Saturday, November 24, 2012


It's after midnight (eastern time) and so it is officially today.

Today is the day that the beginning of the end of our adoption process begins. 

(That sounds like a tongue-twister, doesn't it?)

We have made our fundraising goal!  We do not need to worry about funds, which is providential because we've had some last minute expeditures.  But they are covered.  In fact we were so blessed, we were able to help others and we thank God that we could do that. 

A week from now, we will be returning with our son on a plane and the next segment of our lives will begin as a family of four.  It is surreal that just under ten months ago, we started this journey.  Only a photograph, and a thought that had been in our minds for years.

We have seen tremendous generosity, selfless prayer, and immense care for our family and process.  Our family has been transformed through this journey of adoption.  We have also seen a dark side to adoption; a world with bickering, criticism, agency preference, and unkind words.  Still, this has changed our family in ways we never expected. 

Thanksgiving was our son's birthday.  He turned 3 years old in Bulgaria and while we prayed to have him home with us, we will see him in just days.  He will be with us for Christmas!

The whirlwind of last minute preparations are daunting, but we are trying to focus on what is most important and prepare ourselves for a journey unlike any other.  This is the moment!  This is the moment when our family grows and we bring the little boy we have prayed for into our home!

Without your support and prayers, this would not be happening.  Please continue to follow our blog as we document the final journey to our son in Bulgaria, and the never ending journey of loving him.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sixty seven

Sixty seven is:

The number of counties in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Florida.

The number (preceded by a "star") to block Caller ID when making a call.

The registry of the USS John F Kennedy (CV-67).

The 19th prime number.

The atomic number of holmium.

A cafe in Rego Park, NY.

A road in California.

It's also the amount we need to meet our generous matching grant.

A group known as the "Finishers" have offered it to us to try and close the gap we still have in our fundraising.  The grant is for $200, but we are $67 away from that goal. 

So many families are struggling to "finish"; to get across the finish line.  Many of these families leave in days or weeks, like we do.  (We leave in eight days).  Every single one of them is adopting precious children; every need is so great.

Chris Tomlin writes a tremendous son that tells us that God is greater.  Is this where you are now?  Are you struggling to finish?  Are you tired from it all?

Out of the ashes, we rise.  There is no one like the God who calls so many on this transfomative journey. 

If you are struggling to finish, we are here to say that we are too and we understand.  Eight days from now we board a plane, and two days later, we pluck another precious gem from the jaws of The Bad Place...and a new life begins.

We are scrambling.  If you can help, please do.  If you can pray, please pray. 

Please pray for everyone who is tired; who is struggling to finish.

Please pray for our little boy; that his heart will be ready for receive his new Mommy and Daddy.

Thank you for helping us change that number - $67 - to zero!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The entry about the rocking chair.

In 2007, I announced with joy that I was pregnant with twin boys.  It took us four years and one harrowing round of IVF (in vitro fertilization) to conceive them. I was hospitalized multiple times, I was horribly ill, but my little boys began to grow inside of me and our family prepared for the delightful arrival of twins.

In early 2008, my parents agreed that I would need a rocking chair.  Not just "any" rocking chair, but a special one; one that was comfortable and big enough to accommodate two children.  My father shopped high and low, looking for a chair that was aesthetically pleasing and functionally useful.  One day, I drove to a furniture shop to see several examples of rocking chairs. I sat in each one, rocking and gently holding my quickly growing belly.

We chose this one:

Large, beautiful, and with wide armrests.  Perfect to rock two fussy boys to sleep.

But any of you reading probably know what happened:  Those little boys never rocked in that rocking chair. They were born when I was 21 weeks pregnant...and they died.  They are Jacob and Zachary; they are Chelsea's older brothers and Joshua's too.

The chair stayed at my parent's home and there was discussion of getting rid of it.  Was it too painful?  But it was a beautiful chair and I couldn't see parting with it.  In a very small way, it was a part of my experience with Jacob and Zachary, and I didn't want to lose that.

Instead, we brought the chair home and kept it in our living room. I rocked in it often, but without my twin boys.

When I became pregnant with Chelsea, in our last-ditch fertility attempt, I rocked in that chair while cradling her inside of me.  But we'd chosen dark nursery furniture for Chelsea's room, and the rocking chair didn't match well.  Instead, we purchased an upholstered rocking chair for her room and kept the wooden rocking chair in our living room.

When we moved, the rocker stayed in our extra bedroom; unused, but ever present.

And now, it sits in Joshua's room.

Joshua's nursery furniture is light colored, and the chair coordinates with that.  (The light oak is similar to what he already has in the orphanage; we picked that to try and maintain some continuity for him)

It is HIS chair now.

There is no sadness in that.  I am excited to finally rock a little one in that special chair.  It is four years old and it is dusty, but it's still beautiful.  It was purchased to care for a little boy, and instead of Jacob and Zachary, it will be for him.  I know his brothers would be very pleased to share it.

They are sharing it.  There is no replacement.  Joshua cannot, will not, and should not replace his brothers.  Only someone who has lost a child can understand that no child can replace another.  No, not if I had ten biological children or a dozen adopted children, could I replace the little boys I lost.  Each little one is unique.  Jacob and Zachary are Jacob and Zachary.  Chelsea is Chelsea.  And Joshua is Joshua.  No one lives in the shadow of the other; rather, we incorporate all of the memories and pieces of our family into the fabric of our family.

Joshua is waiting for us, to leave The Bad Place and arrive into this room.  (Lord only knows when he'll actually want to SLEEP in this room, but that's another matter entirely!)  Thank you for praying for us and helping us reach the goal, which is just ten days away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nothing in my hands I bring.

I admit it; I "borrowed" my title from Susanna Musser, but I simply adore the hymn she's referring to and it is such an appropriate title. 

There has been much news, but I have been horribly remiss in writing. I feel as if the time I have is not my own, but I must do a better job because so many care about us and want to know what is happening.

After the triumphant announcement of our successful court date, we learned shortly after of our pick up dates.  There was a lot of waiting to finally secure dates that worked for everyone.  They were not the dates we wanted.  We had long prayed to have Joshua home before his third birthday, but we will miss it by a few days.  Still, we are blessed because it is truly, without question, his very LAST birthday as an orphan!  Even today, he is legally ours, so he is not an orphan in the truest sense.  He has a Mommy and Daddy and sister and brothers in heaven who all love him and are anxiously and earnestly working to bring him home!

We will be bringing home our new son the last week in November:  the 24th until the 1st of December.  Our "family" day (or "gotcha" day) will be November 26th.  On that day, we will receive the son that God has prepared our family for.  It will be the end of a journey but it will be the beginning of a long, new journey.  There will be paperwork, but no more dossiers, no more medical reports, no more overseas trips, no more fundraising....

Oh.  The fundraising.

For so long, we struggled to raise the funds we needed.  We were so blessed to know that we did not have to raise it all.  We were able to use frequent flyer miles on our first trip.  We had a spreadsheet, with everything carefully worked out, and every number accounted for.  Even as certain things ran over our budget, we were able to make those funds up out of our personal savings and Craiglist sales.  We were blessed with TWO matching grants!  All in all, we raised about $10,000, about one-third of the total cost.

When we were fully funded, we sang to the rooftops.  It was such a relief!  We began the task of helping others.  Through my Avon affiliation, I've helped families raise over $800 for their adoptions - keeping nothing for myself.  Our family has donated, as much as possible, to others; through matching grants in anonymous groups, through auction purchases, through Amazon affiliates and through Scentsy.  It has been a joy to do this.  When we can purchase something that directly benefits an adopting family, we are filled with such peace.  We know how hard it is to fundraise, and we want to help.  We have been blessed, and we want to bless others.

But now, as we reach the finish line, we have learned something terrible:  We are not actually fully funded.

"Simply to Thy cross I cling..."

It was about ten days ago when we sat with our worn spreadsheet, to work out the finances that remained.  And it was sobering.  As the days went by, we slowly came to realize that our situation was not as secure as we thought it was.

First, there was a legitimate mistake on our part.  We mistakenly forgot to account for a $1,000 fee to our agency.  That was our error - pure and simple.  We had thought the grant from Brittany's Hope was supposed to take care of our last agency fees, but we were wrong. 

Next was our airfare.  We'd gotten it on good authority that we should budget no more than $1,000 per ticket, and about $400 for our son.  This was due to time of year, etc.  But after reaching out to respected travel agents all over, including ones that specialize in adoption, we learned that we were off by about $600.  Some of this has to do with how quickly we had to book tickets - because we could not finalize our plans until very close to the travel date.  Also, we had prayed we could bring Joshua home before he turned 3, so we could pay a lower fare.  But Joshua will be three when we travel, so the discounts aren't available for him.  We received a really competitive fare...but not what we budgeted.

Next, there were fees that our facilitator is charging us.  We were not prepared for these fees.  They include some costs in-country, to the tune of over $300.  We thought these were already accounted for, but they were not.

There is more - a lot more - but when we finished our spreadsheet, the number we saw was -$3,914.

We grasped each other's hands in prayer.  And God has answered already.

We immediately began emptying our closets and through some fast sales on Craigslist, we were able to recoup over $400. 

I made an offer to people in my neighborhood, to bake pumpkin pies for them for the holidays.  Yes, we leave 2 days after Thanksgiving and we have so much to prepare for.  Do I have time to bake?  Not really.  Will I do it? You bet.  My profit is $6 per pie and I have a dozen orders with more promised.  I will find time to bake these pies!  My goal is to get $100 in profits from baking.

I have a promise from family members that they can lend us $1,000 if we can pay it back after we return.  We cannot accept this money at this time because we don't have a means to pay it back.

I have no auction.  I have no fancy giveaway.  Nothing in my hands I bring.

Can you please pray for us?  Can you please share our blog with others?  Can you please consider helping us?  We leave in 11 days, but I am fearful if we cannot pay our remaining fees - can we leave?  Will Joshua languish in that terrible Bad Place, incapable of chewing, struggling to see with his broken eyes, waiting weeks longer than he ought to to come home? 

We believe our FSP needs to read an even $10,000 in order to be truly and fully funded.  It makes me sick to type that number.  It makes me incredibly frightened to think about it.  It took us SIX MONTHS to raise $6700.  And we have just days....just DAYS!  11 days!  And a holiday in between! 

Not the labor of my hands.  I cannot sell enough or bake enough pies or do enough on my own with this.  This is the power of others.

Have you see the video of our first trip?  Have you seen our beautiful son, who has managed to smile and grow even in the horrible darkness he has suffered in for 3 years?  Yes, he is in size 18 month clothing, and he doesn't yet run or walk well...but look at him! 

I  know it is 7 minutes long :)  but it is worth it!
*we flew business class on our first trip because there was no reward availability in coach/economy when we booked.  So we could have purchased 2 RT tickets, (for summertime, we were seeing airfares about $1400 a piece) or use the excess miles we had to upgrade to business class for "free".  I didn't want anyone to think that were just gallovanting around spending excess money!*

Please help us in any way you can.  We are asking you with our hands empty.  God is capable of miracles.  God has given us this son even as our little twin sons are in the arms of Jesus.  God has blessed our process throughout, and His glory will be shown at this moment.  We know this.  We have someone who is supposed to come this week to look at a saw we own, and if he buys it, then that will add to the coffers.  I don't have time to do as much as I wish I could, but I am setting up fast auctions on ebay with anything I can find. 

In addition to the button on the right, this the link to our FSP:

Thank you.  Thank you for reading this entry, for caring about our son, for praying for him and our family.  Thank you for donating and sharing.  Thank you for continuing to read our story.