Thursday, August 7, 2014

1 week down... 4-5 to go!

We have been officially registered with the SDA for one week now! :) what that means... We submitted our paperwork to the SDA in Ukraine last Thursday and they have been averaging 5-6 weeks from submission till SDA appointment. SO with a week to 10 days notice of appointment date we should be hearing something in around a month and be on a plane Ukraine bound shortly there after!!!! We are getting SOOO excited and life is starting to revolve around what we need to do BEFORE we leave and what is going to happen when we are gone and then the events that are marked 'after we return' ! :)) I feel frantic like I need to be scrambling around like a chicken with her head cut off, but beings I don't do the all organized and ducks in a row thing very well and it's not two days before we leave I ignorantly settle back into innocent bliss!!HA I did actually go shopping yesterday and left BOTH children at mom-n-laws and boy oh boy did I ever shop!! I tried clothes on and went to stores JUST TO LOOK and just had a day of it! It was so refreshing and F.U.N.! I can count on my first 3 fingers the times I have left Pey to go shopping and one kinda forgets what it is like to REALLY shop! :)) I don't think Bill would encourage it as it gets a lot heavier on the bank account :-/ Anyway back to the original thought I did get a lot of things marked off of my shopping list and another bunch of things that I shopped around for and have dwindled down to two choices and just need a final opinion from the man of the house. And really the bulk of the things I need to buy and do here at the house just can't be done until we know age and gender of our child! I'm afraid when we come home for a week in the middle we will be up round the clock trying to get everything crammed in!

Hosting- Life is still going good with Tanya... I think we have worked through most of the kinks and life has settled into a new normal. She's here for 31/2 weeks yet and have already been thinking how quiet it will be when she leaves and how much we are going to miss her! It has definitely not been all roses, but it has been a good experience and we are very glad we did it! When talking to some of the other host families it sounds like we have it pretty easy compared what some of them are going through!! I guess the Lord knows just how much we can handle! :) She still begs to be adopted and lately when I told her we were not approved for a child that old and had our paperwork submitted already for another adoption she has switched over to at least hosting her again in winter! Tell me how would you handle it to have a 13 year old orphan girl with no hope and no future begging you to let her be part of your family??? Talk about pulling at heart strings :-(
Is anyone interested? She could be requested to host again for the winter hosting program, December & January. I know this only applies to a small number of you readers, but she would really love to be in a Holdeman Mennonite family again. She loves the close knit church family part and the 'lifestyle' if you will of our people. If  anyone has a little nudge, maybe its for you, contact me ASAP and I will get you in touch with the right people!! :) P143 is already picking children for the winter program and if the current children aren't specified they will give new children a chance, so Tanyas chance at getting hosted again is very time sensitive!!!  

Maybe next post will be announcing when we may go 'meet' our next son or daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-))))))))

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Adoption Costs

I read this post the other day and thought it was written so well it was worth sharing... ENJOY!!


WHAT ADOPTION COSTS

Looking at the fees and expenses associated with adoption can be overwhelming. How can anyone afford to adopt? The dollar sign is big, but make no mistake, that is not what adoption costs.
adoption costs
Adoption costs more than what money can buy, because adoption is an all or nothing.
Adoption costs your time. From the moment you decide to adopt till the day you die. It’s not only the paperwork, and the waiting. Not even the traveling to a foreign country and being away from family and your support system. It is a lifetime commitment to another human being whom you chose to make your very own.
Adoption costs your tears. Lots of tears. You will cry during the adoption process, and that is only the beginning. You will cry because adjusting to a new child is difficult for everyone in your family, and you might see your biological kids struggle and you will question if you did the right thing bringing another child home. You will cry because you might feel like you are not getting anywhere, and adoption is hard! And when you begin to communicate with your child and language is less of a barrier, you will cry at the stories told of what your child had to go through, and the helplessness that you will feel. You will cry because of the injustice and the loss your child will carry in her heart for the rest of her life. Your heart will break for her.
Adoption costs rejection. We all like to imagine a fairytale, where God shines His light and love on your child and he loves you back. But his past has taught him that other people can hurt him. He knows what it is like to be abandoned, and it takes a long time to trust someone that you don’t know. So you might want to provide comfort, to hold him, to rock him, but he will reject you because he doesn’t know how to receive love. But keep loving, for as long as it takes. He will one day smile at you, throw his arms around you, and you will know you have broken through the hard shell. You’ll finally be allowed in.
Adoption costs you emotional distress. Adoption is a brutal emotional journey. It begins during the paperwork process, and by the time you travel to get your child, emotions are already running high. Coming home, many of us are already emotionally spent. During the adjustment time, when you first bring your child home, you might wonder where the love went, or why you feel anger, or resentment, or fear. Through the challenges of adoption you will come face to face with your own brokenness. Difficult situations have a way to bring out the worse in us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your child needs healing, but perhaps so do you.
Adoption costs you the easy life. Bringing a hurting child into your home will change how you do life. There will be challenges, there is no way around it. But your child will open your eyes to so much more than just adoption. You will understand poverty, abuse, loss, abandonment, loneliness, fear, and the reality of our broken world in a more intimate way. Once you know, you can never look back. You will cover your child with as much love as you can, and you will try to do the best you can to heal his heart. You will put your foot down and say, “No more, today is the day his new life begins” and it will become your mission, a new purpose, and you will expand that passion beyond just your family, because you know that there is more than you can do.
Adoption costs who you are. You can never go back, adoption stretches you, it molds you, it pushes you to be someone different. Someone who learns the significance of choosing love every day, and in doing so learns to love deeply, fiercely. Someone who can no longer look away from social injustice. Someone who will go down fighting for a child that was denied so much for too long.
Adoption costs your heart to expand. You take a stranger and make that child your very own. You look at him in the eyes and say, “No matter what comes our way, we are doing this together, and I got your back.” And you take the good and you take the bad, you take it all in, all of it. You let it stretch you, and change you, and challenge you. And you know she was worth everything you had to go through to make it work, and you know that more challenges will come but you are going to tackle them head on. You are ready for forever. And you cannot believe how lucky you are to call this precious child your very own. She is a part of you, like the blood pumping through your veins. And she fills you with joy, and pride, and love, and you want to scream so loud to let the world know, “She is mine!”
I might not be an expert on adoption, but I do know what it is like to adopt a child who spent her first four years of life in a Ukrainian orphanage. Adoption is not about the money. There were expenses before we traveled, and arriving in the country we handed over the stack of crisp dollar bills to our facilitator. $15,000 gone in seconds.
The money will come, through fundraisers, through generous gifts, matching grants, scholarships, or a bank loan (after all, we take loans for new cars, surely a life is worth a monthly payment if it comes down to that). How much you pay, is only a fraction of the cost of adoption.
Adoption costs all of you, every single thread weaved in the pattern of your being.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hosting & Adoption

See if I can sneak in an update while the kiddos are still sleeping! :)
We have had Tanya with us for almost 4 weeks now!! We will soon be half done! I didn't post anything sooner because I wanted to wait until I could write something positive and now I finally can! :) Let me tell you friends.. We nor Tanya had NO IDEA what we were getting into!!!!! We had some really tough, stressful couple weeks there, but I am very happy to say that it is going much better and I think both sides are enjoying it now! :) We still definitely have some challenges to work through, but for the most part she found her little spot in our family and knows what to expect and therefore has become much more trusting and relaxed! It is no minor, simple thing to pull a 13 year old girl from an orphanage setting and plunk her down in a strange land with a totally strange family and not one single thing familiar!! Just let your mind wonder a bit and think of how strange it actually would be... the food, the weather, the culture, the everything!! And then add the tremendous language barrier on top of it all and it is nothing short of a miracle how well these children can actually handle it and adapt!! We have come years in just 3 weeks!!
There were many times in those first couple weeks that we had to revisit our strong conviction that this is what we were suppose to be doing! I know that the prayers of all you, my dear friends is what carried us through, I have never felt so strongly the miracle of intercessory prayer like I have in the last month and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts that pleaded on our behalf!! You will never know what it meant to us to feel your support!! Don't quit now! :)
Maybe I'll have to write another post with some of the details of what all we have been doing and what it is like to host! :)

Now a little update on our adoption..
We finally got our dossier completed and it is set to arrive in Ukraine this Friday!! Hard to believe the months of sweat and tears we put into it and it's all in a package someone over the ocean right now! They are hoping to submit to the SDA either on the 24th or 31st and then depending of course on how fast they issue us our SDA appointment, we are looking at traveling the end of August or first of September. As of now we are planning on making into 2 trips so that will make it less stressful with knowing we will have a chance to buy some clothes etc. when we come home in between. Not knowing age or gender would make it very difficult to know what to take! This hosting has had us so occupied that adoption was not foremost in our minds and now that it is getting so close the reality of it is starting to sink in and I could get excited and stressed and every other emotion if I would let me self!! Sometimes when you work towards a goal for so long it's hard to believe that it will ever actually happen, but it's starting to sink in and all my friends that have just adopted or are in process now keep saying to get my ducks in a row now and don't wait till last minute, but.... I guess some of us just work better under stress! ;-)
Till next time..

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

NEWS FLASH!!!

Predictable, hum-drum, normal, boring life? NOPE!! Not for us!! :)
I'm quite certain our lives will be forever changed by the decision we made yesterday! We are hosting Tatiana a 13 year old girl from Ukraine for 8 weeks. And.... she comes this weekend!
To say we are excited is quite an understatement!!! Peyton has been to the airport numerous times to pick her up already and keeps informing me of all the things that Tanya will be playing with him and what all he and Tanya will do!! She is at an orphanage that has quite a few small children and is said to be very good with them so we are hoping the age gap won't be too large that they can't have fun together! Although the excitement is quite large he also has tears right at the surface... he's feeling like his little world is getting rocked and he's not sure how to handle it.

So how in the world did we ever get to hosting a girl from Ukraine???? I will try to give you the short version.. We have always been interested (?) in hosting I would occasionally check hosting programs websites and view their children that were coming and dream about which one I would pick IF we were hosting and Bill and I always thought it is something we would someday like to do, but it definitely seemed most logical to adopt our family first before we hosted. So that is how this started, I had looked at the photolisting of children coming for the summer hosting program through Project143 and this little girl immediately caught my eye and I thought if we were hosting out of this batch I would sure pick her! Fast forward to last week and Project143 sent out a plea for four more host families, and here if this little girl was one that still needed to have a family!! If only we weren't in the middle of an adoption and had $3000 extra dollars laying around and and and! Not for us, not now. Now Yesterday a last and final urgent plea was sent for ONE more host family to please step up and make this little girls dream come true!! They had till last night to find a family for her and yes it was my dear Tanya! How could it be?? My first pick and here they were desperately looking for someone to host her in the final hours before they had to tell her she couldn't come! I called Bill and asked him if we could host a 13 year old girl from Ukraine for 8 weeks and much to my surprise he didn't so absolutely NOT!! We talked and discussed and prayed and wondered if we had totally lost all our common sense! The verse quietly came.... 'my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways!'
We talked about it from every angle and some things simply did not make sense, but there was always the underlying feeling that this was the right thing to do... for US, NOW!
Maybe some time soon I will have time to give more details, but then again it may be awhile!:)
The excitement is only growing as we count down the days till her arrival!!
Keep us in your prayers as this is very much out of our comfort zone and such uncharted waters for us, and no doubt will need help, wisdom, guidance and most of all your prayers on our behalf!!
Celebrate with us as we welcome Tatiana to Alabama this weekend, where she will undoubtedly leave footprints on our hearts and we will never be the same!!!

P.S. I know you are wondering how this will effect our current adoption and the answer is it won't. The director said if we get our SDA appt. and need to travel before Tanyas time is up, she will find a backup family for her, but at the pace things are going I'm not worried at all that this will interfere, just make the time pass faster! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last trimester:)

So we are officially in the last trimester of this 'pregnancy' and it is getting very difficult to wait and I feel ready to pop any time now... with excitement that is! :)
The chaotic, hullabaloo of paperwork is stressful and overwhelming, but at least you can be doing something and feel like you are helping move things along!! Now we......
W A I T!!
All of our paperwork is finished and has been reviewed in Ukraine and had the additional changes made and home study finally completed and now we sent off for our last piece of approval.. our USCIS which is our immigration approval to bring a foreign born child to the U.S. should be another 3 weeks or so on that and then ready to get that stack of papers sent to Ukraine!! What a day :) I have a feeling that the wait for them to process and issue us a travel date will be the longest and most grueling wait yet, but hey we sure aren't going to borrow sorrow from the morrow! :)

Off subject here...
For all my adopting friends... my 'little roo' just woke up and wanted me to read him a story and he picked one of his(and mine) favorite stories, Little Golden Book "A Blessing From Above". If you haven't read it yet make a special effort to get it and read it, it's awesome! Finally after 3 years of reading it I can make it through without choking up :)

Many of you have asked lately about the status of adoptions in Ukraine because of the unrest. As of now it is still all going fine and adoptions have not been affected, maybe some of the processing in country has taken a little longer, but still moving along. There has been a temporary hold on adoptions out of two of the eastern regions where the unrest is the worse, but unless you hosted a child and are trying to adopt a specific child and he/she happens to be from one of those two regions one should be fine.
Of course anything can happen between now and when we travel, but we are very hopeful at this time that we will not have any delays!
I know this is not a very juicy, news laden post, but I also know if I told you all the details of this part of the process you wouldn't even get to the end of the post :) Unless of course you happen to be adopting from Ukraine and our scouring each and every Ukraine adoption blog out there starved for any and all little tidbit of information to make this whole rollercoaster ride seem a little more real and try to believe that one day yes one day in this lifetime even that it may just possibly come to fruition for YOU!! ;)) Thanks to all my dear friends that take the time to write all the juicy details:) I'm so glad that some of my more prolific writing friends are ahead of us on this journey so we can read and hear ALL about it! That was just for you Kristin:)
Till next time and hopefully that won't be very long!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Paperwork

Just a quick update on what's been happening with our adoption..
So far nothing too drastic or exciting has happened, but we have definitely been up to our ears in paperwork! We ended up having to make an update on our home study instead of just an amendment, so that called for a trip to Birmingham, extra paperwork and of course redo all of our clearances and fingerprints! Think we finally have everything filled out and are waiting on all of our clearances to come back proclaiming we are actually innocent folks with our worse offense ever committed was a speeding ticket! :) Social worker said today that her supervisor is out of office till after Easter so guess we are stalled off with getting her final approval so we can finally send off for our I-600 which is our immigration approval from the states allowing us to bring a foreign born child to U.S. and allowing it to become a citizen.
Lots of small baby steps and hoops to jump through, but at least we are DOING SOMETHING and making progress which really feels good!! :)
It still feels like a dream and some days wonder if it really is all true and going to be something that actually happens, but think slowly it is sinking in! It's still a little hard for me to dream with not knowing what gender or age it will be.
Sorry not many exciting details yet, but that's soon to come!! :))

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Switch ~by Bill

So here we are.  Redoing paperwork, changing agencies, changing countries.  To Ukraine!  Of all places!  Sometimes a door opens and you know its the one to walk through.  We don't really understand why this has turned out the way it has.  We started our adoption journey planning to get our next child from Kazakhstan.  Reading books about Kazakhstan.  Working on Russian.  Checking flights to Almaty and apartments.  Seems like a crazy way to spend time but its just one of our hobbies.....  Then progress slowed to a gel in Kaz and we started looking elsewhere.   All the waits seemed sooooo loooong.  Then we heard about a lawyer in Springdale AR that could get you speedy quick referrals to birth mothers from the Marshallese community in Springdale.

 To good to be true!
 Its not!  We were matched with a birth mom almost immediately.

 It is!  She backed out almost as fast.  Just time to sink enough $$ into it to make it really sting.

So.  We wait for another referral.  Our lawyer wants to match us with a birth mother that is due soon.  He is very persuasive that that is the thing to do.  "I can match you with a birth mom immediately but I think you should wait...."

We don't know why Marshallese adoption didn't work out for us.  Maybe we jumped ship too soon.  Maybe we should have asked Vaughn for the next available birth mom no matter how long till she was due.  For some reason it seemed like we started to question more and more if it was right for us.  Neither of us have ever liked the aspect of domestic newborn adoption that you feel as if you are 'competing' for babies.  The simple fact is there are less healthy newborns born and placed for adoption then there are adoptive parents.  At any rate it seemed like everyone else we knew that was signed with Vaughn was moving ahead  and we were stalled.  We checked into other options but nothing seemed to work out.  Those were dark days.  To make matters worse it seemed like everyone that adopted through Vaughn had reports on how totally chaotic his operation was.

Then one of Steph's adoption friends signed on with the agency we used when we adopted Peyton to adopt from Ukraine.  Ukraine!! For some reason I had always had a negative impression of the adoption process from there.  Not interested.  Not me.  But somehow we couldn't forget about it.  Especially not with the updates and glowing reports from the friend.  It seemed like we were thawing to the whole Ukraine idea.  We started doing some research and I realized some or all of my fears about the Ukraine process were out dated or unfounded.  Suddenly it seemed like the door swung open.  Light came in.  No question what to do.

So.  Here we are.  I just filled out a pile of paperwork and there is much, MUCH more to come.  We have HOPE!!!  Our agency says travel as soon as June or July, depending on how fast we can get all of our paperwork switched and re-done.

It will be a lot more expensive than adopting with Vaughn would have been.  It will take us further out of our comfort zone.  But it seems to be where God wants us.  Maybe God wants some people to adopt internationally.  Maybe it has something to do with taking his word to other nations.  Maybe God so loves every child that he has one in Ukraine that, in His special plan is meant to be a part of our forever family!!

WHAT A JOURNEY!!!!

-Bill