Saturday, November 21, 2015

How Can You Help

We hope to have Teddy home in February. We still have a ways to go with out fundraising too. I wanted to write this post up to give everyone an idea of how they could possibly help us.

1) We have a tax deductible donation site set up for our family. Every penny that is in this grant account will be disbursed to our family. You can access that here:  Scheid Family Grant Account

2) I am still making magnets and taking orders for magnets. They are $1 each. You can send a check for them or make your payment to our donation site linked in the #1 above. Here are some examples of magnets I have done.

 I can take special orders also. These make great gifts for teachers, bus drivers, church friends.

3)  We are collecting used shoes and boots. We need any size you have including children's sizes. If you have old shoes around, or kids have outgrown last years boots we will take them!  If you are local to Saranac, my Mom will pick them up, you can drop off at her house at 49 Pleasant St Saranac (bin out on front porch), or the Saranac Hardware Store has a donation box for us. If you are in the Chicago area, I'll come to you just shoot me an email, facebook message, or text.   910-581-2917

4)  Puzzle fundraiser:  Would you consider donating $5 to have your name added to a puzzle piece back? This is a picture of the court house where he will legally become our son. This puzzle will hang in a double sided frame so he can always see the names of people who helped rescue him from the place he lived his first 2 years.We still have 208 pieces left to be claimed.  donation can be made to the tax deductible link mentioned in #1 up above. Just message us so we know to add your name to the back of a puzzle piece.

November Update

First let me start by saying I have been very good about updating our adoption facebook page 
I keep forgetting to come here to do a blog post and I'm sorry for that. I know some of you follow us here and not there. Feel free to request to join us on our page though. I will try to come back here at least weekly to post quick updates too.

We traveled to Bulgaria to meet our son 10/30 - 11/6. It was an amazing experience and one we won't ever forget. His country is breathtakingly beautiful. We ate lunch every day in outdoor restaurants on the Black Sea, and had lunch in the mountains at a lake on our way back to Sofia from our son's town we visited him in. 

We were able to see our son Mon - Thurs from about 8:30am til noon or a little after on a couple of the days. It was so fun to spend time with him, and watch him interact with my husband while playing. I had to keep reminding myself to take pictures and video and stop staring at them. I knew we would want the pictures and video for while we were waiting on trip 2 dates to go pick him up. :)

Once we got back home we got started right away on paperwork that needed to be updated, signed, notarized, and apostilled.  We also needed to send off for updated FBI background check so we both had our fingerprints done again. Our fingerprints were sent back to Bulgaria by DHL yesterday 11/20/15 and we will be sending the last few documents by DHL next Friday 11/28/15.

Right now we are waiting for our NGO in Bulgaria to notify us that we have a visa interview date, they will go on our behalf, and then we just wait for Article 5 approval. We hope to have this by the end of the first week of December. Usually about 3 weeks after that families hear that they have been assigned a judge to review their adoption case and a court date is assigned.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Shoe Drive Fundraiser 10,000 Pair of Shoes in 30 days

Do you have any old shoes that you never wear anymore? Shoes that kill your feet and you don't know why you keep them around? Shoes the kids have outgrown? We will take them!  We are partnering with Angel Bins to do a shoe drive fundraiser. The goal is set for us to collect 10,000 pair of shoes. They can be used, they don't have to be new.

Ways to help: As your church family to donate, ask your co-workers, friends, family, your barber, stranger on the street, lol if they have any they could give you. Do you have a spot in town you could set up a collection box for us? We will find a way to get them from you. No matter how many you collect we will take them. Even if you only have one pair, we will take them. Every pair counts in this fundraiser.

We have until November 1st to get all the shoes to us. I know we can do this!  Will you please help us?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Checking In To Give An Update

Wow!!!!!!  It will have been a month tomorrow that I updated here.  Sorry about that. We've been busy getting paperwork ready to go to Bulgaria.  It is finally all in Bulgaria with our attorney there being translated and authenticated.  We have worked so hard to get to this point.  There were times that it seemed like we would never make it til dossier to Bulgaria day. 

So, what's next.........Well we are crossing our fingers that our dossier is reviewed at the next IAC meeting. They meet on Thursday's and the last one was 9/10. We know it didn't make it to that meeting, so we are hoping and praying that it makes it on 9/17. If it does get reviewed and they don't find any issues with our paperwork, we will receive verbal approval that day. Usually about 3 weeks later families receive written approval, or the written referral. Once we have that, possibly just a month from now, we will be assigned travel dates.  The travel dates can sometimes be for a date very close, or a month out from when you receive them.  They have to coordinate everything in country and set up our travel. We will fly from Chicago, IL to Sofia, Bulgaria. From Sofia, we will have transportation provided by our in country people to the city where our son is currently living. We will spend 5 days in his city and hopefully be able to see him twice each day. So, we will leave here on a fri or sat and then come back home the following Saturday. My Mom is going to come and stay here so that the girls won't miss a whole week of school and the dogs won't have to go to some expensive kennel while we are gone. 

This all means we could possibly be traveling to officially meet Teddy late October-mid November sometime. Please pray that our paperwork gets submitted and reviewed quickly and that they don't find anything wrong with it. Also pray that travel is issued quickly for us. We can't wait to meet him and get back home so we can tell the girls all about him.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Numbers Game

I want to be as up front as possible with our adoption fundraising. I think it is great when people want to help out an adoptive family financially, but I know sometimes people wonder where the money goes. At the same time, many people often wonder why adoption costs so much money. While I can't give you solid answers on the why, I can tell you where the money goes.

Home Study Application Fee  $350
Home Study  $2,050
Transportation costs for Social Worker  $66.70
Education  $200
Background Checks $27
Document Authentication $2 per document (tons of documents, too many to count)
FBI Fingerprints  $216.50
Passports  $220
Post Placement Reports (required to pre-pay for these)   $1,400
Agency Fee for Bulgaria Program#1  $4,625
Commitment Fee  $2250
Agency Fee for Bulgaria Program#2  $4,625  Due when we return from trip 1
Case Worker Fee #1  $1,750
Case Worker Fee #2  $1750
I800a  $890
Child's Visa $325
Child's Medical and TB test  around $250
Second Stage Fingerprints  $110
Hotel for trip 1  unsure, we think around $700
Hotel for trip 2  unsure, we think around $700
Food for trip 1   $300-$400
Food for trip 2    $300-$400
Airfare for trip 1 (2 adults)  $3,000
Airfare for trip 2 (2 adults round trip, and 1 child one way)

The cost seems so overwhelming at times. Honestly though, it is hard to believe that already at this point in the process, we have paid $15,805. The blue print is what we still have left to raise. It looks like it will end up being another $11,000 - $14,000. We won't know exactly the cost because air fare will vary in price depending on the time of year we travel.

I am still making magnets for $1 each. I know $1 doesn't sound like a lot, but every single one adds up to a bigger number. Once our girls are back in school for the year I will also be back working at our military commissary, where I bag groceries for customers and take them out to their vehicle. Rain, Shine, Sleet, or Snow I'm there working. We don't receive an hourly pay at all, only tips. Every penny I make there goes into a cup we have in our cupboard and once a week I deposit it into our savings account we have set up for the adoption.  If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to our adoption you can do that at our Reece's Rainbow link here. Donation Link

Thanks for all your prayer and support. We honestly couldn't get through this without all of you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This is hard

I remember when I was pregnant with Natalie, and so many people seemed in awe by the fact that I wasn't freaking out with worry over her. We had found out that she was going to have some medical issues (most she did not have, for those of you who don't know the story) I just felt a calmness, and feeling of peace during my time I carried her. I'm not sure if it was because I was carrying her, and holding her, and just felt close and connected to her. What I do know, is that, both Nate and I already knew no matter what happened when she was born, we were going to love her, care for her, and protect her with a fierceness never before seen.  She is healthy, beautiful, and one of the best things that ever happened to us.  :) 

I think that is why being so far away from our little guy is so, so hard. I can't be there for him at night if he wakes up and cries, I can't hold him when he needs to be held. Does he even cry anymore for someone to hold him, or has he learned over the past 23 months, that most of the time no one is going to come. I pray every day he feels his fathers love and protection over him. I pray that the caretakers treat him with kindness and love, rather than with a sense of duty.

I so badly need trip one dates to come and be here so I can see for myself that he is okay. I can't wait to whisper in his ear, that he is loved, that he has a mommy and a daddy who will move heaven and earth to get to him, and that he has 3 big sisters that can't wait to love on him.   Getting on that plane to come home after trip one will be the hardest thing I've had to do yet in my entire life. The only thing that will get us on that plane, is knowing the sooner we get back home and finish up paperwork, that sooner we can get back to bring him home. That, and the fact that we will miss our three here at home like crazy! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Movement in July with much more to come in August

I think most of you know about our LONG wait for home study approval from that state of Illinois.  The good news for families behind us in the process is that this step isn't needed anymore. The Gov. of IL signed the bill that was passed taking this step out of the process.

For us though, we finally received news over the phone on July 9th that ours had been approved. A few days later, we received a letter stating our approval.  Such a good feeling after so many months waiting.  Our agency then, had to notarize our home study and mail it to us.  The next step, was to submit I800a application to USCIS for approval. We sent that in on July 20th. We need to wait for them to send us an appointment notice for our biometric appointment.  Once we go for this appointment we should have about another 2 week wait for approval.     

This is the last and final piece of paperwork needed for our dossier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We've been lucky, in that, our agency has allowed us to send all the other paperwork we've completed already to Bulgaria. While we've been waiting for this other step, our dossier has been (hopefully) being translated so that it will be ready to be submitted to the MOJ.

From dossier submission, to travel, is usually about 2 months. We will be submitted to the MOJ, next verbal approval will be given, then written approval will be given. After that, our NGO in Bulgaria will be setting up our travel dates for trip one. It all seems like it's still so far away, but it really will come pretty fast. We won't have a lot of advanced notice, but that's fine with us. We already know Grandma will stay with the kids and pups while we are away.

So, soon you'll be seeing a post letting you all know we have I800a approval and our dossier has been submitted. Hopefully, soon after that, I'll be posting that we have trip 1 travel dates.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Update Time

I've been updating periodically on our Facebook Page, but haven't written here in a while. I wish there was more to say in this post today, but the truth is, not much has happened.

Our home study was sent to DCFS on May 14th, and we are still waiting for our approval. I have been talking with some other Illinois families who are going through the same struggle as us. On family who was submitted after May 22, got their state senator involved a little over a week ago and received their approval yesterday. I thought, well if this is what it takes, then this is what we will do as well. So, yesterday I made the call to Senator Bush's office and spoke with her chief of staff. He is having the person who handles situations like this contact me this morning to discuss in detail, our situation. We are praying with their help, we will see movement this week.

When you sign commitment paperwork for a waiting child in Bulgaria, they give you exactly 6 months to do your home study and dossier paperwork. If the 6 months comes up and your home study is done but not all the dossier paperwork is collected yet, then you can request an extension. We never dreamed we would come close to the 6 month mark. Our goal from day one was to move as quickly as possible through each step of the process.  We did too, we began this process on Feb 27, and our home study was completed May 1st. If  we were in any other state, we would probably be leaving on trip 1 to meet him, within the next month. However, since we live in IL currently, we have to have state approval on the home study. So, unfortunately for us, and our son, we have been stuck. There isn't any other way to describe it, we are S.T.U.C.K. 

Meanwhile to try to keep sane, I've been focusing on fundraising. We are making and selling magnets, and currently have an avon fundraiser going. The link for that is here:  Any purchases made now until July 15th will help benefit our adoption fund. We would be so thankful for any help this way.

I am also planning a HUGE garage sale in Michigan and my parent's house next weekend.  We are really excited for this. I think it's going to be a great time and can't wait to see how we do. We are so thankful for everyone who has donated to the sale.

As soon as the home study is approved and in my hands, I can send in the I-800a application. I've already filled out the application and it is ready to go. This step basically is us asking the US government permission to adopt a child from Bulgaria. It will take about a month to receive our approval and this is the very last piece of our dossier that is needed. I think that's all for today. I'll post here as soon as we hear about our home study.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Matthew West Inspired Shirt

I LOVE the song, Do Something, by Matthew West.  I knew when we started out adoption that if we did a t-shirt fundraiser, I really wanted it to have something to do with that song. We will be taking orders through June 18th. I will place the big order and mail them out to each person who orders one. We hope to have the shirts in by July 1st.

Shirts are $20 + $5 for shipping for sizes S, M, L, XL  (2XL and 3XL are $22) and youth medium - XL  If you order more than one shirt only $5 is needed for the shipping for the whole order.

If you are a Great Lakes IL person, or a Saranac/Ionia/Lowell MI person you don't have to include shipping, I'll deliver them to you.

Payment can be made 3 ways:   (Great Lakes friends, I can come pick up the money from you)

1. Mail a Check to us. Just please remember to let us know sizes , how many you're ordering, and where we should send it.

3191A Meridian Ct
Great Lakes IL 60088

2. If you would rather use paypal that is fine also. The paypal email address to use is:  Don't forget to include a note letting me know size, and where to send it.

3. You can also send the payment to our adoption fund account we have set up through Reece's Rainbow. That link is:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Home Study Is Goin On A Roadtrip

Our home study is written, and our placing agency, and home study agency feel that it says what it needs to say. So, now it's off to Springfield, IL to be approved by DCFS.  This can take about a month, but I've been hearing recently that it's been taking about two weeks. I'm hoping, and praying our's is the second of the two. As soon as our home study is approved, I can submit our I800a application and once we get that approval our dossier can be processed in Bulgaria. Luckily, while I'm waiting, our agency has told us to go ahead and send our dossier paperwork early to be translated while we are waiting on the I800a approval. This will help speed things up for things in Bulgaria.

I'll post as soon as I know the home study has been approved.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Much Needed Update

I don't even know where to start with this one, so I'm just going to go in order of events.

Last Friday, May 1st, we had our last home study meeting with our social worker. She has been so great to work with. If we ever do another adoption, I doubt the home study could possibly go as smoothly as it did with her.  She was just great!  She had already sent the rough draft to Madison's headquarters to be reviewed and they returned it to her on May 6th.  The very same day, she sent it off to our placing agency to review. We love Shelley with our placing agency. She is so quick to get back to us with any questions or concerns we have. She didn't disappoint here either. Shelley had our home study back to our home study agency the very same day. If things keep going like they are, I'm hoping that Madison, sends our home study to the State of IL for final approval next Monday.  Sometimes this part can take a while.  :( Up to a month, but I'm praying for 2 weeks max!!!!!

While we've been doing all of the home study paperwork, I've also been getting together our dossier paperwork that will need to go to Bulgaria. I am just waiting on our FBI appistile copy of our fingerprints and I will have everything we need for that. I'll then send off the I800a application and we will wait for that approval to come in. The second we get that, our dossier paperwork will shoot off across the ocean to Bulgaria. We hope to travel on trip 1 about 8 weeks later. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Once you travel for trip 1 and come back home, it usually takes 4-5 months to be invited back for trip 2 which is pick up trip. We are hoping, praying, that this all goes as fast as possible because we are running against a time clock here.

We found out this week that we will pcs outta here, (yayyyyy for the end of recruiting duty) on Feb 1st 2016.  We really need to be done with trip 2 before Feb 1st. For so many reasons we need this to happen. Here are a few of those:

  1. ticket prices from Hawaii to Bulgaria are over DOUBLE the price
  2. Nate doesn't want to check into a new squadron just to have to ask for an extended amount of time off.
  3. we will have to find a new home study agency and redo a bunch of paperwork and resend it to Bulgaria to have translated and processed if we have to move before Teddy comes home. What a MESS that will be. Not to even mention the added cost to the adoption.
  4. It will be so much easier for Grandparents to come to Chicago, IL or the grandkids and grand-pups to go to Grandparents than it will be if we have to move to Hawaii before trip 2
  5. PCS'ing in the middle of an, thanks, but no
  6. my Sanity, I think it'll be gone if this all plays out how we fear it may.
So, please, please, keep praying with us that things keep going smoothly like they are. We are so excited for him to come home!!!!! 

****As soon as our home study goes to Springfield, IL to be looked over and approved I'll post an updated blog post so you all can be praying with us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Next Step

Exciting news to share!  We got an email from our case worker that our home study is done. We have to wait for the main office at Madison Adoption Associates to review the home study to make sure everything is right, and then it will go to IL DCFS for final approval.

This is such great news!!!!!

As soon as we have the final draft of the home study we can move on to the next step in the process. 
Our next step is applying for I800a and this can take 2 whole months.  :(  Those 2 months will be so hard to get through. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to start that part of the process by the middle of May.

Monday, April 13, 2015

So Just How Much Will This Cost????

Trust me, just like you guys are wondering, so were we.  In many ways we still are wondering how much it will all end up costing. There are so many different things that play a factor in the cost of adoption. So what could be involved that makes it add up so quickly?

Application fees, home study, education training, passports, fingerprints, in country fees, travel, child's visa, agency fees, certification, apostilling, translation, authentication, court. See why it can get overwhelming to think about all we have to do?                  One.   Step.   At.   A.   Time.

We are fundraising to help with the costs of the adoption. I know some people feel strangely about fundraising, and if you aren't okay with it, that's fine, just pray for us. We can use your prayers just as much!  We try to think of fun, different types of fundraisers where to person donating has a chance to win something, or is actually purchasing something with their donation. We just want everyone to know that we appreciate the help that has been given and are so thankful. We'll get him home no matter what. We would do anything for any of our kids and this includes him. He not only needs a family, he needs medical treatment and we can provide that for him.

Here is a breakdown of some of the fees just to give you an idea:
Application Fee - $350  (paid)
Home Study - $3,450  (paid)
FBI Fingerprints - $210  (paid)
Passports - $220 + $50 processing fee  (paid)
Placement Agency Fees:
At Commitment to child - $4,000  (paid)
I-800A - $720
Dossier Submission - $5,750
After Trip 1 - $4,000

Additional expenses for us will be his medical appointment and TB test that he needs for his embassy appointment before coming home trip 2, his visa $230, our airfare for trip 1 and trip 2, hotel and food for trip 1 and trip 2

Our in country travel is paid for in the agency fee's above so we don't have to stress about that in country. It is one of the countries that is less expensive to adopt from, but by the time we have finished we will have spent between $24,000 and $28,000 depending on what time of year we travel, if there are hold ups with paperwork, if we have to move due to the military before he comes home.
If he isn't home yet when we have to pcs with the military, this will cause a hold up and increase in our fees. We will have to apply with a new home study agency that is licensed in the state we move to, and get an amendment done to our home study and send new paperwork off to Bulgaria.

I know it's a lot, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what we are working on. I'll be updating this post as we pay the different amounts so stay tuned.  :)  Thanks again for following along with us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Drawing for the winner in one week!!!!!!!

Need a vacation????  Please consider entering our Chicago Vacation Giveaway. It is just $5 to enter and you can enter your name as many times as you wish.  The trip is for May 30th and 31st and is valued at just under $1,000. This is in their 2 bedroom Presidential Suite. There is so much to do around this area and it would be such a fun getaway.

Please donate here and comment below to let me know that you donated and how many times so I can enter your name into the drawing:

Quick update

We received an email from our home study agency yesterday evening letting us know they received our FBI fingerprints and State fingerprints. So, this means we are waiting on NC and CA to get with the ball game and hurry up!!!!!  :)  Either way, it's movement in the right direction, and I'll take that any day.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Where we are at in the process

I think the two questions that are the most common are:
  1. So what's new, what have you heard?
  2. How much is this going to cost you guys?  (I'll do a separate blog post on this later this week.)
So, back to question #1,  :)  Here is a list of the "steps" we will go through before bringing him home.  Each one checked off is celebrated!!! (and marked in blue)

  • Apply with the placing agency  -  Done Feb of 2015
  • Apply with the Home Study Agency - Done Feb 2015
  • Submit commitment paperwork to Bulgaria asking for permission to pursue the adoption of our little guy. - Done Feb 2015
  • 1st Home Study Visit - March 7th
  • 2nd Home Study Visit - March 23rd
  • 3rd Home Study Visit - April 4th
  • 4th and FINAL Home Study Visit
  • Request back ground checks in all states we've lived.
  • Get FBI and State level fingerprints.  Request our passports.
  • Medical Appointments for us.
  • Submit Home Study to placement agency for review. Once placement agency okay's it send it off to DCFS IL for them to approve. (this can take over a month) IL is one of the few states that requires this. Aren't we so lucky?!?!
  • Gather all Dossier paperwork so that it is ready to go to Bulgaria once Home Study final draft is received.  (working on this now)
  • I-800a application can be completed once we have the home study done.
  • Wait, Wait, Wait this part can take up to 90 days
  • Give our case worker all of our paperwork to send to Bulgaria once we have I-800a approval. She will send off and it will be translated in country.
  • It will be translated, authenticated, and registered with the MOJ (Ministry of Justice)
  • Wait more
  • Receive our invitation to go on trip #1
  • Come home and wait. While we are waiting between trip 1 and trip 2 we are completing more paperwork, and updating fingerprints and medical clearances. In Bulgaria they are processing his adoption. The time between these two trips can vary but generally is 4-6 months.
  • Trip 2 Go Get Our Boy!!!!!!!!
There are a lost of things that will happen during all of these steps and I'll blog more about them when we are actually on those steps. Honestly it's all a bit confusing to me and I'll understand better when we are going through that part of the process much more and be able to explain it better.

Currently we are between home study visit # 3 and # 4. We have to wait til Nate's clearances come back for California, and both of our clearances come back from North Carolina. We are also waiting on our FBI and State fingerprints to be electronically sent to our home study agency. Once this stuff comes in, she can write up the draft to be sent to our placing agency for review.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Getting Crafty

Asking $1 donation per magnet. I used strong magnets so they actually will hold papers on the refrigerator. Can be made in any design or color you'd like. These are just what I've started with so far. Here is the link where you can make your donation if you would like some. Just message me to let me know how many, and where to send them to.  :)  Thank you!

Something New -FSP

If you look over on the side bar, you'll see our Reece's Rainbow FSP link.  What's this you ask?
      Taken from their website:  
Our Mission Statement:
The mission of Reece’s Rainbow is to advocate and find families for orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs by raising funds for adoption grants and promoting awareness through an online community, media communications, and other events.
There are grants set up for children who don't even have families yet. This is such a blessing to families who may have though they couldn't have afforded the cost of adoption, but wanted to give a child a home, and loving family.  Donations are tax deductible, and can be made online or by check sent to: 
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 277
Monrovia, MD 21770
Once a family is committed to a child, and their home study has been started they can have a FSP set up for their child.  Donations can be made directly through the link and they will be set aside for our family.  These funds can be used once our Dossier has been submitted, and we have been invited to travel to meet him.  
If you have more questions about this please comment here and I'll do another post to answer anything.  :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Who Wants To Go On Vacation?????

What would you say to an almost free vacation valued at almost $1000?!?!?!?!?

The weekend of May 30th and 31st, we are giving away a vacation at the Wyndham Riverfront Chicago Hotel in their 2 bedroom Presidential Suite.

We are asking for a $5 donation per raffle ticket purchased. We will have the drawing for the winner on April 15th.

You can enter as many times as you wish. Here is the link to donate:

Day 1 Post 1 of the Blog - Welcome :) Glad you're Here

I keep hearing from everyone, "Do you have a blog we can follow?"  Well, here it is :)  This will be a great way for us to keep friends and family all over the place up to date on what is happening with our adoption. I hope to continue the blog even after we are home with our little guy. Being a military family takes us all over, and what better way to stay in touch with everyone and let everyone see what's new with our family!

I'll try to post each week on here to keep everyone updated. Even if there's not much to report, I'll let you know that.  I love following along with adoption blogs and seeing the progress, hope you'll enjoy following along with us as well.  :) 

Today I've been working on some fundraiser ideas, getting some vet records we needed for the home study, and soon I'm off to take Kaylie to the dentist.

Later tonight after I get the kids to bed, I'm going to try to do a post to kind of update everyone on where we are with the home study, and what's next for us.