a little and a lot

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The General Specific

Look at this picture of two kids in love.
(Wow, Nick needs a haircut, and I need to eat some Twinkies or something.
Ugh, I am such a sloucher...)
It was taken just before AGAPE's HeartLight event in 2005.
We'd been dating for a little under a year.
That night, Nick and I sat in his car and talked about
"when/if" we got married, we would like to pursue adoption.

In 2008, shortly after our 2-year anniversary, we started looking into international adoption. We requested information from various international agencies. We looked over all of the available programs in different countries. I was working for a local adoption support agency, specifically with a program that taught health professionals about domestic infant adoption. While domestic adoption is something that we might pursue in the future, it was unpredictable as to when/if we would be referred an infant. (And we really felt the need to start our family with an infant--we both desired that.) Also, international adoption (while having a more predictable timeline) involved a huge investment of time and money, and we felt very motivated to go through that for our first child. International adoption was a way for us to be at work in the world, to lend our very tiny amount of help to causes that we cared about and hurt for but seemed powerless against. War, famine, and disease seem huge and far away from our wealthy American culture. We wanted to do something more. And we wanted to show the love and care that God had shown us when he adopted us as His sons & daughters.

Does that sound idealistic to you? Because it is. And the reality can be less than ideal. But that is a different post for a different time.

So after some deliberation, Nick and I chose to pursue adoption from Ethiopia. For several reasons:
  • It was the program with specifications and standards that fit most closely with where we "were" in life. (Age limits, length of marriage requirement, wait time, fees)
  • It was a solid program within the international agency we liked.
  • We are interested in the country--the history, the struggles, the culture, and (YUMMM) the food! We want to be able to pass this interest on to our child, to cultivate pride in his/her heritage.
Here's the (VERY) simplified time-line of how things work:
  • Choose country (CHECK!)
  • Choose agency (CHECK!)
  • Save money (CHECK!)
  • Send application to international agency (CHECK!)
  • Complete Home Study with local agency (IN PROCESS)
The US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) will then need to
(1) determine Nick & I are capable of parenting and
(2) decide our child is eligible to be adopted so that
(c) they can expedite a visa issue for our child.
We'll have to do the following for that:
  • Complete a dossier (pronounced "doss-ee-AY," and basically means "a big fat stack of papers procured from many different sources that contain every speck of information about us which are sent to a bunch of different places to get a bunch of different seals") and send with some official government forms to be "approved"
After that:
  • We get put on a waiting list with our international agency
  • We will get a referral for a child and we will (most likely) accept the referral
  • We will file another "official government form" to approve that our child can be adopted
  • That is settled in a court date in Ethiopia, after which we are given a travel date
  • We travel to Ethiopia, do some official business over there, and get to return with Baby Faris!
Whoa, you're probably thinking. We'll have our first child just in time to retire, right? It sounds like a lot (and it is!) but it actually moves (relatively) quickly. We hope to have our dossier completed (or near completed) by the end of 2009. Then, we'll wait for an unknown amount of time (maybe short, maybe long?) and once we receive a referral, we'll most likely get to travel within a couple months. Next summer? Maybe? It seems like a while, but another way of looking at it: If I was pregnant right now, our child would be due at the end of June, right? Not too far off!

For now, we are scrambling all around town, getting letters about our non-criminal history from the Sheriff's office and getting fingerprinted...meeting with our social worker and requesting every legal document containing our name. Getting physicals and bribing enough people who know us to write letters about how we're upstanding citizens worthy of being parents. (Just kidding about the bribing, if anyone official is reading this!) This "first trimester" sure is exhausting! ;)

Life is happening (in addition) as usual...Nick is still looking for a youth ministry job while he finishes his very last class in grad school. We got a dishwasher installed after seven years of washing dishes by hand! We're both working our buns off at our respective jobs. Our dog babies are ready for this rain to stop...and I am too, because it's ruining the beginning of my half marathon training! We just got some artwork that we love for above our couch. The countdown is on for the Starbucks Gingerbread Latte. But you don't want to hear about any of that, do you? I didn't think so. ;)


Tesney said...

Ah, the timeline. Something we adoptive parents all know and love. (Dripping with sarcasm). I mean, can't they just take our word for it that we are not psychopaths. (again, dripping with sarcasm). Hope it moves quickly for you guys.

amber said...

SO exciting, Jesse! I'm adding you to my prayer list. I had a feeling you would go down this road... You and Nick are going to be fantastic parents. What blessings are in store! Big hugs to you!

Julie said...

I am so proud of and love you guys. Thanks for the timeline...I always have those questions so now I won't bug you with them.

And you still need to pack on some Twinkies. I think you should take the adoption process and eat like you would if you were pregnant. I'm just sayin...

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

I love this update. keep em comin! I'm so glad everything is going so smoothly!yall are gonna be great parents. and yes, you did need to eat a twinkie. ;)

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more