Sunday, March 16, 2014

One year - Live the adventure God gives you

One year ago today I had a conversation with a social worker at an adoption placing agency and verbally committed to adorable little brown eyed baby from Latin America. 
About a week prior, I had come to the heartbreak realization that as much as my heart wanted to believe that laws would change in R, the reality was that the law was the law.  Almost immediately after coming to peace with that realization, I also decided (after A LOT of prayer and thinking and more prayer) that I would switch countries in the adoption process.

One year ago, yesterday, another adoptive Mama, who had just arrived home with her daughter from the same Latin American country, wrote a blog post on a little girl who desperately needed a Mama.  I read that post almost immediately after I had made the decision to move forward with adopting from a new country and I knew INSTANTLY that I needed to bring this little girl home.  Her 'alias' was/is 'Seraphina'.  I looked her up on RR and there was not picture (as stated in the blog post that her picture could  not be shared publicly) but the information about her drew me in.  I messaged this other Mama and she had a picture which she quickly shared and I immediately fell in love with that smile. 

The adoption process starts with the agency.  Those are the people who have a waiting child's file and who can share information, approve someone for adoption and then help them along with the process.  Every waiting child from Latin America is not with the same agency (and Reece's Rainbow is not an agency, they provide grant funding and LOTS of support, which is super helpful as well, but it is the agency who approves an individual and so the process begins.  I made that first contact, one year ago today and sent in my application to be approved to begin working with the agency to adopt 'Seraphina' year ago today.  It seems so fitting that just a few days ago, Josie's referral paperwork arrived at my door.  That just a few days ago, I received that wonderful phone call from the agency stating that the referral had been received and was being mailed out to me right then.  One year later. 

It certainly has been a long year.  (and an even longer year prior too) but I know this journey will be more then worth it in the end.  I know I will be blessed to be able to call Josie my daughter (even if some days are tough!) and will LOVE to hear her call me Mama!

I think it is also pretty fitting that the series the youth at church have been studying (The Me I Want to Be, becoming God's best version of you) was about 'Transforming My Experience' tonight.  (side note - Even though we've been going through this study with the youth, it's a pretty great one and I highly recommend it for adults, too!) There were a couple of quotes that jumped out for me tonight.  We were talking about the mountains that we have in our faith.  Those struggles or adventures that God leads us through. 
'God has a Mountain with your name on it.'  Our faith is not suppose to be 'easy', it's more then just a walk in the park.  (Not that believing is hard, but truly following should put us out of our comfort zone a little).
"Your Mountain combines the stuff that your best at, with the stuff that you care about." 

I am fairly certain that I am in the middle of a Mountain right now.  I wonder if adoption for every person is in  a way, their 'mountain'.  So many people are such amazing advocates, following true to God's command to "look after the orphans (and widows) in their distress." 

I certainly can attest that this past year has felt like nothing short of climbing a mountain (not that I've ever really climbed one!).  I knew I was ready to move forward to bring my girl home and that I would do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Including climbing whatever mountain was put in front of me. 

It's a little hard to believe that after such a long climb, the top is so very near.  And I will continue to keep climbing, filling out every last form, renewing and updating paperwork to travel, raising the last bit of money, putting together care packages and photo books, spending weeks in a foreign country...all to be able to bring my girl home. 

And begin the rest of our adventure together....

Friday, March 14, 2014

Referral - My girl is amazing

This week could not have ended any better.  After a (somewhat quiet) day at work, I arrived home to this most wonderful packet at my door.  Inside contained a very VERY important folder containing the official referral information on my girl.

It's really nothing I didn't already know.  Some things made me cry.  Her little life certainly did not have an easy start.  I knew that she had arrived at the orphanage in a unfortunate way, but reading the details breaks my heart. I want so much to just take her in my arms and bring her into a life full of unconditional love and the care that she needs and deserves.  Though I know there will be some work to overcome her start in life. 

Some things in this binder AMAZED me.  My girl amazes me.  I can not wait until she is home and growing and learning.  I just know she will keep amazing me everyday.  One of the 'requirements' for the next item I need to complete (or should say needed to complete as it was sent via email to the agency this evening...lets keep on moving!!) is a sentence that describes a 'positive aspect of the child as shown in the reports'.  My amazing girl is one little (and I do mean little) ball full of positive aspects.  I guess she is not one to let her start in life effect her outlook on life. 

"Her facial expressions draw attention and allow her to interact easily". 
Yep, I've see those expressions.  And got sucked right in!

"She enjoys activities on the seesaw showing happiness."
I love this statement so much.  Not just because she 'enjoys the seesaw' and 'shows happiness' but this means that she was ON.A.SEESAW.  If it was only one time and even if it was for a short time.  
My girl got to be happy out of her crib and playing on a seesaw.  
That makes my heart SO happy.

One of my favorites...
"she is calm and tender"
Even with all of the negativity that she has endured in her short little life,
 her heart is still full of love.
So wonderful to be 'described' as "calm and tender".  
She is truly amazing. 

There is so much information in those 14 pages.  And at the same time.  
Three ENTIRE years of my sweet baby's life only fills up 14 pages. 

You just wait little bunny, I promise that we will fill up page after page after page of experiences,
 new things to love (and dislike), firsts, (seconds, thirds and fourths!), 
and moments that make you happy and feel confident that you are loved.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finish it up - March Miracles

This is a month of Miracles.(not just madness!)  The tagline #marchmiracles has been used regularly around the group where Josie has a grant set up.  Reece's Rainbow has been raising funds for kids who are waiting for families.  Giving them the miracle of a grant to hopefully help when they get their miracle of finding a family.  

This is a very special month, full of miracles already!  The month started with the best miracle.
My girl's birthday.
A celebration of the miracle that she is.

March also has another special day.  A day dedicated just for individuals with Down syndrome.
Trisomy 21 is the 'label' for the main form of Down syndrome.  A 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome. There couldn't be a better day to dedicate as National Down syndrome day, than March 21st.   3.21 perfect
March is just a great month!

And almost as special as J's birthday being this month....
I received Official Referral yesterday!  Truly #marchmiracles are happening all around.

We need one more miracle though... a BIG one.

This is it.  The end is SO CLOSE!  And with the end of the process, brings the end of the fundraising.
(Or at least I'm hoping this will be the end!)  We are down to the final $8000.  That's it.
I am praying hard for this miracle.  This final monetary hurdle.
The miracle of being able to be 'Fully Funded'!!

When I think of how much has already been funded in this process and given to help bring this sweet girl home, I feel like $8000 really is nothing.  It's like tossing a candy bar in your shopping car at the grocery store.  The $5 movie from the discount bin.  Grabbing a chapstick/flashlight/kleenex while standing in the checkout lane.  Picking a 'just because' toy from the dollar bin.  Adding that cute stack of post-it's, those colorful hand towels, or the 4 set of mini bowls because they are 75% now that we are in a new season/holiday/event of the year.

It's a  little less than 25%.  That means over 75% is already accounted for.  How AWESOME is that!?! 
When I look at it that way, I am just amazed.

The reality is that there IS still $8000 left to raise.  
So here we are, The Finish It Up Fundraiser. 
If successful, the final fundraiser!

I'm praying for our March Miracle.
Do you want to be a part of it?

There are three ways to be a part of our miracle and help
Finish It Up!!

1 - There is a gofundme account set up for Josie's adoption fees.
The amount needs to read $9764 to be fully funded.
You can click the link and it will take you directly to her page.
This account is not tax deductible BUT these funds are accessible right now.

 2- You can make a donation directly to the placing agency.
The agency that I'm with is a non-profit.
If you'd like to make a donation and send it directly to them,
send me a message and I will share their contact information.
The fees needed for both the agency and in country expenses can all go through them.
They will disburse it all where it needs to go.
This step is tax deductible and funds would also be accessible right now.

3 - I have a grant with Reece's Rainbow, through their Family Sponsorship Program.
This grant will be given once travel dates are set.
This will be great to have for all of the in country expenses!
This is also tax deductible.
You can click the link above to make a donation.
To help protect the identity of the children that receive grants through Reece's Rainbow,
they use 'code' names for each child.
Josie's 'code name' on RR is "Seraphina".

 Do you want to be a part of Josie's #marchmiracle and get her home?

Saturday, March 1, 2014


My tiny girl with her chunky little cheeks.
Her baby face.  Her bitty hands.
She turns three today. Three.

She will be 'celebrating' her LAST birthday alone.
I was really hoping and praying to have been with her for this birthday 
but as I am continually reminding myself throughout this's all in His timing.

But, I am SO.CLOSE.
Every day it seems there is something else that moves us one step closer.
A letter, a new piece of information, the next set of 'things to do' from the agency.  
It's like that sprint at the end of the race...
I feel like I started sprinting last week and the finish line is getting closer and closer!

The age that she should have pretty good input into the party choice.
I wonder if it would be princesses?  Dress up?  Garden party?  Rainbows?  Ponies?
Maybe a bouncy house?  Face painting? Or a beach party?
Cake? Cupcakes? 
So many choices that she should be able to make.
She should have friends to celebrate with. 
Party games. Presents to open. Treats to eat. Party favors to share.
Giggles and laughter. Birthday pictures.
Exhaustion at the end of a very fun and full day.

She's not home yet though.  So it will have to wait until next year.
Next year when she has her 'FIRST' birthday with her family.
Be prepared, it's gonna be the best 'first, fourth birthday' you've ever experienced!!
(We won't discuss how old FOUR sounds right now!!)

This will be her last birthday without her Mama. Ever.
I'd like to make it the best, last birthday.

Really, that is what's best.  That this will be the last.
The last time she doesn't get celebrated on such a special day.

I am celebrating for her today.
Enjoying a cupcake. Hanging her new birthday clothes in her closet.
Placing her new birthday toys on her shelf.
Saving birthday cards in her scrapbook.

She may not realize today, what a special day this is,
but she will know when she gets home,
how much she was loved before she was known.

 Happy Birthday Josie bunny.
Te Amo Mija!!

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