Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekly Update #?

Ok, I know I said I'd do a weekly update, but with 4 littles, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, and all the adoption stuff to keep up with, time is a precious commodity around here. So here is a quick overview of what's been going on in the Rector family.

We're all (except Richard) sick with a nasty cold and my voice has been pretty much gone. Being voiceless has made for some interesting times while trying to keep our home running smoothly and trying to home school: ) My son has to cough after every third word he reads and my daughter is constantly having to run to the bathroom with a runny nose so all that translates into an extra long session of school lessons. I guess it's just that time of year, but it does seem like we've been sick more this season which probably has something to do with all the sugar we've eaten between Thanksgiving and Christmas and January and... well, you get the point. We've not been very disciplined about staying away from not-so-healthy foods, but are starting to get better since we want to be done with all this sickness! I just received our Vitacost order in the mail and I'm looking forward to getting our herbal tinctures in us on a more regular basis to get our immune systems up to par.

I found out yesterday that our dossier will not be submitted this week as the govt of E's country of birth has decided to wait for the first full week in February to start accepting dossier submissions. Dossiers for children under 5 can only be submitted on a certain day of the week so that means our team should be submitting it next week, Lord-willing. Although this may seem minor to some, this means one more week she's in the orphanage. Every day she spends there is a day without her here in our family and we're hoping there aren't too many more of those!

On a more positive note, Richard and I are learning the language so we can at least be able to read labels and signs while we're over there. This has been fun for me as I enjoy learning foreign languages and it seems to come somewhat easily so when we get over there I will let you know how it's going on that end!

We have to bring a photo book with us to show the judge and any other govt officials that want to see where our baby girl will be calling home. Most families seem to have theirs done by now or at least close to it and we haven't even started. So, my plan this weekend is to work on getting a snapshot of our life together. Shouldn't be too hard, right?

Richard has started planting some seedlings for our garden and we are looking forward to a (hopefully) bountiful supply of our favorite veggies and a few fruits. He is the gardener in our family, and he enjoys teaching the children about how our food grows and having them work the ground with him. The kids are fascinated how a seed can become food that we eat. I'm thankful for the work and time he has put into our garden and hope he will be greatly rewarded with lots of yummy produce this year!

Well, that's a bit of what's been going on with our family! Please pray that our dossier will be submitted AND accepted next week. After that, we wait for a travel date!! I'm also working on getting an email sent out about our garage sale to raise funds for our adoption expenses as well as raise awareness about these precious children.

Pray that God will open eyes and hearts to the world of orphans here and around the world and Christians will start praying about how they can carry out the biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!

As I write this, our final docs for our dossier are en route to E's birth country!! My mother-in-law, my kiddos, and I drove to the capital today to get the last docs apostilled and I mailed them off this afternoon.

Lord-willing, our package will be in our facilitator's hands on Wednesday. We are really hoping to have our dossier submitted in the next couple of weeks and have a travel date a few weeks after that. I can't believe we are done compiling our dossier and are getting closer to holding our baby girl for the first time!! We are so thankful to have this step done!

Please pray for safe delivery of our docs that are en route and for quick translation! Also, continue to pray for our baby girl and our family as we wait. Thank you all for your support and prayers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Golden Ticket!!

I started on a weekly update for Monday then time got away from me, and I didn't end up completing it. So...I hope this makes up for my lack of posting lately: )


This means that our COMPLETE dossier should be in our facilitator's hands by the middle of next week!! We actually received our approval on Monday, but just found out today when I called to check the status of our case. I should receive the golden ticket in the mail tomorrow. It looks like we'll be making a trip to the capital to get this and one other document apostilled and get them sent over to E's country. When the lady on the phone told me, I was literally speechless (if you know me in person, this is a rarity for sure, lol) and she had to repeat it! We are so thankful to God for this blessing and are continually in awe of His provision for these children and their forever families since our journey started!

The next step is to get these docs over to her country of birth and wait for a travel date!! We're hoping for March, but we'll see what the Lord's timing is for our trip. We are so excited to meet her, snuggle her, and love on her!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Good and Not-So-Good News...

So I have good news and well, not-so-good news.

I'll share the good news first. Our dossier has been delivered to our facilitator in E's country!! We are very thankful to have this huge step done and can't wait until it's translated and ready to be submitted.

Now for the other news. Shortly after I posted our update yesterday, I received a call from our senator's office. USCIS denied our expedite request. Basically that means that our approval will not be expedited and we'll have to wait for the normal processing time it takes which is usually 2-2.5 months from time of submission. We're currently at about 5 weeks since submission so hopefully soon we'll get our approval even without it being expedited! I know God's timing is perfect, but I have to admit I was disappointed to hear this. We're clinging to His sovereignty and the fact that no man can thwart God's plan. So even though this is bad news to us, God is not surprised nor does this "mess up" His timeline. We are continuing to pray for this approval and trusting Him since we can't see the big picture. Please pray that our faith would be strengthened during this time and for our baby girl's safety while we wait!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekly Update #1

I've decided to do a weekly update to keep everyone in the loop with Elizabeth's adoption. So here it is...

-I spoke with our senator's office and sent in a medical necessity letter signed by our doctor to be forwarded on to USCIS in hopes for an expedited approval. I also left a message with a supervisor at immigration (USICS) to find out if they are going to expedite our case for medical necessity. Hopefully, I'll get a call back from him soon! I figured I'd try on my own and try to get help from our senators. The senator's office said it may take a few days to hear back since our request goes through 2-3 people before an approval can be expedited. *Please be praying for favor with those who are deciding on our case and for an expedited approval!*

-We sent our dossier off as you will remember from this post. I checked the tracking and it is in the destination city, but hasn't been delivered to our facilitator yet since today is a holiday over there. *Please pray for safe delivery and quick translation!*

-It's very hard for us to know our baby girl is waiting, each day lying in a bed for hours on end, without the kisses and cuddles we long to give her, not knowing what it means to be loved by a family. It breaks my heart to know that even if these children have good nannies who care about them, there isn't enough of them to love on each child in the orphanage. Most of these children are only held to be fed and changed, there are just too many of them for any other contact to occur. More than just physical love, these children need the hope of the gospel as we all do! To be taught who Jesus is and what his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection means for us as sinners. *Please pray that God will move hearts to action and families will step forward to answer the call of adoption that is so desperately needed for these children! Pray for us to patiently trust His timing as we wait for the day we get to walk out with our baby girl and go home! We're looking forward to that day with great anticipation: )*

-One thing we've been told by many adoptive families is not to worry about the money, God will provide! I believe it as I've already seen our great God provide for adoptive families in awesome ways! We're hoping to do a garage sale in late February so I'm going to be sending out an email to some family and friends to see if anyone has anything they're getting rid of/donating. Hopefully it will be successful in raising some funds and help spread the word about these precious children waiting for families. *Please continue to pray for the financial aspect of our journey that we would patiently trust His timing as we work to raise the money to bring Elizabeth home!*

Well, that's it for now. I will definitely post an update when we know more about our USCIS case and dossier delivery! Thank you for joining us and praying for us on this exciting and sometimes crazy journey to bring Elizabeth home!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Out of Our Hands

It is officially (and literally) out of our hands. Our dossier is en route to the country where our little Elizabeth is right now! After all of the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into getting that paperwork done, it was extremely difficult to let it go and hand it over to the teenage girl behind the counter who kept having to call her manager to make sure she was doing the shipping label correctly:/ *Sigh*

Anyhow, I know that our sovereign God is in control and I'm not going to fret over it. It's not worrying to check the tracking updates every 30 minutes, right? Right?! I will definitely feel a huge sense of relief when I know our dossier is in the facilitator's hands, though. Hopefully there will be a post in a few days rejoicing over a safe arrival of our package!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

No More Moisture Gloves!!

I'm so happy, I feel like singing...but I won't 'cause you really don't want to hear it: ) I called the USCIS adoption hotline and asked (for the 97th time) if we had a case worker and she said no. I then asked if there was someone who I could email or call to find out if I needed to redo my fingerprints as I was told mine were "iffy" and she then asked me when I had them done. I told her the date and after a few seconds she said these wonderful words, "Laura, you're fingerprints are good, there's no need to get them redone." Music to my ears!! As soon as I hung up the phone, I jumped up and down with sheer elation.

So, thank you to those who are praying for us and our precious baby girl each step of the way. The last step before submitting our complete dossier is USCIS approval. Please continue to pray for our case worker.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Update

Happy New Year! 2011 was a whirlwind of a year, it feels like we just celebrated the 2011 New Year and here we are in 2012. The past year was filled with many blessings as we bought our house and moved in earlier in the year, spent time with family and friends, celebrated our children's birthdays, hubby took me on a getaway, and we found our baby girl in Eastern Europe and started on this journey to bring her home. We are thankful for all that God has done and is doing in our family!

We've had many people asking us where we're at in the process so I wanted to give everyone an update and ask you to pray for some specific things. So here it goes...

-Last week we took our fingerprint appt letters to our local USCIS office and prayed they would let us walk in ahead of our date. Our date is scheduled for January 12th, but some friends of ours who have adopted told us the office allows walk ins so we decided to try hoping this would speed up our USCIS approval. Everyone in the office was very kind and we were able to get them done. My skin gets very dry in the winter so 4 of my 10 fingers didn't show up well. The lady doing the prints explained that I may be asked to do it again. Please pray that my prints will be accepted so we won't be delayed any further.

-I've called USCIS multiple times to ask if my prints have been accepted or rejected and told each time that we don't have a case worker assigned to us yet. The case worker will decide if I need to redo them. Please pray that we will have someone assigned to us very soon so we can get our approval ASAP!

-We traveled to our capital city to have our dossier docs apostilled last week. They are done and we should be sending the dossier (minus USCIS approval form) over today!! Please pray it will arrive safely and our facilitators will get it translated with ease!

Overall, we're praying for USCIS approval quickly so we can have our complete dossier in our facilitator's hands ASAP as they still have to translate it and submit it for pre-approval before it can be fully submitted. We're hoping it can be logged in with the country's govt by the beginning of February. Even though that seems unlikely at this point, we know our God is so much bigger than this process and can do what seems impossible!

Please pray for us as we wait to patiently trust in Him - this process is definitely testing us and we want to glorify God each step of the way! We know He loves our daughter more than we ever could and His timing his perfect even when we don't understand it. Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers, they are precious to us!