1) my flight is January 12-25.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Want to hear more amazing news?! Ok so late last night I decided to clean a pile of mail on the counter....I just start tossing envelopes of junk in the trash. One of which was our mortgage statement. I pay online so I don't need my statement. Then there was another mortgage statement envelope. Threw that in the trash too. Then thought..."I should check them...thats weird. Why 2 statements in one month!?" I open the first one in the trash and I must have had my jaw on the floor!!!! $2120 refund from our escrow account!!!!!!! I RAN upstairs to Dean who was in the shower and I'm screaming going "You will never ever ever believe whats in my hand!!!" It was such a great moment. All in the same day that I found out I'll be travelling to Zambia in a few weeks!!
The good news continues...we are on a streak ;) The travel agency I'm dealing with that offers special fares for adoptions and mission travel got us a ticket of only $1475!!! Need we say how excited we are about that?
Its a good day.
All in a day that changed our family 2 years ago today. The day Dean's mom passed away so suddenly and tragically on our Christmas vacation at the West Edmonton Mall in AB. Mom and Grandma we miss you and we will never ever forget you. Our kids still ask about you and often ask God to say Hello to Grandma for them. XO
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Also in reading over our blog I'm seeing some friends congratulate us on baby #5...I'm sad to say we've lost baby #5. It was very early in the pregnancy which I'm thankful to say...its hard to imagine how painful it would be half way through etc. We now have 2 babies waiting for us in Heaven...
The total raised from our Krispy Kreme Fundraiser was $890!! Wanted to give you all that update :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you... John 14:18
Some of you know we have felt called and directed by God to adopt two special orphan boys into our family. We are adopting twin boys from Zambia, Africa. The boys turned 5 years old in August and are currently known as Jacob & Meleki. As a family, we’ve been excitedly praying for them and can't wait to bring them home!
Did you know it is estimated less than 10% of all orphan children are adopted into evangelical Christian families? According to current estimates, if only 10% more Christians in America would adopt, it would be equivalent to providing homes for all the orphans in Eastern Europe (1.5 million), Latin America (400,000), and the US foster care system (150,000).
Some of you are probably wondering what has prompted us to adopt. Well, primarily, we’ve felt so clearly directed by God to adopt that we want to obey Him, and we also have always dreamed of giving an orphan child (children) a family they wouldn't otherwise have. God desires for orphans of all nations to be loved, cared for and adopted into Christian families – ultimately so they can become saved, and be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ! There are so many things God has used to prick our hearts and move us to adopt, here are a few:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction… James 1:27
While we were praying about whether or not to adopt, we were eating dinner one night in our dining room. Tirzah pointed to two empty chairs and said "we need two more kids so our table will be full"...little did she know, God was just about to direct us to two little boys to fill those empty chairs!
The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to another child, but it is in finding the finances to make this happen. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, home study, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc. to be $14,000 - that’s certainly money we don’t have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. So far we have been able to pay the initial $2750.
Honestly, it’s a little difficult (because of our pride), to make our needs known to the Body of Christ around us, but we also know it’s very Biblical to do so. We appreciate your friendship very much and would like you to pray & consider helping us in our adoption. There are two ways you can help:
1. Prayer – Please pray God would care for Jacob & Meleki in Zambia until we are able to bring them home, that God would prepare Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria for the upcoming changes to our family, and that God will give us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise them to know Jesus.
2. Financial support - Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay the remaining $11,250 in adoption expenses, to bring our boys home?
Lifesong ( HYPERLINK "http://www.lifesongfororphans.org" www.lifesongfororphans.org) has graciously given a Matching Grant of $3,000 to help.
If you would like to be a part of God bringing Jacob & Meleki to Himself through our family, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and FEBRUARY 10th to the address below. Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on our boys' behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.
Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. You may preference how the donation might be used by writing “preference Dean & Janice Walker Family Adoption” in the memo section of your check.
(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its use.)
Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
Att: Dean & Janice Walker Family Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
Thank you for investing in our family and God's family through prayer and finances – it will be an investment with an eternal return! (Matt 6:20)
Dean & Janice
Tirzah, Zion, Azlan & Azahria
December 16, 2009
Dear church, family, and friends of Dean and Janice Walker,
Lifesong for Orphans ( HYPERLINK "http://www.lifesongfororphans.org" www.lifesongfororphans.org) is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world, and obey God’s call to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” (James 1:27).
The number of children worldwide without families to love and care for them is astounding… there are over 5.5 million orphans in Africa alone!
God tells us in His word He has heard the cry of the orphaned and abandoned children (Psalm 10:17, 18) and He has made a way for them to be cared for – through adoption. As believers, He adopted us into His family through Jesus, and did not leave us as spiritual orphans!
We believe adoption at its core is evangelism--a vital part of the Great Commission is bringing the mission field home. God desires orphans from all nations to be adopted into Christ-honoring families so they may ultimately be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. God calls us to fulfill James 1:27, “visit the fatherless…” but not all are called to adopt. Some are called to pray, some to give financially, some to go on mission trips, and some to adopt.
Dean and Janice have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt Jacob and Meleki from Zambia. As you may already know, international adoption can cost around $25,000 and prevents many godly families from adopting. Lifesong believes God has raised up the Walker family “for such a time as this…” and we have committed an Adoption Matching Grant of $3,000 to help raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption of these special little boys. This means Lifesong for Orphans will match “dollar-for-dollar” everything the Walkers raise from their church, family, and friends between now and February 10, 2010, up to $3,000. We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. Your gift is tax deductible and you will receive a tax-deductible receipt. *100% of all funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs--nothing will be taken out for Lifesong for Orphans administrative costs.
Will you invest financially in the life of these precious twin boys? . . . It will be an investment with eternal return.
God bless you for laying your treasures up in Heaven,
p.s. I trust God will do great and mighty things through this, and all for His Glory!
ι PO Box 40 ι 202 N Ford St ι Gridley, IL 61744 ι
ι phone 309 747 3556 ι fax 309 747 4647 ι www.lifesongfororphans.org ι
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I hope you had a safe flight back to Zambezi.
Further to our discussion on 5th November 2009, I am writing to confirm that it will be imperative for Dean and Janice to travel to Zambia prior to the children being committed to their care for the statuory 3 months period.As I indicated in our meeting, this requirement for the parents to come to Zambia prior to the commital order, has been insisted on by the American consulate at the embassy in Lusaka. With the Canadian families for whom we have carried out adoptions through Kids -Link international, the prospective adoptive children have been commited to fostering in the hands of an orphanage or other third party. In effect Dean and Janice will be required to travel to Zambia twice in order to conclude the adoption of the twins.
However in view of the fact that Dean and Janice are probably both in full time employment, they will only be required to stay for at least 1 - 2 weeks so that they can make initial contact with the children prior to the commital order. They can then return to the states and come back to Zambia after 3 months in time for the granting of the formal adoption order.
Kindly be guided accordingly and kindly confirm the transfer of the initial deposit required for the adoption process.
It looks like my late nights are not quite over yet and I will be staying up tonight to call both Mulenga and the Consular to verify what the social workers are saying that only I am required to come for the initial visit.
Please continue to pray.
Now we have to get the fundraising into motion!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So 2 days ago Dean and I are talking about the possibility of going to Zambia soon...and we look up flights. We remember Tanis saying she LOVES flying British Airways as their service is awesome (and they stop in London which is fabulous since I do have a sweet friend and her family that live in London that I'd love to meet up with!). So we go to BritishAirways.com and guess what? Right on the home page there is an offer: Fly with us anywhere we fly between such and such dates and receive a FREE companion flight to use anytime in 2010 when you fly with us again. Ok. SO this is pretty amazing. If I have to go to Zambia...soon...then when we go again one of us flies free!!! It didn't really hit me right aways but then I thought...ok this seems to be for us. Thats pretty amazing!! We are talking a $1600-2000 flight free! I called on it today and got the details and if we fly before Jan 29th then yes we get one free companion airfare anywhere they fly!!
Then today I get a sidekick email from BAirways saying huge slashes in their prices and included in the list was Seattle to South Africa...for quite a discount.
It hit me how often I miss seeing God. I pray and then take the answers for granted too often. It would be sad if in all these 'little things' along the way...I missed God.
We still have no idea whats happening ...if/when we go. If I can go instead of both of us (which with having 4 small children at home would be awesome if Daddy could stay home with them)...we know nothing except the only thing that matters here--this is God's. These precious boys are His and we are simply the ones He is using. The more we realize that the more humbling it is. I absolutely love love the verse in John 14. Verse 18 says "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you". I read it on a friend's adoption blog recently and it brought tears to my eyes.
We are also trying to put together a little fundraiser. Perhaps a Krispy Kreme fundraiser to help raise the funds for some of the adoption expenses. This too has been very humbling for us. I think there's a part of me that wants to say "we did this". "We worked hard and WE adopted these children". The further we go in the process the more I realize its really not about us at all. It quite frankly has nothing to do with us. I'm excited to see what God will do!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
I cannot possible describe the feeling.
A dream is about to come true!
Friday, October 30, 2009
With that I stayed up late last night and called KBF. Our attorney was out of the office so I spoke to the lead attorney. He was very courteous and quickly said he wants to assist us in whatever way he can and his fees "are flexible" :) He told me to call him back Tuesday morning and he will have an answer for me on how much he can reduce the fees b/c he wants to go to the court and see if they will let him do one set of paperwork seeing as the boys are twins. That was good news!! So I'm asking you to pray that they will reduce their fees and we will hear this on Tuesday.
I decided to go ahead and file the I-600A with USCIS here in the States. It seems that while we are qualified to skip that step...it is causing confusion because the Consular in Lusaka has no experience with it therefore she is asking for us to do it the 'normal' way :) Easy enough. The packet is signed, sealed and sitting on my counter and when the children wake from their naps I will head out and mail it.
We were told we will be given the opportunity to rename the children at our court date in Lusaka. Yes this is something we have chosen to do. For a number of reasons actually. A name is something very special that we have given to each of our biological children. Great thought has gone into name each one. This is the one thing we can give our adopted children as well, have not raised them from birth but in this new beginning in their lives we can name them. A name that has great meaning in their situation of being adopted from Africa. A name that flows with our childrens' names. And the decision has been made that they will be all of the above, plus names of their own language. That has added a fun challenge to the mix of finding a name for our boys! We have been working with Tanis on this basically using the same methods we have in choosing a name for our bio kids. Meaning. Significance to us. Unique. Containing a Z. I think its actually easier doing this in another language at this point :) As we get closer we will announce the names but for now--they remain our secret.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Our Reference: M/614/NCH/tkc
Reply to our Lusaka Office
28 April 2009
TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES
Thank you for your instructions.
We confirm that the firm will be pleased to act for you upon the terms set out in this letter and our terms of engagement enclosed herewith.
Our understanding of your requirement
We understand that you require us to prepare an opinion for you on the process and the necessary steps to facilitate your adoption of twin orphan Zambian boys.
Conduct of the matter
Our aim is to provide you with legal services of the highest quality. To achieve this, it is important that we share an understanding of the basis on which we shall provide services to you.
Our services to you will entail:
The rendering of an opinion to you setting out, among other things, the legal process for the adoption of children in Zambia and what will be required from you and the current care giver.
Our fees are governed by the Legal Practitioners Act (CAP 30 of the Laws of Zambia), the Legal Practitioners (Costs) Order 2001 and the Legal Practitioners (Conveyancing and non-contentious matters) (Costs) (Amendment) Order 2001.
We will require a deposit of US$1000 (before Value Added Tax and bank charges) which is our standard charge for a legal opinion/legal advice. Should you require for us to proceed to take the necessary steps to effect the adoption, time will form the basis of all future charges. We advise that the following hourly rates will form the basis of our charges to be applied in the conduct of litigation matters on your behalf; the firm will also charge for care and skill, VAT and disbursements in addition to the hourly rates listed:
| || |
We will then send you monthly bills for work done in the preceding month. Please note that all bills must be settled within thirty days after delivery of the same and we would be obliged if this were adhered to, to enable us continue providing you with efficient and timely service.
MNB is under a strict professional duty of confidentiality to you in respect of your matter. The only exceptions to this are where you authorise us to disclose information; where we are required to make a disclosure under applicable regulations or legislation; where the information is already within the public domain.
You agree that we are authorised to disclose that you are a client of the firm and that we have acted for you on any matter where information about that matter is in the public domain and on any other matter where you consent to such disclosure.
I would be happy to discuss with you any queries you may have on the contents of this letter. If you agree with the contents I would be grateful if you would confirm agreement by signing and returning to me the enclosed copy.
I have read and understood the contents of this letter and agree to the terms contained herein.
Signed: --------------------------------------------- Date:-------------------------------------------
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The process for adopting a child from a non-Convention country differs in some key ways from adopting from a Convention country. To date, about 75 countries have joined the Hague Adoption Convention. If you are adopting a child from one of the countries non-Convention country, the following general process applies to you.
The process from non-Hague countries generally involves six primary steps:
1. Choosing a Licensed Adoption Service Provider
2. Applying to be Found Eligible to Adopt
3. Being Referred for a Child
4. Adopting the Child
5. Applying for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
6. Obtaining an Immigrant Visa for the Child
Non-Convention Process Steps
1.) Choose an Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from a non-Convention country is usually to select an agency or attorney in the United States that can help with your adoption. At a minimum you will need the services of someone licensed or authorized to perform a homestudy for your state of residence. Choosing a qualified adoption service provider is a very important part of the adoption process. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing a qualified adoption service provider in theWorking with an Agency section of our website.
2.) Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
To adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States, you must be found eligible to adopt under U.S. law. The Federal agency that makes this determination is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will not be allowed to bring an adopted child (or a child for which you have gained legal custody for purpose of emigration and adoption) into the United States until USCIS determines that you are able to provide a suitable and stable home for that child.
To apply, you may choose to complete an immigration form (called I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) and file it with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with this form, you will submit a home study to USCIS that includes in depth information about your health, finances, home, background, and more. Form I-600A should be filed if you have not yet identified a child or intend to go abroad to locate a child for adoption.
If used, the I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition should be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the adopting parents’ place of residence. The following documents must be submitted with the I-600A:
In addition, you, your spouse (if married), and each additional adult member of your household must be fingerprinted as part of the I-600A application. For adopting parents in the United States, USCIS will provide information once the I-600A is filed on being fingerprinted at local USCIS offices. For adopting parents residing overseas, adopting parents should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence to schedule fingerprinting prior to submitting the I-600A.
At the time of filing the I-600A, the petitioner should request that USCIS notify the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where they plan to process the case as soon as the I-600A is approved. Learn more under in theEligibility to Adopt and Home Study sections of this website.
3.) Be Referred with a Child:
If you are eligible to adopt, you can be matched with a specific child, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the child’s country of residence regarding intercountry adoption. The child must meet the requirements of his or her country for determining if a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.
4.) Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody for Purpose of Emigration and Adoption)
Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, most countries require that prior to any court action, a child placed for adoption be legally recognized as an orphan or, in the case where a parent is living, be legally and irrevocably released for adoption in a manner provided for under local law. In addition, the adoption laws in most countries require the full adoption of the child in the foreign court after the child has been declared an orphan or released by the living parent to an appropriate foreign authority. Some countries do allow simple adoption, which means that the adopting parent(s) can be granted guardianship of the child by the foreign court. This may permit the child to leave the foreign country to be adopted in the United States. A few countries do allow adoptive parents to adopt through a third party without actually traveling to that country.
IMPORTANT: A foreign country's determination that the child is an orphan does not guarantee that the child will be considered an orphan under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and eligible to come to the United States to live. Foreign country may use different legal rules to determine if a child is an orphan. Questions that involve interpretation of specific foreign laws may be addressed to competent authorities in the COO or to a foreign attorney operating in the country where the adoption will take place.
Some countries will require your personal appearance before their court. Sometimes, countries require a period of residence by you or your spouse (if applicable). In these cases, you may find it necessary to spend an extended period in the foreign country awaiting the completion of the foreign adoption documents. Additionally, several countries require a post-adoption follow-up conducted by the adoption agency or the foreign country's consul in the United States.
To learn about the specific requirements of the non-Convention country from which you are adopting, refer to the Country Information on our website.
5.) Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States:
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody for the …) in a non-Convention country, the USCIS) mustdetermine whether the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States.
Adopting parents file the I-600 petition to determine if a specific child meets the US “orphan” classification in the INA. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the I-600 may be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the parents’ place of residence, or with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Consular Officer overseas:
- Adopting parents currently residing overseas should file the I-600 with the overseas DHS or consular officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their residence.
- Adopting parents residing in the U.S. may file the I-600 with the USCIS office with jurisdiction over their place of residence, or may contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country in question for information on filing the I-600 overseas. Parents will be permitted to file the I-600s with DHS officers at U.S. embassies or consulates where Department of Homeland Security immigration officials are assigned. At Embassies and Consulates without DHS immigration officials, parents may generally file the I-600 only if notice of I-600A has previously been sent to the Embassy or Consulate, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is physically present before the Consular Officer, and if the petitioner does not already have an I-600 petition pending somewhere else for the same child. Parents are strongly encouraged to verify I-600 filing procedures at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas prior to travel to the country in question.
- Parents may wish to consult with adoption agencies, U.S. embassies or consulates overseas, and/or other adopting parents to determine whether they wish to file the I-600 overseas or in the United States. Processing times for I-600 petitions vary depending on where they are filed. Intent to travel to the child’s country may also affect U.S. resident parents’ decision on where to file the I-600.
- Note that parents who have adopted abroad without first demonstrating suitability to adopt by filing an I-600A must file the I-600 petition (and accompanying suitability documents identified in Step 1) with the appropriate DHS/CIS office, not with a consular officer. Consular Officers can only accept I-600 petitions at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad when they have been notified that an I-600A for a family has already been approved.
I-600 petitions should only be filed for children who fit the criteria, if any, identified in the parents’ I-600A approval (e.g. if adoptive parents have been approved to adopt one child, they should not file I-600s for two children).
The following documentation must be presented in order for an I-600 petition to be approved:
- Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative;
- Child’s birth certificate;
- A final decree of adoption, if the orphan has been adopted abroad, or proof of legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption;
- Proof of “orphan” status per definition above (ex. evidence of abandonment, written relinquishment, death certificates, etc. depending on the circumstances);
- Proof that the pre-adoption requirements, if any, of the state of the orphan’s proposed residence have been met, if the orphan is to be adopted in the United States; and
- Proof that adopting parents have seen the child prior to or during adoption proceedings.
If an I-600A has already been approved, the adopting parent may file an I-600 for one child without any additional fee. However, if parents are adopting two or more biologically unrelated children, there will be a $670.00 fee for the second child (this fee is waived for siblings).
Parents should note that documentary requirements for filing the I-600 petition are somewhat different, depending on whether the petition is filed with USCIS or the Consular Officer. USCIS officers may generally initially accept an I-600 with only the child’s birth certificate, and, if not previously provided with the I-600A, proof of marriage of the petitioner (if applicable). USCIS also permits a petitioner to submit copies of some documents in lieu of originals. Form I-600 petitions filed with Consular Officers, however, must have all required documentation at the time of filing, and such documentation must be submitted as originals.
As part of the decision to approve an I-600 and immigrant visa, the DHS Officer or Consular Officer will carefully review information about the orphan and his or her personal situation. This review is documented by the DHS Officer or Consular Officer on an I-604 Orphan Investigation form. To protect adopting parents, the child, and biological parents, any indication or allegation of fraud, child buying or other inappropriate practices will be investigated as part of the I-604 review (or at any time that such concerns arise prior to visa issuance). While the I-604 review for most cases will consist of an analysis of available documents, some cases will require additional interviews, documentation or a field investigation, all of which may result in delayed processing on the case.
6.) Obtain an Immigrant Visa for the Child:
Once USCIS or the consulate has approved the eligibility of the child for adoption, apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must review the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
Be aware that the adoption of a foreign-born orphan does not automatically guarantee the child’s ability to immigrate to the United States. An orphan cannot legally immigrate to the United States without USCIS processing.
Age Limits - There are age limits on eligibility for adoptions and immigration, regardless of whether or not your state laws permit the adoption of older children (or adults). U.S. law allows the adoption and immigration of children who are under 16 years of age, with two exceptions:
- Biological siblings of a child adopted by the same parents may be adopted if under 18 years of age; and
- Orphans over the age of 16 may be adopted as long as the I-600 petition was filed on their behalf before their 16th birthday (or before their 18th birthday in the case of an orphan who is the sibling of a child adopted or coming to be adopted by the same parents).
If all the documentation for the orphan is in order and there are no legal bars to visa issuance, the orphan will be provided with an immigrant visa consisting of a packet of supporting documentation and either a cover sheet or visa placed in the child’s passport. Both should be hand-carried with the child (not packed in luggage) when they travel to the U.S. and should be presented to the immigration inspectors at the port of entry. Do not open the envelope of supporting documents.
The immigrant visa is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance, which means that adopting children have 180 days to use the immigrant visa to travel to the United States.
Orphans are issued IR-3 or IR-4 visas:
- IR-3 visas are for orphans who had a full and final adoption overseas by both adopting parents, when both parents physically saw the child prior to or during local adoption proceedings and where the state where they reside does not require re-adoption in the U.S.
- IR-4 visas are for orphans whose prospective adopting parents’ have legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption and who have satisfied any applicable state pre-adoption requirements or for orphans who had a full and final adoption overseas, but whose parents did not see the child prior to or during the local adoption proceedings.