Thursday, March 29, 2012

Finished product!

I finished the headboard project!! I'm thrilled with the way it turned out and how the room came together! I really hope that she feels like a princess when she falls asleep at night :)))

I love all the texture in her room- I hope she does too!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring is upon us!

I love my garden. I could sit on my front porch for hours just looking at the flowers and listening to the birds sing. Have I mentioned how many birds there are in my neighborhood? I think it has something to do with the Birdman who lives 2 doors down from me. He has a very distinct whistle/song that he does and it brings birds flying from all over! What's even crazier is that when he comes home everyday, and his truck pulls up, the birds all flock to his house because they know he's going to feed them! Even though my neighborhood is urban, it feels as if I'm living in a nature sanctuary. Here are a couple of shots from my garden this morning:

Bleeding Hearts!!

And when I left yesterday morning for school, nothing had bloomed yet. We had thunderstorms all day. When I came home from school, Joaquin's tree had bloomed!

I love, love, love, spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


A bunch of families have either just returned, are there now, or are about to travel to the C*ngo.  My inquisitive self couldn't help but ask where I am in the line and here's the response I got:

  "Yes Kristen you should be 2 or 3 for a referral. Hopefully it will be very soon."

Holy Guacamole!!!!  It seems like I've waited and waited and waited and waited and now it's as if ALL engines are go!!!

Half way finished!

My project is halfway completed and here's how it looks so far:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another clue!

This part of the project was very, very frustrating! I'm glad it's done!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Clues and Grant Update

Well I didn't win the $500 grant but I still get 40% of all the sales so in my opinion I did win! THANK YOU to everyone who bought something on Sofia's behalf-getting closer!!!!!!

In the meantime, I've still been working on my mystery project and it's coming along nicely! Here are two more clues:


My niece helped me last night with what has been the most challenging part of this project. It's a good thing she was there because if she weren't, I can tell you my verbal frustrations probably wouldn't have been G rated!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Well, the first couple of days of the grant fundraising competition was AWESOME and it landed me a spot in the top ten!  It almost felt like I was on American Idol!!!  But then today, no email in my inbox encouraging me, which means someone else bumped me out of the top ten.  NEVER FEAR!!!  I AM NOT GIVING UP!!!  I know that I have asked many of you to buy something on my behalf and you have blessed me beyond belief!  THANK YOU!!!  For those of you who haven't bought anything, or thought, "I'll get to it later,"  will you PLEASE consider buying something?  You can be part of Sofia's story!!  I can't wait to tell her about everything that fell into place to bring her home and fundraising through Ordinary Hero is a big part of her story!  I'm so excited to think about seeing her face when she realizes that SO MANY PEOPLE played a part in getting her home!!!

The Ordinary Hero store has an incredible inventory right now!  There are products for every budget and if you don't need anymore "things" in your house, you can always choose to buy a product donation and I will still get credit!!  Just don't forget to click on my name during checkout!!

How cool are these cool product donations:

Finally, throughout this entire process I've tried to be as transparent as possible- with my joy, my pain, my struggles and my anger.  My hope in doing so is that if anyone is thinking about adopting or knows someone who is interested in adopting, I hope that my journey would encourage them.  YES there have been some really hard days, probably the most emotionally challenging thing I've ever battled.  However, EVERY TIME I look at her face, it's ALL WORTH IT.  I would go through it again if that's what would bring her home.

Is it expensive?  Yes.  But so is childbirth.  You just don't realize it because most of you who've had children also have insurance that pays for the bulk of the bill.  But if anyone was considering adoption and the one thing holding them back was the money issue, I would say, don't let that be the thing that holds you back.  The Lord WILL provide.  And He will do it in ways you couldn't have imagined and through people you never would have guessed.  And the best part?  It's such a blessing that will touch you at your core.  I have saved every note that people have sent and have documented their gifts because I want Sofia to know that she was loved BEFORE she was even here!  It has also shown me that I'm loved- and that brings tears to my eyes:))  The good kind of tears!

Below is how much I've spent and how much has been given in regards to these two adoptions.  I did not include the money that I spent on Nepal.


From others (cash donations):  $2,280
From OH grants:   $1,494
From me:  $11,105
Still Owe (upon referral):  $8,116
I will also have some incidentals like airfare, embassy fees, lodging, etc.


From others (cash donations):  $100
HUA grant:  $3,500  (I originally won this for Joaquin, but since I'm in a holding pattern, they let me apply it to Sofia's adoption)
From me:  $6,305
Still Owe (upon signing her official referral) $14,750 *gulp*
I will also have to pay for 2 roundtrip tix and 1 one-way for her plus incidentals like embassy fees, visas, lodging, etc.

All in all, so far I have paid $17,410 and from everywhere else $7,486.
This is why I am working part-time 3 nights a week and have taken drastic measures like cutting my cable:)  I posted this because I want the people who have donated to know that I'm not a slacker, that I APPRECIATE every dollar that has been given to me, and to be an encouragement to anyone who may have a stirring in their heart to adopt- YOU CAN DO IT!!!  God will make the way!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I'm in it to win it Baby!!!!!  YOU could help me bring Sofia home by purchasing something from the Ordinary Hero store!!  40% of all sales registered under my name go directly to my adoption agency PLUS if I'm in the top 3 sellers, I also win $500!!!  WOO HOO!!!!  The contest runs through this Saturday, March 17th- St. Patrick's Day!!  PLEASE, PLEASE help me WIN this grant!!  There are items for every budget!  You could also do me a really HUGE favor and pass this along to those you know!  One thing I've learned on this journey is that you never know whose heart will be moved to support you!  I personally have bought t-shirts and gifted families I don't even know!  But what a great feeling to know I helped a family bring their precious child home!  Make sure you click on my name during checkout or else I won't get credit.  There is a pull-down menu for the list of affiliates when asked how you heard about Ordinary Hero.

BE an Ordinary Hero and change the world for ONE!!!


How cute is this shirt?  It could look this cute on your little one!  Check out all the items at the Ordinary Hero Store!

Friday, March 9, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours!

Today on my way to school I confessed to God my frustrations, impatience, lack of faith, and any other negative mindset you can think of.  I told Him that I'm really frustrated and just feeling...low.  I don't want to feel this way, I want to stay positive and trusting, so could He please encourage me?

Well, about halfway through 3rd bell, my cellphone rang.  It was a New York number.  I thought, "who would be calling me from New York?  Everyone I know who lives there, I have their number."  I was teaching so I didn't take the call.  Then, due to the craziness of middle school, I completely forgot about the phone call until lunch when I checked my phone as saw there was a voicemail.  It was from one of the grant organizations I've applied to and they were calling me to tell me that I passed the first step and the grant committee would like to send me more information so they can basically figure out how much money to give me!!!  YIPPEE!!!!!  There are still a few things that need to be worked out but it is a step in the right direction!

Then, I got home and received an email from my caseworker.  She said that they just heard that the orphanage will be mailing them 4 Child Study Reports (CSRs) for 4 of the Hyderbab*d  children!!!  Oh my goodness am I happy!!  This means that they really are moving!!  Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, Sofia's report is not one of them.  She explained that they were also informed that they are recreating Sofia's CSR since her original was with Agency A since last year and can't be forwarded to my agency because of that.  My caseworker told me it's a blessing in disguise because now that the new guidelines are in place, the new CSRs are actually geared towards exactly what they know C*RA is looking for now and thus, should help my agency in obtaining the NOC as quickly as possible!!  I have to have the NOC in order to get a court date!!  But before that happens, I need my home study amendments so that I can file for my I-800A since I need that in order to officially accept her referral.  Is your head spinning yet?  Here's a breakdown of what needs to happen in the order it should:

1.  Home Study amended (my social worker received the edits on 2/24 so hopefully this will be SOON!)
2.  File I-800A (all paperwork has been filled out and check already mailed to my agency- they file on my behalf)
3.  Receive I-800A approval
4.  Receive Sofia's updated CSR
5.  Officially ACCEPT HER REFERRAL!!!!
6.  Send in referral, dossier (already completed!) and I-800A
7.  Receive NOC
8.  Prep/review court affidavit
9.  PRAY LIKE CRAZY that the docket  at that time is not full so I can
10.  TRAVEL TO MEET HER FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!  And pass court :)
11.  Go back home :(((((
12.  Make second trip to finalize on the US side of things
13.  HOME!!!

There are a few other steps in there, but those are the big ones!  Please, please pray that things will keep moving along!!

Continuing with my good news, yesterday I received my USCIS appt. for updating my fingerprints for Joaquin.  It is over Spring break, which is great because I didn't want to have to miss school to get it taken care of!

Finally, my best-friend drove into town last night and in about 1 hour I will be sitting across from her beautiful face celebrating all of this good news with a glass of vino!!

How's that for a start to the weekend?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The C*ngo
NĂºmero 8!!!!  FINALLY I've moved up a little bit on the list!!  It's been trying lately because it seems as if nothing is happening, so hearing this little bit of news is encouraging.  There are a BUNCH of families who are getting ready to travel to pick up their little ones in the next couple weeks.  I am SO excited for them!!  And I'm also looking forward to watching their "gotcha" day videos!  It's amazing to see all of these children finding their forever families.  God is good!!
I still haven't heard anything yet...  My case worker told me that Ind*a is the land of tomorrow, *sigh*
I've been having a bit of a struggle dealing with the silence so I did what every woman does to relieve anxiety:  Retail Therapy!
I scored these two precious dresses for little Miss Sofia:

I also got her some flipflops.  All of the pictures and video that I have of her, she is not wearing shoes.  I figured this would be the best option!  I also had to guesstimate on her size- based on last year's measurements.  See how challenging this is?!  And finally, I bought her some pink Hollywoods!  I love sunglasses and even though I have yet to replace my Ray Bans (compliments of Lola), I want to make sure she keeps her eyes protected!  I'm kind of a freak about that :)
 It was really fun to shop for her and it also gave me some kind of maternal satisfaction.  Not having a "pregancy" or baby shower because this hasn't been the "typical" way to becoming a first time mom, and the fact that it's been 2 1/2 years and counting, it felt really, really good.  It also made it more "real" and slowly I'm allowing myself to believe that this is really happening!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Let's Play Clue!

What do these items have in common? Over the next few days I will be showing some clues of a project I'm working on!


I am a creative person by nature so I'm super excited for this!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Burn Out

I'm burned out.  I forget what it's like to relax.  You always hear people talking about how hard adoption is and how challenging it is.  Just when I think I've conquered another plateau, there's a new hill to climb.  I've been working two jobs for 6 years now but since I started the adoption journey, I really amped up the hours at the second job.  Last summer, I worked my butt off and then went right back into the school year.  For those of us who teach, you know what a precious but necessary commodity the summer break is.  I could not be a teacher if we went to a year-round schedule.  Teaching is a mentally exhausting job.  My serving job is physically exhausting.  Combine the two and I've got double trouble.  Add into the mix the fact that I didn't take a break at all last summer and that lands me smack in burnoutville.  All of the waiting and wondering takes its' toll and I just want to get to a place of calm.

 I haven't heard anything about where my file is in Ind*a and I'm still number 10 on the Congo list.  In addition, there have been some circumstances (I am not at liberty to discuss them) that recently happened that have put my worry-mode in overdrive.

I recently read this verse:

"The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm." - Exodus 14:14

Easier said than done.  When I read about the Israelites, I find myself thinking what little faith they had - I mean, they see God guide them by fire, He rains down meat and bread from heaven, parts the red sea-  and after each provision when the next hurdle comes, they grumble, complain, and wonder if He will save them.  But here I am doing the exact same thing.  It's really annoying to listen to people grumble and complain, especially when the Lord has provided for them!!  He has provided for me SO MUCH in this journey but each time a new hurdle (money, silence, unexpected circumstances), it's as if I have amnesia.  I'm so sick of myself!!!!  In hopes of restoring my mental sanity, I decided to get myself a birthday present since my birthday is Saturday.  So, I took the ENTIRE weekend OFF!  Yep, I will have Friday night, all day Saturday and all day Sunday to just be lazy!!!  It's been almost 2 years since I've had an entire weekend off so this really is a huge gift!  I wrestled with feeling guilty about the money I wouldn't earn to put towards the adoptions but in the end, I realized that my mental sanity is worth it!

Maybe next week will bring news, maybe it won't.  For now, I'm looking forward to this weekend when I can be a total and complete slacker.  Happy Birthday to me!!!