July Update

Hey ya’ll. When I blogged last, we were preparing our authenticated documents– our complete dossier– to be shipped to our adoption agency. Since then, our dossier has been translated into Haitian Creole, authenticated at the Haitian Consulate in Chicago, had a final once-over at the adoption agency and been shipped to Haiti! YAY!! Our in-country adoption representative will take the dossier for legalization in Haiti then it will be sent to the state adoption agency.  

Our official dossier, with two full copies and our 3-ring adoption binder. Our “paper chase” in it’s entirety!

So a quick recap:

  • 11/11/18 we created our online adoption registration with America World Adoption Agency
  • 11/19/18 we were officially accepted in the Haiti program
  • 11/20/2019 started the “paper chase”
  • Filled out paperwork
  • Home study
  • Notarized paperwork
  • Fingerprints and background checks
  • More paperwork
  • Adoption education and essays
  • More notarizing of the paperwork
  • US Customs and Immigration approval
  • More notarizing of said papers
  • Authentication with the Missouri Secretary of State
  • Dossier translation from English to Hatian Creole
  • Authentication with the Haitian Consulate
  • Final adoption agency review
Myself with all of the documents and photocopies prior to sorting. Then Chris with the dossier in a FedEx box on it’s way to our adoption agemcy

In the meantime, our cousins Amber and Cyndy, along with my sister, Gabi, and one of my besties, Natalie, organized a 5K run as a benefit for our adoption. (Wow, that, was, a lot, of, commas…)  We were moved to tears and so humbled by the outpouring of support for our adoption journey.  The “Adopt a Mot 5K” was the best time I’d had at 7:00 am in a long time. HaHa!  So many of our friends, family and even complete strangers woke up in the wee hours of the morning to coordinate, participate and volunteer.  Every single person there (& donors that couldn’t physically be present) encouraged us greatly.  All together, $4,100 was raised.  $4,100!!  We are so appreciative.  Thank every single one of you!  It took a great deal of planning and commitment to organize.  Then an immense amount of discipline and devotion to wake up that early to run in the rain!  I wish I could express exactly how much we were blessed by each of you.  My heart has grown two sizes.       

In other news, Chris and I will be going to Haiti in December.  We’ll be joining a mission team from our adoption agency to do a Bible school and physical work on an orphanage.  If you know me, you know that I’m not cut out for laborous work.  And I say that in a very un-superficial kinda way– a gal knows her limits people.  I have sensitive, lady hands and I have trouble staying focused on one job for any prolonged length of time.  Just ask Chris about the time he had me painting the spindles on the front porch of our previous home.  There must have been 50, no probably 150 curvy spindles, all lined up close, needing 360 degrees of white paint that wasn’t supposed to drip on the brown below.  There I was, in the elements, just peck-peck-pecking my ill-fitting paint brush around each and every spindle in a pain-stakingly slooooow and laborous process…  See “grown woman melt down” in the dictionary! Ha.  Seriously, though, I’m really looking forward to going to the orphanages and working however I’m called. Be it labor or be it hugs.  I’m all in!    If you are feeling the tug to join, please do!!  Click here for more info:  https://awaa.org/one-orphan/take-action/trips/haiti-missions/haiti-benton-2/  The more, the merrier!

Adopt a Mot love!!
Us with our niece in our “Adopt a Mot 5K” merch!

In closing, rember that prayers are what we need the most.  Our wait is currently projected to be 38-48 more months BEFORE we receive a referral and another 1-2 years AFTER referral before we get to bring our kiddo home.  Pray that the process is expediated for us and all those in line before us.  We all know those waiting babies need families ASAP.  Also, pray for Haiti.  There have been riots and unrest which led to travel restrictions.  Government and medical offices are occasionally forced to close so adoption processes have been delayed for some.  Not to mention, the hectic conditions for the Haitian people.  Overall, there is improvement day-to-day and travel restrictions have been down-graded.  However, the troubles remian and continue to cause issues for the Haitian people.  Pray that conditions will improve overall and that the people will have proper representation in the government.  

May Update

My last update was in February. Say whaaaat? I can’t believe that much time has passed. We heard back from the United States Customs and Immigration Services and passed our FBI background checks. We received an official document that we have been approved to adopt one child internationally. That document doesn’t come notarized so we had to fill out and notarize different form that we attached to the USCIS document so it would be official. THEN we had to send our ORIGINAL NOTARIZED documents to the Missouri Secretary of State for authentication. This is to authenticate that all of our notarized documents have been notarized by official notaries. (I know, right?!?) You understand my hesitation… the ORIGINAL NOTARIZED documents… that we’ve collected, redone, followed very detailed instructions to complete. Now these precious papers, 24 documents in all, must be mailed away, authenticated and mailed back. GULP!!

Me with 24 notarized documents just prior to sending them for certification with the Missouri Secretary of State

So… I took the documents to the postal business. (Right after I had Palin take a picture of me with them. Haha. See above) I explained what I was doing and that I needed to include pre-paid, self-addressed mailers for the office to return the documents to me. And that the documents needed to arrive safely and rapidly and have return envelopes that would do the same. She rang me up and then, very casually, scooped up my papers and walked away to complete the mailing…. Call me a control freak but I panicked a little. I wanted to repeat that these are my ORIGINAL NOTARIZED DOCUMENTS that we have collected over the last six months. These papers physically represent every effort we have been making to meet our future child. These are precious pieces of paper that should be treated like gold and passed to each person along the way with an explanation of their importance…. But that’s not how it happened. She gave me a polite, “Awwww, good luck honey.” and wished those documents away like regular mail. GASP!! I walked out of there with happy tears rolling down my cheeks and silent prayers that the documents would arrive and return safely.

Today, to my surprise, the documents returned!! We are official. We’ve been authenticated and certified!! I shouldn’t be surprised because I specifically prayed that the Missouri Secretary of State Commissions office would quickly process, authenticate and certify our documents. So, that happened. Yep. Thank you Jesus!!

Tomorrow, I will make two copies of everything– one copy for us and one for our agency. Without removing or messing up the staples. Yep, those are official too. Then our second payment installment, 24 certified documents and one photocopy of said documents will be sent to our agency. It’ll be our official dossier!! I can’t believe I’m saying that!! From our adoption agency, our dossier will be sent for translation to Haiti. Errr. Merrr. Gersshhh!

I also want to mention that my lovely cousins and friends are organizing an “Adopt a Mot” 5K as a fundraiser. Mark your calendar!! June 22! Registration forms are due June 7th.

Also, we were beyond blessed by very generous loved ones contributing to our Go Fund Me and other donations arriving in the mail. Hearing that others are thinking of us and sending prayers on our behalf is such a blessing. I will never tire of saying, THANK YOU a million times over. Knowing we are supported along this journey just blesses my heart so much. A recent donation was very near to the amount needed for our next step. (Yes, I cried, and I still cry when I think about it. Tissue please!) God always provides. Even when we’re weary and waiting, there are reminders that we are on the right path. As I drove to work the other day, Alan Jackson sang out, “Ooonnnnly trust Him. Ooonly trust Him. Only trust Him nooooow. Heeee will save you. Heeee will save you. He will save you noooow.” (If you haven’t purchased that one yet, do it, it’s so great!! All the oldies but goodies hymns from the good ole’ days. Seriously, you’re going to be moved. It’s my favorite album right now.)

We are truly blessed beyond measure. Everyday I think about my little one in Haiti and I ask God to guard their little heart and bring them home safely. Please pray the same. We’re so eager to grow our family and see what God has in store.

Thank you all for reading. Get your running/walking shoes on and come see us on June 22!!

February Update

Hello again friends and family.  Plenty has happened since I last blogged.  We’ve completed all of the Home Study paperwork!!  Yay!!  This one was huge.   Happy dance!!  Our social worker has met with us three times, been to our house twice, interviewed Chris and I together and separate, talked with Palin, toured the house, checked the fire alarms, etc and is typing our home study now.  In the end, it’ll be a 13 page report about us, our home, our life, education, health, family, support system, marriage, EVERYTHING Haiti wants to know about us and then some. 

Also, our psych reports are back!! Drum roll please…… they were exquisitely boring!!  Haha!!  I have to say, I was hoping for some dirt on Chris.  Just kidding.  They were very detailed and described our coping skills, personality traits, degree of preparation and understanding of adoption and such.  Our psychologist is actually an adoptive parent herself so she offered a couple’s psych eval for a deep discount, $750 per couple, instead of $700 each.  It was a nice blessing.  Happy Valentine’s Day Chris!!  LOL!!

We also have officially decided to adopt one child, as opposed to a sibling set.  There are lots of reasons but in a nutshell, since we both work full time and intergrating one child can be very challenging, we want to do the best thing for everyone.  We don’t want to overwhelm us, our marriage, our bio kids or our adoptive child.  God could still surprise us and give us siblings but in general, our “request” will be matched as closely as possible.  Ours in actually very broad– one child, either gender, infant to 6 years old.  Don’t tell Chris but maybe we’ll just do this again one day.  Haha!!  But seriously…

Oh yeah.  I also wanted to update everyone about an upcoming fundraiser.  My thoughtful and generous cousins are organizing a 5K for us!!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 22nd!  Start training! Or come and root for the runners and walkers.  We’ll also need volunteers to pass out water and help organize I’m sure.  We’re super excited.  I think my brother and his family will even come home for it– mostly because it’s on his birthday but anyway….  JK Duke!  He’ll actally come because he’s competitive and it’s a race.  JK again.  He’ll most likely come because his big sister told him to.  Ha, I’m killing it over here!! LOL!   OK, I better be nice to my little brother.  He’s a good guy. (At least I’ll know if he’s reading my blog now)    😉

On the fundraising front, my sweet sister and niece have set up a Go Fund Me for us as well.  www.gofundme.com/motsingeradoptionfundraiser is the link.  I’m trying to figure out how to link it on my blog homepage.  Tech help accepted.  😉 As we prepare to submit our dossier, we will be doing two more sets of fingerprints, paying more adoption fees, etc.  The next step, over the coming months, is around $15,000.  Adoption is worth every penny but it certainly takes a lot of them. 

We’ve also been connected with another family in Missouri that brought home their little girl from Haiti last year.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them.  They have been very kind thus far, sharing some of their private experiences with us.  I treasure their honesty and generosity in sharing their journey.  There are just so many blessings sprinkled along the way and their witness is certainly one. 

This truly is such a blessed journey.  I’m still as eager as ever.  I can’t wait to meet my Haitian baby.  In the meantime, I pray that God protects his/her little heart and mind.  Orphan life can be rough.  My heart aches thinking about it.  Also, please pray that the process will be faster than expected.  The current situation is an average of 35-45 months between dossier submission and referral/match, then another handful of months before the first bonding visit of 15 days THEN another year to year and half before bringing a sweet baby home.  Heartache with a capital H! 

The good news is there was a meeting of government officials and adoption agency representatives.  The hopes is that the process can be streamlined.  The Obama administration put regulations on internation adoption with the intended purpose of protecting adoptees from human trafficking but, as red-tape can, it mostly just bogged down an already-stressed system that involves some third world countries that have limited resources.  Tough stuff.  We’ll learn more about this during our AWAA February conference call.  (Our agency really works hard to keep us updated and in-touch.  They’ve been so great!) 

I love keeping in touch with ya’ll.  Big hugs to you for reading my attempts at blogging and humor.  It sounds funny in my head and then… on the screen… well… cue the crickets chirping and awkward sideways glances… eeerrrr… anyway…  I’m nerdly like that.  Blessings!

Progress

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. -Jim Elliott

I keep reminding myself of this.  We’re barely getting our feet wet and already have moments that feel like things are moving slowly.  In reality, Chris was a mad-man checking things off the list like no one’s business.  We felt like we were charging ahead full speed.  Now, we’re waiting for more meetings and evaluations… hurry up and wait….

We were so excited to have completed so much of our homework.  Then we found out that the notary’s signature had to include a specific statement so some papers have to be redone.  Shoot!  Discouraged.

We were added to a private Facebook group with other families that are adopting from Haiti.  These families have mostly completed their paper chase and are waiting for a referral/ match/ to be notified of a child ready for adoption.  Some of these families are waiting years– 48 months, 35 months– for a match then even longer to meet and bring home their babies.  Discouraged.  

Then we got a group email update on the agency’s Haiti program as a whole.  Currently, the attorneys in Haiti are on strike so there is no movement on the legal side at all.  Hopefully, there will be a change on the administration side and then the attorney’s plan to get rolling again.  Two families have had progress.  One, after a 4.3 year process, including 17 months between their bonding trip and bring home day, have their sons home.  The other family, has had 11 months since their bonding trip and got word that they have been approved to bring their child home.  Happy for those families but the wait… ugh… discouraged.

It’s easy to be discouraged.  Such is life.  We knew it was going to be a long wait.  There is a lot to do in the meantime.  Plus, family Christmas activities have been a nice opportunity to take a break from the sometimes- overwhelming adoption process.  

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.  

Encouragment! We have plenty to be thankful for.  A momentary little blip of discouragement is already fading away.  There is talk amongst our friends and family of fundraisers to come.  I’m reading a book called “In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption” and plan to pass it along to family and friends if anyone is interested.  There are more options for online learning and group discussions.  We have to scan some papers then email them to our adoption coordinator– that sould pass some time.  Haha.  Not to mention all the duties that bless our family of four currently.

I recently learned the new terminology– the family, friends, mentors, teachers, etc that encourage and support the adoptive family are called the adoption circle.  I love that term.  As a child, our church would occasionally circle up, hold hands and sing “One in the Bond of Love.”  It was a meanigful ritual that I always enjoyed.    For the longest time I thought the lyrics were One in the Pond of Love.  I always imagined us standing in a pond and holding hands.  Haha.   When I read about the adoption circle, it gave me similar sentiment.  I love and appreciate the support from each of you.  You don’t even have to hold my hand and stand in a pond.  In fact, people in ponds make me nervous so let’s just be bonded, not pond-ed!

We’re continuing our process, slow and steady. Our social worker is coming to our house in January and then again in February.  We’ll be interviewed individually, as a couple and then the kids will be interviewed as well.  Also a tour of our home and chekcing for safety issues, etc.  Smoke dectors, check.  Outlet covers, check.  All ideas for safe homes welcome.  A 13 page report will soon be created which will be our official “Home Study.”  More paper work, more finger printing, more certified documents then it’ll all be sent to the state to be certifed.  Then we’ll have an official “dossier” packet.  Before it’s sent to Haiti, it’ll be translated into Creole.  But first, psych evals for both of us… this should be interesting.  LOL.  I’ll keep everyone updated. 

Before you go, take a couple minutes to read this particularly moving post on AWAA’s blog .  What a tear-jerker!  It’s so heartwarming to hear from other families along their journey’s. Thanks for following ours!

The Paper Chase

Ohhhhh the paper!!  I’d read that this part involved gathering a lot of documents and boy were they spot on.  We’re in the process of checking off lists of paperwork, online classes, certificates, pictures, essays, physical and psychological exams, etc.  (Stay tuned for Chris’ psychological results… haha!!)  But seriously, not only do you have to get papers gathered, they have to be notarized and the notary’s seal can’t expire within a year.  There are all kinds of crazy things to do.  AND there lists are so long and involved that it takes 4-6 months to get it done.  I never imagined all of the people that I would end up dragging into this process– our bankers, our family physician, a licensed psychologist, the sheriff, our employers, amongst others.  Not to mention that the documents they have to write/provide must be formatted in a very specific manner with key phrases and details listed just so.  It’s something!

We have our own adoption family coordinator that works specifically with Haiti program families.  She will help us with the paperwork, guidelines and requirements of the Haitian government as well as the US and International adoption requirements.  Then we also have a social worker.  She helps us complete a home study and handle all of the social services requirements before and after adoption.  We’ll meet with the social worker 3-4 times over the next 4-6 months.  She’ll interview Chris and I together, individually and then Palin and Jude as well.  She’ll also come see our home.  After the adoption, the Haitian government requires reports at 1, 6, 12 & 18 months as well as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 years.  The social worker completes the 6, 12, 18 months and 2 year reports and Chris and I do the rest.  

Chris is on the ball with the paperwork so far.  He put together a 3 inch binder with checklists and dividers.  Remember the 4-6 month timeline?  Well, naturally, Chris has goal to get our paperwork done in 1 month.  So far, we’re doing pretty well.   In fact, we weren’t going to meet with our social worker for a month or so but it just happens that she is meeting with a family in the KC area in 2 weeks so she’s going to meet with us that same day.  Yay!!

Currently, I’m in the middle of a required online training, Adopting the Older Child.  One of 10 training courses we have to complete.  Surprisingly, the information has been very helpful.  It’s very interesting to learn about the brain development of institutionalized children that don’t get individual attention and have their needs met. We’ve also learned about sexual abuse, parenting techniques, how to integrate an adopted child, etc.  And there is soooo much more to learn. 

Back to class…. 

Much love, 

Rachelle


It’s Official

Haiti.  It’s official. We’ve been accepted into the Haiti adoption program. Thank you Jesus! Squeal! 

Haiti! A country I knew little about a few months ago.  It’s located in the Caribbean and shares an island with the Dominican Republic.  That’s about the extent of my knowledge…until now.  I’ve been drawn to this little country in the recent months.  Now I love this little place.  I feel like I have kids there, waiting for me.  I’m a sponge, eagerly soaking up every bit of information I can about Haiti, international adoption, orphans.  

Forgive me for not siting sources.  My favorite English teacher would be disappointed. (Sorry Mrs. Fowler) Anyway, let me share with you some fun facts about this country I now love so dearly.

  • Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
  • 80% of the population lives in poverty.
  • Children living in orphanages make up 7% of the population.
  • Only 40% of the children attend elementary school and even less graduate high school.  
  • Haiti is 1/5th the size of Florida with 750 orphanages.
  • Because Haiti is so underdeveloped, the adoption process takes longer than most countries, deterring families from adopting from here.
  • Today, the weather was sunny and warm with a high of 94 and a low of 73. (Yes, I’ve started following this, *shoulder-shrug)

Our journey is just beginning yet I feel a connection deep in my soul. I can’t explain it other than a Devine calling. In my quiet prayer time I found myself asking, between now and dead (a quote from Dr Laura Schlessinger) what is your calling? In your prayer time are you asking AND listening, or just doing all the talking? If you were called to step out in faith, would you or would you try to negotiate a plan B?

Admittedly, initially, and sometimes even now, I negotiate…

  • Ok, I could be using my gifts more selflessly BUT not with toddlers or school-aged kids. I know You remember that one time in VBS when the school-aged kids came in from recess smelling like recess-kids and I sprayed the room with perfume until my little cousin started coughing and gasping- oops, yeah, let’s focus on another need Lord.
  • Ok, God, yes we can do this. BUT not internationally. That’s waaay too expensive.
  • Ok, God willing, we can do international adoption BUT only one child.
  • Ok, we could adopt a sibling group, if that’s God’s plan, BUT only two because more than that would be pushing the limits of my SUV and Lord knows I’M NOT A MINIVAN MOM!

I’m learning to surrender…all. But, as much as I love my minivan friends (you all are proud and brave) I’m really not a mini-vanner. Right Lord?!? Right?!? Oh puuuhhhlease answer me this one detail, no minivans. Jesus, hear my prayer. You know me so well…

As you can imagine, I’m still waiting to hear back on this one.

But seriously, IF I had to trade my SUV in for a grocery-getter, I would do it a million times over. First-World problem, Rachelle. Imagine being one of 750,000 children in an orphanage in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere wishing every night that you had a mom and dad that loved you and your sibling unconditionally. Perspective.

I recently read a quote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”– Jim Elliott.

Yes. Just yaaaasss. This is where you say, “Amen!”

And the Scripture is very specific:

“Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27

Loud and clear.

If you’re inclined, would you keep us in your prayers? I don’t believe this journey is a calling for everyone. Not at all. But if you’re willing, put us on your prayer list or share our story. We appreciate all the prayers and support more than I can say. Thank you to each of you that have reached out with words of encouragement. We’ve been blessed beyond measure by y’alls love.

Some have asked about other ways they can support us. If you feel called, donations can be made to our adoption fund, an account in our names (Chris and Rachelle Motsinger) with the sole purpose of funding our adoption, at Independent Farmer’s Bank, 1303 Main St, Stewartsville, MO 64490. Fundraising ideas are welcome as well.

The reality is, we’re looking at a minimum of $33,000 if we adopt one child, upwards of $60,000 for a sibling set of two. We can’t do this alone. I’m so moved and humbled by those asking to give. Thank you all.

Much love to all my mini-vanners. Please don’t be offended, the Lord is working on me. 😉

Humble appreciation for y’alls interest and readership,

Rachelle (Chris, Jude & Palin)

The Beginning

Hello readers.  Chris and I are officially beginning the process of international adoption. There’s so much to tell and we’ve barely begun. My sister-in-law encouraged me to start a blog so everyone can follow alongside us. 

Where to start? 

I’ve been feeling called to adopt for sometime now. I’ve spent time in prayer and research. At the same time, Chris has been loosely following a high school acquaintance‘s international adoption journey on social media.  

I finally discussed my thoughts with Chris. As he began researching, he was instantly put off by the cost. One night, after a two week hiatus from Facebook, he clicked on the app with intentions to only look at his updates. Instantly, at the top of his feed, a video caught his attention. It was a video blog about the high school acquaintance‘s journey to adopt their son from South Korea. He and his wife spoke specifically about the finances and how it can be very intimidating but God provided for them. They encouraged others to step out in faith and trust that God would provide. The video discussed much more than finances of course but the financial part was exactly what Chris needed to hear. Their testimony was moving and spoke deeply to us. One day we’ll have to tell them how instrumental they were in our journey. 

Now we begin…

So far we’ve :

  • Chosen a Christian faith-based adoption agency America World http://Awaa.org
  • Been pre-accepted into the Haiti program
  • Spoken with the Intake Counselor and submitted an official application
  • Recognized that we’ll need anywhere from $30,000 – $60,000 to complete the adoption. (Gulp!)

Currently, we would love prayers. Prayers  for guidance, financial assistance, faith and discernment. 

Thank you all for reading. I’m so eager to see where God leads us and I’m excited to start this process!! More soon…