Monday, May 14, 2018

Sealey's Puzzle

Mother's Day.

I could write a lot of sappy sentimental stuff about the day, but I won't.

We all know what Mother's Day is about.

Yesterday, my heart was all over the place.

I have Newt here with me - I have celebrated the day with him since he was born almost 15 years ago.

I have my own mom, who at 80 years old still lives in England - I talk to her every week, and my only hope is that I am still as active as her when I am her age !! 

I have Sealey, always in my heart, forever my son. 

And then I have the boys who will, all being well, be my sons before the end of the year - Vijay and Athens.

It's very weird to celebrate a day when most of the pieces are missing !!!

Last year on this day, we had absolutely no plans to adopt - we were a one child family, enjoying having a teenager around, planning a summer of soccer and vacations.

NEXT year on this day, we will be a family of five !!

We are getting closer every day to bringing them home - our dossier has been submitted to their country's adoption department, and we are now waiting to be invited over to meet them - this will probably happen within the next couple of months !!

According to my estimated calculations, we are only about $3552 away from being fully funded for both adoptions !!  Of course - this is only estimated - we have to take three trips to their country, and until we travel we won't know the exact cost of flights etc. - but having a ballpark figure is extremely helpful !

I will be running an online auction in the next couple of weeks, selling some amazing handmade cards made by my sister-in-law, as well as some cross stitch items I have made - a small selection is pictured below - watch this space !!

In the meantime, we still have our puzzle fundraiser going on !!

Just before Christmas I started a puzzle fundraiser for Sealey - we "sold" 215 pieces, and raised over $2000 for our adoption fund !!

When we found out we had lost Sealey, I put the puzzle aside. However, I am now determined more than ever to get a name on every single piece.
It will help bring home both Vijay and Athens, and it will serve as a memorial to Sealey.

The puzzle will hang above their beds, along with Sealey's photo - we will always be reminded of Sealey AND everyone who helped bring the boys home.

I have added the names of everyone who has donated in any way - either to our Paypal or FSP (Reece's Rainbow adoption grant)  - by buying t-shirts or dresses - by sponsoring goals - or by sending a check.

There are still 178 pieces left without names on.

A $10 donation to our FSP or Paypal will get YOUR name (or the name of your choice) on a puzzle piece - be sure to let me know that you donated, and which name you would like on your puzzle piece. If you donate to our Reece's Rainbow grant, please comment below, as I don't get notifications of who has donated to that account immediately.

We are SO close to getting these boys home - they should be with us by the end of the summer - and it would be truly wonderful to know that we are fully funded, and don't have to worry about the adoption finances !

Thank you for reading - thank you for caring - and thank you for your support and help in bring home our boys !!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thank you, Sealey

As I write this, there is a little voice in the back of my head saying "You're crazy, you're crazy, you're crazy..." - it's pretty constant, to be honest. 
At the same time, another voice is saying "This was meant to be, this was meant to be, this was meant to be...".

Losing Sealey was devastating - after advocating for him for almost 5 years, raising $$ for his adoption grant, and finally committing to adopt him, losing him was a blow like no other.  

When we took this photo of his picture at Mount Rushmore last month, the only thought in my mind was that NEXT time we'd be there, he would be with us, and we could take a photo of HIM at Mount Rushmore.

That will never happen.

A couple of days before we found out we'd lost him, a small photo fob of him that my husband carried on his keys fell off - just broke and dropped off.

A couple of days before we found out we'd lost him, someone - we don't know who - donated $2500 to our adoption grant.

A couple of days before we found out we'd lost him, we received our USCIS approval - our own immigration department, having reviewed our home study and application, told us that we were allowed to adopt from Sealey's country.

We decided early on in the process that if, for one reason or another, we couldn't bring Sealey home, we would carry on.

So we chose Vijay.

The kicker, though - was that we found out we were approved to adopt TWO children.

When we were planning on adopting Sealey, we never even considered bringing home two children - we figured that Sealey's needs would be enough for us to cope with.

However, as we have learned, things don't always go to plan.

Sealey had other plans.

We found out that there were several other children available for adoption living in the same institution as Vijay. 

We found out that the additional facilitation fees for another child from the same institution is $2500 - which is, if you recall, the exact amount we had donated to our adoption grant on the day we received our USCIS approval.

We discussed the possibility of bring Vijay home, getting him stable and settled, then going back for another.

People do it. I have followed countless families who go back - again and again - to save more children - to give more children the love of a family.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I couldn't do it.
I couldn't go through the paperwork, the waiting, the traveling, the fundraising again - I was thinking of ME, I was being totally selfish - but I knew, deep down, that I just couldn't do it.


I also couldn't travel all that way three times - see the institution - smell the smells - hear the sounds - see the kids - and leave with only one.

SO - we talked.

COULD we make room for one more ?
SHOULD we make room for one more ?

We were never planning on adopting until, out of the blue, my husband said the now famous words - "Why don't WE adopt him ?"

Because of Sealey, VIJAY will have a family.

Also - because of Sealey....

ATHENS will have a family !!!

Because of Sealey, we are bringing home TWO 10 year old boys - they are just 3 months apart in age - both have cerebral palsy - and both will have a mommy, a daddy, and a big brother.

Thank you, Sealey.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sealey's Legacy

This is not the post I ever wanted to be writing, but here I am anyway.

We were too late.

Sealey just couldn't hang on any longer, and sadly he passed away before we could bring him home.

Sealey, who I advocated for for years, who we finally realized was our son, took his last breath alone, in an institution, not knowing how much he was loved.


We only knew him in pictures, but in my mind I have held him, and fed him, rocked him and comforted him, bathed him and wrapped him in a big fluffy towel.

He was - he is - my son.

I won't write here my feelings about what should have been, what kind of life he could have led - I'll save that for another day.

Today - today I want to celebrate the miracle that Sealey has created.

If you know our story, you know we never intended to adopt - if you don't know our story, you can go HERE to read it.

So - what next ?

When we first started the adoption process, we did discuss the possibility of not bringing Sealey home, for one reason or another.  Something as simple as a paperwork mix up in his country could have rendered him unadoptable - so we talked about whether we would go ahead and adopt someone else.

The answer was yes.

So - when we heard the news, we knew what we would do.

How do you pick a child, when it means NOT picking all of the others ??

It was quite the process.

I looked at every single boy between the ages of 6 and 14 listed on Reece's Rainbow as being available for adoption.

I chose 15 boys who I thought were possibilities.

I saved their pictures, and then showed them to my husband and son.

Separately, they looked at the photos, and each chose 5 boys who they thought could be son and brother.

I then compared their lists - and amazingly, THREE boys were on both lists !

This led to a long discussion about each of the 3 - and, eventually, we did it.

We chose our new son.

We have even seen a video of him HERE !!

"Vijay" is 10 years old - a little younger than Sealey - but he is living in a similar institution.  

Vijay also has cerebral palsy, but it doesn't look like he has deteriorated as much as Sealey did - yet.

Hopefully, by the end of the summer, he will be home with us, and can start getting all the therapies, medical care, and education that he so desperately needs !!!

We never chose to adopt Sealey - HE chose us.

Thanks to Sealey - WE now choose Vijay.

Thank you, Sealey.

Fly high, son.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Fundraisers !!

We have 3 fund raisers going on at the moment, and are incredibly grateful for every penny that we raise from them !!  If you haven't already, please check them out and see if there's anything that interests you - or if there's anything you might like to share with anyone you know !

Our newest is an amazing fundraising opportunity brought to us by a fellow Reece's Rainbow advocate - she is selling absolutely adorable DotDotSmile dresses, so if you have a little girl in your life who likes to TWIRL, you really so need to check them out !!   

You can find them on Facebook HERE.

Please take a look - they already raised over $600 for us just this past weekend !!!

We also still have our t-shirts for sale !!   I will be placing an order in a couple of weeks, so you have plenty of time to order - show them to your work or school colleagues - if all of you buy one and wear them on the same day, how fun would that be ??  

These shirts are just $20 each - you can pay either via our tax deductible adoption grant at Reece's Rainbow HERE (then e-mail me with your size/color/shipping info at britgirlus @ ) 

OR to my Paypal account HERE - be sure to include size/color/shipping info with your payment.

We also still have our puzzle fundraiser going !

We have sold almost half of the pieces already - 217 - thank you !!

Do you think it would be possible to get ALL 500 pieces sold ?

For just $10 you can get your name - or the name of your choice - on a piece of Sealey's puzzle !   Once he is home, this puzzle will be displayed in a double sided frame in Sealey's room - every single day, we will be able to see the names of everyone who helped bring him home - how incredibly cool will that be ??  

All you need to do is donate to either our FSP or Paypal (linked above) - and let me know which name to put on the puzzle piece ! 

 Lastly, in the near future, I will be holding a small auction of cross stitched items that I have been working in for the past few weeks - here is a sneak preview !!

Watch this space !!!  :)

We have been working hard all winter to gather the appropriate documents needed by both our government and Sealey's government. We are currently waiting for USCIS approval (US immigration) - once we have that, we can submit our paperwork to Sealey's country, and then we will - all being well - be invited to his country to actually meet him !!

After that, we will come home, and wait for them to assign us a court date - at that time, we will go back to his country, and, hopefully, they will approve his adoption. THEN there is a 30 day waiting period, during which we will come home and finish our preparations for his arrival home !

Our third and last trip to his country will be when we spring him from his institute, and do a whole bunch of paperwork - get him a medical and visa - and then, finally, bring him home.

This past weekend we visited Mount Rushmore - we, as usual, took Sealey's photo with us - and I took great pleasure in knowing that the next time we are there, we will have the real Sealey, in the flesh, with us.  I just cannot wait to be able to share pictures of THAT day with you !!

If you are unable to donate at this time, no problem - just knowing that you are reading this, and care about Sealey is enough. 

Thank you so very much for reading - and feel free to share !