Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clearing up Confusion

I have to apologize for my lack of clarity in my last post.  My own confusion has confused everyone else too!  Ha ha.  When I wrote about getting our fingerprints from the FBI it was in regards to the record clearings we need for the dossier.  We are not yet to the point of doing fingerprints for USCIS.   I called the FBI today and the rep I spoke too said they receive 100,000 fingerprints every day!  She said they go into a secure holding area and that is the longest part of the process, once they are released, they can be processed.  Good to know.   I don't expect to get anything back until at least mid-August but at least I know a little bit more about how it works.
Today I also received another update regarding our Ohio child abuse clearance form.  We learned that it's in the mail!  That is excellent news because it means we can complete our home study and finally start applying for grants.   A friend of mine adopted from Ethiopia and she said the grants are tricky.  According to her experience, it's tough to get much if you make $50,000 or more, a year.     I know there are hundreds or organizations out there, so all we can do is pray, apply, and see what happens.:)

Also, my husband found a neat app on his cell phone that has fun info and stats about Poland.  Those smart phones are the best.    I also ran across this link with some fun facts and resources about Poland too. In addition, there is a mini-movie on You Tube showing "The History of Poland in 10 Minutes".  I didn't sit through it all, but it looks like a good history lesson.  Click here for the video. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Small Success!

Today was a good day!   A big thanks to Julie for noting that a phone call might get the ball rolling.  I don't know why I didn't think of that?  I guess in my mind, I pictured our document being thrown into an abyss of other papers and no way to track it down.  Lol.   Thankfully though, our home study agency had a direct e-mail for the person who takes care of that department.   I wish I would've known that sooner!:)  Anyway, the woman was wonderful and said the child abuse clearance  will be sent out "no later than July 6".  That is a great development...thank you Julie for the idea!  It's nice to know it's accounted for and will be on the way soon.

Also, for Ramie and Kara who called about the FBI prints, was it pretty easy to track down the correct person?  Since I had good luck with the state, maybe it wouldn't hurt to get a status update with fingerprints too.   Speaking of that, as we were gathering the information for the FBI prints (and instructions) my husband learned that they implemented new guidelines this year.   You are now able to get the prints apostilled after they are cleared (if you request that on your form).  I was nervous about doing so because I wanted to follow the dossier guidelines EXACTLY but my husband said it was fine, so they will be getting apostilled too.  I hope that won't affect the time frame too much, I guess we will see!

Finally, we are excited and grateful about our first fund-raiser coming up!  A friend of mine is a  photographer and offered a professional mini session, with all proceeds going to our adoption fund.   We didn't know if anyone would respond, but thanks be to filled up!:)   We are humbled and appreciative of her time and the support.  Her website
is here with more details.    I am still getting used to the idea of asking people for help on our journey.  We certainly are not wealthy, but we've always supported ourselves, even paying for our own wedding and never missing one bill payment, no matter how tight things were in the early days.   So, it's humbling to trust in others and be dependant on their help.   God is so good though, this experience has once again shown us that all things are possible with faith and the Holy Spirit.  Thank you Lord!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two Months and Counting

We are hoping that this week will bring some developments! Everything from our dossier to our home study is on hold because of one paper. It turns out, that Ohio has one of the longest turnarounds in the country when it comes to the child abuse clearance form.   Where most states have it back in a few weeks, Ohio takes an average of two months!  We sent the form in on May 14, so I am hoping it will come soon. Until then, we cannot complete our home study, or apply for grants, or go further in our dossier.  Sigh. On the bright side, we have already sent, and gotten back items to be apostilled from Georgia and Florida (for our dossier).  Does anyone know if there is an "average" for how long the FBI fingerprints take (for the dossier)?  Our form said up to 12 weeks, I'm hoping that's not the case though.    It's frustrating but we knew this would be a long process, and following other blogs has taught me that the more flexible and patient I am, the better it is for everyone!:)  So, we are just trying to appreciate the summer months and take it one day at a time.

In the meantime, I just ordered a book based on a friend's recommendation.  It's called "Adopted for Life".  I am looking forward to reading it, I know I still have so much to learn.   Off to go hiking with the family now, but first I will be checking the mailbox! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad's Day and Giveaway!

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the "Nine Days" contest! This morning my son Garrett randomly picked, and the winner is.....

Lee and Martha!!! I like the idea of watching it and passing it along, and I'm not sure if that will happen, but just the fact that the idea was brought up, is another indication of what a wonderful group of women you all are.

Happy Father's Day to all the daddy's, and daddy's- to- be!
This was the boys' gift to my husband Jim today.  The "burger" is actually my son Grant's hand print, and the "fries" are fingerprints from Gabriel and Garrett.    We had so much fun, but I couldn't help drifting off and thinking about a year from now...will there be more handprints to add?   What size will they be?   Every day we pray for our child, or children in Poland, but it still seems so far away in my mind, and sometimes it's hard to picture the day when we will finally meet.   It will happen one day, and even though we don't know when...we are waiting with open arms and grateful hearts!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Gift for You

A few posts ago, I shared the story of the film "Nine Days that Changed the World", about Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Poland in 1979. Well, a good friend of ours just returned from Poland and Rome, Italy,  with Newt and Callista Gingrich (who hosted and produced the movie). They screened the movie in Krakow and Warsaw, and afterwards, they said the Polish people were in tears of gratitude for telling their story. When our friends were sharing the news, I was wishing we had been tucked in their suitcase so we could tag along too!:) What a wonderful experience for them.

Anyway, the neat result is that they give us extra copies to share. So...I thought I would have a little blog contest for you! If you are interested, just leave your name and e-mail address in the "comments" section and the winner will receive a copy of the film. I will pick a random winner on Sunday (Father's Day) and let you know!:)  Click here for the movie's official website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Prayer for Waiting

Lately, I have been reading a wonderful little book called "Pray all Ways" by Edward Hays.  Last night, I read this prayer and couldn't wait to share it!   I have been rushing, running, and speeding the process as quickly as we can right now, because I know we have such a long road ahead of us, with lots of waiting.   This was such a good reminder of God's providence, and the importance of patience.   Although our family is still in the first stages of the journey. I know this pertinent for whatever stage of adoption you might be in....

Lord my God,
though I am confident that you hear my prayers
and that you fulfill all of my needs,
I find the need for you to teach me
the holy art of patience.
I hate to wait
and am in a hurry even now as I pray to you.
I am in a hurry to learn how to pray,
in a hurry to become holy,
in a hurry to do your will.
Reveal to me that your time is eternal
and that in your good time you will
our every prayer for peace and justice.
Meanwhile, may your delightful creature, the turtle,
be a symbol of my journey to you
who are my divine source and reward.
Let me stop my anxious rushing and follow his lead-
making my way, slow but sure,
day by day, prayer by prayer,
kind deed followed by attentive, kind deed,
toward you, my God.
Suprise me with the reward that
that if I can be patient with myself
and the seeming slowness of my unfolding
I shall find that it is much easier
to be loving with others.
Finally, Lord, I thank you
for your patience with me over all these years.
Share with me Lord,
your divine and enduring patience
I ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit.


Friday, June 11, 2010

One Step at a Time

It's the end of another week and I'm checking in with a little progress!  This week we finished our home study.  It's not "official" yet,  but we've been able to check off everything on our list, it's just a matter of waiting for some papers to come back.  The Fire Marshall came over, we had our in-home inspection with our social worker, medical exams (for all 5 of us), our fingerprints came back, and we completed the education classes.  Even though we've been able to complete the checklist, it looks like we'll have to wait several more weeks because of a delay for one item.  We learned that the state of Ohio has one of the longest returns for the child abuse clearances.  Where most states have a pretty immediate turnaround, it takes Ohio two months for some reason!   Ugh.   I sent our form in on May 14 though, so hopefully it will be back in early July.

Still, I am happy that we are on schedule with everything on our end.   With three boys, getting up at 2:30am for my job, the kids' baseball and soccer, I feel excited and proud that we've been able to team up and "Git R' Done" (as my Southern husband says).  Lol. 

We also received our dossier guidelines and have been reading, and re-reading it to understand all the steps. I heard it would be a daunting process and I know I realize that first-hand. Thankfully my husband is good with that kind of thing, but I am definitely struggling trying to figure it all out.

Yesterday, we also had an unexpected gift from a friend in the mail. She sent a "congratulations" card for expecting parents.   I melted into a puddle of tears, it was such a surprise and blessing.    It made me think that I should start a Baby Book for our child (or children).   We already have some incredible stories to share about how God has guided us on this path, I think it would be nice to journal it and everything else along the way.   I did find this adoption memory book at Amazon for only $11.53.  I can't wait until we are able to fill up the blank pages with photos and memories!:)  

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paper Training

I need a nap today!:)   We are trying so hard to work ahead and do what we can on our end.  However, I have learned that there is a reason that everything has a specific sequence, things can get overwhelming quickly.   We have just started our home study (yippee) and have taken care of most of the paperwork already (release forms, legal documents, family picture, etc).  Yesterday, we also got our BCI and FBI fingerprints and tomorrow the Fire Marshall is coming to inspect our home and sign off on that.   While we are working on home study items, I'm also trying to work ahead on our dossier.    I think I need to slow down though, we still haven't received our agency package with dossier guidelines, medical forms, etc., education requirements (for the home study).  Right now, I'm trying to piece it together based on other blogs.   Although we are just beginning,  I already feel so grateful for all of the bloggers who have so beautifully documented their journeys!     I was able to compile a good list from Julie's archives (Finding Little Pfalzer).   Thank you Julie!:)

I am confused by the apostilling process, and even little things our home photos need to be a certain size (5X7, 8X10)?   Also, is the biometrics fingerprinting (for the I800A form),  the same process as what we did yesterday for the FBI and BCI?     I am sure all of those details will be covered once I actually read the guidelines when they arrive!   I have to keep repeating...."patience is a virtue" .:)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nine Days that Changed the World

31 years ago today, the people of Poland were giddy with excitement, anticipating the historic homecoming of Poland's son, Karol Wojtyla...Pope John Paul II.   As John Paul II set foot on his native soil on June 2, 1979 at Okecie military airport, he fell on his knees and kissed the ground.  
The Pope's visit was seen as inspirational to millions in Poland who felt they were no longer alone.  It is widely accepted that this homecoming is what began the fall of Communism in Poland (and beyond).

Ironically, those nine days that changed the world 31 years ago,  have also changed the world of our family too.   Earlier this year, Jim and I were invited to the movie premiere with Newt Gingrich for "Nine Days that Changed the World" in Washington DC.  We attended with our Polish priest and felt inspired and moved by the film.  The next morning, we heard about the plane crash that tragically killed the Polish President and many influential officials (some of whom were featured in the movie).    It was based on a series of events, starting with the movie, that prompted us to choose Poland and start the journey to find our child (or children).     I think this is a fantastic film, especially anyone seeking to learn more about Polish heritage and history.    You can order a copy of the movie here.  On a side, note you can hear my interview with Newt and Callista Gingrich under the "Media" section, just scroll down to "Newt and Callista join Brooke Taylor".
Here is the trailer.

Also, in another notable historic anniversary, a few days ago, May 28,  was the date St. Maximillian Kolbe arrived in Auschwitz.  If you are not familiar with his heroic story, it is worth checking out!  Click here for more info.