Thursday, December 20, 2012

What a difference a year makes.....

Our adoption journey started about a year and a half ago.  Some days it seems like it was forever ago and others I feel like it wasn't too bad of a wait (although I think I can only say that now that we are so close to bringing our son home). Looking back at our timeline I am so in awe of our journey,  it wasn't easy, but we are almost to our "Gotcha Day"!

On November 28, 2011 we send our i600a paperwork in to the US.  This paper was asking the US government if we could adopt a child and bring him home to become a US citizen.  Now this year on November 28, 2012 Aaron met our son for the first time! The son we have been praying and planning for the last year.  I am a little sad that I wasn't able to go on this trip too, but in the end it won't matter. (And Carson got his first flu ever and  I was sick with a cold. So I guess in the end it was good for me to still be at home). We will soon have our son and bring him home to meet the rest of his family and all his new friends!

So what happens next:
Aaron will be returning home this weekend and we will wait for our sons visa to be issued. Our embassy interview was on Friday Nov. 30th and were praying the visa is issued some time in the first week of December. As soon as it is issued Aaron and I will travel to DRC to get our Son. He will then be ours! We will then apply and wait for our exit letter.  This will allow us to leave the country with him. That could take from 1-2 weeks.  Once that letter is issued we will return home and start our new lives!

I am so excited to begin this next step in our adoption adventure.  I am very realistic when it comes to knowing the challenges we will face , but also know that we will do everything for our kids well being. Our two boys are the most important things in our lives and they will be our first priorities especially right after we come home. There will be a big change in our everyday workings, we will spend more time at home than we ever have in our almost 7 years of marriage. Please take a look at the previous post for more information on our "Cocooning" plan and if you have any question please talk to us!

Thank you all for your love and  support! This journey has been apart of  your lives as well and we can't wait to show your family of four!

Love, April

Friday, December 7, 2012

Waiting again....

Aaron was able to meet our son last week and it was the best story I've ever heard! Can't wait to share everything on the blog once we are back home with our son for good!. We're praying his visa is issued Monday so we can book a flight to go get him and bring him home!

We're so close.... And waiting again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Letter to our family and friends

Dear Friends and Family-

Our "Gotcha" day is almost here. As I write this I'm waiting for a call from Aaron hoping he got to meet our boy today. We wanted to take a minute to share with you "our plan" for transitioning into a family of four.

In a perfect world, babies would be raised by their birth moms and never have to experience the trauma of separation from them. They would be given the gift of knowing their mom's hearbeat, voice, and birth language. With adoption, this is interrupted, or lost for a variety of reasons.....and trust is broken.

Thankfully, there is a window of time where healing can take place for adopted children. In the adoption community this is referred to as "cocooning."

Cocooning will look different for every family. During our time of cocooning, we will be going above and beyond to help Kamble attach to our family and to heal....

Soon he will be saying goodbye to the familiar surroundings he has grown accustomed to. We are very confident that he has grown attached to the caregivers at her orphanage. But, when we start parenting Kamble, trauma will again happen in his life as he leaves another caretaker's arms. There will be grieving even from leaving the orphanage he has grown familiar with.

We want to be very sensitive to our little guy. We want to remember the realities of his transitions in life thus far:

-The first part of his life he heard one language and connected to one caregiver, his mother.
-And now, he has has spent 6 months hearing a new language, and bonded again with another (or multiple) caregivers.

In the coming weeks, he will meet his new parents (us!) and be introduced to yet another language, environment, and family. It is very important that our son gets to know me as Mommy and Aaron as Daddy. He needs to see us as his caregivers and establish a strong, healthy bond with us-which will enable him to establish healthy bonds in the future with other members of our family, and our friends. It will also help him to establish healthy boundaries, and solid relationships in his future.

We know you have walked alongside of us through our adoption for nearly 1.5 years. When we announced our joyous news, you were there with us. When our path began taking many twists, and turns, delays, and more delays, you offered your encouragement, support, prayers, and finances. We are forever grateful for each of you. We know that you, just like us, want Kamble home to his family, and you want your chance to meet him, hold him, play with him, and love him. We know that just like us, however, you want his transition to his forever family to be as positive as it can be. Kamble needs to learn to trust us. And we need your help in doing that.

Through careful consideration we have considered a cocooning plan for our son. We want to take into consideration that adoption professionals recommend cocooning for a duration of 3 months. Our plan may change as we see possible new needs arise, or if we feel he is bonding/attaching to us better than expected.

It is important to keep Kamble's world as small as possible. For the first month we will be establishing structure, and we will be staying home a lot during this time. We hope to not ever leave his eyesight. You are welcome to text, email, and send cards. I will likely be limiting my phone conversations though, so I can devote more time with the kids.

We want him to know that he will never again have to change his environment, or loved ones. When we feel he is ready, we will gradually go out and about for short times so he doesn't feel overwhelmed. For a time, we will ask you not to hold, kiss, or hug him as he learns that we are his primary caregivers. We would love for you to talk with him, wave, blow kisses, and high five. Our desire is for Kamble to learn that we, his parents, will meet his physical and emotional needs.

We also want to share some of what we have learned. Research has shown the benefits of parenting an adopted child according to their "family age" not their biological age. This means he will be rocked, cuddled, fed and soothed much like babies are. We will carry him around with us as much as he likes (and our backs will allow!). Only Aaron and myself will provide food, drink, bathing, dressing, etc. All caregiving will be done by us.

As you can imagine all of this will not be easy. But we are certain that our investment will be worth it! Our little Man is worth all of the hard days ahead. We truly can't wait to get started!

Please let us know if you have any questions. We're happy to discuss our plan with everyone. We will also invite people to visit us at the airport when we come home. You will be able to say hi and snuggle him if he will allow it. Please remember even though this is a joyous occasion for us, this will most likely be very traumatic for him. He may not want others to touch him and will will respect that. After that night our time In as a family will begin.

Thanks for all you love and support during this adoption adventure. We are so close to the end of the waiting and can't wait to share him with all of you. Special thanks to my friend and fellow adoptive mom, Kerri, who let me use her letter she wrote to her family and friends. It was so perfect and really said what we wanted to say!

The Marvin's

Friday, November 16, 2012

We're so close........

My emotions are everywhere!!!! These days I go from being excited, scared, mad, and joyous all in the same hour. The adoption process is an emotional roller coaster; not the tiny roller coasters in the parking lots, I'm talking about the huge ones with double loops and blazing fast speeds.
I can't even describe the amount of times my emotions change in a day, or how it feels to be dealing with them.   I'm not really a crier but I feel like I'm on the verge of tears pretty much everyday.  And I have cried a few times, usually when I'm driving somewhere on my own, and it doesn't seem to help the sadness.

We thought we would be leaving in a few weeks to get our son, but we've had a slight change in plans.  I found a typo on his passport yesterday,  so now we have to have a new one issued.  I sent money today for the new passport and pray it will get done in a timely manner.  This slight hold up will for sure effect our ability to have our son home for Christmas, but it's okay. We have to look at the bigger picture and realize that we will have a life time with him. There will be more Christmas' and birthdays (which we may also miss) to celebrate in his life and at this point he doesn't even now he's missing something here.  It's more about us missing him.

Aaron is going to travel to Africa and attend our appointment. I am super excited and sad all at the same time.  I wanted to be there and meet Kamble (his name once he comes home to our family!) for the first time together. I also wanted to stay and care for him while we waited for his visa and exit letter. I was looking forward to our bonding time in country, no matter how hard it was going to be.

But it will be okay! As I said before this adoption journey has been hard to say the least. So many times you get your hopes up, and things don't work out the way you thought they would.  What I am grateful for is how hard everyone around us are working on our case. We have multiple people who are supporting us through this journey and we couldn't be more grateful.

This change in plans has effected us in many ways, but financially is the hardest. We are having to pay for a third round trip ticket at one of the most expensive times to fly.  We are so grateful for all the donations we have received for the puzzle! I'm going to pull it out again and get it framed soon! So excited to show you all the finished product. There are still pieces left for names, let me now if you'd like to donate to our adoption fund!

We are so thankful for our adoption journey and our son, can't wait to show you all a picture of us together!!!

Love, April

Friday, November 9, 2012

Family Time

Last week Aaron and I were lucky enough to receive some standby tickets and took a short trip to California. We really wanted to do something with Carson away from work, paperwork, and our everyday chaos at home. We were so excited to take Carson to Disneyland and California Adventure. We had an amazing time and loved getting to watch the excitement in Carson's face. 

We also love getting the opportunity to visit family and friends when we are in California and can't wait to travel there as a family of four. We had such as wonderful time with Nan's and Pop's and are so thankful for them and their hospitality! 

In adoption news, we are still waiting for a few things to come our way. We did get our sons passport but are still waiting to get our embassy appt. scheduled. We did work really hard the past two days and got our binder ready to send with a family traveling this weekend. We are going a little crazy with all this waiting, but we know it will be worth it once we hug our son for the first time. 

Here's a few pics of our Family Vacation for you to enjoy.

Love, April

Saturday, October 27, 2012

We're getting so close!!!!!

Even though most days don't feel like it, we are getting so close to bringing our son home.  We have a few more papers to get, get our embassy appointment scheduled, and get his passport before we can book our tickets; but really that's not many steps to go.  We are getting so excited to travel! We can't wait to meet our boy, thank all the people who have cared for him these past few months, and love on all the other kiddos waiting to come home to their forever families.  We know its not going to be easy, but we are ready for this challenge.

There are so many fears we have about traveling to Africa. Most of them have to do with the unknowns. We know Gods plan is so much bigger than our own and we believe that even our trip is orchestrated by him.  I will admit though, one of our biggest fears is that our son will be scared of us. We know it's a real possibility and are preparing ourselves for this, but we are praying he's sees our love and attention as a positive thing and will trust us. Attachment and bonding is such a long process that happens differently with every child. We know this this and just pray that we can begin developing a positive relationship while in Africa that we can build on once we get home.

On another note, Our Son was quite sick this past week and was well taken care of by the men and women from the orphanage. We are so thankful to all of them for recognizing the signs of Malaria and getting him medical attention right away. We are also so grateful for all of our friends and family for your prayers during this time. We appreciate all of your love and support during this entire process and for your love of our son who we haven't even met yet!

God Bless, April

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Still waiting.....

I had typed a really nice letter to everyone about our waiting and our excitement to bring home our son. I talked about how lucky we are that we have such a wonderful family that all be taking care of Carson while we are away. I also talked about how we are still waiting for some papers to come in, translations to be done, and his passport. 
But I lost it!!
 I tried for a while to get it back and then just gave up. So here is an adorable pic of our little 3 year old and I will attempt a longer post another day this week. 
Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh Halloween.....

I have to admit, even before having a child I really was not that into Halloween. I know I loved getting candy, so I had to dress up. But I never really got that into the scary aspect of it.
I now really enjoy Carson getting to dress up and enjoy the fun of trick-or treating, but I hate what Halloween has become. Maybe it has always been this way and I was just ignoring it all this time.
What I am talking about is the super scary grim reapers hanging all over the ceiling at various stores, scary masks everywhere, bloody/gory costumes, and scary home decorations all over the streets. Carson is afraid of all of them. He gets really nervous, asks a ton of questions and just won't let go of me when we go past any of these things. (Don't even get me started on all the women's costumes that are basically lingerie).
I really want him to enjoy the fun childlike Halloween that I remember. I hope my explanations of the pretend stuff are sufficient enough to calm his nerves.
As I think about this for Carson I'm actually thankful our son in Africa doesn't have to endure this right now. Can you imagine being new to a place, with a new family, and very little language skills and seeing a ginormous scary creature hanging above your head? That would be terrifying! If he were home we probably wouldn't be venturing out anyway, but still i think it's scary for any little kid.
Sorry if your the type who likes the haunted house and scary men, I'm not judging you. I'm just saying we will have none of that at our house this year (or probably ever!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today was a Great Day!

Carson turned 3 years old today!!! It was a wonderful day here in the Pacific Northwest and we loved every minute of sunshine. We invited over 50 people to our little house. So it was also nice to utilize our back yard a little while longer.

We had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party. Carson was so excited to see all of his friends and family. He had a great time and was spoiled rotten. Thanks everyone for your time and gifts.

We got some other great news today. We are getting closer to traveling to pick up our son. No official details yet. But paperwork is starting to come in and were beginning to prepare for the next part of this adventure.

:) April

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mommy guilt...

For the past week we have been working on little projects to get ready for Carson's 3rd birthday! I know, I know, I can't believe it either. Were having a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party and its going to be awesome! Aaron and I have had a ton of fun making a piƱata, a Mickey centerpiece, and decorating water bottles. We still have cupcakes and other small decorative stuff to do before Sunday, plus we need to finish cleaning our house!

But with all the excitement this week I've been feeling really sad. Sad because we have a son across the world who is missing all of this; sad we can't just go pick him up to bring him home so his body and mind can start healing; sad we have no idea when we can actually go get him; sad that he has never had a chance to have a party like this or possibly any type of time focused just for him; sad we don't know his past; sad we've never seen him smile; and I'm just sad that our family is not complete. I don't like this one bit. Please pray for our paperwork to come through and for us to be planning our trip very soon!

We love our Son so much, even though we've never met him. We can't wait to get to him and become his parents (and protectors) and help him begin to heal. We believe that God has planned this for our family and we know that the plan is not our own. We knew the adoption process was a long crazy one, however we hope we're nearing the end of the waiting.

We are so excited to celebrate Carson's birthday this weekend. This weekend is about him and the wonderful little man he is becoming. We laugh everyday at the hilarious comments and statements  he makes. I love this age and am completely enjoying watching him grow-up. Some days I'm sad he won't stay this way forever, but every stage of his life has been more and more fun. I know we have a lot more laughter to come!

 I'm equally excited to see him become a big brother. He talks about his brother constantly. Just the other day he brought me the iPad and asked to watch videos of brother. It was so sweet! A funny story from a few months ago I have to share is......
Question: Carson what should we name brother?
Carson: "Tow Mater" (Cars is his all time favorite movie and he loves Mater!)
Q: How come we should name him Tow Mater?
Carson: Because he's brown. (Yep, he was pretty matter of fact. He is a very concrete thinker. So this really doesn't surprise me at all.)

We got a good laugh out of that one, and can't wait to share it with his brother someday. I know Carson will teach his brother all about Cars and we already have started him his own set of the die-cast cars. Since I know sharing those magnificent treasures may be a challenge. :)

So excited to see everyone who can make it this weekend to celebrate Carson. We are so blessed with amazing family and friends and we wouldn't be functioning with out you! So even though I have said this a million times, THANK YOU!!!  (I hope it never loses its meaning.)

Love, April

PS. a sneak peak of a party craft!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Last Weekend Garage Sale = Complete!

WooooHooooo! I am so happy to say that we are finished with Garage Sales! Aaron even made up a breakup song about garage sales (I'm pretty sure he borrowed most of the lyrics from Taylor Swift). I am also happy to announce that we added another $836.28 to our adoption account!! Praise the Lord!

Our thermometer over to the left of our blog is now up to $14,982!!!!!!!!!! I know I have said this a million times, but we are so greatful to all the people who have donated their stuff, time, and money to help us bring our son home. We are also extreamely greatful for all the prayers and support we have recieved during the past year. Garage sales have been the best fundraiser. We have raised over $10,000 just by working four long weekends this summer.

Although, I think the best part of having garage sales was sharing our story with everyone that came to score a deal. After trying to sell a nice man some items, I'm sure he didn't really need, we got to talking and told him our story and what we were doing this for. He right there gave us a $20 bill. He was so generous! Then as he walked away he found a small cooler that had a $3 tag on it. I told him just to take it, but he refused and handed me a $5 bill. I went to get him change and he just left. He yelled from his truck that he hoped our day was great and he was glad he could do a small thing to help us bring our son home! I'm am so in awe of people's generosity. I love having these stories to share with our son someday. He wont have a baby book, but he will have a Life Book and these stories of generous people will fill the pages!

Hopefully soon we will have some news to share about possible travel dates. I think the waiting and not knowing anything is killing me! But it's all going to happen in God's perfect timing! I just hope that's sooner than later.

Love, April & Aaron

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Awesome Garage Sale!

At the last minute we decided to have our Garage Sale in our Yard. It was crazy! Our house is quite small and our neighbors thought we were selling everything and moving out. Our yard is small and it was packed full of stuff. We took over parts of our neighbors yards as well. But in all reality it was great to have it at home. We were able to share our story and meet all kinds of neighbors we hadn't met before.

Our grand total for the weekend is $1998.19!!!!!!!!! I have already added it to our thermometer on the main blog page. We have raised over $14,000. Wooohooo!!!! Thank you everyone! We are truly blessed with wonderful family and friends!

We are so thankful for all of our family and friends who came to help us out and who donated to our sale. We continued to get items all weekend and actually ended up still having about as much as we started with. Crazy Right???? We couldn't fathom just donating all of the stuff left, so we packed it up and were going to another 2 day sale this weekend. I know we said this would be our last sale, but with everything that was donated to us we knew we had to try to earn a little more money. We're going to set up our sale on Thursday and do it Friday and Saturday at my sisters.

Hopefully we can make another $1,000 or more towards our goal. After this one we are really done with garage sales, we are exhausted!

Love, The Marvin's

(The entire side of our yard is full of stuff, plus stuff in our basement and more to come from friends! )

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A little something to get to know us....

This week some time (and may our small care package should be getting to our son in Africa. Another family was gracious and took our ziplock bag full of treasures on her trip to get her child. One of my favorite things we sent was a little t-shirt that was Carson's not very long ago. I'm hoping to get a picture of our son in his new shirt to judge his size a little better. I know the shirt won't stay his and that's okay, but I hope that he enjoys getting something for just him for a day. I also sent stickers, bracelets, cars, balls, a small book and a photo album of our family. I hope he enjoys sharing his treasures with his friends. I tried to send enough stickers and bracelets for him to share with all of the older kids.
I'm so excited that he will see photos of our family. I hope he enjoys seeing Carson playing and our extended family's photos. But in reality I know this is a very scary thing for him. The initial excitement (if he has any) will wear off and he will be left with so many questions and concerns about his life. In his little world we are going to be strange people coming to take him away from the place he has called home, from his "family" at the orphanage and his friends. I pray for all the strength, patience, and compassion in the world to help him heal from the trauma he has already faced in his little lifetime. I so am looking forward to our time in country to bond as a family. During that time I am sure I will be missing Carson like crazy, but I know how powerful the time will be spent focusing completely on our youngest son. Carson will be in the best hands while we are gone (Thanks to our Family!) and Aaron will come home to him after a few weeks and I'll stay in country until the adoption is complete. I'm pretty scared to be in country without Aaron and to travel back on my own, but I know God is in control. Please pray for us as we begin planning our adventure to Africa. We received some excellent news this week about our vaccinations.  We thought they would cost about $2000 and with our new insurance most of the vaccines are covered!! Woohooo!! Also, we're having our last Fundraising Garage Sale this weekend.  We are having it at our house and it's a crazy out there! Hopefully we can bring lots of people in to our sale, even though our house is not in the best location for a sale.
Thanks to everyone who have donated to our adoption fundraisers! We really couldn't be doing this without you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reminding myself to live life to the fullest.......

Yesterday Carson and I had the privilege to go down to see my baby sister (yes she's almost 19, but she's 11 years younger than me so I still see her as a baby) play soccer at her university. They won their game and she played quite a bit of it, so it was awesome to be there.  She's been away at college a few weeks now, since she is a fall athlete, but all the other students are finally moving in tomorrow. I look back to my college experience and think about the fun we had. I pray that she is able to make lasting friendships and find a career that she is passionate about.

My college experience was a little unconventional. I started at a community college and played soccer. Then I went to another community college to take some of my classes because it was closer to my house. I then played another year of soccer at community college before deciding in my final semester that second year to go down to a state school where all my friends were. After applying and getting in to the state school I was asked to play soccer at Warner Pacific College the following year. I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I decided to go try out the state school before committing. I actually had a ton of fun, but really didn't go outside of my comfort zone to meet any new people (I also don't drink or "party" so I didn't have many opportunities to do so). In the end, I decided a small Christian College was going to be a better fit for me.

I can say now that was the best decision of my life. Aaron was already at WPC playing mens soccer, so we met the first day of tryouts. I was in a relationship with someone else at the time, but we did become good friends.  Eventually after many life changes we fell in love and became the family we are today.  God definitely had a hand in my journey. The experiences I had shaped the person I have become, and Aaron and I would have never met had my story not unfolded the way it did.

I guess the reason for this story is this.... God has a plan. He is helping our story unfold every step of the way. We may not always know in the moment why things are happening the way they do, but God is in control.

I needed to be reminded of my own story this week. I have been stressing myself out worrying and wondering about our adoption. I have so many questions floating around my head about paperwork, vaccines, visas, plane tickets, travel itinerary, timelines, money, how our son is doing (we just want him home), food in country, etc. the list could go on and on!  

I needed this reminder to help me remember to surrender my fears and worries to God.  I need to remember that God has brought us to this place, He called us to adopt, He has provided for our needs. He has given us a child, He will calm our fears, and He will be there with us every step of the way. His timing is the perfect timing, even if it doesn't match my own.

Adoption is a journey that takes time and lots of patience. This is all a part of my story and someday I will look back on this time as a gift. I will have learned a great deal and will hopefully get to share our journey with other adopting families to help them get through. I'm so thankful for all the adoptive/ing families I've met online and in person. This whole process would be soooo much harder if it weren't for them!

As I think of all the unknowns in our lifetime, I am worried about what's to come. I just can't let those fears hold me back from the life I am supposed to lead or keep me from living in the moment.

For we live by faith, not by sight. (2nd Corinthians 5:7)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.. (Psalm 46:1-2)

Hope your all having a wonderful day with the ones you love!

Love, April

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hanging out at the fair!

I'm sitting here at the fair in our booth for our business while Aaron and Carson are out watching the Monster Trucks. It's all they've talked about all week. Aaron got Carson so pumped up about going that we came even though he's not been feeling so good. And he's been missing daddy like crazy. So I decided he needed some daddy time!

Aaron has spent pretty much all of the last 10 days at the fair trying to get new business. Hopefully we get some jobs for all his hard work! The Fair was really great 2 years ago, but last year he only got a few small jobs out of it. That's how running your own business goes though. Some months are crazy and others your searching for work! While the fairs been going on my father in law, who is Aaron's business partner, has been working long hours trying to get a remodel job done in 4 days! These men are so talented and wonderful examples of hard work and dedication!
I'm proud to be a part of our business and I love talking with clients after jobs are done because they always love these two awesome men!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Great things happening....

We had such a wonderful opportunity this weekend to get together with a few families from our agency.  We feel so lucky to be with a new agency and to have our new son's case moving along. We really don't know what's happening with our paperwork, but we know it is in good hands!

If you take a look on the left side of the blog you see a few things:
1. There is a ticker showing how long we've been in this process. Today we are just over the 1 year mark. I can't believe how much we've been through since the start of this process. If you would have asked me a year ago where we would be at at this point I'd say we were getting ready to travel. If we had stayed with our original agency that would not be even close to true, but now I can say it is true! We hope to travel in the next few months! We can't wait to meet our son in person. God has really brought our family to this place, and we are so thankful for his grace and love.

2. Our fundraising thermometer! I was able to make another change to the thermometer today. I also changed the final goal to $20,000. We have 12,078.92 right now, AMAZING RIGHT???  I changed it to reflect the total amount we need before we travel,  counting our plane tickets, visas, vaccines, lodging, lawyer fees, in country fees, taxi fares, salary for everyone who will help us there, and much more. That estimate could change depending on when we travel, how long we are there, etc., but hopefully everything works out in our favor and we need no more that that! We have sold a bunch of puzzle pieces recently, but still have lots more to sell. Let us know if you would like to buy one!

We are doing everything we can to save money and to fundraise. We are so thankful for everyone who have donated so far. With the way this new agency works we are going to paying out almost all our money right before we travel. This is a good thing since it's allowing us more time to save, but it's a bad thing because we don't want to fall short right as were getting ready to travel.

So again, Thank you everyone for your love and support. I know I say this a lot, but we can't do this without you! We are so in love already with our little man, we can't wait to share him with you!

Love, April

P.S. Yes, we are still taking donations for our final garage sale of the summer. We are planning it for the end of August or the beginning of September. Let me know if you want us to come pick something up.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pictures are worth a 1000 words!

We were able to get some pictures and a short video of our Son this week! We are still unable to share anything on the web, but just know we think our Son is amazing! We can't wait for him and Carson to be together at home playing the day away! All of this waiting is hard. I keep myself busy by learning as much as I can about the adoption process, reading about attachment and bonding, and fundraising. 

Bringing a toddler home around the same age as Carson seems a little crazy, but we're so excited for them to be close in age. We talk with Carson constantly about his brother and he wants him home now! He talks about playing cars, trains and playing soccer with him. I know Carson is going to be an awesome big brother and I can't wait to share memories about what the two of them do together with all of our family and friends! 

 It was so great to get pictures, but it still makes me sad to see him and not be able to hold him and tell him everything will be okay. I know that attaching isn't easy but I can't wait to have the opportunity to show him our love and that we will be there for him for the rest of his life. 

We have a few more months before we will travel, but that's okay because we still need to continue fundraising and saving money for our trip. We are currently selling puzzle pieces (see the picture below for a sneak peak of how it's coming along.  I don't have all the names on there yet, but there are plenty of spaces left) and we are preparing for another garage sale at the end of August. 

Please contact us personally if you have any questions about our adoption or our current fundraisers. We are currently accepting donations for our next garage sale, let us know if you would like us to come by and pick up your stuff!

Love, April

 **We were also able to make another change to our thermometer. Take a look at the left side of our blog! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Small Change in our Thermometer!!!!

We just wanted to let everyone know we have been able to update our thermometer again! Woohoo!!!! Thanks to everyone who have donated to our puzzle fundraiser so far. ***We are still selling puzzle pieces to help fund our adoption fees.**** Please let us know if you have any questions. We're hoping to get a little more information soon about our little guy, this part of the process we're in, and more about our possible departure month. Thank you for your continued prayers and support! We can't wait to bring our little guy home and share him with you all! Love, April & Aaron

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Another Successful Garage Sale

Here we are at the end of day 4 of our second Adoption Fundraiser Garage Sale this summer. We had an amazing turnout again and couldn't be happier with the results. A big thanks to my sister for letting us use her house for our sale, storage, and for her help this week. She lives in the perfect location; we don't even have to put signs up or advertise and people will just show up as we're taking off the tarps!

Also, a big thanks to our family for helping us put the sale on. Lastly, we are so thankful for all of our friends and family who donated to our sale. We couldn't of done this without you!

Our grand total for this garage sale is........ $3521.00. We still have a few bigger items posted online, so hopefully the total will even go up. We can't wait to bring our son home!

It was a very hot weekend (we don't often get to complain about the heat where we live, haha), but my sunburn is so worth it! (And yes, I put on sunblock multiple times a day. But I probably should have done more.)

Before we began this garage sale we said, this will be our last one. The prep time, the time away from work, and the 4 days we're out there make them exhausting. But after having another amazing sale, we're thinking we must do it again. We have had multiple friends and family members come to us this week and say they have stuff for another sale. So we're planning our next one for the end of August.

Please let us know if you have any items you would like to donate to our garage sale. All proceeds go straight to our savings account for our adoption. We can pick up anything you would like to donate. Just message us or give us a call. We really, really, really appreciate all your support!

Love, April & Aaron

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We have BIG news!!!!

So with the last post I kind of hinted to that fact that some big things were happening with our adoption.
So here it is...................................

-We've decided to leave our agency and have signed on with another agency. We are absolutely thrilled to be with this new agency. It was one we tried to sign up with in the beginning, but I guess God only knew the best timing and it is now! A lot of people have questioned our decision to leave our agency after about 10 months, but we want everyone to know that we didn't come to this decision lightly. We have been praying, talking, (more) praying, and investigating for months. There are many reasons behind our decision, but I'm not going to share them here.  If you have any questions or are just curious please call or email us and we will be able to share some more details with you. Just know this was the right move for our family.

- We are so excited for these changes. The new agency we are with has more of a humanitarian focus for the children of Africa. We are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with them and for the ability to stay connected long after our child comes home.

- And the biggest news of all is.........................

WE HAVE A REFERRAL!!! He is beautiful. We cannot share his picture, but believe us it's true! We actually don't know his age, but think he is about 2 years old. We are completely overjoyed with our new little guy, and can't wait to meet him in person.  We want to bring him home as soon as possible!!!!

What happens next...........

1. Finish getting our dossier ready for our new agency. Were currently waiting on one piece of paper!
2. Our agency will get everything together and sent to the lawyer.
3. WAITING.... Lots of stuff with happen once our paperwork gets in country, and then we will have a few things to do, and then our lawyer will have some more things to do. (I really don't have a clear picture of whats going to happen, but we'll figure it out as it goes!)
4. After we pass court and wait out all that entails, we will hopefully be on a plane to bring him home. This whole process will take 4-6 months.

With everything happening so quickly, we are going into extreme fundraising mode!

 The fee schedule is a little different with the agency and actually worked out in our favor. The majority of the fees we will need to pay are closer to the end of this journey. This is great news for us because it will give us the time to continue to save and fundraise over the next few months.

At the moment we are selling puzzle pieces and getting ready for another garage sale. Were hoping to have the sale in a few weeks, but it will really depend on the weather. We are still looking for donations, so if you have some items you'd like to get rid of we can pick them up!

Thank you for all your prayers, love, and support. If you have any questions please talk with us individually or through email.

Love, April & Aaron

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Time to Put Together That Puzzle!!!

So we began talking about this months ago, but were finally ready to have this be the Fundraiser we focus on this summer. There are a lot of new things happening with our adoption, but I'm not really at liberty to talk about them right now (sorry for the teaser, but no referral yet!).  I will let everyone know as soon I can!
What I can talk about is that we are really needing to focus on saving money and fundraising in order to make things happen when the time is right. We are sending out postcards (you can see a copy on the bottom right of the blog) to all of our family and friends in hopes to raise enough money to cover our referral costs. We actually got this idea from another adopting family and just loved it.

We are selling puzzle pieces for $20 each. Once a piece is purchased we will write your name (or family name) on the back of a piece. Once all the pieces are purchased we will put the puzzle in a double sided glass frame and hang it in our home.  This framed puzzle will be a reminder of everyone who has helped us on our journey to bring our family together. We have already written a few names of donors, but we still have nearly the whole puzzle to put together! Can you help???

I've place a list of FAQ's at the bottom of this post. I will add more if I start getting other questions. Also, please email me your address if you'd like to get anything that we mail out (Postcards, letters, Christmas cards, etc). My email is dawn bey 15 @ ya hoo . c o m.

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers. We definitely know that we couldn't do this without all of you!

Love, April


If I send more money, can I have more than one piece???
*Yes, you can buy more than one piece! (I'll write your name really big across multiple pieces or I'll write each family members name, if you prefer.)

I just don't have $20 to spare,  can I still participate?
*If $20's to much, any donation will do! (We appreciate all the help we can get!)

Where do I send the money?
*Please send the checks directly to us.

Can you accept credit cards??
* I do have a pay-pal account. Please look to the right of the blog.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Garage Sale = Success

Man are we so glad this weekend is over!!!!! Don't get me wrong it was amazing, but we are completely exhausted!We finally got some great weather this week and weekend. We knew we had to jump on the opportunity because you never know how the weather is going to change from day to day.

 We decided to begin setting up our Garage Sale on Wednesday afternoon. We just started to bring box after box out in to my sisters driveway. As we were bringing boxes out people just started stopping and asked if they could go through the boxes (my sisters house is the best garage sale location for sure). We made a few hundred dollars that night while just setting up! We had received so many amazing donations, it took until Saturday before I finally pulled the last 15 boxes out of her garage. We ended up having our sale from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon. For most of those days nothing was priced and we just let people look through boxes, bins and bags. It was so unorganized and trashy looking. But there were so many moments where there were 15-20 people there at one time; we just couldn't keep up! Even with our complete lack of organization and pricing we were able to meet our goal of $3000.

 We are so grateful for all of the people who helped at our sale and for all of the donations we received. We wanted to give a special thanks to Carson's swim teacher and her family for donating the majority of the items we sold this week. They are moving and we are so sad to see them go, but we are eternally grateful for their generosity and kindness. We also are so thankful for my parents, Ed and Kathy, who took time off work to help with our sale. My sisters Alyssa, Amy and Ashley also took time off work and time out of their weekends to work our sale and hangout with Carson. Aaron's mom, Terree, also took a day off work and kept Carson for two days so he didn't have to sit at the garage sale the entire time. My grandma Sharon and Phil, also spent many hours taking money and just hanging out with me so I didn't have to be alone all day. We never could have done this sale without the help of all these people. Thank you so much for everything you have done (and I'm sure will do) to bring our new addition home.

 Another thing that made this past week so special, was that we were able to share our story with hundreds of people. Between the many people who were just looking for a bargain, there were a few people who really touched our hearts. We had a lady who found out we were adopting and gave us $40 for just a few small items. A young man came up to our sale asking of we would buy his 200 vinyl records from him for $20. We told him no and what we were fundraising for. He then came back with all of his records and about 30 matchbox cars still in their packaging. He said he wanted us to have it because he wants a little kid to be able to have a better life than he did. We were so touched we did give him the $20 and told him what a blessing he was to us. There are many stories of people who gave a little more along with stories of people who were actually quite disrespectful. But we are choosing to reminisce on the positives of this experience and hope to be able to share our story with more people when we do ths again in a few months!

 With our 1st garage sale of the year behind us, I was finally able to make a change to our thermometer on the left side of our blog. I'm so excited that we were able to finally do something towards our fundraising goals. I did change the total to $12,000 (from 8,000) to more closely reflect the cost if we do become blessed with a sibling pair.

 We have some more fundraising events coming up this summer and will let you know as we begin planning those. We are also planning another garage sale for August. Please let me know if you have anything you would like to donate and one of us can pick it up from you.

We are sure we still have many months (6-9) before we will get our referral, but our goal is to have the money raised so that as soon as we say YES, we can make our payment. We will then have to figure out the monthly fees and the next set of fees that come with this process, but we know that God will provide. Again, a big thank you to everyone that has donated. I don't like to put names on here that aren't family or that I don't have permission for. But you know who you are and we are so grateful for your generosity. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day (and as always leave a comment we'd love to say hi back)!

 ~April & Aaron

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rain, rain, go away......

The weather has really not been cooperating with my schedule. It's actually been pretty nice the past few weekends here in the Pacific Northwest, but the days leading up to weekends are not so good.

 We cannot wait to have our Adoption Fundraiser Garage Sale! We have a ton of great stuff to get out of my sisters garage, but we need to have at least 4 nice days in a row to really make it worth it. We have gone through our house mutiple times and have received lots of donations from our friends and family. We feel so blessed with everything we have received so far, we just can't wait to begin selling all of these items. With that said, WE ARE STILL ACCEPTING DONATIONS. If you have anything you would like to donate let me know and we can come pick it up. Our goal is to have at least 2 garage sales this summer to help raise the money for our referral fee ($8000+). So if your not ready to tackle your house or a garage yet, don't worry, we will take your stuff all summer long.

 Even though somedays it seems like our adoption process is moving at a snails pace (although I think all adoptions do at some point or another). We have been so blessed by the other families who are using our same agency. Monthly we are hearing about the next family that is traveling to pick up their little one(s). We have also been able to see so many great pictures of the city, orphanage, and the kids. It's been so wonderful to get to share in their joy and to share in the excitement of seeing the kiddos who are just waiting to come home to their forever families. We know we still have a long time before we get our referral, but it sure is nice to feel a little connection to the kids in the orphanage.

 International adoption is a long hard journey. We did not come to this decision lightly and knew this was going to be a difficult process. There have already been multiple delays in the paperwork and the timeline has changed significantly since we started this process about 9 months ago. Imagine, if this had been a pregnancy we would be home with our new addition by now. The thing we hold on to is that God is in control. We know this is his plan for our family and we are going to trust in his timing. It doesn't mean we won't have those "bad" days, where we feel sad and mourn the amount of time lost without having our kid(s) home. But most days we are really just focused on Carson and our family unit. We know we need to continue having a strong marriage, developing our family rules, and making family traditions.

Soon enough we will receive our referral and we will be back in that stressful paperwork chasing game. So I guess this is a nice calm before the storm. I can only imagine the "bad" days will be much harder once there is a name/face added to our prayers. We will work so hard to get our child(ren) home as soon as possible, but like most things, it's really out of our hands. Paperwork (mostly the waiting for paperwork) will become our nemesis once again, but in the end it will be all worth it. Thanks for taking a few minutes to get caught up on our adoption adventure. We are so grateful to all the people in our lives that are supporting us during this journey.

Thank you and we love you!!!!
 *** April & Aaron

 P.S. If you have a minute leave us a comment. We'd love to hear from you!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keeping Positive..... and Fundraising like crazy!

*** I started writing this post a few weeks ago and just didn't know how to end it. I've had a few weeks to think (and got some new information) and hopefully I am making more sense as I complete this blog update!

I know my resolution this year was to not stress about our adoption and the things I can't control but it's been a hard week. I guess I didn't have a good grasp on what actually happens once you send in your dossier. I thought there was some sort of number system that helps you keep track of where you are in the referral process. I guess it is not that simple. Because the referral process is based on dossier submission and everyone submitting a dossier has a little bit different requirement they keep an internal list but its not something that would make sense to us. With that said we can still contact our agency and ask how things are going and if referrals are coming in. This is going to be a long waiting process. With that said after many questions to our agency we were given a number as a guide. We are #18 on the list. That means that there are 17 families ahead of us looking for the same age range of child. Some months there may be no change in our number and some months we may move multiple spots up.

I'm not discouraged with our adoption or upset about anything in particular I think I just came to the realization that these 6-12 months (or possibly more) of waiting are going to be hard. I'm not sure what questions to ask our agency during this time of waiting, but I know that I have lots of fundraising to do while we wait.

In order to accept any referral we have to have the money raised and sent in within 7-10 days. This guarantees that we have accepted a referral and gets us moving on the next steps of bringing our child(ren) home. The cost of the referral fee is going to be $8,000 or $14,000. If we accept a sibling group it will be the larger number. We know this is a lot of money and we have been working hard to save for this fee. With me working part-time and Aaron coaching soccer we hope to be able to come up with half the money on our own. The rest we are going to fundraise like crazy to get.

Our first fundraiser of the year is going to be a Garage Sale.  We have already been accepting donations for this sale and plan to hold it as soon as the weather gets nice (yes, today is March 22 and there is snow everywhere in the Pacific NW!) So it may not happen as soon as we would like, but as soon as the weather turns spring like we are going to be ready!

***** We are still gladly taking Donations for our Garage Sale. So as your doing your spring cleaning think of us. We will come pick them up anytime. We will be holding a second garage sale in the summer, so if you aren't ready to clean things out yet just think of us when you do. We would love to store your unwanted treasures until our next sale.

Thanks for checking out our update. This one's all over the place, but sometimes it's nice to let others know just how your really feeling!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Dossier is finally sent in!!!

This week has been very exciting on the adoption front. We have sent in our dossier to our agency to be reviewed and translated. We still have one form were waiting on from the US Government, but once that comes we can get it notarized and then send it off to the agency to be translated with all the others. We are so excited to get through this next step. Our information will soon be in DRC and we will be waiting again.

The timeline from this point on is very fuzzy. We will get a referral number (saying where we are in the line of people from our same agency) but it will most likely take 6-12 months before we get a referral. We're anticipating it being on the longer end since we are hoping for a child as young as possible. We know this will be a trying time because waiting is never easy. But God has a plan for our lives and we are going to trust in him and his timing.

Another reason this week was so great is a family from our agency came home with their little girl. She is adorable and we are so happy for them! While in DRC they took the time to take 100's of pictures for other families to give them a small glimpse into their children's lives. It was so wonderful to see our online group light up with such joy. Even people who don't have referrals yet have been in tears looking at the pictures and videos (yes, including me!). We also got to see a glimpse of the orphanage and hear a lot about the guest hose location. We are so excited m for the families that will be traveling soon and can't wait to see more pictures of where we will be traveling in the future.

And now here's his best cheese smile for the camera this morning to make you smile!

Love, April

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year

We had such a wonderful Christmas with family. I'm pretty sure Carson got everything he could have ever wanted from his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We then had a relaxing family night on New Years getting our master shower finished (we had some floor issues and we had to tear it out and redo it). It looks awesome and I love the pebble floor look we have now.

As we begin this new year we were thinking about all those failed resolutions of years past. We decided that we need to have a goal that we could do together. We have decided our resolution will be "Not stressing out about the adoption process". Hopefully this is a resolution we can finally keep!

We know this year will be trying with a lot of "waiting" waiting for us. But, we know we need to just remember that this will all happen in Gods timing. We are so excited to finally get our referral number (although it doesn't really mean a whole lot in regards to a time line) it will give us something to keep track of.

We have our digital fingerprints this week and then will hopefully get all of our paperwork together and notarized by early next week. Then our dossier will be complete and ready to send off to the agency to be reviewed and then it's off to the DRC. Woohoo!

Thank you to all our family and friends. We love you all and can't wait to see what this New Year brings.