Monday, February 28, 2011

Tickets Purchased!!!

I bought our tickets to Bulgaria today!  Yay!  Things are moving along.  I'd looked at prices on Saturday online as soon as I knew which days we'd need to be there.  If I'd gone ahead and bought them right then, I probably could have gotten them a little bit cheaper, but I chickened out~!!  I decided to wait until today and contact a Christian travel agency that came highly recommended to us by others who have adopted.  I was afraid that I would overlook something important, and I just couldn't risk getting these wrong.  There really isn't a lot of breathing space because of our travel to Teodor's orphanage once we are in the country. 
We got a VERY good itinerary.... leaving late in the evening (around 8:00 pm) from Atlanta and arriving in Bulgaria at 4:00 the next afternoon.  Because of the time difference we'll only be traveling 12 hours!!  Wow- After those flights to Mongolia, this will be a breeze!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Time Line

Since I did not start this blog at the beginning of our adoption process, I thought I would piece together an abbreviated form of a time line.  We actually started back in November of 2009 with a different agency, and ended up discontinuing that process, and then starting over.  Here is a VERY shortened version of things that have gotten us to where we are now:

May 4th, 2010 -- sent in the initial application to our agency
May, June, July and August -- home study visits and other requirements including back ground checks, doctor's appt.s for us and all our kids, and many other things.
September - our home study was completed and we had our copy of our home study report in hand
September 7th- sent in our application for the U.S immigration and citizenship approval.  Our home study stated that we wished to adopt a boy up to age 7.
October 7th- received Teodor's file via email and started praying about whether or not he would be God's choice of our son.  (An important fact to add here is that Teodor is 8 years old.)
God confirmed over the next 7-10 days that we should proceed with adopting Teodor.
October 15th -  Received our U.S ICS approval.  The problem was that it only approved us to adopt a boy up to age 7 and therefore with that paperwork, we could not adopt Teodor.  We started working to change our home study and pursue Teodor's adoption.
October 20th -- sent documents to Bulgaria to request that Teodor's file be put on hold for us until the rest of our dossier could be completed.
October 27th - Our social worker came back for another visit for the home study amendment that would increase the age of the child we wanted to adopt.
November 2nd -- made our second application for the approval of the U.S.ICS with our home study update
November 22nd -- received approval to adopt a boy up to age 10!!  (giving us some breathing space!)
December 1st - our entire dossier arrived in Bulgaria to be translated
January 25th, 2011 - the translation was finished and submitted to be authenticated
February 7th - our dossier was submitted to the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria
February 11th - We received a verbal referral of Teodor from the MOJ which will allow us to visit him in Bulgaria
February 26th - Received our travel dates for our first trip!!

NOT written in were endless mounds of paperwork collected, several rounds of fingerprinting, unbelievable numbers of trips to have paperwork notarized, trips to the AL Secretary of State to have documents apostilled (I didn't even know there was such a thing until we started this process), appointments with doctors (including a psychiatrist!), many tears of frustration, and countless prayers!!  And that still doesn't even get it all.....  but, you get the picture!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Travel Dates!!!!

Today has been the day we've been waiting for now for over 2 and 1/2 months!!  We got an email this morning that said that we can buy our airline tickets for our first trip!!  Hurray!  We'll be leaving for Bulgaria on April 15th and will return on April 22nd.  Even though it's almost 2 months away, I still am very, very excited!  At each step of the way, I've learned more about patience and God's timing than I ever thought possible.... and we still have a LONG way to go yet. 
  BUT, we've gotten so far, and I'm very thankful for all the doors that the Lord has opened to have gotten us to this great place today!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where It All Began.....

I can very vividly remember a day in February way back in 1994 just days after Dan and I got engaged.  He was walking me home from my teaching job in the center of the city, and we were having our first discussion of what we dreamed our family would be like.  One family that was some of our best friends at the time had 4 children.  I personally had never thought of having a family that large until I met them.  Dan and I had big dreams, but neither of us knew what really big dreams God had for our family!!  At the time, I never even had it cross my mind that we would add to our family by adoption.  But here we are, with 5 children conceived in my tummy, and one conceived in our hearts!