Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It warms my heart to know that Rose has had a chance to celebrate Christmas. Saturday they had a party sponsored by our agency. Today I received a few photos. Happy Day!




Monday, December 17, 2012

Twitter

I am not on twitter much (manly post, but rarely check to read responses), but this morning I ventured on. I was sad to see post responding to my tweets from NO ONE else, but family. Family responding to my posts on our adoption...not with love and support, but with anger and "embarrassment". It's hard to know what to do from here. Do I delete/hide my blogs, twitter, facebook? 

I KNOW I am over-reacting. 

It hurts when the people you would reach out to in times of pain (holidays without a child at home) feel like people you want to avoid. It makes me want to hide and take my husband up on his offer to move. 

My heart hurts today. 

It's nearly been a year since we lost our "Natalia' and now I am sitting here missing my Rose.

I am SO blessed. I know. No one owes me ANYTHING. My friends that have supported me are a true GIFT FROM GOD. 

Thanks to you who love and support us. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful day spending time with family. Although it's always a little disappointing to not have Rose home with us, we rejoice in the thought that she will be joining us for next year's festivities.


Now that Turkey Day is over, it's time to switch over to Christmas planning mode. I still have a few more gifts to purchase. If you are anything like me and like to avoid crowds and the rush, you frequent Amazon. PLEASE consider using this link -------> Our Associates Link

THANK YOU!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Steps

Good news is - the majority of our paperwork is DONE for the dossier, now we wait for our FBI clearance to show up. I am getting a little impatient. I REALLY wanted to be finished and mail the dossier by November 1st. If we don't get our clearance, that pushes us back.

If we get our approval from her country, we can send her some gifts. Even though it pains me to not have her home for Christmas, it would THRILL me to be able to send her a package to open on Christmas morning. I would be super excited.

As soon as our dossier is sent, I will begin working on a photo book for her. I also would like to send her an outfit and a toy - maybe something with English and Spanish capabilities. Leap Frog has some fantastic toys out this year.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homework...

Doing a little research today.

Looking at the price of January flights - today's price is $926 per person. So, that means our FSP as it stands right now, would cover the price of our tickets (Paul and I, but not Rose). If you look at that, we really need to get going on our fund-raising!

The apartment we are looking at renting is $3000 for a month. So, if we are fortunate to ONLY need a month - that's another $3000 needed for our travel expenses.

Now that we have finished our psych eval, it's time to get to the nitty-gritty and start planning the details of what's to come. It's very exciting, but it puts this detail oriented mommy into over-drive!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Join Rose's Racers!

Rose's Racers!

Hello!

Our Family invites you to become a team member of Rose's Racers to support individuals with Down syndrome here in Alabama! 
 Come and walk with us on Sunday, October 14th at Regions Park from 2-4pm for the 13th Annual Buddy Walk hosted by Parent Advocates Down Syndrome 
(PADS).  You’ll be uniting with our family and friends along with hundreds of others to bring awareness and acceptance of and advocacy for individuals with 
Down syndrome.  
 
If you’re interested in becoming a part of Rose's Racers or would like more information, please contact us! 

A $10 Registration is due by October 8th to add your name to the Team Roster and receive your Buddy Walk wristband, which is your entry ticket to the 
Buddy Walk. Commemorative t-shirts are available for $5. Please consider making an additional donation, introduce us to a Corporate Sponsor or recruit 
others you know to join the walk. This will help us reach our goal to significantly support the programs PADS offers and the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at 
UAB. We hope you’ll join Rose's Racers! 
You can learn more about PADS by visiting their website at downsyndromealabama.org.  Hope to hear from you soon! 

We will also be advocating for Reece's Rainbow at the Buddy Walk. You can learn more about Reece's Rainbow at  reecesrainbow.org 

Please forward to all who might be interested in joining us... Next year Rose will be racing with us!!!

Thank you and God Bless!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oh my! Thank you!

I woke up to such a gift today! A jump in our FSP! THANK YOU!

Yesterday a little girl showed up on the 'newly listed children'.

Meet two-yr-old "Monet"


Say a little prayer for this sweet girl. She has had a very tough beginning. I am praying her family finds her SOON! She needs a loving momma.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good News!

Our home study was approved by Rose's listing agency on Monday!!! Now, I wait for a copy to send off with our next set of paperwork to get US government approval to adopt from a Hague country. Once that goes out all we need to do is gather the other paperwork for our dossier. More doctors assessments, fingerprints, etc etc etc! But, now that we have been approved by her agency, we have a green light to get this done! Then it will be up to her country to approve us. Nervous? Yes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Something...

Our homestudy is in the final stages! Yippee! I am THRILLED! Starting to gear up for the dossier, getting excited!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why In The World?

I know that there are many people out there that cannot fathom the idea of having a child with special needs. I have had many people flat out say those words to me..."I just couldn't do that." Or they make it a little more interesting and they say, "It's one thing to give birth to a child with special needs, but to adopt one? No way."

As hard as it is for some people to understand the 'whys' it is equally (and maybe even more difficult) for me to understand your 'why not'.

As long as I have known about abortion and the silent holocaust, I have felt a need to protect and care for those who have no voice. I am 100% pro-life. I just cannot fathom the idea of ending the life of a baby - due to bad timing, bad circumstance, or prenatal diagnosis. I think God strengthened my convictions when He challenged Paul and I with the cross of infertility.

There were times when I would have been so grateful for someone -anyone- to walk up to me and offer me a child. I could have cared less about race, ability level, nationality. We simply wanted to be parents. After going through one home study/paper pregnancy, I completely felt like adoption was something in our future.

God threw us for a loop when we were gifted with our two precious sons. Adoption was put on the back burner for the time being. A page had been turned and a new story was written.

We have enjoyed our time raising our sweet boys. They are a blessing and a pleasure.

However, God had planted a little seed in us. He opened my eyes to the gift of children with special needs by placing both of our sons at a local Early Intervention program - The Bell Center. Being here is like home. It's a beautiful place where children with all levels of ability can thrive and grow. Little did they know how huge their impact on my life was and still is. These children, teachers and parents are incredible! They love their babies and cannot help but proclaim the joy it is to share their lives with someone who is special needs. One of my good friends from the Bell Center was Jennifer. She has an amazing daughter, Addie, that I have been blessed to know. Addie is one of those kids that LOVES to prove doctors wrong. She is such a miracle.

Another wonderful mother was placed in my life. Paul Vincent and Natalie were both born in April, 2006. Natalie's mother,  Lori has taught me what a blessing it is to know and love someone with Down syndrome.

And yet another mom and writer, Kelle Hampton shared her real, not always pretty, account of motherhood and caring for her surprise, Nella. She has proven to the world that different is BEAUTIFUL. She tells a lovely story of friendship between her daughters.

Lori and I have a friend in common, who also has a child born in April, 2006. Ashli is the proud momma of a precious group of children! One of her most gorgeous children came from an orphanage in Ukraine. You can read about their journey to Everlyn here.

For the past -um, 5 or 6 years, I have been following a fantastic ministry - Reece's Rainbow. Reece's Rainbow has also changed my life. My eyes have been opened to the orphan crisis in the world. Many of these children happen to have special needs. Reece's Rainbow specifically advocates for children with Down syndrome. I have had the awesome experience of seeing children listed on the site, chosen by families and brought home to live wonderful lives. My first 'love' was a little boy they called Danylo. He is now home with a fantastic family with a LOT of siblings! It is wonderful to see him grow and thrive.

Darling Danylo 

My second little heart breaker was Phoebe. Oh sweet girl! I would have loved to bring her home. I was thrilled when she moved to the "My Family Found Me" page! I promised that I would help her family bring her home, and I donated to her FSP as much as I could. I am so excited to see her pictures when her momma posts! It brightens my day!

Phoebe!

And this is how we met our Rose! One day I was innocently going about my daily 'stalking' of the newly listed children and BAM! There she was.

My Brown Eyed Girl

 I saw her sweet smile and her loving eyes and I knew there was something extraordinary about her. And I knew when I saw Paul's face light up that he thought she was special, too. Every day I thank God that she is loved by her Foster Mother and that her Biological Mother loved her enough to give her a chance at a beautiful life. We can't wait to hug you sweet girl! We're coming!

Next post.... Adoption and Sibling Relationships

Beach Trip Winner!

I am so sorry! I completely forgot about letting you all know who won the beach trip! I notified the winner on FB, but didn't make it over here to post about it.

Jaime at Big Little Days blog was the big winner!

Congrats to Jaime and her family. I also want to point out that Jaime is also working on an adoption as well! Best wishes and a speedy 'gotcha day' to them!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update

This is an update I typed up to family - figured I would post it here...


We are just in the process of scheduling our social worker home visit. That is the FINAL step to completing the home study. Once the home study is complete, we can move on to getting the international portion of the work done. This involves another set of FBI fingerprints/backgrounds checks, more medical forms, copies of important documents - like birth certificates, etc. This process will most likely take 2 months. We have been told that our timeline would put us traveling sometime in November or January. Our agency wouldn't want us to travel in December, due to the holiday and the fact that the important people in her country might not be working during this time.

As far as travel time goes, we are looking at about 4 weeks in her country. This sounds very overwhelming at first, however with MOST international adoptions the travel is at least that long...just broken into 2-3 trips. With her country, the process is combined into a single trip. This is VERY nice considering once we get to her country, she gets to be with US!!! The entire time we are there, will be time to bond and learn about her and her culture.

In the past few days, we have learned a lot about her past medical history. It's difficult to read how her first years of life were. She had heart surgery, breathing issues, she was malnourished, and even battled pneumonia. Her story reminds us of some of the struggles that Christopher went through as a premature child. Of course, she has been diagnosed as having Down syndrome - but we feel that this is NOT WHO SHE IS. She has it, but it does not define her as a human. She is loving, sweet, playful, shy and absolutely gorgeous. Reading her likes and dislikes sounds SO much like our boys! Curious George is one of her favorite tv shows! She likes to eat spaghetti! Um?! Typical 4 yr old, right?! We can see her playing with Christopher and all of her cousins - fitting in just perfectly!

God has moved mountains in our lives to make this happen. We have seen miracle after miracle concerning this process. We give credit to all of our loved ones in Heaven that have been praying for this. We know our guardian angels have been pushing us in the right direction. And we feel that St. Therese and St. Rose have especially played a roll here. Just as the birth of a biological child is a gift from God, we feel that Rose is meant to be a part of our lives and that she has great gifts to offer our family.


And - in case you might have forgotten...One more week to enter!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bonding Thoughts

I know that some of you are probably pros at bonding with your new little ones...but I am new at this, so I think about it quite often. We have a king-sized bed, so it's fairly easy for our kiddos (age 3 & 6) to come into our bed at night after bad dreams, etc... But wrapping my head around the possibility of an extra child (4 years old) in our bed, made things a bit more interesting. I just came up with an idea! We have a crib that is converted to the toddler option. Won't this make an EXCELLENT co-sleeper? It can be pushed up, next to our bed! Just like any other co-sleeper, but large enough for a toddler! Yippee! Any other help with bonding is GREATLY appreciated! I have our EllaRoo Mei Tai Hip washed and ready, as well as our Ergo. I know that at 4 years, she could be too big, however I have a hunch that she and Christopher are going to be VERY close in size. Also, I am a stroller addict. If you know of a great option for our trip, let me know. I have a Baby Jogger City Mini that I will most likely take, but I am always up for ideas on something that will be more practical or easier to travel with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Time Schedule Re-Do

I am beginning to feel like we should be looking at January, not November. After talking today to a few people, it seems like our home study won't be complete until mid August. Poo! I know that we have one or two things to do to complete our part, then we have the home visit to schedule. I guess I am usually the 'glass half full' kind of person, so I always looked at the time line optimistically. Hoping that we can speed up the process once we are past the home study. God's timing is perfect! And a reminder.... The beach trip giveaway is July 31st. You have plenty of time to share and donate. August will be our auction filled with crafts, gift cards and other fabulous gifts. If you would like to donate an item to the auction, please let me know! Thank You and God Bless!

Friday, June 29, 2012

¡Muchas Gracias!

Just want to thank all of you who have so generously donated to our adoption. Your gifts are very much appreciated! We get more excited every day. Paul Vincent asks about Rose daily. It is so sweet. Yesterday he was concerned about fixing her room up. He wanted to make sure that she would have plenty of toys. Um...no worries, son!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Visit With Frank Kelly

Monday evening Paul and I went on a date. It's funny - we almost always end up going to the same place to eat. So, we made our way to Nabeel's (a wonderful place to eat if you are ever in the Birmingham area). We ate a nice dinner and shared great conversation. It's amazing how just a few minutes of talking without interruption can really build your marriage. After our meal, we drove next door and walked into the church - not really for any particular reason other than to spend some time there. When we entered the church, we realized that they had a special guest doing a talk. The speaker was a man named Frank Kelly. We found a seat and listened to his story. We had missed about half of his talk, but we still enjoyed hearing, and learning from, his life experiences. Little did I know what a treat I was in for! Paul has been to many services like this, but it was my first one. It was titled a 'healing service'. After Frank finished his story, he invited us all to stay and he would pray with each one of us individually. Turns out that Frank has a gift, given from God. Frank is what I would call an intercessor. He can lay his hands on someone, say a prayer, and God is able to work through him. Normally, I would be the first one out of the building and getting in my car. Seriously, this stuff kinda gives me the willies. However, God gave me peace. He led us into the church that night and put Frank in front of us for a reason. I felt no anxiety at all. And if you know me, that in itself is pretty awesome. Since we had arrived late that night, we were sitting near the back of the church, which put us in the back of the line to see Frank. We took this opportunity to pray, reflect and read while we waited. It was a special time. The crowd got smaller and smaller as time ticked by and soon it was our turn to speak with Frank. He came right over to us and asked (well, he kinda stated) "you two married?" Ha. Yep. He first addressed us as a couple. He said some extremely interesting things pertaining to our situation in life at this moment. One example - He told Paul not to question me quite so much. Ha! Trust that your wife knows what's important. Paul is the authority, however I know how to run things. Awesome. Perfect. He then directly addressed us as individuals. As Catholics, we sometimes ask people to pray for us. We not only ask or family and friends for prayers, we also ask those who have gone before us to pray for us. So, Frank gave us each of us a list of saints (those who are in Heaven) that could pray for us and directly intercede for us with our special intentions. Paul's list: St Ignatius of Loyola (for discernment), St Gregory the Great (for wisdom), St Ansel (for understanding) and he also told Paul to read Psalm 146. Um. As if the specific saints weren't enough...God wanted Paul to read that particular psalm?! "...the Lord protects the stranger, sustains the orphan, and the widow." WOW! Then Frank prayed for me. He first mentioned peace. Am I feeling the peace of God? Oh yes! He then named St Theresa of Avila (for depression and perfection...give it to God, St Francis de Sales (for writing and the gift of counsel in working with people), St Pius the 10th (the Eucharistic saint), and drumroll please... St Rose of Lima (everything will fall into place). Wow! No doubt! We left that evening with the biggest sense of peace and comfort in what we are doing with our lives. We know that God has led us down this path as a family and we are both completely anxiety free regarding the future of our family. Incredible. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Over Reaction

Forgive me.

I think I over-reacted to someone that hurt my feelings a bit. I need to toughen up and learn to deal with things a little better. I have decided to hold off on going private for now. I just hope everyone learns to play nice :)

I got a letter from the FBI. I left one itty bitty thing blank and they sent me the form to fix it and I mailed it right back - I felt so silly for making a mistake!

Oops!

Thank you so much for all of your support. We expect NOTHING from anyone except your love and prayers... any donations are a GIFT to our sweet girl.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Private


Just giving you a heads up that this blog will go private in 24 hours. 
I hate to do it, but I must. 
Please comment if you want me to add.



GREAT DAY!

Who knew Monday could be a fantastic day?!

I talked with the listing adoption agency today and we had a great conversation. It was such a breath of fresh air - so nice to get some estimations in our timeline!

We could travel in NOVEMBER!!! That's like - tomorrow!! HA! That means if
1.Our homestudy is approved...
2. We get immigration work done...
3. Dossier paperwork takes the 2 months that the immigration stuff takes...
4. We 'pass' our psychological eval...
WE MIGHT HAVE OUR SWEET GIRL HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!! What!?!?! God ROCKS!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Well, maybe not so deep. #1 Notaries rock and I want to be one. Seriously. $10 to watch someone sign their name and stamp their paper. I can do that. #2 I have to figure out who will be the guardian of our kids if something happens to us. Um. That's a toughie. Who wants 3 kids? They are precious, but... That's huge. #3 I am really into organizing. I'm all about the keep/donate/trash thing right now. Might need to get a garage sale going.

Monday, June 4, 2012

In case you never read our story...

Please feel free to visit our family blog, so that you can get to know us better! AuburnMommy

Sunday, June 3, 2012

International Adoption Clinic

Paul and I went to the IAC yesterday at Children's. We met some great adoptive parents that are also physicians. These moms will be our lifeline on our journey. It's so nice to know we will have the ability to text/call these doctors while we are out of the country! What a gift! We also met another couple adopting through Reece's Rainbow!!! The Gardner family is adopting precious Keegan. They also have two bio kids at home. They live at the beach, too. Ha! (Paul and I dream of living at the beach!) We have a lot in common. What a gift to make friends with a like-minded couple! Awesome! So, that's one more thing knocked off the to-do list! Exciting!! We are working, sweet girl!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beach Trip, Anyone?



We would love to introduce you to....


Our Condo in Panama City Beach, FL


To help raise money for the adoption of sweet Rose, we are selling chances to win a Saturday to Saturday, week long stay! 


Here is what you do... You can use the button on the right to donate. Each $10 donation that you give will give you one chance in the drawing. If you have already donated, that's fine! You will still be entered. Just do me a favor... Leave me a comment ON THIS POST and let me know how many times I should enter your name. For example - 


"The R. Smith family - 4 chances" (your name, your $10 donation amounts)


This drawing will happen on JULY 31st. That's plenty of time for you to empty your piggy banks and collect your spare change. 


ALSO!! Please help spread the word and re-post! You can ALSO ENTER ONE TIME BY SHARING ON YOUR BLOG OR FACEBOOK!!! Let me know in the comments. 
For example - 


"The R. Smith family - 1 chance, shared on FB"

Fine Print: NO PETS, NO UNSUPERVISED TEENAGE GROUPS, subject to availability, reservations must be made by August 31, 2012. Travel between January 2013 - December 2013. 


Local airport info http://www.iflybeaches.com/


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Checklist

I am going over and over our home study checklist, working to make sure I have done all that I can do at this time. It's a little overwhelming, but as long as I keep taking notes we should wrap this up fairly quickly. I am hoping to be finished with my part of the paperwork in two weeks, for sure. Mainly trying to get forms filled out by doctors, tax stuff, and a few other odds and ends together. The major stuff - fingerprints, etc - is all turned in and we now wait for the government to do their part.

We will attend UAB's international adoption seminar next weekend. That should be very educational and enjoyable.

I'll keep you posted! Thanks for following our journey!

An Introduction...

After dating for 9 years, Katie and Paul were married in Birmingham, Alabama on July 26, 2003. Katie’s occupation is a stay at home mother to their two sons. Paul is the owner of a classic car restoration business.
Soon after they married they wanted to have children, but Katie was diagnosed with an uterine anomaly and was told not to have children. At this point they began their domestic home study. Soon after they had completed their home study, they became pregnant with their first son, Paul Vincent, born on April 13, 2006 at 4 pounds, 7 ounces. He just celebrated his sixth birthday. Three years later, they welcomed their second miracle baby boy, Christopher, born May 24, 2009 at 3 pounds, 2 ounces. He just celebrated his 3rd birthday.
This past Christmas, they learned that they were pregnant, only to suffer a devastating miscarriage shortly after. They know that God has a plan for their family and they feel a strong connection to Rose. They both feel called to adopt her and feel confident that she will receive all of the love and services (as a child with special needs) that she desires!