Retro Spring


Friday, September 30, 2011

bye bye September!

When we first began this adoption we were told it was about a 9 month process from start to finish.  And of course, thinking we were exceptional people we just knew we could get it done in 6 months.  Then our FBI back ground checks took two and a half months.  So our homestudy took longer than that.  We committed to adopting Danny in April, so September marks the sixth month we have been in this process.  Obviously we are not as exceptional as we thought! (PS: I totally wish I was one of those people who kept a list running of specific dates when things happend.  It's pretty vague since I'm not that organized.)

After we signed our commitment papers and sent our first checks in we learned that 9 months really isn't typical....12 to 14 months is much more the "norm." So here we are, six months later.  This could, God willing, mark the halfway point in our adoption!  I can't tell you how excited this makes me!  So what happens next for us?  Here is a quick outline to keep you up to date:

1. We are waiting on three pieces of mail to reach us.  These include a form from our social worker, a form from our local agency who will be performing our follow up home studies, and our Golden Ticket! (The golden ticket is our immigration approval, called such because it's actually printed on gold paper.)

2. Once we receive all three of these items Wes and I have to get everything notarized.  When I say everything I mean literally about 50 pieces of paper.

3. After notary we get everything apostilled.  This is where it will get a little tricky for us.  Since all the items we have from our social worker and local agency are notarized in Texas they must be apostilled in TX.  I'm totally down with that, because there is an awesome outlet mall on the way to Austin!  The tricky part is that since Wes is in Connecticut we are planning to do all of our signing in front of a notary there...and all those forms will have to be apostilled in CT! Here in TX you can sit and wait and talk to a very nice lady while she takes care of the apostille for you.  In CT you can't.  You must either mail them in or drop them off, but you can't wait for them to be completed.  If you can't come back in person in a few days then they will mail them to you.

4. Once all the fun of step 3 is complete we will then ship our entire dossier (packet of required documents) to Danny's country!

5. Someone will translate all of these pages into a language much like Russian, complete with crazy alphabet.

6. Our dossier will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice of Danny's Country.....THEN....

7. We get a referral to go meet him!  (This is the most exciting step so far!)

8. We travel to meet him...when?  I'm not sure yet, but something in my heart says we won't be here for Thanksgiving, and yet will be so thankful!

9. Mail more documents

10. Court

11. Bring my boy home!

We are hoping and praying to have steps 1-4 completed by October 14th and ship our dossier out for delivery early the following week.  I know this still feels like so much (believe me, it does!) but I also feel like we are on the home stretch at this point. We are both so thrilled to think that we could be meeting our son in just a few weeks!  Think about it, Thanksgiving is only 8 weeks away!

Will you please pray that our final missing documents reach us this weekend, and that I have safe travels in getting everything finalized and ready to go, and also when I see Wes in a week.  Please also keep our sweet social worker in your prayers.  She does good work helping families like us get ready to adopt, and she is constantly under attack by evil.

Finally, will you also do the happy dance that our USCIS approval seems to be coming back in record time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 16: Wednesday Edition

Special entry for a couple of special prayer requests.  (And two blogs in one day.  How did you get so lucky?!)

1. The Barnett Family has their court date tomorrow in U. It is at 11am local time, which is 3am Texas time.  If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night please lift them up.  We are asking for court to be easy, and quick and for their waiting period to be waived.
2. Our USCIS approval to come in by next Friday!  We learned today that we have an officer assigned, and I got to speak with him.  He should be processing it in a few days so our approval is close.  We would like to have it by next Friday so that I can carry our completed dossier when I go visit Wes and we can have all the notarizing and apostilleing done.  (And increase our chances of meeting him in November!)

Thanks for lifting these two things up in prayer!

news! BIG news!!!

I just called USCIS because I have something I need to send them and didn't know where or who to send it to.  A very nice gentleman answered the phone and gave me all the info I asked for, and he also asked to check the status of our application.  WE HAVE AN OFFICER!!!!!

What does that mean?  1. I know where to send that last form (and already scanned and sent it.) 2. Our officer, Mr. Sobey, will have time in a few days to take a look at it, and hopefully get us our approval in "a week or so." 3. There is light at the end of this tunnel!!!!!  4. We really might get to meet him in November!

Please pray for this part of the process to go quickly, and for Mr. Sobey to hurry up!  I have a very hard time having patience when I know something is so close!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 16

Four months I've been writing this weekly entry.  I wish more had changed in the last four months of waiting, but I know God's timing is perfect and He knows why this is taking so long!

The past few weeks in church we have been listening to a sermon series called "Think, Act, Be."  It's all about becoming more like Christ.  One of the verses today hit me like a ton of bricks.  I'll even admit, I pulled out my phone during church and texted it to Wes.  (He is still up in CT working the remnants of Hurricane Irene.)

"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of poor and oppressed.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."  ~ Psalm 82:3-4

When we were first married we began to pray for God's will in our lives.  We asked Him constantly (multiple times a day) to ensure we were walking the path that He laid out for us.  Since starting this adoption back in April I have never felt more sure of anything in my life; we are on His path.  THIS is HIS plan for US.

If you had asked me a year ago what the verse above meant I'm not sure I could have answered you.  But ask me today!  Today it means getting our son here as quickly as we can.  It means advocating every chance we get for people with Down Syndrome, and Reece's Rainbow.  It means loving the people in our path and showing them that just because a child isn't 'perfect' doesn't mean they aren't valuable.  It also means letting our church family know about this mission.

Because of that....and meeting our friends from our sister church, I am going to write a letter to our minister.  We have been praying for a bigger stage to tell our story on.  Maybe that stage is the one at church, where 5,000 people regularly attend.  Can you imagine if only 1% of those folks decided to adopt?  That's 50 more kids in homes!  Out of the way of wicked!  So that leads me to my first prayer request of this week:

1. Pray that I have the words to touch our minister's heart, and that he is willing to let us tell our story.
2. Pray for Danny!  Prepare his heart for us, let him know he will be safe and secure in our arms and home.
3. Pray for Wes.  He has been gone a month as of this week.  Pray he has the endurance to stay as long as he is needed.
4. Pray for my job.  I received a contract last week, and will be installing 3 pieces of equipment this next week.
5. Pray for RAIN! There is none in our forecast, and we are still desperately in need.
6. Finally, please pray for my friend Crystal.  This week she is going to help her dad, who is in poor health.  Pray for her safety as she travels, her family, as she is away from them, and her dad to begin to feel better.
ahhh! I forgot one!
7. The Barnett family will be traveling back to EEU this week to complete the adoption of their three kids.  Please keep their children here at home, as well as the three in U in prayer.  Also pray for their judge, and that their two week wait will be waived.

Thank you for reading the last four months of my rambling.  I hope you find as much reward in praying for these things as we do.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

it really is a small world

I had so much fun at the Buddy Walk this morning!  It was my first, and while I didn't walk I worked the Reece's Rainbow booth.  How exciting to share the mission of so many faithful to His call!  While working at the booth I met some of the nicest people I've ever known.  The Winkles family recently brought the most handsome boy home from EEU.  He is a doll!  And only a few weeks older than Danny.  Have to admit that was eye opening, because he is much smaller than I thought Danny would be.  Maybe it's a good thing Wes won't let me buy clothes yet?

Anyway, after all the talking, and cuddling, and chasing a crazy crawler across the parking lot....Mom asked where the Winkles go to church.  HA!  They go to Journey Fellowship, which is a plant from our church! I loved to learn that our extended church family has been on this awesome journey before us.  Hum, also wonder if we may all be able to tell our story some day...

And yes, I just blogged about that one thing!  Stay tuned Sunday Prayers are back tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 15

Funny thing happened yesterday...Wes's USCIS official appointment notification came in the mail.  The funny part is that his prints were completed on Thursday!   I honestly laughed out loud at the mailbox. Luckily no one else was at our community box, so I didn't get any crazy looks!  Today I am committing an hour to working on our dossier.  Webster's Dictionary defines DOSSIER: a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject.  Well I would certainly agree with the detailed part of that statement.  We are already beyond 50 pages, and it's not done yet!

Here are this week's prayer requests:

1. Danny...have I told you guys that we have settled on a 'name' for him?  Daniel will continue to be his middle name, but he has a new first name.  We are going to do our best to keep it off the internet for now though, so if you want to know it email me!

2. Wes...continues to work on the East Coast.  Please keep him in your prayers, this has been an amazing opportunity for him to grow his career with USAA.  I hope to go visit him in early October.

3. My's the end of the quarter, which in my business means lots of scrambling! I am working on one deal in particular that means a lot financially to our family and adoption.  Please keep that in your prayers!

4. RAIN, sweet cleansing rain!  San Antonio (and a lot of Texas) has finally gotten a taste of rain.  Please pray that it continues.

6. The Hinzes will be meeting Sterling later this week for the first time.  Please keep all three of them in your prayers.


7. The Barnett family is waiting to get their official court date so they can plan to return to Ukraine.  Please pray for favor with the judges, and that they will release them from the 2 week waiting period most families have to endure.

Thank you all for following with us, and praying with us.  Stay tuned for more info on Juris, the handsome boy we are going to be Christmas Warriors for this year!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Luke 6:38

Give, and you will receive.  Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.  The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.  ~ Luke 6:38

I can not begin to tell you how much I needed to hear this verse today.  We are so incredibly blessed in this world, and it's so difficult to remember that all the time.  We give to church, we sponsor children from World Vision (awesome cause by the way) we help our friends who are adopting and I will just tell you.  It comes back.  In SPADES.  

Because of this I have chosen to be a Reece's Rainbow Christmas Warrior in addition to our fundraising for Danny.  Why would I take the focus off of our son?  Because it's the right thing to do.  Because God is calling me to stretch myself, and those around me.  Because I have the children...ALL of them...from Reece's Rainbow in my heart.  As soon as I hear back from the folks at RR I will post a link to the beautiful boy we are sponsoring....I know it's a boy because those are the only options I gave them!  If it's the one I hope it is then I will be thrilled!

Stay tuned!  

PS: YOU can be a Reece's Rainbow Christmas Warrior too.  Click this link: RRCW 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

it doesn't always feel real

**I wrote this yesterday, and didn't think I would post it for anyone to read.  But then a friend reminded me that this blog is as much for me as it is for the people who read it.  I want to remember these times, and this is where I am right now!  Enjoy...or think I'm a raving lunatic.  Just don't tell me if it's that last one.

The past few weeks I have felt very disconnected from this adoption.  Don't get me wrong, I love my son and can not wait to meet him. However, I am not in love with the process that it takes to get him here! Since we finally got our homestudy completed and our USCIS application sent off I've just taken a break from the whole thing.

It was not intentional, or planned, it seems as if my brain (and my heart?) have taken an adoption vacation!  I feel guilt about it!  I want Danny here so much that I cry about it, so my guess is that it's unconscious self preservation that brought me here.  I will give myself some credit, there has been a lot going on, and I have been shouldering the bulk of it, as Wes has been out of town for two weeks now.  I've still been doing things for Danny, and with him in mind, they just aren't paperwork things.  His closet and bedroom look amazing!  His bed is so cute, and I can't wait for Wes to get home to build his headboard and footboard.  I've been procrastinating, so now I need a plan!

Here is my plan: my USCSIS fingerprints are completed, and hopefully tomorrow Wes's will be too.  After that I really need to get cracking on the paperwork monster again.  Will you please join me in praying for focus and endurance to get it all completed in the next two weeks?  The "plan" includes working on one item per day until it's all done.  I think two weeks should just about do it.

Once the paperwork is complete another trip to Austin will be in order to get it all apostilled.  Hopefully by October 15th (arbitrary date I pulled out of the air) we will have our "Golden Ticket" from USCIS, and that is the point at which we will be able to send our dossier to Danny's country. That means we could travel sometime around mid-November.  Ever wanted to visit Eastern Europe in winter?  Ha!  Me neither!  But if it means seeing, loving, hugging my boy?  I'm all in.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us through this crazy, heart wrenching, bonkers adoption.  We love you all!

PS: Don't forget to pray for the Hinzes, they left today to go meet their son!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 14 early edition

Straight to the point this week:

1. Our friends the Hinzes are leaving THIS WEEK to go to Sterling's country to complete the process of their adoption.  Please keep their travels, appointments, court dates, and time getting to know Sterling in your prayers.  Here is a link to their blog so you can follow along: Sterling

2. Danny: as always!  Safety, loved, cared for...somehow knows we are coming as fast as we can!

3. Wes: is going to be on the East Coast for a while it sounds like.  Please pray for his safety, and that he continues to get opportunities which will help his career to grow.

4. My job: it's the end of the third quarter and the pressure is on!  We are praying for the deals I'm working on to complete this month, and for me to have restful sleep as my days are very hectic this month.

5. The paperwork monster!  Wes plans to get his USCIS printing done this week, and I will be working on the missing pieces of paper for our dossier.  Our goal is to complete it all in the next few weeks so we can get it all notarized and apostilled and ready to go.

Thank you (14 weeks in a row) for continuing to pray for us.  I can't imagine what it would be like if we didn't have an army behind us!

Friday, September 9, 2011

USCIS fingerprinting

Today I went and had my fingerprints for our Immigration Application done....I wish that said "we."

I was a little nervous, especially after my gps lead me to the wrong building!  But everything went very well.  When I walked in there was a rather abrupt security guard signing people in and giving them a form to fill out.  (Here is where I digress: I had already given them about 40 pages of information and now I had to tell them my height, weight and hair color?!?!?!?!)

So I took my form (and pencil - NOT A PEN) and filled out my little form and got back in line.  Mr. Security was away from the desk and the center manager came to give me my number.  He looked at me, looked at my form, and looked at me again and said "Didn't I get a letter from you?"  YES!  I explained that yes, we were requesting for Wes's appointment to be moved, and was there anyway to get a new notification today, or could Wes walk into the office in CT.  He told me that he was very busy, but to wait after I was done and he would see what he could do.

As I was sitting in the waiting area I read all the signs.  No cell phones! No loud talking!  Do not touch the tv!  So I was quietly reading my nook.  No sound, not bothering anyone.  My number was at least 10 down the line.  Mr. Security made me turn my book off!  Really?!?!?  And by the way, why don't they show movies like Coming to America or Terminal at the Immigration office?  That would be appropriate!

Watching random movie with Robin Williams, Jennifer Lopez, and Diane Lane (I think - must look this one up) which I couldn't hear!  FINALLY my number was called "Seventeen White!" And it was time to get printed!  One of my friends wanted pictures of my inky fingers and was disappointed to find out it's all digital now.  Hooray for clean hands!

The lady who printed me hadn't ever heard of someone adopting from Danny's country, so we talked a little about that.  Once I was done she had me sit to wait for the center manager.  At this point a lot more people were waiting, but as soon as he was done with the person he was working with he took me to the office.  After looking at everything and re-reading my letter he was able to get Wes's appointment rescheduled to a place within 8 miles of his hotel for two weeks from today!  He also told me that he would personally email the center manager there and explain that Wes would most likely come in early with an "un-official" notice to get printed, as the official one probably won't come until after the appointment!  I was so excited I could have cried!

I emailed Wes his form, so he will be able to go next week.  Thank you so much for continuing to pray for this part of the process....once his prints are done it will be a few weeks to process, and then we will have a case worker assigned who will review our request...and hopefully quickly....get us our approval form! We truly may be just a few weeks away from submitting our dossier.  Which reminds me...I need to get to work on those last few pieces of paper!

PS: We have a Scentsy fundraiser going on right the link on the top right side of the page that says "Scentsy Party" 100% of the profits go to our grant!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the kindness of strangers

I received a comment today on a blog I wrote months ago.  Thank goodness blogger emails them to you, otherwise I would have never known!  In it a very kind and wonderful person named Stephanie offered to host us Scentsy party and to donate 100% of the profits to Danny's adoption fund!!!  I can not tell you what this means to me!  Since I received the message we have been emailing back and forth to get everything set up.  As soon as I know more and Stephanie has it set up I'll be back with more info.

Praising God for his provisions, and the kindness of strangers!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Prayers vol. 13

What a difference a week makes.  Wes left this week to work Hurricane Irene on the east coast.  We received our USCIS fingerprinting appointment...which does pose a small problem, re: Wes on east coast! Danny's room is beginning to come together since I gutted and re-did his closet, and mom ordered a rocker/recliner for his room.  (That's our Christmas gift!)  All in all it's been ride since this time last week!  Here are our prayer requests for this week, thank you in advance for praying with us!

1. Danny...I've often wondered if he has ever been prayed over and heard about God.  Please pray for him and about him as much as you can.

2. Wes...we have no idea how long he will be gone, so please keep him and his work in your prayers.  This is an amazing opportunity for him, so please pray his managers will be impressed with his work ethic, and that he stays safe while he is away.

3. USCIS: I will be getting my biometrics done this week, most likely Friday.  Please pray we receive a quick response for our request of moving Wes' appointment to CT.

4. RAIN!!!  I can not stress this one enough.  Texas needs rain!

5. Dossier: This is the packet of paperwork we will send to Danny's country.  We are asking for prayers over it, as we still have a few items to collect, and want it all to be done when we receive our "Golden Ticket" from USCIS.  (The golden ticket is our approval to bring him to the US.)

God's blessings on each of you this week!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Well if you don't already know I think it's important to share a couple of life things going on right now!

1. Wes has been deployed to the East Coast to work some of the damage left behind by Hurricane Irene.  We don't know how long he will be gone, and he has no return ticket!  What we do know is this is an amazing opportunity for him and we are so thankful it came along.

2. We got our USCIS fingerprinting appointment notification!!!  And it's next week on Friday....which is awesome...except that Wes is on the East Coast.  Funny what God does in our lives, huh?!  Not a huge concern, I spoke with a very helpful man at the state department yesterday and he walked me through how to get Wes's appointment moved to where he is.  The request is already in the mail.

3. Since he's gone I decided to go ahead with a little 'home improvement' project we had planned for Danny's room.  Today I demolished the shelves and bars on the inside of his closet and then painted over the scars left behind.  Tomorrow I'm going to install this (sans lady clothes) so he will have lots of room for all his fun new stuff!

Zoomed: Rubbermaid Custom Closet Kit

Hope the world is treating you well, and you enjoy this holiday weekend.


PS: Remember JOSIE?  She has a family!!!!