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Our Journey So Far

May 28 Waiting for court date
May 21 Waiting for court date
May 17 Dossier signed by MOJ and forwarded to court
May 14 Waiting for court date
May 7 Waiting for court date
April 30 Waiting for court date
April 23 Waiting for court date
April 16 Waiting for court date
April 11 Article 5 paperwork out for translation and authentication
April 10 Article 5 meeting
April 9 Waiting for Article 5 meeting
April 2 Waiting for Article 5 meeting
March 26 Waiting for Article 5 meeting
March 19 Waiting for Article 5 meeting
March 12 Waiting for Article 5 meeting
March 12 Legal name change document sent to agency
March 5 I-800 submitted
March 3 Home again
February 27-March 2 With sweet Allie
February 20-24 With sassy Vessy
February 17 Off to meet our girls
February 10 Airline tickets purchased
February 10 Written referral signed and OK to travel given
January 31 Notified of verbal referral from MOJ
January 30 Waiting.....
January 23 Waiting.....
January 18 Dossier submitted and accepted by MOJ
January 16 Waiting.....
January 9 Waiting.....
January 2 Waiting.....
December 27 Dossier received in adoption country
December 23 Dossier mailed
December 22 Received apostilled documents
December 16 13 documents notarized and sent for apostille
December 15 I-800A approval received
December 12 Waiting.....
December 5 Waiting.....
November 28 Waiting.....
November 21 Waiting.....
November 17 Apostilled FBI clearance received
November 14 Biometric fingerprints done
November 3 FBI clearance sent for apostille
November 2 FBI clearance received
October 20 Fingerprint appt received for November 14
September 28 I-800A submitted
September 28 Home study received
September 27 Commitment documents for Allie sent to agency in adoption country.
September 25 All required adoption training complete
September 24 Ron completes Hague training
September 22 Apostilled marriage license received
September 21 Sent commitment papers for Allie to be apostilled
September 21 Notified home study is complete
September 20 Received new picture of Allie
September 18 Trish completes Hague training
September 17 Completed 6 hour training with Bethany
September 15 Applied for WI approval to adopt Allie
September 14 Received local police clearances for dossier
September 14 Allie joins Ella on RR family page
September 14 Registered for 8 hour Hague training with NCFA
September 6 Registered for 6 hour training with Bethany
September 5 Applied for WI approval to adopt Ella
September 5 Marriage license to MO for apostille
September 2 Trish medical complete
August 30 Final homestudy session
August 23 Ron medical complete
August 18 Ron passport received
August 17 Paperwork and fingerprints sent to FBI
August 16 2nd home study meeting
August 16 Fingerprints taken
August 16 Trish physical
August 12 Appt set for fingerprinting for FBI background check
August 12 Ron employment verification received for dossier
August 11 Ron physical
August 10 FSP established on RR
August 9 Commitment documents and disclosure sent to Reece’s Rainbow
August 8 Apostilled commitment documents sent to adoption country
August 5 Background check paperwork sent to homestudy agency
August 4 Background check forms to SC
August 4 Background check forms to MN
August 3 Introduced to Allie
August 3 Sent multiple documents to home study agency
August 2 Emailed Reece’s Rainbow application
August 1 Sent contract to home study agency
July 28 Sent commitment documents to be apostilled
July 28 Meeting for home study
July 25 Passport applied for
July 22 Ron passport photo taken
July 22 Service agreement sent to adoption agency
July 22 Ella moved to My Family Found Me page
July 21 application approved by adoption agency
July 14 sent application to home study agency
July 13 phone interview with adoption agency
July 12 phone interview with adoption agency
July 11 initiated home study
July 9 sent initial application to adoption agency
July 8 "introduced" to Ella
July 7 first contact with Reece’s Rainbow
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Tale of Two Divas

Well, we have been home with the girls almost two months now. It has definitely been a roller-coaster ride. Things are better now than our first few weeks home.  It looks like both our divas will be spending some time each day at our special needs school, which I am happy to say has the reputation of being top notch. We are in the process of doing their IEP’s so hopefully all that will lead to them getting some good guidance and occupational therapies.
Both girls sleep very well for the most part (fingers crossed). I don’t think they sleep the whole time but for the most part they are quiet in their beds from 8pm-6am. Those of you with children who have sleeping issues know what a big deal this is. The only issue we have at night so far is when Vessy’s feeding machine alarms out but soon all her feeding will be done during the day so that will go away also.

Her feeding and health issues are being managed well now. Between the G-tube feedings with which she has gained almost ten pounds and the meds regimen that is repairing the ulcers in her throat and stomach she is a much different little girl than 6 weeks ago. She still has an aversion to food but drinks clear liquids almost every day. We are hoping of course that she will still eat normally one day but for now she is getting healthy and getting the nutrition she needs.
She has just transformed from a listless and sad little girl to this joyful child whose smile and personality just lights up our days. She has just fallen in love with Jamie and Jamie with her. Vessy will laugh at just about anything Jamie does and Jamie even has her at the beginning stages of signing and verbalizing. She is just very affectionate in general, loves attention and just thinks she is all that (do not get her near a mirror J).
She still is a stubborn little diva who thinks her place is to be carried and pampered all day long. She is learning some hard lessons in that area though. Even Anna had her walking laps through the house the other day (Vessy would sit at her spot on the couch and watch TV all day long if she was allowed). She is gaining strength every day. It is most noticeable when she walks up and down the stairs. She now climbs foot over foot rather than stepping onto a stair and then bringing the other foot to the same stair. Seems like a small thing but is a big step in leg strength.
The real point I want to make about Vessy is she seems to know we are her family now and just loves it. I really think she thinks she has died and went to heaven (except when the physical therapist shows up). She knows she is very loved and it is obvious she feels the same way about us.

Allie’s adjustment has been quite a bit more difficult. I have documented her rages and other behaviors in previous posts. I am happy to say between us, her pediatrician and her psychiatrist we seem to have come to a good med and dosage level to help her.  We are still seeing some self-harming and emotional behaviors but far more mild than when she was on no meds.  She does still have bouts of crying where at times there is no comfort to be given. It is a very mournful cry.  On the other hand, two minutes later she can be smiling and talking so we just need to help her through them.
I am anxious to get Allie into school as we are having trouble getting her interested in any activities. She will play with toys or instruments or whatever for only a few seconds before discarding them. She does like to vocalize however and is content to sit with me and practice her sounds. She has a sweet little voice with a growing vocabulary.  I am not sure yet how much she understands but can mimic a growing number of words. We count the steps as we go up and down them and on occasion she has named the next step in progression before I say it. For some reason she loves the number 11.
Her smile and voice are both very endearing and although she does not seem to have really bonded emotionally yet I do believe she is feeling more safe and secure. When I put her in bed at night I kiss her three times on the cheek. She smiles very big every night before rolling over and pulling up the covers. I like to believe it is because she knows she is safe now from whatever badness happened to her after bedtime at the institution.
Thanks to all of you who wrote words of encouragement over the last 2 months. We have a long ways to go but are certainly headed in the right direction. Thank you for caring about our girls.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I hoped to be writing about fairy tale endings, rainbows and unicorns but you won't find that here today.
We got our Gotcha travel dates on June 26 and traveled on July 4. Those 8 days were filled with so much joy and anticipation at the thought of going to get our girls. Trish and Jamie could not stop smiling. I have not seen much of those smiles since 2 days after we picked the girls up on July 6.
We arrived in Sofia on Thursday the 5th and got right in the car to head to Kardzhali to pick up Vessy on Friday morning and then head right to Vasil Drumev to get Allie Friday afternoon, spend the night in Shumen, then head back to Sofia. We were very excited because we thought we weren't getting Allie until Monday morning so the change in plans got us to our girls sooner. All this went without a hitch, the girls traveled well and we were all together and back in Sofia Saturday afternoon. All was right with the world despite the heat and fatigue.
It was on Sunday that things started going south. Vessy would not eat but we knew going in she was a picky eater and she was taking liquids and staying hydrated so not a major concern yet.
Allie started displaying behaviors that we had not seen to this point either in our first visit or since we had picked her up. The rages began at first after feeding because she did not want to be done even after large portions. They continued with various triggers but mostly centered on feeding and being set down. She wanted to be held continuously facing the person holding her in a bear hug with the person walking around the room. We understood this need from what she had been through but just not physically possible.
These rages continued throughout the week although we did find ways to calm her down as we went through the week. She loved going for walks in the stroller and accepted sitting by me in the chair rather than being carried around. But we were just never sure when she would act out and how bad it would be. It was a very long week and it will take me awhile to forgive myself for putting Jamie through that.
It may have went better if we were prepared for the behavior but there was just no indication. I am convinced Allie's institution had her drugged, either constantly or for our first visit because there would have been no way to hide this for the 15-20 hours we spent with her. I also believe she was abused, either by other kids there or the workers. If you approach her too quickly she throws her hands in front of her face and cringes backwards as if expecting to be hit. We knew this was one set of behaviors we could not handle, both at our age and with the other kids in the house so we were very specific in asking questions about self harming or aggressive behaviors and were assured there were none. I cannot honestly say what we would have done had we known about this prior to committing to Allie at the end of our first trip but I know for sure we would not have brought Jamie on the second trip and put her though that week of hell.
I thought things would improve once we got home and into a routine and they have to a certain degree but the rages continue and Vessy is in the middle of an about 10 day hospital stay and is headed for a G-tube next week. That is one stubborn little girl.
Allie seems happy most of the times but when the rages come on her it is like a different person.
Some behaviors include:
Angry, feral facial expression
Hitting herself (hard) on the legs and head
Pinching her ears, inside her wrists and inner thighs
Pulling her hair
Violently pushing chairs and other furniture
Trying to pull down the drapes
Knocking over or throwing whatever she get her hands on

Triggers are mostly centered now on feeding, attention and shoes, yes shoes. She wants to wear shoes but not ones that fit her. She want to wear Vessy's shoes (way too small) or our shoes (way too big) and she really rages about it.

I will stop for now but if anyone has any ideas, please share.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


If you are adopting or have adopted you know how sweet those words are. God has once again provided despite my own doubts and worries. He does that a lot. I love it when He shows His power and love. He used a lot of people to make this happen and I would like to take a few lines to acknowledge and thank them. I know for a fact some of the people could not afford to give what they did but did as they were led anyways.
Thank you:

Jon and Shawn Del as our first contributors and Jon and Jen close behind. It was pretty awesome to have people donate the very Sunday we announced to our church about adopting Vessy...Allie came later. :)

Grace Harbor Church of the Nazarene for hosting our yard sale fundraiser and those who donated to the tip jar...Mel, Rick and Linda, Lindy, Dave, the Gullicksons and the Williams...and to the ones we did not know who dropped some extra in the tip jar just to help our girls.

Vessy and Allie's Grandpa Bob and Grandma Pat who not only contributed generously throughout but also bought us an IPAD to take on the first trip, which gave us great pictures and movies and which Vessy just loved to use to look at herself and just wonder at how cute she is.

Reece's Rainbow for the older child grant and introducing us to our girls.

Lifesong for the interest free loan.

Kelley Jo Hayes for her Mary Kay fundraiser.

Charlotte Pritchett for her Scentsy fundraiser.

Sandy Kroese for her Tastefully Simple fundraiser.

Mandy, Chandres and the rest of "The Finishers". This particular fundraiser came at a time when Trish and I were really missing Vessy and Allie and was especially encouraging. A special thanks to those who donated and those who matched. :)

To all those who gave us cash donations or contributed to our FSP and donated to the puzzle fundraiser (puzzles are proudly displayed in our entryway) and to Jamie's airline ticket (she is SO excited to meet her sisters):
Michele, Olly Paw, Tyler, Mark, Kim and Shane, Jason, Black Sheep, Rain, Arie, Tammy, Kelly, Beth, Nancy, Courtney, Donna, Candy, Dawn, Cheri, Kevin and Annie, Carol, Keith and Steph, Moolyn, Jess, Nils and Jen, Kayla, Brian and Kate, Jamie, our friends from down under Mark and Nichol, Jessica, John and Val, Aunt Lora, Pastor Mark and Sarah, Paul, David, Jacob and Kate, Elizabeth, Paul, Jennifer, Leila, Trevor and Amanda, Lisa, Keith and Susan, Brenda, Lisa, Sandra, Weston and Jessica, Liz, Kourtney and Angie.

We also had a number of generous anonymous donors who we would like to thank. I hope they see this post and know they are appreciated. So many people we do not even know helping us get our girls home.

Thank you all. Now it's time to go get our girls. Come on court date!
Friday, May 11, 2012

The Avengers and The Finishers

Went to see The Avengers last night. Fun movie, Good versus Evil, Heroes vs Villains, the usual superhero movie but pretty well done (it was awesome actually).

I came home to find my own version of a superhero story playing out as we had been visited by "The Finishers", a secretive, small yet powerful group of heroes who bring adopting families across that all important finish line of "FULLY FUNDED".

In our case this could not have come at a more opportune time. Of course it will be fantastic to have the financial part of the adoption taken care of but also being lifted up like this as we reach 10 WEEKS since we have left our girls is such an encouragement. Trish has written about 10:00am our time when Bulgaria closes for business and how depressing that time is for us. I could also include Fridays in that as we know there are 2 days coming with no chance of hearing about a court date. Many of you have been through this and can appreciate then how sweet it is when people come up beside you and support you.

So "The Finishers" swoop in and offer an $800 matching grant for any funds donated to our FSP until midnight tonight. If we reach that goal and those funds are matched we will be fully funded. When our FSP reaches a total of $3032 the $800 match will have been met.Then all that will be standing between us and Vessy and Allie is a court date and a travel date. Thank you from all of us for any help you are led to give. :)   -Ron
Saturday, May 5, 2012

10:00 a.m. central time

About 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, I find myself getting anxious.  Checking my email, checking for texts.  Those of you who are in the process of adoption know what I am talking about.
Waiting for news.  You see, 10 a.m. is close of business day in Bulgaria.  And at this time, if there is no new email, no text, I know it will be at least another day before we hear news of our travel dates. 
It is so frustrating, waiting.  Waiting.  I kid Ron that he should never have prayed for patience because this is the answer to that prayer. 
And I love reading the RR blogs, cheering for these people I will probably never meet.  People that I have love in common with, love for little people half a world away.  Two families are in Bulgaria now, one to meet their child for the first time, the Lindquists to bring their son home.   And as much as I love seeing their pictures of Bulgaria, I have to admit being envious.  Sad, huh?  I am so happy for these happy families, and so sad for us.  I keep reminding myself that our girls have waited 7 and 8 years for a family, that they can wait a few more weeks.  Right?  I know it doesn't make sense, but my heart aches to be there.  To finally have our Gotcha Days. 
I have pictured so many aspects of our trip home with Vessy and Allie.  Nerves going through security with a blind child, security with a very busy runner with Ds.  Hoping Vessy doesn't use this time to make a break for it :).  I want to be the family on the plane that all the other people are thinking, "9 hr plane ride with these people!  Oh no!" 
And more than anything else I want to know that our girls haven't forgotten us.  Or think we forgot them.  Because we didn't.  Pray without ceasing has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
In the meantime, I will be joyful for friends I haven't met.  And particularly joyful for sweet little children who are gaining a family.  Hugs to you, Connie Clark Lindquist, and save some spices for me.  Ron and I should be there soon!!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Need Your Help

As we wait for word and prepare for our second trip to pick up Allie and Vessy we find ourselves somewhat short on funds for this final part of our adoption journey. I must admit I did not plan accurately for the price of airfare at this time of year, but even if I had known the true cost of this trip I am not sure I could have done much differently.

I do not ask for help easily or take the request lightly so in the interest of disclosure here is where we stand right now.

Paid out so far:
$14,000 country program fees for 2 children different locations
$3,700   first trip
$3,250   agency fees
$2,700   home study and associated fees
$1,600   USCIS
$800      visas
$500      postage
$250      apostilles
$200      dossier
$27,000 Total

Funds raised so far:
$10,000  2nd mortgage
$8,000    personal loan
$8,000    savings
$2150     FSP donations
$1350     Direct donations
$1,100    RR older child grant
$30,600 Total

I would guess right now we are about $4000 from being  fully funded. We will continue to cut corners and put away what we can but (hopefully) our Gotcha Day is coming fast so if you are led to help it would be so appreciated. Thank you and keep the prayers coming.

Can not wait to get these faces home. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Missing My Girls

Well it has been about six weeks since we got back from our first trip. I have been missing Allie and Vessy a lot so I thought I would put together a couple of videos I can put on a flash drive to have with me. I would never have thought the waiting between the first trip and Gotcha Day would be the hardest part of this journey. I thought once we got to meet them and had a bunch of pictures and videos it would make it a lot easier but I think it actually makes it harder. Hopefully soon we can count the time in weeks instead of months. Anyways, here are my videos. I tried to capture the personality of each of these sweet girls and tried to show why I am so anxious to be their daddy.

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Ron and Trish
In July 2011, we started our adoption story. We are waiting to bring our newest daughter home, and we hope you'll join us in following along on our blog!
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