Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We are still alive!! LOL!

I have not posted due to pure chaos in our schedules and then the holidays and just generally not a blogger type (I have found)...but rest assured...all is well.

Eliana came home on August 24 and became a citizen of the United States the moment she set foot on land. It has been so fascinating watching her since she came home.  The week we were there she really was like a fish out of water.  She ate very little and was tentative about everything.  I can't say as I blamed her.  The idea of being taken from a place (even if it is an orphanage) and just placed with people you hardly know must be so much to process.   Gabi and Eliana had a wonderful time getting to know each other.  It was great fun watching them smile and play with each other.   The days we were there were long, because we were never sure what to make of her schedule.  However, we did do a bit of sightseeing in the country that is our daughter's homeland.   She was born in Bulgaria, which is a beautiful country just north of Turkey and south of Romania.   I hope someday to be able to take her back to explore as a family.

Eliana did great on the flight home.   We had no problems what so ever.  Dare I say, I think I might like flying...shh...don't tell Jim.  I have had a phobia about flying FOREVER.  In fact, if it weren't to go get Eliana I would never have flown again.  So, who knows - maybe we will be able to travel a bit more.

Since she has been home we have had her endure all sorts of medical tests - the 72 hour EEG with video about made her go over the edge - and me too!  The good news - she is very healthy.  She did get some ear tubes because of some blockage, but her hearing is fine.

In October, we had a low-key celebration of her 3rd bday and she started preschool.  We have been gradually increasing her time at school and she seems to really enjoy it.

The relationship between Eliana and Ian is ever-changing.  He was a bit jealous at the beginning and sometimes still acts out.  Little pushes here and there.  I watch them very carefully.  She has recently started to really play with him a bit, which is so cute!   She is always watching him...which may not always be a good thing.  

Overall, I would say that Eliana has become very comfortable with her new home and her new family.  I really feel like she has been with us forever.   I can honestly say that I NEVER imagined being able to love a child that I did not give birth to the same as I did my other children - boy was I wrong.  The children that God puts on our hearts are the children He wants us to raise as our own here on Earth no matter where or how they came to be with us.  It is a beautiful thing.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Soon my sweet one!! VERY SOON!

Well - I am clearly a slacker on the blogosphere....LOL!

SOOOOO - I have been so distracted I never introduced you to OUR DAUGHTER:

ELIANA MARIE THOMSON - (Eliana means God Answered)

 (Please ignore her poor sore little nose:()

We found out a little over a week ago that we will be leaving Chicago on Friday, Aug. 16th and will be picking Eliana up on Monday, the 19th.  Gabi and I will be traveling that week to get her and arrive here in the US on Aug 24....we can't wait!!

Please say some prayers for our safe travels to Eliana and that her transition from the orphanage goes smoothly.
We could NEVER be at this point with all the love, prayers and financial support of all of you!!  THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

What more can I do?

During this wait for a court date, I find myself wondering...what more can I do?  I keep seeing pictures of these little ones in Eastern Europe in need of families and my heart just aches.  I named this blog after the starfish story because I know that there is no way we can save all the orphans by ourselves; yet, a piece of my heart wishes I could.  

God is the only one that knows after we get "Yasmine" home what will happen next....whether we will go back again...I can I assure you I will keep my heart open to whatever He places upon it.   I am in constant awe of the ability we have to change if we just open our minds and our hearts.  I say this because I am very cautious and risk averse person, and yet I totally closed my eyes and jumped on this adoption thing.   I know that God will take care of everything!

I do know that I can assure all my friends and family that I will forever be advocating for these little ones!!  They need a voice...or better yet voiceS!!!  

I am hoping everyone is having a great summer and that the kids are not going too stir crazy yet!!

Love, Cathie

Monday, June 3, 2013

Trying to be Virtuous...Patience is a virtue - right?

I have not posted at all, because it would be about as exciting as watching paint dry.  Nothing has really been happening.  Jim and I have done everything we can at this point, and now we just wait to hear from the government in "Yasmine's" country.  We were told that the average time between trips is 4-6 months and we just passed the 2 month mark...not that I am counting - LOL!

The kids have all finished school and the there is a couple week lull until the summer activities really kick except for an occasional baseball game, we are just relaxing.  


Given that this blog is about the adoption and the orphans, I really want to take a few minutes to address the needs of so many little ones.   The lists of children on Reece's Rainbow, and other similar organizations, contain endless numbers of names.   It is easy to think of them as just lists or as a problem that doesn't really impact me; however, they are not just lists or others' problems, they are real people....God's children, just like you and me.   We are called to help those less fortunate and to treat others as we would want to be treated....if you cannot adopt, please do what you can to help advocate for these children and pray and/or help those families who are adopting.  

While Jim and I had talked about maybe adopting someday, we never really set any time frames or discussed details.  However, once I became aware of the plight of these little ones in Eastern Europe,  I felt called to go and save someone.   Jim took a bit of convincing, but was quick to acknowledge that our Ian would have likely found himself in an orphanage if he had been born in another part of the world.  We said lots of prayers.  It also really helped to watch our close friends, the Saders, go through the adoption process.  

I realize that adopting a child with special needs can be very intimidating, yet, the "special needs" in question may be something very minor or easily repairable.   If you have ever felt a longing to adopt, I beg you to please consider a child with special needs.   Look through the available children, say prayers, ask questions about the special need, in other words, educate yourself about the situation.

In so many of the countries in Eastern Europe, the children age out of the baby houses around age 4 and are placed in adult mental institutions.  The figures are sobering as to how many of these children fail to survive more than a year or two.   PLEASE pray for the children that have already been transferred, that they may find their families.

God bless you!  Cathie

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sorry - I never posted this....OOPS! Long awaited day!

So after months of having looked at one picture and a brief description the day had arrived for us to meet our daughter...(not yet technically - but in our hearts).   We had to drive a couple of hours to get to her orphanage.  Upon arriving it looked like the building I had seen in so many pictures....stark and ugly...  We were waiting for what seemed like FOREVER in the playroom and then finally she was brought in!!   My heart melted immediately.   She has changed A LOT from the picture we had of her.   She was not a baby anymore, but a cute toddler.  Her hair was in a pony tail that bounced around when she moved.   She seemed interested in playing with us, but I couldn't help but think what must be going through her head....who are these people that are loving on me?  Why do they keep coming to play?  They seem to want me to smile and be happy....and giggle...

Each day we got to play with her for an hour in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon.   Between the emotions and the jet lag, I pretty much slept between the visits.  Jim just found it totally amusing how wiped I was.

With each day, "Yasmine" seemed to take to us more and more.   She LOVES to sit on me and do "row, row"...she giggles non-stop.

Given that I am not yet able to share her pics - I will tell you that she has the most mesmerizing blue eyes.  They are big and beautiful.   She also has a cute personality that we saw now and then when we were playing.  She is pulling up to stand and will walk if you hold her hand.   I have a feeling she may be walking on her own when we bring her home.  They have a walker they put her in but it is kind of does not stop her at all...she loves to run along and turn.   I can tell that I will need to get in shape in order to keep up with her and Ian:)

Speaking of Ian, up until our trip I wasn't sure whether he had any concept of what was happening; however, I now believe that he has begun to understand that she is part of our family.   He was very protective of some of her toys (Lucky was trying to get them) - NO, "Yasmine's"!!   He talks about her often, and even told us one of the Nascar cars was his and one was hers.   It makes my heart smile to think about how much fun they will have together.

We pray everything left moves quickly so we can go get her!
THANKS for all the prayers and support - We REALLY appreciate it!!
Love, Cathie

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We have our plane tickets!!

This last week we got our dates for our first trip!   This is the trip we get to meet "Yasmine" in person every day for a week.   While this has been a long road, I still can't believe that 2 weeks from tomorrow I will be meeting seems so surreal.

Everyone keeps asking if I am packed....NO...I am still at the list making and setting aside stage.

Right up there with the excitement of getting our travel dates is knowing that very soon (hopefully in the next few days), we will get new info (and possibly new pictures) of her.   The info we have on her is a year old now and I am nervous to see how she is doing.   I pray that she is healthy and that her weight has been increasing.   I want to be able to take her some clothes, but until I know what she weighs I am not sure what size to bring.

For those of you who don't know me, I am essentially a NON-FLYER.   I have flown in a few times in my life, but I am scared to death and have panic attacks.  Typically I cannot even drive past O'hare without my heart racing.  Once we were thinking of flying somewhere, and just looking at the seating chart on the reservation page got me all freaked out.   Therefore, Jim has just resigned himself to the fact that we will be driving to destinations....except this one.

In making the decision to adopt from overseas, I have tried not to focus on the fact I will need to fly.  I am nervous - for sure- but at the same time I really feel that God has this.  Our adoption of "Yasmine" is so much bigger than any anxiety I have with flying.   I have been telling people that I am treating it sort of like going through my c-section is just part of the process to get the big reward!   I know she is going to be so worth it, just like Gabi, Xander and Ian.

Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to travel, that all goes well with our flights, our meetings with "Yasmine" and with our kids here at home (my parents are so generously coming to stay with them).  In hindsight, my parents may be more afraid of what they will have to deal with that week than I am flying...LOL!

Before I sign-off, I would like to thank each and every person that has been praying for us and this journey and has supported us financially.   With this trip, we will be making another payment to our agency.

Take care and God bless!  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Getting a little closer....

I am done with excuses on how bad I am about blogging.....I did want to provide everyone with a little update.

Last week we mailed our dossier (our paperwork) off to "Yasmine's" country.   Once it is translated, it will be submitted on our behalf to the appropriate government agency.   Then we will wait for a signature on a referral that asks us to come meet her.  From various posts - the timing of this process is completely unpredictable.   This is comforting, in that I have no real expectations as to the amount of time we should be waiting, but it is also making me anxious (in an excited way), to find out just how long it will be until I can meet her.  I am trying to keep my excitement in check because I do not want to be disappointed if she runs and hides from me crying.

As for the rest of the family - we are all healthy.   We are getting ready for Ian's annual meetings for his progress and then for his transition to kindergarten...I can't believe he is turning 5 in April.   Speaking of where the time has gone, we just turned in Gabi's schedule requests for her Freshman year!   AND she has started pointing out that she will be 15 in the fall and that she knows kids that have taken driver's training in the fall.  Unless she has been saving money I don't know about - she can learn to drive, but won't have anything to drive anytime soon.   Finally, Xander is finishing his elementary life up this Spring.   We are awaiting the first band concert to see how all the practice has been going.   It should be good!

Please continue to pray for us and our journey to bring "Yasmine" home....we have been feeling all or your support and appreciate it all more than you know.   Also - the end of last month there was a significant increase in our fund....THANK YOU!!!!  God Bless!