Thursday, March 12, 2015

Where We Are Now

Waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. We are waiting to receive our approval from USCIS to go forth and adopt. I wish I could tell you how long it takes to hear back from them. No one knows. In all honesty, it's been exactly 8 days since they received our response to their Request for Evidence letter. It could be 6-8 weeks before we hear anything. I just don't really know. And I'm ok with not knowing, really. The Lord's timing is absolutely perfect, right on time, all of the time. So I rest in that knowledge and pray Philippians 4:6-8 over us.

I thought I would put a timeline together, mostly because at this point I've kind of lost track of how it has all come together so far.

Februray 29, 2012 - my friend from high school and church youth group way back when posts about Jen Hatmaker's book, 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I order the book that day, and devour it.

March 2012 - I feel like the Lord is leading us to grow our family through adoption.

April 2012 - I start researching adoption agencies.

May 2012 - We decide that Haiti is the country from which we will adopt.

June 2012 - We start filling out the pre-application paperwork for Dillon Adopt.

September 2012 - We complete our application paperwork for Dillon.

January 2013 - We apply to adopt from God's Littlest Angels (GLA), a creche in Haiti we discovered through some of Jen Hatmaker's social media and blog posts.

February 2013 - We find out from GLA that they cannot work with us until we have been married 10 years due to the {then} current law in Haiti. They offer to keep our application on file and revisit when the new law passes.

March 2013 - We contact All Blessings International about beginning the application process. We were advised to wait until February 2014 to begin, so that when we get to our 10-year anniversary in August2014, we are ready to roll.

September 2013 - The adoption law in Haiti changes to 5 years of marriage instead of 10. We contact All Blessings International to begin our application process.

November 2013 - We begin our formal application process with All Blessings International (ABI).

December 2013 - Our formal application for ABI's Haiti program is approved.

January 2014 - We contact Dillon again regarding their home study only services. ABI is not licensed in the state of Texas to complete home studies, so we must find another Hague-accredited agency to do our home study.

February 2014 - We complete an application packet for Dillon's home study only services. Our intensive paper chase starts now! We had to do some minor paper chasing for the other applications, but this is where it gets real! We find out the total cost of our home study, and we know the Lord will have to provide, because it is a huge sum of money that must be paid all at once along with all of our documents.

March 2014 - I have a 3-hour coffee date with a long-time friend who wanted to meet up with me to talk about our adoption.

March 31, 2014 - We file our I600a form on the very last day possible. Had we waited until April, we would have been filing an I800a form, because Haiti had become a Hague country.

May 28, 2014 - I email our contact at Dillon to find out the balance due on our account, and am told that there is no balance and we can send in our paperwork any time. We are still waiting on various certificates, passports, etc before we can proceed.

June - August, 2014 - We are chasing paper all over the place. Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, previous years' 1040 tax returns, other various and sundry documents. Lots and lots of notarized signatures, lots of fees paid!

September 1, 2014 - First email from our social worker!

September 11, 2014 - First interview with our social worker. We met at a Starbucks in Grapevine. She interviewed both of us together about our relationship and marriage, and then separately, about our childhood and current life. I was surprised to be so emotionally exhausted once it was over.

September 13, 2014 - Home interview with our social worker. She did a walk-through of our home, observing safety features such as a 5 lb fire extinguisher in the kitchen, covered electrical outlets, and various other items. She interviewed each one of our kids separately, and then interviewed us together again, this time talking about our parenting philosophies and practices. Again, so very draining - not in a bad way, but it is exhausting to talk for hours about your beliefs and practices.

October 2014 - We find out more about the new policies and procedures in Haiti regarding adoptions. You can read about all of those changes on the All Blessings International Haiti blog. We realize we will not necessarily be adopting from God's Littlest Angels, as the adoption agencies can no longer specify creches from which the families would like to adopt.

October 21, 2014 - Our home study has been sent to Dillon and ABI for review.

November 21, 2014 - Home study report received by ABI and is in review.

I can't find the date when we sent our home study to USCIS,  but it had to have been some time between November 21, and January 16. :p

January 16, 2015 - We received our biometrics (fancy word for fingerprints!) appointments. Our appointments are scheduled for January 26, 2015 at 8 am and 9 am.

January 26, 2015 - We received a three-page Request for Evidence (RFE) letter (printed on pink paper!) from the USCIS. Yay, more paper chasing!

March 2, 2015 - We have obtained all of the necessary paperwork to answer the USCIS RFE, and FedEx the documents. They receive them on March 3, 2015.

Which brings us to today, still waiting.

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