Monday, December 31, 2007

7 days of people in front of us...

Referrals are coming out for the early January batch and it looks like China only referred 5 days worth of log in dates. This is not good news. It's looking like they got through 12/19/05 and 12/20 is a HUGE day with lots of families logged in. China only sends out referrals when they've completed a day so it's possible that they got through matching part of the 12/20 families but didn't have enough paper ready babies to complete that day. This is what I'm hoping. They would have to get through 8 days of referrals for us to get ours next month. They haven't gotten through that many days for quite a while and with the 12/20 group being so big I'm just not feeling optimistic. It's anyone's guess. I'm so tired of thinking we're just about there and then having the rug pulled out from under us. In 2007 China only referred three months worth of families. That's insane!!! I can't even believe there are two years worth of people waiting after us. I wonder if they understand how many years that could possibly take. So...never thought I'd say this (which is my mantra these days)...but it could be early March before we get a referral now. I know, I know, I'm hearing your collective sigh. Please continue to pray for our wait. With each month we grow wearier. If we weren't so close I think we'd say forget it. But then I think of that little girl at the end of the journey and I know that in God's timing all of these extra months are just a drop in the eternal bucket. Soon....we're almost to the front of the line.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas at the McD's

Christmas was fun for us all. As usual, we were all spoiled by our friends and family who blessed us with special gifts. The kids had a blast and this year they really took the time to see who the gifts were from and to see what they were before moving on to the next one. They really are getting older. Not having the baby home yet was hard but this really is our LAST Christmas without her here. I took down all the Christmas stuff yesterday. I was ready to put the house back in order in anticipation of the new year. Our rule is that Christmas and birthday presents never get put away before an equal amount of stuff leaves the house so I took a car load of stuff to the thrift store yesterday. Here are some pictures from Christmas morning...

The kids waiting anxiously to open their gifts.

Josh's new movie. (He loves the TV show.)

Melissa's new embossing stuff. Yeah, I can get in touch with my crafty self.

Brandon and Ashley's new game...I'm not sure anymore if I'm smarter than a 5th grader.

Josh's mom, Mona with a picture of her and Josh that my mom took in October.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cousins, cousins everywhere

This weekend, Josh's Uncle Jim, Aunt Donna and cousins Zoie and Bill came for a visit. The kids were of couse thrilled that they got the ultimate sleepover all piled into Ashley's room and then got to open a couple of their Christmas presents early.

Josh's brother Clif and his girlfriend Judy spent their vacation in Lexington last week. They live in Wisconsin and have three boys (Adam, Keith and Andrew) between them who are all 10-12 years old. So Brandon and Ashley were SO excited to meet their cousins (although Ashley did say, "Oh man, no girls.") and had a good old time. Josh's dad was excited to see them all together and I was pretty pumped to be Aunt Melissa. I've never really gotten to be an aunt before. Josh loved getting to see his brother after many, many years and Judy and I went shopping together and hit it off really well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Welcome to the zoo!

Like a husband, two step-kids and a baby on the way weren't enough, we have a little zoo of our own. But I love our animals. They're such good little companions. We don't have cable, but that's okay, because Max (grey cat), Ellie (orange cat) and Brody (the puppy) are VERY entertaining!! Brody wants to be friends with everyone, but Max HATES Brody. We thought they'd adjust, but Max just won't have anything to do with the dog. So Max mainly stays upstairs now because Brody isn't allowed up there. At this very moment, Brody is staring at the ceiling and barking loudly. He's never done that before. Smart as a box of rocks...

I should work for Charleston's tourism department...

Josh and I went on vacation last Thanksgiving to Charleston, SC. I LOVE CHARLESTON!!! Such a beautiful place. I know it will be a vacation spot for us again. Really I just came across this picture and I really miss the beach. Isn't Josh cute?

Here duckie duckie

Josh's mom and I took the kids to the park to play and feed the ducks a few weeks ago and we had a GREAT afternoon. It was a beautiful fall day! The kids are getting so big...I can't believe how time flies. (Can you tell I was organizing my pictures and getting our media stuff together in preparation for our trip to China?? I promise to post pictures more regularly of the whole crazy family.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Only 12 more days until us!!!

China got through 12/14/05...only six days this months. We had hoped for a couple more days...but we're excited that there's only 12 days worth of people in front of us. It's not impossible that we'll get a January referral, but not really likely. BUT WE LOOK SOLID FOR AN EARLY FEBRUARY REFERRAL...I think that we are NEXT NEXT. Hopefully only one more month of people getting their babies before us. I can't believe it. Okay, I think we need to start the nursery now. We'll be in China sometime in the next four months....YIPPEE!!

Thankful for the holidays

I've decided that I'm a little sad that Katelyn is not home this year for the holidays and at the same time I'm really thrilled that our last couple of months of waiting are falling over holiday months because they are speeding right by. I can't believe the first week of December is just about through. I have no idea where November went. Although I can't wait for our referral, I'm starting to get a bit panicy. We've done nothing but wait for so long and the reality that there will be a buzz of activity soon is a little daunting. What do we need for the baby? What do we need to bring to China with us? How are all of the travel arrangements made? How much notice will we really have before we actually know our travel dates (Some people get the okay and they are flying out within the week...yikes). What if I'm not a good mom? What if we mess up our kid? Will she adjust quickly? Will she resent us later for taking her from her country and moving her around the world? Will we ever get our carpets clean enough so she's not constantly putting dog hair in her mouth? How often does she need to eat? What kind of bottle will she like? Will the dog jump all over her and knock her down (he's still a puppy)? How will Brandon and Ashley feel about her? Will they feel threatened? What if we can't keep all the plates spinning? What needs to be child proofed? How old will she be? Do I need psychotherapy? (Don't answer that...) So you see, I'm getting a bit manic!

We're waiting for this months referrals to come out. Rumor has it that they are going to get through December 14th or 15th...we were hoping for a bit farther. If they only get through 6-7 days, it looks like we will in fact get an early February referral. Spring in China sounds good to me. Hold on tight folks...the new year's going to be exciting....and not another Mother's Day without my baby!!! Whooo hoooo I say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Finally referring December, '05!!!

People who are logged in the same month as us are getting referrals!!! It's so exciting to finally see other people from our month getting their babies. The China Center of Adoption Affairs has gotten through December 8th. That means....there are only 18 days worth of people before us!!!!!!!!!!! I think that means we have two more months....I'm banking on a very precious New Years present.

So I'm going to keep painting our family room/dining room/kitchen this weekend and hopefully bust that out. We need to get the nursery painted soon. (We means I need to....just in case you were wondering.)

Here's to the holiday season being busy and full so that it speeds right by. (Usually I'm not one to wish away a season of time...but give me a break...let's go already!!!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How old will Katelyn be?

How old do you think Katelyn will be when we get our referral? Take the poll that I made in the righthand sidebar.

Children have to be in the orphanage for at least six months before they can be referred's China's rule. So...the youngest she will be is about 7 months and she most likely won't be older than 12 months at referral.

Just something silly to pass the time...

22 months...

Well, today is 22 months. There's a rumor that they'll get through December 12th sometime next week...but I just can't even get excited at this point until it actually happens. We've been on this rollercoaster too long to fall for those kinds of tricks. If they can get that far, I will feel confident in an early January referral. Two more months...can it really be true?

This weekend I'm attending a Children in Crisis seminar down in Wilmore at Asbury College. I'll have more to write about that after the weekend is over and I have a chance to process what I'm hearing. The speakers are focusing on the despair and then the hope surrounding children around the world and then what our response as the Church needs to be.

They talked tonight about children of war, exploitation, children on the street and child labor. God sees each child as his creation...fearfully and wonderfully made. Much of the world sees children as expendable. This is despair. Fortunately, in Jesus, there is hope.

The speaker tonight gave us an important question to ask ourselves. She said that with so many children in need throughout the world, we obviously cannot help each child. But she did ask us to ask ourselves, "Who are the children that I am responsible for?" This is obviously a big quesiton for me ministry-wise but also personally as we adopt Katelyn and prayerfully consider what our next steps will be in growing our family.

I feel really blessed that we get to adopt a child. I know that many people will look at this and think that adoption is second to conceiving our own child...but I know I will never feel that way. There are so many children in this world in need of a loving family...and we so desperately want to add children to our home. What a win-win situation. I'm so thankful that God's plan is perfect. It makes every moment of the wait worth it...what's a couple of years within the context of eternity....just a drop of rain really.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm growing bitter...

So China got through 5 more days of people....two of those days were a weekend when there was no one logged in and the other few days weren't all that big. I'm so confused. I really don't understand why they only got through 1/2 the number of people they did last month. I really believe they have a quota and it's just not a published number and China is trying to stay underneath some kind of ceiling. Lucky us.

So they are finished through 11/30/05. At least they are officially done with November 05. I just can't believe they didn't get into December....So sad. So this basically means that we won't see Katelyn's face until 2008. Another Christmas without our kid. At least we should be getting a referral at the beginning of January...we hope.

On a positive note, traveling to China the end of February, beginning of March should be nice. There's no holidays then and it is off season so travel should be less expensive (I'm grasping at positive straws here...humor me.) Maybe we'll be there for my birthday (March 13th), that would be pretty cool.

The thing that kills me is that the main form that we needed from our government to send our packet to China back in the fall of 2005 got lost in the mail (yeah for real) and set us back a month so we were logged in at the end of Decemeber instead of November. Little did we know that would mean it would take six months longer to bring our child home. I just keep thinking that will all make sense when we have the child with us that is perfect for our family. That's the only thing that keeps me from truly growing bitter.

Please pray for Josh and I, we're growing very weary of the wait.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Adoption reflections

I am really excited about being a mom. I'm so excited to love on this little person wholeheartedly. I love that my life will be centered around Josh and Katelyn, Brandon & Ashley, church and kids in our community. That's the right place for me to be. God has been so faithful to giving me great opportunities...for weaving everything together in just the right time. Adoption was not the way I originally thought we'd grow our familiy, but now, looking back at Josh and my different life experiences and the way this has all come together, I can't imagine our first child coming to us in any other way. Even though I'm not the one who carried this child in my womb, there is no way I could love her any more than I already do.

The thing that is overwhelming is that in order for us to be given the greatest gift we could ever imagine, someone else has to experience great loss. I continue to pray for this woman, or this couple who have had to give up their child due to their countries laws (one-child policy) or China's cultural stigma about unwed mothers. If our baby were born in a different time and place it may be that she would stay with her birth mother. That is a bit hard to swallow...that in an ideal world there wouldn't be children in orphanages. So because of the brokenness of our world, we are given a child. That makes me that much more determined to love fully, invest much, thank God daily, cherish the time we have with Katelyn...because she is not ours, but is being entrusted to our care. Wow, that's humbling.

One thing that's pretty cool is that I feel like so many people around us have a vested interest in all of this. People ask all the time if we've heard anything (not really)'s the adoption coming along (waiting, waiting)....when will we get a referral (early December or early January) when do we get to bring the baby home (2 months after referral) old will she be(most likely 7-10 months at referral and 9-12 months when we travel)...... It's taken so long, but there are many who have trudged through it all with us. That really has been a gift. So now y'all have to be as excited to help love her, teach her things (good things), babysit. :)

The other thing that's REALLY cool is that we get to spend 2 weeks in China. I have such a bug to go somewhere new and this is really getting me pumped up. a few days in Beijing (in the north), a few days in Guangzhou (in the south) and 4-5 days in the province that Katelyn is from (which is most likely somewhere in between Beijing and Guangzhou). This will be Josh's first time out of the country and I'm super excited to share it with him for such a great occasion as to bring our baby home.

We only have 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 months until we see her 60-90 days. Isn't that crazy??? This might all actually be real after all. WHOO HOO!!! Bring it! (Please, because I can't stand to read any more books about adoption, China or parenting...although I just got the Super Baby Food book and I'm excited about that....the food processor is ready to go!!!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Not Lazy Daisy yellow, but Lush Meadow green instead

So I picked out the bedding and colors for the nursery two years ago when we started the adoption and it's all sitting in piles in corners and the walls are still eggshell white. So I made the executive decision to change the room color from yellow to green so that I'd have one new thing to look forward to that is a new decision and not something that was planned two years ago. Yeah, I've lost my mind!

So here's a sample of what the colors will look like together (thanks to the Valspar paint website).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Doesn't sound big...but it is...31 more days until us!

So China just referred 4 days worth of people. They are done referring up to families logged in on 11/25/05. The four days that they just did were huge days and represent hundreds of families. So that was the final hurdle for the huge October and November numbers. They should be able to get 10-12 days done next month which will take us up through the first week of December. I think that we will be right on the line for an early December referral still...with the possibility of an early January referral. I'm telling myself that Katelyn will be the greatest way to start the new year just so I'm not disappointed if we don't get our referral in December. (But who's kidding who? We'd still be disappointed not to know who she is and have a picture before Christmas.)

So the reality that we only have 3-4 months FOR REAL has sunk in and I'm getting a bit panicy! I have this overwhelming desire to take everything out of every closet and cabinet and clean. I have been working on painting our bedroom all weekend and I should have that done today. We still have to paint the nursery and all of downstairs so I have a lot more to go. I'm nesting and Josh is just quietly trying to stay out of my way so he doesn't get put to work. I've already dropped the hint that the garage needs to be cleaned out.... :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who's gonna pick that up??

Before I even start this post, I need to let you know that I HATE LITTER!!! I just think it's so unnecessary....

So last week I was driving around the neighborhood around the church for various reasons. The first time I was behind an ice cream truck of all things. The girl driving had her window rolled down, cigarette in hand and all of a sudden, she hucks a plastic water bottle out the passenger side window. I mean it takes all that I have not to get "Tawanda" with her and start honking as I ram her from behind. So just so you cream drivers in the hood are not a good example for our kids. The next day I'm driving by this group of boys that are walking down the street and one of them finishes his drink and throws the empty bottle down on the sidewalk....oh, so I'm fired up by this point...

Why is it that people have such disregard for their neighborhood that they throw their trash on the ground? I mean who do they think is going to pick that up??? The thing that really gets me going is that both of these events that I witnessed were in low income areas. Just one more indication that our kids don't have any pride in where they live. They don't own it. They don't understand that they could make it a better place. I'm going to have to think about what that means to me as a children's pastor. I want our kids to see this community as THEIR community. If they aren't being taught that at home...then I think church would be a good place to start....

So for all those reading this....if I see you throw your trash on the ground I'm going to go postal...I think it might be my biggest pet peeve....followed of course by people who start writing a check after they've waited in line forever and the cashier is all done ringing up their order....I'll save that for another post...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Slow and steady...

Referrals just came out from China for this month and they got through another they have referred through 11/21/05....There are only 35 days worth of people ahead of us now!!!! I'm seeing the light. I'm actually letting myself get a little excited. I'm believing we'll get an early December referral. Only four more months. We can do it. Even Josh was looking at the pictures on other people's blogs who just got a referral. He's been angry about this whole wait....But once we get the picture and know that a child is ours, the anger will quickly turn to joy and excitement. I might actually think about starting to paint the nursery. Thank God we didn't get it all decorated when we started all of this two years ago. I know I couldn't have walked past it everyday. Soon it will be Lazy Daisy Yellow....

Monday, July 16, 2007


An elephant has a 22 month gestation period...the longest of any mammal. I can relate to the woes of these mamas. I think I've about got the elephants beat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Only 43 days worth of people in front of us

Well referrals came out from the China Center of Adoption Affairs and they have referred babies for people logged in from Nov. 8-14th, 2005. We are 12/27/ we are getting closer now. I feel confident in saying that we should have a referral sometime before the end of the year. We're in the home stretch...rounding the bend. It's only been 18 1/2 months. I'm not sure why I would be getting referrals. Our agency got 8 referrals in the last batch and the babies were 6-16 months old.

That's all we know for now. Fortunately, it does look like we will travel before we have to renew our paperwork again. We've already done that once and once was enough!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The wait is so long, we got a puppy

I swore I wouldn't cave. I swore we wouldn't get a dog. Josh has wanted one so bad. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day...73 degrees, no humidity. (See the list of my favorite things to the right). I let my guard down....I fell in love with a 4 1/2 month old golden retriever.

We brought him home this morning and named him Brody. He is so cute and has the best little temperment. He really doesn't bark. He's pretty calm. He already knows some tricks and has only used the bathroom outside (knock on wood.)

We took a picnic dinner out to the park tonight and after we ate we took Brody into the dog run area. This is a great park and he was able to run and play with other dogs. So now he's really tired and is knocked out on the floor.

I think we found a great dog! This adoption need to be completed soon. We keep adding pets...we already had two cats...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

By the way....18 months down...

There's a Veggie Tales song called "Where is my Hairbrush?" (Yeah, some of you know it and are now singing it in your head. Hee hee.) My song is "Where is my baby?"

On Wednesday we hit the 18 month mark. (SO much for the 6-7 month wait we originally expected...we've now TRIPLED that.) I feel pretty confident that we'll get a referral in 4-5 months. I think we might be on the home stretch. (For real this time.) Not looking great for being home by Christmas though. (We won't travel until 6-8 weeks after referral and then we'll be in China for 2 weeks.) SO LAME!!!!! (Just had to share.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Being a Step Parent

So many parents say that they wish their child came with an instruction manual. Multiply that thought by ten and that's being a step parent. As a woman, it just isn't natural to have children in and out of your home that you desire to just love on unconditionally, but who come with lots of conditions. You're always aware of the fact that you aren't their mom and when it comes down to being really scared or hurt....they don't want me, they want their mom. No one prepares a woman for that when she marries a man with children. You somehow have to figureout what the rules are...and they are constantly changing. Love them like they're your own...until that's threatening to their mother. Discipline them like they need...except they'll have totally different rules 90% of the time. Help pay to raise them...but have no say in what happens medically, educationally, with child care, with extra-curricular activities. Figure out how to bring your own children into the mix and try with all you've got to make your step-children feel loved and welcome and not like they are less than. On a good day it looks like a family that takes all the parts and blends them together and it works. On a bad day it involves a whole lot of self doubt, anger, tears, a strained marriage, and a weary spirit. As the kids get older, it seems to get a bit more complicated. They have more questions. They are able to put more of the pieces together. They are more unsure of themselves and their place (isn't that ironic??) was one of the good days. One of the days where I'm sure of my role. I'm okay with what it is. I get to be that extra adult that just makes their lives richer. Last weekend was Ashley's 10th birthday (Where have the last 7 years gone?) This is our weekend with the kids so it's been Ashley's weekend. She and Brandon spent the night at Nanny Mona's (Josh's mom) last night. They got to stay up late eating popcorn and carrying on. She took them to the library this morning and then I met up with them and we all went out to lunch and to Build a Bear Workshop in the mall (thanks Grandpa Gary and Grandma Linda). Brandon still had some of his birthday money so they both got to partake in the activities. They had a blast!!! We came home and went right over to the YMCA to go swimming. We came back to the house and I put the cake in the oven and started on dinner. Josh came home from work and we had a nice cookout and Ashley opened her presents from us. I got BIG points for getting the new Hannah Montana CD for her that was just released this week...yeah, I'm cool....We had cake and ice cream and listened to the above mentioned CD. Josh even showed Ash a couple of his dance moves. (I think he actually likes the CD...shhh, don't tell him I told you.)

So now the kids are all tucked in. The end of a great day. After I finished decorating Ashley's cake she looked at me and said, "Thank you, Melissa." That was really all I needed. I'm glad I get to be in her life.

Happy double digits Ashley!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

17 Months down...

On an adoption note, we have now been logged in for 17 months. I'm glad that the summer will be busy...maybe the time will pass by faster. We are praying for a fall referral and travel before the end of the year. I's ridiculous. Thank God our baby will be worth every minute of the wait.

Visiting the kids...

Today Sarah (one of the volunteers who helps with the kids on Wednesday nights) and I went and visited almost all of the kids who come to church from our neighborhood. We went to 13 different homes (28 kids). We brought treat bags for each of the kids in celebration of their first day of summer and a newsletter and fliers on different summer activities to share with their parents. Surprisingly we got to see all but a handful of the kids. We spoke to all but 3 or 4 parents...AMEN! What are the chances of catching everyone at home??

The kids were genuinely excited to see us. They're excited and anticipating the summer ahead. It is encouraging to begin building relationships with their parents. It's interesting how many of these parents and households are interconnected. Everyone was kind to us...happy to share a few words. I think that regardless of what the home life is like for many of our kids, on some level their parents will trust and respect us simply because we are investing in their children. I think that parents are grateful that there are other adults involved. Raising a kid is hard work...I pray that as we invest in families, there would be a felt difference in the life and health of our neighborhood.

Here were the highlights:
  • Being invited into the home of one of our Congolese families and learning about fou fou (porridge like consistency) and little dried fish that David likes...(glad he didn't ask us to try one..they still have the eyes!)
  • Having Kaitlin ask if she can come to my house (sounds like a girl party in the making!)...sorry Josh.
  • Seeing P.J. who so desperately wants us to come and watch him play baseball...There's a game tomorrow, guess where I'll be? :)
  • Feeling my heart beat a little faster because I love what I do and I know that God has truly given me the desires of my heart.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I'm not sure that I can fully process through the last's been really full. Are you ready?

Last Sunday, Josh went to Indiana to pick up his mom and bring her back to Lexington. She's decided to move out here and we are happy to have her. (She loves to clean...says it's theraputic. Who am I to stand in the way of therapy?) My brother's been living with us since December (He does not love to clean. He loves to make a mess.), my mother in law came in on Sunday...but somehow it all works and everyone's doing well. We've been trying to help Mona (my MIL) get situated here. Josh found a cool apartment for her near downtown and I found her two cats on CraigsList. (She really wanted a cat.) Mona's been coming with us to church at The Rock and she even went to a women's group on Tuesday. We think The Rock is an amazing place to be and it's been encouraging to see how excited Mona has been about being there too!

On Tuesday, our pastor's wife died. She had leukemia but that was in remission...she had other complications. It all happened so fast. She was only 36 years old and Aaron and Melissa have two young boys who are 6 and 4. I've just been really sad and I'm feeling a bit ripped off that we didn't get to know her because she's been so sick and weak over the year while Aaron's been at the church. I know I would have liked her and I know she would have loved working with our neighborhood kids. The thing that has truly brought comfort in all of this is that she loved Jesus wholeheartedly and I know that she is now in heaven and she isn't sick or weak anymore. I just hope I can be a good pastor and friend to John and Joseph (their boys.)

The thing that's been great to see is the reaction of all of the people...old and young, rich and poor, African, Hispanic, from the neighborhood...people have truly been saddened, concerned, wanting to help in any way. Aaron really has spent so much time trying to build bridges, have conversations, be present in the neighborhood. And the result is that people really do care about and respect him and they feel a piece of his loss with him now.

We had a fiesta tonight at the church. There were a bunch of people taking spanish classes and this party was a chance for them to interact with some of our spanish speaking church members. We ate ice cream. The kids played. People mingled. Hannah (she's 7) painted my face. Joanna spilled bubbles all over me. Graham wanted me to catch him on the slide. Aliya gave me a hug. Jared said he would be good (I think this was his way of apologizing for his behavior on Wednesday.) I'm starting to connect with the kids. They make me laugh. They are so full of life. They experience things with all of themselves. They don't hold back. They are so quick to give love. Wouldn't it be great if we didn't lose those qualities as we grew older.

Maggie Rogers was baptized today. It really was a beautiful baptism. She's getting so big. She's REALLY cute. I look at her and know that Katelyn will most likely be about Maggie's age. I pray that she's safe. I pray that the nanny's are drawn to her and give her extra love and care. I pray we can go and bring her home soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

All Consuming

Througout this adoption process, I feel like I've done a pretty good job of keeping things in perspective and going with the flow. I mean really, what else can we do? I really believe that God has given me peace that at the end of this journey there is a little girl who will be just the right fit for our family.

But I must admit that in the last couple of months I think I've let my guard down a bit and the wait has just become all consuming and almost unbearable. There are a ton of people who had their paperwork logged-in in China in October and November of 2005 (we're December 27th) so it took four months to get through all of the October people (They've gotten through November 1st so far) and it's projected to take three or four months to get through the rest of November. So we're thinking October or November of this year for our referral now...But really, how many times have we moved that "projected" date out already? It takes 6-8 weeks to travel after getting a referral so is it possible that the adoption won't be complete before Christmas? I can hardly think of that possibility.

My heart is tired of waiting. At this point our baby really is born already and I know that she's in an orphanage somewhere half a world away and my heart aches to bring her home. I've discovered that adoption is not for the faint of heart. We thought that at this point we'd be getting ready to turn in paperwork for a second child already....But no...we still wait. It just doesn't seem like it should take so long. So many children in orphanages...hundreds of thousands and we just want one.

It's such a strange thing. I don't think an hour goes by where I don't think about the baby in some capacity. And really how do you share that with other people, because there's virtually no information that I have to report.

Josh and I have decided that we'll paint the nursery this summer but we won't get all of the furniture put together and decorations up until after we get a referral. We just don't want everything done until we know for sure that there's a child coming soon.

Okay...we can do this....16 1/2 months down!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Maybe I'm a little ADD...and maybe that's okay!

So I've been working at the church for a couple of weeks now and I have this really flexible schedule and kind of plan out my own week. I'm realizing that I might have a touch of attention deficit in me. You have to understand that there wasn't a full-time person in this position before me, so now I'm sitting here a bit overwhelmed and not quite sure where to start because there's lots to be done!

Last week I went to a couple of the Christian book stores to look through some different children's ministry curriculum and today I spent some time finding it online for as cheap as possible (because I'm frugal like that). In the middle of that I remembered that I needed to reply to a couple of e-mails so I did that... the whole time I'm conscious of the fact that it's 75 degrees and BEAUTIFUL outside so I decided that I "needed" to take a walk to see exactly where the church's community garden is going in, walk around Castlewood Park to see where everything was out there and think about things we could do with the kids at the park this summer and then walk down Devonia Ave. on my way back to the church because we have a couple of families that live on that street and I was hoping someone would be around. (I felt a bit like one of those Family Circle cartoons where you have the crazy dotted line that shows where little Billy has been all day.)

But this is why my ADD is a good thing (or okay at least). Sometimes it's easy for me to get focused on the tasks at hand and my to-do list and I lose track of what's most important. I walked by the house on Devonia where six of our kids live (siblings and cousins) and they were all outside playing...even mom and dad were on the porch. Little Aliya (3 years old) was so excited to see me and couldn't believe that her "teacher" was at her house. Kaitlin came out to the porch and said, "Miss Melissa, what are you doing here?" Cliff and Tonya (the mom and dad) were asking more questions about what will be going on for the kids this summer and they said they were glad I stopped by and could come by any time. My little walk ended up being the most valuable part of my day and I was so glad that I got to spend 15 minutes chatting with this family. I'm praying that I'll get lots of opportunities to get to know them better. (I think I just have to make sure that I'm outside on beautiful days!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Neighborhood kids

What does it mean to work with kids that have most things going against them? They're high risk from day one. Some have parents that aren't involved. Most are living at or below the federal poverty line I would guess. They've learned that violence and verbal aggression are the way to solve problems. Some have been neglected. Some have never gone very far outside of this neighborhood. Some spent the early years of their lives in refugee camps in Africa as their families worked hard to flee from civil war, famine and disease so they could have a shot at a better life.

In one respect our kids are easy to work with simply because I realize just how badly they need people in their lives who will support them, cheer them on, listen to what's important, lead them to Jesus...Some of them don't have that anywhere else in their life but here at the church. On the other hand, it's tough to work with our kids. A creative, fun program isn't enough. We have to invest in the whole kid for any of this to make a difference. Most of our kids are on the free lunch program at school. So what happens in the summer? Will they still get a nutritious meal in the middle of the day? What should we do as a church to care for their physical needs? If we have kids that are constant "trouble makers" starting fights and disrupting our program what should we do? Do we send them home or is that just perpetuating the problem? We need a lot of adults helping to make this work. Do we really have enough people who are willing to spend time with kids consistenly every week...even when they've had a long day and are tired? Because the reality is, a handful of us cannot do this alone.

I've decided that this summer we'll have the family fun nights and the week long vacation bible school. We'll partner with Athletes in Action and have kids attend the week long basketball camp at the local park. But then I'm not planning big kids events to the ball game or to the pool. I'm going to take a few kids at a time out to do things. I'm gong to get other adults excited about doing the same thing. I want to get to know these kids. I want them to learn that I'm a safe person they can trust. I want to really invest in them in smaller groups so that this children's ministry is built on a solid foundation. I pray this will open doors for me to interact with their parents.

Then there's Josh. Whenever he doesn't have to work on Wednesday nights he's here at the church helping with the middle school boys. They love him! He's such a natural with these kids. He's fun and goofy and then serious and to the point when he needs to be. I love watching him interact with the kids. I'm glad that it's something we both are passionate about.

Our society has really failed kids. The church has failed kids. It's time for that to change...and although I can't be part of that change everywhere, I can in this neighborhood in Lexington, KY.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ready, set, go....

I used to be a big journaler. I'm not quite sure where that has gone as I've gotten older....Life gets busier and my business gets less dramatic I guess. :)

Today's a big day. Josh and I have had our paperwork logged in in China for 16 months now. For those of you just jumping in, that's about 10 months longer than we thought we'd be waiting and we've got a bunch more waiting to go. I'd say 4-5 months until referral. Little did I know when I bought cute summer dresses on clearance in the fall of 2005, my daughter wouldn't actually get to wear them until summer 2008! What can you do??? At least she will be well dressed by the time we get her because I have every season covered in three different sizes!

My grandparents are celebrating their 65th anniversary today!! They are both 89 years old. My mom took them out to dinner. I wish I could have been there. Having family spread all over the US is a big bummer. Josh and I are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary and although those years haven't always been easy by any means, the hard work is so worth it. I love him so much and I can't imagine how much love one person must have for another to have a relationship that withstands 65 years of betters and worses, sicknesses and healths. I pray that Josh and I get to 65 years. Oh my, we'd be 93!!!

This was also the last day of my first week as the Minister to Children and Families at The Rock La Roca United Methodist Church. I resigned my position at the rescue mission and joined the staff of our church. The Rock is an inner-city church and we're just trying to figure out what it means to be salt and light in a very diverse neighborhood with a very, very diverse congregation. I can't believe I get to spend the best hours of my week investing in kids. This position is a culmination of all of my life experiences, my passions and my education and I'm now doing what I was meant to do. That's a really great feeling.

Shortly into the adoption process I realized that I wouldn't be able to put Katelyn into full-time daycare once we got home. I know that lots of people do it and their kids turn out just fine, but in my gut, I knew I just couldn't. It's taken so long to get her home and I just want time with her. And I prayed and prayed for a solution, because the reality is that I need to work full-time for us to make ends meet. God has really blessed us. Josh has a great new job driving a bus for the city which allowed me to be able to take a pay cut and go on staff at the church. It all balanced out and because my schedule is so flexible, Katelyn will get plenty of time with me and with Josh and hopefully we'll need a minimal amount of childcare. There will be many times that she'll just come with me and can play while I get things done. Whoo hoo. The timing of it all was so amazing. I had wanted this job for a year and a half but couldn't even pursue it until it was a full time position. Josh went on staff at LexTran 2 weeks before they posted the full-time postition which meant he got a great raise and excellent benefits. If they had posted the position even a month before I wouldn't have been able to apply. God's timing really is perfect. Knowing that because I've experienced it in my life time and time again is the only thing that gives me peace right now as we wait for our child to come home. I know that she will be just perfect for our family. I can't wait to meet her...I bet she'll laugh a lot. That will make me happy.

Friday, April 6, 2007

This is all of the info that was on our other blog regarding our adoption I'm just cutting and pasting it here....

After two years of trying to have a child, Josh and I began looking at adoption as a viable option for us. We both felt strongly that we didn't want to spend a lot of time and money on medical procedures that may or may not result in a child when there are so many children in our world in need of a loving home.
Both of us were not settled on the idea of adopting domestically simply because we really didn't know if we could handle birthparents changing their mind at the last minute. We felt like we had waited so long already and wanted a more secure secure as you can get with adoption anyway!
We decided that we would love to have a little girl, as young as possible and would like to adopt internationally. China was the country that fit where our hearts were being led. On July 21, 2005 as we sat in our living room and realized that we had stopped saying "if" and started saying "when" we adopt, and we knew that we had made our official decision.
By this point we had done our research and thanks to the input of our dear friends that had already adopted internationally using an agency that is based inLexington, we felt comfortable with our decision to use A Helping Hand Adoption Agency (AHH) for our adoption. Their website is for anyone wanting more info. They work solely on adoptions from China and Guatamala.
So on Monday, July 25th we turned in our official application to AHH and by Wednesday the 27th we got word that we were accepted to move forward. So the paperchase began!
(Now go down to the bottom and scroll up to read in chronological order....)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2007 02:24 PM, CST
And the months keep going by! We have waited almost 14 months now since we were logged in. We're actually getting closer now though. I think we'll be getting our referral sometime between late-June and late-August with travel sometime in Sept-Nov. I can hang in there that long. It's already mid-February and we still have lots to do around the hopefully that will pass the time quickly. They have given referrals for families logged in before Oct. 13, 2005 and we're Dec. 27th. Only 74 days worth of people in front of us!
This weekend is Chinese New Year, so Josh and I are going to try out a new Chinese restaurant after church on Sunday.
It's been so cold here. I'm going out to CA for a conference in a couple of weeks and will get to see my grandparents and then spend a few days in Phoenix with my parents on my way back to Lexington. I can't wait to see everyone and enjoy temperatures that are above freezing!
We are in the process of updating ALL of our paperwork for the adoption because it's expired. Oh yippie. We've been to doctors and banks all over. We even had to have a letter from the vet saying our cats were fine with kids and their vaccinations are up to date. Can you even believe it??? There's just so much red's really frustrating. We just want our daughter home.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2006 04:56 PM, CDT
Last week we received word that we were receiving a $2,000 grant from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation for the adoption. What a blessing! $2000 that we are not going to have to pay back. We knew when we started this process that God would provide for us...we just didn't know how. Little by little we see the plan unfolding.
We have Brandon and Ashley this weekend and we took them to Boyd's Orchard. They had a whole play area with a straw castle and a huge slide. We ate carmel apples and picked out pumpkins. It was a fun day. Although I couldn't help looking around at everyone there with their kids and wishing that Katelyn were here already. Last year at this time I had no idea that we would still be waiting. With the holidays approaching, the wait is harder. Fortunately with this being our busiest time of the year at work I'm staying busy.
I haven't started the nursery yet, I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. With China only getting through 2 weeks of referrals at a time, it could be another 8-9 months of waiting. What a horrible thought...hopefully something will happen to speed it all along.

Finally...China does something quickly! They just posted that they are done reviewing documents logged in before Dec. 31, 2005. So we have offically been reviewed and are approved to be matched with a child. That is a big sigh of relief on our end. Now we just wait. My prediction is that we'll be in China for our 5th anniversary (May 18th).
We worked in the yard this weekend...reseeded the lawn and planted trees in the front and back yards. They're little now, but I love that they're the same age as our baby. I told Josh...just imagine 10 years from now when we have this great maple tree in the back yard and we take a picture of Katelyn as she heads off for her first day of 5th grade!! :)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2006 06:04 PM, CDT
It's been so long since I've written in this journal. There hasn't been a whole lot to tell. For some unexplained reason, China has slowed the referral process way down. There are many rumors as to why, but nothing official. When we started this process the wait was 6-7 months from the time your paperwork was logged in in China to referral. Now it's at almost 14 months! Can you believe it's doubled in less than a year's time. Yeah, we can't either.
Today is 8 months exactly since all of our paperwork was logged in. We thought we'd have all of the info on our daughter and would be preparing to travel....but instead, we are waiting and watching as each month the wait gets longer. Now we truly have no idea when our referral will come and it would be a MIRACLE if they picked up the pace and we even got it by the end of the year. There is just no way that we will travel this year.
We have both just rolled with all of the changes until this month...this month has been hard. There are so many unknowns. If they would just tell us when the referral of our daughter would come it would be bearable...even if it were a long time.
On a more positive note, we have been trying to be productive with our wait. We put up a privacy fence in the backyard to create a safe place for the kids to play. I painted and decorated the downstairs bathroom and the upstairs hall bathroom (blue with cute for the kids). My goal is to paint the whole interior of the house. I've had two yard sales (making $685) with things my brother and some good friends gave us as they all just moved out of state and purged a bunch of their things. I've had a paper route for the past ten months and we've paid off Josh's student loans, the rest of one of our vehicles and a bunch of credit card debt. Horrible schedule (up at 4 or 4:30 EVERY morning) but a great feeling to get some of the debt taking care of before we add a baby to the mix.
We were asked for more information from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation. We've heard this is a good sign as everyone who receives a grant is asked for more info when they are seriously being reviewed. It's not a guarantee, but we are praying really hard. (It would be about $3000) They said we should know something around the beginning of September.
We wish we had more to share....oh, we did decide that we would hold off on choosing a middle name for Katelyn. We are really feeling like it is important to keep part of her given name as a middle name. She will come to us with so little...we don't want to take anything else from her.

MONDAY, MAY 08, 2006 04:17 PM, CDT
I know that it's been a long time since I've written, but there's really been no news...except that the wait is long! At this point we are just praying that we'll be able to travel before the end of the year. And I was worried that we'd be traveling in the heat of summer...not anymore. We've been working a lot and paying off debt and that's a blessing. Josh's student loans are paid off!!! We just applied for a grant from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation. They're a Christian foundation that gives money to families who are adopting internationally. It looks like the average award is about $3,000. That sure would help! We won't know anything for 3-6 months though.

TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2006 12:36 PM, CST
Last night Josh and I went and got Katelyn's crib and matress (I had a coupon to save $25 and we needed the crib anyway) and because we spent over $75 we got a free umbrella stroller (and it's cute)! The garage is getting crowded. Now we have to start putting things together...yikes. I leave for California on Saturday and I can't wait for a week away. I'm going to a conference for work and so my trip home is fully paid for. Yippie!

TUESDAY, MARCH 07, 2006 09:17 AM, CST
Yesterday we received our "brown envelope" from the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China. It basically says that we've been approved to adopt and it has a bunch of paperwork that we need to bring with us for Katelyn's medical exam, visa, etc...It was just confirmation that our government has everything here and there. Reassuring for sure! Guangzhou will be our last stop before we leave China, so the consulate having everything together is a good thing so we can leave and come home with our daughter as a US citizen.
The wait is moving along. I organized my night stand and dresser this weekend and cleaned out my jewelry box....just trying to do all the random little tasks before we have a baby in the house. Then forget organizing drawers.
While mom and dad were here last summer we got an accent table at a yard sale for $5 and it's been in the garage for six months. So I painted it and made it look all weathered and now it's finished and in our living room. It turned out great and I already had the paint. Nothing better than a $5 piece of furniture!
So my projects continue as we pass the time....Now that spring's about here I'm ready to start on the nursery!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2006 03:11 PM, CST
Well, yesterday was officially two months since our dossier was logged in in China. Part of me feels like time is standing still and part of me feels like it's flying by. In the grand scheme of things, this year of our we so minimal compared to the years we pray we'll have with our daughter. She's worth the wait.
We got word today from our adoption agency that they just got a batch of referrals in for 22 families with log in dates around mid to late May. 19 of the 22 babies were 6-7 months old! That's a really young batch. We're hoping that will be the case for us and we'll get Katelyn as early in her life as possible. That would still make her 8-9 months by the time we come home with her....Who's kidding who? We'll rejoice no matter how old she is!!
All is well here! In the past week and a half we've bought the glidder rocker & ottoman (white wood with pink pads!) and the stroller (the one I wanted was on clearance and I had a gift card so it was $80 instead of $130). Whoo hoo. The boxes are in the garage and I forsee them piling up before too many months go by. It's nice to have enough time to get the bigger stuff gradually!
I'm determined to pick on project around the house and tackle it this weekend. We don't have the kids and the weather's supposed to be more excuses!

Ladybugs are a symbol of good luck in the Chinese adoption community. I don't know where this started but ladybug sitings are always worth mentioning....
So this morning I was throwing a load of laundry in the washer and out of the corner of my eye I saw something crawling on my shoulder and thought it was a spider. As a turned my head and was about to flick it off, I realized it was a ladybug....Please note...I was in my house and it's February...winter...I haven't seen a ladybug in six months. Josh told me to write the date down....maybe Katelyn was born today!! Maybe God was just telling me to "be still and know that He is God." Either way, it was encouraging and a reminder that each day that passes brings us one step closer to our daughter.

MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2006 12:34 PM, CST
Waiting...waiting...waiting....We're learning patience like we've never known before. But on the bright side....ONE MONTH DOWN! :)

THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2006 04:33 PM, CST
Boy, I've got a story for you. A couple of days ago a man from Lexington Leadership Foundation came and visited Josh at work. (Lexington Leadership Foundation is a Christian organization in town that is dedicated to networking organizations and churches to help meet their need and provide services in our community.)
So this man hands Josh an envelope and tells him to open it. In the envelope was a check for $1,000 made out to Josh! Lexington Leadership Foundation is a local organization that is part of a national organization. There was a man that donated $300,000 and asked that the national organization distribute $15,000 to each local foundation and have them designate 15 individuals in their community who were "Street Saints"...or people investing their lives in serving the poor and homeless. Josh was picked as one of the 15 for Lexington! Yeah, I know, how AWESOME is that??!!! Beyond the $ it is truly an honor. I'm so proud...I've already can too.
Josh wants to use this money to pay for his plane ticket to China "to get our baby" his words.
When we started this process we weren't sure where the money would come from to pay for it but we knew it would come. God's provision is pretty amazing...and so creative!
So we're pretty excited this week. Tomorrow it will be 1 month since our log in date. Time is actually going by quickly. Only 7-8 months to go until referral (we hope).

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2006 11:45 AM, CST
YIPPIE! We have a Log In Date....We were logged in in China on December 27th! That's great news. I was afraid that everything would take longer than a month to get logged in because of the holidays and that would throw us into the January group....So based on current timelines...we should be getting a referral sometime in Sept. or Oct....It is so nice to have a date! Confirmation is a beautiful thing!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2005 01:16 PM, CST
We just received word last week that it's now taking 8-9 months from our log in date in China until referral. So sad. There's just more people adopting children from China now (great for Chinese orphans though).
So now it's looking like we won't get a referral until September or October and then travel a couple of months after that.
We remain hopeful that in a few months they'll pick up the pace again.
I do pray that this was our last Christmas without Katelyn...and for that matter Thanksgiving.
So we keep waiting....

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2005 08:07 PM, CST
Our dossier was sent to China today! WHOO HOO!!! Now it all seems real. It's strange not to even know whether or not our daughter's even been born yet. Pretty much by the middle of January or so it will be safe to assume that she has. I'm going to be a mommy and she's going to be really cute. So you should all spoil her because I"m spoiled and I turned out all heck, keep spoiling me too. :) Oh yeah, and Josh.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2005 10:41 AM, CST
YEAH!!!! Our dossier is back from Washington D.C. all signed and sealed and it will be going to China on FRIDAY!! Whoo hoo. I can't believe it's finally we're official and we officially start waiting. It should be about 8 months until we get our referral. It takes 2 weeks to get translated and then another couple of weeks to get logged in with China's Center for Adoption Affairs and then about 7 months until referral. So it should be early August and we'll have pictures of our sweet girl. Thank you all for lots of prayers and encouragement.

Our I-171H finally came yesterday! Glory...Halleluiah! We found out that it had been approved on October 13th and for whatever reason the document never actually got to us. What a horrible time to have something get lost in the mail!!! So this morning, I had the document notarized, certified at our county clerk and then drove to the capital building in Frankfort and had it state sealed. Then I went back to the adoption agency and handed it over to our Family Advocate who had a FedEx envelope all ready to send all of the documents in our dossier to the courier they use in Washington D.C. to be authenticated at the national level. Because of Thanksgiving next week it will take a few days longer than normal, but our agency should be sending our dossier to China on Friday, December 2nd. So based on this, we're projecting that we'll get our referral the beginning of August and travel to China the beginning of October!!!
The amazing thing is, if this document had come when they had originally been approved we would be scheduled to travel right in the middle of when we have our big fundraising banquet at work that I am in charge of and that would be a really bad time for me to be gone. And...Guangzhou, China, which is the very southern part of China is supposed to be miserably hot and humid in the middle of summer and everyone who adopts has to go through this city at the end of the trip because it's where the US Consulate is and where the adoption is the trip will be much more enjoyable in the fall. All this to say, God's timing is perfect and we know that He has just the right child for us next fall.
For now, I'm just SO happy that the paperchasing is over. Now we do a lot of preparing and more waiting.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2005 02:46 PM, CDT
Still waiting for our form from Louisville. We're on day 57 now! Good grief!!!! Yeah for state government offices .... ;) I can't wait to post something different than this message. Maybe when I get home there will be something in the mail....

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2005 03:32 PM, CDT
We're still waiting for our I-171H to come from Louisville. We've heard everything from 46-76 days to get this back. We're now on day 41. Hopefully soon.
We've started to transform the office into the nursery. We're going to have the "office" in our bedroom now. Fortunately our bedroom is huge so it will all work.
I've got "Lazy Daisy" yellow paint for Katey's room. We bought a used changing table when we started trying to have a baby and it's been used as a shelf for toys and games in Ashley's closet since then. :) So we've gotten that out and are going to sand and paint it. Very exciting. I want to get the painting done this fall so we can work on the room little by little over the months to come.
I just bought paint for our bedroom and bathroom also. I figure if I don't get all of this stuff done before the baby comes home it may never happen!
Keep praying for us that this paperwork would come from Louisville!

Josh and I have decided to name our daughter Katelyn Grace McDonald! We are going to wait until we get our referral next spring (hopefully) and see what her Chinese name is and whether or not we'll give her a second middle name that will incorporate part of that name.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2005 12:24 PM, CDT
Waiting....waiting...waiting....I think this will be pretty typical of the months to come. All we need is one approved form from Homeland Security and we can finish up and send the whole dossier out to China.
Josh and I went to our local chapter of Families with Children From China group. They meet once a month and it's a great chance for us to build relationships with other families that are adopting or have adopted from China. Everyone was really nice and there were many little Chinese girls that were there that had been adopted...they were healthy, happy and well adjusted...and they loved their parents and siblings. So that was reassuring. The evening's activity was making Chinese dumplings. YUM! Making them was fun but then we got to eat them too. There was a very nice Chinese lady there instructing us.
On Saturday night Josh and I sat down with Brandon & Ashley and told them they would have a new sister next summer. They were really excited. We've got a great National Geographic video called China's Lost Girls and we were able to show them part of that video so they could see some of the footage of families in China bringing their daughters home. I think that helped a little to explain. They wanted to know if they could play with her and sing her to sleep. Brandon wanted to know if we would bring a brother home also! We said, one kid at a time please!

Okay...consider yourselves caught up! Whew...It's been a very full six weeks! In the midst of that the mission has its big banquet and silent auction that I'm in charge of this week and Josh started a new job a few weeks ago. Our heads would fly off if we weren't holding on tight.
I've started buying some clothes for the baby. She should be 7-10 months at the time of referral and then 8 1/2 to 12 months when we actually travel to China (most likely sometime next summer). I've bought some 9 and 12 month stuff...I know I should wait...but it's just not going to happen. In my defense, I'm buying summer stuff super if she can't wear it someone's getting a great shower gift down the road! You think I'm's already sent two boxes of stuff. Like mother, like daughter. I put a picture in our photo album of the crib set I found so everyone can say, "Ooohh,ahhh". We're painting the nursery yellow and we're getting white furniture. I'm doing a heart theme. Ashley currently has the market on butterflies and flowers in our house.
Josh just doesn't get as excited about everything like I do...I'm kind of a junkie for the baby stuff. He is pretty cute though...he gets this little look on his face when he's covering up that he's thinking it's cute too. I'm on to him...he loves all of this.

8/1/05...And we're off...birth certificates requested...marriage license requested...police reports requested...domestic violence/child abuse checks's appointments made...filling our a zillion forms! We had our first meeting with our social worker, Kristen to start our home study. She is really nice and I know that will help as we work on this huge piece of our dossier (The dossier is this huge packet of papers that gets send to China...everything has to be notarized, county certified, state sealed and nationally sealed..then it can go to China....good grief!)
8/3/05..We sent off for Josh's passport and sent mine to get my name changed from my maiden name. I'm running around to banks to get them to sign paperwork. We really want to rush through all this beginning paperwork because it can really hold up the whole process if we don't stay on top of it.
8/5/05...Josh had his physical...The cooties aren't so bad they'll keep us from adopting. I was worried. Hee hee. We're working on our adoption aplication letter that gets sent to China and our autobiographies that help the social worker write up our homestudy (an 8-10 page paper on our entire life).
8/8/05...I had my physical and I'm not crazy enough to be kept out of China...yet...Playing phone tag with the nice people at the health insurance company. Just getting them to sign my form may make me crazy.
8/10/05...We had our second home study meeting (which counted as our 2nd and 3rd meetings...there are four). She met with Josh for an hour, me for an hour and then both of us for an hour. We shared our life story...talked about our we will discipline our child...gave her a tour of our house...etc...She really is great and it wasn't bad at all...just long after a long day. One more hurdle jumped. If everyone had to go through all of this to have a child...
8/17/05...We have my birth certificate and police report for CA. We went today and got our FBI fingerprinting done in Louisville. I told Josh that neither of us can ever get into any trouble because we would be found quickly. Now if we could just get his birth certificate from Indiana...darn Hoosiers!
8/22/05...Had our last homestudy meeting! Now Kristen just has to finish writing everything up. Yeah!!!
8/24/05...Our employer letters are done and notarized. Josh just changed jobs this week so we had to have one from both places. Nothing like telling your new employer that you have paperwork for them on your first day! Praise God they were very kind.
8/26/05...I couldn't stand it anymore. Josh's birth certificate is holding up our flow. The homestudy will be done the beginning of next week and we have to have a copy of his birth certificate to send in the home study to INS where we'll get our last document for the dossier. So..I drove to Indianapolis and got it!! And got it state sealed while I was up there to boot....get out of my way we're ready for our kid. :)
8/29/05..Yeah, okay, the passport came in the mail today. Figures...
9/1/05...Home study is officially done, notarized and on its way to Louisville. Now we wait 30-60 days for our precious I-171H so we are cleared to adopt an international orphan. Once we get that we get it authenticated at the county and state levels...which involves Melissa driving around like a crazy person to downtown Lexington and then Frankfort. Then our agency uses a courier service to send everything to Condoleza Rice's office in Washington D.C. so she can sign and seal everything...I'm sure she does this personally...We get everything back in 8 days and then Friday of that week it all goes to China. It gets translated and logged in and then we get a referral 6-7 months after that log in date. When the referral comes we'll get pictures, what medical info they have, what orphanage in which province she's in, her age, height and weight...Oh, that day's a long way off!
9/7/05...We closed on the home equity line on our house...So we know we can fund this whole endeavor...