For those of you who are interested: (for those who don't care just skip to the last paragraph to see where we stand as of now)
We have been thinking about adoption as a means to expand our family for a number of years now. We feel God had placed it on our hearts to provide a home and a family to children who have no family and no place to call home. Our journey into international adoption officially began last summer when we applied to an adoption agency. About a week after we sent in our application we were asked if we would be interested in a baby that was to be born in two months (actually on Travis' birthday)! It would be a domestic adoption of a biracial baby girl and they were asking all of their Ethiopia families if they were willing to think about adopting this little girl. So far no one was interested. We immediately said "Yes, we are very interested!". We hung up the phone and started to figure out how we could come up with $25,000 in one month. Our hearts were torn when we realized that this was not yet meant to be, but for a little while we felt like we had a daughter out there. Heartache #1.
After this first bump in the road we started working on our international dossier which is the collection of documents that will be reviewed by government officials, judges, orphanage directors, etc. in order to evaluate our ability to be good parents. In another post I may go into more detail on this process in order to vent a little frustration! We had our first homestudy visit in September. Towards the end of September we decided that it was in our best interest to switch to a different adoption agency even though that meant starting the whole process over from the beginning and extending our adoption timeline. Heartache #2.
In October we decided to switch to Gladney. Money wasn't rolling in as we had planned it would be and so we had to wait...and wait...and wait until what seemed like forever. Well six weeks certainly seems like forever when you think you have your timeline all figured out! I initially had this perfect timeline in my mind and I was naively thinking that we would have one of the very few smooth adoption experiences. Every day we were waiting and saving money I felt like precious time was slipping away from us, taking us further from being united with our daughter. Heartache #3.
At the end of November we were finally able to move forward and take the steps necessary to officially apply with our new agency. We also mailed out our I-600A to USCIS which is the paperwork needed to approve us to bring an orphan into the US. I figured that Iowa would have a pretty quick turnaround for the approval (the I-171H), afterall how many Iowans are there adopting internationally? It turns out I was very wrong! We learned that it could take possibly six months to get immigration approval!!! Six months, that's longer than our anticipated wait for a referral! We cannot even be put on a waiting list for a referral until we receive the I-171H. So much for my timeline... I am no longer making any predictions. Heartache #4.
Although all these setbacks are frustrating to say the least, I do believe that God has perfect timing and we will end up with the child or children that are meant to be ours. I am certainly learning much about patience.
As of now we are waiting for Gladney to approve our homestudy. Once our homestudy is approved we send it to USCIS to complete our I-600A. Then our wait for immigration approval officially begins. Once Gladney approves our homestudy and has the finalized copy they will look at our file and application and decide to approve us or not to adopt though their agency.
If you made it through this entire post I am impressed! Thanks for caring!