Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Hole in the Plan

We built Harper's puzzle almost two months ago.

We even started filling in names on it.
The names of all the people who have donated to our adoption so far.
I wrote somewhere around 70 names on different puzzle pieces.
I wrote several blogposts about it.
It wasn't very smart of me.
We had a rather glaring problem with the puzzle but instead of addressing the issue, I ignored the obvious and plowed on ahead.

I wrote names thinking that the problem would eventually just go away and no one would be wiser.
That HUGE glitch should have given me pause....
I should have paid more attention to that rather GAPING hole...
Do you see it??

That glaring hole where a piece is supposed to be???

We saw that hole when we were building the puzzle.
We kept figuring it would show up. 
It didn't.
We looked and looked.  We took up the carpets and moved the fridge and looked in cabinets and pulled apart our pockets. 
It was gone.
Most likely it had never been. Since we built the puzzle in the same place and had it finished within a day of opening the box, and after tearing up our house... we were fairly certain it was not part of the box to begin with.
But we were optimistic about our dilemma and went ahead and started putting names on puzzle pieces.
We figured we had three options; find the missing piece, design our own piece to fit into that empty spot or get another puzzle and just replace the missing piece. So I happily wrote names and took pictures and figured the hole would eventually disappear without anyone being any wiser.

But the piece didn't appear which meant that hole didn't disappear.

And creating a piece for that spot really wasn't very realistic.

Buying another 20 dollar puzzle wasn't where we wanted to spend our hard-earned money, but we didn't want a puzzle with a messed-up piece so we decided to get another puzzle.  I called the company.  I shared with them why we were building the puzzle and explained our dilemna. They replaced the puzzle for free.  Wow!  Even though we couldn't prove that it was missing from the box, they went ahead and replaced the puzzle.  The Cobble Hill Puzzle Company has INTEGRITY! 
They sent us a new puzzle.

Home free right???  We just had to sort through the box and find that missing piece and put it in and get on about the business of adding a whole bunch of new names of KIND PEOPLE who keep dropping donations into our hands for Harper!!

Easy Peasy!

Problem Solved!

A hole in one!
When we received the puzzle last week, Rob immediately opened it up only to discover that the pictures match perfectly BUT THE PIECES DO NOT.  The puzzle is cut completely different from the first one.

There is no way we can use the new puzzle to fix the old puzzle.
We have to rebuild the puzzle and redo all the names!
You are allowed to Laugh.
It's funny.
We are laughing.

We feel like a bunch of goofballs!
Honestly, we don't really mind too much redoing the puzzle. Our family enjoys building puzzles together. 

And writing the names again allows me another opportunity to whisper grateful prayers of thanks to each one who has  given.
Plus, building the puzzle again with Ben helping this time is definitely sweet because he is beyond thrilled to be getting a little sister.
So our little hole in the plan is getting fixed soon, and we will be back to writing names on puzzle pieces in the coming weeks.

And man do we have a LOT of names to write on that puzzle!!
If you look at the thermometer on our sidebar you can see how much has come in.  It is a total of all the donations we have received so far: In our Reece's Rainbow account, our You-Caring account, checks and cash people have given us and all the little envelopes and bags of change from my precious precious students. 

God has been good.

 People have truly been kind. 




Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Candle of Hope

This has been on my sidebar for almost 2 years now.

Two years ago I watched a whole host of families, many of them friends of mine in the adoption world, get sucker punched when Rus*ia closed its door to U.S. adoptions.  So many of them had crossed the ocean and met their child only to be standing on the wrong side of the doors when they swung shut. 
It is easy for us who were not affected to forget the agony they feel but trust me - they will never forget. 
One mom in particular has been fighting on every level for her sweet girl. She has been tireless in her efforts to keep the children left behind from being forgotten.
This is Natasha - the sweet babe she left behind.
I'm not asking for money.  I'm only asking for a very simple and easy way to show support.  If you are on Facebook - please click THIS LINK and like the page. The goal is to get 10,000 likes by the end of the year in order to show the world that the orphans behind those closed doors have not been forgotten.
That's it.  Just LIKE THIS PAGE.
Today in Mosc0w, a documentary is premiering called Children of the State. It tells the story of the ban and the impact it has had on the families and the children left behind. Natasha is in that documentary.  She was 6 years old when her family met her, held her, kissed her and promised to come back for her.  2 1/2 years later she still sits in the orphanage...
Please please do not stop praying for the orphans in Rus*ia.  Pray for that documentary.  Pray that it touches hearts and brings about sweeping changes. Pray that hearts of stone will soften. There are so many locked away.  My Yegor who was on the Angel Tree two years ago and had a Mama who was just starting the process to get him is one of them.  This is an updated picture of him.
  Yegor B-jan14
Sweet boy will most likely spend the rest of his life in an institute. So will Natasha.  They are the hard to place, given up at birth, children that no one wanted.  But they ARE wanted. They ARE loved. They HAVE families who have room at their table. That's the hardest reality of all.
Please don't stop praying.
And LIKE this page.  Let the families who left their babes behind know that you care.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Random Friday

Four shows this weekend starting tonight. 
I get to hear Rob sing O Holy Night FOUR TIMES. 
 Heaven is for REAL!

This sweet son of mine came home yesterday. I love being swallowed up in his hugs.
Yes this is Elijah during tech week last week.

The boy with no sisters.

One of the little cast members decided he makes a great replacement for her big brother who is away. She happens to be the same age and most likely about the same size as Harper...

Harper is going to be spoiled beyond words.
I lost my voice last weekend. I needed to read one of my favorite all-time books to my Creative Writing classes, "The Velveteen Rabbit," but there was no way I was going to make it through..

So I talked my sweet boy into reading for me. 
I sat in the back and chuckled the entire time he read.  Between creating different and unique voices for every character in the book..
He also entertained the children with a running commentary about the story, the pictures, the plot etc.  He is a total hoot and I love him to pieces!
This pile of golden stamped papers flew across the ocean on Monday.  They represent a large portion of our dossier.  We still have a few more papers to add but it's a nice feeling knowing they are in the proper hands. 
Best Friends Forever.
Can you guess who set up the village this year?? He used every single house in the box and squeezed them onto the little table!
At first he arranged the snow all around the village so that you couldn't see any green.
But then he decided that the poor people in the village needed to get out so he rearranged the snow so that a truck could drive through.
All is now well in Aaron's Snow Village

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Woot Woot Woot!!

Our Homestudy is in the mail...
Our Homestudy is in the mail...
Our Homestudy is in the mail...

Woot Woot Woot...

Insert whatever tune you want!!

Once it gets here we will be mailing it to USCIS! 
Yes.  We are happy.
The under 100 level has been eliminated on the Angel Tree!!
Onward and upward we go to get all the babes to their goal!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is It Possible??

MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE our Homestudy will be in the mail to us today because MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE the clearances are done????
I know FOR A FACT that New Jersey is DONE!! Arrived!!  On their desk...  But Georgia ... the hold-out state... They SAID they are writing the letter so I am HOPING and PRAYING that TODAY our homestudy is finalized and enroute to our house! 
I'm trying not to get TOO excited...
Just staying calm and cool until I know for sure...
Just staying focused on watching the under 100 Angel Tree babes moving up the wall....
Not just the 100 wall but babes were moving all over the place!!
Some of you LOVE orphans!
I LOVE that you LOVE orphans!!
Yesterday 44 Angel Tree babes were under 100 and this morning - ONLY 21 LEFT...

Kicking up my heels in joy over that news!!
Today's goal...
It's going to take teamwork...
But we can do it!!!
Come on... Join in the fun! 
Because getting the under 100 babes over is way more distracting and fun than biting my nails over our clearances....
 BlakeRegina Samuel 3-2


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Bottom 44


Tuesday morning and we are still waiting on the two last clearances BUT.... there has been some tiny movement so please please please pray.  We need two supervisors in two different states to get our paperwork finished so we can finalize our homestudy and get it sent to immigration! 

I am at the very bottom of the tree!
To keep myself distracted I am counting Angel Tree babes who are still under the $100.00 mark on the tree.  On Friday there were 110 babes.  On Saturday there were about 75 and today....  44 are left!! And the cool part... all the babes have at least $50.00 now.  Rob and I donated yesterday to help move one up from off the bottom which was fun!
Henry (LA)
I am at the bottom of the tree
Today I've got BiblioPlan work I need to get done, but I plan on watching my e-mail for Social Worker news and watching the Angel Tree to see if those 44 move up. 
   Louie  Blake

Please distract me today.
  Regina Rogers


Help me get the bottom 44 over the 100 wall....
It will definitely make all this waiting a bit easier to handle!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Best Ever

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting on TWO Clearances.
New Jersey for me.
Georgia for Rob.
They were filed over two months ago.
I lived in New Jersey for 4 months.
Rob lived in Georgia for 3 months.
The insanity of a state taking over two months to run a simple background check on us is beyond my brain cells.
I'm afraid I'm going to have a hole in the wall next to my desk from my head beating against it.
While we are waiting Rob and Elijah and Aaron are in the Best Christmas Pageant Ever....

And it really is the BEST Christmas Pageant Ever!!

This is the promo and YES that is Elijah getting ready to hit a girl...

If you live in the Charlottesville area... come on out!  Aaron makes a cute shepherd, Elijah is a nasty Herdman and Rob (who is Reverend Hopkins) sings O Holy Night.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mama's Hands

 Many many yelled for her.
We begged and prayed for a family.
Raised thousands of dollars - enough that she was just about fully funded.
Because so many gave ... including many of you ... a family was able to step forward and add her onto their adoption.
For 16 years she was locked away.  16 years trapped in a crib. 16 years where the only human interaction consisted of two or three diaper changes a day and force feeding.
16 years of utter neglect.
Neglect that caused blindness and mental decay.  Neglect that robbed her of speech. Neglect that kept her from experiencing any part of the world outside of the bars of her crib.
Many would believe that bringing her out serves no purpose.  She's blind.  She's seemingly lost.
But let me tell you something about this gem whom I had the wonderful privilege of meeting two weeks ago.
She KNOWS her Mama's touch.
She KNOWS her Mama's voice and she responds with utter joy. Giggling.  Laughter.
I tried to get her to respond to me.  I gently touched her and talked to her. She would have none of me. Each time I touched her she would recoil.  React to me with suspicion.  Fear. 

But every single time her Mama touched her, she would explode in joy.  She could tell the difference between my hands and her Mama's. My voice and her Mama's.

She knows who her Mama is.  She knows the hands that love her.  She recognizes the voice that treasures her.
She KNOWS love and responds to it. 
And the love she has given back?? Priceless. She is the highlight of their day.  The bright spot.  A burst of joy when the clouds roll in.  They love her.  They love her. 
To those who gave - Thank You!  Your gifts matter.  They are life-changing. 
I counted this morning.
There are 110 babes on the Angel Tree who have not even crossed the $100.00 wall.  25 of them aren't even to the $50.00 wall.
Alan (2003)  Artemur Carol Dixon #2-3
I'm at the bottom of the tree
If you don't think your donations matter than you weren't reading this post.

 Madalyn Shelley Xander (Asia)
I'm at the bottom of the tree

They are priceless gifts to families who feel that Holy Spirit hammering in their hearts but are struggling with the cost.
Getting all the Angel Tree Babes to $1,000 in their grant account means each family has $1,000 less to raise. 
Bryannah #8-3 Luke Anthony
I'm at the bottom of the tree
Help me help them climb the wall.
Kade #16-2 Frankie Wendy (Asia)
I'm at the bottom of the tree
Get the kids at the bottom of the tree moving up!
And while you are at it.... LISTEN... the Holy Spirit just may be whispering to your heart...
 HarlanHaisten George #19-2
I'm at the bottom of the tree
Stranger things have been known to happen!!