Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I800A Fingerprints Scheduled

Stopped and picked up the mail on my way home tonight. Usually someone has done that before I get home. We recieved 4 letters from USCIS. One to tell us they recieved our application and one for each of us (Mike, Lori and Rachel) with our appointments for the biometric scans. We will go into the Omaha USCIS office on July 13.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moving to Manilla?

The word coming from Manilla is that as soon as they have ICAB approval of our dossier they will move the boys to Manilla. They will not allow us to go to Zamboanga City due to the travel advisories against foreign travel. We knew this was likely. They are tentatively making plans to take them into a KBF foster home in Manilla. It will be hard for Lucas & Eli to leave the orphanage after having lived there the past 5 years but it will hopefully help them to understand living within a family setting and possibly to begin learning English. Even a few words will help us poor non-Tagalog speaking parents - although we are getting a few words learned! They plan to have them moved in July.

ICAB Meeting Soon!

ICAB (Inter Country Adoption Board) has our dossier and should be acting on it either this week or next. Eva says that they want to review it before one of the ICAB workers leaves for the U.S. for the summer program. Once ICAB approves us then we need to complete all the U.S. hurtles and we'll be able to bring our boys home. I've broke the whole adoption into segments in my head.

  1. Holt's Initial Process/Homestudy
  2. ICAB Approval
  3. U.S. Documentation/Approval
  4. Visa/Physicals for Lucas and Eli
  5. Travel Plans
  6. Gotcha Day!

This way it's a piece at a time - totally a mind game for me - but this whole time ICAB has been a big hurdle as they are in control from the Philippines.

Pictures & Emails

We received an email late Thursday that Holt had heard from Eva (works for KBF in Philippines - affiliate to Holt). Long story short (6 emails back and forth) Eva has been to see Lucas and Eli in Zamboanga. She said she has more pictures of the boys on their way to school in their school uniforms. Whoopee!!! - why you ask? Well the last update was in February. Then it was reported that they were not in school. A positive change as far as we're concerned. (I'm sure 8 & 9 year old boys would prefer that they were allowed to play instead of going to school). We are now not so patiently waiting the updated pictures. Can't wait to see their faces!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dossier & I800- A Out the Door

We FedExed our remaining dossier items to Oregon where they will be sent out to the Philippines on Monday. Yippee!!!
We've completed and will FedEx the I-800A form to the US government on Monday a.m. It's great when another load of paperwork goes out the door. Makes it feel like Lucas and Eli are that much closer to home.
Eli celebrated his 8th birthday on Thursday. If all goes well maybe it will be the last time either of our boys celebrates a birthday with just each other.
Watching the world news, the Philippines is experiencing problems in the areas near the boys' orphanage. There's a possiblity that if we recieve ICAB (Inter Country Adoption Board) approval from our dossier that Lucas & Eli will be moved into a foster home closer to Manilla. As much as we'd love to see and experience the area where they've lived for the last 5 years we're not sure how it would affect our travel plans. Sydney our 16 year old will be traveling with us and taking her into an area with a terrorist threat is not a viable idea. Holt says they never send anyone into this particular region so we will wait and see.

Friday, June 5, 2009

March - May 2009

It is really easy to procrastinate and I'm great at it! I'm posting these after the fact, cause between all the information gathering, meetings and document procurement, not to mention Rachel's graduation I did not start out posting like I wanted to.

We were in a holding pattern for most of April waiting for clearance from the Iowa FBI field office. We finally got the clearance at the end of April. That meant Holt could assign our social worker. Her name is Bonnie and a very easy person to talk with. We had met Bonnie earlier as she was a teacher at our Parents in Process class earlier in April.

We compiled our dossier for the Philippines to receive their official ok - still waiting on that. Dossiers consist of pictures of the family, home, boys' room, outside photos; birth and marriage certificates, letters of reference from our church, employers, friends, guardianship papers, physicals for Mike and I as well as Rachel and Sydney - Alison missed this pleasure as she moved to her own apartment the first of April. Again she says being the oldest still has it's advantages.

Our home study visits were May 18 & 20th. Bonnie and Robyn (intern) came to the house. I have to say the stress of getting ready for graduation and home-study at the same time (Rachel graduated May 17 - Home Study May 18 & 20th) about did me in. I had to laugh when they asked how I felt I handled stress - you've go to be kidding me - I wasn't blubbering in a corner - everything is good!

Had our psychological evaluations that Friday, May 22 in Omaha. The psychologist we found put us at ease and we forwarded as much of our dossier as we had to Holt's Oregon office. Right now we are waiting on the final Home Study to arrive in the mail and the appointment to pick up the psych eval - should be anytime. Then everything is off to the Philippines! On to the U.S. paperwork!!!!