Friday, May 31, 2013

Where We're At & What's Next

We received a donation this week from someone who included a note saying they had checked the blog and noticed where we are at in the process and wanted to help move it along.  This was very kind and generous and made me think that I needed to post an update on where we are at  now and what is coming up next.

Trying on Nellie's Shoes
So where we are at is waiting on paperwork and continuing to raise funds for the adoption, which seems to be a common state.  However, we are at a more advanced stage of both of these........
  • First, we have resubmitted Kim's fingerprints to the FBI in West Virginia so they can process a background check.  Lucas and Nate have already passed with flying colors, but Kim's fingerprints were not clear enough for the FBI to complete the task, so a new set was sent to them three weeks ago and we are just waiting for them to get to look at them again.  (Hurry up, stop spying, and HURRY UP FBI!! ~ Kim) On June 6th it will have been four weeks that they have had them and I will be free to call and ask them if the new prints are clear and try to get them to move the whole process along.  So - keep your fingers crossed.
  • Second, we  have submitted the first of two requests for a clearance to adopt from Homeland Security (the I800a, not to be confused with the I800).  This first clearance approves Nate to go to  Bulgaria (after Bulgaria says we're kosher and invites us to come on over) and meet the two kiddos and then come back to the United States to continue the paperwork train. Homeland Security has sent us the I797 document that is both openly hostile to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (don't invite them both to Thanksgiving dinner unless you want to see the fur fly) and lets us know that they are confirming that they have our application in case the email that told us that wasn't clear enough.  During the week of June 3 we should hear from Homeland Security to schedule a time to get fingerprinted (they get fancy-schmancy and call it "biometrics") separate from the one for the FBI.  So that continues to move forward.
Not Fingerprinted but Still Hiding from the FBI?
  • Third, our home study is completed and has been sent to our adoption agency so they can check it to make sure it is ok, put it together with other documents (Kim here; LOTS of other documents - just to be clear) we have been gathering, and voila - it is our dossier!!!!!!  Then it will go to Bulgaria for translation (might be there already - squeeeeellllllllll - Kim again), and along with these other two pieces will be what the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria will be looking at before they officially invite us over.
  • Fourth, we need to pay a fee to the adoption agency of $8000 before
    the first trip.  The estimated cost of the trip with airfare and Nate living on Bulgarian feta and local produce is $2500.  We have $7000 cash on hand, so we are trying to raise another $3500.  We are taking donations for more eBay selling (click here to see what we have) and another tag sale that will happen in two weeks - if you are local and have something in good shape to donate to it then let us know, we'd be happy to take it. In the past the tag sales have raised $800-$1000 each so we're hoping we can do that (or even better).  Nate is also filling out grant applications as well.  
  • When Nate gets back from Bulgaria after the first trip, another $4000 fee will need to be paid to the adoption agency before the process can be moved along, so once the $3500 is raised, we'll turn our energy and attention to this $4000.
Stan "The Man" Musial Baseball Card Puzzle
So although it sounds like it is moving along slowly (and from where I sit it is moving slowly), we are making progress and are on a similar trajectory time-wise as we had expected when we first started off on this journey.

And the other thing we remember to do is REMEMBER THE TWO KIDS WE ARE ADOPTING.  We love them and think of what life will be like when they get here - how they will fit in at our favorite swimming pond, favorite walk, if they like asparagus, if they will snuggle the Tubstah or if he will scare the dickens out of them (Corgis are intimidating - in their delusions of grandeur anyway......).  This helps us remember that bringing these two kiddos into our family won't mean we have to raise money constantly and fill out mind-numbing paperwork, they're actually going to be in the family doing things with us here in......

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Etsy shop

Birthdays are pretty special in this family. Flowers, balloons, an amazing cake, and always a handmade, wool felt birthday crown to make the birthday child (or adult!) feel very cherished.

To help with our fundraising I've opened an Etsy shop. 

All the money we make goes to funding the last fees of Nellie and Marin's adoptions. Do you have a birthday coming up in your family? How about a dress up crown for a special gift? How about a personalized birthday crown for your newest child?
I was feeling very nervous about doing this.  I've been making them for so long they feel like something private and personal.  But after making Nellie and Marin's crowns I thought, "What if others want these for their newest children?"

I love making cozy item for my kids while waiting to meet them.  I feel connected to them and have the most wonderful day dreams about what our lives will be together.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend things

Hear that sound?

That is the sound of our dossier speeding along at light speed into the hands of our adoption coordinator.  

FBI can you hear that?  Hurry those reports along will ya?

And Homeland Security.  Don't make me get rough with you (I'm just kidding HS, don't call out the troops)!
Handsome boy.  Look at that face!  He's going to be a heartbreaker.

Our wonderful friend Chris invited us to visit her neighbor's sheep on Sunday.  She has a small pond and a wonder dog.  A wonderful wonder dog.  A saving dog.  The dog saved the kids multiple times.  They were in perilous danger.  That is what we told her.  She did her job with duty and determination.  Such a smoochy kiss on the snout kinda dog (and we did!)

When I first started chatting with Chris after Mass one Saturday night back in the beginning (almost every event is situated on our adoption's timeline - beginning, pre homestudy, post homestudy) we had just started telling people we were adopting our sweet girl.  As I was letting it out of the bag to her (and at that point it did feel important to let it out in the open, testing the idea, if you will) I was just about to tell her our girl's name.  But then she started talking about her dog and we spoke over each other "Nellie".  Her wonder dog's name is Nellie.  Fashion that?

We had a wonderful visit.  Just perfect for a lazy, rainy Sunday.

The weekend started out with Kool Aide yarn dying and a raspberry - brown butter tart.  As all weekends should.  My kids were coughing and sputtering around the Kool Aide dust.  I told them I used to eat that stuff!  They couldn't believe it!

 I see another one of these in our future.  So dang good.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hmmmmmmmmmm? Could it Be Pavement?

Between trips to the North Amherst Post Office and trying to actually understand the different parts of the adoption process (trying being the operative word), I have been working on adoption grant applications.

One question that is common to the applications is why we are adopting.

Unfortunately, it isn't that easy to sum up.

Sure, we fell in love with Nellie and Marin, and we know we can give them a great home and a whirlwind of a family that can take almost any handful of words and find a show-tune to connect them to (if you ask Jericho these days, "Where  ya goin'?"  he will almost certainly reply in a singing voice, "BAR-ce-LO-na......."), but it's hard to wrap that up with a bow.  How do I make sense of these non sequiturs that, when whisked together, make up our family and form the logic that explains why we are motivated to do things like adopt two children from Bulgaria?

I don't.  I start taking pictures instead.  

Because I really needed to write this blog post.  

Kim kept asking me to write one, but I was too busy not getting far working on the grant applications.  So when we went to visit a friend last weekend, and I knew it would provide a great photo opportunity that would make for a good blog post, I snapped off a bunch of photos.

But before I could write that blogpost, Kim had already bogarted my pictures and written one of her own (which will arrive soon).  This left me with the choice of mounting an offensive to regain the images or moving on to something else.  I chose to move on.

So then Jericho and I went outside one night to put out our Wine Cap mushroom spawn (yes, makes me want to eat mushrooms too - mmmmmmmmmmmmm - SPAWN!!!) into a garden bed of soaked straw.  It was right before dusk and afterward we were inside the house when suddenly Tubby, our delusions-of-grandeur fueled Corgi, began growling and barking at something on our porch through our sliding glass doors.  We went to quiet Tubby down/investigate and found our local raccoon eating our outside cat's cat food.

I wanted to get a picture of the racoon so I could use it for a blog post, but when I came back with a flashlight and the camera, the raccoon had just finished off the cat food and was leaving.  So instead I fired off a few shots and got these three images of something drawn on the sliding glass windows with window crayons.  The flashlight lighting and weird reflections are fun, although kinda  creepy looking, especially after getting a run through the Photoshop mill.

And that was fun and much less frustrating than not being able to write the applications, so I decided to steal  the photos back from Kim afterall,  but then obscured them so no one will know what they are until Kim's post comes out.

Hmmmmmmmmmm?  Could it be pavement?

Easter Island statue come to life eating lunch?  A beetle?

Maybe a Rorschach Test?  I see a Dia de los Muertos skull candy......
And I still don't know how to write WHY.  WHY WHY WHY.  It's kind of an odd question anyway.
  • We did it because it's the right thing to do.  
  • Because now we will almost be able to field a baseball team with our family.  
  • Because we love them - have you seen how adorable they are?  Trust me, the videos are even better. 
  • Because who wouldn't want them?
  • I mean what are we supposed to do, act like they aren't there?
So I still haven't found a way to explain that.  Back to the drawing board.

OK now it's just obvious that I'm still just killing time................................

And I still am........................

Well, Kim's post will be along soon so everyone can see what we did last weekend and I'll have this squared away any moment now................

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Who's afraid of a little dossier?


Six months worth of work.

Can I get a witness?  Oh wait!  I already have many of those....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Random rabbits and rhubarb

Rhubarb compote parfaits in Meme's dishes for breakfast while watching Rabbit of Seville.  Missing them like crazy.  Pepe would kidsit on Sundays and we'd watch Bugs Bunny and I'd scratch his head.

Perfect start to the week.

How do you start your week?

Friday, May 17, 2013


Some people say that a long neglected part of my personality is just bursting forth.  Some people say that pinky peachy slate blue smocked and ruffled things were on my "love" list but wallowing in  some sort of repression.

Other who know me know it's my girl.  Child of my heart.  Smooshy kissy love button rosebud mouth perfect toed miracle.  She makes me better, brighter.  She reminds me to love more, explore more, and care less.

Oh my girl.

Rosebud clips for her hair (and her sister's).  Love making these.  You might catch me wearing one.

Cinnamon buns for her kitchen.

We have so much fun!  Sometimes I pinch myself that this is really my life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I get no kick from Champagne

Other mothers probably like flowers or breakfast in bed.  I'm not that fancy.  I like project help.  Dirt digging and new space making.  Trying to make our house and yard work better.

A new sandpit.  That playground is only 5 years old and was rotten.  Half of it was saved and we dug out our new sand pit.  I will spend the week filling it with sand.  On the other side of the yard we have new garden beds filled with the soil.  Bring on the seedlings!

See that sweet girl?  She is only 1.5 years old and sweet like sugar.  You should wish you could come by for a slice.  What a perfect day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Today is the day for....

Saturday at our house is the day for notarization of adoption documents (we were up and out early!) and puppy petting (outside the bank).  Mailing of said documents with registered status and dump drop off.  Browsing the free table for Christmas gifts for our 4, or will it be 6, precious children. Two, no three, drop offs of items at friend's houses.  A trip to the fabric store for baby bloomer fabric in plum with dots, or maybe we'll be crazy lucky and find plum with small flowers.  Plans written down for mother's day gardening projects (my gift from the boys).  Cooking, cleaning, bottom changing - as everyday.  Chubby cheek kissing, giggling, playing, and chasing Jericho.  Mass at 4:30 - a chance to rest?  Maybe, or maybe I'll be following Olive up and down the corridor while we visit Mother Mary and St. Francis.  I won't be alone.

But one thing never changes in our days.  The love.  Always the love.  We seek it and ooze it from every pore even in the worst of times.  Even with the teen who is pointing out our faults (again, and the list is so long!), or the cat who has puked on the rug.

Saturday is a good day in our house.  And it's the perfect day to find some love, listen to birdsong, sing a bird's song.  Find a new way to hold tight.  Make it a promise for today and follow tomorrow with the same.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Making a Love Book

Since I can't control my paperwork I have been obsessing about making the kids their photo books to give to them on first trip.
I wrote it like an invitation, the text is in Bulgarian and English, and it's tactile.


Please take a moment to hit the "thumbs up", you don't have to sign in.

Thank you!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

щастлив ден на майката (that's Happy Mother's Day in Bulgarian)

Over the weekend I was asked about Kim as a mother and I said something touching and eloquent about her that I wish I had written down.  One thing that I do remember saying is that Kim is always mothering in a way that makes me be a better father.  

She is always thinking about how she could be better as a mother; about what each kid is needing and how we could work together better as a family.  She's sort of the Prometheus (foresight) to my Epimetheus (hindsight).  At times I feel like I'm just trying to keep up with her, but mostly I'm just happy I have someone to parent with who is so "on".  I also know that these adoptions wouldn't be happening if she hadn't pushed for them.

One thing she's already working on is thinking of ways to make these two new kiddos from Bulgaria feel welcomed.  To this end she is making them photo books that I will take them on the first trip to Bulgaria (and writing a soon-to-be-published article about it for

When I think about it, if I had to sum up how I feel about her, I'd say that Kim is very much like Moominmama - she's the magic and the energy and the art that holds us all together.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY KIMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our mother/father's day auction on Facebook raised $945 for Nellie and Marin!! Thank you one and all! 
Stay tuned because we have an 8GB Ipod and a Sony personal DVD player we will be raffling off in the summer.  Hopefully when we have a matching grant.  Closer and closer we get to our children coming home!

Friday, May 3, 2013

An invitation

There is a touching scene in Downton Abbey season 2 (oh, how I miss that show!)  Daisy, the kitchen maid, is fretting about visiting her late husband's father at his farm.  She married him (William) not because she was in love with him, but because he was so in love with her and he was dying.  When she finally visits her father-in-law and they sit down to tea he issues her an invitation.  "Will you be my daughter, will you let me take you into my heart and pray for you and make you special?"  Daisy is so taken aback by this invitation "I've never been special to anyone" and then she remembers "except William."

During the first visit to meet your adoptive child many parents present them with a small photo album of their future home and family.  I would like Marin's to be in the form of an invitation.  Nellie's will have to be tactile (and I'm compiling a Wonderbaby article on that right now) but Marin is older, and I think a bit of requesting permission to turn his world upside down is in order.

I imagine it as something like this (in Bulgarian):

Dear Marin,

We would like to be your parents.

Would you let us take you into our home and make it your home?
Would you share the love of your three brothers?

Would you give and get hugs and kisses from your two sisters?
Would you let us celebrate your birthdays with you with cake and presents?

Will you let us take you to the best city on earth (Boston)?  Will you let us show you all the fun at Boston's Museum of Science?

Will you learn and love and laugh with us dear Marin?

Would you come and laugh and love with us Marin?

When I think of it this way, I am just amazed that we have been given this opportunity to love these two children.  That we have been given the opportunity to take them into our hearts and make them special.  William's dad knew what a pleasure and privilege that was; how it enriches your life in no other way.  We are so dearly blessed to be presented with this and thank God for it.