Monday, May 30, 2011

Update - sort of

we did hear back about the little girl in Oleksandra's country - not sure when her release date is & if we would be starting from square one - waiting on that info.  She is a very cute little girl, she has lots of challenges but we feel confident that we could meet them.

Also praying about other options. 

Her country is still a difficult program - feeling so indecisive - please pray God just opens a door WIDE open for us and makes it easy. I know that sounds lame, but that is kinda what we feel we need right now.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

*sigh* rambling update - not really an update on anything except my thoughts really....

So - we are doing our best to be patient.

We have asked about another child in Oleksandra's country - we only know that she will not be released for international adoption until at least August & our paperwork would need to be redone (not all of it - but a lot)

Her medical condition was extremely vague - getting more info has not been easy - we have heard nothing.

We are trying to be patient, with all the upset in her country I am sure there are lots of families keeping the whole RR team very busy.

We are starting to look elsewhere - other countries - we know we will adopt a special needs girl someday - seriously not sure where - it really has only been a few weeks since we heard that Oleksandra had been adopted.

May 4th exactly - it seriously boggles my mind still.  We knew it was legally possible, but I just can't fully wrap my head around it.  I think we will always miss her - I don't know if that is appropriate, but I will.  My heart hopes some day to meet her in heaven, and I don't mean that in a trite way, I honestly mean it.  We seriously loved that little girl.  We know we will never meet her on Earth.  I will continue to pray for her, and I really do look forward to the opportunity of someday meeting her - how awesome would that be?!

I try to remind myself that beautiful girl has been loved and cherished by her family, being jealous of her family has subsided somewhat - but I am still a little jealous.

Please pray for our adoption process - we would like to hear back about this little girl we asked about in Oleksandra's country, we've also asked about (and had info sent over) about a BEAUTIFUL little girl in Tawain.

We want more than anything to support RR - we have prayed for & supported this organization in some way since we found it just a few months after we adopted our son (over 3 years ago) - it has literally been our dream.

Anyway - sorry for the rambling, I just hadn't updated in a while and thought I should.

Please pray for our adoption process -we know God has called us to adopt a special needs orphan...just trying to figure out where she is from.  Please pray for us as we continue to mourn 'Claire'.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Silver lining.........

A few days ago the country we planned to adopt Oleksandra from signed a law saying that children under the age of five could not be adopted by foreigners unless they had one of only a few very specific special needs.

Oleksandra's special need was not listed.  This is absolutely no way we would have made it to her before this law was passed.

This is heartbreaking news for several of our friends still in the process and we pray that they are able to be grandfathered in - although I haven't heard if this will happen.... if you enjoy prayer please pray for these families and these children.

When I heard this news I did sigh a HUGE sigh of completely selfish relief.  As terrible as it is that 'our' Oleksandra was adopted by another couple, we cannot imagine the sadness of knowing she would still be there in an orphanage & then an institution with our hands tied.  All we know is someone jumped through all the hoops we did and just got there first - AND went 'blind referral' - which is a HUGE leap of faith.  Nobody does that without investing a lot of love. 

Overall the new is bad, but in our personal case, I was so happy to know this little girl we worked so hard to bring home to our family for more than 6 months, and who we had been praying for for nearly a year IS NOT AN ORPHAN.  At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.  We are sad, but we thank God she was not left behind.

'Our' little girl was saved, but I ask everyone to keep praying for the tens of thousands of orphans in her country.  Please pray for stability, and that this law will perhaps become more open to allow other children to be adopted as well.


Monday, May 16, 2011

I hate to admit it....but Michael Buble has a point.

So I know this is gonna offend a couple readers - but I REALLY do not like Michael Buble.  I just think he is cheesy.  Don't try to change my mind - I'm really set in this opinion.

That being said....

This morning I was listening to my beloved 'Jeff & Jer' on the radio.  I have been listening to this duo literally since middle school and they make me happy.  What does not make me happy - they are on KyXy - a station they used to make fun of, and that I make fun of. Again, no offense to those who listen to KyXy.

Well, I pretty much know how to time the commercials and the music (so I don't have to listen to them) and I flipped the channel at 'last lame song before Jeff & Jer should be back' time.

Wouldn't you know it - Michael McCheesy comes on - ugh!  Well, I already knew the other station I was flipping between was on a commercial and I knew Jeff and Jer would be back at the end of McCheesy's lameness, so I actually kept the song on.

So, I guess I am in that stage of our issue where every song on the radio is about our situation.

Here's a YouTube video of 'Just Haven't Met You Yet'  with lyrics - and as much as I hate to say it  - Michael Buble made me feel better today. 

Just goes to show you - God can use all kinds of tools ;)

We've been knocked down a couple times, closed doors, unopened doors, doors that looked one way & ended up being another - UGH!  We are confused, but we know 'it'll all work out.'

I know that our confusion is shared by some other RR families or just other adoptive families, maybe this makes you feel better too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

No news.....but we are trying!

I am sorry to report we have no news yet.  We have asked about another little girl listed in Oleksandra's country - we of course would like to continue this journey there.

We've had a lot of closed doors - well, not closed doors I guess - just unanswered when we knocked.

Our 1st question is simply if she is available - we know now we cannot assume - so we asked for the facilitator to check.  They are very busy, and we are trying to be patient.

We have paperwork that is set to expire very soon and we would likely have to resubmit portions of our dossier....

Given the fact that during the 'back & forth' is when 'our' Oleksandra found herself in another family - we are hesitant to continue once that paperwork expires - we just see ourselves falling into the same sadness.

We have a couple other countries we are looking at.  I must admit - we are SO exhausted, emotionally and physically.  It is so hard to hear our kid's ask 'When are we going to find our little sister?'

Who knew it would be so difficult to adopt a 'hard to place' orphan =/

It is a worthy cause and we would do it again, and we will continue this journey, but it has been a rough week or so - it doesn't sound that long, but this past week has seemed to be painfully long and the 'what if's' and the 'what now?' is driving us insane.

We know God has a plan, and we know that we aren't promised easy roads all the time - we know we chose this particularly difficult road (adoption) - we just pray to find the end of the tunnel soon!!

We appreciate your prayers & support in the meantime!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kind of the worst day ever

So for some reason - today seemed worse than the day we heard 'our' Marissa was gone.

We've been hearing lots of well meaning friends say 'take your time to work through your loss' - which would be awesome - but we've put MONTHS into this 'process' and the paperwork is only current for a short period of time - all paperwork is emotionally and physically draining - and frankly costs money - 'taking our time' would be very costly in many ways....

'just picking another' is starting to look more complicated than ever - timing is terrible and because we aren't open to all special needs (please, please don't judge us - there are lots we are open to - but some we aren't) we have some more complications.  Our dossier apparently needs something changed and it will be expired on June 18th (it expires 6 months from the first date on an item - our first date was Dec 18th - a doctors appt) - I don't even know if the whole thing is expired or if we just need to update - I have no idea - anybody know??

We want to exhaust the options in that country - the problem is we don't seem to be getting a lot of options...

There are children in other countries - but the cost of changing countries (and that most countries are more expensive) really screws up our 'adoption fund' - most we simply can't afford.  Even if we could muster up the energy and emotion to jump through the hoops for another country - we simply can't afford it. 

The money aspect of it is a HUGE issue for us - we saved about 25% before we committed to 'Marissa' - we saved and worked extra during the process - but more than 25% was donated - we are SO thankful and humbled by so many family and friends that chose to help fund our adoption process - we want to honor that - but we are hitting so many hurdles.

Please pray we get some answers - that some doors open, that our heart's desire to adopt again, and to adopt a child with some medical special needs can come to fruition.  We are feeling very discouraged.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This is kinda random - but many of you know I have a business blog - we have a giveaway going on right now with Scentsy - there are THREE winners - they are going to mail the winners their prizes at no cost.

I was thinking this might be something people here would want to know - maybe you are fundraising - if you win - these are BEAUTIFUL and might make a nice raffle prize - also Crysta might be a great person to get ahold of for fundraising opportunities for your adoption.  I have seen many people do an 'online party' with proceeds going towards their adoption.

Just an idea - here is our original post

We have no news on our adoption - and we are not fundraising - I am just hoping to fill the space with some other opportunities.

Blessings to everyone!

Please donate to 'Gregory's' fund - for extra credit...adopt him!!!!

So 'our' little girl was not available - and that has caused a lot of curiousity & traffic on our blog - I thought I should use that to this little guy's advantage - THIS little boy is still available & my friend is his 5/5/5 Warrior - he is facing institution - likely this year.  We are fully funded for whatever we end up doing next - I know MANY RR blogs include their multiple fundraisers - we thankfully do not need to fundraise at this time -so I hope you will consider donating to Gregory.  The other day we had almost 500 visitors - if each person donated just $5 Gregory could have a fund of $2,500 towards his adoption - I know some of you cannot donate anything, I know some of you can donate more - please pray for & help this little boy if you can.

Check out this serious cuteness......

This handsome little guy is listed on Reece's Rainbow - he lives in the same country as our 'Claire' - his name is 'Gregory' - not really.  I am not sure his real name - Reece's Rainbow is an international photolisting that needs to protect the children listed - their real names are never listed for their own protection.  In any case - we know him as Gregory.

Gregory was born in August 2005 and has a mild heart murmur (no biggie right?) and HIV - but medically healthy. 

Did you know that children born with HIV have a life expectancy of only 6 years LESS than a child without HIV?! Can you believe that- it is TOTALLY true!!  Keep in mind that medical treatment for HIV continues to improve - it is very likely that this small gap will become even smaller as time goes on!

We have a very sweet new friend who has signed on to be Gregory's 'Orphan Warrior' thru Reece's Rainbow - meaning it is her goal to fundraise for him and also advocate for him - to ultimately help him find a home.  She is a great example to us all - even if you cannot adopt at this moment you can still help an orphan!  I know nothing would make her happier than to see him be committed to & then watch his coming home story.

We have been beyond blessed to be fully funded (as always - continue to pray for stability in Claire's country and also for plane tix to not get too crazy expensive!) so when I don't have any news to report I will shamelessly plug other kid's causes. 

I hope you will consider the following options...

1) SHARE Gregory's cuteness with your friends! (there is a 'share' button at the bottom of his profile)

2) Donate to his fund - what if everyone donates $5 - that is doable right??? Can you donate more? Please do! Keep in mind statistically the kids with the largest grants get committed to first - please know you are truly making a difference considering him.

3) Commit to adopt him!! Are you considering adoption? Why not Gregory?!

Want an extra incentive to donate to Mr. Gregory?  If you donate ANY AMOUNT of $5 or more please email me at SanDiegoDealsandSteals 'at' gmail 'dot' com and we will email you a SUPER cute downloadable coloring book drawn by Harry (you may remember we used this as a fundraiser for our adoption before)

Want extra incentive - how about some good old fashioned peer pressure?

Cool people help orphans.  Nerds don't.

Just kidding.

Not really.

Donate to Gregory...because you are cool.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Oleksandra Claire was our inspiration...

So I guess because she is no longer a ward of the state I can use her real name.  Because we still might go to her country, I'm still not gonna mention that on a public forum.

Over a year ago we saw a picture of a little girl on Reeces Rainbow with the code name 'Marissa' and it was a huge turning point in our lives.

We were seriously considering adopting a little girl through a private adoption here in the States.  We had ALWAYS said that we had two healthy 'perfect' children already and if we were blessed enough to adopt again we would adopt a child who was harder to place.  We had discussed a toddler with some kind of medical special need.  Well, through a friend we were put in touch with a very nice young woman who had made the decision to put up her little girl for adoption and we got a little distracted from our original plan.

I saw Marissa's picture and everything changed.  It hit me HARD that if we adopted this infant (who I knew I could help find an amazing family) we would very likely not be able to adopt a special needs 'older' child. Our plan at that time was not exactly to adopt Marissa, but we both felt that was a turning point for us.

Fast forward - through a lot of details.....

In October 2010 we committed to 'Marissa' - we found out her real name was Oleksandra - which we thought was super cute.  We called her 'Oleksandra Claire', and 'Ollie' - since the kids had a hard time saying 'Oleksandra' - we called her 'Claire' on this blog because we were not allowed to call her by her given name until she was not an orphan any more.

October, November, December, January, February....

February she became internationally available and we were told to hurry our dossier over to her country.

Delay, delay, delay - and on May 4th our dossier made it to her country.  Her file was no longer available.  The VERY unlikely event had happened - she was adopted by another family sometime between February and May 4th.

We don't know the family - we had no legal ties to her at all.  We spent months worrying, praying, and loving her even though we had never met her - and it is hard for us to wrap our heads and hearts around the fact that we never (in this lifetime) will. 

We have had all kinds of response to this - mostly friends who are heartbroken with us, we've heard from friends who have suffered through miscarriages and infant loss who know a similar pain.  Friends who have lost referrals and even with a new referral they still wonder about that child they loved for so long.  We've heard the always annoying 'You'll get a new one' - we know this is out of ignorance and not meant to hurt, but it does.  We've had several ask about the money...many people donated to our fund so it is a fair question, but it's frustrating to hear.  We've had plenty of friends and family that have never reached out during the entire process because they thought it was dumb.  Their silence still leads us to believe we are the victims of our own bad decisions - that we could have avoided it without taking the risk - we think the risk was worth taking.

It is a VERY unique feeling.  We had hopes, dreams, prayers, and love for this child for months.  Similar to loving a child in your womb, but very different - because we loved her when we had NO grasp on her - we loved her & worried for her as she lived in a baby house thousands of miles away.  Not that you can't have something go wrong when you are pregnant - but it is true vulnerability to take on the task of loving a child you are months from ever being able to kiss goodnight, not knowing what othes are doing to her in that time.  We will never be her parents, which I guess is comparable to a miscarriage or infant loss, but not really - because she lives on.  She just has other parents.  We are happy she is no longer an orphan, but we are deeply jealous of the family who made it to her before us.  We then feel guilty for being jealous of these people who jumped through every hoop we jumped through, who had no idea who we were or that she was unofficially on hold for us.  We feel guilty that we REALLY want her - because we know we will ultimately adopt again and we will love that child, and if we hadn't lost Oleksandra we would never meet whoever is truly destined for our family.

It's complicated.  I hope this sheds some light.

We plan on keeping this blog to document our journey - but we will add one level of complication to it all for the reader - no matter what we end up doing - we will not be naming a child 'Claire' or middle name 'Claire' - we love that name - but it is her name (in our hearts anyway).

We are thankful for her soulful little eyes that reminded us at a very important time that we were meant to adopt a hard to place child.  We can only assume she is a great treasure to her new family, and while it will always be a little wounded from this turn of events, we accept what is done is done and was always part of the plan.

Please pray for her new family and that they are just as blessed as can be.  Please pray for us, that in the 'rear view mirror' we can see that 'God blessed the broken road....'


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some have asked about's safe

I know that some have asked about money.  I am guessing even more are wondering but don't know if it is right to ask.  We had a lot of donations and it is totally ok to wonder.

Here's the breakdown.  Everything in our 'family grant fund' ($3333.97) was (and still is) OUR family grant - it can be applied to an adoption of any child on the Reece's Rainbow site.  From what I understand from the email we got - her 'waiting child' grant will also be able to be applied ($545) to a child we adopt from RR - since she is no longer available and was not adopted from a RR family.

We have already submitted our dossier to one particular country - and we would loose $$ if we chose to change countries.

While there are literally hundreds of children on the RR site in the same country as Claire, we aren't open to every child - one thing that makes it difficult is that we specifically requested a girl under 3 (highest request) and while we were open to physical disabilities - we requested 'Marissa' because she was 'congnitively normal' - we aren't sure if we are willing to go outside of our comfort zone there....

We can also go 'blind referral' and still apply that $$ towards our adoption - RR has said that is not a great choice as it leaves a lot of unknowns.  We don't know what to do just yet.

Also - most of the money we had donated and saved from my little side job, craft fairs, etc has gone into a special 'adoption fund' account at our bank & it will be applied towards an adoption.

Anyway - that might be more info than many needed - but I know so many people contributed to this process financially & they are totally entitled to know. 

Bottom line - if we adopt in the same country & through RR - we literally do not loose anything.  If we adopt in a different country but through RR, we loose some.

If we scrap our whole RR journey - the money donated to our family grant will be applied towards another waiting child so it will still go towards a special needs orphan and we still have a substantial account to 'start all over' if necessary.

I hope that answers some questions.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Marissa has been adopted"

We got an email from our coordinator in 'Claire's' country that our dossier made it.

'Marissa' (Claire)'s file was no longer available.

She was either adopted by a family in her country or someone could have gone blind referral.

Josie was in the room when Harry read the email out loud.

She said 'So Claire is not my sister?'

'No baby, I'm sorry, she isn't'


"But we'll get another one right?'

"yeah, honey, but we don't know what is going on just yet."

"But God knows Mommy, Claire is somebody elses sister, we just need to find ours, God knows where she is."

That was a blessing to hear from my little girl.

Still hurts very, very much.

We don't really want a lot of questions - as we have a lot ourselves and feel very overwhelmed - heartbroken, sad, and we just exhausted - still we do not believe God makes mistakes....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dossier update

Ok - so here is where we are at - HOME STRETCH!

Our coordinator says that our Dossier will be translated as soon as it gets to the county where Claire is. 

It should be there on Thursday.  The Dossier will need to be translated - we have confirmed that ALL other Dossiers from RR have been translated & our team is actually just waiting for ours to get there - they said it normally takes about 2 weeks to translate but that they are expediting (not sure how much faster that means - but everyone gets that we are down to the wire) - still probably a week or so.

Once dossiers are submitted you usually get court/travel dates 2 weeks after.

For those doing math - yes, you are right - we are down to the wire.  There is nothing we can do to speed the process up - we hope & pray that everything that can be expedited is and that nothing else gets lots or misplaces (like before - ugh!)

We still do not know what exactly is happening after June 12th - we know that the country will still be accepting Dossiers up until that date - so we hare hopeful that means they will 'grandfather' those of us in process through.

That being said - our Dossier MUST be accepted by June 12th - we have every reason to believe it will be - but please pray for no more delays and just that everything goes according to 'best case scenario'

We'll keep you posted!