Time in Kigali Rwanda

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dossier to Gladney

So at the encouragement of our caseworker we sent our dossier (the paperwork that will eventually go to the Rwandan government) to our agency in Texas yesterday. The agency will recommend adjustments if they are needed and then eventually send it to the Rwandan embassy in the US who has to approve it before it goes to Rwanda. Anyway we are STILL waiting for CIS approval, and might be waiting for awhile. (Please join us in praying that it arrives soon!) That approval has to go with the dossier, but the caseworker had us send her the paperwork without it for now so that they can at least look over all the other documents (and there are a lot of them). As soon as the CIS approval comes in we will send it to be added to the other docs and then off to the embassy. It's not much but at least gives us a sense that something else is happening in the process and we are not sitting ducks :) I also ordered some DVD's from amazon for Christmas presents today (hopefully my husband doesn't read this blog in the next few days or he'll know what he's getting :)). I'm excited to have some visual pictures of Rwanda. One of them is a PBS special that looks really great. They'll be fun to view during this waiting process for sure!

Monday, December 8, 2008

simple prayer request

Hello everyone who is keeping updated on our adoption journey via this blog!!! We have a simple prayer request for you. There has been a series of delays with our paperwork from the citizen and immigration office. We are asking people to join in prayer for a quick approval from CIS for our I-600. We started paperwork for this back in August and were notified today that it could be another 60 days before we hear anything. If there is a major hang up here then we wouldn't even be able to adopt... so please pray that it passes with "FLYING colors!!!" :)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Love is patient...

Love... it's a funny thing sometimes. Sometimes an emotion, sometimes an act of will. It requires truth, honesty, kindness, understanding and patients. Perhaps only God can really understand the full meaning of Love... after all He is it! When it comes to our love, I know without a moment's hesitation that Buster and I already love these babies in Rwanda... We truly believe that this process was and is part of God's plan for our lives. His plan to give us an even large picture of how much He cares and how much He loves. What an honor. I don't, for one second, believe that we are being a blessing to these babies nearly as much as our Father in heaven is blessing us with the chance to be their parents.

It is funny to see how differently Buster and I embrace the reality of our family in Africa. I seem to internalize things a lot. I imagine what they look like, what our first encounter will be like, what their little hands and feet will feel like. Buster, on the other hand, shows up today with a suburban and excitedly demonstrates how well the car seats will fit here and there, how easily the boys can help out from the backseat, and all the fun features that will make life just a little bit easier for our growing family. What a provider!!! :)

The process that we are in right now is a lot of waiting, waiting that requires patience, patients is a process of pruning, patients is part of love, and this pruning will only make us better parents who can more wholy love their children. So... we find joy in in all.. the waiting, the paperwork, the waiting, the daydreaming, and even the waiting :) We believe that our paths have already crossed with Rwanda... now its just a matter of process until we actually put our feet on the ground in Africa and hold our children in our hands.

Until then... my heart is full of thanks, awe, and... love

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Oh dear... just when I thought we had finished the paperwork there's more to be done. I got home from a nice little thanksgiving break to find a letter form our CIS office regarding some paperwork that I submitted two months ago. Apparently they either misplaced the paperwork or cannot figure it all out and alas... now I have to go back to the place where I got the orignials lasttime and have more certified copies printed and overnighted to the CIS office. Yuk!!!! I will bust my behind to get those out asap on Monday. Also, we have to get ANOTHER round of fingerprinting done. This will make the third set for three different agencies. Why they cannot streamline this process into one central adoption agency is a mystery to me, but I am sure they have their reasons.

Anyway... I refuse to let the frustration of it all get in the way of the joy of this experience. Keeping perspective I know that these beautiful baby blessings will be worth it :)

Wish us the best and speady turnouround and approvals as we tackle this next hurdle towards Rwanda! :)

In the meantime I found some good pictures of rwanda on the web and made a little slideshow to tide people over till they can see our pictures :) Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not much news

Not much news to report this week. We are waiting for a letter from the CIS office regarding some additional paperwork that they need. As soon as we get that I will turn around and send it back and we will continue to wait for CIS approval. Once we have that we can submit our dossier and wait another month or more for approval from the rwandan embassy and then it goes off to Rwanda for another series of waiting and paperwor. Whew! What a process!

On a much more interesting note, I stumbled across two more families who have adopted from Rwanda recently. Once even adopted a baby girl! It has been so much fun to connect with other families who have been there, done that!!!

Happy thanksgiving!
I know we have a lot to be thankful for! Among these gifts are our baby girl(s) who might definately be waiting for us as we speak!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

about the orphanages... and a great book!!!!

During our phone call with the Rwanda people on Wednesday we were asking about the orphanages there. They said that there are several orphanages but Gladney will only be working with about three to start with. And, of those three, one orphanage has mostly infants to three year olds, so it is very likely that our girls will come from that orphanage. Because Gladney is trying to get established there, it is not recommended that we connect with the orphanage directly but they are going to keep us updated on things that they might need that we could bring with when we travel etc. They did say that the children in these orphanages that they work with are very well taken care of and the staff are great so our babies will be in great hands till we get to them.

On another note, I am reading a fabulous, but heartwrenching book right now called Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. She survived the genocide by living in a tiny bathroom with seven other women for three months and tells the story of her family and what her village went through during the genocide. It is a great book and really helps to understand what happened in Rwanda and how despite that horrible ordeal you can still find hope and a future with Christ. I would recommend the book to anyone that wants to learn more about the culture, people, and history of our babies.

One interesting sidenote that I read in the book is that people there give their babies a unique last name, in America of course we often give our children a unique first name... but its reversed in Rwanda.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

busy week and more work

Ok... so we had our phone call with the Rwanda people on Wed and it went great. We were assured that we are on the right track and were given some insights into how thigs are expected to roll and how to navigate easily through some of those processes. The Rwanda people also made sure we understood that this process is super dooper new and we are only the Third family to have gotten this far so far and only one family has submitted their dossier and is waiting for a referral at this point, so, although they will be good at giving us updates there is a lot of unknowns and we will have to see as we go :)

Also... we were officially approved to adopt from Rwanda this week. They sent our dossier packet and I have been busy putting together those few documents that I did not already have. The good news is that we do not have to have our dossier autenticated by a bunch of people... it will go the the Rwandan embassy in the US and then take about three weeks for them to process and then they will send it off to Africa! So... for now we are just waiting for our CIS approval and federal fingerprints to get back and then we will send off the dossier to the embassy. I am hoping that we can get it in the mail in the next two weeks, which means about 5 weeks until it's sent to Africa... just in time for Christmas! What a perfect Christmas gift, and only one that Jesus himself can orchestrate!!!!

We would still appreciate all your prayers for this process. Pray that the roadblocks will be out of the way, or minimal at best :) And... most importantly pray that our babies will be safe, happy, healthy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snow, New Friends, and a link or two...

We have had an eventful last week. Not necessarily adoption wise but by plowing ourselves out of 4 feet of snow!!! Being snowed in for two days did allow me to get some things done, including watching 8 hours of training videos that we have to watch in order to complete our adoption. So.. the good news is I am done with the training videos!!!! Hooray!!!!

Not much else to report though. I am expecting that we will be getting our "official approval packet" in the mail this week. This packet will contain caseworker information, and step-by-step dossier instructions for Rwanda. We did get a call on Thursday from the Rwanda caseworker. She just wanted to double check with us that we are still wanting to pursue Rwanda before moving forward. There is a slight "issue" in our application that she wasn't sure how Rwanda would respond to. She did check with some in country staff and they seem to think that we will be fine. However, your prayers are definitely appreciated. Specifically we want God's will to prevail. If you can pray that any roadblocks for us in this process would be dismantled that would be swell :)

Oh... and another fun thing... A family got in touch with us this week who is also in process of adopting from Rwanda. We have a lot of friends who have been through Ethiopia programs but none from Rwanda so it has been great touching base with them. It's crazy how, despite not knowing people and living in completely different geographical areas... just having that common vision and goal can instantly connect families. I wish them the best and God's blessings in their journey and hope we'll have a lifetime of chances to share our amazing adoption stories together!

We have a phone meeting with our caseworker and another Rwanda representative on Wednesday morning and will probably have a lot of information to share at that point. In the meantime, below are two links from our agency's director who is in Rwanda right now touring the orphanages and working with the government there. These are short and sweet and don't provide a lot of information but are nice to listen to anyway. The first link is the post from today... the other one is a link to archived posts from the last week (some are about Ethiopia too).



Saturday, November 1, 2008

names and update

Just heard from our agency that our home study report is complete. Now they just need to "officially" complete our file and transfer it to another department to help with the dossier (the paperwork that goes to Africa).

In the meantime we have been watching some not-so-entertaining training videos, although there is lots of valuable information in them, and checking out baby names.. which is a fun process!!! :)

And.. now I am always wondering if she, or shes, have been born and if so what they look like, if they're healthy, when we'll get to meet them etc. etc. Sooo much to think about! I can't wait for our lives to change in this way!

Friday, October 31, 2008

baby clothes

Betty (Buster's mom) sent a box of little girl clothes today. It was such a fun surprise. It was the first little girl things we have gotten and really made this whole process seem almost tangible. We all (Buster I and the boys) just stared at the stuff for awhile and thought... wow... it won't be too long before we get to put those little girl clothes on our baby girls!


Monday, October 27, 2008

time to think

Things get so crazy sometimes that I loose sight of just how important this whole process is for us. I cannot believe that God has desgined things in a way that allow us to adopt a child from the other side of the globe. It really is amazing that we can be part of something of this magnitute.

People often ask us why we want adopt, versus having another biological child etc., and our answer is usually pretty basic... we might not be able to change the world, but at least we can change the world for at least one person.

Thanks again everyone for your support!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

interesting story

Here is an interesting story that I read today about Rwanda. It sort of shows how important it is to open adoptions in Rwanda to help the situation. Copy and past this link in your browser to view it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home Study in Review

Ok... our home study agency finished their report and now it has to be reviewed by our adoption agency before our "file" is complete and we can process our dossier. The agent I spoke with today said it takes 7 to 10 business days to do the review.

Meanwhile the agency director of the Rwanda program is in Rwanda working with the government and Gladney staff there getting things orchestrated to start moving adoptions along. He gets back in three weeks and we are suppossed to get a program update at that time. Hopefully he will report all good news! Also, it sounds as though Gladney just had their first family finish all the paperwork and submit their dossier to Rwanda to wait for a referral. I am keeping tabs on this to see how quickly the process moves along for them to get a better idea of what it will look like for us. Hopefully we won't be far behind and can get the rest of our paperwork done (fingerprints back, dossier authenticated etc.) within the next month to six weeks.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

coffee n such

Ummmm.... my coffee from Rwanda arrived over the weekend. It is very good!!!! Not much news to report on the adoption end though. Buster and I had our federal fingerprints done last week and it will probably take over a month for those to process. Our home study agency is finishing up our home study report and then there will be a couple weeks of revisions and approvals before that is completed. Once that is done we can begin processing all the paperwork for our dossier.

We are all getting pretty excited. Oliver keeps telling everyone that he will be five when he gets his babies. I hope we don't have to wait until September (Oli's bday) but I love it that he is excited too.

We appreciate everyone's prayers and support and hope that you will continue to pray that the process moves along smoothly and that the baby(s) are healthy and well taken care of until we arrive!

Friday, October 10, 2008

home study

We have a very nice social worker helping us with our homes study. Today we completed our part for the home study, wrapping up all the interviews and home visits. She (social worker) has no doubts that we will be approved and expects to have the home study done within the next two weeks. Once the homes study is officially completed it will go to the government office in Minn. and be combined with our fingerprint forms and some other paperwork and then we will be officially approved to adopt from USCIS. After this we can complete the dossier and then paperwork will be on its way to Africa (hopefully by the middle to end of December). Please pray that the rest of the process (which is mostly out of our hands now) goes smoothly! Thanks all. We will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Information

Hey again,
I forgot to mention... the agency we are using for the adoption is the Gladney
Center for adoption out of Texas.
We chose Rwanda because... well... because Buster and I both felt like it was the way we should go :)
Another FYI... We are considered a Pioneering Family, because the agency is one of only two that are working on adoptions from Rwanda. The governement is just now opening up adoptions to international countries. We are only the fourth or fifth family that is on the list for adoptions from there right now, and since it is so new and only one family has completed the complete process and brought babies home, there are a lot of unknowns. Therefore, the process could go really fast or really slow... we really have no idea.


Hey... you can buy coffee to support Rwanda. It is good too!!! www.thousandhillscoffee.biz Check it Out:

Here is a bit from their website:

Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda produces the world's finest coffee. These coffee beans have a rich color and deliciously refreshing aroma. Taste the sweet and wonderful flavors, chocolate, passion fruit, cherry-toned with a smooth finish.

Why is Rwandan coffee great? High altitude, consistent climate and rich African soil. The cup has classic East African character with a bright, firm, lively character. It has amazing floral notes and a sweet taste and is 100% traditional Bourbon Arabica!

Sip coffee and support peace in Rwanda. Proceeds from the sale of this coffee support the Rwanda Middle School Project sponsored by the Paraclete Foundation of South Boston, MA.


Just in case you were wondering... we do hope to adopt a girl or girls from Rwanda. I told Buster that two very busy boys... plus him... is way more than enough boy in my house! We are requesting a baby girl or baby girls under the age of two. We would be open to twins, or siblings as long as they are under two years old. (Meaning one could be 4 months and one 24 months when we bring them back to the US). We think we have names picked out but are always open for ideas :)

Adoption Process

Here is a brief overview of what our process will be like:

Phase One: Paperwork: We have a mountain of paperwork to get through. Lots of forms to fill out, things to notarize, and fees to pay.

Phase Two: Homestudy and government fingrprinting: This involves interviews with our homes study agency (Bethany Christian Services) and getting fingerprinted etc.

Phase Three: Approvals: After the home study report is finalized it will go to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services office to be combines with some of our paperwork and federal fingerprints in order for us to get our official approval to adopt from Rwanda.

Phase Four: Dossier work: Although a lot of the paperwork that goes with the Dossier (the paperwork that gets sent to Africa), is done simultaneously as the other paperwork, we still have to wait until our homestudy and USCIS approvals are completed before we can get the Dossier authenticiated (state verifies that the notaries are good and certified etc.) then this paperwork will all go to Africa and we will wait for a referral

Phase Five: Referral: Once our Dossier is in Africa then the person who is our case worker there will help find a match for our family. She will work with the government to make sure things are in order, and when children are matched with our family they will "refer" them to us.

Phase Six: Once our case worker notifies us that they have a "referral" for us, then we will have some more paperwork to do here in the states and will have to make travel arrangements etc., to go to Rwanda to pick up our girl(s).

Phase Seven: Travel: It could take anywhere from one to three months (expected time frame) from the time we get our referral to the time we get on a plane and head to Africa. Once we do go there we will meet up with our in-country host(s) who will take us to the orphanage to meet our baby(s). It is believe that we will spend some time in Rwanda and some time in Ethiopia.

Phase Eight: Paperwork in Africa: After we get the baby(s) from Rwanda, then we will go to Ethiopia to finish our paperwork in order to bring the baby(s) back to the US. This will involve work with the US Embassy, lawyers and the consulant and once it is stamped and approved then we travel back the to US.

Phase Nine: Adjustment: Once back in the states we will introduce big brothers to their new siblings and then work on getting everyone adjusted to live with a larger family! During this phase we will also have some follow up home study visits to ensure that things are working out well and probably have some more paperwork to complete!

Whew!!! It does seem like a lot of work and a long process... but I am certain it will all be well well worth it!!!!

About Rwanda

Rwanda is an amazing country! Many of you have heard of Rwanda because of the genocide that happend in the mid 90s. However, the country is well on its way to healing and there is a lot of economic progress happening there. As a whole, the country is about the size of New Hampshire. There are over 9 million people that live there and an estimated 1 - 1.5 million orphans. Of those 1.5 million, we hope to bring one or two of them to live here with our family. :)

Interesting Rwanda facts:
- Population: 9 million (300 people per sq. kilometre)
- Religion: Christian
- Language: French, English and Kinyarwanda
- Seasons: Wet (mid March-mid May and mid Oct.- mid Dec.) dry, (mid May- mid Oct. and mid Dec. - mid March)
- Tourist attractions: volcanos and gorrilas (many people come to Rwanda to go gorilla tracking)
- Movies Made: Hotel Rwanda and Gorillas in the Mist are both movies about Rwanda and good flicks!
- Genocide: In 1994 an estimated 800,000 people were killed in only three months, mostly by milita. The fighting was the result of violence between extremist members of the Huto and Tutsi tribes. Many people fled the country and were displaced. Today the country is rebuilding and there are no more Huto or Tutsi members... only Rwandans and the governement is working hard to bring stability and prosperity to the country.

Just starting the process

Hello everyone. Buster and I decided to set up a blog to keep all of you updated on how the process is coming along. We are working with a great agency, The Gladney Center for Adoption, to help us in the process. We are nearly completed with the paperwork phase of our process, and just have a few letters to collect and then the bulk of our work is complete. We still have to wait for the home study report to get finished, approved and set to the government agency that will put it with a bunch of other paperwork and fingerprints we have filed to officially approve us for adoption. It seems likely that this phase of home study and government approval will take a month or more. Which means the middle to end of November by the time we have a green light to adopt.... officially. The next phase will be getting documents authenticated for our dossier (the paperwork that goes to Africa). After that is finished, then the paperwork goes abroad and we wait... and wait... and wait. Hopefully not too long, but there are a lot of unknowns right now so we will have to see how the process moves along.