It took a while, but I found a great local adoption agency to complete all of my home study requirements. I mentioned how pleased I was in the 7 March post and indicated that my Air Force experience seemed to make the paperwork for adoption seem like a cakewalk. When you work for an organization that requires a signed form for every action from requesting a hotel room, to mailing a package, or acquiring an ID card, a little stack of paperwork to adopt doesn’t seem quite so bad; especially when the adoption paperwork requires information you control, and signatures that you can give. If you’re new to the adoption process, amid those required documents are family background information forms, FBI criminal clearance, state clearances from EVERY STATE YOU’VE EVER LIVED IN, marriage license(s), divorce certificate(s), proof of insurance, statement of will (so they know you have a back-up plan should you be swallowed by a boa constrictor, hit by a bus, or drown in an unfortunate bathtub mishap), medical clearances for everyone in your household, information about your home, your yard, your children’s schools, your pets, your church and a drug test. So far, most of those documents have been returned by the respective agencies in record time. When I moved to PA almost ten years ago and had to complete background checks for work in the medical field, the turnaround time was weeks long. For this, I was fingerprinted for the FBI background check and received the response in less than a week. Of course, the fact that the fingerprints were generated in a scanner as opposed to ink on a ten-print card might have something to with the speedy return.
Today, it seems at least one giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I just talked with my social worker. She had left a message yesterday to schedule the first home study visit. For those of you new to adoption, the home study involves a series of interviews between me and a social worker, in addition to the review of all of the documents I mentioned, as well as interviews with references and my employer. Unfortunately, I missed the call. I was feeling really discouraged about that because I’d really like to make progress on the home study. There’s a grant available from a really great organization but the application must be submitted by 30 April in order to be eligible for the grants awarded in June. While I know that things take time, that I can’t push, and that God has His hand in all of this, it would be a HUGE blessing to have the opportunity for an adoption grant. As always, your prayers are appreciated. Today when she and I spoke we were able to schedule all of my home study visits between now and mid- April. Once the home study is completed, it will be forwarded to the placing agency and added to my dossier (fancy name for the fat stack of paperwork that will be forwarded to Oksana’s country for review and approval). There are many little things that will be necessary between now and then. I’ll keep you posted as things progress so that you can all pray with me that the process will go smoothly, that God will work in mighty ways to His glory throughout, and that lives will be touched and changed along the way.
For those of you who have been wondering, my degree in ASL/English Interpreting was finally conferred with a Dec 2011 date. It took the college forever to review the paperwork they’d had in their possession since I walked at graduation in May of last year. Now that all of that is finished, I have to sit for the written exam toward my certification which is required for me to register as an interpreter with the state of Pennsylvania. Registration is the first step toward legally working as a paid interpreter. Membership renewal and fees for the registry are nothing to sneeze at. Still, I know that it is something I can’t set aside if I want to be able to eventually do the work I love. While it will be a long while before I am a certified interpreter, being able to work in the meantime is important to skill-building required to maintain competency and offer the best possible service to Deaf and hearing clients. It’s frustrating to have fees everywhere I turn (adoption, certification, etc.), but I know that I committed this adoption to God and I believe that as He leads He provides. I can’t wait to be able to do some side-work in the field to build my skills. It is my hope that one day I’ll be able to work as an interpreter full-time with a flexible schedule in order to be more available to my family.
A devotional book I keep on my desk entitled Jesus Calling has messages written as notes of love from the Lord to us. Its author, Sarah Young had this to share for the 8 March entry: “Save your best striving for seeking My face. I am constantly communicating with you. To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else. Anything that you desire more than Me becomes and idol. When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness. Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it. Let the Light of My Presence shine on this pursuit, so that you can see it from My perspective. If the goal fits into My plans for you, I will help you reach it. If it is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of your heart. Seek Me first and foremost; then the rest of your life will fall into place, piece by piece.”
Mrs. Young gives pretty good advice. The biblical basis for it comes from Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Those are the words of Jesus, Himself and you won’t find any advice worth heeding that is better than His. At one point, Oksana was removed from the “My Family Found Me” list because I had not yet been provided with a social worker. There was concern that another family would find her in the meantime, but I only allowed myself to worry for a day before shaking off my fears and reminding myself that I committed to her because I felt led by God to do so. I am learning to ask God to write His desires on my heart and to lead me to trust Him completely. I think it is the reason that I have been able to remain unusually calm as I wait upon each step of this process. Please pray with me and for me as we wait on Him to bring this precious little girl home.