Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rwanda Journey Adds Another to Our Family

One more month until we depart for Rwanda. Hard to believe. This summer has been such a gift to our family. It has been amazing to see the girls grow in their love and friendship with each other. Over 6200 miles traveled across this beautiful country. Now we are in beautiful Vermont. For four weeks we don't have to unpack our bags. After living out of suitcases since we sold our house on May 31, this is very welcome. We are settled into my parents' lake cottage in the town of Glover, VT. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, but that is a welcome respite for us. For pictures of the cottage, check out and then click on the lake cottage link. We have to drive 10 miles to get internet access, so it's been nice to take a break from being "wired."

Our big news as a family is that we've decided to add another member to our family. Dano and I have thought about adding to our family for over a year, but while it was easy for us to decide on China for our girls, we just didn't know from where our third child would come. The wait for Chinese adoptions is now 3-5 years. Since we will be in Rwanda for at least three years, we decided to pursue a Rwandan adoption. While in Ft. Worth, TX, we met with Gladney Adoptions because we knew they worked in Rwanda. While everyone there was very nice, we were overwhelmed by the costs of a third adoption. We talked with another couple who adopted from Rwanda and they recommended we go independently. We then learned Rwanda prefers this method. We also learned from Gladney that if we wanted to adopt from Rwanda, we had better get our homestudy and dossier prepared prior to leaving the States. We had thought we'd start the process after moving to Rwanda. We could we process everything in less than 6 weeks? Just to file our I-600A(petition to the US government to adopt an orphan) had always taken 3-5 months for our other two daughters. I truly believe God knew we needed to be in Vermont.

Vermont is very adoption-friendly and it is a small state. We have been working our tails off the past two weeks trying to get all of our paperwork needed for our dossier and we were able to get our homestudy done and written in three days, scheduled an appointment with immigration last week to file our I-600A. Eight days later, we have our approval in hand! I love this state! I also love small towns...(I know I have a blog somewhere in my mind about what I've pondered regarding the future of small towns in America)...we were able to get a doctor's appointmen tfor our physicals within a week. The local notary has processed everything for free for us...our friends from Seattle have been incredible getting letters of reference signed for us and our attorney friend Sherman Snow has been our "notary-in-residence" for all Seattle area documents. We feel incredibly blessed. All this to say....our paperwork is all ready for its next stage.

The next stage is to get our documents notarized by the secretary of state in each originating state, i.e. NY birth certificate for me notarized by Secy of State of NY, bank docs from Texas, notarized by Texas, etc. This is what the agencies used to do for us. Once we receive those documents back, which we hope will only take two weeks, we can then file our dossier with the US Secretary of State's office. Once that is received back (and we've found someone who can do this in person in DC), it is taken to the Rwandan Embassy in D.C. Once that is approved, we can hand it in to the Rwandan Minister of Gender and Family Information in Kigali. Our hope is we will have this in our hands when we leave for Kigali.

What is the timeline for receiving our son? Rwanda is new to international adoptions, so a lot could change, but it seems that once the dossier is received by the Minister, it may only take 2-4 months to receive our referral. This is hard for us to fathom after we waited 18 months for Lian and 2 1/2 years for Anna. So...stay tuned...
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Africa Reading List

The Following is our book list as we prepare to move to Rwanda next month. A few people had asked me for suggestions, so I hope this is helpful.

Read This Year

A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It by Steven Kinzer
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis
We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
The Bishop of Rwanda by John Rucyahana and James Riordan

Currently Reading
The Mission Song by John Le Carre
Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles by Richard Dowd
The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith
The Covenant by James Michener

Still to Read
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be Done About It by Paul Collier
The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions for us.