Monday, September 30, 2013

It is time for 31 Days Of....

It is that time of year again... the 31 days of! There is this thing over at the blog The Nester where you blog on a topic for 31 days. That is right, every day you write. And, last year I wrote 31 days of "Things I have Learned from my Children." I loved it. I learned during that month and over the past year, that I do like some discipline in my life. The accountability of actually sitting down and writing because I said I would do it, even if no one is actually reading is good for me. Because as a mom, with days that go on, laundry that is always being done, and put away and needs to be done again, it seems no one really notices if I actually accomplished something in that day. Yes, moms accomplish lots in that day, but sometimes it is hard to tell even when you are the mom accomplishing it all, and looking behind you to see, it does not really look any different. Well, writing is different. It is there, an accomplishment, a goal that can be seen and that is why I am writing again this month. Not because I really have time to fit one more thing in my day, but because I have find time to fit this in.

One year ago, we had just moved to a new town, starting a new job and we were starting to get back into the normal of life. I never imagined that a year later we would be here in the middle of one of the biggest steps of faith we had ever taken, and so completely sure of it being where we were meant to be. This thing has taken over quite a bit of my life... this thing called adoption. SO, this month, October, will be thirty one days of Adoption! My hope is to cover some of it, probably not all. Some of the bumps of the journey, some of the fears, some of the things that I have learned and where our family is at on the journey. BUT I also hope to talk about some other families adopting, my world has gotten a whole lot bigger with this journey, and we know so many people walking this journey with us! AND, I want to talk about the kids, some of those who are waiting. There are thousands, and my prayer is maybe God, will work in some hearts to move maybe even just one family to take a step of faith. And I want to give faces to people to pray. These children are not known and not prayed for, they are often alone and hungry, and I know that God can meet them exactly where they are at, so I am hoping I can share some pictures at least some stories of children who need someone to pray for them. AND finally some of it will just be the practical stuff of adoption, grants to apply for, fundraising hiccups, talking to family, etc. I think I probably could write for one hundred and thirty one days on Adoption. I would love if you would join me, and read along for 31 Days of Adoption!

Day 1: Introduction to 31 Days
Day 2: So Far the Scariest Part for Me...
Day 3: The Hardest the Waiting
Day 4: Fundraising and Adoption
Day 5: My Favorite Blogs on Adoption
Day 6: A Little Bit More of a Fundraiser
Day 7: A Few of the Differences
Day 8: We Got It!!!
Day 9: Adoption Grants

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A bit of a repeat that came with a Warning-- this post is still a little Sappy!

This time of year I am full of thankfulness. I love fall and cooler weather, although it is taking longer to get here in Arkansas, than back in Wisconsin. But I also get to celebrate two of my favorite people. Monday was Anya's birthday and today, Nathan! Eleven years ago, we came home from the hospital, on his birthday. It was my present to him, his first baby girl, and I have never been able to top it.

Each year though, I have fallen more in love with this man! He is amazing and funny and smart! Last year I wrote a post that described my love for him so well, that I am going to repost it, but add on one more "I Love" for the one more year of life I have had with him!

This year has been crazy and life even crazier, but there is no one I would rather spend my crazy life with than you, Nathan Jacobs!

So here is my post from last year... (it still applies, even more)

Sometimes I hold my breath, trying to change the rhythm. Breathing on cue; I panic because suddenly, it does not work like it is supposed to. I feel like I am drowning and I can not breathe. Or, I stop blinking and then try to start and it is hard to see because every blink is an effort, and I wonder maybe this is what my life will be like forever, the effort of breathing and blinking. But then in the middle of all my work I realize I am doing it on my own again. This is not a habit or something I learned. It is part of who I am. I am alive; breathing, blinking alive. And somehow or time or where that is what happened to my heart, with you.

If I tried to stop loving you, to start a different rhythm, I would feel like I was going to die. Because my heart is not in the habit of loving you. My love for you has become a part of who I am. My love for you is just like breathing and blinking, it is part my living. The kind of love that when things go wrong, I start to panic, because my heart is off. I work to make it right, I try to make my heart beat right. But then, I realize in the midst that my heart is right back to where it is supposed to be. It knows you so completely, the rhythm of you.

And, today we are celebrating YOU, my love. Your day! Today I get to celebrate what an amazing man I love with all my heart.

In honor of 35 36 years of life, here are thirty six things I love about you!

1.That for twenty one days you officially get to be one year older than me.

2. Your laugh

3. Your smile

4. That you always put our family first.
5. You care about the hearts of our children
6. Your eyes
7. That you can make up something to eat in the kitchen from WHATEVER is available...
8. and that you always let the kids help
9. That you work hard
10. Watching you paint
11. Watching you hold our children for the first time.
12. Watching you hold our children as they have grown.
13. Going for walks with you
14. Going on adventures with you
15. When you make up stories
16. That you always stop for people on the side of the road
17. You do not get mad when I call you just because I need to
18. That you hate to fight as much as I do
19. That you support most of my crazy plans
20. That you go camping with me even though you hate it...
21. That when I realize camping is not as much fun as an adult and whine a lot you still go camping with me again in case it is going to get better.
22. What you believe
23. Your passion for what you believe
24. That you have full faith in me in crisis situations, most husbands might run to the rescue when their wife is lost in the dark and rain, but you with full confidence just ask me to call when I am safe:)
25. Holding your hand
26. Seeing you live your dreams
27. Sharing our dreams with each other
28. That you cry when you think about our kids growing  up
29. Laughing with you
30. Kissing you
31. That I can trust you completely.
32. Playing Ticket to Ride with you....
33. That you understand that I cry when I lose at Ticket to Ride or any game for that matter
34. Your faith
35. That my love for you is part of who I am
36. That our hearts break for the very same thing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to Anya!

It has been another year...

My sweet Anya, today, you turn eleven! I can hardly imagine you are that old, but I can also not imagine that I had a world, a life before you were ever a part of it. I think of you and think of our song, the one I sang when you were little...

dance with me Anastasia Grace and we will go to a faraway place...

Oh the adventures we have had and the places we have been since those days I sang you that song. I remember it so clearly in your grandparents living room, in the late night before we moved across the country, ready to start a new adventure in life. I sang to you, and you quieted and slept, so sure that I could take care of you, me, not so sure. But I was ever so sure to try.

Now eleven years later, we have been a lot of places and you are starting to have adventures of your own. You are learning to play the flute and volleyball. You play with the fierceness that you have taken on all of your life. Often in tears because you cannot do it just right. But you do not stop, you keep working and trying and you make it, you get better, you play the song all the way through. I admire you for your drive. I am so proud of the girl you are and look forward to the girl you are becoming.

You are a great friend and sister! You are smart, determined, creative, thoughtful, kind, generous, sweet and so much fun. You are beautiful inside and out, and I am so thankful that you are my daughter!

Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Adopt Together

Really quick and short...
Today we were approved to be apart of adopt together. This is a crowd fundraising site that allows donors to donate to a non profit organization that is then tax deductible. You can designate donations to our family, if you are interested in doing this, at this website... You can still donate on this site, but it is not tax deductible. Anyone that donates over $10 in these two months leading up to my race again will be put on my shirt for the race to bring Hami Home! And everyone over the past seven months and months to go giving more than $5 will be put on our signature quilt we are giving Hami when he gets home, to let him know all the people who cared enough to bring him here. Since Saturday, we have received over $1000.00 in donations, we are SO, SO thankful!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another Update

A week and a half ago I called again to ask if they had ANY updates on our I800A, the last document we need approved for our dossier to be complete. They said,"No, you have not been assigned an officer yet." An officer is what you need to get an adopotion application approved, and we still did not have one. Last Friday, I called back and they said, "Congratulations, you got approved today!" "Your letter should come next week." So, we are approved. Once we get this document in the mail, we will have to have it notarized and apostilled and then our dossier will be complete. The rest is already in Eastern Europe being translated.

The committee that meets for International Adoptions was meeting on September 4th. I knew this document would not be there in time. I was okay with this; there was nothing I could do. I waited. Tuesday the document did not come. Wednesday it did not come. I was sure it should have by Wednesday. I began to wonder if they had made a mistake. What if we really were not approved? I was so disappointed on Wednesday.

Thursday the 5th I woke up, and in my facebook group I saw that the committee had not met. They had postponed their meeting a couple of weeks. If the document had come Tuesday or Wednesday, I would have mailed it to our Secretary of State; but if I had done that, there would be no guarantee it would make it to our agency and then on to Eastern Europe in time. BUT it had not come, not until after the meeting had been delayed. I asked my case worker if it arrived before the postponed meeting, would the committee review it? She said, "Maybe." So, I moved out on a maybe, since maybe is better than impossible.

I called some great college girls who have offered to watch our children when we need them. They worked out their schedules and came for the entire day on Friday. I once again made the four hour trip to Little Rock to have this last document apostilled. They remembered me, the crazy lady who drives hours for documents. They apostilled it in fifteen minutes. It was in the mail ten minutes later, and it will be at our adoption agency Monday, ready to go to Bulgaria and maybe in time for the postponed committee meeting. I drove four hours home again.

There is no guarantee that the committee will review our dossier at this meeting, but there is a chance. We are praying they do. We would appreciate it if others pray with us. Once we get our referral, a few weeks later we will go and meet our little man in Eastern Europe.

So, what now? While we wait we are going to fundraise like crazy. Now that we are through these stages, we will apply for grants and keep asking and trusting. We have raised $17,494 toward our goal, which is amazing. We are over half way there. It will take another $14,000-17,000 to bring Hamilton home. I am putting the "Cost of Adoption" bit below to show where we are and what we have left.

Here it goes.

Application $500-$700 (paid)
Homestudy $1000- $3000 (paid)
Country Fees $5000-$10000 ($2600 paid--$8000 left)
Agency Fee $6000- $8000 (paid)
Post-Adoption $300-$1000
Adoption Education Courses $50-$150 (paid)_
United States Citizenship/Immigration Filing Fee $740 (paid)
Fingerprinting (2) $84 (paid)
Passports (2) $270 (paid)
Notarizing $500 (so far we have someone who does this for free! Yeah!)-- although this Apostilling thing probably goes in here and it costs $2-$10/document/everything needs to be apostilled  (paid)
2 round trip airfares for two adults $4000-6000 (estimate)
Child's one way airfare (I can't wait til we get to get this!) $500-1000 (estimate)
In country lodging/meals $1000-3000 (complete estimate)
Medical for Child's visa $100
Child's US Visa $230
Incidentals $500 (just an estimate again!)

Just for real numbers before our first trip, the country fee and the cost of travel is approximately $8,000-$9000.

I am training for my first marathon. I am registered for the St. Louis Rock-n-Roll marathon October 27th. Often when I run I think of this little boy who cannot run, who spends his days not running or playing. It makes me run more. And, I would love to run this marathon for him. If you would like to donate $10 or more, I will put your name on a shirt that I am planning to wear for the race. The shirt will have Hami's picture, and will say I am running to bring Hami home. It will have on it all the names of those joining with me to bring him home.

We are also applying for grants and working on getting some other things together to help fundraise. We are also continuing to keep names to put on a quilt for Hami. Anyone who has given $5 or more will be named on a signature quilt for Hamilton when he arrives home.

If you have any questions, please let us know! If you want to donate, you can click on the donate button on this blog.