Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slowly But Surely

We're making progress. Sometimes it's not as fast as you want but I know I have to keep the eye on the master list and we're able to keep ticking things off that list. This past week consisted of...

  • Amber and I got our work verification signed/notarized for the dossier
  • I went to the Rutherford County Sheriff's office on Friday and they gave me their standard background check form notarized for the dossier (already was there once to get Miriam's Promise form filled out). It's not the same suggested form that AGCI gave us so I have an email into our case manager to confirm this one will work.
  • I turned in my passport request so hopefully I'll get that in about 4 weeks.
  • I had my doctor's appointment for our home study on Friday. I went to a Physcian Walk-in Clinic close to our house and the doc was great. So great that he didn't charge me for my physical (just my labs he has no control over) because he thought what we were doing was great ... how cool is that!? I may have found a new doc. Amber has her doc appt this coming Wed. Hopefully we'll have her labs back to take with us on Monday the 8th to our joint interview with Miriam's Promise. Once we get our medical forms in to them, we can then schedule our individual interviews.
  • We registered to get our fingerprints done for our home study. The place wasn't open Friday so I couldn't go then. They are only open from 7am - 3:30pm so we gotta work our schedules to get there this coming week.
  • We both found our birth certificates and marriage certificates filed away.
  • We're about 1/2 way through the Eyes Wide Open workbook. Amber went to Indiana this weekend for her cousin's wedding shower so I have a feeling we'll be spending Labor Day laboring over this workbook. Once we get this book done, we're going to migrate to the online parenting class. It'd be great to have this done prior to our classroom parenting classes are finished on September 20th.
  • The references for our home study were mailed out and I think everyone has received them. We probably should have bribed our references to get them done quicker :) Just kidding ... everyone who is filling out these forms are very responsible and know the importance of them ... we even have one set of friends that are adopting from Ethiopia from another agency (they're on the referral list awaiting their child).

Our next call with AGCI is this Tuesday. I think we're on track for everything so hopefully Julie sees it that way as well :)

Have a great Labor Day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

AGCI Conference Call

We had our first conference call with our Case Manager Julie last night. I think it went real well. She said she was very happy for our progress with our home study documentation. I have to admit, the Adoption Planner is a little intimidating but Julie did a great job explaining everything and telling us what to focus on for the next 2 weeks which include...

Home Study - we've turned in 95+% of our documentation but need to finish getting our final documents (medical forms, tax return) to Miriam's Promise. Our social worker there has been great. What is amazing to me is that Amber called our doctor today to see when we could get in for the physicals, etc. They told her that if we wanted to see the doctor, it would be FEBRUARY! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Apparently it takes 6 months to see our doc. The nurse practioner is the end of September which is still unacceptable to us. Hopefully we just go to a walk-in clinic to have all this paperwork completed vs. having to go to our primary care physician.

We have to get our joint interview scheduled. Our social worker said we could go ahead and do this interview and do the individual ones next since we don't have our medical forms turned in yet.

We also gotta get FBI fingerprints for the home study per AGCI so we're asking Miriam's about that as well and can hopefully get that scheduled in the next week or so...

And then there's the education. Alot of education. We have an online parenting class we have to take together for AGCI ... something like 11 lessons. We also have the Eyes Wide Open big ol' workbook to do. And then we have our parenting classes for Miriam's on Saturday Sept. 13 and 20th. I have realized I have to get the work on the rental house done very soon so Amber and I can bust through this homework. I know it'll be very beneficial for us ... just seems like alot. I can already see alot of homework 'dates' in our future at Panera Bread, coffee houses, etc.

Documents to Order - we gotta order our birth certificates and marriage certificates along with me having to get my passport.

Also, be praying for Amber ... some of you know she's been having back issues for a while ... we're pretty sure it's a bulging disc and though she has done most conservative treatments (therapy, etc, etc) ... being that she's a pediatric physical therapist, she is constantly in bad positions to allow it not to heal. So ... through alot of discussion and prayer, we have decided it is the right time for her to go part time. She will be working 3 days a week starting the first week of October which will hopefully allow her to heal up before God gives us our child (well, really as my aunt told me, it's HIS child that He's loning us for a while). She was going to go part time when we get our child anyways so it's just a few months early. This will also allow her to do whatever paperchasing for us on her days off which is good. It's just trusting God through this ... that He'll heal her and He'll keep the finances in check. I know all that in my head ... it's just letting it always dwell in my heart I sometimes have issues with.

Have a great weekend! If anyone is around Murfreesboro this weekend, we're having a painting party all weekend at the rental house ... you're more than welcomed to join! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

My wife has BABY FEVER!

My friend/business partner and I have been busting it at the rental house. We worked Friday night until about 11pm laying tile. Sidenote, but I have much respect for guys/gals that lay tile fulltime. I'm a wuss ... I'm so sore. Anyways, when I got home, Amber was still up. She proceeded to tell me what she did all night. She told me she made a list of boy's and girl's names. She was also online searching at baby furniture and was also blog-jumping throughout the night and had to quit because she was getting emotional reading about and watching new videos of families meeting their children, etc. Can you say baby fever!?! It's so awesome and cute to see how excited she is though.

With all the work on the rental house, I haven't been home much at all to hang out with Amber over the past couple weeks. I told her I was taking Saturday off to hang out and do whatever she wanted to do. We went to a birthday party of one of her patients (she's a pediatric physical therapist). I asked her what else she wanted to do ... "go look at furniture." Heh, so we went to a few local stores to start getting an idea for cribs, etc. We're trying to decide between cheaper crib vs. more expensive that is more like "real" furniture and could last longer into the full bed, etc. I think we have enough time to figure it all out though...

BIG NEWS TONIGHT! While I was out mowing and Amber was on a walk, we got a message from our new AGCI Case Manager! What is so cool is that she is the Case Manager we met at the AGCI Picnic. She followed the voicemail up with an email and said that we should be receiving our Adoption Planner soon. How cool!

I also dropped what I thought was all the paperwork (except for medical exams) off to Miriam's Promise today. However, our social worker informed me that I forgot one thing so I have to run it up there tomorrow. She said she would review all the paperwork and once all is confirmed, she would be in contact to setting up our interviews.

All in all, a real good day today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Contracts Received

Although I'm dragging tail and feel like an old man from laying tile at the rental house the last couple nights until midnight, this just came through in email...

Troy & Amber,

I wanted to let you know we have received your contracts for the Ethiopia program and will process them within the next (3) three business days. Your dossier packet and your copies of the contracts will then be mailed out to you. Your program case manager, will be in touch with you once your contracts have been processed, to officially welcome you as an adoptive family through our Ethiopia program.

Gotta love God's little pick-me-ups when you need them. I'm done feeling sorry for myself ... at least for now :)

I also talked to our home study and we're getting everything prepped to turn in our paperwork on Monday the 18th. We did have plans to do it tomorrow or Friday but Miriam's Promise is taking tomorrow and Friday for an all-staff retreat and training. I thought that was pretty cool ... more companies should do that but unfortunately, they just see the short-term dollar signs and not the long-term potential.

Once our homestudy paperwork is in and processed, we'll be setting up our interviews. We're going to schedule our joint interview first since we're waiting for the medical exams until the dossier paperwork comes through (hopefully next week!). Our social worker recommended that we do it this way so we can continue moving forward but ensure we get all documents to the doctor in one trip. Our social worker is so nice and helpful. Good things all around. OK, hard to feel sorry for myself when I step back and look at all the blessings God is throwing at me. God is GOOD!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another Milestone Complete!

We just got into my hometown .... a couple hours south of Chicago ... to visit my parents, sister, and nephews ... among other family. My sister and nephews flew in from Texas ... her husband didn't come with her due to his work schedule. Tomorrow, we're going to be visiting my grandfather who is in the hospital. He's not doing very good ... he recently had a feeding tube inserted and may have to have his toe amputated due to poor circulation. He just turned 92 on Tuesday My grandmother/his wife of of 65+ years passed away on New Years Day 2007 and I know he misses her and I'm sure he's ready to see her in heaven. Nevertheless, it'll be good to see him. My great aunt Ann will be going with us (she's 90) to see Grandpa ... when I told her we were adopting a few weeks ago, she was SO cute and SO excited for us (she has a great-granddaughter who was adopted from China). Sunday will then consist of church and a family get-together. Monday morning we'll be heading back home. It'll be a short trip but it will be a good trip.

Before we left town this afternoon, Amber and I were able to make a pitstop. We were able to get our AGCI contracts, paperwork, and payment mailed in today! It was an exciting day ... it was, I guess, the 2nd big milestone ... first with our application being accepted and now the contracts. Hopefully, AGCI can process quickly and get our dossier set out soon. I still haven't finished my autobiography ... I'm close ... hopefully will have time this weekend to wrap it up.

We got signed up for our home study parenting class today that will be Sept. 13th and Sept 20th. I'm glad it's over 2 Saturdays rather than another option we heard of it being over 5 weeks. We have to take this 10 hour class and then another 10 hour class for AGCI as well.

It's been a long day ... time for bed. A couple pics highlighting our day are below...

All the paperwork that was signed and sent in today

My lovely bride making the copies of the 31 pages of contracts/paperwork

About ready to turn over the packet to be sent onto Portland ... giddy-up USPS!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


My mother-in-law sent this to me yesterday and I had to share...


I have come to so appreciate different forms of worship. It's unreal the little box I lived in before thinking that singing was the only form of worship to our Lord. We can show that praise and worship in so many ways (drama, dance, etc) and so many people have been given the gift from Him and are using those talents ... very cool.

If you have any of those gifts, please don't keep them from worship of our Jesus.

Why I'm at it ... here's a favorite of mine ... it's a worship drama using the song 'Everything' from Lifehouse ... I really liked this song but it has so much more meaning for me now...

Lifehouse Video

I love that we have a Savior that has conquered everything that we may live in Him. Remember today all that He has done for you ... have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Orientation Call

I meant to write about our orientation call last night; however, I own a rental house with a friend and the tenant just informed us on Friday that she was moving out (aka, breaking the lease with rent due) and she was out Saturday night. Nevertheless, last night consisted of us unloading the house (she left alot of things that need hauled to the dump), pulling up carpet/pad, busting up tile, etc, etc. We are blessed though ... I have a friend who is in between jobs that is willing to help us out ... he is actually over at the house now in 95+ degree heat making trips to the dump to get rid of all the trash. THANKS JASON!

In any event, we had our orientation call with AGCI yesterday. Our current contact at AGCI is great ... she was very informative, sweet, nice, and considerate.

We went through the orientation packet, got our questions answered, understood the process a little more, and figured out what our next steps are ... all in about 30 minutes or so. At this point, it's really just signing/notarizing AGCI paperwork and the contract for Ethiopia and sending it in along with the big ol' check. We thought we knew what the amount was...and we were close ... it's just different when someone else states it ... I guess it becomes reality at that point. In any event, we're hoping to get everything mailed off before we leave this weekend to Illiniois to visit my parents, my sister/nephews who will be visiting from Texas, and other family.

The autobiography is getting close to being done ... I've actually started the story of how I met Amber ... long, drawn-out story but pretty cool how God works through it all (even though I didn't realize that at the time). I think I'm ahead of Amber though and isn't that all that really matters?? :) Hopefully, between working on the rental house in the evenings, I will be able to get it finished before going to Illinois.

Once the senior thesis is done, we need to contact Miriam's Promise to see if we can officially start the home study or if we need to wait for the doctor paperwork to be filled out. We're waiting on going to the doc until we get our dossier so we can get the doc to fill out both the home study and dossier forms at the same time. If anyone has thoughts on waiting or not for the doc, let me know. Thanks!