Retro Spring


Monday, June 27, 2011

order of events

A good friend of mine asked today what the order of events is in our adoption and also pointed out to me that she is probably not the only one that's curious.  So I thought I would share here.  Honestly I've been asked this a lot lately, so it's nice to only explain it one time and hopefully ALL the world will read it here.  (Dreaming, huh?)

I'm fast forwarding to where we are today:
1. Get FBI background checks back (hopefully sometime in the next 2-3 weeks)
2. Get homestudy completed
3. Send homestudy to our agency for Hague certification
4. Submit huge packet of paper to USCIS for approval (this can be a 2-3 month process)
5. Get approval from USCIS
6. Send second huge packet of paper, called a Dossier, to our country
7. Meet Danny!!!  (I am really excited about this)
8. Formally agree to adopt him...don't worry he is on hold for us
9. Court....luckily we don't have to be present for this
10. Get final approval and go pick him up!

So while this is down to "only" 10 steps remember that everything in our dossier must be notarized and apostilled which is another trip to Austin.  Our agency will review everything and make sure it's all good before it gets sent off.  If I've counted correctly and not missed any steps we are still about 4 months from meeting Danny (October-ish) and 6 months, at the earliest, from being able to bring him home.  Absolute best case scenario is December I think.  The good news is God is bigger and better than me and has the power to move this along.  Remember yesterday's prayer request of things moving faster than they currently are?  Now do you understand why?!?!  I'm impatient!  And I want my boy here before his 4th birthday which is right after Christmas.  For that matter I he is all I want for Christmas!  So please pray for us and him every day.

In other VERY EXCITING news we have a tentative date for our Dinner & Silent Auction.  I am so excited to share more details in the coming weeks as we get everything planned out.  Do you know a business owner or creative person who might be willing to donate to the auction?  Please send them my way!

Thanks friends!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 3

Here we go!  (by the way I am seriously proud of myself.  If I could stick to my diet like this...well, I'd be lighter!)

1. Pray for Danny.  We don't know what he's doing (hopefully sleeping at this moment!) but we pray that he is happy and healthy.
2. Pray for the FBI to hurry up...I learned today this can be a 9 week process, not a 6 week one.  This means it will be August before our Home Study is completed and that is not acceptable to this impatient momma!
3. Pray for fundraising: we are about to embark on our biggest fundraiser yet.  Please pray for the people we ask to donate time, location, goods, services, etc. to our dinner & silent auction fundraiser.  The goal for this event is in the neighborhood of $10,000 so that's a lot of praying!
4. RAIN!  Totally unrelated to our adoption, but we are in desperate need here in South Texas.
5. I'm being very vague here, but we are also requesting prayers for both of our jobs right now.  I can't go into specifics but there may be some changes afoot.

Thanks friends!  We love you and hope to be back later this week with news that something has moved along in the process.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

we wait...

Having been asked where we are in the adoption process a number of times lately I wanted to give you all an update.

We are waiting.  If you have even the slightest inkling of who I am you know that this is far and away the hardest thing for me to do...ever! Not a good waiter...actually I was an excellent waitress, but I do not easily succeed at waiting in life.

What we wait for right now are our FBI background checks, medical statements to be completed, and we need to find our 401k statements.  That last one is the easiest, so I guess I need to not be lazy and get them printed!

Once we get all these things handled we can send them to our social worker and she will finish our home study.  The home study will go to our agency for certification and then to the USCIS for approval.  When we receive approval from USCIS (the state department) we will hopefully get to go meet Danny!  This is the day we eagerly await, however it might still be 3-4 months before we receive this approval.  Please pray it moves faster than that!

In the meantime we are going to start working on our next, and hopefully last, fundraiser.  We are planning a dinner and silent auction to take place in October.  If you, or someone you know, would like to make a donation to the auction or the dinner please contact me directly.  As soon as we have made some headway in planning I will post a specific list with what we need.

Thank you so much for loving us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

garage sale recap, now with photos!

We had a very busy (hot) day last Saturday hosting our garage sale fundraiser.  As I'm sure you have all heard by now we raised $1,845!!!  We are overwhelmed with love for our friends and family who helped us, the donors who are supporting us financially and the folks who came and bought!  Here are some pictures from Friday as we were sorting and getting ready, and Saturday while we were selling.  Enjoy!

Crazy full garage, Batman!

Sorting Party!

Crazy Boys!

That's a lot of stuff.

Needs no explanation.

Even John Wayne wants to Bring Danny Home!

Early Saturday morning.  Wow!

Hi Mom!

Serious kid.

That baby is not for sale Phil!

Garage Sale Super Heros!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 2

Ha!  I've done it!  Met my own challenge.  :)  Here are this week's prayer requests:

1. Danny is warm, safe, not hungry, and feels our love
2. FBI background checks to come back soon
3. Patience for us
4. That God gives us a chance raise awareness about adoption in general and more specifically adoption of special needs children
5. Future fundraising opportunities

Thank you all!  I also want to leave you with this makes me think of our son and all our friends with Down Syndrome.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

a MILLION thanks!

Wow!  We are overwhelmed by the amount of love we were surrounded with today.  Remember when I told you that God was using fundraising as a way to humble me?  How HE is!  I am humbled beyond belief.  There are not enough way to thank everyone who has turned up to help and donate it the past 24 hours.

The Muscle:
Crystal, you have been my rock through all of this.  Not only did you set about organizing this garage sale you workED with back breaking determination so that it would be successful.  $1,845 dollars later YOU have made a huge impact in our lives and in Danny's future.  Thank you.  We love you.
Clarissa, Christine, Mom, Phil, Amy, Jeremy, Emily, Kourtney, Jesse, Elizabeth, Donny, Aunt Sarah, (am I forgetting anyone? If so I am so sorry!) thanks to each of you.  You worked hard Friday and Saturday.  Most of you are sunburned, you sweated all day long, your feet probably hurt, I could go on.  Thank you.  We love you.
Taylor, Anna, Eva, Will, Drake, (Anna's other friends who showed up to help)  you guys totally rocked the lemonade, water, cookie stand! Thank you for your enthusiasm to help Danny out.  You kids are awesome sales people!
Mary, Jimmy, Mya, Lea, Danika, your family is our inspiration.  Without you there is no way we would have ever considered bringing Danny into our lives.  You show us what it is to love one another and be loved.  I am so thankful you are on this journey with us.  If you've ever wondered in your travels and moves why you are somewhere I hope you no longer wonder about San Antonio.  You were meant to be here, in our lives.  God blessed us the day He sent you here.  Thank you. We are eternally grateful.

The Donors:
I will honor what I believe your wishes are, but I want to say thank you.  You know exactly who you are, and just so you know there is another jewel awaiting you in your crown in Heaven.  You are loved.

Everyone Else:
We are just getting started!  I realize that the money we made today is a lot, and we are so thankful (if you can't tell!) But please remember this is a drop in the bucket.  We need to come up with approximately $22,000 to bring Danny home.  We are just shy of 10% of the way there!  Considering we are 10% of the way through paperwork I think we are doing pretty well!  Lots of ideas are being kicked around for our next big event.  We are thinking about doing a dinner at some point this fall...when it's not 106* outside anymore!  We may also do t-shirt sales, and we will definitely have duckies for sale soon since they didn't get here in time for today's garage sale.  Please don't forget that if you make your donations to our Reece's Rainbow Family Sponsorship Page they are tax deductible.  Should you want to make a large donation please consider mailing a check to Reece's Rainbow to save them the paypal fees.

One more time....THANK YOU!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

how we got here -- part 3

Check out parts 1&2 if you haven't read them yet!

Remember I mentioned Mary in part 2?  Mary is mother to Mya, an amazing little girl who has Down Syndrome.  As we went through January, February, and March we got to know their family better and better.  Mya and Wes were instant friends, and she called him Man for the longest time. Mary jokes that her daughter will steal husbands if their wives let her! If you ever sit in our section at church you can't help but know who Mya is...she is like our Welcome Wagon!  She is the most friendly, out-going, loving person I've ever known.  Did I tell you she is only 5?!?!    Since we lost our little girl Mya has literally rocked our world.  There have been a few weekends we haven't gotten to see her and it's amazing the difference in those weeks.  They are certainly not as bright!

One Sunday in March we went to lunch with our giant group of friends who are all like family.  While we were sitting there Mary told me about Reece's Rainbow.  When we got home that afternoon I told Wes about it and looked them up.  After some discussion I decided to send them a email, because we were intrigued.  Literally 20 minutes went by and my questions were answered...on a SUNDAY!  While we had spoken about adoption before that day we truly felt God was leading us to wait until we had biological children.  Imagine our surprise when we found out we could work on both at the same time if we looked at kids from a specific country in Eastern Europe.  It was like the prayers we had been praying since we got married were being answered...and when you ask God to show you what His purpose is for you watch out!  It will not be what you expected!

Still not completely convinced we took a few more weeks to think about it, talk about it and pray about it. During those weeks I spent most of my time on Reece's Rainbow's website looking at all those precious faces.  My heart was breaking for them, knowing what their lives will be like if they stay in orphanages and institutions in their countries.  Frankly, it's a bleak existence.

While we were on vacation in early April we finally decided to move forward and pursue an adoption.  Danny came to the top of both of our lists quickly after that.  The following Monday I contacted an agency and we began the process of adopting our son.

We couldn't be more surprised or thrilled that our first son will come to us through adoption.  It's also a shock that he has Down Syndrome, as we NEVER saw that one coming!  But we can't wait to bring him home to Texas.  We also look forward to seeing what else God has in mind for us.  Two kids was our original limit, but the more we talk about it the more kids we see in our family.  For the record my plan still only includes birthing two, however God has laughed at my plans a lot in recent months!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

how we got here -- part 2

To catch up check out Part 1.

While I was at the doctor's office waiting to be picked up (there was no way I could drive) they decided to run a bunch of blood tests.  Eighteen tubes of blood to be exact!  They also told me I would have to come back the next day to speak with my doctor since she only works two days a week.  Wes and I went in the next morning to talk with my amazing OB.  She spent more time with us than I've ever had a doctor spend.  Dr. R talked to us about why we might be experiencing multiple losses, what blood tests they had run the day before, what happened next, and GOD.  A doctor who talked about God?!?!  I have to admit I wasn't ready to talk about Him, but when my wonderful doctor asked if she could pray with us I knew we were in the right place.  She did one more ultrasound, just to be sure there was no heartbeat.  And then sent us to see a surgeon.

Wednesday December 22, 2010 I had surgery.  That afternoon my sweet amazing momma stayed with us and loved us.  My friends came over and brought a beautiful holly and crepe myrtle. (Oh I wish that holly hadn't frozen to death!) We were literally surrounded by love from our family and friends.  Everyone was so sweet and gentle with us.  On Christmas Eve we decided to go to church, knowing it would be hard, we still needed to be there.  That night I told Mary, who we had met earlier in the year, what was going on.  She hugged me so hard and I felt how sad she was for us, and really she barely knew us!

Fast forward a few more months and we are still mourning the loss of our daughter, who we call Faith.  During those months I am skipping over we found out she had Turner's Syndrome.  TS is extremely rare, and found only in girls.  From what we understand fewer than 5% of TS conceptions result in a full term pregnancy.  We chose to call her Faith because we trusted God's direction in our lives and we have faith that He knows what he is doing.  At this point we aren't sure what the odds are of ever having a healthy pregnancy, but we are continuing to walk on faith that one day we will.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

how we got here -- part 1

I get asked a lot how we go to the point of adopting a special needs child so I feel like it deserves an answer!  But to get to that answer you have to go back about three years...well maybe a little further than that.

About three years ago I was working a crazy job that had me traveling all over the country pretty much five days a week.  My 28th birthday was rapidly approaching and I was lonely.  One day I complained to a girl-friend that I never met any nice guys and I really was ready to be married and think about having a family.  At that point I wasn't sure I wanted kids, but I knew I wanted the option.  So the friend I was complaining to offered to set me up on blind dates...50 to be exact!  The idea was I would go on one date every weekend when I was home until I found someone I wanted to see again.

I went on exactly three dates and didn't want to see any of them a second time.  Then some other folks got wind of the project and I was "introduced" to Wes.  I put that in quotes because Wes was working in Atlanta at the time and we didn't meet face to face for four months.  But during those four months we spoke on a the phone a bit, ok, A LOT.  We got to know each other very well and decided we needed to meet.  Our first date was three days long! We spent Labor Day weekend 2008 getting to know each other in Nashville. It was during that weekend we shared our first I Love You, and actually decided to get married.  Crazy, huh?!?!  It gets crazier....we got engaged at Thanksgiving and married the following Easter.  So in less than a year we went from occasional phone conversations to marriage!  During all those months of phone conversations we discussed having a family and I still wasn't totally convinced, but I knew that it was something he wanted and I was willing to consider it. Ultimately I knew he was made to be an excellent father and I wanted to be the mother of his kids.

Fast forward through our first year of marriage...two job changes, one of us moving, continued travel for work, two dogs, etc!  We decided on our first anniversary that it was time to try to have a baby.  Two months later we announced to our families on Father's Day 2010 we were pregnant!  It was exciting for exactly one week.  The following Friday I went to the ER and was told I was having a miscarriage.  We were devastated.

A few months later in September we found out I was pregnant again.  This time we took our time telling people, waiting quite a while. (For those of you who really know me you can imagine how hard this was -- I tell everything I know!)   Thanksgiving day, when I was 13 weeks along, we felt comfortable to tell the world and posted our happy news on facebook.

At 16 weeks we went for my check-up and my doctor agreed to do a quick ultrasound so we could tell everyone what the gender was for Christmas.  Baby wasn't super cooperative, but we were 90% sure it was a girl.  I was excited, Wes openly wanted a boy and wasn't too thrilled, but within a day was coming around to the idea.  That was a Thursday.  The following Monday, December 20th (this is a date I will never forget -- partially because it's my brother's birthday) I felt weird.  Couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I thought I had a bladder infection, which is pretty common in pregnant women.  I called the doc's office and asked if I could come by to find out for sure, and they said I could and they would do a quick doppler to hear the heartbeat while I was there.  As you can understand I was very nervous.  The nurse couldn't find the heartbeat, so we went into the sonogram room.  As soon as she put the wand on my belly I could tell there was no longer a heartbeat.  Our baby was mysteriously gone at 16 weeks and 4 days.  I didn't have any sort of infection, and there was no obvious reason for a loss so late.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 1

* I am going to try to post every Sunday with our prayer requests for the coming week and any additional info we want to share.  Check back next Sunday to see if I can keep up!*

It's coming, it's COMING!!!  Our garage sale is coming!  We have a PACKED garage.  I'm not kidding, I can't even move in there right now, and yet we have more items offered that we will hopefully be picking up and putting somewhere (my living room?) later this week.

Another Reece's Rainbow family had their garage sale this weekend and raised almost $2,000!!!  I was hoping for about $500 to cover all the fees we will have shipping paperwork all over the world.  If we can even do half of what they did it will be a blessing beyond my wildest dreams!

Here are the requests for this week:

1. Rain  (while this is completely unrelated to our adoption our city is in dire need.  And actually, it would be great for it to rain before the sale next Saturday to cool things off a bit!)
2. Paperwork: we are still working to collect a few items that our social worker needs to complete our home study.  Pray we have them to her in the next few weeks.
3. FBI Back-Ground Checks: still waiting for idea how long they take, but we are at stand-still without them.
4. Danny: he is on my list every prayer I pray.  Is he on YOURS?
5. Other Reece's Rainbow you know someone who might be interested in adoption? What about you?
6. Our Garage Sale!!!!

Thank you so much friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

God is so good!

I just found out that Phoebe has a family!!!  Remember this sweet face?


You can follow her family's story here:

Monday, June 6, 2011

full stop & ideas

While we wait for our FBI back ground checks we are at a full stop with actually moving the adoption process forward.  This is more than a little frustrating for me, so I remind myself that God is in control and I am not! As we wait we are going to work on the garage sale, which will be held on June 18th.  Remember all proceeds will go directly towards Danny's adoption, and if you would like to donate items we will happily come pick them up.  (Within a reasonable distance!)

Another thing we are working on/thinking about is future fundraisers.  Here are some ideas we have come up with, we would love input!

1."Duckies for Danny" not entirely sure what this entails, but it sounds cute!
2.Naming Rights: we are thinking about selling tickets and the winner gets to help pick his new name.  (Daniel will continue to be part of his name, but he needs a new middle name)
3. Dinner: bbq? mexican? including a silent auction?  really want to do this, but logistics/time/cost are big issues.
4. HELP!!!  This is where we ask you for your ideas.  What sort of events would you attend? How much would you be willing to pay for a dinner? Is there something here I am missing?

Thank you in advance for your help and ideas.  You know the saying "it takes a village to raise children" the same is true in adoption!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2

I've debated all day whether or not I was going to tell you all what this date is to us.  Since it's actually been a pretty good day I will go ahead.  June 2 is our little girl's due date.  One of my friends who, like me, has had multiple miscarriages said to me once that it's not right that those of us who have lost babies have two days of remembrance.  The one we found out they were lost, and the day which was to be their due date.  I agree, it's not right! But on the other hand I'm actually doing really well with today.  There were a few minutes this morning that I teared up, but overall it's been a good day. I'm sure there will be other June 2nd's in my future that aren't as easy, but this first one I gave completely to God.  It is His will that today was not as tough as I imagined it might be a few months ago.  So for that, I thank Him.  I also thank Him that our little girl gets to celebrate what might have been her first birthday with a party in heaven!

Here is what's going on adoption-wise.  Yesterday I sent off our fingerprints, $36, and our request for FBI back-ground checks.  We have heard that it can take as long at six weeks to get these back, so prayers are appreciated for speedy delivery!  Today I had my TB test read, and it's negative so we will be able to get the last of our medical statements back by Monday hopefully.  With this we are one step closer to having our home-study complete.

Next agenda items: Garage sale June 18th!!!  Donations for the fundraising sale are greatly appreciated!  If you need them picked up let us know and we will figure it out.