Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Playing Pretend

All of a sudden Jude is very, very, much into playing pretend. All day long he's coming up with new scenarios and telling me what to say and how to react. We act out Toy Story, and pirates, and we fight dragons, and tigers in tunnels,....lots of different battles and harrowing events. Did I mention he does this all day long now?!

Here's Jude getting home from work and then telling us about what happened on the train (or bus?) during his commute.



Blackboard Wednesday

In the months leading up to our decision to adopt (or rather our discovery that adoption had been written for us and our daughters), we scoured the internet, books, and friends for input. We wanted to read the good, the bad, the ugly. We wanted an honest look at adoption. We knew it would do us no good to have unrealistic expectations.  The scouring of the internet left us with a ton of information and treasure troves of candid blog posts from other adopting Mommies.

We know for some of our friends and family this is the first time you're experiencing adoption up close and personal. We realize that much of this journey is scary, unknown, and worrisome for the people who care about us the most. And because we know you'll be looking for ways to love us during the transition home, we've decided to help all of us out by gathering up some "education" of sorts. It's clear to me that other Mommies can write much better than I, and it's clear that all of us have much to gain from those that have taken this journey ahead of us. Adoption is unique and it's going to dictate how we handle the joys and hurdles ahead of us. So let's learn together!

On Wednesday's I'll be posting links, or articles or videos to help all of us prepare for our daughters' homecoming. If you're family, and you're gonna be around us and our girl's (especially in the first few months), then the Wednesday readings are mandatory. Yup. And you can bet I'll be asking each and everyone of you if you read Wednesday's education. You can go to the links, hit print, and stick them on your night stand. You can read them before you go to bed, or read them with your breakfast. But we want you reading! :)


To start things off I'm sharing the map our caseworker sent us outlining our next steps.  Hopefully this will shed some light on what we're doing right now, what we're waiting on, and how long we have to go. BUT remember! We're praying for miracles and so we're praying this outline is all wrong!! :) Once every thing listed below is complete, then we travel to bring them home!
*** Right now we've sent in our Immigration paperwork. So we're in the 4-8 weeks waiting period at the very top of the map under U.S. processing.









...and I feel compelled to say...We can't thank you enough for caring about us and asking questions, and  praying for us at each and every step. I can't wait for each of you to love on our girls, and these Wednesday posts stem from that excitement. Please know we love your questions and your curiosity! We never get tired of answering your questions, especially the one, "When will you go get them?" or "Any updates?!" We can answer those questions a million times for you! We love that you care, and want you to keep your questions comin'!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snow

Saturday morning we woke up to snow! Daddy and I had a few moments to down a cup of coffee before bundling up in the wee hours to go play.




His favorite thing to do was demolish Daddy's attempts at making a miniature snowman and throw snow at Daddy....


And making snow angels...



And eating icicles...


Then we came inside and warmed our bellies with hot chocolate...



And attempted to make snow ice cream...




Jude liked it, but I thought it tasted like dirt. So we ended up eating a bowl of ice cream out of the freezer. :)

Happy Snow Day!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Friday

This week we made progress. 

On Thursday of last week our agency mailed very important documents to the girls' orphanage. 
Over the weekend we had the computer open on the kitchen table every hour of the day.  Whenever one of us walked by, we'd hit "refresh." We had fun watching our paperwork travel the world and land at our daughters' doorstep. 

For us, it arrived Monday night. For them, it was Tuesday morning.  
Our caseworker had been called and emailed by the adoption coordinator at the orphanage by the time we woke on our Tuesday morning. 



Then on Tuesday I spent nearly the entire afternoon scrutinizing and poring over our I-800 forms to send to immigration...along with a bunch of more paperwork for immigration.  Those dear, dear, forms. Sheesh. They were agonizing, really. It was just all the details that bogged me down. But let me tell you, the sweet people at USCIS were incredible. I sent about 5 last minutes emails on Tuesday with questions about the forms and each time they responded remarkably fast, remarkably helpful, and surprisingly nice. Each time I got an email from them I was impressed.
So we put that huge honkin' stack of immigration forms on a Fedex truck Tuesday night and they had it in their office on Wednesday morning! We're told to expect an approval in 6-8 weeks. Bleh.
But ya know what?  We're praying for TWO WEEKS! ...because we pray for crazy and ridiculous things! Why not?! 
Pray with us that we get a very fast approval that blows all approval times out of the water. Because our girls need to come!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Indoors

It's been a frigid week here in NY, so we've been making the best of it. Today we used a Groupon for an indoor kid's gym. We got it for 4 bucks instead of $11. It was a steal!!

This place literally was busting at the seams with JOY. The whole time I had a huge smile on my face...and after 2 hours of play time we left exhausted.

For your viewing pleasure here's a few pictures and FIVE videos...


Where's Jude?...



Waiting for the Zip Line...











Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooties

The boys are playing Cooties. And I say, "smile!" And this is what I get...

Cute nonetheless.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Documents and More Documents

So. 
I'm a tad stressed out.



By "a tad" I mean majorly stressed out. 

I just wish it were all much simpler. I wish I could sign on the dotted line and hop on a plane and bring our girls home. But we've spent the weekend analyzing documents, and getting notaries, and trying to get county seals (and failing), and questioning if we filled out certain Indian forms out correctly. Trying to take a deep breath, and trying to let go. And trying to untie all the knots forming in my stomach.

So if you find yourself thinking about us, and wondering how you can pray for us...You can pray for calm. You can pray that notaries, and county seals, and apostilles, and emails, and internet, and cell phones would all work as they're supposed to. You can pray that when things seem to fall a part, and an obstacle stands in my way, I'll respond with peace, wisdom, and calm.
Because an incredible thing happens when you try to rescue an orphan. When you try to do something the Enemy is so opposed to.  The oddest things start happening and we realize in every instance the Father of Lies does not want our little girls home. The Enemy wants to panic us, wants to tear our marriage a part, to bog us down with disappointments, to distract us from Jude, to ruin our finances, and to just keep our girls away from Mommy and Daddy. And we see so clearly that our little girls will change the world. And we're reminded at every turn that our little girls are forces to be reckoned with. And it's so evident Jesus has written this story from the beginning of time.
...and the Enemy wants to stop it in it's tracks. 
So please go to war with us in the next few weeks and pray that no obstacle would stand in the way of bringing our girls home.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Referral!!

This was our family on November 7th, the day we saw Little Sister's picture for the first time:

Today, two months later, we received her official referral and the referral of her TWIN sister!! Our faces haven't changed much since November! I can't share anything else. I can't say their names, ages, where they're from: nothin'! To protect them and the entire process, we're bound to strict privacy until things are finalized.
So what's next? Lots! :) The paperwork has poured in today and we're eager to tell everyone, "These little girls are OURS!!!" We have to get our Home Study updated for two children, and then send that update off to Immigration to have them approve it too. We're signing papers, getting more notaries, apostilles, giving the orphanage power of attorney, and then they'll go to court in India on our behalf. All in all, we're hoping to have our girls home some time in 2013. Our agency doesn't like giving timelines because everything is so unpredictable, but they say to expect to travel in 8-12 months from now. But we're praying for a miraculous 6 MONTHS from now!! Well actually we'd like to get on a plane tonight.
So here we are: a family of FIVE. 
So very ready to be together, under one roof, figuring out life and giving lots of kisses and giggles. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Three Years Old

My little itty bitty baby is 3 years old today.

And for some reason he looks so old in these pictures. Huh. He's still my baby. 

We started the morning off with presents...



And a chocolate donut...

Then this evening he had 2 friends over for dinner and cake...




He's trying really, really, hard not to smile for a picture with Mommy...





Happy Birthday Jude Harvey!

Friday, January 4, 2013

December Phone Dump

Here's our December as seen through Brett's phone:

A little crafty decor for Little Sisters' room...

Brett's Holiday party at Barclays (and spouses aren't invited. boo!)

Late night reading of the Polar Express...

New tiny cousin Chamblin...

Getting the snow suit on for the Christmas Eve service in a barn...

Tractor time with Grandpa...


Never-ending play time in the basement...

At the Doctor in Oklahoma and finding out Jude had the flu...

Gorgeous wedding of Megan and Bryan in Oklahoma City...

The last glimpse of an Oklahoma sunset...

Because of the wedding we left Jude with Pops and Grammy for 2 days. This is me returning...

We were just a week away from Jude's Birthday so we did a makeshift cake sharing and Birthday singing...


And yes cousin Caroline is CUTE, and she might know it...

And I'll leave you with the greatest picture of all. This is what I look like flying standby with a toddler. Not very fun. (But we make the best of it.) It just makes for a long day!