Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So much has happened in so little time....

For anyone who has been following this blog, I must apologize that it has not been kept up.  When we got the phone call to fly to Eastern Europe, we jumped!  It was a non stop game of details and arrangements.  Once we landed in country things slowed a bit.  BUT, I could not get to my blog from my laptop.

I really wished we had been able to get to the blog, as Dave wrote some great assessments of the country...things were learned and had observed, what it was like meet our two little boys.

Oh, wait!!!  I don't think I have shared on this blog.......BUT we are adopting two little boys.  The second little guy is 3 years old and also has Down Syndrome.  

Well, we are now home while we wait for our day in court.  We had not planned on coming home, yet between all the holidays of the country and the political unrest, our court date was a very long time away.  So we needed to come home and relieve everyone that had been so diligently caring for our children.  We had hoped that our court would be this week or next week at the latest.  I guess May 28 is what was the first date given.  Then, one of our facilitators asked for the date to be closer and May 22 is that date.

So we are now home and I am working off of  about  10 hours in the last 48 hours.....I need to crash just for a little while.  I will try to have Dave copy and paste some of his fun and interesting journaling at a later time.


Friday, April 4, 2014

It happened!!!!

Today was the day!  It didn't happen at all like I had prepared for it.  In my mind, it would be the middle of the day, and I would be expecting it.....the phone call.

For whatever reason, I was up at 5:30 this morning.  I had a lot on my mind, and I "personal messaged" a friend on Facebook before the light of day.  As I was planning out the day in my head, it went nothing like how it is now playing out.  I heard Joel stirring before 7.  So I got him, brought him back to bed to snuggle with me.  Ah, that didn't happen as he giggled at the wiggly monster hand continued to tickle him.  That spurred Dad to get up and get moving on time.  I don't even know what time the phone rang, maybe 7:30.

Dave answered and gave me a questioning look.  I could hear that it was a woman on the line.  Maybe it was my friend that I had just "PM" on Facebook.  So Dave handed me the phone.  "Hello.  Kathy?  This is Nancy. Watcha doing?"  Well to be honest, I was trying to figure out who Nancy was...LOL!  Oh, but it only took a few seconds for my database to work through all the Nancy's that I knew.  Then I think I screamed, or something like that.  Then she said something like"are you packed or ready to pack"...no disrespect to her, but the rest of the conversation was a blur.  I went straight to my list of things to do.

Today has been a blur of reading the many e-mails of things to get done before we leave.  We are still in the process of figuring out where are kiddos will be.  This is one of those times when I REALLY, REALLY miss mom.  I hate the thought of burdening someone else with my children, even as awesome as they are.  But,  my mom would have done it...may not have enjoyed every moment, but I could have rested easy in knowing they were loving cared for.  Even so, this is the path that God has called us to and He will clear this situation up too.  We have several offers, don't get me wrong.  I just really hate to burden people.  Something that I WILL have to work through. 

So now flights are being booked, people are being notified, house is being cleaned, lists are being scribbled everywhere.  Through all of this there is still that peace, that small voice saying this is a good thing, no need to fear. God laid this plan, we obeyed and picked it up and started walking with it. 

Ya know, I just realized that I have not been reading my Bible as much lately.  I better get back to that.  Let me write that on my list.  I need a new Bible.  A while ago, I wanted a new version, an ESV.  So I went to the store spent A LOT of time picking out just the right one.  I even had my name engraved on the front.  I had it for a month or so, had not taken it out of the box.  Then figured I better break it in.  I went to look something up ....what?  What is this saying?????  Somehow I had picked up a New Living Translation. How di that happen?  Completely not good for real studying.  It reads nice, but isn't real accurate.  So I better make sure I get the right one, this time.  I think I will be having a lot of time for reading while in country.

Everyone keeps asking how they can help.  Please pray!  The country is a little rocky right now.  I know families will not be bringing the kids home that they first had hoped because of political garbage.  I will leave that to God and the politicians. I just want to get there and get my little guy.  Another thing, if you have any extra cash you have lying around, just waiting to help aid an orphan out of his impoverished  life, we could really use the help at this point.  We are still way off of our goal.  God will provide, so please don't feel bad if you can't.  God love a cheerful giver, and so do we!!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Closer still!

This past weekend Dave and I took advantage of a marriage series that our church was hosting.  It was called "The Art of Marriage."  It was very nice to break away from the norms of the day, the details of getting ready for our trip to Eastern Europe, and just getting to spend time focusing on my husband.  The past 7 months have really been consumed with every inch of this adoption process.  I have enjoyed most of it.  But there have been some really stressful moments too, but ALL worth the child we will be coming home with.

I have said this before, and I will say it again.....physical pregnancy , in my opinion is easier.  It has many parallels though.  Now that we are about 7 months into this, we are at the point where a lot of first time moms are really tired and "over" being pregnant, BUT then they realize that they have to PHYSICALLY have the baby.  That can be scary!  Well, I am really tired and "over" the process, BUT now I started to focus on how we have to leave our babies here and fly far away for many weeks.  Scary!

Don't get me wrong.  I am very excited about our future with our new son.  Just the getting there and the absence of my kiddos is a bit overwhelming for me now.  The reality is hitting.  We will not be surprised if we get out travel dates this week.  We very well may not get them.....but we are preparing as if we will be leaving soon. Won't be long......

Please keep our family in prayer as we finish all of our planning.  There is a lot to think of, a lot to have prepared.  Besides the ones at home to have care for, we have one at college that we have to find a plan for his return from college, as we will most likely be out of the country.  We will mostly likely be missing our oldest daughters senior prom, and really hoping our timeline works that we will not be missing her graduation at the end of May.  We will be missing youngest daughter's 6th birthday, the one that I promised to have a big party with school friends....a nice summer party will have to work along with a grad party.  I guess you see where I am going with all of this.  Mere details, though.

I keep my eyes fixed on the "prize."  Several years from now none of the small details will even matter.  But, Jeremy will be running around the yard playing with the others enjoying life that he would not have know in the orphanage.  I thank God that He opened our eyes to the world of orphans.  Yes, it will be a responsibility to share the news with other.  Others need to know, to do their part in caring for the world's children.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Good times!!!

It has been very busy around the Speicher household.  Last Wednesday morning we received our i171h(immigration approval) in the mail.  All day was spent in a mad dash trying to get Dave and I on the same page so we could get this document notarized.  We found a very nice elderly man close to Dave's work that notarized our document.  I had it approved.  I ran and had the documents overnighted to my brother in law.  See we were racing against the clock.  The next family to be leaving for our country was leaving Saturday.  I still needed to have our paperwork apostilled at our state's capitol and then in to the hands of the departing family within 2 days. My brother in law became our personal courier, went to the state capitol and waited for our paperwork to be signed off then hopped in his car and hand delivered them to the departing family. KEVIN you rock!  So our dossier is FINALLY in country!!!!!!!!

Friday night was an awesome night in our journey, as well. We held a spaghetti dinner and Chinese auction. At a time when we were just considering adoption, I mentioned to a friend that I had no clue how we would be able to afford an adoption. Quickly she stopped me and said wait till you see how everyone will come together to help you.  It was so true.  Our wonderful family from the Down Syndrome community, our biological family, our faith family and friends came out of the woodwork that night.  It was more than a dinner or auction.  There was just such a fun sense of community there. You know physical money support will all be spent, but the support that was everlasting was the faces of our friends old and some very new who shared that evening with us.  People actually cared about a little boy on the other side, who sits and waits for his momma and poppa to come and find him.  We are getting much closer.

Now that our dossier is complete and in country and our big benefit dinner is over, life has quieted down a bit. But, today I woke to news of more issues in Eastern Europe.  Now that the Olympics are over, Putin is focusing his attention on more unrest. I just pray that those over in that region of the world will find a peaceful solution and bring rest and restoration to people who have not been as fortunate as many of that will be reading this, with a peaceful and free life.

So at this point of the game I am guesstimating that it will be mid spring before we get to meet our 7th child.  I am so excited to see his face, search for his fingers and toes...everything a mom does when she sees her child for the first time. I am definitely felling like I am in my third trimester.  I just want can't wait.  But, much like a pregnancy, we will meet him when we meet him.

So I will leave with a verse, my favorite actually.  I found a new version .  John 14:27(NLT)"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almost done.....

This week should be pretty monumental for our family.  Well, at least in regards to the adoption.  We have received our appointments to get fingerprints taken.  Immigration requires all member of an adoptive household, 18 and older, to have this done.  Friday is the day we have our appointment scheduled.  But, Adam can not make it Friday morning because of his college classes.  So, Wednesday, he will make the 40 minute trip home.  He, Dave and I will scoot down to Pittsburgh and try to get the prints done early.  From my local friends, I hear this is not a problem.  Then there is my Jordan, way down at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.  He, too, has to have his prints taken.  But the closest immigration office to him is in Durham , NC...a 2 1/2 hour drive.  We weren't really sure how this was going to happen, as he does not have a car.  Yet, God is good.  A kid from our home youth group also goes to LU and  has agreed to drive Jordan to his appointment on Friday.  The poor guys have to get up before the sun....nothing like a college road trip!  So I made sure Jordan will have his GPS in one hand and his AAA card in the other.  All of this to say, hopefully in 2 weeks we will have our approval from immigration(USCIS).

This week we are going to finish up our 2013 taxes, too.  Once we have our finished taxes and USCIS approval we are finished with paperwork.  The documents will need to be notarized and sent for PA state approval and then on to Eastern Europe.

As you can probably understand, those things are very exciting to us.  But, today, I heard a bit of sad news from overseas.  There was a sweet baby girl that was recently listed for adoption, I thought for a moment that I could possible adopt her, too.  Luckily, I saw where some family started the commitment stage with her. Then today we heard the news that she passed away during heart surgery.  I am still numb thinking about this.  This sweet bundle probably never was held by a loving momma.  Was she ever kissed?  Or rocked to sleep? Well, I guess I should rest in the fact that her real Father is cradling her with the most amazing love tonight in Heaven.  But, this is why it is so urgent to get this kiddos home.  Not every orphanage is a nightmare. Most of them do not have the resources to properly take care of all these beautiful children.  I wish I could bring a bus load of kids back with us.  That is not reality at this point.

Something else....some have asked how they can help.  Number one, above all else, we need your prayers.  Pray for our trip...pray that all the paperwork is done properly....pray that we make proper arrangements for our kids back her at home...pray for our little one waiting for us from his orphanage crib.   But, after prayers, we do need finiacial support.  I am not who likes to ask for help...for anything.  Yet, if you have the urge to help, we still need over $15, 000 to be fully funded.  (I STINK at technology and at some point I will figure out how to get the link to our support page up.) Until then you can go to reecesrainbow.com , go to the "sponsor a family", then "compiling dossier." The Speicher family is there......

I pray this coming week is full of hope and exciting things for you to look forward to.  We will let you know soon how the fingerprinting went!!!! 

Till the next time...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Light..but maybe not the end of the tunnel....

Well, the new year came and went.  We did our usual New Year's Eve party.  Then January 1st  the Speicher clan gathered at Chinese buffet as we do every year.  This year there were over 40 of us to partake of this ritual.  Once we were stuffed and everyone scattered home, Alyssa and I settled down for our new tradition ...watching Les Miserables.  Last year we saw it in the theater.  And this year it was at home.  I guess our thought behind this somewhat depressing piece of art is, start of sad and low, the year will have to get better....and so we thought.

Jan. 2 was uneventful to start.  The kids went back to school.  That evening we settled in for a good old family game night.  Joel kinda milled about as the rest of us played Abbi's new Disney game "Eye Found IT!"  ( I highly recommend it for school age kids- although my teenagers really got in to it as well.)  Then I felt it, that warm, burning sensation in the back of the throat.  I ran and took my oil of oregano.  That ALWAYS kicks any bug right out of me.  I never get sick. ......

Friday morning I woke up achy and feverish, basically wishing I had a nanny and could go back to bed.  Finally I called Dave.  I begged him to come home.  Long story short, by the end of that night 6 out of the 8 of us had some variation of illness. It came and went and came back again for several of us.  But, we are all on the up swing now and ready to kick start 2014 for real.

I mailed off, what I thought was the last of my paperwork to be validated by the state.  Please know nothing in this process has been so easy for us.  Just before I put it all in the envelope to mail, I found that one document was no longer valid since it was the new year and will have to  wait until we get our 2013 taxes done before we can move on.  Really?  Really.  I sent our home study into the USCIS( immigration) that we could finish up with them.  I mailed it overnight so I could get this all moving on the fast train.  The following week I called to confirm they had it.  They did.  But that was all the lady could help me with.  You see we have to have our fingerprints taken at a immigration office.  And we are lucky enough to have one of those offices just 30 minutes from our door.  And anyone in our family over the age of 18 also needed to go through this process.  SO my 2 college boys need to have this done.  Well Jordan was getting ready to go back to Liberty University in several days.  That is in VA.  Needless to say our appointments for fingerprinting did not come before he left for his spring semester.  I had to call the USCIS again.  So early this week I called the USCIS to see what I could do about Jordan's appointment.  Well, I spoke with a very helpful officer.  He got Jordan an appointment.  But, the closest USCIS office to Jordan's school is 2 hours away.  So now I will have to find a way to get Jordan to Raleigh/Durham, NC within the next 2 weeks.  So see never simple.  And for the icing on the cake, we have to have our home study amended because of our 2 "adult" children.  If I could kick them out of the house, at least until this whole process is over, it would save a lot of work for me.  Just kidding.  We would never do that.  Just seems once we climb one hill, we can see that there are 2 more ahead to climb.

But, my God has a plan for us.  Not a plan to harm us, plans for a future.  Those things that we lay at His feet can be taken and turned from messed up timelines and inconvenient appointments...they can become His path to the redemption of a life that waits in a crib for the knowing hug of a mommy and daddy.  I pray God that you gives us the wisdom to get out of Your way and let You shine.  Cause this mountain we face before us.....$15,000 left to fund, 3 plus weeks of childcare preparations are nothing to You.  Please give us peace as we give every detail to You!

There is always light even if it is not the end of the tunnel!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Twas 8 Night's before Christmas!!!!

Does your head ever spin in December?  I had high hopes that this year I would rise above all the commercial hub bub.  I don't believe I am being suck in by the marketing ploys of Madison Avenue.  I just want this Christmas to be special for my 6 kiddos.  I have spent so much time involved in dossier paperwork and educating myself on international adoptions that I think my kids my be feeling a bit slighted.  They are.  But, you know what, that is ok.  I think that is where my problem lies, or societies problem.......

As Americans we are feed the line of garbage that if we are doing our jobs as parents, then our kids have to have everything they want and feel super special about themselves.  I have no problem with parents instilling self confidence into their children.  There is a point where the self confidence crosses the line though and becomes self centered.  Oh, and the town I live in thrives on self centeredness, although most would fiercely argue that they are just doing what is best for their kids.  That is besides the point.

The point is today I was looking through Reece's Rainbow (RR) website.  I came across a memorial page.  This was a page of orphan's  listed with RR who lost their life without knowing the love of a family.  As I scrolled across their sweet faces, I recognized one.  It was of a boy who I had noticed before we committed to adopt our boy.  My heart was broken.  That sweet boy never had a momma hug him, read him a bedtime story, kiss his little forehead.  And now he never will.  I know he is in a much better place, but the human side of it is almost unbearable to me.  Orphans have so many obstacles.  Sure a family of their own is obvious.  But, I have heard adopting mothers speak of the 2 a day diaper limit in the orphanages.  They will wash out disposable diaper and use them again.  UGH!  The food they get has very little nutrients at best.  Many have undetected illness or defects.  What is going on with my little boy while he waits patiently for us to come rescue him?  I have no idea.  

That is why I rush to get all this paperwork done.  That is why my kids have to wait a few minutes as I am on the computer "again."  That is why dinner may not be as well rounded as it should be or on the table at 5, or even 7.  That is why I don't have much energy at the end of the day.  Our needs are being meet.  Our wants...maybe not so much.  But, I believe this whole process is helping build character into my children that many of their peers will go their whole lives without knowing.

This Christmas will come and go.  I hope it will be special for my kids, but not because of the gifts under the tree (which we don't have a tree yet.)  But, because of who they are to us and more importantly their worth in God.  This will be our last Christmas as a family of 8.  Next year we will be celebrating with our new little man in the house.  And hopefully he won't feel the need to rip everything apart like Joel is doing this year.  We will have to wait and see.

Hoping you have more peace this Christmas!!!