Thursday, September 29, 2011

No longer a slave to my phone

I tell you has been C.R.A.Z.Y.

I started the day off running behind, because I slept so good last night I didn't even hear my alarm clock go off.  So therefore, the whole day ran behind after that.  Then, Leah, my oldest daughter, decided to sleep in late today, which never happens.  So I let our 1 year-old, Autum go in and wake her up for me.  She proceeds to holler "eeeyyyaaa" and slaps Leah right on the face.  Well, you can imagine the reaction grouchy big sis had to this hysterical (in my opinion) wake-up call by little sis...and it only got crazier after that.

Not long after that I received a phone call from our Stateside helper telling us
Yep, I no longer have to be a slave to my phone and computer..because we now know that we will be hopping on an airplane, 2 weeks from tomorrow to head to Europe to our State Department of Adoption (SDA) appointment with Blake's government adoption entity.  Our official appointment is Monday, October 17th at 11 am.  Here we will be asked some questions about why we want to adopt a child with special needs, how we plan to take care of this child, etc.  After this brief questioning, we will hopefully receive a referral to go visit Blake at his orphanage.  We will either ride on an overnight train or a quick in-country plane, depending on make the long trek even further East to Blake's region. 

Today was a big day for two other family's too.  Go here and here to follow these family's journey's.  They received their travel dates too.  So exciting for us all!

Anyway, I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and really let all this settle in.  We went to Big Truck Night tonight (I'll post pics later) and then out to eat with some friends, then put 2 very sleepy girls to bed, and am now watching TV, figuring my business checkbook, posting this blog, and working with our travel agent to schedule flights out of country...oh boy, here we go!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank you.

As many of you know, through only God's hand working on other's hearts, our adoption story was covered by our local news station, KSN News, out of Wichita, KS. You can see that clip below.  Well, out of God's amazing grace, He blessed us with a dear neighbor who challenged all viewers to comment on this news story and she would donate $1 for every comment up to 1000 comments.  So in short, 1000 comments = $1000 for our adoption!!!  Well, people quickly spread the word, blogged about it, posted it on facebook, and I heard responses from people all over the world.  It was truly amazing!  I believe we ended up with close to 459 comments total between all of these resources.  WHOA!  I could not believe the support of people I have never known, may never know, and yet still took the time to help us out.  Thank you!! 

Well the story doesn't end there.  I received a random phone call from this generous person yesterday, asking me where we ended up with our comments.  I quickly totaled up what I could count and told her about 459, she said thanks and that she would be getting us the money for those comments soon.  And that was it.  Well, I got on the blog later that night to create a new post and what to my wondering eyes did I see?  Our fundraising account had gone from $4300 to $5300!  She gave us the $1000 even though we were short 541 comments, still!!  I just couldn't believe it...I was completely blown away by the $459 we would be receiving, that would have been enough.  Because I am so grateful for every dollar that is donated toward Blake's safe-keeping.  So when I saw that she had proceeded to give us more than we were due, I had no words.  I only had praises to God for using her blessings as a vehicle to assist the financial burden of International adoption.  I only had praises to God for her sensitivity to the Spirit's work in her heart to give.  I only had praises to God for her faith in giving beyond what was asked and her faithfulness that He would use it effectively.  I had prayers of petition that He would bless her life 10-fold for her faithfulness and response to His calling.  And I thanked God for who He is, how He loves, and how He chooses to reveal Himself through people like her.  What a blessing!

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Remember this family?

Okay, so those of you who have been following our journey to adoption might remember this family.

I wrote that Erin and I have become friends through this adoption as we have been at the same place in paperwork, etc. throughout the past few months.  She was always one-step ahead so she became my 'go-to' person with questions, advice, encouragement, etc.  Because I knew she fully understood what I was going through.  Anyway, they are in country.  They have been there for a full week now.  What I can't wait for you to see is there little man, Sterling.  He is 5.  He is tiny.  He is inquisitive.  He loves to put things in his mouth.
But most of all, HE IS SO SWEET.

Take a look...
And this one?  Taken a few days later..It's amazing what affection, love, and attention will do for a child.

This picture was from the first visit.  Can you tell the difference between this picture...?
You can follow more of their story at
They just found out they have court next week, Oct. 6th.  Please be praying for them as they are adopting him from an institution, and a region that no one has ever adopted from before.  So pray for favor and pray for peace over them as they await this date with a hopeful outcome.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fundraising Final Push Totals

Change Drive:  Okay, so we finished up our week-long change drive this past week...and our total for it was:
It's amazing how much that change adds up.  Thank you to those who emptied out their pockets for us, we are so thankful for you. (and so is Blake)

Then...we had our BIG TV GIVEAWAY drawing Friday night at half-time of the HHS Football game.  Our TV Giveaway winner was Tammy Wintermote, a Hillsboro local.  She has been praying for our family and this adoption since the beginning, and I am so blessed and thrilled that she and her family won the TV.  What an amazing God we serve!  So thankful for that.

Here is Leah drawing the winner's name at halftime of the game.
We were able to raise almost $1179 total!  Thank you to the gracious folks who donated the TV to our cause, we love you so much! (you know who you are)

That pretty much wraps up our pre-planned fundraising efforts before we leave.  We are anxiously awaiting a travel date, and respecting and honoring God's perfect timing.  We will still be able to receive donations through the Reece's Rainbow button set-up on our blog, it is tax-deductible, and will be posted until we land on US soil with Blake, so if you are waiting for us to receive official word that he is our man, stay tuned!  We should have court and get guardianship of Blake after about 2 weeks of being in Eastern Europe.  (if all goes as planned)   So be in prayer for that as well. 

Thank you and we are blessed by your faithfulness and support of our adoption of Blake.  I hope the next blog post I make is announcing when we will be traveling!!! :)



Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Little Faces that Tug on My Heart

One of the adopting mom's posted a question in one of our online forum's asking "which of the little faces, besides the child/ren we were committed to adopting, tug at our heart strings?"  Well, I feel like my list keeps growing, but here are a few of the little faces that tug at my heart, that still need families, prayer warriors, Christmas warriors, and exposure.  So if you have been perusing the Reece's Rainbow website as you are following our and many other's journey...who are your little faces?  Here are mine...

Boy, born October 2010
Who doesn't love a sleeping baby?  Especially one as sweet as this little guy!
Baby Ollie has Down syndrome, and is still so young!  What a great opportunity to find him a family to provide the care and medical attention he needs.
Ollie does have a heart condition and should see a cardiologist as soon as he's home.  His condition is listed as "heart murmur – ventricular septal defect, open arterial canal,  peripheric pulmonary artery stenosis."

His little tuft of hair, his peaceful stature of sleeping, and sweet little button nose...*sigh*...he's a sweetie!

Boy, Born May  2009
HOT DOG, new photos of Darren.  Finally we get a glimpse into the sunshine that he is!  Look how he's grown!!  Darren is a sweet boy with bright blue eyes.  
From his medical records:  Down Syndrome, bilateral pyelectasis, low muscle tone
OH. My. Goodness.  He just looks like a little character, with a great personality.  He just makes my heart smile every time I see his little toothy smile.

Boy, Born October 27, 2008
 This muffin is just that, a MUFFIN!  He still has that baby, comb-over hairdo!   He has light brown hair and brown eyes.   He is in the same orphanage with Sasha and Alexei.  He could be adopted with any of them. 
 Nicky is at the perfect age for early intervention, and an *easy* transition into family life!
I just LOVE his little face, not sure what it is that I adore, specifically, but he is just plain cute!

Boy, born May, 2007

Silas has Down syndrome.  He is very bright and has excellent verbal skills for a child with Down syndrome.  He likes to sing and perform. He is doing well at kindy.  He has good relationships, but is a little cheeky, lively and has a strong will.
 More photos and video available, along with full social history and medical records
 Need I say more?  Just look at this little gent.  He is perfect and already has his own him!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Week

This week's been one of up's and down's for me...once again. 
For starter's, I've had a week of emotional down's.  I just feel like Satan is trying to steal my joy through these final stages of our adoption.  I keep having this mood-killing thought slip into my mind when I least expect it too...this thought that says "things are going to's too good to be isn't going to continue on as well as it is right just think you are being blessed..."  I am plagued by this fear.  I keep having these thoughts snowball into the game of "what-if's."  Ohhhh, it has been a battle in my mind, let me tell you. I emailed a dear friend this week and she helped remind me that I need to put on the full armor of God.  I need to keep my shield of faith steady, sharpen up my sword of truth, put on my helmet of salvation, and live in the gospel of peace.  So I have worked hard to be ready, on my guard, and standing firm.  Today I woke up feeling like a weight had lifted.  I realized all along I had the means to fight off these emotions, I just wasn't utilizing them, trusting in their effectiveness, and having faith that it would work.  So I plan to equip myself daily in the full armor of God, so if you see me walking a little more stiffly, it's due to carrying around this full body of armor, or it's due to playing 2 volleyball game last night thinking I can jump and move like I did in high school--and paying for it today.

The up's for this week consisted of these:

I was completely blown away by the generosity of people this past week, in parting with their spare change, in support of Blake's homecoming.  I could not BELIEVE how heavy they were...!  Thank you, Jesus!  I will be taking the change in tomorrow to see what the final amount is...

And finally...I will be getting this HUGE, GIGANTIC, IN-THE-WAY, 46" TV box out of my house!!  YAY!!  Tomorrow is the big day...we will be selling tickets for the final time, tomorrow night at the home football game against Hesston.  We will be set-up during the tailgate starting at 5:30 pm until come buy tickets while you can!  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PRESENT TO WIN...we will deliver the TV up to 65 miles away.  If you live in Cherokee, OK--Jerad's parents said they would you still have time to purchase tickets online if you want.  Go here to find out more.

I am thinking part of this emotional rollercoaster for me is due to paper-pregnancy hormones! Haha, I keep feeling like I am waiting to go into labor...just waiting for that phone call, email, or notification that we will be traveling soon, that our paperwork is approved/accepted.  So my prayer and my prayer request for you is that we will travel soon, that we will hear something this next week.  Pray for the other families who were submitted when we were, that they will hear something soon as well.  Thanks for interceding for us as we storm the doors of Heaven with our prayers.  We are so grateful for you all. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Serious about our Journey

We have met our fair share of supporters in response to our adoption journey...and we have met our fair share of nay-sayers...

Obviously my gratitude and humility and overflow of emotions is hard to hide in response to the support and encouragement we have received the past few months from people we know, people we love, people we have only recently known, and people we may not ever know this side of life.


What I have had a hard time responding too is the people who question our decision to adopt a child with special needs, half a world away.  I have only resolved to pray for these people, not that their minds would be changed, but that God's love would abound within them.

That is, until now...

I feel like I just haven't had a real good come-back, a real good reasoning, a real good explanation, and/or a real good attitude about this questioning of our actions.  I realize I could go into the politics of adopting a child Internationally versus domestically, or go into the ethics of adopting a 'healthy' child over a 'special needs' child, or go into the reasoning for our decision to raise funds for our adoption, or go into the thought process we went through in relation to giving up our 'future' by having a child with special needs...but I refuse.  Nothing will be accomplished through this.

Here is what I do know.  I have been a Believer in Jesus the majority of my life.  But I have only recently understood what it means to live a sold-out, no holds-barred life for Him.  Upon this realization and understanding of who God really is, have I begun to grasp how He desires for me to live and be in this life.  First, he requires us to commit to believe whatever He says.  In other words, you have to say 'yes' to the words of Jesus before you even hear them.  Second, you have to commit to obey whatever you hear.  The Bible requires a response.  We are not only to ask "what is God saying to me?"....but "what shall I do?"  Through these two ideas, have I only begun to understand that the purpose for my life transcends the country and culture I live in. But most importantly that my (our) meaning is found in community and my (our) life is found in giving of ourselves for the sake of others.  (not my own selfish desires)

So to put it simply...I don't know why God called us to adopt a child with special needs in another country...but I do know that God called us to defend the cause of the orphans, no matter where they live and who they are.  I do know that God requires us to respond to His calling, no matter what the cost, sacrifice, and/or lack of understanding.  And I do know that He calls us to work together for the good of those (me and you) who love Him and to love one another. 

And as a result I am just beginning to experience what it feels like to do God's will, to step out in faith doing something that other people do not understand, to let go of all personal aspirations, goals and dreams, to live fully for Christ.  And let me tell you, there is nothing like it! 

Only pure, undying joy, love, and purpose.

That's what I know. So from now on, if you have a question about what we are doing, know that I am praying for you, and that I don't expect you to understand...just that God called us to this little boy and we are responding.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sweet Baby Boy

Today has been a HUGE blessing to me.

First off, this little handsome boy popped up in my inbox this morning, thanks to someone in his orphanage being thoughtful!  Can you believe how grown-up our little man has gotten over the summer??

Hold on little man, mommy and daddy will be there soon!

Then, a few short minutes later, the doorbell rings and our local florist, Jan's Flowers, walks in with a bright "Best Wishes" balloon attached to a HUGE piggy bank full of coins.  (If you didn't know we are having a change drive in town this week...)  And attached to it is a sweet note from a VERY dear family friend of ours.  What a BLESSING you are!!  You have no idea how much this gesture brightened my day.  I pray God blesses your thoughtfulness, gesture, and generosity 10-fold. 

Then, it gets better.  I am running Leah to school, yeah running, because we like to play 'beat the clock!'  She is in afternoon kindergarten and I can't seem to get into this new lunch schedule yet.  But anyway, a woman I know of, not real well, but am acquaintances with, stops us, gets out of her car, and hands me an envelope full of cash!  She said she has been wanting to get this to me for a while now and was glad to catch me (I can't wait to tell my husband that running late isn't always a bad thing!) Teeheehee.

I am just so amazed at the generosity and kindness of people everywhere.  I constantly feel unworthy of these gestures and am so humbled by all of this.  I feel like I am being made more aware of just how much we need each other in this life.  I am beginning to feel the joy that God speaks of in Scripture when our sense of belonging is fulfilled through His Holy Spirit and the Saints. It is a deep in your soul, feeling of fullness... a feeling that nothing and/or no one can sustain.  It is a sense of belonging fulfilled not through common experiences, interests, or stages in life--it is a belonging characterized only by the fact that we are all sinners, we ALL fall short of the Glory of God, and we are no better than each other in any way, within this perspective.  What freedom we have in this...what a joy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We Were Submitted Today 9.15.2011

This day has 2 significant meanings to me...
One being, that one of my dearest friends' birthday is today.  We were only born 4 days apart, cried watching 8 Seconds and Pure Country on the night's before games in college, spent WAY too many hours at the rodeo arena chasing cowboys, laughed at how similar our dad's sense of humor was (just not 7 am phone calls), and shared some of the best memories/moments of my life together.  Love you, Bre!  Happy Birthday!

Secondly, today is the day our paperwork was submitted to Blake's country.  His government now has our dossier in their possession--it has been reviewed, translated, notarized, and handed over.  They will review our paperwork and if acceptable, we will be sent an invitation to our first appointment with the State Department of Adoption.  In the adoption world, this is called the 'travel date.'  This is the last step in this whole process....we are in the final stretch.  I am so anxious, nervous, excited, overwhelmed.  I told my mother today I felt almost exactly like this a year ago as I was anxiously awaiting our daughter's birth.  Other adopting mom's have shared that the 'nesting' instinct kicks in weeks before travel, just as it does in pregnancy.  So I guess that is why these feelings feel so familiar.  Today I caught myself daydreaming of squeezing that little boy, of him resting his head on my shoulder while I comb his hear, of him hugging me with his little arms and kissing me on the cheek, of him calling me Ma-Ma!  *Sigh*

In the mean time, we are wrapping up our last few fundraising efforts.  We are $6000 short of what we need to be fully-funded.  But I have complete peace about how God will move this mountain for us and prepare the way, just as He has done so faithfully up until now.  Our donation link  will remain on our blog throughout our trip, so you will be able to donate up until we get on that plane to come home with Blake.  If you are waiting until we receive official word of a travel date, that is fine.  If you are waiting until our official court date and we are given legal rights to Blake, that is fine.  If you are waiting until our 'Gotcha' Day and he walks out of that orphanage with us, that is fine.  Only give if and when you feel lead.  We are grateful for whatever you can give. 

Continue to pray with us as we prepare for leaving the girl's with family, as we make arrangements for everything here at home to be set before we go, for God's will to be done through all of this.
Thanks!  Next date.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Babies with Down Syndrome

All of these children pictured are orphans with DS 
As the weather begins to cool off, my desire to snuggle up with a good book begins to creep over me.  So, because of my abundance of non-fiction reading consumed by adoption this...adoption that...I am afraid my brain will explode if I have to read anything else to that effect.

I am dreaming of getting lost in a book, a fantasy, in a surreal world, in someone else's life, and their problems.  It could even be inspirational fiction based on true events.  I love Francine River's.  I love the Mark of the Lion series and the Lineage of Grace series. So I may end up going that route again...

But in the mean time, I had one other book that was suggested to me.  It was called Babies with Down Syndrome.  In fact, thanks to our awesome early intervention program, Parents as Teachers, in our community, the book was hand-delivered the NEXT DAY by a sweet friend/teacher.

Here's what I've learned so far...the basics-
   Down Syndrome (DS) means that your baby has a genetic condition resulting from the presence of one extra chromosome in some or all of his cells.  Babies with DS have three copies of the 21st chromosome, instead of two.  Many mother's of children with DS, say their baby's have 'designer genes!' (love that!) 

Common Features of baby's with DS: Low muscle tone in all areas of the body, smaller noses, ears, and mouths, upward slanting eyes, slower growth/development, short fingers and small hands and the palm of of each hand may have one crease across it

  3 Types of DS: Nondisjunction, Translocation, Mosaicism

  Importance of Early Intervention: EI is usually provided by a local program offering services in areas of occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, mental health specialists, social workers, registered nurses, service coordinators, and OF COURSE the parents.  These services are provided in our home after a series of evaluations, usually until age 3. (this is specific to our county)  Then the child is eligible to participate in a school/community program.  For our community, this would be Head Start.

Development: Babies with DS develop similarly to children without DS, but usually at a slower rate.  Development is measured in several areas like communication, social/emotional, motor, cognitive, and self-help. Influences on development include genetic make-up, family life, health, educational opportunities, social life, stimulation, community (HINCE THE IMPORTANCE TO ADOPT THESE CHILDREN QUICKLY SO THESE NEEDS CAN BE MET)
           1. Babies with DS spend more time looking at faces and engaging with people than other babies do
           2. They spend more of their time seeking attention from people than playing and exploring toys and the physical world
           3. They are very good at understanding how other's other words they know how to get the reactions they want from adults and can use that to their advantage :)
           4. Because of low muscle tone, many children with DS don't develop walking, crawling, and speaking skills until later in their development--while they may develop slower early on, many people with DS go on to excel at sports and leisure activities as adults.
           5.  Children with DS understand language and tones early on but are usually not able to verbalize their thoughts until 24-36 months of age.  Developing clear, intelligible speech is a difficulty.  There are a few reasons that are given for this: hearing loss, anatomical differences, and motor planning and control difficulties. Sign language is a suggested form of communication to use as a bridge to talking. 

           6.  Children with DS have good short-term memory skills compared to verbal ones.  They learn easier from visual cues, rather than verbal ones.

Common medical concerns for Babies with DS:
40-60% of all infants with DS have some type of heart defect
Babies with DS are more likely to have birth defects involving the GI tract  (5-7%)
Constipation is another common problem because of low muscle tone
Orthopedic problems
Upper respiratory infections due to smaller midfacial areas including nasal and sinus passages
Sleep apnea
Hearing loss
Dry skin

What I Know So Far In my Experiences: Children with DS can function at increasingly higher levels with proper medical care, education, social acceptance, early intervention, proper nourishment, and love.  Adults with DS are very independent.  They can work at jobs, play sports, sing and play music, interact with adults and children, love to dance, are prone to obesity, don't do anything they don't want too, are VERY smart at knowing your weakness and can play off of them, LOVE hugs, remember everything and don't forget any promises you make to them in their favor, love to look at themselves in the mirror, love to laugh, are great at making you laugh, will pick you up if they can, are competitive, can touch their noses with their tongues and laugh at all my failed attempts, are ORNERY  :), LOVE you like there is no tomorrow, greet you with a hug no matter where you are, how sweaty/stinky you are, have very sensitive hearts/souls, wear their emotions on their sleeves, are stubborn, can bargain with the best of them, they are flexible beyond belief, LOVE McDonald's, love personal attention
And I CAN'T WAIT to bring Blake home so I can learn from him everyday about what life is really all about!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Final Push Fundraisers!!

Change drive
As you are making your way around town this week, look for this cute little face sitting atop local business countertops.  Today starts our change drive!!  This is one of a few last pushes to help us reach our fundraising goal!  So clean out those pockets, laundry room jars, couch cushions, and car consoles and donate your change to help bring our little boy home!  We are only a few weeks away!!

Thank you to Nancy's Fashions, Jan's Flowers, Quick Flick, Molly's on Main, and Carisa Funk (check out A Little Knitting's booth at the Craft Show this weekend) for supporting us in this effort!

 Trojan Volleyball Triangular
We will be selling tickets for our 46" Flat Screen LCD TV giveaway, Tuesday September 13th, at the HHS Home Volleyball Game verse Cheney and Halstead.  Game time is 5 pm.  Come out and support the Trojans and also earn a chance to win a HUGE TV for your home!! Give more details here.

Trojan Football vs. Hesston
We will also be at the HHS Home Football game, Friday September 23rd selling tickets one last time before we draw the winner at that night's game.  Come support the Trojans, tailgate with the Site Council, and possibly win a TV!!!  You WILL NOT have to be present to win!
**If you won't be around, you can still enter the raffle online by entering a donation at the right and leaving me a comment or shoot me an email letting me know you donated! 

Thank you HHS and HHS Athletic Department!!  Good luck athletes!

These will be our last 2 major fundraising efforts before we will hit crunch-time, so if you have been waiting to donate, you only have a few more weeks left to give before we 'leave on a jet plane!'

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Having a birthday on 9.11..

I have had a hard time dealing with the fact that my birthday is on 9.11, for the past 10 years.  I never feel like it is a time to celebrate.  I am always afraid to be caught out in a restaurant wearing a silly sombrero, being sung too, laughing and drinking a large, iced margarita...while the rest of the world mourns a terrible tragedy.  It just doesn't feel right.  So I will admit, in an INCREDIBLY selfish way, I really don't look forward to my birthday anymore.  The only perk to it is...everyone remembers my birth date now.

So this year, I have decided to make my birthday into something memorable, something in honor of those who have served our country through military service during the past 10 year's after this tragedy.  Many of you know I'm a CrossFit junkie...and CrossFit is always advocating for the work of the Wounded Warrior Project.

VISION:  "To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded warriors in this nation's history."

PURPOSE: To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members. To help injured service members aid and assist each other.  To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP) exists to honor and empower wounded warriors who incurred service-connected injures on or after September 11, 2001. On that date, America watched in horror as approximately 3,000 people died including hundreds of firefighters and rescue workers.

The tragic events of Sept. 11 are often the reason warriors say they felt a sense of duty to volunteer for the military. These individuals chose to defend our country, and that is why we honor them.

Sept. 11 also served as a catalyst for conflicts Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Operation Iraqi Freedom refers to military operations in Iraq that began March 19, 2003 and officially ended August 31, 2010. Operation Enduring Freedom refers to combat operations in Afghanistan and other regions in support of the Global War on Terror.

With advancements in battlefield medicine and body armor, an unprecedented percentage of service members are surviving severe wounds or injuries. For every U.S. soldier killed in World Wars I and II, there were 1.7 soldiers wounded. In Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, for every U.S. soldier killed, seven are wounded. Combined, there have been almost 42,000 injured in the two conflicts – nearly 32,000 injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and nearly 10,000 in Operation Enduring Freedom.

With the mission to honor and empower wounded warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.

So after reading all of that.

In honor of the Wounded Warriors, in honor of those who died on 9.11, and to make this birthday memorable...

FOR EVERY DOLLAR DONATED THIS WEEKEND...FROM TOMORROW (9/9) THROUGH MONDAY (9/12)--I will donate 50% of the donations to the Wounded Warrior Project and 50% will go toward our adoption of Blake.

Thank you to the men and women who serve.  We honor you and pray for you. And we pledge to remember you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So What's Next...

Well, what I thought was going to be a reprieve from paperwork for a while, has turned into a whole other mess of paperwork.  The 'not-so-fun' kind.

For instance, I've spent the evening answering questions like...
1. If you were in a vegetative state, with no hope of recovery, would you want a)...  b)...  c)...

2. If you were diagnosed to be in a permanent coma, you direct that...

3. Do you give consent for your child to receive a blood transfusion if needed...?

Ugh.  These are the questions you hope you never have to face, yet are so important to have answered. I won't lie, these are some of the documents I have been putting off through this process.  But now we are nearing our travel time and so the challenge must be faced.

In addition, I am now going through the process of:
1. Printing off the papers we will need for Blake's medical appointment at the US Embassy.

2. Printing off Blake's Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration forms.

Today, I also:
1. Called the bank about ordering money.  Blake's country is particular about money being in great condition, no older than 2000, no crinkles, tears, markings, etc.  Some people have resorted to ironing their money!

2. Tallied up where we are in our fundraising goals.  We are still about $8000 short of our pre-determined goal.  But we are confident God will provide. 
3. The more fun things I did were to: decorate the change jars for our change drive beginning next Monday (at local businesses in Hillsboro)--look for Blake's little face plastered on the front! 
4. Counted out raffle tickets and will be sending those of you who registered online for the TV giveaway, your numbers soon. 
*We will be at the Hillsboro High School Volleyball triangular-Tuesday, Sept. 13th, selling tickets for the TV Giveaway.  We will also be selling tickets at the Sept. 23rd Home HHS Football game.  The drawing date has been postponed because of some confusion with the football game dates. (sorry!)

And of course, we are in our 3rd Trimester of this Paper Baby we are waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  Pray our paperwork is translated and submitted to the State Department of Adoption Thursday...then it won't be too long after that we should be receiving a travel date!!!

So, keep praying for us and keep spreading the word about these children.  God loves them just as much as He does you and me. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Photo Book

We were encouraged to make a photo book describing our life at home here in Kansas.  This book will travel with us to Eastern Europe when we go visit Blake.  I am guessing he's too young to really have much interest in sitting and thumbing through the pages, but I hope he looks at a few of the pictures.  We are also encouraged to take these books with us for the courts in Eastern Europe, if the judges or State Department of Adoption officials want a closer look into our lives...more of a visual interpretation, instead of paperwork saying we pay our bills and live in a home.  So anyway, just finished it up and wanted to share!

Friday, September 2, 2011



Thank you to all who donated items, bought items,
and donated toward our adoption!  
Final total from the day: 

All proceeds go toward Bringing Blake Home!!
**And thank you to the people who donated $200 last night!**

Thank you for showing up to support us and Terri and all the work she put into this sale!
We are forever grateful for those of you who have helped us on this journey thus far.
I can't wait for Blake to learn of everyone who was involved in us bringing him into our family.

We are blessed by your generosity!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The go-ahead!

As I was typing the title of this blog, a thought raced through my head of my dad always responding to this comment with..."Goat-head? Who's that?"  Ahhh, for those of you who know him, you understand.

Anyway, we received our paperwork Wednesday.  The coveted piece of paperwork we received stated that we were approved to adopt up to 2 children in Eastern Europe, with special needs, under the age of 7.  This piece of paper is called the "Golden Ticket" in the adoption world.   Partly because it's written on golden paper.  Partly because it marks the end of the paper chase for many families.  Partly because it's the last piece of documentation one needs before he/she travels to their child's country.  So...there are many reasons to celebrate this prized paper!!

So next, I drove to Topeka to have our documents apostilled.  Which means we will need our certified documents, certified.  Haha, looks funny writing it.  In short, the Secretary of State has to declare that all the notaries used to notarize our documents are legit.  Then I made a short jog over to the UPS store and shipped our 'paper baby' to Eastern Europe. It should arrive in Eastern Europe Monday  I hope!  What happens next is our facilitator in Eastern Europe will translate everything that we have collected over the past few months proving who we are, what we do for a living, how much we make, where we live, who our families are, etc.  That takes roughly 2 weeks.  Then they will submit this translated stack of papers to the State Department of Adoptions (SDA).  Roughly 2 weeks after that, we will receive a travel date.   There is approximately 2 weeks between receiving a date and traveling.  (some people have been given 1 week's notice, so we'll see!)  So, that is where we are now.

But I want to give credit where credit is due--which is God's Supernatural favor upon us, which is only in part to the prayers of the saints (you all) on our behalf.  What a testament to the power of prayer, right?  What I need you to know is, we need continued prayers as we get farther along in this process.  So please don't quit now.  If anything, we need even more of a prayer front as we begin to get closer to meeting our son for the first time.

Specific prayer requests
1. For God to continue to be glorified through our journey.
2. That our paperwork arrive in Eastern Europe on Monday. (all in 1 piece)
3. That the SDA approves our documentation and gives us a travel date.
4. That my in-laws and my parent's have an unexplainable peace about taking care of the girls' while we are gone.  That Jerad and I have an unexplainable peace about being away from them for so long...(don't even want to go there yet)
5. That our remaining funds to travel will trickle in over the next few weeks.  Through our TV giveaway, Terri's garage sale, and change drive.
6. That God continues to move on the hearts of others to consider adoption.
7. That God's will be done through our traveling, time in country, etc.
8. That you all will be richly blessed for the support, encouragement, fundraising efforts, prayers, and love you have shown us through this journey so far.
Thank you.