Joshua's Homecoming Video

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Every other weekend I work at a group home for four special ladies with disabilities (3 out of the 4 have Down syndrome).  I work the sleep shift. And I love it!!! So for the most part, it is the perfect job for me.  My children are in bed sleeping when I leave and sleeping when I return. They don’t even know that I’ve been gone unless I mention it.  And for the most part, they usually sleep through the night.  There have been a few rare instances, when one of the kids have gotten sick while I was working...... and Todd handles it like a pro.  It usually makes him very thankful for me being home the rest of the's kind of nice.     
Well the weekend before Christmas was my weekend to work.  I got home early Sunday morning and checked my email.  I found that the night before we had received an email from our placement agency so I sat down to read it.  In the email, it stated that the Baby Home or orphanage, where our little guy lives, is ready to transfer him to an institution.  He has aged out and legally they are not supposed to be keeping him there anymore.  I felt sick to my stomach.  But there was more, our Eastern Europe coordinator was wondering where our homestudy was.  She knew that it was finished but hadn’t received it yet.  She needed our homestudy (and other documents) ASAP in order for the Baby Home to keep our little guy there a little longer. 
I don’t know if you remember or not from previous posts- but our hands were basically tied.  In our state, after the homestudy is finished there is an extra step that most other states don’t have.  Our homestudy has to have DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) approval.  This can take 6-8 weeks!  Ours had just been sent in 2 weeks before.  There was nothing we could do but pray.  I sent an email to our family and Reece’s Rainbow friends  asking them to pray that our DCFS approval would be expedited.  I also sent an urgent email to our social worker, who wrote up our homestudy, asking her if there was ANYTHING that could be done. 
But the situation was just not looking good.  I didn’t want to think about how traumatic it would be for our little guy to be transferred to an institution.  He has lived at his Baby Home since he was 1 month old.  It is all he has ever known.  His particular Baby Home is probably one of the best, if not the best, in the region.  But these institutions..........oh man.  I still don’t like to think about it.  These institutions are basically human warehouses.  They keep the children alive but they don’t truly get to live – they merely get to exist. 
So we prayed.  My heart ached.  One comforting thing I did found out was that he would still be available for adoption.  In some regions/countries, when they are transferred, they are no longer available for adoption. That was, of course,  my biggest fear.   
Well Monday morning, I hovered at my computer, waiting for a response from my social worker.  It was mid-morning and I had not heard from her yet and so I thought I’d better call her.  This was a major disruption and it called for action.  As I was looking for her phone number, I heard the ‘ding’ that I had received an email.  It was from my social worker.  Now this is where it gets good.  God’s kind of good.
She proceeds to apologize profusely to me for causing me to worry.  Why??  Because she forgot to tell me WE RECEIVED DCFS APPROVAL LAST WEEK.  What?!  WHAT!!??  You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so surprised.
Then, she says that she had already sent it in the mail, and had we received it yet?!  Our mail arrived at 11am.  So I ran out and opened the mailbox.  Sitting in the mailbox was a big fat manila envelope.  It had all arrived!!  You can call it what you want but I will call it a miracle.  My God is a God of Miracles.  I witnessed it firsthand!!  Thank you God!
Well receiving the DCFS approved homestudy and other documents set things into motion.  The next morning, I headed to our state capitol an hour away.  I had 57 documents apostilled.  Another miracle…….not a mistake in the bunch.  I had a lot of prayer time as it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete this huge task and not a magazine or book in sight.  I got home after lunch, Todd took the  freshly apostilled homestudy and other important documents, which make up our Registration Application, copied them and over-nighted  them to our placement agency. 
And NOW???
Our Registration Application has been FedExed to Eastern Europe!!!  It’s getting exciting, folks!!  It may take a month for our application to be processed but at least it is out of our hands!!! Once our application has been processed we will get an ‘invitation’ to travel and meet our little guy!!  So hopefully February we can travel for our first trip though it may be March. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

under construction

sorry if it looks a little eclectic.............I'm trying to decide if I like the background or not.  I do love our new header and blog button that was designed for us from at LU at The Poppies Blog!  Of course the perfectionist in me can't stand that the borders are see through and that I can't figure out how to fix it! Well that's all for now, hope that you have a great day!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, I'm back from my Christmas break from posting:)  We've had such a nice Christmas.  Our kids are in such a fun season of life for Christmas.  BUT it is crazy busy.  CRAZY!!!   We are blessed to have all of our immediate families and most of our extended families within a 20 minute radius.  Within a 10 day span we had 7 family get- togethers, +1 birthday party, +1 soccor game and for the first time ever our own little family Christmas (for the past 12 years there wasn't even an open day for our own)!  So for 10 days we have been running hard!!  We, thanks to my husband, even had a spreadsheet that reminded us what food, presents and games needed to be brought to each place.  And in the middle of all of this, I squeezed in a run to our state capitol to get some adoption papers apostilled. My mind has been absolutely spinning!  Last night we had our last get-together and when we got home, everything was put on the living room floor and then we all crashed and went to bed. This morning I practically had to wade through the toys, empty boxes, pack n play, diaper bags - you name it, it was on our floor!  So after a day of slowly getting our house back under control, I felt I could finally sit down to post an update. 
So I will try to update you........ 

April and Brian - It was/is so hard but they did not get their travel date on Christmas. So first of all, I guess I would ask you to pray for them because they are hurting right now.  Can you imagine the disappointment?  Please pray for them.

Jed and Vicki - Jed surprised Vicki by arriving in Nepal early for Christmas.  Hopefully, they will hear in the next 2 weeks if they can go home.  Please pray that they could come home as a family in January.

Ukraine - The vote was postponed until January sometime.  This is a big deal vote.  It affects many Reece's Rainbow families. 

Our Adoption - I have a story for you that deserves it's own post.  Maybe tomorrow.  For tonight I need to close.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prayer Requests

Before I share anymore of our adoption journey, I wanted to tell you about some of my family and friends who need your prayers today.

Todd's cousin April and husband Brian -Their blog is Plan A Ethiopia - They were supposed to leave Christmas Day to pick up their 2 beautiful children.  They found out a few days ago that the Embassy wants more information and documentation and they may not get to go.  Please Pray that they can still leave on Christmas Day!  They have their tickets bought and are ready to go. 

Friends - Jed and Vicki - Their blog is Nima Jade - Days before they left to go pick up Nima in August, the US gov't shut down adoptions in Nepal.  Since they were so close to picking her up, they are supposed to still get to adopt Nima BUT they have to prove she is a true orphan (hiring a private investigator).  So Vicki has had to stay in Nepal with Nima for months while Jed is back in the states working.  This has caused great financial strain as you can imagine. 

Ukraine Adoptions - A vote is being taken today to see if Ukraine will become part of the Hague convention.  While this in itself is a good thing - because it will means that Ukraine will have higher adoption standards.  The bad news is that any ongoing adoption that is currently going on, no matter where they are in the process, will stop.  Completely stop.  There are many Reece's Rainbow families that adopt in Ukraine, some are so close to bringing these children home.  Please Pray that the Ukraine government will allow these adoptions to continue.  Some of these children live in horrible living conditions and some have major medical needs.  These families need your prayers!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Adoption Timeline - Current

·         Sept. 3rd, 2010 – Initial interview with a homestudy agency to see if we are a good fit.  We are and have been very impressed with the agency and our social workers. 

·         Sept 16th, 2010 – Fingerprints and background check started.  Supposed to take 6-8 weeks. 

·         Sept. 23rd, 2010 – Required Psychological evaluations to determine eligibility for adoption and stable family/marriage.  We passed!!  

·         Sept. 27th, 2010 – Homestudy Interview – this marathon meeting took 5+ hours but we passed with flying colors!!!!  HUGE PRAISE AND THANKS TO GOD!!!

·         Sept. 30th, 2010 – Our oldest son has surgery on his left kidney to fix an UPJ obstruction.  He had a unique case and was in surgery quite a bit longer than expected. 

·         Oct. 1st, 2010 – Bring oldest son home from the hospital.

·         Oct 2nd-Oct 6th, 2010 – Take oldest son back to the hospital and he stays for 4 more nights because of vomiting and high blood pressure.
·         Oct 5th, 2010 – We receive an email at the hospital that ‘our little guy’ or ‘Allen’, (Allen is the alias that Reece’s Rainbow gave him), had corrective heart surgery 2 weeks earlier and is already back at the baby orphanage and is doing very well.  He is supposed to be transferred to an institution from the baby orphanage, due to his age, but the Director will keep him at the baby orphanage because we started the adoption process.  WOW!!
·         Oct/Nov 2010 – Working on the Application Registration documents.  Waiting, Waiting, Waiting for our background checks to clear.
·         Nov. 24th, 2010 – Background Check Clearances finally arrive 12 weeks later!!!!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
·         Dec.  1st, 2010 – Homestudy Finalized!!!! 
·         December 2010 – Finalized Homestudy sent to both DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) and to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) for approval.   This can take 6-8 weeks for approval.  So we here we are again……Waiting, Waiting, Waiting!!  We are thankful for the holidays because time is passing quickly. 

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adoption Timeline, The Beginning

·    Mid 2009 – Discover Reece's Rainbow website and learn the fate of special needs orphans.    Conviction and desire to do something to help grows.  Much discussion as to what we, personally, are supposed to do.           Through 1 John 3:17-18 God speaks to us.   
·    November 2009 – Wendy is very due with 5th child in December.  Todd says he thinks we can start ‘looking into’ special needs adoption.  Wendy takes that as a YES!! JJJ
·    January 2010 – We start sharing with family and friends our desire to adopt in the future, probably a couple of years down the road.  We didn’t want anyone to be surprised…..because well……..they probably would be.  
·    July 20th, 2010 – The Reece’s Rainbow Child of the Week is ‘Allen”.  Wendy says, “Oh!  He is soooo precious! Someone needs to adopt that sweet boy!  He CANNOT be sent to one of those horrible mental institutions. ”  
·    At this point, adoption is a couple of years off in our heads.  We are trying to figure out if we add onto our house or move.  We love our current house and location, but there is next to no storage and our play areas are small.  Seeking God’s will and direction.  
·    August 2010 – ‘Allen’ tugs at our hearts.  Is he the one?!?!  So soon??
·    August 12th, 2010 – We inquire about ‘Allen’ to find out additional information. 
·    August 14th, 2010 – Receive additional pictures of him.  He’s so sweet.  Trying not to fall in love with him……but we are!!
·    August 16th, 2010 – We get an email about a house not on the market yet that looks like a great fit for us.  Woods and room to grow…….
·    August 23rd, 2010 – Receive medical records on ‘Allen’.  We now know personal information about this sweet boy.  Birth weight and height.  He has a congenital heart defect and will need to have surgery.  He was given up at 1 month and 16 days.  He is to be transferred very soon to an institution. 
·    August 24th, 2010 – Walk through house.  Looks REALLY GOOD!!  Seems like it would work for us.  It is more than what we wanted to spend.  How much more??  Yep, almost exactly the amount that we estimated that the adoption would cost!! 
·    August 25th, 2010 – Looking seriously at houses.  Looking seriously at our finances.  Looking seriously at adoption.  Looking seriously at our finances again.  Determine we can do one or the other – it’s either a house or an adoption.  NOT BOTH.  
·    August 26th, 2010 – We feel strongly that God would have us choose a child over a material good.  So we choose LIFE for this precious boy, our son!  We are at PEACE.   We tell our dear realtor our decision that now is not the time for us to buy a house.  She is wonderful about it and even encourages us to adopt!!  Amazing!!
·    Sept 2nd, 2010 – Wendy’s 35th birthday – We tell our families that we are officially starting the adoption process and introduce them to our son ‘Allen’!!!!! 
·    Sept 3rd, 2010 – We are matched to ‘Allen’.  He is taken off the waiting child list!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I truly believe that the hardest part of raising a child with Down Syndrome is going to be OTHER PEOPLE.  I can already feel my 'mama bear' instinct coming out to protect and defend our little guy. Thankfully our families are wonderfully kind and compassionate.  But I do wonder how I will react when I am in a situation where I will have to stand up and speak out.  Oh, don't worry!! I WILL speak up and out!  But will I do it with love and grace??!! This video below is about a family with a son with Down Syndrome and how they have had to deal with OTHER PEOPLE. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Next Steps in the Process

Now that our homestudy is completed it has to be sent to DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) and to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) for approval.  In our state, DCFS has to approve us to be a foster family in order to adopt.  Most states do not require this step but I am finding out that our state is one of the most difficult to adopt through!!  Yikes!!  Anyways, our homestudy agency sends our homestudy to DCFS and to USCIS and we send off a document called the I-600A to USCIS to start the process.

Today we sent out the I-600A!! WOO!HOO!!!

So now what...............???  Well we wait and wait and wait for our approvals from both DCFS and USCIS. I believe I heard that these can take up to 6-8 weeks again.  So I am figuring at least 10-12 weeks to be safe!!

In the meantime I am finishing up the first 1/3 of our dossier - called the Registration Application.  Soon, I need to head to the state capitol to get it apostilled.  I am actually done with it EXCEPT for the crazy pictures of my house.  This is driving me crazy!  I keep ordering them from Walmart or Shutterfly and they keep turning out so dark.  I had Walmart lighten them and they lightened them too much!  Todd came back with the 3rd order (maybe 4th?) of them tonight after we tried to correct the coloring on the website and guess what..............too dark!  UGG!!  I just want to be done with them.  When I print them off my computer at home, just on plain paper, they look great!!  So why is this so difficult???  Anybody have any ideas???      

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One Last Christmas

Last Christmas, my 3 oldest children and I followed the story of Dax Locke, a sweetheart of a little boy, who had cancer.  We would drive by houses that had their Christmas Lights lit for the 'Decorate for Dax'. My kids asked for daily updates on how Dax was doing and we prayed that he would make it to Christmas.  I prayed for the dear mommy and daddy as their hearts were breaking into a million different pieces. 

Matthew West, a major Christian singer/songer heard the story also and wrote this song.  Grab a Kleenex.