Sunday, February 27, 2011

Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours...

One of my favorite worship songs is "Hosanna". In it there is a line that says,

Break my heart for what breaks Yours

I'd like for you to listen to this song while you read the rest of this post. So please hit "play" and then keep reading.

Ever since I started this adoption process I have learned new meanings of grief. Adoption is truly not for the faint of heart. But even if you're not an adopting family, your heart still breaks for these children. Not every adoption has a happy ending. Not every child lives long enough to be adopted.

Take a look at this little girl, Marlena:
She had a family coming for her. But, she didn't live through her heart surgery last week. She was only seven months old.

The next two precious children passed away earlier this year. They did not even have a family coming for them.


Sometimes, a child becomes unavailable at the last minute. That's what just happened for the family that was trying to adopt Martin:

And for the family that was trying to adopt John Mark (who also happens to be the same family that was adopting Marlena, they lost both of them):

We have no guarantees about Riley. While he doesn't have a heart condition like the children above did (or do), there is still the possibility that he will become unavailable for whatever reason. We won't really know for sure until our dossier is submitted and the child's file is "pulled". 

In our hearts, he is ours. And it will be devastating to lose him. And while that probably won't happen, I'm trying to prepare my heart for the possibility. Just watching these other families go through this in the past few weeks has been eye-opening. There are no guarantees, ever.

I also think of sweet Vanessa and Lilly, who both have serious heart conditions and need surgery badly.
Every morning when I wake up I dread finding them on this page:
In Loving Memory

Won't someone please go rescue them?


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thank You...

I just wanted to say a great big Thank You to everyone for your words of encouragement, and also a big Thank You to those of you who donated to our Chip In and shared about it.

I can't honestly say that I'm feeling much better, but I am trying to just take it one day (or one hour!) at a time. I think one of the reasons I haven't been inspired to post much is because, honestly, I spend most of my days either thinking about or writing my dissertation, and the thought of more thinking/writing is usually too overwhelming :).

Please continue to share about our giveaway, please continue to pray.

I am looking into the possibility of getting hooded at the Fall 2011 graduation ceremony, even though I still plan to "confer" (graduate) this spring. Everything WILL be done before we get on that plane to go get Riley! I really want to walk across that stage, but I don't care when. If this is possible it will give me another month or so before I have to defend. That's doable. That's the original goal I had set for myself.

And here's the finished puzzle, minus the five pieces the cats lost. Can you spot them? :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uninspired, Discouraged and Doubting


I have been uninspired to post on here lately. I don't know exactly why. It's not that nothing has happened and I have nothing to say...I don't know what it is. But it's been almost a week and I wanted to say SOMETHING. Just don't expect anything profound in this post, it is mostly for me :).


I feel discouraged in a lot of ways right now. Some of them I can't really mention on here, but I'll share what I can.

First of all--Vika. We got an update on Vika. She has been taken into foster care. We are trying to find out if the foster family will allow us to adopt her (that's how it works in her country), but most likely they will say no. They get money from the government for keeping foster children (just like in our country). I'm not sure if we'll even be able to make contact with the family to ask. She's no longer at the orphanage so I won't get to see her this summer. I may never see her again.

Secondly, our giveaway is not off to the best start. I am so grateful to the two people who have donated, and the two people who have shared about it, don't get me wrong. But seriously...just $30 after one week? I know we have until the end of March, but I am still discouraged.


I am doubting that God is going to fully fund our adoption. We are still a long ways away from our fundraising goal. We are running out of time. I am so consumed with finishing my dissertation (draft due in 3 weeks!) and finishing our dossier that I just don't have time to plan or execute any more fundraisers before I graduate in May. And we hope to travel right after I graduate.

Speaking of graduating, I am doubting that I will. I found out a week ago that I have to defend by April 1 in order to walk across the stage. So my defense is tentatively scheduled for March 31, assuming I can pull my dissertation and presentation together in time. I thought I had until the end of April for this deadline.

Also. I've been craving a puzzle for months now and I finally bought one and have it set up on the kitchen table, and my cats keep getting up on there and destroying what I've done, scattering the pieces, losing them, chewing on them, etc. You'd think they were puppies!

I can't think of a good way to end this post, so....The End.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Do Riley And The 2010 Emmys Have In Common?

Well, not exactly. Yes, that is Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), but the other person in the picture is Rob's friend Melissa Lew - a jewelry designer and artist featured in the 2010 Emmy gifting suites.

Melissa has generously donated this hand-carved dogwood cross necklace for us to give away!
Here's the description:
One of a kind, hand carved, dogwood cross necklace. Made from recycled fine silver on a sterling silver chain.
This beautiful necklace retails for $150, and it could be yours!

All you have to do is donate to our Chip-In fundraiser (at the top of the page) between now and March 31! For every $5 you donate you will receive one entry in the drawing, which will be held on April 1.

ALSO...if you SHARE this link (blog, facebook, twitter, etc) you will get an additional 5 entries! Just post a link in the comments section to the page where you shared about this giveaway.

IMPORTANT: If you want to enter the giveaway with your donation you MUST use the Chip-In! 

*This post and this artist approved by Hercules:


Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Your Life

I was first introduced to this song by Francesca Battistelli on my second trip to Ukraine. Since then it's become my daily theme song, and I often listen to it on the bus on my way to campus. It helps me put my day in perspective and encourages me when I get bogged down with adoption paperwork.

It's your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day, the choices you make
Say what you are, and Who
Your heart beats for
It's an open door
It's your life

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Adventures In Biometric-ing

First of all, thank you to everyone who bought or shared about our Pendant Sale! We sold 36 pendants, which was enough to put us over $6,000 raised! In addition, 5 of those pendants were adoption/awareness pendants, so Masha's grant fund also received $25 :).

Now, as promised, the story of our trip to get our biometrics (federal digital fingerprints)!

Our appointment was at 8:00am on Thursday morning in Charleston, WV, so we decided to drive up the night before and spend the night at a hotel.

As we left Blacksburg, Rob casually mentioned that he had heard it might snow.

Oh boy, did it ever.

About 30 minutes into our 3 hour drive the snow started. And it didn't stop. It was the blowing-in-your-face, visibility-near-zero, sticking-to-the-roads kind of snow. We didn't know what lane we were in most of the time, because we couldn't see the markers. We couldn't see the sides of the road. We couldn't see anything beyond a few feet in front of us.

I was terrified and SOO thankful Rob was driving :).

And...we ran out of windshield-wiper fluid just as we arrived in Charleston. Here's a picture of our car after the trip:
Time for a car wash, don't you think?? :)

We got to Charleston and used our phones to find directions to a Hampton Inn downtown. We walked in and asked if they had any vacancies. They had exactly ONE room left! Of course we took it.

Then Rob, ever the bargainer, starts to ask if there's any type of discount we can get.

AAA discount? Nope. (What hotel doesn't offer a AAA discount?!).

Student discount? Nope.

Have our parents call to book the room so we can get an AARP discount? Nope.

How about, We're-in-town-doing-adoption-paperwork-and-here's-a-picture-of-the-kid-we're-adopting discount?

That did it! Lesson learned: Always whip out the picture of the adorable kid you're adopting.

She took $20 off our hotel price :). She then proceeds to tell us that there's a free shuttle that will take us anywhere downtown from 6am - 10am and pick us up. Also, the office we have our fingerprinting appointments at is just a few blocks away and the shuttle driver takes people there all the time.


So we go park the car in a non-spot (there were no more parking spaces and everything was covered in snow), get to our room...and the power in the whole hotel goes out.


All we could do was laugh and go to bed. The power came back on about 30 minutes later.

The morning went smoothly: We got up early, had a free breakfast in the lobby, and got the shuttle to take us to our appointment. We arrived early and the fingerprinting was uneventful. We got back to the hotel by 8:30 and decided to have a second breakfast :). Then we checked out, went straight to a gas station to buy some windshield-wiper fluid, and drove back to Blacksburg.

We're glad it's over and if we never have to drive in weather like that EVER again we will be forever thankful.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pendant Sale -FINAL DAY!

Today is the LAST DAY of our Pendant Sale!!! We have sold 33 pendants so far...hooray!! We would love to get that number up to 40 pendants by midnight tonight...can you help?!

Go to Sarah's Treasure Box to place your order, and when you check out don't forget to mention it is for the StClair adoption fundraiser!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pendant Sale-DAY TWO! PAY-DAY!!

 UPDATE: We've sold 20 pendants so far!!!

And.....because I can't get enough of her...

Another new picture of Masha!

Ok ya'll, we're on to DAY TWO of our Pendant Sale! Yesterday we sold five pendants, and so far today we've sold at least one! Let's keep it up!!!

If you were waiting around until today to get is PAY-DAY!! These pendants are so affordable, though, please check them out!!!

We get $5 for every pendant sold!! Like this pretty one...
And if you buy an adoption or awareness pendant, Sarah will give an ADDITIONAL $5 to MASHA's grant fund!!
Check out this beautiful Breast Cancer Awareness pendant:
Don't forget to mention when you check out that it's for the StClair adoption fundraiser!!!

(If you forget to mention it, just send me an email and I'll let Sarah know).
Sarah keeps adding new pendants to her store every day, so please CHECK IT OUT!

Also....thank you to everyone who has shared this link! PLEASE continue to share!! We've only got one more day to go....
Yes. Yes he was.

Thursday, February 10, 2011



I would have posted this waaaay earlier today, but we just got back from WV to get our biometrics done :). It was quite an adventure that I'll share about in a later post.

But for now....

Today is FIRST DAY of our Pendant Sale Fundraiser!! Please go to Sarah's Treasure Box and check out the unique, affordable pendants she is selling! Today through Saturday, for every pendant sold Sarah will donate $5 to our adoption grant fund!

One of my favorites!


If you buy any of her adoption and awareness pendants she will donate an ADDITIONAL $5 to Masha's grant fund!!!! How cool is that?!!! So you can help us AND sweet Masha at the same time :).

One of her Awareness Pendants:

Things To Remember:
  1. They make great gifts!! Valentine's day is coming up!
  2. Sarah ships them super-fast!
  3. You MUST say when you check out that you are supporting the StClair adoption fundraiser. If you forget to mention it, just send me an email and I'll let Sarah know.
Please SHARE (blog, facebook, twitter, etc) this link so we can make this fundraiser as successful as possible!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coming Up...Pendant Sale Fundraiser!!

Ok everyone, this is the OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

Sarah's Treasure Box has graciously offered to donate $5 for every pendant sold through her Etsy shop to our grant fund! But this sale is happening for THREE DAYS ONLY: FEB 10-12!!!

That's starting this Thursday and going through Saturday. Buy one pendant, we'll get $5. Buy five pendants, we'll get $25. You get the idea :).  Please, please take a look and considering purchasing one (or more!) pendants starting on Thursday! They make great gifts, too!

Here's one of my favorites:
And another:
IMPORTANT: When you check out, make sure you note that it's for the "StClair adoption fundraiser". If you forget to mention it, just email me and I'll pass along the message :)

And please SHARE this link so we can get the word out!!

Update on Masha: She still needs a family, and my heart is breaking. There is some good news, though. She hasn't been transferred (yet), but the place she will be going has never allowed an adoption before...until yesterday. :) Praise God for opening the door for Masha and so many other children in this institution! Now pray for God to reveal her family SOON!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Roller-Coaster Kind Of Day...

Today has been an emotional roller-coaster. The first high is not related to our adoption and requires a little bit of a back-story, so let me explain.

As a graduate student, part of my job is teaching one course per semester. Last spring I had a wonderful student in my class who I can honestly say is my favorite student EVER. And I don't say that lightly. I've had many, many students over the years. I'll call him J.

In the fall I found out that J. had been hit by a motorcycle (he was a pedestrian) and was in a coma. He wasn't expected to live through the night.

But he did.

Then he wasn't expected to wake up from that coma until at least Christmas, if ever.

But he woke up three weeks later.

If he ever did wake up from that coma, it was expected that he would have to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat, etc.

He walked out of the hospital on his own just two months after the accident.

Up until this morning, the latest I had heard was that J. was in the hospital and responding to some stimuli.

At 1:00pm this afternoon, J. walked into my office.

I did a double-take. I thought I was seeing a ghost! But no, it was him! Walking, talking fine, short-term memory a bit fuzzy but he remembered what floor my office was on. And what floor our classroom was on.


I am still in utter SHOCK! God is so good. J. is truly a living, breathing miracle.

He could only stay for about 10 minutes, and as soon as he left I sat back down to my computer to discover that....

Masha cannot be held from being transferred.

Oh sweet Masha, you will be ripped from everything and everyone you have ever known. You will be shoved into a car for the first time and taken to a place far worse than where you live now. You will not get to go outside anymore. No swinging for you. No sunlight, no fresh air. You will never be taught how to eat properly, fed only from a bottle for the rest of your short life. You will be labeled "ineducable" and put in a crib with high steel bars. They will take most of your clothes and you will lie naked in your own excrement for hours and hours until someone comes to clean you. If you're lucky you might get a sheet to lie on. If you're not lucky, they will tie you up in a sheet, straight-jacket style. You will be drugged most of the time so that you lay quietly in your crib.

Oh Masha, I am so, so sorry we cannot save you from this fate.

But someone WILL come to rescue you. You will not have to live in that horrible place for long, God willing. Your family is going to come for you, little girl. Just hold on. Don't lose your spark or your smile.

Our God is the God of miracles. I just witnessed one today. I am believing for one for Masha. Pray with me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update On Masha

Thank you, everyone, for sharing about Masha and praying for her. I found out this morning that a very generous donor has raised her grant fund to....drum roll...


I love to see God move this way. But she is still days from transfer and needs a family. The place where she will be transferred is one of the worst and she may not be adoptable after she is transferred. I just received word about the type of family who would qualify to be able to save her:

"I am waiting for a call back from our facilitation team about how quickly we would need to have a family THERE to adopt these children, and if it is even possible to postpone their transfer.   But anyone who is interested would have to be:
1)  financially comfortable enough to show a judge you have the resources to care for these children
2)  have private health insurance already in place
3)  be nearly PAPER READY....this means already approved in a *current* and completed home study to adopt two older children with significant special needs
4)  and either already have USCIS approval or just need to update it.  You need to be ready to travel SOON.  
We qualify on the first three, but not the last. We are also not able to travel soon.

But I know SOMEONE out there, is! If you qualify, email Andrea here!

Pray for them. Pray for Masha. Pray, pray, pray...God works miracles!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

For Real This Time!

We got our fingerprinting appointments in the mail yesterday...yippee! Two things surprised me about this:
  1. Our appointment is in Charleston, WV (I thought we'd be going to Richmond, VA), and
  2. Our appointment is LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY!
Yup, on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 8am we will be giving our identity to the U.S. government in the form of federal digital fingerprints ("biometrics" for those in the know).

When I opened the letters I was expecting an appointment in late Feb. or even March! But nope, next Thursday. This is a good thing, though, as nothing can move forward until we get fingerprinted.

Since Charleston is about 2.5 hours away, and we CAN. NOT. BE. LATE...we will be driving up Wed. night and finding a hotel. Anyone out there got a recommendation???

One more thing...I found out this morning that sweet Masha is going to be transferred to an adult mental asylum NEXT WEEK. My heart is broken. Please, please pray for a miracle. This is the 11th hour, truly.