Another process update

I know I’ve been a little quiet on Joy updates. That’s mostly because they’re kind of “boring.” But some of you might like to know, and I also hope this blog serves as a resource for future families in process, so here’s your boring update!

I *finished* the dossier. Or at least, I thought I had. Remember all of those documents I had mentioned? Well, I got them all done- signed, notarized, apostilled, and off to my agency and from there India. Literally the day it was being mailed to India, I got word that India *may* no longer accept non-relative “undertakings” (guardians). That meant that I immediately started looking through my family tree to find a suitable guardian. Now let me explain a little bit- I consider many of my relatives “suitable guardians” but I needed to find someone who was the appropriate age and gender and/or martial status. My brother was out because he’s a single man; my parents were out because they’re “too old.” My aunts and uncles are also “too old.” All of my cousins on my mom’s side are “too young.” You get the drift… I felt like Goldilocks- “this person’s too old, and this person’s too young.” Well, finally I found some cousins that were “just right!” They’ve already signed and notarized their form and it’s on its way to me to then be apostilled and sent to my agency and from there India. God worked it out pretty cool- I was frantic, but in less than 5 hours, He had it solved!

I also received I-800A approval from the US government. This basically means that the US government has approved me to adopt from India. I then filed an I-800 with the US government, which asks them to approve Joy to be adopted (specifically, it asks the US government to classify or consider Joy to be my immediate relative- I love those words!). That form is still pending– keep your fingers crossed that there are no hiccups there! After that gets approved, I have to file a form DS260, and then we have to get Article 5, and then apply for NOC (no objections certificate)! The ball is rolling!

My secret hope? I *hope* we can get all the way to applying for NOC before Joy’s 4th birthday! Pray with me to that end! There are still several dominos that have to be knocked over before then, but it’s possible!!

Random fun facts:
– Melo (our dog) weighs as much as Joy did (in January 2018- the last height/weight I have for her). That means he could stand to lose a pound or two, and she could stand to gain five or ten!
– The paperwork to adopt Joy weighs *almost* as much as she does! My copy of everything weighs almost 10 pounds…. as I mailed off a copy of almost everything I have…. the paperwork is pushing that 20 pound mark!

Fundraising and saving has also been going so well! I will try to do a puzzle piece update soon! With the exception of one more page to be apostilled and mailed off, all pre-travel fees have been paid. The next time we spend “adoption money” will be for visas (US and India), air travel (international and domestic in India), in-country expenses (hotels, food, taxis). When Joy gets home, we will have a few things to wrap up her adoption- we may have to refinalize her adoption in the US (I need to double check this step) and renounce her Indian citizenship (a requirement of India). When I started this, the financial side of this was mindboggling and intimidating. But dollar by dollar, each fee has been saved for or fundraised or been paid for by a grant. I’m floored!!

 

 

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Spotlight Child: Daylan

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Daylan! Daylan was born in 2007  and has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy; he takes medication to control seizures.

Edited to add a note from Daylan’s former foster mom!! “Daylan is SO full of life! He’s very smart- his impairments are only physical, not cognitive. He has a great sense of humor and such a beautiful heart! He would bring so much joy and life into a family. I miss him every day and pray for his family to find him! I feel like there’s so much more I could say too. He is incredibly determined and desires to be independent. He understands English and (his local language) and would do amazing with the right [alternative communication system]. He has a great laugh- he really is a such a joy!”

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PD: Daylan is grinning at the camera with an open mouthed smile. His hair is styled in a faux-hawk fashion and he is wearing a blue plaid button down. A star covers his face to protect his identity.

“Daylan is a social, happy, enthusiastic, intelligent boy who loves to play with toys, other kids, and adults. He is quite communicative despite speech challenges. He appropriately and spontaneously uses modified sign language for water, eat, more, and all done. He also communicates through vocalizations, facial expressions, and gesturing. Has a customized wheelchair. He independently rolls and scoots around on the floor. He can sit independently with back support and is working on sitting independently without support. He can walk with someone holding him at his arms and can stand holding the railing for short periods of time.

Daylan is a hard-worker and very motivated to participate in activities and perform as independently as possible. He attends onsite school 5 days a week and he loves to learn. He is a joyful, amazing kid. He has a great sense of humor and enjoys making others laugh by sticking out his tongue, tickling, and acting silly. He knows his colors and can point to the correct color when asked. He can identify numbers 1 to 10. He has a lot of potential to learn.”

Daylan is eligible for a Reece’s Rainbow Older Child Grant (For more information, visit: Other Angels Older Child Grant)

Find out more about Daylan here: https://reecesrainbow.org/124008/daylan

Spotlight Child: Victoria

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Victoria! Victoria was born in 2004 and has a visual impairment (one side anophthalmia, other eye has microphthalmia and a coloboma) resulting in minimal vision.  She also has a mild developmental delay.

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PD: Victoria is smiling broadly at the camera, with her straight, shoulder length hair pulled back on the side with a white bow barrette. She is wearing a white, lacy top with caped sleeves.

 

Victoria is described as a bright, giggly, vibrant young lady. “Victoria would do well in a family without younger siblings. She is quite independent despite her low vision. She attends a rehab center where she gets private tutoring. She can read large print and reads and writes at a beginner level. She can do simple addition and subtraction facts in her head. She has a lot of energy and loves socializing, and simply needs constructive outlets for her energy. She is independent with her self care. She loves to color and dance.

She enjoys being the center of attention and moves around comfortably and independently. She loves playing games outdoors, walking in the park, dancing, art, and running around. She is able to communicate at a beginner level in English, and is fluent in her native language. She brings a lot of joy to her environment, and is often spotted with a smile on her face.”

Victoria is eligible for a Reece’s Rainbow Older Child Grant (For more information, visit: Other Angels Older Child Grant). Find out more about Victoria:  https://reecesrainbow.org/123999/victoria-2

Focus Family: Gabriella and the Owens Family

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PD: Gabriella is precious and looks like a ton of fun! She has the littlest pigtails right on top of her head, and she is wearing eyeglasses (probably someone else’s) that are far too big for her face!

In addition to “spotlight children,” I’m excited to feature different families who are in the process of adopting! This week, I’m focusing on the Owens Family, who are adopting Gabriella.

 

Gabriella’s mom writes: “I wanted to introduce myself and my family to this new community we have been recommended to join!

I am Amy, my husband is Benjamin, and we have two little girls. Lily has been home from Asia since October 2013 and she is 4 years old and our other little girl, Gabriella, is waiting for us in Asia, we are praying her home by February or March 2018. Both our little girls have a very rare genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or more commonly known as brittle bones. Their bones may break but their spirits are unbreakable!

Since May 2015, we have been trying to get Gabriella’s file but through various reasons, outside of our control, we could never get her file. Lots of hope, waiting, praying, and heartbreak. But now, joy, blessings, miracles, and answered prayers. We have been given this incredible privilege after over two years of trying and waiting to officially pursue Gabriella and make her our daughter! Our family is so thankful for this wonderful gift of adoption.

We welcome you to follow along on our journey to reach Gabriella!”

Gabriella’s family are also blogging: https://faithandroses.wordpress.com/. They have recently sent their dossier to China and are waiting to travel to bring Gabriella home! Consider making a small donation to the Owens family to help defray the adoption expenses: https://reecesrainbow.org/120494/sponsorowens-2

Spotlight Child: Molly

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PD: Molly is smiling broadly at the camera. She is wearing a white shirt with blue polka dots and a large flower, in shades of blue, in her hair. A star sticker covers her face to protect her privacy.

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Molly! Molly was born in 2006 and has cerebral palsy.

 

“Molly has cerebral palsy. She can sit independently for short periods of time. She has a feeding tube to supplement her nutrition and help her gain weight, but she continues to eat her meals by mouth. She likes self feeding with hand over hand support. She is potty-trained using a Rifton chair. She tries very hard to communicate using limited sign and speech. She has an eye gaze-controlled computer which allows her to communicate with others. Molly is laid back and content. She loves to be included and likes being silly and goofy. She is very intelligent but has a difficult time showing what she knows given her communication limitations. Knows her English alphabet and can read simple words. Can spell her name. Enjoys playing games (she is competitive) and listening to stories (she can recap the plots of simple stories by selecting images that correspond with the plot). Likes to color. Enjoys being social and playing with other kids, especially make believe (baby dolls are her favorite).”

Molly is eligible for an older child grant. Find out more about Molly here: https://reecesrainbow.org/124118/molly-2

Focus Family: Alexander and the Schmidt Family

In addition to “spotlight children,” I’m excited to feature different families who are in the process of adopting! This week, I’m focusing on the Schmidt Family, who are adopting Alexander.

“Ken and Sarah Schmidt are the parents of three girls: Grace and Isabelle, age 9 (twins) and Everly, age 3. They didn’t know when they were expecting twins that Isabelle would be born with Down syndrome and need lifesaving open heart surgery at six months old. There is not much that can prepare two young parents for that news. It took time to realize what a blessing it was to have a child with Down syndrome; it took time for them to be comfortable with the fact that their child had special needs, and their vision would not be what we had planned.

In doing research about children with Down syndrome and early intervention, they came across an advocacy group, Reece’s Rainbow, which advocates for the adoption of children with special needs who are orphaned. It didn’t take long before both Ken and Sarah knew that they would be adding to our family, another child with Down syndrome; a child that would be orphaned for the same reason they consider our family to be so blessed.

In May of 2016 Sarah and her mom traveled to China to bring home their daughter, whom they named Everly. They had the option of visiting the orphanage where their daughter lived. It was a very difficult decision, but they knew that it would be their only chance to get that information and save it for their daughter someday. Standing in the place where their daughter’s history started is the place Sarah knew in her heart that they would be back in China as soon as God would allow.

By early spring Ken and Sarah knew they were ready to start the adoption process again, and this time they knew they would like to adopt a little girl again, as that is what they’ve had experience with. They also knew they would be comfortable adding a child with minor or correctable needs, such as a limb difference or repaired heart defect. However, God knew that there was much greater work to be done. He has shown them that with the knowledge and support, our comfort zone is much larger than they anticipated.

God helped in making connections for the Schmidt family with a family that had adopted children with beta Thalassemia, and helped them to understand the needs of those with Thalassemia. Ken and Sarah were presented with the file of a BOY that is 3 years old, and he has a very severe type of anemia, called beta Thalassemia. He is getting transfusions, however; not frequently enough as his hemoglobin has dropped significantly. Also, he is not getting chelation therapy which is imperative for those who have beta Thalassemia. While this was not their plan, God is greater! Saying yes to God is often the most challenging step… watching all the pieces come together confirms the “Yes!” We know that God will continue to guide us and bless us with everything we need to get to our son and help provide the care he needs as soon as possible.”

The Schmidt Family has compiled their dossier and are waiting eagerly to travel to Alexander . Please consider making a small donation to help them bring Alexander home: https://reecesrainbow.org/124093/sponsorschmidt-2

Spotlight Child: Esther

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Esther! Esther was born in 2005 and has mild cerebral palsy, monoplegia (only left hand affected), developmental and speech delay, and a seizure history.

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PD: Esther has beautiful thick black hair, which reaches just past her shoulders. She is wearing a bright, multicolored top. Esther is smiling beautifully at the camera. A star covers her face to protect her identity.

“Esther speaks her native language fluently and understands some English. Her sentences in both languages are not clear and she needs the support of a speech therapist. She is on medication to control seizures and is seizure free. She tends to have trouble concentrating and attending to conversation. Social skills are delayed but she is well liked by the other girls and plays nicely. She has memorized her alphabet and numbers 1 to 200. She is writing four letter words neatly. She thrives from having adult attention and asks desperately when her family is coming. She is learning appropriate boundaries with strangers and tends to request hugs from any adult. Esther likes jumping on the trampoline, cuddling with caregivers, coloring, dancing and singing. Esther likes to be active with the other children in her house, but she also is comfortable entertaining herself with books and other quiet activities.”

Esther is eligible for a Reece’s Rainbow Older Child Grant (For more information, visit: Other Angels Older Child Grant). Learn more about Esther here: https://reecesrainbow.org/123983/esther-2

Focus Family: Piper and the Sandry Family

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PD: Piper has close cropped  hair and is wearing a long sleeved purple sweater with a monkey on the front.

In addition to “spotlight children,” I’m excited to feature different families who are in the process of adopting! This week, I’m focusing on the Sandry Family, who are adopting little Piper!

“Chad and Melanie have been married for 10 years and have five children; two biological and three from China. Their two oldest, both boys, came home from China during 2014 at ages 6 1/2 and 10. During 2016, they returned to China and brought home a daughter with only weeks to spare before (according to the file) what would have been her 14th birthday. They’ve decided to return to China one last time and bring home a 4 year old daughter who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.The Sandrys would love your prayers and support as they work to bring their daughter home to her forever family.”

 

The Sandry Family has completed the dossier and is looking forward to traveling. Please consider making a small donation to help the Sandrys bring Piper home: https://reecesrainbow.org/122325/sponsorsandry-2

Spotlight Child: Dinah

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Dinah! Dinah was born in 2008 and has nystagmus, diplegic cerebral palsy, and a speech delay (nonverbal).

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PD: Dinah has the most beautiful silky, dark, long hair. It is styled in this photo in a long layered cut, with the side pulled back with a navy bow. She is grinning at the camera. She is wearing a floral tank top. A star covers her face to protect her identity.

“Dinah can walk independently and can feed herself. She is becoming more independent and is currently working on dressing herself. She is not yet potty trained but could probably learn in a more stable family environment

Dinah is giggly, likes to snuggle, sweet, content. Will play with toys, seek out preferred toys, and seek out preferred children to play beside. She has been working on using a simple voice-output communication system to greet the other children and choose between two toy options. She is social and gets very excited when surrounded by lots of people. She likes to do what the other children are doing. She can follow simple commands in English and can identify body parts by touching them when asked.

She shows ability to build strong attachments and follows her preferred caregiver and opens her arms for a hug. She loves to dance and immediately stands up and starts dancing when music comes on.”

Dinah is eligible for a Reece’s Rainbow Older Child Grant (For more information, visit: Other Angels Older Child Grant). Learn more about Dinah here: https://reecesrainbow.org/124012/dinah

Be a Piece of Our Puzzle!

I’ve been saving this fun surprise for a while… since October 2017… and I’m super excited about it!

The last (planned!) fundraiser for Sweet Joy’s adoption is a puzzle fundraiser! I have two precious photos of Joy that are special to me. I’ve had both made into puzzles, each with 252 pieces. That’s a lot of pieces! Before she gets home, I plan on putting these puzzles together and in double-sided frames.

Why double sided frames, you ask? Well that’s where you come in! For $2 a piece, you can be piece of our puzzle! You can “buy”as many as you like, and on the back I will write your name, a word (or two), or a Scripture verse reference. Donations can be made here: paypal.me/MaleaHetrick  Be sure to include a note telling me if you prefer one photo or the other, and what name, word, or verse reference goes with your piece or pieces!

Once Joy is home, she will be able to look at the back side of these puzzle photos, and see all your names, all your words of encouragement, all of the Scripture you have prayed for and over her.

Let me tell you a little about these two photos and why I chose them.

A secret for a later blog post- I began the adoption knowing who Joy was. Or at least, I hoped and prayed that Joy was a specific little girl. My agency sent me her file, with a few photos in it, when I had just begun this adoption. I had seen photos of her before, but there was one photo in her file that I had never seen. When I opened that attached image, I froze. I couldn’t breathe. I instantly had tears in my eyes and had to blink rapidly to keep the image from blurring on my phone. This girl, she stunned me. This photo and my reaction to it is permanently etched on my heart.

In October 2017, Shutterfly had a free photo puzzle. I hemmed and hawed about getting a photo puzzle so soon. There was still so much risk, such a great chance that someone else would adopt this precious girl. But I decided to step out in faith and I ordered the puzzle, with that photo on it.

When the box came in the mail, I didn’t dare open it. It seems superstitious, which isn’t me, but something in me said no, not yet, what if she’s not your daughter. So I prayed over this box, almost every night. It sat on my nightstand. Eventually I began writing on it, literally covering it in prayers and scriptures. Even after I matched with Joy, the girl in the photo that floored me, I haven’t opened the box. That changes now.

Fast forward to February 2018. Right after I matched with Joy, Shutterfly offered another free photo puzzle. I had finally found a high quality of the first photo I had ever seen of Joy (again, a post for a later day!)… this little girl, barely more than a baby, who I had prayed for for years that she would be seen by her mama, that some woman would see her for the precious daughter that she is and would fight to bring her home and give her a last name and a family. Little did I know then that I was that woman, that it is my last name, and that my family will be hers! I jumped at the opportunity to get this photo on a puzzle for my daughter.

I would LOVE to have every single puzzle piece claimed before Joy comes home. That feels a little ambitious but that’s my dream!

Would you consider being a piece (or two or ten!) of our puzzle? Make a donation at any amount, and be sure to tell me if you care which puzzle you are on, and what name, word, or Scripture verse goes with your piece or pieces: paypal.me/MaleaHetrick