Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goodbye January

I can't believe that January is over. It seems like Christmas was just a few days ago. If being this busy has made the month go by like a flash I can't imagine what February will be like.

1/27 Visited the doctor for TB results (one down, three to go). I found a plate with hearts on it for Aly! Anyone who has been to our home knows our girls have made a make-a-plate a year for the last... Also, we had a birthday in the family. Kira decided to forgo the birthday cake and go with a birthday pie this year. Kelsey has been doing this the past few years requesting apple pie, but Kira decided a chocolate satin pie was necessary to make her day complete.

1/28 First meeting with our social worker regarding our homestudy. Our task now is to finish our paperwork, read our books, and set up another appointment for our individual meetings with her.

1/29 One word... DMV. This had to be our biggest accomplishment of the week! We stopped by the day before after meeting with our social worker, but the line was out the door. Needless to day we both decided to try again the following day (the line just had to be shorter). I filled out and printed my form at home, took my $5 and went down to my local DMV. The line was L-O-N-G-E-R, but at least I was armed with a book. I waited and waited and waited some more and eventually was rewarded with the piece of paper that I was there for. Brian went first thing in the morning to the DMV by his office and had waited an hour but had to leave to get to work. He went back in the afternoon and it took an hour and a half (yep, that sounds about right!).

I am pleased with how much we got accomplished in January. I can only hope (and pray) that February will be as successful with completing the necessary paperwork, classes, and books that are required.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Progress Continues

1/25 Completed the forms for our passports and Interpol Criminal Records Check to be notarized.

1/26 Received the employment verification form from Brian's work and it's notarized! Also, we had our oldest get her physical, TB test, etc.

We knew that our doctor is on maternity leave until May. We just found out that all of the other doctors in her practice are DO's. OK for the kids physicals for the homestudy... not OK for the parents physicals. I will be spending the day looking for another doctor (hopefully without a long wait).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let the Paperwork Begin!

It's been a busy week and we are just getting started.

1/19 Picked up birth certificates and marriage license in Orange County
1/20 Went to Los Angeles to pick up birth certificates, but no... I was told they will send them out and I should receive them in 20 days... NO!!!!! It seems that if you were born before 1965 they have to go on an archeological dig through their archives. I explained the situation and was able to fill out an emergency form and was told to come back the following day.
1/21 Back to Los Angeles to pick up ancient birth certificates
1/21 Received our homestudy packet in the mail
1/22 First of four physical's completed

The agency doing our homestudy and has required reading. Three are mandatory:

• The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis, and Dr. David Cross
• Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility, by Foster Cline MD
• Raising Adopted Children: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent, by Lois Ruskai Melina

We need to read at least two other books from the list below, so I hope to figure out which two to chose (they all sound good - I'll probably read them all). Any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

• Adopting the Hurt Child, by Keck & Kupecky
• Attaching in Adoption, by Deborah Gray
• Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control, by Heather Forbes
• Helping Children Cope With Separation and Loss, by Claudia Jewett
• Parenting From the Inside Out, by Daniel Siegel
• Parenting the Hurt Child, by Keck & Kupecky
• Touchpoints: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development, by T. Berry Brazelton
• Toddler Adoption, the Weaver's Craft, by Mary Hopkins-Best
• With Eyes Wide Open: A Workbook for Parents Adopting International Children Over Age One, by Margi Miller and Nancy Ward

We will be spending this weekend reading The Connected Child to get started.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sponsor Page

We have our sponsor page listed on Reece's Rainbow!

All donations made through Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible, and 100% of all donations will go toward our adoption! Also, a big thanks to Lu at The Poppies' Blog ( for creating the "Alyona - Help Bring Her Home" button on the right-hand side. Clicking this button takes you directly to our sponsor page. List our family’s name on your check or Paypal and all funds will go directly to help bring Aly home! We appreciate your support, prayers, and donations.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Merry Christmas

I know Christmas was a few weeks ago, but Kelsey just shared a song with me by Third Day that was on their "Christmas Offerings" CD. *** kleenex alert *** Make sure you have tissue near by.

"Merry Christmas"

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
And prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Part of the Family

Aly's photo is in a frame on our mantel next to her sisters. Her birthday is on our calendar (Sept. 5, 2006). We are so excited and can't wait to bring her home!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We need your help!

As you might imagine, international adoption is no small feat. We have many things to do and we have many great needs.

First and foremost, please pray. Pray that God’s will be done, and pray for us and for Aly.

If you are able and willing, please consider making a contribution to Aly’s adoption fund. We have been told it will cost approximately $25,000 to cover all of the fees, travel, and documentation/court costs. Obviously this is a huge leap of faith for us, but we’ve seen God work in our lives and we know He does great things!

You can contribute by clicking the "Help Bring Her Home" graphic on the right.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on how the fundraising is going. Please help spread the word!

Meet Aly

This is the little girl we discovered needed a forever family! She’s currently in an orphanage in Eastern Europe and she’s nearing the age where if not adopted, she would be removed from her baby-house and moved to an institution because orphans with Down Syndrome are sent to mental institutions when they turn four!

We were immediately struck by her description:

Alyona is a gorgeous little girl with brown hair and brown eyes. She is described as quite high functioning, very sweet, and very happy! She does have an ASD (atrial septal defect), but it is not considered serious and may well have closed on it's own already. She is walking and eating independently, follows directions well, and is an orphanage favorite!

Her caregivers tell us she is speaking now, walking and eating on her own, and is truly a doll baby. She is described as a gentle girl, a good imitator, and she loves to read books. She is very loving and intelligent, and they really hope a family will come for her!

Thanks to Reece’s Rainbow and God we have heard her voice and she is on our hearts. She could be the missing Swerd!


This is the story of our family and our journey to find the missing member(s). Those of you that know us are probably wondering, who’s missing? You know Brian (Da), April (the Momma), Kira (the pilot), and Kelsey (math genius/party waiting to happen)… so who’s missing? There’s obviously a story here, so let’s begin.

April and I have been married for almost 23 years and have two smart, beautiful, talented and all-around great girls. We’ve had our trials and have been tested seemingly beyond measure, but through it all God has seen us through. His faithfulness and grace are more than enough, and we continually have the opportunity to live-out our faith in everyday life. We are blessed indeed.

One of the ongoing story lines of our life is that we regret not having more children. We’ve loved every minute of raising our girls, and have always wished for a bigger family, but we made the mistake of thinking we were “done” after the birth of our second daughter, Kelsey.

We thought we were done, and like many couples I went to the doctor for the "snip-snip." He asked “are you sure?” and we thought we were. Little did we know the heartache and emptiness that would grow in our hearts as we realized our mistake over the years to come.

Many years later, we heard of a doctor in Los Angeles that specialized in vasectomy reversals, and had great success helping men become fertile again. It was an expensive long shot, but one we were willing to take for the hope of having more children. After the intensive micro-surgery and painful recovery, we tried and tried, but alas we had joined the world of couples struggling with infertility and hope seemed dim.

Through it all we never lost the feeling that our family was incomplete – we trusted God to let us know when and how more kids would come into our lives. We volunteered, we coached, we taught, we cared for others, and we loved. We knew our hearts had room for more, but we also knew God had a plan that is better than ours.

Then, through God’s perfect grace and providence, He reminded us that He loves us all, and that perhaps our missing Swerd was waiting to be adopted!

I believe it was the great philosopher Horton who once said, “I believe in you all.
 A person's a person, no matter how small!
 And you very small persons will not have to die, if you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and try!"

Thanks to the internet, we heard her voice all the way from Eastern Europe.