Thursday, November 26, 2009

Babysitting services available!!!

Crazy post, huh?  Well, as some of you other adoptive parents know, you will do just about anything to bring your children home.  Like most other parents, we have the money to raise the children(otherwise our homestudies would not be approved, would they?), just not the extra $30K sitting in the bank to bring them home from the orphanage.  So, we have a choice.  You can choose to sit and not think about the kids ever and just let them die.  OR, you can act.  We chose to act.  We chose to take the road less travelled, not always easy and do what we know in our hearts & soul is right.  Sometimes we are called crazy, sometimes selfish, sometimes asked all kinds of questions that you would not ask someone adding to their family through a pregnancy.  However, we understand that many just don't understand that adoption is a way to add to a family.  It is our job as an adoptive family to help educate others and help them to understand the meaning of adoption.  These are OUR children and we can not let them sit over there and pretend they don't exist.  So, it is my job as their mother to get them home.   First step to do that is to commit to them.  Check, I already have.  Second step is to raise the funds to get them home.  I am totally working on that.  We've had one fundraiser already.  That money is being used to purchase passports.  We have collect some donations as well from people.  That money is going toward the homestudy.  Once homestudy is done, we are then applying for adoption grants.  Never a  guarantee with those as many of you know.  So, I know I need to work just as hard.  I am going to start babysitting.  I have posted to facebook, on here, on 4042(a local ad place), craigslist, etc. that I will babysit or do nanny services.  Every little bit helps for sure and maybe some folks will be going Christmas shopping and need a sitter.  Help spread the word about my babysitting services if you don't mind.  Plenty of experience and references are indeed available.  Thanks so much!  Thanksgiving is over and our focus has shifted to getting the children home.  We don't have to Christmas shop this year so really have a little extra time to concentrate on our children over in Bulgaria.  Any other ideas you all have, please do send them my way.  We are doing a bulb fundraiser(flowers) in the spring.  Gift card giveaways are to come soon.  So watch for them! 

Tomorrow we will be very busy so won't be able to write Yana's transformation post until tomorrow evening.  It is really nice to reflect on how far our children have come.  It is simply amazing to see.  Also, tomorrow we are taking the kids to Meadow Lights.  It is a local light show here & best thing is it is simplistic but nice.  We ride a "train" around to see all the lights, visit Santa, and then an old fashioned candy shop.  We usually let the kids have a jumbo candy cane on the way home.  They love it.  --umm, so do we--LOL.  These are the same Christmas joys I wish to share with my children in Bulgaria next year. 

On this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for family.  Both here and a far. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Normally, I'd be in bed soon.  Dummy me started making cookies..pumpkin cookies.  I swear we had baking powder.  Nope.  But, we have a Walmart and I have a VERY sweet husband.  Secretly though, I think he may want something to drink other than water or tea.  LOL.  Our Walmart is now 4 minutes away from our house so makes it a quick trip.  I can't sleep much anyhow.  Wicked chest cold.  But, still looking forward to our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.  Which brings me to why I'm writing.  For those reading this who are not used to the adoption process or how this all works, let me explain about my feelings for my kids.  Yes, I call them MY kids.  Just as anyone who is pregnant w/ their child would say this is my child growing in me, not just this thing or inanimate object.  These kids have names.  Okay, so we still have only named Roman, the boy.  The girls we are just still tossing around names.  Anyhow, the moment you agree to adopt these kids and are aware of them, they become "yours."  Plain and simple.  Same as a pregnancy... the child is yours.  What is hard for me this Thanksgiving is I'm thinking of my kids in an orphanage in Bulgaria.  Wanting so desperately for them to come home but know in my heart it takes time.  Shoot, I've done this process a few times before, you'd think I'd be used to it.  No, I'm not.  I want my kids.  I want my kids to sit at the dining room table tomorrow with a big turkey on it.  I want to hear them laugh and have that sparkle in their eyes as they see piles of desserts that they are indeed allowed to eat.  I want them to go up & hug their relatives that they haven't seen for awhile.  I want the same thing for my kids in Bulgaria, that I want for my kids that have already arrived home forever.  There are so many things that I can't wait to teach my kids and to see them do.  Just because they are an ocean away, doesn't mean I don't think of them.  I think of them daily.  This makes me want to jump on that paperwork even faster.  Watch out Friday!  We're getting things mailed off, getting things done and getting this show on the road as they say.  I've lined up another fundraiser and will ask for advice on a few more.  I've checked into grants.  For now, all I want is to make sure my kids are eating a nutritious meal as we feast on ours tomorrow.  I can't help but feel a bit guilty.  Shouldn't , I know.  As a mother though, I do feel that guilt that I can't help them right now being a world away.  I'm almost positive they will be sitting at the table a year from now with us next Thanksgiving.  Won't that be wonderful?!  These are the things I focus on.  It helps to picture them here.  REally does.  I know these three children coming home absolutely belong with this bunch.  I can already picture Alyona playing baby dolls w/ her younger sisters.  Alex has already told me what he's going to teach Roman.  Bojan has said he'd teach Roman how to walk if he has to get a prosthetic.  They all are fighting over who is going to sit by whom.  My kids do this every time we add more kids to the family.  Trust me, that new sibling happiness wears off quickly once they bond & are just regular brothers & sisters battling it out for the best chair or toy.  It may take a bit to get them home but everythign we do, we'll do for them.  They are just as much a part of our family on this Thanksgiving Day as my other seven children that are asleep in a soft bed.  I've said goodnight to my kids here, I always do.  Now, I say goodnight a different way to my three kids waiting for their parents halfway around the world.  We love you sweet little ones and can barely stand the wait.  So, I leave you all with a poem that I absolutely love.  Hope you like it too.  It is Kisses in the Wind:

Kisses in The Wind



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.
 
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Say a special thought or prayer for all the orphans left behind and those waiting for their parents.  May their bellies be full and their hearts be warmed. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Transformation time for.....Alex!!!

I know you've been waiting for this one for a few days of promises.  Well, you'll get it.  I won't tell everything about Alex for sure.  Like I said, one day I'll actually post their adoption stories and how they came to be ours.  For now, concentrating on how they've transformed since they've been home.  Some have been home for 10 years, some 3, some 5, etc.  Alex was actully hosted by us when he had just turned 3 years old.  A rarity indeed!  They never come over on hosting programs that young so we knew something was up.  We hosted Alex and then returned for him 10 long months later.  I will admit, I did not know if I would survive those first few months with Alex and Yana.  Phew, is all I can say!  Being honest here folks so bare with me.  Alex's past is something that you mostly would see on a tv show and can never imagine any human being doing that to another person, let alone a child of 2 years old.  But many things of a traumatic nature happened to our son before he became ours.  It is a part of who he is.  A part that will never go away and most likely, will never completely heal.  Sad, but true.  Alex came to us an emotional nightmare.  Void of feelings, void of love.  He never had experienced trust in his life.  Never had a family or another person that actually cared about him.  Never had someone just touch him lovingly or even speak nice words to him.  He didn't know how that felt.  It was strange for him indeed.  Alex has received many diagnosis over the years.  Some of which are FAS, RAD, PTSD, one kidney, ADHD, etc.  Long list and won't go through it all.  My kids' dx's aren't who they are and will never define them.  However, it is a part of them and does have an impact on their life.  What many don't know is we didn't know what to do with Alex when he got home.  Rages that we weren't used to seeing.  HOld times lasting way too long.  Hoarding of food as he was so used to not knowing where his next meal would come from.  Many, many things were happening with our son. So like so many others in the adoption world, we sought help for our son.  I literally called over 150 psychologists/ pyschiatrists in the state.  Not a one was willing to take his case.  More than that, most told me to disrupt the adoption.  A disruption is when a child is placed with another family.  They told us Alex would become a sociopath when older as he was showing all the signs.  I wasn't going to accept this as a future for him.  no way.  We knew there was much more to Alex and we just had to hang on tight and dig deep for it. 

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I pulled him out of school, did some research and started regression and hold therapy on my own.  Remember, however, I was taught hold therapy by a previous therapist for Irina and Max.  If you do not know how to do this, do ask.  This is something that can be dangerous to the child if done the wrong way.  That was my psa for the day.  Trust me if you think it was easy being around my son for 24 hours a day, you're wrong!  Love the kid but it was so hard to do this.  But knew I had to dig deep.  I regressed him to infant hood.  Bottlefed him at 5yo.  Rocked him, bathed him, soothed him, comforted him.  All the things he missed as an infant and toddler.  I did it until he gave me signs not to anymore.  He actually started talking to me during some of these sessions with him.  I did not nudge him in any way.  I didn't even know kids that young could remember or recall such events.  But he did.  Broke my heart but my job was to listen only & comfort.  This was all to establish the trust that Alex lacked.  The empathy he lacked.  Slowly, I saw Alex change.  He let me know when things were ready to move forward.  I took ques from him.  The biggest healing came when we brought his new brother home.  Most would frown upon bringing another child into the home when one already has Reactive Attachment Disorder.  It was the best thing we ever did.  I think Alex related Bojan's external physical pain to his internal pain.  Saw that Bojan could heal and Alex started to heal.  Just a theory, nothing more.  It was clear, Alex was moving on.  He went to school the next year w/ the same teacher.  Teacher said to me "what ever you did to Alex worked!  This is a totally different child."  Alex does have residual RAD effects.  They will always linger & tend to go in waves.  Lying & stealing is the worst part I would say in dealing with those disorders.  He went through an episode of that this summer.  Thankfully, he's recovered and is no longer doing that.  He has great compassion now for others.  Something that was nonexistent before.  Imagine, a child who was predicted to be a sociopath transformed into a happy, heatlhy, mentally stable, loving 9yo boy.  No behavior problems and get compliments on him quite often.  A child everyone wanted to give up on we saw hope in.  This has been one of our best transformations.  We now know that Alex will excell in things.  He is a gifted athlete for sure.  He has overcome tremdous odds stacked against him.  We are very proud of who he has become.  See for yourself:



This was Alex at 2 years old right before he came to stay with us.  Notice the blank orphanage stare again.  He wore shoes that were too small for him.  Not a happy little 2yo, is he?  Looking at his eyes, you know he has a story to tell. 




This was Alex recently at an event we went too.  Notice the butterfly on his cheek.  More than that, notice the smile & sparkle backin his eyes.  It has been a long road for Alex but he has made it!  He is a happy, healthy, 9yo boy who loves sports and has a "girlfriend."  He enjoys playing and sharing with his siblings and looks out for his younger sibs.  He's a protector for sure.  This is the same person that showed no compassion or empathy before.  Same kid we were told to write off.  Not a chance!  Way to go Alex.  We can't wait to see what the world has in store for him.  Here is another picture of him and Alyona learning some science. 




Do tell us what you think of this transformation.  I know I am impressed with how far he has come over the last few years.  We are proud and very fortunate to call him our son.  All those people wanted to give up on him.  You never give up on your kids.  No matter how hard the road.  You have to fight for them. They are worth it.  Thanks for letting me share.  There is way more to this story but obviously too long to tell.  Recently, Saturday actually, Alex said he wanted to earn some money & save it.  I said "what are you going to buy with it?"  Figuring he'd say soccer ball or bakigan.  Something like that.  No, he didn't.  He said " I want to help get my brother home so I can teach him things."  What more can a mom & dad ask for?  A caring kid who is thinking of others. 

Angels among us

There is a song & I forget who it is by.  Some of the lyrics are as follows:  "I believe there are angels among us.  Sent down to us from somewhere up above.  They come to you & me in our darkest hour.  Teach us how to live, show us how to give, guide us with a light of love."  Or something to that effect.  Just today as I'm wondering how in the world we will fund this adoption endeavor, an angel steps in.  Renewed my faith that we are indeed doing the right thing & that love will find a way.  It always does.  We did not have the money for Irina & Max until the day before we left!  Anyhow, we were at the dentist today & 5 of our kids were gettting seen.  The dentist does humanitarian aid work in Moldova and other EE countries.  He's been to many orphanages and knows their fate if they stay.  He's thanked us a dozen or more times at least for saving our kids' lives.  Though we don't think of it like that, it is always nice to hear that someone else cares so much.  Well, Dr. Horowitz cared so much that he donated to our adoption fund!  I was beyond thrilled and am overwhelmed at his generosity.  We add it to our fund and we are that much closer to getting that homestudy started. 

We, at this point really need a miracle to pull it off.  We need to raise $3000 and fast.  We're expecting a refund soon for something.  Our homestudy fee is $1700.  Our registration fee is going to be $1600.  Shortly, we'll have a $1000.  So, we need $2300 more to get really flying on this stuff.  They are asking us when we'll have our dossier done.  These kids need us way more than I originally had thought.  Now, we know we are bringing Irina with us on the second trip to help pick up the little kids.  She is a huge help & this will also give her some closure.  That is another post for another day.  See, our son will not be able to walk.  We are checking w/ all our docs what will need to be done to get him wlaking.  He has the determination, that's for sure!  So, we will need help for sure.  I will most likely carry Little Bit in a baby carrier on me.  She doesn't weigh but about 20 lbs.  No big deal.  Irina will most likely work w/ the little girl while I also push the little boy in a stroller since he can't walk.  All the while, Warren will be doing the heavy lifting of luggage & keeping track of all paperwork(vital).  To make things easier, I believe we will all wear the same clothes that pick up trip--LOL. 
Getting the cart before the horse though.  I checked today and am printing off passport apps.  We're going Wednesday to get passport pics done.  Warren, me and Irina.  They are costing less than I thought so that is wonderful b/c more funds then go toward the homestudy.  We are just $700 shy of our homestudy goal & I know we can reach it soon.  These kids are definitely depending on us.  The sooner we can get Little Bit home, the better.  She qualifies for early intervention here & the programs will really help her grow & do amazing things.  Roman(that is what we have decided to name the newest Boyd boy!) will most likely need surgery to get him up & walking and plenty of PT.  We already have a team in place so it will not be hard for them to get things in the works for him before he comes home.  Vascular stuff is new territory but we have some of the top docs in the nation here.  Not too worried.  The other little girl we recently found out is not speaking yet the way she should be.  We know first hand the experience w/ Nik how vital language is.  We now know where to go, how to go about getting help she needs, etc.  So, the sooner the better.  Time is of the essence for sure. 

We had another wonderful working angel at the bank.  One of the ladies there gave us a donation to our adoption fund.  She was actually the first to donate b/c one of the first to know so we could set up the fund!  Thanks so much. 

There are so many wonderful people helping us to help get the kids home.  It is becoming more & more real each day.  As Warren and I sat on the couch last night, we sat there taking it all in.  Looking at the pictures of the future Boyd kids & trying to decide on names.  Usually, we keep their birth names.  That is not possible this go around.  Well, it is but they'd hate us later in life for it--LOL.  So, we both wanted a strong name for the little boy as he has such a strong, fighting spirit.  His new name will be Roman.  If you see the picture, you see it fits him to a tee & it is so dog gone close to his birhname, we went with it.  The girls are tougher.  So many great girls' names.  But, need to find the ones that will ultimately fit the personalities of our little girls.  Warren came up w/ a few as did I.  Nothing we are ahhing over though so giving it more thought.  So, we finally decided on one of the 3 kids' names.  Not bad.  Don't know about anyone else, but whether you have a birth child or adopt a child, naming them seems to be such a fun time.  It becomes real that these little children will share a life with you and become part of who you are.  Very exciting to think about it. 

Just wanted to thank all the angels among us during this adoption adventure.  We have a long way to go but looking forward to meeting all our angels along the way and paying it forward.  I can never thank the many people involved in our process.  Too many to name.  Just know we will never forget you and when it is our opportunity, we will indeed pay it forward.  Below is a picture of our kids from a trip we took to D.C. over the summer.  We think their names fit them.  How about you?  Hope Roman will like his name.  Now, to work on the other two names.  Suggestions welcomed! 



We have Alyona standing tall at the top.  Next row is Yana, Bojan, Max, Alex and then at the bottom is Nik and Irina.  Do their names fit?  We think so.  Stay tuned later for Alex's transformation piece.  I love the before and after of the kids.  A family makes all the difference in the world.  We just think about that every time we want to give up or think we can't do this again.  We look at our kids and think of what their fate would have been had we not stayed.  Many would be dead by now.  Some of those kids above that you are looking at were destined to go to institutions where they tie you down in a bed all day long to lay in your own filth.  No stimulation, no touch, no love.  Listen to wailing all day long.  Yet above, they are healthy, happy (okay, most of the time--LOL...they are kids after all), and unlimited in potential.  I feel the same way of our newest additions.  Thanks for listening and Alex's post will be forthcoming. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Samuel needs a home & FAST"....

Hello all.  Though I wanted my next post to be about Alex, this one is far more critical in regards to time.  I have a lifetime w/ Alex to talk about him and this little one doesn't have much time left if something is not done.  I'll cut to the chase.  The agency I use has asked me to help them find a home for a little 6yo boy whose time is running short in life.  See, Samuel also resides in the same area as one of our children (not saying whether it is present or future children as to not to disclose location).  I will however, give you the location if you contact me privately as to what country it is.  Samuel is a wonderful kid.  Actually, so great in fact that we had truly considered asdding him to our family first!  He is well behaved, cute as can be, sweet personality.  Growing pretty well.  Medically, Samuel does have a shunt.  However, this does not slow him down nor cause him problems.  I do know someone that can tell you more about a shunt as she has a son w/ one.  She said many people are scared of them but really not necessary to be.  Her son also gets along just fine.  I have seen Samuel in action on video.  I would not hesitate adding him to our family.  He is said to be a little developmentally slow but this is very typical of a child in an institution.  Remember, Nik came home to us at an 18 month level when he was 4yo.  He was also considered slow and retarded.  He caught up w/in the year and is now very gifted academically.  So, you just never know.  The fees for this little boy have been reduced lower than I have ever seen in a long time.  VERY reasonable for an adoption as they are truly just concerned of his well being at this time.  He is scheduled to be moved to an institution in mid-December if they don't have a family commit to him soon.  This would truly be tragic to waste his life.  He has unlimited potential and just seems like such a sweetheart.  This is very hard for me b/c I do feel connected to him and am not ready for him to be sent to an institution.  I know his forever family has to be reading this.  If you can't be his family, at least spread the word about him to everyone you know.  This institution has some very aggressive and very bad kids in it.  He is suspected not to survive long there if he goes.  Would be a tradgedy for sure.  Please help to rescue Samuel and save his life.  This is not just another orphan needing a home.  Many will overlook Samuel b/c they consider him very special needs.  I have adopted many children at this very age he is.  They are great, adjust fairly easily.  Help me get the word out about this wonderful little boy that needs a helping hand from across the ocean.  I can not tell you what it would mean to me for us to be able to find him a home in less than  two weeks.  I know we can do it if we try.  Spread the word on facebook , on your blogs, to your friends, whereever & whoever you can.  It will make a difference and will indeed save a life.  I know things would most likely be expedited in this adoption case.  It would be a whirlwind for a family as they are really trying to get him out soon.  Write me privately at boydbunch@gmail.com for more details of fees and country location.  I am not allowed to share the photos online in a public place.  That would be something the agency would do.  THere are some kids that just touch you.  This one surely has.  I've advocated in general in the past & on occassion some specific kids.  Samuel is one special kid that truly deserves a shot at a real family.  Please make this Holiday Miracle come true for him.  Again, this is VERY hard for me as I know where he is.  I know what is to come if things are not lined up before December 20th.  Have anyone interested write me privately.  Sorry I am not allowed to release but a certain amount of info.  I will write later about Alex but must get Samuel's story and name out there for all to see.  We must find him a home.  Please help.  It doesn't cost a dime to spread the word about an orphan in need of a family.  Btw, the fees associated w/ him are very minimal and extremely reasonable.  Thanks for taking the time to read this and more than that, spread the word.  We're running out of time.  Samuel is running out of time.  We can save his life this Christmas, we truly can if we work together. 

Fundraiser 1 ...done!/ next step in process

What a day!  Or was that night?--LOL.  Hard to tell as we were pretty much up 24 hours trying to get everything done.  I can really not say enough about the amount of help we had.  It was wonderful to see so many w/ caring hearts & soul.  Very touching.  One of our neighbors and her husband baked 4 whole pies for us!  BTW, they sold.  Thanks Martha & Rob, you're the best!  Hope I can try a pie soon.  They baked tons of cookies as well.  I wish I could name everyone that helped up, I really do but honestly can't remember them all.  Donations, baked goods, time, etc.  Michael and his mom were simply fantastic.  Just couldn't have pulled this fundraiser off w/out everyone's help.  Meant a lot to us for sure.  As Warren said, we're just about a 100 yardsales away from our goal.  We made $316 yesterday which isn't bad considering the small turn out of customers.  We learned later that right up the street on a local farm there was a mini market of a yardsale of all yardsales.  Stiff competition for sure--LOL.  either way, we still made enough for us to renew our passports.  Now, it is a race against time to get the homestudy done.  These kids really do need us to get them home soon.  Very soon.  Can't do that until we have the necessary funds.  Homestudy is vital and $1700 will be needed for that.  I know, inflation.  When we did our very first homestudy for Irina and Max, it was $600.  So, we'd like to do fundraisers that others can take something home with them or something similiar.  We have received some donations as well which are greatly appreciated.  I think later today we will be announcing 2 more fundraisers which anyone can do.  Possible 3 fundraisers.  First will be a gift card giveaway just in time for Christmas!  So put in your requests please.  I think we'll do one for Target, Walmart and a restaurant of some sort.  we're thinking of doing $50 increments or $100 increments.  With it being so close to Christmas, this will be a great way to shop.  I will let our kids draw names out of a hat for the winner from all the entries.  Also, had thought about an IPOD giveaway but not sure about that one.  There will also be a magazine fundraiser online.  This is a great way to get Christmas presents for those who are hard to buy for.  We did this last adoption and folks really did enjoy it.  Trying to get all the details together.  In the spring, we will probably do a bulb fundraiser as it is really enjoyable to see the flowers come up.  If anyone has other ideas, please do feel free to share.  I am also going to be advertising my babysitting services.  Doesn't pay much but hey, every little bit helps for sure.  May even attempt a parent's night out sort of event.  The more creative, the better it will be. 

Meantime, I will concentrate on paperwork today & prepping the house for Thanksgiving.  For paperwork, filling out passport applications and registration w/ the agency.  For those new to international adoptions, you must have a passport to travel.  This is the first time we've had to renew our passports for adoptions.  Honestly, I thought they ran out in 2010, not 2009.  URGHH.  No big deal.  After this, we register w/ our agency saying we know the risks of international adoption and agree to take classes.  Yeh okay.  Even though at this point, I'm sure we'd qualify as instructors of the classes--LOL.  After the registration, it is onto our homestudy.  For that, we need funds.  We have some of the amount necessary but need a bit more.  Once all in, our social worker is wonderful as she is FAST.  That is mainly b/c she knows us well.  Plus, she was just here last month for a follow up on Alyona and Nik.   She stayed 3 hours.  We like her a lot.  And, she's not scared off by all the kids.  Her mom was from a family of 10 kids too.  Our first homestudy, we were terrified.  Made sure everything was spotless, dressed nicely, etc.  Last homestudy, I'm pretty sure one of the kids was even in their pajamas.  Not joking.  Our house is cleaned, we do that every Saturday & Wednesday.  However, it is also lived in.  I"m sure there is always laundry on the floor or dishes in the sink.  One dishwasher is not the most brillant remodel idea.  We have 2 refridgerators, two sinks and 1 dishwasher.  Just doesn't add up.  We never claim to have the perfect house and I am no June Cleaver.  However, we do love the kids, do things as a family and pick our battles wisely.  We don't fake anything for the social worker.  We want her to see us as we live.  With the normal trials and tribulations of life.  I remember one time a worker came here and the dishwasher had broken.  We kept up as best we could but failed on that task miserably.  She said life happens and glad you can roll with the punches.  Important in family life.  That's when I realized they want to see how you handle situations, not the pristine mantel in the living room.  Getting sidetracked as usual. 

Homestudy is next.  Can't wait.  That's when you know you are really getting started on this process.  After the homestudy, we do the I-800A.  That is approval from our government saying we can adopt.  Adoption is a long process.  So easily forgotten if you haven't done it in years.  Hint, hint.  Adoption, especially international, has rules that change from year to year.  Sometimes, from week to week.  It is always different.  Process is about the same just many added steps.  Now, you have Hague Regulations to follow as well.  This is true of Bulgaria.  It is in the best interest of the children though so I thoroughly understand.  Adoption teaches you the ends justifies the means for sure.  Teaches you to be patient.  To be kind.  There are many lessons in the process of adoption itself.  Many I have learned and many I have yet to learn I'm sure.  Come along with me as I learn these lessons.  First lesson is choices.  Some choices you have, some you don't.  You can choose your social worker agency.  Many times you can choose your child.  For us, the children seem to choose us.  It has always been that way.  We see a child and just know they are meant to be with our family.  I can not explain that.  Nor will I even attempt to.  Just know eveyrthing happens for a reason.  That I truly believe.  Stay tuned as we have many more things to say.  I will definitely write Alex's transformation today.  It is one of my highlights for sure.  After that, it will be onto Yana.  I will keep you posted on some fo the adoption paperwork trail.  Pretty dull.  Necessary though.  Can't wait to tell you more about my kiddos.  Alex is next.  You won't believe his story or his transformation. 

I do just want to take a moment to thank my kids even though they don't read this.  Irina babysat for our neighbors yesterday.  She got paid.  She came home & put it in the donation jar.  I said "honey, that's your money, you keep it.  spend it how you wish."  She then said, "but mom, I am.  I'm getting my brother and sister home."  She is our oldest and does understand about orphanage life & what it is like.  She wants them home just as much as we do.  I made her take the money back.  I told her she could help with fundraisers instead.  Get this.  If you don't think asdoption touches people.  Alex, who you'll hear more about later, has RAD.  Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Many of these children find it hard to show compassion w/ this disorder and are pretty much out for themselves for a better lack of terms.  They have severe issues trusting people.  Yesterday, Alex said " I want to make money."  I said "really, what do you want to buy?"  I was guessing he'd say bakigun or soccer ball or whatever.  No, he did not.  He said I want to help you get my brother home.  Yes, that did indeed come out of one of my RADish's mouth!  I was stunned.  That is purely a testimony for adoption if I ever saw.  Alex's heart clearly does demonstrate compassion for others.  He can see the bigger picture of things.  Really was touching and really did show me that these kids can overcome so much.  I was extremely proud of Alex.  He showed compassion and generosity.  I told him too he could volunteer at some of the fundraisers.  Okay, I really do need to do cleaning up and prepping for Thanksgiving.  Will chat more later about Alex.  So much to say about that one.  He has come beyond a long way and beaten all odds.  Enjoy your weekend!  Read more this afternoon.