Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DOSSIER....In the Mail!

Our dossier is in the mail! Kenneth took it to the FedEx store this morning. We paid for a courier service, Assistant Stork, to hand deliver our dossier to the US Department of State. The courier service takes our dossier to the Department of State and waits while they authenticate it. They then check to make sure the people at the Department of State have authenticated each page correctly. Then they walk it down to the Embassy of Ethiopia for authentication. Sometimes this takes 1-2 days. The courier will visit the embassy each day until the authentication is completed. Once the dossier has been authenticated at the embassy, the courier will mail our dossier to our adoption agency.

Although having the courier service was a little more costly than just mailing the dossier to the Department of State, I feel much better knowing that a person will have our documents and will personally care for them until all is completed. It also takes weeks off the processing time when someone hand delivers the documents. Money well spent in my mind.

We have our appointment to get fingerprinted at the FBI field office on January 6. At that time we will also be taking copies of our birth certificates and wedding certificate. This will complete the paperwork we need to turn in to USCIS. It could then take as long as 6 weeks for us to be approved to bring an orphan home from Ethiopia to the US.

In the meantime we will be waiting for a specific referral. Kenneth and I have a peace about adopting two children. Thank you for everyone who prayed for us in that specific way. We are trusting that God will find two little boys for us to adopt, if that is His will. If we only get one referral, we feel that it will be a way that God is telling us that one is enough for now. We are also trusting, and praying, that God will provide for us if we are to adopt two children both emotionally and financially. In addition to the extra money it will require to adopt a second child, we will now be thinking of regular expenses such as another bed, more diapers, etc. I am also thinking of having 3 children under the age of 3...a scary and blessed thought all at the same time!

Noah continues to pray for his "brudder" and ask when he is coming home. Yesterday he was looking out his window and told me that he was waiting for "brudder" to come home. I said we would be waiting a little while longer. To which he said, "Brudder live here now!"

We covet your prayers as we continue in this process. Here is how you can be praying:
Please be in prayer over the next week or so that our dossier will meet approval and go through the correct authentication process. Also pray that God would bring the right child or children to us through the referral process. Pray for me as I am getting really anxious to get a referral, I think I am starting to get knots in my stomach because I am soo not patient and want to see our children NOW. Also pray as we have a few grant and loan agencies looking over our applications right now. Pray for God's provision!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Process

We are so close to sending our dossier off to DC! I spoke with one of the workers at CCI in Florida this morning, and she assured me that our documents are in the mail. Hopefully our dossier will go to DC next week. We have had several questions about the next step after our dossier is sent in.

This is the "Track Your Progress" information from our adoption agency, CCI. It may be helpful for inquiring minds. I added an additional step at the beginning (the home study) because I love to make lists and check things off. Plus, it is a legitimate step!

1. Home study conducted.
2. Select agency and complete application process.
3. Send contracts and all other files to CCI.
4. Authenticate dossier and send photocopies to CCI.
5. Dossier translated and authenticated in Ethiopia.
6. Case submitted to court.
7. Court date given.
8. Case approved by court.
9. Case submitted to embassy for appointment.
10. Travel to Ethiopia and bring child home!

Within those steps, we will also have to wait for a referral for a specific child or children. We will also wait to be approved by the US to bring an orphan home. We have our fingerprinting session at the FBI office in Louisville the first full week of January, so that should move us closer to being approved by the US.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Authentication Complete

We are getting a little closer to finishing up the dossier. I am still hoping that we can get this finished before Christmas! Kenneth has spent the past two days authenticating our power of attorney and dossier cover letter. He went to Fayette County court house yesterday, and then went to Frankfort this morning. The documents are notarized and authenticated, and now we are just waiting on two things from the adoption agency in Florida (Celebrate Children International). When we get those two documents in the mail, I will fax a copy of the dossier to CCI to get a second look at it and make sure no changes need to be made. Once that is complete, I will be sending the dossier off! What a great feeling that will be!

We are also still waiting to get an appointment to go be fingerprinted in Louisville. Once we are fingerprinted and the FBI realizes that we are not criminals, we will hopefully get the approval to bring an orphan home.

This past week has really made me think about how much time Kenneth and I have spent on this adoption (and all well, well worth it). Every time one of us goes to the computer, Noah says, "Brudder?" He must think we are just ordering him a brother from the internet--bless his heart! It is adorable. He likes to sit at the computer, pretend to type, and then tell us that he is looking for his brudder. Each night as we pray for him at bedtime he persistently says, "brudder, brudder" until we say, "And Lord, bless Noah's brother..." A couple of nights ago Noah told us that he wanted "two brudders." Then he held up his fingers and counted to two, "See. One. Two. Two brudders." I still want to know who put him up to that one...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grant and Loan Applications

We were able to send off four grant and loan applications today! Please be in prayer that those looking over our grant applications would bless us financially and award us some grant money for the remaining steps in the adoption. We have also applied for some no-interest loans so that we can go ahead with the adoption process even if we do not get any grant money, or we get very little money. It will cost $9,000 to accept a referral for a specific child, and an additional $5,000 to accept a referral for a second child (if God leads us in that direction). We are praying that grant money will come in and enable us to accept a referral immediately. This is something that only God can do. If we can accept a referral immediately, we will have our child home sooner. We ask that you join us in prayer to that end. I want to see God do something big through this adoption!

The home study has been completed but we are still waiting on an important document from the placing agency in Florida. This document must go in our dossier. We cannot finish and authenticate the dossier without this document. Please be in prayer that this document will come to us shortly.

We are so thankful for those who are joining us on this adoption journey. We have been so blessed by your encouragement and support. You truly have been the church to us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Homestudy Completed

Praise the Lord! Not only did our social worker complete our home study on Saturday, but we received my birth certificate in the mail the same day! Today our social worker sent me the rough draft of the home study for my review. Hopefully it will be ready to go in the next day or two. This is perfect timing because we have a grant application that is due December 15. It looks like we will get to apply right in time. God is good!

Now that the home study completed, we are just waiting on a couple documents from the adoption agency to finish our dossier! Our social worker told us that it would be really good if we could get the dossier finished by Christmas. We are praying that we will get the documents soon so that we can start authenticating our dossier.

Here are the steps to authenticate the dossier. Each piece of paperwork that goes into the dossier must be notarized. We then must go to the courthouse of the county of the notary. We will go to Fayette County court house and they will have to look through the dossier and then give us a sheet of paper saying that our notary is truly a notary in their county. We must also do the same for our Power of Attorney. After Fayette Co court house says that the notray is truly a notary in Fayette Co, we must then go to the state capitol in Frankfort so that they can then authenticate that Fayette Co is an actual county in Kentucky. After that, we are ready to send off our dossier to DC.

At the moment we are also waiting to get an appointment from the FBI so that we can get fingerprinted. We will get a time where we have to go to Louisville to get fingerprinted at the FBI offices. This is so that US customs and immigration can make sure that we are not crazy criminals, or something.

We are also in the process of filling out and notarizing the agreement between our family and Celebrate Children International (our placing agency). We hope to have that ready to send off by tomorrow.

Thanks for continuing to pray for our family through this adoption process!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Completed Home Study

A huge thank you to all who have been praying for us. We did the second and final part of our home study yesterday afternoon. It went so well. We were able to go to our social worker's home to meet her twin girls that she just adopted from Ethiopia. They were so precious, and it made Kenneth and I want to bring home our son NOW.

Thankfully, our social worker is a believer, so the process was very smooth and she was able to understand where we are coming from and what motivates us. Kenneth and I were interviewed separately; one of us was asked questions while the other got to keep three little children (Noah included) playing nicely together. We were asked simple questions about the ages of our parents and siblings, what it was like growing up in our family, what interests we have, the kind of students we were, etc. We were also asked what attracts us to one another, how we handle conflict, how we parent, etc.

Our social worker told us that she hopes to complete the report by Saturday, so we should have all the paper work we need to apply for loans and grants next week! What a praise! We will also be able to start the authentication process of our dossier as soon as we get my birth certificate from Florida.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Kenneth and I have been up to our ears in paper work for the adoption. We knew there would be a stack of paper work throughout the process, but it can be quite overwhelming at times. Hours can fly by and I feel like there is still a long list of things to do. We take joy in knowing that all the mounds of paper work are worth getting to bring our child home from Ethiopia. The focus is on the child, not on the work!

Right now we are in the process of applying for serveral grants and no-interest loans. Most of these applications cannot be sent in until we have our home study completed. Hopefully all the paper work for our home study can be completed in the next couple of weeks so that we can get these grant applications in the mail. Our home study will be finished after our meeting on Thursday, and then it will be up to our social worker to complete the paper work. Please pray that our home study will go well on Thursday afternoon, and that our social worker will be able to get the paper work completed in a timely manner.

In addition to all the paper work for the grants and loans, we are still working on putting our dossier together. We have most of the documents needed, but we are still waiting on a certified copy of our marriage certificate and my birth certificate, as well as the completed home study.
Once we get our dossier together and sent off to Washington, we will just wait to be matched with a specific child in Ethiopia. Our case worker at Celebrate Children International told us that we probably will not wait long, if at all, to be matched with a child because no one is waiting for a baby boy right now. Although it is sad to think that no one is waiting to bring a baby boy home from Ethiopia right now, it is good news that we will probably not have to wait! Sometimes couples wait several months, if not close to a year before being matched with a specific child.

We look forward to updating you after our home study on Thursday!

Please Pray:
  • For our home study on Thursday afternoon. That God would give us the words to speak, and that He would guide the conversation.
  • For our social worker. That she would be able to complete the home study paper work in a timely manner so that we can get our grant and loan applications in time.
  • For the remaining documents to come in so that we can begin the final phases of putting our dossier together.
  • That God would continue to provide for us-physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
  • For our baby. That God would protect him and comfort him. If he is still in the womb, that his birth mother would care for him and for herself. If he is not, that those caring for him would be given the patience, grace and strength needed.

Once again, we thank you for partnering with us in this process to bring home an ex-orphan. Your encouragement and prayers are so much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our First Home Study

Thank you for your prayers! We had the first part of our home study yesterday afternoon, and it went even better than expected. Our caseworker just recently adopted two girls from Ethiopia, so she was extremely knowledgeable about the process. She was able to tell us exactly what we should expect, from paperwork down to the transition home that our son will probably be in before we bring him home.

We already have the second part of our home study set up for next Thursday, December 3 at 3 pm. For this part of the study we will actually go to her house and we will get to meet her girls. We are expecting this visit to be more intense than the last, as she will be asking us several questions and interviewing us individually. Please be in prayer that God would guide us, even down to the words to say.

As we prepare to do the final part of our home study, we are also in the process of putting our dossier together. The dossier is a set of documents that will be sent to the US government, and it will basically grant us the privilege to adopt and to bring an orphan to the United States. Those documents will also go to Ethiopia with us when we go to pick up our son. The dossier is a lot of work to put together. Right now we have almost all the paperwork we need, but we are waiting on certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate. Once we finish the dossier, we will then begin to proceed with finding a specific child to adopt. Please pray that these documents will arrive soon, so that we can get the dossier sent!

We really covet your prayers. We have clearly seen God's hand through this process and we pray that He will continue to guide us, provide for us and make things clear to us. We are also praying that God would protect and care for our son while he is in Ethiopia. I am so thankful for those who are loving him and caring for him while we cannot be there.

Friday, November 20, 2009

News from the Bruce Family

After much prayer and clear direction from God, we have begun the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia! We are very excited, and joyful in obeying the Lord’s leading.

Even before God gave us Noah, we talked about adopting an orphan someday. We feel like saving a child from an orphanage and providing that child with a family is such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Christ saved us from our sins and brought us into his family. Galatians 4:4-6 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Although we thought adoption was still some time off, God has made it abundantly clear that His timing is now. We are so thankful for such clear direction and knowledge of His will in this situation. Through prayer and investigation we have found absolute confidence and peace with the opportunity of bringing an ex-orphan home.

In the past two weeks we have started the long process of paper work and background checks. The first big step is the “home study.” We already have our home study set up for Monday (11/23) afternoon. This is just the beginning of a long process of paperwork and waiting. We have been told that this process can take anywhere from 6-8 months and the cost will be upwards of $22,000. Both of us feel confident that the Lord will provide both patience and funding because He has made it so clear that we are to do this.

We would like to ask for your prayers over the next several months as we go through this process. Please be in prayer that God will continue to open doors for us to bring this child home. We covet your prayers for God’s provision as well. As this will also be a big change for Noah, we ask that you pray for him in the transition. Last night when we told him that we were going to get him a brother, he was so excited. He then began to cry for his brother, because he wanted him now. We pray that this little boy will be a constant reminder of the Gospel, the love of God, and the family of God. We pray that he will be an amazing witness for the glory of Christ.