One year ago this week, we applied to an adoption agency, All God's Children International. This week a year ago, they called us to let us know that our family had been "pre-approved" to adopt one child.
As we sent off that application and that $300 check, we were excited, but we also doubted ourselves big time. We were so afraid we would start the adoption process and get money invested, only to have everything fall through in a horrible failed adoption.
We were torn over which country to choose at this point last year. Our gut said Bulgaria, but we were also qualified to choose Ethiopia or our agency's newest program in Uganda. We had just returned from visiting Uganda, and we had seen so many beautiful children there that it made us question which country God would have us choose.
One year ago today, we wondered, "How old should we adopt?" "Should we be open to adopting a child with special needs?" We wanted to be parents so badly, but sending off that initial application felt like a huge leap of faith for us. We had very little money saved for adoption because we had just used all of it on a mission trip. We really doubted that we'd ever be able to afford the expensive adoption fees that were sure to come our way. We had no idea what to expect for this journey a year ago.
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Today, so much has changed.
We now are SO thankful that we chose Bulgaria! We have learned so much about this small, beautiful country this past year, and we are so excited that our child will come from such a neat culture.
We now know WHO we are adopting. We are so grateful that God led us to choose Ivelina to be our daughter. It definitely makes all the paperwork seem a liiiittle more worth it when we can glance over at her photo while are we are working hard to bring her home.
We're now not so worried about age and special needs. We have learned that all orphaned children are special needs children in their own way. We still do not have a complete picture of Ivelina's special needs, and we won't until we meet her and bring her home, but that aspect is really not a huge worry for us. We are curious for sure, and we'd love nothing more than to be booking airfare to Bulgaria next week! We simply cannot wait to meet her and learn more about this sweet little girl.
Another neat thing that has happened during this first year of adoption is how we have seen our family members slowly learn about adoption. Neither of our families really knew anything about orphans or adoption, and we have been able to learn things along the way and share with them everything we know. They might have all thought we were a little crazy in the beginning, but they have all been very supportive along the way, and everyone is just as excited as we are about bringing Ivelina home! They are all falling in love with this little gal right along with us!
Some things just haven't changed though. We still feel unsure of ourselves. The good thing is, we are sure of God. He has somehow worked all things out. We are about $12,000 in, we have contracts, a completed home study, a Dossier that's being translated, and in just a week or two, we'll hopefully be through with the immigration steps! We've had several successful fundraisers and we have recently applied for several adoption grants. Although it is hard not to worry about future steps, we ultimately feel assured that God's timing is perfect and He is watching over Ivelina and us during this journey. None of our progress would have been possible without blessings from above!
Hopefully, this time next year, I will be posting post-adoption photos of our whole family here at home. It seems like that day will never be here, but are assured that it will be!
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On Tuesday, we will be traveling to Charlotte, NC for our biometrics appointment. Hopefully, about a week after our appointment, we will receive our NBC approval letter. That's the only missing piece of the puzzle right now. Our agency will send that letter over to Bulgaria ASAP to be translated and added to our other Dossier documents that are already there. Then, we wait on our official match with Ivelina.
This coming Saturday, we are hosting our next fundraiser: a car wash and bake sale! It will be held in our hometown. We're excited, and we are praying for lots of success.
Thanks for reading