Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We are approved!!!

We got the best news in the whole world today! As of Dec. 15th we are officially approved by the Colombian government and officially matched with our 4 kids! Honestly, amazing!!!

I barely know the next steps we have to take. I will look at all the information tomorrow when I can comprehend it. So happy, that's all I can keep saying.

Just this morning I received a phone call from our social worker telling us we probably shouldn't expect to hear anything for 1-2 months. She said that minutes after she sent us that e-mail she got a call from their Colombian team telling her we had been approved. I called her while I was at work, walking in between our offices. I must have looked like a total crazy person because I just started jumping up and down on the street and screaming and crying. I really haven't stopped crying since. It was really hard to get through the rest of the work day, but I did it.

We are so grateful. Grateful to God for answering our prayers in a way we didn't even believe was possible. Grateful and humbled to be able to take on the task of parenting these four precious children. Grateful for the best Christmas present ever.

Once I or Ed knows more specifics we will post them. Thanks all for following along and praying. We love you all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kisses from katie.

If you aren't reading this blog - you NEED to be. Maybe it's just me, but probably not.

www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com


Bought some sweet Christmas presents for our sweet children today. No, they won't get them this year, but it made me hopeful to do it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ayudame

We heard news today that Ayudame does have our translated dossier! Yeah! So, now we just wait to hear from them.... I really have no clue on a time frame for that - but hopefully something in a couple of months. Of course, we would love to hear sooner, but we will assume that it will take awhile. Also, today marks the beginning of the Colombian Christmas celebration! Tonight is supposed to be a fun night where everyone is out in the streets celebrating, singing and dancing. So, hopefully our kids our enjoying themselves tonight and next year we will be able to celebrate with them here in Minnesota! This also means that not much is going to happen in Colombia for the next three weeks. Oh well - I will try to celebrate Christmas and this season of waiting as well.
We were REJOICING for our friends Sarah and Cody who were united with there new family members this weekend in Uganda! Congratulations to them!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Adoption fundraising Saturday.

We committed today to work on filling out adoption grants and writing letters. Not my most favorite thing to do on a Saturday, but at least we had pie to eat while we were doing it!

We also picked up a used swing set and a bouncy horse from someone's house (yeah, more free donations!), this morning. On thursday someone else dropped off a big bin of puzzles and games, an easel and a couple of winter coats! Tomorrow we go to pick up a couple of bunk beds! Wow, we are definitely starting to look like a house for a family of six!

We have THE BEST friends in the world! No, really, we do. You might think yours are pretty good, but they don't compare to ours :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New pictures :)

Yesterday we received two "new to us" pictures of our kids! They are not new pictures, but they were the first ones we had seen with all four kids together. It was so sweet to us... I really can't put into words how precious they are. Sadly, I can't post pictures on-line, so you'll have to see me in person to take a look at their wonderful faces :)

Today our dossier was sent to Colombia! Whoo-hoo!

We really aren't expecting to hear ANYTHING at all for about two months. We are prepared for this, so we will not worry when we don't. Everyday it's harder to not be with our kids. We are praying that everything in Colombia is processed quickly and we can go to get them as soon as possible.

We really are so happy - we're just bursting with joy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beans and Rice comes to an end.

We did it! We finished eating our beans and rice (or rather 1 dollar/day) for 30 days! Yesterday, I really had to choke down my last meal of beans and rice for lunch... but I think we will eat a lot more beans and rice in our house. It is crazy cheap, we don't mind it for the most part and we still have a LOT of money to save. So, although we are not going to live on a dollar a day, we still need to be very frugal in our money spending. We were very grateful to go to the grocery store this morning and get a variety of foods.

Our friends the Olsons invited us to an adoption ministry meeting last night. It was incredible. God is doing amazing things in the lives of these people. We were really blessed to be able to attend - and more blessed that the Nelson's attended with us. I think the group will be an invaluable resource to us when our kids come home.

Tomorrow is "Orphan Sunday" at churches around the country. Our youth group is having a pancake breakfast to raise money for an orphanage in Ethiopia. I'm really excited to participate in this and see the youth get excited about adoption and helping orphans. In the afternoon Ed and I are planning on attending an event at Bethlehem Baptist Church for Orphan Sunday.

It has been a huge blessing to us to have our friends' kids tell us that they are praying for our kids - that has been unexpected and humbling.

We can't wait for them to come home.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A busy week.

It has been one of the busiest weeks I can remember. On thursday night we decided that we would go forward with adopting the 4 kids! We are trusting God to raise up the money we need and doing a lot of creative thinking ourselves.

We rushed around like mad on friday to get every single last paper in and handed our dossier in to the Bethany office in Plymouth at 3:15pm. It is now being sent by UPS 2 day to the MI office, where it will be translated and then sent off to Colombia. Paperwork is officially done.

Now we just have 4 kids to get our house and our lives ready for!

We will share more information when it is official.

Thanks for praying everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

4 kids

Yesterday, we received information we had been waiting on for a sibling group of 4. We read over their information yesterday and decided to proceed with adopting them. We were/are excited.

Unfortunately, this morning we were told that they are being placed through a private orphanage - which would mean an additional $11,000 (minimum). We were not prepared for this. We missed that conversation with our social worker where we discussed whether or not we would consider kids from private orphanages. I'm not sure what we would have decided earlier, but the problem is, now, we are not prepared. We have to make a decision this week. We don't have that much money, so I'm not really sure what our options are other than say no, or trust that God will provide the money. It has already been a week full of emotional ups and downs, and it's only Wednesday.

Please pray for us as we make this impossible decision.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dining room table - check.

We bought a dining room table that seats 14 people yesterday! As we were moving it, I thought, this is the table my family, my kids are going to sit around for years - there's going to be a lot of good memories at this table (and probably some tough ones too). It's HUGE and you are all officially invited to come over anytime and have a meal of beans and rice at it :)

In other big news, we got our FBI clearance in the mail today - so that means we just need to go over everything with Kristina, get everything apostilled and then we will be ready to send our dossier to Colombia! If we hurry, I think we can get it in the mail the first week of November!

It also means that we need to make a decision on the group of 6 in the next week - so please keep praying for us!

Friday, October 16, 2009

one week done

Ed and I decided to do an "in-house" fundraiser for our adoption. We decided that we would spend a month living on a dollar a day/per person. The money we save on groceries all goes to our adoption. This means that we pretty much eat oatmeal, beans and rice. It's been good. Not only do we save money, we are experiencing hunger. Our food is what many orphans around the world get to eat, if they're lucky they'll get one meal a day. This past week I have been irritable, hungry, crabby and have really tried to think everytime that this is similar (on a much smaller level) to what our kids spent the better part of their life experiencing. Only, they probably had no end in sight for when they would get more food. We are only doing it for one month, and we live in a generous, American world - where people often invite you over for dessert or better, dinner!

So, one week down, three more to go. Praying that we would have a better understanding of what orphans around the world go through everyday.

In regards to praying about what kids should join our family, we have been praying about three groups and one of those groups was chosen by another family to be adopted. We are really excited for these kids to have a family! We are still waiting for more information on one of those groups, hopefully we will know more soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Food

We're really excited in the Lebert household tonight :) Even though we got our approval yesterday, I think it started becoming "real" tonight. We are praying about three different groups of kids that we could potentially adopt. A group of 3, a group of 4 and a group of 6. Please pray for wisdom in that.

On a lighter note, Ed and I have decided to eat beans and rice (well, live off of a dollar a day) for a month starting tomorrow. We've been trying to get rid of the food we have first, but it just keeps going! It's amazing how far food can go, and how provided for we are in America. But, I think we about ran through the end of it tonight. I was really proud of the meal I came up with from the very bare ingredients I had to choose from. I made Chicken Parm. and blondies! I used a can of tomatoes for the sauce, breadcrumbs for the coating and a chunk of leftover asiago cheese for the topping. And then I still had enough ingredients to make blond brownies from scratch! I actually would have been proud to serve that meal to anyone - and to think it was just leftovers! Heidi Chase, you would have been proud!

I'll post more about our "rice and beans adventure" in a future post :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Approval!

Our social worker e-mailed us today to tell us that she received our Immigration approval! Yeah! Two months ago, I happened to circle today's date on our calendar as "D-Day" for approval - I can't believe it was true! It's cool how God surprises us in small ways :) I e-mailed Kristina back right away to ask about her sending us Kid's profile information, but I didn't hear back. So, hopefully tomorrow we'll actually get to look at kids - wow! Please, please pray for Ed and I as we start that process. Pray that God would lead both of us to know who just the right kids are for our family. Pray that we would continue to trust in God for strength and wisdom in parenting.

The end of our lives as DINKs (double income no kids) is almost over... and we are happy about that :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More stuff done. (Warning - very boring post!)

Today Ed and I went and got our 4th, and final, set of fingerprints. I fedexed them off to the FBI and wished them my best :) Ed got his employment verification finally and I already got back my apostilled birth certificate! Yeah! I still have a couple of documents to gather, but they are minor and I can do when everything else is in. So now, this is really just about the waiting. We could get approval anyday, but then again, we might not get it for another 4 months. It's crazy to think that at any minute we could hear we have been approved and the next minute (really, truly) we could be looking at pictures and seeing our kids for the first time. At any minute! What a crazy thought. Well - you'll hear about it here, if it happens! Thanks for checking!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Done and done!

Our fingerprinting appointment was for 1:00 today. By 1:08 we had our fingerprints done AND Ed's birth certificate sent off to be apostilled! That feels huge! It was definitely a positive fingerprinting experience. Everyone was super pleasant and it only took about 5 minutes.

Ed is hopefully getting his notarized employment verification at work today. We have to finish collecting a couple of dossier documents and then we just wait to hear for USCIS approval. It could come "any day", but at the same time it could be 4 months. Please pray with us that it would be very quick! I'm praying that we will hear within the month. Hoping, hoping, hoping!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One document off for apostille!

Today I went to the post office and sent my birth certificate off to be apostilled! I had no idea what I was doing and was very thankful for the extremely nice postal worker who helped me figure it all out. Now we're just waiting for Ed's birth certificate to come in the mail, so that we can send that one back to Texas to get apostilled as well.

This friday is our fingerprint appointment - I'm excited to have that step completed. We could get approval anytime after that! (or, up to 4 months later - but I'm praying for October).

Our next steps are getting ANOTHER (yes, number 4) set of fingerprints done and going to get a current copy of our marriage certificate.

Getting there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

8,000 children waiting for homes - just in Colombia.



ICBF
recently updated their adoption statistics. Below is a summary of those statistics which were current as of July 1, 2009.

In 2008, there were 2,542 children of all ages placed for adoption. Of which, 1,019 were placed with Colombian families and 1,523 were placed with Foreign families. It would be important to note that COLOMBIAN families are families in Colombia or families with at least 1 Colombian parent living abroad.

Between January 1, 2009 and July 1, 2009, there have been 1,227 children placed for adoption in Colombia -- 524 to Colombian families and 703 to foreign families. Of these, 174 were placed by Casas Privadas and 1,053 were placed by ICBF.

ICBF would like to point out that as of July 1, 2009, there were 8,127 children and adolescents that have official declarations of adoptability and belong to the category SPECIAL NEEDS. Special Needs in Colombia is defined as children with disabilities, children over 8 years of age, and sibling groups of 3 or more. These children are available immediately and families requesting children in this category will receive PRIORITY and PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.

Here is the breakdown of the 8,127 adoptable children in the Special Needs Category:

743 ---- children younger than 7 that belong to large sibling groups

480 ---- children younger than 7 with a physical or mental disability

3,460 -- children between 8-17, some belong to sibling groups

1,679 -- children between 8-17 with a physical or mental disability

598 ---- children over 18 in a good physical state

1,177 -- children over 18 with a physical or mental disability

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fingerprint appointment

On Saturday we got our notice that we have an appointment to get fingerprinted on Sept. 25th at 1pm! Yeah - nice to get that settled. :)

We'll start collecting documents for our dossier now, so that everything is ready to go when we get that approval - hopefully sooner rather than later!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Waiting on immigration.

No real updates on the adoption front. We got our receipt last Saturday that USCIS did receive our immigration application, but we still haven't gotten our appointment for fingerprints. We're waiting on that to start collecting documents that we need for out dossier. Still a ways to go, but trying to be hopeful and expectant.

We are working on getting our attic finished up (yes, it's in year 3). We're getting really close though. We also transitioned over to our "super-budget" this month. Trying to save as much as we possibly can so that we'll be ready, financially, when the time comes to bring our kids home. Ed has even stopped eating at Chipotle! I'm trying to think of every penny as a another tiny step closer to getting to our kids.

Spent a little time this month praying about adopting a group of 5 or 6. Praying that God would help us be the strong parents we need to be!

Thanks for checking in with us!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One year later.

This past weekend, marked one year of being in the adoption process. One year ago I thought we would be further along then we are now, but there is a reason for us being at the spot we are. One year ago we thought we were going to adopt maybe two kids, no older than 5 years old! One year ago we were at an informational meeting with Children's Home Society. So, here we are one year later, adopting with Bethany, waiting on immigration approval to adopt 4 kids, ages 0-14!
This year has had a true mix of adoption blessings and hardships. But, the truth is, this path is the one we're meant to walk down. And, any hardships we've faced our small to what our children have been going through this past year. We just try to keep that in mind and keep praying for them. Hopefully this time next year they'll be home with us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blog address change

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that I changed the blogspot address for our adoption blog. Heidi kindly asked me this morning if the address (Ed and Amanda plus 4) was a take on Jon and Kate plus 8. Gross - it's not. But, with that crazy family in the news all the time I didn't want anyone thinking I was emulating them, so I decided to change it to plain old lebertadoption.blogspot.com

Besides, that name leaves us open to whatever kind of adoption God has in mind for us - no matter the number.

Thanks for finding us again!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A sad and happy day.

We have spent the past 9 months praying over and thinking about 4 special girls that we desperately wanted to adopt. We found out today that they have been adopted by another family. We often prayed that God would find them a family, and recognized that we might not be the best family for them, but left it in God's hands. We know God answers those prayers. We are SO happy that a family has been found for them. They will not be left as orphans. We thank God for the role they had in our life (though they will never know). They are the reason we first started to consider adopting older children, the reason we decided to switch agencies, the reason we are adopting a sibling group of 4. God wanted to bring us to this place. We had hoped the story would end with us bringing those girls home, but we now know that God has other plans for our family. Somewhere right now there are other children, unknown to us, who will one day soon come home to be our children. We will continue to pray for those girls, that they can be healed from their broken past and move on and we will continue to pray for our "unknown children".
Just as a little more information (for those that know all the details) the OTHER 4 girls we were also interested in adopting, have also been adopted, so we REALLY don't know who our children will be. Hopefully in a couple of months we will!
Thanks for continuing on this journey with us :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Official!

Hi Leberts!
Congratulations...as of July 30, 2009, you have an officially approved home study!!!! I received the psych eval today...I'm checking to make sure it's good enough for the dossier, but for the purpose of the home study, I know it's fine, so I went ahead and submitted the home study for approval. It will still have to be officially approved by my supervisor and then the Colombia coordinator, but I don't foresee any problems. I hope to be able to submit it to USICS by the middle of next week.

Congrats again!


We're excited!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Everything ready to go.

All our paperwork is in, we're ready to send in everything to USCIS. Now we have about 2 months to wait for approval from the US. We have no paperwork to really do in the next couple of months but we have a lot of other stuff to do. Finish the attic is #1. Learn Spanish, read more about attachment disorders, and pray hard for our kids that our coming closer to being our family every day.
Please join us in praying for our children. That they would have hope in their brokenness. That they would be safe, physically and emotionally. That they would continue to desire a family. Pray for joy and laughter in their day, that today, they would be able to just be kids.
Thanks to everyone who is joining us on this journey :) You can't know how much that means to us.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Background checks are in!

This is the e-mail we got on friday:

Hi Ed and Amanda!

Good news--the background checks are no ALL in! You must have been praying hard for MD to be quick 'cuz that check is back in record time. :o)
I still have to complete the writing of the study and then I'll mail you a draft. I hope to do that next week. Just wanted to share the good news about progress!!


Yeah! That means that hopefully we can send out immigration application out next week! Things are moving along.

Also, on Saturday we attended a Colombian Independence Day festival. We ate good food, met some Colombians, saw some Colombian dancing... and had a really fun time :)

Ed and I are spending our time these days working harder on learning spanish and getting going again on the house projects that need to be done before we bring kids home.

I want to give thanks to God for his particular grace and blessings to us in the past couple of months. It is quite evident that it His hand that has been moving in our lives. He his there in the good and bad, but today I'm so grateful that it has been a good time. Please pray for our children that they would know God as the best Father they could ever have.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Psychologist

We met with our psychologist today. It was awesome! I can't even tell you what a blessing it is to meet with a Christian psychologist, who loves adoption, and knows a LOT specifically about adopting from Colombia! It was such a fun meeting. He was nice, funny, professional... turns out to be one of the easiest adoption requirements to fulfill - one that looked pretty daunting at first.

Also, we heard back from our social worker today that all of our background checks, except for Maryland, are in. We've been praying for that a lot - so it was really cool to hear it's been going well. Now we just have to get that last one in and we'll be ready to send off our immigration!

This weekend we're going to attend a Colombian Independence Day festival - should be a lot of fun!

Right now, I'm so excited that things are going well, but right now our kids have no idea that there are parents out there excited to be getting closer to bringing them home. Right now they are still living in a very broken place. Please pray for hope for them. Please pray that they would still desire to have a family, and that God would protect them emotionally and physically. We love them so much already.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MMPI

Ed and I went to take the MMPI today, which the Colombian government requires us to take. It was interesting. By the end I felt like a crazy person. We walked around all day saying things like, "I think someone is trying to poison my food". (They're not) Anyway, it was one of the more interesting "adoption meetings" we've had.
We have to meet with a psychologist next week and our social worker is back from China tomorrow (yeah!) so hopefully we'll get some updates on our homestudy status.
We had a really great time meeting with the Swartzendrubers yesterday. It's really a blessing to meet with other friends who are adopting older children. We love them :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Went to the doctor

I made it to the doctor and got my notarized letter! Yes! I hate going to the doctor more than just about anything, so I'm glad to have gotten that done. Now, Ed just has to get in and out and we're heading for a psychological testing on friday :) We will officially be able to say that we are not crazy when this is all done, so watch out!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I-800A

Yeah! We filled out our immigration form yesterday. So, it's all ready to go as soon as our homestudy is done. Still just waiting on our Maryland and California background checks and to get into the doctor. Hopefully by the end of the month we'll have everything together to send. Praying for them to come in quick!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Adoption journey

We're adopting 4 kids! We wanted to start this blog as a way for others (maybe) to follow our journey, but also for ourselves to document the steps we took to get to our kids.

Where are we at today?
We have pre-agency approval to adopt 4 kids from Colombia, ages 0-13.
We do have a couple of specific groups of kids in mind, but can't "officially" look at them until our immigration is approved.
Right now we're waiting for our Maryland and California background checks to come back.
At that point we'll take our completed homestudy and send it in with our immigration paperwork.

We also need to set up a doctor's appointment for our dossier, a psychologist appointment, Ed is renewing his passport and we're compiling a list of "emergency phone numbers" for when our kids come home.

Of course there's lost of other stuff we're working on, but that was today!

We are praying for our kids today, and are asking others to, as well. Pray that they would be safe. Pray that they would be hopeful about a family. Pray for us that God would prepare us to be the parents our kids will need us to be. Pray that we would all be wise and brave.

We're excited - thanks for sharing in this with us.