Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pajamaed is the new black

I find myself thinking a lot these days about clothing for N.  Would purple or pink look better against that beautiful brown skin and sweet eyes?  Pajamas - soft and cotton are a must.  A slathering of sweet smelling lotion after a warm bath.  A soft, fluffy towel.

In addition to being a love-seeker I am a lover of freshly bathed and pajamaed kids.  Sitting on my big bed waiting for a bedtime story (or five) and a snuggle.  Fresh sheets are a plus.  Sometimes we have tea with honey.  A candle to set the mood.

These will all be firsts for N.  She's never owned clothes, and certainly didn't get the experience of choosing her favorites. A mother or father has never seen to her most flattering colors, or the feel of the material on her skin.

These small things we take for granted every day will be my pleasure to provide for our daughter.  Even on my worse, cranky, tired-to-the-bone days I still love bedtime snuggles. Every night that I sit with my little ones in our big bed, I think about N.  I think about kissing her toasty cheeks, drying her soft, brown hair, and feeling her little feet against my shins.

So searching Ebay is a new favorite pastime.  Size 110 in Hanna Andersson.  Cotton and soft are keywords.  Purple would suit her complexion, flowers would make her happy.  Even though she can't see the care I take in picking out her outfits, I dearly hope she can feel the love in the fabric.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Have You Heard of Beep Baseball?

One day, not so long ago, my children and I were talking about this little one who will soon be joining our family.  It wasn't about the paperwork (yes, they know about that), or our upcoming silent auction (March 16th), or even items they covet that people drop off for our tag sales (and the answer yet again is "No.  Those are not for you, those are for the tag sales").  They are used to hearing us speak ad infinitum about these topics.  I think they wanted a change of pace.

They wanted to know how we will go for hikes with N along.  Or if N will join in when they have pick up Ultimate Frisbee games with friends.  They wanted to know if N will be able to read (see this post), or cook, or take pictures, or play dress up and pretend.

Being totally honest.  I didn't have all the answers.  And some of the questions kinda freaked me out.

I had forgotten we love to hike (in my defense, it is winter and freezing in New England).  I knew N could learn braille, we can narrate movies for her, that she would learn to cook (there is no choice in a family of eaters) and playing and dressing up would happen naturally.

But hiking, and sports, travel, visual arts - what about those?

A bit of web research later and I'm feeling quite at ease.  Ever heard of Beep Baseball?  Well, I hadn't either.  It actually looks like a game this sighted person could actually be good at (since I would have the advantage in sight, not in ability - ahem).

Cooking?  Christine Ha was crowned Master Chef.

Visual arts?  The Univeristy of California Riverside did an exhibit on Blind Photographers.

And hiking?

Yeah, we got that covered.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Learning Braille

We have been learning braille through The Hadley School for the Blind.  I say "we" loosely, since I barely touch the thing.  Well, no, that's not quite true.  I take it out to use it and Jericho insists he needs to write a note to N like right now.

Jericho has used the slate (the black plastic thing in the picture) to make rows and rows of dots (or braille) in the cells (the small spaces on the slate).  Braille is written from right to left and then you flip the sheet and read it.

He's getting quite good at making the braille in the cells (there are six spaces for dots in each cell) without looking.  Now we just need to move on to actual letters and numbers.  Man pancakes optional.

I'm crazy for this version of Goodnight Moon to Touch kit.

Not only is it a giveaway, which is very important to us right now.  But it is the tactile version of the story.  My husband likes to point out that the bowl full of mush is included in the tactile drawings.  Very important.

And then we found these Braille Bags from National Braille Press.  Again, they are free.  I hesitate to start poking around on their site, because I have just started and have a long list of books I need to get for N.  We are quite the book hounds here.  Most have braille and print so I can read to all the kids and have N explore the braille.  And they have braille valentines.  Jericho insists we send one to N in Bulgaria.  Trouble is, she can't read it yet.  But I do so love how he loves.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Looking back with the knowledge I have now, I think it is funny that Nate and I thought we could adopt internationally without the help of community.  Not many families have $25,000 sitting in the bank earmarked for one child.  Which is why children wait and wait in orphanages and many age out before ever having the experience of being loved by a family.

But not this one.
This one will be coming home to a family and a community that already loves her.

I'm a bit angry with myself, for sitting on this idea of adoption for so long.  Nate and I have been talking about adopting a child since we began our married life.  But the money never came in one big chunk and so we put off the dream until another day.

And then God started shaking things up (as he has a tendency to do).  He started sending blogs and their lovely authors into my life.  He worked his wonders by leading me to this BBC documentary. He showed me the incredible generosity of our church family in the form of our giving tree.

And all of these things swirled around in my head like a giant soup.  All these lives I saw frittering away because each one of us continued to be complacent   And on the other hand, all those lives healed and made whole in the warmth of a family.  Love really does conquer all.

And then to up the ante, (again, God is good at these things) he presented us with N.  Who knows why her picture spoke to our hearts?  Who knows why all the other pictures I emailed to Nate were received with lukewarm interest by both of us.  Well, we do know Who knows, and he fashioned it perfectly.

We feel head over heals in love.  We read her fact sheet like it was a love note, written just for us.  Her challenges? problem!  Her blindness?  Great!  We'll learn braille and stay one step ahead of her.

Some would see this as ludicrous.  They'll say, "but you have such a perfect family!"

Yes, our family is "perfect".  We have healthy kids, love, a house for all our needs, we have enough possessions to keep us entertained, and a community to participate in.  But we see perfection as an illusion.  You can't control what happens in this life.  You can't control your birth, your children's challenges, even your own mortality.  It's all up for grabs.  But love, love you can move toward and embrace.  And I'm a love seeker.  I seek it, grab it, and pursue it every chance I get.

And N? She was all love.  I saw kisses on her cheeks, and days in the backyard.  I saw celebrations when milestones are reached.  I saw six candles on her birthday cake.  I saw her swinging and singing and getting merry like all my other kids.  I saw a sibling for my kids, now, and after Nate and I leave this earth.  I saw days and days of happiness.

So don't tell me I'm a saint.  I'm definitely a sinner.  But I am a love-seeker.  And by joining us along this journey I get the feeling you might just be a love-seeker too.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jericho speaks about adoption

He's six, so you can imagine I didn't know what he was going to say.  But watch.  Kids really get adoption.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Saying YES to love! The NOOK raffle

"One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody."  Mother Teresa

Many people have said that adoption is not for the faint of heart.  You put your soul, your heart, your finances, your time, your faith and hope out on the chopping block.  One day you are up and the next you can't believe you convinced yourself this was the way to grow your family.  For those of us who take the plunge and decide a child with special needs is meant to join our family the questions increase.  How will those needs affect the children I already have?  Will I be able to give this child all she/he needs to flourish?  How did I ever think I was cut out for this?

But then there are the moments of peace.

The peace of looking into the eyes of someone you don't know, someone you can't hear or touch and saying "I love you".  I love you now and forever child of my heart.  I will love you until our time on this earth comes to a close.  I will love you no questions asked.  I will love you even if your behaviors are bothersome or embarrassing.  I will love you like we all are loved by the Author of all, loved just because we are.

So here's the deal.

Adoption is expensive.  There are various hands who need to be paid and we need to protect children from being trafficked.  It's not an easy road, those of us who choose this route, but it's not easy for a child to wait.  And some, like N, wait and wait for years.

Most of us with spend $5 on a cup of fancy coffee or a designer beverage. We don't think twice about buying one of those.  We tell ourselves we deserve the treat.  But the feeling is fleeting.  The drink makes our heart rate soar and our waistlines grow while others sit lonely in orphanages waiting.  And we can tell ourselves they aren't our children.  Or our problem.  Or our community.

I think Blessed Mother Teresa said it best, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other."

So I'm asking that you take that $5 today and put it towards our raffle.  It might seem like so little, that our total goal ($25,000.00) in insurmountable.  But it's all loaves and fishes people.  That's how we get to the finish line.  That's how we get to our daughter, and her to us.

Your $5 donation gets you a chance to win a brand new in the box Barnes and Noble NOOK HD.  You get to choose snow or smoke.

The rules are that you have to buy one entry for $5 and then if you share this post on your Facebook or other social network you get one more FREE ticket.  You need to come back here or go to my Facebook page and comment that you shared.

We are also offering an additional prize:  A $50 Barnes and Noble gift card to the person who buys the MOST entries!

Buy your entry through our buttons on the left.  Either our GoFundMe page or PayPal button on the left side.  If you donate $5 you get one entry, $20 gets 4, $50 gets 10 chances to win the NOOK.  Our goal is to make $2,000 over the cost of the NOOK and the gift card.

Remember, if you share on your Facebook or other social network and leave me a comment (either here or on Facebook) you get one FREE additional entry.

This raffle starts today and will end on Wednesday February 6th at 12 midnight EST.  We will announce the winner on Thursday February 7th.

If you are new to our blog, welcome!  These posts will help get you started:

Our girl
Our family
What you can do!

Good luck!!

Communal living

When people hear we will be traveling to N’s orphanage twice, they immediately want to send toys or other items.

It is the nicest gesture.

But property is not something that kids living in institutions have.  Property is communal in institutions.   Any toys, clothing, food, love, it’s all shared. It goes in to the great pile and is doled out by those providing the care.  Some children are known to be “staff favorites” while others have behaviors which are deemed bothersome.  The former get more of the shared resources.   The later get less and sometimes even profound neglect.  In Bulgaria there is a cultural prejudice against those of Romani descent (N is Romani).  Prejudice often hits the most vulnerable first.  And living under the mercy of those providing the care these children are the most vulnerable.  Orphans are claimed by no one and they, in turn, get to claim nothing.  Not a toy, a special sweater, a loving touch, or the love and care that fits their needs most appropriately.

This knowledge makes me pause many times during the day. Like when I’m deciding which of my softest sweaters to wear (and which I have the option to avoid), or when my children squabble over a toy.  When I’m tending to the bodily needs of my children, each with his/her own timetable and proclivities.  Will N be complacent when she comes home or will her desires suddenly arise like a dormant animal neglected for too long?  Will she claim me like my youngest, Olive, does?  Will she climb up onto my lap when anyone else is in close proximity, even the dog?  I dearly hope for the latter.

Most are surprised by the joy radiated by those adopted from the most heinous neglect and abuse.  It is not shocking, to me, that they are joyful.  What shocks me is that they still cry, fuss, and make known their discontent.  I would think after years of neglect that their comfort seeking mechanisms would have been silenced forever.  I’m very happy to see that they haven’t.  They still turn toward the caregivers in their life, reaching out for comfort.  And every time they now receive it, they learn to claim that which is their birthright.  Love.  Common, self sacrificing, joyful, tender, most merciful, Christ covered love. 

It was always there.  But now it has been made known to them by the unique parents God fashioned just for them. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

NaNOOK of the North

It's cold here in New England!

Is there a certain place you find yourself standing in multiple times during the day?  This is mine.  The view from standing at my kitchen sink.  My lovely (but cold) backyard.  Usually you would see a chicken or two but they are locked up for being naughty.  We have naughty chickens (they chew on the house!)

Can you see that temperature?

I like my frigid temperatures with a bit of snow.

Notice the title of this post?  I'm being pretty obvious what we will be raffling off next week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



a dog easily fooled; a fool. A Corgi who eats chicken food and then vomits over and over.  And then goes back and eats the eggs.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reading NOOK

It's always fun to be able to read a book.

Quietly.  Except then Mama takes my picture.

So I ham it up a bit.

But in this house, alone time, doesn't last for long.

And that is perfectly...

.....alright with me.

We have a silly theme going this week to get ready for a not-so-silly online gadget raffle.  You can enter on this blog or on my Facebook.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reading stacks - long weekend edition

Reading stacks around the house right now.  Hoping to actually read the books on this drippy Monday in New England.

My stack:

Books on the Romani people (N is Romani) and Mother Teresa.  Really they work well together.  One gets me all worked up and the other calms me down.  I sent Ian Hancock (We are the Romani People)  an email about our beautiful daughter.  Did you know that in Bulgaria 60% of all institutionalized children are Roma?  This is my beautiful brown daughter we are talking about.

I probably should have included my book and supplies for my Beginning Braille course.  But then I would be fibbing, since I've hardly had time to look at it.  My son Jericho has made rows upon rows of dots with the stylus and cell writer.

Reading to my children pile:

Jericho came downstairs the other day with a stack of Moomin books and Little Women (he's six).  We settled on Moomins.  Little Women will have to wait.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The adoption process

  1. Complete the agency's pre-approval steps.  Application and phone interview.  DONE
  2. Sign the online service agreement and send in the commitment fee.  1/2 DONE
  3. Complete documents that are notarized, apostilled, and mailed to Bulgaria.
  4. Complete your home study and dossier.  JUST STARTED
  5. Trip 1 to Bulgaria, one week.  
  6. Come home, complete I-800, and second stage dossier documents.
  7. The rest of the process happens in Bulgaria.  Time between 1st and 2nd trips varies but can be 4-5 months.
  8. 2nd trip is after the adoption is final.  You pick up the child, apply for a passport, and the visa and then come home.  Typically a week.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A breakdown of the adoption expenses

These constitute the Program Fee:

Commitment fee:  $3500
Completion of dossier: $5500
After trip 1: $4,000

Expenses included in program fee:

All in country transportation
All the team's expenses (hotels and such)
All translations (oral and written)
All legalization and document fees (birth certificate, court documents, etc.)
All court costs
Passport fee

Additional fees to be paid (not included in program fee):

Home study: ours is $5000 in all
I-800a application:  $720 + $85 for each person over 18 in our home
All dossier prep fees (background checks, apostilles etc.)
All plane tickets
The child's visa: $230 due on trip 1
The child's medical exam for the embassy: around $50
Hotel and food expenses while in Bulgaria (hotel in Sofia is 70 Euros per night)

Total (per our agency) is around $25,000 depending on airfare.

Anything for you daughter.  Your worth is PRICELESS!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I wonder

This is the photo I wonder the most about.  You are so small and it looks like you are just starting to walk.  Your smile reminds me of our Olive, so proud of her new skill of walking.

Were they going to list you for adoption?  Why didn't they?

I guess if they would have we would have never seen you.

We would have liked to have seen you take your first steps.  We would have clapped and cheered as we do for Olive.  We would have liked to have seen your first smiles and giggles.  We would have enjoyed rocking and singing you to sleep.

We have a lot of time to make up for daughter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The process so far....

  • 2/1/12 I start to read blogs by mothers who have adopted from Bulgaria.
  • 5/1/12 I watch the BBC documentary Bulgaria's Abandoned Children on YouTube. We fall in love with a little blind boy in the video.   We ask the director of Reece's Rainbow to find him.  No luck.  Another precious child grew up without a family.  Our decade long call to adopt turns into a SHOUT!  
  • 12/10/12  We see the incredible generosity of our church in the form of the giving tree.  
  • 12/12/12  We start watching Reece's Rainbow for kids we think we might adopt.  Nate responds to my emails with pictures of cute kids with lukewarm interest.  None seem quite right.
  • 12/20/12  We pray and pray.  God lets us know that an older girl would be right for our family.
  • 12/21/12  We see N on Reece's Rainbow  I email the director immediately.  The same day our adoption coordinator Shelley sends us pictures and a psychological report on N.  Our precious daughter!  There is no doubt in our minds.
  • 12/25/12 I share my heart with my best friend and children's Godmother.  She encourages me.
  • 12/29/12  We started writing flyers and brainstorming fundraising ideas.  
  • 1/1/13  The Ha Ha's (a local comedy improv group) offer to do a benefit at our silent auction. People start offering items. Friends offer help.
  • 1/3/13  A woman I don't know, inspired by our story on Facebook, wants to donate.
  • 1/6/13  After a message to the homeschooling group donations start arriving for our tag sales.  My best friend talks to her homeschooling group and people send items that they could have sold but want me to sell for N's adoption.
  • 1/10/13 We sign up with About A Child adoption agency.
  • 1/11/13  Another friend (member of the Ha Ha's) gets me to get connected via Blog/Facebook/GoFundMe/Paypal.  Giving people multiple ways to be supportive.  Donations start arriving.
  • 1/13/13  We set the date for the silent auction. March 16th from 1-3 at the Newman Center.  We book the center.
  • 1/14/13  Diane Lederman from the Springfield Republican does a story on us and our love for N.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Financial report as of January 15th 2013

Financial report as of January 15th 2013

Our N account at our bank:  
This account contains money we started with, all our PayPal money from Ebay selling, Amazon selling, and from generous friends. 

Total: $636.87

Our GoFundMe page:  

Total:  $420

A lovely card with a check in the mail today :)  

Total:  $100

Checks sent right to our non profit adoption agency from generous friends.  

Total:  $100

For a grand total of $1,256.87

This was raised in roughly 11 days.  Amazing.

Thanks to all who contributed so far!

Are you there God? It's me, Kimberly.

Almighty one, thank you for putting up with me.  I know I can be a pain, second guessing your wisdom.  When I requested we wait a year to start the adoption process, to save a bit more, You clearly stated that the time was now.  Then to up the ante, you presented us with N.  I know now that your imagination is far bigger than mine.  I'm sorry for ever having doubted You.

Father in heaven, please keep watch over our girl.  Kiss her before bed each night.  Whisper to her that a family and a community loves her.  Let her know, in the way only You can, that people far away are wishing and praying for her.  Tell her that her Mama and Papa, three big brothers, and one little sister love her very much.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Newspaper interview

Two of the pictures from our interview with Diane Lederman from the Springfield Republican.  She was very kind and friendly and I think the interview went well.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This just about sums it up.


Gaelan was so tall he had to lean right over.  Father Jon could barely reach his forehead.  Their heads still smell of the clove oil. I didn't wash it out in their baths.  Olive Ann clapped when everyone welcomed them into the community.  I had tears the whole time.  I held Christina's hand (Godmother) and leaned into my strong husband.  I was thinking about the day we will do this for our newest daughter N.  It was Jesus' baptism day.
I don't want to forget a single second.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What you can do!

What you can do:

  • Pray!  Pray that she is protected in the institution.  Pray that she doesn’t get transferred.  Pray that her development doesn’t regress further.
  •  Donate items to our yard sales!  We will take anything!  
  • Donate money!  If you have the heart for adoption you can help us reach our financial goals to bring her home quickly.  Five years is a long time to wait for a family! Snail mail donations to our agency are tax deductible                                                                 About a Child Adoption Agency, 479 Tiller Lane, Redwood City CA 94065 (include your email or return address for receipt).  Or you can donate right now on the left sidebar at our PayPal account.  Secure and safe.
  • Spread the word!  Tell your friends, post our story on Facebook/Twitter/your blog.  Ask friends to spread the word.  Let your faith community know.
  • Donate items to our silent auction!  A signed copy of a book you’ve written – a gift certificate to your business or service – items you’ve made or crafted – other items
  • Come to our silent auction event!   Saturday March 16th from 1-3pm at the Umass Newman Center's Cafe (downstairs).  Umass parking is free that day.  We want this to be a fun community event so we are providing free food and drink.  We are having a free family friendly improv performance generously donated by The Ha Ha's .  Braille publishers have donated books and other braille items to entertain the kids (and adults!).  We have over 50 items, experiences, and gift cards up for auction.  Please share and come!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  As we make this journey of faith your support and LOVE mean everything!!

The Schildbach Family
Nathanael and Kimberly Schildbach (Lucas/17, Gaelan/13, 
Jericho/6, and Olive Ann/1)

Our family waits for you

Our family is/has:
·         Language rich (i.e. chatty) so she will not want for auditory stimulation!
·         A homeschooling family - our precious daughter won’t have to attend school while adjusting & we will be able to kick start the bonding process.
·         Access to medical care and eye specialists.
·         A super affectionate baby (Olive) for all her snuggling needs.
·         Kind and protective boys.  To keep her feeling safe and secure.
·         A mom who loves her job as the home-maker.
·         A faith community (Newman Center) that she will be a welcome member of.

Our girl. Our treasure.

Our treasure:
·         Has been living in an institution since her birth five years ago
·         Is  blind, of Roma heritage & non-verbal at this time
·         Is musical – she loves to play her toy piano and hum
·         Is lonely – she has been known to “snuggle” in the beds with the other children
·         Is tentative – she cries around new people & only explores her world when holding  caregiver.

A easy way to donate and get more information.