Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No word yet but….!

So I called our case worker at the NBC Immigration office. She has not received our updated information from our agency yet. We’re praying they get the updated information sometime this week! We’d love for our file to be sent over next week.

 

BUT....

 

I asked her about timelines. I asked her if she knew how long it would take once our file was in Ethiopia for final review. Her words:

 

Officer H: “We don’t really have a set timeline. Sometimes we get them returned in 2 weeks, sometimes they take 45 days. So we don’t know until we get them.”

 

So to clarify I said:

 

“So it could be only a few weeks?”

 

Officer H: “Yes, but likely it could be…”

 

Me: “Maybe 4 or 5 weeks?”

 

Officer H: “Yeah. That’s probably more accurate.”

 

I then thanked her, hung up, and promptly called the Mister.

 

THIS. This is good news. We were under the impression it could be 6-12 weeks once our file is in Ethiopia. But after talking with Officer H and our social worker last week (who told us she’s pretty confident we’ll travel before the courts close in August and to confirm timelines with Officer H), KC and I think that it’s VERY VERY likely that we’ll travel for our first court date by mid-summer!

 

AND very possibly sooner if we’re the lucky ones who get approval within just 2-3 weeks! But hey, I’m happy with even getting approval within 6 weeks!

 

I’ll keep you updated as soon as we find out when our file gets sent over to Ethiopia! Please keep praying that we travel by July. We want to bring our girl home!




By the way, you know you're an adoptive mom when your bag is stuffed with immigration letters, travel vaccination FAQ's, and pictures. Lol. 

 


 

 

Monday, April 28, 2014

In awe.....

Today, I decided to add up what we have paid towards our adoption (and what's left) and put it on one of those nifty little fundraiser thermometer things.

I sat here, staring at the screen for a good 5 minutes.

The amount was so huge. The amount is so huge.

But thanks to God and many of you, we made it.

When it's all said and done, we will have spent almost $30,000 on fees, processes, and travel.



I'm blown away. COMPLETELY blown away.

I see this number, and I know it was nothing that KC and I did on our own.

Nothing.

God has been so tremendously good to us. More than I could ever say.

And you guys. Oh, you guys.

You have done nothing but supported, prayed, cried, and rejoiced right alongside us.

You are our village.

And we cannot thank you enough for what you have done.

When I see that we have paid $21,600 in fees and we have $4,800 already saved up for travel, that final $2,500 doesn't seem so daunting.

So thank you. My beautiful friends with humongous hearts.

And thanks to God, for helping us every single step of the way.  <3

Friday, April 25, 2014

Some new news!!

Great news guys! I just spoke with our new coordinator Miss J. Today, she mailed off the items that NBC (USCIS) needed for our files!! It only took them 3 days to get everything gathered.

I’ll call NBC next week to make sure they received them and that they are what they’re needing. Please help us pray that they don’t make us re-do anything again. Our agency is pretty positive the paperwork is as clear as it can be.

All we’re waiting on now is for NBC to send our file to Ethiopia for determination. That’s the part that takes 6-12 weeks. And then that’s it! We get our PAIR letter and then we’ll be scheduled for court! Court is normally scheduled about 4-6 weeks after PAIR approval.

Eeeek! As long as we take our first trip before the courts close in August, I will be ONE HAPPY MOMMA! Of course, I wouldn’t mind if we got to travel at the end of June or in July either.  ;-)

We gotta kick it into high gear and bring Bertie home!

(sorry for all the exclamation points, lots of excitement going on here people!)

Here's a snippet of our convo:


We ALSO found out that during our first trip, when we come back from the north (where she is) to Addis Ababa (the capital), she gets to ride back with us!!!

She'll be with us for the 6 hour car ride back to Addis where she'll be moved into a temporary orphanage until we bring her home. 

We get 6. Whole. Hours. On top of the few at the orphanage. She'll at least know who we are and won't feel like she's being kidnapped by white people. Lol. 

KC and I were really excited to hear that! This has been a good news day. So keep those prayers comin' friends. ❤️
  
  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's all fun and games!

Ok friends!

Bertie's suitcase still has plenty of room for names!

In the words of Gru, 'wellllll here's the deal-i-o'.... 

From now until May 9th, anyone who donates to help us with travel costs will get their name put into a drawing. Any donation. Any amount. Easy peasy right?

The winner will get to choose from:

1. Four complimentary passes to Malco theaters graciously donated by Malco. These are good for any of the Malco theaters in the US. 



OR

2. An Arkansas cookie cutter (with sugar cookie recipe) and love Arkansas recipe cards graciously donated by Swankie Sooie. 


Just go to the PayPal donate button on the left side of my blog! 

If your viewing from a mobile device, here's the direct link:


(FYI: it will show up to with my personal email address as the "person" your giving to)




Good luck! Maybe one of you will grab #2 for your Mommas on Mothers Day! :)

(PS! Be sure to send me an email at collinsadoptionfund@gmail.com to let me know you've donated!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To catch you up...

*whew!* Guys. It’s been a busy 2 weeks. I have a few new things for you:

 

1. I updated you guys on the 14th to let you know our file was at USCIS and we did not have a case worker yet. Four days later, we received a letter from them stating we had a case worker and that they needed more evidence. I know, it happened REALLY fast!

 

Turns out, they need the official death certificate (or an official letter stating that they do not have it) for sweet B’s parents. *hold back tears


I guess our agency didn’t send an official one. They also need clearer copies of a few other official forms and statements. Our agency thought they were clear, but apparently NBC didn’t think so. *shrugs*

 

Our case worker stated they were blurry and needed to be clearer because they don’t always scan clear when they send to Addis. SOOOOO I guess that our file doesn’t go through snail mail, but EMAIL! That shaves off a lot time guys.

 

Our agency is in training today, so they won’t get my email with the information from our caseworker at NBC until tomorrow


*UPDATE!*

Our coordinator already emailed me back and said they are going to work on getting an official letter typed up. They are also going to get with the team in Ethiopia to see about getting better copies of the translations! Yay!!!



KC and I are continuing to pray that we can get this resolved this week and our file sent over soon! God has just opened one door after another. It feels great after feeling like we run into the doors sometimes. Ha!

 

Once our file is in Addis for “investigation”, it will take them 6-12 weeks to make a determination and for us to get our official PAIR letter.

 

And then……

...........

...........

...........



WE GET A COURT DATE!!! WOOOHHHOOOOO!!!!!!

 

 

2. In other news (maybe not quite as exciting as nĂºmero uno), our van started acting up on Easter Sunday. It started making a loud screeching noise and smoke was coming out from under it. Then, it wouldn’t start on Monday. The mister and I have THE worst luck with vehicles. KC and I said we wouldn’t stress about it and we spent all day yesterday in prayer.

 

We called our dealership to see if we could have it brought in to see if the issue was covered under the extended warranty we bought. We called a tow truck and thankfully, the tow was covered under our car insurance.

 

We get it there, and they tell us it’s the AC compressor relay (?). It drained the batter because it was stuck in the on position. It was building up pressure, and the smoke we saw was the “pop-off valve” releasing pressure so it didn’t explode. THAT smoke was definitely a good thing. Good news? Our extended warranty covered it he said.  

 

After work, we drove to pick up Helga. KC and I had a bet going on. I thought our deductible was $100 and he thought it was $200. He walks in to pay and get the keys. I notice he was in there for a few minutes. When he walks back out, he has a weird look on his face. I asked him what was up. His reply:

 

“It didn’t cost us anything. It turns out, it wasn’t covered under our warranty. He looked up the wrong warranty when he talked to you. So they are going to eat the cost since it was his mistake.”

 

Yeah. I know. My jaw dropped. God is SO good. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but KC and I have put A LOT of money into our vehicles the last few years. Honestly, we have horrible luck with vehicles. Our van is only 4 years old.

 

I had tears in my eyes as we drove home and I praised and thanked God the whole way. KC and I put the issue into His hands, and He took care of it for us. He’s always taking care of us.  :-)

 

 

3. Last but not least, KC and I spent all day Friday having some down time/anniversary date day. We also made an appointment that morning to get our travel vaccinations. Mr. Collins HATES needles. In his words, “I fought guys in the jail where I worked, I went overseas and was blown up, and I can handle most things. But I just can’t deal with needles!!”

 

Poor guy. But he did great! He managed to keep his blood pressure down and didn’t pass out once!  Haha! I even documented the trip. You can tell from the look on his face that he wasn’t a happy camper. Oh the things we do for our kiddos.  :-)

 

 

 

The first picture was us waiting. He wasn't excited. I get allergy shots every week, so no big deal for moi. 

Though, the yellow fever hurt. They have to shoot it into your fat. Lol. 
 
 
 
Easter baskets for the kiddos! 
 
Handsome big brothers. Caedmon is on the left. Oliver is on the right. 
 
A nice, recent picture to include in the album I'm making for Bertie. ❤️

 

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's oh so quiet...

First of all, we should be getting an update about Bertie including new pictures this month! Woohooo! Moving right into the “where we’re at” part.

 

Right now, things are pretty quiet. We’re in the “quiet place” where we won’t get a lot of updates unless it’s bad news about a delay.

 

I just spoke with our coordinator at USCIS/NBC (national Benefits Center – this is where the adoption paperwork gets processed). Our file left the Department of Homeland Security on March 27th and just got to the NBC office on April 7th.

 

We found out it’s been sitting there for a week. We currently do not have an officer assigned to our case. It could be another 2-3 weeks before that happens.

 

Once we get an officer assigned to our case, we’ll get a letter telling us the ball is now rolling. They will review our I600 paperwork to make sure they do not need an RAE (Request for Additional Evidence). We were told that 88% of cases need additional evidence so not to be concerned. However, this will delay our file getting sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for “investigation”.

 

Once they [finally] have everything they need, they will send our file to Addis Ababa, ET where they will take 6-12 weeks to do their investigations. Once they have all the information they need to confirm Bertie is in fact eligible for adoption, they’ll send it back here and USCIS/NBC will issue our PAIR letter. The actually issuance of the letter will only take a few days.

 

Once we have the PAIR letter, we will be given a court date. Those are normally 4-6 weeks out.

 

At this point, we could travel at the end of June if we get an officer assigned to our case in the next week or so and if our case does not need any further evidence. Otherwise, we’re looking at some time in July.  

 

KC and I are fine with that as long as long as we get our court date before the courts close for about 2 ½ months for the rainy season. The courts close in August until the beginning of October. As long as we take our court trip before they close, we can travel during the rainy season for our embassy trip and bring her home. We’re DEFINITELY praying we get our letter and court date before August!   :))

 

Thank you all for your prayers, please don’t stop. The end is in sight, but it’s been a harder fight these last 2 months than I could have imagined. We are continuing to trust 100% in God. I’m not dwelling on the news we got today, but am instead holding on to the promise He has given us.

 

Bertie is ours. She will be home soon. God has done some amazing things for us and I know He is still fighting for us. I’m praising Him for the victory and instead of thinking of the negative, I’m remembering what He’s brought us through.

 

I am guarding my mind against the lies the enemy tries to whisper in my ear. KC and I are still fighting for our little girl. And no amount of interference from the enemy is going to stop us. We are battling on!

 

 

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere

~Ephesians 6:12 & 18

 

 

  
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No new updates makes for one antsy Momma...

Well that title pretty much sums up everything we know right now… which adds up to about diddly squat. We’re still waiting on our PAIR letter but we have not gotten confirmation that they received our application. I was really hoping we’d have that by now.

 

I know we’re still done finished with the waiting game, but it’s getting harder and harder as the weeks go by. We were really hoping that we’d be back home at the beginning of June with her. But that’s looking less and less likely as the weeks drag on.

 

I say ‘BOOOOOO!’ to that.

 

Thus, we are in  what I like to call “waiting purgatory”. It feels exactly as dreadful as it sounds. Another phrase is “radio silence”. Oh yeah. That’s where we’re at.

 

I guess even with all the lack-of-news, it could be worse. I still haven’t begun freaking out. Or crying. Or binge eating. Or sobbing. Or overindulging pizza…. You get my point. There were a few (okay, multiple) times during this journey that I admit, were. not. pretty. I mean, they were downright ugly.

 

So I’m in this place of gah-pretty-please-can-we-just-hear-something? And I-just-want-to-hold-her-and-meet-her-already, but it’s actually pretty subdued.

 

In lieu of being in “waiting purgatory”, we’ve been trying to keep busy. We have a garage sale coming up this weekend, we’re still working on Bertie’s room, we registered Oliver for kindergarten… life still goes on even though Bertie is halfway across the world. I’m trying to stay in the present and enjoy every minute with the boys. It’s going pretty good actually!

 

So to sum it up: Gahh!! I hate waiting! This is hard!! But seriously, it’s not too bad.

 

Does that makes sense? Haha!

 

Annyyyywhhhoooo.... Moving on… 


We’ve still had people ask what they can do to help. Well, there is still a lot of room for signatures on her suitcase! If you donate any amount to help bring her home, you can sign her suitcase (or we can do it for you). This is something we will put in her room as a reminder of everyone who fought alongside us to bring her home.

 

Please understand, it is hard for us to swallow our pride and ask for your help, but we are so close to the end of this! We have a lot saved up for travel, but will need more. I posted 2 weeks ago about talking to our coordinator during our travel prep call.

 

We found out Bertie is in an orphanage in northern Ethiopia (Wuchale is the area) about 6-7 hours away from the capital.  That is where we have to travel, after landing in Addis, to meet her and attend court.

 

Anything you can do is a blessing. Even your prayers are appreciated and needed. The link to our paypal account is in the upper left hand of our blog.  ❤️

 

{If you’re viewing from a mobile device and don’t see it, just click on Selah: The Art of the Pause at the top to go to the home page. Then, scroll down and select View Web Version. You’ll be able to see the blog like you would from a computer}

 

Again, THANK YOU. We love and appreciate you all SO much.

(I’m sure the words seem like they’ve lost their meaning, but I assure you they haven’t. )