Wednesday, February 26, 2014's been a few weeks since the last update...

...and there has been a lot of back-and-forth work behind the scenes here at Bringing Theo Home.   Now that everything has been questioned and answered and filled out and updated in the paperwork (it's been exactly 2 years now, so there was a lot of updating to do!), I felt like it was time to update you guys, too!

There's been a lot going on here recently.....

The biggest update, so the one that I'm going to put out there first, is this:

Theo's going to be a big brother, God-willing.  

Yep.   We're pregnant, as well as adopting.  God has a sense of humour, doesn't He?  I won't say that it was a surprise - we've gotten pregnant before and we know how it happens (haha) - but after miscarriages and fertility/medical issues, I will say that we are considering it a miracle that this little one is growing and healthy and seemingly doing well.

We told our overseeing agencies right away, as well as telling Theo's home country as soon as we knew that the pregnancy was seemingly healthy and sustainable.   Obviously, things can change in an instant, but all the signs are pointing toward a little one joining us later this year.    (please pray!)  All of the agencies and Theo's country have asked questions and verified our community/family support, financial ability to care for TWO additional children, not just Theo, and everyone seems satisfied with the answers.     It did put us back a couple of weeks as everyone asked their questions and waited for answers or researched the answers that we had given them, but we seem to be moving forward again.   Originally, they were telling us to expect travel in March, and now we're being told we should be traveling within the next 8 weeks (that was a week or so ago, so sometime between now and mid-April, we're thinking).     While we don't like the idea of waiting even longer, it was *very* important to us to be completely honest and upfront with this as soon as possible, and knew that it might have a negative influence on our timeline.   It's such a  miracle (to us) that this baby is even here and healthy, and are trusting in God's timing and plan.

Another big update was that Mike was awarded a promotion, of sorts, at work.  He's now the medical director of his department at the hospital.  This is a fantastic opportunity for him, at such a young age (he's only three years out of residency!), and we are very grateful for this chance.    It does, however, mean more administrative time and work (aka meetings), and has necessitated other changes in our life.... moving once again!   We'll only be moving to a house about 30 minutes away, but it will cut Mike's commuting time from 30/35 minutes to 5 minutes.   It will also allow him to spend his call shifts at home, instead of moving into the hospital every time he's on call.   We're hopeful that the trade off in distance will allow for our family life to remain stable with the amount of time that Daddy is home with the kids.   It will also allow for us to be more fully integrated into a larger community, with larger/more plentiful resources for Theo (additional therapies through the school system), and closer to our incredibly supportive church community.   We won't be moving until AFTER Theo comes home and after we have some time to "cocoon" in our current house with him and get to know each other, but it is on the horizon.

Obviously, Theo's country had to be updated on all of these changes to0, since they all change some part of our home study.    They've asked clarifying questions, and we've answered all of them.   Most of them positively change our homestudy - the promotion meant a change in Mike's income slightly.   Our support network in the other town is larger, as well as there being more available resources through the schools.    Mike should be home more and more available, even when he is on call.   Our only worry (that we'd understand, though!) is that his country will require an updated homestudy report based on the new house that we plan on moving into eventually.   We'd understand that, but since it isn't ours yet (we just went under contract, so it'll be awhile before we own it, and even after we own it, we aren't planning on moving into it right away), it could throw that timeline for an even bigger loop.    They are aware that we do not yet own it and could possibly not own it if something falls through with the contract, and aren't going to own it until possibly even after Theo comes home, so we are hopeful that our social worker's confirmation of the house we have identified will be enough.  Pray!

I will keep you all updated as we get closer and closer to Theo's homecoming.  We appreciate all of your prayers as we navigate through the rest of this process!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tick Tock Goes the Clock.....




That's us, obsessively checking our emails.

Over and over and over again.   For pretty much the past month.   Well, we did pause for a short period, because his country was closed for a government holiday, but man, we kicked it back into high gear immediately after they reopened.

No updates yet, except that we know they are processing our travel dates.   Based on when we got our Article 5 (officially - there was a delay, thanks to a bug in the new computer system the consulate was using.  All of us families were delayed a few weeks), we are about halfway into our travel date wait.   It's looking like March traveling is more and more likely for our little guy's homecoming, although there is a slight chance we could still travel this month, as everyone claims that we are being "expedited" somehow, because of all of our delays.   We are cautiously optimistic that by our birthdays this year (April 13th for me, Heidi, and April 25th for Mike), our little Theo will be home with his forever family.

As we get closer and closer to his homecoming, people have started asking how they can help, both our friends here locally and those across the world.   To be honest, this is a difficult question!   We truly appreciate everyone's support and willingness to help throughout this whole, long, difficult, emotional process.   I honestly cannot put into words just how much your support has meant to us.  We've become blubbering fools more times than I can count, just overwhelmed with the love, compassion, and generosity that has been shown to us.

We think we have some things pretty well prepared for our little guy.  We have both a small bed and a crib, waiting for him (we'll wait to see what he's using in his country and do the same here).   We have buckets of clothes stored away for him (one way the delays actually helped us - he should be wearing the same clothing size Rascal #3 was when we started this process, based on the latest weight/height measurements we were given, which means we have a TON of stuff saved for him).    We have generous donations of toys and books waiting.   We have an incredible team of medical professionals and therapists who are ready and waiting for his homecoming, so they can help us evaluate what he needs and get us started relatively quickly with helping him.   We have child care providers waiting in the wings, ready to step in and help with Rascals 1, 2, and 3, so they can continue their daily routines and activities while we care for and bond with Theo.

So, when we're asked "How can we help?,"  I really have a hard time coming up with an answer.   My hesitation is two-fold, honestly.   We've been so touched by the help we've been shown so far that it is hard to ask for or accept more.   Secondly, what would be most useful for us at this point in time is hard to ask for.

About a year ago, we announced that we were fully-funded.  That was true at the time.   But then we had to redo our homestudies.    And our fingerprint clearances for the state and federal approvals.   And update and renew our USCIS approvals.   And get new doctor's clearances for the whole family, which also meant new things like x-rays and blood tests.    Not because anything had changed.....but because they'd expired.    All of that added up to quite a large amount of money.

To be completely honest, the way I would like to answer the "How can I help?" question is    We have our physical needs and local, physical support needs filled (as best we can predict, of course).    The biggest unknown factor right now really is the money.   Theo's country has a habit of giving very little turnaround time to adoptive families - often you are given a week's notice to book flights and hotels and make arrangements.    We'd built a "buffer" (if you will) into our budget to accommodate that possibility, since last-minute travel can be so incredibly more expensive than planned travel.    However, with all of those delays and renewals......that buffer is gone.    We weren't planning on asking for financial help - we were just going to figure out a way to make it work, somehow - but if I'm going to be completely honest in response to the "How can I help?" would help.   It would help us with our travel costs, and it would help us provide for more immediate care and help once we get home with our little guy.

This is NOT, in any way, a direct plea for financial assistance.   This is, however, an honest answer to the question we keep being asked by our family, friends, and community.   If you do want to help by donating, we would greatly appreciate it.

Any donations that come in above and beyond what we end up using for travel costs and our last round of agency fees, we will donate to the adoption costs of another family who is also adopting from Theo's country.  That amount will just depend on how much notice we are given and what our travel costs end up being.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support, from the very bottom of our hearts.


There are two ways to donate:

 - Reece's Rainbow (tax-deductible donation)

 -  Through our personal Paypal button, which is on the right hand side of our blog, just under Theo's picture.