Saturday, February 26, 2011

Immigration Approval and more

So the most exciting thing happened today- we received Immigration approval to adopt Maria!  This was the last paper we need to get notarized and apostilled and then we can send our paperwork to her country! I can't believe it has gone so quickly and smoothly! There must be some awesome prayer warriors out there lifting us and our baby up and sending the angels to battle for her rescue.

Our agency has been pretty busy right now as there are several families traveling right now, so I'm praying there won't be any delays and they can get our paperwork processed quickly. We could be traveling very quickly after it gets sent. I'm thinking definitely mid-April.

Which would be great timing because we are hoping to move into our new house by April 1st!   We are so blessed that God provided the perfect place within our budget!  We have a lot of work to do before we can move, so we'll be very busy this next month. Good thing we had an awesome vacation, because now it's going to be non-stop-no-rest-for-the-weary.

Here's a cute photo of my kids, dressed up in their Hawaiian outfits that we got them on our trip. We got a matching one for Maria too, just like Gigi's, but green with blue and white.  Diego is wearing my new sun hat.

On another note, I wanted to mention  the "paper pregnancy" phenomenon. Everyone in the adoption world talks about it. You gain weight (don't get me started), you nest, you have mood swings. It's a lot like when you're actually pregnant. I'm sure there have been some studies on it, and there might even be some proof that our bodies start producing hormones because of this exciting period of anticipation.

But this?

My nails have never grown like this except when I've been pregnant. They usually break or split or I anxiously pick at them until they break or split (just ask my mom). But they are super strong and long right now. Anyway, I just thought that was funny and I also wanted to send my husband a picture of my hands because he's always saying how much he likes them.  Before we start working on the house and they all break!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guess who?

An awesome fellow adoptive mom found a new photo of Maria on her country's orphan database website.  I have been so used to her other one that it's hard for my brain to look at this new one and make the connection. We showed the kids and even my youngest said, "That's not Maria." Well, she turned three in September and has grown a lot since that last photo. Isn't she adorable? I love the milk and bread dripping down her face, chin and bib. Her expression is like, "What do you want? Can't you see I'm busy?"

Her info originally said her eyes were brown, but that was obviously not accurate. Big blue eyes! She looks a lot like my youngest, Gigi. They're going to be like twins since they're so close in age too.

Anyway, I'm checking my mailbox everyday waiting for our immigration approval. Once that arrives, our dossier will be complete and ready to submit to her country.

We're getting very close! Thank you all for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

God's so big

We just got home from our two week cruise to Hawaii. It was such a relaxing and fun trip, but it was like being a different world so contrary to what our normal life is like.  I was beginning to miss our busyness with the kids, the adoption and the house.

First day on cruise

God had such wonderful blessings for us on the cruise. We were able to attend a passenger bible study almost everyday where we could fellowship.  I was able to share with this group of believers about our adoption and even made prayer cards asked them to keep us in their prayers. I never thought that would happen on a cruise!

The second blessings was meeting a man named Gary on the cruise who was a 40 something adult with Down syndrome. He came with his parents but he was mostly independent, doing his own thing- going to workout in the gym, eating at the buffet, watching the shows alone. I wasn't able to communicate with him too effectively but I did have a very sweet interaction with him at the gym. He decided to help put away the chairs and clean up the aerobics studio after a seminar. The instructor told him he didn't have to do it all, but Gary had other plans. I don't think Gary does things half-way. He finishes the job. He doesn't like clutter or disorder. He found a spill on the floor and started cleaning up, but it woulnd't come off. He said to me "mop" and went to get an employee. She cleaned up a bit, but he didn't like that she didn't finish and so he kept working on it. I asked him, "You don't like messes, do you?" to which he responded with a hand gesture and emphatic "No!" I offered some of my water from my water bottle to get the sticky mess up and after we worked on it, Gary seemed satisfied that it was good enough. Then he said he needed to wash his hands and excused myself.

I was so impressed with Gary. Perhaps his verbal communication skills are not his strength, but wow, his determination and his helpfulness and his selflessness...  I couldn't help but tear up thinking about Maria and how she was overlooked by her parents thinking she had nothing to offer them.  My husband walked in at that moment and he was like, "I would be happy to have any child like that in our family." (My husband is very organized and clean like Gary and our children are a bit less interested in that quality).  Hopefully I'm not causing anyone to miss my point, which is that we all have strengths and weaknesses and so often we focus on what people can't do and what their impairments are. My hope is that people will see Maria this way and that God will use her to bless others.

No word yet on our apostilled docs, maybe an update soon?  We also might be moving soon as we are finishing up mortgage docs.

Welcome back to reality!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dossier has left the building

This last week has been crazy trying to get all of our docs checked and rechecked to get ready to send to the Secretary of State's to be apostilled. The total ended up being 55 docs, two more will be sent later when we get the Immigration approval.

The reason we had to finish it by today was because we are leaving for a 14 day cruise to Hawaii! It was a prize I won last year and scheduled before we knew we would be adopting. But God knew we would need this break as we have been working so hard to get Maria home quickly and are just exhausted. We feel so blessed to have this time together and although we will miss our kids, we know they are in good hands at Grandpa and Grandma's house.

So sorry if you don't hear anything from me for two weeks- I'm sure I'll have lots of photos to share and hopefully some news about our adoption when we get back!