Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toothaches and sick kid

Didn't get a whole lot done on the house yesterday. I did finish my bedroom. There were 3 boxes I needed to go through and so I went through one and put the other two in the kitchen;).
I will try to finish Natalie and Hannah's room today.
Took the girls over to mom's around lunchtime, then I went to work to get the schedule for January to see if there were any holes that I needed to fill in. I also showed off pictures of the sweet babies. I happened to see the grandmother of the girls' best friend from church at the hospital and she wanted the girls to come over to play with her granddaughter yesterday. So I took the girls to her house at 1:30 and then met her at 4pm at the rec center to bring them home. They had a lot of fun. I didn't feel real good yesterday and was a little afraid I was catching what Madelyn has. I hope not since I have to work 12 hours Friday and Saturday. I think it may just be my tooth pain wearing on me.
I am getting pretty annoyed with this tooth pain I have been having that is gradually growing worse. I had 2 cavities filled over a week ago. One needs a crown and I have a temporary cap on it. Anyway, the dentist told me it would be sensitive until we got the crown on, but see it takes 2 weeks to get the crowns made and back to the dentist. I did have an appointment on 1/6 to have it put on, unfortunately, that is the day we got assigned for our fingerprints in Birmingham, and we CANT miss that or reschedule, so I had to put off my crown until 1/10. A few months ago, I had lots of mid chest pain, which the doctor and I were pretty sure was an ulcer. I took protonix and carafate for a few months and thankfully it went away. However, with this mouth pain constantly, I have had to go back on the ibuprofen and tylenol around the clock. I take a carafate every time I take an ibuprofen, but still scared the ulcer will come back. The pain woke me up last night I had to take the strong stuff that I had leftover from a root canal last year and it finally took the pain away where I could go back to sleep. But I don't want to take that all the time either. I don't think it is an abcess. I had one of those before and the pain gradually got worse and was unbearable, which this was last night. We'll see. I only took 1/4 of a lortab and it took the pain away last night, so I have lots of room to move up to more if I have to. Hope I make it until the 10th. I hate all this dental work!
Madelyn is sick with a cold or something like it. She ran a fever one day and complained of a sore throat, not to mention the coughing and runny nose. Then the fever went away and she sounded like she was getting over a cold, then this morning, she hardly has a voice, but no fever and a awful cough. Her ear hurt the other day and she said that is better. If her temp goes back up today I will probably just take her in this afternoon or in the morning to make sure she doesn't need anything more than time.
So hard to grasp the reality that if everything goes as usual, we will have our two babies home in less than 5 months. I can't wait! It is kind of like when you are pregnant the first time and you know there is a baby in you, but it is such a weird thing to imagine that it is hard to believe. Anyway, we have been waiting so long for these referrals, I think I am still in nonreality land. Plus, I think I am trying to hold myself back a little, knowing that anything could still happen to before the court date and we can call them ours. I think I will breathe a sigh of relief when the court date is over and I might just collapse with relief when they come home. I feel like I am holding my breath, trying not to get too attached to them. It is hard not to though.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Budgeting and cleaning

Last night after Aaron got home, we decided to tackle Natalie and Hannah's closet. I did this in Madelyn's room and it worked out pretty well and freed up a lot of space. We had 2 short bookshelves that we sitting emtpy in the garage. So I decided to hang up all of Madelyn's long pants and shirts. Then she has a basket she slides into the bookshelf for socks and underware, then a shelf for shoes, room for shorts and pajamas. I am going to have Natalie do that too. It took hours last night and the remnants of the cleaning are still all over the kitchen floor where the girls sorted their toybox. The bookshelf fits in the closet under the clothes. I put all of Hannah's clothes in a tote and she can just live out of that until we find a small dresser that we can use for her. Today I will clean off their dresser and maybe we can take it out of their room, making their room more spacious. The kids' bedrooms in this house are tiny.
Budgeting eyeopener...
Last night, although I hate budgeting, I decided to, not because I hate to put limits, I am pretty miserly and hate to shop. But I did need to figure out how many hours I need to work a month . Well, it wasn't pretty. I don't know what I was thinking to feel like I could work 12 hours a week and still pay for this adoption. I know that God knows our finances and I pray that God sends some more money this way, but until then I have to assume I will need to work...a lot. Aaron is hoping to get some extra hours in working with fire also.
I am going to try to sign up for 40 hours a week if I can fit it in. Which will mean 12 hours every Saturday, a 12 hour day during the week, whichever day Mom is off work, maybe 8 hours every other Sunday, plus some 7-11p at nights. Bad thing is, I refuse to work 7-11 one night, then try to be back at work at 6:40 the next morning, so I only work 7-11 when I am off the next day and that limits my hours too. I am thankful that I have a job that I can work pretty much any shift, anytime. I am blessed. So, back to work I go.
We are halfway done with our school days, so that worked out great. We will do school 4 -5 days a week and then still have some to do when the babies come home. Hopefully we will avoid sickness, esp. stomach virus, and I can work 40 hours a week until we get the babies home. Plus, in addition to the 15, 000 more we need in the next week or so, we will have to pay for a trip to Ethiopia in about 2 months, then another one in May. It will all be worth it, but things will be real tight for a while....real tight.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Answered prayers

Today I finally got a letter from an agency that gives out adoption grants. We will receive $3000 in grant money to help with our adoption. It will be sent straight to our agency. Every bit helps. We should get our bills this week for the adoption. We would have owed approx. 23,000 to the agency, but with the $3000 grant and the $5000 no interest loan, we will still have $15,000 due probably this week. Still praying for help.
We got our official referral paperwork notarized today. I faxed it to our agency and will mail it tomorrow.
Got the dressers in our bedroom cleaned off today and still have a couple of boxes of papers in our bedroom to go through. Maybe I'll get some done tonight.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cleaning out

Last night, I typed up a list of all of the things I want cleaned out before we get the boys. I hate to sort and clean and therefore I am terrible at it because I put it off so long. However, I do enjoy making lists and marking off stuff as I do it!
We had the whole day at the house today and I got so much done. We decided not to risk going to church services this morning, since we barely made the turn into our driveway on the way home last night because it was so slick. Then church services were cancelled tonight. So we had an entire day of sledding, warming up, then sledding, then warming up, then sledding some more even up until almost 9pm tonight. Apparently it became slicker and faster as the day went on. I am so glad that the girls are braver than me. I went down a few times, but have never liked going fast, sledding, skiing, slip and slides, etc. It was a lot of fun watching them do it though. Madelyn and I built a big snowman and then she of course had to add a little baby snowman beside it.
Aaron measured 5 inches of snow this morning. Unusual for this area, but great and has to be enjoyed while it is here.
My brother Michael and his family stopped by for a little while today on their way to the coast to hop on a cruise. Michael took a turn on the sled, but didn't go more than once, I guess he didn't want to risk an injury right before a trip.
Back to the cleaning.
Today I ...
-cleaned out the filing cabinet that had junk from years ago - 90% we didn't need anymore and was promptly burned in the driveway.
-cleaned out my closet, and got rid of over two trash bags worth of clothes - most which went to a thrift store in town, literally got rid of 1/2 my clothes. So much that Aaron was able to move all of his winter clothes that we normally keep in the girls bathroom closet in mine, thus freeing up the girls bathroom closet.
-cleaned out my dresser and consolidated 5 drawers into 3 and got another bag full of clothes to give away. Now I have 2 empty drawers in the bottom of my dresser which I will use for the baby that stays in our room. Probably little Ethan.
-took one tote full of extra blankets to the garage (Aaron did this)
-took our cedar chest that we have been using to hold up our answering machine and store junk to the garage (Aaron did this also) Moving the tote and cedar chest and putting Aaron's dresser against a different wall has freed up space beside our bed for a crib.
-Hannah got new sheets for Christmas and wanted them on her bed. I asked Madelyn to help Hannah clean off the millions of stuffed animals of her bed, so we could get to the sheets. They did that and more and reached between the bed and the wall and had a pile of sheets/toys/stuffed animals/pillows/books/etc that literally was stacked taller than Hannah's bottom bunk. Got the new sheets on the bed and can finish cleaning out from under her bed tomorrow and that is another thing off my list.
-Aaron also went through all of his clothes and we have almost a whole tote of clothes to take to Ethiopia with us to give away, if we have the luggage space.
*On a side note, normally we would not put a baby in our room, but our house is very crowded and unless we put him in the living room, he will be with us. Since I am normally the only one who stays up past 9, then the living room may be a good option. I am normally in the kitchen on the internet or reading a book, but the tv is hardly ever on and wouldn't wake him. Madelyn is going to room with one and we will room with the other. He still may sleep in the living room, depending on his sleeping habits. We have a crib and a pack and play. Probably will put the crib in Madelyns room in the corner and then the pack and play in our room. Madelyn was 18 months old when Natalie was born and Natalie slept her first 10 months in a pack and play until Madelyn moved to a toddler bed. Not to mention, we lived in a 700 sq ft apartment until she was 10 months old and she did live in the living room.
Anyway, proud to have made myself sort and clean. I just look at the pictures of the little babies and it gives me motivation. Pray we get them home soon. I am praying every day that our process is sped up. So far the girls' passports came back in 2 weeks instead of 6-8, and the baby's medical report came back in 2 days instead of 2 weeks.
Tomorrow we will be having our official referral acceptances notarized and sent to our agency. This was put off only because of our travel and the holiday weekend.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Great Adoption News, Christmas, and Snow

When we got our referrals on Monday, Sue at our agency said that we wouldn't get the medical report back on the 1 month old for about 2 weeks, so we would be waiting that long before being able to officially accept the referral. Opened email Thursday morning and the medical report has come back and we have now accepted both baby's referrals by email. Monday we will fill out and have the "official" referral acceptance signed and notarized. At that point we will have $23,000 due. Yikes! Still praying about that. I am praying that the quick medical report will mean that maybe our court date will be in February instead of March. Hard to believe that in less than 2-3 months, we hopefully will have been to Ethiopia and back. Scary!
When we got home from TN tonight, we had gotten notice from USCIS that they are processing our I600A, so soon we will be getting an appointment time to go and have our fingerprints done again. Last time we had to drive 1 1/2 hours away to Birmingham.
I keep telling myself that nothing is guaranteed until we get them home, but it is so hard not to fall in love with them.
We went to TN from Wed. night until tonight. There was about an inch of snow on the ground in TN. When we got home, we probably have between 3-4 inches. The girls and Aaron have been outside sledding for over an hour. What luck that all three girls got those circular plastic sleds for Christmas today and they have sure put them to good use.
We drove up to TN on Wed. night after Aaron got home from work. Thursday morning we got up early to go to the Parthenon. Our tour appointment was at 9:00am and at 7am while eating breakfast -oatmeal at that- my temporary cap came off my molar and so then I was in a bind. Thankfully my cavity remained filled and it was a dull ache, not like some toothaches I have had. So we called a local dentist and he recommended putting Dentemp in it. Well, it worked well enough to get through the Parthenon, but unfortunately, half of the temporary cap was broken off. We left the Parthenon and passed an open dentist office. They took me right in and straight back and made me a new temporary cap that feels a lot better than the first and will hopefully hold me until Jan. 6th when I get my permanant cap put on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

REFERRALS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is a great day!
I woke up early this morning to get ready for my dentist appointment at 7:30, 45 min. away.
We had an email from our agency stating that she had a 12 month old boy and a 1 month old boy if we were interested. I emailed back YES!!! and then I had to leave for the dentist appointment.
At 10:00 when I met Aaron and the girls at Mom's (faster computer) we were able to see the picture of the 12 month old. He is so cute. It is a picture of him standing in his crib with big brown eyes, curly brown hair and chubby cheeks. He looks real healthy.
I emailed her back to let her know we were definately interested in him and she then sent us the pictures of the 1 month old. Also adorable, chubby cheeks, lots of wavy black hair. He was asleep in all the pictures, so we didn't get a look at his eyes. We emailed her YES! back for him and she said as soon as the medical report got back we could officially have him as a referral too. Which should be 1-2 weeks. She predicted sometime in March for our first trip and court date. Then having them home in May if all goes well. Yeah!
Unfortunately, we can't post pictures until after the court date. By then we will have been to Ethiopia and I will have tons of pictures I hope.
Another blessing at the dentist. When I went for my cleaning a few months ago, she stated that I had some credit and todays visit would only cost me $400+ But when I went to pay today she said I had more credit and didn't have to pay a bit today and had some leftover for next visit. Great!
We were able to put the pictures on a USB port thing and take them to CVS and print them off. So we have some pictures to carry around and show our friends and family.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nothing exciting to report

I have had a better attitude the past few days. Thankfully!
I was supposed to work 12 hours on Friday, but got cancelled. Aaron was off, so we had a great day at home. Saturday I was able to work 12 hours. It was time to sign up to work the month of January, so I signed up for 12 hours each Saturday and it has been a big load off my mind to not constantly be thinking of ways to fit some hours in here and there at work.
A lady from our adoption agency called Friday morning. I was so excited, I was hoping it would be with a referral, but she said that Sue, the giver of referrals was wanting to know specific ages we would take. I told her and haven't heard anything since. So close. I pray we get our referrals this week. Aaron probably does too, since I drive him nuts wondering.
I have dental work on Tuesday. Yuck! I hate it, but better to keep my teeth and I am trying to be thankful for dentists. We have a busy week ahead
Monday - school
Tuesday - dentist :( I mean :)
Wednesday -Chiropractor :)
Thursday - Special field trip :)
Friday- hopefully be taking the girls to see the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Can't wait LOVE the books
Saturday Christmas with the Pirkles and home
And what a Christmas present if we got our referrals this week.
And Monday will be our 13th anniversary!!! Love, love, love my husband. I was so smart to marry him!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Attitude is Everything

I am ashamed to say that mine has been BAD! Really bad!
I forgot to have faith and have let that affect me horribly. The stress of the adoption/work/homeschooling/family time/etc. all rolled into one had driven me crazy. I have been irritable and snappy. I had forgotten my promise to God 3 1/2 years ago when we started this process.
I told God that I would not get upset when delays happened because I knew that God was all about timing and He would be timing the right children into our house at the right time. (And through all of this, I have been begrudgingly praying that no matter how much I whine and cry, I still want the children in my house that God wants in my house, even if it takes longer.)
At the time I prayed, the delays I was thinking about was paperwork getting lost in the mail and delaying a week or two, or stomach virus that keeps us from filing something for a few days, or anything else trivial that would delay it by a short time.
Never, never did I realize I was unknowingly praying for patience and increased faith. I made that promise to God and He apparently decided to test me with it. I pray I win the war of this test and come out faithful and I think I will, but I sure have lost some battles with faith along the way. Thank God that He is forgiving and lets me start over. What a mess I would be if I couldn't.
I was reading an adoptioin blog last night and I read the story of her adoption. So familiar. So encouraging. Long story short, they decided to adopt from the Ukraine, the country closed, they waited a few years for it to open back, then they decided to change countries. Then they went to another country, fell in love with a little boy, waited a year for him and that fell through. Then they questioned if God actually told them to adopt. (sounds familiar to me). Changed again and ended up wanting a little boy on a waiting list, but thought it was impossible to get him. Her daughter picked him also out of the waiting list. Then a week later, their agency referred that exact boy. His situation had changed about the time they got their paperwork in. I am not doing this story justice. But God was delaying the family because the child He wanted in their home was not ready to be adopted.
I know how they felt when they wondered why God told them to adopt, then put up roadblocks.
Working on my attitude!

Monday, December 13, 2010

About to cry over $50

I am so mad I want to cry. Spoke to USCIS just a minute ago. Apparently, the teenager who doesn't have a clue on the phone thinks that the reason that they rejected our paperwork and sent it back is because I sent in $85 each for fingerprints and I only needed to send $80 because the $80 fee hadn't gone up yet and I only sent $670 instead of the increased $720. So, instead of looking at the post mark, and realizing that I sent an extra 10 in, they got CONFUSED and sent back the whole application now apparently requesting the extra $50. I am sooooooo MAD. Especially since I asked MR. Genius on the phone if it will confuse them more if I sent in a check for $50 to make the difference and he says "no, I don't think so, I don't know why it would, I know other people have called with this same problem" Well, I think I know why it would, because the simple problem that it confused them last time!!!!!
By the way, if you hire someone to answer questions for your hotline, how about letting them know the answers to the questions so when people call in with questions about important stuff like the future of families, your people can give them definate answers instead of "duh, I don't know"
Off to the post office to get a $50 money order and praying someone who knows what they are doing will be able to figure out my application this time instead of sending it back to me 3 weeks later stating there is a problem.

It's always something

No news from our agency about referrals...
Friday, we got done with school as early as possible, skipping breaks so that we could go Christmas shopping about 30 min. away. I needed to mail off our original dossier to Washington DC. Well, I got everything ready, got my list of stuff I needed and set out to Mom's to pick her up. Realized when I got to Mom's that I forgot to bring the dossier. Rather than drive 15 min back to our house, then back to town before driving another 30 min, I decided to wait until today. I need to send it UPS, Fed Express, or something like that. There is only one place here in town I have found that you can mail stuff that way. It is in a pharmacy and you tell them you want to mail it and a person who has another job comes and gets your package ready at this tiny table barely big enough to fit a package and I just don't trust it that much. So, probably after lunch if it warms up a bit to the high 20s we may drive again 30 min away to mail it.
I had mailed our USCIS application on 11/19. Fees were going up on 11/23 or 11/24 and I looked up the web site and it said that the increased fees would be for those applications POSTMARKED after 11/23 or 11/24. cant remember which. Not that it mattered because I looked it up and mailed mine on the 19th. Well, almost 4 weeks later, I get my application, un-cashed money orders and everything else back in the mail along with a letter stating there was a problem with the fees. Of course the person typing the letter didn't feel the need to specify. But I bet they want the increased fee because they probably didn't open the package until after the 23rd, but didn't know that their web site said postmarked. and now the envelope that has the evidence of when I sent it is in a landfill somewhere and I am sure I won't be able to prove that I did send it in time and this will cost me another $100. Plus, why did it take 3 weeks to tell me this??? All this time I figured our application was being processed, when in reality we still haven't applied. UGH!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm terrible at decorating

If you have ever been to my house, you know it. And really, it doesn't bother me. I don't see mismatched stuff, I don't mind sheets that don't match, or paint that doesn't, or bare walls, or walls with slanted pictures. I DO have a problem with clutter, which I am constantly battling. With a school in our house, it adds to things we have to store while not doing school, but you also want them accessable. And I can't stand to have my table and countertops covered in the kitchen. I feel so much better when dishes are washed, the counters are wiped and the table is clean.
I don't normally notice my non matching, undecorated house until I go to someone elses that is perfectly decorated. Look at my blog, same old same old. I am all about function.
Why am I bringing this up. I don't know, just sitting here, reading some blogs in between reading a book while my snail-like dialup internet loads. The thought just entered my mind that if things go as our agency thinks, we will probably have 2 infants in our house in 4 months-6 months. Hard to believe. Have I done much to prepare? Not really.
I did go out in the garage one day when it was pretty out, opened the doors and went through a ton of boxes, and got rid of a lot.
Bout it...
I am pretty laid back about things. However, these are the things I do worry about nowadays and I know I need to trust in God to provide.
1. Let's see, I need to make as much money as possible to give us a buffer/pay for adoption before the babies get here...Aaron has forbid me from working 12 hour shifts once they get here. 2 babies for 12 hours = insanity
2. When the babies get here, if we don't get any monetary help with our adoption we will not only have multiple adoption loans to pay every month, but we will also have to buy formula for 2 babies and diapers for 2 babies. Which actually means I will need to work more? But then Aaron will want me to work less? I will have more demands at home and less sleep and then I go crazy being pulled in so many directions.
3. Let's not forget I am responsible for schooling a 1st, 3rd and 4th grader. Oh yeah, fitting that in too.
Yes, I am tremendously blessed. I don't want to sound complainy, but money is going to be due soon.
If you only knew how I beg God every night to prompt someone to help with our adoption. If we had it paid for, we could focus more on diapers and formula and hugs and kisses.

The only thing I can go back to is we are doing what God commands.
Proverbs 24:11-12
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

We know about the orphans and we aren't looking the other way.

1John 3:17
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

We are giving our home, lots of money, and our family to keep these children from growing up without a family

Philippians 2:4
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I am interested in giving these children parents.

James 2:15-17
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good it is? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead

Planning on clothing and feeding them, keeping them warm and loving them.

So I read these verses and I know that God knows exactly how much money we make, how we need to pay so much money and very soon. How we will have approx. $23,000 due when we get our referrals. How we will probably spend up to $5000 to go to Ethiopia for the court day approx 6 weeks after that. How we will probably spend another $2000-$4000 6 weeks later to bring our babies home. He knows how much it will cost, how much our loans will be, and I pray every night that God sends some money for us, some how. Someone who perhaps can't adopt, but can still help an orphan by helping them have a home. Anyone?????

So tonight I am a little stressed. I pretty much work 12 hours each Saturday. I could work 3 12 hour days a week, then have school 4 days a week, or just do 2 12 hour shifts and school 5 days a week. Since we won't be taking more than a few days for Christmas break from homeschool, we can swing that easy. It is hard to be away from home that much and I miss the girls a lot. I have to be at work at 6:35 and usually get home between 7:30 and 8pm. I was hoping to get in 3 12 hour shifts this week, but I have been sick since Sunday and that probably hasn't helped my mood or outlook on life. Been real weak with this cold and tire easy. However I am hoping to turn a corner tomorrow, since I see much improvement every day. I am not blowing my nose constantly and you could probably recognize my voice again.

Thanks for reading my pity party. Hopefully, I will be full of faith and optomism tomorrow. No matter, I know without a doubt, these children will be such blessing and worth all of it. Still can't wait to see who they are, what they look like, will they be boys? or both? Hate waiting, but so glad the waiting is almost over.

Monday, December 6, 2010

No news yet.

Got a call Friday afternoon from Angela paperwork at our agency that she couldn't read the part of my birth certificate that stated when it was issued. You have to have a newly issued birth certificate, not one you have had for years. She wanted me to fax it or scan it and email it so that Sue can take a copy of our dossier to Ethiopia with her when she leaves on the 8th.
Friday night we had to leave not too long after I talked to her to go to the Christmas parade. All 3 girls got to go on the Girl Scout float. Aaron and I watched and froze, although it was not as cold as most years.
I was scheduled to work 7am-7pm on Saturday. Well, they called at 5 am to tell me that I was on standby and I didn't have to come in. I went back to sleep and woke up around 7:30. At 7:45, the supervisor called and said they needed me to come in. So I got there around 8:45 and worked until 7pm.
I felt like I might have a sinus infection coming on so I took some decongestant before going to bed Saturday night and woke up all night Saturday night so stopped up. I finally got up at 5am to blow and Aaron said he thought a herd of elephants was walking by. Madelyn and Natalie were stopped up, coughing and nose dripping too, so Aaron and Hannah went to church alone.
After Aaron got home, I went to CVS to get some sudafed. I also printed off a coupon and ended up getting the following for 27$:
4 zhu zhu pets 9.98 each
sudafed 10.49
3 12 packs of coke for $10 (got 3$ extra care bucks)
However with the coupon I had and buy one get one free this week, I got 4 zhu zhu pets for the price of one. Normally I wouldn't have bought these, but all 3 girls have to take a 5-10$ gift for Girl Scout Christmas party exchange.
I had a coupon for 5$ off the purchase of 20$ or more.
Plus I got another 3 $ in extra care bucks to use next time and a 5$ off next 20$ purchase!
I was so excited.
I was supposed to teach class last night at church, but gradually felt worse as the day went by. I had made a German Chocolate Upside Down cake for the church Christmas party last night. Madelyn felt bad enough that she didn't want to go either, even though she knew about the party, which really shows how bad she felt too. Aaron and I were going to take Natalie and Hannah and let Mom take them to her house afterward, then pick them up, but I felt achy and awful by that point and town is almost 20 min away, so we all stayed home and watched Funniest Home Videos, Makeover Home Edition, then Undercover Boss. I propped myself up on the couch last night to sleep and took 2 sudafed and 2 benedryl and slept pretty well.
I feel slightly better today. Got up at 6 am and woke the kids up at 6:30. We dropped some stuff off at Mom's, hung out there for a couple of minutes, then went by my work where they were nice enough to fax my birth certificate for me. Then we stopped by the store and picked up dog food and paper products and headed home.
Amazingly I was able to do school, but was completely worn out by that point. I had to lay down for an hour and let the kids watch tv. I just now took 2 more sudafed and an ibuprofen and I am hoping to perk up enough for a quick trip to the library. We just started studying Ancient Rome this morning and I have no books on Rome or this subject. Our curriculum gives a little and we are supposed to supplement the rest.
Praying for our referrals ASAP. I can't wait to see our new babies' faces!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On the Waiting List!!!!!

Finally finished our dossier paperwork today and faxed a copy to our agency. So, we are officially on the waiting list. Did talk to our agency today and we actually were on the waiting list 11/19/2010. Even better.
Hoping to have our referrals by the end of the year! Praying to have our babies home by March or April...preferably March.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

State Seal...Again

Last night, we got our dossier checklist notarized again. Nothing in the dossier can be notarized after the date on the checklist, so we had to fix that. We got up early this morning and went to the courthouse and got that county certified. Then we stopped by the post office to mail it to the capitol to be state certified. Hopefully that will get back to me Monday or Tuesday.
Our social worker stated she was mailing our fixed home study today and so that should get here tomorrow. A few little corrections and it will be done and fixed and I can mail copies again to our agency and hopefully be on the waiting list.
As soon as I have the home study, I can apply for USCIS, which will cost close to $900. Ugh!
I hope to have all of our stuff copied and to the agency before Thanksgiving. Once I get the go ahead from the agency, I can mail our original dossier to Washington. Can't wait to have our babies home!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Papers were here all along

Well, I am still waiting to get our fixed copy of our homestudy back. I figure it may be next week, since our social worker is out of town. However, our state clearance papers that I had her send me by email and the signature didn't show, I asked for the originals. She mentioned that I should have gotten a copy too. So I go look in my big box of adoption paperwork I have had for 3 1/ 2 years and sure enough I had recieved a copy. It was over a year ago and I forgot.
So today we are getting our checklist resigned and tomorrow we will get it county certified and then soon we can send it off to the state to be state certified and then I can make copies of our dossier again, send them to the agency, hopefully no more mistakes and then it wait for referral time.
There is also some mandatory learning that they sent us, which I really need to work on today after school. We have a field trip with 4H this afternoon to a candle making business which should be fun.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dentist

Today all 3 girls had their dentist appointments about 45 min. away, so it took up most of the morning. The girls love this dentist here and always look forward to going every 6 months. Apparently, you win tokens while back there and then get a prize. As you leave the back area, they have little machines that you put your token in and turn it like in grocery store lobbies and you get your prizes. Wish my dentist visits were that exciting. My dentist just tells me all the work that needs to be done and gives me a HUGE bill. Don't look forward to that.
Our fixed home study that we got in the mail had a few signatures of our social worker missing, so I sent that back to her today. I emailed her and let her know and also asked her for better copies of the state clearance which you can't see the signature so that will take care of those problems hopefully.
I have a question for our agency about one of the papers I have to fix and am waiting on the answer before we go to the notary to make sure I don't have to have her notarize two things. So right now we are at a little standstill. I just keep telling myself that it will happen soon. So excited.
I still feel bad, but I think I may be on the mend. My throat is barely hurting now and I am not so stuffy, so hopefully tomorrow I can feel better and perhaps get a few 7-11 shifts in at work this week. I was wanting to work all weekend and today, but had no energy and felt awful.
So I have hung around the house with the girls. Rained almost all day, so the girls had lots of pent up energy. We went to Mom's tonight and took her some of our leftover supper. It gets so foggy at our house this time of year. On the way home, on the gravel road to our house, I could barely see in front of the car. Had to drive about 10 mph. It is pretty cool though around our house when it is foggy. Looks a lot like a horror film - fog, forest, nothing in sight. Good thing I don't watch horror films or I would probably be creeped out. Love living here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Corrections not so bad - I hope

Well, after looking at the corrections and our original dossier, I am hoping to get done real soon. #1 left a date off one paper - easily fixed
#2 forgot to mail in a copy of my birth certificate with the copies of dossier -easily fixed
#3 one of the papers from our social worker that she got from the state was not signed. Thought I was going to have to talk to the state about that, but after closer inspection, realized that the papers were signed, but they had been scanned into the computer by social worker, then sent to us, then printed off by me and you can't see the signature anymore, except for a few tiny strokes that came through. So, I think she will be able to make a copy and mail it and it will hopefully show up on copies. - should just be the wait to get in the mail
#4 One notary left off some wording, but I don't think it is required in this state.
#5 Was supposed to put 2 of the same picture on certain page, not one. - easily fixed

Because of the corrections and the dates of some of them, I will have to get the state seal done again, which will require getting our checklist renotarized with a new date, then I will have to take it to the courthouse to be county certified, then sent to the state to be state certified. So, it will probably be Tuesday before all of this is mailed and Friday or Saturday before it gets back and then I will make copies and immediately send it off to our agency again and then we will officially be on the waiting list - yippee.
If I can get a notary at church to notarize our papers tomorrow, then I could get them county certified on Monday morn and sent off by that afternoon.
I have had a sore throat since Thur. night. Felt horrible yesterday and I have woke up feeling better all over, but worse in throat today. Aaron had it earlier in the week and it went away on it's own. Hopefully mine will too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Corrections

Got word back on our dossier yesterday. There were 4-5 corrections that needed to be made. A couple very easy, the others involve other people. Unfortunatley, I won't be able to try to fix them at least until tomorrow since today is a holiday and most places I need to speak with will be closed.
I was a little disappointed when I read the email last night. I am so tired of doing paperwork and was happy to have it done for a while. Oh well.
Aaron is off today and the girls suprised us with breakfast in bed. cinnamon toast and coke. It was sweet of them. Now Aaron is working on a garbage can holder that will have lids so that the possums, dogs, racoons, cats and whatever else will stop climbing into our garbage and spreading it down the road.
The girls and I are going to get a day of school in, then we are off to a wedding 2 hours away tonight, so we will be home at bedtime.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dossier copies arrived

Emailed our agency today and our dossier copies have arrived. No other news. The girls and I did go this morning and pay for the passports, so they should be on their way also.
Now we wait for them to review the dossier, and wait for our referrals. I am excited.
I am a terrible organizer, but our small house is going to have to have something done for us to fit two more baby beds. Probably will put the pack and play in Madelyn's room and the crib in ours. Someday we plan to turn our garage into living space and that will help a lot. Trying to get things sorted and get rid of the excess so we will have room. Emptied out some boxes in the garage and found most of our baby swing. and half of our bouncy chair. Perhaps when we get through all the boxes, both of them will be complete.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Forgot the Checkbook

I don't know if it is like this in other towns, but here you have to make an appointment to get a passport. Aaron and I already have ours, but the girls do not. Also, both parents have to be at the appointment if the passport is for a minor, with picture ID. Aaron took work off early to meet us at the courthouse and we got the last appointment of the day 4:30. I did real good, I transferred money from savings to checking, printed off the applications, sat them in a chair with checkbook on top. Then we went to Mom's for a while before the appointment. At Mom's I filled out the paperwork and we met Aaron. Got to courthouse and frantically searched the van for the checkbook that I had left on the rocking chair at home. Duh!
Thankfully the lady was real nice and said she would put the girls applications in the safe overnight and wait for me to bring the checks tomorrow.
Haven't heard from the agency today. Dossier should have gotten there today. However, I mailed it Friday and paid the $6.50 for "should get there by Monday" instead of the $27 for "definately gets there by Monday" So it may not even be there. I hope it is all correct!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dossier is in the Mail

Mailed the copies of our dossier to the agency yesterday. I still have the originals at home and will mail them to Washington DC whenever I get the go ahead from our agency that we did everything correctly. From the way she talked, we will be on the waiting list when it gets there and we can start to get our referrals. Our dossier should be there on Monday.
We went ahead and said that we want 2 infants, either boys or girls or both. Like I mentioned in our last post, we are 99% sure it will be 2 boys. I pray this is what God wants.
I spoke with the girls and they are real excited of course.
We can't decide what to do about travel. We have to take two trips. One is the court date, the other is to pick them up. At least one parent has to go to the court date. But you can have the agency escort your children home. Unfortunately, since we will have two infants, we need 2 escorts. You not only have to pay the escort's plane ticket, but a whole lot more (more than a 2nd plane ticket).
I am thinking maybe we take the kids the first trip to the court date. Then if I survive a 17 hour flight without being miserable with motion sickness, and it isn't too scary being there, I may travel by myself the 2nd time and just pay for one escort to go with me. Praying for the right decision for that too.
This is almost surreal. After waiting 3 1/2 years, to think that we could have a referral before December is unbelievable. .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Decisions

Please pray, Aaron and I are trying to make a major decision about our adoption. Nothing bad, just wondering what God wants us to choose. It is so much easier when you get pregnant, you have no choice as to if you have a boy or a girl, it is in God's hands. However, with adopting, you do have to choose and it is soooo hard to know what God wants.
So many things that I thought were correct have been wrong in this adoption. #1 I thought our child was in Guatemala. Wrong. # 2 I thought our child was surely in Vietnam. Wrong.
I was positive that God wanted us to get a girl. Aaron thought so too. Is that another thing I mistakenly thought? Is God wanting me to go on my belief that He wanted us to get a girl these 3 1/2 years since starting this journey? Or is God wanting me to follow His lead and change if he tells us too?
Is God telling us to change or is this a temptation to change and see if we will stick with the original plan. So much of the original plan has been wrong.
This is too much pressure on us mere humans to decide.
Let me just say our choices... (we are still planning on 2 infants)
#1 Put down that we want a girl and a boy or a girl and a girl. If we do this, then we will wait 6 months or so for a girl referral. Since there is a waiting list for girls and boy referrals usually come within a matter of weeks. So you would wait for a girl was available then add the next available boy to that. Our children would be home around next fall.
#2 Put down that we want 2 boys. If we do this, we would probably have our referrals within a month or less. Our children would probably be home by March.
#3 Put down 2 infants doesn't matter. Well, this would be like letting God choose, but we know that this choice is almost the same as picking 2 boys because we know that there is no one waiting right now for boys and at least 7 families waiting for girls. So we would get the 2 next available referrals, which would be boys.

What to do, what to do???????? I have been praying earnestly for the last few days. I don't want to choose wrong. This decision completely alters the adopted children's lives, our lives, etc. I want the children that God wants in our home. I don't want to mess that up. I guess I just pray that we don't mess it up and for God to intercede to get the children He wants in our home.

By the way, the reason that this is all come to pass... our dossier is finished. 2 copies sitting in envelopes, waiting to be mailed to our agency. waiting to put us on a waiting list, which happens as soon as they approve your dossier. We have to decide before we send it in.

Also, I don't care what we get, I really don't. I see good in either choice. Aaron is about the same too.
MONEY. We need money. Can we trust enough that God will see to that also if we fast forward and choose boys? This will be $30,000+ since we are getting two. Will anyone help? I know we can't make that much before then.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paperwork back and soccer marathon

Great news! I got back our state certification paperwork for our dossier today. Aaron texted me and let me know that his boss also gave him back his employment letter today too. Which means the only thing we have left for our dossier is 2 passport size photos of Aaron and I. I think I used up all of our passport photos last time, so we will have to get some pictures made or just take some pictures and print them out to size at Walmart.
I will try to get it copied and a copy of our dossier sent to our agency to look over by next week, that way if there are any changes that need to be made, I can work on that. We are inching closer. I can't wait to have our babies home!
Today has been real busy. This morning, all the girls had their yearly checkup and flu mist. Hannah also got her 2nd chicken pox shot. I hope that we did not come home with more bacteria and viruses than we went in with. I try to get the first appointments of the morning, hoping that someone cleaned the office in the night. I look like a germaphobe with my handsanitizer and constantly making the kids wash every time they touch a chair. But I have been burned one too many times, taking well kids to the doctor and ending up with either a viral fever or stomach virus within a week.
Tonight was so busy too. Hannah had soccer pictures at 4pm, Madelyn at 4:30, Natalie at 5pm. Hannah's soccer game started at 5pm and ended at 5:45. Madelyn's soccer game started on a different field at 5:30 and ended at 6:20, Natalie's game started at 6 on the same field that Hannah played on and ended at 6:40. And to top it all off, Aaron had to work tonight. So, we were at the fields from 4-645 and then went straight to the last 45 min. of the kick-off Girl Scout meeting. I got to watch all of Hannah's game - she scored! Then went and watched the last half of Madelyn's game,then back to Natalie's last half of her game.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exciting Package

We recieved an exciting package from our adoption agency yesterday. There is a certain amount of "Education" required for our adoption, so we recieved a bunch of books, plus some questions about the books. That is not as exciting, but there were also 2 stuffed monkeys for the babies and two little t shirts saying "special delivery from Ethiopia" Very cute and is exciting because I might actually let myself believe that this adoption will go through. Still a little skeptical and guarded, but perhaps it will happen.
Next month I start teaching the Sunday night K-6th grade class about orphans. The theme verse is James 1:27 and the last few months, one of the ladies from church has been teaching about widows and each child has adopted a widow from church. That has been exciting for the girls, seeing how they think about their widow all the time. I am not sure how I will approach teaching this class, but hopefully I will do a good job. I need to start praying about what to say and do.
We have 4 puppies left from our neighbors. I am supposed to meet someone from our homeschool coop tomorrow afternoon to get rid of one and another is going to a family member. That will leave us with 2. There is one I really want to keep. It is so tiny, the girls call it Teeny Weeny. I will try to post pictures sometime. The other is looks like a lab, is a girl and is real sedate. I will take her back to school Friday if I don't find a home before then and maybe someone will take her.
Hopefully this week we will have our entire dossier complete, then I can make copies and send a copy to our agency to go over and approve. Once that is approved and they make sure there are no mistakes, I will sit it on our dresser until we have $6000 in the bank. Hopefully by the week of Thanksgiving. I wish I could work 12 hours every day until I get that money in the bank. However, I have other responsibilities (like schooling the girls) and that means I don't get to work very many days a week. Normally just Saturdays.
Soccer will be over the first week in November unless we have lots of make up rain games. We have already missed 4 games due to rain and it is supposed to rain M-W of this week. Once Soccer is over, I might be able to work some in the afternoons or evenings.
I just finished Halloween costumes for the girls tonight. I think I spent a total of $27 on all three. That is a good deal. Normally when I buy premade, it costs $20 a kid. Madelyn and Hannah are going as Greek women. Natalie is going as an Egyptian. I will post some pictures after we get them all dressed up next Sunday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soon...

I am very close to having our dossier done. Yesterday I had our two papers that have to be State notarized, county notarized at the courthouse. Today, I will mail those off to Montgomery to be State notarized and they should be back before the end of next week. Aaron has to get his employment letter done, which he has ready to give to his boss today, so hopefully his boss will get it done by next week too. Then we will make 4 copies and then wait until next month to mail it in. We should have the agency fee money by the week of Thanksgiving. So there is another thing we can be thankful for.
I can't wait to get on the waiting list. At that point, I think I can breathe a sigh of relief and know that I can relax and leave it in God's hands for a while. I know it is in His hands now, but I still have to work at paperwork or it won't get done.
I have to put a plug in for www.e-mealz.com I saw this a while back on a friends blog www.hyperactivelu.com and looked it up at the time. Being stingy with money, I decided to make my own menus. Anyway, that hasn't worked so well. I either forget to put an ingredient on the list or overlook it at the store and here I have a menu with one ingredient missing from each meal. So, I took the plunge last week and signed up and I am very pleased. So far, the last two weeks there has been a shrimp meal, which I have changed, since only Aaron and Natalie eat shrimp. I have cooked 5 meals so far from the recipe list and I have enjoyed all 5. Aaron liked all but one, which he deemed "edible" (He hates vege soup-so he started out bias) The recipes are not things which I would have picked out, but I am so glad to be trying new things. We normally have the same things over and over. Plus, it prints out a list of all ingredients needed, beside that is which meal they go with, so if you do want to eliminate meal number 3, you look at the meal number column and it is easy to cross those ingredients off your list. Then you just add breakfast food and lunches to your list and easy as that.
Our closest neighbor is about 1/10 mile down the road passed away a few months ago. Our next nearest neighbor is probably at least 1/2 mile away. Well, he had a bunch of dogs, probably 10 or so. His daughter comes up and feeds them. Anyway, a beagle that was dropped off there a while back had puppies. I asked the daughter if I could catch them and take them to our home school coop and give them away. They are soooo cute. I love puppies. I have caught 5 and they have been living at our house all week, awaiting school tomorrow. I hope I can manage to get rid of them. Because with 5 more dogs over there, there are no telling how many more we will have in a year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Agreement Sent

Today I finally was able to mail our adoption agreement to our agency. One step closer. I had some pages that needed to be notarized and trying to coordinate with a notary is not fun or easy. Aaron finally had the best idea. And to think it had been staring at us every time we go to the chiropractor. The office manager is a notary. They have notarized letters from patients all over the walls in the hallway. See, I have a lady at work who agreed to notarize all of our adoption papers, but she leaves work before Aaron gets off work. Trying to get someone to bring their stamp to church doesn't always pan out either. Banks also close before Aaron gets off work. Yet our chiropractor, open until 6.
Let me make a suggestion for anyone out there thinking of adopting... Find a good friend, pay for them to become a notary, and then you will have someone at your disposal to help with all the paperwork. I am doing this if we adopt again.
Aaron wants to wait until we save up the approx $6000 in beginning agency fees before sending in our dossier. I believe he fears getting a referral and having to borrow the entire $30,000. At least this way we will have some of it paid in cash. I am hoping we will have that amount by the end of October. Our dossier is not completely finished. I am still waiting for about 4-5 documents from our social worker, who was out of town last week. Then I have a couple of things to get notarized, county stamped and state sealed, and a couple of pictures to take, and I think we will be ready to get on the waiting list. I wish we had the money now. It is so close...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Busiest Time of the Year

Soccer season has started. Now, I love soccer. I played for 9 years and I love that my girls are now playing. But it is so busy. This is the first year that Hannah gets to play. So, now we have 3 different kids in 2 different age groups this year. That means trying to make sure everyone gets to practice at different places/times. I don't know what I will do tonight. Aaron is probably going to be working until 7 on a fire. He didn't get home until 1030pm last night and had to be back to work 30 min. away at 7am this morning. Madelyn has a practice game at 4 at the Rec Center. Natalie has practice at 530 at the Rec Center, but Hannah also has practice at 530 at the Elem. School a few miles away. Hmm. Aaron will be at work, Mom is out of town. I guess I will figure something out.
We have practice Mon, Tue, and Thur. Probably starting next week, we will have multiple games 3 days a week. It is not too horrible for us. I feel sorry for people whose kids leave for school all day, then have games at night, plus homework.
The wild hog that came to our house every night for about 3 weeks disappeared the day that Aaron brought a rifle home. How convenient for the hog. Almost like someone told him it was no longer safe at our house.
However, he must be getting cocky again because after having a rifle for over 2 weeks, he's back. When I pulled in our driveway in the pitch dark last night, our dogs were right there. Normally they are at the house, I looked to the left and saw the huge outline of something moving. Sure enough it was the pig running away and across the road. What luck, the night the hog comes back, Aaron works til 1030. Perhaps he will start coming back and we'll get us a hog after all.
Took the last of our paperwork to church last night to get notarized, but she forgot the notary stamp and I told her not to worry, Aaron wasn't there anyway. She lives close to the soccer fields, and we were going to go there after practice, but Aaron won't be coming to practice. ugh. I hate waiting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ancient Egypt


We are using Learning Adventures unit studies this year. Our first unit study is Ancient Egypt. There are various pictures, out of order. Notice the sarcofagus that each girl made with a mummy inside. Hannahs complete with x's over the eyes. Thrown in is a picture of the girls getting each other ready for church and a picture of the sunrise one morning from our front porch.
























































































Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Aaron

Today is Aaron's birthday. I was going to make him a good supper. Grilled chicken with something good on the side. However, when I got home this afternoon from walking at the park and other errands, I looked in the freezer and found out that we don't have any chicken. Too late to go to the store, since it is 15 min away. I did find a box of red beans and rice. Well, maybe he will forgive me, since we did make an oreo pie this morning and should be well frozen when he gets here in 20 min.
I have decided to wake up early and make breakfast for Aaron and make the kids get up and eat with us. Normally, we 4 girls just sleep til we wake up, usually around 7 and then start our day then. I decided to at least try it for a week, since I am not signing up for 7-11 shifts regularly. Monday was rough, the girls complained all day about how tired they were. By the way, getting up and eating with Aaron means waking the girls around 5:45am. So, then Tuesday, I got up, but decided to let the girls sleep, I ended up going back to bed after Aaron left. (up late looking chasing a wild hog with the Montero - that's another story). So Tuesday, the girls complained that they didn't get to eat with Daddy, so it was up again for all of us today.
We are taking an especially long holiday weekend from school. I am working all of it, but Sunday.
Wild Hogs. We have a very punctual wild hog that lives on our property. Every night now, between 9-10pm, for over two weeks, he shows up to munch on our pears that have fallen from the tree. Hopefully, if we can get him, he will be coming to our supper and breakfast table soon.
Aaron went out behind the house yesterday (in the woods) and saw a sow and 10 piglets. These aren't sweet pink little things. These are agressive, ugly, hairy little piglets with teeth like a possum. But they taste like the sweet pink pigs. Aaron killed one this spring. Our Basset Hound Copper got it cornered and away from its family and Aaron was able to get it. Aaron said that Copper would pin down the pig, then let it go, when he let it go, instead of running away, it would come back and charge the dog which was much, much larger.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Signing Paperwork

Katrina said she would bring her notary stamp to church with her Wednesday. I keep having this crazy thought in the back of my head, that there is no reason for God to send us money if we don't even have our first two papers to go to the agency signed and notarized. Silly I know. I sat down at our computer after everyone went to bed Tuesday night to print off those papers, plus a bunch more that go with our dossier. After printing out 2-3, I got them off the printer and realized that half the writing was barely visible. Our printer was not printing correctly at all and we weren't out of ink. UGH!
Unfortunately all of our papers have to be opened and printed while on the internet. For some reason, Mom's computer wouldn't let me open most of them.
I was not going to let the opportunity of getting our paperwork signed last night, so I called our youth minister and friend to see if I could use his computer and printer at church. We went a little early and got all the papers printed. Now they are notarized. I still have work to do on the dossier and some things to send off and get back, however, we are now ready to send our adoption and fee agreement paperwork to our agency, we are just waiting on about 5800.
I have been extremely stressed about it this last weekend. Finally, by the time Aaron got home Monday, I was a mess. they were calling me wanting me to go to work, I was trying to get school done, I was thinking about the money we needed, vs. having enough time to give the girls 100% at school, it was too much.
Like always, the smart sensible one (I am so grateful for that) Aaron broke it down and said reminded me that my job right now is to homeschool. He pretty much told me to work what I have scheduled meaning 1-2 days a week and not any more, no matter how much they bug me. (they have already left 4 messages this week asking me to work. It is soooo hard to say no, but I know that God will bless me for obeying Aaron on this...He always does) Instead of putting this first 5000-6000 on a credit card and paying hundreds in fees and interest, that he wants us just to save and then pay it. When we come to the referrals and we owe a huge chunk at the end, we can pay for it with credit then. What a burden was lifted off my shoulders. I know it sounds nuts, but that was just what I wanted to hear. (not that we would be waiting even longer, but that it wasn't all on me, there was a solution) I was going round and round in my head and wasn't able to give 100% to anything.
Ever obsessed with my work calendar and how much I will make at a given payperiod, I looked at it yesterday and it looks like with working one day a week starting in September, then working fulltime the week of Thanksgiving, we may have the money saved by December. sigh. Another 4 months of waiting. Another 4 months of knowing that money stands in the way of getting our children home. I know that God can come through for us if we need to move faster. How I hope that we need to move faster and that God will prompt someone to help us. My goal however is to have our dossier ready ASAP so we can send it in when we do get the money.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Struggling

I go back and forth on how honest I want to be on this blog. Do I just post the good feelings or the bad also?
I guess I will be a little forthcoming.
Yesterday, Aaron took off work because he had a doctor's appt for his worsening poisen ivy. It was almost to the point of hospitalization for IV steroids and the doctor told him that it would probably be in his future someday, but was able to just give him a shot and a prednisone pack. It was already starting to dry up last night and I did change the sheets after he told me that every time he moved in bed the night before, the ooze from his arms would make his arms stuck to the bed. UGH! All that to say that Aaron was home yesterday morning for the "how are we going to pay for this adoption" meltdown.
I have this meltdown every so often. I guess my faith waivered and I am embarassed to say that God had given us so much and helped us throughout our whole marriage, that I hate to say I wonder what to do next.
See, we lost around $15, 000 on our last failed adoptions when countries closed. Then we spent the last 1 1/2 year -2 years paying off that money. We finally got out of debt last month. Then I was able to make myself wait until the next time we got paid and pay the $250 application fee. Now we are ready for our next step.
We need 3 or 4 pages notarized, something easily done, plus our agency fee $5200, humanitarian fee $500, homestudy review fee $100, USCIS $670, and fingerprints $180. All of these will be our next step, along with collecting our dossier paperwork, of which I already have half done to send in to our agency to be put on the waiting list. Then we wait for our referrals. When we get our referrals, another $17,000 will be due, plus travel. But that is not a bridge I need to cross right now.
However, we don't have all the fees. I guess yesterday was me saying to Aaron who is such a good listener...
On one hand I know that God wants me to stay home as much as possible and homeschool the girls, however, on the other hand, I know that God has called us to adopt 2 more children. Ok, these two hands cannot go together. I am already working a lot and the stress is bad, trying to fit work around homeschooling and family. I have been working every Friday and Saturday, 12 hours each day, however when coop starts Sept 10 and I am teaching two classes there, that will be more on my plate and one less day I can work. I will probably only work 12 hours every Saturday, maybe a few 4 hour evenings during the week.
Then I go to the other arguement in my head constantly. .,. We need help with this adoption. On one hand, I would LOVE to be able to have the $30,000 in my hand that WE have earned ourselves and not have to ask anyone for help. It is definately a pride thing. I HATE even thinking of needing someone elses help. And I think, why should anyone help us. I don't blame them, they earned their money, dont expect them to help you with it.
Then I think on the other hand it would be helping 2 children without hope, find a family, who will love them as their own, so it wouldn't be a bad investment. The Bible tells us to help orphans, many times over. Many people are unable or unwilling to adopt, but they can still obey God by helping the orphan get in a permanent home.
So there is the constant craziness going on in my head.
Take it as you will.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Working on the Dossier

I made an error in the last post, Madelyn and Natalie came home yesterday, not today. They had a great time at camp, and I am glad to have them home. We missed them. Last Sunday through Sat was a busy week, with driving to camp Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Plus working 36 hours Tues, Wed, Thur, and Fri. So I didn't get much done on the dossier.
I have printed out a lot of paperwork that I hope to either have notarized tonight at church or Wednesday night at the latest.
Still waiting for our marriage and birth certificates to come in. Once our homestudy is looked over by our agency and deemed worthy, the we will be able to apply for USCIS. This alone will cost $670, plus $80 each for Aaron and I for another set of fingerprints. Our agency should be calling our references this week and sending us our adoption agreement and fee schedule.
We will owe them approx. $5200-$5500 at that point. Praying that God will step in and prompt someone to help us out with that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Application is There!

I heard back on Sunday that our application made it to our agency and we are ready to start working on the dossier. I am dreading it, but now at least I have something to work on.
We took Madelyn and Natalie to Camp Maywood yesterday. They will be there until Sunday. So it is just Hannah at home. I am working Tue - Fri this week, so today is my only day off to work on the adoption paperwork. I already have a list of errands to run today and stuff to get done. I will probably work 2 12 hour shifts and 2 eight hours to get 40 hours in this week and after 12 hours, I am so tired when I get home, I just sit.
Today I am planning on ordering original birth certificates for Aaron and I and our original marriage certificate, and sending out 3 more reference letter requests, and going by our bank to get a statement from them.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Application is in the Mail!

Aaron got his travel pay today. So I had enough from that to mail our application. I am so happy. They will probably get it Monday, but we have begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This has been a long 3 years, let me tell you.
My goal is to have our Ethiopian dossier done by September 1st. Earlier if possible, I will have to see what all we will have to gather. Our agency estimates a wait of 6months at the longest for an infant girl referral. That will put us at Mar. 1st at the latest getting a referral. We will then travel for the court date around 10 weeks after a referral, which will put us mid -May going to Ethiopia, then it will be 6-8 weeks before we go back or pay and escort to bring her which would be around the end of June. I probably shouldn't be counting down like this, but I hope to have an addition to our family by next June. If it only takes 4 months for a referral, which is also possible, then that would make it early May!
I have been canning figs. I have never canned before, other than some blackberry freezer jam a few years ago. We have a big fig tree, and figs are good, but you can only eat so many fresh. I have used 8 quarts of figs the last week to can, and I haven't picked today or yesterday. I made some bread and froze it, but usually fig bread uses 1-1 1/2 cups of figs, not near enough to use them up.
I also canned some fig syrup. Since I had a lot of the syrup left over. It is really tasty and maybe it will be good on pancakes, if not I think I could probably use it in place of corn syrup in pecan pies. I think it will work.
We signed up for our coop classes today. The classes start in September. The girls can't wait. They all three got their first choice.
I am having to can at Mom's apartment since I can't use our water canner on a glass range. We will be heading to the house soon to start supper and finish any school work we left off this morning.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still waiting...UGH!

Will we ever start this adoption????
I am thankful that we are completely debt free now other than our house and land!!!!
Our application, along with our family photo, copies of our passports, are all in an addressed envelope... waiting. Waiting for a $250 check.
However, after paying off everything we don't have enough to send in the $250 for the application. Ugh! seems like this whole three years has been putting off the adoption one month, one week, one day at a time. I have been so excited waiting so I could send in the application and get started.
Confession time....
I called yesterday to see if we could pay for the application with credit card, since I would be paying it off with the next paycheck, but they don't take credit cards. And you can't use a credit card to get a money order, so it is wait some more. I know that to most this would be no big deal. What is another two weeks to wait for the next paycheck.? And in reality that is true, but to my heart it is just another 2 weeks added to the last 50 times I have had to say wait 2 more weeks in the last 3 years of waiting to bring another child home.
After getting off the phone with the agency yesterday morning, I cried for about 15 minutes, got angry that it seems like whenever I get a good attitude about the adoption, seems like the next day something happens to take my joy. Then I sucked it up, wiped my eyes, left my bedroom and finished school for the day with the girls.
Of course, this adoption will probably cost us close to $30,000, on top of the money we have already lost. so this is just the beginning of the money woes. But the blessings that will come with overshadow that I am sure.
I could never get our paypal donation button to work. I think I signed up incorrectly and whenever you try to call paypal, you get a message that says "look it up on paypal.com" so since I am terrible about computer things, I just took off the button. If you would like to help us give an orphan a home, please email me or leave a comment and I will get back to you. Our email is Pirklefamily1@netzero.com.
Thanks! Karen

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

School is in session

We started our 4th grade, 3rd grade and 1st grade school years on Monday. We did this last year, starting in the summer so we could have a nice fall break. So far so good. For Hannah, I am using the 1st grade curriculum that I used when Madelyn was in first grade. It is called Children Around the World and we will be studying a different country each week. For Madelyn and Natalie, we are using a new curriculum that I hadn't seen before, called Learning Adventures. It is a unit study where you study a certain subject in depth for a certain number of days. So, our first 30 days we are studying Ancient Egypt and using the Bible study of Joseph to do that. The girls like it so far, and I think it will work out good.
I had agreed to work 7-3 for the charge nurse at work for 5 days in August, so I am already planning on having to take a week off for that. There is a Bible camp about an hour away from here and some of the girls' friends are going, so I offered Madelyn and Natalie a chance to go and they took it. So they will be going to another camp and Hannah will be here with me.
Last week, Aaron was only 2 1/2 away on a fire, and he had a hotel room, so we decided to go and visit. Most of the time he is on a fire, he is out west camping out, so this was unique. So we drove over there Thursday night and stayed until Saturday and Aaron rode back with us. We had a good time, Aaron still had to work, but we were able to eat supper with him every night. Plus, we got to swim in the indoor pool twice and we went to a couple of museums. The girls love museums.
I am filling out our adoption application this week and sending it Friday or Saturday. I am getting very excited. Our social worker emailed me with a few more questions so she can complete our adoption and she should be finishing soon. The adoption agency social worker wants to see the homestudy before it is notarized so that she can make sure it will work for Ethiopia and everything is addressed that needs to be addressed. She emailed me yesterday saying that the wait for a referral for an infant girl is around 4-6 months. So soon!
Work had called a bunch wanting me to come in over the weekend. And they have wanted me to come in each day this week. SOOO hard to say no. I live with constant guilt over not working each time that they call. Aaron says "it is not up to you to save them" I know, but whenever they call, I see $$. But I keep saying I am going to work less. It is stressful on me to work a little every day. Now that school is started I need my focus to be on the kids and they extra stuff we can do.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Camp

I got back our kids' medical forms this week, so now I can send them to the social worker and she can complete our home study. Unless something major comes up, which is always a possiblity, we should have our debt completely paid off and have enough to apply for the homestudy the next time we get paid in two weeks. Yes!
I was hoping to finish off the debt with this paycheck. Unfortunately, the week before last, instead of working 40 hours like I was scheduled, I got in a whopping 5. Last week I was able to work 25 out of 40 hours. I signed up for 40 hours this coming week, but when I looked at the schedule the boss printed out, I am only signed up for 24. I need to check on that. After this coming week, I am planning on going down to 1-2 days a week. I am hoping to start school on the 19th of July. If the girls curriculum comes in. I ordered it yesterday. That way we can take a nice long break in the fall when it is so pretty out.
Aaron's work called Wed. night to see if he wanted to go to a fire about 3 hours from here in another forest. So he left Thursday morning and will be gone until Monday at least. So he will be able to make up for all the days I missed in the last few weeks.
The girls got home from camp last night. Madelyn and Natalie went to camp with my brother Eric's two oldest boys up in TN. Aaron and I took them up there last Sunday, but they were able to catch a ride on the church bus with my brother's kids and go back to their church. Then Eric brought all 3 home last night. He spent the night and he and the oldest did some target shooting. Hannah had stayed most of the week at Aaron's parents and they brought her to Eric's for the ride home. They all had a good time and I am glad to have them home. It gets lonely and quiet here without them. Camp was a huge deal for me growing up, so I want them to have great experiences too. I worked 8-10 weeks at Short Mountain Bible Camp a summer from the time was 13-19. It was the highlight of my year.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Medical Done!

Yesterday, both Aaron and I had our doctor appointments to get our paperwork done for the adoption. We got both the homestudy paperwork done and the Ethiopian dossier paperwork done. Today I am mailing our homestudy papers to the pediatrician to have him fill out for the girls for the 2nd or 3rd time. They have been so nice to help.
I am getting very excited that we will hopefully be able to send in our $250 application fee and go ahead and apply for USCIS which will be around $800. There are many variables to that though.
My work for one thing. It is either feast or famine. Two weeks ago, I worked 54 hours and was exhausted, but excited for the big paycheck. Last week I worked 36 hours of the 40 I was scheduled. (they sent me home early one day). This week, I am scheduled 40 hours and I have worked the big ZERO. As I was filling out my calendar for the next schedule going from the end of July to the mid of August, I added a few more days to make up for the lack of days this week. I still have 16 hours scheduled and doubt I will get any in. The census is that low in the hospital that they are even calling off the fulltime people because they don't need them. I am PRN, or as needed, so people in overtime are cancelled first, PRN second and fulltime last.
However, I feel that we are getting closer to our baby girl #4. I hope it is soon!
Planning on starting our school year July 19th. I am getting curriculum ready and ordering what I need. I want to start when it is too hot to play then we can take some time off for a cool October vacation. Hopefully some cheap hiking in the Smokys.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Medical Visits

Have mine and Aaron's doctors appointments next week. I called today and asked if there was a notary at the office that would be willing to notarize our doctor's notes for the adoption. For the homestudy, we have to have all of our "vitals" filled out and signed by the doctor. For the Ethiopian dossier, we have to have the doctor type a letter on the doctor's office stationary and have it notarized and signed. The letter will say that we are medically fit to raise a child and we have no communicable diseases that the child could catch.
On another note, I worked 54 hours last week. I was so excited to get overtime. I never get overtime. I worked 12 hrs. Monday, 8hrs Tues, 9 hrs. Wed. 1 hr class on Thur. 12 Hrs Fri and 12 hrs. Sat. I was tired. But the paycheck will be worth it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"God is neither late nor early"

I read this quote in a book I read this week. And it convicted me that I have been trying to rush, rush, rush this adoption process. Truly, it has been like I have been pregnant since March 2007 when we started.
When you start the adoption process, you are excited, because you know (or at least think you know) that soon you are on your way to another child. Then the country closes and it is a sad time because you have to change routes and you know that it is going to require starting paperwork over and it is going to push the adoption months farther away.
After working like crazy and getting the second country dossier done, and getting on the waiting list, you find out that it is closing too.
Then after losing so much money, you have to wait until you are financially ready again, which like anything, takes longer than you thought it would. Things come up, dental work needs to be done, the hospital census goes down and I get cancelled over and over.
It is hard to keep the excitement up for 3+years. When you are pregnant, noone blames you for thinking about the baby every day. People are excited for you, you can SEE that the baby is growing and that you are getting closer. With this adoption process however, I feel like we have been on a journey for 3 years, we aren't any closer to the goal. So how do you stay excited for something for that long? I find the excitement almost depresses me because I see the long journey and the fact that we have had to push it farther away, month by month. Will it ever happen????
I keep going back to a scene in Poltergeist. A terrible movie that I watched when I was a child and shouldn't have ever seen. Anyway, I remember a part in the movie where something is after a lady and she is in her hallway, trying to run to the door of the room at the end of the hallway, and although she is running like crazy, the door gets farther and farther away instead of closer. I am that lady.
The other day, which I thought was awful coincidental, I get an email from the agency we are going to use, asking if we are still planning on adopting. I emailed her back and said yes, we should be out of debt this month and starting in July. I also told her that our homestudy was completely done, we were just waiting until we applied at the agency to get the final signatures and dates on it and send it in. Here is the strange part - About an hour after emailing her back, I checked email and our social worker who is not affiliated with the agency, emailed me to ask if I had ever sent her our medical forms and our financial statement, because she was waiting on them to finish the homestudy. Neither of these ladies have I talked to in months and they both email within an hour of each other.
By the way, I had forgotten about the forms for the homestudy. I try not to think about the adoption most days, if I can because, since I can't speed it up and we aren't out of debt, we are not going to start, and it is too painful.
So I emailed the agency lady back to let her know that I had accidentally not told her the truth about the homestudy and also to ask if she could send me the Ethiopian dossier medical forms and financial statements so we would only have to go to the doctor once and so that our financial forms would match. She sent them and that was nice. I feel like I can at least work on something and be a little ahead when we start. Yes we will be slightly ahead of most when we do start. Most people apply to an agency and then start with their homestudy which can take 3-6 months. We will have already have a finished homestudy.
However, I am still praying God's will in all of this and not my will. And that brings me back to the title of this blog post. God is neither late nor early. I think we are 3 years late on this adoption, but I have a big feeling that God knows we are right on time. God knows that Aaron decided not to start again until we are debt free. You know we would have been debt free last month if I hadn't had to have $2500 worth of dental work last fall? And still have some more to be done, but have been putting it off until we can pay cash? I have no doubt when our child comes into our home, I will thank God for the pain of the wait. I know I will, but right now, I want to scream and cry and say enough already! Let's get this show on the road!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Moses and adoption

Sunday morning our sermon was about how both Moses' mother Jocabed and Pharaoh's daughter chose life for the baby Moses rather than death.
I would like to expound on that a little and take it in a slightly different direction than the sermon.
There are over 147,000,000 orphans in the world. This means that there are millions of modern day Jocabeds. A woman who knows that she is dying of AIDS and takes her child to an orphanage rather than leave it to fend for itself when she dies. She chooses life for her child. A woman who watches her child slowly dying of starvation and takes this child to an orphanage rather than let it die. She chooses life for her child. They give up living (or dying) with the children they love in hopes that someone else (modern day Pharaoh's daughters) will also choose life for their children.
The question is -Is the Church encouraging it's members to choose life for these children and adopt them?Or is it ignoring the fact that there are millons of birth mothers praying that someone else will choose life for their children. These birth mothers who may be just like Jocabed and know that keeping their children with them would mean certain death, are willing to give up knowing and raising their children in hopes that someone else will.
As you know from reading the Bible, orphans weigh heavy on the mind of God. Why do they not weigh heavy on the mind of the Church? God had a plan for Moses, and I am sure that He has a plan for every orphaned child and He asks the Church to carry out His plan for them.

Deuteronomy 24:17-18 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

And lastly...
Proverbs 24:11-12 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "but we knew nothing about this," does he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

I hope this link works. A great blog post about the "Cost" of adoption http://haskinsadoption.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/are-we-really-considering-the-cost/

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Encouragement

I have been tag team teaching the teen girls this quarter at church with a friend of mine. The first 3 weeks of the quarter, I taught the ladies class. Part of that class was about our adoption and what the Bible says about it. Mom suggested that I use that as a lesson for the teen girls and I am so glad I have. I have avoided blogging about all of the negative comments we have recieved about adopting, or even more prevalant than the negative comments, the completely ignoring of it. No I don't want to be the center of attention, but since the 3 years we have been going at this, I have one friend I talk to about it all the time and another that asks me how it is going, where we are etc. I appreciate that so much, but that is pretty much it.
When whining to my friend about it one bad week, she asked me what I wanted from everyone. It was one of those whines where you don't really no what you want, but you know that how things are can't be right. But I think it just came down to the fact that I wanted to know that people cared. Sadly, I haven't felt it from many at all. But as always, God reminds me that what I do in life all comes down to me and Him. What does He want me to do? Is He for me doing this? Then why do I care if everyone else is? Did He put it in our hearts to adopt? Did I not promise to Him when we first started that I would have faith that any delays were His doing so the timing would be His perfect timing? Forget that people don't care, remember that God does.
That has completely changed my attitude. Most days. Do I still fall into the pity party of no one gives a hoot? Some days, but it is farther and farther between.
Anyway, back to the teen class. After doing two classes on our adoption, etc. My teacher/friend comes up and says that it has really impacted the teens and stated they had no idea we had gone through so much to adopt and had lost so much money, etc. They wanted to know what the church was doing to help and why weren't they helping. She mentioned that a long time ago I had mentioned a benefit dinner and they were so excited and wanted to help. This brings tears to my eyes. Someone does care!
I don't know what will come of it, but I am so grateful that I found caring when I wasn't expecting it or looking for it. Thank you God!
As a disclaimer - as pointed out by my wonderful friend who still comes around even though I whine - perhaps it is not that people don't care, they just don't know. I realize that my perception of no one caring may not actually be the reality.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trees and SC Trip
















We had a great trip to SC last weekend. We planted approx. 550 Christmas trees back in Jan. 2007, then found out a few weeks later that we were moving. It was awesome to see our old friends. We really miss them and it was great to catch up.
We left Friday after coop and got to SC around 8 or 9 Friday night. It was rainy Saturday so rather than go to see our trees we had planted, we decided to go to the Riverbanks Zoo. More for nostalgia sake, since we used to go to that zoo 3-4 times a year when we lived there. Thankfully, we missed most of the rain while we were there and had a good time.

After Church Sunday afternoon, we all rode out to the land and checked out the trees. Before the trip, Aaron was discouraged, figuring that the trees were unsalvagable, since they hadn't been trimmed since we planted them. However, upon inspection, Aaron was very pleasantly surprised and excited. Some of the trees were over 6 ft tall already. They weren't quite ready to trim and we are planning on going back towards the end of May to trim them. They need to be at a certain point of spring growth to trim correctly. Hopefully in 2-3 years they will be ready to sell.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pet Cemetary

Continuing on the theme of animals that live here that aren't pets... A few weeks back, this black dog started hanging around on our property. It would kind of slink around and wouldn't get close enough for us to pet. The girls immediately named him Blackie. We tried to encourage him (by throwing rocks) to leave, we didn't need 3 dogs, but he still hung out. The same day the girls left for TN with the grandparents, Aaron and I were walking around outside and I stepped up on the back porch and see a black nose and paws sticking out from under our cat house. It was barely able to fit through the hole to get in and out. Long story short, it tried to bite Aaron when he was trying to lift the cat house and let it out and that was Blackie's downfall.
Blackie met a swift end ( I will spare you the details), but was able to run about 20ft into the woods before falling over. I felt guilty at first, but then I could picture that dog hiding in the cat house, the kids sticking their arm in with a cupfull of cat food and having it torn off by crazy dog and decided that I didn't feel so bad after all.
It was time to leave for church so we put off burying the thing (mistake #1). The next night Aaron went to look at it, it was already covered with flies and the buzzards were literally circling and it wasn't stinking yet. By the time the girls got home Thursday, if the wind was right, you got a wiff of it, still not too bad. Friday, Natalie comes inside and says "I think Blackie is dead" I asked why and she says "because there is a black furry leg in the front yard." Sure enough, our dogs decided they needed to spread Blackie around.
Aaron got home from work that day, and due to the stench now being bad, took a couple of wheelbarrow loads of dirt and covered the thing. Ahhh, no more stench and problem solved.
WRONG!
Next morning, a beautiful day, I was opening all the blinds in the living room like I do every morning and I look out our window and about 5 foot from the house was a nasty pile of Blackie. No hiding it now. Aaron happened to call to ask a question and got a good laugh out of the fact that our beautiful view now included a dead pile of dog. All day we found teeth, jawbone, nails, etc on our porch, by the swing, everywhere.
Aaron finally just put on some gloves and stuffed the thing in a thick trash bag and put it out with the trash. Hopefully Blackie won't be back.