Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moving Right Along

Our I600 was approved last Thursday! We are now officially a family in both the US and Congo! Getting that green paper in the mail was such an amazing feeling. It came with a complete set of all our court documents, translations and histories. I feel so blessed to someday be able to share all these with the girls; they will have a true sense of their heritage.

Next up is the embassy appointment. I have been (uh, hem) patiently waiting for it. Then all that's left is an embassy investigation and exit visas for the girls. I think I can safely say we are in the home stretch. Of course, until I am back in the US with my daughters I will not really feel we are done...and then we never will be being parents and all.

So, we have one more Christmas to get through, one more New Year's Eve and then we should be good to fly to Africa (inshallah!- a great Arabic word we need to adopt into English...it means God willing, I hope, fingers crossed and if God wills it all in one, a great word!).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Counting My Blessings Tonight

Tonight I am sitting here thinking of the birth place of my children and my heart aches, yet I feel so blessed at the same time. I can't help but be thankful for living in a country where I don't have to worry about militias taking my home and my body and my family. 

I live in a place where I can be educated and (hopefully) live well into my golden years. I am able to choose who I marry, and I will never experience poverty to the level of life or death. 

My heart aches because my girls are still there, still waiting for their mama. If anything escalates into Kinshasa I don't know what I will do. Today I have written senators, news agencies and friends about M23, and having the freedom to do that is amazing too.

As Thanksgiving comes and we watch the parades on TV while eating tons of food with those we love, let's not forget the Congolese. Let's all pray for the rebels to quiet down, for the thousands now homeless and for the fear in so many to be gone (and for us to get our kids out of there soon!).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I600, check

I finally have some good news, our I600 is in the hands of USCIS, yippee! For those of you not in the adoption world, this is a HUGE step. It really is almost the end.

There are two I600s in international adoption. The I600a approves parents to adopt any anonymous orphan as stipulated by their home study. The I600 approves those same parents to adopt specific children- Sara and Nalya. USCIS is the immigration people, technically the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Our I600a was approved back in February of this year.

Lately this approval has taken other families about 2-6 weeks. Knowing our timeline for this adoption, I am guessing we will be on the far side of that. Then the US embassy in Kinshasa has to interview Nalya's birth mom before their visas are issued and I can finally go get them. Now, my birthday is the 13th, that approval in the mail would be the best gift ever (you think God or USCIS gives gifts like that? Hmmm). 

Technically there is a chance we could all be celebrating Christmas together! As always in the adoption process though, nothing is set. Being November, I have to say I am so thankful to be one more step closer to bringing my girls home. Whew!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Checking In

I am still alive, in case you were worried about it :) The last few weeks and tonight also have been so emotionally difficult when it comes to the adoption that I have not been able to make myself write about it.

No worries about the girls, they are good. In fact they seem to be thriving at the transition house they are in. We have received many photos and personality updates from both the agency and other parents going to get their babies. Nalya is difficult, serious and sad- sounds like a challenge for sure! Sara is quiet but happy. Strange how I feel I know these kids when really they are strangers.

Unfortunately the future of getting them is so uncertain. Due to the one living parent's serious health issues she is completely unable to travel for the needed embassy appointment in Kinshasa. We could be looking at upwards of 9 more months before the US embassy says OK, she doesn't need to get here herself. I feel like this woman is practically family, and knowing her story is heartbreaking and overwhelming. It is not my place to share it though, just know she is simply amazing and strong.

So, just like all adoptive parents out there I will keep checking email, waiting for photos or some miracle to happen. I have to believe the miracle will happen and the girls will be so worth it no matter their ages; otherwise I just may not make it through this process sane anymore. Just keep swimming!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sheer Awe

When this journey started I had no clue what we were in for. In the last year I have learned so much about a country that is invisible to much of the world. I have grown to love a country and the average people of a place known for corruption and war.

The daily events and sheer unbelievable stories people in the Congo endure take my breath away. In particular, the stories of both Sara and Nalya's birth moms leave me in awe of these incredible women. Tonight I sit here thinking of Nalya's birth mom in particular. I hope she knows she is not alone in this world and the sacrifice of her daughter shows bravery and love I hope to someday show myself. 

I feel lucky to be able to tell my girls about the amazing people they come from. So, Nalya's mom I am thinking of you and whatever happens we are with you in spirit. The gift you have given us can never be repaid, thank you.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm Done...

     I am pretty sure the lack of knowing anything about when we can get our girls is slowly killing me. There is no reason to not have an embassy appointment at this point.
    What I do know is our girls have completed their passports, medicals, move to the transition house and had their birthdays. What I do know is they did get a birthday celebration complete with cakes and hats and cheetos. This make me happy! If nothing else the girls are in a better home now and are well cared for.
     But, today I feel hopeless. Another Friday is here with no answers or foreseeable future of when it will be our turn to have "Gotcha Day". Now I understand why people get pregnant instead of adopting, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. This holiday weekend I vow to find a new hobby, keep my mind busy and do my best to be optimistic we have gotten this far...

Monday, August 20, 2012

4 Years, 2 Years

Today our daughter Sara should be celebrating her 4th birthday. Instead, she probably doesn't even know it is a special day for her. Friday, Nalya turns 2. She also will not know it should be a day of celebration for her life and who she is.

Their birthday week has been my goal for 10 months of when we would be together, so this week is hard for me. On one hand I am so happy our girls have beat some pretty terrible odds and have lived another year. On the other hand we should all be together! I can't help but be frustrated and angry at the Congolese workers who can't edit their work putting us weeks behind, I can't help but be jealous of the other families only days away from their embassy appointments, and I can't help but be sad that I have missed 4 years and 2 years of some pretty amazing kids lives.

We went ahead and had our own birthday celebration for them- who can resisit a reason to party? We sent a care package to the girls with party hats, stuffed horses (Matt's pick), candy, balloons, bracelets, puzzles and a recordable book so I could read them a story. We also got cupcakes and blew out candles with wishes for each of them (bet you can't guess what we wished for :)).

So, Happy Birthday girls!  We love you lots and are celebrating your lives...I hope you can feel it from a world away.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Uh oh!

I wonder if the people working hard on Congolese adoptions say this a lot. So far our court papers, Congolese passports and pre-embassy papers have all had mistakes, have all had to be reissued and retranslated so they can all match each other exactly.

I have heard most Congolese paperwork is done on typewriters or by hand. I can't imagine any American office still working this way, so I do understand problems arising from it. But, each mistake puts us back weeks from meeting our girls. Each mistake we hear about gets "Again! No!"- and probably a big sigh from our agency catching all these mistakes.

So, as you can guess, we still do not have an embassy date because of some overworked Congolese secretary forgetting to add last names to the last papers sent in. Now, we are holding our breath and praying we can still get a date this month and meet the girls next, but who knows?

The next thing I am worried about after getting a date is finding Nalya's mom for her interview. She could easily have disappeared on the streets of her city, so pray she is found and is happy her baby can come to America to very excited parents.

"The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen"
Ralph Marston

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Well, it looks like it will be closer to eight- Eight long weeks from when I last posted, not five. The girls got their passports, but in true Congolese fashion there were mistakes in their names so we have to wait a bit longer.

I will not be with them for their Birthday week. Next year we will have to celebrate five years of birthdays for Sara and three for Nalya. Don't worry, I don't plan on really having five different parties or five years worth of gifts (it might be tempting though, hmm).

Hopefully the new passports will come out this week and we can get an embassy appointment early next week. And hopfully the embassy has an opening next week... I know, I know, a girl can dream right? It will probably be closer to four more weeks until the embassy and then two more weeks until we go.

Some good news is we got updated photos of the girls and OMG- I am in love! Sara is eating a lot of something yummy and has gotten it all over herself - she will fit right into the family! Nalya has hair and she smiles, she actually smiles! It is the first time we have seen it, and it is amazing. Her hair is great too, but I have to wonder how she was almost bald last month and now her hair is in a ponytail. Hair extensions on a two year old?

One thing for sure, you have to admire the hairstyles Congolese women have, they are to die for!

So, here we are waiting and dreaming the US embassy has a magical appointment ready for us in the next few weeks so I can meet my girls this month...I will keep you posted.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Final Countdown...

Remember that 80s song, "It's the final countdown, dah dah dah dah, dah dadada dah..." -well it has been in my head all day. I think songs like that are called ear worms, it's a little  strange actually.

Anyway, here is the reason the countdown has been in my head:

This is the number of steps left to complete before the two beautiful girls are in my arms...so exciting! They steps are:

1.    The girls are escorted from region to Kinshasa to stay at a Transition Home until we arrive (happening in the next week!)

2.    Girls go for for medical evaluations, visa photos, and apply/receive Congolese passports

3.    Agency requests embassy appointment

4.    I600 filed at the US Embassy in Kinshasa (can only be done once Congolese passport is received)

5.    Embassy interview

6.    Girls get their US Visas

7.    The girls exit permission from DGM is received

8.    We are notified to travel and get to go meet our daughters to bring them home
Number 7          

These are how many weeks until all the steps are complete- I really hope it is closer to 5, it is my lucky number afterall!

The number of days left at work this week, I always want the weekend!


This is how many bags I need to think about packing. I have some orphanage donations ready for one bag, but I need to fill it up with more. The other two are for me and the girls.
I hope I can get my personal stuff into a carry-on sized bag and not worry too much about the weight and extra fees.

One long flight to book for hopefully a decent price. Of all the flights I have been on in my life this will be the most exciting, scary and overwhelming one.
I am still trying to figure out if booking a flight now with multiple $100 charges when I have to change it is better, or should I wait until "the call" and get a flight a few days out? Not sure yet, but once I figure it out I will let you know!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another milestone passed

Yeah! Finally we are in the "passed court" phase. This is so great! This means we have been penciled in as parents, and if no one comes forward to claim our girls we will legally be a family! Yippee!
The next question is, when do we get to meet them? Not for a while yet.

Here is the basic run-down:
* wait for the 30 days to be up and get the Certificate of non-appeal- this will probably be about four more weeks.
* get new birth certificates and passports with correct names- 30 more days
* file the I600- here is where it gets tricky. Our agency is really pushing to file it in the US adding somewhere between one and three more months until meeting the girls. I plan on filing in Congo, which means I will be in a hotel for 3-5 weeks, but bonding with the kids and experiencing their country-something extremely important to me. So, time will tell if the agency or the parents win out on this one.

So, depending on many factors, we will be a legal family in about two weeks, but not be physically a family for two to five more months. It is so exciting to be one step closer!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Enough Already

Ok, this blog was not a place I created so I could moan, groan and complain. It is really easy to do that though when you know nothing of the status of your case, when you don't know when you will travel (one date had us going this week, now who knows!), and when for all you know the adoption process has all been a very expensive dream with no end in sight....enough already!

But, I digress. Happy thoughts, inner peace, joy radiating out..one day I will look back on this with fond thoughts of free time, movies that are not cartoons and nights out without a babysitter. It is absolutely beautiful outside with birds chirping and neighbor kids playing, life is not too bad after all.

On days like this as you journey to your adopted children, remember how lucky we are, how many little things we should be grateful for and slow down the thoughts running through your head by taking a long walk in the sun - or spin circles in a sunny field, even better! Enjoy life even when you obsess over what you don't have have or fully know, after all we only live once (unless your Buddhist).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

I love Nemo. Basically any Pixar cartoon is great in my mind. With nothing new to report and being in the complete dark over if my file is even in Congo anymore, I am going to repeat, "just keep swimming"- words of wisdom really.

I'm sure there are Bible verses, Buddhist mantras and Pagan rituals I could try too. If some good news doesn't come our way soon I just may resort to all of these and more.

So to all the adoptive families out there sitting in limbo, playing the waiting game and checking your email every 10 minutes, think of Dory the fish and smile.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Shower & Hope

I have been so busy I haven't been able to write about the wonderful adoption shower my family and dear friends put on for me. It was so amazingly overwhelming to have so much support and love surrounding us, I almost feel like the cute thank you cards I'll be sending out are not enough.

 Here is a quick recap. We had food- but not pink punch and finger sandwiches. We had fufu, goat, and champagne mixers (I know our girls eat fufu and goat, the champagne was just for us:) )

We had games, but thank goodness no guessig my stomach size with string or guessing the candybar in a diaper. Instead we got to name as many African countries as we could and figure out trivia questions on the DRC.

We did have cake and some of the best sugar cookies on earth (thank you Papa Dave!):

In case you can't read it, the cake says, "you did not grow under my heart, you grew in my heart" with a heart in Africa and a heart in Colorado-  it still makes me tear up!

Finally, we received so many gifts for the girls it took 2 hours just to find a place for them at home. Thank goodness we now have two car seats, a double stroller and a wagon among all the other packages we opened- we are so blessed!
It was a blast! Here are Matt and I after opening gifts- the scarf is from a great friend who just adopted from Ethiopia-

I hope this shower sent out enough good energy into the universe that it will have no choice but to bring our girls home to us soon. We have not heard from the judge and are starting week 8 after going through court....come on good mojo, let our girls come home and enjoy all the new things they received!

Friday, May 25, 2012

It was bound to happen....

I'm sure every adoptive family can tell you about the delays they experienced - it's totally normal. Well, ours was bound to happen too. The judge in the girls city is a very busy man with a lot of job responsibilities and very little staffing, so we have been delayed in the last steps.

Honestly, if he didn't have the power of making us parents I would feel bad for the guy and try to help him out. But, he does have that power so as understanding as I want to be I am instead upset he is so behind on the adoption cases. Originally we thought we could be meeting our girls in a few weeks, now I'm just hoping it's this summer. Ugh!

Some happy news though. My amazing family and friends are giving us an adoption shower tomorrow. It will be great to have a shower we can drink wine at! We have been getting gifts in the mail all week- the postman must think we are crazy hoarders of some sort. I'm super excited to celebrate with everyone and feel overwhelmed by the support and love we have around us. I will share photos of the good times on the next post.

Now, if only the judge would be so loving and supporting of us we could really have a big party tomorrow! I'm sending him good thoughts and prayers that he hurries up already!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

La dee dah...

There's not much to report really. The judge heard our case about 5 weeks ago and still hasn't signed off on our adoption. The wait is killer!

Some of those near and dear to me have offered the following suggestions so I don't go totally insane waiting:
* stalk old friends and/or boyfriends online (hmm, they are in the past for a reason, onto the next idea)
* take up a new hobby like sewing (yeah right! Duct tape is how I sew)
* start the girls scrapbooks (good idea, but I want them to be legally ours before starting such a big endeavor)
* Zumba class (yes please...next week)
* plant flowers (will do, but in Colorado we need to wait a wee bit longer)

Their room is done, 50 Shades of Grey is almost completely read and with all these (huh humm) great ideas all I can do is take one day at a time and not think too much about the girls...

Any and all other ideas are welcome :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Care Packages 3

We sent the girls each another package for May. I'm not sure they have received the others we sent, but I like to hope they are getting them. We put in a photo album for each one with "mom", "dad", and "I love you" translated into both French and Tshiluba. We also put in pictures of ourselves holding a small blanket they will get in the same baggie. Then, when we first meet them, we will be holding replicas of the blankets so there is a connection. A great idea another mom from our agency tried.

I have been feeling really low this week. We were hoping to get the judge's signature by May 1st then travel in early June. Well, as of today we are still waiting for his signature. Every day longer this takes is another day we can't meet our girls. Adoption is so hard because of unexpected waits like this. I don't know how long I can hold my sanity while we wait for the judge.

Here are pics of the latest packages. I sure hope these are the last ones- at least until they go away to college :)



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Am Congo

I belong to Raise Hope for the Congo and the Enough Project, two great NGOs raising awareness about the DRC. Yesterday they published this video, and it is awesome!! Watch it to meet the people we are all now connected to through our children, see their homeland through their eyes, and know there is hope for this amazing country....

To see the entire story, visit http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/apps/iamcongo/

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Photos

For the first time, we received photos go the girls together. They are holding hands and it is so awesome! When we first decided to get another girl after we knew of Sara, I was really worried she would be like, "Really? I have to live with her my whole life? Ugh" but, it seems instead Sara is protecting of her little sister and might actually like her, yeah!

Now I know it is possible the photographer told them to hold hands, but since neither of the girls seem upset about it, I am still thinking they might be friends doing it on their own- and they probably don't know they are sisters yet either.

One other thing, Sara is still just happy as can be. I think that child is a joyful soul and she'll bring that wonderful energy of hers into our lives- what a blessing! Nalya, on the other hand, is more like
 "Dude, what are you taking my picture for? I refuse to smile for such things." I can't wait to see her first smile and hear her laugh. That,also, will be a blessing.

Here is just a preview for you; when we are all home safe and sound you will see their beautiful faces as well:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Great News! Yippee!

Oh my gosh, I received amazing news today! We passed court in the Congo and are waiting for the judgement in writing so our final papers can be completed. "They" (not sure who they is exactly, lawyers? Government?) are already working on new birth certificates for the girls. How strange to think that Matt and I will be listed as Sara and Nalya's birth parents. I hope we get copies of their original certificates....anyway, I digress. With this news the agency says I may be able to travel and get them as soon as early June- yippee! We have so much to do! I think we keep thinking there is a lot of time left, but it may only be 8 more weekends! We have to finish their room, get things to take over there, get shots... 8 weekends and I will know these kids of ours....AMAZING!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Packages

     Happy Easter! The Easter Bunny didn't come by our house, but I know he will be next year- so exciting! The girls don't even know what the Easter Bunny is and they probably had just a  normal day...it kills me to think of them on days like this, I so want them here!
     Their second care package should go out this week. I don't know for sure they are getting them, but it makes me feel better thinking they will. We decided to add in our first photo. I figure they will just think these are the nice people sending us gifts since they don't know they are being adopted yet. Once we pass court we have a whole photo album ready for them.

    Here is Sara's second package: two books, an outfit, headbands, a baby doll and animal cookies.

 Here is Nahlya's package: a toy truck, a baby doll, an outfit, headbands, animal cookies and vitamins.
I hope to hear about our court date this week also- I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Amazing Blessings...

When we started the adoption journey in early November, I never would have believed where it would take us. I never would have believed we would love two girls as our own, I never would have guessed the emotions felt, or the moments in everyday life when I have wished the children were with me. Perhaps the best, and most surprising piece, is the people we have met and the support we have been given. This past weekend a girlfriend of mine helped sell $723 of donated goods for us at the flea market. All free goods for 100% profit- amazing! We also found a local Congolese church and went to a service...again amazing! It was all in Swahilli, but since we were obvious visitors the paster translated for us. The music alone was pure joy and completely spectacular! The people were so warm and welcoming to us, not to mention beautiful. It made me want the girls so bad, but all in good time I guess. Adoption is definately not for the faint of heart, but the amazing blessings from it are worth every piece of paper, every class and every night awake hoping the girls will be Ok. Thank you

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lost at Sea...

Some days I feel totally lost about this whole adoption thing. Part of that lost feeling comes the fact that so many other people control the adoption process- and as a person who like to be in control that is a difficult place to be in!

In many ways having others in control is awesome- we want to make sure orphanages are not corrupt, countries are trying to keep biological families together and not just any insane and unfit person brings a kid home (of course that person can always just reproduce and bring a baby home, but I digress...); and being a superwoman or not, one person cannot do all that.

The other side if it is complete trust. Here is just a short list of all the people we have to trust in order to make this happen, in no particular order and probably missing  a few:
   - God, or whomever you believe controls our destiny
   - Your spouse
   - The notary
   - The agency
   - The orphanage
   - The US government
   - USCIS
   - Congo laywer
   - Congo judge
   - The girls chaperone and caretakers
   - The airlines to get us there safely and back, and the girls to Kinshasa
   - Congo government
   - US Embassy
   - DRC doctors
   - FedEX or the US post
   - Your bank
   - US doctors (for immunizations and health letters)
   - Personal references
   - Email providers
   - Parenting class teachers
   - Your social worker
   - Other adoptive parents to give you information/help
   - etc, etc, etc
As adoptive parents, we actually have little personal interaction with a lot of the people on this list. If that isn't a leap of faith I don't know what is! We are forced to believe in the good of people, and that they are doing the best they can or know how.

Sitting here waiting for court with no power to see the outcome or timeframe, it's no wonder I feel lost at sea-

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Check one more off..

     Finally, the dossier was sent into the Congo this week! We have our USCIS fingerprints next week, and then we wait again. With the current time frames, it looks like we will be going in August to get the girls...5 more months. I will get to meet them before their birthdays, yeah!!
     I keep telling myself to enjoy these last months of coupledom. Right now Matt and I can go to any movie we want at any time. We can go have drinks and not worry, we only have ourselves to really care about. It will be such a change when the girls get here, but a change we are looking forward to.
   A girlfriend of mine and I are going to the flea market March 24 to sell all we can. I have been blessed with a lot of good donations we get to keep 100% of the profits from. I hope we make a lot! We need 3 airplane tickets that will be somewhere around $6000. Of course $6000 might be stretching it for a flea market sale, but a girl can always hope.
   We also have been given many donations for the girls thrmselves. I can see how a house (and a mom!) can easily get overwhelmed with toys and clothes. I feel so lucky to have such great people in our lives willing to fully support our decision to expand our family.Thank you all for all you do!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Feels like Spring!

It is so beautiful out today! All the doors and windows are open in the house, it really feels like Spring; I love it!

Matt and I finally bought the girls beds. Two twins with drawers underneath, white, and only about a foot off the ground. We haven't put them together yet. I think both of us feel like it will be so long until they come home that we don't want to have everything done and then sit and look at it for months. Baby steps to getting ready.

The room decor is kind of picked out though. Not girlie in the least, princesses and pink are so not us! The final colors are...bright and colorful! Color blocked quilts with orange polka dot sheets for Sara, purple polks dots for Nahlya; a bubblegum tree on the wall (personalized to them, not like in the picture below :))  and cool Moroccan poufs to sit in. I can't wait to start decorating!

Gumball Tree

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I600A & Care Packages

Early Thursday morning I checked my email before work and found out USCIS has received our I600A and now we can wait for them to appoint a fingerprinting. Now remember, Matt works for the FAA and I teach, so we are both cleared of any criminal misgivings through work background checks. We also were cleared again with the state and the FBI checks in December for the dossier. I know it is a formality, but really? Don't our passports and driver's license prove who we are? So, we wait again...    

On another note, our agency is letting us send care packages to the girls, even though our stuff is not in the DRC yet...I so wish I could be there to see their beautiful faces when they get them! Everyone loves to get things in the mail regardless of age. It is a big responsibility giving them things to nourish their cognitive and physical needs in a gallon sized baggie! But, actually a lot fit in.

Here is what we came up with:

For Sara:

For Nahlya:

I also put a small bag of Oreo mini cookies in each for good measure (I figure even if they get crushed, they will still be yummy). For now we are keeping the packages generic- no photos or anything personal until they know they will have a family. We also made sure there are enough stickers for all the kids in the orphanage and vitamins to share as well (Google translated into French, there isn't any Chiluba dictionary to be found).

I am so happy we can do this every month until they come home! In a small way I feel I am taking care of them and strengthing a bond I already feel from so far away. Of course, now I can start planning the one for March...shoes? Another cute dress? Ideas welcome!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Paper Pregnancy

Personally I have never actually been pregnant. I assume I can be, but it has never been anything I really want to experience. Don't get me wrong, I am sure a kid with Matt's curly hair and my blue eyes would be adorable...but that's not important. What's important is raising a kid to contribute to the world, what's important is the daily love and struggles a family has; not how the baby came to be on this earth.

I have heard through pregnant friends that pregnancy brings out the true emotional state of a woman, well, my friends, this must be why they call adoption a paper pregnancy! There are some days I can't stop looking at Nahlya and Sara's pictures, and there are some days I don't want to for fear they won't be ours for whatever reason.

I want to start getting their room ready and really personalizing the house to be theirs too, but at the same time it seems a bit early. When does a truly pregnant couple start these steps? We are about 5 months out until the birth of our new family (I hope, if not sooner!).

Adoption, just like pregnancy, is a waiting game full of unknowns. Both are emotional, and in both you  must go through daily motions assuming everything is fine and the kid will turn out perfect. I "borrowed" this picture from another blogger, and it really represents how I feel...

So,while I don't have any crazy cravings or morning sickness, I do have the other symptoms and feelings of an expectant mom... reading everything I can about what to expect, imagining how they will fit into my arms and what they will be like, going to the doctor for health checks, and probably bugging Matt a bit too much about the whole thing. Not to mention that if the agency is right, our family will have been born in about 9 months from start to finish, and we knew it was two girls at about the 4 month mark.

It is perfect, a paper pregnancy...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Parenting Classes Done!

We just finished 16 hours of parenting classes in two days. If every parent, biological or not, had to take these we would have a totally different world, for the better! We learned how to bond and form attachment, how to answer the tough questions about birth families, the best discipline principles and, perhaps the most interesting, brain development.

Here is an image from class:

Image Detail

What is it? A to scale brain scan of a normal 3 year old boy and a to scale brain scan of a boy who was neglected. Now, the neglected boy was almost feral for his first few years, and I don't imagine Sara and Nahlya are that bad off looking at their pictures (please God don't let them be!), but I don't believe they are constantly cuddled and nourished either. It is freightening to see the results of neglect!

The good news is a child of neglect can have much of the damage reversed with attention, love and sheer patient will-power from the parents. I look at the road we will have to travel once home and wonder if we are strong enough to pull this off. I feel as ready as I can be knowing I will never really be ready. BUT, I want them here like yesterday and know we will do everything we can and more to see the survival and health of the girls flourish. Someday we will be amazed how strong we were and how far we came...

Now, I may start looking into getting my own brain scan, and Matt's and Mystic's and .... doesn't it make you wonder???

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some updating...

Good morning! I find myself in a good mood today, and not for any particular reason....of course maybe an unintentional three-day weekend has something to do with it due to a snow storm that actually closed work on Friday. Snow days are as great now as they were when we were kids! Here is Mystic enjoying her favorite weather:

I realized this weekend that I haven't been keeping everyone totally up to date on the adoption. There was a brief moment a few week ago when we thought we would bring home both a boy and a girl, but that was not meant to be. Now we are getting 2 girls, and we couldn't be more thrilled. The girls are living together and they are exactly 2 years and 4 days apart in age.

I have been gung-ho on keeing the girls original names. I love that their names have a history and help them belong to someone before they were ours. But, that was before I heard "little sisters" name. Unfortunatly, in English her name sounds a bit too much like and STD- although I am sure in Chiluba it is great! Needless to say we had to change it, and we are not going to even let it be her middle name- the unltimate humiliation that would come with it is so not worth keeping. We are keeping her last name though, so she will have that piece of her history. Sara is keeping her entire first and last name and then just adding our family name.

The paper trail this week is that we will file our I600A document. This paper basically preapproves us to bring an "immigrant" orphan into the country. We also should be able to get the dossier into the DRC very soon. All in all I think it will be late June or July before we can really meet the girls and bring them home.  

We will begin working on their room around Spring break. We have enough money to pay for all the adoption fees and  get them mostly set-up here in the house, but we don't have enough to actually go and get them. We are taking a huge leap of faith that somehow it will all work out. I have to believe that one wouldn't go through all the papers, emotions and money to not have it ultimately work out.

So that's it this Beautiful Sunday. I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful week ahead!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beautiful Sunday- Music

As many of you may know, it is really hard to find anything positive from the DRC. The internet is filled with pictures of child soldiers, airplane crashes and poverty. However, I am a firm believer that there is positive in everyone, and everything (sometimes you just have to look deep to find it).

Today's beautful Sunday is dedicated to the music of the DRC. It is rumored to be some of the best in the world. After searching on Youtube, I can't really deny it is catchy. Here is a small sampling:

Of course I chose this song because it is about the place, Mbuji Mayi, where my girls are living now.

The singer had beautiful words to say about music. She says:
"We, people of Kasai dance to express our joy of living and fighting stress. We do it with wit and ingenuity. Enjoy our musics - it is not your fault , you are just a spectator. Nothing wrong with that ."

My next project is to fill my ipod with some of this great, spirited music (and maybe try to translate some lyrics so I really know what they are singing about!).

I hope my girls never forget to dance, never forget to express their joy in life and never forget music, wherever it is from, is amazing in any langauge. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Decision Made!!

So as you may know it has been a bit of an agonizing decision over if we can afford emotionally and financially to get Sara a sibling or not. Matt and I have thought about raising two kids into this world, woken up at 3 am with thoughts running around in our minds, and researched the topic so much I could write a thesis on it. Finally, we knew our time was up, all the papers are in and waiting for us to make a decision already...

So without further ado, the final decision is........

Yep, final decision, we are getting two! Sara will be getting a little sister! We figured it was now or never in terms of getting another child out of the DRC; there is no way we wanted to go through the waiting, the paperwork and the money again in a few years.

Are we crazy? Probably. Are we ready for two orphans going through attachment and cultural issues? Probably not. Are we happy we made the decision finally? Definately.

Tomorrow we will see who little sister is. It is a girl Sara will know- I just hope they get along and aren't upset they have to spend the rest of their lives together!

I will let you all know as soon as we do about little sis. In the mean time, feel free to smile, laugh, think we are crazy or just wish us the best of luck- we for sure will need it now!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decisions, time...

No one has ever said adoption is easy, and they were right! The paperwork and checks are easy, so is running around town for notarizing. Really the hard part is the emotional roller coaster and hard decisions to be made. We still don't know about a second kid- it is so hard to decide! Another would be great for Sara, and getting as many kids out of the DRC as possible is necessary, but what is really best for our family? Do we look at the immediate financial situation and say no, do we think of an adjustment period for two and decide it would be too much for us? I just wish I had a sign of some sort, a dream or vision- heck, an apparation of my grandpa telling me what to do would not make me feel any less crazy at this point. All comments are welcome....what would you do?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We are Broke! Help??

This week the agency asked us if we would take home a little boy from the same orphanage as Sara. I LOVE the idea of her having a sibling, I adore mine and think everyone should have them. So we said we will think about it. I even started looking for a cool boy name (they are a lot harder to come by than girl names!).

But, we crunched the numbers, and after traveling to get them we would be about $8000 short on getting a second baby out of that H***hole they call the Congo. I don't want an only kid. If we wait a few years to get another one, again they would have to be older so they would be within a reasonable age difference. So, it is with a very heavy heart that I think I have to admit defeat. We have only had about 5 absolutely amazing people help us with fundraising...thank God for those people, we can't thank them enough!

But that is not enough, without some divine intervention and very generous people we are way out of luck. So, if you read this and you could send $5, then have everyone else you know send $5 maybe we could get one more child out of that place, save one more from becoming uneducated and poverty stricken...can you just ask your friends to help? We sure appreciate it!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beautiful Sunday- Hair!

Wow, we received a new picture of Sara. She sure looks happy, and she is in a clean house with the same shoes on as before, in a different (clean) outfit. I like to think someone is being her protector, loving her and making her feel like she is safe until we can go and get her.

The one crazy (and in the eyes of the Congoleses, Beautiful) thing is....... her hair!

Here is a sneak peek:

Yes, evidently Coolio stole his signature hair from the women of the Congo...I bet no one would have guessed that!

I have heard the hair is something to be wary of, something to endure and a thing that, as a white woman, I will find surprising. I have been told to get silk pillowcases, learn to braid and don't wash her hair more than once a week. I have also heard hair is one reason some black people don't like white people adopting "their" kids- because we don't know how to care for their hair!

There are even numerous books written on the subject:

To be totally honest I am a bit afraid of what will happen when Sara's Coolio braids come out, I think I may just hire a stylist to come to the house and do it for me. At least I am a woman who loves her hairstylist, although styling hair is a totally new beast.

So, for this beautiful Sunday I ask you...what does your hair say about you? About culture? About beauty?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Isn't it funny, most the time time itself goes so fast we say things like,"It can't be Christmas already!" or "how is it already Friday again?", but when it is something of major signifigance time seems to stand still and stretch out into infinity (which of course it does naturally scientfically speaking)...

We learned today government and immigration could mean we can't meet Sara for another 6-8 months- this means she will be 4 when we get her home. We will officially be adopting an "older" child and not a toddler....in time 6 months is nothing, in meeting your forever family it is an eternity.

The bright side is we get more time to think about her room design, more time to enjoy going spontaneously to the movies (and not kiddie movies) and more time to be just us...the bad news is a whole 6-8 months- adopting an "older" child, more time away from knowing who our daughter really is...

I just hope the government works quickly for us, time flies and 6 months is really closer to 4....

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Good morning !!

What a beautiful, intersting, emotional and wonderful year this is going to be. 
This year Matt and I will go from this:  

to this:

It will be year of exaustion, busy times and new loves. We will be like real adults, and I am hoping it will be a beautiful, growing experience for us.

We got the new (yes, really new- our first ever!) family car this week:   (also dated 2012); and I must say after being able to load real furniture into it, it has now become my first new love of 2012.

So here's to a great New Beginning. I wish you all a Happy New Year and continued (new) loves and excitement in your own life.