2.12.2008

Home study (Robert licks his index finger and draws a checkmark in the air)

We are in the adoption process!

We had our home study this past Sunday. The home study is part of an adoption study which is "an official document required by your state and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This important document prepared by an adoption professional describes your background and the education and preparation you have undergone to complete an adoption." (CHSFS website). There is also a short article about the adoption study on the CHSFS website here. The article explains very clearly the importance of the adoption study in the adoption process.

I've mentioned before that our primary adoption agency is CHSFS. CHSFS is based in Minnesota, therefore we need another nearby agency to help us complete the home study, the adoption study, and other Arkansas-related information/tasks needed for the adoption. We are using Grace Adoptions, located in Conway, Arkansas as this "partner agency."

So, How did the home study go??? Everyone asks.

The week before the home study, Robert and I spent a lot of time cleaning, organizing, and moving furniture around the house! I worked four out of the five days prior to the home study, so I devoted most all of my free moments to getting the house ready. I should have taken 'before' and 'after' pictures, but I didn't. Here are the 'after' pictures (taken a couple of days later). Those of you who have seen the inside of our home will have to use your mental pictures of the 'before'.

We rent a two bedroom house that has a bathroom, a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room. We decided to move the table from the dining room to the kitchen in order to make the dining room into an office/library space.

So we moved Robert's desk and all of his bookshelves into the dining room.

Although we don't need to move all of our things around and have a nursery ready at the time of the home study, we decided to move so that we could get used to living in a smaller space. Now Robert's old office is a junk room/future child's room.

The house didn't look "perfect" by any means,
but it looked clean and organized for the most part :)

Our Social worker and his wife came to visit our home in the hood this past Sunday afternoon. The four of us sat around our small kitchen table and went over all of the information, documents, etc. needed in order to complete the adoption study. They interviewed us and we gave them a tour of our humble abode. As they talked to us, Robert, the naturally organized one, took notes and made a list of all that we need to do to get the adoption study completed.

When our social worker and his wife left, we had a long list of what we need to accomplish between now and our next meeting with them at their office in Conway. We also now have an appointment with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Friday, February 15th. We were pretty stressed looking at the list of what we need to get done, but we planned out how we are going to get it all accomplished. This week we have already been able to check off a few things on our list. We are planning on spending quality time with our adoption education workbook, With Eyes Wide Open, on our upcoming road trips to Ft. Smith, Memphis, and Houston.

We have only begun to learn how important education is in this whole process. We have our workbook, a pile of library books that looked interesting and practical, as well as book recommendations from our new friends that adopted from Ethiopia last year. Hopefully these will help prepare us (at least a tiny bit) for the challenges and experiences that lie ahead.

Please pray for us that God will use these resources as well as mentors and future experiences to challenge us and teach us how to be Christlike parents.

P.S. Feel free to ask us questions about the process, it will help give me things to talk about on this crazy blog!

2.07.2008

Here it Goes!

I am starting a blog!

I am starting this blog because Robert and I are about to experience some big changes in life and we want to keep those who are dear to us updated. We want to let you in on our excitement and our challenges. We want you to witness the events that God uses in our life together to help us GROW.


Here is what we're up to...


Robert and I have been married for approximately 2.5 years. We live "off Pike" in North Little Rock, Arkansas. We live there because of our love for the Silver City Church. We fondly refer to where we live as "off Pike" because that is what the kids we work with at Silver City call it. Basically we live in the hood. We have been able to experience first hand how living in the same neighborhood as our kids benefits our relationships with those kids and benefits our ministry as a whole.

Robert works "part time" for Silver City, mostly coordinating the silver city mentoring program. He is a full time student at the Harding University Graduate School of Religion, working on completing his Master of Divinity. We are looking forward to his Graduation in May! I work full time at the Arkansas Children's Hospital as an RN in the Intermediate Care Unit (it's like an ICU stepdown). It is a brand new unit that opened on February 6th! Prior to that I worked in the Burn Center at ACH. We have a crazy but sweet little rat terrier named Kaira. She loves all people, chewing up toys and bones, and sleeping in our bed.

We are part of a mission team with plans to go to Angola, Africa long term. We are going to Angola this summer from May 29-June29 on a survey trip, so we are currently in the process of planning and fund raising for the survey trip. If you would like more information about our plans for Angola, let us know! Or, stay tuned! I'm sure there will be more information here!

And now for, what is to me, our BIGGEST NEWS...Robert and I have decided to adopt a child from Ethiopia! We are very excited about this and have already begun the application process (as you can see there to the left). The agency we are using is called Children's Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS). We have already submitted part one of our application and we have our home study scheduled for Sunday, February 10th at 3:00pm!


So this is our life! Like I said before, stay tuned for more!