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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pączki for Valentine's Day

Pączki (pronounced PAUNCH-kee) is the Polish word for donuts. 
Homemade Pączki 

Poles celebrate what is known as Fat Thursday which in olden days was a day (or several days, depending upon who you ask) of eating large amounts of foods that were forbidden during Lent.  In modern times, Fat Thursday is equated with the eating of the sugary treat, p

ączki, which are not prepared in advance but are freshly made throughout the day. Due to the popularity of the holiday,  bakeries find it to be one their busiest days of the year.  

It is said that in order to be a success in life, you must eat at least one donut on Fat Thursday (like Easter, the date changes yearly). If that is true, we are in trouble, because we had plans already for this year's date, February 12th, and I did not have time to make them.  :-)  Who wants to miss out on a reason to eat donuts?!  Not us!  Instead of eating them on Thursday, we had homemade pączki today (Valentine's Day).   In the recipe I used, the donuts are baked instead of fried.  I did not make the custard filling (though it is probably yummy), but filled some of them with raspberry jam and some with chocolate buttercream frosting.  They were delicious, and I am already being asked to make them again. Mmmm! 
The dog jumped up to look inside just as I snapped the picture. lol

(The pictures are not as clear as I would like.  The battery in my 
camera was dead, so these had to be taken on a phone.)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Official Referral

We have the official referral!

Because this process has been full of weeks and sometimes months of very little to report, it is a little head spinning to see how fast things progressed this week.  On Sunday I posted about our immigration approval.  Monday, Jana said via email that she would find out where our dossier is in the translation process and that while we were waiting, we could start filling out the I-800 ("Petition To Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative"), the I-800 supplement 1, and the 864-W forms. Today in a phone conversation we were told that our immigration had come in at a perfect time.  The agency's worker in Poland,  who meets with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (Poland's National Adoption Center),  already had a meeting scheduled and brought our information with him to the meeting.  We were approved, the official referral from the Polish government was issued, and we received it this morning.  Wow!  Immigration approval and the official referral in four days!

This is where the above mentioned forms (I-800, etc.) come into play.  Those forms have to be sent in to U.S. immigration to approve this specific child to come to and reside in the United States.  We finished filling them out and overnighted them to Lifeline today.  They will arrive in Alabama tomorrow and be mailed to the U.S. immigration center in the next few days.  It is our understanding that it can take four to six weeks to get back and have in our hands.  

Now to the question we have been asked: Does this mean we will travel sooner?  The short answer is, "I don't know".  Getting the official referral so quickly does mean that things moved fast for those steps, but once we get the child specific forms back, it is sent to the embassy in Warsaw, Poland.  We wait for a letter from the U.S. embassy to be written and given to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (I think. lol).  We are then issued a final approval from them (Ministry of Labor....) and everything is sent to the local court.  From there, it up to the judge how quickly he/she assigns the court date (which means travel dates).  This can happen rapidly...or not. 

If you are wondering how to pray, please pray about the time frames that will be out of our control.  Here are a couple of specifics:

1)  Please pray that we get everything done in a timely manner and to the desk of the judge (see above for the steps before we get there). 
2) Pray that once the judge gets our information, he/she will get to our case quickly and not wait for weeks (or months) to give us a court date (bonding period which will determine the length of our stay in Poland).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Immigration Approval

We got our immigration approval (I-800A) for Poland!!!!!  As I mentioned in our last post, it took us several weeks to receive our approval after we were fingerprinted the first time.  Based on that I was praying that we could have it by Valentine's Day (still faster than last time), and it is here two weeks earlier. Our approval was given the day after we were fingerprinted.  What an answer to prayer!  :D Thank you for your prayers, for we know it made a difference in getting it here quickly.