Not my will, but your's be done.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Drama Mama

As promised, I am going to fill you in on our dossier submission drama.  I recently realized that I am horrible about following through with posting about what I promise to post about.  Every time I say(in a blog post) that I am going to post about something soon, I never do.  So this time I am going to follow through and give the details of our minor drama when our dossier was submitted.  I guess first I better explain a little bit what all this adoption jargon is, for those of your who have not adopted internationally.  International adoption has a language of its own and the dialect varies by which country you are adoption from.  In the particular country of Eastern Europe that we are adopting from, dossiers(which is ALL the adoption paperwork that the country requires), after being translated, are submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Adoption(SDA).  We are requesting to adopt specific children.  So part of our dossier being submitted, is checking that our 3 kiddos are all clear to be adopted.  We already knew that Daniel was, and his file was essentially "on hold" for us.  From the time we commited to adopt Daniel, to the time we added Parker and Josslyn to our adoption, the SDA changed things up a bit.  Children's file's are no longer put on hold.  For those of us who are trying to adopt a specific children, we just have to hold our breath and pray that their file hasn't been given to another adoptive family through a blind referral.(A blind referral is more of the norm for how international adoptions work.  This means that you send in your dossier and in it you list the ages, genders, and special needs you are open to adopting.  Then the adoption authority in that country matches you with a child's file.  You have the opportunity to view the file, and sometimes actually meet the child, and then accept or decline the referral).  Nearly all of the Reece's Rainbow families are trying to adopt specific children from the Reece's Rainbow waiting child list, so this new change in the adoption process of not putting our kiddos "on hold" for us can be pretty nerve racking.  With so many children available for adoption, the odds are slim that Parker or Josslyn's files would have randomly been given to a family by a blind referral, but I was still really worried about it.  I have seen it happen before, and I just could not imagine that kind of heartbreak.

Thursdays are the day that the SDA accepts dossier submissions.  The whole week, leading up to last Thursday, I knew that there was a very good chance that this was our week to be submitted.  I thought that I would be a nervous wreck all week(and I kinda was for most of it), but by Wednesday night I was totally at peace.  Thursday, I refused to let myself neurotically check my email and the Reece's Rainbow website to see if we had been submitted.  Once an hour was my limit for checking.  I got the news that we had been submitted from my Reece's Rainbow BFF, which was the only fitting way to find out.  I am so glad that I found out from her.  It made the good news all that sweeter.

After I got the news I didn't fully let myself celebrate, because I didn't know for sure that all 3 of our kids(Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn) were clear to be adopted.  The past month or so I have been having a nagging feeling that something was going on with Parker.  I didn't know exactly what or why, but it wouldn't go away.  I thought I was just being paranoid, until I told Josh how I felt and he said that he had been feeling that way too.  Ugh oh.  I didn't know what, but I knew that something must be going on with Parker.  I kept thinking that his file must have been given to another family and they accepted it.  I mean, look at him! Who wouldn't want that precious kiddo as their son?!  So when I heard that our dossier had been sucessfully submitted, I was not going to fully celebrate until I KNEW that it was for all three kids.

Later in the day I found out that, yes, all 3 kids were clear for adoption(PRAISE THE LORD), but Parker had been transferred.


That is one of the last things a family adopting from EE wants to hear.  My heart had a mini-heart attack when I read the word "transferred", and it took a minute to recover and finish reading.  Parker has been transferred(bad news), but
-he is at a internat(older kids orphanage), NOT an institution
-he can still be adopted from the facility that he is at
-the internat he is in is very close to the orphanage that Daniel and Josslyn are in
-we can adopt all 3 at the same court hearing

All of those are very good news!

Even though my mama instincts were right that something WAS going on with Parker, the most important thing is that he is still going to be ours!  And isn't it amazing that God has already given me mama instincts for a child that I have not even met yet?  God is good.  I love my new kiddos so much.  Now we are just sitting and waiting to hear when the SDA wants us to come and officially accept referrals for each child.  Hopefully we will find out in the next week and a half.  Exciting times! 

Oh, and if you want to see that we have been submitted in official red letters, then check out our Family Sponsorship page on the Reece's Rainbow website.  Pretty nice!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I just wanted to announce that we are officially in the 3rd trimester of this paper pregnancy!!!  Today our dossier was sucessfully submitted to the SDA in our kiddo's country!!  It was not without some drama, but in light of all the possible complications, our drama is very minor.  I will explain in detail when I have a little more time.  And if all this dossier SDA business is Greek to you, then don't worry I will explain that too.  But for now just know that this is REALLY good news!! We should know when we are going to be traveling in the next two weeks.  If I had to guess, I would say that we will by headed overseas at the very end of March.  It is getting so close!!!

The Little Polka Dot Girl

If you look really closely at the picutre below, you just might see my girl.  See the little sweetie in the yellow shirt with the polka dots?  That is Josslyn!!

Isn't she just precious?! 

My friend, Corbett, is adopting the little cutie in the yellow shirt and blue shorts.  I was looking at this picture on her blog and Ray said, "There is Josslyn!!"  I was like, "No, that's not Josslyn, that is Vlad.  He is in the same orphanage as Josslyn though."

Ray proceeded to argue that Josslyn was right there in yellow.  I argued back that, NO, that was VLAD In yellow.  I was so focused on Vlad that I didn't even see Josslyn!  Ray finally persuaded me to take a closer look, and she was right!  I don't know if this means that Josslyn and Vlad are in the same groupa(all the kids are divided up in to groups), or if their groupas were just together at this time.  Either way, I am sure that they know each other, and it is really neat for me to think that my friend's kid is friends with my kid....all the way on the other side of the world! Pretty cool stuff.

I love seeing this picture of Josslyn.  Her hair has grown since her RR picture was taken.  The picture above was taken 4 months ago, so she(and her hair) have probably grown even more!  I just can't wait to meet her!

Hang on, sweet little polka dot girl! It won't be long now!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More of your questions answered

For this Q and A session I am not going to be the one answering your questions. I am going to let a sweet adoptive mom answer some questions via youtube. The video is about 11 minutes long, but she does a better job than me at answering some of the common questions we get.

Some of the questions she touches on are:
"Do you really need to adopt, you already have 3 children?", "What is the fate of an orphan with HIV if they are not adopted?", and "Why adoption?", just to mention a few.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ANOTHER Birthday Boy!

I have, yet, another child with a February birthday!  Sweet Parker is FIVE today!  I doubt that the ophanage acknowledged his birthday today, but I am very thrilled to say, that this will be his last birthday as an orphan.  Next year he will be a Carlin, and he will learn what birthday celebrations are all about!

In the other birthday post I talked a little bit about what my children are like.  I know absolutely nothing about Parker, except that his little face is complete perfection.  Josh and I stare at his picture sometimes(we do that with all three of the little ones we are longing for), and we say things like, "Look how perfect his nose is!", "Look at that smile. It's so cute!"  We go on and on about the sweetness of his face, because, well, that is all we know of him.  We have a good bit of info about what Daniel is like, and a little bit of info on what Josslyn is like.  But we don't know anything about Parker.  I am just dying to meet this little fellow.  I can't wait to get to know his personality, his likes and dislikes, and his quirks.  I want to be his mother so bad.

His next birthday post will be filled with pictures and stories about our little man and what a blessing he is to us.

Parker, baby, we love you very much!  We can celebrate your birthday a couple of months late when we get you home where you belong!  You can have a whole cake all to yourself to make up for all the birthday parties you have missed while you were in the orphanage.  This will be the last birthday that you spend wishing for a family.  Mama and Daddy are coming for you soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birthday Boy!

Kellen Beck Carlin

My baby is one today! 
I think he knew something was up because he started walking this week in honor of his birthday.
His older brother and sister bestowed two of their very loved stuffed animals upon him today.
It was just precious. 
He goes by many names around here:
Kellen, Kale, KK.
But usually, it is just, the baby.
"The baby" has been a wonderful baby, but now he is turning in to a big boy. 

He loves the water! 

He swims around the bathtub like a little fish.  It's hilarious! 
He can also put his face in the water and blow bubbles, which I think is excellent for a baby.

He is Mr. Curiosity.
He loves to climb and explore.  He is always getting into SOMETHING.

He is mommy's sweetheart.

He is Daddy's boy.

And he is, oh, so happy.
(And bald.  Poor thing is one year old, and he still has very limited hair on the top of his head.)

Kellen, it is such a blessing to have you in our family! 
I don't know what I would do with out your sweet hugs and kisses.
Happy Birthday, to my sweet little monkey boy! 
We love you very much!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ray!

Raylen Jayne Carlin

My mischievous little thinker.

I don't know what we would do without you, little Ray.  You are a wonderful big sister.  A constant encourager to you big brother.  You make up your mind for yourself and don't let what others do sway your opinion.  One day you will be an awesome woman of God and a force to be reckoned with.(Ok, so you are already a force to be reckoned with....but we love you just the way you are.)

I can't wait to see how you grow and blossom in the years to come!


P.S.  Congrats on getting your ears pierced today!  You did great!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It Arrived!!!

Lots of good news!

-Our dossier has been delivered!!

-We have been promoted to the "Almost There" catagory on the RR website!

-The grant on our Family Sponsorship Page has grown this week!  All donations made to that account go through Reece's Rainbow and the donors are annonymous to us.  So THANK YOU to any of you who have donated to our grant!!

-There is a new chipin on my page.  The reason for this is because our adoption fund is slowly growing, so we no longer are needed $12,000 more.  The new chipin is set for $9500 because that is all we need to be fully funded!!!

-Upcoming fundraisers:
      ~I am a consultant for the company 31 Gifts.  All my proceeds go towards our adoption.  I have 2(possibly 3) parties scheduled in the next month, so anything I make will go towards our adoption.
      ~Chick-fil-a is hosting a fundraiser for our adoption on Monday, February 21st!!  We get 20% of all sales where the customer mentions our name, from 5:00-7:00!!
     ~March 5th we are having a garage sale.  All proceeds will go towards our adoption fund!  Several friends have donated their Goodwill items to our garage sale and we appreciate that very much!!
     ~March  10-12th Sarah's Treasure Box will be hosting an online fundraiser through her ETSY shop.  $5 from each pendant sale(where the customer mentions our name in the comment box when checking out) will go towards our adoption!!  I will be giving out detailed information about this fundraiser when it gets a little closer.
      ~There are a few items that we are wanting to sell, and the money we make will go guessed it, our adoption!!   One of these items is one of my surfboards.  If there are any surfers(or wanna be surfers) reading this, let me know if you are interested in a used(but in great condition) short board.
      ~We should get our tax return back in a week or two!!

I am hoping that all of these fundraisers together will shave several thousand dollars off of what we need to be fully funded.  Slowly, but surely, we are making steps towards having all the ransom we need for our kiddos!  I had plans to do a food fundraiser, but the recipie I tried flopped, so I am back at square one with that and time is running out on doing something like that.  We shall see.

I hope to post Daniel's story later tonight.  That is something that I have wanted to do from the beginning, but got so busy with the paperwork that I never got around to it.

I plan on spending the rest of my afternoon basking in the delight of knowing that our dossier is in our facilitator's hands.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Our dossier is complete and on it's way overseas!!!  It is going by plane instead of boat, and it is supposed to be delivered to our facilitator on Wednesday!!!! 

We have been waiting on the last of our apostilled documents to return to us from Austin.  They should have been here last week, but were delayed in Houston for several days due to bad weather.  But Josh was out on an errand this afternoon and passed the UPS truck.  On a whim he stopped and asked the guy to look for our documents in his truck.  He agreed and he had them!! The UPS guy gave the documents to Josh.  Success!!  I arranged and rearrange our dossier documents a couple more times.  Then we prayed over them and I headed out to mail them!  I nearly choked when I had to cough up $166 bucks to mail them, but it is worth it to get them there through a reliable carrier.

Our dossier should be delievered on the 9th.  The SDA(Secretary of the Department of Adoption) re-opens on the 10th accepting new adoption dossiers.  It usually takes the facilitators a week to 10 days to translate the documents and get them ready to be submitted to the SDA.( I mean, I did just send them 77 pages to translate!)  So....I'm hoping that we will be submitted on or before February 19th!!!  I can't believe that we are to this point.  It seemed like it would take forever to get all the paperwork for our dossier done, and now it is complete and headed out over the ocean.  I keep envisioning it growing legs and taking a suicide leap out of the plane and in the ocean.  Or falling off the package conveyer belt and getting lost.  Or getting caught in some package sorting gear and being shredded to pieces.  Yeah, you could say I'm a little paranoid that it isn't going to arrive safely.  I just have to keep praying that God will protect it.

Thanks for all the prayers and I will be updating again soon!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More Q and A

1.  Are any of the kids you are adopting siblings?
I get this one ALOT.  I'm not sure if it is because they look so much like my kids, so it makes people think that they look like each other, or if folks just assume that the ONLY reason someone would adopt 3 kids at once is if they were siblings(because who in their right mind would split up siblings?!).  The answer is "NO", Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn are not siblings....yet!  They do all live in the same orphanage though.  The kiddos in the orphange are divided up in groupas, based on age, handicap(or lack of), etc.  Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn are in 3 different groupas.  While I am sure that they have seen each other in passing, I doubt that they know each other.  Sometimes I giggle when I think that they are future siblings and they don't even know if yet!

2. Why are Daniel, Parker, and Josslyn orphans?
We don't know much about the kids medical or personal history.  I am hoping that we find out more about them while we are in country for their adoptions, but this is too terribly likely.  Right now we can just make assumptions as to why they are orphans.  Most likely Daniel was abandoned at birth or shortly after.  In EE physical and mental hadicaps have a strong stima attached to them.  Very few parents choose to raise a child that is born with a physical or mental handicap.  Most likely, Daniel was abandoned by his birth parents when they learned that he had Down syndrome.  It is very possible that his birth parents are married, have other children whom they are raising, and are financially stable.  It is also possible that they didn't necessarily want to give Daniel up for adoption(although they very well may have), it is just that the stigma of raising a child with DS is so strong that they may not have felt that they have a choice.  Very very sad.  It is heartbreaking that they are missing out on the incredible blessing of having a child with Down syndrome. 

Parker and Josslyn most likely have a bit of a different story.  A large percentage of women in EE that have HIV do not know it until they go to the hospital to give birth to a child.  They types of women(and girls) who are participating in the behaviors that transmit HIV(sharing needles and participating in promiscuous sex), do not usually take the inititive to get tested for HIV.  The reason that they don't get tested is because if it became known that they have HIV then they would be unable to get a job and would basically be shunned.  I guess for them, not knowing is better than knowing.  So, for many women, they first time they hear that they have HIV is when they go to the hospital to have a child.  Most of these women have not received prenatal care and have a high likelyhood of having used drugs and alcohol during their pregnancy.  Many of these women abandon their babies at the hospital when they learn that they are HIV+.  They automatically assume that the child will be HIV+ also.  Many times this is not the case, but for some children it is. 

Both of these senarios are just our best guesses.  That is the norm for how things play out for kiddos like Daniel, Parker, and Josslyn, but like I said, it is just a guess.  I would love to know more about their story, if possible, but I am ok with not knowing.  My perfect senario would be to be able to have contact with their birth mothers and to continue that contact for the rest of our lives.  Even if we don't have that chance, we will be praying for the kid's birth mothers, for their salvation and healing from what I am sure is a deep wound to them.(choosing to give their child up for adoption).

3.  Do the kids speak english?
No, not at all. (Although, "mama" is "mama" in Russian, and "Daddy" is "Papa" is Russian, so we're good there. :))  No, the kids don't speak english, and we don't speak Russian.  We are trying to learn a few basic words and phrases, but Russian is not exactly the easier language to learn.  We have been told(from others who have adopted from foreign countries) that the kids usually pick up english very quickly.  I'm sure that things will be rough in the communication department for a while, but it will all work itself out.  We plan on teaching some sign language for some of the basics right off the bat, and then figuring the rest out as we go.  My dad's masters degree is in Medival Russian History and he used to speak fluent Russian.  He has lost alot of it but I may be calling him over to translate if we get desperate.  My hope is that the kids will not lose all of their native language.  I would love for them to keep it up.  It is a part of who they are and I would be sad if they completely lost it.

4. How long are you going to be gone when you travel for your adoption?
2 1/2-3 weeks for the first trip.  Around 2 weeks for the second trip.  Our 2 trips will be about 10 days apart.

5. Why do you have to be gone for so long and why do you have to make two trips?
The short answer to that is, "that is just the way they do things over there", but I know that doesn't really explain much.  Timeline will look roughly like this:  1st trip: SDA appointment, travel to the kid's region, meet kids, have "bonding time" and "officially" chose to adopt them, paperwork paperwork paperwork, courtdate.  After our courtdate there is a ten day waiting period.  Some families choose to stay during the waiting period, thus making is one loooooong trip.  We are coming home during the 10 day wait.  Trip 2:paperwork, get kid's passports, visas, and have their in country medical exams done.  COME HOME!!!  
Different countries do this process in many different ways, that is why you have different travel lengths for adoptions from other countries.

6. When are you going to be making you first trip?
Boy, do I wish I knew the answer to that one!!  Our best guess is mid to late March.  It is possible that it could be anywhere from the end of Feb(not likely at all) to sometime in June!  As long as their isn't any problems with our dossier once it gets to EE, then most likely we will travel mid to late March.  That would put is getting home with the kiddos in mid to late April.  Of course, all that is just an educated guess. 

I'm going to stop for now because I need to finish getting ready for co-op tomorrow.  I am sure that there will be more Q and A posts in the future.  Remember, if you have any questions that you would like me to answer privately, or in a future Q and A post, then email me at

Have a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Take a peek. Say a prayer.

Hi folks!  I've posted before about orphans having to endure poor living conditions.  I have a particular orphanage in EE that weighs heavy on my heart.  Daniel's(and Josslyn's and Parker's) country is a large one made up of several different regions.  The conditions of the different orphanages vary alot by the region(sometimes they even vary alot IN the same region).  THANKFULLY, my kiddos orphanage is one of the nicer ones, orphanage 17.  They have warm clothes and food and even the luxury of disposable diapers for the ones who need them.  Not all ophanages in EE are so lucky.  Orphanage 9 is one of the poorer orphanages.  The children there are usually malnourished.  The ones with handicaps are transferred to adult mental institutions right when they turn 4 because they just don't have the resources to care for them at ophanage 9. 

Here is a link to the kids listed on Reece's Rainbow from orphanage 9.  Browse the list and see if God lays one of them on your heart that your could be a prayer warrior for.  Several of these children have large grants that would cover a good portion of their adoption expenses if someone chooses to adopt them.  Maybe one of them is your child.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

While We Wait

A friend of mine had a baby yesterday morning.  What an exciting event!  She posted today on facebook how perfect he is.  I am sure that in the last 24 hours that baby has been held, rocked, hugged, kissed, loved on, and photographed, more times than we could count. Well, maybe not the last one so much.  He's child number 5 for them, and we all know that the more you have, the less photos you take of them. *wink*   Anyway, needless to say, that precious little angel boy has probably felt loved from the second he was born.  And that is exactly how it should be.  Blissful enjoyment of one of God's most incredible blessings....a child. 

Not all sweet angels are fortunate enough to experience the love and care that they deserve.  Here is a glimps of what life is like for the less fortunate sweethearts, while we wait.