Coming Out of the Fog
WARNING: Long, long blog post!
I know it's been quite a while since we've last updated you on our adoption happenings, and I'm sorry that I have not been more communicative in the past few months. I will say that with the pandemic still in full force, the time has been spent preparing many, many documents for both the home study and dossier and applying for adoption grants.
But here we are! And here's a recap of where we've been and where we're going:
January 2020 - We began the home study process. Though this should have been done over Fall 2019, and even though we began preparing paperwork as early as August 2019, there are too many storylines to share that led us to this point. Suffice it to say, we began our home study with Hillcrest Family Services in Cedar Rapids in conjunction with the home study moving over to Bethany Global Services upon completion.
February 2020 - Many trips back and forth to Cedar Rapids for home study appointments. During this time, we found a child that we were interested in for a match, so we requested that referral to Bethany during February and March.
March 2020 - Our home study specialist came to inspect our home, right before coronavirus hit our state.
April 2020 - Home study approved and sent to Bethany Global Services. They, in turn, gave us all the paperwork list that we needed to complete for the dossier that will go to the country in which we are adopting. In short, the dossier was a total of 30 documents, many that had to be notarized and state authenticated not only in Iowa but in Washington (Ben's home state) and in Maryland (where Ben's company is at), all during COVID. It took us many weeks to gather all the needed documents before sending back to Bethany.
May - June 2020 - Dossier paperwork gathering and send off to Bethany. The only document we couldn't get to Bethany was the fingerprints from US Immigration, as their offices did not open up until July 6. Also during this time, I prepared many applications for financial aid and grants to many adoption organizations. The best news during these two months was that the child we wanted to be matched with was approved not only by Bethany, but also given a Preliminary Approval by the child's home country. So we're in good standing with the country.
July - August 2020 - The last piece of our dossier puzzle finally came. We were given an appointment with US Immigration on July 28th to complete our fingerprints. The fingerprint approval came in early August, so our dossier was submitted to the State Department mid-August and was approved early September.
September 2020 - With the dossier officially approved by the State Department, our dossier is now in the hands of the embassy of our child's country in Washington, DC. Once the embassy approves our dossier, which, Lord willing, should be any day now, the dossier will then be sent to the child's home country for final approval. THEN WE CAN START PACKING. This month has also brought us fabulous news on the financial front, as the applications we submitted back in June are now coming to fruition, and we have been humbled and blessed to receive adoption grants and extra donations from friends and family to help with our current and future expenses.
Now that we are complete with the paperwork side of adoption, I can honestly say that I'm coming out of the fog of notaries, state authentication, signatures, approvals, which is nothing short of awesome! Now we can start focusing on the fun part of adoption - preparing the child's room, preparing for travel, and learning a new language!
As I reflect, and as you can see on this past year's entirety of work in the adoption world, there have been many, many hills and dales that we have encountered. It is crystal clear to us that we would not have made it through this past year's worth of trials, tribulations, hopes, and dreams without our faith, the support of our church, the support of our friends and family, and last but certainly not least, the support of my piano studio.
My studio families have truly been an anchor throughout the year, and when I explained our adoption situation and needing to stay safe and healthy prior to travel, every parent supported our decision to keep my home closed, but to continue lessons either online or outdoors wearing masks. My piano families are the unsung heroes in our story to adoption, so I thank them from the bottom of my heart!
We will continue to keep you posted in our progress, and we thank you for being a part of our adoption journey!