Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adoption In Perspective

     So as you may have noticed, I am switching all our blogs to here instead of the site we have been using for this entire process thus far (www.helpabeandmarissaadopt.webstarts.com). I thought maybe I would be able to do more with this blog and make the layout more interesting; I've since realized that I am not that talented haha :)



     It's been a long couple of months. I can tell that I am going into "mother mode" because I have been a lot more emotional than usual. We went to PetSmart to buy a bone for JD and is was Saturday, so there were cages and cages of puppies for sale. They were so adorable and little and I started bawling in the store. All I could think were, "No one wants the babies!!!!" I was truly upset for the puppies (they were SO sad.....if we had owned a house, we would have been +2 more dogs.....) and I was that much more aware of the fact that my kids are out there, somewhere, and it's possible that no one wants THEM. That there is no one who cares for them. Are they safe? Do they have shelter and food? Can they communicate with anyone? Are they LOVED??? My children aren't babies....they are old enough to understand being abandoned. And I want to shield them from that and I can't. It may scar them forever. And I am helpless, halfway across the world, without a clue as to who they are.

     This whole crying thing has been happening more and more often. It usually hurts now to see other little brown babies. I started crying in Wegmans last week because there was a precious brown toddler in a shopping cart with his mom and I wanted my kids so badly that I just started crying. It's hard to describe the feeling; other adoptive mothers have used the analogy of having a miscarriage. You think you will have these children by a specific time and you're so excited and fight to make it to that day and then it doesn't happen. You are let down again and again. And you miss that little person who has your heart but is absent in reality. The pain is numbing.

     The other day I was at work and went to cross off another square in my calendar. My friend gave me a calendar last year at Christmas and every day since I have crossed off each little box that represents 24 more hours that I have waited. My thinking was that every day I could look at it and see how much closer I was to my brown babies. Every "X" was one more day that I had beaten and could look forward to their coming home. This week I looked at the hundreds of "X"'s I have made this year and realized our adoption homecoming doesn't seem a day closer. Ten pages all crossed off and we haven't heard a single new concrete fact about our adoption process. Our homestudy paperwork is expiring and we haven't gone anywhere. In a YEAR. It's depressing beyond words.


     I redid all our paperwork for our homestudy the past two weeks. We needed to basically do everything again and filled out a ton of forms and went to the doctors and got proof of employment, etc. I mailed the paperwork and a check yesterday. We are waiting to hear from our social worker about scheduling our visit.


      Today was great because we got to go see Paige and Anthony and all the kids. Seeing their children helps remind us that this is WORTH IT, and that it WILL happen. I don't know what we would do without Paige and Anthony. They are such an encouragement and Paige lets me freak out whenever I need to and always understands. And she is always willing to loan her kids to me :) Love that family :)


      So the moral of this post is that adoption is not rosy. It isn't easy and it isn't quick. It isn't something to be taken lightly and it isn't something you can THINK you want. It is hard and dirty and you fight tooth and nail. And it is beautiful and amazing and the reward in incredible.


I can't wait to know what my children look like.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not What I Planned......

Friday, September 30th, 2011

This adoption is not what I planned.



My name is Marissa. I'm 5'7. I'm Latina and obsessed with all things Irish and music. I'm a fighter. I'm independent, rebellious, proud, and I love to be in control.



You know it's bad when your mother writes a letter to you when you are age 2 and bemoans your stubbornness and independence and rebellion and says "I pray this doesn't get you into trouble when you are older". Such a letter may or may not exist in my baby box.



Back to the being in control.


I love it. I feel like I always know best. I always have a plan and know exactly where I am going. And that is why this adoption is making me lose my mind. Because it is out of my control. And it is NOT what I planned.


This whole adoption I had planned a certain way: I wanted Hispanic children who were very young and I wanted a boy and a girl. Kids with as little issues as possible. How hard could that be? After all, I am paying and working my tail off to do this. Of course I can pick what I want and everything will turn out fine.


Well it isn't.


God is flipping this whole thing around and showing me how selfish I really am. I was willing to adopt, but under my terms, my rules. I said young, Hispanic, boy and girl, no issues. Now we are getting older black children, possibly with serious issues (how can any child NOT have issues in these situations?).


But who else will ever love these children? They have NO ONE. How ridiculously selfish I am. This whole process is not about what I want but about what GOD wants and what our future kids NEED.


God didn't reject me because I have issues. Go didn't reject you because of your issues. Instead, He lovingly welcomed us into His arms for eternity, no strings attached. Who am I to judge and tell God that I am willing to follow Him if He does things "my way"?


So I am giving up on everything that I thought I had already surrendered on. I am giving up control (which I never had in the first place) and am ready for whatever God throws my way. Which of course, whatever happens will be fine because He is God and He is orchestrating everything. I just need to stop trying to tell Him what to do, or who my kids are.


So yeah. That's my philosophy for the day.


I'm out of control.




P.S. Still fighting like a wildcat though. Abe called me a Mama Bear. Like Carla from Scrubs though, I prefer "Lioness." (For those of you who don't know this, Abe and I LOVE Scrubs. We can recite all 8 seasons line for line haha.) ROARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 


Another Resource!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Just thought I would post another website that I found that may be helpful if you are trying to learn some sign. One of my old classmates from UNHM is the girl on this site and she is on YouTube as well:

http://teachmesignlanguage.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/teachmesignlanguage


Good luck! :)

Worried About How To Communicate With Our Kids???

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I'm guessing more than a few of you are wondering or worrying how you will communicate with our kids. It's a big deal....having deaf children will change the dynamics of everything. I can't tell you what it means to me and Abe that so many of you are interested and excited to try and learn some sign language. With that in mind, I thought of something that might help! :)


http://www.youtube.com/user/SignLanguageBasics


I made a YouTube channel. My channel/user name is "SignLanguageBasics". I'm going to be posting lots of videos with how to sign specific things. You can make requests too! That way, if you can't afford or find a sign language class, or want to know what specific signs that we will be using with the kids, you can practice right from home! :) So get ready!!! I already have the ABC's up! :) Future topics include colors, family and home signs, weather, food signs, numbers, and random mixes.


I am really excited about this. Praise God for the internet haha! :) Happy Learning!!! :)

No Referral For This Summer.......

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

So last week I decided that even though I had promised myself that I would only contact our family coordinator on a absolute (not a "want to") need to basis, I decided that learning whether or not we would be getting a referral this summer was a NEED. I needed to be put out of my mental agony. I NEEDED to be able to mentally prepare myself for more waiting. I NEEDED to know. So I emailed. (This is only the 3rd time, mind you! :))


She said that we wouldn't be getting a referral this summer.


Crushing news. Devastating. Heartbreaking. Infuriating.


I cried a little. Not simply because there will be no referral for us this month, and that Ethiopian courts close from August to October. But because our precious babies are somewhere out there, wandering around, and we can't get to them. We can't protect them or care for them. My KIDS are on the other side of the world and I am helpless. It's a terrible feeling.


Are they in the Almighty hand of God? Yes. Do I absolutely trust and know He has a plan, knows what's best and is in control? Yes. Is my heart still breaking for my children? Yes.


So here we are again. The same thing we have been telling people for 18 months. We're waiting. First it was paperwork. Then the US government. And now the Ethiopian government and our agency. We are waiting. 90 days of complete standstill.


Lots of people are asking why. Why it takes so long. Why we are always waiting. I honestly don't know. A lot of it has to do with government paperwork. With the governments themselves. With all the background checks and investigations that must be done on each child to make sure that they are truly orphans or in desperate need of a loving family who can provide for them. They aren't simply handing out children to anyone who will accept them. They are carefully processing each child and family to be sure that this match is forever. And that's okay with us. In fact, it's wonderful that they care. This is how it should be. But we are still waiting.


Be back in October ;) Keep praying for our precious kids! Thanks for all your support thus far....we are praying for you too! <3

It's been 3 months since my last post?!?!?!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


Holy cow! It's been 3 months since my last post?!?!? Where has time gone and yet why is it still dragging????? Hahahah :) I keep telling Abe that we are going to wake up tomorrow and be 90 years old. Time is flying by in LIFE but crawling in the adoption.


Let's see, what has happened since the last time I posted....well, mainly, Abe graduated (yayaya!!!) and my family came up to visit for that whole week which was awesome. We had a blast hanging out with them. I had June off from interpreting (minus VRS) and now am working July again and then have August off. Abe's birthday is next weekend and we had our adoption fundraiser movie night which went great!


The fundraiser movie night was awesome. Justin and Lyndsay were so awesome, and did so much for us. We had merchandise to sell donated by the Alleca clan and the church let us use their popcorn machine. And Amy bought me a bag showing adoption support and the proceeds went to Ethiopia! Dawn and Sarah made goody bags and held a raffle. Lisa, Lyndsay, Jacqui, Kerrie, Melissa and I baked desserts to sell. Ryan, Kasey, and Aaron directed traffic and parking. Shari ran the popcorn machine (we really lucked out there because even after hours of research, I felt clueless with that haha!) Everyone was SO amazing and helpful and supportive. It was the best feeling in the world to have you guys show us how much you care about us and our kids!!!! &lt;3 We had about 50 people total (including kids) show up, which wasn't as many as we had hoped, but nonetheless amazing. We watched &quot;Up&quot; on the huge 14x8' outdoor screen and showed our adoption video that I put together (Abe did a little presentation), using pictures from other families who have brought their children home from Ethiopia. We had people donating $$$ weeks before the event and made over $500 the night of, bringing the total to $1,200!!!!!! God is so good. It is so amazing to see His provision and His confirmation that we are doing the right thing.


Other than that, we are still hanging tight, waiting for the phone to ring. Ethiopian courts close August 7th because of the rainy season. Because Ethiopia is a 3rd world country, when it rains, it floods, and people can't get to work. Everything shuts down until October. Which means, if we don't get a referral this month, then the whole process will basically be suspended till October. So another 3 months of nothing. Hopefully God's plan is to give us a referral THIS month (that is my thrice daily prayer.....I mean, begging session! ;)) but it is in His hands and whatever His decision, we are okay with it.


All right, well, I hope I get to post about a referral before the month is out.....keep praying with us!!!!


Oh, P.S. we set up the kids' room (for the most part!)....somehow managed to rearrange our entire house to make the office into a bedroom. We moved our whole bedroom around and put another desk in there, threw out a desk, gave our elliptical away, rearranged and re-stuffed our storage area, and filled our closets to bursting. Now the kids' room is completely empty minus their bunk bed, twin bed, and two dressers. We hung two pictures (posters actually, I bought some awesome photographs from an RIT student) and a huge picture frame to be filled with photos of our family and friends. We plan on buying mattresses during the Labor Day sales. So yeah, the kids' room looks great! AND we got two Ethiopian stickers and put them on our cars. They are in the shape of Africa, say "Ethiopia" and have a heart cut-out where Ethiopia is. Yup. They're awesome. Now we match the Allecas!!! :)

Waiting for the phone to ring.....

Monday, April 4th, 2011

So we are stuck playing the waiting game again. This time, we are waiting for our phone to ring with the news that we have a referral (well, two referrals haha!). There are roughly 90 families on the waiting list for our agency for Ethiopia and we are somewhere around #79. HOWEVER, we are the only family requesting deaf children, which means if two children within out request specifications (deaf, 0-7, relatively healthy) show up in one of our agency's orphanages, or if the in-country (Ethiopian) staff finds out about deaf children in another orphanage, then we can go ahead and proceed with our adoption. Which would be AMAZING. Of course, the key is waiting patiently until God shows us who our children are. Which is wayyyyyy easier said than done.


On Saturday morning I went to our agency's local support group where I met about 10 people who have all adopted through AWAA. Most of them went through the China program, although beside's Paige and Anthony, there was one other Ethiopian family. It was great to meet them all and see all their precious children, but it sure made me wish my kids were already here and could have played with the other children! Seeing other families' kids can be torture because it is so amazing to see them but at the same time it is torture because you want your own sooooooooo badly.


Right now I am focusing on our Movie Night Fundraiser (for more info, email me at signingchick08@hotmail.com or check out my Facebook for more details!). I can't believe we are already into April and I really need to start selling tickets. We are watching "UP" on a huge 14'x8' screen at a dear friend's house, and tickets are $5. There will be concessions available as well. A donation bucket will also be set up, or people can feel free to donate online here through our PayPal. The plan is for the movie to start at 9pm. Abe and I will say a few words about our process and where we are and then we will show a brief video with pictures and statistics from Ethiopia. Then we will watch the video. I am really excited about this, not only because it will help us get one step closer to bringing our precious kids home, but because it will be an awesome time of fellowship and encouragement with our friends.


Overall, we are about 1/2 way to paying off our adoption, which is incredible. Abe is working full time and his entire paycheck is being put towards our adoption and I basically work 4am-10pm Monday-Thursday (sometimes 6am-10pm) and 4am-noon Friday. This is almost my 3rd year of doing this, although before we couldn't save much money because Abe was still in school. I am constantly exhausted but the thought of our two precious kiddos and a lot of prayer throughout the day keeps me going. Hopefully summer will give me a more regular schedule and then in fall I go back to this insanity for one more quarter (fingers crossed!).


That's all the news so far.....please be in prayer for our children. We don't know who they are but we love them so much. We are praying for their safety and comfort as well as physical well being. We are also praying for a referral soon, so that we can at least know what they look like. :) That would be incredible. :)


Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for your support, and I hope I have more updates for you soon! <3

Troubles in Ethiopia with MOWA

Thursday, March 10th, 2011


So we have some news. I don't know how to label it. It seems terrible, but at the same time, for some reason (God of course), I have complete peace and am not worried at all. The news is that MOWA, the Women and Children's Ministry of Affairs in Ethiopia is trying to restructure their letter writing process regarding adoptions. They write about 50 letters a day, and from my understanding, have to write several per family. They are cutting back because they are afraid that there is child trafficking (parents being convinced to simply turn over their child when they could keep them) to satisfy the huge American waiting list for children. I don't consider this bad, because if it is true, then they are trying to protect the children and their families. The bad part is that MOWA is cutting back up to 90%. So from 50 letters a day to 5. This is devastating to the adoption community and seems to have almost everyone in a panic. Adoptions could be delayed (or not processed) interminably.





So why aren't Abe and I scared or worried at all?

Because God called us to this adoption. God has it in control. Everything is in His timing, and He will work things out according to His will. Why should we worry? No amount of worrying will help us or our kids. Instead, I place my worries and fears in the hands of the One who created the entire earth (I think He can deal with MOWA ;)). We have been praying every day and it's amazing. We have complete peace.



I heard an awesome quote on K-LOVE the other day (I don't have it exactly but this is basically what the guy said):

"We need to create some space for miracles. That's the space between you and God after you've done what you can. And that's where God comes in and works." -Matthew Barnette.

This is SO true! So we are making room for miracles. :)


Here are some links explaining more in depth what is happening, as well as a petition for adoptive parents and soon-to-be-parents to sign regarding this change in MOWA's policies.

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43714.html

http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia_alert.html


Hope you are all doing well, we love you!

Plans

Friday, February 25th, 2011

So. We have come to the wait, where we know nothing and can do nothing (except pray!). It's been two days and I am already going insane haha. So here's what I have been doing to keep my mind off everything and to prepare as much as possible.


#1. Lyndsay and I have been working on our Movie Fundraiser Night. There will be Facebook announcements, invites, emails, etc. I actually just finished writing in all the details on all 100 card invitations that Lyndsay was so awesome as to provide. :)

#2. Stalking Craigslist furniture. So far, we've bought two beds; both metal red frames; one a twin and one a bunk bed. Both were cheap and in great condition. Now on the look out for dressers/bureaus.

#3. Figuring out a rough daily schedule (yes, I am going way out here, since I know nothing about them and they may not be home for nine more months or so haha!) and a meal plan of sorts, as well as planning holiday stuff.

#4. I just ordered $77 worth of books on adoption and raising adopted children from Amazon....

#5. Starting a baby shower wish list, although that's on hold until we get a referral, because I have no idea what to ask for....

#6. Thinking about and reading up on bonding/attachment plans. Again, waiting to find out how old they are so I can think about that more in depth, but I am starting a binder with tips and ideas.

#7. Compiling my own packing list for ET from many lists provided by other adoptive families. There's so much to think about and to figure out for bringing over care packages and donations, etc.



Now that I am exhausted from thinking about all this, I am going back to watching a movie. Day #2 of vacation from job #1 ;)

DTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 18th, 2011

WE ARE DTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DOSSIER TO ETHIOPIA!!!!!!!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Andddddd we are exactly a year after our friends Paige and Anthony......they were DTE this day last year! AMAZING! Paige is my inspiration :)


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!! SOOOOOO excited!!!! Now we wait for referrals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How Great Is Our God!!!!

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

WE GOT OUR 171-H IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY! That's our USCIS approval! In other words, MY FINGERPRINTS PASSED!!! And we are approved by the government for two deaf children!!! GOD IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I was so worried, because I had been hearing and reading that the 171-H could take up to 90 days and then what would happen if I failed? And I have been checking the mailbox like a crazy person, holding my breath each time I open it and then being disappointed every time there was nothing from Homeland Security.


Yesterday I was out of work with the flu and feeling like crap and I asked Abe to check the mail. When he came back in, he was silent and I asked, "Did it come?" He didn't say anything and when I turned, there he was, holding a big envelope. I freaked out and took it, and then was too scared to open it because I was afraid it would say I failed. Abe was like, "Then I'll open it!" and I said, "No!" and grabbed it back and ripped it open. And there, in an astonishingly boring and very unofficial looking font, WAS OUR APPROVAL!


It came just TWO weeks and one day after we had our appointment. February 11th, 2011, what a special day you are! Abe was especially pleased, since 11 is his favorite number. :)


Needless to say, God is incredible and SO gracious. We only had to wait two weeks, and I PASSED, which was a huge concern. We are so thankful for that, and for not having to wait, and it was just an amazing answer to prayer.


Of course, we then spent several hours making sure everything was good to go for our dossier and then this morning we ran to BOA (who didn't have a notary there) and then to HSBC (who saved our lives haha!) where a wonderful lady patiently filled out all the necessary "Notarized Copies of Originals" that we needed. I couldn't stop talking like a crazy person or laughing; I was SO excited! :)


I went to the Post Office, stood in line for a year (okay, fine, like 20 minutes) and then at 11:08am, handed over the last 13 months of my life, all condensed into one envelope. I did NOT want to let those stupid folders go.....13 months of work and heartbreak and prayers......BUT I know it will arrive safely (and it is insured to high heaven!) and it is "guaranteed" to be at our agency Monday by 3pm. And then our family coordinator can go over it and make sure it is set to go. And then after that she will let us know that it is on its way to Ethiopia!!! PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

Alien? Vampire? What am I....???

Thursday, January 27th, 2010

Well, headline of the week: "Girl Without Scannable Fingerprints Detained At Immigration Services." Yes, that's right, USCIS couldn't get a scan of my prints. Abe's seemed fine, but mine, just like the other two times I have had it done, didn't work. The woman told me that I have lines running through my prints making them impossible to scan properly. I told her I wore them out fiddling haha. She saved the reject copies and told us to "cross our fingers." Instead, we promptly gave the matter to our Almighty God and asked him to secretly replace the rejects with the set of my prints that He has on file. ;) We will have to wait and see.....if I fail, I will have to go back and do it again. No big deal right? Except this appointment was $900. And it was in Buffalo. And another appointment and approval could take months. So we are praying like crazy that we pass and we have a massive prayer chain going on too. We decided we weren't going to worry about it (why add more stress) and we are on God's timeline anyway; He's got it and things will happen when they are supposed to. But we are still curious of course. Am I aan alien? Vampire? ________???? :)

USCIS APPOINTMENT!!!!

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

OMWORD!!! We got our USCIS appointment! I mailed the papers on Monday, January 3rd, and then on Saturday, January 14th, we got a letter saying our paperwork was in order and being processed and then we got our appointment letters today! Our appointment is for next week! Which means...........WE CAN SEND OUR DOSSIER AFTER THE APPROVAL!!!!! So basically, we go get printed, then wait hopefully about a week (maybe two) for approval and then we send our papers of to AWAA to doublecheck before they go to Ethiopia. So our dossier is going out in Feb. Which means we are almost on track. In my way of thinking. In God's way of thinking, we are exactly on track. But now I am happier haha, because our dossier was getting pushed till March and we really didn't want that! It was so frustrating! Now, basically, I think we can send it in Feb.!! I plan to spend any time this weekend when I am not at band making sure I have copies of all the dossiers and then make an appointment with our traveling notary. Then we send it! Along with about a LOT of $$$$. WOOT WOOT!!! Babies, here we come!!!!! :)





P.S. I would just like to add that I have THE BEST in-laws in the entire world. Not only are they amazing people, but Abe's Mom has been sending me some really great books to help us get ready for brown babies! One is on how to raise your internationally adopted child and one is about Ethiopian culture and religion. I know they are going to be super helpful to me as I read them and prepare, and now I don't have to go out and find them! Yayaya! Thanks Kent and Mom <3

Last Form Has Been Mailed!!!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Just one sentence:


Our I-600A has been mailed!!!




Okay, maybe a few more sentences! ;) Just roughly 8 more weeks for our fingerprinting appointment and approval and then we ship everything off to Ethiopia. I had an excitement attack today....similar to a panic attack I assume haha. I couldn't breathe at all, or stop SMILING! ALMOST THERE!!! :)

Ethiopia Stats Taken From Paige's Blog

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

So I thought I would post some stats from Paige's blog (she just came home with her precious babies!!!) that help explain why we are choosing Ethiopia. Lots of people have been asking, so here are just a few of a million reasons:





-1 in 10 children die before their 1st birthday



-1 in 6 children die before their 5th birthday



-60% of children are stunted by malnutrition



-The doctor to child ratio is 1 to 24,000



-Half of the children will never attend school



-Life expectancy is 45 yrs of age



-There are roughly 4.8 million orphans







As for news on the adoption front, we are quickly approaching 2011.....we received all the paperwork for Abe's job and are waiting on our final HS approval (because we had to make financial and insurance corrections now that Abe has a job) and then we are sending in our I-600A. We don't know how long that will take to process but it could be up to several months. Then we send in our dossier......come on US government! Let's get this show on the road! :)

On, pressing on! All my distress is going, going gone! :)

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Yayayayyyy, lots of news on the adoption front! :)



#1. Abe got a full time job! PRAISE THE LORD!!! We have been praying for a job since August and he accepted a job offer last week Tuesday, with Goulds! We are so thankful, because since he has already had 4 coops there, he will already know the routine, managers, expectations, etc., PLUS we don't have to move! He had taken an interview for Philly and we were thinking we would have to go out of state, but not anymore!!! We also received this offer just DAYS before we were supposed to finalize our homestudy, which would mean that we would be required to update our homestudy. This would cost hundreds of dollars. So that was a huge blessing to know before we finalized everything. It will take a little longer now for the finalization, as we have to collect more paperwork, but it is worth it because of the $$$$ saved :)


#2. We had our last homestudy visit today!!! YAYAYYY!!!


#3. Our dossier is basically done....just our I-600A (an application to bring a foreign child to the U.S. and a biometrics (fingerprint) appointment), finishing our family photos, waiting on some paperwork that is in the mail on the way to us, and getting something county and state certified. Piece of cake! I-600A could take a while, but once that is in, I am shipping our dossier off to AWAA. They can process and double check it, and then the plan is to send it to Ethiopia as soon as I hit the big 2-5! :-D


#4. We picked out names for our babies (no specific kids until the dossier is translated and a referral is sent from Ethiopia and accepted). Of course, I am just telling you to tantalize you. Ask me in person or text me if you just can't wait ;)




Okay, I am off to do more paperwork...........there's a light at the end of the tunnel!!! :)

Patience is a virtue.....

Tuesday, Oct 19th, 2010

Well.


We are going to be amazingly patient after all this!!! :) Things move SO slowly and often have to be repeated for no reason....it's incredibly frustrating and at the same time, I am learning even more to depend on God and to be patient. I've decided that I want to set up my own adoption agency, or some kind of agency to help me help other people through the adoption process, because no one should have to deal with all this. Actually, doing that isn't a half bad idea..... :)


We got our police reports done! I tried contacting the Rochester police department as well as another police department in the area and they had no idea what I was talking about and turned me down. So did several sheriffs. So after two weeks of pointless phone calls, I tried the Brighton police. They were amazing....the lady told me to just come on in any time I needed to....Abe and I went straight down and had the reports in a few hours. Yay! :)


I have most of the other dossier paperwork assembled except major things, such as our I-600A which I need to send out so we can get another fingerprinting appointment.....


Abe is almost done with this quarter and then he has one more class next quarter. He is looking for jobs and has some interviews next week. Pray he gets a full time job close by!!!


Okay, I'm exhausted haha....goodnight! :) Love you all <3

GOD IS AMAZING! And I am humbled.....

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

WOW, we serve an AWESOME GOD!!!! I can't believe how good He is and how incredible and merciful.


A few days ago, I was complaining to Abe about how hard this process is and how I feel like God should really be supporting us more....I felt a bit abandoned because we have had obstacle after obstacle and often it feels like it isn't worth the trouble. This is all a part of international adoption, as we know from communicating with hundreds of families who have completed the process, or are struggling through it with us, but it is still extremely discouraging. Anyway, I was saying how I felt like God should be making His presence known and how I wanted more support from Him that I could tangibly see. This was three or four days ago.


Fast forward to today. We received an unbelieveable finacial gift which completely covers our next major financial hurdle. We are SO humbled and thankful......there are no words to express what we are feeling. I think we are both still in shock. It was the most incredible miracle. The best part is, as close as we can figure, the check was signed/dated the same day I was complaining. Yes, I am ashamed.


It's so encouraging to know that God is still in control and leading us through what seems to be an impossible process!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!!! We have a homestudy visit (technically our first visit, although 99% of our homestudy paperwork is complete already) and then possibly another visit for Saturday. We can't wait! Of course, that means I will go insane trying to clean every INCH of the house, even though I know they aren't going to be scouring it on this visit. But still............


Love you all! Thank you for your prayers!!!!! <3
 

Hague Training

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

So, we just completed our Hague Training!!!! We are so happy it is over with :) It's great info, but since we have already been in this process for 5 months, it was like a realllllly long review of info we can practically recite by heart! But it is nice to be actually moving through the process, and the Hague training is just one small check off our never ending and ever growing list! Homestudy visits are next....

America World Adoption and Ethiopia

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

So.........after a long, LONG wait, we have almost completed the switch..........we are officially signed and accepted with AWAA and will be trying to adopt from Ethiopia. The whole Russian fiasco with the child who was sent back was out of control and there were too many changes to the laws, etc., and we were no longer qualified so we pulled out.

AWAA is the same agency my friend Tracy is adopting through (Ethiopia as well!) and we just received all the information for starting this process AGAIN! I feel very overwhelmed, but it's wonderful that AWAA is so encouraging. I'm almost never scared but I have to admit, right now I am.......it's such a huge, complicated, and unpredictable process. I don't know how we would make it without Jesus!

After we fill out all the starting paperwork, we will be assigned a social worker and an agent to work with for the Ethiopian process.........more details to follow ;) Love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support. It's incredible to have friends and family like you! <3

Itemized Cost of Adoption List

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

So lots of people have been asking about the cost of adoption. The most common questions are, "Why does adoption cost so much?" and "Where is all that money going?" We don't have the answer to why adoption is so expensive, but we CAN show you where all the money is going. Keep in mind this list is specific to our adoption process through Russia with the goal of bringing home TWO children. Other agencies and countries have varying costs, although the standard is $40,000 per child.



Our Adoption Fees


Application: $200

Registration: $500

Homestudy: $2,200

Post Placement: $2,800

Home Study Review: $450

Dossier: $4,800

Post Placement Admin Fee: $1,100

Notarization, Certification, and Apostille for documents: $1-50 per document. (We have 14 POUNDS of paperwork)

Immigration I-600A: $1,000

Invitation for Visa (3 trips): $1,000

Visa (for all 3 trips): $2,000

Russian Medical Examination of children: $600

Visa Fee at American Embassy in Moscow: $1,500

Registration for childrens' passports :$400

In country medicals: $2,000-4,000

Airfare (3 trips..us and the kids): $10,000

Foreign Program Fees: $14,000-$23,000 per child

Hotels/Food/Gas/Drivers/Interpreters/etc.(for 42 days): $15,000-20,000

Orphanage Donations: $2,000




*We COULD get lucky and have the low end estimates for these fees (these are the highest estimates).


CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Someone who came to our Benefit Concert at RIT put this up for us!




Hey guys and gals!

The t-shirt company I recently started working for, Live Offensively ( www.liveoffensively.com ), sells the shirt shown below; a beautiful picture of a little girl that says, "Adoption Begins a Love Story."

I got back from an AMAZING benefit concert tonight at RIT that was held to support a local (Rochester, NY) couple who are adopting two deaf children from outside the U.S. They go to Victory Baptist, for those of you who know that church.

I didn't find out about the concert far enough in advance to sell shirts at the event...

BUT...

If anyone here would like to support this cause and likes our adoption shirt, you can buy it from our site using this code, 1Penny4Dee, and you will get a WHOPPING $5.99 discount. I will receive only one penny and donate my $4.00 commission to this couple...

IF...

...When you get your shirt in the mail, you take a pic of yourself or someone else wearing it, and send it to me by May 1st! I will take the number of people I receive photos from, multiply that by $4.00, and donate that amount directly to the couple. I will get a receipt from them in case anyone wants to keep me accountable. :-)

The photos will allow me track (in a fun way) the number of my "Adoption" shirt sales (normally I only find out the total number of Live Offensively shirts that I sell).

I will treasure your photos for all of eternity... and use them for future marketing! (Unless you don't want me to. In that case, just say so when you send them.)

Photos can be emailed to me: melodystence@gmail.com
...or snail-mailed to me: Melody Stence, 1368 Howard Rd., Rochester, NY 14624

If you decide to add another shirt from Live Offensively to your shopping cart, the $5.99 discount will also apply to each additional shirt ordered, and you will get free shipping. Of course, then I would be getting more than one penny...

Remember: 1Penny4Dee by May 1!
www.liveoffensively.com

EAC

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Our agency is too cool--they put us on their web page so that people can make donations to us through THEIR website. :) I knew there was a reason they were special...and they keep proving it to us over and over. :)

http://www.firstgiving.com/ruper

God Provides :)

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Isn't it cool how if you are in God's will, the impossible things become possible? For example, the fact that we needed $3,600 for our home study and post placement fee.....and God provided it???? Crazyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Praise God! :) We should be setting up a visit with our social worker soon! Babies, here we come!!!! 

***Drum Roll***

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Sooooooooooo.............we went to an adoption seminar tonight with the agency we have been working with and with the woman who has been helping us, and...........

WE ARE GOING FOR RUSSIA!!!! :)


Guatemala is being delayed again and the children available are extremely limited in number and are all older. We went to the seminar tonight and our counselor basically told us that Guatemala would be a dangerous choice as the pilot program would be using us a guinea pigs, the children are few, and are older, and Guatemala has decided that instead of 4 agencies from each country, they will only be allowing 2.

While we were at the seminar, we met families who had adopted from Russia (oh my goodness their children were precious!!) and when people were talking about it, Abe and I just looked at each other and were like, okay, this is it. In the car we talked about it and realized that God had used Guatemala to connect us with EAC. He is opening and closing doors, and we are walking through them. :) We are completely at ease with the whole situation and are crazy excited!!! :) So, on Monday we will be sending in our paperwork for Russia. We are jumping off the edge! It's going to be an amazing experience :)


We are trying to think of more fundraisers and ways to make extra money. The bracelets are selling, but we need more people to buy them, as always. :) Once we get past a certain stage in the adoption process, we can apply for grants, but up to that point, we need to be able to pay, and we are trusting God to take us through this without adding debt. So far, between bracelets and selling items around the house, plus some extra shifts, we have about $1,200 to put towards our homestudy and other fees. Slowly but surely! :)


BUY A BRACELET!!!! :)


Baby Bracelets!

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The baby bracelets are in!!! We are selling them for $2 and all proceeds go to our adoption! :) FINALLY!!! I feel like we have been waiting forever to get them in! Abe is wearing one right now, but he has such huge wrists that I think it is cutting off his circulation..... :-p



We went and talked to our pastor today and he gave us some advice and thoughts, and we prayed. Yay for perfect peace from the Creator God! :) Can't wait to see how God brings all this together and leads us :) 



So God humbled me.....

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

So, quick story: I put one of my fiddles up for sale on craigslist.com, and as I posted it (Sunday night), I thought--subconsiously--no one is going to buy this.


God gave me a quick show of his power, and humbled me, because, even though I was subconsiously doubting God's power without realizing it, I was still doubting.

Monday morning I sold my fiddle. Full price. My old roommate was visiting and we were talking about the adoption process and I mentioned I was selling my fiddle. She bought it on the spot. INCREDIBLE.


Now I am waiting for God to bring along a buyer for my wedding dress........ :-D



How Did We Get So Lucky???

 Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Wow, I can't believe what awesome friends we have!!!! We have had soooo many people approach us and ask how they can support us....money, references, prayer, etc. It's crazy!!! We have churches asking for love offerings, and people at school helping with fundraisers--incredible friends who are helping us raise money.....and I just met someone and fiddled with them tonight, and they asked how they could help and then offered to do a fundraiser by combining our two bands for a show at a popular venue....how incredible!!! I was/am SO touched by peoples' willingness to help us, even when they don't KNOW us! This is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced---unconditional support and sacrifice. I can't believe I am so blessed!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Where We Are as of Feb. 13th, 2010



Sat, 13th February, 2010

Hi Everyone!

As of right now, we are playing the waiting game. We have filled out as much paperwork as we can....now we are on hold until we find out if Guatemala will be opening.

Guatemala has ten countries applying to be able to adopt, and the U.S. is one of them. Guatemala will pick five of these countries and then let 2-4 agencies from each country be allowed in. So IF Guatemala picks the U.S. and IF they pick our agency, then we can proceed. Guatemala is scheduled to open in March or April and announce their picks for the pilot program.

I went and got my passport picture and application taken care of on Wednesday....the picture is SLAMMIN'! :) Abe and I are also trying to sell everything of value that we don't need...cell phones, wedding dress, fiddles, etc. :)

We are going for counseling with both our pastor from church and the CCC pastor. We can't wait!

Praise God for His faithfulness and all the people who are so willing to support us. We have already been approached with various fundraising ideas and we are so excited to see how God provides! :)


Marissa <3