Sunday, December 30, 2012

Children in my Heart (and on my mind)

Man, I wish I could show you some pictures of these little beauties, because I've been thinking of them for some time.

ROSE   7/14/2007

My, what a stunning little lady she is!!!  She has the most perfect face and appears to be full of mischief.  When we were adopting Christian, her file came to our agency just weeks prior to me leaving for China.  We went back and forth with our agency, to see how it would work and if it could work that we could get both children at once.  The kicker--we'd have to redo all of our paperwork and put off travelling to get Christian for at least 6 months.  Instead of meeting him in November 2010--I'd have to wait well into 2011 if we decided to proceed with Rose.  And...well...after waiting for SO long already to meet this little boy that we fell in love with---we decided to continue on and just adopt him.  But I never forgot about little Rose.

Every now and then I see Rose come up on this list or that one, and nobody has come forward to claim her as their own.  Based on our current situation and the way our homestudy is written, we can't adopt her.  She would go right into the school system here, and I know that we can't provide the support that she'd need in order to transition successfully into a system that sees few adoptive kids, and understands their needs and orphanage behaviors, especially since I need to work.

So for now, I'll continue to follow Rose and hope that she finds her forever family.



LEON and LOGAN  March 2011  TWINS!!!!

How, oh how are they still available?  This just does not make sense to to me, I cannot believe that a family has not snatched them up already.  They look like they'd bring some fun into any family.  Sadly, these little ones are not for us--we are holding out for twins that include at least one little girl, virtual twins, 2 from the same orphanage, or even 2 from different orphanages if we can work out the details.


PETER December 2011

I  keep thinking of little Peter.  He is a couple of months younger than Ellie, and is in good physical development and health.  He does have a waiting child grant in the amount of $2,200, just like my Christian did.  He is missing both of his arms below his elbows.  He DOES meet our list of qualifications, and is in our age range, but for now--he's just on our minds and hearts.  Could we provide him with the care that he needs in order to thrive?  Could we dive into the world of prosthetics and all that goes along with that?  Probably.



Either way, we are really thinking that we want to bring two home this time around, if we can find the right two little ones for our family.  But I really think that I need one more little girl, or else our boys will be stuck playing dress up with me forever.  And that might be fun initially, but long term?  Probably not.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

This might just be the last year...
that all 4 of these munchkins are believers.

Last night, we sprinkled reindeer treats outside, left cookies, carrots, and milk out.  We opened one gift each, and went to visit with friends.

Maddie was up at 2 and promptly went through her stocking with delight.  By the time I was up at 7 Eric and Maddie had separated all of their gifts into piles, so that they would be easier to open.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Steps



Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

We sent a package to our agency earlier this week, but never heard back from them regarding the documents inside.  However, I did notice that my credit card was heavily charged *gulp*, so it thankfully arrived safely.  

I also sent them what's called an I-800A, which is an application for determination of suitability to adopt from a Hague Adoption Convention country.  I'm crossing my fingers that my agency promptly submitted our form and our check to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department so that the USCIS can set up our biometrics date and get going with this whole thing!  No news is probably good news, right?

Biometrics:  a fancy word for expensive fingerprints, photo, and electronic signature.

Once we get this little paper in our hands we will be one step closer to submitting our dossier to China. 

  

We are really looking forward to Christmas this year, and just imagine how crazy it will be next year with hopefully 2 more little ones?  

Eric and Madison are so proud to be singing at church this year, and they have been practicing for the past few weeks.

Our elf, Santa's Little Helper, will be leaving one final note for the kids to find in the morning.  Christmas Eve will be spent making a feast and tons of goodies, and I have 4 pretty decent helpers that love to bake along with me.  No crazy last minute wrapping or anything this year--I am done and ready to relax.






53 Days left for our fundraiser! Click HERE to check it out.  



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fundraiser Update

If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing our fundraiser with your friends, and encouraging them to share or donate as well.




http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/chinesespecialneedsadoptinfundestesfamily/29613

Vehicles of Past, Present, and Future

I've had my share of cars, let me tell you--and each of them had some very decent attributes and some--well, not so much.





PRESENT:  Saturn Vue

This one is a pretty color, isn't it?  Ours isn't quite as pretty.

Pros:  good on gas, great storage
Cons:  5 seater.  Must I say more?  We are currently a family of 6 and with adding another one or two--well, this one just won't cut it.





PRESENT:  Honda Pilot

I like the background in this picture, and the color of this Pilot.

Pros:  8 Seater. Yeah!  Decent on gas for something this big
Cons:  Clearly, nobody that created the Pilot actually thought that somebody utilizing this car would need to fit 6 car seats.  Or even 4.  Or even would need to bring a stroller and kid goodies everywhere that she goes.  Nope, no. good. at. all.




Past:  Jeep Wrangler

Ahh this was fun.  My husband's dream, even with his current family size.
Pros:  Fun in the summer and minimal maintenance
Cons:  Can't fit a family of our size.  Bummer.


PAST:  Suburban

Pros:  Luxurious and tons of space for my stroller obsession!
Cons:  Gas.  Ummm, gas.  That's about it.


PAST:  Geo Metro Convertible

Pros: Ahh, I love me a convertible! and gas cost.  It fit my dogs perfectly right behind the seats, unless they tried to crawl in our laps.  Obviously, pre-children.
Cons:  safety, 2 seater only (could be a pro??)


Future:  Not sure what my next vehicle will be--we have outgrown minivan status, the Pilot AND the Vue are not winners for us, and we toy with the idea of a van or something large.  With privacy glass.  Just saying.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Houses


No holiday would be complete


without a little gingerbread house making
with lots-o-goodies
and just a few taste tests


 and some special one on one time with mommy.


And of course--lunch at Christian's place of choice.
Not my first choice...


but it's not my special day.

More houses to come, as his big sister was not outdone by her little bro..

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Homestudy Approved!

Our homestudy was officially approved on 12/7/12.  Yay! On to the next step.  It's harder this time around since we don't have a child(ren) picked out and a picture in front of us to focus on, but we will just keep moving along until that happens.  Christian is hoping for a fellow train lover or two.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mommy Poppins

Here's what I could win just by blogging:

I'd love to win some fun toys for the kids for Christmas, so I'm entering this cool contest from Mommy Poppins.  All 4 would be smiling on the 25th. ;)

If you'd like to enter, check this out:  Holiday Contest

I feel like I'm playing Where's Waldo!

Where's Christian?

Thanks to Bethan for posting your Wall of Little Ears! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

10 Years

 Most people probably don't know this but my husband and I actually picked out a little girl.  From Russia.  Ten years ago.  Little Anastasia was such a doll, a blonde haired blue eyed beauty.  We were reviewing her file, going back and forth with what to do and contemplating if we could handle her special need.  We were very young, had no children, and were really about to move forward.  

But, I found out that I was pregnant with Maddie, so we were unable to proceed at that time.


Three years ago, it was time.  We narrowed our countries down to China, India, or Ethiopia.  We started our homestudy, trying to figure out which way to go, which country would be the best fit.  I kept looking at the pictures of all of the available children--and this little boy got stuck in my head.  Like, REALLY stuck.  He was not the little girl that I planned on going to get, he was not from India (the country we were leaning towards), and he had a list of special needs that had never even heard of.  He was THE ONE.
Yue Ting, 13 months old
Two years ago, Maddie and I went to China.  We left the weekend after Thanksgiving, and came back in December.  If I can ever find the CD with those pictures, I can't wait to do something with them.  The beginning was hard.  Christian was grieving for his foster mom, I had to go back to work a few weeks after returning to the US, and we were busy with multiple medical specialists throughout the states.

Christian, April 2012      Spring Break       Daytona Beach
But the rewards?  WOW.  I am a lucky Mama, and so thankful to have spent every day of the last 2 years with this kid.  

Sweet Baby Moon

From:  The Gang's All Here...


Book Giveaway

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A boy and his baby

My first grader has really surprised me.  Not only does he LIKE his baby sister, but he really, really LOVES his baby sister.  His teachers have heard all about her.  Well, everybody that he talks to has heard about how pretty awesome that she is.  So, in her honor, he wrote all about her in school last week.  In case you don't read first grade handwriting very often, it says:


I am thankful for my baby.  Because she can say words.  And she even loves me, and more.  I love my baby so! so! so! much.  




Eric and Ellie, October 2011




I'm pretty sure that she feels the same way about you, my little big first grader!  Now, a couple of family members Maddie and Christian  appear to be missing from this picture, but we all get the idea.  This is about his little sister, NOT his little brother OR his big sister. And that's probably just fine with his little sis.
Eric and Ellie, October 2012


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sleepy girls

Yes, we fall asleep just about anywhere in this house!

Homestudy update:  We are reviewing, revising, and sending it back to our social worker for a final revision tonight!

Ellie update:  Her immune system is compromised--the nurse's exact words--but that could mean just a cold or a viral infection.  Her next ultrasound is coming up soon, another blood draw to compare samples, and hopefully we will get some answers in the near future.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SO Thankful

I suppose it's kind of hard to keep up on a blog when I can't remember my password.  Hopefully I'm all set now.

Christian has been talking a lot about being thankful lately.  He's been reading books and talking about chickens in class--I'm pretty sure that he means turkeys, but I guess it's all the same to me!  I asked him what he's thankful for and he quickly and loudly told me James the Train.  No surprise there.  Jim laughed, and said that he's pretty sure that Christian is most thankful for his mommy.  I'd like to think that too.

Little Miss Ellie on the other hand--well, Christian would describe her as a Troublesome Truck.  She had a little tiny cyst on her spleen that just happened to double in size this past year.  SO, we spent Monday at the local Children's Hospital in the oncology/hematology center.  Yes, the Cancer Center.  Nothing makes a mama tear up a bit more than to see that title when walking towards that wing of the hospital, to hear the cries from the other rooms, to see all of the little children that have lost their hair, all of those families sitting around during the treatments.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  They went through a list of questions regarding Ellie--the CANCER questions--and they took a bunch of blood to check her out.  I am full of hope and I'm pretty sure that this will be a whole bunch of nothing--that our pediatrician is just covering her tush by following up with the big guys.

Ellie was given a beautiful little Boyds bear, courtesy of the American Cancer Society.  Remind me to raise some money for them--through a race or a zumbathon or something like that in the near future.

We haven't obtained the bloodwork results and we go in for another follow up ultrasound in a week or so, so just say a little prayer that Ellie is going to be just fine.  And all of those other little patients that are working so hard to feel better--send them some huge prayers too.

Adoption related--our homestudy will soon be ready for us to review, and hopefully within the next few weeks we will have our documents authenticated/verified/ready to go!  We have 54 days left for this particular fundraiser, so if you happen to have anything that you'd like to donate feel free! Here's the link:  Adoption Fundraiser for our new little one(s)

Friday, October 26, 2012

My poor social worker

She had the pleasure of visiting us at school today.  And while it was just a typical day for us, it probably looks a bit outrageous for an outsider, even a social worker at that.  Students screaming and swearing in the hallways.  Some sitting in clusters near the gym rather than going to class.  Dismissal time finally arrived, along with the police and ambulance due to some sort of fight.  I think after being there for so many years I'm somewhat oblivious to it all, thankfully.  I am lucky to work with dedicated individuals that WANT to be there, that see hope for our students, and that really love their job, even with the hard days here and there.  As usual, my students were the shining stars--the ones that are doing the right thing, and in no way involved with any hallway nonsense.  I am blessed to be in such a position, and I just hope that the students that are involved in inappropriate behaviors and/or violence find their way.

Anyway, back to more positive things:  our homestudy is almost completely written, our adoption classes are done, and we only have a couple of other documents to receive in order to proceed.  Another family that our social worker recently worked with was done with the entire process in 9 months, so that's pretty exciting.  We'd love to travel in the summer.

Other than that we are going to spend the weekend at soccer games, softball games, and we are going to throw a few Halloween events in there just in case we don't get to go trick-or-treating yet again this year due to the storm that is on the way.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Amazing!

We just received our FIRST donation for our fundraiser, I am SO blessed to have such a loving and supportive friend in my life!  I was actually holding off on sharing our fundraiser page online until I linked it up to our church or adoption agency instead of paypal, but my amazing friend decided to go ahead and get us started either way. Thank you, Jessica and family!

When we picked Christian I just saw that face--and I KNEW that he was mine.  I was looking for a little Chinese girl--but could not stop thinking about him.  His laundry list of disabilities didn't seem to matter or bother us at all--it must be that red thread of fate.  I keep looking at pictures and....We found 3 kids that we LOVE just by looking at their pictures and small paragraph of information, but they are not listed with our agency so we would have to jump some big hurdles to make that type of a situation a reality.  Also, none of them have disabilities that we put down as considering for this adoption, so we may have to widen our options since we have no problems accepting these particular disabilities, either. We are still working on our paperwork and we are meeting with our social worker again next week in order to complete our homestudy.  She's a pretty fun mama herself, so we always enjoy getting together with her.  So, we will just keep plugging along.

Facebook link--feel free to like my page:   https://www.facebook.com/MadeInChinaWithLove

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fundraising

Going to give this fundraising thing a shot!
Estes Adoption Fundraising Site

Checking out those files...

We have 2 little loves that we've decided to check out their files and review them with our medical doctor.  Both have more significant special needs than we were considering and could really use a Mama and a Baba asap.  We are requesting updates from China in hopes that this huge decision will be made more easily.  In other news, we got our fingerprints and background checks done today with all 4 kids in tow.  Our local police department must think we are nuts,  just like everybody else that sees a large family that is planning on even more.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paperwork, Paperwork...

We are in the midst of compiling all of our documents, including reference letters, doctor notes, new birth certificates and a new marriage license, and completing all sorts of essays about our family.  Phew--I'm exhausted, and I haven't even gotten down to business yet.  We are considering setting up a fundraiser website this time around.  We were so thankful last time to receive a grant from our agency due to Christian's special needs, as well as some generous support from the amazing Father at our church.  But..well, just like last time--we are running on faith alone that this will happen.  And it will.  We are open to a long list of special needs that we believe that we can handle, so if we don't pick a child/children prior to sending out our paperwork to China I'm sure that we will be matched quickly.  In an attempt to travel over the summer, I need to hurry up and get everything done asap in order to make that even a small possibility.  Next up:  fingerprints, parenting classes, and more paperwork to take to the state and Chinese Consulate in NYC.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's time!

We started the crazy process again and we could not be more thrilled to add one or 2 little ones from China to this wild family.  So far we've started our homestudy, started to collect some documents, and stalking the waiting child list.  China, here we come!