Saturday, September 21, 2013


This post is part two of our adoption story in country. You can read part one HERE

"And then...they brought us our son."

I will refer to our boy as "N" for the time being.

As we sat waiting in an entrance way, with our luggage stacked by the door, a nanny appeared with a little, 3 year old, grinning, blue-eyed, ball of energy! It is difficult to describe the thoughts and emotions swirling through me at that moment. There were other people there as it is the waiting area for the treatment side of the facility as well. The adults in the room were all smiles, and they were perfectly happy to let their children interact with N. 

N's caretakers kept trying to introduce us as "Mama" and "Papa," but N was too busy exploring to care. We had very few things accessible from our luggage, but I pulled out a container of bubbles. I was sure he'd be fascinated with them, but N just thought I was crazy. Why would he sit still and look at soap bubbles when there was a suitcase there? He didn't much care what was *IN* the suitcase as much as he enjoyed playing with the zippers. I just watched and chuckled as he would unzip and zip the suitcase and the outside pocket, over and over again. We grabbed a ball from the ball pit, and he discovered the hilariously fun game of, "throw the ball and watch Daddy go get it!" 

It wasn't long before they had to take him away for lunch. He didn't want to leave, but we promised to be back. We dropped off our luggage at our apartment, ate lunch and bought some bananas, cookies and juice to bring to the afternoon visit. When we got back to the orphanage (after only getting slightly lost), we were able to take N outside to play. That was where we discovered the slide. I wasn't entirely sure he could climb the stairs with his cp, so I helped him up. Each time he got settled on a step, I would say, "step" and he would step again. Then, he started repeating after me, "step! step!" and taking steps each time. I loved it. Daddy was catching him at the end. It was a pretty fast little slide and I worried that he would be scared, but he loved it and kept coming back to do it over and over again. 

We fed him the banana, and a couple little cookies, and gave him a juice box. He knew was juice was, but has clearly never had it in a box with a straw. Because N has a type of cerebral palsy, it was hard for him to drink the juice, but he sure gave it his best effort. We enjoyed our visit with him, and I began to feel an enormous calm about the situation. 

Now, for the way this all came about. 

Little N was born in a certain country that has recently banned adoptions by Americans. His parents, however, were not citizens of that country. When he was refused at the hospital, he entered a baby house there. In Eastern Europe, a person's citizenship is not so much based on where they are born, but on the parents' citizenship. There is also a law that states that citizens of other countries cannot be kept in the orphanages of other countries. And so, last year, all the paperwork was completed and little N was brought to this country and this orphanage. I do not know if his parents were from this region, or if he simply went where there was room. But either way, little N was given a chance. Had he remained in the other country, it would have been impossible for him to be adopted. In the year since he has been here, one domestic family came to see him, but could not accept his cp. And then, we came, specifically looking for a child with cp, and through the most excruciating, round-about process, ended up here. No advocacy groups come here. Most kids with special needs get foster families here...but certain disabilities are still very hard to place. The ones people can see with their eyes are the hardest. And so, little N waited. I never could have imagined how this process would unfold, but God knew. 

We attend a small branch of our church here, with English speaking missionaries. Last Sunday, a woman introduced herself, and told us that years ago, she placed her grandson for adoption because she could not care for him properly. He was adopted by an American family of our faith. He is now an adult, and is coming back here to serve a two year mission. She was so very proud, and so thankful for his family. She said the same family also adopted another boy who had problems with his legs. His future was pretty grim in this country, but after being adopted, he received two surgeries and is now an impressive hockey player! It's stories like this, and more importantly, the people sharing them, that have stirred my heart and strengthened my faith beyond what I could have imagined. 

Where I once felt anguish, I now feel hope....and joy. I cannot publicly show N's face until after court, but this one sums it all up. This was the first time I held out my arms and said, "N, hug Mama?" He thought about it a second, smiled, and ran into my arms. I am so thankful that my husband took this picture. It is my favorite. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013


This post is the hardest one to write. We arrived in Eastern Europe on August 19th, full of excitement and anticipation. We were just a few days away from meeting our little girl. We have her bed set up with polka dot sheets and a fluffy, soft, purple blanket. Her picture hangs above our 5 year old's bunk bed so that she can see her and pray for her every night. Everything we have worked the last year for has finally arrived.

And all flipped upside down. 

No matter how hard I tried, I could not find peace that lasted. We met Carolina. We had several visits with her at her facility. She is incredibly strong, determined, and physically well. She has beautiful, dark hair, olive skin, and dark brown eyes. We discovered her absolute love affair with candy...but not chocolate. Carolina is a white chocolate kind of gal. We began to make all the plans in our minds as to what kind of care she would need and what type of schooling would be best. And then we were finally left mostly alone with Carolina and were able to see the extent of her institutional behaviors. We know why she has them. We know that living in an environment with no education or nurturing is incredibly detrimental to a child's development. We know that she has had to learn survival skills as a necessity. We know all these things. 

And we know what life will be like for her for a long time to come.

And we thought we were prepared....and perhaps WE (my husband and I) were.

But our younger kids are not. 

 I knew if we continued on, we could help her....and I desperately want to help her. Oh the potential in that beautiful girl! She deserves a safe, happy, healthy home.  

But so do my daughters, M and E.  

My heart was ripped in half.

My husband and I sought out the missionaries from our church and we sat and discussed our situation with them. They were so supportive and caring. We prayed and prayed. For almost 24 hours, I cried and prayed, never leaving the bedroom of our apartment. Finally, my husband said, "If you had seen our videos before we committed, would we have committed to her?" The answer came quickly and surprised even me. "No, because I would have known she was too big and too rough for the girls." He looked at me and said, "I think you have your answer." I realized I had been so torn because I was fighting the promptings God was already giving me. I wanted an answer like my dear friend, Lisa, received HERE. I wanted the super moving spiritual experience.....basically, I wanted to tell God what to do. How rebellious and proud of me!

I felt the prompting telling me that my part in this plan was to bring an update so Carolina's family could see her and know she is theirs. I felt it...but Lord, I PROMISED to go get her! How can I do this? How can I leave her? How can I explain this to all the people who helped us get here? What a failure I am! I was ashamed.

I have no words to describe the pain and sorrow I felt as I realized that I couldn't do it all. I couldn't provide everything this precious child needed without sacrificing the safety and well-being of my other children. But HOW could I walk away? I was there. I met her. I saw her great potential, and I LOVE HER.

But I love her too much to just bring her home and disrupt. I love her and my other four kids too much to bring her in as a daughter and sister, with the intention to send her away. This is not pointing fingers at those who have had to disrupt their adoptions, but it isn't something one should plan to do, and has far reaching effects. 

We told our facilitator our decision and we were on a bus the next morning back to the capital city. Immediately, we were told some brief information about a couple of children that met the criteria of our home study. "I don't care." I thought to myself. The pain was so fresh, so raw. My heart could not feel any joy. Then the messages started coming in....the dreaded explanations. What will people think of me? I know I did not choose what some people would have, and there were some voices of harshness over it. But mercifully, I received an overwhelming amount of messages of support, most of which came from the people I would have expected to be upset. One by one, messages kept coming in, "I understand. No judgement here." These wonderful mamas, many of whom have children with heartbreaking issues, took time out of their days to show support to me. They knew how powerful my grief was. They understood the conflicting feelings. Most of all, they knew that I needed to be uplifted at just those moments. They knew how to help me shoulder this when all I wanted to do was hide, cry, and run home. 

I stayed in a daze for a while. I didn't really care about much. I missed my kids and considered running to the airport and jumping on the first plane home. I wanted to pretend I didn't know about this country and the orphans who wait behind closed doors and iron gates. 

And then it happened. It was just a flicker as I walked down the street in the rain. As I looked up at a sign that I couldn't read, I saw in my mind, a boy's face. It was the strangest thing, as I wasn't thinking of children at all. My facilitator had briefly shown us a couple of cell phone pics of some kids she knew or knew of from friends that might meet our home study criteria. I looked at them just to be polite. I'd just flown across the world for a girl I was SURE would be my daughter...and look where I was.

Why on earth would this kid's face come to my mind? We were still wanting a girl, if we could find a child at all. We got a call about two days later saying we had an appointment to go look at files and select a new referral. How the heck am I supposed to do that? 

A one hour appointment. A blind referral. This is so far out of my comfort zone, I cannot even begin to describe it. 

We went in to the office. I felt numb inside. My husband was my rock, assuring me we would know what we were supposed to do. They began to place files in front of me. We ended up with about fifteen files. The first one was the little boy I had seen in my mind. We read his file. "Uh-huh." was all I could manage to say. We read through the rest of them. We pulled out children with secondary needs that were beyond our abilities, ones who really didn't meet our home study criteria, and we ended up down to two. Both were boys. But I was prepared for a girl.... "This is your new reality." I heard in my mind.  O.k. we will have a new son. One boy I recognized from Reece's Rainbow, and I knew he had a family coming for him, but they read his information to me anyway. I began to feel uneasy about some of the issues there with siblings, and quick as a blink, my dear husband picked up the file of the other boy and said, "That settles that."
And just like that, we had accepted his referral. The psychologist who shows the files said, "I knew he was the one when you first walked in here." Apparently, there was a certain look on my face that I was not even aware of when that first file was placed in front of me. It's the little, they aren't little things, they are simple things, but they are
great big mercies and reminders of my Father in Heaven's love for me. He is mindful of my sorrow. He knows how hard that trip was. He knew I needed the decision to be obvious, because He knew I was doubting myself and my ability to hear His voice. 

Thirty six hours later, we were on a bus. We didn't know what to expect as we headed to a new region that doesn't process many international adoptions. But one thing had disappeared...fear. I felt a peace beyond understanding. This perplexed my brain as I was now completely out of my comfort zone, my plans had changed (and I do not like it when plans change), and I had no idea what was about to happen. I should have been a wreck, but instead, I was completely calm. When we arrived at the orphanage, my defenses went up....I can't take that heartbreak again. I was rather awkward and spent a lot of time looking like a deer in the headlights. I listened intently as the doctor read me the medical information. I nodded, put on my best brave face, and then.....they brought us our son.

To be continued.......

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hello Everyone!
I know I am a terrible blogger. I do not have any updates on Carolina, and I know that is what most people want. I hope to be able to blog about our trip while I am there.

Here at at home, things are chaotic as we prepare to travel, but I am enjoying these last few days with the kids before I leave. M is very excited for her new sister, but says she will really miss Mommy.  E is excited to be staying with Grandma, but she says, "I will talk to you on my pink cell phone. But I need minutes!" Have I mentioned E is not quite 3? And the pink cell phone is a TOY, but she is certain it would work if I bought some minutes for it. I am going to miss that sweet, spunky red head.  R is excited to go back to public school, and is thrilled to be staying with Grandma and Grandpa. A is pretty happy and relaxed about all of this. Not much really worries A.

Ammon and I are beyond excited to finally meet our new daughter and, God willing, be named her parents. We feel incredibly humbled and blessed by all those who have prayed for us, donated to us, guided us along the process, shared experiences of their adoptions, shared with us about raising post-institutionalized children, and all those who have encouraged us along the way. I tried counting up all the people who have helped us along, so I could recognize them here. That post may come later, but for now, there are too many to name without leaving out many. We will never know many of the people who have helped us, as they asked to remain anonymous. God knows who you are though, and I pray He blesses you for your generosity and humility. I am very emotional as we embark on this stage of the journey. This has been a humbling and amazing experience so far. I wish there were words to express the depths of my gratitude, but "Thank You," is all I can say.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We have a travel date!

That's right, my devoted followers, we FINALLY have a date to travel to our sweet girl's country! We will be there on August 20th! That's 32 days! Wow!  We are beyond excited. We are still lacking about $4000 for airfare, so if anyone feels like bumping our FSP, we would be most grateful. 

Now that we are getting so close, I promise to update the blog more often. However, I thought today I would share some pictures of our family and life. 

Our garage sale to raise adoption funds....

The kids helped out and had a great time....even when it rained.
This basket was the source of hours of entertainment.
A decided to see if he could bake a potato. It took all day, but it ALMOST got done. Gotta love "Beakman's World" on Netflix...tons of fun ideas.

A loves to cook. This is a cheesecake we made to take to dinner at my parents' house. Delicious.
The drive in Root Beer Stand....with baby size mugs!
Nothing like a frosty mug of root beer.
Tree house picnic
More tree house fun

Park fun
Creek fun
13 school years between each of us. This is my baby sister's graduation.
E with Aunt Katie...too cute not to share!
E and M at an historic farm park
Glow necklaces at the drive-in movie 
Dance revue...M is shy....
No, she's really not!
R's dance revue costume...boys can take dance too.
Totally psyched and ready to dance!
Daddy and his Father's Day crown, made by R


We can hardly wait to meet Sweet Girl and bring her home to be a part of our family. There is no limit to what she can accomplish. She just needs to be given a chance. 

Blessings from our family to yours,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Good News!

O.k. now that I have everyone's hopes up, sorry, we do not have our travel dates yet. HOWEVER, we did find out that we cleared Interpol....meaning we are not international criminals. We are waiting for the appointment scheduling person to issue us a date, which is likely to be the end of July or beginning of August. While I hate that it is taking so long, I am thankful for the extra time to prepare and to hopefully raise the needed funds for our airfare.

We are, as of today. trying to raise $3900. That is a huge number, but in the scheme of an adoption, it is very doable. We have had a very sweet lady set up an auction for us HERE  If you could help by bidding, we would be thrilled. But if you can't bid, we still need prayers. Always we need prayers. Also, if anyone reading would be willing to share our need on their blogs or social media sites, we would be most grateful. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following our story, praying, sharing, encouraging and putting up with my rants and rambles.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crunch time!

Greetings Blog Followers! I apologize for the lack of updates, but we haven't had many updates ourselves. The big wait is very hard, but we are filling our time with summer backyard fun, gardening, and dance revue for R and M. 


We should be hearing our travel dates sometime within the next 2 weeks! Eeek! I am so excited I can barely contain it. On one hand, it feels like the day will never come, but on the other, I know it will be here quickly and there is a lot to do before then. 

I am thrilled to announce that a wonderful orphan advocate has put together another auction for us on Facebook. It begins tomorrow, so please feel free to come check it out HERE  

We are very close to being funded. We weren't anticipating summer airfare, but here we are, so airfare will be almost double what we had originally planned. So, what is the magic number? Well, take a look over on the right hand side and you can see our thermometer that shows how much we have, and how much we still need to reach our goal. As of today, we need. $4,708  That is a LOT of money, I know. But I KNOW we can reach that goal a little bit at a time. If you feel led to help us by donating to our FSP we would be most grateful. And in case anyone is wondering, I will not be leaving the orphan scene once Carolina is home. We intend to pay it forward and help as many others as we possibly can, because we have been there. It's hard to ask (o.k beg) for money. But I know this child is worth the blow to my pride. I would do it for any of my other children, if needed, and so I will beg for Carolina's ransom. Will you help? Will you share? Will you pray? 

Thank you. You are helping to bear a very heavy burden. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Going once...going twice...

It's auction time again! Come help us pass the wait by bidding on some great items!

We have many more items on the page just ready for bidding! 

And for those in Germany.......we have a very special offer. My friend, Talita, of Talita Springer Photography
has offered some portrait sessions for our cause. This is a separate auction as it is for people in GERMANY ONLY. Those local to the Ramstein area can bid on these lovely packages. Talita has a wonderful eye. Her work is always incredible. Here are some samples for your enjoyment.

These are the sessions she is offering for bidding. Great opportunity to get a great deal and help bring our Carolina home. Talita's sessions always book up quickly because she is great at her job. I am really excited about this opportunity!

We are nearing the finish line. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

While We Wait...

Hello again blog followers! Today we got word that our dossier has been submitted in Carolina's country. We had to wait an extra week due to the back up from local holidays. We are thrilled to know that part is done, but we are growing impatient as it appears travel will not be until July or August. That is very disheartening as it means I will miss M's first day of kindergarten. As a mom, that is a hard thing. I spoke to her today, and asked if she would like Grandma to take her or start late and have me take her. She didn't hesitate. "Grandma!" she said. Yes, my little girl is not so little anymore and she is ready to rush off to school. I am relieved to know that she will be happy and excited for school, even if I am not home yet. And in the eternal scheme of things, there are SO MANY worse things than missing the first day of kindergarten. I'll have many more days this year to make up for it!

The only upside to such a long wait, is that now we have time for more fundraising, and hopefully, for tickets to go down in price. Hey, I can dream.

A lovely friend has put together an auction for us HERE  The bidding will begin at midnight Pacific time on June 1st and run until midnight Pacific time on June 10th.  There are some lovely items in this auction. I am very excited about it!

If any of my followers would be willing to re-blog about our auction and need, and/or share on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, I would be most grateful. Please also remember us and our sweet girl in your prayers. We are so close. So very close to meeting our girl and bringing her home forever. Thank you all for following our journey. It's wonderful to know that people care and are cheering us on and lifting us up throughout this process.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Adventures with Apostilles

Some of my readers who follow me on Facebook have a pretty good idea as to what our life is really like. Yeah, it's pretty wild around here. With four strong-willed children, life is never dull. But some days, it is downright chaotic. A week ago, I ventured out with all of our kids to get the apostilles on our dossier so it could be mailed to Carolina's country. Well, one of the documents was a background check, which had to be county certified in the county where it was notarized. So, off to the first city. After about an hour's drive in torrential rain, we arrived in the quaint little town. The court house was easy to find and was a standing memorial to days gone by, with its stately stone architecture, huge staircases, and dark wood galore. Of course, in buildings such as this, everything echoes. I brought four kids. Yeah. Everyone knew we were there. Luckily, the trip was short, even with stopping for bathroom breaks, we were in and out within 20 minutes. But oh the story gets better. This quaint little town has these stone slabs along the sidewalks, presumably to preserve the old fashioned heritage, but they make the sidewalk flood. Most of my kids avoided the water or were wearing boots, but my two year old ran right through it, soaking her shoes. Well...we can't have wet feet now can we? So, she took off the shoes when we got into the van. No big deal. We are on our way to the state capital to get those apostilles.

We arrive in the city. By this time, it is about 3:30pm on a Friday. We find the building and swing around for a place to park on the right side of the street. We pull up to a meter. Said meter has a warning on it that at 4pm, this entire area becomes a tow away zone. Oh dear. We can make it! We begin briskly walking to the building we need. It is still raining. The sidewalk is closed. Yes, really. They closed the sidewalk. I can't figure out why. Some kind of construction but whatever it was, it was not at a stage where the sidewalk really needed to be closed. So our options are to try and go around through a building, or we can cross a six lane road, walk down that sidewalk past our building, cross at the next light and back track to where we need to be. We chose the building. We get to the building we need, and have to sign in....including little stickers on the kids. Alrighty we go. We get to the counter at the Secretary of State's office and begin pulling out the papers for apostilles. There were a lot of them. And then I saw it. One document...the employment letter. The notary who signed that was not commissioned in the county where she works, but up here in the capital city. Oh no. We need this dossier to be mailed. The last thing I want to do is repeat this trip.
"Where is the county court house for this county? It has to be close."  
"Here are the directions, Ma'am." 
"Alright, I am going to go get this authenticated and I will be back for all these documents."  ( As I hand them over 30 documents which need apostilled.)

Back out of the building we go, dropping my visitor's pass with the desk clerk on my way. Back down the sidewalk....ugh, that dumb closed spot! Come on kids, we're just going through it! Great. The van is in sight. Let's get in and buckle up and head to the court house. But little E had other plans as she sat herself down on the wet sidewalk, refusing to go another step. I manage to haul her to the van and put her in on the passenger side. I then went over and opened the door by her seat so I could buckle her in the seat....only to find her bouncing around the back of the van. E was bored and done. I was standing with my rear out in traffic in what was now becoming a tow away zone. I was not amused by this point and I regret to say I was less than patient. With some help from A, we got her in the seat and buckled. Then we headed over to the court house. It wasn't really all that far, but by now, all meters were tow away zones and we needed to find a lot or garage. Finally, we found one, circled back to park in it and began unloading from the van. E at this point refused to wear her wet shoes again and so A offered to piggy-back her. This was a great novelty for her, and so she pleasantly went along. The kids have learned a lot of things in all of this, one being proper use of cross-walks. They were champs. M held onto my hand and R waited for the signals and ran along side me. Into the court house we walked. As with all court houses these days, we had to go through a metal detector. My kids are pros at this by now and ran on through (E in bare feet) while I put my purse on the belt to be x-rayed. The office we needed was 20 feet in front of us...we can make it. And then, the officer says to R,
"What do you have there?"
"A spy toy."
"Wow! That is neat. Do you want to see your toy on the xray?"
"O.k. put it in one of the bowls and send it through. Now, look. It's just a plastic toy. But here's your mom's purse." 
"Oh cool!"
"Can you tell what all this is?"
A few things are pointed out, and we thank the young officer, who by the way, looked just like McNab from the show, "Psych"

Now, into the office we scurry...right up to the counter. The authentication takes about a minute. While we are there though, I ask for directions to a garage near the Secretary of State building so we don't waste valuable time looking. It's now 4:30pm. She gives an address, which I type into my phone's GPS and we are off again. Back to the garage, back to the van, load up, seat belts (no one fights this time, they are engrossed in our race against the clock). We make it to the garage without issues and it is now about a block and a half walk to the building we need. A does the piggy back thing again and M holds my hand while R again runs along side. We make it to the building. It is 4:45pm.  We now get the stack of apostilled documents back and I go through them while they get me the one for the newly authenticated document and write out my receipt. My kids were sitting in chairs behind me and I was quite focused on these papers, but then I hear it...SQEAK! SQUEAKY SQUEAK! SQUEEEEEEEEK! Yes, my son, R is squeaking his wet shoes on the floor. Now, in all reality this is not a big deal considering our rainy day adventure, but the man behind the desk was just in shock. How dare kids make noise! I'm tellin' ya. I tell him to stop now. He does it one last time to annoy me. I inform him his Nintendo DS is more squeaking. Finally, we head out again, saying goodbye to the security guard who was at this door, and head back into the rain. Through crowds of people getting off work, clutching my daughter in one hand, and my dossier in the other, we make our way back to the garage. We load up once more, and pull out into 5pm rush hour traffic.

By this time I look awful. My newly chopped short hair is wet as much from sweat as it is from rain and sticking up and out in all directions. My make up is basically gone, and I am tired. We made it out of the city with only one short delay for merging traffic. By this point E is sacked out in her car seat and the others are not far behind, so it is very quiet. And then dear hubby calls....
"Hey, I talked to our friends and we are going to see the 6:30pm showing of Iron Man 3!"
Oh, and the city we were going to? About 30 minutes from our the opposite direction. And the other couple already has tickets. One of their teens will be babysitting our kids. This is very welcome, but there is NO way I can get home and then over to the theater by
Thankfully, the next call I received said that we would instead see the 7:45 3D.
Alright. That I can do. We got the kids home and fed and settled with the sitter, and back out we still looking about the same as when we left the capital city. Oh well. I am not out to impress anyone. My dinner ended up being a coke and some not so great pre-packaged nachos (Why do theaters do that? The old style was much tastier.) Anyhow, I really enjoyed the movie and was very glad we went. It was a very long day, but we accomplished what needed done.

Our dossier was mailed and arrived yesterday in our sweet girl's country. And now, we wait....and fundraise like crazy because we were not anticipating the summer airfare. We should be headed to Eastern Europe in about six weeks to meet our girl and bring her home. Six feels like forever on one hand, but considering the amount of prep work that needs done here, I know it will be here before we know it. We would appreciate any help with our upcoming auction and with sharing our cause. We know the need is great and so many people are traveling this summer. We are grateful for any and all help be it financial, logistical or prayers. We are humbled and awed by it all.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One celebration wasn't enough for today...

I had to come on here right now, because I just found out that Frank has a family!!!!! You can read about them HERE but they are also adopting another sweet boy who was about to age out. What an amazing family! I am so thankful that this young man will now be called, "son."  What a glorious end to the day!


Hello everyone! First off, I must announce that sweet Vytas has a family coming for him! YAY!!! So thrilled for him and his future family!

I am still praying for Frank to find his family, but with a $12,000 grant, perhaps someone will see him and take the leap. He isn't in danger of aging out yet, but is far from a baby or toddler....this is one of the hardest age ranges to place. But I am confident that there is a family out there somewhere who is just right for this great young man.

And a little update on our progress....Yesterday, we received our letter from USCIS. We are APPROVED! That was our final document for our dossier, so we will be going down tomorrow morning for our county authentications and possibly heading over for apostilles.

We are having a garage sale this weekend at a friend's house. It is the first official "garage sale weekend" for one of the local towns, so we are hoping that the bargain hunters are out in full force. The kids are selling baked goods and possibly snow cones at the sale as well. They are very excited about that.

I have been humbled and completely amazed at all the donations people have brought by for the sale. We have something for everyone. I have no idea how much we will make, but I do know that we have amazing family and friends. Our church family has been extraordinary in all of this. We are blessed to have one other family with adopted special needs children and the entire congregation has fallen in love with them. They are sweet kids and they are absolutely thriving. Everyone is excited to meet our Carolina and watch her blossom and grow. For that, I am eternally grateful. I could not ask for kinder, more Christ-like people in our lives. We are blessed beyond measure.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bittersweet...New Hope For The Ones Who Wait

Last week, it became clear that the ban on American adoptions from Russia would remain in place for the foreseeable future. So many families are hurting over this decision and even more children will never know the love of a family. It is a very hard time for the families who had committed to children, and in many cases met them, before being told they would never get to bring them home. My heart and prayers go out to these grieving families and children.

As many of you are aware, Reece's Rainbow provides grant funds for orphans with special needs. Many of the waiting children in Russia had sizable grants, but no committed family. This week, staff of Reece's Rainbow has started the tedious and time consuming process of reallocating the money from the Russian waiting children, to waiting children in other countries. Out of the ashes of a terrible loss, comes New Hope. Many children are now receiving significant grants that will hopefully help families to feel confident in stepping out to claim them as sons and daughters. 

Here is one of my very favorite New Hope recipients. Please allow me to introduce you to Frank.

Frank wants a family. He is very tiny, but he is almost 13 years old. He has a mild mental delay and was living in a boarding house when, for reasons unknown, he was transferred to a level IV adult mental institution. This boy is smart, kind, has very good language skills and just needs out of there. Frank received a New Hope grant from Reece's Rainbow and now has nearly $12,000 in his adoption grant. Please, if you are considering a son...or maybe adding one...please consider Frank. There are many photos and videos of him available and I can even put you in touch with someone who saw him for 7 weeks last year while adopting their boy. Please share Frank far and wide so his family can find him.

If a family is already headed to his country for an adoption, Frank's grant would more than cover the fees for adding him. If a family is starting from scratch, his adoption is around 2/3 covered and he as several advocates (myself included) who will happily help out with the remaining funds. Please help us find a family for Frank.

Next we have sweet little Vytas

Vytas is a darling boy who turned 5 this month. He is very small due to having Down Syndrome and being in an orphanage, but he would thrive in a family where he can get therapies and interventions. Vytas also has a couple great advocates pulling for him over at Hope for Vytas
Vytas' grant currently has over $10,600! What a blessing to his future family!

And Brandi

Look at that happy smile and sweet pigtails! Brandi is 5 years old and has Cerebral Palsy and microcephaly (smaller head size). She is described as "physically active" and her profile even has a picture of her enjoying time on the piano. Such a gorgeous little girl!
Brandi should be getting ready for kindergarten, not a mental institution. 
Brandi received New Hope funds and her adoption grant now has over $10,600! 

There are more to come later, but for now, I would love it if my followers would consider praying for these children to find families. Please share them on your own blogs and social media sites. It was through a Reece's Rainbow posting on Facebook that I first started scrolling through pictures of orphans. It was there that I saw our sweet Carolina's face. It was reading the blogs of other adoptive parents and advocates that my heart was completely broken and changed for these kids. It was people sharing their experiences and their fundraising ideas that we finally gained the confidence to step out and BE one of those families. 

Our little one will soon know that she has a Mama and Daddy who love her. 2 years ago, I never would have thought we would be doing this now. You just never know who will see one of your advocacy posts and realize they are seeing their child. So many people loved Carolina before I ever saw her. Take it from me, there is a special place in a Mama's heart for those who helped advocate for her child. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Behind The Scenes

Many things are going on behind the scenes in our adoption. USCIS is processing our fingerprints. The state of Ohio is *very slowly* processing our request for notarized copies of our background checks. We have a few documents to get redone, but that should happen by next week. All of these updates are pretty boring, but something else happened this week that has touched me deeply.
As everyone by now knows, I am having a Facebook auction to help raise the rest of our funds.

A wonderful woman in my life bid $100 for a hairbow! Why? Because she wants Carolina home where she is already loved. Talk about unexpected..and deeply humbling.

And as if that weren't amazing enough, I was also given several items to auction from a woman at church. What is so fantastic about that? Well, I'll tell you. This woman is a widow living on a very modest income. Twice now, she has gone through her small home and rounded up items to add to my auctions. When I told her she really did not have to do that, she simply replied,"But I want to help you and I don't have any money."
I don't know how to explain how humbled and grateful I am. I don't know the stories behind all the donations we receive, but I am thankful beyond words. I am truly reminded of the "Widow's mite." I am witnessing people give out of the love in their hearts for us and Carolina, but most importantly, these wonderful people are giving out of a desire to be like the Savior. To help raise the ransom for one of His precious children. I am completely overcome with love and gratitude. Completely overcome...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guess What?

I didn't have many blog readers when I wrote This Post about sweet Kurt. I fell in love with this sweet boy's face and I was certain he'd be the one that God directed us to adopt...but the call came for Carolina. I have spent the last several months trying to figure out if there was any way we could add him to our adoption, but there just is not. He is not near our daughter. And so, I have prayed and hoped and shared his face in hopes that he would find his family. Well....Kurt HAS BEEN FOUND!  His Mama saw his face during the Forty to Forever campaign and realized she was seeing her son. You can read about them and help them along in their journey by clicking HERE


My heart is lightened and I am rejoicing with the Biggs Family and MANY others that sweet Kurt will be going HOME instead of an internat or an institution. The possibilities for Kurt are endless. This will not be the last you hear of Kurt and his family on here...I hope to have something put together soon to help them out...stay tuned! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

We are getting so close...Auction time again!

Hello loyal blog readers! It is April and we hope to travel in June to bring Carolina home forever! We are so close to being funded, but airfare is higher in the summer. We have an auction over at Caring for Carolina that will run for the next 8 days. We are still accepting donations for the auction as well. Please check out our thermometer over on the right hand margin of this page to see how close we are! Thank you all for being part of our journey!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Sweet Girl!

Do you get to celebrate Easter in your facility? I hope so. I hope there is some extra attention, maybe a treat or two, but most of all, I hope you hear the story of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. I hope you are not saddened by this. I hope you know how much your Lord and Savior loves you. As I prepare to speak in church tomorrow on "What Jesus Christ Thinks of Me," I hope that you feel His love for YOU. That, my dear child, is the greatest gift you could ever receive.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will gather with our extended family and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Of course, there will be plenty of food and and Easter Egg hunt put on by great-grandma too! And while I will bask in the joy of hearing my 4 children sing in church, and see them gathering eggs full of goodies, part of my heart will be with our sweet girl in an orphanage many miles away.

We're coming, precious girl. You are not lost, or forgotten.

Many Easter blessings to all my blog readers. Knowing you're out there, supportive of our efforts, is more comforting and motivating than you will ever know.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Moving right along!

Today we received our USCIS appointment! We will be headed there next week to do our fingerprints and then it is back to waiting. Once that approval gets here, we will be sending our entire dossier to our little girl's country and we will be waiting for travel dates! We are getting so very close!

We will be starting another auction on Monday, April 1 over at Caring for Carolina  If you or anyone you know would be willing to donate any items, please contact me via email or through the page. We are so close to being funded. I am hoping for a successful auction to help boost us a little closer to our goal.

We are very appreciative of all of your support and prayers. This has been a crazy journey, and it's not over yet. It helps to know there are so many people all over the world who have taken interest in our girl and our story. We feel honored to soon become Carolina's legal parents and to welcome her into our home and family. Every child deserves a family.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Today I sent out a hefty envelope to USCIS! This means sometime next week (I hope) we will be getting our appointment for our fingerprints. Once those are done, we will be anxiously awaiting our USCIS approval, (aka the Golden Ticket) so we can send our dossier to Carolina's country!
We are incredibly excited to be getting closer to getting our little girl home!

As a reminder, we are still trying to meet our matching grant by Sunday, March 17. We are selling our famous buckeye candies in spring wrappers along with chocolate/peanut butter eggs (also available without peanut butter). Both are available in white or milk chocolate. $10/dozen or $5/half dozen plus $5.50 to ship (up to 2 dozen per box) if you are in the continental United States outside of our local area. Come on over to Caring for Carolina or comment here! Payment can be via PayPal or our FSP. Thank you all for continuing to support us in our journey!