Friday, March 20, 2015

ah-ha! technology!

the hubs called our agency today to follow up on luke-dude's dossier, since there was something askew with his progress and their tracking of it.

it turns out, our agency is AMAZING!

when the computer system the CCCWA (department of China that oversees and processes adoptions) uses was upgraded recently, a small bug occurred. families that were already in process with one child and were adding on another--the two children's files were not being linked making it appear the family for the second child was starting from scratch--and that they did not have a lot of the other documents (because they were linked to child #1). this doesn't bode well for them reviewing child #2's dossier (whenever they get to it, since it's not a priority and is pushed to the back of the line). as soon as our agency discovered this "bug" was causing our delay (and two other families') the assistant director FLEW OUT TO CHINA! to follow up and work with them. she will be there through next week, pushing for them to do us and the other two families manually. i cannot tell you what a relief it is to know your agency cares so much they are actually in country to follow up until the issue is resolved.

our case worker and the assistant director are still assuring us we should be in China with our children by the last week of May. hooray!


here's a picture of luke pushing lucy away--what a perfect little brother he is ;)


Thursday, March 19, 2015

we wait for you

We're still waiting on our LOA from China (when all our documents for Luke have been reviewed and they give us the big "thumbs up!").

We were hoping it would be super fast, which would be by the end of March (our dossier for Luke-dude was received in China on March 2nd). If this happens, we'll be able to likely travel at the end of May. Hooray!

We dream of what it will be like when we are there, finally together as a family. We look at TripAdvisor recommended activities and wee picture us, as a family of 4, touring the zoo together, having family dinners tougher and eating street dumplings together.  There was also a zoo recommended, but they have clowns, so--NO!



i wish that donkey would kick him really hard!


the only way i could be happy seeing these clowns like this is if they fell. 

I'm so desperate to embrace my children.

Please continue to pray with us for quick approval of Luke-dude's documents, and quick turnaround for his Immigration and visa approval. <3


Until then, here's a few cute picture of them as itty-bitties! :) 







Monday, March 16, 2015

because it matters to this one

this is "clarice"




isn't she precious. oh, and her smile--it could light up a room from a hundred thousand miles away. she has such a beautiful soul, such a joy, such a light in her eyes. so much hope CAN lie ahead for her. all she needs is a family; but, her time is running out. :( 

when she turns 16 in july, she will no longer be adoptable. 

poof! her chance of every having a family, a safe environment to live and grow in, to experience love and a mother's touch and embrace--gone. she will be transferred to an "institution" where on average, children live less than a year once there. the neglect is unimaginable, and it takes it's toll--on these precious soul's.  

but, there's hope for her. YOU. you are her hope. 

there are so many loving families whose only hinderance to adopting is money. the average adoption (depending on the country) total fees span from $22,000 to $38,000; but, this is what makes Reece's Rainbow so amazing! the most vulnerable and most over-looked children are given a better chance of finding a family because the financial burden is eliminated, or at least lifted.  clarice has over $21,000 in her grant. that means her adoption is PAID FOR! the only fees a family would need to front would be their home study (or home study update) and USCIS fees, these are minimal, and likely from $2,000-$3000. and honestly, if a family committed to clarice and had to begin the process form scratch, they could set up a gofundme account and have a community (including my husband and i) rally around them to even help with that small amount. 

that seems so soon--july! but, there is enough time! luckily, only certain paperwork needs to be filed for her before her 16th birthday--you don't actually have to be in country picking her up by her 16th birthday, so, it is VERY feasible to give her the promise of a family in time! 

you can read more about her by clicking at the end of this post. if you would like more information on the process of adopting sweet clarice, contact debbie@reecesrainbow.org.

even if you cannot pursue her adoption, please share this post, so that someone may see it and they would be her forever mommy and daddy! we cannot let her light slip away, she has too much hope within her. 

***unfortunately, this is one of the few countries/areas single women cannot adopt from, but they are open to older parents (empty nesters!) and large families. :) 

clarice's grant page

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

where we are

i thought it'd be a good idea to let y'all know where we are in process.
no pictures of george michael or rabbits on trails.

when we were told about luke in november, we had two decisions to make:
1) did we want to proceed with lucy and just leave our contact information with the foster family for (if) when a family adopted luke
or
2) did we want to adopt luke too
the obvious choice was #2, since #1 wasn't not only a NOT a sure thing, but not even likely.

after we stated we wanted to adopt him too, we had another decision to make:
1) adopt lucy in the timeframe we were going and then "reuse" our dossier and immediately go back for him
or
2) delay lucy's process so we could bring them home at the same time

we wrestled with this because we wanted lucy home ASAP, but we also knew it would be best for both of them if we adopted them at the same time; and it would also be more financially feasible for us to adopt them at the same time.

we said whooooooa nelly! to lucy's paperwork moving right along so that we could start luke's and catch him up.


we had already received LOA for lucy when we found out about luke, and were realistically 2 months or so from traveling to pick her up. we knew adding luke would extend the process about 6 months out--even with his being prioritized. 

in december, we submitted lucy's i800 and received that approval (you do this after you receive LOA). with the i800 approval we submitted the ds260 for lucy (her visa). our agency is holding at this step while we catch luke up. 

luke's "mini-dossier" was sent to the chinese consulate last week (letter of intent, amended home study, and i800a supplement 3 approval), and since it's only 3 documents it should take only a week to get back. at that point, his 3 documents will be sent to china for review. 
the majority of the entire dossier has been reviewed and approved--this is good! this means they really only have to review these additional 3 documents to send us the LOA for luke. and, i described what happens after that: i800 then ds260. once we send in his ds260 application for his visa, our agency will send his and lucks to china for article 5 pick up, after that, travel approval will be issued. 

here's how we want you to join with us in prayer: 
pray the finger of God slides luke's documents through at lightening speed! 
i hate knowing that all of lucy's approvals are done and we are essentially paper ready to go get her, but that we are "sitting on" them. it's the only way, but, i still hate it nonetheless. 

we are in day 2 of our "a tisket, a tasket, a basket" fundraiser:
we have 19 theme "baskets" up for auction. we are so close to having all the financial needs met for this process. we only need to raise *about* $4,000 more! waaaaahoooooo! :)

you can see the "baskets" up for auction here: 
CLICK ON THE ABLUM TITLED "A TISKET, A TASKET, A BASKET" and view the 19 theme baskets we have up for auction.  

we're coming sweet son and daughter! <3




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

words and the heart

i've always dreamt about what kind of mother i'd be (i've also dreamt of what kind of wife i'd be. ha! was i ever so wrong! ;)).
--i was a pretty awesome fiancĂ© though: 


even as a little girl, in a struggling single parent household, with an overworked and overstressed mommy, i knew no matter what, i wanted to be a ball of positive energy, spiritual encouragement, and sprinkle our household with sunshine and rainbows and have only happy looking spiders. like this:



i wanted to be the mommy who shielded my children, protected them, helped them to believe they were made perfectly in His image, and that there is a beautiful purpose for their life. 
i knew i wanted to be the mommy that first prayed with them when they felt attacked, sad, worried, scared and defeated. 
i knew i wanted to guide my children to first find their identity in Christ, because nothing can shake that. 
i wanted to guide them as they opened their hearts to allow God to plant those seeds and water them. 

many moments now are spent in self-examination and reflection, and i try to remain cognizant of how i respond to stressful situations, let-downs, and hardship. 
do i respond with grace? 
would this be how i responded if my lucy-girl and luke were in the car? if they were beside me? 
what words am i speaking when trials arise? when the enemy attacks? 

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. --luke 6:45

did you know there are power in your words?
what am i speaking life into when life is rough or uncertain? 
we were created in the image of God: God spoke words over dust, and dust became man, and God spoke breath into man, and man lived. we have power in the words we speak. 
we can speak life into people, ourselves, and situations.

the power of life and death is in the tongue. --proverbs 18:21

in the process of adoption you have some control, but also there is so much out of your hands. so many times the aching of your heart cannot be resolved by any person.  
so many times the only balm to ease the burning within your soul is the email that tells you it's time to go get your child.  
but it compares NOTHING to when our children are home. the grief they will experience. the transition they are being asked to make. i believe the process of adoption is hard, but the process of being adopted is harder. 

my heart must become so much stronger. 
there is no room or allowance for a weak heart when my precious lucy-girl and luke are walking through their grief. there is no room for me to speak anything out of the flesh when our family encounters trials. they are watching and listening. i want them to watch a mother who is solidly standing with Christ, and i want them to listen as i speak life into anything we may face together. 








Wednesday, January 28, 2015

oysters and george michael

like george michael once sang:
gotta have faith...
sure we're talking about two different things, but it you take those three words out of context they apply beautifully to our situation.


back in december we submitted what is called a supplement 3 to our i800a approval. this request a change in approval for number of children, age, gender, etc. 
we were told by our home study social worker there was no fee associated with this, so we mailed it in. 2 and half weeks passed and we received the dreaded pink paper in the mail known as an RFE (request for information). this is sent when more information, material, etc is needed to process the application. we were told there was a $360 fee due for a supp 3, and the approval could not be issued until that was received. and we could not pay it over the phone. 

i'm about to get raw. raw like this tray of oysters. 


i was livid. any virtue left me and i was in a state between crying myself into a puddle in the floor and  wanting to punch something. not really. but kind of. 

i felt like a horrible mother, i should have sent in a blank check just in case. i should have called ahead. i should have....
so much. 
the whole process just became delayed ANOTHER month, because once we sent in the check, it still would take 10 days for them to clear it and process our approval. two weeks ago, we overnighted it and paid $45 to guarantee it would be there by 10:30 a.m. the check cleared a few days ago, so now, we are just waiting....waiting...praying...praying for time

this is a screen shot of george singing praying for time. i call him only george because i believe we are on a first name basis.


once we receive the approval in the mail, the hubs can use his day off to run around town and get it, and a few other things notarized, certified, and authenticated. it's a crazy process: see this post

then, we pay for overnight delivery by 10:30 a.m. again and it is deliver by a man riding a unicorn, sliding down rainbow, playing the kazoo. (our adoption worker assured me this is how it was delivered last time we paid that much for an early next day delivery). 

i know our Father has no ill will upon our children. i know He loves them more. i know that everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen has passed by His Sovereign hands. i know He know the exact minute we will become a family and be together for the first time. 

even though i cannot necessarily trust in any person, organization, office, i can trust in Him. 
He's big enough to cover misinformation of fees due, and delays, and waiting; He's Holy and Loving enough to bring us together in perfect timing. 

the blessing of it all: they are in a loving environment. "one of the good ones".

january 18th was our sweet lucy-girl's 11th birthday. so, we threw her a party, from several 1,000 miles away. we also threw a party for our little dude letting him know he would be our son too. 

here's some pictures of the spectacular occasion:






right before i published this, my hubs texted me to let me know our USCIS officer notified him it was approved on the 26th and mailed out--we should have it by today or tomorrow. hope he's ready for another rat race! 



















Tuesday, January 6, 2015

there are enough families

Update:
a few days after I wrote this post, this sweet and precious girl passed away. she is free from pain now, free from loneliness,  and in the arms of her eternal and loving Father. Rest well sweet girl.  


there are a lot of children living in orphanages and foster homes around the world. the numbers vary: 147 million to 165 million.

some of these precious ones are "double orphans"--both father and mother have passed away or are not raising them (either by choice or other), still others are social orphans, while others have families that cannot afford to care for them, so they are handed over to their country's social welfare institutes.

the futures for each precious child (who collectively makes up that huge number at the beginning) vary greatly. some, based off of their special need(s), are left to be institutionalized, still others are turned out onto the streets (and we won't discuss what they resort to in order to eat and live), while others are fortunate and able to remain as staff at their orphanage, and some become "lost"--disappear, as if they never existed.

but, there is hope. the hope is us (you, everyone).
He sets the lonely in families -- psalm 68:6

there is a link at the top of this page, that takes you to another post, detailing why adoption is so expensive. the truth is: not many families can easily afford it. even after all the saving, 2nd jobs, fundraising, donations, grants, etc. there is still a gap, and that gap is often what separates loving people from adopting these very deserving children.

in comes Reece's Rainbow

a wonderful organization that raises money for children with special needs, who are waiting on their forever family.

RR just finished their largest yearly fundraiser (Angel Tree), and there are now many beautiful children with sizable grants. some well over $5,000. this is an incredible boost to helping them find their family...helping their family find them.

you can see the beautiful children that benefited from this year's angel tree here:
epic grants for precious ones!

there are other precious children who were not part of the angel tree fundraiser that have sizable grants too:

this doll tugs at my heart. what a precious soul she is: you can read about her here:
precious girl


her grant is over $15,000, with the country she is located in, a family would only have to provide an additional $7,000 in the due fees/travel expenses.

she is so deserving of having a loving mommy wrap her arms around her, kiss her sweet head at night, and whisper prayers over her.