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One Step Closer! #Adoption

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Overall our process has been pretty short thus far. It is very typical for the adoption process to take a year or longer and in some countries it can even take several years. Each part of the process completed means another checkmark on our list. Each checkmark on our list brings a little relief in knowing we are that much closer to bringing our kids home!

A few weeks ago I posted about how the wait was getting a little depressing, especially after we’ve seen families who have a similar timeline as us get approved and even on their way home. Well, we finally received I600 approval which means we are getting so close to the end!! The next major (and final step) is the Visa interview. Once that is passed we wait for J and F’s Visas to be printed!

My husband is traveling with my parents to pick them up (and visit my sister and new brother!) while I will be at home getting things ready for their arrival. The 20 hours of traveling and the jet lag that follows really took a toll on me our last two trips so it will be good to at least have one parent ready to tackle the job of raising three five year olds, especially in that first week when the kids will be shocked by their new surroundings.

Last week I posted about my sister going to Ghana and although we haven’t had too many updates from her because the internet has been spotty, she was able to give us a little glimpse into her new life as a house mom!

I made it! My first day was filled with beautiful little faces calling me mommy and giving me lots of hugs. The night was filled with banku, ground nut soup, drums and lots of dancing! So thankful for everyone for making all transitions very easy.

and here’s one she posted yesterday

Ghana has been amazing! I am learning many new cultural differences and I have become something of a nurse. I have treated boils, sty’s, pink eye, heat rash, and of course the everyday cuts and scrapes. I went to the African market which was a CRAZY experience, and got to go swimming. The children here are so sweet and have wonderful little hearts for God and I can’t wait to show you all photos of them! I am very blessed to get to spend this time here!

My family and I have been checking Facebook everyday for her updates. Hopefully the internet will be working soon so I can see and share all of her photos!

As for us it would be nice to have the kids home by Easter, but I know not to hope for a certain date. In reality the kids could be home in a month!!

An Adoption Update: The Waiting Game

I haven’t updated in awhile about our adoption, so I thought I would share. The last trip when I went with my dad, where we visited the orphanage and started building the school in Hondzo was when I also filed some important paperwork at the US Embassy (aka the I600). The I600 is an application for adoption of specific children. It includes all the necessary paperwork (birth certificates, social welfare investigations, death certificates, etc) that will confirm our children are indeed adoptable.

It’s been 85 days, counting the Christmas and New Year holidays since I filed the paperwork and meanwhile we’ve seen other kids that were close to our timeline already come home.

Much of the adoption process is a waiting game and I assume that this waiting period so close to the finish line is God’s way of telling me I need to prepare my house (and my mind) for two additional five year olds. I can only imagine the added stress in those first few months with everyone adjusting and it would be better for everyone if I’m prepared.

Triple Bunk Bed with Storage

I’ve got one room almost organized- the kid’s room- the only thing I still need to do is organize their closet and drawers. When we knew that we were going to adopt two children, space was an issue in our tiny house. TJ, my handyman husband, came home with his own plans to build a triple bunk bed complete with book shelves and storage underneath.

Triple Bunk Bed with Storage and Bookshelves

The triple bunk bed works better than I imagined for this small bedroom. The clever bookshelves and storage maximize the small space that we do have.

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My aunt gifted us these beautiful prints that represent each of our children. They go perfectly in the room! Here is the artist’s etsy shop.

Hopefully we will receive approval within the next few weeks and if everything runs smoothly after that our children may be home in a month or a month and a half. For now, I’ll get to organizing!!

The Trip To Meet My Children

Two weeks ago TJ and I traveled to Ghana, West Africa to meet two little souls… two little children we’ve had photos of on our fridge, have been praying for each night and have been constantly thinking how our life will be like with them in it.

It was the strangest feeling meeting my children for the first time.. We already felt a connection with their picture while living half way around the world because we knew that these two little kids would soon be coming home with us. Both at 5, they have their own personalities, likes and dislikes, and strengths. Getting to know our children was an exciting and strange feeling.

For so long many of us have been content in our lives, including myself. We know about the orphan issue in many third world countries, but we choose to not make it a priority. It’s easy to not make it a priority- many of us won’t be able to travel over to a place like Africa to see all of the issues first-hand. We know the hunger, pain and orphan crisis is happening even here in the U.S, but we don’t feel connected.

After holding my two children in my arms- I feel connected to the issue. Their cute little faces, smiles and personalities are similar to the other 100 million+ orphans around the world that need a loving family and I now feel required to advocate for all of them!

Our trip, although short, was an insight into our children’s lives and culture. The food, the sounds and the sights are all something both my husband and I feel are a big part of this adoption process and is something to celebrate for the rest of our lives!

While we were in country we were supposed to attend court. The adoption process is definitely a test of patience and letting go of control- our court date has been rescheduled three times (after I started writing this post it has been rescheduled for the 4th time!!), which is very typical of the way things work.  Our in-country representative will be able to attend court on our behalf and if everything goes well, we will “officially” be the parents of “J” and “F”. We will then be able to proceed to the second-to-last part of the process- filing the 1600. To file, my Dad will be traveling with me hopefully in November and I will be able to spend more time with “J” and “F” and he will be able to meet his grandchildren!

After court we will officially be the parents of three five year olds- people often joke that we are going to have triplets! In the beginning of this process I would have never even given thought to the possibility of us adopting two five year olds. I wrote here about how our initial ideals of the child we wanted to adopt changed from a small window to us opening our hearts to whatever child/ren came despite their ages and gender.

Now, even after meeting them and their big personalities (that will fit right in with our family!), the idea doesn’t seem as crazy to us as it does to everyone else….. THREE five year olds!

Hopefully within a few weeks I will be able to share the photos of all of us during our trip, but for now I’m sharing the wonderful country of Ghana. Most of these photos are in the city of Accra, where we were most of the time.

The streets were lined with small shops and always busy with people. The women carried heavy loads on their head- often without using their hands. I have videos I took of “F” playing and carrying things on her head, which will be fun videos to look back on when she’s older. I was also amazed when she broke off a palm branch during lunch and made it into a broom to sweep the dirty floor!

I am so so grateful for the time I was able to spend in Ghana, but one of the hardest parts of the adoption process is saying goodbye… us saying goodbye the first time and the second time, only to be able to bring them home almost a year later. The wait is hard!

Then comes the bittersweet time they have to say goodbye to their friends and their country. I will be so glad to be able to bring them home, but I know it will be a hard transition time for them missing the only country they know. This is a big part of the international adoption process and I think it’s important to carry on their Ghanaian culture and to actively celebrate where they came from and keep them connected with other Ghanaians.

So, for now I wait for the chance to see a glimpse of them in photos other adoptive parents take when visiting the foster home. I am praying that a 4th time’s a charm and court actually stays as scheduled this time so we can get moving to the next step!!

- One step closer!!