OK, this is the first chance I got to post about our concert. It was SO great. As always, a GREAT show!!! Sawyer had a balst. We thought it was pretty funny, because as we were walking to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium from the car, it was really cold out. Sawyer asked, "Is the concert in that building?" Poor kid- he thought the concert was outside and he thought he was going to freeze the whole time because the only other concert he has ever been to was outside at Gunstock this summer to see Chris Tomlin at the Sould Festival. He was pretty glad to hear we'd be inside.
We were in the second row, and the seats were worth every penny! Sawyer was very patient during the opening acts, but kept asking, "Is this their last song?". He wasn't terribly impressed! Once Steven Curtis Chapman came out though, forget it- Sawyer was beside himself. No one else would have thought he was excited at all (the kid is way too subdued for his own good), but we could tell by the ear-to-ear smile that he was THRILLED. During "Children of God" I was holding Sawyer and he waved at Steven at just the right moment, because Steven looked right at Sawyer, pointed and made kind of like googly eyes at him. Sawyer was so excited. Now every time we hear that song on the CD, Sawyer sings it at the top of his lungs and then tells me, "Steven Curtis Chapman pointed and waved at me when he was singing that song." So cute.
But, alas, Steven Curtis Chapman played some of his slower numbers in the middle, and that was the kiss of death for our less-than-party animal. He fell asleep at 9:45PM, and when his favorite song, "Live Out Loud", came on, we COULD NOT wake him. We were shaking him, pinching him, tickling him,- nothing. But, when they played "Dive" last, we just basically did whatever we had to do to wake him. We just didn't want him to miss it. Good thing we did too because he was really angry to find out he missed Live Out Loud. Maybe someday we'll pay money for something and Sawyer will actually stay awake the entire time to enjoy it! :)
Now Sawyer is asking when we'll get to see him again. With any luck, he'll be at Soul Fest this summer!
I definitely don't, but maybe I'll start (yeah, right!). Scot does though. He's a way you can help orphans by running. It's always nice when you can give to a worthy cause just by doing the things you already do anyway!! :) Or maybe it is extra motivation to get off the couch and start running.......I might need more motivation that even this!
Running Hope is a non-profit organization that raises funds to assist families seeking to adopt orphans through a ministry called Shaohannah’s Hope. Through the running of marathons and road races, Running Hope enlists Team Hope members and financial supporters to generate awareness and resources to place children from around the world with their “forever families”. Check out their website at http://www.runninghope.org/
We're taking Sawyer to see Steven Curtis Chapman in concert tonight! He's beyond excited!! We splurged and got second row tickets. It will either be worth every dollar OR we'll be kicking ourselves because he'll fall asleep like he did when we took him to see Sesame Street Live or to the movies to see Cars. I think it will be worth the try though. I'm going to put him down for a late nap and hope for the best. Blogs without pictures are boring, but until now, there really hasn't been anything to post a picture of (a bunch of paperwork?). I'll post pictures of Sawyer at the concert tomorrow!! :)
Well, I got some stuff done today. Nothing earth shattering, but it's something. I got our notarized marriage certificate at City Hall- with NO cooperation from Chloe, I might add, who tried her best to run down the hall and out the front doors at every opportunity and then would scream her ever-loving guts out every time I tried to buckle her in the stroller. I think that actually helped me get quick service! Then we (Chloe and I) went to the police station to get a "Letter of Good Conduct". I was told we first have to get one at the state level, and then come back with that and they can help me out. I think the state level one is part of our home study, so I'm waiting on that. I sent out our application for that last week, so I should be hearing from them in the next week (at least that's what they said).
I tried to get Scot's birth certificate today too. He was born in Columbus, but adopted by Bruce here in Manchester, so we thought they had it here. We were wrong. It is all in Columbus. So, I went to vitalchek.com to try to get it, but they charge for their service and for postage. So the birth certificate which only costs $16.50 was going to cost me $41.50 or something ridiculous like that. So, I just found the Columbus Bureau of Vital Statistics on-line, and I'll get it that way. Why anyone would use vitalchek.com is beyond me. The wait time doesn't even decrease using them. Honestly, I think what they do is mail the request in for you and then mail it out to you. Crazy. So, we'll have to wait for that. That's ok though because we don't have passports, so we'll have to wait for those. I got my passport photos done today, and the idea is that Scot will get his done tomorrow so that we can be at the post office Saturday morning at 8:30AM to apply and get the ball rolling. Waiting, waiting, waiting......I'm not a fan of waiting!!!
The great news I got this week is that it will not take us 6 months to put this dossier together as I had thought it would. It should take a lot less time due to the fact that we live in Manchester. It turns out that our local Customs and Immigrations office is right down the road and, apparently, they are very adoption-friendly. They have one person dedicated to dealing with adoptions. This is not common, so I'm told. Anyway, once our homestudy is completed, we need to file an I-600A form (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition). For most people, this wait is a major hold-up. The wait is like 7-8 weeks. Thankfully, because of the Manchester office, I can literally take it down there one day, and the person who handles adoptions will have it done in a week!!! So, we could really have this dossier all done (assuming our passports come in before then) in 3 months. So, my goal is to be logged in in China (LID= logged in Dossier) by Valentines Day!!!!
Now, the down side here. Filing the I-600A is really expensive- like $1,000 AND the permission it gives you (basically to bring an orphan into this country) expires in a mere 18 months. SO..... ours will expire for sure. There is no way (unless we find a waiting child in the meanwhile) that we will be in China in less than 18 months. Thankfully, they did JUST amend the policy allowing for ONE free extension. This gives us an extra 18 months, but that might not even be enough. That would mean we'd have to get our referral in 2.5 years and travel to China before the 3 year mark (because we have to apply for the baby's visa at the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China before the expiration date). So, we'll most likely have to do that paperwork (and pay that fee) twice. I'm thankful for the one free extension though!
OK- that's it for today. We've made appointments with our doctors for physicals and blood work. We still have to take those ridiculous pictures, and we're just waiting to hear about the home study. I'm vacuuming the couch and babyproofing daily! Who knows what they will ask.....I'm dying of curiosity.
So.....become aware! :) Here is a way to become aware. I copied this from Steven Curtis Chapman's web site. We are taking Sawyer to see him Saturday night, by the way, and we are in the second row. We're hoping this particular gift gets him excited!
Today there are more than 143 million orphans in the world. That's about one-half of the population of the United States! Most of these children live in poverty, are malnourished and experience daily rejection. But there is hope.
FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, and Shaohannah's Hope are joining hands and voices with more than 75 orphan care providers, church-based orphan ministries, and adoption agencies to plead the cause of orphans in need. And they can't do it alone.
No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, you can make a difference. Praying for orphans, going on mission trips, mentoring a child, or maybe adopting one (or more), there is a place for everyone because you are God's plan for the orphan.
Learn more! listen to the special radio broadcasts during "Cry of the Orphan" week on "FamilyLife Today" and "Focus on the Family" November 12-16, and visit cryoftheorphan.org. Join us as we boldly endeavor to answer God's call. ...Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. â€” Isaiah 1:17
That's what it says on the top of our "What You Need To Do Now" checklist that our agency sent us. It's a big fat lie. The checklist is one page, and then, the rest of the book (yes, BOOK) has 50 more pages explaining those 4 "easy steps". Something that is easy does not require 50 more pages of explanation. So here is the checklist (I'll spare you the 50 extra pages).
1. Home Study (this step in itself is a lie since it could have 50 + pages explaining what is involved. I'll explain that to you all at a later date.)
2. Citizenship and Immigration Service (It is a government agency, need I say more? This will CLEARLY not be easy!)
3. Required Adoption Education (This WILL, in fact, be easy....at least for me.)
4. Dossier (See laundry List of sub points)
4a. Items which require notarization, certification AND authentication
- Letter of Petition (I have no idea what that is.)
- I-171H or I-797C (Immigration paperwork maybe?)
- Marriage Certificate
- Birth Certificates (for both Scot and I)
- Medical Report (complete with LOTS of testing for both Scot and I)
- Financial Declaration for Adoption
- Employer or Non-employment letter
- Police Reports (THIS should be fun considering all the different places we have lived recently.)
- Home Study
4b. Items NOT needing notarizing, certification, or authentication (THANK GOD!!!)
- Passport Photos
- Photos (these would be the ones I mentioned in my previous post)
- Copy of picture page and ID page of parent's passports
- 5 Reference letters
- Agency Agreement
- A copy of your agency's license
4c. Items needing notarization
- Home study and post adoption agreement between parents and home study agency
- Physician's Statement
SO......I now have officially NO free time! :)
All that is very exciting though. And....today I finally got my head above water, so I am sending out our official acceptance of Children's Hope International as our agency (we settled any questions in our mind) and our Home Study agreement to our home study agency. If there was any questions in anyone's minds whether this was actually going to happen or not, I assure you that the sizes of the checks I wrote today eliminate any question: we are adopting a child from China! :)
Hopefully, none of the very scary and financially disasterous things outlined in the agency agreement will come to pass. I HATE signing disclaimers. It just makes you focus on all the worst-case scenarios.....what IF China decides to stop all international adoptions for no particular reason? Answer: you lose all the money you spent, but worse, you suffer a miscarriage of sorts- losing the child you are dreaming of. Nice thing to think about when you are really excited, huh?
OK- so now, I am off to vitalcheck.com to get all our records ordered. Thank goodness for the internet!!! :)