Family Pic Nov 2015

Family Pic Nov 2015

Monday, January 31, 2011

Heartwarming Stories

Throughout this adoption journey, many have asked how our children are feeling about all of this and what their expectations are. I have some recent, heartwarming stories to share.

Steve, Kacey (our 11 year old) and I have been watching the TV series "Lost" since the summer on Netflix. Kacey and I were in the kitchen talking about whether a character Juliet was "really" dead. Regan (our 3 year old) comes running from the playroom with a very worried look on her face. In a sad little voice she asks, "Did Julia die?" Poor little girl. We assured her Julia was just fine. She was so concerned!

And last week, while Ethan (our 6 year old) was outside playing in the snow, my neighbor asked him if he would shovel her sidewalk for $2. He got right to work and told her he was going to give the money towards Julia and Aaron's adoption costs. He came straight home after earning his $2 and proudly handed it over. Very heart warming!

Kacey is obviously at an age where she can understand more about the serious problem of how many orphans there are, particularly special needs kids in many countries. She has her own "list" of Reece's Rainbow kids she would want to adopt if she could. She was sad the other day when we learned that one of the kids on her list with Down's Syndrome passed away in an EE orphanage. I believe God is preparing her heart to someday be the answer for some of these children needing homes.

And Evan, our youngest, at almost 21 mo. old, is much too young to understand all of this. We do talk about Julia and Aaron often and their pictures are taped to the kitchen cabinets. I have heard him attempt to say both of their names!

Even though they are not here yet, they are very much a part of our lives. When we are saying prayers with the little ones at bedtime, they are the first ones to remind us we need to pray for them. This morning the three oldest divided up their stuffed animals and decided which ones they were going to give to Julia and Aaron. We cannot wait until they are here and the kids can shower them with love and attention every day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back to Texas!!

The proof of home mortgage arrived today!! But AHMSI did not disappoint us in the area of incompetency one last time.....they gave us two different tracking numbers that were both incorrect. I was starting to panic when I was on the phone with them AGAIN, trying to figure out why we couldn't track it and it hadn't showed up this morning. It turns out the UPS delivery was late probably due to snow in our area. But come on....nobody at AHMSI could figure out what the tracking number was and they were supposed to call me when they figured it out. I was sure they had finally gotten the document correct and then LOST IT! I think I would have been sick. Literally 10 minutes after I got off the phone with them, the UPS guy shows up and THERE IT IS :)

And this afternoon, we sent it Austin, TX to get it apostilled. Yay!!!!!
God won the battle like I knew HE would!!!!!! Hopefully next week it will be off to EE with the rest of our dossier and then we wait............

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

They finally got it right!!

Wow! Amazing! I can't believe it!

We got AHMSI to fax us the proof of home mortgage document, so we could physically look at it before they mailed it.....and they actually got it right. Of course, the only thing we couldn't "see" is whether it is an original document. But I was sure to ask them at least three times if the signatures were in ink and were NOT COPIES!!! They assured us they were in ink. They will mail it out to us tomorrow and should arrive on Thursday. Then we have to turn it around and send it back to Austin, TX to get it apostilled. This can take up to 10 business days for processing. We will send a letter expressing the urgency of this and also look into whether Congressman Wittmann's office can call as well. We may just be able to send this to EE by the time the SDA office begins processing dossiers again!!

I'm sooo glad that this is the last time I will be writing about this crazy ordeal : ) Thanks everyone for the support, encouragement, prayers, and for "hearing" my rants!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dossier arrived

It actually arrived in EE on Friday. The day after we sent it, we got word that one of the documents has changed. Anyone's dossiers that have not yet been submitted, needs to redo this document and send it again. We'll get that out this Wednesday. From what we've heard, the SDA office begins processing dossiers on Feb. 10. Hopefully ours will be translated by then, so it can be submitted as soon as it opens.

In the meantime, I'm still working on getting AHMSI to "process" our request in the event that the SDA rejects our dossier without proof of home mortgage. I've called Friday and this evening. All I keep getting is that it has been noted that our request is being processed. On Friday, I spoke to a supervisor who told me he'd try to make sure someone higher up pushes this through this Monday or Tuesday. We'll see.....

BTW, the previous post now contains all 40 seconds of the video footage of Julia!!! Check it out : )

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This made my day!!

Good morning everyone! Yesterday, Autumn sent me this video of Julia. It was sooooo good to see this. I just can't wait to pick her up out of that crib!! Don't you love her laugh? Oh my gosh....so sweet : )


video

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little hope for AHMSI

Just want to let you all know that we really believe there is little hope for AHMSI pulling through. After repeated attempts yesterday and today to find out when the document can be notarized correctly and sent to us, we were told that they have 72 business hours to process our request. That's 9 business days. We can't seem to get anywhere with them.

We did a bit of research on the company and found several things out that lead us to believe we have no recourse in dealing with them. They are not publicly traded, the company is owned by foreigners, lawyers have sued and tried to serve subpoenas, there are armed guards in the building that let NO ONE in, the list goes on and on. Basically, it seems EVERYONE that deals with them, eventually gets no where and just decides not to do business with them anymore.

We already knew this, but they are not a lending company, just a debt collecting agency. We found that 93% of the loans are not even owned by them, they just receive a service fee for continuing to collect the debts. There really isn't anyway to find out if our mortgage has been "sold" off, and even if we could, we probably wouldn't get anywhere with whoever they may be. We seem to be at a dead end here.

So I'm glad we didn't send anyone on a wild goose chase (including ourselves), wasting time trying to physically go there and try to get this done. That would have been a waste of anyone's time and money. We need to pray that the SDA approves our dossier without this proof of mortgage.

In the meantime, we are going to try to find some way to get our mortgage information on our county assessor's document again. Not sure how yet, but this may be our only option. If it works, then we can have it apostilled here in VA. It would be much quicker this way!

Please pray that something comes through!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Going to send dossier

We've been told to go ahead and send dossier without the mortgage letter. So tomorrow Steve is going to Richmond to get everything else apostilled and mail it out. The worst that can happen is the SDA office rejects it, saying they need that document. But while the dossier is in transit and being translated, we can still be working on AHMSI to get it right. If we need to send it later, we can. It'll just cost another 100 bucks to mail it separate, but I guess that's still cheaper than our other alternative....Steve flying out to AHMSI headquarters in Irving, TX to get it taken care of. If anyone knows of someone in the Dallas area that could assist us in making sure the next document AHMSI mails us is correct would be awesome!!

Bad news....

Again, they got it wrong. This time it contained all the necessary info. on AHMSI letter with original signature, with a notary statement filled out by notary. This has been the complicated part for them.

I called my 11 year old daughter and her 11 year old friend who was over into the kitchen. I asked them to look on the instruction list and tell me if this document is correct. THEY could very quickly point out to me that two things were wrong. First, the notary stamp is overlapping some of the notary statement text. The instructions state....the notary stamp is not overlapping any writing, lines, or anything else (including the "notary seal" text). There was over 3 inches of space left at the bottom of the page, so there should have been no reason for this sloppy stamping. If this was the only problem with it, we may have considered trying to submit it for approval. But another more significant problem is when the notary wrote in the year, she accidentally wrote 20"10". Simple mistake given the recent new year. So you would think a competent notary would throw it out, have AHMSI print out another copy, and start over. Not this lady! She does what the instruction sheet explicitly states not to do.....nothing is written-over (such as wrote a 0 and tried to change it to an 8). The instructions even have the part in parentheses on it. What is wrong with them??

So, I spent the rest of this morning on the phone with them in tears. I got nowhere because nobody is there that can do anything for me since it's a holiday. Nobody will get any of the messages until tomorrow. The only other idea we can come up with is to have them scan the document (when they think it's right) and email it to us for approval before they mail another incorrect document to us. This is if they are not too frustrated and exasperated with all of this, even though it is their incompetence.

I'm really sorry to keep venting here all the time. It does bring me comfort that so many of you are praying for this situation to come through. God must think we all sound like broken records at this point!And all the advice and other options suggested (even though they have not been approved) are also very much appreciated. We have heard that the SDA office will begin processing dossiers again on Feb. 10. I thought it would have been a bit earlier than this. So we have a bit more breathing room in getting our dossier sent, translated and submitted. All is God's timing!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tracking.....

Just checked on UPS.com and AHMSI did not send it out as quickly as expected, so the expected delivery date for the verification of mortgage has been updated to Monday, instead of Saturday. I guess this really doesn't delay things a whole lot. Whether we turn it back around to TX for apostilling on Saturday or Monday, the office will probably be closed Monday and it won't get looked at until Tuesday. We will send a letter with the document expressing our extreme urgency and hopefully they will get it back to us by Wedn. or Thurs. That would mean our dossier would be sent out by Thursday or Friday at the end of next week. Please continue to pray that it is CORRECT and that the office in TX is speedy with the apostilling!

This has been a week of much aggravation, frustration and time spent on this one document. We are hoping to have a restful and enjoyable weekend and pray the same for all of you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We think success again.....

Sooooo.....I just got off the phone with AHMSI. The supervisor had the document in her hand and was putting it in an envelope as we spoke. I went through the checklist of instructions with her. She sounded a little annoyed as she said "yes" to each of them. She did apologize for the all of the difficulty this has been for us. She says someone will call us a little later with the tracking number once it is actually mailed and that it should arrive Saturday. I will almost be afraid to open it and look at it. I will keep everyone posted on whether we have success or not! Thank you all again for the advise, encouragment, and most importantly the prayers : )

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blah.....

Today has been a very bad day for us. We have really hit rock bottom with this mortgage verifcation document. Hours and hours on the phone, waiting, and still don't have this in our hands. The option of adding the mortgage info. to our county asessor document is a no go. The county won't notarize it with that info. on it. Steve hit a breaking point and was in tears as he left there. I was sobbing earlier in the day after being on the phone with them and getting nowhere.

Then I was on the phone with mortgage company later this afternoon trying to find a supervisor who could update me. I faxed a document to them last Friday, showing them exactly what we need. We actually scanned and altered one of their previous letters to us so they have a format of exactly what we need.....spoon fed to them. The supervisor got off the phone with me saying he was going to walk down to the research and resource dept. and check on this personally. When he called me back, he said they are working on it. This is what I have gotten everyday of this week from them. It shouldn't be a very time-consuming task. Their excuse when I politely inquire as to why this is so difficult, is that it is "an unusual request." He also told me that after this person finishes with it, it has to go through some "approval" office. I've asked them to have someone call me before it gets mailed to me, so I can personally go over the instruction list and make sure it's right. He couldn't guarantee that this would happen, but that he would email this dept. of my request.

We really wanted to get our dossier mailed by Friday. But even if we get the document overnighted and it arrives tomorrow, assuming it's done right we have to turn it back around to TX and get it apostilled. I guess right now we are mostly panicking because our other "last resort" ideas are ending up roadblocked. It scared us that we are having to rely on this very incompetent company to get us what we need. Very discouraged, very tired, losing our patience, very stressed. Very bad day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Kevin" has a family!!

Please help this family as they do not have time to fund raise for this very urgent adoption! Click here for information on how to make a donation. And pray for this family and this boy that everything goes perfectly as God has planned!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still waiting on AHMSI to come through!

Are you all tired of hearing about this? I sure am tired of venting about it. The devil is hard at work here. That's the only explanation I have for all of this. Everything else in this process has been time consuming, but not overly difficult. Hopefully the next I post, it will be with rejoicing over conquering this evil hurdle!

Twice this week, AHMSI has overnighted a document. Both of them have been done incorrectly. Neither are notarized properly with a notary statement filled out. One doesn't even have a bank representative signature. They used some sort of electronic signature so we're not sure what they were notarizing. The one that does have a signature is not an original. We think one dept. signed it, scanned it, and sent it to another dept. to notarize.

I spoke with the same supervisor today that I spoke with yesterday. I explained everything AGAIN as clearly and as patiently as I could. I asked if she could call me before overnighting anything this time, so I can go over it with her to make sure it's right. I have not heard back from her yet. So I don't know whether she will call me or if I will have another document show up tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, we are going to take the verification of mortgage document that we have (one that's not notarized at all) and attach a sheet that is the same as the one used to notarize the immigration approval. We will use the exact same form used for the immigration approval notary, change the wording to make it applicable to our verification of mortgage (complete with notary statement) and get it notarized at our local bank. This sheet basically states that the attached document is true and we sign it. This is the only other idea I have. We will send it for approval through Reece's Rainbow's contact in Ukraine and pray that they give it the okay!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Immigration Approval!!

It arrived in the mail today! That sure was fast : ) Sooooo.....now we are only being held up by our ridiculous mortgage company. We did not hear from anyone today. I think I will get on the phone and put some more pressure on!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Looking forward to 2011

We just want to wish you all a very happy New Year! We are so looking forward to all that 2011 brings our family. Never did we imagine God would choose us to be adopting two beautiful children this year. We have always talked of adoption, but if it been left up to our time table, we would have waited until our 20 month old was a couple of years older. We know that God's timing is perfect and we welcome these two beautiful children with open arms! We're starting to feel the pressure of all that we want to get done before bringing Julia and Aaron home. But we also can't wait to be going over there to hug and hold them.

As far as the verification of mortgage....it is still not done correctly. Although they overnighted the verification of mortgage to us, there were two problems.

Problem #1: No representative of their institution signed it. So we are not sure what the notary was notarizing. There was some kind of electronic signature of the institution's name, but no date. We don't think this will fly.

Problem #2: There is no notary statement for the notary to fill out on the document. So the notary just put her notary stamp at the bottom of the page and wrote in X___________________ and signed her name on the line she drew. And no date here either.

Steve faxed it to our volunteer through Reece's Rainbow to see if this will work, but we are not hopeful. We have not heard back from him yet.

In the meantime, I called the company in TX again and got on the phone with the same executive. I explained the problems to her. I then told her I would have Steve fax and form to her so that all they would have to do is copy it onto their letterhead, fill out complete with notary stamp, and get it back to us. She said that they might not be able to copy the form onto their letterhead since it is not one of their documents. Ahhhh!!!!

So on Friday, I faxed her another suggestion......they write their own letter to us with all the necessary information. They had already done this before for us except the letter they sent was not notarized and it contained a bunch of unnecessary advertising info. I sugguested they shorten the previous letter they had sent to us (on their letterhead) keeping only the necessary info. we need, copy just the notary statement, and notarize it properly following the explicit instructions we have already provided them.

Yikes is this getting so frustrating!! I am trying to be nice and accomodating, so long as they continue to be willing to try and get this done right for us. She is sounding annoyed, but I am trying to be patient and not condescending. It has been very hard as they are not very competent.

So another week has gone by and we still don't have this done. We are still waiting for our immigration approval so it has not technically held us up yet. But if they don't get their act together, we will soon be waiting on just them.

Still hoping and praying that we can send dossier in mid-January!