When embarking on the "Adoption Highway" you will quickly discover that it is nearly impossible to pack light. You will need a super-sized suitcase for the journey. These are a few of the things that I recommend packing:
- a large, durable accordion style file folder to organize the mountains of paperwork you will be given as well as to organize originals and copies of all the documents you will be collecting. (i.e., marriage certificates, birth certificates, deeds, bank statements, employment letters, proof of health insurance coverage, reference letters, health evaluations, psychological reports, passports, criminal background checks, child preference forms, photo pages, various approval letters, and more)
- a camera, first of all, to provide the many photographs required throughout the application process as well as dossier presentation, and then to illustrate your journey for the child you will be bringing home. You will, in essence, be creating his/her/their baby book(s)! FUN
- books to educate, inspire, and motivate (a few of my favorites: Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore; Crazy Love by Francis Chan; The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis; Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris; Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper; Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess...yes, really!...and The Little White Owl by Tracey Corderoy...a must have for your little one)
- more books, in our case, an English-Spanish dictionary.
- on that note, we have found the language spoken by the adoption agency to be quite foreign at times. You may want to keep a good 'ole Webster dictionary handy to help you figure out terms like dossier, apostille, timeline, intake manager, caseworker, USCIS, I-600A Petition for an Orphan,I-171H, visa, facilitator, special needs, rickets, thalassemia, and many others.
- and still more books, an address book with the all the contact names and addresses of the people at your adoption agency with whom you have had or will have contact with. You will want their information at your fingertips at all times.
- a month by month calendar with large squares for each day where you can pencil in upcoming appointments and deadlines as well as record your accomplishments. This will become your timeline.
- a map of your downtown area if you will be gathering the many required documents yourself
- snacks, in the beginning, to give you quick energy and help you sustain your stamina as you are running all over the city collecting your documents, making phone calls, attending webinars, sprinting to the mailbox several times a day hoping for something to be there, and filling out applications. Later in the journey, they will be a welcome diversion just to help pass the time and sooth the boredom as you WAIT.
Officially, the tag (license plate), or vehicle registration plate, is attached to a motor vehicle for identification purposes. The registration identifier is an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies the vehicle within the issuing regions database. On the Adoption Highway our tag (license plate) was issued by the King himself, God. It was a single word, an alphanumeric code, that identified us as belonging to His kingdom (the issuing region) and embodied the individual purpose of our journey, our identity in Him.
Our identifying marker, tag (license plate) is S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R.
To get where we are, we have had to SURRENDER our dreams, our plans, our vision, our savings, our time, our hearts, our life. We surrendered all to Him whose voice thunders. Him who controls the lightning and directs its path through the heavens. Him who qualifies as competent to communicate truth to His people and establish promises and commands in His word.
HONK!...if you see us on the highway. The sunroof will be open. Our hands will be raised. We'll be singing Open Hands (from the previous post) at the top of our lungs.
Our tag (license plate), S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R, will be our identifying marker.