Friday, April 27, 2012

You Are Invited....

....To Jackson's 3rd birthday party!!



I know that it's been quite awhile since I was able to blog. I had no computer since December! We finally got our computer up and running again so now I can blog. We are very far along in the adoption process, about 3/4 the way through! We hope to be traveling in the next 10 weeks! May is Jackson's birthday month. We don't know the date, just that it's in May and that he will be three years old.

Three years in an orphanage. 

Three years without anything to call his own. 

Three years waiting to be cherished, truly cherished. 

Three years watching other children get adopted before him. 

Three years without being sung to sleep. 

Three years without touching the grass outside.

Three years without being tickled and laughing until he couldn't breathe.

Three years without a bedtime story. 

Three years without riding on his Daddy's shoulders. 

Three years without having a warm bath. 

Three years without having his teeth brushed. 

Three years without being told that he is loved, truly loved. 

Three years is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for Jackson, it's a LIFETIME.

 We aren't going to be able to have Jackson home before his birthday like we hoped but we are going to celebrate him! We are going to celebrate Jackson throughout the entire month of May. His birthday will not go overlooked! Think of the things that a child would get for their third birthday, maybe a tricycle or a bag of Legos, farm animal toys or a water table for outside. These *things* aren't what Jackson needs. Jackson needs to come home to his family, to the people who are so in love with him that they would spend months gathering paperwork and would cross an ocean to a foreign country for their baby boy. We aren't special people, we aren't heroes, we just LOVE him with the kind of love that is enabling us to do these things. We love him as if he would have grown in my tummy! So, here is how you can celebrate Jackson's 3rd birthday.

I have created a list of typical things that we would buy Jackson for his third birthday. We are asking that you choose one of these items and instead of buying the item, we ask that you donate the cost of the item towards our adoption grant. Use the box on the side of the blog, where it says 'donate'. Your donation is tax deductible. The only thing that Jackson truly needs for his third birthday is to be home. We are so close and every single penny helps us. We appreciate every one of our friends and family who have prayed, donated and shared our story. We couldn't have done this without you. When you 'buy' one of these items for Jackson, can you please leave us a message and share on your blog or facebook? That way, I know who to enter into our $25 American Cookie Company gift card giveaway. What's a birthday party without cake!?!?

$9.99 here -- PURCHASED!! THANK YOU!!!

$6.99 here.

$26.89 here

$9.99 here  -- PURCHASED!!!! THANK YOU!!!

$14.99 here

$14.29 here

$22.99 here

$39.99 here

$14.99 here

$17.99 here

$17.89 here

$17.99 here 

$21.99 here

$13.39 here

$11.49 here 

$14.09 here 

$17.09 here

$19.99 here -- PURCHASED -- THANK YOU!!!

Thank you so much for supporting us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Answering some questions

Since we have started the process to bring Jackson home, we have been asked many questions about our adoption and adoption in general so I wanted to make a blog post to answer them.

Question from Penny
Do you have more pictures of Jackson? I adore seeing them. how often do they send them? Also, have you raised the money you were needing to for the adoption, or do you have a web page devoted?

Penny, we do have several pictures of him, although, this is not typical because some people only have one or two pictures of their child. I'm pretty sure that we won't get any more pictures of him before we travel because there are no other parents going to his orphanage soon. Typically, when there is a child being adopted from there or if the facilitator is headed to the orphanage for getting new files of children, they will take a new picture.

We need about $25,000 to cover the cost of his adoption. We still have about $18,000 left to fundraise/save. This blog and facebook is where we are doing our fundraising. We also have a link on Reece's Rainbow for tax-deductible donations through them. We will not get any of that money until we have an appointment date in Jackson's country.

Question from Holly
How do they do your homestudy? How much have y'all "spent" already...or how much money has been due so far and for what? In order to meet income requirements, do they (the powers that be) need to see tax returns and how many years back? What steps did you have to complete to be officially committed to Jackson?

I'm not sure if this is typical but our home study seemed very laid back. I think that it had a lot to do with our social worker's personality. She made us feel at ease. She came to our house twice. The first visit was with only Joe and I. She asked us some questions about why we were interested in adopting and we signed several forms. We paid her for the home study ($1400) and scheduled our next visit where she would meet our girls. The whole visit lasted about 1.5 hours.

We have spent about $4,700 so far and ONLY $1,400 has come from our savings. People have been so gracious and kind lifting us up when we needed it. The start-up costs were about $5000 (committment fees, home study, medicals, apostilling (fancy gold stamp that makes the paperwork offical), notarizing) and the rest is spent in-country (flights, facilitator fees, lodging, food, etc).

Yes, you have to have the previous year's tax return. You turn in the front 2 pages- signed and dated, and you get a cover sheet notarized stating that is your real return.

To be offically committed to him, we had to sign and have notarized the committment forms with Reece's Rainbow and send $1275 ($1000 promise trust- shows that we mean business ;) and that comes back to us when we travel as well, $25 to open our Family Sponorship Profile Page, and $250 donation to the Voice of Hope Fund) We also had to be in contract with our social worker so that was other forms to fill out as well as a $150 check. Reece's Rainbow asks that you have that done within 10 days.

Question from Deidra
How do you compare awaiting the arrival of an adopted child to awaiting the arrival of a child in the womb?

There are many ways that it *is* like a pregnancy. I've actually had some weird cravings during this process (corn with hot sauce anyone?), but with adoption, there is a whole lot of hurry up and wait. In pregnancy, you have a typical timeframe which is somewhere between 8-10 months. In adoption, you are at the mercy of many other people, many who you will never see or meet in your lifetime, who have to all somehow work together with you to get the job done. I may never meet or even speak to the person who puts the gold apostilles on our paperwork which is the last step before we send said paperwork to Jackson's country. I can pray that she doesn't accidently spill her coffee on them and that she gets the job done in a timely manner but it's out of my hands. In pregnancy, you can kind of let the doctor know what you are comfortable with. If you choose not to do certain prenatal testing or choose not to find out the gender before the baby is born, or choose not to have an epidural, then that is your choice. The doctor can recommend for you to do these things, but you don't have to do them. For an adoption, there really isn't a list of things that you choose or don't choose to do, rather, there is a list of things that you simply MUST accomplish in order to get your child home. When I was pregnant, MY belly grew. Now, that we're adopting, Joe's belly is growing... (*just wanted to throw some humor in there...Don't kill me!)

Question from Melina
How are you preparing the girls for your new arrival?

It's kind of funny. There was no real 'You're going to have a brother! We are adopting!' moment. If anyone knows me, you know that this isn't really a surprise that we are adopting. At first, Joe and I decided that we weren't going to tell the girls that we were adopting until after the first visit with our social worker, just in case. A couple days before our visit, Aislinn was holding a picture of our boy and said "Mom, can we pleaaasssse adopt Darren?" I said, "Do you really want him to be your brother?" and she of course said yes. I told her that we were adopting him and she jumped up and down and ran to Tristen's room to tell her. Tristen said really loudly, "FINALLY! What took Daddy so long?!?!" They are both really excited. When I show his picture to Linden and say, "Who is that," she says "JackTHon" with her little lisp.

iPad2 winner!

I haven't been able to blog in almost a month because we had some keys missing on our keyboard and I couldn't finish many words! Haha.

Things are going along steadily. Jackson's country is currently 'closed' [for the holidays] so that means our dossier/paperwork won't be accepted until after February 2012. We have some time ;) Right now, we are waiting for our FBI clearance to come through. We were told that it could take up to 12 weeks and it has been 5 weeks since we sent it off.

Our iPad2 fundraiser was a success! We had over 290 entries and raised $1353!!! $700 of that was sent in within the last 10 hours of the fundraiser! Linden chose a winner and the winner of the 32gb iPad2 is....


Congratulations, Janice! Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for making our fundraiser such a success! We seriously could not do it alone. We appreciate each and every single one of you who have prayed, donated, advocated, and have supported us in other ways.

Joe and Bianca

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adoption - a Sibling's Perspective

Many of you may not know that my husband, Joe, is adopted. His birth mom died unexpectedly when he was only 11 months old and her sister, Carol and Carol's husband, Chuckie took Joe and his brother, Sean (4 at the time) as their own. At the time, they had three of their own children under five years old(Sam, Rhiannon, and April) and Carol was pregnant with their fourth child, Paulette. Youngest brother, Luke, came a couple years later, bringing the grand total to seven kids.

Paulette never knew her life without her 'adopted' siblings, so to her, they were no different than her biological siblings. Their parents treated and loved all of the children the same. When we told her that we were adopting Jackson, she was very excited, as was the rest of the family, and woke up one morning with something on her heart that she needed to share.

This is her account of what it was like growing up in a family with adopted siblings.
And please forgive me for the upside down pictures, photobucket is just not my friend today. :)

I would like to share my story about how adoption changed my life and why I think
it is so important. Although it is amazing to give a child a better life then they my have, you may also be giving your child a best friend for life; someone who protects you and looks out for you, someone who has your back no matter what. Let me tell you about my adopted brother. I have four brothers, only one which is fully biological, I can sit here and explain how, but that is so unimportant to me. I adore all of them. The only difference between them is how they were brought on this earth. They were loved the same, cared for the same and brought into my family even before I was.


My brother, Joseph, used to check on me all the time. When I got my first heartbreak he drove all around town and found me and asked me to get in his car. He wanted to make sure that I was ok. This is something he did on every occassion that I can remember having a hard time. He made me laugh so hard until I cried. He would tell me if he felt I was hanging around the wrong people and try to steer me in the right direction. Of course I would roll my eyes and pretend I thought he was wrong, but the truth is that I respected him, so I would listen and he was usually right. I was a pretty annoying teenager.(lol) I would walk around our house singing extremely loud all the time. Instead of him screaming at me, like all of my other siblings, (haha) he would make a beat on the drums for me. How many older brother do you know that let their younger sister hang out with them and their friends? I love all of my siblings, but sometimes it's hard to find your place in such a big family, especially as a young adult.


The hardest time of our lives was losing our mother. She was the most amazing woman we knew, always helping other people. She loved everyone and showed us a tremedous amount of unconditional love. Now at any age it is hard to lose your mother, but at the young age that we were was very confusing. We were still trying to find ourselves. Somehow, Joseph always had a way of checking on me when I needed him most. I did not even have to call. This is someone who lost both of his mothers and he was worried about us. This really made me realize what an awesome job our parents did raising all of us. To have such a strong bond and affection for each other.


I am so happy the he and Bianca are adopting now. I am anxious to see how Jackson affects their family and hear all of their storie because I am sure my parents had so many stories to tell with that many children.(lol) Now I am sure I had plenty of fights with my brother, but honestly I can not tell you any because I only remember the good times. I remember having someone who did not judge me for my faults. Someone who made me laugh and feel like I fit in. I could not picture my life any differently. I actually might have had a harder time as a teenager. My parents gave me a best friend and a brother. I know that Bianca and Joe will bring the same joy and happiness to their children by adopting.

Joe and Paulette as teens

1/2 of the siblings -- We were in Boston, MA for Linden's 2nd heart surgery [that she didn't have to have.]
Joe (holding Linden), Me (Bianca), Luke, Paulette and Rhiannon at Fenway Park

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Would you like to win an iPad2?

We knew that when we committed to Jackson that we were going to have to do some fundraising. So far, every penny that we have needed has been there. People have been so gracious and giving to us and we are so appreciative. We are thankful that people want to see Jackson come home. We made $280 on our keychain fundraiser which will be on-going until he comes home. We love YOU being a part of his story!

It's time for another FUNdraiser! For a $10 or more donation, you are entered into a drawing to win a brand new 32 GB iPad2 with wifi valued at $599 (first prize) or a Scentsy gift set valued at $100 (second prize).


The winner can choose either a black or white iPad2! It will be brand new shipped from the manufacturer to the winner's doorstep! The drawing for this giveaway will be December 1, 2011.

$10 donation- gets you 1 chance.
$20 donation- 3 chances
$50 donation- 7 chances!
$100 donation- 12 chances!

If you donate AND post on facebook or on your blog, I will put your name in for another chance! Please let me know if you do.

Please use the red chip-in on the right for the donations to this fundraiser.

These donations are not tax deductible.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Why not a child from the US?

Ever since we have announced that we're adopting Jackson, we have been asked (by people who I am sure mean well) several times:

"Why don't you just adopt a child from the U.S.?"

"Why go 'over there' when there are so many kids 'over here'?"

The answer is: Because that's where our son is. Seriously. That's it. We love this little boy. We want this little boy. It's not about where he is. We feel as though God has lead us to Jackson. This is about giving him the family that he needs. An orphanage is no place for any child. See, in his country, children with special needs (like Down syndrome) are given up at birth. It's believed that there is no place for them in society. They are put into orphanages and if they are not adopted by the age of four, they are transferred to a mental institution. Many of them die in the first year. No child should live that way, but it's the cold hard facts. I could never live with myself if we could have done something to save Jackson and we didn't. If he got transferred to a place like that, I couldn't handle it. I have a mama's heart for him. I love him just as much as I love my daughters but I feel a kind of desperation for him that I don't have to feel for them. He is 2 and a half years old. In a little over a year, that gorgeous, capable boy could be transferred to a mental institution.

And that is why we are crossing the ocean for him.

That is why we are working hard to get our paperwork together.

That is why we have to fundraise. This is truly a life or death situation.

If not us, then who?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We have our home study visit coming up on Thursday. We are moving along pretty well, it seems. We are hoping to have our dossier (big stack of paperwork) in his country in February.

My girls have made some keychains to sell to help to bring their brother home. They did everything except put them on the key ring. Tristen used my tools to crimp the ends together and Aislinn strung the beads. They wanted to use rainbow colored beads because we are adopting from Reece's Rainbow. We are asking $5 per keychain because of the cost of shipping. If you would like one, please use the chip in on the right side that says "Keychains". This donation is not tax-deductible because it is coming straight to us for some upfront expenses. If you could share on facebook, that would be great! Thank you!