Monday, October 20, 2008

A Happy Day....

After several weeks of searching and researching we have determined our next move since we failed in Vietnam. Even though it was hard to walk away, I am so happy with our decision to work with World Assoc for Children and Parents (WACAP). We are planning to adopt a Promise Child. This means he will most likely be a boy 7-8 boy from Ethiopia, but we could also be referred a child from India or Thailand. Now we need to redo our dossier, update our homestudy and change our I-171H. WACAP said this could take 3 months or longer, I am hoping alot less! After a year with Vietnam, we are so ready to have a child now! Once we are done with that step, we will be ready to send our dossier over and expect a referral in 4-10 months....again we hope less! This will be slow updating, but we will be working hard to get everything done ASAP! All is not lost. Hopefully this time will go much smoother, like our first adoption. To follow our new adoption adventure, go to: I will be closing this blog in a month or so. I want to make sure everyone who was following us, still can.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Well, it's official. Vietnam will not consider him special needs. I hope this will change because there are many children who will "age out" of the orphanages to no one and be left to face the world alone. It has been a long and hard journey that should not have ended this way had the province not turned our paperwork away because they feared the US investigations. So many stories I could tell, and maybe someday will in a book. There is wrong doing on both sides that have taken a boy who should have been our son and brother and who should have had the family HE wanted and deserved. Some people think we should take it as a sign that this wasn't meant to be. We will take this as a sign that another child is still waiting to complete our family. He is probably in Ethiopia, but maybe in India or even a waiting child in China. This is a hard leap to make, but it is time and hopefully tomorrow! We will keep our dossier in VN if we can, so if he becomes available and we are still able to, we could still bring him home. Thanks everyone for sharing this journey with us. Stay tuned for part two. Kelly

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A change of plans....

As you know we have been waiting several weeks for USCIS in Vietnam to respond to whether or not our son will be considered special needs due to his age. I have contacted the Department of State in DC and they said they cannot say they will consider him special needs because they cannot interpret Vietnam law and that Vietnam needs to make that decision. I have spoken to USCIS in DC and they said that Vietnam has to define what special needs is and this cannot be done on a case by case basis, ie. our son. We were trying to get USCIS to make a decision first, but they said Vietnam has to make the decision first. We are now going to go back to DIA to ask them to make the decision first as a referral to us to be presented to USCIS. He is 12 years old and in most countries, including the US, children 3 and older are considered special needs. In the past Vietnam has not considered age to be special needs. It is my understanding that they are currently working to define what special needs would encompass. So I am calling on all the other people touched by Vietnam adoption for their help in encouraging Vietnam to consider older children special needs through their agencies and connections to Vietnam. If not for our son, but for all the older children who may "age out" of the orphanages during the closure. Even though we have not given up, it is going to be a long and difficult battle. There have been many positive changes thus far and I think we can make more. So as of now, I don't think the US can help us too much. We need Vietnam to act first and then put the pressure on the US to let him come home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Calling in the big guns?.........

Still no word yet from USCIS in Vietnam. My liason said they told her they were too busy to talk this week and would get back to them next week....grrr...I hope so! I did the only other thing I could think of today and contacted my senators, congressmen, JCICS and Ethica to see if they could help me or offer advise. I am more expecting help from my local government officials; that they get things moving on the US side in Vietnam. They are the only big guns I have left, except for leaving a message with USCIS in see if they could help me with USCIS in Vietnam. I will probably contact the Dept of State in D.C. too. If I don't get any results this week, I'll be hitting the phones and email again next week. I may have a career in politics (from a person who hasn't voted in almost 20 years, but I am this year!) before this is over and probably a book too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

17 days feels like 17 weeks....

Once again not too much to tell! Still waiting for a response from INS regarding the classification of the boy we want to adopt. It has only been 17 days, but it seems like 17 weeks. If nothing happens by Monday, it will be time to get back into political gear and try to get some action that way. It would be easier to wait if there was an ends to the means, but right now we are living off of hope and the belief that all the parties will do what is best for this boy and what he and his family wants for him. We have had our hopes raised and dashed repeatedly. Found our son and lost him maybe three times. Sometimes I think it's time to move on to another child where we will succeed and bring them home. But then I wonder what will happen and how I would feel if there came a point where he was offered to us to bring home and could we do it? Should we do it? I don't know if this makes sense. It's kind of like when you're a little kid and you don't want to go to bed because you are afraid you'll miss something. I am afraid to quit, because I don't want to miss out on him or him to miss out on a family of his own. Being in limbo is the worst thing. It feels so hard because we went into this for a waiting child and beat all the odds and timelines and now here we sit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

365 days...

Today is one year since we began our Vietnamese adoption journey. It's been one week since the adoptions there closed and still no word if we can complete our adoption through special needs. Yes, I know it's only been a week, but I am tired of waiting and getting road blocks. Communication is so important! If someone could just say, "yes, we've been trying to contact this person, but haven't heard back..." or something. But instead I just get silence and I can't stand it! I'll give it another week and then we'll need to start seeing results or seriously look at other options. We have investigated Ethipoia specifically and some waiting children in other Asian countries. I am not a quitter, so it will be a hard decision to make, but they might make it for me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Over for many, beginning for us?

I just wanted to acknowledge all the people who were hoping to get referrals from Vietnam and didn't. Alot of broken hearts, alot of lost money and alot anger at a system that failed them. Now we move onto the next step of special needs. I hope my agency can get some clarification from INS tomorrow, so we can hopefully still adopt this child through special needs. Hope to post alot of good news soon! And best wishes and good look in their adoption endeavors to everyone else!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Never say never again............

OK, so this is how it goes....Everything is going great, everything is falling apart and back and forth. Well, once again there may be an upswing. We were informaed yesterday that we may be able to procede with his adoption after Sept 1st as a special needs adoption due to his age. We will know more late next week since it is a holiday here and in Vietnam (Independence Day there). So keep your fingers crossed because we and he really need this to happen! Hopefully both countries can work together to make this a reality. I have not given up and I won't admit defeat. I have been called tenacious and I will live up to that reputation. It has been a very hard road but when a little hope shines through, I will grab it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Fat lady Sings....

Well, I didn't think I would ever say this, but it looks like it's over for us with a healthy boy from Vietnam. Our liason attempted to present our information to the orphanage and was told that they were ordered by the providence to adopt to European orphanages only, not the US. I guess they are really mad at the US because of all the investigations that have resulted in arrests. So even though we or this child had nothing to do with that, we are being shut out. I can't believe it has come down to this. I wish they could see they aren't punishing the US; the US could care less if we brought this boy home. I wish they could see that this boy and his family want him to be adopted. I wish they could see that no European country has expressed interest in him. We may stay in Vietnam and attempt to adopt a special needs child that has mild correctable issues. But we don't know yet. I am looking at other options too, especially Ethiopia and other waiting children. "It ain't over till the fat lady sings"...but I don't want to hear her sing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Feeling Helpless and Heading Towards Hopeless...

6 business days left and anxious beyond belief! Still being reassured that it will be done and wanting to believe it will. Our paperwork still has to be sent to Quang Nam letting them know we want to adopt from their orphanage. Then they have to send the child's information to DIA to be matched and then they will issue our referral....all in 6 days.:( There is such a heavy feeling upon me, boy do I need relief from this. All I want is our referral and I know everything else will fall in place.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I hate waiting!

I've been reluctant to put up a new post because I keep hoping today will be the big day where we can announce he is ours...but it hasn't come yet. We have been reassured everything will come through in time, but of course we are on edge until we get that official referral from Vietnam. So this will be short, but not yet sweet. 12 days left! Any day now. Waiting....not when of my best attributes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Finally to Quang Nam....

Just received word from Vietnam that our paperwork for Quang Nam will begin to be prepared today:). Finally moving forward again! The orginal estimate was if our paperwork for Quang Nam was started August 4th we would have our official referral between 8/15-8/19 (about 2 weeks). I do not know if this 1-week delay will affect that a lot or not. If it pushes things back, it would put us at 8/22-8/26. That would be bringing us in right under the wire. We will be thankful to get this to go through, but a little anxious to be working under an even tighter deadline. We are moving closer to making this dream a reality, but still no sigh of relief yet.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ebb and Flow....

Still waiting for the first orphanage to notify DIA that they have no referral for us so we can be matched with the boy in Quang Nam. It is Friday in Vietnam today, so if it doesn't happen today I will be sooooo disappointed. Another week has ticked away with only 3 weeks left now. My hope is starting to waiver a little as desperation starts to creep back in. This journey has been like the ebb and flow on the ocean shore; excitement rushes in and then it slowly flows back taking a little bit back with it. The water is my excitement and the sand is my heart.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One big step forward, One tiny step back...

Our dossier was set to be taken to Quang Nam to be matched for referral, but DIA forgot that we had already applied to Hoa Binh. So they need to verify with Hoa Binh that they have no referral for us before they can send us to Quang Nam to be matched. I am told that this could take 6 days to complete. We have less than 4 weeks left before the closure, so it was a little disappointing. I still feel we will make it because Vietnam wants him placed as badly as we want another child. I hope to hear from my contact in Vietnam tonight to see how things are going. Of course it was a Friday in Vietnam when this happened. I contacted my old adoption agency and they were going to contact their Vietnam contact to notify DIA that they have no referral for as in Hoa Binh. Oh, so convoluted of a process!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Now we wait again....

We and all other parties involved here in the U.S., scanned in and emailed the necessary documents to the head of DIA in Vietnam yesterday to switch our dossier to our new agency. Now we can finally get going on this adoption! Exciting, but scary after what we have been through. We will hopefully have our official referral in the next 2-3 weeks, which is all we need by the 9/1 deadline. It will be sooooooo hard to wait! I am a get in and do it yourself person, so it can be done faster, so it's hard to sit back and let other people be in charge of our fate. After that the next big hurdle to clear will be approval from Immigration and Naturalization Services to bring him here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting my hopes up...

We got good news yesterday! Finally! Vietnam has agreed to reduce our fees for the older boy we are trying to adopt. They are also acknowledging the $2,000 that already went over with our dossier, so we won't have to repay those fees. We are suppossed to find out what our new fee amount will be later today or tomorrow. So, now that we are feeling much more at ease and the whole situation seeming much more doable,we went ahead and overnighted our contracts to the new agency. The process will now really begin! The first step being switching our file at the Dept of International Adoptions from Gift of Love to ADOPPT. Hopefully will be posting more good news tonight or tomorrow!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Aching for a Solution....

It's been a while since I posted. This journey continues to be a rollercoaster of emotions and tough decisions. Yesterday, I was ready to give up and today I want to push forward. We were trying to switch agencies but have not signed the contract yet because the fees are significantly higher. The agency also never returns my calls or emails and it is so frustrating! And if we want this boy, (which we really do!) we have to work with them. The whole situation is so complex that I struggle to understand it wholly and won't even attempt to explain it here. They are not doing a good job advocating for this boy and are definately not trying to help us as far as I can see. So we don't know what we are doing until we can get a hold of Them. I do know however, that I have this constant feeling of anxiousness in the pit of my stomach and worry in my mind. It won't go away until this is solved and I don't think I am ready to give up....yet

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here we go again....

Well, I was suprised to hear today that the family of the 8 yr old boy did not want him to be adopted. So, it seems the 12 yr old boy really was meant for us and that is where we will go. We have already been in contact with the agency liason and she feels we can get the paperwork done in time. I hope the 3rd time IS the charm, because this has been a difficult journey! We have to pay the remainder we owe to the agency and terminate our contract with them, before transferring to the new agency. Of course it has to be a Friday and they won't have our file switched in Vietnam until they have those two things! Today I shampooed the carpets and began painting the kids' rooms because we have to switch them around so the two boys twin beds will fit. So the pink room is now brown and the green and brown room is now pink. We are going to keep plowing ahead because we are determined to make this happen!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Please Say Yes!!!!!!

We got a message from our agency today that the orphanage is going to speak to the family and the boy to make sure everyone will be OK with him being adopted out. I am a little bit worried, but both parents are deceased and I would think the orphanage would explain to him how much better his life would be if he came to live with us. I hope this won't be a Hai repeat, where once someone wants to adopt, the family comes back and reclaims them. They said they would give the final decision in a day or two. I hope they tell us tomorrow because they are a day ahead of us and then I suppose we would have to wait til Monday! They said as long as everyone agrees on the adoption it should be done by the deadline. I can't relax yet, but hopefully soon! If this falls through, I guess we were meant to choose the 12 yr old :) that we almost did. Wow what a ride this has been! Kelly

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Decision time is here...

Today we finally got info on the 8 yr old boy from Hoa Binh (the same orphanage as Hai), his name is Thang. I was almost afraid to look at the picture because we had come to a pretty close decision that we were going to go with the 12 yr old boy. It was a really hard decision, but when I saw his face he looked so scared and sad and no longer has a mom or dad. The only down side is that if this goes through, he will be seperated from his two older sisters. His sisters are too old to be adopted by Vietnamese law. We plan to help them from here as we can with clothes and things and keep in contact if possible. I hope some day we can bring them here, but I've been told that other families have tried to do this but were not successful. We are at peace with our decision, but I still feel sad for the other boy we didn't choose. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that everything gets done before the September 1st deadline for referrals. Oh, and I must not forget that today is our 13th wedding anniversary! Couldn't be a better gift!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Staying or moving on...

It seems like forever since I have written anything here. It's been a week since we lost Hai, and still no info on the 8 yr old boy. I told the agency today that we will wait a few more days and then we just need to move on. We can't just sit here and let time pass us by until it's too late. We are leaning towards a 12 year old boy. He is older than what we originally wanted, but we do feel drawn to his picture and the fact he IS older and soon he will be too old to be adopted under Vietnam law. We got info on him last week and I emailed the rep in Vietnam and she got back to me within a few hours. It seems like this may be what is to be. It seems that if the other orphanage really wanted the 8 yr old placed they would have gotten something to us sooner. Part of me almost hopes it doesn't work out because then we CAN move on. This is soooo hard. I am a slave to my email, waiting a hoping for any tidbit of info.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How do you choose?

I know we can't complain because there are lot of people out there waiting for a referal for a baby they will probably never get before the adoption closure, but this is killing me! I can't stand sitting here and waiting for information on another boy while time ticks by and we risk losing everything we worked so hard to accomplish. We have received info on two other boys, but we would have to change agencies. How do you choose between 3 boys whose fate lies in your hands and probabaly won't ever be adopted if you don't pick them? How do you pick a boy who is in the orphanage with two older sisters who by Vietnamese law are too old to be adopted? Do you take him from the only family he knows? Or do you choose another sacraficing his economic future in the care of his sisters? Is that fair to them or him? I don't know? I never knew this could be so difficult. When we adopted from China, they just sent us a picture and said this is your daughter and off we went. I wish they would just choose for us because this will be the hardest decision we will ever have to make. I hope it happens soon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hai will not be ours...

We got a devastating call today. Hai went home to his family. I am glad he is with his family, but it still is like morning the loss of a child. I always wondered if his mom thought no one would adopt him becasue of his age and have now found out that this has happened to other families as well. We are looking into some other children because we are too far in now to quit and have to fill the void we have. It is really ironic that the kids, on their own accord painted a sign this weekend that said, "Welcome Home Hai". We will be changing our blog name and will notify you of the changes so you can continue to follow our journey to hopefully a new happy ending. The Sept 1st deadline weighs even more heavily on his now since we don't have an identified child anymore.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This News IS Good News....

We received an email from our agency today that our dossier was logged in on June 16th. YES!!!!!!!! So we beat the July 1st deadline! I am not sure if our dossier has been approved yet or sent to where Hai is to be processed for his referral. Will hopefully hear more tomorrow! Now we just need our referral before Sept 1st, which should not be a problem.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No News is NOT Good News...

No news yet of any kind from Vietnam. We are going crazy wondering when we'll know what! I spoke with our agency and other adopters and it seems that when the dossier is delivered to DIA (Dept of International Adoptions... I mislabled it Internal Affairs in previous post)it is logged in. So, I guess we have to assume it is logged in. Another adopter I spoke to, got DIA approval for their dossier in just 10days and ready to be sent where their child was. I hope it goes the same for us, because tomorrow is our 10th day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dossier Reaches DIA!

We were notified that our dossier was delivered to DIA on June 23rd in Vietnam. There is a 12 hour time difference so that means they got it last night. It wasn't clear whether we are actually logged in though. The agency was going to follow up with the liason to see if we are logged in (as the deadline is July 1st). Even if we are not yet, I am sure we will be before July 1st!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

10 Days to Deadline....

As of today we have 10 days for our dossier to be logged into DIA (Dept of International Affairs) in Vietnam to make the July 1st deadline. It is nerve wracking but we must remain positive that we will make it! Once we are logged in with DIA our dossier will then go under review to be approved to adopt Hai. Once we are approved they will send us his information as a referral. But right now, we just wait to be notified that our dossier has been logged in.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

As close as we can be....

Our authenticated documents were sent to Vietnam June 10th, so we are very close to feeling secure! They need to match the authenticated documents to the already translated ones. I am not sure how long it will be before they approve us and send his information as a referral to us. So although we are closer, we must wait longer! I will try to post the article about us in this weeks paper this weekend. We are suppossed to start our 10 week class on Saturday, but are having difficulties locating a baby sitter and will need one every Satuday. I hope our relatives and neighbors can help out some, so we don't have to pay for three kids every Saturday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Moving Slowly, But Surely...

We are still waiting for our documents to be authenticated at the Vietnamese Embassy here in the U.S. Copies have been sent to Vietnam and it is our understanding they have received them and began the translation process. We got our I-600A in the mail yesterday. This is for the advanced processing of a foreign born orphan and has been sent to Vietnam so they know we are approved to adopt from the U.S. side. It's still a waiting game though. The local newspaper is doing another article on us. We are still hoping to find a non-profit organization that could help us set up some fundraising opportunities or any person in the community that could help with donations. The financial demand is still heavy at about $9,000. If we could get just 500 people in this huge metropolitan area to give $10, we could feel a little less stressed and know we could get him here faster and especially before the the September 1st closing. We keep hoping and thinking it will all work out in the end.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hurry up and wait.....

Today I needed to try and get an attorney to make me a true and accurate copy of the I-171H we received from immigration; I was unsuccesful. I couldn't find an attorney willing to do it for various reasons, so I had to make the copy myself and have it notarized and certified in downtown Phoenix again at the secretary of State office. I then overnighted the document to the liason in Rockville, MD. So now, it's hurry up and wait. It will take a minimum of one week to get the documents authenticated there on expedite level... let's hope for that or better! We can't feel secure until it's sent to Vietnam and logged in and even then we have to wait for its acceptance.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Got it!

We got our I-171H in the mail today! This is the last document we needed to send our dossier to Vietnam. Monday, I need to take it to an attorney to make a true and accurate copy that they will notarize as such. Then I have to go back to the secretary of state to have the notarization certified. We are almost done with the paper chase!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Better and Better!!!

This evening I got a call from my contact at the USCIS office. She said that she had processed our I-171H already and put it into the mail to us the same day I dropped it off! Amazing and awesome! This is the last big thing we needed to send with our dossier over to Vietnam to beat the July 1st deadline. Once again I just can't believe how people are helping us so much who don't even know us! If I could do a cartwheel, I'd do about 10 right now! I'm sooooo excited.

Half-Way There....

This morning I ran down to Florence to pick up the homestudy certification papers from the Pinal County Attorney and then went to the homestudy agency to pick up the homestudy. I then took the certification papers and homestudy to USCIS (immigation). I was told my contact had moved to a different office and that I should go there. So, I went over to another building a few blocks away and they said I had to have an appointment because they didn't take documents at this location, but at the other location from where I had just come. Here's the government for you...Take the papers to one building and they will take it to the other building for you. They said they needed to x-ray it and follow protocol. To make a long story short and I convinced them to take the papers and give them to the officer that had said she would help me. Hopefully she still will and won't get in trouble. I overnighted the homestudy to Maryland so the liason can get them authenticated at the Vietnam Embassy. She is also going to fax the homestudy and other documents to Vietnam so they can begin translating them without the authentication and the I-171H we need from immigration...we will send those later. Vietnam gave a verbal agreement to the liason, that they would begin processing the papers without having the complete file. Hopefully they will cooperate and work with us to bring Hai home. We are half-way there and once they have all the paperwork translated, filed, and accepted we'll be all the way there!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Our homestudy was certified today! If I could, I would give the judge a big kiss and a hug! The homestudy was just filed yesterday. It has been sooooo awesome how people have worked to help this dream become a reality. I am going to pick up the certification and homestudy and take it to immigration tomorrow, as long as they get it to me before USCIS closes. One more time crunch, then it's USCIS turn to pull through.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Glimmer of Hope.....

We reached a compromise with the adoption agency. They are allowing us complete the additional training while in process and after we bring him home if neccessary. We have to sign a document attesting to this. The good news is that today our homestudy was submitted to the the AZ courts for their approval. I am going to call the judge's assistant tomorrow to make sure they understand the gravity of the situation, so we don't lose Hai. The courts are going to allow me to hand carry the certification to immigration (in Phoenix). I am going to try to reach my contact to see if she can give me the final form (on the spot) that we need to send everything over to Vietnam. I am hoping and aiming for next week. It will be close, but we just have to believe it will all work out! This is just an unbelievably sitting on the edge of your seat situation and waiting to be able to breath a sigh of relief!

Monday, May 26, 2008

So much uncertainty......

It's been awhile since I have put in a new post, but not because there is nothing to tell! Last week our hoemstudy was completed and sent to the adoption agency. The socialworker that did our homestudy said she reccomended we be approved to adopt but listed a number of concerns; mostly to do with his age. So last week on Thursday I got a call that the adoption agency was adding a bunch of more requirements before they would give the final approval. One is to complete a 10-week training that deals with adopting an older child and the impact it can have on your family. We curently have 30 days to get our homestudy translated and authenticated in Vietnam to meet the July 1st deadline to receive applications in Vietnam. So you can see the problem with this! They also want us to locate someone to act as a translator for him here locally, find a counselor for him, list people who can help with the kids so we can focus on him when needed and get a statement from the school regarding services they will provide for him. It has really turned into a nightmare and made for a very tough time to finish the day out when all I wanted to do was go home, get in bed and cry. They have put us in such an awful position and put in a request that cannot be completed before the deadline. I was so angry but after talking to other adoptive families I did calm down, until I got home and received another blow from the adoption agency. They said that even if we get the dossier over to Vietnam in time, they may not approve it because of the concerns listed by the homestudy agency. I am hoping they can re-word the homestudy by removing the word concerns and instead say, "we will complete the following things to better prepare us and the adoptee. I just hope the damage hasn't already been done and that we won't run out of time. We have worked so hard to get everything done so quickly since Vietnam announced the July 1st deadline and then the agencies throw this at us. I hope they can get the homestudy done early this week and will allow me to drive it to the courts so I can beg them to do it in a few days instead of weeks. Luckily, I have a contact in immigration who can quickly process the form needed so we can send our application to Vietnam once we receive AZ courts approval. Stay tuned......for hopefully less drama and more happiness and relief! Kenny has started building the beds for the boys and we feel like he is already ours so it will be like losing a child if we lose him; and like him losing parents all over again because he knows we want to adopt him.

News Article About Us in Queen Creek Independent

I finally got a copy of the article featuring our family. Here it is:
QC family faces adoption obstacle
By Angela De Welles
Independent Newspapers
Roughly 8,500 miles separate the Orth family in Queen Creek from the 10-year-old boy they hope to adopt in Vietnam, but factors besides the distance are making the adoption difficult.
In January the U.S. Department of State warned potential adoptive parents against initiating new adoptions from Vietnam because a 2005 memorandum of agreement between the two countries, which is required for adoptions to take place, is set to expire in September. There is no certainty a new agreement will be in place before the current one expires, even though both countries are working toward drafting another agreement.
Kelly Orth said she and her husband Kenny started taking steps to adopt Hai in December 2007.
"We had been looking for about six months to a year for a child that would fit into our family. I just happened to find out about this boy in Vietnam," she said. "In December we actually started making the payments to the adoption agency."
The Orths found out about the warning in March.
"Now we’re in a real time crunch to get everything together," Mrs. Orth said.
They hope to complete the adoption as soon as possible because of the uncertainty surrounding a new agreement between Vietnam and the U.S.
A new agreement is needed, according to the notice from the Department of State, because adoption practices in Vietnam need to be better monitored. The notice states investigations have revealed irregularities ranging from forged paperwork to children put up for adoption without the consent of their birth parents.
The Orths are working through a United States adoption agency and have a letter from Hai’s mother stating she wants to give up her rights. Hai has been living in an orphanage for two years, Mrs. Orth said.
The family has paid about $6,000 toward the adoption and Mrs. Orth estimates they have about $10,000 left to go.
If it were not for the time constraints, the family would be able to make payments, but now Mr. and Mrs. Orth want to get the fees paid as soon as possible so they can bring Hai to their Queen Creek home.
They are reaching out to the community.
Mr. and Mrs. Orth have one adopted 4-year-old daughter from China and two biological children.
They feel another child would make their family complete and are already attached to Hai.
"It’s just when they sent us the picture I cried," Mrs. Orth said. "It just seemed like the right thing. It seemed really right and we wanted to get him over here as soon as possible."
She has the picture in the kitchen and says everyone is involved in pitching in to save money toward the adoption.
"I was just expecting to have more time to do it," Mrs. Orth said. "Basically we have four months. ... I feel very strongly that if we didn’t adopt him he wouldn’t get adopted."
Mr. Orth said the process is a tough one and families looking to adopt do not go into the situation on a whim.
"It’s a lot of hurdles to jump through to adopt," said Mr. Orth, adding background checks, home surveys and physicals are required of everyone in the family. "You have to open your whole life up, but it’s worth every ounce of energy."
The Orths are in the process of setting up an account for anyone interested in contributing to their effort and are seeking a nonprofit organization that might be able to help.
For more information, contact the Orths at 480-987-2420 or e-mail at To follow their adoption attempt, visit
Post your opinions in the Public Forums at News Editor Angela De Welles can be reached at 480-982-7799 or

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I had forgotten to mail in some affadavites to the homestudy agency, so I drove them down to Scottsdale along with $1,100 for the post-placement visits. This should be the final payment to them for a total of $2,400. The remainder of the payments will now go to the adoption agency and Vietnam. Still waiting on that economic stimulus check, the IRS said it will be in our account by Friday, then another $1,000 off to Vietnam. I still don't know how we are going to pull off the last of these payments! We just keeping hoping for the best!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Racing against time

We completed our home study this week with a home visit. Now the local agency must send the home study to our adoption agency in Iowa, they will make corrections and send it back to the local agency, who in return will send it to the courts to be approved, who in turn will send it to USCIS (immigration) for their approval, who will in turn send an I-700H to us granting us permission to adopt a foreign born orphan... you get the idea! THEN, we can FINALLY send it to Vietnam for their approval!

Vietnam opted to have us wait to send everything all at once, because they didn't want us to pay for translation fees if everything could not be completed before the July 1st deadline. It's a little scary the time crunch we are working under! We hope can get the dossier sent to Vietnam in 3 weeks or less.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

One step closer...

Today we had our fingerprint appointment. We went to down town Phoenix to a small unassuming building. Thankfully we waited hardly at all and got through fast! They had a problem with a few of my fingers with broken ridges so they had to re-do them several times. I guess my skin was too dry or something. We ran a couple errands afterwards because this is the first time we have been without the kids for quite awhile!

We picked up the kids and looked at some captain's beds for the boys'. I think Kenny is going to build them, though. The room the boys' will share is small so we need to combine the bed and dressers. We may have to switch the boys and girls rooms to fit both captains beds in there. Kind of a bummer though because the girls room is all pink and the boys' room is green and brown...not really looking forward to repainting!

When we got home our pre-certification letter (assigns a case number to us) from Pinal county was in our mailbox. Arizona is unique to other states because the adoption has to go through the courts once our homestudy is done and will take 2-3 weeks; hopefully only 2 though with our June deadline!

The article featuring our family on the front page, came out this week. Our scanner isn't working, so I need to get it scanned in elsewhere so I can post it here. Hopefully it will inspire some help from our community!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kudos to US Citizenship and Imigration Services (USCIS)

Today I took our I-600A to the USCIS office in Phoenix. This is a petition to adopt a foreign born orphan. Usually it is just mailed in, but I took a chance and went there in person not knowing if they would even see me without an appointment. Not only did they take my application, but an officer actually came out and spoke to me! She even got us a fingerprint appointment for this Saturday! Normally you may have to wait several weeks for this. She also said she would expidite our file as fast as she could, considering what's going on in Vietnam. She even gave me her phone number and the only ones who ever have their phone numbers are the adoption agencies. I was so impressed and elated, that I teared up. One step closer for us.

Our family was also featured in our local paper today (Queen Creek Independent), in hopes that we may receive some donations. All though it is great to have things move forward quickly, the "balance due" still looms over us.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The simple life

Although the financial aspects of this adoption have been stressful, we have learned a wonderful thing. We have made a lot of sacrifices: no vacations, very few outings, no uneccessary purchases and buying only what we need each paycheck. Although I can't say I won't look forward to having a little extra money for a vacation or to go to a movie, it is all worth it. I was pretty proud that I only spent about $200 on groceries for 2 weeks as opposed to the $280 or $325 we normally spent. I was hoping the economic stimulus check would come today but it hasn't. I'm calling everyone I know to see if they got theirs yet because we are so anxious to get it!

I spoke to adoption agency today and they want everything ready to go to Vietnam in June so it has time to be certified and authenticated before the July 1st deadline when no new applications will be accepted. We hare going to have our final home study visit on May 6th and hope it will be completed soon after that.

We are going to file our I-600A on Friday with Homeland Security to get permission to adopt a forign born orphan. This is just a formality, but costs $830. Once that is approved, we will receive the I-700 which gives us permission to adopt him. I hope that part goes fast too because it needs to go with dossier.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The pressure is on!

This is the first entry to our Blog. The purpose of this blog is to share our experiences with international adoption.

The MOU (memorandoum of understanding) between Vietnam and the U.S. is expiring in September. This will cease adoptions between the U.S. and Vietnam until a new agreement can be created. Last time this occured, the closure lasted 2 years. This is due to the improprioties in their documentation to determine that the children are indeed orphans. There has been a suspicion of baby trafficing in the past. This isn't the case with us though, because Hai came to the orphanage at age 8. None the less though we will be equally affected.

The biggest hurdle we face now is the shortened time frame to pay all the required fees. Right now we have another $10,000 to come up with before we can travel (we've already paid $6,000). We are desperate to bring Hai home because it is like he is already ours. If we lost him now, it would be like grieving the loss of a child. We are hoping to be able to get donations so we can be sure to travel before September. The local paper agreed to do an article on us to make our situation known to the community.

I have to believe that everything will work out. This is probably Hai's only chance at a forever family and he is our chance to complete our family. So spread the word and do what you can. We will do whatever we can in return to "pay it foward" too.

Here are some web addressess if you would like to read up on it.

U.S. alleges baby-selling rackets in Vietnam
Embassy report says lax policing lets adoption fraud flourish

From Joint Council on Children's International Services
Warning Concerning Adoptions in Vietnam
January 2008The Department of State warns potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers of the risk of initiating new adoptions from Vietnam at this time. The 2005 Memorandum of Agreement, required by Vietnamese law to authorize adoptions between the United States and Vietnam, expires on September 1, 2008. The United States is strongly committed to continuing intercountry adoptions from Vietnam if possible. Our primary concern is to ensure that the children and families involved in the adoption process are protected from exploitation. The Government of Vietnam shares this concern. Both countries acknowledge that more needs to be done. Discussions about revision and renewal of the Agreement are a priority for both governments, but there is no certainty a new Agreement will be in place on September 1. In view of the processing time required in Vietnam from placement to the Giving and Receiving Ceremony, an adoption process begun now cannot be completed before the current Agreement expires. We do not know whether the Government of Vietnam will continue to process pending cases if the current Agreement expires before a new Agreement takes effect. Moreover, given concerns about the existing level of protection for children in Vietnam, it is unlikely that the Agreement can be renewed in its current form.
The United States Government stands ready to support Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen and improve accountability in its adoption system and to develop its capacity to regulate adoptions. In some cases, our background investigations have revealed evidence of irregularities, ranging from forged or altered documentation to cases where children have been offered for adoption without the apparent knowledge or consent of their birth parents. In response to these problems, in November 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and the Department of State instituted new procedures to verify that children identified for placement meet the requirements of Vietnamese and U.S. law, before the child has been adopted under Vietnamese law. The Embassy strongly advises prospective adoptive parents not to travel to Vietnam until they have received notification from the Embassy that their case is ready for final processing and travel is appropriate. Parents should contact the Embassy immediately if anyone, including their adoption service provider, encourages them to travel to Vietnam prior to receiving this notification. The Embassy can work together with adoption service providers, Vietnam’s Department of International Adoptions, and local authorities to resolve issues such as the scheduling of a Giving and Receiving Ceremony. We continue to urge Vietnam to comply with the terms of the 2005 Agreement and to establish a process that protects the interests of all parties involved in adoptions.