Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just One More Thing

Just when I thought every single adoption related piece of paperwork was done, I noticed that our homestudy agency forgot to stamp their agency license paper. Ugh. Thankfully, when I called them they promised to get one out in the mail priority shipping today. Soooo... this puts us back a few days.

What's a few days in the grand scheme of things?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Almost Done Paper Chasing

All but one document is ready to be apostilled this coming week! It should be ready tomorrow. I still haven't made up my mind about taking a drive to Sacramento to get our dossier apostilled. A part of me just wants everything to be done, but another part of me has no desire spending 8 hours in the car driving during Spring Break. I most likely will end up using a courier-- which will still be cheaper than what I would have spent on gas.

We're getting closer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It Came!

Rachel's passport came in the mail today! How exciting! My police clearance letter came too without the embossed stamp. So just like in John's case, I had to call and leave a message for them to please correct it. Hopefully they will.

Thank you for all of the encouraging comments lately.... your support is a huge blessing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Maybe Next Week

This morning I woke up to an email confirming that Rachel's passport was indeed done being processed! Praise the Lord! This evening I finished up most of our paperwork for our dossier which will hopefully be on its way to Ukraine sometime next week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Being Processed

According to their website, Rachel's passport is in the final stages of being processed. Should be here next week!

On another note, I was fingerprinted for my police clearance letter this past Friday. Hopefully, we'll get it back in the next day or two.

I am finishing up the last of our paperwork for our dossier, so it should be mailed off to be apostilled by Friday! That would be awesome if I could get everything done!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Annual Husband Post

Hello world.

This is John.

Christine's husband.

This is my annual post. I'm not a blogger or a blog reader.

But my wife's been asking me to blog something for awhile now.

Never nagging, nor pleading, but her patient requests simply deserve to be finally honored.

(After all, I often plead impatiently for things from her and her turnaround time is lovingly amazing).

So it may be a blog to you, but it also serves as a "thank you" to her!

[Hey, if it's good enough honey can it serve as your early June-Birthday present? I crack myself up.]

Anyway, I see we have a new blogsite titled, "oh yes we are". She tells me people comment on it questions.

So, in no particular order, without having read any of the comments/questions, let me just give you my answers to all the question words of:

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, How much, ... are there others...let me go google the phrase "question words"...I'll be right back...well, [thirty seconds later], I see that the first link included also, Which, Whose, Whom, Why don't, How long, How far, and How many... so the post will need to be just a bit longer now to be comprehensive...

So without further adieu...

Who--We, the Reed family, are planning to adopt a child between the ages of 7-13. If he/she has a sibling in that same age range, we would of course adopt the sibling pair.

What--OK, that's kind of a strange question word to answer as you undoubtedly know "what" adopt means and "what" adoption is. And to add a bit more to the (superficial) answer, "what" it will be is an international adoption, and you know "what" that is too. But knowing that you don't always read for the superficial (and knowing that I don't want to shop in June for a present!), I just might add "what" adoption means to me. Well, I was adopted. My birthparents raised me and love me and I them and I have a great relationship with my parents. What a blessing they were and are! So that's of course NOT what I'm talking about when I say I was adopted. But I was a spiritual orphan in a soul devouring world where "Life's a bitch and then you die" seemed the motto and unexpectedly without solicitation, a Heavenly Father gave me a new life with peace and joy beyond most's understanding because "Love" is the eternal purpose. Of course I don't deserve or understand how a simpleton like me could actually have a relationship with the creator of the universe, but His own words say it was via "adoption". Of course I know I won't be, and can't be, spiritually adopting anyone. But the proportional analogy of "God is to Children of God" as "earthly adults should be to earthly children" is not only tight, but a truth central to the 'what' of our life.

When--Time and its events we can't predict nor control--despite our will and our actions and the strong, frequent illusion of their influence.
But, coming back up a depth, if our will and actions are permitted to have the desired influence, then I think mid-to-late-this Summer(?)

Where--Wherever the child is in the country of Ukraine. This is still unknown--and why the Who answer still could not specify.

Why--I know my "What" answer (above) touched on a lot of the motivations expected in a Why answer but I actually usually find myself answering simply, "Why not" when I am asked the 'why' question. Why does a golfer golf? Why is bacon delicious? Why does Sveta say "Peesh Koo"? Why does a fighter fight? Christine and I strive to be good earthly parents while at the same time bask in God's glory of being in the family of love. Why does a lover love? In many respects actually, if we were to put on our judgement hats, a golfer golfing is stupid, bacon being delicious is stupid, Sveta saying "Peesh Koo" is stupid, a fighter fighting is stupid, and a family in 2010 having 4 more people in their household than a census form allows is as stupid as a lover loving is. But I'm convicted when I wear that hat because that's the same hat that says Jesus dying on the cross was stupid too. Love, grace, and sacrifice is what He did. And we desire love, grace, and sacrifice to permeate these actions of ours too--granted at an infintessimally smaller scale.

How--Legally. Prayerfully. Patiently. Joyfully. Through a local agency / friend. If you really have process /"how" questions, Christine will answer them.

How Much--A lot. Again a "stupid" amount. $30K-$40K. But see the Why answer again and/or ask how much did He pay for you?

Which--Hmm...kind of at a loss here, so I'll briefly take:
Which Country/Region/Orphanage? Ukraine/unknown still/unknown still
Which children will travel with us this time? Caleb and Rachel
Whose--The world is His and everything in it.

Whom--As I'm not an English major, I can only think of answering 'whom' questions along these lines, "The adoption will benefit whom?" Of course the orphan(s) will benefit going from no family to having a loving mom, a loving dad, and loving siblings. See the six examples of proof already in our family. But we all can benefit. The child is probably hugging no one now but soon could hug you! I know you don't need it and it can sound really stupid. But I feel anyway that our hearts continuing to soften in various ways like this is a huge blessing--at least as huge as the blessed family in which I grew up.

Why don't--Why don't we stop? I think I've kind of answered that already. But we would stop if that were the will of our current family. All our kids are good with the idea too and this actually makes me a "proud papa".

Why don't we adopt American children? Right or wrong, our hearts seem kind of settled on Dennis being our youngest and Adam being our oldest. In Ukraine orphanages, if children are not adopted by the age of 7-13, they typically will not be at all. Loneliness becomes their core sentiment and sadly the plight that lead them to become orphans in the first place is statistically likely to repeat (poverty, promiscuity, alcohol, abuse, etc). So that is another reason that we have this as our desired age range. Adopting children of this age in the U.S.A., as I understand it, is impossible for a family like ours--Fostering, two-per-bedroom rules, etc.

How long--The process is like a pregnancy in duration (approx 9 months, but some more, some less, all pregnancies are different). The plane flights are 15hrs. The train rides maybe 15hrs too (depending on the region). You are in country maybe 4-5 weeks straight. Or maybe 3 weeks with a shorter trip 2 weeks later.

How far--Using the "great circle method", the method pilots use to calculate distance, it is approximately 6,300 miles from here to Kiev.

How many--For those that may have heard me say, only whimsically really, that '12' was a biblically complete number and that we were done, [citing the twelve patriarchs, tribes, disciples, gates, angels, foundations, pearls, stones, or actually much, much more...] well, all I can say is that our table still has room, our van still has room, our bedroooms already have the beds, and my heart and time and schedules can handle more. I know most tables can't. I know most vans can't. I know most houses can't. And I know most hearts can't. But I have a helper and an enabler in my heart that makes the impossible possible (if not miraculously easy!).

Any more questions?

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Can't Believe It!

We got our Notice of Favorable Determination from Immigration! One week from the time of fingerprinting! This is record time--- oh my! Now I've got to scramble to get our other documents in order and here I thought I had weeks and weeks to do this!


**Maybe writing please two times on the application helped. I guess I will never no-- but this was so unexpected!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oooooo, It's Embossed

Yesterday, we were fingerprinted for immigration. Today, John's official police clearance letter came in the mail--- and it has the nice embossed stamp. Slowly, but surely we are making progress. Praise the Lord.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finally.... We Have a Notary

Things are moving along quicker than I expected-- but not without the roller coaster ride.

Yesterday we received John's police clearance letter much quicker than we ever anticipated, but it did not have the embossed seal like these letters normally do. Somewhat concerned, I called our stateside facilitator Laurel who said this letter could be notarized, but that Ukraine prefers that the letter have the seal. She said that another client had called the Department of Justice and had them mail out another letter with the seal... so I thought it was worth a try.

On my second attempt I reached an answering service and left a very nice message. To my surprise, they called me back a few hours later and promised to send out a new letter with the seal. They also straightened out the information that was entered incorrectly by the LiveScan operator and got a heads up for my request that would be coming in a week or two. I finished that roller coaster ride with a smooth sail down and went to stand in line for the next one.

After I took Anna to the dentist, I stopped by our bank like someone had suggested we do. I was welcomed by the same manager who ordered brand new bills for our last adoption. She remembered me and smiled when I told her we were adopting again. She said it should be no problem to order new bills-- just call her a few days before. I then asked her about notarizations. She informed me that their notary only notarized bank related documents but she would see if the woman would make an exception. This roller coaster ride looked as if it was nearly over when the notary agreed to do all my documents-- until I asked her when her stamp expired. Oh-oh. The ride apparently was not over. Her notary stamp expired sooner than the other notary's stamp I was going to use. I waved goodbye as I thanked both of them for going out of their way to help.

Back to the drawing board.

As I was opening up our marriage certificates that came in today's mail, the phone rang. It was the manager at the bank. After she made sure she had the right person, she told me excitedly that she talked to another co-worker whose mother is a notary-- and they already confirmed that she would do the notarizations for free and her stamp doesn't expire for two more years!

Finally, I got off the roller coaster ride. I was beginning to feel a little queasy.

Tomorrow we get fingerprinted for our I-600A!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Think This is Pretty Quick-- Don't you?

I sent off our immigration application with homestudy back on February 17. I received notice that the Department of Homeland Security got our application and cashed our check on February 15. Today I received our invitation to be fingerprinted! The only bummer is that due to budget cuts we can no longer get fingerprinted on Saturdays which has been our routine in the past. Oh well--- I guess we'll be be fingerprinting during the week.

On another note, the notary I used last time who volunteered her services for free is not acceptable to Ukraine this time around because her stamp expires in less than 12 months. Hopefully I will find one as nice and accommodating as she was!

Are There Any Fingerprints?

Well.... hopefully we straightened out Rachel's passport issue. We should know in a week or two. John was fingerprinted this past Saturday but because of the new form and the LiveScan person not familiar with doing foreign adoption police clearance applications we are not sure that the end result will be what we want. Oh well.... I am definitely going to have someone else do my fingerprints. Tomorrow we have our medicals done and our marriage certificates should come in the mail next week. Things are plugging along.

How is your adoption going? How are the kids?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Will Rachel Get to Go to Ukraine?

First real road bump. Rachel's passport application did not go through--- possibly because her birth certificate is a delayed registration of birth. I have to provide additional documentation. Hopefully this will be all that is needed and we will get her passport soon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moving Along

Today we got confirmation in the mail that immigration received our application and cashed our check. We should be getting our finger printing appointment soon. Yesterday, Caleb's passport came in the mail. Not much else is happening on the adoption front-- unless you count nesting like crazy!

A fellow blogger out of the blue emailed me a few weeks ago about doing a giveaway to help out with our adoption costs. Her email touched me and encouraged the kids. Her and her family's generosity is just beautiful. At the moment I am speechless. Thank you Gala.

Soon, I will be posting info about the giveaway.