Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All signs lead to our baby boy

Back in December we went to see the movie Life of Pi. I saw the previews and it looked interesting but I had no idea it was about the adventures of an Indian boy until the movie started. While watching the movie, the narrator set the scene for the movie in an area of "French" India. I didn't think much of it until yesterday. I googled what the setting was for Life of Pi and where it was filmed. (Side note, how did we ever survive without google? I use it multiple times a day!) So upon google investigation I discovered part of the setting for the movie was the exact city where our baby boy's orphanage is located and they also shot some scenes there, too!  Unbeknownst to us at the time we watched it.. so now I have to buy it when it comes out next month and watch it again. Maybe one day I'll read the book...

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to rent it! It's one of those make-you-think-at-the-end kinda movies.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How we love this boy already

Braden, our sweet 11 year old wrote this recently. He has a love for football, writing, and bringing his baby brother home from India! I'm copying his letter exactly (typos included).

Dear Atlanta Falcons Organization,
My name is Braden Chalker, and I have been a fan of the Falcons for quite a while now. I have been to three of your previous games in 2010 against the Carolina Panther, and in 2011 against the New Orleans Saints, and this previous week 15 vs the New York Giants. I am eleven years old, and have been a fan of yours since the first game I went to. I live in Enterprise Alabama. I have always cheered for ya'll in the good times and bad. My family and I are adopting a baby boy India. So, for the last few days we have been tossing up some different names for our new baby boy we are adopting. When my family and I were watching the Falcons VS the Seahawks game, it was getting into those final minuets of the 4th quarter. When ya'll were down by one with 31 seconds left, I still new that ya'll could could it. The Falcons are the comeback kings, I thought to myself. So when Matt Ryan threw the bomb to Harry Douglas and got us on the fifty yard line, I knew we needed one more key play to get into field goal range for Matt Bryant. Matt Ryan then threw the bullet pass to Tony Gonzales who got us into field goal range. When Matt Bryant lined up for the field goal kick, Pete Carroll, the Seahawks coach, tried to ice Matt, but it did not work. Matt attempted the field goal for real, this time, and he made it! I was overwhelmed with joy that Matt had sent us the lead. But the game wasn't over yet, though. On the final play of the game, when Julio Jones got a pic, I was so happy that my team is in the NFC title! that is how excited I was when I found out I was getting a baby brother! The funny story is, we, well, my mom came up with it, decided to name our baby brother Ryan because Matt Ryan is #2 and my brother was born on 2-12-2012. If you could, please, maybe could you donate some money to our adoption fundraiser? Because then I would be happy to have him in my life and teach him everything I know about football and the Falcons, and maybe take him to a Falcons game in the future. Thank you for being such a great inspiring football team. You can check out our story at www.miamyindianangel.blogspot.com
Braden Chalker

Friday, January 18, 2013

what's next?

"when will you bring him home?" - that is the million dollar question we've been asked just a couple of times ;)  There are a lot of things that have to happen first. Please join us in prayer!

  • First we need our home study and dossier updated to include BOY since everything was written for a girl. Our home study will have to be approved by the state again but since we have been matched, it shouldn't take as long as it did originally. We have already started over this bump in the road but please PRAY for quick turnarounds here.
  • Next we have to apply for a new 797 (immigration approval, the one we just got Jan 2 won't work for our adoption). This step was approved in less than 10 days so please PRAY for speedy approval #2! Two is our magic number in this adoption anyway so it was meant to be that we'd have to apply for TWO 797s! :) 
  • Once we receive the new 797 we will then move forward with more paperwork (I 800) and wait for that approval. Then the DS230 (Visa application, for those of you versed in adoption lingo). PRAY this hurdle is a short one! 
  • Wait for CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority - India) to receive the Article five letter so they can start the No Objection Certificate process.  PRAY some more and most of you won't even know what any of that is or what it means, and I don't exactly either but PRAY BIG that everything goes off without a hitch!
  • THEN the orphanage can begin the court process to award us guardianship. PRAY the judges are open to hearing our case and then deciding QUICKLY!
  • After his passport arrives, we can make travel plans to get our baby boy!
So when will we bring him home? No one knows for sure. India has developed a new way of processing adoptions and with all the changes there really isn't anyway to know exactly until we are awarded guardianship and he has a passport. So really, at the end we will know! Our best estimate is 4-5months and really that could change either way. I know all of this will happen in God's time but I am asking that we PRAY God wants this to happen quickly.. cause of course, that's what we want! Hahaha, ok, not really. All in God's time, I keep reminding myself... but really, knowing that sweet baby boy is turning 11 months this weekend, ONE YEAR old next month, all in an orphanage is making my heart heavy.  I'm grateful that he's been taken care of thus far but I just want him home with his family... I haven't been able to sleep in weeks. I wake up every night around 2am, thinking it's 12.5 hours ahead of us in India, and I wonder ... What he's doing....Is he happy? Is he playing? Is he eating? What's his favorite food? Is walking yet? Does he have teeth? If so, how many? The list goes on and on... Then I am reminded, Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. 

I keep asking myself how can I love someone I've never even met? The best answer I can conjure up is God made him to be my son, a part of our family. I just love him. 

Stay tuned to see how God will answer these prayers in the coming weeks! So thankful for your prayers, support, and love. 

p.s. don't forget to PRAY! thanks :)

Friday, January 11, 2013


So much has happened so quickly!

  • December 20, 2012 - biometrics appointment in Birmingham. These are the fancy, electronic fingerprints that are needed to complete our I 797. Mostly uneventful trip, other than the crazy weather we experienced. 

We waited our turn, scanned our prints and we were done in about 9 minutes total. Drove three hours there and three hours back for a 9 minute appointment. Fun times! We really didn't need our passports but I brought them just in case. 
  • January 1, 2013 - we received a letter from USCIS stating our 797 was on it's way! This is the immigration approval so needless to say we were thrilled, and it was approved in less than 2 weeks. Very impressive! 

  • January 2, 2013 - our 797 arrived at our agency! What a great way to start 2013... and we'll take it. Happy New Year to us! 
  • January 4, 2013 - Our case worker called about a potential match - 10 month old, precious little one, adorable baby BOY! BOY? BOY! We had never really considered a boy and felt a girl was in our future all along... We spent the weekend in prayer and discussion, open to the possibility that God wanted a boy for our family. He knows best, right? Always.
  • January 7, 2013 - MATCHED to the sweetest orphan in ALL of India! He is incredibly precious and I cannot stop staring at his beautiful pictures. In fact, I wear my Iphone battery out each day looking at his sweet dimples and bare feet... feet that have never worn shoes or socks and for some reason that worries me. ;) I've counted his fingers and toes, examined his ears, marveled at his black hair, his long eyelashes, and his ability to stand while holding onto things. He looks so strong. And amazing. 
January 7, 2012 My mom went to heaven

January 7, 2013 We were matched with our son

I've been saying God's fingerprints are all over this in so many details...  and we are just so excited!

Unfortunately, since we've switched gears we will have to amend some of our paperwork now that we are now accepting a boy, redo our 797, etc. We already had to fix some of our documents due to a mistake and we were just waiting for a referral so we could do it all at once. We've been told this shouldn't set us back too much and our agency is hopeful we will travel in 4-5 months. Praying we have the finances in place to take Katie and Braden along, too. They are old enough to travel such a great distance and I would love for them to see where their brother lived and experience the Indian culture firsthand. Please keep us close in prayer as we go through this next step of organizing documents on our end and then wait for India to prepare documents on their end. Still some waiting to do but at least we can see the fruits of our labor - this precious little boy... who now needs a name...