Milestone on the Adoption Front

Whew!  We are officially out of the “Paperwork Phase”! As of Friday I am happy to report that all of our required documents have arrived safely at our adoption agency and our dossier is now complete! This is a big deal!  We have been working on our dossier since December 2013. A dossier is a paperwork package of our family.  It’s all the adoption related documents required by the People’s Republic of China.

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To complete our dossier, we first had to have a complete home study (Feb 20). There is more to a home study than just an 8 hour interview in your home with a social worker…

  • Criminal Background Checks for every state both parents have lived in. (Only Texas for us).
  • Medical history forms and physicals for both parents
  • Statement of Good Health for Ollin provided by his pediatrician
  • Child Abuse clearances for every state both parents have lived in
  • Certified Birth Certificates and Marriage License
  • Account Balances
  • Statement of Employment for both of us
  • Health Insurance Coverage Statement for adopted child
  • Dog Immunization Records
  • Floor Plans of our House
  • 5 Letters of Recommendation

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While we waited for our home study to be approved, we continued to gather our necessary dossier documents. Which included some of the documents listed above, plus:

  • Employment Verification Letters (for each of us)
  • Financial Statement
  • Letter of Intent to Adopt
  • Letters of Good Conduct from local Police (for each of us)
  • We filled out I-800a for the USCIS (for Will and I to be approved to be parents of an immigrant)
  • Home Study Report
  • Passport Photos
  • Photos of our House
  • Photos of Will and I
  • Family Photos

Bowling Kitchen

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Bowling Couple 2013

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Once our home study was approved (May 9), we were able to file our I-800A with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services:

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After being fingerprinted (June 10), our I-800A was approved (June 30) and we were issued our I-797 (immigration approval):

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Then each of the above documents had to go through the process of being notarized by a public notary and/or certified by the state in which the document originated, (Luckily for us this was all Texas);

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Then certified by the Secretary of State, (Luckily for us, we live in the capital a few miles from her office); and finally aunthenticated by the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

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Since our agency now has our dossier, they will review it for it’s completeness. If it looks good, they will hold onto it until we are “matched” with a child (i.e. say yes to a child based on an agency recommendation – called referral). They call this a “soft match” because China actually does the official matching once they have approved us – called “Letter of Approval” (LOA). Which is typically about 2-3 months after we receive our “Log In Date” (LID) which takes several weeks (for translation) after our dossier is submitted to China – called “Dossier to China” (DTC).

 

Our agency suggests us be matched before our dossier goes to China because the paperwork goes much faster this way. Also, it gives us a bit more choice in the process. We do have a child we are praying about and think if everything falls into place, we will have an even BIGGER update soon!

As this paperwork goes out, it is a HUGE milestone in the adoption process and one that we have been anxiously anticipating for months. We pray they will not find any mistakes on our paperwork, and hopefully I can report sometime in the next week that we have been unofficially matched with a child and we are ready for “DTC”, and one step closer to our child.

Noonday Trunk Show  { Friday, July 25, 7pm }

Noonday Trunk Show { Friday, July 25, 7pm }

our-story-imageNoonday Collection’s first trunk show was hosted by founder, Jessica Honegger, in her home as a means to raise money to adopt her son and third child from Rwanda. The style and purpose of the products drew an overwhelming response, and the business quickly grew beyond a fundraiser {and her head is still spinning}. Thanks to Noonday sales, Jessica and her husband brought home their son, Jack, October 2011. Orphan care and prevention remain a core value. At Noonday Collection, we believe every child belongs in a family.

Join us Friday night, July 25 at 7pm and be a part of a global movement, support women in other countries, and be part of international advocacy.  Or just come and enjoy the party with great conversation and gorgeous accessories made by fabulous women from around the world (benefitting our adoption fund). 

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Most artisans in our country have access to a marketplace of social media, Etsy, galleries, shows, boutiques, and a client base with purchasing power. To make that sort of economic empowerment available, Noonday Trunk Shows create a marketplace for artisans around the world who come from vulnerable communities. By giving them access to our western market, they build jobs and support entire families and communities. Noonday creates a pipeline of opportunity for women to help other women, which is pretty much the best work ever! You touch women near and far to empower one another and create economic opportunity, which transforms lives. 

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Besides transforming lives and helping us bring our child home, this is a party where you can buy pretty things, expand your wardrobe or get some early Christmas shopping done. There will be some yummy snacks and drinks too- not to mention some great company. 

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As an added convenience, any guests who can’t make it to the physical trunk show can shop online up until July 30th and purchases can go towards our party total. Let me know if you order anything and I can make sure the host knows; to ensure we receive credit for any online orders.

 

Here are the amazing artisans behind these beautiful collections.

meet our artisans

At Noonday Collection, the artisans aren’t just at the heart of our company, they ARE the company. The artisans we purchase our collection from know their craft. For them to get paid a fair and competitive wage for the skilled work of their hands is a unique and life-altering opportunity for most of them. Because we practice Fair Trade guidelines, your purchases enable them to earn more than what they would be earning in another job. This extra income enables them to put their children in school, buy chickens, or even expand their own business so they can employ their local community.

 

(Event location is in central Austin. Email or PM me for address).

Hope to see you there! 

Parenting in Progress: Part I

Parenting in Progress: Part I

As Will and I parent, we are fully aware of what we do not know and how much we are in need of a merciful God who has entrusted to us these precious lives to rear in His wisdom, love and grace. Here are the books we have just finished or are in the process of reading. They are adding a wealth of info and insight to our parenting and discipline already as we have so much to learn. It is only by grace that we are here. 

 
50905eb“Parenting from the Inside Out” by Daniel Siegel – How many parents have found themselves thinking: I can’t believe I just said to my child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Am I just destined to repeat the mistakes of my parents? In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel Siegel, explores the extent to which our childhood experiences actually do shape the way we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, he explains how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.
This book gives relatable examples of how our parents’ parenting style directly shaped the way we (as parents) interact with our children. It teaches how we can move past whatever negative experiences we’ve had in the past to gain understanding and meaningful connections with our children today.
 
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“Give them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick – This book acknowledges that children need more than behavior modification. They need the gospel. But every parent knows that applying this concept is sometimes easier said than done.  Elyse teaches how we can practically communicate the truth of God’s Word and the message of God’s grace in a way that engages the hearts, minds, and affections of the little ones we love so much. 
In Give Them Grace, parents will learn how to connect the benefits of the cross – especially regeneration, adoption, and justification – to their children’s daily lives. Chapters address topics such as our inability to follow the law perfectly, God’s forgiveness and love displayed at the cross, and what true heart obedience looks like.
 
WholeBrainChild_Cover“The Whole-Brained Child” by Daniel Siegel – In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling book Mindsight, demystifies the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids can seem-and feel-so out of control. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth. Raise calmer, happier children using twelve key strategies, including

  • Name It to Tame It: Corral raging right-brain behavior through left-brain storytelling, appealing to the left brain’s affinity for words and reasoning to calm emotional storms and bodily tension.
  • Engage, Don’t Enrage: Keep your child thinking and listening, instead of purely reacting.
  • Move It or Lose It: Use physical activities to shift your child’s emotional state.
  • Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Guide your children when they are stuck on a negative emotion, and help them understand that feelings come and go.
  • SIFT: Help children pay attention to the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them so that they can make better decisions and be more flexible.
  • Connect Through Conflict: Use discord to encourage empathy and greater social success.

Complete with clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles, and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Childshows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.

 

1475006_w185“The Connected Child” by Karen Pervis – Learn how to build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child, effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders, and discipline with love without making your child feel threatened.
This book offers a faith based approach to parenting children who have gone through some sort of trauma. Trauma does not always mean a child who comes from being relinquished or has been institutionalized. Trauma can mean a child who has lost someone close to them, a child who’s parents have been divorced, a child who’s parents have had to move from one home to another or a child from a stressful pregnancy and/or birth. 
 
349115_w185“Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore – This book offers biblical foundations for adoption and identifies adoption as a Great Commission priority in evangelical churches. Moore talks specifically about how, as believers in Christ, our identity is found in Christ, not in some label we have created for ourselves and not as orphans any longer. He also talks about the current and historical spiritual warfare against children and what we are called to do about it. This book is laced in scripture and I consider it a “must read”.
 
334158_w185“Anatomy of the Soul” by Curt Thompson – Do you want to improve your relationships and experience lasting personal change? Join Curt Thompson, M.D., on an amazing journey to discover the surprising pathways for transformation hidden inside your own mind. Integrating new findings in neuroscience and attachment with Christian spirituality, Dr. Thompson reveals how it is possible to rewire your mind, altering your brain patterns and literally making you more like the person God intended you to be. Explaining discoveries about the brain in layman’s terms, he shows how you can be mentally transformed through spiritual practices, interaction with Scripture, and connections with other people. He also provides practical exercises to help you experience healing in areas where you’ve been struggling. Insightful and challenging, Anatomy of the Soul illustrates how learning about one of God’s most miraculous creations—your brain—can enrich your life, your relationships, and your impact on the world around you.