Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Books, baseball, and fishing.....


Madalyn LOVES her books! She will listen for hours if you bring a book!! What a sweetie! Look out Harvard, here she comes!!!!!!!!!




Besides adoption paperwork.... and there's been A LOT of that......our family is still keeping busy. It is amazing what is actually getting accomplished around here! Well, maybe not a ton of stuff is actually getting accomplished, but there's tons of stuff keeping us busy!!!!!!!!! Oh, man...whatever! IT'S ALL GOOD!!!!!!!!!

Colorado Rockies








Daniel's team did great this year! They won most of their games and got to go to the "state" tourney in Aztec, NM. They won the first one then lost the next two. Daniel had such blast and really enjoyed the game of baseball. What a little athlete he is! He played short stop, first base, and outfield! He is a great hitter, too! His older brothers would be proud! He has a lot to live up to with all the accomplishments of Roy and Jordan!! But he is actually the most naturally athletic of the bunch, besides Roy...
You know how it is, some people just have that natural talent, some have to work their b____ off for it. I have children in both categories. It is sooo cool!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here's our son Samuel playing baseball. He is 11. His team, the Cubs, have done great this year. He plays in the outfield, and on 3rd base. It is so fun watching the games of kids this age! Especially compared to kids in the 7-8 yr old range. Such a big difference in thinking processes! Lots of competition happening in this little ol' town of Bayfield, Colorado!!!










Monday, June 28, 2010

The boys had fun fishing at Navajo Lake - good job Daniel!



A big sucker (actually a karp)!!!



my favorite picture of the summer so far - 2 rambunctious, fun-lovin boys enjoying the water

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Light to our Path

Some of you have seen our video already....some have not. But I wanted to share it again as a way to bring awareness to all the orphans out there, and for the reason our family is doing what we are doing! Click here to see how it all started for us.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Biometrics....We did it!

Well, our letters came from USCIS on Friday (18th) which included the receipt that they have our I600A, and along with it came our fingerprint appointments! Yay!!! We knew we'd probably want to try to get our fingerprints done earlier than our scheduled appointments (which ended up being scheduled for the 7th and 12th of July) and hopefully speed up the process some. Not sure why they scheduled us for different dates, but...

Anyway, we packed up and headed out Sunday afternoon to brave the big city of Albuquerque and took our fingerprint letters with us! I was pretty sure they wouldn't let us "walk-in". I had emailed them last week to see if they had a walk-in day, and they emailed back saying ASC's don't have walk-in days anymore. I knew that wasn't exactly true, because other people I know have done it. But the email was a pretty generic email so I wasn't sure. By the way, ASC stands for Application Support Center, for those who want to know. Anyway, with the encouragement of others who have "been there, done that" off we went! I was a nervous wreck!

I had decided earlier that I was gonna take a picture of the ASC building for the girls' book and for the blog. But I was so nervous on the way there and walking in that I totally forgot to take one. Dang it! And then on the way out, we were so elated that I forgot again! So you will have to use your imagination here.... Picture some old part of Albuquerque, an old shopping center where it was probably a hopping place in the 70's, a big huge parking lot somewhat surrounded by dirt and gravel, and the temperature around 89 degrees. Okay, there was a Subway there, but honestly I cannot remember what other stores were around. Just the big ol' fat plain sign that said APPLICATION SUPPORT CENTER. Got a mental image of that? Good, cause like I said...no pictures...

When we walked in, the first thing we saw was this little old man in a uniform sitting at a single desk. The place was pretty huge behind him, and cool inside with a very clean shiny floor. Off to the left were rows of chairs facing a TV on the wall and some magazine racks. There was another uniformed man in an office in the corner that looked as if he could not take his eyes off his computer. Waayyyy in the back was a lady who looked to be the one in charge talking to another lady who looked like she was probably from India. Here we were with all 5 of our kids who were dressed especially nice for this occasion. So we showed the man our fingerprint letters, told him we where we were from (4 1/2 hours away), and asked if it was possible for us to be able to get these fingerprints done now (since we were in town and all). ;) He wasn't sure, so he got up and walked slowly and somewhat bent over all the way back to the lady in charge. We watched him show her the papers and say something and we watched her shaking her head at him, looking at us, and saying a whole bunch of we're-not-sure-what back to him. Then he picked up some clipboards and headed back our way. Oh man, at this point I was pretty sure she had said NO WAY!

But he handed us the clipboards, told us we might have to wait because people who had appointments had priority!! We were like "Oh yes of course!!! We will wait. Thank you!!" I could barely fill out my name I was shaking so bad! We ended up being there less than an hour and while I worked my you-know-what-off keeping the kids quiet and behaved, it went really well!

It was kinda funny because little old man (the Guard) was pretty serious! He had to get after us a couple times. Well, mostly it was Justin, our 2 year old. He was running once and Guard yelled, "He can't run, he'll get hurt!!". Then when Justin was crawling over and under the chairs, Guard came right over and told us he CANNOT do that because the chairs are all attached and they would break apart!! It really was kind of funny and for the most part the kids did really great! The lady in charge, that wasn't happy with us at first, ended up being really nice and told me that my kids were really well behaved. I'll take that anytime!

And the best part was that I was able to tell her about our little girls and what is happening to these little ones that have Down syndrome in Eastern Europe if they are not adopted by the age of 4. While she was doing my fingerprints, I spilled our whole story! Well the shortened version anyway. It was awesome! We are so glad we took the chance and I was reminded once again how our amazing God is so control in this adoption and in every part of our lives! Thanks so much to all the people who prayed!!! You are playing a big part in helping us get our girls home as soon as possible and we cannot thank you enough! Please keep praying for us!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Patience......

Ok, so I am not a patient person...especially when it comes to things I really want! And I want things to hurry up and be done! Like our homestudy that took a full 12 weeks. Well it's done now but that didn't help my stress level, and so now I feel even more impatient. Our application to USCIS got to Texas on Thursday (the 10th). It goes to Missouri from there. Our check for $830 cleared on Monday (the 14th). So I felt inclined to call today to find out more info...any info! (I actually called yesterday too, :) and they were really nice and helpful on the phone). I was trying to find out for sure where we will have to go to be fingerprinted. I was told Albuquerque, NM originally. But the lady on the phone, and my research online told me it was Denver. (Based on where we live). We live in a very rural S.W. Colorado and Albuquerque is actually about 4 hours away. Denver is about 6-7 hours away. We have heard that people have just showed up at their USCIS office and walked in and gotten their fingerprints done earlier than their scheduled date. Some have had really nice people and no problems and some have had people that were not so nice, but still did the fingerprints. I really want to "try" that, too. Either way it is a long trip and to try and go early before our "scheduled" appointment makes me a little nervous. I am not one to take big risks. And driving 6 or more hours with 5 kids to try to get fingerprints earlier than our scheduled day is a big risk to me! What if they send us away and say NO!? Then what? I also registered online to get an account with USCIS and receive updates in our case. The problem is...we haven't yet received our "receipt number", which they send out after they have received your application and are beginning the processing of it. So I can't get updates until I get that special number in the mail. Yes, as I said, I am not patient. Not with this anyway. Not when I am thinking of my girls and everyday we have to wait here, is one more day of their life that they don't even know they have a family waiting for them. A family that loves them dearly and is working HARD to get there and to bring them HOME! Hoping that receipt number comes tomorrow!!! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finally!!!

After the last few weeks of thinking it would go anytime, and it not going, and stressing alot...our I600A has officially arrived in Texas! At precisely 10:28 a.m. this morning! Thank you Fed Ex! Everything was in that packet- homestudy, marriage certificates, etc. So now our waiting game is on! I sure hope they don't come up with anything else for us to have to get to them! And I hope we will get our fingerprinting appointment REAL soon! We are finishing up getting our dossier papers notarized and apostilled, and then finally, maybe, most of this paperwork will be done. I have neglected my house for the last 12 weeks and it needs some serious cleaning and organizing! That is easy stuff compared to everything we've been doing recently and I am looking forward to it! Today is a good day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Westbrook chaos

This is sort of adoption related. Well, not exactly...but kind of! :)

So besides homestudy stresses and dossier paperwork, we have been busy painting and getting Magda and Arianna's room ready! So much fun and lots of pink!!! All for our 2 little princesses! This is actually pretty amazing if you know me at all. I have never been a "pink" person. I do/did not like pink, even Madalyn's room is red, black, and green. (a ladybug room)! And she was the first girl after 6 boys!





The boys have enjoyed helping.. they like to paint!




But look at this super cute bedding that we are
using in their room! Isn't it the cutest farm bedding for little girls you've ever seen? Way cute! And I LOVE the pink!

Anyway, the other day Mark had taken all but one of the boys to pick up Daniel from baseball practice and Madalyn and I were fixin' to start painting one of the walls in their room yellow. Here is Madalyn playing, she was having so much fun, notice the paint cans behind her...

Well, there were some in front of her as well. In the meantime, I had to run out of the room to talk with our little "radish" who needs a little extra supervision... Here's the before pic I took just before I walked out:





Isn't that the cutest smile?








When I came back, this is what I found......



Notice, Madalyn is missing from this picture... I was so shocked I just grabbed her up and ran for the tub...
Here is our precious ladybug covered in yellow paint! I have to add here that I thought the lid of the paint can was secure! I did not leave her there with an open paint can.... I really didn't!














She is not quite sure what happened and what to make of it all! She's so cute!!

So she made it out alive and well and all cleaned up! We are so thankful that she did not get a bunch of paint in her mouth! It could have been much worse and we are happy to be able to look back on this and laugh!

Like Mark said..."good thing this didn't happen on my watch!" He would never have lived it down! :)
She is happy and all cleaned up and even the
rug is clean thanks to my really smart husband who got right on the job and started cleaning!
I am so blessed to have a healthy baby, a great husband, and a loving God who watches over my family and keeps us safe! What a blessing!

Oh Happy Day!!

In the midst of yet another day going by and our I600A still not sent (hopefully tomorrow), I got an email from Andrea and she sent me this picture of Magda!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited and thrilled and it totally made my day! She is so precious and it is wonderful to see an updated picture of her! Boy it sure makes it harder to keep on waiting though...... Isn't she beautiful?! I'm a momma in love! I already was and this just makes me more determined than ever!!!

I am bummed to say that we did not receive an updated picture of Arianna. We are not sure why, but they were not able to get one of her. So we will just keep dreaming of her and her precious little self!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Here comes a brand new week! We are really praying that in the next few days we will see our USCIS application sent off finally and receive a fingerprinting appointment soon as well. Please please please please please!!! We included a letter with our I600A for them to please expedite our application because we are adopting special needs kiddos, one of which for sure needs medical attention soon! Please pray they will read the letter and hurry our application along! We really want to send our dossier by the end of June! We will be finishing up our dossier paperwork in the next couple of weeks. All we have to do is get a bunch of paperwork signed and notarized (this week)! And then apostilled (next week)... Wanna know what it costs to get our documents apostilled right now in Colorado? It is FREE!!! From April 1 thru July 1, 2010....way cool! Any other time I think it is $5.oo. Still a pretty cool deal! Especially when you have about 20 or 30 documents that need that apostille! That will save us some money!! I know it is not that cheap in some other states. As a matter of fact, I have to have a document apostilled in Texas and one in New Mexico, so I will be looking up that info tomorrow. We will see what those states charge... But right now, I am proud to be a Colorado-an! :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Successful Fundraiser!!




The boys selling snow cones, well... eating most of them!

Here's some pics of our 2nd yard sale! We are excited cause we made about $1200 dollars! That is pretty dang cool! We were hoping for about $500! God is so good!! He has blessed us with some really great people; family and friends who support us and who were willing to donate their belongings for us to sell! We are so thankful because I know it is not that way for everyone! I know that there are families trying to adopt, just like us, and they are getting nothing but negativity and no support at all! So we are quite appreciative and thrilled! Thank you to everyone who participated, donated, bought stuff, helped put the word out, etc....you are awesome and we are quite humbled by what you have done! We cannot thank you enough for your support! You are truly being a servant by supporting us in our mission to save these 2 little girls from their life in an orphanage.
I know I keep saying this, but we absolutely cannot wait to have our girls here with us! I want to hold them, love them, get to know them! Just get on with our life with them here with us and the rest of the boys!! And Madalyn of course! :) We are not "great people" or "heroes" or anything like that. We are just regular people trying to follow God's calling to our family to bring home these precious little girls. And to get the word out that these sweet little ones exist, and that they need a home and a family of their own! Christians need to know about this! We have a responsibility to do something. Remember Proverbs 24:12... We will answer to our Heavenly Father, and He knows that we know! There will be no excuses...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ok, so this has been a rough week! Things have just not happened as they should have. We have been hoping for the last couple weeks that our homestudy would be done. But each and every week has brought some new reason why it is not. Sheesh!!! I have to say, in this bad economy and all, there are alot of people going on vacation! And I mean more than one vacation per person.......
But thankfully, I now KNOW the HS is done and going to the State tomorrow to be approved. Whew!!! We are hoping to send our I600A &compny by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. It will be overnighted!! Man....this has been an unnecessarily drawn out process and believe me I WILL know better next time! (Yes, there probably will be a next time... :) ) So I am happy today that things are moving along again, and we are praying that the process will move quickly for USCIS. I sent them a really nice letter explaining why we would like them to hurry our application along! It had pictures and everything! I sure hope they read it! The health of our girls depends on it.
Our final garage sale is on Saturday. I really hope it goes well. If anyone feels the need, please pray that it will go GREAT! The last one wasn't so good. This time we are having snow cones, lemonade, gatorade, cookies, brownies, and rice krispy treats! We are also continuing to sell our Rocky Mtn. Choc Factory candy bars! And progress to get everything ready was moving along relatively well until....
This afternoon when my poor little sweet ladybug got some kind of stomach virus. She has thrown up at least 5 times. It is not fun for anyone to get sick, but it is really not fun to hold a little one (13 months) while she is puking for the 5th time and not much is coming out... I know we can all relate! Poor sweet baby..
And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it", whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

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Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.