Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Dossier Has Left the Building

Our dossier, lovingly known as "The Beast", has been sent. Yep, it is finally on its way. I have spent so much time gathering documents, signatures, notaries, apostilles, etc., that it feels weird not to have it in my possession. When I pulled into the driveway after dropping of the dossier at UPS, I felt as if I had forgotten my child accidentally behind at the store. Of course, I wouldn't know that personally, but one time one of my girls had an end of season party at a pizza place and then everyone drove over to the gym for the awards. One mom got to the gym and realized she left one of her kids at the pizza place. Oops!

I'm not quite sure of the rest of the timeline. Often once the dossier arrives, it can be submitted two weeks later. Unfortunately, I have heard that the State Dept. of Adoptions will be closing for two weeks in October (I do not know which two) and that may affect when we will be submitted.

Well, I have been told to hang on, that it's all downhill from here. You better believe I'll be hanging on, and praying the whole time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Message From My Mom

Even though you called me today and told me the wonderful news, I still broke down and cried when I read the words of the I-171H stating "It has been determined that you are able to provide proper care to an orphan/s....."! Little do they know you've been caring for her in your heart for many, many months now. My grand-baby is closer still to being with her forever family, praise God!

I can't believe it, I mean, I really can't believe it. We finally have our I-171H, in our possession. I could not believe how nervous I was opening the envelope. I was actually sweating. We have waited for this moment since we began this process back in January. In fact, it was on January 2, that Brian and I had contacted Reece's Rainbow regarding being Alyona's forever family. It has been a long experience. We have learned so much. We have completed a mountain of paperwork... twice! It is going to be such a great feeling to be able to send our dossier (some families lovingly call it The Beast) off on Monday! Yet, we are fully aware that our journey is far from over. Some have even said that this is only the halfway point. Fortunately, once we are in Aly's country, we will have a facilitator there to help us with the paperwork.

We knew that at the end of the paperwork trail in this country, we would be receiving USCIS approval, the I-171H. I honestly wasn't expecting it today. I don't know about you, but in our neighborhood, we only receive junk mail on Saturdays. Earlier in the day, I had dropped off a roll of film to be developed. They said it would be ready to be picked up in 30 minutes. I returned for the photos, anxiously waiting to see the memories from a once in a lifetime event, only to be told that they had problems with the machine and the film had been ruined. I was crushed, but it was my daughter, who reminded me that once again we were being spiritually attacked. I have heard that often families who are making a difference, who are in the process of international adoptions have been going through their own spiritual battles. With us it has been mostly with our appliances, so of course when we needed a roll of film developed, they would have problems with their machine. We had not one but two vacuums break (in one week), a dryer that wouldn't dry, a dishwasher that wouldn't wash, sprinklers that wouldn't sprinkle, and currently a washing machine that will not clean. But God is so good. To come home without the photos (sorry honey) and to not even be expecting the I-171H, but finding it in there waiting for my in my mailbox was like God saying, focus on the REAL things that matter. Focus on finishing this task that I have called you to do. Focus on getting Aly home. And that is exactly what we will do.

Yay!!!!! We have our Golden Ticket!!!

When we went out to the mailbox today, we were expecting to find the usual junk mail that comes on Saturdays. But, we found an envelope from USCIS with our I-171H! We are soooooo excited!!! (Can you tell?) We plan on going to LA on Monday to get it apostilled. After that, we will send our dossier to Eastern Europe!

We're coming to get you Aly!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yay, We're Approved... but Still Waiting

YAY! I just found out today from our "adopted" congressman's office down in El Cajon, CA (Duncan D. Hunter is the best!) that our USCIS officer approved us on Saturday, Sept. 18. She sent our file to her supervisor on Monday, Sept. 20 and then snail mailed it to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. We still have not received anything by mail and the National Visa Center does not have us in their system yet (hopefully in a day or two), but at least we were approved! Still waiting for the Golden Ticket... I mean the I-171H. I would have never known we were approved if it weren't for Holly at Duncan Hunter's office. Thanks Holly for all your hard work!

Ten Weeks and Waiting

Please continue to pray for our I-171H to arrive. We have been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for over ten weeks now. I just received an email from our congressman's office asking if we had heard anything. It seems that last week the fine folks at the USCIS told our congressman's office "that an officer would be adjudicating the petition this week". Well, it's Thursday and we still have not heard anything. The week is not over, so we will continue to pray for us as well as all of the other Reece's Rainbow families that are also adopting. There are so many families that are also waiting. Waiting to finish home studies and dossiers, to receive I-171H's, for dossiers to be submitted (and accepted), for travel dates, for court dates, etc. Oh, and don't forget waiting to raise all of the $$ to bring these beautiful children home. If you would like to help us bust Aly out of the joint, we would greatly appreciate it (Aly would appreciate it even more). Tax-deductible donations can be made directly through Reece's Rainbow at:

or, you can mail your donation to:
Reece's Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885

I have had several friends mail or drop of the checks to me and I will send them in for them (checks made payable to Reece's Rainbow). Remember, no amount is too small, it all adds up. Would you please consider giving up your coffee at Starbucks for a day, a movie night, or a dinner out. Aly thanks you!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Aly!

Aly turned four at the beginning of the month and we were so sad that we weren't able to be with her to celebrate her special day. My heart just breaks thinking of her without a mama to kiss her owies, hug her when she is scared, rock her when she is tired, and to cuddle her all the other times of the day. Oh, this little girl has no idea how so spoiled and loved she will be.

Well, it has been 9 weeks since we have sent in our I-600A Petition to Adopt and our waiting continues. As one who does not like to wait, this is killing me. My kids say I sigh all the time. They'll ask why and I'll say it's because I don't have my I-171H yet. We have continued contacting our officer and each time we get a different, generic email reply. It must be a form letter/email as it never addresses any of our specific questions that we asked. We just want a status update, but obviously there is nothing to update us on, if it hasn't even been looked at. On the positive side, the longest wait that I know of to receive a confirmation was 12 weeks. Everyone in the adoption world was shocked that it could take 12 weeks to receive the I-171H (some families take only one month), but it looks like we may follow suit. In that case, we are looking at three weeks or less!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reece's Rainbow Child of the Month: September 2010

Anya (12)
Girl, Born December 14, 2006

Anya is a pretty little girl with unique facial features. She was born with a minor defect of interventricular and interatrial septum. It is also possible she has a dual diagnosis of Moebius Syndrome.

There is no blood test to confirm Moebius, so it is diagnosed on clinical symptoms such as a lack of facial expression and a uniquely shaped nose.
From a therapist who visited with her in June 2010: "
Anya is able to smile and giggle when tickled!! She can imitate 'arms up', 'clap hands' and 'tap head'! The Doctor reported to me that she is 'ONLY low Down's Syndrome no other syndrome'. I specifically asked about Moebius syndrome and she pulled out Anya's records, scanned them briefly and said no. I was also able to get her to walk using a Rifton Walker so she is capable of learning/progressing and WILL progress once in a loving family environment. I saw no autistic behaviors this year just a bored unstimulated beautiful little girl who loved being cuddled!!"

From an adoptive family who visited with her in September 2010: "I wanted to let you know that I have been able to spend a bit of time with Anya. I will send you pics and video of her when I get a chance, also Lyndi should have some good pics of her too.

Anya is smiling in the video :-) She can smile, sit up, crawl, pull herself up to a stand using the edge of the playpen. She can hear and see well enough to have heard me call her name and to immediately sit up and crawl over to the playpen gate and stand up. She cried when I could not pick her up. Another time, she sat up and climbed into my lap and clapped my hands together over and over. I do not think she is autistic and she does have facial expressions. She is definitely more involved than your average kid with Ds but she is a doll who is craving attention. Also, she is not aggressive... she did not bite me or pull my hair, or do anything like that. She needs a family bad. She spends most of her time lying on the floor, unengaged in anything. With therapy and love, she will blossom!!!"

I have $2184 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!