Friday, October 26, 2012

Vlad Update: Today is the Day!!

Today is the day everything gets mailed to Ukraine!!!!  What a journey so far.  I know, without a shadow of doubt, that without Yahweh involved we would not be this far on the journey. 

We were told out of the gate that the home study process would take at least 90 days.  We left that agency and found another.  It was done in 30. 

We were told that the immigration process would take at least 90 days, more likely 120.  At the beginning of October I spoke with immigration who confirmed that it was taking at least 90 days.  Our application arrived at USCIS on 9/17 and we got our approval yesterday 10/25.  Our officer was amazing, even calling me twice, and really going to work for us.  She allowed me to email in our changes and approved us and emailed me back within 10 minutes.

After getting the approval I decided to check in with Ukraine to be sure everything was in order before mailing it.  Good thing.  I knew that everything had to be notarized but I missed that it was also supposed to be apostilled.  For those of you who don't know what that is - I am probably the only one who didn't - it is certification by the state that all of the signatures on the documents are true.  It's a pretty big deal with gold seals and staples on the gold seals.  Very official looking.  The women at the Secretary of State (Livonia, MI; 6 mile and Farmington Rds.) were great!  Two of them worked together to get them done - 25 documents!

So today I go to DHL.  It seems like there should be some ceremony to it - LOL!  All of this paperwork worked on for 2 months and now so beautifully stamped with gold seals going into an envelope to travel half-way around the world.  An envelope packed with the ability to change a family and the life of an orphan - our new son.

And now we wait!  Yahweh has truly worked in this journey to bring Vlad home.  Getting the first two parts done in one third the time it should have taken.  We are told that this next and last part will take from 10 - 14 weeks.  Our goal is less than 8 weeks so that Vlad will be home by the end of the year.  It is all in Yahweh's hands now.  DHL will get it to Dima, our facilitator in Ukraine, by Monday.  The clock is ticking.  I have peace with the situation.  His Will be done. And that is, Simply My Opinion.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Vlad Update!

This is not really about Vlad specifically but about this adoption process.

I don't know how many adoptable children there are in the world.  I'm guessing a few million.  They are either in some type of foster care or an orphanage.  Foster care families get some amount of money for each child they foster (government subsidized) and orphanages, for the most part, are government subsidized.  Meaning that we, the taxpayers, have this cost to pay.

I don't know how it all became this complicated.  A hundred years or so ago they actually took orphans from the big cities of the east and put them on orphan trains.  These trains would take the orphans out into the Midwest and West and stop at train stations along the way.  People would meet the train, look over the children and take whichever children they wanted.  There were no costs or piles of paperwork attached.  The new parents would just incur the costs of raising the adopted child (which is no small thing).  The government won because the costs of taking care of these orphans were lowered (which means that they needed less taxpayer money).

It is radically different today for some reason that I cannot fathom.  Here is a sampling of costs that we are spending on adopting Vlad.

Home study $2300
Mileage cost for social worker to drive to our home 3 times $111
Various mailings/overnight mailings  $150 so far
Ordering copies of vital records (birth certificates, marriage license, etc.) $75
Ukrainian facilitator (includes all government fee's, court fee's, etc)  $9,000
USCIS (U.S. Immigration including fingerprinting fees) $900
Airfare $5000+
Orphanage fee $1000
Other fees $2000 - $3000

For those who don't want to do the math it comes to around $20,000.  Now if you are doing a stateside adoption you can take off the airfare and Ukrainian facilitator but you have to add in the U.S. adoption agency costs, which are probably about the same.

Where did this all change?  There are so many children and because of the high costs and crazy amounts of paperwork prospective adoptive parents just walk away.  Because the adoption costs are just the beginning.  Anyone who is or has been a parent knows that having a child in your home costs money.  Food, clothing, activities, etc.

Wouldn't it be better for the millions of children to lower the costs and make it easier to adopt?  Wouldn't it be better for the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the foster care system (and orphanages)?  I know that for us we would probably adopt several children but we are having to work like crazy just to adopt one.   How many people out there would adopt if they didn't have to go through what we are going through?  How many would open their arms and their homes to an orphan if they could do it for a few hundred and a background check?

It's SIMPLY MY OPINION but I think we would have a lot fewer orphans in the world and a lot more children placed in their forever family! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vlad Update: Home Study Completed

Patience, according to Paul's letter to the Galatians, is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  It's one of those virtues that Christians should show, no matter what.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

The adoption process is testing my patience.  The hurry up and wait is aggravating. 

Today I picked up our home study from the agency.  They did a great job getting it done in one month.  A process that normally takes 2 - 3 months.  I would highly recommend them to anyone needing a home study done.  They were professional and understood our sense of urgency. 

I got home with it and called the USCIS to find out where to send it to in order to have it processed with our application.  The woman was very, very nice but she did not have good news for me.  She said that right now they are looking at anywhere from 90 days on out for application processing times.  And that there is no way to expedite things.  UGH.

So, on the way to and from the post office, where I sent the home study overnight mail, I had a chat with Yahweh.  I told Him that I have done everything on my end that was possible to speed up this process but at this point it is out of my hands and there is nothing more I can do.  It's time for a miracle.  He is the only one who can move this forward faster in order to make it happen before the end of the year, which is our goal.  Now of course, I followed my prayer with "Your will be done".  No matter what I know what happens is His will, not mine.  If He so chooses, I know that no matter what the processing time is, that ours will happen when He wants it to happen. 

We have seen the generous outpouring of love and support, in prayers, in financial help and in other donations through this process.  We are grateful and so very thankful for everyone.  It is now in the Almighty Yahweh's very capable hands and His will be done.

So now I have to have that fruit of the Spirit and wait on Him and His will. 

And that, of course, is Simply My Opinion.