Chapter Two...Our Adoption Story

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
- Kristi Larson

Chapter Two brings you a time-line and witness to God's gentle nudge. It was during this time that I began to feel the miracle.

It was November and I had walked out of the fertility office with my bags packed. Byron and I both had careers and we were starting to enjoy our remodeled home. I had been pregnant for over two years. In fact, I can't even do the math, is it even plausible to have 7 pregnancies in 2 years? I was now in a funk and trying to detox from the hopes and disappointments. I had prayed so hard to God to spare at least one of my babies and I was feeling let down. I was not necessarily angry at God, I was just exhausted and did not want to talk to Him anymore on this subject. I was moving on.

Then, something started to take place. On Nov 4, 2003... We watched Adoption Stories on the Discovery Health Channel and it spotlighted Commonwealth Adoptions International. We were both very moved by CAI's love for these children. We got online and requested information from CAI.

Nov 10, 2003... We Received information from Commonwealth Adoptions International. They produced a wonderful book of stories from adopted families. We sat and read these stories over and over. There was a flier included with the book about an open house in Tampa that weekend (Nov 15). It was only 7 1/2 hours away, so we decided to go.

By this time Byron and I were doing all the research on international adoption we could find. I was reading everything about adoptions, reading blogs about adoptions etc. From what I could tell, an international adoption was going to cost about $30,000. Yikkes! My brian started to work overtime. How could I get that kind of money? Before we went to Tampa, we contacted Compass Bank on Nov 13, 2003, about a 2nd Mortgage. This was going to be expensive, so we wanted to have all the money upfront.

Nov 14, 2003... Tim Plummer came and did an appraisal on our house for the loan.

he weekend had arrived (Nov 15, 2003). The appraiser had been to our house but we still did not know the value. So we pushed forward and traveled to Tampa to visit with Commonwealth Adoptions (CAI). They had an open house where we got to meet the adoption managers and some of the families. It was a very positive experience. It helped us to decide to go with CAI as our agency. We were a little strapped for cash that month (spent too much remodeling the house!), but when we stopped for gas we found $80 in the parking lot of the gas station. We left our number at the gas station and no one claimed the money. What a blessing... it paid for our hotel room. God was winking at us.

After the weekend in Tampa and with much discussion, Byron and I decided to take a leap of faith. We are not leapers. In fact, faith is our greatest struggle. I am not referring to just any faith, I am referring to the close your eyes and take the hand of God and let him lead you where He wants you to go, faith. That kind. So on Nov 17, 2003, we signed the contract with CAI and sent in the initial deposit. We also made contact with Phil Boyd, a local social worker, to start the Home Study. We were told from CAI, that we would need copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates etc and to order them as soon as possible because the states can delay mailing these documents (which is bad if you are trying to accomplish a "timely" adoption). Within 3 days of ordering all documents, they came in the mail. God was not playing.

This next date is another miracle. On Nov 19, 2003, the appraisal came back on our house. We bought our house a little over a year ago at $104,000, being in real estate, I knew that our house had not appreciated that much. The market at the time was averaging 3% a year. We were just hoping for any amount to help off-set the expenses. The appraisal came in at $135,000. This was a 30% increase in this little house's value. Absolutely incredible. Our adoption was 100% financed with a line of credit. Way more than we could have hoped for. God was serious.

Just a couple of paperwork dates...

Nov 20, 2003... mailed "initial" BCIS form I-600A. This takes a long time to get processed, so we wanted it in the mail right away.

Dec 2, 2003... Mailed initial money and paperwork to CAI to start the Preliminary Package and Dossier Prep.

Dec 6, 2003... We met with Amy Jamieson (a dear friend) at her office to get all of our Preliminary Package documents notarized. We are very grateful to Amy for all the work she was doing for us. There had been a lot of documents and she notarized them all, without charging us.
Seriously people, over 100 documents. God was placing angels among us.

Dec 7, 2003... Phil Boyd came to our home to do the Home Study. He sat with us for several hours and just talked about our lives. Phil is a great person and also an adopted parent (another Angel placed with us). He was going to China that next week to pick up his second adopted daughter. We were very nervous about the home study, but Phil made it easy. He basically just wanted to get to know us and make sure we knew what we were getting in to (Ha, much more to this story).

Jan 7, 2003... We Met with Phil Boyd in Pensacola to review the first draft of the Home study. We saw pictures of his new little girl and she is gorgeous. This made us so excited for our adoption experience!

Jan 23, 2004... Received the final notarized copies of our Home Study.

Jan 27, 2004... We drove to Tallahassee to get all of our documents Apostilled. Some of the documents weren't correct, so we had to redo them. We bought Susan Hawkes some cookies and brownies because she was so nice in helping us. She became a great advocate for us and we worked directly with her during some "last minute" rushing. Another Angel.

So basically from the date we signed the initial paperwork (Nov 17, 2003) til the day we mailed in the last document (Jan 27, 2004), it took us 10 weeks. People, this alone is nothing short of a miracle. It takes months to get all this paperwork done and we did it in weeks.

FEB MAR APR... ENDLESS WAITING. NO NEWS. We had one typo on the home study that we had to redo, but nothing big. We called our Agency every Monday. We wanted to hear from them every week. Even if it was just for them to say "No News." We liked knowing that we were still on their minds. The waiting continued...Be still my heart.


To Start from the Beginning, Read Chapter One here.

(I will try to post each chapter of our adoption story every friday during the Hooked on Fridays blog party, celebrating things that make us happy. Because ultimately this story makes me happy and has helped define who I am today.)

Don't forget about the 30% off Gap Brands...Sale going on NOW! Get your coupon here. BTW, Max totally racked up today at Gap Outlet and I saved $80 with that coupon!!


Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

my prayer are with you!


E said...

I love your weekly additions to your adoption story. Beautiful!

DesignTies said...

Wow, you were super-lucky with all your paperwork!! I should have had you send in my passport application -- maybe it would have shown up sooner than 21 hours before we were leaving for Europe!!

It's great that you met so many helpful people along the way. It sure makes things easier when you have good people in your corner :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

Terry said...

You are helping me better understand our friends who have adopted and all they've done for their children.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Oh, I can't wait to read the next chapter. I had no idea adoptions are so expensive!!! I thought my C-sections were bad. :s Visiting from Julia's party. :)

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the next chapter...

Ashley said...

I was waiting for this!!! I love that you found the $80. Can't wait for the next post! xoxo

Decor To Adore said...

My oldest child is 20. My youngest is 7. There are no children in between. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed God will grant the desires of your heart.

I am visiting via Hooked on Houses. Such fun!

Please drop by and enter my giveaway.

Have a blessed weekend!

{oc cottage} said...

What a story you have to tell...and will have to tell!!! Amazing!

m ^..^