Our Family 2014

Our Family 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Save Some, Spend Some

Since my last post I found out that I had 2 documents that needed corrections.

Because I am adopting as a married single (basically just means that I am married but doing the traveling, etc for the adoption without my husband needing to be there for it all) some documents require to just be signed by me, while others must be signed by both of us. One of the documents I had mistakenly only did in my name but needed to do for both of us. Then there was a mistake in our homestudy with a date, that needed to be corrected. Thankfully both were easy things to address.

Unfortunately though, getting apostilles was a challenge. We live 1.5 hrs from the Secretary of States office. On Wednesday I drove down to get apostilles and found that the notary for our homestudy apparently had a name change but did not register the name change...therefore the notarization was no good and could not be apostilled. I drove back towards home and our social worker quickly put together 2 more homestudies and had them notarized while she was at the Clerk of Courts. Certainly the notary at the Clerk of Courts would get it right. The next morning I took everything back down to the Secretary of States office but this time had to drive our monster van (which I try to avoid doing for further trips with no kids because it can be a gas hog) because very cold weather causes our car to be moody and I didn't want to risk it breaking down on me. Well, it turned out the notary left off her middle initial on her signature, which is not how her name is registered, nor is it how it is presented on her seal. Again, no apostille. I almost cried but no tears actually fell...I reminded myself that these are just delays and God has a plan. I'm not sure how one can determine when it's God or the enemy causing delays but I really just believe that God was causing the delays for a purpose.

I went back to the Clerk of Courts office to the notary and requested that she squeeze in her middle initial. I explained why and was not at all upset with her. She, however, was very much copping an attitude...I assume she felt like she needed to be on the defensive, you know since she has been made aware now that all of the documents that she has been notarizing have been "illegal" (according the verbiage used by the woman at the Secretary of States office). In any case, she did it and I overnighted everything back to the Secretary of States office with a prepaid return envelope all via Express Mail (overnight). Total Cost for mailing: approx. $30

Thankfully our Authentications Office not only charges a lot less than many states but also has an immediate turn around. Mailed it to them on Thursday. They got it on Friday, apostilled it all, sent it back. Got it back today (Saturday).

I had a friend traveling overseas this week and was going to hand carry my documents for me but we missed the boat due to all the delays with the apostilles. Today I mailed those FOUR documents (duplicates of both) via DHL and it cost us $132!!

So first of all, when I thought we saved approx $120 on that much bigger pile of documents (32, many with multiple pages), we probably actually saved $150 or more. But now after having spent extra money on gas, overnight mail, and DHL, we probably just spent about $210!! Still thankful we didn't have to spend that $150 earlier though (or even that $69) because documents still had to be fixed and it could have easily cost us over $300 in the past week or so on this stuff!

Meanwhile, our well pump and pressure tank are taking a nose dive. Thank God for our home warranty, which will cover the costs and labor for the well pump but the pressure tank and installation is going to cost us nearly $600!

On top of that, I am having a tonsillectomy and having my deviated septum fixed next week (we were able to move up my surgery date since Peanut's surgery is on hold for a while). Our insurance changed back in the fall so what would have cost us $30 or so will cost us over $600. AND...went for my dental cleaning and found that I lost a filling and cracked another. There goes another $110+.

Well, our adoption savings is stuck where it is right now. I really am not sure what to do and really can't do anything right now due to my upcoming surgery (which BTW I am told will be a NIGHTMARE recovery for SEVERAL WEEKS!) Again, I have to remind myself that if God is truly calling us to adopt, He will provide. He knows our bank account, our income, our expenses, and all the costs associated with adoption. With complete respect I say to Him, "Okay God, you're going to have to do this because you know I can't."

He will.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Getting Closer!

I don't have a whole lot to report except some wonderful news that our dossier made it safely to our facilitator (and friend) last Thursday! Since I have been sending over scans of the documents for translation I expect it shouldn't be too long before it will be ready to be submitted. It's very exciting!

Also, for those that are not connected with me on Facebook, I have to share how God has provided a portion of our funds in an unexpected way. Well, I had estimated the cost to mail our dossier overseas would be roughly $120, but then a friend was able to help me get it there with the chaperones of the host program traveling back. So instead of the $120 to mail it overseas, we spent $69 to Fed Ex it overnight to my friend BUT THEN Fed Ex delivered it 11 minutes after the guarenteed delivery time I paid for! Had I shipped it using an online label I would have had my FULL refund but I used a third party shipping service center. In order togget the refund they need to file a claim and get back to me. However, according to Fed Ex and their policy, I am due a FULL REFUND. So that's $120 of adoption cost I did not have to spend...and I look at it like we just received a $120 donation. :) Isn't God awesome! It's little things like this that He does over and over, in a variety of ways that help cover many costs with each adoption. I love it!

With the adoption center just reopening after the holidays it is not clear how long it will be before we travel. My best guess would be early May but I'm starting to think that April is a possibility...which is a little scary. It's scary because I hadn't mentally prepared myself to travel that soon and scary because we don't have the funds and they are nowhere in sight. One thing I always have to remind myslef with each adoption, "God is the one calling us. He has already chosen these children. He knows we cannot go if He does not provide."

On a completely sepetste note, we have postponed Peanut's surgery until September. We are trying a different approach to her physical therapy and have put her back on the colloidal minerals, which we had great results with previously. I have peace about this decision and look forward to seeing how God will work in her and through these next few months.

I will be sure to post once our dossier is submitted.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do We Only Support Adoption With Pictures?

This question is not only for my readers but for me as well. I’ve been pondering, for a while now, how to best approach our church congregation about supporting adoptive families and orphans. It can get a little complicated since I am always adopting and I don’t want anything to even give the slightest appearance of selfish motivation.

Are people more likely to support a family in their call to adopt? Or are they more likely to support an orphan in need of adoption, specifically one with a picture that can be shared?

I, personally, think the answer is the second but I’m not 100% sure why we go this route and fail to consider the other as equally as important. After all, helping a family to adopt could potentially give multiple orphans a chance for a forever family.

So I am forced to think through it for myself and assume that others may think similarly.

Okay, sometimes I wonder if a family will follow through and if I instead give to a particular child then I feel as though I am directly helping that child. Maybe I can sometimes judge families thinking whether or not they should adopt when I already know that all orphans deserve to have a forever family so all judgment is set aside. Maybe when we consider giving to a family, it seems like we are contributing to the families desire for a child but when we give towards a specific child then it is helping an orphan get a family? That’s just silly, because it takes a family's initiative to give an orphan a family. Without a family willing to “go” the orphan remains an orphan regardless of how much money has been raised in their grant for the adoption process.

But what about giving to an adoption for a family that has already identified a specific child and even posts pictures of that child, versus a family who is “traveling blind” (has not identified the specific child or children they will be adopting)? I think without even realizing it I am not sure if I have ever contributed to an adoption for a family that has not already identified a particular child they are trying to adopt. What is up with that? I started pondering this as I have immediately seen a difference in financial support for this adoption versus those we have previously pursued…and realized one big difference…we do not have a name, picture, or exact diagnosis or situation to share about. We are approved, committed, called, and stepping out but does the lack of identification of WHO we will adopt really affect the amount of financial support people are willing to give? Based on my own history of contributions, or lack thereof,  I am going to assume so.

You know, that breaks my heart.

The purpose of this post is not to lay a guilt trip but to hopefully help me to process through some of these thoughts and will maybe help others to do the same for themselves. Of course we would be blessed if people then chose to help 1-2 more orphans find a forever family, but this isn’t just about us; its about the countless number of families stepping out in faith and even more orphans than families being found by their forever family. If families do not “go,” children remain orphans.

The country of which we are adopting from this time doesn’t even legally allow for pre-identifying a child for adoption. Now don’t get carried away with that statement. You can legally learn about a child in the system through a variety of ways. You can even legally request permission to receive the referral for that child through the adoption process, but unlike many other countries, no one can hold a child’s file for your adoption. So while many times it can work out that the family is able to adopt the child they chose to pursue, as we did with 3 of our children that we adopted from this same country, there are no guarantees. The difference with “traveling blind” is, we are open to looking at files of other children not yet even being advocated for and will choose one (or two, if adopting 2 children that are not currently related) to meet for adoption.

If you think about it, there are sooooo many more kids that have no advocates but are equally in need of a family, some in even worse situations. Just because I don’t have a name or picture of these children do not make them any less worthy of being adopted.

I wish I had children identified that we were pursuing. A lot of times it just feels easier, like there are a few less unknowns. And I sure wish I could share pictures and information with people, and perhaps people would look into the eyes and face of the children’s pictures I share and feel moved and motivated to help bring them home. Unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption and strings attached when it comes to that adopting from this country. So while I have identified special needs children I would gladly pursue for adoption, I do not care to get tangled in any webs or politics…so we wait.

Curious, how do others feel about contributing to the adoptions of families traveling for unknown children? Heads up, I won’t post anything vicious or negative…that bit of information is for any trolls or people that are out to discourage (those comments are screened and not even read)

Friday, January 10, 2014

How Does It All Add Up?

If you've never adopted internationally you may be wondering how in the world adoption can cost so much money when no money is actually being exchanged for a child. To help you understand a little better, I have copied/pasted my nerd spreadsheet that has been used in the past to track adoption costs and eventually became my guide for projecting approximate costs.

What I have posted below is for everything OTHER than the initial stateside costs of getting approved and gathering documents to submit to our future son(s)'s country, as we have already taken care of these initial costs. Again, these are just rough estimates that get adjusted as we go along based on where in the country we will travel, how long we stay, what kind of lodging is available, and so forth. These costs figure in me traveling alone but also convering the cost of food, lodging, and transportation of my facilitator while I am in the region where my child(ren) is/are, and the cost for my husband to fly in for court (not required but can be helpful when trying to avoid certain issues). These projected costs also figure in for me to travel once for the initial referral and start of the process, then fly home and back again for court, then fly home and back again to complete the process after the adoption is finalized, and then back home with our son(s). With so many children needs to care for at home there is no way that both my husband and I can travel for the whole process and absolutely noway can I stay there for 6 weeks. This will be the first time I have adopted from this country making multiple trips but there is now a longer wait for a court date and many more needs at home.

Air Fare (me x3 Round Trips) $3,000.00
Air Fare (my husband x1 Round Trips) $1,000.00
Travel Insurance  $300.00
Facilitation Fee (for 2 children) $13,800.00
Lodging in Country Capitol (4 nights @ $65/night) $260.00
Train To Region (x2) $150.00
Train From Region (x2) $150.00
Train To Region (x3) $225.00
Train From Region (x3) $225.00
Train To Region (x2) $150.00
Train From Region (x2) $150.00
Lodging in-region ($60 x14) $840.00
Lodging in-region ($60 x7) $420.00
Food ($40/day x21 days in country) $840.00
Orphanage Donation $1,000.00
Driver & Transportation in Region $300.00
Jurist (tip/gift) $100.00
In Region Facilitator (tip/gift) $200.00
Air Fare x2 Child $1,200.00
Lodging in Country Capitol  - $65/night for 4 nights  $260.00
Diver to Airport $50.00
US Embassy $760.00
Unrelated Child I600 $600.00
Medical Exam (x2) $200.00

That's over $26,100 more to go. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Will You Join Us?

I have added a Paypal donation button to our blog wall for those who feel led to join us in being His hands and feet in this adoption journey. This adoption will most likely cost $25,000-$30,000 to complete. We already have all the Stateside approvals and necessary documents to send to our child(ren)'s country covered and a few hundred more. According to my nerd spreadsheet :) there is an estimated $26,000 more that we will need to complete this adoption for TWO boys.

We are only submitting ONE dossier, which means the boys will need to be in the same orphanage or else we will only be adopting one this time. At least one of the boys will have special needs. If they are brothers, one may not have a special need. If they are currently unrelated, they will likely BOTH have special needs. Again, my heart is burdened for a little guy with Cerebral Palsy. We will also be requesting to look at profiles of children with other medical conditions and special needs such as, but not exclusively, HIV+, AIDS, hearing impairment, and congenital heart malformation.

Each time we have stepped out in faith, God has used MANY people from many different backgrounds and belief systems to join us in making this vision a reality. Without the help of others we could not do it. God has provided well for us in order to feed, clothe, and care for each one of our children including their therapies, schooling, and medical care. I know I have sometimes heard others claim if you cannot afford the adoption you cannot afford to raise the child, and that's just silliness. God gets so much glory when we step out in faith WHERE HE CALLS US (in this case, it is for our family to adopt again), and trust Him to provide, though it seems impossible. He is glorified as others come together to care for orphans and family's in Christ to do His will. He is glorified as He multiplies each dollar that is given until all that is needed is provided. He doesn't call us all to ADOPT but He does call us all to care for orphans; here is ONE way you can help make a real difference...be a part of reducing the number of orphans with just a few dollars, just one kid or one family at a time!

Would you prayerfully consider joining us in this journey?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Adoption: Entering The Enemy’s POW Camp

Those in the midst of an adoption know that once you take those steps of faith to adopt, you have essentially stepped onto the frontlines of battle zone. Orphans aren’t just children the enemy wants to keep from knowing Jesus, he has already, in a sense, taken them as prisoners of war; he has already attacked and destroyed their lives at the most sensitive and critical place, the very heartbeat of their lives that makes one feel human, loved, and protected…the family. When we follow a call to adopt we have to put on our armor and have the mindset, “I’m going in,” and get ready to be a target of the enemy. The last thing the enemy wants to see is REDEMPTION. The last thing the enemy wants these children to find is HOPE. The last place the enemy wants these children to go is into CHRIST LOVING FAMILIES…because with these things JESUS IS GLORIFIED.

It was interesting, and even a bit concerning with our last adoption because it almost seemed too easy. The fact that we really didn’t come up against much opposition during that time seemed odd. I knew we were doing what God was calling us to do (to adopt lil A) but at the same time I questioned, at moments, why was the enemy not so concerned this time around. However, thinking back on it now and remembering the torment I was feeling over the little boy I believe we are supposed to adopt and the division that it was causing between my husband and I, as we were not believing the same thing at that time, I’m now thinking that was probably enough. Again, where is the best way to attack the world to bring it down? The family! I am so thankful to be past that now.

The past few days have been something else! When I say it felt like a bombshell was dropped on our family, I truly cannot find any other words that better describe the shocking news that was revealed to us on Friday. The situation was not at all related to this adoption but is the result of trauma caused by the enemy’s pain and destruction in the life of one of my children before we became a family. That trauma of becoming the enemy’s POW and how it happened does not just go away with adoption. That kind of trauma can wreak havoc in a child’s life FOREVER. The torment a child can struggle with, like a disease that refuses to heal, can get worse before getting better AND THAT’S WITH REDEMPTION AND A FOREVER FAMILY TO LOVE THEM! My mind can’t even begin to comprehend the torment and trauma of a child left behind never to be adopted by a forever family or to experience the love of an earthly father (which was designed to teach us about our Heavenly Father’s love).

So the initial explosion of Friday rocked my world so hard that the residual affects on me emotionally and physically carried over big time on Saturday, only beginning to feel like I was able to stand back up on Sunday, and feeling mostly recovered this morning. That doesn’t mean everything is fixed and all pretty again; it just means I am not feeling like I have to fight my own physical stress and emotional exhaustion while trying to love my child to a spiritual and emotional place of recovery. I have no doubt that the larger part of the stress was deep in my mind remembering the very difficult and stressful months we trudged through not very long ago and just feeling like, “Oh God, please…I can’t do this again.” But I can. We can. We have all grown so incredibly much since then, and our hearts have been so transformed since then. Jesus is already being glorified.

I am also reminded that in previous adoptions, when the enemy attacks it’s almost always followed by a huge blessing in our adoption. I can’t help but wonder if that’s because the enemy can be places to see things I can’t, like God preparing the hearts and situations that will not only bless us but more importantly glorify Him before MANY. For this reason I am excited. I cannot wait to see what God will do.

I covet your prayers. We would be so blessed to be lifted up through this time of bonding and attempts to lead our hurt child to healing and for the adoption of our son(s); I am still believing with all of my heart that this one particular child God has chosen for our family but only God knows who our child is and I pray that He will guide our steps, open doors, and close others, as HE WILLS.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Starting Over. Safety First.

I am so incredibly bummed that I have to shutdown my other blog. I know I have long time readers and prayer warriors who will be disappointed. So many people have helped us bring our children home, through prayer, through financial contributions, and continued encouragement. I want so badly to share updates on my kids, and I will, but most likely it won't be with pictures of their faces or with their real names. We have not been sought out but recent events have quickly made it necessary that we remove anything that could track predators to our children. That's really all I can share but I hoping to clean up and move on doing things a bit differently.