I'm a married mother of "3 1/2" ;) and the loves of my life are my faith and my family. I've grown in my faith over the last two years since my daughter's adoption, she is the reason why I started this blog in the first place, and I'm so looking forward to watching God move in my heart, and the hearts of others who follow along on our journey towards bringing home one of "the least of these". Special needs adoption is my mission field, whether I'm adopting a child myself, or helping other families get funded, or shouting for waiting children who need families to find them, and I hope you'll come along for the ride and watch what God can accomplish when we say yes to His command to care for the orphan, and go out into the world to be His hands and feet.

Apparent Project Fundraiser

Apparent Project Fundraiser

Hello :)

Hello :)

My Better Half

My Better Half

The Crew

The Crew

The New Guy

The New Guy

Before Adoption

Before Adoption

Two Years After Adoption

Two Years After Adoption

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An adoption, in pictures...

I've been accused of not putting enough pictures on my blog...which is true...I guess I'm lazy like that...so I'm going to attempt to tell our adoption story, up until now...in photos. Enjoy. :)

this is the picture that started it all <3

We inquired about Xenia in mid-December, we filled out commitment papers through Reece's Rainbow, found a homestudy agency and made an appointment, and drove all the way to Chicago to get birth certificates and copies of our marriage license all before Christmas.

While we were there...we applied for our passports!

Then a few weeks later...

One step closer!!

Finally our homestudy date came!

 It went off without a hitch, maybe because we fed the social worker...

Fast forward a few weeks, and we have a completed homestudy in hand! It's time to start paying some people! Here is a pic of our fee schedule.
You probably can't read that...but take my word for it, international adoption is pricey! We needed some money! So, we did some fundraisers! We had a Maggie Moo's scoop night that raised $360 including donations! 

We called the local paper and asked them to help promote our fundraiser, and we made the cover of the paper!

We sold candy bars, well...Dylan sold candy bars, and made $74!!!

We sold wrist bands that say "Love Conquers All" (our blog name) and made $750!!

While we were fundraising, people were also generously donating to our FSP/chip-in and also I was making and selling hairbows and other crafty stuff. We made over $1,000 at our local flea market over the course of 2 months thanks to the amazingly sweet manager donating a slot to us!

I also need to give a shout out to the lovely Adeye Salem for hosting a giveaway on her webpage www.nogreaterjoymom.com that featured our princess. We received around $400 in donations because of the exposure Adeye's page brought, PLUS my awesome cousin donated through the page and ended up winning one of the prizes! A $250 visa gift card which she donated to us!!! We used the card to buy all the supplies for the bows I make, so between the $1,000 I've made at the flea markets and the nearly $1000 I've made off of our facebook page and other sales...that $250 has put about $2000 into Kenzi's adoption fund! Whoo hoo!

So, back to the paperwork...while doing ALL these fundraisers, we were paper chasing something fierce as well!

USCIS application: $890 (including fingerprints)

Completed Adoption Training: $120

Then the real fun started: completing our preliminary dossier!! It was actually really easy to be honest, we had to send our home study, and some photos of our home, neighborhood, and family...so it gave us an excuse to FINALLY get some quality family photos! (Thanks Amber!)

along with the photos and homestudy, we had to fill out, sign, notarize, certify, and apostille a ton of stuff. Have you ever seen an apostilled document? I'm sure these, like my kids, are extremely over photographed...but these are the best shots. :) This is what 5 months of blood, sweat, tears, fears, and sleepless nights looks like:

And then you're forced to put what you feel like is your entire life into a little FedEx envelope and send it away. Without signature confirmation. You think that this is the scariest feeling in the world. But then weeks later you're forced to mail your passports to a stranger and all you can do is hope that they get there safely, then get back to you safely, with correct visas in them. Oy vey.

So, now we wait!!! Our FedEx package arrives safely at our agency (woot!), then it arrives safely in our kiddo's country (double woot!!), it's translated, it's submitted and then....we get travel dates!!!

Then everything is a blur...because it's so recent, and so fast, and so problematic...I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures that might get the point across! The reason why things are nuts is, in my opinion, the number of people involved! You have to contact this person to release your funds, that person to book your plane tickets, that other person to get your visas, your family who will watch your kids, your family who will keep an eye on your house, your agency, your social worker because she forgot to send you something, your bank so they don't think your debit card has been stolen when it's used in 3 countries in 10 days, your other bank to order foreign currency, yet ANOTHER bank to get new or like new bills, your phone provider so your phone will work in country, and the list goes on, and on...

And then there is packing. And list making. And chaos. 

 This is the notebook where the lists live

 This is the wallet where money used to live

 This is the checkbook that wrote around $10,000 in checks, so far. Yes I know I'm like a 12 year old with my Hello Kitty checks but I bet I'm also the only person who has paid for an international adoption with Hello Kitty checks which makes me awesome.

and this...this is the money that did not make the "like new" cut upon further inspection, and is currently on it's way back to the bank with my husband for a swap out. :)

Oh! and there is the matter of gifts and donations...these two things are the ONLY things in our checked bag. We want to hook the kiddos up as much as possible! Now, for a look inside the bag!

 The toys we're bringing for Kenzi to play with, we'll be leaving them at the orphanage for all the kids when we leave.

 The toy I bought specifically for Kenzi, because it's a Mama owl hugging her baby owl <3 She also has a blanket that is specifically for her and an owl taggy blankie that my dear friend Karly made for Kenzi-her first hand made gift. <3 The owl toy and the owl taggy are going to come home with us, we'll take them back when we have our court date, maybe Kenzi will remember them!

 We're making a gift basket for the orphanage workers. We were told that everyone loves Starbucks coffee, American chocolate, and they don't have peanut butter but they love it! They also really like tea, so we're putting a little bit of everything in the basket for them.

 For individual gifts, they're about the same, just on a smaller scale. One has chocolate and coffee...

 The other has chocolate and tea

 We're bringing lots of medicine and first aid stuff this trip

 I found mitten clips on clearance for $0.50 each so I bought them all...there are about 40 sets in this bag LOL...winter will be here before we know it! I'm going to look around for children's mittens to go with them too if I have time!

 Lots and lots of vitamins!

 This is the photo book we're bringing Kenzi. It is filled with pictures of our family, our house, our neighborhood, etc.

and last but not least...this is the photo book I had made for our MOE appointment. I want to leave this one with Kenzi because it's nicer, but I also want to make sure we get it back so she can keep it forever...so it probably isn't safe to leave it. :( I made sure all the same pictures are in her book though. :)

So there you have it! Our adoption in a photographic nutshell...so far! I don't know if I'll have time to blog again before we leave, but I will DEFINITELY post pictures of the princess while we're there!

Please pray for us to have safe travels. We are surprisingly calm about the trip, I'm not the least bit scared, which is weird for me because I'm scared of everything... :) I hate to fly but I'll deal with it...and our boys are beside themselves excited about getting away from us and spending time in Chicago with Nana so that helps a lot...knowing they don't care that we're leaving! LOL

Bye for now!! 


1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm so excited for you! You summed it up nicely :)Makes me so excited for the journey ahead!