Friday, December 30, 2005

The Kicker

We had the opportunity to spend about 30 seconds with Steven Curtis Chapman after one of his performances as the narrator of the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT Center. It was in March of this year that we attended his concert where he presented a segment called "The Miracle of Adoption". We told him that it was the kicker that set the ball in motion for our adoption process and from the look on his face in the photo, he liked the idea. In the photo: Be's luxurious hair, Don's massive right ear & SCC.

We have completed all of the paperwork for the dossier and are awaiting the Great State of New Jersey to validate Don's existence with the return of his certified birth certificate. Then, the paperwork pregnancy will be over. The best thing about all the red tape is that Be doesn't get morning sickness........

We have included a link to SCC's adoption web page.....

Friday, December 23, 2005

Where we are in the process (Be)

So what's the latest about the adoption?, I often hear. It's so very different than when you're expecting a baby. Oh we're about 9 months into the process, I answer. Yes, but when will you get your child? That is the big question.

We are praying that our child (probably a girl) will be here before June, but we really don't know at this point. We just got all our Florida documents together and sent them to Tallahassee for certification. Bethany sent the home study and official adoption approval to us just last week. We are still waiting for a document from New Jersey and we still have to receive the Immigration documentation. Once we get all the documents back, we will submit them to Bethany's home office in Grand Rapids so they can translate them into Chinese. At that point the dossier is sent to a government organization in China (CCAA) that handles all the adoptions. Then we wait for a "referral". The CCAA supplies prospective parents with as much information as is available about the child. Sometimes there is a videotape that can actually be brought to a pediatrician for assessment.

So that's where we are this Christmas. By the grace of God we will have a little one to share next Christmas with. Thank you all for praying for us during this process. Don talks about writing a book: Life in Reverse-Saving the Best for Last.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Buddah & Shirley MacLain

While doing some research for this adoption, the question was posed......How do you respond when you're out in public and someone says "Oh, did you adopt your child?" I would probably want to respond something like "No. I ran into Shirley MacLain the other day and she told me that I was once a fat Buddah looking Oriental type guy in a past life." It will be difficult to dispense with the sarcasm but as a parent ..... it's my job.
Truly, I believe that any child that God grants us through adoption is our child and we are the real parents.
I came across some definitions which make the point.....
Natural child - any child who is not artificial.
Real parent - any parent who is not artificial.
Our own child - any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted child - a natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.

Monday, November 28, 2005

2 x 4

Don here.............

I was at the airport this week and noticed a very white woman with an Asian child. I approached her and told her that we were better than half the way in the adoption process of a child from China. I mentioned that I had several delays in document processing and that it was causing me a lot of anxiety. She replied "Don't you know that the delays are there so that God can place the child in your home that He's had in mind for you from the beginning of time?"
I thought.......OK - just hit me in the head with a 2 x 4.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Home Study ......... Done

Don here......

We are finished with our adoption home study - we have a total of 4 encounters with our agency to satisfy the requirements for the government of China...thanks for your prayers during this phase. We are movin' on.
Next phase....the dossier....gathering official documents (birth certificates, marriage records, police clearance, employment verification, health overview, completion of 20 on-line courses, reading and reporting on 3 textbooks on adoption, and a partridge in a pear tree) several of which must be certified, notorized and then sent to the Secretaries of State of 3 states (Florida - for marriage verification, New Jersey - Don's birth state, and Massachusetts - Be's birth state). Our photos as well as photos of our home are included in the documents for the dossier.
After this package of paperwork is forwarded to the Chinese Center for International Adoption by our agency, the referral (matching the child with the prospective parents) can take place. An adoption date is then set and a 2 - 3 week trip to China is scheduled. For about 14 days, we are then observed by a staff person from the orphanage (both in and out of the child's familiar environ) to ensure that child and parents are compatible. A formal petition is made to the High and Mighty Grand Poobah of Chinese Adoption and then...........the 20 or so hours for the flight home, child in tow with parents he/she has only known for about 2 weeks.
Lots of red tape and official procedure for what would seem to be a no-brainer. This is what happens when you have a late calling into parenthood..........

In the near future, I'll elaborate on some of the items we can expect when adopting a toddler from a different culture. This whole process is sending us into this chapter of our lives with eyes wide open.

Friday, October 07, 2005

We're waiting

This post is from Be. Thought I'd update you on our progress. I talked with Bethany Christian Services today and asked when our social worker, Harold would be coming to visit us again and how many more "home studies" we would need. She said there was only 1 home study and she is waiting for the report so it can be sent to Immigration. Harold should be coming back this month to instruct us about our dossier and other things we will need to get together for China. We have started to network with other families at church who have adopted from China. My co-worker Cindy got us in touch with Sharon, a nurse in the Sand Lake Hospital outpatient unit, who has adopted a little girl in the past year and will be returning to China in the next 7 months to get their second child. There is also a local chapter of Families with Children from China that I have emailed for information. Please pray for our prospective child/children and that the adoption process will progress without delays.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Maroon 5 & Adoption

Don here......

I was listening to my Maroon 5 CD (a 54 year old who listens to Maroon 5?) while on the road the other day and heard a lyric that goes "I know I don't know you - But I want you so bad" from the song "Secret". Although the song was written for a much different reason, the lyric reflects the longing in the heart of the prospective adoptive parent in waiting for their child.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Our first home study

Update from Be

We had our first home study today and met a very nice gentleman named Harold, who is our Social Worker. He was very positive in the interview and passed our home safety checks. He will be writing a report about us to Bethany's home office. He told us that he would be visiting us again in October where he will be briefing us about China's specific adoption process. Please pray that the Lord would guide the process to His honor and glory.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Immigrations Aggitations & Illuminations

Don here........

As part of our adoption process, we had to have our fingerprints electronically forwarded to Washington for a FBI investigation. I found this procedure annoying for 2 reasons: 1) I've had several of these background checks done as an airport employee at OIA and 2) How come the coke addicts and teeny boppers don't have to go through an FBI check to have a baby? Anyway, that's beside the point..........

So, we arrive at the Department of Immigrations (in a deteriorating strip mall at Hoffner & Semoran in Orlando). The Immigrations Nazi of the day hands us a clip board with a form and a pen-on-a-chain. He directs us to a seating area where we fill in the form (both of us - 2 separate forms) which could have been downloaded from the internet and filled out in advance....then I realized.......we were the only Americans in the place (except for the Nazi and a few other staff). Everyone else was trying to get into the USA and they probably could not have downloaded the form from their country of, I cut them some slack. Keep in mind that I'm thinking "MY tax dollars at work, here."

Our Nazi then directs us to the next seating area of similar plastic orange stacking chairs to wait for the Nazi with the official stamp to officially stamp our forms. We sat in the second row but did not realize that we MUST sit next to the person occupying the seat in the front row. So, we pick up our stuff and schlep on up to the front row. The guy next to us then gets called up for his official stamping......10 seconds elapse and the Nazi comes over and tells us that we have to fill in the vacant seat......and we're the only ones in the area! It reminds me of the scene from "Meet the Parents" where Ben Stiller is the only one in the boarding area and must wait for the gate agent to call his row. Maybe they got the idea for that scene from the Department of Immigrations. So, I say to Be "Do you suppose that we can get some party hats and play some cheezy music and get a game of musical chairs going here?" Be says "DON'T SAY ANYTHING !!! LET ME DO THE TALKING !!!" I clammed up. Then the Nazi sees me take a sip of water from my water bottle. "You can't have that in here!" "REALLY?? I can't have a sip of water?" "You must take it out of here immediately." I began to respond "Tiny kingdom, tiny king" but before I could get the second word out, I felt the numbing pain of Be's elbow in my side. We were called into the next waiting area where we were entertained by a video of "The Wiggles" (it was a Saturday morning and I suddenly had a mental image of me being cast in a Fellini movie) and the process was over in not too long a time.......and it left me wondering if it was worth fleeing an oppressed nation and being introduced for the first time to the freedoms of the USA in the manner I had just observed. My bewonderment was quickly refocused when I read a quote in a magazine in the waiting area from England's Prime Minister Tony Blair......."A country should be judged by the number of people trying to get in against the number of people trying to get out."

After 90 minutes, we were free to go have some Chinese food.......

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We Have an Appointment for Our Home Study

Just got word from our adoption agency that our first appointment (of probably 3) with our social worker is scheduled for Septamber 12 @ 2 P.M.(our 24th wedding anniversary - we'll go out to eat to celebrate after the interview - let us know if you'd like to join us.). This will probably consist of interviews with Don & Be together and separately. The worker will most likely tour our home and make recommendations for child safety. Your prayers for this event are much appreciated..........we'll add rambles in the meantime...........

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Surprize, surprize......Be and Don are in the 5th month of the adoption process of a child (possibly 2) from China. We had been working on the idea for a few years, however, life's circumstances did not permit us to go forward with it until this year. The plan is that Don will retire from US Airways next year to coincide with the adoption closure. At that point, Don's new full time job will be father to whoever God sends our way. Be will continue to work at ORMC in her real job.The adoption process is quite involved with a mountain of paperwork, required reading, online courses, home studies, physical exams and blood work, FBI approval and then there's the referral and acceptance process and travel to China for up to 3 weeks to live and bond with the child.China has a model adoption program (mostly because they want to get rid of unwanted kids) and even though the process seems extreme, it's the best fit for Be and myself with our circumstances. So, we're looking at April 2007 until our new arrival comes back to Orlando with us. Your prayers during this process are much appreciated. We figure God has quite a sense of humor ........ a Chinese kid with the name Schafhauser?

As things progress, we'll keep friends and family posted with this page...........