Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Adoption Update

Hey all!

So, this is the first time i've written anything for way too long!! I thought that since this was going to be longer i should just write a blog post...nothing more annoying than an crazy long Facebook post! At least when you clicked on the link you were committing to reading it. ;-)

Let me get you all up to speed...Last summer when faced with having to leave Ghana. We, as a family, decided that we would try and adopt Stephen Karikari.  We didn't even know if we could...Every step along the way in Ghana was quite a resounding, YES!!  It really was AMAZING to see God's hand guiding that whole thing and the SPEED at which things moved. If any of you have ever been to Ghana you would understand that the quickness with which the Social Welfare (a government office) was really more than Extraordinary!!!   A God thing, really! When we contacted the USCIS (United States department of Citizenship and Immigration Services) in Ghana they basically told us we would have to follow protocol and nothing could be expedited.  With our visas expiring the end of August 2014, we made the tough decision of leaving Stephen with the Boatengs, heading back to America to finish the U.S. paper work side of things. That would mean finding jobs, finding a place to live, setting up house (we came and had only the suitcases we brought with us from Ghana), and beginning the adoption process here.  That is what we have done.

Now some of you may be wondering what it takes to get the adoption process going or what we have done.  Let me fill you in. :-)  First you have to fill out an application...this is no one or two page application...pretty sure the application itself (that we filed with the agency we are working through) was about 10-12 pages long that needed extensive information about our families (close and extended), our references, ourselves, our financial matters, our work history, our personal info, etc....with that application we also filed autobiographies...that was also another 12-15 pages of questions, a LOT of questions that required much more than just one or two word answers....i worked on that part every day for a week...took a break...and then worked on then really had to write an autobiography of my life to date....i don't know how long that took....longer than i wanted.  then we had to wait for the references that we listed to be mailed a questionnaire, respond to that, and mail it back. We also had to have medical check-ups...for the entire family.  Then we had to do FBI background checks...did you all know that they do digital fingerprinting now???  It makes sense with all the technology we have. Then we had to do a personality test. Then we were finally able to start the home study part ( a process made up of 3 interviews).  Pretty much every step we've done has had a cost, the application, the background checks, the doctor's visits, the personality tests, the home study interviews...we've put out a chunk so far and we're not done...

So where does that leave us is what we have left to do to complete the adoption agency we are working through requirements. These must be completed BEFORE we can file with the USCIS. We must take online adoptive parenting classes. There are five of them.  We must get a few paperwork items to the agency, and we must finish paying for the home study part. Our last interview is the middle of September.  Then when we get the home study report from the agency...THEN we can finally file with the USCIS. What does that mean?  That means another application, another FBI background check,  submitting the home study report, and any and all accompanying paperwork.  I honestly haven't looked at everything for the USCIS for about 6 months, it just seemed like such a huge task, that i've had to break it down basically to what do i need to do this week...or more often...what do i need to do today?

After we submit things to the USCIS, and everything is approved...then we can go get Stephen!!!  But what does that mean??  That will mean plane tickets and planning...that will mean a visit to the capital Accra to visit the embassy to get a visa for Stephen so that he can travel.  Then when he has a visa....THEN WE CAN COME HOME!!!!  I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO TAKE STEPHEN ON HIS FIRST FLIGHT!!!!!!!   I can hardly wait for all the firsts that will come on that trip!  For all the firsts that will happen when he gets here! For the JOY that our family will have being all together again!!!  It is hard for me to think about that as it brings up so much emotion...

What you can pray for... Pray that things will continue to progress as they have the last month so that we can get Stephen by the end of the year...SOONER if possible!!!  Pray that Stephen has his passport....pray that we will be able to keep up with the financial needs as they come up.....Pray for Stephen that he feels like he is not forgotten (he isn't, but it has been TOO LONG)....pray for his transition to life here....

So i think this is about as condensed as it gets writing out the adoption process and what we've done, been through, continue to go through, and what we have to look forward to doing. Our love to all!!