Almost two months have passed since my last entry. I wish that I could say that we have made a lot of progress, that our dossier is in Colombia and that we are into the "real" waiting part of our journey, but things in the adoption world seem to move at their own pace, quietly and slowly. That's not to say that there has been NO progress, but just not as much progress as I hoped would be made in two months. Here's what has happened: our I800 is with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), we have been fingerprinted twice since February (once for the Department of Homeland Security to verify that we have no criminal records and and the other for USCIS to verify our identity), we meet with the psychologist today to make sure that we are sane enough (or crazy enough) to become parents. Instead of the days of running to the bathroom to pee on a stick, we now come home and run to the mailbox, hoping for approval from USCIS so that our dossier (file of documents) can be sent to Colombia. Not that our dossier is ready, but still, it would be nice to have the USCIS approval SOON so that the frantic running to the mailbox (for the time being at least) can be stopped. We barely even say hello to each other before checking the mail, and if I go to the gym after work, I make the hasty call to Brandon: "Have you checked the mail?" Our neighbors probably think we are crazy or that we have won the lottery and are waiting for the million dollar check in the mail. Little do they know that we are waiting for something much better than that...
Many of you have asked for a timeline of adoption events so that you know what's next... It's a little different for every family, but here's my best estimate:
1. Submit adoption application to Crossroads- DONE
2. Receive approval from Crossroads - DONE
3. Attend education sessions at Crossroads - DONE
4. Homestudy evaluation - DONE
5. Homestudy completion - DONE
6. Forward documents to USCIS for approval - DONE
7. Receive receipt notice from USCIS - DONE
8. Get fingerprinted for USCIS - DONE
9. Receive approval from USCIS
10. Collect dossier for Colombia (birth certificates, marriage certificate, letter from Bank, evaluation from psychologist, evaluation from medical doctors, letters from employers, homestudy, tax return copies, ect.)
11. Forward dossier to Colombia via FANA
12. Receive approval from FANA (in Colombia)
13. Receive referral (notification that we have a baby!!!!!)
14. Seek and receive final approval from USCIS
15. Travel to Chicago for Colombian Consulate appointment (Visa)
16. Travel to Colombia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
17. Hold, love and cry when holding our baby for the first time. Become a family of 3!!!!
18. Complete adoption process in Colombia
19. Come home
There are other steps once we come home, but I figure those can be explained later. Hopefully this helps a little. It's hard to really put in timeframes for each step because there really are none.
Overall, we are doing well. I say it each blog entry, but I will again here - there are good days and there are the very tired, I feel like we are never going to have a baby days. It's amazing, though, that God picks me right back up after the hard days - by either a chance encounter with another adoptive family (who has lived across the street from us for years), a very supportive waiting families group at FANA who know EXACTLY how we feel, or a note from a veteran adoptive mom to let me know that we will be parents one day... It's these little things that mean so much to me and confirm (even though there has never been a doubt) that this was always meant to be our journey to parenthood.