Thursday, November 6, 2014

Francis Family Happenings: August – October


Wow…it has been a crazy couple of months.  A lot of you have been asking for updates, so I will give you the short and sweet version.  In most cases, people get to travel to Poland within a month of accepting their referral.  However, A&K fell just outside of what we were originally approved for regarding age, so we had to update our paperwork.  We used expeditor services and found that they are worth every penny.  Why didn’t we use them on the 1st round of paperwork?  We will know better for next time.  As you will probably notice in our timeline below, we did slow down a bit in October and didn’t expedite anything.  I know what you are thinking…are you guys crazy? Don’t you want to hurry up and meet your boys?  I was thinking the exact same thing and it took everything in me not to expedite things.  And for the record, YES…I cannot wait to meet them!!!  For reasons beyond our control, there was going to be a delay in getting travel dates no matter how quickly we got the paperwork to our agency.  We decide to save money and practice patience.  It wasn’t easy, but we did it.  Well almost…we did end up sending the final paperwork overnight to our agency.  I just couldn’t help myself!  Even longer story short – there is a very good reason for the delay.  I just can’t tell you about it yet.  I know, I know….so many secrets!  I hate keeping them, but I promise I will spill the beans once the boys are officially ours.

Now what?  Well, we are running around like crazy trying to get ready for our 1st trip.  We leave shortly and there is so much to do.  We have also started renewing our paperwork.  That’s right, round 3 of the paperwork is already underway.  It should be fairly simple since we just had to update our paperwork.  We weren’t able to renew when we were updating because we were not within 90 days of the expiration of our approval.  So many rules and so much paperwork!  A&K are beyond worth it!  All of this paperwork will be a distant memory soon!
We are so excited to share our journey with you and are so very blessed by all of your love & support.   We ask for your continued prayers as we prepare to travel.

Paperwork Round 2:
·         August 14th - received our referral for A & K 
·         August 18th - met with an international adoption doctor
·         August 18th - accepted the referral for A & K
·         August 19th - began paperwork update
·         August 29th - completed our part of the paper work
·         September 8th - home study approved
·         September 15th - sent paperwork to USCIS
·         October 1st - found out USCIS paperwork was approved
·         October 4th - received USCIS approval in the mail
·         October  9th - dropped paperwork off at Secretary of State to be apostilled
·         October 14th - picked up apostilled paperwork from Secretary of State & sent to our agency
·         October 27th - received travel dates


We even found time to carve little A & K a pumpkin!
   
       Philippians 3:14
       I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's a BOY...and it's another BOY!!!!



Wally & I are beyond excited to announce that we have accepted a referral for 2 little boys!  While we always knew that 2 was a possibility, we never really thought we would get 2 - it's not very common!  This all seems very surreal.  We talked a lot today about how much our lives are going to change and it all just seems so crazy - the good kind of crazy! God has blessed us big time - we are getting 2 sons!

Per the adoption policies, we aren't able to share too much info about our little guys until after everything is official (that won't be until our 2nd trip).  This is in place to protect our children to be.  However, here is what I can tell you...
  • They are brothers
  • They are preschool age
  • We are keeping their Polish names, but for now will be referring to them as little "A" & little "K"
  • They are absolutely adorable - I seriously can't stop staring at their pictures
  • Their mommy & daddy are already in LOVE with them and can't wait to meet them
While Wally & I are more than anxious to meet them, our 1st trip is going to be a bit delayed as we have to update some paperwork before we travel.  I will be starting in on that tomorrow and praying everything goes quickly and smoothly.  If I had to guess, I would say it will be sometime in November.  After that we come home for a few months and then go back for our 2nd trip to bring them home.  Once again, this is all guess work, but we are hoping to have them home by spring of 2015.

Thank you all so much for your love, support and prayers!  We ask that you continue to pray for the process and that we will be able to meet our sons soon.  Please pray that God also prepares their hearts and minds for their new family

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord had granted me what I asked of him.” – Samuel 1:27

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slipping Through the Cracks



I have to admit, when we started this adoption journey I had a romanticized idea of how it would all play out.  I am fully aware of all of the risks and uncertainties of adoption.  I have heard more adoption gone wrong stories than I would have liked to.  Even still, I hung onto the hope that ours would be different…it would be perfect!  When we started this journey, we never thought that any of that would happen to us.  No one ever starts an adoption journey thinking that they could be the family that slips through the cracks. Thinking that after all you have done, all you have invested emotionally and financially, that you would end up right back where you started just less pieces of your heart.

We have encountered a few hiccups, and to be honest, it has been a pretty tough summer for us.  We don’t have any awful stories and nothing major has gone wrong.  There have just been a lot of ups and downs and unexpected things along the way.  The waiting seems endless, but let’s be real, there are people who have waited 5+ years during their adoptions.  It sure makes my 1 year, 2 months, 2 weeks and 5 days seem insignificant.  What we are experiencing is “normal”, but for the first time, I feel like we might be one of those families that slip through the cracks.  How is that even possible?  Isn’t this God’s plan for us?

It’s a slippery slope, but before I allow myself to fall down the rabbit hole of self-pity, I quickly remember why we are doing this.  It’s not about us slipping through the cracks; it’s about all of those children that have slipped through the cracks.  There are millions of orphans in this world that just need love.  They just need a family of their own, a place to call home and someone to share Christ's love with them.  Every single child in this world is entitled to that.  If we don’t fight for them, who will?  If we don't make them our sons & daughters, who will?

So, no!  Not us!  Not the Francis Family!  We will not slip through the cracks!  Even though we haven’t experienced the flawless adoption (l don’t really think it exists), it is still perfect – perfectly His!  It becomes more beautiful every day!  God is using every hiccup and every obstacle to stretch my heart in ways I could have never imagined.   

I found this quote a while back, and I thought it would be appropriate to end with this.

"No, God never meant for me NOT to have children. That's not my destiny; that's just a fork in the road I'm on. I've been placed on the road less traveled, and, like it or not, I'm a better person for it. Clearly, God meant for me to develop more compassion, deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this journey to resolution, and I haven't let HIM down.

God has singled me out for a special treatment. God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I've ever known!" – author unknown

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Weight of the Wait

This post is a bit of a jumbled mess, but that is just how life is these days.  I really thought that I was going to be much better at this waiting game then I am proving to be.  They told us to expect 3 months for translation and authentication (April 3rd was the 3 month mark), and to expect 4-10 months after that for a referral.  So, I guess when you look at it that way, I haven’t technically been “waiting” for that long – only 13 days. While I understand that, I have a very hard time explaining that to my heart, and it is quite clear that the heart trumps the brain in this process. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how you shake it, it seems like an eternity to me.  I wake up every morning thinking that this could be the day that we get “the call”.  I go to bed every night a little sad that we didn’t get it.  I drive my husband crazy all day long with emails & text messages – why aren’t they calling us?  Do you think they will today?  What about this week?  When is it going to happen?  I want my baby!  Please make it happen now! 

I have a new obsession with my phone that would rival that of any teenage girl.  My phone does not leave my side.  I check it way more often than I would like to admit.  The temporary loss of it is enough to set off panic in my house.  Every single time it rings my heart stops.  I apologize if you have called me and I sounded disappointed when I answered – the truth is that I was.  I love you all very much, so please don’t take offense to that.  My newfound obsession is making me lose my manners.  I am horribly rude and check my phone during dinner, events, meetings, and even mid-conversation.  I don’t even mean to do it sometimes; at this point it’s just habit.  I promise, once this adoption is complete, my phone etiquette will return to normal.
With nothing but time on my hands, inevitably, more questions surface.  What is my little one doing right now?  Are they sick?  Are they sad?  Are they scared? Are their cries going unanswered?  How did they end up in an orphanage in the 1st place? (That one is the most haunting for me.)  Why does this take so long when there are so many children in the world that just need love, and I am standing here begging to give it?  I know asking these questions are a moot point, but this is what my brain does to me…quite often.

The uncertainty of every day is wearying.  I try not to think about it, but really, how do I even do that?  I have this constant ache that reminds me something is missing - I am a mother without a child.  Truth be told - on the surface I may appear to have it together, but on the inside I am a hot mess.  I can be brought to tears in a matter of seconds.  Sometimes it is as simple as someone asking how the adoption is going, a song on the radio or if I linger too long in the little’s room.  Don’t even get me started on watching YouTube adoption videos.  I cry right along with those mamas getting to hold their babies for the first time, hoping and praying that someday that will be me.  Thank God I have my husband who has been my rock through this emotional roller coaster.
Thank you all very much for your understanding, support and continued prayers.  I hope we will have exciting news for you soon.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Choosing Faith Instead of Fear

I have been having a major case of the “what-ifs” lately.

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it is also crazy, unpredictable, scary, messy, emotional, and inevitably makes you ask yourself: “What the heck am I doing?”

Sometimes it’s all too easy to get caught up in the fears of adoption.

What if our child’s needs are more than we were expecting?  What if our child doesn’t attach or bond with us?  What if our child doesn’t love us?  What if they hate us for taking them away from their country?  What if they hate us just because? What if I don’t have the abilities to parent this child?  What if we can't save enough money?  Or worst of all…what if we don’t ever get a referral?  What if, what if, what if?!?!
 I don’t have the answers to any of my “what-ifs”, but there is someone who does.  God does!  I don’t know what my child’s needs are.  God does, and I have faith that He will not give my family more than we can handle.  I don’t know if our child will attach to us, bond with us or even love us.  God does, and I have faith that He will fill our home with happiness and love.  I don’t know if my child will hate me someday.  God does, and I have faith that He will guide me through that.  I have no idea if I have the ability to parent this child.  God does, and I have faith that He is preparing me to be the best mother that I can be to this child. I don't know how we are going to find the rest of the money to complete the adoption. God does, and I have faith that He will provide all that we need as he has done thus far.  I don’t know for sure that we will get a referral.  God does, and I have faith that He will be there to help me pick up the pieces if we don’t.

The outcome of our adoption journey is already known by Him.  There is nothing I can do or say that will change anything.  As a control freak, that is a tough pill to swallow, but true nonetheless.  I find peace in knowing that this is God’s plan for me, not my own.  That is so awesome because his plans always turn out so much better than mine do!  I know that God is ever faithful and I will cling to Him as I push through my fears and focus on the love, hope and beauty of this journey.  I have faith that soon I will come to know my child.

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

I am beyond excited to share with you that we have officially completed our dossier and it is in the mail!  I am not going to lie, I felt a little sick to my stomach when I had to hand it over.  It is on its way to our agency for final review before going to Poland.  That’s right – the paper chase has ended (for now)!  Can I get a WooHoo?!?! 
We received our I-797 on Monday.  That was the last document we were waiting for to complete our dossier.  We had it notarized yesterday and apostilled earlier this morning.  I would like to send a shout-out to the wonderful ladies that have been so good to us at the Secretary of State in WI – they are quick!  So, after 6.5 months of this crazy paper chase, our dossier is finally complete.  It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders.  
 So, whats next? Our agency will review the dossier and send it off to Poland.  We were told to expect approximately 2 months for everything to get there, be translated and officially be on the waiting list for our child.  After that, we are just waiting on "the call".  The one that tells us who our child is and will forever change our lives.  I seriously can't believe that is our next step.
It's hard to articulate exactly what finishing our dossier means.  You see, it isn't just a pile of paperwork to us.  Its made up of so much more - countless hours, unending prayers, some tears of frustration and sometimes a bit of heartache, outburst of excitement at the mailbox when documents arrive, our dreams of becoming parents and bringing our little home - all wrapped up in unexplainable super duper big heart crazy kind of LOVE!
It has been a crazy journey so far, and we are so grateful we have the opportunity to share it with you.  We seriously could not do this without the love, support and prayers from all of you.  Please keep them coming!

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” – Proverbs 13: 12

Monday, December 16, 2013

Many Thanks

We wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone.  We had so much help from so many people that it's hard to know where to begin.  We want to thank all of you who took the time to share our online auction site.  Whether it was sharing it on Facebook, sending out an email, or simply telling someone about it; we couldn't have made it happen without you.  We also want to thank all of the individuals and businesses that were kind enough to make donations:
  • Flip Dog Designs
  • Becky Hergenrother
  • Michelle Ponti
  • Groovy Grammas Creations
  • Cedric Johnson
  • Tastefully Simple
  • Thirty One Gifts Representative Casey Davis
  • Claudine's Pet Grooming
  • Reflections Hair Salon & Spa
  • Vintage Brewing Company
  • Ellen Traum, The Pampered Chef Representative
  • Dr. William Johnson - Winnebago, IL
  • BPI Printing
Finally, we want to send a big thank you to everyone who bid on the items.  We most certainly could not have done it without you!

At this point, we are going to take a little hiatus from fundraising.  Keep checking in with us for more updates on our journey.  In the meantime, don't forget about our Amazon link on the right side of this blog.  It's an easy way to help us out if you are doing any Christmas shopping on Amazon.  Also, if anyone is interested, we do still have some puzzle pieces left.  If you are interested in buying and decorating a piece, contact us at afrancis1024@gmail.com and we will be happy to get them to you.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!  Hopefully you will be hearing new and exciting updates from us very soon.