Week 6 in Poland!

It’s our last week!  We get to fly home Friday!

This has been a busy week.  On Monday we drove up to Warsaw and applied for O’s Polish passport.  It only took about 30 minutes.  Then we came back home.   

Tuesday, we stayed at home and began washing clothes and preparing for the pack home.  We went to the big park in the town over and let O play for a while.  We will miss the big park.  It is a great way to get out a lot of bottled up energy.

On Wednesday, his passport was ready for pick up.  We picked it up and then walked a few blocks down to the US Embassy and applied for his visa.  We were there for about an hour, which is a short amount of time based on what we heard from others.  We were able to fill out the application online prior to our visit, so that sped things up.  When we got home, we started packing everything up.  We’ve bought a few Lego sets since being here so it was a tricky task to slightly disassemble them and pack them up.  Hopefully they will make the trip home and arrive in great shape and be easy to reassemble.  🙂

Thursday, his visa was ready for pick up, so we went back up to Warsaw.  That is the final piece needed to come home!  After we picked up the visa, we got dropped off at a hotel near the airport.  Tomorrow we fly out!  It will be close to 24 hours of travel by the time we leave the hotel and arrive at home.  We get in at almost midnight Friday. O seems super excited about riding on an airplane!  We hope he endures the 10 hour flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta ok….We have plenty of games loaded on his tablet.  Hopefully that will carry him through.
We can’t wait to get home!  

Week 5 in Poland!!  

Week 5…..it really feels like we have been here longer than that.  Good Lord willing we will be on a plane next Saturday and headed home!!  We have tried to make the most of our time here in Poland, but at the end of every day, we long to be home.  HOME to us is Tennessee.  The place where we live and can sit on the back porch and watch the sun rise each morning and the day come to life.  It is also where we can sit on the same porch in the evening and fire up the grill and relax on the porch swing.  It is where we have pictures of our family and feel comfortable and “at home”.  It is where our beloved pets live, whom we miss terribly (maybe we miss our dog Barney a little bit more than Lucy the cat, haha).   However, our home is much more than a physical building.  It is also where our family and friends are whom we also miss very much.  As they saying goes, “home is where the heart is”.  We miss our home and cannot wait to get back.  

In our mind, we wish for each day to pass quickly so that we can return home.  We miss it so much!  However, lately we have been feeling somewhat guilty for wishing these thoughts.  What is “home” to our son?  What does he envision “home” to be?   Unfortunately, he has never had a real home.  His unfathomable upbringing, the shuffling between a foster home, then a children’s home–he does not know what “home” truly means.  While we are wishing the days away here, we have failed to realize we are wishing away the only “home” he has ever had.   Big changes are headed his way.  It will be a big culture shock for him when we return to America.  Here he can survive speaking Polish, but no one will understand him in America.  However, he will soon learn what it means to be home.  It means having a safe place to live and sleep.  It means having a loving father and mother, as well as grand parents, great grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins.  It means having a loving church family.  He will learn home is a place of safety, security, love and good memories.  He will learn that this new home is his “forever home”.  

Anywho, enough perspective for the day 😊. Week 5 has come and gone.  There really is not much to write about this week.  We mainly stayed home this week.   We built more Legos, watched movies (The Jungle Book and Ice Age were a hit) and played outside with water balloons.  We took one adventure to Warsaw and went to the Museum of Technology.  It was alright.  They had displays of various objects, such as cars, motorcycles, space, printing machines, etc.  I think the coolest thing there was a German Enigma machine used in WW2.  After the tour, we went back to Hard Rock Cafe and chowed down on American food (another thing we miss!).   

Other things we miss most about home:

–  Air conditioning!!  Most homes here do not have A/C.  It is in the 80’s right now and is pretty stifling at night.  

– Ice!!!!  Ice is a rare commodity here.  Even in restaurants, ice is rare.  If you go to McDonalds and order a coke, you get maybe 4 tiny ice cubes in your cup.

– Free public restrooms!  Poland does not have many of these.  Train stations, gas stations, malls, etc, you have to pay to use the restroom.  It makes for trying times when you have a 7 year old, crying because he has to go to the bathroom and you have no change to pay for the restroom!

– American roads and drivers!  Polish roads are bumpy.  Lots of bumps and insane road rules.  For example, a road split in two because of a tree (picture below), or a stop sign directly in front of a red/green light.  If the light is green, do you still stop? Huh?   Also, some Polish drivers are cra-zy.  There seem to be no real rules other than drive as fast as you can, drive crazy and pull out in front of people as much as possible.  Another rule is to pass everyone at lightning speed, even if that person is going above the speed limit.

These are just a few trivial things we miss from home.

Things we will miss about Poland:

– Piekarnias & Cukiernias!  Bakeries and sweet shops.  There is nothing like fresh, home made bread, cookies and pies.  Prices are super low.  We go a couple of times a week to the stores and buy fresh bread and desserts.  Yummy!!

– Chocolate bars!  Polish chocolate bars put American ones to shame…we won’t admit how much chocolate we have eaten over here.  It would be mind blowing, haha.

– Hospitality and friendliness of Polish people.  Everyone we have met has been super friendly and nice. From people at restaurants, stores, court, etc, everyone has been very nice with lots of smiles.  

We have one more week here, then head home!   This upcoming week we will be going back and forth to Warsaw to apply/obtain for our son’s passport and visa.  Hopefully, we will have those secured by Thursday or Friday.  If all goes smoothly, we will be able to fly home either Friday or Saturday.  We will do our best to soak up the remaining time we have here and continue to make memories of our “home” in Poland. 

 

The road is split around a tree.   Also, notice there is no drainage for water if it rains.  There are pedestrians everywhere at all times, so you have to go super slow so you don’t spray water on them.  

 

A stop sign in front of a green light?


   

Each day we have a short school lesson.  We are learning the alphabet, numbers and colors.  Dad is a great teacher 🙂

 
Lego building time!


Pierogis!  A Polish staple.  These are filled with meat and were very tasty!


Some of the goodies we have dined on at the Piekarnias/Cukiernias.  

There are even bread carts located around towns.  For about $.41 you can buy a delicious ring of bread.  

Week 4 in Poland

One month down!  Our appeal period is now over and everything should be official this week!   Then we can work on obtaining the documents needed to come home.  

On Sunday, we took an intercity train down to Kraków.  The ride was a little over two hours and we saw some beautiful scenery.  Kraków is considered the cultural capital of Poland.  Whereas Warsaw was ~85% destroyed in WW2, Kraków was virtually untouched.  Buildings built in the 13th and 14th century are still standing.  It is a beautiful place!!   

The train station is in the bottom of a large galleria mall, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel 😎.  We dropped our luggage off and walked to the historical part of town.  It was breathtaking!  We took a carriage ride around town and saw Wawel Castle, historical churches and other monumental sights.  Oliver really enjoyed it.  After that we walked around the shops and did some sightseeing.  

On Monday we went back to the Old Town and did more sightseeing.  Wesley found a chocolate café and we dined on melted chocolate, milk shakes and hot chocolate.  It was very yummy!  We need chocolate cafeś in America 😊.   For lunch, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and indulged on American food again. We walked around for the rest of the day and then went back to the hotel.  All the walking we did tired out the little fella and he needed a nap.  

On Tuesday Wesley toured Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It is a little over an hour from Kraków.  Oliver and I stayed behind.  It isn’t a place suitable for children and part of me did not want to see it.  It is a very dark, evil piece of history that I did not think I could handle seeing in person.  Wesley took a lot of pictures, some of which are shared below.  We will let the pictures and captions speak for themselves.  Oliver and I had a great solo day together.  We went back to the chocolate cafe. Then we did a little bit of shopping at the mall and waited on Wesley to get back so we could take the train ride home.  We got in about 6:30 that evening.

The rest of the week, we stayed home and worked on puzzles, Lego sets and watched movies.  On Thursday, we found out that the court messed up some of the dates on our paperwork.  Rather than just fix it and move on they had to have a closed session and provide letters to all of the affected parties.  Unfortunately, their mistake will extend our stay here another week.  We were pretty bummed hearing that news.  We were hoping to come home around Father’s Day, but it will be a week later.  😞 We are very much ready to come home…

Other than that, it has been a good week.  Oliver is doing great.  He is picking up more English words and phrases, as well as counting higher and higher.  His new favorite phrase is “Oh my gosh!”.  His accent is the cutest thing ever.  Every day we have a quick learning session and he is doing great writing letters, numbers and identifying colors in English.  He has come a long way considering we have only had him for one month.  

The Cloth Market in the center square of Kraków.  It is where merchants used to sell their goods.  
The inside of St. Mary’s Basilica in Kraków.  It was breath taking.  


St. Mary’s Basilica.


Panoramic picture of the market square in Kraków.


The clock tower in Kraków.

 
The view at the entrance to Birkenau.  Trains full of people would pull in here for unboarding.  

Once unboarded, the people would be sorted by doctors.  Women and children on one side and men on the other. Those suitable to work were sent one direction, the young, elderly and infirm were sent the other. Most women and children were sent straight to the gas chambers.  
 The Entrance of Auschwitz.  The words above the gate say “Work Sets You Free” in German (that is actually the backside of the sign–sunlight interfered from taking the picture from the correct side).

  
Inside the barracks.  6 people would sleep on each level.  

  
It was a huge camp as evidenced by the remains of the buildings. If the Nazis would’ve finished the planned expansion of Birkenau, the camp would’ve held around 250,000 people. 

 
  

Taken in Poalnd’s memorial building. These are the names of Polish prisoners taken captive.  
Hair from the victims.  The Nazis would shave off the prisoners’ hair and send them to textile mills to make fabric. When the Soviets liberated the camps, they found 15,000 lbs of hair in bags to be shipped. That’s not including what had already been shipped. Human hair does not normally deteriorate with age. Much of the hair here was taken from those who were killed with Zyklon-B in the gas chambers.

  
The Death Wall.  Victims were lined up here and shot.

  
Inside of the gas chamber at Auschwitz.  After the completion of the larger gas chambers at Birkenau, the Nazis gradually stopped using this one

  
Crematorium at Auschwitz  

 
Remains of a gas chamber/crematorium (“shower room”) at Birkenau.  ~2,000 people were murdered at a time. The Nazis blew it up along with the others in an attempt to destroy evidence of what really happened here.

 

Week 3 in Poland

Another week in the books!  We have good days and bad days, but the good outweigh the bad.  I think most of our bad days are not because of anything O does, but are due to our longing to be home and frustrations met along the way.  

Sunday was a fun day.  We took the train up to Warsaw and went to “Chopin in the park”.  There were probably a thousand people in attendance at Łazienki Park to hear a professional pianist play pieces from Polish composer Frederic Chopin.   The music was great and the park was spectacular.  It is the largest park in Warsaw and is filled with beautiful flowers and tall, old, beautiful trees.  It has a few palaces located within and you could spend hours walking through it.  There were wild peacocks roaming about, as well.  After walking though the park, we took an Uber car to the Hardrock Cafe and indulged on American food!!   It was probably our favorite part of the day 🙂

Monday was a very long day….we left our rental home about 7:00 in the morning and drove 3 hours south to Radzyn Podlaski for court.  This court session was a lot easier than the first.  The judge asked us questions about how we felt our bonding period went.  She asked me a lot of questions about how long I planned on taking off work once we got back home and if my workplace provided maternity leave, etc.  After about an hour, we had ~45 minute break, then returned.  The judge was very gracious and approved for us to have a 2 week appeal period!!!!  That was awesome to hear, since 3 weeks is the norm.  After court was over, we made a quick stop by the orphanage to pick up O’s documents.  I think he was confused why we went, because he got really sad.  His caregivers had tears in their eyes as they said goodbye to him.  We could really tell that they loved him and cared for him.  We are very fortunate that he has been in such a warm and caring orphanage.  One of his caregivers was hugging him and told him, “O!  All of your dreams have come true!”.  That was another moment we will not forget.  We left and drove back home.  We didn’t get back until 7 pm, so we were all tired and grumpy, lol.

Tuesday was pretty low key.  It rained most of the day, but we did get out to get O’s passport and visa pictures made.  We are trying to get as much done now as we can, so when the appeal period is over, we can come home as quickly as possible.  We introduced O to the movie, “The Lion King”.   He has been saying “Hakuna Matata” ever since, haha.

On Wednesday, we took the train up to Warsaw and went to the Copernicus Science Center/kids museum.  That was a fun place to kill a few hours.  After that, we went on another Wesley-Expediton to find a KFC.  We found one less than a mile away near Warsaw University.  After eating, we discovered that the Old Town portion of Warsaw was about 20 minutes away.  We went down there and explored some.  We didn’t get to stay too long, because we had to take O to a doctor’s appointment that was required for his visa.  The doctor and his staff spoke great English, so that was a relief.  O was a trooper and didn’t cry when they drew blood. We were very proud of him!  We were a little shocked to find out he only weighs 37 lbs.  He is a tiny little thing, but we know he will gain weight once we get back home and he eats American food, lol.  

Thursday we stayed home.  The days we stay in seem to go sour pretty quickly.  The lack of having TV or things to do make for a long day with a hyper 7 year old.  Getting out for ice cream was our rescue for the day.  Also, Wesley is very creative and discovered bubble blowing with a fan!   Just take a bottle of bubbles, dip the wand in and stick it out in front of a fan…..it blows a ton of bubbles all over the place!  O had a blast doing that.  He would blow bubbles then take off running and try to pop them all.  So many laughs watching him do that! 🙂

Friday, we went back up to Warsaw and explored the Old Town part again.  It is probably our favorite part of Warsaw that we have seen.  Most all of Warsaw was destroyed in WW2, but they rebuilt the town like it was before the war.   Lots of pretty buildings and architecture.  The weather was perfect for getting out and walking around.  

We have one week left in the appeal period, then another week applying/obtaining his visa and passport.  If everything continues on track, we should be home in 2 weeks.  We are continuing to make the most of our time here, but are ready to come home.  O is still doing great. He still has been having trouble sleeping and wakes up often singing/rocking.  We can already tell that it will be a hard habit to break.  Otherwise, he is doing great.  In a week, when the appeal period is over, we will be able to share his name and pictures.  🙂

Castle Square, Warsaw

The Church of the Holy Cross.  Chopin’s heart is buried here. His body is buried in France.

Chopin in the Park

Lazienki Park

The Palace of Culture and Science.  It was constructed in the 1950s as a gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland.  It is controversial to many people here today.

Lazienki Park

Old defensive city walls near Castle Square.

Week 2 in Poland

We survived another week!  Our bonding period is now complete.  We will go back to court on Monday.  The judge will ask us questions about how we felt the bonding period went and will set our appeal period.  She can either set it at 2 weeks or 3.  We are praying hard for 2, so we can come home sooner.  After the appeal period is over, we will stay at least another week to get O’s passport and birth certificate so we can fly home.

The past week has been great.  We have made many trips to the Big Park and McDonalds.  Tuesday morning we explored the town we are in called Milanowek.  We ordered pizzas and walked around.  We found an awesome bakery and pastry shop.  Definitely will be going back there soon!  We bought an apple pie and 2 big pieces of garlic bread and it was only $3.50!   I imagine we will both gain some lbs while we are here, if we keep going back, haha.  

On Wednesday, we took the train up to Warsaw and went to the zoo!  That was a lot of fun.  We asked O if he had ever been to a zoo and he replied “no”.  We then asked him if he knew what a zoo was and he said “no”.  He was in for a treat.  The Warsaw Zoo was very impressive.  It was a large zoo and was beautifully landscaped with huge trees and bright colored flowers.  We saw lions, tigers, gorillas, various monkeys, polar bears, leopards, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, etc.  We had a great time!  The train experience was not as bad as I had expected.  Wesley did a lot of research so we knew exactly where to get off and switch trains.  After the zoo, Wesley said it was a “short” walk to a mall that had a KFC…..after what seemed like 5 miles, we arrived.  By that time, O was getting grumpy and irritable, but KFC and a Lego set cheered him up.  It sure felt great to eat American food.  Grocery stores here are just…..different.  For example,  plain hamburger meat is non existent.  It comes mixed with pork.  So far we are surviving on pizza, McDonalds, Subway, tacos, ramen noodles and spaghetti.  We have tried cooking some polish dishes, but have not liked much.  Most of the American ingredients we use are not found here.  Going to the grocery store is always a frustrating experience because we come home with the same items each time.  :X

On Thursday, we ventured to downtown Grodzisk Mazowiecki.  It is a cute little town filled with local shops and bakeries. After that, we went to the local galleria and loaded up on puzzles and Legos from the toy store.  They help to pass the time here.  It’s still pretty tough being here at times and finding things to do.  Plus, there is no tv.  We survive on Cartoons and kids movies on Netflix or Amazon.    We FaceTime our family often, so O gets familiar with everyone.  He loves talking to them.  He will grab the phone and just talk away in Polish.  Sometimes he will go in his room and close the door.  I guess he doesn’t want Wesley and I to know what he is saying, lol.  He especially loves talking to his cousins, Cam and Claire.  He loves blowing his grandmothers and cousin Claire kisses!

O is still doing great.  He has upgraded mine and Wesley’s names.  We were called “Ma-Ma” and “Ta-Ta” (mom and dad).  Now he calls us “Ma-moosh” and “Ta-toosh” (mommy and daddy).  The only real issue we have seen so far is his sleeping.  Due to his past and being by himself a lot, he sings and rocks himself to sleep.  It’s a pretty sad sight to witness.  He sings at the top of his lungs and rocks from one side to the other until he falls asleep.  We let him do this the first 2 or 3 nights and he slept all through the night.  But after talking to our Social Worker she recommended one of us stay in the room with him until he fell asleep so he wouldn’t rock and sing himself to sleep.  We tried that for a few nights, but he would wake up screaming and crying all through the night.  We guessed he was waking up and looking for us and getting upset when he couldn’t find us.  So we used google translate and explained to him that we were just staying in there until he fell asleep and if he needed us, we were just across the hall.  After that, he settled down at night.  If he wakes up in the middle of the night, he starts singing and we go in and try to soothe him back to sleep.  So in a way, it is kind of like having an infant and waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to help him go back to sleep.

Other than that, he really is adjusting to everything very well.  He is learning his alphabet, colors and counting.  And he loves to do anything that Wesley does.  He is his little mini-me. Wesley and I are doing well.  We have our moments of grumpiness and frustrations, but do our best to encourage one another and lift the other up.  We play a lot of Christian music, especially HillSong! That helps to soothe and calm everyone down.  Our church does a lot of HillSong songs, so it helps remind us of our church family that we miss very much.  They have been so supportive of us since beginning this journey.  Our words are inadequate to express how much we appreciate their support, love and prayers. 

Zoo!

Grodzisk Mazowiecki

Piekarnia – Polish Bakery

Apple Pie and garlic bread from the Polish Bakery

Lego Time!

First Week in Poland

Well, we have survived our first week in Poland!   One week down, at least 4 more to go.

We landed in Warsaw last Saturday after almost 24 hours of traveling.  We had a 6 hour layover in Chicago and a delay in Munich.  We were pretty worn out by the time we arrived.  Our hotel was right across the street from the terminal, so we walked over and checked in. 

The next day, two men from our agency (Sasha & Alex) picked us up and drove a few hours south to Radzyn Podlaski.  It’s a small town where O’s orphanage is located and where our court session was scheduled.  We got there around 4 and to our surprise, we got to walk over and pick up O for a few hours. He was super surprised to see us!  When we entered the orphanage, he ran up to us with open arms yelling “Ma-ma & Ta-ta” (Polish for Mom & Dad).  We went out to eat and then hung out in our hotel room playing games and coloring.  We took him back around 6.  We learned later that he was crying after we took him back because he thought we were picking him up for good and he wasn’t going back to the orphanage ☹️

The next day, Monday, was court.  It was tougher than I thought.  The judge grilled us with questions for over an hour.  Then we had a break and came back in.  She was nice and set our bonding period at only 2 weeks!  Usually it is 3 weeks.  We go back to court on the 30th.  At that time, she will ask us questions about how the bonding period went and will set the appeal period.  We are hoping for it to be 2 weeks and not 3.  Pray hard for that!  After the appeal period is over, the adoption is finalized and we will spend another week in country getting O cleared through medical and obtain a US passport and a birth certificate.  Once we get those, we can fly home!

After court was over, we went to the orphanage and picked up O.  His caregivers had his bag packed and were in tears.  We could really tell that they loved and cared for him.  O went around the room and hugged all of his friends goodbye.  As we were walking outside to the van to leave, we heard tapping coming from the building windows.  We looked up and all the little children from the orphanage and the caregivers were tapping and waving goodbye.  We will never forget that moment.  

We drove north for about 3 hours to a small town outside of Warsaw called Milonawek.  Our agency has a rental house located there.  It’s pretty nice!  We are very comfortable here.  The house is two stories and has plenty of room to run and play.  The kitchen is nice and has all the amenities you need including a dish washer!  Downstairs has a huge playroom with toys.  We have wifi and are able to watch Netflix which is nice since our tv doesn’t have any cartoon channels.

O is doing great!  He is the happiest, most imaginative, joyful little 7 year old you will ever meet.  He is full of energy!!  He loves to run and make “vroom vroom” noises as he runs.  He goes to bed easily and sleeps soundly until 7-7:30.  He loves to sing.  We know when he is awake each morning, because he starts singing in his bed! 😊.  He eats like a champ.  He is skin and bones but eats a lot for a kid his size. He doesn’t play at the table, but sits there and chows down.  He isn’t picky and eats most everything , including vegetables.  Apples and tomatoes seem to be his favorite.  He doesn’t speak any English, which makes it tough for Wesley and I.  We can communicate to him via Google Translate and picture cards we made.  However, he can’t communicate to us.  He talks away in Polish but Google Translate doesn’t pick up what he is saying.  He doesn’t seem too frustrated by it though.  We can usually figure out what he is trying to say or either tell him in Polish that we don’t understand.

The days are pretty long here and that is probably the hardest thing for us right now.  Trying to fill the time each day is a struggle.  Things would probably be easier at home where we know places to go to and have the comforts at home and support system of friends and family. We are in somewhat of a routine.  We get up, eat breakfast, brush teeth and then get dressed.  Our house has a huge playroom downstairs so we spend the morning down there playing to expend some of his energy.  Then we come upstairs for a snack and sit at the table for some learning lessons.  We are working on our alphabet and numbers.  He can write his name and count to 11.  After that, it is lunch time.  After lunch we either play outside or venture out.  It’s crazy driving over here!   There are very few protected left turning lights and no apparent speed limits because everyone drives like they are on a NASCAR track.  There are pedestrians and bicycles everywhere so you have to be on full alert at all times.  The good thing is you can park wherever you want.  People park in the street or just jump the curb and park on the side walk 👍🏼.  We found a big park in the next city over.  There is also a small Galleria about 15 minutes away that has a Subway (!!!!😀!!!) and an indoor play place.  We also frequent the McDonalds down the road. It’s really nice!  The McDonalds here are nicer than the ones back home.  Half of the inside is the McCafe, which is very similar to Starbucks.  Lots of different coffees to include weird ones like Mango Lattes and Orange Mochas.  They also have pastries, cookies and cheesecake.  Grocery stores are close by and we go there every couple of days.  It’s hard shopping there, because Polish people do not really eat similar foods as us and everything is labeled in Polish.  Luckily we packed some necessities that are hard to find or non-existent here like Peanut Butter and taco seasoning.  After our first trip on Tuesday, we were pretty sure we would starve over here….but have since found spaghetti, tortillas and hotdogs 😀.  The cost of living here seems to be pretty low. For example, groceries for 3 people only cost us $53 and 3 combos at subway (one was a  footlong) only cost $12.00!   

So overall, it has been a great week.  Initially we were pretty overwhelmed with everything and were questioning to ourselves what we were doing over here.  (It was that bad 😶).   We did a lot of talking to God and He snapped us back into reality.  We know without a doubt that He sent us here to adopt O.  We also have a great network of other couples who have adopted from Poland and Hungary and have walked the same path.  They have been a huge encouragement to us.  Everyone says the first few days over here are the toughest part and to just “survive”.  So that is what we are doing.  The past few days have been going great and we are doing our best to make the most of our time here as a new family of three.  

***For those in the trenches right now, this blog post we found sums everything up perfectly:  

There Will Be Days

Here are a few pics of our house, the Galleria and Indoor Play Palace.  Stay tuned for pics of O.  We can’t share any until the adoption is finalized in a few weeks.  

PS:  Please look over any typos or misspellings.  This blog post has been typed on my cell phone 😬

One Year….Almost There

This Wednesday, 16 March, will mark one year since we submitted our adoption application to Lifeline Children’s Services.  Looking back, the process has been fairly smooth for us.  There were a few bumps along the road, but overall we feel things have progressed as quickly as they can.  Adoption is a lengthy process (check out the Timeline page on our blog), especially when two different governments are involved.  There is a lot of paperwork that has to go back and forth between the U.S. and Poland.   At our one year “anniversary”, we are happy to say that we are officially done with the paperwork portion.   The very last piece, the Article 5, came in Friday.  The Article 5 is the document that notifies Poland that the U.S. has deemed us as eligible to adopt and that “O” may enter and reside permanently in the U.S.

Today, the Article 5 was filed in Poland.  Our agency said in about two weeks we should receive the final approval from the Poland Government.  Next, everything will be filed at the local court in the town where “O” lives.  At that point, we just sit back and patiently wait for our travel dates.  Those dates could come at any time.  We could go in a few weeks or a few months.  Since “O” is in a small town, we feel it might be a little bit quicker versus if he lived in a bigger city like Warsaw or Lublin.  When we do travel, we have to stay there for 6-8 weeks.  The first 2-3 weeks are the bonding period.  If everything goes ok, we go to court.  Once the judge approves, he/she will issue an appeal period for 3-4 weeks.  We have to stay in country for the duration of the appeal period.  The adoption is then finalized and we will stay in country for a few more days while we wait on “O’s” passport.

We have everything ready to go on our end.  His room/bathroom are ready.  We have booster seats in our cars.  The medicine cabinet is filled with kid medicines and vitamins.  We are ready 🙂

We are also happy to share that we are now 100% funded!  That is a HUGE blessing. Our adoption agency expenses, fees, training, as well as travel/lodging costs for the 6-8 week trip are covered.  The Lord has really blessed us and provided.  Our Puzzle fundraiser was a huge success.  We received enough donations to complete TWO puzzles!  We also had a successful Noonday Collection trunk show fundraiser.  We cannot thank everyone enough for their donations and support.  The rest we were able to save on our own.  That meant a lot of sacrifices on our end.  We cleaned out closets and sold possessions on Ebay and Craigslist.  We even sold our riding lawn mower.  (That was a tough sacrifice to make.  Luckily we have family close by, so we are able to borrow theirs whenever we need to).

We only mention the financial aspect for those who read our blog and are considering adoption.  Please do not let the financial aspect dishearten you or persuade you not to move forward.  If you desire to adopt, God will provide a way.

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose