These last two days we have had some fun and exciting things happen for the adoption! On Thursday night, ten ladies from church came over for a jewelry party that our friend Cookie had for us and Silas. It was a really special time for us. Cookie has used her job with Premier time and time again as a resource to help others. She has had several parties for our student ministry over the last several years to raise funds for summer camp. She is giving all of the profit from Thursdays party to Shane and I to help us with the cost of our adoption. We are so thankful for Cookie, and for all of you who either came to the party or ordered something. God continues to provide for us and we are so grateful!
Last night we had our adoption homestudy. Our social worker was assigned to us by our agency (America World Adoption Agency) and we LOVE her! She is so laid back and easy to talk to. She did not go through our home with a white glove or try to intimidate us. She was very encouraging and had lots of good advice for us about things to come in the process. Last night's visit basically entailed going through a series of questions regarding our pasts, our expectations, and how we will parent/discipline. One of the questions was "how will you integrate your child's culture/heritage into their life?". Shane and I have had many conversations about this over the last couple of months. We have read several books that have several different opinions. I don't think that there is any set answer, and it will depend on Silas. We will teach him about his country, integrate some Ethiopian foods into our meals, and even take him back to Ethiopia to visit when he is older. Will we send him to culture camps and stuff? Probably not. After all, he will be growing up an American. We have been told there is a great Ethiopian restaurant somewhere in Orlando. We will try to go every now and then, but if Silas hates the food...we will stop. We never want to confuse him or force him. It will be obvious to Silas from a very young age that he is a different color from mommy and daddy. We will explain to him that God is not "color-blind", but on the contrary made us this way and celebrates our differences! We are excited to teach Silas that when Jesus was on earth he was in fact a different color - neither black nor white. We are also excited to teach him about how Jesus was adopted by Joseph.
Last night she also asked us about our style of discipline. We have not parented before, but we know what types of parents we want to be and are praying to be! We are aware that different children respond differently to certain styles, depending on their personalities. We will spank if necessary, but not out of anger. We never want to stand over Silas as this looming intimidating figure and yell, but get down on his level. We will model after (and take advice from) other parents whom we respect and feel that their parenting style is effective. Most of all, we will pray pray pray, and know that no parents are perfect and we will make mistakes!
We will be meeting with our social worker Amy again this coming Friday to have our individual interviews. After that, she will take a week or so to compile our homestudy and send it to corporate. Corporate will review it for approval, which shouldn't take more than a few weeks. With that being said, this part of the process should be over by the end of September! We will then submit our Form I-600 A: Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. This will be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. We will keep everyone posted on the progress! Please continue to pray that everything will go quickly and smoothly! Satan hates adoption and would love to throw out roadblocks. We need the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. :)