Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tastefully Simple Fundraiser

Kelly who is a Tastefully Simple consultant has chosen to do a fundraiser where she will donate all of her commission to help raise funds to bring Alexsey home. What a sweet heart! Yes, the money is sure appreciated, but more than that is her show of support for our family. What a an uplifting blessing she has been to me to show such encouragement! Thank you Kelly. She is a fellow adoptive mother who brought home an adorable little girls named Ulia back in December 2006. Please go check out her amazing family.

Whether it's Cinnamon Muffin Melts you crave, or you are looking to feed your family a hearty and delicious meal of Lasagna Soup and Perfect Parmesan Biscuits over at Tastefully Simple you can buy it all and help to raise money for Alexsey's adoption all at the same time. Please remember to select us as the host family when you place your order. That means to make sure that you type in the Reeds before hitting the confirmation button.

Thank you so much! And thank you to Kelly for hosting such a delicious fundraiser! Oh, and please spread the word to anyone who you think may be interested in buying something from Tastefully Simple.

*** And a quick reminder*** This is the last day to enter the raffle for the IPOD drawing that Sally is hosting!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Productive Monday

After a lull, even though it is only Monday, things are considerably more productive this week. Hip-hip hooray!

Today I read over the rough draft of our homestudy! Just a few minor changes and it should be good to go! I also received confirmation that the immigration office received our application and all supporting documents were approved. John and I also went and applied for Julia's and Dennis' passports! To save money, I took their picture instead of paying someone to have it taken.

I also have to let all of you know that Julia has officially raised $342.00 towards her trip! That is not including people who have not mailed their checks yet. I am so proud of all of her hard work, and I am so thankful to all of you for your support. So many of you have placed orders and sent checks for more than the total, and it just blows all of us away that you guys are so supportive! Thank you so much!

I think this trip is going to mean so much more to Julia because she raised the money to go. Taking the initiative to earn her way, and following through is an experience all on its own...... something I know will make her appreciate it all the more. It really is touching for me as her mother to watch her every day crocheting as she works to catch up on all of the orders! Not that she is complaining. Even her sisters are cheering her on!

You can still place orders, but please be patient and expect at least one week from the time you mail your check because Julia is backlogged at the moment! In addition to scarves and bibs, Julia is making dishcloths for $6. Please specify if you have a preference for cotton or synthetic. I think both are great, but I personally prefer the cotton.

I must also give praise to the $200 that was donated through Reece's Rainbow yesterday for Alexsey's adoption! I don't know who it came from, but I do know that God is using you in a mighty way! Thanks so much! Just a reminder--- only a few more days to enter the drawing for the IPOD! Thanks again Sally, who is graciously hosting the raffle.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just a little update

Not much is happening on the adoption front. After this past Tuesday's fiasco, I am reminded that even though I think everything adoption related is in my control....... actually nothing is. After driving for one hour up to Fresno to have two important documents apostilled, the nice woman behind the counter informed me that the county clerk had put the wrong year on the notary certification.


Literally freaking out with frustration at this potential delay (remembering that I already had one delay because I had misplaced the documents), I asked if there was anything I can do besides having to drive all the way back home and having the certifications done over.

Well... remember how I said this woman was nice???

She made my day by suggesting that I just go and have the documents re-notarized and re-certified at the local county clerk's office which was three blocks away. Yes, this meant spending just as much money---- again, and yes this meant dragging the kids on more errands, but it was the simplest solution.

As I made small talk with the notary, she found out what the documents were for and ended up only charging me for the certifications-- not the notaries. Thankful to see this fiasco ending on a beautiful note, I thanked her over and over for her kindness. I told her I'd be back, as I waved us out the door.

After apostilling the documents, and filing re-adoption paperwork for Dennis (son that we adopted this past summer) with the court, we returned home.

Since I was already a week late in getting these documents over to Ukraine, I hopefully made the wise decision of saving some money and sending them over through the good ol' postal service instead of Fed Ex or DHL. It cost me nearly $100.00 dollars less.... and what is one more week?
I am not sure if I am calculating things right or not, but it looks to me like $230.00 has been fundraised since the IPOD raffle was announced! Can I hear an Amen? I was hoping that enough people would buy a raffle ticket to at least cover the value of the IPOD which I think is around $230. Praise God! I am not sure who all of you are that have generously given, but I wanted to let you all know how thankful we are. Every little bit counts. If you were planning on buying a raffle ticket--- remember that the deadline is February 29th!

Julia has officially made $45 selling washcloths and scarfs. Thank you Mary and Julie! Your support of my daughter has been tremendous and though we are not close to covering the cost of her plane ticket and passport, I remain faithful that God will provide. The easy way out of this added expense would naturally be to not have her go..... but that is essentially saying that God won't provide and therefore I am going to come up with my own answer. That I have already committed to not doing. So if you still want to place an order or send a check for a previously placed order, we would both be very thankful.
Lastly, I am asking everyone who is in the process of adopting to please leave me your blog address so that I can add you to my blogroll. I would like to be able to go to one place where I can check-up on all of your families so that I can pray for you guys.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 Reasons I Love My Adoption Agency

God's Waiting Children

1. The woman who runs the show is my good personal friend who I trust completely.

2. The agency leaves no room for guesswork when doing the paperwork.

3. I can call thirty times and day and am never made to feel like a pest.

4. My phone calls and emails are always responded to within a day if not much sooner.

5. Open communication is very important to them.

6. Reasonably priced, for A + service!

7. Doesn't make promises that they can't deliver--- very honest!

8. Ukraine team is first class all the way.

9. Our in-country stay was memorable and our overall experience was amazing.

10. Provides post-adoption support and follow-ups.

This is our second time using this agency, and I would highly recommend them for anyone considering adopting from Ukraine or Kazakhstan.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Since When Did I Stop Caring......

if my kids were not perfect according to society?

that my kids may not be the best in their class?

if I ever got my empty nest?

about what others thought?

when I received emails like this?
"The major issue is, does the child have a ventriculo peritoneal shunt? Hydrocephalus is typically the major issue. Most of these children do OK, but the majority do not go on to live independent, employed lives. You need to be prepared for chronic medical problems, requiring multidisciplinary care."

Just like for Dennis, I have already started contacting doctors about Alexsey's medical issues. Four years ago, an email like this would have freaked me out on so many levels. I can honestly say, I would have undoubtedly said no to adopting a child with special needs. But that wasn't God's plan, and He has since changed my heart----- big time.

I just don't care about stuff like this---- I have experienced first hand how amazing all these children are, and I have so much hope that I don't have room to be filled with fear. Let me take that back---- I do have fear. I fear that I will miss out on one of God's biggest blessings by not adopting Alexsey. I have faith that God has huge plans for Alexsey's life....... which do not include deteriorating in an institution.

Not too long ago, I met up with a woman at one of Dennis' post-operative check-ups. She had two precious children with her--- one was in a wheelchair and one had a permanent tracheotomy. We got to talking and I found out that she was fostering the boy in the wheel chair and she had adopted from foster care the other little boy. As I talked with her and got a sense of how big her heart was and how much hope she had for these children--- I had a total change of heart towards all children with special needs. And I can't tell you how freeing it was. Things like a tracheotomy or a G-tube, or anything else just doesn't freak me out anymore. In the grand scheme of things--- I have realized that God will never give me more than I can handle---- ever.

And that means that if God does entrust Alexsey in our care by allowing us to adopt him, He will equip us with all we need to parent him...... and I am excited at the thought.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

**How adorable**

This is a picture of Alexsey taken about one year ago. Doesn't he just melt your heart?
We feel privileged to have this "baby" picture of him.

On another note, Sally over at "My Life My Desire" went and did the nicest thing. She started a raffle for this awesome 8GB IP*D Touch to help raise money for Alexsey's adoption. I am in awe that a woman who has also adopted would partner in such a generous way to help us bring Alexsey home! Praise the Lord! Every $15 will get you one chance to put your name in a drawing and will bring us all the closer to getting our son Alexsey home as fast as we can! If you are interested in entering the raffle please go check out her family blog or her son Bryson's adoption blog. Oh, and please feel free to spread the word.

Her family is pretty amazing and her son has come so far in such a short time! Even if you don't want to enter the raffle, please go check out her blog and leave her an encouraging comment.

Documents Found!!!!

Well after searching for the documents again last night---- see, I said I was weak, I went to bed asking God to once again forgive me for giving him by burden but then taking it back like he wasn't big enough to take care of it. I drifted off to sleep in prayer........ this morning no thought of looking for the documents.

And lo and behold....... My daughter Annalyn comes running up the stairs shaking the folder in her hand, "Mama, are these the papers you need?"

Yes they were!!!!!

"Where did you find them Annalyn?"

"They were on the back of the toilet!"

How amazing is that? I visited that toilet at least 10 times since Thursday afternoon when I remember rushing in, documents in hand, to use the bathroom. I must have set the documents on the back of the toilet instead of on the counter where they could have gotten wet.

Praise God!!!! I hope I remember what I have learned .

Friday, February 13, 2009


Honestly, today has been a rough day for me. After typing up two key documents that need to get over to Ukraine ASAP, notarizing them, and then authenticating the notary's signature yesterday, I had plans of going up to Fresno to have them apostilled. I was driving up to Caleb's orthodontist visit anyways, so I wanted to save gas and time and do it all in the same trip. Well, the documents are missing--- *poof* into thin air, and I was almost late to his appointment from searching the whole house. Nearly in tears as I drove on the freeway--- all the kids with me because today is a holiday, I felt really defeated. Silly I know, but all of my work that I had done yesterday felt like it was done for nothing--- and now it looks like I will have to redo everything. Thank God--- I quickly got over it--- really I did, and I explained the whole adoption process to Rachel and Annalyn on the drive.

My Mom watched most of the kids while I took Caleb to his appointment--- a good thing since they were absolutely rambunctious today. Totally embarrassed by their "Jumping off the walls" behavior, I cut our visit short. Thankful to just get home, I tried looking for the documents some more--- while the kids ate lunch.

I have accepted that they are gone--- and I have resolved not to worry about them until Tuesday. But God, I am going to need your help keeping my mind off of them. I want to think of You every time I think of the documents---- but I am weak..........

As I close, I had to mention that I happened to check on our Reece's Rainbow sponsorship page. People have contributed over $200 since I last checked! Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a wonderful blessing!

It is a warm and encouaging feeling to see all of you partnering to bring Alexsey home!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

While we were........

My friend wrote this today. It is in loving memory of two amazing little girls. They were at the same institution that Alexsey was headed to. Right now, the time cannot pass quick enough till we get to go and get our little boy. God, please be his armor of protection until then.

While we were eating...
... they were hungry
While we were playing...
... they were restrained
While we were tucking our kids into bed...
... they were alone
While we turned up the heat...
... they laid in the icy cold
While we wrapped our children in blanket sleepers...
... they laid in their own excrement
While we sang songs and listened to music...
... they listened to the screams and cries of those around them
While we rocked our babies...
... they silently rocked themselves
While we hugged our kids...
... they scratched at their own faces and pulled their own hair for stimulation
While we cried over scraped knees...
... they moaned in their loneliness
While we brushed our daughters' beautiful hair...
... they had their heads shaven to stave off the lice
While we fought off the flu with love and nourishment...
... they got the flu and went Home.
No longer suffering... but so many more still are.
In memory of those that have never felt the love of a family, but have passed away alone. Today we learned of the passing of these two girls in Eastern Europe.

Chasing Paperwork Godspeed

One of the biggest things that I dislike about adoption is the paperwork. It is redundant, time consuming, stressful, expensive, and needs to be done with meticulous care--- or you might as well be a glutton for punishment. Well that I am not---- and so I push forth my best effort to be quick and accurate, and cut corners where I can so that I can save time, money, and my sanity.

This being our fifth adoption----- I am pretty darn good at all of the above.

Did you know that you can schedule numerous doctor's visits on the same day?

Did you know that you can start your I-600A with a photocopy of your marriage certificate that you got when you first married instead of ordering a new one? A new one is needed for your dossier, but if you order one too early, the sixth month rule will apply so then you will have to reorder another one. That makes two notaries and two marriage certificates. I get by with ordering one.

Did you know that your homestudy paperwork is not an exam, nor do they expect you to write a book about your life?

Did you know that social workers don't walk around your house with a white glove on?

Did you know that it might be easier to get your doctor, employer, or bank to fill out the form you need if you take some of their letterhead home and print out the form the way you want it?

This adoption has been moving along like a constant babbling brook. I've interacted with some of the nicest people. As I gather the paperwork and meet with the necessary people whose signatures I need, I feel time and time again that God is showing me that He has us cupped in his hands.

All of our homestudy paperwork is complete--- medicals and social worker visit included. It has only been two weeks! Is that a record?

I started to fill out the paperwork to apply for Dennis' and Julia's passport and called the first place listed that processes applications. A friendly voice answered the phone, and we got to talking. Always thinking of ways to cut corners, I asked if I could authenticate notary signatures there too. This got me explaining that I need to do this so that I could apostille some documents.

The woman said, "Yes, I am familiar with apostilling. I had to do it for our adoption."

"Really? We have adopted too. May I ask what country you adopted from?" I inquired.

"Ukraine. We adopted a little six year old boy about six months ago."


What are the chances of that? This is so just not a coincidence.

"Really? We are doing paperwork to adopt from Ukraine and we came back with our little boy Dennis over the summer."

She exclaimed, "Are you the Reed family!!!?"

So to make a long story short, we common bonded by our adoptions , and she surprised me by offering to do one of the nicest things. She offered to notarize all of my documents for free!

That is so huge and so sweet and it is like a $200 donation! Thank you my friend! Thank you so much! Thanks for partnering with us to bring Alexsey home!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Taking Dennis and Julia

For the first time, John and I are thinking of taking Dennis and Julia with us when we go to Ukraine. For so many reasons, we want to do this. With our other adoptions we hadn't considered taking any of the kids because it was just too expensive---- heck, it is still too expensive, but we feel the benefits will far outweigh the cost. First off, we want Dennis to go back with us because frankly, I just don't think he would do well staying with anyone else. But another big driving force is that we are going back to the same orphanage, and we think that it would be very good for not only the people at the SDA to see Dennis, but to also have all the orphanage workers and the director to see how he is doing. Our hope is that our family and how well Dennis is doing will be an encouragement to the staff where they can feel more positive about Americans adopting their precious children. I am hopeful that this will somehow help future adoptions as well.

Many of the caretakers cried when Dennis left. If I were them, I would still be wondering how he is doing. We would love to give them that piece of mind... and hopefully we can send updates of other children adopted from the same orphanage.

I also think Alexsey would love to meet some of his siblings--- and play with them too! I can imagine playing outside with all three of them pushing Dennis and Alexsey in strollers!

We would like to take Julia with us to so that she can see what kind of environment her sisters lived in. I think it will bring her relationship with her sisters full circle as she gets a sense of just how blessed she is to have a family. Besides, she is very responsible, and has a strong desire to go------ so much that she is going to try to raise her own money for her passport and airline ticket.
This is where she can use some help! She is going to try to raise the money by crocheting bibs and scarfs. All donations will go towards the cost of her trip, so please feel free to start placing orders! These bibs would make great baby shower gifts if you don't have a child that wears bibs.

Suggested donation for each bib in your choice of color is $8.

Suggested donation for a scarf is $15

Please leave a comment or email me if you would like a bib or scarf.
P.S. I am sure many of you are wondering why Rachel isn't going since she was born in Ukraine. Well, this summer she is going to go and stay with her great Aunt Tanya for a few weeks to help care for her after she has her hand surgery. She chose this over Ukraine for similar reasons that Julia chose Ukraine. Rachel is our newest daughter and has not had the opportunity to get to spend time with this wonderful Aunt so she is excited that now she will get her chance!
The other kids are not going because they either didn't want to miss school, shouldn't miss school, didn't feel as passionate about going, or we just don't feel like it is the right time for them to go. Admittedly, one or two are a little jealous, but they also think that Julia riding an airplane and seeing what an orphanage is like will be a good thing for her so they are okay with it.

Alexsey has a place to sleep

Last week I ordered a bunkbed for the three youngest boys. It was finally delivered yesterday!

The kids were so excited! Of course---- they had lots of fun playing with the box!

Adam put most of it together for me.

Here is the finished bed! Doesn't it look great?

The plan is that Jonny is going to sleep on the top, with Dennis and Alexsey sleeping on the bottom. The kids have already made plans to play musical beds over the next few months and they are excited for when Alexsey will be able to play too!

I bought four plastic bins that fit nicely under the bed where they can store toys, shoes, and have easy access to a few changes of clothes.

I feel really blessed today. My kids are really easy to please. All of the kids except Adam and Caleb who are just too cool to make such a big deal, were so excited about the bunk bed. It is literally the coolest bed in the house right now and they told me, "Mom you rock! Thanks for buying this awesome bed. Can we all have one just like it in our room?" Funny how, since it is a metal frame, and I bargain shopped, it also happens to be the least expensive bed too.

Pray with me.

Dear Heavenly Father,

May you prepare not only Alexsey's heart, but all of my children's heart for this adoption. May we rejoice in his future homecoming! Lord, may you hear our prayers that his spina bifida has hardly affected him at all. Lord, regardless of the physical challenges that he may have, we still want him and already love him, and so we ask Lord on his behalf that you work miracles in his precious little body!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back on August 19, 2008

I posted this.......

"Alexsey (Alosha is his nickname) is a three year old little boy with Spina Bifida who would be a delightful addition to any family. I know because I took these pictures of him when we were in Ukraine adopting Dennis last month. He is an absolute sweetie pie. Out of all the children there, I would have chosen him, hands down if we were able to adopt another child at this time. He has the sweetest demeanor, much like Dennis' and his smile could be seen across the playground. I can tell just by the way he interacted with me that he has so much potential. He seemed very inquisitive and I could visualize how he would take off exploring his world if he was just given the chance like our Dennis was. He is able to pull himself up to a standing position and he can walk along the playpen railing by holding onto it. He can follow along in little games and he appears to catch on to things very quickly. When I took a picture of him and then showed it to him, he smiled and asked for more in Russian. I continued to take pictures of him and I could tell it made his day to have the attention. I bet he can live a near normal life if he just had a family to give him the love and attention that every child deserves."

Pray with me.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Be with Alexsey today. Lift his spirits. Lift the spirits of those who care for him. Prepare the way for us to do all that is necessary to bring this little boy home. I pray that Your hands can carefully mend his body in such a way that he will be able to live comfortably someday soon..... freely able to walk, go to the bathroom, stand, swing, rollerskate--- all things that I take for granted. Lord, we love and stand amazed at all that is happening in this adoption thus far. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wow, Wow, and Wow!

Already this adoption has been quite the journey. Sorry I haven't shared much of it with you yet.
I told you that God has already worked some miracles in this process, some bigger than others--- so I will just work my way down chronologically.

1. Just after we committed to adopting Alexsey, another little boy in the same orphanage that we had contemplated adopting also but had not felt peace about, had a family commit to him! Talk about God answering prayers. Talk about God showing us firsthand that He is at work within us.

2. Got news that we could combine our post-placement visit for Dennis that happened last weekend with our homestudy visit-- so that part is already done!

3. Realized that the kids' physicals for our last adoption were still good because they were less than two years old. This was the case for nine of the kids--- which saved us $180 in copays, not to mention numerous trips to the doctor!

4. Ukraine has a new form that they think us adoptive parents can snap our fingers and make our mortgage company, bank, or some other official company fill out and sign! This is almost impossible--- what company wants to sign some unknown document that is going to end up in Ukraine? Well yesterday, I made a special trip to our title company and met with the manager. She agreed to fill out the form--- no problem!

5. Before John and I committed to Alexsey we each confided in a few friends to see what they thought. The responses back were all supportive with one of the friends offering to watch all of the kids when we travel. How amazing is that?

6. I set up a family sponsorship page through Reece's Rainbow yesterday to help offset the costs of another adoption so soon, and I checked on it late this afternoon to find that it already has nearly $700 donated to help bring Alexsey home! I was so surprised in the most wonderful way that so many people would tangibly show their utmost support of our decision! Thank you so much!

7. Every single comment and email totaling nearly 200 have been nothing but encouraging, supportive, and uplifting. Many that I will hold dear to my heart are just a few.

Mary said...
What wonderful news! I'm so happy that Alexsey will have a loving home and family at last and that he will avoid institutionalization. This is definitely an answer to many, many prayers.

Mellimaus said...
OH MY GOODNESS THAT IS SO COOL!I'm grinning.Can't wait to check out the new blog! We're praying for are such a wonderful family, Alexsey will have an awesome home.

Megan said...
From the time you mentioned Alexsey, I knew that he was your son. I always knew you'd go back for him and I couldn't be happier for him, and your family. He looks like a wonderful child who will bring another wonderful light to your bright family. Congratulations and I can't wait to see when he comes home.

The Monroe 6 said...
My heart lept when I read your post!!!! Just awesome!I can not wait until you have him in your arms forever!!God works in mysterious ways. He placed Alexsey in your heart for a reason. So wonderful!Congratulations!!!!

mmc said...
I had a hunch it might happen. Man I have prayed so much for this little guy and promised to donate. I've just been waiting for his name to get posted with the paypal link. Going to donate now. Oh man. I am so excited for your family! And aleksy. Ahhhh. You keep making me cry. I've cried tears of happiness at least four times this week. God is good. I couldn't get aleksy out of my head. I wish I was old enough to adopt. Oh christine. You have made my week.

Charissa said...
Last time I cried for him because I was sad for him. Now tears of joy are running down my face. Thank you for giving that boy the gift of a family.

Joni said...
Congratulations! This is so exciting! Hmmm ... makes me start to think - we have 7 bio children, and I've worked with kids with special needs before having any of my own - and have a special drawing to all kids. I've always assumed we would not be 'considered' for adoption, but .... hmmmm ... maybe we would be able to also take in one of these special children some day! I'll be so excited to follow along your newest 'adventure' here in blog-ville!

Jarka said...
aaaaa!!! this is awesome!!! now it´s morning and I´m going to school and I didn´t want to even wake up because it was so cosy in my bed...then I switched on my laptop and I saw your post!!! congratulation!!!! I keep you all in my prayers...oh, this news made my day better! :D

The Flying Eagle said...
John and Christine, I am so happy that I can not stop crying. I am so thrilled for Alesky but also for you and your family. I have prayed so hard for him ever since you shared his story with me. And so many nights I have ached that we were not able to take him when they presented him to us at the SDA. You have my firm commitment to support you in any possible way you need. I am so grateful to you and your ability to extend beyond what the average person believes capable. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you. Monica

Shari said...
That is wonderful news! I will be praying that the Lord works this quickly and Alexsey can get home soon. I just know he will thrive with your family! I have had a heart change toward international adoption in the last month or so. The Lord has used your blog and another blog to really open my heart to these children who need homes. I will continue to pray for you and the others trying to get their babies home!

Anonymous said...
Mrs Reed,My name is Amanda, I'm 17yrs old. I've been read your blog for several months now, and I just wanted you to know the hope you give me. I cried tears of joy for little Alexsey when I read this. How I wish I could hold his hands and tell him you're coming!I can't wait to turn 18 and donate some of my own time and money to children overseas. I'm so fortunate in what I have, I want to use this position to help others who aren't so well off.I just want you to know, I'll be thinking of you every step of the way.All my love to you and your family,Amanda

Rakel Astros said...
That is amazing! I always had the feeling that you guys would eventually take him in ever since you first talked about him on your blog. Again, this is amazing! My heart is like, pumping like crazy, I'm so excited for you guys and for Alexsey. I will pray for you and for Alexsey as he waits for his parents!God Bless you all!

Debbie said...
Слава Богу (slava Bogu--praise God)! I am doing the happy dance and can't wait until Aleksey is in your arms. He will positively THRIVE with your family. God has answered my prayers in such an amazing way--Aleksey will be the son of my friends, the Reeds!

Please pray with me.

Dear Lord,
Please hear my prayers for little Alexsey tonight. Keep him safe and warm. I pray that your plans include him not walking but running into my open arms someday. I think Alexsey would love that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Happy Announcement!

Hi. We are the Reed Family.

This is a blog about our adoption journey to Alexsey. God willing, we will be able to bring him home to join our family.