Monday, February 7, 2011

Progress Update - Paperwork

I haven’t disappeared; I’ve just been buried under piles of paperwork. A month ago today we filed our application with our placing agency. This past month has been filled with paperwork paperwork paperwork. We have 3 lists we are working off of. Documents that need to go to our placing agency in California, documents to our Home Study agency here in Texas and documents for our Social Worker so that she can prepare our Home Study.

After filing our initial application packet with our placing agency in California we needed to get started on finding a Social Worker here in Texas to do our Home Study. We found a wonderful lady, Jenna, in the Ft. Worth area. So, we needed to do the necessary paperwork for her agency. Her agency will serve as our Home Study agency and handle the work of writing our Home Study and conducting our initial background checks. So, for them we needed to complete a basic application and provide information so they can do background checks on Chris and I in all the places we have lived since we were 18 (16 different addressed for me and 17 for Chris). No, I’m not kidding. Amazingly, even with 4 years in the Army, we have spent most of our time in the great state of Texas, so that simplifies things some. We are sending off our clearance requests to South Carolina this week and luckily since Korea does not maintain a child abuse registry we are not required to send clearance requests to Korea. Can you even begin to imagine how long that might have taken? Thankfully my list for them is complete!!!

Then we have a list of 32 items we need to send to Jenna for our Home Study. These are items like copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, 1040s, updated immunization record for our cat, medical physicals for each member of the household, reference letters from friends, certificates showing we have each completed our 10 hours of required adoption education, copies of our floor plan, pictures of our family and home, and autobiographies written by Chris and I. Jenna uses these documents and information she obtains from her home visit to write our Home Study. She came to San Antonio on Jan 29th and 30th to conduct our home visit. She was here for about 2 hours each day. She asked us a lot of questions about each other, our home life, our children, the desire to adopt and the way we intend to raise our adopted child. We also discussed the type of child that we are looking to be matched with and what ages, gender and special needs we are open to considering. She toured our home and made sure we had enough space for another child. She also interviewed Chris and I separately and interviewed the boys together. She was impressed that the boys seemed to have a good grasp of what was going on and both seemed very excited about adopting a new sister. Travis told her we listen to KLOVE (the local Christian radio station) and that is where we got the idea to adopt. That’s not quite right, but sweet. Then Chase told her, “When we get our Mei Mei (little sister in Chinese) from China there will be One Less, One Less, One Less, Broken Heart in the World Tonight.” He sang the words that I put in bold and italics. Those are words from Matthew West’s song about adoption called “One Less.” It is one of Chase’s favorite songs and it shows his sweet understanding of the orphan crisis and how our adoption relates to it. She thought it was very cute and we did too. It’s like we live in a musical around here, just breaking into song midsentence! Overall, the home visits went great. Now she is writing her report and we are getting the last of the documents we need to her. The completed Home Study will be one of the documents that will go to China and it is required to be sent to US Customs and Immigration to begin getting our FBI clearances and approval from the US government to adopt an orphan internationally. So, the Home Study is a big deal and it is nice to see the word “DONE!” next to most of the items on that list! Hopefully in about a month the completed Home study will be traveling to Missouri for our FBI clearances and US Immigration application (i800A) to be approved.

Finally we are working on the list of documents we will need to send to our placing agency for our Dossier (fancy word for the collection of documents that will eventually be sent to China). This list includes birth certificates, marriage certificate, employment verification letters, medical forms, police clearance forms, photos, our completed Home Study and our FBI clearance and US approval to adopt an orphan (i800A). All of these documents will need to notarized, then sent to Austin to be certified by the Secretary of State and then to Houston to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy. THEN, it will we be ready to go to China!

As you can see we are in deep in paperwork. We have made some great progress, but we still have a long way to go. I like what Dory sings in Finding Nemo… Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming… So we are still swimming!!! We are trying to take it one document at a time, one step at a time so we don’t get overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all.

Last week, on the way home from school, Travis was telling me about being nervous to recite something in front of his whole class. Then he said, “It’s kind of silly for me to be nervous about something. I have a verse for that… cast all your anxieties on Him.” Then he said, “I don’t remember where it is in the Bible, but I know it’s there.” I was quite impressed and glad to see that he is relying on the word of God in his daily life. I told him it was okay that he didn’t know where it was exactly, that the important thing is that he knows it’s God’s word and that he can trust that it is true. I explain that it is the very reason we memorize a verse each week so we can hide God’s word in our hearts to help ourselves and others when we need to. Then, out of the blue, Chase says “First Peter 5:7.” And just like that he provides the exact reference to the verse! I was shocked. Each week the boys have to memorize a verse for school. Travis has always been great at this, but Chase struggles with it some. So, I looked back through the calendar and this verse had been one of Travis’ verses four weeks ago (the very week we began this process). It is truly amazing that Chase would remember this! So, I felt like this was a special way for God to reveal a familiar verse to me in a memorable way. So, as we proceed through the lists of required paperwork and anticipate the steps ahead, I’m doing my best to cast my anxieties on the Lord and rest in Him. I’m thankful for his Word and the wonderful ways he chooses to reveal it to us. He is ever present in this process. Even in the mundane and tedious paperwork process, he is never far from us.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7


  1. YAY .... you are on your way! Aren't you so glad Dori could model for us. I'm still swimming too, girl! Your boys are precious! I love how the Lord uses their faith to deliver his words for us. Sweet sweet moment! Praying for your family and baby girl to be!

  2. love the H family musical! :) too sweet! you might feel like you have a long way to go but you are making progress! you just checked one month off the wait! that's wonderful!

  3. I am so excited for you and your family. You are a true reflection of God's heart and set a great example for other young Christian families. I will pray for patience as you keep swimming. I can't wait to meet Mei Mei!!