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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Videos of Madi Walking

I just realized I never updated any videos, nor had I started including Ramya's walking videos.  I will start posting those below this post.  Look for the posts at the bottom in red :)

I just thought I'd share a few new videos of Madi walking.  She got her new HKFOs not too long ago, and she's adjusting quite well.  She has less stability in them, but also more movement.  She is able to kick her legs out a lot better now.  She got her first pair of HKFOs at about 22 months, but outgrew those pretty quickly!

This video was taken last week.  You can tell when she started getting tired because she started jumping.  Jumping in her HKFOs is one of her favorite things to do, though! 

This video is from today.  You can tell she has a lot more energy.  Towards the end she starts getting bored of her walker and tired, so we switched her to her shopping cart (which is the last video), which she had fun with.  The goal is to keep her up standing and practicing, but not to the point she gets frustrated and doesn't want to be up.  We change up her activities pretty often to keep her happy and engaged.

... and with her cart...


Here's a video of Madi walking at 6 years old, using HKFOs and arm cruches....


Ramya walking with her HKFOs and walker at 8 years old...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Love Seeing Her Name Written That Way

Today wasn't the best day ever.  While we were out to pick up my car from the mechanic, we were involved in a minor accident.  A car ran a red light going about 45 and t-boned another car that had the green light.  The car that got hit ran in to our car (we were stopped at the light) twice.  No one was hurt, but it did scare the kids.  We had David's moon roof open and glass from the windshield of the car that hit us came in through it, which frightened the kids (but thankfully did not hurt them!!).  Anyhow, obviously not the funnest morning.  When we got home later this afternoon, however, we came home to this...

(I crossed out some of our last name and the orphanage name, just in case, since I'm not sure what the adoption agency's rules are on sharing information)

What a great thing to come home to!  I love seeing her name written with our last name, it makes it seem so much more real.  The CD contained a new video of Ramya.  We all watched it and it was awesome getting to see how she is doing.  They had her AFO's on her, which is great, and she was speaking some English words to them.  She is a smart little cookie!  We can't wait to bring her home!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Well, that stinks :(

Today I found out there was a miscommunication, and our paperwork is not actually in India.  Our i-800a approval just means that we are approved to adopt Internationally.  Now we have to wait on our i-800 approval, which approves us to adopt Ramya specifically.  This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 months, before it gets approved.  I'm so bummed!!  Here's the timeline we are looking at...

1. USCIS issues I-800 provisional approval (you’ll get notice in the mail and possibly by email): takes about 1 ½ months

2. USCIS will send your file to the US embassy in Delhi: takes about 2 weeks
3. The embassy will send you an email asking for your DS230. When you receive this, forward it to me and I will reply to them for you: takes about a week to get the email and I can reply the same day
4. The embassy will issue your Article 5 as their approval for you to move forward: takes about 2 weeks after I reply to the email
5. We notify Vathsalya that you received your Article 5 so they can move your dossier through the local authorities to review and send to CARA. At the same time the embassy will forward your Article 5 to CARA. When CARA has both, they will issue your NOC (no objection certificate): takes about one month
6. The court process can begin; Vathsalya and their lawyers handle it from here. Typically there are three court proceedings which occur over a span of about 3-6 months. At the end you’ll get your guardianship court order.
7. Then the orphanage will obtain a passport application appointment and apply for Ramya’s passport: about a month

8. We wait for the passport: about two months

9. Once the passport is received, you can move forward with travel plans to pick her up!

So if anyone has any connections at the USCIS (United States Citizen Immigration Services) and can get that paperwork through faster, I will love you FOREVER!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

We Are Guest Bloggers... Come Read Our Story

There are so many cool stories on this site, and we are so excited to be part of it!  Today they featured Madi.  Go read!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

We Have A Ramp!

My dad built Madi a ramp going outside (at the back door), thanks to the money Madi gets from her Amazon Associate's link!  A big THANK YOU to everyone who purchases through our link, this ramp is all because of you!  It works out really well, and she has so much more independence because of it.  YEAH!

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's here!!!!!!

Today we got notice that our i-800a was approved!  That means that the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has approved us as adoptive parents for an internationally adopted child, specifically one child from India. 

The next step for us is getting approved in India, which can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.  Our paperwork has been in India for some time now, but we couldn't get approval there until this cleared.

We are so excited for this progress!  Thanks for cheering us on and walking this journey with us! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Sweet Little Book I Thought of Tonight

One of my favorite things to do is to rock Madi to sleep (yes, even at 3).  She doesn't always let me, but any time she does, I enjoy every second with her.  She is growing up way too fast, and soon moments like these will be few and far between.  I don't ever want to look back and say that I wish I had cherished more of these moments with her, so I rock her, and I cuddle her, and I sing to her, and I appreciate and enjoy every last minute of it :).  Every time I rock her, I think of this sweet little book that we love to read.  It's called I Will Hold You Till You Sleep.  My kids love the book, and it always makes me teary-eyed.  I just thought I'd share!

"Dearest baby, child of mine, I will hold you till you sleep."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning? Cleaning Out Your Closets? Send Your Old Treasures Our Way!

It's that time of year again... garage sale fundraiser time!!  This may very well be the last garage sale fundraiser we get to have before bringing Ramya home (though we will most likely have another in October if she does not get to come home before that). 

If you are cleaning out your closets, doing some spring cleaning, or have anything just lying around that you are not wanting any more, send it our way!  We love any donation, no matter how big or small.  Clothing, furniture, household items, anything; we take it all!!

We are happy to come and pick up donations, just let us know!

The big sale will be April 20th and 21st, so you have some time to start digging through your buried treasures. We will take donations any time from now until the sale.

 As always, if you are able to come help organize donations, run the sale, or play with the kids while I do any of the above, we would love to have you!

Thanks so much for loving Ramya and helping us bring her home!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time to Deck the Wheels

Madi's wheels needed a makeover, so we decked them out today.  Madi loves the new look!  She has been going around telling everyone (and everything, including the dog) that we decorated her wheels.  It's so cute!

A Sweet Song

This song was written by a dad for his daughter with Spina Bifida.  Grab a tissue!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dear Ramya,

My heart aches not having you here.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about you and pray for you.  I am doing everything within my power to bring you home and I cannot wait for the day they say you are ours!  I wish there was a way to get you home faster, but I am trying to trust that God has a plan and that His timing is perfect.  

You have so many people that love you already.  We have been having garage sales and selling special bracelets to help raise the money we need to get you here.  So many people have generously donated their time and treasures to help us.  We are already over half way to our goal!!  We are blessed beyond measure to have so many people supporting us and walking this journey with us.  We are all excited to bring you home.

Today the local consignment store that I love, Hissyfits, was having a big sale, and I had store credit, so I went shopping!  When I prepare to bring you home, I feel closer and more connected to you.  I found a lot of cute clothes for you, and I cannot wait to put you in them!  You are such a beautiful girl and it's going to be so fun dressing you up!  I do not know what size you will wear so I got a few different sizes.  If they don't fit you, don't worry, your sister can always wear them.  Maybe you two will be the same size for a while!  I think you will like Hissyfits.  Conner, your brother, and Madi, your sister, love to go there and pick out new clothes and toys.  I am also working on getting you an Ergo carrier.  I am going to buy one from my friend, Marissa, and it should work perfect for you!  My friend, Amanda, said that there are no sidewalks in India, so bringing a wheelchair for you and Madi won't work.  I plan to carry you on my back so that we can see the city together.  Don't worry, I don't mind, I am excited to get the chance to be close to you.  I hope that won't be hard for you.  Snuggling is one of my favorite things to do!  Here is a picture of some of your new clothing...

I got you a cute, warm jacket, two pairs of pants, four skirts, two dresses, and two shirts.  I hope that you love them!  When we get you home, I will let you pick out some special outfits and some cute little shoes too.  Maybe we can even get you some cute hairbows and headbands! 

I am hoping to hear back on our i-800a paperwork soon.  As soon as we are cleared federally, we can get cleared in India as well.  Our paperwork is already in India, and your orphanage knows we are waiting (im)patiently for you, so hopefully things will move fast once the i-800a goes through.  Until then, we will continue to pray for you and dream about the day you come home!  We love you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kisses in the Wind

Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing this poem with us!!


(The Waiting Child's Lullaby)

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.

You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.

But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...

Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.

I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.

But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.

And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

~ © Pamela Durkota

We love you Ramya!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our Encouragement

We have been really encouraged by our bracelet sales so far, and I just had to share!!  David's mom teaches nursing classes at a local community college and bought 20 from us, one for each student.  We have also had many friends and loved ones purchase one from us as well.  The grand total we have sold so far is 32 out of our 200 bracelets, and we have already earned $305 with the fundraiser!  WOW!!  We also got a $10 donation and a $50 donation from students in David's mom class.  We are so touched!  Here are a few photos of some of the people that are rockin' our GLOW (Grow Love for Orphans Worldwide) bracelets...

$2,300 Final WACAP bill
- 540 My babysitting money
- 100 From the Zupko family (THANK YOU!)
- 60 From the Merkel family (THANK YOU!)
- 65 Raised from selling bracelets so far

$1,535 to go on our current goal
-210 bracelet sales

$1325 to go!
-58 thirty-one fundraiser
-10 donation
-50 donation
-20 bracelet sale
$1,187 to go!

Thank you for all of your support.  We can't wait to bring our precious little girl home!! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our Current Fundraising Adoption Goal

I just got our final bill from WACAP.  Unfortunately, this doesn't mean we are anywhere near done fundraising and paying for the adoption, but it does mean after we pay this bill, our WACAP fees are fully paid... WOOO HOOOO!  We will still need to raise/save about $5,000- $8,000 for a lawyer to do the adoption here in Arizona (I am hoping to find someone who will do it for less!!) and our travel fees.  Travel will be 4 tickets there times $1,500 a ticket, and then 1 return ticket home, about $750, for Ramya (about $6,500 for airfare).  We will also need food, transportation, etc... in India.  We also need money for her visa and the kid's passports.  The good news is, we have quite a few months to save it that portion up.

Here's what our current fundraising/saving goal looks like:

$2,300 Final WACAP bill
- 540    My babysitting money
- 100    From the Zupko family (THANK YOU!)
- 60      From the Merkel family (THANK YOU!)
- 65      Raised from selling bracelets so far
$1,535  to go on our current goal
-210     bracelet sales
$1325   to go!
-58       thirty-one fundraiser
-10       donation
-50       donation
-20       bracelet sale
  $1,187 to go!
-25      bracelet sale
-$30    bracelet sale
- $27    bracelet sales from church
-$25      generous donation
-$14      another generous donation
- $5       bracelet sale
- $71.40 bracelet sales from church
- $20      bracelet sales
-$10.05   Church bracelet sales
-$607.00  Babysitting
-$150.00  Selling our old stroller
-$65          Play kitchen sold
-8             Bracelet sales
-25           clothing sales
- $100     fencing sold
- 5.00      clothing sold


To read about our current bracelet fundraiser, and to see an update on how many we have sold and our total earned, please click HERE.

Thank you for following our journey, praying for Ramya and our family, and for all of your support!!  We couldn't do this without you!