Monday, November 26

Fundraising ideas?

Anyone have some good fundraising ideas?

I've considered an e-bay sale, but the sock monkeys aren't selling like they would have because of the new Wonder Emporium movie. Which is ok, it just means I need another plan. And I'm not sure what it would be.

I'm not a big garage sale person. And I don't want to try to 'sell' things that people don't want to buy... Hmm... I don't know!

Do you???

Sunday, November 25

I missed post 100!

I just looked at my list on the right side bar and realized that I wasn't coming up on 100 posts, but I've already passed it!! When I realized what post 100 was I couldn't have intentionally put anything more meaningful there anyway :)

Check out the previously-posted Post #100 here.

One week

It's been one week tomorrow since our dossier was submitted to the State Department of Adoptions overseas, and I understand that this means we are 5 business days into what *could* be the 20 day wait- by law we should hear something within 20 business days. But... our facilitator says "you may hear sooner" and our friends say "I've been waiting 5 weeks". So we are hopeful but not TOO set on hearing soon. The official "20 business days" will be December 17th.

Please continue to keep Aleksa in your prayers. Her health, safety, and her state-of-mind. Many have told me (individually even, so I feel this is a move of the Spirit) that they are praying that there is a worker at the institution that will be taken with Aleksa and want to care for her and spend extra time with her. Someone to look out for her and know she's fed, safe, and happy. This is my prayer as well. Thank you all so very much!

And I cannot help but share that tonight I was burdoned that yes, we're praying for our daughter, but there are so many others that will never see a forever family and they need our prayers as well. Even more. So please keep these 'lost' little ones in your hearts and prayers as you remember our family as well.

Friday, November 23

Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! This year Brianna was big enough to sit at the table and eat a little bit of the Thanksgiving feast with us, and Kristopher actually tried the turkey as well! We all packed into my parents' house- 15 for dinner with another 6 people in and out during the day. We had a great time and were able to visit with Mike's parents and grandma as well when they came for dessert. Four of my 5 siblings made it for some part of the festivities leaving out only my sister in Minnisota. She'll be here for Christmas though, so we'll have the whole can together. Something neat though- both of my dad's brothers were able to come! We haven't seen one brother and his wife in several years and are excited to hear they're moving to town soon. This was the first time they've met my kiddos too! Kristopher had a great time with his new-found Aunt and even asked her to come sit on the swing in the gazebo with him :) You KNOW you've done well when a 3 year old will ask you to play outside!

Next year Thanksgiving festivities will be at our house since we're adding to the brood. I'm not sure we could have squeezed another chair around those tables although we all enjoyed the company! It was a perfect fit for this year. This is one more on the list of 'firsts' that Aleksa will get to experience with us next year. I think I'll talk my mom into cooking the turkey still though :)

Wednesday, November 21

Thankful

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and boy do we have a lot to be thankful for! I am so thankful that things have sped along these past 3 weeks (yes, it's only been three weeks!) since we found out that Aleksa has been move to an institution. I am thankful that instead of wondering if/when our paperwork would be sumbitted to the SDA we know that it is turned in and things are moving along.

Here are 11 people, since this is the 11th month, that I am especially thankful for this year.
1. God- without Him, we simply AREN'T
2. Michael- my second half, my love, and my best friend
3. Kristopher- our big boy that is such a blessing and looks forward to having more siblings to play with!
4. Brianna- our sweet snuggler that has no idea life is changing but rewards us with smiles, hugs, snuggles, and temper tantrums daily!
5. Four grandparents who are nearby and are available to the kids at the drop of a hat, yet understand that we are putting our family first and have to do what's best for them
6. Our church family- many of whom are 'extra grandparents' and 'extra uncles/aunts' to our kids.
7. Our other friends and family who have been a part of our lives daily and are there to lean on
8. My "online friends", many of whom I've never met, yet their support has been wonderful
9. The many people who are praying that we have never met. I am so thankful for you especially!!
10.For those who given out of their own pocket to help us bring Aleksa home. I only know who some of you are, and yet each of you has made a huge difference for us!
11.For Aleksa. For her smile. For leading us on this journey of a lifetime and for being stong until we can get to her.

Monday, November 19

Dossier News :)

Well, look at that! Finally some news to tell ;)

On Tuesday last week we sent our dossier (paperwork) overseas. It arrived on Friday, was translated over the weekend, and was submitted TODAY! I was told it could take 2 weeks for translation, and to expect submittal on Nov 26th. What a shock I received when I opened my e-mail and found out that ourpaperwork was submitted a full week early!

Sunday, November 18

Dear Aleksa,

Dear Aleksa,

I have not yet met you, but you have changed my life. You have also been the catalyst that has changed the lives of many others! You don't yet know that there's anything happening here on the other side of the world, but someday soon I will hold you and tell you about it. You don't even know yet that you have a family desperately waiting for you.

Here is what you have accomplished this week, my daughter. You have raised awareness for Reece's Rainbow to one mom that has caught on with passion. Her name is Michelle and some day you will meet her. I know you will! Michelle has started blogging and has hollarred through the Internet that we MUST do something. Something for kids like you. The ones that some people don't understand, and that people haven't recognized the potential in.

Michelle's message has been passed on, and the children of Reece's Rainbow have been the beneficiaries. In less than 3 days over $2100 has been donated to help families adopt children with Down syndrome across the world. And it all started with you. Your little smile, your story. You have made that difference. But that's not all. Far from it. The next piece is the one that really amazes me. Through your story and the awareness coming from it two children have found a forever family. That's right, two families are adopting little ones from Reece's Rainbow because of you.

Your life has changed the lives of many around the world. Families that are giving financially, families abroad that are making committments to impact their areas, families that are opening their homes to a new son or daughter, and the children who are waiting, some of whom now have families. Yes, your life is worthwhile. You have great potential. And this is only the beginning.

God has great plans for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. And He has already used you to better His Kingdom. For what we do for the least of these we have done for Him. We are told to care for the widows and the orphans. It's been God's plan all along. And because of you more and more people are getting that Word.

I can't wait to see you with my own eyes. To hold you and hug you. To give you warm baths and color and play dolls. And one day you will know, you will understand, the gift that you have given us all.

Love,
Your Mommy

I am small but YOU are big!

I heard this song on the radio this morning and thought- THAT is it! We are small, but YOU are big enough. I wanna feed the hungry children and reach across the farthest land and tell the broken there is healing and mercy in the Father's hands!



I wanna set the world on fire
Until it's burning bright for You
It's everything that I desire
Can I be the one You use?

I, I am small but
You, You are big enough
I, I am weak but
You, You are strong enough to
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with You
There's nothing I can not do
Nothing I cannot do

I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father's hands

My hands my feet
My everything
My life, my love
Lord, use me

I wanna set the world on fire
I wanna set the world on fire, yeah

I'm gonna set the world on fire
Set the world on fire

Friday, November 16

Cost

Ok, one more from me today- but that's only because I'm procrastinating on the other things I need to get done today :)

Cost- it comes up over and over and over again. Yep, it's expensive to adopt. No, we don't have money sitting around waiting to be spent on a big expense like this. Yes, we're trusting God. But... My friend Kathy just sent me this article that makes me realize that we're paying NOTHING in comparison to the cost of our own adoption. God gave his LIFE to adopt you and I.

God's Mission: Adoption
by Max Lucado

When we come to Christ, God not only forgives us, he also adopts us. Through a dramatic series of events, we go from condemned orphans with no hope to adopted children with no fear. Here is how it happens. You come before the judgment seat of God full of rebellion and mistakes. Because of his justice he cannot dismiss your sin, but because of his love he cannot dismiss you. So, in an act which stunned the heavens, he punished himself on the cross for your sins. God's justice and love are equally honored. And you, God's creation, are forgiven. But the story doesn't end with God's forgiveness.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15--16 NASB).

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4--5 NASB).

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but he does more. He gives you his name. It would be enough if God just set you free, but he does more. He takes you home. He takes you home to the Great House of God.

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone. I certainly don't mean to offend any biological parents--I'm one myself. We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child. But in many cases our cribs were filled easily. We decided to have a child and a child came. In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision. I've heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I've never heard of an unplanned adoption.

That's why adoptive parents understand God's passion to adopt us. They know what it means to feel an empty space inside. They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future. If anybody understands God's ardor for his children, it's someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us.

God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.
From The Great House of God
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1997) Max Lucado

A new revelation- or is it??



There are several things that have been published this week about the treatment of people with disabilities in Serbia. One is found HERE and is the original report written by Mental Disabilities rights International. I want to warn you that the pictures are graphic and the words intense.

After the release of that report came an article by the New York Times which you can find HERE. Again, very graphic.




Then there was a report by NBC Nightly news on disabled kids being abused in Serbia. You can get there HERE. Again, graphic, and this one has a video.

So much attention. So much "negative press" for Serbia BUT this may be the best news we've seen for children with disabilities worldwide. Maybe conditions will change. But as the official in Serbia has said, it will take years... and for many, that is their lifetime.

Chelle, an 'online' friend for over a year and a fellow parent to a child with Down syndrome has- to no gain of her own- begun a movement. Although we cannot change the conditions in Serbia today, we can, one by one, get children OUT of these conditions that exist in many Eastern Eurpoean countries. Russian institutions are closed- no adoptions will take place after a child enters the institution. Ukraine also institutionalizes children with Down syndrome after theage of 4. Please take a look HERE and see the movement...

I'm sorry for all the links today, I know you'd rather just read an update and keep going, but... if you were to click just two of the links, go to the MSNBC news story video and Chelle's blog. Those two will tell the story in fewer words than I could even begin to.

And yes, Aleksa is in an institution. In Eastern Europe. And we don't know what conditions exist where Aleksa is until we get there.

Yep, more tears.

Thursday, November 15

Dossier stuck in customs

Our dossier has made it to its destination but is now stuck in customs. Even if it takes a day or two to come out, we'll be making record time with it getting there in 2 days and then through customs. What a relief!! I was told not to send UPS and forgot and did it anyway.. WHEW I'm glad it made it! I'll breathe even easier when I hear that my facilitator has it!
Next steps:
translate
submit
WAIT
get appointment
TRAVEL!!!

Wednesday, November 14

God

Yep, He's up to something. Always is, I suppose, but don't you love it when He lets you in on little pieces of his 'surprises' and lets you know just a tiny bit of His plan? It's enough to give me the anticipation to want to keep running towards the goal! I cannot wait for our trip overseas! So many adventures are waiting, and God's doing some neat work in the mean time!

A few things that God is up to:
-Providing finances
-Caring for Aleksa in our absense (I trust He's doing this!)
-Paving our way with the team of facilitators we're working with
-Delivering everything in His time to get us there exactly when He wants us there

Isn't it EXCITING??

Tuesday, November 13

On its way!

Our dossier is on its way!

Here's one thing we didn't necessarily think about in terms of adoption expenses:
Apostilles: $230
UPS 2-day shipping to Ukraine: $103
Gas to get to Tallahassee and Back: $90
Coffee to get Mike through 10 hours of driving: $2

Today's total: $525 WOW

Hurry up... and wait

I seriously think that waiting is the hardest part of adopting so far. First you decide on a child... then wait to find out what to do about it. Then you sign up for a homestudy... wait for them to come out... wait for it to be finished... wait for the background checks... WAIT!

Now that our paperwork is finished and Mike is on his way to Tallahassee, I'm WAITING for a return e-mail to confirm the address we are to mail it to. And I'm WAITING to hear that all went well getting the apostile. And I'm WAITING for my tutoring students ;) Ok, that's not such a bad wait!

Now, if only I can fill the next months of waiting with some more productive things than I have filled this morning with! I got quite a few things accomplished in the first three hours I was awake, but for the last hour I've just vegged.

Today I managed to:
- shower, dress, gather everything for Mike to take with him, check e-mail 10,000 times for a rely (none yet) about the address to send our dossier to
- get three kids dressed fed, and off to school including a bath for one of them
- get three sets of lunches and 2 diaper bags set to go
- get three gifts together, along with thank-you notes, and all in the car
- deliver three children to school
- talk with the physical therapist about not meeting next week
- deliver the note that Mike won't be in the office today to the church secretary
- deliver a thank-you note and jar of 'soup mix' to the two ladies that went out of their way to notarize everything for Mike and I
- deliver a thank-you note and a box of chocolate Turtles to the doctor's office that redid our paperwork 3 times without a complaint (and I investigated the time-line for the doc's license to renew- must call them back in the new year...)
- and all before 9:30. It's now 10:45 and I've done nothing else.

Guess I should get ready to tutor. Or do the dishes. Or the laundry. Or clean up the highchair. Or the kids' toys. Hmm... seems there are a few better uses for my 'down time'!

Monday, November 12

The Eagle will FLY!

Ok, this is it! Our dossier is complete!! Tomorrow morning Mike will be driving 5 hours to Tallahassee and getting the state seal on all of our documents, then FedEx ing them overseas and driving home. As for our medical paper we will simply leave that out of our dossier and get ahold of the new one. If it is requested we will send the new one on... and if not then we are smooth sailing!

Please pray travel mercies on Michael! Ten hours of driving will be tiring. Also, because of the holiday weekend we are a little unsure about where he is going and what times they are open so favor on his purpose would be wonderful!

Also pray that our paperwork will arrive quickly, be translated quickly, and be SUBMITTED!! I am so excited that this step has finally arrived! I believe that the State Department of Adoptions overseas has 20 working days with which to respond to our dossier after it's submitted. The goal is to have it in before November 30th since they are no longer accepting dossiers until January after that date. Something like that anyway. So hopefully before Christmas we will hear something back! What relief floods through me to think that in 2 more months we may be traveling half way around the world. Seeing the eyes we've had in our dreams and holding the tiny body that I swear I've already held. In time... And may God hold her ane protect her until we get there. Along with all the other angels waiting for their forever families.

I'm ready, let's FLY!

If I told you everything went perfectly today

Would you believe me?? Probably not. Not the way our trials have gone so far in this journey anyway. It seems that if there can be a way to do a paper wrong- any paper- that we have had it happen.

I picked up the notarized copy of our doctor's medical license today and the expiration of his license is Jan 31, 2008. Our country requires all documents to have a 6 month "shelf life" on them before they expire. Any document expires on the earliest expiration date written, or 1 year from notary date. So the copy of the license does expire on Jan 31st and so does our copy of it.

Our facilitator has said to send the dossier without this paper as it is more of a 'supporting form' than a necessity and in the mean time we will work on getting a copy of the new license as soon as he gets it done so that if it is asked for we have it.

We are still waiting on the final homestudy papers and the social worker's employment letter. Both were needing corrections and Mike's parents picked them up for us this morning on their way home from a vacation weekend. What a blessing to have people around willing to chip in and help!

More updates later I'm sure.

Sunday, November 11

A little late. Thank You


Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you to all whose families have served in the US armed forces in wartime and in peace and to those that continue to sacrifice daily for our freedom. Never before have I had such an appreciation for the freedoms we have in America. THANK YOU!

Lists

I like lists. Well, except grocery lists. I don't make those.

Anyway, recently I've made lists for
Christmas presents
Clothes that we have/need for each of the kids
Things to still do for the adoption
And my most recent... What to bring overseas.

Here are some suggestions that have been made to me. The country we're traveling to is still considered "third world" and the area we're going to is a very small town. We have been told to expect "urban camping" for 7-10 days of Mike's 2 week stay and then the first two weeks that I'm there on my own. Before and after that we'll be in the capital (3-5 days in the beginning and 2-3 weeks at the end). Rolling blackouts, lack of water for days, no heat, and possibly no hot water at all. Sounds pleasant :) And, a little girl :) THAT is the best part! As soon as I have custody of Aleksa we will head to the capital.

Please let me know of any other suggestions you may have for things that we should/shouldn't take with us! Especially if you've already traveled for your adoption, what things did you find most valuable? What things could you have done without?

• Leatherman Tool
• Sharpie Marker
• Balloons
• Luggage Tags you can spot a mile away
• Flashlight (power outages)
• Peanut butter and other snacks
• Carry along toilet paper
• Tape measure (soft one, to measure child for clothing)
• Cable ties for luggage
• Ziplock bags
• Wet wipes
• Hand sanitizer
• Small sewing kit
• Melatonin
• Tylenol PM
• Cough/cold/allergy/Immodium AD
• Under-the-clothes money holder
• Games, puzzles, etc
• toys for child, coloring books, bubbles, etc.
• Envelopes with pre-sorted cash for different places that needed to be paid for
• Universal flat sink stopper to wash clothes, etc. in sink
• Washcloths
• Band-aids
• Kleenex- travel size
• Febreeze
• Alarm clock
• Listerine strips, gum
• DVD’s and player
• Sippy cups
• Medium size duffel bags (not large or even suitcases, cars are small!)
• Umbrella
• Digital camera
• Laptop
• Space saver roll-up bags
• Chapstick
• Lotion
• Safety pins
• Books
• Gold bond
• Power converter
• Backpacks
• Cards to give with gifts (or to put $ in as a gift)
• Lots of plastic bags (walmart type) for groceries, etc.
• Beach balls
• Pull-ups
• Portable clothesline to hang clothes in the bathroom over a tub and clothespins
• Instant oatmeal, tea bags, sugar, hot chocolate

Saturday, November 10

Tiny Blessings

Here are two more tiny blessings-
Mike's parents are vacationing near Ft. Lauderdale this weekend and will be leaving there on Monday. They may be able to pick-up our homestudy so that we don't have to pay for overnight mail AND we will have the paper on Monday night if that happens- so we may be able to get the apostile Tuesday after all!

Our doctor's office will be able to get us the notarized medical license on Monday- and if they cannot than we have a friend that will go down to notarize it for us :)

And one big blessing-
We were told a few days ago that a large contribution has been made to our Reece's Rainbow grant! What a wonderful blessing it is to us!

I was asked again today about the cost of adoption and- hesitantly- how could we adopt on one salary, and a minister's salary none the less? My answer can only be this- We're living our lives serving God. Literally daily in a very tangeable way. And despite a fairly modest income to live on, God always provides above and beyond our needs and has yet to leave us at in want for anything. He has firmly told us to adopt and will bring about everything we need both financially and emotionally for that to happen!

God is good... All the time!

Friday, November 9

Tired

Thursday slipped away. It's 12:08am on Friday. Still playing the paperwork nightmare game. Our homestudy aparantly was notarized 3 days before it was approved. Try that one on for size. Won't fly, must call in about 9 hours and complain until another is overnighted to me. Monday is a holiday and these papers need to be apostilled and mailed overseas on Tuesday in order to be submitted to the SDA this year. They stop accepting dossiers on December 1st and it takes a few days to ship and then 2 weeks to translate. I can't believe Tuesday is already the 12th!

Stress stinks. And I have no voice. And I need sleep :)

Sorry so grumpy, I'm going to bed to hopefully be rejuvinated on 5.5 hours of sleep.

Pray for timely filing!

Wednesday, November 7

question/answer

Ok, I realize that for two days I've written nothing about the adoption and that there have been questions of what and how and who and all that good stuff, so here's my attempt at the answers that those that see me in "real life" have asked.

Q: Will you/ can you still adopt Aleksa?
A: We think so. To be honest there's a bigger chance that we can't now than there was at the beginning, but since it's all up to God anyway, no need to worry. We're planning on bringing Aleksa home :)

Q: When do you think you'll travel?
A: As soon as possible! Really, we know our earliest travel will be 2008, we just don't know when. The government shuts down for several weeks for holidays in December/Jan, so even getting our paperwork in quickly we won't go until next year.

Q: Why is it such a bad thing that Aleksa was transferred if you can still get her?
A: The institutions overseas are not just "children's homes" where the kids are in groups under a few caretakers. When one orphanage worker was asked how her children fared once they had been transferred to the institution she replied "I don't know, none are living anymore". Most children are seriously ill within months of arriving at the institutions. Some institutions bury up to 30 children PER MONTH. Conditions that exist for children in these places would not be seen as acceptable for dogs here in the US. It's not a matter of whether she's around typical kids or other children with disabilities or even whether she's playing and getting interaction with adults. It's whether she's being fed, bathed, allowed to use a toilet facility, whether she's bound, ill, cold, or any other number of things.

Q: How much does it cost to adopt?
A: Ok, so I hedge this one a lot of the time. Here's a few reasons why: There are so many different options for adoption including domestic and international and then so many different countries. Every place is different and even two adoptions within the same country could vary by several thousand dollars. So really there is something for everyone. If you're interested in adopting then there's somewhere you can adopt from that will fit your ability to pay. And God is bigger than the grand ole dollar sign, so even if you don't think you could do a more expensive route you might just find out differently. If you're not interested in adopting but just want to know what the cost is for us to bring Aleksa home than I will say that it is very expensive, yet less than some adoptions. About the same as our annual salary our first year of marriage. And it's worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY.

Q: Why did you decide to do an international adoption and not adopt one of the kids available here in the US?
A: This seems to be the 'doozy'. The one noone wants to answer and yet it's asked all the time. Here's my stab at making sense :) We originally weren't sure what we were going to do. We thought that international adoption was way out of our league (surprise, it *IS*, but not out of God's!) financially, but I opened a conversation line with Andrea at Reece's Rainbow anyway. After looking at a few available kids world wide Mike and I had a conversation that revealed a few important things for us. 1) we definitely wanted to (and felt called to) pursue a child with special needs... Down syndrome if possible. 2) there aren't many kids with Ds in US foster care (interesting, isn't it?) 3) there are children around the world that need homes, but a LOT of kids with Ds in other countries that are available. 4)kids in the US even in foster care are always treated humanely (ok, ALMOST always... but the gov't at least says it's supposed to be humane). 5) kids overseas are often neglected and have no hope for a future, especially kids with disailities 6) children as young as 4 are put into mental institutions overseas and often die by age 10 because of the conditions of their care.

So we quickly realized that adopting a child with Ds from a counry where the child faces a VERY early death was what we wanted to look at. Not just looking for another child for our family- although that is a big part of it too- but looking for a child that would likely not survive if we didn't step in. And no, we didn't want a hero mission. We wanted a rescue. These kids are my heroes.



It's late, and I'm tired, so I hope this has helped those of you that have had the question and haven't asked or asked the question and didn't get an answer. I'll try to answer some of the others another day. Feel free to e-mail me questions or post them here. I'd be happy to answer whatevr I can. mkp1982@hotmail.com

9 days

It has only been 9 days...
and it's been 9 days already.

Tuesday, November 6

You Said

You Said, ask and you will receive whatever you need.

You Said, pray and I'll hear from Heaven, and I'll heal your land.

You Said, Your Glory will fill the Earth like waters the seas.

You Said, lift up your eyes, the harvest is here, the Kingdom is near.



You Said, ask and I'll give the nations to you, Oh Lord, that's the cry of my heart.

Distant shores and the islands will sing of Your light as it rises on us.

Monday, November 5

Down

I knew in advance that adoption has its ups and downs and that there would be days we were excited and happy and others that we were nervous and discouraged, but never did I imagine that we would spend months wondering if our child would be fed each day until we get there... or tied to a crib... or given anywhere to use the restroom... or clothed... or warm...

And although we're trying to move mountains to get there as soon as possible, I was told today by my state-side helper that current appointments are mostly March/April, but a few in February. She's not sure if the special needs will go differently. We're hoping to get there sooner.

A verse that comes to mind in this is appropriately found in 1 Corinthians 13, the "Love Chapter". It goes like this: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

There is power in love, and God can move mountains. Those are the two most important things to me today.

Another is Matthew 17:20. "He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." "

Faith. Hope. And Love. Especially Love.

My favorite two choices for middle names for Aleksa? Faith and Hope.

Sunday, November 4

Looks like that was the paper we need

I'm glad to say that it appears that the paper I got is really what I needed! So now we are waiting for the shortened homestudy and employment letter from our social worker and for our dossier to be checked. Then it's off to Tallahassee and then overseas!

We're really putting feet on our faith and preparing to leave the country soon. Today I bought the last of what we needed except maybe some pull-ups. I didn't want to get them at Target though because they're cheaper at Wal-Mart. I'm curious what other people brought with them when traveling overseas to adopt. Especially if they didn't REALLY know the size of their child!

We're also prepping things here at the house. We've made childcare plans and are scoping out the different things at nearby stores that we'll take with us such as a money belt, MP3 player, easy-to-travel toys, and warm clothes. Our lowest highs here are probably still in the 70's or really high 60's. Right now the highs where we are heading are barely in the 30's. Oh, and I've been warned about the rolling-brown-outs and lack of running water at times. Vacation? I don't think so!

Saturday, November 3

CIS paperwork arrived... sort of

I got paperwork from the CIS that says that we've had a 'favorable determination'... but no I171-H. So hopefully the other form is on its way!

Today we watched the baby that I care for during the week and we all went shopping for a little while. Mike got his "Christmas present" from my parents- a nice leather jacket that he can wear overseas. We also got some thermal long sleeved shirts, a sweater, and gloves for Mike. We got some size 3 and 4 clothes to take with us- one outfit and a set of sweats for each size. We also have a long footed pajama and a thermal pajama that I'd purchased a few days ago. I think that's all we're taking over there for Aleksa. Well, that and some underclothes nd a thick coat. I understand we can buy most things over there, I just don't know what our arrangements are going to be and whether I'll have the availability of any city shopping between the time I meet Aleksa and the time we have custody of her. Maybe some of you know??

We have definitely decided that I am staying the whole time now. I cannot see doing the adoption then saying "see you in a month" and letting her go back into that institution without even getting visited. The orphanage was a different situation because we knew she was well cared for there. Here we do not. So even if it's a beautiful place and she is happy- I'll be there.

Also, for some reason a few days ago I found a map with the city of her orphanage on it and now I can't! It's a little TINY town and I know a nearby city, but I can't figure out wht site I was on that actually showed her city! Oh well... more searcing will do the trick. Maybe I'll order some AAA books. They probably show the smaller areas if we get the right ones :)

Friday, November 2

Blessings

Ok, so here's the positive post I was PLANNING on writing today ;)

The indisputable blessings that God has put in motion for things to be like they are right now...

1) A mom cared enough about kids with Ds to start a ministry matching up kids with Ds with prospective parents across the globe and to help them collect donations through her nonprofit organization (aka tax deductable) so that people could afford to adopt.

2) Another mom cared enough about Aleksa to take her picture and find out info about her so that someone else might be able to adopt her.

3) When we chose Aleksa, a mom was in her country adopting from her orphanage (and even from her groupa!). We were able to learn so much more from conversations with this mom than we could have ever found out otherwise

4) The mom at that orphanage told the orphanage directors that Aleksa has a family coming for her! (this was VERY important later on!)

5) When we did our homestudy it took only 5-6 weeks to have a copy in our hands, not the typical 8-12 weeks.

6) When I was looking for Aleksa's full name, the director's computer was down so she couldn't access her file (this seems bad, but was a blessing!)

7) When I asked the other people we are working with for Aleksa's full name they asked our facilitator to find out exactly how she is registered (instead of just giving us what she had on file- yes, another hidden blessing).

8) When our facilitator went to the SDA to find out how Aleksa is registered he found out that she'd been moved (otherwise we would not have found out until we were over there and THAT would have been awful because nothing would have been expedited, we would be getting there probably months later, we wouldn't be prepared to stay the entire time, wouldn't have the extra money necessary for these changes, etc.).

9) When our facilitator checked on Aleksa he also found out that another little girl from her orphanage has moved (therefore letting her family know as well- she was placed in a boarding school which is WONDERFUL!)

10) When the person helping us state-side found out where Aleksa was moved she said that "Someone likely is pulling string here for these girls". And "This (the placements of the two girls) makes me think the workers at [their orphanage] went to some lengths to find good placements as they really should have both gone to a mental institution with openings in a nearby region. Thank God [the mom] got their info as there is no way you would have ever of known about the girls if she had not been there when she had, as they were soon moved and no one we have adopting would have ever seen them."

11) When Aleksa was moved she was placed in a facility that we believe we can still get her out of. Our state-side helper said: "Where they were moved sort of surprised me, they must know someone was coming and moved them to locations where they could still be accessed, this is very unusual for Downs children and I have a feeling the deputy director and orphanage doctor got them into some locations because they knew someone was coming for them."

12) When we quickly started pulling everything together to expedite everything our CIS paperwork was delivered into the hands of a mom that has a child with disabilities. When she saw that the petition for a child with Down syndrome she quickly approved it and send it out that day.

13) Prayer requests have brought so many people to their knees and the broken hearts of many are petitioning the Throne like never before- it's always a good thing for people to come to God.

14) A prayer chain specifically, but it was God none-the-less, led a church member to decide to write an article about our family, our adoption, and Down syndrome. This will hopefully help develop awareness not just about Down syndrome, but about the conditions that exist in other countries and the ministry that Reece's Rainbow is providing.

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No, those aren't blank. I just believe that God has many more blessings for us on this journey and I don't intend to sell him short. Why 21? Well, that number is what made us choose Aleksa. Trisomy 21 to be exact, so I'm sure there will be three-fold the blessings that we've written down.

I TOLD YOU IT'D BE POSITIVE!!!

I just got off the phone with the lady from the CIS and she said that she remembers my name, but just to be sure, we're adopting a child with Down syndrome, correct? Then she said that she has a child with a disability so when she saw our paperwork she immediately approved it! She mailed it out on Halloween, and we should be getting it in the mail TODAY!!!

This is the best news we've had in a long time, and I am SO HAPPY!!!!!

Thank you all who were praying for it to land in the hands of someone that would see the importance and process it quickly! God has answered our prayers!!! YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!

No news is... annoying :)

Yep, still no news. I'm hoping that once I post this, since life seems to work this way, that they'll call me back and prove me wrong. Today I called the CIS through the general line (not the orphan line) and talked to someone that said she doesn't have access to our case, so she passed me on. The next person didn't either! She suggested I go online and make an appointment to go to the Orlando office (which I had already done this morning) so that didn't really help any. I called the orphan line again and left another message saying it's been two days and I really need some info on my paperwork. So I will hear back either today sometime or I'll be on their doorstop at 9am on Monday morning with photos, an official document saying "health and life are at risk" and my 3" binder of adoption information.

Please say a prayer that the lady that is going to return my phone call (like that positive thinking?? She IS going to return it, and SOON!) will have mercy and push us through!!

And I promise, my next post will be POSITIVE! I PROMISE! More later :)

Thursday, November 1

Our local paper

Today I got a phone call that was generated from our church prayer request e-mail. It was a church member that writes for our area newspaper asking if she could write an article about our adoption. She's already passed it by her editor and will call me back in the next day or two. I never would have dreamt that God would use this situation to bring about some awareness about both Down syndrome in general as well as the current state of affairs in other countries, but I am hopeful that it will do exactly that!