Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adoption Process Guidebook

The Adoption Process Guidebook Korea has arrived from Holt International! Time to start reading and learn more about the Korea Program. I have only read a small amount of the book, but each page of information is wonderful knowledge to hold onto and makes me more excited for the day we get to bring our baby home.

Support Letters in Mailboxes

Travis and I mailed our support letters on November 8th so by now they should have reached your mailboxes. We hope that you will join us in prayer and financial support of our adoption journey. One thing we wanted to clarify, because we just got clarification ourselves, is that all financial donations you intend for us to receive for our adoption need to be donated by our goal date of December 24th or 1 month after this date (LifeSong for Orphans grace period) otherwise the donation will just go towards a general adoption fund.

Here is a copy of our support letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

The dictionary definition of adopt is to choose or take as one’s own. We love this definition because of the word choose. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We know the adoption process is full of completing lots of paperwork, being patient while waiting for the right placement, and paying a large amount of money, yet we still choose to adopt because we know it is something that God is asking us to do. 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.

In June of 2007, after our second wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to start thinking about expanding our family. Our adoption process became active in August of 2007 when we selected the agency we would use as our guidance and support system. After doing our research we chose to go with Holt International. We found Holt’s approach to be very unique because it is centered on the child.

We chose to adopt a baby from Vietnam. Our homestudy was completed in January 2008 and our dossier was completed in April 2008. We were in the process of waiting to be matched with a baby, however, as of September 1st Vietnam is not open for adoptions at this time. Holt recommended we continue with Vietnam until mid October to see what the time frame is for when the country may re-open. Recently we heard that June 2009 is the estimated date for when the country may re-open for adoption. Through prayer and many conversations with our family and friends we have faithfully taken a step to believe and trust God’s plan for us, and we are now choosing to adopt a baby from Korea.

We knew we were ready to begin the adoption process, and we had support from family and friends, but we definitely did not have an idea how we would acquire the funds necessary. The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to a child, but it is finding the finances to make this happen. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, homestudy, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc. to be $25,000 - that’s certainly money we don’t have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. By God’s grace we’ve been able to pay the initial $7,000.

Hebrews 11:1 & 6 have been our encouragement to follow through with adoption. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Throughout the adoption process there are many unknown factors, however, these verses remind us that God is with us throughout the whole adoption process. If we continue to have faith in God our hope and choice to adopt will be possible.

We appreciate your friendship and would like you to pray and consider helping us in our adoption. Listed below are two ways you can help.

Prayer: Please pray for patience and understanding of God’s timing, as well as that God would tenderly care for our baby in Korea until we are able to bring him or her home. Please pray also that God will give us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise our baby to know Jesus Christ.

Financial support: Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay the remaining $18,000 in adoption expenses, to bring our baby home.

If you would like to be a part of God bringing our baby to Himself through our family, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and December 24th to the address below. Life International is a trusted organization administering the funds on our baby’s behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.

Please make your check payable to: Life International. You may preference how the donation might be used by writing “preference Morgan Adoption” in the memo section of your check.

(Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Life International, which retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.)

Mail checks to:
Life International
Attn: Morgan Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Thank you for investing in the Kingdom through prayer and finances. It will be an investment with an eternal return. If you would like to follow our adoption journey visit We will send another update letter as we receive more details. Please pray this entire process will glorify God and fulfill His purposes.

In Christ,

Travis and Kalina Morgan

Here is a copy of the letter from LifeSong for Orphans that accompanied our support letter:

Dear church, family, and friends of Travis and Kalina Morgan,

LifeSong for Orphans ( 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 3.5 million orphans in Asia 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 Christ, 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.

Travis and Kalina have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt an infant from Korea. 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 Morgan family "for such a time as this…" We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. Funds donated to LifeSong for Orphans will be given as an Adoption Grant to help cover adoption expenses for this special child. 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 this precious little baby? . . . It will be an investment with eternal return.

God bless you for laying your treasures up in Heaven,
Andy Lehman Vice President

p.s. I trust God will do great and mighty things through this, and all for His Glory!

PO Box 40
202 N Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744
phone 309 747 3556
bringing joy and purpose to orphans

Support Letter

Travis and I wrote a support letter to send to our family and friends. The Korea program fee is around $18,000 where as the Vietnam program fee was closer to $ 11,000. Despite the increased amount of money we need we know God is still leading us to adopt and will provide the funds.

Travis and I signed each of the support letters we sent out. Here are a couple photos of us trying to be artistic and/or silly!

Immigration Number Two

On November 8, 2008 we mailed an update letter to Immigration. While reading the instructions for completing the I-824 form we found a $340 filing fee. We were pretty sure our social worker had informed us that switching to the Korea Program wouldn't cost us anything so we clarified and she said we didn't need to send another check to Immigration. Praise God!

To Whom It May Concern at Citizenship and Immigration Services:

We have already turned in our I-600A application and have been approved. However, since this approval we have changed country programs. Please switch our approval to the Korea Program and please hold our file in Portland, Oregon. I have enclosed a copy of our I-171H, as well as our home study and summary report for Korea, and I-824 which our social worker recommended we fill out and enclose.

Thank you for taking the time to make these changes.

Home Study Number Two

Home study number two was completed on November 4th! What a blessing...our social worker did the majority of the work. She updated our document so that everything would be current. The home study now acknowledges that we are going through the Korea Program, we are a year older, and my nephew was born this summer. We got to proof read the doucment before it got mailed to the Eugene office.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Change in Plans = Korea

Through many converstaions and lots of prayer we have decided to switch to the Korea program. Hebrews 11:1 & 6 have been our encouragement to follow through with adoption. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Throughout the adoption process there are many unknown factors, however, these verses remind us that God is with us throughout the whole adoption process. If we continue to have faith in God our hope and choice to adopt will be possible.

Another Email Update

Dear Adoptive Family,

Greetings from the Vietnam program. I wanted to provide you an update on the status of adoptions in Vietnam. I know that you are anxiously awaiting information.

Status of the Adoption Agreement:
As you are aware, the Adoption Agreement between the US and Vietnam expired on September 1, 2008. As a result no new adoptions can be processed at this time.

Negotiations are underway between the US and Vietnam to establish a new agreement. To date, the two countries have established negotiating teams and identified issues for discussion. At the end of October there is a formal meeting between the two governments to discuss issues that need to be resolved before a new agreement can be signed. We are very hopeful that at this meeting will be an important step toward a new agreement. However at this time we cannot predict when a new agreement will be completed.

Status of family dossiers without referrals:
The Ministry of Justice Department of International Adoptions, has to date agreed to hold all family dossiers at the Ministry of Justice logged in - pending adoptions re-opening. At this point we do not know how long they will continue to do this, but for now dossiers are still at the DIA. If this changes we will notify you immediately.

Thank you so much for your patience while this new agreement is negotiated. We will provide you monthly updates during this time with the latest information we have. Please know that Holt is advocating with Vietnam and the US to implement a new agreement as soon as possible. what?! Travis and I are thinking it may be time to switch to another program. This is not the news we were wanting to hear. Our eyes are being opened to having understanding and patience for God's timing.

Email Update

September 1, 2008

Dear Vietnam Adoptive Families,

Today is September, 1 - the day the current Adoption Agreement expires between the US and Vietnam so I wanted to write and update you with what we know at this point.

New Agreement: The US Government and the Vietnam Government both assure us that negotiations for the new agreement are beginning. Both sides report optimism about the ability to reach a new agreement as significant progress has been made on issues that had been identified as concerns. There is no way to know for sure when the negotiations will be completed. As there is new info we will provide it.

Holt families with children matched to them: The Department of International Adoptions has assured us that all Holt families have the required DIA Letter to document that you have a formal match. That means that your cases continue to process.

Families with dossiers in Vietnam: If your dossier is in Vietnam and you are waiting on a match at this point the US or DIA have not provided us with new information about what will happen to your dossier. At this point there has been no agreement to "grandfather" the dossiers as we had earlier been told, and there is no information about what will happen yet. Robin is going to Vietnam later this month and will be providing an update as we get new information.

I do understand that this is not much information, but as new info is available we will be updating you. If there is specific information on your case we will of course provide it to you individually.

We recieved this email with sadness. We knew the country was closing, but we hoped they would give us words of encouragement that we would be "grandfathered" in since we already had all our paperwork in Vietnam. We are not sure where God is leading now...

My Birthday Call

For my birthday Travis took me to the Portland Rose Gardens and Japanese Gardens in the morning. Then we went to Olive Garden for lunch. He planed a very fun day for us. During the day I missed a call from someone at Lifesong. I tried to call back the next day, but wasn't able to find anything out until a week later when the volunteer handling our application was in again. We were accepted! Lifesong was going to partner with us and help us send support letters to our family, friends, and church members. What a great birthday!

Yard Sale

We had an adoption fundraiser yard sale. Family, friends, and church members graciously donated items for us to sell at our yard sale. We made just under $400.

Check out all this loot!

My mom and I are trying to get some organization in the garage the week prior to the yard sale.

The nigth before the yard sale my sister and brother-in-law came over to do some last minute pricing of items.

Travis handled the sales in the morning because I was in grad school.

Dossier and Grants

We complied a lot of paperwork together to make our Dossier. We are pretty proud parents of our baby.

We applied to a couple different grants but sadly we weren't awarded either. We were disappointed but we knew God must have a different plan.


Our homestudy consisted of two conversations with our social worker. One was at her office, and one was at our house. Yep, we have running water- we must be an okay family to adopt a baby from Vietnam!


During the summer we researched agencies. We picked Holt International as our agency to help us adopt. We completed our inital application and we were accepted! The next step was for each of us to answer lots of questions-11 pages worth.

Some of the questions included:
1)What brings you to adopt now?,
2)Have you discussed your adoption plans with your extended family? What is their attitude towards adoption?
3)How do you plan to include the culture and traditions of the country you have chosen in your family life?
4)What fears do you have, if any, about adopting a child?, Briefly describe your parents’ martial relationship while growing up. What would you do differently?
5)In what ways are you like, or different, from your mother and father?
6) What happy, rewarding memories do you have of your family life as a child?
7) Who was the most influential person in your life? What qualities did this person possess?
8)What have been the most fulfilling accomplishments in your life?,
10)Describe the things you like about your spouse.
11)What repair attempts or methods to resolve conflict do you use in your marriage?
12)What roles do you play in your marital relationship?
13)What do you think is important in raising children and what do you think being a good parent means?,
14)In what ways would you bring up your child as you were raised? What would you do differently?
15) What are you expectations of parenting?
16)How do you think becoming a parent will change your lifestyle?
17)What types of discipline do you find most effective with your children? If you are a first-time parent, how do you plan to discipline your child?
18)How will you spend quality time with your child(ren)?
19)If you do not have children in your home, what experience have you had in caring for and relating to children? Attended parenting classes?
20)How do you plan to discuss adoption with your child?

Travis and I spent a lot of time answering these questions and many more. It was a time consuming process, but well worth the discussions we had with each other!

And the Journey Began...

Travis and I began thinking about adding to our family around our 2nd anniversary. This is a picture from when we went to the Melting Pot for cheese and chocolate fondue to celebrate.