Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sweet boy.

No news. Literally, none at all since his move to the Transition Home 4.5 weeks ago. I have no idea what we are still waiting on, but I know that our I600 has not yet been filed, so I cannot begin our final countdown to picking up this sweet boy.

I hope our I600 will be filed within the next week, but I have so little information that I don't like to put a timeline in place. So for now, like so many other times, we wait.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New pictures and updates!

The last 24 hours has been the most exciting time for us, in terms of updates and information about Jonathan. Yesterday afternoon, we were able to see a video of the Transition House (provided by a family who traveled just over two weeks ago) that showed a bit of Jonathan in his current home. It was so excited to see him moving and watch his facial expressions (still seems like he is a very serious little man... at least, in front of the cameras).

And last night, we had a deluge of pictures and information come through from Kinshasa, as another of our adoption friends traveled to pick-up their beautiful daughter, Addy. I must say that this momma has gone so far above and beyond for all of us waiting parents that I just don't know how I can thank her enough! Not only did she start posting pictures last night (only her second day in country and the first day she met her daughter!), but this morning I awoke to more photos and comments about each of the children she met! It was so exciting to read an actual description of Jonathan and to hear what size he was wearing. These may seem like small details to someone outside of the adoption world, but to me, they are some of the most amazing things to read:

Jonathan- size 2-4, quiet (vocally) likes to get attention. Would do anything to make us laugh. I made the mistake of laughing when he threw a toy at me and he thought it was so funny when I was hard to get him to stop--totally my fault! I don't think I laughed that hard all day. He is the new "Pierre" of the house!

I don't know much about Pierre as he went home back in June, but from what I can tell from other blogs, he's all-boy... a bit mischievous, a lot lovable. That sounds like a great predecessor for Jonathan to have :). We do a lot of laughing around here!

And just having been in the Transition Home for two weeks, he already looks much more comfortable and healthy than in our last photos. He's got gorgeous skin, bright eyes and a perfectly round, shaved head. He still has a very serious look (we've yet to see him smile!) but our friend in country assured me that he laughs a lot - just not in front of the camera. And to be honest, I love his little suspicious looks - I think he'll fit in just fine around here! My youngest daughter has some very similar looks of her own.

Such a beautiful group of children! Can't wait to meet some of them myself soon!

So, we should be getting an updated medical later this week (which will be the first time we've ever known his actual height and weight - hopefully all the 3T clothes I bought will fit!), and we are just waiting on a few more documents before we can file our I600 (the last and most important US step in our process). The I600 will lead to our Embassy appointment, which will lead to Jonathan's visa and our travel. Exciting times around here, and we are hoping to be with this little guy before his 4th birthday on January 6th!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our Little Guy...

We were able to get our first new picture of Jonathan (from a very kind traveling family) since July. He looks very much the same - still sad and serious and very handsome. This picture was taken just two days after his arrival to the Transition Home, so I am certainly not surprised that he looks so wary, but it still breaks my heart a little bit to look into his face and know exactly what he needs but not be able to give it to him. I've been a mother for over seven years and whenever one of my children has this look, it's because she needs me to scoop her up in my arms, hug her as tightly as I can, and tell her that it's going to be okay (and, yes, I still try to do this with my 7 year old!). It's so hard to look at this photo and not be able to do just that for my son:

We love you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Great Divide

It's occurred to me over the past few weeks that I am constantly living in two worlds. My life here is full of hard work, fun, laughs, and so many other things to keep me busy and occupied, but each day, I find my mind wandering to thoughts of a little boy whom I've never met, yet somehow still love and care for from across an ocean. I'll be doing the simplest of tasks, folding laundry or cooking dinner, when I realize that the only things I've been thinking of revolve around Jonathan's recent move to Kinshasa or to the emails I hope to receive with notice of progress on our case or what time it is in Kinshasa and what he might be doing. It's the strangest sensation - missing someone you've never met. 

And today I'll find myself absently checking my email, hoping that before the weekend we'll hear some sort of news or receive a new picture, and each time, when there is nothing there of interest, I feel another twinge of disappointment.

And though I am struggling somewhat, I am trying to remember how lucky we are to be as far along as we are. I speak with parents each week who are stalled in some step of the process or another and realize that we are very close. But as we get closer, oddly enough, the waiting seems to get more difficult. As we get closer, he feels more like our son. And how can I live normally with my own child so far out of my care and control? Each day, he becomes more real and then seems that much further away.

Monday, September 24, 2012

In Transition?

Right now, we are hoping to hear any minute of plans for Jonathan's move from Lubumbashi to our agency's transition home in Kinshasa. This step will mark the final stage of our adoption, and means that we will probably be with our son in two more months!

And while we are, of course, beyond excited, I can't help but think of the sadness and trauma that will most likely come with Jonathan's impending move. From what I can gather, Jonathan has been with his current "welcome family" since December or January. From pictures we've seen since his arrival into that family, he's been healthy and seemingly well-loved. While the day that he moves to Kinshasa will mark and huge step for us as a family, it also marks another loss in Jonathan's life (a life that has already been filled, in three years, with more losses than I've had in all 29 years of mine). Does he have a bond with a foster parent or sibling that he'll have to leave behind? Will he miss his room or bed? Will he be scared by his first plane ride or trip through a bustling airport? Will it be difficult to adjust to a setting where the primary languages spoken are not his own (only to move in two months to another home with yet another language)? I am hoping that his adjustment to the transition home is as easy as possible, and that he is given some understanding as to his adoption and the family that is waiting excitedly for him across the ocean.

On a lighter note, we've spent the last month preparing for Jonathan's arrival by doing the thing that I've been waiting to do for months and months - setting up his room and moving our girls into a shared room! We've been saving this project until we were sure we'd passed court, so being able to pick out paint and bedding was like a celebration of a very important milestone! And having two girls, we were in a whole new world when trying to agree on boys' bedding and decorations :) Here are some pictures of the (mostly) finished products:

Jonathan's Room

Hannah and Emma's New Room:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Approved! With the documents to prove it...

Well, I've been holding off posting on our blog until I had some sort of news to share, and now I do! We were officially approved to adopt Jonathan by the Lubumbashi courts! We are finally in our last 30 day wait. After those 30 days, he will officially and irrevocably be ours! We are so ecstatic. It all seems so much more real and possible now.

We actually heard in early August that our case had been approved and signed off on in the courts, but we could not get our official typed and sealed documents until this past weekend. I'm not sure of the dates on the document as we haven't seen a copy yet, but sometime around August 25th, we officially became a family, even with an ocean between us.

So now what? Well, we have 4-6 weeks of document collecting to wait through now. New birth certificate, possibly corrected court documents (we haven't heard of anything yet, but, in general, there are at least a few errors that have to be corrected on court paperwork), and other post-judgement documents that will complete the Congolese portion of our adoption.

After those are collected and our Certificate of Non-Appeal is issued, Jonathan will be moved to the agency transition house in Kinshasa. This will be a very exciting step as it means that we are in the final stretch of our process and it also means very frequent updates on Jonathan. As the transition home is run by our agency, I can be sure he'll receive our care packages and I should often receive health and personality updates. We expect he will be in the transition home for 6-8 weeks, after which we are able to pick him up!

I never thought we would be looking at November as a pick-up time frame (my worst case scenario time frame was always October), but I don't see any possible way that we could make it any earlier than mid-November. Fingers crossed that the remaining documents needed come through much more efficiently than our other court documents.

So, like most every other step in the adoption process, we wait. And Jonathan waits (though he probably has no clue who or what he's waiting on). To celebrate our court news, Adam and I are painting and re-decorating the kids' rooms for Jonathan's impending arrival. I've been waiting on this step, but I feel like we can now confidently say we'll be a family of five very soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good things come to those who... blog?

Well, right after Monday's admittedly whiny post, I received a great email update with many pictures of our little man! Unfortunately, we didn't get much news about our court case (just that we haven't yet received a decree or certain paperwork), but it was great being able to see how JN has grown over the past 3 months. Here are our favorite pictures (those eyelashes are beautiful! Can't wait to see this guy in person!):

Monday, July 9, 2012

Patience is a virtue...

... I, admittedly, do not possess. The blog has been quiet over the last month, and so, unfortunately, has my email inbox when it comes to our adoption. We were told our file would be submitted to court on the 21st of May, and that we should expect a court decree in 3-4 weeks. After our decree, we would be in our 30 day waiting period - the final step to JN becoming an official Parker.

Of course, the day of June 11th (exactly 3 weeks after our file was submitted to court in Lubumbashi), I began checking my email obsessively throughout the day (and night - I've received a few late night emails from our caseworker, so I couldn't rule out hearing from her only during business hours... and by the way, I know this sounds obsessive... it's because it is obsessive! Refer back to the title of this post.) 

At the end of June (with no "new" news), we were told that our caseworker would actually be visiting our child in Lubumbashi. While there, she expected to get photos and updates on all of the children. I also thought we would get a very clear update as to where we were in the adoption process, as, presumably, our caseworker would be talking directly with the lawyer about our case and the other cases pending within our agency.

I checked blogs and Facebook each day, seeing new, lovely pictures and personality updates about many of our agency's referred kids. I was so excited for every family that got an update, but each day that *our* update didn't come, I had more and more feelings of dread. I started to think that maybe they forgot that we were adopting JN and didn't meet with him (irrational), that there was some sort of bad news about him or our case that they couldn't share over email (possible), or that there was no news about our case and we were still in a holding pattern (probably pretty realistic).

After waiting a full ten days after the first family had received their updates, I finally broke and called our agency. After a few days, a very nice office manager there was able to report that, yes, there was an update and new photos pending, but that I wouldn't get them until next (this) week.

A part of me was grateful just to hear something about our son. And to know that, eventually, we would receive an update like the other families from our agency. But another part of me was (and still is) very disappointed that, somewhere across the country, pictures and critical information exist about my (to-be) child and I have no control or no recourse to get them. I'm completely at the mercy of another person's (obviously and understandably) busy schedule. There is an email pending that could potentially change my life (not to be dramatic, but we could possibly, officially have a son across the ocean and not know about it) that could come at any time. This is not a good place to be in. The anxiety, the not-knowing, the fear of the unknown, and the excitement of the possibilities all combine to make me a constant bundle of nerves. 

And honestly, I feel I've done pretty well with the wait until this point. I've been able to compartmentalize my emotions and anxiety, so I could live my life each day without constantly wondering. But now to know that we are so close to such a major milestone (and to know that beautiful pictures of our future son exist), I cannot help but think of JN and the adoption pretty much constantly.

I know, in the end, all the anxiousness and waiting will be worth it. Soon these feelings will be a distant memory. I know all that logically, but unfortunately, it's not helping me much right now.

Also, I'm writing this post in lieu of emailing or calling my agency *again*. It's working for now, but who knows how I'll feel as business hours wind down for yet another day in which I know nothing more. 

Thinking of all the families out there in the same position (and, to be fair, my agency didn't give every family updates - it seems like it was about half of waiting families, so there are many others feeling exactly the same as I do now), and I am sincerely hoping we hear something soon.

- Patience is the art of hoping.
Luc de Clapiers

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why Adoption? Why Africa?

Almost every adoption blog I read has a similarly titled post as this. And while each post shares many common ideas and thoughts, each one is invariably a bit different than the last. Each family has such unique circumstances and paths toward adoption that I still enjoy every 'Why Adoption?' post I read.

So why adopt? This is probably the question I see written across many people's faces when Adam and I reveal that we are adopting. We have two young healthy girls who were born easily and with fairly uneventful pregnancies. We are quite young parents (at least for the adoption world), and we have a very nice balance in our lives in which we are able to be great parents but also enjoy individual pursuits that are important to each of us. I think many people wonder why we would disrupt that balance, or why we would pursue adding to our family when we have two already. And I can't always explain it, honestly, because it's something that we entered into with our hearts, not always with our minds.

I've felt like I was meant to adopt since college or earlier. Well before I met Adam, I loved watching stories of family united through adoption (particularly international adoption). I used to watch adoption documentaries or TV shows, and when Guatemala and China adoption became so popular, the thoughts were always just below the surface that, someday, I wanted to be apart of that path. I'm not sure why I felt so strongly, but, like many of the things that make each of us as individuals, I think this desire to adopt was a combination of life circumstances and my own inherent personality.

After our oldest daughter was born, I started talking to Adam about international adoption. Mostly just attempting to expose him to the idea and families that had adopted. Adam was less enthusiastic about it and never really thought of it as a serious option for our family. Adoption, especially international adoption, was outside of his realm of experience and just something he'd never considered. Shortly after that, I had our youngest daughter, so discussions were tabled as we adapted to life as a family of four.

When Emma turned two, we aggressively started to pursue adoption. It took Adam much time to wrap his head around the idea of adopting and become as enthusiastic as I was. Mostly his concerns revolved around adding a third child to the family, as he was perfectly content with our family size. A third child throws you into mini-van territory and Adam was not ready for that ;) Also, in fairness to Adam, many of friends had not even started having children and I was asking him to consider expanding our family to three children under 5! I probably was crazy!

Now that a few years have passed and our girls are bit older and more independent, Adam is thrilled we are adopting (as am I obviously!). We aren't adopting to 'save' a child, but instead feel like this is the way to complete our family. We love the idea of embracing a new culture into our family, of being able to raise a boy after two girls, of (if I'm honest) being able to skip the infant stage and move into the sometimes-more-fun preschool age, and of being able to advocate for a child waiting for a family. We want to adopt because it's right for our family, because we believe our son lives in DRC right now and is just waiting for us, and because it's our path. I don't know how to explain it properly most times, as it is intangible emotion that can't always be described in practical terms.

Are we nervous? Yes! Do we sometimes think we've lost our minds, just a bit? Of course. I think we would be somewhat naive if we didn't have those natural fears (very similar to fears I had when pregnant with both girls, actually). But we feel such peace about our adoption right now that we know we've made the right choice.

I'll save 'Why Africa?' for my next post, as I wasn't anticipating just how many words would be needed to describe what brought us to this point in our lives...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


So my email has been very silent this week... well, at least silent about any possible adoption news. As I said, we possibly, maybe had a court date this week, but we weren't sure what that would mean as far as hearing about our process as the judge generally is taking an additional 3-4 weeks to sign a decree after giving verbal approval.

So we wait for verbal approval. And after we hear about that, we'll wait for our final court decree, and then we'll be able to submit all of our information for some key remaining pieces of the adoption puzzle - a new birth certificate for JN, a passport, and a visa for entering the US. Once his new birth certificate and passport are obtained, we will be able to file for an appointment with the US Embassy, which means travel to DRC! So not too many more milestones to go before I get on a plane to see our boy.

I'm still in the area of limbo where I haven't started re-doing rooms or buying any major items, but I think as soon as I hear about court, I will feel ready to get those things moving along too. I thought I'd found the perfect bedding (after two girls, shopping for a toddler boy is hard!), but I think it just got vetoed by my mom.

And I always try to remind myself, even though it seems difficult each day that passes with no news, this really has been a very smooth and quick process overall, especially considering other families stories that I've read about over the past few years. And the silver lining? Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but, through this process, I'm learning it pretty quickly (or not so quickly, as the case may be)!

Monday, May 21, 2012

While You Were Sleeping...

Well, I'm not certain, but possibly, while we were sleeping (or any time this morning, really), our case should have been submitted to the court in Lubumbashi. Again, I'm not totally clear, but I think this means that our court date should occur very soon. Basically, our file will be reviewed, given something like verbal approval, but we will wait 3-4 weeks for the final, official court decree signed by the judge.

If all goes well with this court date, then I can finally breathe a big sigh of relief and know that JN is on his way to becoming one of our family! I haven't heard, yet, of a family not passing court, so I'm being optimistic. Also, our agency has recently hired some new associates in-country that are supposed to help ensure that all our (very important!) paperwork is in proper order for upcoming Embassy and Visa appointments, etc.

I don't expect to hear anything today (and possibly not even this week), but it is exciting to know that across the ocean and across the Democratic Republic of Congo, our case could be sitting in a very important spot right now!

Around here, we are preparing for summer as the girls will both be out of school soon. It's finally gotten hot enough to plant all of our veggies and get some sprinkler time in. Everyone is ready for pools to open and for a beach trip we are taking in June.

As for getting ready for the newest family member, I am (somewhat superstitiously) waiting until we hear about court before putting major preparations into motion. At this point, I have picked out bunk beds, bedding (man, finding boys' bedding is much harder than finding it for girls!), and a few other odds and ends. I'm big on list-making and getting things in place way ahead of time, so I'm itching to have his room finished, clothes packed and toys organized. Hopefully soon!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I've always been a believer in things happening as they should... whether it's called fate or destiny, I tend to think I've followed a certain path because of some grand plan. When we decided to adopt, it seemed like (for many years) that I was fighting against my fate. Each turn we took seemed to lead us down the wrong path; nothing about our adoption choices and plans felt 'right' to me; and each month, we found ourselves further and further away from completing an adoption of our future child.

Many times, I thought we should halt our adoption (and at one point, we put it on hold for about a year), but I'm stubborn at heart. I wouldn't give up, and I couldn't shake the feeling that we were supposed to adopt our third child, even if evidence kept piling up that we weren't on the right path.

When we considered our options of changing to the DRC program and being matched with JN, I felt, for the first time in our journey, that we were on the exact path that we were intended to be. Everything clicked into place - I was finally at peace with our choices (versus being tormented that we would make the 'wrong' decision). And as if to confirm the feelings I was having, everywhere I turned there were signs. Some big, and some small, but undeniably odd occurrences that had to be more than coincidence.

At some point, I started documenting those signs, because they have been so important to me in affirming that this was the right path. That this adoption attempt will end with a son who will complete our family. Here are some of my favorite signs:

  1. On the day that we had to make a decision about switching agencies, programs, and being matched with JN, I was driving home from dropping off Hannah and was so conflicted. I literally said aloud, "Just give me a sign, please."

    When I got home, I started to research a trip we were taking that weekend to a local art museum. When I checked to see which traveling exhibits we would see, the first banner should a Congolese sculpture. The title of the exhibit was "Visions from the Congo"! We committed that day and saw that exhibit a few days later. When I asked for a sign, I'm not sure I knew it would be so clear or would come so quickly!

  2. Prior to telling Hannah and Emma about our referral (we had lost a referral before so wanted to wait to tell them until things were a bit firmer), I took them shopping and was picking out a few toys for JN's upcoming care package. I'd recently found out that JN spoke Swahili, and I was looking for picture books or similar. While shopping, Emma walked up to me with a big smile and said, 'Hakuna Matata!'. This means "There are no worries," in Swahili. She hadn't watched The Lion King in years!

  3. If you combine the birthstones of Hannah, Emma, and JN, it makes the colors of the US flag!

  4. I bought a children's book for Valentine's Day without reading it all the way through. It taught the phrase 'I love you' in multiple languages, and when I got home (out of only about 8 languages that were represented), I found the translation 'Nakupenda', which is Swahili, JN's native language.

  5. Everyone in our family had the blood type A+, and I've always joked (sort of) that if ever needed (hopefully not), we could be blood or organ donors for one another. When I got JN's medicals, the first thing I noticed was that he, too, is A+!

Those aren't the only things, but they are my favorites. And whenever I'm having an uncertain moment about the status of our adoption, I just read over these and know that this is going to happen. I really believe that, finally, we are right where we are supposed to be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Referral Story...

Like many things in our lives, Adam and I received our referral sort of non-traditionally. Had we stayed in the Ethiopia program, we would have waited on a list of parents and would have one day received a phone call from our agency presenting us with a referral. At that point we would accept our referral and begin the process to bring that child home.

Well, that's not exactly how our referral for DRC went, because we were matched with a waiting child. At the beginning of January, I began to feel some anxiety about the pace at which Ethiopia adoptions were moving within our agency. Because of this, I began to do some more research into available African adoption programs. I knew Rwanda was out due to its recent shutdown, and I kept hitting brick walls with other country programs. I inquired with a few agencies about Democratic Republic of Congo, but I never found a program that felt like it "fit". I was also very cautious about leaving the ET program and didn't want to make that leap unless their was a child in our age range, waiting for a family. With the uncertainty of international adoption (and the big changes we'd seen just in our own personal adoption journey), I didn't feel comfortable getting on yet another wait list.

Luckily, our preferred age range and gender meant that there were children waiting with some agencies in DRC. On a whim, I contacted an agency called A Love Beyond Borders after stumbling onto their website. The site listed no waiting children within our age range, but when Kelly contacted me, she told me that they'd recently had a large batch of children become available for adoption through their (very new) DRC program.

From the moment I spoke with Kelly, I felt great about the agency and their processes. Having been around the IA block for multiple years (and having been in a situation with a smaller, unstable agency), I was very wary about leaving a well established program and agency for a smaller, more unknown program.

But when I saw his picture (out of the many waiting children that Kelly sent for me to review), I felt like, "This is it. This is where we are supposed to be. This is the child we are supposed to adopt." Because of the ups and downs of our adoption, I couldn't let myself become too excited or to prepare too much. I spent the next week discussing the possibility of adopting JN, a just-turned three year old in Lubumbashi. I asked for, and received, signs around us that made it clear to me that this was the path we needed to be on.

We officially were matched with JN on January 20th, 2012. Immediately, we had to begin collecting paperwork to update our home study and to build a completely new dossier. We did this with two days to spare of our 30 day deadline, and our dossier was translated and sent to Lubumbashi, DRC in late March.

And now we wait... checking my email way too often, hoping for updates or new photos. Cherishing the few small photos we have. Shopping and preparing (less and less cautiously as everything moves forward extremely well). Talking to our girls about what this will mean and how things will change. And while it's not a traditional referral-phone-call-big-surprise story, it still feels wonderful. And it definitely feels like the right choice for completing our family!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Adoption Time Line

  • 2006 - 2007: We first begin discussing international adoption. At the time, I was most interested in adopting from Guatemala, but as that program closed and the Ethiopia program began to grow, I started heavily researching African adoption.
  • Mid-2009: We begin to pursue the adoption of a waiting child in Ghana with a small agency.
  • July of 2009: Program in Ghana through our agency is suspended and we lose our referral. Put our adoption plans on hold.
  • August 2010: Contact Forever Families of Virginia to begin a new home study for an Ethiopian adoption.
  • August 2010: Apply to Gladney's Ethiopia program.
  • August 28, 2010: First home study meeting.
  • September 15, 2010: Second home study meeting.
  • September 29, 2010: Third home study meeting.
  • October 14, 2010: Submitted completed Gladney application.
  • November 17, 2010: Gladney approved.
  • November 30, 2010: Begin dossier for Ethiopia
  • December 2010: Referrals are suspended for Gladney's Ethiopia program for three months.
  • February 14, 2011: Receive USCIS approval for a male child 0-3 from Ethiopia. 
  • April 2011: We do not send in our dossier, due to Gladney's investigation and uncertainty with ET program. We briefly consider Honduras as an alternate adoption option.
  • May 2011: Decide to continue with Ethiopia as the investigation is concluded with Gladney.
  • June 15, 2011: We are on the wait list for Gladney's Ethiopian Program.
  • June 2011 through January 2012:  Very little movement within the Gladney Ethiopia Program due to slowdown with referrals.
  • January 11, 2012: Contact A Love Beyond Borders about their very new Democratic Republic of Congo adoption program. Receive information on their current waiting toddlers and preschoolers.
  • January 20, 2012: Receive official referral of three year old boy from Lubumbashi, DRC!
  • February 18, 2012: Sent completed dossier to ALBB for JN's adoption.
  • March 27, 2012: Translated dossier is received in Lubumbashi.
  • May 11, 2012: Receive notice that our case will be submitted to court in Lubumbashi on May 21.
  • May 15, 2012: Go to Alexandria to be re-fingerprinted for our USCIS I-600A update.
  • May 21, 2012: Our case is submitted to the court system in Lubumbashi.
  • July 9, 2012: Receive personality update, pictures and news about Jonathan from Stephanie, who traveled to meet the waiting kids. Found out our case had not yet been approved.
  • August 1, 2012: Receive notice that our case has been verbally approved by the judge, but we must await final official judgement before beginning our 30 day wait.
  • August 13, 2012: OFFICIALLY PASSED COURT!
  • August 25, 2012: Our final and official court decree is received! We are now in our 30 day, non-appeal period.
  • September 12, 2012: Hear from Stephanie that Jonathan is to be moved to the transition home within the next two weeks or so.
  • October 6, 2012: Jonathan arrives in Kinshasa to begin his stay at the ALBB Transition Home.
  • November 8, 2012: All of our paperwork has finally been received to file our I600!
  • November 14, 2012: Find out that Jonathan's birth certificate has an error. His birthday is listed as 1/6/2009 on some paperwork and 1/6/2010 on other paperwork.
  • December 5, 2012: We decide to send in our I600 packet with the incorrect birth certificate, while we wait for the corrected one.
  • December 7, 2012: Our paperwork is received at the USCIS office in Missouri.
  • December 21, 2012: We find out our paperwork has been received and assigned to Officer Rivera for review.
  • January 4, 2013: We are faxed our I600 approval!!
  • January 10, 2013: We call the US Embassy in DRC to get our final visa appointment.
  • January 24, 2013: Jonathan's drop-off for Embassy paperwork.
  • January 28, 2013: Jonathan's Embassy appointment!
  • February 25, 2013: Visa is issued!
  • February 28, 2013: Kristy leaves for DRC
  • March 2, 2013: Jonathan is in Kristy's arms!
  • March 12, 2013: DGM issues exit letter and Kristy and Jonathan depart DRC
  • March 13, 2013: FAMILY DAY! We are all together for the first time. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Long Overdue!

Well, I can say that this post (and blog) has certainly been long overdue. My husband and I have been contemplating, discussing, researching and pursuing an African adoption for over 3 years now, but I've never taken the step to actually document our process. Now, as we look back over three years of twists, turns, and memorable moments, I'm sad that I wasn't more vigilant in keeping a record of our African adoption. This blog is a little bit of chance for me to rectify that as we are in (we hope!) the 11th hour of our long adoption journey.

Before I start to recall our journey over the next few posts, I'll tell you a bit about our family. My husband Adam and I have been together for over eight years and have lived in multiple parts of Virginia. We've now settled in the Piedmont area of Virginia with our two daughters, Hannah (7) and Emma (5), and currently own our own business, working in graphic design, Internet marketing, and web design (which makes it even more ridiculous that I've never started a blog before this point!). We love traveling together, spending time outdoors (especially at any beach that we can get to!), and constantly seeking out new, fun adventures. Adam thinks my constant need to be moving forward and to experience new things is sometimes exhausting, but also (mostly) exciting. It also ensures things never get boring around here! ;)

We began talking about international adoption in the year after our oldest daughter was born. Since early college, I remember having a desire to adopt internationally. The idea of embracing a totally different culture into my family, while also creating a family in a non-traditional manner really appealed to me. Adam had never considered the idea prior to my broaching the subject. It took months (a year?) of earnest discussion until he felt as comfortable as I did with the idea. And now that we have a referral picture and a possible court date, everything is solidifying for us, as we can both finally see the light at the end of a sometimes dark and uncertain journey.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff - our time line and process thus far. And then, hopefully news in the next few weeks about court. After that travel (yea!) and home. We are hoping to travel in August or September, but honestly, in international adoption, who can be sure of anything?