By the end of this week we should all be home!!!
As much as visiting the rainforest was absolutely spectacular, home is sounding very good right now. Pray with us in this transitional time!
This picture is one that I will always treasure. It shows a glimpse of this special time in my relationship with my new son. We are getting to know one another and establishing our roles. It is an honor to do so.
But as with all of us, there is always more going on than just the look in the photograph. I would like to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse into this time in ours lives. We are doing well, I think, but doing well does not mean it’s easy. And it certainly does not mean that we are all smiles. But we work for those smiles and they are more and more natural each and every day.
On meeting day, Jefferson didn’t actually speak for the first twenty minutes or so. Understandably, he was shy and although he was interacting, we didn’t hear his voice right away. But, once he started speaking, he pretty much hasn’t stopped since. And more than any other word or phrase used, he has this amazing ability to enter the word “Papa” into everything!
Jefferson follows Brian around pretty much all day long. So if Brian is in the bathroom, Jefferson is waiting outside the door yelling (because why talk when you can yell?) “Papa! Papa! Papa!” no less than twenty times. We are on the fifth floor in our hotel and if Jefferson and Brian have left or are just downstairs, I often hear Jefferson when they start up the stairs. He even calls out to Brian in his sleep. Seriously. His desire to be in Brian’s presence is strong and powerful.
With that, he and I are bonding in our own ways. Every day he comes to me more for help with something or just to play. I’m not even sure how it all started but we are laundry buddies. It’s a very sweet time that is usually just he and I. We practice English as we walk down the stairs, through the lobby and down into the laundry room. You can often hear us saying “I love you” back and forth dozens of times because he loves it and so do I. We also practice his new name, counting, and other simple phrases. It’s really great.
Saturday evening at 8pm we received a note under our hotel door that there would be no water available in the hotel the following day from 8am-5pm. We weren’t expecting this, obviously, but knew we needed a plan right away. Our days are long, even the really good ones and we believed that a day without use of water would be even longer. And the whole neighborhood’s water was turned off so we couldn’t just walk next door to use the restroom for example. We had already said goodnight and this is when we usually go through the plans for the following day. So this was definitely going to throw us off.
We decided to go to Parque Diversiones which is the local amusement park. Lesley Simons, a former student (turned into great friend) is actually here at our same hotel for a week to give the bio kids a bit of a break. Her and I took the younger four to the kids area of the park and Brian and Claudia headed off to the big rides. Jefferson was hesitant to leave his Papa but we explained it was just for a while. We went on some rides and all of the kids did great! There were many funny moments, including Kennedy getting out of her bumper car just before the start because Silas was not buckled right. Yes, Silas went on the bumper cars. It was hilarious!
So things were going well...and then Jefferson happened to see Brian and Claudia walking in the distance in a totally different part of the park. I’m telling you, this boy loves his Papa! Needless to say he started yelling and then screaming his name. Which of course turned into a full-on fight against me. He instantly was over a fence and doing everything he could to get to Papa. Everything I did or said was responded to with “No!”. To be honest I am not even really sure how long it took or what I did that convinced him to come with me. This was not an isolated incident so they are kind of all running together.
However long later, we are back to the rides and Jefferson wanted to go on a spinning ride. No one else wanted to because, well, no one else likes spinning rides. I told him I would go with him even though I cannot stand spinning rides. Or really any rides for that matter. I used to love them but ever since having babies they make me sick. Even the easy ones.
So we get on the ride and it is quickly understood that Jefferson is the one doing the spinning, not me. Every time I try to help or talk to him about it, I get the standard “No!”. So I pulled my arms back and chose to just watch my boy in his glory. He loved it and he allowed me to do it with him. On his terms, perhaps, but we were together.
Lesley happened to get this great picture of us enjoying it together. Like I mentioned, I will always treasure this photo because it’s a glimpse of this time in our relationship. In our story. Part of our story is the backstory. Water service being turned off. Seeing Papa in the distance. Full on fit in the amusement park. Going on a spinning ride with my new son.
Please know there is not an ounce of complaint in this post. Or a bit of thinking we are doing it all right. We simply wanted to take an opportunity to share with you in a real way. Much of their stories we will keep private because it is theirs to tell but we felt as though this was okay to share.
We would like to introduce our Forever Family to you!
Today is a beautiful day! Today is our Gotcha Day! Celebrate with us!
(Can you tell that Silas does not like getting his picture taken?)
It’s been radio silence on our end for a while. We hope that you understand that our focus has needed to be on the many details of this process and on spending time with our changing family.
The obvious question is “how’s it going?” Well, that answer changes day by day and hour by hour of course, but overall, things are going really well. Have we had some significant challenges? Definitely! These are kids from a difficult past and the issues are complex and substantial. But our expectation is and was that these challenges would be there. We are choosing to count the wins instead of the challenges, and at this point, we feel we are making progress. We are learning to communicate better, we are building trust, and we are finding our rhythms.
Those who are at home helping out in a multitude of ways (with our house, at work, and more) have made it possible to simply focus on what we are doing here. Thank you to all of you – you know who you are!
Please pray for us as the next 24 hours are critical in the process. Pray especially for patience, understanding, and peace for all of us.
Brian and Ann
Over the past 13 months, our life has felt a bit like a really, really long hurdles race. You remember doing this as a kid, right? The hurdles event is unique compared to other races because it’s not just raw speed that counts, but also precision and timing that matter. As we have progressed through this process, there has been one hurdle after another: another piece of paper to sign, another training to complete, another class to attend, another book to read. Day after day has required another hurdle to jump over, hopefully with the right timing.
Well, we are happy to report that after a lot of running and a lot of hurdles, we have finally jumped over our last major one! As of this week, we have immigration paperwork in hand. We have plane tickets. We have accommodations in-country. And, thanks to a very successful Both Hands Project, to which many of you gave generously, and two generous organizations awarding us grants in the last couple of weeks, we now have enough money to travel. There are no more hurdles between us and meeting C and J!
A hurdles race is not won or lost on any single hurdle. Every single hurdle has to be jumped over in order to complete the race successfully. So while each one felt good, having gotten through all the legal, organizational, and “official” pieces is a huge relief.
Now of course - and to continue the metaphor - we are not done running yet. There are still challenges of in-country processes, legal proceedings, language barriers, and the dynamics of changing family relationships that lie ahead. To be honest, it feels a little like finishing a hurdles race and then getting on the starting line for a marathon. But in a process this long, we've got to celebrate these little victories with you.
Finally, we'd like to bring clarity to our financial status. As it currently stands, we have all the money we need to travel. Praise God! However, for those who are still interested in supporting us through donations, there are still several post-adoption processes and costs (including reports, other adoption legal documents, etc.) that are not yet covered through our fundraising efforts. Any money received up to $4000-$5000 from this point on will go directly to those costs.
Thank you for all your love and support!
WE LEAVE IN NINE DAYS!!!
-Brian and Ann
This process has had many milestones - some big and some small. But, we have reached the most tangible milestone to date in the process: we have a meeting date! We will meet the kids on July 30. Therefore, we plan to leave for Costa Rica on July 28.
We hope to get our plane tickets in the next couple of days.
Only 20 days until we leave!
-Brian and Ann
We were able to connect with C & J yesterday!
The beginning of the call didn't go as planned because we had several technical issues. However, we were able to work through it and we got to MEET them. It was so, so wonderful, even if it was short. (A special thanks to the team in Costa Rica who fought through the struggles and made it work!)
One of our favorite things about the call was that we all got to share our name signs with one another. In ASL, a name sign is a simple gesture that signifies your name (rather than always spelling it out). These are signs we will use with them for the rest of our lives. This was us meeting each other, not just learning things about each other. We've actually been wondering about this since the very beginning but we wanted to wait and have them show us. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait!
There was a lot more, but that is what we have to share right now. We so look forward to connecting again and, even moreso, going to get them!
-Brian and Ann
Tomorrow will be exactly one year to the day since we first learned about C & J. Never have we worked so hard and never have we prayed so hard. It is a privilege to be on this journey.
Tomorrow is also the first time we will Skype with C & J! We are so incredibly excited to be entering into the relational part of this journey!
Please pray with us as we all 'meet' for the first time!
A Both Hands Project is a unique adoption fundraiser that helps serve a widow in need. We completed ours this weekend with a wonderful team. You can watch this video to see all we accomplished to serve Ms. Arlene!
Watch RIGHT HERE: Both Hands Video
We'd like to say thank you to:
-Carl Pecinovsky for making this great video
-Integrity Tree Service, The Home Depot, and Perkins for their generous donations
-Everyone who worked so hard and helped us make the day a reality, including those who were unable to make it because of the weather delay. We love you all!
-Everyone who has already donated to our adoption, THANK YOU SO MUCH for getting us this far! (If you are still interested in donating, please see donation information on the "Progress + Giving" page.)
Brian and Ann
Friends: we are in the final push for our adoption fundraising as we are headed to Costa Rica by the end of July! So, we are engaging in this exciting and wonderful opportunity to participate in a Both Hands Project. “What is the Both Hands Project?” I’m glad you asked!
-A Both Hands Project partners a family in the adoption process with a widow whose home needs some work
-All the quality work and donation of time goes to our widow partner; all the dollars raised go to bringing our kids home!
-Our Project is this Saturday, June 2, where we are spending a day serving a widow at her home
-Our team will be working on landscaping, dead trees and branches, painting, minor repairs, and a few other tasks
-Our team is seeking sponsorship dollars to work on the house (like raising money by running a 5K race)
-We still need to raise about $12,000 to meet our financial goals
-There have been more than 650 Both Hands Projects nationwide – we are excited to join in this incredible movement
Learn more about the Both Hands Project: https://bothhands.org/project/martin-7460
Donate to sponsor our team: https://www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate/?gift=2&adoption=1&account=7460&family=Martin&memo=Both Hands Project
*You may also donate by check. See instructions on the "Progress + Giving" tab.