Thursday, May 24, 2012

An Update & History of Our Journey

Yesterday we received great news! Our USCIS application for adoption was APPROVED!!! We should be receiving the notice in the mail soon. The next step is for our entire dossier to be taken to Austin for state apostille and then off to Gracie's country for review. We are hoping to meet her in August! I was very excited after I received the news. Then, last night I started to get nervous. All along this journey I have allowed fear to creep in. Thankfully, I can turn to scripture and know that God did not give me a spirit of fear. If He did not give it to me, I don't want it (and you know where it must come from). I tossed and turned all night and then I was reminded that this journey has a much bigger purpose than adding a child to our family. I should not worry about having too much on my plate. I should not worry about any of the things that I usually worry about. For God will sustain us.  He will carry us through all of those little, insignificant things that I worry about. He reminds me of what is important. Let me take you back to the real beginning of this adoption journey...

This is one of those painful stories. One that I try to push out of my mind. One that I wish I had never experienced. One that I'm glad I did.

There are many faces. Faces of children with Down syndrome. The faces that I see when I close my eyes at night. The faces that cause me to weep. Faces that deserve a family, love and a home. These faces are real children. They remind me of why I will get on a plane soon and have no fear.

In July 2011, pictures of a sweet girl named Teri Lynn started spreading across the Internet. A desperate attempt to save a little girl from a life and early death in a mental institution. At the young age of five years old Teri was moved from an orphanage in Eastern Europe to a mental institution. Just weeks after her transfer an update photo of her became public and was devastating to anyone with a heart, especially those of us who have a child with Down syndrome.

These are the before and after photos of Teri Lynn.

When I saw the transformation of this child I had an immediate physical reaction. I found myself sobbing and sick in the restroom where I work. I shared these photos with my husband and we were one of the many families that inquired about adopting her. Everyone rejoiced as the news came that Teri Lynn had a family that was going to adopt her. I will never forget how this stirred me inside. Thus, our adoption journey began.

Through many twists, turns and even heartbreak we were led to Gracie. Yes, we were led. In quite an interesting turn of events it was clear that she was the one.

Now, there is another. Another story of a child transferred. Pictures that will break your heart.

Ksenia is nine years old and (sigh) I have no words. You can read more about her here. She is only available for adoption to Canadian families at this time. Share her story, blog about her, scream out to those in Canada and please pray for her to find a family soon.

There are many more who will and already are in this same situation. One of neglect, abuse, starvation and being drugged so that they will just sleep quietly.

This is not just what happened to two unlucky little girls. This is what will happen to all of these precious children if they do not have a family come for them. This is the reality that won't go away.

My heart breaks that I cannot save every last one of them. But rejoice, it will, when I have Gracie in my arms, can fill her tummy like she's never known and can tuck her into a warm bed at night with more hugs and kisses than she has had in over three years.

This is why I cannot let fear lead or consume me. I have to be led by faith and trust in God. Every time I have doubt, I remember these pictures. They are not just pictures; they are precious children.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

While I'm Waiting...

I love, love, love this song and have learned to love it more during the adoption process...

While I'm Waiting (John Waller) :
with underlining for emphasis
I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting

I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait

Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord
Our family (and friends) are anxiously awaiting USCIS approval. There is a hold up and I have been in communication with our case worker on what the hold up is. It is minor, but is causing a delay that has now accounted to several weeks. It's nothing to cause concern regarding our approval, but unfortunately we are at the mercy of the dark hole of inter-office file transfers. I seriously wish someone could just walk to the vault of files from 40 years back and dig out the one very important file that is needed for our approval as I am really on the verge of becoming impatient right now...but patiently, peacefully and faithfully I am waiting.
I had a dream last week that was nearly a nightmare. I rarely have/remember my dreams, but this one has stuck with me. I had a dream that I was the passenger in a car that one of my friends was driving. In the back seat were some of our children. We were driving around a curvy road that seemed to be a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other. Yes...the cliff was on MY side of the car! I was feeling a sense of panic as my friend (who I could not identify in the dream) started taking the curves too fast. I said to her, "you should probably slow down around these...." and off the cliff we went. My heart was racing and I immediately began to pray! Very clearly, prayer was my answer. I am so thankful that even in my dreams, in my time of fear, I prayed. I prayed that our pain, injuries and suffering would be minimal. I prayed that if we died in this accident that our family and friends would have peace. Then, I prayed the Lord's Prayer. It is then that I woke up and...continued to pray. Thankful that this was just a dream, I continued to pray. What craziness is this? What did this dream mean? I could not get it out of my mind. Then, I started to tell a friend about the dream and it hit me as if I was solving my own problems in therapy.
Michelle, you are not in control!
A little about me...I like to be the driver. I like to be in control. Clearly this dream was a message to me that there is only so much I can do to move this adoption along. I have crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's and now...I have to trust...I have to be patient...I have to wait...I have to pray.
God knows how this adoption will unfold. He knows how much time is needed for us to prepare our hearts and our homes. He knows how much time Gracie needs. Obviously three years in an orphanage is three years too many in my book, but this is not my book. It's God's book and I'm going to turn one page at a time until He is ready to reveal the story to me in His time.
Pray with me, friends. Pray that we will have the patience to accept the things that we cannot control. Pray that we will move quickly on the things that we can control. Pray that God works in our hearts, home and family while we wait. Pray that Gracie is doing well and that she knows love from her caretakers.
As we do not know the path of the wind...we do not know when it will blow, but eventually it will.


Saturday, May 5, 2012


I realize that I have been MIA on my blog lately and need to give some updates. The house is so quiet and still this morning that I have finally found a good time to share some updates.

Funds: Our fundraisers have been huge successes and kept me very busy last month. At one point I had four fundraisers active at the same time and seriously did not even realize so many were over-lapping. We raised $400 with flipflop2adopt, $538 (minus $20 for a counterfeit bill) from a garage sale, $1100 from the iPad give-away, and $1200 from our crawfish boil! To everyone who donated, helped out, showed up, offered any kind of prayer or support...thank you so much!! The high cost of adoption was one of our biggest fears. I realized early on that I would have to give all of my fears up and turn them into trust in the Lord and that, my friends, was the best decision I've made.

We are about $10,000 away from having all of the ransom money needed to bring our Gracie home. We have covered all of the adoption costs and fees and are now down to the travel expenses. We have a couple of local fundraisers going on so I have faith that we will get there. To help out please click here to donate to our FSP.

Paperwork: You would not believe the paperwork. It's a good thing I'm pretty organized and don't mind paperwork because I know some people who would probably be thrown over the edge by all of this. It's definitely a different kind of full of ink pens, signatures, paper cuts and government involvement rather than...Well, you know I'm also experiencing heartburn, nausea, doctors and weight changes.  The symptoms of pregnancy are different, but the same. So, back to the update...

A lot of important things have happened over the past week. We received our FBI clearances in the mail. I had to send those to Washington DC to have them apostilled by the US Dept of State (they were sent to a courier and should be back to us on Wednesday). On Monday, we received our biometric fingerprint appointment from USCIS. Our appointment was scheduled for May 21st but I was told we could walk in at any time so we went on Tuesday. It was the most efficient government office I've ever been to. We were done in less than 10 minutes and I was a happy mommy!

Now we are waiting on approval from USCIS to adopt. Once we get that approval we can submit our dossier to the country that Gracie lives in and wait for them to tell us we can come to meet her!!! Really???  Are we that close to holding our daughter??? I am anxiously awaiting...and constantly checking the mail!! I just found out from another family that they did their fingerprints on Monday and received approval in the mail on Friday!! If my head is on straight (and we have as good of luck as they did), we could receive our approval in the mail TODAY!!! Any ideas who will be looking out the window and meeting the mailman at the mailbox before he can do his wonderful job the way he is supposed to do it?

I have a few more items to take care of that need to be added to our dossier. This includes taking photos of our house (inside and outside) which means...well, I need to clean house! Speaking of the's not still and quiet anymore. I've got to go make the little one breakfast and start cleaning now...while I check out the window for the mailman, of course!