Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nothing new to report except the wait is REALLY hard.

Wayne and I know that our INS-171 H was sent to Guatemala and is currently being translated or has been translated. We are now waiting on our case to be accepted into Family Court. Evidently once the case is in Family Court the DNA test will be requested. We were told that we could not go visit until the DNA results are back and that could take a month or so from the time the test is done. Wayne and I had so hoped we would be going to visit Madison in September. We both have birthdays in September and wanted to spend that time with her but it looks like that is out of the question now. We were really discouraged at that news. I know that God's hand is in this and he is in control but when we hear of other families getting to go visit and we can't it is really hard. We so want to see Madison in person and to be able to hold her and tell her we love her. We are still planning on going to visit as soon as they tell us we can and are praying that God willing she will be home before the end of the year. We know that we are so lucky to be as far in this process as we are in just 3 months but knowing that Madison is so far away each night is extremely hard. Please keep us in your prayers. We don't want to get to impatient with God because we know that he will use this time for what he has planned. Please continue to also pray for Madison and all those involved in this adoption.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Official, All paperwork has been turned in!

This morning Wayne went to the mailbox and finally found the long awaited INS 171-H.
We immediately scanned it into the computer and emailed it to the adoption agency. I then called the agency and talked with Jen. She opened up her email and was as excited as we were to see that we had received the 171-H. She told us that she would open up the email and send the form to the attorney in Guatemala. We can finally say that we are OFFICIALLY in the waiting stage. The next step will be for our attorney to request the DNA test. He can also file for our case to go to family court in Guatemala. We are hoping that both of these are done within the next few days. I have spent a lot of time today thinking about the adoption process and how if this was a pregnancy some of the excitement would be with each ultra sound. Well with adoption some of the excitement is with each bit of information you receive in the mail. We don't usually see our mail lady so she has no idea how important today was or probably even how important what she delivered was to us. Today was our USPS "ultrasound" excitement. Now we can't wait to feel the "kicks" (DNA results, enter court, exit court, etc).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We have an update with more pictures

First I will tell you about the update. Yesterday I received a call from Missy, our adoption coordinator, and she informed me that DSS had lost a letter that immigration needed before they could process our INS-171H. The letter is one that Wayne wrote as part of our Dossier paperwork and was turned in with everything else. Missy told me that they had already sent two copies to DSS and both were evidently lost. They needed me to hand carry the letter to the DSS office to guarantee that it did not get lost this time. So yesterday off I went to get the letter and hand deliver it to the DSS worker. Except when I got to the office I ended up having to leave the letter with the security guard at the door. Needless to say I was a little bit worried that it would get lost again. This morning I called our adoption agency and verified that DSS did receive the letter and that they have already forwarded it on to the immigration office. Which means that as soon as they receive the letter they should be getting our INS-171H sent out to us and we can move forward with the adoption.

Now here is the update on Madison. She is currently almost 4 months old (turns 4 months on July 20). Her medical report basically stated that she was in good health and playful. She weighs 13 lbs 13 oz and is about 23 inches long.
And I must add that she is the most beautiful baby ever! We can't wait to get our hands on her.

Don't you just LOVE her facial expressions!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Here is a ton of information!

Ok, Since we have received numerous questions about the adoption process such as why the wait, why does it take the government so long, etc. I decided to list the steps we will be going through as well as try to explain them the best I can. We are still learning this process as well but hopefully this will help.

1.We are currently waiting for our INS-171H form from the Immigration office. This form basically tells us that the US Government approves us to adopt a child from another country and is required before we can go any further in the process.

2. Once we receive the INS form (letter) we will immediately scan it into our computer and email it to our adoption agency so that they can immediately send it to the attorney in Guatemala. We will put the original form in a safe place because we will have to take it with us when we go to bring Madison home.

3. Our attorney will request DNA testing to be done (which is required by the US Embassy for all adoptions). We will pay for the DNA testing to be done on both the birthmother and Madison as a precaution that she indeed has the right to put Madison up for adoption. Once the testing is completed the results will be sent to the US Embassy as well as to us.

4. Our attorney will submit our case to the Family Court. This can be done at the same time as the DNA test and we are hoping that is the case in our process. (It could only make it a little bit faster) Once our case is in family court the court will assign a Social worker to review our case. The social worker will read over all of our paperwork (that has already been translated), meet with the birthmother, and visit Madison. It is my understanding that the meeting with the birthmother is required under Guatemalan law and it is during this process that the birthmother signs off on the adoption for the final time. (Yes I know it sounds crazy that we can get so far into the process and still have to have the birthmother sign off but that is what the government requires so that is what we have to do.)
Once all of this is completed the social worker will then write a report recommending that the adoption proceed.

5. At this point our case will leave family court and enter PGN (Procuraduria General De La Nacion). This is where a PGN reviewer will go over everything that has been submitted in regards to the adoption - our paperwork, the DNA test, US Embassy pre-approval, social workers recommendation, etc. They will review everything to make sure all requirements under Guatemalan law are met. Once everything is reviewed they will sign off on the adoption and forward it on for final approval. Once the final approval is received our case will leave PGN.
When our case leaves PGN we will officially be Madison's parents.

6. At this time the attorney will apply for Madison's new birth certificate. The new birth certificate will contain Madison's first and middle names (as given at birth) and our last name. We cannot change her name as part of the Guatemalan adoption process. We will have to wait until we are back in the United States to change her name to Madison. Once the new birth certificate is received the attorney will apply for Madison's Guatemalan passport. (which she has to have to leave the country as well as enter the US)

7. The attorney will then submit everything to the US Embassy for our "pink slip" which is our invitation for us to go to the US Embassy for a final review (this is when we will finally get to go to Guatemala). Once the "pink slip" is issued Madison will be taken to an Embassy approved physician for one final examination. It is during this process that her visa will be issued and we will then be legally able to bring her home forever.

It is our understanding that this process,from the time we receive our INS-171H letter to us traveling, could be anywhere from 4 - 6 months. We have already been very blessed to be this far in the process after only 2 1/2 months. We have now entered the part that is the hardest -The WAITING period! Please keep us and the process in your prayers. We trust that God is in control and his timing is everything so we just have to trust in him.

One last note, we have postponed our yard sale to sometime in August.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One letter down, one to go...

Well today the long awaited letter from DSS finally arrived. We have been waiting on this letter for several weeks now. I have gotten used to going to the mailbox and not finding anything but bills and junk mail so when I went today I almost overlooked the letter. I had to look at it twice before I realized that it was from DSS. This is a letter from South Carolina's Department of Social Services that states we are approved by South Carolina to adopt Madison. We are now waiting on the approval letter from Immigration. I have been told that typically it takes about 2 weeks to get the letter from Immigration after the DSS letter has arrived, but I am not holding my breath. This letter just puts us one step closer to the time when we will get to bring her home. In the mean time we are working on getting her room ready. We ended up having to do some repair work to a wall in her room which has postponed us from painting but hopefully I will be able to get started painting next week. I am also in the process of getting things together for a yard sale to help raise money for the adoption. I am not a yard sale person (I don't do mornings) but this is something I felt led to do so we are having a yard sale on July 21.
Below you will see some pictures of the "ziploc of love" care package we sent to Madison. We were able to send a small package with someone who is going down tomorrow to pick up her two little girls. She was gracious enough to save room in her luggage for several families to send the "ziploc of love" care packages. We were only allowed to send items in the ziploc bag due to someone hand carrying the packages. I am just grateful we were allowed to send her something. I know she is really small and won't even really know who the package is from but Wayne and I will know as well as her Foster Mother. We sent some photo books with pictures of the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Again she is too small to really look at them but we are hoping that the Foster Mother will look at them and show them to her. I wrote the name of each person in Spanish and English so that there would be no question as to who each person was. For example, Wayne and I are listed as Papa, Mama, and Daddy and Mommy.