An Uneventful Update

I would love to be excitedly writing that our home study has arrived and that our documents have been submitted to the government of our Eastern European country.

But, nope.

No home study yet. It’s not really late. Its just late to me 🙂 We are still within the window of time we were told it would arrive. But lets face it, the first day when it could have arrived I started stalking our mail lady.

Kidding.  ..Mostly 🙂

We know that this document will arrive in His perfect time. So we are trying to trust in that. But we also know that if we are going to get Baby A home in time for Christmas we really do need to have it quite soon.

That is the dream. Our three little ones opening Christmas presents together, eating turkey, going to Christmas Eve church as a complete family.

I wonder what Baby A will think of it.. I wonder if he got to celebrate Christmas last year.

Did he get a present? Did someone read him The Night Before Christmas?

I wish I knew.

But we wait. We wait to know those details, we wait for our home study, we wait for God to continue moving financial barriers, we wait most of all to just meet our little boy.

It’s starting to get to the point where we can actually think about that. About what it might be like to meet him.

There are still many hurdles in the way.. but he could and should be in our arms in the next couple of months. So so crazy.

We miss him desperately.

Which is just so odd because obviously we’ve never met him and he has no idea we exist.

But I think maybe that is just what happens when your child is half way around the word.

I was told when I first had Katie that having a child was like having a piece of your heart out walking around on legs.

Well. This piece of my heart apparently walked along ways.

Every day we hope for some new details about him. Something, just a tiny little piece of him.  So far we have heard very little.

What we wouldn’t give to know that he is okay.. for an update of any kind.

It’s so strange to not know a thing about your child.

I don’t know if he can sit up. If hes crawling. I don’t know what he likes to play with. I don’t know if he would rather be held or play on the floor.  Does he like bath time? Is he scared of loud noises? Does he have a favorite toy?

I don’t have a clue.

I suppose we will figure it out. If there’s anything I know about babies its that they aren’t shy about letting you know when you are doing it wrong 🙂

We love him already. But we are eager to really know him. And for him to know us.

For him to realize that I’m not a new nanny.To know what it means to be loved. To know how it feels to have a mom and a dad and a brother and sister. To feel safe and secure.

To know that he will never be alone again.

So. We try to be patient for this home study to arrive.

But lets be honest, there is a lot riding on this.. so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue to peak out my window looking for the mail truck .

For those of you who are the praying type, here is a few things we would love you to pray..

1) For our home study to come quickly, so that we can submit our dossier and wait for travel dates.

2) For our dossier. That there would be no errors that would have it sent back to us, delaying the process. We have already had to redo a few forms a few times. So we are optimistic it will be good, but we won’t exhale until we get the official thumbs up from Baby A’s government.

3) For Baby A.  That he would be healthy, provided for and safe until we can bring him home.

4) For God to continue to open hearts to assist us financially.

5) For stamina for our hearts to complete this journey.  This process is truly grueling and I’m often worn out. From carting toddlers back and forth to lawyers offices, (Ps. . I don’t think we will be invited back.. there may or may not have been an incident with Ezra getting stuck in a potted plant.. ) to financial concerns, to working out how travel will go and just from dealing with such an unpredictable and unstable process.

Hopefully very soon we will get all our documents to Baby A’s country and I can write a probably slightly incoherent blog post about how excited we are haha. But until then.. here’s another picture of Baby A’s sweet face 🙂

We are coming buddy. Soon soon soon ❤

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Budget Update

A little financial update. We have had some unfortunate financial news in the last couple of weeks and as a result have run into some additional expenses.

Extra Expense #1

Preparation of our documents (notarization/legalization/authentication) cost us almost three time what we had hoped it would be. We had budgeted $1300, and unfortunately paid $3800. This was no mistake of our agency, rather it was my misunderstanding of how things had to be done. We are thankful that we had the funds in place to do this, but nevertheless this was quite the blow to our budget.

Extra Expense #2

I mentioned in a prior post that things are slowing down in our Eastern European country. Unfortunately based on families experiences currently in country, we are having to change our travel plans.

Our original plan was to make one long trip, along with our children. This has now been ruled out as it looks like if we did that we would be in country 2-3 months. This is simply too long for Raymond to be gone from work, and too long to be in an unfamiliar place with very young children.

So. Plan one got trashed. 

Our next plan was to make two trips. First trip without our children, second trip with our children. However the amount of time needed to complete the second trip is again growing. It is no longer feasible to pay for tickets for four of us to go on trip 2 (five to come home) as well as take care of in country expenses for 4-5 weeks for all four of us.

So. Plan two got trashed.

Our current plan- is three trips, without our kids. It sounds crazy, but we believe it to be the cheapest and easiest option.

Trip 1: Raymond and myself will fly out for about a week to accept Baby A’s referral and complete required visitation.

Trip 2: Raymond and I will fly out for court, this trip will be very short, less than 5 days.

Trip 3: One of us will fly back to pick up Baby A from his orphanage and finish all the paper chasing that needs to happen before we can bring him home. This will probably take 2-3 weeks.

**If things speed up a little we may avoid trip 3 by having one parent stay on from trip one to complete the process while the other parent comes home to be with our biological children. But for now we need to budget for that third trip.** 

There are so many unknowns, but we are doing our best to prepare the best we can whilst still being somewhat flexible to this European countries ever changing international adoption process.

These plans could change and we appreciate your understanding and patience with us if if they do. Balancing financial considerations with the very real and important fact that Katie and Ezra need mommy and daddy too during this process is quite tricky!

When we started this journey and this blog we committed to total transparency. That every penny would be accounted for and its use communicated clearly. It’s not always fun, but it is important to us to keep you all up to speed on our finances and plans going forward as so many of you have contributed so much already ❤

A list of all fees paid already is on our “How You Can Help” page and our remaining fees are broken down below.

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Remaining agency fees: $7500

These will be paid to our team in Ukraine and are our current priority. We have $2500 of this fee already.

Flights for trip 1: Covered (Yay!!)

Flights for trip 2/3: Approx $8000 (assuming a Trip 3 is necessary)

In country expenses: Aprox $4000

**These expenses include accommodation, basic living expenses, Baby A’s paperwork and medical to leave the country. **

So. There you have it. Another long list of daunting numbers!

We are thankful that although these numbers seem impossible to us that they are nothing for our powerful God. So we continue, scared, but in faith, and eagerly anticipate getting this little guy home ❤

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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3: 20-21 

Introducing, Baby A <3

Its finally time to share our little secret! But first the story of how we found this little guy, or rather, how he found us.

After losing Baby D we. were. rattled.

We were committed to moving forward and had (sort of) accepted the idea that we would most likely be moving forward on a blind referral.

However. I am a planner. And it was killing me that I didn’t have a child in mind.

It was killing my type A personality, but it was also just a really scary thing.

So I hunted. and hunted and hunted. For a child that I thought might fit into our family.

I can’t help but think that God got a kick out of this.

I was fairly ridiculous. And really, he knew all along who our child would be.

My hunting was getting me nowhere.

Not because there aren’t orphans needing a home. But rather because finding children whose paperwork was prepared for international adoption and who fit within our home studies approved age range was proving tricky.

I came across a few little ones that could have potentially been ours, but it just didn’t feel right.

Not because they weren’t perfectly worthy of love and belonging but because deep down I knew they they were not my children.

So I gave up and out of frustration prayed that God would please just let me know who we were supposed to pursue, because quite frankly I was going to lose my mind.

For sanity preservation I decided not to look at any kids for at least a couple of days to just give my mind and heart a rest.

That lasted about 4 hours.

4 hours later God answered my prayer with, Baby A.

Throughout this process we have become integrated into the Reece’s Rainbow community- moms and dads, who have brought home, or are in the process of bringing home children with special needs from Eastern Europe and around the world, after finding them through the Reece’s Rainbow advocacy site.

I have been so blessed to walk alongside a few moms as they walk down this crazy path at the same time as our family.

One such mom reached out to me during my ‘break’ from searching for a child.

She was planning on traveling soon to bring home two precious little ones with Down Syndrome.

These two children were from two different regions in the country we are adopting from.

Two regions = massive increase in adoption fees.

It had been put on this moms heart that two regions wasn’t going to be feasible and that she should stay within one region and adopt two children from there.

But how could she leave one of her children behind?

You’ve probably figured out where this story is going!

Being familiar with our story, and our lack of commitment to a child, she asked us if we would possibly consider Baby A, as the thought of leaving him behind was understandably breaking her heart.

I had come across Baby A’s profile before but had kept scrolling since I knew he had a committed his family.

We looked at his profile. We looked at his sweet face.

And there was no question.

This was the child that we would pursue.

We learned a little more information about Baby A, spoke to our agency and go the go ahead from them and and committed to this mom that we would do everything in our power to bring this little one home.

 

It makes us nervous to commit again.  The loss of the first child we were pursuing is still fresh in our minds. We have seen first hand that things can change in the blink of an eye.

But there is something about this little guy.  He feels like ours.

So we push fear of repeat devastation away and make room in our hearts for him.

Cause, really, he’s kind of perfect.

And by kind of, I mean totally.

Don’t you agree? 🙂

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Baby A just turned one year old. He is about 6 weeks younger than Ezra. So. We have gone and become twin parents, because why not!

Baby A has Down Syndrome and some currently unexplained seizures.

He is in a beautiful city in the far west of his country, in a small orphanage with other young babies and toddlers with special needs.

The first child we committed to was complicated from the beginning. We weren’t sure where he was, when he was found he was the wrong child, when he was found again he had a family coming. It was just tricky all along.

We are thankful that Baby A is not a complicated situation.

We know where he is, for sure. He is listed all the places that he should be to confirm his eligibility for international adoption.

And also, we know that there is no other family in process for him, because he has had a family for quite a long time. (the previous adoptive family that had been planning on bringing him home)

So we are optimistic! And we are excited.

I may or may not be already planning matching outfits for Baby A and Ezra.. 🙂

And Katie is already strategizing what to do if they both poop at the same time. Because, priorities.

We don’t know what the reason was that we had to commit to and lose Baby D before we found Baby A.

I don’t know why I felt so strongly that he was my son, when obviously he wasn’t.

Honestly that messes with you and makes you question your gut instincts.

Maybe we will learn of a reason some day.

But for now, we believe that Baby A has been presented to us for a reason. And that that reason is so that we can bring him home to his family.

I may have a hard time trusting my gut, and I think God probably knows this.

Literally the next morning after learning about Baby A the Part 1 of our Citizenship Papers (which is basically our golden ticket) unexpectedly showed up in our mail box.

6 weeks before it should have been looked at.

2 months before the earliest possible time we were told that we would have it.

I can doubt my gut, but its really hard to argue with something like that.

We are still planning on submitting at the end of September, possibly the beginning of October, which would have us holding little Baby A hopefully in November! Its getting to be crunch time!

We still have about $10,000 to go to bring this little guy home. Possibly a little more as some fees ended up being a little higher that we expected, but that’s a story for another day.

We have been so blessed by all the support we have received so far and we trust that God will continue to provide the resources needed so that Baby A will soon spend his very last night as an orphan and his first as a beloved son.

Just how it was always supposed to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Guy on the Block

Well. We are just hanging out over here waiting on our home study.. and practicing having patience.. 🙂

The rest of our documents (other than one medical test result) are on their way to Toronto to begin being prepared to send off to our Eastern European country.

Some good news from this week!

We learned a few details about the little one we are pursuing. Most I can’t share until a little later, but they were encouraging. We also learned a little about his orphanage and again this was encouraging.

In case you missed it.. after losing Baby D we planned on going on a blind refferal, which means going without a specific child in mind. This has changed. We do now have a child in mind. I will share how this came to be, and who this little one is as soon as I am able! (Its a cool story!)

Obviously, even the best orphanage is no place for a little boy, but we are thankful to hear that the place where our little one is, is considered to be a decent orphanage. He is in a smaller orphanage and is more than likely having his physical needs taken care of fairly well.

Also. We have been in contact with an organization based in the city of our little guy, and have been offered some really great accommodation for a fantastic price. We are so thankful!

Also, also, we officially have less than $10,000 to raise to be fully funded! Yay!

Still a lot. But when you start out looking at $45, 000, $10,000 seems not too overwhelming.

Adoption clearly does crazy things to your perception of numbers.

So, quite a few good things, but also a few new concerns.

The country that we are adopting from is experiencing some changes in its handling of international adoption.

Unfortunately, things are slowing down. There is a ‘new guy in charge’ of overseeing international adoption and to be frank, he is not enthusiastic about the whole idea.

It is taking longer to get referral appointments, longer to get a court date, just longer in general to take care of the process in country.

If you are a praying person please considering praying for those in country right now, and those waiting for travel dates. That their adoptions would soon be completed.

Additionally, prayer for a softening of heart of “the new guy in charge” would be much appreciated. We pray that he would see the value of international adoption, specifically for those children with special needs and that he would have a change of heart and choose to keep adoptions moving quickly instead of doing everything in his power to slow them down.

At this point we don’t think these complications will make or break our adoption.

We, and our facilitator, still believe that we will be able to bring home our son. However, it is good to have in the back of our minds that delays are likely to arise at some point.

We are still hoping to travel in November. But we will have to wait and see.

And you know how I love to wait.

…. 🙂

 

 

 

Getting closer..

You guys. We are getting close to submitting our dossier to Eastern Europe. So. Close.

We are waiting for our home study approval to arrive from our provincial government. We thought it might be this week, but it turns out its going to be a little longer.

But still. So. Close.

Once we get our home study our giant package of paperwork is off to our Toronto agency to be prepared to be sent to Eastern Europe, for translation and processing there.

We hope to have our dossier in Toronto by the middle of or late September.

Next step after submission is waiting for a travel date!!

We are submitting a petition asking for our travel date to be expedited (they will usually grant this when a family is planning to adopt a child with special needs- basically to speed up the process so that the child will get home to medical care more quickly)

This means that once our dossier is received and processed in Eastern Europe we could be on a plane in about 4 to 6 weeks.

Which means that barring any paperwork hiccups, we will be most likely boarding a plane in November to go and meet our son and make him ours.

I literally can’t even.

Here’s the thing. We have big big fees coming up. You can see them here if you are interested.

But right now priority number one is to raise the $1400 remaining needed to submit our dossier to Eastern Europe.

So I shamelessly ask you, (because lets face it, pride had to go out the window fairly early in this process) would you consider buying a ticket to our wallet giveaway? We would love to draw for a winner when we hit 150 tickets sold. So far we have sold 19, which is awesome! But if we could finish this off, ticket sales would pretty much pay for our dossier to be submitted.

So. $10 an entry for a chance to win over $500 in gift cards.

Thank you for considering supporting us in this way! And more importantly, thank you for being a part of helping one little boy find his family.

He is so so worth it ❤

I hope to be able to share him with you very soon.. and to share the story of how he came to be the one we hope to make our son. It is pretty cool 🙂

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PS. I feel the need to add a disclaimer.. I hate that this post, recent posts and future posts have to have this theme of financial need.

How I wish I could just share the journey of a boy coming home to his family without being constantly interrupted with pleas for financial help. Ugh.

But the fact of the matter is that this adoption will not happen without help. We just can’t do it. The costs are staggering.

However, God said to go.

And so we go, not sure where the funds will come from. But trusting that he already has this figured out and that we only need to keep stepping out in faith.

I would love to say that we are consistently full of faith, that we step boldly, courageously and without fear.

But that would be a big big lie.

Some days we feel full of courage, yes.

But a lot of days, well. Panic. Fear. Wanting to run the other direction. Those would be more accurate descriptions of us.

Our weaknesses have never been more apparent than they have been through this process.

Our financial inability to bring this child home.

Our mistakes in paperwork.

Our lack of trust, our persisting worries, our lack of stamina, and our occasionally wanting to throw in the towel.

We are so so fallible.

It has to be God.

God has God to get this done.

Because we just can’t. There’s no way.

As much as I would love to be on top of this all, as much as I would love to be able to fund this myself, to walk through this process bravely and without fear, I can’t help but think then that I might end up with the glory.

And how wrong that would be.

So for now, we continue to ask for help. We continue to display our own weakness in the hopes that when this is all said and done, when our little boy is home, everyone who has followed his journey home can’t help but to see a bigger story.

A story of an amazingly powerful loving God that is capable of moving mountains to bring his child home.

I’m pretty sure thats a much more awesome story anyways.

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Why.

I have two of the best kids ever. They are happy, funny, and as toddlers go, they are pretty easy.

However.

They are still toddlers, close in age, that require a lot from mommy at this time 🙂

If you are new here, I have two biological kids. Katie age 3 and Ezra age 1. 

If you see us out and about, you will notice that someone is often having some sort of emergency, someone usually has snack on their face, and we either need to find a potty or change a diaper in the near future.

By 730 each night I. Am. Tired.

I say this by no means to put forward that I am some sort of an exception. Moms, you know this, no matter how many kids you have, your hands (and heart) are full, and making it to bedtime often deserves some sort of victory dessert.

So. Why another.

And why not just another child, but another child the same age range as my biological children, a child who has some special needs, and a child that is thousands and thousands of miles away in an unfamiliar country.

How are you going to do it? 

Honestly. I don’t know.

I don’t have a game plan. I often feel overwhelmed by the little ones I already have and the thought of a third little one in the midst of our current chaos makes me sweat and reach for the chocolate chips.

But here’s the thing. When you know what I now know about orphanages in this Eastern European country that we are adopting from. About the neglect, abuse, starvation, early deaths of beautiful, worthy children, the How will this impact me? question doesn’t hold a lot of weight.

We will figure it out.

Because Margeret, Joseph, Christoff, Judah, Leighton, Marlena, Sophia, Stacey.

 

These sweet souls didn’t ever get their chance.

They are only some of the thousands that passed away before ever knowing the love of the family.

They died from neglect, lack of medical attention, malnutrition.

They died because no one came for them in time.

We grieve for these children. Children who were so fearfully and wonderfully made. Children who deserved so so much more.

We grieve and we push forward.

Because, thankfully, by the grace of God we know that it does not have to be this way.

We have seen what happens when a family says yes and a community rallies.

We have seen redemption.

We have seen healing.

We have seen what love can do.

*All photos used with permission from adoptive families. Children are from the Eastern European country we are adopting from and its neighboring country. 

This is Jeremy. Aged 16. In his orphanage and shortly after coming home to his family. 20768160_1535623293164625_2857414700769546234_n

Bella, 16 years old in her orphanage, and 18 years old, home with her family.

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Gracie Mae, 9 years old in her orphanage, and shortly after coming home to her family.

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Gabriella, aged 15 in her orphanage. Age 17, home with her family.

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9 years old in an orphanage. 11 years old, home with his family.

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Daniel aged 16, in an orphanage. Daniel, home with family.

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18 months old in an orphanage, 10lbs. 3 years old, home with family, 30lbs.

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Siobhan age 4 in an orphanage, and 6 years old, home with family.

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Suddenly, my worries about how I’m going to manage three kids, one with special needs, become completely and totally irrelevant.

Its overwhelming. Thousands upon thousands of children in horrible places, slowly wasting away.

But we can make a difference to one.

It only took one family saying yes to Daniel, to Siobhan, to Gabriella.

One family standing up and saying they would not sit back and let one more child fall through the cracks.

And so we say yes, to finding our one.

This is why it matters. This is why we are selling cookie dough, holding yard sales, auctions, and flat out asking for help.

We are not remarkable. I can assure you of this.

We are not heroic rescuers of children. Goodness knows we are in no place to rescue anyone. We are not saviors. We have just been called to go, to love.

And we need a lot of help. We can’t afford this process by ourselves.

But we believe that God has clearly said to us “Go”. And so we go, trusting that we continue to be provided for as we have already been provided for.

Our current time line would have us likely travelling in November to pick up our child. We have a child in mind but cannot share at this point. But I can tell you this..

He is close in age to our other children. He has some special needs. He is absolutely beautiful. And he is absolutely worthy of a life outside of his crib walls.

So.  We humbly ask for your help again. We need approx $14, 000 to see us through the end of this process. Our next payment coming up in a few weeks is $7250. We need $2222 to get there.

(Our fee schedule can be found here.)

Can you help us bring our little one home? Please click on our “How You Can Help” tab at the top of this page if you would like to find out how to financially support us.

We are so thankful for the support we have received so far. It sounds trite to say, but every dollar, every prayer, every message of encouragemnt truly does make a difference.

But most of all, thank you for joining us in this journey to declare the worth of our precious little one.

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Intermission

I had heard before starting this process that adoption was a lot of hurry up and wait. All I had experienced up to this point was the hurry. We believed that Baby D was waiting for us so we moved as quickly as we could.

We hurried through our home study, at break neck speed.

We hurried to complete all the paperwork that could be done early, done and sent away.

We hurried to raise initial funds, start fund raisers and spread the word.

We sent hundreds of emails back and forth to our facilitator and agency working out details and making plans.

And we are tired. Emotionally, mentally and physically.

Both thankfully and unfortunately there is not a lot we can do right now.

We are waiting for our approved home study to arrive (hopefully in the new few weeks), and we are waiting on our Part 1 of Citizenship. Once we hear that our citizenship is coming we can finish up a couple of medical things. Then we will be ready to submit our dossier to the country from which we are adopting from.

Part 1 of Citizenship. Ugh.

It could be another couple of months.. a few months even..  our MP is on the case but there is only so much they can do at this point.

(I just reread ‘on the case’ and it came out how Chase says it in Paw Patrol.. toddler moms, you feel me)

One silver lining to the loss of Baby D is that we aren’t feeling quite the same panic to get to Eastern Europe, like tomorrow 🙂

Because our Citizenship has not come through yet we will be in country later than we had planned. How much later I’m not sure. But we certainly won’t be there in October.

There is then a very good possibly that the child that is to become ours is not even ‘paper work ready’ at this point, or possibly even born yet.

Instead of racing against the clock we are now walking through the process knowing that we will get there when we get there. And we will get there when our child is ready for us.

It’s a strange feeling to now be going through this process having no idea of who the little face will be at the end.

Pursuing Baby D had a lot of unknowns of how we would get there, but at least we knew what the end result would hopefully be.

But now we walk through this process having no idea. The planner and organizer in me is dyinggggg.. !

But. God has said go. So. We go. Slightly terrified, but moving forward none the less.

I have had a few questions as to who we might adopt. At this point we don’t know. We are home study approved to adopt a child 0-3 with pretty much any special needs.

Though we are approved for many special needs, at this time we feel led to a child who has Down Syndrome. Also, because of the young age of our biological children we are hoping for a child under two years of age.

However. We are quickly learning that anything can happen in this journey, so who knows who will end up home with us in the end!

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We have been amazingly blessed as we have sought to raise funds to help cover this adoption.

**If you are new here, please check out the “How You Can Help” page on this site for a cost break down.**

It has been amazing to see the support first for Baby D and now for a child that is unknown to all of us. We are so thankful.

We have seen God provide thus far and trust that he will continue to make a way for us to bring home the little one he has planned for us.

We still need approximately $14, 000 in order to be fully funded.

This is a huge number. The only way I don’t panic is to break it down into fees 🙂

The next fee we will pay is $7250, we have $5000 of that covered. So. Our next goal is $2250.

If you feel led to help us with this please check out our “How You Can Help” page! Also stay tuned for some future fund raisers coming up!

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