Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall Update

Well, summer was a mad rush of paperwork hunting and waiting for government forms and apostilles. We finished up our dossier and sent the majority of it to the agency in mid-July. Then, all we had to do was wait for our USCIS approval. As soon as that came in the beginning of August we shipped that off to Tallahassee and awaited for the golden apostille to return so that we could call our dossier done.

As far as I know, our entire dossier is complete and waiting in country to be submitted. I really thought we would be submitted this week, but we were not. As soon as we get submitted the real waiting begins. Once we are submitted, the government will review our documents and issue us a travel date. I am guessing travel will take place in late October or Early November. This will be the first trip. During this trip, Brian will go to B and meet Laird-Michael. He will accept the referral formally and get to spend time with our little man. This trip lasts about 2 weeks. The hardest part of the trip will be leaving our boy there until it is time for the pick-up trip.

Unfortunately, there is not much to share. Hague adoptions are a long and slow process. As soon as we are submitted we will let you know! So exciting to be getting so close.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A BIG Update!

Wow it has been busy around here!

Brian, Sterling, and I are all winding down the school year. We made it through our state testing weeks and things are starting to wrap up and wind down. We have 11 days of school remaining and they are BUSY!
On top of that, Sterling and Brian were both sick with sinus infections and between all of that and Mother's Day - I am just getting around to updating the blog. Hopefully, I will have a lot more time to update over the summer.

We have BIG NEWS! We have a name picked out. Our newest little man's name will be Laird-Michael. We have had a lot of inquiries about the name choice. First, we both love the name Laird. We had a short list with 4 names on it: Anson, Archer, Laird, and Lincoln. Brian and I both crossed one off the list. Brian nixed Lincoln. I removed Archer. That left us Anson and Laird. In the end, we went with Laird. Our original intention was to use Michael as a middle name. However, Laird felt too short when coupled with Sterling so we decided to go for the hyphenated first name. Thus, Laird-Michael was the final decision. Michael has been a long standing middle name and was supposed to be Sterling's middle name before we changed it to Patrick. Michael comes from a long list of Michaels that are very special to us. Mike Shewchuck, Mike Hill, Mike Wiles, and Saint Michael. We are still working on a middle name - although we have it narrowed down - we are not ready to share it just yet.

We have MORE BIG NEWS! We were officially matched with our littlest man through the EE government through which we are adopting. This means that he is officially on hold for us and no one else can adopt him. It also means we have a mere 6 months to get our act together and get our dossier overseas. This should be no problem. We have nearly EVERY piece of our dossier except the BIG 3. The homestudy is NEARLY finished, I think our SW is just putting the finishing touches on it and then she should be mailing us our copies. Once we have that we can apply for our i800A from USCIS (I'd REALLY like to get that in the mail ASAP.) And I still need to send off our fingerprints to the FBI Channeling service so we can get those back too. Our HOPE and PRAYER is that our dossier is COMPLETE and ready to be shipped to EE by August. IF this happens, Brian should be able to make first trip Oct/Nov and then pick up trip would be Feb/March.
We are REALLY hoping to get this ball rolling. There is nothing (besides FBI stuff) that is left in our court. Everything else is waiting on the homestudy to get into our hands. So please pray she gets that done THIS WEEK!

As soon as we know more - or make some progress - I will update! Thank you for your continued love and support!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Paperwork Pregnancy

I forgot, when we started this adoption, the torture that is known as "the paperwork pregnancy." You see, birth mothers have the 9 month pregnancy and labor. Adoptive parents have "the paperwork pregnancy." I cannot compare the two - I've never been pregnant. But, I can tell you that the PWP is so draining.

We have been in an all out effort to complete our dossier paperwork. We have faithfully scheduled every appointment we can, planned for every item to be done for both the homestudy update and the dossier checklist, and also managed to fit in family time. But things don't always go as planned.

I went for my PPD test last Wednesday. It was read on Friday after school. It was negative - yay - I don't have TB! On Thursday after school, I went for my Field Print fingerprinting. This will clear us through FDLE and the FBI.

Saturday and yesterday, we focused on Easter. Saturday morning we went for our adoption bloodwork (HIV testing and CBC.) Then we spent 2 hours at church with Sterling as he participated in the youth ministry's Shine Kids Easter Party. We are so grateful to be in a church that welcomes our son openly. About two weeks ago I got an email from our new children's minister telling me that they really wanted to have Sterling participate, but that we would need to stay to help (which we have no problem with.) Actually, we were thrilled they reached out to us to include him. We made some fun Easter crafts and read the Resurrection Story with Resurrection Eggs, had lunch, and then Sterling asked to leave. We all went home and napped; then, that evening, I went and packed food boxes as part of a ministry called Bread of Life that delivers food boxes to families in need on holidays. I worked from 5:15 pm-1:30 am. We managed to pack over 1000 boxes of food items and almost 600 boxes of breads, desserts, and paper products. When I came home - I was so wound, I couldn't sleep. I think I fell asleep around 3 am. We were up and at church by 9:15 the next morning and Easter day was a whirlwind of activity. I did get about 90 minutes of quality time with my little man while Brian went to pick his mom up.

Today, we were back into adoption mode. After school, Brian went to have his medical done and I went to have our background checks pulled. We are both still needing to have ink prints done on tens cards to send the FBI office in Washington, D.C. I will try to get my prints done tomorrow. Brian has his Field Print scans done on Wednesday and I have my medical on Thursday. Brian will attempt his ink prints some time this week.

Friday night will be a much needed date night! We are off to watch a few of Brian's students (and former students of mine) at the Night on Broadway event at his school. I cannot wait to see those kiddos! I haven't seen them since they were 8-9 years old. They are now 14-15!!! Friday night I will be volunteering at my school's Relay for Life team at the local Relay for Life walk-a-thon. I signed up for the midnight to two a.m. shift so I hope I am not dragging the next day.

In other BIG and EXCITING news, we hit our mini-goal of $2000 and I have released Jelly's picture! Here are some CRAZY-ADORABLE pictures of our newest little man.

Our next mini-goal is $3000. When we hit the $3000 mark we will share this Little Man's name. You can donate either to (which is tax deductible) or to (which is not tax deductible.)

We were so thrilled to hit that mini-goal and share this handsome little face with you! We are so over the moon smitten with him!

Thanks to everyone who has donated! Including complete strangers sent to us by a lovely friend Jessica R. who mentioned us on her angel doggy's FB page. I am also pleased to announce that Laura G. won our Animal Kingdom lodge stay! BIG THANKS to Nichole T. whom is working her own behind the scenes magic on fundraising for our adoption as well. Can't wait to see what she has planned! We are so grateful for all of the donations, kind words, prayers, and love we have received since announcing our newest addition. We hope you stick this out with us the whole way! 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Working hard!

Today I went for my PPD (TB) test. I will go back and have that read on Friday. It's so gross! Seriously with the little bubble under your skin. ACK!

Brian and I both made our fingerprint appointments for Field Print. This will run both FBI and FDLE background checks on us. Then, we will STILL need fingerprinting done locally through the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Weird. You'd think FBI and FDLE would encompass a local search - but no.

Other than that - not much going on with the adoption front today. Just working hard to get paperwork in. Pretty excited to move this adoption along as fast as we can. Can't wait to get that sweet little face home and the sooner the better.

Cannot wait to share his pictures with you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Almost Picture Time!!

Thank you to every person who has donated to our adoption fund either in person, online at GoFundMe, or through Reece's Rainbow. We sincerely appreciate every donation. We are closing in on our $2000 mini goal! We currently have a total of $1510.67 in donations. That is amazing! As promised, we have slowly been adding pieces of the picture as we receive more donations. Below, is our picture tonight. We are nearly to our mini-goal! When we get to the goal, we will post a few pictures of our new little man.

For now, though, let's talk about our Peanut Butter! Today, I received an email from Sterling's YAP coordinator about an upcoming Special Olympics Florida event. The SOFL group working the Leadership Reception at the Disney Golf Tournament asked for Sterling to come out and represent YAP at a SOFL Q&A! This is so exciting. So, our family will be heading out towards Disney to represent our SOFL YAP families at a guided Q&A session to discuss how the Young Athletes Program has made a difference in Sterling's life. Hooray! We love advocating for Special Olympics!

On the dossier front, we are chugging along. Both Brian and I have our blood work scheduled for Saturday morning. This is a requirement for adoption. We must both also go for a PPD/TB test. Then, on Monday, Brian will have his medical clearance appointment with his doctor and I will have mine on Thursday. This gives us medical clearance for adoption and states that we are both healthy enough to raise kids and have no terminal/chronic illness. Once we get our medical clearance, the only thing standing in our way from our completed home study is our finger prints and our DCF clearance. The DCF forms have been sent off and we just have to wait for that info to get back to our social worker. The fingerprints I am waiting to hear back from our social worker on what exactly we need. I think we have to have 3 different sets done at 3 different places - and I need to clarify before I start making appointments. Once the home study is complete, we just need our I800a - our permission to adopt and bring a child into the country - from the government. That is pricey. So we are holding off on that until the rest of our ducks are in a row. Once that comes in, we send our dossier to the state to be apostilled and then we can send it to Eastern Europe! We are working really hard to have this little guy home as soon as possible!

Hoping this blog update keeps you "in the loop!" Thanks again for all the donations, prayer, positive vibes, and kind words. They are all appreciated.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Today's Fundraising Picture and Dossier Information

Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to help us reach our mini goal of $2000.
Your reward - a picture of Jelly will be posted for everyone to see.

Yesterday was AMAZING! We had two individual contributors donating $250 each! Those people were Nichole T. and Jonathan A. WOW! Thank you! Other contributors yesterday were Mike and Connie S, Rachel G, Samantha F, Lisa B, Nancy S, and a yet unknown person whom donated to Reece's Rainbow. I will ask for the Reece's Rainbow contributors' names weekly. We had an amazing first day - raising $773.50! That is 39% of our mini-goal! Since we earned 39% of our mini-goal, I am posting 39% of Jelly's picture! You can see his adorable hair (which looks very blonde in this picture and clearly strawberry in others...) and about a quarter of his face. He's SO adorable. I cannot wait to share the whole thing with you!

As promised, I want to outline the process a little bit for you (as best I understand right now.) A dossier is a bundle of documents sent to the government that our Little Man is in right now. This dossier contains information about our finances, our family, our home, our jobs, our health, and it contains our home study. In order to submit your dossier, you must first collect all of the documents. Then you must have them notarized. After notarization takes place, you send your entire dossier to the state and they apostille it. An apostille is more or less like a notary for the notaries. They make sure that they notary publics who notarized our documents are indeed notaries, that they are in good standing, and that everything has been filled out correctly. Once the apostilling takes place, the state will mail the dossier back to us and we will send it off to Jelly's agency in Eastern Europe. There, it will be translated and turned over to the government who will review it and send us a "referral" to come meet Little Man Hinz. The date to travel is given to us by the government. Once we go over, we get to meet Jelly, do paperwork, and start the official adoption process in country. (Unlike, Ukraine, we will not be staying for an extended period of time. This country requires two 7-10 day trips.) Once we get the ball rolling, we come home and prepare for the arrival of Jelly. The pick-up trip is typically 2-4 months after the first trip. We are really hoping to have our dossier done by August 1st. This means we have a lot of money to make and raise before then! Almost $7000. This adoption is so different from Sterling's adoption - we are learning as we go!

There are 13 documents needs in our dossier and we currently have 6 of them complete. Once our home study gets completed (we had to update it and run new background checks, child abuse checks, and fingerprint checks) we will have 8. Our Social Worker thinks this should be done by May 1st.

I hope that helps you to better understand the timeline. Thanks for joining us!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Hello blog followers!!!

I am so excited you have made your way to the Peanut Butter and Jelly Adoption blog! I will be updating this page as often as is necessary to communicate important happenings in the world of our adoption. I will be sure to update where we are in the paperwork process and any important/fun/interesting information.

Today, I'd like to thank people who have made donations! Nichole T, Lisa B, Nancy S, Rachel G, Jonathan A, and Samantha F, thank you so much for your donations! At the end of each day I will be posting a portion of a picture of Jelly. Each day, this picture will grow in accordance with how close to our $2000 goal we are. Currently, we have raised $625. That's AWESOME! That is roughly %31 of our $2000 mini goal. So, I will post a partial pic tomorrow based on what %age we earn by the end of today. So exciting!

I will take time tomorrow to fill you in on the paperwork process and the timeline so that you know how the adoption works. We are excited to get this ball rolling. We have been told the average timeline for an adoption from this specific country is about 14 months - but we hope it won't take us that long. Our home study update should be done by May 1st; then it's paper chasing until we have all of the documents we need. Hopefully, our dossier will be complete and ready to be mailed to Eastern Europe by August 1st. If that holds true, we should have our first trip scheduled for November-ish and the pick up trip 2-3 months after that. We are really hoping that all the pieces fall together this way. 14 months is a long time!!!

Thanks for joining and for your support!