It has been a while since there was an adoption update, largely because there has been nothing (or not much) to update. This home study process has proven to be a complete labor of love. On April 7th we'll have been at this process for nine months. Nine months. And we still do not have a complete home study. Why is it taking so long? I've asked myself this question many times. Part of it is us...we are moving slow, taking our time getting through some of the requirements, and allowed ourselves to get heavily bogged down with some of the "harder to complete" items on the list. Part of it is that our agency requires a lot from us. I don't dislike our agency because of it. I still feel one hundred percent certain this is the agency God would have us use and I would encourage anyone to use them (though I would caution them that the agency estimate of 3-4 months for home study completion might be a little off). We love them, we love our social worker, and we know that all the tedious and redundant hoops they are asking us to jump through are solely for the benefit and protection of our family. We will be prepared. Eyes wide open. As prepared as you can be. As prepared as an expectant mother feels for her first experience with labor and child birth. The fact that this has taken us what will end up being a little over nine months seems so significant to me and explains a lot about my current level of baby lust and eagerness to get this little person home and pulling on my pant leg. Nine months would be your typical length of pregnancy. At the end of all this I will not get the joy of pushing and delivering a sweet child into my arms, but oh, the joy and elation I will feel when I pick up that home study hot off the press and get to begin gathering the documents for our dossier! We'll be so many steps closer to truly being paper pregnant!
I will not lie. I have floundered through this process. I've wanted adoption to consume when really, right now, adoption needs to fit in. We have three other children. We won't get these days back with them. So the nights spent snuggling a little person rather than watching an education video are so, so important. We can't live looking for tomorrow. We have what God has given us right now. So that means adoption stuff is slow. There is nothing wrong with slow--if that is what God wants for you. He allowed the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for forty years after he delivered them out of Egypt. Could He have plucked them from Egypt and neatly placed them into His promised land flowing with milk and honey? You betcha. Did He? Nope! He had a plan. Why did He do this? Deuteronomy 8:2 says, "And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not." God used this time to test and prove their faith in Him. I think this home study process has been much the same for me. It is testing ground. Where does my faith stand? In my own ability to chase down a document with lightning speed, getting all necessary signatures in record time? Or does it stand in Him, on His promise to deliver us through this and provide for us according to His wishes for us? There are certainly days that it is ever so evident to me that God is working in and through this adoption process and then there are certainly days that I like to puff out my chest in pride and foolishly think I can accomplish what He has called us to do. Without his direction I am hopelessly lost. I identify with the Israelites here. I feel as though this home study has been our time in the wilderness and now, here we stand, on the precipice of the Promised Land. We are about to enter the next phase of what He has promised to us. Deuteronomy 8 further tells us in verses 6 through 10, "So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs...and you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." I pray that I will remember God is the one who brought us through the home study process and God is providing us with the blessing of being able to complete each and every step of the process.
So what does all this boil down to? Where are we? So close I can taste it! So close I get butterflies of excitement just thinking about it! We have about 4 more videos to watch (about 40 minutes each and we're trying to do about 3 a week, so we should have those done by next week-ish), a workbook to complete with the videos (which we are trying to complete as we watch, so it should be done when the videos are done!!), a financial form to fill out, adult physicals to complete (mine is on April 7 and we need to schedule Chris'--they need to happen at the VERY end of things due to time requirements on signatures), one form from Chris' new employer, one more interview with our social worker, and another form for the guardians of our children should something happen to us. That. Is. It! Seriously, I look at all we've had to do and it is daunting and totally overwhelming, but God has been so good to just slowly move us through, biting off one small chunk at a time. Lord willing, we will have a complete home study by late April or early May! Next, we'll move on to the dossier and immigration application along with applying for grants to help us fund the adoption. I'll write more about those things once we get in the thick of it.
So, what can you do right now? Pray! Pray God will clear our schedules and minds to complete these videos and workbooks. Pray God would supply quick, easy, complete and accurate physicals with doctors dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" so we don't have to fight to get those documents done correctly. Pray we would find a notary locally that we can utilize easily (and free would be every so wonderful, too!)--sooooo many documents need to be notarized now and we really need this to be something we can accomplish easily. Chris is starting a new job and can't take off random afternoons frequently for getting items notarized. Pray our social worker would have clarity of mind and heart as she writes our home study and that it will be a true and accurate depiction of our family. Pray that in this we will never lose sight of all the mountains God has already moved and will continue to move on our behalf to bring our daughter home.
To those of you who have so sacrificially asked how you can help us financially; the time is rapidly approaching for you to be able to give and receive a tax deduction! Once our home study is complete, our agency will set up a fund where you can mail your gifts directly to them and they will issue you the tax documents you need. I will be sure to add a post with all of those details once they are made available to us. We will have another large agency fee due upon the completion of our home study and another fee once we submit our documents to US immigration, so pray those funds will be readily available when the time comes.
We are so thankful to everyone who has come alongside us through this process. From the ones asking how to give (or those who have already given!), all of you praying, and down to the tender hearted friend who sweetly places me in the category of her "expectant mama" friends, thank you. You give us encouragement and stamina to press on.
Pressing onward toward the goal with so much eagerness and anticipation!