Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We have a date !!



I work in a school, our last day was June 1st, so I have been enjoying lazing around at home for a few days now !!   As always happens, it takes me a little time to get out of the habit of waking up early - so last Friday, waking up at around 8:30am was a luxury !!  When I got up, I wandered around, got some breakfast, then glanced - without my reading glasses - at my cell phone, to see if I had missed anything - only to see a blurry text, and a couple more notifications I couldn't read - other than thinking I could see the name "Nancy".

Nancy is one of the most important people in our adoption process !!
Nancy is with Hand of Help inAdoption - she helps us through every single step of the adoption process, and without her I don't think this would have even been possible !!

Oh - and Nancy is the one who calls you to tell you your travel dates.

Yes - the travel dates we have been waiting for.

Yes, she called me  - and I was asleep ! 

Once I'd found my glasses, I saw that she had messaged me, called me, and left a voice mail - to which I immediately responded (once my hands had stopped shaking and my vision had cleared LOL)

WE HAVE A DATE  !!!

Yes - we have an appointment at the adoption office in our boys country on

JULY 3RD AT 10AM  !!!!!

Once I had recovered from the excitement, and let my husband know, I contacted a couple of travel agencies who offer humanitarian rates for adoptive families.  The advantage of this is that the rates are cheaper, they have the ability to get/change flights at short notice, and there is an increased baggage allowance !  I contacted two agencies - Golden Rule and Adoption Airfares.  I had already read a little about them both, and know families who had used both, so I knew they were both reputable and easy to work with.


I told them our dates - I was hoping to travel on my birthday, June 30th, but flights were cheaper by several hundred the following day, so we will fly out on July 1st !

Another issue with adoption flights is that once we are in country, the time line is uncertain - we don't know how long we'll be there, as everything will be out of our hands - so we have to book one way flights. 

 For this trip, our 15 year old son Newt will be traveling with us - so for 3 one way flights it is costing us $2913.  Thankfully, because we have a grant with Reece's Rainbow,  the travel agency was able to bill them directly, which made things easier ! :)  



We will arrive in country on the afternoon of July 2nd, and will have our appointment the following morning - this is when we will, all being well, be able to view Vijay and Athens' files at the adoption office - and tell them that yes, we want to go and meet them !   

There is a possibility that they will give us the OK the same day - if this happens, we will jump on an overnight train to their region (they are quite a long way from the capital city) - and get to meet them the following day - July 4th !!!


We're not sure how long we will be there - different orphanages have different rules as to how often you need to visit before you can say YES - so we'll just have to play it by ear.

Once we do say YES, there will be some paperwork to deal with, then we will fly home, and wait for news of the court date, which will be trip # 2.

I just cannot wait to see our boys !!!!




























Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Boys we Left Behind.


I thought I should update, even though there isn't really much to say !  We are still waiting to be invited over to meet the boys - I am anticipating getting travel dates within the next 10 days - and think we will probably have our appointment at the adoption office in the first week of July (this will be the first of three trips).

Of course, this is all speculation - it is all out of our hands right now, and I am estimating our dates by seeing where those just ahead of us in the process are at !   

So many things could happen to affect our timeline, though - after following so many adoption stories over the years, I have learned that nothing goes the way you expect it to - so we are trying to prepare for anything and everything - as we found out when we lost Sealey.

So - while we wait, I would like to share some children with you.

These are the boys who made the short list, when we were trying to choose our new son.  I went through every child on Reece's Rainbow who met our criteria, and came up with 15 boys.  I showed just their pictures, separately, to both my husband and our 14 year old son - and asked them to pick out 5 boys each.

I then compared their lists.

THREE boys were on both lists !

Vijay

Bert

Noah


As you know, we chose Vijay - at the time, we were only planning on adopting one boy.  I cannot tell you how incredibly hard it was, knowing that, while we will be bringing Vijay home, we will be leaving the others behind - I have a lot of guilt about the ones we did NOT choose.

The other boys on our short list are shown below.
Please see them - they are all just as deserving of a family as Vijay and Athens - they ALL need a family to show that what life is truly about.

PLEASE see them - share them - let's get them seen and get them found !!!

Cameron

Thomas

Easton

Shadrach

Kayson

Liam

Preston

Jordan

Christian

Clayton

Brody and Auggie (brothers)



Of course, Athens was also on the list !

These boys are all so so worthy - and so so desperate for a family.
They are the least likely to be chosen - they are older, they are disabled, and they are boys - they have a triple whammy against them.

Please, please, please - see them - share them - adopt them ??

You can click on their name to see their profile on Reece's Rainbow - so you can share them all or just one or two of them !!

THANK YOU !!




























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.

However.

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.