Saturday, March 30, 2013

Marin's Online Pirate Silent Auction Adventure

If you head on over to Facebook and hit "Join" you can come aboard this pirate ship.  Marin has some amazing booty (gift cards and other items) he's itchin' to be rid of.

Bidding starts online Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coming soon!

We have hit the $10,000 mark in fundraising!!! This is in about 10 weeks.  Wow!  Thanks to all the businesses and artists who have donated items and gift cards.  And thanks to all who have bid on and purchased items.

We still have about $20,000 to go.  Marin will be making his mark soon :)  Watch for his online event - you should see his gift cards!

Monday, March 25, 2013

How we celebrate

We have a verbal approval on our homestudy!!  We celebrated like all good parents and bought our newest daughter some used dresses on Ebay.  It's feeling more real every day :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fundraising & Expenses Update

So our silent auction Saturday raised $3212.02, and donations via this blog Friday, Saturday and Sunday came in at the amazingly high total of $1825.00.  $5037.02 in one weekend (with tons of work in advance of said weekend - we may be tired for a month).  Our total fund raising thus far is over $10,000, we're 1/3 of the way there.

Next up is our super colossal tag sale, but we'll have to wait for the weather to improve for that to happen, which is looking more and more like it will not happen this month.

So what has this bought us (and that means all of us since so many people have donated)?

Application fee for Home Study agency: $250
Fee from Home Study agency: $2,250 
Commitment fee with Adoption Agency: $3,500 (holds the kiddos for us for six months while we get our paperwork together)
Birth certificates (3 certified copies each for all five of us): $201
Marriage certificate (3 certified copies of the short form, then 3 copies of the long form which is needed for Bulgaria): $166
Notarizations so far: $55
Application for passports for Kim and Nate: $291
Fingerprinting and FBI background check for Kim, Nate & Lucas (he's almost 18): $150

Well water test (passed with flying colors): $95
Rhode Island Child Abuse & Neglect Check (the only state of those we've lived in that charges for this): $13

For a grand total so far of $6971. We  have many expenses coming up, once the home study is done and we move to the dossier phase of the adoption. The expense for completing the dossier is $7500, then next up is the first trip to Bulgaria!!!  

Friday, March 15, 2013

An article on our family!!

LOVE the title :)!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Missing Kids We've Never Met

I spend oodles of time obsessing thinking about our Marin and the Nellsta (for those outside of Massachusetts feel free to insert an "r" at the end).   It helps keep me motivated when I am up late printing bidding sheets for our silent auction or rescheduling our finger printing appointment again - it reminds me of why we are doing this.

But at the same time it hurts.  They are over there and have been their whole lives.  I am over here with love and family.  I have enough stuff to entertain me and people to hug when I'm sad.  And then I think (this is the danger) -could they use a mom or a dad or a big brother to help them out right now? Is anyone helping Nellie feel safe right now? 

Marin means "from the sea", which
must be why he wears the sailor suit
So at the same time that I think of Nellie and Marin to keep myself motivated, I make sure not to think too too much about them. Because whether or not they are here or whether or not I have paperwork to prove it, they are my kids. And they are far far away from me on the other side of the planet.  

A Younger Nellie

It makes me anxious to have to stay here in Massachusetts working on fundraising and filling out paperwork when I'd rather be there spending time with them reading books or going sledding.  Throwing myself into this work is necessary to get them home to us, but it's also a much needed distraction from thinking about them too much.

The work makes me feel like I'm doing something, while thinking about them makes me feel helpless.  If Nellie could use the hand of her father on her back to let her know it is safe, that it's okay, I can't be there to do that.  If Marin could use a hug to let him know that he is loved and he is enough as he is, I can't be there to do that.  

So I'm keeping busy and distracted, busy and distracted, and trying to speed this whole process up.  When we started down this road, a big motivation for me was that from the moment that I saw her, I felt that Nellie  was our child.  When I saw Marin the same thing happened.  

And I know, I know. When we decided to do this everyone and his brother told us that it was intense.  That it's an emotional roller coaster.  And I didn't go into this with my eyes shut.  But I honestly never thought that I could so intensely miss children that I've never met.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What you start to look like after begging incessantly for a silent auction

Saturday is the day.  The BIG FUNDRAISER.  The lion's share of the adoption expenses hoping to raise so we don't have to do this kinda thing anymore event.

Tell me it's almost over. :)

Wake me and tell me we made enough to reach the halfway point.  Please.  Prayers appreciated!

Monday, March 11, 2013

What They Offer Us

Many people and professionals like to inquire about what we will be able to offer these kids.  They share our happiness about being able to offer our newest children a safe and loving home, access to medical care, educational opportunities, and siblings for life. But then I wonder, what will they offer us?

We've been working on our home study and so much of it seems focused on what we can offer. I find myself during the day imagining what it will be like to take them to some of our favorite places. We went to the Boston Museum of Science and I wondered what kind of fish Marin would design with the fish simulator.

The Fish Simulator: Tagging the Fish

We went to the Beneski Museum of Natural History and I wondered what it would be like for Nellie to touch the fossils and dinosaur footprints. 

Tromping through the forest this weekend with Jericho, I was thinking about Marin and Nellie enjoying our woods, playing in our yard, and enjoying (or being terrified by) our pets. Then it struck me, they will come with their own fears and feelings and they will also come with outlooks and experiences that just might change how I see the world.  

They will bring us their own thoughts and feelings and perspectives. Their sense of humor. Their creative spark. They bring with them the things that make them them, just like everyone else in the family. They might teach me to be more appreciative of the things I take for granted. Things like family, food, clothing, and abundant love.

Colorful Nellie

Nellie likes to hum and play her piano - how will she make music in a way the rest of us don't?  What sounds will she like to create? What has her lonely heart been aching to express?  

Marin Looking Very Homer Price
Marin looks (and from what we read about him sounds) very playful.  What games will he like to play?  Will he teach us to be kinder to each other? What would he like to build in the woods? What has he dreamed of becoming?  How will he conspire with Jericho to take over the house?

So while I think about what we have much to offer Marin and Nellie, and I am grateful (on my good day) that I can offer them many things.  I am taking pause to remember that they have much to offer us in return. I can't wait (and am getting impatient waiting) to meet them and get to know them, letting them into our lives and letting us into theirs.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intelligence is overrated

This kid's face makes me smile.  Doesn't he look like he would be the life of the party? His name is Ruslan and for those of you who don't know what "transferred" means - it means he is living in an adult mental institution now and will be for the rest of his life if not adopted.

More than one person has commented to me that people with Down Syndrome are always happy. I worked in private therapy with people with DS and other intellectual disabilities and I can assure you they are not.  Some are cranky and jaded, some have chemical dependency and some see life as a chore.  Most are a mix of these and other emotions on their bad days, and happy and content and a mix of emotions on their good days.  They are a lot like those of us without that extra chromosome or what some would call neurotypical.  They are human and unique.  Most want to know who loves them and be reminded that they are loved.  Most want to discuss how hard it is to live with an Intellectual Disability   They want to know if us neurotypical people struggle too.  They want to be reminded that they have an infinite heart and that they make a difference in the lives of those they love.

I sometimes make the statement to people that intelligence is overrated.  Which I think it is.  We rate this high on our scale and allow children with DS or other Intellectual Disabilities to languish in orphanages or die before they are born.  We don't talk about how our children will love as adults.  We discuss their careers or their college choices when we should be asking if we are preparing them to leave the world a little bit brighter.  Ruslan above does that just by smiling.

I don't know many things for sure, I allow my faith and my God to be in the know, but this one thing I do know for sure.

On the day of judgement God will not be asking our IQ scores!

He will be asking us how we were his hands on earth.  He will be asking us if we fed his lambs and his sheep.  He will be asking us how we loved his other precious children.

So if you are in line (on the day of judgement) when the person in front of you is struggling to come up with examples of how he/she left the world a little better, maybe they are trying to stall or change the subject while God taps his foot.  Be sure to take one giant Step BACK  from them, for your own personal safety, because God is not going to be impressed.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can we see them?

I think when we look at these pictures of waiting children it's can be very hard for us to look past the prison haircut and well worn clothing.  The deficits.  The missing pieces.

Adoption is like taking a chance, leaping in faith, and walking a different path.  When we look at Sutter above, we know very little and we make many assumptions.

But can we really SEE Sutter?  Can we take a moment to get past the outer wrapping?  Or the questions and fear that we have?  Can we live with the uncertainty?  Can we stop assuming our family will be perfect, with perfect neurotypical type kids all looking like their parents?

Sutter is 15, he will be aging out soon.  That means his chance to be loved by a family will be gone and he will live in an institution for the rest of his life.  Can our fears really be as bad as that?

So I ask again can we really SEE Sutter?

Can we see him watching a baseball game with a flaming red Red Sox cap on?  Sitting next to his father and siblings.  Can we see him talking about his favorite movie?  How about blowing out his birthday candles? How about crying in the night over what he has lost?  How about becoming an adult who visits on Sundays?

Can we see Sutter as God sees him, perfectly whole and made to love.  Do we know God sees us as such? Do we remember this on a daily basis?

Let us make it our mission to help people see Sutter and our Nellie and our Marin.  See them as whole and beautflul.  Like I hope they strive to see me.  And if we feel at all called to adopt, know that sometimes, like seeing another, it is putting one foot in front of the other and trusting.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We have a slight obsession with Moby Dick,
largely because of the Bone comic series.
We live in a town with a transfer station.  We take our trash there and it gets transferred elsewhere, since the actual landfill part of it was closed some time ago.  In an attempt to reduce the amount of stuff that goes into the trash, the transfer station has sheds where people can drop off clothes or household items or books.  Literally, on several occasions we have needed an item and gone out and purchased it only to get it free at the transfer station the following weekend.  Case in point - oven mitts.

Our oven mitts were not working, and lo and behold, I went to the dump and someone had given away grungy yet highly functional oven mitts.  I decided to decorate them.

One of the problems of buying stuff is that it depreciates about five seconds after you buy it.  Some things, like a drill for example, don't lose a ton of their value once you take them out of the store. Some things, like popular books, are worth more as fire starters than books after you've read them.
I have a friend who says that children are a joy in your old age, that they are a treasure.  I always thought this was a little silly and over the top for me.  I'm just not that exuberant in my language, if you must know the truth.  I mean, I love my kids, but investments?  Treasures?

But then I began to think about this, especially since the cost of having and raising children keeps getting brought up to me specifically (since we're adopting), and it's also a frequent topic in public discourse.  And I have come to the conclusion that this friend of mine is right.  Kids are one of the few sensible investments that you can make.
The 70th Governor of the Commonwealth (not some
churlish state mind you) of Massachusetts

If you value them, and you connect with them, they will be with you when you are older.  Granted, people can be unpredictable, but in comparison to what? We have already seen how retirement investments can tank faster than you can say "Deregulating financial markets will reap great rewards", but humans, even under the worst of conditions, tend to remain loyal.  Stocks and bonds are much more fickle.

So kids are expensive, I get that.  Humans in general are more resource intensive than a cat or a gerbil.  Investing in a kid doesn't guarantee a predictable return, but what are you going to put your trust in?  Banks? Seriously, over the course of history,  you'd take financial institutions over your kids?  I wouldn't trust a bank over someone else's kids.  The return from a bank is an illusion that can go *POOF* overnight, the return on  relationships lasts a lifetime (and continues on benefiting others once you are gone).

With all my kids I will have less to put away for my retirement so it can be lost in the financial meltdown that will happen after the next one that comes after the next maybe I should just be glad to sit back and relax and reflect upon my wise investment and the long term dividends they will provide.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Silent Auction - Save the Date!!

One of TWO raffle baskets we will be having at our silent auction! 
Local food and other items. 
Generously donated by Atkins Farms Country Market, Rao's Coffee Roasting Company, Bergeron Sugarhouse, Delights of the Earth, and Kelly DeBonis Guertin.

Come, buy some raffle tickets, enjoy the free show by The Ha Ha's, eat some cookies, and help BRING OUR NELLIE HOME!