No news today. :'(

I expected to hear from our agency today giving us the confirmation we’ve been waiting for about Emma (baby Irina) being added to our adoption. It was confirmed that the Ministry of Justice met as scheduled last Tuesday morning, and they usually give each foundation their answers within 48 hours. For some reason that did not happen this time. We will most likely hear tomorrow. I am fairly confident Emma will be our daughter, but it is always nice to get official confirmation. So, we continue to wait… 

For the most part, it’s ready!!

The bedroom, that is! I’m so thrilled with the way it all looks, and I hope they will love it too! The room is tiny, only 10 x 10, but they will all fit.

The view from the door into the room:

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The view from the back corner towards the door:

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Other views:

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If they aren’t yet TinkerBell fans, they soon will be! The only thing left to do is get the by-pass closet doors changed to bi-folds so we can get to the bins in there easier. Of course the only place to hang them was directly where the closet doors meet in the center! I hope that will be done very soon!

 

 

 

The girl’s bedroom…

…is almost finished. I wish I had taken photos of the process, but it was too labor intensive and four hands were needed throughout. There wasn’t much time to stop for pictures. The bed arrived Tuesday afternoon, and as you can see, it has taken quite a bit of time to put the room back together. Everything had to be moved out, and my house has looked quite disheveled since the bed arrived. The clothes from the old dresser are stacked on the couch, the children’s table and chairs also in the living room along with the baby doll crib and high chair. For awhile you couldn’t even get in the front door. It’s a good thing we don’t use the front door. We all come in through the garage door.

This evening I went shopping for new comforters, and glides to put under the end of the bed so it would be easier to move the bed away from the wall in order to make it. And I wish someone had reminded me how difficult it is to make a bunk bed! I think it took me almost an hour to make all three bed, cracking my head on the upper bunk more than once and needing the step stool to get to the upper bed!  The new comforters are wonderful, and on the bed, but I have to wait for some help to put the glides under the ends.

After dinner, I patched all the nail holes from the pictures we took down and touched up the paint. I hope to have someone to help me get the glides under it tomorrow so it can be pushed back into the corner when it needs to be, and then I can put some of the pictures back up.

I spoke to the handyman who is supposed to remove the by-pass closet doors and install the bi-folds, but have not gotten a commitment from him yet as to when it can be done. He better not need that bed moved out of there, because that isn’t going to happen until the girls outgrow it and we take it apart to sell. There is no way to move it out of that room without taking it all apart.

I am praying this can all be finished tomorrow. I don’t like my house being in such disarray.  Once it’s done, I will be taking pictures.

♪ ♫ …Anticipation… ♫ ♪

As we get closer to the day our children will come home, the anticipation grows!

Today, I finished building the trundle to the bed. By myself, I might add! 🙂 We made a trip to Costco for blankets and mattress toppers, and waterproof covers to protect everything. I spent a lot of time at the mall looking for Tinker Bell bedding, but had no luck. I most likely will have to make a trip to Spokane over the weekend. I have some touch up painting to do in the bedroom, holes to Spackle where the pictures once hung, and I hope to have that finished tomorrow.

While at Costco, we bought a 3rd turquoise tu-tu dress, anticipating the addition of “little girl left behind” being added to our adoption next month. There are now three matching dresses in their closet, in size 2, 3 and 4T. I have  no idea what size any of the girls will wear, but I suspect Cara will wear one of them. Irina will have to grow into one, and the other little one will either be a 2 or 3, so we should be good. They are cute and frilly enough they can all wear them next Easter. Three little turquoise Easter Eggs! And just maybe, Irina will be walking by then. 🙂

I was able to verify today that our paperwork was received by the USCIS lock box yesterday morning, and emailed our wonderful USCIS officer, Mariah, to let her know it was coming and what to look for. Hoping that will help her put a rush on the approval. If we get that next week, our new documents should be in Bulgaria by the end of the first week of June. There is a good chance we will travel in mid-July to meet the girls, and we’re praying we can pick them up in September or early October. It will be such fun to have them home before Halloween. Maybe if I say it enough, it will come true.

 

Little updates…

…that really aren’t so little!

USCIS received our updated home study in Texas today. Praying they send it on to Missouri QUICKLY!

The overseas foundation received our Dossier today! Praying they translate it QUICKLY!

The Ministry of Justice meets next Tuesday, and we should get confirmation of Irina being added to our adoption by Thursday. I have butterflies just thinking about it.

We ALMOST finished putting the bunk beds together today. Funny story… Today, when we went back to continue working on it, we discovered that when we put the side rails up, we put the top rails on the bottom and the bottom rails on top. Which meant there were no pre-drilled holes where they were supposed to be for the side supports. And also meant we had to take the bed apart and do it over! I laughed, but Ron didn’t think it was quite as funny as I did! 🙂 Tomorrow I will go get the mattress protectors and blankets, so that when we do finally get everything put together, I can make the beds and finally have them ready.

The adoption is finally beginning to have a feeling of “reality” to it, and I’m starting to get a little panicky. We need so much for these girls and I don’t quite know where to begin. There hasn’t been a baby here in a long time, and little Irina is going to be like having a 3-6 month old baby. She can’t sit alone or crawl yet and I just don’t remember what babies need beside diapers and baby formula, and LOVE. We certainly have plenty of love to go around. Oh, yes, and clothing!  She is only getting liquid nutrition at this time, so is still taking bottles. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some solid foods started so she can grow and catch up.

Cara is the little girl we’ve been confirmed to adopt. She will be six in November, and is the size of a 2-3 year old. She has digestive Cystic Fibrosis. It does not affect her lungs, but does affect her digestive track. It is very mild, and she is on medication that seems to control it quite well. The orphanage director says she is growing normally. I guess the people of this country are very small! 😉 I have plenty of clothing for her, all too big. She only weighs 25 lbs, so I will have to shop to size 2’s and 3’s for her.I will do that after we return from our first trip and are waiting to hear that our adoption has been finalized and we can go to pick them up. I think that wait time is going to be the most difficult, and shopping for winter clothes will help keep me busy and sane while we wait.

And we are still praying for “the little girl left behind.” We so want to add her to our adoption too, but won’t know whether that will happen for at least another 4-5 weeks.  Please keep us all in your prayers.

Several little things…

We finally received the updated home study today. Supplemental 3 is filled out, check written, and I’ve signed. When Ron gets home, he’ll sign and tomorrow it all goes to the post office to overnight it to the Texas lockbox. About a week later it will arrive in Missouri, and hopefully, a week after that we will receive approval. And then once again it will have to be sent to Boise for apostille.

Today our placement agency sent our dossier to Eastern Europe,  so they can begin the translation. Rumor has it it takes 30 days to complete. We should have the remaining documents to them before it is completed.

Next Tuesday the Ministry of Justice meets and our paperwork to add Irina to our adoption. We should have our answer by Thursday. Both agencies said we won’t have any problems getting her added, but we are still praying. We will also be requesting she receive a baba to give her daily individual love and attention until we are able to bring her home. Hopefully, she will respond to the love and care she receives over the next few months until she comes home. She’s missed out on so much love over the past two years, my heart aches for her.

The new bunk bed set is being delivered tomorrow! One more step to getting the girls room ready. I can’t wait to post pictures when it’s done.

Still trying to get the handyman out here to switch the by pass doors on the girls closet to bi-fold doors so we can get into the closet easier. Hopefully, that will get done soon.

 

Waiting…

We are waiting to receive our notarized copy of the amended home study to send back to USCIS. This changes the age of the child we can adopt from 3 to 2, and includes the special need of “The little girl left behind.” We are hoping that by adding her specific special need, that we can be matched with her once our dossier is translated and given to the Ministry of Justice. We are doing our best not to get our hopes up, but it’s hard. Our Bulgarian agency said we should be matched with her as long as there isn’t another family whose dossier is ahead of our’s asking for a same or similar orthopedic special need. I know if it is God’s will for her to come home with us, she will. My prayer is for that to happen, however, I can’t be sad if she is placed with another family. She needs a family first and foremost, whether or not it is with us or someone else.  Because her crib mate is here in the states, it would be nice to bring her here so they can stay in touch. But it is in God’s hands. His plan, His way, His timing. 🙂

We are also waiting to find out if we will be approved to be Baby Irina’s parents. We have submitted all the necessary paperwork to our agency in Bulgaria for them to present to the Ministry of Justice when they meet again, either this week or next. We have been told it is 90% positive for us as no one else has stepped forward to ask for her but getting the official O.K, makes it nice.

And so we wait. Wait for news about Irina, wait to receive the updated home study, wait for it to be received at the USCIS office in Texas, wait for it to be forwarded to the Missouri office to our USCIS officer, wait for the approval with the changes, wait for it to be apostilled in Boise, wait for them to send it on to our agency in Washington state, and wait for it to be forwarded to Bulgaria. There is a lot of waiting to be done, but I am at peace. There is no stress, no panic this time.

I’ve learned that nothing good comes from the stress and frustration of pushing to get things done quickly. Not that you shouldn’t get the paperwork done as quickly as possible. Pushing that paperwork is always best, not only for your own peace of mind, but also for the child waiting for you on the other end. However, I shed many tears of frustration when we received the second pink slip from USCIS explaining what we needed to do to get our approval. It took us 3 weeks to finish the documentation, and I allowed it to get the best of me. And then I realized *I* was trying to run the show instead of allowing God to run the show. Once I gave it all back to Him, I was able to relax. I told myself and everyone else, “I think this happened because our second little girl has not been released for adoption yet.” And sure enough, within a few days of receiving our USCIS approval, we received the information about child #2, “The little girl left behind” and she was not yet released for inter-country adoption! Two days later, we learned of Baby Irina’s adoption falling apart and stepped up to ask for her too. I am always amazed at the things God does in my life to show He is with me, working in ways to benefit me. I wish I was quicker at realizing this  so I would stop working against Him. Sometimes the entire brick wall has to fall on my head before I “get it.”

The “Treasures” in my life

Another Mother’s day has come and gone, and I hope everyone had as wonderful a day as I did. My wonderful family treated me to dinner out (always a treat for a mom!) and we had a wonderful night playing cards and having fun. There is nothing better than having family time together.

And this leads me to answer the question some of you may be asking. “Why did you change the name of your blog?”  I originally named the blog “Treasures from Bulgaria”, because the focus was on the children we hope to bring home from Bulgaria. However, Mother’s day reminded me that my focus shouldn’t just be on those children, but also on the children, my treasures, that are here, now.

I believe with my whole heart that children are a gift from God. They are to be loved, cherished, and “treasured.” I have been blessed with four incredible “treasures from Heaven”, by birth, two more were inherited when I married my husband. Over the years we’ve been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren that add to the treasures in our chest.

I would like to introduce you the treasures that overflow our lives:

The Word Family:  Arpil is Ron’s oldest daughter. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Jon. April and Jon have been married almost 27 years and have four incredible children. Ashleigh, Kaitlyn, Lauren, and David. April is an incredible mom, and her children are such a testament to that. I admire her greatly! She inspires me, and I love her with all my heart! I’m so happy they are all “treasures” in my chest.

The Monteleone family: Dean is Ron’s oldest son. He is married to Robyn, a delightful woman! They have two beautiful young daughters, Shelby and Sierra. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, but we love them all so much. I’m proud to claim them as “treasures” in our chest.

Erin (31): Erin is my first born. Just thinking about her makes me smile. Erin told me when she was 2 years old that one day she was going to be on TV. She never lost sight of that dream. She is a talented actress, writer, producer and director. Her medium changed from TV to stage. She wrote a hit musical show that opened last year in Chicago, and continues to act, direct and produce other shows. I am incredibly proud of her! She has grown into a young woman with heart, love, and the ability to go after her dream and make it happen. She was the first treasure I lovingly placed in my treasure chest.

Ryan (28): Ryan is my second child, and first son. Ryan is a wonderful young man living in St. Louis. He was a wanderer for many years, and has settled down, working and loving life. He’s incredibly smart and funny and always amazes me at the knowledge he has! It doesn’t matter what subject you decide to talk about, Ryan has wonderful things to say, and knows what he’s talking about. He is still trying to determine what he wants out of life, but I know he will figure it out and be incredible at whatever it is. He is warm and loving and I’m so proud of him and who he is! He is the second treasure I lovingly placed into my chest of treasures!

Daniel (22): Daniel is my third child and second son. He too is smart and funny, and trying to figure out what he wants out of life. He is still living at home, and still makes me laugh. Daniel is the kind of kid that can charm the socks off a centipede and is well loved by everyone he comes in contact with. Dan loves with all his heart, and when he falls in love, some young lady is going to be very lucky! Once he figures out what life has in store for him, he will be on his way. Daniel is the 3rd treasure I lovingly added to my box of treasures.

Alexandra (17): What can I say about Alexandra? I could write a book! Alexandra is graduating from high school next month, and has decided she wants to get her teaching degree and take it to 3rd world countries to help build schools for underprivileged children. She is such a beautiful young woman both inside and out. There are times I look at her and wonder how her father and I were able to create such an incredible human being. She has a strong faith in God, and does her best to live the life He is leading her into. She’s smart, funny, loving, warm, and also loves from the bottom of her heart. I admire her a great deal. She inspires me to be a better person each and every day. She is the fourth treasure that I lovingly placed in my box of “Treasures.”

My husband, Ron,  is the biggest Gem in the box! Without him, my life would be so different! He has loved me through 23 years of marriage. I’d love to say it has been a marriage Disney could make a movie out of, but like everyone else we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve been through some wonderful highs and some devastating lows. Many marriages could not have survived some of the lows, but when the times got so bad we weren’t sure we’d make it, his love brought us through. He is my hero, my champion, my love. There is no doubt in my mind that the we will live out the promise we made to each other 23 years ago, “Till death do us part.” I love you, sweetheart!

I can’t complete this post without mentioning the wonderful friends I’ve been blessed with. Friends I would not get through life without. These are the women that are always there for me when I need them, that always have my back, and support me with love and honesty. Without their love, my life would be far more difficult! Thank you all! You are shining gems that I am so thankful to add to my treasure box! I love you all so much!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Thirty-one years ago on Mother’s day, I was “expecting.” My first born was not due to arrive until October. However, I shared in the joy of Mother’s day, knowing that the next year we’d all know this child, and I would “officially” be a mother.

I added 3 more children to the group that calls me mom, over the next 13 1/2 years. I inherited 2 more when I married my husband, along with 2 granddaughters. Our family has since grown to include 5 more grandchildren. Not only have I had the pleasure of watching my own children grow into the wonderful, amazing people we all want them to be, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching my 3 oldest grandchildren grow into beautiful, amazing women.

As much as I enjoy my kids and husband honoring me on this day, I also enjoy the gift of time  to reflect on each and every one of my children and the love we share. They’ve brought me a great deal of joy, some heartache, and many tears, over the years, but throughout the years, they’ve brought me a great deal of love, and far more joy. The kind of love I never knew existed until that day in October when my first child was placed in my arms. And I experienced that love 3 more times, each one as exciting as the first.

Of all the accomplishments in my life, I count my children as #1. Not for who they are, but for helping them get there. They are my biggest blessings. And worth every tear.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s who read my blog, and to all you future mom’s! I wish everyone a day blessed with love.

Child #2, and epiphany and…

…the possibility of child #3???

Child #2, “The little girl left behind.”

A week ago, someone I met through facebook, who is also adopting a little girl, headed to Eastern Europe to bring her child home. While at the orphanage, she met her daughter’s friend. These two little girls have been together since birth. They are only a few weeks apart in age, and were crib mates. You don’t get much closer than that! Unfortunately, one little girl was going home with her new mommy, and one little girl was left behind. My friend was overjoyed to be bringing her daughter home, but heartbroken at having to leave her sweet little friend behind. Everyone was in tears over the little one without a mommy. And that’s when my friend contacted me. She knew we were hoping to bring home two little girls, but had not yet identified our second child. She told me all about the little girl left behind, described her, but could not send pictures, and prayed we would step up to be her new family.

I contacted our placement agency immediately to get information. Unfortunately, this little girl is not yet listed for intercountry adoption. And she will not be 3 until August. This country will not allow you to adopt a child who is not within the age group approved in the home study. We have been approved to adopt a child(ren) between the ages of 3 and 10. Chances are slim that we will be able to bring her home. However, it is not stopping us from trying. We are currently filling out the paperwork necessary to identify her as a child we hope to adopt and have an amazing bulldog of an agency in Bulgaria working with us to try and make it happen. Because of her age, we had to start the process of getting another update to our home study, fill out a supplement 3 and refile again with USCIS. Of course this will take time, but because of the amazing people working on our behalf here and in Eastern Europe, it is almost done. Next week we will have the addendum, and send it  back through USCIS. We hope to have the new approval by May 21st. At that point it is up to God, and the amazing agency in Bulgaria to help us bring her home as “child #2”.

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Last Wednesday night I posted about baby Irina, the two year old little girl who has been ignored and left in a crib most of her short life. I asked if anyone out there was her mommy. At this time, I am pretty sure Irina has found her new mommy.

I believe it’s a God-thing. Our family first learned of little Irina in December of last year. At the time she was 20 months old. We learned of how the care givers in her orphanage think she is suffering from brain damage, so she is fed, changed and bathed when necessary, but no one ever picks her up or hold her just to show her kindness or love. She stopped crying. When a baby stops crying out with needs, it means they have given up. They know no one is going to come, and they learn quickly to stop trying. Irina no longer cries. She rarely smiles. She has given up. One caregiver who was interviewed explained that there were not enough caregivers to take care of ALL the children in the orphanage, so they focused only on the healthy children. These were the children who had hope in finding a family to love and cherish them. Irina and the others like her are disposable. Disposable children are allowed to live in the orphanage until they are between the ages of 4 to 6. It depends on the orphanage if they leave at 4 or 5 or are given the opportunity to stay until they are 6. I think it might be at the director’s discretion. Then they are transferred to an adult mental institution where they are left in beds for the rest of their lives. Ninety percent of these children die within their first year there. This is Irina’s future if her family doesn’t find her in time.

Our family started praying for Irina. She was too young for us to adopt.The youngest child we could adopt would have to be at least age 3. Irina was not yet 2. So we prayed. We asked for our adoption group at church to pray. We sent prayer requests to the church elders so they would pray, and we asked everyone in our home group to pray.

In February of this year, our prayers were answered! A single mom had stepped forward in faith and asked to adopt Irina. We danced and sang for joy at my house! Irina was going to get a chance at life! We continued to pray they would be able to get her home quickly and get her the help she needed to be the person God planned her to be. And we moved on, working hard on completing our own adoption.

The Epiphany and the possibility of child #3…

Unfortunately, Irina’s adoptive mother had to give up their dream of bringing her home due to a family tragedy. After posting that update to my blog, and asking the question “Are you her new mommy?” I turned off the computer and my light to go to sleep, and said another prayer for her. I also prayed for peaceful sleep as this child had haunted my dreams for a couple of months in the past. I finished my prayer and shot out of bed as if it were on fire.

I could be Irina’s new mommy!!! We could be her new family! Hadn’t I said from the moment we learned about her that I would go get her in a heartbeat if we were approved to adopt a child of age 2? Our home study was now being amended to include a child who was 2 years old! Irina turned 2 in April!

From that very second, I KNEW Irina found her family. However, the peaceful night’s sleep I had prayed for was gone. I was too amazed, and excited at God’s power, and His orchestration of bringing this child to the family He wanted for her. Our Family!

Without the discovery of child #2, the “little girl left behind”  and our fight to bring her home, our home study would not be amended to include a child of age 2. If I had not asked our placement agency Wednesday morning about little Irina’s adoption, I would not have known she was once again available for adoption. If I had not said from the very beginning that I would take this child in a heartbeat if we’d been approved for a child of her age, I might not have had that epiphany, and heard God whisper in my ear that He wanted her with us.

Do I believe God put all this in motion? Absolutely! Do we know Irina will definitely be ours? No, we don’t. I don’t know if God is testing me. He may be. He may be asking, “You said you would take her. Are you going to step out in faith as you said you would, or are you going to let her possible disabilities frighten you away.” And He may actually have other plans for her. What I do know is I am not afraid of her possible disabilities. I have felt in my heart from the beginning that Irina is going to overcome most, if not all of her cognitive delays. I believe once she receives the love and care of a mother and father she will blossom. Do I believe it will it be easy? No. But, God never promised us easy, He just promised it would be worth it.  And I believe EVERY child has value and deserves love. Will Irina beat all of her delays and become the normal, unflawed child most adoptive parents dream of? I don’t know. But how many of us are truly “normal” and without flaws? In God’s eyes, she is perfect, and that’s good enough for me.

Today, we filled out a new request, asking to have Irina included in the approval of the little girl we’ve already been approved to adopt, child #1. We cannot ask for “the child left behind” yet, because she is not yet listed for adoption. Once she is, we will file another request asking to add her to our adoption too.

We are fairly sure Irinaa will be added to our adoption. Her file had been returned to the Ministry of Justice by the foundation that first had her listed. They had concluded she was “unadoptable.” Another blessing for us, as the adoption fees may have doubled if we’d had to work with two agencies. Because she was released by the first agency, our agency can ask for her file and include her adoption with the adoption our other child(ren).

Do I believe in Miracles? Without a doubt!

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. Matthew 18:5