Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Urgent! Voice your support for the Adoption Tax Credit

This is a shameless plug for the Federal Adoption Tax Credit (ATC).  The credit which helps families offset the high cost of adoption has bills pending in both the house and senate.  The credit is set to expire at the end of this year if it is not renewed. 

When we began our adoption of Eliza, we were aware of the ATC but it was not a refundable credit then, and since we are a lower-middle income family and had very little tax burden, the ATC would not have helped us much if at all.  Part way through our adoption process of Eliza, the ATC was made refundable (but only for 2010-2011), so we were able to take advantage of it.  We thought we would use the ATC money to pay off the loans for Eliza's adoption, but God had other plans for that money.

Shortly after we finalized Eliza's adoption, God opened our hearts to Faith.  He showed us this precious older child with cerebral palsy, and our hearts fell in love with her.  If we had not received the ATC from Eliza's adoption, we would not have been able to pursue the adoption of Faith.  We used the ATC from our adoption of Eliza to bring our lovely Faith home to her forever family.

Here's the bad news, as it stands now, the ATC is no longer refundable, and we will not benefit from it for our adoption of Faith.  This leaves us with a large amount of debt that will take us quite some time to pay off.  Don't get me wrong, our daughters are priceless treasures to us.  We cannot put a price tag on having them home with us.  But having said that, I believe it is very likely that we would not have even considered pursuing Faith's adoption if the ATC was not available to help us. 

Since the adoption process can be quite lengthy, usually taking years, and the ATC was only refundable for 2 years, there are many families like ours that started the adoption process hoping to take advantage of the refundable ATC, but it has expired before they could finalize their adoption.  This leaves many adoptive families with a lot of financial burden.  Furthermore, making the ATC permanent and refundable would very likely encourage many families to expand their families through adoption, who would otherwise find it financially impossible.  Contrary to popular belief, by in large adoptive parents are not typically wealthy, most are middle-class working families like ours who simply have the desire to give a child in need a loving home.

We believe that every child deserves a permanent loving family, and that many children wait because of the expense of the adoption process.  We urge you to contact your senators and representative and ask them to support the bills to make the ATC permanent and refundable.  In doing so, you will likely be helping many many children find their way from an orphanage or foster home into a permanent home where they can be loved and nurtured unconditionally.

Visit www.adoptiontaxcredit.org to find out more information about how you can voice your support for these tax bills.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Super Kid Faith

Several months ago, Brittany's Hope Foundation sent us an email asking if we could provide some updated photos and answer a few questions about how Faith was blending into our family.  For those who don't know, Brittany's Hope is an organization that gives grants to families to help them adopt special needs children.  In our case, we were blessed to receive a generous $5000 grant toward our adoption expenses.  We would not have Faith right now if not for their compassion toward special needs children. 

Today in the mail, we received a newsletter from Brittany's Hope.  I was shocked to open it up and see a full page spread with the title Super Kid Faith and a photo of our child.  I had no idea, but how cool!  Faith was standing in front of me when I opened it.  I said to her, Faith, I think you might know the girl in this magazine!"  She thought it was one of her friends from India, and quickly turned to see the page.  Then her eye's got even bigger than they naturally are, she grabbed the magazine out of my hand, and rad screaming to her dad, "It's me, I'm in the book!"  I had to get her to calm down a little to keep her from accidentally ripping the magazine, which we intend to save with her other treasured items.

Of course you want to see it for yourself, so here is the online version of the newsletter.

Also, if you are wanting to donate to Brittany's Hope, or learn more about them (they are an amazing organization).  Their website is HERE.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Easter, Birthday, Finalization....

You probably guessed from the title of this post that we have been a little busy this month.  It's been crazy, but crazy with lots of good things.  Summer is just around the corner, and I have to say I am ready to welcome a more leisurely pace of life.

This year Faith's 7th Birthday just so happened to be on Easter Sunday.  She had a fabulous first Easter/Birthday which included both sets of grandparents.  With all the candy and birthday cake, all the kids were a little hyperactive, but it was fun. 

A week later, Faith had her first Birthday Party with most of the girls from her class attending.  She wanted a Bollywood theme, and it was very fun.  The girls made Bollywood style anklets with bells on them.  We had an elephant pinata as well as lots of fun music and of course cake and presents.  She really likes to share all things India with her friends. 

On Friday, April 27th, we went to court for the finalization of Faith's adoption.  She is now legally our daughter and a United States Citizen. Yay!!! The entire family went with us to the courthouse to celebrate our forever family (including 2 sets of grandparents, an aunt, an uncle and a baby cousin plus our crew of 8). 

We decided not to have a big open house party like when we finalized Eliza's adoption.  We felt like Faith, being older, would much rather go have some fun with the family than have a party at home.  We all went out for Indian food afterward and we spent the next day at a local indoor water park.  Faith is in LOVE with the water.  Even though she is not able to swim yet, she is totally not afraid to get wet, splash, slide, stick her face in the water...etc.  She just laughed and squealed and smiled the entire day.  We all had a really fun relaxed weekend just enjoying our time together.  It was great!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yes, we are alive.

I know, I know it has been an eternity since my last post.  Not to worry, we are all alive and well.  Life with six kids is proving to be a bit more hectic than I imagined.  I know, you're thinking, "Did you think it wouldn't be crazy with 6 kids?", but actually I kind of did.  At least not so much crazier than it was with 5 kids.  To be honest, Faith (who is chosing to be called Vishakha today - she switches back and forth), has a lot more needs than we anticipated.  None of them are particularly serious, but all of them together can be a bit overwhelming at times.  I'm starting to get used to our new pace of life, but it has been an adjustment. 

The kids are anxiously anticipating summer at this point.  This spring weather seems to be about a month ahead of normal.  It's been great for the kids to be able to play outside, but they are already wanting to be done with school with 2 more months to go. 

Faith has made so much progress with her language development.  It is truely amazing how fast she has learned so much.  She has been going to Kindergarten full time for the past several months, and she's adjusted great.  She's learning quickly, but we decided it would be best for her to repeat Kindergarten next year.  We could not be more pleased with her physical development.  She is now actively using her right hand and her gait is near normal with her orthotics on.  We are now noticing that she has some sensory processing issues, so now we are learning to help her with that.

I promise to post again soon, and I'll be sure to add some photos next time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Wonder of the Season

Christmas has pretty much always been my favorite time of the year.  But this year is especially great.  Faith is so full of wonder and excitement about Christmas, or "Christmas tree" as she calls it. (Christmas is always followed by the word tree)

Growing up in India, she was aware of Christmas.  They even had Santa come and give gifts to the children at the orphanage.  However, as I'm sure you can imagine, she has never experienced anything like Christmas in America.  All the lights, the decorations, the music, the decadence of the whole holiday season are completely new to her.  She is so wide-eyed and full of anticipation.  I'm sure the pile of gifts for her under the tree don't hurt that any. 

Most of all, I love that we get to share the real meaning and joy of Christmas with her for the first time.  We get to share with her that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus birth, the day God sent his only son into this world as a tiny baby to save us all from ourselves.  The reason we all celebrate and give gifts to our loved ones this time of the year is because we remember that on the very first Christmas, God gave us the most precious gift of all.  Not because we were on His list of good boys and girls, but because He loves us even though we often choose naughty over nice.

Does Faith understand all of this?  Not really.  She's very captured by Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and candy, candy, candy.  But she is listening and taking it all in.  She does understand that we're celebrating Jesus Birthday.  I hope that someday she will come to understand the true meaning of Christmas, and celebrate out of joy for the birth of our savior. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

N. Korean Refugee Adoption Act

I don't usually copy posts from other blogs, but this video merits being passed along.  I had no idea this bill even existed, but I think it is a very important one.

I often think about the children of North Korea, since my own daughter was born less than an hour from the border.  I sometimes wonder what her life would have been like had she been born there instead of in Seoul.  Would she even have survived her first 24 hours? 

There is hope for some orphan children who have fled N. Korea.  They are currently living as refugees in other nations.  Although they are free, they struggle to survive, and they live in fear of being sent back.  There is a bill in congress that would make it possible for these children to be adopted by American citizens.  Please watch the following video and take action if you feel moved to do so, and pass it on.

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Week of School

Faith started Kindergarten this Tuesday, Nov 1st.  We had originally planned to start her after Christmas break, but she's been begging to go to school since 2 weeks after she came home.  I finally caved in and took her last week for a Kindergarten screening, and she did really well.  So well that we decided to start her in school right away.  Although the district has full day kindergarten classes, Faith is allowed to only attend half days to start until we're comfortable with full days.  This will still allow us with plenty of time in the afternoons to bond while giving her the opportunity to go to school and make some new friends. 

The first day, I took Faith in early to meet her teacher before the other kids started filing in.  She did really well until it was time for me to go, then she got nervous and started to cry a bit.  Another teacher escorted me out, and I'm told Faith was just fine after a few minutes.  Eliza and I had lunch with her at the school before we went home that day, and she was all smiles.  She was pointing out all her new friends at the lunch table.  "This my friend, and this my friend, and this my friend..."  Then one little girl sitting near us piped up "I'm your friend too.  Remember I helped you.".  It was so sweet.  I'm so happy she's making friends, and all the other kids seem to be very eager to help her fit in.

The next day, I took her to school at the regular time, and she lined up with her classmates who were waiting to go to class.  She just gave me a hug and said "Bye, Mom", then turned to talk to one of her new friends.  No tears, just smiles.

Yesterday, I just dropped her and her brother off at the carpool lane.  They both hopped out, and I barely got a wave before she was off and running toward the school.  Sigh.  This is definitely harder on me than it is her.

Today there was no school, and she was kinda disappointed.  She's doing so much better than I could have imagined.  I'm so glad she had a great first week, and I hope she continues to love her teacher and her new friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I love you

Seven weeks, One day...the amount of time between meeting Faith and getting to hear those three little words from her for the first time.  Today we were just sitting at home, when she crawled up in my lap and whispered "I love you" to me.  I was totally caught by surprise, and I actually asked her "did you just say 'I love you?'".  To which she replied "yes!", and gave me a huge hug.  Yay!  I love you too, precious daughter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Indian Princesses

My 2 gorgeous girls in the beautiful dresses we got for them in India.  I love playing dress up. 

Miss Faith really likes to strike a pose

Look!  Look!  They're holding hands!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


At last the girls are getting along.  They are playing together.  They are sharing toys and me (sometimes).  I think they're even starting to like each other.  The other night when I was putting Eliza to bed, she actually whispered to me, "Mommy, I love my sister." Good thing it was dark, so she couldn't see my tears of joy.