We get asked often how much our children understand about the fact that we are adopting.

I can tell you with a reasonable amount of certainty that our 1 year old doesn’t have much idea about what adoption is or what having a new sibling means. At the very least, he can’t express what he does or doesn’t understand.

But our 3 year old is different. She does have some understanding of what adoption means.

She has heard us talk about children who don’t have a mommy and daddy and that we are going to bring one of those children into our home as our own. She has watched us gather paperwork, go to appointments, complete home study visits, go to parent training classes, get fingerprinted, have documents notarized, pray for our future son or daughter, and more. She knows all of this will lead to a new brother or sister. She knows we are adopting from Bulgaria, and she knows that Bulgaria is far away and we will have to travel there to pick up the new brother or sister. She knows that some kids live together in one place (an orphanage) while they wait for their families to come get them. She understands on some level that this isn’t normal. That children need families.

The other day our daughter was playing in her room. She came out with a huge smile on her face and said, “Mama, do you want to come adopt a child?”

“Yes, of course! I’d love to!” I answered. “Tell me which ones I should adopt.”

“How about this one?” She handed me a baby. Then another, and another.

“Can I give all the babies a home?” I asked. By this time, I was starting to tear up.

“No, Mama, you need to save some for the other people,” her face was very serious at this point.

“Are they all going to have families?”

“Yup. They all have families coming to adopt them.”

“Oh, good,” I said with a smile.

It broke my heart that in her mind, of course every child without a family would get one. Of course, none would be left behind. Someone was coming for each child in her orphanage; she was sure of that.

But that’s not the reality. Some are left behind. Some do not get families.

How can our precious three year old, who has grown up in a loving family, have any idea what it means for a child to grow up in an institution without one? How can she imagine the life our future son or daughter has had so far? The hours and hours alone in a crib, the fact that no one really responds to his or her needs, the reality that no one rocks or kisses or comforts, the possibility of abuse, and at the very least, intense neglect?

She can’t. We tell her what we feel she can handle and we pray for all of those children who will never be held by a mother or father. We also pray that more hearts will be moved toward adoption and that more people will give children families. As she gets older, she will understand more about what adoption means and why it is necessary.

She recently asked me, “Mama, will we be able to keep our adopted child for awhile?”

My answer was, “Yes, sweetie. Once our new brother or sister comes home from Bulgaria, they’ll be with us forever. They won’t leave us and go away again.”

So yes, she understands some things about adoption.

But no, she doesn’t know the whole story yet.

Kisses for Baby

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Since the last time I posted, we have made some good adoption progress!  We sent our preliminary home study documents to our agency, attended our first round of adoptive parent training classes, and we have started working on our dossier (pronounced dos-ee-ey).  The dossier is a huge packet of documents that basically tells our story in paperwork form.  It includes – certified copies of our birth and marriage certificates, an employment verification letter for Andrew’s job, health physicals for Andrew and I, copies of our passports, criminal background reports, an application to adopt from Bulgaria, a power of attorney allowing our agency to act on our behalf in Bulgaria, photographs of us and our home, our home study report (written by our social worker), and various other documents.  All of this paperwork must be approved by our agency, notarized, and then sent to our state government to be “apostilled.”  When documents are apostilled, it means that the Secretary of State verifies that the notary who notarized the documents is in fact registered with the state with a current, valid license.

To do list

After everything is apostilled, we will send the packet to our agency for the final review before it is sent to Bulgaria.  In the meantime, our social worker will be visiting our home and compiling our home study report.  The home study will go through US immigration, along with some other documentation, so that we can obtain approval to adopt a child from Bulgaria.

At this point in the process, there isn’t a lot of super exciting news to share.  On our end, it’s a lot of obtaining documents and going here and there to do adoption errands.  We don’t yet have a face or a name for the child we are doing all of this for, but we know it will be worth it!

Ways you can pray for us –

  • We are both pretty nervous about the home study.  Our first visit is February 7, so we’d appreciate your prayers for us!  I don’t know exactly how many visits there will be, but we have to spend several hours with our social worker over the course of the process.
  • Please pray for efficiency for us and the various agencies we are working with to get paperwork moving.  A lot of this process is hurry up and wait, so we are trying to do everything we can on our part to be efficient.

Fundraising update –

  • Our coffee fundraiser has brought in almost $200!  Thank you so much to everyone who has bought coffee or purchased something from my etsy shop! Your continued support is always appreciated as we have pretty constant adoption expenses at this point.  Also, I am supporting another adoptive family this month with a portion of my etsy profits, so your purchases from my etsy shop will be helping TWO adoptions!  I’ll share more about the family I am sponsoring soon!
  • We were very blessed to receive my retirement check from the state of North Carolina (I’m thankful to a friend for telling me this was even an option, since the state doesn’t tell you that money is there when you leave the school system), which covered a huge portion of our first agency fee.  We are now saving toward upcoming fees and expenses.  I’m not sure what fundraisers we might do in the future, but if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

As always, thanks for your love and support!

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Lately, I have gotten a lot of questions about where we are in the adoption process, so here is a quick summary.

So far, we have –

  • Applied and been accepted to our adoption agency, CCAI.
  • Been fingerprinted for the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and the FBI.
  • Sent in background check info for the state of Colorado.
  • Currently completing home study paperwork to begin the home study process.
Fingerprint cards

Fingerprint cards

Background check paperwork

Background check paperwork

What we have coming up –

  • Send in all of our home study paperwork to our agency so we can schedule our home study visits with a social worker.
  • Pay our first large fee to our agency.  The total fee is $4800, but we took the option to split the payment up over a few months.  The first half is due as soon as we can get it in.
  • Getting our Dossier together!  The Dossier is the huge packet of documents that will be sent to the Bulgarian government so we can be matched with our child.  As we begin the home study process, we will start compiling of our Dossier paperwork.  This is a pretty involved process and will take several months to complete.

How you can help –

  • Please pray for us!  The process can be a bit overwhelming (especially the first hurdle of the home study), so we appreciate your prayers so much.  At this point, we don’t know much about the child we are adopting, other than the country, general age, and that he/she will have Down syndrome.  Please be praying for our child, that he/she is safe and being cared for until we can bring him/her home!
  • If you feel led, we’d love for you to participate in one of our fundraisers!  Right now, we are doing a coffee fundraiser through Just Love Coffee. We earn about $5 for every bag sold, so we appreciate your support!  Diana’s etsy shop is also open, and proceeds go into our adoption fund!
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Thank you so much for stopping by our blog.  Our goal is to keep a record of our adoption journey to keep our friends and family informed, and to have a record to look back on later.  We are so thankful for your support and we appreciate your prayers for us as we begin this process!

To learn more about us and why we are adopting, visit the tabs at the very top of the page.

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