10 People in 10 Days
Previous RR Families: Baumann, Cornish, Krulik, Nalle and Hinz (yes, really!)
Once you become a Reece’s Rainbow family you gain access into the forum and the chat. Seems like a such a small thing – but it isn’t. Within a week after committing to Sterling we had instant access to hundreds of people who were taking the same path we were. It was not only eye opening, but also reassuring.
As soon as I figured my way around chat, I learned that many people included their blogs in their signatures. I had just started this blog and had no idea what I was supposed to write about. I HATE journaling – and I’m not a fan of writing either. But, I figured the best way to learn was to follow other people’s blogs.
This entry is going to seem like a cop out. That isn’t my intention. It’s just impossible for me to retype everyone’s stories here. Once we committed to Sterling and I started reading other families’ blogs I became addicted. It was a way to learn about the process, the country, the challenges and most importantly the “truth.”
During this time there were 4 or 5 blogs that I read all the time. These families – without even knowing it really helped to offer a lot of reassurance during the paperwork phase of our adoption. I loved their insights and their stories. They were there to answer questions if needed and they really helped to put my mind at ease.
These are the families and a QUICK synopsis of each of their stories.
The Baumann Family
I have to start here. The Baumanns are local to me. They live about 25 minutes away! I found their blog when I searched the Reece’s Rainbow site for “Florida” in a hunt for Florida families. I was SO relieved to see a local family. I left a message on Kim’s blog and within a day or two had a response. Then I had an email! Kim has been great. She and her husband adopted their son, Bryce, at the end of last year. Bryce has been home for 11 months now and is doing well. He had his first “birthday” home in May and he turned 4. Bryce is super cute and I can’t wait to get Sterling and he together for a play date! Kim has been a lot of help! She was always willing to answer questions, offer advice and just give encouragement! I am really grateful that I happened upon her blog! If you are interested in following the Baumann Family (or at least getting a glimpse of Bryce’s handsome little face) you can visit the blog here: http://ouradoptionjourneywithbrycevanya.blogspot.com/
The Cornish Family
Another family that popped up in the Florida search was the Cornish family. They have a unique story! Their oldest child, Kristopher was born in 2004. A sister, Brianna, joined the family in January 2006. In March of 2006 Brianna was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. The Cornish family knew that was a call from God and in February of 2008 they fell in love with a little girl with Down Syndrome in Ukraine – Aleksa. The problem is when they went to adopt Aleksa they found out that she had been transferred to a mental institution and their adoption request was denied. L Heartbroken but still determined, they pushed on and Emma and Micah joined the family. Both Emma and Micah have Down Syndrome and both were adopted from Ukraine. But there’s more! Lynae joined the family (naturally!) in September of 2009. In early 2010 they adopted domestically from the Florida Foster Care System and James became a Cornish too! Still, they heard God calling and asking them to add more babies with special needs to their loving home. Wesley, who has CP and is another little Ukrainian Prince, joined the family in July of 2010. By nothing short of divine intervention, during Wesley’s adoption the Cornish family ran into missionaries who knew Aleksa (remember her?!) and knew where she was. So, 3 years after their first inquiry into Aleksa – Aleksa joined the family as well! So, currently the Cornish family consists of 8 kiddos (4 girls: Aleksa, Emaa, Lynae, and Brianna AND 4 boys: Kristopher, Micah, Wesley and James)! Meredith’s blog was so inspiring and so incredibly helpful during the beginning phases of our adoption. Meredith continues to offer help and advice (we have “talked” several times since we got here) whenever it is needed. I will always be grateful for her prayers and her encouragement to us! To follow the Cornish family blog (and to see an amazing family picture!) you can go here: http://cornishadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/
This one is interesting. I have had no direct contact with Missy – ever! But, she is the first blog I followed from the start of her arrival in Kiev to today. Brian and I would wake up every morning and head straight to the blog http://oldhouseonwashington.typepad.com/ouradoptiononwashington/ to find out what was happening in the world of this Ukrainian adoption. She was there during the entire paperwork phase for us and came home as we were wrapping up. We laughed and cried reading her blog. We read it passionately and with ferver. When she didn’t post I was so upset! I LOVED that she blogged almost every day (she is the reason I blog every day).) I LOVED that she was willing to share her thoughts and her fears and that she was so honest with her readers. To my knowledge – she doesn’t even know about us but her blog had a huge impact on us. It gave us a sense of yearning to be here, a sense of “we can do this” and most importantly a sense of direction. Danil has been home over two months and I still love reading about his progress! If you love my blog thank Missy – she is the reason I write it!
The Monier Family
Right as we were in the midst of packing, planning our departure and leaving – Eric and Jenny were over here – adopting Dima! Dima is 7 and has Down Syndrome. He is one cute and active little guy! Jenny posted the other day that he has been home a month and that just blows my mind! I remember when they left the country to head over here! I LOVED reading Jenny’s blog too. Although she didn’t “blog” often, she took a different route. Every day (or nearly every day) Jenny posted videos on her YouTube Channel of Dima. So instead of a written blog – Jenny did more of a video blog. This was really fun to watch. We read SO MUCH about what it is like over here – but seeing it is very different. The Monier’s took a lot of our fears away. It was nice to be able to see what everyone had been talking about (and it was a lot of fun to watch Dima!) Eric is a pastor and Jenny is a homeschooling Mama so their insight was very much valued during the phase where we had tons of questions. I am so GLAD to have had the opportunity to follow their story! Dima is now home with his brothers (and his Mama and Papa) but Eric and Jenny still upload videos and still blog. If you would like to visit their blog (and see Dima’s sweet face) you can do so here: http://mondaymorningchristians.blogspot.com or to see their YouTube channel and see what kept us sane and excited during the last phase of our “paper pregnancy” you can go here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MonierFam5?feature=mhee
Thank you Jenny for your insight and your videos when we were going insane!
Wow, what does one say about Julia Nalle? She is amazing? She is wonderful? She is a warrior? All of the above! Julia did the whole institution rescue (with MAJOR hurdles and hiccups along the way) way before we had even considered that Sterling might be in an institution. Of course we didn’t expect him to be in one (we were told by the team on SDA day that he wasn’t and that they had checked…) So, when we found out Sterling WAS in an institution I cannot tell you how many people told me to get in contact with Julia. “Email Julia she can help you sort it all out.” “Email Julia she’s done this – the hard way – she can get you through.” I’m not kidding I think I had half a dozen people tell me the same things. And boy were they right. Julia has kept us (my and Laura Reinke Lunnen) SANE over here. When we have questions about institutions or about the process including institutions – Julia is there. She emails, she Facebooks, she responds on forum. She is awesome! The Nalle family adopted Aaron from Ukraine and she opened up the doors of insight to anyone from RR who is adopting from an institution! To read her story and to see Aaron’s adorable face (even if in the most recent pics he was COVERED in hitch-hikers!) go here: http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/ Thanks Julia for your help and words of encouragement! We really appreciate it!
And now for the funny one:
The Hinz Family
AND NO – I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT US!!!! LOL! Can you believe that there is another Hinz family that has adopted from Reece’s Rainbow!!!!??? I know – strange huh? The only difference is pronunciation…they are the “Hins” family not the “Heinz” family! When we first committed to Sterling, I did a search on the RR site for our name and I was SHOCKED to see another Hinz family. Of course, I HAD to read their blog! Amy and John recently adopted 2 little ones from Ukraine to add to their family. Dusty and Sonya have been home for 4 months now and both are doing so well. They are thriving under the loving care of a FAMILY! Amy has been great (we just “met” recently) and I enjoy talking to her about the process. She has helped to keep me sane and has been so willing to answer questions. She especially was so nice to me the night before court and she stayed online and talked to me - giving me advice and encouragement I really needed then! We are currently trying to figure out if our husbands are related (LOL) but we are thinking not. (Even if Brian and John do favor each other a little!) To see pictures and read the blog about Dusty and Sonya’s adoption you can go here: http://www.godsarrowsinourquiver.blogspot.com/
SO – these are the families and BLOGS of the people that “went before us.” Their words, their advice, their encouragement and their prayers HONESTLY helped us to stay sane and “stay the course” during our adoption. Thank you so much to all of you for playing a key role (even if you didn’t know it!) in our adoption process. May God take care of you and your little ones and bless you in your continued journeys!
Lots of Love from the Hinz family!