Saturday, April 30, 2011

My two boys!

Edisto,SC 2010
Beautiful Fall Day!
Tommy, Age 5 {2010}

Edisto Beach Fall 2010

We spent this day snapping photos with an old family friend, Laura Wilson.  These are my handsome boys. My husband, Tom and our now 6 year old son, Tommy.  Can't wait to add one more to this photo shoot!

Another Working Weekend

What an amazing Saturday!  It is truly gorgeous here in Charleston! There is a wonderful breeze coming in the second story window.  Today has been one full of paperwork, but I feel like we are making tremendous progress.

Last night, we took a short break from the craziness and went to the mall for awhile.  It was nice to get away from the "LIST" and just be together for a bit.  While we were there, we got an email from the case worker in WA.  We have been officially accepted by this organization and assigned to a new case worker who will get us through the home study process.  We also received the next wave of required paperwork from the local agency, so we started on that right after breakfast this morning.

I gathered about 20 documents and we each wrote our autobiographies for the social worker.  I had to run to the office to scan things because my printer at home is acting up.  While I was there, the social worker assigned to complete our home study called.  We had a nice chat and I feel that she is very aware of what we need to do and what our crazy timeframe looks like.  She agreed to do everything within her control to get this done for us.

Tomorrow after church we will get some recent photos printed for our packet and then overnight it to NC first thing Monday. This week's focus will be letters of reference and our first meeting with the social worker on Wednesday afternoon.  We are still praying and trusting the Lord for all these things and for the financial support that we will need. We have applied for a few grants, so add that to your prayer list.  Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, April 29, 2011

One week since we began this adventure

So, it was one week ago today, Good Friday, that we made the final decision to begin this crazy adventure.  We have gotten off to a pretty good start.  Yesterday, we were fingerprinted at the city jail and picked up our passport applications.  I struggled a bit to get a live person to cooperate in MN for our state clearance, but by the end of the day, we were all in sync there. They allowed me to email copies of our request along with verification that they were mailed so that they could begin the searches.  Rhode Island did the same and both sets of results should be returned via fax today. That will leave only Texas to receive and we will be done with this portion of the process.

Last night, I worked on the pre-application paperwork for about 3 hours.  Once completed, this will go to WACAP (placement agency) and they will review, translate, and send to China for final approval on the age waiver we need.

So, our main portion of work for the weekend will be to button up a few more questions on the pre-approval and then to complete our Home Study History questionnaire and get it in the mail for delivery on Monday.

In our free time..... I hope to figure out how to add a slide show to this blog so that I can introduce some of you who don't know us as well to the rest of the family!  I pray that you all have a wonderful restful weekend!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Day

Good morning. As a friend reminded me last night, tomorrow is a new day. So, on to today's list.

First, more good news: Ohio clearance has been recieved! (The one we thought might be the toughest)  So, we are done wtih VA, FL & OH.  I will confirm delivery today of our packets to AL, SC, TX, MD.  If they all arrived to the proper people as planned, we should have those clearances no later than Monday. 

Today, we attack passports, fingerprinting (FBI) and Rhode Island/ Minnesota clearances.  These last two states will be sent overnight mail tonight.  We are still waiting for our new birth certificates and marriage licenses to arrive that we ordered last weekend. They are key as well. 

Once these tasks are complete, we move on to the Pre-Approval packet. (PA).  The first of our adoption dissertations.  If anyone feels led to offer Tommy a play date on Saturday, we could use some quiet time to write.  That's it for now. Back to my full-time job. :-) Blessings to you all for your support! Angie

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Small Victories!

I am trying to keep my eye focused on each step to avoid being overwhelmed by the enormity of this undertaking. So, tonight when I got word from WACAP (our child placement agency in WA) that China has preliminarily approved our age waiver (for Tom), I decided to stop for a bit and soak in that small victory.  Without that, all our efforts would have been in vain. Thank you Lord!

Next step, to complete our Pre-approval packet in record time. This is a very lengthy series of questions about parenting and planning for bringing the child home.  They give you two weeks to return it, but I have set the deadline of this weekend. So, my hope is that we will have this ready to return by Monday.  Once WACAP approves this step, then they will officially place Shen ON HOLD for us which will prevent any other families from getting his file.

Then, the pre-approval packet gets translated into Chinese and sent to the Chinese government for final approval.  Please pray for each step specifically and that we maintain the stamina to complete this next phase by Monday. WARNING!!! No one come to my house expecting it to be clean.  I can all but promise you it won't be. LOL

Junchi in February 2011

Can our house stand ANOTHER goofy boy? What the heck!  I'm out numbered already anyway.

Wonderful smile!


Adopting a Boy

State Clearances

Update 4/29/11--
Update: 4/28/11-- 

Ok, friends.  We are finally seeing some traction with these state clearances.  Here is where we stand so that you can be praying specifically for the straglers!

VA- Received today. Check! ARRIVED
MD- sent overnight mail today with overnight return envelope: expect to receive by Monday. Sent to us overnight mail. Should arrive Friday.
TX- sent overnight mail today with overnight return envelope: expect to receive by Monday. Delivered to them. ARRIVED
FL- report being faxed to Adoption agency today-- ARRIVED
AL- sent overnight mail today with overnight return envelope: expect to receive by Monday.ARRIVED
SC- sent overnight mail today with overnight return envelope: expect to receive by Monday. No news yet. Delivered 4/29 to SC office.
MN- waiting on form to be mailed to us for our signature. Then, will overnight it. Emailed ahead if time. They are processing it now and will look for the overnight envelope tomorrow. Agreed to fax results to agency then. ARRIVED
OH- agency sent request.  ARRIVED
RI- agency sent request. Emailed ahead if time. They are processing it now and will look for the overnight envelope tomorrow. Agreed to fax results to agency then. Sending via fax today.

Agency is working on making a Social Worker assignment now, although they are supposed to wait until the next round of paperwork comes back. They are trying to get things prepped so that we can "pull the trigger" as soon as possible.  I am doing all the advance work I can while we wait.  Have I mentioned that waiting is not my best event? :-)
Thanks for your prayers!

The Journey Begins...

Welcome!  Good Friday was an especially meaningful day this year as we reflected on what Christ did for us so many years ago.  This year, He introduced us to our future son, Shen Jun Chi of China.  He stole our hearts almost instantly and we knew that we were meant to bring him home to our family.  JunChi is 13 years old and has been in an orphanage for about 3 years now.  In just a few short months, he will lose his last chance for a forever family.  We are doing everything in our power to keep that from happening.

In a matter of days, we have become students of the international adoption process and are diving head first into it!  Our first step was to contact the agency (in Washington State) that is handling his file.  We learned that we will need Child Abuse clearances from each and every state in which we have resided since the age of 18.  Because of Tom's military career, that gives him 9!  Each one of these states must clear us before our home study can be completed.  According to our agency, the only way this adoption will happen is if that step is complete by mid May.  Apparently, that is not humanly possible (according to most) so we are racing to finish and letting God handle the obstacles that we cannot.  Since Friday, we have submitted clearance requests for 8/9 states and have agreement from at least 4 agencies to expedite our requests in light of Shen's critical time frame.

To learn more about why this deadline is so important for Junchi, please click on this link and read about age-out children in China. It will give you a sense of urgency for him.

Our second challenge was finding a certified social worker who was accredited for Chinese adoption and available and willing to drop everything in their world to get this done for us.  We struggled for two days and with a great deal of prayer from other adoptive families, we found our local agency late yesterday and they went to work immediately.  Praise God! He is already removing obstacles.

Another answer to prayer has been my colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce.  They have rallied the troops and secured senatorial support from Senator DeMint's office and they are working on our behalf to remove as much red tape and delays as they can to help us reach him in time.  Junchi's birthday is August 29, 2011.  We MUST be in China no later than mid-August or we may be too late.  Even if everything is done, and we are in country, if we get to him on his birthday or later, they will not allow us to bring him home.

We ask for your prayers daily and will update this blog with the latest progress, photos as we get them and any specific prayer needs that arise.  Join us in praying for a miracle as we work to add the sweet boy to our family.

Love, Tom,Angie & Tommy