Friday, January 28, 2011

Slight Change in Plans

We had hoped to hear from our social worker last week regarding our referral. So halfway through this week I couldn't stand it anymore and emailed her and asked if there was ANYTHING I could do ahead of time to make the process after the referral go quicker. She said that I can start filling out the I800 and other paperwork so it will just need to be dated and signed. Within an hour she had emailed me the documents and we spent the next hour going line by line through each document. With having to fill out 3 sets, it was over 100 pages!

Then at the end of the conversation she said she needed to give me some news. Everything is going fine, except our timeline is going to be pushed back by a month, most likely. Our dossier was submitted to ICBF in Bogota on Jan 6, and on Jan 20th it was approved and sent to Medellin's ICBF. Unfortunately, the ICBF let her know that they will be unable to give us a referral for another 3-4 weeks. They didn't offer any explanation, either.

We are HOPING that the reason is because they are updating our kids' medical reports. The information we received back in October was already about a year old.  So it would be great if they are getting the whole packet of info current.

So that means that we are looking now to travel in late April, not March. We're pretty bummed, but are still thankful that we DID get ICBF approval- which apparently can be difficult the first time through, sometimes.  It will give us time to do all the extra things on the To Do list and try to save some more money. I do have to say, I'm also pretty disappointed that I don't get to spend the cold Maryland winter months in beautiful, sunny Medellin! LOL!

I struggled a little bit feeling irritated that our travel plans were messed up. Feeling tired and weary of all the delays we've experienced over the last year and a half. Feeling sorry for us. Feeling really ready to just be done with the process and get our kids.

But, I've been reading through the Pentateuch where the Israelites were whining about God's timing and plans for them to enter the Promised Land. I started thinking, "How arrogant they were.  Sheesh. Why couldn't they just trust God's timing!" Uh, oh. That very day God revealed my judgemental heart. I was doing the same thing!! How arrogant of me to demand we travel when WE think we should travel! How dare I feel sorry for myself when I KNOW that all of this is God's BEST for me! Can I not trust the All-knowing, All-mighty, All-sufficient God with our adoption travel dates? He knows best even when I think I do. So, I'm thankful for this lesson about trusting God along this journey. Thankful that He didn't let me continue in my selfishness and arrogance. Oh, there is so much to learn! I am thankful He is patient with this slow learner!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ICBF and Albums

I just got word today that our dossier has been submitted to the main ICBF office in Bogota! That means we are officially in STAGE 3! See This Link to see the next steps of the process!

I am so happy! My social worker was almost apologetic in her email that that was all the news she had. But, I was just ecstatic because I had never heard that it made it past the translations stage!

So this means that sometime between Christmas and New Years our dossier finished translations AND went through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office!

There is still a chance that we can travel at the end of February if our timeline stays on course. We'll see.

If not, I know it is all going to be God's perfect timing anyway. (I have to keep reminding myself of this! LOL!)

I'm also in the process of working on photo albums for each of the chicos to send in a care package as soon as we get our referral.

I was just going to do a digital album from Walgreens, but have been rethinking that. It's not as personal as a hand-made photo album with cute stickers and pretty paper lovingly put together. Especially because this will hopefully be a treasured memento they will have for the rest of their lives.

I do not have one single crafty bone in my body, so this will definitely be a labor of love! The thought of having to fill a blank white page with stickers, paper and pictures absolutely terrifies me!

And, there is the pressure that I need to complete it quickly since a referral will probably be here by the end of January! Any of my scrapbooking friends are welcome to lend any words of layout advice or help! LOL! Or should I just go with the digital album and save myself the stress? LOL!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Learning Spanish

Learning another language is hard. My brain doesn't work like it did when I was younger. Memorizing things takes much more effort.

As a family, we began two years ago learning Spanish. We started with the ever popular Rosetta Stone. It's expensive but since we homeschool, I chalked it up to school costs. While I do like the immersion method, we found it to be difficult for our family. The kids had a difficult time with the talking portion of the program. No matter how accurately we adjusted the age/difficulty levels, they just could not pronounce the words precisely as the program wanted them to. This left them frustrated and unable to progress even though they knew the words. I too had difficulty saying the words to match the exact inflection in the recording's voice. We even upgraded our headset microphone from the one included, but nothing helped. It's a good program, we just couldn't make the speaking portion work for us.

So, this past year for school we switched to Spanish for Children. It is a homeschool textbook curriculum that is fairly new. It's just ok. I'm not in love with it so far, but at least we are learning the basics of conjugating verbs. I had no idea what conjugations were, so learning this along with the kids has been very helpful.

I took 2 years of French in high school. The first year I had a teacher that tried to teach us Japanese instead of French since he spoke it better, and the second year my teacher got cancer and we had a substitute for 90% of the year. Needless to say I never really learned a foreign language!

Brent and I ended up getting Fluenz, a fairly new program made by college students for adults learning another language. It is similar to Rosetta Stone, but where RS is immersion, Fluenz actually gives tutorials that explain the grammar behind what you are saying.

We were doing really well with it for a few months, and then our Mexico adoption fell apart and we got out of the habit and haven't picked it back up again! I need to get back to it, but the enormity of the task is causing me to feel overwhelmed. And, it is definitely focused for the adult business person. I think lesson 3 has you ordering beer! There is NO WAY we can learn what we need to before we bring home our chicos.

That's precisely why Brent and I have fallen in love with this simple Cd and booklet made especially for adoptive parents. The company is called Simple Language for Adoptive Families and they have programs for several different languages. 

It is a pocket sized spiral bound book (I love that it will fit in my purse while we're in Colombia!) that contains all the most common phrases and sentences an adoptive parent might need in the first few months with their child. It also has a companion cd that says the sentence first in English, then the Spanish is repeated twice with time in between for you to practice it on your own. And, the voices are very pleasant to listen to!

Brent downloaded the cd onto his Itouch so he can listen in his work vehicle. He is able to listen more frequently than I am so he is really flying with it! Right now he has the chapters "Words of Affection", and "Boundaries" memorized and is working on "Bedtime". I'm just starting "Boundaries". We figured we'd go out of order and prioritize what phrases we will need right away!

Anyway, if you are a prospective adoptive parent, I highly recommend this little book. We're loving it!