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


  1. I look forward to your blogs! They make my heart happy :) I continue to pray for you all in this wonderful journey.

  2. I really enjoyed the update! God Speed to you.

    connie sadler

  3. Thank you sooo much for the sweet comments regarding my precious (a little ADHD) incredibly smart husband. We both felt soooo sorry that that incident had to occur. He had spent at least 12 hours the weekend before dictating, not just yours but quite a few more - all for nothing. All if fixed now but very good lesson learned. He now has his jump drive on a lanyard around his neck when he leaves for the offfice.
    You and Brent are going to the THE BEST PARENTS EVER to your brown baby/toddler/little boy. Praying for you daily.
    I am having some Buchanan withdrawal lately so when our new puppy comes you must come for a visit! Would love to see you guys.
    (I tried sending this four times yesterday and it wouldn't work. Hope the fifth time is the charm!)