Friday, February 29, 2008

A Glimmer of Hope...

So, there was good news for some at our agency this week! Yeah, we all needed that even if it didn't directly affect us. It is good to see things moving in the right direction. The bad news is that there probably won't be any news about referrals for awhile. At least when I know it isn't possible, I don't feel quite as anxious about everything. But, maybe when I least expect it....(Probably not, be I can at least hope!)

The lighting isn't great, but I couldn't resist posting it. Isn't she adorable? I jut love her to pieces!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No News :(

Like I was afraid, there is no news this week. Hopefully, next week, but like usual, I am not holding my breath. I am trying to stay busy and not think about adoption stuff, but it is getting harder and harder. It is really hard hearing disappointing news after disappointing news. I keep reminding myself that God is in control and He will make our family work out perfectly.

But, to end on a lighter note, I thought I would share a couple pics of the family. Enjoy...

Here is a picture of our princess getting a makover.

Here is Kiara during her most recent performance. She couldn't have been cuter. I wish I had video I could share with you.

And, here are my two goofballs!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where we are today...

Well, in all reality not much has happened since November 2007 with our adoption. There was one referral from our agency in October. That moved us to third on our agency's list. So, I was really hoping for our referral before the end of 2007, especially since one of the famlies ahead of us was wanting a boy. January was a hard month for me. After the holidays were over, it was hard to not dwell on the adoption and that nothing was happening. Finally, in the middle of January 2008 there started to be hints of referrals. We are still waiting on the hints of referrals to become actual referrals. This week could be a big week. If all goes well, we could be first on our adoption agency's waiting list. But, I am not holding my breath because there always happens to be something in Uzbekistan that keeps things from happening how they are suppose to! So, send up prayers for good news this week! There are a lot of people at our agency that need good news!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Delays and a MIRACLE!

Things were slow in Uzbek in August and September of 2007. September 1st was their Independence Day and the fall is cotton picking season. Everything seems to shut down in the country during this time to get all the cotton picked.

Out of the blue, I get a call from our social worker. She told me that the lady from DCFS that has to approve us to be able to get our 171 approval with box #3 checked, called her and asked where the information about the child we are adopting is. Cathy told her we haven’t received a referral yet. The DCFS lady didn’t remember all that had transpired before when we were dealing with this! She had even talked to Victoria at our placement agency in CA! Well, she wanted to talk to Victoria again. After that she agreed to approve us, even though this isn't normally done before having a referral! It is a miracle straight from God because there was no reason she should have even been looking at our paperwork.

While we were on vacation in September, we got word that there had been some law changes in Uzbekistan regarding adoptions. They want to model their program after Russia, so we now have to meet our child to approve our referral. That means that we have to take one trip to meet our child and a second trip to finalize the adoption. This was very disappointing because we had picked this country for certain reasons and now those reasons no longer exist. We wanted to only make one trip to keep costs lower, to not be away from Kiara too long, and to not have to meet our daughter and then have to leave her and come back months later to get her! But, maybe God knows this is the country that our daughter is in and he waited to have the laws change until our paperwork was in the country. Because if we had known this before, I doubt we would have started the process for Uzbekistan. I trust Him that He knows best.

So, after we got home from vacation, I got our second I-171H approval with box #3 checked. I waited a few weeks and emailed the US Embassy in Uzbek to see if they had received the cable. They had not. I then realized that my 171 said that they had forwarded my approval to the National Visa Center. In the past the USCIS offices had sent the cables. Now, no one could tell me how it works when the approval goes through the NVC! Of course there is no way to talk to anyone at the NVC, I did find an email that I got an auto response to and have yet to get a reply from an actual person. So, I emailed Uzbek again and they again said they had not received my cable. All I could do now is wait to see if the NVC would reply to my email. Plus, life was getting really busy, so I just left it alone for awhile. It wasn’t holding us up, but it could if we got a referral of a child. After Kiara’s birthday, someone on the message boards that I participate in said that her approval had been sent to the NVC and she had confirmed that her cable had made it to Uzbek. Mine should have been processed before hers, so I took the chance and emailed the US Embassy again. I really didn’t think they were going to have it and was prepared for a frustrating journey of trying to figure out what to do. But, I was wrong and on November 14, 2007 they told me that they had received our approval to adopt!!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adoption journey...June & July 2007, where did I leave off? Oh, yeah...June 2007. Now, we have a slight complication. Here is a copy of a letter I sent to family and friends to update them and ask for prayer support:

Well, as you all know, we are in the process of an adoption from the country of Uzbekistan. It is very new to international adoption, so we knew there might be a few bumps in the road. Our paperchase is complete, it took about 4 months. It is on the way to Uzbek as we speak. Things seemed to be going well until my adoption agency called me today. I should have known it was not so good news since she doesn't usually call me. I will try to explain this, but I apologize if you get lost because it is really complicated. What it all boils down to is that we need your prayers for our adoption process. Pray that things go smoothly and that the people along the way remain open-minded.I received our 171 approval, which is the government approving us to adopt an orphan, but only box #1 was checked because in our state they don't normally check box #3 until you receive the information about your referral of the specific child you are going to adopt. For Uzbek, we need box #3 checked so a cable is sent to the US Embassy in Uzbek telling them we are approved before our coordinator in the country can do anything on her end. Well, my social worker had talked to the appropriate people and we thought we had it worked out that they were going to issue the 171 with box #3 checked early for us, so the cable would be sent to the US Embassy in Uzbek. Our dossier, adoption paperwork, is on its way to Uzbek right now, so I started to think that I better get the second 171 approval soon or my dossier will get there before the cable. It turns out in our state for a proxy adoption, where you don't meet the child before the adoption is final, they not only need the medical information about your child, but also proof that they are an orphan to issue the 171 with box #3 checked! That means that it is basically impossible for us to adopt an orphan through an orphanage because the coordinator doesn't get the information about them being an orphan until the adoption is final! But box #3 has to be checked for us to adopt! So, we will have to do a semi-private adoption in Uzbekistan. Which, will be a little more expensive since the child will be in foster care longer, but has the advantages of more pictures and better medical care.The other issue with all of this is that our dossier can't go to the MOE in Uzbek, Ministry of Education, until we get this "coverletter" from the US Embassy in Uzbek, which is normally issued once they receive the cable. My social worker is writing a letter to the US Embassy in Uzbek explaining the laws in our state, and we are hoping they will issue this "coverletter" without the cable or else our dossier won't be able to go through the MOE until we have our referral and we get USCIS to send the cable. Therefore, it could add 2 months to our process!We are okay with doing a semi-private adoption, we are just sick of dealing with all the buearocracy involved with the adoption process. I don't know why our state has to do things so differently than every other state. But, without this complication we wouldn't meet the child that is suppose to be ours. So, I try to not forget that God is ultimately in control and knows what needs to happen for us to find our next daughter. I am just worried that there aren't many women in Uzbekistan who are wanting to give up their child for adoption who will be open to an international family adopting them. Pray they will be open minded!

Well, since I sent that letter I learned that it might work if we get an orphanage referral for the coordinator to write down what she knows about the child being an orphan. We will just have to wait and see. Also, right when all this happened, the MOE in Uzbek stopped receiving dossiers unless they already had a referral. So, our dossier couldn’t have gone to the MOE anyway.

After dealing with all that craziness, we got everything notarized. Then, I took a trip to our state capital to get everything state certified and then sent off fo DC to be authenticated at the Uzbekistan and US Embassies. Which, it is all really ludicris because when you get something state certified they are just verifying that the notary is valid. Then, the US Embassy verifies that the state seal is valid and the Uzbek seal validates that the US seal is valid! Sometimes I think our government is just trying to see how far they can push adoptive parents before we snap! Well, I wanted to get everything certified in bundles, to save money, but of course no one in the state capital had heard of this. So, after about 5 phone calls to Victoria, we realized that we could have them certify the top copy in each of my bundles, which is essentially bundling, but they didn't think they were bundling. I also got everything sent off to DC that same day.

About 5 days later everything was back in my hands with the proper seals and after I made copies of everything, I sent it off to Victoria at AAC. On July 9, 2007, our dossier left CA for Uz and got there on July 13th.

What a relief to have all that done! Now, I thought I would just have to wait patiently and was pretty optimistic that by the end of the year we would have a referral. Boy, was I wrong....Stay tuned....