December 2010 - Ashley fell in love with Antonio (Carter), Alice, & Dariya

Early January 2011 - Discussed a special needs adoption, and thought it was something we would do in the future.  So, we planned to have kids the good old fashioned way first.

Early February 2011 - Couldn't kick the nagging feeling that we needed to adopt...NOW.  Looked into 'healthy' international adoptions from Ethiopia & Taiwan.

Mid February 2011 - Agreed that something just didn't feel right about those 2 countries. Meanwhile, I had still been sneaking onto Reece's Rainbow, praying over those sweet kiddos. 

Mid February 2011 - Jake came home and said he fell in love with Antonio on Reece's Rainbow.

Late February 2011 - Contacted Children's Hope Network to begin our homestudy.

Late February 2011 - Told our parents & grandparents the news - they were all exstatic!

March 16 2011 - Sent out our initial homestudy application, auto bios, background check info, etc.

March 20, 2011 - Emailed Reece's Rainbow to see about officially committing to Antonio

March 30, 2011 - Chatted with Andrea (director of Reece's Rainbow)....and decided to use their team and their program.  $1305

April 1, 2011 - Committed to Antonio...on April fools?  Yesiree! 

April 4, 2011 - Got our birth certificates (mine was not so easy to locate...born in Waukesha, adopted in Winnebago...a bit of a to-do about this.  But, a super kind lady helped us get it done!) and marriage licenses!  4 of each, just in case!  $87

April 9, 2011 - We did some crib shopping - and it started to sink in that we're actually going to be parents!

April 11, 2011 - Applied for passports!  Our photos are awful...they said we can't smile....bad news....  $270  (yes, my math is correct - each one is $110, and then they make you pay a $50 'processing fee'...very sneaky....)

April 20, 2011 - Got our list of dossier documents from Reece's Rainbow...fell.out.of.the.chair.  We have a lot of work ahead of us.....

May 2, 2011 - Completed home study online courses.  Kind of a waste of time...but they're done!  $130

May 3, 2011 - Our first home study visit!  And sent in first check for the homestudy.  $2000

May 9, 2011 - Our second home study visit! 

May 9, 2011 - Received Jake's passport in the mail!  WOO!  Now...where is mine...?!?

May 19, 2011 - Our third home study visit!

May 21, 2011 - Our Parent Ed Retreat for the homestudy.  Now we can say that we're DONE!!!!

May 23, 2011 - Sent some random check for some state approval certificate.  Nobody knows what it's for - but just that it's necessary.  Not part of our homestudy, not part of our dossier.  Who knows.  Either way - it's checked off the list of things 'to-do'!  $75

May 23, 2011 - Our homestudy agency said they will not approve us unless we are partnered with an agency (which Reece's Rainbow is not).  Our homestudy is FINISHED - and sitting on a desk waiting to be notorized.  Seriously?!  Prayed like crazy...

May 24, 2011 - Our homestudy agency decided that they will make an exception for us, and the problem is taken care of.  Go God! 

June 8, 2011 - Our notorized homestudies finally arrived in our mailbox!  3 copies...all set to go!

June 10, 2011 - Ashley's passport FINALLY arrived!!!  Woooo!!!

June 14, 2011 - Sent out our i600a to USCIS...now we're just waiting for approval from immigration! $890  (I agree, that's an awful lot of money to process a document.....)

June 15, 2011 - Got the dreaded email...which told us Carter's country will close for 'approximately 3 months' beginning on July 11th, 2011.  At the place that we're at in the process, there is zero chance of us getting to his country and completing the necessary steps before July 11th.  So - we wait.  And pray that 'approximately 3 months' really means '3 months', and not 6 months...or 9 months...or a year....

June 28, 2011 - Received our fingerprinting appointment in the mail for July 22nd @ 11:00am.  This would normally be really exciting...because it's one of the last things we need to do to be able to send our dossier to Carter's country.  Well - it's not so exciting, because we're in the 'wait mode'.  Bummer.  But - one step closer, nonetheless!

July 8, 2011 - Oh.my.word.  We are speechless.  We just got an email that Carter's country WILL NOT stop special needs adoptions.  We did not expect this at all - we didn't even know it was a possibility.  Amazing.  Now...we've got lots of work to do!!

July 12, 2011 - Sent out our CSP and POA documents to Carter's country!  Normally this would have been done earlier in the process, but because we knew it was likely that his country would close, we waited to avoid paying the fee 2x.  $130

July 15, 2011 - The Carter Benjamin Benefit...what an amazing night!  We raised $21,046!!  Amazing....

July 22, 2011 - Went to Milwaukee to be fingerprinted at 11:00am!  One step closer!

July 28, 2011 - Heard through our stateside helper that the new laws in Carter's country require a tweak to our Homestudy.  No big deal - we can just make an addendum.  But it's gonna cost us.  :)  $200

August 8, 2011 - Jill B. drove all of our documents to Madison to be apostilled in a last-ditch effort to get our dossier sent out before our vacation (on 8/13)!  $330

August 11, 2011 - We got our golden ticket via email!!  This means we're approved, and IF our apostilles  get finished in time, we can send out that dossier in time!!

August 12, 2011 - I drove to Madison with Lisa Gander and Rachel Gander to pick up our FINISHED DOCUMENTS!!  It worked!  God totally worked it out.  And our dossier is 100% completed!!

August 12, 2011 - Jake and I mailed our dossier to Carter's country tonight!  It should be there by Thursday, August 18th!  $176

August 17, 2011 - Our dossier arrived in Carter's capital city!  Our facilitator signed for it!  She has it!  It's there!!  

September 1, 2011 - Our dossier has been submitted to Carter's government.  Now...we wait to hear our travel date....!!

September 21, 2011 - We received an email from our stateside helper, and a Facebook message from our facilitator....WE GOT OUR DATE!!!  It's October 5th!  WOW!!

September 23, 2011 - My last day working at Wee Wisdom :)

September 24, 2011 - We booked our flights....holy moly!!  $1223 (one way)

October 2, 2011 - Left ATW at 11:30a for KBP - to arrive at 1:30p.  We're here!

October 5, 2011 - SDA appointment at 10:00a - paid facilitation fee.  $9,000

October 6, 2011 - Picked up referral from SDA at 4:00p

October 7, 2011 - Today, we met our boy at about 10:00am.  He is beautiful!

October 8, 2011 - We started to visit twice a day.  Once from 9:30a-11:30p and once from 4:00p to 6:00p.

October 14, 2011 - After being here for 12 days, we're heading home.  We won't know our court date until the 17th...so we'll go home, and wait it out.  Paid rent - $660 ....and airfare - $1534

October 23, 2011 - We are back in Carter's Country - and we've decided to stay until the end!  Which means Rachel has joined us :)  $1224 

October 24, 2011 - It's official!  After an hour long court hearing, we are officially Carter's parents!  What a blessing!  What a gift!  Anton Oleksander no more...nope!  Now he's officially Carter Benjamin Gibson!  

November 3, 2011 - The ten day wait is OVER!

November 9, 2011 - Gotcha Day!  Carter left the orphanage, and he's with his forever family...forever! Also applied for Carter's passport.

November 10, 2011 - Started the process to get Carter's visa.  $404

November 11, 2011 - Picked up Carter's passport!  $400

November 15, 2011 - Carter is headed HOME.  Paid rent - $1400 and Airline Fees - $1600

Welcome HOME, Gibson Family!  Welcome home!

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