What a long fun weekend with Family and Friends! I am happy to report that we are getting closer in our journey to bring baby boy Oakley home. On May 22nd our PAIR letter made it to Ethiopia and was signed for at 5:02 pm. This means, our PAIR letter will now be filed with the Ethiopian courts and we are one step closer to traveling. At this point, we will be issued 2 court dates. The first date is the preliminary date that we do not travel for. Our agency will represent our family and provide final consent to the court. Once the preliminary hearing has passed and MOWYCA has issued their letter of recommendation the court will issue a 2nd hearing which we will attend and give our consent!!! Although we are close, we still have a ways to go. Please keep our family and all families waiting in your thoughts and prayers. We hope they process quickly and issue court dates. We need to travel before August because they close for the rainy season. We are hoping for a miracle and would love to travel in late July (which will take a miracle)…. We don’t want to get stuck and if we don’t travel before rainy season, we have to wait until the courts reopen in October. After 3 long years, we are in the final stretch and couldn’t be more excited about meeting our soon to be son. I know I mentioned in my last blog that I would add the list of items that would be helpful donations for the orphanages. I will work on that tonight for anyone interested and will post soon!
There is something special about this Mother’s Day! We finally know that this will be my last Mother’s Day as a mommy of 3. It is a surreal feeling knowing that a toddler will soon be joining our family and ruling the roost. For 3 years we have wondered when we would meet and knowing that it will be soon, is simply unbelievable.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and especially to our amazing mom, Gail! We are unbelievably lucky to have had amazing support throughout this journey. It has not been easy, it has not always been glamorous, it has been long and trying and we could not have done it without our support system. So today as you celebrate all the moms out there near and far, also celebrate all the children who are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to celebrate with their mom. Knowing that baby Oakley will be here to sign the card with his sisters next year is the best gift ever. We are so lucky!
Exactly one week ago we posted that we received some good news. Once again, more good news has hit the Oakley house. We are another step closer to traveling and meeting our baby boy. We received what I call the “golden” ticket in the mail yesterday. I didn’t think it would actually be in the mail that quickly, but sure enough it was there! We will send the checks and all of the necessary paperwork off today, then wait for it to get to Ethiopia so we can be filed with Federal Court. This is not the end, but it is a major piece to the adoption puzzle. We are thankful that the time between PAIR approval and receiving the “golden” ticket (PAIR letter in the mail) was only one week apart!
Once we are filed, we will just sit and wait…..travel is getting closer and closer. For anyone local, Aron and I would love to bring big rubbermaid containers filled with donations for the orphanages. Be on the lookout for a list of items that our agency suggested, I will post them soon!
Keep sending positive thoughts our way, we are making progress!!
Today has been a great day! We woke up to an email that said our Orphan Investigation has been completed! We checked our email daily, sometimes even multiple times a day, waiting for this email. It feels like we have been in limbo the past couple of months without really knowing when they would complete our case. Our poor case workers probably hate seeing our name in their inbox! haha!! So what this means is they have reviewed all of our documents, asked for clarification in many areas, interviewed who they thought they needed to, and finally passed our I-604 results to the NBC who will issue us our PAIR letter. Phew…BUT we are not done yet!!!! Once we receive our PAIR letter we will send the letter out for authentication and it will be sent to Ethiopia! Again….not done yet….once it’s filed with the courts in Ethiopia, the courts will issue 2 hearings. The first is a preliminary hearing that we do not attend, once that passes and the MOWCYA has issued their letter of recommendation the court will issue the 2nd hearing in which OUR family travels!! From our understanding the courts have been pretty slow (UGH), we hope they happen to speed things up and get families traveling quicker. The rainy season is approaching and typically the courts close middle of August through October. As long as we stay on track and make our first trip BEFORE August….we will not get delayed. We have been told that after we receive our PAIR letter, we may travel 2 months later. Please keep your fingers crossed for our family and every family involved in the adoption process. It is LONG, TIRING, and DRAWN out….but we know it will ALL be worth it!! We can’t wait to meet our sweet baby boy!! We’re coming for you!!!! xoxo
I know it has been a few weeks since my last post. To be honest, we really don’t have any news to share. We are still in the orphan investigation stage and I feel like we are stuck here. When I see the email from Ethiopia …a sense of panic comes over me. You want to open the email and you want to see Ethiopia in the subject, but do you really want to see the words “Request For More Information” AGAIN!!! NO! We are trying to hold on, but days roll into weeks and weeks roll into months. This is all taking much longer than anticipated, and to be honest, we have no idea when we will finally meet him. People ask me all the time when will we travel, it use to be that I would say May or June….now I find myself saying June or July and even that feels iffy. We really just hope and pray that the investigation will be finished VERY soon so we can finally move on to the next phase. (which is not a fast process either)!!
This week is our girls spring break, and due to the traveling to Ethiopia twice (somewhat soon) we decided to forgo the beach trip we had planned. Bummer for the girls, but also works out great because we are taking them to TN to meet up with a high school bestie! They know that we have to “save” to get our little one home, so they haven’t complained too much.
On that note, I decided to join a good friend in a journey to help cover the costs of our flights. Yes, I am still a real estate agent, no changes there loving it and doing well …however I am also a consultant for Rodan + Fields skin care, as a little side gig. What’s funny is I have really always been the type to say “that is not for me” or “I could never do that” the truth is, why can’t I? I LOVE business, I LOVE traveling, I LOVE design, I LOVE success, I LOVE providing for my family and others, I LOVE giving and most importantly I LOVE our girls and our son who is depending on us. So I said to myself, go for it and give it a try! Worst case, you have awesome skin care products and decide spreading the word isn’t for you, or best case, you love it and are able to cover flights and other adoption expenses! Either way, it is all with the best intension and passion to live and provide the best life possible! Life is short, we should all enjoy the journey and that’s what we are trying to do!!
We received a text message from our case worker that said “check your email”…..I just knew there had to be updated pictures!! I logged on and nope, there was a change request for the meeting scheduled in Ethiopia. I thought, surely she would not send me a text with an exclimation mark for a date change for the finder interview…… would she? So I refreshed the page and there was her email, updated pictures of our baby!! We received 3 new photos of our adorable baby boy, oh how I wish we could post them! He is truly the cutest thing I ever did see and NO, I am not just saying that! He is perfect in every way, he is more than we could have ever wished for, he is simply adorable. The girls LOVE their baby bother and can not wait for him to come home. Campbell said “he is SO cute, I don’t think he will ever be able to get in trouble.” She said “he just looks like he will be such a nice young man.” haha….oh the things that kids think of! Let’s hope she is right and since he is so cute, he will be extra good and never get into trouble!
We look at his picture multiple times a day, just in awe over him and what is about to happen to our life, his life and our family. We are forever thankful that we have been the chosen ones, we are truly so lucky!! I am happy to share our baby boy with you, however I am unable to post a picture online. Send me an email or text and I will gladly share!!
Please keep our little one and our family in your thoughts and prayers. We have a ways to go before meeting him and even longer before we can bring him home.
We are finally into March and another month closer to meeting our baby boy. It’s actually kind of strange to think back to our referral day, January 1st. It seems like yesterday, yet 2 months has already passed! Typically you receive updated pictures every 6-8 weeks, we are stilling waiting for some kind of update on our sweet baby, and although I try not to pester…. I remind them frequently.
Waking up to emails from Ethiopia is exciting! We have now crossed into the PAIR stage which means we are moving in the right direction. During this stage they find the birth relatives or “finder” of the child and set up an interview. I was thinking this would take a while, however we received an email that the interview with the “finder” is scheduled for March 11th! Once they are done with the orphan investigation they will email us and we will be issued a PAIR letter! We have been told the PAIR process can last anywhere from 6-8 weeks and the letter takes another 1-2 weeks. We really have no idea when we might travel, it all depends on when we actually receive the letter, and how long it takes to file the letter with the Ethiopian courts.
Waiting really is the hardest part. Not knowing how he is, what he is able to do and not do, is he crawling or has he started walking, how has he changed since the day we saw him Jan 1, does he receive attention daily or is he left in a crib, does he know he has a mom and dad, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and lots of friends cheering for him and waiting to love on him? So many things go through our mind as we sit and “wait”. We can’t help but think about what the next two months will bring, and the amazing journey we are about to embark on. A quick thank you to our friends and family who continue to support us.
Well… we really don’t have much to post. We are just in the “process” and are doing the necessary steps to get us one step closer to meeting our son. Last week we received a letter asking for RFE’s (request for evidence) which at this stage is quite common. They were needing some items in our documents translated, so our agency is taking care of that. Aron and I went to the doctor last week and started our first round of shots for travel. We still have more to do, but we are on track and are making sure we are prepared and ready to go. We also have the necessary prescriptions just “in case” we get sick while out of the country. Anyone who knows me knows….that is absolutely my worst fear!
At this point the hardest part is the unknown. We have asked for updated pictures and have yet to receive them. Our agency asked for them again a few days ago, I am hopeful to receive some soon. The orphanage where our little one is staying is a newly acquired relationship for our agency. That makes it tough because we are unable to connect with past families and get inside information and tips. We just hope all is well and he is loved and cared for until we can bring him home.
I thought some of the images below were interesting. Adama is where the orphanage is located and I hear we will experience multiple coffee ceremonies per day! Travel tips are always welcome and extremely helpful! Hoping to have some more exciting and positive news soon!
Just a quick update to let you know where we are at. We officially accepted our son and sent our acceptance packet to our agency. We also had to wire over our foreign program fees, and send in a few other documents. Once our agency received all of the docs, they requested the Contract of Adoption from the orphanage. This typically takes anywhere from 1-4 weeks. We have completed this step and are now on to the next! yay! The Contract of Adoption was received which means our agency will then Fed-ex overnight our I-600 to USCIS who will forward to NBC for PAIR review.
PAIR is a new step added that is the Pre-Adoption Immigration Review. We will be assigned a PAIR officer who will review our case, this typically is when they might ask for RFE’s (requests for evidence) which is very common. This is where things could slow down some, from what we have heard. Every case is different, pray that we don’t get many RFE’s. That would most likely mean submitting more documents etc. Once we get through the RFE’s our case worker will submit our case to the US Embassy for the I-604 Orphan Investigation, which could take a total of 6-8 weeks. Once we get through this step, USE will email us to let us know they have completed that step and have forwarded the I-604 results to NBC who will receive and send us our PAIR letter. The PAIR letter is somewhat like a golden ticket! That is what we need to be able to get filed with the Ethiopian Courts. Once we are filed with the courts they will issue us 2 hearing dates. The 1st one is a preliminary hearing, which we will not attend. This is where the final consent is given to the court. Once the preliminary hearing has passed the MOWCYA will issue their letter of recommendation and the court will then order a 2nd hearing date in which we will travel to give our consent. This process could take 1-2 months in total to complete.
So as you see….we still have a ways to go, but each day brings us a bit closer! Fingers crossed that we don’t have many RFE’s and we have a smooth transition through each of the necessary steps.
Have a great week everyone!
As we are making our way through another week, we still have no idea what to expect “timeline” wise. I know we are waiting on a document to be sent to our agency, once received, they can send our packet to Ethiopia. In the meantime, we have continued getting the girls rooms switched, and once completed we will finish the baby’s room.
It has been a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions running through my mind since our referral day. What will it be like when we travel? How do we NOT put a drop of water in our mouth so we don’t get sick? Will he be afraid of us? Will he understand that we will always be proud of him and never ashamed? How often will kids make comments to the girls about their brother being different? How as parents do we handle that? How do we learn as much as possible about his heritage in a short amount of time, while in country? We know it will not be easy, but it will be worth it. For years and years and years, we have waited for the moment that we would be able to say “you will no longer be alone.” To know that he never spend another birthday alone or holiday alone, is to know that we are finally nearing the end of our journey. We are coming for you son!!!