Monday, July 27, 2015

Article 5 and Vacation

On June 25, 2015, we got our Article 5 letter from the US, which gives us the final step in US clearance to adopt our little Princess. OMG! So super excited!

The best part? We got the letter while driving down for our vacation-it was the BEST start to vacation ever in the history of the world.

At this point everything is done on the US side and we just have the India side to wait on now-ARC, NOC and then Court-and TRAVEL!!

So close!

For vacation we went on another Disney cruise and it was fabulous and amazing. We felt guilty doing it, since it cost so much money, BUT, we had it all booked and paid for back in March, and because we are cheap we didn't get the travel insurance, so when our call to continue adoption came in May, well, it was a little too late to get the money back.

But, overall, I'm so glad we couldn't. Bill and I both needed vacations from our stressful jobs (speaking of which a crisis broke out with mine right before we left; I have so much gray hair now from it! lol So glad vacation was waiting after that!)

And it was such a wonderful WONDERFUL time to spend as a family of 5, going out and doing things, enjoying relaxing, and being together undistracted away from work and adoption stuff. Our boys loved it, and so did we. I'm so glad it worked out that the cruise was planned and paid for before we knew about our girl coming home, otherwise we wouldn't have done it and we really did need the time to relax together. I loved it so much. Best time ever. I can't wait to go in a few years again with our little girl along for the ride!

AND we got a lovely princess dress for our little angel. I can't wait to see her in it.

New guidelines for CARA have recently come out, saying it should be 60 days after NOC to be logged into court and ready to travel. Can you believe how awesome that would be?! I'm so hoping this does indeed speed up the process. I'm so crazy excited to get over to India and love on our lovely little girl. I can't wait to share her photo here too; she is so lovely and adorable.

So, come on ARC/NOC I'm ready to go get our girl!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blessings Abundant

It has been awhile since I've written about our family life-partly because things have gotten busy, and partly because we've had unexpected, wonderful news pop up!

Busy to the 10th power has happen here-all without me quite relizing how. Suddenly, my older boys are BIG boys, off playing sports, playing music, and running round the neighborhood on their bikes.

We go from sport season to sport season, loving every minute as we watch the kids be a part of something they love.

We drag teeth a little with Little Dude to practice piano, but he has learned so much so quickly I push him for now to stick with it. JR plays Cello and I have to say, I thought he would quit after awhile, but he is loving in and quite in his element with the music class kids.

As a past band geek myself, my hear soars to see him with his own little band.

Champ is a KID now, not a toddler, and is officially signed up for preschool next fall.

Ya'll, I'm going to be a MESS when I drop him off. The thought of sending him off away from me has me in tears already. What is wrong with me? haha!

School keeps us also busy-it seems the few hours from after school to bedtime fly by in a rush to get home work done, run and play a bit, get dinner done, do sports and then sigh-sit-and spend a little down time together before bedtime prayers. The days are long but indeed flying by quickly. This year has been really short.

And speaking of time flying, it has been FOREVER since I updated this blog! So now that you are caught up on our family times, let me fill you in on our adoption times.

After we got (and quickly-like the next day-lost) the referral for the little girl that ended up being a twin, we waited until November to get another referral. This one was a sweet little girl in the same state as R, and we were thrilled. But, upon getting her medicals reviewed by two heart specialists here, we discovered her heart condition also affected her lungs-and more importantly, her lungs ability to get oxygen rich blood-and as of now, there is nothing that can be surgically done to repair her problem. So, eventually, she will grow big and old enough that her body won't be able to continue living because of a lack of oxygen. We were told by both specialists she would likely not make it out of her young teen years, and that near the end she would be having a rough time; likely faint a lot and look bluer and bluer as her body outgrew its oxygen supply.

That hit us in the gut pretty badly. Not only had we lost the little girl we'd originally tried to adopt and grieved about that, but we then got the twins and couldn't have them, and then go this little girl and had to decide if we were cut out to bring home a child and watch her die.

And we decided, through many tears, that we just weren't.

Almost immediately, our agency sent us yet another referral, and my husband didn't even want to see it. And while I was so desperate to meet a child that COULD be our daughter, looking back, I understand how he felt. And I think I was grieving and emotionally broken from everything as well, and the time just wasn't right.

So with many tears and much heartache, we decided to pass on the referral and leave the adoption program.

Ya'll, it hurt SO BADLY to tell our agency we were stopping and passing on the last referral. That we didn't even look at it and just couldn't do any more disappointments in this process.

This was all in November 2014. The holidays were a bit sad for us; as we got decorations out of the attic we came across all the gifts I'd gotten for our girl for each year she hadn't been with us. 4 gifts all wrapped and ready. I was pretty depressed, but sent her gifts to a sweet friend how had just come home with her second daughter so the dolls would be loved on.

At times we talked about what it would have been like to have a girl running around, and sometimes mentioned regret for not looking at the last referral in more detail, but we also felt a huge weight of stress was gone, and that was nice.

But then, fast forward to April 28, 2015 and guess who calls me? OUR AGENCY. And guess what they say?
THE LITTLE GIRL'S COUNTRY NEVER UN-MATCHED US. And they had just sent all the approvals for our match to her.

So, our agency wanted to know, did we want to think about it again, before they went in person to un-match us?

I'm telling you, I felt a huge flood of peace and panic wash over me. It was like I could hear God saying, "I'm giving you another chance to say Yes. I want you to say Yes, please look again at this child".

OMG guys. OMG.

So I cried on the phone with Bill about what had happened, and he shocked me by saying he wanted to look at her file (I really thought he would stay strong in his no!) So, we looked over her stuff, talked to our awesome local specialist about her special need, and prayed.

I told Bill I would respect his choice, since he had been the one adamant to stop the process last year, and he shocked me again by saying He felt God speaking to him that this girl was ours and we were getting a second chance to say yes.

OMG you GUYS!!!

So, on May 1, 2015, we got all our referral paper work signed, notarized, appostilled and MAILED back to our agency. She is going to be ours!!

Our dossier and referral papers should be on their way to Ind*a today or tomorrow. I'm currently working on our I-800A document for immigration.

AND then we await Article 5 and NOC. WHAT WHAT!!!

We are SO THRILLED to finally have a referral and can not WAIT to have our dear beloved daughter home with us.

Blessings abundant, indeed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Coming Back To Blogging

I'm coming back to blogging. It has been quite a bit of time since my last post, and while it still hurts to realize adoption from India just wasn't in the stars for us, it has been exciting to see where our journey took us.

I have made so many friends in the adoption "world" and love every one of them so much. We also became sponsors for three little girls in India! I don't have any photos in a format I can add to the blog at the moment, but I'll get some going. The oldest I'll call Grace ,and she is 9, then there is Princess, who we now partially sponsor again since we are no longer adopting her and she is now 5 (CRAZY), and then I'll call the youngest Faith, who is 2.

I have their photos in the hallway of our home, and the boys have been helping lead prayers for them. We have permission to write N letters, so I will be having the boys do that. I'm very excited to watch our girls grow and see how the little extra we have can change their lives. It is exciting and humbling.

We moved! We had long talked about wishing for this and that and this and that at our old house, but for the 3 years of adoption limbo, we couldn't move, and then when we decided to step away, it suddenly hit us that we could, indeed move and that suddenly we had extra funds now that we no longer had to save every penny for adoption legal fees.

We are loving our new home. We are in a much bigger home with all the features (like extra bathrooms! and a garage!) that we had been wishing for in our old home. We are also on a cul-de-sac at the back of a neighborhood, so we have no traffic ever and there are 7 or 8 boys all my boys ages that live right on our street. Needless to say, it is AWESOME and has been such a great change for us.

Our old house we turned into an investment home and now rent to a sweet young family. We are doing well with that investment,and are quite pleased to realize our second rental home is creating a little pocket of income for us, too!

JR is playing the cello and Little Dude is playing piano. It is wonderful to hear and I love it so so SO much. They are enjoying it a lot too, and that makes my heart so super happy. I hope I can get Champ to also to play music in a few years. I would love for them all to be able to read and enjoy music, even if they don't stick with it in any serious way.

In fun news, I found out I'll be an Aunt soon, and I am thrilled at the thought of a little baby to hold. He or she will be here in October, so I CAN NOT WAIT!

In other fun news, we are officially trying to have another baby and I have to admit, it is super fun to be off birth control and just wait to see what is planned. We will see!

So, for now, that is all the update I can do, but I will be back soon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It Is Done

2 Years 4 Months 3 weeks and 2 Days. That is how long our dossier has been done. How long we have been waiting for a match to our Princess.

And it is done. India said no.

I was a huge range of emotions, from sobbing to raging to yelling and whispering bargins to God to change someone's mind. Now, I just feel kinda drained and tired and a little surprised that I'm OK.

It is done. India said no. Our case was a bit unusual, since we had been grandfathered in before the major changes that are now in place, but all our paperwork went in, her paperwork went in, and it was all reviewed to give us the match.

One level of judge said yes. The final level, that would have given the offical approval to our agency to have Ramya's file and match us on CARA with Ramya, said no.

We were so close.

The judge said no, because he felt the kids' ages were all too close together. Now Ramya has been "reserved" and sent back to the local CARA listings to be matched with someone in India.

Right now, we don't know for sure that she has been matched or not, though our friends that work at her orphanage promised to let us know when she definately has a family. That will be nice to know. I hate thinking of Ramya still being an orphan when we wanted so badly to be her family.

Our caseworker tried to help the bad news in a silver-linnings way-she had found another referral for us of a sweet little girl under the age of 2. We were quite thrilled, and dreamed perhaps she was the one for us.That everything with Ramya had been meant to lead us here to this child.

However, after accepting her, our caseworker found out CARA had mislabled her. She was actually a twin, and she and her sister were both already matched to another family. Just somehow CARA had not updated the one little girl's file.

I have to admit, losing Nadina, right after losing Ramya, really took all the energy out of my sail for adoption.

And honestly, I REALLY want a fourth child. And I think that I'm going to take out the IUD I put in three years ago when we decided to adopt and just see what happens. I know a fourth pregnancy means the adoption process is done, and I will mourn that loss, but I also am just tired of waiting for nothing. I just don't think I can do anymore of this process.

I'm just a bit broken.

And, for now, just waiting to see if there is another little girl out there that may be for us. Bill feels that if we don't get something soon, he wants the limbo to stop and stop down. I have to agree, as much as it makes my heart break, that a break might be best for us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shades of Blue

1 year. 9 months. 5 days. That is how much time has passed since we submitted all our formal paperwork to adopt. That doesn't include all the time before hand, getting our home study completed. Getting our dossier together. (OMG. That was A LOT OF PAPER). Talking to other adoptive parents from India to learn more about the process, the orphanages, and all things adoption related. Reading and taking classes. Praying if we were really ready for such a leap of faith. To welcome a child we don't know into our home as our own.

1 year, 9 months and 5 days doesn't even start to convey how much time and energy have gone into Princess' adoption.

The answer has always been yes.

But, as this wait drags out, and we start the countdown on our paperwork expiring, there is a debate about weather to spend more money to keep waiting or if we have reached the point that we won't spend any more.

Her paperwork is in. Our paperwork is in. Yet, there is not a single word from India if they approve our request to be matched. Or even a word that they deny it.

At this point, about 6 months out from having any news of any kind at all about our case in India, I actually welcome a no. I just want to know-what is your answer? I'd like to start planning for our girl, or moving on with our family of 5. I really sometimes hate this stupidly long limbo we are in.

I look for signs and pray to God so much, but honestly, I do get very down and discouraged that this just isn't going to happen. And while I'm down, I laugh at myself, because I know plenty of parents that waited years and years and years to adopt their child. I'm really still early in the wait! And I know any of the people in the India program laugh, saying, heh, it is India! It could be tomorrow or 3 more years!

Such drastically different unknowns mess with my emotions so much. I go back and forth all the time. Is this a sign to stop? How much do we spend? Is this a sign to keep going? Is it meant to be, or am I meant to have a different child? Do we open ourselves to a different child completely? Can we do that, after multiple years of trying to get Princess?

We have our 1-800 approval-that surprisingly came back right away! But since that point, have made no progress at all. And that is just depressing. I think of things we could do with the money we have saved (first world problems, I know) like fix the really leaky windows we have-it is SO COLD sitting under the window! Or maybe even moving and finding a home with a garage so there is no more running with kids in the rain to the van.

Lots of things. But, none of them can happen if we need to pay for the adoption stuff. And our girl is worth so much more than any of those things ever would be. But it does stink to find a most perfect house and realize: I still have no idea what to plan for.

I know we have talked about no renewing our paperwork a second time, but a part of me is going to die inside when we stop and close the door on adoption. And a part of me really feels like that is what is going to happen.

We aren't going to get her, and we aren't going to get approved for a child younger than Champ. And we aren't going to feel ready to adopt a child older than our boys.

And that will be that. And my heart will be so hurt and broken, but not many people in this world will know what pain is in there. And that makes me sad too. That will be people that never know we tried so very hard to bring her home and they will look at our little family and think it is perfect and not realize that there is someone missing that should have been walking with us 9 months ago.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Is Here

It is Christmas time once again! The older I get, the more I realize just how short a year is. I love this time of year, and even through the stress of what we "need" to get done, there are always special moments to realize and reflect on what is really important.

Like getting out cards and wrapping gifts and figuring out who to visit when and for how long OMG and hating the post office....none of that matters at all.

What matters if focusing on WHY we celebrate. Beyond even Christianity, Saving, and what not, we celebrate because it is a lesson in giving.

To give is far grater than to receive. To be selfless and do for others. Especially in the tradition of St. Nick. He carried on the message of Christ, by picking Jesus' birthday to give HIM the most special gift-all of US giving to others.

Selflessly, anonymously, and without any gratification or recognition. We should give to others the thing they most need. A toy, a Bed, A friend.

We talk to the boys about Santa, and celebrate that tradition, but we call him St. Nick, after the real man that lived in Greece and is the source of all things Santa we see now.

We talk about how St. Nick is giving Jesus the most special gift ever, by getting all of us into the spirit of giving and helping.

This year, the boys are completely stoked to get legos-and Little Dude very much had me stressing because he kept changing his mind about which set he wanted. But. One huge Star Wars plane is picked and will be under the tree. JR has been focused on the same Batman Lego set since before LAST Christmas, so, this year, he will get it. Champ is getting a Thomas train roundhouse. I spent too much on it, but I'm so excited for him to have it.

Princess will be getting a doll from the Disney Store from the "It's a Small World" collection. Of course, the doll is a little Indian Princess that sings in English and Hindi. I love it and hope we can give it to her someday.

And, in the meantime, since we can't give her our gifts, we sent a lot of gifts to the orphanage in general, because otherwise, the children don't get things. We sent clothes and undies and socks-things they needed very much-as well as fun things, as you can see in the video below.

I love how excited all the girls are. Our little Princess is in there too, see if you can spy her in her cute flowered dress.

This is what Christmas is about. Those kids will never know who sent all these toys to them, but they will so much love the fun they have together playing, and knowing that is all the gift and importance I need to focus on this Christmas. The long line at the post office doesn't matter in the least, when at the end this is what you get:

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Princess' First Steps

I'm so blessed to know so many wonderful people at our Princess' orphanage! I got this wonderful gift and want to make sure I have it saved, so I'm adding it here.

These are her first steps. On 6-10-2012, she took her first steps. So awesome to see this and have it; I hope beyond hope I can show her someday this special moment.

Also, in big boy news, Little Dude currently says the phrase "Can I Tell You Something?" before he proceeds to tell us something ALL.THE.TIME. It is hilarious and annoying at the same time, because he doesn't before EVERY.THING.HE.SAYS. Though, I love him telling us everything and anything; I hope he always feels he can.

JR is SUCH a big kid now. He loves school so very much and I'm so glad he is doing so well. He is also quite the joker with a vast knowledge of poop jokes. I blame Bill for that, haha. He is also quite the cook and LOVES to help me in the kitchen. He tells us he will open a restaurant someday. I told him I'd eat there every day; and he agreed we could have lunch dates every so often. My sweet little man.

Champ is so funny and cute; it is sooooo super hard to not spoil him like crazy. I see now why the "babies of the family" are always babied! I hate seeing him grow out of being a baby! Right now his phrase is "Wait A Minute". LOVE. I think we are successfully out of diapers, too! We have gone quite a few weeks now without having an accident, so yippie!

Though, I am a little sad to pack the diapers away. Sigh. I'm certain though, if all the adoption stuff falls through, we will have another baby, so I may get them back out again in the future :)

We shall see.