Archive for November, 2008

some timely tips

K received some mail today. On the outside of the flyer it reads, “Dear K, Don’t let the upcoming holidays get you down. Look inside for some timely tips to make the season less stressful and more enjoyable!” G and I giggled. Apparently Meritan Health doesn’t realize that K is only 15 months old.

In case you were wondering what they suggested to a baby, here is a summary.
1. Ward off stress with good nutrition. (guess that means she can’t eat cookies for dinner. maybe we should rethink the hotdogs she has recently discovered.)
2. Exercise your way into the new year. (does crawling up stairs count?)
3. Stick to your gift buying budget. (uh, can you actually pay for something based on cuteness alone?)
4. Rethink your new year’s resolutions. Set smaller goals and a reasonable time frame to achieve them. (I think learning to walk in pretty realistic.)


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Thursday was the long-awaited day. We counted down for several days prior, and it finally came–the annual Kindergarten Pow Wow. M got to wear her “regalia” and enjoy several fun activities. K and I were able to help. With K in her “papoose” on my back, I painted faces with authentic Native American symbols. K decided that she needed a job, too, so she decided to tear things down from the classroom walls while I wasn’t looking. She actually did quite well considering she had to stay in the papoose for 3 hours! What a fun day!

Today is the day K was supposed to have turned one year old. We love watching her grow and learn new things. She decided, exactly one week ago, to start eating all kinds of table food and to feed herself. It literally happened overnight. I am SO relieved to see her reach this milestone.

For the next few days we have both of our families coming to visit. It will be nice to see both sides of the family this year. We are hosting Thanksgiving, and it’s the first time I’ve been in charge of the entire feast. I’m excited about a couple of new recipes that I’m planning to make. Hope you have a relaxing, refreshing Thanksgiving.

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grant update and other news

This past week has gone quickly! We’ve had some exciting news that we want to share regarding the grant. A couple more friends and family have added to our matching grant fund, and that brings our total up to $550 that will be matched by God’s Grace Adoption Ministries! We’ve so excited to see how God is providing for us. Only $1,950 to go to take advantage of the full matching grant.

I really hesitate to write about money–how much we have and how much we need–because our God is big. He knows what we need. However, several friends have been asking about it lately, so we thought we’d fill you in on the details.

The next step for us is authenticating our dossier. That basically means we have to send our papers to three different places to get three different stamps before we are “official”. We think all these stamps are going to cost around $2,000. After everything is authenticated, then we send it all to our agency with another check for $7,426. This is where the grant will really help. If we receive the full matching grant, then we only need to pay our agency about $2,500. After we authenticate and send our agency our dossier, we wait for about two months for Kenya’s adoption committee to look things over and match us with a child or two. Once we get our referral (pictures and medical information about our child/ren), we can travel to Kenya soon after that. We have to take another $3,000 with us then, not counting costs for air fare for three and a half people and the costs of finding a place to live and buying the essentials (like beds and blankets and dishes and pots and pans).

That brings us to a grand total of about $12,000 that we need just to pay our agency and for the authentication in the next three to four months. Obviously taking full advantage of our matching grant would help us immensely. We have about $5,500 in personal adoption savings and from what generous friends and family have already given to bring our girls home. We are confident that God will give us what we need, and it’s very humbling to be in this position where we can really do nothing except wait and trust.

On a different note, we were able to spend last weekend in Columbus. G was asked to share a bit in a campus church at OSU, so of course we were excited to spend a lot of time with our good friends who live near Columbus. A and C are very close friends of ours from college, and we try to see them and their three little girls a few times a year. This time the daddies planned to watch the little girls for an entire 24 hours so the mommies could just hang out, go out to dinner, do some Christmas shopping, and basically just be refreshed from our full-time mommy jobs. What a great gift! It’s been about four years since we’ve done that and now there are two more children than last time. C and I talked almost the entire time, just catching up. Thanks, guys, for a great weekend. Here’s hoping it’s not another four years until we can do that again.

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double it up!

Right around the time I went in the hospital last August, we found out we had been awarded an adoption grant from God’s Grace Adoption Ministries. It is a matching grant up to $2,500. This is quite a sizable grant in the adoption world, and we were so grateful. After K was born early and we had to delay our adoption plans yet again, we weren’t sure if we would be able to keep the grant. GGAM graciously agreed that they would save it for us! We contacted them recently to see exactly how it works, and then we talked to our adoption agency to see how we could make it work for our situation. GGAM awards the grant when the child is back in America with you. Since our situation is very different because of the required Kenyan residency, we weren’t sure if our agency would allow us to delay payment to them for that length of time. To sum up a long and boring story, our adoption agency WILL accept a bit of payment delay so we can take advantage of the grant! Just a few weeks ago, some very kind and generous friends who are excited about adoption sent us $250 to help us pay for our adoption expenses. Because of the grant, we are able to double their gift! Now we have $500, and only $2,250 to go by the end of November to take full advantage of the matching grant.

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K is really beginning to have ideas of her own. She is quite determined and works hard to get what she wants. Recently she has become quite interested in M’s USA puzzle. We store it in an end table, and K knows exactly where it is. She loves to stand up there and pull out all the puzzle pieces she can reach. This isn’t the safest baby toy since most of the states are just the right size to be a choking hazard. I don’t really mind if she plays with them, but I have to draw the line when she puts them in her mouth. Here was the progression today.
Look what I found, Mama.

Oooo. I like this one. (It’s Alaska. Does that mean she’s a Palin fan? For the record, she had Hawaii in the other hand soon after. Maybe she’s just showing us how much she’s been paying attention to the news lately)

She tried to eat Hawaii. This is her response a couple of minutes after I said, “K, no eat the puzzle.” The picture of her screaming her head off didn’t turn out.

I love how she’s holding on to her clothes for comfort.

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adopting from kenya

Since we are getting closer and closer to finishing our dossier, more friends have been asking about the details of adopting from Kenya. Every country is different in what they require, but Kenya seems to be one of the more difficult countries to adopt from at this time because of their residency requirements. Here’s our understanding of how it works.

First we applied to the agency (we only know of one agency that is approved) that handles the American side of Kenyan adoptions. We completed some paperwork for them, sent some money, and then started the home study process. The home study process is good practice for the dossier. It requires a few meetings with a social worker and tracking down some paperwork, seeing a doctor, etc. After the home study was underway, a VERY generous friend sent our agency our next large payment and then we started our dossier. This can be a very daunting step. We are in this process right now, and it’s a bit more challenging than we expected to find time to do everything and still care for our kids and regular responsibilities. The dossier is basically a big picture of us as a family, it represents us to the Kenyan adoption committee. It tells everything from our health, our home, our finances, our friends, our criminal history, and much more. We are responsible for gathering all kinds of documents to prove we are who we say we are. After all of that is complete, then we will send all these documents to government offices to be authenticated. When that is complete, our agency looks everything over one last time, we pay them another large chunk of money, and they send our dossier to Kenya. The Kenyan adoption committee will look at everything and then either approve or reject us to adopt from their country. If they approve us, they will send our paperwork to a local adoption agency who will match us with a daughter (or two). They will mail us information and pictures of our child/ren. This is called the referral. We will approve the referral and then get clearance to travel to Kenya.

When we finally get to Kenya, we will establish a place to live and then meet with the Kenyan adoption agency that will help us on the Kenyan side. We will visit the orphanage several times to spend time with our child/ren, and then she/they will come to live with us in our Kenyan home. We will be their foster parents for three months. A Kenyan social worker will come to visit us at least once a month, and we will go back to the orphanage a few times. After the three month fostering period, they will decide if we can continue our adoption process. Then the court process begins.

As we understand it, we will have at least three court dates in Nairobi. They will only allow us to have one court date per month, so it will be at least three months of waiting, just for the court dates. It often takes longer than three months to complete the court process, but that’s another long story. When we finally have all the papers we need from the Kenyan government, we are almost done! We will deal with the US embassy to get passports and visas, then we can come back to the good ‘ol USA with our ladies. After we get back, there is more paperwork and more finalizing things here in America, but the hardest parts will be over.

It’s quite a long and complicated process to adopt from Kenya, but it is actually possible. There are many African countries that are completely closed for adoption. Bringing home our Kenyan daughter(s) is going to be a challenge every step of the way, and we are excited to see God continue to move and provide for us all along this faith adventure. We need SO MANY things to happen that He HAS to come through for us. Soon we’ll post a list of miracles that we need, and we hope you will join us in praying for them specifically.

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growing up quickly

K is doing a few new things lately. It’s so fun to see her try and try to gain a new skill. She is crawling all over the place, and now she is pulling up on anything and everything. She’s starting to let go with one hand, and sometimes she will hold on with one hand and bend down to pick up a toy with the other hand. She loves climbing stairs (with me right behind her, of course), and she’s starting to really understand and enjoy rolling a ball back and forth. She just started saying “uh-oh” on her own at the right time. She’s been saying “mama” and “dada” for awhile, too. So fun! Her personality is starting to show a bit more, and she is one VERY determined girl. She also loves to give cuddles, and she’s starting to understand kisses and how to give them.

M is also really growing. She’s writing little stories and notes all the time on her own, and she’s learning to add a lot of details to her writing and drawing. She is just loving school, and I got to see her in her element yesterday when I was able to help out in her classroom. She just soaks up everything and comes home telling us about all she is learning.

There are a couple of new things with our adoption plans, but I will save that for another day when I have a bit more time to write. We have our last appointment early tomorrow morning, and then we just wait for our paperwork. Things are progressing well.

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