Monday, March 13, 2017

One step forward- Two steps back

Good Evening--

I have some news to update you all with, some good and some not so good.

We have just been skipping right along this time around and it is by the Glory of God without a doubt. So for the good news; our FBI clearance seals came back today and they look GLORIOUS (you should sing-song read that just like I typed it!) The rest of our documents are being apostilled tomorrow and then they will be on their way to Ukraine.

Semi bad news- Our Social Worker (SW) called Friday afternoon to tell me some very disturbing news. The oversight agency they use has decided to nearly more then triple their current cost for reviewing our Study. Suddenly, out of the blue what was once $400 is now $1500, and naturally they want us to pay that additional cost even though our Study was complete and only needed the review.

When I tell you that I had a near death panic attack..... that doesn't even come close to how I felt. An additional $1500??? After we have agreed on a price and the HS is done!! I thought for sure they had lost their minds. So our SW is calling a few other oversight agencies (an oversight is required because we are adopting from a Non Hague country, more on that in another post) to see if they will do it for cheaper. I don't know what our final number will be but please pray it is NOT an additional $1100. I'm leaving this in God's hands. I won't let $1100 stand in the way of our son having a family. NO WAY!

In the mean time I am focusing on fundraising and getting that thermometer up! Way up! I am anticipating submittal for our dossier mid May. That's a long way to go and not much time so please expect to see the fundraisers kick it up a notch, or three.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Updates Galore

Hello Everyone!

I sat back this morning and realized it had been a hot minute since I updated everyone on our FANTASTIC progress. It was so much easier to update when Blogger had their app. Why did they take that away again???

Our HomeStudy should be in my hot little hand at some point next week. YES! Then off to the USCIS office it goes. Then at some point after they receive it we shall get our appointment for fingerprinting. Super official! Once our prints are done......we wait. Will we get a first time approval? I hope so. Pray it is so.

All of our dossier documents are signed. A large portion of them are on their way to the capital for their official seals. We will still need to get all of our Home Study copies sealed and a few scragglers but that's it. Once they are sealed they will make the long journey to Europe where my AMAZING team will put it all together in a beautiful packet for us.

So it is like 84% ok to say that all my paperwork is done. Handled. Signed. Almost sealed. Almost delivered. It is an amazing feeling. Depending on how long USCIS takes to approve us, we could be traveling several weeks earlier then anticipated. That's awesome!

So the last thing to do is raise that pesky $14,000 that we still need. I'm off to print grant applications and brainstorm fundraisers. If YOU want to join me in making that number a weeee bit smaller please feel free to hit that DONATE button. All donations to this account are tax free and much appreciated.
Image result for pigned. sealed. delivered.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Home Study

Hello Friends,

Nothing overly exciting to report on today except the fact we did have our Home Study visit last Tuesday! I feel it went really well. Our social worker, Debra, is always really sweet and loves to chat with us. This was her first time meeting Pasha since he came home almost one year ago. I'm pretty sure she adored him like we all do! ;)

At the top of my wish list is to have our report final and in hand by March 1st. That's my hope and what I pray for. Once that is in hand I will be sending in our USCIS application and I think that will take at minimum 30-60 days to be approved. So many aspects of adoption are a "Hurry up and Wait" scenario. Hurry and do this paperwork....wait for someone to approve it. Now hurry up and do this part......wait for someone to approve it. Then somewhere in the middle of all that waiting I'm working my butt off to raise all the necessary funds for everything: pay the notary, pay the state to notarize the notary's notary (that's confusing all in itself), pay for shipping paperwork, pay for fingerprints, get fingerprints done 2-3 times for different things. It is a lot to keep track of. Thank you Lord for providing a team as fantastic as mine, HHA, look them up if you ever decide to go for international adoption through Ukraine.

There are so many feelings involved with international adoption and domestic, I would think as well. It is very much like pregnancy for a woman. With Pasha's process and even so early with "Chance", I have felt eager, restless, angry, annoyed and so on. I do feel more relaxed and at peace this time. I know the routine- I'm practically a pro now! Sometimes pregnancies aren't planned and I'd say this adoption wasn't really either. I was praying for it, but Joe kept saying no. Then it was like, "Merry Christmas! Let's go get this baby", and I'm all "whaaaaaat? yay! wait, what?"

There are moments where you feel like no one is working fast enough, again with the Hurry up and wait. Moments you think there is absolutely no way you can continue with the stress of fundraising, piles upon piles of paper staring you in the face that you just dread and you just can't sign your name ONE MORE TIME. Then there are the feelings when you know there is just no one supporting you. No one in your corner. Rocky never would have made it if Mickey didn't have his back, right? Who is my Mickey? I need my Mickey. Don't give up though! You always have a Mickey. They may be silent, but they are there.

With Pasha there was not a great amount of  "local support". Many of my local events planned were flops. One was a great success by total accident, but all in all, they were not great. Maybe it is because there are not a lot of adoption stories shared around here? I'm really not sure at all. So this second time around, I don't expect to receive much of anything and I guess I'll just have to be ok with that. There is plenty of the "Good, Bad and Ugly" when it comes to adoption. A lot of people are in love with the idea and a lot of people aren't. It's weird in a way. I have plenty of people who scroll right on past my social media posts. Not a peep. Maybe I'll get a "like" if it is a picture of my adorable children. Maybe if I write something funny. Most of the time everyone outside my adoption community is silent when I share the travesty of these poor little people who wait in a room by themselves. Most of the time I don't get a "like" or a comment about them. It makes me sad. Hell, it makes me angry at times, but what am I supposed to do? Unfriend all these people? Maybe. Not like their adorable pictures? Maybe. But then who would I be shouting to? The choir. That's who. I'd be shouting to my own choir...those who I know feel these same feels. Who would I reach? I am one woman. I can not "rescue" all these children. I wish so much that I could, but it is impossible for one woman or one man or even two of each. I can however, muddle along and just pray that I reach someone. It has to be true, that old saying about how you never know who is watching, who is listening, who is praying. So people can unfollow and they can unfriend and I'll be alright with that. I'll continue to shout into the void as long as necessary.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Just a few notes

Hey Everyone,

I've had several questions asked in the last few days,along with random thoughts just flutter through my head so I thought I would lay them all out here.

These are in no particular order...

1. I have been advocating for adopting families for a couple of years now. You will still see me post on behalf of those families even though we are currently in process. My love for these families will not die out, even in my own time of need.

2. When a person makes a Tax Deductible donation to our family through our Reece's Rainbow link I am not notified. Around 6 months in the process I will ask for a list of our donors so I may thank them. I will ask again after "Chance" is home. I will personally thank you at some point just not right after your donation is made. Please know we are always grateful and appreciate pennies to dollars! :)

3. If you prefer to send a check in for a donation that is perfectly fine too! You can make checks Payable to Reece's Rainbow P.O. Box 277 Monrovia, MD 21770-- Just be sure to Memo: Chinchak Family 

4. There is a very stigma in the world that goes something like this: "If you can't afford to adopt a baby then you can't afford another baby". Please do me a favor and take those 14 words and throw that thought right out the window. Adoption is hard enough as it is and no one needs that negativity in their life. If you personally have something against adoption then please move along. Fact is there are more people who believe in adoption than are against it and you'll just have 17 Adopt Moms come to the rescue. Trust me, it is better for you to move along. 

5. Adding to #4... Adoption is hard. It is time, money, ..sanity stealing hard. The average adoption is around $20,000 (some are more, some are less). Every country is different and the requirements are different. Does anyone just have that money laying around? At this time likely not. I hate to compare kids with cars, but think of it as a car. Do you have $20,000 laying around to buy a new car? No. You make a down payment and you finance it right? You can afford a monthly payment but not the amount down. Same with adopting. You don't have that money set aside (most of the time) but you can afford the additional monthly stipulation. 

6. Also kind of going back to #4... Do not judge adoptive families. Some have 12 kids, some 1. A family is a family and how they choose to grow is not up for debate. I couldn't take care of 12 kids, but that is me. Some can and POWER TO THEM! 

7. So you can not give money to help a family? That is OK! I can assure you that adopting families do not expect everyone or even a majority of people they know to give. It just isn't in the cards. There are so many other things you can do instead!-Pray for this family. If you don't pray, send the good vibes, thoughts of positivity, believe me, they go a long way. - Host a fundraiser for them... bake sales, car washes, whatever you want. - Cook a meal for them once they are home and settled. This might actually need to be the #1 thing you do! :) - Help them spread the word. Share their blog post or FB post. You never know who is watching! 

I am sure I missed a few things, but there is plenty of time! Just Love Thy Neighbor :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Being Called

First, I want to wind it back a little....

I have a friend, an amazing woman and mother, Kara. About 4 years ago she and her husband were in process to adopt a cute little Ginger (that's a compliment, not a back handed slap!)  from Russia. It is hard to remember just how far along they were, but it was a decent way into the paperwork and the fundraising and All The Feels for that little man when suddenly, Putin pulled the plug on American Adoptions in Russia. Now, this is in no way a political post, but gosh darn it.... he sucks for that. Kara and this kiddo are important to us because she is how we found out about RR and special needs adoption.

So with this devastating blow to her and Hubby she recouped and re-committed to a little boy in Ukraine and I was able to watch her process from start to finish. Soon after she brought him home I joined the RR Facebook group and saw all these Momma's and Dad's who had made the journey, were in the process or who were already home. Some hadn't even adopted, but they have a serious heart for this devastation, and want to show these children to the world. Obviously I had knowledge of adoption and I had always wanted to adopt, but I never had the resources or support to do so. By joining this group my eyes were opened to something I never knew much about.... the special needs children in orphanages.

Now when I was younger and thought about adoption I didn't think there could be such a separation between orphans and special needs orphans. Maybe it is just a fine line....barely visible to some, but once you know it is there it is like a totally different world. In my younger years when I thought adoption I thought, "baby"...newborn, one year, two year's old. I didn't think about children who were eight, nine or ten, or with Down Syndrome or Limb differences. It is hard to explain these thoughts and I truly hope they make sense. A lot of international orphans and largely those with special needs are treated unfairly...disgustingly infact. The lack of love, attention, hugs, nutrition, food and everything else you can imagine is heart wrenching. So much so that most of the world would rather not give it a second thought. It is a well known fact that in countries like Ukraine, children who are "different" are viewed as a curse. A curse on the Parent for some wrong doing in their time and are given a child that is different to shame them. Now, I believe a child is a blessing, not a shame or a burden, and I know a lot of people who would agree with me. In these countries the thought of abortion is frowned upon (that is not something to debate here- I am just giving you facts) so in lieu of that option, the next best thing is to place them in an orphanage where they will wait. What are they waiting for? They wait for a family to find them and provide, love and cherish them. They wait to die- depending on their conditions and care or lack of. They wait to be thrown onto the street at 16 when they are expected to care for themselves or they are placed in an institution for their remaining life. Could you imagine? Do you even want to imagine?

After joining RR I browsed the photos of waiting children and said a little prayer for them knowing I can not help them all. At the time I didn't think I could help any. I came across a certain photo and felt like I had seen that little face before. Stared and stared and then moved on. A few days passed and I couldn't shake this feeling. Where had I seen this kid before? A couple nights later I had a dream, but not just any dream. You know how you can sometimes tell when you are having a dream that you've already had? Tell me I am not the only one! :)  It was a dream of a little boy running around playing in a big field. He was wearing a light blue sweater and a crooked smile. It felt so real and it just consumed me. It was like I was there and I was watching him. I was seeing them dream in real life. It was crazy!
I woke up the next morning and starting researching. I asked questions in the RR group.. What do I have to do? Well first thing was first-- I needed a husband. Hmmmmmm-- good thing I was already engaged. I looked at him and said, "we should adopt this little boy" and he said, "no". He slammed the brakes, HARD! This was sometimes in March and we were set to be married in October. I was heartbroken, but I gave him some space and time to think about it. Maybe a month later I asked again and this time he said, "do you really think we could do this?" and I responded with a solid, "YES!". We moved up our date and were married in May 2015 and started our adoption journey together. I believe in a BIG GOD. There is no way we could have made through each aspect of this journey without him. God had our back and close to 10 months later he was home with us. Close to 11 months after that we have committed to a new sweetie pie and we feel great. I honestly did not think we would go back. It is almost like a covert operation. Such care and detail go into every aspect.... being positive you can/want to commit again, working out fundraiser details, knowing down to the penny what amount of money you need, having a support system behind you. It is emotional, it is stressful, it is psychotic, it is WORTH it. Even if you are not religious or spiritual. If you believe in God or if you believe in nothing-- You are believing in something right? Something is telling you to go for it. Something is calling. Listen to it. What is it telling you? 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ukie Pack

So this time last year (or in a few hours anyway) I was landing in the beautiful city, Kyiv and greeted by a country that would forever be in my life story. Growing up I never knew I could love another place as much as I loved my home. I am an American through and through, but this Chick has some real feels for Ukraine. It is the country in which I would meet people who would forever change my life; they helped bring a joy to my life that I never knew was missing.

I was a bundle of nerves as I landed. I didn't know who I was looking for, so I waited, and eventually ran into my driver, V. Now for anyone who has not seen or met V, he is a piece of pie.....Cutie Pie! Oh, very polite and professional, but a cutie non the less. We drove around collecting groceries, water, and exchanging American dollars and I was pooped. It is always easy to think that you will sleep on the long flights, but I found that nearly impossible. I was excited, nervous, the time change was excruciating and so it just didn't happen. We arrived to my apartment in Kyiv, right outside St. Michael's Cathedral and we rode the scariest, tiniest and darkest elevator to the 4th floor where my little loft apartment waited for me. From there I was able to look out onto the street and just take in the view and collect my thoughts.

The street view was beautiful from that high up. I had a clear view of a painting on the side of a building. A painting of a man, I don't know his name, but I am told it was the first person killed in Maiden, which happened about 2 years earlier. Maiden is the first of the riots and war that happened in Kyiv between Ukraine and Russia. It was a little haunting to me at first; you do think of your own safety for a few moments.... thoughts of. "I hope nothing happens while I'm here" crept in but then I thought, "oh well. I'm here for a purpose". It was cold with the window open but almost refreshing. It is always hot where I live and it was a welcomed change. I can't explain it but it made the quiet and my thoughts feel pure and clean.

I threw up that night. I was worried I was getting sick then I decided nerves are crazy little monsters that steal a good night's rest.

The next morning I met a few more team members. It was very surreal to me. I've heard of these people. Seen them in pictures from other families and on Facebook, but I'm here now. I'm in their country and they are welcoming me. Meeting the big guy, S, is something crazy. I have always referred to him as, "The Don". The team is like his Mafia and he is the boss. (I say that with love!) He is like my version of Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.  It was pretty rad, in my opinion. This team makes things happen. Good things. Things other people are willing to overlook. A Ukrainian Pack of really great people with morals and traditions they want to share with others. (Note: I have no idea if a Ukrainian Mafia exists currently or ever has)

I am a proud Mother to all my children. They are my life. I am proud to have a child with such a rich heritage and culture. I am proud to incorporate Ukrainian tradition with our own. I am proud to say that I have one of the Pack, soon to be two. It is like I am in this cool club with people all over the world.

If you also have a Pack member or two or seven, take a look at these T-shirts we have up and going. Perfect for a boy or girl of any age. You can click the link below to purchase and have them shipped directly to you.

Thanks for all your love and support!


Purchase Here

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Continuing the Chase

Hello Friends,

I return once again with fantastic news... The Chinchak Family is continuing their chase this year with a return to Ukraine.

We thought we were complete after bringing Pasha home in early 2016, but we were wrong. (That's ok- I can admit when I'm wrong!) After much thought, prayer, silent pleadings to the husband, (hehe) we feel led to go back once again and bring home the sweetest bundle of joy ever. Seriously, just wait until you get to his picture... sweetest little thing ever!

Our little sweet pea is from a completely different region then Pasha was from which means I will again learn to navigate my way around the town and meet new people. I will need to practice my Russian again! With it being a new region I will likely be working with a different facilitator and driver and possibly learn to use their public transportation system and while I'm nervous, I'm sure all will be well.

This is our second adoption ever and they will both have been within two years of each other. BIG THINGS for this family! We are blessed beyond words right now and I look forward to sharing all the details.. the ups and down's with you. There will be bumps but that is to be expected.

Please pray for us, for "Chance", for our children and our team. Between paperwork, appointments, fingerprints and fundraising there is a lot of work to be done. Our tax deductible account should be up and running in the next week or so, please put it to good use!

Meet "Chance" and just oogle away! :)