Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lots of progress

Today was a very busy day.

We rolled out of bed, ate a quick breakfast, and headed off to the health clinic. On Tuesday we started the skin TB test. Today we went back to have the results read. Neither of us showed a reaction to the test. We emailed the test results over to our doctor so that she could finish up our medical clearance.

This afternoon, we heard a delivery truck pull up in front of the house. My first thought was, "please let that be the Fedex guy!" Sure enough, there was a knock on the door. By the time I got to the door, he was already in his truck but I was able to wave thanks. Our paperwork from Taiwan arrived!

After a quick email with our new agency to make sure I was scanning the right documents, I scanned in all 39 pages of our home study and the Mandarin translation. After emailing that to the agency, I received confirmation that it has been forwarded to St. Lucy's in Taiwan. Our pre-approval process has begun! The agency said they expect it will take about six weeks to receive our pre-approval. I'm praying we'll have good news by Christmas. That would be a wonderful present.

Yesterday we had a nice surprise. I emailed the agency to ask about St. Lucy's schedule in providing updates on the kids. Our coordinator said she would email and request an update with photos! We only have one photo of Jenny and would love to see more. She sent over all of the updates she's received since the agency started advocating for Jenny. There was one update in the batch that we hadn't seen before. It was old, from November 2013, but it still had a few tidbits of information we hadn't seen before. That was a really nice surprise. Then we found out this morning that the coordinator in Taiwan had already requested the update before our agency had sent the request! It's already in the works!

I'm slowly getting more excited about this adoption process as we make forward progress. I'm still guarding my emotions as we are not guaranteed to receive pre-approval. I expect we will since we have received pre-approval before to be matched with a child. But it's not guaranteed. I don't want to start getting attached to the idea of adopting Jenny before we're officially matched. Once we're matched, I'll throw my heart into the adoption and prepare for the Skype call and our first care package.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Social worker visit and medical appointment

I kinda feel like my cat some days.

Today we started working on our medical clearance for the adoption. Our naturopath is awesome. She had both of us in her office at once, taking turns with the various medical stuff. We thought we'd have to visit the hospital for the actual blood draw like we did last year. Nope! She did the blood draw today in her office. The results should be available tomorrow.

The only other thing we have left on the medical form is a TB test. We found a clinic that takes walk-ins for TB testing so we're going there first thing tomorrow morning. Then we wait for the results of that test, combine it with the results from the blood testing today, and then figure out how to get a notary to our doctor's office to notarize her signature.

Our home study visit yesterday went well. Our social worker was here for about 45 minutes, talking about what we've learned about older child adoption over the past year, the losses we've faced this year (hubby's dad, my grandpa, our first adoption). Then she asked if she could see the bedroom we put together. That was it! Quick visit and she said our new home study will be ready by the middle of November. She's just waiting for us to finish the medical clearance and for the state to mail back our child abuse clearances.

We're slowly making progress!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home study update

I haven't posted much about our new adoption process because I'm really struggling with it on an emotional level. I'm having a hard time letting my heart get invested because I am so afraid that this one will fail as well. We have no reason to expect it to fail. St. Lucy's (the agency in Taiwan) knows about us already and seems interested in our family. Jenny still wants a family. But I expected the last adoption to succeed and my heart was broken when it didn't. At some point in the process, probably when we receive pre-approval, I will get excited. Until then, I'm just following my husband's lead, praying, and filling out paperwork.

We've had a lot of progress this week.

Thursday - Both of us were fingerprinted. I received my results back while hubby was still being fingerprinted! Unfortunately, it looks like his fingerprints didn't "take" and he will probably have to redo them. We also notarized our financial statement for the home study and dossier.

Sunday - We have a visit with our social worker. She's coming over for a short visit (around an hour) to get an update on our family.

Monday - We have appointments to start the medical clearance. We received permission to use our naturopath this time! Last time, the Taiwan agency (a different one) told us that our naturopath couldn't sign our clearance because she's an ND instead of an MD. But St. Lucy's gave us the ok to visit our naturopath, since she's our primary care doc. Hurray!

Once hubby's fingerprints get sorted out and we get the medical clearances completed, we'll just be waiting for our social worker to update our home study. She's only charging us $250 to get our home study updated and new copies printed! Such a blessing!

We also found out that our paperwork is on its way back from Taiwan and that the translation was included. We were afraid we would not be allowed to have the translation, even though I insisted they return it to us since we paid to have all of our paperwork translated. This is such a relief. Once the paperwork is here, we can scan a copy of our old home study with translation and email it to St. Lucy's. They will use the old home study to review us for pre-approval since it will save a bunch of time and money. Eventually, when we get the new home study, it will be translated and inserted into the dossier for use in court.

Our new agency told us that the approvals process will likely take 1-2 months starting from the time they receive our home study. So we are hoping to be formally matched with Jenny by the end of the year.

If anyone wants to chat about agencies, I'd be happy to share our experiences. Our old agency was Wasatch (in Utah), who works with Chung Yi in Taiwan. Our new agency is Heartsent (in CA), who works with St. Lucy's. And we have a fabulous social worker here in the Seattle area! If you live in this area, I'd recommend her in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin - a book review

When I saw this book mentioned in a newsletter, I knew I had to read it. The Butterfly and the Violin is a debut novel by author Kristy Cambron. The description intrigued me.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
This book includes two plot lines, both a modern day one and a historical one. In the modern day story, Sera passionately searches for a painting she was once as a child. Obsessed with this painting, she searches out information about the painting's subject - a "young violinist with piercing blue eyes."

The historical plot line tells the story of Adele. It is this plot line that I couldn't wait to read. A young girl decides to help Jews, gets caught, and lives in a concentration camp. So far, the plot has been done in a number of novels. However, Cambron includes an interesting twist - Adele is forced to play in a concentration camp orchestra. I had no idea that such things existed and was fascinated to read all about it!

The modern story felt a bit forced, but the WWII story was fantastic. It really was haunting. I have to admit that I cried near the end of the book.

I also thought Cambron has a beautiful writing style and can't wait to read her future novels. In fact, I just found out Cambron has a new book coming out in 2015 titled A Sparrow in Terezin! I definitely plan to read it!

Much thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for a free copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Grandpa and Grandma and I

I am back from the funeral and slowly recovering from the travel and stress of the past three weeks. While in Wyoming, I really enjoyed sitting at Grandma's kitchen table with our family, going through photo albums and reminiscing. I brought home a few old photos and wanted to share two of my favorites.

This is one of the last photos taken of my brother, grandmother, grandfather and I together.

This, as far as I know, is the very first photo taken of my grandparents and I.

I'm so glad that I still have my grandmother in my life but I will surely miss my grandfather. I can't wait to see him in heaven someday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The start of something new

Way back, our social worker suggested that she approve us for two girls on our home study. We applied and were matched with Z. We kept looking for that second girl and found her in January. We asked for permission to add Jenny (not her real name) to our adoption but the agency in Taiwan said no. We decided it wasn't God's will for us at the time but prayed that God would find her a family if we weren't supposed to bring her home later as our second daughter.

When we received news that our adoption had been cancelled, we contacted the agency who is advocating for Jenny. "Has she found a family yet?" She has not. "Does she want to be adopted?" Yes! She has asked if she has been matched with a family yet.

Well, today we signed with her agency to try to bring Jenny home. We're praying that God will continue to open doors if this is His will or to let us know if we're on the wrong path. I can't wait to see where He leads. If Jenny does get matched with our family and agrees to be adopted, we'll have quite a story to share with her someday.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

2 losses in 2 days

The last 24 hours have been rather rough. Yesterday morning I received a call from my grandmother that my grandfather passed away. He was almost 88 years old and had Alzheimer's. I call my grandparents almost every single Saturday so was not surprised to hear the news. He was a believer in God so I hope to see him again someday. My grandpa's funeral is on the 13th so I'll be flying to Wyoming next week.

We also received news this morning that our girl has decided to stay in Taiwan. Our adoption process has been officially terminated. I've been crying a lot today over the realization that she won't be our daughter. I will continue to pray for her and hope that she finds a happy future in Taiwan.

My feelings are much too raw to talk about this in any more detail but I may post more in the near future. I'll just keep praying that God will show us what to do next and for Him to heal my broken heart.