Monday, June 27, 2011

For Such a Time As This

I think Ive had 3 or 4 people ask me when I am going to update my blog. I try to do at least once a week but it's rough going right now. But, after tonight, I think I'm ready to get back on the blog wagon.

In church yesterday I was kneeling for Prayers for the People and I kept hearing something clank against the pew. It was a page holder ribbon charm in my Book of Common Prayer. I looked at it (something I do often). One side has a cross and the other says, "For such a time as this..." The quote is from Esther 4:14. Basically saying that if Esther chooses to sit idly by and say nothing to help the Jews that they would still receive deliverance somehow and she would be culpable for doing nothing to help them attain that deliverance.

The past few weeks havent been easy. Between the closure and then the domestic adoption falling through, we were already upset. Then today I got home and I read on a thread that there was "rumor" that families with dossiers submitted by June 30th would be grandfathered in and receive priority status for the reopening pushing everyone else back a month. I was upset (if you know me personally you know that's a vast understatement.) So, I grumped around and was frustrated for most of the night. But then whenever you think things are horrible and think you've hit a wall God still wins. (I love that!) I decided to take a nap and I woke up to 4 emails that I needed to read tonight.

1)  From a stranger (my favorite emails so far have come this way) who prays and donates to RR. She has been following Sterling for a long time and hunted me down (not hard to do my email is on this blog) and sent me the kindest, sweetest, most heartfelt email I've gotten yet. To sum it up, she's been following Sterling, praying for him to find a family, and always wanted to adopt him. She too has a son with DS and she offered some words I REALLY needed to hear tonight. Mainly that this is supposed to happen and Sterling will come home. Just a reminder that road blocks are temporary. But, it was perfect for tonight. Thanks Elisha!

2) From Anna Woods (adopting Blake). Because of my grumpy mood I skipped RR Family Chat tonight. The last few weeks its been a lot of stress and people worrying and I didnt need anymore of that. Also, the families who were in the process of adopting kids who are no longer on "the list" need more attention than me right now so I figured I would abstain. My woes are nothing like theirs. Well, Anna emails me. Apparently in chat tonight was the discussion that the "closure" MUST be over within 3 months (by law!) so by October 11 the new department has to be up and running. (Insert sigh of relief here). I take this to mean they are trying to open even faster which means I might still have my little man home by Thanksgiving! PRAY for this please! (That week is my birthday 11/20, our anniversary 11/23 and Thanksgiving Day 11/24) If we arent home by then please PRAY that he will be ours by then! Thanks for the good news Anna!

3) From the NDSAN an update on the domestic adoption we were interested in. Birth parents have begun to look through profiles (ours is not included - for those of you who know the story not a surprise. If you dont know the story its loooong but amounts to agency issues). The birth parents told Robin that if there wasnt a match then they would ask her for our letter and our pictures. So, either way Baby Boy goes to a good home. A home his parents think is best for him. If it isnt us, so be it. Im still irritated at the situation and Im still unhappy with the way everything went down and I desperately wish our profile was in there, but there isnt anything we can do about that. What we can do is continue to pray that Baby finds a family who wants him and who will love him. Robin also sent a reminder, don't worry to much and dont get discouraged. Thanks Robin!

4) From M. Zoro saying that during closures and changes rumors always fly! To just sit back, finish the dossier and be ready to go when they reopen. Dont let people get you down and dont fret the things we know nothing about yet. She too sent a gentle reminder that at the end of this chaos and hassle is our son. Regardless of how long it takes. I needed this one too. So, thanks Michelle!

So, I wake up from a nap to those 4 emails. All good news in some way and all desperately needed. For those of you currently on this ride with me, it certainly isnt the easiest thing Ive done and I hope it gets better for us. My heart strings have been tugged and pulled in so many directions the past month I'm not sure how people don't lose their minds during this process. I also want to thank Kim B. Kim is LOCAL and adopted from RR last fall. She has been so helpful with information and giving me lots of good advice and encouragement (I also got THAT email today!)

So, its like God knew that today was the day I needed every little bit of encouragement and help I could get. And, I am very thankful for all those kind words and emails today. Thanks for sharing your information and your encouragment with me. And thanks for being like Esther - and not staying silent!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What a week...

So, this week has been interesting to say the least.

On Wednesday the country we are adopting Sterling from shut their doors to adoptions for "approximately" 3 months. They are doing this in the hopes that their process gets streamlined and a little more efficient. For us, this means that our timeline is pushed back. We were looking at traveling in September and now we probably will not be able to get our little guy until October or November. So disheartening. The hardest part is we are unsure that the needed documents and requirements will stay the same. We are trying to stay focused and positive and go ahead with finishing our dossier so we have the ability to file it as soon as they reopen their country to adoptions.

You know how they say that when one door closes another one opens?? We were originally on a domestic Down Syndrome adoption wait list and when we started the adoption process with Sterling we decided to stay on that list also. Well, on Thursday the domestic list paid off and we received a call about a newborn being born locally that needed a family. He has Down Syndrome and duodenal atresia. We were so excited! I made all the contact calls and waited. On Friday, we heard back that this adoption would cost $11,100. We have put so much into adopting Sterling that we do not have the money to pay the agency this money to adopt this little one. We would LOVE to be able to adopt him and raise he and Sterling together as brothers but alas, that door seems to have been closed on us too. Again soo disheartening. To make it all worse I am SICK! On Friday evening I went to local walk in clinic and was told I have a sinus infection AND bronchitis.

So, with all of this sad news I didnt feel like posting. But then I realized.. WE STILL HAVE STERLING! And that makes me REALLY happy! We were very blessed on Thursday and Friday with our donations. On both days, someone (or multiple someones) made very generous donations to our FSP! We feel so blessed to have people looking over us and helping us. Those donations really helped us to keep our eyes on the big picture. Today my jewelry making supplies came in. Personalized necklaces are my new fundraiser!!! I can use any picture (not copyrighted images) for the necklaces! If you are interested in one please let me know. You can email me at Pictures and pricing are below.

1"x1" square charm w/ organza ribbon/wire choker necklace $10
(Reece's Rainbow Familes currently adopting $8)
1"x1.25" rectangle charm w/ organza ribbon/wire choker necklace $12
(Reece's Rainbow Families currently adopting $9)

top: square charm on organza ribbon 

bottom: rectangle charm on wire choker

**Reece's Rainbow Families: I have permission from Andrea to use the RR logos in these necklaces if you would like to do that. For example I can do the prayer warrior logo, the One Step Closer Logo, the 5/5/5 logo etc.**

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In God's Hands

So, today the Government of the country our little man lives in announces that they are closing the State Department that handles ALL adoptions for "approximately" 3 months. This closing will begin on July 11th. This means that the adoption process for us is in limbo until then. The new department could change everything (papers required for the dossier, court costs, family restrictions, etc) We will not know anything until they reopen. We can continue to progress through our dossier paperwork, but there is no guarantee that the dossier will stay the same.

At the same time, this government has shortened the list of special needs that they have. Meaning that children who do not have a "special need" identified on this list (much shorter than the previous list) that families must wait until they are 5 to adopt them. Again, we can pray that this list expands to include other special needs - but it is out of our hands. This is very sad because some families are "losing" the children they were in the process of adopting. Please pray for these families and for the list to be expanded.

I sat in chat tonight with a bunch of families that wanted answers, but really - no one has any to give. Right now it is all in God's hands. I haven't cried and I'm not even really that sad. It pushes our timeline back but all in all - nothing drastic has happened that would cause our family to stress. All they have done is put adoptions on hiatus while they restructure a governmental department that needs an overhaul. The hope is that this helps the process to streamline and function more effieciently than it does now. This is not a bad thing. Yet, there are families who are very stressed about this. Unfortunately there is nothing left to do but pray! Please trust in God - his master plan always prevails. If it is His will it will be.

To the families whose children are not on the new list - we will continue to pray that the list expands! And for families who are very close to travel - we will pray that you receive your letters and are able to bring your little one home before the shut down!

Just remember - it's all in God's hands! It is His will no matter how badly we want something!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sighs of Relief

The paperwork that is needed as part of your dossier is daunting to say the least. Not to mention the difficulties in getting everything under the sun notarized. One of the things we have been most worried about is our "Proof of Mortgage". Sounds easy enough - right? Yea...unless you bank with Bank of America. Apparently it's a rather long and laborious hassle for most people who bank with them to get this needed document. And its been a source of stress for a few weeks now. So, I decided to just jump in and get it over with.

For those who know me personally - you'll appreciate this. I had two options. Go in all sugar and honey. Or go in as me. I chose sugar and honey - AND IT WORKED. For some people this process to get this one things has taken WEEKS. I pulled it off in one day. My local branch manager was AMAZING! She contacted coporate and took it all upon herself to see that it worked for us. Every day something amazing happens to keep us assured that Sterling is in God's master plan for us. We are SO relieved that this worked for us. I can pick up this document on Wednesday from our local branch - and I didn't even have to break out my "Erin" on anyone!!!

On top of that, we are nearing $2,000 in our personal FSP! So exciting! We still need about $6k to be fully funded but we are doing great being this early in the game.

I ordered the stuff for my necklace fundraiser today so look for info on that coming soon!!!!

YAY! I can actually relax a little now!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kind of Stuck

Hello Followers...

Well, we are kind of stuck for now. This is because I had to apply for a new passport - my old passport had my maiden name on it. So, we have to wait for that to get back because a lot of the paperwork for the dossier has passport numbers written on it. Brian has everything with only his passport number on it, finished and notorized. We also ordered our tax documents. We both need to call for medical exams.


Brian looked into pulling money out of our retirement savings if needed but was told we could only borrow against it and only for a very small portion of what we have in there. We dont really have an understanding of this but that is what they said. This means our backup system if we CAN'T fundraise enough ISN'T there anymore...Stressing a bit. We will be praying about this a lot.

We have several fundraising ideas that we need to plan and act on.
1) The Lake Party (see prior blogs)
2) Personalized Jewelry/Square Glass Charms
3) Another knotted fleece blanket

We have contemplated a spaghetti dinner but do not know what to do or how to organize it or if we could make enough from it. So we are undecided on this.

Our fundraising letter will be put in our monthly church bulletin in July.

Please PRAY for us and for all the families trying to SAVE little ones from orphanages overseas. We are all working very hard to bring our children home!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We Have Amazing Friends and Families

So our friends and families have been unbelievably supportive and helpful! Many of them have shared our FSP and our blog page on their Facebook pages. They have made copies of our friends and family letter and redistributed it to their churches and their friends. They have shared our information at dinners, book clubs, and their schools. We are truly grateful to everyone for helping us to spread the word!!! So, if you are one of those people: THANKS A LOT!!! Sterling will thank you too when he gets to leave that orphanage...

Monday, June 6, 2011

What a day...


School went well. One of my students with Autism had a solo at Kindergarten graduation. I was teary eyed the whole time - and I'm not a cryer. That's how my day started. The rest of school was fine. Left school 10 minutes early to make it to an ESY Summer School Meeting. That was uneventful.

Rushed home to get ready to go to a Pampered Chef party and couldn't find my checkbook. I finally did find it - in my car - 30 minutes later.

Talked to a friend who is working some connections - hopefully good news coming soon. Was also offered a summer job adapting curriculum for children with special needs. Super exciting - all this money will go to Sterling.

Made it to Pampered Chef party on time and had a blast (and had some YUMMY food!) Got in the car to leave and found out a lady I loved dearly and taught on the same team with years ago passed away from Cystic Fibrosis today. Was VERY sad. She was an amazing lady - very genuine and kind hearted. Then got a FB message saying our close friends donated the needed money for Sterling's Passport and Expedition Fees. That did it for me - I cried the whole way home talking to my mom.

I wasn't planning on posting but I PROMISED Anna Woods I would post this picture of my dossier organization system so here it is! It has helped ease my concerns a ton!

Ok - off to bed - it's been a CRAZY day!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Now the Road Looks REALLY Long

So, the weekend is almost over. Since we got our FSP up and running on Tuesday we have gotten $735 in donations. I'm happy with this but know we will need a lot more to be able to bring Sterling home. Therefore, I've already started planning (at least in my head) our BIG fundraiser.

We are going to plan a summer lake party. My goal is to get a few bands we know to donate their time and talent to come out and play at the lake house of one of our friends. We are going to **try** to get a local restaurant to cater for limited cost and also to get a local brewhouse to donate a keg or two. We will see how that goes. As part of this we will hold a silent auction or perhaps a raffle. I've created a letter I am sending out to 60 local businesses asking for support in the form of gift cards or product donations for us to auction off. We will see what kind of response we get. Hopefully it's decent.

I am also toying with the idea of making personalized charms for necklaces/charm bracelets/phone charms/key chains. These will need to be ordered. I think I can probably get away with selling them for $5. I am unsure about this idea because they won't make that much but I figure even I make $100 its $100 more than we had before.

We got permission from our church to run our letter in the monthly church bulletin. Luckily, Brian has friends at his school who are willing to spread the message on and try very hard to get people to help us. Brian's brother (Sterling's Uncle Paul) and one of my best friends (Kimberly) have been soooooo supportive and helpful in constantly posting our status and our need. Uncle Paul even made Sterling his own Facebook Page (!/pages/Bring-Sterling-Home/177540588966986) We are so grateful to all of these people.

I'm a bit in panic mode right now. Just reading other family blogs about how much money is really needed while you are in country is very surreal. We are probably going to need about $15,000 more than we have now - which is just a phenomenol amount of money. Even if we could get $10,000 I'd be happy and we could figure out the other pieces later. I pray for all the families in this situation. The average adopting family is not rich - most are middle class working families. Coming up with this kind of money is a challenge for all of us. What we do is spend a lot of time praying and talking to each other to keep ourselves on the Path.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Holy Cow Batman

We just received our dossier prep email from Shelley @ RR. Holy Cow Batman!!!!! 77 pages of stuff to read over and get filled out and notarized and completed and sent back to people. My poor printer hasn't seen this much work since before school started last year. Good thing I just bought ink... I have a feeling I'm going to need lots of help with this pile of stuff...Good thing I have already met good RR people and people who have already adopted from RR to run to when I need that help! Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to cover what I am feeling right now. I ALREADY have passport questions and I got the email less than 20 minutes ago!


So my organization freak self just organized all these documents by "type" and put them into manila folders labeled with what it is that needs to get done in each folder. I put things that go together (like Medical Statements and copy of doctor's license) in the same folder. I have 15 folders (1 for CSP and 14 for dossier stuff). I feel a little tiny bit better - but its still a lot. We will make our doctor appointments Monday and start on the easy stuff. All we need now is a Luda answer to our passport question. But currently its the middle of the night in Eastern Europe so...we wait. Patiently... And pray...

I love having contact with other RR families - I know we aren't alone!

Jessica and Erica-

Thanks for your comments ladies! We are SUPER excited to be bringing Sterling home! We looked at his picture and his Bio for a long time and we just felt like this is what God wants us to do. We are thrilled. How far along in the process are you? Erika - we looked at Oscar too!! Thanks for donating Erika!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Knotted Fleece Blanket Raffle for Sterling's Fund

So, I am raffling off two freshly made Knotted Fleece Blankets. All money will go towards bringing Sterling home. I just made them tonight!

The first blanket is 4ft x 3.75ft and has flowers on a chocolate background. The reverse of this blanket is cream colored.

The second blanket is 5ft x 4 ft 2 in and is Tampa Bay Bucs logos on a black background. The reverse of this blanket is black.

To enter the raffle make a donation to Sterling's RR  fund by clicking his picture at the left.

1 entry for $10 donation
3 entries for $20 donation
5 entries for $30 donation
10 entries for $50 donation

The RR website doesn't tell me who donated how much so comment on this post or email me @ so I know how many entries to put you in for. Be sure to tell me which blanket you are interested in and where I know you from! This raffle will end on 6/10 @ 4pm!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Facebook Campaign

Brian and I figure that social media is the fastest way to spread the word about Sterling. Our Family Sponsorship Page (FSP) went up yesterday. In one night we earned $200 with donations from only 2 people! I need to give a big shout out to Heather Merritt and Christina Lopez for their donations! Both of these people are people we have never met! It was pretty cool and it was all done on Facebook.

You can share Sterling's RR FSP on your Facebook Page too. Go to and click the Facebook "F" to share. In just over 24 hours this page has been shared on 85 pages! Very cool!

Please consider helping us bring Sterling home. We need to raise about $12,000 on our own to do this. By our calculations we have about 4 months to do this. Every penny counts! Mr. Math Teacher (also known as my husband Brian) likes to point out that we only need 12000 people to donate $1 OR 2400 people to donate $5 OR 1200 people to donate $10 OR 240 people to donate $50. It really isn't that much when everyone chips in just a little bit. Please consider skipping Starbucks or dinner out for one night to help bring our little man home!

If you cannot donate please consider praying for us and for posting Sterling's RR page  and this blog to your FB page often - not everyone gets on FB everyday so posting a few times will ensure that most of your friends see it.