Monday, January 27, 2014

Leaving in 5 days!!!

The time has finally come...Zahari will be in my arms on February 3rd!

Please pray that this weather gets better.  My kids had a snow day Friday and now school is closed today and tomorrow!  Pray that Chicago is clear on Saturday so we can fly out.

We will arrive back in the USA on February 12th.

Dave will be staying behind to hold down the fort.  We thought it would be better this way because 12 days away from the kids can be very difficult.

I'm a little nervous about leaving my family.  Dave doesn't know how to cook like I do :-).  He can cook, but he thinks a great meal is french fries and anything fried.  If you are local and would like to help him out... please consider this website that my friend set up.  No worries if not though... I'm sure my parents will help out some.    You have no idea how much this would mean to us. Also, if you want to sign up after we come home, you will be able to meet the little fellow!  I think we will be quite busy in the weeks to follow when we get home.  Thanks!

Mommy's coming little guy... soon!!  Really soon!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Great News!

First, I'd like to tell you... Thanks for all your support and prayers.  After we traveled in September, I was not prepared for the emotions I would feel after I left my son in his orphanage.  I knew when we started that we would be taking two trips.  I thought I was prepared. But I did not know what it would feel like to leave a piece of my heart in a country across the ocean.  

So, during the months that followed, I just had a very hard time blogging.  It was hard to write anything happy.  

I'm sorry for this. 

The last 2 weeks have been a rollercoaster ride.  We were originally given a court date of November 29th.  The day after Thanksgiving.  What a day that would have been!  We all had the Friday after Thanksgiving off and we planned to celebrate!  Well, I woke up... to no news of court.  It was around 8:00.  I had a terrible feeling that something was wrong.  Finally around 9:00 I got a message from our caseworker saying that it was revealed in court that little Z's mother passed away in 2009 and the director of the orphanage did not do the proper paperwork for guardianship.  This was something that needed to be done before he could become ours.  This meant, our foundation would have to go to the town of his orphanage and get the mayor to appoint a guardian.  Court was delayed... for 2 weeks.  The news was very hard and what we thought would be a celebration turned out to be lots of tears shed.  I don't know if I was more sad about the delay or the fact that his mom died and nobody cared.  I knew in my heart that Z is our son, but this felt like a complete blow.  I planned to write an amazing blog post, but instead I kept to myself and prayed for peace in waiting.  2 weeks... the longest 2 weeks of my life!

Last Thursday, December 12th... I got a message from our agency saying that all the guardianship papers were done and that they were ready for court.  There was one paper from the director that was sent at the last minute and the hope was that it made it in time for court on the 13th.  At that email, I had some mixed emotions.  I had a hard time getting my hopes up because of the disappointment two week ago.  I don't think I slept more than an hour on Thursday night into Friday morning.  I prayed practically all night.  I prayed for God to see this adoption through and to prepare me if it was delayed again.  (How Dave can remain so calm in situations like this is beyond me!)

Finally, early Friday morning I got the message... "The judge granted the adoption.  As soon as they get the court decree they will give you a travel date"  He's OURS!  He's a Weal!  A Weal to the bus has been added!  Praise be to God.  It looks like we will travel late January to pick him up and bring him home forever!

What this means.  Is that we can finally reveal which country he is from... and his real name!

I would like to introduce you to our newest family member from BULGARIA:

Zahari Lynn- Almost 8 years old.

We are so ready for him to come home!  This is the amazing gift he will be coming home to.  My dad and I have been busy making it while we were waiting :-).  Every little boy needs a bed like this... don't you agree?

And we have found the PERFECT shirt for him to wear when he leaves the orphanage for the last time!

Also, while I waited... I have been busy preparing for him by learning braille so I can start teaching him as soon as he's ready.  I made these for all of us when we passed court.  The works in braille say "One Less Orphan."  

If anyone is interested in having a braille shirt made for them... let me know!  I have been busy making more and am using the proceeds to help cover the final trip fees... which we are predicting to still be about $4,500. I can put any phrase or saying that you'd like on the shirt.  They make excellent conversation pieces.  The prices are $10 for kids (XS to L), $12 for adults (S-XL) and $14 for adults (XXL) Plus actual shipping cost.  I can try and get them in any color that you want and that the store has :-).  They are made with paint dots and can be washed inside out and hung to dry.  Please email me to if you are interested.  If I know by Wednesday, I will ship out on Friday in hopes to make them in time for Christmas.  If that doesn't matter, then I can make them anytime and ship ASAP!  

Thanks for your support and prayers to help bring Zahari home!

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Fundraiser

We are still waiting on a signature... so while we continue to wait...

My friend has offered her commission if I host a scentsy party.  It's the first Sunday in November at our church... but the good news is you can order now ONLINE!  

And if you order today or tomorrow, they are having an awesome sale!!!  Like TOTALLY Awesome!

I just bought 6 items for under $40!!  Woo Hoo!  Christmas presents and a couple other gifts for other people.

Here is the link:

Make sure you are shopping for "Little Z's Fundraiser"  

Isn't this cool!  This is a total Win-Win!

Order your scentsy stuff today and help bring our little man home!!!


Friday, October 11, 2013

While we wait for a signature

Waiting for a signature... Our article 5 is submitted so all that's left is we wait.  And wait...

Waiting can be a little fun.  We are preparing for our little boy.  Preparing is REALLY fun and it makes it so real :-).

Want to see how we are preparing??

Well, first...

Every little boy traveling to America needs some luggage.

And he will need a car seat to ride in.  I'm sorta (well really) excited that I will have a rear facing child again!  At 8 years old no less.  I think I may have hit the record :-)

And of course he needs a helicopter to remind him of his trip to the USA!

And as soon as he hits American soil, he needs a shirt to remind him that he becomes an "All American Boy"

Then, in order to fit into our family, he needs fire shirts.  Boys in our family wear fire shirts so they can match their daddy!

 (I love that this one says, "Mom's little Hero!"

And as we prepare to paint his room, he needs new bedding to match the light blue walls.

My awesome friend gave us some clothes!  We are figuring on 2T and 3T sizes.  I think 2T will fit in the waist, but 3T might be better in the length.  He's kinda a tall, skinny little dude!

And although we plan to do cloth, my friend also gave me some diapers that her son outgrew!  These are size 6 so it will be a little while before he fits into them.  Hopefully by next summer.  We figure it will take him a good year to get adjusted and to learn how to go like a big boy.  His world is going to be turned upside down and I am not going to push this right away.

And finally... This is the shirt he will wear home on the airplane.  I think it's TOTALLY perfect!

Bring on the signature and COURT DATE!!  WE ARE READY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

And the winner is...

Ron and Margie Stolk!  Sorry it took so long to announce it on here.  For some reason I thought I already blogged about the final puzzle drawing.  Thanks for all who contributed.  My dad will glue the pieces together soon and we will display it for all to see how LOVED our little Z is!

It has been 4 weeks since we first laid our eyes on our son.  4 weeks since we got to see him and hold him for the first time.  The past 4 weeks have been the longest 4 weeks of my life.  But the good news is... a month down in the wait to bring him home.  

Many people have asked me, "What's next?"  "How long?"  "What's the process?"

What's next?...

The Wednesday after we got back from our trip (Sept 18th), we had a letter stating that the United States have approved him to immigrate into this country!  This is called our i800 approval.  This was then sent to the embassy in Z's country.  The following Friday (Sept 27th), our lawyers in his country attended a meeting on our behalf and our article 5 was issued at that meeting.  

Two BIG steps done two weeks after we said goodbye to him!  

Now our Article 5 have been translated and will sit on the MOJ's desk for a signature saying they approve us to proceed.  The MOJ could sign this week or she could sign weeks from now.  It's very hard telling.  Our hope is that she will sign quickly.  That's what we are praying for.  

After signature, we will wait for a court date.  This is the FINAL step.  Court... which will happen on our behalf while we are sleeping.  When court happens we will wake up, hopefully with news that we have a new son!  Then approximately 5 weeks later, we get to go rescue him and bring him home forever!

The process between trips is approximately 3-6 months, usually closer to 4-6. (we've been told.). One month down so now we have 3-5 months left :-).  Counting down!  The wait is VERY hard.

One thing that could slow the whole process down that is 100% beyond our control.  We need an updated FBI clearance for court.  We mailed our fingerprint on September 16th... right when we got back. These usually take 5 weeks to process and another 1 week to get federally appostilled, then sent to his country.  Everything was fine with the time frame... UNTIL OUR GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN!  Yes, not all of our government shut down... but of course THIS part of the government is no longer working.  We got our first FBI clearances back in March, (for court we are told they have to be within 6 months).  That is why we need an update. 

We are not losing hope though... there is still a possibility that we can pass court without the updates.  I've seen cases pass without the second set of updated clearances.  It just depends on the judge we get.  Please pray that our lawyers can explain this to the judge or that this part of our government will start processing these again and we can get them back in time for court.  We have no clue when court will be so the sooner we get these back, the better. We have placed this in God's hands and know that everything will work on in His perfect timing.  No sense in getting upset over things we can't control. 

I find it very ironic that Z's country has a government slowdown and now we do.  Not many can say that both governments slowed down during their adoption process!

Thanks for your continued prayers.  We are working on another fundraiser and I will announce it soon.  

   Soon little guy, very soon we will take you home forever!!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Home, Settled, and FINALLY an update from our trip!

I want to first start out saying that I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update about our trip.  We got home a week ago and life is finally settling down.  Jumping back into work with jet-lag and a broken heart made for a very long week.  To be honest, lots of tears last week and I just didn't have the energy to blog.

So, now I feel like I can finally give you an update!  

We arrived in Z's country on Saturday, September 7th after a 9 hour flight then another 3 hour one.  We actually left Friday the 6th out of Chicago and arrived around 3:00pm on Saturday the 7th... (Their time).  It was basically an uneventful trip there, we traveled with dear friends of our who were also going to visit their son in the same country... different orphanage though.  When we arrived, we waiting a LONG time to finally realize that our luggage didn't make the flight with us.  It decided to stay in Paris an extra day.  Luckily we were able to pick it up on Sunday before we headed to Z's orphanage on Monday morning.  That would have been terrible since all the beanie babies and Z's gifts were with our luggage, not to mention all our clothes!  

So, on Saturday and Sunday we hung out with a few of our other adopting friends, had a really nice dinner and basically "patiently" waited until 7:30am on Monday where we would make the drive up the mountains to see Z for the first time.  It took about 2.5 hours to get to Z's orphanage.  I'm so thankful that I took some Dramamine before I left because WOW... that was a bumpy, twisty, curvy, fast ride.  I would have been sick for sure!

We were warned prior to the trip that Z would be quite scared to see us.  That he doesn't like to be moved to unfamiliar locations.  He may not tolerate our visits and they may have to be cut short depending on how he does.  We were prepared for the worst.  We were prepared to meet a boy who we would just observe the whole week... because a week really isn't enough time to establish a bond or anything like that.  We didn't want to frighten him!

But, we also knew that God has heard our prayers to prepare Z's heart for us. We have been praying and all of our friends/family have been praying for this moment.  Z has been lifted up in prayer daily for over a year.  God is SOOO good!  The week with Z could not have gone any better!  And I truly believe that God was the biggest part of this week.  

The first time we met Z, he was very scared, but never cried.  He allowed me to gently touch his little legs and arms and cheeks.  He pushed me away that first visit, but did not cry at all.  Words can't describe how amazing it was to finally have met the child that I have prayed my WHOLE life for.  He is perfect, he is wonderful and he is our SON!  

By the end of the first visit he actually let me hold him, walk with him and play blocks with him.  Dave was allowed to be near him the first day... but the days to follow Dave and him formed an amazing bond.  

Z is VERY VERY small for a 7.5 year old.  We took his measurements during the week.  He is 37inches tall, approx 23lbs, his ankle is 4.75 inches around, his wrist is 3 inches around.  We can see the outline of his rib cage and his spine.  His waist is 15 inches around.  He fit into a 12month shorts outfit and his feet are about 5 inches long.  He is taller than a 1 year old, but light as a feather. 

A VERY exciting thing we discovered during the week is that Z can in fact hear!  He responded to us, by the end of the week he'd hold his hands up for Pat-a-cake and anytime we would play music he would bob his little head to the beat!  He is completely blind, but we knew that.  Honestly, he knows no different so really the blindness is not a big deal.  He can walk by himself slowly and like a champ when he's holding our hands. He prefers us to hold his wrist because his hands are his eyes and that is how he discovers the world.  Through touch!

Seeing him "see" Dave for the first time was the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.  He would touch Dave's face, then touch his own as if to compare.  He would touch Dave's hair then touch his hair.  He did this for quite a while.  Dave and him formed an amazing bond this week and I can't wait til he is home so this can continue.  I think Dave would be content holding him for hours!

Throughout the week we got to visit him in the morning from 9:30 to about 11.  Then we would come back about 3:45 until about 4:30 or 5.  The afternoon visits were a little rough for Z since he was very tired.  He wanted to be alone much of the afternoon visits.  He would quickly scoot to the wall and throw everything that was in his reach to clear his space. Then he would rock.  It was very painful to watch him, but we knew to expect this.  He did love being held though and much of the time we would hold him and rock him.  

This week passed WAY too quickly and Friday was probably the hardest day of my life.  I knew it had to be done, but I also was not prepared for how much I'd love him right away.  I do however take comfort in knowing that he will be attending a school for the blind starting last Tuesday until we come to get him in 4-6 months. This is a residential school that is not just for orphans.  It's for all blind children in his country.  He will live there and go back to his orphanage only on holidays... which shouldn't be too many since we should be coming back for him by January.  We fully expect him to make excellent progress at this school.  He is very tactile and just waiting to discover this world!

100 of Hannah's animals made it's way to his orphanage!  They were very excited to receive them.  

We can't share any pictures that show his face on this blog.  Soon, when we pass court, we will be able to share more... until then... here is one picture that pretty much sums up our week.  Soon, Little Z... soon you will be safe in mommy's arms forever!  

Thanks for your continued prayers.  I have updated the donation bar at the right.  Thanks for all who have donated so far.  We are so blessed!

So, what's next...

We got our i800 approval in the mail on Wednesday.  This means that the US has agreed to let Z come into the US and reside permanently here.  Basically, back in April, they gave us permission to bring a child from his country into the US for adoption... this approval allows him specifically to come into the US.  We are waiting on our Article 5 from the embassy in his country.  I believe this is basically issued to say that we have followed all legal procedures and that everything is Hague compliant for this adoption.  Once the Article 5 is issued, which really shouldn't take too long, we will wait on a signature from the MOJ.  I am not going to even guess how long it will take for this signature.  I do know that the MOJ is getting back to work after their summer holiday so there shouldn't be delays because of that.  But, unexpected delays could happen just like they did when we submitted our dossier back in April and waited until June to get our referral.  I will continue to pray that it will be signed quickly.  After the signature, we will get a court date.  I have been told that court dates are assigned about a month after signature.  Then, once court happens, he is legally our son and we wait about 3 weeks to a month to travel to pick him up!  We are guessing that this travel will take place in January, but hoping and praying that the process is even quicker and we can have him home by Christmas!  Trying not to get our hopes up too much.  We do know that we are on the home stretch and he will be home before we know it!  

The puzzle is now complete!  Thanks for all who were a part of this amazing project.  It looks awesome and my dad will be gluing it together soon so we can display it!

Again, thanks for praying.  Soon I will write about this weeks car show fundraiser down in OH, I will announce the winner of the $100 Visa gift card from the puzzle pieces and I will continue to update you on the time frame as we get more information.  If we could raise about $4000 to $5000 more, we would be done fundraising for the most part.  That would cover the last trip.  Please continue to prayerfully consider helping us bring Z home.  We don't expect all of our fees to be funded through others.  We have come up with most of the fees so far from our quickly diminishing savings and the donations. But if you feel led to help us with the last leg of this journey, please feel free :-).


Thursday, September 5, 2013

We are LEAVING tomorrow!!!

Bags are packed and we are ready to go!  We fly out tomorrow evening and head over to Z's countries capital.  We will be there until Monday, when we will then travel the 2 hours to get to his city and spend the week visiting him at the orphanage.  We will hopefully visit him in the mornings for a couple hours and then in the evenings a couple hours.  Monday thru Friday.  On Friday we will go back to the capital and we fly out on Saturday. 

It's going to be a whirlwind of a trip.  One we've been wanted to go on for a very long time.

This trip will be the first time Dave or myself have witnessed an orphanage.  We probably won't get to see any of the other children there, but we are bringing them 125 Hannah Hopes beanie babies.  I pray that those children can be blessed by God's love!

We are prepared for a lot of emotions this week.  Little Z does not know we exist, he doesn't know what a mom or dad is or even that soon his life is going to change.  He may be very scared when we meet him.  He may reject us at first.  He may love us and cling to us.  He won't understand that we will be leaving him on Friday to then come again in 4-6 months to bring him home.  We are prepared for the emotions that could come with this trip.

We are bringing him a blanket that we will leave with him.  It has been in our bed for months so that he can begin to recognize our scent.  I will also be wearing a mild perfume so he can associate that smell with him mommy.  Then I will wear the same perfume when we pick him up.  This will hopefully help him remember me.  It may not, but it can't hurt. 

We will be able to start accessing his needs.  We are unsure whether he is fully blind or fully deaf.  We don't know if he is sick, we don't know anything more than a few paper write ups about him.  We soon will, and we soon will be able to start preparing our home to meet his needs. 

I probably won't blog until we get back.  Please continue to pray for us as we travel this coming week. Please especially pray that the Lord prepares Z's heart for the big changes that are coming.

WE ARE COMING TO SEE YOU LITTLE GUY!!!  Only a few more days!!