We have been home with our precious "Baby Dash" since August 2010! Now, we are embarking on a new and very different journey as we pursue the domestic adoption route!

To keep up on the most recent family happenings - check out our family blog - www.thekeyserfamily.blogspot.com!!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

5 Months

5 Months down since we officially started this adoption process.  This was a huge month in the process for us as we became home study approved 3 weeks ago today!  I was kind of surprised in thinking that the paperchase was ending at that point, only to learn that there was still quite a bit of paperwork to fill out for each agency we applied to.  So far, we have been approved and are networked with 5 agencies, with 2 more approvals expected next week and 1 more that we are working on and hope to be approved for in the coming weeks.

The more networking we are doing, the more cases we are seeing.  This step in the process kind of caught me off guard.  With our international adoption, we just waited to get a call one day telling us all about child with very limited information. This process is so different.  With each case (or most of them) we get a lot of information thrown at us and each time there is a lot to pray about and process as to whether or not that case would be a good fit for us. It's a huge responsibility!

To date, we have been able to present to one birth mother and I anticipate that we will be presenting again here very soon. We know it could take us awhile to get chosen because we already have 3 children and that is okay. This process feels like it has gone at a blazing speed and we have full confidence that we will get matched right when we are supposed to.  This process is crazy unpredictable.   We could get (and have gotten) new situations at any moment. Some of the situations are for 6 months out and some are for babies already born!  Our world could literally change at a moment's notice. We just don't know and so we are in a constant state of anticipation and I always have my phone close to my side.

I don't know how much more I will end up sharing in the moment on this blog, I want to balance the fine line of sharing this experience for those who are curious about how it all works but also remembering to be extremely sensitive to the birth family and our own journey as failed adoptions are always a possibility.  This phase in the process is difficult and exciting all wrapped up together. I have so much sympathy for these woman we are learning about and hearing their stories. I want to be sure and protect them through this process too.

Sweet little baby,
I want you to know that you are always on our mind this day and we cannot wait to meet you. We have a bag packed just in case you arrive with little notice!  We finally agreed on a boy's name (to go along with our long loved girl's name) and the baby room is all put together and ready and waiting for your arrival.  We love you so much already and we can't wait to love you and welcome you into our family!  You are already a blessing in our lives as we learn more patience through this wait and anticipate the day we hold you in our arms for the first time!  As much as we hope we get to meet you soon, we also trust and know that our paths will come together in just the moment they are supposed to!  But we can't wait!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Home Study Approved!

Today is a very exciting step forward in the adoption process for us!  The paper chase is (kind of) coming to an end for us as we got word that we are approved by our social worker for this adoption and the home study is in the mail!  Now the real waiting begins, only because we have to keep working on that fundraising for a little while longer.

But we ARE eligible for any situations that come our way now.  I have the packets with our profile books and agency applications ready to get mailed out as soon as we get that home study in our hands to slip in the envelopes too. Those will be sent out to the agencies so they can get us in their systems. Then they will notify us if there is a birth mother who might be interested in us and we can choose to present to her when that happens!  All my friends seem to be matching very very quickly and we do understand that our situation, already having 3 children in the home could cause us to wait a bit longer than most families. But we're okay if that is the case.

We are also working on some grant organization packets.  Last time we were very blessed to receive a grant towards the fees associated with Malachi's adoption and we are hoping we might be fortunate enough to receive one with this adoption too.

Regardless of what these next few weeks and months hold as we continue to work towards getting our sweet little baby home we are so excited!  This is a huge step forward in the process and now that we can actually start considering available situations it brings the reality that we will soon be graced with another precious little baby!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fingerprints Approved!

I got wonderful news yesterday when I checked the mail and saw the letter stating my fingerprints were approved this time!  I was praying they would be approved but was prepared for the worst, which would delay us for another month or more.  I had another phone chat with our social worker yesterday afternoon and everything seems to be squared away for a quick turn around now.  I am hopeful the home study is being written as we speak and will be ready for our review!  It's an exciting time!

Things seem to be moving along much faster than I anticipated.  I have been in touch with several of the agencies and they are ready and eager to get all of the paperwork with them through (yes more paperwork for each individual agency too) and I anticipate it won't be much longer now before we are ready to present to families!  I feel like this is all happening so much quicker than we first anticipated and all I can think is God is lining this up in His time and not the timing we thought.  A lot of the agencies we are working with have been having urgent situations and more birth mom's than adoptive families signed on.  It's crazy and exciting and scary.  I know we still might have months of waiting in front of us but Baby Keyser #4 really is on the way!

Our biggest hold up still remains finances.  Most agencies require half of their fees at match and the other half at the birth. If it is a stork drop (meaning baby is born and needs a family) all of the fees will be due right away.  I am just trusting that when the time comes, we will have a clear path and direction as far as finances are concerned.  Good things are coming, probably sooner than we ever anticipated and we are so excited!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4 Months

Today marks 4 months since we began this adoption journey.  This month has been incredible!  We busted out some serious hard work this month and it has paid off. Last month we still had a lot of work to do towards our home study and I am happy to report that at this point ALL we have left is a couple more education classes and waiting on my fingerprints and it will be done!  Prayers for those pesky prints to clear would be much appreciated. IF those don't clear this time, it could very easily cost us at least another month.  As soon as the home study is done, we are ready to apply for several grants and hope that one or two of those options will pan out for us.

We also did some serious fundraising and moved much closer to our goals. To date, we now have paid for our consulting package, home study, profile books, agency application fees and are about 1/3 of the way to our goal of where we need to be before we can start applying for situations.  We are getting there and it is a huge relief.  We have a few more fundraisers in the works right now.  We are doing a Partylite Fundraiser this month, so if you are interested in that please email me at amymkeyser@gmail.com and I will get you the info!  We are also collecting items to do a garage sale here in April which we hope will move us even closer to this goal!

We (or mostly I) had a lot of fun this month pulling out all of the little baby stuff and getting it washed and set up in the soon to be nursery!  I know we are more than likely still several months away from our little one joining the family, but it is still nice to have the room ready for whenever the time comes.  I was also able to do a little bit of shopping for some special coming home outfits.  I sure do love the anticipation of a new little life joining our family!

Another big and exciting thing we completed was getting our profiles done!  The profile book is an important step in that it is the first impression of us that the birth family will get to see.  We hope we were able to portray ourselves in a true way and let the families who will be considering us see how important they will be to us.  Of the 20 copies of our profile we got done, only 7 were printed correctly but fortunately Peter was able to stop and get that resolved quickly. Now they are all sitting here, ready to be sent off to the various agencies just as soon as we have a home study in hand!

Oh sweet baby, the anticipation of your arrival into our family is building.  Every form and item crossed off the list brings us another step and day closer to you.  We love you already and pray for you nightly that God would keep you safe and healthy and that your birth mom would feel peace during this time.  More and more, we find ourselves talking about you and wondering if you will be a son or a daughter or when you will be born.  We've suspected fall or winter all along but now we're kind of wondering if you are going to be a summer surprise for us.  Only God knows that right now and we are content in knowing that the day will come that we will hold you in our arms and the waiting will be worth it!  We love you! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Auction is Live

Things for the adoption really seem to be rolling now!  Home study should be finished in the next couple weeks unless my fingerprints are rejected once again (please pray with us that they come approved).  Our profile books are now being made in anticipation of applying to agencies once we get home study approval.  We're doing all the prep work for the nursery and pulling clothes out of storage. That's always an exciting time for me as I anticipate blue or pink!  We know we could still be several months away from our placement as we continue to try and get the funds together.  Right now there are very few situations that will fit within our budget, but regardless I am happy to be moving forward and preparing for this little one!

We are also in the midst of a wonderful adoption fundraising auction on Facebook right now.  If you would like the link to the auction, please email me at affordfan@yahoo.com and I will send you the link!

We are also of course still putting our puzzle together.  The puzzle is right at about 30% funded right now. You can check it out here http://www.gofundme.com/forbabykeyser.

I am feeling very grateful right now and hopeful that things are really coming together for it now!  My arms are growing more eager by the day!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

3 Months

Somehow we are already technically 3 months into this process.  I say technically because it has been very slow going.  I feel like I have maintained my composure and patience pretty well so far but I admit to some faltering lately and wondering how in the world this is ever going to work out.

As much as I didn't want to, I had to put a lot of the adoption out of the for front of my mind in January as we prepared and traveled to Ethiopia. It was the right thing to do, but still hard for me as I am very much invested into our next baby!

The home study is still in progress and coming along SLOWLY but surely.  I posted awhile back about what we needed to compile and here's a boring ole update on where we stand today.

 - Contracts and application - Signed and complete
 - 4 Individual non-relative references - All should be in progress if not completed
 - Written Autobiography from each of us - Mine is done, Peter's is not
 - Guardianship form - Not done yet
 - Marriage Relationship form from each of us - Both are complete
 - Applicant History form from each of us - Neither is done yet
 - Release of information - Signed and Complete
 - Safety Assessment form - Not yet
 - Copy of Marriage License - Ordered and Received
 - Copy of Birth Certificate for all family members - Ordered and Received
 - Copies of Driver's License's  - Done
 - Bank Statement - Not Yet
 - Last Years Tax Return - Not Yet
 - Budget - Done 
 - Evacuation Plan - Not Yet 
 - 10 hours of adoption education - Not Yet 
 - FBI Fingerprints and background check - Peter's cleared, mine had to be redone - major BOO
 - State Fingerprints and background check - Peter's cleared, mine had to be redone - major BOO
 - Local background check - Not Yet 
 - Biography of all our children - Not Yet 
 - Medical reports from doctor on both of us - Was scheduled for the 29th but our doctor had to reschedule for the 12th.  
 - 6 hours of in home social worker visits - First visit scheduled for this weekend but considering the forecast we're probably going to be rescheduling for the 15th. 

So as you can see, progress is being made but there are still a lot of not complete components.  We've tried but it seems things keep getting delayed as is par for the course in the adoption world.  We're trying to roll with it all as we're not even in the difficult part of the waiting yet.  

Getting the funds in order has been slow but again, (trying to) roll with the punches here.  We've been blessed with some serious generosity and are gearing up for a silent auction very soon that has some great items that we hope will be very successful.  With the turn into spring we're also busy contemplating new ideas for fundraising from here on out!  I would estimate that we're only about 10% of where we need to be to even start waiting for a match right now.  That's hard for me to even admit but I'm putting it out there because I am excited to watch God work it all out.  

And just in case, our puzzle fundraiser is still going. If you would like to be a piece of the puzzle in bringing our little one home, you can still participate at http://www.gofundme.com/forbabykeyser

Oh LB,  As slow as our progress towards you is going, you are still at the forefront of our thoughts.  I know our paths will cross right when they need to. But I still pray that our time to meet is sooner rather than later. My arms are eager to hold you and kiss you and welcome you home.  Big brother Malachi is very eager to meet his brown baby brother all while the rest of us are pretty convinced you are going to be a little sister.  But regardless of whether you're a boy or a girl. We are all eager to meet you and will love you so much either way!   We're coming, no matter how long it takes!  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2 Months

It has already been 2 months since we decided to move forward with our adoption plan.  I can't help but wonder (and hope) that as we are in 2014 that this will be the year this sweet little one comes home.  I find myself wondering if our baby has been conceived and has been put into existent.  If our baby is a tiny little bean growing within his or her birth mother's tummy right now. I pray for the woman who is or will be carrying our child and try to imagine how she must feel. I pray that she finds peace and comfort during this time and that whoever is carrying our child has absolute confidence in her decision to pursue adoption.  In saying that, I mean that I never want to adopt or parent a child in which the birth mother has regrets about the decision to choose adoption.

This year has been off to a crazy start as we continue to gather home study paperwork.  We are also preparing for our first trip back to Ethiopia since adopting Malachi that is just a couple weeks away.  I was hoping to get our first social worker visit scheduled before we left and to get in for our adoption physicals, but I've had to become okay with the fact that those will need to wait until we get back from our trip.  There is still plenty that we can do in the meantime as we gather documents and work on personal history paperwork.  It is nice to be moving forward and as obnoxious as I find the whole home study process, piece by piece it is starting to come together. 

Getting the funds together has been a bit slow, but I am just trusting it will all come together when it needs to. We are working on raising the funds we need to put together for an agency and that will allow us to "go live" with our profile and wait for our match.  I am so grateful for everyone who has been moved to help us on this journey! It is humbling to see how God leads others to walk along side us on this journey. We will continue to put it together piece by piece and I know it will come together when it needs to.  We are eager to get an approved home study so we can start applying for adoption grants and can hopefully get started on that come March.

We already love you so much LB!  Our New Year's toast with your grandpa and grandma was dedicated to you!  We all have high hopes of seeing your sweet face and holding you in our arms this year. Our minds are swirling with baby names and starting to think of nursery ideas.  Every step and thought brings us a little bit closer to you and helps me feel a bit more tangibly connected to you .  A paper pregnancy is so completely different than an actual pregnancy but my feelings remain the same.  You are loved and thought of often.