The last couple of months have flown by! The holidays are so hectic and crazy it helps to keep our minds off our waiting. We were blessed to be able to spend the holidays with our families. Our child/ren received lots of gifts this year. I look forward to being able to tell our child/ren how much they are loved even before we know who they are. I pray that this is the last year that they will spend Christmas away from their family.
I am praying that the New Year will bring all the waiting parents and children together to make their "forever families" .
Please stay tuned to our blog for updates and happenings in our lives and this wonderful journey to parenthood..
One year ago my hubby and I were sitting on our couch finishing our application to SMIA. Wow...A YEAR has gone by! A year ago I thought by this time we would at least have a referral. We also were talking about how we were going to tell our family and friends that we were adopting. I was wondering how they would respond to this amazing news that also came with an explanation of why. One year ago I felt like I could finally let go of the pain that comes with infertility and truly begin to heal.
This year we are anxiously waiting for our referral and wondering who this wonderful little person(s) is/are. What are they doing right now? Do they have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket? Are they going to bond us as easily as we hope/wish/pray?
We have been very lucky that there has only been a minor bump in the road and it was easily corrected. I am hoping that the rest of our journey is just as easy and that a referral comes quickly!
Most people know that adoption is expensive. However, I don't think they realize how expensive. When you choose an adoption agency and sign the contract you are given a list of agency fees. These fees alone will cause your head to spin! When you start to add the little fees into it you soon begin to realize just how expensive it will be. These little fees such as postage, fees for various documents(like multiple copies of birth certificates), and then to authenticate these documents add up very quickly.
We have been blessed that God has always provided the money we needed when it has come time to pay for various adoption costs. It is another sign that this what we are meant to do this and that God directing this journey to parenthood.
We have had yard sales and sold various items around our home that we no longer need/use to help fund our adoption. We have cut our budget and given up little luxuries in an effort to save money for our adoption. We have been blessed to find a great fundraiser selling coffee. The link to our coffee fundraiser is on the right side of you screen. The coffee is sold by a wonderful company with a great mission to help children find loving homes and to help orphans. We receive $5 for every bag of coffee sold!
So what does this have to do with Christmas gifts. Well...in an effort to boost our coffee fundraiser sales I have come up with a great gift idea. So here it is-
To make this lovely gift which would be wonderful for the coffee lover on your Christmas list. The small carry all caddy is a 31 Gifts product that I placed a nice coffee mug and a bag of coffee from our fundraiser. 31 Gifts has a variety of fall patterns for the carry all caddy and Just Love Coffee has a huge selection of coffee.
4,637 miles from our home town to Warsaw, Poland. That is approximately far away our child/ren is from us. That is approximately how far our paper work traveled. That is approximately how far we will travel to grow our family. Our dossier is in Poland! I had tears of joy when I got this important news! Preparing our dossier has been my part-time job for close to 10 months. I often tell people that I spend my days working, and doing adoption stuff. Sometime in there I eat and sleep. It is an amazing feeling knowing that all the hard work, tears, and paper cuts is done for now. It will take about 2 months before we are officially on the waiting list for international adoption.
We do not know how long we will wait for a referral, if it will be for 1 or 2 children, or if they are boys or girls. All we know is that somewhere in Poland there is someone who needs us.
"Somehow destiny comes into play. These children end up with you and you end up with them. It's something quite magical." - Nicole Kidman
Our dossier is complete! It is all authenticated and packed up ready to go in the mail! I was up and going at 5:30am to be able to meet up with my mother-in-law and make it to the Secretary of State office by 8:30am. I went not knowing if I would be able to get all 42 documents completed in 1 day. Fortunately the lady working at the desk today had a big heart and made sure the documents were completed. It is so great having these nice folders all filled with the documents that tell about our life.
The trip to was not only getting paperwork authenticated but we were able to get some shopping in too! Also made a stop at Krispy Kreme for nice afternoon snack. We were blessed with beautiful weather and wonderful government employees to help round out the day.
I hope that my next post will be announcing that we are officially waiting!
We have received the official document that our I800A is approved! I am so glad to have this done and moving on to getting our paperwork in Poland. I actually found out Tuesday that we were approved when I called to check on the status of our I800A. It took a 45 minute phone call and being transferred to 3 different people before I spoke to someone who could give me the phone number to the Hague Adoption department. Can not wait to be officially waiting!
Friday we had our Biometrics appointment. It took all of 10 minutes for the both us! I was expecting a packed house, but really there was like no one there. It really was not at all what I expected since we had to drive 2 hours to get there. We had an exiting adventure being stuck in D.C. traffic most of the day though. I kept asking Sean if he wanted me to drive to which I kept getting the same reply "No, I'll drive. I value my life." I will admit I do not do well in big city traffic. My drivers ed teacher told me to avoid large cities and I have stuck to that as much as possible.
To make our trip more fun we ate at Olive Garden(YUM) and went to Ikea for some shopping. I really wanted to purchase a bed for our soon-to-be child, unfortunately it was out of stock. This lead to a small whining spell and making Sean double check that it was really out of stock. We did not leave empty handed. Sean found two adorable stuffed dogs which we plan on being able to leave with child/ren on our first trip. Here they are:
We also found this stuffed farm set that will fit wonderfully in our suitcase for our second trip:
I did somehow miss the extra animal set that goes with it and they also had a garden set too. Looks like another trip to Ikea is in the future!
We got our appointment for biometrics!! I was really surprised to see the envelopes in the mail today and even more surprised to see the date for 2 weeks away. We were completely expecting the end of the month before we even got appointment dates. This is just another sign of the power of prayer and that God is guiding this child to us and us to them. I have been steadily praying for the rest of our paperwork process to go quickly and smoothly. These little pieces of paper that showed up in my mailbox is a sure sign of that! After so much stress and frustration with our home study it is such a relief for something to go without a major problem.
I am hoping that our I800A approval will come as quickly as the biometrics appointment.
I have been researching strollers and I have decided I want one of these two:
Is all filled out! Just got to put it in the mail and we are one step closer. The form is not really too bad to complete thanks to great instructions from our adoption agency! I am so excited and nervous. Excited to have the form complete and ready to be mailed but nervous that even though it has been proofed over like 100 times that something isn't correct. It is such a big step in our adoption and as usual I want it to be perfect.
In other happenings, we are enjoying our summer with weekend trips to Smith Mountain Lake and family picnics. We have had some scorcher days this year and anytime spent at SML is wonderful. We again planted a garden which is doing really well and our chickens are laying fairly well considering the heat. We are trying to stay busy with lots of projects and chores.
Adoption is full of lots of waiting and as the Army says..."Hurry up and wait"
Got word from our adoption agency that are home study is all good and we should be receiving the packet to complete our I800-A. This is such a huge feeling of relief. It has been so stressful getting the home study done and having to keep on a social worker constantly to do their job. Adoption is not a perfectly smooth process. There are ups and downs but you have to remember that in the end its all worth it.
It is so nice to be done with the first paper chase of our adoption! The I800-A (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) will take a couple months to get approved. Part of the I800-A is to have biometrics done(basically fancy fingerprints) which should be fun and a nice day trip for us. Then we have to have our documents apostilled, translated and sent to Poland. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the rest of the process will be quick and smooth. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Who says an adoptive mom doesn't labor, its just different.
Yesterday was our 5 year anniversary! Amazing! I cannot believe we have been married 5 years...time flies. What is more amazing is we have been together for 8 years! During our time together we have been able to experience some great moments in each others lives. We graduated high school, we survived being separated by basic training and two deployments, and we learned first hand that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger! We became adults together which I think does not happen much anymore.
I haven't posted in awhile and decided to sit down to update everybody as to whats going on. Our home study has been a huge source of stress and frustration from the beginning. First is was gathering all the documents that are needed, then meeting with a social worker several times, and now waiting for the adoption agency to give its blessing on it. We had our last meeting with our social worker in April and now here we are in June and still no completed home study. Right now I feel like we are at a stand still while we wait for SMIA to review corrections made to our home study( not our fault but the social workers). I was hoping to have paperwork being finalized to send to Poland by now but looks like end of summer/fall before that happens. Again adoption is a huge lesson in patience. This is a hard lesson for someone like me who wants instant results.
First I want to say HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped with our Fundraiser Yard Sale! I want to say a special thank you to
my Aunt Kim who let us overrun her yard, garage, and house for 3 weeks.
Tonya who was my "accountant" and helped keep me sane.
My husband who helped load, un-load, and re-load all kinds of stuff
Jonathon and Trevor who set-up, took-down, and carry-off all the stuff(also be the go-fors)
My parents who stored stuff in their garage for us and came to help out
My grandparents-in-law who let us borrow tables for the event
Everyone who donated items!!!!
Everyone who stopped by to see us and bought stuff!
Everyone that wished us luck for a successful yard sale!
We had our Adoption Yard Sale last weekend and yesterday. It was very successful! I am very tired and my house is a wreck but all in all everything is good. We are so thankful to everyone who donated items and have been so supportive of us. I don't know what I would do without you!
In other adoption news: We are waiting for our home study to be finalized. Right now our Adoption Agency is reviewing and making corrections to it. So hopefully it will be done in the next couple of weeks and we can move onto the next step. I was hoping to have paperwork in Poland by start of Summer, but as it looks it may be fall before it gets there. As I have been learning we have to be flexible and patient with this. Which is easier said than done.
Today is Mother's Day and I want wish my awesome Mom who is always my BIGGEST FAN a wonderful day!
I too want to wish my Mom a wonderful and happy Mother's Day. Love you, Sean.
We are all done with Home Study visits...YAY! We are now waiting for the home study to be finished up. I want to have all this paperwork done so badly. The home study is a big chunk of it but now we have to fill out an I800A(Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) and have to get our dossier to Poland.
I have been reading a book about toddler adoption and a section of that book mentions how adoptive mothers can feel left out of the so called "mommy club". It is so true and nice to know that your not the only mom-to-be who has felt that way. Any mother wants to start buying things for their little one right from the get go but when you are waiting for a referral you can't really buy to many things. You don't know what size clothes they will need and for us if we are getting a boy or girl(or maybe 2). However, a couple of weeks ago I bought two diaper bags. I couldn't help myself I had to buy something. I have been waiting semi-patiently for my bags to get here. So here they are:
The small bag
I love these bags! I can not wait to have them full of sippy cups, toys, and extra clothes! I have been buying children books but its something about buying things like diaper bags and hopefully soon clothes that makes it seem like this really happening. It reassures you that you will have your child in your arms one day.
I would like to share an amazing song/video with you. It is from one of my favorite Christian Groups, ThirdDay. I had seen this video several months ago, but could not remember the name of the song or the artist for the life of me. I was very lucky to find a link to it thanks to a post on Facebook. It is a great reminder that God "adopted" us! My husband and I struggled for so long to start a family and I truly believe that all along adoption was God's plan for us. I put my trust in God from the get go when I realized getting pregnant was not going to be easy. I have been angry with God and questioned why I had to experience infertility. But now looking back I know it has all been on God's map for me even when I couldn't see what was around the next turn.
The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:7
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. Ephesians 1:4-6
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what the last few years have been like. Our journey to adoption started years ago not months ago. My husband and I have grown individually and as a couple from the experiences of the past couple of years. We have experienced what felt like being slammed into a brick wall when no one could tell us why we couldn't get pregnant. The months of failed fertility treatments that took a huge toll on our emotions. The relief when the decision to adopt was finally made. Each decision that we have made for growing our family has not been easy. The decision to try to get pregnant wasn't made immediately by both us, the decision to pursue more advance fertility treatments was not easy, and the decision to adopt was months of talking not days.
I guess I have been thinking more about these experiences after reading an article in SELF about how so many couples experiencing infertility like we did choose not to talk about it with everyone. It is a very private experience and those friends and family that we chose to tell I had no problem discussing what was going on. However, I took great steps to keep those that didn't know in the dark. Now that we have started the adoption and have told people about our struggle to start a family many people have said that they wondered if we had been trying to get pregnant.
Many people I'm sure have wondered why we kept our silence from some and not others. The people who you are close to are always easier to talk to; especially those who you share your secrets with. I felt that there where people who would judge us for not being able to get pregnant. Which is still happens even when they have heard our story. "Your so young, you still have years to start a family", "Maybe your just not trying hard enough"(OMG! did you not just hear what I said about fertility treatments), "Maybe you have been stressing over getting pregnant and that's why"(well...yes there was a time, but not now). I know that people mean well sometimes and think that what they are saying to you is comforting. There is a double standard. You know how some people can say something to you and it doesn't bug you but other people can say the same thing and it boils you blood.
I remember sitting in the Reproductive Endocrinologists office surrounded by women who were experiencing what I was and no body said a word to each other. Actually no one really talked at all. Which is weird because we all were seeing the same doctors to achieve the same goal! Most of us had bruises from the blood draws and hormone injections. Most of us had spent hours crying about the same issues. Most of us sat in silence praying that this cycle would be the one. We all watched the door for our name to be called. We watched the door to see who would leave with a glowing smile and who would leave in tears. We were all struggling and still no one wanted to talk about it. Looking back I would not change the fact that we kept our infertility a secret from so many people. I would not have been able to handle constantly be asked about how it was going. My emotions were on edge anyway and I did what I had to to protect myself.
Look I'm learning Polish! Well...not really. I have started using Rosetta Stone and have not completed the first lesson. Dzien Dobry means "good day" pronounced jane dough-bray. I am uncertain if I like the teaching style used by Rosetta Stone and if I am going to really learn the language from it. I really just want to be able to say a few phrases like "where is the bathroom?", "where is the hospital?", "do you speak English?", Hello, Goodbye, and "may I have some water please?". I know I am going to have to able to communicate with my child so maybe I will add "are you hungry?",and "are you thirsty?".
Sean has had a good laugh at my expense as I am trying to learn Polish. I have expressed huge amounts of frustration at the computer screen over my poor language skills. I feel like I am just mumbling and not speaking anything. Maybe I will just take a photo dictionary with me!
So what has been going on with the adoption otherwise? We are getting ready for the second meeting with our social worker tomorrow and we are waiting on a few more documents to be sent to us. This meeting with the social worker is getting us closer to having our home study complete. YAY! I am much less stressed about this visit. Probably because I know what to expect this time. As I have said before I just want to get past the paper chase and have our dossier in Poland. Now I am sure when that happens I will be complaining that I just want to be matched with my child. Then after that I will just want to meet my child. Then I will want to be home with my child. It is just a vicious cycle!!!!
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much" --- Mother Teresa
I have been researching Polish history and culture so that we can teach our child about his/her heritage. So this week I tried my first Polish recipe for dinner. So many of you are wondering what I attempted and how it turned out. But first let me say this I will be the first to tell you that I am not going to be trying out for Iron Chef in my life. My husband is a much better cook than I am(but he is really messy). So with that said I am super proud of myself with how my first attempt with Polish cooking turned out.
If you not sure what your looking at the half-moon shaped things at the top of the plate are Pierogi. Pierogi are dumplings that are stuffed with potatoes or other various fillings. I made my stuffing with potato, cheese, and onion. Pierogi was actually fairly easy to make and absolutely delicious. The recipe is below and please try it out and experiment with different fillings.
Pierogi Dough Recipe: (source: About.com Local Pittsburgh By Albrecht Powell, About.com Guide)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup of sour cream(plus extra for dipping)
1/4 cup softened butter cut into small pieces
Mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg then add all at once to flour mixture. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and softened butter and work until dough loses most of its stickiness(about 5-7 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight.
Roll the dough on floured surface until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough 2" for small or 3" for large pierogi. Place a small ball of filling on each round and fold the dough over forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with a fork. Boil the perogi a few at time in a large pot of water until done( about 8-10 minutes they will float to the top). Rinse in cool water and let dry. Then pan fry pierogi in butter.
4- 5 large redskin potatoes
1 large onion
8oz cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and boil potatoes until soft. Saute onion in butter until translucent and soft. Mash together onions, potatoes, cheese, salt and pepper.
Some tips: put potatoes in the crock pot before you leave for the day so when you get home they are done and ready to mash.
if the pierogi doesn't want to stay together you may need to make an egg wash and brush the dough to help it stick together.
i used the same skillet to fry the pierogi as i did to saute the onion i just added more butter and it gives more onion flavor if you like that sort of thing.
We have both completed our parenting classes!! We both had to complete 10 hours of parenting classes that covered a variety of subjects. I have to admitted some the information was redundant but there was good information on that to expect behavior wise from a child that has been in an orphanage. I am really just wanting to be done with the paper chase and move on to the next step in the process. It seemed like things were moving so quickly and now it feels like molasses in winter. I really wish I knew of a way to make this entire process go faster.
So...not much as been going with the adoption lately. At this point we have gathered up as much paper work as we can and are waiting for the rest to be mailed to us. We still have 2 more home study visits too. It has been really frustrating waiting. I want everything to happen RIGHT NOW! But that's not how it goes. We have been busy with other stuff in general. This weekend alone Sean has gotten kidney stones and bought his new to us project car. Its a '95 Honda and is in pretty good shape for its age and for being stored outside.
The hope is that Sean will be able to drive this car to work and not have to use the truck so much. We...well..mostly I have been working on de-cluttering the house. I still am not sure how 2 people can have so much stuff! The plan is to have a yard sale in the spring to get rid of some of it. And whatever doesn't sell is going to be donated to the Good Will.
I have also been doing some research to learn more about Poland's history for our child's Lifebook. I am already thinking about how to incorporate Polish traditions into our family traditions. We are looking forward to our trips to Poland. The pictures are beautiful and the country has a very rich culture. I can hardly stand it I just want to go now!
Again I just want to thank everyone for all the prays and words of encouragement!