Saturday, September 29, 2012

We have a referral!

Well... we have our verbal referral for Chrisiana!  Once the minister signs our referral it will be official and we will have a written referral and recieve our travel dates!  Those are the dates that we will be asked to visit her country and spend time with her. 

In about a month (give or take) I could be in Bulgaria meeting my daughter!  How amazing is that? 

Thanks to our Facebook auctions and the help of Ten For Orphans and Anonymous Angels, we're now only $4600 away from being fully funded for our first trip! 

Starting Monday, October 1, Hidden Treasures Auction will be holding an auction to benefit our adoption.  It will run from October 1-7.  Please check it out.  There are lots of great items that would make wonderful Christmas gifts!  All of the proceeds will go directly to our adoption fund. 

Right now, we have two fundraisers running thanks to the generosity of some wonderful women.  The first is an Ava Anderson fundraiser that ends in just a few days...

"Just a few more days to place an order for Ava Anderson Non Toxic products with the proceeds going towards Carissa's adoption! Please consider ordering something. I LOVE all the products and love that they are safe for my family!"

The second is a Scentsy party being given to benefit our adoption.  It runs through October 10th.  Just click on the party for the Matthews Family Fundraiser to shop.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pray hard

Pray hard folks.  We've been told that our dossier should be reviewed within the next 24 hours or so. 
That means... IF we're approved (they could ask for more information or more documents) we should have a "verbal referral". 
Once we have our verbal referral, it's just a matter of a couple of weeks before we're given a "written referral" (the minister's signature on our paperwork) and issued travel dates! 

That means that within a month, if we're lucky... we could be meeting our daughter for the first time. 

Pray hard, friends.  We're at the point of travel and we're still very under-funded. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Years Ago

Years ago I would tell my mom about my friend Ashley and her journey to adopt a little Serbian girl named Olive.  Olive the tiny... Olive the beautiful. 

My mom would ask about her... wondering how she was doing.  She would ask how she was adjusting to life in a family... with people who love her. 

Later I would tell my mom about Faith.  I would talk to her about Faith's journey to adopt Robyn and then her decision to adopt Etta. I would tell her about all of the other mothers I was meeting online.... about the lives of these children without families. 

During this time my Mom would ask "Why do these people spend money they don't have to adopt from over there when there are children here at home that could be adopted for so much less?  If they want another child, why not get one here?".  Like many of you, she didn't understand why they spent so much money and travelled so far.  She didn't understand why they did things "the hard way".

My mom would hear countless stories about Susanna and her mission to save little Katie... and how close she came to losing her before she ever came home.  Katie-bird was so fragile when Susanna travelled to her country to bring her home that she had to spend time in the hospital... and then have a nurse travel with them on their journey home so that Katie could survive the trip home to a larger hospital.  It was frightening... and inspiring.  Mom loved to hear Katie's story and to know that she was healing.  That she was cherished and loved. 

In hearing Katie's story and following it, my Mom finally learned those people did things "the hard way".  She no longer criticised or thought "they're crazy/stupid/idiotic" for adopting sick children who lived half way across the world... children who weren't healthy and would need a lifetime of care.  She understood. 

The day I told her that Jason and I were committing to adopt Christiana and told her all of the issues that we knew of and some that we only suspect... I expected to hear "adopt one at home", "you already have one disabled child, you don't need another", "how will you pay for it", "you can't handle it".  I expected her to disapprove.  I expected her to have the same attitude that others around me had - that it's fine and noble for people to adopt sick/disabled children, but it's not something "we" (family and friends) want to have in our own homes. 

I underestimated my mother.  Not only was she not critical of our decision, she and RaRa (grandma Rita) became our biggest supporters.  She shared our story at church and with everyone she knew.  She and Daddy put Christiana's photograph in their living room for everyone to see.  They told everyone about their newest grandchild-to-be, the little girl across the sea.  Even her hospice nurse knows all about Christiana and our adoption journey.  Her name is Crystal and she may be beginning the same journey soon. 

My mother passed away on Wednesday evening and I don't know how to live without her. 

Since my oldest son James was born (and Mom retired), we've spent almost every day of our lives together.  And when we couldn't see each other due to illness or life interrupting... we spoke on the phone.  She has been my best friend for the last 7 years.  She's been the person I turned to first after my husband who is the other half of my heart and soul.  She's been my cheerleader, my rock, my inspiration. She taught me how to raise my children and that it's OK to be less than perfect.  She taught me how to love unconditionally... to give without expecting anything in return because the greatest reward isn't in the receiving, it's in the giving.  It's in seeing a face light up with joy. 

I walk though life thinking things like "Mom would love those earrings" and "I should tell Mom about that".  But I can't.  I can't buy her pretty things anymore or share the latest news.  I have a loving husband, and loving Rita, and 3 beautiful. loving sons.  But I feel alone in a crowd.  No one will ever understand me (and misunderstand me) the way my Mom did. 

I've learned one thing from my Mom's death.  I've learned the last lesson she had to teach me - that no matter how old you are, your mother is the center of your heart.  I've learned how very much my children must love and need me.

I've learned how vital a mother is to a child. 

Soon... we will have travel dates.  We will have permission to meet our daughter across the sea.  Knowing how much she must need me, even if she doesn't know it, yet breaks my heart. 

Please... please help us get to her.  Help me give my daughter what my Mom gave me.  Love.  Unconditional and eternal love.  Help me hold her and teach her a mother's love for her child. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest post from Rita (RaRa)

Ann, Lisa's mom came into my life 20 years ago because my only child, my son met the love of his life. She is my friend, the only woman I would wish to be his mother and he calls her mom.
God, please help me retype this as I am in tears and need to do this for her. You see throughout the years we have prayed many times together, laughed, cried and shared our innermost selves. My children were blessed with finding a relationship with God through finding this LIFE purpose of helping children. We talked about what a blessing that God is so much a part of their lives now and that as parents that is a gift that we wanted for our children. We KNOW they have God in their lives. 
We are grateful to all who helped them on this journey to find God. Everyday that she suffers I pray with her as we always did out loud and to our God, she can not participate aloud as in the past but I believe that she is praying with me as always. Will she get better, no... never.  I ask that all of you pray for her and for us.
 Ann has been so excited about Christiana (Carissa) and supportive of her adoption.  We wanted her safe in our arms. She and I could not wait to be her Granny and RaRa. We even laughed because we carry the same middle name (Ann) and wanted the kids to name her Carissa ANN.  Then God intervened again and we found out her true name is Christiana  Oh how we praised God and laughed.
See, God gave her to us and made sure our name will go on. I promise my dear Ann I will make sure that she knows that she HAS two grandmothers. Granny in heaven watching over us and RaRa carrying on her others grandmother's legacy. Although, you will not physically be here, when I hold Christiana I will be holding her with you.
Is this the right time to say this?   I believe so because I know my friend and fellow Grandmother, Ann. 
We need your help to make our baby girl get home, financially we are NOwhere close to where we need to be. So for Ann and I, Christiana's grandmothers, please make sure our baby is safe with us and her family by make a donation to get her here.
 Ann, I love you and wish you God speed. Pray for us as we face this time. God bless, your friend and fellow grandmother, RaRa

Sorry for the lapse

It seems I've failed in promising to blog more.  Things have been so hectic in our lives during the past few weeks. 

Our good news is, we've been chosen as sponsored families for Ten For Orphans for the month of September and also for the Hidden Treasures auction for October.  I'm praying that these fundraisers will help our efforts. We really need the help at this point.  We're sadly underfunded.  Anyone who would like to help with the Hidden Treasures auction, please read this post to find out how!!

Another bit of good news is that our dossier is in country!  A wonderful mom named Aimee took it with her on her own adoption trip and hand delivered it to our lawyer.  Christiana's country had a national holiday in July/August, so the ministry is just getting back to work.  Hopefully they'll get to our dossier soon and give us a travel date in October.  Although we don't have the funds right now... we're really hoping for a travel date soon.  We hope God will keep speeding us along in our adoption the way that he has since the beginning and provide good travel dates and the funds to buy our tickets and pay our fees.

Did any of you see that another orphan from Christiana's orphanage has found a home?  "Tommy" has been chosen by Katie's family!  I am so happy for them.  I can only imagine how he will grow and thrive in such a loving and wonderful family.  If you haven't checked out their blog, or don't know who Katie is... you should take a look. 

The Musser family has been such an inspiration for me and Susanna has been such a kind, and wonderful friend. 

Now for the sad news.  Many of you know that my mother has been with hospice for the last 9 months.  After healing from NPH (hydrocephalus), she was diagnosed with cancer again.  After 7 years, her breast cancer had returned.  Unfortunately, it had returned in her spine, chest, brain, and other areas.  Due to her age, health, and the placement of the cancer... treatment wasn't an option.  For 9 months she enjoyed good spirits and a wonderful life. 

But a month ago, she began a sudden decline.  She is now very near the end of her journey.  It has been so hard to watch her deny her condition and make plans for the future.  It has been harder to see the cancer in her brain cause dementia, pain and anger.  My mother is one of the sweetest, kindest ladies on earth and seeing her suffer is heartbreaking. 

It has been even harder for my father.  He's 89 years old and has been married to my mother for 65 years.  His greatest fear has always been losing my mother. 

So please pray for our family.  For my mother, father, and sisters.  They all need it so much.