Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stuff..

Two adoption jobs checked off the list...

Passports for the boys... FINALLY DONE! 
     We had a ridiculously difficult time finding ANYONE who could take the passport pictures without messing them up.  Twice Rob and I drove over with the boys to the court house only to have the pictures rejected.  The third time I took the pictures to get them approved before calling Rob to come.. only to have them rejected!  A trip to Charlottesville to the CVS to try again with a fourth attempt at the court house.. BINGO!  We drove away feeling like we had won the gold medal... only to receive a call telling me that I needed to go back and re-write the checks as the amount was wrong.  Sigh!  But it is done and in 4-6 weeks the boys should have new passports.  The boys were not happy campers about having their picture taken four times so in the end - their pictures reflected how annoying the whole process was! 

Forms sent to be Apostillized....
Today I spent several hours carefully going through every single notarized paper that we have been slaving over for several months (37 in all) and sent 34 of them off to get a golden seal on them that indicates that the notary is authentic.  When they return - all that will be left is for us to receive  the 171H (golden ticket) from U.S. immigration allowing us to go through with the adoption. 

We enter a time of waiting now - waiting for my documents to come back from Richmond and waiting for the golden ticket.  Unfortunately we live in a state that is SLOW when it comes to immigration.  So I am trying hard to NOT focus right now on what is NOT in the mailbox but instead am focusing on getting ready for our trip, cleaning house, getting ready to sell our history curriculum at the Conventions this spring and preparing our hearts and lives for Aaron's arrival. 

Now.. off to celebrate a triple-birthday party at a local restaurant... think the waitress will believe me when I tell her that we need free desserts for THREE birthdays???

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another puzzle update...

THIRTY THREE MORE PUZZLE PIECES ADDED TO OUR PUZZLE....
 

THAT MAKES A TOTAL OF 184 PIECES CLAIMED...
(click on the picture to see all the names up close)

But... Check back in the next 48 hours because we have MORE puzzle pieces to add.... My dear Dad who is doing all these puzzle pieces for us (my handwriting is quite horrid) is going to be a VERY BUSY man tomorrow!!!

YIPPEEE!!!!!!

Birthday Fun...

This week is not only Easter week... but also Birthday week in the Nalle family.  Rob's birthday is today,  Elijah's birthday is tomorrow (of course the most important of the three) and Rob's Mom's birthday is on Thursday (April 1 which is also on of Ben's favorite holidays!)....

Since Rob's Dad's birthday is in only a few weeks... Here's a picture of them in their snuggies...


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST GRAN AND GRANDPOP A FAMILY COULD EVER HAVE!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changed

     I am at a loss for words.  I sit here and stare at the screen, write a few sentences, erase everything and then walk away.  I've been like this since the mail came yesterday.  We received a card and gift from Rob's niece that touched me deeply.  I stood at the counter when I saw it and cried.  Ben stood beside me patting my back and probably thinking that his mom had completely lost it this time.  Maybe I have. 

     What can I say?  Each time we receive a check or discover someone has put money in Aaron's account on Reece's Rainbow I am brought to my knees.  Each time I find out that Aaron's picture is tacked on someone's refrigerator and they are praying for him I can barely hold it all together.  Daily we are confronted with reminders of God's grace.  The kindness, love and support we have received has totally overwhelmed us.  Rob and I will never be the same.  When Aaron entered our lives we were changed.  Our kids were changed.  How can I put it into words?  We can no longer go back to life as we knew it.  God has taken our hearts and He has shaken us to the core.   We are being refined in the fire.  Changed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Passports and Olive Wars

The boys need passports so off we went yesterday to the friendly neighborhood Walmart to get their pictures taken.  We got the mugshots and today, with the final papers to get notarized (except for the immigrations 'golden ticket'), we set off for the court house to get the final papers finished for this adoption. 

Of course things can't be simple... The pictures from our friendly neighborhood Walmart would NOT work!  I should have been clued in to this possibility when I watched the young Walmart worker trying to figure out how to work the camera!

To avoid having to make ANOTHER trip to the Walmart, I spent an hour doing my own passport pictures of the boys.  This afternoon we will make ANOTHER trip back to the courthouse in hopes that they like MY pictures!  Sigh!



On quite another note.... My two boys have never gone crazy for chocolate, candy, cookies, cake, pie or much of anything in the sweet department.  They have always had a 'take it or leave it' attitude.  Green olives are another whole ballgame.  They love olives with a passion that competes with the biggest candy lovers out there!  Since I don't consider olives to be high on the 'good food' list, they are not allowed to just eat them at will and more often than not, we don't have them on hand.  I did buy a jar last Saturday and they have both been guarding its contents with their lives.  Yesterday one of my dear sons took more than my other dear son thought was necessary or allowed!  (Of course he didn't care about the well-being of his brother - his concern was purely on the olive count).  So the dear son without, proceeded to grab a handful of olives off the other greedy dear son's plate.  The uproar that ensued was awesome to behold.... OVER OLIVES!!  Sigh!

I wonder if Aaron will like olives....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More puzzle pieces claimed...

THIRTY ONE MORE NAMES ON PUZZLE PIECES....
MEANS....
151 PUZZLE PIECES CLAIMED

Thank you to all the people who have donated so far...
WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO A BUNCH OF YOU ARE!! 
 I can't send cards or anything but thank you so much!! 

349 PIECES TO GO!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

     My faith level today is low. All the fears that something will go wrong with this adoption are pressing down upon me.  What if immigration decides that our finances disqualify us? What if the judge in Aaron's country kicks us out for the same reason? What if we are rejected for any number of other reasons?  What if the mental institute where Aaron was transferred decides to close the door on his adoption?  What if.... 

     Anything could go wrong at any point in this process.  There is no guarantee that we will pass through to the end.  Other adoptions fall apart, other people have the heartache of seeing the door shut in their faces.  People who trusted and believed as much as we do.  Life isn't fair and it doesn't always work out in our favor.  The 'What if's' are real. 

     I'm struggling with all of this tonight.  We are waiting, and will be waiting for quite a few weeks for immigration to give their stamp of approval on this adoption.  The waiting makes me nervous and fearful.  It forces me to my knees, knowing that only God can move these mountains.  I know with every part of my being that though life isn't fair, God is still on the throne.  He is loving, He is kind and He holds our lives, Aaron's life in His hands. 

Psalm 43:5
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Monday, March 22, 2010

120 and counting....

We get to add 17 more puzzle pieces to Aaron's puzzle.  ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY PEOPLE are "Loving Him Home!"  The boys are still hoping for 380 more names so if you haven't donated... help them out!  If you gave through Reece's Rainbow  - we do not have those names yet.  It takes a while for the donations through Reece's Rainbow to process and to show up on Aaron's account.  So if you donated and don't see your name yet - never fear... as soon as we get a list of those donors - we will write those names on more puzzle pieces!!

IT'S A PUZZLING GOOD TIME!!



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Praying them all home...

Want to be blessed today?  Click HERE.  You are going to have to wait for a few minutes for the entire page to load but be patient. 
IT IS WORTH THE WAIT! 

You are going to see a whole host of special needs children (including our little Aaron) who have 'found' their families.  All of these children are currently waiting in orphanages and institutes for their families to come rescue them.  The vast majority have NO IDEA that someone is coming to take them home.  They are sitting day after day surounded by other children who also have been abandoned.  But these kids are special because someone, somewhere has decided to jump off the cliff, into the unknown to bring them home.  These families are moving mountains to get these kids. It's expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining. This is not an easy group of kids.  Each one has unique issues.  Many are going to require surgeries and a lifetime of care.  But these parents have counted the cost and are willing to jump into the unknown.  Pray for them.  Bookmark this page because it changes often.  Pray that these children will be protected as they wait.  Pray their families will be able to raise the funds need to get these kids.  Pray!

If you feel led - click HERE - These are the children who are waiting for families. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

...My Fault...

      We left an hour early to give ourselves plenty of time to travel into the Washington DC area to get our fingerprints done.  Rob and I had a pleasant time talking and laughing.  It was good quality fun.  We arrived at the USCIS office with 35 minutes to spare.  We parked the car and walked into the building.. papers in hand and with books to read to pass the time.  I handed our papers to the security officer and he looked at them and told us WE WERE AT THE WRONG PLACE!! 

     The USCIS building for the fingerprints is a different building than the USCIS we were standing inside!  Fortunately we were not the ONLY people who have made that mistake and so they had directions to give us so we would know where to go.  We ran at top speed back out to our car and my usually careful and cautious husband drove like a wildman through wall to wall traffic while I sat in the passenger seat trying not to have a heart attack and a freak out attack at the same time!  We arrived at the CORRECT USCIS office 2 minutes late but with plenty of time to sit and wait for the fingerprints to be taken!!  No harm done...

     It seems adoptions are like that... a crisis around every corner and just when you let your guard down, something crazy happens that makes you realize how COMPLETELY DEPENDENT you are upon God's grace!  
     It WAS totally my fault.  I got the directions off the USCIS website but failed to triple check that the address matched the one on our papers. 

Lesson learned from that experience:  NEVER ASSUME!

I'm a bit exhausted tonight...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Puzzle update....

Okay - So here are the new numbers for the puzzle challenge... TEN LOVELY GIRL SCOUTS....


PLUS.. THESE AWESOME PEOPLE
 (note the Anonymous piece.. whoever sent 100.00 in an envelope to our house with no name, return address or any way to thank you... THANK YOU!!)



EQUALS = 23 MORE PEOPLE

That makes 103 puzzle pieces sponsored!!  Only 397 more to go!

Ben taking some time off from studying to do his favorite thing...

Yesterday a Reeces Rainbow family met their little girl.  It is their first child and people have asked them why they chose to adopt a Down Syndrome child?  Their story is here!!  Yesterday they got to meet their beautiful little Zoya...
Since I've been following their blog for some time, when the pictures of Zoya came up for the first time, I sat at my computer and wept.  
Another family is adopting a six year old little girl with Arthrogryposis (same condition as Aaron).  She is fortunate to not have been transferred and her orphanage is a good one.  But that little girl has been longing for a Mommy for six years.  Each family who walked into the orphanage to adopt was asked by little Svetlana whether they were HER family.  The cries of the heart.  Will you be my Mommy?  Will you love me? 
Last week Svetlana was lying in her crib, alone, when some people walked in the room.  She looked up to see who it was.

She was told it was her very own Mommy.  This was her reaction:


That look is beyond priceless!  You can follow their story here.

Two little girls.  Two lives changed forever.  Thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LOVING AARON HOME!

I love puzzles!  Whenever I have to list my favorite activities, building puzzles is always on the list.  The only things higher on my list are reading and taking naps!  So this fundraiser that the boys wanted to do - well it was quite appropriate....

Something else I happen to love very much - Hot Air Balloons!  I have never been in one but it has been my dream for years!   When I was in college I decorated our dorm halls with hot air balloon pictures.  I still have those pictures in a file in our attic.  So when I went to look for a puzzle for the boys fundraiser, I was quite delighted to find the perfect puzzle....


This weekend we spent some quality family time and put the puzzle together...


LAST PIECE IN...

So what do puzzles and hot air balloons have to do with Aaron??  This is a 500 piece puzzle and the boys decided they want to find 500 people to sponsor the 500 pieces on this hot air balloon puzzle. 
THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE!!
All they are asking is for a 5.00 donation.  For each person who donates 5.00 (more is definitely welcome) - their name will be put on this puzzle. 

When the puzzle is filled with names, we are going to frame it.  It will hang in Aaron's room as a testimony to him that 500 people cared enough to LOVE HIM HOME!

So far we have 80 pieces sponsored... For all of you who have donated... find your name below!!

(Click on the picture and it will enlarge and you can see the names clearly)

These are our first donors... they gave their Christmas money to Aaron!!  How cool is that??

The boys only need to find 420 more people to donate 5.00 or more!

Donations can be made by clicking on Aaron's button on the top right of this blog.  If you Paypal please add 5% to the donation as Reeces Rainbow has to cover the fees out of their funds since they give 100% of the donation to Aaron!! 
If you have Facebook or have your own blog - post this!  Our boys need to experience FAITH IN ACTION!!  Help them find 420 more people!!

"One of His People"

Last night at dinner my dear Dad gave the blessing.  In his prayer he prayed for Aaron.  He prayed with such simple eloquence that God would send "one of His people" to care for Aaron.  His voice shook as he prayed.  He has fallen in love with this grandson from afar.  Both Rob and I had tears in our eyes when he finished.

We lack the words to pray the deep cries of our hearts; that God would send someone into Aaron's world - into a mental institute - and be His arms, His hands, His love to our little boy.  That is the cry of our hearts.  When I wake at 2:00 am and immediately think of him - my prayers are just feeble croaks.  I am at a loss on how to articulate the longings of my heart.  We are so thankful for the prayers of the saints joining with us over Aaron.  My feeble prayers, joined with your feeble prayers are raising a rukus in heaven!  Please don't stop storming heaven with your prayers. 

Dear Lord - please send one of Your people - called by Your name to care for our little guy. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quiet

It was a restful weekend.  After the stress of trying to get our fingerprint appointment over and after finishing up the writing portion of the Ancient history curriculum, I was able to concentrate on important tasks like... What can we sell out of this house to make money to bring Aaron home?  I have begun the purge.  Every drawer, cabinet, closet, attic and storage area is being cleaned out to find items to sell on E-bay, at several book sales and at a yard sale (any local families who want to donate stuff for a yard sale... bring it on!). 

My house is going to look like a hurricane hit it for a while.  It is kind of fun.  I've been writing non-stop for 9 months and I'm discovering how neglected my house has become in my 'absence'.

 The boys are getting ready to introduce their own fund-raiser so look back in the next few days to find out what they have decided to do!  I'm going to be posting how much we have raised so far and how much we still need some time this week. Rob and I have had a peace about the financial part of this journey from the beginning.  We KNOW that God will provide!

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 19th!!

My new best friend at the USCIS office e-mailed and let me know that we are now scheduled for our appointment next Friday!!!!  PRAISE THE LORD! 

Mountain moved!!

     I didn't get the fingerprint appointment AGAIN in the mail today but my call yesterday moved a mountain.

 I received an e-mail from the USCIS office that we are now on the schedule for March 29 but..
THEY ARE GOING TO LOOK FOR AN EARLIER DATE! 

I cried when I received the e-mail.  Then I responded with many "Thank You's" and I told the lady that I was going to PRAY HARD that she would be able to get us on the schedule sooner.  The faster we are fingerprinted, the faster we get to Aaron.  Virginia is the slowest state in terms of PROCESSING those fingerprints so we are continuing to ask for prayer that not only will we get an earlier date but they will speed up the processing for us.

I'm so grateful... we are one step closer!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Empty again..

So today I called the USCIS office and got through to the 2nd level after much begging and pleading.  I would not let the lady off the line so she eventually passed me to the next level!  The man I talked to PROMISED me he would call me back after he checked into why we have not received an appointment.   I have waited all afternoon and since he hasn't called me back tomorrow I am going to call my Congressman (already have those numbers researched and ready).

I am SO GRATEFUL for all the comments, e-mails, prayers and encouragment that we have received.  It helps so much to know that people are out there praying.  THANK YOU AND KEEP PRAYING! 

Another Day

     Another day to wait for the mail.  I woke up depressed.  I have to be honest.  Two days ago I read an article about the mental institutes in Aaron's country where our little Aaron has been sent.  The article was written in 2006 and the writer (who had visited quite a number) equated the institutes with CONCENTRATION CAMPS!  Children are left alone in their cribs all day except to feed and change them.  Many of the children freeze in the position they are placed inside the crib.  They lay in their own waste.  Many of them are drugged to keep them quiet.  A large number die after the first year.  Looking at pictures makes me sick on my stomach.  Aaron arrived in one of these places a few months ago just because he turned five and has a disability.  At his baby orphanage he was walking and talking.  Now we don't know what he is doing.  We don't know if he has landed in one of the better mental institutes or whether he is fighting for his life.  All we know is that we are stuck here, longing to go get him and unable. 

 This morning I desperately need these words from Isaiah 43.... for Aaron and our family...

But now, this is what the LORD says—

he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.

I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth-

everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waiting on the Lord

Someone posted this song on the Reece's Rainbow group and I stole it.  I needed it today. 

"While I'm Waiting" by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a BROKEN record...

Again we have an empty mailbox.  I've had advice to call our senator, congressman... maybe I should try the President.  How hard is it to give someone an appointment?  They received our 800+ dollar check at the beginning of January and we know they received it because we have THAT receipt.  If you are reading this... PLEASE PRAY.  We are so helpless. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

family pictures

NO fingerprint appointment AGAIN in the mail today.. Sigh... another day of handing it over to the Lord.

Here's some rare family pictures....





Sunday, March 7, 2010

Celebration Dinner

     Since we committed to Aaron we have been cutting back on EVERYTHING... including going out to eat.  We have not eaten out since the beginning of January which is definitely a record for our family.  But this week we had reason to celebrate.  I am almost finished writing the Ancient history curriculum.  I started writing the 34 lessons way back in August and have put in 30+ hours each week on the lessons.  Each lesson is around 12+ pages.  It has worked out to the equivelant of one research paper a week for 34 weeks.  Some weeks took two weeks to do because they were so much more involved.  Rob has been editing right behind me and reached week 29 as of yesterday.  By the end of March we are hoping that it will be on the market.
     In light of the fact that I am on week 34 and have less than a day left to finish the research/writing part of this massive project, my fifteen year old son Ben decided to take us out for a Celebration dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant:  El Vaquero!!  Ben coaches swimming and gets paid for his work.  He rarely spends his money so his desire to part with his hard-earned cash to celebrate was precious to us!  My Dad went along for the ride... (and the food) and ended up picking up the tab before Ben could grab it (much to Ben's delight).  It was a wonderful dinner and I came away blessed. 

     For an added fun family activity we watched FIREPROOF and ate chocolate chip cookies.  If you haven't seen that movie - it is definitely worth watching! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Aaron's clock!

Thanks to another family who is adopting a child from the SAME town as Aaron... I now have a clock at the top of my blog to let me know exactly what time it is for Aaron!  It will help me to have a better idea of what he is doing as I go throughout my day!

We are still waiting, waiting and waiting for the fingerprint appointment.  I vascillate between wanting to bang my head against the wall (it hurts when I do this) to wanting to scream in frustration (this upsets my kids) to praying/pleading and praying some more for God to move this mountain.  I've sent several e-mails this week to different addresses to try to contact someone whose office might be holding our files but to no avail.  My brilliant, wise, humble and handsome husband keeps telling me that it will show up eventually but to this Mama who wants to go get to her little guy over there... it isn't happening soon enough, thank you!  So if you are reading this... please pray that the mountain will be moved SOON.  I'm getting a headache!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a rollercoaster...

This whole process feels like being on a rollercoaster.  Highs and lows and it just goes on and on.... Each time the mail comes I look eagerly for the fingerprint appointment.  The whole process is stuck until we get the fingerprints taken and processed.   I love my state but it is hard to see other families breeze through this step and we are just plain stuck.  Even with the appointment we are looking at a possibility of nine or more weeks for processing them.  It is the first time in my life when I seriously wish I lived in North Dakota!!  We live too close to Washington D.C.!!!

On the home front... The boys are going to be doing their own laundry from now on to get them used to being without Mom (or Dad) for 3+ weeks.  This morning they were in training!  To be fair - they have been helping me with laundry for years but they have never had to do their own from start to finish.

Ben drove the car today for the first time.  Okay it was just around the driveway but it was his first time behind the wheel (apart from the Go-Kart).  This is in anticipation of getting his learners permit in a few months.  Yikes!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

She forgot humble and good-looking.

YEH!!!

Our Child Specific form and Power of Attorney's have made it safely to the hands of our able facilitator in Aaron's country!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!  What a relief!  My DEAR HUSBAND let me know that he knew ALL ALONG that they were going to get there!  I'm so glad I'm married to such a brilliant and all-knowing man!

Now... if our fingerprint appointment would just arrive in the mail....

Keep Praying

We are still waiting to see if our Child Specific Paper and the Power of Attorney papers made it to Aaron's country.  Ugh!  Please keep praying about this.... I am desperately trying to finish writing the Ancient History curriculum and if I had several more really good days (without the stomach flu) I could get the last 2 lessons completed.   If the papers are not there by Wednesday then I will run around on Thursday getting new papers notarized, apostillized (a trip to Richmond) and mailed FEDERAL EXPRESS (125.00).  Please pray!!

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