This is what my life feels like right now...  Paperwork and more paperwork.  And waiting.  Duplicates and triplicates. And more waiting.  Notarizations.  We are right smack in the middle of our dossier prep!!!  

Our immigration application was received by USCIS on March 27, so while we wait, we are working on getting all of our documents in order!  They tell everyone that it takes about 90 days to get approval, but many recent applications have been approved in 6 weeks!  So, we're on day 9 (but who's counting)!  (In case you have no idea what USCIS is and why we need approval--because I had no idea until recently--basically, we're applying to US citizenship and immigration services so that they can approve Michael and I to adopt internationally.  We'll have to apply to them again when we're officially matched with our kids for permission/approval to bring them into the US as citizens.)

I'll be honest--this dossier seemed really intimidating when I first looked at the checklist of everything that has to be in it.  Birth certificates, marriage certificate, medical reports (new ones...the ones we did for the home study don't count!), FBI clearances, the home study document, passport copies, employment letters, psych eval write-up, and other odds and ends.  When I first opened the checklist, I burst into tears.  It just looked like so many more hoops to jump through.  But things have actually moved really quickly.  We have our last psych appointment next Tuesday!  Then our psychologist just has to do our write-up!  I have my medical exam next week. (Costa Rica requires tons of bloodwork and even an HIV test!!) We have all of our birth certificates (Asher's was totally missing...and we never found it, so new ones have been ordered and arrived), Michael got our certified marriage certificate on Monday...We took the kids last Saturday to get their passports, so those should be ready in about 6 weeks.  We're getting really close to being ready to take it all to get notarized and send it off!  But we can't send it to Costa Rica without that USCIS approval letter!  So please be praying that it comes in so fast that we don't know what to do with ourselves!!!!!

And on top of our ginormous stack of paperwork, we are fundraising like crazy!!!  And trying to get some grant applications done.  We have been blown away by the support and love that our family, friends and church have shown us!  About 6 weeks ago, we only had raised $6000.  We have a couple of big pending donations (from our cookbook sale at church and a secret bake sale that was done on our behalf at a local bank) that will come out at just under $2000!  So, that will put us just under $14000 raised so far!  I feel like that's a decent dent in that $35000, although we still have a long way to go!

This weekend, we will start working on a CD fundraiser project!  In college, I was in a band for 5 years with some very talented people!  They are going to help us make a worship CD to sell to help us raise more money to bring our Ticos home!  We will post more about this when we have details!  We are also ordering more Bring the Ticos Home tshirts!  If you didn't get one the first time around, let us know what you want!

So, our lives are crazy right now!  We are literally taking things one day at a time because if we didn't, it would just be completely overwhelming.  But we are getting closer and closer to our kiddos!  I honestly don't know what I'll do with my life when I don't have all of these appointments and paperwork and emails!! Oh, wait--I'll have 5 kids to raise..and homeschool...in 2 languages!  And I can't wait!!!!

Please keep praying for us!  We need it so much!  This process is exhausting and heart-wrenching, but it's worth it.  Keep praying for our kids--I don't think they can fully understand how much life is going to change, and it will be hard at first.  And pray for our paperwork to FLY through!!  We just want to go!!!