Things have been very up and down lately. And there are things I need to update on but that will have to wait! For now, I'm here to answer all of the questions that y'all asked! So here we go!
Q- Have you always wanted to adopt a special needs child? Or during the adoption process did you find Annie and feel a bond or was there a sign from a higher power etc...... -Leah H.
A- Great question! When Lance and I started praying for the Lord to show us how He wanted us to start our family several months ago, we never expected Him to take us here! We feel that He put the Reece's Rainbow ministry in our laps for a purpose. One night, I sat in my chair on my laptop scrolling through the pictures of the children on RR. The faces broke my heart. Some of them were crying or looking very sad. Some of them had no light in their eyes. And some of them were smiling. But even though they were smiling, it did not change the fact that they were still orphans and the life that they would be living if not adopted would be a terrible one. It is a rude awakening to know that ff they are not adopted by the time that they turn 4, they will be sentenced to a life laying in a crib in an adult mental institution. And although they would still be available for adoption from the institution, their chances were extremely slim. The thought of all of this broke our hearts then and there and we knew that we needed to do something. That's when we came across Annie's picture. She captured our hearts immediately and we knew she was meant to be our daughter. So yeah Leah, I guess it was a little of both a bond and a higher power.
Q- What does your family think about your adoption? How was your husband with your guys' decision? - Ashley
A- Our family has been wonderful with our decision to adopt! Of course, they wanted to make sure that we felt like we were doing what the Lord called us to do. And we do! It is so sweet to walk into my mama's house and see Annie's picture in a frame on the mantle already. And look at the precious rocking chair that mama bought her that is sitting in the living room. I can't wait for her to rock in it!
My husband Lance is almost more in love with Annie than I am. Almost! He can't wait to hold her and love on her and show her around the fire engine. When I first suggested the idea of special needs adoption, he had some reservations. It wasn't because he didn't want to but because I sprung it on him so out of the blue! I've been known to be pretty random. But after praying about it he was all ready to go! I am so lucky that I have a husband who truly wants was the Lord wants in our lives. And we truly feel that the Lord calls us out of our comfort zones so that he can show us what he can do! There is a quote by Francis Chan that says “But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.” We feel that this adoption is one of those situations. And we know that He will come through! Hope that answers your questions Ashley!
Q- When is the expected time that Annie will be home? How many hours ahead is her time zone? -Emily
A- Good question Emily! I would love to know when she will be home! But at this stage, we really don't know. We really hope that we will have her home in time for her 3rd birthday in February! The timing in which she comes home is dependent on a lot of things. First is chasing our paper trail! There is tons of paperwork that has to be done! And although we are working steadily on our end to get things done quickly, there is tons of paperwork that we have no control over. Second, our financial situation! We can't travel and our 3 trips and do other stuff here in the US without the money to cover it all. We are working on a few ways to come up with the money to bring our girl home. This is where we also really depend on anonymous donors. And third is all of the in-country stuff. Even if we had all of the rest of our money together tomorrow, we would still have to wait for stuff in Russia. In an ideal situation where we were fully funded for her adoption right now and were set to travel this month, the absolute earliest we would have her home is around January! But that is in a perfect world and this world is not perfect. All in all, we are really trusting the Lord's timing of it all and know that He knows what He's doing!
Since Moscow is the capital of Russia, I'll use it as a reference point for time! Moscow is +9.0 hours ahead of Abilene (Abilene is CST). So that means when it is 8:00 am in Abilene it is 5:00 pm in Moscow. Just keep in mind that the time difference changes depending on where you are based on US times zones and Russian time zones! Thanks for you questions Emily!
Q- With your health problems and adopting a special needs child, how will you 2 afford the costs necessary to do this? -Kathryn
A- Wonderful question! I am very lucky that I was able to find an Endocrinologist that is incredible! She was able to diagnose the cause of my years of problems when at least 10 other doctors couldn't! Now that my Hypothyroidism and Severe Vit D deficiency are diagnosed, I am able to take the medication and supplements needed to make my body work properly! I can now say that I am healthier than I have been in at least 5 years! So with my health, the only cost is my Endo visits every few months and my medication refills. A very small cost in the grand scheme of things!
As for the adoption, I'm not sure if you're asking about the cost of the adoption itself of the cost of her long term care once we have her home. So I'll answer both!
Cost of adoption- Adoption is expensive! Everyone knows that. Our adoption will cost around $35,000. About $25,000 of that is what it will cost for us to get to, live, travel, eat, and stay in Russia for approx. 30 days. That amount also includes the cost of documents (visas, passports, marriage certs, birth certs, USCIS approval etc.) in order to do our adoption. We already have a little over $11,000. For the rest, we are relying on grants, fundraising, and donations! Like I have said above and many other times before now, we with out a doubt feel that the Lord is calling us to care for orphans in a way that many other people cannot. In His word, He commands us to look after orphans and widows. For some people, that means adopting orphans from a horrible future and literally saving their lives. But for many others, adoption is just not an option whether it is financials, health, age, other children, or they simply do not feel that adoption is what the Lord wants them to do. And for people that can't or don't feel that they can adopt, supporting families who are adopting through prayer and donations is a wonderful way to carry out God's commandment to care for the orphans. We feel that all adoptions (and for us, specifically special needs adoption) is a ministry that they Bible calls us to take part in. We know that when we are doing what the Father wants us to do according to His word, we are drawing closer to Him and strengthening our relationship with Him.
Annie's long term care for her special needs- We are thankful that Annie's needs are only mild in comparison to many children on Reece's Rainbow. Her heart problems will be seen about when she gets home. We will have her umbilical hernia looked at but we anticipate that we will not have to have anything done about it. And we think that once we get her nutrition needs fully met, her rickets will soon be a thing of the past! And as far as her DS goes, we plan to have her in the therapy that she needs. We are truly blessed that Lance works for the Abilene Fire Department as he has incredible insurance. Annie will be fully covered by our insurance the moment that our plane touches US soil when we bring her home. This is a huge blessing. Our insurance provider is fully aware of her DS and other special needs and they have assured us that there will not be any delay in her coverage because of her conditions. As for her day to day care, I will be staying home with her and any other future children. Lance and I feel very strongly about the roles that the Lord gives us in our marriage and in our home. He calls men to work and provide for their family and to be the leaders of their home. And he calls women to tend to their home and children and help their husbands. We know that these roles are very, very traditional and they may not be for everyone but they are what works for us. We know that the Lord wants us to run our household and family in this way and so we work hard to make it work. Lance and I choose to make sacrifices when it comes to traveling, eating out, and other fun things so that we can save money to be able to live the lifestyle the Lord wants for us. We also do not want for our children to be raised by daycare workers. We know that there are many individuals who provide childcare and love the children like their own and we are thankful that they are there for the families that need them. But it is our thought that since we can live comfortably with one income and our children don't have to go to daycare, then that is what is best! Of course if situations were to change, we would simply adjust and I would work as well. But for now, we simply want to fulfill the roles that He has given us.
Okay, that is all that I am going to answer for now! Hope that helped some things!! I will do a second post with the rest of the questions later. I'm off to clean out Annie's future bedroom!
P.S.- Would you mind adding me to your daily prayer list? I'm having to have my gallbladder out on August 30 at 11:30 am. I'm super nervous but I know that once I have it out, I will feel tons better!
Also, it seems as though Satan is having a hay day with the many other families adopting from Eastern Europe through Reece's Rainbow. In the future, I will list some specific prayer concerns but for now just keep our little "family" of adopting families in prayer!
And lastly, would you be praying for my sweet friend Rex? He is a 9 yo boy from our church that is battling cancer. You can read his story, written by his dad, HERE!