Thursday, September 22, 2011


This week has been a roller coaster! On Monday, we received our official referral for Paulius. I am still so amazed at how fast things are moving on the Lithuania side of this. This really spins us into whirlwind with making updates for USCIS, but things are moving along. We received some new pictures of our son along with a lot more information about him. He has three siblings.. one older sister that has been adopted by a family in Lithuania, one older sister that is being fostered by family, and last year on Abigail's birthday, he had a new baby sister that was born. She is still with the mother, who is apparently mentally impaired, so I am praying that his baby sister is being taken care of. Paulius has never been within the care of any family members. He was abandoned in the hospital where he spent his first month of life before being transferred to the orphanage that has been his home now for 5 years. His mom visited him a hand-ful of times, but no one from the family has ever expressed any desire to care for him. This just breaks my heart! I cannot wait to get him home so he can learn what a family is all about.

The referral also included all of his medical background since he has been eligible for adoption. He has been on the PKU diet since he was a month old, which was when he was officially diagnosed. He has some pretty significant speech delays that are due to physiological problems, not intellectual so much. He also has some short term memory issues and short attention span. Hopefully the best dietary management will help as these are common with PKU that isn't well maintained. I really appreciate that the orphanage caregivers have done their best to maintain his diet and they are so very limited on resources. I have no idea if he has any access at all to low protein foods.

We also have measurements and he is a BIG boy!! He outweighs his sister, Abigail, by 10 pounds and he is close to being two inches taller. I had to explain to Abigail that her little brother is actually a big brother in size! He is a cutie pie! I just love his smile and those kissable cheeks! I can't wait to hold him and I just ache for him to be home. I am praying that we can get through the necessary updates very quickly so that we can get our court date to go bring him home. God is doing great things for our family and I am so excited in how He is working in our lives. I thank Him for the peace he has given me as we reach this very stressful stage, and I pray He continues to provide.

On a fundraising note, our community yard sale was less of a flop than in the spring. We made a little over $200 considering we only had a weeks notice to prepare, but only one day to really get ready. I was reading on one blog how a family in Nashville spent weeks and weeks preparing for a yard sale and collected tons of donations. They raised $11,000 with the yard sale alone!!! I guess we live in the wrong neighborhood for that since we are only allowed to have community sales twice a year and NO notice that allowed us to prepare like that. I have been added to a new Facebook page for Rutherford County Moms. I have sold almost $400 worth of items on that site, so I will keep that up as kind of a "virtual" yard sale. I have also made about $80 with my custom shirts.

Now that we have the referral we are able to apply for the Brittney's Hope Seedling Grant for special needs adoptions. I think we are going to have to just keep praying really hard for grants to pull through for us since we have to still come up with travel funds. The good news is that we have the money to accept the referral and pay for the home study update... that is a HUGE PRAISE!!! Please keep us in your prayers! I am attending the Empowered to Connect conference tomorrow and Saturday to help prepare for some of the hardest parts of adoption... trust, bonding, grieving losses, etc. This is the tough reality behind adoption. Paul looks happy. He looks healthy and he has never know any other life outside of an orphanage. It is all he knows and it is going to be VERY difficult for him to leave it. He will needs lots and LOTS of prayers, as will we all as we adjust. I know that God has an incredible plan for this sweet child, but it is going to be tough for a while, and we just have to hold on to the TRUTH that God's plan is far better than anything we can ever imagine. That TRUTH is my comfort and my strength!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lithuania is rockin'

We learned on Monday that the AS (Adoption Services) in Lithuania had sent our Bethany representative a letter last Friday stating that we have officially been matched with Paulius!!! It is a sigh of relief as we have been working for over a year with no guarantees... anyone up to this point could have received the referral for him. They also stated in the letter that they were in the process of compiling our referral documents. Our Lithuania rep also said that we have urgent status to have the referral translated and that we should have it in 2-4 weeks! Once we accept the referral, it will go back to Lithuania to be translated and on back to AS. We could know our travel dates as soon as October. I feel hopeful that we will have him home by Christmas! The only negative is that things are progressing so fast now that it doesn't give us much time to raise the money. Many grants require us to have a referral before we apply, and then takes weeks to process. I am concerned that we will not have the funds to travel before our travel dates, but I will keep trusting God. Another adopting mom posted that God funds what He favors and in the Bible, he promises, "I will not leave you as orphans", so I will keep believing in this and praying!

Today, our caseworker visited our home to update our home study. Once she has it typed up, it has to be approved at the local and national offices and then go on to USCIS for approval. It took about 9-10 weeks for the initial approval, but this update will hopefully go through much quicker. It can hold up our travel date if not done quickly.

We did complete the Show Hope grant application and received confirmation that it arrived. Our grant will be reviewed in late October and we will be notified of whether we receive anything by November 15th... about down to the wire! This is such a wonderful ministry and so many families receive some amount. We are also applying for a Brittney's Hope Seedling Grant for special needs adoptions. This grant will require us to raise 1/2 of the amount that they award in effort to pay-it-forward to another family adopting a child with special needs. This is an exciting opportunity!

Our next fundraiser will be in the form of a yard sale. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to do yard sales in our neighborhood unless it is part of the community yard sale. We participated in the spring sale and it was a flop because of the weather. Hopefully we will have good weather this time.

This adventure has gone from a snail's pace to now moving so fast that we can't keep up, but soon we will have our son home. As big of a headache that this has been at times, I know that these have been trials to better prepare us for a future with our new son!