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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
Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Amazing Few Days

God is pretty awesome. Trish was chiding me a little earlier today when I was surprised how things are falling into place. We have had a couple of very generous anonymous donations to the girls in the last couple of days. The one we got today nearly knocked me off my chair. My heart really did skip a beat. I hope whoever these generous people are see this and know how much we appreciate their generosity. These friends and all who have donated to our girls must see them as we do, blessings from God.
We have also made progress on the girls room. We are trying to make it as safe and inviting as we can. I am working on a puzzle update and will post that soon.




Friday, December 30, 2011

the dentist and prayers

I took our 12 year old daughter Jamie to the pediatric dentist today.  I told the dentist about our 2 girls and that we hope they will finally (!) be home in April.  I wanted to make sure that he was willing to work with 2 special little girls.  He smiled widely and told me that they work on all kinds of special children at the clinic, and he would love to have them come.  They would be taken care of and worked with gently (but I already knew that as he's been Jamies dentist for 10 years).  Dr. Van Miller said a couple other things, and then said he'd see us in April.  April!  That is not so far away anymore!
After he stepped out the hygienist began talking excitedly asking to see pictures, etc.  She told me she would pray for my girls!  I love the fact that people who didn't even know about these precious little souls, are now praying for them.  It's crazy to think that just 6 months ago, we didn't know about these girls.  And that now I (and Ron) call them my daughters.  I worry about them.  I hope they are sleeping well.  I am hoping they are safe.  Hoping they know they are loved.  Praying for them, all the time.
Jamie and I bought stocking for Ella and Allie today.  And I can't wait to put them on our mantle.  In the meantime, we'll keep watching the mail (anxiously!) waiting for our travel dates.  Praying.  And looking forward to the day I can take them into the dentist and say, these are my daughters.   And thank you for praying for them.  And us.
P.S. thank you to everyone who has sponsored puzzle pieces.  You have no idea what an encouragement that is to our family.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Watch It Grow 6

140/200 puzzle pieces sponsored! 
Thank you Bob and Pat (again), 
Donna (again), Carol, the Tylers 
and our new Aussie friends Mark and Nichol. :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Finishing Off the Princesses

Maybe one day Allie will be able to see them too. :)


Aurora and Cinderella

Thursday, December 22, 2011


168 days after we first contacted Reece's Rainbow we have submitted our dossier. Thank you WI SOS for the speedy turnaround of our last set of apostilled documents. You have my vote when you come up for re-election. We are very excited to be waiting for travel dates for our trip to meet our girls...and already dreading having to leave them for awhile. But soon enough it will be Gotcha day. :) Here is what all the work over the last 5 months has been about:

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Finally got our I-800A approval in the mail today. Tomorrow we visit the notary and then send a bunch of documents off for apostille, then wait again. But we are getting closer and closer. :)
Saturday, December 10, 2011

Watch It Grow 5

Last Christmas Alone
Can you tell Trish and I are getting antsy to get our girls?  The thought of Ella and Allie spending one last Christmas without us makes us sad but knowing it is their last one without a family gives us great joy and hope. In the meantime God sends us stories to touch our hearts and lift our spirits. 

Check these out:

In our own quest, 116 of 200 puzzle pieces have been sponsored. :) When we started this journey we did so knowing God would have to provide if this was the path he wanted us to walk and of course He has not disappointed!
Thank you for all your support during this adventure and please keep praying that God will keep watch over our girls and give us patience and peace for the next few months.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

We finished decorating the house for Christmas today.  The Charlie Brown Nativity set is set out on the piano, next to the Charlie Brown tree.  Out front is the air filled Charlie Brown and Linus standing next to the sad little tree.  You can see the trend here.
We love the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  My favorite part is toward the end when CB is losing it and yells, doesn't anyone know what Christmas is about?  And then Linus, with his blue blankie, proceeds to tell him the story.  And it gets me every time I hear him say it.

Our granddaughter, Anna (15 months) is fascinated with all things Christmas.  The big tree, the lights, the presents.  And the CB Nativity set.  She likes to press the button on the decoration that has Linus telling the story.  I can't wait to see all our girls next year, loving the decorations, the singing, the cookies!  And for Daddy/Grandpa to read the Christmas story to all our girls. 

Also, to the anonymous donor for the puzzle.  Thank you.  Closer and closer to Bulgaria.  Ella and Allie, Mommy and Daddy are coming.
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Progress on our girls' room

Still working on painting the princesses in the girls room. 
Here's our progress. :)





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watch It Grow 4

More than halfway there!
Thank you Moolyn, Grandma Pat and the Lichtenauers!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ella and Allie's Room

Jamie and I finished the first of the princesses on the wall of the girls' room. Good thing my daughters have some artistic ability. :)  -Ron

Watch It Grow 3

Thank you Jamie, Donna and Kevin & Annie. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas shopping and such

I went (started) Christmas shopping for real today.  Our oldest daughter Katie, and first granddaughter Anna went with me.  I have to admit, I usually have most everything done by now.  All the gifts bought.  All the gifts wrapped.  And a freezer full of cookies, breads and other treats to give away.
But I am having such a hard time getting ready this year.  I keep thinking about Ella and Allie and their last year of having a Christmas without a family.  It's hard for me to concentrate when I am shopping.  I spend so much time looking at toys and wondering, will Ella like this?  Does it make music for my sweet girl?  And what about Allie?  Trying to find appropriate toys for a blind child is a challenge.  All the sweet little girl clothes, hair bows, Hello Kitty stuffed animals...
I hope my (American) family understands if under the tree is a little slim this year.  But I am already shopping (in my heart and head) for next Christmas.

And for those who have someone in their family that is impossible to get that perfect gift for, please consider sponsoring some puzzle pieces.  Thanks.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More waiting... and holidays

Ron and Jamie have been busy painting Disney princesses in the room so it will be ready to bring home our new little princesses.  It is going to be beautiful when it's all done. 
I got their blankets and bed covers the other day and made up the bed (we still have to buy a second bed), and it just looks like it waiting to be filled.  Soft.  Snuggy. Inviting.
We go down to Milwaukee on Monday for our fingerprints, and then its just a matter of waiting basically.  I'm glad it's the holiday season to keep us busy because the waiting is not my strong point.  Ron is learning to speak Bulgarian (yikes), and I'm learning baby sign language.  Trying to keep busy as we wait.  In the meantime, please keep us in your prayers. 
And as you get ready for Christmas, if you have someone you'd like to honor, think about sponsoring some puzzle pieces.  It seems like a perfect way for me to celebrate the birth of a very special Child. 
Saturday, October 22, 2011


I dreamt of Ella last night. It was not the pleasant dream I would hope for. One of my biggest fears (other than flying) is we will get our girls home and they will not like it here and will be unable to adjust and I think those fears were manifested in this dream. I really don't believe it will turn out that way but the mind can play some tricks on you especially as you sleep and dream. But as I thought about it today I realized it doesn't really matter if there are problems or if the travel is hard or anything else that could happen. What matters is that God has led us to take care of these two little girls, that we already love them and that we are going to plow ahead as best we can. He has certainly asked more and harder things of people than loving up two little girls that need a family. Many people have commented to us what a wonderful thing we are doing and I agree that it is wonderful Ella and Allie and all the other kids being adopted will have families.  I am not sure we are doing anything so special though. I think this is just another way God is blessing us and we are just along for a really blessed ride. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Got our fingerprint appointment in the mail today for November 14. We are coming Ella and Allie. :)
Sunday, October 16, 2011

Watch It Grow 2

Wow! Thank you all so much.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mailbox - Friend or Foe??

I have a love/hate relationship with the mailbox. As we wait for our biometrics appointment and FBI clearances every trip to the mailbox starts with hope and ends in dejection. I don't know if it was better on Monday when there was no mail delivery at all or yesterday when we got a pretty good stack of mail but not what we are waiting for. I actually get mad at the other mail, how irrational is that?
I am just so ready to meet our girls.
Monday, October 10, 2011

Watch It Grow 1

It is so inspiring to watch this puzzle start to fill out! We are amazed and grateful at everyone who is contributing to help us bring our girls home. 
Friday, October 7, 2011

Puzzle Update

We have started a fundraiser with puzzles of our girls to raise money for their tickets home. We have gotten it started by assembling the first 11 pieces of each puzzle to recognize people who have already made donations. This would include our daughter and son-in-law, the lovely executive secretary where I work, friends and members of our church family. Thank you all so much.


Just discovered this verse yesterday. I really like it when God sends me little messages.

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you.  John 14:18.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Well we got our copies of the home study today and proceeded to mail off our I-800A application. Come on fingerprint appointment. Ella and Allie, we are coming.
Sunday, September 25, 2011

Many Steps Taken - Many Left to Go

Ron here-
I just finished updating the "Our Journey So Far" part of our blog. After seeing there are already over 50 entries I realize we have come a long way since July 7th but it still seems we have such a long way to go before we get to meet our girls. The cooperation we have gotten along the way so far has been tremendous. Our home study agency and social worker have been outstanding. The support we have gotten from our coordinator at our adoption agency has been unbelievable. Talk about an advocate for these children. Next step is to get our copies of the home study next week and submit our I-800A. Keep the prayers coming.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011


As we are pushing through the paperwork and getting our homestudy done, it gets a little sad to wait and wait for updates. Just when we needed it most, our wonderful contact at our adoption agency sent us an update! Allie's file had not been updated for what looks like a few years, and just a week after requesting a new picture, she sent us one. Check out the change in our girl:

Look how tall and healthy she looks. She looks well taken care of and we thank God for that! Doesn't Allie look happy? We can't wait to get our homestudy done + dossier submitted--then we are two steps closer to meeting our girls for the first time.

Thank you to everyone following our blog and sharing in this process--it means a lot to know that we have friends and supporters :)

Clark family
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Twice Blessed

Ron here-
Just when you think God can't possibly bless you any more He just keeps surprising. Trish and I have been led to bring another little girl home with Ella. I guess God knew I always wanted twins. :) Her name is Allie and she is about 9 months older than Ella. She is blind with some delays. I see the same things in her as I do in Ella. Beautiful little girls who need a mom and dad, brothers and sisters, a family to love them. We will do the best we can to honor God and do just that. Your continued prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
Kate will be updating the blog in the next few days with a picture of our 4th daughter. :)
Monday, September 12, 2011

Fundraising and other things

Kate here!

Now that Mom and Dad are flying through the paperwork part of the adoption, it's time to really get cracking on fundraising. We have a total of $16,000 to raise for the agency fees and such, which is a pretty staggering number. I have some ideas in mind, I hope to get them in motion soon. I love working so hard for something so meaningful.

I am really excited to get Ella involved with the special needs school here in WI. Many of my after-school kids went there, and it is such a great school. Kids can be cruel to those who are different, but there was none of that at this school. Such wonderful teachers that helped all the kids reach their fullest potential. After so many years in an orphanage, Ella will really thrive under such attention.

Church board affirmation

Trish here.
We had a church board meeting yesterday.  During the new business part, I asked permission to borrow some of the tables for a garage sale we were planning as part of fundraising to bring Ella home.  Not only did they say yes, one man said he would bring them and pick them up for us.  The Pastor said his family had some stuff they would love to donate, as did the rest of the board.  The youth leader said the teen group has been trying to find ways to help us during this process and would love to help us put this together and run it.  Another person volunteered to help with a bake sale that will be held at the same time.  Each person there was so happy to be able to help us in any way possible.  Keep in mind that our church typically runs 50 to 60 on any given Sunday.  This warmed my heart to see so many willing to do whatever they could to bring this little girl home.
On the way to church, the Casting Crowns song "the Voice of Truth" came on.  Just when I needed to hear it.  The thought of raising so much money is  very intimidating.  It reminded me that God is on our side, and that if we honor what He has told us to do, He will stand by us.  Not to listen to the other thoughts in my head, are you crazy?  How is this going to happen?  But the "Voice of Truth" tells me, He is on our side.  As another song tells us, Trust and Obey!
So, the board meeting was an affirmation to me that we are not alone in this adoption process and that our church family is as anxious as we are to bring home another blessed little soul.  Thank you, church, and thank you, Voice of Truth for calming my fears and reminding me we are not alone in this.  And not too much longer, our Ella will not only get the Clarks as family, she will get the Grace Harbor Church of the Nazarene family to love.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Home Study Done

We finished our home study last week!  Ron worked over the 3 day weekend to get alot of paperwork done for the dossier, so much paperwork. 
I've decided that at some point in my life (I don't remember when I would have done such a silly thing), I must have prayed for patience.  Because that is surely something God is working on me with right now.  I think being pregnant might have been easier in some aspects than adopting.  At least when you are pregnant you have an idea how long you are waiting.  You have an end date, of sorts.  At this stage in the adoption, we still have no idea when we will be going to bring our Ella home.  And waiting is hard!  So, I figure God is teaching me patience during this time of waiting.  It's probably a good thing for both me and Ella.  The extra patience I learn during this season will be good for both of us.  And so worth it.
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday party

August is a busy month here.  The first week is our church district assembly.  The next week is kids church camp.  Jamie (our now 12 year old) has a birthday August17.  Anna (our granddaughter) turned 1 on the 24th, and Rons birthday is the 28th.  Besides all the getting ready for school stuff, and just enjoying the last bits of summer!
Last night was Annas birthday party, with about 40  people or so attending.  A great mix of old friends, church friends, family and new friends.  What a wonderful outpouring of love and encouragement for our eldest daughter Katie, and son in law, Brian, and of course, sweet Anna.
I look forward to adding another birthday party to the mix next August, when our sweet Ella celebrates her golden birthday on the 8th. 
I am so thankful for the joy and anticipation next August will bring!
Monday, August 22, 2011

Hey Grandpa, here I am!

Ron here-

Our new pastor arrived in town today. This was our last Sunday without a pastor and it gave me the chance to share our adoption story (so far) with the congregation. As I was standing at the pulpit and just starting my talk here comes my one year old granddaughter crawling down the center aisle heading for grandpa. It was pretty awesome. So I picked her up and she helped me introduce everyone to Ella (via powerpoint). Great time. God is good. Ella will be much loved here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Moving right along

Kate here, Ella's 23 year old soon-to-be sister :)
This is such an exciting thing to watch my parents going through! Special needs children have always been close to my heart. From when I was 19-21, I worked with an after-school program that worked with special education programs and the special education school here. Then I worked at two adult homes for people with developmental disabilites for 2 years, right up until I had my daughter. I always thought I'd be the adoption pioneer in my family, so I am so happy to see my parents adding to the family.

One of my favorite things to do through this journey is look at the Reece's Rainbow page on the "Travelling Now" or "Already Home" pages. As my parents work on their homestudy/dossier, it still all seems so far away. It's encouraging to see that it will happen and that things are moving along smoothly. I can't wait for the day when we all go to the airport to pick Mom, Dad, and little Ella up from the airport :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More progress!

Ron here--
More good progress in the last few days. Fingerprints going to the FBI tomorrow for background checks, 2nd home study meeting was last night, physicals all done. Pieces coming together slowly but surely. It really surprises me that I feel like I miss Ella even though I have never met her.Hmmm........

Thank you

Thank you so much for our first donation. It is very appreciated and very encouraging. One step closer to bringing our Ella home. :)
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adoption anniversary

Trish here
Today is August 14, 2011.  Back on this date in 1969, my dad adopted my brother and me.  I was 7, my litttle brother was 5.  I celebrate this day in my heart every year, even after all this time.  You see, my dad, Jim Franklin taught me alot.  He taught me about baseball, tried to teach me about fishing, a love of guitar music and Tom T. Hall, John Denver, and other old country music singers.  In the eyes of the world, I guess he probably didn't seem too accomplished.  But I knew better.  My dad was a Vietnam veteran, he shared very little about his time there except to say you never let yourself get too close to any guys because odds were, they would be gone before you knew it.  He worked hard, he played hard.  But he loved easy.
He was a meatcutter for most of his life.  Not a butcher, he would say, but a meatcutter.  Dad was an avid deer hunter and fisherman.  As his family, we ate whatever he hunted because he took pride in providing for us.
My mom and Dad gave me another great gift in this life, together they made my little sister Angela.  I call her Enchilada for reasons I don't remember anymore.  I always thought the day she was conceived was one of the luckiest days of my life.  Not only did I get a precious sister, but a whole another family to love.
My dad died unexpectedly Feb of 98 when his tractor turned over on him as he was moving hay.  I still have dreams about him, and when I wake up am so sad when I realize it was just a dream, and I don't get to hear his voice again until we meet again in Heaven.  I like to think he and my father in law (who passed away in 90) take turns rocking our first baby daughter,  Anna.
I was 7 when we got adopted, and I remember clearly the day before.  Dad was explaining to me what a big deal it was, and did I understand this?  I solemnly told him I did, Daddy.  He said, good then, I need two promises from you before we do this.  The first being that I would always cheer for the Cardinals.  (I still do) and the second being that I would always love him as much as he loved me.  (And again, I still do)
Thank you, Dad, for showing me that you don't have to be there for the creation of the child, that you can love any child.  What a wonderful gift.

Lots of paperwork

Just burned through our first but probably not last ink cartridge for our printer/copier. :)
Saturday, August 13, 2011


(Trish here)
It's funny, but I see confirmations everywhere.  My youngest daughter, Jamie, asked me once about hearing God's voice.  I told her, I wasn't one of the people who heard an audible voice, but rather God gave me signs, I guess some would say.  When we first decided to do this, we were at the zoo, and there was a group of Mothers with their down syndrome children.  We had adopted the bible verse, Proverbs 3:27 as ours, and next day, when flipping over the verse a day calendar, guess what verse was there?  It's amazing the confirmations everywhere, it was such a cool thing to know that God is watching, and listening to our prayers and concerns. 
Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well we are just a little over a month into the process and it seems like my life has been simplified to work, family and adoption....and I really like it. If I am not working or doing family stuff I am working on adoption paperwork or studying Ella's language. It is great to have something so important to focus on. I know there is going to be a lot of waiting in the next several months but I just don't want any delays to be because I didn't work hard enough. :) We are coming Ella.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We are on Reece's Rainbow!

Today is a very exciting day for our adoption! We are listed on the New Commitments page of Reece's Rainbow as "Ella for the Clark Family." We have spent so much time looking at the new families on there, excited for them and for those children to find their families. Now we are excited to become Ella's family.

We are making pretty good progress on the process. Our homestudy is underway and we have begun compiling our dossier. It's quite the mountain of paperwork, but more than worth it. It's really worth it when we think about being on the "Traveling Now" or "Almost Home" page of Reece's Rainbow, getting ready to bring little Ella off the plane.

Thank you for sharing in this with us--we are so happy to have such a wonderful group of friends, family, and church family to support us and share in our excitement.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Beginning

Thanks for visiting our adoption blog! Our family is so excited to bring our youngest daughter home. As we move along in the process, we will add a timeline to the blog and more information about what we're going through. Please join us in this exciting journey and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

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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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