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The Edmunds Family
9/20/2013 11:46:54 AM ET
I have not kept up on this journal, as I have felt that Facebook and my blog have allowed me to reach a lot of people interested in our adoption journey, and allowed me to update frequently. We are entering the final stretch of this process to bring our son home. What started out as a process of two adoptions, is ending with one. After being labeled "un-adoptable" due to Haiti's 1974 abandonment laws, we were blessed to see Alby move to PAP where he has become part of a family. A biological sister of a nun who cares for the children in Fondwa, took Alby in as her own, providing him a family and access to the healthcare he needs to meet his sickle cell needs. He has been with this family since November 2011, and is a happy little guy. Our process with Dimitry has been a roller coaster. We gained legal custody of him in May 2012, entered IBESR (the Haitian adoption authority) in September 2012, legally adopted him May 2013, and now await his Haitian passport processing so that we may petition the U.S. government for a travel visa! We've all grown a little older and weary of the wait, but we've been blessed by wonderful caregivers in Fondwa and the opportunity to visit our son many times.Unfortunately, as we are part of the last group of independent adoptions allowed in Haiti (meaning we are represented by an attorney rather than an agency acting on our behalf), we are ineligible for grants that assist adopting families with legal fees, travel, and expenses. This road has been long and very expensive. Now we find ourselves rounding the final turn, but maxed out. We never guessed it would have taken this long . . . but the sacrifices are well worth it, and soon our middle child will be home with us, at long last. If you are able, and feel compelled, will you please donate any sum that is comfortable to assist us in paying for these final fees, documents and travel? We have been so generously blessed over the years, and helped where we were drawn, but now find ourselves on the receiving end of need. Any gift will help and be appreciated. Soon, we will have our son here for all to meet and see in person!His anticipated arrival is now between Halloween and Thanksgiving, 2013.
3/29/2012 10:40:49 PM ET
Please follow our journey and continue to support our family by reading our blog:
11/19/2011 6:04:31 PM ET
This has been such a L-O-N-G week. It's finally preparation time.
Today I purchased Candy Land and Memory in hopes that games transcend language barriers, Matchbox cars, several brown Barbie dolls, 4 pounds of animal crackers, a very large bag of plain M&Ms (no, they do not melt in Haiti), and lots of trail mix.
11/19/2011 6:03:38 PM ET
Thankful to be counting down
In just a few days, I will leave my children, parents and siblings, and rather than spend this Thanksgiving holiday filling up on yummy food, laughter and shared memories, I will be making some new ones.
Eric and I are super excited to spend this holiday with our boys in Fondwa.
They do not know they are being adopted.
Why? you may ask. Well, consider what it's like telling a child their birthday is next month . . . no, not tomorrow . . . no, still not tomorrow . . . they have no concept of time or any patience for such things.
11/19/2011 6:02:47 PM ET
The Faces of Haitian Adoption
These are not my photos, but are courtesy of Google, which, funny enough, shows our family photo under the search topic Haitian adoption images (thank you Wild Olive! lol) Each image and every face touched me . . . I just wanted to share.
11/8/2011 9:20:58 PM ET
I have 2 children who are malnourished, hungry and need food.
I have 2 children who are picky eaters, that I have to coerce to eat homemade food because they eat out so much that they do not appreciate real food.
I have 50 extra pounds on my 5 foot 2 inch frame from enjoying my food too much.
This saddens me.
11/3/2011 3:55:55 PM ET
I love mail
Yesterday I had planned to post that the Haiti adoption discussion boards are all a-twitter due to a new Director of IBESR being appointed.
"What does this mean?!"
Will this new person adjust the current standards? Enforce the rules of the 1974 decree? (which really does not affect us, but has to do with age of prospective adoptive parents, number of biological children at home, and length of marriage) Will the change delay paperwork already in IBESR? Will families be grandfathered in IF changes are made?
My dear old friend (and I mean that we have been friends as long as I can remember, not that either of us is old) told me this yesterday: Stay positive. It is good news. It would seem that God is putting the people in place to help you accomplish everything.
Wow. What else needs to be said?
Today came more news . . .
We received our official congratulatory letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on approval to adopt internationally.
I love mail! Official mail that comes from the USCIS and has words like congratulations and approval on nice letterhead, anyway!
What a good day
11/1/2011 6:33:42 PM ET
Another month passes
10/16/2011 6:00:39 PM ET
Dinner and Silent Auction Success
Thank you friends for your presence, your support and your gifts that allow me to say this: our attorney fees are now fully funded!! Our dossier will go on to Haiti this week.
Our event was a success. The food that was generously donated by Sumer and Succotash was delicious. No one went hungry! Not only did we feed the guests at the auction, but many take home containers were sold and the additional leftovers went to the Crossroads shelter for other families to benefit.
The decor was simple yet elegant. Coffee beans added to the ambience and the Haitian flag was a predominant theme.
The silent auction . . . oh! the silent auction. Wonderful items were up for bid and few left empty handed! Even those who didn't win an auction package sampled the handmade poviticia and took home Robins' family apple butter to enjoy.
My sincerest thanks and appreciation to Heather Donaway, Summer Galloway and Matthew Edmunds, Alan and Patricia Edmunds, Cynthia and Mark Postnikoff, Aimee and Jerome Patience, Lowell and Deb Heide, Amy O'Brien and my parents, Chuck and Nancy Baker.
One GIANT step closer to bringing this forever family together.
10/12/2011 10:24:01 PM ET
To date, we have received $780 cash gifts, $110 from sale of lanyards at CMH (thank you Heather and Jennifer), $25 proceeds from our coffee fundraising site and $97.50 from Wild Olive Tee sales proceeds = $1,012. 50! Yea :) Thank you friends.
We've already made $60 on the sale of one auction item!
We have spent the following:
Home study $1,400.
Psych Eval 260.
USCIS 890. (so far)
Sec of State 60.
Attorney 1,000. (retention fee)
Too bad we aren't any where close to being done!
I wanted to update you so you understand that money is being spent as it is received.
Items from the gotchagiftregistry.com wish list have been removed as the item's due date arrived and funds paid out. What remains on the registry is what we still owe in the near future and to bring our boys home near the end of this process.
Attorney's fees total $14,000 total, some of which is already funded (as noted on the registry), and other items such as visa medical examination are "subject to change." I believe that means we could pay out the wazoo, should they choose to implement higher fees.
It's all part of the process. Just like figuring out how to use family leave when the boys arrive home. Who goes to work? How do bills get paid? How are the boys' needs best met while encouraging a trusting, loving, attached relationship? While still paying the bills and not losing one's job, of course!
Three days until the dinner and silent auction. Again I say, do not let your lack of RSVP keep you from coming on Saturday night. Eat first, have a snack on the way in case the food is gone, but come!
10/9/2011 11:21:00 PM ET
Big, big thank you to Cathy Bear, Jamie Logan and new mama Lyuda Trpkosh. Your support and generosity are greatly appreciated!
10/6/2011 10:29:44 PM ET
What a fabulous day!
Today was a great day.$0
I woke up happy and was excited all morning long (the Kit Kat and cup of coffee I had for breakfast didn't help. I know, Weight Watchers would not approve.)$0
Mid-morning I received a message from our lovely realtor that we are officially "under contract."$0
Whilst at work, a dear friend and fellow medical staffer gave me a call to say he had a couple bags of clothes in his clinic for the boys . . . and books, and sweatshirts, and snow boots :)$0
My sister forwarded me an email she had sent to her friends and loved ones in support of our adoption that nearly brought me to tears right in the OR.$0
My super sweet girlfriend Heather relieved me from work early so I could meet my handsome spouse for our USCIS biometrics profiling. (hee hee) $0
(I only managed one photo before being threatened with phone confiscation. Geez people! This is a big deal here. Gotta document it!)$0
I got to see my Aimee for a few minutes at her place of work (I wish the lighting in my workplace made me look that good! What a lovely gal.)$0
So then, I get home and am preparing for an evening with my children when the doorbell rings . . .$0
expecting it to be a neighbor friend, my little guy goes to the door and announces a truck is out front. Lo and behold! It's FedEx. For me?!$0
The paperwork I sent to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago on Monday night is stamped, legalized and back in my hot little hand already!$0
So here we are, one week away from the big fundraiser, dossier complete and ready to ship to the attorney in Port-au-Prince. $0
Things sure are looking up - $0
towards heaven, in fact :)$0
Wow God! $0
10/5/2011 9:46:20 PM ET
A new month ahead
It's another Wednesday, but a long, long way from my last post.
My exhaustion and tears have been replaced by laughter again. Having one of my besties home from her vacation helps. (Aimee, are you REALLY going to leave me again soon?!)
We have gotten not one, but TWO offers on our house, one contingent and one non-contingent. The bank is happy. We are relieved. With a possible closing date of mid-November, I feel like I can breathe again.
(how cute are they fishin?)
Our paperwork returned from the interpreter (all hail Deb Blaz) and is now on a desk at the Haitian Consulate in Chicago. It is quite possible that by the end of next week, the dossier, in its entirety, will be on its way to Port-au-Prince.
And . . . our attorney contacted us this evening with his bank account information to wire him funds for his services . . . and it's Bank of America, our bank! Seriously?! How much simpler (is that a word?) can that be? We won't even be charged fees for the transfers! Hee hee
Now, lest you think our lives have turned all rosy, let me tell you that last Friday Eric's starter went out on his truck and the following day a window in my car broke. If not for the unbelievable ability of my father to fix anything, we would be out A LOT of money.
(that's my daddy)
We continue to feel the love, support and incredible generosity of those around us. The big fundraiser is a little over one week away, and as my mom puts it, it seems as if we are under attack. If it can go wrong, it is! My support system is being tugged on: the majority of my Haiti surgical team will be spread across the country at various conferences and meetings the weekend of our event, and a fair amount of the anesthesiologists that I work with will be at the ASA meeting. Fellow adoptive moms (who happen to co-own cool companies that have helped us raise funds towards are adoption) will in other countries doing wonderful things. I have invited surgeons, nurses, teachers, pastors, family and every friend that I have to come and join us in this official event supporting our adoption. My other besty lives thousands of miles away . . . but I'm happy and hopeful and eager.
(are those Wild Olive Tees? why yes!)
The items and gift certificates donated on our behalf are overwhelmingly awesome!
Tomorrow we make a trip into the USCIS for our final biometric profiling. That I-171H is on the horizon! As Colleen calls it, "the golden ticket" is not far off, I pray.
Plans for our next Haiti trip are in the works and I cannot wait to see and hold my boys again!
10/4/2011 10:37:52 AM ET
Another step in the right direction
well, the paperwork has been interpreted and is now on its way to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago!! woo hoo. supposedly, this process can take 5-10 days, and then . . . off to Port-au-Prince, baby!
the big fundraiser is fast approaching (October 15, 2011) and we're starting to feel the love and support through gifts to our adoption fund. thank you friends :)
9/25/2011 6:09:11 PM ET
Whew! What a week.
I will admit it - I've been on the verge this week.
First, we were promised an offer on the house that didn't come.
Then, we heard that President Martelly stated that independent adoptions in Haiti will stop. Now, don't get me wrong, joining the Hague Convention will greatly benefit the children of Haiti, and monetarily, the country itself. I'm all for reducing the exploitation of children in the world. I am pro-family, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, desertion and abuse. I'm also all for bringing my boys home in the most efficient, least costly, legal manner possible.
I've also been all about coffee this week, and without the support and love of my coworkers friends, I would not have made it through this work week.
I have been amazed by the caring support and unbelievable generosity of the individuals I am blessed to work alongside. I have cried upon shoulders, been hugged and showered with fabulous items for our fundraising auction. And that's just the past two days! Beyond my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined the volume or value of items that have been donated to our cause.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are truly blessed and I thank God for the network of people wrapping us in loving support.
9/22/2011 7:51:55 PM ET
I am a faithful person.
I trust in God's will and His timing.
even if I don't understand it
I believe that "if He leads you to it, He will lead you through it."
I find comfort in other faithful believers who think that if it is His will, He will provide in all ways.
although I'm not sure the struggle isn't part of the journey
I'm at a portion of this ride where there are lots and lots of up and down moments. I'm holding on by a thread and rarely make it through a day without tearing up out of fatigue, frustration or fear.
This morning I was speaking to some co-workers friends about the boys and I got choked up.
I was telling them about Alby spending his life split between Port-au-Prince, to be near the medical facility, and the orphanage in Fondwa. Eric and I both agree that he seems well cared for and loved by all the Sisters. They make sure he doesn't get too cold in the mountains and that he gets his needs met. He is clean and doted on. We frequently saw him in a lap or holding someone's hand . . .
while our Jimmy is one of the Fondwa 65. He shares a barn type dwelling with all the other boys. In this building (as in the girls' building), there are 10 or 12 beds cots, 2 dangling light bulbs and a wood floor. Hmmm, let's consider the math: 65 children, 24 beds at best. Do they pile in together? Do they sleep on the floor in their clothes? likely What goes on in these buildings where the only affection and love these children receive is what they share with the other children? Multiple times, we witnessed older children holding and hugging the small ones.
They don't know a mama's touch or a daddy's hug. They aren't taught about good touching versus inappropriate touching. They aren't aware of societal norms, by our standards.
What have they experienced?
These things keep me awake at night.
I frequently get asked how the fund raising is going . . .
do you want to see me cry?
Last week, a family viewed our home for a 2nd and 3rd showing - staying nearly 45 minutes on their 3rd visit. That kind of time investment makes me think they are deciding where to put the Christmas tree! Although, here I sit, with no offer and no idea how I'm going to pay 2 mortgages again this month and pay an attorney to start our paperwork in Haiti. How can I sleep at night thinking of the next time Alby will have a sickle cell crisis treated in a Haitian "hospital," or Jimmy wondering if anyone will ever love him.
Dang it, here I go again
It may be a combination of fatigue and stress, I'll admit, but I'm scared. The success of this fundraiser is weighing heavily on my heart. I soooo want to see my boys and tell them we love them and want them and are working very hard to bring them to their new home. February was a long time ago and the uncertainty of selling this house and being able to travel to them anytime in the near future is breaking my heart.
I swear this journey is aging me. I feel great joy and hope when I focus on the future of Jimmy and Alby in the Edmunds' family. I feel blessed to have the Sisters caring for the boys and watching out for us during this process. I know God is in this and He will bring us through it . . .
I just wish I knew when and how:)
9/14/2011 10:16:25 PM ET
All in all, it's been a successful week, albeit tiring. On Tuesday I found myself asking "is the weekend here yet?" A bit early to feel drained, but that's where I'm at. It all started on Saturday . . .
I met with my dear friends Heather and Kelly (aka my ultra-fantastic auction coordinator and adoption finance coach) to discuss the logistics of our upcoming fundraiser. To put it mildly, it stressed me out. My to-do list was long, but mostly the importance of the event weighed heavily on me. Kelly likened the fundraiser to planning a wedding, but it feels like even more is riding on this. Don't get me wrong, the coordination of a wedding is a big deal, but truly the importance is on the sacrament and the outcome - the marriage - not the venue or the dress or the cake on a specific date.
(Oh my gosh, he's cute! Hee hee)
For this particular event, however, it does matter how many people attend, if the food is satisfactory, if we actually sell everything in the auction . . . it matters because it will be bringing my family together. This fundraiser will bring my boys home to me.
Be still my heart.
No, I mean it. I had some sort of dysrhythmia for two days because of the stress and perhaps the amount of coffee I ingested.
I promptly got on my to-do list, and by Sunday night had the parts to the centerpieces ordered, formal invitations designed and ordered, and had increased my guest list by nearly 20 percent.
Then came Monday . . .
and this time, there was success! (Whew.) I could've kissed the short little lady behind that desk. I went straight to my next task:
sending that precious dossier off to be interpreted! (I received word that it arrived as promised today.)
Now, lest you think of me as a serious worrier, unable to rest my burdens where they belong, I will also mention that in the past couple of days I participated in a very stressful phone call with my realtors regarding mortgage debt, short sales, and property price after caring for a 31 week preemie with central apnea at work.
I'm not crazy; my plate is full. Oh yeah, and it's volleyball season which means my interactions with my spouse consist of a quick kiss as we exit in the morning and a few texts throughout the day.
On a positive note, our new attorney (I guess we've officially retained his services now) resides part-time in the United States, is on the US Embassy list, answers his email promptly and will accept installment payments. Thank you Lord! Each nickel and dime I find is going into a jar towards our adoptions.
Oh, and we've gotten our appointment notice for our final fingerprinting with the USCIS - yippee!! (which is a government office, on a 9-5 schedule -- super convenient for all us workin' folk. Thank God for understanding bosses and flexible co-workers!)
The great thing is that I sleep in a wonderful bed, shower with warm water, never go hungry and have a great support system. All things I am itchin' to give those boys.
9/2/2011 4:11:47 PM ET
Yesterday I had the privilege of experiencing the Secretary of State's office for adoption paperwork authentication. I entered full of enthusiasm, ready to get that official seal on "the big 4" and ship our dossier off to the interpreter today . . . but left disappointed. It seems the notary on our psychological evaluation is incomplete. You know that wording about "in the county of _____, so and so did before me appear and swear . . . blah, blah, blah" . . . it has to be there or the notary cannot be authenticated. Dang it. Now I get to experience the Secretary of State's office again in 7-10 days.
Instead of mailing off our dossier to be interpreted, I mailed the psych eval back to Parkville, from whence it came, for reprinting and re-notarization, and now I'll wait for it's return . . . over the holiday week. Heavy sigh
In the big scheme of things, I realize it is only one more week, but for my psyche, it was a let down. On a positive note, that fancy gold seal next to Robin Carnahan's signature sure is purty! I bet they'll like that a lot in Haiti :)
I'm getting restless about visiting the boys again too. It's been 6 months since we were in Haiti last, and I'm itchin' to return. I want to see my boys and take more photos of them to last me a while longer. I want to visit with the Sisters and do laundry in a tub by the garden. I want some of that yummy stout coffee and beans & rice with plantains. I want to make Alby giggle and see Jimmy's bright eyes. I want to hold them in my lap and try to talk with them in my limited Creole. I want to tell them they are mine and they already live in my heart.
I made a photo book on My Publisher the other day of our visit to Fondwa and added in some Jacmel photos, as well as photos of G and A here at home. I'm confident they won't remember that we've met before, but I hope that by showing them pictures of us together, they will start to make a connection. My kiddos here already know the boys by photos and stories, but G and A are strangers to Jimmy and Alby. I want to introduce them. I want them to know that we think of them and pray for them and are doing all we can to become family.
I really hope we can travel again in November.
8/30/2011 5:37:06 PM ET
Our dear coach, Kelly, has strongly encouraged me to put unpaid leave from work expenses onto our wishlist . . .
which I did, for awhile, and just removed.
I finally got in touch with an attorney who IS on the US Embassy's list . . . and his fees are $6,000 higher than the previous attorney.
Where does the money come from? How do people adopt over and over again? How do parents afford to stay home with their children for extended periods following adoption?
I have FINISHED paperwork sitting here, ready to send! But need the funds to send it.
Where are those house offers?
Maybe I should've married a nurse anesthetist . . .
Oh wait, my husband did that :)
8/28/2011 2:19:28 AM ET
For anyone who has gone through the adoption process, particularly one that required hiring a foreign attorney without the aid of an agency, you'll understand this post well.
First of all, I'd like to say Holy Mackerel.
I have literally spent months researching legal counsel in Haiti. I have sent more emails than I can count, some which go unanswered and most which return "unable to deliver." Man, it's tough to communicate with Haiti!
I have had a few phone conversations with the dear Sister who runs the orphanage in Fondwa, which has led me to believe that email is the best bet for handling legal and financial matters with our adoption. There is the whole French-Creole to English interpretation issue, crazy background noise (that woman has one heck of a microphone on her phone because I can hear every conversation near her, in Creole, over her own voice), and then there is the issue of reception (did I mention that I am talking about a third world country here, and the orphanage is in the mountains?) For the sake of my sanity, not to mention a paper trail of communication regarding super important stuff, I'll stick with email . . . or want to, anyway.
Tomorrow we will be putting our last notarizations on our documents. That means we are ready for the Secretary of State's stamp and a big mailing to the interpreter. What a relief! Sort of . . .
I don't know who's name to put on the power of attorney.
I have spent a few months communicating with a legal "cabinet" in Port-au-Prince, but am uneasy about their names missing from the U.S. Embassy's list of attorneys. Excuse me for being cautious with so many thousands of dollars. The thought of getting ripped off and delaying the adoption of our beautiful boys makes me physically weak.
So here I sit, at the computer, once again sending out emails after checking and triple checking the U.S. Embassy list to the other lists of googled Haitian attorneys who provide adoption services. Praying that a few will get to the intended recipients who feel compelled to respond without delay and quote me the same (or lower, dare I go there?) fee to legally bring our boys into our family.
Did I mention that I am itching to mail these documents off?!
For now, I'll print many versions of the same power of attorney, all with different legal representation listed, and continue to pray for guidance . . . and some email.
Don't hate me Jerome. Either we notarize them all tomorrow and only send the one we need, or I have to bother you again to be my stamp man in the future.
Man, this adoption stuff is work! Can't wait to smile and say Wow, that was worth it!
8/25/2011 7:40:45 PM ET
Although our gift registry account does not show it, we are blessed by the generosity of many around us.
For the 2nd and 3rd time, I have received a $100 gift from a co-worker. We have had so many people contact my dear friend Heather with donations towards our silent auction in October, as well.
The generosity of people near us is touching. Thank you for your gifts and your support of our adoption of Jimmy and Alby. It's difficult to find words to truly express our gratitude.
8/24/2011 12:58:03 PM ET
Thanks Dad & Mom!
We have been given our first registry gift by Eric's mom and step-dad! Mark and Cindy, thank you for helping us get the ball rolling on giving :) Your support and contributions towards our adoption mean so much to us. We appreciate you making this public gift to help us out too!
I am working diligently on several projects at once, but expect to see a flier like this soon:
Save the Date!
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
Dinner and a Silent Auction
to benefit the adoption of
Jimmy and Alby
Please put it on your calendar now and we'll be sure to send more information your way very soon! (By the way, doesn't that sound great?! Jimmy and Alby Edmunds. Hee hee.)
8/22/2011 5:49:41 PM ET
Thanks Dad & Mom Postnikoff for the gift, and all of your support of our adoption! xoxo
8/20/2011 12:53:14 PM ET
Word of the Day: Dispensation
I learned a new word today: dispensation. The thesaurus lists permission as an alternative noun. That makes sense.
In Haiti, adoptive parents must receive presidential approval, or dispensation, to adopt if biological children already exist within the family. For the first time since taking office, Mr. Martelly has signed 80 dispensations for orphans, moving them through the IBESR and allowing lots of forever families to be formed! One of these families posted that their dossier went into IBESR in May of 2010 . . . eek. We're praying that this is the beginning of getting the ball rolling again for Haitian adoptions.
I'm wondering about our spring 2012 timeline now. What if our dossier goes into IBESR and falls into a black hole for 12-18 months? It really isn't within our control and I keep telling myself that God's timeline is what matters, not my own. But what if we go through the 2nd legal process and get a call for a court date during volleyball season next year?! (Holy panic.)
Well, the blessing is that families are being joined and children from Haiti are getting homes outside of their orphanages. A lovely adoptive mom preparing to meet her child in Uganda soon posted "Bless his little heart - his world is about to be rocked!" No kidding sister! Amen :)
8/16/2011 10:43:11 PM ET
A Tiny Tuesday Note
Well, I got on the treadmill and had a casualty on day #1. While listening to my itunes, I increased my speed to 4.5 on a 3.0 incline, and caught my hand on the cord of my earphones. My phone fell onto the treadmill belt and was thrown against the wall, cracking the face, landing calmly (and expensively) under the exercise machine of cell phone death. Heavy sigh.
On a brighter note, my superb dad-in-law painted a bedroom for me today and by the end of this week, the boys will officially have their own room! Okay, so they don't know that or have any idea what that means, but it'll be ready for them!
I also had a very productive chat with our wonderful Adoption Finance Coach, Kelly, about our upcoming dinner and silent auction fundraiser. As much anxiety as the event planning has already caused me, I feel better now after being reminded to delegate and focus on the boys. "It's not about us, it's about the boys." Got it!
Tomorrow I am determined to get the certified copy of one of our vital records to the lockbox and get this I-171H thing movin'. Oh yeah, and my oldest child (he's really still a baby!!) starts first grade tomorrow. Wow.
I am so thrilled to see the love and support poured out on a fellow adopting mom and know that the road we are on is paved with blessings. God wouldn't have placed this yearning and the passion to adopt from Haiti upon my heart if he planned to let us struggle through the process. I'm not going to stress over this fundraiser now (well, not as much anyway). I'm going to focus on the love and support we already feel and make the event a celebration of Jimmy and Alby lives. Thanks Kelly :)
8/11/2011 9:50:45 PM ET
I'm excited today. While the hallway is long, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.
We are anticipating our completed home study report within the next week which will allow us to send a copy off to the USCIS and another to the interpreter, which I retained TODAY!! The "Big 4" will soon be on their way to the Missouri Secretary of State's office (home study, psych eval, letter to the IBESR & power of attorney), and after translation, on to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago for authentication. Then . . . off to Haiti, baby!
So, "then what," you may wonder. Well . . .
As I understand the process, the paperwork enters first legal: the Minister of Foreign Affairs looks over all authenticated documentation and validates the foreign signatures. Next, our dossier paperwork is picked apart, and a Haitian social worker investigates the whereabouts and validity of the boys' orphan status, compiles medical, psychological and social reports on each of them. The IBESR (Institut du Bien Etre Social et de Recherches = Haitian Adoption Authority) then approves the culmination of documents (the longest phase of approval, apparently) before sending the dossier off to Parquet = second legal. This is when the adoption becomes official! Legalization then occurs at the Minister of Justice's office before going over to the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Still with me?) So, at this point, we are a family, but . . .
Before we can bring them home, a “mini” dossier containing all of the adoption documents is submitted to the Ministry of Immigration for application for the boys' Haitian passports and Ministry of Interior for study and approval. When the passports are ready for printing, each child is required to have a visa medical examination. Concurrently, the Haitian adoption papers will be translated into English and an I-600 will be filed to allow the boys US citizenship as soon as their plan touches down state-side!
Once the USCIS passes on this "golden ticket," we travel to Haiti again, go through a visa appointment in Port-au-Prince and bring Jimmy and Alby HOME.
8/8/2011 12:01:18 PM ET
8/8/2011 11:43:47 AM ET
Support for a Uganda Adoption
8/7/2011 2:02:09 PM ET
Orphanage Shopping Day
8/7/2011 12:35:14 PM ET
Social Work Visit
Today is the day of our social work visit. I've been uber excited and ready to get this done so we can finish the home study process and get our paperwork to the translator . . . but now the day is here and I'm anxious. I know you've told us and they've told us that it's not about the cleanliness of my toilets or the amount of clutter in my home, but I felt the need to dust the baseboards anyway.
The kids have cabin fever from too many days inside this summer. Really, the record heat does nothing for parents of children with bikes in the garage, friends in the neighborhood, and big old dogs in the house who risk heat stroke as well (we've been down that road once and never want to experience it again, thank you.) Here's praying that swim lessons are enough to fulfill the kids today and they both take a nap resulting in sweet, respectful sibling interactions in front of the nice social worker lady (it's only 6AM and I may need some ibuprofen).
This week I'm feeling a bit of strain from all the plates I have spinning (they all are still spinning, right? I can't bear to look). It's been a rough summer for real estate and the reality of having two mortgage payments going into fall weighs heavily on us. Supposedly, with a break in the heat forecasted and rates being low again / still, the realtors anticipate more activity in the market . . . at least that's what they say in their pep talks (thanks for your efforts Caronna and Dee).
We have a date on the calendar for our "big" fundraiser to bring the boys home and the success of the event could greatly impact the timing of our dossier processing in Haiti. Ah politics . . . and finances . . . (headache). Oh, and volleyball starts next week which means three months of single parenthood for me and a lot of missing my husband.
About him . . . he's a pretty mellow, understanding sort of of guy, all in all. He gets that I have rough days at work occasionally and can't bear to discuss some of what I see at the children's hospital sometimes. Some evenings, mama just needs a moment of quiet and a short cry to let go of the pain I witness some children having to bear. I lift these patients up to the Heavenly Physician and try to understand that HIS plan isn't always clear to those of us on earth, and we can't rescue them all. I am so grateful for my healthy babies. Which brings me to this point: Eric and I used to talk about how many children we'd have one day. I said 6, he said 2. I said 4, he said 2. The boys aren't here yet, I know, but I feel as if they are already mine. There are so many orphans in this world and so many called to care for them. I hear that calling very strongly right now. My heart is easily overwhelmed by the calling. What a blessing to have the resources to care for the special needs child and provide a loving environment for them . . .
Check this out: http://www.anorphanswish.org
8/1/2011 5:29:05 PM ET
It's funny how frequently I hear song lyrics or see an ad depicting a child waiting for a home now that I am in wait for my boys. Perhaps my subconscious seeks out what is meaningful to me or my conscious is just more aware of a topic I feel so deeply about now.
We will have our first social work visit this week, and I'm both nervous and super excited. Our psych evaluation reports are completed (thank you Darlene from Oasis Counseling!) and planning for our upcoming fundraiser (the big one) is underway.
We have been blessed with friends and family and a church community that is supportive of our journey and eager to greet Jimmy and Alby when they come home. This past week, I have been blessed with an organized, super-connected friend hopping on board to take the reigns and head up our silent auction (Heather, you do what I am needing most!) I've never been in a situation of asking for money like this . . . it's awkward and uncomfortable . . . and necessary to bring them home.
7/29/2011 1:28:37 PM ET
Wild Olive Tees
Yea!! We are officially visible on the Wild Olive Tees adoption families fundraiser page. Thanks to this wonderful company, owned and operated by adoptive moms, for giving us the opportunity to raise some funds through your purchases towards bringing our boys home.
7/29/2011 11:12:18 AM ET
My first blog with photos of the boys :)
Here I go, entering another domain of social media . . .
First, let's talk about the name of the blog, shall we? Cupcakes, Beans & Rice, huh? Yep!
I recently celebrated another birthday and am excited to embark on the adventure this year is sure to be. We are armpit deep in home study paperwork, getting fingerprinted, scheduling psychological evaluations, writing checks until my hand cramps . . .
The sweet and savory mix of life as I currently know it involves anxiety, a lot of faith, stress, inquiry, frustration, pure joy, sadness, anticipation, trepidation, hope, and much love. My babies are growing up so quickly right before my eyes, and as the months seem to pass too quickly watching them sprout, time seems to crawl as the stack of "suggested" reading for our adoption process mounts. Grant and Addie are my cupcakes,
7/29/2011 11:11:05 AM ET
Postdated: May 16th
In an effort to share our story, I wanted to include this from my blog. It's a bit out of order by timeline, but was posted to our blog on May 16th:
We met with a lovely woman this weekend who has a precious Asian daughter and understands the intricacies and costs of international adoption. She is a fundraising professional and has her own unique organization designed to assist families meet their adoption budget goals.
7/29/2011 11:07:16 AM ET
Bye, Bye, Bye! (July 23rd)
7/29/2011 11:06:32 AM ET
Baby Weight (July 17th)
So, I recently realized that I currently weigh what I did after delivering Grant and Addie. Hmmm.
7/29/2011 11:05:39 AM ET
Cookin' (July 9th)
Recipe #1: Beignets
7/29/2011 11:04:44 AM ET
Thank you Amazon.com! July 7th
Thank you Amazon.com for my new books! I am so very excited to have actual recipes to make the tasty dishes I have enjoyed (and the boys are used to eating) in Haiti. No one tell Jon - I wonder what a printed recipe for "spaghetti soup" is worth to him?! Hee hee
7/29/2011 11:03:46 AM ET
Getting Closer: July 6th
We are just one reference and one doctor's note away from being able to turn in our home study!!
On June 27th, the US State Department stated that an international committee was meeting with the new leadership of Haiti to work towards bringing the country into the Hague Convention. What great news for the orphans of Haiti!
Eeek!!! We need to hurry and get our paperwork completed and into the Haitian pipeline to avoid more paperwork, delays, and much, much more cost to bring our boys home.
We almost had an offer on the house this week (I know, that's kind of like being "almost pregnant"), but they weren't serious and couldn't come anywhere close to our new, improved (& much lower) asking price. I know there is a plan in place here, and I'm trying to remain faithful in believing God's hand is in control . . . but being patient is just not in my nature.
I tell myself that once our paperwork is complete and out of the US approval process, I'll be less stressed because it will be 100% out of my control . . .
do you know me?! Exactly. Again, not in my nature to be relaxed about such things.
On the fourth, we sat with friends on the dock and watched fireworks - one adult per one child = maximum safety. I had to smile thinking of Jimmy and Alby experiencing boats and fishing and feeding the ducks and fireworks over the lake :) Oh, and smores
6/29/2011 6:52:59 AM ET
I am super excited to be supported by Wild Olive Tees in our fundraising efforts to bring Jimmy and Alby home!
Not so long ago, I met this really, really cool mom while working out south. She is an adoptive mom of two precious boys from Uganda. What a blessing to come into her presence, learn from her experience, meet her beautiful son, and be introduced to Wild Olive Tees all at once. I can only hope to embrace this adoption experience as gracefully (Colleen, I called you out!) as she has.
Now, Eric and I have been given a tremendous opportunity to raise money for this journey we are on by offering the wildly cute, yet awesomely inspirational tee shirts to our friends, family, acquaintences, mail carrier (what? they wear t-shirts too!), and anyone who shops online. 11 tee shirts are included in the adoption fundraiser store and all you have to do is enter our family code when checking out: EDMUNDS0629.
6/25/2011 5:24:30 PM ET
So, apparently, a short sale is approved only after at least 60 days of delinquent payments to the mortgage company. This is not our situation, fortunately. We just want to unload the property and continue paying on the balance of the equity loan. All of this is too confusing and stressful! Bottom line: Please God, send us a buyer!! And if you can see fit, please do it sooner rather than later . . . We've got boys to bring home :)
6/21/2011 8:41:00 AM ET
My analytical mind typically works through a plan before jumping into anything big. Take this whole adoption thing, for example: there was a definite plan put into place prior to starting the paperwork necessary to bring Jimmy and Alby into our family.
Tired of living a bit "house poor," Eric and I began talking about where we should move to that would allow us better access to his school, same or better access to our parents, easy highway access for my commute, in an area where necessities (grocery stores, gas stations, an excellent Mexican restaurant) were plentiful. After initially placing our home on the market for sale by owner in the fall (which we figured out early scares many people off), we listed with our trusty realtor Dee in February.
After several showings, it became evident that the process would be less stressful if we didn't have to worry about two dogs and two children (and all their stuff) while trying to show the house. We had the opportunity to buy a home in Lakewood at a very good price, utilizing Eric's VA loan which allowed us to purchase without a down payment. Our new home ("Hackberry"), while MUCH more affordable, also gave us two more bedrooms - perfect for our new additions!
So now we have two mortgages . . . well, three if you count the home equity loan on Morton, the green one pictured above (by the way, let me go on record as saying never again!) We've managed for several months, but now the savings well has run dry. Our desire to leave a ridiculously expensive neighborhood ($7,000 / year property tax + $700 home association dues) where we were lacking in support and hated Eric's commute to Oak Grove led us to rationalize that selling this home would free up so much more money necessary to complete the adoption process in the long run. Good plan. Of course, it has to sell for that to be true.
We've decided it's time for drastic measures. The majority of the feedback we receive following showings includes mention of our home being overpriced for not having a finished basement or compared to similar homes in other neighborhoods. So what if we price it lower, potentially selling it faster but leaving a balance on our home equity loan? Turns out that's an option (can you say short sale?), and will only leave us owing 6% of the total balance . . . which Wells Fargo's home equity liquidation department will work with us on.
Stressful, huh? I feel as if a load has been lifted from my shoulders, although finding a buyer is still necessary. I'm not a naive person. I realize this plan has consequences, but we already have a home to live in and have no intention of moving anytime soon. If something doesn't change very soon, I'm not sure how we'll get the boys here. This whole process requires faith and I'm not giving up.
We want these boys to know about Father's Day and Disneyland and having a family.
The reality is that Eric and I are strangers to Jimmy and Alby, but we already love them and have dreams for them and have invested part of our hearts in their well-being and future. I'll do whatever it takes. Too bad it's illegal to sell organs in this country . . . I'm healthy. I could live with one kidney! Lol
5/30/2011 11:39:05 AM ET
Planning our next visit
In July, Eric and I plan to return to Fondwa to visit or boys. We are eager to see how they've grown and hope to find them healthy and strong. I hate that each passing month means more opportunities for natural disasters, more hospitalizations for Alby (sickle cell disease), and potential accidents, hunger, or worse.
Grant, our 6 year old, doesn't understand why we won't take him along.
Our goal this trip is to let the boys know that we have traveled specifically to see THEM! While many Americans visit Haiti to help rebuild, offer medical services, etc., we are going to be with Jimmy and Alby. We help out with rebuilding efforts while we are there, but our love for the boys we dream of bringing home to join our family is our primary focus.
5/29/2011 8:45:38 PM ET
Total contribution to our adoption fund from Lia Sophia jewelry fundraiser: $290 :) Thanks Julie, Amy, Aimee, Amy, Heather and Kim!
5/22/2011 11:46:08 PM ET
Lia Sophia Fundraiser
Thank you to friends and family who helped make our first fundraiser a success. A small group of ladies purchased Lia Sophia jewelry with our lovely hostess donating her profits to our adoption fund. Thanks to Dr. Conover and the Postnikoffs (one set of our wonderful parens) for their generous donations, as well! Every little bit counts towards bringing our boys home forever.
5/19/2011 10:46:14 PM ET
Our first gift
An extremely generous gift (a no interest loan in the amount of $9,000.00) has made it possible for us to leave Attorney Fees off our gift registry wishlist. While you may wish to remain unnamed, we acknowledge your support of us and want to publicly express our gratitude. Thank you for your faith in us as adoptive parents and for sharing in our love of Haiti! We are truly blessed to know such "good people."
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