Friday, July 22, 2011

a new story: first and next steps

To read the whole story, click here.
So now that you know our big news (we're adopting from Ethiopia! Hoorah!) we'd love to invite you to come along with us on our journey.  Let's be honest, if you're still reading after more than ten posts telling the same story, we're gonna go ahead and say you're with us!  We'll be keeping you updated on our progress on this blog (as well as continuing to share any Lila-inspired stories, per usual).  For now, here's where we're at:

First steps:  We sent in our initial application to CHI early this month and we were approved!  We have no idea how big of a deal that is, but we were (okay, I was) excitedly checking the mailbox every day waiting for that letter. (I have a feeling there's gonna be a lot more of that obsessiveness happening!)  When it did come, it was less a letter and more an impressively large packet of paperwork to fill out (that's probably going to become a common experience, too) including our dossier workbook.

On Wednesday we had our home study orientation meeting and were given even more paperwork to get started on.  We're already beginning to understand why they call adoption the "paper pregnancy!"
nevermind my filthy floor.  just nevermind.
Next steps: 
- Get started on the mountain of paperwork (and keep Lila from either eating it or throwing it away.  The girl is disturbingly obsessed with the trash can.  I caught her throwing away keys the other day and once I found a pair of sunglasses sitting on the top of the garbage when I lifted the lid. Blek.)

- Kick into gear with our fundraising.  Here's a breakdown of anticipated costs and attempted timeline for the next 6 months:

July 6: Send in Application $100- PAID
July 20: Home Study orientation meeting $100- PAID
July total: $200

August 1: Agreement/Document Processing Fee due $900
August 15: Turn in paperwork for Home Study - first half of HS fee due $600
August total: $1,500

October 10: Home Study complete - 2nd half due $600
October 17: Immigration paperwork and fees - $890
October total: $1,490

December 12: Immigration complete - turn in to state of Kansas to certify $120 + $500 to Ethiopian Embassy
December 26: Dossier fee $3600
December total: $4,220

Total over 6 months: $7,410

You'll notice there are months in between each step where it seems nothing happens.  In those months, we will be doing the leg work for our home study and dossier (interviews, doctor's appointments, forms notarized, fingerprinting, etc).  In general, the home study is a two month process and the dossier is a 3-6 month process.  

Once our dossier is turned in and accepted we will be placed on the waiting list for a referral (average wait time is 9-12 months).  Our goal is to turn in our dossier by the end of the year.  Our timeline may change as we are at the mercy of whatever official agency has ahold of our paperwork at any given time.  Our finances can also stall out our progress as many steps in the process are accompanied by a fee or payment.   If we don't have the money readily available, we will be forced to wait until we do.  

That's where we find ourselves now.  We are currently trying to save/raise our first fee of $900 which is due in two weeks (this is one fee that has a rigid timeline).  Our goal is get 100 puzzle pieces sponsored in the next two weeks to cover this fee (so far we've had 16 pledged! Thank you!)

When it's all said and done, this adoption will cost anywhere between $20,000-$30,000.  That is a terrifying astronomical figure.  I have had to remind myself that God has a big bank account even if we don't!  We are in full-on budget revamp mode as we seek out new or clever ways to shave off excess expenses so that we are contributing the most we can to our adoption.  We will be doing some fundraising - probably a few big pushes to meet smaller goals throughout the process.  We humbly ask for your prayers and help and support as we try to find creative ways to fund this adoption without going into debt.   A few ideas we have seen work well for other families are designing and selling t-shirts, hosting garage sales, silent auctions for donated goodies, etc.

We are so very grateful for the emails, phone calls, texts and comments we have received in the last week or so.  I will admit that I had a bit of an emotional breakdown before we started our new story series.  I was feeling overwhelmed with the time and energy and money that this would take and feeling fearful that we wouldn't have the community support that we will need to see this thing through (silly me).  I cried to the Husband that I didn't feel like we had a lot of support so far which is when he reminded me that we hadn't even announced that we were adopting yet!  Oh, yeah.  I guess it's just been the only thing I've thought about for the past eight-ish months that I forgot that the rest of the world was still unaware!  All that to say, I said a prayer with each post that the Lord would pull together a support team for us and your words of encouragement, excitement and enthusiasm have been so affirming to us that God is in this.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

And here's my unabashed plea for your continued support and kind words: please, keep 'em coming!  Those of us (me) who think too much can get ourselves (myself) in a right mess when we (I) allow the doubts and fears to sneak in and start causing a scene.  I have been camping out in Hebrews 11 & 12 and reminding myself of the "great cloud of witnesses" who have gone before us to show us what faith can accomplish when you serve a faithful God.  I can already tell our lives will never be the same.  And that's a wonderful thing.

P.S. We may have found a way to avoid the PayPal fees, so stay tuned for that as we try to get the bugs worked out.

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