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

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Piece of Paper

Tonight I was praying for Ianna.

I saw the back of a person sitting at a desk full of papers. An overwhelming number of papers. The person reached over and picked up one paper. Stapled to the upper corner was a picture of Ianna.

The person, heavy with fatigue, looked at the picture for a second, and glanced over Ianna's history. Then put the paper down, signed it, stamped it, and moved it over to another pile.

All the while, Ianna was smiling back from that picture.

And that, my friends, is the image I'm going to bed with tonight. Of a signed piece of paper with Ianna's smiling face looking back.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Sprinkler

This weekend was designated as "Yard work" weekend. Last year we did NOTHING in our back yard, and man does it show this spring! Flower beds all overgrown, the big pond so lovingly built 6 years ago now taken over by duck weed, stray water plants, and trees growing between the rocks. (and seriously, after only one year some of them are over our heads!)

We did several projects back there today, all while trying to keep Angela occupied, AND outside. (because she has anhidrosis and doesn't sweat, she prefers to be inside on any day over 70*, and it was 85* plus here today.)

After awhile the sprinkler came out, and minutes later so did Angela donning her swimming suit. Dean and I took a break in the shade as we watched Angela enjoying the sprinkler and the beautiful day.

As I looked around the yard, then back to Angela, I realized this was something Ianna has never experienced. She has never put on a swimming suit and ran through a sprinkler in the summer sun. She has probably never walked through a garden quite like ours and smelled a flower. Or laid on the grass and had 1, 2, 3, or even 4 dogs lay around her, protecting her from the world. She has never had the freedom to play in a yard that is "hers", with a mom and a dad to watch over her, delighting in her joy.

Every day we pray that next summer Ianna will have all of these things, and so will we.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Feeling Energized!

Tonight we're feeling kind of energized, and ready to tackle a couple of things that we can get done while we wait. Like the written biography and a statement about our reason for adopting, particularly a child with a disability. At least that will be done when the time comes!

We can also start gathering other documents (birth certificates, etc.) needed that will be sent along with the homestudy.

Thanks to a friend who has adopted from this same country (and same orphanage!) we have a better idea about the time frame once Ianna's re-registration for adoption is complete. Getting some of these smaller errands done now will save us time when we need it! And no, I'm not worried about any of these particular documents expiring.

It's just small stuff, but at least I feel like I'm doing something! LOL

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trying not to get frustrated

We're trying really hard not to get frustrated. I have to keep reminding myself that "not long at all" doesn't mean the same time frame here as it does in Ianna's country.

On April 7th I met Ianna for the first time. I was told if they could find a family for her "quickly" they could get her re-listed for adoption before she would be transferred. On April 13th I notified that person that we definitely wanted to adopt her. On MAY 11TH we were told they "would be calling" the person who needed to get the paperwork done. ("Would be" as in "haven't yet"!) But that they really are working on it. A couple days ago I heard again, just that "We're trying".  We can't even publicly commit to her on Reece's Rainbow or the adoption agency because she's not legally available for adoption. I can't even post pictures of her here, or give any other information until we can formally commit to her!

I have the feeling God will be using this adoption as yet another way to point out that I'm not exactly in charge of everything.  And, just to torture myself, I've added a counter at the top of the page. I can't believe it was a month and a half ago that we met for the first time. It feels like yesterday, and yet not.

Soon baby girl....soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meet James!

Thanks to Molly, who pointed out to me that there is a new child listed on Reece's Rainbow! James is 8 years old, and like Ianna he has Apert syndrome.


If you'd like to know more about James,  or any of the other kids I've listed who have Apert syndrome, please contact Andrea at Reece's Rainbow.



Lullabyes

Every night when Angela goes to bed she choose to either have me read to her, or sing.

She loves chapter books, and every night that she chooses to have me read she remembers exactly where we left off last time.

Tonight she wanted me to sing. There are only four songs in the bedtime repertiore. "Hush Little Baby", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "So Long, Farewell" (from the show "Out of the Box"), and "Tomorrow". I'm not sure exactly what her criteria is for choosing the song, but there is definitely reason behind her choosing!

Tonight's choice was "Hush Little Baby".

Hush little baby
don't say a word
mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird.

And if that mocking bird don't sing
mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring

And here is where Ianna came to my thoughts. A child who was left behind, who's society says she has no value, but deserves every diamond God has ever created, lovingly set upon a band of gold.

If that diamond ring turns brass
mama's gonna buy you a looking glass.

A looking glass, for a girl who is stunningly beautiful despite what society says. A girl who carries with her so many lessons I have yet to learn. She deserves a looking glass made of the most precious materials to frame her lovely face. I pray we're able to teach her she IS beautiful!

If that looking glass gets broke
Mama's gonna buy you a billy goat.

If that billy goat don't pull
mama's gonna buy you a cart and bull.

A cart and bull; strong and determined to cary her through the world. We will be her cart and bull: moving forward slowly and methodically, meeting each obstacle with stubborn calm.

If that cart and bull turn over
mama's gonna buy you a dog named rover.

If that dog named Rover don't bark
Mama's gonna buy you an ox and cart

and if that ox and cart fall down
you'll still be the sweetest girl in town.

Our sweetness went to bed last night without anyone to tuck her in. With anyone to come when she cries because she's had a bad dream. She slept in a room full of children (I'm not sure how many but I think there were 10-15 beds in there.) and I'm sure it's not very quiet or restful. Was she cold? Wash she too hot? Was she hungry or thirsty? I pray that God has her wrapped in his love, comfortable in her daily routine, safe from all that happens in places like that.

Before we know it, we'll have her home. In a big girl bed (her bed there is more like a toddler bed.) with warm blankets, a nightlight if she wants it, and mommy and daddy right across the hall who will wake at a pin drop to check on her.

I can't wait to show you videos of her. Of me holding her. She melted into me. She's ready for her family, and we're ready for her.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

He is amazing!

I can't give the full details now...maybe someday. But I just have to tell you, God IS amazing, and His timing is perfect, as always! Today we had yet another confirmation that we're right where we're supposed to be.

While I'm anxious to hear news on Ianna's re-registration for adoption, there are other things that we need to take care of first before we start the homestudy. And while we have never doubted we were moving in the right direction these last few weeks, it's still nice to get that little boost of confidence He provides in the form of confirmation, just exactly when we need it!

Genesis 28:15
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Still hang'in around!

It's hard to post when you know nothing! All I (we) can do is pray for Ianna's circumstances, and remember that her days were already written long before they came to be. In the meantime we're putting away every penny we can in hopes that very soon we can get things moving here.  The topic of Ianna comes up several times per day, as Dean, Angela and I try to imagine what life will be like when she comes home.

If you're new here, then you don't yet know that Dean and I (And Angela too!) are bikers. Because of Angela's seizures and the strokes she's had, she's not able to ride behind me, so a couple years ago I took on the project of adding a sidecar to my bike. See? (Yes, that's the mom's bike!)



We've come up with a couple of ideas for fundraisers, but I need to find someone more experienced to put them together. If anyone read is a biker and knows how to put together a poker run, drop me a note! When the time comes, the funds can go through Reece's Rainbow so it'll be tax deductible.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another lovely girl

Here's another beautiful girl with Apert syndrome. She is doing very well! Surely there is a family for her somewhere?

Somebody go get her!

Look at this darling little girl! She has Apert syndrome, just like Ianna, and she's looking for a family! Surgery will repair her droopy eye lids, and her fingers can be unfused as well. (even with her fingers fused she uses them quite well!) She's only 18 months old, and will greatly benefit from Early Intervention services!

Daydreaming

I've been daydreaming a lot today; just getting distracted by little things. Like while I was working on my algebra assignment, I was wondering what size clothes Ianna wears. And while I was paying a bill I was wondering if she's going to like having a room all to herself or will she miss not having company like she's had for the past 8 years? Will she be a tomboy or a princess? Will she come home a tomboy and change into a princess? Or the opposite? Maybe she doesn't even know what a princess is!

Dean has been daydreaming a lot lately too. He's been wondering what happens to those kids who don't get adopted? (he knows, but he wants to know more.) The man who used to get irritated with me when I'd show him kids pictured on Reece's Rainbow now finds himself there a couple times a day, and is telling ME when there are new kids pictured.

Funny how God works, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Please PRAY!

We need a miracle performed on the heart of the person in charge of Ianna's case. This is the person who is responsible for filing the paperwork that allows Ianna to be adopted. You may remember that Ianna was already registered once, but it expired, and the paperwork was never filed to keep her registered. This person was asked several months ago to come to the facility where Ianna is currently living to discuss her case, and get her re-registered for adoption, but he or she never showed up.

He or she has now been asked again. Ianna cannot be re-registered without this meeting, and instead will be transferred to the other facility as soon as a bed opens up. And, until that paperwork is filed, we cannot submit a family profile to the officials there to get approval to adopt her.

Ianna's clock is ticking....

Please Lord, in the name of Jesus, just like you changed Dean's heart, I ask that you do the same work on the heart of the worker responsible for Ianna's future. Lord, we know that ultimately YOU are in charge. That YOU are Ianna's Abba Father, loving her more than we ever could!

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-17, Gal 4:5-6)


Fundraising

Dean and I have been tossing around fundraising ideas. I'm thinking I might like to do some type of challenge. Like if we can raise $X5 in a certain time period, then I will do X.

What are some fun challenges you've seen people do?

Monday, May 10, 2010

No News Friday

There was no news on Friday. Most of Europe was on holiday last week and government offices were closed. I'd hoped I'd hear something today, but it's late in the evening there now, so today is out as well.

But all is good. There are steps that have to be taken, and we'd rather they're done right then rushed and have to re-do anything! There are two things we're waiting for now: The first is for Ianna to be re-listed as legal for adoption. I'm told this is pretty simple since she was already listed up until her birthday last month.  It expired because she was supposed to be transferred. The other step is we have to apply to the government there and get pre-approval to adopt. This saves people from doing the homestudy and all the other steps involved only to find out the government won't let them adopt!

There are a lot of steps to this adoption ladder, and we're just putting our foot on the very first rung. It will be a long climb, and sometimes the weather conditions might make it a little difficult to hang on, but we won't let go! Right now, early in the climb, we have tons of stamina and have our eyes on the peak, where a beautiful young lady waits for us!

Purge Complete!

Whew! Does that ever feel a lot better! Dean, Tyler and I worked our tails of Saturday, and FILLED the huge dumpster! We emptied the shed, storage room, closets, and any other nooks and crannies that have collected JUNK for the past six years! It feels so good to get rid of the stuff.

This afternoon we'll put the storage room back together (moving stuff back in that we're keeping) and tie up some loose ends around the house and call it done.

What's next? Finish painting the exterior of the house, then we'll get started on Ianna's room. Big changes in our house house to match the changes in our family. It feels AWESOME!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Let the paperwork begin

This week I received the beginning of paperwork from the adoption agency, Reece's Rainbow, and the home study agency.

And I haven't started any of it.

Why? Because the country we're adopting from requires a pre-approval for adoption. In other words, we first have to apply, and make sure they will accept our request to adopt a child from their country before we bother doing any of the other work involved in actually going through with the adoption.

I have no idea how long this process takes, and that country is currently on a holiday with government offices closed, so we'll have to wait until sometime next week to hear.

And so we wait, and while waiting we're still purging and filling that dumpster, and planning what to do with Ianna's room. Interestingly, Angela, who hates all things girly, told me yesterday that Ianna should have a princess room. I'm not a huge princess fan. LOL I have this idea in my head that I'd like to show Ianna 3 or 4 pictures of girls rooms and let her pick what she likes. But that also seems very overwhelming for a little girl who's never had a room to herself, or a bed that hasn't been slept in my 100 other kids at some point or another.

Maybe I'll just pick a room for her? I dunno...I guess I have time to toss that around.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dumpster is Here!

The the great clean out of 2010 begin! Seven days to purge, purge, and purge some more! (note that most of the purging will be done while Dean is at work and it's easier to get rid of stuff. Shhhh don't tell him I said that!)

The other kid

Over a year ago, in hopes of encouraging my daughter Angela to do some writing, I started a blog for her. Yeah, she pretty much avoided me a lot! Getting her to read is almost as difficult. We've discovered she really likes answering questions on video though, so maybe she's just going to VLOG instead! So pop on over and ask her some questions!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Praying for Friday

We're praying for Friday. That's the date I have in my head that we might hear something. You see, Ianna was available for adoption a couple of months ago, but that expired on her birthday in March: when she turned 10 years old. That's when she was supposed to be transferred to the mental institution to meet a fate worse than hell.

But God saw fit to make sure the other facility was full, and the place she currently resides was not, and her caregivers wanted her to stay as long as they are able to keep her in hopes that a family would come forward.

And along came little me, the gal from Minnesota, speaking midwestern English and carrying a camera. I wasn't intending to fall for any kids there. I was there to take updated pictures for Reece's Rainbow, hoping their bright smiles and updated observations would help find them families. No, really...I was prepared to NOT FALL IN LOVE while I was there. Really. No...really.

I held lots of kids that day, and there were a couple who I can still feel in my arms and I pray for them daily. They are the most "at risk" kids there. But I knew when I held Ianna that day, as the facility doctor explained her upcoming fate, that I would get her out of there. The doctor told me, "If a family comes forward for her QUICKLY, she can be re-registered and I can then keep her here until the adoption goes through. But they have to show themselves fast, before that bed opens up."

My first thought was "I will get her out of here!" Adoption is a part of me, and my family, but then I remembered Dean, and the words he said at the airport when he dropped me off. "Don't even think about falling for some kid there. I'm not adopting. I'm this close ----------- to an empty nest and I don't want to go backward."

I've spent the last 18 months praying for this man's heart. Asking God, "What gives? Please Lord, either change his heart, or stop throwing adoption in my face every time I turn around!" And so I left Ianna that day, vowing to get her out SOMEHOW, either myself or by finding her a family. Still I couldn't shake the feeling that she should be a part of me. Each night that I went to bed in that Bulgarian hotel, I cried tears for Ianna, and prayed God would do something. I didn't even know what to ask him to do! I just pictured her face, and her smile, and prayed for God to do...something!

There is no arguing that Dean and I are enjoying our nearly empty nest. Our time on our motorcycles, with Angela alongside mine in her sidecar. What I didn't know was the work God was doing HERE, in my house, while I was away. I will probably never understand it all, and I guess I don't really need to. It was work only God could do, and nobody else. But one day while talking on Skype, me in a hotel room in Bulgaria, and Dean in our Minnesota kitchen, he started asking me specific questions about Apert syndrome. They were questions he would not know to ask unless he'd been doing a little digging around himself. He asked me questions about specific cranial surgeries, and hand surgeries, and he asked about her hearing. Eventually after several such conversations, we agreed to discuss adopting Ianna when I got home. I couldn't believe this was happening, and was pretty sure some cruel trick was being played on me.

And then the Volcano erupted, and I was stuck on the other side of the world. I wanted to talk with Dean about Ianna, but I didn't want to push him. Besides, we had agreed to wait until I got home to discuss her further.  I vowed that until I got home I would only answer questions from him, not volunteer anything. And ask questions he did!

Then came the news interview with the news crew in our living room with Dean, me on Skype from the middle of the Bulgarian night. It was during that interview, on prime-time news, that Dean said to the reporter, "We're adopting."

That very night I sent an email to the woman in charge of Ianna's care, letting her know we were ready! Dean was ready! We are a go! And she told me she'd get going with the re-registration process. (which I'm told is VERY easy there.)

And so we wait to hear that Ianna has been re-registered for adoption, and that is why I have this Friday, May 7th in my head. That we'll hear by then that the re-registration process is complete and we can move forward. Will you join me in this prayer? Ianna needs an army praying for her, and there is an army of 22 people reading this blog. I think 22 people can move a mountain, don't you?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ianna's Room

Last night Dean and I were discussing which of our two spare bedrooms will become Ianna's. The larger one serves as a guest room. We talked about giving Ianna that room, but it's a cold room in the winter time. Ianna has had too many years of being cold an unloved.  It's a pretty room, very simply decorated for guests, but as much as I love it, it doesn't feel right for Ianna. I can't picture her in there. 

The smaller bedroom is our office. There are two very large cherry desks in there that we used to use all the time when we had a desk top computer, but now that we have laptops, they have developed flat surface disease. (That's the disease where any flat surface collects paper and other junk. And it's contagious, once one flat surface is affected, the one closest to it will develop the disease as well!) There is also a book case with the same disease. Right now the room is filled with my side business stuff. This room happens to be the warmest room in the house. As we stood looking at the room last night, we agreed it feels more "right" to put Ianna in that room. It's cozy, without so much space as to be overwhelming for a little girl who's never had a space to call her own before. I can see her in there. I can picture her going to sleep at night in that room. 

So I have another task ahead of me, which is to clean out that office, including getting rid of the two desks. A few years ago these desks sat in a corner of our living room. I'd spent years wanting to move them since they seemed so out of place, but the desks are HUGE, with glass tops, and Dean wanted no part of moving them. One day a friend came over to help me with something, and before I knew something overtook us and we'd emptied those two desks and were moving them down the hallway. Since Dean didn't want  to do this, I needed to get it done before he came home! Once we got to the door of the bedroom we realized the desks were about 1/2 inch too wide to get in the door, no matter which end or side we tried to put in first! (you should have seen us trying to turn those desks every which way in the hallway!) Finally I took the entire door frame off the wall to slide the desks in. By the time Dean came home later that night I had both desks in the room and all set up for a nice office space, the door frame back on the wall, and the living room re-arranged. Have I mentioned how heavy these desks are? Clearly the house would have to burn down before I ever moved those desks again. 

Or we could adopt.

So if anyone in the area is looking, I have two desks for sale, but you'll have to bring someone to help move them!


Fantasizing

This weekend has been designated as "get the spring yard work done" weekend. While I was in Eastern Europe, Dean started painting the house, so I came home to 1/2 of it being a different color. He's been working on that project today.

Angela and I have been working in the back yard. Ok, well I've been working while Angela torments plays fetch with the dogs. I was raking all the leaves out from under the climber (you know, the one Angela never plays on?) when Angela came over and sat on one of the swings to watch me. She couldn't sit still for long before the swing took over and she was laughing and talking to all her invisible friends, just having a good time.

I stopped to watch her, and couldn't help but think about the empty swing sitting idle next to her. It's just waiting for another little girl to sit in it, swing it high, feeling the wind and sun on her face: to feel the freedom that comes with something so many of us take for granted.

I turned and looked at the rest of the yard. There's the Tball T that Angela has outgrown but is just the right size for Ianna, and the little kid lawn chairs that we've left out for the rare occasion we have little kids over. There are lots of things in our yard to share with a sister, and I can't wait to hear her laughter as she explores!