Happy Monday!! I want to thank every one of you again, who have thought about us, prayed for us, donated items for our sale, and encouraged Nate and I as we’ve dived headfirst into this adoption process! You all have touched our hearts with your generosity and kind words!
The Garage Sale is THIS FRIDAY AND SATURADAY!!! Come on over, all you garage salers and DIY-ers, and everyone who wants to find awesome clothes, household items, toys, appliances, furniture, plus more (!!!), for a great deal in the Phoenix area!!
Our house literally looks like an earthquake hit on the inside! Yikes!
This adorbs elephant backpack wins the cutest donation award!!
I apologize ahead of time to all y’all ADHD folks for this mile-long blog post! There’s just so much to share, and I did condense things as much as I could-promise!! So before we started this whole adoption thang, I’d read people’s blogs and swallowed down as much information as I could ingest about international adoption, but nothing, absolutely nothing I skimmed out there could’ve really prepared us for how this whole thing really feels. It almost feels like treading water, holding a big jug of water above my head, like someone would do if they’re in training season for water polo. Fighting, kicking, breathing, hour after hour, but never really actually going anywhere.
A lot of people keep asking, “So what’s next?” or something like, “18 months? That’s a long time. What are you guys really doing for all that time?”
International Adoptions are very complicated and complex, so it’s hard to explain and predict exactly everything that we’ll be required to do before that little precious baby in the Uganda orphanage, is officially a Bradley. But I did put together a basic to-do checklist for both you and I to see where we are, and what we’ve got coming up next:
Submit Preliminary Application to EAC Application Accepted! Submit EAC International Adoption Services Agreement
- Submit EAC Registration documents
- Renew Passports
- Begin Home Study (takes about 2-4 months to complete)
- Child Abuse Clearance from State of Arizona
- Local Police Clearance
- State Police Clearance
- FBI Clearance
- Proof of Employment
- Proof of Medical Insurance
- Medical Examination and Clearance
- Photo Verification Statement
- Reference Letters
- Complete 10 hours of Hague Training and Inter-country Adoption Education
- Submit completed Home Study to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for approval
- CIS cables a Notice Of Favorable Determination on our behalf to the US Embassy in Uganda once Home Study is approved
- Apply for visas to Uganda
- Put together Foreign Dossier to submit to Uganda government
- Wait for a referral to be matched with a child
- Purchase plane tickets to Uganda for either 1 trip of 6 weeks in Uganda or 2 trips of about 3 weeks
- Travel to Uganda; Meet our baby!!!!
- Court date in Uganda to obtain legal guardianship
- Apply for child’s visa with US Embassy in Uganda
- Obtain a US passport and Social Security Card for child
- Fly home
- Probate Court in Arizona 6-12 months after arriving home to finalize adoption
- 4 Post-Adoption Home Visits with Social Worker over the next 35 months, with reports written and sent to EAC.
I think I need a nap.
Haha, It’s ok if your eyes glazed over like 2 donuts in the fryer after the first 4 things on the list—mine do too! This list, like the dreaded college syllabus, is subject to change at any time, and each item on the list has a price tag of anywhere from $100, to $6,000 tacked onto it. Ouch. We’re going to apply for as many grants as we possibly can, but we have to have a completed and approved Home Study before we’re even eligible to apply for any grants. So even during times between testings and paperwork, there’s no dead space if we want to keep the progress of our adoption going.
I can’t do all this. Nate can’t do this. I have no idea how we’re even going to pull off the sale this weekend, much less save/raise $35,000 or more in less than a year and a half. I’m terrified of flying, and I’ve only been out of the country for no longer than 2 weeks at a time…I have no idea how we’re going to live in Uganda for 6 weeks, being watched by their government. I have no idea what it’s going to be like when we climb on that plane to take our little boy or girl home, and he or she feels like 2 freaky strangers are snatching him/her away from everything and everyone they’ve ever known, and taking them to a completely different world where everyone speaks in a totally different language and lives totally differently from anything they’ve ever experienced. I have no idea how to raise that little boy or girl so that they feel like they belong, and not like Tarzan in a world of us crazy gorillas!
I typically feel a lot more like Frodo getting sucked down into the Dead Marshes.
I know God called Nate and I to this whole new way of life, so I know He’s not going to lead us here and just leave us stranded. When I start to feel the pressure creeping up, and the fangs of panic sinking into my neck, I’ve got a few steps of action I’m trying to remember to follow (and heavens knows I fail miserably most of the time at following through with these, but I’m definitely trying to be more intentional about it!!). These 5 steps are ones I’m learning over and over again, every single day:
Step 1: Take every thought captive and submit it to Christ (2 Cor. 10). Just like I’m submitting and FedEx-ing documents to our agency, I picture myself submitting the thoughts I’m having to Christ. Whoops-I’m freaking out!!! Are those panicky and frustrated thoughts obedient and consistent with how He wants me to be thinking? If He could give me feedback the way the agency emails me feedback on our documents, what would He say about how I’m thinking?
Step 2: His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts than my thoughts (Is 55:9). I can’t see the big picture, or where my life and actions fit in with the grand scheme of human life. But God sees and knows. He wouldn’t have led us in this direction for a completely pointless reason.
Step 3: Trust in the Lord, with all my heart, and don’t lean on my own understanding of things (Prov 3:5). Since His ways are higher than mine, and since I can’t see what’s up ahead in life, I’ve gotta look to Him to direct my paths. I’ve gotta know that He’s got this, and trust that.
Step 4: Ask myself: Can worrying and stressing out about stuff I’ve got to do, add a single hour to my day? (Lk 12: 25) Yikes—think about all the research out there: worrying can very literally shorten a person’s lifespan!! Instead of panicking, I can talk to God about what’s going on, thank Him for how far He’s carried me so far, and the Bible says that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7) I’ve seen firsthand His incredible work and power…I’ve got to keep those memories fresh in my mind.
And then lastly,
Step 5: Do my work heartily, because ultimately, I work for the Lord, and not for other people (Col 3:23-24). We’ve got to do the very best we can, with what we’ve been given. Even when what we’ve been given feels difficult.
Each item on that Adoption Checklist is just a hurdle to jump in this course, but oh I just can’t wait to finally meet and bring home the little one waiting at the finish line!