Saturday, March 7, 2015

We Got A Date!!!

Yes folks, you heard that right.  We FINALLY got a travel date for trip #1.  I am beyond excited but certainly nervous as well.  I will be leaving the US a week from today and will arrive in Chance and Callie's country in the wee f Monday morning, March 16th (their time). 

I'm glad we got about a week and a half notice to prepare things, but I really don't feel prepared at all!  We've been waiting for so long to get invited to meet the children and suddenly I feel under-prepared.  I'm nervous about travelling to Europe, the time changes, not knowing the language...   BUT  I get to meet Chance and Callie!!!  For them I will make this trek across the world.

What is this trip for?  The first trip to the children's country is considered the Registration Trip.  It is likely that Monday morning (hopefully after getting a couple of hours of sleep) that I will go to the Minister of Justice to get permission to visit Chance and Callie.  Hopefully by Monday afternoon I will get to visit with them.  Through the week I will have a few more appointments and will hopefully get to visit with the children twice each day.  By the end of the trip I will sign paperwork stating that Jason and I would like to adopt Chance and Callie.  That will officially start the adoption process.  I will then go back home and we'll wait some more.

Once I get back home we have to wait for the Prime Minister to approve us (again) to adopt Chance and Callie.  Once we get that approval, it's back to the US Government to  issue us our I800, stating that the US will allow the children to come here and become citizens.  After a few more dealings back and forth between governments we'll be invited for trip #2.  That will be the pick up trip and typically takes about 21-23 days in total.  The estimated time between the registration and pick up trips is 4-6 months.  If things go well Chance and Callie will be home in the fall.

Please keep me and the children in mind over the next few weeks :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We keep on waiting.

In adoption the name of the game is hurry up and wait.  You work hard on paperwork, getting everything just right, this takes hours, days, months... and then when you finally get the last piece of paper shipped off to whatever entity needs it, you wait.  Throughout an adoption you do this several times over.  Jason and I have been in a waiting phase ever since early August.  We feel stuck, there is nothing we can do except wait for time to pass.

The good news is that we SHOULD get a travel date to meet Chance and Callie next month.  We've been told that we won't hear from their country until after March 10th but that we could possibly travel by mid-March.  That is not a lot of notice!  In less than a month-or-so I could be meeting the children, finally!  I am getting excited and nervous at the same time!

I can't wait to meet Chance and Callie but the travel scares me.  I've never travelled half way around the world before, let alone by myself.  I came home from Colombia on my own, but Colombia was still in the same time zone as we are in and I did not have to fly into any other countries.  When I travel to Eastern Europe I will have at least two stops and one will be in another European country, possibly with a VERY long layover.  I am not looking forward to the flights.

I'm also nervous about meeting the children for the first time.  I don't know what to expect or how they will react.  I hope that Callie and Chance will understand why I am there and that we will form a bond.  I don't think Chance will really understand much, to him I'll likely just be another random caregiver, but Callie should have an understanding of who I am and why I am there.  My biggest fear is leaving the children in the orphanage when I come back home.  It will be a long 4-6 or more months until I will get to go back to pick them up and bring them home.  My heart breaks for Callie, she is 11 years old, she'll know who I am, but will she understand why I have to leave after only meeting her for a week?  Will she understand that I will come back for her?  Will she be mad at me when I do come back?  Please pray that God would prepare the hearts of my children over the next several months that they would have a smooth transition.

We are still several thousands of dollars short of being fully funded for this adoption, so I am launching two new fundraisers to prepare everyone for Easter and Spring!!!

The first fundraiser is Easter Bark.  This can be made with white chocolate, mild chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate.  For a $20 donation to our FSP I will send you 1lb of Easter Bark.  I make these in 1/2lb batches, so you can choose two different flavors of chocolate if you would like.  The bark is filled with your favorite Easter candies, pictured below is bark containing Cadburry Mini Eggs, Robins Eggs (malted milk), M & M's and sprinkles.  You can choose the candy you would like (I'm thinking Reeces Pieces Eggs sound good!).  The bark does contain coconut oil but I can omit that if needed.  The bark will be made to order.  Leave a message below if you are interested.  (This bark will be $15/lb for local folks).



Our second new fundraiser makes the perfect calorie free Easter gift, Mother's Day gift or party favor! Handmade (by me) Seed Bombs! Each bomb is filled with wildflower or sunflower seeds (your choice or mix and match). You can purchase yours today for a donation to our FSP.  For a donation of $10, you will get 12 Seed Bombs or for a donation of $18, you will get 24 Seed Bombs delivered to you  

These Seed Bombs are easy to grow, just wait for warm weather (if you live where it is cold, like we do, you are READY for Spring!), lightly cover your seed bomb with fertile gardening soil, water and wait for your garden to grow. These are perfect for the roadside or areas that just need a little color.  

These seed bombs do not contain any fertilizer and are safe to handle. 




If you would like to make a purchase or have question, leave a comment below.  All comments are moderated and are not published unless I publish them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Super Shirts for a Super Cause

I am counting down the weeks until I meet Callie and Chance.  We do not have an official travel date yet, but I am hoping to meet the children in about 8 weeks.

I just started up a new t-shirt fundraiser.  These shirts would make cute gifts and *SHOULD* be in in time for Valentine's Day as long as we reach our minimum orders of 14 per design.
The shirts are avilable now through Jan 30th (est delivery date Feb 12th). We have 3 designs, you can choose from 4 colors for each design.

Super Mom- available in women's sizes S-XXXL
Super Dad- available in men's sizes YXS-XXXXL
Super Kid- available in YXS-XXXXL

Technically each shirt is its own campaign so we must hit a minimum of 14 for each design in order for them to print.  (If we get 14 or more of X design but not the others, X will print but those that don't hit 14 will not).

Go to this link to order: http://www.booster.com/CallieandChance4

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I have something special planned.

Valentine's Day 2013 was the day that Jason and Claudia came home from Colombia, a day I will never forget.  That day, Claudia became a US Citizen and our family was finally home together.  This year I would like to help a dear friend of mine bring her son home. 

My friend Hannah has been there for us since before Claudia came home.  Hannah is the sweetest woman with the most gentle soul I know!  She and her husband have three wonderful children, and are working hard to bring home #4.  Hannah and Joe have been trying to adopt an infant with Down syndrome for quite a long time now, they had some hopeful prospects and some heartbreaks along their journey, but God was calling them to something much BIGGER! 

One day, Hannah posted about a little boy in Macedonia who desperately needed a family.  It took some time but eventually Hannah and Joe came to realize that this child was meant to be their son and until God closes that door, they are believing this to be true.  The problem is that there were no adoption agencies in the US that worked with Macedonia, even though it is a Hague country.  After talking back and forth with several people and agencies, Hannah and Joe took a huge leap of faith and will be the pioneers for a brand new Macedonian adoption program with a US agency.  If all goes well, they will help pave the road for several other children with special needs to become available for adoption into the US.  I cannot do their story justice, please read through their blog HERE!

Hannah and Joe have done some fundraising here and there but have been putting the adoption spotlight on Hannah's parents who are currently in the end of the adoption process for her little brother!  (Amazing family see!)  Now that her parents adoption is nearly funded and coming to and end, it is time for Hannah to receive some financial help for her adoption as well.  So, this Valentine's season, I would like to donate 75% of my Origami Owl commission towards the Butler family adoption.  Any order placed through the following link will go towards helping Hannah and Joe pay for their adoption. Origami Owl Ordering Link

If you are not interested in Origami Owl but would like to help support the Butler family, you can make a tax deductible donation to their Reece's Rainbow FSP HERE.

Below are just a few examples of Valentine's Day goodies that can be created with Origami Owl.  Each locket is personalized for you!  If you would like me to send someone your Origami Owl wish list, please comment on this post with your email address so I can email you a wish-list form, I can then email it to the person you hope will purchase the locket for you!
 






The back of the plate says "and back"



The other 25% of my commission from sales through the link will be split between two older children available for adoption in Chance and Callie's country.

I have posted a few time about Annalise who is Callie's friend but I will post about her again below:



Annalise http://reecesrainbow.org/66593/annalise
 From her Reece's Rainbow profile:
Girl, Born August 2003
Down syndrome, CHD (repaired)

This energy filled and vibrant little girl was born with Down syndrome in August of 2003 and is ready for an active family with lots of structure. She can understand and speak two languages, including English. She had surgery to repair a heart defect in 2003, but has required no additional treatment. Annalise is beaming with sunshine and loves cell phones and cameras, like all curious little girls! She loves to be the center of attention and is very smart!
Updated April 2014:
Annalise Photo 2014 - April 2014
Annalise is an active, friendly girl who speaks clearly with an extensive vocabulary. She uses short sentences and understands two languages, one of them English. Annalise walks independently, including up and down stairs.
Annalise has great self-help skills. She eats and drinks as well as dresses and undresses without assistance. She can wash her hands and brush her teeth on her own.
Annalise attends school where she has learned to count, recognize 25 letters, cut with scissors and paint. She can re-tell a short story and participates in simple games. Annalise likes to listen to music and dances very well. She would thrive in a loving family.

The second child I will be donating my commission to is Alexis:

Alexis: http://reecesrainbow.org/84908/alexis
Alexis was born in August 2006 and has been diagnosed with pelvic positioning of the left kidney, congenital hypotrophy, and mild cognitive delays. Alexis can walk independently, is potty-trained, dresses and undresses without help, and feeds herself.
Though a bit shy with strangers, Alexis is sociable, communicative, and gladly participates in games and activities. She is described as obedient and easily follows directions from her caretakers. Alexis likes to recite poems and sing songs, as well as play with toys like dolls, purses, etc. Alexis’s teachers note that she is able to learn and reasons well. In November 2013, she could count to ten and had just begun learning her letters.
Additional photos, video and reports available upon request from the agency.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas.

I know that for some, Christmas is a difficult time for various reasons. Often that can come from a feeling of loss of those loved one that are no longer with us. It can be difficult as well for those of us who are trying hard to add new family members and knowing that they are spending yet another Christmas away from family. Jason and I could certainly feel that sense of "something is missing" this year. While I am confident that our children across the ocean are being well taken care of, and even having Holiday celebrations, I can't help but wish they were home to celebrate with us. I pray that this is the last Christmas they have to spend without a forever family.

We spent Christmas Eve with Jason's parents and Grandmother.  It was a nice, relatively quiet evening.  Christmas morning we lazed around the house, well, at least Jason and I did... Claudia has been a whirlwind of energy this week.  We spent Christmas afternoon with my parents, sister, her fiance and my nephew.  Claudia did great at dinner although gift time was a bit much for Claudia.  I think she was all gifted out! 
 
I have not posted videos in a long time, so enjoy our silly Christmas morning videos below!


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Don't mind Claudia telling us she has to go potty!
Our Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Eve at Jason's parents

Silliness!


Really did not want her pic taken :)




 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moving Forward

It has been about a month since I last blogged, to be honest, I have not had the energy or motivation.

Just about a month ago, Jason and I got some upsetting news regarding our adoption.  When Chance and Callie's government was working on approving us to adopt the children, they found out that Callie was not available for adoption.  This came to a huge surprise to us, as she has lived in an orphanage for nearly her entire life and to our knowledge has never been visited by biological family.  I won't go into detail with the specifics, and to be honest, a lot would be speculation on our part.  To put it simply, there was a paperwork error over 11 years ago and Callie was never made available for adoption and no one has been serious enough to want to adopt her to catch the mistake.

Our adoption agency has been fantastic through everything.  They were quick to let us know of this situation and lay out our options for us.  Our in country representative thought the situation could be rectified but it would take a minimum of 4-9 months before Callie would be made adoptable internationally.  We had 3 choices:

1) Wait it out and see what happens, this would delay our adoption of the children by at least 4-9 months, but at least we would still be working towards adopting both of them.

2) Pursue the adoption of Chance only (we really never considered this an option, as we believe Callie is meant to be our daughter)

3) Adopt Chance now, then submit a new Dossier (start a whole new adoption) for Callie once Chance is home with us and Callie is available for adoption.  This alternative would mean that Chance would spend less time in an orphanage and come home sooner, but it would also mean that Callie would have to wait at least another 18 months before having a family.

The agency asked us to give them and the in-country team one month to work on the problem and see where we were at the end of that time.

3 weeks after we learned about the paperwork issue, we were notified that Callie is now available for adoption, but there is a catch.  According to the laws of the children's country, a child must be made available domestically for 3 months before they will be eligible for International adoption.  So now we wait.  The chances of Callie being adopted within her country are slim to none, no one has stepped forward for the 11 years she has been an orphan.  Yes, it is silly that she has to wait the 3 months, but that is the law. 

In the beginning of March, we anticipate that Callie will be made available for International Adoption and that I will FINALLY get to meet the children and sign the paperwork saying "YES!  We want to parent Chance and Callie!"  March seems like such a long way away, but at least I now have something concrete to look forward to.

If I am able to travel in early March, that puts my second trip towards the end of the summer and means the children will likely be home by the end of summer or in the early fall.  Please pray with us that things will go smoothly from here on out and that the finances will be available when we need them.

If you feel led, please consider making an end of the year, tax deductible donation towards our adoption HERE.  Every penny counts.

We're on our way!

Monday, November 17, 2014

School Pictures

Claudia's Kindergarten school pictures just came back!  Posted below are her Preschool and Kindergarten pictures.  See how much she has grown and matured!




I love this girl so much and I can't wait until her brother and sister are home!  I am hopeful that we will hear something any day now!  Right now we are still waiting on Prime Minister approval and then travel dates.  Please pray that we hear soemthing soon.