Monday, February 28, 2011

Golden Ticket! and more

Our long awaited document from immigration arrived today.  This is the last piece of the dossier.  It was scanned to our incountry team, and we are likely to get approval on it tuesday or wednesday.  This means our dossier should be in the mail by the middle of this week!  The actual I 171 will come in about 2 weeks, but we hand carry this to country.

Typical time frames are that it takes 2-3 wks from dossier submission to being granted a travel date, the SDA appnt is usually 2-4 wks from the time you receive your travel date.....SO that means once we mail our dossier sometime this week we should be traveling on our first trip in 4-7 weeks.  WOW!

Also good news... as of friday the 25th there was another Shea spotting, he has not yet been transferred.

A BIG prayer request on my mind....Simon's MRI is this week wednesday at 9:45 am...we need prayer about results....prayer about protection during sedation....and prayer about treatments which may or may not be needed and the perfect timing of those treatments and traveling for Shea.

It looks like God has answered prayers in regards to Dan's schedule.... it would have been very difficult for Dan to travel out of country in March due to a heavy travel work schedule....which is bringing in money towards bills and Shea of it looks like that will all work out, since it is not likely we will travel in the month of March. (bittersweet)

(please pray for endurance for this mommy as he will be out of town so much in the next month!)

kisses for grandma!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the dossier

ALL of our documents are back from Albany!!!!...

Have to go through all of them and do the final proof on the apostilles, then we wait.

The very last thing we need in regards to the I 171 from immigration.  It could be here tomorrow, it could be 2 weeks from way to know at this time.

Once that arrives we will use Fed Ex and send it all over (the dossier) to Shea's country along with the 500$ translation fee.  The first packet we sent there cost over 100$ and it had 14 documents.  This one has many more.... hopefully the rate won't go up too much!

Need to kick up the gear on the speed of our work down stairs....Shea will be home before we know it.  Our tile is now finished thanks to Mike H!  Thanks!!!

Had another OB appnt today.  The doc is trying to convince me to go with an induced labor so they can control the situation better in theory giving me an easier labor, hence less stress for my pacemaker to deal with.... hmmmm I'm not so sure.  I would rather just let nature take it's course in regards to timing (use the pain meds for sure).  From stories I've heard I'm not sure induced labors are easier?!  The doctor kept mentioning we could have it all done during the day so that things went smoothly....hmmmm I don't know about all of that.  Kind of ruins the element of surprise.  Will have to think on it and talk to my cardiologist.

No other major events today, normal hum drum... until later.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Shea Spotting!

We've had a Shea Spotting!  A family adopting from his orphanage right now reported to us that as of Friday 2-18-11 that our boy is still in the baby house.  We know that if / when he is transferred we will not be notified, so these "Shea spottings" are a gift from God for us to temporarily put our mind at ease.  Also we've been told that a director of the orphanage is out for surgery.  This may be slowing down the transfers.  Let's pray that she is granted a nice long recooperation time! for a poll.  We think we have a boy's name picked out for "belly baby".  Any votes on a girls name?  Fire away....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Prayers for perfect timing...

So... a few of my friends have scolded me for not updating, so sorry - my apologies!

Events of the week... syracuse trip on tuesday - initially they said a big fat NO....but then we told our story, gave puppy dog eyes, said pretty please...and asked them to call our federal immigration officer.  A half an hour later they came out and waved us in....15 minutes later both our prints were complete and we were walking out the door!  yeah!

Documents are not back from albany yet....hopefully soon.

Federal immigration officer emailed tuesday also and wanted an original copy of Shea's homestudy, I had sent a copy....and she also wanted simon and danielle's homestudy.  I overnighted those to her.... but unfortunately since it's a federal building everything goes to the central mailroom of the building for security and not directly to her desk...I've been told it can take up to 5-7 days to get from the mailroom into her hands...  :(

Today we heard news that Simon's MRI preapproval came through, and that for now it is scheduled for March 2nd.  Originally it was the 18th....but then the doc advocated to get us in earlier.  We are also on a cancellation list incase we can get in sooner.  I noticed my book on Spina Bifida had a whole section on tethered cord, so I've been doing some more reading up...still hoping it's a false alarm...

Danielle still has a yucky cough... but the doctor has cleared her for needs of medication so far, and they did a precautionary chest x-ray which was clear, and sats have stayed at 96 or above.

and drum roll please..... Dan and I are on a weekend away!  We are so thankful to Grandparents Button, Grandparents Kulp, and Aunt Linda and Uncle Harvey who are hangin' with the kids this weekend while Dan and I catch up on some rest and time away.  Dan had a voucher for 2 free nights at a Holiday Inn in Syracuse so we decided to take advantage before I started to waddle!

My ob / gyn appnt today was rescheduled until next week bc of a conflict with the doctor....but I'm happy to announce my morning sickness intensity is easing up.... so happy about that!

Prayers for health for all my kiddo's home, afar, or yet to emerge from my chubby belly.  Prayers for PERFECT TIMING.... I'm tyring not to get stressed about time lines for possible treatments for Simon, Dan's traveling for work, traveling for Shea and on it goes....DEAR GOD....we ask for perfect timing!  You are the ultimate secretary...figure it out good please!   Amen...

Monday, February 14, 2011

all about simon for today...test results

Hi gang... another big concern on mama's shoulders this week... I got a phone call directly from the pediatric GI doc today at about 4pm.  The GI results didn't show anything that we didn't really expect anyway....however the xray did.  Since they ordered an abdominal xray, you also get the extra bonus of a pretty good shot of the lumbar spine.

The radiologist noticed some abnormality in the lumbar spine view and brought it to the attention of the doctor.  They are seeing something in the xray that presents like tethered cord syndrome.  I know of this condition, and have even treated some kids post surgically at the clinic in Canandaigua.  Now my hopes are that it is just a bad xray or a bad read.... but our next step is that we have to take Simon to Strong for an MRI under sedation.  We should have a date for this by the end of the week after insurance gives pre-approval.

He's had an abdominal xray last autumn and pelvic/hip xrays 2 years ago....I'm wondering if they went back and looked at the lumbar spine specifically what they would see.  The written results of these xrays only address the requested issues at the time, the past bowel obstruction and the hip could anything have shown up and been missed back then??? I'm not sure.

If this is what he has it could explain the regression in his potty training and all of his bowel issues since September.... kids who have imperforate anus, foot size discrepency and club foot are more prone to having this congenital issue as well, hmmm sound like Simon?....(found that through the wonders of google tonight, which I have been utilizing way too much...)

Soooo, game plan...have the MRI and hope it shows up as a false alarm....but if these coincidences turn out to be an actual diagnosis of early symptoms associated with congenital tethered cord....then we are off for a visit with the neurosurgeon....

adventures, adventures..... so once again I'm asking you for prayers while we await answers.....

We hope to go to Syracuse tomorrow to try for our fingerprint walk in....if no one ends up at the doctor or home from school.... keep your fingers crossed....

Dan and I would love prayers for strength, sleep at night and a spirit of calm...
thanks guys....    

Sunday, February 13, 2011

attempting a walk in...

The plan is to try an early walk in to the immigration office in syracuse on tuesday if Dan and I can get a few schedule wrinkles ironed out.  We have our paperwork giving us our official date of feb 22nd for our printing, but if we are allowed to walk in early then we can take a few days off of his ticking transfer clock.  Let's see what happens....

say a prayer for Danielle too....she seems overall pretty healthy, but she has one of those wet yucky sounding coughs... for most kids it wouldn't be a big deal, but the last time she had " just a cough " like this she ended up in Strong for 3 days with aspiration pneumonia, high fever on oxygen etc....I'm having the nurse listen to her lungs tomorrow....hopefully it's just a simple cold...I want to stay on top of things though.

Dan is home from his Friday through Sunday night youth retreat....I survived :)  and then off to work tomorrow morning.  What a marathon.... 

pray that we have a favorable outcome at our walk in attempt on tuesday....

Friday, February 11, 2011

24 hours in a day...

I think I need more than 24!

one week ago today the homestudy update arrives completed.... I start mailing it to all the places it needs to go for applications, immigration, certs, apostille etc etc....then I realize by tuesday that the notary dated it wrong and Shea's country won't accept it....

on the phone immediately with our social worker in NYC, corrections made, should be overnighted and arrive to rochester for one more social worker signature by wed noon.  Oh yeah, a phone call from the suffolk county clerk... they can't certify it anyway, not because of the date error, but because the notary is not valid in NYS.  For PETES SAKE!!

By now I'm ready to spit nails as I feel each day that goes by with paperwork mistakes is a day closer to the institution for Shea.  I call back to NYC to make sure they did not use the same notary....they didn't thank God!

But Wed comes and goes and no overnight arrives in Rochester, nor does it on Thursday night we are scrambling to find out where the documents have gone.  NYC forgot to waive the signature for receipt, the package was delivered but then returned to the post office bc no one was there to sign for it.   So we should just have the rochester worker go to the post office and pick it up right??  Not so easy....instructions on the tracking website state pick up at the post office indicated on the delivery slip left by USPS....hmmmm guess what,?.... no delivery slip to be found.

so with the help of google, some facebook friends and the phone book I make a list of the post offices closest to the original delivery site and also jefferson rd post office one of the hubs for Rochester.  Nothing can be done till morning, cause it's we sleep.

6 am! Up and at em kids, morning routine, kids are on the bus and mama's free to play sherlock holmes by 8:25....but post office phones don't open until 9!   My as far as the midway point between the 3 most likely offices, park and then call at 9:02!  Eureka, first call and it is found...again thank you God!

Next step, go in to the post office, praying as I go, that they will not ask for ID, because even though they are my documents, they were not mailed to ME....  5 minutes later after some smiles and holding my breath I walk out with my package!  Didn't plan on driving to Greece today.  Thought I would be doing laundry and cleaning the house on my first day off this week!  Oh well, some day my house will be clean.

From Greece on to Henrietta to meet the social worker as she still needs to sign the papers.  From Henrietta on to the post office to overnight them to suffolk county for certs and enclose an envelope for them to go straight on to albany for apostille.

Next stop, onto monroe county clerk to get my last 2 uncertified documents completed.  Now I have a thick little package to send out tomorrow to albany also with full county certs and 350$ worth of apostilles rarin' to go and ready for processing.  JILL I used your tip about the I 171 cover page.  By tomorrow all of our documents will be in transit to albany, and once they are back we eventually staple in our USCIS document and off it will go to Shea's country. 

Scanned all new documents to Shea's country for the final check.

Phew...45 minutes until I have to pick up simon for his GI consult.  Spent 55 on the phone doing prep work for Simon's CSE meeting in regards to school fun!

Picked my little cutie up after a bunch of kisses and whizzed away to Strong Hospital.  GI consult went very well and very long....and oh yeah, please go down stairs for blood work and abdominal xrays!  Ohhh he fell asleep....guess I'll carry my hefty man 6 floors and the length of the hospital....Good God I'm getting weaker and he's getting heavier!  I give in and try to be kind to my prego body and plop him in a wheelchair cause there is NOOOO waking this guy up.

Until the needle stick, yikes he's awake now and ticked!  Then onto xray....but ohhh wait, I just realized I can't help stabilize him, bc of my bun in the oven.  At that moment we run into our friend Rose who says "I'll help"!  What a blessing:)

3 1/2 hours later we leave Strong and head home!  I pull in and Danielle's face is pressed to the front window waiting for mama (for the last hour according to reports) Dan is out the door to his all weekend youth retreat that he's leading and good ol grandma kathy comes to the rescue and has a warm dinner of comfort food on the table complete with desert, washes up my dishes and helps this exhausted mommy get the kids ready for bed. 

Phew....what a day, what a 24 hours.  I feel like rambo mom today.  Just need a few more hours in the week....just a few.

Dear Lord, please keep our Shea safe and sound.  Help there to be NO MORE paperwork kinks....each adoption has had now we are done with kinks for Shea OK???  Pretty Please!  Please bless the Burman's (adopting Regan from the institution Shea will go to)  We hear they've hit a rough spot, but don't know any details.  Orchestrate your plan for them and all the families coming behind them.  Amen...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

one more angel on a grey cloud day.... transfer scheduled

The happenings of this very long day...

Tuesday was supposed to start out with trips to see two patients and put in some overtime at work.  God knew I would need the morning, .... one patient rescheduled the other needed to cancel because of a blocked drainage tube.

After putting the kids on the bus, my goal was to catch up on paperwork needed for my visit with the accountant at noon today to submit our taxes, and getting ready for Simon's school conference.  I thought my work for Shea today would consist of hopefully getting a good tax return back to us asap to put towards his adoption costs.  Sorry Dan, no new couch, or warm beach to vacation in snowy Eastern Europe for us!

The day changed quite dramatically when I checked my email.  We were told that official word have come through and Shea would be transferred to the institution in "the next few weeks".  My heart is aching today.  I am doing everything possible to move this process along, but we will never get to him in a few weeks time.  The Burman's plight has gone well, and the director of this institution has ruled favorably for them.  We are told our adoption is not in danger and I do hope this is the case. 

I spent a good deal of time on the phone today with USCIS.  I explained our situation and that they should have received our homestudy update by now.  They explained that it usually takes 5-7 business days for the homestudy to even make its way from the mail room to our file.  I spoke a little longer from my heart to this kind USCIS officer.  She immediately offered to help.  I was in awe, a kind and helpful government employee.  Going through this process twice before this is the exception, not the rule.  I could almost feel God's hand on this conversation.  She explained she was going to assign herself as our officer to be able to stay on top of the situation.  Also she logged us in for fingerprint appointments on Feb 22nd, but stated that once we had the paperwork from her we should try going early to Syracuse and doing a walk in.  It may work, and it may not....but she gave us the OK to try it.  She has just shaved weeks off of our wait today.  Thank you for your help officer Wilson.  Another one of Shea's angels along the way....

On a happier note, the Karol family got a glimpse of Shea today.  They said he looked happy and in good spirits.  That is the only update so far.  Simon had very good reports about his day at school, and even accomplished taking the attendance to the office by himself today.  He also pulled out his "talking machine" on his own at snack time and punched in "I - want - juice" repetitively until the teacher took notice!  Both Simon and Danielle gave me extra kisses and hugs today to ease my aching heart.  Dan came along on a play date put on by FCDSN tonight, where the kids had good fun and I visited with good friends....taking my mind off of things for a few hours.  I was thankful for his support and company.  Also to make my heart happy I asked Dan to help Danielle brush her teeth while I went and hid in her bed.  She came in to climb into bed and I pounced!  She screamed a curdling shriek and then giggled for an eternity....yes that was good medicine.

We covet your prayers for Shea.  Thank you for your support.  Praises going up that the Burman's are having success with the director of the institution. 

Dear God, ground Shea's transfer...please let this be a false alarm.  The orphanage director says they don't have control over this decision....please let the power shift.  Help Shea to be courageous.  Protect the adoption process.  Let us see your will and purpose in today's news.  Help us to move swiftly, but please lighten the burden of our hearts right now.  Amen....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

while we sleep mountains need to move

monday is a critical day, angels will be swarming, battles will be happening.... actually it's monday in EE, so it will be tonight, here...while we sleep.

A child previously from Shea's orphanage who had special needs was transferred to the mental institution.  She has parents in country fighting for her right now.  They are adopting two children, one from the baby house and one (Tori) from the mental institution.

Everything pertaining to the baby house adoption is moving smoothly.  - Not the case with Tori who is in the mental institution.  The director of the site is being difficult and putting up road blocks.  We need to pray for this family.  Pray for the director to let this child Tori have a chance at a new life.

A mother who adopted her Aaron out of a different institution described that their visitations would happen in an empty room, no toys in sight, or at times in a shed.  There was no playground, no sandbox, no loving human interaction. He was living a life of isolation.

So why is it so important we pray for the Burman family and Tori's release?  Of course for the future of Tori and her quality of life....but also for any families coming behind them.  For Eddie if parents are found...he has already been transferred.  For Masha who is scheduled for transfer this week.  For SHEA!!! who is still safe in the baby house, but we have no guarantee that he will stay here.  The decisions that are made tonight across the ocean will play out like a ripple effect for many children to come.  I have inquired twice as to whether the director of the baby house knows we are coming for Shea and have not yet gotten an answer....

God with you nothing is impossible, we pray that you send hosts of angels to breathe warm air into the heart and soul of the director of #9's mental institution.  Keep darkness at bay, let the light triumph.  Amen....

Friday, February 4, 2011

P.S. and ...a mish mash of happenings

- Homestudy arrived in my hot little hands today, and with in the hour I had it on it's way to USCIS.  I even spoke with them by phone to let them know they would have it by monday.  One step closer.

- Spent almost 2 hours checking and rechecking dossier documents and getting them packaged for Albany, awaiting a few last "tweaks" and I hope to have them on their way by Tuesday.  38 documents which are all getting a state seal at 10 bucks a pop!  Woohoo!

- P.S.  to people who may not have heard the news... did I mention that I found out I'm pregnant?  Before you gasp, it will not affect Shea's process.  My adoption rep was about the second person I told...after my husband of course...because I was in a panic when I found out about our surprise!  All is well.  This probably deserves a whole post, but for tonight I'm too sleepy to do it justice.  I'm 10 1/2 weeks now, and we found out just a couple of weeks after we comitted to Shea.... God is tricky tricky!  We had been "trying" earlier in the year, but had stopped in August, because of a few glitches with my health at the time (aka my bionic ticker ).  Apparently God realized if we knew about our "homegrown" surprise, we wouldn't have been brave enough to commit to Shea at the same time.  Like I said...tricky, tricky.  Dan keeps joking that we will have to give the fourth one up for adoption.  Our family thinks that pretty funny.... not sure how the general public takes that joke...but if you can't laugh about life then you get stressed out right??

- Danielle is very proud to have her new big girl (single) bed set up tonight.  This will be our test run.  She was much much too long for that toddler bed anymore!  This child has grown 5 inches since home last September.  Thank you Carli for passing it on to us :)

- Simon got a glowing report home from his Speech Therapist this week, that he was very motivated in his session and said the words, "apple" and "happy" very clearly this week.  We're trying total avoidance of dairy for now more lactaid pills, or lactaid milk.... we want to try this again and see if it will help his belly.  We FINALLY see the GI specialist next friday.

-Dan is fighting another nasty cold....anyone have any magic remedies??

- Another door frame painted today.  Hope to get 2 doors painted tomorrow, and this week try my hand at hanging 2 more doors after watching the crew do it a few weeks ago...wish me luck.

Dear God,
Please protect our Shea...give him peace in his heart to know that soon mama and papa will be with him.  Protect him from transfer....please bless Eddie who has already been transferred, and please keep Masha safe as well.  Help us to keep on keepin' on in this process as speedily as we can, and to give mommy peace as I can't control the speed of others paperwork's all in your will send us at the perfect time.   Amen-

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This is MASHA....

I'm asking you all to pray.  Yesterday a family who is in Shea's orphanage adopting their own daughter gave an update.  A girl named Masha was scheduled for transfer to the mental institution next week.  She is 4 years old.  She does not have a family coming for her.... her outlook is dire.

My heart aches for Masha, and at the same time I have fear over our Shea.  Having a family helps decrease the chance of transfer, but does not guarantee it.  I was told by someone in country, that if transfer plans were in place for Shea it wouldn't happen until his casts came off, because they don't have the means to remove them in the institution.  As a PT, I had told many people that I wished they had left his feet alone until he was home, so we could fix them properly at Strong once he was home.  I also keep worrying about his skin integrity, and if they are managing the casts properly to avoid wounds or infection.  Now, I am praying thanks over those casts... they may be the thing that secures his spot in the baby house for a while longer.

I have contacted our facilitator to find out if the orphanage director has gotten word that Shea's CSP's are in place and that we are coming.  I contacted our social worker who was going to mail our homestudy "soon" after she finished up with a out of town conference she was attending - explained our situation again, and she agreed to overnight it to us today.  As soon as I get it, a copy will be overnighted to USCIS, making our application complete.

A final comment, a few children have been transferred to the mental institution while their family was in process.  Some were released, some were not....   we lift this all up to God.  Also please pray for Eddie another 4 year old in Shea's orphanage, I'm not sure if he has a family or not.  Pray also for Regan, she has already been transferred and her family is in country right now....and having a very hard time getting the director of the mental institution to release her to them....please pray for a softening of heart for this official.