what’s in a dossier, part 2

Last year, I posted what was in our dossier for Ethiopia.  Since our China dossier is en route to our agency now (yay!), I thought I’d post what’s in this one, too.  Just in case anyone is curious.  I know I was before we started dossier building.

Here are my codes:
N – Notarized
SC – State Certified
EA – Chinese Embassy Authenticated

Application Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Birth Certificates (SC & EA)
Marriage License (SC & EA)
Employment Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Letter of Non-Employment (N, SC, & EA)
Financial Statement (N, SC, & EA)
Physical Exam Forms (N, SC, & EA)
Doctor Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Police Background Checks (N, SC, & EA)
Home Study (N, SC, & EA)
3 Letters of Reference (N, SC, & EA)
Notarized Copy of our I-797 Approval (N, SC, & EA)
Copies of our Passports
3 Family Photo Pages
2 passport sized photos for each of us

So, a few less documents than Ethiopia, but way more hoops to jump through for each document.  If you want more info about the Family Photo Pages, you can click here.  Like I said in the other post, if you’re about to start the adoption process, don’t start gathering documents yet.  Strange as it may sound, they do expire very quickly.

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this kid

His favorite part of feeding the ducks is eating the bread.
He’s so quirky and silly and fun.
He’s so affectionate and sensitive and loving.
He has been working so hard at being brave and trying new things.
He makes me laugh every day.
He makes every day interesting and exciting and new.
He’s about to turn 5, and it’s breaking his mama’s heart a little bit.
He promised me he’ll still be little when he’s 5.
Being his mom is amazing.  

so much better than hawaii.

We recently had our 10th anniversary. Over the years, when we thought we’d have “more money” by our 10th anniversary (whatever that even means), we imagined we might go to Hawaii for our 10th, or drive up the California coastline, which I really want to do someday.

But, here we are, with a toddler who has hardly ever been away from her mama, and in the middle of an international adoption. We’re living on a very strict budget day-to-day, and have just enough in our adoption account for our next payment and the postage to get it there.

I asked my husband to just be in charge of it. I was overwhelmed and didn’t even know what I wanted to do.

He found a guest house at an amazing ranch, driving distance (and close to grandparents!), for really cheap. We hiked, swam, read, explored, tubed the Guadalupe, window shopped, ate great food, lounged in the hot tub, and just enjoyed three solid days and nights of each other.  It was wonderful. It was totally not what I would have planned, and probably about 200x better because of it.

I looked up at him at some point during the trip and said,
“This is so much better than Hawaii.”

Living life with him is the greatest gift I could ever want.
anniversary pizap

“Love’s flames are fiery flames – the fiercest of all. Mighty waters cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” Song of Solomon 8:6-7

“good job, mom.”

It was definitely one of those days. I tried to cram in too much fun, and we all paid for it. Someday, maybe I’ll learn.

As I tried to round up my kids to go from one play date to another, my middle little one didn’t come when I called him. I called him again, and he didn’t come. I called him more sternly, and he finally sauntered over.

I said, “C, let’s practice. Go back over there.” He did. I called him. He yelled, “Yes, ma’am!” and came over. We practiced again. And again.

It was just a normal, everyday mom-of-a-preschooler moment. I wasn’t extra patient or loving or kind or creative or sweet.

But a mom, standing near by watched us. She had several little ones of her own. She said, “Good job, C!” and then…

“Good job, mom.”

I almost burst into tears.

As moms, we don’t get a lot of recognition. Infants don’t coo, “Thank you ever so much for changing my diaper!” Toddlers don’t exclaim, “I was so impressed with the consistency of that mac & cheese!” Generally, the things we do are only noticed if we don’t manage to get them done. That was really one of the hardest things about the transition to being a stay-at-home-mom for me. No more good evaluations, no more positive and encouraging emails from the boss, and no more bonuses or accolades for great work. If the kids are clean and fed, you actually did your hair and wore makeup, you did some sort of craft or learning activity, healthy dinner is on the table, and the house is clean when your husband gets home – your reward is that you get to do it again tomorrow.

And it is a reward. I know that. I am so thankful that I get to stay home, and I love serving my family.

But today reminded me that I need to choose to be more deliberate about encouraging and building up the moms I see every day. How much better would motherhood be if we were all telling someone, “Good job, mom!” every day?

“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

good job, mom

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we got it! we got it!! we got it!!!

Who ever knew that a little envelope could cause a grown woman to jump up and down and scream and cry in the middle of the driveway?! Okay, maybe there are lots of reasons that could happen. But still.

I think we are going to be able to get it notarized tomorrow and state certified on Monday. Woo hoo!

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this kid

Is finally feeling better after the “24-hour VBS stomach bug” stuck with her for more than 5 days. We went to a West African Drum & Dance performance, and she wanted to sit quietly on my lap and just take it all in. The only times she got up were to find a snack (apple) and to dig in my purse to find this paper and pen to draw. She’s such a sweet mix of being totally independent and totally a Mommy’s girl. I love it. I wish I could just bottle her the age she is now. I think this is my favorite, favorite age.

#1 & #2

The two most beautiful things I’ve seen in quite a while:

1.  My beautiful sister-in-law as a bride.  I’ve watched her grow up since she was 11, and I’m so amazed by the woman that she is now.  Congrats, M & S!  We are so excited to watch you enter this new chapter of your lives as a family, and we’re so thankful to have you as our brother and sister.

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2.  These gorgeous Chinese stamps on the back of all of our documents* – nothing rejected!  Hallelujah!

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*We’re still waiting on our I800A.  My project for tonight is to get everything else totally ready, so when we get it, there’s no more delay. Trusting God’s timing feels a little easier today than it did last Wednesday.  Today, someone I am friends with on Facebook said in a prayer, “So when I can’t see Your hand I’m going to ask for the faith to trust Your heart.”  Isn’t that wise?  That’s my prayer right now.

broken.

My daughter has been sick.  Another victim of VBS Stomach Bug 2014.

The other night, I had told her to yell for me if she feels yucky or throws up and I’d come help her.  A couple of hours later, I heard her fussing, and listened.  The saddest voice ever cried, “Mommy!  I fwoed up!  I fwoed up!”  I ran down the hallway and into her room.  She was covered in it – in her hair, on her face, on her hands, on her pajamas, on her sheets, on her pillow.  My husband and I started the tub, took the sheets off her bed, and gave her a bath.  As I was tucking her clean, sweet little self back into a freshly made bed, brushing back her damp hair with my fingers, kissing her face, and telling her Mommy is right across the hall and she can yell for me if she needs me… all of the sudden, I was just heartbroken thinking about another little girl, thinking about hundreds of thousands of little girls and little boys who don’t have a mommy (or daddy, or grandma, or aunt, or someone) to clean them up when they’re sick, put a sippy cup of water next to the bed in case they get thirsty, whisper a prayer over their little bodies, and tuck them back into bed with kisses and reassurance that Mommy is right across the hall.

The world is so broken!  The problem feels so big that it’s paralyzing, and easier to just look away.  Someday, when we get to Heaven, their sweet little tears will be wiped away.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4

In the meantime, we have to do something.  We can’t solve it – it’s too broken.  But can’t turn away.  We have to do something.

 

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’

And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
Matthew 25:34-40

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

rainy day

rainy day

We didn’t get that document. I’m pretty disappointed, but trying to be intentional about trusting God’s timing.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.
Psalm 27:14