Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yum, Yum!

frozen, straight out of the freezer
Fresh out of the package
frosting comes in nice little package
When we got our starter pack for the Butter Braids fundraiser, it came with three loaves of bread!  We have tried two of them - Strawberry/Cream Cheese (in the photos), and Cinnamon.  They are delicious!

Here's the photos of the process!

partially risen, about 5 hours after opening
Adoption Progress Update.  We were supposed to have our first home visit on Monday, but Carese spiked a high fever on Sunday so we had to reschedule.  Now we are scheduled for next Monday.  Carese is very sick (double ear infection, pneumococcal bacterial infection, and we have to watch for signs of meningitis), so prayers are much appreciated for my tiny princess!  She's running high fevers, but will still drink, so that is good.

We are ready to apply for our passports, and that will happen when  Esther's new glasses are ready for pick up as we need to go to town to apply.

Just before putting in the oven - it really grew that last hour!
Our four home visits may only take 2 weeks to complete, then another week for the social worker to complete her report.  Our FBI background checks should come back around the middle of March, and then we'll be done with our home study, Lord Willing!  Then it will be on to serious Dossier preparation.

Out of the over, cooled for about 20 minutes
drizzled the frosting over top
Things around the house are really taking shape.  The kids are really pitching in and doing lots of little projects around the house that would fall under the category of "spring cleaning" which we were unable to do last spring due to the arrival of Carese in March!

We have received donations from several people this week (check out my FundRazr progress in the sidebar!) and my Facebook auctions are going really well. I also have my first sponsor on my "Sugar Free for Priscy."

By the way, I used the name "Priscy" there as we heard her called that in a video we have of her!

We are working on a Spaghetti Feed + Silent Auction locally for April and things are starting to come together.  I have several donations from local companies already, and I'm close to getting some more!

Our next big cost will be our I800a application.  This is the application to get approved as a family to immigrate a child via adoption.  This costs over $700 for the application, but there's also the cost of shipping and preparation of the forms that are sent with it (apostilles).  The I800 is completed after the first trip, before the second trip and is specifically getting permission to immigrate the particular child you are adoption.

So far, I have $200 towards that cost as of today.  All of that $200 I did not have as of last Saturday so I am much encouraged that my Lord is providing for our needs before they are needed!

 Our February Auctions end tomorrow night, and all proceeds from that will be added to that $200.  We have had several items donated for our March Auctions, and we've been working hard to make new items too!  Our March Auctions will be only 2 weeks long to make it possible to have items shipped in time for Easter/Resurrection Sunday/Spring Break!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy Plus Butter Braids!

Wow - It's been a whole week since I gave any updates!  You know what that means....that means I am no longer sick and I'm been a very busy mommy once again!

Last Saturday I spent the bulk of my time doing a deep cleaning in my bedroom suite and in the little girl's bedroom.  I also did some rearranging in order to move Carese into the little girls room and out of mine (she cries really loud).  We've now been in our "new" home for 5 years, well as of the second weekend in March!  Nooks and crannies are showing the accumulation of 5 years with many people living in our home. Last year I wasn't able to do any spring cleaning due to Carese's birth and my knee injury.  Fall cleaning didn't happen either due to my knee issues and the start of home schooling.

Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to get a "like new" high quality glider rocker to put in the little girls' room. When Esther wakes up at night, she's too heavy for me to carry into my bedroom and to my swivel rocker, plus the swivel rocker is so low that it's really hard to get up out of it with 40 plus pounds of limpness!  I've been sitting on a metal folding chair when I have to rock her at night, causing me to get chilled and acquire assorted muscle stiffness/pain. But no more! Last night Esther needed to be rocked during the night (and I was able to nurse/rock Carese to sleep too!), and it was such a joy - so comfortable!  I am sure it will be very helpful when Priscilla comes home too!

We were able to sell our weight set and exercise bike on Saturday and came up with nearly enough to pay for our passport application fee, and with out tax return arrival and a cash discount on a dentist bill I had enough to send in our FBI background check/fingerprints that we will need for our dossier!  I have filled out the passport application paperwork.  I just need to make photocopies of our birth certificates/marriage certificate and take our passport photos!  Daryl and I hope to go in to submit our application early next week!  Don't you just love the warm fuzzies you get from passport photos! No smiles allowed!

We had had some wonderful additions to our Facebook Auctions.  I've been knitting and crocheting as well.  Friends have also been donating to our hand made items, and some of them are way too cute!

One of the nicest thing donated was five copies of the movie "Rescued" which is about the call of God for Christians to care for orphans, especially through adoption.  This is a wonderful testimony of families who have rescued orphans from both our foster care system as well as international adoption.  Caring for orphans, especially adopting them, is the ultimate pro-life statement, as you have heard me say on my other blog -

I just heard from the social worker, Rebecca, who will be conducting our home study visits and our first home inspection/visit on Monday!  We are working hard to complete the last of the home projects.  To date we have installed all the carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors, and gun safe and the ammo safe, fire extinguishes are in place, we have condensed all our medicines into one locked cupboard and created a lock drawer of first aide supplies (including a new first aide kit and some new supplies that we were lacking).

Today Rachel and I tacked the hallway, and a group effort was made at the bathrooms.  Man, did we ever have some serious cobwebs happening around here!  I remember we took care of those nasty things last fall, but they had made quite the comeback!

Saturday Daryl and I are attending an adoption workshop on attachment and healing issues in adoption.  I am looking forward to this, and the opportunity to meet other adoptive families in our area.

Here's another photo I have of Priscilla.  Her right hand is not something she likes  to used, it mostly just hangs around in a fist.  I have seen her move it around in videos, but never grabbing or holding anything.  As you can see, she can not sit independently.  Esther at her age was walking.  I think she's a little overwhelmed in this photo, as I think this bright, cheery therapy style room is not one that she is in normally, but it was just used for the photo shoot.

Last week I worked to complete some of the education requirements for our adoption agency.  We have to complete 10 hours of education, and it's recommended that we do more.  I have complete 3 of the required 5 courses so far.  It is really fascinating!

And last, but not least, I have just begun a fundraiser selling Butter Braid Frozen Pasty Dough.  If you live here locally here's the "scoop!"  We will be taking orders for these through March 8.  This will ensure that they are delivered/available for pick up before Easter!  The loaves are $12 ea, and they come frozen.

You thaw them, allow them to rise, pop them in your oven.  Drizzle the frosting that comes with the loaf over the top and you have a quick, delicious snack/dessert.  Great to keep on hand for unexpected company or for adding to a meal that you are taking to a new mom or a family in need!

There are 9 flavors - Apple, Bavarian Creme, Blueberry Cream, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream Cheese, Raspberry, Strawberry/Cream Cheese,  and Caramel Rolls!

Email me if you are interested in ordering!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shrinking to Gain

Last night I was once again so tired but unable to sleep.  This flu is the weirdest illness I've ever had.  I get so tired by I can't sleep.  It's probably what I have heard as "adoption brain."  There are so many things to do and things to think about that my brain won't shut off even when my body is screaming for sleep!  I console myself with thoughts of "at least I'm resting," and "it gives me time to think through things and remember things that I might forget in the busy-ness of my life."

Last night I had an inspiration - at least I hope it was inspiration.  I saw over the last week or so that another adoptive mommy was doing a "per pound" pledge type fundraising effort.  I thought that was an excellent idea.  But that wouldn't work for me for two reasons - I don't have a scale, and with T-Tapp my weight has been slow to come off, but the inches came off incredibly fast!  I know sugar is my weakness, so I decided that I'd do it either by inch of by day of being sugar free.

Sugar free for me doesn't mean worrying about the insignificant amounts of sugar in things like ketchup, as going truly sugar free would be expensive and thwart our budgeting to save money for our adoption.  I am talking about no desserts, no mochas, no cookies...nothing that is a sweet.  Not even sugar free alternatives. That means no splenda or diet soda either!  I did this for a month late last summer, so I know I can do it!

When I consider spending in excess of 12 hours in an airplane at my current weight I have visions of claustrophobia!  Airplane seats are so cramped!  I am tall too, so that doesn't help either!  So I really want to shed lots of inches and get stronger in order to endure the ordeal of flying to the other side of the world without compromising my health (physical and mental ;).

Lord willing, I will physically shrink while our adoption fund grows!

So this morning (when I once again couldn't sleep), I created a Facebook Page where my supporters can pledge either per inch or per day.  It will renew at the beginning of each month, asking that you donate your pledge at that time.  The following month you can re-pledge, or drop out, it's up to you!

Please consider pledging to encourage and support me in this endeavor, and if you can't commit to that, then please share this blog post of the "Sugar Free For Priscy" Facebook Page!

If you aren't on Facebook but want to pledge, then please email me with your pledge and I'll track it for you and post here at the end of each month!

Thanks so much!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Preparing for Dossier

Passport and Background Check paperwork,
Ready to be filled in and filed
Once our Home Study is completed, it will be time to assemble everything needed for the Dossier.  Some of the items needed take time for processing.  The two biggies are background checks (I know, we already did this, but it was for the home study and we need a second background check for the Dossier, as that goes to Priscilla's country) and our passports.  Yes, we don't travel until after the dossier is approved, but we have to send colored copies of our passports to show them that we are prepared to visit!

Here's Carese testing out the baby gate.
 It works very well to keep her
from going up the stairs.
So today I found the correct forms and printed them out.  I already have the finger prints as we got second copies when we got the first ones done.  The only problem is lacking funds.  The background checks are $18 ea, and we have 5 adults living at home, so those will cost $90.00.  The Passports are $135.00 each and we are getting two of them, so that is $270.00.  Our normal working budget is usually a little tight, and we just spent over $400 for safety items for the house (smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, baby gate, fire extinguishers and gun safes).  If you would like to help us get the money to submit these forms, please the new FundRazr box right her in the right hand column (your money will go directly to our Paypal account).

The home improvement progress took a big hit last week.  Influenza has decided to visit us.  So far, everyone but Jessica and Dayton has succumbed.  I think it has hit me the hardest.  The little girls are doing quite well on the respiratory part, but the digestive system part is doing a number on them (i.e. lots of diaper changes going on around here).  It seems to  be hardest on the older children/adult
.  Jessica has been very busy crocheting and knitting washcloths and hot pads (I did a pair, but having sick little ones definitely makes for little time for hand work!).  I've just added them to our Facebook Auctions for A Seventh Daughter today!

Also new is the Reece's Rainbow Badge for Our Adoption!  You can help us out by putting this badge on your blog!  Thanks for doing this little thing to help us out!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Doing Something Every Day

Adoptions take time, home studies take time.  When I look at everything that will need to be done to prepare our dossier I freak out a little.  But then I remind myself that other people have done this, some more than once!  I just have to take it one step at a time.  My goal is to do at least one thing each day  to facilitate the adoption.  Right now my paperwork has all been submitted for our home study.  The next step is the 4 home visits. 

To prepare for the home safety check I have ordered and received 3 carbon monoxide and 1 smoke detector, an ammo safe and a gun safe.  I also purchased child locks, a child gate and fire extinguishers.   Now we need to get them installed!  This week and last I worked on tidying and organizing my bedroom and the little girls bedroom.  I know, probably the easiest rooms, but they will stay that way the longest too.  We submit photos of our home and where she will sleep with the dossier, so I was keeping that in mind.  It worked to my advantage as the worker in Priscilla's country requested those photos now!

I've made a list of what I hope to do in each room, and the children are helping here and there too.  The boy's bedroom is next, but since half my family is down with the flu, it might be a few days before we get to that room.

I'm also working on a few things for the dossier/adoption requirements - earning educational credits (online courses about adoption, bonding, medical issues and more), finding someone to do our psychiatric evaluations, finding out how to get a second set of fingerprints cleared,  and getting passports.

Today I received in the mail our first set of apostilled documents!  I will be sending those to Priscilla's country as soon as I find out where to send them!

On a bright note, we have received $35 in our Reece's Rainbow FSP grant, andpok several of our, A Seventh Sister Facebook Auctions now have bids!

I am blogging from my tablet which means all photos are posted at the end of the pat, sorry about that

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Physicals and Paperwork

Last Friday our family assembled at our family physician's office.  We arrived in 4 vehicles from 3 different locations.  We practically filled the waiting room!

They took us back 2 by 2, having weight, height, bp, temp, eye checks and hearing tests.  Then our doctor checked us each out and after that the adults all had the TB test done.  We all got a clean bill of health with the exception of finding that what Daryl thought was just a rash is actually a mild case of shingles!

The doctor complimented me on my preparations (I had all the forms organized, signed and ready for each person) and the staff and nurses were pleased with how well behaved the children were.  We were so thankful for his allowing us to get this done all together without waiting weeks and weeks and for charging us so little (just $300 for 10 physicals!  He is a godly man who has cared for our family for over 27 years!

Esther and Carese did not have to do this as they both had well child checkups in the last year so their pediatrician was able to just send i  those reports.

Saturday was our first major home safety visit preparation . We cleaned out the garage.  This also allowed us to begin to sell some items that were lost out there! 

Monday the last of our homestudy paperwork got sent in and I sent in documents to get appostilled for the first time too.  They arrived Tuesday and we were told that everything was in order. Yeah!

We also picked up our repaired van, and we are so thankful that the transmission repair was only $495 instead of the $3000 or more we thought it was going to be. 

Yesterday was going to be the day I tackled the kids' bedrooms, but at noon I came down with the bad cold that Elizabeth and Reuben came down with over the weekend.  This has all the signs of being a doosy of a cold.  We will do what we can, one thing at a tine.  I am so glad the physicals were last week!

I found the fire extinguisher, child locks and baby gate we needed at Walmart and the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors I ordered arrived yesterday.  I ordered the gun and ammo safes yesterday (we were able to bless a fellow adoptive family by using their Amazon links to shop so they'll make commissions on our purchases. 

We don't have to have to have a perfectly clean house for our home visits, in fact a super clean home makes social workers concerned that the mom has her priorities wrong!  They are looking to see if the home is safe and if the environment/relationships are a good place for the adoptive child to be placed.

One thing we do in gathering our dossier (after home study is complete) is to have photos of our home and family to send to Priscilla a well as for the officials in her country to see.  So ad I go through each room, I'm purging and organizing and then I'll take a photo.  They also want a photo of where she will sleep if it is set up.  Esther moved to a big bed recently, so her crib will become Priscilla's crib.  I'll share that photo on my next bolg post.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

An Update Photo!

We got an updated photo of Priscilla!  "Priscilla" isn't her real name. It is the name to be used to refer to her on the internet.  We can't share her real name.  We plan to keep her real name as her middle name (it's very Eastern European sounding) and give her a new name!  We have chosen a name, but I'm not going to share it for a while!

But enough talk, here's her updated photo:

Don't you just love that smile!

Please pray for Priscilla.  We received some videos of her and it's apparent that she struggles with "junky breathing" as we call it.  Esther had this.  For Esther it was from aspiration.  This was corrected by thickening her liquids.  Priscilla has already battled pneumonia 4 times!

We got all our medical physicals done yesterday and it all went really well.  I have photos so I'll blog about that on Monday.  But for now, I'm exhausted and need to get to bed, but I wanted to share this photo with you!