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Archive for September, 2010


Mmmmmmm....

We have set up a store with Just Love Coffee.  When you visit our store and buy coffee, we receive a portion of the funds for our adoption.  I don’t drink coffee, but I know many of you are so inclined or addicted, so have at it.  This is one way in which people can help us financially, and get something in return.

All the coffees are free trade coffees, and some are organic.  Feel good about that!  They also sell some other items, like that travel mug to the left and t-shirts.  These are not to be confused with the shirts we’ll be producing and selling (how did this turn into a cottage industry).

So, order yourself some coffee (perhaps African) and enjoy it with a great book (perhaps one on adoption).

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The Great Adventure Conference has come and gone.  At one point one of the guys in my seminar asked, “Has the church really dropped the ball on this adoption issue?”.  Judging by the rather meager attendance for the seminar, I’d say “yes.”  It was discouraging for me to see only 3 guys in there, but all 3 we in the process of fostering to adopt.  So that was great.

On the flip side, over 800 people have registered for the Together for Adoption 2010 Conference in Austin, TX.  So, I see positive signs that the church is beginning to get a burden for orphan care, and seeing adoption as a picture of the gospel.

Amie has downloaded the I-600 form to begin the process with DHS.  So, we are now in the process of making our intentions known to the US government and need their permission.  So, that is a prayer request.

Today I (Steve) have my individual interview for the homestudy.  It will end up being a busy day.  So that’s all, folks.

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One of the differences in our adoption processes has to do with fingerprints.  When we adopted Eli, we only needed fingerprints for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  That was pretty much a horror show at times.

I sometimes have nightmares over my experience with one fingerprinter.  They had the digital system in Tampa, and this person acted like I knew what I was supposed to do (sorry, had never been arrested and never had finger prints taken).  I was unwittingly “resisting” her.  With all the security there, I was surprised they didn’t place the cuffs on me.

Just before Amie traveled to China to finalize the adoption, our fingerprints “ran out”.  We had to be re-fingerprinted.  I figured they would just have to run them through the system to make sure we didn’t suddenly become criminals.  No, we had to go back to Tampa and be fingerprinted again.  My experience was better as the grump was dealing with some other poor, unsuspecting soul.

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Here are a few links to some sermons on adoption:

Together for Adoption 2009 Conference featuring Scotty Smith, Ed Stetzer, Scott Roley, Russell Moore and more

John Piper  Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel

John Piper Predestined for Adoption to the Praise of His Glory

John Piper What Does it Mean to Live by Faith in the Service of the Fatherless?

C.J. Mahaney  The Doctrine of Adoption (Galatians 4:1-7)

David Fairchild  Kaleo Church in San Diego  Predestined for Adoption

Steve Cavallaro (yes, me) Adoption- The Height of the Gospel (and another version)

Mark Renfern  Heritage Baptist Church From Adopted to Adopting (I haven’t heard this, but like the title)

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When we adopted Elijah, the agency we used had an office about an hour away from us.  So, the agency did our home study.  There was no confusion about what was needed.

Steve Taylor sang Svengali and adopted a child

In fact, the social worker they used lived in our city.    She had adopted a boy from Viet Nam, and was very helpful for us in understanding international adoption.  One tip she gave us was that the transition will take about as long as the child was in an orphanage.  One man I knew from Presbytery who had previously adopted from China told me, “I wish someone told us that.”

By the way, Florida Presbytery of the ARP (Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for those who don’t know) was filled with pastors who adopted.  5 other guys came immediately to mind (it is not a huge Presbytery).  Some were domestic adoptions, and some were international adoptions.  The basic consensus was “we didn’t know how we’d afford it, but God provided.”  More on that later.

Another things this social worker tipped us on was acupuncture.  After traveling to Viet Nam, and being very careful all the time, her husband was sick.  For over a year he was lethargic and not himself.  No western doctors knew what was wrong.  Desperate they went to the local acupuncturist they used (whom we then used and found quite helpful).  A specialist happened to be in town.  While in Viet Nam they had been so careful.  But they spent a night in Tokyo.  While in the pool, he picked up a parasite.  Soon he was back to normal.

This time around, the we are using a different agency.  We enjoyed working with the first one, but they didn’t have a program in our country of choice.  The new agency doesn’t have an office way out here.  But the local adoption agency (Christian Family Care Agency) we considered while briefly considering domestic adoption was able to do the home study.  We had met the lady once before, and she was very nice.

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I suppose we’ll continually be comparing our current process with our previous process.  The latest thing we did to work on the dossier was obtaining the legal documents necessary- birth certificates.

China required Secretary of State certified documents.  So we had relatives pick up copies, mail them to us and then sent them to the proper states to be certified.  It had quite a few steps, but everything seemed to get done in a timely fashion with few problems along the way.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo requires Certified copies, with seals.  We don’t have to send them back for the Sec of State to certify.  Easier, right?

Not so fast.  Thankfully my parents went and picked up copies of mine (always get a few back up copies, just in case!  The cost per additional copy is not much and you save time should one get lost.).  Apparently they had a difficult time getting to and from Dorchester, MA.

Keep reading, it will make sense

Since Amie’s parents are in NY now, we decided to use the only company (whose name shall not be uttered) that handles these things.  Yes, they have a monopoly and monopolies are often inefficient.  Having no competition, they can be as inept as they want and you still have to deal with them.

We previously had Amie’s sister pick up copies.  It is more difficult since she too has been married and has to bring documentation to prove she’s eligible to receive them (identity theft is a big problem).  We decided to spare her the pain.  It was multiplied for us.

I would suggest traveling back to the state of your birth rather than dealing with them who shall not be named.  It was THAT painful.  You might even save time flying home.  You’ll get fewer gray hairs.

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Meet the new dog

Our dog, Huck, passed away in June of 2009.  We were in an extended time of transition, so didn’t get a new dog despite our daughter’s express desire for a new one.  I shared her desire, but reason ruled passion.

Since our move here to Tucson, Amie and I have been discussing dogs and at one point talked about waiting until after we returned from vacation.

With our vacation done, and us feeling good enough to begin the process for adopting internationally, I signed EOC 1070 stating that now was the time.  I cruised the web sites of the local Humane Society and Animal Control.  I picked a few that might work for us.

Our preferences:

  • Previously in a home (and house broken)
  • History of being good with kids.
  • Medium (40-50 pounds)
  • Little to no shedding.
  • Light on the barking/whining

We showed up at the Humane Society.  It was a little like how friends described a Russian orphanage.  I was utterly over-whelmed (and this is part of why we didn’t do Russia, we could not imagine having to pick a child from a roomful of children).  This was not The Cider House Rules, with the kids all on their best behavior hoping to be adopted.  This was a room full of barking, and growling, dogs not happy about the strangers in the room (or the new dog that just came in, like Shawshank Redemption).  It was loud, ugly and smelly.

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