Sunday, August 30, 2009

Few pictures of birdy

Bird and her daddy. I was wanting to get one of all three of us for the DTC post but I haven't taken one in the last 30 I just put up three seperate ones.

Our Sweet Pea

Check out the pink hair...sweet! You can't see it very well, but her bangs are pink and she has 2 blue streaks on the underneath on the sides...the benefits of mom being a hairstylist. Bird and I have the same color. She picked it out for us : )

We are DTC!!!

As of 8.28.09 we are DTC (Dossier to China)!!! This means not only are we done with the 6 months worth of paperwork that we have been working on but we are also "officially" awaiting the referral of our next baby girl. Huge sigh of relief on one hand and also a EEKK on the other. Shane, Jaili bird and I are so excited to finally get a referral and see the face of our next daughter/sister, reality has set in a little more of "Oh awesome, now we are going to need to come up with lots of $$$". (The sky is falling, the sky is falling : ) )I'm freaked and calm at the same time...I don't know how it's all going to happen but I do know that this is God's plan and He already has our daughter for us so He will make it all come together. It is a good feeling to have that peace, that He will see us through. Sometimes it would be nice if we could have a little more detail on how.
As for when we will get a referral, it all just depends. We could get a referral as soon as 2 weeks or it could be 6 months from now. We've had a few questions on how our daughter will come to us. We don't pick her out. Since we are doing the COP (child of Promise) route China releases a list of children once a month with various special needs and different ages. Our agency Holt then compares the parameters of the different parents to the age, special need, etc of the children that need families. When they have a child that meets what the parents have put on the application and special need form they "lock" the child's file. They then send all of this information to the potential parents. At this time the parents review the information and decide if this is their child. You can have a doctor review all of the medical information also. If you decide to accept the referral you then send a letter of Intent (LOI) to China saying that yes this is the child that you are wanting to adopt (basically..there is other stuff that goes along with it to). If you decide to not accept the referral the child' file is "unlocked" and the file then is available for another agency to "lock". Nothing changes with the potential parents, you just stay waiting for the next referral. There are various reasons that files are not accepted (special need to severe, child is older). It is heartbreaking to deny a referral but you know the child that God has planned for you and what you can handle special needs wise. I believe that there can be a family for every child and God will guide you to your child and your child to you.
After you accept you send your LOI (letter of Intent) you then wait several months to get your LOA (letter of Approval) this is the letter that China sends to let you know that yes, you are approved to be the parents of this child. You then wait for TA (travel approval) time frames vary to receive this but I believe that it is usually around 10 weeks after you receive LOA. After you receive your TA you are set to go get your child. You will usually leave 3-4 weeks after you receive TA. The whole process from referral until actually getting to hold your child for the first time is about 6-7 months. With Jaili girl it took about 5 months, time frames have lengthened since then though (due to different paperwork and approvals...Hague convention). Shane and I have put several special needs that we are open to so we should get a referral relatively soon. Some of the special needs we have included are deaf, partial hearing loss, ear atresia, congenital heart defect, Hep B, missing or partial arm, leg, fingers, toes, webbed fingers, toes, albinism and few others. Both Shane and I are very open to various questions about different special needs because it is nothing to be ashamed of. So if anyone is curious about special needs adoption please feel free to email me any questions. The special needs can be very minor and correctable to more severe. It is also possible that like Jaili girl, we received her referral under the COP program, and after we got home found that she had seroconverted from Hep B and is healthy in every way (she has an amazing immune system, that kid is never's awesome)Anywho, this is about the time frame we are looking at. We are hoping for a referral before December and then travel by June or so. It's all God's timing though, so who knows.
On the subject of June, Jaili bird is pretty convinced that we are naming her June. Everytime I tell her " I don't know yet honey, we are going to wait and see" she tells me adamantly that "No Mommy, baby sister's name is June. I know that her name is June, I'm naming her that" (It's sad the way she is so shy about sharing her opinions :) ) So we may be getting a picture of our little June bug in a few months. We will see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Almost DTC

On Wednesday of last week we turned in our last piece of paperwork to Holt before it can be sent to China. Huge sigh of relief. We are just waiting for all of our paperwork to be authenticated at the Chinese Embassy in San Francisco and then it's off to China with it. We should be DTC (dossier to China)the last week in August or the first week in September. Shane's birthday is on Sept 4th so that would be a great present for him.
On another note, the venue for our fundraiser has been changed. We are now having it at the 50+ Senior Center on Portland Rd. It was our first choice, so we are pretty excited. It will be a much better venue for the event. The Elks lodge was going to end up costing about $900 for us to rent because we had to use their food and they wouldn't provide any discounts for us, so we wouldn't end up making much if any money. Shane talked with the 50+ center yesterday and not only was the date available but they are also giving us a 20% discount to rent the space and 50% discount during the time we are there for set up. It was fantastic news for us, the building is lovely and floor for dancing is perfect there. We can also bring in our own food (fruit, crackers and cheese plates). Everything is coming along extremely well. We have had a few more donations for the silent auction. Felicity boutique and Eric John Photography are donating gift certificates for the silent auction and I've had a few clients volunteer to make baskets for a raffle too (organic breakfast basket, hair product etc basket).
We are so blessed and appreciative of everyone helping us with this. It's amazing to see how God works to make this all possible. I'll post more updates as we get them.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Adoption Cost info

We have received alot of questions lately about adopting a special needs child from China and about the adoption process in general. I thought I would go ahead a post what our experience has been with the adoption process in general and next week will post information on special needs adoption.
One of the first questions people ask is "Why is it so expensive". Here is the basic layout for cost of adoption with Holt International through China.
1. First you have the application fee which is $300.00 (Since Shane and I have already adopted once with Holt through China this fee was waived for us). At this point Holt reviews everything. lets you know that it is approved and sends you the China book and a whole lot of info to fill out.
2. The next fee is for the homestudy. It is between $2500.00-$2900.00 After your homestudy is approved you then pay the for your immigration paperwork with the US government and your dossier fee.
3. The immigration paperwork is $670 plus $160 to be fingerprinted federally. The dossier is the collection of paperwork that you have been gathering to send to China. This is what China will review before you can adopt. The dossier fee is $3000.00.
4. Along with the agency fees you also need to take into account the fees for ordering you birth and marriage certificates, having all of your documents certified at the state level and then authenticated. These fees are approx. $550.00 You also
need to add for any classes you need to take to meet the requirements Oregon has before adopting (which is 10 hours currently) This will be approx.$180.00
5. Once you have been matched with your child you will pay the adoption or country fee which for China is $11,360 (included in this amount is the mandatory donation to the orphanage of $5000)
6. The comes the travel expenses which can range depending on how many people are going, how long you stay, etc. We are estimating approx $8000-$10,000. You will be in China for approx. 17 days. The travel cost covers everything while you are there including in country flights between different provinces depending on where your child is.
7. After you are home you will pay a post placement fee between $1200-$1400.
8. You will then have to apply for readoption within the state of Oregon. This is not mandatory but will make it easier for your child. This is when your child will get an Oregon birth certificate. If you do it yourself the fee is approx $300.00. If you have a lawyer do it for you the fee is approx. $950.00
There are variations to the costs. For example you can get a fee reduction depending on the special needs of your child and since Shane and I are a returning family we got a fee reduction on our homestudy and dossier fee also.
So all total we are looking at approximately $24,680.00 from start to finish. There are various ways to help with this amount. For Jaili girl's adoption we saved, had generous donations from friends and family, received a grant from Show Hope for $3000.00 and took out a home equity loan for the rest. For baby #2 we don't have the option of the home equity loan this time so we are applying for all the grants we can, doing different fundraiser options, saving like crazy and have already had a few wonderful donations from friends and one of my clients. Shane and I would not be able to do this if we did not have the support of our family and friends helping us. Whether it's by having a tupperware party, donating things for the auction, donating money for the adoption fund or donating their time. It's the kindness of so many that allow Shane and I to bring our children home. Children that desperately need to have love, a home, siblings, family, parents. All the basic things that every child deserves but so many are denied in this world. If we can provide this love to even just a few it will make a huge difference not only in their lives but in ours and everyone these beautiful children touch. Shane and I have been enormously blessed to have had God choose us to build our family this way. Alot of times people say "oh how wonderful. Your kids are so lucky, so blessed" but it is Shane and I who are blessed and lucky to be able to share our lives with such truly amazing children, our children.
If you are considering opening your heart to one of the millions of children around the world that are in need of a loving home please contact Holt International. I have a link on the blog that will take you directly to their website.
Oh yea, that is our little bird on the cover of the Holt magazing in the picture : )