid for our own adoption with His blood. If you feel called to help support us in the adoption, you may give directly to our agency, Christian World Adoption, by visiting the link to the right.

We hope you find some way to help orphans this Christmas, whether it be through an orphanage or foster care in the United States or abroad.

 Gifts that make a difference...HERE


Plan A

For many couples, adoption isn’t even on the radar until all other options (or at least one) have failed. For us, adoption has been part of our plan from the beginning. I have always wanted to adopt. And, early in our marriage when Keith and I discussed eventually expanding our family, we almost assumed adoption would be a natural part of that process. While adoption for us is Plan A and for others it might be Plan B or C or further down the alphabet, for God adoption is always part of His Plan A. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”