Monday, April 4, 2016

HOME!

We are HOME with our two precious new treasures. Thank you everyone that supported and prayed for us. We are so blessed!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Why are we doing this? A really honest post.

I get asked this a lot. The "Why did you decide to adopt this child?", or a "Why child with special needs?". And then I get the whole "You are such a special person!", "I could never do that", and "You are a saint!" comments that leave me uncomfortable. Let me just get this out of the way. I am NOT a saint. I do not have it all together. Somedays I'm a mess. Actually I'm a mess most of the time.

I am not a special person because I love my kids. Here is a tidbit you may not expect... I am not a 'kid person'. That is my hubby! He is totally the one with the calling for working with kids. Do I think kids are cute? sure. Do I enjoy holding babies? Ya, after I get my bearings back.. after all it has been a while. But in the day to day run ins with other people's kids I just feel awkward. When I was a kid you could ask anyone what my plans were in life and it was NOT having kids. Haha, God must have been laughing at that I am sure. So why am I telling you this? Because I LOVE *MY* kids. Really love them to pieces and feel blessed by every one of them. And that includes both my homegrown and adopted kiddos. If you are not sure if you can love "someone else's kid" well, you don't have to worry, because they aren't someone else's kid. They are YOURS. Birth does not make them yours. It's caring for them like a parent that does.

Why are we doing this? Because our eyes were opened to the need, and we are able. We did not just wake up one morning and think "I think we should adopt a bunch of kids with special needs!". I mean.. that's not comfortable.. that's not easy... it costs a lot of money too! In fact I could say there were probably plenty of reasons why we shouldn't do it. But God sets the lonely in families and the Holy Spirit is a wonderful nag. Those seeds that were planted over a decade ago started with just adopting. We could not have more biological children and while all of our homegrown kids were preemies, none had any real complications of it. We had 'dodged that bullet', why would we now go and adopt a child that had not been so lucky? We wanted a healthy "normal" kid. One that probably looked a bit like us, and was very young. But ok what about minor things.. like an extra finger, or a birthmark, or crossed eyes. And maybe we could adopt a toddler, instead of a newborn. But ok those kids with Down Syndrome are really cute too. OK so maybe we could handle a few things. We have some local families with kids with Down Syndrome, it might be ok. At least 2 years passed (I told you this was not a sudden decision). But not Cerebral Palsy, or things like that. I didn't know how to take care of a kid like that. All of the adaptations, the wheelchairs and walkers. Then I started researching more and more about the realities of international adoption, and the kids that desperately needed families but were least likely to be chosen for the same reasons we had in the beginning. This is when I found our son.


We started the process not long after that with some pretty lofty expectations of what we thought he could accomplish once he got some therapy. You know, maybe if we got him home fast enough, he could be pretty "normal". When we met him my heart was broken. He was just so sick looking and frail and thin and vacant. The future I had hoped for him (and us) seemed to turn on it's head. He could hardly move. He had no ability to smile because his facial muscles had not done it in so long that his face was too tight. But we also knew there was no way we could leave him there. If he had been born to us, with a unexpected diagnosis, would we have turned away? No. So we continued on, trusting that God would give us strength for that journey.


I am not going to lie. I did not feel an instant connection. I faked it till I felt it. It took months. Yes I loved him, but he still felt like someone else's kid for a few months. I think it was around the 5 month mark that I really started to feel like he was mine, and not some strange kid we were just taking care of. Be prepared for that. It's NORMAL. Pregnancy is a process and so is Adoption. It's not a one time event. Eventually I kept forgetting that I did not give birth to him. It's a very odd feeling trying to remember the details of a birth you were not there for!


Our son changed in the year and a half we knew him, but not in ways we had planned (because you know you can just plan that sort of thing right?). He was happy. He was a beacon of light and laughter (and yes there were plenty of frustrating moments too). He grew 6" and gained 10lbs. He had a smile that could light up the dark. He was able to stand with support.

But he changed me far more. WE were blessed beyond measure. I realized that it wasn't our job to plan. It was God's. My "No Kids", my "Not Cerebral Palsy", "Not Death", (and now) "Not Hydrocephalus or non-verbal". Yes it's hard. Yes a lot of it just sucks, but it's so worth it. These kids have no other options. Many are malnourished, sick, understimulated, lacking in proper medical care, and to have a family step up for them would be life changing on so many levels. But it's life changing for families too.



We started our next adoption, and I said "no hydrocephalus", "no non-verbal".. they were hard and scary, and we had already been through so much. We originally set out to adopt a little boy with Down Syndrome (like last time), and ended up with a son with Hydrocephalus and a daughter with developmental delays and neither are verbal at this time. God didn't ask us to say yes to a diagnosis. He asked us to say yes to our children.


It's way easier to say no until you look them in the eyes. These are real kids, not a diagnosis! How could we say no?



Our kids are blessed blessings. We are HONORED that God chose us for them. I hope he will continue to bless and expand our family but it's not our call. I don't know where we are headed. It is our job to say "Yes Lord". To just trust him. To allow ourselves to not have to know everything, because you can't. We just love our kids however they need us to love them, and from wherever they are from. I don't think we are special or a saint for doing that. That's what parents do. Yes our day to day may have some differences, but I think there may be more differences in our taste in movies, or food, than there is because of our special kids. We eat food, sometimes unhealthy food. We stay up too late, and don't really want to get out of bed on Sunday mornings sometimes. We go to the zoo, to the fair, and to the park. We play games and enjoy our pets. We enjoy gathering with others so feel free to invite us to play dates and game nights.

We are just a normal family. There is a good chance that you can do this too. Take a stroll and see what happens. Say yes, or at least ask God to show you where he can use you.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

We passed court! They are ours!

Last week the judge ruled in our favor and our sweet "Little's" are officially ours!  Our house is a buzz of activity as we get the last preparations done for bring them home in a few weeks. We can't wait! Thank you for helping us get to this point! We could not have done it without your support and prayers.

For anyone new to the process, here is a quick run down of our timeline:

Commitment papers filed mid April 2015
Second child commitment papers filed August 2015
Homestudy update finished and i800a applied for August 2015
I800A approval granted and dossier mailed to adopting country September 2015
Dossier submitted to government beginning of October 2015
Official referral given end of October 2015
First trip Nov/Dec 2015
i800/Article 5 Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Court mid Feb 2016
Home March/April 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

FULLY FUNDED!

YAY! Unless we get some unexpected costs in addition to our budget, we are funded! THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Less than $600 to go!

We have been blessed with several sweet gifts to our FSP and now only have $590 left to raise! Our fully funded number on our FSP is $6608.

http://reecesrainbow.org/91944/sponsorkroll-2

We should hear in just another week or two about our court date we hope, and a month after court or so we will travel to pick up the kids!

And if you could, would you pray for our family over the next few days? We have some hard anniversaries coming up. Thank you!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Getting close!!

We have $2753.41 left to raise to be fully funded (as long as airfares are not crazy expensive!) thanks to some sweet gifts to our FSP and given personally. Our i800s have been approved and we are waiting for the visa interview and article 5, which should happen very soon. Then we get resubmitted and wait for court, then pick up. Preparations around the house are starting up now. We miss them so much and cannot wait to have them home. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Blessings!

I won't lie. This Christmas season has been such a huge mess of emotions for me. It's been a hard season of missing our son, and also now of missing our two across the oceans. We have gotten word though that Sabrina had a sweet Christmas celebration and then got some gifts and such along with all of the rest of the kids in her orphanage. I am hoping that Kurt also has had something special and that he is doing well also.

Today we got our provisional approval on our i800. So we are just waiting for one more thing before our dossier gets resubmitted to the government in their country and then we will get a judge assigned to us and a court date! Some of the assignments and court dates have been VERY fast lately so we are hopeful that this wait will be not too long before we can bring them home. Getting the approval letter today, precisely the day I had hoped it would arrive, was a wonderful gift.

Also wonderful and quite a surprise was that our FSP on Reece's Rainbow has grown quite a bit in the last few days! I am SO thankful for every donation, no matter how big or small, but the fact that it grew so quickly just about has me on the edge of tears. Thank you. We are only about $3300 away from being fully funded.

God Bless you!
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