Friday, March 26, 2010

Adoption tax credit

From the Christian Alliance for Orphans Blog: Amidst the intense controversy of the health care bill signed into law by President Obama yesterday, there’s at least one provision every orphan advocate can cheer. The adoption tax credit was preserved for another year...and increased in value!

To encourage and support adoption, the adoption tax credit was expanded by President Bush and Congress in 2001. This increased the value of the credit from $5,000 to $10,000, and indexed it for inflation (meaning the credit would increase each year to keep up with inflation.) For 2010, its value had risen to $12,170. However, the 2001 increase was scheduled to “sunset” at the end of 2010. This would mean that any adoptions finalized after December 31, 2010 would be eligible for—at most—a credit of only $5,000.

This sunset has now been extended one year. That means that it will need to be extended again before the end of 2011. For the present, however, this extension comes as very welcome news for families considering adoption or in the adoption process.

Specifically, the provisions contained in the health care bill include:

  • The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011;
  • The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from $12,170 to $13,170.
  • The increase is “retroactive,” meaning that any adoption occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher credit.
  • The credit is now refundable. This means that even families that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related expenses.

To read the legalese in the bill itself, see page 903 of 906 here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I am so excited for spring! It's my favorite time of year, and I am glad it is finally here. There are some busy plans coming up with Easter, my birthday and E.'s birthday. We have been busy exploring the outdoors too. We had a fun afternoon trip to the beach with friends, and have been going to the parks. J. took some time to get the garden ready last week. I need to plan out the garden and get ready to plant.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Girls' room part 2

I ordered these quilts for the girls' room on They came the other day are are perfect for their beds!! Nice, good quality, and low price! They are on the beds and ready for tucking in little sleepy heads. The only issue: the top bunk. If anyone has any ideas on how to easily and neatly make a top bunk, please fill me in. It takes me forever and is quite the workout!
This pic is from the Overstock website, not a picture of the girls' room.

Copied from another family's blog

Regarding the situation in Uganda, in case you were wondering what is happening:

Our lawyer said that anytime a new consular comes to the US embassy, this situation can happen. Their job is difficult. The must be diplomatic and take the time to understand the ways of Ugandan law, so then things get moving again.

This type of situation can also happen when a new judge comes to preside over Family court. He explained that judges are not relegated to one specialty, so the new judge may come from the land division, or another division, and he or she then needs some time to learn the ways of the previous family court judge.

Unfortunately for all families applying for legal guardianship at the moment, both of these situations have occurred at the same time: a new consular as well as a new judge presiding over family court! This is why they are having a difficult time communicating, because they are both learning how best to work with each other.Our lawyer is certain it will smooth out again, because it always has in the past.

He then took some time to explain current issues surrounding adoption and legal guardianship in Uganda. He explained there are groups who oppose it, that feel the children should stay here. Their philosophy is that if people take the orphans to other countries, then they are not sending aid to all the other thousands of orphans who need help! So don't take the kids out of the country, instead use your funds to send to the orphanage, where they will go a long way to provide for many children, not just those who are being adopted. That is a good and valid argument, to be honest.

Th other groups philosophy is that this is good for the children of Uganda. The government does not provide any aid of any kind for orphanages. Not food, supplies, money, nothing. Their only means of support come in the form of donations from around the world. This group believes that until the government of Uganda does something to provide for all the millions of orphans around the country, then the children are better off with families in other countries, who will provide for them. This is a very true and argument, as well.

Such is the way of the legal system, where both sides have valid points.

Our lawyer explained that there are not enough Ugandans who can go pick a child from an orphanage and raise him or her. He explained that all middle-class Ugandans, with good jobs, have families who are out in villages, poor and suffering. Therefore their first desire would be to help their own kin before taking on a child they do not know. Again, a very good point.

Therefore, the thought of letting foreigners with means to adopt their children and provide a good family and life for the children of Uganda, that is in the best interest of the child.

The new family judge knows and admits to this. But it is a matter of diplomacy, of two governments working together. When the consular does not accept the Ugandan ways of doing things in their own legal system, it can lead the judges to think the US is making an effort to stop legal guardianships, without coming straight out and saying it. In other words, they think the US is using this opportunity as a round about way to discontinue legal guardianship.

However, that is not the case! The consular is learning, but it is taking time. Again, this happens every time a new consular comes to the US Embassy here in Kampala. It just takes time for everyone to understand each other.

All that said, today our lawyer told us that his recent family that I wrote about, the family that was presented to the court, awarded legal guardianship with the adoption language in the decree, and was then denied a visa by the consular, they were promised a declaration by the Chief Justice today. That declaration would set a legal precedent that would then pave the way for judges to award legal guardianships with wording as the new US Consular requires.

That would mean, for our family and many others, that we can move forward with the entire process. If the Chief Justice were to make that declaration. Isaac said the CJ promised to make it today, but it could be Friday, we just never know. But we should pray for it to be today. Of course!!
Not long after he made that statement, seriously, only a matter of minutes, he received a phone call. The call was from that very family. They were calling our lawyer during our meeting with news the the Chief Justice said YES!! He instructed the judges to put the correct wording and acknowledge the intent to adopt upon arrival in the US! THIS is the news we've been wiating for!!

Our lawyer received this call as we were sitting together at our table, talking about what other options and our worst case scenarios that we would have with maggie & angel, and how to proceed from this point. And right then, we got our answr! Nima asked our lawyer to send up a prayer of thanks and request for the process to move forward, so we held hands, the four of us, and he prayed over us. It was a-maz-ing, to say the least!

At this very minute, we are making plans to go with the girls to the probation officer tomorrow. The girls are coming back with the team from New Hope today. We have been at the guest house because of our meeting, so the rest of the team went without us. They will stay with us tonight and we'll travel tomorrow and Friday, should we be able to get the appointment straight away. If not then maybe we'll travel Friday and Mopnday.

The probation officer is similar to the home study agent that we met with in the US. She'll interview us and the girls separately. She'll make sure the girls want to go with us on their own will. She'll write a report for the court.

Our lawyer is having his associates go today and file a petition for our family to have a court date next week! Because the family today was approved, then we have a good argument for our family to appear before a judge, since we can now move through the Embassy. The problem is, there are many families here in Kampala in our situation, so they will all be filing today. Our lawyer said that perhaps their papers are not in the court already like ours are. So we could have a good chance that we will get a court date awarded next week!

Praise God and all the glory be to Him in all of this! We have believed that we would return home with the girls. We have been praying every second of every day when we are not at the orphanage or meeting with our team, that the Lord would work this out for us. And he has started us on the path to bring the girls home, just as we asked!

Thank You to all of you who have been praying as well! Our thanks to you all is more than any word could ever convey, but let me say Thank You for your support and love.

As he was leaving, our lawyer told us to continue praying today for everything that we are about to experience as this we continue into this process. Our prayer work is not done. Believe me, we will continue praying, each and every step of the way! There are still many unknowns and decisions that could be made to delay us at any point in the process. Nothing is set in stone right now, or ever.

We know that we can do all things through Christ. He can part the Red Sea, he can turn water into wine, he can feed 5,000 out of one lunch basket - he can work through this, too! And through every trial we experience, we will be thankful. It is through these times that we see God working in our midst. For that, we are thankful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Many things have been happening in Uganda right now, but i won't go into it too much. Things have been an emotional roller coaster ride. We had a big high yesterday with great news, then a low this morning with rumors of not good news. Then I heard from our lawyer right after about how he will send our affidavit tomorrow or Tuesday. He is planning on visiting Mercy early next week too and is working on our case!! Hurray. I can't ask you enough to PLEASE PRAY!!!! Every time you think of it, please pray for our sweet Mercy and our family. Print out a pic of her and post it on your bathroom mirror. Put it on your fridge. This is so hard and we need all of your love and support and most of all help from the Lord.

Here is a post I wrote last night:
My conversation with God
Me in pink
God in white

Here is a little girl who needs a family. I think she should be yours.
Now? It seems like we just brought home our son! We are busy, the kids are still all getting used to each other.
Yes, now. She needs a family very soon. She is sick and needs help.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

But weren't going to do another international adoption, at least not right now. While we are so blessed with the two boys you have brought to us, it is so hard. The wait, the cost, the drama, the politics, the emotional ups and downs...We haven't been saving any money since this is so unexpected. We need to come up with how much, by when???
You've already been through this before. You are well prepared. And don't worry about the money. I'll provide.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

This little girl has so many unknown medical issues. This is very scary!
Don't worry, it will be ok. This little girl is meant to be with you, no matter her condition. I've prepared you for such a time as this by caring for several of my special little ones. I'll give you strength.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

We will have to leave our children at home while we travel across the world. We may have to be there for a long time! That's not fair to our kids, our friends or our family. What about J's job?
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I don't know if we can handle this, are you really sure? Six kids? People will think we are crazy!
I won't give you more than you can handle.
Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A good morning.

We did hear from our lawyer, confirming that things are moving up!!! He asked us to wait another week to see how things work out, and meanwhile he will be working on our case!

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I don't believe I have a drop of Irish in my blood, but it's still a fun day. The kids were excited to dress in green, and C.'s school is doing pajama day today.

I am feeling very happy and hopeful today. I am optimistic that we will be seeing our little girl in the near future. No word confirming this from our lawyer, but I am trusting and holding fast. Please keep praying for our adoption!!

Psalm 145

1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

13th birthday

L. had his 13th birthday last week. I can't believe my oldest is now a teenager. He celebrated by having three of his newer school friends over for a night of video games, movies, pizza and rowdiness. They all had a great time. The ice cream cake I made was really yummy too!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rolled Canvas Poster

GIVEAWAY. Click here on how you can enter. I hope I win, it'd be great for the girl's room!

Little girl's room


K. and our new addition, M. will be sharing a room. They are a little more than two years apart in age. K. is so excited about having a little sister. Although, with the info I have on M.'s sizes, she and K. are nearly the same size!

K. has a bunk bed in her room, and has M.'s bed (bottom bunk) all made and ready for her to come home. We got them matching sheets last month. What a deal; high quality, Laura Ashley sheet sets from Ross for $12.00 each! The best part, they match the paint color we painted the room perfectly!
It took me a month, but I finished painting the ceiling white and the walls a pale bubble gum pink color. Very cute. We did pick out a lime green as an accent wall, but when we got some of that paint on the wall it just did not look right together. Too bright. It is now gracing the wall of our future play room.

The girl's room is not huge, but has enough room for a little table and chair set, and some room to play. K.'s favorite things to do are draw, play with dolls and stuffed animals, and dress up.

A few things left to do before it's perfect:

  • Find some cute things to hang on the walls. Any ideas? I may be bold and try painting a few empty canvases we have.
  • Some cute matching bedspreads/quilts
  • A rug that is great at hiding dirt!
  • A new light fixture. They have a hanging light that had a chinese type lantern. It ripped when someone was having a fit and destroyed it. I took the lantern down, so now there is just a hanging light bulb. We need to make a trip to IKEA!

Happy Birthday Mercy!

Mercy is five today. We were so hoping to be with her to celebrate by now.
If she were here this is what we would be doing...

Kylie's fifth birthday a few years ago.

Dear Mercy,
I bet with the time change by now you are in bed. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating your special day. I wish we could have been with you. I am so sorry everything is taking so long. I never expected this delay and my birthday wish to you is that you will be able to come to America very soon. I know how much you want a mommy and daddy who love you. We do love you very much! Hoping it's not much longer now that we get to hold you in our arms. Happy birthday sweet Mercy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What we did yesterday...

We met up with some of my favorite people at the Children's museum about an hour away from our home. One of the women who runs RHFH's rescue center had a chance to see S. again during her visit to our area! S. stayed at the rescue center for a few weeks of his life before he came to us in 2008. I am so grateful for what RHFH has done for so many precious kids (and adults) in Haiti. If you can, please support them!!! It has been such a pleasure to get to know these wonderful people and call them my friends.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No news. I bugged the lawyer tonight with yet another email.

I saw this quote today on Facebook, made me think....

Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn't buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure? Remember, you must use it, as it is given only once. Once wasted you cannot get it back

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sweet girl

No news but a sweet photo of Mercy. She is so beautiful. Prayers are muttered from my lips all the time. I have no idea what God's plans are but they are perfect and I am resting in this.

I put the winter clothes away I had hanging in the closet for Mercy. Winter is nearly over, spring dresses and tops are making their way to the racks in the stores. I bought a few cute things last month so I hung them up in the closet, praying as I hung them. Praying for Mercy to be able to wear these sweet things before she outgrows them.

April would be such a great time for us to travel to Uganda. J. has a vacation scheduled toward the beginning. But I still must trust.

Please pray for this little girl to make her way home soon.

Summit VI -Christian Alliance for Orphans

I was selected by Christian Alliance for Orphans to be a "Blogger for Orphans". I am honored to use my blog as a way to share with others how they can help those in need. I so wish I could go to this event coming up soon:

With Haiti’s earthquake drawing global focus to the plight of orphans, Christians from across America and beyond will gather in Minneapolis, MN, for the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit VI on April 29-30, 2010. The objective: to inspire and equip Christians to “care for orphans in their distress” through adoption, foster care and global orphan care ministry rooted in the local church.

What you can look forward to:

  • Featured speakers will include national champions of orphan care and adoption, including John Piper, Mary Beth Chapman, Tom Davis, Doug Sauder, Stephanie Fast, Jedd Medefind, and Al Mohler. Compelling voices from the global church will join as well, from Africa to Central America.
  • Music will be led by Steven Curtis Chapman, Peder Eide, Desperation Band and other artists.
  • More than 50 workshops delivering nuts-and-bolts for adoption, foster care and global orphan programs – designed for both laypersons and leadership
  • Orphan care resources for church ministries, as well as personal orphan care and adoption journeys
  • Breakouts will also include 5 “Hague Hour” Credits for Adoptive Families.
  • Q&A sessions and networking opportunities with respected adoption, global orphan and foster care organizations and veteran ministry leaders.
  • For Christians stirred by the plight of orphans, Summit offers the biggest and best opportunity of the year to learn how to act upon conviction. To learn more and register now, visit the Summit website here.

A taste of breakout topics:
  • Haiti and the Local Church: What’s Next?
  • Bridging the Great Divide: Building Positive Relationships Between Church Ministries and Government
  • Understanding Childhood Development of Overseas Orphans
  • A Lifelong Love: Keeping the Gospel at the Center of Orphan Ministry
  • Church-Based Orphan Ministry 101
  • Fundraising for Orphan Ministry
  • Starting in the Right Direction: Helping Pre-Adoptive Couples Make Sound Decisions
  • Now What? Helping Children Age Out of Foster Care
  • The Financial Challenge of Adoption and How the Local Church Can Respond
  • Engaging Church Leadership
  • A Child’s Journey Through the Foster Care System
  • How Does It Work? Models of Global Orphan Ministry Based in US Churches
  • Practical Ideas of Orphan-Focused Events
  • Understanding HIV/AIDS and the Orphan
  • And many more…

And there’s more! Five sessions will provide pre-adoptive families with needed Hague credits.

  • Adoption and Orphans: Becoming a Multicultural/Multiracial Family
  • Adoption and Orphans: Attachment and Trauma (Part I and II)
  • Adoption and Orphans: Grief and Loss
  • Adoption and Orphans: Acclimating to a New Family Member
“American Christians are stirring to the needs of orphans both at home and abroad as never before. What’s thrilling is that even small ministries in local churches can make such significant impact. There are millions of parentless children worldwide, but a single statistic matters more than any other: it only takes one caring adult to make a lifelong difference in the life of an orphan.”
- Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

Friday, March 5, 2010

One year

He has been home for one year. A year ago today around this time I was driving to the airport. A two hour drive that seemed like an eternity. I was going to pick up J. and my new son. The greeting was not very emotional. Both he and J. were exhausted from a day of flying. The poor little boy had a cold and earache. On they way home he was quiet, not very reactive, and overwhelmed. We put a movie on the dvd player. He stared out the window the whole time, bundled up in his hand-me-down winter jacket. During dinner at Arby's he ate and started to interact more with us. He used the bathroom and freaked out by the auto flushing toilet! He jumped around and played in the nearly empty dining room. I think the only thing he said that night was "oui". We drove the rest of the trip home and arrived late. E. explored the house timidly and we got him ready for bed. New pjs, new bed, new everything. He was extremely cooperative and lovely. Until we left him in that bed. But we learned from each other and as the days passed he began to trust and love. We learned his tricks and personality. He's absorbed so much. We've grown. He's ours.

Making this today...

For my son's 13th birthday. Man I feel old. I know it's not vegan. We are starting on that adventure on Monday.


Makes a 9”x 13” Pan

24 Ice cream sandwiches
8 oz. Cool Whip™
1 Hershey’s™ chocolate syrup bottle
1 Smuckers™ caramel syrup bottle
2 king size Butterfinger™ candy bars chopped up
1st layer -12 ice cream sandwiches
2nd – half of whipped cream
3rd - half of Butterfinger™ bars, Squeeze 1/2 of caramel &
chocolate over that.
4th - rest of ice cream sandwiches
5th – Cool Whip™
6th - rest of Butterfinger™, caramel & chocolate
You can freeze this and eat as desired! Yummy! Yummy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Our son E. has been home for a whole year tomorrow!

We have had some small struggles with food and eating since he's been here. Thankfully E. is not a picky eater. But I would like some advice. The boy can eat!! He eats more (if allowed) than anyone in the house. He will always ask for seconds, thirds, fourths. Most of the time he won't really stop eating until I say "there is no more, it's all gone". Then he is pretty content, gets down from the table and goes on with his day. But, he's always asking for something to eat. Always whining about being hungry. Sometimes sneaking and stealing.

He has been hungry. Truly hungry. In Haiti he was only 8 lbs. at 7 months of age. He was dying of kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency. I don't know if he spent the entire first half of his infancy starving, or not. It is possible. And this could possibly effect him now, maybe?

Here's an example of our day:
7 am. E. wakes up, finds someone older than him, and say's "Hi ____, I hungy." Then waits a bit. "Can I have some ____? (banana, cereal, etc.) If that person doesn't jump to and get him breakfast he will move to the next person. And the next. He doesn't come to me and J. first anymore, because he has learned that we tell him he needs to wait. We like to help get everyone's breakfast all at once if possible. It's just easier that way. But he doesn't want to wait.

8 am. We are in the kitchen, making breakfast and he is RIGHT there. Watching, waiting, with big puppy dog eyes. He sometimes whines. He asks "whatcha doin?" over and over. He eagerly sits at the table and as soon as the food is in front of him he eats. Shoveling BIG mouthfuls of food. (this has improved since working with him on taking little bites) He is the first one finished, most times he is asking for more before I get to sit down to eat my firsts! Sometimes there is enough of whatever for him to have more. Sometimes it is gone after everyone gets one helping. We offer yogurt, or some fruit. He eats that too. Afterwards I clean him up to get him mind off of asking for more. He knows once the washcloth is out he is done.
Most mornings he will eat about 3 scrambled eggs, two pieces of bacon, two biscuits, two glasses of oj or milk, and cantelope. Or two bowls of oatmeal, yogurt, banana and two glasses of juice or milk. Or a bowl of cereal, banana, yogurt, toast with peanut butter, milk.

He plays for about an hour and a half, around 9:30-10 is is asking for food again. "Hi Mom, I hungy." I tell him to wait a bit. He whines and looks so sad. Then has a hard time going back to play. Sometimes has a fit. Sometimes I get him something to eat because he looks so pathetic.

11 am. He is asking again. He is moping around the kitchen. If he finds something on the counter he may sneak it. He is following me around with fake tears. If I am on the computer he will sit next to me, whine about nothing. When asked what's wrong he says he doesn't know. I know it's because he's "hungy".

11:15 am. I can't hold off anymore. I get ready to make lunch. Repeat of breakfast. Right underfoot. Peeking in cupboards, looking in the fridge past me, asking questions, seeming way too eager.

11:30 am. Eating lunch. Happy again for a bit. He doesn't typically ask for more servings during lunch for some reason.

We are not big snack people. I really like to serve three meals and one snack a day. Sometimes two. I have found if my other kids snack too much they will not eat the food I prepare for meals.

random times during the day, he's asking for something to eat. I give him a snack after rest time. He eats it all, sometimes stealing his little brother's. A fight breaks out.

3:00 pm Official snack time. The kids have an after school snack. Of course E. feels he should have another too. I let him have another one.

5:30-6 pm. Dinner time. After being hounded all during dinner prep and being warned a few times, E. is so "hungy" all he can do is sit in his chair and wait. He asks every so often if dinner is ready. When it is on the table he wants to pray. He says his blessing, and then is first to eat his food. There are some veggies we are finding he doesn't like all that much. He asks for seconds for some types of food. We oblige. He asks for thirds. We tell him he needs to eat everything else on his plate first. He does. Then asks for thirds. We give him more. He wants more to eat after everything is gone and everyone is finished. He is ok after we tell him we're all done and there is no more. Sometimes he glares at me.

After dinner we start the bedtime routine. Cleaning up, bath, book, teeth brushed, etc.

The boy is almost four. He weights just over 30 lbs. He hasn't gained much weight in a year. He is always hungry. He's been through a thousand tests. Nothing has turned up. I tease him that he has a worm named "Harry". He laughs.

Is his big appetite normal?
Are we doing what we should with him constantly asking for food?
Could this be a pych. problem vs. a medical one?
Just my problem, or no problem at all?

The other thing I have noticed in the past few weeks is his position at the table. He sits, with both arms bent, elbows on the table, spread out and encroaching on everyone around him. Almost like he is guarding his plate.

Thoughts anyone?
I have ordered the book "Parenting the Internationally Adopted Child", recommended by a friend. Looking forward to reading what it has to say about this topic.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ho hum

Waiting is so hard.
We heard that we will have the important paper for our adoption
on Tuesday.
It has not arrived and I haven't heard back after checking in
yesterday morning.

I have learned that I shouldn't take adoption workers at their word when you are dealing with foreign countries. But I was hopeful that we would indeed get that email with that paperwork, we could print it off, get our stuff signed and notarized and send that dossier off. That we would get a court date, passport and visa all in record time and be home with our daughter before April.

Not likely.
I am praying for that miracle.
But still things are getting sorted out.
Some days the situation looks hopeful, others not so much.

It's so hard to guess what will happen.
I need to stop guessing.

To let go and let God.

please pray for our future daughter
she needs to come home
she needs medical treatment
we need her.