"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know,
and holds us responsible to act." Prov 24:12

Monday, May 31, 2010

Gifts Explained

About a week back I wrote about the gifts I had found for everyone over in Sean's country and wanted to make sure that I shared what we got just in case others are looking for ideas. I was going to take pictures but completely forgot and then remembered once everything was packed away. So needless to say, I won't be fishing those out but I will give the best visual description I can.

Our Facilitator in Sean's Country: Well this one I can't really say yet because I don't want her to see... sorry!

Lawyer in Sean's Country: Handmade beaded watch with interchangable bands. We included two bands with her watch.

15 Nurses on Sean's Floor at the Orphanage: Cloth gifts bags filled with pampering supplies... manicure sets, pedicure sets, nail polish x 2, hair clips, compact mirror & a mini hairbrush.

Government Workers:
Female: Handmade beaded watches
Male: Handcarved wood pens in a handcarved wood case

Kids at the Orphanage: All our infant/toddler clothes 0-18 months (which is a lot of clothes, LOL), receiving blankets & some toys (mostly stuff that can attach to their cribs).

I am excited about all the gifts! I really like that most of them are handmade locally and that they are unique. The man who carves the pens is an 88 year old veteran who can barely see and he carves all of these pens by feel rather than sight and they are beautiful! We were told as well that he lights up when people buy his pens and when the shop needs to place more orders... it brings him so much joy. This made me smile.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Shout Out From Another Blog

A friend of mine, Beckee, has a blog and once a week she writes a service post. This week she chose to raise awareness for all the orphans around the world and for Reece's Rainbow by telling our story through a guest post that she asked me to write. I happily obliged because any awareness regarding orphans that desperately need our help and awareness about Reece's Rainbow is wonderful. Beckee's blog is http://beckeesdeals.blogspot.com/ and is worth checking out! Thank you Beckee for telling our story. Here is the guest post I wrote for her blog.


It was October 1, 2009 and I was having a discussion with two friends about adoption. I often had these discussions with people throughout the years because I had been quite vocal about my desire to adopt since I was 19 years old. When I was 19, I studied abroad in Mexico for 5 months and I was blown away by what I saw. I had never seen such poverty. I had never seen so many street children without a safe place to call home. It was during this time in my life that I decided that eventually, one day, I would adopt.

So on this nice October afternoon, I was having this discussion again. My friends had brought it up. They wanted to know when we might adopt. They wanted to know from where. They wanted to know the age of the child or if I would consider siblings. They wanted to know it all. I told them what I had told many people throughout the years who had asked us these exact questions. My response was “We want to leave our options open because we truly believe that our child will find us so we want to be open to anything.” This was something I truly believed. I knew that one day, our child would find us.

So later that afternoon I went home and got on the computer while my two sons were napping. I went straight to Reece’s Rainbow, which I had done many times in the past. For the past few years, I would periodically head over to the Reece’s Rainbow site and look at all the waiting children in need of a forever family. Well on that October afternoon it seemed a bit different. Once I was on the site I wasn’t really thinking about where I was going on the site… I didn’t really have an agenda. I truly feel like I was being led… straight to our son. I found his picture on the Other Angels page and I could not take my eyes off of him. Something was different. This had never happened before. I literally could not take my eyes off of him. Then, I did something completely out of the ordinary. I emailed the contact at Reece’s Rainbow about him. Within a short time, she had emailed me back and our lives have never been the same since.

Our son had found us and we would never be the same. My husband came home that night and boy was he in for a surprise. It took him a little longer to commit, about a week, but he too knew that the child in this picture, the child that we knew so little about, was supposed to be here with us.

It is now almost 9 months later and we have been on quite the adoption roller coaster. It has had some wonderful ups and some difficult downs but it has all been worth it. The things we felt would be the most difficult, such as coming up with the money, actually fell into place more easily than we would have ever imagined. This is all thanks to God, all the prayers we received, wonderful friends and family and a plethora of people who blessed us with a donation. With that being said, the things that we thought would not be difficult, such as family support (and I am not talking about financial support), wound up being the most difficult. This has been one of the very difficult downs of the roller coaster and has changed us in a lot of ways. But, just as I stated above, we would not trade this adoption experience for anything. We know that the roller coaster ride is getting us to that final destination of being able to finally bring our son home.

It is now May 23, 2010 and we are leaving in a little over a week to bring our son home. We are so unbelievably excited and we feel so blessed that he has been brought into our lives. We have been changed through this experience and we will never be the same and I say this in a positive way. Our eyes have been opened and we now understand what is important in life and we look forward to changing the world for the better while we are here. Our son’s middle name will be James. We have chosen this name from James 1:27 in the Bible. It states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless in this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This is my passion. This is what I feel I have been called for and I look forward to venturing down this path.

I urge all those reading this post to look at http://www.reecesrainbow.com/ when you have the time. Reece’s Rainbow is a Christian ministry that promotes international adoption of children with Down Syndrome and children that have other special needs, the Other Angels. They have disbursed almost $600, 000 in adoption grants since 2006 and helped over 250 children with special needs find their forever home. It was all started by one woman, Andrea Roberts. One woman. Who says one person cannot make a difference. If you do not feel you are able to adopt or cannot adopt at this time, Reece’s Rainbow has a number of other ways to help the alarmingly high number of orphans around the world. You can sign up to be a prayer warrior (at no cost) for a specific child, or children. You can make donations to the ministry or to specific children or families and all donations made to Reece’s Rainbow are tax deductible. I can say, from personal experience, that Reece’s Rainbow has changed our lives for the better and hopefully it will do the same for you.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our journey. If you would like to continue with us on this journey, please visit my blog at http://onestitchatatimetoomey.blogspot.com/.

Sincerely,
Devon Toomey

Friday, May 28, 2010

In One Week

In one week we will be holding our son for the first time!

In one week we will be looking into his big, dark brown eyes!

In one week we will be a family of 5!

In one week we will hear his laughter and his babbles for the first time!

In one week we can cuddle our son and give him the love he deserves!

In one week we will see that magnificent smile in person!

In one week Sean will know what it means to have a mama and a daddy!

In one week we will know what it is like to have 3 sons!

In one week our dreams will come true!

And, we are SO excited!



(I will be making the blog private tonight or tomorrow. I wrote everyone's address down but be on the lookout for an invite in the next couple of days just in case I wrote it wrong (some of you have very long addresses, LOL). If you don't see your invite in the next couple of days, please email me at toomeydevon at yahoo dot com and I will fix it. Thanks!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More About Blog Going Private

I have written down all the email addresses you have sent to my Yahoo account. I will be closing the blog this weekend, so if your invite doesn't work, please email me again this weekend so I can fix it. I want to make sure I don't leave anyone out. So far, the only message I got that did not have an email was from Annie, so Annie if you see this, please send me your email address. Thanks everyone for coming along on this journey with us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blog Going Private

In the next couple of days, our blog is going to go private for awhile. If you would like an invitation to follow our journey, please email me at toomeydevon at yahoo dot com. This is something that we have been told we need to do so don't think we don't want everyone along with us. We do! So please don't hesitate to ask for an invite. Thanks!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gifts

I found so many wonderful gifts today for almost everyone in Sean's country and I am so excited. I wasn't sure what I wanted to get some of the people but it all fell into place today and I found some wonderful stuff that I am very excited to take over there. I will be posting pictures later this week to help out any others with possible ideas that may be wondering what to get when they embark on their trips.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

We are leaving in about a week and a half, and boy have we been busy! We got our I 171H, immigration approval letter, which was such a relief! That was the last key document we were waiting on. We would not have been able to travel if we did not have this. So needless to say, it was wonderful to finally be holding it in my hands yesterday. A few tears and a thank you prayer were shed when we finally got to the car.

Our plane tickets arrived in the mail yesterday and when I opened up the envelope, the first ticket I saw was for Sean. What a wonderfully sweet moment that was. One plane ticket, with our son's name on it... the ticket that will bring him home to his forever family... what an unbelievably precious ticket that is.

I packed up all the gifts we will be bringing to the children at Sean's orphanage. We are giving them all of our baby/toddler clothes from 0-18 months and anyone who knows me, knows that this is A LOT of clothes. I feel blessed that we are being given the chance to give all of these clothes to children who really need them. It's funny because I have had many chances to give these clothes away before. But nothing ever really worked out and I never really felt okay with it. I would get nostalgic over the little clothes that held so many memories for us. But as I was folding all of them the other night, remembering moments when our sons were wearing different pieces and smiling at the teeny tiny clothes from when they were newborns, I didn't feel any sadness. I didn't feel torn as to whether this was the right time to give them away. I felt happy. I wanted to pack those bags. I look forward to blessing all those children with so many wonderful clothes. Oh and who can forget they will also be getting a bunch of blankets and some really cute toys as well!

I was able to fit all the clothes & blankets in two bags which means that we will only have to pay one extra baggage fee, so that is good. BUT, these bags are huge and I have not weighed them yet so hopefully they will be under the 50lb. limit or we might have to move some things around. We shall see.

I think we pretty much have everything taken care of... I think. We have the apartment reserved (and it seems really nice!), we have the plane tickets, we have our bags packed (well, they are almost done), and we have a house/dog sitter set up (thanks Papi).

So, I think that the only two things we have left our buying the gifts and getting our I 171H form apostilled. We have to buy gifts for the nurses at the orphanage, our facilitator at the orphanage, the lawyer, and all of the government officials involved. Normally, I love shopping but I am at a loss as to what to buy everyone so if anyone has some good ideas or if you have done this before and want to share what you gifted, I would be extremely appreciative.

So that is where we are at right now. Busy, but busy for a GREAT reason and we are so excited for our trip. Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heavy Heart and Sadness

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_m8ZSPJxcwTo/S_P7hn2ixvI/AAAAAAAAALw/IOu-z_tv-A8/s1600/Christmas+2009+037.JPGhttp://2.bp.blogspot.com/_m8ZSPJxcwTo/S_P11m0WQwI/AAAAAAAAALo/h2mRTYr_Oig/s1600/Chrissie%27s+Make-A-Wish+departure+party+095.JPG

My heart is so heavy today and I have shed so many tears. Chrissie has gone to Heaven to dance with Jesus. Her dream here on Earth was to be able to run and swim and jump and dance like all the other kids. Her heart however, one that the doctors said should have only allowed her to live a couple of days at most, would not allow her to do all of these wonderful things. She is now completely healed though and can dance and swim her beautifully restored, healthy heart out.

Chrissie was adopted from Serbia by a wonderfully loving family about 6 months ago. She is their Serbian Sensation, their precious princess who had a fighting spirit like no other. She fought to the end after a grueling surgery exactly one month ago today on April 19th. Her story is amazingly beautiful and so inspirational and is such a testimony to God's grace and love. If you ever have the time, please visit her family's blog and read about her wonderful journey.
http://allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com/

Chrissie's dream was to have a family. God gave her a family that was filled with brothers and sisters that loved her so much. Her mama and daddy loved Chrissie with all their hearts and were able to give her the love that she so desperately wanted for the last 6 months. They are in deep mourning today. Please pray for the comfort of the Patterson family at this time.

Rest in Peace Sweet Chrissie...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to my mother and father-in-law. They are stepping out of their comfort zone to help us while we are on this journey and I cannot thank them enough. My mother-in-law will be watching our other two boys during our trip and my father-in-law will be coming to our house to house sit and take care of our other kids... our dogs. Thank you so much for everything Ami & Papi and for joining us on this wonderful adventure!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fingerprints, Travel Date & Pure Joy


We were able to get our fingerprints done on Friday, so that was a huge relief. It was a VERY hard, frustrating journey to get to that point so it was such a relief when we finally had them done. Now we are waiting anxiously for the important document that allows us to travel. We really hope that we will be able to get it this week sometime because...

We have a travel date!!! And it's in two and half weeks! Two and half weeks! Which brings us to the...

PURE JOY and utter excitement. In only two and half weeks, we will be meeting our son, we will be holding him in our arms! What a dream come true. I cannot even begin to explain how excited we are.

Sean, you have no idea as you lay there in your crib tonight, that in only two and half weeks, your mama and daddy will be there... you have no idea that you even have a mama and daddy. You have no idea how loved you are. You have no idea how wanted you are. You have no idea how much you life is going to change in just a couple of weeks. We cannot wait for the moment we finally get to hold you in our arms and bring you home, to your home... a home filled with love, possibilities and one that will allow you to pursue all your dreams. We love you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Nick Vujicic



Last night, we had the most wonderful opportunity to hear Nick Vujicic speak and have a personal meeting with him! It truly was the best Mother's Day gift ever. Nick has been such an inspiration for us since we started this journey. Shortly after I fell in love with Sean's picture, I found out about Nick online. What an inspirational man who will be such a good role model for our son. Here are a couple of his websites
http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/ http://www.attitudeisaltitude.com/

It was such a blessing to have the chance to personally talk to him. He was so excited about our adoption and wanted to know what he could do to help. He also wanted to pray for us and asked us specifically what would be the best thing for him to pray about with us. Guess what we said? Anyone who knows about our roller coaster knows that we need many prayers that immigration will come through and allow us to bring our son home before his country shuts down adoptions for the summer. So we all gathered together and we prayed about this. He also really hopes to meet Sean one day. That would be such a blessing.

Oh, and did I mention that he is from the same country that Sean is from?! He actually thinks his cousin has met Sean, which brought tears to my eyes. He said his cousin called him a couple months ago and said that he had met a little boy at the orphanage in Sean's city, and that he was just like Nick. Well, that would be Sean!!! None of this is a coicidence. This meeting was truly meant to be. I have no doubt in my mind about that. It was a magical evening and I just feel so blessed about it all. Like I said, what a truly wonderful Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fingerprint Appointment!!!


We finally received our fingerprint appointments today in the mail! This is very exciting news since we are on a huge time crunch. Sean's country shuts down all adoptions in the summer and if we didn't have our fingerprints with immigration done and an approval by June, we would have to wait until October to go over and get him. Just the thought of this breaks my heart.

So needless to say we (and friends, and prayer warriors, and the congressman's office, and the senator's office, and the list could go on and on) have been working SO hard to get a fingerprint appointment. We sent in our I-600a application to immigration on March 16. We asked for it to be expedited due to Sean's immediate health needs that can not be addressed in his country. It is now May 6 and we finally received an appointment. These last two months have been such an emotional roller coaster filled with tears, worry, anxiety, fear... you name it, we probably felt it.

Did I mention I hate roller coasters? They make me sick and I just really don't enjoy them. So hopefully soon, we will be off this crazy roller coaster with immigration and we will be in our son's country, holding him in our arms. That is what we pray for and that is what we have been fighting for. Thank you to everyone who has helped us on this journey so far. We cannot thank you enough!