Friday, July 18, 2014

Four Months Home!

We returned home from vacation late Wednesday night. It was a not quite long enough trip to Oklahoma to see family.

Thursday we cleaned up the car that we have had for the last 12 years and got it ready to sell. We listed it that afternoon and it sold less than 2 hours later! Hallelujah! We decided to go get FroYo to celebrate :)

Friday (today) we had our 2nd post-placement visit with our Social Worker. I had yet to finish unpacking and my hubby was running around all over town taking care of some business. To make matters worse I have mysteriously injured my foot and am hobbling around. (not good as I am supposed to be in a 5K Mud Run tomorrow!) So with less than an hour before the SWer arrives the house is still a mess, kids are in pi's (did I mention this was an afternoon appointment?) and I am in workout clothes with no opportunity for a shower. Lovely.

Good news is that they SWer likes to see 'real life'. Well, today she got it! :)

The visit went great and there really isn't much to report. We will meet again in 2 months for our 3rd and final post-placement visit. Then we will get to work on Finalization. Woohoo!

Caleb is doing AWESOME! He did great traveling and meeting all the extended family. He was appropriately reserved until he felt comfortable and then he was off and running with the other kiddos. He slept well the entire trip. I actually think he really enjoyed it was we were all co-sleeping in one tiny room for most of the time. :)

He is becoming more and more verbal each and every day. About 3 weeks ago it was as if the floodgates (think trickle) opened and he started repeating more and more words. Now he has a good 20-30 words and will babble and chatter at you until you understand exactly what he is trying to communicate. I really need to get it on video because it is so adorable, but he tends to shut down when there is a camera/phone around.

Our referral came through to Seattle Children's and we had a wonderful visit there. They ran all sorts of tests and were able to give us some answers and insights into how to best care for him. He once again handled the blood work like a champ. He didn't even squirm once when they were drawing blood! And he greatly enjoyed the stickers and bandaids they provided.

He is doing great with the big kids. Laughing, playing and generally being adorable. There is of course normal sibling stuff that I get to step in and help with, but overall things are going smoothly.

We could not feel more blessed to have our precious Caleb home at last. It is hard to believe that it has only  been four months since we arrived home from Thailand! He is such a perfect addition to our family!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We are still here - and we are doing GREAT!

Sorry to have been so silent.
Turns out I have a lot less free time to do things like blog, shower and sit down with 3 precious littles running around here! :)

Caleb has officially been home for 2 months now (plus 2 weeks...) 

We had our first post placement visit with our social worker on May 9th. She will come again in 2 months and then again in 2 more. After those visits, we will be able to begin the finalization process. We are hoping to do that in/by October.

Caleb is AMAZING! He is still mostly non verbal, but is starting to make a few words. And what he doesn't say is made up for with laughter, smiles and pointing, lots of pointing :)

He is growing so fast! He is in 3T clothes now and as healthy as can be. We have FINALLY been able to get him into the doctor. I thought our insurance issues were all figured out....turns out they weren't. I believe, as of last week, they are all taken care of now. Poor little guy has been pricked and poked so much in the last 2 weeks. He takes it like a champ though and allows me to hold and comfort him.

The doctors are running all sorts of blood-work on him and getting him caught up on his immunizations. We are waiting for a referral to Seattle Children's to get some more testing done, but please don't worry, all is well. It is mostly precautionary :)

When we are not at the doctors we are at the park, building lego towers, working in the yard or running errands. Life is full, busy and fun. We are all sleeping well at night!

Speaking of sleeping - Caleb no longer takes a bottle!!!! WOOHOO! We are SO incredibly proud of him! We stopped using it at night time first. And then about a week later he stopped using it at nap time. It was mostly water anyway. Surprise, surprise his diapers are not quite as wet when he wakes anymore :) (potty training coming up....stay tuned)

The little guy watches and attempts most everything his brother and sister can do. He rides his sisters scooter like a pro and is working on the bicycle. I'm pretty sure he would go without training wheels if we would let him! He is learning to share and play well with others. He still won't sit still for a whole book, but the boy knows when it is prayer time. He will hold out his hands and close his eyes until we are done. Today he even 'prayed' for our lunch! He loves to color and has only colored on the wall once. The windows however are another matter entirely.... :)

Both Nick's and my parents were able to visit this month. It was such a blessing to have them in our home and introduce them to the newest addition to our family. Caleb did great with them. He was a little unsure at first of having people stay the night, but he quickly warmed up to them and shared his laughter and giggles.

One of my favorite things that he does is 'tickle'. He will stick his little fingers up under your chin and say with a grin "gickle gickle". And then he cackles with laughter. He is most ticklish on his legs and under his arms. :)

He is such a joy and a delight. We feel so blessed to parent him.

Sorry there are no pictures, but those have to stay off the internet until the adoption is finalized. Thank you for understanding!!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prayer Calendar

In case you haven't heard:
WE ARE LEAVING FOR THAILAND THIS WEEK!!!!

Just wanted to make sure you knew!

We are leaving as a family of 4 and returning as a family of 5. We are SO excited.

Many of you have asked how you can help.
That question right there is a gift in and of itself.
Y'all have NO idea what a blessing you are!

The answer to that question, other than answering the phone when I call because I'm a blubbering mess, would be to pray.

I have created a Prayer Calendar / Itinerary so you can pray with us, specifically, each and every day. If you were able to walk this journey alongside us in prayer we would be SO incredibly thankful!

While in Thailand we will be blogging from our password protected site: www.greatestjoyadoption.wordpress.com
We would be honored if you would follow along on our journey with us. If you need the password, please email or FB message me.

Also, I do want to state this. While we are incredibly excited to bring Caleb home, when we do return home our main focus will be on bonding as a family of 5. While you may be excited to hold and love on Caleb, please refrain so that we can work on properly attaching as a family. Give us time.
Come by for a visit, say hi. PLEASE don't be a stranger. But please understand that we will be the primary caregivers for awhile - changing diapers, playing, feeding, offering comfort, holding. The bond is important and we know that you all are so gracious, kind and understanding. So THANK YOU in advance!

We are excited to share our newest addition with you! And know he will be excited to meet you. Just give us time :)

With that - I am going to go bond with my 2 oldest because WE ARE GOING TO THAILAND SOON!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Got "The Call"

The call that said "You are scheduled for an Embassy Appointment in Thailand"

But let me back up and tell you the story from the beginning.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You all know we have been at the final stage of this adoption process for awhile now. I believe the last time I updated you we were waiting for Caleb to go and obtain his Thai passport. Due to the political unrest in Thailand right now, there were some delays in this process.
You all prayed and we received news that Caleb had gone in for his passport appointment on February 3rd. Hooray!
We received his passport (well, a photocopy) on Feb 12th. I then had to petition the Embassy to unlock a form so that we could upload his passport number and then schedule our Embassy appointment. We waited....and we waited..and we waited.
Finally, a week later the form was unlocked.

We were given tentative travel dates of March 19th, but had to receive the official Embassy confirmation before booking our airline tickets.
Our agency told us that as long as we heard from them by the end of the week (Feb 21st) we should be a "Go" for the Mar 19 meeting.
We didn't hear anything.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.

We heard nothing on Monday either.

At this point I am thinking that the Mar 19th meeting is a slim possibility and began setting my sights on the April meetings. I was bummed. We all were.

Then early Tuesday morning I got a call from the Thailand Program Director. She sounded a little hesitant, so I assumed our meeting got pushed back to April.

SW: We heard from HSF today....
Me: Oh...the date got pushed back? 
SW: Not exactly. They confirmed that you all have a meeting date scheduled for March 5th. Next week.
Me: Come again!?! 
SW: I don't know how they did it, but you are scheduled for next week and you need to be on a plane by Thursday, Friday at the latest.
Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!? 

Or something like that :)
By the grace of God I managed to leave the grocery store parking lot, go find my husband and proceed to jump up and down, cry, shake and pee my pants. I seriously didn't know what emotion to feel so I felt all of them. All at one time. It was lovely.

SO! That's how it happened!


Our flights are booked. Bags are out of the attic. Toddler items purchased.
AND THERE ARE STILL A MILLION AND ONE THINGS TO DO!!!! 
So I thought it would be productive to record this day here on the blog for you all to read! 

This is what my desk looks like at this very moment. I'm not even going to show you the rest of the house!


Family is frantically rearranging schedules so they can help care for Ben and Hannah while we travel.
We would greatly appreciate your prayers!!!!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Storming the Gates

Good news y'all! We are in the final phases of our adoption process. It is almost time to go and get Caleb! YAY!



In the recent days we have filed our I-800, received approval and sent it over to the National Visa Center. It has since been uploaded to the Thai Embassy. Once Caleb gets his passport (from the Thai Embassy), we can file the final phase of paper work! After that paperwork is process we will receive Embassy dates (for which we must be present for in Thailand!) Embassy Dates = Travel Dates!



But here is where the bad news starts. I'm sure you all have heard of the protests / unrest in Thailand. It has reached a point where many of the streets in Bangkok are impassible due to the large crowds.

 
Because of safety issues, the social workers will not be bringing Caleb into Bangkok to get his passport. No passport = no travel. Our travel has been delayed until March. Although March is even tentative at this point :(

So prayer warriors, Will you all storm the gates of heaven with me? Will you all pray for peace in Thailand? And for peace in our hearts? Will you all pray that this conflict ends soon? That Caleb (and the kids of the other adoptive families in the same spot) is able to safely travel to Bangkok and obtain his passport. So he can come home. 

One friend put it this way:  We are literally at the very last step and boom…halt…do not pass go.

We are at the LAST STEP. And nada.

Will you pray with us? We are weary. Discouraged, yet oddly hopeful. We know our God is the God of the nations. The God of the impossible. Will you ask Him to move mountains for His children? 


"My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name." 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Update!!

We received our December update today!!! WOOHOO!!

It is always a gift to see Caleb's sweet little face :)

Pictures and details are up on the other blog.
Same password as last time. Email/message me if you need it again!

www.greatestjoyadoption.wordpress.com



Friday, December 06, 2013

FIRST APPROVAL!!!!!

WE RECEIVED FIRST APPROVAL!!!!

Ya'll.
I cannot believe it.
You all prayed Tuesday night and we heard from our agency on Wednesday morning that not only had our case been considered, but we had also been granted First Approval!!!

FINALLY!!! That call had been 12.5 months in the making! :)

I had been in Bible Study that morning and when I got out I had a message on my phone (via FB) from a friend. 2 families had received First Approval from the meeting, they were one of them! Yipee! My heart rejoiced for them!

Of course I immediately began checking for missed calls, voicemails, emails - anything! - to see if we were that other family.

Nothing. 

My heart sank.

I listened to my daughter chattering away in the backseat as I drove towards home, battling my fragile emotions the entire time.

I finally get ahold of my hubby and just to double check, asked him if he had heard from our agency this morning.

"Why yes I did" came his cautious reply.

"You did!?!? What did they say? Is it bad news?? Why do you sound like that? 2 families received approval, were we one of them?" I blurted out.

"Honey, calm down. It will be ok"

"Ok? It wasn't us was it? Please just tell me! It wasn't us? Was it us? I AM ABOUT TO CRY!"

"It was us. We received Approval."

Aaaaaaaaand then much screaming and happy noises in-sued. Hannah even joined in - not sure she knew why - but we were excited!

Bless my hubby's heart. He wanted to wait to tell me when we were all home together. Great plan. Brilliant plan.

He just didn't know the emotional roller coaster I had been on for the last 7 minutes. ;)

When we got home, there was a group hug/jumping/screaming session. :) Later that evening we went out for ice cream to celebrate.

Happy First Approval Day!!! 

_________________________________________________

Now there may be some of you wondering "great! now what does that mean?"
You are not alone my friend.

This is what it means.***

Paperwork. Waiting. Paperwork. Waiting. Paperwork. Waiting. TRAVEL!!!

Our agency tells us that we should be traveling in 2-4 months.
Woohoo! The time is drawing ever closer!




***For those of you who are curious as to the specifics of the paperwork/timeline - here are the nitty gritty details:

- File the Pre-Travel Visa Packet (I-864)  - done and in the mail! - 
- Receive Article 16 (2-8 weeks)
- File I-800
- I-800 approval issued in 2-6 weeks.
- Send I-800 approval to Thailand.
- Check to confirm that Thailand has received documents (1 week later)
- receive confirmation numbers. File the DS-260 form.
- Receive approval from Thailand that the I-800 has been received from the Embassy and confirm travel dates.
- Purchase tickets to Thailand!!!