Friday, January 20, 2012

FBI Approved!

We got our background checks back from the FBI a few days ago, so we just have one last government approval to go! I made my weekly call to USCIS (Citizenship/Immigration) and they thought it would be a few weeks yet. They actually told me to call back in the middle of February, so that is kind of a bummer, but yet not longer than what we have been told so nothing to get frustrated over :)
So as we have thought all along, we are hoping to have our dossier completed and sent off by the end of February and then the REAL wait begins!

update: it has been 1 week since this post and I called the USCIS again, and no news. we will try again next week :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adoption House

We are pretty sure we know which adoption house we will be applying to. A big thanks to our case worker Sarah who has been working to find us which adoption house would be the best fit and the quickest.
The name of the adoption house is Los Pisingos and it is located in Bogota. There is a local family who was there a few years ago and below is one of their blog posts about it...

A Glimpse at Los Pisingos

Los Pisingos Foundation is like family to us! It is a foundation that is about the child, not the parental rights, or the waiting adoptive families...it is about the child, and what is best for that child. They understand that every child needs to be in a healthy family, and they give their best efforts into finding or returning their children into the home that is best for them. Although an institution, it well organized, meticulously clean, and the children are shown much affection while being housed there.
You might think of an institution for the orphan, or a "safe house" for the abused, neglected, under privileged children to look a lot different...where you would see malnourished, underfed, under clothed children. This is not the case at Pisingos. Just seeing what they feed their kids is remarkable to me. A typical lunch would be fresh salad, rice, and lentils, with freshly squeezed juice. This is seriously made fresh each day. They eat lots of pudding for dessert (we think that's why our son came to us so "rollie-pollie"), and a typical snack would be something like a "mango smoothie"...you wouldn't see anything like spaghettios or mac-n-cheese. They even spoon feed the little ones, not owning highchairs, but, feeding each one individually on the caretakers lap. They separate the kids by age. Newborns, infants, toddlers, etc. up to age 12. They are currently housing very many children, it is very full.
With all that being said, Los Pisingos is still an institution. It is not a home. Not a family. Yes, it is a safe place that houses broken and fragile children, but, it is not the same as a family. Each one of these little children are "alone." They don't have a daddy or a mommy to tuck them in at night, or to be by their side when they are sick...they have themselves, possibly a sibling, and that is all.
Below are a few recent pictures taken by a dear friend. As I share these pictures with you, please pray over the caretakers and children of Los Pisingos!







Below is our Colombian Representative through Bethany, Tia Isabel, loving on a little boy at the foundation. See his face light up to her touch!


I just received an email from her. She said, "I hope you can come asap. I just visited LP and saw your girls. They are so very cute, and they need you so very badly! Each one received 4 kisses. One from Daddy, Mommy, big sister, and big brother!"

Yes, God does set the lonely into families! His heart is for the fatherless! If His heart is, than shouldn't our hearts be also?! We are so privileged that our God chose us to parent 2 more precious children, His children...who He loves more than we ever could! Soon...very soon...

"Sing to God sing praises to His name! Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts, his name is the Lord, exult before Him! Father of the fatherless, and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home...Blessed be God!" from Psalm 68

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting ahead again...

FYI: this post is not an update on our process, just a look into some of my thoughts..   :)
I find myself so often looking ahead at things and stressing out about things that I don't even need to worry about yet - why do i do that? Out of the thirst for preparation, ease of mind, because I want to be to that point since I am so impatient? Today I found myself reading the packet with information for traveling: documents to brings, etiquette, packing lists, how to get a visa, what to know about the country, and on and on.
I hate the unknown, I hate feeling unprepared, I am a woman of lists and labels. Every day I think about things I need to be prepared for but yet can not control- like I am trying to be prepared and ready for the first whole year and a half to happen all at once! I don't know if we need to be ready for a 3 month old baby or a 2 year old toddler, and there aren't any baby registry suggestions/guides for our situation. We won't know how they like to be held, what types of food they will expect, what they find comforting, what their schedule should be, they wont know or recognize our voices. The adoption house will be able to help thankfully, but as a first time parent it is incredibly intimidating and terrifying to be expected to just jump in (this will be our child, and shouldn't good parents know how to provide for their child?) How many people who have never been parents know what to expect from a child who is 9 months old, one who has been living in an orphanage their whole life, one who may not be getting the physical emotional and nurturing care they should be?
I am comforted that we are not alone, and that every parent has concerns and unknowns for their child. I don't really believe our situation is really any more stressful than any parent-to-be, just a little different! My advice to myself today: relax, it will ok, it is normal to freak out, and don't be a schedule nazi because Nate will flip out on you....haha!
During this process it is amazing how much you learn (at least me) about patience and trust- because we are so not in control! I try to remind myself daily that God is the one in control. And when I know that every little thing isn't up to me to carry, that makes me feel better too :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thank You

I hate asking for, or receiving help. And last night was no exception. But instead of trying to begin to explain the emotions and life lessons that I(and Nate) experienced last night, I just want to keep it simple: thanks :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Update: Woo Hoo!

Fingerprinting for immigration, check!
We got our appointment notice in the mail yesterday (the appointment was scheduled for January 31) but Nate I went on our lunch breaks today and they let us get them done early :) Picture me thrusting both fists in the air in excitement! ah ha! What does this mean? We got our fingerprinting for immigration done over two weeks ahead of schedule so that is great. Next step will be waiting for the actual immigration approval to come in the mail.

This morning I also called the FBI, again, to check on our background checks. I don't know if the lady was confused, but she said it was done and should be mailed out next week. I was in shock since just two days ago I called and they had no idea where our stuff was, so lets hope she knew what she was talking about...

So where are we overall? If the background checks actually come next week, then we will just be waiting on the immigration approvals, and once we get THOSE, then we should be pretty much ready to hand in our dossier! So far no major roadblocks, lets pray it stays that way, God willing!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Woo Hoo!

It is not a big accomplishment, but we are one step closer: we received our fingerprinting dates for immigration today!

We will go to Grand Rapids and get our fingerprints scanned this time and then we wait for our immigration approval. Do I really understand all of it and why they need our fingerprints a second time? Nope! But we will follow the line and do what we need to do :)

(and on a side note- we got our t-shirts today! I am trying to upload a picture but our computer is being difficult... maybe tomorrow?)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Radio Superstars!

Haha, just kidding :)

This Saturday Nate, Becki, and I dropped in on a show on 92.7 (The Morning Grind, on the VAN) because they wanted to talk to us about our adoption and the concert this weekend. Click here to go to the podcast. (fyi - it takes a few minutes to get to our part..) Thanks to Mike and Tom for letting us drop in!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting "Patiently"..

There are two government approvals that we are waiting on yet for our dossier: the FBI background clearance and Immigration.

Our paperwork has been with the FBI for five weeks (today. I know this because we tracked it and someone signed for it 5 weeks ago today). They estimate it will take them that long to even get the paperwork in their system so they don't really want you calling to check on it until then. So of course I called today! Nothing, they said to call back next week.

Last week I got the mail and got overly excited when I saw something from immigration (Nate can vouch that I was way too pumped up). It was just a letter saying they had received our paperwork.. (I was hoping it was the letter assigning us a fingerprinting date). So I called them today too (we send the paperwork to one place, and then they send it somewhere else where it actually gets processed). They don't have us in their system yet either. He did give me hope though when he said he thought we might get our fingerprinting date assigned in the next couple weeks- which means they might be moving a little quicker compared to the FBI? I won't try to get my hopes up...

So today I am praying for efficient workers over in the FBI and Immigration offices!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Humbled

Nate's sisters put together a concert on January 14, with the cover charge going towards our adoption expenses. It will be at Coral Gables in Saugatuck with doors opening at 8:00, music starting around 9:00. The Facebook page with more information can be found here.

We are extremely humbled! Again, we feel like the ones being blessed. While we are doing this for us first, for us to have a family, for us to be blessed with the love of a child - we also somewhat choose this path, since there are so many children who need a loving family of their own- and know that we do need a little help to accomplish this financially, which is a humbling experience!

We are incredibly thankful for the help! Thanks guys!