Friday, September 25, 2009

Fundraising,Employment and the Cost of International Adoption

Okay, its time to really start the fundraising! We have a garage sale scheduled for the 15th through the 18th. We will be selling bracelets, well, Roc will be selling bracelets and I'm sewing some quilts and matching pillow cases to post on the blog for donations.

I FINALLY found a part time job and start next week. I work full time at a big health insurance company, but with the economy the way it is, things are not looking so hot. Kinda scary when they all ready had 3 big layoffs in the past year. But at least Ive been promised a position till the end of the year. After that, its all up in the air. Ill take till the end of the year though and hope for the best after that. Hey, every dollar helps bring Dania home quicker!!! Well every dollar left after feeding the six chow hounds I have living with they like to eat! a lot!!! Good thing I have a big garden and they love everything in it!

With our past adoptions we never fundraised or asked for donations. Its kinda weird and humbling to ask and then receive. I feel so "bad" when someone gives us money. We had a garage sale earlier in the year, and when people paid for their items plus donated an extra 5 or 10 for our cause, I felt both appreciative and that we should be able to do this ourselves. But the reality is, we are still paying off our last adoption. That adoption cost us more because we had to pay an agency a lot of money to do, well to do.....I'm going to just leave it at that. Its only been 10 months since our four kiddos from South America have been home. So why adopt so soon after your last one? Well, we met a 14 year old sweet heart in South America that we knew we would try to bring home. But after 10 months of trying, we were told she cannot be adopted. She has a mother that visits her every now and again (long story) and that puts a hold on her availability. Both her and our family were devastated but promised to help her get a visa when she turns 18 to come here if she wants. Then we found Dania and the rest is what they say, history. No turning back. You have to admit, she is pretty darn CUTE! The cost of international adoption, even after 3 under my belt, amazes me. I always find myself asking why on earth when their are so many orphans the cost should be so much. I guess I have just come to accept it. Ken, not so much! The kids are all excited and helping out sooooo much and I'm proud of them for the way they talk about this experience and the love they have for orphans. Even Charley, our four year old, when looking at a photo of Dania says, oh ma (yes ma, it started out with mama, then mom, and now just ma.....ugh!!!!) oh ma there is my friend! I tell him that is your sister. He then tells me yes I know but she is my friend too! To cute. Man I LOVE my kids!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Licas Turn

I could write a book on Licas (Leeka) adoption! So just to warn you this will be a long post. The photos are from her graduation scrapbook that I made for her so that is why you can see some stickers and stuff on the one photo. The first photo was taken only after her being here a little over a month. You can see how scared she is and unsure of life. But just look at the joy in her eyes in her graduation picture! In 1990 after being married only 5 years we were talking about having kids. We were going to have them the old fashioned way until our lives changed after watching a TV show. They were having an episode on 20/20 about Romanian orphans. I wouldn't let myself watch it after seeing some of the previews for it. 2 weeks later on our local nightly news WCCO, they were advertising a week long series on The Iron Crib, Romanian Orphans. This time I watched with Ken every single night for a week. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! It was awful, gut wrenching and just plain sad. I found myself waiting during the day for the series to come on to see how this could actually be happening in the world. I was young and naive! During our time watching it and calling everyone I knew to watch it, I told Ken we had to do something. Now adoption was never talked about in my family growing up. I really didn't know anyone adopted nor did Ken. So when I said we should do something, Ken responded with we could send some money or something. I said no, the money might not get there. I told him we should really just go get one of those kids. Without thinking, he said simply replied OK! You got to love a husband like that!!!! Now here comes the fun part! I knew which kid I wanted. The one where the nurse was shoving food into the mouth of this poor little child. So not knowing anything about adoptions or the rules of the country, we took a photo of this child off the TV, wrote down what orphanage and city the reporter said they were at, got a home study in record time and Ken flew to Romania the end of April 1991 to find OUR child! He found a interpreter, Radu, and traveled 3 1/2 hours to the city and orphanage that we had written down. He walked in the orphanage and showed them the picture. They told him that this child was back home with her parents. So Ken got the address and went to the house to see if it was OUR child. It was not, but that did not stop the parents to try to persuade us to adopt their child. Nope, wasn't going to happen. Ken went back to the orphanage and told them that this was not the child in the picture and asked if they would look again. They called the workers, aids, nurses, whatever you want to call them over to take a look and sure enough one of them said yes that is Vasilica. Ken followed her to the tiny room of iron cribs and saw OUR child, sleeping just waiting for us. We thought when we first saw her on TV that she was a 2yr old little boy. But she was a 4yr old little girl, OUR girl! Ken talked with her through Radu and asked her if she wanted to fly over the big water to come live with us. Things were sure allot different back then! Ken then had to drive back to Bucharest to start the paperwork. I wont even try to tell you the nightmare of the next 3 months while Ken was there. But what I will tell you is we made some of our best friends there who we now refer to as family! Without the help of these people, Lica would not be home! Neither would Roxana but its not her turn yet so I cant say anything about her on this post. Lica was very much delayed due to laying in a crib for almost 5 years! And I mean laying in a crib! That's all these children did. No toys, no touch, no love, no nothing! She has come so far in her life and we are so PROUD of her! It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears but was soooooo worth it! There is not another person like our Lica. She is the kindest, sweetest, most honest person I have ever met in my life. I have learned so much from her and I'm glad that God let me be her mother!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What my kids asked for

Okay, so my kids thought I should write about how we adopted each of them so I'm going to start off with how we came about in moving forward with Dania. We knew we wanted to adopt again. We were thinking of an older child around 10,11 or 12. We knew we didn't want to pay an agency for doing the work that we knew we could do ourselves and have done ourselves. After checking all the countries that let you do independent adoptions (not many) and searching out blogs of people who were going through the process we decided on Ukraine. The SDA (State Department for Adoption) shows files of available children in different regions of the country. The stay in country can be very long while waiting for your court date but we went ahead with it anyway. Once we paid to have our home study done, ran around getting all our paperwork and fingerprints done and everything in between to complete our dossier, Ken and Roc flew to Ukraine in April 2008 to have everything translated. They then proceeded to go the the SDA . They went to hand in our dossier and the ladies working there looked at him like he was crazy!!!! They didn't know what to think. No one ever does this. They always hire a facilitator to do this work. They even let him talk to the director. He was told to come back in two days. Outside he talked with several facilitators working for other families and got a lot of advice for them. They said that it would be better for him to hire a facilitator because they know where everything is once the "running" starts to get all the paper work for court. They would be your translator, guide, and get things done quicker than he could. Oh if only they knew what we went through with our first two adoptions in Romania!!!! So Ken and Roc went back in two days only to find out that they would not accept it but that they should fly home and call in two weeks to see if they could in fact do this himself. After a couple more tries at the SDA, they flew home and in two weeks we called and of course the answer was no. Once home we kept searching the blogs and found out a lot of families were coming home with no kids for one reason or another. This is when Ken decided Ukraine was not for us. Mostly because he knew I would NOT turn a referral down, no matter what condition the child was in! I think knowing me so well when it comes to orphans made him just a wee bit nervous. While wondering where we should go from here I found a little 11 yr old girl. Called about her and found out she was from Colombia South America. That story to come in another post, but she is our daughter now. Which brings us here. I kept reading those blogs of families going and coming home from Ukraine and Russia and other Eastern Europe Countries. When a little 4 yr old gypsy girl(I know its probably more politically correct to call them Roma but we have two gypsies living with us and they refer to themselves as gypsies) showed up on Reese's Rainbow looking for her forever family, we ALL knew she was meant to be ours. You see, we started out adopting a 4yr old gypsy cutie from Eastern Europe and we only find it fitting to adopt our last child the same way! Here we go again!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our First Blog

Well this is our first blog. Lets see, I got the kids ready for their first day of school tomorrow. Lunches are packed, baths are done, hair for Kaylee is straitened, Roc FINALLY found what she wants to wear, I trimmed James hair up a little and now I get to sit for a little bit.
We committed to bring Dania home yesterday, her 4th birthday. Filled out the application for Reeces Rainbow and wrote my first of many checks to bring this little girl home! I'm tired! And to think, its only just begun!! Hope everybody had a great Labor Day weekend, I know we did!


About Me

I married my high school sweetheart 26 years ago. Ken and I and have ten of the greatest kids from different parts of the world. We are hoping to bring a few more kiddos home! Throughout the years in our adoption journeys it has made us want to bring some kind of hope to these kids. This blog will hopefully allow us the opportunity to advocate for some of the orphans in the world. Join us in our journeys and the day to day happenings in raising 10 kids.....and counting.