The Garrisons

Follow our journey on adoption #3 for child #8!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How Goes It?

Our adoption process is coming along (I guess?) as we expected. Since our hard news in February about not being able to proceed with the adoption of a certain little girl, it has slowed a bit....or at least it feels like it. Our agency has told us that we should expect to wait until August (once we've been home with Elijah for a year) to submit our dossier. We may ask for an exception, but we aren't expecting it to be granted. I guess we're not really in a hurry for anything, anyway.

We are patiently(?) waiting to receive our appointment from immigration to go to Indy and have our fingerprints taken. We have had all of our homestudy appointments and are waiting for the homestudy to be completed. In the meantime, we are slowly working on compiling the many documents that will be included in our dossier. I would say we are about half done with that. I have to say, I am much more relaxed this second time around and I guess it alleviates some stress knowing that we can't really do much until August anyway.

When August comes, our paperwork will be sent to Ethiopia and we will be officially put on the wait list. We are prayerfully considering what our specific request in terms of age range will be. By the time we receive a referral, Elijah will be 2. Our agency has a rule about wanting the referred child to have at least a 12 month age difference from the children already in your home. That leaves us with the choices of 0-12 months and any child above 3 years old. We do not have a gender preference, so we will probably leave it open and ask for a referral of a child 0-12 months or 3-5 years. We know this probably means receiving a referral for an older child, but we are kind of excited about that. We want to leave it in God's hands and be open to whatever He has for us.

We do not know what our wait time for a referral will be once our dossier is sent in August....infant boy referrals are currently at a wait time of 4-6 months and toddler referrals are somewhat unpredictable. Our family coordinator told us to expect about the same time frame as an infant referral and know that there is a possibility it could be sooner. So, who knows?

I guess there really isn't much information in all of this, but that's where we are....waiting to wait. We are plenty busy around here, so I'm sure it will go quickly!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Biggest Boy!

My biggest boy is having a birthday! Hayden turns 13 on Friday - hard to believe! He is such a blessing to us and we are so proud of him.

Many people who know us now don't realize that he had a bit of a rocky start 13 years ago. Hayden was born at a whopping 2 lbs. 10 oz. and was 10 weeks early. He was a twin, and his identical twin, Nathanael, passed away before birth. It was a crazy time of having an 11 month old at home (yes, you read that right - Haley was not quite 11 months old when they were born), celebrating that Hayden had been born, being worried for his health and future, and grieving for Nathanael. I had no idea what to feel at any given moment. Hayden stayed in the NICU for 37 days and had what would be considered a pretty uneventful hospital stay. (I would NOT have said that at the time, but the Drs. who deal with it every day did!) He came home at 4 lbs. 4 oz. on April 26, Haley's first birthday.

Since a young age, Hayden has always been a tender-hearted, caring boy. He loved to pray even as a little guy, and I have always felt like God spared His life because He has a plan for him. When he was about five, he would evangelize the kids in the neighborhood, and tell them the story of Jesus. One day I looked over as he was shaking a little playmate by the shoulders and saying, "Do you believe, Max, do you believe?" Sweet boy just wanted everyone to know Jesus.

This boy loves all things basketball - loves to play, loves to watch, loves to talk about it, and knows more statistics than I can wrap my brain around. If he could remember to put away his clean clothes like he could remember b-ball stats, we'd be in business! He is in heaven during March Madness, although disappointed that his Illini didn't make it in the NCAA this year. :( Basketball is definitely his favorite, but he will watch any team, any sport, anytime.

We are proud of the young man Hayden is becoming. He's responsible, funny, hard working, and smart. He maintains that sweet spirit he had as a young boy.....this year his #1 request for a birthday present was to donate money towards an organization that will help someone learn how to teach the Bible. He told me it was because he knew that the most important thing someone could do in their life was accept Jesus as their Savior.

I love this kid - Happy Birthday, Hayden!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Agency Update

We had a conference call with our agency, America World, today. We were able to get a bit more information about what is going on. It doesn't necessarily answer all of our questions about how this will all work out, but it was good to hear.

First, let me start by saying I love our agency. They do such a good job in giving good information, but only what they know is true. There is no speculating or emotional response with them.....which is so important since most of us are plenty emotional without their help! :) They are encouraging and tell us often that they are praying for each one of us - I couldn't recommend them more.

In a nutshell, here is what we learned:
Both parents are now required to travel for their children's court date. The biggest reason for this change is that sometimes parents were traveling to Ethiopia (after they'd passed court) and finding their child to be different than what they expected....more medical issues, developmental delays, etc. Apparently, some families chose to leave that child behind and come home without them. Here is the big problem: Ethiopian adoption is a fully irrevocable process. That means, in their country, there is no undoing it, which is really bad for these kids left behind. They are now stuck without hope of ever being matched with a new family. So, now we will travel to Ethiopia a few days before our court date and spend time with our child. Then, we will go to court to testify of our desire to adopt our child(ren). Honestly, it makes sense. I remember when our agency went to court for Elijah (on our behalf), it did feel a little weird that this child we had never seen or held was now legally ours by his country. I wasn't having doubts, but the process of that felt a little strange.

So, we will travel anywhere from 2-8 weeks after our referral to meet our child, go to court and then return home. (BOO for this part!!) We then wait for the Embassy to do the paperwork and investigating they need to do and will return to ET 8-12 weeks after our court date to bring our child home.....could be a little sooner. No one knows how this process will change over the coming months (it probably will!), but this is the current plan.....not that there is ever a consistent plan with international adoption....the only consistent thing about the whole thing is change!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane.......twice!

Ethiopian adoption is definitely experiencing some changes....we were informed of the biggest one so far today by our agency. Now, when you adopt from ET, you must make TWO trips to Ethiopia in order to do so. I am unsure of the reason for the change, but we have a conference call with our agency tomorrow and I'm sure we'll learn more. Some have wondered if it is an effort to combat any suspicion of corruption in Ethiopian adoption, and others say it is because some families have passed court and then never traveled to bring their children home. (HUH??? People DO that??) In any case, it doesn't matter is what it is.

Honestly, if we didn't have 4 other kids (one of them being a very young child who was adopted himself), and money were no object, I wouldn't really mind going twice. I enjoyed the travel and the time in Ethiopia. However, life has obligations and we (unfortunately) have financial limitations, so the two trip rule is a bit of a bummer. We are very fortunate, though, to have very helpful grandparents nearby (did you hear that, Mom??:) who I am sure will step into help us with the kids when it's time, and we know that God will somehow provide what we need.
It's funny, I had really fought against the idea of sending a letter to family and friends letting them know about financial need this time......well, guess what? I am going to have to take a very big gulp of my own pride and probably do it anyway! (gulp)

My biggest fear with the two trip deal is that it will sway people from adopting from Ethiopia.....and that is the real tragedy. After seeing the country and it's kids, I am sad to think of the families who will choose to go another route because it's easier. It's certainly not right or wrong to adopt from any certain country (they all need homes!), but I am heartbroken to think of children who will stay in orphanages in Ethiopia because the process just got a little harder.

I am SO thankful that I have the benefit of knowing how worth it it all is! I was talking with another adoptive friend this afternoon and we both agreed - we would go to Ethiopia five, or even ten times, if it meant bringing our children home! They are worth it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Daddy Daughter Dance

Well, the fund raising for our second adoption has begun and we are excited to offer this event we think many families will enjoy! We are hosting a Daddy Daughter Dance 0n April 24. It will held in the youth building (Oasis) at our church, First Christian.
Tickets are available for a minimum donation of $25 per daddy/daughter couple and $5 for each additional daughter. The night will include cupcakes, nail painting, photos, dancing, door prizes, and a Princess Boutique where we will sell tiaras, tutus, ribbon halos, and fairy wands. (Items b/t $3-10) They are darling! Details can be found in the image above.You will also see that a local boutique has been very generous and offered to give the proceeds of fancy dresses sold for this event towards our adoption fund - aren't they cute!?! They are only $59 and would be great for Easter, too! If you would like to purchase tickets, please contact me directly or use the donate button below, indicate who you are purchasing tickets for, and I'll be glad to get them to you. Donations from those who cannot attend are, of course, welcome. Thanks for your support!