Update from Ethiopia 12/28

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How fun to come home from a long day to be surprised by an email update on Judah waiting for me in my inbox.  I’m not sure how often he sees a doctor or is evaluated but we had one back in Oct and got another one today.  Just to get any sort of information makes me so happy just to feel a little bit closer to him and know that there is something very recent to know about him.

Most of the information on him comes in the same standard form that the doctor fills out assessing the same things but one of those forms is almost like a preschool type evaluation and it has been fun to look through the few that have done on him over the 15 months he has been with them in the orphanage.  He has really gained a lot of skills and always there is something new he has learned or a little more insight into his personality.  They never fail to mention that he really likes football.  My silly brain was thinking American football until our friend Derek who grew up in Nigeria reminded us is really soccer.  I’m not a big soccer fan at all but I guess I’ll learn to like it :)  The most fun part about this update was that they mentioned that he is really loving to sing and especially spiritual songs.  He is also loving to be told stories and specifically bible stories.  If you could only see the huge grin on this momma’s face to hear that my baby is already learning to have a love for Jesus!  It’s the best!

So otherwise things have been moving right along over here.  Today I got our last missing document and was able to overnight the package to Show Hope just in time for the December 31 deadline.  Thank you all so much who prayed with us for all of these things to come together and a big thank you to our lovely friend/social worker Darla for giving us so much of her time to get our Home Study done quickly.  We needed it for this grant and all the others plus needed to get a copy down state to be certified for our dossier.

We got our invoice from Holt last week for our Ethiopia Program and US Processing (dossier) fees.  It was $14,305.  Whoa.  We knew it was coming but we weren’t sure when and if it would all be in one chunk but apparently it is.  The disappointing part was that they could discount the Ethiopia fees $3000 for a waiting child but they chose only to discount them $600.  We’re grateful for anything but had been hoping for the full amount they could discount since he’s older, a waiting child and special needs.  We questioned it but they said it is what it is.  It’s a fine line to walk when you talk about these finances because they know that you already love your child and would basically sell all you own to get them but at the same time I want to ask why but don’t want to get on their bad side.  So after praying a few days we did question it and got no further discount.  They did however say that we could apply for funds from their Special Needs Adoption Fund but we have to wait until next week when the person that is in charge of that is back in the office.  Please pray with us about that.

Another unexpected expense was the 600A.  What’s that??  Well I knew what it was but didn’t know exactly what all was involved.  I just kept seeing that we needed the approval letter that comes after filing it but everything from Holt just listed it but didn’t specifically say what to do to get it.  So I finally asked them last week and they said “look in the handbook” and as I have stated before, that handbook is very weird to navigate but I finally found it in there.  It is a document you send requesting to bring an orphan immigrant into the US and gets filed with the USCIS.  OK fine, another form.  I’m used to that.  BUT, it is $720 to file and $85/person for fingerprints AGAIN!  I really don’t know that I will ever understand the constant fingerprinting!  They don’t change people and we just had them done 4 weeks ago!  Anyway, again something you just do because you have to.

Another sort of bummer was that Holt had a spot for everything to be notarized but failed to include the part where the notary needs to print her signed name so we got some of our documents back as unacceptable because the notary’s name wasn’t also printed on the forms.  So, we printed it and sent them back again.  Again, something we’ve never done before so had no idea.  I’m just hoping that these little bumps for us can help someone else out :)

We’re very close to the stand still part of this process.  I have a few more grants to work on but basically we’re just waiting to talk to Holt about the SNAF to see if we can gain any of those funds before we pay that big bill.  Nothing can move forward until we pay but really nothing can move forward until we hear word back on that 600A so we can submit our dossier to both governments to request a court date and I know we won’t hear back at least until we’re fingerprinted.  I’m not sure what the turn around time is looking like for those.

Ready for something exciting?  When we did call to question the funds I also questioned about the rainy season and whether or not they were thinking that we may be affected by the courts closing in the fall and she said that they usually close for at least September but sometimes September and October but that wouldn’t affect us unless something crazy happens.  That means they are planning on Judah being home sometime this summer!!  Another paper they sent us last week also said that we need to be patient because it could take “up to 4 months” for us to travel for the first time once we submit our dossier.  That means we could actually get to go and meet him sometime soon.  I was thinking it would be sometime in the summer when we’d get to go the first time and now they’re saying he could be home then!  Trying not to get too excited because I know things can always change but here’s hoping!!

Have a great night and please remember to check our finances page and see how God has been providing for us.