Friday, January 30, 2009

The Adoption Process Begins

In December, we 'officially' began the adoption process of 5 siblings at the orphanage. We couldn't start until then because things like having a house and a job seem to be pretty important to the adoption authorities.

To start, I'd like to explain how the adoption process works and clear up some misconceptions that are out there. Individuals can not adopt directly from the orphanage, but must go through agencies and the government within their own country. The cost of international adoption can be pretty hefty, but all of this money goes to the payment of filing fees, lawyers, agencies, documents, exams, investigations and traveling. The orphanage does not receive money. We are not paying for the children, but rather for the process. And, oh the process! We are lucky to have 2 agencies to help us through it all. Littlest Angels International , here in Colorado, handles our homestudy and Villa Hope , in Alabama, will handle the international side of the adoption.

Joel and I gathered all of our initial documents; clearances from every state we've lived in since we were 18 years old, medical exams, birth certificates, our marriage certificates, proof of parenting classes, CPR and first aid cards, FBI fingerprint clearances and more. We asked for references, filled out thorough paperwork on our personal relationships and family history and sat through lengthy interviews about who we are and what kind of parents we hope to be. Although we had only been living in our house for a few weeks - we prepared the children's rooms and, with the help of friends, we were able to get the house in order for our homestudy to be completed by the end of December. And this is just the beginning.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moved In!

We took ownership of our new home the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Over 14 old and new friends came and helped us move in. A couple from our church brought lunch for the group and a few ladies worked hard to get all of the kitchen unpacked, washed and put away! A few days later, my brother-in-law, Jeff Hanson, and his family came to share Thanksgiving with us and helped us in our effort to repaint and unpack. Our new home was filled with friends, family and laughter as we shared Thanksgiving dinner together.

At the end of the week, Joel and I felt overwhelmed. We weren't overwhelmed by the work we had left or by the events of moving in. We were overwhelmed with a feeling of true thankfulness. I couldn't stop crying as I struggled with feeling blessed and then feeling guilty for all we had. A year in Peru proved that our lives can be rich and full without a big house and without all the 'stuff.' A dear friend reminded us of God's generosity and that our new home was a way to provide for the 5 children we plan to provide a home for. To others, it may not appear that we are living extravagantly, but Joel and I disagree. We feel we have been given more than we could have hoped for - more than just a beautiful home, jobs and all the stuff. God has blessed us with a full life, His grace in our failures and the opportunity to have a family of our own.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog Continues...

Since October, our lives have been a whirl of activity and we continue to try to get settled. We want to keep the blog current - letting others follow our adoption journey and keep up on all that is happening. So - here we go again! I apologize for the 2 month delay!