Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Holding tight...

     I am holding tight to my Father's hand.  I honestly didn't think that the week before we left that I would be feeling like I do.  Scared.  Overwhelmed.  Excited beyond words.  Longing.  Unable to sleep.  So full of thoughts and emotions that I can hardly think straight.

    We have a lot on our plates.  Rob's frantically trying to get as much done on the house he is building.  It is our livelihood.  It is going on the market in the next week so we need to get papers drawn up.  Dad will have power of attorney while we are gone.  Praying that a buyer will come soon.  A bit overwhelming on the business end to think of Rob leaving for 3 weeks.

    Leaving Ben behind is killing me.  I know that Dad is next door and we are arranging different people to get him where he needs to go but this is my son.   I am doing a lot of praying on this one.  So many questions swirling on how to arrange for him to fly out to me.  Who will watch over him... will a Reece's Rainbow family be able to escort him?  I'm struggling.  One son is waiting for us to rescue him and one son will be left behind.

     My computer is dying.  It's taking its last breath even as I type.  It makes writing hard because it has an annoying habit of just shutting down.  Dead.  No warning.  Rob revived it for a few months but we have come to the realization that it wants relief.  One more expense.  It's my livelihood.  Just having to hold tight because the water is deep in that department.

     We are so excited yet so nervous.  We leave in 10 days.  10 days.  Holding tight to my Father's hand.

     

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ELEVEN DAYS....

ELEVEN DAYS UNTIL OUR PLANE TAKES OFF FROM THE RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...

ELEVEN DAYS...

I'm going through a whirlwind of emotions.  Sleep is completely eluding me.  Thus, I'm tired.  That increases the emotional whirlwind.  It is in these times that I am driven to my knees.  Late at night, in bed, whispering prayers. 

Praying.  Lifting up to God the burdens and joys of our hearts.  Since January we have begged prayers from everyone we talked to about Aaron.  Pray for him.  Pray for us.  Seemingly a simple act, but oh, so powerful. 

Yesterday I read a blog that touched my heart.  I am 'borrowing' it from the author...Lu, She's from Britain so when you read it, as I did to my family last night, put the British twinge in your voice!  I don't think she will mind.   It was titled "Beethoven's Fifth" and it is all about prayer....

After reading it... please take the time and pray for Aaron.  Pray for us.  Pray for me. 


I ask for a lot of prayer. Well, not specifically for me, but I do ask my readers to do a lot of praying. I have asked for prayer for families and orphans and yes, my daughter too. I suppose I've asked you to pray for nearly everyone now!
So much so, do I ask you to pray, that I've been asked why it is so important that so many pray. Why isn't just one man's prayers enough? (to be fair, I actually mentioned this which is what prompted the question). The Bible says in James (5v16b) that 'the effective and fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much.'* So why ask everyone to pray?

 
I sat and thought for a moment and I do believe that this could be answered a myriad of ways... as many answers as there are people on earth probably! lol


But this is my reply...

 
God is an emotional being... not like we are, human emotions are flawed to say the least. But He loves us and just as we, as parents, enjoy the company of our children and enjoy hearing them talk to us, so does He. So, anything that puts us in communication with Him is going to please Him. This is also why our petitions should never come without first praising him. A bit like 'buttering dad up' before asking to borrow his car lol!(only a joke)


But, that said, No two people are the same. Each one of us, through genetics, circumstances and our life experiences and educations is so completely unique. Never will two people completely see things the same. This is probably why 'lovers quarrel' there is 'sibling rivalry' and more restaurants and shops than you could ever count!


So, when I ask you to pray for my friend Lyndi; who is adopting Freddie and they now have been told due to his being born in Russia, not the country they are adopting from, they have an additional $3000 they need to complete his adoption; out of all of those who read this then go to their blog and then on to pray no two will pray the exact same thing. I may pray that the Heavens release the funds to them (I can sound so dramatic, can't I? lol) whilst another of you would pray for their safety, whilst still another praying for Freddie that this won't affect their being able to adopt him. Each one of you will consider a different part of what we need to pray for him.






We are like a Symphony (were you wondering what the title meant?). Each one of us is a different instrument, played a different way by a different musician. We all have different sounds that we make when played, some reach very high notes whilst another may rumble such low notes you can feel it in your belly. Each one playing their own melody, their own notes, in their own way but all of us together are playing the same song. That song is prayer... we are each, all over the world praying in our own way, our own sounds, our own abilities, the very same song and God is our audience.


When I look at it this way, I feel honoured to be able to be in this Symphony. To be playing this song with other joint heirs of His Son. It is no small thing to have an audience with the King... the Creator of the Universe in fact.


I also, then, consider that my asking you to pray is really an invitation. The chance to sing a song to the Holy of Holies with me and the others also praying sounds so much better than just 'please pray' doesn't it?


So, here it is, your slightly less than gold embossed invitation to be part of a Heavenly Symphony to play the grandest song that's ever been heard. Will you join me?


As it says in 2 Chronicles 7v14 'if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.' What a powerful force we can all be when playing together! 


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

14 days...

     We leave in 14 days.  FOURTEEN!

     I'm taking time off from my incessant writing to say.....

     So much to do.  So very much to do....

     I'm frantically writing this history curriculum to get as much done before we leave.  I am to the point where I am sick of looking at the computer. 

This afternoon I promised Ben I would take time off to watch the World Cup game today with the UNITED STATES playing against ??   That's pretty bad that I am so out of it that I don't know who is playing.  I LOVE soccer and I LOVE the World Cup and I have yet to watch ONE game. 

DID I MENTION THAT WE ARE LEAVING IN FOURTEEN DAYS??? 

One quick story... on Thursday I was SICK of writing so Ben and I decided to clean out the garage.... Actually I decided to clean out the garage and I decided that HE would help me....

     So with brooms in hand, a bucket and scrub brush (to clean out the fridge) - we began to tackle the beast.  Not fifteen minutes into the job... out from behind the fridge slides a looonnnngggg BLACK SNAKE!

    I hate snakes.  They are so NOT my friends.  I don't mind spiders, bugs, mice and every other creepy crawly thing but snakes.... NOT!  I don't care if the think isn't poisonous and is a good deterrent for other beasts etc. etc.  I HATE SNAKES!

     I called Rob (20 minutes away) to come home and get that snake out of my garage. 
He laughed. 
He'd get it that night! 
Not soon enough! 
 I wanted to clean the garage because I DIDN'T want to look at the computer and have to write. 

SNAKE... HISTORY WRITING....SNAKE....HISTORY WRITING....
That was my choice...

I CHOSE THE SNAKE!

    We scared the thing enough so that it slid back under the fridge.  Knowing where it was allowed us to clean out the garage.  Yippee!
I didn't have to sit at the computer for several hours!!

When Rob came home to get the SNAKE out of the garage.... it was NOT to be found!  

Sigh!

  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Please help the Shupps...

     Earlier this week I saw on Facebook that my dear on-line friend and supporter, Lyndi Shupp, was asking for prayer as something was 'terribly wrong'.  Nothing more than that but Lyndi has been my hero throughout our adoption.  The boy she is adopting, Freddie, is one of my all time favorite RR kids and our paths have crossed too often to not be worried when I saw her post.  I prayed.  I've prayed a lot.  I worried.  I was afraid that something had happened with Freddie.  He's 15, epileptic and beyond the age of anyone else adopting him.  The Shupp family is his LAST SHOT.  In a year he will be out of the orphanage and on the streets if they do not get him.  I was terrified that something had derailed his prospects of a loving, Christian home.

    Just a bit ago I found out what was wrong... they received news that Freddie was not born in the country he is currently in (same one as Aaron which is why I am NOT naming it).  This throws a major curve ball in the adoption.  The Shupp's can still adopt him (PRAISE THE LORD) but after they have court, someone has to travel to Russia (where he was born) to get his original birth certificate.  This will cost a lot of money.  3,000 more dollars.  Money they don't have.  Last year they adopted Patrick and that stretched their pocket books to the max.  Freddie's adoption has been HARD on them financially.  They were just barely scraping funds to go before this happened. 

     Please consider dropping 5, 10, 20 or more in their hat.  They need it.  They don't have any more options for borrowing.  I want to see the Shupp's when we go.  They are scheduled to be there a week before us.  We are both so close.  I want to rejoice with them in their adoption.  Please pray and please give..

    YOU CAN CONNECT TO THE SHUPP'S BLOG HERE  - GO TO THEIR CHIP-IN ON THE RIGHT AND HELP THEM OUT!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

OH MY!

     Today I feel very old.  Ben has his learner's permit.  I'm a bit in shock.   

     You would think with all my expertize at paperwork stuff after navigating through this adoption that I would have quickly and professionally helped my dear son get his learner's permit without incident... Not so!  We arrived yesterday at the DMV only to discover that we needed a BIRTH CERTIFICATE.  Not an issue if you only live 5 minutes from the DMV but definitely a headache if you live a lot farther than that!  So back this morning we went WITH THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE and the first question out of the attendant's mouth was 'May I see your Social Security card....'  ?????  Double goof.  Fortunately they only needed the number so I called my dear, dependable Dad to go run over to our house, dig out the file and read off Ben's number!  Honestly, what would I do without Dad next door???  

     So my happy son has a piece of paper that says he can drive and Rob and I are looking at each other wondering where the time has gone.

    

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

17 days and counting

In 17 days we leave for Aaron's country.

 In 17 days we begin a journey that will change our lives and Aaron's forever.

17 days.

It truly doesn't seem real!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THANKS LYNDI!

Quiet

     My blog may be a bit quiet in the next week or so.  I write history curriculum for BIBLIOPLAN  for Homeschoolers, Co-ops and Christian Schools.  For this year's major project I am writing the Companion e-book for Medieval history. (Last year I wrote the 350+ e-book for Ancient history).   I have to write 34 lessons for the e-book and normally they take about a week for each lesson.  I'm teaching it this fall to a group of Homeschoolers who come to my house and by next year it will be on the market.  So I am in a race in the next 2 weeks to knock off as many lessons as I can in the midst of cleaning my house and getting ready to leave the country for quite a number of weeks!  Yikes!

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR US AS WE PREPARE FOR THIS JOURNEY!  

MOST IMPORTANT - PLEASE KEEP LIFTING AARON UP TO THE THRONE! 

 PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL PREPARE HIS HEART FOR THE DAY WE ARRIVE.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

     I am lousy at holiday stuff.  I'm supposed to give tribute to my husband and Dad and Father-in-law and I'm not great with tribute.   Everything I try to write gets too mushy and doesn't truly capture what I feel deep inside.  So I'm not even going to go there.  Suffice to say - I love them way beyond words.  

     Partly I'm lousy today because I am in that reality state of being where I am starting to get terrified.  Rob and I are going to be adopting a son in a few short weeks. 

     Okay - you knew that and I know that but... oh, how it is hitting me.  He's almost six years old.  He's disabled. He has spent his entire life in either an orphanage or a mental institute.  He doesn't speak English.  Oh my gracious!  'What if's' are assaulting me.  What if he is so developmentally behind that we can't reach him.  What if he is disabled beyond what we can handle.  What if he doesn't like us.  What if we don't like him.  What if...

     That's where I am.  Scared.  Hanging on for dear life that since it was God who brought Aaron into our lives, then He will not abandon us in the long-term.  The battle to GET Aaron is only the beginning.  We can't send Aaron back.  He's going to be our son for better or worse.  We had no idea what we were going to get when our boys were born.  They are not perfect and our life has not been a romance since the Lord entrusted them to us.  But we treasure them.  Every part of them.  Their strengths AND their weaknesses. 

     In my deepest heart I know that I will treasure Aaron too.  Not the romance version.  Not the pretty picture with the dimples.  The real Aaron.  The Aaron that may not walk.  The Aaron that may throw fits.  The Aaron that may not learn easily. The Aaron that may not smile or easily shake off six years of institutional life.  The Aaron that will need to learn what love is.  The Aaron that can't speak English.  The Aaron that may act strangely at first and may not stop acting strangely for a very long time.  The Aaron that will have to learn to be a part of our family.  I know that we will come to treasure him.  All his quirks.  All his disabilities.  We will come to love and treasure him.

     It won't happen overnight.  We read too many blogs to know that the first weeks/months are hard.  It is the rare adoption where the picture matches the child.  Most families have to learn to love the child.  We know we will be shocked and even dismayed in those first weeks.   We will all be disoriented as we try to assimilate a six year old disabled child from another country who doesn't speak our language or understand our rules into our well-established home.  

    So for today - I am a bit scared.  Rob is too.  We are not looking back but we are being honest.    We jumped off a cliff in January and continue to free fall into the arms of the only ONE who can bring us in for a safe landing!   It is scary. 

    Continue to pray for us.  Please continue to pray for Aaron.
    

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Winnie the Pooh

DEEP IN THE HUNDRED ACRE WOODS....



I fell in love with Winnie the Pooh in college. 

His sayings.  His philosophy.  His friends.

He makes me laugh. 

     When I was pregnant with Ben, it was a NO-BRAINER how I was going to decorate his room.  My kids were going to be 'Pooh' kids.  The only problem with that idea was that Winnie the Pooh was NOT in fashion when I was pregnant with Ben.  There were no Pooh items for sale at the store.  You couldn't get sheets or curtains or mobiles for the crib.  I don't remember what was available but it was NOT Pooh.
     But Winnie the Pooh had captured my heart in college and so I was not giving up on having Pooh and his simple, funny philosophy on life surround my kids.  I scoured yard sales and found crib sheets from 20 years before.  I found an old Pooh Mobile and old Pooh wall hangings.  I even found the bumper pad for the crib.  My son's room was decorated with Pooh and the only thing I bought new was his Pooh bear that we took to the hospital and put in his bassinet the day he was born.  His first baby picture was taken with Pooh at his side.  Each year for Christmas and his birthday he received another pal from the Hundred Acre Wood until he had the entire collection.


     When Elijah was born Pooh had come in style (actually only a few months after Ben was born which is why he is wearing a Pooh outfit in the picture).  You could get Pooh items everywhere you went.  But we already had our Pooh world so the only thing Elijah really needed was the Pooh for his bassinet that we gave him on the day he was born.  Each year for Christmas and his birthday he received his own collection from the Hundred Acre Wood.




     Can you see where this is going? 

Aaron needed a Pooh Bear. 

The day we received our SDA appointment and we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we would be going to get our son... I ordered him Winnie the Pooh.



Because his sixth birthday is so close .... I also ordered Eeyore.


Aaron's Pooh and Eeyore are bigger than Ben and Elijah's. 
I find that a bit appropriate! 
They will fit him just right! 

In 22 days we leave for Aaron's country... because according to the wise and wonderful Winnie the Pooh:

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

 




Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swimming....

      We are swimming in decisions. 

Swimming! 

Literally!

     Ben wants to finish out his swim season with his team.  We do too.  He swims every weekday.  Year-round.  That is a lot of swimming!  He is unbelievably dedicated to the sport.  He loves it. 

The end of the summer swim meet is the highlight of his swimming.  Sixteen teams in our region swimming against each other in one big fun swim-fest!  Our little old country swim team which has only been in existence for 4 years came in 3rd place last year. 
That was BIG news! 
Fun times! 
OF COURSE the scheduling of our trip lands right smack on top of that swim meet. 
We want him to be there.  He has worked too hard to miss it.

    It means leaving him behind.  For three weeks.  It means that after Rob gets back he will send Ben alone... on an International flight... to Aaron's country. 

Yuck...double yuck...

     I know that kids fly alone ALL the time. But this isn't just any kid.  He's MY son!  My firstborn. 

     We want him to go to Aaron's country.  I NEED him to help me at the end of the trip.  I HATE the thought of leaving my son home.  Yet we TREMBLE at the thought of him flying alone, INTERNATIONALLY, to another country. 

    We are praying....hard... that we will be able to find another Reece's Rainbow family who is traveling at the same time (beginning August), from the East Coast, who would be willing for my sweet, well-behaved son to travel with them

How's that for a major prayer request??

Entrusting it all into God's able hands in prayer. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cubby


Last night a dear friend went to be with the Lord.  Richard Helms.  Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather.  We called him Cubby.  Though he was only a part of our family through marriage - we loved him.  We are going to miss him dearly. 

"Be still my soul, the hour is hastening on

when we shall be forever with the Lord

when disappointment, grief and fear are gone

sorrow forgot, love's purest joy restored

Be still my soul, the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them when He dwelt below"
 
 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ALL GLORY TO HIM!

     WE HAVE A DATE! 

 July 13 

Four weeks from today 

28 days 

 We are totally in shock.  We have been holding our breath for weeks now convinced that we would hit another brick wall.  Instead we get an unexpected e-mail with our appointment date on it.

  UNBELIEVABLE 

 The mountain has moved. 

God gets ALL the praise, glory and honor! 

In a little over 4 weeks we will walk into Aaron's institute and meet our son. 

WE HAVE A DATE!

Come play!




We are just waiting around here...





FOR ONE LITTLE BOY TO COME AND PLAY!!







Sunday, June 13, 2010

Encounters Arranged by God

     There were around 600 booths at the Convention in an absolutely massive warehouse-type room.  We were in booth 230.  The coldest spot in the building. Frigid!  The air conditioner poured freezing air on our heads the entire three days.  I was not dressed for frigid.  I brought sleeveless shirts, capris and one thin sweater.  Standing on concrete for over 26 hours with arctic air swirling around our heads was not my definition of fun.  One other booth tried to claim that THEY had the coldest spot but I can say unequivocably that they didn't even come close.  Their booth was toasty compared to ours. Sauna temperature!   Brr...  Next year I will take an eskimo coat and ear muffs!

     Despite the frigid temperatures, we had a great weekend and the encounters arranged by God over the three days are beyond words.  Again and again I was blessed.  I'm convinced that half the Homeschooling children in the state of Virginia are adopted!  I lost count of how many people shared their adoption stories with us and gave me words of encouragement.  Aaron's bucket was blessed again and again. We passed out pictures of Aaron, begging prayers for him from a multitude of Godly saints!  Worth the cold!

     The neatest encounter was at the end of the last day.  It was when I left our booth to go test the frigid air of our frigid air competitors.  I was only gone a few minutes.  Two dear people walked by our booth while I was gone and stopped short.  They recognized Aaron.  Not from Reece's Rainbow, but because they follow our blog.  I've never met them but they are dear to my hearts.  Last year they brought the most beautiful babies home from Ethiopia. CALEB AND EDEN.  I followed their journey.  NOT because I was going to adopt.  Not for us!  This sweet couple was friends with another friend who was adopting and I stumbled upon THEIR blog while following the journey to KATYA.  I was a follower of blogs last summer.  (Three actually - I also followed ISABEL'S story).  But we were NOT going to adopt internationally.  I fell in the love with the children - cried, praying, cheered and marveled.  But it was definitely NOT for us.  International adoption - NO WAY! Domestic maybe but NOT international.  Especially NOT to Aaron's country!!

    God had other plans.  Through those three main blogs and the Holy Spirit whisperings and other encounters - when Aaron's picture flashed on the screen in front of my eyes back in December - our hearts were prepared and ... well... the rest is history. 

    In January, I wanted the blog writers to know that their adoptions were used by God in a mighty way.  One more little orphan will soon be home because of THEIR journeys.  I contacted them.   All three dear families have been praying for us ever since as we prayed for them. 

    On Saturday I met Caleb and Eden's parents.  A 'chance encounter'.  Thousands of people at a Convention.  Hundreds of booths.  They see Aaron.  We hugged, cried, shared, cried and hugged some more.  God stuns me.  I could feel His pleasure as He brought together two families on Saturday afternoon.  Heaven was laughing.  The family that said NO WAY to international adoption meets the family that helped move their stubborn hearts.  Amazing!

    

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I didn't disappear...

For all you faithful readers who wondered where I disappeared after my last post... I'm still alive.  I am in Richmond at a Homeschooling Convention.  I've been standing on hard concrete for the last three days and talking to tons of people about our curriculum and Aaron.  I'm a bit exhausted but have been so blessed by so many people who have offered words of encouragement and promises to lift Aaron up to the King of Kings!!

 Our hotel has internet but only in the lobby and so I have barely even been able to check e-mails.  Warms my heart to get e-mails from people wondering what happened to me... Thank you to so many for the encouraging e-mails and posts.  I am amazed at how God continues to meet our needs. 

Tonight I am going to meet two very special angels.  Their story is here....HAILEE AND HARPER....  For all the Reece's Rainbow families who read this blog and know Hailee and Harper.... They are now living an hour from us and only 10 minutes from where I am right now.   Seeing them is by far going to be the highlight of my week!  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Waiting...

     As each day passes it is getting harder and harder to wait.  I'm one of those annoying people who tends to bounce and jiggle their legs when sitting and especially when in a state of nervousness.  I burn a LOT of calories that way.  I've been sitting at the computer since 5:30 this morning working and just realized that I have been in constant motion the entire time.  My leg has been going constantly.  So much for trying to eat more and gain some of my lost weight back! 

     I worry.  I worry about our pile of precious papers sitting over there.  I worry that something will be wrong and that they will be rejected.  It is my greatest fear right now.  I confess.  I am battling my fears.  I will be so relieved when we receive a date.  Having those papers pass will be a day of great rejoicing for us.  Please pray.  It is ALL we can do yet it is the GREATEST thing we can do.  Lift up our little one to the Lord today.  Take the time to pray for our paperwork and for the hearts of those who read it.  Please pray.  Pray for Aaron and pray for Rob and me.  Pray that we will be filled with peace.  Pray that we will be able to just trust and rest that God is in control. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FAQ'S PART IV

Okay - Here are a few questions that we get a lot!  Money issues....

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER TWELVE:  How much does it cost to adopt from Aaron's country?

     It costs between 24,000 to 28,000.... In the winter it is cheaper because plane tickets are cheaper.  We are going at the peak of the season.  Ugh!

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER THIRTEEN:  Why does it cost so much? 

     That money covers....

STATESIDE EXPENSES (these are our rounded costs)

 Homestudy - 2,100.00
Birth certificates/marriage certificates - 200.00
Medicals - 120.00
Post office expenses - 350.00
USCIS - 830.00
Criminal checks/fingerprints etc. etc. - 140.00
Passports - 140.00
Classes - 160.00
Reece's Rainbow - 275.00
Certifying of documents - 360.00
Aaron's pictures - fundraising expenses - 175.00
Miscellaneous/gas/printer ink etc. - 175.00

AARON'S COUNTRY EXPENSES

8,600.00 - Facilitators fee in Aaron's country - This covers all the adoption expenses.  The facilitators are responsible to pay, negotiate, barter and do everything needed to help us bring Aaron home. 
6,500 - in-country expenses - lodging, transportation, food and miscellaneous
1,150 - Aaron's Visa, Medical and Passport
5,000-7,000 - flight!

There you have it... Add those numbers up and it is a lot!  Our adoption will cost around 28,000.  We are getting hit with higher travel costs and state-side costs than most but We have been in AWE of God's amazing provision!  How Great is our God!  Look at our thermometer on the top of this blog!  We have been given so much by so many people. 

(If you notice from above - the only fee we pay to Reece's Rainbow is 275.00 and this money is for a Trust Fund.  They do not charge a fee for helping us adopt.  That is a MAJOR savings!)

On an aside.... Aaron has money himself.  When he entered the orphanage, an account was opened up in his name and each month money is placed in that account.  When we become his PARENTS (how cool is that thought) we will be given access to Aaron's money.  We will not keep it.  It will be donated back to  the place where he is staying to benefit the children left behind.  It is a wonderful Reece's Rainbow policy and we will gladly and with great joy give that money back to the people who cared for him.  By donating back, through Reece's Rainbow, we are helping to build a long-term relationship with the orphanages and institutes in Aaron's country. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CHOICES!!

     Oh I am so sad for my oldest son.  He is having to make some hard choices in relation to this crazy adoption process.  Two things are happening this summer that he may/will miss!

     We are a drama loving family and the show this summer is going to be great.  Around and around we have gone to see if there is any way possible that Rob and the boys could be in the show.  We have tried - so hard - to figure out how to work it out.  The director has e-mailed and tried on her end to figure it out.  It boils down to a decision today that is unbearably hard to make.  We can't do it.  Ben was going to be cast as Benjamin in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  What a cool part in a really neat show.  Rob was going to be one of the other brothers.  Rob doesn't mind missing but it is killing dear Ben.  He loves drama.   Playing Benjamin would have been such a fun part. 

     Ben also loves swimming.  He swims every weekday and in the summer swims for two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening and coaches the younger children.  The biggest event of the summer swim season is the last big swim meet against ALL the teams in our region - 16 total.  Our team ranked 3rd last year and since it has only been in existence for 4 years - that is an amazing accomplishment.  Ben may miss part of the summer swimming and more importantly that last meet.

     It's hard.  We decided at the beginning of this journey that we wanted the boys to go with us on one of the trips.  We want Aaron to see them in his world and we want them to know what Aaron's world has been like for the last six years.   Time and again we have discussed taking the boys and we have time and again affirmed that taking them is important.  My heart's desire for my children is for them to grow into adulthood with hearts of love and compassion for God and for others.  Our blog is titled Micah Six Eight, a verse in the Bible that sums up my personal motto since college.  To love God and love others. 

     Ben is fifteen.  A hard age.  Part boy and part man.  God is molding him this summer.  It's hard to watch.  It's hard to see him having to choose.  We want it to be his choice.  He does have the option of staying.  He has chosen to go.  He wants to go get Aaron even though it hurts.  It isn't easy to hear him cry out his hurt at saying no to a part that means so much.  The pain will be even more intense if our schedule drops right on top of the biggest swim event of the season.   Justice and mercy are hard.  My oldest is learning this.  I'm learning the same lessons alongside him.
    

Monday, June 7, 2010

FAQ'S PART III

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER TEN:  What in the world is a dossier and what is in it?

     A dossier for an adoption is the entire set of papers required by the country from where you are adopting.  Ours includes a home study, marriage licenses, financial statements, birth certificates, house deeds, tax documents, medical forms and more.  Each paper had to be written up and notarized and then the notary who signed the paper had to be certified by the state. 
     Our dossier consisted of almost 40 papers.  None of them were exceptionally hard but if only one part on a piece of paper was wrong it had to be re-done.  Some of the things wrong were incredibly minor but perfection is required for each and every paper.  At least one of our papers was done three times to get it right.
     Each country has their own style of how a paper should be written up, notarized and certified.  Learning the ins and out of how to do the paperwork requires a lot of diligence, patience and possibly a PhD!  Thankfully the Reece's Rainbow U.S. facilitators take every single paper we do and look over them with a high-powered magnifying glass to make sure they are correct.  After the dossier is sent to the country it is inspected carefully by the facilitators in that country before it is submitted to the governmental adoption agency in that country.   

Prayer request about our dossier:  The governmental agency that processes adoptions currently has our dossier.  We are praying that all is well with those precious documents and that they will extend to us an appointment date within the next week or two!! 

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER ELEVEN:  Is Aaron going to have his own bedroom....

     Good question!  Yes and no.  Since birth, Ben and Elijah each had their own bedroom BUT from the time Elijah was born they slept in the same room.  They always stayed together by choice, changing only which bedroom they were going to sleep in each night.  Over a year ago Ben started asking for his own room and about six months later Elijah agreed and so now the boys are in two separate rooms. 
    Ben's room is going to be Aaron's and Ben has happily moved downstairs to the basement.  He loves being down there but knowing that dear little Aaron has been surrounded by children in cribs on all sides of him, the boys have agreed to give Aaron the same security that they gave each other for so many years.  For the first months that Aaron is home, Ben or Elijah will sleep in Ben's old bed in Aaron's new bedroom.  The room is currently being painted a happy blue color and will be decorated for a five year old little boy (pictures coming whenever Rob gets the room finished).  Aaron will have the comfort of one of his brothers in the room with him and Mom and Dad right down the hall.  I think he will like his new living arrangement!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

FAQ'S PART II

Here's another round of FAQ's.....

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER SEVEN:  How old is Aaron and what grade will he be in when he comes?


Aaron is five years old.  He will be six in August!  When he comes home we will consider him a Kindergartener.  At our Homeschooling Co-op he will be in both Kindergarten level classes and Pre-School.  Since his birthday is so close to the cut-off, he will just barely be the oldest in the class.  Of course Aaron will have a lot to overcome in his first year of 'kindergarten' so if it takes him an extra year... we have ALL the time in the world!

FAQ QUESTION NUMBER EIGHT:  Why do you have to make two trips to Aaron's country?

    The normal process for an adoption from Aaron's country is as follows:

  • Both parents travel 2-3 weeks to meet the child and go to court. 
  • After court there is a ten-day to three week waiting period.  This waiting period is designed so that if someone in his country wants to contest the adoption they have that right.  (Ugh!)  Some judges waive the waiting period but in the region where Aaron is living they are not known to waive it.  Because of this waiting period - most parents come home.
  • After the waiting period is over, one parent returns for 1-2 weeks to finish the adoption process (Aaron will need a passport, visa and medical before he can leave the country).
  • Home!
     We are unsure at this point how we will work this process.  One option is for all four of us to travel together for court.  Then I would stay during the waiting period and visit with Aaron each day.  After the waiting period I would bring our little guy home.  Another option would be for Rob and I to travel alone for court and then both of us come home.  The boys would go back with me to get Aaron on the second trip.  There are other options too but that is the gist.  Until we are given the appointment date we can't really plan what we are doing due to Ben and Elijah's summer schedules for swimming and Boy Scouts.

FAQ QUESTION NUMER NINE:  What size clothes does Aaron wear?

NO IDEA!  Wish I knew.  From what we have learned, the kids tend to be on the small size but we have no idea if Aaron will fall into that category.  He seems pretty tall in the pictures but very skinny.  I have found clothes in size 3t, 4t and 5.  Most of the clothes are 5's.  I've bought a few outfits in each size when I see them on the sale racks.  Depending on the way our trips land I may be staying the entire time and so we need to take some clothes with us.  If some of the clothes are too small then we will just donate them to the institute!  I'm still trying to figure out shoe issues.... It's been a long time since I bought a small shoe!   I'm a bit clueless in that department so anyone out there with 5 year olds can chime in!!  I'm thinking size 10??

That's it for now - will do some more another day ... If you have any FAQ's - post them on the comments and I will put the answers here...

Friday, June 4, 2010

FAQ's

So we have had a lot of questions asked about a whole host of topics surrounding our adopting Aaron.... As we wait so PATIENTLY for our travel date .... I will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions over the next week or so .... These are not in any particular order...

FAQ NUMBER ONE:  What's next...

     We are currently waiting for the governmental agency in Aaron's country to go through our dossier and then extend to us an appointment date.  Generally it takes 2-4 weeks for this to take place.  The appointment we are given can be as soon as five days later (not normal) to as far as four weeks.  It makes planning a bit hard since we literally have no idea when we will be in Aaron's country (4-8 weeks).  I'm not the greatest at dealing with flexible schedules so it will be one more lesson that the Lord is going to have me go through in this lesson-laden process!

FAQ NUMBER TWO:  Does Aaron know we are coming?

     No.  He will not know that we even exist until the day we walk into his institute and visit him for the first time.  

FAQ NUMBER THREE:  Does ANYONE know we are coming to get Aaron?

     We filed a paper about 3 months ago to the governmental agency in Aaron's country that deals with adoptions.  That paper indicated that we want to adopt Aaron.  At that point his file was pulled and as far as international adoptions are concerned, he is no longer available internationally.  In terms of in his own country he actually is still available to be adopted.  It is not something we like to think about but someone from Aaron's country could decide that they wanted him.  He is only held for us internationally. 

FAQ NUMBER FOUR:  Is 'Aaron' his real name?

     No.  Aaron's real name is a private name until after the adoption process.  Reece's Rainbow's director picked out the name 'Aaron' for our little guy in order to put him on the website.  We have a choice on the day we are legally assigned as his parents to give him the name of our choosing.   Most likely we will retain the name Aaron but are still making decisions on a second name.   You will know his full name on the day he is legally ours!

FAQ NUMBER FIVE:  Are the boys going with you to Aaron's country?

     Yes if at all possible.  We are still working out the details.

FAQ NUMBER SIX:  How many pictures do you have of Aaron?  Do you have a baby picture?

    We have only three pictures of our little guy.  Three! 


Imagine that. I have thousands of Ben and Elijah. I have framed two of the pictures of Aaron and they are in plain view in our kitchen/living area. I would have framed the third in a matching frame but had technical difficulties so that is a work in progress.... We do not have a baby picture of him but when we meet with the governmental agency in his country we may be able to get a baby picture from his file. Often the agency is willing to 'trade' pictures so we may give them a copy of our three little pictures in exchange for what is in his file. If they don't give us the pictures they may allow us to take a picture of the picture/s.



Those are a FEW of the many questions.... I will answer more as time goes on....Keep the prayers coming.  We need for our paperwork to PASS without issue and would love a travel date as soon as possible! 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

IT IS FINISHED!!


500 PEOPLE...

500 PIECES....

EVERY SINGLE PIECE REPRESENTS A PERSON WHO IS  HELPING TO

 'LOVE AARON HOME'!!!

Over the last two weeks we added these pieces....
 


THEN THESE PIECES...

TO EQUAL THIS.....



BEAUTIFUL!!

If you did not get your name on this puzzle and still want to donate to help "Love Aaron Home" - never fear.... We are planning on putting some kind of border around the puzzle and every person who donates from now on will have their name added onto that border. 

THANK YOU FOR FILLING UP OUR PUZZLE!


SUBMITTED...

OUR DOSSIER HAS BEEN SUBMITTED!!  PRAISE THE LORD!  I HAVE NO WORDS. 

We now wait for a travel date.  It could take up to three weeks but hopefully sooner!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What stress can do for you...

     Last night a nurse came by our house to meet with Rob and I about our life insurance policies.  Our current ones run out this month so we needed to renew and the current policy's rates skyrocketed so we shopped around.  We had to answer a boatload of questions, have blood drawn, pee in a cup (yuck), get our blood pressures taken and get weighed.  Rob lost 10 lbs.  So did I.  Now, for Rob to lose 10 lbs is no big deal.  For me... not so good.  I am little.  I was at the perfect weight already.  I had NO IDEA I lost 10 lbs.  That's what stress can do.  It isn't my appetite as much as the fact that my digestive tract does NOT like stress.  There is one small section that is chronically 'messed up' but has been in remission for over 5 years.  Now... it is rearing its ugly head.  Stress!  Yuck!  I've been trying to be careful but that is easier said than done when the child God lays on your heart is across the world, alone and lonely.  This adoption process has not exactly been a walk in the park.  It definitely affects me in the gut. 

So PLEASE JOIN WITH ME in prayer that the next step is EASY and that we are submitted tomorrow, that our papers pass inspection and that we get a travel date that is SOON!  The less stress, the better my digestive tract will be.  I can't afford to lose any more weight. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just waiting...

     Nothing to post.  Elijah is off on a four day 50-mile canoe trip.  Ben is beginning a summer of grueling swimming for his swim team (practices twice a day plus coaching).  I'm waiting.  Writing, cleaning, preparing and waiting.  Praying like crazy that we are submitted on Thursday, that nothing is wrong, that we get a travel date SOON and that we can go ASAP!  Just waiting.  Praying and waiting.    Calm my stomach Dear Lord, in all of this waiting!

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