Feel free to read about the benefit the LaJoy Family sponsored. We were one of many families that donated to the cause for children in Kyrgyzstan to receive a special meal and get presents from Santa. We feel honored and blessed that we were able to contribute and are thrilled to see the reward - the happy smiling faces. Visit Julie and John Wright's blog for pictures and much more!
Be warm, be safe, and Merry Christmas!!!
On another note, it's 5 days till' Christmas. With that, there leaves me wrapping frantically. Somehow every year I mention I will get a head start and NOT leave it to the last minute. And every year I always eat those words. From Hayden to cousins to family gifts, I will be swamped and covered in multi-colored wrapping paper and tape. YEAH ME!
We spent last weekend helping Hayden fight off a cold and getting our holiday pictures taken. One gripe. Why is it when you make an appointment - for anywhere - do you still manage to wait? Doctor, hairstylist, portrait studio or restaurant. Least it always happens to me. *Grrrr*
Thursday was Hayden's holiday party at school and mommy volunteered to help. When I arrived, the kids tables were separated into "centers" and each had a different activity. I got lucky and was in charge of cardboard Xmas trees and the children put stickers on them to decorate. Other activities included making a beaded candy cane, holiday foam bookmarks, reindeer food, and the messiest of all, icing "ice-cream cone" Christmas trees. The kids frosted waffles cones with green frosting and decorated them with holiday sprinkles and fruit loops. It was soo cute and such a mess! It was hilarious to see Hayden try to eat his. (He doesn't like to get messy). I wish I would have brought my camera, but picture him leaning forward and just eating it with his mouth. Eventually he gave in (with kids and teachers persuasion) and picked it up. I will be getting icing out of his navy blue pants for days!
That brings me to mention how we spent yesterday. SNOWDAY! Though I am sad Hayden didn't get to sing at his school holiday presentation (and not - because parents weren't invited, RUDE!) it really would have been an easy school day for both Hayden and Michael. However, the roads were horrible and we were stuck in our driveway until at least 10:30am. With at least 8 inches (I am thanking the neighbors for them letting us borrow their snowblower!!!) and more at the curb, we (and I mean Michael LOL) would have been utterly exhausted if we did all the shoveling on our own. Hayden and the neighbor kids played while the men worked and the women chatted. The good old days, only in 14 degree weather. In the evening, we jotted over to the neighbors for chili and board games while the kids occupied themselves. Overall, it was a nice relaxing day and a great stress reliever.
So onto Christmas... we will leave out cookies and carrots and magic reindeer food. May Santa bring everything on yours and our wish list (provided you've been nice, not naughty).
We will continue to have faith and hope - that the news gets better from here on out. ;)
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from the V's! Posted by Mel at 10:42 AM
Make your own virtual snowflake, or decorate a gingerbread cookie! The snowflakes had all of us oooowwing and awwwwwing! Once your finished snowflake is done, add a message (if you wish) and then watch it fall from the sky with other snowflakes! Divine and beautiful! And when Hayden tried the gingerbread cookie "decorator" it made me hungry! You can outline it in frosting, or frost the whole thing. Add sprinkles or candy, etc.
Anyway, you get the gist.
Hayden's recovering from a cold. When I was growing up, whenever I would catch a cold, a bad cough was soon to follow. I would sound like a horse... unfortunately Hayden has taken to my genes and needed to stay home on Wednesday to rest up. He's sounding and acting better today - thank goodness. It's family picture day tomorrow and I've been putting it off long enough. ;)
Adoption news. I am so fed up, hurt, sad, depressed, confused... that I will just leave you with the fact that we have no good news, obviously. From the update we received today - it looks like we won't be getting any good news for a while - or at least any movement or approval/paper signing until mid-January. *Sigh* My heart goes out to the families who have already met their children and have been waiting longer. I'm sure their heartache is much deeper.
I will try to keep my chin up and have faith.
Now, back to making FAKE snowflakes, all the while hoping the real stuff melts and stays very VERY far away. Posted by Mel at 9:20 PM
So it's winter. I hate the cold. Show me the snow and I am fine. Bundle me up and take me out in 15 degree weather and find me NOT to be a happy camper. Even Hayden is wishing it was Spring because "it's Mommy's favorite season" he says. Do I have him trained or what? We have played outside a couple times, shoveled the driveway (Santa, I am begging you, please find a way to send my hubby a snow blower!!! LOL) and made perfect snowballs with Hayden's snowball maker. (Really cool toy!) We even played with the neighbors for a few hours until our cheeks and ears were going to fall off.
Meanwhile... we make do inside. Hayden has been driving me batty with all his "WANTS" for Santa. Half the stuff I highly doubt he will ever play with again if they were gifted. But Lego's... Santa please bring more Lego's!!!! STAT!
Aunt Michele's Santa will be handling this task and I am ever so thankful ;) . The other day, while I believe I was writing a blog entry Hayden was sitting in the hallway with his lego's just building away. He called me out and... by golly the whole set was turned into little Star Wars ships. Least that's what he called them. How we go from popsicle sticks to legos. LOL
This weekend we had a small holiday party. Our neighbors and some friends joined us and Hayden was even more tickled pink when the kids arrived. My basement/toyland took a few beatings, but with the help from several adults (thank you!!!) it was surprisingly easy to pick up. Made the OCD anal compulsiveness in me calm down.
I, of course, over budgeted how much food to serve. So we will be eating mini cheesecakes for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Holiday shopping is in full swing! All Hayden's cousins have been finished thanks to internet Santa! Our family has been generous this year to help pitch in for the Nintendo Wii for Hayden. This is a HUGE gift for him and seeing as such Michael and I won't be gifting ourselves this year. :( . Hayden loves the Wii at physical therapy (mainly the Wii Fit and since you can't have one with other...). It has shown such great results we knew this would be a purchase we would be making sooner or later. We couldn't be more thankful for our family's help, nor would we be able to purchase it without them.
Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!
Nana and G. Aunt Rita had sent Hayden some turkey dollars and he decided to spend it on 4 (Target dollar spot) Charlie Brown coloring books. We have been in love with him since Halloween and can't seem to get enough. So much so that "Santa" sent us an early gift of a soundtrack for the shows. Hayden (and Daddy) love listening to the music. I can't wait till it starts to drive me batty. For those of you who aren't aware - hurry and set your recorders... Charlie Brown is on tonight at 7pm on ABC.
Ok... off to my morning chores. YEAH! Posted by Mel at 8:44 AM
HOWEVER! I've hunted down some. *Hehehe*
Before I start spouting off, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all. Michael, Hayden and I definitely enjoyed our time off, spending it with family and decorating (one of several things I do best). Thankfully we were all healthy this holiday. Let's cross our fingers for the next one.
All righty, on to the good stuff. I emailed our agency earlier this afternoon and received a response by the time Hayden and I came home from our "crazy Tuesday" (as we have so nicknamed it). Hayden hopes off the buss, I drive over to G.L. and he has 2 different sessions of therapy... only to pick up dinner on the way home; usually walking in the door around 6:45ish pm. Long day!
Anyway... on to point. Our dossier papers have all been received (even the revised ones) and will be finished being translated hopefully early next week!!! Once that is done - they are shipped to Washington then to Kyrgyz. With this comes more fees. Luckily this isn't the choking hazard just yet if you catch my drift... but it's a start. We also are waiting anxiously to hear the country update that should be coming later this week. I will be sure to post more when I know more.
Tata for now... Posted by Mel at 12:18 AM
I am grateful that Michael's parents are coming to visit Hayden tomorrow. He has been anticipating a visit for ages. We will most likely spend our time "on a date" doing dinner and a movie. These nights are very few and far for us. And after this week - one night away will not be enough.
Hayden is a picky eater. Not the kind that doesn't eat a thing - because he is a VERY healthy boy. However, some days (or weeks) he decides he doesn't like what is placed in front of him to eat. We however have a standing rule in our house. You must try it and eat at least something that has been placed on the table... if not, you might have to eat that meal again later - nor will you move from that spot. All we ask is you try. Now we've moved onto trying it and giving us a sourpussed look. We don't seem to care if we sit for hours, lose all our Star Wars characters, etc. Oye... I'm lost.
On a better note, on our way to therapy this morning Hayden did make light of the day. I love this age. Hayden being 5 years old, he has never been funnier. I was playing a song in the CD player by Newton Faulkner. In one part of the song the singer talks really fast... Hayden being the smarty pants that most kids are tells me that he "didn't use his turtle talk!". LOL Anyone who is familiar with Hayden and his speech may know that he has been receiving speech therapy since he was about 2. Just this summer we started some special treatments for his dysfluency (or stuttering some call it) and when he talks fast we tell him to use his turtle talk.
The little things that get me through the day.
Until next time... Posted by Mel at 3:32 PM
I have been teaching Hayden and we’ve been reading (in addition to school) all about being thankful. And we couldn’t be more thankful for our little buddy and all that we have in our lives. Every day that goes by he lights up our lives and keeps us going. He frequently comes up to Michael and me saying that he is thankful for us. THAT is love. Pure unconditional love. So to share our thankfulness with the ones we love, mommy pulled an idea from a magazine. Nana and Papa and Grandma and Boppy (Hayden's nickname for grandpa) and Great Grandma all received special care packages this week.
Hayden worked hard on his leaf wreaths made out of popsicle sticks. But in the end, he much rather would have built space ships on the rug with them. *See photos above* It’s amazing. Give a child a $50 toy (only an example – please, the holidays are around the corner!) and they play with it for 5 minutes. Hand them popsicle sticks and they wind up all over your floor for days!!!
Gosh he's a ham... Posted by Mel at 10:19 PM
Opening my mailbox this afternoon, I expected it to be a regular day – junk and bills. In addition I receive a freebie (of which dozens I continuously sign up for) from PUR. On this brochure are faces of children from “developing” countries. *The PUR packet purifies up to 10 liters of dirty water into drinkable water.*
Why do you ask do I mention this? Because since I’ve started thinking about adoption – not since we started the process – these little moments touch me more than I could ever have imagined. Many people ask “Why Kyrgyzstan?”. Michael and I feel very drawn to the children in this country not only for their unique heritage and wonderful Asian beauty, but the heartbreaking tales of how children aren’t able to be cared for and abandoned, and their poverty stricken country. Truth be told, we researched many other countries. Some of which always had a technicality that made it difficult for us to choose. When we learned of Kyrgyzstan, everything clicked – it was a tug on our heartstrings and we knew we had found our daughter's birthplace.
Though it has been a tough last couple of weeks – with no good news to report - we hope and pray the authorities turn things around. It was once a hope when the adoptions were going smooth to bring our daughter home for Christmas. It will be hard to know that’s not possible. Please don’t stop asking and praying. The support of our friends and family couldn’t come at a better time. Thank you! Posted by Mel at 12:37 PM
With the holidays creeping upon us fast, news about the adoption process stagnates. With adoption, there is always a risk for a snag, and with international, much more so. But in the end the wait will far out weigh the heartache we are dealing with while we try to be patient. With the hang up of the authorities and the signing of papers in Kyrgyz, it doesn’t look like we (or many other families) are making much progress.
In addition, our dossier papers hit Cali… with a few snags of course. We are in the process of smoothing them out and hoping to not have several forms re-notarized and re-certified… yet another way God teaches us to be patient.
Going off topic, Hayden had a blast last week! Once again, we live in a wacky world – you knock on a stranger’s door and ask them for candy, and continue on your merry way until you reach the next neighbor. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but they weren’t on Weight Watchers. I have enough candy for next Halloween… unfortunately I highly doubt it will last that long. Maybe stocking stuffers? ;)
It’s been tech week at our house. With the average chores a mom does around the house, we need a distraction or a bottle of wine. Hayden loves watching TV like the next kid. But the house gets loud frequently with or without it - for example, “the car is going in a portal” spitting sound effects get too ear-piercing while I’m making phone calls. So, I decided to teach Hayden how to use the TV remote. He already knew how to turn it on and off… and pause the DVR. But not how to find his shows on the DVR, fast forward them, or get from live TV to the DVR and so forth (for some this may confuse you… LOL).
Also, we have been teaching Hayden how to answer the phone, and what to say (soon to come, how to use it in case of an emergency). He was able to put his new skills to work when Daddy called just 20 minutes later and answered more politely than your average customer service agent! My son has skills!
Lastly, I leave you with a slide show (on the right) that proves fall really truly is here. As much of a fan I am of the fall/winter holidays, I loathe the weather. I really am more of a spring gal. Posted by Mel at 11:10 AM
Friday mornings are usually chaotic, and this Friday has proven to be no different. With a rough night sleep for me, Hayden and I wake to our regular Friday routine… wake, shower, dress, eat (in my case inhale food and put on makeup) and pack up to trek out to Hayden’s occupational therapist. The only difference today is the yuckiness I feel in my stomach…
Once home, I scramble before school to:
1. Assemble the rest of our dossier to be mailed once Hayden steps on the bus
2. Chug Lemon Lime soda (yuck)
3. Prepare for my business meeting tomorrow
4. Make Hayden lunch & school snack
5. Remind Hayden to bring a “Show & Tell” object that isn’t considered a weapon
At this point, my stomach was still feeling pretty sour and Hayden needed an explanation on why Mommy had skipped lunch. It must have been hilarious to be a fly on my wall when I was explaining to Hayden that I was anxious and nervous about mailing baby sister’s papers today. I don’t quite know if he understood, but I did my best.
Now sitting at home, catching up on Grey’s on the DVR, I am relieved that part 2 is now in the mail and should arrive in Cali by Tuesday morning. Even better, part 1 arrived today in Cali as I type – hopefully in one, easy to read piece.
Can’t say my stomach feels any better but our kitchen table is a little lighter.
Hayden continues working hard at school, enjoying it just as much as the day before. He is getting over a cold, but still manages to chug along. He has been diligently practicing writing his name amongst other letters. (See pics in the slideshow) Reading is another past time Hayden is aiming for. He is excited to have finished his October reading list early and get his pizza reward. He is recognizing lots of little words and we are very proud.
Today we got a head start on our pumpkins. Every year we buy one for each of us, and an unusual one (usually a white one that I carve to look like a ghost) and this year we purchased one for Baby V. I managed to get 2 done today and Hayden was proud to help give me eyes, nose, and mouth descriptions. (Also in the slideshow)
I didn't get as much done as I wanted to this week. The kitties sure got their nap in. ;)
With Trick-Or-Treating this weekend we are left with a hole on Halloween. It always feels weird each year when the 31st actually rolls around and my door isn't ringing and my cats aren't hiding. Oh well, I'm sure we will manage to find something to do with our day. Maybe assemble Baby V's last bookcase... oye.
Though the reality of Baby V becomes more real everyday, the possibility of her coming home tomorrow leaves a gloom over our heads. While it could be any day or week or month before we hear who this wonderful young girl will be to grace our lives forever... we manage to keep chuggin' along. I give much credit to the many of families who have kept the patience and faith by continuing to read our blog. With that, as the days pass I visit my Kyrgyzstan (and some other countries) familiy blogs and am filled with joy and heartache. I wish these families the best and hope the news of our daughter arrives soon - with her being healthy and beautiful - like I imagine her to be everyday.
On that note, it's cold, it's time to cook dinner (oh boy-fun!) and I wish the cats would have saved me some room for a nap. Posted by Mel at 4:35 PM
The past week and a half we have received 2 very important pieces of mail in our box and we are very proud to share. First one's first - our I-171H. This form states that we "are able to furnish proper care" to our daughter. Gotta love their wording. Last but not least... came the approval of our I600A - to allow us to get our visas in Almaty Kazakstan when we bring our daughter home. Two very important pieces of paperwork that if not received, well you know where I'm heading with this.
On another note, October is a busy month. Lots of bdays and fall activites to keep us moving. We recently went to our favorite pumpkin patch - we have visited every year since Hayden was in womb LOL. We nabbed our pumpkins, Hayden went on a few rides, all while I pouted over forgetting the camera. Someone tell me, do they make a drug for forgetfullness?
This weekend we will be celebrating Nana and Aunt Kelly's birthdays. Oddly enough Nana still thinks she's 29... (Golly mom, how is that even possible to be a year older than me? LOL). My sis will be turning the BIG 20. Hard to believe... :)
Hayden has finally gotten the hang of it that our town doesn't Trick-OR-Treat on Halloween. I explained that we do it differently so the Mommy's and Daddy's can be home from work and everyone can go together. I'm sure this is the reason, or close to it, but try explaining it to an anxious 5 year old who is dying to be Speed Racer but can't on the 31st... good thing school is having a party on that Friday!
And lastly, we moved Baby V's furniture to her room (I know, what's taken us sooo long...) however, in talking to the "store" it was purchased from, another item needs to be replaced. Oye. I'm hoping to get her room painted in the coming months and put the crib in. I'm assuming it will look more like a room then the heap of furniture it is now.
Ooooh, before I forget (sorry this is so long - though they usually are huh, I must write more frequently). I want to thank the man at the currency exchange. Though he may never read this I want people to know there is a man out there with a kind heart. The last two times we've needed a notary, we've went to him, he's done his thing (this time giving Hayden a lolly) and wished us goodluck. Though he only makes a buck a signature, this man just saved us another dollar. To him and everyone else that has sent prayers and kind words - Thank you. Posted by Mel at 9:08 AM
I think it looks spiffy, Hayden says it looks awesome! :) Posted by Mel at 6:38 PM
Meanwhile, our water heater breaks and a puddle (just a puddle thank goodness) is looming in our basement and past the threatening stage of the finished area. We spent several hours in panic mode soaking up water, worrying who to call, and how to pay for what we thought would be a new water heater. Thankfully though - it ended up just needing a valve replaced LOL. Too bad though that the technician forgot to put the airconditioner tubing back when he was done draining the water heater - thus another puddle in the storage area of our basement! This was not-so-quickly discovered when Michael noticed the hutch from our office desk was wet and ruined. Nice...
Anyway, the day prior to the madness Michael and our neighbor Dean put together Baby V's furniture. 4 out of 5 ain't bad right? The tall bookcase will need to be exchanged due to damage during shipping. When I will find time to do that, I don't know, let alone lift it.
Most importantly... the item that brings great pride to my frugal eye. I gave up on the hunt for the baby bedding of pink and brown butterflies and flowers. Though I ended up being able to special order the valance and even picked it up, the items can only be purchased at one place. So, since I spend a great time looking for deals and sometimes in auctions... I found a better deal and a better set! This one fits Baby V much better and is simply precious. Though it took several days to win (and much nights of almost wanting to throw the laptop when I'd lost) it is totally worth it in the end!
Next up, I have volunteered for Hayden's first school field trip - to a pumpkin farm. Unfortunately it is this Friday and I am hoping for nice weather, it's been chilly and we go rain or shine - yikes. He is super excited that the other kindergarten classes will be going as well, someone better remind me to bring my migraine medicine. ;)
Lastly, we are all decked out for Halloween, one of my most favorite holidays of the year. For those of you who don't know, or just read from across the country (or globe) I have a front window that is like a bay window - large enough for a bench seat. Every Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I decorate with my collections... though Halloween is a little different. I have been creating new scenes since we moved here 2 years ago (3rd Halloween) and this year is a Pirate theme. If I can get a picture to come out, I will post it. (Though it proves hard to do).
On my "Ciao" note, I want to say there has been movement in Kyrgyzstan. Though we haven't heard much, we are hoping to hear some developing news on Friday. I will post soon to give an update. In addition, we are still waiting for our 171-H, though I received word that it shouldn't be much longer.
Ok, novel done. Take care and prayers! :)
This brings me to the tale of our wonderful adventure to downtown Chicago. Though it happened a few weeks ago, it's still an important day to mark on our calendar towards the movement of bringing Baby V home. With all our papers for the dossier notarized, we needed to head to the Secretary of State (in Chicago on State St.) to get these documents certified. So we had Michael's dad help get Hayden to the school bus and back while we trekked to the Metra. What we didn't know that morning was we should have brought a map. Once we arrived, we were informed by the Sec. of State that 3 forms in our dossier needed cover letters and needed to be notarized 1st (we had originally included them with other forms). So, to not waste the trip, we asked where the nearest bank was - for a notary. That only solved half our problem. We still needed to find a computer and a printer. (Something in my head told me to bring my handy dandy laptop, but I ignored it). Me being the techie one in the marriage, immediately thought FedEx Kinkos... I was sure there had to be one somewhere downtown. So we just started asking anyone we encountered.
Once we made it to a Kinkos, we were only to be disappointed again to hear they didn't have public computers... but rest assured there was another one in walking distance that did. So we walked some more. We eventually found it (managing to not take a cab) and had to wait. Three men were using all the computers and how thoughtful - 2 of them were checking their email! I could have screamed. We eventually got three cover letters printed and were off to a notary. None at a nearby currency exchange, but as we walked by the original Kinkos (being told they may have one) we thought to give it a shot. We headed in and quickly headed out and walked as fast as we could BACK to the Sec. of State for certification.
Now missing several trains and having to wait until the 3:55pm train to head home, we were saddened to not be able to get home in time to get Hayden off the bus. Being gone since 11am we had one whirlwind of a day Downtown. And boy did my feet hurt!
For a more recent update - we are keeping a close eye on the mail. We need one more form (our 171-H) for our dossier, a form that usually takes a while to come in. Once it does come in we can send it off to Springfield and have it certified (or make another trip Downtown LOL). Either way we have been in contact with our agency to see where exactly we are in the process, other than waiting. Technically until they receive all of our dossier we can't move up to the 2nd stage... However, we are crossing our fingers and praying that the 5 families ahead of us receive their referrals fast. If we happen to be next in line before all of our dossier is in to get a referral (pictures, medical information, etc. of Baby V), we may get that referral.
Yes this may be confusing. It is even frustrating at times. But we just need to trust that it will happen when the time is right. Posted by Mel at 9:47 AM
And that brings us to tonights event and the week isn't over: Michael's "Back to School Night". This event (and sometimes Graduation) happens every year and usually brings Daddy home after Hayden is in bed (long day for all of us). But mostly hard on Hayden as he is still trying to understand the concept of work. In the years past we have met Daddy at work beforehand and had dinner. We will see if we can swing it tonight - though with school and traffic and gas cost it may just prove easier to stay home. :(
From reading the last post, you can gather I am talking about my new sister in law, Kristen.
My brother Paul and Kristen have been dating for several years and definately compliment each other. I am very proud to have stood up in their wedding.... and also to have Hayden in their wedding. He was 1 of 2 ringbearers, but being my son - was the most handsome one there.
We just want to say congratulations and many years of bliss!
Viewing the pictures to the right you will see a collection of end of the summer fun. We visited Discovery World in Milwaukee shortly before Michael started school, took pictures of Hayden at his soccer lessons (in between takes of him being happy and sad - he has trouble with understanding he can't always win, get the ball, etc.) And then there's the wedding. Besides for the beautiful bride, Hayden was the best dressed (sorry Paul). He charmed the pants off everyone in the hall with his dancing skills. Posted are a few pictures of him dancing with my cousin's daughter. Who knew my son was such a ladies man!?! Let's just say he danced the night away - until he couldn't dance no more. Poor little guy ended up getting a tummy ache and once we got back it became apparent all the dancing and the long day wore him out. His tummy got the best of him.
All in all, it was a great day and we can't wait to see more pictures!
With that I will be updating the blog in installments in the next few days to keep you posted on the upcoming events of our busy life.
Meanwhile, please view the pictures of our Handsome Hayden!
Be Back Soon! Posted by Mel at 10:04 AM
We will pray for the families who lost loved ones - especially as this now draws close to home, our daughters.
Feel free to click on the header of this post for the complete news story about this tragedy (or click here). Posted by Mel at 12:34 PM
In addition some may notice the pretty pink banner I've added on the bottom of the page. Once clicked, this will take you to another site. Please note that if you decide to sign up for this site - that we are registered ONLY for the cash option of which will help us fund Baby V's adoption. In the past I have completed several sites like these (quickly labeled as "get paid to" sites) and have been successful in completing them. I know there is a fair amount of individuals that may feel this type of networking is "shady". If you worry go ahead and do some research, Google the site and form your own opinion.
Lastly if you would like to donate any type of clothing item, all would be greatly appreciated by the Kyrgyz children and their caregivers. Please contact me for more information on how you can help. Mandm2002@ameritech.net (Please enter "DONATIONS" in subject line)
Edited to add: New or gently used clothes would both appropriate donations. :) Posted by Mel at 12:34 PM
The USCIS print taking was pretty uneventful. Though the 45 minute wait would have been avoided if we had been rehearsed on using our middle name, or the initial of it. With that, we got stuck waiting for the immigration officer to come in (20 minutes late) for him to check off our form and match us to our I.D.
Anyhoo... we are still on the search for bedroom furniture for Baby V. It's stressful to know (for me anyway) if she will be in a crib or a toddler bed. Some may not think this is an issue, but when you are preparing a room it matters millions. She will use Hayden's crib if need be, but we plan on buying her a bedroom set for her later years, thus being able to make us of the dressers. Unfortunately we haven't made much headway on decorating her room. I've been searching for the most "perfect" curtains but truthfully the only "perfect" curtain comes in the set that matches the blanket and prints for her room. I don't think I will need the quilt and diaper keeper and other stuff that comes in the set (and neither did I need it for Hayden when he was little). Nor can I see spending $180 just to get the set for the curtains. So I am stuck at a fork in the road.
New this week I have included a timeline... this list depicts the important dates when paperwork, prints, etc. were accepted and more. Keep an eye on this list to know where we are at in this stage/day. Even if I don't have a blog entry for the day, there may be news here.
Hayden has aced his speech lesson on pronouncing Kyrgyzstan. It's not easy for an adult to say it, but for a 5 year old it's pure chance. It's simply endearing (heartbreaking, tearfull and loving all roled up into one) to hear Hayden talk about his baby sister. For instance, while on one of our many journeys for furniture, Hayden came across a small rocking chair. He mentioned buying it for baby sisters room. He then moved onto a small stuffed animal, only to realize that we were only shopping for dressers. It's so cute that he wants to buy her things, acknowledging that she will need things - making this more real everyday.
With that note we appreciate the support from our friends and family. Everyone has questions and we have no problem answering them. We recently ordered several books on Kyrgyzstan and are busy studying them. By T-day (travel day) we should be experts! We are so excited to learn all there is about where our daughter is coming from, share it with Hayden and everyone willing to hear. Posted by Mel at 11:46 PM
I guess when Michael and I got married, we received a souvenir marriage license and just assumed that it was an official copy. So, we made a copy of it... sent it in and haven't heard a complaint... until now. Anyway, we headed back to VitalChek.com (amazing how convenient the internet is these days!) and ordered us up some originals. First thing we did was ship off one of these "non-souvenir" marriage license to the USCIS office and are back to drooling at the window. Once all these forms are back in our hands we will be traveling to the Secretary of State to have them certified and then ship them off to have them translated for Kyrg.
Well, it's melancholy here. Michael goes back to school shortly, as does Hayden. He will start Kindergarten on August 28th. It will be great to have the quiet time again but I will miss having my boys home. On the bright side... my ear should be recovering shortly. I went to the doctor (killing two birds with one stone) to have it checked out and get blood drawn for yet another form for our dossier. We got back last Wednesday from our short but sweet water park adventure and Hayden had a great time. We visited the Andersen Japanese Gardens and also a childrens hands-on museum during our trip.
It's a busy August here. We have several birthday parties to attend. Fingers to print. A future sister inlaw to celebrate (bridal shower) and my brothers wedding coming September 6th. It's quite a whirlwind here with traveling.
That's about it for today. Hopefully the last form on our end (in the doctors hand's) will be completed and returned shortly and we will be on our merry way.
Until next time... thank you for all your support! Posted by Mel at 1:29 PM
With the homestudy out of the way, we have been preparing to jump over the next set of hurdles - the dossier. The dossier is a compilation of forms that describes our family and home.
So... with that we are back to square one (in a sense *wink*). We must provide our FBI clearances (WE PASSED!), financial statements, copies of our passports, verification of our home and employment, ETC. All these forms must be completed on professional letterheads by the appropriate person (some by us, some by the help of others), notarized and then certified by the Secretary of State - which means a trip downtown!
We got our passports relatively fast in the mail AND our original birth certificates back, no thanks to the "friendly" postman.
Also new to post - I am officially a "soccer-mom". We traded in the Honda CRV and got ourselves a "MINI"-van. Now, those who know me know I am NOT the mini-van type mom. But with our expanding family, increasing need for storage and ease for Hayden to climb in and out of... we knew it was due. The only problem - getting it to fit in the garage. ;)
While we wait for paperwork to come in and others to go out we are taking a long due small vacation to CoCo Key Waterpark Resort in Rockford. However, I'm sure once the 2 1/2 day event is over, I'll be wishing it never started. Hayden is excited though - and that's all that matters.
Summer is roaring on through. We will be having a busy bee August. Bday parties and a bridal shower. And my brother gets married the first weekend in September. We have enough to keep us occupied, no doubt about that. Here's to hoping fall isn't just around the corner.
Take a look at our latest adventures! (the picture slideshow on the right). Someone needed a dip in the pool and mom was thrilled to catch it on camera! You will also see a couple clips of us at our Cubs tour, Hayden being put to work (who said anything about child labor?) and taking a shower. Showers are the next best thing in our house. Hayden is just getting used to H2O on the head and he is having a blast.
And as always, thank you for the thoughts and prayers. Posted by Mel at 8:57 PM
Linda our social worker was great, friendly and put all our worries to rest when she informed us of only 3 lonely questions you could answer wrong to make her leave. This put an end to my "marathon" beating heart and sweating like a pig. She worked with Hayden wonderfully the second she walked in the door, asking "him" for the tour of the house. Afterwards we sat down and she asked him some brief questions (before letting him run off to the TV) about how he "feels about baby sister". To which Hayden replies "Great!". She also asked Hayden to describe himself (with a little help) and he shot off answers like happy and silly and she helped with "smart". He was suffice with that :) .
Michael's parents soon came to watch Hayden during the rest of the process. We also got to take turns answering questions seperately... questions like "When did we decide to adopt?" "How did Michael and I meet?" "Describe our each other's personality" "What are our family's morals values and goals?" and more.
All in all, I was obviously worried about nothing and we are GLAD that hump is over. So with that, I will put my bag of nerves away and save them for another day.
Thanks again for ALL YOUR SUPPORT!
Next up, dossier! Posted by Mel at 11:03 AM
We had all the forms filled out for our passports and birth certificates in tow (including a soon to be grouchy Hayden) as we approached USPS. Once inside we stood in line behind a chatty elderly couple also getting their passports. For what seemed like FOREVER, the elderly couple finally emerged from behind the doors and it was soon our turn. Apparently the "usual" passport person wasn't in that day and we were priviledged to be "helped" by an older looking Santa type. This man could definately pass as Santa tis the season and wearing a red suit!
He "welcomed" us into the door and informed us to follow the hallway into a conferernce like room. We quietly sat and handed him our paperwork - Michael first. The gentleman proceeded by asking Michael what his mother's maiden name was and was his dad married to his sister? (Michael made a boo-boo on the form). We chuckled but the man remained emotionless, picking up his white-out, marking out the error and DROPPING it back on the table. Yes, I said drop, as on purpose. The rest of the paperwork didn't get better. Hayden became increasingly cranky (How long do you expect a 5 year old to wait and then sit patiently to wait longer? We had already been waiting 15 minutes or so). Hayden wanted Michael to go to the car and get his Matchbox cars while whinning... the "Santa" man commented "Young man, if you wait just 10 more minutes while we finish up this paperwork, your dad will go get your cars." The whole time the man had glasses tiltled down on the bridge of his nose looking very stern. He put chills down MY spine - I can only imagine how my son felt.
After all was said and done, he stapled our ORIGINAL birth certificates to the forms (Yikes!). Then "Santa" man implied he didn't like our form of payment (our debit card). With this he instructed us to the front and let us pay that way (I guess they prefer check or money order) and charged us a $25 fee EACH! Like the saying goes - you can't judge a book by its cover.
Lastly, because of "losing" our birth certificates at the post office and knowing we need additional copies for the dossier... we utilized the services of VitalChek.com and ordered some more. Once I had mine completed and paid for, the site needed to "verify" that I was the person ordering. So it asks you several questions. I passed.... Michael failed!!!! My birth certificates will be arriving tomorrow (we ordered 2 day shipping) and Michael had to fax in a verification form that required a copy of his license and signature.
Like I said, drama!
Up this week: HOMESTUDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's Thursday (July 10th) and I for one am very stressed all ready. If Michael and I are still sleeping in the same bed at the end of the week it will be a miracle.
Also this week, we have one more in person adoption class (but still have 4 more hours of which can be done online) and the "boys" dental appointments. Oye! At this point, Calgon won't even take me away.
Wish us luck! Posted by Mel at 7:55 PM
Last week we heard word from Nightlight that our International application has been received. Once we finish our interview for our homestudy (scheduled July 10th!!!) we can get started on our dossier with Nightlight. Michael and I now have 2 classes/4 hours under our belt for requirements. Last in person class coming the week after the 4th of July.
That week will be majorly busy. Besides having another Tuesday night with more than 2 dozen adults crammed into a tiny boiling room, I can think of other things to do - but if it brings Baby V home faster - I will do whatever it takes. For the rest of that week, we have the "boys" dental visits. We have regretfully not taken Hayden to the dentist yet and this will be his first time. Conveniently, daddy will go first to show son how things work. Since Michael has perfect teeth, I thought this was the better route to go. Next up, the homestudy... I can't even being to imagine the stress and anticipation we will be feeling that week until the moment of. I'm sure once it is all said and done I will need a drink (just kidding) or be suffering a migraine.
Then on July 14th (celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary!) we will be able to relax by taking a tour of Wrigley Field - my gift to hubby.
For the rest of this week we are celebrating my B-day (no I won't tell how many) and awaiting word to hear if we are approved for an adoption loan. This will cover the remainder of the fees and the cost of travel to Kyrgystan when the time comes. We are crossing our fingers and saying our prayers. Without this, Baby V may just end up being called "Credit Card Baby".
Next on our list - submiting our passport papers and our awful photos to go with them, and filling out and turning in more homestudy papers and the USCIS form.
Non adoption related:
Hayden's orange/racing bigwheel (seen in the slideshow above) broke and went to bike heaven. It was hard on him for several days - his way of coping was taking turns with the neighbor boy Ethan who owns the same model, just the Diego version. We knew this couldn't last forever. Hayden has always had some trouble with strenuous physical activity so we worried about getting him a bigger 2 wheeler (with training wheels of course) as it seems he is quickly outgrowing his current two-wheeler. Anyway, we bought him a new larger more sturdier big wheel for now and new training wheels for his soon to be to small 2 wheeler. We are hoping Hayden will feel more comfortable on his "big boy" bike with these new training wheels and by next spring/summer he will be ready for a bigger bike and can even show baby sister the ropes! Posted by Mel at 10:05 AM
Secondly, most of our paperwork has been received by FRC on Tuesday (once again - lightning fast!, let's keep it up!) and informed us our case worker would be calling shortly. And she did! We set up our homestudy appointment for Thursday July 10th. She will ask us questions, talk with Hayden, see Baby V's room in addition to the rest of our house, etc. In addition, she advises we get a head start on all of our adoption requirement classes. The majority fall on a Tuesday and in the evening. We need 6 hours in person and the rest (I believe is 10) can be done online.
Next up, sending out the international app (yeah we still haven't gotten that one done) and the USCIS app.
Hayden's excited to start swimming lessons today - either it's because he gets to swim with his friend Jenny from Monkey group, wear his Speed Racer swim trunks, or the actual swimming part that he's excited about I'm not sure.
We've made several trips out to Ikea, as well as other stores and looking online (one of the things I do best - frugal online searching/shopping) for baby dressers. Suffice to say, Hayden's old dressers, once Michael's, won't hopefully have to be handed down a third time to Baby V. I couldn't bear painting them again.
Until next week - Happy Father's Day!!! Posted by Mel at 12:44 PM
We scoured some baby name sites and came up with several more. Feel free to comment on these as well. :)
Arina or Irina (Michael is partial to the "A" spelling, I'm partial to the "I") - meaning PEACE
Kira - meaning DARK
Raina - pronounced just like it sounds - meaning QUEEN (*LOL*) Posted by Mel at 10:20 AM
On a happier note, we have officially begun the slow build-up of "girly" supplies. We got the pink hippo in the mail last week and was delighted by the squishy/softness. Next, we went shopping for Baby V's room. She MUST be styling in today's latest trends - pink and brown (and some green)! I chose the most darling fleece blanket at Baby Depot that had flowers and butterflies. I grabbed the matching prints and now have visions of wall colors dancing in my head. Next up - paint and curtains!
When Hayden was in "Mommy's tummy" we had several names picked out, like many parents do. If he was a girl, we most likely would have chosen the name Alexa Marie. On that note, some people have asked us about this topic. Will we be keeping Baby V's original name or changing it? The answer - yes and no. We plan on making her real name her middle name along with Marie and giving her a new first name.
However, lately I have been wondering if a name like Alexa (or Lexie for short) will fit our daughter. Part of me wonders if we should choose something more ethnic or Russian (part of their culture) to help Baby V keep some of her roots.
Either way, here are a few names we have thought about in addition to Alexa (means to defend men *LOL*).
Alexandra (means to protect)
Ariana (means very holy one - thanks Mom)
Anastasia (means resurrection)
Feel free to leave us ANY comments (even suggestions on names). We are big on nicknames, any name that can be shortened I believe shows love and endearment. I somehow always manage to pull one out of my hat, suprisingly we call Hayden "Hay" a lot. I'm sure one day he will hate us for it. ;) We ideally would love to have that same quality in a name for our daughter.
And as always, we thank everyone for their support with "ChipIn" and our Magazine Fundraiser. Please keep the magazines in mind if you need to renew, buy a gift subscription or just want to donate. Have a safe weekend! Posted by Mel at 7:13 PM
Seen below are our happy faces at the Round Lake, IL Police Department on the bright and shiny cool Saturday morning. Oddly enough there wasn't a soul in the parking lot - but that didn't deter us from getting "printed". We were greeted, paid the fee, inked and we moved on our merry way in no time at all.
Today we spent the morning driving out to the YMCA in Crystal Lake, IL (exciting stuff huh? LOL) in search of our second venue for fingerprinting. Hayden enjoyed watching the swim team and the daycare while he waited. He is anxious to start his swimming lessons this summer at our own Y in the coming weeks. On top of swimming, soccer will also keep this mommy and son busy. He is one happy boy.
Lastly, we are excited to announce that we have nabbed the perfect gift for baby sister. It's called a Zoobie Pet. We chose a pink (of course!!!!) hippo and can't wait to give it to her when she comes home. Hayden is excited to say he helped purchase this "lovey" item for his little sister.
After leaving our intro meeting on Friday, we were given a packet of forms. First we were asked pretty general guestions... "Have we ever been convicted or arrested before?" Easy answer. But we knew we got the seal of approval when the big folder was passed over to our side of the desk. :) . Inside we learned we will be doing more than just jumping through hoops. We will be going to the local police station (and having them fill out a form) to get fingerprinted. We will be going to the doctor, Hayden included, to get physicals (another form). We have to hunt down the nearest place that does Biometric testing for FRC (yet another form). We have to send in a form for FBI clearance; a form for DCFS; and the list continues. We can't forget to make copies of all our birth certificates and our marriage license as well, in addition to the 3 cat innoculation records. So much for being "green".
On top of all this - we must get our fire evacuation plan in order. Simply saying we will be running out the door won't be good enough. I wonder if there would be time to stop to grab all 3 cats, 1 fish and 1 frog after we grab Hayden. Somehow I think not. After all this is said and done, we can begin the invasion... I mean homestudy.
So we came home, Michael faxed some tax form to FRC and we got started on our "homework". Unfortunately we hit a brick wall when we called to schedule our Dr. appointments (same office) and to our frustration - they were closed by 3:30pm on a Friday. Ugh.
Anyway, I think this weekend we will continue working in our yard. We pray another week our deck and fence don't fall down and maybe I can get to the garden center and get some flowers for the yard.
Either way, they make recycled TP - why not recycled adoption forms? Just food for thought. ;) Posted by Mel at 10:02 AM
As usual, my week starts off busy. Running Hayden from therapy to therapy, things tend to slow down by Wednesday afternoon. This can be a good thing because I have never been too fond of Mondays (who has?). It also helps make my weeks go by fast.
This Friday we have our intro meeting with the Family Resource Center (our homestudy agency). I think it has finally started to sink it - the nervous and anxiousness. But I have my boys to keep my mind occupied. I will be sure to update everyone ASAP on the info from the FRC meeting.
I've added some new items to our blog that you may want to check out - our Kyrg time and weather, and our V Family fundraising.
Our lender, Maureen Williams at ABI Mortgage has done a great job with helping us refinance, she truly is a godsend - loans for our adoption will be paid off eventually, but we would love your help and support. Whether you use "ChipIn" or purchase a Magazine subscription, all proceeds benefit our adoption fund. Everyone can always use another magazine - they are great to take on playdates, doctor visits, or in my case - therapy. I donate mine to some of the offices so they get plenty of use.
On another note, we need to get our booty in gear and finish the international application so I can get that in the mail by the end of this week or early next week.
As always we appreciate all the prayers and support everyone has sent us. Posted by Mel at 10:59 AM
"We have always known we wanted another child, a daughter, in our family... We feel very fortunate to be called to adoption. Every child deserves a family and deserves a chance to thrive. Heartstrings are definitely pulled when hearing or reading about children without a family or a home. We are eager to bring a child into our family – forever."
This is a direct quote from part of our narrative to our homestudy application that we thought we would share with everyone.
So onto the country. We have chosen a small country called Kyrgyzstan which is NorthEast of China. I have included a map above (this map is clickable to view a larger version, also see links in our M&M Links) to give you more information about the country itself. Many children are often abandoned at the orphanages or left in parks only to be brought in by strangers.
Children are usually of a Russian or Asian background. Sometimes, Caucasians are available. A toddler under 1 year of age is rare, but we would prefer a little girl between the age of 12 months and 24 months. Once we complete our homestudy (which our agency aims to complete in 90 days)... we will then need to complete a dossier for the foreign government. That process, including it being submitted and processed can take 3-5 months.
We have been given a timeline between 8-10 months, but as with any adoption (domestic or international) there can be changes. We hope that with everyones prayers, things will go smoothly and before this time next year, we will be home with a sister for Hayden.
As for traveling - we will need to pick up our daughter. Once we have been given a referral (this happens shortly after the processing of the dossier) we decide to accept the child (for those who an unfamiliar with a referral - it is a packet of information on a potential child with medical info and pictures). Once that happens, we travel a month or so after to "verify" our referral for a quick 2-3 day trip in the country. Then we wait more - I am uncertain off the top of my head how long, a few weeks I think until we travel again to bring our child home. This time, the trip is longer... 10 days, allowing us time to visit the country and collect our child's visa.
So you may be asking.... how do you pronounce this country - Kyrgyzstan? Say it like "kir-gi-stahn".
We spent months worrying why Hayden didn't sit up by himself, didn't crawl and soon didn't meet his milestones. Hayden began therapy soon after his first birthday. He was suggested for speech, occupational, physical, and developmental therapy. When we were told the news, I was shocked, heartbroken, and devastated. Having a rocky pregnancy and birth - I couldn't imagine going through it again and refused too. My son had to indure daily/weekly visits of what he thought was playtime with almost strangers, and still does. (We never thought of therapy as "therapy" but more of a time to play. One therapy - "Monkey Group" meeting once a week, is a huge hit. And Hayden has met some great friends, as have I.)
Back when Hayden was younger though and received in home therapy (as opposed to me being the "soccer mom" I've turned into now) it became a time for me as a stay at home mom to have an adult to talk to, reach out to about what was going on with my little boy. But also to know that none of this was my fault - nor could have been prevented. Still, I couldn't imagine going through the pain and tribulations again. Us being happy with Hayden as an only child.
Fastforwarding four years, Hayden is now 5 years old and excited about entering Kindergarten next year. We are so proud of all that he has accomplished in this amount of time. Though he may not jump like other boys and girls yet and have trouble cutting - he has a heart of gold. He LOVES being around other children and people - no matter the age. He's been gentle with our 3 cats since day one - even his baby cousin or strangers... "Cooochie coochie cooo" he mentions to an infant one day at my mother's house (my brother came over with a friend who just had a baby). Hayden was infatuated.
So that brings us to the present day. On Friday May 2, 2008 we sent in our application for our homestudy to start the process for an international adoption. Posted by Mel at 11:02 AM