Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Adoption Update

Madeline is sleeping right now, and I thought I would spend a few of the precious moments of her naptime to update the world on where we are in the adoption process.

We have been busy bees the last couple of months. Night and day we work on adoption stuff: paperwork, financial statements, training courses, required reading, doctor appointments, home study appointments, writing our autobiographies, doing our taxes, having our friends and employers write letters, and on and on and on. And then there is the fundraising and blogging and, oh yeah, there’s the praying. It is so easy to get distracted amidst all this.

I have become the CPO (Chief Paperwork Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), and CSK (Chief Schedule Keeper), while Daniel is functioning as the CFRO (Chief Fundraising Officer), Webmaster, and CMM (Chief Money Maker). The two of us have diverse gifts, and it works out beautifully. Neither of us could do it without the other.

Here is where we stand:

Home Study

We have had three of the four appointments with our social worker, Bethany. Bethany is awesome, and the appointments have actually been fun. She has asked us lots of questions about our reasons for adopting, our reasons for choosing Ethiopia, and our faith. We have also talked about our marriage, how we handle conflict, and our philosophies for child rearing. We each had to write an autobiography that we discussed with her, detailing our childhood and parents, education and employment, hobbies and interests, marriage and family relationships, and our community and support network. Our fourth and final appointment is scheduled for April 13th. She will come to inspect our house at that one, and we will give her all the remaining paperwork.

Here is the list of documents that we have to provide for our home study. I have crossed through the ones that I am finished with:

  • Autobiographies
  • Birth certificates for all three of us
  • Marriage certificate
  • Employment verification letters (one down, one to go)
  • 2008 Tax return
  • Three letters of recommendation (two down, one to go)
  • Guardianship statement
  • Financial statement (almost done with this)
  • Medical reports for parents (almost done – still have to get Daniel’s notarized)
  • Medical report for Madeline
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Police clearance and background check (I have sent off for this, but we’re still waiting on it)
  • Fingerprinting by TBI (next week)
  • Reading list agreement (Six books that we have to read, but for now we just have to sign that we promise to read them. Then we can finish reading later, thank goodness.)


Whew! This is a lot of work. But we are plodding steadily along. Some of the home study paperwork overlaps with the dossier paperwork, and that certainly helps. Every single thing has to be notarized, and that has made some things complicated. For instance, neither of us had a primary care doctor. So I had to find someone that (1) could fit us in quickly and (2) has a notary in the office and (3) was willing to go to the trouble of filling out the form and having it notarized, even though we were not previous patients. It all works out, though, and most of the time I’ve found that people are interested to hear about what we are doing and very willing to help.

Here is the list of dossier requirements:

  • Hague Training (ten hour online course on international adoption). We both just finished this week, and we’re so relieved!
  • Application letter
  • Employment letters (one down, one to go)
  • Financial statement (almost done with this)
  • Medical reports for parents (almost done with this – just have to have one of them notarized)
  • Police clearance and background checks (I have sent off for this, but we’re still waiting on it)
  • Fingerprinting by FBI and TBI (both next week)
  • Three letters of recommendation (two down, one to go)
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Completed home study
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of life insurance (one down, one to go)
  • Power of attorney papers
  • Agency recommendation
  • Family photo pages
  • Extra passport photos
  • USCIS Approval (I sent off for this two weeks ago, and it will take several weeks to come back. It will probably be the last thing we will be waiting to add to our dossier.)

After everything is completed and notarized, we have to send the entire packet to the county to be certified and to the state to be authenticated. This means that they will certify at both the county and state level that the notaries who have signed our papers are true notaries. And I just realized as I was writing this that some of our notaries have been in Davidson county and some have been in Cheatham. So I think I will have to have our documents certified in both counties. Shoot.


It is fun watching God provide for our every need throughout the adoption. We have committed our plans to him from the beginning, and we trust completely that he will give us all we need at just the time that we need it. We raised about $1,000 on T-shirt sales so far. We sold lots when we first offered them, but sadly we haven’t had any sales in a while now.

In addition, we have been incredibly blessed to receive two generous and unexpected donations from family members. Thank you so much, guys! You have humbled us with our generosity and encouraged us with your support.

I am also hosting a Green Gold fundraising party on April 18th. I attended one of these parties for a friend, Tracy, who is adopting FOUR children from Ethiopia, and she raised $2,000! Here is how it works: There will be a gold buying agent at the party who will purchase gold at the current London Gold Fix Price and pay everyone for their gold that day in cash. My friends and family can bring their gold (old or broken jewelry, even dental gold) and sell it at the party. They will go home with cash, and the hostess (me) will get to keep a small percentage of the total profits of the party. Let me know if you are interested in coming. I’m having the party at my church where there is lots of room, and it is open to anyone!

I have also picked up a new bookkeeping client, and I am able to do the work from home. I’ve been devoting nighttime and naptime hours each week to that work, and it is blessing our adoption fund, as well.


In a nutshell, that is where we stand with all the areas of our adoption. As you can see, life is crazy. Please keep praying for us that:

  • We keep our focus on God and on why we are adopting throughout all this busywork
  • All of our paperwork continues to go smoothly and we will be able to submit our dossier as soon as possible (and start the clock ticking on our expected twelve month wait)
  • God will provide all of the money that we need at just the right time
  • God will give us guidance on the areas of our life that need to change in order to prepare for the addition of our Ethiopian son (more diversity, increased support network of adoptive families, etc.)

Thank you and God bless you!

1 comment:

Allison said...

Go Sarah Go! We are praying for your process and yes, I wrote it down so I won't forget. We know God will not!