Friday, May 28, 2010

An Amazing Day

Today has been such an amazing day! Emotional too. Before I can begin with all that has happened today I have to back track a little bit. 

On Wednesday we got our USCIS approval in the mail. This was so exciting as it was the last form we needed for our dossier to be complete. So now all that was left to do was have it notarized and apostilled. Once those things were done we could send off our dossier. Or could we?

Chris and I went to the bank on Thursday and had the forms notarized. Once notarized I faxed it off to my state side coordinators for the big OKAY. That ok came late Thursday evening which meant if I dropped my forms off this morning (which I did) and picked them up after work (which I did) I could mail my dossier off to Eastern Europe this afternoon.

The problem was we were still so far away from raising the money we need to save Milana and bring her home to us. Part of me wanted to send it anyway because I have felt all along that we will be able to raise the money. (Of course I have doubted a little here and there if I am to be completely honest).  Then there was this other part of me that wondered what happens if we don't raise the money? So here I am Thursday night feeling really torn.

Before I went to bed I decided I would say a little pray and I did just that. I prayed that I would get a sign as to what I should do. A sign that would tell me whether or not to mail my dossier or not.

When I got to work I checked my email and I saw that there was an email from Andrea (Reece's Rainbow). I saw that the subject line said good news. I thought Wow, I wonder what good news Andrea has for the group. Well it turns out that the email was not to the group, but to ME! I read the email and re-read it with tears streaming down my face. It was more than good news - it was my sign! 

Andrea shared with me that we had an anonymous donor donate $5,000 to our fund to bring Milana home. I emailed her back telling her about how I was feeling last night and she told me to definitely send my dossier!

I went and shared the information with a ton of friends at school. Each time I told the story my eyes of course filling with tears of joy again. Most people I told their eyes filled with tears too. They all had goose bumps!

I went back a little while later and had another email from Andrea - More Good News. I had to sit down as I read it. That same donor gave us ANOTHER $5,000. Yes, that's right! A total of $10,000!!!!! I have been crying tears of joy on and off all day!

I can not even begin to thank this individual enough. I thank you! My husband thanks you!! My 3 daughters waiting here for Milana thank you!!! We are just so amazed by your generosity! Without your support we would still be struggling to bring Milana home. Now we really feel like we are in the home stretch!! 

I left work today and picked up our last forms from the Secretary of State Dept and headed straight to UPS. Our dossier is now on its way to Eastern Europe!!! Milana my sweet, sweet girl we are getting closer and closer to coming to get you! Thanks to the amazing support we have gotten today! 

What a truly amazing day! My prayers were definitely answered today! I guess we all need to have a little faith!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help Us Save The Life Of A Child

Those of you who know us and our journey to bring Milana home know that we have been working very diligently to raise the money to bring her home. I won't lie to you. It hasn't been easy. I think initially I was very naive about the process and just assumed people would be willing to donate to our cause.

I mean people donate to walks and runs to raise money for mental illness research, cancer research and many other causes all the time. I think for most the idea of fundraising for an adoption is unheard of. Maybe so. But not for us and for the many other families who found their child through Reece's Rainbow.

The cost of an international adoption is extremely high. For the country in Eastern Europe where Milana is it tends to be about $24,000. It could be more or less depending on the country. Unfortunately that price is what scares away so many loving families from saving these precious children.

We did not want to be one of those families who is afraid to take that leap of faith and go out and ask for donations and fundraise like maniacs so that we can save our little girl and bring her home to us. We really could use some more help. We have a wonderful, loving home to bring Milana in to. We just need everyone's support and some donations to get her home to us and provide her with all the love and care she needs and deserves.

I know some of you are out there helping as best as you can. We can't thank you enough for posting our article on your facebook and twitter pages. Any and all help we get is so essential in bringing Milana home to us.

If you are willing and able to help get our information out there we could really use your help! Remember, this is to help save the life of a child. In this case Milana. Please consider posting our link to our family support page on your facebook pages, your my space, twitter, etc. The more people we can reach the better.

I can't stress enough how important it is that we get as many donations as possible. All donations made through our family support page are tax deductible. Donations can be made on line or a check can be mailed to Reece's Rainbow P.O. Box 4024 Gaithersburg, MD 20885. If mailing a check please make sure Wojcik is written in the memo line so that it goes into Milana's account.

Thank you so much for your support and for helping us save the life of a child!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Getting A Little Closer

I got an exciting fax today from USCIS. It was a Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application For Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition. It says that we are APPROVED!!! I had to read it over and over before I was even able to begin to process what it said.

Then I called USCIS and found out that what the form means is that we have been approved by the Officer in charge of our case. It still has to be approved by her supervisor. So please pray that her supervisor approves us quickly and that we get our form soon.

I know. I know. Here I am rushing again and we still aren't close to having the money that we need. It's just that I want to get Milana home to us quickly so that we can give her all the love and care that she needs. My whole family wants to get her home quickly!!

On another positive note we got some more donations to our FSP on Wednesday, Thursday, and today. I was completely shocked when I went on our FSP and it had gone up TWICE today!! That is such a good sign. Lets just pray that it continues to go up each day!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Very Strange

As I mentioned in my last post Chris, Karissa (our 19 year old), and I had our fingerprint appointment yesterday. The Officer in charge of our case at USCIS had faxed us the appt letters to take with us and mentioned she was also putting them in the mail.

When yesterday's mail arrived Chris and I both had 2 letters from USCIS. I just assumed it was for our appointments yesterday. So I open them up and the letters were for our appointments dated May 26 at 10am for me and May 26 at 11 am for Chris.

I didn't want USCIS to think we didn't get our fingerprints completed until then so of course I called today. The Officer in charge of our case said she would be looking for our fingerprints tomorrow to approve them. I asked how long after that should I expect the letter and she said once she approves them they go through her supervisor and then they place them in the mail.

I am praying that we get what we need by early next week! Especially since things seem to be taking longer on the other end - in Eastern Europe.

We are really looking forward to bringing Milana home and getting a date. I still wonder why I am in such a rush as the money just isn't there. Right now we are working on letters to send to local businesses to try and get the word out about our Mudcats Fundraiser in hopes someone will purchase tickets from us. (Right now we've sold 6 tickets). We also have a press release that we are planning on sending out to the radio stations, news stations, etc that we got some help with. Praying really hard this helps get the word out about our adoption and touches some people enough to make a donation to help us bring Milana home.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Had our Fingerprint Appt Today

As I mentioned in a previous post we were able to get our fingerprint appt before Karissa leaves to go back to school for the summer. We were very lucky they were able to fit us in. So we got up bright and early to a miserable, rainy day and headed to Durham to get our fingerprints done this morning.

They were so quick and efficient. We got there right for 8:00 and were in and out in 30 minutes. It was fabulous! I did get nervous for a minute when the man who checked us in said we didn't have a time on our form. Fortunately that didn't seem to phase him as he sent us right to the room where we had to have our prints taken.

Now we have to wait for the letter back from them saying we are cleared. This is the last thing we need in order to send our dossier off to Eastern Europe. Once we do that they will give us a date to arrive at the SDA (State Deptartment of Adoptions). Looking forward to getting that date and bringing our little Milana home to us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fingerprints and Fundraisers

We have so many exciting things going on right now that I just don't know where to begin. I guess I will start with our fingerprints. I mailed our homestudy to US Citizenship and Immigration last Monday. I actually sent it via overnight mail so they would get it quickly and process our paperwork so that we could get our fingerprint appt. quickly. (Karissa needs to be fingerprinted too because she is 19). This normally wouldn't be an issue, but Karissa got home on May 4th and is going back to school for the summer on May 18th which gives us a very short window to get our fingerprints done.

I called Monday to ask them (US Citizenship and Immigration) when we might hear about an appointment. The woman I spoke with was very sweet and listened to our dilemma, but asked that I call back Thursday or Friday because they are swamped right now. So I told her that was fine and thanked her for her help.

As I was leaving work YESTERDAY (Tuesday) there was a voice mail on my phone asking when Karissa was going back to school and to call her back because she was working on our fingerprint appt. I called her back and she took all the information and said she would get back to me today.

I spoke with the Officer in charge of our paperwork and she was able to get us an appt before Karissa goes back to school for the summer. We have our appt on Monday May 17th. Hooray!!! I am so thankful for this wonderfully sweet woman who has helped us to get our appt before Karissa goes back. This is a HUGE help! It will save us a lot of driving!!

I also mentioned I had news about our newest fundraiser! We are working with the Carolina Mudcats to have a fundraising night at the ballpark. Our night is Thursday June 10th. It is a 7:15 game. Tickets for the game are just $5. We will get 50% from all the tickets we sell that night. So anyone out there who is interested let me know. We also get to have a table on the concourse that night with information to hand out to people! This really is very exciting!

Both Chris and I have made some contacts to get the information out to the public regarding our Mudcats Night! We are hoping it will be a huge success so we can bring our little Milana home to us!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Car Wash Fundraiser A Success

We were able to have our car wash fundraiser yesterday and it was a HUGE success in so many ways! First we realized that we have a lot of people who are willing to support us. A friend of mine taught me that all you have to do is ask for help. I've heard that before. Apparently I am just a slow learner. I'm also not good at asking for help. Lesson learned. Next time I'll have to remember to ask for help before I have a meltdown :)

Saturday really was amazing. There were so many people there to help us with the car wash. I'm not sure we will really be able to thank everyone enough for coming out and spending part of their Saturday washing cars and holding signs for the car wash. Everyone really was amazing! Thank you! We really could not have done it with out all of you!

On another note we really did well. There were a lot of people who showed up to get their cars washed. Which is obviously a good thing. We also got some donations from people stopped at a red light who just handed us donations without stopping by to have their cars washed. Can you believe that?

We were very fortunate to have great help and to earn money to go towards bringing Milana home. It is so exciting to think that we are getting closer - little by little - to being able to bring our little girl home to us. We still have a long way to go to reach our goal, but every little bit helps.  We are looking forward to the day that we get to bring her home!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Minor Meltdown

Yesterday was a really tough day. We almost had to cancel our car wash fundraiser for tomorrow because we didn't have enough people. So, I cried and cried and cried some more. A friend at work told me to ask for help and so I did. I sent an email to pretty much everyone at work. The good news is - it worked and now I have a bunch of people who are willing and able to help us out tomorrow.

I really don't know that I will be able to thank them enough. There is just no way we would be able to pull this off without everyone's support. One teacher even made this beautiful flyer for our carwash. A few teachers told their students about it in hopes that their parents would go and get their cars washed tomorrow. One class even offered to help wash cars! (Isn't that so sweet)?

So after my meltdown yesterday I am really feeling so much better. I am so happy to have all of the support that I am getting!

I feel a little guilty that I had that meltdown. It can just be so overwhelming sometimes trying to get everything arranged, get the paperwork done, raise the money, etc. So I am so greatful for the friends I have who are so willing to help support us. Thank you everyone :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What A Great Night!

Last night was so amazing! We had our fundraiser at Sweet Tomatoes and had a great turn out! A bunch of people from my school came which was so nice! Thank you guys for coming! You're the best!!

One of Chris's co-workers came which was really sweet. She came with her son, daughter in law, and their baby. (What a cutie he was).

There were a ton of people who came because my friend Evelyn's mom sent emails and passed out flyers! I can't thank Evelyn and her Mom enough for doing that for us! It really helped!! There were a ton of people who came because they sent out all those emails and flyers! It was so nice to get to meet all these people here to help support us in our efforts to raise money to bring Milana home!

We also got to meet some people from the Notre Dame Club down here. One of the guys in the club read a post I wrote on ND Nation and he then put something in the ND Club Newsletter regarding our event at Sweet Tomatoes. Thanks to Joe for not only putting the information regarding our fundraiser in the newsletter, but also for coming and being there for us! Because our information was in the newsletter we met a wonderful gentleman who came to support us. He just moved here two weeks ago, saw it in the newsletter, and came to show his support! Another ND graduate came with his family to show his support for us. Which was super nice. He even knew about my blog and sounds like he had read it too. How cool is that?? His daughter works with children in special ed preschool services and we got to talk a bit which was nice.

It was so great talking to everyone. I just can't thank everyone enough for coming out and just being there for us. It really means a lot to us! Thank you!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Off To A Good Start

This week is really off to a good start. I was anxiously awaiting an email this morning to get the okay on a form I need to mail off to get apostilled. Actually I have to mail it to one office in one city in Maryland so that the form can be certified. Then they are mailing it to the Secretary of State Dept inMaryland to have it apostilled, and then it will be mailed back to me. That one paper sure is going to get around!

I also got to mail off my home study this morning. It is now on its way to USCIS to join my I600A application. I sent it express mail so it is guarenteed to be there by noon tomorrow. Hopefully they will process everything quickly so that we can get our fingerprint appointment while Karissa is home.

Now I am just waiting for another notarized copy of my home study and a couple of other things I need to go along with my home study and I can get all of that (and the forms I needed to fix) apostilled.

Hopefully this week will continue to run smoothely. Also hoping our fundraiser tomorrow night at Sweet Tomatoes will have a good turn out so that we can raise some money to bring home our little girl. We truly just can't wait to get her home to us!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

So much going on

The end of this past week was such a hectic week. Thursday and Friday were just such stressful days for me. It started when I realized that 8 forms I had already had apostilled needed to be redone. Ugh!! It sort of went downhill from there.

After a good cry (or two or three) on Friday - like I said things kept getting worse - I started to pull myself back together. I figured it was better to have the forms redone and more importantly have them correct now than to find out once I send my dossier over to Eastern Europe that something is wrong. So I am praying that by now we've caught anything that might have slipped through the cracks and that once everything makes its way to Milana's country that it looks good!

On a happier note my home study is complete. Hooray!!! I didn't get it in time Friday to get it sent to USCIS, but I will be heading to the Post Office tomorrow morning to overnight that baby! We are hoping to get a fingerprinting date while Karissa is home from school. She is only home for a very short time before returning back to college so we are praying hard that this works out. If I have to get her not too big of a deal just lots of driving.

So all and all we are getting closer to having everything we need for our dossier. I feel like as soon as I say that I'll start taking steps backwards again, but we are still a whole lot closer than we were even a couple of weeks ago and for that I am so thrilled! We just can't wait to get to Milana!!

We have a lot going on this week other than mailing out our home study. We also have a couple more fundraisers coming up this week. First we have our fundraiser at Sweet Tomatoes on Tuesday May 4th. We are hoping for a big turnout. We get 20% from all sales for that night from those who present our flyer. Then on Saturday we are doing a car wash - assuming we get enough people to help out. 

As we get closer to being ready to submit our dossier we are so thrilled. As I mentioned we can't wait to get to Milana and have her here with us. It is getting a little scarier in that the money isn't coming in as quickly as we'd hoped. So please, please, please say a prayer for us that we are able to raise the money. If you know anyone out there who would like to donate send them our way. We could use all the help and support we can get. We tried playing the lottery last night, but that didn't work :)