Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not So Fast Edwards!

In my last post, I mentioned that we were about finished with our homestudy - - then on to I800a approval and finishing the dossier. I was pretty excited and hoped to have I800a approval sometime in April, and then maybe travel not long after that. But, little did I know what problems my daughter's birthday would bring. 

One of my girls turns eighteen in February. I knew she would have to be fingerprinted for the I800a, and that was no problem. What I failed to realize is that she had to complete background checks for our homestudy - - CPS, Criminal / Sex Offender, and our state also requires her to be fingerprinted which takes about six to eight weeks to get back. 

So, another slowdown we thought. Oh well, not that big of a deal. Then our social worker mentioned that our daughter can NOT be fingerprinted for the homestudy until she has her eighteenth birthday and since it is taking six to eight weeks to get them back, that would put us into March. Then OUR background checks for the homestudy would expire and we would have to re-do them - - taking another six to eight weeks or so. Another slow down! 

We have talked back and forth trying to figure out the best way to do this without slowing us down by eight or nine weeks. I think what we are going to do is this: have our homestudy finished before Katie's eighteenth birthday, but mention in the homestudy that she will be eighteen in February and that her background checks will be done then. We will then have an addendum added to the homestudy when her checks are back. That way we will finish our homestudy before our background clearances expire. This will still slow us down for the I800a, but it seems to be the best solution at this time. 

I suppose I shouldn't stress this so much. I know it will eventually all work out. It's just that I am so anxious for our first visit. I can hardly wait to meet our girls and the sooner we make that first trip, the sooner we will be able to bring them home. 

Did I mention we have another daughter turning eighteen in June?
Our Troublemaker

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Update

Our homestudy is almost done! Our worker told us this week it will be finished by the end of January. Of course, we still have lots of paperwork to do for our dossier. When I think of our two little girls, so far away, it makes me want to do everything we can to bring them home quickly.

Another exciting thing happened this week -- we received our first donations! I was in our family room earlier this week talking to some of our girls, and my husband came in and said that someone had given a donation. It was such a thrill! Then on Wednesday I looked, and we had received another. It is so encouraging, and we are so thankful for the two people that showed such generosity in support of our efforts. Thank you.

                                                                Sarah and Caroline

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Alike Than Not

I remember when Sarah was born, the geneticist came to the hospital to visit us. There was one thing she said that I have always remembered, and understand more today than I did then. She said, "Your daughter will be more "like" your other children than "not like" your other children. She was so right.

                                                               We Have Dance Recitals

                                                               We Like To Swing High

                                                        We Like To Play With Our Dolls

                                                              We Like To Play Outside

                                                            We Like To Frost Cupcakes

                                                           We Can Climb High In Trees

                                                              We Like To Blow Bubbles

                                                         We Tell Secrets To Each Other

                                                                       We Fly Kites

                                                         We Like To Fix Our Sister's Hair

                                                Sometimes We're Quiet and Contemplative

And Sometimes We're Happy and Silly


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And Then There Were Two!

When we saw Allysen's picture on Christmas Eve, we knew we wanted to adopt her. A little over two weeks later, we saw Bella and fell in love again. My husband said he knew, the minute he saw her little face, we needed to bring her home. His enthusiasm for adopting a second child - Bella - has surprised even me. 

When we think about giving these children a hope and a future, it brings so much purpose to our lives.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Down Syndrome?

People often wonder why we would do tons of paperwork, travel thousands of miles and spend tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child with Down syndrome. For us it began in 1998, when I gave birth to our eleventh biological child - Sarah. She was born with Down syndrome. Because several ultrasounds during the pregnancy had indicated that this might be the case, we had spent the months before her birth worrying about what it might be like - - Would our older children resent her? Would she take too much time away from the other children? Were we up to the challenge of raising a child with special needs? In June of 1998 she arrived and we fell in love! She was a beautiful baby girl, and as we began our journey with her, we realized that all of our fears were unfounded. We also discovered that there were more blessings than we could ever have anticipated. Having Sarah changed the way we thought. Suddenly, we realized what a joy raising a child with special needs could be. So, our journey of adoption began.

                                                                   Sarah, Age 13

In 2001 we decided to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome from Ukraine. We brought little Caroline home when she was 16 months old. She was extremely small and weak, but quickly began to grow and blossom. 

                                                                  Caroline, Age 11

In 2002 we received a call from an attorney that knew of a couple looking for a family for their new baby with Down syndrome. The baby was still in the hospital because of a severe heart defect. We met the couple and they blessed us with the gift of raising their daughter. I spent several hours every day visiting and holding little Alyssa. She had the most beautiful big eyes and dark hair. Sadly, though, she was too sick to live here on earth for long. She passed away with her biological parents and us holding her and singing to her. It was heart wrenching to see her go, but we knew that she was going to our Father in heaven.

In 2003 we adopted another little girl with Down syndrome - Claire. She was born here in the states, and we were able to enjoy having a newborn baby again. She is now almost nine years old, and a joyful, active child who can be quite a handful at times. She has been through many difficult times with two years of chemo after being diagnosed with leukemia, but has remained a cheerful and happy child.

                                                                     Claire, Age 8

We thought we were finished adopting, but then I accidentally found Reece's Rainbow, and my desire to adopt again began growing. So, here we are on another adoption journey to Eastern Europe. We still have a long way to go, but we are so excited and hoping to have little Allysen home by this fall.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Introducing Allysen

These little children are capable of so much when we show them God's love. When God shows us His unconditional love, we have the ability to become conformed to His image. If we are His ambassadors, and we show His love to others, they can be and do so much more than we can imagine. "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven". And they truly are.

We have just begun the process of adopting Allysen from a country in Eastern Europe. We decided on Christmas Eve to do all that is possible to bring her home to love. Our family is so excited about their new little sister.