After weeks and months of gathering every document, identification, and authorization form under the sun (and notarizing all of them) we finally sent off a copy of our dossier to our agency for approval. It took a total of 3 months to finish all of it, and we're praying hard that everything is correct and we will get the approval soon to send the actual dossier to it's first location. Here's kind of a rundown of the many travels of our dossier:
Our dossier draft (our baby)
The dossier has to be authenticated (that's fancy for a seal that makes a document legal) at every level: state, federal, and international. That's a lot of stamping and sealing. Once our dossier is approved by our agency, we will send it to the Texas Secretary of State for it to be authenticated at state level. Next destination...Washington DC, where Secretary Hillary Clinton will authenticate our dossier at the national level. Finally, it will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and be authenticated there at the Ethiopian Embassy. After the dossier comes to its final destination, we get put on a waitlist through our agency for a child referral. The waiting time for a referral takes nine months, give or take a few months. We will officially be paper pregnant!
There are no words to describe the excitement and anticipation we have about our adoption being finalized. All you mama's and mama's-to-be will understand when I say, it's just like when FINALLY, that baby bump starts showing and the whole world can see it, and you've never been so proud to have a big belly! It's so surreal that we're at the point that we're at.If you would have told me a year ago that this would be our life, I wouldn't have believed you. God was stirring this in my heart, but it just seemed like EVERYTHING else was going against it. I just couldn't quiet that voice in my head and my heart that was saying, "forget about everything going on and follow me." It was either believe Him and trust Him or choose to take life into our own hands and deal with everything how we thought was best. That life would have been horrible. I would be at a job where I never got see my children grow, watch Stella in her dance class, or be there to untangle or catch Max when our little Master of Disaster got himself into, yet again, another predicament. I would've had a marriage that lacked communication, and had a false foundation that would eventually lead to the romance and love completely finding its way out of our marriage. And, I always would have had this hole in my heart in the shape of our son, that I would have spent the rest of my life trying to fill with everything else in the world. Sure, we would have had much more money, a whole lot more "stuff", with Jordan's love of electronics and my, I'm embarrased to say,addiction to shopping for pretty much anything from groceries to clothes to furniture. But now, I can't imagine going down any other path, serving any other God, or putting my wants for my life over His wants for my life. I do not want to live any other way than to be walking down the path that God has set out in front of me since before I was born.
"Yet you brought me safely from my mother's womb and led me to trust you at my mother's breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been MY God from the moment I was born."
For those of you who have been lifting up our family in prayer, THANK YOU! Please keep praying for us and our journey. Pray that our dossier will get approved, so we can get on that waitlist. Pray that when we finally get on the waitlist that God will give us patience and that he will take that time to mold our family and put our family to the place we need to be emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. Again, we say thank you.
Okay all you readers (silent readers, especially)!
Today is National DeLurking Day! Yes, this is an actual thing. It's a day where everyone that reads my blog, but never comments (aka: the lurkers), finally leaves me a little message. I want to hear from you all. Tell me about yourself, how you found my blog, and what you like about it! I hope that everyone does this. I've been "delurking" myself today on other's blogs. I'll give a free headband from our headbands 4 a cause to the first 5 people who comment. READY. SET. GO........
With the adoption really making head way, I've been very thankful that I haven't had any stressfull issues or emotional meltdowns since we started getting together our dossier. The ones where you just have a good cry, and then start laughing; realizing how ridiculous and pathetic you must look for crying over nothing. I figured that maybe God had decided since 2010 was such an emotional rollercoaster that he would keep the waters calm throughout the rest of the process just to not lose my sanity. But, after the calm waters always comes some sort of storm.
I've been having a lot of personal struggle the last few days with starting to prepare myself for life with one more kid. I think that every mom goes through it no matter if your expecting your first child or your tenth. I started thinking about the little life adjustments we would have to make (i.e. buying a bigger car, getting a bigger table, how we were going to bunk up the two boys) and how it won't only affect us, but all of the other people surrounding us in our lives. How will my overly generous mother feel about watching 3 kids on Saturdays while I work instead of 2? How will my clients feel when I go on, yet again, another maternity leave when we bring our son home? How will Stella feel when, yet again, she is having to share me again with another sibling? I am a "let's try and make everyone happy" kind of person and realized that, that mentality will just keep getting harder and harder over time to make happen. I started going into anxiety mode and didn't want to think about it. And what do I do when I want to rid my mind of my worries, I CLEAN and BAKE.
I lovingly barked orders at Jordan to go to the store and grab me some milk and eggs (at least it sounded loving in my head) and began making Jordan's Grammy's brown sugar cookies. The most important part in the recipe is to make sure when you're stirring in the eggs, not to let the eggs cook. So, I'm taking out all my anxiety and anger into my mixing spoon and pan as I'm melting the sugar and butter together, and it's almost time to add the eggs. Sure enough, right when I put in the first egg, hot butter pops out of the pan, burns my arm, and then the egg starts to cook. [insert emotional meltdown here] I completely lost it and fell on the floor and started crying. Jordan came in the kitchen and told me to go upstairs and get myself together.
I went to my bedroom and began reading the latest book I'm reading, "Chosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman (which I highly recommend!). In the book, I came across the same exact scripture that I had read this morning. It was Psalm 3:3, "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me; my glory, and the lifter of my head."
When God speaks a calling into your life and gives you a trust, you must prove faithful. I felt a peace come over me and I heard God telling me, "Kristin, I will take care of all of this, as I have from the beginning. Have faith and keep your head up." God wants me to focus on being a noble wife and building an even stronger marriage with Jordan. To learn to love my children even more than I do now, and take the time to show them, whether it's letting them stay up late to play a game of Chutes and Ladders, or taking the time to rock and sing them to sleep no matter how heavy they get.
Every night, I try to complete one page of our dossier, and I thought today's was such a God thing. We have to pick 5-12 photos to be sent to Ethiopia with our dossier. The pictures are supposed to sum up our family. (Really hard to do that with just 5-12 pictures). It brought so much joy for Jordan and I to sit together and pick out those chosen ones. We thought we'd share them with you.
"Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed. The race is not always to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor satisfaction to the wise, Nor riches to the smart,
Nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all. No one can predict misfortune. Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds in a trap, So men and women are caught By accidents evil and sudden. [The Message]"
I love writing in journals. I've done it since I was a little girl and I enjoy it even more now as a grown woman. As of right now, I have five journals stashed around the house, and whenever I feel the need, I pull one out and start writing. It's such great therapy for me, that I can write everything down that's going through my head. It's kind of like word vomit! Every year since I was 10, my favorite journal entry is always January 1 of every year. I always right down goals and dreams that I have for the upcoming year. I love going back and reading them at the end of the year, to see my progress. Well, last night I read January 1, 2010. All it said in big bold letters, was "I will wait upon You, Lord....Bring it on!" and boy, did He bring it.
I've never been more stretched, more disciplined, and more molded by God than I have this year. Not only going through painful legal battles, and embarking on our adoption journey, but we've also gone through a lot of growing as a family. I can see God slowly changing us and preparing us for what's ahead in 2011. The struggles have been ruthless, and I've never cried so hard and felt so helpless and hopeless. Amidst, all the pain and struggle that 2010 brought, it also has led me to fall even more in love with Jesus. He has been my rock this year and has provided for my family every step of the way. God putting me through the fire this year has brought me the most unimaginable joy through His grace and His mercy. He's given me many moments and milestones that have forever changed me for His glory, and i will never forget them. He has broken down my family, only to make us the strongest we've ever been, and He's taught me how to love so much harder than I ever have. What a truly indescribable God He is and oh, how He loves us.
So what do I want for 2011?
I cannot wait to meet our son. I cannot wait to get to finally travel to Ethiopia, this beautiful country with the most resilient people, a country that I have fallen in love with. I cannot wait to take a little piece of their culture and add it to our family. I can't wait to sit outside with Jordan on our porch and watch our THREE kids play together. I cannot wait to complete our family!
And yes, we are getting closer and closer everyday. Here's what's next with our adoption:
Our homestudy is complete and has been added to our dossier. (the big fat stack of paperwork that will be sent to Ethiopia.) We have a few more forms to complete for our dossier, i.e. doctor's notes, police clearance letters, and we are also about to start filling out our I600A form. This is the immigration form that is needed to legally be able to adopt internationally. Then, we will wait for our FBI appointment to be fingerprinted. Once our dossier is complete it will be sent to our Secretary of State to be notarized, then it will be sent to Washington DC to be notarized at that level, and then finally it will go to Ethiopia and go through all the proper notarizations there. Then it becomes the long waiting game to be matched. I can't wait to start waiting, as funny as that sounds.
Thanks again, everyone, for their supporting words, encouragement, and prayers. They are all felt! Keep praying for us. Happy 2011!!!!!!!!