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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Camp next year

Friday Dean and I drove to the Wisconsin Dells area to pick up Angela from camp. This is her second year there, and she LOVES this camp!

The first thing she told us was, "This was the THE BEST CAMP EVER!"

The second thing she told us was, "Next year, I'm bringing my new sister Ianna to this camp. I'm helping her get her food, and her clothes. I'm her big sister, and I'm helping her. That my job. I'm the big sister!"

She spent the next four hours talking about her new sister, and bringing her new sister to camp.

We debated about talking to Angela about getting a new sister. You know, things happen with adoption, and kids get disappointed. But part of the homestudy process involves the social worker talking to the kids about how they feel about the adoption, so we really weren't sure at what point we should bring it up to her. When I was still in "that country on the other side of the world" we showed Angela a picture of Ianna. At that time we didn't know we were going to pursue the adoption, we were just showing her a picture of the the girl who was the reason Dean was sitting next to her crying, and why I was on skype crying. Angela looked at Ianna's picture, at her misshaped face, and in a very concerned and compassionate tone of voiced asked, "Oh, what happened?" I explained that just like she (Angela) had needed surgery to fix some things, God had made Ianna a little different too, and needed surgery to help her eyes." That was acceptable to Angela, and all she needed at the moment.

So fast forward to Friday, and camp pick up. For the next several hours, as we drove home from camp, Angela told us of her camp experience, then was quick to add how she would help Ianna swim next year, or help Ianna in the canoe next year, etc. At the end of the day, when it was finally time for bed, Angela suddenly dropped to her knees at the side of her bed, elbows on her bed, and folded her hands in prayer. I had to chuckle, since we usually say our prayers with her tucked in bed and me sitting along side her. She must have seen someone at camp saying their bedtime prayers this way. Anyway, there she knelt by the side of the bed,

"Yord, I yuv you. Fank you for giffing me camp. Fank you for giffing me Dean and mom to bring me home from camp. Yord, pweas bwing Ianna home so she can go to camp wiff me necks year. Fank you yord. Amen."

I said Amen as I wiped away my tears.

Baby steps

Thursday and Friday last week was a flurry of emails and phone calls which caused my head to spin. Many of them happened while driving the 8 hours round trip to pick up Angela from camp, and I was trapped in the car and couldn't do much of anything to feel useful!

Thursday we were told by our contact in Ianna's country that we could submit our family profile for pre-approval to adopt. This does NOT mean that Ianna has been made legally available.

We've been stressing out a little bit about this. For reasons I won't go into here, (believe it or not, there are *some* things I do keep private! LOL) our family is a complicated one. We are a blended family, and hard to explain to another country, and another culture. But I got it all down in writing, complete with the required pictures to tell the story, and it was sent off to Ianna's country this morning.

Friday we decided on a homestudy agency. One who was quick to respond to our inquiry. This homestudy agency is by far the best that we have talked to, and their concern is for the child, and making sure they are not only getting things done correctly, but in a timely manner so that when the time comes her legal status changes, we are are ready to roll! By Friday evening I had email copies of forms downloaded (and completed!), and Saturday's snail mail brought fingerprint cards and a couple more forms to be filled out, including one that Angela has to sign. I think I'll make a video of that. LOL

This morning Dean and I sent Angela off to summer school, then we hopped our little selves in the car and headed to Bloomington and where we had our fingerprints done. Those, along with a check will be dropped off at the homestudy agency office tomorrow morning. (because I'm afraid to put the fingerprint cards in the mail! LOL)

So, that's the flurry of activity we had this weekend. Now we wait a couple of weeks until we hear back from the other side of the world.

Can you help a family

My friend Julia and her husband Rob left for a country in Eastern Europe a couple weeks ago, to bring their new son Aaron home. Aaron is 6 years old and has arthorgriposis, (he has little to no use of of his arms, and uses his feet for everything) and had already spent a year in an institution in a tiny village in the rural country side. He had never had a visitor. Had never been loved on or hugged.

And along came this man, woman and boy who called themselves mamma, papa, and brother. (his other brother was coming a few days behind them, but Aaron hadn't had a chance to meet him yet.)

Aaron was just starting to warm up to this idea of someone CARING for him, and it was almost time for him to leave this place called an institution and go home to another country to his "family". But there was a glitch, something that couldn't be planned for, that has to be fixed. Now his mama, papa and brother had to leave him.

Julia and her husband Rob had to return home. This was an unexpected turn of events. You can read about it on their blog, but the reality is they now have to make an extra trip, which is going to cost $3,000. Most adoptive families don't have an extra $3,000 laying around when the adoption already cost several thousand dollars in the first place. They are going to need help going back to get him. If you go to their blog, on the right there is a "chip in" button. Every penny helps! Prayers help too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Clarification

Clarification: No, Ianna's legal status has not changed YET. When it does, you will see me hoot'in and holler'in it all over the darned internet people! Bet we're getting going on the homestudy and other steps so when she IS ready, so are WE!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Profile

Writing a family profile. Hmmm...somehow this didn't seem like such a difficult task until I tried to do it.

I'm at a loss for words!

In the Palm of His Hand

Tuesday was a day of stress around here. By the time I went to bed Tuesday night, my stomach was nothing but a solid knot of anxiety, and there wasn't much sleeping going on. I think I finally dozed off around 1:00 a.m.

At 2:00 a.m. I woke with a start.

I immediately saw Ianna sitting in the palm of a man's hand. I'm pretty sure I've seen this before, but never quite so clear. As soon as I saw her God said to me, "I have her HERE. It doesn't matter what anyone has said to you along the way. It doesn't matter who has threatened you with anger or fear. **I** already know where she is going. It may not BE with you, but I already know. It is decided. Rest easy. She will go to the place I have prepared for her."

I have tried, every day for the rest of the week I have tried forcing myself to say those words out loud to remind myself to stop worrying. To move forward with what *I* need to do HERE. That is all I can do.

I think tomorrow I will put post-it notes all over the house.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's in a name?

My mother will not be happy I'm sharing this story, but I don't think she's reading here, so maybe I can get away with it. LOL

When I was 17, I decided, in and of my own free will, to join the U.S. Army. Have I mentioned that I'm a slightly independent thinker, and don't often do what everyone else is doing just to be like them? Just to make sure, when my parents found out I was doing this, my mom checked around and not one single friend of mine was enlisting. Just me. All by myself. All 80 lbs soaking wet of me.

Anyway, my parents didn't know I had gone through all the testing, etc. until it was actually time to sign on the dotted line. I was only 17 after all, so I needed my parents' consent.

I also needed a copy of my birth certificate.

It is never good to keep secrets from your children. Even secrets you think are harmless. Seventeen year old girls have a way of making everything into big drama, and although most people thought I was pretty reserved, I just hid my dramatic qualities better.

Oh, the secret? Well, when I was born, my parents did not name me "Leah". In fact, they named me "Kimberlee", but when I was three weeks old they decided they liked "Leah" better so they just started calling me that. By the time 1971 and Kindergarten registration rolled around, well you could just go pick up any kid off the street and enroll them under whatever name you wanted and say they were yours and nobody asked any questions, so I was enrolled as "Leah".

Jump ahead a few more years to my need for my birth certificate and mom's need to explain the fact there is a different name on it. This caused the 17 year old me to think back to the times my blonde haired, blued eyed siblings teased the dark haired, dark eyed me about who my "real father" was. And now I believed them. When I ordered my leather bound senior year book, I chose to have "Kimberlee Leah" put on for my name instead of Leah. Seriously, this moved me to my core.

And then within a couple of years I'd forgotten about it.

Then in 2003 I needed a passport, which required my birth certificate again. DOGGONE IT! There was that name issue again. You can't get a passport when your drivers license and social security card have one name, but your birth certificate has another! UGH! I was required to order a copy of my military discharge papers and my high school diploma showing that I've gone by "Leah" my entire life. My passport was issued, and I was allowed to forget about it again.

UNTIL NOW!!!!

With an international adoption there is no such thing as "forgetting about it". So this week, amidst studying for and taking my midterms, I've been gathering documents: Certified marriage certificates (x2!) Military Discharge Papers, Passport, High school and college transcripts, and a notarized copy of request to amend my birth certificate ONCE AND FOR ALL!

In about three weeks, my name will forever be "changed" to Leah. That still doesn't really answer the question of the dark hair and eyes though, does it? LOL JUST TEASING MOM!!!!


WOOT!

That is only ONE "woot", so don't get too worked up yet, ok? This "woot" is for another piece we've been waiting for, that finally came today. As always, I can't go into details about it, but I can say THIS...we can now start our homestudy and we have all the funds to do so!



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Done

Phone call is made. Didn't learn a thing, but didn't really expect to either. We just keep praying, that's all. We'll start our home study process in a couple of weeks. (We've had to wait for a couple of loose ends here to get tied up before we could start that process.) Tomorrow I'm headed to get certified birth certificates and a couple other certified things.

I'm taking Algebra midterms right now, then 4 more weeks of class and I'm out of school until January. No fall semester for me, which leaves plenty of time for galavanting around the world if should the need arise!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sitting on pins and needles?

Yeah, so am I! LOL

The phone call has been postponed until Monday when (hopefully) my "translator" and I can get our schedules together! LOL

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A loss for words

Today there has been a flurry of emails going around the world about a certain little girl. The most recent email we received a few minutes ago has both Dean and I sitting here in tears. Tears for a little girl who will very likely be staying where she is. We will know for sure within the next week or so, but unless there is a miracle performed in the hearts of TWO KEY PEOPLE, the journey to bring her into our family is over.

Lord, only you know the hearts of these two people. You know what prompted their initial decision, and you know what motivates them now. Please Lord, let them see the possibilities for this child. Let them see there is hope for her here!

***** I just received one more email (1:00 a.m. there!) which contains a phone number of the person to call tomorrow morning. I think this is the last person who can help. I have no idea if this person speaks English or not. Please Lord, let me not have language barriers tomorrow!

There are rumblings!

Keep praying! Three months to the day since I met Ianna, and there are rumbings!

This morning I received two encouraging emails. I cannot wait until the day rolls around when I can fill in the blanks for you, and stop posting cryptic messages! I bet you can't wait either.

I'm sure you've seen this post of mine from my other blog a time or two. The pictures were taken from an investigation done by Mental Disability Rights International, and the video, the one you've all seen so often that I have posted here,(along pictures of a certain little girl! HINT HINT) which shows footage from that investigation. (by the way, conditions in that institution have not changed all that much since the investigation) If you can stomach it, you can also find the full written report of the investigation here. but I'll give you fair warning, it is not reading for the faint of heart. When you see the name "Kulina", know that it has significant meaning to our household. Thankfully Ianna is in a good place NOW!

Word has gotten where it needs to, and the powers that be are not happy that Ianna has been put at such risk...again.

Keep praying. Your prayers are being heard!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th

There are only 26 days left in July.

Really, I'm not trying to rush July along. I want summer to stick around as much as anyone else. But the number of days is significant, because "sometime in July" a decision will be made which will permanently decide Ianna's fate.

I have one foot that feels as if it has secure footing in faith. It's not slippery. There is no gravel or anything else to jeopardize my footing.  I even have something for my hand to hold onto...the hand of Christ. That side of my body, and my brain, knows that Ianna will be fine and will eventually make her way home to us.

The other side of me is flailing all over the place! There is NOTHING to put my foot on, it's just out there in the air, trying to get where my other foot is. My arm is doing that whole windmill thing, trying to keep me balanced, but not really doing a very good job of it. There are handholds that I can't seem to get hold of over there.

And all the while, my stomach churns. I know that God did not bring me to the other side of the world to meet this child just to raise our awareness of her cause and others like her. That would seem like a cruel joke, and yet, I know other adoptive parents who've had just that happen to them. Will that be us?

Why is it that side of my body can't grasp faith like the other side of me? Is it just the human side of me that will forever have doubt, knowing that sometimes "things happen"?

26 days of waiting, which could really be 5...or 2...or 18...but will ultimately decide the fate of one little girl on the other side of the world.