Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Get a Police Clearance Report.... or not...

Today I set out to get a police clearance from India.  I went first to the police station closest to our house.  They said I needed to go to a different police office.  
So I went there.  
I knew I’d never find it on my own, so I found an auto driver, told him where I wanted to go, and told him I’d follow him in the car.  All 7 of the guys in the room were very helpful and friendly.  They listened for awhile, had quite a bit of discussion, then told me I needed to go to the District Police Center in the collectorate circle.  
So I went there.  
Well, I went to the wrong building first, but finally found the right place.  I went to the supposed right office and explained what I needed.  These guys didn’t seem too interested in listening or helping, and told me they didn’t do anything for foreigners, that I needed to go to the FRO.  They showed me a piece of paper in Hindi that supposedly said all foreigners have to go the FRO (Foreigners Registration Office).  
So I went there. 
An hour and a half and one cup of masala chai later, (all the while I’m singing in my head the song from Mary Poppins where the kids sings, “We won’t hide your spectacles so you can’t see, put toads in your bed, or pepper in your tea.....”), the right man arrived.  Meanwhile, I had all the other guys in the office loving the fact that I need this so I can adopt a child.  When I explained to them, they just smiled and said, “What is this???? It’s a good thing.”  They were really nice.  I was actually thankful for the waiting time, because every step of this had been done in Hindi, and my brain was fried. : )
So, at length, the right man came, and told me that the FRO does not issue police clearance reports and I needed to go to District Police Center in the collectorate circle.  Hmmm... I told them I’d already been there.  So the man gave me his number, said when I go back if they tell me the same thing, to call him and let him explain.  “But don’t give the phone to the top man, only to the lower man.”  You got it, buddy!
So, I’m of in the morning to try again.  It took too long to do all of that for me to get back to the DPC today.  Praying for better success tomorrow... 

Why Ethiopia?

In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 out of every 8 children is an orphan. 
Of the 143 million orphans worldwide, more live in Ethiopia than any other country in the world. Just twice the size of Texas, 
it is home to five million orphaned children. 
While international adoption from Ethiopia has increased in recent years, at the current rate it would take 5 million families, $125 billion, and 2,500 years to solve the Ethiopian orphan crisis.
Ethiopia is ranked by the UN as one of the four poorest countries in the world.

The average annual income is less than $160.

In Ethiopia, 1 out of every 10 children is an orphan.

In 2008, 650,000 children were orphaned by AIDS alone.

In 2007, 197 people died per day due to AIDS (71,902 annual).

The average Ethiopian woman gives birth to 5.9 children.

1 in 10 children die before their first birthday; 1 in 6 die before age five.

More than half of those deaths are attributed to malnutrition.

There is 1 physician for every 34,988 people.

Girls age 15-19 are seven times more likely to be infected by AIDS than boys of the same age.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
If you want to know more about adoption, start here:
Our agency:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Paperwork... Paperwork... Paperwork...

The process has begun.  We’ve sent the agency application in.  We’ve applied to a home study agency.  Our social workers is in Bahrain.  We had a Skype interview last week as a pre-adoption assessment.  She said everything sounded good and gave us a list of things to get done, and we could schedule her visit.  We were hoping she could come the first half of May, but there is a lot of unrest in Bahrain right now.  She is from Australia, and her family was planning on moving back to Australia permanently in July. Now, due to all the problems in Bahrain, they’re wondering if they should go sooner.  Please pray for peace in Bahrain! Who knew God would need to bring about peace in Bahrain in order for our little girl to come home! :)  God did....
We’ve also been fingerprinted for an FBI background check.  This was crazy!  I assumed the Embassy would do this for us. I called them, on our way to the capital, and they said, “No, we don’t do that.  You have to either get a letter from us saying why you need fingerprints and go to the Delhi fingerprint bureau, or go to a private company.”  Well, that’s a no-brainer.  We figured the private company would be more expensive, but that we’d have to end up paying a bribe to the police anyway, so to save us the time and hassle, we just went to the private company.  30 minutes later, and a much lighter wallet, we walked out with fingerprints.  Easy as pie!  Our FBI background check application is off in the DHL world somewhere now... 

Left to do is:
-write autobiographies for both of us
-get a police clearance report from India... that will be fun
-get police clearances from three different states in the US
-list every address we’ve had the last ten years.  seriously?? 
-lots of other paperwork... I don’t think I could ever list it all...
Please do keep this process in your prayers!  We are praying for peace in Bahrain, and for God to provide all the funding we need to make this happen.  We know He will!  I’ll do another post on the process, the agency we chose, and other random information in the coming days.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Fork in the Adoption Road...

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
This verse has been so true in our family this past week.  For three years we’ve been pursuing adoption from India.  It’s not an easy process while living here, which is why it’s taken us so long to figure it out.  Recently, we felt like we had a handle on everything we needed, were applying for police reports and gathering other paperwork.  We were ready to apply before May. 
Through a series of events that led us to a home study provider in India, we were directed to look at a different agency.  This agency informed us that India was getting more strict about the size of the families adopting from here.  Since we have three kids already, they were doubtful that we’d be accepted by the adoption authorities here.  We checked with a couple of other agencies, and they said the same thing.  We  were just about six months too late...
After lots of tears, we realized that the path we thought our adoption would take was not what God had in mind.  This was hard for me... as a mom, I’ve been picturing this little Indian girl in the orphanage, what it would be like to go pick her up and bring her home, introduce her to her brothers and sister, take her to the playground the first time, begin to teach her to speak English and eventually to read... how looking out the window to check on the kids at the playground would soon get more difficult because I couldn’t just look for the white kids anymore! : )  Trying to remove the Indian girl from those mental images and insert a girl from who knows where was really difficult...  
In addition to this loss, we just were at a loss of what to do now.  So much time and effort spent in pursuing India.  Door in our face.  Now what?  Where in the world do we look?  We began looking at agencies and programs and countries.  So much information, so much to read.  After days of this, we’d looked at Bulgaria, Honduras, Costa Rica, China, Thailand, Kazakstahn, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Russia, Hong Kong, Haiti.  Just about everywhere in the world that programs are running or used to run, apparently. : ) It was difficult to find one that we qualified for that also worked for us.  It basically came down to Ethiopia.  We aren’t infertile.  We don’t make $60,000 a year.  We don’t want to wait 24 months or more for a referral.  We would prefer a child under 5.  Ethiopia.  Also, because we live overseas, it complicates things further.  Through connections with other friends that have adopted from various places, we kept getting referred to one particular adoption agency.  We’ve researched them and spoken with quite a few families who’ve had great experiences adopting from Ethiopia with them while living overseas.  
So, at this point in our journey, we feel a bit defeated and tired of doing so much of the leg work ourselves. : )  This agency totally knows what they’re doing, and I’m not really up for trying to figure it all out again.  I’m totally fine with getting an email that says, “You need to get these documents and do this next.”  Fine, I’ll do it.  We pay you, you make it happen.  
So we’re in the process of looking over their application and deciding on a home study provider.  We’re hoping to get our application in before May, have our home study in May, and get the dossier done before then as well, if possible.  Once we get all our documents in, we can expect to wait 12 months or so for a referral, hopefully not more.  We’ll have to travel twice to Ethiopia, which I’m actually kind of excited about. And the second time when we pick our child up, we’ll have to go straight back to the US for awhile.  That’s okay with me too. : )  
So, here we go.  We’re about to put in an application and a lot of money.  We’ll be committed.  Scary, but exciting! : )