Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today is...

National Adoption day in Ukraine!

A perfect day to be SUBMITTED :) :)!

Our paperwork was turned in to the SDA today and now we are waiting for a travel date.  A big step forward!  Most people have worked for months at this point, and this is the final sigh of relief since everything that was put together is all complete.  For us, it is surreal in a way because we are still in the mindset of 'just starting'.  But what a blessing it is!  It has been 9 1/2 weeks since we committed to bring Wesley home.

Prayers for discernment and clarity as we determine what other things God has for us to do while we are in country for the adoption would be much appreciated!  He has been whispering in our ears but the answers aren't clear yet.

Thanks! :)  Now it's time to celebrate... (by going to James' IEP meeting? LOL)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A name for beautiful…

He has a name!
Thank you for ALL the suggestions!  We had over 140 individual names, over 75 comments and several emails.  What a fun way to look through names and read the different meanings and purposes of the names being suggested.  There were names suggested from every letter of the alphabet except q, x, and y, and some very unique ones as well as many that are well known or biblical names.
In the end, we ended up with a first name that no one suggested!  I don’t know quite how that happened.  We went through the pages and pages of suggestions, then went looking online at meanings and several years of “popular names”.  When I say years of them, I mean… 1900’s. 1960’s, and 1940’s.  It was fun!
And when all had been looked at and his photos were brought up, we came up with the name that we will be giving to our son.
Wesley Thomas Cornish
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And so… for the chocolate… I will be sending a bar out to “Mama” because she is the first comment suggesting the name Thomas, and also to “Amyimboden” for being the second suggestion of the name (it was suggested by 10 people!) since Wesley wasn’t on the list. 
Thanks for ‘playing’ and for helping us come up with so many great names!  Your support through joining in the game means a lot to us!
I have one more chocolate bar that just might need to be given away before our appointment… so stay tuned for another fun game before I travel!

Also… a little adoption update.  Though our dossier was complete before I traveled, we had an issue that only *I* could have.  It’s called… after having my husband’s medical done 4x, we ended up with two copies of HIS medical and NONE OF MINE!
So, we weren’t submitted last week (even our dossier and facilitation teams didn’t catch this for a while, so weird!) and the paper should be there by Wednesday for us to be submitted on Thursday of this week.  Please pray that it is all well and good and is submitted this week!  We are praying for a quick appointment as well. 
I even brought home some chocolate candies that I think I need to give to the doctor’s office since they redid my medical PERFECTLY and immediately and with the specifications I needed in order to not have to redo other paperwork as well.  God is good, ALL THE TIME!  And it will all happen in HIS timing!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vacation and Adoption Gift-Card Winners!

Congratulations to the winner of the Vacation Give-Away!

We raised $815 toward the adoption of “Monroe”!  Thank you to everyone that donated or posted about our give-away and for all who are praying for our process.


Now… the reveal by Kristopher…


And… the winner of the Adoption Gift Card is MARIANNE FICK!



I will contact you both by email to let you know how to claim your prizes.  Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're on our way...

I can't believe the week is over!  In a way I'm ready to go home.  To see my kids, my husband, and the 'familiar' of home.  And on the other hand I'm ready to be back here and helping to get things off the ground for families that are so ready to jump with the information and skills that are available to them through the conference and our programs.

We have had such a great week.  Such a PRODUCTIVE week.  I hope to share more details about more of it but my brain is just on overload from all of the information and I can't begin to put it all down in writing.

The give-aways will close soon, so if you want to enter those, please do.  I am bringing home chocolate! :)

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

For Everyone! Name Monroe! (Ukrainian Chocolate)! CLICK HERE

Adoption Give-Away (Gift Card)! CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't forget!

Just a little time left on the Vacation give-away and adoption gift-card give away!

They end when I get home!

The Name Monroe one... will keep going until we decide on a name! LOL

You can enter by clicking on the posts below:

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

For Everyone! Name Monroe! (Ukrainian Chocolate)! CLICK HERE

Adoption Give-Away (Gift Card)! CLICK HERE

Back to the Beginning!

Today I went back to where it all started.  Where we first laid eyes on our Emma and Micah, and where they were raised until we brought them home.  On our way from the city we're staying in to the city that the baby house is in, we passed through another city that I sounded out the Cyrillic letters to as we sped past.  I asked the translator we had with us... is this right?  She said yes.  That was the city where Emma was born.  So today we not only went back to the beginning of where Michael's and my journey to our children began, but also the cities where each of our kids was born.

When we were on our way I was told by the contact that was letting them know we were coming that the director was not there, he was having a heart procedure done.  I kept thinking... I just need them to know who my children are, and they will understand why I've come back.  We purchased four big bags of diapers before going to the baby house, so arms loaded with these, we knocked and found someone that was filling in for the director.  She invited us in (eying the diapers) and took the call that I asked to make for our contact to speak with her.  The call didn't go through.  There was no cell reception!

She took the phone outside and we stood on the porch of the baby house while she spoke on the phone, then it was handed back to me.  He asked me the name of my children that we adopted.  Another caretaker or doctor came out at this time and handed another cell phone to the person we were speaking with then stood nearby.  As I told our contact the name of my children, the ears of the other worker perked up.  She then repeated it then said it to the others there, and I figured out by the look on their faces that this was all we had needed.

I pulled out the photo book that I'd brought along and showed them "Daria", now Emma... STANDING.

And yes, OH YES... I teared up.  They were all excited that we had come, and flipped through the photos, then welcomed us back inside.  We went straight back to the 'infirmary' area where both of our children had lived.  The pictures were passed around and explained again, and there wasn't much of a dry eye.  Two of the main caretakers of Emma were there and just kept exclaiming at how different and healthy and beautiful she is.  That Micah looked like a little professor, so smart with his glasses.

I could have spent just that time at the baby house and this entire trip would have been worthwhile to me.  WOW.  What an emotional morning, getting to see the shock and JOY on these ladies' faces.  Then I started pulling photos out of the album.  Several pictures I had multiple copies of.  At the end, I had only a few pictures left in the album, and most of the photographs stayed with the caretakers and doctors right there.

If that wasn't enough, we then went to visit other children in that baby house... two of whom have a family coming soon for them!  And two more that the main doctor that was there wanted us to meet and photograph and try to help find a family for.

There have been so many wonderful things on this trip.  Meeting "Monroe," meeting other adoptive parents and children that are going to be adopted soon, getting together with other parents raising their disabled children, meeting the OT working with the children, and the peace corp volunteer wanting to help as well, visiting the maternity hospital and having a celebration with the doctors there, visiting a baby house and learning of a child there that is available for adoption, and now... going back to the beginning and visiting with the people that raised our adopted children until we could get there.

Tomorrow is the Down syndrome conference in Kiev and Thursday we'll be flying back to the US.  It has been a wonderful trip... too short in many ways.  But I will be back soon for my sweet little boy!  And there will be more work to be done then too!

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

For Everyone! Name Monroe! (Ukrainian Chocolate)! CLICK HERE

Adoption Give-Away (Gift Card)! CLICK HERE

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today I met beautiful

And oh my, how beautiful he is!  I’m already ready to come home and come back! (except that there’s SO much still to do here this trip!).

Our little Spidey (as Kristopher calls him, he’s sure we should name him Spider man) is NOT that ‘affected’ by the different labels attached to him as my fears said he may be.  He is small and thin but not like he ‘could’ be.  He smiles, loves on the caretaker, and the BEST thing is… he fussed.  I realize that sounds weird, but knowing what I do about attachment and such, I know that he doesn’t readily stay with strangers for a long period of time, which is beautiful to me!  He went back to the caretaker after several minutes with me (smiling and interacting before deciding he wanted ‘familiar’ while he listened to her talk next to us) and then when she took him back and cuddled him in to her, he went back to smiling and loving being in there.  She did say “he’s wanting to go lay down” and started to leave, but we gave them a few things and it was another 5 minutes or so before she left and he did ok!

As far as his medical stuff goes, he is not paralyzed, in my opinion!  He had some movements in his legs but I really don’t know how much.  He has some vision but definitely is very near sighted and has some strabismus.  The spinal stuff… no idea.  Since it was a Sunday the main doctor wasn’t there, so I just met one caretaker.  I am interested to be able to ask more questions and really see his legs and if there’s anything with his spine, etc. 

But I know what you really want is to see… pictures!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Sitting in an airport

Watching planes take off in the dark!

Lynae wanted to see me off this morning.  She woke 20 min before my alarm went off so we had some milk and a snuggle in her room this morning.  She was back asleep when we left, but it was still only 4:30 in the morning!  I'm glad to have gotten a morning snuggle in even if it meant that much less sleep.  Well worth it :)

I'll be blogging when I can during our travels and along with my blog, please visit the Connecting the Rainbow blog and Shelley's blog too as they also will have info and pictures from our trip!

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

For Everyone! Name Monroe! (Ukrainian Chocolate)! CLICK HERE

Adoption Give-Away (Gift Card)! CLICK HERE

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Additional Give-away! (for adoptive parents!)

Have you adopted between January 2008 and now (or are currently in process)?  Here’s an additional give-away for you!!
We’ll be giving away a $30 gift card for your choice of Wal-Mart or Target to buy something fun for your own little adopted sweetheart :) 
All you have to do is let me know that you donated to the chip-in by commenting on this post!  (if I won’t know that it’s you, please send some identifying info :) ) .  Tell me when you adopted in your comment.  If you have a blog, please leave us a link so others can follow your journey!
If you’ve adopted more than one child in this time period, please leave me a separate comment for each child (and you’ll get multiple entries!)
It’s that easy…  This give-away will run September 16-23rd and a winner will be chosen on September 25th!

*This give-away can enter you in BOTH the Vacation Give-AwayAND the Adoption Give-Away.  A donation of even $1 will enter you in the gift-card give away, but entries for the Vacation Give-Away are still based on chances per donation.  For instance, donating $10 and posting your info on this thread will enter you ONCE in the Vacation Give-Away and ONCE in the Adoption Give-Away.  If you’ve adopted twice in this time, then a $10 donation and two separate posts here will get you ONE chance in the Vacation Give-Away and TWO chances in the Adoption Give-Away!
** If you have already donated to the chip in, please just leave a comment here so you can be entered in this one as well!
***Questions? Email me! (mkp1982 at hotmail dot com) but please realize that I am out of the country so there may be a delay in anwering :)

It's here it's here it's here it's here it's here it's here!

I HAVE A COPY OF OUR IMMIGRATION APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

Something fun for everyone! (GIVE AWAY!)

While I'm spending the evening with family tonight and getting everything settled on the home front so I can leave, and then tomorrow while I'm traveling for a good 24 hours or so... I thought I'd post something fun for you all :)

So... here's the big question...


Here's the rules: NO repeated initials (E, K, B, J, M, or L and no C since people would confuse that with Kristopher).  First or middle needs to be a Biblical name (Emma Hope, Kristopher Isaiah, Brianna Elizabeth, James Hunter, Micah Daniel, and Lynae Sarah).

If you are the first person to suggest a name AND we use it, I will send you a Ukrainian chocolate bar!

HERE'S THE ONLY CATCH: Please no more than 4 names per comment.  And play fair and let others comment too :).

Another give-away for Adoptive Parents coming up in just a few minutes!

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

USCIS update

Yep, I called USCIS again.  This time I found out that our immigration approval was sent to supervisor review after being approved by our assigned officer and it wasn't mailed out until yesterday.  Not great news, but good to know that it IS in the mail now and that it should be here very soon!  If it doesn't arrive today, then it will 'meet' me in Ukraine in a few days via FedEx or UPS.  The coversheet is done and apostilled so all we need is a photocopy of that golden ticket.

I have a huge shopping bag with diapers, blankets, and thickening packets sitting by my front door waiting to go to school this afternoon, a 50 pound duffel bag with all kinds of educational supplies, gifts, and some "just fun" stuff for the orphanages and parent support centers, a small suitcase with my own clothes (and two gallon size bags stuffed with candy to give out!) and a backpack to go with me on the plane.  I always said that if I ever went back to UA it would be with just a backpack.  I lied. :)  But believe it or not, ALL of my things really did fit in the backpack until I added in the donations that made the big duffel bag go over the weight limit.  Now my things are split between the backpack and suitcase, and because of the extra room I allowed myself a luxury or two (a towel and a throw blanket!).

It's hard to believe that I'm leaving in the morning!  This trip has been planned and cancelled several times over the last 18 months, and was first 'conceived' as a hope about 2 years ago.  Now to see it begin to come to fruition (even though this is the first 1/2 of the intended trip) is nothing short of amazing.

Thank you for your continued prayers for our travels, for those we will meet up with, and for our families back home.  Today I'm praying specifically that this would be the mission trip that God intends with the divine encounters that He has planned.  I am praying that more than just giving the families tools to use and encouragement that they CAN parent their own children, that we would also give them a piece of the trust and dependence on our Heavenly Father to guide each step of the way.  We can't leave behind more than physical things to help them when we leave.  But the Great Counselor is who Jesus left for all those who know Him and that is of greater importance and greater use than all of the educational materials in the world.

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The next row of prayers...

This is the time of the adoption and mission trip preparation that we need SO many prayers!

Today my mom and I drove to Tallahassee.  We left at 4am so that we could drive 5 hours there, be there at 9ish for apostilles, and drive 5 hours home (and conveniently end up in Jacksonville at lunch time to visit my brother and have a meal with him!).  It has already been a long day! :)

Our 171H still has not come in the mail.  I need a copy of this to go with me.  We are praying that it will arrive tomorrow.  Otherwise it will be an additional charge and an additional time to get it overseas.

Please cover this mission trip and the beginning of our adoption journey in prayer!  So many different variables right now and so much going on!

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Tuesday!

Wow, this past week has FLOWN by!  In just 48 hours I'll be finishing up the day's activities and spending the last afternoon iwth my kids for a week!  I don't leave them often and I am going to miss them all!  Not only that, but I have a good 12 hour day of driving to put in between now and then, so that's even less time that I have with the kids and to get stuff DONE.  And to spend with Michael too, of course!

So, what am I doing right now?  I'm sitting outside on this BEAUTIFUL fall day after driving through Sonic for my Shelley-recommended-half-price-slushies for the kids (can't beat $0.50!) and watching them ride their bikes and push toys up and down the driveway.  I'm picking acorns out of Lynae's mouth, telling James to quit stealing Brianna's straw, and reminding Kristopher to SHARE.  I'm watching Emma figure out the ride on toy (She has mastered forward and backward!) and telling Micah not to take the toy that Lynae has.  I'm sittin in the shade under the huge oak trees in the front yard enjoying my kids.  What a perfect way to spend thee afternoon!

And, I have my trusty companion by my side, my laptop.  It is helping me to figure out exactly what needs to happen between now and Thursday night so that I can leave for the airport at 4:30 in the morning on Friday.  With my kids all ready for a week without me.  With my house running smoothly and organized and clean.  With a schedule for the kids and plans for their routines that I usually do.  With my dossier complete and ready and packed safely with me.  With everything that I need for a week of 'business' visiting in Ukraine.  With things for "Monroe" just in case I get to meet him.  With gifts and supplies for the orphanages and the special needs schools that we'll be visiting.  With gifts for the people that will be helping us along the way.  With the technology we need to be able to keep up and share all the neat things we're doing there with you all back home.  With bills paid, lunches prepaid, diapers restocked, refrigerator full, and bank account accessible.  With my passport (which I haven't packed) and that sort of important stuff.  And with a lot of prayers behind me and ahead of me and right there with me.  And with my family, and the families and children that we'll be interacting along the way and when we get there.

Whew... back to my list...

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OK, that message that I posted an hour or so ago that my mother claims is in adoption code LOL says that I needed one more piece of paper-- immigration approval-- for my dossier (paperwork for the adoption) to be complete so I can drive it all to Tallahassee for apostilles (state level seal that says the notaries are real).  And... I just called USCIS (immigration) and they said... we were approved on Septmber 11th!!  That means that this magical last important piece of our dossier should be in the mail RIGHT NOW and we should have it in our hands before I leave!


This is 7 weeks since we committed to adopting Monroe.  That alone says that it is GOD that has done it all.  Amazing and wonderful, what a good God we serve!

Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

Please Pray!

Since I have just TWO MORE DAYS after today before leaving for Ukraine... and one of those days I'll be making the 10 hour round trip run to the capital to apostille my dossier... I have just ONE DAY to receive my 171H in order for it to come with me on this trip.

Not impossible, with God, but highly unlikely...  I haven't heard back from USCIS in a week, so I'm not sure what the status of our case is.  I put in two phone calls and am hoping today's will be returned!

PLEASE PRAY!  Not only will this make our dossier complete, but receiving it today will save approximately $300 and about 2 weeks of time!  Considering "Monroe" is over 5 and still at the baby house, time is a precious commodity.

(And, we're just ready to go get him and bring him home! :) ).


Join our Vacation Give-Away! CLICK HERE

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The long awaited Pictures! :)

Today we’re celebrating James’ 4th Birthday (August 14th, but he was sick and hospitalized just after…), Lynae’s 1st Birthday (September 9th), Micah’s 4th Birthday (September 10th), and James’ ADOPTION! :)
Here are the pictures of our adoption day for James!
The Judge with us and James!
Our whole family including Mike’s mom as well as James’ Foster mom, one of his night nurses since he was just a few months old, and his social worker.
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We weren’t sure how he would react to seeing “Mama Ruth” after about 3 months without seeing her… but if that smile is ANY indication… he was a happy little guy!  He giggled the entire time we did pictures.  And then? He came right back to Mommy.  We are so glad that he did well with us all together because we look forward to getting together regularly in the future! (she was out of state, that’s why there was no contact for so long!)
And a video that’s been waiting for such a day as this… Our first 4 months with James! (adoption day pic’s didn’t get added in yet, but I couldn’t wait to share! :)  )

Friday, September 10, 2010

Micah is FOUR!

Wow, how time really passes by quickly!
When I first laid eyes on you I couldn’t believe what a little BABY you were at 16 months old!  At just 11 pounds you were the size of a 3 month old in every way.  When the nurses handed you to me I felt like I was looking into the eyes of a newborn, and it was hard to even fathom that you had over a year’s worth of life behind those sleepy eyes.
Visiting with you at the orphanage was such a unique experience.  You wanted to be HELD, you waned to be cuddled, and yet you didn’t respond to anything positively.  It was tough but sweet at the same time.  Just as a newborn has so many needs but no smiled responses, you were in that phase for a while before we began to see your sweet personality come out.
I remember laying on the floor in the playroom with you on your belly across from me and we both just laid and stared into each other’s eyes as yours blinked to fight back sleep.  I’d wrap you in the sling and cuddle you during our entire visit some days and you thrived on just being close.  And you LOVED to snuggle with your daddy and feel the security of his arms.
When I finally brought you out of the orphanage with Emma I wondered what plans God had.  I was tired and you did nothing but cry.  Your stomach was upset, you wouldn’t eat anything for me and I was alone with the two of you.  God heard my calls and still you cried for days on end.  I wondered whether you would ever smile or calm down.
Now I look back and laugh.  Not because those days and those feelings weren’t real and valid, but because you are one of the happiest and most smiley little boys that I know!  You light up the room with your sweet grin and your easy laugh!  You have overcome so much in the last 2 1/2 years, and though we weren’t with you for the first months of your life, we joyfully celebrate your birthday, your life, and the gift you are to our family.
On the day you were born we were at a fundraiser to help cover the costs of some of Brianna’s surgeries.  We have so many photos of that day’s joyful event, and it wasn’t until you had been in our home for several months that I realized that it was that same day that you were born half a world away.  Our celebration was likely the same time as your birth parents’ realization of fears…  Our joy about our baby girl with Down syndrome coincided with the shattered dreams of parents our same ages that looked into the face of their much anticipated son and saw that he would not be accepted in their society.
I don’t know what your parents’ reasoning was for going home without their new baby boy, but I imagine that a great part of it was fear, lack of education, and a huge lack of support to raise you. 
In just one week, I’m going back to your birth country for the first time since bringing you home.  The sole purpose of our visit there is to help share you, and Emma, and Brianna, and James… with the parents there that went against all those things and brought their babies home.  And while we’re there… we’ll visit a maternity hospital.  One just an hour away from where you were born.  One where we hope that a mother may be impacted and decide that she, too, will accept the gift of a child with Down syndrome because of the education, support, and counsel from the doctors and nurses there.
We are so blessed to call you son. And though you experienced so much before God brought us together, we are so glad to have you now!  God has used you and Emma to stir so many hearts, and through your adoption to bring forth so many other adoptions and to help so many kids come home since God used you to stir my own heart into working with Reece’s Rainbow.
In just 2 1/2 years since I first met you, you sure have changed my world and my life for the better.  I love you Micah Daniel Cornish, and I’m proud to be your mommy!  Happy Birthday!
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