UPDATE 7/26: After a very long wait for Barton's court date, followed by a request for a second court date which will add a fourth trip to his adoption, our FSP needs to read $32,000 for our family to be fully funded.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Matching Grant and Little Pim Thank You Giveaway

I am so honored to announce that we have been awarded a matching grant by an amazing anonymous group to help us get Barton home. We need our FSP to read $28,450.50 to meet the $550 grant. You can go HERE to donate. Right now it is at $27,900.50. We have two weeks to raise the money for this grant. This is a huge help and we are so thankful for it! The total amount when we meet this grant will cover more than an entire plane ticket! Wow!

As our thank you to everyone helping us meet or match this grant, we are going to give away 3 Little Pim discovery sets. Each set has 3 DVDs and a small stuffed panda. We will be giving away 1 set in English and 2 sets in Mandarin Chinese. The set in English is great for newly adopted kids. We bought one for our kids! The Mandarin sets could be used for young adopted children to maintain some of their first language, for excited new siblings, or just as a fun introduction to the language.


I will tell you guys up front that I *love* Little Pim. I have used the French language discs as part of an early elementary language study program for some of my kids. The background music is soothing and calms kids (and mamas) down. The vocabulary focuses on daily activities and objects young children will encounter. It is gentle. I love gentle! I am happy to answer questions you might have!

There are a few ways to be entered. For every $5 donation, you are entered once into the giveaway! (2 entries for $10, etc.) You can also be entered for sharing our blog post or posting about it on your own blog. Any donations, sharing, or posting within the next three weeks can be entered into the giveaway, to make sure we can thank everyone who is helping us bring Barton home! Don't forget to email me at kayleighbloom@gmail.com with Thank You Giveaway in the subject, your receipt or a link to your shared post or blog in the message, and whether you want English or Chinese so that I can enter you! (And so I can thank you!) Go HERE to donate!

Plus, here is a picture of Theo enjoying his first birthday in America! A full birthday post will come in a few days after I have finished wiping frosting off all the walls and cleaning up wrapping paper!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Barton Is Worth It

I have been putting off writing this update. Barton is not home yet. We have not passed court. The court requested a second date to call extra witnesses and do a few other optional things that most courts decline to do. These are extra steps the court is requiring from the country, not for our family. We understand that this is the first time this court has done an international adoption, so they are making sure they cross and dot every letter. The second court date is scheduled for the end of July. It will be in a few days.


We are very sad and frustrated for Barton. Our facilitator and his teachers were able to explain what is happening, but he was disappointed. His teachers have said they have seen him open up a lot since my husband first started visiting, and one of them has requested to make a statement about that at court. We have so much waiting for him here. Our children keep asking about him. The staff at our school can't wait to meet him. There is a hole in our lives, waiting for him to come home. It is so hard to know that our other boys have been home for more than a month, and we don't know yet when he will be here. It has been especially hard for my husband to be there and be so happy to spend time with him, and then say goodbye one more time.


In addition to the emotional difficulty with another delay, these extra trips have been a logistical nightmare. We will now have three extra trips for my husband to make since we have brought the other boys home. He is getting closer and closer to eating up the last of his FMLA time, even though he is coming home to work as much as he can between those trips. At close to $1000 each way, each time he has to make another trip, these have been a huge extra expense. After recent events, airlines are canceling flights to the airport he had been traveling in and out of. He now needs to fly in and out of the capital, requiring extra travel time. The flight for the second court date was cancelled very close to his departure, and we are thankful we were able to get an alternative flight on such short notice. We had scheduled medical appointments for the other boys based on when our children's hospital had openings with multiple specialists, and it has taken some juggling to make sure those run smoothly now that my husband may be traveling during those times.

It is worth it though. I can't say that enough. He is worth all of this. It has been hard, and we aren't done fighting for him yet. But we would do it all again in a heartbeat.

___

You know who else is worth it? These three amazing boys that we have been watching grow and change every day. We are still cocooning and still enjoying our honeymoon while we learn more about each other.

I have so much more to say about them, but they are too busy climbing all over me right now for me to say anymore. So I will leave you with some pictures and a couple videos of how things are going.

Theo and Orion were very amused that their crazy American mother gave them root BEER. I tried to explain it was soda but that part was lost in translation.



I have to say again, we have the handsomest sons in the world! Theo really wants his friend (Tania on RR!) to have a family too. Orion would spend the whole day playing outside if we let him.



And here is just a sneak peak of all the amazing things ahead for Evan. He is knocking our socks off every single day!




I have so much more to say about how well they are all doing, but it will need to wait for next time!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

These Boys Are Amazing!

I have been SO busy and SO happy with our new sons. They are just great. We are having so many new experiences every day. My husband is back in country for court for Barton. He will be coming home during the ten day wait because he will run out of leave otherwise. Yep, he will have spent three entire months in country by the time this is done - twice as long as most people take. That doesn't even include the time spent waiting at home for Barton's court date.  It has been a long journey.  We have a $500 matching grant that our FSP account needs to read $26,728 to meet. To be fully funded our account needs to read $29,277. These delays have required four extra flights during the expensive summer months, extra money for transportation and lodging, etc. We haven't included any of the lost income in our fundraising totals, but as you can imagine three months of lost salary has been a big hit. Evan's condition is miraculously good for his size at his age, but we are already seeing many expensive specialists to check up on things. Any donations to our account HERE are greatly appreciated.

Now for the good stuff - pictures from the last month!

Evan, Theo and Orion are doing so well. I am so thankful to have each of them in our family. They are adjusting so well. We are working on new skills with Evan, but mostly just loving him more than words. He is such a treasure. Theo and Orion are playing all the time and asking every day to practice for when they start school at the end of the summer. I am constantly surprised by how many things Theo can do for himself when he tries. Sometimes it takes a little prompting because he isn't used to doing those things, but I think he is definitely capable of more than anyone realized. Orion is so proud of all the things he can do and loves to have someone to show them off to. He is also so sweet and gentle. They are great kids.







They all love spending time outside. We have had a few impromptu picnics. Theo loves having the chance to play with sticks and dig in the dirt too. Evan would cry when he was outside when we left the orphanage. Now he laughs and lights up when we take him out. Orion is always very busy building something. They are so much fun to be with.






Evan has been having a lot of appointments. So far the ENT removed huge impactions in both ears, we have done tons of lab tests with really great results, a full skeletal x-ray showing contractures, some hip degeneration and a bone age 3 years younger than his chronological age, and a swallow study with no aspiration. So much to be thankful for there. Here he is with Orion at one of his appointments. We have 8 more specialist to see in the next month.



The boys loved their first 4th of July. Independence Day indeed. We watched fireworks by the river and ate fried dough and had a great time. They even ate at McDonalds for the first time on our way home. I LOVE how excited they are by everything. These boys love life and everything it has to offer them. I can't say enough how awed I am by them.






We all can't wait for Barton to be here too. Orion and Theo ask me all the time when he will be sleeping in his bed and if he will go to school with them. They also ask about all of their friends who are still at the orphanage. I know people are wary of older kids. Ours are all wonderful and I can't imagine any of them being left behind for the rest of their lives just because they weren't chosen when they were younger.

Gene ages out very soon, but he is not scary. He is small and frail.

http://reecesrainbow.org/52866/gene
Gene2
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The boys ask me about their friend Gideon and if he has a family almost every day.

http://reecesrainbow.org/70012/gideon-2
Gideon4
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Denzel was in the same room as Evan. He needs a family desperately. He was so alert and responsive and alive. He needs someone to give him a chance. He needs a bigger grant.

http://reecesrainbow.org/65205/denzel
denzel
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This girl is such a sweetheart. Kendall was in the playroom with my husband and Evan one day when Evan wasn't feeling well. She crawled over to check on him. She is learning to stand!

http://reecesrainbow.org/59320/kendall
O girl (1)
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Vance is so full of love. He was so sweet and gentle and happy to get attention.

http://reecesrainbow.org/56885/vance
Vance-001

Please share any and all of these children. They need families.

Monday, June 16, 2014

We Are Home!

Our house is full of so much wonderful chaos right now. It is beautiful, and messy, and loud, and joyful. I love it. It is not leaving me much time to spend online to change our photos and type out messages, but as I recover from the time difference that will get easier. We had an extra day of travel on our way home because our last flight spent three hours on the runway before being cancelled. The boys were not thrilled about spending the night at the airport, but we are finally home and that is the part that counts.

I have so many photos and videos to share with all of you! Here is a small sample of the amazing things we are seeing from the boys already. Orion (Oleg) is already making sounds more clearly than he was a week ago, and he tries so hard.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Are Going Home!!!

We have three visas and three batches of paperwork for customs! We will be leaving for the airport in four or five hours! I am so excited to finally be ending this part of the adventure and beginning the real journey ahead of us. So many new experiences, so much to learn, so much to share. And for my husband, so soon to return to Eastern Europe for court for our fourth new son. Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach this point!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let's Get Salome's Family Funded!

Salome's family should get travel dates at any time! They are not yet fully funded and could use some support! I really want them to be funded ASAP. It has been hard to shout for them from across the ocean bringing our own boys home, but they are constantly on my mind. Please don't forget them and their need to get ALL of their older kids home.






You can donate to their account here:
http://reecesrainbow.org/70400/sponsorfahringer

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Don't Forget Gene!

Gene's time is running out. He turns 16 in August. He needs a committed family before his birthday!



I have seen him and can answer questions and provide additional info for interested families! His need for a family is desperate. Please share him and contribute to his grant fund to help him find a family!

http://reecesrainbow.org/52866/gene



Friday, June 6, 2014

Waiting to go Home!

UPDATE-photos added!





We are waiting on passports to arrive any time now, then we need our medical documents and last visa appointment, and we can bring Orion, Theo, and Evan home! It is so wonderful to have them with us, but we are missing our children at home and we are also missing Barton. We are still anticipating court in July for Barton and we have turned in his necessary immigration papers to stay eligible to adopt him as we approach 6 months since our immigration approval.

I don't think I can repeat enough times how amazing these boys are. They should have had families YEARS ago. Orion is so helpful. He is full of energy and excitement. Everything we do is the best thing ever. I have never seen a teenage boy so excited to take a shower before! He can't wait to get America because he wants glasses to help him see better. He is so sweet and kind and helpful with his new brothers. He will pet Evan's head so gently and tell him to sleep or eat. Yes, he has a knack for finding trouble too, but we even love that. He did not belong at this kind of institution. None of the kids should be there, but his delays appear to be almost entirely caused by the environment he grew up in.

I love how joyful Theo is. Such small things make him so happy. We gave him a xylophone to play with and I danced to the music he made. He was thrilled. I moved his arms to the music from a cartoon on tv, and he could barely catch his breath he was laughing so much. This boy loves music. He can also do so many things for himself if he is given the chance. He is used to people helping him with tasks he can do himself because he takes longer. We would rather take the time and let him be independent. He also wants to do everything just like the other kids. When we were leaving the orphanage he insisted on wearing shoes. His feet are very twisted from never being braced or stretched, so they don't fit in shoes. We found a way to keep them on long enough for him to get to the car, and he was so proud.

I have so much to say about little Evan. He will be 11 next week. He weighs 33 pounds. He wasn't eating well at the orphanage and he didn't eat much for us at first, but he has already gotten better at eating for us. He would choke on the cut open orphanage nipples, but he will actually suck on the nipple we have for him. There isn't time for nannies with 9 children with severe needs in a room to make sure each individual child eats. If he needed to stop and breathe, sometimes someone would come back around to give him the rest of his bottle. Sometimes one of the other children would be given the rest of the bottle. He takes turns vocalizing with us, he laughs, he loves contact and attention. That last part was a huge, unexpected blessing. He loves to snuggle up with us and we thought all that attention might be too overwhelming.

Some things have been overwhelming for all the boys. Passport photos and the first medical appointment were tough on them. It was hard to get the boys to sit and look at the camera, they didn't understand what was happening, and it was right after we left the orphanage. The next day we were able to explain to Theo and Orion that we would be going back to our apartment when they were visibly frightened in the medical waiting room, but Evan doesn't understand that. He was nonresponsive the entire time we were there and didn't get back to himself until that evening. The travel has also been very hard on Evan. After being left alone lying down in a crib for a decade, it is a lot to travel across the country and back and forth to appointments. The flight home is going to be hard for everyone, but we are hoping it is uneventful for everyone. If we are lucky they will sleep most of the way, but none of them slept on the trip out of the orphanage so we are planning ways to keep them entertained. We are all hoping we travel home soon!


3 New Sons

EDIT- Photos fixed!


I am so thrilled to be able to tell all of you we have passed court for Theo, Orion and Evan! They are sons with a mama and a papa and brothers and sisters.

All three of them are incredible.


On my first visit, Orion came running up the path yelling Papa, Papa! Then he asked if I was Mama and gave me such a big hug. He has been dreaming of a family for so long. He wanted to leave as soon as we arrived, so we have had to explain that we need all of our documents and passports before he can go. Just a couple more days!



Theo said Mama, Papa when he saw us. He loves spending time with his Papa pushing him on the swing, and he had missed that while he was gone. He kept looking up at my husband and smiling and saying Papa. These boys all love their Papa so much because he is so much fun!

Sweet little Evan was so happy to hear my husband's voice too. The pictures of him really don't show how tiny he is. His forearm is the length of my hand. He will be 11 this month! He is so sweet too though. I could listen to his laugh all day. My baby boy will be leaving his crib forever so soon!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Barton is Amazing.

I was able to meet Barton today. He is amazing. He is incredible.

My husband and I arrived in the taxi and all the boys on the front porch started yelling, "Hello!" since they have picked that up from him. We walked across the front of the building and shook everyone's hands and said hello to them. Then one of the boys grabbed my husband's hand and started walking with him. It was Barton, but he is so small that I didn't realize it at first! He was a little nervous around me at first because I am a new strange person, but he started to warm up after a little while.

We had a snack and played with toys, then went out to the swings on the playground. It was hot and he kept telling us it was sunny with a smile on his face. A few of the other boys walked over to ask us questions. Some of them I understood and some of them I didn't, but they were very nice and polite boys. We walked around and watched some of the young adults playing games before he had to go in for lunch.

We came back for our second visit of the day and he was much more comfortable around me. We played more and watched a little bit of a movie before he had to go for dinner. Afterward we were able to explain to one of the teachers that we would be coming back for him as soon as we could but we need to wait for court, and a little bit of what his life will be like here. The staff there seems very nice and like they really care about the boys. Since we didn't know where he had been transferred to, that was one of the things that we worried about before we got here. I am so glad that the people caring for him have spoken so kindly about him.

I am so excited to be able to get him home. I think that his vision and his time in orphanages are his biggest obstacles. We can't believe he has waited so many years for a family. He is 16! He looks younger, but his age made him too old for most families to adopt. We did not decide to adopt him until his birthday had already passed. But he is so incredible. He has already started to blossom in so many ways. I wish he had the chance to have a family when he was still a little child, but I am so happy that he will be a member of our family.

Hopefully my next update will be after our court date for the other boys!

People have asked where we stand on funding at the moment. As of right now, our expenses after some very generous donations will be at least $1850 more. We won't have an exact amount for if it will be more and how much more until we have the other boys home. We are very thankful for all of the donations we have received and for everyone who has supported us! We will be continuing our updates so that all of you who have played such a big part in this story will see how it continues. Thank you all!