Lilypie - Waiting to Adopt

Friday, February 14, 2014

Coffee, Sleep and Memories

It has been over 6 weeks since we have come home, and I can barely believe it. It took one week for our bodies just to feel like we are back on this continent, then we had so much catch-up to do ... and then suddenly I was ready to be back with them. I want to pack up all of my children, rent an apartment and spend my days going back and forth between towns. But that isn't an option. So now I relive the memories, as they come to me. Let me share about the first two days ...

I was so nervous, I almost hyper-ventilated in the car while on the way to the airport. I wasn't even thinking of the children, I was thinking of the planes I had seen hit the Trade Towers on TV 12 years before, I was thinking of planes crashing into the ocean, I was thinking of leaving my babies to go to another continent, maybe even leaving them motherless ...

I get called a worry-wart, Debbie-Downer and other things. But I couldn't help it, I had no personal experience with flying. But I had seen PLENTY of disaster movies.

 
We hadn't even boarded yet and he was already tired!

Nervous travelers still take Selfies.

As I stood in line waiting to board, I heard French, German, Hindi dialects ... they had all gotten this far, and were still willing to get back on a plane. Boarding the plane, settling in, preparing for lift-off ... my teeth were on edge. Then we were gaining altitude (the pressure thing was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting!) and I was distracted by the sights out the windows. I had to crane my neck since we were in the middle of the Airbus. But I didn't care. I was seeing a whole new world... I wouldn't dare close my eyes!

But I did. Oh wow it was a boring flight. I will never say "I'll sleep on the plane." EVER again. And why are movies so violent? We rarely get to watch TV (other than children's/Family) and when we do we watch documentaries and the occasional action flick. But I was trying to watch comedies, dramas, what have you, and they were ALL violent. Just for shock value. Man of Steel was really good though.

Landing in Germany was interesting, and a bit confusing.Their airport is not user-friendly. Another family from our agency who live nearby picked us up and treated us to food, fellowship and a tour of their village. It was a real treat! Even though we were seriously exhausted, we still felt refreshed as we boarded the plane for THE country. I don't remember much, other than when I hit the mattress, I SLEPT.
Just a little stroll in Germany.

The next morning it was breakfast with a real-life friend who was there on her pick up trip for her darling boy, she had arrived earlier the day before. Our attendant arrived and we quickly made him the camera man for a group photo with a total of 4 of us families, most staying in the same hotel. Thank goodness for Facebook! It is so wonderful to go halfway around the world only to find a familiar face. We had a few hours to explore the city and see a few sights before exchanging currency.

 On the "Lion Bridge"
 Said Lion of the Bridge.

Our view from our window.


We promptly set our for our first town, where we would spend 3 days with Betsy!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Makes a House a Home

~~~~~~~~~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Quilt is completely sponsored!! I will do a drawing before teh weekend and have a post about our first few days!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the early 90's, I was a rather nonathletic child and I chose my friends judiciously- they had to have a horse.  Then one day at the local homeschool co-op sports day, we had to run a mile with a partner. I scanned the group and spotted the only other child like me- obviously a bookworm, about my age and a girl. I walked over and asked if she would be my running partner. Thus began a (to date)  two-decade friendship.
My friend and her husband have been some of the biggest supporters of our adoption, for which we are eternally grateful.

But with childhood friendship, comes extra parents who remember your triumphs and failures, your awkward moments and brilliant breakthroughs. Extra parents to see you through to adulthood. 

As an expert quilter, my friend's amazing mother had offered to make a quilt to auction off in time for Christmas. But life interrupted her plans, and she only recently finished it. She said however we wanted to use it, it was ours.



The Finished Top.


When asking fellow adoptive families how to best auction off the quilt, they all lamented that it would be a wonderful gift for our daughter, such a testament of love! Then one friend had a fantastic idea: Auction off the house-shaped blocks! Immediately we had people pledging towards the "House auction."


I love the idea of a memory quilt, and what better way to celebrate love this Valentine's Day than bring children into a home full of Love? 


How he longs to have those fingers curled around his hand again!

What is love if not sacrifice, if not action? A bed, 3 meals a day and toys do not make a home. My children will one day be able to tell you that. It is love that transforms a sturdy building into a home!


With his brothers by his side, I know he will go far! And probably faster than I would like!


Each house is a donation of $25, and the chosen house will have the sponsor's name embroidered (BY HAND!) on to the house, or the name of the person the sponsor wishes to honor.


Each sponsor (or person they choose) will be sent a letter explaining the donation, quilt, the children, and will include a photo of us with the children.


To sweeten the deal, you will be entered to win one (1) of two (2) personal size traditional baking dishes that we picked up on our visit trip!


 Each are about 1 qt in size. Food and oven safe!

To pay you can either send a check to our Reece's Rainbow sponsorship fund, OR pay via Paypal. If you pay by Paypal on our Reese's Rainbow FSP, please consider adding the 3% transaction fee so we get the full $25. Or I can send you our personal Paypal address and you can send it without the fee.

The houses with a RED DOT have already been spoken for!






To enter, send an email to engulfedbytheswellATgmailDOTcom (Replace AT with @ and DOT with.) Or Facebook message me if we are friends!

Please include: Your name, your top 3 house preferences,  method of donation, and if you would like to honor a person other than yourself, and their address to send the letter of thanks to.

Due to the fact that names will be hand-embroidered by my skilled mother and sister, I ask only ONE name per house, and you have the option of First name or Last name and one initial.


My goal is to have all 40 houses sponsored by Valentin's Day, and we will hold a drawing for the baking dishes as soon as the last payment is made.

Thank you all for reading, praying, sharing and caring for these Littles. They deserve to be loved, and I am blessed to love them!

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An update on our adoption proceedings: Now the hard waiting happens! To answer all of your questions: We don't now, we will have to see, we can only hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

We estimate pick up trip to be somewhere between Early May and Late July. Not much to plan by.

As far as I know, all of our paperwork has been filed. We are waiting for one document to come back in the next two weeks, and then I will have to make ONE MORE mad dash to the State Capitol to get it apostilled (yay.)  It is a 5 hour drive, I have to coordinate with my parents so I can drop the kids off with them and then the traffic and construction drive me crazy. I finally bought a (cheap) smartphone so I can have GPS just for the next trip down! I had to make an emergency run, and it took me 3 hours to travel what should have taken 1. Yes, I am whining. But I don't like it!


The roads were busy, but I was able to snap a few good pictures!

We have received our final invoice from our agency. It turns out, while we can apply the Reece's Rainbow grant funds now, because of our country's timeline, we won't be able to use our Show Hope grant until our pick up trip.  While this means our trip is basically paid for, it does mean that we are short A LOT right now.  We know God will provide, and we are willing to work hard for whatever He brings to us! My mother shared this the other day, and I feel it is fitting in light of our circumstances.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Always the last to know

I know the feeling. I have been there. When everyone knows what is going on and are surprised to know that you don't.

Like when I was in college and I called to see how my cat was doing. My mom said "Oh, he was hit by a car 2 weeks ago, didn't anyone tell you?"

Nope.

So I am sorry, dear readers, that I have failed to keep you in the loop.

It wasn't intentional. But it was the one thing I could leave for later.

Not only have we gone on our first trip, we are already back.

I know, I feel awful and I should.

We have been back since Sunday and Jet Lag is kicking our rear ends around. That is why I am up right now, and have been since 2 am.

But hey, at least you get to look at these!
 She is a Daddy's Girl for sure!

 One of his favorite things to do!

Magical, wonderful, exhausting, emotional, eye-opening ... There is so much to be said. But so much I can't openly share at this point. We made many friends, and were able to reconnect with some old ones from the States.

We will begin fundraising again soon. I have revamped my plan of attack, since I should not have any paperwork to do at this point. But we will need to raise funds.

We will go to pick them up sometime in early Summer. Then the real work will begin!

On the road back to the capital.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Little Lights

Deep in the darkness and a great distance ahead, two Little Lights are shining. They are fragile, delicate. They could so easily be blotted out.

When you start looking into adoption, there are many ways to look at starting the process. You can look at country programs and find out which works best with you. You can look at agencies to find the most ethical, most transparent, least expensive option. Or, you can start with the children, and find the child who's needs match yours. I prefer a combination of country and child, as seeing the children really brings the severity of the need and the humanity of the diagnoses into perspective.

I had hoped to do a different country originally, but the travel the country requires was not possible for us at this time. But that is because our son and daughter are not in this country. But these twin girls are:






They are called Nadia and Nancy by an advocacy group. You can read more about them when you click here.

These twin girls were posted LAST YEAR. Since then, the Reece's Rainbow advocacy group has been collecting money to help with their adoption costs. Currently they have $6,305. That is a pretty big chunk of money! So what would be left to adopt them? Here is a ROUGH breakdown:

Initial Requirement- Homestudy, USCIS approval cost, fingerprints, etc:       $2,500-$3,000
(If you don't already have your passports you will need to get them also.)

Estimated Travel and fees:    $25,000                                                           $28,000 +/-

MINUS GRANT of  $6,378                      

Total for BOTH girls:                                                                                  $21,622+/-

Remember, this will include the cost of International travel and staying in-country for many weeks. The cost of flights can vary by season and your originating city.

These girls are describe as sweet. And even with just the guidance of a worker who obviously cares enough about them to want them to go to an orphanage for typical children instead of a mental institution they are walking, potty trained and speaking in sentences. There is no such thing as a "good orphanage", their fate as adults is still the same, but this woman is trying to better their future as much  as she can- perhaps in hopes they will be adopted ...

I received sad news along with these photos  you see above- they have since been transferred to an adult mental institution. A place were 80% of the children die the FIRST YEAR there.They have each other, that may bolster and protect them a little longer. Can you imagine how scary that must be? Cold halls, cold floors, cold-hearted workers, cruel co-patients who only made it this long because they were strong enough to fight the others off ... for less than the cost of a new car, you can save these girls from this fate. Whisk them away like a fairy tale. Let them see what love and warmth look and fees like.

These girls have so much potential! If  they were adopted by a family in any country with ideas of therapy and inclusiveness, these girls will undoubtedly thrive. They will have their mountains to climb,but I believe they will conquer them.

Please consider these girls. Please see past the costs, the language barrier, the scary "unknowns." These children aren't hypothetical. They are very, very real with a very, very real future. One that has no hope without a family. This is not hyperbole. This is fact being laid out as tactfully as possible. Until there is social change in their country (and last time I checked, none of us have control of anyone's cultural identity or social norms) these children are not accepted into the ranks.

This program is MUCH faster than the country we are in, as you only travel once and stay for the entire process. It can all happen in as little as 6-9 months start to finish.

Will you bolster these lights? Will you help them Shine? Or will you walk away and let them go out?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Post Holiday, Pre Trip update

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

Such simple words, but such a hard reality at times.

We had a fantastic Christmas, but I didn't sleep much. We were knocked off our feet by a very intense illness (but not the Flu, thank the Lord!) that kept us quarantined for over a week. We were all well just 2 days before Christmas.

So that meant Mom had to pull Christmas out of a hat. It was not easy.

I was so relieved when Christmas was over, so I could concentrate on what I have been guiltily pushing aside: We travel in the middle of January!

We have just over two weeks to finish getting ready, then we will be gone for 10 days! We have bags to purchase so we can pack, we have outfits to figure out, since it is the dead of a very cold Winter there, and here it is sort of a "Meh" Winter.

We have gifts to choose, plans to make for those staying behind, timelines to figure out.

And nerves to calm.

Will they like us? Will we feel the pull that the photos seemed to draw us in with? Will the seeds of love start to sprout?

There is no way for attachment to start in this short visit, but we can hope for a connection - the promise of a real relationship with these two small humans. That one day they will call us "Mommy" and "Daddy."

Little fingers to curl around larger ones, little heads to nestle on shoulders ... I am dreaming of these things, and praying I am not setting myself up for disappointment.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reflections on Waiting

I had told myself to "just stay busy" and to "push it out of your mind." And yet, I would find myself hitting refresh on my email, and willing myself to wait at LEAST one week before bugging my case manager again ... I almost always failed.

But when we thought we wouldn't be able to use the travel voucher from my husband's work ... I just let it go. I knew God would bring things together. I can't will anything to happen.

So we stopped waiting.


Supervising Daddy build the new bunk bed.


 I had been "watching the pot" if you will, and nothing was happening. So I stopped. Emotionally, mentally, I stepped away. And we did things. Things that I couldn't check my email  while I did them.


Meeting new friends in the Petting Zoo.


Sure, when I knew a meeting was happening in The Country Across the Pond, I would get excited, but it didn't keep me up at night.


A new Dreamer is awakened.


Then this past week, I saw several families who were a little behind us post how they had received the first part of the two-part process: the verbal referral from the referral granting committee. It has to have the signature from the over-seeing minister, but that usually takes 2-3 weeks.

A little discouraged, I asked my agency to check on our status.

We have received our verbal referral! And we received it LAST WEEK!


 The finished product! My husband is so handy.


This means we could get a signature within the next 2 weeks, and it pretty much guarantees late January travel! It also means we can use our travel voucher from work!


Baby it's cold outside.


Now we will try to get through Christmas, collect the toys and gifts we will take to our children and I will try to FINALLY decide on what pair of boots would be best for the trip! I am desperate need of new shoes, and this is a great reason to get really nice ones.

As we prepare for this trip, I would appreciate your prayers. This will be our first time to fly out of the States, so I'm a little nervous!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Every Day Counts

We have been told that next week, right before our country celebrates a day of Thankfulness for God's provision, we should have our file approved and a referral issued by the most important committee in our lives. It will need a signature from a Minister who has many hats to wear and signing our referral may not be on the top of her to-do list for some time. But we have been told that we can start planning on traveling in January.

This is becoming very real.

We had been paying down debt before we started this adoption, so we never had the "extra" money we are now missing.

I miss sleep often, so staying up late crying, researching and connecting to others on this path hasn't been a shock either.

But soon, we will meet these two little people who have come to mean so, so much to us.

And suddenly, I feel like I have a whole lot to do. Things I would normally shrug off to that never-to-come "tomorrow" are now scheduled tightly into my week.

Helping friends move, play-dates, dinner guests, day trips, projects ... suddenly our slow-paced lives have picked up.

We are preparing for the long days ahead that are filled with uncertainty. We don't know how long we will have to cocoon (A period of time where we limit the time spent away from our children and limit the number of people they interact with. This is to create a strong attachment to us, as they have no concept of "mother and father" and is the recommended method by Dr. Purvis, though she uses more clinical sounding names for it.) We have no idea how they will react, what we will be able to do, what we will be able to get accomplished. Then days will be filled with therapy, doctor's visits and just learning to be a family.

So we are trying to get things done NOW.

Suddenly I can't be a leaf in the wind, I can't just wait until the mood strikes. I have to plan, make lists and stick to them.

This is making our home run smoother, making me a better homemaker and increasing our circle of friends in this new town we are in.

I know once they are home it will be hard. I know once they are home we won't be able to do this for awhile. It may take us a few months (or years) to find our new "normal."

But hey, at least it has been a fun, productive year. I can't say that about every year in the past.

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You want to know something that isn't a secret? Lean in close and I will tell you- there are thousands of kids who are "orphaned" for one reason or another, who never get listed. The ones that do are the lucky ones, they at least get a chance. Don't assume that if you see a child listed and you don't act, that some one else will adopt the child- far too few people do.

But do you know what happens to the ones who don't get adopted? The ones that are disabled end up end mental institutions- as young as age 6 in some countries, like Russia. They are thrown in with little supervision and ages mixed from child to adult. The statics are awful, most don't make it one year.

"Normal" cognitive children follow the series of placements in orphanages until they find themselves sitting on a lonely bench with maybe a few dollar's worth of money and maybe a bus ticket. And choices- far too few.

There is more human slavery than ever before, and these children are the fodder for the ever-growing lust of the sex trade. Used, abuse and sold until they are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. Finally, they are just the shell of the person they were before. Many, many, many of them are dead before their 21st birthday.



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