This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Praying for our Children II

Maybe I shouldn't need so many gimmicks to remind me to pray for my children, but here's another one I ran across.  I think it helps to have a specific focus for the day.  Hopefully it will keep me from praying selfish little prayers like, "When, Lord?"  

Monday = Mate
Tuesday = Talents
Wednesday=  Wisdom
Thursday = Trust
Friday = Faith
Saturday = Salvation 
Sunday = Sanctification

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Well 90 days have come and gone and I'm told by a lovely gentleman at the Hague Adoption Convention customer service center that we're "one of the next several dozen cases to be looked at by an officer."  While this information was somewhat less that helpful, the 800 number I called to get this tidbit of pseudoinformation has real live people on the other end and they are quite willing to help in any way they can.  If you call the general USCIS customer service number, you get someone who tells you that if your application is less than 180 days old, they can't look at your file.  They also tell you that the only ones who can tell you about your case are the people at the field office your application was submitted to--and no, they don't have the field office's phone number, and the number listed on the field office's website is the same one that can't tell you anything unless you call the field office.  

The USCIS Hague Adoption customer service number, on the other hand, is answered by  people who are perfectly willing to look at one's file and answer as many questions as you can throw at them.  In case anyone who reads this is adopting internationally and is waiting for USCIS approval, this contact information has been very helpful: or 1-877-424-8374.  They service anyone who has filed an I-800 or I-800A.  I found it here, on the USCIS website under the "adoptions" heading. 

In the meantime, I guess we're still waiting.  Maybe before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Praying for our Children

Since I started blogging, I've become quite an avid blog-reader.  I have 45 blogs on my Google blog reader and I check up on them every day.  Some are friends near and far, some are businesses or entertainment blogs, some are bloggers with similar interests, and many are adoption stories.  My darling husband noticed my habit getting a little too consuming and issued me a challenge to put God first by not allowing myself to spend time in my blogs until I've spent time in the Word.  (A wise, wise man is my husband.)  I decided to take him up on it, and I've got to say that it's been just the right combination of motivation, habit and scheduling.  

Well, in the midst of this new shift of priorities, I read Bring The Rain and discovered another great way to nurture the habit of focusing my life on Christ.  They're calling it 7x7 Prayers.  

Since I don't know when my children are waking, dressing, eating, coming and going, bathing, going to bed and sleeping, we've decided to pray these scripture-based prayers for our kiddos as we are doing each of the daily tasks around which they are centered.  Starting today.

1.  When they wake up: "Let the morning bring (child's name) word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You.  Show (her/him) the way (she/he) should go, for to you (he/she) lifts up her soul." (Adapted from Psalm 143:8)

2. When they are getting dressed: "Therefore, as God's chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Lord, help (him/her) bear with others and forgive whatever grievances (he/she) has against others.  Help (him/her) forgive as the Lord forgave (him/her).  And over all these virtues, help (him/her) put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Adapted from Colossians 3:12-14)

3. While they are eating: "Teach (child's name) the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Teach (him/her) that (he/she) can do everything through him who gives (him/her) strength." (Adapted from Philippians 4:12-13)

4.  When they go out of the house: "(Name of child), do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Adapted from Romans 12:2)

5.  While they are taking a bathLord, give (name of child)  clean hands and a pure heart, and let (him/her) not lift (his/her) soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Let (him/her) receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God (his/her) Savior.  Let (him/her) be part of the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (Adapted from Psalm 24:4-6)

6.  When they are going to bed:  "The Lord Your God is with you; he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, be will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

7.  While they are sleeping:  "I pray that (name of child) will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/sheshines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life-in order that he/she may boast on the day of Christ that he/she did not run or labor for nothing." (Adapted from Philippians 2:14-16)

The countdown

I've told myself from the very beginning of this process that countdowns were dangerous and could only serve to distract me from what's real and eternal and to disappoint me when (not if) things don't go as planned.  I've been thankful many times that my heart has not been tied up in expectations and timelines and I think God has planted such a hope in our hearts that we continue to be confident in His plan for our family and positive about the outcome of this long adoption process.

Even so, you've read the title of this post, and you're wondering what the countdown could possibly be all about.  I'm allowing myself this one countdown indulgence.  The processing time for USCIS to approve I-800 applications is 90 days.  One friendly gentleman at their customer service center said it's usually 75 to 90 days.  While I'm still fully aware that the notice we get from USCIS could be a request for more information and documentation, rather than an approval right away, the 90th day is this Wednesday! (I know because I counted 3 times to be sure.)  That means that I'm hoping (reeealy hoping) that we'll get some good news in the mail this coming week.  It also means that I've checked for mail twice today.  

After we are approved by USCIS, I promise I will not be counting days on my calendar any more until we know the day when we are going to get on a plane to meet our children in Brazil.  I'll get re-focused on God's perfect timing and I'll spend more time praying for my children than checking my mailbox.  Maybe I'll even stop telling myself we're waiting to adopt.  I resent the word waiting almost as much as I resent little adoption countdown tickers.  I'll stop waiting, and keep on living, preparing, reading, praying and hoping.

After we get the letter.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We had a great conference call today with our family coordinator at AWAA, Ryan, and our contact at Limiar, Luciana.  There was one main question we wanted to have answered:  what will the process look like once our dossier is finally submitted to Brazil.  Here's what we've learned:
  • Once our USCIS approval finally arrives, the translation process will take about a week.
  • Our dossier will be sent to several different Brazilian states where we will be approved by the State Judiciary Commission of Adoption (CEJA) of each state.  Luciana says this step usually takes about 3 months. 
  • Then once we're approved, the courts look for a referral for us that matches our requests (a 2-child sibling group age 6 and under).  This could be a couple months or a year, depending on available children and the other families on the waiting list.  We're told that requesting siblings is favorable, and being flexible with our age range would make our application even more favorable--and make the process go quicker.  This is the most unpredictable part of the process.
  • Limiar has access to information about waiting children (most of whom are older than the range we're requesting right now.)  Luciana will share this information with us within the preferences we give her.  Meaning, if we are open to considering larger sibling groups or older children, she will pass those referrals on to us to consider.  She stressed that we are the only ones who can discern whether a a specific child is our son or daughter.  There is no pressure or obligation when we review a referral.
  • If we identified our children through Limiar prior to the court identifying them for us, the process would change a bit.  Not sure on the details there.
  • Either way we go about it, once we accept a referral, we will have to request the Brazilian court's approval with a petition to adopt our children.  We would also begin the process of applying for our travel visas.  This could be only a few weeks after accepting a referral.  
  • Limiar and AWAA will walk us through what documents need to travel with us when we go to Brazil.
One mindset has really been changed--my attitude about referrals.  I've always imagined the moment we received a referral as the magical moment when God would reveal who our children are.  It seems like, in this process, a referral is more of an opportunity to seek God's will for our family.  

There are some pros and cons about this new understanding.  On the PRO side, every time we've seen names or lists of available children, I've been driven to my knees to pray for them and their situations. On the CON side, my heart breaks every time I see the names and stories of children who have lived their lives without a family. On the 2 occasions we have seen the names of waiting sibling groups in Brazil, we have been brokenhearted, but sure that God wanted us to keep waiting for the children He's picked for us.  

Tonight we have a serious conversation about whether we want to keep waiting and let the courts send us a referral, or whether we want to flex some of our expectations and start taking a look at some of the waiting children.