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 hanstella9@yahoo.com 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!!!

Thanks.




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!!  

CAN'T WAIT!! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fundraising for this adoption... Wow we are blessed!!!

I've had several people ask us how much we have raised so far and how much we have paid so far and how much is left.  If you know me personally, you know that I am an excel guru and you won't be surprised that I have been keeping records of this adoption.

Here is the breakdown:

Already paid to our agency, the foundation in Z's country, Homestudy Fees, USCIS fees, Plane tickets etc
       $20,305

Donation from selling scarfs, soaps, freezer pops, garage sales, spaghetti dinner, puzzle pieces... well, basically ALL our donations!!!
       $7,582

Now, what's left... Approximately $5,500
       First trip travel expenses including hotel, food, orphanage donation.
       Guessing this to be approximately $600

       Remaining foundation fees I think are about $1,000

       Second trip travel expenses (if plane tickets stay about the same)
       $3,000 for plane tickets for 2 + Z's one way ticket
       $900 hotel fees and food

We still have 36 puzzle pieces left if anyone is interested in getting their name on this little memento for Z to know how much he is loved.

We will continue to sell soaps and on September 21, 2013 my friend is doing a "Cruisin for Orphans" car show in Hillard, Ohio.  For details, search "Cruisin for Orphans" on Facebook.  There will also be a raffle and drawing for lots of awesome prizes.  My dad will be there grilling hotdogs to sell on a brand new grill that is to be auctioned off.  Each ticket for the grill is $5 a piece.  If you can't make it, but would like your name in for the grill, let me know!  It's a really nice outdoor grill with side burner.  We'd be more than happy to take it back to Michigan with us if you have your name is picked and you didn't make the car show!

The last fundraiser that is still in the works will be another concert with "The Lord's Light" band.  They have asked to come back and do a fall show because we had such a great time at the spaghetti dinner.  It will be a little more low key, but also a great time to break up the 5 month wait in between trips.  Of course, we will also have LOTS of new pictures from our visit with little Z next week to share at this concert.  More details will follow.

We feel so blessed by all the people who have helped us in this process.  Thanks for your prayers and support!

WE LEAVE IN 5 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We get to go in less than 3 weeks!!!

FINALLY!  The news we've been waiting for since April when we submitted our Dossier.

"GO AHEAD AND BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS"

Dave and I will be flying out on Friday, September 6th and we get to hug our boy on September 9th!

Words can't express how excited, nervous, happy, giddy and just plain RELIEVED I am.

We will be in the country for a week.  Leave Friday and come home the following Saturday.  It's going to be a very emotional trip, but one I've been preparing myself for... for a very long time!  I can't even imagine what its going to be like to be in the same room as the boy in the pictures, the boy that we love.

God truly does move mountains.  Even in the long waits and the uncertainty of this adoption, He has proven over and over again that "He's got this."  The timing of this couldn't have been more perfect!  Hannah and Stella both have birthdays in September.  Stella's is the 1st week and Hannah's is the 3rd week.  Thankfully we are traveling the 2nd week so we won't miss any of our kids' birthday!


Now... for a plea for help!

We are selling puzzle pieces.  If you have been following this blog you probably already know.  But here is the details: http://addingawealtothebus.blogspot.com/2013/07/quick-wont-you-buy-puzzle-piece-or-two.html

We still have about 138 more pieces to sell.  If we get all of these pieces sold, we will be able to pay off the credit card that we put the plane tickets on, it will cover the cost of the hotels, and the donation we plan to make to the orphanage!  Won't you PLEASE buy a piece or a few pieces?  We are far from being fully funded and we will still have some fees before the 2nd trip, BUT the good news is that God is providing and right now all we are asking for is to sell more pieces and get us through this 1st trip.

For $5, you will get your name or your family's name or your kids/grandkids' names on a puzzle piece.  We hope to sell all of them before we leave on Friday the 6th of September.  That way we can draw for the $100 VISA gift card and it can be in the mail before we leave.  Won't you please help.

It may sound like a lot to ask... to sell 138 pieces in less than 3 weeks.  But I KNOW it's possible!  All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength!  Won't you please be part of Little Z's love story? Thanks for all who have donated so far.  As you can see... the names looks so awesome on the puzzle.  It's filling in quite nicely.  Do you see your name??  (if you bought within the last day or so, its on there, but this picture was taken Monday!)



Thanks for your continued prayers!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Travel date SHOULD be soon! :-)

Still waiting on travel dates.  We are waiting on the Minister of Justice to sign off on our referral then the foundation will schedule travel dates.  With Dave's job, we can't go as quickly as we thought so we need to at least give them 2 weeks notice for him to take a week off.  So, fingers crossed for traveling first week in September.

One thing I am learning... Adoption is unpredictable!!!  It will happen though I promise!

This gives us more time to sell 145 more puzzle pieces.  We have 55 sold so far!!  Woot woot!  Thanks for all the support!  Don't you want your name added to this awesome puzzle?

If you buy a piece for $5 you will not only get your name on the puzzle, but you will be entered into a drawing for a $100 VISA gift card.  Please help!  We really would like to have them sold by the time we leave.  Lofty goal... maybe... but I've seen amazing things happen!  Won't you be part of the "Bringing Little Z home" story??

Also, if you haven't seen this yet, we made a video to share our adoption story.  I'm quite proud that I learned to do this... with Hannah's help of course!!  LOL.  Enjoy our story and share with your friends.



Hopefully in the next couple days we will have our travel dates and we can celebrate even more.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for following our blog.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blessings Galore!

First things first... We are still waiting for travel dates.  The foundation over in Z's country has to wait for the actually paperwork to be in their hands before they can schedule travel.  They expect this in a week or so. The biggest thing we are learning in this adoption is that the term... "HURRY UP AND WAIT" is very relevant.  Patience... as hard as it is... is a must.

We are praising the fact that travel will be SOON.  :-)

In the meantime, I want to share a couple blessings that we have encountered over the past few days.  God has been showing his love to us in the little things and we feel so blessed.

Last week, we were discussing the unofficial "dress code" for travel in Z's country on one of our message boards from our agency.  I sorta started getting nervous because everyone was saying women should wear capris, not shorts.  I own 2 pairs of capris and the rest shorts.  So, we will be visiting the orphanage for 5 days total.  With the cost of the flights coming up, along with the $5,500 in foundation fees that are due, we were getting a little nervous about the money situation.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine on our way over to get cucumbers from her mother in law's garden.  While we were there, my friend remembered her MIL was getting ready to donate some of her clothes.  Well, low and behold... she pulled out 5 pairs of capris.  The chances that they fit me are slim to none since I never have luck at goodwill or anywhere getting clothes that fit.  I tried them on... and all 5 pairs fit perfectly! Thanks Lana! 
 Only 4 our pictured because one pair I've already worn!

The next blessing came in the way of the mail.  Another friend of mine from Holland was going to sell us a toddler Patapum (which is a soft sided carrier much like the popular Ergo).  We wanted to try this out for Z on our first trip to see if he'd be willing to be carried in it.  These carriers promote attachment and for a scared little blind boy, this might be the best thing in the airport while traveling home with him.  Well, last week it came in the mail and my friend not only sent it to us... but she GIFTED it to us!  What an awesome blessing.  Thanks Susan!
  The Patapum is slightly bigger than the Ergo and has more support for a taller child.

The little blessings continued to come this past week.  On Thursday, I got home and found this in the mail.  I ordered it a while ago and sorta forgotten about it.  We weren't sure it would come in time for our first trip when we ordered it.  Can you guess what it is?
All we need now is a little guy to use it to explore his new world!

Give up?  This is little Z's first blind walking cane!  Let me tell you, this is the cutest thing I have ever seen. So little and perfect for our little guy!  We are still debating whether we will bring it on our first trip for him to try out and we would possibly leave it for him.  

Hannah has been busy sewing things for her little brother, but recently ran out of material scraps that my mom gave her.  Here are a couple of the things she has sewn.  I'm quite impressed with the work of my 13 year old!  She made these 100% on her own!
A little bucket hat made lovingly by his big sister!

This little toy even has crinkly stuff inside, perfect for him!

So, today Hannah was thrilled to go to my mom's house because she let her go through ALL her material and take what she needed!  Well, her extra scrap material.  We can't wait to see what things her imagination can come up with!  Stay tuned... Until then, here's just part of the material that she was given from her grandma.  Thanks Grandma!
She promises to pick it all up before she goes to bed LOL!

Another blessing came tonight and I'm still smiling because of it.  We were going through craigslist today looking for a crib.  A lady posted about a crib and we responded. She had posted it yesterday and usually we get a response saying, "sorry, already gone!"  Well, tonight we got an unexpected response.  This lady is giving us her crib!  For FREE.  And it comes with the mattress AND it's fairly new... made in 2005!  It's dark cherry finish and will be perfect in Dave and my room when he comes home.  We plan on doing something like this when he comes home.  That way he can safely be in our room so he knows we are here to meet his needs.  I learned about this from another awesome adoptive mom and Dave agrees that this would be the best for Z.  Thanks Rachel for the idea!  Thanks Amy for gifting the crib to us!!!
This is how Rachel suggested.  This new crib we were gifted will be perfect!

I could go on and on about the little blessings we've received just over the past week.  I can't express how truly thankful we are!

Lastly, I want to congratulate my husband for getting a new job working nights!  If you know Dave you will know that public service is where his heart is.  He is a volunteer fire fighter, works on the Hazmat team, runs a business selling light bars and now he has a job as a security officer!  He will work 3 or 4 nights a week and when little Z comes home he will be able to stay home with him and we won't need to put him in daycare!  Dave has been trying for a security job for years.  Perfect timing wouldn't you say?  Please pray as he transitions from his other full time job because for a while he is going to be VERY tired. 
I'm so proud of my husband!

Please know that there are still LOTS of puzzle pieces to put your name on.  Let me know if you would like a piece or two.  Hoping to have all of them sold before our trip.  Won't you help?  For more information please see this blog post: http://addingawealtothebus.blogspot.com/2013/07/quick-wont-you-buy-puzzle-piece-or-two.html  

Anyone who purchases a piece of the puzzle will have a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!  The more pieces you buy, the more chances you have to win!  $5 gets you a piece with your name on it so we can always remember who helped bring our little guy home.

Thanks for your continued prayers.  Hopefully the next post I write will be letting you know what our travel dates will by!  Praying it's this week!

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Quick! Won't you buy a puzzle piece or two?

In the next day or so, we are hoping to find out what days we get to travel to visit little Z.  

Plane tickets are running about $1,800 to $2,000 a piece.  Quite a bit more than we anticipated for.  When our foundation tells us when to travel, we need to be ready to go. 

The orphanage has told us that they are planning on moving him when school starts and we really hope to be able to travel before he gets moved so that we can meet the people who know his history.  And maybe try and see if they can keep him at his orphanage until the adoption is final in 5 or so months.


Because we are going to be getting travel dates really soon and will probably only have a few weeks to travel, we are in desperate need for funds.  We have come up with a real quick fundraiser that we've seen other families do very well with.  It's called a "Puzzle Fundraiser."


Here's how it works: 
This is a puzzle we have bought and are putting together to put in our living room, for everyone to see!  Granted, he may not be able to see it, but we will be able to tell him about it.







There are 200 pieces to this puzzle.  You can purchase pieces of the puzzle in person or on the donation button on the right hand side of this blog or paypal as a gift to hanstella9@yahoo.com.

Each piece has a white coating on the back, which we plan to write your name on (or any name you choose) in colorful sharpie markers.  This will be a wonderful reminder of how many people loved him and helped bring him home.

Each donation of $5 will get you one piece of the puzzle.  Once we have all the pieces sold, we will draw from the entries for a prize... which will be announced soon.  I promise it will be good!

If you pay through paypal, please put what name you want to go on the piece.  Or you can message me through email or Facebook.  

We really hope that we can sell all 200 pieces before we travel so we can offset some of the travel fees. Three week or so... think we can do it?  

Please, won't you help bring us one step closer in our journey?

Thanks in advance.  I will let you know soon when our exact travel dates are.







Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soon... VERY soon!

The calendar is blocked from August 10th through the end of the month!  Not certain on the dates yet, won't know that until next week... but our foundation emailed and said they are certain we will be traveling one of those weeks!

AHHHHHH!

SO MUCH TO DO!!!

SO LITTLE TIME!!!

Plane tickets are about $400 a piece more than we budgeted for.  Plus we can't book until next week so praying it won't go up even more.  Trying not to panic yet.  Please pray that the funds will come in.  If you feel like donating, there is a clicky thing on the right of this page.  We'd be forever grateful.

If we go the week of the 11th... my parents will be out of town.  Praying we find someone who can watch our girls.

My head has been spinning and life feels so surreal.  It's a wonderful feeling because Dave and I are going to meet the boy that we LOVE!

And another awesome thing... Hannah Hopes' beanie babies are going to make it in the hands of every orphan in his orphanage.  We got a donation to pay for an extra suitcase!

WE ARE SO EXCITED!  Can you tell?

The girls and I (along with an awesome friend and her very cute little boy) are heading out in a little bit to sell more freezer pops and soaps.  Tuesday we went out and the kids earned $51 to bring their brother home.  I love how they are so eager to help.

I can't believe its happening... we get to meet the boy that we've prayed for since June of last year, the boy that we love...  Feels like a dream.

Pray that everything will fall into place just as God has intended it too.  It's going to be a wild ride of gathering funds, booking flights, booking hotels, packing... but it is going to be so worth it!

Thanks for your continued prayers.  This is a HUGE step to getting him home sooner.  After this trip, we should be able to bring him home approximately 4 or 5 months later. Soon buddy... VERY soon!





  




Monday, July 15, 2013

Cautiously Hopeful

Today we were told that even though the Deputy Minister has not been appointed, it is very likely that another Minister (responsible for other areas) over there will be able to fill in for a couple IAC meetings before the end of the month.  Remember, the courts over in Z's country shut down for the month of August and some of September... so this is VERY good news.  

These meetings will be to issue referrals for dossiers waiting for special needs children.  Um... that's us!!!  Our dossier as been submitted to the government since May, and I have been told they usually take them in order.  

I am trying hard not to get my hopes up because no date for these meetings have been scheduled yet.  BUT, deep down it's really hard not to want to jump for joy.  

So, for the next few week, please join us in prayer for Z's country and for these meetings to be called and that lots of people get their referrals.  

Also, we have some big bills coming up after we get our referral before we can travel.  Please pray that the funds come in.  God will provide.  Airline tickets for August or September are running between $1200 and $1500 a piece.  Dave and I will both be traveling the first trip, which is very important that we both meet and commit to our little guy.  The second pickup trip is still undetermined if Dave will be able to go since it's so expensive.  Also, we still owe our agency here in the U.S $3500 and our foundation in Z's country will need approximately $6000.

If you feel led to chip in, please feel free to go to the side bar and click on the donation link.  If not, please pray!  

God will provide.

Thanks for your prayers. 

I'll keep you posted when we hear more news!     

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two little girls... Fundraising for their brother!

As we wait for the government in little Z's country, I told the girls that maybe they could keep their mind off the waiting by thinking of ways to raise some funds for bringing their brother home.

The wait is not only difficult for Dave and I, but it's really hard on the girls.  We expected to travel in June or July and now in reality it is not looking like we will be able to travel until September or October.  We are hoping we are wrong, but the rate things are going... we are being realistic.  Which, that would mean that little Z won't be home until March or April of next year.  We KNOW this is God's timing.

So, Stella decided that she'd like to sell Jumbo Koolaid Freezer pops for $1 to raise funds.  She started selling them last week at the campground.  She even had a picture of little Z to show people exactly who her little brother was! The only problem with being at the campground is the freezer doesn't freeze them very fast. But she was able to raise $20 in about a half hour! I forgot to get pictures of her actually selling them last week, but it was so adorable.  This is right after she got back to our camper.

(oh and the nasty rash on her arm is from the life jacket she practically lived in on the 4th of July at the lake)
  
Tonight after dinner, her and Emily were complaining that they were bored.  We suggested that she get the wagon out and sell some more of her freezer pops.  They were so excited.  They've been out in our neighborhood for about a half hour already.  It's quiet around here!  Of course, Dave is in the yard making sure they are safe :-).  Hannah was gracious enough to stop playing on her phone to take a picture of the little entrepreneurs.


They are also selling the soaps that we have left.  If anyone is interested in buying a soap for a daily reminder to pray for our little guy... we would be happy to sell you one.  $5 :-).  We have a few sanitizers left along with bigger soap bottles.  But you get the idea!


Very hard at work


Looks kinda like Emily is too shy to go up to the doors herself

Stella is definitely our outgoing child.  She is not shy at all!



If you do not live in our neighborhood, but would still like to donate to help bring their little brother home, feel free to donate on the side bar or you can always purchase Restaurant certificates.  We still have a ways to go... every little bit counts!

Stay tune for another awesome fundraising idea that Hannah is working on!

I LOVE how excited these kids are about having a little brother.  

Thanks for your continued prayers.  Please specifically pray for little Z's country so that a Deputy Minister of Justice can be appointed before the Aug/Sept summer shut down comes.  If one is appointed this week, there is still a chance that we will get our referral before they close down completely for that month and a half.  The sooner we get our referral, the sooner we can visit and the sooner she will come home!

Thanks!






Monday, June 24, 2013

While we wait...

Okay, I know it's been a REALLY long time since I updated last.  Almost a month.  Obviously, you probably have guessed that we have not received any news yet.  I wish I was writing this blog with good news... about travel... but nope.

I do have good news though.  The Norwex party was a HUGE success.  Because of Becky's generosity of donating 25% of her commission, and all of my friends who ordered products... I am so happy to say that we are $150 closer to bringing little Z home.  I have updated the side bar with the totals to date.  Words can't express how grateful we are.  THANK YOU!!!

If you missed it and would still like to order Norwex products, please let me know either through here or on facebook. Of course, 25% was only for the party... but these are awesome products that I am totally digging right now.  In fact, if you know me personally you will know that Dave does much of the laundry and dishes in our house.  But, because of the Norwex laundry soap, I actually did 7 loads of laundry so far.  Oh, and I have mopped the floor, wiped down the tub and did the dishes. Cleaning without chemicals is so easy and downright fun! I am not going to say that I will be cleaning like this all the time, but I will say that Dave is enjoying it while it lasts.

We have been trying to keep busy and not thinking about the wait.  The kids are out for the summer and the older girls have already been to a week of summer camp.  Hannah is actually at a business camp this week.  In a couple weeks all three girls will be gone for another camp.  Camps... they just love them! The boys and girls club has been such an awesome experience for the girls and the memories they gain from these camps are wonderful.  Stella gets to go for the first time this year.  She is very excited.

Hannah is going into high school next year.  I can't believe how fast she is growing up.  These next 4 years are going to fly by.  A couple weeks ago was her eighth grade formal.

Emily is going into 7th grade next year.  This is the first year that we will have 3 kids in 3 different schools.  She is really growing up and I am proud that she got all A's and only 1 B for the final marking period.  She works so hard.  She's come a long ways since she came to live with us at the end of 2nd grade.  

Miss Stella will be going into 4th grade next year.  She, too brought home a really good report card this year.   Last month she participated in girls on the run.  All the while she was practicing she would tell me that she was going to walk most of the 5K because she gets too tired and probably would get hurt.  (Stella likes to complain about things).  Well, the day of the race she shocked the heck out of us!  She actually came in #2 for her school!  Imagine my surprise when I saw her.  I didn't even have a chance to get my camera ready.  Of course, she claims when she was running the race she twisted her ankle, tripped but didn't fall (I asked her to show my her scrape) and didn't even have time to get one single drink of water because people were pushing her! That's Stella in a nutshell really... Gotta LOVE her!  She had a GREAT time!

These three young ladies are so much fun.  As we go to the beach or camping or even to the store, I can't help but think that in less than a year little Z will be enjoying these things with us.  Will he find humor in Stella's pessimism or will he be laid back like Emily?  Will he like crowds or will he prefer to stay home.  Will he like to be held or will he eventually want to explore the world on his own?  Will he bond with us?  Will he like going to the beach?

These are all questions that flood my thoughts lately.  I long to hold our little guy.  To show him love and to teach him what it is like to belong.  I really pray that the government in his country can start meeting again, and the new deputy minister will have a heart for orphans so that these little children do not have to wait as long as they do to find forever families.

Thanks for your continued prayers.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

And the wait continues...

No news.  No referral or email saying "You can travel to meet your boy now."  The wait is long.  I feel like it is never going to happen :-(.  

We submitted our dossier 7 full weeks ago.  In the meantime, Z's country has had an election, a holiday shutdown for over a week and a total reorganization of their governmental body.  No wonder it's taking what seems like FOREVER :-(.

There is still no word on when the IAC (International adoption counsel) will meet again to approve referrals. It should be soon though.  The last time they met was May 20th.  We unfortunately did not get our referral during that meeting.  It's possible that our foundation over there did not get the dossier translated in time for that meeting.  

I just need to keep reminding myself that it's in God's timing.  It WILL happen.  And it WILL be worth it.

I guess the waiting gives us more time to come up with the $5665 that is due to the foundation upon referral and before travel.  We sent up $1,335 to them so far from the donations that are listed on the said.  Plus, we have been told that airline tickets are averaging about $1800 per person.  Eeeek!  We still have a ways to go so maybe this waiting is just a way to give us more TIME to raise more money.


Please consider coming to the party or at least ordering products online.  Anyone who orders will be put in a drawing for the hostess gifts that I will get for hosting the party.  Plus, 25% of the sale will go directly to our adoption.

Also, we got our first check from Restaurant.com!  $100 because 10 gift cards were sold!  This is actually the best fundraiser we have (in my honest opionion).  Just think... if we sold 100 more of these certificates we would have $1,000 more to bring Z home!  Imagine if we sold 1000 of them :-).  What better way to raise money?  $20 for $50 worth of certificates and $10 of that $20 will go to Z!  Please consider it if you can.  http://addingawealtothebus.blogspot.com/2013/04/get-50-restaurant-gift-certificate-for.html  Remember when signing up for the free account with Restaurant.com, make sure that it takes you to our family page.  Otherwise, come back to this blog and click on the link again.  I've been made aware that some people who sign up are automatically taken to other peoples fundraising page.  It's easy to just come back here and enter the site again.  Any questions just ask me.  

Sorry that this post isn't more exciting and doesn't have better news to share.  Soon... Soon it will be our turn to travel.

Please be prayerful this week to all of my friends who are traveling this Friday to get their children.  Oh, it's an exciting time and at least 7 kids that I know of are coming home from Z's country this week and next week. 7 more kids REDEEMED from orphanages and placed in FAMILIES!  God moves mountains that this is proof!

Also, pray for one of my friends who lost a child while they were working so hard to bring her home.  Little Susanna (as she is known as) is dancing with Jesus now as her parents weep for not being able to show her what being in a family is like.  My heart goes out to this family.  This is the 2nd child (from our agency) who passed away since we began this process in January.  It's the sad reality and we must remember God's plan doesn't always make sense... BUT, He is in control and knows what He is doing.  For this family... I pray that they find comfort in this knowledge. 

And I pray for all the ophans in this world... that someday ALL of them will have families. Did you know that if 3 families in every church in America adopted a child, there would be no need for orphanages?   

       

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Norwex Party! Really healthy way to clean!

My friend Becky has just started as a consultant for Norwex products and has offered to give us 25% of the sales if we host a party.



Click here for a short video explaining what Norwex is!

I had not heard about this until a few weeks ago when we had an oven fire and I was overwhelmed with the mess that the powder from the fire extinguisher made in our kitchen and dining room.  Actually, I was in tears on a Sunday morning just thinking about how we'd ever be able to clean it up.

We tried using regular wash cloths and all they were doing was spreading the power around and barely picking it up.  It was a MESS!

Then, Becky told me that she'd come over and help clean it up so she could show me this new product she found.

Within a half hour, we were able to get on our hands and knees and wipe the whole floor up with only the envirocloth!  It was truly awesome and I am totally hooked on these products!!!

Here's the before picture of the floor:


Here's the after picture with using just the envirocloth:


While we were cleaning it up, Becky suggested that we do a fundraiser with Norwex.  She is giving us most of her commission on this show, to help bring little Z home!  This is another WIN-WIN fundraising idea!

The actual show is Sunday, June 9th at 2:00.  Here is the Facebook Event page for details!  

https://www.facebook.com/events/625520607477388/

But, fear not if you don't live by us or if you don't have time to come to the show.

Between now and June 9th, you can place an order to be counted towards our show by following this link.

http://www.norwex.biz/PublicStore/event/93789/default.aspx

Remember, 25% of the sales will go directly to bringing Z home!

Also, anyone who orders items for this show will be placed in a drawing for various host items that I will earn from the show.  It's not right that I would take the items for myself, when this is a fundraising event.  So, anything that I earn at the show for hosting a party... will go directly back to those her order!

For every item purchased, that is one chance to win a product.  The more products you purchase, the more chances you will get to win a product!  The host specials are very generous and I've been told for an average party you get like 5-10 items free!  

So, place your order today!

http://www.norwex.biz/PublicStore/event/93789/default.aspx

Now for an update on the adoption process:

Well, not much to report.  We are still WAITING... (not very) patiently!

Our Dossier is in country and we did hear that our foundation over there has our stuff and is translating it. Whenever that is done, it will be submitted to court for the official referral.  Things are slowing down a bit on the government side, but we were told that with the election, it shouldn't take more than a month to start back up again.

So we WAIT, and WAIT, and WAIT some more.

This is very hard to do and we can't wait to meet our little guy.  Thanks for the continued prayers!


Also, don't forget that we are still selling restaurant gift cards.  See the link on the side.  Thanks to everyone who has purchased some so far!

We are also having a fundraiser at the Five Below store on West Main in Kalamazoo this coming weekend.  If you go in there during the weekend, present this (print it out) to the cashier and they will give us 10% of your purchase towards our adoption.  It's a small fundraiser, but if you are going to shop there anyways, you might as well print this out and help us out!

If you are having a hard time printing it, email me hanstella9@yahoo.com and I will send you the file.

THANKS for your support!