Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recently our little lady's best friend was moved to the "my family found me" page on reece's rainbow.  We were thrilled to see her there and celebrated as if she was coming into our own home.  At the time we thought she would be welcomed home by our friends who had considered adoption for years but never found "the one".  They'd gone through with the initial paperwork and commitment forms but as life would have it, another family was also being considered for sweet Pollyanna.  This other family has now also been preapproved to adopt her and they will be the ones welcoming her into their home.  I have no idea who this other family is.  I'm sure they are kind and wonderful people deserving of such a fantastic spirit like Pollyanna but it does sting to know we could have kept these two girls together for the transition to life as a sister, daughter and American. 
I do still hope to be able to maintain some contact between our daughter and Pollyanna once they are both stateside.  It appears as though this how things were meant to turn out and anytime an orphan finds a family a success is obvious but possibility was real and it stings now.  We wish all the best to Pollyanna and her new family and we will of course look forward to meeting her when we travel to meet our gal. 
The new family for Pollyanna hasn't made it to the "new commitments" page yet but I imagine that is next on their to do list. 
I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday.  We certainly felt incomplete as a family and we look forward to next Christmas when we can celebrate together with our daughters.  My husband's parents gave us a VERY generous gift this year in the form of a donation and others have recently followed in their footsteps.  Thank you all for your kindness especially during this time of year.  We hope to be Eastern Europe bound early in 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This has been a roller coaster of a week with so many ups and downs.  I can't really get into the downs but I suppose that is better for you, the reader.  The up side is that I actually got to read our homestudy and it is now being sent to the international agency for approval.  Once she gives the okay I'll get my official copies and we can hopefully prepare all the documents and have it ready to submit by the end of the month.  Chris has off the week after Christmas and we don't have any family/travel plans.  For christmas I asked for a five year old daughter so we'll spend that week getting everything ready to submit with double the man power. 
Huge magnificent thank you to whomever donated recently.  We can't see who it was (yet) but know that you are an answer to prayer.  We just found out that we need to pay for two of the post placement reports up front prior to picking up our completed homestudy.  Those run 250 a pop so that was a bit of a costly surprise.  Luckily Chris and I have sworn off gifts for the holiday and we will keep things at a serious minimum for the boys.  With only dental school Christmases in their past that shouldn't be much of a surprise for them.  As much as we're meant to enjoy the holidays I will be thrilled once January is here and we are that much closer to having one baby out and a little lady in (our family).  No one has ever looked forward to January as much as I am this year. 
If you are the praying type please speak a word for our daughter and her dear friend "Pollyanna" this week.  Their lasting friendship is weighing heavy on our hearts.  Just pray that the Lord will do what is best for both of them. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So much goodness.
These past few days have been successful in my eyes.  Our SW is completing our homestudy write up and says we ought to have it in our hands by Monday.  As soon as we're palming that we can submit our petition to adopt an orphan to the US government.  That process usually takes 4-6 weeks but I recently learned how to expedite it with the help of a pediatrician's note.  Then today we attended a christmas party for the kiddos on base and while there I met two pediatricians!  Both of which are options for our family. 
It feels like we're finally getting the ball back in our court for a change.  Also this past week I had my first dream with our little lady in it.  She was here in our home but it still had that sense of surreality to it.  Like I couldn't believe she was here and real.  The dream consisted of our home life as usual until finally I realized she was she and she was ours and I was able to sit with her on my lap and put hershoes on.  It sounds lame but it meant so much to me.  The dream emotions were quite powerful and really reflect how untouchable your children feel while you're going through the adoption process. 
 Speaking of adoption, there have been a number of children who are older like our little lady who have recently found their way onto the "My Family Found Me" page of Reece's Rainbow.  That's the adoption ministry organization where we found our gal.  Some of these children have been listed there for years.  Two of these "lifers" are being adopted by the same family!  How wonderful and courageous these families are.  There is still one gal who we would love to see listed on the my family found me page.  She is our little lady's best friend.   They've lived in the same group since birth and both girls have the same disability.  I so wish we could bring them both home and keep them together but the country doesn't allow simultaneous adoption of unrelated children.  I'd rather her find a family asap than have to wait for us to come back around at some future date.

Here is her link:

Please if you can advocate for her or if your heart is there consider making her your own.  She sure sounds angelic and hopefully the girls will be able to maintain their friendship post placement.

As far as our day to day goes, we're doing well.  The boys are loving school and settling into their classrooms the roles they play there.  For Thanksgiving we were able to take a trip south and visit friends in San Diego.  While there we got some updated family pictures for the court documents.  Here are a few of the many:

Monday, December 5, 2011

We're creeping into the holidays now with one thing on our minds.  Adoption.  This process is so unbelievably slow and difficult to withstand.  I want nothing more than to just hop a plane, see her face to face and say "we're coming".  I just wish she knew that our hearts and minds are on her and that she can relish these last few months as an orphan because the end is in sight.
Who relishes time spent as an orphan?  One thing I learned while working in Ecuador serving orphans was that up until a certain age, they really don't know their orphans.  Our little lady is past that stage of course and being the sharp cookie that she is, she knows she belongs in and deserves a family.
I've felt a bunch of doubt from people lately; doubt that I can handle all this,  even some doubt that she'll want us as a family.  I can't say I know full well how things will be when she gets here but I can say that we are committed as a family to being her family however that needs to happen, it will.  People have suggested that I will in some way neglect the needs of the littlest lady (due 2.9) while meeting the needs of the rest of the family.  I'm not sure what to think when I hear this.
a. who neglects an infant? or a baby?  or any child for that matter?
b. is the better option that our little lady remain an orphan?
These dubious thoughts and comments eat at me and they motivate me.  We'll do this, we'll do it well and when all is said and done these "nay sayers" will have to find some juicer gossip to stew about because we'll just be us, still here, doing what we do.
So to all you doubty mustafas here's a glimpse into what started us down this path.  The little lady's original profile.

Marissa 15H

All these kids are suffering by not being with Mom and Dad, but Marissa is literally heartbroken and is crying to be taken home.
Girl, born August 2006
Lower extremities paraparesis
What a beautiful girl, with such soulful eyes!
Volunteers found Marissa when she was three years old. She could barely move and didn't speak. With the help of our volunteers, Marissa was treated at an orthopedic clinic where she was cared for by a wonderful nanny. After just a couple of months, you wouldn't have recognized this child!  She started speaking (and not just speaking, but speaking in phrases!) The treatment also gave hope that Marissa will be able to walk. Marissa has learned a lot since we first met her. Most orphans are somewhat behind the children their age that are raised in families, and even more so if they have certain disabilities. Marissa would definitely blend in with kids that are raised at home; she is ahead of her peers at the orphanage. She has a wonderful memory, she loves seeing her new friends and telling them about her life.

What our volunteers said about Marissa, October 2010   "Our efforts brought amazing results. Marissa's legs are a lot stronger now, she can move them when she is sitting in a stroller and even lift them up above her head when she is lying down! Just to think that, not long ago, Marissa's legs wouldn't move at all, like the legs of a rag doll." "Marissa loves car rides. She is used to me driving her to the doctor and back to the orphanage. Recently, she has been asking me to take her "home". It breaks my heart. I am hoping that very soon it will be her MAMA, not a volunteer, who will come to hug and kiss her, and take her home." 
More Medical Information Available

Update, August 2011:  As you know, Marissa was a forgotten child until she was 3 years old and since that time the volunteers are dedicating themselves to spend time with her individually. Marissa has started to blossom: she feels her legs now, she can control bowel movements, and hold urine for longer periods than before. Now her mental development is corresponding her age group. The doctors believe that Marissa will walk with the help of braces or some kind of support. Even though she is still in a recovery period, she already has weak movements in her legs. She did not feel her legs before.
Her suspected hip dislocation was not operated on yet. The child needs an operation.
She has some speech and developmental delays, but is described as 'active and inquisitive.'

That's our gal.  Patiently waiting to be surrounded by parents and brothers and a tiny little sister who love her dearly.   One huge difference between care takers and parents: Parents never leave.  Orphanage staff go home each night and that is where their life, their family is.  Then in the morning they return to the building, their place of employment, and that is where you (the orphan) remain, waiting for a life beyond the walls a life where you too get to leave.
We're coming little lady.  We'll take you home.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some days
Some days are worse, some days are better.  Some days I find peace knowing that she is in the best possible place (besides here) and some days all I can do is think about how far away she is and how much we're missing.  My hubby and I were talking about the connection we feel, whether it is real or just fabricated out of need and human emotion.  He asked me if I thought the Lord had a hand in placing her in our path or if he was just in support of our efforts.  I couldn't even respond.  Not that I was upset with him but that the emotion is so strong.  I have no doubts that she is ours and we are hers.  After all those years (dental school- when were broke) of looking through waiting child listings in every possibly country I never ever felt like I did when I first saw her picture.  It didn't matter much what the description said next to the picture.  It was her and that was all that mattered. 
So when it feels too far off or that she's too far away all it takes is one glimpse of that little face and I can trust that my efforts aren't in vain and that she too is waiting for us just like we're waiting for her. 
The volunteers working with her now were asking when we'd be there.  I love that they're aware of us and that we're coming but it stings to think that they too now are waiting.  It just can't happen soon enough. 
We love you little lady!
Part of our adoption effort is to cut all unnecessary spending.  That includes brand name cereals.  The other day my boys were having an afternoon snack of cereal and one asked "What kind of cereal is this?  Is this fruit loops?" (he was looking at the box trying to read it) and I said "Same cereal, different name, these are fruit spins".  He (the 4 year old) said "Ohhh!  Spins must be Spanish for loops". 
We got a few new pictures (new to us, not recent though) of the little lady today.  So motivating! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homestudy, check.
Tonight was our grand finale.  We had our in person training on Saturday and tonight we each had a personal interview with the social worker.  She basically went over our autobiographies and asked how prepared we felt, that kind of thing.  Nothing daunting, that's for sure.  So now, almost two months to the day after first inquiring about our little lady we can check homestudy off our list.  There are still some things left to do like send the draft to the international agency and have them decide whether it needs modifications or what not, but our part is finished. 
Now we can focus all our attention on the dossier which seems simpler since it is mostly in your hands and less waiting on others to act.  (Mind you I'll eat those words in no time) And God willing we'll have it all ready to submit before the first of the year.
I hear her region is closed for a few weeks in January but that could be okay since the babe is due first week in Feb.  We're making this process the ultimate BOGO ;)

Here's a treat for all who read.  Baby(ish) pictures of our baby.  She was three when these were taken. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My six year old in his prayer tonight:
"Please bless our new sister and bless that she will be able to walk and talk our language when she gets here".
None of my babies knew how to walk when the Lord handed them over to me.  She's just like her brothers already.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Home Visit
Well, we did it.  We opened the door to our judge and jury and I am happy to say it went fine.  Why was I so worried?  I think I had good reason.  Our SW still doesn't win any awards in my book but she did seem like she would fight more for our cause.  As in, hurry it up, lady.   We'll have our final interviews on the 14th and after that it is all in their hands.
   So what's it like?  I couldn't get a good description of what to expect so those of you who read this will know.  They come in, they sit down, they chat with you and ask you questions about the forms you filled out (Ours were done in September (*ahem) and go over the financial stuff.  Then they semi sorta interview your kiddos, just asking them what they know about the adoption and how they feel about it.  Then they have the kiddos show them the house.  They make it like they're looking for smoke detectors which they are but I'm sure they're taking other inventory as well.  Didn't open any cabinets or drawers, just a closet here and there.  She did check to be sure we had hot water.  Then she had the boys show her their room and the play area and all that good stuff.  We did show off the garage where she discovered our poor dog locked in his kennel.  He's a family member, I explained that but he can be overly friendly with guests and given his size (he weighs more than I do) it can be a bit overwhelming.  So the poor sap was kenneled in a corner of the garage and the lights weren't all on when she saw him back there looking like the forgotten child.  We got him out as soon as she left and he is currently under my bed snoring his head off like usual.
My house is so clean!  A girl could get used to this.
   So that was that, she asked us a few more questions about training and other parts required for the homestudy and then she was out of here.  The whole like probably took two hours which was rough since she got her late (6:45ish) and the boys were running on fumes by about 7:30.  We're still adjusting to the time change.
All in all for something I've feared for years it wasn't too bad.  No worse than any other guest you'd entertain in the home.  Glad it is done though and we are now one step closer!
Oh and as a glorious bonus, I open up my email after getting the boys settled and put to sleep and low and behold I have an update on the little lady from one of her volunteers!  I love hearing about her personality.  Not to sound cliche but she sounds just like me!  I really enjoy that she is older and will really understand what is going on in terms of being adopted.  No she can't foresee what it will be like and neither can we but we will all certainly welcome the change.
Love you little lady!  Your whole family misses you even though that seems impossible.  One. Day. Closer!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cross your fingers!
     Tomorrow is the big day - the home visit portion of the homestudy.  Yikes!  I can remember years and years ago thinking how stressful it would be to have a home visit and know this person is literally in your house to examine, snoop and make a judgment call.  Everyone says it will go more smoothly than you anticipate so I am banking on that.  I can openly admit that being tidy is not something that comes naturally to me.  I do appreciate a tidy house but if my options are pick up toys or play with toys, I'm going to pick the latter.  Especially while the kiddos are awake.  It is too bad you can't get toys all in the same color scheme because my house is pretty much decorated by them. 
     I'm sure things will go fine tomorrow, it is just all the anticipation.  My poor hubby, he got back into town yesterday after a three week training gig in Texas and I had a list ready and waiting for him.  I got so caught up, I even forced him to help me clean and organize the garage today.  We're not the type to do anything but enjoy the family on Sunday so this was a serious show of love.  Who knew a garage could be such a welcoming place!  No they don't check garages on homestudies but I might just offer it up as evidence against whatever the playroom may present at that hour.  We will be photographing the home for the sake of the dossier tomorrow too.  They want pictures of your home and family 8-12 I think is the number so that's pretty much one of each room.  I also took time this week to reorganize the boys' clothes and get everyone set up for whatever growing may occur in the next six months.  We already have a large bin of size 4-5 girl clothes for the little lady and the poor baby lady has only enough to cover the bottom of her bin.  Ah well, babies only really need diapers, onesies and swaddling blankets, throw in a pair socks or two.  We can handle that, she can wear boy socks ;). 
    Saturday is our big training day and then our homestudy will be done!  Minus the write up and any corrections that need to be made.  Pray pray pray that process goes quickly.  If there is one thing this local agency hasn't been it is helpful so God willing they'll be anxious to just get us on our way and off their to do list. 
   Happy Monday everybody!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What a day!
It started off rocky and full of the "blehs" but my my my what a turn around.  I got a call from the Mental Health facility here in town saying the psychologist had a report for us to pick up.  I made it over there just before closing time and I have to say I was very much anticipating the worst.  Since we live in a rather small town this particular gal was our only option for the psych eval and from the first interview you could tell many things.
1.  She'd NEVER done an eval for international adoption before
2.  She thought we were crazy for having young kids and wanting to adopt a special needs child
3.  She was put off by the whole ordeal even though we were paying her a pretty penny to make it happen. 
But seeing as though she was our only option we carried on.  I did my part and my test and on a separate day Chris went in a did his.  She told him she was diagnosing me with mild anxiety and diagnosing him with mild depression because "everyone has something".  What?!?!?  I immediately called our international agency and explained and asked if this would have negative effects.  She said she would fax her a copy of a really good report so she could get a better idea of what was needed.  I should add I definitely don't have anxiety and Chris does not have any form of depression.  Even when he asked the psychologist about that diagnosis she said "well you brought it up" and he said "I was answering your question about Junior High School".
Anyway this is getting lengthy.  My point is we had huge reason to believe this wasn't going to turn out well.  Boy were we surprised.  I read the report in the parking lot and nearly cried (happy tears).  She made us sound like the most ideal parents for any child.  It was amazing to see how she actually did observe us and our personalities while we were there.  She hit the nail on the head.  The summary- we're well equipped to provide a home for a special needs child and care for her as if she were our biological child.
So glad she was able to see the light!
I also was able to get an amazing deal a bed for the little lady this week.  She's all set up with a Queen bed and darling bedding just right for a darling girl.  I can't wait to go to bed knowing she's right here, tucked in, where she belongs.
Love you little lady!  The Cardinals won the world series today.  I owe you one pink ball cap :) 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

To Littlelola:
I wanted to answer your question about being pregnant and adopting but I couldn't locate your blog or email address so I'll just put it here and delete it later.
I have to say our agency never said a word about me being pregnant during the process but I never posed the question.  I did ask our international agency HIH.  I said "I am expecting now, is that going to be a problem?" Her response was "only for you".  Awesome.  I loved that.  To me it said so much.  It said she didn't care, the government in Eastern Europe wouldn't care, and the child I was adopting wouldn't care either.  I feel like because the child we're adopting is five she won't see the new baby as competition.  It will be such a period of adjustment for all of us.  Also I spend so much time sitting and nursing my babies in that first year that it makes me more available to my kiddos.  Rather than hustling around the house trying to get everything done I'm forced to be still and read books or play puzzles while nursing the little one or whatever it is the little guys want. 
It is a huge adjustment anytime you add a child.  I do feel like it would be harder on a one year old to suddenly have a brand new higher need sibling than it would on a infant. 
Beyond all these reasons my heart feels as though the Lord has brought us here and he will see us through.  We're following his guidance in regard to all of our children.  It will be tricky when it comes to traveling and the close proximity to my due date.  Again, I'll leave that in His hands.  I've never had a daughter or felt like I was missing out having just my boys but I know He has a plan for each of us and suppose my ladies just needed a sister from the jump off.  I hope that answers your question. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Great Wait
This is the part I knew I wouldn't like.  My hubby is in Texas for some dental training and my daughter is in Eastern Europe.  Luckily I have my boys here with me.  We're moderately stagnant still (or so it feels) because our homestudy won't be completed until November 12th and there are certain things we can't submit without a completed homestudy.  I am however, taking advantage of this time to gather info and paperwork and forms which will all go out asap after the homestudy is done.  I am still blown away but the random costs of adoption.  For example, one form the "petition to adopt an orphan" submitted to immigration is 720 dollars plus 85 dollars for each adult in the home.  What??  Such a random number and I have no idea what that money goes towards.  Plus 85 per adult?  How about just 85 per adult?  Don't these people have a regular salary?  Or are they just banking on yet another adoptive application?
It does often feel like all sides are against you being able to adopt.  It is all the more motivating for me though so bring it on governments (just do it quickly, that's all I ask).  My mom is here while my hubby is away.  She's as driven as I am when it comes to this adoption.  She's already shopping for the little lady (second hand of course, since all kids do is grow) and telling anyone we meet about the pending adoption.  That's what mom's are for.
We're also working on setting up her room.  She'll share with her sister who isn't born yet of course but once she's ready for a crib they'll be bunking together.  I wasn't sure what kind of bed she'd prefer since as far as I know she's only known a crib.  We decided to go with a platform full size bed so one she won't fall far if she falls and two she can crawl out or scoot or however it is she gets around Ariel style on the floor.  And who are we kidding, I went with a full size so I can lay with her as she falls asleep to make up for all the years she had to go it alone. 

Here's to a numbered amount of days in your old be, little lady.  We love you and miss you terribly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tons of love for those of you who donate!  You're making this happen!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One step at a time
I know each day brings us closer to her but the wait seems so tedious!  If I'm not actively filling out forms our having something notarized I feel like my time is wasted.  Blogging helps.  We finished our psych evaluations this week and received copies our marriage license and background checks.  We also had our fingers printed this past week.  Our in home visit with the case worker is scheduled for later this week but I'm trying not to think about that.  Does anyone know if it matters whether we have room set up for her?  I'm hoping to sell a few more items to purchase the bed I want but for the moment we have three boys in one room and then a guest room and playroom. 
We are still so excited to be on this journey and to get to be her parents but the wait is awful.  Nothing seems to be happening fast enough.  We take comfort in knowing that she is ours and that each day brings us closer.  We continue to sell things in order to raise funds and while I know our efforts aren't in vain it does seem like we have a long way to go til we reach the 10,000 dollar mark.  We've made arrangements for the first 20,000 but the last ten is going to be the real faith builder! 
Thank you to all who have donated or prayed in our behalf.  The comfort you provide is tremendous.  The journey continues!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The rest of the story....
So I thought I'd take some time during 1. naptime and 2. the stagnant, waiting for passports and fingerprints time to go back to the beginning and explain how we came to be at this juncture.   Scroll down ahead of time so you know what you're getting into.  While it is a good story, it is not a short one.  Grab a juice box, you're gonna be here for awhile. 

Chris and I were married in 2006.  I came into the marriage with one son from my initial marriage who was about six months old when Chris and I started dating.  He was 15 months when we married so Chris is Daddy to him.  I started talking about adoption right from the get go.  Chris knew it was in my blood and future plans.  We had one son who was born in 2007 and the plan was to adopt the next one.  Surprise! Another son in 2009 and then we finish school and move from Boston to Idaho with all intentions of adopting the next child for sure this time.  Chris had wanted to put a couple years in between our bio kids and the next one so we could "do that well" and then be more open for older children without upsetting birth order.  I was down with that idea but inside I knew I wanted it to happen sooner.  I asked Chris if he would be open to at least praying about it together and letting the Lord know that we were up for the challenge and that we welcomed his instruction on how to make it happen.  Chris said he was more than happy to do that.
  Then another Surprise!  this time we're expecting a girl and due in February of 2012.  I went through some pregnancy blues this time around until I convinced myself that we are adopting from the Lord and that this child is obviously meant to be in our family.   So I was bummed a. that we were again expecting rather than adopting and 2. that our plans to be a family of five for some time was now out the window.  Then I realized if this pregnancy, unexpected as it was can be a welcomed addition to our family, why not an adoption?  Why does an adoption have to be so perfectly planned out and timed but a pregnancy just happens and that's okay?  Finances, right?  I know what you're thinking.  Still where there is a will there's a way.
    I've spent years looking into all types of adoption (this was all while we were in dental school -no I didn't go but I invested in the effort so we both say "we").  I looked into trans-racial adoption, special needs adoption, domestic adoption, you name it I've looked into it.  I was on the Rainbow Kids website more often than I care to admit.  Then we moved out here to Idaho and somehow I discovered Reece's Rainbow.  Laying in bed at night I'd show Chris pictures and profiles of some of the waiting kids and he would always say "that's nice" or "wow tough break for that little guy".  He never took me seriously.  I remember the first time I saw Marissa's profile and those gorgeous eyes just spoke to me.  I really felt like I was looking at a picture of my own child.  I showed Chris her profile and he said "where in Eastern Europe?" since he lived in Siberia for a few years.  I emailed RR to find out.
    Then a few days later I got a reply and she said where she was located and asked where my husband had lived.  I told her and then explained that we were a military family and there was a good chance we'd only be stationed in Idaho for a year which wouldn't give us enough time to complete an adoption.  She replied a few days later, on the one day that Chris was out of town on a business trip and said "you can complete an Eastern European adoption in 9-12 months" and without being prompted to do so she included 5 or 6 pictures of Marissa and her medical history.
   My world literally stopped.  I bawled looking at the screen and seeing what I knew was my child in a far away land and wondering how I could get to her, how I could make this all happen.  I was heartsick that entire day.  I called my mom (Chris was unreachable) she was down (meaning ready to do whatever it took), I called my sister, she had the voice of reason and logic and said "you're already pregnant, why don't you finish what you started and then go find the needy children."  She was making sense but it wasn't an option in my mind.  I later told my husband this same thing "it is like someone tells you something that you didn't ask to hear but now that you know you absolutely have to act".  That's how I felt.  Very moved, very prompted and stubborn as I am, this was gonna happen.  So I went all day dreading Chris's reaction.  He was flying home late and wouldn't arrive til midnight.  I called him before he boarded and said "something happened".  He said "You decided to keep the purse?"  I'd bought myself a purse (which I never do) for my birthday and I was uncomfortable with what I'd paid.  I'm a second hand girl at heart but I thought for once in my life I'm gonna go out and buy the exact thing I want, no compromise!  "No, in fact I'm not keeping it, and here's why".  I told him about the email, the pictures, the medical info and how disgusting and heartsick I'd felt all day long.  He said the exact words my sister said "We're already pregnant, lets do this first and then we can go out and save the world.  There will always be needy kids." 
    Not what I wanted to hear -but- he agreed to talk to me about it when he got home.  Poor guy had been in Texas for an internship interview and had so much else on his mind!  September 12th.  That was the day.  So anyway, he gets home at midnight, I'm awake, of course and the discussion starts.  He repeats what he'd said earlier and I give him all my explanations as to why I can't just ignore this.  We go back and forth and then I pass him the laptop and say "okay, but will you look at the email?".  He looks, he reads, he scrolls through the pictures.  I freeze.  I wait.  I hold my breath hoping that some magic is happening within him.  He says nothing.  He reads again, scrolls again and then passes it back to me and says "Okay.  We can look into it." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   I could hold that key all day and it wouldn't express my joy.  I knew it.   I knew I wasn't crazy.  Yes the logic says "who adopts when they're pregnant?" but then as a parent you see the face and you know...that's our child.
   So the next day we had our agencies, sent our initial paperwork and started the journey.  I had to call Chris that next day and ask what he meant by "lets look into it" because I was about to cut some checks.  He said he was up for the challenge.  What a guy.
    Hard to believe that was less than a month ago.  It feels like we've been on this journey forever.  When I think back to the goals we set at the beginning of September I have to laugh.  I think 'keep track of our expenses" was on that list.  Haha!  We're certainly doing that now!
    I have to say it is wonderful to watch our families completely open up to the idea.  Some were dubious at first or thought I'd just fallen off my rocker or run away with another crazy idea -which I do, I can understand why they'd think that, but this is different and I think they feel it too.  She's just one of us, one of ours and just as if someone kidnapped one of my boys and then emailed me their picture with a 30,000 dollar ransom note, I'd find the money and get my baby back.  So for you little lady, I'll get the money, I'll sign the forms, and I'll be there with open arms (or hand, or smile, whatever you're comfortable with) and I'll bring you home.  And just because I love you SOOO much I'll even grow you a sister while I'm doing it.
We love you little lady, we're so glad we found you and we can't wait to have you.  One day closer...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I see some similarities here. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

You make my heart sing.
I don't always know who is donating but everytime I see it my skips a beat and goosebumps takeover.  You guys are SO making this possible for us.  We honestly appreciate every dime.
-side note- this evening I could hear my almost four year old in the bathtub practicing, "Pri, pri, privet!"

Friday, September 30, 2011

Practice makes perfect.
On my signature that is.  Another day, another set of paperwork.  Since our homestudy is only awaiting the fingerprints (scheduled for Oct 7th) we're on to Dossier paperwork.  The passport checks have been cashed so we're hoping that means they're on their way.  We also had our psych evaluations done today.  It isn't easy to appear sane when the doctor says "And your oldest is?"
"And the next one is?"
"Almost 4."
"And the youngest is?"
"Almost 2."
"And you're expecting....??"
"You bet."
"And you want to adopt a special needs five year old?"
"Are you CRAZY?!!??"

You tell me Dr. Lady.  About half way through the evaluation you could tell she'd mentally convinced herself that the little lady would be better off with us than where she is.  Glad it finally kicked in.  By the end of it she was taking a more noble stance and actually seemed willing to go the extra mile and help us get what we needed quickly.  She asked how I was going to handle it all and I told her the same way I would if any of my naturally born children had those needs.  You don't think about it, you just do it.  Plus it isn't the little lady's disability I'm after, it is her soul, her spirit, her spunk.  That's what I'm in for.  I just can't wait to know her.  
So we keep plugging along, another day, another appointment or signature.  Each day one step closer to having her here.  We did find out yesterday that the babe I'm carrying is in fact a female so the little lady will have a sister from the jump off, and vice versa.  For those of you closely following our story, my due date is a might bit close to when we could possibly be asked to travel to meet her.  Just another little God given mystery to add to the mix of unknowns.  Something to keep you all on the edge of your computer chairs.  
The other day I explained to my two older boys how Marissa can't walk yet.  The thought I was referring to the little internal babe but once I cleared that confusion my almost 4 year old said he would just move her legs for her.  Ah.  Perfect.  Why didn't we think of that?  
We also found out recently that our insurance will cover any and all preexisting conditions on adopted children.  Glorious.  That was spectacular news.  Plus my hubby, Chris, gets ten days paternity leave both for the birth and the adoption.  Odds are we'll spend 10 of those days in Russia since he can use them anytime during the first six months postpartum.  
I just wanted to say thank you again, those of you who have prayed for us or prayed for Marissa or prayed that we'd find each other.  I haven't been this sure of many things in life but for some reason adding her and having her as a daughter seems like the most obvious thing.  I know your thoughts and prayers have a hand in that.  The task of adopting internationally can seem daunting and the funds needed are more than I care to dwell on but the surety of her place in our family calms my soul.  Eastern European governments don't have anything on that!  
I wish you all a happy and relaxing October weekend.   
with love,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh happy day!
I can't think of many days that top this one.   I am literally giddy.  Gleeful, ecstatic, exuberant, you name it I am feeling it.  I can't decide whether it would be more beneficial to cry or scream.  I think the screech from the Little Miss Sunshine movie would be appropriate. 
Our family page is up.  Our name is officially listed RIGHT NEXT TO HERS!  Oh and I can tell you now, her name is Marissa.  That's her nickname anyway.  We'll see if she wants to keep it or not.  You can now click the link, read our story and donate!  This makes it so real for me, not just a pipe dream or a never ending process but a real life adoption.  Top it off, tomorrow is our eldest son's 6th birthday.  Good times just keep on rollin'!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh the homestudy.
So they give you all the info at the meeting and a list of 16+ forms you have to fill out and send and get completed before you can schedule your actual in home visit.  This process normally takes between two and four months.  We did it overnight!  Well, our part at least.  We have nothing more to do than sit around and pray for those who are working in our behalf, either writing reference letters or filling out medical forms.  Luckily I got my copy of "The Connected Child" in the mail today so I'll have that to occupy my mind and idol hands.  I hate feeling like we're holding up the adoption process or making it even a day more til we get to see her and her us so I pushed hard to get everything done in one day and I'm so glad it worked!  I'm sure my kiddos will be happily reunited with their mother's face tomorrow since it is hard to make eye contact from behind a laptop.  One day and SO much paperwork closer.  We're doing our best sweet lady, I promise!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Exciting stuff!!!!
Well it was more worrisome than exciting at first.  I was refreshing our little lady's profile on the RR website today (like I do everyday) and it disappeared!  I was sick until I finally found her again under the "My Family Found Me" page.  Our name isn't attached to her profile just yet but I am assuming they mean us!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let the journey begin!  We are so excited to be finally starting our adoption expedition.  So far we have three home grown sons and another (potentially female) sibling on the way.  I'm sure you're thinking "Are these people crazy??".  To that I say, aren't we all?  I promise we're not crazy, we're capable.  We are finally in a position to help these children and give them the love and family they deserve.  One of my favorite quotes I've heard so far on this journey was "Availability is rarer than ability."  So although we may not be fully equipped to handle everything we are more than happy to try.  Another fabulous quote: "The Lord doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called".  So true!  We are so grateful to the Lord for bringing us here, for the lessons he's taught us and the patience we've learned.  God willing we can get our ducks in a row quick enough (paperwork wise) and all the government people will quickly do their part to bring this little lady home.  Dare to dream?  Perhaps.
Join us as we embark on what is sure to be a very memorable year.
With Love,
Gretchen & Chris