Limping Along

It seems we have gone from sprinting through this process to limping through this process.

Quite honestly it’s hard to understand. Our adoption journey started off with things moving so quickly I could hardly keep up.

But now we are hitting bumps that are slowing things down, which in the end just mean more days spent in an orphanage for Baby A.

An important document has just been found to be incorrect.

It is hard not to be frustrated.

It is really hard to release control and just realize that Baby A’s story is not written by me.

Goodness knows if it was, we would be on a plane home right now.

We trust that God knows what He is doing.

That He is not late. That He hasn’t forgotten us. And that He is quite capable of sorting out our current paper work kerfuffle.

We also know that in the grand scheme of things a delay of a few weeks is not that big of a deal.

But right now, it feels like it.

We are praying that this document can be easily and quickly fixed.

**Praying people.. we would love if you prayed for this with us!**

Because as much as we know that we will get there in perfect timing, its just hard to know your kid is stuck in an orphanage receiving less than optimal care.

It’s hard on this mama’s heart.

But. We will get there.

And I have a feeling that the struggle and stress of this process will just make that ‘Gotcha Day’ so much sweeter ❤

On a happier note, I’d love to share with you two sweet faces that are no longer orphans!

I’ve been blessed with new friendships throughout this process. Two of these sweet friends welcomed new additions to their family from Baby A’s country very recently.

Meet Nicholas! His mom passed court just yesterday! Soon he will be on his way to the United States! Nicholas was listed as “Deacon” if you follow along in our Facebook group you may remember a post advocating for him to find his family!

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And meet Makenzie! Makenzie is now home with her family and doing awesome ❤ Makenzie was formally listed as Mari-Rose and was the pint sized catalyst that led my husband to international adoption!

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So. It happens! People survive this process and orphans do make it home!

Soon it will be our turn.

Soon we will have our boy and this process will be quickly forgotten as it will pale in comparison to the joy of having our son home.

Until then. Deep breaths and Diet Coke.


Ps. We have received some anonymous donations throughout this process. If that was you thank you SO much!! We would love to hear from you! We still have a ways to go financially, if you would like to help please check out the “How You Can Help” tab at the top of the page. You will find a fee schedule on there as well 🙂

 

 

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Keep Calm and Check Your Email

I hope there will come a day when I don’t jump across the room when I hear an email from our agency come in.

Adoption makes me skittish, apparently.

Each time, I hope it is some sort of revelation like,

“Great news! You are submitted and travelling soon and we have spoken to the orphanage and can confirm Baby A is doing great and very much wants you to be his mom.  And here are 27 pictures of him. And a picture he drew, just for you” 🙂

I wish.

It has been quite quiet on the adoption front lately. We had a hiccup with some paperwork, but thankfully this was caught before submission to Baby A’s country.

So we sorted that out. But hiccups mean lost time and we unfortunately lost a couple of weeks.

We are still waiting on submission but are thankful for a team that has been totally on top of things and are diligently working to make this happen.  Hopefully very soon.

It’s just hard to be patient- we just want to go and get our boy!

But for now we know there is value in the period of waiting. There are lessons to be learned, time to be spent with Katie and Ezra, and time to pray and prepare for this huge upcoming life change.

There isn’t any paperwork to be done these days so we are focusing on funds.

God continues to provide through his people, through our Etsy business and through a side job for Raymond.

As of today we are $31,000 in to this process, with about approximately $11,000 to go.

But we have what we need for today. And I’m learning, that that is exactly enough.

So for now we work, we wait, we pray, we fidget, we compulsively check our email, and we trust that in due time we will get that awesome call to tell us we have an appointment to meet our son ❤

Thanks for following our journey! Hopefully it gets a lot more exciting very soon! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting? Or something.

I sorted a pile of baby clothes today.

That is what you call over eagerness/nervous energy/trying to feel useful.

Also. It was a disaster.

Turns out three and one year old’s aren’t so good with orderly piles. Who knew.

But sorting laundry is about the only thing I can do right now.

Our dossier is hanging out in Baby A’s country, waiting to be submitted. And I am stuck between

“Oh my goodness Baby A is coming like, TOMORROW. I need to PREPARE” 

and,

“Oh my goodness they aren’t going to approve us and this will all be for nothing and I have boxes and boxes of baby clothes and no one to wear them.”

It’s a super stable and rational place to be, as I’m sure you can see.

It turns out that our dossier isn’t going to be submitted quick as quickly as I thought it would be.

Things are taking a little longer than I budgeted for and we might not be submitted for a few more weeks.

It seems like each time I feel like I’m actually getting a hold on what this adoption process entails I am shown just how little I know 🙂

Unfortunately, this means that Baby A will not be home before Christmas. And we may in fact be hard pressed to travel on trip one before Christmas.

It will be close. I think we will make it. But again, you never know.

On the plus side, remember I wrote a few posts back about ‘the new guy in charge’, who was totally against international adoption?

Well, he was somewhat unceremoniously ousted from his office on charges of embezzlement and fraud.

So. That was the end of him.

This is actually great news for us. Things are picking up speed again in Baby A’s country and it seems like we likely have an easier time finalizing Baby A’s adoption than we would have had if “New Guy” was still in charge. We are also thinking this will mean a shorter amount of time in Baby A’s country.

Until we are submitted there isn’t a lot we can do. We are working on some more fundraising ideas and starting to think about preparing for Baby A’s arrival.

I keep telling myself that I won’t do anything until we are officially submitted, approved and registered. But that’s not panning out so well.

Hence the clothes sorting ordeal.

The reality of how our lives are going to change is beginning to set in.

Three kids, three and under.

Two one year olds.

A child with special needs.

Honestly, it can get a little overwhelming to think about.

I am by no means a super mom.

I don’t make muffins as often as I should. I should probably read to my kids more. I should definitely scrape off the crusty apple sauce from the high chair, but I’m probably not going to.

I need to work on my patience. I could be more gentle, less easily frustrated.

Long story short, like most of us, I have lots to work on, and could probably use some time to do just that.

Instead God has said, “You have a son across the ocean, and you need to go and bring him home. I know you are totally unqualified, but I will help you.”

Guys, totally unqualified.

Totally reliant on grace to get me through this one.

So. Instead of pleading for donations today (because lets face it, I will probably be doing that again shortly 🙂 )

Today we ask, if you are praying person, to pray for us as we prepare to be the parents of Baby A.

We are so excited. We cannot wait to meet him and bring him home and every day away from him seems like one to many.

But on the flip side. Lets call a spade a spade. This is terrifying.

Our cookie cutter little life is about to get flipped on its head.

And it will be wonderful and joyful and it will be hard.

But in the end, this isn’t about me and my comfort level. Because goodness knows if it was, I would definitely not be researching the parenting of a child who has experienced trauma and googling the life out of “Down Syndrome”.

This is about a little boy who deserves everything I can give him and more.

A little boy who does not belong in an orphanage. Who, it turns out, belongs in a bedroom with his (almost twin) brother.

He is worth every worry and fear.

He is worth every frustration and concern throughout this process.

He is worth the financial stress, the emotional roller coaster, and the mental fatigue.

He is more than a number on a database.

He is a son, and a brother, who just hasn’t found his family quite yet.

We’re coming buddy.

We are scared and nervous but we are coming as fast as we can.

We can’t wait to have you here. I’m quite certain this was the plan for your life from the beginning.

So. I’m sure we will all do just fine.

But I apologize if it takes 45 mins to leave the house. Because, 3 toddlers.. that hurts my head.

Also. I’ll try to remove the apple sauce. I promise.

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Almost there!

Well. It’s just about out of our hands.

And thank goodness for that.

For over six months we have completed paperwork, re completed paperwork, hunted down signatures, and attended appointments. But we are finally finished our dossier!

Our final document (extra copies of our home study and approval, we got them last week.. but not enough copies..sigh!) will make a quick stop with us tomorrow so we can forward it on to our agency in Toronto.  From there it will be sent on to Baby A’s government to catch up with the rest of our translated paper work, and be translated itself.

Then we will finally. finally. finally. be submitted to the government of Baby A’s country!

We are PRAYING there are no problems.

This government is notoriously picky and has been known to reject dossiers based on the tiniest of details.

So until we are officially accepted and registered I will be holding my breath 🙂

Please considering praying with us that we would be registered first time. We are so eager to get to Baby A, and as we get closer and closer to holding him, set backs start to feel like really big deals!

Also.. if I have to revisit my doctors office for the 6th.. yes. 6th time. I might cry. 

Once our dossier is accepted and registered we will simply wait to for an invitation to travel.

So. Crazy!

We are still hoping to make our first trip in November, assuming everything goes smoothly.

But as I continue to learn, it seems like nothing about this process is smooth. So. We will wait and see 🙂

Further encouraging news on the financial front, we have all funds in place to actually get on a plane for our first trip!

All agengy fees needed to be paid before we leave are covered, as are our first flights to Baby A’s country.

We are so so thankful.

We have two remaining agency fees to be paid: $2500 and $1900, for a total of $4400. These will need to be paid while we are on trip one.

Ideally they would be in place before we fly.. because you know, stress! 

We also need to cover flights for trip two for both Raymond and I, and potentially a flight for one of us to make a trip three.

(We are hoping to be able to do two trips, but realistically one of us will most likely need to fly back one more time..if you scroll back a couple of posts you can read the explanation of this) 

Lastly we need to cover in-country expenses such as accommodation, Baby A’s medical, Baby A’s passport and final paperwork to leave the country, travel within regions and facilitator travel. We estimate this to be around $4000.

I don’t know where this money is coming from.

But I didn’t know where the first $28, 000 was going to come from either.

We have scrimped and saved and sold things. We have done everything in our power, all the while knowing that we would not be able to fund this ourselves.

We gave it over to God and he has made it happen. And continues to make it happen.

Our prayers have been answered in the form of ordinary people, stepping up and giving of themselves to make a life for a little boy across the ocean.

A little boy who simply has no idea how loved he is.. how valuable his life is.. how capable he is of great things and of how absolutely perfect he is.

I can’t wait to tell him. I can’t wait for you all to meet him and tell him.

His story is about to change.

In a mere few weeks he will meet his mommy and daddy.. then his sister and his brother.. and then a whole village of those who will shout for him, adore him and celebrate him.

Where once his path looked bleak and lonely, God has stepped in and worked on the hearts of so many to tell a story of courage, belonging, and redemption.

I hope you understand that our thankfulness never loses its genuineness.  Because truly, whether it be a $10 donation or a $100 donation, we are humbled and so thankful every time.

Every donation of any size is someone saying ‘Yes’ to our son.

And for a mama, that is simply the best gift ever.

So. Thank you ❤

..and thank you from Baby A.. He’s pretty sure hes going to like having a family 🙂

alfred

 

 

 

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 ❤

alfred1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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? 🙂

alfred

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.