Our home study paperwork was waiting on our last criminal background checks from NH. For 2 1/2 weeks, we asked if it was done and were told to sit tight.
We were notified last Tuesday that it had been misplaced. We were out of state and came home ready to hit the road running to resubmit the paperwork. When I called our state office to ask a quick question, I was told that they were taking care of it because of our long history as Foster parents and turned it around in a day to get it to the next level. The next office then turned it around in a day and now we are waiting for our agency to review our home study for any changes.
Meanwhile, we realized a big mistake that we never had the state seal put on our birth certificates and marriage license...the kids, our dog and I dropped everything, jumped into the van and traveled down to NJ and then Delaware yesterday morning--an 8 hour trip to get this done. It has been a long 2 days. We picked up our NJ paperwork on our way home today). it cost $500 for a 2 hour turn around or $1000 for a one hour turn around). We opted for the next day turn around for $40.
The kids did great and got to spend some time with Oma and Opa Fitzgerald. We then met Oma Lowman and Aunt Suzy for dinner. It was all an unexpected treat.
Darrell did the MA seals yesterday on his lunch break. As soon as the home study is done, we will do the NH seals.
I am extremely tired. Tomorrow will be another adventure on our way to get out boys. Hoping soon to report our dossier is in process.
This is our daughter Jess....amazing singer, blacksmith and farrier, fun loving sister.
She has watched her brothers and sisters come into our family through adoption...she has helped feed bottles, change diapers and babysit.
She loves to lavish on them. It is exciting when she comes home on the weekends. She takes the older boys on farm calls with her and let's them hold horses while she does their trims or shoes their feet. She french braids the girls hair. She likes to bake yummy desserts to take to church or share at home.
She also has a heart for her new brothers and has sweetly donated towards their adoption. We are grateful for her taking steps towards bringing them home.
I am sure she will have them out holding horses and teaching them to ride when they come home. Fun times to look forward too.
She has a heart for her new brothers....she received a belated birthday gift. It was money. She turned right around after opening it and put it in our adoption jar to help bring the boys home. She then received another card with money and gave no thought for herself and repeated herself and put it in the adoption fund. She smiled and said, "I can't wait for them to come home."
Our goal this weekend was to reconnect with Aggy....our former exchange student. After traveling to Darrell's mom's hose on Friday night and crashing around 1 am....we all woke up at 6 and were packed again and ready to connect with Aggy in Baltimore. From there, we stayed with Darrell's sister and her family in DC. The next morning, we slept in a bit, had a leisurely breakfast, and the kids all hung out with their cousins. Around noon, we headed to my folks in New Jersey.
We arrived around dinner time. There was a concert being hosted by the local cluster which my mom had tickets too. She offered them to us. Darrell stayed and visited with the 3 little kids while I headed out to the concert. My kids only agreed to go if we could leave if they didn't care for it.
The fist group out was local. They were a rap band and my daughter said they were too loud and hurt her ears.
They were followed by Chelsea Musick from NJ. She was a bit of a cross between country and pop. She wrote all her own music and had an incredible testimony. The kids all liked her music. She competed in the X factor...something I have no idea about and had to ask a few folks. Then, the band 3 Shades of Blue came out. They were fun to watch amd got the very small but dedicated crowd moving.
Here is the lead singer of 3 Shades of Blue....we loved their piano! The band was made up of 4 brothers and a friend from Philly. The four brothers were from a family of 9 kids. Our kids shared some of their adoption story. Michael actually opened up first when he told the set of twins from the band his twin story...they were amazed. It was a sweet time of sharing their testimony with the band.
Here is a picture with Chelsea and the kids....she encouraged the boys and Kiara just loved her.
Chelsea gave all the girls butterfly clips....remember those Michaela and Jessica. They were all the rage when you were smaller?
Here is a picture of the kids with the band 3 Shades of Blue.
After the concert, we headed to Wawa to get subs....oh, we're they good! We went home and ate our dinner around 9pm. Of course the kids bought snacks at the concert before hand and even had one lady by them a round. She was very sweet reaching out to them! We went to my folks and fellowshiped with them till about midnight. We left after lunch and headed to Darrell's mom in Delaware. She had dinner waiting for us. We then went for a walk to the playground for the kids to run a bit....something we haven't been able to do with all the snow back home. It was nice and fairly warm...a treat for us!
Jason hanging out with Max.
Mike on the swings.
Joe stopped a second for a quick snap of the photo before he was on his way again.
Brandon very excited that no one could catch him in tag. He is the master of that game.
Our silly boy Devon!
The next morning we headed to Lancaster, Pa where we dropped Darrell off for an audit for work. We did some shopping and then met my folks at my sisters house. The kids were tired and cranky....we all took naps! We had a long night of travel back to NH ahead of us.
Darrell finished work and we all headed to Good and Plenty restaurant to celebrate my sisters birthday. It was fun to have some local favorites with my family and chat together. We all pilled in the car after dinner and drove back to NH arriving around 2:30 am. Darrell had to be at work at 8 am the next morning. It was a long day and we all headed to bed early.
An adoption update....some of our paperwork was lost for our home study. I had been waiting and checking to find out about the missing papers. Hopefully, it has been fixed and we are exoecting the needed paperwork comes in quickly.
She lived us during her senior year in high school. She is a special, beautiful person that we were privileged to meet, love on and get to know. She is now getting ready to graduate from college. This past weekend, we got to visit with her. It was fun, the kids were excited.
We went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore after our plans in Washington DC were interrupted by a marathon in DC which closed down most of the city streets. We did not want to sit all day in traffic. Aggy graciously met us in Baltimore where we explored the Aquarium together.
A scuba diver giving the fish a back message...he was good at entertaining everyone while doing his job!
The kids loved watching the Dolphins.
Here are some of the troops watching the antics of the dolphins.
Oh....here is the diver again giving the fish their message.
We were able to spend the day with Aggy, visit her apartment and meet her room mates and go to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant....our first time eating Vietnamese noodles...yum! We were joined by Darrell's sister and her family. After we left Aggy, we headed to their house for the cousins to play and hang out. And then we collapsed into bed.
Classical Music has become a daily part of our lives in the last year.
When we found ourselves in a bit of a crisis last year with some of our adopted children, we found hope for healing through a ministry called Conqured By Love. One of the things they suggested to us was to pull all music except classical and hymns. I have to admit it was difficult but God has grown a love for this beautiful music and we spend a lot of time singing and listening to music.
It has helped to calm our children, help them focus on tasks and reprogram feelings in different situations. We have seen tremendous benefit!
Last summer we were able to help support the Boston Classical radio station and we shared how it has helped us. They came back and asked for an interview. We agreed and it is used to help on their fund drives.
Today when taking an early morning car ride, we heard it for the first time. It was so cool to hear the pieces of the conversation be put into a blurb of how it has helped us. I got really teary eyed thinking of how far we've all come in the past year and so greatful to the ministry and the Razvi family who run Conqured By Love Ministries.
It is sweet to see the progress we have all made. One of our sons asked to see the Boston Symphony for his birthday and we are going in a few weeks. How exciting it is to see it catch on with our children!
We have had some warmer days and the snow has begun to melt. You can smell spring in the air and along the highways we are starting to see very small patches of brown, dry grass where the sun casts its rays all day long. Mud season and black flies are just around the corner! That also brings long walks, horse time, riding bikes, the playground will be useable again too!
The snow has melted off the house significantly.
Joe after coming up the sledding hill.
Smiley Devon ready for another sled run.
The girls waiting their turn at the top of the hill.
Jason just finished his WW II model airplane.
Some of Jess's handiwork ...she is in a Trim Healthy Mama drink kick and is sharing! These were so good she made more the next day for some of her siblings who tasted our ours and thought they
yummy! Joe drank a cup of water after each sip because of the amount of cayanne pepper in it.
Last night we went to a spectacular film documentary about the heart and soul of Pastor Lee from Soul, Korea. His story is totally amazing.
By putting a box in the side of his church, he has saved 343 babies as of the time of the making of the film....I am sure it is even more now! He is personally raising 15 of these children. He works tirelessly every day taking care of their children and waiting for the bell to ring signaling a baby was dropped in the box....sweet, precious, unwanted children.
His work is amazing.
He is humble as he dedicated his life to these children.
Because of his choices....he is changing other people's lives and perspective.
What an amazing man!
This film was supported by Focus on the Family and had Steven Curtis Chaoman and his wife, Mary Beth. He sang at the end of the film. It was touching, amazing and beautiful.
Tonight is the last night to possibly catch this in your area. We went to a sold out and seriously overflowing theater to watch it. We were actually the first ones in the theater with awesome seats.
We are so thankful we were able to sit together....I went with 4 of my kiddos. They were touched by the film and Pastor Lee. We had wonderful discussion in the way home and sharing around the table with dad when we arrived. Dad stayed with the younger kids and had a wonderful night with them too!
'February zoomed by with over100 inches of snow, paperwork and more paperwork.....and I am just realizing I missed posting about our February birthdays!
We celebrated "Gary's" birthday even though he was on the other side of the world. We decorated, ordered out for Chinese food and had a ice cream cake. It was fun for the kids to think what he might be doing on his birthday and also try some foods he might be eating. We served it with chop sticks too. Some found them as great drum sticks but others managed to eat their entire meal with them. It was fun to also think about next year with him here. We are working on preparing our hearts for the exciting new addition!
Harmony also turned 5! She loved being in the lime light and enjoyed the new outfits she received for her American girl doll. She tried on new outfits and had us helping her with shoes and bows as she modeled each for us. She loved her purple cake and ice cream!