On Monday we drove to our local USCIS fingerprinting office.  It was quite a trip….

Brian was working a five-day stretch and was exhausted when I woke him up. We got there pretty fast, but when we went in we noticed the place was packed. The woman at the counter said she’s never seen it so crowded!

I figured we’d be the only U.S. born people in the place and we were. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits during the 1.5 hour wait. They were playing I Love Lucy and I figured out a way to nurse Aram in the back of the room in a swivel chair until he fell asleep.

We finally got up there and it was pretty uneventful. This is our second round of fingerprinting so we knew what to expect.

What I did find interesting was that they wet your hands to get the fingerprints to show up darker, but they have a special bottle labeled “corn huskers” for the people working the corn fields because it messes up their prints- so they have a salve that will help pull them up.

They claim it takes a couple of weeks to get immigration approval, but up to 90 days. I am praying it will come in a couple of weeks.

What CAN the government do right?

So, to add to our March stress we just found out the Ethiopian courts want BOTH parents to appear in court and testify that they would like the child they are about to adopt. In theory, this is a great idea. However, that means two plane tickets and childcare arrangements that no one was anticipating. This would really cause problems with our adoption because AT is still breastfeeding. Also, there will also need to be a three month delay after making your first trip to go back and pick up your child (during trip #2.)

We were attempting to speed up our paperwork, but our biometrics appointment with USCIS never came. Sure enough after 45 days of non-stop calling the national number they finally told me there was a number for the LA office (they tell you there are no phones there and you can only reach by e-mail)- As soon as I got that number we were able to locate the missing file. And it WAS missing. Stuck in East L.A. just sitting there. I suppose it would have sat there forever if I didn’t call and have someone look for it. They claim it is getting forwarded to the right office. We’ll see.

We also decided to change out age range to up to seven years. This gives us some wiggle room and shortens our wait time considerably. We also won’t be artificially twinning if we get a child that is older than Aram and we heard that is better.

We have all of our Dossier information sent to WACAP and as soon as our USCIS info is in we will be able to send it to Ethiopia for translation.

Finally, we just heard word back today that they will be pausing the two-trip rule for parents indefinitely. REALLY good news! And our mortgage is getting re-modified to where we can finally afford it! April hopefully will be a great month!

Unethical Agency Issues

Lately, it seems like horror stories of international adoptions (mainly from Eastern Europe) have been flooding the airways.

Unfortunately, it seems like the majority of information is inaccurate or is overblown.

It is true that some children that come from institutionalized settings do suffer from RAD, but this is still rare, and the majority of cases can be worked through. Most children from African countries do not have these issues, but there are a number of American children in the foster care system that do.

So, why is the media making such a big deal about international adoption, specifically? I have come to find out that the UN (UNICEF specifically) is anti-adoption. Yes, that is right- the same UN that international adoption mother extraordinaire, Angelina Jolie, is a Goodwill Ambassador for.

You can read their official stance HERE

Basically, this is how they break it down:

1. A child should be cared for by his or her parent- Well, duh…Fortunately, we live in a Judeo-Christian culture and as we understand it most people willingly want to care and love their own children. However there are MANY other cultures that clash with these principles for various reasons.

2. If a parent cannot care for a child an alternate family member should- Again, most cultures would potentially have a huge problem with this. If the mother had become pregnant out of wedlock she could be looked down upon, and potentially her life could be at risk. Many times (this is the case in Ethiopia) the mother is disowned from the family.

3. If a family member cannot care for the child a non-institutionalized alternate arrangement should be made- Great idea, but when does this actually happen???? If the country is third-world there are not many people who can take on an adopted child.

4. If the citizens of the country are not attempting to take in the child an institutionalized setting is the best and final option- Seriously!? This is the same setting that causes Reactive Attachment Disorder and screws up children for life. There is no option after this! Yes, they would prefer for the child to live out their days in an institution and go on to potentially live in extreme poverty when released as adults rather than be adopted by a family from another country!

They go on to say that international adoption is corrupt an they are trying to implement the Hague Treaty for all international adoptions. Unfortunately, the Hague Treaty sounds wonderful, but almost all Hague countries close down international adoptions after they become Hague.


Money. Isn’t that always why? They lose money when citizens are exported.

Unfortunately, they hide behind celebrities like Jolie that say she is willling to consider another adoption from Haiti, but they will announce ‘Adoption Not the Best Choice for Quake Orphans’

With all that being said, there are some bad adoption agencies.

We were planning on going with CWA when we first were looking into the process. As we stared researching we heard horror stories from adoptive parents about them. It was so bad we had to question adopting at all. We ditched our application deposit and went with a very ethical agency.

a few days ago this expose on CWA aired on CBS (some of the gripes from the adoptive parents are obvious BS, like the chilrens inaccurate age, but CWA seems to be bad news):

Our Homestudy Passed!

Our homestudy was accepted today!

Here are the next steps we need to take:

  1. send off a notarized copy of our homestudy to  USCIS
  2. collect our three notarized reference letters, our marriage license, and my birth certificate. Send these (and the other dossier documents) up to Sacramento for Authentication.
  3. get fingerprinted and pass immigration. (We are now officially on the wait-list)
  4. send our authenticated dossier to WACAP, who will in turn send it to Washington D.C. for additional authentication. Which will then go to Ethiopia for viewing and approval.
  6. receive referral- send documents to international adoption doctor- order additional testing and wait for results.
  7. accept referral
  8. get a court date
  9. pass court
  10. travel!

Adoption is up and running again!

Okay, so I haven’t blogged in awhile.

I am back

Brian and I have given new life to our adoption and we are back on track. Our homestudy is almost done!

Here is what we have done:
Medical exam for me
Medical exam for Brian-
Medical exam for “AT”
Faxed in Brian’s tax returns-
Given four of our friends reference letters to fill out
mailed in a birth certificate for Brian
mailed in a birth certificate for Jamie
mailed in our marriage certificate
proved that we have medical coverage for “at”
had Brian’s big boss write a letter of verification of employment
got fingerprinted for DOJ and child abuse Brian
got fingerprinter for DOJ and child abuse Jamie
Sent in our Homestudy check (gulp, our first of many big payments)
Did 11 hours of pre-adoption education-
Chose a placing agency (CHSFS) and paid our application fee
filled out a 10 page packet for CHSFS

Now we wait for the social worker to come out and look at our house (make sure we’re not hoarders or weirdos) and he writes of a homestudy report.

This report goes to our placing agency and once that is finalized we will get put on to the list for a referral.

We are requesting a child around 24 months of age and we are starting to be open to a special needs baby. Older children and special needs children don’t normally get placed. There are 5 million orphans in ethiopia and the mortality rate is extremely high. The ones with the worst odds are older and special needs. Not okay with us. We will keep you posted!

It looks like a referral for a two-year-old is around 15 months. It is around 6 months after referral that we will actually travel.

Screw The Government!

So, we’re trying to get our home study done ASAP but this week we have hit some

1. we need a birth certificate for Brian so we sent away for it and paid
triple the cost for it to arrive in 72 hours. 3 weeks later it finally arrives
and they put an incorrect birthday on the document! So at our expense we had to
overnight it back to them and we have yet to see the corrected copy.

2 We got our fingerprints done…after a week our homestudy provider called us
saying she still didn’t get the results from the DOJ which only takes about 24
hours to come in. We call in and the DOJ lost our livescan prints! How is this
even possible!? So now we have to get them redone next week, but the place we went to closed down…

3. I expedited my passport and it STILL has not arrived. They also are holding
my original birth certificate hostage with it….It’s been well over a month …

I feel like I just worked my butt off these past few weeks for nothing!


Anyone adopting must do a home study. I hate everything about it! The amount of important documents we need to go chasing after is crazy.

Not only do we need to go to the county recorder where Brian and I were born to get our birth certificates, we also need to get a certified marriage license for them too!

Wednesday we go in to get a medical exam so they know we’re not unhealthy. I HATE getting my blood pressure taken so this is not going to be fun for me. It’s never high, but I still have a full blown anxiety attack. “AT” also needs a medical exam. We’re hoping our GP will vouch for him too.

Another thing is we need to submit a pay stub that states Brian’s annual income. Brian’s work has jumped on the green/cheap bandwagon and decided not to give out paper anymore. If that wasn’t already a headache….they never state his annual income on the pay stubs and overtime is counted as his salary and not separated.

When we finally send in all the paperwork and the letters of reference we get rewarded with a visit from a social worker. The social worker must make sure your living conditions are adequate and give you an interview. People seem to get really nervous for this visit and hire a cleaning crew the day before and make sure the house is filled with freshly baked cookies and hot apple cider.

Maybe she’ll be impressed with our fake lawn….


The subject of genetics has been up for debate for years now. Our genes without doubt decide the color of our hair, our height, and other physical characteristics. The real issue in the debate is how much genes affect the way we think and act…our outlook toward certain things. When it comes to adoption, it does seem that certain people have a predisposition, a hunger, a deeply held desire from a young age to adopt. They cannot map out where this yearning comes from. They just know it is there. For lack of a better word they have the “adoption gene.”

Although they cannot trace its true origins, I believe the Bible does:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” — Romans 8:15

When we desire to adopt an orphan into our family for life we are only reflecting the heart of our heavenly Father. Thus, this “adoption gene” originated with our true Father, our heavenly Father, who adopts us into His family through the gift of His one and only Son. Now, even before I experienced firsthand the love of God adopting me into his family to be his little daughter, I had a deep desire to be involved with adoption. That desire to adopt stayed with me for years to come. As I grew up, the longing to adopt an orphan never left me even though I married a wonderful man and was able to conceive a biological child.

If we are made in God’s image, then we must have some of the same attributes that He does. I believe that adoption is the most beautiful manifestation of God’s unconditional love. Picture yourself an orphan, and a loving father goes to the ends of the earth to bring you home. Just as I had this deep void within my life until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I also had a deep void in my soul that could only be filled by adopting an orphaned child. Perhaps God just wanted to show me more of himself. Perhaps I have an adoption gene that makes me desire to be an adoptive mom, for the desire could only have come from God himself.