July 31, 2013

God's Plan - Wait and I will give you the best!!

We have been on our adoption journey for nearly two years now...One year, eleven months, two weeks and two days to be exact.  Well, since we turned in our initial application, much longer if you count the months of prayer and research prior to that.

It has been several months since I have updated our WONDERFUL adoption journey.  So here we go with the latest update!!!!

I am going to start in April 2013 which is the last time I updated this blog.

In April - we were Number 4 on the list.  Our adoption agency releases new referrals from Thailand every quarter and June will be the next referral month.  Previous quarters have had anywhere from 5-10 referrals - so we were looking forward to seeing our little girls picture sometime in June.

In May - Continued working on our paperwork for our homestudy update which including all our doctors appointments and new forms.

In June - We were so excited for June updates and I think I called Shana and Jessica (from Holt) at least 2-3 times a week to see if referrals came.  Every week there were different reason for delays - training in Thailand, new employees coming on board, vacations of social workers in Thailand.....Every week seemed like another reason for delays....Then messages from Holt were they are expecting the June referrals to push into July...REALLY??? - June referrals in July - UGGG...

In July - I sent all documents for our homestudy update to Karen (LSS social worker) and we had our home visit on a Monday morning before going into work.  Our current I-800 (Immigration paperwork) expires at the end of August.  (It is only good for 18 months)  I was so excited to show Karen our little girls bedroom, her closet already full of clothes and the new playroom we have for her and Joshua - which includes a kitchen and doll house. In July, I also finished the initial photo album to send to our baby girl.  On July 18th, I finally received information from Jessica on the "referral packet" that was coming to Holt from Thailand.  She said the package would be in Holt's hands early the next week and families would be contacted after their in house reviews which usually take 2-3 days.  So by the end week - Lisa was not a very patient person.

I finally got word.......officially.......on Monday that Holt had received 4 referrals last week and 3 families are currently reviewing their files. (One was a sibling group)......and we were not one of the families...  

I have to admit I was sad, I cried, I was even a little mad and somewhat discouraged.

Why does this have to take so long???  
Where is my little girl?? 
Why were we not one of the families??
When will our time come??
Why me??

I know God is calling us and Thailand was one of the ONLY countries we qualified for (even waiting child lists - too old, not married long enough and travel restrictions).

Although, there are now at LEAST 4 new orphans in this world that have moms and dads to call them their own.  I am happy for these families and can't wait to see pictures and hear about these beautiful children.

Romans 8-28 has came into my mind several times over the past few days.  I have always LOVED that verse - it has always been one of my favorite.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I know that is true.... I love God, I have Faith and I know my baby girl is out there somewhere waiting for us.  She is just not ready to come home yet.  I wait and wait and the best is yet to come.  I know she is worth the wait!!!

God's answer to us "Wait and I will give you the best"

So here I am waiting "as patiently as I can" for September referrals to come in.....

Maybe the next blog post will have a picture of the newest member of the Levi family.....

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalms 40:1

April 9, 2013

We are NOW Number 4!!!


After 1 year, 7 months, 3 weeks and 4 days we are finally down to NUMBER 4!!

If has been SEVERAL months since I updated this blog - so I will try to give some updates now - although the biggest update is WE ARE NOW NUMBER 4!!

If is very likely looking like a June referral for us - which would have us traveling to Thailand to pick our little girl up and bring her home sometime next Dec/Jan/Feb timeframe.  We will be traveling to "balmy" Thailand during DC's winter.

New Thailand dossier requirement - Psychologist Interview
Since we originally submitted our dossier in Mar 2012 there has been an update to the Thailand requirement.  We are now required to submit a letter from a Psychologist saying "Individual appears to be in good mental health and is mentally stable.  Individual is capable of successfully providing for adopted children."

You would think the 20 some page homestudy document and numerous meetings with the liscenced social worker would be good enough for that, but NO Thailand needs a letter from an actual Psychologist.  I have been on my search for psychologists who could evaluate Chris and I to provide such a letter.  Several said it would require 6-8 months of appointments and testing until I finally found one that would do with just one 2-hour meeting and the fee is only $500.  Much better than the alternatives.  Chris and I have filled out all the required forms for meeting with the Prince William Family Counseling office (about 25 pages of our life story) and we meet with them on April 18th.  Hopefully, our meeting will go well and we will get this new requirement to be added to our dossier paperwork.

Updated Homestudy/I-800 Update Paperwork 
We are also in the process of updating our homestudy to get an extention on our I-800 form.  The I-800 is only good for 18 months and ours will expire in August 2013, so we need to get re-fingerprinted and an update for the homestudy before then.

There have also been some Virginia state laws for adoption that have changed since our initial homestudy, so we will need to accomplish those also.
So far the homestudy forms we need to complete for the update are:
* The Virginia child abuse clearance update
* Medical updates for four of us (Chris, Lisa, Christopher and Joshua) which includes new TB tests, and statements saying we are all "free from communicable and contagious diseases", in "sufficiently good health that the placement of a child will not jeopardize the health/safety of child or self"
* Updated confidentiality statements
*Authorization to release homestudy
*Auto Insurance
* Financial Forms (paystubs and tax returns)
* Another adoption training Course

AND It is all
 Worth it
Why Wouldn't I???
WHY Wouldn't I
I never tire of hearing others that are being blessed with adopting or seeing adopted children on friends blogs or in person.  Adoption has blessed so many people that I know and I am so humbled that GOD has chosen us to be on this same path for our family and our little girl.  I don't know how many tears (mostly happy) I have shed over the past few months with news of friends starting adoption paperwork, families who just brought home their new children or pictures of children who NEED parents.

One of my favorite songs now is "Why Wouldn't I" by Peter Eide


He does does a great job of describing his family's desire to adopt and what a blessing it's been to all of them. I love the title of his new song -- Why Wouldn't I? Instead of wondering if YOU should adopt or why YOU should adopt, maybe we should be asking the question why shouldn't we?

November 5, 2012

The waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting....

I have not made any updates to this site in awhile as we are in the waiting stage right now.  Anyone who has an experience with adoptions knows what we mean by the waiting stage.  We knew when we started this process nearly 15 months ago that the waiting time for Thailand adoptions was 2-3 years.  I keep trying to remember "in God's time".  Sometimes I just want God's time to be Lisa's time.  How I long to bring this little girl home forever.

While officially we have only been in the official process for 15 months, but adoption has and the love of caring for all God's children has been in our hearts for years.

Father, you knew us before we were born.
And you chose us to be your children.  
Father, you faithfully watch over and protect us.
Your plan for our lives gives us hope and a future.

Knowing that God has the plan for us and the perfect timing for our daughter gives me hope for our future.

We continue to need prayers from our family and friends as we walk in this journey to our Thai princess.  

Please pray for our daughter, her biological parents and the caregivers she has while in Thailand.
 Pray for Christopher and Joshua as they begin to transition to include another sibling in our house.
Pray that God will lead us to the little girl he has intended for our family.
Prayer for God's financial provisions on our adoption.
  Prayer for other families around the world to put adoption in their hears to bring their child home.

Place on Holt waiting list....
Our adoption agency matches children (referrals) with their forever families every quarter.  We are moving up on the list to bring our baby girl home.  We are now Number 12 on the list. With the typical referral groups we are looking at March or June 2013 to receive our daughter referral and then about 6 months after that to travel. 

So, maybe by this time next year - she will be home with us!!

Christopher's  new bedroom.
Joshua's new bedroom.
Our Thai princess's new bedroom.

The nesting time for our little girl has begun..... Christopher and Joshua have moved rooms and a little girl bedroom is in the works. We have painted a pink wall and I have purchased new borders and decals for her wall.  Sorry - the lighting is not that great for these pictures.

Borders and decals which will will put up shortly!

We also plan to create a new playroom out of our current formal living room (which we never use) for the "littles" (her and Joshua) as our family room is being overtaken by Joshua toys and the current playroom (in the basement) has mostly Christopher toys.  We will continue to keep the basement playroom more of a place that Christopher can hang out with his friends.

New kitchen playset
Barbies, Barbie RV and doll carrier.
Some of my latest items acquired for "littles" playroom.  Joshua likes playing with his sisters new Barbie RV and new kitchen.  When we ask Joshua where his sister is he says "In Thailand", and usually follows with "where is Thailand's house."

I am only one...I can not do everything...But God has called us to do something...What is in your heart today??

May 30, 2012

USCIS Fingerprinting done

Yesterday we went to the USCIS office to get our official fingerprints taken.  Now another step closer to bringing you home.

The process went pretty smoothly we were in and out in about 30 minutes.

May 21, 2012

DTT and a number!!!

It has been a long time since I have updated our adoption blog and a lot has happened in the past few months - so here goes....

Our dossier has been approved and we are on the waiting list for Thailand.  We are DTT (dossier to Thailand!!) and have been on this magnificent journey for a little over 9 months now.  I have spent the first 9 months and have finished most of this "paperwork pregnancy" stage of our quest for our princess to join our house.  You have two big brothers waiting for you!!  Soon our little girl will be joining these two boys.

Christopher and Joshua - May 2012

With two little boys around, I do not have many dolls, bows, pink or "girly things" around.  My house is full of nerf guns, hotwheels, computers and a lot of TESTERONE!!!  But that will change when you come home.

Christopher's Nerf gun collection

I long for the day that she will be in my arms and I will put pink bows in her hair, daddy doesn't let me put bows in the boys hair, at least not when he is around. :)

It still may be more than a year before you are home, but we will be ready for our princess.  I actually saw this on freecycle a few weeks ago and had to get it for you.  We have your toy box ready, now I am on the search for dolls to fill it up for you.  Dresses and bows are in the future also...

Little Tikes PINK toy box for my Thai princess. It will be holding her dolls soon!!!

We are Number 26

Our adoption agency places families on the waiting list and assigns each family a number once they have their dossier in. The Thai government releases referrals quarterly to Holt - the last few quarters have had 4-5 referrals for the regular healthy infant program, so that would make our referral a little over a year away (I will have to exert a lot of patience here).  We are also on the Thailand waiting child program for a special needs child - so those referrals sometimes come quicker.  We are currently Twenty Six for the healthy infant program - Of course like everyone I was hoping for a lower number, but in God's time.  The perfect time for you to join us is already known by God... so I will wait... maybe not so patiently at times....

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11

Your future is with us......


After months of paperwork, signatures and certifications our dossier was finally complete and was mailed and accepted by Holt on March 30th.
Paperwork sent to courier for Thai embassy and Department of State signatures.
Creating final dossier packets to send to Holt.
Final Dossier packets.

I-800A accepted
We received confirmation our I-800A was accepted by US Citizenship and Immigration Services on April 26th.  Next step is the official fingerprints for Immigrations.  Our biometrics appointment is scheduled for next week.

I am longing for the day to hold you in my arms my sweet baby girl....

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

March 18, 2012

Finding Pictures

The dossier is on route to the US State Department and the Thai Embassy.  One of the additional requirements are some family photos depicting our family life.  These photos  did not need to have the certifications from the embassy and state department, but need included with our final package to the adoption agency.

This is what the requirement from our agency stated:

" Photo's for the Thai government’s Department of Social Development & Welfare, please take care to choose nice photos to represent your family and home to the Thai government. Tape or glue a total of 6-10 good quality photos (photo-quality prints) of your family and the interior and exterior of your home on 81⁄2" x 11" paper or cardstock. Label each picture and include your names. Use discretion and good taste when selecting your photos. Remember, pictures play an important role in introducing you to the officials in Thailand. They are interested in seeing what the home and family environment looks like."

With me being a pretty avid scrapbooker, I have 1000's of photos to choose from.
How do I find only 10 photos?  Which ones should I choose?  

I printed out about 50 different pictures and finally Chris and I narrowed down what we thought to be the top 10.  We wanted to include ones of the boys playing together, pictures of both inside and outside of the house and things we do as a family.  I hope we picked the right ones.  

Here are the 10 images of our family that will be sent to the Thai government.

I think these depict our family pretty well.

March 15, 2012

"Busy"ness in life

To my Thai Princess
First - I have not forgotten about you. Constantly I hear a song on the radio, read an article in a magazine, hear something on the news or just see someone on the street and I think about you.  I wonder will you look like, how will you act, will you be more nature or nurture.  I know my road to have you in my arms is at least a year away (probably much longer), but I am already looking for "girly" or pink stuff on freecycle or garage sales.  I just found a PINK toy box last week on freecycle and it will be waiting for you when you come home.

Now on to my conviction on "busy"ness in my life
The past two months have flown by and I can not believe that we are already half way through March.  Work has been swamped with teaching courses and developing/redeveloping and updating additional ones.  I now know more than I ever thought I would on biometrics, photolithography and radio frequencies.  I have always been an IT person and this alternate technology realm is somewhat new to me.  Family life is always busy with  little boys around and mine has been no different.  Christopher had his 5th grade play, many boy scout events, homework projects and many Wii/DS nights at home.  My favorite 2-year old (Joshua) is growing so fast and is learning new things daily.  I love to sit down with him to play cars or read a book (he loves to sit in my lap and read books).  Church volunteer life is always hectic, but I enjoy teaching the 4-years olds on Sunday mornings and hanging with the kiddos at the food pantry on Wednesdays.  Teaching children about God’s love has always been a passion for me and I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to do so in various capacities.  Next is the magnificent time I get to spend with friends - Scrapbooking days, Lord of the Rings festivals, meeting for lunches, Game nights, video parties and so many more.

When ever I have a few minutes to spare, I know there is laundry to be done or dishes to wash or a game of Words with Friends I need to get to.  I have no excuses, but I have been putting off the dossier paperwork finalization.  Whenever I looked at it, I would get frustrated or confused about something and then got busy with something else.

Our home study was approved in January, but I found out the end of January that I was still waiting for some type of accreditation document from Lutheran Social Services that needed included with the dossier.  It was some issue with notarizing the Virginia license.  I guess they have a main office in DC that had some of the documents that were needed and they had to be notarized by a DC notary and then others that had to be notarized by a Virginia notary.  It finally came a few weeks ago.

And over the past week, we have finally spent time on the paperwork and it is on track AGAIN.  Last week our dossier traveled to the Commonwealth of Virginia and has now been sealed with Virginia’s seal.  I contacted the courier service recommended by our adoption service and they have received my package today with the completed dossier in it for additional certification.  It is now on transport to the US State Department and the Thailand Embassy in Washington DC for their certifications and seals.

Priorities in my life are: God – Family – Everything Else.  I am usually pretty good about that with my Chris, Christopher and Joshua family.  I just need to keep integrating her in that set of my priorities.

Other families in this process
I would love to stay in contact with other families in the Thailand adoption process and learn about specifics in your process.  If you could send me a private email at lisapadress@yahoo.com with contact information I can stay in contact with you.

January 13, 2012

Thailand/Levi HS Approval

Thailand/Levi HS Approval
That is the subject line that I received yesterday from Laura Richardson - Holt's Thailand Program.

The Holt Thailand Program Director, Thoa Bui, has reviewed the Hague-compliant home study for the Levi family. The home study was approved today, January 12, 2012.

We should be receiving the official notorized approval achnowledgement, copies of homestudy, agency's approval letter and agency recommendation in the mail soon.  These are the last documents that we need for our dossier.

December 19, 2011


I have many updates and they are all AWESOME!!!

I received an email from Karen (LSS social worker) via email on November 30th and all the clearance letters have came back.  Yeah!!  Since we had so many, she thought it may take awhile.

Friday, December 2nd
On the way to work today, Chris was listening to the Christmas Offerings CD by Third Day and he said he listened to the final track on the CD and that I would love it.  He was soo correct.  My new favorite song is track 13 - Merry Christmas.  If you have never heard it - here it is.

Merry Christmas by Third Day

This Christmas (and every day until she is home) I am praying for her and all who care for her until she comes home.

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Saturday December 3rd
Karen came over for our final home study visit.  Christopher and Joshua were great (as usual) and I think we may be able to pass as parents.  I loved showing her the bedroom upstairs where our new little girl would be living when she comes home.

Wednesday December 14th
We received the draft of our homestudy.  Karen is on vacation until the first of the year - so we will get back with her then with comments/questions that she had.  We also received an email from Thoa (the Holt Thailand coordinator) today asking for a status of our homestudy.

Friday December 16th
I spoke to Thoa about the current status of our homestudy.  We expect to be able to turn our dossier in some time in January.  We are still waiting for certified copies of birth certificates, reference letters and official letter from our bank.  Once we receive the final homestudy and these documents - we can submit our dossier to Thailand and get on the waiting list for a referral for our baby girl.

These next 1-2 years will be so difficult waiting for our baby girl, but your family is here waiting for our little princess.

We will be there for you soon baby girl!!!!

November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving has come and gone

Thanksgiving has come and gone... We have so much to be thankful for and two of them are here with us now.  Our little girl will be joing the family soon. and I can't wait to hold her in my arms.

A lot has happened in the past month.  We have completed most requirements for our homestudy.  Both Chris and I had our homestudy interviews.  We have sent off child abuse clearances for every state/country we have lived in since we were 18.  I think there were 11 places between the two of us - being that both of us were in the military, we moved around a lot.  As of last week Karen was still waiting for some clearance letters from Guam and Colorado, but I believe all the other ones have came through.

Clearance Letters
Of course every state had a different process for this request.  For example, some states required $$$ (I think Colorado was the most expensive at $30) a few states were actually free.  Some states required notorized forms, some just signatures.  Some states required our address when we lived there (I hope the military unit we were assigned to was good enough for when we lived in barracks), while others we just a simple name and SSN.  Of course nothing could be standardized.    

The final homestudy visit is scheduled for this coming Saturday, December 4th.  I think Christopher is ready for his interview.

The next stage in the process will be to finish up the dossier and immigration paperwork.

... I wanna give her the world, I wanna hold her hand..... I wanna show her what it means to be loved...