Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Little Fashionista

Okay, so I pretty much get almost everything from yard sales, hand me downs or consignment shops.  Love it.  Saves us a ton.  But everything once in awhile, I want something special for a particular child.  Like I know when next year comes, I'll be looking for a dress for Yana at stores.  need to save up I guess.  Anyhow, this time I wanted a really girlie dress for Summer.  Something just for her that was new.  Bought just for her.  She's my youngest and I know will rarely have the opportunity for anything new.  So, the other day I splurged. 

Do you think she'll look beautiful when a professional takes her picture?

She too is SO pleased with the choice.  Summer is such a pink princess.  Loves pink and anything girlie.  

A closer up view of the dress.  Bad lighting but gives you a better idea of what it looks like.  I can't wait to take it professionally somewhere.  Just want to remember my sweet little Bulgarian princess when she was little.  Should have done this months ago.  She went from a 3T to a 6 in the blink of an eye.  I have a favorite picture of all my kids.  One of Alex is in a special winnie the pooh costume I bought him.  Now, I need to find something just as special for Reni.  She though is quite picky.  May take some time to do.  

Just had to share.  Warren worked today.  Kids and I hung out here.  Got 2 ceiling fans finally to replace the ones that have been broken now for well over a year.  Not much going on right now.  That's a good thing though.  Kids and I are now addicted to a show on Netflix called Flashpoint.  I had heard of it but never seen it before.  Summer of course is still addicted to Diego and Dora.  More to come.  One day, I'll catch up with emails.  One day. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birch Box and Glam Bag

I know I've talked about something called Cravebox and have gotten it for quite some time.  Now, I'll tell you about something we've tried here.  Remember, I have 5 girls.  Anything to save some bucks on cosmetic type stuff is wonderful.

The much anticipated  Birch Box.  

Just like the Cravebox, we're anxious to see what's inside.

Cool looking Ziploc bags.  

At first, I thought this was weird.  Then, I tried it.  It's called Stainiac.  Lip tint.  Pretty cool.  Goes on bright but then lightens up.  Just neat.  

This was all of the contents.  The bronzer is awesome and I really, really liked the nail polish wipes.  Taylor Swift perfume the girls took.  All in all, great stuff!  The bronzer was $36.  The lip balm is $17.  So, not even counting the samples, those two things are well worth the $10 a month.  This is the second time I've gotten this one.  The first time I wasn't impressed. However, this time, I liked it.  And for us, an extremely good bargain.  Keep in mind, we have 5 girls here plus myself.  

Now, the new thing I tried this month was a thing called glam bag.  Had never heard of this one before.  Figured, what the heck.  See, I'm trying all these and then deciding which ones would benefit us most.  We already know we're keeping Cravebox.  Then, we'll decide which other one we like.  Anyhow, back to glam bag.

Not a box but a bag this time.  

Reni is ready to see what she can claim as hers.  Funny, kids all hover now waiting to see what they can claim.  

Very bright pink lipstick, some moisturizer, styling creme, and eye liner.  Not bad.  All of us though were not as impressed w/ glam bag as the other two things we've tried.  We'll give it one more month.  We've agreed to give all these sample $10 a month boxes at least two tries.  Then, we choose.  I've heard there's another one called sample society but it's $15 a month.  I know the products in what we've gotten we've used.  However, if it's something fancy, you know we'll never buy it again.  Cravebox was more of what we could afford long term if we liked it so I like that idea.  Just something nice to try.  Like I said, we'll only do 1 or two a month.  It will work out cheaper than the store for sure.

This, this is what I WON!  Wahoo!!!  LOL.  I know, but I won it.  Makes it more cool, right?  I entered some Dr. Oz contest and actually won a prize.  This is what I got.  Try not to be jealous of my neti pot.  The only other thing I ever won was at a wellness fair.  I won a blow up CPR dummy.  Yeh, I have all the luck for prizes don't I?  See, this is why the lottery is just not my thing. LOL.  Knowing my luck I'd win jelly for a year or something.  Hey, I've heard these neti pots are cool and as long as the boys don't pee in this one (those new, story from last year), we're good to go.  

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We get the bus tomorrow!  Kids are so excited.  Warren works in the morning.  I'm bummed & so are th e girls.  We have to miss the yard sales.  bummer.  We still are enjoying are $5 fire pit though.  Next post is of generous people.  More later.  Church is using our van tomorrow.  Umm, I might want to go clean it out. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Remembering last year.....

I can not believe this time last year, we were in Bulgaria.  We enjoyed our time so, so much there.  We truly did.  It was wonderful. 

Kids wrote us things before we left and we opened them at the airport.

First time staying at Scotty's.  Umm, read about it.  LOL.  

On our way to Kardzhali to meet our daughter for the first time ever!

Summer, unsure yet clutching a photo album we brought her.

Look at Summer's body language.  she's just simply terrified.

We tried everything to get her to play.  Everything.

Would she ever come out of that shell she was in??  BTW, that dress she's in we brought her.  It was a 2T.  She's now a size 6!

Would my baby girl ever be okay?  Would she ever trust us?

That look.  So scared.  I just wanted to hold her.  I couldn't.  She wouldn't let us touch her.  Shoot, now I can't peel the kid off of me.  LOL.  

Quietly working with Daddy.  Yet, making sure she kept her distance.


Would I ever get a smile out of her?

No, I never would.  Not a one.  We knew then plans would have to be made to lessen the trauma of the pick up trip.  Do you realize how hard and how much strength it took NOT to hold my daughter that first trip?  No hug.  No kiss.  No hand holding.  No touching.  Could we ever break through to her?  Well, you've seen recent pictures and know the answer to that.  Summer is FULL of LIFE and SPUNK!  All smiles, all the time.  Incredible transformation for our girl.  

I still can not believe this time last year, this is where we were.  Deciding to change our lives forever.  For the better!  She is spoiled rotten now.  LOL.  Everyone just adores her.  She lights up the room and you can't help but smile. So last year, we were emotionally drained parents trying to reach our daughter, to connect with her.  She simply needed to be home.  

So soon we will take vacation as a family.  Last year at this time we were away from each other and meeting new family members.  I would have never thought it possible this time last year.  Though it was fantastic meeting her, all I can say is it is just awesome to have her HOME and loved.  Now, you rarely see that face above.  For now, she is nothing but smiles!  Yes, last year there was a lot to think about. 

Alex & Alyona's b-days

Thought I'd do a quick bit here in case I missed anyone.  Alex and Alyona's birthdays are coming up soon.  Alyona is on the 27th and Alex's is on July 5th.  We are leaving for vacation this coming week.  We come home and have just two days to get ready before we have a party for the two of them.  So, trying to prepare as best I can.  To do that, I need to know how many will be coming.  We'll be having a pool party for Alyona and Alex.  Alex will be 12 and Alyona will be becoming a teenager.  Can hardly believe it!  So, we want to celebrate with them.  You all are invited. I know some locals read this so figured I'd post here.  We are having a pool party June 30th at 12pm.  It will go until we're done.  LOL.  Just good old fashion fun.  Swim, eat, party, sparklers, etc.  Keeping it simple but fun.  So, come on and join the fun.  But please, please let me know if you're able to attend.  I really need a head count before vacation.  Thanks so much as I really want to make this special for these two.  As you know, kids w/ FAS are very limited in social abilities and friend making.  It's been a tough few years.  Trying to make this a fun time & memorable.  RSVP to us at 

You MUST go to Wendy's!!! JUNE 16 & 17

Why must you go to Wendy's this weekend??? Because for every Frosty, parfait, milkshake, etc. they sell, they will donate .50 to Dave Thomas Foundation.  For those that don't know, this helps kids get families forever!  They have something called Wendy's Wonderful Kids.  Check it out here:  Wendy's

They do this every Father's Day Weekend.  My kids love Frosties and so do I.  It's a win-win.  Can you imagine what this would mean if every family went to get a Frosty this weekend?!  So many kids waiting for families.  And just by drinking a delicious dessert this weekend, YOU can help.  Amazing stuff.  Here is a link to Wendy's so that you can see what it's all about.  Treat yourself & others!   Only will take a few minutes of your time this weekend and you will enjoy something cool and delicious for that hot summer day.  Please share.  You can also share on Facebook.  Enjoy your Frosties!  I know we will.

What's happening???

Well, explained a little.  Today is Wednesday.  Already talked about Bojan and Nik's appointments this week.  Those are the only ones this week.  Next I talked of Alyona's IEP that's going nowhere fast.  Then I mentioned something about a bus.  Okay, originally, this is the bus we had found:

Like I said, a literal bus.  It was a type of city bus.  Awesome shape.

This is the inside of that bus.  Plenty of seats as you can see.  Would have been perfect.  Or so we thought.  Great shape.  However, we would have needed a CDL w/ air brake endorsements along w/ a medical.  Not enough time to do that.  Dealer told us we did not need this type of license but we felt we should double check w/ the DMV.  Sure enough, we needed it.  So, we decided to look at some other options.  This was one of them: 

This is our new bus.  It's a monster.  LOL.  It's 32 feet long.  Yikes!  Warren will be driving this thing for sure.  It is a 1995 model that was owned by a preacher originally.  Immaculate shape for sure. All new tires, just serviced, new carpet, etc.  Incredible.  
 image 3

 This is just part of the interior.  He just had it reupholstered.  Warren said it looked brand spanking new.  Stove never been used even.  Clean as clean can be.  Don't worry after this trip, I'm sure it will be broken in w/ plenty of kid dirt.  The seat belts were tucked in for show I guess.  Summer's car seat will still be part of the trip. 

image 1

 This is some of the other part.  The back will be replaced w/another bench seat from a van.  That way, more seat belts.  In addition, the older kids could hang out w/ a movie in the back and the little kids watch one up front.  Bathroom available any time.

We've been talking about purchasing one of these for a long time now.  After the last trip to the mountains a few weeks ago, we knew we could in no way shape or form make the trip to Ohio in our current van and still be of sound mind and body when done.  So, started looking at rentals.  Umm, sticker shock.  Dealers...even more of a sticker shock.  Sorry, but very, very limited budget.  So, Craigslist and Ebay it was.  We've purchased 2 vans off of ebay in the past so not worried.  This time, it was Craigslist that pulled through.  Pleased with the deal and even more with the rv.  Plenty of storage for us to take things.  Last trip I wouldn't let Yana take any hair dryer or anything.  LOL.  This time I told her she can take what she wants.  She's thrilled as any teenage girl would be.  Everyone will have their own compartment under the bus.  Love it!  Kids can play cards, watch tv, etc.

We may do a practice run this weekend.  Maybe to a local lake so Warren can get more of a feel for the bus.  He's flown planes before and driven big tractors and things in the past so this will be fine.  We all can barely stand the wait. I'm sure the kids will be packing as soon as they see it.  Next, I have to double check w/ the campgrounds about parking it.  See, we're not camping in it.  This is mainly for driving and storage and cooking and such.  We've rented two cabins and that's where we'll sleep.

Hoping this vehicle will last years to come and we'll have some great memories together.  Kids are already repeating lines from the movie RV. Need to get going here.  Making tons of appointments for people.  So much to tell.  I think next post will have to be about what all is going on around here.  Posts forthcoming.  Today has been spent trying to catch up on things needing to be done around here.  I'm getting there....slowly.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where's the tape mom??

It is one of my biggest pet peeves in the house.  Inevitably, if the kids need tape for something, they must, they must use the entire roll of tape.  Just a rule I believe that is unwritten in this house. 

The other day Logan and Nik saw my empty blueberry containers.  They decided to make puppets.  

Nik's puppet.  Umm, notice a little tape on there do ya?

Logan's puppet.  I thought both were quite clever using what we had laying around.  Not only that, they actually work, mouth and all.  So, I guess it's okay that my tape is now gone.  Creativity prevailed.  Much more to come.  Been super duper busy today.  Now, time for a late evening dinner.  Grilled chicken, mashed red bliss potatoes, peas & carrots, and cranberry sauce.  Yum.  Tomorrow, 3 of us get new glasses.  Wahoo!!!  I can see again.  Reni and Alyona will get their glasses fixed.  

Nik's audiology went good today.  They adjusted his mapping a bit.  First thing he asked me when he found out he was going to an appointment was is he getting his Neptunes.  I SO want to find a way to make it happen.  Shoot, not like you can take a loan out for that one.  Though, I will ask anyhow.  LOL.  I wish Nik would talk more when he's there though.  I'm not sure they totally believe us.  So, this next go around, I'm going to record him and take it with us.  6 months from now.  I think they'd be really surprised.  Though Warren said shen they asked him to do something, he'd do it.  So, understanding is there.  

Still waiting on the school for Alyona's IEP.  Heard nothing thus far.  Not a thing.  Called today.  They told me the teacher was gone for the summer.  I said that's fine, I guess i"ll just finish this up with central office.  Tune changed.  They then told me she'll be in tomorrow.  I have a feeling she was there and did not want to talk to me quite yet.  If they don't return my call tomorrow, central office.  If they do nothing again, DPI (department of public instruction in this state).  For once, I'd love an IEP to go smoothly from start to finish.  Maybe soon.  More later on.  dinner needs to be done. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bojan's results and tidbits

Bojan went back to Duke for a follow up for surgery.  Since his foot is hurting badly again they were concerned about possible stress fractures.  There are none.  So, they gave him a lift to help w/ weight distribution.  In addition, now his pylon is way too short so need a new pylon and a new liner while we're at it.  His toes still cross over and unless it's raw and bleeding, they won't do anything.  URGHH!!!  They told me it would straighten out after surgery on it's own.  Still giving things a few months and they want to see him back in 6 months.  Next, new prosthetic appointment.

Today we lounged around in the morning and watched movies as it was pouring outside.  Then, I headed to the bank and off to a consignment shop.  Girls needed a few new shorts.  So, the teens and their friend helped them pick stuff out.  Summer and I enjoyed looking on the .99 cent rack and half off rack.  Awesome deals and cool clothes.  Came home and took care of things around the house.

News of the day was we found a bus.  Can't wait to take pictures.   Perfect for us to travel and just what we needed.   Been looking for years yet wasn't sure whether to do it.  Well, since the last road trip to the mountains, we realized we have outgrown the 12 passenger van for trips.  Setting stuff on your laps, sitting on sleeping bags, and having stuff on your feet the whole time while crammed shoulder over shoulder (Not should to shoulder either) is just not a pleasant time for anyone despite trying to make the best of it.  We looked seriously into renting a bus or rv.  I checked a few places and all were hovering at the $2K mark...yikes!  Even one of the places said you know, you could put this toward a used one.  Yep, you sure can.  We've put a hitch on our previous van and towed a trailer.  Gas mileage plummets that way.  Rented a u-haul.  Still, we wanted something a bit more permanent this time and easily accessed for things we need when we need them.  We also have a few w/ urological issues still and that's all we'll say about that one.  Don't feel like stopping or we'll never get there.  So, we were on the hunt for a bus, rv or something of that nature.  We found an old city bus locally.  Guy said we didn't need a CDL and we said are you sure?  Oh, no, no.  Well, we wanted to be better safe than sorry.  Not only did you need a CDL but also an air brake endorsement along w/ a medical.  And, you have to schedule the test which can't be done for weeks.  That was a no much to the disappointment of Max.  He really did like that bus. 

We were on a strict budget of course.  So choices will be limited.  We don't mind fixer a point.  Warren went to one last weekend.  A 1974 model.  Guy said he rebuilt the engine, transmission, etc.  Warren got there and so let's go.  Guy said "uh, it doesn't run."  Really?!  Had to laugh.  From then on first question was does it run.  Next, some of the kids and us went to see another one.  Remember, we were keeping an open mind of what we could do to fix it up.  When Max sat down on the seat, dust flew everywhere.  It was hilarious, just like a movie and wished I'd had the camera.  Ridiculous!  Finally found 2 decent ones.  Went to go look at one today...sold.  Went to look at one yesterday...sold already again.  bEgan to think this is just not in the cards yet we all still kept looking.  Shoot, the kids' friends were helping us look.  One of them said check that out.  I said "no, just a scam if it says $14 or $9 or $1."  What I did NOT know is on those #'s they were simply leaving the K out of it!  Well, that opened up a few more.  Found one, called and Warren checked it out after work.  Preacher owned it before. Immaculate shape.  Awesome bus and can't wait to show you all.  He didn't have the camera.  Now, trying to think of a name for it of course.  kids can't wait to get it home and start packing.  LOL. This will be our travel bus.  Would have come in handy last weekend when we went to the beach and such. I have yet to see it in person. 

No, this originally was NOT in the plans but plans change.  I know in the long run, this is definitely money saved especially in gas and renting and such things.  I also know it will be kept for years.  Not to mention, our current two vehicles are a few short months from being paid for.  In a few trips this year, the vehicle will have paid for itself.  We didn't think how different it'd be w/ 12 of us now and the teens getting bigger.  It's like when we used to have 4 car seats in the van before this big van.  Had to make a change.  Same here but this will be an awesome change I do believe.  Tomorrow morning, papers get signed. Bus will be picked up this weekend.  Not far from here.  Guarantee  you kids will have bags in the bottom of that bus by Sunday morning.  LOL.  yep, I won't know where half the stuff is I'm sure of it.  Pictures to follow when we get them. 

Nik has an audiology appointment tomorrow at 8:30am.  Warren is taking him, I'm going to the bank for the title signing and such.  Coming home and then getting stuff taken care of at SOS office.  Busy day tomorrow.  Reni needs to get her ears pierced.  Okay, need is not the right word.  But, it was part of her b-day present and she never got it done.  She's 10yo.  Funny thing is they told her in Bulgaria not to do it last year b/c it might make her new mom & dad mad.  Nope, don't care.  We don't do it on little, little kids.  Summer wants hers pierced but not yet.  Too young.  I like her natural for awhile.  No holes.  Plus, she's too young to care for them.  Got to go.  Too much else going on around here and honestly, I haven't had time to share it all.  Much, much more to share.  Documentary crew coming, possible interview w/ paper on FASD in September, IEP not being done, and a sweet, sweet gesture today from Australia.  Again, tons more to discuss and share but I must get many other things done first.  blog is last on the list.  Maybe tomorrow I can finally update w/ a few pictures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Church clubs-- last one

Last week, kids had their final church club meeting.  See, they go every Wednesday night.  In the fall they took science, ASL, jump rope and cooking clubs.  This semester they did P.E., music, art, dance and puppet clubs.  My older kids obviously act more as volunteers.  They all really do enjoy it very much.  So, last week it was the final one and they got to show off a bit of what they did.

Yana, reading some scripture.  She also helped the younger kids read when they needed it.  

Sometimes it is SO hard watching Alyona not get things.  She is supposed to be dancing the steps the girl is reading.  Alyona was watching her feet but just couldn't understand how to do it.  It is times like these that I feel so bad for her.  I know I shouldn't as there is much she CAN do but still doesn't make it any easier seeing her miss out on simple things.

Yana, Logan and Reni listening to some of the other clubs.  Reni is missing her glasses that night  b/c she broke them.  They're fixed now.

Summer and Nik getting ready for the puppet show.

They were both so proud that they painted this poster.  Nik kept peeking his head out so I could take a picture.  I have never laughed so hard in my life.  All the kids in this puppet show had us cracking up.  The whole audience was laughing.  

 They didn't want to give the puppets back.  LOL.

Max did a perspective drawing as well.  There are some awesome artists in this club.

Irina didn't want me to take a picture of her drawing.  She kept saying it looked stupid.  I thought it was beautiful!  Colors and all.  

Nik, a little wiped out later.  Plus, floor's cold.  

Kids had an awesome time at the church clubs this year. I was so happy they were offered.  They learn so, so much.  Fellowship can't be at as well.  Love it.  Next fall they'll have more clubs.  Kids are already asking what they have.  Just wanted to share.  More tomorrow.  Have some more organizing to do.  Tomorrow Warren is taking Bojan to Duke for ortho appt.   Kids and I will be doing a few errands.  Today we stayed home and super cleaned.  Felt great to do.  Now, time for some more organizing.  Good night all.

How do you afford an adoption??

I get this question all the time.  How do you afford one, let alone ten adoptions?  I am going to be honest in this post.  I have opinions just as everyone else does.  I know adoption financing is a personal subject and also many differences in how the adoption community thinks about and does things about it.  This is just my side based on my stories and my experiences.  Not a single adoption is ever the same.  Especially, when it comes to our adoptions as we have never had a smooth or easy or dull adoption.  Ever.  Our adoption agencies say we are "due" one.  Not sure that will happen in the future.  I'm almost positive we are done.  Same way I thought we were done after Irina and Max.  And goodness knows I was absolutely done after Yana and Alex.  Most definitely after Bojan.  Positively 100% done after Nik and Alyona.  And w/ out a doubt done now after Logan, Reni and Summer.  Right?  Don't answer here Warren.  He's reading this about to pass out, I'm sure.

Point I'm trying to make, is you just never know when you are done.  Honestly, you don't.  So now I never say I'm done.  I am one though who believes you need to wait till you know for certain your children that you just brought home are adjusted before committing to another adoption.  Also, this allows you to get your finances in order.  Now, let's talk finances.  This is where I think I will catch some comments and that's okay.  Here goes.  Do you have to have the money upfront to adopt?  No.  Do you have to have a back up plan in case you can't get that money?  ABSOLUTELY!!!!  I always grew up hearing the saying "God helps them that helps themselves."  And I have to agree with that.  I will go through adoption after adoption of ours and tell you how we did it and what we did.  And it did NOT always require fundraising.  I truly think those should be last resorts.  I will talk about how you must be prepared.  Trust me on that one as you will need funds once home.  You will.  You might not think so, but you will.

Here goes nothing.  Bare with me though.  I hear people all the time go we adopted  and now want to go back.  That's back to back adoptions.  I don't know how we'll do it.  I don't know.  And, they go to a chip-in bar in some what of a panic I feel.  If you don't think I know what I'm talking about that's fine.  But bare with me to the end.  Just to let you know, we went from 2 kids to 7 kids in a 2 and a half year time frame.  Yes, that is 5 adoptions in just 2.5 years.  And no, we didn't have fundraisers or chip-ins back then.  We did it on our own.  Now, let me tell you how.

First set of adoptions, both of us worked.  We were indeed "dinks."  We knew we wanted kids and saved a bit.  Didn't buy stuff we didn't need.  Though back then we were stupid in buying new cars versus used.  Hey, live and learn, right?  Started looking into adoption and went to an info session in Raleigh.  How in the world would we afford roughly $30K for an adoption?  How?  But then I thought to myself don't people take out loans for cars for that much?  Maybe more?  We can do this.  We can.  So, looked into loans and such.  Credit cards too.  Actually, got a loan through USAA I think.  We did not have the money though until literally the night before we were to depart.  They say God provides.  He did.  We had the money we needed to go.  The loan.  See, when people have babies they seem to prepare.  Saving up for various items (diapers come to mind) and things of that nature.  Also, I have many friends who had to pay on their baby's hospital bills for years to come.  But they did it.  On their own for their child.  Same way with adoption.  Sort of.  Granted, birth families don't have to fly across the ocean but it is thousands nonetheless.  Yet, somehow, some way, they manage to make it work.

So, first adoptions, we took out a loan and used credit cards to get Max and Irina home.  They were home 4 years before we considered another adoption.  Our companies had adoption reimbursement back then and whatever it did not cover, we paid everything else down.  When we considered adoption again, we decided to host kids from Russia.  We hosted 3 of them and ended up adopting Yana and Alex.  This adoption was by far the most expensive due to much red tape and "crazy" things that should have never have happened.  Say like Yana never being on the Russian database.  URGHH!!!!  Anyhow, costs were adding up.  We used tax money and took out a home equity loan.  Also, credit cards.  The ONLY time we use credit cards is with an adoption.  This adoption was in 2004.  Next one was 2005, then 2006.  Now, Bojan's adoption was next & he was from Serbia.  Costs were not high for that country.  We paid $13K total including airfare and a babysitter that ripped us off (don't ask!).  I honestly don't remember how we got the money for that adoption.  Oh, I know we were in the process of doing a home remodel.  So, some of the money that was going to go for that went instead to Bojan.  No wonder it took us over 4 years to get the upstairs done.  LOL.  But, you sacrifice to get your kids home. 

Next, we had Alyona and Nik.  The agency helped us secure two grants. I believe it was $6K total in grant money.  That helped.   Rest was through the retirement account.  And credit cards for various things.  We pay the credit cards down as soon as we can once home.

Now, after they came home, we waited awhile b/c truly, we thought we were done.  I mean, 7 kids, last one deaf and other one malnourished, failure to thrive, FAS and a bunch of other stuff, we needed to get a handle on this new family that went from 2 kids to 7 kids in 2.5 years.  5 adoptions in 2.5 years is expensive.  NOT going to lie.  It's outrageous!  Yet, worth every penny.  Well, started browsing some websites again (this is why Warren is determined to take away my access) and thinking.  Thinking slowly if it was possible.  Financially, how on earth could we?

Then came the Bulgarian adoptions.  3 kids.  Yikes!  2 of the kids came with a grant attached to them.  Fees were covered for Reni and Logan.  That being said, the three adoptions still cost us $26K.  We used retirement account again but in addition, I got a job.  I watched 4 toddlers.  I was a babysitter.  Two 2yo's and two 3yo's.  Same time.  Tell me that's not wanting to fund adoption?!  LOL.  Despite working,  I also had to sell things.  I wrote about it in a post called Sacrifice .  And now they are home.  Safe and sound.  ONLY reason we were short this past set of adoptions was b/c of all the crap w/ CPS.  That cost us $5K.  Crazy. 

Now, first adoption, my husband sold his truck to help bring his kids home.  Hoping one day, we'd get another truck.  Never got another truck.  Yet, got a few more kids.  My point here is we were never what adoptive families called "fully funded."  Never.  Not once. We have never had the money upfront to do any of these adoptions.  And, we never once thought fundraising would give us all that money either.  We do indeed fund raise but for the first 7 adoptions, it was strictly for orphanage donations.  The last 3 adoptions fundraising did go toward the kids though $1200 went directly to the orphanages.  I'm not sure total what we raised, maybe $4 or $5K but nowhere close to the $26K it cost for this last set of adoptions.  Could we have been better off had it been funded?  Of course.  However, we're fine.  Kids are fine.  Do we wish we had more right now?  Shoot yeh!  Doesn't everyone?  LOL.  Since we accept no government subsidies or SSI, all our medical costs are out of pocket.  We budget like crazy.  That's how we do it.  I must say, we do have great insurance though.  Yet, co pays of $30 for specialists adds up.  And let's face it, most of mine see specialists. 

Not saying there is anything wrong w/ fundraising.  I'm not.  We did it ourselves w/ fundraising too.  That's not it.  What I'm saying is I think other things need to be thought about first such as getting another job. I did this not w/ just these three adoptions but another set as well.  Part time on the other set working at Blockbuster to bring Bojan home.  Was it tough?  Yes.  But worth it.  Now, there are special circumstances where fundraising is needed for an adoption and needed quickly.  That I understand.  Shoot, wished we could have done it for Alyona and Nik.  Nik was headed for the mental institution and Alyona was just basically a set of bones.  But, it wasn't in the cards and we pressed on the best way we could.  On our own.

Do I wish we were able to have funded our last adoption?  Absolutely!  Especially now.  We're having to pay for medical appointments, diapers (unexpected), etc.  It adds up quickly.  Yet, somehow, some way, God finds a way to provide.  We've had clothes donated to us, food, services, etc.  All of it beyond appreciated.  As it stands now, we just fixed the septic.  Also fixed the A/C unit.  In addition, we need a new roof.  It can no longer wait.  Do we know where or how this is all coming from?  NO, we don't.  We chose to add these three children and we intend to make it all work.  Friendly folks help out immensely.  Our church has been greatly supportive.  And yes, we still owe on our adoptions.  And that's perfectly okay.  The kids are more than well provided for.  We do things, they have extra curricular activities, we play together, we go places, etc.  I've seen many blogs that will say something to the effect we can't go if we do not find the funds.  Very seldom is that the case.  You find a way.  Any parent finds a way to help their child and not let money get in the way.  I have yet to hear of a family not traveling b/c they did not raise all the funds they thought they needed.  I'm sure there is but it obviously does not happen that often.

Again, I did not write this to say not to fund raise.  On the contrary.  I just believe there needs to be more thought out plans when it comes to adoption.  I see many want to raise the entire amount of the adoption.  That is a lot of money.  A lot.  And last year, when we were adopting, we knew there would be the tax refund coming.  That's what I guess surprised me the most.  Seeing so many trying to raise entire amounts for fundraising knowing the money would come back.  No, you never get all of it back but this year you were going to get the majority back.  We took that into consideration when trying to fund raise for our last set of adoptions.  We sold things.  Did a towel fundraiser.  Did an apple pie fundraiser locally.  We never did a giveaway.  I think they are an awesome way to raise funds but there is some controversy in some states as to the legality of giveaways so I was a bit too nervous to try it.  Plus, I didn't have the couple hundred dollars to buy an ipad to give away. 

Finally, these are just my opinions.  We had people fund raise for us and I was eternally grateful.  We are still paying on our adoptions.  And that is okay.  they are worth it.  The kids that is.  I worked hard at a job to get them home.  It was tough taking on more responsibility of a job w/ 7 kids.  However, I knew in the end it was the right thing to do.  We are a family now above all else.  Yes, we are questioning how we will be paying for major expenses soon.  Had the adoptions been "fully funded" it would have been easier for sure.  They say though nothing good in life is ever easy.  I guess we're proof positive for that saying.  LOL.  I know this post will probably be ripped apart.  That's okay.  Great thing about America is everyone is entitled to an opinion.  This is simply my opinion on how we afforded our adoptions.  This is why I hesitated even posting something of this magnitude.  I know for a fact that there are a ton of fundraisers going on right now.  And one is not any better or more needed than another.  Everyone is trying to get their kids home.  They ALL need to come home.  No argument there.  I had a skeleton, sickly child that was in deteriorating shape.  That's why after our first trip home from Russia, we got a call 6 days later saying to pack up in a week or so.  We were going back.  At one point, we were even suggested to life flight our daughter home.  No, we didn't.  Many of these kids are in very rough shape once home. The unknown is scary. However, once home, you forget all you sacrificed financially to get them home safe and sound.  Get them healthy and happy again.  And you'd do it all over again.  Second job and all.

Phew, that was a lot.  Now, I am aware this post will most likely get some nasty comments.  That's alright.  Again, this is just my opinion.  I have many friends that fund raise and so did we.  The point I was making is before fundraising, other avenues should be tried as well and a back up plan in place before the kids come home.  Okay, I have my flame retardant suit on and body armour.  Fire away!  LOL. 

Manic Monday

Busy weekend and I'll tell more about it in other posts.  Just didn't have much time to write.  Catch up later.

  • Bojan has an ortho appointment this week for follow up on surgery.
  • Nik has an appointment for implants.  Maintenance basically.
  • Nik still desperately wants the Neptunes.  Going to find a way to make it happen.
  • Kids have been having contests this morning of who can stand on their head the longest.  
  • Working on "extreme" cleaning today of the house.
  • Neighbors put up a fence.  I miss my view.  That's all I'm going to say about that.
  • Dogs need a bath.
  • Warren & Bojan will be looking at an RV tomorrow.
  • Bus requires CDL.
  • Toilet is broken.  Max thus far has recovered an apple thrown in it. URGHH!!!  Still messed up so God only knows what else we'll find in there.
  • Sent off a b-day card today.  Finally, I'm getting organized again to do that.
  • Sent off insurance claims which I don't expect much back from.  For our glasses we just ordered.  Max, Warren and I had changed scripts.
  • No word from Mr. IRS Man.  Sigh.
  • Irina is making cupcakes.  
  • We learned how to sign glass blower for our trip.  And a few other new signs I know we'll use.
  • Need an Ipad for Nik.  
  • Taking house off the market.
  • Our dream for now to open up a facility for young adults w/ Developmental Disabilities is on hold till we can figure out a way to sell.  Market is just not conducive to selling especially, since house needs a new roof.
  • Revising our current house plans.  
  • Waiting for Mr. IRS Man so we can get a roof!
  • Ready for this big trip.
  • Alaska ate my sneakers so I have none.
  • Need to buy Mammoth Cave tickets.  
  • To do list is way to long to get done.
  • Sore and not sure why.
  • Speech therapist not coming this week.
  • Need to plan Alex and Alyona's b-day parties for our return.
  • Going to be doing an adoption documentary.  Yikes!  
  • May speak to the press in September regarding FASD.  Again...Yikes!
  • Kids are done w/ school.
  • Waiting on school to set up Alyona's IEP meeting for next year.
  • Kids still love that fire pit.
  • Need to order some meds for kids before trip.
  • Warren is awaiting appointment to see what they intend to do w/ his ankle.
  • Girls' ceiling fan AND Irina's is now broken.
  • All kids need a well check up.
  • Investigating re-financing.
  • Need to set up speech eval for Summer.
  • Nik can now say "beat your butt" clear as day!  Umm, don't freak out people b/c it's not what you think.  LOL.  Explain later.  
  • Need to work on the Father's Day gift.
Tons more to list but really, I have other things I must get done.  Plus, going to storm soon.  I'll have some pictures later I'm sure and what all we did this past weekend.  Warren works this coming weekend so we'll be getting some packing done and tasks around here.  Need it to be a light weekend as it is right before we leave on our trip.  More later on tonight.  Hope everyone had a great weekend.