"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sweetness!

Can't you just picture these in our little pixie's hair? I bought them on Etsy and can't wait to use them!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dreams

I had an incredibly vivid dream about our girl last night. We went to meet her and she came right to me! I picked her up and she laid her cheek against mine. I could feel her warmth, her hair, her weight in my arms. I just took it all in, and even today I can still feel her.
I didn't care for the next part of the dream.... She went with her groupa and I couldn't find her! Nobody understood me and I kept wanting to text someone to ask! Lol!

But today, I can only think of her sweetness in my arms, and waiting so impatiently to go to her.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deep in thought.... high on stress

As I type this tonight, our girl is probably just waking up to explore her Wednesday. She has no idea that on the other side of the world she has a family who loves her so very much. A family who can't stop thinking about her, who is working very hard to get her home as fast as possible. She doesn't know that there are thousands of people praying for her. She will go about her day as usual, and for now all we can do is pray that God places a warmth in her heart, a knowing that we are coming for her. And pray that God continues to bless her, and bless us, as we continue this journey.

I've had some down time in the paperchase, and that turns my mind into overload. When I'm busy, I don't have time to worry or stress. But with this downtime waiting for a paper to come in, the last paper we need to complete our dossier, I stress. I worry. I'm relying on God, and right now many things are weighing heavy on my heart. I feel so selfish worrying about our adoption when there are people battling cancer, children dying..... so much more in the world. I worry about someone getting sick, I worry about myself getting sick. Things are going so well and that scares me. God is in control, and he has a master plan. I've been so good lately about 'letting go and letting God', and he has for sure blessed us beyond belief. So why am I worried?

I worry about traveling. I pray our family stays healthy and that our girl can come home and get all that she needs and deserves. I pray the boys transition well. I pray for everyone else who is adopting right now, that their journeys end happily.

Downtime doesn't do me well. I know so many are praying for us already.... but could you please pray that I can relax a bit? Trying to do everything at once hasn't been good for me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

FSP!

Our Family Sponsorship program page is up HERE! Or you can click Alina's picture to the right to get there.

All donations made to our adoption via the Reeces Rainbow Family sponsorship program are tax deductible!

Friday, May 21, 2010

God is good!

I'm so thankful. Everything is falling into place for us to bring our girl home! The dossier, while involved, has come together nicely. The few things we've had to request from others have mostly already arrived, and the other two should be here next week.

I had a small tissy on Wednesday, when our USCIS appointment cards came in the mail. We currently HAVE USCIS approval and had to write a letter for renewal and new fingerprints because our approval expires in August, and our fingerprints already expired in February. When the appointment cards came.... the appointment was June 10th. We are *thisclose* to having the dossier done, and its crazy to wait a weeks for the appointment and then another couple weeks to get the approval back. So I had a fit, then prayed, and started calling and emailing people. A lovely lady named Sandra emailed me back and said she spoke to the manager at our USCIS office, and he said we could come in today! Eugene had today off work, so it worked out perfectly! Anthony had school this morning, E had a dentist appointment, then we dropped Anth off to play with his buddies and headed to get our fingerprints.

Now we were told to be there after 1pm, but got there at 10:45am, expecting to wait. When we walked in, there was NOBODY ELSE waiting! She gave us our forms to fill out, and took us back. We got our fingerprints and were in and out of there in less than 1/2 hour. Practically unheard of. Thank the Lord!

Then we had our doctors appointments this afternoon. Wow, that was stressful! Dossier requirements are so specific.... only black ink on this document and only blue ink on that one. Dates have to match, no smudges, no cross outs or write overs, the notary has to be straight and perfect.... its crazy! We had blood drawn and the poor doctor was absolutely confused at the document he had to fill out, and how things had to be notarized, and we had to keep reminding him to use only blue ink, and he came so close to the paper with a black pen like 9 times. I don't think I exhaled the entire time we were in there. They STILL have the documents pending the outcome of our blood tests. I'm relying on God to continue smiling on us and they come back finished properly so we can submit them.

Hang on baby girl! We are working very hard to get everything together so we can be there with you very soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A car seat post!

I've put up a car seat post before, but I wanted to put up another one so maybe some of my new readers can read it. Anyone that knows me knows how very important car seat safety is to me. If you have small children, PLEASE read this post in its entirety. Its very important!

Car seat safety is so important, yet many parents view it as just a way to keep their children seated in the car, they don't realize the detrimental effects of putting a young child forward facing, or putting a child under the age of 4 or 5 in a belted booster seat, or not in any car seat at all. In the USA, the laws for car seat safety are very lax, but there is a new push to beef up these laws, and they should be supported. READ your car seat manual, use it correctly, find a car seat tech in your area to check your seats out, have them installed professionally, and make sure its used correctly 100% of the time. While most car seats on the market only harness to 40lbs, there are now many many seats out that harness to 50, 65lbs, even 80lbs! Anthony was able to rear face in a Britax Marathon he was almost 3! He is now 4.5yrs old, 43" tall and 45lbs, and rides in a Britax Regent. Alexander is almost 8yrs old, 52" tall and 60lbs and just moved from a 5pt harness (the Regent) to a high back booster, the Sunshine Kids Monterey, just before Christmas.


Remember, every step up in car seats is a step down in safety.... moving from rear facing to foward facing is a big step down in safety. Moving from a 5pt harness to a booster is a step down in safety, and moving from a booster to the adult belt alone is a big step down in safety.

Here is a picture of Anthony rear facing at 35mos old, 33lbs, and 40" tall.

Feet touching the seat are NOT a problem. There has never been a documented case of broken legs in a rear facing child. But think of it this way... if a crash is severe enough to break a childs legs while rear facing, think of what would happen to that childs neck if forward facing. And actually the most common forward facing injury is... broken legs.

Here is a link to my facebook album with car seat pictures. There are correct usage pics and misuse pics. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=62351&id=570644292&l=62153f3560

I hope you can find the information below helpful and useful. And if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to e-mail me, or give me a call. Lets keep our kids safe!


Child Passenger Safety Information In General

  • Always read both your car seat manual and the child restraint section of your vehicle manual.
  • There is no such thing as the “best” car seat. The best seat is the one that fits your child, fits your budget, fits your car, and will be used correctly 100% of the time. Choose the seat that has features that allow you to use it correctly.
  • All current seats sold pass minimum government safety standards.
  • Don’t use a used car seat, as you can never be sure of a seat’s history. Never use a carseat that is more than 6 years old.
  • Seats that have been in an accident need to be replaced.
  • NEVER place a rear-facing child seat of any sort in a front seat where there is an active frontal airbag.
  • Keep the chest clip of any harness at armpit level, not neck or tummy level.
  • When installing your seat, be sure to use the correct seat belt paths or LATCH hooks for either rear- or forward-facing. Don’t use both LATCH and the seat belt together. Only one can be used at a time.
  • It is best not to dress your child in bulky outerwear in his/her car seat. To check if a coat is too bulky, place your child in his/her seat with the coat on and adjust the harness to fit. Then remove your child’s coat and fasten the harness without adjusting. If the harness straps are too loose, the coat is too bulky. A blanket or poncho will keep your child warm AND safe.
  • Car seats do expire! An expiration date should be stamped into the plastic of the seat itself, or you may find it on a sticker. If you can’t find it, look for the date of manufacture, then find the limit in your manual. Most seats are only good for 5-6 years after the date of manufacture, with some being good for up to 8. http://home.comcast.net/~dcbsr/test/Britax_GMTV_Check_It_Fits_Child_Facing_Forwards_ten_years_old_seat.mpeg
  • Don’t recline the seat you’re installing your car seat in unless your vehicle manual specifically states that you can do so.
  • Have your seat checked by a Child Passenger Safety Technician. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps/Contacts/index.cfm
  • “Moving up” in car safety (from rear facing to forward facing, from harnessed seat to booster, from booster to seat belt) is often viewed as a “milestone” by some, but each step is actually a demotion in safety. Keep your children rear facing for as long as possible. Keep them harnessed for as long as possible.
  • Do not use any aftermarket products on your seat. This includes infant head rolls, homemade covers, strap covers, or anything that goes behind your baby. If its not been tested by the manufacturer to use with your seat (ie-if its not sold WITH the seat) then don't use it! It will void the warranty on your seat if you are in an accident. If your child is injured and you are using an aftermarket product, the company cannot be held liable for any injury or death, even if the seat is disfunctional.

Infant Carriers

  • Many infant carriers have a weight limit of 20-22 lbs (two models now go to 30, one to 35) and a height/length limit of approximately 29”. The height limit is a guideline—the seat is outgrown when the top of the head is within an inch of the top of the shell. Check your manual for limits specific to your seat; if your child is too large for his/her carrier, please replace it with a convertible seat.
  • In a rear-facing infant carrier, the harness straps must be at or below your child’s shoulders for a proper fit.
  • Many models require the carrying handle to be down while traveling; some models are reinforced, however. Check your manual before leaving the handle up in the car.
  • Carriers are not meant to be placed in the front of a shopping cart. This causes the cart to become top-heavy and more likely to tip.

Convertible Seats

  • A convertible seat is one that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. Be sure to buy a model with a 5-point harness. http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/ConvertibleShop.aspx It is safest to leave your child rear-facing for as long as the seat will allow. Many states require children to be rear-facing until they are at least 1 year of age and 20 pounds; however, convertible seats have a rear-facing weight limit of 30-45 pounds. Car seats are also outgrown in rear-facing mode by height depending on where the head is in relation to the top of the plastic shell. Different manufacturers have different instructions on this, so be sure to read your manual to determine when your specific seat is outgrown by height in rear-facing mode. http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFbasics.aspx
  • Rear facing car seats are typically outgrown when there is less than one inch of hard shell above the childs head or the child goes over the rear facing weight limit. Until either happens, the child should remain rear facing. Feet touching the seat is NOT a problem and not a reason to turn a child forward facing. Please google EXTENDED REAR FACING and JOELS JOURNEY for more information.
http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/stayrearfacing.aspx · Some models only allow certain harness slots to be used for rear-facing, so check your manual to be sure your harness is in the correct position.
  • A 45 degree recline is recommended for newborns and young infants who are rear-facing. Older babies and toddlers can have less recline.
  • One manufacturer of several popular brands has a 34” height minimum for forward facing. Be sure to check your manual.
  • Keep harness straps at or below shoulders for a child who is rear-facing, and at or above shoulders for a child that is forward-facing.
  • Car seats are outgrown in forward facing mode when one of the three happens: Child passes the weight limit, child's ears are even with the top of the shell, child's shoulders are above the top slot. http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/FFbasics.aspx
  • Some models only reinforce certain harness slots for forward-facing; if your child is forward-facing, please check your manual to ensure your harness is in the correct slots. Slots that are NOT reinforced for forward facing will rip right out of the seat in the event of a crash.
  • When forward-facing, an upright position with no recline is safest. Don’t recline a forward-facing seat unless your car seat’s manual specifically allows for it.
  • All models now feature tethers for forward-facing to reduce head excursion in a crash. They should be used whenever possible.
  • A few models also feature rear-facing tethers designed to prevent rebound in a crash.

Combination / 3-in-1 Seats

  • A 3-in-1 seat rear-faces, forward-faces, and then is used as a booster (this is considered a convertible seat).
  • A combination seat is a forward-facing harnessed seat that turns into a booster.
  • Keep your child harnessed to the top weight limit of the harness (usually 40 pounds, a few models of combination seats go to 65). Check your manual for the weight limit on your seat’s harness. The harness and booster will have different weight limits.
  • When the child is 40 pounds (or the top weight limit for your seat’s internal harness; check your manual for the limit of your specific seat) or their shoulders are above the top harness slots, remove the internal harness and use the seat as a booster with the lap and shoulder belt. The booster cannot be used with a lap belt only.
  • In some combo / 3-in-1 seats, the top harness slots are for adjusting the headrest, and are not designed to be used with the harness. Check your seat itself, as this info may be stamped into the plastic shell. If in doubt, call the manufacturer and ask, as it is VERY unsafe to use a harness in unreinforced slots.

Boosters

  • A child is held in place much better with a 5-point harness than with a booster. If your child will try to move around, will fiddle with the seat belt (perhaps unbuckling him/herself), or falls asleep in the car frequently, consider keeping him/her in a harnessed seat. http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/boosterbasics.aspx There are quite a few heigher harness weight seats on the market.

  • http://depts.washington.edu/booster/images/video/DRIV754_6yr_lap.mpg
  • It is not recommended to put a child in a booster who is not at least 4 years old and 40 pounds, with the maturity to stay in the booster.
  • Boosters cannot be used with a lap belt only—they must be used with a lap/shoulder belt. If your vehicle is not equipped with l/s belts, you can contact the vehicle’s manufacturer for a retrofitting kit, or you can use a travel vest in place of a booster.
  • The shoulder belt should be across the center of the chest, not the neck—use the shoulder belt guide if it doesn’t fit properly, or use a higher harness weight/height 5pt harness car seat.
  • The lap belt should be high on the thighs or low on the hips, not over the tummy.
  • Use a high back model if your car has low seat backs with no headrests. High back models also provide additional side-impact protection.
  • Younger children often don't fit with a backless booster. They're good for older children who are too tall or who literally just need a boost, but most young kids need the belt guide as well. Also, backless boosters provide no side impact protection, but do protect against other injuries.
  • Many kids need to ride in a booster until the ages of 8-12 and the height of 4’9”. To tell if your child is ready to ride without a booster, ask these 5 questions:
    1. Does the child sit back all the way against the auto seat?
    2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
    3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and the arm?
    4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
    5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you have answered “no” to even one of these questions, your child is safest in a booster seat. This test can have different results in different vehicles!· The back seat is the safest place for children under the age of 15, and the middle is considered the safest part of the back seat. Some good sources for car seat safety information www.thecarseatlady.com www.cpsafety.com www.safekids.org www.carseat.org www.seatcheck.org www.car-seat.org

Please remember that YOU are in charge of keeping your child safe. You may only need a car seat one time, but that one time you need it 100%, and if you haven't taken the time to install the car seat properly, or you are misuing it, it will fail, and your child will be injured or worse. Read the car seat manual, read your vehicle manual. Rear face until your child outgrows the seat rear facing by height or weight. Use a 5pt harness until your child is a bare minimum of 4yrs and 40lbs, but longer is best. Use a booster until your child can pass the 5step test above.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dossier

Just one word can make adoptive parents shudder. Really, try it. If you know someone who has adopted internationally, just randomly throw the word 'dossier' into the conversation and watch them turn ghost white and shiver. :)

I got our dossier packet via email on Sunday night, and spent most of the night perusing the requirements for the dossier. Compared to Kyrgyz, its a bit shorter but a few things are more involved. All in all, today I put together almost everything that needs to be signed and notarized. Still waiting on our USCIS re-approval to come through and our new fingerprint date. I need to get our background checks ordered, and two new marriage licenses. We have our doctors appointments on Friday, and should be able to get everything notarized next week!

I'm so so so glad that we had a 'trial run' putting a dossier together, because I can't imagine the terror someone would feel getting all that information for the first time! Well actually I can. I think I walked around in a stupor for a week after getting our Kyrgyz dossier requirements. But I'm glad we are prepared, that I can pull it together and get it done without freaking out or being unsure.

Each signature and notary is one step closer to Alina. One day closer to bringing her home.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wynken, Blynken and Nod

I have always loved this poem, and its been running through my head all day.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
By Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
Never afear'd are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea---
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vacation for 4 please!

For the last time! (prayerfully!)

I just booked us for three nights, four days HERE! We are going to 'Grisw*ld' it out to South Dakota and spend three nights at this campground! My mom and step dad stayed here last summer, and said it was a really nice place, and its right in the middle of everything we want to do on our short visit there.

So far the only 'for sure' thing we have planned is to visit the 1880 Train! The boys are so excited... as I'm sure you all know by now my boys are train FANATICS. It actually goes beyond fanatical, and passes into weirdly obsessive. But hey, they could be interested in something that they couldn't grow with.

We will likely visit Mount Rushmore too.... I mean who goes to SD and not visit Mount Rushmore. And a few of the small towns I remember loving visiting when I was a child.

It will be a quick trip, and hopefully our last without our girl! The boys are super excited to see the train and to camp it out for the weekend!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Its a girl!

After 2yrs, many prayers, many tears, lots of research and waiting.... our girl has finally found us!

Our journey began almost 2yrs ago in Kyrgyzstan. We worked very hard to get our dossier together, and as soon as we did, Kyrgyz put a moratorium on adoptions, and shut down right at our submission. After picking up the pieces, we moved to a domestic foster/adopt program in Washington State.

However the last few months, God has softened my heart and led me to waiting children. I've spent countless hours looking at the little faces of the children who wait due to special needs. Many children have captured our hearts, but due to various reasons we have had to pray for them and move on. But a month ago (on her 3rd birthday!), a certain little girl on Reeces Rainbow grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. I prayed for her, I prayed for us to make the right choice, and as the path to her lit up, I asked for her information. I waited another week before 'introducing' her to Eugene. And still we prayed for her, for us, for the correct decision. And still we were shown where we were supposed to be.

Last week we filed commitment papers for the sweetest little princess, Alina. (because I know nobody read that previous paragraph and scrolled down to ooh and aah over the pictures!)


Alina waits because she has strabismus (crossed eye) and she also has mild CP. When she comes home, she will need eye surgery, and lots of physical therapy and likely a brace for her CP. And of course, the love of a mom and dad, and two big brothers!

Because we already have our homestudy and will be able to compile our dossier fairly quickly, and have already filed our USCIS extension and country change, we hope to travel by July for our first trip and court. After that first trip, we will return home for 3wks, then travel back to EE to bring our girl home!

The image below is for anyone who wishes to add our journey to their blog or website! Simply right click and save to your computer, resize as necessary, and link it to either here (www.waitingforthegirl.blogspot.com) or to my Etsy site (www.justplainbeckyw.etsy.com)



Because this will (hopefully) move fairly quickly, I would ask that if you know anyone who would be interested in my Etsy site to please pass it along. I will be adding new things often!

Most importantly, I would like to thank everyone who has been there for us, supported us in every choice we have made. We couldn't ask for more awesome family, friends, and all 'my girls' who have been there through thick and thin! Alina already has so many people who love her, we can't wait to get her home and show her!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I get bored easily

Plus its snowing. In May. 'Nuff said.
Changed up the blog again... I get bored easily. I'm not totally in love with it yet, but will give it a few days. I can't decide if its super cute, or so bright it makes my eyes hurt. :)

Big A and dad went on a field trip today. They were supposed to go to the St Paul Saints baseball game, but they got rained out. AFTER they got there, of course. So they got on the bus, rode 1.5hrs to St Paul, got into the stadium, listened to the National Anthem, and then came home. But they got their tickets, so we can go another time.

Anth and I did some shopping today, much to his chagrin. I bought OUT the fabric store in hopes that I can bribe people to my Etsy site so we can build up some adoption funds. I will be putting up dolls, doll clothing, super cute new dresses, and some new jammies!

Hopefully on Monday I can actually let the cat out of the bag. I promise no kitties were actually hurt in the process. They like being in the bag. :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What?



I can't wait to let the cat out of the bag, but I have to wait just a bit longer!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Patience

Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act. Proverbs 24:12

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My house needs an overhaul

Its a DISASTER! We are finishing our basement (in case you didn't know. If you didn't, feel lucky, I've been complaining about it for years now. :)) and we have been doing it ourselves. We finally got the walls up, sheetrock hung (oh yeah, I totally hung sheetrock. Ok I held the sheetrock. I'm awesome like that) so we hired out a guy to do the taping/sanding/texturing. Because we are NOT awesome like that. :)

They were here last week, they taped the sheetrock and then sprayed the texture on the walls and sprayed the ceilings. Its.done. It looks great. But now for the cleanup. Its still a total disaster. I'm ashamed of my upstairs because hey, why clean if its just going to be covered in sheetrock dust in 14 seconds. Plus everything from the basement is currently upstairs, in any available corner or floor space. And I don't do well with clutter. At all.

So tomorrow I 'get' to start cleanup. I know you can totally sense my excitement. Dusting is out of the question, I'm going to need a damp cloth to clean everything.

So hopefully we can get it cleaned up, carpet in, and everything put back where its supposed to be SOON. Did I mention I don't do well with clutter?