Thursday, November 7, 2013

Matching Grant

We have been blessed by Grafted Branch with a matching grant of $500.  This grant is to help pay our travel costs. 

We are traveling very, very soon.
 
 
Please wont you help us adopt three precious children by donating and sharing this opportunity?
 
Every dollar you donate will be doubled and is tax deductible.
 
 
THANK YOU!
 
Jode, Kelley and babies
 
 
 
 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just knowing

Have you ever just known that you needed to write something and not sure what it is?  I've been like that for a couple days.  Several things keep coming to mind.  Of them are special need adoption, multiples adoption, homecoming prep and relishing the here and now knowing that when we come home, nothing will be the same.
 
Special needs adoption:
 
This isn't the first time.  Maybe a little more obvious but definitely not the first.  Every adoption, whether of a "typical" child or one with a diagnosis (Dx) is honestly special needs.  Often, once one has adopted that "healthy infant/child", one finds that there are special needs whether it be physical and/or emotional.  I've had that happen.  Cute little blonde haired, blue eyed doll who had "behavior problems" ended up having Asperger Syndrome which comes with a myriad of things with which to contend.  Beautiful big brown eyed baby had emotional scars which she held onto tightly even with everyone's best efforts to help her heal.  This time we know the actual Dx before hand, can prepare as much as possible, and deal with everything else as it comes along.
 
Adopting multiples:
 
This adoption, although adopting three at once, is not the first time we have had several little bundles placed in our arms all at once!  I remember May 12, 2010.  So back up two days prior when we were blessed with a precious little Mexican beauty from NICU at the local hospital.  She had symptoms much like that of a stroke due to abuse.  She was 9 months old, but about the size of a 3 month old.  Adorable little thing and so in need.  Two days later, May 12, we got a call from our local DSS asking if we could take a little girl we had previously discussed.  She was 10 mo and had disrupted her foster care placement.  Imagine that, 10 months old?  How in the world could that happen.  I'll explain that in a minute.  Then we got another call, because we have a big house, about taking a sibling group of three ages 8, 5 and 3.  So here we are with our Mexican princess, and in walks two separate groups of kids at the same time and I'm not kidding; both sets of social workers/kids arrived at the very same time.  Five kids in two days and most had behaviors which needed modification to say the least.  The 10 month old could SHREEK so loud that you could not be in the same room with her without having your eardrums pierced.  She was quite talented.  The 3 yr old loved to beat up on her 5 yr old brother and would win!  The 5 yr old would rob you blind of anything edible and eat the whole thing at once, then lie just as sweet as he could about it.  He was so cute, you really wanted to believe him. The 8 year old was a calm doll who was very helpful and come to find out, in their colorful little lives, actually knew the 10 mo!  It was a trip.  So I remind myself this is not our first picnic and possibly won't be our last.  Oh, and I didn't even mention the day all 6 Guatemalan's came to us!  Three will be challenging, but no more than the other precious little challenges we've contended with in the past five years.
 
Homecoming prep:
 
I've been trying to figure out how to arrange our bedroom to include three toddler beds, which we have, knowing full well that the other three will also want to join in on the Mommy/Daddy bedroom thing.  We have been advised to put the beds of our three new little punkins in our room so that they can see us if/when they wake in the night.  Gavin and Flora already love to come crawl in the bed with us, but I have been trying to deter it since I'm usually the one who does not get sleep.  Add three in our room and Flora and Gavin are going to be rather put out that they cannot join.  Of course, Ian would need to as well.  I'm thinking we just move all the chest of drawers into one room and all the beds into ours.  It's big enough.  Honestly, I'm still not sure how we're going to arrange this, but I'm sure it will come to me/us before we leave.  One thing for sure, I do not want to end up with all 6 kids in our bed.  We'd need to make it a double king!  How about they sleep with Daddy, who can sleep through anything, and I'll take the nursery!  =)
 
Relishing the here and now:
 
I find myself staring at the kids here at home more now.  I hold them as much as they will absolutely let me.  I look them in the eyes more so that I can capture as much as possible.  I know that once we are home with our new littles things are going to be different.  Not better or worse, but different.  I know it's going to be amazing, and I know that our new littles and our already littles are going to learn so much from one another.  I'm excited about it, and I have to admit a little forlorn about it.  Only so slightly.  I remember feeling this way about Scott when I was pregnant we Jeremiah.  I kept wondering if I could ever love Jeremiah as much as I loved Scott.  The great thing is, I could and in this case, I will. 
 
All of this, adopting special needs, adopting three children at once, preparing for their arrival and knowing that things will never be the same, has me often on my face before God.  I am overwhelmed and humbled once again at His hand in our lives.  I'm amazed at what He's taught us which has prepared us for this place in time.  My heart aches as I cry out to Him asking how we can do more.  Now that we know, now that we have been given what I'm sure is just a glimpse of the plight of the orphans, we can never go back.  We can never not know.  In just knowing we have become responsible to do.  That's scriptural, Church. James 4:17 says: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.  And James 1:27 says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  So if you know that it is your responsibility to do James 1:27 and you do nothing, then according to James 4:17 is it sin.  I'm not saying that everyone is called to adopt, but I am saying we, as the Body of Christ, are called to care for the orphans.  If you cannot adopt, then donate to a particular childsomeone's adoption or an adoption ministry.  If you cannot donate, find a child and advocate for that child by posting their link and adorable face to your time line. One child at a time if that's all you can do.  And by all means be a prayer warrior and pray!  Prayer really does change things.  Two children for whom I have been praying have had families commit to adopt them in the past couple weeks.  Prayer makes a difference and you can make a difference too.  Just knowing now makes you responsible too.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fully Funded Indeed



I've debated whether or not to make this post. I've wrestled with whether God was through with this part of our adoption journey or was I just not trying hard enough. It's not how I had hoped it would be. Not how I had planned, but like they say, if you want to make God laugh . . .

 So as I was tallying the funds we have, how much we have spent, how much we still need, I realized that the total of our reserves will cover that which we need once we get travel dates. It's not pretty, and it's not like I wanted it to happen, but nevertheless, we have it and that's great!

 You see I had hoped it would come in big lump sums from wonderful ministries which offer grants to families who are adopting, but instead ours is coming from this family member (thank you very much) and that family member (thank you too!) and a few friends who have been precious, even in the midst of their own fund raising, to contribute to our family sponsorship page, and then there is this credit card with zero interest and that credit card with interest and this line of credit and this zero percent loan and a huge chunk, over 20k, came from selling a few things and just down right scrimping and saving as much as we could. So, although it's not how I originally thought it would happen, it's happened and we want to give God a huge THANK YOU and thank you to all our friends and family who have helped us as well. Of course, if you still want to contribute, we won't turn it down. It would mean less we put on our credit cards! =)

By the time we bring our babies home, we will have spent over 40k in adoption expenses. I know that sounds like a lot, but let me ask you this - what is the life of just one child worth? We will be bringing home three! I'd say that's priceless!

 

 
On another note, we are now number 7 in line for travel. We figure it will be around the second week of November. I'm not quite sure I'm ready for extreme cold but somehow I have a feeling it's just not going to matter!

 Many blessings.

Kel

Thursday, October 3, 2013

10!





As of today we are number 10 on the list of families waiting on a court date in our childrens' country.  When I realized that, and that we would be traveling very soon, I almost hyperventilated.  Not that I'm not thrilled, mind you, it's just been a long time coming.  We started this journey last year when we committed to a precious little one in Latin America, but that was not meant to be.  Through several twists and turns we finally arrived at the door step (picture) of our sweet Caius and then Hattie.  Now we have even one more precious little one (+1 on RR) to add to our family and we couldn't be more thrilled and nervous.  Honestly, we'd be dopes if we weren't nervous.  God doesn't usually call us to do something unless it takes Him along side us to do it.  Shoot, even Moses was a bit nervous when God first told him he was about to get a bunch of kids! =)

Pray for us, please.

Thanks,
Kelley

Monday, September 30, 2013

HeBrews Coffee Fundraising

It's hard to find a fundraising effort that fits into our lifestyle and busy schedule.  But here it is! 

 
Jode and I LOVE coffee and wouldn't start our busy days without it.  When we heard of this opportunity, to sell coffee and raise funds for our adoptions, we knew it was the prefect fit.  A portion of your purchase will go to help bring Caius, Hattie and our "plus 1" child home
 
Now you can purchase YOUR much loved coffee and help us bring home our babies. 
 
Just click on the HeBrews Coffee link here or above and order away.  Remember, coffee makes a wonderful Christmas present for your coffee loving friends and family!  Buy a cute mug, a bag (or three) of coffee, wrap it in cello and add a cute bow. POW - easy peasy Christmas presents and you get to help rescue orphans too!
 
Thank you for loving our children home!
Jode and Kelley
 


 

 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fundraising Update

We've had a couple of precious people donate to our Family Sponsorship Page.   Thank you very much! 

 (You can access that here or via our side bar donation button.)


Our fund raising efforts continue as well. We are getting closer to our must-have goal of $32,000 every day, but we are still $12,000 short.  We know God will supply one way or another. 

If you would like to help us bring home our babies, please remember that your donations are tax deductible, and if you live in a country other than the US, you can pay through paypal and they will do the rate conversion for you.  Your help is most appreciated.
 
Many Blessings,
Jode, Kelley and family
 
 
 
 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Submitted

We are happy to say that after three months of paper chasing, our dossier was submitted this past week to the adoption authorities in our children's country.  I was in shock for a couple days. It had finally happened.  I told our coordinator, Nancy, that as soon as it hit me I would send her a video of me freaking out!  However, when it did hit me, my reaction was an even greater surprise.
Instead of doing a happy dance, I found myself sitting among piles of clothes, overwhelmed by the Grace of God and in tears.  I am going through the out-grown clothes we have from Flora, Gavin and Ian to see what can be worn by our new little ones and what we can sell to help raise money to bring them home.  I guess the realization that  1. we have only a few weeks to raise the rest of the funds, 2. we are actually at this stage and 3. our precious new babies will be wearing the clothes I was holding in my hands, made it all a bit more real.  And so I sat there, in tears, humbled by it all and thinking about that word "submitted".
"Submitted" is a word that holds such depth of meaning.  Have you ever thought about it?  Dictionary.com has no less that seven meanings three of which are:
  1. to yield oneself to the power or authority of another
  2. to allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment 
  3. to defer to another's judgment, opinion, decision, etc.
When we begin an adoption journey we work toward the goal of getting our dossier, (months and months of tears, many many hours and  mounds of paperwork) submitted to the governing authorities, but in doing so we also submit ourselves to a higher calling, one which cannot be understood unless you've been through it or been very close to someone who has.  We submit ourselves to a process, or goal to persevere until all is completed which enables us to bring the child/ren home.  We submit ourselves to someone else's opinion because we have to have a home study created by someone else which judges our motives, our character and our means.  We submit ourselves to God's will for our lives even when others would deem us irrational.  Yet we submit.
God does not call us to become part of the crowd.  He does not ask us to go with the flow.  He asks us to submit to His calling on our lives whether it makes sense or not.  Noah building an ark on dry land made no sense yet he submitted.  Abraham sacrificing his precious, long awaited for, only son made no sense, yet he submitted.  Mary, as an unwed teen, was chosen to be the mother of Christ which she must have known would submit her to others ridicule, yet she submitted when she said "be it unto me according to Your will."  She submitted.  And so do we.
I see the faces of people like Rene, who in the midst of great pain continues to submit to God's calling upon her life to adopt a teen girl who desperately wanted a family.  I see Katie who could have easily given up by now, but she perseveres to fight to adopt her precious Rose.  I see Andrea and Kathy who started ministries to rescue special needs orphans who would be considered the "least of these" because of their needs.  So many families, so many children and just like the saints of old, God gives us strength to continue to submit to His will even when it's not easy. 
Many see the little bundle once we get them home and think "aww, how adorable" but have no clue what we have submitted to in order to get to this place.  Nor do they have any idea what we will submit to once they are home in order to help them begin to heal emotionally and/or physically.  These are all things we've taken into account, rest assured, and part of our choice to submit to this calling upon our lives. 
 Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight
So we were submitted this week.  We will continue to be submitted because in that submission He will make our paths straight. 
Thank you Father, for Your perfect will in all of our lives which we submit to You.  IJN, Amen

Donate here to help bring our children home.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dossier Complete - Now we wait!

Hurry Up and Wait - That's a term we used a lot in the military.   It seemed while in boot camp that we were always rushing somewhere only to stand in a long line.  The adoption process is much the same.
 
We as adoptive parents do our best to get all of our dossier documents in country in order to be submitted for approval just as quickly as we can.  Once those documents are complete, our dossier is submitted to the governing officials who then determine whether they too will approve us to adopt from their country.  Once approved, we are then given a date to travel to come meet our long awaited little ones.  And that's where we are now.
 
Our final dossier documents arrived in country this morning (yea!) via another family who left yesterday on the way to meet their soon to be daughter.  It's an odd feeling having our dossier complete.  We hit a couple snags along the way, but we are finally at the point where we can do very little except wait. 
 
Of course, during that wait time I'm trying to figure out how to pack for three little ones, who will need very warm winter clothing AND "pack light."  Snowsuits are not small no matter how small the child.  Thankfully, from all guestimations, our little ones will most likely wear size 24mo or smaller.  Still, three snowsuits, three changes of clothing per child, and all the appropriate kiddie paraphernalia will leave little room for much else if we are merely going to take carry on luggage.  Somehow I just don't think that's going to happen.  Mom and Dad will need cold (very cold) weather clothes too!  I did buy some space bags, thanks to the recommendation of a veteran adoptive parent.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
 
I inserted a picture of our precious Caius below.  He's in the midst of getting dressed, but this shows, once again, just how absolutely adorable he is.  Those eyes are going to have many young girls' hearts all atwitter. 
 
Kelley Pruett Robinson's photo.
 
Money update - we've had a couple of precious people donate to our Family Sponsorship Page.  (You can access that here or via our side bar donation button.)  Thank you very much!  Our fund raising efforts continue as well. We are getting closer to our must-have goal of $32,000 every day.  Please remember that your donations are tax deductible, and if you live in a country other than the US, you can pay through paypal and they will do the rate conversion for you.  Your help is most appreciated.
 
Many Blessings,
Jode and Kelley

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

International v. Domestic

Some of you have asked several questions about us adopting internationally. I wanted to put it all down in writing, so you can see it and share with others who may ask.

1.  Why are we pursuing International rather than Domestic adoption?

  •  There are over 5000 SC families waiting for children under the age of 5.  We have been blessed to have three under five which I have been told "just never happens".  There is supposedly a 3-5 year waiting period.  Asking for another one would be selfish. 

  • Those in foster care that need adopted right now are usually over the age of 7 and most over age 10.  After experiencing several foster placements of children older than Flora, we discovered something we thought was unique to us, but upon further investigation, found that it was usual. 

  • Flora is our oldest child, and experience has shown us, as well as what we have recently read which substantiates it, that adopting a child older than the current oldest child, who is used to being the oldest, usually causes problems.  We thought it was just Flora, but it’s actually quite documented.  It’s called “disrupting the birth order” and as odd as it sounds, it happens whether the child is adopted or not.  It usually affects the oldest child, but not so much the younger or middle children. 
 
2.  Why choose Eastern Europe for International adoption?

  • We only qualify to adopt from a hand full of countries because of our age and divorce history.  Every country has different parental parameters which they will or will not accept.

  • Of the countries for which we do qualify, Reeces Rainbow had several adorable children in Eastern Europe which won our hearts. We are thrilled to be pursuing Caius and Hattie.  We very  much look forward to bringing them home!!


3.  Why special needs?

  • Why not?  Like Jode says, they are all children in need of parents.


I hope this helps some of you who question our sanity! ;-)
 
Love you,
Kel

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Domestic and International concurrently

Eighteen months ago we were blessed with this precious boy.  Being Flora's bio brother, their extended family asked if we would adopt him as well.  This time it was to be a private adoption. We are blessed to have an open adoption with their extended family and in turn they adopted us. 
 
Today we had the termination of parental rights (TPR) hearing.  Both bio parents were notified some weeks ago  of the hearing but unfortunately their lifestyles being as they are, the bio father did not get an attorney appointed until last week.  You guessed it.  He asked for a continuance so that he could actually talk to his client at some point. 
 
Here in the great county of Edgefield we have circuit judges who are only here every few months.  Because of that, it may be the new year before we go back to court to finally have this hearing.  Frustrating for sure, but we know in this adoption, as in all of our adoptions, God is still in control and He will make it all work out in His time. 
 
We love this boy.  He's an amazing sweetie and definitely has our hearts. 
 
Our international adoption is in a waiting stage.  Our next step is an appointment to have our finger prints done and approval from immigrations.  We do expect to hear from them this week mostly because I plan to call and bug them until I find out when our finger print appointment happens! =)  Once we have immigration approval, that approval will go to Eastern Europe and then our entire dossier will be submitted to the governing authorities for review and approval.  Not too much longer and we'll be there.  Which leads me to financing.
 
We still need about $12,000 to be fully funded for our international adoptions and this new turn of events with our domestic adoption will take additional funds.  We're doing all we can and ask that you prayerfully consider helping us financially.  Of course your prayers are always welcome too!  Our donation button can be found on the side of this blog.  And here's a direct link to it as well: http://reecesrainbow.org/60090/sponsorrobinson-4  All donations are appreciated and of course are tax deductible.  Thank you in advance for your help.
 
Blessing to you!
Jode and Kelley

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dictates of Man

Monday we received our apostilled, final approved home study.  I have to admit I was shaking when I opened the envelope.  This final home study has been a long time coming.  You know how it is when you want something so bad that you're almost afraid that it will never happen?  That's how things had gotten with our home study.  It seemed no matter what hoops we jumped through, it just wasn't enough. 
 
As I returned from the post office, having just mailed our home study to the next family who will be traveling to Eastern Europe, I was feeling somewhat giddy and thankful because we had finally received our home study exactly the way we wanted it and in accordance with the governing authorities of the country from which we are adopting.  Nothing more. Nothing less. Exactly what we needed.  There were no additional requirements from an agency which thought it could make decisions concerning our family and on behalf of the governing authorities!  Then it hit me!  
 
Our home study experience reminded me of how our relationship with our Lord and Savior should be. It should be a personal relationship. It should not be one full of dictates which are imposed by other's who think they know better than we!  We do not require, nor do we want, someone else in the middle trying to control the situation.  How could someone believe themselves wiser than a husband and wife who have prayerfully considered and are certain they are following the calling of God on their lives? We trust that He will lead us and guide us into all spiritual truths governed by the guidance of His holy Word and Holy Spirit.  We also trust that if it is not His will, He will not allow it to happen.   
 
I'm so glad our home study, like our relationship with our Savior, is exactly what we need with no additional dictates of man.   Those dictates were legalistic, controlling and not required.  They held us in bondage  to another's opinion - another's dictates.   All the grief, all the heart ache, all the jumping through hoops was not necessary.  Once we decided to go with another person who aligned their efforts with ours and the governing authorities, everything went smoothly and quickly.  Imagine that.  Matthew 11:30 says "My yoke is easy and My burden is light".  When we align ourselves with His will it's amazing how things fall into place.  In other words, if it don't fit, don't shove it.  I have a tendency to beat a dead horse long after everyone else has said walk away.  God allows me to put myself through situations now and then.  When I do, it makes me even more thankful when I come out on the other side and say "WOW! Look what God did!"

I'm so thankful for wisdom and new direction which has landed us exactly where we needed to be!

We're coming babies; we're almost there!





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Paper Chase Almost Complete . . . for now

Thank you all for your prayers and for continuing to pray.  We are almost through with the paperwork required for this side of the world.  There will be more once we get to Eastern Europe. 
 
It looks like we may be traveling in December, which will fit well into Jode's school schedule.  It's going to be very cold there, and  I'm not a cold weather kinda gal.  This will be interesting.  It also means more luggage for more clothing.  Living here in South Carolina, it never gets very cold.  Sure we get snow occasionally but rarely.  I don't know that we really have the proper attire for this trip but we can layer . . . lots of layers.  I want to be warm enough to at least enjoy the snow a little. 
 
We've been chatting with some families who have been to the regions from which we are adopting and getting some good ideas of what to anticipate.  As we get closer, I'm sure we'll take notes on where to go and where not to go, where to eat and where not to eat.  There's so much to think about, which is why I'm so glad I've gotten involved with so many wonderful people who have already been there and done that. 
 
In the meantime, I've been grant writing.  I've never tried this before, but after the first couple, they get easier.  For those of you who don't know, there are agencies and ministries which feel it's important to help those of us who are doing our best to rescue those who could easily be referred to as "the least of these".  Least as in the smallest and most helpless, but certainly not least as in unimportance. 
 
These babies need families and God lays on each parent's heart the desire to adopt certain ones.  It's amazing to watch.  I will see a child and think "Oh, my goodness.  How sad."  knowing that I am not called to be that child's mother, and then someone else will choose that child to be their very own!  Then I can see another child and know in my heart of hearts that child was created, even on the other side of the world, to be ours.  Such miracles God can do in our hearts if only we let him.  The amazing thing is, we are all called to pray for them and do according to James 1:27 and in doing so, we will fulfill Matthew 25:40.
 
Our next steps will be biometrics which is a fancy word for fingerprinting, and then we wait for USCIS (immigrations) approval for us to adopt.  That approval form will be apostilled and sent to Eastern Europe to join up with the rest of our paper work.  It will be the last piece we need to send.  Then we wait for approval from the country, and wait for a date to travel.  This kinda reminds me of the military - I did a lot of hurry up and wait then too.  I think both experiences have/had their merits, but somehow I just know I'm going to enjoy the outcome of this experience so much more!
 
 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adoption Brain! Who Knew???

 
Who knew, right?  I mean, I've known with each adoption, especially when expecting Ian, I went through what appeared to Jode and me as pregnancy symptoms including morning sickness, dizziness, fatigue and weight gain.  But when "adoption brain" hit this week you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I couldn't believe it.  Not me, the one who's so organized, the ultimate administrator.  Wow!  It hit me like a brick.  Now, not only am I double checking everything I do, I'm still fretting over whether it's correct once I hit "send"!   Now I'm wondering when this stops and hoping desperately it's at least as soon as all our paperwork is submitted.

Speaking of, we had to make a tough decision this week when the agency we have been working with for our homestudy once again made unrealistic, not based on law or regulation, requirements of us.  After quite some time of jumping through every hoop they put in front of us just to get our homestudy completed, we finally had enough!  We are now finalizing our homestudy with a certified investigator rather than an agency.  Had I known this initially, we would have gone this route in the first place.

For those of you adopting from a non-Hague country, according to the USCIS web-site, you have the option of using a certified investigator.  The cost of this is about 1/4 of what you pay using an agency.  I don't know about you, but that means a lot to me.

I found our certified investigator by searching for "SCDSS certified investigator" which then lead me to a page with every county in SC.  I clicked on our country and low and behold the Social Worker who maintained our foster care license for the past five years, was on that list.  She's also become a family friend so we will definitely recommend her to anyone else in this great state looking for a home study. 

Your continued prayers as we continue on this journey to bringing precious babies home are appreciated. 

With love,
Jode, Kelley and kids,

 


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Actually, We're Downsizing

A year ago this month, Jode and I had worked six months, spent many hours and over $30,000 to prepare our home to adopt seven children we had previously fostered.  We had three kids rooms created which could sleep all ten kids comfortably, and I must say, they were adorable.  The whole house had been rearranged.  The den became our bedroom, our bedroom became the boys' nursery, the nursery became the girls' room, the future-kitchen become the dining room, the dining room become the living room and the small back-porch-kitchen gained some amazing cabinets and counter tops created from heart-of-pine barn wood, a new stove and a much larger refrigerator.  It was awesome, and we accomplished so much in a short amount of time.  However, it was not to be.

It seems that, as teens do, one of the two oldest children (ages 13 and 15) said we had too many rules.  At the age of 13 here in the great state of South Carolina, a child can make the decision as to whether they want to be adopted and by whom.  So the one teen made the decision for the whole group, and they were placed with another family.  We were devastated, but thankful we knew why it happened.  The irony is, we didn't have a list of "rules" for our foster kids until that particular group of kids moved in with us.  You know, things like "If it's not yours don't touch is unless you ask" because one of them had the tendencies of a ferret.  But life moved on, they continue to email and text us, and we pray for them and their parents. 

So keeping in mind that we planned, made preparations and put everything in place to accommodate ten children, we now find ourselves with way too many beds in the children's rooms.  So tonight we began down sizing.  The rose colored triple bunk bed is now in Gavin, Ian and Caius's room ready to be painted John Deere green.  Ian still has his crib, but will most likely be out of it by the time Cauis is home at which time Caius can use it until he no longer needs it.  The small captains bed Gavin slept in will go into the shed to be sold as soon as we're able to get our yard sale together. Flora's room now only has two twin beds in it and a nice corner set up for school and homework.  It's large enough that should Hattie still need a crib, we can pull our extra one into the girls' room and still have plenty of room to play. 

I said all that to say this, for those of you who are wondering why in the world we would adopt two more kids at once, this is nothing compared to seven at once.  Five total kids is much less than ten total.  Actually, we're downsizing.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Little Princess

In my last post we announced that we were looking to bring home a little girl along with our precious Caius.  We found her. I'll officially announce her and show her picture in a few days.  Right now we need to update our family sponsor page.  It took a bit to get everything arranged, and we finally got approved yesterday.  She's not in the same region as him, but not too far away.  Her being in a different region though, means increased costs. 

You can see from our fund raising thermometer that we're going to need about $12,000 in addition to that which we need to bring Caius home.  We talked about her, and look elsewhere, and then talked about her and tried looking elsewhere, and then researched more about her, and asked more about  little girls elsewhere, but we always came back to her.  She's a pretty little thing and about the size of Caius although she is a couple years older.  She, Ian and Caius will be triplets, but you can rest assured, she, like Flora, will be a girly, girl! 




Jode and I have always believed big!  We figure God is most pleased when we believe Him for that which others would think impossible.  We tell our giants how big our God is and not our God how big the giants are. 

All the paperwork is almost complete.  I'll be so happy when it is.  We've begun grant writing to help raise funds and are hoping to have a huge yard sale with the help of our church family.  Still, any help you can give us by donating to our account via the side button to the right of this page, would be most appreciated.  If you're international, not in the US, you can donate via paypal and it will do the currency conversion for us. 

Speaking of, a shout out for whoever it is in Croatia that's reading this blog.  That's amazing. 

Please keep the prayers coming.

With love,
Kelley

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cooking With Gas

We're cooking with gas right now.  The first half of our dossier is on its way to Eastern Europe, and the second half is being furiously gather as we speak.  I anticipate that the rest of it will be completed this week or next. 

If you look at our fund raising thermometer, you'll see that our financial goals are being met quickly AND that we've actually increased our goal by $2,000.  This $2,000 extra will allow us to bring home another child should we find one that we would like to pursue prior to our leaving or accept a "blind referral" once we get there.  A blind referral would be based on the parameters which have been spelled out in detail in our homestudy, for those of you who are not familiar with this term.  Currently we are approved for two children up to the age of 5 with specific special needs. 

You may remember that we initially wanted to adopt a two year old little girl from Colombia.  We still want to adopt another little girl, so we are leaving ourselves open for that possibility and making arrangements in advance should the opportunity arise.

Your continued prayers and support are very much appreciated as we continue this journey.

With love,
The Robinsons

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks! Around the world!

I pull up the stats to this blog every now and then to see who all is reading it.  I'm amazed to see that people from Russia, Iraq and Greece are actually reading.  I do have sweet friends in Australia, Serbia, Canada and the UK who follow our journey as well as several other European countries.


I wanted to thank you all for reading and following and ask that you leave me a comment saying hello, and which country you're from.  Please?  It would be fun to know.

Thanks!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eastern Europe Bound

Meet "Caius"

Read more about our story here.

Many years ago, when researching my ancestry, I was delightfully surprised to find that I came from a long line of Eastern European roots, so when we found little "Caius" on the Reeces Rainbow Ministry website, that he was from Eastern Europe was a bonus!
 
 
This little fellow has some very special qualities which make him unique and in our eyes amazing.  I can't tell you how much we have fallen in love with him already.  And since we had already completed much of what we needed from our previous adoption attempts, we were well ahead of the game from the get-go.

We already have an agency approved home study, and much of our dossier is on its way back from the State Office having been apostilled.  Our I600a is with USCIS as of today and we now await an appointment for fingerprinting.  Next week we should have the rest of our papers sent to the State Office for apostille and then we'll send them off with the next individual headed in-country. 

If you understood any of that, because you've completed or are in the middle of an international adoption, you realize that this is going very fast.  Inasmuch our fund raising is going into overdrive now.  We have some resources as you can see from the fund raising thermometer to the right of this post, but not as much as we need to complete this process. 

If you would like to help us bring this little one home, please click here or on the link under his picture, read our story and then click the "Donate" button.  For my international friends and readers, PayPal will convert your currency to USD for us.  For those of you in the US, you can click here if you prefer to send a check and it will give you the address.  This will go to our Family Sponsorship Program and be used to bring Caius home.  Mailing, rather than using PayPal, will save the 3% PayPal fees. 

Caius had surgery on his little feet this morning.  We've not heard how that went but we are sure that he is in good hands.  He'll be in casts for a bit, but this will help his feet straighten out. 

Please pray with us for favor with all those in authority so that we can bring him home as quickly as possible, but in God's timing.  The sooner he is home, the sooner he will begin to receive the therapy he needs. 

He's a beautiful boy, and we are so excited about making him a part of our family.

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's a BOY!

Hi all, we've decided to pursue a precious pumpkin from Eastern Europe.  For now you can read a little about it here: http://reecesrainbow.org/60090/sponsorrobinson-4

And I'll do my best to update the blog very soon! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Our Birth Mother Letter


Dear Birth Mother,
We want you to know that we think your decision to choose life and find an adoptive family for your baby is beautiful, honorable and amazing.  And that you have chosen to read our letter tells us that you are considering us as your baby’s family.  We want to let you know that should you choose us, we would be honored to adopt your baby and raise it as our own.  We want to be there for the baby as it grows, to love it, encourage it and help it become the man or woman God created it to be.   

We are both mentally and physically healthy; however, we are unable to have biological children, so we decided to grow our family through adoption.  We married September 2007 and began the process of becoming adoptive parents shortly thereafter.  Within two years we were blessed with our first two children, Flora who was 10 months old and two months later, Gavin who was two months old.  Flora and Gavin were both born under special circumstances, and although some would be daunted by this, we were not.  We know that every child deserves a home with people who love them, believe in them and will help them reach their fullest potential.  Flora and Gavin are now 4 and 3 years old.  Both are very happy, healthy and thriving children who astound all those whom they meet.  Because of the amazing way Flora has thrived, her biological family also came to us when another child was to be born.  We are now guardians of Flora’s biological brother, Ian whom we were blessed with when he was 14 days old.  He is now 16 months old, and his adoption will be final by summer’s end. 
Although we have a wonderful family now, we feel that our family is not yet complete, and our heart’s desire is to adopt another baby.  When our adoption agent spoke with us about adopting another child who is “other than Caucasian”, we were very humbled and excited that she would come to us because we have a great love and respect for other cultures and we believe that love has no “color”.  We live in a small, culturally diverse town which includes African American, Latino and Asian families, many of whom are good friends of ours.  Just as we strive to do for Gavin, we would ensure your baby knows it rich heritage and culture. 

We would love to meet with you, if that is your desire. Or if you are more comfortable, we could exchange information over the telephone or through letters and pictures. We are also willing to maintain a relationship with you, even after the baby is born. If you select us as parents, we would be happy to send you pictures and letters to let you know what the child is doing at each age. We would even consider a more open relationship if you are comfortable with that. Of course, we also want to respect your privacy and the life ahead of you.
We wish you the best whatever you decide. You are in our prayers. 

Sincerely,

Jode and Kelley
 
Our Birth Mother Portfolio as seen on Shutterfly.  Hard copies of this will be given to the birth mother when she reads our letter.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Dear Birth Mother"

I'm struggling with my "Dear Birth Mother" letter.  It's supposed to be a letter from Jode and me telling her about us, our home and why we would be a good choice as adoptive parents.  But, my heart is grieving.  Maybe it's because I was there once.  As a 17 year old, newly engage but not yet married, Christian girl, I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy.  I chose to marry and raise my son, but it was not easy.  We struggled, he and I, because the marriage did not last.  Despite my efforts that baby is now a wonderful man, husband and father and I adore him still.  So my heart breaks for her and the decision she will have made by the time she sees our picture portfolio and reads our birth mother letter.  I want to hold her and let her know, that it's going to be ok, that she will always have a part of our hearts as well as our prayers because how could she not when we look into the precious face of the angel she will entrust us with.  I want to hold her as much as I want to hold the child that will become ours.  I want to calm her fears and let her know that her baby will be loved, cherished, taught and given an amazing life, the type of life she wants to, but is unable to, give. 

So I sit here, staring at the screen through tear filled eyes, and all I can say is "Dear Birth Mother". 

Friday, May 3, 2013

All things "possible"

Since my last post we have found out that our home study will be approved for three children.  That means that adopting the sibling group of four is out of the question.  However, we were told if we decided to, the girls could be adopted by themselves.  That grieved us, but understanding how difficult it would be to place the children together, we were considering it.  However, we received some close-up pictures of the girls which revealed something we suspected.  The oldest girl is definitely older than originally presumed.  Since experience has taught us that adopting out of birth order is not advisable, we could not, in all fairness to her and our oldest daughter, bring an older child into our home.  We are praying that their mother and father will be found very soon.

The baby boy which we were asked about has not yet been relinquished.  There is still a "possibility", and our "Dear Birth Mother" letter along with a family portfolio is being presented to her.  Our agency also asked us about the "possible" placement of a little boy in California whose family is not able to handle his multi-cultured ethnicity.  They know that's not an issue in our family.

AND, if that's not enough possibilities, I received an email from Florida regarding a sibling group, twins born in 2010 and a little brother born 2011.  This too is a "possible" placement and one which we will consider if it comes to fruition.  The younger child has a hearing/speech impairment which is what we had prepared for with our Colombian princess, and both sides of our family, including Jode's mother, have numerous sets of twins.

In the meantime, we received the "final" copy of our home study today for proofing.  With a few revisions it is now ready to be sent to SCDSS for their approval.  I'm told this could take up to a month since they are lean staffed.  Our dossier is complete except for approved h.s. and immigration approval letter.  Once we have those in hand, everything will be sent to our adoption agency. 

I've learned this week that anything is "possible" when it comes to adoption.  And nothing is final, until it's actually final.  It's late and it's been a long week.  That's all for now. 

Kelley

Thursday, April 25, 2013

1, 3, 4, 2, 3, 4, 1

That's what we've been through in the past two weeks.  We initially wanted to adopt one little princess and when that came to a halt, we found three precious princesses we would love to call ours.  Then we were presented with a handsome prince of a brother about the same time our home study agency said, but wait, we only want to approve you for two.  So, we said ok, knowing they have been doing this even longer than we have and therefore have wisdom gained from that experience.  However, we thought that perhaps we could reason together and possible still adopt the three, so we requested and it was discussed among those in authority with a possible maybe, but yet to be determined.  Then, come to find out, that our home study agency was actually asking DSS of South Carolina, who has to approve all home studies, if we could be approved for up to four additional children as long as those children had no severe mental or physical needs.  For the past two, three days that's where we've been - waiting on the verdict from South Carolina DSS . . . until this morning.

I started my day with an email time stamped 7:30 from our home study agency which said "Can I call you?".  I replied at 8:15 saying I was at my desk (I work from home) if she wanted to call.  At 9:30 we received a call that stopped me in my tracks and has had me in tears much of the day.  But before I tell you about that phone call, let me tell you about Saturday. 

I was resting around here still feeling what I thought were the affects of last weeks stomach virus from hell still feeling nauseas, dizzy and exhausted.  Jode was sweet and had the older two with him while Ian was taking his morning nap.  I gave myself a break and decided to lay on the sunroom sofa and just rest.  I remember thinking "If I didn't know better, one would think I was expecting!" But that's not a possibility so sickness it was.  I laid there talking to God about our family and how thankful I am for all the precious babies we have.  Each one of our children came to us as infants with Ian being only 13 days old, Gavin was only 2 months old and Flora was 10 months old.  In the domestic would of foster adoption, according to our social workers, "that just doesn't happen".  Thus our being even more thankful.  But in my thankfulness and planning ahead for our possible adoptions by putting away all the baby paraphernalia that Ian has out grown, taking down the extra crib we always kept up and trying to figure out whether to have a yard sale or . . . what, I remember thinking "God, I sure am ready for another baby."  I told no one else, didn't even speak it out loud, but I know He heard me.  Now for today's phone call.

Our agent said that she got an email from their California office last night regarding a baby which was born this past Sunday.  He's Hispanic, weighed 5'7oz and has a special need not unlike the one our precious Mariana was diagnosed with and one that another child of mine was diagnosed with.  His back ground is much the same as our three children and two of my older children so nothing new there.  She said when she got the email we came to mind, and all last night and this morning she could not stop thinking about us being his parents.  She asked us to pray.  We have been, and have asked our mother's to pray as well.  All of us are not alarmed with his special needs and feel that it would be a very good thing.  It's still very uncertain, and as usual we are waiting for updated information and next steps.  That's nothing new for adoptions - domestic or international. 

Can I ask you to pray too?  If you've read this far, you're following us on this journey and in a sense going with us.  Please help us pray for him first and foremost.  His doctors, nurses and all those involved in his care need wisdom.  Help us pray that God would surround him with comfort, and calm and with His wonderful presence.  And then help us all pray, the agency and us, for wisdom and God's perfect will in this situation.

Thank you and God bless,
Kelley

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Peace that passes all understanding

Have you noticed how many of us going through the adoption process are asking for peace and expressing anxiety about the timing, the process, the government, the agency and so much more?  Many of us are Christians who have accepted what we know in our hearts to be the James 1:27 calling to adopt, yet we are plagued with anxieties through the entire process. 

Over twenty years ago, when I first became a foster/adoptive parent, I had the blessing of being given two beautiful little girls to foster.  Having two bio-sons, then 12 and 8, made having two little girls that much more thrilling.  This time I could buy little dresses and matching bows and sock and anything else cute and frilly. 

In the first four years of fostering them, I went through so many stages.  At first, they were just foster children.  I loved them very much, but also wanted very much for them to be able to return to their bio-mother.  After working with her for two years, DSS realized that was not going to be in their best interest.  And, after the older one was diagnosed with many special needs, DSS began to look to me as a possible adoptive placement. 

So for the next couple years we battle time, and the court system, for termination, and then their was the inevitable appeal, and another 18 months of waiting for the court system.  By this time, I knew they were mine no matter what possibilities there were, and I had a peace that no one could take them.  Of course this was developed over seven years; nothing quick about that.

So skip ahead to the past five years, and learning those lessons over again.  Jode and I have had 24 precious kids come through our home from ages 0 - 16.  Many times, we thought we were going to get to keep them only to have them returned to a not-so-wonderful situation.  Our hearts have been broken, we have asked God "why?", but finally have learned, again, that if it is not His perfect will, we do not want it for us, or them, because only in that will can there be His perfect peace that passes all understanding. 

Now that we are going through international adoption, we are again hearing "you need to hurry", and at first, I fell for it, but thankfully had a check in my heart to slow down.  Had I fallen for the rush, rush, rush of our initial agency, I would have been out over $10,000 when they came to us four months later and said "oh, by the way, we regret to inform you we are not going to proceed."  And of course, that contract said all monies are non-refundable.  That check in my heart to slow down, meant we only lost $1300, instead.  The second, third, forth and fifth agencies we interviewed all said the same thing basically "You need to hurry because I got a special clearance for you" or something like that.  I was surprised at how many said the same thing.  I wondered, do they teach them that in SW school? International Adoption 101 - how to motivate someone whose heart is already on their sleeve.  Not cool.  I did meet two social worker who did not do that, and one who actually kept asking me if I was sure this is what we wanted to do.  Now her, I would recommend in a heartbeat. 

So I'm asking you, is this your calling and if so, are you trusting the One who called to truly work all things for your, and your child's, good?  Have you laid all your endeavors at the foot of the cross, and if so, are you leaving them there for Him to work out?  Like the story of the little boy with the broken toy who gave it to his dad to fix only to keep taking it back before his father was done, God can't fix it, if you keep taking it up.  Ask Him what it is that you are to be doing, but also realize that sometimes, it is just to be still and wait. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

That Your Hand Would Be With Us

. . . that Your hand would be with me . . . I Chron 4

Five months ago we fell in love with a precious little baby in the country of Colombia.  No, not South Carolina, but South America.  For five months we worked hard to bring her home, but through tears and prayer we made the decision to not continue that pursuit. 

As we were drawing to the end of that endeavor, moving on emotionally as we made the decision to move on literally, we became aware of a sibling group of girls in the DRCongo.  They are beautiful little girls ages 4, 3 and 2 whose mother is deceased and whose father relinquished them because he is in the military and can no longer take care of them.  That had to be an agonizing decision, but the most amazing display of sacrificial love.  His request before he left was to have the girls adopted by a "foreign family" to get them out of the country and ravages of the African World War which is being waged all around them.  I cried when I found this out, and so did Jode.  His father's heart was broken.  After reading their back ground story and reviewing their medical reports, we said yes, we would like to pursue them so with a vengeance we have been.  Much of our home study was complete and will be in the next week.  Our dossier had already begun for Colombia and with DRCongo not being part of the Hague Convention, we should be able to move forward quickly.  We finally feel like we're making headway and we feel like God is showing us in His way that this is the way.  His hand is with us and it seems that with each step he keeps saying more and more "yes, but do you really trust Me?"  One little Latina, to three African daughters and then came Thursday night. 

Thursday night I received an apologetic email from our agency saying the biological father came in that day and relinquished his son as well.  Of course I sat there with my mouth open thinking "REALLY!?"  She asked if we would be interested and I said we would be interested in knowing more about him.  He's a handsome thing.  At 6 years old he would be older than Flora, which is something we have tried to avoid, but then we had not considered adopting a boy either.  So there is much to consider.  The bio father's instructions were that should the children need to be split up, they could adopt them out two and two.  At first I though, ok, we can just adopt the younger two but then, it horrifies me to think they would never see each other again.  Jode and Jane felt the same way.  No final decisions have been made, but we're leaning that way.  Of course his medicals will have to be reviewed.  We decided not to adopt a child with special needs if we are going to have a big family.  So much . . .  so much to be considered.  

And so we continue to pray for wisdom, for favor and of course we continue with the mounds of paperwork, but at least now we are making progress.

Thank you, Father, that as You bless us and expand our territory, You will also ever be with us to guide us through that which you've called us to do. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oh, that You would bless us INDEED and expand our territory, that Your hand would ever be with us and that You would keep us from evil that we might not cause pain.  1 Chron 4:10

When we began praying the prayer of Jabez, we expected great things from God, but heading to Africa to follow His call upon our lives is beyond that which we imagined.  We are humbled, excited and in awe that He would deem us worthy of this calling.  This blog will be our journey to Africa and from there . . . only God knows what He has planned!