Sunday, December 11, 2005

Off to the Big Apple

We got great news on Friday. Our dossier is translated and should arrive at the Kazakhstan Consulate in New York on Monday. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly translation went. Now we're looking at about 6 weeks (plus a week for the holidays probably) in New York and off to Kazakhstan.

Monday, November 28, 2005


We spent the weekend of Thanksgiving with Michelle's family consuming turkey, football and all the fixins. On Friday we went to Babies R Us to buy Baby Schlafer's crib, but it was not in stock or even in the warehouse. So, being the patient people we are, we went to Cincinnati on Sunday to buy it. After 8 hours of driving, PF Chang's, and shopping we returned to set it up. Suprisingly enough, it was very simple and the room is really looking like a nursery. We also got a car seat and high chair from some friends. This house is changing to fit a family of three and we can hardly wait.

Friday, November 18, 2005

One GIANT step down, lots to go.

Good news...we sent our dossier off to Texas for translation today. The past two weeks have been filled with changes, signatures, notaries, certifications and finally apostilles. Then off to the bank and at about 8:00 tonight, the packet we have been bonding with for 3 months was in FedEx's hands. What a weight off of our shoulders. We put poor Andrea (thank God for Andrea) through the ringer today with call after call about details, and she of course calmed us down and got us ready to go. The poor woman is probably dreading the week before we leave!!! We will probably not post for a while, as there won't be any new info until translation is complete (unless; of course, any of our dossier documents need to be corrected). We are both learning to "go with the flow" so to speak. Thanks for keeping up with our journey. We are thankful for all of you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Since our last post, we dealt with more changes. We found out the medical form changed once again and we had to get a psychiatric evaluation and letter written saying we are fit to be parents. Michelle had hers done last week (yes, she passed)and Jason is getting his done next week. Then the letter will be written. We are still waiting for the FBI prints, but they should be coming any day. Now for the good news...
This is very exciting. At first we weren't expecting this until the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We called Andrea right away and she said this sets us up to be right on track. Once we get our letter and FBI prints back, we send everything off to translation. She said it should be done with translation just about when the New York Consulate opens back up again (they were closed for a little bit for training due to the new Kazakh requirements).
We are now off to celebrate with a little sweet from Starbucks! Yippee!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Roll With The Punches

We have had an event filled week or so. It began with the Kazakh government changing the required paperwork for fingerprints and medical information. Not really a huge deal, just something else to do...just when we were patting ourselves on the back for getting done so quickly. We immediatly got our fingerprints done and headed off to the doctors. This also meant that we needed our homestudy updated. Thankfully, Julie is absolutely wonderful and had it done in less than a day. We are now waiting on the FBI fingerprints to return so we can get everything certified and apostilled. Then we are REALLY finished (until we get our I 71H back). Louisville is working on I 600A forms turned in in late August...we turned ours in early Sept. We're getting close!
We met with Andrea last weekend. We were in Chicago to visit Pam and Scoop (aunt and uncle) as well as Jami (Jason' s sister) and thought it would be a great opportunity to meet Andrea if she was willing to meet us for lunch. She agreed and she brought her husband and daughter (beatiful girl...3 years old this week...adopted from KZ) as well. We had a great time - a 2 hour lunch! We are so appreciative for her taking time out of her Sunday afternoon to meet with us. That just makes us even happier with our decision to use Little Miracles to pave the way for us to unite with our child.

Monday, October 10, 2005

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." - Ancient Chinese Proverb.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Start the Waiting Game

We just spoke with Andrea. Our side of the paperwork is completed. She just sent everything to be certified. When she gets those back (hopefully by the end of the week) she will send everything off to Frankfort to get Apostilled. When all of that jazz is finished, it goes straight from Frankfort to Texas to be translated. Once translated we continue to wait for our I-71H to be completed in Louisville. Julie told us they have been taking approximately 65-80 days to be approved. We recently heard of somebody else getting approved in 53 days. We have our fingers crossed (cross yours, if they aren't already please - and keep them that way for about the next 7 months!). The I-71H finalizes our dossier. We will keep everyone updated as changes occur. But as it looks now, it will probably be a little while before we have any big news.

Thank you guys for keeping up with our journey! We appreciate all of the notes of encouragement, thoughts and prayers. It has been wonderful to feel all of the support from our friends and family. You guys are the greatest (next to Baby Schlafer, of course!) Thanks!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


To allow everyone to better understand how this process works, I'll attempt an explanation of the paperwork to this point.

After signing, notarizing, paying and returning our contract to our agency, we received an acceptance letter and instructions to find a home study agency (a list was provided). We contacted a home study agency in Danville, Kentucky. Our social worker (home study) sent us an application, we returned it with a fee, requested a lot of paperwork and set up a meeting with her (Afternoon off work #1). She interviewed us in her office and set up a meeting with us at our house for a Monday evening. She came into our house interviewed us individually, and then together and then did a brief (1 minute) tour of the house. She wrote up here findings (a six page document that is our life's history; all but ready for A and E's Biography show).

Documents required for Home Study and Dossier:

Home study agency's license

Home Study Report

Copy of birth certificate-wife

Copy of birth certificate-husband

Copy of marriage license

Copy of Federal and State tax returns-past 3 years

Statement from bank stating how long you have been a customer, that you are in good standing and the current balance in savings and/or checking accounts

Letter from employers stating job title, length of employment, salary and probability of continued employment

Three letters of recommendation

Copy of city water bill

Medical forms for each adoptive parent

State Police criminal check

Child/Spouse abuse registry check

Residential History Form (citing all residences for past 10 years)

Local Police Clearance

FBI Clearance

All of the above as well as a few more forms and the final copy of the Home Study Report must all be individually notarized. We then take the notarized documents to the county clerk in the county in which the notary was registered for certification. Upon certification, I take the certified and notarized documents to the Kentucky Secretary of State's office to be Apostilled (stating that both the county certification and the notary are valid).

After this is done, AND we receive our approval (I-71H) from immigration, our dossier (the above documents) is sent to be translated into Russian (not the official language of Kazakhstan which is Kazakh, but the official business language of Kazakhstan; who knew?)

Once that happens, it's sent to the Kazakhstan Embassy in New York, New York (the city so nice, they named it twice) for approval by the Kazakh Embassy. Then it's off to Astana, KZ to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval. Then on to the Ministry of Education who will send us a letter of invitation to travel to Kazakhstan (we'll have a couple of weeks to pack, get the proper Kazakh Visa's for our passport) and we'll leave for a couple of months and go pick up our child.

We've heard it over and over again, but you never believe this stuff when its not you. This is all God's time and it all happens at his pace. It's different for everyone. Another oft told truth is the feeling that you aren't waiting to adopt a child, you are waiting to get the child that is already yours, but just waiting far away to come home. We aren't (contrary to some perceptions) going to rescue a child, we are traveling to pick up OUR child.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crossing more off the list

Wednesday, we both took a day off of work (what a horrible time of year for that) to go to Louisville where the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office is. We'd heard that a 3-4 hour wait to get fingerprints taken for the FBI security check was the norm. So, we left the house at about 8:00, got there at about 9:15 walked in filled out a form, and got the prints taken. This 3-4 hour process took us about 15 minutes (the longest part being the actual fingerprinting, there was no wait for us, like VIPs). Back in the car by 9:30.

We took advantage (I guess) of the extra time by heading to the Mall; more specifically, Pottery Barn Kids. We bought a quilt for the crib that we don't yet have (yes, our cart is often before our horse) and registered for complimentary gear.

Came home after that and painted what will be the baby's room a lime green color. It turned out very nicely.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


We have had a big 24 hours. Last night's homestudy visit was painless. As we suspected, it was much less invasive that we feared. The only problem we had was our dog with some gastrointestinal issues.

Julie from Adoption Assistance is absolutely wonderful. She had a draft of the homestudy in our hands this afternoon. We spoke with Andrea this evening to discuss our dossier. She is going to get all of our paperwork ready for us to simply sign and notarize. We should be receiving that by the beginning of next week.

Tomorrow we go to Louisville to get fingerprinted. Once our fingerprints are done and the homestudy is sent to Louisville it takes approximately 70-80 days for our I-71H approval. The I-71H will be the last piece of the puzzle for our dossier. Once our dossier is completed and translated (we are thinking December), it is sent to the NY consulate. Around 6 weeks later, it is sent to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education. It hopefully makes it's way out of the Ministries in 2 months. Little Miracles begins to look for regions and placements once the dossier is sent to the Ministries.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Squeeky Clean

Lots has happened since the last blog. We have decided to let Andrea do our dossier to ensure accuracy. No need to let either of us slow this process down!! We met with Julie to answer a few questions. We are very happy with our choice to go with her. She has adopted from all over the world. We spoke with her on a Thursday, and by that Sunday she had written it up and was ready for our home study. We've gotten our physicals completed (no problems, of course) and our letters of recommendations from various friends, family members and employers. Tomorrow is our home study. Needless to say, we have been cleaning machines!!! Cleaning parts of the house we've never even seen before. Now, it is 9:00pm and we think its ready to go. We've heard it is really no big deal, but the thought of somebody coming into your home and interviewing you is a little nerve racking. We will both be much more relaxed at this time tomorrow. We will be speaking with Andrea for a check up on Tuesday and will be fingerprinted in Louisville on Wednesday. We couldn't be more pleased with the process and assistance we have been given so far. Not to mention the awesome support from family and friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

This and That

Friday we sent our application (and fee, of course) to the goods folks at Adoption Assistance in Danville, Kentucky to perform our home study. Amazingly, 15 hours later, we received an email saying that they received our application and have sent on the first of the paperwork to us. We're both excited to get this part of the process started.

The Bucci grandparents were in town this weekend. We were fortunate to get to spend some time with the Grandma-to-be who is almost as excited as we are about all of this. In fact, we made our first trip to the extortionist (Babies R Us). We found a crib (which converts to a toddler bed and then to a twin sized bed) that all three of us really like. Also saw some really nice (and reasonably priced) furniture at the Woodland Park Art Festival this afternoon. Not knowing gender, age, or size is proving to be a challenge as we think of these things.

Our good friends Ted and Derrick will continue to be a wonderful asset as we decorate the babies room. They're also great to talk to when these things become overwhelming.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Decision #2

After a bit of e-discussion with Andrea, we've made a decision on the home study agency. We've decided to use the agency in Danville, Kentucky (Adoption Assistance; We have both spoken with the Executive Director on the phone Michelle last night and Jason today. The director was very informative. It seems like the process is well on its way. The home study should take about a month.

Two weeks for us to locate the proper notorized paperwork: Michelle's birth certificate from the county clerk's office in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, Jason's birth certificate in Stephenson County, Illinois, our marriage license in St. Joseph County, Indiana and employment/education records from Fayette County, Kentucky) Let the games begin.

Then a home visit from the social worker.

Then 2 more weeks for the final written homestudy report for our dossier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Choices, choices

Today, LMI received our official application, application fee, and family photo. A few hours later, we received an email welcoming us to the Family of Little Miracles Families. We are glad to be on board.

Andrea sent us an email this afternoon with information about what to do and expect in the next week or so. We now have to start the process of a home study. [For those of you reading that are in this phase of the process, we've found great information on the process at]

We're back and forth between two very capable home study agencies. The first is through the United Methodist Church and is located in Bowling Green , Kentucky (quite a ways away, but recommended by Little Miracles). The second is located in Danville, Kentucky and HIGHLY recommended by a family we know in Louisville who has been around the block a couple of times with the adoption process. Our guts are telling us to go with the Danville agency (just a 20 minute drive from here), but we both want to make sure that Andrea with Little Miracles feels good about this decision. We'll be leaning on the folks at Little Miracles throughout this long process and truly value their opinions (obviously).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Aaaaaand we're off!

After countless hours of e-search, we've selected an agency that will eventually join us with our child (Little Miracles International). This was by no means the largest agency we met, but seemed like the agency with the perfect balance between size, organization, and personality. Throughout our research process (which lasted months) we were consistently told by adoptive parents to: "Go with [your] gut". Well our guts agreed and today we sent in our application, application fee, and family photo (just the two of us for now).

Sending the application turned the excitement up a notch....okay, a few notches. We overnighted the application (gotta love tracking numbers) and, as if that wasn't enough, followed it up with an email to the agency to look for our app. from the UPS guy tomorrow. What can Brown do for us? Hopefully, we're one step closer.