Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and we wish all of you a Happy New Year!
The latest update:
On Saturday, December 27th, we received a letter from our adoption agency calling for a mandatory meeting for all "waiting families".
In the letter they talked about a "perfect storm" for the adoption process. Wait times for available children are increasing, the global economy is in a recession, and the number of available babies is dropping due to a number of circumstances. Bottom Line: This "perfect storm" has potentially pushed our agency into jeopardy (according to their letter they sent).
Please pray for us, please pray for other adoptive families, and please pray for our agency as we all enter this mandatory meeting on January 12th.
THANKS for viewing! Have a Happy New Year!!!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Just sitting here today thinking of our adoption journey and one word keeps echoing in my head - Faith!
What is Faith?
George Michael sang that "you gotta have" it.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary describes it as:
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions
2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction ; especially : a system of religious beliefs
Hebrews 11:1 in the Bible (God's road map for our lives) describes Faith as "The substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen."
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible states, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".
The Message version of the Bible states, "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see."
So, Faith, what is it?
Notice some of the words utilized in the above descriptions. Words like - TRUST, BELIEF, LOYALTY, HOPE, GOD. These words help best describe Faith for me.
People have asked us many "WHY?" questions regarding our adoption journey. Why Russia?, Why now?, Why add another child to your family?, Why? Why? Why?
Well, we believe we have been called to adopt a child (long before we even had our three little guys).
Did we initially choose Russia? No. But God has clearly guided us in this direction and continues to drive home the point that Russia is the place where our new little girl is.
This whole adventure is a Giant Step in Faith for our family.
God continues to make the path and we continue to follow it with Trust, Loyalty, Belief, and Hope!
THANKS for reading!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Last week Jennifer and I had to head down to an immigration office in Detroit for Biometric Screening.
This screening is part of the USCIS I-600A process and sounds unbelievably intimidating. Jen and I were very curious as to what Biometrics our government was prepared to screen :)
As we entered, we quickly realized that what our government refers to as Biometric Screening (at least related to the adoption process) is just an extremely fancy word set for fingerprinting.
The process took all of 10 minutes and our Biometrics were screened.
Total Cost for all of this was $830. Yes, that's right, $83 per minute if you're counting. In essence, it cost us $41.50 per finger printed. (20 fingers).
Heck, some would argue that you can get this service done free of charge at your local precinct. All it would take is a nice ride in the back of a police car :-)
No wonder why our government has such a nice name for this process :-)
THANKS for Reading!
Watch your Biometrics or they may get screened!
Keith and Jennifer
Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3UWiJCZAz8
Friday, October 17, 2008
I know, I know, it's been a while since our last post.
I also know all of you have been waiting on the edge of your seats with baited breath for the next post :-)
Here it is.
Jennifer and I started taking a Conversational Russian class on Tuesday evenings at the Trenton High School. What an awesome experience!
In the last 3 weeks, Jen and I have learned the Russian Alphabet (roughly 33 letters/sounds compared to our 26 letters), we have learned about 150 words, and we have learned about Russia in general (what to see, how the country's regions are divided up, the country's politics, where to eat, etc.)!
Our teacher, Elena (pronounced Yelena), was raised in Russia and moved to the US when she was in her twenties. She speaks five different languages fluently, holds a few different degrees, and has traveled the world. Talk about making us feel humble and thankful all at once. We leave class every Tuesday very appreciative for being able to learn from somebody as knowledgeable as Elena.
So class is awesome!
In other news...
Jennifer talked to our Adoption Agency last week and they stated that are wait for a Referral may take longer.
We were hoping to take our 1st trip to Russia around September 2009. Now, we're thinking that the trip may be pushed back by approx. 4 more months. Again, this is what we've been told.
As we have committed and admitted from the beginning. This whole process is a BIG step in FAITH for us and we have decided to leave everything surrounding our adoption process at God's feet. He is in control of this entire process and He has our Alexandra already picked out for us. He will lead us to each other in His time.
Please continue to pray for us, for our boys, and for little Alexandra!
THANKS for reading!
Keith and Jennifer
P.S. Click the link and turn up the volume on your computer. The vide0 is very creative and extremely cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT7x3VnrqbA
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sorry it has been awhile since our last update.
Here's where we are in our Adoption Journey as of 9/26/08 at 4:24 PM.
Our Dossier has been sent to Russia and is currently being translated. This will take approx. one month. After the translation, we wait for a Referral. This could take 3 months to a year depending on the availability of the child God is directing us towards.
Latest Song to give a listen:
Have a great day!!!
THANKS for reading!
Monday, September 8, 2008
For those wondering about The Adoption Process:
Application and Home Study
Major portions contained within this stage:
- Initial Application - Ours was formally submitted on June 4, 2008.
- Pre-adoption Training - 12 hours taken on-line, via hard copy, or at scheduled seminars
- Home Study - Within the Home Study, paperwork needed on our end included: copies of our marriage license, birth certificates (for each member of the household), medicals for each household member & a home study fact sheet. Also needed for the Home Study were: financial information and referrals from neighbors, friends, & employers (at least 4 were needed). We then had three meetings with Social Worker: 1st one together as a couple, next one individual "one on one", last one at our home. The social worker then took this data and summarized in an International Adoptive Home Study Document. We started the Home Study right after our submission of the formal application and we received the completed home study packet on September 8, 2008.
- Psychological Evaluation: We had to meet with a certified psychologist during this time as well. Met with him together.
Total time from start to finish of this phase for us (with lots of "pushing" and phone calls on our end to the adoption office and our adoption contacts)= approx. 3 months.
Dossier Preparation and Submission
Dossier prep (more paperwork needing completion on our end) includes:
- Ensuring we both have passports
- Filling out all data requested (a ton)
- Taking selected pictures of your home and family as required.
- Notarizing all documents.
- Apostilling (Authenticating) all notarized documents.
- Submission of paperwork to be sent to Russia (We are currently at this stage).
Now, we wait for these documents to be translated and for the referral of our child (could take 3 months to 12 + months).
2 separate trips to Russia.
1st Trip lasts approx. 4 to 7 days. This is where we will "Accept" our referred child.
2nd Trip is 1 to 4 months after first trip and will last approx. 7 to 21 days. This step is where we finalize the adoption (court proceedings, etc.).
Baby comes Home!!!!!
Many of you may be asking the question, "why after having been blessed with 3 beautiful boys would Jennifer and Keith want to adopt a little girl from Russia?"
The following note found on a message board explains exactly why we want to do this.
THANKS for reading.
Just imagine that you decide you'd like to help a child, not just any child, but a child with no family and no hope for a decent future.
You know this is a huge commitment and will change everyone in your family, your friends and ultimately will change your life forever. You are willing to take on this mission even though you are scared of the unknown and what you are about to undertake.
Imagine, somewhere in Russia, is a child rocking himself to sleep each night wondering what it would be like to have someone who could rock him, to comfort him when he was scared or hurt, someone to wipe his tears and tell him he was going to be OK.
Imagine how it feels to be hungry so often you no longer understand what it means when your tummy growls. Imagine never leaving the orphanage to see the rest of the world. No car rides, no trips to the park, no McDonald's, and no birthday parties. Worst of all, imagine no hugs and kisses, no trips to Grandma, and no one to answer your cries. Imagine an orphanage with large silent hallways. Orphanages filled with children, but no crying? They have learned that crying gets no response, and soon they no longer know how to cry.
Imagine wanting to adopt one of these children, but you must fill out endless forms, sometimes repeatedly. You must have physicals, finger- printing, police checks, home studies and then fill out more paperwork. Then this paperwork must be notarized in triplicate, apostilled (proof of notary), and sent to various people on demand. Imagine doing these papers over several times to the point that Federal Tax forms look more appealing than adoption paperwork.
Imagine getting the call that your paperwork has finally been seen by someone from Russia and you can finally travel to meet your child! (This happened to me while I was shopping in Wal-Mart and I burst into tears!).
Imagine having one week to make airline arrangements, child care arrangements, etc. to travel across the world to meet your child. You frantically make arrangements and before you know it you are traveling to Russia.
Imagine traveling and traveling…trains, planes & automobiles of traveling. 30 hours of traveling to meet your child.
Now imagine you are finally sent to a small green room in this old Russian orphanage where you wait for someone to bring in your child. You begin to wonder why you are there. Why are you doing all this, to the point of exhaustion? You have done a mountain of paperwork, paid more money than you had ever planned on and traveled to a part of the world that is full of poverty and despair. But suddenly, the door opens and a large Russian woman walks in with a small, thin little boy holding her hand. He is smaller than your birth son was at 3. He has the little face that has been hanging on your refrigerator for the past six months. She takes him to you and tells him, "This is your Mama."
You take him in your arms and hug him tight. You notice your husband has tears in his eyes as he picks up this very small 5 yr. old. At that moment you know this little guy is your son. You know you are changing his life forever. He now has hope for a good life, an education, better health and a forever family to love him and care for him. All the frustrations you have experienced to this point have melted away as this little guy hugs his Papa's neck and giggles. You play outside with him and his friends in the orphanage. They hug you and call you Mama and Papa.
Most of them will never know what a real Mama and Papa are, though.
You know you have to do all this traveling again in a few months, but this time to bring him home to your family and friends. You will discover that not only have you changed his life for the better you have taught an important lesson on caring to all your family and friends.
If you experience all this then you will be able to imagine what it is like to adopt a child from Russia.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I went to my son Micah's first day of preschool today and started talking to a variety of parents. Wouldn't you know it?! There's a Mom I talked to that has adopted 2 children (Her son is in Micah's class). I also ran into an old friend as we were leaving. She was coming out of another classroom with a little 3 year old girl. Low and behold, she's adopting as well!
As this journey progresses and as we continue to lay everything surrounding this adoption at God's feet, it is amazing how He has placed so many people in front of us that have also experienced the process. God is Awesome!
I came across a poem tonight I thought I would share:
KISSES IN THE WIND (The Waiting Child's Lullaby)
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- © Pamela Durkota
I also came across a few bible verses tonight that seem pretty applicable right now (to me at least). Please let them resonate in your heart as I let them resonate in mine.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, .....The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
--- Matthew 25:35,40
THANKS for reading!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Jennifer and I decided to start a blog detailing our adoption journey.
We are at the beginning phases of this journey and are extremely excited.
The boys are more than excited. In fact, they'll tell anybody (& I mean anybody) who'll listen that "we are adopting a baby sister from Russia!"
Currently, we are waiting on "official" completion of our Home Study so we can submit our Dossier paperwork.
THANKS for viewing,
Keith and Jennifer