Tuesday, September 28, 2010

one step closer . . . .

And it is complete…. The home study, which sometimes can take a little bit of time, is officially completed! God truly is so amazing. My day started off so bad today and it hadn’t gotten any better all morning. I just went to eat lunch and decided that I was going to come back to work and have a better afternoon. When I get back I had an email waiting to tell me that our home study paperwork for the adoption is OFFICIALLY completed and we should be receiving it in the mail tomorrow. The smallest things make the worst days turn into some of the best… Thank you to everyone who we had to pester as a reference and for letters of recommendation.

So what does this mean now? Well, tomorrow when I receive our copies of the home study, I will then mail off our dossier. I completed it a few weeks ago so that as soon as this came in we could have it ready to send off. We had to do three copies – each country is different in this aspect. One copy is for us, one copy is for our amazing family at Arise for Children, and the third is for our dossier that will be sent overseas to Ethiopia. So what is a dossier? Well it is a long list of things that you have to get together to send them. That is what they use in Ethiopia in court and to make sure that you are qualified to adopt. Here is all that we had to get. They all had to be originals and notarized.

- POWER OF ATTORNEY ( 3 originals)
- HOME STUDY & AGENCY LICENSE
- BIRTH CERTIFICATE - Father/Mother
- Marriage Certificate
- LOCAL POLICE (not State) CLEARANCE LETTERS/MOTHER
- LOCAL POLICE (not State) CLEARANCE LETTERS/FATHER
- EMPLOYMENT LETTER/ MOTHER
- EMPLOYMENT LETTER/FATHER
- BANK LETTER (a letter from your bank saying you are in good standing)
- Financial Statement (a worksheet that shows how much money you make and spend)
- MEDICAL REPORT - FATHER/ MOTHER
- LETTER OF INTENT (to the Director of the Ministry of Women & Children in Ethiopia, stating why you would like to adopt an Ethiopian child)
- Letter of Life Insurance
- Letter of Health Insurance
- 2 years of tax returns
- 3 PERSONAL REFERENCES
- OBLIGATION Statement for the Adoption Agency (this is where we sign saying that we will agree to do the follow up requirements: 1.) First report at the end of three months. 2.) Second report at the end of six months. 3.) Third report every year thereafter until the child(ren) is 18 years of age.)
- Color copy of passports
- Passport Size Photos
You are probably looking at it and thinking, “hmm… that isn’t that much.” Trust me. It is!
But we are DONE with the paperwork! So we now sit and wait. I can only think of Psalm 46:10 where it says - "Be still, and know that I am God.” This is going to be a trying time. We are going to be sitting and waiting on our referral – which will include the picture of our new baby, Zoe Grace. I am already praying for God to give us the strength to sit, be still and wait for his time – and also for patience and understanding for our case worker, Cindy, and everyone else at Arise, because I am sure I am going to drive them crazy asking for updates.

j.w. godwin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Leap of Faith -

Here is an interesting topic that EVERYONE has asked us about. I really didn't want to write about this, but I have had SO many people ask me about it, and have been motivated by the story I guess that is a sign that I should share it with everyone else...

How did WS and Rebecca take the news about Zoe?

Well..... Let's start at the beginning. As you know, KC and I decided that this was something that we both felt called by God to do and we decided long before telling anyone else about it that it would be something that WE would do. The two of us. So we did. We started, we got accepted and we moved forward. Well the moment came where we had to tell our parents. I guess we didn't "have" to tell them, but if you know me at all you know that I share almost everything with my family. It has to be something VERY serious for me not to share it with them. They are the best. They are an amazing support team. They pray for you. They are a shoulder to lean on. They give advice, sometimes unsolicited, but always with the best intentions in mind. I remember telling Mama and Papa about Zoe as if it were us telling them about Olivia again. We were at their house on a Sunday afternoon. I pulled up the Lucy Lane video and showed them. My dad teared up a little bit and my mom said something along the lines of - that's truly special. I was thinking, awesome. This is going great. They are in the moment, they are totally supportive. They saw that video, they saw how many children need homes and mommy and daddy's, this is gonna be great! Ha. Not really. The emotions changed very quickly. I said, well you are going to have a grandchild like that. They both looked at me, and my dad walked towards the kitchen to finish cleaning up from lunch. While I look back and know that it was merely the shock and fact that I just blurted it out like I had just told them I was moving to Canada - it still hurt my feelings. It wasn't how I had planned. All I could think was "No. No. No. That isn't how this is supposed to play out!" They were suppose to gasp for breath, hug me and KC, start asking a million questions, call my siblings or at least encourage me to. But it didn't happen like that - and I didn't understand why.

I don't understand why my parents responded like that and still to this day can’t tell you why they didn't get as excited as KC and I were to tell them. What was wrong?

It has taken me this long to take their reactions and digest them and this is what I think happened. KC and I said, "we are gonna have another baby and she will be from Ethiopia. We are adopting!" and I think what they heard was "We have decided to take on a challenge that will be a lifelong battle from outsiders, extremely expensive and no one can talk us out of it." I get it. I do. I understand what they were thinking and probably what they heard. Zoe isn't even here and yet we are already getting some odd responses and reactions from some family, friends and others who we don't even really know - but we don't care.

Since that day, even against my sometimes smarter sisters and sister-in-law's advice, I pushed. I mean I pushed and pushed and pushed my parents. I just didn't understand what their deals were. It is a baby! It isn't like we are going to Africa to bring back a lion to sleep in the same room as Olivia. It will be a precious little bundle of joy, but with darker skin. That's all. What's the big problem with that?

I finally just asked and they explained. Both of my parents are teachers. They explained about how they have seen, first hand, how difficult it can be for children in mixed raced families. They sometimes aren't accepted by either race and are left all alone. They told me that as parents we can be there all the time during the day and protect them, but one day they have to go to school and eventually middle school - which can be the meanest. They told me that they are overly excited about the fact that we feel called by God to adopt and that he is leading us in this direction, but have we really thought this through all the way? They said that they didn't want to sway us one way or another, but that they just wanted us to think of everything before we jumped into this. We explained that we had and we understand their concerns but that we feel comfortable and confident enough in ourselves and our relationship with God to handle anything that might come our way.

KC and I just had to do it. We both felt "grown up" at that moment. We had made a decision without my parents fully embracing it at that moment and accepting it. They have since then, but at that moment it was very difficult. I have tried to explain to them how it really hurt and how we didn't understand how they couldn't just accept our decision, but if you are like me that is more difficult to explain than you think.

So we did it. We took our Leap of Faith. Was it hard? Oh yes! Were we scared? We still are. Did we wish mama and papa would have stood up and given us huge hugs and celebrated about our good news? We wish we could replay it differently all the time. But it all happened for that reason. Since then, my parents have made comments about us and our decision to adopt. They have told me how they can see how KC and I have both matured. How we have grown in our spiritual walk. How they have seen what God has in store for us and no matter what anyone said, we followed what he was calling us to do. And let me tell you people, there is nothing more difficult than doing something that your parents, at that moment, may not 100% support. God is good though. He gives us a road map to follow and allows us to make the choices as to whether we want to follow it or not. We decided to. We stood up against the ones who could have been the only ones to derail us, and we kept moving, and now they are totally on board.

So remember, it is tough. It's tough to take that leap of faith. It's tough to do what others may not at that moment agree with or understand. It's tough to go against the mold and be your own person. But IF you believe in God and know that he IS in charge, then there is nothing to fear. So maybe you do, maybe you don't have someone or something standing in your way of something that you truly feel called to do, or not to do, or maybe there is someone who you just need to tell that you are your own person - take the leap of faith. Try it. It is better on the other side, trust me.

Until later –
j.w. godwin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Big Sis

Look what Olivia got!!

Olivia looks excited huh? :)


I love her new ‘Big Sis’ shirt – don’t you?? My friend Abbey introduced us to this awesome website http://www.dolkapots.com/ and I started chatting with them about making Olivia a 'Big Sis' shirt and how I wanted to incorporate Africa somehow on it and I think they did a great job! I got the daughter of our friends Brad and Rachel who are adopting from Uganda a 'Big Sis' shirt also. Aren’t Olivia and Caroline just adorable??


Caroline and Olivia


Olivia cracks me up in this picture

Check DolkaPots out on their site or on Facebook, they have some great items and get this… a percentage of the profit goes towards families that are adopting!! How cool is that?? So…we applied…and…we were ACCEPTED!!!!! So we are one of the families of the quarter (October- December) so if you place an order during our quarter (October- December) you will be helping us out to bring home Zoe! DolkaPots is also making our adoption t-shirts so be on the lookout for our post letting you know when you can pre-order your t-shirt. More than likely they are going to do one big order so you can start ordering soon and then will get your shirt December-ish. AND the best thing is that we get all the profits for our t-shirts so spread the word to all your friends a family to help us bring Zoe Grace home!

Thank you friends and family for being so supportive!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hurry up and wait...

“We need you to fill this out ASAP so you can wait 2 months before getting it back.” This seems to be the normal process for an adoption. We finally got our Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) clearance back on Friday, so now we are only waiting on one more approval, our FBI clearance then we will be done with all of our paperwork!! Hallelujah! It’s like this…we are done with our dossier paperwork but can’t turn it in until we are done with our home study, we can’t turn in our home study until our FBI clearance comes in….please hurry up FBI!! So that is where we stand today.

Also be on the lookout for our post about our t-shirts. We hope to have all of the details about that ironed out within the next few days. We hope each of you will get one, and encourage your friends and family to do the same to help us bring our Zoe Grace home !

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meant To Be . . .

Well - I have been informed that it is time to update the blog with a new post. So, what should we talk about today? I am in a writing mood, but have nothing to write about. I am sitting here on my I-pad listening to Michael Buble's new cd attempting to write a new post when I should really be reading some Criminal Procedure or Contracts homework.... but there is time to do that later it's only 10:20 pm.

Music! I'll write about that. Some of you know this, I am sure, but I really like music. I love all types and my wife can validate that with my I-tunes bill every month. (It's my addiction.)

Ever since being called by God to pack up our nap sacks of faith, leave the doubt at home and start out on this amazing journey, KC and I have been more in tune with things around us. Now, stay with me and where I am trying to go here. Think about this. You hear a song in your car every morning and every afternoon on your way to and from work and you, 9 times out of 10, find yourself  singing along to it without even really knowing what you are saying half of the time. I'm definitely guilty of this. I get in the drivers seat, passenger seat, back seat, it doesn't matter - I get in the car and let it go. I bust out with anything and everything from my most favorite songs by Reba, Queen, Aerosmith, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many more. KC reminds me that I am allowed to sing, but maybe I should try to calm it down a little. I kindly remind her that "God said to make a joyful noise." Then in return she asks me if he meant that about all songs and moments and if he really wants me to strain and jump up and down five octaves just to sing "Everything I Want" by Matthew Puckett, or to replace Randy Travis in the duet with Carrie Underwood in "I Told You So". It is fun though.

Here recently, thanks to all of the blog stalking that KC does now, we learn so much and get introduced to so many new thing. Yes the productivity at our house has gotten even less now that we not only have tv shows to watch and Facebook to be stuck on for about an hour every night, which I have no idea why, we have even more procrastinating habits. But mentioning Facebook, people, what is up with this? I mean what did we do before we could check everyones statues updates or pictures every day - or several times a day? And you know who I am talking to, I am on there that often and see how often you comment/update/upload stuff. Well, we now have about 25 to 30 blogs about adoptions, mostly Ethiopian ones, to read - almost everyday. And we know that other families do it too, which is why we want to make it a routine thing to update ours. Well, last night KC was looking at the Portis' blog and found something new. Joy, who KC has met and had a lunch date with, had a new post on her blog. It was a song by Steven Curtis Chapman. Now - for those of you who see that name and think, "Wow, I haven't heard that name since 1998 and church youth group stuff." Yes, it is the same guy and yes, he still sings those cheesy, sappy songs - but you have to give it to him, he does a great job at it. Well, he has done it again. He has written a song for the new Veggie Tales movie or show or whatever it is, I'm not sure. All I know  is that it is called "Meant To Be" and it is amazing.

Here is where all the rambling in this post will hopefully come together. I pulled up this song on YouTube, because it isn't for sale on I-tunes until Oct. 5th, I checked. I listened to it and instantly could relate to what he is saying. The lyrics are so simple and plan, but have such a strong meaning. It starts with "Long before you drew your first breath a dream was coming true. God wanted to give a gift to the world, so he wrapped it up in you. And every step that you've taking, every move that you make is part of his plan. You were meant to be touching the lives that you touch, and meant to be here making this so much more than it would be... You are perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully meant to be."  

So you can see. Before this process started I would listen to a song, probably even this one, sing along and sometimes not even realize what I was saying. But this song really tugged at me. It says everything that we think. It tells how we feel about Zoe. Even though we don't know her yet, we don't know what she looks like, what her temperament is going to be like or anything - but what we do know is that she matters and is meant to be part of our family. She is coming into our family and will, in one way or another, touch all of us - she's already doing it to you, because you are reading this blog.

I am going to attach the video here, but try to focus more on what the words are than the Veggie Tales running around on the screen.   

-j.w. godwin