Monday, December 11, 2006

Good news of great joy

'Tis the season to be...thinking about adoption. Huh?
Well, if you're waiting for your child I guess any season is the season to be thinking about it. But today I was prompted to think about it while I was cleaning up listening to some music. The song details the lineage of Christ from Abraham through David through Eleazer through Joseph to Jesus. Well, it got me thinking about the fact that Jesus is first the Son of God, then became the son of Joseph. And He was given Joseph and Mary's family line in order to fulfill the prophecy of the Old Testament. Not that He was biologically born of these parents, but of the Holy Spirit, but that He was adopted into this family and given the lineage that God used to fulfill his Word. God deemed that their family became His family. It's pretty neat. It really just got me thinking (and thanking) furthur about the beauty of Jesus that He came that we should be called Children of God. John 3:1-3

Monday, November 13, 2006

A night of Hope

Saturday we were able to go to a Shaohannah's Hope fundraiser dinner. Our friends, the H family, were unable to attend the night and they so very sweetly invited us to go in their place. Katie Jo's heart was happy for us to get to go and be encouraged by people who love adoption.
It was such a neat event! We got to hear from Steven Curtis Chapman, Geoff Moore, Howard Dayton, and Kirk Cameron (yes, Growing Pains!).
We got to talk with another woman who has been trying to adopt two girls from El Salvador, but is not sure if it is going to happen. We were encouraged by her and by others we met in this wait for our children.














It was actually November of last year when we went to the agency meeting, hoping to hear that we could get started on our adoption from Honduras, only to find out that God had prepared a different path for us.

The LORD sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:10-11

Monday, October 23, 2006

Espera


Espera means "waiting" in Spanish. And that's what we're doing around here. I don't have any news to give or updates to share. I just wanted to write something. Maybe because I have the day off, or maybe because my husband has class tonight and I'm not working on dinner, or maybe just because waiting is hard today. So...I thought for a minute about anything that hasn't been recorded and then remembered that I'm working on a quilt! I actually started cutting out the squares this summer, but I haven't pieced it together yet. Right now I have approximately 213 squares. Lots of greens that I love! I decided last week that I'd try and embroider on some of the squares. So far I have a lower-case "r" cross stitched on one. And am working on 3 flowers (designed by my friend Wendy!) on another. I'm planning to work on quilting it over my Christmas break. I also want to have it up for a while so that when friends come to visit they can add a stitch or two of their own to our girl's quilt.
Esperanza means "hope".
Sure enough, it looks a lot like that "waiting" word.

Friday, October 06, 2006

News from the country

Our family coordinator, Christi, returned from a great trip to ES. She sent us an email with a little bit of information about what she got to do and see. The pictures are beautiful. ES is so much like Honduras- I felt right at home looking at her photos. While there, Christi got to visit three orphanages and said their facilities were wonderful and caretakers were loving. She also met with 2 of the 4 judges from the family court and their response to US adoption was great. These women told Christi it was a blessing to their country and children. They told her that the court hearing was the fun and exciting part; nothing we would need to be nervous about.
She stayed in the Princess Hilton San Salvador. Looks nice! Looks almost too nice. It's possible that we would stay here, or somewhere similar, when we go down. So, without knowing when that will be...we atleast have a glimpse of what is to come!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

9 month update

We might have some pictures of what things look like in El Salvador in a couple of weeks. Our family coordinator from AWAA sent an email the other day saying that she is going to be traveling to the country next week. As head of the Latin American adoptions for our agency, she will be visiting several offices, meeting with some of the adoption judges, and possibly spending time in a few of the orphanages. She said that she'd try to send pictures and an update sometime next week, which I will share here. It's so exciting to know that she will soon have a broader understanding of what is a very new process. More to come later...

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Tunes in 2007?

It looks like we're going to be holding off on the rescheduling of our benefit concert until next spring. We think it best to re-evaluate some things and see what we can work out for next spring/summer.
Just so you know, we still haven't heard anything from the ES government/OPA. I've been talking with another "mother in waiting" who is also a guinea pig for ES with our agency. It has been good to connect with someone in a similar boat. Who knows...maybe we will all receive some sort of update on our progress before the new year. (Is it already getting close to that season of cooler weather? Wow!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 303

Oops! I'm supposed to be counting in months now, right? Well, then actually that makes it a week shy of 7 months since our application was accepted by America World. ES government has had our paperwork for a little over 2 months. There hasn't been much news. Last week we had to re-do one more document, which was actually pretty nice. To know that they are already looking over our dossier can be exciting. It can also be quite confusing. Wonder what they'll be working on the remaining 11 or 12 months of our wait?
I found a couple of pages with recetas from El Salvador. We actually ate pupusas while in Honduras.My husband loves them! Maybe I'll just have another Latin American dinner night and try those out...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Benefit Concert- POSTPONED

This morning we woke up to some much-needed, God-pleasing rain and a weather radar indicating a huge front was moving over Nashville. We decided to cancel the concert for tonight and reschedule for another day. All of the musicians were so understanding and ready to jump back into it...whenever that will be. It's been so good to plan this- seeing people offer their time and posessions and ideas and help- that I kind of can't wait to do it again!
We'll keep you posted. concert.draines.com.

Psalm135: 6-7
The LORD does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.

He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 29th Benefit Concert

Check out concert.draines.com to find out more!
Proceeds from the concert will help us with some of the upcoming adoption fees as well as support La Providencia. We are excited to partner with this ministry because, in a way, it was through our relationsip with them that we came to adopt our girl. (I'll be sure to write more about that in a later post.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Timeline update

Through an email from our ES family coordinator we found out that the current wait time for a referral has shifted from 10 months to 12-14 months. She also added that it could change again, to increase or decrease, along our journey.
A friend commented on the day count I've been keeping. Maybe I should go ahead and change that to months...or weeks. ? Hm. Either way you count it, we are praying for that unexplainable peace and the wisdom for waiting rightly.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Weight of All Things

The Weight of All Things
by: Sandra Benitez

I was searching our public library again for books pertaining to El Salvador. I actually found a few this time, even though they're all by the same author. Sandra Benitez. Although she wasn't actually born there, she did live most of her life in El Salvador. I haven't been that big of a reader in my adult life (whenever that started) but recently I've been influenced by a certain husband to pick up the practice. I'm liking it so far. So back to this book- I really enjoyed it. Even though it is fiction it is based on 2 historical events. One is the assassination of the Archbishop Oscar Romero which I'm finding through other resources is a huge event in ES history. There are tons of paintings and writings about his death. The other event the book builds its story around is the civil war that took place in the country from the 1980's-1990's. PBS has a short piece about this. (As always, read with caution.)
The whole time I'm reading this book I'm painting scenes in my mind using material from old-timey pictures and then I remember that this stuff happened not 20 years ago. I was born. I was more than a baby. It's just wild to imagine that there are so many different worlds in our world.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dossier is in ES

Our family coordinator from AWAA sent us an email yesterday letting us know that the OPA (Oficinia Para Adopciones-yes, it is what it sounds like) is reviewing our dossier. Actually, the only reason we heard something was because we needed to fix something, but that just meant printing off one document and taking it through "the paperwork process".
"The paperwork process": This includes the steps necessary for all of our documents to go through before they are sent to ES.
Step 1: notarize the document
Step 2: certify the notary through the appropriate county's clerk office
Step 3: apostille the document at the Tennessee Department of State
Step 4: copy all pieces of paper (x 3)
Step 5: FedEx original and 2 copies to AWAA
So...we did all this yesterday afternoon and it should be at our agency on Monday and our coordinator will look it over and get it to the OPA. At that point, they'll pick back up on the process they take each family through. What is that process you ask?
First, the document is translated. Then, it is submited to the OPA. Next, it goes to the Procurador and Director of ISNA for approval. Finally, the file is passed to the Comite de Asignacion. That is who will be assigning us our referral!
So, I guess this is really happening, right?
Day 166

Friday, June 02, 2006

ES: Open to the public!



Originally uploaded by misoponia.
We just recieved an email from our agency AWAA
stating that they are accepting applications from adoptive families for El Salvador as well as Kazakhstan! I checked and it's not on the website as of yet, but you can call their main office at 1.800.429.3369 with any questions.
Dios es bueno!

Monday, May 29, 2006

And.....here we wait!

As of Friday I think we've mailed off the last piece of paperwork for a while. Our dossier is being sent to be translated on Tuesday. They say it takes about a week or so. There's really nothing we expect we'll have to be doing for the next few months. It's somewhat of a nice feeling. We're going to concentrate on getting the fundraiser concert together for July 29th.












Here are some of the pictures we sent with our dossier...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dossier is DONE!

Day 129 So we're finished with our dossier. We just got out psychological evaluation back a couple of days ago and are now just waiting for that I700 form from the government. We sent it off 41 days ago and they say to allow 45 days to process so we're hoping it will be in the mail next week. Once it is in hand, we'll be heading out to the local government offices to have each piece of paper apostilled, make a bunch of copies, and then mail it out to our family coordinator. We also have to get some family pictures made this weekend to add to our packet. One that is requested is a photo of our baby's room, which feels kind of strange to start thinking about. We don't really want to start filling it with baby stuff quite yet. There's really nothing in there for her yet. It's full of the 'whatever' junk that just eventually finds it's way to the most un-used portion of your house. Anyway...I'll try and post some of the pictures we take!
Oh, more cool news is that AWAA is offering ESalvador to the public starting in June!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Psych Eval

Yes, we are required to get a psychological evaluation completed as part of our dossier requirements. We actually just went on Monday, April 10th and met with "Dr. Steve" for about 2 hours. It really wasn't bad at all. The good doctor did a fine job of dialoging with us rather than just interviewing for facts to write in a character sketch. After our little talk, Drew and I sat down to a 570-some true/false question personality test and a bubble sheet. That took about 2 hours to complete. We went back this past Monday, the 17th and did IQ testing. I thought it was pretty fun. Hopefully we'll get the results of everything at the end of this week. I probably won't be posting those, though. So...at this point, we're just waiting to get our USCIS approval. Day 101
We are planning to do the fundraiser concert on Saturday, July 29th in Franklin, TN!!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

USCIS Fingerprints

Today we got our fingerprints done for CIS. My husband picked up our notarized, completed homestudy from our social worker and we rode together to Metro Center.














This means that we now will be waiting for the Memphis office to process our prints and send us a receipt. Then we're on our way to finishing up our dossier! Day 80


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Day 51

Well, as of last week we thought we'd be done with our homestudy this week. But...it's going to end up being in a few weeks. We were supposed to have our final interview/meeting with our social worker today, but that has been cancelled and rescheduled for March 15 or 16. It's kind of hard waiting. Yeah. It just seems like this will push everything back 2 or 3 more weeks. I'm having to remind my impatience that "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me." Psalm 138:8
We're waiting on a few more pieces of paperwork to come in and then we will be finished. Really, the only thing we'll have left is our psychological evaluation. Sweet! (And I finally found somebody that will do it!) Day 51

Saturday, February 25, 2006

USCIS form

We just got our U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services letter back. This is required before getting fingerprints which are required to adopt a child into the US. We mailed off for it on January 31st, so that means it took a little less than 1 month to process. NOW...we will be finishing up collecting our home study paperwork, probably by the end of next week. We have met individually with our social worker to discuss our autobiographies. This was fun for both of us. It was neat to have somebody's undivided attention while being invited to tell the story of our lives. Next Tuesday, she will be coming to our house to complete the final meeting with us as a family. Our social worker will then write up our home study document and we'll get fingerprinted and begin our first wait. We have been working on our adoption for 47 days now and things have been fairly easy to complete. This has been a great blessing for us, being so busy in our schedules right now.
The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
Psalm 103:6

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day 33

Well, we've been in this adoption for 33 days now. I just wanted to give an update as to what is complete or in the works at this point. I just finished reading the first 6 chapters of Deuteronomy and it makes me want to remember (not only in this process) how faithful God is and how we need to set remembrances for ourselves because it is true to our nature to forget His compassion.
We are in the final stages of our home study. We pretty much have fulfilled all of the requirements but are waiting on documentation from people who are helping us. For our dossier, we are only waiting for birth certificate copies, some of the same documentation, and a psychological exam. This is proving to be a very hard thing to complete. There are a number of counselors and social workers we've been able to make connections with, but psychologists? It is so far the most difficult and frustrating thing. Which, I have to say, isn't even terribly frustrating, but compared to the ease of completing all the other tasks...
So there you have it! We are cruising along, so thankful that AWAA is such an amazing organization, thankful that we are able to have flexibility in our schedules to accommodate appointments and meetings, and rejoicing in the fact that God is bringing us into this and that we get to know even more "today, and take it to our hearts, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other." Deut 4:39

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Grits

Dim Sum, Bagles, and Grits
By Myra Alperson

What an odd book. This was on a list of books to read to help familiarize ourselves with what things can be like when adopting an international child. It was written by a single woman who adopted an international girl. Many of the references were stories about single women adopting. The overall flavor of the book tasted more like a praise of doing what you want and what makes you happy more than a celebration of international families. There were definitely a few sections that made me really start to think of what it will be like to have a family that doesn't "match".

It's true, though. God is building families that look like His kingdom!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Home Study

Our Home Study is in full swing. We're collecting documents, writing autobiographies, scheduling psychological exams! It's wild! Things are progressing very smoothly and we're thankful for that. It's hard to guess how long we'll be working on this step, but so far so good.
We're also considering planning a fundraiser concert for early this summer. Hm?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Still Love

Still Love In Strange Places: A Memoir
By Beth Kephart

I just finished reading this book, Still Love. I was searching the public library for books that related to El Salvador in any way. Other than the middle school pictures books I remember using for class reports, this was about it. I wanted to read about the country and its people, more than just facts and statistics, and this book was a perfect fit.
I can't wait to go!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Country pictures







http://www.fccdm.org/elsalvador.htm

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Step 1

On Friday, Jan 13th we received our Step 1 packet of information. We mailed out the signed agreement forms (disclaimer/release, client rights, etc). They should get to Virginia early next week. The next step is for our Family Coordinator to contact us and begin walking us through our home study.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Day 1

And we're off...
We just got a call from AWAA telling us that our application was accepted! We'll be getting info in the mail very soon and begin our home study. Day 1.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

El Salvador, here we come

We officially submitted our America World adoption application! It has been a couple years of praying and waiting, but we finally feel like our desire has met the right opportunity. Please pray for us.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

(Filling out the online application.)