Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Domestic and International concurrently

Eighteen months ago we were blessed with this precious boy.  Being Flora's bio brother, their extended family asked if we would adopt him as well.  This time it was to be a private adoption. We are blessed to have an open adoption with their extended family and in turn they adopted us. 
Today we had the termination of parental rights (TPR) hearing.  Both bio parents were notified some weeks ago  of the hearing but unfortunately their lifestyles being as they are, the bio father did not get an attorney appointed until last week.  You guessed it.  He asked for a continuance so that he could actually talk to his client at some point. 
Here in the great county of Edgefield we have circuit judges who are only here every few months.  Because of that, it may be the new year before we go back to court to finally have this hearing.  Frustrating for sure, but we know in this adoption, as in all of our adoptions, God is still in control and He will make it all work out in His time. 
We love this boy.  He's an amazing sweetie and definitely has our hearts. 
Our international adoption is in a waiting stage.  Our next step is an appointment to have our finger prints done and approval from immigrations.  We do expect to hear from them this week mostly because I plan to call and bug them until I find out when our finger print appointment happens! =)  Once we have immigration approval, that approval will go to Eastern Europe and then our entire dossier will be submitted to the governing authorities for review and approval.  Not too much longer and we'll be there.  Which leads me to financing.
We still need about $12,000 to be fully funded for our international adoptions and this new turn of events with our domestic adoption will take additional funds.  We're doing all we can and ask that you prayerfully consider helping us financially.  Of course your prayers are always welcome too!  Our donation button can be found on the side of this blog.  And here's a direct link to it as well:  All donations are appreciated and of course are tax deductible.  Thank you in advance for your help.
Blessing to you!
Jode and Kelley

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dictates of Man

Monday we received our apostilled, final approved home study.  I have to admit I was shaking when I opened the envelope.  This final home study has been a long time coming.  You know how it is when you want something so bad that you're almost afraid that it will never happen?  That's how things had gotten with our home study.  It seemed no matter what hoops we jumped through, it just wasn't enough. 
As I returned from the post office, having just mailed our home study to the next family who will be traveling to Eastern Europe, I was feeling somewhat giddy and thankful because we had finally received our home study exactly the way we wanted it and in accordance with the governing authorities of the country from which we are adopting.  Nothing more. Nothing less. Exactly what we needed.  There were no additional requirements from an agency which thought it could make decisions concerning our family and on behalf of the governing authorities!  Then it hit me!  
Our home study experience reminded me of how our relationship with our Lord and Savior should be. It should be a personal relationship. It should not be one full of dictates which are imposed by other's who think they know better than we!  We do not require, nor do we want, someone else in the middle trying to control the situation.  How could someone believe themselves wiser than a husband and wife who have prayerfully considered and are certain they are following the calling of God on their lives? We trust that He will lead us and guide us into all spiritual truths governed by the guidance of His holy Word and Holy Spirit.  We also trust that if it is not His will, He will not allow it to happen.   
I'm so glad our home study, like our relationship with our Savior, is exactly what we need with no additional dictates of man.   Those dictates were legalistic, controlling and not required.  They held us in bondage  to another's opinion - another's dictates.   All the grief, all the heart ache, all the jumping through hoops was not necessary.  Once we decided to go with another person who aligned their efforts with ours and the governing authorities, everything went smoothly and quickly.  Imagine that.  Matthew 11:30 says "My yoke is easy and My burden is light".  When we align ourselves with His will it's amazing how things fall into place.  In other words, if it don't fit, don't shove it.  I have a tendency to beat a dead horse long after everyone else has said walk away.  God allows me to put myself through situations now and then.  When I do, it makes me even more thankful when I come out on the other side and say "WOW! Look what God did!"

I'm so thankful for wisdom and new direction which has landed us exactly where we needed to be!

We're coming babies; we're almost there!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Paper Chase Almost Complete . . . for now

Thank you all for your prayers and for continuing to pray.  We are almost through with the paperwork required for this side of the world.  There will be more once we get to Eastern Europe. 
It looks like we may be traveling in December, which will fit well into Jode's school schedule.  It's going to be very cold there, and  I'm not a cold weather kinda gal.  This will be interesting.  It also means more luggage for more clothing.  Living here in South Carolina, it never gets very cold.  Sure we get snow occasionally but rarely.  I don't know that we really have the proper attire for this trip but we can layer . . . lots of layers.  I want to be warm enough to at least enjoy the snow a little. 
We've been chatting with some families who have been to the regions from which we are adopting and getting some good ideas of what to anticipate.  As we get closer, I'm sure we'll take notes on where to go and where not to go, where to eat and where not to eat.  There's so much to think about, which is why I'm so glad I've gotten involved with so many wonderful people who have already been there and done that. 
In the meantime, I've been grant writing.  I've never tried this before, but after the first couple, they get easier.  For those of you who don't know, there are agencies and ministries which feel it's important to help those of us who are doing our best to rescue those who could easily be referred to as "the least of these".  Least as in the smallest and most helpless, but certainly not least as in unimportance. 
These babies need families and God lays on each parent's heart the desire to adopt certain ones.  It's amazing to watch.  I will see a child and think "Oh, my goodness.  How sad."  knowing that I am not called to be that child's mother, and then someone else will choose that child to be their very own!  Then I can see another child and know in my heart of hearts that child was created, even on the other side of the world, to be ours.  Such miracles God can do in our hearts if only we let him.  The amazing thing is, we are all called to pray for them and do according to James 1:27 and in doing so, we will fulfill Matthew 25:40.
Our next steps will be biometrics which is a fancy word for fingerprinting, and then we wait for USCIS (immigrations) approval for us to adopt.  That approval form will be apostilled and sent to Eastern Europe to join up with the rest of our paper work.  It will be the last piece we need to send.  Then we wait for approval from the country, and wait for a date to travel.  This kinda reminds me of the military - I did a lot of hurry up and wait then too.  I think both experiences have/had their merits, but somehow I just know I'm going to enjoy the outcome of this experience so much more!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adoption Brain! Who Knew???

Who knew, right?  I mean, I've known with each adoption, especially when expecting Ian, I went through what appeared to Jode and me as pregnancy symptoms including morning sickness, dizziness, fatigue and weight gain.  But when "adoption brain" hit this week you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I couldn't believe it.  Not me, the one who's so organized, the ultimate administrator.  Wow!  It hit me like a brick.  Now, not only am I double checking everything I do, I'm still fretting over whether it's correct once I hit "send"!   Now I'm wondering when this stops and hoping desperately it's at least as soon as all our paperwork is submitted.

Speaking of, we had to make a tough decision this week when the agency we have been working with for our homestudy once again made unrealistic, not based on law or regulation, requirements of us.  After quite some time of jumping through every hoop they put in front of us just to get our homestudy completed, we finally had enough!  We are now finalizing our homestudy with a certified investigator rather than an agency.  Had I known this initially, we would have gone this route in the first place.

For those of you adopting from a non-Hague country, according to the USCIS web-site, you have the option of using a certified investigator.  The cost of this is about 1/4 of what you pay using an agency.  I don't know about you, but that means a lot to me.

I found our certified investigator by searching for "SCDSS certified investigator" which then lead me to a page with every county in SC.  I clicked on our country and low and behold the Social Worker who maintained our foster care license for the past five years, was on that list.  She's also become a family friend so we will definitely recommend her to anyone else in this great state looking for a home study. 

Your continued prayers as we continue on this journey to bringing precious babies home are appreciated. 

With love,
Jode, Kelley and kids,