Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's A Girl!

YOU GUYS! I got a referral! I have been matched with a beautiful 10 year old girl. And.... I get to meet her September 14!!!!! I'm in panic mode now because I leave in 18 days to fly out to her country. So much to do. I was not anticipating getting a referral quite this quickly. I'm over the moon excited and terrified all at once.

I can't share any pictures on social media right now since she is an orphan. What I can say is she has been in the orphanage setting for her entire 10 year life in her home country. And she needs OUT. She needs a home and a family. She needs quality medical care and a good education. She needs US. Now. This first trip is to meet her and to formally "accept" the referral. I will spend 5 days meeting with her daily to get to know her. Then I come home without her for 4-6 months. Yes. Months. And then I get to travel again to bring her home.

My sweet, sweet 8 year old asked if she could help me raise money to get her sister home by designing a t-shirt. How could I say no to her? She picked out the color pink because "She's a girl!". Make sure you check out the front AND back of the shirt. My baby girl is so proud of her design. ;-) https://www.bonfirefunds.com/bringing-her-home

If you'd like to help another way, but don't want to purchase a shirt, you can make a donation to my tax-deductible account here https://www.adopttogether.org/laughlin I have about $10,000 due in legal and agency fees (ransom to get her home!) in the next month or two, with more to come a few months after that.

This long journey is finally just beginning! :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Long Overdue

OK. So this update is way overdue. It's been a loooonnnggg time since I posted anything. I've been super busy and haven't had any real news, hence no update. But, I've had lots of people ask me recently what is happening with my adoption. So here goes. I've spent much of the last year and a half in school. I started this adoption process in October 2013 and started paramedic school in December 2013. I finally finished that this past December and took a month and half off from school before I started at the fire academy. Four months later, I graduated from that. It's been a stressful and demanding year and a half, but the great thing is, it gave me something to focus on besides my adoption.

During the end of 2014, I made the huge decision to change the adoption agency I was working with. It was a difficult choice to make, because it meant that I was going to be losing some money that I had already paid. Given how expensive adoption is already, the thought of having to repay fees I had already paid and spend thousands more was stressful. However, I felt that the agency I was with was not supportive, lacked greatly in their communication and willingness to help, and overall was not a good match for me. I worried about completing an adoption with them. I found another agency that was amazing. They had great reviews and went above and beyond to help get me moved over and everything explained to me. I've been nothing but happy to be partnered with them.

Every year I am registered waiting for my country to give me a referral, I must do an update. This includes updating my home study (more of that super fun paperwork) and updating my U.S. Immigration approval. After doing lots of research and soul-searching, I decided to expand my parameters to be matched with a child. This means that I am open to be matched with more "types" of children, including more special needs and older than I originally requested. In the country I am adopting from, the most commonly requested child is "healthy" and under the age of 5. Subsequently, that is the hardest to be matched with and what I originally requested. It is currently taking 4-5 years to receive a referral for a child with that description. The more you are open to, the shorter your wait time could be. My new update was submitted mid-June, so I'm a month into waiting. Who knows what the time line looks like now. But hopefully it will be shorter than what I was looking at before.

I've also had some friends and family ask if there is anything they can do to help. If you're interested in helping bring a child into our loving home, I've set up an adoption donation account. Donations are tax-deductible and all of the money raised will go towards my upcoming legal and travel expenses. Every single dollar helps. You can also share the link with anyone you know that may want to help. https://www.adopttogether.org/laughlin Also, if you're local... I'm selling everything I have that isn't tied down. ;-) If you have stuff you want to get rid of, I'll gladly take it off your hands. Any money I make from selling stuff is also going straight to adoption expenses.

As always, I still appreciate the support and well wishes from all of you. It's a long and hard road and will continue to be. I don't mind questions, so if you have any, ask away. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts. There is an orphan on the other side of the world waiting for a family and we can't wait to have her (or him) home with us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Yet another update!

Hello, again! Just another quick update for those who have been asking where I'm at now in the process. My dossier was officially registered in country in mid-July. That means I'm on the waiting list for a child. The wait time currently is about three years. But sometimes things move faster, and I could receive a referral at any point. People have been known to get their referral in as little as 5 or six months. So basically.... I hurry up and wait. ;-) And when the time is right, I'll have my kiddo.

While we're waiting, as you know, I've already had two fundraisers. Thank you to everyone who participated by either purchasing or sharing. You're all awesome. I'm happy to announce that I have my next plan up and running ---- and this one won't cost you anything! :-) It's super easy for you and just in time for holiday shopping. Follow any of the below links, make whatever purchase you were going to make anyways, and I get a small amount back. I will use all of the income I earn to help with my next fees. It's a win/win for everyone! As always, I appreciate your love and support in getting my baby home. Whenever that may be.

To help get you started with shopping I've put a few additional search links here:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Still Waiting....

Hi, friends. I was told by my agency a few weeks ago that the current wait time is averaging 8-12 weeks to get my dossier approved in country. As of today, I am 4 days away from hitting 12 weeks. Ugh. But who's counting? Oh. Right. I am. What does it mean when I get approved? I will officially be registered and waiting for a match. That means I could receive a referral for a child at any point after that. (However, some people wait up to three years to get their referral!)

This is where I humbly ask for your help. Bringing an orphan home is very expensive. I've already paid quite a bit towards my U.S. legal and governmental fees and for some B fees. But at any time I could get that call that there is a child waiting for me! And I'll have to come up with over $7000 to accept and move on in the process. So I'd love to start saving now. I will be doing several small fundraisers over the next year. If you'd like to help, I will be eternally grateful. And if not, your well wishes are still appreciated. :-)

I've had a puzzle designed (see the picture below). For each contribution that is made, I will be writing the donor's name on the back of one piece. When the puzzle is completed, I'll put it in a double-sided frame so my future child can see the names of everyone who helped bring him (or her!) home.

I have a new fundraiser up and running right now selling T-shirts that I created to benefit my adoption. I have two weeks to sell a minimum of 25 shirts. Unfortunately, if I don't reach 25 sales, I don't receive any of the money I've made. If you'd like to help, but don't want to make a purchase, please share on your social media. ------>  T-shirt Adoption Fundraiser  <------ I know it may not seem like much, but every little bit helps me get closer to bringing a child home. Forever.

Thanks friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Surprise Update!

I've been waiting for what seems to be forever (it's really been only a little over a month......) to hear from my agency with a dossier update. I finally got one Tuesday! My completed dossier was mailed to B on Friday. AND IT WAS RECEIVED IN COUNTRY ON TUESDAY!!!

Next steps- translation, B approval, and then registered. Once it is registered, I am able to receive a referral for my kiddo at any time.

As always, thanks for the support through this long, emotional process. As I explained in the last post, the adoption process is very expensive. If you'd like to help bring an orphan home, I've set up a paypal fundraiser. The link is on the sidebar. All donations will be used for my adoption expenses to bring my baby home. Thanks, friends! You're amazing!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Popular Question..... and a Thirty-One Fundraiser!

I get asked a lot of questions about my adoption. And I'm ok with that! A question that comes up frequently is "How much is this going to cost you?" I know some adoptive parents are offended or hurt by this question. To me, I know it is just out of curiosity and no one is asking it to be rude. It's expensive. Yes. But so is giving birth. And I can't think of anyone ever asking me how much it cost to deliver my biological daughter.

So I want to set the record straight. I am not paying for my child. No adoptive parent does. The cost comes from agency fees, legal fees, the piles of documents that must be filled out, checked, checked again, and translated, the homestudy, and travel fees. That all adds up - to a lot.

I thought I'd break down some of the costs, just to get it out there in the open. Every adoption is different. Each agency has different fees, domestic and international adoptions have different costs, and travel fees vary significantly. But the following breakdown is a rough estimate of mine. As you can see the fees add up to about $30,000, with travel being about 25% alone. And none of these fees are for "a child"!
  • Agency Fees (includes fees for my agency, Hague training courses, Dossier assistance, homestudy, and post-adoption reports) - $9000
  • USCIS Filing (includes fingerprints) - $890
  • Foreign Adoption Program Fees - $3000
  • B Legal Coordination Fees (includes translation of documents, legal and court fees in country, and a translator for my trips) - $8250
  • Travel (two trips for a week each, the second trip has a child's one way ticket home!) - $7700

Which brings me to my next bit of news. Very exciting! Another adoptive momma has graciously offered to help me with a fundraiser to help bring my child home. She is a consultant for Thirty-One and will be donating her entire commission from any purchase you make to my adoption fund! That means 25% of your purchase will go to my agency to help with my fees. The sale will go on for a week and a half. Please feel free to share the blog with anyone you think may be interested. As I've said before, I appreciate the support I receive from all of you. Any help you can offer to help me bring my kiddo home would be unbelievable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :-)

If you're interested in doing some shopping, follow this link!

If you make a purchase online, please email Paula O'Brien at kaz_mom@hotmail.com to verify she received your order. You must choose "ship to customer". The fundraiser will end April 12, 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Moving on!

I received my I-800A approval notice from the Department of Homeland Security! This approval says that I am approved to adopt a child from B that meets the criteria I requested (age, gender, and health status) and that once the adoption is finalized in B, and I bring my child home, he or she will immediately become a citizen. Without this approval, I would not be allowed to bring my child home.

With this in hand, my dossier was FINALLY completed. I sent out the dossier to my agency last Tuesday. What a relief to know that (for now) the mountains of paperwork are done. The agency received the packet on Thursday and by Friday they had already sent out the documents to different agencies. All of the paperwork that had been notarized here (pretty much EVERY page in the dossier) has to go to Florida's Secretary of State to receive an Apostille. The FBI background checks (yes, seriously- we had to do those) go to the U.S. State Department to receive their Apostille. This form will be attached to each of my papers, verifying the signature or notarization on it. I am told this process should take about two weeks and then my completed dossier will be sent to Bulgaria!

As always, thank you again for your well wishes and continued support. It means everything to me as I pursue this dream.