Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Is The Post Where I Beg For Help

First, I really have to thank everyone who prayed for things to start moving. Yesterday we got our I800 approval! This was a complete surprise to me because I called USCIS last week and our paperwork hadn't even made it to our Officer's desk after having been in the building for almost 3 weeks. So thank you! This was HUGE!!

I'm still a little confused about all that needs to happen next. Right now I am waiting on some information from the National Visa Center. We have to have our Article 5 Interview and then I believe Court. There is so much to keep track of!

What I do know is that we still have quite a bit of money to raise. I'm not good at all at asking for help. (If you don't believe me ask Chris. He will tell you). I was once told that if I don't ask for help, no one will know that I need it. So...with that said here goes...

We could really use your help! We still have the rest of our agency fees that we have to pay as well as all of our hotel, food, travel, some medical stuff, etc for our 2nd trip. Please continue to pray for our family - that we raise the rest of the funds we need (and fast) and that things continue to move quickly so that we can get our children home where they belong!

Feel free to share our story, pray, donate, whatever you feel you are able to do. We appreciate any and all help we can get!

If you are able to donate it is tax deductible through this link:


Thank you so much!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness

Our family and the Ferguson Family were recently interviewed about our adoptions as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It was exciting to share our adoption stories.Here is the link to the pictures from the interview:


Here is the link to the actual inteviews:


Saturday, October 26, 2013

An update...sort of

It seems like a lifetime has gone by since I met our newest little ones. I can't believe I got to hold them and love on them and then had to leave them and come home. It seems a bit cruel to everyone involved. 
I did enjoy  my time with them more than you could imagine, but boy was leaving incredibly difficult! 
The time I had with them wasn't nearly enough. It is hard to get to know someone is such a short time so I can't really say what they will or won't be like when they come home. 
What I do know is that we are all anxiously waiting. 
We are waiting for our I800 approval. It has already been three weeks since we sent it. Hopefully it will be approved quickly. Right now it just feels like everything is moving in slow motion.
While we wait we are working on some fundraisers. We currently have an auction going on. 
Any fundraising ideas you have would be greatly appreciated! We still have quite a bit of money we need to raise in order to bring our littles home. 
If you are the praying type please say a prayer for our adoption - that things start moving quickly and that we raise all the funds we need quickly.
Thank you so much!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Special Guest Blogger - Gillian Marchenko

You guys are in for a special treat today! As part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month I have a VERY special Guest Blogger today. Please enjoy this post by Gillian Marchenko - Author of Sun Shine Down A Memoir.

It is an amazing book and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a child with Special Needs - biological or adopted. Even if you don't have a child with Special Needs I think you will enjoy it as well. This book is so well written. Gillian is completely honest in her feelings and holds nothing back. I love this about her!

Enough of me and my rambling.- I'd like to turn this over to Gillian now.

It’s supposed to rain later today.
My left arm aches.
I broke it in two places, two different times in my childhood, and now sometimes when the weather changes it aches, either up near my shoulder or in my wrist; the places it broke.
The aches remind me of those times; the agony and pain, the fear of being in an emergency room as a child, spending the night for the first time in a hospital, getting attention from classmates and extended family, people signing my cast, ‘Get well soon!’. Me trying to itch the inside of my cast with a hangar, not being able to swim for half of a summer because I couldn’t get my arm wet. Being a bit doped up on the medication to ease the hurt.

My broken arm became my whole world. How could it not be when the pain was great, instant, and overwhelming?
At the time there was no way of knowing that the pain wasn’t going to be my new normal.
For all I knew I could be in that kind of fear and pain for the rest of my life.
I went to the hospital and got help. The excruciating pain eventually turned into a dull ache and then only, a flimsy itch.
Life went back to normal. I was found splashing around in the kiddie pool within eight weeks.

But a dull ache returns now and then.
And I am reminded that at times in my life, I’ve been broken.
Recently I went to four parent-teacher conferences for my kids in two different schools.
I was prepared to discuss each kid, I thought. But when I sat down with Polly’s teacher (who has Down syndrome and stars in my recently published memoir, Sun Shine Down), I was surprised to read that she hadn’t met her goals. After a whole year at school Polly still couldn’t figure out classroom procedures. She struggled with transitions every day.

Polly was cute and everyone loved her, but basically she was still just walking around making messes in class.
And the dull ache, the fact that I had a child with a disability started up again.
Polly’s birth shattered me. I teamed up with Jesus and my husband Sergei to put myself back together, but much like that pesky jigsaw puzzle you’ve almost completed, a few pieces were lost in the mix, and now I walk around with empty spaces.
Most of the time the spaces are used for good.
I have more compassion for others.
I understand grace better.
I relate to others through my brokenness.
And sometimes it feels right.
But there are other times when it still breaks my heart that Polly is behind her peers.
I am OK with Down syndrome.

But there will always be days in my life where the rain will come.
And because I’ve been broken, I will ache sometimes.
It doesn’t mean I love my kids less or that I wish my life was different.
It just aches.
And that’s OK, I think.
Author bio:
Gillian Marchenko is an author and national speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Her book, Sun Shine Down (http://goo.gl/3hFdH9), a memoir, published with T. S. Poetry Press in the fall of 2013.
She writes and speaks about parenting kids with Down syndrome, faith, depression, imperfection, and adoption. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Literary Mama, Today's Christian Woman, MomSense Magazine, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record.
Gillian says the world is full of people who seem to have it all together. She speaks for the rest of us.
Amazon link for Sun Shine Down: http://goo.gl/3hFdH9

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trip 1 - The Trip There

I can't believe I met my little ones and have been back for a week already! This journey has been so different than our journey to Milana. I didn't bring my laptop with me so I didn't blog once while in Eastern Europe. Although truth be told, I really didn't have a ton of time.

I left Raleigh on Saturday September 21, 2013. I got to RDU a bit earlier than necessary so that Chris could get the girls to their soccer game. I had a lovely time just relaxing and watching Downton Abby. The flight from Raleigh to London was a bit bumpy here and there. It wasn't too bad otherwise. The airline fed us dinner and breakfast so that was nice.

When we got to Heathrow we had to hover around in the clouds for awhile until they told us we could land. I only had about an hour and a half to make my flight to B so I was getting a bit nervous. When we landed I booked it to where I needed to go. Everywhere I went I had to wait in a line. I told anyone who would listen (who worked there) I needed to catch my flight. No worries...no one seemed concerned (other than me). I was assured by person after person that I WOULD make my flight. Sadly, they were wrong.

I finally got where I needed to be only to find out they gave my seat away. Yes, you did read that right. They gave MY seat away. To say I was unhappy was an understatement. I still had about 27 minutes until my flight left. It had only been boarding for about 15 minutes, but they gave it away. So I went to yet another line to stand in to book another flight. After waiting about twenty minutes I finally was able to talk to someone although there were no more direct flights. Fabulous. I was now going to fly from London to Zurich to B.

I was scrambling like crazy to try to email everyone and anyone I could so that the person picking me up from the airport could be notified and not stuck there waiting. The wifi in Heathrow was pitiful! I was able to send an email, but that was it. After that no more wifi :(

As soon as I got on the airplane the pilot came on and told us there was a ton of fog in Zurich and that we were going to sit on the plane for about an hour. Seriously?? I almost started crying as I only had about an hour layover in Zurich before my flight left for B. All I kept thinking was "What are the chances of missing TWO flights in ONE day?"

Fortunately we took off about 30 minutes later. When we got to Zurich I ran as fast as I could to the next terminal. When I got there I was so afraid I had missed my flight. You can imagine my relief when I found out I didn't miss it. It was actually going to be leaving a little late. Phew!!!

I made it to B a little over 3 hours late. BUT...I made it! I was so relieved when I got off the plane and not only was my luggage there, but my ride to the hotel was there as well!

It certainly wasn't a dull trip to B. It did leave me wishing I had had some company along the way :)