Saturday, March 31, 2012

And The Winner Is...

...Alison Schmelzer from Madison, MS.  The Schmelzers are #12 on All God's Children's wait list for their beautiful baby girl. Congratulations and thank you all for entering the giveaway!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dossier = Fancy Name for Lots of Papers

So, in the past few months, many of you have heard me ramble, complain, or celebrate our adoption dossier.  And many of you probably wondered what the heck I was talking about...and may have even secretly scowled at me for using such a fancy really does sound silly.  So what the heck is a dossier?  According to


A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject
In our case, our dossier was a collection of adoption documents, including:
1. Notarized and State Certified Power of Attorney Form
2. Statement of Reason to Adopt (application letter)
3. Photocopy of USCIS Fingerprint Appointment Letter
4. Photocopies of US Passport 
5. Official passport photos
6. Photographs of the family
7. Photographs of the family's home
8. Home Study
9. Letters of Employment 
10. Financial Statement
11. Birth Certificates 
12. Marriage Certificate
13. Medical letters 
14. Police clearances
15. Two letters of reference
16. $5,500

Every single document had to be signed by at least 2 different people and notarized, and one had to be sent to the Secretary of State to be certified. This is what all of this paperwork looks like:

And this is what a bewildered postal worker looks like when you ask him to take a picture with you and a box that has your dossier in it:

To us, dossier means 4 months of stressful, grueling paper chasing with a 12, 13, 14, and 15 month old attached to you hip; a heart-wrenching letter to the Ethiopian government explaining why you would make good parents to one of their children; trying to capture the inside and outside of your house in 6-8 photos; and having a ton of faith that God will provide the $5,500 you need to submit said dossier.  

So, the reason you see me and Juliana posing with the bewildered postal worker is because our God is amazingly faithful and truly does provide in HIS own time.  On March 14, we had every single document necessary to submit our dossier and get on the waitlist for our daughter....minus $3,000 of the $5,500 fee.  Yesterday, we were $1,500 short.  Today, we received a grant for $2,200 and mailed our dossier to Portland, OR.  We are officially on the waitlist and will know our waitlist numbers on Monday!!

Dossier....big, fancy word for lots of papers and lots of love.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Us?

"God doesn't give us more than we can handle....but sometimes, I wish He didn't trust me so much."  Heard that one before?  That pretty much sums up my feelings right about now.  Why did God choose US, of all people, to adopt and love a grieving, scared, emotionally traumatized child?  Doesn't this child deserve a normal family?  A family where Dad goes to work in the morning and comes home at night and Mom cooks wholesome, nutritious meals, bakes fresh chocolate chip cookies, does 12 loads of laundry before noon, and cleans the house, all while bouncing a baby on her hip?  A family who lives in a nice, new 2-story house in a subdivision where kids ride their bikes up and down the street and actually have neighbors?  We're not that normal family....we live in a 100-year old house halfway up a mountain in the rural outskirts of our city.  Our neighbors live "up the hill" from us, and riding bikes on our road would be a death wish.  These days, Daddy goes to work at 5pm and comes home around 5am.  On any given day of the week, you may walk in to find me making Hamburger Helper for our "dinner", which is actually Buck's breakfast, while Jules runs madly through the house yelling "DOGGIE!!" and trying to put a sock on one of our 3 (yes, 3) dogs.  It would be just as likely for you to walk in and find diapers (clean ones!) and a sippy in the dog's kennel and Juliana sitting inside our dishwasher (which is not attached to the wall, by the way), trying to put her baby doll and bink to bed.  (Note: binks do not survive dishwashing).  We. are. not. normal.  Normal people tell each other "I love you" to show their love.  Buck and I show our love by hiding a toy dinosaur (affectionately known as "Little T") in random places throughout the house for each other to find.  (The best one so far was finding Little T perched on the shower head, looking down at me.  Yes, I screamed.)  Buck keeps fuzzy socks in his nightstand to put on my frigid feet in the middle of the night.  I make him donkey-shaped pancakes and leave him notes in the shower, constructed solely from Juliana's 26 foam bath letters.  (No, they're not always nice words, but we're working with 5 vowels here)  Why our social worker approved and recommended us to be adoptive parents is beyond me.  She has access to our medical reports, our psychological evaluations and our financial statement, and she still approved us??  I mean, we actually showed her Little T!  She should have run out of here and never looked back!

So, why am I questioning God for choosing us to adopt one of His precious children? I should feel honored, humbled, blessed...instead I'm hesitant, unsure and scared.  Sure, we have 2 years to read every book on Amazon about adoptive parenting, bonding, and attachment.  We can take as many adoptive learning courses as we want and read adoptive parents' blogs and forums until our eyes are crossed. But will any of that preparation matter in the middle of the night when our baby girl has night terrors or realizes that her "special mother" who cared for her so tenderly at the orphanage has been replaced by strange, white people who don't know how to comfort her?  Will those books really help us help her grieve for the loss of her birth family, country, and culture?  Will a seminar help us one day when she tells me that I'm not her real mother?  When you strip away the excitement of the wait, the journey to bring her home, the airport celebration and the happy family photo, you find the raw, exhausted emotions of a family trying to show unconditional love to a child who is emotionally traumatized.  Can we do this?  Will we be ready? And most importantly, why does God trust us so much?