Sunday, January 29, 2012

This week's adoption update

I just thought I'd take the first part of this post to update you on where we are at in our adoption process. We received about $1800 in donations so far and were able to start our Home Study this week. This is huge and the very first step in our adoption process. We are so thankful that God provided the funds to get this started so quickly. It gives us hope that this really is going to happen and our son will be home with us soon.

We also had our Noonday Collection Trunk Show. We along with the Dewberry Family will each receive 10% of sales from that show. Although the show was on Friday night, Kristin is still holding the show open for orders until Sunday (tonight) night at 8pm. You can get details about that here.

Thank you to everyone who came or placed an order. Thank you Kristin for the Trunk Show. The products are really beautiful. You should check them out.

Our next big fundraiser is going to be this coming Friday, February 3rd from 6:30 - 8:30pm. It is at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church at 1288 Mt Pisgah Church Road Apex, NC 27523. Dinner will be available for $5 per person or $20 per family. If you live locally we would love it if you can come. If you can't come we will be taking bids online. I will have a dedicated blog post about this and all the auction details later.

God has been providing some really great auction items including 3rd row seats at a Carolina Hurricanes Hockey game and a bunch of restaurant & store gift cards and handcrafted gifts. There will something for everyone so don't miss this event. The auction benefits adoptions by 3 families. Our family, the Dewberrys and the McCoys. All together 4 kids will be adopted. So save the date and check my blog soon for a list of items to bid on. You can find a sneak peak here.

We do have a few prayer requests:

For Andriy to be healthy and safe. That his hope for his future would not diminish. That he would know we love him and would just hang on.

For the New Horizons for Children interview team. They are currently in Latvia interviewing children for the summer hosting program. Soon they will go to Ukraine to interview kids there. Please pray for safety and traveling mercies. Pray for their wisdom as they interview and pick children. Pray for the children to not be afraid to be interviewed and for the orphanage workers to be positive about the program.

Please pray for Nicole and Joe Dewberry (my sister and her husband). They leave for Ukraine on February 6th to adopt Sergiy. Please pray for safety, traveling mercies and that the process would go as smoothly as possible. Please also pray for Sergiy. This is a huge step of faith for him. He didn't think he would ever be adopted (he is almost 16) and emotionally this had been a little hard for him to process. He wants a family but is scared. He has been let down so much in his short life. He is such a precious young man and deserves to have a forever family. Joe and Nicole are also very short on funds for this adoption and only have a few more days to come up with the money. But God can provide. Please pray that funding sources will come through so they can leave on the 6th as planned.

Please pray for us. We wish Andriy was home yesterday. Being patient is hard. We are just starting this process and know we have many months of paperwork and fundraising ahead of us. We don't want to get discouraged. We need patience and endurance. This is a monumental task and we want to finish the race.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement. We know we can't do this alone and we appreciate our friends and family.

Blessings,


Friday, January 20, 2012

We have a Chip In button for donations now



Doing our Homework

Last week I posted that we were in information gathering mode for our adoption of Andriy. So here is where we are at now.

This week we contacted an agency to start our home study and also listened in on a conference call with our adoption facilitator.

Here is what we learned. Our first step it to complete the home study. We now have the forms for that. After that our facilitator will take over and prepare our dossier. Then our dossier will go to Ukraine, get translated and submitted to the court system. After that we will receive our court date and make travel arrangements. It will take 2 or 3 trips to actually bring our son home. We can combine trips 1 and 2 into one long trip. More time in Ukraine is now required due to one more "official" sticking himself into the process. Please pray he decides it's too much work for him and he quits. The whole process will take about 4-6 months depending on how fast we are able to raise the funds and how fast we get the mountain of paperwork done.




That is the short version of the process. It is much more complicated than that but I don't want to bore you to death with the details.

We also learned how much it costs. We were shocked. We actually thought it was going to cost more. Many large adoption agencies have a much higher dollar figure for adoptions in Ukraine. We found out it is because they are really big and have a bigger overhead so that gets passed on to the people adopting.

So here is the approximate cost: $26,000.




We have to raise $1500 first to pay for our home study. The home study takes about 6 weeks from the time we turn in our paperwork and fees.

So $1500 is our first fundraising goal. The sooner we can raise that the sooner our home study can get started.

We are working on several fundraising ideas and looking into grants. We cannot apply for grants until our home study is done. Our first fund raiser is the Noonday Collection Trunk Show on January 27th at my sisters house at 6:30pm. Click here for details from my previous post.

We also want to put together a silent auction and will need a free or really cheap place to hold that and lots of donations like: gift cards, gift baskets, services (hair cuts, massages, photography and such) and just about anything we can get donated that people would want to bid on. My homework today is to nail down a place to have it.

As I find more fundraising ideas I will be listing them here and on our One Little Starfish facebook page.

Of course we can just take straight up donations if anyone wants to do that. They will not be tax deductible at this time. We are trying to apply for a program to be able to accept tax deductible donations but they only take so many families at a time. So we may not qualify. If you do want to donate at this time please let me know and I will send you our address. The sooner we can meet our first goal of $1500 the better. The homestudy takes 4-6 weeks from the time we turn in that paperwork. So time is ticking.

We did get a little massage from Andriy when he arrived home. He asked one of the chaperones to send us an email to let us know he made it home safely and loves us very much. He is so sweet. We sent a ziploc bag full of goodies for him along with the interview team that is leaving for Ukraine shortly. They will deliver that bag when they get to his orphanage to interview kids for the NHFC summer hosting program. We also have his address now so we can send him letters as often as possible. I wish we could write to him and tell him we are coming to get him, but we can't do that. We just have no idea how long it will take. At this time we don't even have confirmation that he is legally free for adoption. Someone is checking on that for us.

So for now we are praying, praying, praying and waiting for the funds to come in. We are selling a bunch of stuff on craigslist that we don't need too. It's been 11 days since Andriy left and we miss him terribly. I keep looking at his pictures. I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize: having our son home for good. It's only going to happen in God's timing. There is alot we can be doing and are doing, but ultimately He is in charge of this adoption and Andriy is His child.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Noonday Fundraiser for Andriy and Sergiy

Here is our first fundraiser for our boy, Andriy that will also benefit the adoption of Nicole and Joe's boy, Sergiy. Sergiy will be adopted from Ukraine next month and they still need $22k.

So Nicole and I are having a Noonday Collection Truck Show at Nicole's house on Friday, January 27 from 6:30-8:30pm. Their products are beautiful. Please bring your friends and let us know you are coming.

Here is some info about Noonday from their website. "Our passion at Noonday Collection is to connect you with the lives of artisans struggling for a better future while styling you along the way. Fashion and design are a vehicle for opportunity and change. You, too, can be a voice for the oppressed!"




Here is their website: http://www.kristinharvey.noondaycollection.com/

Not only do we get 10% of the sales for our adoptions, but Kristin is also giving us her 10% commission. So Nicole and I will each get 10% of the sales to help us get our boys home.

If you would like to attend the trunk show send me an email and I will give you Nicole's address.

If you live far but would like to participate by placing an order please contact Kristin directly at lady_kris@hotmail.com or 919.815.5413. Orders placed directly on her website cannot be counted towards our fundraiser so please contact her to order.

Just to add some extra adorableness to this blog post remember this is who benefits from this fundraiser. Sergiy in the black sweatshirt and Andriy in the blue fleece jacket. Kolya in the red shirt was adopted last year. These are the three amigos.




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our son! Another Little Starfish.

Yep! You read it correctly. I wrote "our son". I think it was pretty obvious the first week that Andriy was here. He is our boy. So yes we are adopting Andriy. He just fits here with us. It's meant to be. He is our son. Period. End of line.

Here is our boy.






Yesterday we had to watch him leave to go back home to Ukraine. Honestly it was horrible. He cried, I cried, he tried to run back through the security line to us. He yelled "Mama" the whole time. I am so thankful that my sister was able to escort him (hold and actually had to restrain him) up to the security desk, which he grabbed hold of and had to be pulled away from. Once he was up to the metal detector he stopped yelling. He just put his head down. He only looked back at us once after that. Most of the other kids were crying too, but not like our boy. Why was he having such a hard time? He is a 14 year old the size (and maturity) of an 11 year old. He gets beat up by the bigger boys almost daily. His older brothers "graduated" from the "school" already. His protectors are gone. I wouldn't want to go back either. I wish we didn't have to send him back. I wish I could send him a personal bodyguard that looks like Mr. T to protect him until we can get there. We hated watching him go. It felt like a piece of my heart was getting on that plane. Chris held it together for Andriy and us women folk. My Mom, Chris' Mom, Danielle and I could not hold it together. Danielle was such a wreck she had to walk away. We didn't know where she was. I found her later being held by another host Mom. (Thanks Katie)

Here we are at the airport.


Here are the Collins and Dewberry Clans including Babushkas (Grandmas)and Sergiy who is also being adopted (my new nephew).


So now what. Well we are in information gathering mode right now. I plan to call the adoption attorney my sister uses tomorrow. We will be listening in on a conference call she has next Tuesday night. And we will be starting fundraising and looking into available grants we can apply for. There is absolutely no way we can afford an international adoption. The Lord will have to provide to make this happen. So we will get started and pray that in the end our son is home with us. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

So right now we are asking for more prayer. We have walked through this process twice with Nicole and Joe. So we have an idea of what we are getting ourselves into. We know the process is long, complicated and expensive. Andriy is completely worth it. God brought him to us at the last minute for a reason. We did not intend to host. It just sort of fell into our laps and we said yes. Deep down we both knew this could happen, but I don't think we had any idea that it would happen the way it did. We didn't know that a child could steal our hearts so fast. That he would instantly become a part of our little family. That it be so clear that we had to do something. He is 14. Time is running out for him.


Please especially pray for Andriy. He has gone home to a cold Ukraine winter and to a "boarding school" (orphanage) with bigger, meaner kids. We could not tell him that we were even considering adopting him. That would have been wrong (and against NHFC rules). It would be wrong to get his hopes up. We have no control over what may happen tomorrow and we could not make him any promises. When he was going through security I want so badly to shout that we were coming for him. All I could do was stand there and cry. So he has no idea what we are doing. All he has is his desire for a family, his love for us and a scrapbook full of photos of him with a family that told him every day for a month that they loved him. He made it very clear while here was here that he wanted us to adopt him. He would tell us several times a day and would usually break down crying. All we could do was hold him and tell him that we love him and understood what he was asking. We also told him that God has a plan for him and we are trusting God to fulfill that plan. We told him that God's plans are good and he needed to trust God too. We are hoping and praying that God will sustain him and protect him.










Sunday, January 1, 2012

Andriy update.

I realize I have not done an Andriy update via the blog for 2 weeks. I have done small updates on Facebook, but really do need to tell you how he is doing and where we are at with him.

First: We are crazy about him. He fits here and we are praying hard about what to do about it.

Second: He is crazy about us too. He fits here and we are praying hard about what to do about it.

That's the Readers Digest version.

Here is the long version. He has made it clear in the last couple of days that he wants us to adopt him. On Friday night we took him ice skating. He had a terrific time and we are so proud of him. He was really hanging on to us at first but kept trying and eventually was skating on his own by the end of the session. He fell down alot but just got back up and kept skating. He is a tough kid physically. But emotionally he is not as tough. On the way home he sat in the van and quietly cried. Kuddos to Danielle for noticing in the darkness. She reached over and held his hand. Via Google Translate and with help from my nephew Kolya he told us that he doesn't want to go back to Ukraine and he wants us to come get him.

Of course we can't tell him that we are praying about adopting him. It would be wrong to tell him. It would be wrong to get his hopes up in case it did not work out. So we are just trying to have a great time with him, get to know him more and be ready for the meltdowns when he starts to cry about going home soon.

Here are some recent photos.

Helping Papa put Christmas lights on the house.





Christmas morning in front of our little Charlie Brown tree.



At a Hurricanes game with Papa. Now he is a hockey fan.


After his haircut. He wanted it all spikey.

You can see we have been having a bunch of fun. We've had some good down time too. I love this time of year when Chris and I get some time off work and Danielle gets time off school. It's nice to relax at home and having Andriy here to share of time off with really has been great. He has been having fun hanging out with some of the other kids in our neighborhood, riding Danielle's bike, going to the park with Chris and playing video games. He has made himself at home here. He has also done really great when we have had holiday get togethers with extended family. He has spent time at grandparents homes and getting to know my uncle and aunt. He gets along with everyone. We are so proud of Danielle. She has really taken to her role as big sister. She helps him with everything including fixing (spiking) his hair every morning.




Chris and I need prayer and wisdom. We would need divine financial intervention to not only be able to do an international adoption but also to add an additional family member once he is here. We are really frugal and try hard to stretch our dollars already. We would covet your prayers for us. We don't know what God's plan is, but do know we love Andriy and want him to have a forever family as soon as possible. We know that it was no accident that he ended up in our home at the last minute. We had no intention of hosting and suddenly we were saying yes. We have so much to consider and pray about. Please pray for us.