Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm Baaaack

Merry Christmas Everyone!!
 I know I disappeared on you for a while, I was here, just really didn't feel like posting. This adoption has been a crazy emotional ride. There have been more than one bill in the parliament that has threatened to close down adoptions in the country we are adopting from. Rumors, highs, lows, just craziness. I really don't know what to tell people when they ask how our adoption is going. Because at any given moment I don't really know. At this point in time it's looking a little more postive, that could change any minute, the life of international adoption. I was definitely shielding  myself emotionally.
So, for the past month and a half I've just been enjoying my kiddos, hubby, and getting ready for Christmas.
Once the holidays, are over, I need to either mail or take several documents to Atlanta to apostilled, then mail them to our country facilitators. These are the docs that will be more than 3 months old at the beginning of February when they hope to submit us.
But really, we are doing great here. We got to visit some close friends and family for Thanksgiving and we are enjoying a great laid back Christmas at home with the kids.
I'm going to be be doing some advocating/informational posts on different types of special needs adoption.
If I have this mode of communication I might as well use it! So if your not one of my adoption world friends (man I love those ladies) Then check back next week. Even if you are not interested in adopting, maybe someone you know is, or maybe there are other ways you can help, or just come to learn.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Our adoption processes have brought a lot of blessings in my life. One of the huge ones being the online community of adoption folks. Through blogs and forums I have met some of the best people. One of them being my online friend Laurie. She volunteered to help us sell t-shirts. Through that one of her family members, Christine, was lead to our blog. Christine feels lead to help us with raising money for our adoption. How wonderful is that? That someone I don't even know will take the leap of faith to help us out, not only with our adoption, but with spreading the word about special needs adoption. She has become a consultant with the company 31, she will be donating all the proceeds she makes this month to Ella's adoption!
I ordered a skirt purse from there several years ago, and I got so many compliments on it. Let me tell you their stuff has gotten even cuter. If you are not familiar with 31, go check it out. It is a great place to get a gift for that hard to shop for person. I got my Grandma a travel bag from there, monogrammed with her name, several years ago. She still raves on about it!
So go to Christine's website and check it out!
If you want to place an order make sure you email her and let her know it is for Ella

Blessings and Oops

You didn't think I was really going to be back to post today did you!
First of all my oops. I failed to notice that on the preview they sent of our shirts that our blog address is wrong on all of the grey shirts and all of the black shirts. Yep, I put together 17 packages of shirts to mail out without noticing. Attention to detail-NOT ME! Everyone loves the shirts, anyways! I have gotten nothing but rave reviews on them, they are super cute and very soft and comfy!! If you're interested in doing a fundraiser, you can have them done in almost any country even the United States!! For all those brave folks who do foster adoption or infant adoption!! Go to She sells the rights to use the design, 50.00 is really minimal for the great profit margin you get on the shirts, and she does great things, go support her! The printing company that sells the shirts at cost for these designs is, if you purchase the 50.00 fundraiser kit from Kari then she will give you the contact information to contact the printing company. They will make a preview of what your shirt will look like. Make sure you read all the previews to make sure your design is correct::-)
We still have shirts available, I ordered extras. I will do my best to post the actual pictures of the shirts and what sizes we have available tonight!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blessing, Signs, and Oops

Adoption brings about huge God moments. I'm not joking, or trying to speak Christianese to you. God has sent me the most AWEsome signs while going through adoption, and anyone who has gone through this process knows that is the truth. I have felt so discouraged since finding out we have to wait till Feb to submit for Ella, and now there is an impending vote that has passed a preliminary vote and will be voted on again anytime as soon as this week through spring. It would stop adoptions from the country we are adopting from. Not permanently, but for months.
Since we won't submit till Feb, we have to redo most of our paperwork, nothing can be more than 6 months old.
I know that God's timing is perfect, but I have to remind myself of that everyday, sometimes every minute. I am not usually this down about things, I am usually a cup half full kind of person.
I prayed last week in church, not that I haven't prayed about the situation everyday, but prayer just seems so much more powerful when your standing in church. "Please Lord, I need a sign we are supposed to be doing this, some encouragement would be great. Not sure what kind of sign you could send, you have sent so many, but my heart feels desperate"
We were hopeful to recieve some new pictures of Ella, there was a family adopting from her orphanage, however upon arriving in the country, the girl they were supposed to adopt was not available. Things worked out for them and the child, but it was very hard on them at first. And that voided the possibility of anyone checking on Ella for us during this wait.
Last week Anastasia told me she had a dream about Ella. Usually Anastasia has bad dreams (sad I know) She said we had gotten Ella and she was sooo cute and we loved her sooo much. She said at the end of her dream her, Ella, and Jesus were in an elevator. I asked if she talked to Jesus. She said no, because in her dreams she can't control what happens. But she took a couple more bites of her cereal and turned to me over her shoulder and said, "I think Jesus was there to help Ella"
Enough said, right?
This post is long enough I will post about the rest tomorrow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moving on Up

Our Thermometer that is...
So far we have made 350.00 with T-shirt sales, but I ordered extras and intend to make more than that.
We had some generous people donate in addition to buying T-shirts, or donating instead of buying T-shirts, adding 160.00!
AND we were able to save 500.00 out of our paychecks this month.

All that narrows the gap by .... $1010.00!!

Making the amount we still need


I'd like to add that the 350.00 in T-shirts sales, reflects the fact that I already paid the bill to the T-shirt company. My goal on the T-shirt sales is 1,000.00 So we only need to sell 26 more shirts to make that happen. Because from here on out the T-shirts are all profit, since I paid the bill out of our sales.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Disappointing News....challenging myself

Ugh, our dossier should be arriving today in country. However last night we recieved some dissappointing news. When we committed to Ella it was though that she was already cleared for adoption. Then we were told that it was not until sometime in October. Well, now they (the SDA in her country) is saying not until Jan. Her country closes down for submittals sometime in November until sometime in February.
We are heartbroken. We are ready for her to be home, why should she sit in an orphanage parentless, when we are ready. That's 4+ months of her legs getting tighter and tighter, her not getting the proper nutrition, her not learning to bond with other people, her not having therapy. We are heartbroken, but we know everything will work out how it is supposed to. Thankfully we were extended at our base until summer, we were supposed to have to move in the spring.
I was just telling some AWESOME friends last night, that we were ready to take on the debt of another adoption. We would just pay it off once she was home, like we are doing with Anastasia. Well, we are 9,000 something short so far, and I am challenging myself to not have to go into debt for this, we have been given more time, wether we like it or not, and I intend to use it wisely.
Adoption is not easy. When Anastasia came out of her room this morning, I felt so thankful. So thankful, that what seemed like impossible, was possible, to bring her into our family.
I've added an expense thermometer. The money on it so far represents, the 8,000 we have saved ourselves so far, the money committed to us by some close friends, donations, etc... And as donations come in and as we are able to save money from our paychecks I will add to that thermometer. I love a challenge!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Is For Real..please do something

There are orphans in need, around 147 million, way too many. You don't need to adopt to make a difference. To make a huge difference, I mean, isn't saving 1 child's life a huge difference? When people say they admire me, there is one thing that goes through my head, and that is "don't". When we adopted our Anastasia ( we were not out to adopt a special needs child, or to even save a child, or even to adopt internationally. Step, by shaky step God lead us that way. And I can tell you, these orphanages do not have the resources over there, it is scary to say the least. It is not right for a 5  year old to weigh 17 lbs. And this is not a rare occurrence. Time after time you can read about real families, families I know online, that within weeks of meeting their 2-3 year old child, the child has learned to sit up, make eye contact, reach for a toy, roll over, etc... This is not an exaggeration. I myself used to think it was, even after Anastasia's adoption I was ignorant.
This week, the RR community got a huge reminder of how real this is, one of their "healthy" waiting children passed away. Several families have seen her recently while picking up their own children from the same orphanage. Ann Marie, was about to get sent to the institution. 4 is the age in Ella's country where these babies are sent to an institution for a life of little hope. Ann Marie was a household name for all RR families. We all knew who she was and many families advocated for her and loved her.
It is not know why she passed away, she is not the first Reeces Rainbow child to pass away while being on the waiting child listing, and unfortunately she will not be the last.
I want to share a poem that Meredith Cornish wrote :

While we were...

While we were eating…
… they were hungry
While we were playing…
… they were restrained
While we were tucking our kids into bed…
… they were alone
While we turned up the heat…
… they laid in the icy cold
While we wrapped our children in blanket sleepers…
… they laid in their own excrement
While we sang songs and listened to music…
… they listened to the screams and cries of those around them
While we rocked our babies…
… they silently rocked themselves
While we hugged our kids…
… they scratched at their own faces and pulled their own hair for stimulation
While we cried over scraped knees…
… they moaned in their loneliness
While we brushed our daughters’ beautiful hair…
… they had their heads shaven to stave off the lice
While we fought off the flu with love and nourishment…
… they got the flu and went Home.
No longer suffering… but so many more still are.
In memory of those that have never felt the love of a family, but have passed away alone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sending off the "Beast"

Haha, this is what RR families call our dossier (our official set of documents that get submitted to the country we are adopting from) Let me tell you the dossier for this country is nothing near as "beastly" as the one for Russia was. I drove to Atlanta this morning to get everything apostilled, then headed to FedEx to ship it off.
Feeling paper pregnant now!
What now?
We wait. Basically.
1. To see if she clear for international adoption yet
2. If she is our dossier will be submitted to the proper people over there
3. If not then we wait some more
4. If we are submitted then we wait to get a travel date, best case scenario would be late November, but it could be as late as February.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fundraiser Time!!

I don't like fundraising, I don't like asking for money, most people don't. I love to give, really I do, it's one of my favorite things, ask my husband, even if we weren't adopting again we wouldn't have any money because I'd be giving it all away. So I will full force fundraise in the next month for our adoption. I feel lead to do this. Fundraising for our adoption not only gives others the opportunity to take part in our journey and to help us (thank you) but it spreads the word for orphans everywhere. I have chosen fundraisers that I believe will not only benefit us, but others. Click on the tabs above to read about our T-shirts and our Upcoming Gold Party.

I have kind of kept my heart guarded during this process, not quite letting myself enjoy the possibilites yet. Adoption is emotionally straining, as is pregnancy don't get me wrong.
We have all of our paperwork ready!! Praise the Lord, and thank you to those who have helped to make it happen. We got our Golden Ticket this past Saturday!! (immigration approval) and we are getting the last documents notarized and approved today. I may be able to get this mailed by the end of the week, if not, then the beginning of next.
Where do we go from there? Only time will tell. I will keep you updated!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Building to bring my baby home

I have always wanted to learn to build. Someone told me about an awesome website with great knock off furniture plans. I have been wanting this bookrack since I saw it years ago, and I especially wanted the above the bed bookrack for each of my kids. But I was too cheap. So when I saw the plans for this, I got busy!
Gary helped me with the first one. I was scared of the table saw, then an awesome friend lent me her husband's miter saw, and I love it, not scary at all.
So, for our first fundraiser I will be creating a custom made bookrack for a lucky someone.
I have chosen not to do a "raffle" These take a lot of work to make, and the purpose of my hard work is to make money for our adoption. So for the first bookrack, it will be wider version pictures below. I fit at least 130-140 books on the skinny verson so 150-175 books should fit easily on the wider version, as it has a little more book space than the skinny version.
You will get to pick your paint color!! And it will come with hardware to secure  it to your wall.
I am asking for a minimum donation of 85.00

       The one in this picture was made for a friend who hired me to made the wide version, love it!
I make them so that they fit snug against the wall with no gaps.

This was my first one, it is the tall skinny version. I kept it for my kids.

If you want a matching small bookrack you can add that for 25.00
I made these for myself and a friend hired me to make them for her 4 boys. They go above the bed to store nighttime reading books. I have not hung mine yet, as we are due to move this spring, but I am so excited about them!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Cost Breakdown

I have not felt lead to post this till now. We will be fundraising in a more proactive way soon.
This is our projected cost breakdown:
What is the cost breakdown?
UP TO $24k for one child
Breakdown: (ROUGH estimates)

$700 homestudy update PAID
8/17           $100   mailing 1st set of docs PAID
8/28           $830 USCIS,i-600a and fingerprinting PAID

$3000 flights first trip
$3000 flights second trip
$8600 facilitator fees
$1700 first trip lodging ($80/nt 3 weeks)
$1100 second trip lodging ($80/nt 2 weeks)
$450 first trip food/other supplies ($20/day 3 weeks)
$250 second trip food/other supplies ($20/day 2 weeks)
$600 passport
$550 Visa and Medical
$2000 transportation (in country)
$1000 orphanage donation/dossier preparation costs

Still need to pay 22,250

By keeping a tight budget we have been able to pay for our costs so far out of hubby's paychecks. That is something that God has always gifted me with, I can save money when needed. I drive my husband crazy with it too I think. There is no Starbucks, no hair appointments, no pedicures, etc...
We have been blessed with some very generous donations. Our FSP account with Reece's Rainbow has 531.00 in it, wahoo!!
Stay tuned for some upcoming fundraisers. And if your willing to skip a Starbuck, a lunch out, etc... to help bring Ella home, then click on our Ella Button to the right and you can make a tax deductible donation to Reeces Rainbow into our account!!

Posts Galore!

So, I have not been the best blogger this go around. I really have not explained how this whole thing is going to work.
We are almost done with all paperwork on our end, well, we are done, pending our translator reviewing our documents for mistakes, so see if we have an do-overs!
From there we are only waiting on our 171, that is from INS, it is our official approval to adopt and bring and orphan into the states. They have recently redone the system and are backlogged. They have had our application for 4.5 weeks and we are not even assigned an officer as of this morning. Ugh
The country we are adopting from does closes down for adoptions sometime in November. We NEED that INS approval, we cannot move forward without it. I have contacted a senator's office immigration liason for help, not sure if he'll answer my email, if not, then I will call.
Assuming we get that done in time to submit our dossier to our country by their closing date in November. Then we mail it over there, our facilitator submits it to the SDA office there, then anywhere from 2-4 weeks later we are given a travel date for anywhere from 2-4 weeks later (that's the "norm")
So WHEN, you keep asking, I dunno!!
I am not a patient person, so trust me this is painful. God's timing is always perfect I keep reminding myself.
Once we are over there we go to our SDA appt., recieve our official referral, then travel to where Ella is to meet her. We will have daily visits with her, while waiting for our court date, which "averages" 2.5 weeks after getting there. After court there is a 10 day waiting period, then traveling to the capitol of that country to get more paperwork done, then come home. We  plan on coming home directly after court, then probably just myself going back for the second trip.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I promised to post

when we found out what happened with the bill that was trying to put a stop to all adoptions in the country we are adopting from. It did not pass, actually it was never even voted on. So we can all carry on and breath just a little easier!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A laugh or a cry

There is nothing exciting going on here. But if you would like a good laugh or a good cry, I direct you to this blog
They are in EE, they just successfully adopted a beautiful boy who happens to have arthrogryposis. They adopted him despite the fact that he is in an institution. In this country children with special needs are sent to an institution at the age of 4, some orphanagaes are able to hold onto them till 5. The Nalle family have not had a traditional journey due to the fact that Aaron is not only in an institution, but that there has never been an adoption out of this region. The Nalle's had to go through a court session that was grueling, and it ended with the judge saying "If God led you to adopt this child, then God led me to decide in your favor"
Both Julia and Rob are excellent writers. I read their blog and I laugh and cry. I have said that never before have I felt closer to God than during adoption. Getting pregnant can happen on "accident" God has to move mountains for a lot of these children to find homes. His presence can easily be seen, but that does mean that the journey is easy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anything New?

Hmm. well, so is anything new with the adoption? Well, right now we are finishing up our dossier paperwork. That is our official set of documents that is sent to Ella's country. It has things such at medicals, employment verification, verification of the size of our house, power of attorneys, etc, etc, etc.... First off let me say Russia's dossier was about 3x as much paperwork, so I am not complaining! But it is still very specific. We will fax all these documents to be reviewed, then I will drive to Atlanta to be apostilled. That is a certification of a notarized document. There is only one place in each state that does this, it is very official. Thankfully our state charges 3.00 per seal, rather than the 10.00 some states charge. Once we are done with that we can do nothing else until we get our I600A approval. That is the United States government approving us to adopt and bring an orphan into this country. This will be the only thing we are waiting on, that and Ella clearing for international adoption, sometime in October. So best case scenario would be her clearing at the end of October and us getting our I600A approval by then. Then the paperwork is submitted, and typically you receive a travel date about a month or so out from there. So the earliest we could be traveling looks like the end of November.
That being said, we also got word of a "vote" that is being done in the next couple weeks in her country that could stop adoptions. Many people who know this country well, say that it is not likely this bill will get voted through. But still we are not breathing easy until that day comes and goes. We will let you know when it does!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I've got a new picture!

Well it was actually taken June 1st. Another family was at her orphanage adopting and there was a function where the children performed. (this is common in EE orphanages) The family had remebered they saw her but forgotten they took a picture. It's more face on, but she is still looking down. Man is she cute! And the curls, oh, the curls!! I can hardly stand the wait. The person holding her in the picture does not appear to be a caretaker, maybe a grandmother? June 1st is her birthday, very happy that she she has someone who cares enough to visit on her birthday, praying that person is selfless enough to sign the papers so she can be adopted.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I didn't know you were planning on adopting again

That's what most people said to us when we shared our news. And well...we didn't really know either. It just kind of evolved. We had talked about if we would ever adopt again, and we never ruled  it out, but we never thought it would be this soon either. I was obsessesed,  I would check Reeces Rainbow almost daily while Gary was deployed. I loved to pray for the children and see who got families. I would read the blogs of those adopting RR children and slowwly I started envisioning myself in their shoes. Occasionaly I would send Gary a picture of a little girl that I thought "maybe" we "might" be somewhat interested in adopting. I even emailed RR about 2 of them. For no reason what so ever that's as far as it went.
When Gary got back from his deployment, the nudge to add to our family got stronger. The really odd thing is he was the one to bring it up. He even said he really wanted to add a younger child to the family. Our children are 6.5, 8.5. and 9.5
I had seen Ella's picture on RR and had offhandedly showed it to Gary once. But we really thought what would be ideal would be a 4-5 year old. Right before our family trip to Ohio RR posted a new picture of Ella, she had just turned 2. I showed the picture to Gary, and immediatley his face lit up. Over the next several weeks Andrea with RR tried to get us more information, like does she walk, does she talk, at that point all they knew was that she had CP. Gary and I would talk about it a little, then avoid the subject. He was under the impression that it would cost as much as our Russian adoption. I told him, that it was ONLY half, and that I had crunched the numbers and we could do it, by doing the same thing we did with Anastasia, take on the debt and pay it off as we could.
So finally, one day I asked him. We need to decided if we are intersted in adopting her, so we can stop torturing ourselves. He said, "i think we both already know the answer" YEAH!!!!

ONE of the huge God things in this: I could never understand why noone had committed to her yet, she was young and cute, and her disabilites seemed mild, she is sitting straight up and using both hands. Several people have told me that they inquired about her with RR, but for some reason they just knew it was not their daughter. One of these women is adopting the one of the 2 little girls we had inquired about.

ANOTHER huge God thing is: we thought we needed more information, it seems crazy to just committ to a child off of 2 pictures and 1 sentence. Over those weeks, everytime I looked at her picture, something happened that only an adoptive mother can explain. In that picture I saw my chosen chld. Not the child we chose but the child God chose for our family. I told Gary, "I know she is ours, when I look at her picture I can feel her in arms" Several days after we committed to her, I got an email from Andrea saying she had gotten more information. The information basically said: she follows directions, talks, seems normal cognitively, can walk holding onto someone's hands.
The funny thing is, it was nice to have that information, but God didn't make it available to us until we let Him lead us blind, to commit to a child that He lead us too. It was like him saying, "see my good and faithful servant, I could have given you this information, but why?"

To say we feel blessed to be adopting again is such an understatement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Well..hello there!

Man, technology just moves way too fast. I was so lost trying to get this thing set up. So an awesome blog friend helped me out big time. Are you even allowed to call yourself a blogger if you don't know how to set up your own blog!
Well, first things first. I'll do a little intro of our future daughter today, then tomorrow I'll tell you more about how we got here!

We have decided to name our daughter Ella Nicole. The grandmother my son Cooper is named after is "Eleanor Cooper" When I was pregnant with Cooper they told me at my ultarsound that he was a girl, so that is what we named him. They told us several ultrasounds later that he was in fact a boy. So instead of naming him Ella after Eleanor, we used Cooper.
We've been running over names for 3 weeks, with nothing sticking. Then all of a sudden it hit me. Why are we trying to figure out a name that sounds good, when we have a name that means something. I have a sister that I was not raised with, her name is Sara Nicole, Gary's middle names Nicholas, and one of my very best friend's name is Nicole.
Ella turned 2 in June. She was about 2 pounds at birth. They think she has CP, though it appears that it is mild. Her caregivers say she talks and follows directions and seems to be on target in that perspective. They say she can walk if someone is holding her hand. In her picture she is sitting straight up and using both hands, those are really good things. Is it the same type of CP as Anastasia? We do not know, and may not know till we meet her. The fact that she will have intervention so early in life is great!
We cannot tell you in what country she is, although we can say she is in Eastern Europe.
Here are the 2 pictures we have of her.
The one where she has a bonnet on her head, she was somewhere between 12-18 months. The 2nd picture was taken just 2 months ago right when she turned 2. Isn't she just precious!