Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is YOU

It's 8 days until Christmas - December 17th to be exact.  Let me start by painting you a picture of our day.

We woke up in a lovely condo in Park City, Utah; threw on some warm clothes; and stepped outside to eat some bright, white, fluffy snow.  We hopped in our rental Jeep and headed to breakfast downtown.  Looking throughout the windows of a delightful cafe, we saw snow covered roofs, stunning mountains, skiiers boarding the lift, and evergreens dusted in snow.  Talk about beauty!

We looked in awe, and Lilly Grace repeatedly asked if it was pretend or real (also referring to it as sand, as she confuses sand and snow).  God's creation is truly remarkable. While gazing at the scenery and eating a scrumptious breakfast, we were talking about how today is Samuel's birthday.  We were sad that he wasn't spending his birthday with his forever family, but thankful that this should be his last birthday as an orphan.

In the middle of breakfast, we received a call from our wonderful social worker, Beth.  She said she had some good news - the ICBF had approved our family to adopt precious Samuel!  We have been waiting for weeks for our dossier to be approved, so we were elated to discover that our dossier had been approved AND we had been "matched" with Samuel.  This is all just verbal and e-mail communication.  We're still waiting on it be officially be in writing, and due to the wording, we aren't 100% sure the dossier was approved. But we are fairly certain that the dossier and match were approved.

Immediately, we called and texted our families, who were all so encouraging and eager to meet this precious boy.  A common question has resounded from almost everybody: What's next?  The next step is to receive an official letter stating we have been matched with Samuel.  The tricky part is that Christmas and New Year's are around the corner, so this could take a few weeks to receive. Luckily, the in-country team is really pushing for it to happen quickly.  Lastly, we will have some paperwork to do and have approved here in America.  It takes on average about 6 weeks, but Brent has some connections to some folks in DC who have volunteered to do all they can to cut this time as much as possible. Then, we will be making arrangements to go to Colombia for 6-7 weeks and bring our son HOME!

Yes, Christmas still is 8 days away, but we got our Christmas wish - an answered prayer.  We are much closer to having Samuel forever.  We have felt your prayers, and are thankful to everyone of you who have prayed.  Thank you for the encouragement, and please continue to pray.

Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

Friday, November 22, 2013

November: A Month of Thanksgiving...and Complaining

Somehow, November arrived extraordinarily fast this year.  As soon as it arrived, I was filled with thoughts of delicious meals, gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, family time, and of course Thanksgiving.  Additionally, Brent and I were going on a trip to Miami as just a couple to celebrate our five year anniversary a few days early.  We were so excited. We attended a Christian-marriage conference that Brent's parents gave to us as a gift while they kept the kids, which meant time alone in Miami.  We love our children wholeheartedly but decided from the onset of growing our family that our relationship would have to come first.  Truthfully, it is hard with munchkins, but well worth it.  But I digress.

Clearly, we were ecstatic about our trip and about the entire month in general. The Wednesday before leaving for Miami, I was headed out the door to pick up the girls from school and take Lilly Grace to gymnastics.  I had hopped in the car, backed out of the garage, and realized I forgot to grab her leotard.  I ran back in and evidently put my car in drive instead of park.  Let me tell you, running your car into your own house while you aren't even in it is mortifying!  I felt like the biggest moron.  However, Brent took the news so well and was calming, kind, and godly despite his scatterbrained wife.  We have a lot of brick to replace, and the front of my car needs a little bit of help.  My Dad even came over that night and  got the garage door back in alignment so it would close.

The following day, Brent's parents came over early in the morning to keep the girls, and we headed out for what turned out to be a glorious trip to Miami!  The conference was absolutely awesome, and we highly recommend it.  It is "A Weekend to Remember" presented by Family Life.  We journeyed to South Beach, downtown Miami, the Keys, the Everglades, and Little Havana.  It was a lot in a few days, and we had a ball.

In addition to us celebrating five years of wonderful marriage this month, my dad celebrated his 60th birthday.  All of the in-town family came over to our house for "Pop's Party" - his "Stew-Pendous Souper Sixty Celebration."  We had soup as our meal, and yes, I really like alliteration.  It was such a fun night.  All the grand kids were precious, the dinner turned out yummy, and we had great family fellowship. The only down side was that about thirty minutes prior to everybody's arrival, Lilly Grace spiked a 104 degree fever.  What we hoped was a 24 hour issue turned into an eight day fever virus affecting both girls.  Fevers were up and down all day, noses were repulsively gross, they refused to eat, coughs were productive, and chests were rattling.  It was rough.

Before the dreaded virus ravaged our house Brent was gone for the longest he has been gone since we had children.  He was originally supposed to go to New Orleans for a few days, but ended up going to DC first then flew from DC to NOLA.  He was gone for six days.  Truth be told, the girls were awesome.  We had a great time doing girlie things, although we really missed Brent.  That said, military wives are incredible.  Their husbands are gone for extensive periods of time, and they never complain!  I am amazed by these rock star women.  Six days without help is difficult, like really difficult at times, but it was also really fun.  Lilly Grace slept in my bed, we did arts and crafts, we played.  It was a grand old time.  And because of Brent's flight schedule, we were able to both drop off and pick up Brent from the airport.

Finally, our crazy November was looking up.  The girls were well, and they were going back to school for the first time in over a week.  I was going to clean and sanitize my house.  Right as I was dropping them off, Brent texted me.  He was in a wreck on the interstate.  AHHHHH!  Luckily he was fine, just quite sore.  And it wasn't his fault at all - unlike my incident with the garage a few weeks prior.

That brings us to today.  Two days ago we were supposed to receive an update on where our paperwork is in Colombia, then the internet and phones went down in the area of Medellin that Lifeline has its in-country folks. Thus, we received part of the update today instead.  Today marks six years since Brent and I started dating, and so I just knew that fate would allow something monumental to happen today.  Cheesy,  I know, especially considering I don't believe in "fate." Late this morning, our precious social worker called.  Brent's birth certificate is still causing problems.  Grrrrr.  Whereas being born in England is no-doubt cool, it makes international adoption difficult for some reason.  We filled out an affidavit previously, and completed some forms regarding Brent being born in England, thinking this was sufficient.  Evidently it was not.  We have to get his Great Britain birth certificate certified in Britain and apostilled there.  Much to Brent's chagrin, it won't require a trip to England, but it sadly will add about two weeks or more on to being approved by Colombia.

Needless to say, the ups and downs of this month, which is not even over yet, have made me gripey.  I've been a pill to be around I am sure.  I thought about this, and am now embarrassed.  This is the month of Thanksgiving, and I've done little more than complain!  In these next eight days, I pray for an attitude adjustment.  Honestly, I have it super easy.  My husband is incredible, hard-working, and a true family man.  Our kids are usually really healthy, happy, and precious.  We never have to worry about food, a roof or clothing.  Above all, we have a God who loves us unconditionally despite our unthankfulness.  Let me end by saying, I can't WAIT to be thankful that we've been approved to adopt our precious, adorable son, and we pray that day is soon.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Managing Small Hurdles

Hey precious friends and fellow prayer warriors,

I said on Facebook over a week ago I needed to update the blog, and I finally am.  At the beginning of September our dossier was submitted to Colombia.  We knew once it was submitted there were three options:  being approved, being turned down, or being questioned further.  Colombia responded really quickly, which was a blessing... but they had further questions they wanted answered.

Colombia's central authority for adoption - ICBF - questioned why we were adopting since we have no infertility issues.  Both of our girls were blessed surprises, merely 19 months apart - so clearly infertility is no problem with us, and we are extremely thankful to the Lord for this!  That said, we are adopting because we feel the Lord led us to do so, and He has opened doors leading us to Colombia and to this specific child.  However, we cannot exactly say that in those words to Colombia.  None of our responses can be "faith-based", because though it's a Catholic nation, Colombia's government wants to see what they consider long-term motivation to adopt.

The ICBF questioned the ways we are preparing ourselves and our girls for the adoption of our son, whether we are able to handle his medical condition, and what we are intending to do about sibling rivalry and jealousy.  Our oldest children will be merely months apart, so we realize that sibling rivalry and jealousy will be the norm.  We figure we will roll with the punches.  We are lucky that we  had a great example set before us when my sister, Stephanie and her husband, Jimmy got married.  They both brought 4 year old girls to the table who were only a few months apart in age.  They have blended phenomenally, and we have learned from them how to deal with siblings that are so close in age.

The other issue Colombia brought up was that Brent's birth certificate, which is from Great Britain, uses his full name, but our marriage certificate from the US dropped his middle name.  Fear not, he IS who is claims to be.  We filled out a name affidavit, similar to what I did for my married name and maiden name.  Hopefully that will be sufficient, and we truly think it is.

We wanted Colombia's ICBF to really know we are preparing for our son and are ready to take on his medical conditions and deal with any sibling rivalry.  Therefore, we went back to the psychologist for another session.  Evidently, when we told our Sunday School class, I worded all this really badly and it made it sound like we were out of our minds to the point we had to have a psyche consult.  Luckily, this is not the case.  We returned to Dr. Hamblin last Friday, and basically covered all the questions once again that Colombia presented. Colombia places great weight on the opinion of a psychologist.

Additionally, we had a phone conference with our social worker, and she and the social worker that did our home study wrote up a response.  We also sent off for repeat background checks for ABI/FBI.  Brent and I received some mail today that said our background checks were back and we passed.  I also spoke with Beth, our social worker, and our responses sans the psychological are currently being translated.  We hope to have everything ready for Colombia by the end of next week.

As I close, please pray that everything is ready and is sent to Colombia by next week.  Secondly, our next big prayer request is that once everything is sent back to Colombia we are approved at lightening speed, and that we can then proceed with the next steps.

We appreciate all of your prayers,
- Becky and Brent

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We're Expecting!...But Not Pregnant

Brent and I have some exciting news to share!  I guess it is no where near "official," but we are about to burst and can't wait any longer.

We received an e-mail then a call from Lifeline a few weeks ago saying that a child had been placed on the national Waiting Children registry that they thought would be a great match for our family.  Yes - that means we are much closer in the adoption process, but not ready to travel.  :)

We want to respect his privacy, so I won't go into much detail, but his name is Samuel, and he does have a fairly serious medical need.  We were told that his age and a couple more medical details put him on the list.  They sent us his entire medical file... but it was in Spanish.  I had chills for a straight hour once we received this news, because there was a good chance this was going to be our son!

When we received the news, the girls and I were playing in the playroom. Lilly Grace still had on a tacky princess dresses, but we packed up and sped over to Brent's office.  Brent was supposed to be out of town, but through a random chain of events, he did not go.  After quick prayer and a few tears, we immediately submitted a letter of intent for this boy.  We were on cloud nine, because we felt this three year old boy was going to become a Buchanan.

After we sent in our letter, our social worker called us and basically told us not to get our hopes up, since dozens of other agencies across the world had access to his file. We didn't let this discourage us.

And let me tell you, he is SOOOO cute so anybody who sees him would want him!  We tried to guard our hearts, knowing there was a greater chance that he would not become a member of our family, than the chance that he would.

After a grueling week of waiting, Beth, our social worker called and said she had some good news.  We were the first family to submit a letter of intent, so the central authority in Colombia - the ICBF - stopped accepting anymore after ours was received!!!  Woohoo!  Praise the Lord for allowing that to work out so perfectly.

Although this all seems fabulous, there are still many more steps, and he is by no means officially a member of our family yet. 

Samuel is currently in a foster home in Colombia, and we truly feel that his foster family is doing great with him, which we will be eternally grateful for!  Our dossier has not been submitted to Colombia yet, but I got word today that it should be submitted within the next couple days.  After it is submitted, it can be approved, rejected, or sent back for further questions.  We pray that it is approved and quickly. We must be approved in the country then in the state where he lives.  After approval, we must be officially "matched" with Samuel through the ICBF.  After a few more steps in the process, will eventually be able to go to Colombia for our allotted 6-7 weeks to bring Samuel home!

Our biggest prayer concern right now is that we are able to travel to Colombia in December so that Brent is able to stay the entire time.  We know this is highly unlikely, but God can make anything possible.  We also know that everything happens in His perfect timing, and His ways are all-knowing.  We are so ready to go to Colombia to bring Samuel home! 

As I close, I have a quick story about Lilly Grace.  During her prayers before bed tonight, she wanted to pray for her brother.  She told us that right now the door in Colombia is closed, but God has the key and He will get us to Colombia.  Out of the mouth of babes, folks, comes beautiful words of wisdom!

Keep praying for Samuel!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Celebratory Weekend! Praise the Lord!

I guess I will begin by catching everybody up to speed.  The two big things we had to get accomplished was getting approval through the Department of Homeland Security and completing our dossier.  I think we have touched on it before, but neither of us had heard the term dossier until we began this journey.  It is basically a bunch of documents including birth certificates, marriage licenses, home study, medicals, letters from our physician, psychological evaluation, passport copies, passport pictures, pictures of our house, pictures of our family, and a handful of other things.  All these documents have to be notarized and apostilled, then will be sent to Colombia for translation.

Brent and I were ecstatic a couple months ago to get the notice in the mail that we had an appointment for our biometric fingerprints - which is part of the approval through Homeland Security.  Brent was traveling a ton this summer, and we earnestly prayed that our appointment would be a date that he would be in town.  Praise the Lord!  We were given our appointment on a day that his calendar was clear.  What an answer to prayer.

We got up bright and early, and with the girls in tow drove to Birmingham to the office of immigration for our biometric scans.  What a relief to have this checked off our list.. until the stumbling block slowed us.  Evidently, we BOTH should have received papers in the mail, and only Brent had his paper with his appointment time.  Thankfully, the folks at the office were surprisingly extremely nice and helpful.  After mere minutes, the head guy realized mine was never mailed and he had it in his hands.  Once again, praise the Lord!  We both had our biometric prints done, and celebrated by meandering around Samford's campus and with lunch at the Peach Park in Clanton (which far surpasses Durbin Farms).

Now, let me get back to the dossier and trying to get all of it compiled.  I've stated before that it was like pulling teeth to get our medicals done correctly. I had called our doctor's office, spoken to many people, and gone in in person several times.  I was exasperated, and quite honestly fed up.  Brent gives it a try, waltzes in to the office, and within 3 minutes is out with our medical forms corrected, completed, and ready to go.  I definitely married the right guy!

The other part of our dossier that was lacking was the psychological evaluation.  Aside from the home study, this part is the most time consuming, and Colombia puts immense worth into the psychological.  We met with Dr. Hamblin twice, and completed a bazillion question personality test.  Dr. Hamblin took notes on all we did and said, and the process was really laid back.  We were glad that we weren't diagnosed with any bizarre conditions in the process, just that Brent is gregarious and bold (duh) and that I am quite the opposite.  He wrote up the study and saved it on his flash disk.  However, the devil is always at work and the flash disk fell out of his brief case and was run over in the parking lot.  Dr. Hamblin however, is a man of God - and we are so blessed to have him specifically doing our evaluation.  He worked so hard to rewrite it, and never griped nor complained about the extra work.  I would receive e-mails with questions and drafts in the middle of the night.  Praise the Lord, yet AGAIN for such a godly, hard-working psychologist.  After some revisions, we are very close to the psychological evaluation being completed.

So, all that brings us up to this past Friday.  It was a rough day.  I wanted to get the house clean, plant a bunch of flowers, do laundry, and go grocery shopping. However, Spider Monkey Alex had other plans.  She wanted Mommy to hold her ALL DAY LONG.  True, these times are fleeting, but it is impossibly to hold Spider Monkey all day long.  Thus, every time I put her down she would scream and cry.  Somehow, I managed to accomplish what I set out to do, but amidst horrendous cries.  The day made a complete turn around when I went to check the mail.  There was a letter from the Department of Homeland Security.  My initial thought was, "Oh no!  What have we done?"  I tore it open, as my eyes welled up.  We were approved to adopt 1-2 children, 0-4 years of age, with medical special needs from Colombia!  Praise the Lord!!!  We weren't expecting this till mid-August!  I called Brent, and we celebrated over the phone.

Friday evening after supper, we headed down the road to pick up our race packets for the 5K we were running in the next day.  What we thought would be a quick 2-3 minute stop turned into be such a blessing.  We ran into Billy and Camilla Irvin who congratulated and encouraged us on our latest step in the adoption, and got to visit with Tanya and Andy Birchfield who also poured out encouragement on us and our process.  A quick aside, for anyone reading please keep the Birchfields in your prayers.  They have hit a few road blocks in their international adoption process, and are ready to bring home their two from Moldova.

Saturday morning we awoke way earlier than normal, donned our race clothes, and headed back down the street for the Race for Hope benefiting Cole's House in Haiti.  Our church, mainly headed up by the Birchfields, started an orphanage in Haiti, and Cole's house will house more orphans.  What a great thing to run for, huh?  Brent and Michael, our brother in law, ran most of the 5K together, and placed second and first, respectively in their age group.  My mother wasn't far behind them and placed first in her division!  Pretty awesome I'd say!  I pushed the girls in the double stroller, and came in close to last. Regardless, it was a great morning benefiting a great cause.  I find it necessary to add, that the winner of the half marathon - Daniel from Uganda - ran his 13.1 miles in mere minutes over the time it took me to complete a 5K.

Another important aspect of Saturday was that it was the day Colombia celebrates their independence from Spain, so of course we had to celebrate as well.  We had all our family over that was in town and celebrated with the house decorated in red, blue, and yellow, wearing bright "Colombian" clothes and eating traditional Colombian cuisine.  We had chips and mango salsa, plantain chips, carne asada, coconut rice with raisins, red beans with bacon, tomatoes and cilantro, cheesy bread balls, sangria, and Mom made an awesome dessert of meringue topped with ice cream and nutty caramel sauce.  It was a great way to celebrate Independence Day as well as being close to sending everything to Colombia.

In the upcoming few days, we will finalize out psychological evaluation and Beth, our social worker, will get everything notarized and apostilled.  Then, it will be sent to Colombia for translation.  Once it is in Colombia, our only job is to pray and wait, pray and wait.  As we always say, continue to pray.  Pray for speed of the Colombian government.  Pray that the child or children that will fit perfectly with our family will be referred. Pray for all the orphans.  Pray.

Below are some current photos of the family.

Enjoying Samford's campus after biometric fingerprints
Stroller-ready girls at the Race for Hope
Our family celebrating Colombian Independence Day

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Overdue Adoption Process Update

Evidently, I am a horrible blogger.  Then again, what seems monumental to us may seem trivial to others, so I guess it isn’t all bad that I am consolidating the past couple months of adoption updates into one post. 
The paperwork continues, but thanks to my super organized husband we always knock it out! He truly is the organization behind not just the adoption, but nearly every aspect of our household. 
Before I go on any further, I want to send a shout out to TLC.  Granted, some of their shows are ridiculous and not very wholesome, but two of their shows have shed some light on international adoption. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting have mentioned multiple times that they are prayerfully considering adoption and visited an orphanage on their trip to China.  The kiddos shown at the orphanage were adorable by the way! 
Speaking of China, Jen and Bill of the Little Couple are journeying to China to adopt a three year old little boy, and shortly thereafter to adopt a baby girl from India.  It just goes to show, family isn’t about skin color or sharing genes.  However, I must make a statement about how the process is portrayed on “The Little Couple,” – it is NOT that fast by any stretch.  We sure wish it was because we are ready to have the rest of our family home! 
Our current status is that we completed the home study last month, but it is still in the process of getting typed out and finalized.  Hopefully, within a few days it will be finished.  It, along with some other paper work, will be sent to US Customs & Immigration Service (Dept. of Homeland Security) so that we can be approved by the feds to adopt internationally. 
While this is transpiring, we are compiling our dossier for Colombia’s central adoption authority.  (This is a word I had never heard until we began this journey.)   We have a lot of it completed, and just lack our medicals and our psychiatric evaluation.  Honestly, the most frustrating part of this whole journey has been with the medicals.  Things that should be common sense and easy for a doctor’s office have been seemingly impossible.  We have had to have the medical form redone multiple times because of mistakes made on their end.  We have done our first psychological interview and an extensive personality test (as in 568 questions each), and are awaiting our second and final interview with Dr. Hamblin.  He is fantastic, and evidently has e-mailed back and forth with our social worker. 
So that’s where we are right now – basically in limbo in a few areas.  We still ask that you pray for our family and our child/children in Colombia.  This is such an intense journey, but we truly feel that we are doing what the Lord wants us to do.  We can’t wait when the day comes that we receive a referral. It’ll be over a year or more away, but that day will be so exciting!!!
One last thought before I close, the first family from Lifeline in the Colombia pilot program is going to Colombia this Friday.  We don’t know their names, but keep them in your prayers. They are heading to one of the rural areas, which still have issues of violence and drug crimes.  Based on their journey, we will learn more about what it in store for us.
God Bless and Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More Home Study, Medicals & A Psychologist

It’s been a while since I have updated the blog, but Brent and I have accomplished what we feel like has been a lot.  We have done hours (and hours and hours) of education including reading a book, doing some extensive online courses, and taking tests.  Honestly, we weren’t looking forward to the education but learned a ton!  We did not know how differently we would need to parent our adopted child versus our biological children.  We also learned about issues that many internationally adopted children have beyond mere developmental delays.   At times we felt a little intimidated.   What if our child has some extreme needs?  Then we remember that we are following the Lord’s call in our lives, and this is completely in His hands. 
In addition to the abundance of education requirements, we have begun our medical clearances.  I had my physical done this past week, Brent has his this upcoming week, and we will jointly see a psychiatrist.  Evidently, having a psychiatrist say that we are okay to parent is a BIG deal in Colombia.  It is even a bigger deal than our health, lab results, and home study. 
We also knocked out our third home study.  The home study process has been so fun since our social worker is such a delight.  We only have one more home study – which should be soon – before we go onto our next step.  This next step involves compiling our I-800A (US Immigration paperwork) and dossier, which will be sent to Colombia!
Several folks have asked questions about whether we already know which child we will be adopting.  The answer is no.  There are a few ways to adopt from Colombia.  There is a Waiting Children’s list that we have access to, and a Shared List that we also have been able to peruse.  Essentially, the Central Authority in Colombia (similar to our DHR) has lists of children that they advocate for as a priority because they are much older, have severe special needs, or are sibling groups.  The current lists have such precious children, children that need love and a family just as much as any other child.  However, they have severe needs that we do not feel we can handle or adequately parent at this time, especially considering we have two small kiddos already. 
The other method is to be matched by the Central Authority.  We filled out a form stating the age range(s) we are willing to take and what medical needs we think we can handle.  Trust me, filling out this form wasn’t easy.  We felt guilty not checking every special need, but our social worker and Lifeline worker helped us realize that we must be honest.  We want to be the best parents we can be, and must consider so many aspects of our current lives, as well as whether a child with certain special needs could thrive with us.  For example, we have stairs and all the children’s bedrooms upstairs.  It would be unfair to this child to never be able to navigate the stairs due to a medical condition, when his siblings have no trouble doing so… you get the point.  Unless another Waiting Children list comes out and the Lord leads us to a certain child (or children), we likely will wait for the Central Authority to match us. 
So, that’s where we are right now!  We are beyond thankful for all the words of encouragement, prayers, and thoughts.  Lilly Grace prays for her “brudder in Colombia” every night, and we look forward to Alex soon being able to understand a little more about her “brudder.” 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Home Study Part 2...complete

I don’t know about Brent, but I feel overwhelmed with paper work right now.  We are at the state in the adoption process where we are continually filling out forms, answering questions, providing documentation for everything under the sun, and reading and initialing boocoodles of paper.  The good news is that every piece of paper work and every signature just means another step closer to the end goal.
We are still currently in the home study process and recently had our second home study interview which was done at our house.  Our social worker Sherry joined us for lunch at our house before we got down to the nuts and bolts.  Brent and I had been praying, or rather pleading with the Lord, that the girls would behave and it wouldn’t be a mad house.  Lilly Grace and Alex were great!  Even Lucy, our miniature dachshund who notoriously tinkles with excitement, remained continent while Sherry was at the house. 
We enjoyed lunch, took her around our home for the required home tour, and then had our individual interviews.  Sherry is easy to talk to, so these interviews are quite laid back and unintimidating.  Much of the questions this time were about our families, childhood, and marriage.  Not to brag – well I guess I am – but Brent and I have fully realized throughout this process what incredible families we were born in to and what an awesome marriage the Lord has blessed us with.  We have been humbled as we realize this is not the norm, and we praise the Lord for the blessings he bestows.
Brent and I have also begun our required education.  Thus far, all we have accomplished is reading information on Colombia from the department of state websites, but will begin an online class and some other in depth reading specifically about adopted children in the near future. 
As we have been doing our side of the paper work, some of those we are close to have been selflessly putting their time and efforts into helping us as well.  We had to have references from family, friends, employers, and church members.  Sherry told us that most everybody responded immediately, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the promptness and helpful nature of those we listed as references.
Once we complete another chunk of questions, paperwork, and education, we will then finish up our home study interview process.  Following that, we will begin to fill out our I-800A Immigration application then compile the dossier for Colombia!  How exciting it is to say that we are not too far from compiling our dossier for Colombia… the birth country of our precious child. 
Like I have said many times, this is not a quick process, and we long for your prayers.  We also hope that you will pray for all of the orphans in the world.  We take it for granted that we are loved by a family, but there are so many who can only hope for that kind of love. 

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”    James 1:27

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Paperwork Continues...

Happy New Year!  With the hustle and bustle of Christmas, New Years, and sick children, we didn't make much progress for a couple weeks in the adoption process.  Despite our lack of progress, we have still prayed for our Colombian child or children multiple times daily, and we greatly anticipate the day he or they join us Buchanans!

A quick, cute Lilly Grace story before I give an update: The four of us were headed to the bank so Brent and I could fill out some paperwork, and we were having casual conversation and singing silly kiddie songs.  Shortly after walking in the door and completely unprompted, Lilly Grace proclaims to the teller, "My brudder lives in Colombia!"  Words cannot express how precious it is to see the love this child has for her brother that she has yet to meet!

As we wait to complete more paperwork, have more interviews, get our dossier compiled, and eventually wait for a referral, another precious baby has joined our family.  My sister, Stephanie, and her husband, Jimmy, welcomed baby Harmon James Parsons on January 3rd. He weighed a whopping 9 pounds 6 ounces and is quite possibly the cutest baby boy I have ever seen!  Lilly Grace keeps talking about Baby Harmon, and Alex lunges toward him every chance she gets.  These girls are ecstatic about their baby cousin, and Brent and I are overjoyed about our precious, chunky nephew.

Our latest paperwork has included brief forms we had to send off, certain things to be witnessed and notarized, and lengthy autobiographies.  The autobiographies consisted of answering four pages of questions about our lives.  While writing them, we realized what absolutely marvelous families we have and how abundantly blessed we have been since childhood.  It was also interesting to see how similarly we viewed aspects of our marriage, parenting, etc.  I was amazed at what an incredible writer Brent is... and as I am writing this blog he is still proofing mine, so I am certain mine wasn't as impressive. :)

We also were sent to the Sheriff's department to be fingerprinted.  We took both the girls since we want them to be as much a part of the entire process as possible, and figured it would be a quick in-and-out ordeal.  Brent and I were extremely pleased with how kind all of the personnel were. They were quick to help, were kind to us, and were playful with the children.  We made our way to the correct area for fingerprinting and waited, and waited, and waited.  We learned that the reason for the extensive wait was that a suspect in the first murder of 2013 in Montgomery was being fingerprinted immediately before us.  It was an eerie feeling knowing that we were trying to follow the Lord's call in our lives while we watched a murderer walk out with armed guards in front of our very eyes.  Then I remember, Christ died for all sinners and this person is just as worthy of grace and forgiveness as I am.  

Our next big step will be the second home study, which we will schedule once our precious social worker reads our autobiographies.  We look forward to meeting with her again, and always get very excited about any steps closer to bringing home this child.  For those of you that are praying with us throughout this process, continue to pray that if this child is already born that he is being loved and is attached to somebody.  That is our biggest prayer right now.  Have a blessed 2013!