Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting So Close!

We are getting so close now. Not only are we about done with our checklist for the Registration Dossier, but we have about 3 things left on the Court Dossier. I tell you what though, I am so ready for this holiday season to be over with. It's time for everyone to remember they have work to do. People get crazy during this time of year! Crazy and lazy. I long for the day we no longer have to rely on people to get us what we need. Our home study is now complete and is on it's way to our adoption agency! After they look over it and give it the okay, we can fill out and send the I600A and start applying for grants. Our psych eval will be finished and sent to us the beginning of next week and we got our FBI investigation back a couple of days ago! Actually, it's great because it's easier to say what we have left rather than naming what we have done! It just occurred to me yesterday that my name on my passport has my previous name and not my married name so I have to get that fixed Monday. We have a few things to take care of as far as our house that we rent out and the deed. Once we get that info we take all of our documents and have them notarized and/or apostilled or however you spell that word.'s the waiting game. I hope that we are still looking at February but I have a feeling the first visit may be closer to March just because the holidays have really slowed us down. So keep praying for us and keep supporting us any way that you can and Martin will be home soon!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010



I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

--- Unknown

Friday, December 17, 2010

Not accepting this as an answer!

So darn, we ran into our very first person unwilling to help us out. Charlie new it was going to be this way as soon as he heard the man's voice on the phone. It's funny how that works. We were calling to see if we could get any help in the state police department area. Uhmmmmmm that would be a NO. Even after explaining the situation the man didn't care. I guess I can't complain because we were bound to run into somebody like this eventually. I just don't understand how even after explaining the situation with my baby a human being wouldn't do everything absolutely possible to help. Merry Christmas officer! While you and your children are warm in your cozy beds, and eating all the food you can handle, by son will be waiting for his mommy and daddy for 7-14 extra days because you can't seem to expedite our fingerprints! On a much happier note however, Martin's fund has grown quite a bit today! I just can't believe everyone's willingness to help our family. I continue to have faith that despite the Officer Unhelpfuls out there, there are many, many more good people out there willing to help others. That makes me smile!!!


Well, it's been a long time since we have posted anything. We were out of town for a week and now it's time to get back into the swing of things. We came home to find a package on our front door. We opened it to find our fingerprint cards had been sent back! We were hoping they were almost finished, but we forgot to sign them. What is going on with us?! On a lighter note, we did already get our Dept. of social services back in under a week. We were told about 3 or 4. Thank goodness for connections again. Charlie sits on a board with someone from Dept. of SS, not sure if I mentioned that. Ohhhhhhh we also had our psych evals on Wednesday! That was fun. I'm not sure how many of you have had to take one of those standardized tests, but wow. The first one had almost 600 questions. Who comes up with these questions and how in the world do they determine anything? I felt like I was going to fall apart just filling in all of those bubbles. It took the better part of 2 hours! That is another good story. When Charlie called we were told that we wouldn't be able to get in until after January I think. Of course that wouldn't work for us! We have found that if you explain the situation, once again people are more compelled to help. We got an appointment in under a week. The next thing we have to do is the FBI investigation! I can't believe all this. This is supposed to take 6-8 weeks. If you have been reading any of these posts, you know that we don't like to wait. Charlie works with someone that has a friend that used to do investigations for the FBI! Let's cut that time down by 5 weeks or so. I think that is everything as far as the process goes. We are still getting things done and doing what we need to get our baby home! Of course, this is still leaving us no time to fund raise. We are just praying that everyone can find it in their hearts to help us out in any little way they can. Even if it's just forwarding our information or giving us some spare change from under the couch cushion! I have faith!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Todays Accomplishments

Well, this will be short as I am starting to get tired of being up until well past midnight and having to get up by 5am every day. I just feel like I owe it to Martin to let him know how hard we are working on getting him home to us. We finished our 10hrs of online training tonight. That was a huge relief. Not because it was hard....but because we couldn't keep our eyes open. We would start it once the boys went to bed.

I spoke to the Psychologist today and we are scheduled to take our Psych Eval on 15 Dec and would have the report completed by the first week in Jan. She is really helping us out.

I also talked to my friend at the Department of Social Services. She is good friends with the Director of Background Checks. So, fingers crossed, I will talk to her tomorrow and she will provide me with promising information and she will be able to push our background checks through the system. My friend seemed optimistic.

Well Martin.....Mommy and I can't seem to figure out what kind of bed to get for you. Since you will be bunking with Haiden, we wanted to get you both matching beds. Race car beds sound like a lot of fun. Who knows...let's be honest, you guys will probably end up in the same bed anyway after a hard night of wrestling around and pillow fighting...hahaha!!! Now that's cute. And yes Noah, you will be right in the middle of the them tough guy! We love you boys!!

I am signing off and hitting the rack for the night......Charlie

Last Home Study

Tomorrow at 11 is our last home study! Not that they have been a pain, or intrusive or anything like that. It just means that is one more thing out of our way. One more thing crossed off our mile long list. One less thing we have to do! It seems to be getting a little easier. Maybe because I kind of took a few days off last week, or we are just getting used to this. I have a feeling we are about to get hit pretty hard with this dossier. Another word we hate in our family. Again, because I think we just finally learned how to pronounce it correctly. This is the quiet before the storm! Still, we are getting through this process pretty fast. I'm starting to see that the speed has a lot to do with contacts and who you know. Thank goodness we talk a lot and ask people a lot of questions. That way you can find that you usually have something in common with somebody along the way. People are a lot more willing to help when they feel a connection! That or these people just want us to stop annoying them! I guess there is a little bit of a down side to blowing through this stuff so quickly. WE HAVE NO TIME TO FUND RAISE!!! Getting a little nervous about that. We just pray that people find it in their hearts to keep helping us. I am amazed how much they have helped us already. We are a little over $500 now in Martin's fund. It may go down a little, as we have been donating to his fund and just recently found out that we are not allowed to do so. We are getting a refund even it it's not wanted. That was a little bit of a let down. Every time we get something extra, we want to stick it in that fund. If not, well it gets sucked out by something else. So with that being said, if anyone has any good unique ideas to raise money I would be so open to hearing them. We have been reading up on grants but a lot of them are through churches and we are not yet members of the church we have been attending. We plan on becoming members but the timing is so bad. I don't want to join and then turn around and ask them for funds! Of course there is the bake sale thing that I am going to do. But for something other than that I would love some ideas!

On another note, anyone who knows me well should be proud of me. I have been hoarding my boy's clothes(not sure why)and holding onto them for dear life. The clothes that they have outgrown are taking over our closet. I keep finding reasons to keep them. I can remember each of them in each outfit that I have. I have visions of someone making me a quilt out of them one day. I can't think of anything better to use them for and I can't think of any better blanket to cover up with! Today I did find a better reason for these clothes! I went through all of them and put them in the orphanage pile. I did keep a few things I'm not gonna lie, but most of the clothes I decided I am taking with us to give to Martin's soon to be old home. Letting go of my baby's clothes is such a big thing for me! I know that there is no better place to take them. I have to admit it did bring me to tears. Not because I was getting rid of the clothes but for another reason. It seems like I am crying a lot these days! I came across so many shirts that said my mommy and daddy love me. Or I love my mommy or daddy. I felt so horrible. I felt so guilty. Isn't that strange? I have no idea why I felt guilty. I have all these clothes that I can't send because, how awful would it be to send clothes to the orphanage that say something about a mommy and daddy? Am I being to sensitive? There are so many things that I never thought about until God opened my eyes to this situation that these beautiful children are facing. I am amazed at how they continue to touch my life every day with every thing that I do. Something as simple as cleaning out my closet brings me closer to them and more sensitive the situation they face and the way they live everyday. These children are my heroes. The only thing keeping us from only bringing home Martin...Region 2 in Russia only allows one child to be adopted at a time unless they are siblings.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home Study Visit

.....We had our home study visit yesterday. It went well and surprisingly fast. Our social worker came in, asked dozens of questions, toured the house, interrogated the kids, and left. Pretty cut and dry. After she was done, I got my chance at the interrogation. I grilled her on timeliness on turning around this home study to the agency. She told me that she is starting on it immediately and she will be done with it as fast as she can. I think the method these people are using with us by now is the "hurry up and get this family out of our hair!" It is effective because the more questions and the more pressure we put on both agencies, the faster they are working for us. I told the actual agency to please send us the dossier registration now and not wait. We can begin filling it out and getting the apostille completed (I hate that word...partially because I don't think I am saying it right!) So we are waiting on a few things at this point for the home study to be completed and officially sent off. First, the felony background check and then the child abuse check. The felon check is supposed to only take about 1 1/2 weeks. The child abuse check is quoted at up to 3 weeks. What most people (at least those that follow this blog) don't know is that I sit on the Virginia Governor's Council for Early Childhood Intervention. What does this mean? Well, it means that a state level council has all of the key stakeholders in the room. That also means the Department of Social Services. They are the holder of the child abuse check. So I will be making some phone calls to the people I serve with on that board and sweet talk the heck out of them. So my goal still stands that I will make every attempt to have this home study completed and sent to the agency by no later than 3 January.

Now, in the meantime, we are also working on getting (2) key pieces to the dossier completed now. First is the Psych evaluation. It sure does sound simple. Nope, that would be too easy. Who could imagine that a simple test and summary would require several referrals from Tricare and many phone calls to find a psychologist that can see us within the next 6 weeks. Still searching and will not give up. I did, however, talk to a lady at one family counseling center who was adopted and whose family was in the military. So as you can imagine, I began to work my charm and by the end of the conversation, she said she was going to get the Head Department Director (or whatever her title sounded high up) to call me and get me in as soon as possible. Making connections!!!! It pays to have the ability to never shut my mouth (no comment Melissa). The other key piece is multiple copies of our marriage license. Again, sounds simple enough! Nope, we decided to be special and get married in St. Lucia....yeap, a tropical paradise where we had the absolute time of our lives. In fact, there isn't a single day that goes by without talking about it. Now we have to contact them and try and get a few more certified copies of it. I was kind of hoping they were going to say, yes; however you must come back and stay for at least 4 days. I think we deserve it.

Anyway, it is after midnight yet again. I need to hit the rack. Oh, one other funny thing that happened. I was asking our Agency about the required training needed and some specific details. She replied back with something along the lines "another thing to do is sign up for groups or clubs of parents raising children with Down you know what to expect." I looked at Melissa and asked her, "did we forget to tell her that we already have a child with Down syndrome."

Signing off for now......Charlie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tag...I got it!

I think we got some pretty positive news tonight. While Melissa was cooking dinner, I started to ask some questions to our Agency. I wanted to know what the time-lines were for completing their side of the paperwork. I told her that as hard as we are pushing that I want to get an approximate feel for how long this might take. It looks as if there will be a lot of "things" that will rest on us and are ability to get it submitted. So we determined a few things tonight that we are going to focus on. We are going to work on getting our Psychological Evaluation scheduled and possibly completed within the next week. Complete our adoption online training by Tuesday for our last Homestudy visit. I have also asked for the list of documents that will need to be Apostilled (oh, by the way....who in the heck came up with that word anyway! They need to just call it "Super-Notary") I have also asked our agency to send us the Dossier Registration. So here is the plan....ready....We will have everything complete for the Home Study by Tuesday, 7 Dec. We will only be waiting on the Child Abuse and Background Check. We will have the Dossier Registration completed by 12 Dec. All documents will be Apostilled on 16 Dec. I want the agency to begin their process by NLT 3 January. If we keep to that plan, we can have our 1st flight date ready by 3 Feb. Now as all good Marines know, All good plans never survive first contact with the enemy. We are staying positive, keeping motivated, and pushing forward everyday. Everyday without Martin with us, is a day that he doesn't have his Mommy and Daddy. They are days without kisses and hugs from us....and they are days without "I love you." I couldn't imagine a day like that for our children here....and it just crushes me to think he is not getting that there. Hang in there little guy!!!

No More!

I was told that if we make it through the paperwork, it will all be downhill from there. The problem is, I'm not sure that paperwork is going to end EVER. We are finally finishing up the collection for our social worker when I opened up an email from our adoption agency with all new ones on top of all kinds of instructions for each. Well folks, I'm tapping out for a bit and Charlie has this batch. I'm putting him in charge of this for a bit (different story tomorrow I'm sure)! Just gotta keep my eye on what is important, my Mr. Martin!

We were talking about Martin last night as we always do, and a couple of things came up. We were wondering if any of the care takers told him that he had a mom and dad coming for him. I assume not since it's not final and I'm not completely sure he would understand anyway. Then another thought popped into our heads. Does he even know what parents are? He has lived in this environment since the day he was born so this is obviously the only thing he has ever known. How would he know what parents are?! I had never even thought of that. Can you even imagine that? So many thoughts in my head about this little guy. Mostly ways we can try to make up for his first five years. I have so many questions. What kind of bed does he sleep in, what kind of food does he eat, who takes care of him when he is sick? All these questions I guess will be answered when we get to see him for the first time. I am so excited, but at the same time dreading it already. It brings me to tears to think about leaving him behind. What in the world is he going to think about that? Is he going to remember us when we come back for him, is he going to be heartbroken when we leave, or will he even notice? Just some thoughts running through my head. One thing is for sure. I can't wait to have him here where he belongs. I'm only sorry we didn't find him sooner! We love you Martin. Mommy and daddy are coming for you soon buddy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just Breathe

Soooooo I made it to the post office to mail off our fingerprints so we can start that long process of waiting and waiting only to notice I forgot to have Charlie sign his. I was devastated! We have been so have been great at getting through this paperwork. We were told we were going through this stuff in record pace! So to get there and almost be done only to find there is going to be yet one more delay kills me. Of course Charlie is out of town all day today and there is no way to run these prints to him to sign. I would say oh well, what's one more day and maybe most others would as well however if you ask Martin "what's one more day baby" I can't imagine it would be fine with him. One more day of that place is killing me. The worst part for me...I don't even know where he is! I have my imagination which is running wild right now. I'm sure that some of the research and other blogs I've been reading aren't helping in that department. I have been getting about 2-3 hours of sleep at a time since I have first seen his beautiful face! How can we get him home sooner. The only things we can do right now is to get that paperwork pushed, (yeah right) raise money so there are no delays when it comes to paying more and more adoption fees, and remind ourselves to stop and take a breath once in a while.

Monday, November 29, 2010

29 November Activities

Wow!  We had a great day that proved to result in getting a lot accomplished.  Even though we only officially started our Home Study on Friday (26 Nov), I feel as if we got so much done.  For starters, if we went by what the Home Study agency advertised on their website, I think it would have taken a few weeks before our first interview with a Social Worker.  So we called them on Thursday morning and told them we wanted to drive there and start the process.  We were fortunate in being there at the same time the Social Worker was there.  We filled out all of the paperwork that would have otherwise been sent to us in the mail that following week.  We did our first of three interviews there at the office and schedule our remaining two for this Saturday (4 Dec - In Home) and Tuesday (7 Dec).  We FedEx'd our application to the adoption agency and they began working on it on Saturday.

Today we got our fingerprints completed, physicals scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.  I got my daughters physical scheduled for Tuesday as well.  We also got our FSP page up and running.  And finally, as I sit here and notice that it is 12:32am.....our Blog is off to a great start.

Have a great night everyone and we will post updates soon!!

The House Family

Melissa and I have been married for 4 years.  I am a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps for over 17 years now.  We are fortunate that Melissa is able to stay at home with the children.  We have two children together; a 3 yr old young man, Haiden and a 9 mo old little boy, Noah.  Haiden was born with Down syndrome.  Since Haiden was born, we have become devoted to giving Haiden a life filled with love and devotion.  He has been an inspiration to all people he meets.  We have become advocates in the community, both local and state, for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  After I returned home from Afghanistan in October 2010, I was up early one morning adjusting to the time zone change and saw Martin on Facebook needing a Christmas Warrior.  I new immediately that it was Gods plan for us to adopt Martin.  Once Melissa woke up for the day, I had her look at the site and she knew immediately this was the right decision.  We fell in love with him at first glance.  We knew that he would make an amazing big brother and would allow our family to grow in even more unimaginable ways. We learned in a short time in this process that adoptions are difficult, stressful, and financially challenging.  Each of these children on this site deserves all the same opportunities as those with families.  Please consider making this dream come true for our new family member.  Every dollar donated brings our dream closer to reality.