Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How did we decide to adopt?

I think it's pretty common knowledge we had some struggle conceiving Audrey and Harper (ironically the treatment we pursued has a next to 0% multiples rate - ha!). But finally I was pregnant and I had a blissful 2 weeks basking in the knowledge. And then the morning sickness hit at 5w5d. And then at 5w6d we found out it was twins. And then, I had a rough go of a high risk pregnancy. And then we had a rough go of it in the NICU when they were born premature and Harper got rushed into emergency surgery. And then we had a rough go of it for the first few months while we all adjusted to our new normal.

When we were just finally getting into our groove, it happened.

I was still barely sleeping and stress and money worries (holy moly 2 infants in daycare!) were still hanging out.


There was no way we could afford another in daycare and still protect our financial future.

And then..

I saw her..

(We were not able to share this picture before we met her)

I wasn't expecting it. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'll never forget where I was or what I was doing. But I heard Him plain as day. "She's the one."

"The one what God? The one I'm to pray for? The one I'm to advocate for? The one? What does THE ONE mean??" I knew my questions were futile. I knew exactly what He meant before he answered. "She is your daughter," He whispered to me.

Without thinking, I fired off an email to find out more.

I emailed 2 friends her picture. They were confused. Honestly, I was confused.

I said, "But God, I have 2 babies! Special needs! This is too much! The time! The money! - I have to tell Rob!"

And then I wanted to passout.. oh my goodness.. I was going to have to tell Rob.

The next day, I emailed him her picture. I didn't have the guts to tell him in person. I simply said, "Can I have her?" He didn't answer so I clarfied, "I'm serious. I want her." (That's the actual words from my G-Chat transcript). Rob's heard crazy things from me before, but this might be the winner.

I got another picture.

She's just over 2 here. This is the earliest picture anyone has seen. The fact that she wasn't smiling in this one either strengthened my resolve.

We talked through it for a couple days. I tried to forget her. She was all I could think about. I spent hours researching everything I could - about her, about adoption, about Reece's Rainbow. The thought of having to live without her overtook me. Within a month we jumped in head first. They estimated the process would take 12-18 months and $35,000. I couldn't imagine the thought of either. The estimated budget is now over $50,000 and while it's a large sum of money for sure, it now represents LIFE. Her LIFE. I will pay anything to show her that she is precious, she is ours, she is valuable, she is LOVED.

This sweet girl will never go without a mommy and daddy again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

6th 4th

(Don't forget that we're still selling necklaces - go here for information!)

Another week has passed - where is the time going? I'm so happy that the weeks are passing quickly - it means it's one week closer to when we get to see you again! It also means one less week to get ready for you!

The last news we heard is still no news. I tried to think of a creative way to skip our third trip and just take 3 total, but our facilitator said it's just not possible. We are hopeful to hear something this week. We're desperate to get back to you!

We finally figured out what you are going to sleep on when you come home. It seems like it should have been an easy thing, but it was hard! One day this week Papa is going to put your bed together and then we can work on the finishing details of your room. Mama has already made you a quilt for your bed. Now I just need to make a couple of pillows, your curtains and a pillow sham for your bed. And hang the artwork and print your name letters and hang those up.

On July 3, we went to Annie's house for our annual July 4th trip. This is the 6th year we've done this - or the 6th 4th. Every year the cast of characters changes slightly, but it's always a good time. And the best part! We just have to bring food so it's free!

Here are all the pictures! Next year you get to come! Yay! And Taylor will be very happy she doesn't have to play with "all those babies!" And Olive gets to be there next year too if Olive's Mama braves the heat with a wee one :) And hopefully we'll be on our way to #7 too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Packing List - The Other Stuff

How about a little fun today?

Here's my list of things which are necessary for travelling to eastern Europe:
1. Lots of public restrooms didn't have toilet paper (or seats even)
Travel Flushable Wipes  

   Travel Toilet Paper

2. A good travel pillow - Another adoptive couple recommended these. I'm debating if they are worth the money since we have travel pillows already. They swear by the design though!
The Travel Pillow

3. Supplies to eat in your hotel room - at least breakfast
Space Saving Camp Pot - has a pot and bowls and sporks that nest inside each other.
A Freeze Dried Meal (there will be one night you just don't want to find food
Hot Pot (what good is the food you bring if you can't heat up water) - pack this with your food to save space

4. Luggage organization
XL Ziplocs - We split our clothes into 3 bags each - one outfit in the carry on and split the rest into the two suitcase bags. This way if a bag was lost, we'd have a change of clothes. We love these bags to do that since you can put clothes in them by outfit or day and then squash the air out of it like a space bag to save space. It also made it nice and organized to stack in the luggage and protected our clothes should a toiletry or all the vodka on the way back bust.

5. Technology
Travel Adapter - you can use a travel adapter for most electronics. Things which don't operate on dual voltage will also need a converter. This one is nice because the plugs slide in and out and it has 2 usb ports (so you can charge multiple items at once on the same plug)
Kindle - to read books on the plane and in your room - our tv didn't even work, but if it did, it would have been in a language we don't speak.
MacBook Air - to watch movies on the plane, blog, surf the internet. Luckily Rob has one for work that we were able to take. Couldn't afford this otherwise.

And.. once we pick up sweet girl here's some things we'll take just for her!
1. Travel Potty - In case we're somewhere and can't find her a restroom or in case she's scared of big potties in the hotel or airport.
2. Picture Dictionary - In her language so we can attempt to communicate basic needs (we'll also sign with her!)

3. Reusable Sticker Book - Dreading 10 hours on a plane with a preschooler already - hoping this helps!
4. Kids Headphones - So she can watch movies and listen to music with headphones that fit her!

Additional items I forgot or were suggested:
3. A small camera - for backup to the big one and so as not to freak your new child out on minute 1 with a huge camera in her face
4. Unlocked iPhone (add a Russian SIM for free local calls and cheaper long distance)
Chase Sapphire credit care - I'm a credit card snob and up until this point had two credit cards. I broke down and got the Chase Sapphire card because 1. it has no foreign transaction fees 2. it has decent rewards for travel

Also, please note that these links go through my friends, The Dismuke's, Amazon Associates page. What does that mean? It means that the price will be the same for you, but they will earn a percentage of the sale from Amazon. Why didn't we set one of these up? Well, easy, it's illegal in North Carolina.  

Hopefully I'll keep adding to this page as I remember more!

Monday, July 2, 2012

+7 days

It's been 7 days since we left your country. 10 days since we kissed your cheeks and said goodbye.

It feels like it's been a year, or more.
It feels like it was a dream, or maybe more appropriately, a nightmare. Where we got a wonderful week with you just to be ripped apart against our will.
It feels like we'll never get back to you.

Our next trip will be for court. We'll only get to see you 3-4 days for this trip too. We feel blessed that you live in the capital of your region so when we go for court we'll get more time with you. We don't know when court will be. We are hoping for August, but we've heard that lots of judges in other regions are taking August off.

I haven't blogged all week because it's painful. It's hard to take myself back to you in my mind but know that it'll be so much longer until we can come see you again.

I started selling little necklaces to help us raise the last little bit of money to bring you home.

Well, it doesn't feel like a little bit, but compared to the whole total, it's less. We started off thinking bringing you home would cost about $35,000. Wow, lots of money right? Well, when we got into it, we thought the total would be more like $45,000. But, now since we're trying to bring you home in the summer, it's going to be $55,000. Blah. Mama and Papa have wiped out all the easily accessible cash they had. And so many friends and your family have been trying to help too. We've come up with about $40k. We still need to find out where we can get $15k more. That's only 600 necklaces :)

Since 600 necklaces is unreasonable, we're also going to have 2 yard sales. One at grandma's house and one at our friend Lesli's house I think. I think we will try to do them on 7/21 and 7/28. We have had a few people give us some great stuff to sell, but we need lots more! Mama and Papa need to go through all their closets too and get more stuff! I've thought about going to the goodwill donation trailers at night and taking the donations people leave on the steps, but someone told me that was illegal. I don't know where else to get donations of things to sell. It's frustrating asking people for help when I feel like I am guilting them into helping.Maybe that will help us raise about $1000. Down to 560 necklaces, but I have a few more ideas of things we can try and sell. It's hard to put myself out there for you when no one but your mama and papa love you this much. I'm so afraid I'm bothering everyone and they will love you less because your Mama and Papa harassed them for fundraisers. 

In other news..

On Tuesday night, Mama and Papa and Audrey and Harper are going to the mountains to see Annie for the 4th of July. Leigh Anna, Kyle, Pickle and Olive are coming and so are Andy and Paige and Taylor. We hope to spend lots of time at the lake and eating good food! And it doesn't hurt that all we have to bring is food and everything else is free.

See how much fun it looks!

Okay, well Audrey doesn't look like she's having fun here, but when we weren't trying to get her into the water she loved it!

If you come home in September, then we will try to take a day trip to the mountains so you can see the house and the lake too. We have decided though that until at least Christmas we won't have you spend the night anywhere but in your own house. We want you to feel secure and comfortable before we ask you to sleep in another bed.

Missing you sweet girl....