Thursday, September 21, 2017

So.. What Now?

Many of you have been following our adoption journey for a few years now. In 2013 we brought home our precious son Josh through International adoption. He has been such a blessing to our family.

As you may remember, this year (2017) we began working towards another international adoption only to have to put those plans on hold due to meeting a person who was going to become a birthmom and was giving us the opportunity to adopt her child. At first we were so confused, why was God allowing us to meet this person if domestic adoption was never our plan. We prayed and sought wise counsel. We believed we had the green light and proceeded to get to know this person, attend doctor appointments with her, make sure she was well cared for and had a healthy pregnancy, completed a Domestic Homestudy and even met with an attorney who would take care of the legal aspect of it all. Everything was going smoothly and we began preparing our home for the arrival of this new life that would join our family. From setting up a precious nursery to eventually preparing our son for this child's arrival.

The birthmother seemed to have her mind set that this is what she wanted for her child. She spoke about the bright future this child would have with us and how excited she was for us. We were thrilled. In early September she went into labor and had to be rushed in for an emergency c-section. I was only allowed to peek through a window while my future child would take her first breath. Those first few hours were crucial. Unfortunately we soon learned she had changed her mind and was no longer going to give her child in adoption.

So why all of this.. why allow us to go through this traumatic event only to be left empty handed, still owing an attorney who never got to finish her job. All I can say is, I don't yet understand. I hope that I will one day. We believe in God, we believe His plans are perfect and we are trusting that this in some way had to happen in order for us to end up here.

So now that we have a domestic homestudy, should we pursue another adoption within the US. Perhaps this was just a roadblock or a pause we had to make in order to realize that our hearts have always been in international adoption. I don't know. What I do know is that I love adoption, I always have. Don't believe me, just ask my parents who will tell you how their once 15 year old wanted to bring a child who became orphaned into their home. I believe God gives people a heart for different things and we are able to find purpose through those things. My heart has always been for the orphaned, adopting Josh and seeing the poverty these children grow up in abroad has only defined my purpose.

Please keep us in your prayers as we try to seek the Lord's will for our lives and family. If you would like to make a donation and help is with our future adoption you may do so by visiting the link on the right hand side section of this blog.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Domestic Adoption

Folks, God works in mysterious ways. Our adoption plans have changed. We will become a family of four by the end of this year (God willing!). This is all the info we can share through social media. God is good, ALL the time.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

T-Shirt Tuesday!

Every other Tuesday we will promote our T-Shirt Tuesday Fundraiser (you can find more than T-Shirts in our CafePress Shop). Take a peak and see if anything grabs your attention. If t-shirts, mugs, mouse-pads or tote bags aren't really your thing, no worries many more fundraisers are in the plans. This one is just to start us off ;)

*Also, I will continue adding designs to the shop in the coming weeks. You guys voted and we listened, the first design released is the "One Less Orphan". Thank you guys for your participation.

Below is the direct link to our shop, you can also visit the shop by clicking on the link in the menu bar.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Adoption v2.0

Adoption v2.0!?!? What!? Yup, we are adopting once again. Since the year began we have been praying about which route to take for our next adoption. Adoption has always been a calling of ours as a couple, however, should we do Domestic-Infant Adoption, how about Foster Care Adoption, or should we go with International Adoption once again. We have been asking God to reveal Himself in our lives and guide us in such an important decision that will impact our family. It is not just JR and I who will go through this journey, now there's three of us, Josh will also experience the ups and downs of the journey.

We didn't feel called to adopt a newborn through Domestic Infant Adoption so we thought this time we would go with Foster Care due to the high costs related with International adoptions. We signed up for training and spent 6 hours sitting in a classroom. We already had our doubts and sitting through this training helped us realize this was not the way to go. There were going to be many challenges, some we did not feel would be beneficial for Josh to experience. We left this training questioning what we should do. Should we put our family through the many uncertainties of the US Foster Care System, should we just not adopt at all, or should we return to our son's country and adopt a child that came from a similar background so that they may both share a heritage.

On our way home from the training, JR and I looked at each other and without saying a word we knew what the other was thinking. When we picked Josh out of a "Waiting Child" list we had no idea where he was from, only that he was a handsome little boy and we wanted to be his parents. It wasn't until we received his file that we learned his country of origin. This precious child born in Albania had stolen our hearts. We had a long journey ahead of us, one that was full of excitement as we would become first-time parents. Many of you were able to follow our adoption journey through this blog three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long since our boy has been home). Somehow this tiny country that only sees an average of 10 or less international adoptions a year was the country the Lord had chosen for us.

As we contemplated the idea of returning to Albania once again, it was the one thing that made complete sense to us as a family. During our time there we experienced their culture and their amazing hospitality. We loved this child so much and were so grateful for the country that had welcomed us and made us feel at home. We spent almost two full months living in Albania, an experience like no other. We learned some of their language and their customs. We met some wonderful missionaries during our time there. Friendships I will treasure for a lifetime. These are just some of the many memories we build during our time there. As JR and I discussed all of this we knew that's were our hearts were. God was once again leading us back to this beautiful country.

So what now.. well, we will be submitting our initial application in the coming weeks. That'll get the ball rolling to all that is to come. As many of you remember it is quite the road. We will be required to do a home-study or at least renew and update our home-study from 3 years ago. What happens after this will all be in God's hands, will a child come up on the "Waiting Child" list or will we be placed on a waiting list to be matched. Only time will tell.

Below are a few recent pictures of Josh, can you believe he's 6 already!?

My little soccer player                                                                                   Homeschooling

Josh enjoys gymnastics

Christmas time at our church

He loves to learn!

On a recent trip to see family.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We're Coming Home!!

Remember my previous post about returning to the States?? Well, it's finally happening!! We get in Tuesday at 11:30pm EST.

This was our checklist last time I updated you guys on the matter:

*1-4 all happened on Friday!! What a crazy day.. and to add to the day, we also had Joshua's goodbye party on Friday for the nuns and workers.

1) We must wait the 15 day period following our last court hearing to obtain an official court decree, which will hopefully be ready Nov. 7th.  It was not ready till the following day, Friday Nov. 8th.. but we got it!

2) After obtaining the court decree we must go get his new birth certificate. We went to get his new birth certificate that same day, Nov. 8th, it only took 15 minutes!

3) With the birth certificate and decree we can apply for the passport (passport will take 2-3 days to process). We applied for the passport that same Friday but the Chief of Police (who must sign off on the passport application and verify his birth certificate) was out to a crime scene.. man of many hats apparently. So we ended up having to go back to the police station on Monday under the rain for him to sign off on it and then go take Joshua's picture at the passport office. It takes a total of 4 different offices to get your Albanian passport.. 1) Office at police station where you apply, 2) Different office, also at police station for the Chief of Police to verify your stuff and sign off on it, 3) Passport picture office, different location.. not at police station, 4) Another office at the police station where you pick up your passport a few days later.

4) Once we have the court decree we can go to the notary with the nuns and do a transfer of custody. The nuns were awesome, they did the custody transfer the same day (Nov. 8th), thank God! We became 24hr parents this day :)

5) Wait for passport to be issued. Passport was issued Wednesday Nov. 13

6) Once we have the passport we can make an appt with the US Embassy for his Visa (Visa will take another 2-3 days to process)we also must take him for the required vaccines and blood draw. We were scheduled for the Visa appt right away and went to the Embassy on Thursday. We also went to the doctor's appt for him and got everything turned in next day. Usually the embassy takes 2-3 business days.. we got his visa next day, Friday Nov. 15!

We called our travel agent right away to see if there was any way to get on a plane the very next day, Saturday. That way we would've been able to get there on a weekend and allowed Jr to return to work on Monday but the fees were ridiculous.. not only did we have to pay the fee per person but we had to also upgrade to first class because that's all that was available.. anyway.. it was unrealistic, we would've paid around 2k. So we sit here patiently waiting for Tuesday to arrive and we finally get to come home!!


At the notary doing the transfer of custody!




Goodbye Party at the orphanage.

Not sure what he was looking at.. lol

Look Fi, it's Timmy's plane!! Thanks again for letting us borrow it, Timmy :)



One of the workers at the orphanage (his favorite one) bought a little white tux for him and dressed him up for the party. The nuns and workers love him so much, I know they will miss him.

The workers having fun putting cake all over his face.. which eventually got on the white tux as well.. 

He was pretty hyped up on sugar after this.. lol


  After-Party at our favorite restaurant: Attika Greek Tavern

We will miss you guys!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ohrid, Macedonia

This past Saturday we took a day trip to Ohrid, Macedonia with Fiona and one of her boys. It was about a 1 & 1/2 hour trip through the mountains of Albania and then another 20 minutes through Macedonia. These mountains make me a little queezy when riding in furgons but Fiona was a great driver and I didn't feel sick at all. The drive was a pleasant one, with beautiful scenery and amazing mountain peaks.

Once we arrived in Ohrid we sat down by the lake (Lake Ohrid) and had some hot chocolate.. not the kind they have in the States (at least that's not what we call them back home) these are more like hot pure cocoa pudding, just amazing!) Afterwards we walked a little bit through town and headed to the castle walls where we could see the entire city from up there. The views were breath taking! Oh I so wish we could've stayed a few days, but I'm sure our boy would not have been too happy with us if we left him for more than a day. As it is, when we got back and saw him on Sunday he was asking us where we had gone and why we had not come to see him Saturday.. poor baby, I wish we could've taken him with us but he cannot leave Elbasan for another few days.. just a few more days and he will be able to go anywhere we go, woohoo!!

Crossing the border into Macedonia.. they ran out of ink apparently because you can barely see the stamps on our passports..argh!


It's a good thing they have signs in English because otherwise I would not understand their Greek style letters.

All bundled up.. only to take sweaters off half an hour later.

Fiona and her son Joshua

Macedonian Denars

Having some (Albanian) hot chocolate by the lake

Walking the streets of Macedonia

Yugo..the most popular car in Macedonia



St. Clement Church

Entering the castle walls





Sunday, October 27, 2013

When will we return to the States?

Many of you are wondering when we are returning to the States. We wish we had an exact answer to give you all but there are still some steps we must complete before we can head back. Here's a little overview of what's left:

1) We must wait the 15 day period following our last court hearing to obtain an official court decree, which will hopefully be ready Nov. 7th.

2) Once we have the court decree we can go to the notary with the nuns and do a transfer of custody, we're hoping this can be done the same day we pick up the decree (we don't get to keep our boy at night right now, he still sleeps at the orphanage but once we do the transfer of custody he does not have to return any longer).

3) After obtaining both the court decree and custody we must go get his new birth certificate

4) With the birth certificate and decree we can apply for the passport (passport will take 2-3 days to process)

5) Once we have the passport we can make an appt with the US Embassy for his Visa (Visa will take another 2-3 days to process)

6) Once we have the Visa we are ready to go home! A rough estimate of our return is around the 3rd week of November, God willing.