Saturday, October 15, 2016

Its Hard Not To Be Discouraged.

Its hard not to be discouraged. Because I am. The pieces don't seem to be fitting together.... Does this mean the door is closing? Is it over? I don't know. 

We were approved to adopt from the Country of Macedonia October 2015 (a full year ago). We immediately updated our dossier and sent them our updated/translated dossier which they received early in June 2016. Other than their acknowledgement of having received the dossier, we have not heard from them since in spite of our agency's persistent outreach. 

What does it mean? We have no idea. We have done everything Macedonia has asked. It was December 2013 when we first felt the call to pursue "Xavier" and help open a program in Macedonia. We have been working tirelessly the past three years to do everything in our power to bring our boy home. . . Its been emotionally challenging at every juncture but the past few months have been exceptionally challenging. I have tried to be faithful and to keep trusting .... believing that it would all work out. However, I'm not sure anymore....

"Xavier" has aged out of our home study. What does this mean? Again, I don't really know. Have we lost him forever? Without any communication from Macedonia I feel torn about updating again. It takes months and thousands of dollars to update... and without word from Macedonia, it seems futile. 

Please whisper a prayer for us? Its hard to know what to do. My boy is across the ocean. He's a child of my heart and I don't know how I could let him go... just the thought of "moving on" floods my heart with grief and guilt. Please pray we hear from Macedonia - even if their answer is "no".

I'm not sure my heart and conscience could make the decision alone. How does one decide to just "give up" on a person? A child? A child with special needs? MY child? Would my heart ever forgive me? 

I chose "Xavier" as my own the moment I saw his picture and I will claim him as a child of my heart until the day I die. . . the distance across the ocean, the intricacies of laws, the politics of red tape can never take that away from me. Macedonia may say "no" - but my heart will always say "yes".

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Final Documents Arrived!

PHEW! What a roller coaster ride it was to obtain these FBI clearances for our Dossier Update! 

After 4 months and several hundred $$$ later, we have them in hand and are headed off to the Post Office to mail them out to our agency! 

Making Progress!!!! THESE are the final documents we need for the update. Hopefully our other documents are nearly translated and it won't take much time to get these final two complete. 

Knowing that we have already been approved by US Immigration as well as the country of Macedonia, I am so very hopeful that things will begin to fall into place quickly!!!! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Update

Hello All! 

So many have asked for an update..... its humbling to admit that it doesn't seem like we have made much progress....HOWEVER, things ARE in fact continuing to move forward. Slowly but surely!

Our final document needed for the Dossier update is currently in Albany awaiting its Apostille Seal. Once it is returned to us, we will then overnight it to our Agency who will then submit it to the translator. Once all the documents needed for the update are translated, (Hopefully within the next month or so) our agency can then submit the dossier. During our telephone conversation with our agency several weeks ago, our case worker expressed her optimism that once Macedonia receives the documents, they will then proceed rather quickly. This was encouraging to hear and we are hopeful for a speedy response from the country once they have the documents! 

Please send thoughts and prayers for speedy delivery, translation, and processing from Macedonia. We are beyond READY to go get our boy and bring him HOME!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Our Fundraising Carnival was a BIG success! A HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped, donated, and came out to the event!!!!! We're still waiting on a few $$$ from auction winners, but we're close to $2,500 so far! (We'd love to reach the big 3K!) The Carnival success was just the beginning of more great news this week.....
Tuesday we received our second Immigration Approval! This means they approved our Home Study update and have approved us to bring a child from Macedonia into the USA. This does not expire until April 2017, so we're are good to go on the USA end of things!

 More good news is that we are down to collecting just 2 more documents to complete our dossier update - and then we'll send them off to get their state seals! Compiling a dossier is a BIG job and is a daunting task. So, we are very excited that the end is in sight and that we've just about got everything into place! 
We did have a tiny set back with a notary signature being from NJ instead of NYS, so we are working on that, but its not necessarily bad just means a bit more time as we procure the proper state seal and signature. I was pretty frustrated about it yesterday but a good friend reminded me that "we never know why we might have to wait or make a detour. Maybe something tragic is about to happen and God is telling us to wait to avoid something really bad when we are on our journey somewhere good." I appreciated the reminder that even though I am disappointed in the delay, I know that everything is meant for a reason and everything will work out just as (and when) it should. 

 SO, what's next?! 

1.) The #1 PRIORITY is to get our USCIS (Immigration Approval) and Home Study Update county authenticated and then state Apostilled. Once this is done, we will overnight the documents to our International Agency who will forward them on to our translator. Once the translation is complete, we'll send the documents to Macedonia. We'd love for this to happen as quickly as possible as Macedonia is waiting on these documents to make our referral. 

2.) We will continue to work on our Dossier Documents. We have most of the documents gathered and then we'll need to send these for county authentications and state Apostilles...and again to the agency, translator, and then Macedonia. Our Dossier expires in April so we've got to get these documents to them before that date. 

3.) We wait for our referral (Eeeeekkkkk!!!!! We're getting closer!!!!)

4.) Continue to save our pennies and raise the funds! Our most immediate fee will be the re-translation fee for the Dossier (that's an extra $2K (at least) at 9cents word, it adds up fast!) Looking at our estimates, we think that $4.5K will have us fully funded! That's pretty exciting! 

THANK-YOU so much to everyone for your support and encouragement. This journey has been long and hard. We are so grateful for the love and support we have been shown!!!!

Please keep sending those positive thoughts and prayers our way!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Carnival Fundraiser!!!

I am so excited about the Nintendo-Themed Carnival my Mom is hosting for us as a Fundraiser! It's going to be HUGE!!! She graciously rented out a venue and is hosting a Nintendo themed family carnival!

Carnival Facebook Event Page!

Here are some of the events!!!! We are so excited! Hope to see you there! Bring your friends!

1.) We are excited to announce there will be a LIVE reptile show at the Carnival! (The presenter will also be auctioning off a private birthday party!) You won't want to miss this!

2.) There will be a "Healthy" food table inspired by Zac! He and a dietitian family friend will be offering a nutritious snack option!
3.) Esther will be running a "General Store" where items such as homemade scarves, baked goods, books, and other trinkets will be sold!

4.) Joe will be creating balloon animals!

5.) A dear friend of the family will be offering face painting!

6.) There will be auctions and raffles!

7.) You will have an opportunity to "tag the bag?" For a donation, you can write a personal message on "Xavier's" suitcase! Your personal messages will travel overseas to Macedonia!

8.) Abby will be running a cafe where you can purchase coffee and cookies!

9.) Nate and Brenna will be supervising the crafts and temporary Nintendo Tattoos!

10.) There will be a play area for the kids!

11.) My Uncle Jim will be providing LIVE music at the cafe!

12.) There will be vendor tables of those who have graciously donated items to raffle/auction!

13.) There will be homemade, gourmet cupcakes for sale!

14.) PLUS MORE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hurray for Good News! Sooooo, What Does This Mean and What's Next?

Friends and Family rejoiced with us yesterday at our long awaited news from Macedonia....Our Dossier was approved and therefore, we are approved to adopt from the Country of Macedonia! We have been officially placed on the registry of waiting families. What does this mean? 

1.) We are the FIRST ever family to submit for an international adoption from the Country of Macedonia - after almost 2 years to date (The first day we heard about "Xavier" was Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:29am), patience, money, and tears!

2.) We are the FIRST ever family to pursue an adoption of a SPECIAL NEEDS child from the Country of Macedonia. 

3.) Macedonia has accepted and approved all of our documents and have verified that we are suitable applicants to adopt from Macedonia. THIS IS HUGE since this international program is 100% new - so both Macedonia and our USA Agency are working from the ground up to create this program. Literally writing policies and procedure as we go. 

4.) We have made it past a BUNCH of hurdles to get this far....One last step to go - (and the timing is uncertain). We are now waiting for our referral - or our MATCH - which could - theoretically - come ANY TIME. Under Hague Adoption law we have to tread lightly since we cannot know for certain ahead of time who we will be matched with....however, God used a photo of a particular precious little boy to lead us on this journey. It is our continual hope and prayer that all will work out for us to be matched with "our" boy - however, we know God has lead us this far and will continue to work out the details. It is our intention to accept the referral we receive, although our home study was tailored to match (as best we were able) to "Xavier's needs" to give us the best chance to be matched with him. Now, we continue to WAIT, HOPE, and BELIEVE. 

5.) Along with our approval letter came the expiration for our Dossier Documents which is our submission date.....which was all the way back in April. Soooooooo, we have to begin collecting documents to update and recreate the is a HUGE prayer that we will be matched and have travel dates before our current Dossier expires as apostilling and translating all the documents will cost another several thousand (and we certainly never budgeted for that!) 

6.) Our First and Immediate Step Moving Forward:
      A.) Resubmit our updated Home Study to USCIS (immigration) to keep our paperwork updated and current. If we do it before February, its a FREE update. (Thereby saving us $800). The HS is updated, now to fill out the I800a supplement form and send it in as soon as we get our notarized copy. 
     B.) We will have the updated HS translated and sent to Macedonia once we receive the Immigration Update/Approval. This updated HS includes a broader age range (since when the HS was initially written, "Xavier" was less than a year). Hopefully we are able to get this done with haste! Prayers this process moves quickly would be appreciated. 
     C.) If we do not have our referral/travel dates by February, we will have to go ahead have our documents apostilled in Albany and have our Dossier translated again (which would be about a $3K expense). We are praying we get our referral before this will be necessary......however, at this stage of the game, we'll do whatever it takes! The doors keep opening and we'll continue to pursue with love and passion trusting that God will provide! 

7.) Once the referral (our match) finally comes - I imagine there will be some screaming and tears and pounding hearts! You'll probably hear us! (hehehe) - But, if you can't hear the JOY and EXCITEMENT, I'll be sure to post our news for all the world to hear!!!!!! 

We're getting closer....this was a HUGE step. This shows us that Macedonia is serious and interested in this program with the USA. This could be opening the door for many other children with special needs to be adopted. It is our prayer that all this waiting will one day be an avenue to bless many others! 

While we won't have our son with us this Christmas.....we did receive wonderful news and our hearts are greatly encouraged.

Many blessings to you all. Your prayers and encouragement are coveted as this becomes a reality for us! 

~Joe and Hannah

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Blessing in Waiting

Waiting is an emotional journey....a journey wrought with so many thoughts, feelings,  & emotions;







Sometimes I find myself saying to God....."You called us to adopt! You called us to adopt a child with special needs.....YOU called us to adopt "Xavier" - so WHY all the waiting? What's your plan? We know (deep down) that You have a plan....a purpose....a reason....but this "un-kown" is so challenging for my heart! Do you mind if we speed it up a bit?"

I feel anxious anticipating update....anything. Will Macedonia approve us and send our referral? Will they decline our application? Will they request more documents? What about our home hasn't even been sent into immigration for the update - and therefore, we don't have the new finger prints. Will we get the call before all our paper work is updated and in order? Will he have to wait because of another red tape, paper work delay? 

I feel frustrated because there is NOTHING I can do about it. Nothing I can do to speed things along....its completely, 100% out of our hands. 

I feel discouraged because we have been pursing adoption since May 2012, and Xavier specifically since December 2013 - 2 years! 2 years is such a long time for a little boy to go without the love of a  family. 

I feel guilt for being  jealous of birth announcements or gotcha adoption celebrations. I have already been immensely blessed with 3 wonderful children and I have friends who struggle with infertility. . . am I wrong to want more? To feel like my heart is still missing a piece? To feel like our family is not yet complete? 

I feel guilty for my excitement and anticipation of Christmas....I so look forward to the many wonderful holiday traditions....the cheerfulness, the decorations, the parties...the time with family and friends. A time of giving and sharing. But what will "Xavier" have? Or WHO? Will he feel the warmth of loving arms? Will he feel the love of a gentle kiss? How can I feel so much excitement when he may have nothing to anticipate at all?

I feel apprehension when I think of all the "what ifs" - What if Macedonia denies our application? What if we get a different referral? What if the adoption fails and we have been gifted so much through gifts and can we repay many thousands of dollars? Apprehensive because I am afraid that others might see our journey and chose not to adopt.... (although we are attempting to pilot a new program and this adoption is not necessarily a representation of other international adoptions).

I feel disappointed because I truly believed Xavier would be home by now....that the anxiety of the trip would be behind us and we'd be home together as a family. 


But, its not all the time we've waited, we've been blessed with more donations....another grant.....egg, the financial burden does not seem as great. This is certainly a silver lining.... (Tax Deductible Adoption Donation Link )

But perhaps the greatest blessing in waiting is hearing my sweet children talk about their baby brother "Xavier" - their precious, loving, generous hearts seem almost as consumed with Xavier as my own. He is never forgotten in a prayer....he is always present in our conversations of the future....Zac saves little "treasures" for Xavier and has a collection of ity-bity choking hazards waiting in his crib...along with stuffed animals....and blankies......and even a few paper airplanes! Essie will say "go put this in Xavier's crib" - they've already unconditionally welcomed him into their hearts! 

On the way home from karate tonight, Zac says "Maybe they'll call us to get our baby on Christmas day!" - His precious, selfless heart thinks of an orphan before his own happiness and joys that accompany the festivities of Christmas (which we take very seriously at our house!) Last week when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said shoes and a maze book....even though he'd really like a transformer, he knows those are expensive and wants us to save our money to get "Xavier". I have never known a child so young (only 6 years old) to have such a giving and sacrificial spirit. 

The loving, caring, generous, selfless hearts I see in my children is such a blessing and encouragement to my soul. Its not easy raising children, but seeing these special qualities in my children makes me feel so proud and honored to be their Mommy....I can't help but think we must be doing something right. 

So, in the mean time. We are plugging away at life. Taking advantage of our opportunity to educate the kids at home, devoting ourselves to the youth ministry at our church, continuing with karate classes, piano lessons, therapy, appointments, parties, goes on. We aren't wishing our time away....we are thankful for the many blessings we have. But while we live.....we wait. 

Waiting for the moment we hear the news: "Come and get him!"  

Thanks for hanging in there with us.....we know the journey has been long....thanks for your continued encouragement!!! We need it now more than ever! We won't give up on Xavier.....we will pursue him as our son until we bring him home or the doors close.