Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I just finished putting the presents under the tree for the kids and hanging their stockings.  Dana is on my mind tonight and I can't help but wonder what Christmas will be like for her and all the other orphans around the world with no family of their own.  Tomorrow my kids are going to wake up and eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast and open way too many presents.  I doubt the little ones at Dana's orphanage get presents, but do they even get a special meal to celebrate the holiday?  I don't know.  Tonight I'm having a hard time with the reality of 147 million children needing a family.  I realize that not everyone is in a position to adopt, however I do firmly believe that everyone can do something to help the orphan crisis.  Molly at Team Parker had a great post about this very subject.  There are so many ways that each of us can help the orphans of the world.  Please take a minute and consider what you can do to help these precious children.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.  James 1:27

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another update

I haven't posted anything in a while because things are a little slow right now.  We don't have our home study back yet.  It's done but needs a few minor changes.   I'm continuing to collect the other dossier documents we need and am almost finished.  My doctor's office did my medical statement wrong for the 2nd time so I need to get that fixed.  Not sure what they don't understand about the notary stamp not being allowed to touch ANYTHING on the paper.  I'm going to call them about it tomorrow and I have a feeling they're not going to be too happy to hear from me again.

In other news, we bought Dana her first toy!  Having 3 boys, there is not a single thing in this house that would hold much interest for a little girl.  I highly doubt Dana will care too much about Ben 10, Batman, or ninjas.  Although I'm not planning on going crazy and buying a lot of stuff, there are a few things I want to have for her to play with when she gets home.  When I saw this adorable doll house I just knew we had to get it.  It's called the Loving Family Grand Dollhouse.  Could that name be any more perfect?  :)



Monday, December 13, 2010

Makeover

Doesn't my blog look great?  I love the new design and the adorable header with Dana's picture.  I want to say a HUGE thank you to Lu for all her hard work this past week getting it to look so fancy.  :)  She has been so patient with me as I emailed her with every little problem I was having.  Thanks for all you do for the Reece's Rainbow families, Lu

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life2Orphans Sponsorship Package

Life2Orphans is a wonderful non-profit organization established to help the orphans of the country from which we are adopting. They have many different programs that help children in orphanages all over this country. One is a sponsorship program for the children at the orphanage where Dana lives. Sponsors can choose the child they wish to help and send packages at least twice per year to that child. It is very likely that for the children who receive these packages, it is the first time they have ever been given a gift or even owned an item that belongs to just them.

We are sponsoring two children through Life2Orphans. One, of course, is Dana! :) We recently packaged everything up and took it to the post office to ship. We had so much fun shopping for her. I especially had fun buying pink clothes for a change! We included 3 outfits, a pair of pajamas, socks, mittens, a super soft blanket, hair bows, a baby doll, a necklace and bracelet set, a princess ball, a teddy bear, crayons, construction and drawing paper, coloring books, toothbrush/toothpaste, soap, and animal crackers. We also sent a letter (translated into Russian by Life2Orphans volunteers), photos of our family, and pictures the boys drew for her. We hope she likes everything!

All the goodies we sent.

Matthew and Sam each drew a picture for Dana.

Sam and I attempted to add some color to the box.

There are lots of ways you can help orphaned children through Life2Orphans. Many of these programs would make wonderful family projects. Check out their website http://www.life2orphans.org/ if you are interested in learning more.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New Picture...Taken TODAY

There is a family adopting from Dana's orphanage and they are there right now picking up their kids. The orphanage has very strict rules about allowing adoptive parents to only take pictures of the kids they're adopting. However, if one of the other kids gets in the shot by "accident" they apparently don't get too upset about it. Today the Parker family got a shot of Dana (holding the hand of a nurse) as she walked past their son. Even though it only shows her back, I think it's adorable! Her hair has grown long enough to put in little pigtails! Too cute! Thanks so much for the picture, Molly! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moving Along

We finished our home study last week and I have to say, it was super easy! Our social worker, Angela, was one of the nicest people I have ever met. She was really easy to talk to and very encouraging. All in all, it was a breeze. She emailed me yesterday to let me know that she plans to be finished writing the report by the end of next week. Once I get the finalized home study, I will send it, along with our I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition), to USCIS. USCIS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, previously known as INS before the Deparment of Homeland Security took over. Once they process everything and get our fingerprints they will send us the "golden ticket", our I-171H, which will be sent to Dana's country as part of our dossier.

Speaking of our dossier, I recently started working on it and I think I'm making pretty good progress. So far I have our marriage certificates, mortgage letter, employment letter, and home ownership letter. The other day I heard that those last three documents can sometimes be problematic, so I feel so lucky that it only took me one day to get each of them. In addition, I've got the ball rolling on our medical statements, doctors' licences, social worker license, and agency license. I haven't started on anything that requires a passport number because we had to renew ours and haven't received the new ones yet. This morning we had our fingerprints done for our state police clearance. It took about 15 minutes, including travel time. Sometimes living in a small town is a very good thing! I'm going to try and make it downtown this afternoon to drop them off at State Police Headquarters. It's gray, gloomy and COLD and just starting raining, so I really don't feel like going out but I'd like to get them delivered so I don't have to worry about it next week.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome!

Hi everyone! I'm excited to be writing my first post for our new blog. If you're here it's because you know that we have officially committed to adopt a little girl from Eastern Europe, however I can't say from which country until we're home with her. We're calling her Dana for now because that's the name Reece's Rainbow gave her to protect her identity. We do know her real name (but, again, I can't say...sorry!), but we haven't decided if we are going to keep it, use it as her middle name, or call her something entirely different. Besides her name, we also know that she was born June 20, 2007, which makes her almost 3.5 years old. This means that our kids will all be about 2 years apart...born 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009! Unfortunately, we won't get much additonal information on her until we are actually in her country to adopt her. That's just the way it works there. This is truly a HUGE leap of faith. We have just recently started the process but we are hoping to be able to travel in April 2011 and bring her HOME!!

The decision to adopt is something we have been talking about and considering for a loooong time. We've discussed it on and off for several years, but last fall I began seriously researching international adoption. My heart felt lead to this particular country in Eastern Europe and so I focused on learning all that I could about how the process works there. I read blogs, blogs, and more blogs of families who had been there and done that. In addition, I read up on everything from common issues in post-institutionalized children to where to eat while in the country adopting. I thought I had a game plan. Then last spring I came across some information that changed everything. Up to this point, I knew that orphanage life was not easy (to put it mildly). I knew the depressing statistics on what happened to these children after they aged out of their orphanage. I knew these kids needed families to have any chance in life. What I didn't know about (or should I say, what I never thought about) was the orphans with special needs. In the country we are adopting from, special needs orphans are truly forgotten children and once I learned about them I couldn't keep them off my mind. I kept seeing the verse from Proverbs over and over again: Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act (Proverbs 24:12). My eyes had definitely been opened and I now knew. I couldn't claim ignorance anymore so I begin to give serious consideration to what I thought we should do. I knew we could pray for these kids, advocate for them, maybe even sponsor them, but I wasn't sure about adoption. Would we be able to handle a child with a special medical need? I don't know how it is in other countries (I suspect it's similar), but in the country we are adopting from there are many medical conditions that here in the United States are manageable, treatable, or even curable that get a child labeled "special needs" and sentenced to a life with no future. For a lot of these kids, it's a literal death sentence. So the research began again (How did people survive before the Internet?). Ultimately, after much prayer and discussion, we decided that we could parent one of these kids. Our sweet Dana does have a medical condition that will require attention but it is nothing that will prevent her from living a long and happy life. She's a completely normal little girl and we are absolutely thrilled that she will be joining our family.

So, we begin our journey, which so far seems pretty surreal to me. After all the research, discussion, and decision-making, it's finally our turn! All I can say is BRING ON THE PINK!!!!!
 


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