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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On It's Way!

Our dossier is on it's way to Belgrade, Serbia! It's always hard to put those documents in the package, fill out the destination information, then hand it over to the clerk. Documents we have spent several weeks gathering - and paying for - are out of my hands and out of my control. If you are a person who struggles with being in control of everything, adoption is a good way to cure that!  It is kind of fun to track the package though, and is helpful if you are prone to obsessive behavior. LOL


Monday, February 25, 2013

What's left?

This is the part I  hate about adopting. I hate the part about fundraising. It is HARD! It isn't pleasant to post it on my Facebook wall or my blog every day. The difficulty is increased by the fact we're following the laws of Serbia and cannot  post a picture of our new little guy. There is no adorable face for you to fall in love with. In the adoption world, pictures go a long way. We don't have a big organization advocating for us. Project Hopeful is graciously allowing us to fundraise through them, and I really don't know what we'd do without them. A handful of friends have posted links to our story, and for that I am very thankful because it is hard to do it alone.

But enough of the whining. God has always had our back and he does this time too!

 We have one big purchase to make on the US side and that is airline tickets. All the rest of our expenses are in-country (translation, transportation, documents, lodging, food) At this point in the adoption, all that's left to do is wait. We're doing some preparations at  home, getting B's bed ready, preparing the kids, going through the boys' clothes to see what we need. (Thankfully not much since I have everything from size 3T - 10's!)  The only thing left for me to do now is raise the last $2000 before we travel in 39 days.

If you're interested in our fundraiser, you can find it by clicking here. Please don't be afraid to share with everyone you know!

1/3

We are 1/3 of the way to our fundraising goal! Thank you so much to everyone who has so generously contributed so far. We now have $2000 left to go and just 39 days to do it.

!!!!! 39 days !!!!! 

Typing that made my stomach turn in knots. There are an awful lot of things that need to happen in those 39 days.

If you're new to the blog, or haven't had a chance to visit our fundraiser yet, you can find it by clicking here.   

I am off to go calm my nerves. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Random thought for the day: Immigration

When we adopted Axel, we had a slight problem with his adoption documents which we *thought* was quickly resolved.

When we adopted Asher the social security department rejected his birth certificate. Fortunately I'm in frequent contact with the Serbian government and was able to request a new set of documents. (which were mailed to me using snail mail and took seven weeks to get here!) At the same time, I learned about USCIS form G-884, which is a request for original documents. When you enter the country with your newly adopted child, you hand over to immigration officials your packet of gold, which is a sealed envelope containing one set of adoption documents. Form G-884 is a request for those documents to be returned to you. I filed this form for Asher's documents and 6 or 7 months later the arrived on my doorstep.

We were planning on having Axel go along on this trip to get B, which meant I needed to get him a US passport. When I brought my documents into the passport office the person at the counter suspected I we would have a problem because the birth certificate has an error on it. It is the same error that was on Asher's birth certificate. Interestingly both boys came from the same city within 12 months of one another. Their birth certificates were done by the same person in the same city in Serbia, and have the same error. We sent the forms off anyway in hopes it would be accepted. Unfortunately today we were informed we would need to provide a new set of documents. I have a new set of documents waiting for me in Serbia but that is 6 weeks away. At this point the passport rejection just confirmed for us that Axel should stay home this time. Although we had some big plans for him while there, and I was anxious for those who knew him "before" to see the new Axel, we'll let this issue be our decision maker. In the meantime, just like I did for Asher, I'm going to request his original documents from Immigration.

So here is my thought for the day regarding B's adoption.  Wouldn't it make sense to file the request for original documents WITH that magic envelope when we enter the US with B? I mean, if they have the request for originals right then, doesn't it make sense to process his file, then upon completion send his original documents rather than waiting until after his file has gone to some storage facility? In my head this makes sense, but we all know that things don't always make sense within the federal government.

And that, my friends, is my random thought for today. Please don't forget to check out our fundraiser! So far $550  $650 dollars have been raised, which will cover shipping of the items plus one of several in-country expenses. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has given so far. I don't have a list of contributors so please don't be shy about commenting and letting me know so I can thank you personally. 

Oh Happy Day!

I couldn't find the video I wanted but I like this one too. It conveys how I'm feeling today.



We have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more for our homestudy to bet put into our hands. It was completed two weeks ago but they were waiting on one more document so the date could be added to the homestudy. Today it came in!!! Unfortunately we're in the middle of a major snow storm here and a lot of offices are closed, including our homestudy agency. So, first thing Monday morning I'll be on their doorstep. We're in a race against the clock at this point, but I am happy. So very very happy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shoes

Angela  (who is 16 and has Down syndrome for all you new readers) can be a bit of a problem to find footwear for. First of all, she has very tiny feet - the size of a preschooler - so finding shoes that don't look like little kids shoes can be a bit of a problem. She has needed new shoes for awhile because, while her feet don't grow anymore, her orthotics put a lot of stress on shoes, ripping through them by about month 3-4. A friend of mine posted some FUN shoes a couple weeks ago, and although they're quite flashy, they are SO ANGELA!! I hoped they would fit her orthotics. They came today and they are actually easier to get on than her current shoes. And...best of all...she LOVES THEM! Don't you?


As she was walking around modeling her new shoes, an image came to mind. It was of Axel the day I was given custody of him. I'd brought an outfit for him (that he was drowning in!) along with a brand new winter coat, hat, gloves, and shoes.

Axel loved his new clothes, especially that he had a plaid shirt like his foster father!

But what Axel liked most was his shoes. I never saw him in shoes when I visited, but he was always wearing slippers. (no walking around in bare or stocking feet in Serbia!) Those slippers were 2 sizes too small. When I put his new shoes on his feet he was just beside himself. He went around the house showing everyone his new shoes. He took them off and put them back on. Shoes. HIS shoes. He was so proud!

Then I thought of Asher. When I was still visiting him in the institution I brought his new shoes to make sure they fit. Asher's were light-up shoes. He was fascinated for a few minutes, but the caregivers are who gave the biggest reaction. They were fascinated by his light up shoes. His cheap $15 light up shoes. One of the caregivers said to me, "These children will never have anything so nice in their life. He is lucky to be loved." I knew what she meant. That he was lucky enough to have found a family. I know his birth family cared about him very much, but to give a child in the institution something like shoes would be pointless as they'd soon disappear. When I was finally able to take him from the institution, the orphan shoes he had been wearing were removed from his feet and handed to the next child. Asher and his new flashy shoes were now free to walk the streets of the world.


And then there is B. For nine plus years he has been wearing shoes that have been worn by 20 other children. They may or may not fit. That doesn't really seem to be all that important, since tomorrow he may wear a different pair, and a different pair the day after that! At nine years old B has never had a pair of shoes to call his own. We will bring along an inexpensive pair of shoes just in case they don't fit, but when we get home we will buy him shoes that better suit his personality. B has never had a mother take him to a store, find a pair of shoes that fit him just right, pay for them, then let him proudly carry the bag home. Because they're his.

Today, during my vast amount of spare time, I was looking at shoe websites, imagining what kind of shoes B might like.

Will he choose blue?
 Or maybe he'll like really bright colors?
 Bold and brazen?
 Perhaps he'll prefer high tops? 


I can't wait to buy B his first pair of shoes. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spring "Family" Fundraiser

Welcome to our FAMILY fundraiser! 



We're adding one more Spring to our family! Little "B", who is 9 years old, will be joining us in April 2013, which means we don't have much time. Thanks to a very generous friend, we only have $3000 left to raise! We're teaming up with Project Hopeful to raise the last little bit of money we need to cover our in-country expenses. Project Hopeful is a 501c3 organization and all contributions are
tax deductible.

This fundraiser has raised:

ideas for fundraisers


!!!Fundraiser ends March 15th!!!

For every person who contributes $10 to Project Hopeful in our name, your name will be entered to win the following items: 

American Sign Language 
"FAMILY"


Charcoal print 24 inch wide  x 13 1/2 inch print: $150 value
This is the ONLY print of the original piece  you can read the story behind it here.
Wouldn't this be GREAT with all your family pictures surrounding it? 


Scentsy Easter Basket

Includes: 
 Scentsy Easter Egg Warmer (full size), 6 scent bars: Huckleberry Sage, Neverland, Lotus Cove,   Mandarin Moon, Lemons and Berries, Happy Go Lucky, and 2 room sprays
Huckleberry Sage, Lemons and Berries: Value $70


Signing Time DVD set

Includes the following DVD's: Nice to Meet You, Happy Birthday to You, Move and Groove, 
My Favorite Season, Going Outside, Days of the Week,
My Favorite Sport. Also includes the music CD from this volumeValue $140
And FYI, for all you Signing Time lovers in the TC metro area, Rachel will be coming to Maple Grove April 27th!

REDEFINE Marco Exfoliator
By the makers of Proactive, the Redefine Marco Exfoliator 
is part of their new product line for adults. Includes rechargeable MARCO exfoliator, MARCO Exfoliator cooling gels, Charging Base, AC adapter, User guide, Quick start guide, Tip cleaning brush, Spare exfoliation filter, Spare filter pads, tweezers. Value: $279

To participate, use the Project Hopeful button located on my right sidebar. 
Every $10 is one entry
Enter as many times as you like! :-)
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

  • Please make sure to leave your contact information with your entry to Project Hopeful. 
  • Names will be drawn by a Project Hopeful representative.
  • Names will be drawn for prizes in this order 1) "FAMILY" print 2) Scentsy Easter Basket 3) Signing Time DVD set 4) Redefine Marco Exfoliator
  • I will only ship within the continental United States. If you enter to win from outside the continental U.S. you are responsible for shipping costs. 

ASL FAMILY


A couple years ago I was at the home of my good friend Ann. Hanging over her stairs was the most amazing charcoal depiction of an ASL (American Sign Language) sign, done by artist Kyle Marsh. I'd never seen a drawing in which you could see the movement of the sign. I loved it. And I wanted one. Only I wanted a different sign used, I just didn't know what and needed to think about it for several..umm....months!

That was until this past fall. We have an empty wall in our dining room that really needed...well it needed something. That's when I realized it needed a Kyle Marsh drawing!  The ASL sign depicted needed to be meaningful to our lives here, and it needed to be something that, when put to canvas, would fit the space.

I knew exactly what it would be.

I contacted Kyle and explained to him what I wanted, and why. ASL is an important part of our family. I was a sign language interpreter for many years before Angela came along, then came Axel and Asher  joined our family and both communicate using ASL. There is also "B" who is on our way to our family and I'm told is also non-verbal. ASL is is critical to our family

It's been very interesting to watch Kyle's process. Out of our conversations has come a one-of-a-kind rendition of my vision. Isn't it beautiful? I'm in love with it! 

4ft wide x 2 ft tall

FAMILY
If you're not familiar with ASL, this is the sign for "family" put to charcoal. Isn't it beautiful? It has just been completed and is going on our dining room wall. Later we'll be putting all of our family pictures around it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Monday

Make sure you check back on Monday when I hope to have something really cool posted! If your child or family uses American Sign Language (ASL)  you're a member of the deaf community, or who have friends who are, please spread the word!

I'll give you a hint. It involves the most awesome FAMILY!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nesting

Now that we have a date, and things are rolling left and right, the nesting but has hit me. If you're new to the world of adoption, you may not realize that moms who are adopting next just like mothers who are pregnant! Its an interesting phenomenon!

Yesterday I felt the urge to clean a closet or paint a room. You'll be happy to know I resisted the urge to do either one of those things! HA! But today is a new day and I just can't resist some of the urges I have. I really am thankful God gives us these bursts of ambition to get things done that normally would continue to get shoved off to the side. Today I'm putting all our utilities and other monthly bills into my bank's bill-pay system so I can pay them all in one stop while I'm out of the country. I've been meaning to do this for awhile but keep procrastinating. Today I've finally gotten it done.

Next up is Angela's room. It is a disaster! There are things in there that she doesn't use or play with that just need to be gotten rid of, and other things that  need to be moved to the main play area for the boys.

Also on my agenda is to pick up a bed for "B". It feels real when the new child has a bed here! It also helps to explain to the boys, who have limited language, that soon someone else will be sleeping here.

I can't wait to find out what size "B" wears so I can get a few things for him. I have lots of clothes that Axel has outgrown that I'm sure will fit him. Actually, between Axel and Asher I have clothes from size 10 down to size 3, but still I'd like to get him just a couple of new outfits. Every child, particularly one coming out of an institution, deserves to have a couple things that have never been worn by anyone else!

Checking out the luggage situation, how many carry-ons do we have, etc.

Getting another medication dispenser for the kids. (this is needed for those who are staying with the kids while we're gone.)

I need to do something different with the laundry, only I don't know what. We utilize a "family closet" (like the Duggars do, only on a much smaller scale! LOL) and it really works well. I just need to figure out where "B's" clothes will fit in there. I guess I'll have to wait and see what size he's wearing. I also need to go through Asher's clothes again because that boy is growing out of stuff!

Clean out the bathroom linen closet.

Clean out the billiard room which, since we got rid of the pool table, has now become a storage room.

Move boys toy's downstairs or there isn't room for B's bed.

Type out, print and post the daily schedule, particular the comings and goings of kids.

Check all three school schedules to make sure the are no schedule late starts or days off while we're planning to be gone, and if there are we can schedule accordingly.

Loose 25 lbs.

I think that's about it! LOL


Monday, February 11, 2013

We have a date!

We have our ministry meeting penciled in on the calendar of the Serbian ministry.

Two different things are happening this week. First, our dossier will be Fedexed to the translator in Serbia. At the same time it will be sent to USCIS for approval and we'll wait for fingerprints and approval.

We're officially in a race against the calendar!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fundraising

If you're coming here from reader, I have some widgets added to the sidebars.

On the left side is a list showing where we're at in the actual adoption process, another list showing what's been paid so far, and a thermometer showing where we're at with the financial side of the adoption. On the right sidebar is a chip-in button. (THANK YOU to those who have been so generous so far!)

A friend of mine, a fellow adoptive mom, recently posted something about adoption fundraising that I really liked. A lot of people did, really.

When a family seeks help in raising funds for an adoption, it's not like asking people to pitch in toward a new boat, or help pay for a vacation. What they are doing is committing to heal, with God's help, a child who has suffered the profound damage of being unwanted and unloved. They are obediently living out the command given in James 1:27 to care for the orphan, clothing the gospel of Christ's redemption in flesh and blood and now. When they ask for the body of Christ to come alongside them financially and prayerfully, they are giving us the opportunity to be a part of the miracles God works through obedience. ~ Ashley Paradis Moreno
I don't think people who aren't involved with the adoption community realize what it takes to adopt. A family may be fully financially capable of supporting another family member in the house, (We certainly can!) and they have to pass the US income requirements to adopt, but coming up with a huge chunk of change to pay for the expenses of an adoption is a very different thing. Like Ashley stated above, we're not going out and buying a boat to play with. We're not taking a fancy vacation or buying a big screen T.V. Once we were matched with our son in December, all the luxuries came to a screeching halt.

Many of the families I know have had to raise tens of thousands of dollars. I can't even imagine having to do that when we're swallowing hard at an adoption under $13,000!

Which brings us to where we are today. We have to raise approximately $4,000 before we can travel to bring B home. Although we don't have an exact date yet, ( we won't set a date until we get our final approvals) we do know we have approximately 8 weeks to raise the last of our funds.  I have a very unique fundraiser coming up very soon! If you know anyone who uses ASL (American Sign Language) in their home - families who are deaf, or with kids who are deaf, or kids with other disabilities who are lacking in verbal language so they're signing instead, anyone using ASL - they will love this fundraiser!

I'm hoping to have it up in the next week. I'll need help spreading the word when I finally post it! I'm not one of those BNB's (Big Name Bloggers) with a huge following who can raise thousands of dollars with a single post. We're not a popular name in the adoption community and most don't have a clue who we are. We don't have some big crisis surrounding our adoption which gets everyone screaming from the mountaintops.  We're just a family trying to get our son home. But we do know that God has this. He knows every penny we need and he'll make sure we have it. He did for both Axel and Asher's adoptions.

Now, just because I can hardly stand it,  here's a bit of a teaser for you. This is the picture we received on Christmas Eve. I wish I could show you his face. He's incredible!