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!