Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adoption Update and Maybe a Picture or Two

Whew!! Am I glad this month is almost over!  I am finally starting to feel like normal again.  Ever since Madalyn's surgery, I have just been so tired.  Madalyn has really just had a tough time with her recovery and it has been exhausting.  Christmas was really nice, but I have to admit it was exhausting, too.  I'm ready for the new year to start, and maybe to slow down a little bit.  Is that even possible?


It has been a year since we first saw Hailey's face and felt that tugging in our hearts.  Wow, sometimes I really can't believe that we are in the adoption process again.  I would've never thought that in a year we would have already gone in for USCIS fingerprinting and would be waiting on that approval!!  And for an adoption from China no less!  It just goes to show what can happen when you are open to and listening to His will in your life!  This would not be happening without God!  He has opened so many doors for this adoption.  He has made things possible that did not seem possible to us!  I love it when He reveals His plans and makes things work!


We headed to Albuquerque a couple days ago to the USCIS office to get our biometric fingerprints done early.  I was pretty nervous, but because we had done it before without a problem, I wasn't too worried.  Little did we know that earlier that morning in the USCIS office, the officer in charge had told the front desk guy that she would not be taking walk-ins that day.   She was the only one there to do whatever it is they do besides the fingerprinting, and they were not to accept any people that walked in without an appt.  Yikes, I'm glad I didn't know that!!  Anyway, I am not sure why he didn't tell us that right when we got there.   He said he would have to talk to his supervisor and had us sit down.  We waited what seemed like a long time, and then he finally called us over and let us fill out the paperwork.  He said she had work to do and would get to us when she could.  We ended up waiting about 45 minutes before she called me back.   She immediately pointed to the little section on the fingerprint appointment notice that talked about rescheduling and told me I needed to send that back in if we couldn't make the scheduled time.  I just said, "ok, yes maam!"  Then she proceeded to do my fingerprints and tell me all about her 20 month old grandson.  Lol  She was pretty nice and I was super thankful she had not chewed me out more!  Mark went next, and she told him that they were not going to take walk ins that day.  Oh geezo!   But she was nice enough to look and see how far away we lived, and her heart was softened for us I guess.  :)  I tell you what, God has opened so many doors for us during this adoption process!  We are just so super thankful!!!


Also, I was able to send our whole dossier off to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. yesterday for them to authenticate.  (The dossier for China has an extra step after the Secretary of State certification, which is different than a dossier for Ukraine).  That is what we are doing now.  Our dossier is complete, we are just waiting on that authentication.  Plus our approval from USCIS of course!  So that is a good feeling!  Once we get that approval and get it certified and authenticated, we will be able to send our dossier to CHINA!!!   I can't wait for that to happen!!  It cannot happen soon enough!  Will you please pray for us for a quick USCIS approval?  I called them today to see if we had been assigned an officer yet, and we haven't.  :(  I did tell him that we were fingerprinted early and he noted that in our file.  But I guess nothing will happen if there is no officer assigned.  So please pray that we will get an officer and a quick approval!  Thank you!!


I couldn't have this post without a pic of our dossier papers before we sent them off.  :)  I will do an after pic as well, when we get them back from the Chinese Embassy.  :)

Here they are, all 12 of them...

Now for some cute pics of our girl. The best part, right?!



I hope you had a Merry Christmas sweet girl!  Next year you will be home with us celebrating!!  We love you little miss Hailey!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Adoption Updates and More

It's been a rough couple of weeks and I really just haven't had a chance to blog.  But I wanted to get in an update post before Christmas, so here it is.

First and foremost, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has donated toward our FSP (Daniel's iPad2 giveaway)!!!  We are just continually amazed at the generosity of all of you!!!  Thank you so much!!!  You guys are awesome!!  Don't forget to leave me a comment when you donate so that I can be sure and get you entered into the iPad 2 giveaway!  And if you have donated, please share about our fundraiser!!  Please help us get the word out there!!  Remember -- you get extra chances to win the iPad2 when you share on facebook or blog about it!  :))

Again, thank you so very much from the bottom of our hearts!!  You are helping us so much in being able to bring this sweet little girl home!!!

Isn't she precious?!  We were super excited that we got some recent pictures of our girl!!

On the adoption front, there hasn't been a lot to report.  We did receive our biometrics appt from USCIS last week, so that was super exciting!!  We are going to go before the scheduled appt, like we did last time.  The plan was to go as soon as we received the notice, but unfortunately because of the timing of Madalyn's surgery and all the time Mark took off for that, we were unable to go this week.  Not to mention Christmas and all the stuff going on with that.  But we are planning on going next week and walking in. Since we have to drive about 3 or 4 hours away to do it, we are praying all will go well.  We didn't have any problems last year, so it should be fine, but any prayers for us would be appreciated.  We are really praying this part of the process will be extra speedy.  Our homestudy took so long and we would like to make up a little time here if possible.  Not likely, but we are still hoping. Lol  Our dossier is also complete, minus our USCIS approval of course.  Well, actually it's not totally complete.  It needs to be sent to the Chinese consulate and authenticated, but it's all ready, just needs to be sent.  The plan is to send that next week as well, so that it's all ready to go to China as soon as our USCIS approval comes.  Pretty exciting stuff, really!!  I CAN"T WAIT til we are DTC (dossier to China). 

CAN'T WAIT!!!

I really want to, but I am not as excited as I should be for all this.  Maybe it's just because I'm super tired after having gone through all the surgery stuff with Madalyn.  Plus her recovery has been pretty rough.  Maybe I'm a bit spoiled because our adoption process was so quick last year.  We were in Ukraine within 6 months of starting the process.  So when I think that we will still not be traveling to China until June or later probably, it makes me sad.  I just want to go get to my sweet girl as soon as possible and let her know that she is LOVED and WANTED so much!  She has brothers who are super excited to meet her and little baby sisters to love on and play with.  I just want her here.  Period.

Anyway, that is our adoption update.  Any prayers would be so very appreciated. 

Madalyn's Update:  Madalyn is doing pretty well.  She has had a rough time, though.  We spent one night in the hospital after her surgery, and then she was discharged the next evening.  However, she was discharged on fulltime oxygen which was kind of a bummer, but not too bad because we are already so used to O2.  She'd been on it at night, so we already had a concentrator and all the stuff we needed.  Today (9 days post op) we went in to get her checked, and she got the okay to be off her daytime oxygen!!  We are excited about that!  She has had some rough nights and days and just has not been feeling well.  I know her little throat is so sore and she hasn't been eating or drinking well.  She lost almost a pound since last Friday when we were at the doctor last (6 days ago).  But she looks good, and she is not dehydrated so that is positive.  We are expecting at least another week until she is fully recovered.  I think that this has been something that is ultimately good for her and will help her, but it sure has been rough getting there.  Poor sweet peanut, she has been through so much.  This was her 3rd surgery in less than 3 yrs.  She had major surgery at birth, again at 7 months, and now this.  That's alot for a two year old.  Anyway, we are praying that this is it for her. That she will be done with all this major medical stuff for a very long time!  :)

Right before surgery and still kinda happy even though it is super early in the morning.  She has no idea what is about to happen to her.

The next morning after surgery.  She is not real happy with people now.  What a look!!  Lol

Anna and Victoria have been doing great!  We are so thankful that they have been so healthy so far and have not needed any major medical stuff.  They are both just as cute and happy as ever.



I LOVE these girls!!!  Could they be any cuter?!

We are so super blessed!!!!!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Prayer Request for Madalyn

Just a quick post to ask for prayers for the next couple days.  Our baby girl is having surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids tomorrow morning (7:30 a.m. MST).  She has been having a heck of a time with respiratory illnesses since she was born.  She has battled RSV, Pneumonia, croup, sinus and ear infections, etc. This last few months she has been full of boogers continuously and had several sinus infections. She has been hospitalized more times than I wanna count, and I am hoping this surgery will actually help all that.  She had a sleep study that showed some apnea 6 months ago and ever since then she has been on O2 at night.  That is getting to be quite a drag, I must say.  For all of us.  Lol  We would just appreciate so much if you would remember our sweet girl in your prayers! Thanks and I will try to update as I can!  For now, I am off to bed and not looking forward to my alarm going off at 4:30 a.m.  Ugh!!!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Brent and Spencer and Hailey

This is a long post, but please bare with me.  You gotta read all the way to the end...

About a year ago, I posted this on my blog (you can click the link or just read below):
http://bringinghomeourgirls.blogspot.com/2010/12/family-needed.html

Here is precious Brent!! He is 5 already and at great risk of being transferred to the institution.

I know it looks like this little guy has a woman's sweater on. The other day somebody asked me how old "she" is.    Hmmm...
Sometimes a picture can make it or break it for an orphan! Unfortunately, the ugly reality is people look at "looks"!  It's true!!  I am not saying this little guy is not cute! Because he is adorable!! I am sure this is not his best picture. It doesn't really matter, though!! Look and see past the sweater and the old picture! Look and see what what a treasure this little guy really is!
Brent (35)
Boy, Born June 21, 2005
Look how darling this little one is! Brent is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions. He is active and an Orphanage favorite. He is considered lower functioning than Spencer or Kareen, but will truly blossom like a flower in a loving family environment. He is almost 5 and will be facing the institution soon. He is blessed to still be at the baby house.
Please give Brent a chance! Brent can be adopted with SPENCER.
This was our first picture of Anna. We really couldn't tell alot from this picture. And this was the only pic we had for 7 months. Believe me, my mind was doing way to much imagining of what our little princess was gonna be like and if she was even still there... silly I know!!
We went from this....
to this.......

Still a somber little face, but so much different than the original pic.
And now this....
See... really a picture only tells a little bit.
You will not know what a treasure you have, until you see the "real thing"......
Please consider adopting Brent! Or donate to his adoption fund this Christmas and give the gift of a family!!! You will never regret it!!!!!
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Then about a month later, I posted this:
http://bringinghomeourgirls.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-posted-about-brent-last-month.html
I posted about Brent last month. This little guy is only 5 1/2 yrs old...
5 and 1/2 !!!!
Who out there reading this blog has a 5 yr old?? Or remembers when when your child was only 5. What a precious year it was, right?!! Maybe your little boy learned to ride a 2 wheeler that year, maybe he learned to read, maybe she got her ears pierced or started kindergarten, or whatever..... Could you imagine your little 5 yr old being taken away from all they've known and moved to some kind of institution-like setting. Where no one really cares about them.....where they can't really care about them -- there are just too many! And where they are probably only fed some kind of porridge, bathed once in a great while maybe, and made to lay in a crib for the majority of their life..... It doesn't sound so great sounds horrible, doesn't it?

Well....this is what Brent is facing! Brent is a live human being. A real life little boy!! Not just a picture hanging out in a file somewhere. A real live person! I think sometimes people look at the cute pictures of the kids and feel bad for them or whatever, but they don't really know the child, so it just doesn't affect them that much.


It wasn't until we actually left for Eastern Europe, witnessed the country and the people, and saw and held our little girls for the first time that we really understood that they are living breathing little people with personalities and likes and dislikes!! We knew in our minds they were real, we prayed for these girls and thought about them constantly, worried for them, we were desperate to get to them! We were in love with their pictures! But still, somewhere inside, I couldn't really see them as real people. Maybe I'm just weird or something, but I guarantee you, now I know!! My family and close friends know! They have seen us go through the adoption process, leave our kids and family and cross the ocean, meet and hold our girls, and fall in love with them! It is amazing really. Maybe I am still just in awe of what we have done, what God has done! And that our girls are really here! It is still so hard to believe, and we are so excited that we can now give them everything they need!

But there are so many more. So many! We can't stop here, we can't stop telling people, advocating for these little ones! This is what God expects!


"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and knows our souls, know that we know, and holds us responsible to act." (Proverbs 24:12)
"It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:14)

They are His children, and we must be his hands and feet. We must be willing to go and rescue these little ones!


"You are the helpers of the fatherless." (Psalm 10:14)

"Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." (Matthew 18:5)

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)

"A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God sets the lonely in families. (Psalms 68:5-6)


Here is Brent's picture again. Along with 2 more children who are in the same orphanage as Brent. Brent will be moved very soon to an institution. Spencer and Kareen, too! They may have a little more time than Brent, but maybe not. They are both nearing institutionalization age and if they need more room at the orphanage for younger children, they could very possible move them soon, too. All 3 of these kids are HEALTHY! That is huge!!


Please pray for these little ones to find their family!! Maybe you would even donate to one or all of these children's adoption fund. Every little bit counts and will help their future family be able to bring them home sooner! They are truly living on borrowed time!!! Maybe you can help get the word out and help us find their family!!

The family/families for these three beautiful chilldren ARE out there! Of that I have no doubt! We just need to help them find each other! :))

Brent
Boy, Born June 21, 2005
Look how darling this little one is! Brent is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions. He is active and an Orphanage favorite. He is considered lower functioning than Spencer or Kareen, but will truly blossom like a flower in a loving family environment. He is almost 5 and will be facing the institution soon. He is blessed to still be at the baby house.

Please give Brent a chance! Brent can be adopted with SPENCER.


Spencer
Boy, Born July 7, 2006
This blonde haired boy is ready to come home! He is almost 4 and will be facing the institution this year. He is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions.


Kareen
Girl, Born January 15, 2007
This pretty muffin is waiting for her family! She is healthy, with no heart condition noted in her records. She has brown hair and hazel eyes, and is already up and learning to walk! Her records indicate "meiotic nondisjunction", but this is just a fancy word for what happens to create "Down syndrome" genetically. She is considered higher functioning and is really doing well. She is an orphanage favorite, and the dircetor has asked for a family to save her from the institution.

I have $3694 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!


UPDATE!! I wrote this post a couple days ago and just now got to post it. And I just visited the my family found me page at reecesrainbow.org and discovered that Kareen's family has found her!! That is sooo awesome and I can't wait to see who her family is!! Yay Praise God!!! You can still donate toward her adoption and help her family raise the funds to bring her home!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As I was reading through these posts, I was thinking about how I could advocate for Brent and Spencer again.  Kareen is already home praise God and you can read about that sweetie and her family here
But Brent and Spencer have now been transferred to a mental institution. They did not get adopted.  They are still waiting for their family to come and rescue them.  Maybe they don't even think about having a mama anymore!  Maybe they have given up any hope at all.  I doubt it though...  Brent is 6 now.  Spencer is 5 1/2.  Five!  FIVE!!!

Oh my, it is so heartbreaking!

And as if I didn't feel bad enough about these little ones, I realized something else as I read through their files. Spencer turned 5 on July 7th of this year.  His birthday is 7/7/06.  Well guess who else turned 5 on July 7th of this year?!? 

OUR very own sweet, cute and special girl...Hailey!!  She has the exact same birthday as Spencer!!!  Oh My Gosh!!  OMG!!!  I am in tears as I realize the significance of this.  Hailey is NOT in a mental institution.  She is in a good place (mind you, not all kids with DS in China are receiving such great care as Hailey).  But think about this... 

Two children, born on the same day. One is a boy and one is a girl.  One is born in Eastern Europe.  One is born in Asia.  Both children are born with an extra 21st chromosome.  Both children have many things in common, many things not... 

The girl's family kept her for the first 8 months of her life.  Maybe they knew about her Down syndrome but most likely they didn't.  When she was ill with a respiratory infection, they took her to the hospital where they were told that she had Down syndrome, and they abandoned her thinking they could not take care of her special needs. 

The boy's family most likely abandoned him at birth.  They probably were told about his disability when he was born, and decided right then and there that he was better off in an orphanage, at the advice of doctors. 

That is what I can only imagine happened to Spencer.  Obviously, I know more about Hailey's story. 

These two children, born on the same day, on different continents,  were abandoned to orphanages because of their extra chromosomes.  And that is where their commonalities will end.  Their stories are taking a drasticly different turn.  Hailey will be coming home to a family.  Spencer has been sent to a mental institution.  (If you would like a reminder or to see what that is like, click here.) 
That thought alone breaks. my. heart!  

But it doesn't have to be that way.  Someone could still adopt Spencer and Brent.  I am praying hard that a family will step up, see past the not so great pictures of them and see 2 precious faces that just want to be loved. See their sons.  Please God bring a family for these 2 boys.  That is my Christmas wish this year. 

Please take a moment and donate to Spencer's adoption grant. Even just $5.00.  It's so easy!! You can do that here or here.  Don't let money be what stands in the way of Spencer getting the opportunity to come home to a family, just like Hailey will be.  And please pray that their family will find them quickly!
  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thank You!!!

 I wanted to say a big

THANK YOU!!!

to everyone who has donated toward Daniel's fundraiser so far!

You guys are amazing and we really appreciate it so much!  As you all know, Daniel is very anxious to go!!  He loves Hailey so much already!  As a matter of fact, the other day, he got into an argument with my 4 year old son, Justin.  Justin is also very excited to meet Hailey.  Especially once he realized that she is probably going to be around the same size as him and most likely a super fun playmate!  :)   Anyway, he has always called Madalyn his girlie girl ("gullie gull") and he makes no qualms about showing his favoritism toward her.  Lol  When he realized that Hailey was his size, he decided to claim her, too.  Well, that didn't sit too well with Daniel.  So picture a 10 year old and a 4 year old arguing about which girl is theirs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Justin:  When Hailey gets here, she is mine.
Daniel: You already have Madalyn! 
Justin:  But I want Hailey, too!
Daniel: Hailey is MINE!!  I'm going to China to get her!
Justin:  Well, she is my size.  I get her.
Daniel:  No you don't!
Justin:  Mooommm...  Can I go to China with you next time you go?  Cause I waannt Hailey!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ha Ha Ha I was just cracking up listening to them!!  Funny kids.  :)

Mark is not going to be traveling with me to China for this adoption.  Because we have so many kiddos at home, it is hard to find someone who can take all of them on.  Especially with having so many little ones, ie. 3 two year olds...

Which reminds me, here is one of the benefits of adopting from China.  Only 1 parent is required to travel, AND the trip is typically only about 2 weeks!  Isn't that awesome!  My only other international experience is our adoption last year from Ukraine.  We traveled twice!  That's 4 trips across the atlantic ocean!!!  Four trips!!  And for a person who doesn't like to fly, it was torture.  Ugh!  Anyway, for those of you that didn't know, the travel part of adopting from China is most excellent!! OK, back to my originally scheduled posting...

So because Mark is not going, Daniel is going to be helping me alot on this trip.  I have read a few different people's opinions about their child who went on the trip with them and they said the kids came back totally changed and matured.  I am hoping this will happen for him.  I just can't wait to see his reaction to a whole new culture and all the other stuff he will get to see.  :)   I'm so excited to share this experience with him!

Anyway, once again I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to our Reece's Rainbow FSP!  You are 

SUPER AWESOME!

And just because I can't do a blogpost without a picture, here you go: 
 
Out of about 50 pictures I took that particular day of these three girls, this is only one of a couple where they were all at least looking at the camera. Oiy!!
 
Happy Friday!!
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.