Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent Calendars

Our Christmas season has been filled with an unlikely tradition. Every night, our boys ask for calendar time. I did not think they would enjoy it as much as they do. 

Our wonderful church offered 2 options for families to choose from. I was trying to decide if we would choose a family scratch off or the orphan care Advent calendar, when Aunt B showed up at our house with 4 scratch off calendars and 1 orphan care calendar.

Every night after dinner, we sit down at the table and spend time scratching. We take turns opening the doors on the orphan care calendar. Inside each door is a giving challenge to help us understand how blessed we are in America. Our kids all get to add some money to a recycled peanut butter jar. After Christmas, the money will be given to First Baptist Huntsville's new orphan care ministry. The fund is called "One Less".  One less orphan, one less broken heart, one less family worlds apart. Families in our church will be able to apply for funds to help cover adoption costs. Blessed church.

For example, last night, the challenge was to give $0.02 for each pair of shoes in our house. We had fun counting the shoes. What we learned is that our family has entirely too many shoes. 70. Our family has 70 pairs of shoes. So much of the world doesn't even have one pair of shoes. Who needs 70 pairs of shoes? That one cost us $1.40. Some other examples: we had to give money for every non-water drink we had that day... money if we had more than one pair of clothes... money if we had running water in our home... money for every window in our house... money for every person who has more than a 4th grade education...These are all things that most of our world doesn't have access to. 

Some nights our littlest two stand off over who is going to put the money in the jar first... The conversation last night went like this:

Little bit(daughter age 3): "Me no. Him first"
Bat boy (son age 5): "Me no... her first"
continue for 45 seconds.
Oldest in Polish: "Little bit, put your money in.. it is to help children with no families"

Be still my heart... this boy who has had a forever family for only 5 weeks is scolding his sister for wanting to keep the dime instead of putting it in the jar. 

This Christmas I have been drawn to the part of the story about Joseph. Joseph who adopted Jesus to be his son. Joseph is a new perspective for me as I look at Forever dad learning to parent our kids. He is incredible and the best partner to us. 

In less serious terms, our kids love Santa. They love seeing him. Our kids celebrate St. Nick's day on December 6th. Santa comes to our house to pick up their Christmas list and leaves little goodies in their stocking. Thankfully stores are not sold out of stocking stuffers at 10:00 PM on the night of December 5th. 

Last night, our oldest (still thinking of a blog name for him), wanted to dress up at St. Nick and have the littles sit in his lap. I had fun crafting a cotton ball beard and stuffing my trench on him. Little bit giggled and giggled. #2 dressed up as en elf in  the only green apperal we had: Forever Dad's green swim trunks. They are featured in the right hand side of this picture.

By the way: Little bit wants a baby for Christmas and not a baby doll. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Hanging of the Green

Tomorrow is the Hanging of the Green at First Baptist Church in Huntsville. I love this special church service as we prepare our sanctuary for the coming of Christ. 

Forever Dad must travel to Tennessee to clean out his dad's home. 

I will be taking the kids to church by myself.  I am taking them because I want attending church to be a routine that sets our week off on the right foot.

Our church has been the most incredible showing of love and support to our family.  So many of our church members have sacrificed to bring our kids home. They helped us in ways we don't even know. They have given us clothes, traded us cars, changed our light bulbs, taken care of our dog, prayed for us, given us money, advice and love. 

 I know that so many people feel part of our kids lives. They have prayed for them and loved them as long as we have. With all that said, tomorrow, my children will walk into a giant room of strangers. I can imagine their anxiety will be quite high. Physical touch also escalates them. 

Tomorrow, if you see us at church, please wave and give us a friendly smile. When we wave and smile back, know that we are offering our biggest hugs and hundreds of words of gratitude to you. Over time, as we all get more comfortable,  we will be happy to offer hugs and spend time talking.

Tomorrow, we may sneak out early. We want church to be a positive and lovely experience for everyone.

Merry Christmas from us to you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to apologize to all the adoptive moms out there who blog. When you came home with your precious children, I waited anxiously for you to update your blog. When you finally did, it wasn't nearly often or in depth enough for my liking. I am sorry I put those expectations on you. I now understand how unfair it was of me. I am way to busy (also read: tired) to blog well.

Forever Dad and I are doing well. Our kids are adjusting and starting to really enjoy being home. We are loving every one of them and the precious treasures that they are.

Today our family (minus Papaw who had to work) came to our house for lunch. We had a great time.

Happy Thanksgiving from our Forever Family, Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles and Keller.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

American Soil

Yesterday, we were technically in America. We went to the U.S. Embassy twice. We went early in the morning because they only accept payment for Visas before noon. Then we left, walked to the passport office to get our kids' Polish passports, went to KFC to bum some WIFI so we could complete our DS-260s on each kid, then walked back to the Embassy.

I'd never been in an Embassy before, but it was all very official. The people were nice. The boys were upset that they didn't get to do their finger prints. Nathan did all the fingerprinting because the kids are all minors. 

We left and went to the Copernicus Science Center where we met up with another American adoptive family. They are from Jackson, Mississippi and are adopting 2 little boys. They are 3 weeks from traveling home.

Today, we have visas in hand. Here is the to do list:

1. Appeal Period ends
2. Get Official Adoption Decree from the court in Gorzow.
3. Get new birth certificates from the kids birth city.
4. Get new cards for the kids with their new names on it (Polish equivalent to the social security card.)
5. Get Polish passports for the kids
6. Get medical exam for the kids.
7. Fill out new visa paperwork for the kids (The form changed while we were in country, so we have to do it all again).
8. Go to the US Embassy to get visas

9. Travel home!

As you can see... we are on step 9.

We leave tomorrow. 
We fly out of Warsaw at 6:55 PM and then travel to Frankfurt, then Houston, then Birmingham. We will then drive from Birmingham to Huntsville. 

I am only 1 sleep from my kids being American citizens, seeing my family, friends and dog. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Appeal Period Ends Today

If no one appeals our adoption by the close of business today, our adoption will be final. 



Finally a Forever Family.

Here is a picture of the door to the courtroom where we became parents!

This has been the end/beginning of a long, tedious and wonderful journey. The days here are treasured but long. 

Last night, we sat in the floor with the two big boys and showed off our stupid human tricks. They can both roll their tongues and they have very flexible fingers. #1 can put his foot behind his head.

Today, we are going to the doctor for our U.S. Visa medical exam. The boys are a little nervous about it. The doctor has to draw blood on all the kids above the age of 5. Luckily little girl doesn't have to get blood drawn. Unfortunately, #2 passes out when he sees needles. This morning he asked if he could take ketchup to put in the vials instead of drawing blood. After a good laugh, we explained that the doctors would think he is a tomato and the United States would not let us adopt tomatoes.

Speaking of food, we have encountered some interesting foods here. Pizza is almost always served with ketchup, even at the restaurants. They eat ketchup on french toast and thought we were crazy when we asked for syrup. They found some jam for us. Peanut butter is hard to find, but Nutella is everywhere. My kids would be happy eating Nutella for every meal. They also eat about 10-15 bananas a day. I hope kids can't get potassium poisoning from too many bananas. 12/4 is only 3 bananas per kid but I have a sneaky suspicion that #2 eats most of them. I buy bananas daily.

Our apartment is on the top/5th floor of a building. The building is on top of a store, so we only have to run down several flights of stairs to get easy things like juice, bread and bananas. If we need to do a big run, we drive to the Tesco. That is one of my biggest stresses of the week because 4 kids in a grocery store is stressful enough, but when you have to use google translate on every item, it adds to the stress. On top of all that, I have kids asking for random things or just putting things in the cart. All of this is normal for parents, but being in a foreign country is just hard. 

The cute thing is when they want something, the kids say, "Mommy, yes money-money?"

We like to swim, but at the local pool, you have to wear a swim cap. Also, Daddy got in trouble for wearing western style swim trunks. The kind of swim trunks every man/boy in America wears. The lifeguard said his trunks were unsafe and the next time we come, he will have to wear a speedo!

This old building is in the middle of Warsaw and houses several things... 2 museums, a theatre and elevators to the top. The boys wanted to go to the top, but it was very expensive. We may go do that on our last day in Warsaw.  I have a feeling they will not like it, but they really want to go.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We are ready for America

Our kids realize we are just killing time here in Warsaw. They are so ready to go to America. They joke a lot about it. Every time they see an airplane, they say, "Going to America"? Or when they are planning the day, they often put "Go to America" somewhere between lunch and dinner.

Our daily schedule:

6:15: #3 wakes up.
7:00: #2 wakes up.
7-9: #1 and Little girl wake up.
9-11: Eat breakfast and prepare for the day. 
Mid morning-Mid afternoon: travel to the adventure place for the day. This often includes swimming, the park, Kolorado (a fabulous indoor play place), or somewhere downtown. We really loved the zoo and the boys were excited to see the stadium.
Snack and lunch are in there somewhere. Lunch is our big meal of the day.
Dinner and shower time are always an adventure.
8:00: Bedtime for the littles
9:00: Bedtime for the bigs and the parents

As you can tell, there is lots of downtime and the kids get bored. When they get bored, they start to aggravate each other.  We try to stay busy and limit the damage.

One of our favorite places is this crazy awesome park close by. It would not be allowed in America. There are too many hazards. Our kids love it. There is this tall rope contraption that you can climb up, lots of spinny things, a sand box, swings and even ping pong. We often spend 2-3 hours here.

That is our oldest at the top of the rope thing. He likes to race dad to the top.
This is a really fun picture of the kids at the airport waiting for grandpa to leave to go to America. We miss him. After Dad came back to Poland and Grandpa went to America, the kids asked if Mom was going to America and Babcia (Grandma) was coming to Poland. 
I think that is good logic, but alas, Babcia (pronounced: bob-cha) is staying in America and mom is staying in Poland.

Our appeal period ends on Wednesday, then our facilitator will pick our adoption decree on Thursday along with our new birth certificates. 

We are tentatively thinking we will be home at the end of next week... perhaps the 23rd, 24th, or 25th. 

Here is the checklist of things that need to be finished before we can travel:

1. Appeal Period ends
2. Get Official Adoption Decree from the court in Gorzow.
3. Get new birth certificates from the kids birth city.
4. Get new cards for the kids with their new names on it (Polish equivalent to the social security card.)
5. Get Polish passports for the kids
6. Get medical exam for the kids.
7. Fill out new visa paperwork for the kids (The form changed while we were in country, so we have to do it all again).
8. Go to the US Embassy to get visas
9. Travel home!

We are hoping we can get all that done in 7-9 days. We are limited by the business days, but luckily, there aren't any holidays during these few weeks.

We met an American family yesterday. They are also using Lifeline Adoption Agency and they are adopting 3 children. Their 3 new kids are being added to their original 4 biological kids. We played at their house and had a grand time. It was really wonderful to speak with some native English speakers and our kids could talk to their kids. Did I mention they are also from North Alabama? We can be friends in the states too! It felt like home when we walked in to see all the kids decked out in their Auburn gear. I guess game day is still game day no matter where you are.

We are off to another day. Maybe Old Town to see some historical sites... Maybe the park... Maybe a museum... Maybe swimming.

Say some prayers, I'm feeling a little under the weather and I'm rocking a fever blister with NO ABREVA! Who travels to another country, into the most stressful situation of their life with no Abreva? This girl.
Our awesome facilitator brought me some medicine for it... It is all written in Ukranian. This is trust.

Sending love from Warsaw.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

We are a family

It has been a long process (and technically it isn't over yet), but the judge ordered the approval of our adoption at 12:15PM Poland time yesterday. In Poland there is a 21 day appeal period after the adoption decree is made for people to protest the adoption. Our judge was amazing enough to shorten that to 14 days. That means, in 14 days, everything is official official.

We showed up to the court and the foster mom was there with our Polish social worker. The social worker had visited with us 3 times during our bonding period. We also had an interpreter. She proved to be really good in the courtroom, but when we were having conversations outside the courtroom, she was pretty lousy. We had a great reunion with the foster parents. They are incredible people and they will remain in our hearts and family. We love them for loving our children so well for the last few years.

When it was our time to enter the court room, there was a prosecutor on the opposite side of the room, a head judge, and 2 lesser judges flanking her. There was also a court reporter to type the important things that were said. Side note: the court reporter typed every report with 2 fingers staring at the keyboard, but boy was she fast.

The main judge began by reading out the personal information of our kids, stating our intentions, and asking us to submit a motion to adopt the children.

She then began the formal questioning. She asked the foster mom to come to the podium and asked her if she and any objections to our adopting the kids. Then, the social worker stood and said that she had visited with us on several occations, that we were happy and the children were happy. She had no objections to our adoption.

Then it was Future Dad's turn to stand and answer questions. He did great! The judge asked him lots of questions, and some of them were hard. Some of the questions were regarding our ability to care for 4 children, nurture their emotional state and provide help if needed. She also asked him lots of questions about our communication with them, our desire to maintain contact with the foster family, and whether or not we would encourage the retaining of their Polish language and culture. She also asked how we had prepared our home and life for 4 kids. She asked him questions for about 30 minutes, then it was my turn.

I stood and answered questions for much less time, but my questions were a bit more personal. For example, she asked if I had fertility issues, and what my plan was for helping our children process the adoption.

When the questioning ended, she asked what we wanted to be our childrens' new names. Luckily, we had that written down for her to put in the document. Once the names had been typed into the document, we were asked to leave so the judge could draft a decree. About 20 minutes later, we were ushered back in for the reading of the document. She graciously waived 7 of the 21 day appeal period and began to read the official document. In order to waive 7 days, she could not write her reasoning in the document, so she read it orally to us. It was quite beautiful. She said her top reason for granting our adoption was that these children would now have a bigger hope.

That is what we have wanted all along, at the beginning of our process, before we knew we were adopting 4 children from Poland, we wanted to give some siblings a bigger hope. Hope for a family, a future and a faith that will last their entire lives.

A bigger hope.

She then went on to tell us many more kind things and finished with the words “Congratulations, you are now parents”

In much sadder news, 2 days before court, we got a phone call that Future Dad's dad passed away. He had been ill for some time, but his death was still unexpected. Future Dad's family was able to set the visitation and funeral for this weekend, so that he could be here for court.

The circle of life continues to turn. Future Dad is leaving Poland today to fly to Tennessee for the visitation and funeral, then return to Poland on Sunday.

We feel blessed that he was able to Skype with the grandkids and see pictures of them before he passed.

Before we came to Poland, we had chosen to give our second son his middle name. Now, Grandpa, Daddy and #2 all have the same middle name. It is such an honor to be able to continue his legacy in the life of our son.

The kids and I have a special blessing though: my dad is coming to stay with us for the week Dad is gone. His plane lands one hour after Future Dad's takes off.

Daddy is going to America and Papaw is coming to Poland. This is my dad's first international trip (if you don't count Canada) and it will be the first time he has ever used his passport. It is so fun. In fact, I think he is somewhere over the Atlantic right now.

We have made the decision to not post the names of our children on the public internet, but we did want to show our family photo.

Thank you to everyone for the prayers over the last year.

October 30, 2013... we are family.

November 13, 2013... appeal period ends. We are a forever family.

November 14-20ish... paper chasing and more documents.

After that...

we all come home.

Home as a family.

Home forever.

Forever family.

A bigger hope.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Court is in 11 hours!

Well... court is in 11 hours. We are excited but nervous. We are expecting court to last 2-3 hours. We will find out how long our appeal period is during court. It could be up to 3 weeks, but we are going to ask the judge to shorten it. Pray he/she agrees to the shortening. 

Maybe by the time America wakes up, we will know! Court is at 10:00 Polish time.

Here a picture because I think people like them.
The drive to the little green house

Here we are about to meet our children for the first time... tomorrow they will hopefully be our legal children. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Life in the little green house

We have been in the green house for 7 of 10 days. Our family tends to do better with a daily outing. The only problem is that we are in a small town and there aren't that many places to go. We have managed to fill the days with swimming, bowling, going to the movies (Turbo with Polish dubbing), and Dinosaur Park. Unfortunately, the drive through safari park was closed for the winter. Swimming seems to be the crowd favorite so we have gone 4 times. There are some sweet slides with special effects.
Yesterday, the older boys and dad went to a ropes course while the littles and I went swimming. Everyone had fun.

Wednesday is court at 10:00 AM. If you are reading this from Central time zone back in the States, we will be in court at 4:00 AM. If you wake in the middle of the night, say a prayer.

The kids are ready for a change. Wednesday we go to Warsaw after court. It is a 5 hour drive, and then we will be there for another 3-5 weeks. We are all ready for American things.

#1 is still really helpful. He is a good negotiator and helps us understand the ways around town. He wants to cook us dinner every night.
#2 has a really wonderful laugh. He is a fun kid and tries to entertain the littles when he can. He is the one that calls me "mommy" the most frequently.
#3 loves his daddy. He likes having his back scratched and splashing at the pool. He is getting brave in the swimming pool. Yesterday, he walked around the entire wall hand over hand. YAHOO!
#4 is starting to use her words more and more. It is a blessing to know that she understands the power her words have. 

May the Lord use their skills and talents for his glory all the days of their lives. 

A few highlights from our time here:

1. washing clothes in the bathtub with fabric softener instead of detergent. Driving 1 hour to Tesco to buy detergent. Rewashing/wringing out all the clothes then having land lady ask if she could wash our clothes in her machine.

2. Following google maps to get to Dinosaur Park and having it take us through a field instead of the highway we thought we were supposed to be on.

3. Positive visit from the social workers. 

4. Walks with little girl in the Ergo.

5. Judo with daddy.

6. Night time hide and seek.

7. Hearing the funny English things our kids say... ex. Mom: "Are you ready?" #3: "Set Go!"... #1 "I do not know Polish"... 

More to come later but we are all ready to get out of the house...

Friday, October 18, 2013

End of week 2...

The last 2 weeks have been filled with glimpses of God's glory. Future dad and I have never been more tired or fulfilled. Our children are wonderful and fun. 

They way #3 keeps his giggle inside melts me each and every time. He loves his daddy and is his hip buddy. Current favorites: daddy, taking pictures and eating.

Our oldest is a typical leader and helper. He is quick to come to our rescue when we need help ordering food or hanging our clothes on the line to dry. Current favorites: Judo, football and tablet time.

Little girl is loving the attention of all the people in the house and is starting to use her English words to get what she wants. Current favorites: carrying around the cat, Dora, building blocks.

#2 is the quickest with hugs and snuggles. When he does something awesome, he really soaks up the encouragement. Current favorites: swinging REALLY high, taking funny faced selfies, and nighttime snuggles. 

We are still living with the foster family until Sunday we think. They have been amazing at preparing our children for us and incorporating us into their routines. We could not be more grateful for the last 2 weeks. With all that said, it is time for us to go and learn to be a family. We have a week before court and want to be able to have some family time with the 6 of us before we see the judge. Earlier this week, we went and looked at a potential apartment to move into but it had 0 bedrooms. That wasn't going to work for us. 
Today, we looked at a house to rent and we will likely move in there on Monday.  It was very small (about 400 sq ft. split between 2 floors), but it had a lot of beds, so it will work for us.  It is also way out in the countryside in an amazingly beautiful location among woods and lakes and little villages.  The house may be small, but the countryside will provide plenty of opportunities for fun (assuming it doesn't rain, which it seems to do pretty often).  Also, the landlady is going to cook lunch for us (lunch here is the big meal of the day) from her own organic garden.  It will be challenging, but it has the potential to be a really cool experience.  Pray for us during this time that we will be able to fill the days with fun bonding activities and that we will continue to grow closer as a because of this time.

Random picture of one of the back yard gardens. The dog chases the cat into those trees often.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Today was AWESOME!

Today was awesome!

Everyday has been great, but today, some things clicked. This is the day I want to remember when we have rough days. There are 6 of us learning each other, so rough days are a matter of when... not if.

We played outside this morning on the swings and some soccer. Then the social workers came to do a visit. We are going to be in the foster home until the 21st then probably move to an apartment in the region here. Court is on the 30th.

We took a trip to Karford this afternoon. It is the Polish equivalent to a grocery store. We took all the kids. The two older boys had earned some money, so they bought some things. We made it out of there with all our groceries, 2 match box cars and 2 pieces of chocolate, and all 4 kids. Not bad for our first trip.

We went to McDonalds for lunch at 3:30. When I realized the time, I was surprised that we didn't have a melt down in the grocery.

After lunch, we came back to the house and went to the park. The park is a 2 mile walk from the house, and 2 miles back. All 4 kids made the trip without complaining... I was so impressed.

Today was the first day without any computer time! YAY! It can be done!

Continue saying prayers for our bonding and attachment.

P.S. #3's first English words were "Catch me!" That pretty much sums up our time with him.

Here is an awesome picture of me getting bitten by the kitten "Bestia" in the playroom.

And this was the other picture I could quickly find that didn't have pictures of the kids. It is their built in shelving in the hall... Pretty amazing!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We've met our children!

I have not updated in a while for several reasons... 1. we are too busy loving on our kids. 2. our kids are full of energy, so when they are resting or in bed, so are we. 3.internet is spotty at best so  I'm not sure when this will actually upload.

It is 4:00 in the afternoon here. It is 9:00 AM in Alabama. 

Our children are awesome. They live in a foster home and have been here for 3 years. They have invited us to come in and live in their home for the next week or so.  We already feel like part of the family. We are trying not to rock the boat too much, while still acting like parents. The foster parents have the hardest job ever. They invite children in their home, love them like their own and then they watch them leave. there are 12 people in this house right now. In a week or so, there will only be 6. the house will be very quiet.

We love them so much. Bonding has gone well and we are able to talk about our parenting, while still having others in the house to help us.

Tomorrow, we are going to try an outing with just our family. we've heard that there is a pool and a bowling alley in town and the family has a van we can borrow. (We live out in the Polish "country").

We are not putting any names or pictures on the blog because they aren't our official children yet. Our immediate family has some pictures they can show you, but they can't be put on the internet. 

Some of our favorite things:
Snuggles with our kids.
#2's hugs
#1's smile
#4's laugh
#3's imagination 
Our love for them
The walk we took yesterday as a family alone.

Some Prayers that have been answered:
That the name conversation would go well. It was awesome and the kids picked the names we wanted them to have. 
That our first meeting would go well. It was perfect. We played and learned some about each other. 
The first night, Future Dad said "This only went so perfect because people prayed the snot out of this day!" He is right.

Some prayer requests:
That our bonding would continue to go well
that we would learn our children's preferences and personalities better
That we will have the energy and patience when we need it.
That sleep would come more readily (still jetlagged)

Thanks for the prayers and encouraging emails.
We feel so blessed and loved.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

For real.. one more sleep

Today, we left Warsaw at 1:30 PM and drove to our children's town. We are in Gorzow Wlkp. I'll be calling it GW from now on. It is a nice town of 120,000 people. Tomorrow morning at 9:30AM (2:30 AM central time), we will go to the local adoption center and have a meeting, then travel with everyone to meet the kids. 
Tonight we interviewed a translator to work with us while we are in the city. That should be a good option for us to call for a few hours a day if we need it. We will try not to use her too much because we want the children to bond with us instead of her.
We are eating well and sleeping pretty well.
I think I may have dodged jetlag. Guess we will find out.

Good night!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Only one more sleep

In college, one of my roommates would count days by telling how many more sleeps it was... I remember thinking it was a strange saying... "Only 2 more sleeps til I go home", or "Only 5 more sleeps until Spring Break". I don't think she used that phrase to talk about undesirable things... for example, I never heard "Only 4 more sleeps until my final" or "Only 3 more sleeps until I have my wisdom teeth removed". 

With all that said, we are in Poland. We are in a fun little hotel in Warsaw. We will be here until tomorrow morning, then after breakfast, we are off to the town where our kids are. I think we may meet them tomorrow. We are excited and blessed.

That means... only one more sleep until we meet our kids!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sweet friend Misty!

Friday, October 4, 2013

watch out Poland! Here we come!

In ten minutes, we board the plane to go to Warsaw. We have been delayed 3.5 hours. We have enjoyed the time together. We are turning off our phones from now until we return to the States. Email, Facebook, and blog comments are all welcome. We meet our kids Sunday or Monday. I'm so nervous and excited!
Got to see a college roommate here in Chicago! Sweet friends all over the world love our kids already! Next blog will be from Poland! YAY!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

4 more days

In four days, I will meet you... and you... and you... and you. I will know the ones my soul has longed for. I will finally know the feeling of my children's arms wrapped around me. The arms of the children who will make me a mother. You my precious children will be forever home. I want to count your toes, rock you to sleep, kiss your face and watch you breathe. You will be home. Your dad and I miss you very much. Our house feels empty and quiet. People keep telling us how much our life is going to change... how busy we will become... how we will no longer have time for ourselves... and we are ready. We were made to be your parents. We welcome the chaos with open arms and open hearts because God welcomes our chaos every day. We welcome you. We love you. Dear treasures, we are coming. Wait 4 more days.... 4 more long days. We are coming,
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The song...

Have you ever heard a song and had it stop you in your tracks?

This song is the perfect song for how I feel about our children.

"I've missed you, but I haven't met you.. Oh but I want to. How I do"

Monday, September 30, 2013

We're going to Poland

The next time most of you see us, we will be parents. Future Dad and I got the call this morning that our bonding period is set to being MONDAY! That is right....THIS Monday! We need to be there a few days early, so we are flying out Friday morning!

By this time next week, we will have met our children! 

We feel so blessed. 

Here is what we have learned:

  • We will be in Poland on Saturday.
  • The original court date happened without us. At that date they determined our bonding period.
  • We will begin our bonding period on Monday and it ends October 30th.
  • The first few days, we will stay in the foster home with our kids. We will get to know their routine and maybe get to go to their school.
  • We will then go stay in an fabulous apartment in their town. The apartment is available for 2 of the 3 weeks. We will have the freedom to go where we want in the town. They will be in our custody, but not yet our children.
  • We will go stay in a hotel the last week of our bonding time. 
  • We then go to court and get the official adoption decree. 
  • There is a 2 - 4 week appeal period. At the end of the appeal period, they are OUR CHILDREN! We will hopefully be back in Warsaw at this point.
  • There is another 2-4 weeks of paperwork chasing, then we can come home! 
The timeline is looking at more of a 6-8 week time period instead of 4-6 weeks.

We are thrilled. We have lots to do, but nothing is impossible with our God!

Here are some sweet pictures from our shower: These are prayer blankets. Our friends prayed as they tied the layers together. Aren't they perfect?

Here is Mimi Prather praying for her sweet grandson!

These were the ladies who organized our rock star celebration!

     Look at this mountain! 

Here are some pictures from the shower with my sweet co-workers at the school!
There are 6 hearts on the cake! The first and last heart are where we will begin and end our journey! From Huntsville to Zglorgelec!

These blocks have written blessings and advice on them... 

Don't tell our little girl about the sand/water table... she is getting it for her birthday in March :-D

We feel so blessed! Thanks for all the love and support. Perhaps when we update next, we will be with our children.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Growing weary of waiting

 Update on the list...and life
Here is the latest update: also, I'll be adding pictures tomorrow. Right now I'm updating from my iPad and the pictures are on the other computer. Also, tomorrow I have to give the iPad back to school because it belongs to them.

1. Get referral from NAC.
2. Mail off for immigration/visa approval. 
3. Wait 4-6 weeks for approval. 
4. *Buy a bigger vehicle.
5. Send visa approval to the National Visa Center. 
6. *Set up 2 bedrooms.   * new beds are in and made... Sheets are on the beds!
7. The NVC will send visa approval to the U.S. Embassy in Poland. 
8. The U.S. Embassy writes a letter called the Article 5. *new
9. The Article 5 gets picked up by Sasha (our in country facilitator) and taken to the NAC.
10. *Future Dad builds dining room table and bench to seat everyone. *the top is together, sanded and the edges are finished! Next step is oiling the top and sealing it... Then skirt and legs!
11. We get Court date/travel date.  *new Still waiting for the judge in Poland to get us on the docket!


Since the last time I blogged, several things of note have happened....

1. Our AMAZING church threw us the most amazing and generous shower Adoption celebration. 
2. My friends organized a house blessing and several wonderful friends joined us at our house to pray over our kids rooms.
3. My teacher friends / school colleagues threw us a shower to stock our school room and play room. Again, these people were so generous!
4. They told our kids that they are getting adopted. Their gift is on the way.
5. We bought and installed car seats in both cars. 
6. God sent a lady who graduated from Gallaudet to take my job the rest of this school year. Praise him. Tomorrow is my last day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It worked last time...

Will you pray with us to get a court date? All our paperwork is ready, it is at the courthouse (we are pretty sure) and we are just waiting for the judge to put us on his docket.

Right now at 5:43 PM central time, it is 11:43 PM in Poland. If you wake up in the middle of the night tonight anytime after 2:00 A.M., say a prayer because it will be business hours there.

Dear Judge,
Please let us come soon.
Future mom and dad

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Current prayers

On Friday of last week, Future Dad, the dog and I took a trip. It was our final hoorah before our kids come. We split the cost of a condo with Aunt B and her new husband, Uncle A! We ventured down to the Alabama gulf and spent 3 days sitting on the beach. We swam in the ocean, Future Dad skim boarded some, we ate food, but mostly, we sat. We will not have this luxury for a VERY long time.

We found a cute condo on the bay side (read: cheaper) and walked 1 block to the beach each day and set up camp. It was wonderful. This is the only picture from the entire trip.

We were very happy and relaxed. Future Dad and I have not been to the beach together since 2008. It had been too long.

Adoption Update: We are waiting for "the ministry" in Poland to give us final approval, then we wait on a court date. Once they set a date, we will buy our plane tickets and go meet our children.

We mailed our kiddos a package 2 weeks ago. It contained a book, some stuffed animals with a voice box inside, and a photo of us with their animals. We tried to say "we love you" in Polish. We could have said "we love sushi" for all we know. Hopefully, they will understand our broken Polish.
The National Adoption Center in Poland has not approved our facilitator to give them to the kids yet. They are holding our gift until we are closer to travel. They don't want the kids to think we aren't coming.

Prayer requests:
The ministry will approve us this week.
The NAC will approve our gift to be given to the kids so they will know they are chosen and loved.
The judge will set a date soon.
God will be preparing the heart of the judge to be fair and compassionate (not sure if those are opposites, but I believe they can coexist).
God to be preparing the hearts of our children to meet us.
God to finish preparing our hearts to be parents.
Us to get our house ready in time.