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...


October 24, 2011

Paperwork/Homestudy Update

WOW - it has been a busy month.  We have been working on getting a lot of paperwork required to start the homestudy with LSS.  We also had our first couple meeting with them last week (Oct 20).

I think our meeting with Karen (social worker from LSS) went well last week.  I guess it is obvious that both Chris and I were in the military with our structured life that we live.  I did not even really how structured our lives were until we had to start talking about it.  Our single meetings will start up this week and hopefully we will be able to have the final one sometime in November.

I have been reading other people's blogs and some Thailand newsgroup feeds about current delays in the Thailand adoption program.  Also, Holt just recently stopped all new applications for Thailand adoptions as their backlog of applicants in getting larger.  We are one of the backlog of applicants that hope to make it to the front some day.  This makes it much harder for someone like me - at the beginning of the process - to wonder if I will ever get to the end. 

It is also saddening to hear about all the families currently being misplaced by recent flooding in Thailand.  I pray that she, her birth family and caregivers are safe.

I know the next few years will be long ones, but we are a family that will try to be patient.  I know everything will happen "In God's Time".  We have some much more love to give and all children deserve a Christ-centered home where they can feel safe, secure and loved.  We are going to be able to give that to at least one little girl in a few years.

I will try to write more in a few days. Here is a recap of some of the paperwork and forms we have done for the homestuday - of course I have a spreadsheet with every form need and the status of each also.

Some of the Home study documents that are completed, notarized and turned in to LSS
Child Abuse clearance request for VA (Chris and Lisa)
Copies of birth certificates (Chris, Lisa, Christopher and Joshua)
Copies of marriage certificate
Copies of divorce certificate
Medical physicals (Lisa, Chris, Christopher and Joshua)
Fingerprints (Chris and Lisa)
Safety/fire house survey
Floor plan of house
Financial certification
Copies of tax refunds
Copies of pay stubs
Release of Information for Daycare and School (Christopher and Joshua)
Photo of family
Certified driving record for VA (Chris and Lisa)
Discipline policy reviewed and signed

Things for Homestudy we still need to complete
10 hours of training
Child Abuse clearance reports from KS, CO, MD and Guam (Lisa)
Child Abuse clearance reports from TN, AL, GE, AR and Korea (Chris)
Guadianship forms

September 12, 2011

I never knew how much I would enjoy filling out forms

Really I did not know I enjoyed it so much.  I spent 11 years in the military and don't think I have ever filled out so much paperwork all at once.  I have been used to filling out SF-86's every few years for work, but this kind of paperwork is everything you need for that and a few other things.

I do not even know my little girl, she may not even be born yet, she may have been born weeks or even months ago or she may be born today.  (I am hearing this adoption process takes 2-3 years and children are 2-3 years old when brought home.)  I am praying every day for you and you will be home with your forever family soon.  God has already picked you out and I know he is taking care of you until we can bring you home.

September 8th - First initial intake interview with Karen from Lutheran Social Services.  She gave us about an inch of forms we need to fill out prior to our 1st of 4 required visits for our homestudy.  This was the day of the massive floodings in Fairfax/Prince William county.  We actually had to walk through a small muddy parking lot into the LSS office.  I had picked up Chris from work, so he was wearing his new dress shoes, I dropped him off at the door so they would not get ruined..    Luckily I wear flip-flops ALL the time so did not really mind about my feet getting muddy.  Our commute home took nearly 3 1/2 hours, this was primarily because of all the rain, Tyson' Corner normal commute traffic, road closures and metro construction around that area.

September 9th - Got my fingerprints for the homestudy done at work.

September 10th - Started filling out forms needed for the homestudy.  I also spoke to some of my friends we had asked if they would write referral letters for us and they received their letters in the mail today.

September 12th, 2011
I scheduled my medical physical (9-23-11)

September 11th, 2011 - This was a day of rememberance for our nation.  My current children do not remember the world prior to 9-11-01.  I never realized until Christopher came home from school on Friday (September 9th) and said he just found out in school was 9-11 really was.  I spent some time explaining exactly to him where he was that day and what happened.  On Saturday (September 10th) Chris watched a movie with Christopher about the 9/11 attacks. 

Christopher was 3 1/2 months old and I had just became a stay at home mom (after he was born) to him and his two older sisters (Angel was 11 and Jaymi was 8).  Christopher and I were at our first WIC appointment at the Charles county office near LaPlata MD.  (I still think it is sad that a military veteran of 16 years with a family of 5 qualified for the government WIC program and reduced lunches.)  That day was spent trying to find where Christopher's dad (my then husband) was at and watching the news.  The phones were all jammed and I could not contact anyone.  Bret (Christopher's dad) finally emailed me he was OK and to tell me he would be home in a few hours, but had to go to the Pentagon for "clean-up" later that night. 

September 8, 2011

Homestudy/Dossier instructions received

I now have instructions for the Dossier and the initial intake homestudy interview has been scheduled.
I spoke to Karen from the homestudy agency last week.  Apparently, our home study agency LSS works has two different offices in the Washington DC area.  One for Washington DC/Maryland and one for Virginia.  The name I had first was for the Washington DC area and they had to refer me to the Virginia office.  Karen sent me the initial application paperwork for LSS.  We have our initial interview with LSS scheduled for the afternoon of September 8th (that is today).  After we get the requirements needed for the homestudy we can start requesting official documents. 

I also received the link and password for the Holt Thailand adoption guidebook.  This lists everything needed to complete our dossier and other steps throughout the process.

I spoke with Thoa on the phone (Holt Thailand director) who gave m some more specifics on the Thailand program.  There seem to be a lot of people currently in homestudy/dossier process right now, so I am praying I can get this paperwork done quickly so I can get on the waiting list for our referral.  Right now they are estimating 2-3 years from application.  I don't want to wait that long for my little girl, but I know everything in GOD's TIME.

Tuesday, August 30 - received initial application from LSS to do HomeStudy, scheduled initial interview
Tuesday, September 6 - received Dossier instructions from Holt and spoke with Thoa from Holt on more specifics on the Thailand program
Wednesday, September 7 - Notarized initial application for LSS

I have started searching and reading several sites on Thailand culture.  Christopher comes in sometimes and reads the information with me also.  Big brothers, mommy and daddy are getting ready for you to come home.

I have been following several other Thailand adoption blogs as well as signed up for some Thailand adoption newsgroups.  I love reading other people's stories and following them on their journey.  I hope to meet some lifelong friends along the way.

August 29, 2011

Initial Application received

We just got back from a week long family vacation at Hilton Head Island.  This week we plan to begin the tasks of the homestudy and dossier.

Today is the first day of 5th grade from big brother Christopher and daddy's first day at his new job. 

Here are a few things that happened over the past week;
Tuesday, Aug 23rd - Received email from Emily at Holt that all our initial application paperwork had arrived and she forwarded our info to Laura and Thoa (Thailand services coordinators).  A home-study request letter was also sent to Lutheran Social Services (LSS) from Holt for them to begin the home-study process with us.

Wednesday, Aug 24th - Received phone call from Thoa welcoming us to the Thailand program.  We got it when we returned home from vacation on our voicemail.

Wednesday, Aug 24th - Received email from Regina (Adoption Coordinator) at LSS.  I contacted her back via email and let her know we were on vacation and that I would contact her back the following week. 

Monday, August 29th - Left message with Thoa/Laura from Holt and also Regina from LSS. 

I think the process from here is to start the application paperwork from LSS.  After I get confirmation from LSS, that will begin.  Hopefully that will begin tonight when I get home from work. 

August 17, 2011

Contract Mailed off

Today I mailed out the contract to Holt International Adoptions via USPS Priority mail.  Once they receive the signed/notarized contract they will combine that with the initial application, pictures and tax returns and give to the Thailand advisor.  I have already to spoken to them - so they know our application is on the way.  We also had to decide on an agency to do our Home Study.  Holt is based out of Oregon so they can not do it - they gave us three different ones to choose from that they accept from Virginia.  Two of them were out of the Richmond area and one was out of Falls Church.  I spoke to them all, but the Falls Church agency won.  So Lutheran Social Services (woohoo)  will be doing our home study.  We leave for a week at the beach in 2 days - so I plan to do their initial application (and another initial application fee) when I get back.  Their initial application is about 10 pages.  Right now it just seems like another SF-86 (all you cleared people know what I am talking about).  I am ready to start the massive paperwork phase of the home study and dossier next.

All of you friends of mine who have done this before we may be asking for help.  We are SOOO new at this, but so excited to fill out tons of paperwork.

Big brother Christopher is thinking about if he should move rooms when his little sister comes.  We told him he has a while to decide, but more than likely he will move to what is now my craft room/spare bedroom.  And the craft/spare bedroom will just move back into the basement spare bedroom.  The room that Christopher will be moving into only a shower in it and he never takes baths anyway.  Also his current room has the dressing room area and what girl would not want that in their room.  Room repainting will have to be accomplished before little sister comes though because she probably will not want the blue sports theme.  Christopher is really not too thrilled out his current blue sports theme either so he is ready to move now.  We will be taking volunteers when repainting is to commence.

August 16, 2011


First I am NEW to this blogging thing and have never done it before. I am a computer Geek - so I should be able to figure this out.

First a little background of our family as my wonderful husband put it after Joshua was born 21 months ago.
Joshua Caleb Levi!!!

Born today weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces, Both mother and child are doing fine.

19 1/2 inches and born at 11:43 Monday morning, November 16th.

When Lisa and I got married a year and a half ago, we both knew that having children would not be easy for a variety of reasons, but we also knew that if God wanted us to have children, He would bless us with one (or more) at the time of His choosing, not ours. And He would so in the manner He wished, whether that manner would be natural, adoption or some other means.

When we found out last March that Lisa was pregnant, I had just finished reading "Diamonds of Brazil" (a very enlightening book and I encourage everyone to read it). Among many of it's truths, it highlights just how God truly treasures children. He chose to bless us with one, bestowing upon us all the responsibilities that come with it. Knowing this child was a gift from God, I gave up my "right" - so to speak - to pick a name and asked Him to name our child. He created our son, I figured He had more than a right to tell us what to call him. I had not really even finished praying when I felt His presence and heard the words "Joshua Caleb" in my mind overriding every other thought and feeling.

As I thought about the name, I began to remember who Joshua and Caleb were. When the Israelites were about to enter Canaan, Moses sent 12 spies to get the lay of the land. 10 came back with reports saying the people were too strong for the Israelites to conquer. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with confidence that the Lord would deliver them and consequently, they were the only two to ever see the Promise Land.

WOW! What a name! And what an honor to be named after such faithful men. And how humbling it is for me to be the one charged with this child's spiritual upbringing. I know by myself I am not up to this huge responsibility. But I know God will provide everything needed as long as I ask. And Oh, how I have been asking:)

God is good and He is faithful and I know He will provide the wisdom and the guidance to both Lisa and myself to raise our son and any other children He chooses to bless us with in the ways that please Him. I know we will make mistakes, and I know not all of the times to come with be joyous ones. But I also know that God will be with us through it all. I know if we lean on Him those mistakes will be few and far between and those not so joyous times will be made less difficult by His power and mercy.

Thank each and every one of you for your prayers and support.

How did I get so lucky to marry such a great Christian man to raise my children with. He stepped in with ABSOLUTELY no experience to be a wonderful father to both our children. Chris is always there for Christopher and Joshua and I could not think of anyone else I would rather raise a family with.

God has at this time in our lives put in our hearts to pursue another addition to our family - through International Adoption.

Over the last few months we have researched and prayed about nearly every country on every continent. I have spoken with several other friends who have went through this adventure and spoke with various adoption agencies.

Last week we narrowed it down to a few countries in Asia. After speaking with more adoption agencies and finding out we did not qualify for many of the programs (age, marriage, length of time in country, ) I started to get discouraged.

Chris asked me to stop all research for a few days and just pray about this. A few days later, someone from Holt Adoption agency called me back and spoke to me about the Thailand adoption program. We met qualifications for adopting an infant female from Thailand.

I spoke to Chris about this and he knew this was were God was calling us. In about 2-3 years, we will have our little girl and Christopher and Joshua will be big brothers.

Sunday, August 14
Sent initial application and fee to Holt

Monday, August 15
Sent family and house photos and tax returns to Holt

Monday, August 15
Initial Contract signed and notarized

After getting initial contract signed and notarized we went to Grand Thai in South Riding for dinner. I currently know pretty much NOTHING about Thailand except that it is in Asia, but am beginning my Thai research for my little girl.