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Today was a big day in our little adoption process. Our contracts have officially been signed and notarized and are now on their way to being delivered to Portland, OR!!! Praise God! Our agency, All God’s Children International, should receive our packet by Thursday and will then mail us our adoption planner. By early next week we will be what is referred to as “paper pregnant” in the adoption world. Very exciting! We’ll probably be consumed by paperwork for the next few months, but I’m really looking forward to it! I feel like we’ve been walking in circles for several months now. I have to remind myself daily that God’s timing is perfect even if that means standing still sometimes. It’s a huge relief to have a tiny part of the process completed!
When we submit out dossier, we will also have to make our next big payment. We’ll be introducing new fundraisers in March, so be on the lookout for t-shirts (designed by my amazingly talented and hot husband) and a variety of beaded necklaces coming to you straight from Africa. We are planning on having a yard sale in April to raise money, so please let us know if you have any items lying around your house that you would be willing to donate. I tend to purge things out of our house on a regular basis, so we really don’t have much. We are depending on donations from friends and family to make the yard sale a success!
On a side note, Jonathan has his individual homestudy visit this Saturday. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I feel confident that he will do great, but I know he would appreciate your prayers! Next up will be the final visit at our home and then she will write up a report from our visits and send to our agency to review and hopefully approve! Please be praying for that as well.
That pretty much sums it up for now. I’ll leave you with a sweet video I found on YouTube that was put together by our adoption agency. Hannah’s Hope is their orphanage in Ethiopia. It’s seems surreal to think that we will be there one day…meeting our little munchkin for the first time! The video is a little long, but the minutes truly fly by (at least for me). The “Joy of Shoes” part (about 2 minutes in) makes me sob every time I watch it. Those children are just dying for love. It’s amazing that something so small, like a pair of shoes, a hug, or a few minutes of your attention, can make such a huge impact on an orphan’s life. A good reminder that we can all do something to be a voice for the voiceless. We all have an important part to play in caring for orphans. My prayer is that our adoption journey will inspire you to find yours!
We wanted to give a quick update on our first fundraiser. Thank you to everyone who donated and helped to make the $26 for 26th fundraiser such a success! We are so grateful for each and every donation received. Seriously, no words can express our gratitude!
With that being said, we received $3,302.53 in a little less than 2 weeks!!!! Amazing, right?
We did end up being a little short of our goal, but we knew God would provide another way and that’s exactly what He did! Before we could even think about what to do next…God made a way! We finished filing our taxes this week, and we will have enough money to contract with our adoption agency once we receive our refund!!! We are so overjoyed that we can move to the next step in the adoption process. It feels great to be one step closer to bringing our little munchkin home! So thankful!!!!
Besides contracting with our agency, we are also working on completing our homestudy. We have two of the four visits completed. Our goal is to be done by mid-March.
We are also starting our adoption education tonight. We are anxious to get started because we know we have so much to learn. Thankfully the education is tailored to our specific needs, and we know it will only open our eyes further to what the future will bring and how we can start preparing. We are looking for book recommendations, so to all the families reading who have adopted…please share your favorites with us!
Now for the best part! So, we aren’t the type to boast, but that is a totally different story when it comes to our nieces and nephews! When we first told our families about our decision to adopt from Ethiopia, the two family members that really stood out to us were Carson and Parker. Their reactions were just so incredibly sweet, and the questions they asked were hilarious. Not only did they save up $26 to participate in our first fundraiser, but they also shared with us last night that they have a “Baby Maloney” jar at home and are going to continue saving their money to help bring our baby home. We love their hearts and it makes us very emotional to know our baby is already so loved by our family. We are so proud of the people they are growing up to me. Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Brittney love you both so much!
Please continue to keep our adoption journey in your prayers and thank you again!
Oh my goodness gracious! We are so overwhelmed by the support we’ve received today. With less than 24 hours of sharing the link to our blog, we have raised over half of our goal! We are halfway to being able to contract with our adoption agency!!!
Some of our biggest supporters have been people that we haven’t spoken to in years or people who hardly know us..if at all! These generous people have the same heart for orphans and adoption as we do and want to help out where they can. So unexpected, but SIMPLY AMAZING! We know there are a lot of ways to spend your money, and we are honored that you would choose our little journey to Ethiopia as one.
Thank you to our friends and family who have been sharing our blog on Facebook and Twitter. We have received several donations because you took the time to do that for us! You are all greatly appreciated!
This fundraiser has really exceeded our expectations! God has already blessed our adoption journey in a HUGE way. We love that so many people are connecting to our story and are just as eager to get our baby home as we are. We stand in awe!
For my 26th birthday, my only wish is to have enough money to officially contract with our adoption agency. Once we are officially contracted, we can start our paper chase (dossier) and become one step closer to bringing our sweet baby home! I know we have many hurdles to overcome until we bring our baby home, but I already ache to have my baby in my arms! We have some money saved up, but not enough to cover the required fees. So here goes our first fundraiser…
Our goal is to have as many people as possible donate $26 to our adoption fund in honor of my 26th birthday wish! 26 of course is just a number. Any donation is helpful, whether it be $1 or $1,000. Another way to help is to spread the word about our adoption fundraiser via facebook, twitter or even word of mouth. The more people who hear about our plans to adopt, the better chance we have at reaching our goal.
The total needed to contract is $7,390. That leaves roughly $4,400 until we can move to the next step in the adoption process. If 170 people gave $26 during the month of February, my birthday wish would come true and I would be one VERY HAPPY 26 year old! So please consider donating today! There is a child in Ethiopia that needs a forever home! Thank you!!!
Since we began telling people about our plans to adopt from Ethiopia, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the process and time lengths, so I thought it made perfect sense to write a post about it! Please remember that our understanding is still very new too, so this is all based on what I’ve gathered during brief conversations with our agency.
The first step is to send in an application and fee to an agency, and officially contract with them upon application approval. It’s been a few weeks since we were approved, and we are still in the process of getting enough funds together to send with our signed and notarized contracts.
After officially contracted with the agency, the home study and dossier process is started. We have contacted an agency in Georgia to conduct the home study. There are 4 visits total. The first one is more of an orientation visit, which we just completed. We have a lot of paperwork to complete and a big to-do list of things to obtain for our case worker, such as criminal background checks, references, etc. There is also a pretty lengthy questionnaire we have to complete that covers our marriage, childhood & family, parenting styles, why we want to adopt, and similar topics. Our 2nd and 3rd visits will be individual interviews and are based off our questionnaires. The 4th and final visit is at our home where we will be interviewed together. We will also be fulfilling our education requirements during this time. The dossier is a large amount of paperwork, and that is all I can tell you about it at the moment! This all usually takes 2-4 months to complete, but could take longer. The times estimates from application until completion of dossier are dependent a lot on how much time you have to dedicate to getting it done and how much money you have saved up. We are hoping to get this part of the process done rather quickly, so we can get on the waitlist! There are also things that can happen outside of our control that could affect the time frames as well. In that case, we’ll just have to roll with it and be flexible.
Once the dossier is completed, we get on the waitlist. We have not specified a gender, so we will receive two numbers each month. Once we FINALLY reach #1, we are next in line for a referral for that gender. When we get a referral, we are sent via email any available medical information, including photos, birth family background information, medical information, development assessment, blood tests, and court documents explaining why the child is being placed for adoption. We then have the medical and background information reviewed by a pediatrician specializing in international adoption. Upon acceptance of referral, our agency will submit our dossier to the MOWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) and the Central Authority. They will review and then form an opinion, which will be directly sent to the Ethiopian courts where two appointments will be scheduled. The first is for the child’s birth family and the second is for the adoptive family. I’m told the average time on the wait list is 16 months, but we should expect delays as being a possibility.
Then comes the exciting part! Our first travel date is scheduled and we arrive a few days prior to our court date. During this visit, we get to go to Hannah’s Hope and meet our baby for the first time to begin the bonding process!! Then we appear in court to finalize the adoption. The second trip is scheduled 6-8 weeks later when we’ve received clearance by the U.S. Embassy. We stay a week during each trip, which we’re very excited about!
So in regards to time estimates, we are expecting it to take at least 2 years. In March of 2011, the MOWA released a statement saying that they were reducing the amount of cases reviewed each day by 90%, but our agency has told us that they are seeing the most delays in getting a referral since additional steps are being made to ensure that each child is indeed an orphan. Usually if the age you specified is younger than 3 years old, the adoption process takes longer, whereas children over 3 or siblings groups don’t take as long. Also, a lot of the time frames are dependent upon Ethiopia. Neither the adoptive family nor our agency has ANY control over that.
We completely understand what we are taking on, but we have decided to take a leap of faith and journey down this road anyways. We believe constant prayer, solid faith in God’s plan for our family, and support from our friends and family will keep us going when we are struggling in the wait! We’ve already experienced such positive feedback and support, and are so thankful for each one of you who are here to witness the journey alongside us!