It is getting late and I know that I should really be heading off to bed...but I have been unable to update the blog for far too long! Tonight is the night. Craig and I have been working diligently over the last month gathering documents to piece together our Dossier. This process is something that we are learning about as we go, and I think that it is important to share what we are doing.
When we signed on with the International Agency, Children of All Nations (CAN), we were provided information that would help us to get all of the documents and education completed for the adoption. Craig scanned the two different lists that we have been working on so it is easier to explain (above). The first mailer was quite short. There were six documents/tasks to get accomplished before mailing it.
Once the first mailer was sent off, we began to focus on the necessary 24 hours of adoption education we needed to complete. We finished that up a couple of weeks ago. That was a wonderful moment because the completion of the education enabled our local adoption agency (LSS) to put the finishing touches onto our Home Study Report. It was then sent to us for approval and then on to the International Agency for approval. Official approval was received last week!
We then received the information on what needed to be obtained to create the second mailer, the Dossier. This Dossier is the official "portfolio" if you will that will be sent off to the International Agency for approval, then sent on to the State of South Dakota to authenticate all of the documents, then finally, it will be sent on to the government of Haiti. We will then wait to hear back from Haiti through our International Agency, Children of All Nations, for the approval. Once the approval is received, our understanding is that we will be able to receive referrals of children.
We are diligently piecing together the Dossier. There are 28 items to be prepared and we are working our way through them a couple at a time. It was a bit overwhelming at first. The list of 28 items was accompanied by a 56 page explanation guide. It has been very helpful, but it was a bit daunting at first! I had to make Craig stop reading it out loud to me and told him we would have to do one item at a time. Children of All Nations must know how I work because there are several spreadsheets and checklists. We have been whittling them down one at a time.
We had a funny moment this week as we went to the courthouse to have our criminal reports prepared. We had to have a notary along with us and Lisa Blankers (a family friend of Craig's) agreed to accompany us. As she was notarizing our documents, she was a bit concerned because my report was one page shorter than Craig's. I told her that was because my husband actually has a criminal report! Praise God that the numerous speeding tickets are not a deal breaker on the adoption front! It was comical when the kids started asking questions about the tickets...Craig didn't hesitate to blame me for one of the tickets he got back in 1995 driving me to a dance outside of Brookings, SD. Hmmm....seems to me that the cute teenage girl in the passenger seat of....oh yes....MY CAR....encouraged her over-eager boyfriend to slow down! There was discussion about the lights of the oncoming cars and how it was easy to see that they weren't cops. Oops...I guess teenage guys aren't invincible!
Okay, back on track. So we have completed 10 of the 28 items so far. We continue to be working on the remaining items...but nothing is as straight forward as it seems. This is a process and it will be a lengthy process. Craig and I have both had many questions from people wondering why the process takes so long and expressing frustration. We truly are not experiencing any of this frustration at this point. We realize that the adoption of a child...or children in our case...is a huge undertaking. It is necessary and important for the country of origin to have requirements to keep the children safe and to ensure that the placement will be successful.
Of course we are looking forward to our time with the children we will adopt, but in the meantime, we are balancing the adoption paperwork with memory making with our current family! We have been praying for the children that we will be adopting. It is exciting that they are likely already living at the orphanage, "For His Glory." We pray for their safety, their health and their comfort that a forever family is waiting just around the corner for them.
Our first preference is to adopt a sibling set. Currently there are only a handful of children that are in a sibling set. Most of those sibling sets have a much older sibling. Our plan continues to be to have the birth order in our current family maintained. We spoke with the social worker at CAN (Children of All Nations) and she said that there are several children that are not part of a sibling set that are available but not on their website. This was exciting news. Apparently CAN has 13 families waiting to adopt from Haiti! The social worker said that if we were not able to adopt a sibling set, it is likely that we would be able to adopt two children that share an extremely close relationship at the orphanage. We know that the Lord will lead us to the children that are meant to be a part of our family. Craig, myself and the kids are so excited to meet them and share our lives with them!
We covet your prayers as we continue on this journey. Please pray that the pieces of the Dossier continue to fall into place; that the approval of the Dossier will be timely; that the adoptive children will be safe and well-cared for in the meantime; that our family will continue to prepare for the transition to come and that the Lord would continue to use this remarkable journey to bring Him all of the Glory! We are relying on His strength and support every step of the way!