This week we finish up our dossier and a million signatures all needing to be notarized. We send the dossier which includes the home study to AGCI in Portland for their review. Nepal is a very picky program so everything will be
carefully scrutinized to be certain all information matches up. Next AGCI will submit the entire packet to the Ministry of Nepal. Then we wait and wait and wait. We really do not have any idea how quickly this new Nepali process will go. The Ministry of Nepal process' the info and they seek out the child best suited for our family based upon our request. From there we will receive a referral. This will include a picture and whatever background and medical history they have on the child. Then we work with an international pediatrician to rule out any health issues. We will have two weeks to accept or deny the referral. From the acceptance of the referral we will have approximately four weeks before we must travel to pick her up. The in country stay will be 7-10 days while we complete immigration paperwork and obtain a Visa for her to exit Nepal and enter the USA. So that's the process from this point on all subject to change of course :)
What a weekend of adoption chatter. It was so great to again dig into the nitty gritty with Bob about why we are doing this. First of all we do not talk about this journey without admitting to one another that we are terrified of the unknown. Who isn't? After all life is filled with unknowns and it makes us all uncomfortable at times. Both Bob and myself have the moments of looking around in sheer panic as to how we are going to stay patient and capable with one more little person in our midst. We are already just a wee bit busy, active, tapped, tested, etc. The best answer we can give ourselves and others is this. We are more terrified to not see this adoption process through. It may sound silly or strange but we know that we have been lead as a couple and a family to adopt. What started out as a need to have a girl in my world has morphed into so very much more. It is now a calling and a longing to do what God knows we should do. It is a longing to grow our family with a child that would have no love or opportunity if left behind. With great gifts comes tremendous responsibility and we feel very grateful that our hearts are open to the plight of the orphan. There will be bumps and doubts but we ready. Funny thing... it seems that the boys are ready too. Hayden so deeply wants to go to Nepal to see where his sister will be coming from. This weekend he asked Bob if the three passports on the table were mine, Bob's and his. Bob chuckled and Hayden grinned from ear to ear.
This has been one of the best weeks I can recall in a long while.
The kids returned to school after an amazing Christmas break, I returned to a morning routine which generally scares me thanks to Owen, but found myself pleasantly surprised, Bob and I returned to trying to get kids to bed on time (yeah right) and both Bob and I decided to dive back into the adoption paperwork for a final push to get it completed. Do not misunderstand, we have no hesitation about adopting but two things have been going on for me. I have been on the list serv for AGCI receiving all the various emails from the many families enrolled in the Ethiopia program. Many of you may know that Ethiopia pulls hard at my heart strings and the choice between Ethiopia and Nepal was very difficult for us. In any event the Ethiopia program is thriving and moving along rapidly. Many families will leave this month to pick up their children. So I was bummed a bit. I felt a little lost and certainly frustrated that I still we still did not have what we needed to move forward in completing our Nepal paperwork. Secondly, I was overwhelmed every time I opened the giant binder of home study or dossier information. After all, we had decided to take a paperchase break in December, so trying to revisit the scene was challenging. So I explain all this only to get to the good part... My week changed as I continued to ask God for patience and guidance and of course peace about a process I certainly do not control. By Wednesday we had received the very important phone call from the agency outlining all the paperwork needed for Nepal's final dossier requirements. I spoke with the caseworker who manages Nepal and felt so much better about where we currently stand. By yesterday I was finally able to spread everything back out on the floor and number it all so that I could make sense of the documents. I was even able to explain it all to Bob. Whew! Today Bob headed to downtown GR to obtain original birth certificates and I finally requested mine from the Toledo Hospital. Now we need a million passport photos, a few documents from our home study social worker and many items notarized and we are ready to roll. We can actually submit the paperwork to AGCI and they will submit it to the Ministry of Nepal. We are getting closer to knowing who will be joining our family.
Our home study is complete! What a miracle. It feels like a major feat to have made it this far along in the process. Now the agency knows everything there is to know about all five of us. In many respects the process has been easy just tedious and long. With all we do as a busy family, if we can do it anyone can. The boys seem ready to get moving forward. I think the novelty of the idea has worn off and they are wondering what is taking so long. We are partway through the many documents required for the dossier and one of the required documents is the home study. So now we wait to hear from our agency regarding the final word on what the government of Nepal is expecting for the dossier. Then we make many copies, sign our names a zillion times, have everything notarized, ship it to All Gods Children in Portland and wait. The waiting should be short but at this point the Nepal program seems too new to tell.
During our recent visit to Ethiopia I felt very called to the village of Korah in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. There have been numerous rumblings lately about the tremendous need to help the children of Korah who are growing up in and around the local trash dump. The village was established 75 years ago as a place to send people with leprosy who were said to be cursed. Now there is a 3rd generation of people living in Korah with nearly 100,000 suffering from such things as leprosy, HIV, misc disease and of course malnutrition. There are many children of Korah who have been forced to live and work at the trash dump in hopes of finding food and possible items to sell in Korah's center of town. With the start of the Great Hope Church in Korah and the building of a shelter, along with the ministry of local Sammy Liben and Sumer Yates, there is now a feeding program and a sponsorship program in place to rescue the forgotten children of Korah and send them to boarding school where they can escape the horror of the conditions of living and working in a large trash dump. For more information please visit:
www.help4korah.blogspot.com or www.p61.org where you can learn more about how you or your organization can help the people and the children of Korah.
Please send me a message or email Erin Allen at email@example.com to request sponsorship information.
I will soon be posting the photos of my day recently spent in Korah. I must tell you it was life changing and beyond anything I have ever done to stretch, change and rearrange myself. God helped me to help the people who I met. Much of what I could offer was nothing more than the snap of my camera or a warm touch or an inviting smile. The needs in Korah are beyond our wildest imagination yet God is over Korah and there is already amazing work being done. I invite you to view the following videos to learn more about the beauty and the needs of Korah's people.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO SPONSOR A CHILD
You will need to turn off the music below in order to enjoy this video. Go down to playlist and turn it off.
It's a fair question and one that people ask frequently. It goes hand in hand with "Why didn't you guys choose to adopt domestically?" Let me explain...
Ethiopia is deep in the midst of ongoing poverty, disease and famine. Ethiopia is the fourth poorest nation in the world with nearly 5 million orphans struggling every day to survive. Nearly 2 million people are infected with HIV and many children will watch their parents die of the disease. One in every ten children do not make it to their first birthday and one in six die before their fifth birthday. Obviously such statistics are staggering and there is no doubt that the country of Ethiopia has a great need to allow families in who are eligible and willing to rescue and adopt their orphaned children.
This journey for us has taken many winding turns. It is the true nature of adoption and in all honesty it is just something you just get used to. For us adoption began as a two fold feeling of wanting to add another child to our family and also feeling God nudging us to help where the need was the greatest. We began researching the high need category right here in the USA. There are numerous differences between a first world (so to speak) and a third world country. Here in the US we have a foster care system in place where children can be placed until adopted. We do not have the same institutionalized orphanages which are often developmentally detrimental to many children. In many countries there is nothing in place to help the orphaned child but the orphanages. Thank God they exist or children would have absolutely nowhere to survive. It also became increasingly obvious that a birthmother in this country would have to select us and we would have to become increasingly more comfortable with an "open adoption." We were not certain that was the right path for our family so we began the lengthy research into high needs countries where we fit the criteria to adopt a female. Believe it or not with three bio boys we did not fit every countries criteria. This adoption stuff is a bit crazy but you have to follow the laws. :) Nepal and Ethiopia both immediately began to tug at our hearts. We knew that adopting from either country felt right. We began with Nepal but soon realized the it was Ethiopia where we belonged all along. We made a country switch-a-roo and here we are today.
A couple of other tidbits about Ethiopia that made us feel such a strong connection. Ethiopians value and love their children and their families. That is not always the case. Many countries throughout the world place little or no value in children. In fact many countries are totally unwilling to deal with the orphan crisis at all. Ethiopia is one of just a handful of African nations currently to allow the adoption of children. Ethiopia has followed the Hague Adoption Convention and places great importance on the welfare of their children. Ethiopia's government has also acted with integrity so far in complying with timelines and requirements that are reasonable for all parties, agency, adoptive family and the child. This is a good thing as many countries have lengthening timelines or have closed their doors to international adoption altogether.
So Ethiopia has stolen our hearts. Their needs are so great but the passion to live appears to be greater. I am beginning to understand what some say when they say, I need Africa more than Africa needs me. I am feeling that and sometimes I cannot even verbalize why. We need Ethiopia. We need to be stretched and have our hearts broken for the orphan, the widow and the least, lost and lonely. With two trips now ahead we continue to prayerfully ask God to make us vessels. Use us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in places where people and children need us most.
I want to also say that there is no right or wrong when it comes to following you heart into the land of adoption. It's just like anything we do in life. We have all been given the powerful gifts of choices and free will. Adopting a child no matter where he or she is from is a very personal and spiritual journey. If you are being lead to seek adoption for you and or your family- just do it! How can one human being ever regret such an endeavor!
We are a family of five who are feeling the call to add another sweet bundle of joy to our world. Our hearts and our minds are carrying another child who is currently in Ethiopia. She is thousands of miles away yet we know she is meant to round out our family! She has already been chosen for us as we have been chosen for her. We wait with great anticipation, with excitement and prayers. With three boys ages 9, 7 and 5 there is rarely a dull or quiet moment around here and we are all eager to open our hearts to the beautiful little one we will call Ava.
We are following God's lead as we make our way through all the hoops to Ethiopia and back with the daughter and sister of our hearts.
*There are approximately 5 million orphans in a country less than twice the size of the state of Texas.
*Only 24% of households have access to safe drinking water
*One in ten children die before their first birthday.
*In the 1980's one million Ethiopians died of starvation
*Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school; 88% will never attend secondary school
*Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
*Children and family are honored above all else
*Between 60-150 million kids live on the streets
*82% of the population survives on less than 1 dollar a day
*1 in 3 people are HIV+, the average life expectancy is 37
PRODUCT) RED is not a charity, it is simply a business model. You buy (PRODUCT) RED stuff. (Motorola, AmEx, Gap, Armani, Converse, Apple) (PRODUCT) RED gets the money. It then buys the pills and distributes them. Sick people in Africa take the pills, stay alive. And continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities.