Two Months Later...

I can't believe it, but two months have passed since we applied to Lifeline, and six weeks have passed since we applied to MLJ, our local agency who will complete our home study. Ryan and I spent the last six weeks working at least 5 nights a week on various adoption requirements, and boy have we accomplished so much! When you know there is a child waiting in an orphanage for you - a child who probably doesn't have the best nutrition, hasn't felt the love of a mother or father, and isn't able to have the experiences that typical babies and toddlers have in the US - it becomes VERY easy to stop watching your favorite television shows, having movie night, and reading enjoyable books. This person is counting on us to keep working hard to complete all of our necessary requirements, and thankfully Ryan and I are both on the same page about the urgency of the situation.

Work is extremely busy for Ryan right now, causing him to bring work home several nights per week. So, he will work on stuff for his job for a couple hours, and then he will switch gears and work on adoption stuff. Despite having a marathon to run this past Saturday, he gave up all of his training time and focused his efforts on this adoption. We are SO grateful for that sacrifice, and boy is he SORE after running 26.2 miles without any training the last three weeks before the race.

Friday marked a very special occasion when Ryan, the kids, and I drove to MLJ to drop off our binder full of home study required documents. Just to give you an idea, here is a list of everything they needed:
  • Adoption preparation application (both of us)
  • Autobiography (both of us)
  • Physical with bloodwork (Ryan and Amy)
  • Form signed by boys' pediatrician stating their health
  • Form signed by our vet stating Kya was safe for children and up to date on vaccinations
  • Symptom form - to indicate level of anxiety, depression, etc. (both of us)
  • Four letters of reference
  • Tax returns (state and federal) for the past 3 years
  • Recent statements for all financial accounts (investment and bank accounts)
  • Request for CPS history chek (all four of us)
  • Local criminal history check (both of us)
  • Fingerprints taken (both of us)
  • Two forms of ID - copies (both of us)
  • Mortgage or lease verification
  • Verification of employment - letters from employers (both of us)
  • All insurance policies - medical, homeowners, auto, life, etc.)
  • Characteristics of child we wish to adopt form
  • Marriage certificate - copy
  • Out of state criminal history and child abuse checks - Ryan only
It took us 6 weeks to complete and gather all of those required documents. Fortunately, I had a 2 week break from work, and we were able to check SEVERAL items off our list! You can imagine our excitement when we dropped off our binder Friday. We met our social worker, who we will meet with 4 different times as part of our home study. This Wednesday is our first meeting, so we have been deep cleaning, checking fire extinguishers, etc. We hope it goes well, and that our other meetings occur quickly. Again, there is a child who needs medical attention, the love of a family, proper nutrition, and appropriate stimulation. We cannot wait to know who this person is!

Turning in our binder!!
You might look at that list and wonder why so much is required to adopt a child, and when you think about it, it's easy to see how all of it will serve the child's best interest. The US and China both need to see that we would provide a caring, loving home and that we can financially support another child. I am grateful for the protection given to these children. So many of them have endured such hardship already. They deserve great families! I wanted to give you the list to make the process of adoption more transparent so that those of you who have felt the quiet voice in your own heart, urging you to adopt a child someday, that you will have an idea of what is to come. Trust me, it is a lot of work, but I do it with a happy heart because I know it means we are one step closer to bringing home our child.

Franklin Fall Festival

Ever since we moved to this area, we have gone to the Franklin Fall Festival each year. It's the perfect opportunity to breathe some fresh, cool, Fall air, to enjoy the quaint area of downtown Franklin, and to eat some delicious fair food (AKA: ribeye steak sandwiches and fried biscuits with apple butter).
I am just smitten by these brothers' love for each other!
Noah was really resistant to going into the bounce house. They are like his all time favorite thing, but when they are crowded, he really prefers to just stay away from them. I finally coerced him to go in, but then he really didn't want to go down the slide. I explained that he would be afraid to do it the first time, but after he went down the slide just once, he would want to do it over and over again. Miraculously, Noah climbed the stairs and down he went!



Gone! (and of course Mom was right)

Dalia, Kevin, their kids, and Kevin's parents joined the fun! I adore this family and tell them all of the time that this wouldn't be home without them. They are some of the greatest friends we've ever had, and I love their kids so much! Dalia took care of Noah when he was 2 and now watches Liam while I'm at work two days a week (and both kids on my half day). Dalia is truly like my sister, and Kevin is one of Ryan's best friends! We are blessed.

I love this little guy! I'm not sure if all of you know this, but Liam has acquired a nickname that I'm worried will never go away: Bert. Seriously, Bert. Ryan started calling him Bert months and months ago, and I quickly picked up on the habit, as did Noah. Extended family started calling him Bert, and now even friends and their kids call him Bert. Poor kid! Liam is such a cute name, but he's our little Bert Bert nonetheless.

We ran into some old friends from Hanover, Holly and Adam at the festival. They both seem very involved in the Franklin community, and we see them each year at the festival. Holly's business is sponsoring It's a Wonderful Life at the Historic Artcraft Theatre in December and recently gave us tickets! It's one of our favorite Christmas movies, and we are already SUPER excited for this date night together. Thanks, Holly!

Are these pictures of Dalia and the kids beautiful or what?? I am crossing my fingers that Nate and Liam will be best buddies and that Noah and Ava will always be close.

We had a wonderful time watching the parade and spending the day with friends.It was fun to get outside and just enjoy the day together!
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