Our Adoption Journey

Location: Kokomo, Indiana, United States

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hello everyone!

Thanks for visiting our blog. We haven't posted in awhile as there hasn't been much to post. On July 28, 2006 we had our Dossier sent to China, and we received out Log-In Date (The official countdown date) on 8/10/06. That is the good news. We are officially "paper pregnant" and waiting for a referral.

The bad news is not really bad, but it's not great either. The wait to receive a referral has gotten longer over the last 6 months. When we started compiling our Dossier, the wait was between 5 and 8 months, but now it has grown to 13 months. There are rumors that the CCAA (China's Adoption Agency) are going to take steps to curb the number of Dossiers they receive to help shorten the timeframe again, but nothing has been announced officially.

They have been receiving about 2000 dossiers a month over the last year, but they can only process 800 or so every month. You can see the problem. Hopefully (for us) they will hire additional staff (not likely) or restrict the number of Dossiers, and then we will get our girls sooner than the current wait. As it stands now, we would be receiving a referral around September 10, 2006 and traveling 6-8 weeks later. We just hope we will have them before next Christmas.

For family members in NY, we will not be coming out to NY for Christmas in 2007 if we have the girls as we want to make their transition smooth. We are coming out this year, and you are all welcome to come out to see us. We will most likely come out over Spring Break or Summer Vacation in 2008.

On another note, we are planning a Walk-A-Thon to help defray some of the major expenses involved with the adoption. Instead of asking our friends and family for money, we thought we would do this. With a little bit of effort collecting pledges and a little time to complete the 5K walk, we hope to earn enough to pay for our travel to China. Because of the short notice (1-2 weeks before we leave), we get to pay full fare, which right now is around 2K per person. We are going to plan this so people in other states can participate by walking the same day as we do out here. If you are willing to help out with this, we would greatly appreciate it. We will give you the details as the day approaches. We don't plan on doing this until the Spring sometime.

Thank you for all of your encouraging email, and please keep this in your prayers.

God Bless,
Gary and Alisha

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Countdown Begins.

Just a little update. After Great Wall lost our first home study, we had to overnight another one to them. They then sent everything to Chicago to the Chinese consulate for document approval. Today our dossier left for China. We were told that it would take about one month for the dossier to get logged in, and from there we will be waiting 12 months give or take for our our referral. Then we will travel about 6 weeks later.

We have the majority of our expenses still coming up, so we are planning on doing some fundraisers to cover some of the costs. We are having a rummage/garage sale in another week or so, we plan on having some dinners at the church, we are in the process of setting up a website to sell magazine subscriptions, and there are other things we can do as well. We aren't going to ask anyone for anything except your help. If you would be willing to help us fundraise by driving people to our site, donating anything to our garage sale, or bringing order forms to work to help us sell the things we decide to sell (most likely flower bulbs, current type products, etc.) we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. We will not hear anything for a looooong time, so there probably won't be another post for a year or so. Until then we will be waiting patiently (well, I will anyway).

Gary and Alisha

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Our Homestudy is Complete!

Hello everyone!

Well, it has been done for a week or so now, but I haven't had a chance to post an update yet. We got our homestudy back in less than two weeks from our initial meeting, which is about as fast as we could have gotten it back. Our social worker was excellent, and she understood our desire to get everything done ASAP.

We sent a copy off to the CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services), and the lady who handles International Adoptions there indicated that we should have our FBI fingerprinting appointment in about two weeks, and then our final "permission slip" (Government form I-171H) should be here about the middle of May. We are also waiting for Alisha's new birth certificate, and once we get that, hopefully early next week, that and the I-171H goes to Great Wall China Adoption, they mail it around to get authenticated, and then everything goes to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.

We should have our completed Dossier ready to go to China, and according to our Great Wall contact, it is taking about 11 months from the time the Dossier goes to China to the referral. Then it would be 6-8 weeks before we travel. Both Alisha's mom and my mom are planning on traveling with us, so all four of us get to go through a bunch of immunization shots in over the next six months.

Right now we are just waiting and praying for the health and saftey of our girls, and we would appreciate any prayers from our friends and family as well.

Also, there is a place to comment on the blog if you want to. We enjoy hearing from everyone.

Gary and Alisha

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yesterday we had our homestudy. IF you haven't read our previous posts, this is a home visit and interview by a licensed adoption social worker to make sure we are good candidates for adoption and that our home is safe and child-friendly.
Alisha was very anxious about having the house inspected, so she had her mom come over and help clean the house from top to bottom, and I got to spend much of my Saturday giving my office a much-needed cleaning. Real estate creates a huge amount of paperwork, so I put my new file cabinet to good use.
We didn't know what to expect from the homestudy, but it turned out to be a recap of the questions we had already answered when we typed up our autobiographies. We ended up with a very friendly social worker, so that made us both more relaxed. We first met Jenny when we went to an adoption seminar in Columbus, OH. We will meet with her two times after we adopt as well. She helped make the process seem painless, and she told us that we had passed before she left so we wouldn't have to worry about it. She spent about three hours at our house, and then we rushed off to church.
Now we are in a holding pattern as we need the completed homestudy evaluation to turn into Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS). They will give us an appointment to be fingerprinted, and then it will take a month or so to get our document giving us permission to adopt internationally. After that our adoption agency mails our documents all over the place to get them notarized, authenticated, and copied so we can submit the completed package (the Dossier) to China. Once we do that, we will be looking at 8-12 months before we get the girls.
Most of what we have to do now is wait. I think that will be much harder, as for the first couple of months we have been kept busy running around town, making calls, faxing and emailing, and mailing documents.
Keep us in prayer as we finish the last few steps.
Gary and Alisha

Friday, March 10, 2006

Short Update

Last week we finished our three page autobiographies, and now we have scheduled our official homestudy. Our social worker, Jenny, is coming to our home Tuesday, March 14 for our three hour meeting. We are trying to get everything done as quickly as possible, but some things are beyond our control. We will keep you posted about the homestudy.

Gary and Alisha

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Wednesday's Adventure

March 1st was a busy day. After teaching two periods in the morning, I took the afternoon off to go to the Citizenship and Immigration offices in Indianapolis. I arrived there at 1:30, and after being searched and "wanded" by security, I was allowed in. While waiting I saw about 25 police cars and motorcycles converging on the same building down the road. Not sure what was going on there, but it made the wait to speak with someone less monotonous.

As you can imagine, submitting this government form (a thorough background check to make sure we are good candidates for adoption) required much hoop jumping. It seemed like everyone I spoke with had a different opinion about what forms we needed, if copies were ok, and when we should submit the forms. Everything seemed to go smoothly when I turned everything in. We are waiting for our homestudy (social workers visit us to make sure we are good candidates for adoption and that our home is not a health hazard) to be completed, and that leads us to the second part of our day.

Before the home study can be completed, we had to meet with the social workers who are completing it. Their offices are north of Fort Wayne, about a two hour drive from us. After leaving the Immigration offices at 1:50, I drove home to pick up Alisha so we could get to Fort Wayne by 5PM. We made it, although we were a little late due to missing a turn. Everything went smoothly, and they gave us some homework to do before they come and meet with us at our home. We have to answer about 70 questions about our personalities, childhood, education, church involvement, married life, and how we interact with children. It's pretty extensive.

Hopefully we will get those assignments turned in this week so we can schedule our home study for next week. Once we get that done and they get their report finished, we have to submit the homestudy to Immigration, then they set up a fingerprinting appointment, and then they process our application to adopt a foreign child. Phew! Most of the process is a patience-testing waiting game.

Well, we need to get our homework done, so we'll talk to you soon.

Gary and Alisha

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Our adoption journey begins!

This past week we have been running around getting all of the paperwork started for the adoption process. Some of the things we have had to do are as follows: get passports, schedule a thorough medical exam, get a police report to prove we aren't nasty criminals, schedule a home study to demonstrate we are good candidates for adoption, fill out and submit an application to adopt a child from outside the country, and take pictures of ourselves to include in our dossier (the package of documents that gets submitted to China.
We anticipate submitting everything within the next three months. Hopefully that will translate into a referral from China around March of 2007. After that we would wait 6-8 weeks to travel to China. We will stay there (and fly all over China) for 2 weeks, and then we will return home to begin our new lives together. We will most likely be able to visit NY soon after we bring the girls (we are requesting twins) home.

We will keep you posted as to our progress. Keep us in prayer as this is a stressful process.

Gary and Alisha