Wednesday, February 29, 2012

iPad Giveaway - Update!

Alright, ladies and gentleman, the hour is quickly approaching.

In three short hours, we'll "cut-off" the eligibility list for the iPad giveaway.  

Hopefully, tomorrow, we'll be contacting one of you (privately first, by the way) to let you know that we have an iPad to send you and confirming what address you want it shipped to.   Unless, of course, you are in the same town as us, and then we'll be figuring out a way to meet up with you and give it to you in person!

After we contact the lucky recipient, I'll post here on the blog, letting everyone know who got it.  :-)

There is only one thing that may delay the announcement - we've had a number of donations come in today (which is fantastic - THANK YOU!) - and that means that we have to get an updated list of donors from Reece's Rainbow.  We've been told that it sometimes takes a day for them to process all of the names/donations and get us that list.   If that's the case this time, too, we will have to wait until Friday to contact the recipient.  We just want to make sure that everyone who tried to participate in the giveaway is in the running - we don't want to leave anyone out!

So, if you haven't already gotten in on the action, take a moment to do so now!  I am so excited to see what tomorrow brings! 

Thank you all!

Last chance!

Today's the last day to get in on the iPad giveaway fun!

Make sure you go to the giveaway page and read how to become eligible to receive our "thank you" gift.  I'm SO SO SO excited to be able to give this away soon - the support we've received has been unbelievable, and even though this is gift is not big enough to properly convey our gratitude and appreciation, it is exciting to be able to do. 

Sooo, go right now to check it out, spread the word, and let's bring Peter home!

Thanks, guys!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting in on the fun...

Bringing Peter home is turning into quite the family affair!

I told the big boys that they could come up with a way to help fundraise to bring Peter home, and they decided that they wanted to make rosaries to sell.  (I think this idea came from the fact that Mike and I are making very, very nice wooden rosaries to sell later this spring - around First Communion time - on this website).  Anywho, I found some kid-friendly wooden beads and rosary kits, and the boys and I have been working hard on making them over the past two days.  They're an awesome finished product - I'm excited for the big boys to set up their little booth at the BBQ and other big events.  (and yes, I will set up a link on here, after the auction is over, for those of you out of town).  It's cute to see them getting involved and talking about what's going on and what we're trying to accomplish with this whole crazy process.  I think that, conceptually, it's hard for them to grasp the idea that they have a brother out there - halfway around the world - that they've never met, and it's hard for them to picture what life will be like once he comes home.  I mean, it's hard enough for Mike and I to verbalize it....I can't imagine what it would be like if we were only 6 years old!   This is a tangible activity that allows them to participate in a concrete way.  And I don't know about you, but it seems that often, my mind can grasp something a bit better if I am distracting my hands with an activity - conversations are deeper while preparing a meal together, for example.  Working on these rosaries together has allowed us a chance to talk through everything, while focusing on a goal that we can accomplish in a short period of time.

We finished up the last of our home study visits this weekend.  Now, we're just in a kind of waiting period.   Reports have to be written, the state needs to sign off on things, and one more doctor's appointment needs to be met.  Then we wait....

I've kind of been having fun on the Reece's Rainbow website this weekend.  They just revamped everything, and it's looking fantastic.    On Friday, a Facebook friend posed a challenge on her blog to try and get one particular little boy's grant up over the $2500 mark.  Once a child has $2500 in their grant, their chances of finding a forever family are increased quite a bit - adoption is such a huge expense, that grant really helps a prospective adoptive family take the leap of faith.  Anyhow, this one little boy, Malcolm, is facing a dire future.  In a few short months (April) he'll "age out" of the baby house he's currently living in and move into an institution.  Malcolm is adorable - completely and totally lovable - and my friend was hoping to get him moved onto the "sizable grants" list and increase his odds of finding a forever family.   It was amazing to watch - in three short days, Malcolm's grant went from around $2000 to over $5100 (and that's not counting checks that are being mailed in!).  The financial support just seemed to pour out of everywhere, and it was so incredibly exciting to be watching all weekend.   This little boy is already so loved, and I'm praying for his forever family to find him quickly.  

The time period is drawing to a close for our iPad giveaway, by the way.  On Thursday, we'll get a list of everyone who's donated to Peter's fund, add it to the list of people who have shared our blog site in some way (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc) and we'll give someone a crazy big THANK YOU in the form of a brand new iPad 2.  Are you going to be on that list?  Follow the tab at the top to make sure you are! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Silent Auction Teaser...

I'm getting so excited for April's silent auction!

Don't forget about the iPad giveaway (tab at the top of the page - go check it out!), but the items that are going to be auctioned off are starting to roll in.  I'm so excited to start mailing them out to the top bidders!  

Some of the items up for grabs are:

- an Easter ham!!  (from:  Farmland Foods )

- a gorgeous handmade Swarovski rosary ( from:  PMMDesigns)

- Two different sets of jewelry (from:  Premier Designs)

- a precious headband for a special little girl (from:  Hannah Mia )

- an awesome Yoda hat for a special little one (from:  Mary Originals )

- an autographed CD set from Fr  Peter Schavitz 

...and this doesn't even include all of the items I've already received!  I've got handmade artwork, handmade scarves, hats, bows, a personalized quilt (where you get to choose the fabric!), and so much more.  I wouldn't want to ruin all of the surprises just yet!

I'm getting excited....are you?  

I am so blessed to live in such a compassionate "village" of people - thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I sit here.. the room that will be Peter's when we bring him home.  It's currently my schoolroom.

I love this room.  My favourite part of the day is always going up there after everyone has gone to bed, and preparing our work for the next day.  It's quiet.  It's peaceful.  It's just a very calming room.

We bought his crib.  It's still in the box, and it will be stored in that box in the closet, just to my left.  We have the bedding, the decorations, and a few toys.   I'd packed them away after baby #3 outgrew them, "just in case" we'd need them again.  I even have some clothes that might be able to stock his dresser, depending on when we get to bring him home.  I went through them today, as a matter of fact.  (Not on purpose, really, but because it was a "deep clean" kind of day and ALL of the boys had their closets sorted through.  Clothes that were too small were packed away, bigger clothes pulled out of the storage bins....and to get to all of those, I had to first get past all of the smaller sizes, most likely one of which Peter will be able to fit into when he comes home). 

It's a quiet excitement that hums in this room now, along with the peacefulness.   

This is a big, busy weekend for us in the adoption process.  We'll be finishing up our home study visits, and all that will be left will be waiting for the state of Arizona to sign off on everything.  I'm nervous about getting through to the other side of this weekend - once we're there, I have to wait patiently for someone else to finish their part of the process.  Once we're there, I have to release what little sense of control I have over bringing Peter home.  Once we're there...all I can do is sit and wait.

I think I'll sit in this room when the weekend is over.  I can wait here, picturing how it will look for Peter when he first comes home. 


Don't forget to check out the iPad giveaway at the tab on the top, or by clicking here.   March 1st is coming quickly!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've always considered myself a relatively good parent.  I  mean, I'm not perfect (who is?!?), but I do the best that I can, and try my hardest to be as close to perfect as I can be.   I love being a mom, and love all that being a mom entails.  I even love the gross parts (you know, like getting peed on.  I've had 3 boys...I've been there, done that), because the gross parts oftentimes bring out an emotion or result that I didn't think could happen.  The grossest, messiest times (like the time all five of us had a horrible stomach flu and we spent the whole weekend hanging out in the bathroom together, as I begged my mom to drive 8 hours to join us and lend a helping hand) often become the best times.  I find myself looking back on them, not in despair, but in gratitude.  Did I enjoy being sick as a family at that moment?  Not at all.  But I can look back at it now with intense gratitude and appreciation for the friends who drove out of their way to leave chicken noodle soup, gatorade, and diapers on our back step.    Those memories inspire me to try to be a better friend or source of support for those around me now........good coming out of the bad.

I was a little leery about having to do all this parenting training that we're required to do for Peter's adoption.  Because we're working with two different agencies, we have 20 hours of videos and quizzes and online lessons to accomplish.  I was afraid they'd be "cheesy" or "boring."  To be totally honest...I thought I didn't "need" them.  After all, I've had three kids already.....three very different kids in three very different life circumstances.    I was pretty sure that I would be okay, even without doing this training, and besides, didn't they know how busy I was with all of this paperwork, and its additionally required doctor's appointments, vet appointments, and then just regular daily life?

Well, I'm about halfway in now - just finished my 10th hour and 5th quiz - and again, God is using these circumstances to teach me something new, or to broaden my viewpoint.  Yes, a lot of the videos were  "review" in the sense that I'd heard the parenting theories and suggested implementations before.....but there was a lot that I hadn't heard before as well.  I was an anthropology major in college - I could ace the sections on race and culture - but I have to admit that the science of brain development was totally new to me.  It was fascinating, and I actually found myself thoroughly interested in the computer programs, and contemplating my past parenting experience in light of this new information.  I can honestly say that I did, truly, learn a few new things. 

What is the point of this story, you may be asking?   The point is this: 

God will always find a way to encourage humility.  ;-)   We can never - and will never - know it all.  

I think know that this adoption experience will be a learning one for all of us ... probably with quite a steep learning curve.  I'm glad you're here to travel it with us!

Don't forget about the iPad giveaway!  March 1st is coming quickly - make sure to check it out now! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The post in which I give my acceptance speech...

Remember a few days ago, when I said that I was speechless?

I still kind of feel that way, but my words are starting to return, slowly but surely.  (You guys didn't REALLY think I'd be quiet for long, did you?  You should know me better than that....)

A lot has change since our last post.  I'm going to try and hit upon all of it, as quickly as possible, and then get into the "good stuff"...the emotional rollercoaster.

Let's see, how about some bullet points?  That'll probably keep things clear, right?

- First things first....the iPad giveaway.  You can find the information here, and also through the tab at the top of the page.  Remember, you have until March 1st to become eligible for our thank you gift, so make sure to get moving on that!   (Also, please, please, please if you share it via Facebook, twitter, or email, please make sure to either tag me, or send me a message via the blog letting me know.  If I don't don't become eligible, even if you did one of the two things listed on the giveaway post)

- Secondly...we're still looking for donations for the silent auction in April.  You can find more information here (scroll down the page).  We're *thisclose* to having a really cool item to give away for every single day of the month!!  If you can help out with an item in some way, please let me know!

- Next - the March BBQ is coming up quickly, on March 24th.  Our location is 99.9% confirmed, but will definitely be in Gilbert (AZ).  We're just waiting to make sure that all of our "t's" are crossed and "i's" are dotted.  (permits have to be acquired and whatnot).    I've added a tab at the top of the page specifically for this event, too.  Be sure to keep an eye on it, and share it with everyone you know! 

- Thanks to a great reminder from a family friend, I need to share a special reminder with you!  In some cases, your employer  might allow for "corporate sponsoring" of charitable donations that you make.  The company, in other words, might add to the donation that you've made, at no cost to you.  It's pretty common in bigger corporations.  Turns out that donating to Reece's Rainbow (a non-profit) is eligible for that matching donation for some of our friends' companies.   If that's the case with your employer, don't forget!  Free money is always a good thing!  

- Last but not least - make sure to keep an eye on this blog.  We will hopefully have some VERY EXCITING announcements in the very near future, and your best way to make sure that you don't miss it is to subscribe to this blog.  You can subscribe in two ways - both are on the far right side of the home page.  Don't miss out!!

Alright, I think that's all for the "bookkeeping" type info.  I'm sure I forgot something, but I'll try to come back and add to that list if I remember anything important.  Be sure to keep checking in!

Now on to the "fun" stuff.   My gosh, every day that goes on, I'm getting a little more and more used to the idea that I have another baby out there, one that I've never met, and one that will hopefully be home relatively soon.  We're getting estimates of his arrival anywhere from the end of this year through next summer.   It's all up in the air, but basically comes down to the fact that we just have to be ready for when Hong Kong calls.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing for me.  I'm going to try to look at it positively - it means that there will be less time for me to freak out about the plane flight there.  FIFTEEN HOURS ON ONE PLANE.  I'm not sure how that's going to go over.  I just about had ten different panic attacks on the flights to Madrid this past summer, and I was traveling with TWO priests!   I mean, you can't really be in better hands when flying, right?  ;-)  I'm trying not to think about the flying part, but I almost can't help it.   Part of me really wants to just send Mike on his own (HK only requires one parent when it comes to traveling), but how can I not go see my baby?  How can I give up the opportunity to see him immediately?   Sigh.   I hate being a scaredy-cat.

The three big boys are finally starting to comprehend the idea of adoption.   Not a day goes by when they don't ask about Peter, and where he is right now, or if I'm going be his new mommy (and Mike be his new daddy), and if they can be his brothers, or them telling me about what they want to do once he gets here.  It's cute.   It's hard for me, though - there is still SO much that can fall through, at any point, and it's hard to not worry about that when we have these little conversations.  I suppose it's not any different than losing a pregnancy after they all knew about it, but for some reason, I am having a hard time preparing them.  I don't know if I just feel protective of them (or of me, maybe?  Like I want to keep Peter all to myself for awhile?), or if I'm just - again - fearful.   I think it's another opportunity where I'm being taught how to trust Him and His plans for our family.   It's so hard to do that, sometimes!  Okay.....all the time!  Darn "type A" personality........

We did find out that we don't have to have the crib and everything set up by next weekend.  The social worker just has to verify that the crib meets safety standards.  Considering that we just bought it last week, and it's still in the original packaging, she'll definitely be able to see that it meets safety standards.   The agency said that they doubted a manufacturer would sell something not up-to-code, so they're okay with it being in the box when the social worker sees it.  Whew!   I really wanted to finish out the current school year before moving things around, so that won't be a problem.   Yay! 

I'm a little annoyed at my doctor right now.  We all have to have these physical papers filled out and signed off on.  I  *just* had my yearly physical at the beginning of January....and my insurance company won't pay for another one so soon (and we don't have office visit coverage for additional appointments)...and the doctor won't fill it out without a new appointment.  So frustrating.  All of these little charges are so annoying.  $50 for each home study visit (there are 4), $62 for FBI background checks, $15 for this state background check, $20 for another, $50 for fingerprint cards (for each of us, so $100 total), $39 for birth certificate copies, and so on and so on.   It seems like every time I turn around, there's another round of little payments.  I know it's all for a fabulous cause -- but I wasn't expecting this "nickel and dime" kind of stuff for some reason.  Being a scrooge like I am, I hate all these little charges!!  I can't help but wonder if these were included in the average cost of a Hong Kong adoption that we were told....or if these are on top of that guesstimate.   We shall see, I suppose!

I wanted to take another minute to thank everyone who is making this adoption even possible.  We have had so many offers of help, and generous donations, and just all-around support from what seems like every bit of our lives.  College friends, childhood friends, family members, work colleagues, guys have been so incredibly wonderful to us, and I cannot find enough ways to say thank you to you.  Please know that the love and gratitude I have for you is beyond words.  Thank you all!

I spent the day at the science museum with the three rascals, and they're incredibly tired and in need of some Mommy love, so I suppose I should sign off now.  Don't forget to keep checking in for the latest news and to see who gets our thank you iPad!    Go subscribe to the blog now!! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

iPad Giveaway!!!

Well, more precisely....we got to SHIP an iPad today!  Here's how the giveaway ended up:

The iPad is on its way to Patty, and I'm so grateful to everyone for having had this opportunity to share some fun and joy!

Patty, I hope you enjoy the gift!!



iPad Giveaway - Update! 


Alright, ladies and gentleman, the hour is quickly approaching.
In three short hours, we'll "cut-off" the eligibility list for the iPad giveaway.  
Hopefully, tomorrow, we'll be contacting one of you (privately first, by the way) to let you know that we have an iPad to send you and confirming what address you want it shipped to.   Unless, of course, you are in the same town as us, and then we'll be figuring out a way to meet up with you and give it to you in person!
After we contact the lucky recipient, I'll post here on the blog, letting everyone know who got it.  :-)
There is only one thing that may delay the announcement - we've had a number of donations come in today (which is fantastic - THANK YOU!) - and that means that we have to get an updated list of donors from Reece's Rainbow.  We've been told that it sometimes takes a day for them to process all of the names/donations and get us that list.   If that's the case this time, too, we will have to wait until Friday to contact the recipient.  We just want to make sure that everyone who tried to participate in the giveaway is in the running - we don't want to leave anyone out!
So, if you haven't already gotten in on the action, take a moment to do so now!  I am so excited to see what tomorrow brings! 
Thank you all!

Would you like to have one of those?
An  iPad 2, of your very own?

Let us give one to you!

We are holding our very first give-away on our Bringing Home Peter blog – isn't it exciting?!?!

“So who exactly is eligible for this iPad?”  you may be wondering.

Everyone is eligible!

Yep, that’s right.  Everyone. 
All you have to do is one of two options (before March 1, 2012):
1)    Make a monetary donation towards Peter’s adoption in any amount.  There are three ways to do this:  via either button on our blog (one is directly to us, and is not a tax deduction, and the other is a tax-deductible donation to Reece’s Rainbow that will be applied to our adoption fees), or in-person through a cash or check donation.  We humbly request a donation of $50 to help us bring Peter home.
2)  Share this blog (and give-away information) in some manner.  This can be through Facebook, Twitter, email, or word-of-mouth.  The only catch is that we need to KNOW that you shared the blog with a friend, so we can be sure to consider you when determining the gift recipient.  If you send someone to our blog, make sure they know that they have to mention your name, either in a comment or email.  If you share on Facebook, make sure to tag us and let your friends know to mention your name.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cribs, and baby gates, and forms, Oh my!

It seems almost overnight, our lives have flipped, turned upside down... Yes, that IS a shout out to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  I loved that show.  Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?....

First there's this one:

And we can't have a Fresh Prince flashback without this one....

Okay, now that we have that over with..back to the blogging.

This past week has been a whirlwind of craziness, culminating in spending the weekend crib shopping and trying rearrange furniture.  Turns out that we DO have to have Peter's room set up by the time our final home study visit comes around.....which is in two weeks!  I honestly hadn't thought we'd set up his room until the end of the school year, considering the absolute earliest we'd have him home would be late fall/early winter.   Not the case, apparently, and so crib shopping we went.

It was a bit surreal, walking through the store, looking at cribs and changing tables and talking about decorating a nursery again.  It's been a long time since we've done this...and I'm not pregnant.  It was very much an "out-of-body" kind of experience.  Exciting, but just, well...odd.   I'm not sure how I'm going to handle having his room set up for months before we get to bring him home.   I suppose that God is making sure that I have plenty of opportunities to work on the virtue of patience this year, huh?

We had to pay our first BIG round of payments today.  We've had lots of "littler" fees up until now, with the previous biggest being just over a thousand dollars.  Today's was the first installment of the actual adoption fees to our agency....$3500.  It definitely puts the pressure on to get the fundraising really started....there will be another one of those bills soon.   On that note, make sure you check out the "How You Can Help" tab at the top of the page.  Fundraising efforts are taking off - and a save the date flier is circulating.  Please feel free to share it with any of your friends and family in the greater Phoenix area.  The more, the merrier!

We've also set up a PayPal account for those of you who were asking.  You'll see the button just above our picture on our home page.  That money will go directly to us to pay for all these fees that are adding up so quickly, and towards our travel costs.   Thank you in advance!

Thank you again for your support! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reality is sinking in...

...and I might be drowning!

The past week has been full of emotions that I didn't even know that I even HAD the capability to feel.  I'll try to sort through them here, and give a shout-out to everyone that deserves one....but I'm throwing a disclaimer in here:  I'm totally unable to focus.   This may not really be coherent!

First things first - the paperwork.  I might just be treading water here.  When we started letting our friends know that we were even discerning adoption, someone called it a "paper pregnancy."  How true those words are!  We're just getting started, and I feel like I've signed a house mortgage now at least 3 times.  The vast amount of paperwork is just completely amazing.  Also, we've come to realize that we're kind of in a demographic that doesn't seem to be very common.   As we go through the paperwork, and physician visits, and essay question after essay question about the quality of our childhood and/or marriage, we've come to realize that fertile couples of childbearing age are apparently not very common in this whole adoption thing.   It makes some of the questions a bit difficult to answer, to be totally honest.   I was not expecting this.    Shout-out for this note:  my wonderful husband.  He's the one keeping all of our paperwork together, our to-do list being slowly accomplished, and phone calls straight.  I guess he really IS an organized person!  ;-)

Secondly - excitement and anxiety.  Again, this is more like a pregnancy than I ever expected.  I can't control so many factors.  All I can do is keep things together on my end and follow the rules....and keep praying.  Papers get turned in, phone calls get made, and I have no control over what happens from that point on.  For a type "A" personality like myself, this is quite a difficult position to be in.   Every day, I'm reminded of each of my past pregnancies.  All I could do was take my vitamins, eat healthy, and try to stay active....everything else was completely out of my control.   It's very similar here.  Everything could still fall through, at any point, and it's not something that I decide.  Again (like during our pregnancies, especially since they were all after a miscarriage), I'm finding myself having to turn to God in prayer and just lay it all down at His feet.  It's a very humbling experience.

Thirdly - incredibly appreciation and gratitude for those in our lives.  To be honest, I expected our close friends and immediate family to be excited for us, and supportive.  They have not disappointed me!  However, what I was NOT expecting was the outpouring of love, joy, and support (in so many ways - financial, with fundraising items, words of encouragement) from people I hardly knew, and in some cases, people that I didn't know at all.  I can't even begin to count the number of "friends-of-a-friend" who have contacted me already (it's only been three days!!) with offers of items for our auction, or links to different resource pages, or just emails of encouragement.   Our little boy is already being surrounded by a global village who is just overflowing with love and support for him.  I keep finding myself swallowed up with joyful tears, with abundant gratitude, and most surprisingly for me:  I'm speechless.  I'm not often speechless.  Everyone who knows me in real life, knows that my nickname growing up was "Motor Mouth."  I don't usually have a problem with finding words:  in fact, it's usually the opposite.  I have a problem with staying quiet!  This week, however, I've been so incredibly overwhelmed by the support of our extended community that I honestly cannot find the right words to express my gratitude.  Please just know that even though I may not be saying much, my heart is shouting out a resounding "Thank you!" to everyone who contacts us.   Consider this your shout-out.  ;-)

And then there's the logistics.  I have to go crib shopping, and relatively soon (his room has to be set up and complete by the time of our final home study, so in the next three months).  I need to figure out which room will be Peter's, and how we're going to make that happen.  I'm guessing I'm going to have to give up my much-loved school room and give that to Peter.  While I can definitely do that, it's a bit bittersweet.   And overwhelming.  Cribs.  Little boy bedding.  Little boy toys.  I don't have any of that anymore (I gave away most of our things when we moved).   I don't even know where the baby stores ARE here! 

Last, but definitely not least, the fear of being inadequate.  We still have a long road ahead of us.  There are many more pieces of paper, many more interviews, a huge travel requirement (eek, I'm so not a fan of planes!   I keep reminding myself that I did just fine going to Madrid this summer...and that I can do this, too...), and the scariest part of all:  the money.  I'm terrified that we won't be able to fulfill the financial component, and that our Peter will continue to sit in a hospital, waiting for us.  Why would they find a foster family for him, or a residential bed, when he's got a forever family to come home to and another child does not yet?   I can't bear the thought that he might sit there, in a hospital crib, waiting for his Mom and Dad....and we might not be able to come get him.   I'm so scared that we won't be able to hold up our end of the "deal" in a timely matter.  I know that everyone out there is willing to help us get to that point...but what if it isn't enough?   What if even our best efforts aren't good enough?  I'm already in love with this little boy....I can't stand the thought of not getting to hold him a year from now (our goal). 

I have to trust. 

I have to pray.

I have to lean on you guys. 

Thank you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here goes!

Since I seem to be a queen of creating blogs (seriously, I think I've started more blogs for various organizations or reasons than I can even count...), we've decided to move forward with an adoption-specific blog.  This will be the place to come to check on how our journey of bringing Peter home is going, the place to come and lend a sympathetic ear or comment or two, or the place to support our journey through different fundraising efforts.  It will be our "Central Station" of Peter's adoption.

Along those lines, I've started moving all of our adoption - related blog posts from the past, and all of our plans moving forward to this site.  Please bookmark it for future reference!

Take the time to explore, dig around, and enjoy the path we're finding ourselves on.  Each of the tabs at the top will give you a little bit more of a "feel" for where we've been, where we're headed, and where you fit in!

Thank you for helping to bring our Peter home!

A Few Short Words..

...that's what I am struggling to find. 
A little more than a week ago, I made it public knowledge that we were in the beginning stages of adopting a child.  Almost immediately after that post went live, we received word that we could potentially not be approved by the country we were seeking to adopt from, due to Mike's medical school loans.  That has since been resolved, and we received official approval at the end of this week.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster!
Now, we're finding ourselves drowning in a sea of paperwork, phone calls, visits/meetings, and fees.  It's extremely overwhelming, and we're just trying to keep our heads above water, and trying to keep things as normal as possible around the house.  Even though my to-do list has pretty much quadrupled, keeping things as close to our normal routine has been number one.  Some days have been easier than others, but I think everyone is holding steady now.
Constantly in my mind, however, are all the worries, anxieties, and questions.   To be totally honest, as we get further and further into the process, I'm realizing just how much of this I have to put into God's hands, just as if I was actually pregnant.  There is so much out of my control - at any point, the process could stop - and I have to learn to just let go of those worries and hold to prayer.  It's a lot easier said than done. 
My mind is racing with fundraising thoughts (eek!  We need to get moving on that!), what papers need to get mailed where, and how are we going to pay for the next round of bills, and on top of all of that....I need to start building a blog through our adoption liaison's website.    We'll be able to accept donations through them, and since they are a non-profit, the donations will tax deductible for the donor.   I hope to have that launched soon, and will keep everyone updated.
I can't even begin to start on that blog, though, until I create a family biography.  Since we are adopting a special needs child from an orphanage, it's not quite as much of an "advertising" profile as say, a directory for birth mothers to look through, but it still needs to accurately describe our family.  This will be how people come to know us through the adoption ministry we are working with.  It needs to be short, vibrant, and accurate.  It has to make people WANT to like us and WANT to help us.

It's quite a daunting task.
How do you even begin to write something as important as this?  I keep looking at the computer screen, and nothing comes to mind.  I don't write short, to-the-point paragraphs.  I like words (a little too much, Mike says sometimes!  haha).    For the first time in a long time...I'm completely at a loss for words.
How do I describe - in one short paragraph - the people who mean the most to me?   The family I would die for, if it came to that.   How do I put all of that love into one brief biography?

Let the journey begin.....

It's a bit scary for me to write this post, and put our plans out there on the internet, but the past few months, I've really felt called to publicly share our journey.   Maybe it's for therapeutic reasons, maybe it's an inner need for support that I didn't recognize before, maybe it's more of a chance to witness and plant a seed in someone else's heart...I don't know.  All I know is that I'm sitting here at the computer, trying to put the past three years into words, and really failing.  Forgive me if this seems like incessant babbling, and/or is completely incoherent.  Eventually.....hopefully....I'll be able to fill in more blanks and it will hopefully make more sense!
Three-ish years ago, we gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  He was perfect.  My health, on the other hand, was not so perfect.  A post-partum trip to the ER, weeks of being unable to leave the couch or my bed without the risk of a stroke, medication changes and cocktails, trying to find the right combination, all combined with normal post-partum recovery made for a pretty scary experience.  Knowing that the same complications have crept up with every pregnancy - and were getting worse with each one - Mike and I knew that we needed to make some changes if we were going to remain open to life, as we are called to be.   After adjusting to having three children under the age of 5 in my constant care, Mike and I set out on a joint mission of understanding what had happened to me, and doing what we could to prevent it happening again.  Enter in the "getting healthy" journey (see the tab above for more details).  While I can say that so far, that journey has been successful, with me a mere 8 pounds away from losing 20% of my starting weight, and no longer being on medications, and having very, very good lab and blood pressure results, this process has opened our hearts to another, similar journey:  adoption.
In that three year period, while Mike and I were researching my health and planning a way to improve my health, the path to adoption was brightened over and over again.  While we no longer fear the medical implications of becoming pregnant....we wholeheartedly believe that it was no coincidence that our oldest entered a school where a good portion of his classmates (and our future friends) had been adopted.  We wholeheartedly believe that God had placed these people in our paths to show us just how beautiful it can be when you open your home to an orphan and he/she becomes your child, your family, and to provide us with trusted friends to ask the questions that were rolling around in our hearts and minds.   It was no coincidence that some of our first friends in Arizona are - independently of us knowing this about each other - at the same place we are on this journey.    It was no coincidence that time and time again, I'd be reminded of the love and dignity found in every human life...and be reminded of that need to help the poorest of the poor: those suffering from the greatest poverty of them all, the poverty of being loved.
The call to adoption is a strong one in our lives.  We have the ability to open our homes to children who need one - and so we have.  We are still open to pregnancy, if that is how God calls us in the future, but at this time, we know we are being called to reach out to a child in need and love him. 
Meetings and orientations have been attended.  Decisions, costs, our abilities have all been weighed.  Phone call conversation after phone call conversation have been held.  Pennies have been counted...saved...and counted again.   Papers have been filled out.   Countless hours have been spent in prayer, discerning God's will for our family. 
The journey, it appears, is beginning.  Our family is growing. 
As we move forward in our journey to adopt a special needs child, I ask you for prayers.   There may come a time when we will need more than prayers:  hugs, words of support, help with adjustment and traveling, more hugs, sympathetic words and smiles, and even more hugs.   For now - and throughout our journey - I ask that you pray for our family: those who currently live in our house, and our children who are still to come home.  Pray that we are able to love fully as God is calling us to.
Thank you. 
Stay tuned for updates.  :-)