Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adoption progress

Yesterday my husband took a personal day off from work and he, Caleb and I had a great day together. (Our older 4 are all at church camp this week) First, we drove over to the Jerome Police Dept and got our fingerprints on cards for our Idaho State Police clearance. We go there because you can just walk in without an appointment and it only costs $5 for the cards. Then we went to the bank and Kevin introduced Caleb to some lovely ladies there who had been following his adoption journey. And on to Boise to the Dept of Homeland Security for the FBI fingerprints. Yes, indeedy, it takes 3 sets of fingerprints per parent per international adoption. This really cracks me up. I was trying to count up how many times I've been fingerprinted in my life--with foster care for about 6 1/2 years, four domestic adoptions and now two international adoptions. I'll bet there are people in prison who haven't been fingerprinted as many times as I have!! (nor checked for HIV as many times either!!)

And today I had my adoption physical and got the appropriate bloodwork drawn and TB skin test placed. The only little hitch this time around was that I had to be poked twice for the bloodwork because the needle dislodged from my vein when the nice vampire lady was trying to change to the second tube. No big deal. I just had bright neon pink coban on both arms when I headed for one of my favorite Chinese restaurants for lunch--but it blended well with the pinkish hues of my shirt.

Yesterday I also picked up the mail which contained a packet of goodies from our home study worker which she wants to have completed by her visit on Saturday--as in day after tomorrow. I really hate filling out that ridiculously detailed financial sheet that wants to know how much money you spend in each of fifty-seven (slight exaggeration) categories each month, all your assets, your liabilities, etc, etc. Oh brother!

But there is a certain little boy in a certain special country that has no idea that he has a Mommy and a Daddy working to bring him home. I pray that he is healthy, safe, and cared for.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birthday Alley

J not feeling so well on his 10th birthday--June 8
Everyone--except Me--posing with our 'light saber' rocket blaster water guns
J chose a Star Wars theme for his party
Caleb has definitely figured out how to eat birthday cake
J with the black panther he built, clothed and named with $ from Grandma Kathie and Papa Ed
Caleb's face after chowing down on his own birthday cake on June 14--4 years old
Caleb looks like he really wanted to get into his cake ahead of time

The handsome birthday boy
Caleb enjoying one of his birthday presents
For a few days our kids are stair steps: 10, 11, 12, 13 years old from left to right
On B's birthday he turned 14--posing here with T--on June 18

B chose a Batman theme. We took his cake to church and shared it with everyone after Bible study on Wednesday night

T and S goofing around with 'treasure' coins from T's party game
T's birthday is July 1--here she is with her marvelous mama, yours truly
T chose to have a pinata full of candy and root beer floats rather than ANOTHER birthday cake
Kevin's 47th birthday party at my parent's home--here with Caleb--on July 10
My parents and our family enjoyed a lovely evening on their back patio here in town

Here at our house we are in the midst of what I laughingly refer to as Birthday Alley. In a period of 32 days--beginning on June 8 and ending on July 10--we have 5, yes, FIVE--birthdays.

Our son, J, had hand-written birthday party invitations to 5 of his buddies from school, so he could hand them out before the school-year ended. Unfortunately on Sunday morning June 8 neither he nor B were feeling very well but we all decided to go to church anyway. B proceeded to throw up on his Sunday School table and on himself so I left the class of preschoolers I was teaching in the hands of a capable volunteer (thanks, Pat) and took both B and J home where we camped out in the living room and had TV church. I felt so bad about having to tell the invited guests not to come but I didn't want them to get sick, too. Thankfully, Grandma and Papa (my parents) braved it anyway. I'd bought a 1/2 sheet Star Wars cake so needless to say, there was some left over. We had to save the saber water guns and the water balloons for a later day. J very much enjoyed his PlayMobil knight castle and knight ship. With the $ he received from Grandma Kathie and Papa Ed, he went to Build A Critter and got a black panther (which he named Shasta) complete with a shirt and a "meow" sound and birth certificate.

Caleb's birthday was Saturday, June 14 and he turned 4. Rather than this birthday marking his transfer to an institution, it marked a joyous time surrounded by family and friends. We took his Thomas the Train cake to our annual special needs support group barbecue and we all sang to him. Of course, he didn't really understand what was going on but from the looks of his face afterwards, he must have enjoyed the cake. So far he has received an Alphabet Town by V-Tech and a Little People ride-on bus. I know it isn't traditional to buy birthday gifts over time, but I guess I'm just not being too traditional right now.

One thing I thought was so cool happened on the way to the BBQ. I heard Caleb singing in his carseat, which isn't unusual but this time I thought I recognized some of the words to "Jesus Loves Me". I looked back to his car seat and sure enough, he was accompanying his singing with signs for Jesus and love and Bible.

B's birthday is tomorrow which means another trip to Winco to order a cake. It also means I need to take a picture of B, S, T and J today while they are still 13, 12, 11 and 10.

End of the school year

B. with the new school shirt he was awarded for jump-roping
J with his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Day, receiving the Citizenship Award
S with a trophy for miles walked and an Honor Roll certificate
T. with her Ms. Reader certificate and award for recorder-proficiency

I just want to take time to publicly acknowledge the awards our kids received at the Awards Assemblies the end of May. B, our oldest son, completed 7th grade and received a school T-shirt from his PE teacher for jumping rope 20 consecutive times. This was quite a feat for him and I'm very proud of his accomplishment. S, our oldest daughter, completed 6th grade and received an Honor Roll pin for being on the A-B Honor Roll the last semester, a certificate for having an overall GPA of 3.05 for the year, a certificate of Faithful Attendance and a trophy for miles walked. T, our youngest daughter, completed 5th grade and received a "Ms. Reader" Certificate. J, our son who completed 4th grade received the Citizenship Award (I liked the part of it that talked about doing right even when it's hard), a certificate for getting at least a Proficient score on all ISAT tests and a Faithful Attendance certificate.

I'm a proud mama.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We're Expecting Again!

I'm very excited to announce that on May 30 we committed to the adoption of a 4 1/2 year old boy with Down syndrome from Caleb's part of the world. This little guy unfortunately has already been transferred to an institution so I am working hard to get the paperwork portion of the process completed as quickly as possible. Then the actual travel dates--whether right away or a few months down the trail--will be in the hands of the Lord. So far we've got our home study update scheduled for June 28 right after my adoption physical on June 26. We are once again using Dixie Tate from A New Beginning Adoption Agency for our home study. I have my child abuse clearance done from Health and Welfare, we've received the two certified copies of our marriage certificate, and have our notarized local police clearances back. AND today we even got our fingerprint appointment from USCIS. With Caleb's adoption it took 2 1/2 MONTHS to get this appointment and this time I don't think I even mailed the I-600A Application until June 9. Unfortunately, they had us scheduled for June 18-as in 2 days from now!!-which we can't do because Kevin has a required continuing education class that day so we are requesting June 25 instead. I hope that will be OK with them.

For right now I'm going to refer to our new son as Little R because we haven't discussed names yet and I don't want to cause any problems with his country.

I realize that with Caleb's adoption I didn't start blogging until the end of the process so this will be different to keep an online record of the process. Of course, my Reece's Rainbow friends had to endure many of the gory details of that paper chase (remember the physical exam fiascos and the USCIS fingerprint adventure, and the last-minute difficulties with getting the final paperwork signed and notarized, for instance?) Those are all great stories but I'd just as soon not have to repeat any of them this time around.

I'd like to share some verses from I John chapter 3 that really spoke to our hearts as we were contemplating the idea of adopting another child, especially so soon after returning to the States with Caleb on Feb 26. My friend Kris had met Little R. around December of 2007 while adopting her daughter from the same orphanage and had been asked to try to find a family for him. Then on May 7 I found out that he had already been transferred to an institution and began to have such a burden for him. I prayed and prayed, talked to Kevin and the kids about him (kids' response was 'Why don't you go get him?) and prayed some more. Seriously, though Kevin and I were both concerned about his plight, we were both pretty fresh from the hassles of dossier preparation, arranging 5 weeks of child care, the long separation from our family, and the negative changes Kevin has faced at work since he returned from Eastern Europe. Finally I asked Andrea if she could give us until Friday, May 30 to decide. So on Thursday night, May 29 I was sitting beside Kevin on the couch out in the living room and said, 'You're going to kill me' and confessed that I'd told Andrea we'd give our answer the next day. So we talked more. Finally on Friday morning after the elementary kids left for school we discussed R. more but came to the conclusion that we didn't know what God wanted us to do. Finally Kevin reached for a Bible saying he'd had these words going on in his head--and he started freading from I John chapter 3. I'm not sure exactly which verse he read but these stuck out to me (except he read from the King James Version and this is New International Version): "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

I was crying by the time he stopped and the decision was made. We have Jesus as an example. He could have had the same kind of concerns but He laid it all down for our salvation.

I had been thinking about a similar phrase from the book of James. James 2:14-17 says "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

So we are once again on an adoption journey. I hope you will enjoy the journey with us.