Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Other Families Receive NOC

Today was a busy day on the Dillon Discussion Forum. Several other families received NOC today. Jynger emailed this morning and told me it was OK to post about our NOC because the family that had been waiting the longest, finally, received theirs. Actually there were 3 or 4 that actually came in today. So...lots of happy families today!!! So much for all of us to be thankful for. God is so good.

Monday, November 21, 2005

NOC

I could barely speak when Jynger called me on November 3rd. She gently said "Kushal has NOC." I almost dropped the phone and I started screaming "you're kidding, you're kidding?" She reassured me that she was not kidding. I just could not believe it. From what we could figure, our paperwork went to CARA around the first of October. This was amazing. NOC in just over 4 weeks. Woo...hoo....I'll take it.

I called Charlie and he was just as stunned as I was. That evening we went out to dinner and he told me that he was in shock. It's just happened so fast that he is now in panic mode. It finally hit him that this is truly going to happen and before long we are actually going to become parents. It is a little frightening when that realization finally hits you.

I haven't posted this on the Dillon Discussion Forum yet. There are several families that have had their paperwork at CARA a lot longer that we did and they still have not received NOC. There is absolutely no rhyme nor reason to how or when NOC is issued.

We're going to relish in our excitement for now and pray for a speedy guardianship. God is so good!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Showers Of Love

We have had 3 showers so far. We have wonderful friends.

The first shower was given by the ladies in our Sunday School class. Tammy Hern hosted at her house with the assistance of Marla, Traci, Daniele and Melissa . There were lots of girls from the class there and we had great fun. These are great women who have always shown great love and support for us. They gave us wonderful things for Ian. Charlie's job now is to figure out how to put the rockin' jitter buggy together.

The next shower was held by the staff at the South Tulsa Cancer Center (one of the offices I manage). My good friends Debbie and Laura were the hostesses. The shower was held at Debbie's house in Claremore. We had a great time with all of the food and fellowship. Kimberley was there with her adorable little girl, Emilee (who's 2 years old). Terry was there with her grand-daughter, Alexa, who's about 5 months old. Traci was there...who is pregnant. Julie, Kelly, Cindy, Disa, Shani, Carol and of course Deb and Laura were all there as well. The food was great. Ian was certainly showered with lots of presents and fun stuff. Laura made a beautiful scrapbook for him. She's going to teach me how to scrapbook....since I haven't a clue and she's obviously a pro. What a wonderfully fun day.

The third shower was held at the Yale Cancer Care office. Lori & Amy hosted it during lunch on Wednesday, 11/9. Robin made the cake....which was absolutely delicious. She makes the best carrott cake in the world. The base of the cake was carrott...then she had an airplane on top (Ian's nursery is in airplanes) that was white cake (another of my favorites). Yum, yum, yum, yum. Lots of folks from the office came downstairs and the presents just kept coming. Kevin helped me keep things moving. Amy and Lori did a great job and surprised me with a framed picture of Ian that had been matted and all of the folks in the office had signed. It is just beautiful and I was truly, truly touched.

Through all of this, I have truly felt the love and support of our friends. I know that Ian will not only be loved by us and our family....he will be loved by our extended family....our friends.

Thanks to everyone who came to the showers, purchased gifts or sent their well wishes. We appreciate everything and love all of you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Emotional Roller Coaster

When we started this journey, we were told that it would be an emotional roller coaster. I said, "sure, I know, I know."....BUT....little did I know how true that was.

As we started the process, we were excited, scared, determined and motivated. The first part was fairly easy. There was a lot of paperwork, but I'm pretty good at that sort of thing so it wasn't a big deal. Then came home study....again....not that big of a deal. I was more worried about it before it began than I was when it was actually happening.

After home study, we had our dossier to complete. Again...more paperwork....again...not too bad. Then it all started.....the wait....the emotion....the feelings.

We went on the waiting list on November 30, 2004. Woo, hoo....we're #6 on the list...we thought it would be a breeze and we'd have a referral shortly after the beginning of the year and we would definately have him home in the fall of 2005. As the weeks progressed, we found that no referrals were coming in due to the orphanage re-licensure issue in India. That was a little concerning, but I was still positive that we'd have him home before the holidays.

More weeks...months....passed. Still no referral. We started to get a little discouraged. In May, we were told that there probably would not be any referrals until at least July. We were crushed. I was an absolute mess. Even Charlie was pretty upset.

So...I settled in for a little longer wait. Knowing that probably in July we'd have a referral.

Then we got an email from our social worker saying they had 2 infant boys ready for adoption in Guatamela and they would like 2 families to switch programs. So...we prayed about that....talked about it alot....and looked at the whole financial picture. Neither of us slept much that night. We still were not completely ready to switch programs. I spoke with Tami on Monday and we decided to stay right where we were for a little while longer.

July rolled around. Still no license for the orphanage....still no referrals. Then....woo, hoo....we received word that the license had been issued. We were celebrating!!!! We knew that there were several children ready for referral, but we had no idea how many and if they were boys or girls. So...we waited some more.

At the end of August, the first referrals started coming through. But...there were no boys. Again....devasted. We did not know when or if any boys would be coming in this early set of referrals. So, we just prayed that God would comfort us and send our baby to us. But...I wanted him right that moment. All in God's time. That's easy for me to say now, but it wasn't so easy at that moment.

Finally, we received the call. There was a little boy for us to consider....BUT....he is special needs. Confusion, concern, fear, excitment....these were just a few of the feelings we had. We had anticipated referral day to be one filled with shouts of joy, lots of phone calls, tears, etc. What we were feeling on that day, was nothing like that. We had lots of questions. We didn't tell anyone that day except two of my very dear friends, Amy and Lori.

The day that we accepted the referral...THAT was a glorious day. All of the joy we had been supressing, the excitement, the tears, the "happy dance"....that all came out on September 14th.

So...it truly has been an emotional roller coaster so far.....and we're only beginning.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Name

Ian = God Is Gracious (how true, how true)
Everett = Strong (perfect fit for our little guy)
Kushal = Clever (we're looking forward to seeing his clever side)

People ask me often how we came up with his name. Since Charlie and I have been married, we have said that if we ever had a son we'd name him Ian. So....we're having son....and his name will be Ian.

Everett was my maternal grandfather's name.

We have always wanted to keep all or part of his Indian name. So, since he only has one name...Kushal....we're keeping it.

Charlie says that he will know when is Mom is really irritated with him...when I use his FULL name....Ian Everett Kushal Conner. Kinda has ring to it!!!

Acceptance Paperwork

September 15, 2005: I called Jynger at Dillon and told her that we were accepting the referral of Kushal (Ian). She said she would get our acceptance paperwork ready.

We went to the Dillon office around 4:30 and picked up the paperwork and the instructions on completing it.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!

We then went to Johnnie's to grab a burger with Stephanie and Molly. That was special!!! Since Molly kind of started this ball rolling for us. She's such a sweet little China Doll.

After dinner, we stopped by Walgreen's on the way home and made a copy of his picture. What a beautiful little boy. HUGE brown eyes!!!

We started signing the paperwork around 8:00pm. We signed for one hour without taking a break. Then we took a short break and continued signing. We signed our names countless times. Every page had to be signed and dated. Keep in mind...it was September. When we dated...we had to write our SEPTEMBER every single time. It couldn't have been a month like "May". We finally finised around 10:30pm. My had was really tired at that point. There were more signatures than a mortgage.

We dropped everything off at Dillon the next day (September 16, 2005).

So...now the wait for NOC begins.

Pediatrician Meeting

Setpember 14, 2005: Our appointment to meet with our pediatrician was at 4:30. Charlie and I headed to South Tulsa around 4:00pm and sat anxiously in the waiting room. Around 4:45pm we were called back to his office.

Eariler in the day, I just prayed that God would speak through the pediatrician and we would have a very clear yes or no from God by the words the doctor spoke.

Dr. Sood came in and we began to go over the medicals. OK...pretty positive I thought. We plotted out growth and development. Still positive. OK...when is the other shoe going to drop? Finally I said...but what about this, and what about this? He looked at Charlie and said "I can always tell when Mom's have been spending too much time on the internet". He went on to explain the risks involved with Hydrocephalus and shunts. He answered all of our questions and concerns.

Charlie and I left his office (both with tears in our eyes). When we got in the car I asked Charlie what he thought. He looked at me and through the tears said "That's my Son." We were a mess. Both crying and excited.

God had given us our answer...twice...and we now had to put all of our trust and faith in him.

We headed to Build-A-Bear to make a bear for baby Ian.

GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!

Referral

September 7, 2005: I had just returned from lunch and checked my voice mail. I had a message from Tami (our social worker at Dillon). She said that they had received a referral of a little boy and she wanted to know if we wanted to consider it. Why would she ask such a question? Well, he has Hydrocephalus (in lamens terms...water on the brain). He had a shunt placed and all is working well, but it is considered a special needs referral. I called Charlie and told him what the message said and we decided that yes...we wanted to take a look. We had checked "maybe" on our special needs checklist, so we felt like we needed to take a look and then talk to our pediatrician.

We received the 30 page fax from Jynger (our case manager). Wow...that's a lot of stuff to look through. We took everything to our pediatrician and waited for a call back.

In the mean time.....I spent HOURS on the internet researching Hydrocephalus. Way too much time. I had scheduled a day off on Friday, September 9th. That day, I spent countless hours on the internet and in prayer. Sometime in the afternoon, I just asked God to give me some kind of a sign and let me know if this was indeed our baby. Being the patient person I am (NOT), I kept looking at my watch and thinking "OK God, where's my sign." The afternoon and evening went on and still no sign. I knew that I probably would not hear from our pediatrician until at least Monday.

That evening, Charlie and I were sitting in the living room watching TV (around 10:00pm or so). Suddenly, out of the blue, I said "hey honey, when did we meet Anju (the director of the orphanage in India)?" He said "well, I don't know...what made you think of that?" I said "I'm not sure." I proceeded to hop on the computer and search for the date. Well of course, I couldn't get on to my outlook calendar. So, I searched the Dillon dicussion forum. When I finally found the post....chill ran up my spine and I screamed "OH, MY GOD." Charlie quickly asked, "what is it?"

We met Anju on March 24, 2005....the day Kushal was born. THERE WAS MY SIGN!!!!

So, after a few mintues in prayer thanking God for giving me a clue....I had to ask myself if I was reading too much into it. But...I still couldn't ignore and I didn't want to.

We knew we needed to wait and talk to the pediatrician, but I think God was whispering in our ears....we just needed to listen and trust.

Timeline

June 12, 2004: Attended Adoption Workshop at Dillon International
June 20, 2004: Submitted Application Part 1 to Dillon International
August 23, 2004: Completed and submitted Application Part 2 to Dillon International.
September 11, 2004: Submitted I-600A pre-file to BCIS
September 20, 2004: First Home Study Visit
October 1, 2004: Home Study Complete
October 29, 2004: Home Study Approved by Dillon International
November 2, 2004: Received Dossier Packet from Dillon International
November 30, 2004: India Dossier Complete and Submitted to Dillon International
November 30, 2004: Place on Waiting List at #6
February 19, 2005: Attended Physical and Emotional Care of Newly Adopted Children workshop at Dillon
March 24, 2005: Attended reception for Ms. Anju Roy from ISRC at Dillon International (THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DATE!!!!!)
April 1, 2005: Approved Home Study Submitted to BCIS
April 13, 2005: Traveled to OKC to BCIS for finger printing
April 20, 2005: Received I-171H
July 30, 2005: Attended CPR and First Aid class at the Red Cross
September 7, 2005: Referral Received
September 14, 2005: Referral of Kushal (Ian Everett Kushal Conner) Accepted!!!! Yippee!!!!
September 15, 2005: Acceptance Paperwork signed and submitted to Dillon International. We are waiting now for NOC and Guardianship to be completed.
November 3, 2005: NOC Received!!!! Woo, Hoo.....Now we are just waiting for guardianship. Hopefully we'll have this little guy home before long.
December 6, 2005: New pictures received
December 12, 2005: Video of Ian (3 minutes of Heaven).
December 21, 2005: Legals (guardianship) received.
December 28, 2005: Legals actually received at Dillon office in Tulsa.
February 1, 2006: Booked travel to India (departing Tulsa on Tuesday, February 14, 2006)
February 10, 2006: Received an email from Jynger that Ian's passport was lost in the mail. We can still travel, but we may get delayed in Kolkata.
February 13, 20006: Received call from Jynger first thing this morning. Ian's passport has been found. We're good to go.
February 14, 2006: Depart for India
February 16, 2006: Arrive in Kolkata
February 17, 2006: Gotcha Day!!! Ian was placed in our arms forever.
February 19, 2006: Depart Kolkata for New Delhi
February 21, 2006: Filed I-600 and Visa in New Delhi
February 22, 2006: Picked up Visa in New Delhi
February 23, 2006: Departed New Delhi for USA
February 24, 2006: Arrived in Newark at 4:20am. Arrived in Tulsa, OK at 1:30pm.
March 10, 2006: First post placement visit.
April 30, 2006: Baby Dedication at Church
May 24, 2006: Second post placement visit.
July 24, 2006: Third and final post placement visit.
January 19, 2007: ADOPTION FINALIZED!!!
November 7, 2007: Certificate Of Citizenship granted.


The list looks kind of short and simple. But, trust me.....between November 30, 2004 and September 7 2005....there were lots of ups and downs. We happened to hit it on a year that the orphanage in India had to be re-licensed. That took FOREVER....well, I guess it just seemed like forever. Referrals could not be made until the license was renewed. There were no referrals from October 2004 until August 2005. Then they started coming in. 4 little girls were referred first and then we got the referral of our sweet baby Ian.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Journey

Our story began in January 2004. Some dear friends of ours, Stephanie and Paul, had just come home with their darling daughter, Molly (adopted from the Hunan province of China). We left her 1st birthday party and Charlie put his arm around me and said "we need to do this." Well, he didn't have to say that twice. I WAS READY!!!

The next few weeks were spent with us looking at different adoption agencies on the internet. I went a little crazy....thorough resarch I called it...and requested information packets from 48 different agencies. At that point, we were looking at adoption from Azerbaijan or Russia. India wasn't even on the radar at that time. As the packets began to come in, I was obsessed with reading every word and looking at all of the information they sent us. Charlie would look as I showed him things, but he preferred to wait until we had all of them in and then go through them.

On Easter Sunday 2004, we sat down at our kitchen table and poured through the packets. We narrowed it down to 20. Then we narrowed it down to 15 and then finally to 8. We knew there was a workshop coming up in Stillwater, OK for one of the agencies we had in our final 8. We sent in our registration material. At the same time, we registered for the Dillon International workshop that was being held in Tulsa on June 12, 2004.

We attended workshops for American World and Children's Hope International. India had popped up on the radar, but we still thought we were going to Russia.

We had already told our family and friends by this time. Everyone was so excited for us.

Finally, June 12th came around. We really thought Russia was the place for us, but we wanted to attend the Dillon workshop since they are literally only 5 miles from our house, they have an incredible reputation, they (Jerry & Denise Dillon) attend our church, and we had already paid our tuition fee for the workshop. As we sat through the workshop, and our thoughts kept coming back to India. We left the workshop that afternoon very confused. We didn't talk a whole lot on the way home, but we were both thinking and feeling the same way we later discovered.

Later in the evening, we finally verbalized what we were feeling. We both felt very, very drawn to India and led to Dillon International. So, we decided we would think about it some more and ask God for direction. As the week progressed, things just kept coming in our path that made us both feel that God had a plan for us and that plan was in India.

On Father's Day (June 20, 2004), we filled out our application to adopt a son from India through Dillon International (www.dillonadopt.com).

That's the beginning of our bumpy and miraculous ride. I'll post our time lines and more information about this incredible experience. Stay tuned.

Creation of Blog

Today we are creating our Blog to document our journey to get Ian, our beautiful son waiting for us in Kolkata India. More posts to come soon.