On February 2, a member of our Gladney team came to our home to complete our Home Study. Blaine and I had anxiously anticipated this day since the start of our adoption process. Of course, I was obsessing over the details of the house and spent hours cleaning to make sure everything was in it's place. We had heard horror stories of Home Studies where the social worker had come in and searched every cabinet and closet! We also worried about the questions they would ask, and wondered if we would know how to answer them. Imagining the worst, we were very nervous about this day approaching. But, despite all of our irrational fears, the day was quite pleasant. We talked over lunch and then spent a few hours sharing stories about our family life with our Gladney friend. She asked questions about our childhood, and what our families were like. We also shared stories from our dating life, and how our marriage has been for the last six years. The purpose of the day was to get to know us and our family, so that Gladney could present the most accurate description of our family to the staff in Colombia, who would be matching us with our children. It was also intended to prepare us for the reality of adopting three children at once. We talked extensively, both together and separately, about our expectations and desire for three children. Blaine and I both understand that adopting three children at once will be a challenge, but we also believe this is something God will equip us to do. After about 4 hours of talking, our friend from Gladney flew back to Fort Worth to write up the official Home Study report. We were relieved to have completed another milestone in our process, but anxiously awaited our official approval to adopt internationally.
6 weeks later................
we received our official approval from Gladney in the mail!!!
We have applied for Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) approval and are awaiting our appointment for fingerprinting. This is basically approval from the U.S. government to adopt internationally. Our next step is to begin our dossier (gathering of birth certificates, marriage license, and other documents required by the Colombian government). Once our dossier is completed, it will be sent to Colombia for translation. Colombian officials will then review the dossier and either approve or deny us. We anticipate this will take approximately six weeks. With that estimation, we should receive word from them in mid-May. Typically this would be when we would receive our referral (names, photos, and medical information of the children) but in our case, they are sending our Home Study ahead of our dossier in an attempt to match us more quickly. We still won't receive the official documentation (medical information and backgrounds) until the dossier has been approved. But, it is possible that we could receive photos, ages, and names of the children before mid-May.
We covet your prayers as we continue this process. Time is winding down, and there is much to do. Pray that God would continue to guide us each step of the way and that most importantly He would put His hand of protection on our children until we can bring them safely home.