What’s next?

Thank you, everyone, for all your excitement over our news about Asher! It makes our joy so much fuller when we can SHARE it with friends and family–especially since so many of you have been instrumental in our journey!
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Many people have been asking the obvious question–what now? So, here’s the scoop. After getting the OK from our pediatrician, we called Holt and said we’d like to officially accept the referral. They sent us a digital packet of forms, which I printed off–57 pages, I believe! We’ve been reading over them, getting notarized, etc. We’ve also been getting together our first gift bag for Asher. The restrictions on these gift packages are pretty stringent! It can only have an outfit OR a toy, and a picture book and a letter. It all has to fit in a flat, gallon size zip lock bag. We’re also going to put in a disposable camera and hope Holt will allow it! We want the foster family to start taking pictures as soon as possible for us to have in the future.
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Instead of going to buy new clothes, I knew I wanted to send Asher some of Carson’s baby clothes. It was very bittersweet going through the bins marked “Boy Clothes: 6-12 months” because Asher is probably already too big for some of them. It was also sad for me that out of this huge rubbermaid, I had to choose ONE outfit to pass on. The rest he’ll never wear. So after careful consideration, I chose one of my favorite little polo shirts from when Carson was Asher’s age. We included some soft denim shorts for the warm Thai weather. We also included a hand-me-down picture book that is meant for babies. It has spots for 6 photos and is soft and slobber-proof. We put a close-up of each of us, with clear labels to be translated, plus one family photo and a cute one of big brother and sister. Here’s the shirt we’re sending:
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After Holt receives our acceptance paperwork, they will send it all, plus our dossier and Asher’s file to the Thai Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) Adoption Center. Our case is assigned to a social worker, and she reviews our dossier and our child’s file. After the social worker has reviewed the match, she “queues up” the case for formal approval by the Adoption Board. This is called “1st Approval” and it usually occurs about 6-7 months after referral assignment. However, this summer Thailand DSDW (and Holt Sahathai) are all participating in something called Nativeland, which is when Thai-born children who were adopted to families in other countries return to Thailand for a visit. This takes the time, work and energy of all social workers, and we’ve been told virtually no paperwork will be processed furing the month of July. 🙁 So, I’m thinking 1st approval will not be as timely as we hope. But, we’ll cross that disappointing bridge when we come to it!

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In the meantime, we can continue to carefully plan our every-other-month care package to Asher. We’ll wait with anticipation for an update every three months. We’ll learn some Thai phrases and educate ourselves as much as we can about our son’s home land and culture. We’ll pray, pray, pray for Asher and his foster family, that they will show him the love, affection and security that we so long to provide ourselves.
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I got a neat email from a gal who worked in Thailand–both in Bangkok and the more rural areas. She taught school and worked in an orphanage. K sent me a beatiful description of the Thai people, especially those who are not jaded by the tourist industry in Bangkok! She told me what a compassionate culture they have, and wanted to assure me that our son is being cared for in one of the most wonderful countries on earth–with a culture that highly values children and family. She said the Thai people treat their babies like little Princes and Princesses, so she feels confident that Asher is being loved on something fierce! This was a great thought to begin our 9-10 month wait until we can love on him ourselves!