Wow, time has gone quickly, and you are quite overdue an update! So much has taken place since our last entry, and so much that we never expected.
The children who have come with New Horizons for Children for the Christmas hosting season are in the US and about half-way though their time here. So many wonderful stories have been shared of orphan children experiencing the love of a family for the first time. The sad side of this is that we are not one of those families. Let me back up a bit.
Back in the end of October we purchased our first home. It was a huge step for us and we were very blessed to be able to move into a home that we could raise a family in. Just 3 days after we moved in, our case worker came to conduct a home visit required for our home-study. (We had to be living in the home that we would bring the girls home to in order to complete this step.) With boxes everywhere, we sat in the living room with a stranger, telling her everything I could imagine about our lives, and then some.
Our fundraising for hosting was going great (in fact we were nearly fully funded!) and we were slowly plugging away at our documents for adopting. We were setting up our home and getting everything ready to finally meet the girls during Christmas. Right before I was set to go on Thanksgiving break, just about 4 weeks before the girls were set to come for hosting, I received an email stating the girls had changed their minds and didn’t want to come for hosting. We were both crushed. Frantic emails began to fly, begging for more clarification. We were in discussion with the hosting organization, they were in touch with Latvia… it was crazy. We were even given unprecedented permission to write the girls a letter telling them about ourselves, including our history of connection with Latvia, full of pictures, and asking them to reconsider. After some tense days, waiting for the letter to get to Latvia and a social worker to take it to them, we finally got word back… they still refused to come. There are a lot of assumed reasons, including that they hate to travel, but the fact remained that they just weren’t coming for Christmas.
It took us a bit to regroup (some remodeling therapy exerted on our bathroom helped!), but regrouped we have done. After prayer and soul searching, we have decided to move forward anyway. We are still planning to adopt the girls, if they will have us.
So where are we now? Over the Christmas holidays we received our official and completed home-study and just yesterday we mailed it off to immigration to gain permission to bring up to 3 children to America. We should hear something from them in about 3 weeks and then will have to go to Dallas to be fingerprinted, for the third time. While we wait for that, we are finishing gathering our documents for our dossier. The dossier is the packet of information that gets sent to Latvia for them to review and then “match” us with a child(ren). This packet will include a copy of our home-study, autobiographies, yet another police clearance, our immigration approval, and many other things… all in triplicate and apostilled in Austin. (Apostilling is like an international notarization.) We should have the remainder of these documents assembled in the next 2-3 weeks, depending on when our police clearance comes back.
In terms of finances, we’re doing pretty well. Since it was the girls’ decision not to come and not ours, the money raised and donated for hosting was able to be transferred to our adoption agency, which covered most of our next payment.We also had a very generous donor raise about $1700 on our behalf which was perfect timing and amount needed to pay for our immigration paperwork. So, at this point, we are about $1000 short of having all of our fees paid and current. This is an amazing fact since the total we’ve needed to pay up to this point has been over $11,000! We’re so thankful for everyone who has been a part of this journey with us, and also for the jobs that we have which have afforded us the ability to pay for a great deal of this ourselves.
So, while we wait for the rest of our documents, we continue to prepare our home and also raise money for our first trip to Latvia! While we do *NOT* have dates of travel, we anticipate this taking place this spring, possibly in March.When we do get our travel dates, we usually only have about 4 weeks notice before we travel, so we can’t wait to prepare. The amount of money we will need for this step will be $12,000 – 15,000. This includes airfare for 4, housing and food for 4 for 1 month, as well as the costs for visas, court fees, and the fees of our lawyer there.
How can you help? If you are a Frequent Flier with American Airlines or United/Lufthansa airlines and would be willing to donate miles, this could be of great help! (We’d need about 40k miles for Chris and I.) Or, follow the example of a new friend in Illinois who did a fundraiser of her own on our behalf. Otherwise, we are still receiving donations! If you need a tax-deduction, please let me know and we can arrange that. Otherwise you can make a donation via our PayPal account. Contact me for more details.
Please continue to pray with us! Right now our prayer for the girls is for open hearts and courage to trust for a family, just one more time. Thank you!!!