Just when we thought that our plate was full in life, God dished us up some dessert!




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Sunday, April 25, 2010

While we wait...

We are hoping that we will hear, maybe Tuesday, that our dossier made it to Ukraine. I'm thinking we will be traveling in early June...we will see. Our plan is to have Ricky (3 1/2 with DS) and Lizzy (14) come with us. I just can't do it without Ricky...though I know it would be a whole lot easier to travel without him...repeat, a whole lot easier. That said, I can't do it without him. He's coming and Lizzy will come to help. She is so good with him. Sweet deal for Lizzy. Our new little guy's birthday is June 14th, and Lizzy's is a few days before. How special is that? We really have something to celebrate. Jenny's Gotcha Day was June 18th of 2000. It is a special month for sure.

I have begun packing. I have a suitcase out and I'm throwing things in as I think of them. Went shopping today for some new, little, stimulating travel toys. I need them for Ricky and "Ross." I suspect Ricky won't much care for the fact that this new little boy in his life will be encroaching on his turf, but that is what every sibling has to deal with when a new little one comes along, right? He will be wonderful for "Ross". I suspect it might take a little time, but hopefully the trip will be a chance for them to get to know each other without everyone else around.

This is a picture taken this weekend at a photo shoot for a campaign called "Everyone's Genes are Different"--we all wore jeans:-) We will have an opportunity to share our adoption story of Ricky on the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Associations new website. I am hoping that the love we have for Ricky shines through and that parents who just feel truly unable to provide for their child will consider adoption instead of abortion. With a 90% abortion rate among our kids, there is no doubt a lot of misinformation and fear. Hoping Ricky's sweet little face and our love of Ricky speaks volumes. I wish that every mom and dad who were expecting a child with Down syndrome could meet each of the Reece's Rainbow families and see all the love we have for our kids. I so strongly believe that families would be so much better off if the diagnostic-centered and statistic-centered information that is given out by the medical profession was balanced with person-centered information. Talking to someone who has been there, who has first hand information about Down syndrome is huge! We are grateful they asked us to be a part of this campaign for these reasons.

Can't wait to get some news on our appointment at the SDA (State Dept of Adoption)....we keep praying!

Gretchen

Friday, April 23, 2010

That hunk of a dossier is gone...heading overseas...yaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never felt so neurotic in my life trying to pull that dossier together...

Many times I have thought I had the dossier in its entirety...except one thing. And then along came another thing! It's like washing the dishes. Just when you think you washed the last dish, someone sets another one next to you. I knew exactly what I was supposed to have, that was clear, however it seemed that many things were just slightly off (like missing a number or a stamp covering somethings, or oops the notary stamped but didn't sign, etc....)

Then, after having everything apostilled yesterday, I looked last night and noticed that the signatures from the Secretary of State were different. I guess many have permission to sign his signature, but apparently they are supposed to try to make it look somewhat close to his. Not these!!! I thought with my luck they would catch that over there when we have our appointment! That was all I needed was to have them think I, or someone else, forged something. To have to do anything all over again might drive me nuts. No way...wasn't going to risk it. They agreed, apologized , and apostilled them all over again (mind you there were 23 documents that I had apostilled!!!!!!

Here is the fancy folder which I decided was so bright that it was impossible to misplace, right??? I don't think Dan is going to want to carry it though. "Come on Dan...it's a European file bag!"





















Here is the dossier all fanned out on the file before it was RE-apostilled:


"The Beast"

Here is the dossier in the FedEx envelope ready to go---all $108 of it! It is supposed to arrive in Eastern Europe no later than Tuesday. I don't think my facilitator will be able to submit it this coming week, so I would think for sure next week!!!!!



And so we wait...

Please continue to pray that every person who touches our dossier, puts it into the hands of the next person it is supposed to go to, etc... And pray that it all happens very quickly...if it is God's will...of course :-)

Thank you! I want my baby boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gretchen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dossier to head to Eastern Europe by end of week!

When I was walking to the mailbox yesterday, I was thinking..."wouldn't that be amazing if the USCIS (Homeland Security) approval was in the mail today after just two days from submitting our Homestudy to them." I knew this was unrealistic, but relished the fantasy....I opened the mailbox and there it was!!!!!!!!! It was like in the movies when people start shaking and crying and can't even use their hand properly. I was alone and cried with joy all by myself. This could actually mean an early June travel now...that is so awesome.

Yay--after today we will have every document notarized and ready to go! Tomorrow I will head down to the Secretary of State to have it all apostilled. How great is that? Bummer, I got an email from our facilitator telling us that our Property statement (proof of ownership) was missing a number and now i will call the Ramsey County Assessor and have them fix that statement and hopefully get it today to have it apostilled with the whole batch. We SHOULD get that done today no problem--I think!

Please pray for us. Pray that our little guy gets all of the love and care he deserves today. Pray that he gets hugged and comforted. Pray that if he is sick that make him better. Pray he sees the face of Love. AND.....pray that every person that has our paperwork go through their hands keeps it moving to the next person it needs to go to.

Thanks!
Gretchen

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We are getting closer!!!

We went today to apply for Ricky and Lizzy's passports. You should see Ricky's picture. It looks much like "Ross'" picture :-) His mouth is open and his tongue quite visible. Very cute!

I called the Adoption Agency who did our homestudy and they are expecting to receive it in the mail tomorrow from the person who "signs off on it." Yeah! Then they will send a copy to USCIS (Immigation) and we wait for approval. They also will send us a copy that we can copy and send to our facilitator to have her start translating. This will be a huge help. I would be great if most everything was translated before we even got approval. Isn't the internet awesome that way. We can send her documents via email and she can translate and then check it over when she gets our actual dossier. The nice thing is that we can email documents to her, she looks them over and tells us if they are okay or need corrections.

For those of you that don't know, a dossier is a packet of your completed paperwork that has everything in it necessary to give to the government from which you are adopting your child. Ours will go to the SDA (State Dept. of Adoption) in Ukraine after translation. The adoptions are in their hands. After the dossier is submitted, it usually takes ABOUT 2 weeks before you hear back from them. At that time they will give you a date to travel to Ukraine for your SDA appointment. Once we go to Ukraine, we can expect to be there, perhaps 2-3 weeks...it could be longer. Let's hope not!

Boy, June sure would be a good month for us to travel. July has all sorts of events that would be difficult to disrupt. Oh well. Some things are more important, aren't they?

Waiting on:
-Marriage certificate to come in the mail
-redo employment letter to move the 6 month earnings to November until April just to be safe
-Letter from the county assessor with proof of home ownership and living quarters.
-homestudy to be sent out to USCIS and to us.
-USCIS approval!!!!!!!!!!!! Pray for a quick turn around--I sent a note to Sen. Klobuchar's office to ask for assistance.
-Ricky and Lizzy's passports (we have 5 jealous kids!!!)
-License of Agency and SW will be sent out to us with the Homestudy
-finish up medical paperwork on Monday when doctor is back from vacation

Then all of this goes to get Apostilled at the Secretary of States Office (this is basically a notary of a notary--saying to the Ukraine that they are authentic notaries.)

It is not really that much work left on our part. The waiting will be the most painful...I'm not known to be patient :-)

Please pray for everyone who touches our paperwork--that they are efficient and feel the need to hurry. And please pray for "Ross."

Blessings and thanks a ton!
Gretchen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We have a button :o).....and an update.

Thank you Lu for the "button." You are so sweet!

Please feel free to grab it and put it on your blog :-) We need all of the prayers we can get...it's a nice little reminder.

We are all fingerprinted for the I600A and hoping for a quick approval. We have most of our dossier ready. Yet to do:

-Dr. to sign off on medicals--exam was done
-waiting for Marriage certificate in mail
-getting 2 kids passports that will come with us
-SW license
-County assessment
-I-171H

Not too bad...hoping, of course, that that last one gets done quickly. The man at the biometrics place said they were running 2 weeks or less in St. Paul, MN right now....Hmmm....will see.

Keep praying...thanks!
Gretchen

Monday, April 5, 2010

We fingerprinted today...

...our friend who is living with us will fingerprint on Friday. They told me they are running about 2 weeks for approval, or a little less:-) Not TOO shabby....will find out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

We did it! We got a family photo...that is never an easy task.

What a joyful day this is. Christ is Risen---Alleluia!

Today, as I can feel the adoption of Ross getting within reach, I can't help but think about all of those other sweet children in orphanages in the world. I couldn't help but think about how most of them probably won't be getting Easter baskets today, hunting for Easter eggs or celebrate Easter in any way. Next year Ross will do all of these things---we can't wait.

We can't wait for Ricky to teach Ross how to dance...he really has the moves.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A few Ricky pictures...

Ricky going green

Ricky's first day of school!


Ricky in Yellowstone

Here is a picture of our family. Now we just need Ross!

Here we go again...

I am so excited to finally have something resembling a blog! I have some work to do on it, no doubt.

My husband and I have 7 great kids ranging from 16 down to 3 years old. One of our children was born in Guatemala and our youngest, Ricky, was adopted locally and has Down syndrome. Talk about a treat. He has infused so much joy into our family. When life is busy or a struggle---there is Ricky to keep us laughing.

God works in mysterious ways, but He is always working. It is funny how God seems to get you moving in one direction and then you see him redirecting you in another. There was a
tremendous peace that came with this decision. The kids couldn't be any more excited. The only debate--a name.
.

We have finished our homestudy, fingerprint next week, are praying for a quick USCIS approval, and working on our end of the dossier. Pulling everything together is a job, but well worth it. We don't know how old the picture of Ross is, we would love to get an updated one if possible. Doesn't that smile just make YOU smile??

Please keep Ross and our family in prayer as we try to finish our dossier. Please pray for all of those who will have our documents in their hands--that they feel an urgency to act and move everything along.

Thank you!
Gretchen