STUCK

DSC_0062web

Day 78 in country, I woke up took my bath-shower and pulled out something other than a t-shirt and yoga pants. I was on my way to meet with the Ambassador after all. I got ready, touching up make-up, leaving my hair down, febreezing my best shirt and least wrinkly skirt. I dressed up Lainey in one of her cute outfits. I stepped outside and the phone rang: shooting and riots in the streets, our driver and in-country guy couldn’t make it, our meeting is cancelled. Angry, but not surprised, I came back into my room, pulled off my fancy shirt and shoes and put on a t-shirt and flip flops.

It has been almost three months since I arrived in my youngest daughter’s birth country. When we arrived, it took a couple of weeks for the Congolese ministries to process all our paperwork and within that time the US Embassy put out an alert. This alert stated that the DGM, who issues exit letters to Congolese children, had announced a suspension on exits. Those who had Bordereau letters that were dated prior to September 25th would still receive these exit letters during the suspension. We have a pre-25th Bordereau so we tried to file, but to no avail. We heard rumors of a first list and second list and many other things that gave us hope we would still receive an exit letter.

The Embassy stated that once we were able to submit to the DGM, they would fight for citizens after 10 days if our case had not progressed. On Wednesday, November 27, thanks to the efforts of our Embassy, I was finally able to submit my paperwork to DGM. Since then the Embassy has met with the DGM, but has not been able to hold them to adhere to their own policies. The Embassy put out another alert in December regarding the issuance of exit letters. They were told that they are still processing pre-25th Bordereaus and that parents “must be patient.” Processing of exit letters is stated on the DGM website as taking one week. At one month of “processing” I would say that we’ve exceeded “patient”. This does not include the nearly 6 weeks that we waited just for the DGM to accept something that they said they would from the beginning.

Lainey, has changed so much since we first met. She’s attached. By ALL legal rights she is our daughter. She has a US Visa and we meet all the criteria that the Congo has stipulated during their suspension, yet we are still unable to receive an exit permit.

Before I arrived, the longest I’ve ever been away from Camille and Noah has been for two days. After Chris returned from his deployment at the end of February we were determined to all be together. This led us to decide to homeschool until we arrived at our next duty station, so we could travel with him to different military training that was required. Now we are all separated, my parents are watching the children in Maryland, Chris is in school in Virginia, and I am here in Congo. Cami and Noah are at an age where this is hard; when they were younger they were not as aware when Chris was gone, now they are. Camille will facetime with me, Noah will every once in a while (but it seems too tough for him). My mom sends videos, but has said Noah asks when I am coming home often. This was our second Christmas apart. 9 of the last 15 months we have been separated. This just isn’t right.

There are other families that I am stuck with here in country that have all that the necessary documents that the DGM requires as well. Our paperwork has been accepted and processed, yet we wait without reason.

We are now contacting congressmen, senators, and lawyers. We are desperate to return home with our children. If you know anyone or would be willing, please write regarding our case. We have been stuck for too long.

We are reaching out to anyone to share and contact your congressmen regarding our case. There is a new bill that has been introduced to congress called Children in Families First. I am linking below the news article regarding the bill as well as the site, which lists several representatives and their emails.

Children in Families First Bill

Recap of dates:

10/13 Arrive in Country
10/15 Met our daughter
10/17 Visa Issued
10/23 – State Dept. Alert about needing Bourdereau dated pre-September 25th, ours is dated 9/05/13
11/27 – Submitted documents to DGM

pockets for africa!

cami and a pocket

cami taking a break from her cassette recording to model a pocket for me.

A year and a half ago, I made some pockets for Lori to take with her on her trip to Africa. Cami and Noah loved the pockets I made for them, so I filed it away as something I wanted to do for Lainey’s orphanage when we travelled to bring her home.

Fast forward to NOW!

Everything is happening so quickly and we might be traveling in a little more than TWO (max four) WEEKS!

Our GirlTWO weeks! I can’t believe I may actually be holding my little girl!

So I started knitting away! Trying to calculate how many of these I can get done on a flight to congo. I know its quick, but anyone who’d like to donate a pocket or two. You’d need to mail it off by the end of next week to assure that I’d receive it. These knit up really fast… and not to leave out those who crochet, my friend Kristi from Needles ‘n Knots created a pattern for you to follow. You can comment below or email me if you’d like to donate! I will be filling these with snacks and small toys. If you don’t knit or crochet, but would like to donate formula, snacks or small toys. We will be filling our suitcase with as many donations as we can. I spoke with my agency and she told me that there is about 80 kids at Lainey’s orphanage (pictured below). Chris and I are intending at least two of our four suitcases to be donations.

orphans

80 pockets in 2 weeks.
Baby Girl in TWO WEEKS!!

I won’t be posting while I’m over there. Just soaking up time with our little girl, but I’ll be sure to share all about our trip when we get back.

I’m linking the patterns below for knitting and crocheting.
Knitting: Lori Times Five
Crochet: Needles n’ Knots

little treasures

We Have a VISA Appointment!

OH YES! We have an appointment!!

A little over a week ago, Chris called me and this was the conversation:

Chris: “How’s your day going?”
Me: “Great”
Chris: “Why is it great?”
Me: “Well the kids and I are going out for a fun lunch.”
Chris: “Have you checked your email?”
Me: “Yes, why?”
Chris: “Did you get a good one?”
Me: “What do you mean good, who did you get an email from? Is it about Lainey?”
Chris: “I’ll forward it to you, and call you back.”

We were in the car and I obviously had to pull over. Before my email refresh started to cycle on my phone I was trying to talk myself down to not my hopes up, as it has happened so much since we started this process over two years ago, but it was already too late for that. And then I saw it. The email that states our daughter has a visa interview in October. I started laughing and crying all at once. My heart was racing a mile a minute and even now when I think about that precious little girl that I love so much and have cried tears many days as I watch her grow up in pictures, she has a visa appointment.

While I was freaking out and calling my mom, Cami, just as excited, worked away on this little note and asked me to send it right away!
excitement all aroundYeah, we are all pretty stoked. Cami was smiling her kid smile with that new missing front tooth. Oh, my she melted me with that note.

We all went out that night to celebrate, and Chris and I couldn’t stop smiling, like little kids. It’s happening, it.is.happening. We are so grateful. And while we are grateful and celebrating, I am aware that there are families, who I’ve met through this process, that have been waiting just as long if not longer than us to bring their little ones home and there are families that have just started this long wait. The adoption process (International or Domestic) isn’t easy and I’m praying these children are united with their families soon!

Right now while there is much going on (like our move to Gabon in February), you can bet that there is a spring in my step and some day dreaming about my baby girl… and a dance party (or two)! DRC style…

Sweet Lainey, we are coming and we can’t wait!
Our Girl

Her First Birthday.

September 3rd we celebrated Lainey’s first birthday. Honestly, it most likely isn’t the actual day she was born. We’ll never know that specific day or the conditions that she was born in. I won’t know what went through her birth mother’s mind as she placed Lainey in that taxi at two months of age. Whether it was with tears in her eyes, hoping that someone would discover this sweet girl soon. We know very little of Lainey’s story. But because she was abandoned, we had the ability to chose her birthday. Her estimated age is so close to my mom’s birthday, who Lainey is also named after that it fit more than perfectly.

Celebrating Lainey's 1st Birthday

Last year when we received our referral, I was certain that we’d have little Lainey by now. This year, we chose to celebrate with cupcakes and getting her a little bear. Chris found it on our adventures about, and thought it was the most snuggley bear that you’ve ever felt. I hope that she loves it and can’t wait to give it to her. The day after her birthday we received an updated photo of Lainey. It was bittersweet, as my heart just yearns to have her with us forever. This isn’t easy, but we know in the end it will all be worth it.

our sweet 1 year old.

If you follow along on my blog or if you have been researching Congo adoptions, you may notice I’ve pulled down a lot of my posts about our adoption. Recently, I felt a little timid about what I share. Things in the Congo seem to constantly be changing, so while I am sharing again about our little love, I do it guardedly and decided the timeline I’ll keep off permanently. I appreciate so much the encouragement and support people have had for our journey, and thank you for understanding.

winston churchill quote

Round Trip Airfaire to the Congo

We’ve been blessed everywhere we’ve lived to meet and become friends with absolutely wonderful people. Wonderful hearts, amazing personalities, and true individuals. We love the making of friends part of being in the military. Virginia Beach was no exception. We made sweet friends that we hold dear to our hearts. A week ago today we said goodbye to our small group, who we love like family.

Congo tickets for two!

Before we headed out, my friend Grace handed me a card from the group. They had all pitched in together and gave us enough money to cover our trip to pick up Lainey from the Congo!!! So much love for us and our baby girl. I was a crying mess, words simply can’t explain how special their gift is to us!

I’m sure I haven’t shared all the different people and ways that we’ve received the funds for our adoption (there are many), but they seem to come together at just the perfect time.

I pray that we have the chance to share Lainey with these dear people.

“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.” William Shakespeare

reflecting on ten.

restoring old photos

August Twenty-Third Two Thousand and Three
A new life began for you and for me.

Just two kids, a girl and a guy
We jumped in feet first
With rosy glasses on our eyes

The rose started to fade as time passed by
And I continued to fall deeper in love with this guy

With seven moves complete
And within this next year two more,
Our life could hardly be called a bore.

All these years later, we still lose time talking forever
Dreaming our dreams and what is our next endeavor

We’ve had mostly laughs
With one or two crazy fights
A couple of frowns
And some awesome date nights

August Twenty-Third Two Thousand Thirteen
A new chapter in our lives we are embarking

But now with a little age and (soon) three kids in tow
Our lives are much richer and I’m glad this is so

Your sense of humor, your quick wit and jokes
They keep things quite easy, when life just doesn’t seem so.
You return me to center when times are quite crazy!
And remember my favorite flower is a gerber daisy.

Today we will spend hours packing,
Exhausted and tired, yet smiling and happy,
Reflecting on the past ten years and looking forward to many more,
With you by my side, there’s certainly an abundance in store.

Noah turns 5!

Its hard to believe, but two weeks ago we celebrated Noah turning five. I’m amazed at who this little man is, and grateful for all the laughter and joy he brings into the house.

Here are a few pictures from the day.
a five year old's birthday

sweet smiles

driving the fire engine

loved the fire truck

the cake, courtesy of aunt katie

the back

blowing out his candles

opening gifts

We made it a family celebration this year starting right when he woke up in the morning! Noah’s requests were simple. Me: “What do you want for your birthday?” Noah counting on his fingers: “party hats, balloons, a birthday cake, and presents.”

Chris was able to set him up to tour a firetruck in the late morning. The three of them were even taken for a ride and the fireman turned on the siren for a brief minute. Seriously, Noah was in high heaven!

After lunch my sisters came and we took the family to a little waterpark on base (which I forgot both my camera and phone to take any pics). My younger sister and Chris asked the lifeguards if Noah could go on the big swirly slides. They said if he could swim. Well, I wouldn’t call Noah a swimmer… he’s more like a floater that can wave his arms and legs and keep himself from drowning… but they convinced me it would be OK and I watched. Chris kept telling me “He’s a five year old now”, like that was supposed to convince me. Well, Noah loved the big huge swirly slide and went down it about ten times.

We then came home and had cake made by my amazing older sister. A week or so before Noah’s birthday I made the mistake of asking Noah in front of Cami (who likes everything handmade) if I should make the cake or if we could get a cool animal one from a local amazing bakery called Flour Child. Cami said “Noah, you definitely want mommy to make your cake.” Thankfully, Katie stepped in while I was over my head with boxes and work and said she’d make it. I’m not a huge cake fan, especially when it doesn’t have chocolate, but this was pretty much the most amazing.cake.ever. Leave it to my sister, everything she makes is fantastic.

We all ate the amazing cake and Noah opened presents! It was a perfect day, and Noah LOVED it. He thanked us and told us it was the best birthday. What a sweet little guy, he truly lights up our lives.

Early Morning Wake-ups.

I mentioned before that the past several weeks I’ve been waking early. Like 3 a.m. early! Its been crazy, but with both the kiddos home and a pending move upon us, I really felt it was the only option to get quality work done. I didn’t think I could do it at first, but I started making myself go to sleep and then rewarding myself with the perfect latte in the morning made with espresso from a local little indie roaster and I actually started looking forward to these quiet mornings.

morning wake up

I’ve had a number of photography & design projects that I’m completing. Along with closing down the shirt shop for now…its been busy. This week, however I am waking at 4 a.m. (sleeping in an extra hour) annnnd I’m back to blogging. I have things to share that is going on with our family! Some big news I want to make sure I keep record of. I’m not taking any more design work on or possibly printing again until mid November, early December. When that point comes, I’ll re-evaluate. I am going to start sharing photoshop actions again (I’ve made a few new favorites that I really love, and have been using them in all of my editing, its so fun).

prepare

This month when I flipped the calendar page I saw the word “Prepare”. How perfect, as this is the theme of our month. We were preparing without any knowledge of where we were moving, what we are doing which impacted so much! School for the kids, housing, and a lot of other things were up in the air. We now have more insight into all of that which is helping us to move forward with some of the still unknowns. Its all been sorta flying by the seat of our pants with lots of talks together.

Stay tuned as I share more about where we are moving and what we are doing… we are on a new path, an exciting adventure!

putting etsy on hold: moving sale


moving

So, I get re-inspired.
find better ways and ink to print.
I grow in my process.
…and we are up for orders, about to move again!

I was a little nervous to rebrand, but I have to admit, rebranding has been great. I’ve kept busy. Actually, so busy that the past few weeks I’ve been waking up at 3 a.m. to catch up on overdue work and to get ahead.

That beings said, we are moving at the end of this month and still awaiting orders. I’ve decided to put the shop on hold. I will be taking what is up on etsy to a local store to sell there and once we’ve transitioned, I’ll re-evaluate if I can open the etsy shop and take new graphic design jobs.

SO… today is the last day to buy from the shop. If you have a custom order already in, I am filling just not taking any more. I am not taking on any more design or web work until we are once again settled, either. And once I get caught up on all my work I’ll be back to blogging. I miss it.

Please spread the word. Everything purchased will help in funding our adoption, as we are in the final step before bringing our baby home. And thanks to everyone for your support!

moving again

hope.

anchors the soul

“We have this hope that anchors the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6.19

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