Friday, July 29, 2011

Home Study Done!!

We just received news that the last clearance for our home study came through this morning!  We will have our home study in our hands next week at which point we can send off our paperwork to immigration.  We will also start the process of getting our paperwork authenticated so it is ready to go as soon as immigration approval comes through.  

Still waiting for the posting in China - please keep praying!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Still Waiting

Emailed with our social worker today and our criminal clearances from Dane county have still not arrived.  She has requested them twice.  This is the only thing we are waiting for to complete our home study so we can send off our paperwork to immigration.  

We are still waiting for the little girl we want to adopt to be officially listed to our agencies children.  Earlier in the week the available children lists were updated and none of the children our agency is waiting for were in that group but they could arrive any day.  We will be so much more at ease once we can post or information for her and get a provisional approval. 

Please pray for both of these items to come through soon.

We did learn from some of our friends that the Homeland Security office that handles fingerprints in our area will allow you to walk-in and have them done rather than wait for your appointment.  This can cut weeks off of the wait so as soon as our immigration papers are sent in and we get the word to go have our fingerprints done, we will go down at the walk-in times and get this done.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Friday marked some progress in several areas.

First, we met with our pediatrician to review the file of the little girl we are considering. He confirmed what we had learned online about the hole she had in her heart.  This is  a very common condition and many people are born with them.  In many cases they heal on their own.  This little girl had surgery to close the hole when she was less than a year old.  He told us she appears to be a healthy, normal child at this point.  So, we let our adoption agency know we definitely want to be matched with her.  Now we just have to wait for her profile to be posted to our agencies list from the Chinese government.  This could very well happen next week.

Also the draft of our home study is done.  They are waiting on one more criminal clearance and it will be complete.  As soon as we have that we will send off our forms to immigration to begin the process for approval to bring a child into the country.  This is currently taking about two months.  In the course of that time, we will get a letter to go to the FBI for fingerprints.  You don't get a choice on the time or date for this appointment, they just send you a letter as to when you are to show up.

We also received our medical forms back from the doctor.  We are deep into the paperwork and glad much of it has been gathered.  As soon as we have the home study, we will send these papers off to the state of Wisconsin for authentication and then to the Chinese embassy for their approval as well.

As soon as we have an official match with the little girl we are considering, we will post that news here as well as some pictures.  We are blessed to have many pictures of her as well as some video of her. You'll have to take our word for it at this point, but she is absolutely adorable. 

Thanks for your continued prayers as we walk down this path to adding this lovely little girl to our family.  We continue to pray for God's direction and guidance in this journey.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


A note from Ellen: 

Adoption is definitely about waiting and we are in a waiting phase right now.  We are waiting for our completed home study so we can submit our paperwork to US immigration; we are waiting for the little girl we are considering to be posted to the adoption board in China; we are waiting for medical forms to be completed; we are waiting for a consult with a pediatrician; and those are just the main areas.  

Those of you who know me well, know that waiting is not my best attribute. I much prefer to be doing something to move things forward.  I guess maybe God has some lessons for me to learn in this process and I know in the end, all the waiting will be worth it.  

So here are the timetables for some of the things listed above.  
  • Medicals should be done this week.
  • Home study is waiting for some background checks that also should come in this week.
  • Posting in China may come as early as Monday but there is no way of knowing that for sure.
  • Pediatrician consult is on Friday.
So, here we are, waiting!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How We Arrived Here

We thought it was time we started to share some of the incredible journey we have been on.  For some of you, you have heard this story or parts of it.  We hope to keep you updated as we continue down this road through this blog.

Many of you know, we are in the process of adopting from China. This has not been a short journey or a quick decision. Let us share with you the short version of the story of how we arrived where we are today.

For about the last five years, we would, from time to time, talk about adoption but that is all the further it got.  

When God called us to a new church about three or four years ago, we didn't know what avenue of service God had for us there.  Some friends of ours, George and Nancy,  were in our small group and  when they were moving to Tennessee, they asked our group to pray about someone to take over their ministry of providing a ride to church for several international students from China.  We knew it was suppose to be us.  We fell in love with Han Ning, Sophie and Angela - all from China.  Since that time, we have met Ping and her family, Mona, Tracy and her family, Lucy and her husband, Bei and her mom, Jasmine, Cecelia, and Katharine.  About half of our friends have finished their studies here and are home in China.  We love the fact that with Skype and email we can easily keep in touch with them.  Through our friendships with these students, we have come to learn much about and appreciate the culture of China. 

At the same time, God was burdening our hearts about the needs of orphans around the world.  So early in 2011, we decided to fill out a preliminary application and attend an informational meeting about international adoptions.  Following the meeting, we also had some time to talk with one of the case workers and get some answers to our questions about adopting.

We felt strongly that this was a path we were to take but also felt it would be wise to seek the advice of a number of friends regarding this decision. We kept hearing, "You guys will be great parents!"  We kept praying, "If this is not your direction for us, please show us clearly that we should not continue down this path."  At the same time, we felt we should do the "next step" in the adoption process.

In April we saw a picture of a little girl from Shanghai who was available for adoption.  We requesting information about her and applied to the agency to be considered for her parents.  A week later we were told we had been selected as her parents!  We were so excited.  And at that point, the long road of paperwork for adoption began.  

Our first hurtle was finding a local adoption agency to do our home study.  The agency through which we are adopting is not licensed in our state so we actually needed two agencies for the process.  We had some trouble finding an agency who would do this for us without making us repeat the required training we already were doing through our primary out of state agency.  But we found one and immediately felt comfortable with our social worker.  We began the home study process.  This process consists of a narrative of our life story and four separate visits with our case worker.  We completed this at the end of June.

We also needed to go to New York City for some adoption training. We found flights that were direct and out of of our small local airport to NY for only $180 each.  When we started looking for hotels, we realized how very expensive they are in NY.  After calling an acquaintance who called a pastor friend in Yonkers, we were graciously offered the use of the "Prophet's Chamber" at the church.  What a blessing!  Thank you Pastor Dierking and Hudsonview Baptist Church for your gracious hospitality!

While in the home study process, we were also gathering many documents that we will need to complete the adoption in China.  Not only are there documents, there are also physicals and references.  Thanks to everyone who has done references for us.  Nothing in your life is private when you are adopting!

Last week we received some news that broke our hearts.  The little girl we had planned to adopt, was no longer available through our agency.  It was a very difficult time for us as we were very much in love with her.  We received this news on Friday.  After searching our hearts and with much prayer, we are convinced God is still calling us down this path but had a fork in the road for us that we had not seen.  So we reviewed a couple of profiles of several other children in need of families and told our agency we were interesting in one of the girls.  

On Sunday morning we went to church as usually, but still with very heavy hearts.  Tom Nebel was the guest speaker and his message was from Acts 1.  He talked about how as Christ was about to ascend and leave the disciples He told them - "Let go of the memory for the sake of the dream."  In other words, the disciples had walked and talked with Christ but He was about to leave but He had another plan for them, the Holy Spirit was coming.  We were so encouraged by this and God used it to confirm in our hearts that we had to let go of the child we already loved as our daughter but that He had another dream for us. 

So, today we are in the process of reviewing a file on another little girl.  We will see a pediatrician this week to review her files.  We are also waiting for her file to be officially posted as available for adoption.  The paperwork is submitted to the government in China for this to happen.  Our prayer request is that this goes quickly and smoothly.  Once she is posted to the list in China, we will be able to submit paperwork to get a provisional approval to be matched with her for adoption.  We hope to have that happen in the the next two to four weeks.

So that is the short version of the story.  Aren't you glad we didn't share the long version?

Several friends have asked - Why Adopt? Why China?  This video really expresses our heart on this matter.