We’ve reached another milestone! Our dossier is officially on its way to Thailand! As you might remember, our dossier was the largest package of documents we’ve had to compile thus far – it included our home study, certified copy of our marriage license, original birth certificates, doctor letters, psych evaluations, tax records, photos, among many, many other requirements. We had to trek to Baton Rouge first to receive certification from the State Department of Louisiana. The dossier was then sent by courier to the Department of State then to the Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. to be authenticated before being shipped back to us for additional documents. It is finally being translated by our adoption agency and shipping out to Thailand along with our introduction letter and first few photos to Sunny. We hope they will give Sunny our letter and photos immediately, but it’s up to the discretion of his social worker when they think it’s the appropriate time.
Our adoption agency suggested that we keep the intro letter short and simple as to not overwhelm Sunny with the new information. We told him who was in our family, where we lived and what we liked to do as a family. We also wrote that we do not hit children and he will always have enough food. We are a kind, gentle and patient family. It breaks our heart that we have to include those details, but reminds us of where Sunny comes from, his life in an orphanage, and the trauma he has endured already. We are so grateful for the gift of Sunny and the opportunity to bring this sweet boy into our home and show him what love and safety truly means.
While working on our dossier, we also applied for 4 adoption grants from Help Us Adopt, Gift of Adoption, JSC Foundation and A Child Waits Foundation. Unfortunately, Help Us Adopt just informed us that we will not receive a grant; they received over 300 applications asking for over $3 million, an unprecedented number of requests. Our grant application for Gift of Adoption was pushed from the February board meeting to the March board meeting, so we are hoping to hear back in the next week or two. JSC Foundation will make a decision by the end of March and A Child Waits Foundation determines grants closer to travel time. Please continue to pray for our family and that these grant foundations have the funds to help us cover the final $13,360 Program Fee.
As for next steps, now it’s a waiting game. We are now waiting for the Thai government to grant First Approval, which is a review of our dossier and acceptance of our application. This wait usually takes 7-12 months, but of course COVID has thrown that estimate into questionable territory. We know several families who have been waiting over a year for First Approval and Thailand has not granted any First Approvals since November 2020 as they were busy prepping to re-open travel for waiting families. We hope First Approvals resume soon for everyone!
In the meantime, we are compiling a Welcome Album and care package to send to Sunny in the next month. We are allowed to send an album with 20 or so photos and one small, flat gift such as a coloring book or small stuffed animal. We can also send cards, letters or drawings from our family. This care package will be ready and waiting for him when we receive formal First Approval from the Thai government. Unfortunately, we have heard that children in orphanages are not allowed to have personal possessions, so any small toy we send will likely end up kept in an office. We hope he cherishes the care package nonetheless and is given plenty of opportunities to look at photos of our home and family during the months he waits for us. Our family prays for Sunny every night and we hope he can feel in his heart his family waiting for him on the other side of the world.
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.” Psalm 27:14