Family Pic Nov 2015

Family Pic Nov 2015

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Paperwork Fun!!!

Wow! Just wow. I am amazed at the amount of paperwork. We have been trucking along trying to get everything in order in just the precise way it is required. I have a new found respect for those who have come before us to tackle this process. Thank God for the helpful people from Reece's Rainbow. Our dossier rep Chris has been awesome. Every time I bother him with another question, he gets right back with an answer. I am sure he will be sick of me before the end...

So, where we are... I have finished gathering the small truckload of documents needed by Forever Families Adoption Services for them to finish up our home study. I will be dropping those off Monday and will hopefully have a completed home study very soon. We have had our CSP's and POA's all filled out and notarized and are now in the hands of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to apostille. Then those will be sent off overseas. Our medical forms will have to wait for another week. Our doctor had the nerve to go down to Haiti and help with the cholera outbreak instead of hanging out here and seeing us :-) We have a really great doctor. We got back our criminal background checks today and unfortunately Carey's date of birth is wrong, so hers will have to be redone. They made her older than me! I ordered our certified marriage certificates this evening. We will soon have another whole pile of forms to notarize and apostille.

Tomorrow, after church, we will be introducing the church to Julia at a light lunch and fellowship we are holding. We look forward to seeing many of you there. We can't wait to meet Adeye and her beautiful family!

All in all, our process is going very, very fast. Soon, we will be done with all the paperwork and then we will just have to sit and wait until February for the courts to open back up. That is going to be a very long wait for us. Julia is on our minds day and night. We talk about her all the time. She is the beautiful prize at the end of this long process. She is so worth it. Our family and friends can hardly wait to get their hands on her to love her up!

Sweetest dreams, my little princess.


P.S. Anyone that would like to see how my oldest daughter sees Julia fitting in...

video

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some bad news, some GOOD news!!

Well, as much as we had hoped everything could be accomplished before Ukraine shuts down for months, it looks like it is impossible.  The dossier would have to be sent out by next week and that just can't happen.  We have done everything humanly possible.....there are just factors out of our control!  We trust God has a plan for the timing of everything : )

Some good news is that Reece's Rainbow has told us that this particular orphanage keeps the kids there until the age of 6.  So even though Julia will be 4 next month, she will stay put!  Yay!!  They have also told us that the orphanage "most certainly knows we are coming for her." 

We are also encouraged that another family adopting two boys from the same room Julia is in, will be over there before the holidays.  They will be able to see how she is doing and maybe get some more pictures for us!! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Julia's age confirmed

So this evening we received an email that confirmed Julia's birthday is Nov. 2006, not "early 2008" as had been posted on Reece's Rainbow.  I am having mixed emotions with this news.  I am, of course, concerned that they not move her to an institution (which is what I understand they typically do at age 4) until we can get there.  I do not know at what point in our adoption process the orphanage director is told that a family is pursuing her.  I'm saddened that since she is older than we thought, it means she has spent more of her life just lying in a crib with no one to love her.  I wonder how long she has been orphaned.....since infancy or a year ago??  I am encouraged that if she is 4 years old and still surviving with Cockayne Syndrome in an orphanage setting, that she is a strong little girl!!  Just so many thoughts are going through my head with this new information.  More urgently wanting to get over there.....like yesterday!  I need to trust God's timing and plan in all of this and remember that she is His child before she is mine : )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Next Sunday....

Hello everyone!  Well, my physical is complete (I'm healthy!), Steve's will be complete by tomorrow, and are waiting for our pediatrician to fill out the 4 child health forms for our kids.  Then all we have to do is sign up for the 10 hour eduation course, and send in all the paperwork to Forever Families and our homestudy should be finished on our end.   It has been very busy, lots of work and very quick!  Hallelujah!!

We also wanted to let you all know (if you are local to us here in Fredericksburg, Virginia) that we are having a light lunch in our fellowship hall after church next Sunday, Oct. 31.  Any of you are welcomed to attend the service which begins at 10:45am or just come for the lunch around noon.  Before/during this lunch we will talk about how we came to find out about Julia, how the Lord moved us both to love and want to adopt her so much, what her circumstances/conditions are, and how the adoption process is going.  This will also be an opportunity for anyone to give a free will offering to help us cover the initial adoption costs before the funds Adeye raised are available to us through Reece's Rainbow.  The free will offering will be matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans up to $1600!  Any money we receive above what we need to cover the adoption will be set aside to help cover medical expenses once we bring Julia home. 

Here is the address to our church if any of you need directions:

Redeemer Lutheran Church
5120 Harrison Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22408-1803

If you would like to donate to this, but are unable to attend next Sunday, please contact me at carey.schwenzer@gmail.com.  I can let you know who to make a check out to and give you our home address. 

We praise God for all of you who are praying for us and for Julia!  The kind encouraging words are very uplifiting.  It's so amazing to hear from so many of you who have followed Julia's story for so long and from those who are just hearing of her.  You are all such a blessing to us : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pictures of the Princess' Bedroom

Wow, what a job Carey and her friends did on Julia and Regan's bedroom. But before I get to the pictures, I have forgotten to thank someone else for their hard work. You may have noticed the absolutely perfect header at the top of the page. I would like to say I have that sort of creativity, but alas, that is not one of the gifts God gave to me. Anthony, Adeye's husband, put that together for us. What a great job! Thanks, Anthony.

Now for the bedroom. Carey and several of her friends spent several days removing the furniture from the playroom, taking down wall-paper borders, spackling walls, taping, painting, and refurnishing with bedroom furniture. It came out great. Daddy here still needs to hang a few things like a mirror that the princesses can see themselves all dressed up in and a hook to hang their clothes on. But it's almost done!

Here's the doorway in...


Here is the view as you walk in the door...



Here's a look to the right of the bed...


A look to the right nearer the door with Regan doing I am not sure what(there is one of my jobs, hanging that mirror)...


And finally a look to the left...


Regan is very astute and realized the only thing missing in this room. She told me today, "We need to go get Julia now!" I had a tear in my eye after that one.

Sleep well and dream about your family who desperately wants to hold you in their embrace, my little princess...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New picture and great support

Today we got to see a new picture of Julia. Up to this point, we had only seen one. I was thrilled!! Yesterday, I had a wonderful conversation with a woman whose daughter had CS and passed away 5 years ago. Many people have gotten in touch with me, but this is the first person I have been able to talk to on the phone about what we can expect and what children with CS are like. This new friend of mine sent me the picture of Julia. It warmed my heart to see her playing with the toys above her crib. But there is so much more of the world she is going to see and I can't wait for it! I would post the picture on our blog but the picture indicates it cannot be reproduced. Bummer!!

We are still diligently working on getting things done for our homestudy. My best friend Ruth, took two of my kids today so I could have some time to work on my personal history. She also did quite a bit of housework and picked up my milk at the farm for me!! She rocks!!

Over the past weekend we worked on making our upstairs playroom another bedroom in preparation for Julia's arrival and thought it would be good to have this project done before the social worker came to our house. So my dear friend Aimee came over one day and helped me move all the toys out of the playroom and then painstakingly helped me peel off the wallpaper border. Then my neighbor of 13 years and close friend Lena came over later that day and we taped off the room and painted the first coat of "lovely lavender." The next day she came back over, as did Ruth and the three of us painted the second coat. I have the best friends anyone could ever ask for. They will do absolutely anything for us! We are so blessed and grateful to have them in our lives.

So tomorrow the social worker is coming over to put her "realtor" hat on and check out our house, complete our "together" interview and chat with the kiddos. She is so nice and we look forward to her coming over in the morning. Since Steve is taking the day off from work, we are going to get our physicals done in the afternoon.

There is so much to do and we are trying to get it done as fast as possible. We know it would take a miracle to be able to make it to Ukraine before the holidays. We would love nothing more than to be able to have her here with us for Christmas. It seems like it will be impossible, but we will do what we can and the rest is in God's very capable hands : )

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things are Moving!

Yes, we are trucking right along! My and Evan's passports came in a couple days ago. The I600A and the CPS Release of Information forms go out with the Fed Ex tomorrow. We are diligently working on our personal histories. Clair, the amazing home studier from Forever Families, will be here Wednesday for the tour of the manor and the whole family interviews. We will be going to get our physicals also on Wednesday. Now it's time to go knocking on Congressman Whittman's door and ask him to intercede for us to help things move along. One family shouldn't be allowed to have so much fun!

Of course there is some fun being had. The former playroom has now been repainted and reconfigured. This room will now be the princesses room. Princess Regan and Princess Julia will share. It's now a pretty shade of purple (I think the color might have been called Lilac Love) and will soon have little white butterflies flying up the walls. Oh, and there is a whole bin of dress-up clothes, mostly princess outfits, that the princesses can wear and model in front of the mirror.

Regan had just one question...Where's Julia? Oh how we wish she were here now so that we could hold her and love on her and spoil her. I find myself tearing up several times a day...every time I think of her over there all alone in her crib. I want to leave now and go get her! My prayer every day is for God to protect and watch over her and perform a miracle to get her in our arms as fast as possible. Please keep praying with me for this little girl.

Good night, my sweet little princess. We will see you soon...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From Julia's mommy!

Hello everyone! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write something. We have been so busy balancing all the things we have to do so quickly with letting everyone know what's going on. We soooo appreciated all of you who have been following this story! But please be patient if we fall short on updates : )

Anyways, I am Carey. My wonderful husband, who has been so dedicated to moving mountains to get to Julia, has already introduced our family. So I will start at the beginning as I'm sure many of you would like to hear how we found out about Julia and came to love her so much.

One night a few weeks ago, I was checking my Facebook page before bed. My good friend Carrie (whom I have known since I was a teenager.....I babysat her kids) posted Adeye's blog on Julia. I read it and was in tears. I donated money towards the fund, but really just wanted to pick her up right out of the picture and hold her in my arms. I couldn't stop crying as I tried to get ready for bed that night or when I went to bed. I started to realize that my tears (I'm not much of a crier) were beyond compassion for this little girl.....I wanted her! But my next thought was that my husband would never go for this. We have always wanted to adopt more children, but it was still "someday" in our minds. I had even brought the topic of adoption up to my husband as recently as this summer. His response was that we were not ready yet.....life was too crazy with the four kids we have. So I let it go. But that night I prayed that if we were meant to be Julia's family, God would tug on Steve's heart as He had mine. The next morning I sent Steve the link to Adeye's blog so he could read her story. I had not said a word to him about my wanting to adopt her. Later that morning, my husband texted me "Find out more about Yulia. We have to get her out of there!" I started bawling. God had spoken. The Holy Spirit had moved both of us to do something we had never considered before. Even though we had always talked of adoption, it was never a special needs child. Apparently, Steve had been at his desk at work, reading Adeye's post, and was crying himself. He said he was very embarrassed. So, I called my friend Carrie and through her got in touch with Adeye. The next couple of weeks was a bit of a roller coaster. And I am going to have to fill in the story from that point until now at another time. All of my kids just woke up and I need to start my day with them! I apologize, but I will be back! Thank you everyone for the prayers and support. We love you so much Julia!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy Day...Wonderful Social Worker

So, last night before bed, our social worker from Forever Families gave us a call to schedule a time to do our individual interviews for the home study. Clair had read Adeye's post about Julia and understood our desire to expedite this whole process. She suggested that perhaps we should meet early the next morning...talk about expedient! As soon as we were off the phone, I sent a note to work telling them I would be a no-show for the day. I then spent the next several hours filling out all the paperwork I could possibly need for the home study.

This morning we managed to get everyone up and out the door at a reasonable hour. We had to run several errands. We ran to the bank to deposit a wonderful gift from a coworker of mine. We then ran to the church to have the church secretary notarize several of the forms we had. Thanks, Sharon! We were then headed to get our fingerprint cards done for the state of Virginia. This is one of those God's planning moments. We got to the police station at 10am. I figured they did fingerprinting all the time. It is a police station after all. Well, I was mistaken. They only do fingerprinting for the general public on WEDNESDAYS BETWEEN 10AM and 2PM. Amazing. I never have luck like that.

After the fingerprinting, we headed out of Fredericksburg to the Forever Family office in Warrenton. Our poor kids. Carey and I both know how to talk and talk and talk. We took turns. Carey went and interviewed while I filled out some MORE forms and then took the kids to a park down the street. After Carey was done, she took the kids up the street to Subway while I went in and had a great conversation with Clair. She is good people. She rearranged her schedule to get us in today. I can't thank her enough. We finished up after about four hours between us. To give you an idea of the caliber of person Clair is, she was running short on time because she had to run off to help organize and set up a benefit dinner and auction for Haiti. In her spare time.

Once we got home, we spent some time putting things up in the attic to make room so that we can rearrange our house to accommodate our beautiful Julia. All in all, a very productive and very hectic day. Keep those prayers coming for a miracle with this whole process...especially the immigration step!

Sleep well, my little Julia...we are sending our love and prayers to you this night.

~Steve

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Julia's New Family!!!

On behalf of my wife Carey and I, I would like to say hello and thank you to the hundreds of people who have followed Julia's plight on Adeye's blog! We are in awe. God has moved in so many ways to make this happen. And a huge thanks to Adeye without whom none of this would have been possible. Adeye, your words moved us more than you know.  You were truly inspired when you wrote about Julia! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I don't even know where to begin. I guess an introduction is in order. My name is Steve Schwenzer. Carey is my beautiful wife of 13 years. We have 4 children: Kacey, 11, Ethan, 6, Regan, 3, and Evan, 17 months. We live in Fredericksburg, VA. We have a Maltese puppy named Angel that's more Swiffer than dog. I am one of the many government contractors that make the daily commute up north. While I am off at work, Carey spends her days homeschooling our two oldest, running kids around to a million different activities, and keeping our house in order. She is phenomenal. Kacey is an avid dancer and plays piano and is now taking up clarinet. Ethan enjoys gymnastics, riding bikes and doing typical boy things with his best friend Ty. Regan is in her first year of preschool at our church, Redeemer Lutheran Church. She loves dressing up and playing with baby dolls. I have a feeling she is going to be the class clown. Evan is...well, Evan. He's still trying to figure everything out. He enjoys playing outside with his siblings and he is pretty good at kicking around the soccer ball. He is built like a tank. I have high hopes of him making it to the NFL so that he can take care of his parents in their retirement years.

Well that's a start! It is late and we have an appointment with Forever Families tomorrow for our individual interviews. We are moving right along. Carey and I have much, much more to say about how God has been working in our lives to get us to this point. He is amazing! We will have more on that tomorrow. 

~ Steve


KISSES IN THE WIND    (The Waiting Child's Lullabye)

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.


Good night, Julia...I wish you were here in our arms.