Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dossier To Thailand!!!

I got the phone call this morning from New York...

We are officially DTT - (Dossier To Thailand)!!! 

Our agency finished all of our authentications, and all our important paperwork is now on its way across the ocean to beautiful Thailand. The thought of that stack of documents flying to Thailand makes me so EXCITED, but if I'm being honest, also a little anxious! I'm trying not to think about all people who will handle it and places it will be before it's in the hands of the woman who will match us with our child. I'm just trusting that God will get it where it needs to go!

"So... what's next?"

That was my question for our agency this morning. And the short answer is, we wait! At this point, we are just waiting on a referral. It could come at any time really, though it will likely be at least 6 months (and possibly longer) before we are matched with a child, and probably another 6 months until we travel to get her. I know that sounds miserable, but we are just SO thrilled to be done with paperwork, that entering this season is a bit of a relief! We know that we've done all we can, and so now we are trusting God to handle the rest in His timing. We don't know who our daughter is, where she is, how old she is, or when we will meet her - but God does. And so, for the next few months we will wait and pray and prepare our hearts to be parents!

We are determined to embrace this season. We know that when our baby girl gets home EVERYTHING will change! And as excited as we are for that day, right now, we are trying to live fully where we are. We don't want to take this season for granted. This is the last time it will just be the two of us, so we're going to try to enjoy it, live it fully, and bless the people around us as we wait.

I'm also excited about filling this time with things we've been too busy to do (because we were working on adoption paperwork.) I want to enjoy time with friends, catch up my blog, and learn to use my new sewing machine. We're finally renovating our office, and will hopefully be finished with it by the end of the summer. (I know how important it's going to be to have a separate office once Kate is home!) Also, our Thai is getting rusty the longer we're away, so we're looking forward to brushing up and learning more Thai in the coming months. And we're planning to travel this Fall to several of our partnerships overseas for The Sound of Hope, so I am really looking forward to that!

For today though, we will just enjoy the fact that we are now OFFICIALLY "paper pregnant"! We've finished our paperwork and (though we don't know when we will bring her home) as of today we have a baby girl on the way! It's been 2 years, 4 months, and 15 days* since we announced we were adopting from Thailand, so this is a major milestone that we've been working and waiting a long, long time for. We are now officially "expecting", and we are SO grateful that this day has come! Our hearts are full!


*If you're considering adoption from Thailand or just adoption in general, please don't let this timeline scare you away! Our journey thus far has been very long and arduous, but our timeline is not the norm. Many families have shorter timelines and very different experiences. Ultimately though, we believe our child is worth the wait, and that every child in need of a family deserves to be fought for (no matter how long it takes!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dossier is DONE!!!!!!!

Friends, I could not be more thrilled to tell you that our dossier is DONE! Well - my part anyway, which means that for me, all the "big" paperwork for our adoption is finished! (Go ahead - shout and cry tears of joy - I already have! ;) Yes, we'll still have some things to file and update here or there, but with our homestudy and dossier done I feel SO relieved!!!

I have to say thank you to all of you who prayed for me and encouraged me after my last post. I really wanted to finish well, and you guys helped give me the push I needed! Also, I have to share this little glimpse of my devotional from the day I posted that blog. The title was, "Dare To Be A FINISHER" and the verse was just what I needed to hear!

So I got busy the next day, and ran all over downtown Birmingham to get our local documents finished. No. Literally. I RAN. What was supposed to just be one stop at the courthouse turned into a trip back to the police department for the THIRD time just to get a document stamped the right way, and then a second trip back to the courthouse. I was desperately trying to finish before they closed, so I ran from the parking deck, downtown, and into the courthouse to get those last few certifications in time! So if you were driving in B'ham that day and saw a crazy woman running downtown with a purple folder full of documents - hair flying and a determined look in her eyes.... that was me. ;)

Our next step was a trip down to Montgomery for our state certifications. This was the last step that I was responsible for, so it was SUCH a big deal! Since we had 9 documents that needed to be certified, we just drove down (I didn't want to risk them getting lost in the mail.) About 15 minutes later and we were done!

Hanging out on the front steps of the state capital, 
so happy to be DONE!

Look at all those shiny seals! I was so excited that I jumped for joy!!!

After that, we had to wait another week on our documents to come back from Arkansas and Georgia. It seemed to take for-ev-er. I was so happy when they finally arrived with the State Seal! Georgia - I have to give you credit. Between the shiny seal and pretty blue cardstock, your document definitely looked the most official. ;)

Once we had everything together, we got some passport size photos made, and then it was time to package everything up. The night before we mailed it I spent some time sorting through everything, making copies, and organizing it all to mail. In the middle of my prep session, Rusty looked at me and said, "Can you believe it's done?" and it all just hit me.

I was packing up 28 months of our lives. 12 months of wishing and hoping and desperately trying to find an agency... all those months of wresting with the "what ifs" and the unknowns and the heartache of not being able to move forward until suddenly, we found our agency and got a YES! Then 12 more months of working on a homestudy (that only should've taken 3-6 months).... doing way too much "busy work", frustrating phone call after frustrating phone call, 31 hours of adoption education, filing and refiling paperwork and getting the request for "additional documentation" one too many times, edits and more edits and waiting month after month before we finally had that homestudy in our hands. Then 4 months of dealing with government officials in 5 counties and 3 states... mailing extremely important papework and praying it would come back.... driving other important paperwork all over the state to get those pretty little seals for our dossier...

And now... now it was about to be out of my hands. The realization hit me hard, and I couldn't hold back the tears. Tears of joy - YES! But also, tears of relief. I felt like this huge burden was being lifted off my shoulders! It was cathartic really, and I couldn't stop. I cried off and on for more than an hour as I packed up those papers. I just couldn't believe that I was DONE!

28 months of work... that's what was inside this folder. 28 months of hard work, and setbacks, and frustrations, and excitement, and progress, and heartache, and step after difficult step to get to our sweet baby girl. And now it is out of my hands.

The paperwork (homestudy and dossier) is supposed to be the "fast" part of an adoption - but for us it's been a long, hard road. I never thought it would take us this long to get this far - but God is the one writing our story, not me. So here we are, after 28 months, finally done with our dossier. We mailed it to our agency in New York on May 30th. Now they are finishing up with more certifications (it has to be authenticated again by the US Department of State and the Thai Embassy) before it can be mailed to Thailand. Once it's mailed and translated, we'll be able to be matched with a child! We couldn't possibly be more excited!!!

Thank you friends, for praying us through the past 28 months. I truly do believe that your prayers have carried us on this uphill climb. I'm so grateful to have the support of so many as we pursue our little girl. I'll keep you updated as we make more progress!