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Showing posts from 2015

Precious Paper...shipping the Dossier off!

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I feel like I just sent my child off to camp! 


I have been working on this stack of papers since September!  I have been guarding it from the children, the dog, dust, and anything else that it may come into contact with.  I have checked and rechecked the dates, the number of copies, and the signatures over and over again.  Today I checked them for the final time and took them off to UPS.

I set them on the scale and the worker actually had to measure how high the pile of paperwork was before finding a box to fit it all!  I watched her tape it shut and affix the address label.  I checked one more time that it was the correct address and paid to have it shipped to my agency.

I actually did feel like I should have hugged the paperwork or waved good bye to send it on it's way.  Not because I am glad to have it out of the house (even though I am over joyed!), but because that pile of paperwork will determine our timeline for bringing our daughter home and if in fact we can bring her h…

The Good Letter from Homeland Security!

After getting the dreaded pink letter that we were missing words in our home study, yesterday we received a letter saying we have been approved to adopt! Woohoo!  
What does this mean?  It means that we now have all the paperwork needed to adopt from Uganda.  (At least I hope we have it all!  I have to do another check to be sure!). Sometimes people wait months to get this!  We are so blessed to have it before the holidays are here!
What's the next step? We now wait to get a referral.  When a child becomes available for adoption who fits with our family we will be notified and then there will be a full investigation done on the child. They look into the child's background and family and try to make 100% certain that he or she can not be cared for by relatives.
So now we wait..Adoption is all about patience.

Letters from Homeland Security

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Adopting is stressful.  Just when you think you have a handle on everything and are ahead of the paperwork you receive a four page letter to tell you otherwise. 

We were warned this could happen.  Apparently, the offices of the government can change their requirements whenever they want to and they do not post these changes anywhere.  The way a person finds out about these changes is by submitting the paperwork and then getting a letter in the mail to tell you of all of the changes and until you meet those changes your application can not be processed!  Our letter was four pages long and on pink paper.  Maybe the pink was meant to soften the blow...  It really just made me want to puke.

We are lucky though.  The elements missing are just words in our home study.  I don't have to search out documents or track down people.  My home study agency just has to add more words.  Let's say a little prayer that they are not bogged down and can make the changes quickly and get the appro…

In the Meantime...

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Between activities for the kids, meetings for the home study, getting papers signed for the adoption, gathering papers to renew our foster care license, planning birthday parties for the kids, working, and keeping house, we also accepted a six year old girl and then a three year old girl into our home for a bit!

It has been awhile since we have had a foster child for more then a weekend of respite.  I had forgotten some of what it was like, but it comes back pretty fast!  I love that the kids are trying to speak Spanish again!  With Jackson having a Spanish class it helps with some of the vocabulary I don't remember.  Although, I did tell him that he needed to tell his teacher he needed more useful everyday language like "turn off the light" or "throw your toilet paper in the toilet and not in the trash can" and forget about what the word for pencil sharpener is! (although I think that is my favorite word to say in Spanish!)  It is funny that all of us seem to…

Get Ready for the Home Study!

Tonight we have our second home study meeting. 

What does this mean exactly?  It means I act like a maniac cleaning all day long and make sure everything is in its place and that I have paperwork ready to hand over!

The first visit was a week ago and I spent the day cleaning as well only to discover that we sat at the table for two hours!  I guess they did see our bathroom when they used it so good thing that was taken care of!

We spent that time just getting to know each other.  What lead us to adoption, signing papers, asking questions, what the process is like, and what they brought to the table as well.  We have two social workers coming because one is new so the other is supervising.   Usually for a home study you would just work with one social worker.

Our meeting tonight will be a bit different.  They will ask us more questions about goals and ourselves and question the kids.  Oh man... I tried asking the kids questions that I thought they may ask and boy do I have some sarcas…

Baby Steps...

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Ryan always teases me because he says I move on "Amy Time".  I want things done when I want them done and it is usually at lightning speed!  But really, who doesn't want things accomplished in their time frame?

So dealing with adoption timelines are difficult for me- to say the least.  Maybe that is why they give you lists of paperwork that have to be signed multiple times and notarized.  It gives you something to do while you wait.

I really can't complain about waiting on things at this point in the game though.  (It's only been a week!)  I'm just preparing for the future months!  We were assigned a case worker after about 3 days of the agency receiving our application and deposit.  I'm excited about this because she will be working with us to complete our home study.  This is really what can take a huge bulk of time.  I have the check list in hand of what she will need to complete the paperwork so when we meet face to face for the first time, my hope is…

Failed!

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I didn't think at this stage in life I would have to be reading material and taking tests on it.  I also didn't think that my past strategies in taking tests would no longer work, but I learned the hard way today!  I actually failed a test!

As part of our adoption process we have to take some courses and get credit hours.  We need to accumulate a certain number of hours on certain topics.  The topics we are focusing on are all related to international adoption.  These topics are not new for us.  We had to take classes the first time we adopted and have to take classes each year to renew our foster care license.

The courses we are doing are online.  They have the text and audio with slides.  I can read much faster then the people speak so I thought I would zoom through it, jot some notes down, and then take the exam.

Apparently, if you do not spend enough time online in the course you can not pass the course material!  I had all of the answers right but because I spent 17 minu…

The Best Call of the Day

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I never thought I would feel giddy when getting a call from the Sherriff's Department!

Today I had to go to the Sherriff's department and ask them to write up a letter on behalf of Ryan and myself stating that we didn't have a record in our county and there were no outstanding charges against us.  I had to have him copy our licenses and wait for them to call after they typed the letters and had them notarized.

He called me to come pick up the letters on the same day!!  He didn't make me sit and stew and wait for a week!! Do you know how good it feels to cross just one more thing off of my list?  Thank you Sherriff's Department!!

Now to tackle the 40 other items on the list!!

Ready... Set... Go!!!

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We submitted our preliminary application and found out the same night that we were accepted into the Uganda Guardianship program!  That was a super fast turn around! 

The agency sent me a lot of paperwork over email to fill in and have notarized so I started working on that and it will be sent out today!  I'm pretty proud of myself for only taking two days to get things done!  It would have been done yesterday, but Ryan was out of town.

Now that we have been accepted, the next step is..... more paperwork!  I have partnered with an agency to just do our home study since our placing agency is out of state.  I have filled in the paperwork they sent me as well and hopefully we will be assigned a case worker sooner rather then later.  Once our caseworker is assigned we will have meetings and she will take close to eight weeks to write her report.  I am crossing my fingers that it is sooner since we have had two home studies done in the past (one for our first adoption and one for fost…

Just the Beginning..

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I know some may think we are crazy.
They would be right.
We are at a point in our family life that things are feeling pretty easy peasy. 

We have three great children who are older and able to do things on their own.  They sleep all night.  They can make their own lunch for school.  We can sleep in on rare Saturdays and they can entertain themselves.  We even have one who is old enough to babysit!

So why rock the boat?

Because that is what we are supposed to do. 

We are meant to add more children to our family so we are adopting again!  We are beyond excited, but we are also trying to keep it in check.  This is just the start of a long and sometimes frustrating road.  We've been down a similar path with adopting from Guatemala so we are well aware that we need to keep an open mind and be ready to give a lot of control over to strangers half way around the world.  We know that the stack of paperwork will be the equivalent to a forest of trees.  But we also know that at the end of…

We are Expecting!!

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Our fourth child is waiting in Uganda, Africa!

We are so excited to announce that we will be adopting again!  This time our daughter will come from Uganda.  Her future siblings are thrilled!  Lola is ready to wear matching outfits and Jackson is ready to switch rooms!  Tyce is a little bummed not to have a younger boy to beat up on, but I'm sure he will figure something out....

I'm sure you have some questions so here is our FAQ section:

What???!!!see aboveYou're crazy!Not really a questions, but yup that about sums it up! :)Why Uganda?Uganda has roughly 2.4 million orphans.  AIDS and poverty has taken its toll on the population.  There is a huge need for these children to have forever homes.  The wait time for a referral is relatively short when looking at International adoption, the country is beautiful, the timeline to complete everything is less then most countries, and you do not have to live in the country for months on end.Why don't you adopt from Guatemala agai…

Guess What!???

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Can you guess what this means??

The "Itch"

How many of you out there have ever felt the "itch"? 
There really is only one way to cure it.  Unfortunately it is a way bigger commitment then just going to buy some cream for a normal itch.  The "itch" I am talking about is the itch to add more children to your family!  I found the blog below which I wrote back in 2013 but never published.  Funny how after so much time the "itch" still hasn't gone away!!

I am a huge researcher and love to make lists so when I asked myself if we were done adding kids I went to the books and the computer to find an answer.  Yes, I have looked at all of the lists online stating how you know you are done having children.  Most of them are compiled of reasons that would cause me to say "Yes!  I am done with babies!":
You are done changing diapersYou value your sleep and can't do without itYou got rid of all of your baby stuffYou don't want to be pregnant againYou just know you are done But that list do…

Girls Weekend Traverse City

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My Oma turned 90 years old back in January of 2013!  When you are 90 there really isn't much that you want other then time with loved ones. (that is what she says anyways!)  So for her birthday my mom, two sisters, and I went on a weekend getaway to Traverse City, Michigan.

We did not go in January, (thank goodness! although I'm sure it is pretty at that time of year too, but more difficult to walk around in the snow and ice) but waited until mid-May when the weather was nice to venture there.  Our first stop of course was to go shopping.  Downtown Traverse City was very picturesque with blooming trees along the main street.  The quaint buildings contained specialty food and beverages, boutiques, and unique treasures!  I have only been shopping there one other time, but it is worth the time to go there!  I love going into the Cherry Republic for free samples of all things cherry and Haystacks which has super cute clothes at surprisingly good prices! (many times when you are in…

Two down only one more to go...

I think at least one of our children should aspire to be an orthodontist!  Holy hardware! 

First it was Jackson getting an expander on the top, then one on the bottom, and finally braces on the top!  It makes a HUGE difference with his jaw and teeth!  Wow!

Now it is Lola's turn.  I originally brought her in to see the orthodontist because she had one tooth that was pointy and another tooth coming in right in front of it.  It was determined that her pointy tooth was an extra tooth (supernumerary tooth) which after some research I found many children from Guatemala have supernumerary teeth.

She had this pulled and it was a pretty easy procedure, but had the grossest sound I have ever heard!  She handled it like a champ and put it under her pillow for an extra prize from the tooth fairy.

For those of you looking forward to your visit with the orthodontist here are the steps we took that seem pretty universal now adays.

Initial consult:  This was free and our orthodontist, Dr. Armbrec…

Guatemala Follow-up

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Better late then never!  It took awhile to get my hands on this video!

Above is a video that was taken at our church, Orchard Hill Reformed, to present to our congregation about our time in Guatemala.  If you want to read about Jackson and my time there in 2013 go here.  I wanted to share it with all of you because I am so proud of the insights Jackson had about the trip!  Oh and don't mind me in the video!  Do I really sound like that???

New England Vacation - Oh the Horror!!

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Take note here moms because I am going to let you learn from my misfortune in the hopes that I can spare you the horrific images replaying in front of my closed eyes and the stench that has yet to leave my nostrils!

If you allow your children to pick up any shells or treasures that they find on the beach, first, bring a small bucket or bag.  Do not give them a huge container to collect things in.  A large container says fill me to the brim with whatever you can find!  These items may not even include real treasure.  They just put things in the bag to fill it!
Second, do not allow this bucket or bag into your car unless you have fully inspected each treasure.  Think of it as Halloween and you must look at each piece of candy to be sure it is safe.  You never know the kind of treasures children are able to find.  When you have the treasure at home it is too late.
I allowed the children to gather as much and whatever they wanted in large containers.  We made it as far as the parking lot …

New England Vacation - Whales

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Toward the end of the week we drove into Hyannis and boarded the Whale Watcher.  I purposefully picked different ports of departure each time we went on a boat so we could explore different towns.  We were very happy we chose this particular boat to take out to see whales!

It takes awhile to get out to where the whales are, but once we were out there, we were not disappointed!  Ryan and I have been whale watching before and we just saw the whales come up for air and that was about it.  There were none of the cool views of the tail or of the whale jumping out of the water.  It was a bit boring and cold!

This trip, however, couldn't have gotten any better!  The first sign of a whale was a calf breeching and mom following suit!  They both jumped out of the water landing on their backs right near the boat!  We watched as the calf and its mom played in the waves and saw more of the whale then ever!  Other whales joined in too!  At one point the baby even went right up to the boat and rol…

New England Vacation - Seals, Shells, and Dunes

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Mid-week we spent doing a couple different adventures in one day.  The first was a huge success and the second not so much...

We journeyed back to Orleans and went aboard the Blue Claw Boat Tour.  We were five out of 9 people on the boat so it was a nice group in a small boat.  Our captain showed us a map of the area which detailed where great white sharks had been seen, where seals were seen, where landmarks like lighthouses and islands were, and where we were going.
He did a good job of talking about current activities and people in the area as well as some history that interested the children.  I had no idea so many pirates were in these waters, captured, and prosecuted in Boston!  A local man in Orleans even found a sunken pirate ship complete with some treasure although the rest of it is still out there somewhere!
We cruised around islands and near sandy beaches taking in the gigantic homes and picture perfect scenery.  After a short ride we were surrounded by about 50 seals!  The…