Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moving Forward

For most of today I went through the motions with a nagging ball of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. We were expecting one last piece of paper that would be the final piece needed for our dossier to be complete. I can tell you that when I saw that envelope in our mailbox and called Trey at work to let him know it had arrived, it was like telling him that labor pains had started.

A quick text back from him stated that he would be leaving his office in 15 minutes and would be coming home. We knew we had to run a fine toothed comb through everything to make sure this growing mass of paperwork was absolutely perfect before it was sent. As I went through the papers for what had to be 53rd time, there were a few questions that popped up. What if the notary seal wasn't prominent enough on one page? Did the copies of our last three years' income tax returns need signatures on every page? Did our case worker have a page that was missing? Did we need to sign that?

Four hours after my initial call to Trey all our questions were answered and 3 additional copies of the dossier were made. After taking a couple of pictures of what had wrapped up the last five months of our lives, Trey bolted to the post office. And it was done. Sent. In the hands of the Bethany office, and ultimately the hands of the Philippines agency.

We do not know how long we will wait before we get a referral. We have been told that it could be between six to twelve months before a match is made. We have also been told that referrals involving sibling groups happen more quickly. I would love for this to be the case.

As soon as the packet was in the mail, I felt the pit in my stomach slowly ease away. I could suddenly think about something other than the the pile of dishes in my sink! And for those of you who are interested in what the dossier included, here's the short list:
  • marriage license
  • birth certificates for both of us
  • 8-12 pictures of our family and house
  • psychological evaluations for both of us (this was a 3-month process by itself!)
  • police clearance for both of us
  • clearance through the Department of Homeland Security (about a 2 1/2 month process)
  • autobiographies for both of us (mine was 22 pages!)
  • copies of last three years' tax returns
  • Risks of international adoption--four pages detailing what could go wrong along the way. You sign it saying that the agency won't be blamed if these things occur
  • 3 reference letters from friends
  • 1 reference letter from church
  • 2 reference letters from both of Trey's jobs
  • medical evaluations (about a month of tests, shots, interviews)
  • checklist of special needs you will consider
  • personal information sheet (4 pages long, and by this point, I'm pretty sure they have all the answers anyway)
  • guardianship letter from those we have chosen to take care of our children should both of us die
  • Adoption services contract
Every piece of paper had to be notarized in the proper way and sent to us unfolded. It's no wonder it's all we talked about for the greater part of this past summer!
Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us and with us. Thank you to those who have provided letters and who have watched our children so we could drive many miles to get things signed and notarized. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have reached this milestone!!!