Love Makes Families

Love Makes Families
A family of 7 due to the blessing of adoption!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Verbal Referral

Today we received our verbal referral which means we should have our travel dates NEXT WEEK!!!
How exciting is that?!?!?! 
We are needing $112 in our FSP for our final fees $8000 (we have this $ now)
We have the funds needed for our airfare, but we need money for food and hotel.

Hotel for 1st night in the capital $70
Hotel in Adam's city for 7 nights $50 a night ($350)
Hotel in Matthias' city for 5 nights $60 a night ($300) Update we have enough donated for this
Hotel in the capital for 1 night $70
Food: $30 a day x 14 days ($420)
Transportation and misc expenses $30 a day x14 days ($420)
$1630 total
Updated total $1330 needed

Can we get 163 people to donate just $10 each
When these 3 donation boxes are full we will be funded for our first trip.
We think we have 3 weeks to get this done!!!



We have raised enough to finish our agency fees and $240 toward what we need :)



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Journey

I've decided to write this post to those who have never met me and tell you about our journey through adoption and life. There is so much to tell so I will try to stick to the most important facts.

Adoption!!!!

Adoption became a part of my life early on. One of the most special people to me in this World is my Godson Cody. When I was just 12 years old he was brought into this world addicted to drugs and crying almost constantly..... after he was just a few months old, he was removed from his parents care and placed with his grandparents (my grandparents). I spent every free moment there.... track breaks, summer break, if there was no school, I was with my grandparents 6 hours from home.
Everyone thought Cody was mine... we had the same big blue eyes... They often apologized to me, but I would just smile. I did not need to explain that he was my cousin. I loved him like my own. I remember being 12 years old and pacing for hours in my grandparents living room with him because he could not sleep unless there was constant movement and they did not have the awesome swings that we have now. I remember teaching him to sleep.... something a baby his age should do often. He was having drug withdrawls.... something no baby should ever have to do.... My AMAZING grandparents took him in and loved (and still love) him as their own!!!
It was at that moment that I knew I would one day adopt!!
Every child deserves to be loved.
It was not his fault that he cried. His parents made bad choices. Does that mean he should not be loved??

Luckily he was born in the US because had he been born in a foreign Country he would have been discarded like trash. Sent to an orphanage to be ranked among the others.... given a number.... NOT a NAME!!! At the time though, I did not even know that this was happening!!!

Let's skip ahead a few years.... I was married to my amazing hubby nearly 12 years ago and we now have 3 amazing daughters despite the fact that age 17 I was told by doctors that I would never have children due to a cancer scare.... Imagine my surprise when 8.5 years ago I discovered I was pregnant! One of the best surprises ever. This did not cure my desire to adopt though.... I have always wanted to adopt. I did not want to adopt a tiny healthy baby though.... I never did. God knew I was made to be a special needs parent and blessed me with 3 amazing girls that all have different special needs. My oldest is on the Autism spectrum. The first few years of her life were very rough as I learned how to parent, how to figure out her needs and how to coordinate what seemed like 100s of appointments with every specialist known to man!! Less than 2 years later my 2nd daughter was born... She was premature also, but did not seem to have the many health concerns as my oldest and was a much more content child UNTIL she was about 7 months old. She kept getting ear infections. No matter what medication they put her on or what they did the infection stayed. After 7 LONG months of an almost constant infection, the ENT wanted to put in tubes. Sadly her infection was too bad and tubes could not be placed until it was under control. We went in daily for weeks for shots of antibiotics until the infection was slightly under control. Her tubes were put in place and things were good for a few weeks..... even with tubes her ears would gush nasty infection almost weekly and she was miserable.... Luckily we finally got her infection free around 2 years old, but it had been too long. She had significant hearing loss. Another surgery was done with different tubes to attempt to help her hearing, but she still has issues. She has hearing aids, can read lips like a champ and can speak very clearly. God has blessed us, but hearing loss is still a challenge. Hearing aids do not work well in a noisy classroom, in public places or if you are behind the child..... We make it work and she is happy.
After a miscarriage at 13 weeks, we got pregnant again months later with our 3rd daughter. She was born at a huge 9lbs 3 oz. She was 1 week early and healthy. This was a miracle!!! When the doctors cut my stomach open for my c-section, the could see the baby even before cutting through the uterus. It had ripped into shreds... Apparently the D&C done after the c-section had left my uterus damaged. The doctors said had my water broken (like it had with my previous 2) the baby would have died and I would have also. God knew what he was doing. After yet again 7 months, my sweet girl took a turn for the worse..... She was nearly 17 pounds at 7 months old, but after a 10 day battle with multiple illnesses that just hit her hard she lost SEVERAL pounds which is awful for a sweet baby. Blood work determined that her platelets were more than 3 times what the highest point should be..... They drew blood daily, she continued to lose weight, the tested her for every condition they could think of.... these tests involved electric shock, allergy testing leaving tiny pin holes over her entire back, surgery and many more things.... All tests revealed nothing!!! Finally the dreaded word was mentioned.... CANCER! I cried for days as we wait to see the oncologist/hematologist. More tests were ran..... All the people at the lab knew us by first name. Nothing was conclusive.... She has chronic high platelets. She saw the best doctors and yet nobody knew what was happening to my sweet girl. they determined that she was a medical anomaly.. They have no clue what is wrong. She was diagnosed with medical failure to thrive and put on appetite stimulants.... she ate almost constantly, but she was not gaining weight. Gradually as time went on her levels started to get lower, but to this day 3 years later they have NEVER been in a normal range and at nearly 4 years old my sweet girl is just 23 pounds. She is tiny, but healthy.

We still new even though we were running to different doctors all the time that we wanted to adopt.... I stumbled across a blog about adoption and gradually started following more and more adoption stories until I met my sweet friend Amanda! Amanda was adopting a little blind boy from Ukraine and when I say the sweet face of one of his orphan buddies, I fell in LOVE!!!!
This is Bogdan who we were going to name Logan.
Hubby and I both knew that he was our son. 
He was born with FAS (similar to what we had gone through with Cody).
I felt very confident that we could be good parents for him.
We were lucky a friend that I met online was heading to serve a mission in his region. 
She visited with him 5 times a week. She taught him to say Mama and sent me a video of him saying it. I saw pictures and videos multiple times a week. We fought hard to raise funds. 
After about 4 months of working to adopt our sweet boy, the unimaginable happened!!
He was taken and moved to an orphanage that did not allow Americans to adopt. 
Our dream of having him as a son was lost forever.
I was physically sick. I felt as though my child had died. 
To this day. Logan is my son!! I love him still!!

After this heart break, hubby and I decided that we could not adopt internationally because there was just too much risk..... We moved onto fostering to adopt in hopes that things would work out differently, but after 2 failed "attempts" through them we did not know where God was leading us.
I knew I was supposed to adopt, but maybe now was not the right time. Hubby was determined that we should not be adopting at all.... ever!

That was until just a few weeks later we saw this blog post... 
http://theblessingofverity.com/2012/07/your-light-has-come-little-child/

That is when I saw this face!!



I thought to myself.... Look at this tiny baby. But he is not a baby.
He is FIVE YEARS old!!!
Weighing in at just 16 pounds!!!
My heart broke for MY son. I knew, but I was afraid.
Just weeks before we had decided that we would not be adopting at least not for a LONG time.
I finally got brave after talking to some friends and staring as his picture for HOURS!!!
Imagine my surprise when hubby said "If you can raise the money in 1 month to commit, then we can proceed." He later admitted that he knew Adam was our son too, but he was afraid. Who wouldn't be after our previous 3 experiences.
Everyone rallied behind me and helped me raise the nearly $5000 we needed to commit to our son. I began selling puppies. Spending hours outside EVERY day (except Sundays).
I was shocked at how God provided for us!!
It was August 3rd when Kevin agreed that Adam was meant to be our son!
On August 27th we officially committed.
Less than a week later our sweet son received a shunt after 5 years of suffering.
These pictures and the video were taken after he was admitted to the hospital before his surgery.






These were taken a few days later after his surgery.
 Does this look like an almost SIX YEAR OLD child to you??







 I saved the best for last. They believe this may have been his first time smiling... Sad that he had nothing to smile about, no touch for over 5 years.....
We have managed to raise nearly $23000.00
which is awesome. We saw this little man's face and knew that we had 2 sons waiting on us
Meet Matthias (Alvin on RR)
This is the ONLY picture we have of him.
We do not know much about him, but we know he is our son also.
We believe our adoption of these 2 boys is going to be about $32000.00
We are getting soooooo close!!

Tomorrow is our day on a fundraiser for Forty to Forever.... You can read more about it here
http://fortytoforever.com/
I believe when you donate you have to put Mitchell family in the comments!!

You can also donate to our FSP at the top.....
We need it to be about $10,400 for our first trip.
We could be traveling in as little as 2 weeks to meet our sons, so please help us if you are able!!

I will leave you with this link to a beautiful video.... our son is the very last picture!!
http://fortytoforever.com/

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

This is what Valentine's Day is all about.... spending time with the ones I love...
We let them decorate cookies and they loved it!



 Kaitlyn's cookies.... She might be a little OCD ;)
She said they are butterfly wings
 Brittany's cookies :) She is a little less particular ;)
 Alyssa's cookies.... I think she ate more of the icing than she used :)
 Alyssa colored these and gave them to her sisters :)
 These were for Daddy.... Red is from Kait and purple is from Britt

 Brittany colored this for everyone In the red she listed all of our names
 My cards from the girls.... Pink from Kait and purple from Britt

 Britt colored this
 Kaitlyn colored this.

I cannot wait until next year when I have 2 more little loves to share this day with!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Precious in His Sight

This was written by Susanna at http://theblessingofverity.com/
This was written about the Orphanage that Adam lives in. My tiny 16 pound son that is almost 6 years old!!!  

I was told this by someone who met him.... "He is SO precious, Jaclyn!  I saw through disbelieving eyes full of tears how VERY, VERY tiny he is.  Prepare yourself to see a very tiny baby with a tiny SWEET baby face.  It’s a miracle that he is alive—he is truly a miracle boy."

Caregivers walk into a room where an adorable small baby lies in a crib.  Someone has hung a mobile over his head and placed several toys about him.  He is a loved and wanted child and is here only temporarily.  His parents come to visit him regularly.  The caregivers cluster around the baby, cooing and fussing over him and stroking his cheek.
Caregivers walk through the room, not stopping to acknowledge any of the children with significant special needs who lie waiting in their cribs.  One caregiver leans casually against a crib, her back to the thin child lying behind her, no toys in sight.  One small girl hears the voices around her.  Over the sidebars, we see her tiny hand on her tiny contracted wrist rise slowly upward…reaching, hoping for a response…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The strollers are crowded along either side of the corridor.  Each stroller is manned by a baba, and each one contains a small older child with obvious special needs.  There is no place to sit down, no place for an older woman to sit where she can interact face to face with a child in a stroller.  Squatting is too difficult a position for an older woman to maintain for long.  Each baba stands, silent and bored, leaning on her stroller where her assigned charge cannot see her face.  Even a baba I already know and love stands tired and unsmiling behind her stroller.  The children cannot strike up conversations or otherwise reach out for interaction.  So each child sits as silently as if he or she was alone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A playroom.  One adult is present–a baba who sits with her child at the far end.
In the middle of the room is another child in a walker.  She is motionless except for a hand in front of her eyes, fingers flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The baba sits like a stone statue in the baba room.  She’s in charge of a tiny child who lies motionless, body twisted, limbs contracted, on a mat near her baba’s chair.  We strike up a conversation with the baba.  She turns out to be a decent woman, not uncaring.  But still she sits there in her chair, as if there was no child lying on the mat nearby.  Does the child respond to a loving voice and touch?  Yes, she does.  But for an hour the baba sits there in her chair, offering no interaction, no loving voice, no touch to the tiny teenaged girl she is being paid to care for.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
A glance through a window as we pass down the hallway.
Two small girls in a plain, bare room.
It’s playtime.
No adults are present.
No toys are present.
One of the girls lies on her belly on the floor.  She is blind.  She cannot see the wheelchair in front of her, but her hand has reached out and found it. She lies on the floor and pushes the wheelchair back and forth.  Over and over again, back and forth.
The other girl, a miniature teenager, has been placed in a child sized chair.  She can only walk if she is holding on to something, so setting her on a chair in this way effectively immobilizes her.  She sits in the silent, empty room.  She sits.  And sits.  And sits.  And sits.
While a few feet away, the small blind girl pushes the wheelchair back and forth.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I look around the circular preschool-sized table, studying each beloved, familiar face.
“E, your email makes me wonder how many blog readers have an accurate picture in their heads of what Tommy’s “school” class is like when they read that post.  I put the word “school” in quotes for a reason.
About half of the children are constantly getting up and wandering from their seats, so the teacher’s biggest job is to keep them all sitting down. My therapist friend got the tiny teenage girl with Down syndrome to pay attention to a toy and reach out and touch it once after interacting with her for an hour.  Most of the children are easily over-stimulated and can’t process sensory input as most people do.  Only one child is verbal, and that child is by far the most developmentally advanced older child in the baby house, not yet at the developmental level of a child half her age.  The estimated cognitive ages of the children range from infant to maybe three years old.
It’s hard to communicate the reality to people who aren’t very familiar with older children who spent their lives having all their needs profoundly neglected without making the children sound freakish.  The starvation they suffered was also starving their brains of necessary nutrients.  There is hand flapping, tooth grinding, growling, random vocal noise, shrieks, toy-throwing, wandering, lip noises, nose blowing (no tissues), hitting the side of the head.  And none of them can help it. It was done to them. They are such pure, precious souls, E.”

I have seen it over and over again now.
It goes something like this…
They were seen as undesirable and thence never received the help they needed to thrive.
The mistreatment they received damaged them to the point that nearly all potential adoptive parents will now agree with the caregivers and see them as undesirable.
So they are still not receiving what they need in order to thrive.

Throughout the week, the conviction grows inside me that what I am seeing in the faces of these very delayed miniature older children is not an obscuring but a revealing.
Nearly everything that can be stripped away has been stripped away, until their essential personhood is revealed as it is.
No self-consciousness.
No image-consciousness.
No manipulative mind games.
No hidden agendas.
No misunderstandings.
No second-guessings.
No unrealistic expectations.
No critical, judging eyes; no prejudice or contempt.
No hate, no mockery, no desire to cause harm to others.
No falseness.
They are transparently themselves, transparently real.
And less stressful, and more restful, than any other group of people I can remember spending time with.
They are miracle children; none of them should even be alive.
And we think that children like these are the most disabled?
I disagree.
“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said.  ”And do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”


Forty to Forever!!

I have not announced yet, but I am a part of a fundraiser for our adoption.... The plan is to raise $400 for 40 children during Lent.... the idea is to get 400 people to sacrifice $1 a day for the 40 days of lent.... That is only $40.... We can all manage that and it is spread over 2 months.... check out their blog

http://fortytoforever.com/2013/02/11/surprise-sharing-party/

FYI my day is February 25th so please join us!!


******Welcome! If this is your first time visiting us start here.******

Our Goal: 200 Partiers
Total So Far: 35 Partiers

We are SO excited for the beginning of our very first Lenten Journey on Wednesday!  So excited, in fact, that we are throwing a surprise party for our children!  And we have a prize if you join the fun!  That’s right, it’s a giveaway!  And this time we do NOT want your money.  Not today anyway, this giveaway is strictly a sharing giveaway.
You share our giveaway, and you get entries.  You can enter every day – starting now!  Then, on Tuesday night we will randomly draw a winner.  How much easier could it be?  And SO much fun!  Here is what we are giving away!

$100 to the family or child of your choice!

The winner will get $100 to designate as they choose to a child or multiple children in our fundraiser.  You can meet our children here.  But we are not finished yet.  If we get at least 200 people to enter our giveaway we will double the prize!  200 people sharing = $200 for our children that need to come home!  We would love to give away some money!  Will you help?

Here’s how to enter:

Because every child deserves moments like this...
Because every child should have moments like this…
Share on Twitter…………………………….. 1 entry
Share on Facebook………………………… 2 entries
Share by Email……………………………….. 3 entries
Share on your Blog………………………… 5 entries
You can also earn an extra entry for each of the following:
- Like and comment on our giveaway post on Facebook!
- Follow us on Twitter!
- Subscribe to our Lenten Journey at the bottom of the page.
Want even more bonus entries?  Attend our Facebook Event!  For every ten people you invite you get one more entry – up to five extra entries!!
Do not forget to comment below with links to your entries and the total number of entries you earned!!  
This 48 hour party starts NOW and ends on Tuesday night 8pm EST!
Ready….
Set…
GO!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Can we save 1 more??

I have met so many amazing people through this journey of adoption.....
Many of these people are also adopting through Reeces Rainbow or advocate for the waiting children.
Some of these people I have met have become life long friends..... you can just feel the connection....
Melissa is one of those friends!!!
 This is her adorable family
This is a son that she is adopting from the same Country my boys are in :)
She has felt since committing to Lance that there was another child that needed her. Another child that would one day call her mom... A child she could love (possibly the first love they have ever felt)
She has finally found the child she knew God had planned for her.

Her hubby has been a little concerned about financing their first adoption and it is $7000 to add a second child. He also knows that God can do anything!!!
He told her that if she could raise $3500 in just 14 days, they would commit to a 2nd child.
God can do this because he works through US!!!
We are the body of Christ and we make miracles happen!!!

He FSP needs to be at $5264 by Feb 24, 2013
http://reecesrainbow.org/49402/sponsorschmitt
(Please visit the link above to donate)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Adoption Timeline

July 28, 2012 Saw this blog post
http://theblessingofverity.com/2012/07/your-light-has-come-little-child/
and fell in love with Adam!!
July 30, 2012 Got Adam and Hamilton's files from CHI
see Hamilton here..... http://theblessingofverity.com/2012/07/taking-the-low-place-part-2/
August 3, 2012 Kevin agreed to adopt Adam so the fundraising began!!
August 19, 2012 Found out that Adam would be having shunt surgery
August 21, 2012 Contacted Carla with AAC to commit to Adam
August 27, 2012 Our AAC application was approved!
August 27, 2012 officially started the homestudy process
August 29, 2012 sent in commitment docs to Carla
September 3, 2012 Adam was admitted to the hospital
September 4, 2012 Adam has a VP shunt installed
September 13, 2012 We were officially matched to Adam
September 13, 2012 Sent in $1500.00 to AAC
October 2, 2012 Homestudy visit
October 10, 2012 Sent in $2000.00 to AAC
October 15, 2012 Home study sent to Carla at AAC for review
October 24, 2012 Received our home study in the mail
October 24, 2012 Applied for a FSP from Reeces Rainbow
October 30, 2012 Mailed in I-800a
November 1, 2012 We got a RR FSP
November 18, 2012 Got biometrics appt of December 5, 2012
November 19, 2012 went in 16 days early to get our fingerprints done
December 3, 2012 Paid $500 to AAC for hague over sight
December 14, 2012 Received USCIS approval
December 28, 2012 Paid $5500 to AAC
January 3, 2013 dossier mailed
January 9, 2013 Posted "Alvin" on my wall saying I would adopt him if I could bring home 2
January 13, 2013 Showed "Alvin" from RR to Kevin and we decided he was meant to be our son!
January 16, 2013 Signed commitment docs for Mathias
January 16, 2013 got home study addendum
January 16, 2013 got docs notarized and apostilled
January 16, 2013 Send in USCIS supp 3 to add a 2nd child
January 25, 2013 We were officially matched with "Alvin" (Mathias)
January 27, 2013 Mathias was added to our FSP
February 1, 2013 Got USCIS approval for 2
February 1, 2013 sent remaining Dossier docs to B
February 14, 2013 Our dossier was submitted to the MOJ
February 27, 2013 We received our Verbal referral
February 28, 2013 FNA received our written referral
March 2, 2013 Received a travel date We will leave either the 21st or 22nd of March
March 21, 2013 Left for the boys' Country
March 22, 2013 arrived in Country
March 25, 2013 Met Adam
March 29, 2013 Final visit with Adam and First visit with Matthias
April 2, 2013 Final visit with Matthias
April 4, 2013 Flew home
April 8, 2013 Mailed I800
April 20, 2013 Final docs from our agency arrived after being lost by USPS for 10+ days
April 20, 2013 Received notice of receipt for our I800
April 22, 2013 Mailed final docs to Boys' Country.... nothing left to do but fundraise and wait
April 22, 2013 Received I800 receipt for the 2nd child
April 25, 2013 Got a request for evidence from USCIS
April 25, 2013 Sent the missing paperwork to USCIS
April 29, 2013 All of our final docs arrived in our boys' Country
May 4, 2013 I800 approval came in the mail
May 9, 2013 Article 5 interview scheduled for May 14th
May 14, 2013 Article 5 interview
May 15, 2013 Article 5 letter received
May 15, 2013 Agency needed another doc, so I mailed it to Country
May 24, 2013 Submitted for signature
July 4, 2013 Received signature and submitted to court
July 8, 2013 Had court and passed. We officially have 5 kids :)
July 18, 2013 We got travel dates. We leave on August 2nd. Gotcha day for Matthias is August 4th and Gotcha day for Adam is August 5th :)
August 10, 2013 Home together forever!!!!


And his name shall be.......

We have decided on a name.....
We decided to use the name that we always wanted to name our oldest son.....
Mathias (meaning gift of God) Eugene (for his great grandpa and dad)
What do you think??
Our little Mathias is pretty cute huh??

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"You know you cannot save the world"

Ok if you are adopting then you heard this over and over and over......
Why?
Why are you bringing this child home?
You know you cannot change the World.
Why special needs?
Sooooo many things have been said!!!
We were having a discussion today about this.... 
How would you respond if someone said.....
"You cannot save the World"

Here were some answers we came up with..... feel free to share yours in the comments below
But together we can!

I can save THIS one (read the star fish story below)


"Yes, we CAN save the world! We just need EVERYONE to do their part!"


adopting a child will not change the world, but for that child the world will 

change


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step 


"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." 


"But why wouldn't you want to try?"


You can't save the entire world. BUT the world of even one child is saved...


Do not let what you can't do get in the way of what you CAN do


The greatest mistake is doing nothing because you can only do a little.


No, I can't save the world. but I can make a tangible difference for a few kids.


But I can make a difference.


 "I am not trying to save the world, that is God's job"


no you can not change the world, not all at once but you can change the world 

ONE CHILD AT A TIME


you might not be able to but to one person you could be the whole world..and 

the ripple effect of saving one will be seen and felt in others..


"But what if I can?"


 If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.


"Thank God Jesus didn't have that attitude!"


“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to 

speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer


"Instead of being indifferent, why don't you try making a difference."



Jesus was only one child... and He was adopted.... Look at the difference HIS 

life made.




If you do not believe we can make a difference, Take a look at these.......
They say pictures are worth 1,000 words right??
Katie (adopted from the same place as my Adam) She is 9 and only 11 pounds in this pic
 Home less than a year... Amazing what Love can do
Katie's parents are adopting again... follow their journey http://theblessingofverity.com/
Sofia Grace (Before) November
 Sofia Grace (After) January Just 2 months home!!!
Naomi Before.... she has nothing to smile about :(
 Naomi now.... nothing but smiles!!

This is Seth Before (left) and After (Right) See the ribs on the left :(
8 year old Sasha 1 year home


I will add more before an after photos as I am able!!
Please know that this is why I fight so hard!
God loves all his children and for them to literally starve is not ok.
Please donate to my chip in or FSP if you are able!