Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Blog

In an effort to make life simpler, I have combined our private family blog (which I hadn't updated in a year), our Mexico Adoption Blog and any new posts. It is hard enough keeping up with one blog, much less three! So, from here on out, you can find me at  Taste and See

Friday, October 8, 2010

The End

Well, it has taken a month to finally update our adoption process on here!

 About 3 weeks ago we found out that Mexico will not allow our agency to reapply for approval- EVER! So, our options are over with them.

As I mentioned before, there is one other agency, Carolina Adoptions, that has Central DIF authority to process adoptions in Mexico. However, they have not received a single child referral (that's the match between a specific child to their family) since they became approved over a year ago.  Hmmmm.... I definitely think "something" is going on here....maybe political issues?

Anyway, in the process of talking to them on the phone (multiple phone calls!) the social worker told me that Mexico has just made a new regulation where they are recommending that no Mexican state allow families with 5 or more children to adopt in Mexico. Now, we only have 4 but we found out that Mexico will still only allow us to adopt one child- which will put us at 5 total. No adopting sibling groups.

In addition, they want to maintain birth order. So that means the oldest child we could receive would be 5 years old- which would be difficult to get since Mexico will only allow people to adopt children older than age 5.

So basically, even switching to another agency is out of the question since Mexico has limited our options so strongly. 

From the beginning, Brent and I have felt deeply called to adopt a sibling group since they are the hardest to find families for. We have spent the last 4 weeks really praying. A. Lot. And talking. A. Lot. And evaluating heart motives. A. Lot.

First, are we still supposed to adopt?
Or, did God open our eyes to the plight of the orphan, not to adopt but to support adoption in some other way?
Or, are we meant to be in Mexico ministering in some way?

Soooo many thoughts. So many questions. So much counsel sought.

In the end, we still feel God is calling us to adopt.  There have been too many confirmations along the way to deny His hand in moving us to adopt. Thankfully, we have peace about at least one thing!


We spent a large amount of time praying about whether God has specifically called us to the country of  Mexico, or called us to adopt children in a sibling group. 

This was a little bit easier. Although we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mexico- and could even see us moving there one day, we both feel pretty strongly that God has made it abundantly clear that a sibling group is what God has called us to. Which, in the end, means we must find a new country to adopt from.

God, in His providence, provided the answer immediately. During a phone conversation with our social worker, she mentioned the country of Colombia in South America. She told me that the country is essentially in a crisis with their sibling groups. They have over 5,000 siblings that need to find families and the country of Colombia is doing whatever it takes to find homes for them. Even expediting the time process and relaxing the regulations to meet the need.

Can you believe this? We would have NEVER considered Colombia a year ago. Yet just maybe God has had us go through this year long adoption process in Mexico to get us ready for a place where there is a multitude of siblings needing families. (Oh, it just breaks my heart that there are sooo many!)

Even so, we are walking slowly and carefully- trying to be certain that we are only moving ahead at His leading. We are hesitant to say "We ARE adopting from Colombia." because, as we have learned the hard way....

"The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Prov 16:9

We've started the change of country process to see if God continues opening doors for us. If He does, then we will continue walking through them. If He begins shutting them again, we'll know He is steering us down a different path.

We are truly learning what it feels like to walk by faith and not by sight. We feel like we are trying to find our way in mostly darkness with just enough light to see the step ahead of us. It's good though. It is keeping us grasping for His strength and clinging to Him as we make each little decision.

We are both learning so many new aspects of God's character. And we are learning even more what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit. It would be so much easier if there was a verse in the Bible that said, "Brent and Tiffany shalt adopt from such and such place on such and such a date." But, there is none! LOL!  So we pray, pray, pray. Wait patiently (this is so  hard!) until peace comes. Then step!

So, I feel like I should discontinue this blog. Though the title "Blessings From Mexico" did not result from the same blessings as I assumed it would (3 little children), it did still result in blessings. We have received multitudes of Blessings from Him as He has taught us so much about Himself through this past year.

If nothing else, I pray that by hearing our experience and our journey of learning to trust God in adoption, we will  possibly stir up the desire of others to follow God's command to care for the orphan- whether that be by adopting themselves or supporting the orphan in some other way. 

Psalm 68:6 "God places the lonely in families...."
James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction...."

I haven't decided whether to start a new blog on our Colombian adventure or not. If I do, I'll link it here.

May God richly bless you.

P.S. We would still greatly appreciate it if you would pray for our "almost" children that are being left behind in Mexico. Our hearts are still broken over not being able to be a family to them. Yet, we are praying expectantly that God will set them in a loving, kind family who will teach them of God's love very soon. The orphanage director has promised that she will contact me WHEN that happens. Please continue to pray for F, A, and B.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God is Still Good

Since May, when our agency began having more approval problems, Brent and I have been praying that God would make His answers very clear in regards to our adoption difficulties. It is so hard to be left in limbo and confusion. After Gladney got the denial letter weeks ago, we knew that with an appeal process it would be very possible  for Mexico to drag things out for a long, long time- as in years. Yet, God in His sovereignty, has made His answer- at least that part of it- clear.

This past Wednesday we found out that our agency has received a second Denial for Appeal letter. Basically, the Central DIF will not allow them to appeal the original denial.

So, our answer is fairly clear now. For whatever reason, God has not seen fit to allow us to adopt from Mexico through Gladney. (Our agency is still holding out hope that they can possibly start the whole accreditation process over, however I feel doubtful that they would get approved after 2 denials on their record.)

Oh, it has been a sad, heartbreaking few days, don't get me wrong. (It's taken me 3 days to find the words to write this!) Our hearts are breaking over the loss of "our kids". Honestly, it feels the same as when we went through the two miscarriages in 2008. Kind of worse, though. What will happen to them? Will they be separated when the oldest turns 10? Will they ever have a loving family? Yet, God has given a peace that He will do what is good and right. That is all He CAN do! That is a comfort. And I can trust Him in that even if I don't ever know the details.

Surprisingly, after I had a good cry, I felt tons of relief. Relief that God is gracious enough to give us the answer now and not drag us through months and more months of misplaced hope.

We have no idea what that means for us, though. There is only one other agency in the US that does have Central Approval, however they are not having any success with adoptions anyway. It would be a huge gamble to switch over to them, and there are a few other details that are sending us red flags. This could mean that the opportunity to adopt in Mexico is no longer an option.

Brent and I both feel like God is telling us to just chill for a little while. Don't make any hasty decisions. Don't try to switch to another agency. Stay open to switching countries. Stay open to the idea that God has not called us to adopt after all. Stay open to whatever the Holy Spirit is telling us.

It's hard to do. In my flesh, I want to research, make phone calls, talk to the Embassy, call other agencies, network, look at other country requirements, etc. But I KNOW that we need to obey and just wait. Be quiet. Focused on hearing His voice and not my screaming emotions.

We, again, are praying that God would make His will for our next decisions about adoption very clear. We are humbly asking that all of you- our friends and family- would join us in this prayer.

-That our mourning will turn to joy.
-That "our chicos" would come to know Christ as their Savior so we can spend all eternity with them
-That we would not waste this setback by complaining, but would use it to proclaim His glory.
-That this time of waiting would be a period of spiritual growth and depth for our family.
-That we would not be hasty in any decision-even when our paperwork starts expiring.
-That we would be filled with patience and inner peace that defies understanding.
-That we would not be filled with fear in stepping out in faith again.
-That we would listen carefully to His voice and we would accept whatever He says with an open, submissive heart.
-That we can count it all joy to share in Christ's sufferings in this way.

Thank you for joining us in prayer. We are so thankful to be supported by so many family and friends who love us and want God's best for us.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hanging in there...

Just a quick update...
We're hanging in there. Thank you all for so many kind words of encouragement and for joining us with fervent times of prayer, often spontaneously in conversation.  We truly are grateful to be surrounded by believers who LIVE their commitment to Christ. 

We still don't have any more answers, but I have been on the phone with a bunch of agencies asking tons of questions and getting lots of advice- often much of it is conflicting.

More and more I am thankful that we are going through such a solid and reputable agency such as Gladney. I feel more and more confident of that each time they are proactively informing us of each and every step they are taking to appeal the denial.

Weekly conference calls to keep us updated even when there is very little to tell, just reconfirms my satisfaction with them. It's been so good to hear multiple times from other agencies that Gladney is such a good, honest agency to deal with.  They have been very willing to refund our money and return our dossier and do whatever we need should we choose to find another agency. We haven't done that because we are in this for the long haul. We are just really praying that things will work out and we can continue using them as our agency.

Now, if we could just get past this hurdle of the denial and get on to the real business of adopting! 

AND, I just found out yesterday there are TWENTY families in the Mexico program! I'm shocked! Only 12 have their dossiers done, but that is awesome that there are so many! Now, what I'm wondering is WHY DO HARDLY ANY OF THEM HAVE A BLOG!!! LOL!  (I don't mean you Michelle!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heavy News

Deep Breath....Here it goes...

We have some heavy news. It looks like our adoption may be coming to a screeching halt. At this point we seriously need a miracle.  Here are the details:

As many of you know, we have been in the process of waiting for our agency to get accreditation from the Central DIF in Mexico City in order to be able to submit our dossier. This process of accreditation for our agency has been long and tedious and filled with broken promises from the Mexican government. Yet, everything seemed to be going well. Slow but well.

Until last week.

Last Wednesday I spoke to Beth, our social worker, who informed me that our agency's accreditation approval had been denied. Apparently, they were denied because they had listed several older waiting children on their website in hopes of finding them families. But this is against the new Centralization policy. So our agency got a denial letter stating that they cannot do adoptions in Mexico at all. It doesn't matter that they have written permission from children's govt. authorities  to post the pictures. The Central DIF didn't ever ask questions or mention the policy in the past so it was quite a shock to everyone when the denial letter came.

Our agency held a conference call with the Mexico Program Families and let us know of the situation. They immediately submitted an appeal letter to allow them to explain the evidence, however there is no "appeal process". So we are just praying that Mexico will be gracious and hear the request. We don't have a whole lot of hope, however. They haven't been very easy to work with up to this point, and with all the political unrest with immigration issues between the US and Mexico, we kind of think this has been a factor in the decision making. Already, it has been ten days since the Central DIF received the appeal request and there has not been a single peep out of them.

So, at this point,we realize that unless God chooses to do a miracle, we have lost our chance to adopt "our" kids and quite possibly the opportunity to adopt in Mexico at all.

Sadness doesn't even begin to describe the range of emotions we've been experiencing the past week. We are full of confusion and heartbreak. We have already lost the first set of children we had fallen in love with, and now the thought of losing these three little sweeties is almost too much.

Actually, it isn't so much our loss we are sad about. We will move on with life., make decisions about the future and go on living with our four children here in relative wealth. Yet, our heart is breaking for these three children whose future is now very, very bleak. The oldest is turning 10 this fall and from what I understand, she will be too old to stay in her present orphanage. We don't know what will happen to her. Will she be sent to another orphanage? If so, not only does she not get a family, but she will lose the only family she does have- her brother and sister... Obviously, this devastates us. Thinking about it makes me cry. These kids have lost so much already. Now this?

We have done a lot of soul searching and crying out to the Lord, wrestling with Him over our sadness. We have run the gamut of emotions. At first we were in shock as we processed the information and implications.

Then the doubt set in.

What if God was closing the door to adoption? What if we really didn't hear God's call? What if it was really just our own idea? What if it was all an emotional response after the two miscarriages we had the previous year? Maybe it wasn't God's voice we heard, but ours? If that is so, then I don't know if I've EVER heard God's voice, because we thought the idea of adoption was so clearly His idea.  Doubt. Doubt. Doubt  Yuck.

Thankfully, God sent many strong, faithful friends to uphold us, pray with us, and encourage us when we were too weak in our faith to think clearly. Wendy, my dear, sweet sister in Christ encouraged me with the statement (I think it is a quote...)

"Do not doubt in the darkness what you have known to be true in the light."

That was so helpful. The tears started flowing again when she said it- balm to my wounded heart. It really refocused me when I was letting the enemy distract me with doubt. After thinking on that and God bringing Scripture verse after Scripture verse to me, I feel like we are heading out of doubt and into hope.

Then came the questions? What are our other options? There is only one other agency that is accredited to work in Mexico (yes, only one- can you believe it?!) And unfortunately they only work in the state of Taluca. And, they haven't received a single child to their program even though they've been accredited for over a year. So that prospect didn't look too hopeful. And there is no way we could still get "our" kids in Mexico City since they aren't approved there.

There is another agency, who is in the process of getting accreditation, which is still doing adoptions the old way- directly with the state itself. Not through the Federal level government. And, they are working in Chihuahua, which is where we originally had hoped to adopt from. Yet, this situation poses tons of risk. What if they get stuck in the same mess that our agency got stuck in with the accreditation?  We could get all the way to the end of the process and the Central DIF could say it didn't count and nullify the adoption. So many questions and sketchy issues with this option.

Anyway, this is where we stand right now. We're overwhelmed.

Yet, through it we are trying to remind each other that God IS in control. He IS the One who gave us the call to adopt. We are certain of it. We are choosing to crush the doubt and confusion that the enemy wants us to wallow in. Our emotions are raw- yes. However, we will trust in His goodness and faithfulness. Whatever His plan is, we desire to follow it. WHATEVER. Even if it means we can't adopt "our" kids. Even if it means we can't adopt from Mexico. Even if it means we don't adopt at all.  Believing that and saying it from my heart is easier some moments than others, to be completely honest. Yet, no matter how small our faith is at this moment, We choose to trust that He will always do good. Always.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our kids' Orphanage Website

I was searching around on the net tonight and found our kids' orphanage' website! It's called La Quinta Carmelita. I used Google translate to try to figure out what it said. I got most of the jist of it. No pictures of the kids but their names are listed on the Sponsorship page.

Here's the site if you're interested!

Do you want to contact me?

I have had a few people that are in the Mexico adoption process try to contact me. They've left a comment but for some reason I can't see their profile or email so I can send a note back. So I've updated my  sidebar with my email address for people who want to contact me and chat about adoption related issues, or anything really! I LOVE talking about the adoption. Just ask my "in real life" friends who are sick of hearing me drone on. In fact they'd probably appreciate me having someone new to use up my daily word count on! LOL!

Also, in case you have been searching for Mexico Adoption Blogs and have found my other blog that says all the same things as this one, there is a reason. And, no, I'm not schizophrenic!

Our agency asked if I could list my blog on their website for other people who are going through the process. But, I can't have any fundraising information on that blog in case someone in Mexico who is part of the adoption process would get the wrong idea that we couldn't financially provide for the children we are adopting. So, in order to help them out, I set up another more basic blog for people to see that is  attached to the Gladney website.  Got it?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I finally just heard from Beth, our new social worker from Gladney.

The meeting that was supposed to happen two Thursdays ago never occurred.

Apparently, the head DIF people up and left for Holland!

Yeah, I know I wrote Holland. And yes, I was saying, "Huh? Why?" too.

Unfortunately, Gladney just doesn't know. We are hoping that they are going to get some answers from the HAGUE people who's main office is in the Netherlands. We're hoping that they will find, once and for all, that all this additional approval is unnecessary since HAGUE has already accredited our agency.

But, honestly we don't know for sure.

Maybe they took a vacation? Watching the World Cup? Who knows?

No one from the Central DIF office contacted Gladney to let them know that they weren't going to have the meeting. John, the Gladney staff person in Mexico, talked with Sari, a contact (actually part owner of our kids' orphanage, I think) in Mexico City who sits on the DIF committee. She told him about the impromptu trip to Holland.

So where does this leave us? Waiting some more. We were hopeful that we'd be bringing our kiddos home this fall/early winter, but by the looks of things now, I'll be surprised if it happens by next spring.

Also, Beth told us that a bunch of our paperwork will probably be out of date by the time the DIF gets it, but not to get it redone quite yet. We should wait until we're pretty certain things are imminent.


I'm just praying that God would grow me (us) through this process. I'm assuming that I have a lot to learn before these chicos come home. I'm grateful that He loves me so much to teach me these lessons and not leave me to my own flesh.

When the gardener prunes a bush, he does it for it's good. To make it beautiful and more abundant.

God is doing the same thing in me. All these things are for my good, to give me an abundant life full of joy in Him.

Yet the pruning is painful. And sometimes the bush looks awkward and strange during the process.

I think that describes things pretty good right now. Painful, awkward and strange.

But the hope I have for the beautiful future that awaits keeps me joyful even while being in the pruning stage.

Lord, let me wait with hopeful expectancy on the work you are bringing to fruition, thankful for the pain and trial you bring first.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Anyone getting sick of hearing a day by day detailed account of the adoption drama? LOL! It's kind of like a soap opera!

If you are, I understand and won't hold it against you! But, for us, it is an every day, consuming our thoughts kind of drama. Exhausting, but good.

 I spoke to Susanna today just to clear up a little confusion on one of our translation papers. Our homestudy social worker's license was attached to the back of the homestudy but our translator added an additional authentication and apostille even though we never had one in English! LOL! Just goes to show that these apostilles really mean a hill of beans since the translator was able to get one without the document in English even existing! Crazy. Thankfully, it's an easy solution as we will just toss them out and not use them.

Today was Susanna's last day so when she called I asked her to give me a run down  ONE MORE TIME of all the course of events that have to happen next. She was very patient with me even though she's explained this probably 10 times over the past few months. See, each step that I get closer, I understand the  process better, which in turn raises more logistical questions that I couldn't have thought of before the last step! Got it?

Thankfully, we did find out that since this is a Hague adoption we won't have to go to the US Embassy in Mexico City for immigration approval. Thankfully, this is done back home through the I-800 paperwork before the adoption can even be finalized. That was a relief since I've been following two separate blogs about families that either had trouble with that step or where it has completely messed up their adoption. See here and here.

I did get a little more clarification from her on where everything stands with our approval. (Anyone not in the process can zone out now.... LOL! Other families in process will be hanging onto their chairs now seeing if there is any new info in what I write! LOL!) 

From what I understand there are 3 people  they are in contact with in the DIF: Monica Rios (head of Central DIF), Diana Pechico, and Dr. Mejia (I'm not sure if I'm spelling any right!). DIF has been informed by both Gladney and the US Dept of State that they will not be able to get an Interpol report for Gladney since they don't do them anymore. Dr. Mejia rescheduled the monthly Council meeting for June 10 and at that time will suggest one of two options.

1. Accept the Hague accreditation that Gladney has already received and submitted to allow for approval (this is the whole POINT of Hague. So countries don't need to do additional approval processes! But I digress...). This is the fastest option and one we are especially praying for. OR

2. Request some other report from the US Dept. of State stating that Gladney has never committed any international crimes or whatever they need it to say. This would take longer as we now need someone in Mexico to actually MAKE a request, someone in the DOS to WRITE and SEND a report, someone in DIF to RECEIVE the report, WAIT for the next monthly council meeting, and pray they will ACCEPT the report!
Obviously, this is more likely the course they will take. But, there is always option number...

 3. Ask for some other form of documentation that no one has ever thought to ask for! LOL! This option is totally possible but we're praying it won't even enter their minds!
So, my praying friends, would  you be praying for all the people involved with the council meeting next Thursday? Pray for tender and compassionate hearts. Pray for them to remember why they are doing what they're doing- finding families for lonely children. God is the changer of hearts and we totally believe that He can cause this DIF staff to find favor with Gladney's documentation.

Incidentally, Susanna also shared that there are several other agencies struggling with the same issues-trying to get Central DIF approval before submitting dossiers. And, the whole country of Italy! Apparently there are a lot of Italians that adopt from Mexico and only just since this whole DIF centralization they are hitting roadblock after roadblock just like Gladney.  Hopefully this will put a little pressure on them to make a quick decision!

We'll be in Chihuahua, Mexico on  a mission trip during the next council meeting so I'm praying that I'll be able to have internet access after the meeting! Otherwise I'm going to get really anxious not knowing what happened!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Today's  conference call answered no new questions on where we stand on the approval process. Things are still being worked out and no one knows what is going to happen or when it's going to happen.

 But, a very important piece of information came out during the call- which really was the reason behind why it was ultimately scheduled.

Our wonderful, social worker, Susanna, is leaving the agency. After being with Gladney for 13 years and essentially starting the Mexico program for the agency, she is leaving to pursue another career.

I can't blame her. It must be an extremely stressful job. All of us whiny, anxious, paper-pregnant mom's-to-be calling and emailing constantly, confident that our adoption journey is more important than anyone else's...asking questions over and over...dealing with government red tape, foreign politics and people who don't do what they say they're going to do...being on call 24-7 when someone is in country finalizing...networking, contacting, endless hours on the phone...NOT an easy job.

That said... we're going to really miss her. She has wonderful contacts and I just felt "safe" knowing she understood the process.

That doesn't mean her successor can't do a good job. Beth seems very sweet, on top of information,  and people from the Columbia program seem to love her.

To be honest, I feel a little anxiety knowing that at the height of all this uncertainty with Gladney's approval we will have to start over with someone who doesn't have the same connections as Susanna. Someone who will be playing catch-up to learn the Mexico set of rules (which incidentally change by the day or hour!).

 But, thankfully, Beth  is not in control of this adoption process. Neither was Susanna.

We have a much better CaseWorker on the job!

It is the Lord God, Protector of the weak, Defender of the orphan, Wisdom Giver, Family Restorer,  Political Leader Chooser, and Loving Father.

He is on the job! In fact, He invented the job!

He is the one who is in control of each and every step, each and every document, each and every child, each and every government official, each and every social worker.

I'm glad the Lord is rooting out this false sense of "safety" that was present in me when I was trusting in Susanna's experience. (Oh, I wasn't for the few hours after the phone call. I was really struggling.)

But, after thinking and praying, I was convicted about where I was ultimately placing my trust. In Susanna's experience or in God's plan? (I think the answer is obvious!)

It's always a fascinating thing for me when God exposes the lies that I've been believing and I didn't even realize it. But it's a good opportunity for God to wash me clean of the ugliness of my faith in self or others, and make me begin stepping out in faith again. I just wish we didn't have to go through that process so frequently!

I'll be praying for Beth. She has a big job ahead of her. But, thankfully, she has a big God to lead her.

May He be magnified in this new circumstance!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

For me when I forget...

This link is here for me, and maybe it will be here for you too, when in the midst of the struggles of life, most particularly the adoption journey, I can be reminded that  I cannot continue in the flesh.

This whole process is a walking in the Spirit. He began the work in our hearts, opened our eyes to the desperate need of orphans, gave us hearts that have been broken by the very thing that breaks His heart and caused us to have the faith to step out and make the phone call to say "yes".

How, can I ever think for a moment that now I am in control? That I have any say over each step?

I am called to be completely and utterly dependent on Him. Yet, who better to make ourselves vulnerable to than One who has already planned the whole thing! May I remember these things, when my flesh demands its own way and deceives me into thinking I can accomplish things in my own strength.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another email, another conference call

I just got another email from our social worker. This time I don't even understand it. The little part that I get is that the people who we thought were going to be at the Dept of State meeting tomorrow aren't going to be there.


 There was a bunch more info full of Government agency names, acronyms and people who I don't understand who they are... but the only other thing I gathered is that another conference call is scheduled for next Wednesday June 2, 2010. 

 I feel like I'm living from conference call to conference call!

We leave for a mission trip to Mexico June 8, so I'm really hoping we'll hear some kind of confirmation before then. Otherwise I'm going to be living in agony not knowing what is happening for 10 days if I'm without internet access. Will our agency be approved while we're gone? Will our dossier be submitted without us even knowing it? Aaaahhh! LOL!

Also,it's going to be so hard to be so close to our ninos (we'll be in Chihuahua City) yet not be able to swing down and see them (they're in Mexico City). OK, so it's more than a "swing" down- more like 14 hour drive, I think, but still much closer than we are now! Anyway, we aren't ALLOWED to see them due to Hague regulations, so even if we were in the same city, we still couldn't. Bummer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Helpful Info

Anyone who is reading this and wanting to adopt from Mexico might enjoy the last post from this other blog. This family is with the same agency as us and has just completed their adoption. They wrote extensively on the process of getting the visa in Juarez, Mexico.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hodge Podge!

I have a hodge podge (I love those words! They roll off the tongue so that's not a word at all!) of info to cram into this post! Ready?

 Adoption Update!
 During a conference call with our agency we found out that the interpol issue is even more frustrating. Apparently Interpol doesn't even DO agency clearances anymore! So, who in the world was saying, "yes we have your interpol clearance! We forwarded it on April 16." is a big ole liar! Or at least a very confused person. Basically, this means that Mexico is asking for something that cannot possibly be done. They didn't know that, our agency didn't know that and we now realize the US State Department must not have either!

Thankfully, there was a little shred of hope in the conference call. The lady in charge of the Central DIF (the Federal Govt agency that does adoptions in Mexico) is flying to meet with people from the US State Department this coming Friday (5/28/10). The Dept of State person is aware of our agency's situation and has promised to offer any and all assistance to give Mexico whatever documentation they need to finalize the Central DIF approval process. We're just praying they really will and that Mexico will indeed be satisfied at last with whatever the DOS can provide. None of the dossiers can be submitted until this approval process is complete!
 Just so it is clear, our agency is doing a fantastic job submitting to all these out of the blue changes that the Central DIF is now asking for. There is only one other agency that has been through this Central Approval process, that I know of, so I'm sure that any other agencies will have their dossiers halted until they get their central approval also, once the individual states start the compliance process. I'm so thankful that God put it clearly on our hearts to go with an agency on the front end of the changes. It's just a little frustrating to be the guinea pigs.
 So if you all would please pray for this meeting to go smoothly and for God to allow Mexico to show favor to our agency and not ask for any more documentation but allow dossier submission. And, also that we would wait patiently!

Next.... I found this wonderful video on another blog... I wish I was so eloquent to compose such beautiful prose on the sweetness of our adoption in Christ, but since I'm not...

I want to highly recommend this spanish program that we recently bought to learn the language. We do have Rosetta Stone, and the kids do well with it. But, Fluenz has been very helpful for us as adults. Adults learn language differently than children so it has been wonderful for Brent and I to work on in the evenings. Check it out!

 This is a picture of our complete dossier with all it's pretty stickers and translations. What a work of art! All 26 documents of it!

 Oh, and I'm missin' my chicos something awful lately...time is ticking and I'm really anxious for them to know they will have a mommy and daddy....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Drop of the Roller Coaster... Again...

I have never in my life experienced the rise and fall of emotion like during this adoption process. Last entry we were full of excitement and on top of the world, having sent off our dossier, just waiting for the big day when we'd hear that our dossier could be submitted.
Last night, though, we got an email from our social worker saying there are new problems with the agency approval. Apparently, Mexico does not have the Interpol clearance, even though they had told our agency they did back in April. There is a bunch of confusion on the US side and the Mexico side and our agency is stuck in  the middle not knowing what's going on.  This is terribly disappointing since tomorrow is the monthly meeting to review the agency paperwork and now we have no idea when that will take place. At minimum it's another month. Worst case scenario- well, we don't even know yet. This means it also pushes back dossier submission dates, which is frustrating for all the families waiting.
We are vacillating between frustration and faith today. God is in control and this hasn't taken him by surprise. Even though we are filled with disappointment because this delays our process, we are choosing to trust His timing. We are fully convinced that God is using this to refine our faith, scrape away our own desires and be filled with trust and peace. Going through the refining fire is never a painless process, though, so we would ask for your prayers during this time. We truly desire that God be magnified through the events of our adoption, and all involved can see His sovereignty. Maybe He will do that by bringing a miracle in the midst of this situation, or He will be honored by our hearts learning to trust in ways we haven't before. Either way, may He be glorified....

Dossier Complete!

Well, after 7 months of paper chasing, we are finally finished our dossier. This is our big stack of paperwork that will eventually make its way to Mexico City where it will be reviewed and hopefully approved! God has been so good to us as we have progressed this far. This last hurdle with the translations, was so full of God's working that it is exciting to us to see how He is just pushing each thing along, us completely out of control of any of it.

On Thursday of last week I Fed Ex'ed our 5 inch thick, 5 pound box of documents to our agency. We are so excited! Although, now it really feels weird to not have anything more to do! For so many months, we've been running full speed ahead and now, we're at a sudden stop! I think I might have whiplash from it!!! LOL!

Our agency's paperwork will be reviewed by the Mexican Central DIF on May 20. After this meeting, if all is approved, our agency can begin sending dossiers! WooHOOO!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Prayer Warriors Needed!

Hey Everyone,

It's strange how we never have to meet someone in order to feel connected to them. Being online and reading people's blogs about their lives and families really can make you feel like friends even if never having met in the flesh.
A few months ago, I found another blog of a family adopting a teenage boy from Mexico. This in itself is a miracle since I have found no more than 3 blogs about Mexican adoptions. And believe me- I've searched and searched, just ask my hubby! There are a plethora of blogs about Chinese or Ethiopian adoptions, but barely any for Mexico. But, to top it all off, they are a family who loves the Lord and have older biological children. And they are adopting an older child.
It has been so fun to keep up with their family and pray and get excited with them as they finished up the tail end of their adoption journey and he became their son. But, the past few months have brought lots of  pain and frustration. It seems that due to a paperwork mistake, they are not able to bring their son home at this time. I am heartbroken for them, as I can't begin to imagine how hard this is for them and for their son, who has been returned to the orphanage for the time being.
So I am asking all my friends to pray. Pray that God would move mountains and work a miracle in this situation. Pray that their son would have comfort and peace and it would not affect his healing process. Pray for the family as they have had their hearts ripped out for the past three months as they have waited to get the right paperwork. Pray for God to be glorified by doing something completely impossible and unexpected. If you want the whole story, you can read backward on the blog here.


Just got an email that our translations are full of pretty stickers and are in flight over night tonight to arrive at our house tomorrow! Yay!
BUT, somehow I STILL haven't taken pictures of our basement! I'm truly procrastinating on this one. And, after going to the homeschool curriculum fair this weekend, I have a slew of new books that are just stacked all over the desks. Looks like a full night of cleaning is ahead so I can have our photos done for tomorrow!
We are sooooo excited!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day late mail and Floods

Our agency has been wonderful to work with. They have completed a number of adoptions in Mexico Pre- Hague and have done all the requirements to meet the Hague Treaty regulations. Unfortunately, as they were ready to submit a dossier last year, the "Powers That Be" in the Mexican Central DIF decided to impose an additional approval process for all adoption agencies above and beyond what Hague requires- which they have the right to do.
So, since last summer, they have been jumping through hoops meeting all the requests for additional paperwork. One thing that was newly required was an international INTERPOL clearance- which basically is an international background check for the adoption agency.  Our agency has been waiting and waiting for this approval to come through and finally have heard that it did. At the end of April, all the paperwork was assembled for the DIF committee to review it and give the formal approval for dossiers to be submitted. BUT, the DIF committe only meets once a month. And the INTERPOL letter arrived one day late in the mail! GRrrrr... so now we are having to wait until May 20 in order for our agency's paperwork to be reviewed and approved. THEN, the agency's dossiers can be submitted. We hope. We all are just holding our breath and praying that they aren't going to ask for any new papers or delay giving the actual approval letter.  We would love to have all our prayer warriors bathe this committee meeting in prayer!

As for our process, our translations were done last week- just in time for the flooding to hit Nashville, Tennessee where our translator is! Many office buildings and roads were impassable or under water. This posed a dilemna since all our translations need to be notorized, authenticated and then apostilled. AND, to top it all off, our translator was flying out of town for a week long training. Guess where? An hour from my house! What are the odds!
We thought it would be a disaster, but then realized that it was a blessing! She could just sign and notarize them here in MD and I could get them authenticated and apostilled here in MD since the flooding was posing such an issue.
Only one problem- in her haste to catch her flight, our translator forgot the final copies of two of our translations and didn't have any way to get them to me in MD since she was here too! Thankfully, God was watching out for us, because after talking to our social worker from our agency, she said that all our documents needed to be authenticated in Tennessee, not MD. If she had not forgotten those two documents, we would have done ALL of them wrong and spend time and money having to redo all of them! Thank you Lord for keeping me from making a big mistake!
I was concerned that we would have to be delayed indefinitely until the TN government buildings were reopened- who knows when that would be! But, after  a few phone calls, I think all the buildings we need are either open or have opened at another site on higher and drier ground.  Our translator is going to make the rounds to all the places that give out pretty stickers (!) this week and then we should finally be ready to assemble our dossier and send it to our agency to submit! Then it's a whole other process- but that's another post for later!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Boy Time is Flying!

Well, April 9th we had our fingerprinting a the CIS office. We were in and out in less than 10 minutes and then were able to spend the day together at the inner harbor of Baltimore. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory and enjoyed a beautiful stroll around the water. What a perfect day!

Amazingly, we got our I-797 approval  in exactly ONE week! I was shocked since I'd heard it could take up to 4 more! Getting it so soon allowed us to be able to send copies of the I-797 to the translator, along with the authentications, apostilles before she was finished all the rest of the documents. That way she only has to make one trip to her government buildings- costing us a bit less! So, those are our LAST documents we needed to finish our dossier! Yahoooooo!

All I need to add to our stack are passport sized photos of Brent and I, and photos of our house. I have good pictures of the upstairs from the day we had our homestudy- all clean and perfect. BUT, for some reason I forgot to take pictures of the basement that day! Now, it's a mess with school stuff and puppy paraphernalia so I'm scrambling to get it organized enough for photographing. I may have to employ some creative photoshopping!
I've been sending out emails to family and friends asking for copies of good pictures of our whole family since we also need to send several family shots. As many of you know, I am lousy at remembering the camera. Either it is left at the house, or on the off chance I do have it, it usually has a dead battery. Thank goodness Caitlin has her own camera or we wouldn't have hardly any photos of our family's happenings! LOL!

We're so excited! I can't believe we are almost ready to send our dossier! Pinch me! Is it real?

One prayer request:
Our agency is waiting for ONE piece of paper saying that they can submit the dossiers they have waiting. Please join  me in praying that Mexico will be quick about mailing it so our dossier doesn't have to sit around in an office collecting dust! 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fingerprinting Scheduled!

April 9! Brent and I have a date with a person in the HAGUE immigration office who will fingerprint us. I'm so excited! It should be our last time we have to do this! Wondering if I should bring roses and chocolates to show my thanks! LOL!

Nothing much happening around here, adoption wise. Well, I guess there is kind of something. Back on March 1, Sadie our dog, had 8 puppies. So we're working hard keeping them fed and clean and healthy. This litter's costs will go toward the adoption so it's extra special! So far we have 5 families lined up. Pretty good since I only advertised 4 days ago!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Loved this article

This link was so powerful to me, not just about adoption, but about living life as a believer in general.
Read it and tell me what you all think...

Monday, March 22, 2010

They Have IT!

Got the mail today and in it was a letter notifying us that our I800A application was received in the Homeland Security Office and being sent to the HAGUE office for review. Yippee! It's a good thing, too since I mistakenly sent it to the wrong address! Dumb story..... totally a "blond" moment... 

Note to self... never mail through the post office- only through Fed Ex.  Even if it costs you more you should not be a cheapskate with mailing large checks and one of a kind paperwork....and double check addresses (since their offices are moving and locations are changing) so you don't panic and call the Hague office in near tears asking if it would be forwarded to the correct office... and have sweet little old ladies on the other end of the phone in near tears with you since she didn't know the answer but knew how big of a deal this was..... and you keep checking the delivery confirmation code only for it to say undelivered....but then days later seeing the check cashed and praying it was cashed by the correct agency and not by some bum on the street that found the check and application in a dumpster...
But I digress.....
Just send it to the right place


Pretty Stickers are all perfectly affixed on our continually growing dossier. Each document got a notary embossing, a half sheet of paper stapled over the embossing proving the authentication, and a whole sheet of paper with an apostille sticker attached to the top.

Brent and I spent a wonderfully beautiful day travelling from the Harford Co Courthouse, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and the Secretary of State Office in Annapolis. The weather was gorgeous and surprisingly all went smoothly and quickly. We were finished by lunch! I loved having a chance to be on a date alone with my sweetheart! It seems we've been like passing ships in the night with all the busyness, so it was great to have one on one time!

The next day I mailed off copies of everything to the translator. I am BLOWN AWAY by how much this all costs.

Our agency had quoted us around $1200 for translations (which I thought was highway robbery), but since we have 4 kids and some other birth certificate/name change/2 fingerprint documents/extra medical labs that the labratory wouldn't separate, the grand total is now over....$4,100.00!

I am in shock. Apparently we have somewhere around 30,000 words.

Now, I really want to know who counted all of them!

I am now seriously considering having all our children spend 23 hours a day learning spanish so they can become bilingual certified translators and make a fortune off of people's adoption translations. Just kidding... well... kind of...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The count is on...

Well, I mailed our I800A yesterday! This is paperwork that we submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration which is part of the Dept of Homeland Security. (It used to be called the INS.) Basically they look at our homestudy and birth certificates and some other papers, make sure we're legal citizens, fingerprint us, and run background clearances on us (this will be our third set of fingerprints and fun.) and tell us if we are permitted to adopt in the US. So it's a pretty big deal for us to get to this point!

This I800A is a fairly new process ever since the United States joined the international HAGUE convention in April 2008. It used to be the I600 form you had to file, but things have changed and an entirely new department was  formed just for people adopting from other HAGUE convention countries. The whole process of doing a HAGUE adoption is much more complicated than before April 2008- or so I'm told. I don't know any different so it seems fine for me. But, talking to other families who were pre-hague, it's a lot of new hassles and red tape. More hoops to jump through and more time added to the adoption process.

So, we are now "on the clock" so to speak! While we are waiting for our I800A approval, which should take about 2 months, I am finishing up our dossier. I now have all the papers I need and tomorrow I go to get them notorized- thank you Patti!!!

Once notorized we have to go to the county courthouses of anyone who has notorized any of our paperwork. I think that will only be Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County, thankfully. Then have to give us a certification that our notary is really a notary. This is called authenticating a document. I think they have a fee, but need to check how much it is...

THEN, we have to go to Annapolis where they put a pretty gold sticker on the paper- called an apostille (at a hefty $5 per document!WHAT?) to prove that the person who certified us at the county courthouse was who they say they are! Whew. Our government at work here, people! Why can't we just go straight to the top and get just the pretty gold stickers???

After we have all the notaries, authentications and apostilles we then mail our dossier to a certified translator in Tennessee who will translate each and every WORD of our documents. And then, get this, she will have to notarize, authenticate and apostille all the documents ALL OVER AGAIN in Tennessee to prove she is certified to translate! Is this only insane to me? LOL! And she charges $.12 per word and $50 an hour to get the certifications and apostilles. Grrr... I just want to know who gets the crummy job of COUNTING all the words! She told us it would take about a month to do the translations.

So that's the part of the journey we are at right now. Wait for immigration approval, get lots of pretty stickers and get all our words turned into Spanish! In about 2 months time our whole dossier should be finished! Then it gets sent off to the Mexico DIF! WOOHOOO!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adoption Sonogram Day- huh?

I think I shall call this day my Adoption Sonogram Day.  Strange, isn't it.  But that's exactly what I felt.

See, with adoption you still go through a pregnancy of sorts. It's funny how in the adoption community it is even called "being paper pregnant". And I totally get why! You should SEE this big, humdinger of a portable accordian file I carry around filled to overflowing with all our documents. I think it weights about 50 pounds- kinda ironic since I gained exactly 50 pounds with each of my pregnancies.

Of course, no one is allowed to actually carry the paper womb, because I WON'T LET ANYONE TOUCH IT! What if they drop it and the carefully filed papers spill all over the floor? Or they knock a glass over and spill something INTO it ruining our dwindling stash of 4 notarized copies of our homestudy (heaven knows I don't want to pay $35 more just to have a new one notorized by my agency!). Or, what if someone would forget this precious load and leave it sitting on the copier at the library and the librarian moves it to a nearby table just before they come to their senses and realize the horror. Oh, wait. That was me. Uh...

So ANYWAY (sorry, I was getting a little carried away. I'll get serious now.), in my last post, I mentioned that we had heard about another sibling group but we were struggling with the decision of whether to pursue them or not. When I say "we" I really mean "me" unless of course, the context really does mean "we". Got it? Good.

God met me where I was. And, as you could see from the previous post, where I was wasn't all that nice or pretty. I begged for peace. I pleaded for hope. Mostly I asked that I would just feel genuinely excited about these children.  And God, the giver of all life, and breath and joy and peace was faithful. He, over the course of the past week or so, has drawn me out of many waters with His cords of love and has blessed me. He didn't have to. He could have made me linger in the depths of emotional mush, but when I cried out, finally empty of my self, He rescued me and showed me His will. And it is wonderful. Anyone who has wrestled with God over His plan for your life and has lost to such a worthy victor, knows what I'm speaking about. It is wonderful to lose my Self so that I can gain Him. His vision. His will. His joy.

I know I'm rambling again, so on to Adoption Sonogram Day...that is why you're still reading, right?
Today we had the awesome priviledge of talking to our children's orphanage director/caregiver on a conference call. I was armed with a list of questions for her and she answered as many as she was able. I can't tell you how exciting this was! All last night I could barely sleep from nervous excitement! The only thing I can relate it to is the feeling we had the night before a sonogram! Full of giddy joy over getting a peek into who your child is. A little nervous that the news might bring sadness, but mostly just utter excitement! This caregiver was kind of like our sonogram technician! She gave us a little glimpse into our children. What their personalities are, things they like, some of their actual quotes! To think that our children were probably playing in the next room the whole time we were on the phone! It went all too fast, as any sonogram does when you are gazing at a miracle, but I am full of joy anyway with the extra information we were given.

And, so many of the fears and worries that had plagued us over the past few weeks have turned out not to be major issues at all. Oh, it won't be a cake walk when we bring them home, but the future is looking a lot brighter. You have no idea how much I want to just spill the beans and tell all the details. The drama that pulls on your heartstrings. I'm normally a very transparent person. No secrets here. (Often, much to my 12 year old daughter's embarrassment..) But Brent and I haven't figured out how much of the information is the children's story to tell when they feel most comfortable and how much is our story too. So for now, we want to err on the safer side and respect their privacy.

I CAN tell you that the oldest is a beautiful 9 year old girl.  I'll call her "F" for now. She is about a month older than Jake, which he's handling with much graciousness.  Cait is beyond excitement with having a sister close in age so she can do girly things with. F is said to be shy at first, but once comfortable is quite outgoing. She is very motherly and looks after all the younger children in the orphanage as she is the oldest there. This is wonderful but we are trying to prepare Cait to respect the fact that F might not want Cait swooping in to mother the youngest little one since it has been F's role for so long.

"A"  is a 7 1/2 year old boy, and oh, my does he look ALL boy. His ornery grin in the picture reminds me so much of my 3 rascally funloving boys. He'll fit in perfectly. He loves to bounce on the trampoline and all things to do with cars, which Quinn is quite happy about! He is very protective of the younger children and affectionate. His caregiver said he takes great pride in doing "grown up" chores around the home.  I think having 3 brothers will be so good for him.

"B" is the youngest and just turned 6 in February. We keep teasing Quinn that he's going to have an international twin since their birthdays are so close and they are the same age. He likes the idea of having an international twin, but is disappointed it has to be a girl. Especially because in his mind, twins look alike! LOL!
"B" is the most outgoing of the bunch and is said to be happy and cheerful. She is adorable and I can't wait to do the little girl thing all over again with hair bows and baby dolls.

We asked the caregiver if they wanted to be adopted. In Mexico many of the children have the idea that they will eventually go home because often that is what happens. Many children aren't truly orphans, but are sent to the orphanage merely because the parents are too poor to care for them. The children live in hope of eventually going home. So we were curious about how these children felt.

The caregiver just laughed.

A week or two ago a staff person from our agency went to the orphanage to meet the children in person and videotape them (which we can't get the daggone dvd to play, grrr). The children weren't told that it was for adoptive purposes, though. They were excited to get the attention, but F was very curious why this strange American man was there to see them.

She put two and two together and figured out that it had to do with finding them a family. So every day since he left, F has come into her caregivers office and asked, "Have you found us a family? Are we going to be adopted by Senor John (our staff worker)? He is an American. Are we going to the US? How much longer till you find us new parents?"

Does that just rip your heart out? They want someone to love them so badly. I just want to jump on a plane and go get them right now! Forget the stupid International HAGUE Convention laws! These babies need a mom and dad! Now.

So having this little peek into our children's lives has made us very excited. We can't wait to meet them and love on them and fold them into our family. Up till now, Brent has been very even keeled and patient and is constantly telling me it'll happen when it's God's timing. I've been the impatient spaz case!  But just like how he all of a sudden felt like a pregnancy was "real" when he saw our baby in the sonogram, today he admitted to getting antsy (NOT his word by any stretch of the imagination!) for us to go get them. It finally feels REAL today. We are adopting! There will be REAL children at the end of all this! Not just paper! LOL!

I'm a mess...

I wrote this post over a week ago. For some reason I just couldn't post it. My feelings were just too raw and uncertain. I wasn't even sure I was believing what I wrote. Even though I want to write this all down because it's our family's story, I couldn't figure out what was too private and what was ok to say out loud. I'm still not 100% sure, but I couldn't tell our story without the emotion behind it when I wrote it. So, I'm just gonna put it out there and you all will have to know it was just the reality of where I was right then. It's a jumbled mess of train of thought, so I apologize for the incoherancy. I was pretty incoherant though, so it fits...LOL!

Thankfully, my next post will be more upbeat and you will hear some good news! But I had to post this or it wouldn't make sense!


Ok, I'm sorta having "one of those" moments. I just want this adoption to be over with already. I know, I know. I have NO RIGHT saying this since we haven't even finished with our dossier and there are plenty of other families that are having to wait YEARS to get their referral.

I get that. I do.

It's just that, right now... I just want my kiddos to be home.

I just want to get on with the reality of life with three more sweeties. I'm tired of paperwork. I'm tired of obsessing. I'm tired of wrestling with God. I'm tired of laying in bed fighting my fleshly desires to engage in worry.
I just want things to move on from this stage.

But, I know I'm not ready. I haven't been educated enough on attachment issues, or developmental delays, or trauma issues, or neglect and abuse issues, or determined WHERE they will all sleep, or how we will transport them, or how we will afford to clothe them, or  how exactly I'm supposed to fit laundry for 9 into a 7 day week, or how I will homeschool 7 with three that are severely delayed.

But, I'm still missing them. Even though I don't know them. Even though I'm scared out of my mind with the report details we have read. I'm a ball of twisted, mushy, emotions right now. It's not a pretty sight.

Here's the deal...
We saw their photos last Wednesday. We were sitting in the parking lot of Lifeway bookstore, all crowded in the front of the suburban looking at Brent's work computer (THANK GOD FOR WORK COMPUTERS THAT HAVE CONSTANT INTERNET!) when their faces came up in the email. Three little faces staring back at us, haunting me ever since. And I had a horrible emotional knot in my stomach. They were sweet children. Beautiful. I expected to feel elated and excited. It's the moment we'd been waiting for! But I didn't feel it. Nothing. I was just numb. Then I felt guilty because I wasn't elated or excited. Then I felt mad that I was such a lowlife for not being happy over this moment.  And I had to hide it from the kids. I had to smile and force the joy. I never felt more fake.

Up until that point all we'd seen was a psychological report from the children's orphanage. It was daunting. It was filled with really hard stuff. And it had become how I visualized them in my mind. Child #1=dramatic problem A, Child #2=overwhelming problem B, Child #3= get over my expectations C....

I don't want hard stuff. I want sweet little children who will just float into our family seemlessly. .(You don't have to tell me how lame I sound. I know it.) I am wrestling with God over this whole report. I don't wanna do hard stuff. But, I think he's telling us to. But I don't want to.

Their story is very sad and there is lots of potential for us to go through some difficult days ahead. We've prayed and asked for more information about them, searched our hearts over and over. Too quickly my head and heart get all jumbled and tangled together and I can't seem to sort out my fears and my faith.

Mostly, Fear takes the lead and my trust is left in the dust. Then other times, the answer of whether we say "yes" to these lovies is so clear. THEY are hurting. THEY need love. THEY are the "least of these".

Ugh. My flesh is so demanding and forceful. It constantly asserts itself, planting more seeds of doubt. "Can you handle these issues? No way! You're not equipped! There are other, more capable families out there to handle this stuff. What about our birth kids?"

But faith responds back "Of course, I'm not equipped! If you were, you wouldn't need God! Don't you think He's big enough to protect your birth kids and keep your family from falling apart?"

But I keep having to surrender my plans, my expectations to Him. They are older than we'd hoped for. They are in a different location than we were planning on asking for. They have a past that I wasn't banking on. They just weren't what WE were planning on.

Get that? WE.... ME..... I.
Surely, God wouldn't ask hard things of us? Uh, me.

I mean, we're already doing something "huge". Come on, adding 3 more kiddos is enough for God to ask us to do. We wouldn't actually be asked to do something HARDER than just bringing 3 kiddos into our home.... Would He?  Would He?

Well, why in the world, wouldn't He?

He loves me. IF the way He is going to grow me and draw me closer to Him and help me to learn to rely and depend on Him, is through adopting children that are "complicated", then He is going to do it because it is GOOD for me. It is more than good. It is His BEST for me. He wants me to be filled with JOY over what He can overcome in my ugly flesh.

And in His sovereign plan, it is his BEST for these little sweeties, too. Could we-I- really be what they need? No, but He is what they need. And I can show them the way to Him.

This isn't about me. I am merely a tool, a vessel being used by my Lord to further His Kingdom.

I know all the right answers. I know He is in control. He will give us the grace and strength to walk the path He calls us to. I know I will grow in this. I know that right now I am right where I should be. Begging and pleading for peace. Keeping Him busy hearing my heart's cry. I know that surrender is what I need. It just won't come. I'm too busy wrestling. But, I know it will. It will. He has said it would. And I believe Him.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


FINALLY! I have a moment to update everyone with what's happening with our adoption! It's been an insanely crazy month.

To start, our homestudy is complete! Yay! We finished all our online classes, had several meetings with our social worker, who was wonderful btw, and got all the revisions done to suit our primary agency.  The finalized copy has been sent to them and I am awaiting a letter of approval.

Once I get that approval letter from our agency, I can mail off our I-800A to get approval from USCIS. I'm hoping that will happen by the end of the week, but since we've been getting a record snowfall here in Baltimore, it may be few extra days until we can dig ourselves out of our driveway and make it to the FED EX drop off.

Last week we made another trip down to Pikesville to get more copies of birth certificates since Mexico has recently changed some of the documents needed for the dossier and now wants all the kids certificates too. I would have just ordered them from the online site vitalcheck, but needing double copies for all of us plus marriage certificates would have cost me twice as much (their fees are so high!).  So we had a fun family afternoon hanging out in Vital Records! Ah, the family bonding happening as you squeeze 6 people along a very LONG waiting line of very cranky people! LOL!

The past few weeks were filled with uncertain feelings all over again. We found out that our agency is still waiting for certification from the Central DIF office. In the past, each individual state was in charge of their own adoptions. But recently, the person in charge of the Federal level of DIF is changing the way adoptions are initiated. All the dossiers will now have to go through this new office and they will decide which state they will send your paperwork to. This will make the process so much more understandable and uniform once all the kinks are worked out. It's just mayhem right now as they go through the process of reforming the details. Now our agency is being told that they need Federal level approval. And it is taking forever. Mexico keeps asking for more documentation.
So we'd personally really been wrestling with whether to stick with our agency or even stay with the country of Mexico. It made for a week or two of unrest and lots of searching for answers that no one really has the answers to. We still have feelings of doubt (well, at least I do. Brent is more confident.) but made the decision to stay the course and not change plans until we had clearer direction from the Lord. He is the one who put all of this on our heart, and He is a big enough God to work out agency approvals and lack of staffing in the Central DIF.

To add to the journey, we were informed about another sibling group that our agency has been told about. I don't want to tell much information just yet, but just know that it isn't as easy of a decision to accept this sibling group as it was the last one. Things are more complicated and a decision still has not been reached. These kids DEFINITELY need a loving home. We're just not sure if we are the right one or not.

We are praying and asking lots of questions to have as much information as possible before deciding. Surrendering our preconceived ideas and expectations is becoming a theme during this whole process and I'm certain God is using this situation with these children to cause us to search our hearts to know if we are doing this for Him, or for us. Boy, seeing how much selfishness can be dredged up from the bottom of my heart is disgusting! But, God is so gracious to grow us more like Him by guiding us through these lessons where we learn more of His mercy and compassion towards us. Adoption is quite a sanctifying process!

Adios, amigos!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh, that this would happen!

10 prayers for adoption from The Gospel Coalition.... see the link...see if God will use you as part of the answer to this prayer.

Where oh, where are you?

Ok, I just noticed the little map gadget on my sidebar has people reading this blog from various places all over the world.

DO YOU KNOW HOW EXCITED I AM? (I think I did actually squeal out loud....)

But, now I'm just dumbfounded?  I mean, who really is interested in my silly ramblings and boring paperwork updates?

Anyhow, I am DYING to meet you all. I have been reading all the comments of other people's blogs and clicking any person's links that I can in order to find other families that are adopting or have adopted (most particularly from Mexico). Ok, it really is bordering on stalking, but all for a good cause!

So, please, leave me a comment. Say hello! Tell me if you are adopting (from Mexico or some other place), have already adopted,  or you are just a person strangely interested in ramblings about paperwork. And tell me as much info about yourself as you feel comfortable. I'm like a sponge soaking up any morsel of information (ok, I like to mix metaphors!).

Here's the latest on the paperwork front....
Psychological report is done. A medical doctor has confirmed that we are not lunatics or psychotic. All my friends and family may beg to differ, but it's right there in print. Even notarized for officiality.  SO, HA!

After a month of phone calls and emails, and finally a slightly nasty phone call to a certain person's boss, I finally have the necessary letter from our insurance company stating our adopted children will have health coverage. I HATE that the only way to get some people to follow through with things is to get nasty. Customer service really stinks sometimes.  But, once I went to the bosses, I had my letter notarized and in the mail in 2 hours.... sigh.

The homestudy is in the process of being written as we speak. Hopefully. She said it'd be done in a week and a half, but so far I've not gotten any indication of how things are progressing. I'm praying that it will be done this week!

THEN, once we have that completed and notarized,  we can send in our I-800A to immigration. This is the paperwork petitioning the US government to allow us to adopt internationally. I haven't heard any recent news on how long the USCIS is taking to approve people but our social worker said 2 months. During that time, we'll be assembling our dossier- the stack of paperwork that requires lots of pretty gold stickers to certify that they are authentic, that then gets sent to the Mexican Government.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comic Relief...

So today has to rate as one of the funniest in the adoption process so far. I had been under the impression that we needed to have our Psychological Evaluation as part of our dossier. We aren't quite at that point yet, so, though I had a psychologist, I hadn't set up an appointment yet.  Then, during our last homestudy visit, our social worker mentioned that she needed to have our psych results as part of our homestudy. So I was scrambling to get an appointment.

We needed to have an MMPI- which stands for something I'm sure- but basically it is just a personality test. Often people have to take them as part of a job hiring process. And then, the psychologist has to write a 2-3 page report on each of us to include with our paperwork.

The psychologist was a jolly old man who wasn't really interested in interviewing us at all! He started off by telling us that he wants us to write up all our personal history and he'll include all that into the report. Ugh. A writing assignment.  Then we had to take the MMPI- all 550plus questions of it.

He took us to a separate room for some privacy. Let me just tell you, we got a little slap happy during some of the questions. Here are a few we remember....we had to answer true or false.

I like to read Mechanic magazines

I often  hear sounds that no one else can hear.

I am afraid of doorknobs.

When I close my eyes I hear people talking to me when no one else is around.

If I was an artist I would like to paint children.

I am sure someone is trying to rob me.

Sometimes my voice changes to a different sound even when I am not sick.

I would like to write editorials about the theater. 

I sometimes feel like I want to smash things.

I frequently see things that others can't see.

If someone makes me angry I try to hurt them back.

I would like to be a soldier.

People can talk to me when they are not with me.

Now, I'm sure all of the questions put together do a great job of determining psychological problems, but to us, we were just cracking up at a few of the questions that just seemed bizarre. And what's the deal with SO many of them asking about hearing voices??
There were soo many more and were even funnier, but well, ......ok, maybe you just had to be there...(this isn't sounding as funny as when we were taking the test.) Maybe we really aren't mentally stable! LOL!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Roller Coaster Drop...

So everything I've been reading about the adoption process say that it is an emotionally exhausting time. It's full of ups and downs, confusion followed by changes. It's funny, it's even written in our agency's contract that we understand "that our expectations may have to change multiple times throughout the process".  So it isn't surprising that we are starting to experience the roller coaster drop.

Last week we got some pretty bittersweet news. The three children that we'd been pursuing, and had fallen in love with since June, are no longer available for adoption. We can't adopt them. That's the bitter part- for us. The sweet part, though, is that the reason they are not available is that they are being adopted by a Mexican family! It is wonderful for them. They will get a family that will allow them to stay in their culture and potentially get a family faster than if we were adopting them.

It is disappointing for us because we had already pictured them as part of our family. The kids are so sad, but they are handling it well.  It seemed so perfect with the ages and genders, but it was not meant to be. Though we loved them from afar and prayed for them, they were never meant to be ours. I am thankful for the few months that we were connected to them even though they never knew us.

Brent and I both feel peace about it, but it does take some of the excitement out of the process. It makes the waiting easier when there are sweet little faces that you can keep looking at on your computer screen with  names and personalities that you know. Now, we will have to proceed though the next few (or many) months with the trust that God already has our children picked out for us- we just don't know what they look like yet.

It does open up the doors for asking questions such as... Do we still want three? How many boys? How many girls? What health situations will we be willing to take?  Frankly, we just don't know the answer to these right now. We are still in the process of praying and waiting on God to reveal His desires to us. This is a whole new aspect to the adoption process that we didn't think we would have to consider since we found these particular children so early on in our search. Some of those questions are really hard to answer and still be completely open and trusting of God- especially the health issues.

On the upswing of the roller coaster ride....
We had the first interview for our homestudy on New Year's Eve. The social worker couldn't be more sweet! She immediately put us at ease and had the kids laughing and joking in the first few minutes. We have to meet three more times- hopefully over the next week and a half. She hopes to have the report done by the end of January which will be wonderful!
We're still waiting on the bunk bed decision, which will ultimately determine how many children and whether they are boys or girls we can be approved for. So that is actually a blessing since it will help us make our decisions for us! LOL!

So, for now we just continue on the process- surrendering our expectations and desires to Him who is Sovereign and Good. He has chosen our family before the foundation of the world and will bring us together at just the right time and with just the right people. May I continually rejoice in His plan and thank Him for each twist and turn of the journey.