Sunday, June 14, 2015

We're almost there!!! And prayers needed!!

AAAHHHH!!!! Eli and I will be leaving for India on FRIDAY!!!!! We'll meet Kyle there Saturday night and we will be meeting Runa on MONDAY!!! It's so crazy that after such a long process we are finally almost there! I'm excited and overwhelmed and anxious and happy and nervous and...and...and.... The last couple weeks and specifically days have been such a whirlwind of news and decisions and nervously just deciding to take a couple chances and pray God will work it all out exactly how it needs to be worked out. At this point in my journey I was hoping to be filled with the 'normal' feelings that come with almost getting to meet our daughter for the first time, but of course we have a lot of technical things that are keeping my mind busy and overloaded.
We were told that Runa's passport is expected to be ready for pickup on June 20th, but no promises because this is the first international adoption they've dealt with so they did not want to tell us to come before it's in their hands if they can't guarantee it will be done right and on time. Since Kyle's students leave India days before the passport is supposed to be ready we had to decide if we wanted Kyle to come home just to have to pay for a ticket for him to go back a less than a week later (lots of extra money and exhaustion), or if we wanted to chance him staying and us meeting him there and the passport perhaps not being ready. We're taking the chance. This actually wouldn't be a hard decision to make--we'd stay the whole summer in India waiting, but with Charlotte back home with grandparents it's really hard to just jump into this.
We also knew we were doing this with the director of our agency being in India herself which definitely has pros, but she'd also be busy with other things and it might be a little more difficult for all involved. And then things have gotten even crazier for her. If you didn't see my facebook status a little bit earlier, please check it out and be praying for all involved--I can't imagine the heaviness and fear they're dealing with right now. There are hundreds of people aware of this and are praying for them all over the world and Pat has said that they are definitely feeling everyone's prayers and feel a peace about everything which is an answered prayer in itself. And even with all that she's dealing with she's still staying on top of our case and working things out for us. And with Kyle over there right now he's able to get things worked out that Pat and I can't do easily.
We also just found out the "Bureau of Consular Affairs is experiencing technical difficulties" which means at this point they are not issuing US visas to anyone in the world. I'm assuming they have the best of the best in the world on this, but there is no timeline of when this will be fixed, and then we have to wait for the backlog. They are saying they are prioritizing adoption cases and are trying to issue those visas with few delays, but that is a lot of adoptions all over the world right now and I'm not sure what "few delays" means exactly.

Anyway--it's a lot on my mind right now, so instead of lots of paragraphs, I'll do a list of prayer requests. (Who am I kidding? I only do paragraphs so these will be long too--sorry! :))

--First and foremost for Runa as her whole world is about to be turned upside down in a week and she has no idea. I know they are preparing her as well as they can, but that's a lot to understand for a 2.5 year old (or any age!).
--For the Kyle, Eli and me as we prepare to meet her and take her from the orphanage. It's more emotions than I could possibly even understand myself and I don't know how to even begin to really be prepared for those first moments/hours/days.
--For Charlotte as she stays here with grandparents--that she handles us being gone and all the emotions she'll be dealing with back at home. And for her when she meets Runa that she'll embrace big sisterhood really well.
--That Runa's passport will be ready by the 20th because everything is carefully planned to the day (minute in some cases) and if it's not ready it will mess up the planning of the whole trip.
--That the Consular Database stuff will be fixed IMMEDIATELY and the backlog will be caught up quickly--for sure by the time we need to go to the Embassy to get her visa. I bought plane tickets the day before we found out about this happening and only allowed one extra day in case there were visa issues before our trip home.
--And to go with those that  the timing of everything will work out perfectly. Thankfully we only had to pay around $750 for Kyle's plane ticket since we just had to pay for the change fee and price difference, however, if we have to change his plane ticket again we'd have to pay that much or more. The kids and my plane tickets would only have to pay the price difference which is really nice, but still would be hundreds/thousands of extra dollars.
--That I can get everything done before Friday without feeling too overwhelmed. There are things to buy, pack, plan, copy, organize. I still have in country plane tickets to buy and hotel rooms to reserve. And many other things that I keep remembering and forgetting before I find a pen and paper to write it down.
--And to go with the previous request, that I can sleep and not keep myself awake all night thinking of things to do. My mind is already a blur and lack of sleep is making 846 times worse.
--And for Kyle and Pat as they're working on things in India. They are busy with other things, but they are putting everything into making things go as smoothly as they can help and it's a lot to do.
--For safe travel. Our family will be split up between Kyle and Runa in India right now, Eli and I flying together, Charlotte back home--and my anxiety about it all is a little high. So maybe I should be saying to pray for that mostly. :)
--That I can slow down and enjoy this time. It really is an exciting, special time...and the last bit of time with just Eli and Charlotte and I want to cherish it all. My emotions are running so high but mostly I'm just overwhelmed with the all the good in my life. I don't want stress to overshadow that. I want to continually feel the HOPE of Jesus and His promises that I've felt throughout the last two years. Sometimes I saw the hope as a flame and a many times it was just a tiny flicker, but it was ALWAYS there, and I want to follow it all the way to Runa. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Catching Up

It has been a ridiculously long time since I've blogged and soooooo much has happened since the last post....almost everything has happened and it's been wonderful!! There have been US approvals, and then an Indian state approval (from the state she's in saying they okay us to adopt her--this is the 'ARC'), and then an approval from the Indian adoption unit (CARA--this approval is 'NOC'), and then we spent some time in court where on April 24th they officially declared her a VAUGHN!!! RUNA KAAVYA has held a place in our hearts for many, many months--years really, and now according to India she will forever hold a place in our family. We were super excited to get the news after months of anxiously waiting--praying nothing would go wrong. *I just wrote all that in a few sentences, but believe me--the last few months have been full of emotional ups and downs. So thankful that we are almost at the end of this ride and soon on to the emotional ups and downs that come with having a toddler who has just been taking from everything she's ever known to live with a family she doesn't know or understand. That'll be lots more words!!*
Unfortunately court closed for summer break before we were able to get the written orders saying she's ours. However, the first day back is June 6th and there are a few hearings for her orphanage and we're hoping our reps will be able to pick up Runa's adoption orders that day. That will then allow them to apply for her passport that usually takes about 10 days to get back. And then we can pick her up!!! This is where things get a little tricky because Kyle is taking a group of students to India the day school is out and will be staying there until June 15th. He has been given permission to stay in country where Eli and I could meet him and we could pick up Runa. Free ticket--perfect timing, etc. We wouldn't even mind just going and spending time there even if her passport isn't ready, but we don't want to leave Charlotte here without us for too long. We would REALLY love some prayer for everything to work out perfectly so we can pick her up by the end of June! Perfect timing would have been any time after we saw her adorable face, and I planned out different perfect scenarios so this is just the most recent, but I will gladly accept being able to hold her in 5 weeks or so!! It's so hard having no idea what and when this is going to happen. Relying on the strength of Jesus is about the only way I'm getting through this...and I'm so very thankful how far that has gotten me.
There has been so much I've missed blogging about that this all seems so to the point and easy breezy...but believe me it has not been, and I want to blog more sometime soon. But for now I wanted to update since our sweet friend Tracy Martin is doing another giveaway/auction for us and I felt like the blog needed updating for those who haven't followed from the beginning or aren't following our facebook page. Right now we're getting our travel money together so when they say it's time to go we will be ready!! The auction is on Tracy's instagram page and she's doing some VERY generous giveaways and auctions for scrap fabric beauties she's made and envelopes full of scraps you can make things with. There is also some great pyrex being auctioned off thanks to Elyse!! Check it out and if you're able, bid on the beautiful things that will 100% help us with Runa's medical exam and visa that have to be done before we can head home.
We love you guys and appreciate all the prayer and support over the last few months--we could never have gotten this far without all of you!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School

Yesterday was Eli's first day of 1st grade, and he was not happy. He started crying and didn't want me to leave him because he wanted to 'spend one more day' with me. And today I had to drag him out of the car, to the drop off door, and hand him off to his Kindergarten teacher all while he was crying and begging to go back home (I'm sure I looked like an awesome mom). He's sensitive and nervous--but that boy also just loves being with his mama! I contribute it to when I was pregnant with him and had an amazing pregnancy, and at the point most moms are begging for their babies to get out of them so they can hold them, and sleep comfortably, and be able to breathe well again, I was completely fine with him staying in the womb because I knew he was comfortable and had everything he wanted and needed right where he was. And when he did come into the world, he wanted me to hold him every minute of every day...he wasn't happy with anything but my arms--I think he thought since I didn't mind sleeping while he was in my tummy that I wanted to sleep with him in my arms. I know all kids love their moms, but man, I'm that boys favorite person in the world. Kyle always jokes that nothing better happen to me just because he doesn't know he would handle Eli's sadness.
And I hurt for our little Indian girl. When she was in her first mom's womb...was she comfortable? Did she feel loved? When she was born was she confused that she didn't hear the same voice anymore that she had heard for so many months before she came into this crazy, cold world? Does she, at such a young age, feel abandoned? Desire someone to hold her in their arms while she sleeps? Did her first mom enjoy being pregnant and plan all the wonderful things she was going to do with her child over her life? Did her mom feel all her dreams fade when our little Sparrow was born and she saw she had special needs? Did she actually know before she was born that there was no way she'd be able to raise this sweet girl? Does her mom wonder if she's still alive, if she's still in India, or some other country, adopted and taken care of somewhere in the big world?
Last week we were informed that our little girl, thousands of miles away was going to have a serious surgery done...and then they postponed it a day...and then we had to wait the weekend to hear how it went. The kids and I were in Arkansas with my dad enjoying a last minute, end of summer vacation which happened to be the best place and time to receive this news. So until I heard Monday morning that the surgery went well and immediately started crying I didn't realize how scared and worried I truly was. I want to be with her so very badly...but I'm thankful she's being taken care of in the hospital by people she's known her whole life. The closest to real family that's she's ever known. But I do want her to know that she may not have come from my womb, but I want her to be comfortable...I want her to have everything she wants and needs. I will gladly give up comfort and lack and sleep to know that she's being taken care know that she will be in my arms soon. I wish I could tell her first mom that she's okay...that she's going to be okay. I wish I could talk to her and tell her that I hate she had to release this sweet little girl to another mom. I want to promise her I will think of her every first day of school, when we're taking prom pictures, on our daughter's wedding day, and for every other big celebration...and days in between.  
I know this probably sounds silly, but back to school is bittersweet for me this year. I just can't wait to have a summer with all of my kids under one roof (preferably in a cabin by a river ;)) instead of two in school and one in an orphanage all the way on the other side of the world. Not that I want to rush my kids growing up, but I am praying the next few months fly by with approvals coming in a hurry!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Good news and honesty

The last 24 hours have been great!! We received all but two pieces of our little one's medical reports yesterday, and I woke up this morning to find that the last two were sent last night! And then the director of our agency texted saying that CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) approved our match with her!! That's the first step of all the approvals we have to get on India's side. Now (from what I understand because I can't seem to keep up with everything) our agency will send our dossier to the orphanage where they will look through it all and approve it (or ask for MORE paperwork to be sent) and then mail us our little girl's files so that we can officially accept the referral...and then some more approvals start happening. Just a side note--I can't help thinking about all the sweet foster kids here in the US that would probably have appreciated their parents having to go through all these steps before they were born so they wouldn't have to wait for their parents to get their act together when they just want to be with them. I could go on and on about the difficulty of adopting vs the ease of a woman having baby after baby taken away because she refuses to get off drugs....but I won't...right now...on the to me in person...and then regret bringing it up....
I've had a few super stressful days in the last 3 weeks really wanting to know more about our little girl and her special need. I haven't talked about it on the blog because it's a sensitive subject, and something that I could be judged for...even from people who haven't fully thought through it themselves. And I want to protect our little girl and don't feel sharing everything with everyone right now is beneficial. But I will tell a little of the process of our thoughts over the last few weeks just to keep people updated so they can know how to pray for her and us. And so I can have it all out there for future years when I can praise God for keeping me sane when I didn't think it was possible, and to remind me to just trust Him because he sees and takes care of this little Sparrow in the midst of all His sparrows.
Anyway, get comfortable and open your understanding ears and hearts. When we filled out the special needs form we felt like we had been very open to a lot of special needs. We considered where we were in life, where we wanted to go in the future...including a possible country move, so even with those desires, we considered ourselves open to saying yes to many things, even if those needs took a lot of time and patience when we brought her home. However, to be completely honest, we said no to maybe even more things. I understand that when I was pregnant with our babies we wouldn't make the decision to say yes or no to a child based on what the dr said. I understand that I know some very sweet, beautiful, wonderful special needs children who have some awesome parents who could never imagine life without their child. I understand that adoption is not about us...that we don't adopt to get a picture perfect child that will fit so nicely into our family...that will make our lives easier and more exciting. Orphans don't usually have a pretty story, and just like the rest of us, their goal isn't to come into a family and make everyone's lives easier. We don't know what tomorrow holds, I could be in a car accident (or break my leg in my daughter's messy room...) and cause all of our plans for the immediate or very distant future to be completely changed. I understand all of this, but when you're saying yes or no, it's easier to think of it as a choice than as a child. So this is where we are when we got the call for a referral. Our director said she spoke with the dr she usually consults with and our little one's special need was an easy fix, something that has to do with her skull, and is not a big deal. And then we started researching the tiny bit of info we received with the referral while we had weeks of waiting for reports...and realized that her special need could be a lot more intensive than we originally were told. Yes, it's google at it finest...telling us all kinds of things that we're probably dying of while we're searching for real answers---and it made us do what we all do--question our future if those answers are truth. What if our husband's headache ends up being a brain tumor?! What if our best friend's horrible rash is leprosy?! What if the child that has been referred to us, who we've been waiting 7 months for (and many more years of dreaming about), is actually mentally handicapped? What if? Really, what if? Would we say no because we have plans of a different future? Would we say yes because it's a child not a puppy? Would we say no because it might cause our family too much stress dealing with a child with such big special needs? Would we say yes because it's a child that if we say no, and other families say no, what kind of future will she have at a special needs group home in India for the rest of her life? Is this what other families do when they are given bad news during their pregnancy? Or when they're handed bad news at the same time that they're handed their brand new baby? You'd think I'd stop with this not trusting the Lord with our children after both our kids were almost diagnosed with very serious things at a couple weeks old. It wouldn't be a Vaughn child if we weren't given the opportunity to put all our faith and trust in Him soon after getting to see their beautiful faces. Yes, our children ended up getting amazing news that in the end wouldn't affect the rest of their lives, but will that be the case for every child God might give us? I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question, or to the question of what we'd do with bad news of a sweet little Indian girl. All I know is I'm praying while those reports are being looked over and discussed by the international adoption clinic. I'm praying for the Lord to calm our nerves, comfort us when things are unsure, and for understanding that He has had this sweet, perfect girl in His hands through every step of her body's formation.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Beautiful Face!

We received a referral for our sweet little girl July 4th!!! She is absolutely adorable, has a beautiful name, big eyes, lots of hair, and a little younger than we were expecting. This post looks so boring without a picture of her and I wish we could include one, but we're not allowed to post her picture or much info on social media. I'll definitely share tons more about her if you want to ask in real life though!! :) We actually just got one black and white picture of her from the agency on Friday but we're supposed to get another color picture of her and hopefully a bit more information about her Monday morning, which can't come fast enough!
Unfortunately, when I got the call from our adoption agency, Kyle and I happened to be away from each other for a couple days and had to open her picture together over the phone (not at all like anything I imagined in all my different daydream scenarios about the day we'd receive our referral), but it was still so special, and I still cried, and I got to share her with a few close friends that I was with on a girls' trip. It's definitely a 4th of July I will never forget! We are of course beyond excited, and were so happy to be able to share her picture and the little we know about her last night at church. I say it all the time, but I absolutely love our awesome church filled with compassionate, supportive, wonderful friends who love Jesus and love us--so grateful!

Now we have months more of waiting and more paperwork. Thankfully it's not nearly as much paperwork as the home study and dossier, but the other side of that is, it's less about what we can do, and more about just sitting and waiting for India to get everything done on their side. We have so many questions about who she is and where she is, and we're making a list of questions that will hopefully all be answered by our agency and/or her orphanage. They say the waiting on this side of it is 8-12 months--more on the 12 months side, and I've heard of plenty of cases where it's taken much longer, so I'm praying for patience on my side and efficiency on India's side. The last week or two was starting to get rough for me in the waiting for a referral, and I know it's only going to get harder from here since I know her sweet face and we all want her home, so lots of prayer for us would be amazing. I'll try to update more often than I have over the last few months--since it's been pretty much no updating that'll be pretty easy. ;) Not that there will be anything necessarily to say, but I'll be around just to remind everyone to keep praying. Next post I'll explain what things we're waiting for before we can bring her home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not much here

I've promised a couple people a blog update for a while now, but haven't really wanted to write for various reasons. Really, there's not much going on except for the collecting of more paperwork. We actually have had plenty of time to get it done, but our agency isn't in any hurry for us to finish it which makes it sound a little depressing, so I just work on it slowly so I feel like I have something to do while we wait. I know we do need to get it done though, so maybe writing a blog post will motivate me to work on it.
Right now we're working on the dossier which is the file of information filled with all kinds of everything about us that is sent to India when we are matched with our child. When I read adoption blogs before we started this process, the dossier always sounded super scary and the pictures of the stacks of paperwork that are sent off are enough to scare anyone who hasn't dreamt of adopting their whole lives running for the hills--or at least to the country of interest to work in orphanages so they won't have to mess with all that junk. But I'm not going to do that to all my lovely friends who read this blog. This is my opinion of course, but it's not nearly as bad as the home study paperwork. Maybe it's just because for me answering all those personal questions and writing out my autobiography is a lot harder than making more copies and scheduling more appointments for another set of fingerprints to be done. It is frustrating having to do everything twice--especially when it involves other people such as our amazing P.A. who has to fill out the medical forms and get them notarized AGAIN. Thankfully, she is that amazing and doesn't mind--or at least acts like she doesn't. ;) And at these times I'm super grateful for our bank that notarizes for free since we have tons to be done and that could cost a fortune. One of the things we need for our dossier is the approval of our I800A--"application for determination of suitability to adopt a child from a convention country." There was a couple pieces of information missing in our home study so our social worker should be working on it, but I'm hoping the time it took for us to get our home study completed is not any indication of how long this will take. There is a time limit on getting it in which is nice, however there's still lots of time left and then we have to wait for it to be approved. So I'm just sending emails and trying to be optimistic. (See how I have high expectations for other people to get their stuff done but I'm letting myself off the hook on all that?)
I could continue on about the dossier, but it's pretty boring...just financial statements and proof of employment, etc. And other than that, not much is going on. My best friend asked me the other day how I'm handling the waiting. And right now I'm equating it to when I was in labor and I kept telling myself "it's hard now, but it's going to get worse so just hold tight and get through this moment," and all of sudden it's not too hard. There might be another painful moment that hits, but I know I haven't hit the max yet, and really, there is an end to it no matter how hard it might get, so it's good now as we're working through our 4th month of waiting. Ask me in our 4th month of waiting after we have a picture of our sweet little one and I'm sure I'll be begging for some kind of epidural!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

I wanted to take a quick minute to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone had a great day celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends. We had a great day--and week--being with all of our family and friends. (And Kyle is having lots of fun playing with his Eli's new remote control helicopter.)
I know the chances of having our little one here with us next year can go either way, and I pray hard that she will be here! But even if she's not and we're still in the midst of waiting, I pray I have the beautiful outlook of this sweet adoptive mama. I don't know her outside of blog land, but she never fails to encourage through comments on mine and others' blogs and through her own blog posts. If you would take just a moment to read her recent post and pray with me that her sweet little daughter's passport will come in this week so they can go to India and have her in their arms after this long time of waiting. You all have blessed us so much and I'm grateful that we are surrounded by people who love His children and desire for them to be placed in forever families. Pray for this sweet little one that she may be embraced in the arms of her family within the next couple weeks.
Praise Jesus that He came so we can be a part of His forever family.
Merry Christmas!!