Monday, April 12, 2010

Progress Report

Hello! Remember me!? I am the author of this blog, though that may not be apparent due to the lack of blog posts this past month+. While I HAVE been busy over the course of the past month and there have been many unexpected twists and turns to keep life exciting (keep reading), what has really kept me from blogging is the fact that, whenever I stop to think about my girls, the world seems to come to a grinding halt and I am reminded of (what seems like) the vast amount of time that still separates me from them. I thought that I would handle this separation with much more grace, but I am failing miserably! I miss my little ladybugs. I am aching to hold them and longing to bring them home.

Despite my moping, we have managed to make significant progress. Our I800 applications, along with supporting documentation and fee, were received at the Texas facility on March 10th. Unfortunately, there they sat until March 26th when they were finally mailed to the Hague Office in Missouri for processing.

On March 22nd, I received an e-mail from Toni containing the girls' visa pictures! Every time I need a good laugh, I pull these up on my computer! My sweet little ladybugs look like little convicts and I just can't help but laugh every time I see them!

Alayna and Lily's Mug Shots!

On the evening of March 24th, while I was at the library gathering books for the following week's preschool lesson plans, I received a frantic call from my husband. Evan had fallen, face first, off of the couch and Richard was afraid he had broken his leg. I rushed home, came to the same conclusion, gathered Evan up and headed to the ER where we were immediately taken back to a room. Xrays confirmed our suspicions. Evan's right femur had snapped like a match upon impact. He was admitted to the hospital that evening with plans for surgery the following day. Due to his age and the nature of the fracture, the orthopedic surgeons made the decision to place him in a spica cast (a cast that goes from mid-chest all the way down his right leg) instead of doing surgery, so, on the evening of March 25th, Evan was taken into the operating room and, under general anesthesia, his leg was set and he was casted. He was released from the hospital on March 26th with an estimated time of 6-8 weeks in the cast.

Evan- All smiles on Easter Sunday! Nothing gets this boy down! He truly is my hero!

On March 31st, with Richard out of town on business for the week, I packed up the car, dropped Evan off at a friends (he wasn't quite up for a road trip yet) and traveled to Philadelphia with my other four munchkins in tow. Unfortunately the insurance authorizations for Joshua and Evan's new wheelchairs were set to expire on the 31st and, despite Evan's injury, our insurance company refused to extend the authorizations and informed us that, if the wheelchairs were not delivered by March 31st, we would have to start the approval process over again (we have been waiting for these chairs since June 2009 (long story) and there was NO WAY I was going to start over again). So to Philadelphia we went! We returned on April 2nd and, after what has been a whirlwind start to 2010, we enjoyed a quiet, relaxing Easter weekend as a family!

When we returned from Philadelphia, we also learned that we had received our I800 approvals on March 31st. One step closer!

On April 3rd, Evan had a follow-up appointment with his orthopedic surgeon. His xrays revealed his leg to be healing quickly and properly and we were given the good news that the cast would likely be removed at his next appointment (May 3rd), a full week ahead of schedule. For any of you who have experienced the joys of a spica cast, you will know that this news brought with it MUCH rejoicing!

On April 6th our I800 approvals were cabled from the National Visa Center to the US Embassy in Sofia.

On April 7th, all five kids and I took a little "field trip" around the great state of Ohio to finish up the last of the adoption paperwork. We started at the Greene County Courthouse in Xenia, Ohio where we received county certifications (the "extra step" required in some states to confirm that the notary who notarized your documents is, in fact, a notary).

Outside the Greene County Courthouse

From there we traveled to the Madison County Courthouse in London, Ohio to county certify our updated police clearances.

On the steps of the Madison County Courthouse

After this stop we took a quick break to enjoy lunch at Wendy's where we enjoyed the normal stares and proclamations of awe and wonder from our onlookers (we are quite a spectacle, I admit)! After lunch we traveled to the Secretary of State's office in Columbus, Ohio where all of our documents received apostilles (the Secretary of State's certification that the Clerk of Courts, who certified that the notary is, in fact, a notary, is in, fact the Clerk of Courts in said county. . confusing and slightly redundant, no!?).

Losing focus! Standing outside the Secretary of State's Office! Have I mentioned how AMAZING my kids are for allowing me to drag them around the state on adoption-related errands!?! And that they even profess to love it!?

Once the apostilles were complete, we made our way to Fairborn, Ohio where we stopped at our friendly UPS Store and mailed said documents to Bulgaria, after which we all breathed a sigh of relief as we realized that our days of signing, notarizing, certifying and apostilling documents for this adoption had (hopefully) come to a close!

On April 8th, our Bulgarian attorney went to the US Embassy in Sofia to complete the provisional filing of the visa's and today (April 12th) the Embassy issued our Article 5 letter and our remaining documents arrived in Bulgaria (a few days late and few gray hairs later). Tomorrow our documents will be translated and on Wednesday they begin the authentication process. As long as things go according to plan (which, of course they won't, simply because I said that ;-)), our authenticated documents should be submitted to the MOJ on Monday, April 19th.

From there we must obtain two signatures at the MOJ in order for our documents to be released to the court. The first signature is of the MOJ's attorney. The second signature is from the Minister herself. There is no time line for this step in the process. We are, however, praying that we will obtain those signatures and that our documents will be released to the court by a very specific date (April 28th), for a very important reason (I will explain later). The chance is slim, but it does exist. If you could remember this in your prayers we would be deeply grateful.

Once the signatures are obtained our documents will be released to the court where we will be given a reference number and will be assigned a judge. Please pray that we are assigned an adoption-friendly judge who will process our case quickly and without request for further documentation (there should be no need, but this is up to the individual judge). Once we are given a reference number and assigned a judge we will receive a court date.

As you can see, at this point, this process is entirely out of our hands. Fortunately, we know that the hand of the Lord is the one that is, and always has been, guiding this process and we trust completely that all will work according to His plan and in His time.


Jill said...

With all your free time, you should be planning a visit to see us in sunny Florida! (((HUGS)))

p.s.I love seeing Evan trying to smile while laying back in his stroller. Sweet boy!

Tiana said...

It is going to work out wonderfully and smoothly. Lots of love to you all from all of us here in AZ.

erinannie said...

You are in my prayers! Fingers crossed you make your deadline!

soontobemomof9 said...

OH dear! LOL... they are mug shots! Two of the cutest mug shots I have ever seen... but still. ;)

Barry, Donna, and Tam said...

YAY! I was getting worried when I had not seen a post. YAY!!!!!!
I love the mug shots:)

Jeri said...

This may be too little too late but a friend whose son had Spina Bifida discovered that a shower cap full of cotton balls made a nice,handy urinal when her son was in a spica cast. Our daughter, also with Spina Bifida, fortunately was already being cathed by the time of her spinal fusion and her spica. She would have been scandalized to use a shower

Anonymous said...

so sorry to heare about evan =( but glad he is getting better so fast! glad to see your post and that things are moving along to bring the girls home. hope you get that april 28th deadline! blessings, rachel
mom to isaiah,matthew,nilam,anya,aiden,and josie

Carrie said...

I will keep you in our prayers too Val! Such a long and arduous process, but it will all be worth it when you get those girls home!

Sarah @ The Pumpkin Patch said...

Oh Val! I am once again amazed and inspired by you. You and your bunch are regularly in our thoughts and prayers. I'm only a few hours away if you need an extra hand.

Cynthia Rieben said...

I got a laugh out of the photos taken with the kids at all your stops for signatures, etc. They are such good sports! Glad Evan is doing well -- fortunately, I had seen many photos of Liliana and Alayna so I know they aren't convicts :-) I see the blog was wrirtten April 12 -- hope that the paperwork MOVES and that the judges are inspired to be expeditious!
Love ya,
Grandma DD

Marc, Julia, and Cole said...

I'm exhausted just from reading your post! Love all the pic's, but most especially the mug shots, too cute:) Can't wait for your girls to get home!! I'm going to take a nap for you now:D

Tammy said...

any word on signatures?

Chris and Celeste said...

keep us posted about a court date! Thinking of you and your family

The Burns Family said...

Hi, great blog! My husband and I have just started the process to adopt from BG:

Thanks for all the great info!