This past week has been crazy and busy, in a good way. To start we received our fingerprint appointment for USCIS. YAY! One step closer. Only problem, it’s the day I have CPR and First Aid for work, can’t skip the class, so what do we do. Well, we have two options: 1. Request a new appointment time (which will add about another month to the process) or 2. go in to the office early and HOPE they will let us do our fingerprints early. So, we are going for option 2 and hope that they let us! Worse case scenario is they say no and we have to request a new appointment. So we will head there this week (as soon as we find a babysitter for Hudson since kids aren’t allowed). Anyone up for playing with a crazy boy for a few hours? 🙂 Hopefully next week’s post will be titled “FINGERPRINTS DONE!”
This past week we also celebrated Christmas and Hudson’s anniversary of his ADOPTION DAY! Love Christmas! The traditions, activities family, friends, decorations, music, etc.! And I feel very strongly about incorporating your child’s culture into your holidays and traditions. So for us, we have bought African American ornaments and decorations and asked our son’s birthmom what some of her favorite Christmas traditions are to include with Hudson. Her favorites are: going shopping with just the cousins and doing a gift exchange just them. While I LOVE this idea, it’s not feasible for us. Her next favorite (and mine now) going ice skating or to the lake on Christmas Eve. Well, since we don’t live in Texas where its warm enough to head to a lake we will incorporate the ice skating. I love ice skating anyways. We did not go this year (taking a 19 month old ice skating gives me visions of it ended in the ER) so we will start that next year. I can’t wait! We have our own family traditions we started with him this year as well: I wrapped 24 holiday/ winter/ Christmas books and each night before bed Hudson opened one to read, I made an advent calendar with activities to do versus candy, we open presents Christmas Eve with my family and then Santa on Christmas and presents just the three of us. I can’t wait until he is a little older and we can do some more activities. And all the “cars” he got this year for Christmas have been a hit! He is definitely ALL BOY!! For Hudson’s Adoption Day we watched the video my wonderful friend Stephanie made for us last year of the court proceeding, his party celebration, and interviews with those that came to celebrate with us! It was a wonderful and touching video! THANK YOU Stephanie! We also read his book his was given last year “Happy Adoption Day”, and went to dinner at his favorite place as a family! It was a wonderful, relaxing day just the three of us! Can’t believe it has been a year since his adoption was finalized! We are truly blessed!
On the fundraising front we teamed up with another family currently working on an adoption from Ethiopia. I met with my new friend and we talked for hours brainstorming some fundraising ideas. And let me tell you, two brains are ALWAYS better than one! I am excited to get some of the ideas started. We are going to join forces on the auction and are currently collecting donations for the auction. Gift certificates, products, homemade crafts or jewelry, anything helps! And I am blessed by the two families that have returned their “Change a Life – Change for Congo” bottle. Ironically its the same bottle! # 10, is being passed on to family # 3! Thank you to those families for working hard. And I have been told I have two more ready to be picked up (thank you ladies) and sent out one more this week all the way across the country – to Florida! I love seeing these bottles travel and can’t wait to see this turn into a non-profit to offer families grants and orphanages some hope! If you would like a bottle let me know.
Have a safe and blessed NEW YEAR! Welcome 2013!
This week we have seen been blessings and it is very heartwarming and we are just very grateful. We have received some items for our auction, some we didn’t even ask for. The biggest surprise was the package we received from Shane Evans, illustrator of Chocolate Me, which is written by Taye Diggs. I reached out asking for one autographed book and a T-shirt to auction off and thinking I wouldn’t get a response, they replied immediately saying they would love to help and would send it to me. On Tuesday, I received a HUGE package and thought “who that sure is a lot of bubble wrap for a book and T-shirt.” Then i picked it up and it was heavy! To my surprise, they sent me an autographed copy of Chocolate Me, and four other books that Shane Evans has illustrated. They also sent four of their T-shirts for the auction. And the best part (to me anyways) was the note that Shane included. I was in shock and was overflowed with their love and support. It amazes me when I see people like that support without hesitation and see that they really do share the “sweet” that they talk about in their book. So what it is their book about? It is about a little boy who doesn’t look the same as others in his neighborhood and his mom that helps him see he is perfect the way he is. Watch Chocolate Me! The Chocolatementary and interview with Taye Diggs to learn more. They also have a facebook page that they are trying to get to 5,000 likes before the end of t he year, so do me a favor and check out their page and like it! These two guys are doing some amazing things going around to schools and sharing their message.
In addition to these donations, we received a few others and are almost ready to get our auction up and available for bidding. We need about 10 more donations and we will be set. Some of our bottles have been filled and are ready to be picked and passed on to others, if you would like a bottle let me know and we can get it out to you. Another friend, who is very crafty, is helping me make items for the auction as well as hosting a Partylite Candle Party as a fundraiser next month. So when I say we are feeling blessed, we are! And we are so grateful for all the love and support we have been shown by our family, friends, and strangers! Yesterday I received notification that our application to US Immigration is being processed and hopefully we will get the fingerprinting appointment soon. In the meantime I am busy finishing up other documents needed for the dossier and then we will officially be paper ready! It’s getting closer and we are getting excited. However, these next few days we are going to take a break from adoption paperwork and spend time with friends and family and celebrate Christmas. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and enjoys times with their loved ones. What flavor are you? Here is my “chocolate” baby modeling the donations.
While this week has seen tragedy after tragedy I count my blessings. My heart aches for all those affected and the lives that were taken prematurely. Take a moment to hold your loved ones and tell them you love them!
This week we have made progress on our adoption. Yay! On Monday I received an email from our social worker with our draft home study. Only a few typos and a paragraph specific for the Congo needed to be added. On Tuesday the home study was done and notarized. We received it in the mail Wednesday. (our social worker is great!) Thursday our application to US Immigration was mailed off and reached them on Friday. So what does this all mean? Well, we await for a letter from them telling us when to go get our biometrics done. Bio what? fancy word for fingerprints. In my opinion, the fancier the word the more money they can charge, since we were just fingerprinted and approved in November as part of the homestudy 🙂 So just another hoop to jump through. This process takes about 8 weeks, but with the holidays I am guessing it will take closer to 10 weeks. In the meantime I will be gathering all the required documents for our dossier so we are ready once we receive our immigration approval letter. So now we need to kick the fundraising into high gear. We are planning an auction and have a few wonderful items that have been donated, but still need some more. We have to bottles filled, thank you to those that filled them, and more out there being filled. Check out our fundraising page or our Change a Life – Change for Congo page for more information and how you can help. And a special thank you to our wonderful friends who sent an unexpected donation! We really appreciate it and feel blessed.
Now, the pictures from this week (some people’s favorite part) Hudson and I made cookies (5 different kinds to be exact) to deliver to friends. Of course there was a huge mess he is 18 months, but we both had fun and that is all that matters. Here are some pictures of the fun we had.
making the dough
making sugar cookies. his favorite part
after sugar cookies – the front
frosting the cookies
frosting his leg
tada! A Hudson cookie (the best cookie in my opinion)
getting caught delivering cookies
he really got into delivering cookies…and ran off after knocking and forgot to leave the cookies 🙂
Yesterday was a busy day full of Christmas fun. First we had a Christmas party with my mom’s group. The kids did a book exchange and Hudson received a perfect book for him. A board book “Little Blue Truck” and he has really been into cars and trucks lately. So much so he cries at Costco every time we pass the big CAT Truck set they have there and gives me his little pouty face as he says “cars”. Luckily he has his Grandpa to save the day for him on that one. The adults did a family night gift exchange and we scored! Our present had hot cocoa mix, Christmas mugs, Christmas sing along songs DVD, Prancer DVD, and bath fizzies! Those will be used during my vacation time. Hudson also fell in love with little Miss Savannah. She is quite the little cutie. He went to all lengths to “love” (kiss) her.
He shared toys with her (he went and got her the lego when she went for the car. He may not share the car, but he at least gave her something else! Such a proud momma!
And when she was crying he came over and I picked him up so he could hug her. (He is going to be a GREAT Big Brother)
Go ahead, take a moment to “aww” at his sweetness. I’ll wait 🙂
Later that night we went to the zoo lights with our friends Tricia, Nate, and the gorgeous little Riley. (Hudson and her have been friends for a year and he mastered his “loving” skills with her). Although he was tired from all the activities that day we made the most of it. He loved touching the lights, petting the goats. He actually was upset because he wasn’t allowed to grab their faces to give them “love”. Some tips for Oregon zoo lights: get there when it starts!! We did and parking was still terrible. The line for the train was already 2 hours long (although we had no intentions of doing the train). When we left the line to get in was really long and the shuttles for parking were being used. We brought our own cocoa from home in thermos cups and brought travel toss cups for all of us. I brought glow stick necklaces for the kids ($1 bins at Target). Next year I will remember to bring extra for when my son throws them in the nasty mud puddle. But we had fun seeing friends and the lights. Normally these two are quite lovey with each other. They tried, their plush jackets got in the way 🙂
On the adoption front, we finally have the last piece of paper needed for the home study to be finished. Hopefully it will be all typed up and ready to submit this week. Yay! And a big THANK YOU to those who supported our first fundraiser. We made $83 with the Partylite Candles fundraiser. This is enough to pay for one of our biometrics (fancy name by US Immigration for fingerprints) to get done. Even though we had them done and approved for home study just last month and Oregon only charges $15. But hopefully since our came back for Oregon really fast (less than 2 weeks when average is 6 weeks) they might come back fast for immigration, well, here’s hoping anyways. And an extra THANK YOU to my dear friend Stephanie Brown who has shown unconditional love and support and encouragement through this process. She truly is a blessing to have as a friend!!
It’s December. People are rushing to get their last minute Christmas shopping done, visits with Santa, hanging stockings, making cookies, going to parties, etc. But half way across the world there are millions of kids without someone to give them a present, without a stocking to hang, and without someone to hug them at night. As you start playing your Christmas music and making your Christmas playlist take the time to listen to this song:
And as you finish your Christmas shopping think about purchasing something that will help adoptive families bring their orphan home so they can know the joy of a family and the meaning of Christmas. Here are some shopping ideas:
https://ourjourney2forever.wordpress.com/fundraisers/ Purchase candles or coffee from our site. The coffee makes great stocking stuffers and is really tasty. We are also selling homemade shea butter lotion that works wonders!
http://www.thehall-closet.blogspot.com/ These are our friends who are working on adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. They are a wonderful family and have some great items to purchase. The birds are cute and the whole family is getting involved to help bring their baby sister home!
https://www.wepay.com/stores/bringing-home-micah This family is working on bringing home their little boy from DR Congo. She makes some great ornaments. I have some hanging on my tree she custom made for me!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovedandeliondream This family is also working on an adoption from DR Congo and have some cute shirts and onesies in their etsy shop.
My point is, we all get caught up in the consumerism mentality and forget that there are children out there who all they want for Christmas is a family. Someone to love them, hug and kiss them, and tell them they matter and are important. So hug your little ones extra tight tonight and help those out there who are less fortunate.