Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gotcha Day is Here!

We started this process a little over a year ago and the day is finally here. In three short hours, we will pick up Brayden and then drive 4 hours to pick up Stephen and life as we've known it will be changed. I wish we could say that we have been heroic (for lack of a better term at 6AM) thru this process and rock solid but this is not as easy on us as it may appear. We have been thru the fire over the last 6 months since our trip to meet the boys in May. While we knew this was God calling us to action, we had it confirmed by the work of Satan himself. What do I mean by this? As long as we are too busy and too distracted to do the work of building The Kingdom, then he has us right where he wants us...we are no threat to him. But when it comes to the possibility of adding souls to eternal life that otherwise weren't headed that direction, then he goes to work. Our commitment to bringing a better life to these two boys was tested immensely over the last several months. I thank God that over the last several weeks he has given us new energy and strength in this commitment and has brought some relief from the discouragement, testing, etc. that had us ready to throw in the towel. Even this morning, we joked about catching a taxi and sneaking back home. It's not because we don't care for these boys but it is a big commitment. We've known from the beginning of this process that this was God's calling and we have to answer. Still there is a level of anxiety that comes with answering his call but we know he will provide...that is our God...we have not been called to a life of luxury, we must work to build his kingdom until our time is over so we are full of joy and nervous as we reach the moment of no turning back. We are not sure what the future holds but we know our God will provide and he will deliver and we look forward to doing our part as we are called.

So going back to one of our earliest blogs, consider your part in this effort as we will need your help and commitment to raise them.

Something I've thought about a lot during this process lately is how much I've been drawn to care for these two boys over the last year. I really don't know them well but I care for them and want the best for them and their future. Is this a small sample of the love our God had for us that even though we are not of His chosen people (Jews), He has adopted us into his family thru his Son?

Much more to follow but for now it is time for " Gotcha Day"...

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Nov. 25

We are on the plane headed to Vienna and then will be going to Sofia. I really can't believe it! It was very hard leaving my kids at home. We will not be home until dec. 7. We will be arriving in Sofia around 1:00 tomorrow. We will change money, buy a carseat for Brayden and then head to Montana for the night.

We have been working at this for over a year. In about 30 hours we will be able to carry Brayden out of the orphanage forever! Little Brayden will no longer be an orphan, he will be part of a family that loves him and cares for him. I can't wait to see all that he will learn and who he will grow into. Please pray for this little boy...that he will adjust well, that he will be able to leave his first 3 1/2 years behind and he will know he is loved.

We are not sure what will happen next. Stephen is currently in the hospital with the flu. He will have a test on the 26th to see if he can be discharged. If the test is ok, we will drive to his city after picking up Brayden. Then, we will drive to Sofia and spend the next 10 days there. If he is not discharged, we donor know what will happen. Please pray. There is a possibility we might have to come back for Stephen later.

Please pray for our family at home. We know that we were called by god to parent these two boys, but it will be a hard adjustment for everyone. There is lots of anxiety over change and fear of the unknown. I can remember with each pregnancy being extremely excited over our new baby, but also nervous about change. So, I guess the feelings I am having now are normal. I can't wait to bring these boys home, but I also fear change. I know once it happens, it will be very good.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of our story. We have so many friends, family and even strangers who have blessed us. We thanks you for your help with our children during travel, for your generosity and especially for your prayers.

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Location:Somewhere between US and Europe

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Travel Dates

Last Wednesday ( which was 8 days after court), I woke up to a big surprise.  Travel dates...and they were perfect.   Leaving Nov. 29- and returning Dec. 7.  Home for Thanksgiving, leave on my birthday, and only have to spend one week there.

Thursday I woke up to another surprise...we leave on the 25th and still stay till the 7th.  It will be a long trip.

We are so excited that we are finally bringing our boys home.  This process has been so long, It is exciting to see it finally end and our family start a new chapter!

I have been very busy trying to get ready.  We leave in 3 1/2 days and not much is ready.  I did pack Stephen's bag.  I started packing Brayden's and realized he needs a better coat, I have no socks for him, not sure about shoe size and I left his jammies in room with Colton sleeping...I guess I will finish him up tomorrow.

Yesterday, I found out that Stephen is in the hospital.  I have very few details, please pray that he heals quickly and is out of the hospital in time for GOTCHA day- Nov. 27!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov. 5, Our family official grew

I am very tired and we have a physics project that isn't done...but I wanted to share our news.  The Blackmon family officially has two new members.  We got an email from our attorney at 2:22 this morning stating that our adoption was granted.  So, we welcome Stephen Caleb Blackmon and Brayden Joshua Blackmon to our family.  It should be 4-5 weeks before we go get our boys.

Another bit of exciting news...as long as airfare doesn't go up too much and our trip isn't extended, we are funded!!!!  We had a big donation yesterday that should cover the last of our expenses.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thank you!!!!

I want to thank whoever was the donor/ donors yesterday! We are so blessed by your generosity! We are currently only 2150 short from being fully funded. This adoption has been a long, hard journey. We have put so much time and energy into it- combined with the emotional part- it has been overwhelming for us! Your contribution not only help financially, but also encourages us emotionally through it all. Thank you!!!

I don't know if I have shared we have court nov 5! In less than 2 weeks I will have 7 kids... That is scary.

Colton had his tendon release/ tendon transfer 2 weeks ago. He is a tough kid. He still gets very tired and does have some pain. I love that guy...what a fighter!

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Today is the day!!

This morning, I woke at 4:45 to a great e-mail from our attorney.  We learned that we have gotten an signature from the Minister of Justice and that we have a court date.  November 5!  In 4 weeks, there will officially be 2 new members of our family.  We expect to travel about 4 weeks after court to pick up the boys.  So, hopefully they will be here at the beginning of December.  God is good!  We are so excited that most of our waiting is over.

We are so thankful that God has blessed us.  This was not an adventure that I saw coming, but I am so glad that we are on it.  I know there will be lots of difficult times once they are home.  It will be a huge adjustment for everyone...but an adjustment that is worth making.  I know that we were not called to live "easy" lives- simply serving ourselves.  I know that God has called us to do so much more.  No, we can not save all the orphans, or even make any dent in the huge orphan crisis.  But, we can change the lives of two little boys.  These little boys will now have a mommy and daddy to love them.  Someone to comfort them when they are upset.  A family to love them.  We can make a difference for them.

Please pray...
1.  court goes smoothly
2.  We raise funds needed for pick up trip ( about $4700 still needed- Reece's rainbow account needs to be at 14,800)
3.  Able to finish up house projects
4.  Transition once home goes well for everyone!

Colton is having surgery on Wednesday.  He is good with everything and knows it will help.  He is having a tendon release and tendon transfer.  We expect him to be having a bone lengthening surgery also within next few months.

We have gotten a lot done on our house.  All the kids are in the correct rooms with the right furniture.  We were able to get closet systems installed and eliminate most of the dressers- this will help adding room to shared bedrooms.  This weekend a wall needs to come down- should be fun!

Sweet Aubryn and I spent a little while watching videos of the boys.  This is something I have only allowed myself to do a few times...but it was wonderful getting to see them.  Little girl is excited about them, she talks about them constantly, but she is getting nervous too.  She gets very upset when talking about me going to get them.  Today we bought a few little things for them (toothbrushes, cups) and she was not happy that they were not for her.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting things ready

For months, we have been trying to renovate our house and add on. We have been through three different builders, to architects...somehow we have not been able to get a firm price and a contract. Last week we decided that adding on is no longer a possibility timewise( plus interest rates have gone up). So this past weekend we started the total home reconfigure. I would love to have the whole process done in about a month.

Troy's office is in a room off the garage...it was a dump. He had moved things in quick, put ugly rugs over concrete floors and had stacks of junk. He had temporarily moved inside when we thought we were close to remodeling. Last weekend w painted, laid new flooring, spruced up some furniture issues and moved him back outside.

The next step was moving gameroom furniture to family room and converting gameroom to playroom. This is mostly complete.

Our next step is bedrooms. We have three bedrooms that have to be moved in order to make everything work. I am trying to get rid of as much bedroom furniture as possible (dressers), so we need to find the best system for closet organization.

Today we celebrated Payton's 11th birthday. She is getting big. We had grandparents and cousins over for cake and ice cream. This is a picture of her and Caitlin from our Montana trip in June.

As far as our adoption process goes, things are finally starting to move in our boys country. Three families from our agency got signatures from the moj last week. That is the step we are waiting on, then we will have court and then gotcha! We are actually next in line for signature...pray it comes quickly.

Adoption costs update...
We have paid everything up through last trip. We are estimating that we need 6000 for pickup trip (we currently have 300 for it). We still need to raise about 5700. We are planning a big garage sale in a few weeks. If you would like to donate to our Reece's rainbow account, it is tax deductible. We need amour total amount in that account to b 14900 to be fully funded.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oops...I can't count

I just realized it has only been 3 month...but it has felt like 4. 

I did hear that we should expect a signature from the minister of justice this week or next.  I'm not going to hold my breath, but progress would be great.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

4 months since we left them

Today was 4 months since I got home from our boy's country.  I thought we would have them home by now.  It was so hard to leave them.  It doesn't get easier.  Some days are just so busy that they go by quicker, but when we stop and think about them...it is very hard.  I really can't even watch the videos we have of them, I just miss those little guys.

All this waiting has made us question everything.  We have made some choices that I am not happy about (children's school).  Satan has attacked Troy and I in many ways.  It would be really easy to let him win and not go back for them.  But we know that God called us to bring Stephen and Brayden into our family as chosen sons.

Please pray that we get a signature and court date from the minister of justice soon.  Pray that Troy and I are able to make good decisions and are able to listen to God instead of the world.  Pray that we are able to raise money for the rest of our adoption ( We are down to having to pay for our gotcha trip-It will cost about 6000-depending on airfare).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Colton's orthopedic surgeon appt.

We had an appt. today with the orthopedic surgeon I met on flight for Trip #1.  It went well...he will see Colton and has a plan-lengthening a tendon and transplanting another to help his leg and foot.

Following our tradition, each appointment leads to a few more...he being sent to a dr. at mayo clinic (Yes, in Minnesota) who is a neurosurgeon and has had some great results.  I have spent this afternoon getting results sent to different doctors.  I would love to make this trip before school starts!
It would be great if Colton could have these surgeries soon.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Planes, trains, and automobiles....Blackmon style

About two years ago, we purchased a week at a house in Montana, with two other families, from our schools auction. We were able to get our whole family ( all 7 of us! ) free flights with Troys miles, but these free flights are never exactly convenient or direct paths.

Day one, we leave from Houston to Shreveport, then on to Denver...with final destination of Jackson hole Wyoming. We got to Shreveport and on to Denver fine. Our flight in Denver was delayed, which was great because it meant we got dinner. Then it was delayed a little more, then a little more. At 11:00, it was canceled. We had 5 kids in the airport until 1:30 that morning while united figured out what they were going to do with us. We were sent to a hotel for two nights, because they could not get all 7 of us there any sooner( Jackson hole isn't the biggest airport...not many flight)

On Friday, we woke up and decided to make the most of out time there. We visited a candy factory and drove up mount Evans. The kids enjoyed throwing snowballs at each other. That night we had intended to get everybody to sleep early for an early flight. At 10:00, we got a call from our driver that he would not be picking us up. Troy spent the next hours finding us new transportation( our hotel was about 45 minutes from airport). We woke up early the next morning, and headed to Jackson hole.

Our time at the house was amazing. It was absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed rafting( Caitlin's favorite part.. She fell out!) horseback riding and hanging out with great friends. The kids were all wonderful! Colton caught his first trout in the Yellowstone river. We were able to see Louis and Clark caverns and enjoy lots of good fooOn Friday morning, we left Montana and headed to Yellowstone park. The weather was bad, we got hailed on several times...it makes great stories for our kids. We got to see lots of buffalo, elk, possibly a grizzly. We saw waterfalls and geysers. Kids had a blast. The cabins here were not quite as fancy as our previous accommodations, but it was all good.

A funny story from Friday night. Our family was in our cabin, we had brought Colton's sleeping bag because the cabin was small. Last December, Colton had lost his very special blankie....the one he had for his whole life and deeply loved. We had looked everywhere, but could not find that blanket. Anyway, when everyone was getting in bed, Colton starts SCREAMING! Blankie was in his sleeping bag. You should have seen the happy dance that boy did.

Saturday night, we drove to Teton village, Wyoming and stayed at a neat hotel. We had a fabulous dinner and headed to bed.

Sunday was another adventure in blackmon traveling. Our flight was scheduled to go through San Francisco. We sat on the runway for about an hour before taking off. When we landed, we got a great view of the wreckage from asiana air flight from the day before. Thankfully, we did not miss our flight, but had no time to get food. Our next flight was 3hrs 55 min, so they should serve something. Right..wrong. Our flight also had to stop in Albuquerque to refuel (problem with runways from wreck day before) so, we landed in Houston at around 6:00 hungry and with no luggage. While Troy worked out luggage issues, I went and got car. We stopped for pizza on way home and came home to our nice clean house, with no electricity! Don't you wish you could travel with us?
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Home...what's next

On Sunday, June 9th, I got back to Houston from meeting our boys.  I was very sad to be leaving our sweet little ones there, but also very ready to be home with my family.  So...we got back to the paper chasing part of adoption.  That Thursday, June 13, I mailed our 1800 in to us immigration for approval, along with a check.  Unfortunately, I sent the check for the wrong amount.  I got it back June 22 and resent it on the 24.

This 1800 application is where I found out about of a huge "gods timing" part of our adoption that I had not been aware of before.  The 1800 has two parts, part one had been filled out months before and we were approved through the us government to adopt up to 3 children, ages 3-8.  I knew that Braydon had turned 3 in april...I hadn't given this much thought.  He would be three when we got him   Home.  What I became aware of was, he had to be three by the time of our written referral.  This is what we waited and waited on earlier.  It was truly God's timing.  As I was so consumed about not getting this signature that was taking forever, God had it all under control.  Brayden turned three on April 27, and we got our signature 3 days later.  I am not sure what exactly would have happened if it the signature was given before his birthday.  I know if we were able to continue the process, it would involve much time and paperwork, starting with revisions to our home study.

So, here we are mid July.  We have gotten approval for our 1800.  It has been sent to the country along with all the rest of our paperwork.  We are ready!  Today, I received word that the courts in this country will be closed until September 15.  They usually are closed about a month in August, but not two.  I was hoping that our dossier could get through...but we will continue to wait.  I was told some judges will choose to have their cout remain open.  Please pray we are assigned one of these judges.  Brayden really needs to get home and receive medical care.

At this point, it is likely that it will be October or November when our boys will walk out of their orphanage ( or be carried) and come home.


My week with Brayden was much different than the week before. Brayden can not walk or crawl. He can sit, but only when someone puts him in that position. He is precious.

Troy left early Tuesday morning to go home to our kids and work. I spent the week going to a small room at the orphanage twice a day to love on him.
When Brayden is interested in things, he truly analyzes them. He puts things he likes very close ( touching) his left eye and looks at them. For a long time, from every angle. He did this with a watch, a water bottle...anything he thought was cool.
He also loves to laugh...like a little monkey.
Wednesday, I got brave. I said I was taking measurements ( which I did want), but I was able to take his pants and and tights off and get a good look at his little legs and feet. It was more than I was expecting. He will need quite a bit of medical care and therapy. I was able to get contact information on the specialist in Philadelphia for his condition, arthrogryposis.

I will send info to this Dr soon, I would like to get him there soon after he comes home.
I also spent a lot of the week trying to see if Brayden would talk at all. He would make a few sounds. On day, he even repeated me saying "kk". While we were looking at a photo album. He did it twice! I was so shocked that I had to confirm with yavor( my translator) that he also heard it! This small thing was an answer to prayers and gave me so much hope. I had been questioning if we were taking on too much...if we were able to give Brayden the care he needed? I am an RN, so medical does not scare me too much, but I did not know how this little boy could possibly make it through surgeries and rehab without some self motivation.

On Thursday, we were able to take Brayden to get his visa picture. I thought it was so cute that the staff cared so much what he was wearing for this. The first shirt he had on had a button missing, so they changed him. His hair was also brushed that day. Brayden was scared in the car. He showed this by pulling on my pants. I think this was his second trip in a car. After the pictures, we went on a walk around the city and he feel asleep.
As I am typing this, I just realized something. Brayden never cried. All week he spent with people he did not know...he had to have been scared...he is only three years old...he never cried. How sad that a three years old he has already learned not to cry. He already knows that he gets no response to his cries. I can not wait to bring him home and love him. To teach him that we will respond to him, we will hold him when he is hurt or scared.
On Friday, I was able to only see him for a morning visit before we headed back to the capital. I checked back into the hotel and meet back up with Melissa.

We went out to lunch and then went to a lawyers office to sign papers and to our attorneys office.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Meeting Brayden

Monday morning, June 3, Yavor, Troy and I headed to Brayden's city.  It was about a 2 hour drive from the capital and we had a nice drive through mountain areas.
We got there around 10:30.  The orphanage was going through renovations, so everything was a mess. 

We had a little trouble figuring out where to enter, then had to sign in with a guard (we had to do this on each visit).  We were led into a very little room with a child sized table and two chairs.  The director then talked to us for a few minutes and then he was brought in.
All I can remember about the first interaction is meeting Brayden brought tears to my eyes (which is a big deal for me- I have never had tears).  It was emotionally very overwhelming.

Brayden is just cute.  He is a sweet little guy who is very timid.   He is 3 years old, but size wise closer to 18 months.
He is timid, but likes to play...although he really does not know how to play.  We were able to get him interested in a few different toys and show him how to play.  He really liked throwing a light up ball and getting us to chase it and bring it back.
We were able to feed him lunch.  He likes to eat, but it is obvious that he has never been allowed to feed himself.  He would not (even when I encouraged) reach for his food.  He would only open his mouth when I got the food close.   He would not reach for food when put on his tray.  I thought this was very odd...he can grab things.
Brayden has a condition called arthrogryposis.  We were not sure how he would be affected by this.  The first day all we really could determine is that he can't walk.  He has very thin legs.  He can move his knees to about 90 flexion.  His ankles are very stiff with very little movement, very little rotation.  He was wearing tights under his pants (very common in this country), so I was not able to look at his legs at this point.
We left after lunch and were able to come back in the afternoon.  He was slow to wake up after his nap.  It was a short visit.
During this first day were able to see a little bit of Brayden's sweet personality.  He does not make many noises, no words...but he loves to laugh.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weekend in Sofia

On Friday afternoon, we left Stephen's city for the capital.  We were able to meet our friends from the airport for dinner.  They were on their pick up trip, so we were also able to meet their new daughter.  It was great to hear about their experiences through the week and how life with their first child had been so far.   After dinner, we headed to the hotel and tried to download a movie from iTunes....we were not even close to being able to watch it that night...it took about 12 hours to complete.   I need to remember to download several kids show before the pick up trip!
Saturday,  Troy and I spent the day exploring Sofia. 

It is a beautiful city.  Very interesting mix of old architecture mixed with socialist panel type buildings.  The country is very poor, so nothing appears to be well maintained, but it is all very clean.  We spent the day walking around, touring beautiful cathedrals and parks. 

We shopped for souvenirs for our kids and walked more at an outdoor market.  We tasted several different Bulgarian pastries in the morning.  We had a wonderful early dinner at a Greek restaurant.  It was an excellent treat! 

That evening, we headed back to our hotel and watched to movie that had finally downloaded.
Sunday morning, we woke up and tried to attend church.  We had found a church listed on EEM's website and decided to go.  We took a taxi to the hotel that was listed.  When we got there, we were told the church had not met there in about 6 months.  They gave us a name and address, but we were not sure if it was the address of where the church met, or just the residential address of their contact.  We started walking, but the area got worse and worse.  We spent about 30 minutes, but could never find the correct place and we were not feeling very safe.   I really enjoyed our adventure.  It let us see part of the city that was not the tourist area.

Sunday evening, we went with Melissa Schmitt out to dinner.  We set out for a pizza place that Melissa had found earlier in the week.  It was closed and it had started raining, so we ate at the next place we found.  It was a restaurant that had meat hanging in the windows.  They served some type of sandwiches with this meat that had French fries on them and a sauce that looked like sour cream.  The men working there enjoyed laughing at us because we could speak only English and were clearly tourist.  After dinner, we went and packed up to go meet Brayden on Monday.

We also got to meet Stephanie Roodhuyzen and Abbie Caple over the weekend. They were also there on a trip one visit to meet Stephanie's girls! Abbie is a sweet young woman who has advocated for orphans and has supported Stephanie during the adoption process

I know I am very late in adding the events of the second week of our trip.  I think I was overwhelmed during the second half of my trip and was not ready to share it yet....Then I got really busy when I got home.  I am going to try to get up to date in the next few days.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Week One- Meeting Stephen

Our week with Stephen went by so fast. We enjoyed every minute of it. Monday morning at 7:30 we drove from our hotel in the capital city to Stephen's city. It was about a two hour drive. We quickly checked into our new hotel and rushed out to some sort of government building where we met him. He was a few minutes late and we were getting anxious. When he came up, we couldn't believe it was him. He was walking! We quickly said hello and then were rushed into a room. We spent the next hour and a half getting to know him while our attorney talked and figured out our schedule for the week. Initially, this time was tough, he didn't want to have much to do with us, but by the end of the first visit, we were able to laugh and play with him and were getting good hugs!

Following this visit, Nina , his foster mom, allowed us to play with him at the park. We were allowed to do this throughout the week at his visits, so we really got to learn some good information about him. First of all, he loves rocks. He loves to dig them, shovel them, and especially throw them. He really likes to play alone, hopefully that will change with time. He walks well, but will need some type of orthotics and therapy. He specks, but we really don't have a clue what is words and what is just sounds.

Stephen loves the carousel, he loves to swing and also bubbles. He lets you know when he does not like something, but is easily consoled. He is pretty strong-he has a death grip on the carousel! He loves to wear hats!
We grew pretty attached to this little guy. It was very hard to leave him. He is in a foster home where he is loved, so that did make it easier. We know that he will be well cared for. We are even going to get to Skype with him!

During our week, we were also able to have a little fun! We visited the Rila monastery which was built in 1432. It was beautiful

On the way there, we had a great lunch of trout and potatoes at a neat restaurant on the mountainside. They had great creme brûlée, but I didn't order one. I will not fail to order dessert again on this trip.
We were also able to visit the orphanage that Stephen lived in for about three years.

We enjoyed our time and were able to make some great friends during the week!

We can't wait to go back for this boy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Visiting Stephen

Wow, what a surprise it was when we saw Stephen for the first time on Monday!  He has been living in a foster home for 8 months and has experienced significant improvement in his ability to walk on his own and has gained significant weight.  He has also shown some clear signs of ability to communicate. This is not what we expected, in fact, it was almost opposite what we thought we would find.  We have enjoyed two long visits with him each of the last three days. We play with him at the playground and we have taken several walks in the area near the American University.

 He has warmed up to us quite well and is a great hugger and he gave Tiffany a kiss today.  His two favorite things to do are riding a small carousel in the area and enjoying a swing we have done with all of our kids when they were young while walking and holding our hands.  We also were able to visit the orphanage today where he spent most of his little life to this point.  While we were there, we met a Therapist who had worked with him to teach him to walk.
We are very optimistic about his future and believe he can be strong one day both physically and mentally.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We are here!

It is 4:47 am, we are working on very little sleep.  Our 18 hour journey to our boys country actually took about 27 hours.  I believe that was all God's timing.  Several wonderful things happened on our trip.
Right now I am very sleepy, but can't sleep.  I am too excited, my heart is pounding. We have worked for 7 months for this day.  The day we get to meet our son Stephen.  I am nervous, anxious, scared, but mostly just excited.  I can't wait to hug him and tell him that we love him.  We don't have to be ready until 7:30, but there is no way I can sleep!  I have slept about 6 hours out of the last 40, so I am hoping tomorrow night will bring needed rest.
The first interesting part of our trip was we met a orthopedic surgeon who said he would see Colton.  He could already tell me some of the things that Colton needed. God's perfect timing, Colton had just told me hours before how he could no longer straighten his leg in he morning,
There was a book I had been wanting to read for months, but had been too busy.  The Boy From Baby House Ten- I was able to read this book and Troy also started it.  If anyone questions why we choose international adoption, you should read this book.  It was perfect timing to really remind me why we started this journey and also to show me some of the situations that Stephen might have been exposed to.  I believe that adoption is God's plan.  We are adopted children of him and he commands us to care for the orphans.  There are many ways this can be done, but our journey here was the way God called Troy and I to follow him.  I do not believe our journey to care for the orphans will end after this adoption.  I do not know what this will look like, but I am feeling that this is only the beginning of our journey to follow him.
The last neat part of our trip happened in Frankfurt.  We sat there for about 8 hours. During this time we were able to meet a couple who was here to pick up their little girl!
Tiffany just passed her iPad to me to read this blog entry...and now I need to pipe in...she is dead on with the way God has already worked in his own timing on this trip.  The travel over was already grueling enough without hearing the news that after a night on an airplane, our two hour layover in Germany was now eight.  Our worst fear was falling asleep and missing the new flight.  We made it though and what little brain power I had yesterday was spent reading the book she mentioned above and listening to God confirm what Tiffany mentioned above..we are just getting started on our main purpose as a team in this life....what it will look like in the end, God only knows but he has put us on a mission and the additional 6 hours to our trip was well worth it for the "eye-opening" heart preparation he gave us both.
We are now two hours from starting the drive to meet Stephen.  I haven't been this exited/nervous since Caitlin was born.  I don't know what to expect but I know that I have high hopes for the life our family can give to two boys who currently have little hope.
To understand our hearts, please read the book Tiffany mentioned above, written by Alan Phillips and John Lahutsky.  We are all called to pure religion in the book of James...to care for the widows and orphans.  In our own culture in America, kids are many times viewed as a curse...even Christians don't acknowledge the blessing they can be in our lives...but they are our future, and we need to learn to love them and raise them up to live Godly lives.
I thank God for the courage he has given Tiffany in all this....most women might be looking for a life of leisure following the raising of five children...somehow I don't see either of us going down that road.  It's obvious after yesterday that we are being prepared for more.
So where is God taking us on this journey? Stay tuned....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Week Left

It is early Saturday morning...our house is quiet (which is very unusual).  This time next Saturday I will be on my way to meet our boys!  I am so excited.  It has taken about 6 months for us to reach this point.  Six long months of paperwork and frustration!

My trip will be two weeks long.  I get to spend the first week with Steven.  I will be at his orphanage with another adoptive mom who has become a dear friend during this process.  I am looking forward to spending time with her!  Over the weekend, I will stay in the capital city.  The next week I will be with Brayden.  I think I will be alone that week.  I am hoping that there will be someone there, because a week alone with no one that speaks English could be rough on me!

We have been totally overwhelmed by the love from some sweet friends!  We have received all kinds of offers for help with our kids while I am gone.  It has brought me to tears.  I am so thankful for these sweet friends.

Now, to get through this next week!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Travel Dates

We got travel dates!!  I will be in country from May 26-June8.  I can not wait to meet our little guys.  We have worked for about 6 months...I am ready to hold them!

Of course this is all happening during the busiest weeks possible.  Between now and the time I leave, 2 kids are in a play, which I have to be at all week and next weekend.  Caitlin then has finals, we have end of year stuff for school, I have to get 2 kids ready for camp.  Plus, our renovation on our house will finally begin...so we will be relocating lots of stuff.  Tonight we moved Troy's office.

I had a great Mother's Day.  We had a great day together!  I am blessed to have 5 great kids and 2 more on the way!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 Three Year Olds!

Yesterday, little Bradyn turned 3.  There was no party, no cake or balloons.  No presents.  That will be his last birthday that he is alone! 

Today, our sweet baby, Aubryn, turned 3.  We have enjoyed a fun family weekend of celebration and she has a new pink bicycle.  She is a precious gift from God.  We are so blessed to have such a joyful little one.

We are waiting on a signature from the minister of justice and travel dates.  There is no way that we will be going when originally hoped.  But we are praying for the week of May 18.

I still have not heard back from Colton's dr...imagine that!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time away...now paying for it!

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to go away with a crazy group of girls for the weekend.  Everything about it was wonderful.  We went to Round Top, TX during Antiques Weekend.  I left Houston Thursday morning and got to spend the whole weekend away.
On Thursday Night, we had fun getting dressed up for the Junk Gypsy prom....there is really no way to explain it...just Google it if you are interested.  The best part of that was our dinner at Royers under the tent! 
There was lots of shopping and fun!  I was blessed so much by the time I was able to spend with friends and also a much needed break from everyday.
Well, now I am having to do the payback.  As soon as I got home Sunday, Troy left for a week in Nigeria.  I was expecting him home over the weekend, but his trip was extended and he won't be home until Tuesday...I can deal with that, but things got a little difficult on Friday.
We got word that we were verbally approved by IAC for adoption, but some of the paperwork may have to be redone because we added Bradyn in at the last minute. I got word of all this (which will be ok) during a doctors appointment for Colton at Shriners.  The appointment was supposed to be a follow up, which I really almost cancelled.  When we get there, we waited forever, which is not normal at Shriners.  Then a different Dr. walks in, I explained Colton was Dr. Mancias patient and we would like to see him.. no problem, she was great about it.  A few minutes later, Dr. Mancias comes in and says he is trying to pull up mri results from a different hospital, it may take a few more minutes.  Everything is still good.  Then dr. Mancias returns with the whole staff ( 3 other dr. and 4 other therapist/nurses).  A few months ago, they determined the cause of Colton's leg problems was nerve damage that was due to a cyst, but it was most likely not malignant.  Now, after reviewing the mri further, there are some red flags that went up and they are now referring him to a dr. at md Anderson Cancer Center.  I am trying not worry, I don't really think that it is malignant, but I am anxious to hear from this new doctor.  Please pray for my sweet boy.
Anyway, this all happening at the same time left me feeling overwhelmed.  I am very ready for Troy to come home and I think I will need some more time away to recover.LOL
Quick add on- after I wrote this 3 of us got an awful stomach virus during the night, now I really am ready for Troy to get home!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Traveling Soon

I got word yesterday that one document from our social worker had to be redone.  YUCK!  I should be getting the new document tomorrow.  I do not think we are in a huge rush to get it to Bulgaria...hopefully we can just take it with us.  I also got word that our dossier should be approved by the IAC at this weeks meeting!!!! That is huge!!  I think it means we may our official referral and travel dates this week.  We could be traveling in just a few weeks.

We need funds to pay!   Please help if you can, if you can not donate then please pray that we will get the financial support we need to bring these boys home.

We also need a name for Bradyn.   Any suggestions?

Our kids names our 

We are adding Steven...will be Stephen

As you can see, we have a theme going...so it must fit in.  Has to end with an n.  We might keep Bradyn and change spelling.  We also need middle names.  I am having a hard time.  Troy has never really gotten into naming children,  this time is no different.  With Aubryn, we did not have her middle name until about an hour before she was born.  We had never even talked about it (the name we choose) before then and I was surprised when I saw how he spelled on her birth certificate)

Also, please pray for me.  This whole adoption thing gets very scary.  I know we were called to bring these boys home.  I know this is God's plan for our family...but sometimes it is scary.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


On Thursday April 4, I got an email from our attorney.   Our dossier has been submitted.  Now, we wait on travel dates.  We should be traveling to meet our boys in 5 or 6 weeks!

I also can now officially introduce you to the little guy.  He is known as Bradyn on reece's rainbow.  We are not positive yet what his name will be when he joins our family.  He is one day older than our little Aubryn, so we will have twins!!!
This is the first picture we saw of this precious guy.  We have been able to get an updated medical report and more picture.  He is doing great and cant wait to see him!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Big Easter Week News!

What a week...we committed to a second boy from Bulgaria. We drove to Austin on Tuesday to get the commitment docs appostiled and Fedexed to Bulgaria. Because he is not in the same orphanage as Stephen, we will have some hurdles to clear with respect to our initial visit as we try to meet the required visits to both boys while minimizing our time away from our kids. We are very excited with this commitment as he is one day older than our baby Aubryn, so she will remain our baby.

How fitting it is that this news should hit during the week of Easter when we celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of our savior who delivered our adoption as sons of the living God. One day, Stephen and ???? will learn and experience the reality and joy of God's adoption.

Our Dossier should be submitted at the end of this week.  Please pray everything processes quickly and we get the signatures we need.   With our kids busy schedules, there are definently weeks that would be difficult for us to be gone.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dossier Translated!

I got word last night that our dossier has been translated and is currently being authenticated.  It should be submitted next week.  What that means is..... we should get travel dates in about 3 weeks and could possibly meet our son in about 6-7 weeks!  We are so excited!

It does get a little scary.  All we have of this 5 year old boy is one picture.  One picture.   I can't wait to see what he is like, who he is, what things he likes, and what he doesn't.  I can't wait to hold him, to teach him and to love him.   He has been without love for so long, I can't wait to give him the kind of love he should have gotten all along.

Financially, it means we still need help.  To be funded for our first trip and for the agency fee that is due as soon as we return, we still need to raise $3360.  Our account on Reece's Rainbow needs to be at $7600.  We know that God will take care of this!  This was his plan all along, not ours.  So far, we have paid cash for all our expenses, but we are at the point of needing help!  The $7600 will cover most of our first trip along with a $4000 payment on our return.

This last week has been good.  We have done "spring" stuff.  Planted our garden.  New baby chicks (along with added security for the chicken coop). 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dossier Sent and Spring Break

Our completed dossier was sent by fedex to Eastern Europe last Tuesday.  It was delivered on Friday to our attorney.  We only have Steven named on it, but did put we are open to another child also.  We have found several children that would be great with our family, but they have all been listed with other agencies.  I have found that agencies don't like to share kids (which is sad...since the whole purpose is to find families for them).  We have been brokenhearted several times, but we know that if God has planned for us to adopt 2, he will make it clear which child.

Our kids are on Spring Break this week.  On Saturday, we headed up to the Dallas area and spent the evening with Troy's dad.  Sunday morning, we drove to Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  We stayed in a cabin there for two nights.  One day we visited Old Washington Historic State Park.  It was a really neat town that has over 30 restored building that you can tour from the early 19th century. 

Years ago, we heard about the crater of diamonds mine and thought our kids would love it...going and looking for diamonds.  So, we planned this trip with the crater of diamonds as our main stop.  Well, we were wrong.  It was cold, wet and muddy.  There was lots of whining and no diamonds.  Colton and Aubryn were covered with mud and were great.

That evening we headed to a beautiful lake and then went out to a great dinner.  Our vacation was short, but gave us some much needed, relaxed time together.

One the way home, we stopped in West Monroe, LA.  My duck dynasty fans got to shop and meet part of the Robertson family.  I thought it was funny that she asked, "are y'all all one family?"

Monday, February 25, 2013

USCIS approved!

I called the USCIS office this morning to let them know that we had walked in early last week to get our biometrics done.  I was surprised to find out that the approval was in the mail this morning.  I am so excited!  There has been alot going on in the Bulgarian government over the last week, so we would like to get thing there asap.

What that means for us is I have a lot to do this week.  We have several forms and pictures that I need to finish, have notorized, then drive to Austin to get appostilled.  It is all good. 

We will have a payment of $5500 due.  Praying.

We also have to know which child we are committing too.  We know that, right?  Yes,  we are doing this for Steven.  We already have 5 children, so it isn't about having another child.  It is about follow God.  With that in mind, we have been feeling like God is calling us to save another child from life in an orphanage (then would go to institution)  The thought of having 7 children scares me to death, but we are trying to remain open to that possibility.  We are trying to find out if there is another child who has needs that are "doable" by our family.

To adopt from Bulgaria, the cost is roughly $25000, but it ranges from about $3000-$7000 to add another child.  A very small cost to follow God's command of caring for the least of these.

Please pray!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Closer

Thursday we were able to have our biometrics done for our I800.  This is basically an application to US immigration to adopt.  I tried to contact our officer to let her know the fingerprints were done, but there was a snowstorm and no one was in the office.  Hopefully tomorrow, Monday, I will be able to reach her.

My new short term goal is to have USCIS approval this week (please pray), then I will need to go to Austin early next week to have all our documents apostilled.  A family in Waco will be going to Bulgaria on March 7 and I would love to have them hand deliver them to our lawyer there.  Please pray.

This was another busy weekend at the Blackmon house.   Friday, two girls had sleepovers at friends.  Adelin had a youth conference at church and Troy helped with security there.  Colton, Aubryn and I had a fun time together.  Colton choose to go to the mall ( I questioned this, but he had an agenda).  He had some money from allowance and wanted to look for toys and clothes.  He was great, he knew exactly what he wanted to look and was a little picky about the toys when he found the prices.  He found 2 hats and a bowtie that he had to have.   I love that little guy!  He has his own style and ideas!

Saturday night we had the Gala for Providence Classical School.  It was fun to go with friends.  We didn't do any shopping this year since we are working hard to fund our adoption.  It was a great night for the school!  We have been blessed by Providence. 

Troy went to Florida today for a funeral.  Quick one day trip, I know he will be tired when he gets home in a few hours.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Still Waiting...and good news!

We really do not have alot of "new" news...We are still waiting.  We sent our I800 application in about 3 weeks ago and are waiting for our biometrics appointment.  We hope to be mailing our dossier in about a month.  

We still need to raise about $8,000 for the adoption.  I am going to add a detailed expense page to our blog incase anyone is interested. 

Our good news is that we have been offered a matching grant of $250 dollars!  What this means is that what is donated into our account will be matched up to $250 dollars.  Please consider giving, it is tax deductible and we could use your support right now!  Any amount will help $5, $10...it all adds up.  Our grant need to be at $3450 for us to receive this match!

What else has been going on with us? 

Caitlin has continued voice lessons.  She is singing at our schools gala this weekend. She will audition for Cyt's "the little mermaid" in a few weeks.

Adelin is getting big.  She will be 12 next month.  She is currently running track and just announced she has her first boyfriend.  I told her she wasn't allowed too!

Payton is playing basketball, her last game is this weekend.  She will also audition for "The Little Mermaid" in a few weeks.

Colton is in Tae Kwon Do.  He is doing well, still waiting on MRI results from a few weeks ago.
He loves duck dynasty, and got a neat gift of a duck call today!

Aubryn, my sweet little one, does not like to sleep anymore.  It makes me very sad because I really like to sleep.  She loves to take care of lots of babies and loves to put them to bed

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Waiting...more waiting

I think our homestudy is finally done!  I should be able to pick up the notorized copies tomorrow.  Then I will be able to mail in our I800 application.  Please pray that it gets processed quickly.  I am getting very anxious to meet Stephen.  We are not exactly sure when this will happen, possibly around April.  Once we get our I800 back, we will be ready to send in our Dossier.  We have everything else ready....so we are just waiting!

We have been very busy with our normal activities around here.  Caitlin started voice lessons recently, preparing for her next audition in March.  Colton is still loving Tae Kwon Doe, he just got a new belt last week and was moved to the big kid class.  Payton had auditions for the school talent show this week. 

I am in the middle of class art projects for our school's gala.  This annual auction is a huge fundraiser for our school.  I really like the project I am doing for 6th grade, but need to finish it this week.  I also have been working on a tea that I am helping with for National Charity League.

Colton and I spent the day at Memorial Herman hospital having more test done.  He had another EMG and a series of 3 different MRIs.  Little guy was sedated for about 7 hours (which may be why he is wide awake now)  Please pray for the results of these tests.  We are praying that they find something that is causing his nerve damage.  We want them to find something, so hopefully there will be something they can do about it!