Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm feeling discouraged today and can't tell if it has anything to do with the adoption or not. Sometimes I get this deep awareness of how dark the world is, and when this happens, it really affects my spirit. I have been unpleasantly surprised lately by how commonplace cruel teasing is amongst kids. When I ask the kids I work with how they've been teased lately, the overwhelming response has been that they've been told to "Go kill yourself." I have no idea how or why telling someone to kill themselves has gained popularity, but it is so awful that I just can't fathom how there are so many kids willing to say it to other kids. And most of the kids I work with are the last kids in the world who need to be told that. I was walking in the hallway with a student today at a local high school when another student called the student I was with a very inappropriate and derogatory name, right in front of me- the adult! I just feel sad about it all. And some days it makes me inspired to try to help the situation, and some days it just makes me sad. Today it makes me sad.

What does this have to do with our adoption? Hopefully nothing. I was thinking about both Katya and Sara having to live in this world that can be so cruel, though. And it may be particularly hard for Katya, since she doesn't look 100% normal.

On a good note, I got my BCI and FBI fingerprints done at lunch. I also got my blood drawn for my STD tests. In the lab room, right next to another patient, the nurse loudly announced, "You have to sign this before we can run the HIV test." Talk about HIPPA violations; I thought that was amusing and was thankful the other patient didn't know me.

Anyways, I'm gonna go watch Lost. I've got 3 minutes to get downstairs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Moving and Shakin'

There is so much to do. I have sent our Ohio background check requests, scheduled a doctor visit, got lab orders for STD tests (fun!), completed and sent the homestudy application and fee, got a bunch of documents notarized at the bank, and I'm about to send the "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan" petition to the USCIS Cleveland office.

I have a checklist of all the things I'm hoping will get done in the next few weeks and have put stars by the ones Jon needs to be directly involved in. And he's been faster than me on a few of them! Because of the threat of a moratorium on adoptions in Katya's country, we are hoping that we can get the whole process complete and be on our way to Katya in 3-4 months. That time frame is a bit scary for 2 reasons. # 1- I am scared we won't be fast enough and Katya will be abandoned to an institution. # 2- We will have another child in 3-4 months! It's like being 6-7 months pregnant and having just found out about the pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Sara, I needed the whole 10 months to get ready for her. Now in 3, we have to do more paperwork than I've ever had to do for anything, spend more money than I've ever had to spend for anything but house and car (and Katya's MUCH more important than house and cars), get our home ready, get Sara ready, make work get the picture. So if you have a chance to say a prayer for us while we're on this journey, we could certainly use it! I think this journey will test (and strengthen) our faith in both God and in our marriage.

I didn't share much info about Katya yet, so I will share briefly now. Honestly, we don't know much. We just know that she is in a "baby" orphanage for now and will likely be sent to an institution for people with disabilities at age 5. We have heard that many kids don't survive their first year at the institutions. Katya has been diagnosed wit Crouzon's Syndrome, but some doctors who have reviewed her pictures in the US aren't sure that's what it really is. If it's not Crouzon's, it is probably some other sort of craniosyntosis from birth trauma. Either way, it is likely that her skull bones fused together too early, not allowing room for her brain to grow normally (probably an overly simplified explanation from a person who hs never even taken an anatmoy class (me)). According to her orphanage caregivers, she is comepletely typically developing at this point, but the brain grows until 12 years old, so we still need to get medical treatment for her ASAP. So that's about all we know. And we are so very excited to learn more when we get to Katya and meet her!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Katya- Here We Come!

After lots and lots of praying and thinking and talking and stressing, we have decided to commit to trying to adopt a very special little girl named Katya. We have already been amazed and totally blessed by the circumstances that have helped guide us to our decision.

Here's the story in brief:

I have had a strange interest in adoption for many years. Even before I was anywhere close to being ready to start a family, I read about adoption, dragged my mother to a conference about adoption, and looked at profiles of waiting children in the US. Looking back, I really have no idea why I have had this burden for these kids specifically. No one in my family is adopted, not did I have any close friends who were adopted. I know that I have always loved the Bible verse that talks about religion that is pure being to help widows and orphans. It just seems so right and so like Christ to love those who are helpless. God adopted me in my helplessness! But otherwise, I have no direct connections with adoption in my own life.

I have also always been drawn to being with people with special needs. This makes more sense to me. My mother is a special education teacher, and I spent lots of time with her students. My family always seemed surrounded by those with disabilities or just those who were unique. I befriended kids with special needs at school. I took summer jobs working with them. I am now a professional counselor working mostly with kids with Asperger's and Autism. And I just genuinely love being around people who are uniquely "abled". It is a blessing.

So, with those two factors in the equation, all that was needed was the right timing. And I wouldn't have picked now. But I think that God picked now for us. My heart had begun opening to the possibility of adopting "now" during the holiday season this past year, and God has been working on my heart ever since. And He's been working on Jon's heart. Jon is amazing, so maybe it takes a little less time to open his heart. When I told him about Katya, he waited about a week and then said, "Ok." But I am getting ahead of myself.

I noticed Katya on the Reece's Rainbow website (a non-profit group helping orphans with special needs find homes) a little over a month ago and felt a tug at my heart . I showed Jon a week or so later, after having an overwhelming feeling that someone was praying very hard for Katya and that we were somehow a part of it. I found out later that, indeed, another family was praying for her, and they had that same weekend felt a peace that a family would be provided for Katya. After Jon had agreed that he also felt this was what God was leading us to do, we had spent the next month freaking out, researching, checking the practical aspects of things, and wondering if we could really be supposed to adopt a little girl on the other side of the world! The answer kept seeming like "Yes," and there were many signs along the way that helped strengthen our faith enough to move forward.

Still, we were scared. Really scared. I've read many blogs of these amazing families who've adopted several kids with special needs and are so faithful and courageous and joyful, but we are more the types who need to be dragged into God's plan, I think. The only thing we've got going for us is that we sincerely want to do God's will and want to what's right.

Anyways, we committed to try to adopt her, and only 2 days later found out that there are some things going on in Katya's country that are leading some to believe that intercountry adoptions may be shut down (for at least a certain period of time) and that this may happen in September or October, or even earlier. We had estimated that we would travel in October, so if things did shut down earlier, we might lose our chance to get Katya before she is institutionalized or lose our chance to get her at all!

We prayed again and decided to keep trying, even with the risk. But now we have to MOVE FAST. We also realize that this will make it more difficult to raise or save enough funds for the trip, as we will simply have less time. It will also just be very hard to get everything done fast enough, and there are many agencies and people involved who will have to also move fast if we are to get her before September. But we are going to try our very best because we cannot just quit on Katya's chance at being saved from her circumstances.

So that's the story in a nutshell. I didn't even really post anything about Katya, but I will tomorrow.