Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Saw What I Saw

Copied from my other blog, for my new readers who haven't been there yet. The song, by Sarah Groves, was sent to me while I was sitting in a hotel room in Bulgaria, and as it turns out, Sarah Groves lives in my back yard, so to speak. I'm hoping to meet up with her soon. The pictures are just a few of the kids I met on my trip. You'll see lots of smiling happy kids. Remember that for every smile you see here, there are several others I met who were not. We need to give them a reason to smile. A family would make them smile.

The List

I know this adoption will be filled with many lists. Lists of phone calls to make, lists of errands to run, lists of forms to fill out, lists of things to get notarized, and more lists of forms to fill out. Did I mention lists of forms to fill out?

This morning I started my first lists. It is called, "Things to do Before the Home Study", and it involves renting a dumpster. A BIG dumpster. We're not hoarders or anything like that, but we have some stuff that needs to be purged. We have pockets of this stuff in several areas, and if you combine all these pockets together it might fill a large room. These pockets develop from cleaning out other pockets.

Years ago, when I had a different house (and really, it was a different life, and I was a different person.) once a year I would clean like we were moving. You know, when you move you suddenly become a lot more selective about what is worth keeping; you can see with new eyes what's important to you and what's not. That Tonka truck from 1973 with two broken wheels? No longer important! The stack of "Country Living" magazines that all contain decorating ideas you like? No longer important!

When Dean and I combined houses, we each had to get rid of stuff that we had previously thought was important, and suddenly didn't seem like it anymore. And then there was other stuff that got put into storage in various area of the house because it did still seem important.

One of the storage areas in the house was the very large walk-in closet in the spare bedroom in the basement, and before we knew it the entire room had become a storage area. Have an item we're not sure where it should go? Throw it in the spare bedroom! This pair of shoes that should get donated as soon as I have time? Into the spare bedroom with it. But last spring we cleaned out that room, painted it, and moved Angela down there. We should have rented a dumpster at that time, but we really didn't have the extra cash to. I got rid of some stuff, donated a lot of stuff, and the rest got moved into stacks in our pool room. (as in billiards, not water!)  That means we haven't had the family get togethers we usually do, because we always have pool tournments and we can't do that when the pool table is surrounded by this stuff.

Stuff that we no longer need.

Seriously, if we haven't even bothered to look at the stuff for a year, we really don't need it, right? There are a couple of things in there we'll hang onto because they do have some monetary value, like the Harley collectables, but the rest of the stuff? I say PURGE, PURGE and PURGE some more!

There is the back porch off the basement family room. It's a 3 season porch that a few years ago we converted to a dog room for when we have a litter of puppies. It used to look like this:

Yeah, it doesn't look like that anymore. In fact, it looks a lot like the pool room does right now, so my plan for next week is to get a big dumpster and start the big purge. Anyone care to join me? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Q & A

My email box has been flooded with questions. I'll answer what I've gotten via email so far, and then feel free to ask more in the comments. I'll answer what I can, o.k.?

Is Ianna from Bulgaria? No, she's not from Bulgaria. And really, I can't say where she's from just yet. I can tell you she's somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Why no pictures? First of all, we haven't formally committed to adopting her yet. We're just waiting for some legal stuff to get done in her country so we can get that done. I *think* once that's done we're allowed to post pictures as long as we don't give identifying information. But, if you read my other blog, it's possible you've seen her face a time or two.

How old is she? Ianna is 10, and shares her birthday with my dad. Physically she is very small for her age, some of this is part of her diagnosis, and partly due to living in an institutional setting, the first 8 years of which were in awful conditions. Right now she's in a place where people care about her, and she's made great progress while there. We're praying she can stay there until we can go get her, because right now she's at serious risk of being transferred to a much worse situation. She should have been transferred at her birthday, but-praise God-that facility doesn't have any open beds.

Does Ianna have Down syndrome? No, she doesn't. Ianna has Apert syndrome. In the past I've worked with a few kids who have Apert syndrome, but I just worked with them, then they went home. I have a lot to learn! She will come home needing some surgeries, particularly craniofacial, and on her hands. We live in the perfect place for this, with 5 different children's hospitals very close by, and an awesome craniofacial clinic just 15 minutes away. I don't yet have her full medical report, but hope to have it soon! Then we'll have a better idea what we need to be planning for as far as medical check-ups. Angela has had so many surgeries that I have lost count, so that doesn't really bother me. It's new for Dean, but he's preparing himself by doing lots of reading, and has contacted other families who have children with AS and is asking lots of questions.

Are you guys nuts? You're not seriously asking this, are you? Like, have you been reading my other blog for the past 5 years? Of course I'm nuts, and Dean is right there with me. LOL But really, Dean and I have given this a lot of thought and prayer. We're not just jumping into this, and no, I have not pushed Dean into it. He had to come to his own decision, and if that decision was influenced by reading my blog posts while I was out of the country, that's not my fault. My family is 100% in support of our decision. Some of you know that my family is full of adoption, and we know it from every perspective.  I'm not really sure where Dean's family is with it. I'm thinking "shocked" is an understatement. So if you're asking us why, be prepared to answer "Why not?"

How much will this adoption cost? This adoption will cost somewhere between $16-20K, which includes travel expenses.

That's a lot of money! Do you have that? Is that a problem? We're not worried about it, so you won't need to worry about it either. We'll pull it together, and God will make sure the money is there each step of the way, weather that be through fundraisers, or just plain 'ole, garden variety divine acts... like money falling from the sky. It could happen.  As long as we're following His lead, He'll make sure we have what we need. I'm always amazed when people claim to be church-going, God believing people, yet they have no faith in Him. We have faith, so you can too! K?

What does Angela think of this? Now THAT's a really good question. We're not really sure. When we first showed her a picture, she got very serious, and in a compassionate voice said, "Oh...what happened? She got hurt?" We explained that just like she has Down syndrome, and sometimes has needed surgeries to fix this or that, Ianna has some things that need fixing too, while other things will stay the same. Angela was fine with that explanation.

Angela has actually been asking for a sister for quite some time. If strangers ask her if she has brothers and sisters, she says she has 4 brothers and 2 sisters!! Still, I don't think she understands the serious threat on her position in the household. No longer will she be the center of attention, and no longer will Dean and I be the only playmates! Dang! Life will not revolve around her and her schedule. There will be one more birthday to celebrate (this will be a bonus in her eyes!) She might have to play girl games like dolls or house, instead of "jail" or "Dog the Bounty Hunter". insert angels singing here. She might actually have to USE the very cool climber we built for her two summers ago. Really, she's been on it twice since we built it, and that's because I made her eat lunch in the tree fort part. Go ahead, call me horrible.

Aren't there kids here in the U.S. who need homes? Yes, there absolutely are! How about your home? Do you have a spot for another bed? A place at your table? Room in your car? If you answered yes to even ONE of these things, then I hope you're taking some action! If you've answered no, then don't even bother going there with me. That said, the children in the U.S. foster care system have things far better than the orphans of Eastern Europe. When US orphans age out of the system, there are resources for them. Not so for the orphan of Eastern Europe, who ages out of the system between 14-16 years old, with the clothes on his back and a boot out the door that WILL hit him in the rear end on the way out!  Have you seen the conditions of EE orphanages? If you haven't, then go do some reading on my other blog, then we'll talk more. God doesn't say to rescue the orphans in your back yard. He doesn't designate county or international boundaries. He just says rescue them. Like he rescued you and me. Imagine if God only rescued people from one country and all the rest  were S.O.L! See? No boundaries in God's eyes.

So for now, I can pretend that this will be easy, and choose to only think about the really cool stuff happening in our family right now. Hey, I can be in denial if I want to! It's my blog! I know there will be days when Dean and I will be reminding ourselves that this was God ordained, and we were following what we were told to do. I'm pretty sure there might be times when one of us will try to say it's all too much, at which point the other will direct him or her back to the original story (I'll post it in a little bit) for a little reminder as to how we got here.

If you have more questions, feel free to post them in the comments!


I'm just getting this blog set up to keep a written and photographic record of Ianna's journey home. For now, until I have permission to do so, there will be no pictures of Ianna here. Soon-very soon I hope-there will be pictures.

Several people have asked how to pronounced this name. I suppose we could have chosen a name that was more common, that everyone knew how to pronounce, but that would be far too easy. Besides, God gave us THIS name! It means "Beautiful flower", and that is indeed what Ianna is.

It's pronounced "I ah nuh". I was sure Angela would be able to say this, since it's a bit like Hawaii and almost all vowels! LOL She can't say her own name very clearly, so it's important we pick a name she can say. Yeah..well..apparently that's not in God's plan either. So we're working on it, and hopefully by the time Ianna comes home sometime next winter, Angela will be able to say it.