Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our blog is back!!!!

Yay!!!! Thanks to a really awesome lady who does the designs for a lot of the RR families' blogs and who does so much work for Reece's Rainbow and advocates for the children and prays for them and all the families, too! And much much more.... And she does a beautiful job at that!!! I just love my new blog look! Don't you think it is just gorgeous!?! :)))

Anyway, without her, my blog would still have half of my posts showing and everything else shoved over to one side. Here is a link to her blog... She has so much info there to read/learn/enjoy. Please take some time to read thru this blog! It will be worth your time for sure!! :)

http://www.thepoppiesblog.co.uk/
After you read her story about the birth of her beautiful daughter, there is a wonderful video about Down syndrome. You just have to watch it!

Thanks, Lu, for fixing my blog and making such beautiful buttons for our girls and for all the RR kiddos! And yes, their little faces make them that much better! :) So many thanks for the kind words and for praying for our family! You do so much more than make pictures on a computer!!! :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Well, our blog has been down for awhile. And I have been so bummed cause I have not been able to share with you all about our progress. Or lack there of....

We were really hoping to have a travel date by last week. There are 2 families that were submitted the same day as us (the 12th) that already have dates! I guess that is what makes this so much harder! If they didn't have one either, I guess I might not feel as bad. But actually not I'm sure! I'd still be really bummed out.... Wondering why why why why...

Where is the logic in all of this?

There is none! And if there is no rhyme or reason, then really who knows when you will get your travel date, or your submission, or anything else for that matter!! :)

Please pray we will get a travel date soon. And also for our children who will have to deal with a huge adjustment to Mom and Dad being gone for a long time and especially our 2 little ones who are not going to understand at all what is going on....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Okay if it isnt obvious already, our blog is in problem mode. We are trying to get if fixed so please come back soon!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We were hoping to hear something this week about our travel date. But we have not heard anything yet. And we probably won't hear anything until next week. We are so bummed! :(

So....once again we are waiting. Like I have said several (too many) times before, this whole international adoption process is just a bunch of waiting! Waiting and waiting and oh, did I happen to mention waiting?

Yes, I know it will happen soon! Yes, I know a week is not that long! Yes, I know it will happen in God's timing! Yes, I know His timing is not our timing! I do understand all that, and I know and tell myself those things almost daily! Ugh....(choking back tears).


It's just that when I think of the girls, I feel like they have been waiting too long. For something they don't even really know they are waiting on.......us! They need a mommy and daddy now! Not next week, not next month...now!!!


At night when I am hugging my kids goodnite and reading stories to them and rocking Madalyn to sleep, I am thinking of Magda and Arianna ( I wish I could share with you their real names!) and wishing they were here to have these things that we all take for granted with our kids every day. They are not enjoying those things, they are not being held and loved and cared for by their Mommy like they deserve. They are probably rocking themselves to sleep every day! That just breaks my heart and I so very much want them to feel the love of their family.

So when I am impatient, that is why. When I think about having to wait another week, that is what is bugging me the most! I wanna know that there is a date, a time where we will be officially matched with our girls and get the paperwork we need to be able to visit them at their orphanage! Every week, every day, every minute counts at this point!


Please pray for us to have that appointment soon! And also for the children we leave behind while we go and get the girls! It is so hard, because on the one hand, I want to see our girls and witness first hand how they are doing. I want them to know us and figure out that we are here for THEM! On the other hand, it is so hard to think about leaving our other children here. Father, please protect us all during this process and bring us back together again safely at the end!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hoping, praying....

Well, tomorrow (Wednesday), finally the big holiday in our girls' country is over and hopefully everyone will be back at work at the SDA. Hopefully our paperwork is done and ready and we will be able to receive our invitation to fly across the world (double yikes!) and accept two very precious little girls to be our daughters! It may not happen tomorrow. Or the next day..... But hopefully, very soon, we will hear a long anticipated travel date!!! Oh please God, help me to be patient and have faith that it will all turn out okay and that we will eventually be home with our precious daughters! It is so hard to see what the end result of all this work will be! It is so hard just to picture what it will be like! Oh my gosh I just cannot wait to meet our little ones and hug them and kiss their sweet little cheeks!!!

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. God gave His approval to people in days of old because of their faith." Hebrews 11:1-2

These words we are hanging onto with everything we have! So very thankful for the Hope that we have....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Please consider adoption!!!


Brian(23)

Boy, Born November 25, 2005

Brian is a bundle of love :) Blonde hair and big brown eyes, he is waiting for his family to come for him. He was born with hydronephrosis and does have hypthyroidism.

Brian is nearing 5 and needs a family quickly. He is blessed to still be at the baby house, which is one of the nicer ones. We have had several families adopt from here, and this region is a beautiful place to visit. There are MANY children with Down syndrome and other special needs waiting in this orphanage who can be adopted together.

Hope someone will consider Brian!
I have $3650 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!

Alina (23)

Girl, Born January 28, 2006

"Oh Mama, I have been waiting so long, won't you come for me?"

Our little Alina has brown hair and brown eyes. She was born with a VSD (ventricular septal defect) and also has hypothyroidism. She is doing very well, but should be seen by a cardiologist when she gets home. Alina has recently turned 4, and is now "at risk" for institutionalization.

Now is the perfect time to start your paperwork for Alina! She can not be adopted from the place she will be sent. She is blessed to still be at the baby house, which is one of the nicer ones. We have had several families adopt from here, and this region is a beautiful place to visit. There are MANY children with Down syndrome and other special needs waiting in this orphanage who can be adopted together.

I have $370 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!


PLEASE CONSIDER THESE TWO PRECIOUS LITTLE ONES!!!

They CANNOT be adopted from the place they will be sent!!
Brian will turn 5 in a couple months. He is only 4 yrs old!!! Alina will be 5 a few months after that! They are still so young.... Can you imagine such little ones having to be moved from the only home they have ever known, be it an orphanage and maybe not the greatest environment to grow up in, but still the only place and people they have known, to some institution where they will live amongst people who are mentally ill.

Picture in your mind right now what that will be like for them. It is practically beyond imagining!

I don't want to be mean or insensitive here, but it is just not a place for these "babies". :((((

These children have Down syndrome!!! They are not mentally ill! They do not need to be locked away forever in some horrifying place amidst the severely mentally ill! And the really sad part is....most of these little ones will not last very long there. They will die! Especially the ones like little Alina, who have a heart defect and other medical problems. It is just not right for them to have to endure this!!! Ever.....

Our Father's heart is breaking for these little ones, these precious orphans........all of them!! Please consider adopting one (or more) of these precious ones! You will be forever blessed beyond what you could ever imagine. And that is a guarantee!!!
This video is precious. I absolutely cannot wait to experience this "first" with our girls! I have been dreaming of our first meeting for a very long time. I get tearful just thinking of it!

I will be a mess that day I am sure! Lots of tears and smiles and hugs and....ohhh, I just can't wait!

Watch this precious video of an RR family meeting their princess for the very first time. Don't forget the kleenex.....

http://andydarlena.blogspot.com/2010/08/our-first-visit-with-ivanna-0813-at.html

Friday, August 20, 2010

Getting ready, packing...

Ok, so this is what's on my mind lately. It is really bugging me. Trying to figure out what we need to take and what we don't, how much to take... We have never traveled out of the country before, and all the advice we have gotten really is to just pack light. Well, my husband laughed out loud when he heard that. Our Ford Excursion is completely packed full when we just go somewhere for the weekend... It is bad. However, that is also usually with 5 kids in tow and they require a ton of stuff! ;)

Anyway...this blog that I follow had some really good tips for traveling/packing so I decided to share it with ya'll in case anyone else is in the same boat as me and desperately trying to figure it all out. :)

The part about the way women dress over there has me a little nervous though. It is not at all how I dress, so I guess I am just gonna really stick out over there in my jeans and t-shirts!! And Mark, too, in his wranglers and western shirts. No way is he ever gonna wear any capri pants!!!

http://lovingalina.blogspot.com/2010/04/from-experience.html

And no, we don't have a travel date yet..... Just trying to be prepared!! :)))

Monday, August 16, 2010

Check out the RR blog!

Just wanted to invite you to read the Reece's Rainbow blog. (Just click on their button on the right of our blog and it will take you there.)

There is a very thought provoking message there from our wonderful Executive Director and founder of Reece's Rainbow, Andrea Roberts, and I felt it was extremely important to share it. She has written so well what many of us that are a part of the Reece's Rainbow family feel, and why we are doing what we're doing.

When I first found RR, I showed some of the pictures to Mark and told him of the situation that these children were facing. Our hearts were burdened for all these precious babies. We were so moved by what we learned and we knew we needed to do something! I would've jumped in right away to adopt, but I was afraid. Of many things... We also just didn't think an international adoption was an option for us now, or ever.... There were other reasons, too. But God was working on our hearts and after only a couple months, we knew that this was His plan for us and the other stuff didn't matter anymore. He reminded us (me especially), that my fear needed to be replaced with faith in Him. Trusting Him and stepping out of my comfort zone to follow His calling for our family.

We are so happy we listened to this call. We are so excited, especially, that we may be only a month or so away from meeting our girls for the very first time! We are honored to be a part of Reece's Rainbow and to know the leaders of this ministry. They really are amazing people, full of passion and love for the orphans. And for serving and helping others!! They don't want people to just think they are amazing and commend them for it though. They want to raise awareness for these precious children with Down syndrome (and other special needs) and let people know that this is happening, so others will step up as well, and do something to help! Whether it is by donating, praying, or adopting!!

As Andrea said in her post, "... I am not interested in being honored or uplifted for this work. I am interested in people stepping up to HELP ME and to feel as deeply passionate about serving as I do. Turn that burden in your heart into action."

I agree!! Whatever it is....please do something!! We share your passion, Andrea! We are thrilled that we have turned what started as a burden in our hearts, into action! And even after this crazy ride of an international adoption comes to a stop, and we have our girls home, we will continue to try to help. We plan to stay a part of this rainbow family and continue to do whatever we can, whatever God calls us to do next! Maybe we'll get to do it again! :) :)

So, please, please go to the RR blog and read it.....and be inspired!!

On a side note, after I read it and was looking around at the rest of the blog, I discovered that there was a little post about us! How cool is that! I hadn't been there in a while and didn't even know it was there. So, you can scroll down aways after you read her post and you will find a little post about our family! There is also lots of other good information there as well!!!

You can also click on this link to go straight to the message about us....

http://reecesrainbow.blogspot.com/2010/08/our-as-one-familythe-westbrooks.html

We are all called to help the orphan!! (James 1:27) There are no exceptions!!!


"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Submitted today!!

The long awaited day is here!! Or one of them anyway.... :) A really important one!

Our dossier was submitted to the SDA today. Now all we have to do is wait on them to send us our appointment date. Wow!! In one way I want it to come really soon! But on the other hand, it seems like there is so much to do to get ready, and I am wondering how I am ever gonna get it all done! But then.... I think about the girls and I just hope and pray we will get that date as soon as possible!

We do not want them to have to wait one day longer than is absolutely necessary. They have waited long enough!!! It is so important for them to get out of that orphanage. And I am thinking that when we get there, the reality of it all will hit us hard. I have read many blogs and seen many pictures of other families and their children that are either over there right now, or have recently come back. If what I am seeing of their experience holds true for our girls, it really is a desperate situation for our little ones!

Please pray we get that date soon, that we get there safely, and that the process will go smoothly and quickly! :) Thanks!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hoping.....

Well here we sit and wait.... again. This week has dragged by. We are hoping we will be submitted tomorrow (Thurs 12th)!!(it is actually Thursday morning already where our girls are....). We were hoping against hope that it would happen last Thursday, but it didn't. So here we are, another week later, and praying this time!! That means we will hopefully receive a travel date within the next few weeks. And that date could be for anywhere from 10-30 days out. How amazing is that!?!
Please pray for our family. Please pray we will receive a travel date soon and we will be ready to go when it is necessary. It is really hard to get all the stuff done so that you can travel and not only that make sure your household and family are taken care of while you are gone... There is sooo much to do.
I found this blog the other day and could totally relate!! Especially to the part about the son getting kicked off the school bus... Hee hee!! :) Who am I kidding?! I can relate to just about everything written on this blog! It is as if I wrote it myself ( if you know me at all...). I didn't, but I could have......... ;)

http://malloryandpeach.blogspot.com/2010/08/anxiety-attack.html

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Welcome to Holland...

I found this little analogy quite awhile back, sometime after Madalyn was born. If you have a child with Down syndrome, you most likely have read this before.

I have seen it a lot lately, and I cry every time I read it. I can totally relate to what the writer is saying and it really brings such a mix of emotions for me. I decided to share it on our blog, mostly for the people who may not have read it before, and also because I just really like the way the writer describes an experience that is filled with so much.. (love, joy, excitement, pain, sorrow, fear of the unknown, love again, and hope...). So... sorry to be repetitive to those of you who have seen this before, but I thought it was worth sharing even for that one person who has not.... :)

This is the way it was for us!! And we have enjoyed Holland so much already, that we are ready to go again! What an awesome place.... :) Join us, why don't you?!?


WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Colosseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Interesting...

A really cool little thing happened to me today. I was out shopping with a friend of mine. We were actually shopping for another crib for the girls' room and also luggage for our upcoming trip to Eastern Europe. As we were standing there in an aisle at Wal-mart, a man probably in his 20's or 30's with Down syndrome came walking by. I smiled at him and said "Hi" as he came by and then returned my attention to trying to figure out what kind of carry-on luggage we will need for our trip. Then I looked up and he was coming back over to me. As he got closer, he held out his arm as if to tell me he wanted to hug me. I can't even remember what I said to him, but then reached out and hugged him back. :)

That hug from a "stranger", a young native American with Down syndrome, was so heart-warming and meaningful. It was so sweet! And it wasn't until later when I could reflect about everything, that I started thinking there was more to it then just some coincidence. I mean really, what are the odds of that encounter happening right then?! I can't help but think that this is some kind of confirmation from our Heavenly Father that all will be well, we're doing the right thing, maybe even that I shoudn't be worrying about the flying part, etc. Mark thinks maybe he could've been an angel.... I don't know, I just know that now I cannot stop thinking about it all -- him, my girls, everything.... Whatever it is, I know it means something!

In the meantime, we will just keep praying for our sweet little ones. That they will be healthy, fed, happy, and receiving good care and fun playtime! We love them so much and can't wait to get them home! This evening, as the boys were helping daddy put together the crib and dresser we bought, they kept commenting about how we just can't wait to get the girls here! :) So sweet!! How exciting that we are actually hopefully in the homestretch!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cute Pics for Fun




Madalyn: I'm so proud of myself!



I am pulling up on stuff now...I want to be big, too!




This is really cool! Why did I wait so long to figure this out?
What fun!!



Justin: I'm cute, too! I wanna be in the pics!



Madalyn: Mom was taking pictures of me, Justin.....


Oh, brother! Boys...they are always trying
to take all the attention! ;)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Signed for and delivered!

Yea!!!

I am so relieved now! I was really worried something might happen to those papers I guess. Geez!

So, now we will wait...again! (there seems to be a theme here) :)

But that's okay, we have some really exciting stuff we are waiting on and tons of stuff to do in the meantime. It's time to start doing things get ready for when we travel: making lists, finding out about money stuff, finding out about airplane stuff, getting things ready for home while we are gone (school supplies, snacks, bills, etc), writing down instructions and schedules for the kids... There really is so much to do that I definitely won't get bored or anything!!

And we really need to spend this time enjoying our life right now and our children. Because I know very well that things will change quite a bit when we do get back with the girls! It's a tough balance to find between getting excited and anxious for the girls to come home, and knowing that there will be a lot of change and adjustment for everyone when it does happen. I guess I should just live in today and enjoy this time knowing full well that we will be traveling before we know it.

Life is good....right now!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Venting.....

Ok, so I know all I've been posting about is our dossier! And its whereabouts.....

Well, I can't help it, it consumes all I am thinking about most of the time! When I'm not thinking about my mom who just spent the weekend in the hospital, or my oldest son (22) who is back in Colorado working for awhile and who is mad at my next oldest (20), who's heading back to college tomorrow and who I have not seen very much of this summer.... Or my next son (11) who will be starting middle school this year (yikes!), or my "just turned" 9 yr old who is very much like my 20 yr old son in personality and attitude (yikes again!), or my 6 yr old who just cannot be left unsupervised, ever...... And not to mention my sweet, loving, and very smart almost 3 yr old! Well, we all know how 3 yr olds can be!! He really is so sweet!! :) And then there's Madalyn. She's as precious as they come......

Okay, I know I have alot on my plate. And on my mind!! I am really working on taking the time to enjoy the little victories I have! But I seem to get past one thing and enjoy it for all of 3 seconds, then I am focused on the next obstacle! My husband says I need to stop and enjoy what we have accomplished so far! I totally agree with him! But it seems to be easier said than done.... Why am I having problems doing that? Why is it so hard to not keep looking toward the next thing or obstacle that could get in the way? Is that just negativity, lack of faith, or just plain childish impatience?! Ugh....I don't know! Maybe that is just the way it is with an international adoption....anyone who knows feel free to chime in here!!!!

I just wanna see my girls, live and in person.... I wanna be at the point that they are right in front of my face.... Where I can see them, hold them, feed them, love them..... I absolutely cannot wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, again...... it is morning there as I am going to bed. Again...... I am mentioning our dossier. The good news is that it cleared customs today, so it is just ready and waiting to be picked up and delivered to our awesome facilitator! It is probably about 8:15 a.m. in their country right now (Tuesday morning). Cool huh!?! Praying for an early delivery and for our facilitator to be able to translate and submit our dossier quickly! Thanks for hanging in there and listening to the vent this long!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

As I'm going to bed tonight, I am thinking of my girls. I am praying they are safe and healthy, and are being loved on and given tons of attention. They are most likely waking up as I am going to sleep. They are ready to start their day as I am sleepy and so happy that this day is done! I cannot wait to see them and show them what life will be like in this family, where there is always someone who will love them, want to play with them, or just wants to hold them!

Hopefully tomorrow our dossier will finally arrive in country! Hopefully it will be submitted this week!!! That would be awesome!!!
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.