Monday, August 16, 2010

Somebody... Somewhere... Did something very nice!

They nominated our family for Angels in Adoption and our local congressman chose our family! We had no idea this was happening, in fact we were in China getting Emma and Ellie at the time!

We arrived home on Saturday, July 18th and we got a phone call on Monday, July 20th and Tuesday, July 21st and Wednesday July 22nd and Thursday, July 23rd. In case you didn't notice I did not answer the phone the first 3 days, we were so jet lagged and all of us were adjusting to... well, everything! At that point I just didn't have the energy to do a congressional survey or to donate- maybe at later date but not on those days!

Hubby happened to be home on Thursday during the call... The first thing out of his mouth was "I'm sorry, we just aren't interested", the person immediately said "No, no it's not one of those calls!" and they proceeded to tell him about the nomination and being chosen! It was quite funny and humbling!

He then said "I think I should give my wife the phone!"

I was so surprised, on top of being jet lagged it didn't seem real and didn't quite register!

After a month of being home we now can look back and feel so excited and grateful for this award and for the opportunity to share with others our passion for adoption.

We are still figuring everything out but it looks like hubby and I will spend an evening or two in Washington DC! It is actually a 4 day, 4 night event but with new children at home we cannot go for that long. We are trying to prioritize now and decide what to do!

We will have an opportunity to talk to our congressman about adoption- international and domestic. I am a simple person and for us it is such a faith journey. Please dear friends if you have any ideas on what I can share with our congressman PLEASE tell me!!

Seriously- let's brainstorm!! There is so much wisdom, passion, intellect and faith in this group! Please go for it!!

1. What can I say regarding the process for special needs adoption?
2. How can we shorten it up?
3. Don't we often have to redo, then redo , then redo things and pay for them multiple times when we adopt and their hasn't been any changes but we still have to redo! (local clearance/state clearance/Ad*m Walsh)
4. Shouldn't we be able to contact and discuss our case with USCIS- check on it, see where it is in the process? Why does it take so long?
5. We cannot change what happens in other countries BUT we can condense/ simplify / improve what happens here in the US.
6. Shouldn't there be a larger tax break for families that adopt.
7. Many families have used a second mortgage to pay for their adoption now we can't get second mortgages- should their be a type of low interest government loan for families that want to adopt.

Hubby and I are very grateful to receive this award. We feel like it is God asking us when your children are all home what are you going to do next? It is a nudge for us to do more... for the orphans.

We have had a dream that we have sat on for a while- it is not time to share yet but we are hoping within a few years for our dream to become a reality. That is another post!

So thank you someone, somewhere, where ever you are, for your kindness.


Difference2This1 said...

What a wonderful surprise and blessing!!! You have such a commitment to making a difference to children and this honor is so well deserved! I know you will be do a great job in representing the adoption community because He will be standing right with you, guiding your every word!! It will be so exciting to read all about it!! Blessings, Jennifer

Lisa said...

Congratulations Jean and family! What an amazing story!

If I can add to your brainstorm... There's got to be a better way of processing our kids when we land back on U.S. soil. We've adopted twice, and both times my family were LITERALLY the last people through customs at the airport. Both times we were shuffled from one line to the next because one person needed this or that form, then another person needed this or that form, blah blah blah. When we returned home in June from our recent adoption, by the time we were done with the processing our luggage had been removed from the carousel and was sitting on the floor all alone, in the way. (I guess I'm lucky we had our luggage at all!)

I certainly don't expect a party, but you'd think they'd treat the brand-new families with a bit more respect!

Thanks, and congrats again!

Serving the King said...

Jean that is awesome!!!! Congratulations! One idea is the whole immunization debacle maybe? I know there has been pending legislation for awhile maybe he could push it through?

Pam said...

Congratulations! What an honor!

I 2nd talking about the immmunization situation. That has got to be changed.

kippi said...

Congratulations! What an honor and your guys sure do deserve it!

I would ditto the whole immunization thing - our son had 7 shots at one time!

Also, the finger printing - come on - if a persons finger prints never change why does it have to be done over and over. The feds should have the records and just run them through to see if there is any offense. It is crazy!

Again, congrats - you are doing a great job and thanks for sharing the journey with us.

Lori said...

Wow, that is so great, Jean!!

My complaints would be:

*Why does it have to take so stinkin' long between LOA and TA w/ Hague?? It used to take less than a week to get it's up to THREE MONTHS! That process NEEDS to be streamlined.

*And the immunizations thing is ridiculous. Let families get their new children their shots HERE not 5,6...7 shots in China. They are under so much stress that they probably don't get a good immunity anyway.

That's all I can think of right now.

You go, girl!! I'm proud of you!!

Holly said...

amazing and praise God!!
The biggest thing on my mind outside of the huge costs is that immunization requirement. I HATE that the US now requires all Hague participating countries to immunize the child FULLY before they can enter the US. It is ridiculous. Some children are receiving up to NINE immunizations in a, well, let's just say less than sterile environment. Whether you believe in the connection between immunizations and autism or not, it is NOT safe to have so many immunizations given at one time. After ALL we go through to be proven worthy to adopt, we should have the priviledge to immunize our child at HOME with our OWN pediatrician and on our OWN time table!!
If only ONE person higher up in govt. adopted I think this might change quickly!!
Also, I think that ALL children should be tested for TB PRIOR to parent's traveling. I have heard they still do the TB test in GZ and parents are still praying that their child doesn't test positive. This is ridiculous! If you or I go out of country and contract TB, we can still come back, but if our little ones had it months ago, they still have to go through rounds of treatment IN country before they can enter?
Okay, I'm off to a class about keeping homeschool transcripts for highschool.
Congrats friend :)
May the Lord continue to bless you.

The Heald Family said...

You deserve it and I am excited to see what the Lord will do through y'all!

Sophie said...

Congratulations, what an honor and a great opportunity to be the voice for the orphan and for countless others that have to struggle emotionally, financially and sift through mounds of paperwork to bring home a child.
I mean seriously, there's less paperwork involved in purchasing a gun.

While I'm not sure how the immunization process works now, it frightens me to think of a child having so many shots at one time, it's all about convenience it seems. Our daughter had her's done at home.

One frustrating thing for us is how ridiculously expensive it is to adopt, it seems criminal that it's so much money. Our government should be more supportive of adoptive families and like you said, while we can't change the process in other countries we can make change in ours.

Thank God someone in Washington has enough concern to listen.
Praying for you and can't wait to see what happens.


Sophie said...

I wanted to congratulate you on the girls baptism, may they be lead by the Holy Spirit in all they do.

Mandi said...

What a wonderful surprise! How exciting and honored you must feel. Adoption is something that is so close to so many and you are going to have a chance to share your experiences as well as others. You are going to be the voice for alot of people. If anyone can do it, I know you can and will be great.

Keep us posted.


Chad and Kristy said...

That is awesome! I think the most important thing to get across to our leaders is that changes need to be made. The price of adoption could be cut drasticly if we were not made to redo constantly. I understand the importance of making sure that these children get into the hands of good people but a lot of the paperwork is uncalled for. It has been awhile but I would sit down and look back at the process and see what should be cut out. I would write it up and put it in their hands just to make sure they have the info to look back on. My two cents:) So proud of you and what you do for these kids!

Kathy said...

What an awesome surprise!

I agree with doing something about
the immunizations! Our daughter received 7 shots.
Which made her very sick for a couple of days. Not to mention adding to the stress these children are already going threw at the time.
Also only to come home and have to get some of the same shots over again. You can't get the series shots such as hep. B all in one day!

Definitely need to do something to improve the process on this end.

Praying for you and the hearts of the ones hearing what you share.

Janet and Kevin said...

Oh that's wonderful news! Congratulations to you and your family. You will be an inspiration to others when you go to Washington - you already are an inspiration to us!

I agree with all of the suggestions - I have friends going through the process now, and our government has made SO MANY new requirements. they are quite frustrated!! Also, getting ALL OF THOSE shots in Guangzhou is just plain torture when we are already required to follow through on shots once home. Why, why, why do we have to hurt our newly bonding children in Gunagzhou when we could just be required to go within the first few weeks once home to begin those immunizations??

I know you will represent adoptive families well! Will be praying for you and your hubby to have a wonderful and meaningful time!

Janet and gang

Mama Fish said...

Jean-I will second the fingerprint thing. I am dealing with it now. I was printed in 2008 for the FBI clearance. Cleared everything. I've had two fingerprint forms rejected in the last 3 months because of illegible prints. Come on! They should have my old prints on file. Or why doesn't USCIS share information with the FBI? I was electronically printed and cleared with USCIS and now I have to wait 12 more weeks for FBI clearance after waiting 3 months on illegible prints??? Those feds need to talk to each other.

elizabeth said...

Congratulations on your award- how exciting!

The list is excellent and as a fellow Minnesotan and future adoptive parent I appreciate any info and suggestions you can give to our state and national governments. I thought of a few things to possibly add-

1) This is probably more of an issue with China than with the U.S. but allowing single parent adoption. I believe that a 2 parent household is preferable, but I also know a small group of single adoptive moms in the MSP area who are doing an amazing job raising kids on their own and are providing a family to children who otherwise may not have one.
2) I'm not sure of the status of this, but you probably remember the recent case where the U.S. wasn't letting children into the country based on a positive TB test or other medical issues. I think it would be good to lessen these restrictions as having to stay in China waiting for approval to travel home is beyond what many families can afford and having one or both parents go back to the U.S. without the child and them come back is terrible for attachment.
3) Again, I'm not sure what happened with this case, but there was a woman whose adoption was delayed after her husband passed away, making it a single parent adoption. This is also probably an issue with China, but maybe the U.S. could help facilitate.

Thanks again for representing MN adoptive families and take care =)


julie said...

Congratulations, I am so happy for you...and I can't think of a more deserving family!

Mary Kate said...

Congrats Jean...I am not surprised, You really deserve this honor!!!! I agree with whoever commented about the wait between LOA and TA...CRAZY!!!! I think all your Topics are great...I personally would LOVE a way for their to be more grants/ loans tax breaks for adoptive parents!!!!!

Dawn - "Are These Kids All Yours?" said...


I would say - definitely knowing what is going on with uscis...there are many other gov. forms that you can track, but not adoption.

As our family as had to battle the income issues with them and sent in more info....and were supposed to hear back within 6 months....yeah that was long gone.

Sally-Girl! said...

You certainly deserve this and what a nudge from our Father letting you know what is next after adopting a few more babes!!!

I am in agreement with Lori all the way! Hague is great but honestly does it need to take so darn long and the shots are stinking ridiculous.

Karen said...


I agree with the immunization issue. I am getting ready to travel and dread have my son get multiple immunizations in one day. Anther thought is that the USCIS and NVC should be able to email pdf copies of our approvals instead of waiting for a week for them to arrive in the mail. They have them on the computer anyway. If they're worried about people messing with them they could put a bar code thing on it like they do with e-tickets. Just a thought.

David and Sarah said...

How wonderful, Jean!!