Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cherishing Each Moment and A Huge Thank You!

Every morning for the last two weeks and three days I've woken up incredibly early, and my thoughts immediately turn to a little girl halfway around the world. I've gotten good at calculating the time difference. Numerous times a day I wonder what she's doing. Is she napping? Playing? Getting ready for bed? And I pray. I pray for her health, her safety, her peace. I pray for the time to pass quickly until she's here.

But at the same time, as I'm praying and longing to have both of my children under one roof, I don't want to wish the days away. I don't want to spend the next six months with my head in the clouds while Andrew grows up even more. As hard as it is, I'm trying to cherish these last few months as a family of three before we have another infant/toddler in the house. Because as gloriously wonderful as it's going to be, it's been a while since I've chased a little one around. And as much as I can't wait, I also know that I'd better sleep now, because while I hope this little one likes her sleep, I've had one toddler that didn't (still doesn't) like to sleep. So I'm doing everything I can to enjoy the journey because as the saying goes, "The days are long, but the years are short."

I also want to take a moment to thank all of you. The outpouring of love, prayers, and support have been amazing and unbelievable. I've had a number of people ask if we need anything, and I can't tell you how much your prayers are coveted and appreciated. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you and can't wait for the day we can introduce our little girl to you.

Philippians 1:3 NKJV
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Post in a Which I Explain Our Daughter's Name Change

Or lack thereof . . .

We always planned on changing our daughter's name to Allison. I even wrote a post about it at some point. But when we got the referral a couple weeks ago and saw our daughter's name, we both knew we wouldn't be changing it.

It's a beautiful name, and it fits her. And as a side note, it also starts with an "A".

But . . .

I'm not revealing name on the internet until I can reveal her picture too.

So you'll just have to wait in suspense. I know you'll all be holding your breath . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Now?

Aside from the fact that I have what I'm calling adoption induced ADHD which by the way is almost identical to pregnancy induced ADHD, I'm trying to get it together so we can keep this ball rolling.


1. As I said in the previous post, we are leaving for Bulgaria on August 9th. I have to get everything in order for Andrew before that trip. He'll be staying with grandparents and my sister, and this is the longest we've ever left him by a long shot so yeah . . .  At 5:30 this morning I woke up in a panic because summer is almost over, and I haven't scheduled Andrew for a dental appointment yet. I also haven't even looked at his uniforms for next year, and I need to get his passport photo taken for trip 2 since we plan on him going with us. ADHD folks!


2. We are submitting our I800 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today. It's the first step in legally bringing our daughter home to become a U.S. Citizen. Please pray that the forms get accepted without any requests for further evidence. Once it is accepted we are issued something called Article 5 which gives the MOJ in Bulgaria the signal to move forward. Huge over simplification here, but you get the gist. We can't go anywhere (i.e. get a court date) until the I800 is accepted.


3. We are meeting with our social worker on Saturday morning to finish up this home study which may or may not ever be used. It's a just in case we need it sort of thing. We're praying we don't need it.


4. Next Wednesday, we're getting fingerprinted for the FBI again. I. Don't. Want. To. Talk. About. It. My last two sets have been thrown out due to "poor quality". Yes, I've gone to qualified fingerprint techs. Yes, they passed on the computer. No, the FBI did not accept them. My home study agency had me go a different route for the home study, but we have no choice but to do these for court. Once again, prayers are appreciated.


5. We also have to get local criminal clearances once we get back from trip 1.


6. We have doctor's appointments again when we return. This time with a different doctor who doesn't think it's completely unreasonable to be asked to notarize something.


7. Our court date will be given once the MOJ in Bulgaria signs off on our Article 5. We don't appear for court. But we do need to be sure that they have all the necessary documents (FBI clearances, local criminal clearance, and doctor's letters) for court.


8. Once we pass court, our daughter is legally ours, and we wait for a few other things to be issued (court decree) before we can travel to pick her up.


I'm not sure how much sense all of this makes. But I think it's clear that there is still a lot to be done in order for us to pass court and get to trip two. It's easy for me to get all worked up about it and worry myself sick. Last night at church we had the privilege of having Doyle Dykes, one of the greatest guitar players in the world, come and play for us (seriously, if you haven't heard him play look him up). One of the first songs he played was "Great is Thy Faithfulness". It's been years since that song has crossed my mind, but as I sat there listening with words were flowing through my head one line from the chorus resonated with me, "All I have needed thy hand hath provided - Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me!"


God has brought us so far. You can see it as a series of miracles or one big miracle that is still unfolding, but He has been faithful. And I have to believe that He will continue to be faithful throughout the rest of this journey.


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" Ephesians 3:20 NKJV



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Big, Big News!!!

I apologize for the length of this. I'm writing it all down because as life gets busy and things move forward those little details you thought you'd never forget sometimes slip your mind.


On Thursday, July 3rd, I got up early and set out to clean. By clean, I don't just mean my normal weekly routine, I mean crazy OCD type cleaning. So the first thing I did was take all the screens off the back porch windows so I could scrub them and make them shine.


While I was out back scrubbing away Andrew came running outside with my phone hollering that it was ringing. When I looked at the caller i.d. about five things flew through my brain in less than half a ring. It was our caseworker at the adoption agency. I had just spoken to her the week before and emailed back and forth a couple times. It wasn't time for quarterly calls. This must be important! Answer the phone!


I answered and she asked if I had a few minutes to talk. Ummm . . . always, and you should know at this point my heart started pounding in my ears. Then she told me that she was looking at a picture of a beautiful little girl that had been referred to us, and y'all, I can't for the life of me remember much of the rest of our conversation. My heart was racing, and I was somewhere between crying and squealing like a teenage girl. And oh my goodness! It was so much like the afternoon that I took a pregnancy test and realized that Andrew was on his way. My ability to focus on anything for the rest of the day went right out the window. Let's just say it took every ounce of focus I had to finish those windows, and then I was done!


But here's the thing about a referral . . . you can't accept it right away. We could've if we would've been allowed to, but you have to wait on medical information and reviews and videos. Then you have a phone consultation with an international adoption (I.A.) pediatrician. Then you make your decision. I've never wished a holiday weekend would pass as much as I wished that one would. My stomach was in knots all weekend. I counted the hours until Monday when we could set up the appointment with the I.A. pediatrician, and I don't think I stopped praying for more than a few minutes.


On Monday, after talking with the doctor's assistant, they scheduled our phone consultation for Tues. at noon. The thing was we weren't expecting much. We had a medical report and one picture, but no updated videos or pics. Our caseworker told us not to expect the videos until Wednesday so we were expecting this to only be the beginning consultation. I don't know how I got any sleep Monday night, but thank the Lord I managed to sleep some. Tuesday morning at 10:45, just a little over an hour before our appointment, my caseworker called. She had just gotten videos and pictures, and she was sending them right then. I immediately sent them to the doctor and her staff and Patrick, who just so happened to be out of town at youth camp. I've never been so thankful for modern technology. We were able to get videos in a matter of days rather than weeks. Patrick was able to conference in on the call from the church van at camp. The I.A. pediatrician is in Cincinnati. This great big world suddenly seemed so small.


The phone call went wonderfully, and immediately upon ending the call, I called Patrick back. For us there wasn't even a question. She was ours. Ten minutes later, I called our caseworker, and we accepted the referral. We then set everything in motion to get travel dates and paperwork done. We were told to expect travel dates sometime at the end of the week or early the next week (tomorrow or Tuesday). On Wednesday morning, the 9th of August, my phone rang, and Soojin, our caseworker, asked if we were able to be in Bulgaria from August 10-15 for our "meetcha" trip. It took me about two seconds to say, "YES!"


So this time next month we'll be with our daughter. I wish I could show y'all pictures and give y'all details galore, but out of respect for her birth country, I can't do that right now. Here's what I can tell you. She's beautiful. She's young . . . very young for an international referral in Bulgaria. And if you see me on the street I do have pictures in my purse. I will whip them out and make you look at all of them.


I'm also going to ask for prayer like never before. So many of you have stood with us and prayed for us throughout this journey. The next five to six months we're going to need prayer more than ever.  So if you have a few minutes, and could say a prayer for one of the following things it would mean the world to us.


- This is only our first trip. We have to leave our daughter in Bulgaria and come home for 3-5 months while we wait for court and paperwork to be done. Pray for us. Pray for her. I'm already sick at the thought of leaving her.
- Pray for safe and smooth travels.
- Pray that paperwork and court and all the red tape pass in record time. We're praying that we can have her home by Christmas. That's a stretch, but we're believing for that.
- Pray for our daughter's health. There are a few small concerns which of course, seeing as how I'm thousands of miles away, are suddenly amplified in my head. She's in good hands in her orphanage, and God is watching over her. We know this. But I'm struggling with not worrying myself sick about her. So I guess pray for my worrying, but ultimately pray for her continued good  health (again I'm not free to give specifics but God knows).
- Pray for Andrew. Oh y'all his reaction deserves a post in and of itself. Thrilled doesn't even touch it.


And thank you! From the bottom of our hearts thank you! Thank you for your prayers! Thank you for walking this road with us! The best is still ahead!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life

Good morning y'all!

It's 9:30 a.m., and Andrew is still snoozing away. This doesn't happen often, but Patrick is away at youth camp. Andrew couldn't fall asleep last night (literally he laid in bed for over 2 hours), and so around 11:00 p.m. I let him get in bed with me.

He's wide awake here and smiling because I let him sleep in my bed. Little stinker.

Did everyone have a great 4th? Ours was laid back and spread out over two days which was nice because I didn't feel rushed. Patrick took a ton of pictures on his camera. Too bad they're ALL awful. The man needs to take a people photography class. Still life I think he has down (are houses still life?). But people . . . let's just say the pictures will never see the light of day.

On Saturday night we met up with some friends to watch fireworks. I got a few cute pictures with my iPhone of Andrew and our friends' two year old playing and dancing. Andrew loves to entertain and play with little ones. I know that there will be moments of rivalry and tension, but I also know he's going to make an awesome big brother one day.


Summer is almost halfway through. We're on the downhill side of 2014. Andrew will be seven in October. Time really does fly, and more and more, I realize the importance of soaking up each moment before it passes.

Enjoy your week everyone.