Monday, July 21, 2014

5/5/5

 
Hi everyone!  I wanted to tell you about an exciting new ministry called 5/5/5.  5/5/5 works hard to raise money for 5 families each month, on the 5th of every month, $5 at a time.  It was started by 5 adoptive mothers that had a vision of wanting to help families with the final costs of their adoption.  Many times at the end of adoptions there are unforeseen costs or agency fees that need to be paid.  The ladies of 5/5/5 wanted to help ease the burden of some of those costs.

How does it work?  5/5/5 has a page on Reece's rainbow: http://reecesrainbow.org/78491/555-for-families and they request that donors donate $5 or $25 each month (you can set your donations up to be recurrent).  Of the $5 donated, $1 will go to each of that month's 5 families.  Throughout the month, donations will be collected and will be released to the lucky families on the 5th of the following month.  Then, a new set of collections is made for the next 5 families.

Visit and LIKE the 5/5/5 Facebook page HERE.
Follow 5/5/5 on twitter HERE.
Make your donations HERE
Visit the 5/5/5 blog page HERE.
For additional information, you can email 5/5/5: 555forFamilies@gmail.com

July is the very first month for 5/5/5, at this time they have already raised $727.32.  There is still about 2 weeks left for more donations to be taken in.

We have been blessed to be one of the 5 families chosen for the first month of 5/5/5!  It is such a blessing.  Thank you 5/5/5!


 
 
This month, the Aschoff family (another family receiving the 5/5/5 grant this month) has added some incentives to help us grow this month's donations.  They have up for grabs some T-shirts and jewelry!  For more details check out the FaceBook Page and scroll down through the timeline a little bit.
 
 
Imagine, if we could get a group of 5000 people to each donate just $5 each month, families would have a huge blessing of $5000 to go towards the final costs of their adoption!  This ministry has the potential to be a huge blessing to 60 adoptive families each year!  They cannot do it without your help.  Can you spare just $5 a month?  How about $25?  Can you share about 5/5/5 on you FaceBook, Twitter, blog or other social media?  Every single donation counts!
 
Please help spread the word.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Updates and Reunion!

There is not a lot to update you all on as far as our adoption of Chance and Callie goes.  We are just about ready to send our paperwork off to the state capitol to be Apostilled and then we will submit our Dossier.  We hope that our case is seen quickly and that a referral will be made.  I really hope that I will be able to travel in the late fall, I'm not wanting to go in the winter! 

We have finally gotten confirmation that Callie will indeed be 11 this year, not 8.  We were pretty sure this was the case, but we finally have it in writing.  We did not care one way or another, but we wanted to be as prepared as possible!

Jason and I have been doing a lot of research and had many discussions on adopting an older child.  Things will go much differently with this adoption compared to Claudia's adoption.  Most of this is because both Chance and Callie are in orphanages (Claudia was in foster care), and also because Callie is an older child and may have more difficulty in her transition into a home.  I will write a more detailed blog post about how things will work once we get the children home once we get closer to having them home.

Please continue to pray for our soon-to-be children and for a smooth and quick process.

We are quickly finding out this summer that Claudia is a water bug :)  Our friend brought over a small pool for Claudia to use at home and she loves it!







We spent the last couple of days in Cave City KY hanging out at the 2014 Reece's Rainbow Reunion!  We had a blast meeting other families that are "in the know."  It is nice to talk with other adoptive families, especially ones who have adopted children with special needs.  It helps us to feel like we are not alone in some of our struggles.  One of the best parts of our time at the reunion was meeting so many children that I had seen only in pictures through Reece's Rainbow.  It is amazing to see how far they have come!  I wish I had my camera on me and was able to take more pictures.

I did however get some pictures of Claudia enjoying the water :)

 
 



 
 
 
She did not care much for the splash pad, except to play with her reflection, and lick the water...

 
Just hanging out...
 

 
 
 
 

 




 
 
 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

That's right folks, today is my birthday, a big one at that!  I just turned 29.  Where did my 20's go?

I got a nice surprise for my Birthday; today we recieved our updeated USCIS approval for 2 children!  The Us government says that we can adopt both children!!! 
 
Callie and Chance, we are working hard to bring you home!
 
So what happens now?  We have to submit our Dossier to the children's country.  In order to do that we will have to have several documents certified and Apostilled.  We have most of those documents ready to go.  Once NYS Apostilles everything and sends the paperwork back to us we can submit our Dossier to our placement agency for review, as long as they are satisfied with it, our Dossier will be sent to the country.  Then we wait.  It may take several months to hear back from the country.  If all goes well, we will be invited to meet the children for trip #1.  At the end of that trip, we decide if we want to move forward with adopting them, signn the papers and go home.  Then we wait another 4-6 months for a court date, go back to their country and stay for about a month.  For trip #2, I will have the children for most of the time and real bonding can begin.  After a month or so, we all come home!  The process could take a year or so from now to be finalized.  Please pray for a speedy and smooth process!

Our biggest hurdle currently is the fee that we must submit with our Dossier.  We will owe our agency $9000, at this time we simply do not have that.  I currently have a give-away going on to help us raise the funds needed for the next payment:
 
Party Lite Give Away with a First Prize AND a Runner up Prize! Donations will go directly toward our next fee and must be sent to our YourCaring Account: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/bringing-home-callie-and-chance/186694
Each entry is $10, once we have $300 in our YouCaring account, we will draw the ...winner! You may also earn a free entry by sharing this on FB or Tweeting about it, post here or PM me with your entries!
First Place Prize is a Party Lite Change-O-Luminary, a luminary that takes tea light candles. It comes with 3 sets of shades: Spiderweb, Snowflake, Fall leaves, or you can leave them all off for the spring/summer. You will ALSO get 36 Tea light candles, 12 each of: Cinnamon & Bayberry, Pine Berry and Holiday Spices.
Second Place/Runner up will get 6 of each of the following 5 scents of votive candle: Ocean Mist, Seaside Mist, Black Raspberry, Mulberry and Strawberry Rhubarb.
 

 
 
The money must be sent to our YouCaring account, not our Reece's Rainbow FSP.  We will not have access to the money in our FSP until we are going on trip #1.
 
Another way you can help us out is to buy from my Origami Owl website: www.origami4orphans.origamiowl.com or host a party either online or in person.
 
We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we navigate through the process of this adoption.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Firsts for Claudia

Claudia has been home well over a year now, but she is just now getting to experience some new firsts.  A year ago, there was just no way she could have done the things we did this weekend.

On Friday night I took Claudia to our local carnival for the Fireman's parade.  I was not too sure how she would handle it but she did really well.  For the most part she sat on my lap the whole time.  We were even sitting next to another little girl, Claudia only tried stealing her stuffed dog once...  Claudia REALLY loved the marching bands as they walked by, she giggled with glee at each one.  I think she especially enjoyed the drums.  She also liked the noised the fire trucks made.  I was so proud of how well she did and that she sat pretty still through most of it.  If there were long gaps between entertainment she would get antsy, but overall she did great!

Yesterday I took Claudia to her first amusement park.  Last year she was just too small and was not able to walk, so she would not have been able to ride anything.  This year there are a few things she can ride, so we took full advantage of it.  She went on the kiddie boats, cars, airplanes, roller coaster, and on the carousel and tea cups with me.  Claudia was terrified of the carousel, I'm not sure what it was, she looked up at the mechanisms that made the horses move and started screaming and crying with fear.  She enjoyed the up and down movement of the horse for about 30 seconds though before she wanted me to hold her.

Claudia loved the little cars and liked watching the other kids in them too!  She loved the turtle roller coaster as well.  Twice when she was in it she had to share the car with other kids and she did really well!  I took her to the park not only for fun but also to help her learn to wait in lines and to get along with others.  She had a hard time understanding that she had to get off the rides before she could get back on and would not let the workers help her off, she was also not happy when mommy had to come and take her off!  I try to use what i can to teach her.

She did really well until the end of our time there when she was getting tired and not wanting to listen.  Then she wanted to stick her hands in the water on the boats and get out of the restraints on the airplanes... not good ideas, so we went home.  She had a blast and it wore her out!  Claudia wanted me to carry her most of the day.  I'm glad that she looks to me for comfort and knows that I am the one that provides for her, but my shoulders are feeling it today!

Next time we will venture to the water park too, stay tuned to see how that goes!








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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We Have an Announcement to Make

Jason and I have had to slow down our adoption of Chance.  It is not as bad as it sounds!  Really!!!  After receiving our I800a approval from the US Government we have decided to backtrack a bit, amend our home study and will have to re-do our I800a and wait on the approval yet again.  Why?  Well, because we are adding a #2 to our adoption!

Are we crazy!?!  I'll let you make your own decision on that one.  Why would we do this?  The answer is simple for those that understand us and our Faith.  We feel that we are being called to add a specific child to our adoption.  Let me backtrack a little bit, and help you understand:

For quite a long time now, Jason has said that SOMEDAY we would adopt and/or foster older children.  The idea honestly scared me a bit, but I could go along with it because it was SOMEDAY, not right now!  You see, there is a very inspirational couple who recently adopted a young boy and older girl from Eastern Europe, their story is a beautiful one and I encourage you to read through their blog: http://tinygreenelephants.com/ The stories they tell on their blog about their adoptive daughter are beautiful and take away much fear when it comes to adopting an older child, they make it sound doable.  I am not saying that older child adoption is easy or that it is always rainbows and puppies, but I am saying that it is not always a horrible situation either.  Yes, there are horror stories about older adoptive children, but that does not mean that older kids don't deserve a chance!  The Tiny Green Elephants blog is truly inspirational.  I think that this blog is what opened Jason's eyes to adopting/fostering an older child.  I'll admit that it did put it on my radar as well.   

Anyway, fast forward several months... Jason and i were knee deep in adoption stuff for Chance, we were submitting our I800a, things were going good.  Then God.  I don't remember what exactly was the catalyst but Jason and I got to talking about older child adoption again.  Still, it seemed to be something for the future.  I did take a few peeks at the older children in Chance's country and we discussed them a bit, but that was it.  Then, little by little there were signs.  Stories, blogs, pictures of older child adoption.  Were we meant to do it now?  No... not us, not now... right?  Then a few older children were listed on Reece's Rainbow and again I felt heart pings, not for me to adopt those children, but a compassion towards them.  It kept me heart and mind open.  Were we being called to do this?  OK, now we were listening, looking, waiting for an answer.  IF we were going to do it, there were only a few children we could.would consider.  We narrowed that down to 2 children, both older girls.  We discussed the possibility, but logistically we could not see how it would work out.  Even though I was started to become more accepting of adding an older child, I think Jason we being more logical and getting cold feet.  OK, if Jason is not on board, then we won't do it.  End of story.  Right?  Nope, not by a long shot.  Just a few days after I got it out of my head Jason comes to me and says, "we might as well look into it."  Famous. Last. Words. 

From there we continued to pray, to seek guidance and council from friends and family and pray some more.  Could this REALLY be happening?  We narrowed it down to ONE child.  If we were to do it, it would be fore this one child, a little girl who was 10 years old.  Somewhere in here we received our USCIS I800a approval.  We knew we had to make a decision quickly.  If the answer was NO, she is not meant to be ours, we needed to press forward with Chance's adoption.  We contacted our placement agency and got as much info as we could.  There were 2 hurdles the first was finances, to add a second child would nearly double our costs!  This is not something we could overlook, an additional $20k+ for a second child is a huge pill to swallow, BUT it is not too big for OUR God.  We put that hurdle aside temporarily.  The other hurdle came down to the age of the little girl we were considering.  The country we are adopting from requires that prospective parents be no less than 18 years older than the child they wish to adopt.  The child we were looking into was supposedly born in 2003 which, depending on her date of birth would either make us eligible or not.  Could this be the ultimate deciding factor?  The placement agency was on it, they contacted the Ministry of Justice in the county to find out when her date of birth was.  We waited, and waited...

All the while that we were in contact with our placement agency, we were also working on updating our homestudy.  We wanted to be moving forward as if we were going to adopt this little girl even if we were unable to in the end.  We contacted our social worker and waited.  And waited.  Finally I called and found out that she had never even got my email.  Two days later she was at our house, updating our home study.  We discussed all of the challenges that can arise with older child adoption and also what it would mean in terms of our family dynamics and Claudia.  The social worker actually feels that adding this child to our family will benefit Claudia's development and that adopting out of birth order will cause no problems.  We agree that Claudia will greatly benefit from having siblings.  We felt pretty good after discussing things over with our social worker, we had thought most of these things through already and felt more prepared, like we could actually do it.

We continued to wait to get an actual birth date.  Then, it came.  Not only was this child born 5 days later than we needed, but now we were being told that she was only 7 years old!  We did not care if she was 7 or 10, just that we could adopt her, however finding out her abilities and that she was 3 years younger than we originally thought gave us high hopes for her future.

We pressed on, submitted our commitment fees and are now on our way to adopting a #2!  Since committing to our #2, I have since been in contact with someone who has likely met this little girl before, several years ago.  Through some brief conversations we are now unsure of her actual age.  We are being led to believe that she may indeed be 10 years old.  We don't know for sure, and we may never know.  Such is the nature of international adoption.  We don't care, her age does not matter to us.  What matters is the date they gave us gives us at least 5 days of wiggle room.

Introducing "Callie"  Just like "Chance" we are unable to share any new info or pictures we receive of her.  What can we tell you?  According to her profile:


"Callie is the funniest child that loves to sing songs, make bread, attend camp and ride ponies. She has Down syndrome.   Callie is such a smart little girl who also loves her dolls and cell phones. Callie can speak and understand two languages, including English! If you like to have fun, make puzzles, build Legos and read books, Callie is happy to join you!

Callie is a beautiful and funny girl who likes to sing and dance and who easily makes friends. Callie is communicative, speaking clearly in two languages, one of them English. She has an extensive vocabulary, tells stories, recites poems by heart, and remembers places and names.
Callie eats and drinks, dresses and undresses, and brushes her teeth independently. She is potty-trained and a very tidy, organized girl who makes her own bed and puts away her toys without help. Callie attends school and her teacher describes her as an attentive and good student. She recognizes numbers and 30 letters as well as colors."




 
As you can see, she is doing very well whether she is 7 or 10 years old!  We will be resubmitting our I800a soon!  Children, here we come!

Please continue to join/follow us on our journey to these two beautiful Children from Eastern Europe.


 
Lord willing, about a year from now, Claudia will become both a big sister and a little sister!  Yes, we are disrupting "birth order" and we are not worried.
 


 
 
Our financial needs are great, if you are willing and able, please consider making a donation to our FSP, your donations are tax deductible: DONATE HERE Or you can click the donation button on the right of our blog.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Avon Fundraiser

Our awesome friend Natalie Keller is hosting an online Avon fundraiser for us!  100% of her commission will go directly towards our adoption!  If you have not checked out Avon in a while, you are missing so much!  Avon has something for everyone!

Avon has so many different categories to choose from including: haircare, skincare, makeup, bath & body, jewelry, fragrances, fashion, home items, men's items, children's items including toys, room decor and clothing. With summer almost here it is time to break out the sun block and bug spray, Avon has a wide variety of these items, most are on sale now.

Use this link to shop now: www.youravon.com/adoption

Take your time and browse around the site, there is so much to see!  We will earn up to 40% on each purchase to help bring Chance home!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Forward Progress

Things are moving forward.  We have our Biometrics done for our I-800a and are gathering our paperwork for our Dossier.  Progress is being made!

I am in contact with a family that is travelling on Friday to meet their son who happens to be in Chance's orphanage!  I feel so blessed to know other families in the process, especially ones who can check on our little boy and get us updates!  Hopefully we will get another official update in the next month or so, but it is always good to have an outside perspective (and, let's just say, the more pictures and videos the better!)

Please continue praying for a quick and smooth process for us.

Claudia is doing well, she is picking up small bits of language here and there.  She is better at letting people know her needs and wants, although she can be bossy at times...  what toddler isn't?  Sometimes I think that her stubbornness is what holds her back from making more progress with speech, but she will get there in time.

Here are some pics from our walk last week :)