Friday, September 16, 2016

We have a Facebook page now! Plus it's easier to access and read.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

paperwork done!! for now....

Paperwork is submitted, pictures are taken, documents are notarized and there is nothing to do but wait.

 Waiting isn't my favorite thing, but its great to know that for this stage of the adoption, our part is over. No more paperwork until we are matched. Which will be awhile. Possibly a long while. It's out of our hands, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I can haz moar adopshun paperworkz?

So in the last three weeks, we've made several trips to the post office, filled forms, scanned stuff, translated stuff, fundraised, made bank trips, paid fees, and filled more forms.

And after we filled in our I-600As and sent that out along with our homestudy....nothing's happening. That's because there's nothing we can do at this point but wait.

In fact, since doing all that stuff's been our whole life's focus for the past few months, we've suddenly become bored. We lasted a week before we ended up emailing our adoption agency for stuff to do. Compiling our dossier's next, and LifeLine will send that once all the pieces are in place. So for now, we're just taking a little time off to relax (or as some people call it, enjoying your last moments as people with no kids). So anyway we're doing hobby stuff, like coloring or building model planes again, with a little housework and rest thrown in.

One thing's for sure. In the past few weeks, we've been incredibly humbled by the generosity of the people around us, even from people who don't really know us. It's an incredible feeling to know that people are enough to take the time to attend our fundraisers, and to open their hearts (and checkbooks) to help us bring our kiddo home. God is indeed good to us.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Heaven Touching Earth

Hi everyone, its Dori. This was supposed to be a facebook status update, but I am far to wordy at the moment, so it is now a short blog post: 

so let me preface this with I am tired and my heart is full so you will have to allow me to have an emotional moment. for those of you who don't share by belief, your about to get a Jesus post, probably lots of them so consider this fair warning for all future posts J Hang in there with me. its good stuff.

this weekend my parents, with the support of multiple family members, threw Tom​ & I a fundraiser. I hate the fact that adoption is so expensive and I hate that we are not "fully funded." Truly, I hate fundraising. Today, as I have caught up on a little sleep, talked with friends and processed through this weekend,  looked at the number of people who came out to support and support generously I am amazed. I am amazed by the money, the time and the emotional investment people have shown.

I know that this is what family, friends and community does. I know that this is how God sometimes chooses to work. But I have never been the receiver before, not like this. I am always the giver and the doer. its a good fit for me, its what I am called to do. But I realized that receiving in this way opens your eyes. Yesterday during church we sang a song that puts in perspective for me:

Our Father, all of heaven roars Your name

 Sing louder, let this place erupt with praise

 Can you hear it, the sound of heaven touching earth

 The sound of heaven touching earth

Saturday I saw heaven touch earth. Thank you to everyone who came out, who prays for us or thinks about us and sends us positive thoughts. We are humbled, touched, astonished, blessed. No, we are not fully funded, but there has always been more than enough to meet the current need. Whether it has been our scrimping and saving, a well timed mileage check, a gift from family, or just the fact that the car tires are lasting longer so that didn’t need to be an expense this month… there has always been enough and a little more for whatever step of this journey is next.

thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Pictures and more fun event pics as soon as I can figure out how to get the pictures from mom’s computer in Arthur to mine in Indianapolis.


Dori and Tom

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's still the two of us (and a dog, and two cats)...

Not a whole lot has happened lately, as our homestudy is being reviewed between KidsFirst (the homestudy agency) and Lifeline (our adoption agency). So from here, once both sides sign off on it, we become certified by the state to be adoptive parents, which means Lifeline will then start building a dossier to send off to the government of Kyrgyzstan. So I guess technically, there's progress.

In the meantime, we've started doing some fundraising. We originally wanted to wait until we got our HS certification so that we could apply for a grant through Adopt Together (more on that later), but with summer having started we needed to get going as we are seeing a lot of people in the next few months.

We've done a silent auction that served as a good primer for what to expect, and it is exhausting yet fun at the same time. Thanks to the generosity of Cliff's boss, we've managed to raise a pretty tidy sum that would pay for a pretty good chunk of our adoption fee. We've got another fundraiser brunch/dinner coming up next week, with another silent auction, then it's a weekend off to recover, then it's more planning and fundraising.

So far, those are going on in Arthur, IL. In the meantime, we're looking at venues/ideas for what to do locally or in other areas. We've thought about doing one in Napannee for our Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan friends, and one in Indianapolis. A garage sale is a thought, as well as stuff like a basic computer tuneup service. So we're just going through some ideas and evaluating cost/benefit.

We're doing a lot of waiting. And praying. And dreaming. We're going to be doing a whole lot more of it. People keep telling us, "don't be too eager for your kids to get here, enjoy the time you have," but really, we're totally eager. When the desire to be a parent is set deeply in your heart, it sometimes gets hard to sit by and watch other people happily announce that they're getting pregnant, having kids, or posting their kid's pictures on Facebook and the like. Even when these people are close friends and family, there is a niggling thought in the back of your head asking, "well, that's great and all, but when is it my turn?" and the temptation to feel bitter at only being able to live vicariously through their joy becomes very easy, and when that takes hold. it makes for some rough days.

We're not even matched yet. Adoption has got to be one of the toughest tests of character out there. It's a passion that keeps you awake late at night, constantly scrawling notes and ideas, researching and planning. You pray about it a lot and oftentimes wonder if you're "praying it right." You're writing down prayer requests on the weekly contact cards and then imagining writing "adoption update! We are making progress, keep praying for us!" and feel somewhat disappointed that this week's request is the same as last week's. You're so adept at telling people about your adoption progress that you're convinced you could pitch a movie to a major studio at a moment's notice. You have dreams about the child you have not seen, feel sad at the realization that you just dreamed it and spend the rest of your day just revisiting the memory of that dream over and over, wishing it to be real. It puts you through the emotional, psychological and financial wringer.

A common misconception is that more kids would have been adopted if it wasn't for the costs and loops one has to jump through, but in an oddly twisted way, adoption weeds out all but the most patient and determined people. Because, you really have to be patient and determined with a kid that you just plucked out of an orphanage, to travel thousands of miles away to a different culture and environment, even if the new environment is better. It's just tough on everyone.

I guess all we can do now is to keep waiting, praying and dreaming.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Faith. Finances. Fidelity.

Our home study is being written, the first round of paperwork and documentation is out of our hands. The fundraising has started. After a quiet start, this journey is beginning to come together quickly. The risk taking is here and I’m not nervous. Which I find odd because it is not just my heart, my time, my energy, my money, my love, my investment that I am committing.  We are allowing our family and friends to invest and commit along with us. And we are not unaware of the fact that we could all grieve together when rough times hit. What if the country closes unexpectedly? What if the age or health needs of the child we are matched with is too far out of our comfort zone? What if we our country changes its guidelines? What if we allow others to commit time, emotion and finances and somehow along the way our adoption falls through? What if? What if? What if?

And still, I am confident. Not naively so, we are certainly cautious. We waited until the first adoptions went through before committing to international adoption and this country specifically. We did the research, had the conversations, and asked the questions. We have set some lines that are harder than our agency might prefer. We are aware of the potential for heartbreak. We are aware that cost is astronomically high. Financially & emotionally this is not a logical risk to take. But for this I am willing to risk. Not just my heart but my families hearts as well. We are smart enough. We are persistent enough. We are strong enough.  And above all, in so many different ways, God has shown us this adoption path is one he has laid out specifically for us. And that, in itself, is enough.

Without risk, without faith, there will be no children, no grandchildren, no family memories. And somewhere out there, far away, will be a child who could have had a family. If I had taken a risk. If I had allowed myself and my family to step out in faith. Because at the end of the day, that is what this journey is about. Faith.      

Fundraising for adoption, especially international adoption is common. Most families who adopt internationally fundraise and “everyone” knows that, hence that should make it “ok,” right? But I personally struggle with allowing others to give financially to our dream. It’s a risk, and shouldn’t it be our risk? Tom and I decided to do this. It’s our calling. No one else should be asked to put their money into it. It’s why we didn’t begin fundraising until now. We wanted to be sure. More than sure. But the time for mitigating the risk is passed. At some point you have to step out in faith and walk the path God has laid before you. And that means allowing others to help. I will never forget when the first people gave us money for our adoption. It was right before Christmas and they had littles of their own. I’m sure Christmas was on a budget. But they chose to turn a chance to bring in a few extra dollars for Christmas into a chance to support our adoption fund. I was humbled. I was touched. And looking back it was the day I realized this really was going to happen for us. Faith. Finances.

This process takes commitment. It takes the loyalty to our Heavenly Father when he asks us to put earthly footwork behind the Heavenly promise He has given. It’s braving the fact that not everyone will understand or agree with the path you have taken. Not doubting in the night what you were promised in day. Fidelity. Sticking with the plan and the promise even when every detail is not clear. Showing up at the place God asked you to be at. Why is fidelity so important? I’ve learned a lot about God, his promises and living a prophetic lifestyle in the last year. Here is what I can tell you – you will hear a lot of people say “God told me” or “God promised me” or “someone spoke this prophecy over me.” Yes, I believe all of that can and does happen. I also know that a prophecy is sometimes God revealing the potential that He has for you. And not everyone reaches their full potential. Why? Because without earthly footsteps walking into and seeking after that potential it cannot always be reached. God will take you be they hand and lead you, he will smooth your path and guide you through the rough waters. But you do typically have to get up off the couch.    


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Another update!

We are now one (of many, many more) step closer to bringing our little kiddo home. Last week we completed another interview/paperwork session, and along with some other extra paperwork we'll need to get sent in like ongoing background checks, med reports, etc we are almost good to go! We have a home visit in two weeks and once that's done we will get the official word that the homestudy is complete, and from there on our adoption agency will start preparing our dossier and talking to their counterparts in Kyrgyzstan!

So in summary:

1) Collect underpants paperwork
3) Profit!

(those of you who don't get the reference, nevermind)

Anyway, while we've been doing some fundraising, we really can't do anything really large scale on the account of tax stuff. Once the homestudy is complete, we can proceed with the full-scale stuff like garage sales, gofundme pages, cookouts and other fundraising ideas we can think of (ideas welcome).

Please continue to keep us in your prayers and thoughts as we keep slogging through this long journey!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Our first meeting with the social worker!

Quick update! Last Friday we went to see our adoption social worker to go over a few forms, and have a quick briefing and Q&A session. We were able to get a good idea of how much paperwork we'll need (a fair amount) and also what to expect on the homestudy. Apparently they just want to make sure that we have a room available in the house for our kid, as well as make sure we're not idiots ("sure kiddo, you can play with this poison-dipped dagger!")

It's not a whole lot, but it is, in a sense. If anything, the adoption is now taking shape, picking up steam, and we have some structure around it. We'll have another meeting with them at the end of the month for more forms to fill, then the homestudy will be next. Depending on whether they want us to make any changes as a result of the homestudy we should be ready to start the actual process with the government of Kyrgyzstan in as few as 8 weeks. That's just around the corner!

Anyway that's all we have for now. Please continue to pray for us as we continue along this journey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Kyrgyzstan. Other than the fact that it's a hard name to spell, not many people would have heard of this country, unlike Kazakhstan, it's better-known neighbor to the north. Most Americans who know about this country will likely know it from Manas AFB, which is where most troops wind up in temporarily when flying to and from Afghanistan. So what about this little country we're adopting from? Over the next few weeks we (mostly Tom) will put up little tidbits of information where our kid's from.

Kyrgyzstan is located south of Kazakhstan, west of China, north of Tajikistan, and east of Uzbekistan (whose air force has some pretty neat paint schemes). It's a tiny country, slightly larger than California, with a population of about 5.8 million. The country is fairly mountainous, with large tracts of flat land here and there suitable for agriculture, one of their most important economic sectors. It doesn't have much easily extracted mineral resources such as oil or natural gas, but has plenty of gold, coal, antimony, uranium, and rare earth metals. While that stuff is good money, it's hard to extract which makes it tricky to get enough at a time for much-needed funds. There is a lot of water and mountains though, which the country has been able to take advantage of in the form of hydroelectric power.

This little country has had it rough for a couple of years. Back in the old Soviet days, 98% of its exports went to countries in the Soviet Union. When communism collapsed, that mostly artificially supported economy tanked out, and with very easily exploitable resources, it fared really badly among the former Soviet republics (only doing marginally better than the countries that weren't already embroiled in civil wars at the time).

As of now, the poverty rate is about 37% (2011), with about half its population working in agriculture, which is 36% of its GDP. Wool, meat and dairy products are its major commodities. Main crops include wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, cotton, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Since agricultural chemicals and petroleum are expensive, most of the farming is done the old-fashioned way, by hand and horses.

Economy-wise, the local economy is primarily small businesses in the form of bazaars and markets in villages and towns scattered around the country. Everyday consumer items are quite scarce, and most villages are self-sufficient. Come to think of it, an Amish family probably would do pretty decently here.

What Kyrgyzstan is extremely rich in, is its wonderful culture and beautiful country. With such a low population density (71/sq mi), the land is also vast and undeveloped. The ethnic Kyrgz are an ancient people, and being part a stopover on the Silk Road, have bits and pieces of Chinese, Mongolian, European, and Arabic culture woven into their history. Over the years Russians have joined the mix, and today you can find Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims living peacefully together.

Anyway that's it for now. Tom just threw all this stuff together over a sandwich so it's informative but probably not cohesive. All of this will tie together over the next few updates. In the meantime enjoy this picturesque scene of the Tien Shan mountains, bordering Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

So we've got a little announcement (no, we're not pregnant)

So we've been keeping it on the down-low, but since we're slowly creeping along on this, we might as well make an announcement that we're going to be adopting. We don't have a lot of specifics yet, but the plan is to adopt from Kyrgyzstan (a small country south of Kazakhstan, with China to the east and Russia to the west), preferable a little girl, toddler. Age and gender aren't a guarantee, though while we're really enamored with the concept of having a little girl, in the end we'd still be delighted if we had a boy. Tom just wants to have a little daughter to push Jen and Kevin's kids around and dress up as Princess Leia at cons. 

Tom's even gone as far as designing a logo for our effort...pretty neat eh?

You can thank God that Kazakhstan is still closed to adoptions - Tom wanted to use Borat as a mascot and had started nicknaming our yet-adopted child "Little Borat."

So what's next? We have submitted our application to an adoption agency to indicate our intent to adopt, have spoken to them a few times, paid up a few fees, and we have just submitted our application to have an adoption homestudy conducted and we'll be meeting up with a social worker to be interviewed soon. We're both nervous and excited about this next step...once that goes through we're officially on the road to adoption, along with all the additional paperwork, fees, interviews, more fees, background checks, travel, meetings, even more paperwork, etc.

How can you help? A couple of ways. Some of you who've known us for a while might be recruited as references. We'll also need money - lots of it (sadly, adoptions are really expensive, and if they were cheaper more kids would get adopted but then again, this weeds out all but the most serious people), that we'll be trying to put aside in the form of fundraisers, garage sales, donations, etc. Finally - and most importantly - your prayers and support. Not many people can do this alone, and we hope that you can be a part of bringing our little bundle of joy home.

Anyway that's about it for now. We'll have more details later!