WELCOME!

We are so excited to share our Ethiopian adoption adventure, and our CRAZY lives with all of you! Our hope is that it will encourage you to step out in faith to do what God has called you to do! There are FIELDS of fatherless children waiting for someone to care for them, to love them, to tell them of JESUS' love for them...will YOU be the one??







Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Christmas Pics........










Ava's First Christmas Home

Ava enjoyed Christmas to say the least! She actually thought it was a "place", and she kept saying "Go Christmas". She loved opening presents and was disappointed when they were all opened...she knew how this works!

So here are the pics:). Notice I didn't take a lot...sorry:)













Monday, December 13, 2010

"I Love You Mom, and Bonding"

You know I always knew that when Ava could speak more English, our struggles would lessen...and they are! A couple of weeks ago she said "I Love You, Mom", and gave me this giddy, silly, slightly embarrassed hug..but I knew she meant it, and so did I when I answered with, "I love you too, Ava."

It's all coming together...slowly but surely...but it IS!

As we have talked about adopting again, I don't want my relationship with her to get lost in the excitement/or anxiety of it all, so I will continue to update everyone about her:).

I also don't want to forget her birth country...I'm not sure what's in store for adoptions there...but it seems like the country is headed in a good direction, time will tell for sure. And although we will most likely not adopt from there(but, you know how this can all go;)), I want to still be involved in giving back to the children that are left behind.

I have heard of One Heart Bulgaria, but was so wrapped up in getting her home that I didn't do much with what I knew until now.

Below is a video and a link to their homepage. They have wonderful programs in many different orphanages across Bulgaria. I especially like the "Baba Program"...we all know how much these little ones need ATTENTION!

So, as we bring our little ones home...let's not forget the ones left behind..we can STILL make a difference!







Check out all they have to offer the little ones(and not so little ones)in BULGARIA!
http://www.oneheart-bg.org/programs.php

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where Lord??

As I said earlier, we have been doing a lot of research into African-American infant adoption. There is a NEED..who would have thought that in our own country there would be a need for families to adopt these beautiful brown skinned babies!! Not many are standing in line for them...as they are Caucasian... There is a NEED...no, they're not starving...but they are being aborted or thrown in the trash at times!!(as are Caucasian babies) SIIIIGGHHH!

Ethiopia: WOW! Ethiopia has always been on my heart...HUGE NEED!!!

Question: WHERE DO WE GO LORD!!!???? After seeing Depraved Indifference(check out my last post), my heart is absolutely torn apart for those little ones in Africa....and did anyone see Dateline with George Clooney in the Sudan?? Not about orphans, but still!!! They really have no hope at all. Yes, more and more families are adopting, but NOT NEARLY ENOUGH!..NOT MILLIONS to match the need!!!!

I've always been a "go where there is the greatest need" kind of girl....but boy am I struggling with this one...

Hubby wanted to stay in the US, so I began looking into foster-care adoption(this turned out to not be an option in our area), then AA domestic(found two great agencies via a bloggy friend)...then he said wherever...he's NO HELP AT ALL;)!

Honestly, traveling that far sounds scary to me...did I mention I HATE flying? Did I mention the scopolomine patch made my heart skip beats(for air sickness)?...did I mention that same patch didn't work the first 4 hours on the way home(so I was sick and dizzy)? More than that, I HATE leaving my kids behind with other people...I get soooooooo scared something will happen to one of them while I'm gone....I could not relax for one second in Bulgaria for worrying about them... I know, I know, "Where's your faith, Renae"? Did I mention that because of the elevation in Ethiopia, I would also have altitude sickness for two days while there????

Did I mention I can come up with LOTS of excuses for NOT going to Africa???!!!

So, where LORD?? Here....? There....?

How do I justify staying in the US?? How do I say "NO"? Does it matter "where"..?

I used to get so frustrated with adoptive parents who couldn't decide on a country...I used to think, "Gee-Whiz, just pick ONE...it doesn't matter WHERE..an orphan is an orphan!!"

Maybe I just need to take my own advice.....:)!

Would you pray for us as we make a decision this week? Would you pray for closed/open doors? Would you pray that I would not feel GUILTY no matter what we choose!:)

I'm just so thankful that we have seen the Lord's faithfulness in pulling together Ava's adoption...we KNOW that HE can do it again!!:)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eric Ludy - Depraved Indifference

I'm UNDONE!! This has convicted me BEYOND belief....Lord, may we be broken and spilled out for YOU!









Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm A BAD, BAD Blogger!

I can't for the life of me keep up with this blog!

Anyway..update.. Life is moving along:). Ava is doing well and is happy. Her newest thing is "narrating" my every move throughout the day! For example: "Mom wash dishes". "Mom clean up". "Mom take a shower"....and on, and on, and on it goes. This is how she's learning the language, but oh my!;)

She also likes to ask, "Doin' Mom?"...a LOT!

She is doing excellent on the potty, but just doesn't tell me when she has to go...she holds it until I take her...siiiiggghhh, again the language barrier.

She's eating better now...and I just gave up trying to get her to understand that she needs to eat first then drink...after every bite she would say "drink, please"..and I mean EVERY bite! So now, I give her a sippy cup with some milk/juice with her meal and if she drinks it all, she doesn't get more till the end(or not, depending on how much I gave her to begin with). I know, this is probably a "no-brainer" to you all, but I swear this has driven me bonkers!!!

Took her to the ophthalmologist Monday..only to be told that "yes, she's blind in her left eye"...ummmm, we drove an hour for that? We KNEW that;)! She will be getting glasses very soon though, and later(years down the road), she can get a "fake" eye...kinda scary..

Thanksgiving went well..we traveled to my family's house and she did well in the car(thank you Lord for the men/women who created portable DVD players...8 hours!!) Although, every time a movie was over, she would say "out, please". Poor kid, she had no idea what she was in for...and NO, she didn't sleep the whole time!!!! Did I mention it was 11 hours in the car on the way home....!??

We got our house all decorated for Christmas this weekend and I'm trying to concentrate on homeschooling, when I really want to bake cookies(and eat them), fudge(and eat it), and cranberry bread(and eat it)...we'll say how much longer we last...I LOVE homeschooling!

What else, oh yeah...we're updating our homestudy! And yes, it looks like we may be adopting again! Not sure where(probably US though), but just getting our ducks in a row while we decide;)! We've talked about going back to Bulgaria, and that is NOT out of the question, but we've discovered that there is a NEED for families for full African-American babies here in the US..so we'll see which way we go..praying and seeking direction right now. Okay, who am I kidding, I have the agency picked out for AA(thanks to a bloggy friend), and I'm ready to go either way...!

Now for some pictures:)!





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

De-Bunking the Myth

I have had so many encouraging words lately from you guys! BUT...you guys give me way TOO MUCH credit! Most times I'm so unsure about my sanity, my faith, my LIFE...

I try to say things that will encourage YOU....but inside I still struggle with...well, all of the above! I doubt my decisions...I doubt my ability to parent, homeschool, discipline, raise the beautiful children I've been given...

I'm afraid they're going to be scarred for life by something I've said...or not said..

I'm afraid that I'll miss God's "other" callings on my life because I'm too busy to sit and listen to Him speak! Or, I'll rush and do something crazy that really wasn't HIS plan..it was mine!

I'm afraid that I won't ever gain victory over the "ugly" that's in my life...

I'm afraid that what my mother said is true..I really WILL turn into a chocolate covered peanut if don't STOP eating so MANY of them!!!!!!

I'm just afraid....

Then I remember, He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.(2 Tim. 1:7)

So glad that today...and every day...He gives me the power to live a victorious life, cause I could NEVER do this without Him! SO, I will move forward in CONFIDENCE that GOD'S got this...even when I don't:).

Okay, rambling over!:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Three Months Home

I know it's been a while..but it's time for an update!

It's hard to believe it's been three months since we arrived home with Ava. She is still doing well...potty training is going well, she is speaking more English, etc..

She is now sleeping in her sister's room, and only wakes every once in a while screaming(she's not really awake though...night terrors?).

She is still very picky about food, but I'm seriously trying not to make it a battle...I tried in the beginning to always give her something she likes, but let's face it...she needs to learn to eat what everyone else has:).

She does have some curious habits I thought I would share. She likes SHOES..wants them on all the time...anyone's shoes will do...of course, they always wore shoes at the orphanage, so going barefoot is new;).

She would DRINK her meals if I would let her(not good for potty training though;))...she has to EAT first, then drink...we were told they didn't get a lot of milk, juice, etc..maybe only twice a day in the orphanage.

She loves to clean...

She would sit in a children's chair all day long if I let her...again, sitting on the floor is a little new...in fact, she use to grab her little chair and park it right in front of the shower until I was finished.. Honestly, this drove me bonkers!! But she's getting better.

Attachment....well, we thought she was doing well until we took her to Grandma's and left her with her siblings for a couple of hours...she never cried when we left, but cried when it was time to go home! She had apparently found a better deal at this house!! More than a little frustrating I can tell you! People may look at that as positive, but really it's not. Kids from institutions will go wherever/to whomever they get the most from. If you handed Ava to a stranger(a woman), she might cry for ten minutes, but as soon as she pulled out the candy Ava would quiet right down...as I think back about this, that's exactly what happened when we picked her up from the orphanage. Yes, I think she felt safe, but she's a very "lovey" child, so once she saw we were going to hold her(and give her candy), she was fine. All that to say, we will NOT be sending her to Sunday School, etc...for several months yet.

What else? She is counting to ten in English, and loves to look at books with me..

Oh yeah, the test results! We had a full metabolic blood screening done, and she does have mildly elevated levels of lead, and liver enzymes, so we retest in 6 months. She also has "small" red blood cells...or maybe she just meant the number was low...anyway, vitamin with iron daily... Everything else looked fine. A word of caution, make sure you take the medicals with you to the first pediatrician visit. Ava had a TB VACCINE, so if the doctor hadn't caught that she would have tested positive and put on meds for no reason... She always will test positive now because of the vaccine. We are waiting to get in to an opthalmologist about her detached retina.

She is no longer afraid of the vacuum or hair dryer(loves to have her hair dried), and we are working on her large motor skills outside. Her muscles are very weak compared to our other children at this age(obviously). So we are practicing throwing balls, kicking them, and climbing lots of steps!

We still can't decide if she is right or left-handed...hmmm... Puzzles are...well...puzzling to her...very difficult for her to do...she doesn't get the concept.

What else? I'm just blabbering on, but it's been a MONTH since I updated so I've got lots to say;)! Funny story: the other day I had Ava in the kitchen and I said,"Ava, this is the kitchen"..she got this really surprised look on her face and exclaimed in this slightly "drunken" drawl, "Wheresa chicken?!" Totally hilarious!

Oh yes, she LOVES her Daddy to pieces! In fact, she almost prefers him at home now(especially when we have a bad day)...but then she knows Daddy's buttons and can get what she wants from him! Seriously, be on the same page with your husband about expectations, because that little one will play you against each other like CRAZY! For example, she whines CONSTANTLY around him, wanting things, etc...but she KNOWS she will get NOTHING from me if she's whining!

And me? Well, I can honestly say this has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life...I'll be going along and then the bottom drops out! This little girl is forcing me to deal with issues that I thought I had under control...like anger, bitterness, temper... SINS! Sins that I have to deal with for her sake and mine! And I am...I'm surrendering to a holy GOD who can deliver and change me into the mother she needs! I'm fasting...I'm praying...and I see His hand working! I'm walking in obedience in the task He has given me, and He will fight the enemy on my behalf! I have to believe that...it's what my faith is built on...that He is Who He says He is, and will complete what He started over a year ago now in our hearts! I have friends that I can be totally honest with, who are praying for us as well...and I have a list of counselors if needed!

This adoption has not "ended" like I thought it would....but it's what we're dealing with now, and Ava is worth the work! She wasn't chosen by us...honestly, she wasn't...God had many opportunities to end this adoption process months ago...but HE set this child into our family, and HE knows what He's doing...even if I don't!

Would I adopt again....yes...because these children need families...but let's just say that NOW, my eyes are wide open! There really needs to be some honesty surrounding adoption...we see the lovely homecomings on youtube and can't wait for our turn...but what happens when it doesn't turn out that way? Did we miss "our" child? Did we hear God correctly? What have we DONE?!! It's OKAY! REALLY! Just be honest and prepared and let the relationship develop as it will...sometimes seemingly overnight, sometimes in a year(YIKES!)! This is not just your journey to a child...this is your journey into the woman of God you were created to be! For HIS glory, amen....;)!

Let me know if you have questions...email me..I'll be honest, I promise!

In the meantime, did you see that BEAUTIFUL little girl on the right-hand side of my blog???? She desperately needs a Mommy! Is it you???!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's The Scoop?

Okay, I'm sure you're all wondering what's going on with us;)! So here goes!


Doctor visit went well, but we are having a full bloodwork done, just in case..as well as a...well..."poop" screening too. She is constantly having this NASTY poopy, yucky stuff...so I want to be sure there's not some underlying issue there. We expected her to be a little "off" when we got home, but it's been 7 weeks, so just wondering.

I do question some other things..such as, when I speak to her, she repeats what I say(whether in Bulgarian or English), and doesn't really answer my questions..just repeats what I say. I seriously wonder if she knows any more Bulgarian than she does English at this point, other than the basic words. She still gets the boys names confused..maybe that's to be expected. There are times when I see a typical three year old, but mostly I wonder if she is beyond about an 18 month level...especially in the areas of language, etc. It does make communication VERY difficult, as well as setting any expectations of her. Maybe others can shed some light on the whole repeating issue.

She is still doing VERY well in every other area! She is going to Daddy most times he asks while we are at home, but when out and about she prefers me. In fact, when he comes home from work, she runs screaming for him along with the other kids:)! Very cute! She is also singing a Bulgarian/English version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star..very cute as well!

She's still terrified of the mower, the hair dryer, the vacuum...but the car is much better. This is all too funny since we took her to the fair(ours is pretty big), and all the noises there didn't bother her at all!!

Umm, what else...fine motor skills are pretty good. She can cut, scribbles some, and with BOTH hands! We have no idea if she is left or right-handed at this point.
She continues to play well with the other kids, and is giving us lots of kisses and hugs, so she is certainly attaching well!:)

She is eating a little more variety..but loves any kind of potato! I'm sure this was a staple in Bulgaria, so this is not surprising. LOVES french fries!

Okay, I'm finished boring you! I'm looking forward to seeing more kiddos being referred from Bulgaria SOON! HOPEFULLY!:)

Now to the pics!





Monday, August 16, 2010

Confessions of a MOM

This is an article the LORD brought to my attention via another bloggy friend a couple of days ago and let me tell you, it was absolutely what I needed to read!

And, it's written by a girl I went to high school with!!! I actually graduated with her sister and followed her somewhat horrendous journey to her daughter in Guatemala, right as it closed down. Anyway...read it! Ponder it! Pray over it! Be prepared!

http://www.rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=536

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bonding and Sunflowers

Where do I start???

Let me start with a story.... While we were in Bulgaria, on our way to Sliven to pick up Ava, we passed fields and fields of the most beautiful SUNFLOWERS! And as each field passed, I noticed that ALL the sunflowers in each field were facing the direction of the sun... As we returned that afternoon, they had "turned" and were still following the sun!....and I wondered if this was just a coincidence(after all who can be sure what anything looks like at 90 MPH!!)...

When we returned home my hubby did some searching, and sure enough, there is a chemical in the sunflower(or something...my mind tends to wander when exposed to all things scientific;)) that makes them turn to face the morning sun and the same in the afternoon(I think..). I can't help but think of the body of Christ as that field of beautiful sunflowers...stretching and looking up to THE SON for our daily nourishment and provision...totally in sync...totally dependent on the SON!

That's where I am today folks....stretching and yearning and looking to the SON for my daily provision...this bonding stuff is NOT coming easy for me, and I am struggling immensly! It's like a switch has been turned off in me...that's the only way I can describe it...where once there was compassion and love, there is emptiness and numbness...this totally STINKS!!!

So, I keep leaning and stretching toward the one who can fill me..day by day by day...

All this to say, please keep us in your prayers...the enemy seems to be winning(and yes, I believe it is a spiritual attack of massive proportions!)...but my GOD is bigger...so I'm leaning hard!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

NEW BLOG ADDRESS!!!

Okay, for NOW I'm finished setting up the new blog..it's awfully green..so that may change;).

It's no longer adoptingava.blogspot.com.

It is now intothefieldsofthefatherless.blogspot.com

What Now?

First of all, let me start by saying, Ava is still doing well! She is letting Daddy hold her more(I'm leaving them together tomorrow for a couple of hours..hope this goes well), she is swinging and playing outside more..before she just stood there and watched.. She is laying down for naps and bedtime without crying(I still rock for a few minutes and I lay there long enough for her to settle), she is not crying in the car anymore...until we stop and she sees the other kids getting..I make her stop crying before she gets out(I know, MEAN MOMMY!)..but usually just telling her "Ne Plachi"(no crying) once works:). She is throwing a few little fits here and there...but if I ignore her..she stops... Really that's about all..our lives seem extremely "normal" right now... The language barrier is driving ME bonkers, but she doesn't seem to mind...she just goes about her business:). Last night we had Daddy's birthday dinner at his mom's house and Ava did really well. I held her for a bit, then she got down and played with all the kids/cousins and had a blast..only checking in with me every now and then;)...she did MUCH better than I expected. We are also taking her to church with us on Sundays, and she sits with us(no nursery for a long time, till she understands we're not going to leave her forever, and she is SECURELY attached to us. Also, no one else holds her but me or Ben..which is fine, because she won't go to anyone else...sorry folks, she needs to know who the PRIMARY people are in her life..no "shallow" attachements right now). She has been to Wal-Mart, and restaurants and is fine(no anxiety) anywhere we go.

In the last post I left a link to a website that has GREAT lists of signs of healthy attachment, RAD, etc... I was so excited to find it! I'm even more excited that Ava actually is doing ALL the things listed on the "healthy attachment" list...for now...they say problems can still come later...hence the need for this great link;)!

Now...what's next for us? After 18 months of "adoption" planning and paperwork and advocating and crying with other families...what now? Do we just leave it all behind? I can't!!! I will continue to blog about our adoption and other related stuff....we still have a great responsibility to advocate for these children, even though our daughter is home.

I will still be praying for all of you and watching to see your journeys unfold, and I will continue to pray for direction as to what the next step is for our family... I have a strong desire to adopt again...and have a tremendous burden for HIV+ children and Ethiopia...but we just found out we have to put in a new septic system....yeah, that could/will cost THOUSANDS of dollars! I'm so bummed! So, if you know anyone in Northwest Ohio who installs septic systems CHEAP, let me know! But we are just praying...letting the Lord lead...and surrendering to whatever he calls us to do.

Adopting Ava was never about me having another child, or another daughter(have FOUR boys already...DUH!!:))...it has always been about following Jesus into the fields of fatherless children and bringing them into a family...or advocating for them in other ways... And I will continue to do just that..it is my PASSION..and the calling I believe the Lord has placed on my life. I can't wait to see what He does next in our lives:)! Surrendered! Wholly devoted! And may our prayer always be "Here am I, LORD send ME!"

I covet your prayers and friendship more than you know bloggy friends! So stay tuned, it's far from OVER:)!

By the way...I'm thinking of changing our blog title to "Into The Fields"...I think I like it:)!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just Sharin':)

Here's a couple of blogs to check out... Watch out..the first one's a DOOZY!;)

http://www.allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com (Go to Sunday, Aug.1st post)

http://www.A4everFamily.org (This one has GREAT articles on healthy attachment etc.)

I'll update you on Ava soon, I promise:).

Monday, July 26, 2010

How Long Has it Been??

Sorry, I'm behind as usual, but want to update everyone. Ava is still doing tremendously well! But here are some things I've observed;)....

*Her feet are "smooshed" from wearing shoes that were too small
*She has flat feet
*HATES the car seat(did I mention this already?)
*Is absolutely certain that sprinklers and swimming pools are NOT to play in!
*HATES bath time
*Has a very tiny belly button
*Has a TON of soft hair on her back..some on her legs, arms, and cheeks...
*Likes to play dress-up and "mommy"
*Corrects me when I try to give her the English word for something...She brings me her "obuvka", I say "shoe"...she hesitates and says "obuvka" and walks away!! Sooo funny!
*Makes this whiney noise when she wants something...to which my CHILDREN respond, "Ne Klencha"...NO WHINING...think I've overused that one??
*Is very happy wherever we go(once out of the car)..as long as I'm holding her..
*Is trusting Daddy more..sometimes...when she wants...if I'm not available..
*Sings in Bulgarian..too cute!
*Has learned to say "night-night", "Momma", "banana", "Bella", "Noah", "No", "shoe", "book", and my favorite, "OKAY!"...she yells this one over and over...it's hilarious!
*Is still a pretty picky eater
*LOVES her brothers and sister!
*POOPS 3 times a day!!!(this could make potty training VERY SCARY!)
*Sat on the potty twice..not scared..but no luck
*Is not interested in children's videos(but they're in English, so, duh!)
*Has a very raspy voice...thus the "strangled duck" sound when she cries and screams;)!
*Was not afraid of the animals at the zoo...yeah, we're nuts...but she did GREAT!

Okay, that's all...enjoy the pics:)!





















Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Sweet Memory




Today our Youth Pastor and his wife, Joe and Joanne Lott, lost their precious Haitian baby boy, Marcos, to meningitis. They have been in the adoption process approximately 7 months, and were so excited to meet this little guy. Please pray for them today, as I'm sure their hearts are breaking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LOVE My Bloggy Friends!!!

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and prayers!! Your support is wonderful to have!

We are adjusting well and Ava is now sleeping through the night! YAAAYY!!! She is also trying lots of new foods that she wouldn't try before...YAY! She is doing wonderfully well!!

I would never have guessed that she was in an orphanage for three years...! She doesn't rock herself or have any self-soothing habits other than sucking her fingers(ALL of them..one at a time!) Keep in mind, this is probably NOT the norm though...this little girl asserted herself more than the other kids(they told us this), so she probably got more attention because of it. She plays well with the other kids, and LOVES dress-up! She has even ventured onto the swing once or twice:).

Ben has been gone almost every night this week, so she really hasn't had a chance to be with him much yet...that'll change next week as his work schedule changes.

I'm worn out! Jet lag is kicking my butt and winning! But just wanted to give you a quick update:). And a THANK YOU!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Updates, etc.

We left Sofia at 7:30am on Saturday, July 10th, with me dizzy, nauseas, and light-headed...it was awful:(!! Not sure what happened... BUT...Ava did amazingly well and never cried once the whole trip home...she just sat on my lap and ate pretzel sticks and sucked her thumb..she didn't seem scared at all, just content..

Once home, she did just as well and went off with the kids to play...very happy and contented!:) She's probably thinking, "Hmmm, new orphanage, new kids, permanent caregiver...this is GREAT!"

She has attached to me very well, just as she did in January, and is slowly opening up to Daddy..more and more for sure. She does NOT like our dog, but as long as Bella is "contained", she goes about her business playing, etc.

She is eating better...moving up to string cheese and today, hot dog..okay, not necessarily healthy, but hey!

Last night was the first night she didn't wake up crying 3-4 times... We tried co-sleeping, but she is all over the place and still cries, so we opted for the crib next to our bed. That way, she knows we're there when/if she wakes us crying, but I don't get her out..I rub her back and talk in Bulgarian to her, and she's usually back down in a few minutes. To put her to sleep, I rock for about 15 minutes with her and put her down awake in her crib..she screams..for only 3-4 minutes(it's a mad, stubborn cry too), but I lay there and rub her back, again talking in Bulgarian till she falls asleep. I don't want to hold her till she falls asleep, because then she doesn't wake up in my arms...which may be more frightening than just going ahead and letting her cry for a couple of minutes at the beginning. We're being consistent with this, because it IS working! If I thought she was afraid at all of the crib or anything like that, we'd do it differently.

She really has been a breeze so far...fits right in, and just is having FUN! She's a very easygoing little girl. Although that stubborn streak is there...she gives me the dirtiest look when I tell her "NE" or reprimand her... I don't she's been told "Ne" much;)!

NOW........

For the gut wrenching honesty you're all looking for, RIGHT???? You may want to skip this part, if you prefer...

First of all, we have fought tooth and nail for this little girl to be in our family, prayed without ceasing for her, etc.... So, I can't tell you how shocked I was when, on that first night in the hotel..when she screamed for two hours...I realized...this is NOT my biological child! Duh, I know....but I never in a million years thought I would feel any differently toward her, not after what we went through to get her! I was totally "empty" as far as feeling all "lovey" toward her! What cold-hearted person would not love this child???????? I kept longing to feel that take-your-breath away love you feel when holding your bio child for the first time...it just wasn't there! I knew this COULD happen...have read about it....but KNEW it would not happen to ME!!!!! I KNEW not to fall in love with the referral photo....and I just trusted the love would be there... It's very overwhelming to say the least.... Could I really LOVE this child?????????? My heart was breaking for her and I just wanted to hop on a plane home!

I think I've realized this is probably a last ditch effort by the enemy to undermine what we've done in adopting Ava....I'm praying...without ceasing...for the love to grow stronger each day....for more patience with myself... I've just been SO SHOCKED by all this, that I want to run, and I can't! This little girl is OURS now...forever my daughter....stubbornness and all! All this to say....if this happens to you, don't beat yourself up! Get on your knees and ask to be filled with more of HIM and less of YOU! That's what I'm doing. This is probably more common than anyone realizes and is linked to Post-Adoption Depression, so don't be surprised like I was...be prepared! For all those following my adoption from the beginning, please don't judge me....it's hard to admit any of this, and I want to be of help to all of you still waiting...so I felt like I had to talk about it..especially since most of you already have bio kids...

I'm learning that this is like falling in love..It's a process..it takes time and getting to know them first..so that's what we're doing... If you have specific questions, please email me, I'll be honest, I promise:)!

Believe me when I say, Ava is doing excellent! She is happy and content and LOVES her siblings(and they her)! She loves being in my arms and is truly a joyful child! My husband loves her to pieces, even though she "shuns" him most of the time;)!

Would you pray with me that my heart is filled with "ooey-gooey" LOVE for our little Ava? I want her to have everything she deserves and so much more!

And if you already KNEW all this could happen...? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!!!????:)JK

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just the Facts...

I've been terrible at keeping up the blogging in Bulgaria! Sorry...so here are just the facts...

1. Embassy medical was a breeze..no crying:).
2. Embassy interview was also a breeze...no crying:).
3. Bedtime has gotten better, but she is definitely a "flopper"!
4. Has stopped eating anything other than pudding and pretzel sticks...oh well...
5. Hates baths
6. Hairdryers scare her to death!
7. She has decided Daddy is NOT an option for holding her right now...feeding is fine.
8. She likes the baby sling.
9. Likes walks and isn't afraid of the mall, stray dogs, or cats....
10. Seems pretty content...
11. Knows her name is Ava and calls herself that.
12. Is not potty trained as stated in medical...but who cares!
13. Can scream like a banshee! Suicide inducing screams!(this is without a doubt the toughest thing, because it DOESN'T make me want to cuddle her...it makes me want to run from the room!

What else? This is harder than I thought it would be....emotionally..but I'll talk about that later.

Oh yes, Bulgaria...we have seen nothing but the mall for four days...we're bored...but I'm NOT putting my child in a taxi here if I don't have to...they're totally insane!

There are stray dogs everywhere..and cats...but they leave you alone, and most are friendly...

Please feel free to email me any questions you may have...I know I'm not hitting everything you want to know, but I'd be glad to email you personally:)!

Click here for pics:)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2067120&id=1491220088&l=36ab9cf012

One more day, then HOME....ahhhh, that sounds soooo good!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gotcha! Day one...

We arrived at the orphanage in record time yesterday...could be that our driver was going 90mph..I'm NOT kidding!! We talked to the director a bit, then the psychologist, then we went out to the courtyard where she had already been changed into her "going home" clothes. She didn't seem to remember us, but she went to Daddy which was a huge step...we didn't take any pictures of anyone or the orphanage..yeah, I know..we just wanted to leave quick, because she was starting to SCREAM!!

She screamed for about 10 minutes, until we stopped and got her a sandwich for lunch...then she settled down and slept for a while. She didn't cry in the passport picture this time(had to redo because of the new system)...and she was fine the rest of the day.

Our apt. is near the Center Mall, so we ate supper there(she'll eat anything, YAY!)...I'm bummed because we are really far away from all the "sights"..so much for my plan to sightsee this time around...

Bedtime was HORRIBLE! I tried to lay down with her, and she screamed, so I rocked...that worked for a while(about an HOUR)..but she just wouldn't go to sleep..by this time it was 10:00pm. So, I layed her down again and she screamed for about 5 minutes then she got quiet and flopped for another hour...sucking each and every finger on her hand over and over and over...at 11:00 I just got up and left the room, so I guess she was asleep...but she flopped ALL NIGHT LONG!! Poor thing...probably wishing for her crib..something familiar:(....or maybe it was the pizza;)!

Today has been uneventful..she won't go to Ben at all today, so I'm carrying her around in the sling mostly...I'm tired, she's tired..but she's not screaming:)!

Off to the Dr. appt. now for the embassy...hoping for NO screaming...did I mention her scream could literally peel the paint off a wall!!!!!????? Something like a duck being strangled....no, seriously!

Did I mention she's very sweet, cute, and TINY! Wearing 18 mos. clothes and they're still baggy..size 5 shoe!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

5:30 A.M.

It's 5:30 a.m., and I've been up for the most part, since 2 a.m....can't sleep!

We're leaving in an hour for the orphanage(4 hours away)to pick up Ava, and then heading right back to apply for the passport, etc...busy, busy day....GOOD busy though, since our sweet girl will be with US finally:)!

The flights were on time, no lost luggage, food good, nice planes....terrible turbulence!! OH.MY.WORD!! The weather could not have been more perfect for flying, but BOTH planes flew through it! Scared the heck out of me! The pilot on the long flight apologized a couple of times and said this was not forcast at all...hmmm...

BUT, GOD IS FAITHFUL! We arrived on time and went straight to our apt, then the grocery, where we shopped alone..but pretty much could figure out what everything was though...prices were high on veggies, fruit, and meats..but the market itself was in this big mall, with lots of american fast food chains...so we'll eat just fine..

We did bring lots of snacks for Ava, since we don't really know what she'll like or will be able to chew...Nutri-grain bars, oatmeal, PB crackers, Goldfish, etc...and some gummie snacks for just pure bribery when needed...you know...like to even get in the car with us today!;)

Also packed a new anti-nausea chewable for kids called Bonine that was recommended by a friend for carsickness..so pray she likes it and maybe it will help her sleep on the trip back to Sofia as well.

What else?????????????? Enough for now...gotta go ready to pick up my DAUGHTER:):)::):)!!!!!

Pray for continued safety for the kiddos back home(especially my little Caleb...he's absolutely into everything and is sneaky to boot, so he needs a couple extra prayers!)

Pray for Ava's adjustment today and throughout the week...good health for all etc...

And if you all have questions, please ask, my brain may not work properly due to jet lag, etc...so I won't think of everything to tell you;).

I'll say one thing now though...when you hear the words "park"...as in, a place to go play....don't think "nice American park"...they're NOT the same...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Leaving On A Jet Plane:)!

At 5:40pm today we will be on our way to Sofia! We would LOVE for you to continue to pray for us...specifically, our kiddos staying behind(this Mama HATES leaving them!), that our flights are on time and our luggage arrives with us. Also, pray for me, that the jet lag and air sickness will not be a problem(thanks to my handy Scopolomine patch:)).

Pray for Ava, that she will be "happy" to go with us and will adjust well. Her little life is about to change in a major way, so pray that we'll have the wisdom to give her what she needs in the days ahead.

Pray that any further attempts by the enemy to stall our pick-up will be cast down by our great God!!!

This isn't the end bloggy friends...only the beginning!

See you in SOFIA!!!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Erased! Gone! Taken Away!

Got the call and you're not going to believe it! It was a FALSE ALARM! NO measles at her orphanage AT ALL! They think maybe it was another orphanage or something...I think God just erased it;)! We'll take it!

WOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm going to seriously need some strong anti-anxiety meds and large amounts of hair color when this is all over!

But, would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY!! Focus on the prize! That sweet little face kept us going all along!






Wednesday, June 30, 2010

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED!!

With only two days left till we are supposed to leave, we just found out that there is a quarantine at the orphanage because of MEASLES!!! We will have to put off the trip(and lose $4400 worth of tickets) if the orphanage says tomorrow that there is some sort of epidemic.

We are absolutely broken and devastated! Please pray that tomorrow brings good news for us.

We feel that from the beginning, Satan has been attacking us at every turn in this adoption...and we feel this may just be one more attempt...BUT GOD!!! HE is absolutely able to bring us through yet again!!!

Pray for Ava, that she is not affected by it...not sure about this...thought they were immunized, but...

Pray for travel as scheduled on SATURDAY!

Thank you so much for sticking with us through this craziness, we absolutely can't do it without your prayers!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Britt Nicole Walk on the water LYRICS!! HD Lost get found

An amazing song and challenge to all those on "the fence" about adopting or caring for orphans, especially those with special needs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whew!!! What A Week!

Oh my word! I am so tired! We had our yard sale last Friday and Saturday, and it was totally blessed by God! We sold another $250 worth of stuff AFTER the yard sale..WOO-HOO!!! And today I finally(nothing like waiting until the last minute:)) bought plane tickets... It's been a trying week of just pulling the money together a little at a time, but God has been faithful!

We will be flying from Detroit to Amsterdam(with 3 hour layover), then Amsterdam to Sofia. Same on the way back, but with only an hour and a half layover:)! Those of you who've been following our story know that I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE flying...in fact it terrifies me more than anything else in the world! So, to have only two planes(instead of THREE) to fly in is HUGE for me:). And this time we're flying Delta/Bulgaria air both ways...Lufthansa is absolutely the BEST, but the layovers were a killer!

My house is almost in order, and I'm eerily calm....maybe it's just exhaustion! I've decided to be more nervous and keyed up NEXT week(nothing like planning your moments of insanity!) This week, I just want to finish my hallway and take my kids to the lake or do something fun that we've been putting off...no emergencies please!

We will be staying in an apartment again(It was VERY nice...and had a washer/dryer...if only I had remembered to ask how in the world to use it!;). I've promised myself that I will do more sightseeing this time(it is summer, after all), and try to enjoy Bulgaria a little more...we'll see.

In 11 days I will be taking my daughter out of an orphanage for the LAST time...an orphan NO MORE...PRAISE GOD! I can't tell you how it hurts to think of leaving the others behind...hang in there families, there are beautiful precious children there...waiting for YOU to come and get them! Don't give up! They are worth waiting for...worth fighting for...worth praying for...worth loving! PLEASE just hang ON!

Prayer Requests:

My friend Kelly leaves Monday to go get TWO precious girlies in Bulgaria and bring them home, pray for their safety and that all goes perfect for them!

Another bloggy friend, Khat and her hubby are in Ethiopia right now picking up their precious babies as well, pray that they stay healthy and safe on their trip, and get home quick!

Pray for Ava, that she is being well-prepared(as she can be)for us to come for her..that Jesus is keeping us in her memory and that she won't be scared to go with us. That she is healthy and happy...she turns three on Friday, and it is so sad to not be there to celebrate her birthday..but we'll do that when we get back.:)

Pray that the last little bit of funds will come in...we're at the end here and getting anxious about some things, but we know our God is faithful and will provide for what He has called us to do!

Oh, and pray I will just CALM DOWN and enjoy the plane trip to Bulgaria....preferrably without the use of prescription drugs;)!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Off and Flying...AGAIN:)!

We got word this morning that the embassy has agreed to issue the visa and we are back to traveling July 3-10th! WOOOO-HOOOO! We heard it first from our congressman's office, so let that be a reminder, if you start having troubles in your adoption with the "higher-ups", maybe your congressman can help:)! We are so grateful for all the people who have faithfully prayed for us and for the awesome, yet uncomfortable privilege of making phone calls and writing emails, and fighting for our daughter. Yet we are reminded, that God could have done it just fine without us! To HIM be all the glory and honor! We do nothing apart from HIM!

So, now we shift our focus to raising lots of cold hard CASH for this last trip in less than three weeks! AAAAAAHHHHH!

Also need to finish stripping wallpaper off the hall wall, priming and painting it... Have our yard sale/fundraiser(pray it's a huge success), and we could still use more stuff for that, by the way;).

Book flights, hotel?, clean, etc. etc. etc.

Move crib downstairs by our bed...

SO MUCH TO DO!!!!!

Keep praying bloggy friends, HE is FAITHFUL!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday

It's Friday of the most challenging week in our adoption journey. We have contacted Congressmen, the Department of State, USCIS, the National Visa Center, and the US Embassy in Sofia...we are exhausted, but satisfied knowing we have done ALL we can possibly do to bring our daughter home. It's up to the Visa Office and the Embassy in Sofia to "discuss" our case. Now, we wait....

Two words...AT REFERRAL..apparently these SHOULD be following your requested age range on your homestudy/I800A...or else it is "interpreted" by the embassy to mean age at COMPLETION of the adoption. Although, this is apparently NOT a rule that is written down anywhere...don't you think it should be??? We need the embassy and the USCIS on the same page here folks! It's causing a huge mess right now for families adopting from Bulgaria.

Obviously, our defense is that our adoption is FINAL! Our paperwork went through 4 groups of people, I800A, I800, National Visa Center, and the provisional visa interview(which was held by the SAME guy!!!)...and this was never an issue...until NOW????? Come on!

We DID hear from our agency that we have a week or so before we lose our July 3rd travel date...

Did I mention that if we have to do the update he's requesting it will take months!


Did I mention our yard sale/fundraiser got rained out!! SIIIIGGHHH!

So, here are our prayer needs right now...

*That God sends SOMEONE with a soft heart to intervene on our behalf with the embassy and visa office as they "make a decision"...pray they will make one in the best interest of the child! Not the best interest of the embassy!

*The guy at the embassy that started this little party is off on vacation next week, pray his constituant will be tender and willing to "interpret" it differently:)..

*I would really like some news Monday if possible, I know that may seem too specific and ...demanding, but time really is slipping away from us.

*Pray that we will trust in His provision for the travel, it will cost about $5000 total...ummmm, we're not there yet!!! We know it'll come at exactly the right time though..and if you feel like "chipping in", just click that little button at the top left side:).

*Pray for Ava...she has a family now and doesn't even know it..and we have a daughter who is in an orphanage(unacceptable)...pray she is safe, happy, and healthy, and that Jesus is preparing her heart for us to come and get her!!! SOON!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Around and Around We Go

So..USCIS said to contact the State Department. Which I did..I talked to someone in charge of adoptions from Bulgaria and she is confused too. She said this usually does not happen in Hague cases...she's "heard" of it happening in others. She will contact the US Embassy in Bulgaria and ask what their reasoning is. She says maybe they messed up somewhere(which we know they didn't) or it has something to do with the age of our children, or her special need(Perfectly healthy-blind in one eye)..yeah, why didn't they state that as the cause for this?

The US Embassy apparently may have their own "policy" concerning age of the child..USCIS and Bulgarian law say that the child must be under(at) your approved(in your I800A) age..for example Ava was 28 months AT referral, which satisfies USCIS and Bulgarian requirements, but the embassy may have different rules..maybe they say she has to be under 2 1/2 when the adoption is COMPLETE...THIS IS TOTALLY INSANE!! How do they get to have different rules???

Contacted our Congressmen today as well...pray he can help... If this guy at the embassy gets to change the rules(wish I had known his were different), we'll be out $1000 on paperwork(have to have an updated HS and Supplement 3 form AND fingerprints) and about 3 weeks of time to get those done...or more..who knows? Which would mean no travel on July 3rd.

Did I mention that when you get your I800 approval and it is forwarded to the embassy in Bulgaria, then the official there approves it with an "Article 5" letter, which basically gives PERMISSION to obtain the visa..you know, the thing he won't let us have now..apparently he's changed his mind. Shouldn't that be against the law? He issued the Article 5 letter..we've been to court..she's OURS..PERIOD! We followed every law and were approved for this child.

I'm screaming inside today....praying with everything I have that this will not be allowed..PLEASE pray with me!

Monday, June 7, 2010

NOT TRAVELING....

At this moment everything is stalled...the US Embassy in Bulgaria is refusing to issue a visa appt for Ava because she is now over the age we requested. So, they want an updated homestudy and new immigration form, Supplement 3, reflecting her age now...contacted USCIS, waiting for a reply...this could take three days or three weeks..probably not traveling July 3rd...

THIS IS WAR! Satan is our enemy and he has made every attempt to stop us from bringing our daughter home! Please pray with us that these attacks will cease, and we will be able to travel that week anyway! I won't go down without a fight!

Pray that USCIS will either intercede for us with the embassy, or make it a very quick fix..accepting scanned copies until originals can be mailed, etc...our "girl" with USCIS has been fantastic with us in the past, so pray she's NOT on vacation this week! Also pray our home study agency is able to do this tomorrow as well..no vacations for her either!!:)

Pray that finances will come in through our yard sale this weekend, etc...this will cost an extra $340-$840 depending on what USCIS will accept...NOT in the plan people!

Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Travel Dates!

WOOO-HOOO! We have "tentative" travel dates of July 3-10th!! That's only 4 weeks away!!

NOW reality sets in...we have 4 weeks to come up with the rest of the money needed for travel, etc...GO GOD!! Can't wait to see Him provide!

Another reality...my kitchen is almost done, but it's taking FOREVER!! Yeah, I won't be painting for another ten years that's for sure! Then to my hall...OH MY WORD..there's 35 year old plaster under there!!!!! So, when I should be planning my trip, picking out toddler clothes, and basking in the glow of new "motherhood" again...I'm up to my eyeballs in paint and wallpaper and plaster....

We have decided to stay at the Princess Hotel in Sofia instead of the apt. this time. It has a pool! Plus, I felt a little isolated in the apt.. We should be able to walk to some popular attractions this time, so I'll be letting you know what happens with all that..remember I'm a terrible traveler..I may be zonked out in the room all week!:)

What else....Oh yeah, my new idea for exhaustion is to also take flights that only have 1 stop...the 4-6 hour layovers, and changing planes twice was horrible!

All for now..PLEASE pray for our family as we plan the finances, etc....we don't want this to be a stressful time, and we're just resting in God's provision.

Pray for Ava as well, that she will be calm and "ready" for her new Mommy and Daddy to bring her home.


*EDIT: Will NOT be staying at the Princess..just found out it's owned by the Italian Mafia!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Montage 1/28/10 at OneTrueMedia.com

Thought you might want to see her "in action"...okay, she never moved from my lap for four days, but she's SOOOO cute I had to share!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's a GIRL!!! It's OUR GIRL!!






Totally by the grace of our God...SHE'S OURS:)!! Still don't know travel dates..hopefully Monday!

Without further delay, inroducing our Sweet Ava!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fast Approaching!

Only FOUR more days till court!! YAAAAAAYYY! So excited, yet cautiously so...no more troubles, please!

Hopefully we'll get our travel dates that day also...then the official "freak-out" will begin:).

So, what have I been doing...well, my kitchen walls are stripped and ready for primer/paint....next the hallway(small hall)...then ripping carpet up in one of the boys' rooms...WHAT WAS I THINKING?????? I'm hoping we can get it all done before traveling...talk about NESTING:)! Kid's are wrapping up school... Not sure if I'm ready for the disruption of my routine that THAT will cause;)...


Prayer Requests:

*Chip-In button at the top says it all:) Yard sale fundraiser coming up June 11&12th!
*Pray that Ava is healthy, loved, and "ready" for us to take her home.
*Travel-UMMMMMM...still may travel alone...but ONLY if my friend Kelly travels at the same time..would be a miracle, but God did it before, and now I have a new friend:).
*Good health while traveling...HATE, HATE, HATE flying...!!!!!!
*That we would NOT travel the week of July 12th!! Our friends who are watching the kids for us will be out of town!!!! This is a HUGE request!
*That we would keep the LORD first in our lives!
*And...that I recover from my depression over the LOST series that ended last night...okay, this is a joke...but SERIOUSLY!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Heartbroken!!





I've been putting off posting this, but Wednesday morning, while we all lay sleeping...little Chrissie Patterson went home to be with Jesus. I can't tell you how much I've cried over this little girl in the past month!! I felt like I knew her and her family though we only met through the blog world...I felt their amazing love for this little girl, and I can't IMAGINE their loss!! They are planning to have a live link to the going home celebration(no funeral here:)) for all of us who followed and prayed while Chrissie was in the PICU...feel free to go to their website for further details. It's www.allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com

Will you please continue to pray for her family? Chrissie did NOT die an orphan..she did NOT die alone, without a Mommy and Daddy...her heart is now completely healed and she is running and dancing with Jesus(the two things she wanted to do most here!)

Also, I replaced her button with a Reece's Rainbow button...she was listed on this sight prior to her adoption and they helped give her a FAMILY. What a tribute to Chrissie it would be if you would go to the website and sponsor a child for adoption...or better yet, consider one of the HUNDREDS of children listed there for adoption into your family:).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Update

So finally, after 2 weeks, we now have our paperwork on it's way to Bulgaria...and we are eagerly awaiting court NEXT WEEK!! I guess we did need the extra time to get the paperwork done...:)

Today I'm thinking about little Chrissie Patterson(the little girl on the button, top left)...and how her Mom stepped out in faith to bring her home from Serbia..KNOWING she had heart problems that were "not compatible with life"...and KNOWING her GOD was bigger than any medical report! So much faith! It really has increased my faith to see God work in this family! I would never have brought this child home(let's be honest here), but they chose to love this little girl for whatever time they had with her, and then let God decide whether or not they get to keep her...WOW! Very selfless... If you haven't yet, go to their website www.allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com and read their story...it might just increase your faith to step out and adopt a child you never considered adopting before!!:) I know it has opened my heart! Please continue to pray for Chrissie's complete healing by our "Mighty To Save" God!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Here We Go Again!

As you have noticed, our blog is now private. Last week we were informed by our agency that there is a family(some families) watching our blog and basically repeating the same thing they did in October...that we were posting personal info about our daughter, our registration, our REQUEST for a referral..etc.. This is all a baldface LIE and we know the enemy is once again attacking! I wanted so much for our blog to be an encouragement to others on this journey..but instead it's being used by those who have grievences against their agencys, Bulgaria, the MOJ..whatever.

Also, I aired my frustration with the MOJ publicy...which I shouldn't have done...my "moments of insanity" came back to bite me. I don't want to jeopardize anyone's adoption, so hopefully this will blow over now that we're private..UUGGGHHH!

Enough said about that....

We did get all of our paperwork done and sent to our agency...only to discover that the letter from our social worker was NOT complete!! It was totally my fault...so now I'm waiting for her to either re-do the letter(quick fix), or give me a new letter, which I would have to take AGAIN to our Secretary of State's office(1 1/2 hour drive) this week to get apostilled. I've heard nothing today, so she must be out of the office...

I'm NOT freaking out though(which is unusual to say the least)...just trusting...and since I really am NOT in control of this adoption..trusting feels better than worrying:)!

So...I'm spending my time waiting and nesting...homeschooling, and hopefully painting the kitchen soon:).. Plus, my new coping mechanism is to ONLY think about the court date..which is ONLY THREE WEEKS away! Travel..I'll obsess(I mean think)about that later! One step at a time! So, in three weeks(if/WHEN we pass court), I will get to share my new "baby" with you..which means LOTS of pictures and VIDEOS..FINALLY! YAAAAAYYY! She is absolutely precious in every way and I really can't wait to share her with you!

So, for now..

*Pray for us as God(miraculously) provides financially..yet again...can't wait to see how! No worry here....:)

*Pray for us as we contemplate a future adoption...nuff said for now about that:)

*Pray for peace in my heart and strength to perhaps travel ALONE to Bulgaria..no peace about that yet!

*Pray for our sweet Bulgarian princess..that she is happy, well-fed, and healthy! That God would somehow prepare her heart to accept us as Mommy and Daddy..

*And for all those waiting for referrals...may God move swiftly to bring justice to these little ones..through your open arms!

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Do-Over"

Okay, I need to have a "do-over" here...my recent posts have been very negative and depressing, so here goes..!!

YAY!! We have a court date! WOO-HOO! It wasn't when we had hoped, but God knows what He's doing and we're jumping through whatever hoop this judge puts in front of us, so that we can finally, officially, be Ava's Mommy and Daddy!!

We have all "do-over's" in our paperwork done TODAY, so we will head to Columbus, AGAIN:), on Monday for those wonderful shiny gold stickers that I really think I pronounce incorrectly, but whatever!!! YAAAAYYYY again!!!!! And I'm really going to stop saying, "This is the last trip to Columbus, I promise!" to my kids...because apparently I'm not in control of this adoption at ALL...who knew!!:)

Let's see, what else??? Did I mention I have to return a huge bag of spring baby clothes, and exchange them for summer ones?? Okay, that might be fun...:)

Prayer requests on my heart today...

1. For a smooth trip to Columbus and a happy landing of our paperwork, via FedEx, in Oregon and Bulgaria.

2. For my spiritual life..quiet time with the Lord is a choice and sometimes I don't choose wisely...sitting quietly with Jesus is difficult for us "Martha" types(did I mention I have 5 children under 10...and I homeschool...and)...Also, for peace and faith to travel the remainder of this adoption road with all it's unknowns!

3. For the judge's heart...that we would find favor with him, and if possible that he would move up our court date a little:)...he gave us "extra" time to get the requested paperwork together, but since we don't need it...we're praying he'll move it up!

4. For our sweet Bulgarian princess...that she is healthy, safe, loved, and disciplined too...that she will somehow remember us, and not be afraid to leave the orphanage with us. We know she HATES cars AND leaving the orphanage, so we really need prayers for Jesus to comfort her heart as we put her in a car for 4 hours, and then a plane for 10..YIKES! I'm pulling out all the tricks to make sure she's happy on the trips...starting with candy! Hey, don't judge me;)!

5. For finances...flying in June or July will cost about $2000 more than it did in January, so this is a biggy! We're debating me going alone if we can't come up with all of it....YIKES again!

6. For my bloggy friend Kelly, who I'm almost sure Jesus put in my path for more reasons than just this adoption;), that she'll get a court date soon!

7. And for sweet Chrissie Patterson..her story is amazing, and I've never seen God move in such amazing ways as I have this past week!!! Yay GOD!!!! Click the button in the top left corner to pray for her...you will be blessed beyond measure:)!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today

Today I'm burdened...

Today I'm exhausted with waiting....

Today I want this to just be over.....

Today I'm a bucket of nerves and tears...and tears...and more tears!

Today I'm extremely sad for some reason......

Today I realized just HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS LITTLE GIRL!!!!

Today I want to hold her.....

Today I pray, but it seems so empty....

Today I wait...for someone to tell me I'm her Mommy...when in my heart I already AM!

Today I'm so thankful for friends who are praying for me...because I really don't have the strength.

Today....

But maybe TOMORROW.....God WILL.....!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Surrender

Today, no whining, I promise:). The recurring theme of the past couple of days has been "surrender"... This word is right up there with "submission" when it comes to difficulty in putting into practice. But it's what my God requires..surrender to His timeframe, His plan, His hopes for us.

So VERY, VERY difficult! I feel as though I'm giving up on my daughter...

But, I'm not...I won't give up interceding for her before the throne of a just and righteous God!! I won't give up hoping and praying for God to intervene NOW!!! I won't stop thinking about and loving her from an ocean away!!!

There is a balance to be had between surrendering to whatever God ordains for our family, and still believing that He is able and, many times, more than willing to answer our heart's cry for help! There is room for both!:) Delicate, difficult, balance.

My children are watching today...watching to see if I'm "thankful in all circumstances"...watching to see if I really do trust Jesus to bring our little girl home...watching me storm the gates of heaven on her behalf...watching to see if God really answers prayers...WATCHING!!!

And maybe today you are watching too, bloggy friends, to see if I'm going to trust the One who laid down His life to adopt ME...if I'm going to let Him be in control(when I want so much to do it myself)...watching me struggle with, what I've discovered, is my very teeny tiny faith...

So for today, I will rest in HIM(and His great love for me), wait for HIM(to move), pray for HIM(to intervene), and watch for HIM(to do what He does best..bring glory to Himself).

And tomorrow? I'll probably be back to obsessing about what's going on in our adoption...but hey, baby steps, right:)?

Monday, April 19, 2010

WARNING!!! Whining Ahead!!

I'm going to whine...so if you don't want to hear it, you might want to check out someone else's blog right now.

We got word today that our paperwork is STILL with the MOJ(6 weeks later)..has not been signed...and NOT in court....we don't know why. There have been no requests for more paperwork, etc..and we are very discouraged. We were told that the MOJ has 40 days to look over our dossier and sign it before turning it over to the courts(this is not what other families are experiencing that we know of). We are being told it may be mid-May before court...that puts travel at the end of June..6-8 weeks later than expected...5- 5 1/2 month process total since first trip..

I'm crying out to God for mercy right now...it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but when others at this stage are moving right along, it is devastating!!

Ava has a birthday at the end of June, and I'm heartbroken that she may spend yet another one in the orphanage. I fear she will forget us...that it's going to be harder to adjust for her...

I really need the Lord to increase my faith right now...cause I'm running low:(

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?(insert foot stomping here:))

It seems that every time we move forward a little, we get shoved back again...

Lord, give me peace right now, when I just want to rage against the world!!!!

Adoptive Family Stranded in Bulgaria...and other prayer requests

Today I'm asking for prayer for my bloggy friend Shelley who is "trapped" in Bulgaria with her newly adopted son, due to the volcanic eruption. She was supposed to come home on Sunday, but the airport in Sofia has shut down and as of right now, no flights are leaving Bulgaria until the flying conditions improve. She is stressed and her son is sick with some sort of respiratory infection and not getting better...please pray that God would settle this volcano so that they can get HOME and that her son would improve on the OTC medication she has with her.

Also, it has been seven weeks since the US Embassy accepted our I800 and we still have no court date, or any info on what the hold-up is..we are getting very concerned...and impatient. God has answered so many prayers throughout our adoption, and we are leaning heavy on Him now! Pray that we have answers soon, and that we will be able to travel soon to get our little Bulgarian Princess:)!

Also pray for the financing to come through for the last leg of our journey...we are concerned that with the volcano will come extremely expensive airline tickets..even through June...this we have NOT planned for..but we know God has:)!

Have any prayer needs? Post them here or go to my bloggy friend's Crazy Love Challenge at http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2010/04/crazy-love-challenge-2.html

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nothing New..again...:(

It's been 2 1/2 MORE weeks since we heard our paperwork was with the MOJ..total of about 5 weeks.. We don't know if it has been signed or not..we don't know if it's made it to a judge or not...we know NOTHING.. I'm so frustrated! I've been surprisingly patient and NOT worrying too much..but I'm at the end of that patience as of RIGHT NOW! God knows what's going on, He has it under control, but it sure would be nice to be in on that knowledge a little:)...no control issues here!LOL!

Hoping I'll have better news later this week for you!

Keep the Russian adoptive families in your prayers..they may have a mess to deal with in the aftermath of the latest "incident" involving an American adoptive mother...pray for accountability to be put in place in the Russian orphanages, so that children who are referred to families have accurate medicals, etc....although this may seem impossible given the cover-up that frequently takes place there...God knows their needs and has promised to "secure justice for the oppressed"! Let's stand in the gap for them! And let's pray this doesn't affect international adoptions in other Eastern European countries..namely, Bulgaria.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No News is....Well, NO News..

It's been a month since our letter was accepted and 2 1/2 weeks since we found out our paperwork was with the MOJ waiting for signatures.....SIIIGGHHH!!! So, what's going on...who knows! We just wait....and hope court has already, miraculously taken place and we passed:). That would be sooo great! We have no idea IF anything has been signed or even passed on to the courts yet...I'm a little afraid the big "meeting" last week actually set us back some...so what else is new?????????

I can't watch the videos of her, it's too hard...I just keep staring at one pitiful picture I have of her where she is laying her head on my shoulder and looks like she's been crying(it was just pink-eye...)...but I'm REALLY longing to hold her again!

I'm kind of envious of those adoption programs that give you updated info while you're waiting to bring your child home...it would be great to see how she's doing...or maybe it would make it worse...see, I'm a mess!

Ever notice how God's timing is NEVER the same as yours? All of you still waiting surely know what I mean! Forgive me for whining...

Oh well, until we have news...we have no news:).

Renae

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To all those in waiting...

An amazing worship song...and just what we need to hear!!:)

"I Have to Believe"(Angela Lewis and Angel Echo)..check it out on YouTube.

I can't figure out how to put it on my blog!!:)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And Forward We Go!

Just found out that our letter was accepted and all documents are now with the Ministry of Justice waiting to be signed. Then, off to court. This could still all take another 2-3 weeks, but at least we're moving forward again. I've never really felt like I needed to be kept constantly up-to-date about what's going on over there, as it pertains to our case that is, but after seeing friends suffer through this process, I'm learning to question things more and to definitely celebrate even these little steps. God is good!

Thanks for all your prayers and support!!!

Renae

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hiccup or HUGE SETBACK??????

So, here's the deal.. Our I800 was approved and wired to the embassy in Bulgaria. Our lawyer with VESTA went to the provisional VISA interview yesterday at the US embassy and was told that because our HS and I800A approval was for a child who was healthy or had minor/correctable needs, he didn't want to approve it...He wasn't sure we knew it was permanent...He wanted a new(or amended)HS and I800A that requested a child with serious needs..specific to our child's medical condition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IS HE CRAZY?????????????????? Never mind that I'm almost positive we signed a paper that stated we knew her need and accepted it...NEVER MIND that USCIS APPROVED it already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SOOOO, after many hours of arguing with this guy, they came to a "deal" of sorts...we have to submit a notarized letter, written by us, saying we are aware of her medical need and that it is NON-correctable...permanent...etc....

SOOOO, we got the letter written, notarized and scanned/emailed to the guy at the embassy today(why does this stuff always happen on Friday!!!!!!!!!!!)...AND we'll be FedExing the orginal(for a "small" fee:)) to Bulgaria.

Our lawyer says when he gets the emailed letter he will give the consent to continue with the adoption...

SOOOO, our prayer is that he will be having a better day on Monday and accept our letter and let us continue with adopting Ava...it seems so much is dependent on their mood(did I mention this was the US EMBASSY!!!!!!!!!!).

THANK YOU JESUS for angels at VESTA!!! They really fought for our family yesterday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Will the Wait Ever Be Over???????????????

Okay, I800 provisional approval done...check! Now what? Oh yes, now it travels to Bulgaria(via wire) and we wait on the lawyers there to do their thing, and get a court date set...we're still looking at 6-8 weeks before court, then a month after court for travel. This is hard...but the 3-4 month wait after first trip is pretty accurate:(...

In the meantime, I am VERY distracted by all that is going on with the orphans in Haiti! There is still so much need, and now that the media has gone, I don't want to forget that they still desperately need US! I'm so excited to see families come home with their kids, and I'm hoping for new legislation to be passed that will allow even more orphaned children to get out asap!(H.R.4603..check it out!). I just see God doing amazing things in Haiti right now and I love being a part of it:)!


Praying today for speedy referrals for all of you still waiting:)!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Approval!

Our I800 was approved and "sent on" yesterday! So excited..! More details later....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Received and in process!

We got our official "receipt" letter from USCIS..now we are officially "in process"...I LOVE these terms:)! I got the letter seven days after the I800 was mailed...so it seems they are moving very quickly! Now, the next step is the "approval" letter(the BEST of all letters...other than the final adoption decree:))...providing they don't lose something...or need extra info from Bulgaria or us...PRAY!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Doug's Blog: Special Video Report from Haiti

Doug's Blog: Special Video Report from Haiti

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Home Sweet Home!

We've been home almost a week now, and somehow our trip seems like a dream...like it never really happened! Then I watch our video of our sweet little girl and I can almost smell the orphanage again(a funny combo of ham, potatoes, and mustiness)! I'm ready to go back NOW! But, again we wait........

We got our I800/I864W sent off yesterday(pray it gets into the proper hands) via Fed Ex..and we have local criminal checks to apostille on Monday..then off to TOL with those.. Then...we wait...oh my goodness, I HATE waiting! I have a hard time concentrating on anything else..you know, like homeschooling my kids, housework, cooking, Bible study...all essential things! I must admit, Bible study and spending time in prayer(although I have prayed a LOT) has been sorely lacking the past several weeks. I had planned to catch up while in Bulgaria....yeah, that didn't work... I feel very distant from God(although I am experiencing great blessings!)..and I need to reconnect! Please pray that I'll have the discipline necessary to put HIM first above all else!

What else....hmmm.... Oh yes, please continue to pray for the children of HAITI who are still experiencing lack of food and water and adequate shelter. Our church has a group of doctors and nurses their now, so I would appreciate your prayers for them as well. God IS bringing good out of this earthquake and I think it's been a wake up call to many churches about the plight of orphaned children...I wish it hadn't taken an earthquake...but I pray we heed the call to step up and be a church that obeys God in EVERY area, including caring for orphans! Two families in our church got to bring their children home from Haiti this week, and we are so excited to meet these precious little ones! HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE!!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Farewell!

We said goodbye to our little girl yesterday morning around 11:10am to catch a bus back to Sofia, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be...although they keep every building, car, bus, etc....HOT inside! They showed us her room where she sleeps and plays with the children in her group. There were about 14 children in there including our daughter. Most were boys, a couple were "rocking"...they were all around 2 years old. There were no toys hardly..in fact they were playing with empty dishsoap bottles..and there were two caregivers there that we had never met..hmmmm... They were dressed well and looked clean(the children)...they were very interested in who we were. One little girl who was rocking when we came in got up, and I waved to her, she smiled back with this huge smile and we waved and blew kisses to each other. She walked over to me and I reached out my hand which she took right away...it was heart breaking...I was holding Ava the whole time because she didn't want to get down(love it!). The sleeping area was drab and dreary..although they did hang pictures of the adopting families over their child's crib. There was one Italian family and one Canadian family's picture on the wall. I'm sure they do their best, but I'll bringing toys for the orphanage with me on the pick-up trip! They do have play "rooms" though...so maybe that's why there weren't so many in this room..... I kept thinking, does my daughter rock like that when I'm not around...when she's bored...when she's tired...when she wants to be held? They only time I saw her do a rocking motion was when she sat down to put her shoes on...it was an "I'm anxious", "let's get on with eating" rock:). They said she does suck her fingers to go to sleep, although I didn't see that either. They did let me leave all the toys I brought to use during our visits, with her...plus some clothes for her(they will be just for her..although I don't care if they share them), and some candy for the kids..so hopefully she'll remember us a little...Oh, and we did leave a photo album with pictures of our kids back home and some of our visit with her as well... They know we are changing her name, so they will prepare her for that as well.

We were told by the director that they did contact the hospital where she was born, and they spoke to the birthmother and asked about alcohol use during pregnancy...she said( and apparently the hospital knows her) she did not use alcohol or cigarretes during the pregnancy...I appreciate their contacting her! Take everything with a grain of salt though!

We didn't cry when we left...just want to get home, get the paperwork started and get BACK to get her!!! Of course, I wish she were with us now...and I wonder if she will begin to exhibit some of those "institutional" behaviors in the meantime...but Jesus is watching over her, and now I just have this urgent determination to get all the paperwork completed as fast as possible!:)

Back in our apartment in Sofia now, and I thought we would do a lot of "sightseeing"....too TIRED! We slept 12 HOURS last night! Plus, it's COLD! We have a wonderful apartment downtown and ate at KFC today! We have eaten other more traditional places too, though....just needed a little reminder of home...what is Coca-Cola LIGHT anyway??? Need DIET Coke!!

Leaving EARLY tomorrow(4:30am) to get to the airport, so I'll say "Good-Bye" from Sofia and see you all back home!:) Thank you all for your prayers....well, don't stop because I still have two plane rides, and a two hour drive to get home:)!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day Three

Today was spent giving gifts to the director of the orphanage, the caregivers, nurses, etc... They were all very appreciative. The director showed us several pictures of her they have taken the last two years and a huge file on her...which we LOVED(the pictures...we get to keep them when we come pick her up, YAY!!). We did ask about the mother consuming any alcohol during pregnancy...but she stated that there, the social workers meet with the mothers and this is not something they ask them. But, she is going to try and find out for us. Not that we see any warning signs, but we have to have eyes wide open!

We also found out that Ava does NOT like cars or new places...they had to take her for a picture for her visa, etc..for later in the process.. They said she screamed the whole way:(...doesn't bode well for the 4 hour trip from her town to Sofia on the pick-up trip. They fly some of the children because of this...

They let us feed her a snack and lunch while we're there and let me tell you, this tiny one can eat! They eat breakfast, then have a morning snack(something like a Little Debbie), then lunch...which consists of soup, a stew with pork/chicken and potatoes, and a fruit for dessert(no drink for lunch...weird). She feeds herself like a little machine and she doesn't leave a CRUMB! It's not like she's starving...they feed them appropriate amounts...but she packs it away...catching up I guess:). She did let me feed her some, but they are so used to doing everything independently and without help..they look like little robots sometimes... But she did let me help feed her, so that's good for bonding, etc...

She doesn't like the bubbles I brought..not impressive and she doesn't like them on her fingers..sticky you know.. She loved playing with some barrettes we brought for her. She spent a long time just taking them off the cardboard thingy and putting them back on. Same with the crayons I brought...she loved dumping them and putting them back in the box. She's not very active(not in front of us anyway)...she was content to sit on my lap for the whole time and look at the stuff we brought. She's very tactile. She did talk some today..she said baby and bear in Bulgarian....they say she can say several words and is just being shy. Oh, and she said "Ciao" when we left.

Tomorrow we get to see her room(and crib), as well as her with the other children, I think(Lord protect my heart!). There are 65 children in this particular orphanage, but we have been confined to the playroom, so we haven't seen any.

I would say the only "institution" type behavior I've seen is how she reacts to the routine as mentioned above. The caregiver comes in, she immediately gets up and goes to get her shoes on(in the same place everytime), or she sits down at the table and begins to eat...very robotic...but after that, she seems like any other little girl.

Tomorrow we go back to Sofia and officially sign our acceptance papers. I'm okay with leaving her, because they really do love her and she is happy to go with them every time...plus, the sooner I go home, the sooner I can get back to get her:)! I have more pics for you if you email me...please keep private, friends!:)