Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They say it's final...

We're not going to be able to adopt Olive
Her country's adoption process is not stable enough for them to accept our application to adopt her.

I received wisdom from someone that made a lot of sense to me when I asked, "Where do you go from here?"

"Where from here? You grieve for the child you lost. Most won't understand your grief, but you need to go through it anyway. Find people who will listen to the dreams and plans you had that will go unfulfilled, so you can work through all those feelings. Just like a child you carry becomes a part of your family the moment you find out about him/her, Olive became a part of yours. You made decisions with her in mind; you ordered your days in such a way as to make her a part of them. It doesn't matter if you lose a child at 6 weeks, full term, or to an adoption that doesn't go through, your family will not look like you thought it would, and that hurts immensely. And then, if you can do it, maybe you turn your sights to another child who desperately needs you. Not to replace the baby you lost, but to share the love you have to give with one who needs it. And you pray for Olive--that her country would be open to placements again, and a family would come along who will love her with the love you had to give her and give her a home and a hope for a future."

Some good news...

I've found out that Olive won't be send to an institution at 4!
They have changed it to 10!!! That gives her 7 years! God is good!

I have also found out that with her government trying to get accepted in to the European Union they are reforming a ton, including the care of orphans and mentally disabled.

This is not all 100% fact, but this is my understanding:
They have hired a new hot-shot lawyer to help them with this reform, specifically in the adoption arena - and he's the one that's causing all the problems.

He apparently had the adoption program on hold from Nov-December, and our facilitator was successful in going above him, and getting them back rolling.
This could happen again!

Good side of it though, they are trying to start some type of foster-care situation.
The way I'm understanding it is that since they are in the midst of all this transformation, things are on a HOLD and not completely closed forever while they reform.
That means that although they are on hold right now, it appears that at SOME POINT they will re-open their doors, albeit possibly with a different requirements or price tag, but open none the less.

Here is an email that I got recently:
"Our facilitator had a very positive meeting this morning with the officials. A couple of families will be receiving travel dates this week.
All of the details are still being worked out, but things are very positive!"

Right now they are focusing on getting the kids whose adoptive parents have already been approved home, while they are willing to look at their paperwork.
So, our situation is kind of on the back-burner so to speak.

Our facilitator is encouraging us to prepare for the big "NO", and consider saving another child from Ukraine, where orphanages are over-crowded, and children are instatutionalized promptly at 4, where they're not expected to live more than a year.
We're mulling it over, but we need that big fat "NO Way possible" before we go there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

praying for a miracle

We still haven't received final word on our ability to adopt Olive even if they take the program off of hold.
I am trying to learn patience...
In the meantime - I'm asking everyone to pray for Olive and us.
We want to pray that God will protect her, and send a care-taker in to her life that will treat her like a momma would.
We are also praying that God will radically change the officials in charge of her adoption there, and that they will quickly put the program back to work.
And we praying that the officials will have their minds and attitude's transformed and come to the realization that a child is much better off in a home with parents in the United States, than in an institution.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not a good weekend...

We were told we wouldn't be able to adopt Olive, it snowed... and Evelyn is starting to wean.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I feel like I've just lost a child.
Olive's country has been put on hold.
And because of my using antidepressants after Ethan, we're 99.9% sure that we are not going to be able to adopt Olive even if they do decide to open their program again.
I'm so heart broken right now, I can hardly keep it together.
I don't understand why.

We are praying that God will move hugely, and change this all around.

We are not going to commit to any other child until they tell us a firm "NO"... but it just feels like there's no hope.

I wish they would have told us that the anti-depressants could cause and issue from the beginning.

God is big though, and even if they say "NO" now, we will ALWAYS say "yes" the second they give us hope that we might still be able to adopt her.

Even if we were to commit to another child, or continue to adopt from foster care...
Olive is my daughter - and I will take her no matter what.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Progress to date...

We are still waiting on our IFP to be approved.
I have been in contact with our facilitator and she said that they are still waiting for the Adoption Officials to approve it.
Please pray with us that it will be approved.

Through some very strategic budget rearranging, cutting corners, stripping savings, etc
We might actually have enough money to fund our Commitment Fee, and the majority of the Home Study!

There are still PLENTY of fees other than that.... oh about $13,000 worth of fees!
BUT we're off to a great start! And that would mean we could really get the ball going on the process.

We got good news from our agency that the majority of the time-consuming paperwork needed (fingerprints, record clearances, etc) don't need to be done a second time, because we did them last year. That means our home study can be done in a couple of weeks after we pay the fees!

God is really opening doors, and its been an amazing start so far.
I pray things will continue to fall in to place.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slowly but Surely!

Things are slowly but surely creeping along.
One really exciting thing is that Olive is officially 'ON HOLD' for us!
We sent in our electronic copy of our Family Sponsorship Profile to RR today. It's a way to enable anyone who comes across RR to read a bio about our family, and donate to our travel and in-country costs in tax-deductible way.
We are going to prepare the paper application and send that in this afternoon.
As soon as we get our Initial Family Profile accepted we're going to be sending in our commitment money to officially be matched with Olive!
We are using our tax refund $ to pay for our commitment to Olive.
That was a huge financial obsticle.
Now we need to raise funds to get our homestudy done.
But, God is moving there too.

We have initiated contact with our foster agency, and they are licensed to do international home studies, and will do ours!

We might even get a reduced fee because we've already had a foster home study done with in the last year!
They are a small department of DAB and don't do many international home studies, and since we've already got a head start on ours because of fostering, we could get it done pretty quickly here!

We have been so blessed in just the 2 weeks since we've started.
We have raised $312 in donations so far!
Karl and I are also eating frugally, and saving that towards Olive's adoption too.
We have $40 set aside so far.
I have also been blessed with an opportunity to clean my mother in law's for a couple hours a week to earn extra money towards saving Olive as well.

God is so good!

We are praying for Olive - that she is being loved on, that she is healthy, and that God is over her. Also for us - that our Initial Family Profile will be accepted soon so we can get the ball rolling on our home study...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We Got More Info on Olive

Be aware, I'm about to get mushy and personal.
God is cracking open my heart, and I can't help but spill it out.

I got sobering news today regarding Olive.

There have been a few families who have been to the orphanage that Olive is in, while adopting their own children, and I've been in contact with a few of the moms.

My heart aches for my baby tonight as I try and get wound down enough to get to sleep.
I know that the only thing that is going to get me through this process is believing God.

God, I am believing that your word is true, and that you will take care of my baby girl.
I pray your protection over her. I pray that you will radically change the orphan care around the world.
I know it's a lot to ask - but you are I AM, you are my God, and I know you can if we'd just give you room.

This is what I have learned:
Olive is tiny, and is on the baby ward as she is infant size, and infant developmentally.
(Everyone says she's very cute!)
I've been told the environment is 'ok', but she really needs us to come get her - the sooner the better.
She is just getting her basic needs met: diaper changes, fed, etc.
It's like going back to the 1950's Russia (not good).
Olive is in a crib 24 hours a day.
She is not allowed to crawl or explore.
She is allowed to sit in a carseat looking seat or walker for an hour or two every day.
We can expect her to to be very underweight and have very low muscle tone, she'll be very floppy.

Lord, my heart aches for my child.
I know that you have called our family to this, and I am so thankful.
I am so thankful for all the amazing work that you have done in just a few days. You have shown me how amazingly powerful you are when we just let you be who you are.
I am crying out to you for my little girl - protect her, comfort her. I know you are her Daddy, and I pray that you'll let me be her mamma very soon.
Lord, I pray over all of the other little babies out there tonight that don't have moms and dads, who sit in a crib most of their life, who don't know what a family is. Lord, I pray that you will bless them with a family. I pray you will bless a family with them.
Lord, I pray that you will soften the hearts of people, that they will step out in faith and follow your calling - I'm finding out it's an amazing thing when you do and I hope others can experience the joy and closeness that you offer them in doing your will.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another generous donator!

It's amazing what God can do in just a few days!
We have had a mom-owned business tell us that she is going to be donating TWO $29.99 gift certificates to help save Olive.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Figuring Out the Ropes

We are still waiting on our Initial Family Profile to be accepted or denied.

While waiting for that I've been researching International Adoption Grants.
I'm finding out that the majority of them will not consider your application until after you've had an approved home-study.

So, the most important step of fundraising for us is now.
We need to save/raise $1,000 to be officially matched through RR.
And we need approximately $2,000 to get our home-study done.
We wondered if since we're licensed foster parents, if we could just use that home study. Unfortunately it is a completely different process, different program, different agency, and different requirements. So, we have to get another one done.

In order to kick off the fundraising I am going to be hand-making boutique style items. I plan to make knit, crochet, and sew crafts/clothes/etc.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Initial Family Profile

We have sent in our "Initial Family Profile" for consideration by Olive's country's adoption officials.
If they say NO to the IFP, it's the end of the road.
If they say YES, then it's the beginning of a very long road to come!
We are praying for Olive's safety, and health, and well being.

My first official Adoption Blog Post!

I am so excited as I write this,
and equally parts nervous... but mostly excited!
Karl and I went out on a date last night, and had a 2 hour discussion, and after weeks of consideration, we have decided to move forward in trying to adopt Olive!
I'm still a little bit in shock that I'm even starting an "Adoption Blog" right now.
I'm new to the International Adoption scene, so please, bear with me!

Karl and I have fallen for a little orphaned girl named Olive, who resides in a country we're not allowed to post (sorry!). She is 3 years old, and has Down syndrome. She is relatively low functioning, not sitting on her own, or crawling yet - but that doesn't make us even an ounce less in love with her.

God brought me to Olive in a strange way - although we are licensed foster parents (with out a placement right now), I came across Olive's profile online. Instantly I was drawn to her because of her name. Karl and I have already agreed the next baby girl added to our family is to be named Olivia, and to be called Olive.
I read her 'bio', and had to know more.
Of course Karl thought I was crazy, but I was compelled to find out more about this little girl with my next baby's name.
Come to find out she and I share her country of origin in nationality. I am only a small part "country"ian, but part is part none the less! I received a picture from the founder of Reeces Rainbow (reecesrainbow.org), and instantly she was seared to my heart.
She looks like she could have come from my womb!
She is so beautiful, her name is Olive, I share a part of her heritage, and she has the most beautiful syndrome of all - Downs.
If I could have, I would have picked her up right then and there.

Karl was very, very opposed to the idea at first.
Shortly thereafter he wasn't opposed, nor for the idea.
And very shortly thereafter he was open to praying, and seeking God's word on it.
About 3 weeks later, many prayers, and a few hours of conversation later Karl told me while getting ready for bed Saturday night that he was fine with adopting Olive.
I could have jumped out of my skin.

With in the first day - I already had cold feet.
The realization of the road ahead was a little frightening.
In no way was I concerned about not wanting or loving her - but the whole process of International Adoption has already nearly thrown me off my rocker.
Luckily I'm usually a go-get-her kind of gal, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up with the mountains of paperwork, and many fundraisers.
My dearest friend Kasey helped to get me back on track by asking me - "Can you live with her? and Can you live knowing she's not living with you?"
So here I come mountains!

There are some major hurdles to over come, one being attempting to gain our parent's support.
They're understandably hesitant.
Another being getting financial support through saving, fundraising, and grants.
And lastly, we will have to get a little more educated on what parenting a child with down syndrome is like.
Luckily, I have a head start on the latter, because I volunteered with disabled children for 4 years - many of them had Down syndrome.

A lot of people are probably wondering "WHY"
Why us? Because we were called to it.
Why her? Because we were called to her.
Why now? Because this is what the Lord has brought us to.
Why not wait? Because this little girl will be put in a mental institution with in a year if she is not adopted. Down syndrome children in "Country" are not adopted by their citizens, and less than a dozen have been adopted from foreign families. The prospect of her getting adopted if it's not by us, is slim to none. The prospect of her dying after years of horrible neglect and near torture in a mental institution you wouldn't send your dog to.... GUARANTEED. You may think this is not your problem, but it IS. GOD calls us to care for the widowed and orphaned, not to pretend they don't exist. We are following God's word and will - and hope you can support us in that.

I've always said there is no such thing as "love at first sight".... I've proven myself wrong.

Isn't she so beautiful? I can not wait to get her home, fatten her up, and grow her hair out. She will look like a born Malefyt before we know it!

Please, Please join us in any way you can - especially in prayer.

Prayer Requests:
That Olive is being treated well, and is doing well at the Orphanage.
That we are approved with no issues to keep us from being able to adopt Olive.
That we are able to raise the funds necessary to bring Olive home, and save her from a horrible life in an institution.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ethan's first sleep over...

She 'shot him dead'. She wasn't quite sure what she was doing, but it's Ethan's favorite game right now...

Ethan had his first sleep over with "nah-nah", also known as Amelia.
They are too cute together.
They stayed up giggling and talking to each other late in to the night.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Evelyn's first word...

Evelyn's first word today was.... BITE!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Karl and I are going away for the weekend! I'm so excited! We're staying at Bay Pointe Inn.
We've stayed there before, and have made reservations for 2 times since, and had to cancel due to getting foster placements. So, we'll get going this weekend! Yay!

Here are some pictures of the kids over this week:

Ethan put makeup on like his mommy :)

Cuddle time! I love, love, love the mornings that we get to cuddle in bed until 9:30AM!

Evelyn is starting to pull up on everything, and is starting to cruise around furniture!

Bath time! Ethan's favorite bath toys right now are his "guys". Which he makes fight the whole time. Everything is a war with this boy now...

Sibling love...

Naughty momma gave the kids banana cream pie for lunch!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Catching up...

ReCap of the last few days:

Wednesday/Thursday: Try and try and try with all my might to read God's mind. Drive myself crazy. Start fundraising for Olive. Get a call from an old friend saying that her mom and dad might donate a considerable amount should we move forward - totally excited.

Friday: Have a great day - enjoy my kiddos, enjoy relaxing, get use to the idea that things aren't going to happen in my timing, and I'm wasting what little time I do have to relax by fussing about. Karl comes home from work and we decide to go to his parents for dinner. We have a nice dinner, Karl and his dad go shopping, take forever, me and the kids are tired, and ready to go home and go to bed. I come home and find out that I missed a call from DA for a 3 year old and 5 month old. I get really upset. Am mad that I forgot my phone. Get mad at myself, get mad at God, go to bed frustrated.

Saturday: My little brother comes over for the day. I try my best to enjoy my family and not be pissy. Karl goes to run an errand, and while he's gone my brother drops Evelyn, she hits her head on a a cracked plastic gaming chair. She's generally rather dramatic about everything, so I rush to pick her up, and rock her thinking she'll hopefully be over it in a minute or two. I'm rocking her, and then I realize I have blood all over my arm and hand. I rush around the house trying to figure out a suitable place to put her down to check out the damage. She refused to let me touch her head at all, so I couldn't see through the bloody hair what the cut looked like. I got it to stop bleeding, and went about my day because she seemed fine as long as I wasn't trying to touch it. About 2 hours later I stick her in the bath, since she's still got blood all over her hair, and rinse her hair enough to see that there is an inch wide cut, a few millimeters thick and deep, and it is NOT going to heal with out stitches. I pick up my mom, go to her clinic (she's a nurse), she takes Evie in the back room to get stitched up while I wait in the waiting room. My worst fears come true, she's screaming like someone is trying to kill her, she can hardly breath, everything in me wants to go rescue her - but I can't. It was such an awful feeling.

Later that night she was totally fine, and Karl and I even went out on our previously planned date. We got a drink, and went to see that dog movie. the name escapes me right now. It was cute, I liked it. We had a good night.

Sunday: Karl refused to get up for church - we had a very lazy day. I did a bible study, we all took naps, had a good lunch, and generally just moseyed about. It was lovely. It is starting to sink in that I need to just sit back and relax, and rest, and stop scrambling around for an answer I'm not going to get. Bible study was really, really good.

Monday: First part of the day I enjoyed playing with and snuggling the kids, then I crocheted a bit, and then I ran errands. I dropped some things our foster kids left here at DA and brought the Social Workers a treat. I came home, had dinner, enjoyed a movie with Karl, and just relaxed. Later on I got pulled in to that stupid Bachelor show... thats all I have to say about that.

Late last night I get this weird burst of energy, and totally clean our room top to bottom while Karl sleeps through the whole thing. I know, I'm queer.

Today: today is one of the first days that I have really been able to say I'm just relaxing, and enjoying 'life'. I'm starting to learn how to let-go. It's weird, but I like it. I think I have to learn to enjoy being 'bored'.