Friday, January 30, 2015

Anxiety Sets In

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Round one of paperwork came through my inbox earlier this week-the referral acceptance paperwork. This is usually comes later in the game, but because we already have a child identified we are getting this paperwork before we’ve even been officially accepted into the program. I began to feel a little anxious, mainly because I didn’t have a clear picture of how this was all supposed to go. I am a planner and need to know what to expect each step, preferably a nice little time line. I can do this… a little bit at a time…I thought. (Ha! In hindsight, “I” cannot do this, but I know God can!)

But then, yesterday our official “you’ve been accepted into the China program” paperwork came through and a few minutes later the “let’s begin your home study paperwork” came through. I printed 100 pages off easily. 100 pages! Seriously! I sorted through it all, making sure I had all the attachments that were listed in the email, and organized it into stacks. Then began to read through the material. One document gave us a nice little overview of the process, with a handy little flowchart, which made me happy. I love a visual! But as I looked at each phase (there are 5 main phases) and the hefty fees that are due at each phase, I realized that we have almost completed phase four (the referral phase) and have just started phase one (the “Begin the process” phase). And the fees, oh my, the fees! I started to panic a little, I could feel the anxiety swelling inside of me. How are we going to raise this money this quickly??

After talking on the phone to the social worker who will be completing our home study yesterday, I asked her “What’s the fastest we could possibly bring “The Mayor” home?” Her answer was, of course, a ballpark, but she said realistically, depending on how quickly we get the home study and dossier completed, it could be six months. Six months!?! That’s like in…well…six months! That’s not very long to raise the money. Thoughts started swirling in my mind…I need a timeline, I need an action plan, I need to figure out when and how we need to raise the money, I need deadlines! SLOW DOWN! We don’t HAVE to make it happen this quickly! This is really happening! This is REAL, y’all! I tried to slow my mind and give my worry and anxiety to God. I know that this anxiety and worry comes from Satan. He wants to derail us. He wants to make us quit. He doesn’t want us to complete God’s work and purpose. He wants to make us doubt God. But, we know this, so that’s not going to happen!

I slept restlessly last night, despite me telling myself this. I had the first stress dream of I’m sure many to come. I woke up with anxiety in my heart! Then I checked my email this morning…my daily devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries (If you don’t subscribe to this, I highly recommend it), entitled “How do I Stop Worrying”. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord speaks to us and the avenues he uses to make that happen? The key verse was Philippians 4: 6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” How I needed to hear that this morning. I closed my eyes and prayed “Thank you, Lord, for the gifts you’ve given us, for the miracles you’ve already made happen along this journey, and for the people in our lives and the support and prayers that we have already experienced. I pray that you show us the plans we need to make for fundraising and direct our steps every second of the way. I know that this is your calling and your will and I know that you’ve got this! I know that you will make miracles happen and we will raise the money needed and complete the paperwork all in your perfect timing. Amen.” And then…peace.

So here we are. We are in the works completing phase one and four, simultaneously. We are going to compete the agreement paperwork for AWAA (Which, by the way, I don’t think I mentioned before, but the agency we are using is America World Adoption Agency, aka AWAA, AW, or America World) and get that returned early next week. And we have our first home study interview scheduled for February 9th, so we will begin working on that paperwork soon. And we will take it one step at a time. Prayers, at this point, are much needed, for us to focus and trust and rely on God and his perfect timing, for miracles in fundraising so that we have the needed fees for the next phase. Thanks for your prayers and thanks for your support!

For those of you who are curious…here are the phases:

1.) Begin the process- complete agreement paperwork and begin the home study. Once the home study is finalized we apply with USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) and wait for their approval, which can take 6-8 weeks.

2.) Dossier building- Ideally we work on this while waiting for approval from the USCIS and submit the Dossier to China as soon as that comes through. And some of this is duplicate information from the home study. The dossier is a compilation of paperwork that represents our family to the CCCWA (Chinese Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption), who will review the documents and approve us (or not) for the adoption. It typically takes 4-8 months from application to Dossier submission. Once China receives our paperwork, we then have a “Log in Date” (LID), which is what you would need to review children who are not on the “Waiting Child” list.

3.) Waiting- which is the phase you enter when waiting for a referral, which could take anywhere from months to years. We will skip this phase, since we already have identified our child.

4.) Referral phase- This is the phase we’ve almost completed. This is where you get child’s file to review, take to a medical professional for review and consult and then complete the “acceptance paperwork” to send in for “Electronic Acceptance” (EA), then all documents have to be submitted, I believe, again by in hard copies (?) for the official “RA” (referral acceptance). Not exactly clear on this phase, just working on the EA paperwork at the moment, which can’t be officially sent in until we have a completed and approved home study. Once this paperwork is submitted and we have our EA, we have 6 months to submit our dossier or we lose our referral, our “Mayor.”

5.) Travel phase- complete travel preparation and spend approximately two weeks in China completing paperwork for the adoption finalization.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Psalm 119:45 “And I will walk at liberty and ease, for I have sought and inquired for Your precepts.”

1 comment:

  1. Tara it seems overwhelming especially the first time. If it would help, I can show you a copy of our completed dossier. By the time we did Li'l Bit's dossier, I was doing with one eye closed! :) The first time I was feeling exactly like you are. As for the RA (Referral Acceptance; AKA LOA), yes, you can't get that until your dossier has been approved. However, you will send in your LOI (aka EA) soon and then you will get a pre-approval (PA) which your coordinator at AW will email you. It will be exciting b/c it will be the first official paperwork from China and it will have Chinese characters on it and your name as well as his. Of course you will save it and save an extra copy as its so special! ;) I can show you all of these too. I will bring one of our files to show you next Thursday if you want. I'm fine too if you take a few minutes of J's speech time to just put your hands on the papers to see what is ahead. I'm so excited for you!!!